Friday, April 29, 2011

How to stay positive in your job hunt


Me? Positive? My kid made me put up a copy of the Optimist’s Code across from my monitor. Since I can hardly see, I didn’t exactly read it daily, but I do know it said to stay so strong no negative thoughts could creep in or something like that.

Oh, they creep, babies.

CareerBuilder had a column recently on how to stay aloft while scrapping around applying for jobs.

First, make a point to smile a lot! Those with a smile tend to be regarded better and even feel better. Yeah, maybe so.

Try to look at what’s going right. Well, when I saw the ghastly mess from the tornadoes, I stopped bitching about my house with no equity.

Find a purpose, a greater good. This is actually a good one, I think—distract yourself in a good direction.

If you have a job, team-build, lunch together. There is effectiveness (and new ideas) in numbers.

Hang out with optimists.

Hang out with optimists…now they have gone too far. I think it’s the ultimate act of non-icky optimism to get up, get dressed, and get going.

And if you get a pie in the face, open a bakery.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

There's First Class--and With Children


Is that a little homewrecker there?

I watch “Bethenny Ever After” and “Pregnant in Heels.” These can be interesting anthropology-wise.

In Bethenny Ever After, the new baby seems to add to their happiness and give them subjects to talk about on a reality show—and a fun bath time in which all three of them get in the tub (in swimsuits for the adults, clean it up, pottyminds).

In Pregnant in Heels, Rosie Pope, the pregnancy guru who herself is doing IVF, gets little glimpses into the marriages of her various clients. One couple seemed to want to ignore the coming child—no crib, no kid would come, right? Another had sort of intense discussions about Jewish v Catholic—this had not come up before the impending birth moment.

I once read an Ann Landers survey in which more than half of the couples who responded said they regretted having children.

Andrea Petersen, WSJ, Apr 28, 2011, says 2/3 of couples in another study said the quality of their relationship had dropped within three years of the birth of a child (Relationship Research Institute, Seattle).

For women, they get disappointed in the marriage from day one after the birth. For men, it takes longer.

Who will change the diapers? Get up in the night? Pay for everything? Quit or dog work?

People spend more time decorating the nursery than getting ready for the kid to come home.

Date night is not a good answer, according to this. These can become pressure-y.

This article recommended lots of classes. I went the School of Hard Baby Knocks route. I can remember some intense moments packing the car to the gills to go around the block or the all-nite vomiting sessions, that sort of thing.

But my kid has made it to 29 so far. Dad is no longer around, and I am not in the bin yet, so I guess it turned out.

More or less.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What size are you? Oh--who knows


A friend was saying she is almost a 14 but is still obese—sizes, sizes, what a life-long mess those are!

You can be a Size 4 (well you maybe) in one store, a 10 in another. A woman with a 32-inch bust would have been a Sears Size 14 in 1937. Now, she’s a 0.

Stephanie Clifford tried to talk about this in the NYT Apr 24, 2011.

Back when I had money and was able to shop on my feet all day, I remember getting 2-3of the same garment in different sizes to try. Now, I shop on my butt—and I do know a 1X is too big on top, but an XL is usually OK.

Setting sizes is going toward more random, rather than less.

One chain, Chicos, has a whole new system—you can be a triple zero.

MyBestFit offers body scans so you can be told what size you are.

Or they make the clothes in different “cuts.” CurveID, for instance, rates your um…rear. Slight, demi, or bold.

Bold would be a big ass. I know, I have one, it’s my pet, it goes with me everywhere.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Your friends helped you get a job...then...


This could be a yoopsie moment, but it does happen. You go all-out networking, please help me get this job, then you get it and hate it.

JT O’Donnell and Dale Dauten are work gurus. JT says no matter what you say, the people who help you are doing to be disappointed. They probably won’t help next time.

Dauten says don’t say things like, “Remember that dream job you helped me get..” Try to say you are building on what they helped you get.

In the example, the dream job was with a nonprofit, but the worker did not like nonprofit work.

Dauten says, OK, say you can now blend nonprofit benefits of doing good for people with a profit-making company’s faster pace.

Still, this is awkward. Just make the best of it. Look at it as another chance to show you are honest, thoughtful, and straight-forward.

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to deal with obnoxious people at work


Every office is loaded with jabberwockies, bores, smelly armpit possessors, wild-eyed screamers, and coworkers who might bad-mouth you.

