Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For interview handshaking


The raggedy nails, scaly thing is so out these days.

According to Mary Rose Almasi, Allure April 2009, your hands can also telegraph your age, which can be bad in this economy.

Of course, the big meanie is the sun. That’s what causes the dreaded liver spots.

Almasi recommends buffing the backs of hands every two weeks with microdermabrasion cream. Then, of course, you need to moisturize. (You don’t have a few crates of microdermabrasion cream around—and you call yourself a human!)

Actually men can do this, too…in private. Don’t forget sunscreen on hands.

To build up collagen, use a retinol cream at night. This can remove wrinkles and cover up veininess.

For extreme “crepiness,” you may need a peel.

There are also “big guns” for veins. No, not actual guns..fillers. Hand spackle.

Some people worry about their hands not being rounded enough. Get real problem! There are plenty of them lying around these days.

PS If you have an expensive nail job, won't employers think you should be hiring them?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Financial trouble coming?


I guess it’s possible to be financially stressed and not know—like being fat and not knowing it.

Anyhow, Russ Wiles notes some signs for us in the Arizona Republic.

In the third straight year of this crap, a million people are on track to bankruptcy or BK, as those of us who have figured it out, love to call it.

Are you making regular use of credit cards—even for food sometimes, or medicine?

Not good, bunky.

Borrowing from your 401K is not as bad—at least it’s your money.

Do you have little or no savings—you should try to have a few mos in the bank. Yes, the less than one percent interest rate sucks.

Are your credit card bills getting any lower as you pay and pay? No. Well, they know that! And don’t think that financial bill is going to help.

Are you crabbier and bicker more about money. Check!

Are you getting hit with more fees for doing this or that “wrong.”

Consumer credit counselors say they can help fewer people these days—they are too far gone by the time they go for help.

Yes, all the banks, car companies and rich people got well—and we still have to bang along on our own.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wise up on tweets, job hunters!


Heidi Nunn-Gilman, Cavanaugh Law Firm, fielded a question from a guy who got a job and then tweeted about becoming a “cubicle drudge in a wage-slave job.”

Gosh, the new company must have been one of his “followers” and they yanked the job offer.

He was all ticked.

Yes, Heidi told him, unless you have a signed contract, the employer can do that.

They can also decline to hire based on weird stuff on your Facebook or other site so long as it is not based on race, ethnicity, etc. They can’t say, “Ooops, I see she’s black, no way.” They can’t even say, “Is she pregnant? She will just want leave in a few months.”

If you relocated before the offer was revoked, you might be able to get your expenses back.

If they see you are a malcontent or trying to be funny at their expense, they think that will continue after you start working.

I read the other day, that so many companies monitor tweets that a guy complained about no Mountain Dew in the machine at a hotel and when he got back to his room, there was an ice bucket of ice and 5 cans of Dew on the table.

I wonder if that would work with airlines. “I NEVER get bumped to first class…”

As for that guy’s comment—at least be funny. “Get ready for Dilbert on meth—I got the job!”

Can you lose a job for not being funny?

Well, I think that should be grounds.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Unemployed people--look alive!


The government (ours) has checked this out. We have more time on our hands but are “frittering” it away.

Justin Lahart and Emmeline Zhao wrote about this in the WSJ, June 23, 2010.

Bad us!

When you average it out, Americans over 15 worked three hours and 11 mins a day AVERAGE in 2009 and 17 mins less than that this year.

TV watching is up an average of 12 mins a day. I cancelled my movie channels, but miraculously still find plenty to watch. I think The Real Housewives of Peoria starts soon.

Ooops—no increase in charity work, religion, exercise, or education.

Our skills are depreciating, one guy said sternly.

Did people, presumably many out of work, do things like yard work and cooking that they paid others to do before? Nope.

The researchers say losing your job can be depressing and unmotivating. That’s one for The Big Book of Duh.

In fact, people feel just as ashamed being unemployed as they ever did.

Work-at-homes are up to 23% from 19% in 2007.

Men still did less housework.

