Friday, July 29, 2011

The rude little rude rudies run the world

I am sick of cranking out long, researched, properly formatted editorial ideas and getting sent to File 13—forget her.

I am sick of “we value your call.” Yeah? I am from Missouri—show me. Hire people!

I must say I see racist invective in comment sections. Come on, there are many better reasons to hate someone, be original, think—you can find some!

Twitter—that seems rude—you are only worth a half-thought-out non-Haiku. Here is my half-vast idea. Now--YOU can retweet it and you don't even need your own half-vast idea.

And oh, the safety net—forget that, everyone is a scamming Welfare Queen, everyone deserves their bad luck, they must be losers, why one of them even got in an Express Line with 25 items. We killed her, though, so it’s OK.

The corporate jet flyers—none of them are businessmen trying to keep their company plants open—all are drinking their way to Monaco or the Hamptons.

You surf the net—skim over everything. We are not drowning in info—we never get into it enough to drown.

Someone said the Internet is God’s brain. Well, God, we are sorry. Don‘t make us hotter, though—unless it’s the good “hot.”

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Now for something different

Aren’t you excited? I am creating a series of health papers—short, easy-reading, with pictures (I love those)—for five bucks.

However, I must point out that creating a series and trying to collect money is—for the computer-dopey—almost life-threatening.

The frustration! The agony! The ecstasy (maybe). The TECH SUPPORT.

I should call it the TECH PATRONIZATION… One kid was so exasperated with me he sent me a video on how to Cut & Paste. I know how—what I asked you was WHAT…you little…

People like me are job security for people like you—remember that.

Anyhow, I have two little pamphlets available. The first is on CONCUSSION—what parents and teens need to know about the latest thinking. You like your kid, right, and hate the nickname “Punchy?” Well, maybe you should pony up for this and maybe one for the coach, too.

The second one is on FACEDOWN RECOVERY, which you may never even hear of. This is what you have to do after certain eye surgeries—and if you do it wrong, it could ruin your surgery and you could be a half-blind fumbler like me.

I have not tested this, since they won’t let the Seller do that. If you have a problem, email me at and I will be in touch with my little pals at tech support. They love me over there and are awaiting my email with Cheeto-bated breath.

So now…ta da!

See? All about coping...hear that, techies?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Popping yourself out of the stack

CareerBuilder has some ideas of advanced ways to do homework on prospective employers.

First, as they say in the screenwriting business, show don’t say. Attach dollars and cents to your claims. Don’t say, “I am a trained communicator.” Say: “The marketing campaign I led increased sales by 25%.”

Yes, look at the company’s website, but go a mile deeper. Check financials, annual report, news of mergers or layoffs (this could be crucial), anything you can find. Even subscribe to the local business paper and read it each week.

Be enthusiastic—“I always dreamed of working for United Widgets—my uncle swore by your product and I have used it ever since.” Something different! Something personal even!

When you talk to them, ask how you would be helping them grow.

Send a thank you note…always. Handwritten. Not a damn tweet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Condos in a down market

Ellen James Martin, Universal Syndicate, says fear not, some condos are still moving.

Yes, people are leery of buying any real estate with everything losing value instead of gaining.

Um—yeah, that is a problem. Buying a house turns out to be my worst idea EVER.

But hey—don’t go by me.

Condos usually are cheaper than houses—boomers downsizing may well want one.

Sometimes people want to be downtown, too—condos!

To sell yours, set your price a notch below realistic market value. Look at those comps. Be sure foreclosure prices are in the mix.

Declutter! Clean to a fare-the-well. Make it look inviting. Amazingly a lot of people don’t do this—you will stand out.

If nothing still happens, think about an upgrade or two. Kitchens return the most value. Your agent can advise you whether this is worth it.

If you need to sell, try it! If you want to buy a condo—now is the time!

Bring cash--plenty of it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Be patient

Eric Gembarowski, AZ Republic, July 24, 2011, says it’s common to apply for a job and never hear another peep.

Weeks go by.

This does not, he says, mean all hope is lost.

It can mean the company is deluged with resumes. Weeks may not be enough time to sort through what comes in.

