Friday, July 31, 2009

Red-hot brand?

Star Lawrence, is that a brand? “Her star is rising.” “Heavenly body.” No—not the last.

Anyhow, the new in thing is to brand yourself—have a unified message that just screams YOU!

Some guy named David Mathison branded himself “Be the Media,” because that was his book name.

“Hi, I ‘Be the Media.’”

All this branding takes place on Facebook and Twitter, apparently, so someone write me and clue me in, please.

A branded person would never say “clue me in,” unless being from the Wayback was a plus, which I gather it’s not.

I used to use the tag line: “I won’t be boring no matter how much you pay me.” Maybe I should go back to that.

Is it boring?


OK—how about: “If you pay me, I promise not to bore you. So--where’s the money?”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hell--let's drink

Mojito—MOH-heeto!—yum. Minty, deadening.

Can you tell I have been discussing charges with the phone company—I would hook up an IV of this stuff if I had the makings—or the makings of any alcholic drink.

A place out here has Mojito-Making Classes, which sounds like a nice thing if you’re unemployed.

They teach Ernest Hemingway’s recipe.

Each person gets a muddler (search me).

There is live music.

Each person also gets rum, mint leaves, sugar and ice.

Some people don’t bruise the mint enough. Shame on them!

2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
2 oz white Bacardi rum
1 heaping tablespoon of sugar
2-3 sprigs fresh mint
2 oz club soda
Splash of bitters
Lime wedges

Put 2 wedges of line, sugar, bitters and mint in a wide cocktail glass. Muddle these (crushing stirring). Add the lime juice and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add ice, rum, and soda.

Then you know what to do. Cheers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting a job--kinda sorta

Alina Dizik, WSJ, July 28, 2009, tracks eight people the WSJ found out of work last December. They blogged on their fate.

Unemployment was 7.5—now it’s 2 pts higher. There are six unemployed people for every opening.

And not every opening is appropriate.

Now the WSJ has come up with 11 people and four of the original eight and the three added ones have found jobs.

BUT—five took pay cuts as much as 80%!

Three cuts exceeded a third of their former pay.

Two relocated. Four went from big to small cos.

One guy’s mother spotted the job listing he got when she was trolling for another relative. He turned down an offer to be on a reality show about being unemployed. He moved back to Chicago and has yet to sell his Florida condo.

Another guy said basically what the heck—he’d be home at night to see his son instead of working until all hours.

Most of them said having a blog on the WSJ site did not hurt them and could have even helped.

Every little thing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

eBay roulette

I love to look up jewelry items on eBay—say, magenta necklace--then bid the rock-bottom lowest, sometimes one cent, and pay mostly postage if I get it. You get a little treat…for pocket change…nice in these grim times.

One problem, though—my sister and mother cruise my bathroom like it’s a store. "Oh, THIS is nice…can I have it?"

But I also look up my makeup items on eBay—get them new sometimes for half price. Same for lingerie pieces or tank tops.

Worth a try, people. What do you have to lose?

I also buy severely on-sale items from my Avon woman, Kim. She is trying to get by, too—you help someone you know. Hand lotion, sanitizer, night cream—can be under $5.

Don’t forget those consignment shops—great for back-to-school.

The only problem with selling at consignment stores is when they politely decline your item. Sorry—no can do. Was it the shoulder pads?

In the olden days, I even traded a nice camera for a month of after-school care. Maybe your daycare provider would take a piece of jewelry.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back to school--on the cheap

I remember when my child started parochial school—the list of “musts” they sent home with her totaled $80! I almost face-planted right in CVS. Then I cried.

Now we are back at it with kids going to school. More and more, parents are asked not only to buy the prescribed pencil boxes and whatnot, but also pay for teacher’s helpers and other “frills.” This happened back in DC, too—when times were better.

People used to be worried about where money was going, one wit said—now they are worried about where it is coming from. The average family with two kids in K-12 will spend $549 on school stuff, down from $594 in 2008.

Only buy on sale!

80% of people in one survey said they would buy fewer clothes, 49% fewer shoes. However, electronic buys will be up—including cellphones.

Get only what you need.

The discount stores are a good bet—also dollar stores. Thrift stores, too.

More people will buy the trapper-keeper and pencil-type stuff at drugstores, which are offering more of this. Also check the office supply store—or office supply section of the supermarket.

And teachers—don’t go nuts with these lists. We know you are plunking in more of your own money and we apprec it. But necessities only. On no planet is our bud Hello Kitty a necessity, although she can sure generate lively parent-child dialogue!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Signs of trouble

Ian Harrison,, says there are some signs you may be laid off.

Are you finding you don’t know about meetings or are out of the loop?

Has anyone told you to take a vacation?

Has anyone suggested you need an attitude adjustment? (My dog does this daily.)

Did you make a major mistake lately? Uh-oh.