Another one for The Big Book.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Before you buy something


Beth Kobliner (Redbook, July 2010) poses some things to ask yourself before buying an item.

Especially in this stupid recession, national nervous breakdown, failure of faith, or whatever it is!

First, do you have to buy it? Could you trade it for something? Borrow it? Check it out of the library?

Have you found the best deal? Compare three sources minimum. Go to fatwallet.com or a comparison site.

Sleep on it. Don’t spend money when you are in the heat of the moment.

Are you getting it just because it’s on sale? Is the price just too good? Go back to—do you really need it?

Ask the store manager about future deals coming up. They may be better.

Are you in love with it?

Can you afford it? Yes—money in the bank, not on a credit card. Interest can double the cost over time—what kind of bargain is that?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Save and earn more


Beth Kobliner, Redbook, July 2010, writes about how to haggle both on salary and purchases.

Once, she says, she actually talked an employer out of giving her more money. I don’t think she would do that again!

One study showed only 7% of women negotiate on salary and 57% of men do! Come on, gals!

First, before buying or taking a job, do your homework. Find out the going rates.

Know your limits—beyond which or below which you will not go. Always have a number in your mind.

Practice with people who aren’t face to face—like credit card cos. I also ask the phone company how I can get a better deal from time to time. Sometimes I can! They won’t offer, though, you have to ask.

If you have been a long-time customer—play that card.

Play the “rule of threes.” Three things or angles you could get. Say it’s a hotel—how about a lower room price? No—well, free breakfast? Transportation to the airport?

Check online on sites like www.pricegrabber.com or www.streetprices.com.

Kayak.com gets prices from the travel sites.

On the phone, go to savebenjis.com, as in Save the Benjamins. I like that name.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Get PAID, not played


I would not give you a nickel for this freelance writer life at this point.

The stupid internet has corrupted the entire process by luring in out-of-work Bangladeshi writers with these beneficent $2 per article jobs, which are usually some idiocy someone pulls out of their rear or copies and rewords from something a real writer wrote.

All prices have collapsed…even the big mags now have cut rates or treat writers they have known for years like an unwelcome nuisance.

Some clever entrepreneur types (cough, Demand Media, elance, oDesk, gag gag) have zeroed in on independent work at home types and clamped down on them, looking at screen shots to make sure they are working for their pittance and to help “employers,” unaccustomed to buying creative services, exploit writers better and more centrally.

OK—now that is out of my system. My system yes, but not out of my life.

I contend the whole internet will soon be full of stupid so-called “content” and will be a wad of goo.

If you can research, develop sources, interview, and write—who the heck are you going to do it for in a few more years? Or even now. And no, people don’t give a damn that they are getting stupid, low-rent "content."

What I want to know is…how can writers support families after they have paid for the software to slightly alter stories so they can be resold to people who probably don’t even speak English?

Even if you don't get the software, writers, thanks a heap for bringing all rates crashing with your amateurism.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Harder for househusbands to get a job


Don’t you love stories about how hard “mothering” is when you are a male? Aw.

Anyhow, the latest twist is how hard it is for Mr Mom to get back into harness.

Sue Shellenbarger writes about this in the WSJ, May 19, 2010.

Apparently these dudes are stigmatized by working “in the home,” as moms like to put it.

True, there are fewer opps now for men, regardless of their parenting status. That is valid.

In 2009, 7.4% of men stayed with the kids. The highest percentage on record—almost 8%. I don’t know why, but that seems pretty low to me.

One Dad worked weekend shifts to get out and network and keep his hand in. That was pretty ambitious, I would say.

Many are “discouraged workers,” who just cave to reality and quit looking for work.

At cocktail parties one architect interviewed kept telling everyone he was an architect when they asked what he did.

All of them left stay at home dad off the old resume.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Advice from pops


My dad was one of those sort of scary, call me "Father Sir" 1950s dads. I do remember his telling me, "You cannot duck funerals--you must go." Now, I go.

In our paper, some dads gave advice Sunday and I liked a couple, however late in the game it is for me.

One woman recalled her father telling her on her wedding day, "Sometimes you have to apologize not because it's your fault, but because it's your turn."

