Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Not for all the money....


Say one idea you had for coping is to find a mate and you hire a “matchmaker.” Say that matchmaker is Patti Stanger of “Millionaire Matchmaker.”

Are you nuts?

First, in five years of watching I can barely remember any couple hooking up. Oh—yes—“Sex Toy” Dave, a mumbling adolescent manchild who sold, well, guess, who actually found his own mate someplace.

And Patti is 50 and dresses so hootchy! My gosh, gal—longer skirts and put the girls away. All she thinks about is her surgically enhanced or dieted self.

What is UP with the guy with the Mohawk and his wife with the cerise bangs who work in her office—and Patti SCREAMS at people for inappropriate looks and clothing. Hello?

And those meltdowns—cutely called Patti Melts—“Get the eff out of my effing club.” But once she also yelled—no refunds! That was funny.

Soooo….what is my point. I watch, don’t I? I guess that is all that counts. Oh—and I feel really good about being single—any man, no matter how rich, who makes me surf or go down a zipline or put on a bikini on the first date…well..I can think of a place for that checkbook.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When you set off for OWS


I am not a fan of these grungy latter-day agitators—but they may have a point on some gross over indulgences from our friends the richie riches.

Molly Jong-Fast, The Fear of Flying gal’s kid, is even shocked by the fripperies of her Upper East Side neighbors.

She knew of one woman who sued a fancy preschool because they would not take her son in addition to her daughter—thus, according to the lawyers, ruining his life.

Apparently Mayor Rudy cleaned up NY so much now they don’t worry about muggers and can concentrate on after-school activities, intelligence testing (one group charges $450 an hr to help tots get into preschool), and multi-thousand dollar parties with customized gifts for each child.

And you know the pampered little darlings will end up dancing on bars or trying drugs—just like everyone before them.

I also read a story in the NYT (where else) about how New Yorkers have everything so they can’t find things to buy each other for gifts. One store sold salt—salt from every corner of the world.

Hey- at least the person who worked there got a job out of it. I try to think of these people as job creators.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Learning curve shortening


Time was, you had an advantage if you had years or even decades of relevant experience. Now this is not the norm—everything is jumbled and in play.

Some employers even think really experienced applicants may be stuck in some old situation and not be current and flexible.

If you keep up with the latest thinking and technology, these employers may also think you want more money for doing that.

So some people sort of downplay their experience.

It’s best not to do that and let the face-to-face rule. The long experience may mean you know people the interviewer knows—or can reminisce a little…this can be productive.

Sometimes I say, “I know what works and what doesn’t—and the second is most important.” This can be intriguing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What if everyone only walked 10 feet to eat?


Yup, we are going Third World—and it may not be a bad thing. Save money, built-in babysitters, elderly wisdom being dispensed…

The average of a first marriage is now 28-ish.

Immigrants also like the big happy thing.

Multigenerational living was big until World War II. Then came the generation gap—Vietnam etc. People boxed into separate residences in the burbs.

Between 2005 and 2011, the percent of men living at home went from 14% to 19%.

Now, one in five people 25-34 live with other generations.

I do—it’s not so bad. Someone to be mad at.

Aw—joking.

Sort of.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Are you a decent conversationalist?


I thought—I am not telling anyone how to have a conversation! Then I realized I know people who aren’t great at it.

In a job or networking context, being clunky, vague, irrelevant or irritating can hurt you.

Dean Newlund, president of Mission Facilitators International, thought it was important.

Conversations run marriages, friendships, teams, companies—everything—Newlund notes.

Try this—evaluate your next conversation. Determine the other person’s style.

Is the person analytical? Does he or she talk slowly—work on getting the facts right? With analytical, you need to reassure them that they have the facts.

The Driver is fast-paced and results oriented. They like to move things along and not listen. Spell out how you will get results.

Expressives like the big picture, dislike a lot of detail. Use words like “gut” and “intuition” with them.

Amiables are slow-paced, build relationships, share their personal life. Be informal with them.

This goes for giving a speech, too—if your audience is analytical, don’t wax on and tell personal stories.

All this is called “mirroring.” I guess it is important.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you a brand?