Has your dept been swarmed by newbies fresh out of the MBA factories?

Do you stand out like a nun at a rave when it comes to the corporate culture?

If your company turns up on business cable—this could be a bad sign.

Do you think they are trying to document every little thing against you?

Since you read Do the Hopey Copey and have been networking, doing your job hunting workouts, spiffing the res, and the rest, you just need to redouble those efforts.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Three times a week job workout

You need to keep those job hunting muscles strong.

Gannett’s Andrea Kay writes about this—even if you are working, you need to have an organized networking and job workout plan.

Don’t see it as some terrible time-suck. Blow it over fast! Three times a week would probably do it.

Create a “career workout.”

Ten minutes a day on social media.

Ten minutes a day of online research. Create “Google Alerts” for mentions of companies you like.

Five minutes a day of sending quick thank you emails to people you talk to—or send a clipping or speech or something of interest to a person.

Just focus—and do.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Make yourself different

Jane Porter writes about finetuning your resume—WSJ, June 2, 2009.

The other day my kid was going to fax a resume to a vet’s office—I said, tell them you have a dog and three cats, you love animals, make yourself stand out.

Everyone needs to hop out of the blah-blah-blah these days.

Porter advises—make a wish list. Pick out companies at a convenient location, or companies that favor working mothers, or whatever. Have targets that YOU want.

Use keywords to your advantage. If you want an HR position, put in words like “recruiting” and “hiring” right up top.

Don’t use bullet points unless you have written out the whole story of duties or projects—then whittle THAT down to bullets.

Try to find an insider at your target—network.

Maybe try a handwritten cover—talking about the last quarterly earnings, something specific to the company.

If you have been sending the same res out for a month—go over it again.

Talking about pets would not be right for every job, but was sure worth a try to become the woman who coaxes the dog onto the scale at the vet.

So far, though—no answer. Not even a bark.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nobody wants us when we're old and crabby

A 2006 Medtlife survey showed that 40% of employees between 55 and 59 blamed age bias when they didn’t get a job.

Apparently the young'ns in HR (see, we use the word young'n) don’t want to hire Mom or Dad.

Of course, the plastic surgeons have great answers for this—lasers, peels, scrapes, tucks, and other spendy solutions.

One job hunter said she was not “shooting for beauty,” but instead a healthier appearance.

Good—they probably don’t want beauty, either. You know how tiresome that is…
”Don’t hate me”…etc.

How about some makeup, a shower, and a smile—and a great resume and lifelong skills? Just do it—and sell it, babies!

Monday, July 20, 2009


CareerBuilder did a survey. The great army of the laid off are at least doing something to structure the day.

15% are fixing up their homes

14% are exercising more

11% are relaxing

7% are going back to school

6% are doing more at church

4% are starting their own businesses

4% are taking up new hobbies

3% are traveling

This is good. Get up. Get dressed. Do a couple of job hunting things, then clear the mental palate and do something else that takes you out to meet new people and use parts of your brain you wouldn’t ordinarily use.

Things can happen.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Greenish and a little richer

Well, not rich—but less poor. Good old Cap & Sap will be along soon to take care the rest of your money, if you have any.

Anyhow, until then, Danny Seo, Arizona Republic, July 16, 2009, has some tips for giving the earth a pat and saving some dough.

Fill up your tank at night. Fewer fumes.

To defrost, place items on top of an overturned stainless steel pan.

If you want green items at the store—ask. Find the manager. Nag.

If you buy bottled water, get glass—you can recycle. No weird-ass chemicals to kill ya, either.

Electric bug zappers can attract bugs. Turn on a fan—they don’t like moving air.

To wash your ball cap, put it in the dishwasher. (Ewww—wouldn’t you need a load just for caps—in which case you have a cap problem.)

Oh, well—the planet is happy.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Half-blind does not help

I know, I bellyache about my lost eyesight. I really was counting on two eyes, though—it takes a while to get used to being one short. (Today I read glaucoma may be a brain thing like Parkinson’s—not that I have glaucoma.)

Anyhow, in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource, they talk about tools for people with low vision.

You should see me with my drugstore specs, magnifying glass, seeing-eye kid (“Honey, how much does this tag say?”), and so on. The other nite, I asked her was a new thing across the street a camera. “Scarecrow, Mom,” she replied disdainfully.

So what are these tools?

First, magnifying eyeglasses. Those drugstore cheaters are “timesies..” 3.00 means three times normal, etc.

Miniature telescopes are available, handheld or mounted on eyeglasses.

Video magnifiers…You point and see something on a screen.

“Talking” tools—these are things like clocks, watches, timers, scales, prescription bottles and others that “speak.”

Computer software can also magnify text enormously. I can still squint stuff into being.

Closed circuit TV in your home can also project a big image onto a screen.

Have I mentioned that I learned to LOVE audiobooks? The kind read by professional actors? A very fun medium.