Molly Kissler writes about this in the AZ Republic, Apr 24, 2011.

What to do, what to do. Kissler quotes Randall S Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers, on how to handle the charm-deprived.

Either talk it out or drown it out, he says. If someone won’t stop gossiping or interrupting you, tell them you can’t concentrate. If that doesn’t work—wear headphones.

Do it as soon as the problem arises so you don’t freak out.

If need be, turn to the boss, which Hanson describes as a “higher power,” a term I might not use.

Keep a paper trail if the person is trying to undermine you. Save emails, voice mails, and write down specifics.

What if people seem to be shying away from you or making excuses to talk to you later…er, you could BE the office chatterbox or bore.

Oh--two more thoughts, this from me... You don't want to spurn office gossip altogether--it can be helpful.

Second, if you think a coworker is losing it and might be dangerous, talk to the boss.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How about a nice Easter critter


A man I know was saying the other day that he wanted to get rid of the family rabbit because it was chewing on his plants. Well, yeah…it’s what they kinda do.

We have so many four-leggers in here these days, what with our own three (two cats and a dog) and two spares being kept until a foreclosed acquaintance finds a new house, which so far has taken nine months…and counting.

But if you are thinking of getting an Easter chick or duckling—forget it. When I was a kid we had two ducklings grow up and wander the neighborhood annoying the neighbors with their loud yellow quacking beaks. Or else they die.

My sister took in a feral cat and some kittens and one kitten was deformed, which resulted in a large fee from the traveling vets. And tears.

I am a bundle of joy, aren't I?

Well, I do know a wonderful dachshund rescuer—and have some rescues in here--so I recommend going that route—the pound, a rescue.

But it costs. And those rescue people are picky, picky--it would be easier to get a human kid. One time I was asked if I could ever see myself giving the animal away. Well, let me check my Magik Eightball here--I would not WANT to, but I guess it could happen.

Just for your info--those giving away animals on Craigs are, for a very large part, insane.

And--remember—after every Easter Sunday…it’s Monday and the animal is still there.

Sure it will provide laughs, lower blood pressure, and exercise, but it also brings the whole drama…

Still, I would not trade mine. And wish I could afford more.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Time to blow that pop stand?


CareerBuilder writes about how to conduct a long-distance job search if your present location isn’t promising.

First, pick a few dream locations—you can’t flit from place to place.

Second, read up on these cities’ economy. Sure, houses in Detroit may be $1.98, but jobs may also be scarce.

Read the local papers online, maybe even subscribe for 6 mos.

Use your social network.

Phones! Remember those? They actually carry speech, too—brush up on your talking skills. Keep a calm pace—you may know what you will say next, but the employer or HR person does not.

Remember—moving means leaving friends and the familiar behind. I found I was not as flexible about starting a new life as I would have liked to think I was.

You may be, though.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Come on, retire? Really?


Grab that crutch and get a job!

Hey, with pensions evaporated or challenged and young people cruising the streets to find old people using up their money on rent and stuff, many people just keep working, if they can find work.

Good grief, we have come this far.

What are some “good” jobs for older people that do not require a paper hat and mastery of the phrase, “Do you want to supersize that?”

Well, social worker might be one, although this can take a lot of running around in the car. Median income: $40,000ish.

Health care administrator is another, Think $60,000 to $100,000.

Adult literacy…put your reading to work. $22 an hour.

Health educator…hey, I am gimping around and I try to be one, so how about $33,000 to $60,000?

Eligibility interviewer…This means seeing if people can qualify for assistance. Means people person. $40,000 best case.

Travel agent—what the heck, take the discounts and book! And I don't mean book a trip.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Get ready to fight for a job


Our leaders are all about soldiers and military families all of s sudden, yet some families still qualify for food assistance.

Anyhow, when they do leave the military for higher paying work or other reasons, Elvina Nawaguna-Clemente, AZ Republic, Apr 17, 2011, says servicemembers would do well to start the job hunt a year before separating.

Demilitarize your resume, she recommends. Mention your service, but take out the acronyms and militaryspeak.

Go look, answer ads, take classes—don’t wait for someone to call you.

Network like mad, especially with former military people who are already in the civilian world.

Never apologize for being in the military. Be proud.

I would add—translate your skills, team-building, management, budgeting, inventorying, nation building, technology, into work terms.