A month or more…could be you are not in the “good fit” pile. Usually a quick sort puts people in Good fit, possible, no.

It’s OK to check in after a few weeks. Maybe someone left and the process was delayed. Talking to you and searching for you raises their consciousness.

Be polite, keep it short.

Never go over to the company and demand an explanation. The word “Security!” is not good.

One thing I have learned in these mean streets is a company’s idea of time is not the same as an applicant’s. They can take ages to decide.

Ages plus a few days.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Are you cyberly invisible?


Never mind.

Anyhow, you need some presence out there in never never land. CareerBuilder says start with LinkedIn. I say LinkedIn blows. You decide.

There is also Facebook, Plaxo, XING, Viadeo and a ton of others.

If you have a common name, add an initial or identifier of some sort. Star Smart Ass Lawrence—along those lines.

Also be sure you don’t have Digital Dirt—controversial associations (guilt guilt), memberships, lawsuits or arrest records. Yeah—don’t get arrested.

If you do have dirt, wash over it with new positive info! A speech you gave, a meeting you attended, something you published—get it all out there.

Sometimes you just have to wait—time moves you up in the engines.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Come on up

According to my old favorite LinkedIn—Jan, June, and July are the most likely times to be promoted.

This is synced to budget cycles or something.

There are types of promotions—according to Arizona State prof John P. Millikin. One is to fill a vacancy, so that may come when there is one. The other is a step up in the chain—from junior to senior, for instance. This is probably keyed to evaluation time.

To be more promotable…Go after the training you need for the job you want.

Be open—let people know you are interested.

Even ask the bosses what you need to do.

Talk up your contributions.

Oh—and make sure you are doing a good job.

You need to position yourself—and not be obnoxious about it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Email, you are killing me

Dean Newlund says his email addiction is costing him. He checks his email 30 to 40 times an hour.

John Freeman, who wrote The Tyranny of Email, says email is as addictive as slot machines.

The average worker spends 40% of the time on it.

Half the time, this guy says, we misunderstand the emails we get and destroy trust with dopey replies.

After each interruption, it takes a worker 25 mins to get back on track.

Email has destroyed our ability to think deep thoughts.

Newlund says he needs to check twice a day.

Take a team approach—make your whole team do this. (My dog Jim, my team member, said nah.)

The other day an email friend and I decided we were DEFINED by our refusal to use our time wisely. By wisely, people mean—the way someone else wants you to.

I am going to email her right now!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Downplaying your past worth

What a wackidoo mess we are in! Employment gurus JT O’Donnell and Dale Dauten are giving advice on how to answer the question on your past salary.

You may have made a ton before, but now tons are not to be had, so saying you made a lot can make the interviewer think you are just considering the job as a stopgap.

JT advises not to lie—they might check. I would say that is doubtful, but lying never ends well.

Dauten says to say, “If I don’t say a number, will that put me out of contention?” If they say yes, then say, “OK, but don’t hold it against me.”

THEN say, “I would rather have a job I love than to lose out because of my past salary, which was much different circumstances, anyway.”

Put the best face on it.

I would say, “Ah, good times, I used to make a lot and spend time at two-martini lunches, but those are gone, too.” Make a light remark.

But that’s just me.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Punked by LinkedIn

Can you have an anti-LinkedIn group on LinkedIn?

I hate that site! It is the Spawn of Hell. Why?

First, they are relentless—never leave you alone! They invade your address book if you don’t stop them somehow, find anyone you ever met, track down the casualest acquaintance, do fixups, the person did not even ASK to connect to you. When you say yes, they respond: Well, what is that person’s email? If the person asked, wouldn’t they know?

The groups! My heavens, there must be 50 for writers, all with the same opinionated, often inexperienced, people on them. “You are only worth a dollar a story!” “I get $500 a word.” Blah blah...

Try to quit a group—you can push STOP DISCUSSION. You can uncheck LET ME KNOW IF SOMEONE ANSWERS…it does no good—you are still in the group. This means about half a dozen emails a day!

PunkedIn upsells their guts out—be a premium this, a platinum that. Give us MONEY!!! What about our IPO? We can’t be poor like you!