This is the new buzz—become your own brand. Whatever that really means.

I guess I am one with my daily sites, loud mouth, and of course, world class skills (heh). But the other day, I got a email from some twit implying I should not sell anything, that I was a hustler who would sell my used underwear.

So…being a brand can have a dark side. Make that a funny side.

Stephanie Snyder recently wrote about branding yourself, AZ Republic, Nov 20, 2011.

Your brand is all your strengths.

They said branding means you will be sought out instead of seeking others.

First, evaluate all your experiences. Decide which areas you liked and want to be an expert in.

Create a website showing that.

Then flog yourself as that brand on all the social sites.

But….be careful. Overpromoting can be tiresome. Don’t imitate others. And don’t change brands all the time.

Would an underwear site do anything for me? Probably not.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Teaching "get up and go"


Judy Cresanta is a spokesperson for New Vistas Center for Education in our burg, Chandler AZ.

She wrote in the Arizona Republic on Nov 11, 2011, about the Handy Helpers Fair held here—like a job fair for youngsters.

It sounded sort of like Career Day with adults spieling about their professions. To preschool and kindergartners.

Hold the phone—preschool?

Anyhow—an aerospace engineer at Boeing taught the 3-yr-olds to read words like helicopter and airplane.

A karate instructor taught them how to deal with conflict.

A Kia dealer brought toy cars. Two firemen came. A Zumba instructor. A nurse.

This sounds like fun to me! Why not?

Some schools for older kids even set up banks. Do they still have Junior Achievement? I remember that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What if the boss is never available?


CareerBuilder discussed this recently. An absentee boss can be a blessing for some, but could hurt your career.

Maybe the hands-off boss thinks you don’t need supervision or want it. You need to communicate—ask him or her to prioritize projects.

You can “manage up”—bring this up yourself . Invite a conversation about your role and what you are doing.

Be sure you are doing what you are supposed to. Figure out what needs to be done while the boss is traveling, say.

Try to think what should be done—think like your manager. If you career bombs, you can’t just say, “Well, you were never around.”

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thought college was a good thing


Dale Dauten and JT O’Donnell are business gurus. Someone asked them should they “hide” their MBA or not put it on their resume.

Wait a hot one—everyone is saying we need MORE education, etc

Dauten even wonders if a grad degree in business (MBA) can hurt you. He says put it on your resume.

…If the job requires one…

If the job does not require one, “slide it in” under “Other Experience.” He says!

Really? This is absurd to me! You might want to lose dates of service so no one latch onto your age first thing…but hide your degrees?

O’Donnell says nooo, and in fact, decide who wants an MBA—maybe another MBA from the same school you went to. She even says call the school for ideas of who might be hiring. These schools have employment offices—milk them.

Incidentally, I do the order of resume categories in descending order of impressiveness—if the companies you worked for were big names, put experience up top. If your college was huge and not too long ago, put education first. As we get older, education tends to slide toward the bottom. And if that education has an MBA, that degree may be less current.

That’s as far as I will go with Dauten’s advice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Watch out--blues sneaking up


First, get this straight. If your family is more Jerry Springer than Rebecca at Sunnybrook Farm, you are not alone.

The holidays are tough, because family members are thrown in a room together sometimes. The big wad-up, as one woman I know calls it. Alcohol may be served. Uh-oh.

Also, you are supposed to be cheery and thrilled. You must be! What is wrong with you?

Uh, no money to buy presents, age-old gripes, perversity, who knows.

Too much sugar, food tox from rich delicious stuff, too little sleep, stomping around malls…it adds up.

Then when it’s formally over, you feel let down. Drat—not even irritation and exhaustion to look forward to.

Some tips from Banner Hospitals in Phoenix:

Remember, it’s about a birth, a great past moment.

Don’t expect much to change from last year.

Invite people who will pitch in and help. Let the slugs go to their own party (Banner did not say that, I did).

Go look at lights other people put up if you don’t feel like doing it.

Yes—it’s the end of the year, a natural time to sort of sum up and if the sum isn’t what you want, well, regroup.