Still, I wouldn’t mind reading a novel again—though it won’t happen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


New research at the University of Michigan did a study they say shows that gossiping among females made them healthier.

They took 160 girls. Half exchanged info about themselves (the mind-meld women seem to do automatically), and the other half proofread a botany paper together.

After 20 minutes, the girls exchanging personal info had increased their progesterone levels. Progesterone is a feel-good chemical promoting sleep and bone density.

I also used it to hold in a pregnancy—it’s good stuff.

The docs were advocating popping progesterone pills—no way.

But a gab fest might relieve tension and make us feel more fortunate. After all, OUR husband is not on the internet until all hours—and that’s a good thing.

Every woman I know gossips…and we are still walking around. I know—not scientific. But strangely satisfying.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hire immediately!

Someone asked me what people like to see in an employee these days. I assumed she didn’t mean desperate urge to please in a down economy—although pleasing the boss is always good.

Steve Sanghi wrote about this in his book, “Driving Excellence.”

Here is a laundry list:

Practices the company culture. Remember that Secret Service agent who wrote a book about the goings-on in the Clinton admin—example of someone who didn’t “get it.”

Achieves desired results and meets commitments.

Takes the job seriously and produces quality work.

Strives to improve the operation.

Satisfies customers, internal and external.

Can handle empowerment—wants to be involved.

Team player with good interpersonals.

Good communication skills.

Considers others’ feedback.

Continuous learner.

Sensitive to profit and loss.

I also think today’s workplace is not as laced-up as the corporate environment of several decades ago—and the boss is probably younger than you are.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Que sera sera

Remember Edith Bunker? One of my favorite lines of hers was when Archie was telling her astrology was a crock and she said, “Oh, Archie, it’s fun to know what’s going to happen even if it doesn’t happen.”

Now, in this mess, more people are going to psychics—hey, cheaper than the career counselor and provides new inputs.

Some people do have a crystal ball—or cards, or palm-reading expertise.

The psychics don’t even try to prove themselves to skeptics—it is a waste of time, they say.

Everyone wants to know if they will get a job.

But other people are questioning why they are here—they thought they had it figured out.

Maybe this is a prompt to have a new experience, one that will set you thinking a different way. Who knows?

I know burning a green candle can be “psychic” for attracting money. Only we had a house fire, so the candle is on my desk, but I don’t burn it.

Sure enough, it isn’t working.

Edith, what should I do?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Do more than pray for a job

I used to run an employment mission at my church in DC. Many lifetimes ago. Pres Clinton even gave us his personal check (he worshipped there).

Chad Graham, Arizona Republic, July 9, 1009, says here in Phoenix a lot of churches are starting up missions. Churches are good places to network…You meet people very week across dozens of industries.

Some mix in religious scripture and teaching, some just offer computers and classes.

We used to meet weekly—sometimes I would get a volunteer to teach us some exercises or dances to get us out of our heads. Those nights were very popular.

In Phoenix there is at least one Jewish group doing this, too.

I used to do a bulletin insert for our people—just a couple of lines on what job each was looking for, along with an email address. Some turned into job offers. The ushers said Pres Clinton always read the whole thing—probably why he contributed.

You never know.

Of course, this can have a funny side, too. There was a very active mission in a church here when I got here (since downplayed). Anyhow, I was invited to speak on “The New Economy,” how companies were giving away machines and software.

Does the term Dotcom Crash trigger a memory?

At least, the meeting was fun. The aftermath—not so much. Kinda like now.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Are you selling illegal stuff?

Anjali Athavaley, WSJ, July 8, 2009), says a law signed last year makes it illegal to list recalled products on Craigs or sell them in your yard or flea markets.

Of course, the govt freely says it does not have enough people to catch you. But—seller beware.

But why pass dangerous lead-painted goods or other stuff on to people who might be harmed?

You can always look up every item in your garage on or another site, such as

In 2008, 563 products were recalled…Your stuff is probably way older than that, right?

One buyer said he worries about MADE IN CHINA toys because of lead paint. Pretty soon, it will be down to unpainted wooden blocks, he says.

Also watch out for drop-side cribs. Don’t buy or sell items with small parts that can come off and choke the kiddies. Hoodies are also bad—they have strings near the kid’s neck.

Some sellers are buying at-home lead testing kits. Well, the Consumer Product Safety Commish tested THOSE and found them wanting—too many false positives.

The feds may not get ya, but your conscience might. Or at least our prudence and common sense.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Should you go on contract with your old boss?

Toddi Gunter writes about this is the July 7, 2009 WSJ.

You get laid off, but are offered a chance to make money, sans benefits, working for the same company.

First, ask yourself—if you want a permanent job, will this take away from the time to find one?

Are you so irritated or bitter over being dumped that you could not work with these people?

