BuyTrain News

October 2012

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Personal Safety Thought:

Safety is an attitude. Imagining the worst that could happen and then taking steps to mitigate the risks. It has taken many years of practice for me to stop and think before acting. I still have momentary lapses in judgment - but I correct the mistake at my first opportunity. I know if I don't keep thinking of safety first, I'll quickly lose the good habit.  Being safe is a good habit and it takes lots of practice to keep from losing it.



Electronic Record Horror

Go ahead- take a guess:

  • How many email messages do you have in your in-box?
  • How many more email messages in various sub-folders, archive folders, junk mail folders and un-emptied trash cans?
  • How many of those messages have other flies attached?  ~5% = that's a lot of files?
  • How many other files do you have stored on your office computer?
  • How many files do you have stored on network share drives?
  • How many more files on laptops, backup drives, USB drives, CDs, DVDs,?

My guess is that your guess is low. Most people accumulate thousands more data files and email messages than they realize. Particularly in our business of communicating with contractors and various members of our supply chain, people can accumulate hundreds of email messages per day. Even if only a small percentage is kept, over the course of a few years, that can really add up. Example: I took a quick look at files accumulated by just one of our Contract Specialists on just one network drive and found over 13,000 files.

Why am I asking – because I wonder if you realize that every one of those computer files and email messages, stored in any and all locations, is subject to electronic discovery rules. This would include all copies sent to and stored by other people both within and outside of your company. That is, by order of the court, you could be required to produce electronic records stored in all locations.

Read the full article....

Purchasing Card Program Ethics?

Are you in control of the company purchasing card (pcard) program?  If so, you understand that the way money is spent directly affects the financial  bottom line.  You also probably understand the potential for fraud or waste in pcard programs. But beyond the simple financial risk, company purchasing practices and pcard programs can directly affect a business reputation and the perceived value of business relationships.  Managers who allow unethical or unfair practices in their pcard programs in exchange for lower administrative costs are creating an environment where employee fraud could also be called by some lawyers - "mismanagement".  

Read the full article...

Personal Development

Professionals develop their own professional development programs! No one would want to use a doctor or a tax attorney who hasn't kept up with the latest advancements. If you doctor said " I don't keep up with current medicines because my manager won't pay for it," would you stop using that doctor?  Is our profession any different? Are we prima donnas who only learn what our managers require and pay for? Are we willing to let someone else will take responsibility for our professional development.  Read more....  Here is sample strategy

Labor Laws

If you have the good fortune to prepare service contracts on behalf of the government or a government contractor, then you must be familiar with the Fair Labor Standards Acts FLSA as they apply to government contracts. It's a confusing set of laws that we flow down in our contracts to subcontractors. Basically, the FLSAs are designed to protect the rights and wages of workers. The Acts dealing with wages, basically say that workers have to be paid a wage that is fair and prevailing for the location where the work is being performed. Of course, which Act covers which category of worker and the specific wage which applies, gets much more complicated. It's so complex that I take advantage of opportunities to review updated publications about the Acts whenever I have a chance.

Here are some more references.

Q: Where can I find a description list of Service Contract Act Exemptions:


Compliance & Ethics Program

Doesn't your company have a written compliance and ethics program? If not, I suggest you start working on one. Companies and individuals can face fines and penalties for violating any number of laws.  Most surprising to me, is that one strategy company officials can use to defend themselves is to claim the employee was acting outside of company policy. That means, you could be on your own, facing a criminal investigation.  Accordingly, we employees who commit company funds, can be a little more protected by operating within written guidelines.  Read more...... 

My Resume... Note to Self:

Employers are looking for people who can adapt to change and new concepts. They will be much more interested in a candidate who is taking steps to keep up with current trends and technology. Candidates who are stretching themselves by participating in educational and professional activities prove that they are motivated and goal oriented. My resume needs to show that I am a self starter fully capable and interested in developing my own career.


ISM News

ISM Web Site - New and Improved!

ISM Groups

One of the valuable parts of being a member in ISM, is the chance to associate with professionals who are interested in the same work-related topics. ISM also includes groups of members with very narrow and specialized interests - such as Chemicals or Healthcare. As a member of ISM, you are welcome to participate in one or more of these groups at no additional cost. Take a minute to review the latest news from ISM groups, you may find just what you are looking for. 

Software Tips

Instead of railing against new technology – get even with it. Learn to use new software tools to your advantage. People who say they don’t have enough time to read instructions, learn about software tools and practice new features – never will have enough time.


Have you or one of your friends been infected by a computer virus? There are some really cleaver virus exploits in circulation. The gap between the time a new virus is released and the time we update our antivirus software is when we are most vulnerable. That's assuming a working antivirus software program is installed and updated. Unfortunately I have several friends who didn't believe it could happen. Read more in this discussion about how a computer virus spreads.

Using Outlook

Outlook is more than just mailbox and can do a lot more than just deliver mail. Even very effective people can become more efficient by using some of the advanced features in Outlook. Here are my top 5 suggestions:

  1. Set up subfolders by category and have Outlook automatically sort incoming mail to the correct folder. Then work on all the messages relating to a single topic at the same time. Use “rules” to sort the incoming mail so you don’t have to. Use rules to automatically save an archive copy of important messages that arrive or that you send – so you don’t forget to save a copy.
  2. Drag and drop new messages to the task list or calendar to create new action items at the same time you are reading the message. Set a reminder for the new task or new appointment and invite others who also need to participate.
  3. Add the Advanced Find function to the toolbar and learn to use it to search for messages in your mailbox or folders by sender, keywords, date, subject, etc.
  4. Set archiving functions for each folder and run the mailbox archive tool to cleanup and either delete or copy out-of-date items to an archive folder.
  5. Use Junk Mail options to make the junk mail folder more effective and color code incoming messages so you can easily see important messages.

There are many more ways that Outlook can help. Get some ideas by reading this old list of the ways I use Outlook at the office.

You can find hundreds of instructional videos demonstrating these Outlook topics; search string

I suggest investing few minutes now to get some assistance.

New Scam to Avoid

Have you seen an unexpected email saying your AT&T bill is ready and showing a very large amount overdue?  Tempted to click on the link to check the bill and figure out why the amount is wrong? DO NOT – It’s a link to download a virus. More info here

Billing errors happen often enough so this message is insidious. I was tempted to click the link so I could have a friendly chat with an AT&T rep. Fortunately I did not.

Safer practice, when you get messages relating to online accounts or systems:

Don’t use the links in the message –  Always consider it a red-flag warning if the message is unexpected, or uses inflammatory language [Danger! Will Robinson… the sky is falling…. Mars invades… your computer is infected… free Willy… O.K. so some messages are scarier than others]

Don’t touch the email, instead,  open your web browser and log in to the account like you would normally to check for account activity or information.


 Dept of Labor Data Summaries

More information than anyone could want about local employment and wages.

Monthly State Employment Report

Employment News

Wage Estimates by occupation (excel)



Geek Humor…

Sometimes, you gotta just smile. I had forgotten all about this – until I tried to look up synonyms. In Microsoft Word look up the synonyms to the word “information”

Provide Feedback and suggestions for future newsletters at any time. I'll try and use what I can.

I really do appreciate those of you who take the time to write and comment on this newsletter! As always, you are welcome to use my articles or presentations for educational purposes. Just as long as you are not charging for the materials and credit the source.  



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