You get another try.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two-family homes


In case you were thinking or hoping the “kids at home” thing was going to end, I learned that some builders are reconfiguring new houses to contain two separate living areas for the grandparents and the kids and their families.

One homebuilder, Lennar, out here in AZ, is debuting NextGen, for extended families. It’s almost 3,000 SF, three BRs, Den, Great Room, with a two-car garage. The NextGen suite has its own garage, laundry room, dining room, kitchenette patio and outdoor grill.

The company surveyed 1,200 families out west here and one-third were already sharing with extended family. Go to lennar.com.

One family sharing a house with parents remarked that everyone got along.

Very important!

Interesting, though, that this kind of living arrangement is being planned for, not just adjusted to.

Friday, November 11, 2011

How's your self-confidence?


I was moping around earlier about how every decision I ever made—a mate, a kid, a place of residence, this, that, certainly a profession (now dying)--has been clobbered by unexpected consequences and made me afraid to take even a baby step.

Then I read a story by Elizabeth Newell in Government Executive, Nov 2011, about how self-confident people tend to make better leaders.

This assumes you want to be a leader.

But say you do…

Timothy Bednarz, author of Great! What Makes Leaders Great: What They Did, How They Did It, and What You Can Learn from It (not a great title, in my humble, but whatever), says you need self-belief more than just surface bravado. This means knowing you can do whatever realistic thing you set your mind to.

You need a strong sense of optimism (oops for me).

And you have to be able to overcome the failure that comes from taking risks. Yes! This is the problem.

Most leaders fail a lot! But their self-belief brings them through.

Thomas Edison once said, “What do you mean I don’t know anything—I know 5,000 things that don’t work.”

Okey-dokey, Tom. Settle down.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We can't afford our beloved vices anymore


According to Loyola, the US is winning against the evil smoking habit. Fewer people are starting, a 3 million quit a year. Still, a fifth of adults smoke. My kid is among them. She apparently started when she was 12—love those parochial schools chockful of naughty peers.

Anyhow, now that we are struggling economically (she is still at home), I took note of the fact that a pack a day runs $3,300 a year!

And it’s bad for ya as you might have heard—cancer, heart disease, blah blah.

A year after quitting, the excess risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

Twenty minutes after quitting, Loyola said, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twenty minutes? That makes no sense…

Moving on…

Eighty percent of lung cancer is thought to be from smoking. Quitting even 25 years before does not help ya.

That Chantix stuff can really cause you problems…

This is a mixed picture. It’s best to try to quit, I guess…think of the money if nothing else.

But I also get irritated by the national nannies who won’t let you work for them if you smoke at home and otherwise try to mind your business.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

When the headhunter calls


Haiyan Feng, writing in the AZ Republic, Nov 9, 2011, says more companies are besieged by applications and are hiring recruiters to thrash through them or reach out to qualified people at other companies.

Recruiters specialize—some are communications, some IT, some engineering.

Some do charge the job candidate for their services, but most charge the company. Some get paid only if a company hires their candidate—so they are picky.

If you get in to see a recruiter to introduce yourself, be sure you know their specialty.

Be realistic—if you do not fit the qualifications they recruiter is seeking, he or she may drop you. Just say OK, please keep me in mind for future opportunities.

If you get lucky and the recruiter brings you a deal, you can negotiate. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Yes, the recruiter is going to make a ton on you. Forget about that.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Future of work


Bob Nelson wrote in the October 2011 Costco Connection about the factors shaping work in the future.

You remember work.

Recently, we honored five young entrepreneurs here in Chandler AZ—four had cos that marketed things and did not make them.

I think one trend will be that the US is sliding away from manufacturing.

Nelson says also there will be a shortage of skilled workers. This means specific training for specific jobs.

The Millennials will be taking over—they were born after 1980 and before 2000. This crowd thinks differently and is motive differently. They don’t want to pay dues. They want to sort of scramble over a lattice of interesting jobs—not climb a career ladder.

Temps will be a huge factor. By temp, I mean people like me, who bring a lot to the table in terms of equipment and experience, but don’t have to be paid for all of it.

Many more people will work online rather than in an office.