I finally quit the whole schmear! Quit, I say. Then a friend said this meant my recommendation of her was yanked!

They are bums, I am telling you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Does not play well with others

I usually leave politics out of this, but can you BELIEVE those wah-wah babies of both parties over there in Drama City? I even suggested a facilitator if they cannot negotiate decently.

Anita Bruzzese, CareerBuilder, says inability to get along is not solved by going to a different job. For one thing, there may BE no different job, and for another, you may take your ‘tude along.

You spend more time with work people than your family. Susan H. Shearouse, Frameworks for Agreement, Vienna, VA (maybe a good facilitator?) wrote Conflict 101.

Some tips: First, don’t lapse into email when you dislike or can’t deal with someone. Keep up the face-to-face.

Be patient. Things can get better over time.

See what you should take away from the conflict—do you need more boundaries? How can you keep this from flaring up?

Keep it in perspective—laugh more, smile.

We are all on a ball blasting through the void for a short period—lighten up. Sometimes you get your way, sometimes not.

The next time? Could be your turn...who knows.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jobs--once again, jobs

Have you ever thought that the jobs are not “coming back” because they don’t need to, companies can make more money by not hiring?

Justin Lahart and James R. Hagerty write about where some jobs are being created (WSJ, July 12, 2011).

It’s a big circle—no work, no paycheck, can’t spend, less demand for products, less hiring to make products…you get the idea.

Some industries, though, have added significantly. Others are laying off. Meanwhile, 14 million people are getting desperate.

Manufacturing has added jobs—due to automobile production, which has trickled to suppliers, too.

How about restaurants—pretty fair there, too—9.3 people work in eateries. Job growth isup more than 20%. Downside—low paying.

Fabricated metal for cars and planes and other products. Also up. Orders are good for aerospace and medical products.

Computers are also OK job-wise.

Hardwired phones—down, but stabilizing.


Construction—slight gains, but housing is killing the industry. “We are about as skinny as we can get,” one man said.

For once—skinny is bad.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


You know how studies show that short naps work wonders (one of my favorite phrases, by the way).

Now, we have The Ostrich— a bag for your head so you can nap at the desk.

This is also called a Wearable Pillow or Sleeping Bag for the Head and was invented in Spain.

“Soothing cavelike interior” is one sell phrase.

I don’t think it’s for sale yet—and really, I did have some Grade A Snark, but refrained.

Are you proud of me?

OK—I can only be so strong. I see a market in the kidnapping community or for claustrophobe aversion therapy, too.

As for bad hair days--this also has possibilities. I mean--to CREATE bad hair.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Great New Yorker cartoon

I saw a cartoon, man, wife, slumpy kid walking, and the woman says, “He’s got your trudge.”

I trudge now—sort of pick through the way in a gray haze. Year after year of political BS, this, that, sad stories, fear, people sick, old,…it gets to ya.

So! How about snapping up a foreclosed house! Make others’ misery work for you! See—just not that great sounding, is it?

Ellen James Martin, Arizona Republic, July 10, 2011, says no one is sure if this is the bottom. Be sure if you do this that you are staying—maybe five yrs minimum.

Renters can swing this—so can people looking for resort property.

Some foreclosed property is in bad shape—people even lash out and strip out the pipes. Banks sometimes pay foreclosed homeowners not to trash the houses.

Try for the best neighborhood you can, the best schools.

Be sure you are preapproved or offer cash. Still, banks can drag their little bank feet.

Drag—as in trudge.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Your boss is not your bud

Yvonne Gonzalez, Arizona Republic, July 10, 2011, says you should exercise some caution when socializing with people from work.

As we have said, politics, religion and money are off the er…table.

Be careful forwarding stupid so-called funny emails. Some people have no sense of humor. Often they are called bosses.

If you go out after work, watch the booze. Talk can turn to work..and you could say something that gets around.

The same goes for company events—one drink or less.

If you are the boss, don’t share your doubts about the company, your future plans, your feelings about other people at your level, and so on. The employee or report is not your friend—they work for you.

When I was a boss, I used to do the latter too much—and it backfired many, many times. Yes, they took advantage of my egalitarian philosophy to screw me.