Another said, "Most people can learn to do almost anything, but if you can't get along with people, you will never get anywhere in life."

And my favorite:

"Don't play chicken with someone who doesn't care."

Indeed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Making a business of disaster


Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, June 17, 2010, says the death and disaster cleanup business is booming.

Leaving side the sputtering oil cleanup down south, she talks about a guy who has a business finding refrigeration for bodies when some disaster produces so many it outstrips local capacity. “Someone’s got to do it,” he shrugs.

There have been movies made about people who clean up crime scenes and suicides. These companies have trade shows. (I would hate to have the food concession.)

Disaster recovery firms are up 20-30% over the past 5 yrs.

Not every disaster can be 9/11, thank heavens. But one business owner said, “When bad weather’s coming, I get a smile on my face.”

That’s right—hurricane season is just starting.

Jobwise, what do you think? Are we getting more deconditioned from watching CSI and NCIS, where people chitchat over partially autopsied bodies?

The other day, looking for a picture for one of my sites, I came across some photos of real car accidents. You can tell the difference big time.

This would not be the business for me.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eeek-new kid in a screwed up workplace


Dennis Nish, WSJ, June 15, 2010, says it’s tough being new in a place hard-hit by layoffs.

The newcomer can be met with suspicion and a burned-out crew seething with resentment over the extra work they have had to do.

If you are in this position, stay calm. Don’t pick up on their anxiety and make it your own.

There may be competing factions because of all the difficulties—don’t take sides.

Offer to pitch in and lend a hand. Try to collaborate and get to know people.

If everyone is in their own world, try to find a mentor or someone to help you break in.

If the company is finally hiring, it’s a good sign. Eventually the other workers will see this.

Maybe.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Time to buy a home--despite all?


Prices are down, interest is low, so maybe if you need a house, this is the time.

Still, many people are scared. Does it take a huge down payment, five pounds of paperwork, and your first born?

First do a rent v buy financial analysis. If cost to rent is higher, it might be worth a go.

Although unemployment is a horrible reality these days, most people have a job and savings.

If you plan to stay someplace 3-5 years, buying makes sense.

Some people wait and wait because they can’t get what they want for their present house. The problem is, as your house price rises (if it does), so will the cost you pay for a new one.

Look for people eager to sell. Empty houses mean they moved someplace else and have two mortgages.

Banks want to get rid of homes they received in foreclosure—although they can be poky.

And check out a brand-new house. Yes, builders are still throwing them up. And they are talking deal.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hurt yourself exercising?


Good grief, who can afford a doctor these days?

Say, for argument’s sake, you do decide to exercise—you know, to feel less
depressed or more healthy, what if you get “stove in,” as my sister likes to describe her aches in rural-speak.

Harvard Men’s Health Watch says you can take care of many exercise-related injuries from the privacy of your own couch.

Usually these injuries come from tough, competitive exercise, such as suddenly using creaky muscles to slide into first base at the company picnic. Or going out for that marathon—finally.

Sprains are injuries to ligaments. They come in three types. First degree is stretched (and hurting). Second degree is torn ligament fibers. Third degree is most fibers of the ligament torn.

Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. Besides pain, you might have warmth, swelling and redness,

On both of these, use PRICE.

P is for protection—wraps or simple splints.

R is for rest. You can’t use that tennis elbow, but you could jog. (For shin splints, weirdly, more running stops the pain.)

I is for ice. For best results apply ice 10 to 15 minutes after. Repeat each hour for four hours. Then four times a day for 2-3 days.

C is for compression—a snug bandage, cuts swelling.

E is for elevation—try to keep it above your heart.

For heaven’s sakes, chill for awhile. The body does want to move toward health, but help it along.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Do you need a mentor? I do!


Someone I know wrote about mentoring someone and called this person a “mentee.” Another friend of ours read this as “manatee.” Funny. Can’t you see someone trying to help a huge, slowly rolling water creature get a job?