I also know a former Navy captain who ran a program for ex-military in the job world—check with your local college or junior college.

And remember--vets get preference for govt jobs.

Thanks for protecting our country. If I can help, contact me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How about starting a franchise op?


In the April For Hire, a few words about franchising. Not necessarily chucking out hundreds of thousands for a McDonalds, but spreading an idea you have.

Adrienne Kallweit. a private eye, founded Seeking Sitters (www.seekingsitters.com) a babysitting service that thoroughly vets its sitters. She now has 54 franchisees. Shannon Wilburn, also from Tulsa, cofounded a maternity, kids, and teens consignment business (www.jbfsale.com) and has 100 franchisees.

A franchise allows the owner to market a service within a certain territory.

The advantage is you follow certain rules and practices that work.

If you have a business and want others to succeed, too—and if you are willing to give up some of your own business--you could become a franchisor. Be aware, developing agreements, forms, manuals and other materials is costly.

There are 2,000 forms franchising can take—roughly based on a fee plus royalties. The fee can be $15,000 to $40,000 or more. The royalties are 5-10% of gross revenues.

Go to www. franchise.org for more info.

There are also brokers who can help you find the right business. Go to www.entrepreneursource.com.

My theory is let someone else make the mistakes. I never follow it, but it’s my theory.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Everyone copes better on java


Get your heart started--ever hear anyone say that while pouring coffee?

My Dad had a stroke at a young age and since he was a runner, this really hit him hard. I am not a runner, but I don’t want a stroke.

Turns out—according to one large Swedish study anyhow—drinking coffee reduces stroke risk in women by a fourth. I always believe the studies I want to believe (don’t we all), and I can tell ya, it’s working so far.

I love coffee. If coffee were as bad as say, crack, I probably would still drink it. Scientists used to think coffee made your heart go faster or stressed it, so it was bad. One study said that, the next one said the opposite. You know—study “ping pong.”

Now they are waiting a hot second. Harvard did a big look-see in 1990 and found no effect of coffee on men’s risk of heart attack or stroke.

OK—no effect. Slurp, slurp.

Now in 2008 (Finland) among male smokers, a lower risk of stroke from eight cups of java a day. Then maybe nonsmokers also got a benefit.

And it was a lot of coffee—five cups, six cups, eight a day!

Still, the scientists are loath to conclude that coffee isn’t hurting you—after all, it’s so good, you feel so good, you are more effective and brilliant, how would it be OK?

Ah, it’s a bitter brew being a scientist.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

You're leaving and the boss offers you WHAT?


They say the most likely to be hired are those who already have a job.

What if your current employer wants to keep you and makes a counteroffer? Kalvan Mangouri writes about this in the AZ Republic, Apr 10, 2011.

If you are productive, this may well happen. It costs a ton to train someone and get them into the culture.

First, make sure the employer is addressing the things that made you want to leave. Also be sure you won’t face the same issues at the new place.

If you feel you are underpaid, be sure the money is there. If you feel under appreciated, hold out for projects that bring recognition.

The ball is in your court—but be realistic. Some things will fly, some won’t.

See if you can find others who left even though they got a counteroffice—ask why.

You know how the company operates—is this counteroffer sincere and will it be honored?

Don’t get such a “you love me, you really love me” thing going, that you make a bad decision.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hang tough, ladies


There is still a pay gap between men and women. Duh.

Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, got into this recently.

It's not because men think women are weak and they can get away with it. It's not just an average because women sometimes take time off. It's not those things. Or only those.

One problem is that women don’t get as high a starting salary as men because as a group, they don’t negotiate.

These days a counteroffer can be scary—you know there are 100 applicants standing in line to take whatever is offered. OK, be scared. Life is like that.

I walked a freelance job last week because they would not cross out certain restrictions of my business in the contract.

Something called Negotiating Women Inc. found that 60% of those who did negotiate thought they didn’t get what they wanted because they just didn’t offer the organization enough—in other words, it was them.

Other women believe hard work is enough—they will be recognized any minute.

To be a better negotiator, keep track of your accomplishments—dollars and cents, responsibilities, awards.

Know what the going rate is—do research.

Have a friend play scenarios with you.

And don’t be afraid to ask—what can I do to get a bigger paycheck?