So listen to Auntie Star now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Your ad decoder

I said something to someone the other day about a job being “wired.” That means-- meant for a specific person but they have to advertise it anyway. This makes for a very detailed job description, such as 4 years experience with a non-governmental organization, in West Africa, PhD, MA in social networking, etc. Only one person could meet the requirements.

Bingo—that person was always getting it.

CareerBuilder has some other hints for how to read job ads like an insider.

“Experience preferred” means they would like some specific experience, but will not throw you out if you don’t have much.

“Experience required” means—better have it.

“Entry-level” means fresh out of school is OK. “Junior level” means a few yrs of experience. “Senior level”—five or more yrs.

“Working knowledge” means you have heard of the industry, topic, type of job, etc.

“Proficient in” means you have used the tool—one yr should be enough.

“Command of”—you could teach it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spit it out!

Anita Bruzzese, CareerBuilder, talks about effective communication.

Just that phrase is a yawner to me. Jargony.

She quotes Ben Decker of Decker Communications. He advises getting to the point and not parading your knowledge or guarding your own interests.

Start with a statement the person can nod in agreement with. Don’t spew data.

If you can set up a camera—see how you do in a meeting.

You want energy in your voice, friendliness, clarity.

Don’t hide behind emails and texts—talk to people!

Have some ebb and flow, some differences in intensity, some humor.

Pausing shows confidence…do it now and then.

Might I add—lose the phony words that aren’t “you”—some examples may be “bunch of,” “folks,” and “guys.” Never say, "Let me be very clear."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You can always swim--maybe, kinda

So sad about swimming...

I love to swim. When my kid and I lived in DC, we discovered we could join local hotel pools just for the summer. We spent all day each weekend day hanging out for about $500 a summer.

When I was a kid, we went to a three-pool complex called Tree-Court (three, trees around, get it?). Anyhow, there was a warmish, a cold, and a mineral. Great hamburgers, too.

Now, according to the NYT (Jesse McKinley, July 6, 2011), many municipal pools are closing for budget reasons.

According to this, Phoenix—where, as you may have heard a million times , it is HOTSIE TOTSIE—used to shutter many pools, but now has fluffed up the pools and they are open.

Pools are only open a few months a year, they require staff, they can excite lawsuits, so officials eye them for closing.

Also—pools can attract kids who might otherwise be creating more mischief. This can keep them corralled, but also puts the troublemakers in one place.

Also, pool officials say, those out of work want the darn pool open!

Yeah, babies!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Have you been slapped around by this guy?

Anita Bruzzese, CareerBuilder, says one casualty of this economic mess is trust. If you ever “trusted” your boss, coworkers, or company—you may not now.

Come to work, get walked to the car. Coworkers conspire to get your promotion instead of you. Promised a job—then oops. New job, new company—darn, the company went belly up!

You can get bitter and angry.

You know what frosts my cahooties—yuppie smugbags blatting to each other on Book TV and elsewhere about how they really don’t know anyone affected by the economy, all their friends have jobs, etc.

When trust is damaged, say the social contract about working hard, and you can get bitter.

There is a book called Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace that advises acknowledging that unfair things have happened and moving on, letting it fade, not letting it color everything that comes after.

Tall order, but it can be done. A start is to focus on how the new boss is not the old boss—unlike that saying would have you believe.

Friday, July 1, 2011

More hiring or more wordsmithing?

Out here in AZ, things seem pretty miserable and becalmed. What was the line from Rime of the Ancient Mariner? "Like a painted ship upon a painted ocean."

In this little burg we like to call Chandler, the last big “get” was some lab experimenting on animals. The last I remember—I am sure they have lured some call centers.

They always need call centers to dun people for money.

CareerBuilder says “confidence levels in regard to recruitment have remained intact.” What the patoot does THAT mean? They feel like they did?

About a third of employers in the West “expect” to increase hiring of full-time perms.

In the South, not so much—but they are expected to slack off on laying off.

About a third of those with 500 or more employees plan to add full-time perms.

I just saw where my old buds at Lockheed-Martin are canning 1500 people…Cuts in defense.

We have cuts in defense? When did that happen? They never cut anything. Except people.