J. Craig Anderson, AZ Republic, June 5, 2010, says at Xerox one mentor handed off to a “mentee” the top jobs as CEO and chairman of the board.

Wow, that was successful!

Career coaches cost money. Mentors do it free.

Their role can be as a sounding board, or as a way clearer, or anything in between.

Most mentors are trying to pass on the advantages they received. They can have many motives.

Mentors can get exposure to emerging talent, satisfaction, enhancement of their own leadership abilities, and new viewpoints.

“Mentees” get guidance and support that can lead to more self-confidence, access to people and resources, and encouragement.

I need a mentor in the government contracting area at the moment. I am trying to break in as a contractor, or more likely, as a subscontractor.

We shall see.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Listen up--some people are quitting


There could be openings. More people quit in Feb than were laid off or fired.

At the end of 2009, 60% of workers said they would quit if the economy got better.

This may mean they think it is.

Of course, this churn will cost companies in training and other costs.

Also, the overworking during the worst of the recession has led to burnout—people leave!

It costs half a salary to bring in a new person and train him or her.

Could the leavers be persuaded to stay? Sixty percent said no.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rent versus own


I miss my apartment in Washington, DC. It came with a man named Marlon, who fixed everything that broke…the same day, too.

Now, I own. Even after my bankruptcy goes through, I will still “own” this house, even though it is worth $40K less than I owe. The reason? I can’t rent a house for the amount of the mortgage payment, so here I am.

Ilyce Glink, Tribune Media Services, says searches on the phrase “apartment to rent” are up 162% from a year ago.

Another article I read in the Wall Street Journal recently said renting makes more sense in today’s mobile society—which is about to become more mobile when people have to move to get a job.

To see what you’re looking at, create a rent ratio. If a house is $500,000 to buy, but a similar house is $24,000 a year to rent, the rent ratio is 21.

The tipping point is 15-20. The higher the ratio, the more houses would have to go up to justify buying.

You also need to look at lifestyle factors. The beach may be great, but the school district sucks—does that matter to you?

You need to stay in a home 5-10 yrs to justify buying. How does your job look?

What about long-term obligations—you may not want two stories, for instance, if you think an elderly relative will be coming to live—or you might not want stairs one of these days.

I am still stuck on that rent ratio. I hate math. Google it if you want to figure it out.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Are you friends with someone solvent?


Or are you doing well—and embarrassed because you don’t have the money woes of some people you know?

There are disparities even in the houses on the same block. Personally, I am in dire straits and many people I know are, too, but I do know some with jobs and a healthy income throughout this mess.

One man I know calls me from the East Coast every so often and cheerily announces, "No economic problems here."

The other day, my sister, whose husband makes a great income, picked up two glasses in the store just because she liked them. She has 50 tumblers at home. I finally said, “Do you really need those?” She said, “Oh, I will find some use for them.”

I can’t help it—this makes be upset. I know it shouldn’t, but it does.

Beth Kobliner wrote about this in the June 2010 Working Mother.

It can get tense between differently situated friends and relatives. When this happens, Kobliner says the poorer party should avoid costly situations like dinners out. Send your regrets.

Set family money rules. You maybe can’t get a new car or go to the beach. Don’t worry about it. Even kids have to learn you don’t get to do everything that crosses your mind.

If you have a friend who’s a great saver, call her before you buy something. Talk it through.

Look at what you do have—that cute dog from the shelter, a pretty garden, healthy trees (my thing), a few laughs.

Is it really going to be improved with a new water glass?

A friend told me the other day, "Good friends, good food, and pay what you can."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Share a car


Community car systems are springing up. Sean Holstege wrote about this in the Arizona Republic (June 7, 2010).

Customers pay an annual membership and then an hourly rate to use cars held at convenient lots around town

It costs $5,000-7,000 to own and operate a car for a year.

It costs 50 a year and $8 an hour to share one.

Here in Phoenix, Zipcar operates. It now has 18 vehicles—this is spread out, it's 60 miles from one side of the Valley of the Sun to the other.

You get the car, gas, insurance, roadside assistance and other perks for your fee. Plus 180 miles of travel, after which a fee cuts in.