A lot of times these days, companies are asking two jobs for the price of one—marketing AND PR, grant writing AND development. If this happens, get them to show you the money, honey.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LaidOff Camp


A free all-day camp for the unemployed is being held in Chandler. There will be workshops on job hunting and using social media. Also—life after bankruptcy and financial planning.

Financial planning—implies finances are to be had. Always love that.

These are cropping up—maybe near you. Or you could organize one.

One guy learned to tweet—and got a job.

I should probably learn to Tweet, Twit, whatever—but it seems so random to me. I know on LinkedIn, I see the usual suspects day after day.

Yes, I am a negative drip. I should probably go to this thing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Women need to help women


No—not like the bickering beeotches on those Real Housewives shows.

Really help. This was the general recommendation of a WSJ story on April 11, 2011, on how women can move forward in various industries. It dealt with Media, Science and Tech, and Finance.

In Media, mentoring can be both sexes, sponsoring (actually maneuvering women into certain jobs), is usually women only. More industry-wide and company-wide programs are needed. Part of this is succession planning—get women in the queue.

A leadership wisdom portal is needed to clue women in on the unwritten rules in media. More social media, too.

More women need to be on the boards of media companies. And last, women need more profit and loss experience, even running a small business.

Science and Tech is light on females—the need there is to “brand the bling,” meaning highlight successful women and glamorize the industry. Colleges and universities need more woman-friendly science programs. Diversity programs must be beefed up.

In Finance—the emphasis is on making money. Women need to know how to do it and do it. They need to cross-train in hands-on parts of companies. The potential of a woman needs to be identified and she needs to be promoted based on that, according to these respondents. Often women are promoted based on performance and men on potential. Stop writing about what women wear. (Guilty—I didn’t think the outfits of the women shown were too impressive—I checked.)

All interesting. I started out life at the top—as a lobbyist for the aerospace industry. I hobbed and nobbed. Then I became a writer and sank into obscurity and poverty. Those were the old school days—I was the woman, often the only one. Men brought you along—or didn’t.

It was pretty tacky in those days. I have a feeling it still is in some respects.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Unfit rooms


Think of a store. Now think of the crummiest, smallest,, wackiest place in that store outside of the loo…the fitting room!

Yet, I was surprised to learn, 67% of those who “try on” end up buying. Only 10% of those who don’t end up getting something.

I remember my grandmother thinking she looked old and discouraged and my mother taking her out of the fitting room and into a bathroom with pink bulbs, where she looked fabbie.

Yet why was that fitting room so awful? And they are!

According to the WSJ, Elizabeth Holmes and Ray A Smith, Apr 6, 2011, there is a move underway to spruce up these dismal cells.

Mostly these are for women—men don’t try on much.

The new rooms have chandeliers, wallpaper. Women like to go in together, so they need to be large enough for two. Some stores are adding TV areas for hubbies and the tots to wait. Some provide shaping lingerie so clothes look their best.

And, of course, lighting has been stepped up, including in some cases, dimmers so you can see how the item would look at night. Some stores also label the hanging areas—LOVE IT, or NOT FOR ME. Or they put in phones or buttons so you can get the salesperson back without going out in your scanties and clearing your throat.

All this sounds good, but I still don’t love the “rear” view mirror and thinking about some guy named Bruiser watching closed circuit TV to see if I am stealing.

I noticed Bruiser and his security buddies were not mentioned in this story.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Aw, how about Rose?


I love names. And naming things. I used to do lists of company names for Landor in New York, a huge branding company, then they stopped using contractors.

The other night, I watched a “reality” show called Pregnant in Heels on Bravo, about a woman who helps (RICHIE RICH) people with their pregnancies—finding toys, decorating, finding clothes—and naming the baby, apparently.

This one couple hired her to set up a panel of think tankers (including someone from Landor) to think up names and talk about the names the couple had already picked out. They very gravely kicked these names around—Miles, Asher, Bode (boh-dee), Steven, Bowen (bow as in archer—“en”).

Then, as if this was not enough, they hired a focus group to pass on the names—“Sounds like a dog’s name,” etc. THEN, they hired this woman to stage a huge dinner party of their friends—with similar comments.

Are you getting the idea that some people have way more money than they can handle?

Anyhow—the nice little boy arrived—his name is Bowen Asher.

They never asked or mulled over nicknames—so I see two s’s going into Asher pretty fast. We used to live next door to a kid named Ellen, who was, of course, Smellin’ Ellen.