Will this affect your severance—or replace it? See if this will affect any possible unemployment bennies. If you do this, do you give up the right to unemployment if the contract ends.

Consider getting an employment lawyer to thrash out the terms. Nail down who is doing what, what the deliverables are and when they are due. How much will they pay? Add 30-40% to your old salary and divide by 100 to get a day rate.

Remember, your relationship to your old colleagues will change. They may not be getting raises, but you are seemingly making more than before.

If the company asks you to do more than agreed upon, go along, but only to a point. If this continues, you will have to “reassess.”

Hey, it’s money. See what you think.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Even if you're shy, you can lead

The Associated Press did a story on introverts in the workplace.

One is a CEO, but listens more than talks—and it’s OK.

Many jobs require employees to chime in with ideas and be self-promotional, and this is where introverts can be considered aloof or fearful.

If you are an introvert, try not to do too many back-to-back meetings, schedule breaks to think and regroup.

This goes for job-hunting, too—one interview per day tops.

Rehearse—speaking off the cuff is hard for introverts.

One introvert prepares something to say in the first five minutes of every meeting—get it done and over with.

Introverts also tend to be good writers and organize their thoughts that way.

Social networking is also good—be who you want to be and at your own pace.

Of course, you will always have to meet people—it’s inevitable.

You may have to talk more than usual, but don’t try to be an extrovert.

And above all, try to show a sense of humor when you do talk.

Meanwhile—remember, you can read cues, think, organize and spawn ideas. You bring a lot to the table, you just aren’t spewing it out right away.

Monday, July 6, 2009

You will always need to job hunt

I know this kinda blows (or as Bart Simpson says, both sucks and blows), but we are all becoming freelancers of sorts—peddling our skills package now and then or constantly.

Honestly, I have zero faith in this admin to fix any of this or institute any kind of sustainable new economic parameters, so we must assess ourselves and prepare to skip around jobs and even around entire careers.

Big shift!

Guru Harvey Mackay says lifetime employment used to be people’s goal. One job is no longer regarded as “the” job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average person will have 3-5 CAREERS, with 10to 14 jobs before age 38.

Lifetime learning and networking—that is the new paradigm.

Companies want results—guaranteed almost—and fast. You will probably be evaluated psychologically. Can’t adapt to the culture—you’re out.

There are fewer employees and fewer people to manage them—teamwork is important.

You may have to switch industries—from cars to health care, for instance. Be bold.

And brave.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy hunting grounds?

I may BE a twit, but I don’t twitter—yet, anyhow. I always wait to see if these things blow over.

Joseph De Avila, WSJ, July 2, 2009, says more job hunters are going to company websites instead of the big job boards, such as Monster and Careerbuilder.

Companies are trying to doll up their pages, including employee interviews and widgets that alert job hunters to openings. (Widgets might blow over, you never know.)

Of course, cutting ads on job boards saves companies money.

Now, a job hunter might find a company entry on LinkedIn or Facebook and follow the conversations there. Or just log onto a company you want to work for.

This is kind of a neat approach because you are finding the company instead of waiting for some company to discover you.

Network online with the company’s employees. The company’s actually think of you as their “targeted talent pool.”

Get out there—mix it up. Who knows? You may not blow over.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The coping of art

Listening to music you like, scientists find, can expand your blood vessels and flow to the heart by 26%. Music that makes you happy unleashes endorphins—those feel-good juices.

Did you read the stories about people in many cities putting Michael Jackson’s songs on the car radio, opening the car doors and dancing in the streets? This is coping!

Now, Johnson & Johnson and some other cos are looking into whether performing an art is healing. People have found, for instance, it’s good to blog or keep a journal, good for the soul and the body.

Could artistic expression be a clinical intervention?

Instead of “Do you smoke,” we may hear, “What do you do you would describe as creative?”

Emotions and heart disease seem to be strongly linked. Depression and stress are as strong risk factors as high BP and nearly as bad as diabetes.

Maybe we can counter these with writing, playing, painting or performing.

So…what you you doing that’s creative? At least listen to music. Dancing in the streets optional.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jeez, taking it out on the youngsters

Vanessa Fuhrmans, WSJ, June 17, 2009, writes that more docs are not taking Medicaid, lines are gettng longer, states are cutting back—and the kids are getting the worst of it.

Doctors lose money on each Medicaid patient they see.

Kids with long-term disabilities are also losing big. They need therapy, drugs, care on a regular basis--open-ended.

Hospitals that treat children are cutting work hours for staff—meaning longer wait times for care.

One doc only takes kids born with a defect that needs fixing fast or with other conditions with a small window for the care.

The Shriners may also be closing some of their children’s hospitals.

If we can build all these stupid culverts, save minnows, and build new golf courses and bridges to podunk, why can’t we keep burn units in service? These are little kids!

If I see one more road being widened, I will scream!