When you sign up, you get a smart card you wave over the car, unlocking it.

These systems are getting more popular as the Millennials (born after 1982) and elderly drive less, the former because they often live in cities.

Something to think about, anyhow.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Even cheap improvements sell houses


Ellen James Martin, Universal Syndicate, writes that, in this crummy real estate market, some houses are being shown in cluttered, dirty condition.

The reason: no dough to fluff them up.

Buyers are picky—they want even fixer-uppers in good condition.

So start with paint! Go to some paint company websites for tips. www.duron.com or www.benjaminmoore.com.

Give everything away to charity. Declutter! Or put them up on freecycle.com.

Put big furniture in storage—sort of like doing your own staging. It makes rooms look bigger. Take leaves out of tables. Store big breakfronts.

In the living room—one sofa, one chair or love seat, a couple of tables.

Check out your agent—ask for brokers’ open houses or tips on how to show better.

Make sure your agent specializes in your locale.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Your call: Specialist or generalist?


J.T. O’Donnell and Dale Dauten are “experts,” and they answer people’s employment questions.

A woman wrote that she was 47, a homemaker, and had worked as an administrative assistant, real estate title examiner, court clerk, and sold advertising. She wanted to know how to attract notice.

J.T. said hey, no offense, but you would not be attractive to an employer because you lack focus.

Dale then said, don’t expect some aptitude tests to help you decide on a career, either.

Then Dale said try to talk to people you admire—how did they decide on an aptitude?

Then—they said—you will get yourself on the fast track to success. Blabbety-blab.

What happened to the notion that the average person born today will have 6-7 careers, not just jobs? I think this woman showed the willingness to learn a new field (quick study) and jump in and make it her own.

All of her jobs showed an aptitude for paperwork, record keeping, but with personal contact.

Maybe she can pick one she liked an get more training and make it a career, but sometimes we need a damn job! Pitch it as here is how my experiences can help you!

If you are too focused, you may miss an opportunity a little to the side.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Helping veterans get jobs


If you’re a veteran, a San Diego company called HirePatriots.com is trying to help you get a job.

They are also seeking other localities to set up programs.

People post all sorts of jobs—from helping people move to a submarine tour guide.

A former Presbyterian pastor, Mark Baird, and his wife, Tori, founded this in 2005.

He started it when an Iraq vet came home in 2004 and found his wife and kids in a dark house with their electricity turned off and car repoed.

Now this groups finds gigs and jobs for 10,000 vets a year.

Soldiers make good workers because they are disciplined, Baird says.

And don’t we owe them?

If your company can set up a job board and run it, tag up.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It may pay a friend to help you


Joann S. Lublin (WSJ, June 1, 2010), says some companies pay employees to suggest good hires—that good hire could be you.

The existing employee can get thousands of bucks for recommending you.

Some companies let employees list openings on their Facebook or Linked In pages.

The trick is to find someone at the company who wants you.

If someone in a company wants to help you, help them help you. Give them your specific accomplishments and say how you would overcome any gaps in your qualifications.

Of course, if someone pushes for you and you screw up…well, let’s not on that one, OK?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

In 8 years, you could be a doctor...or


Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, May 26, 2010, talks about the hot jobs of 2018.

What will they be?

One is nanotechnololgy—tiny computers and devices that can be inserted into the bloodstream or other places.

Biomedical engineering is a future hottie. Artificial organs, new imaging systems.

Health care is still speeding along. We will need more doctors. Many are quitting or retiring and people are getting older and sicker. (This is mixed—the field now in question because of low reimbursements, doomed to be worse when Obamacare cuts in.)

But, of course, these Labor Dept predictions could also be skewed by another big mess or continuation of this one we’re in. You could educate yourself for a hot job that has cooled.

Everyone thought nurses would be in demand—but many of them returned to the workforce and this isn’t as bad as it was.

What about those “green” jobs—cells, new technology? Who knows? Too new.

Many young people these days want to do a job they love. Sometimes those pay pretty much in satisfaction.

But not always--it's worth it to think and plan.