Come on, people, think!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ever think of starting a Job Club?


I read about job clubs in Women for Hire.

These are six or more people who meet weekly. They can be jobseekers, entrepreneurs, whatever they have in common.

They limit the meetings to two hours.

What happens stays in the room.

Everyone brings an issue to tackle. No topic is too small or personal.

They don’t invite their friends—this is business.

If it isn’t working or people don’t come—can it.

Anyone tried this? Readers?

In DC, we used to have Shut-Ins—people who worked at home. I think that was more about having some drinks, though.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What the heck--I'll just be a millionaire


Our friend Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, says everybody would just as soon do a startup and rake in the Benjamins.

They saw the movie…now if they just had a great idea…hmmm.

Ninety percent of new businesses fail in five years.

It’s hard to start and run a company. Many people who lost “control” and got laid off don’t realize you also have little control in your own business. Customers, investors, franchise cos, your fears, your doubts, the hours—you name it—they control you.

Some guy asked me just this morning—“If I do a website, I need a server, right?” Yeah—and about a year of homework, apparently!

You need to avoid being swept away by passion—not ruled by passion.

Also, there are many people out there trying to “sell” YOU something to make your business better. I am STILL trying to get into the govt contracting, and get emails almost everyday offering to help me in exchange for TONS of money.

Owning a business is stress. It’s like homework always hanging over you—remember that from school—the paper that is coming due, the tuition due, the scholarship you may or may not get.

It’s a lifestyle where you are constantly “on.” Be sure you can hack that.

Or are you the type to want an "off" switch?

Monday, April 4, 2011

First let us fine all the fat people


Rants are like colds--you can start to feel overstuffed...then...BAM

I am fat. I have been fat all my life—lost the weight 2.5 times and it found me again. I am also kind of cute, blond, mouthy in a good way (I like to think), sensual, dress acceptably and have OK cholesterol numhers. The knees might be overstressed, though--and I have a heart problem not related to weight, but probably not especially helped by it.

Despite this, I am crap according to many Americans. Read the New York Times health blog, why don’t you? Man, do those commenters hate the sight of fat. They have all the answers (no excuses, you disgusting fat fattie pigs, eat less), etc. It is pretty feral over there—the fear and hatred of fat.

Now the state of Arizona wants to charge people on Medicaid fifty bucks if they don’t control their diabetes and lose weight.

This is not like getting a flu shot, people! Do it and you’re done! There are no diets that “work” really well for everyone. The surgery can be thwarted—people only lose on average 75% of the weight they "needed" to and still look big.

Oprah had a chef to make teeny spa treats for her, a trainer--and now she has quit dieting.

Oh, check in with the NYT on this one—since “normal” people (who are now in the minority, by the way) apparently have to “pay” the medical bills of fat people, this is completely justified—fine the fat, punish the fat, scorn it, ostracize it.

This is becoming a mean, creepy country quite honestly. Insurance is meant to cover the range—not cherry pick the genetically blessed, or those with an indifferent appetite who forget to eat (are the serious with that stuff—forget to EAT?), those who are still their HS weight, those who eat 11 veggies a day, etc.. for special rates—and sock the rest, insult them even, shame them.

And these snippy paragons? What about their joint replacements from all that exercise? Why should we slower types pay for that, by this logic?

If you think being fat is going to kill us so much sooner and lighten the load on medical resources that much sooner—why don’t you SEND us a doughnut or a nice steak?

And why fifty bucks? Why not five hundred? Five thousand? Or why not PAY people to go on diets—many of us sure can’t get other jobs.

Fat discrimination, don't you know.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Meet and greet--face to face


Elizabeth Bernstein writes in the WSJ, Mar 22, about finding a mate.

No computer involved.

Wait, wait..before you freak…it used to be done this way.

People used to get fixed up, meet at parties, meet at church, find each other in bars.

Actually, most people don’t find their mate online.

I know—amazing, isn’t it?

Match.com, for instance—a recent lawsuit claims half the listings are bogus.

One fellow even recommended doing some activities—comedy classes, running—and finding people with a like interest that way.

Home Depot is good, the airport, produce sections… The people in the latter are probably healthy—a plus.

Borrow a dog and go to the dog park was another suggestion.

Own up to borrowing it, though—wouldn’t want to be a big phony like some of the people on Match.com.

Usually dogs can tell, though.