And of course—we will be part of a worldwide labor force. This means competing with highly educated Indians and others and also with people working happily for $10 a day.

Oh—and the economy here is not going to snap back to what it was.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Will you ever work again?


Five and a half million boomers 50 and over are looking for a job—or a couple of jobs.

Some people retired and then found their money would not last. Others were laid off in The Troubles here and now can’t get back on.

Often older people don’t have the skills. Insufficient piercings might also be a problem.

Often the hiring people don’t believe you really want to work—gee, this is half of what you made, how can you take it?

Howard Stone, author of Too Young to Retire, says form a job club. Brainstorm with others in the same boat.

You can do mock interviews, check each other’s resumes. Even take courses at a local community college.

Or hire a tutor at one house to help you brush up on computer skills—split the cost.

These ideas came from William Arnold, who writes the Strategic Aging column in the Chandler Republic, a tabloid within the Arizona Republic.

Speaking of boomers—I hate this riff about how boomers are selfish, never contributed, are takers not givers. Yeah? Well, we raised you younger people and kept food on the table.

Some of us are still doing that for you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Skyping it


Jahna Berry, AZ Republic, Nov 4, 2011, says more employers are using Skype and video conferencing to tag up with prospects.

This may not replace the in-person interview, but it would be the “phone” interview on steroids.

According to this piece, University of AZ’s medical school uses this for out of state candidates. Intel, too—recording the exchanges to be pecked over later.

There can be glitches, of course—in one instance, five people interviewed the person and only three of them fit on the screen.

How can you prepared to ace this.

First, figure out what Skype is. Then tell me.

Test the equipment. Avoid rooms with an echo.

Dress nicely. Avoid weird patterns.

Make sure the room is quiet and the dog is someplace else.

Look right into the camera.

You could even rehearse with a friend who has the setup.

Relax—you’re home, you’re safe. And so smart! No gas!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Holiday gifts--keep it local


Vicki Mueller Roudonis had a neat idea going around the internet. Instead of Chinese cheapies (Dollar Store, etc), make sure your gifts help local people.

I do this—I get so much off eBay, over-the-counter meds, jewelry, clothes. This helps small entrepreneurs with eBay businesses (although some big cos sell on there, too).

Vicki had some great ideas. First, how about a gift certificate for a haircut or massage. Local!

Pay to get someone’s car detailed or oil changed--it won’t get sent to Taiwan.

How about 6 hours from a local handyman for the Honey-Do List.

Owner-run restaurants near you—do they give certificates.

A computer tuneup?

A hand-knitted scarf? Check Craigs to see if anyone is offering. Etsy.com also has American-made stuff.

Avon—she is nearby.

Or maybe a pet for adoption—pay for the spaying or neutering and first shots. (Ask first on animals.)

THINK LOCAL. THINK HELPING YOUR NEIGHBOR.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Big job" a big pain?


Most of the writers I know need and want MORE work, but Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, says a significant portion of women would rather have a “smaller” job and more family time.

Back in the day, we women used to want the Big Job—the CEO slot, directorship, certified association exec job.

But MORE mag did a survey and 43% of the women surveyed said they were becoming less ambitious.

Seventy-three percent said they would not apply for the boss’s job if it opened up.

The stress, the hours, the politics, the travel, the commute…not so appealing.

One woman said middle management was best—a paycheck and no one checking on your every move.

I can see both sides of this. A second earner, though, is very handy when you are thinking of a “medium” job.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quick--do something wacky


The clicks on Monster, the endless emailing, the calling…how about trying something offbeat?

I had an idea for my kid. I said go to Vistaprint.com, design a colorful business card with your number and some line about you—such as Part-time Assistant or Fill-In Available—and hand them out all around the small businesses.

People, I told her, don’t like to throw away a card. They may hold on to it and call you and you can get a day’s work if the owner has to go someplace or someone does not show.

She was not impressed.

Still, we have to try different approaches.

How about going to a nearby office building and trying to leave a resume at every office. It’s not the job or if there is a job—it’s the building.

Think out of the box…

Oh, that stupid box. I am sick of it.