Friday, June 29, 2012

Fake ID from China--no no no

Daniel Rasmussen, AZ Republic, June 29, 2012, says it’s the rage to get a perfect ID for underage drinking—straight from China mailed to you concealed in a shoe sole or deck of cards.

Gee, that just SOUNDS like a great idea, doesn’t it? Sure—if you are young and STUPID.

The problem is when you send your name, age, address, etc to places unknown, organized crime gets it directly.

In one study, it was shown that almost a third of all undergrads had a fake ID. These things scan—they are perfect enough to get by doormen.

All criminals really need is a phone number—they can get the rest from Facebook or someplace. If you want to hand it all over, that’s fine, too.

Wise up, people—criminals have nothing but your downfall and their enrichment on their minds. Don’t be a sucker.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Are these "tips" getting ridiculous?

Have we talked about how your performance review is a good time to make yourself look good?

Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, advises you try to leverage this review to your strengths.

Pardon me, but isn’t this sort of obvious?

Brian D Poggi, wrote I Am Not Average: How to Succeed in Your Performance Review.

I guess Brian is the expert, but I always advise people to show how you saved or made the company money.

Be specific—examples, numbers.

Poggi says do a PowerPoint.

List places you could do more.

Your goals.

Your suggestions for the year’s objectives.

Poggi says the manager will appreciate you doing his or her work.

I wonder.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Midlife course change

According to Chelsea Klement, AZ Republic, June 24, 2012, many older workers don’t mind a pay cut because they are entering a new field.

Before you try this, think: Are you willing to start over, to train?

Do your research. Do your networking.

You have to be able to really sell yourself—to invite the employer to mentally transfer your old skills to the new requirements.

You may have to relocate.

You need savings to tide you.

You must have realistic expectations.

Hey—you may love it! This is a much better midlife move than that Ferrari.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Krafting a dinner

You know those big Sunday feeds on NBC’s “Blue Bloods”? I always wonder what the food cost.

Our family ate together Thursday and Sunday nights. Otherwise, my father dined alone, the way he liked it.

The Family Dins always turned into horrible renditions of everything we kids had done wrong, anyway. Often tears were the dessert.

My adult kid lives with me and we eat at different times…I tend to each early, and I mean early—like 2 PM! I am hungry then and that finishes the day.

Every person is different.

They looked into this at Temple, and said family dinner was waning due to heavy work schedules. For fathers—the mothers had in earlier studies been tagged with being too busy (guilt, guilt).

Temple looked at 3,709 parents of teens, many from racial minorities and lower income groups—only 64% of the dads were employed full time. Yet they often worked long hours.

Fast food figured. Parents were less inclined to provide and push the ever-popular veggies.

Parents also had stress levels that contributed to less food prep.

Some possible changes—let teens help with shopping and cooking. Teach them to cook.

My Mom was a home ec teacher—no wonder we can’t cook.

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's official--quitting with no new job is stupid

Life is uncertain—eat dessert first. This little sally has morphed to: Don’t quit your job without another one in sight. Haven’t we learned what a CF all this is?

If you don’t know what CF stands for—maybe you have not lived.

Our darling gurus JT O’Donnell and Dale Dauten counseled someone who was ready to leave because promised pay bumps had not come through. This will look like you were let go, they said.

Maybe this person is not a good negotiator, they added.

Get someone to tell you what you did wrong or should do right. But don’t just jump into space.

If the interviews at the new places haven’t resulted in an offer—well, think of what that could mean.

It's you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dogs in the workplace

A lady with a walker with a basket had some little tyke dog along at the doctor’s office the other day. It was an eye doctor—but she did not get led by this little guy—she was wheeling him in. This caused no hullabaloo.

I have a dog in my (home) workplace—at the moment, a weirded out one who stares at me all day like Night of the Living Dead.

I have never been in a real office situation where dogs came in—have you?

Sue Manning, AP, says June 22 was Take Your Dog to Work Day—and that 1.4 million people do.

Apparently at my reality channel Bravo, the canines are welcome. Same for Google.

This keeps employees happy.

I saw on “Dogs in the City,” CBS, that one woman’s rather large mutt did not like her clients--models with purse dogs-to intrude and scared everyone by savagely lunging until mellowed out by the cute dog guy. I would wonder, too, what if there were a dozen dogs in on the deal.

Anyone experienced this?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More families doubling up

You know I love this since we are a two-generational house.

According to Michael A Fletcher, WashPost, June 20, 2012, the Census Bureau reports that the number of adults sharing with family members or others jumped 11.4% between 2007 and 2010.

That comes to 18.7% of all households.

Young adults were most likely to be in a group situation.

This means a slowdown in household formation—which means fewer trips to Home Depot, which is not helping the economy.

But saving money is helping people.

The poverty rate for shared households is lower than for others. The adults had high poverty rates individually, but grouping together helped.

This is the way it is in many countries. Now we are edging toward being one of them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Speak a second language? Don't be shy

CareerBuilder has advice for job seekers. If you speak or can understand a second language, say so—but be honest.

In a 2011 survey, 29% of employers said if they had a choice between a uni-lingual and someone with two languages, they would probably take the latter.

Much is said about Spanish, but Mandarin Chinese is most useful for business. Followed by French and Arabic.

If you say you are fluent on your res (“Where is the bathroom” does not count), then bring some proof—maybe a document you translated. Show that this has helped you reach new customers or audiences.

Find out why the company needs someone bilingual. Full-on skills may not be needed.

Don’t lie or oversell—if you do, it will come out without fail.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Multitasking too taxing

I know—have a lot to do? Do it all at the same time!

Christina Tetreault, AZ Republic, June 17, 2012, says a phone in the ear, a hand on the keyboard, an open file all working at the same time—recipe for ARRRG.

You are what we used to call disorganized. Multitasking decreases efficiency over 40%.

Try instead prioritizing—is that a word now? It didn’t used to be.

First, pick the top three tasks for the day. Do one before even checking email.

Do the hardest task first.

Set aside a power hour—all work—60 minutes.

Turn off all cellphone, computer alerts, etc.

Sounds good—now where was I? Oh, yes, wondering why my stomach hurts.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Empty nest--what is that?

My birdie isn’t going anyplace.

But some people’s children do take off, I guess. Ellen James Martin writes about this in the Arizona Republic, June 17, 2012.

Her authority is Eric Tyson, author of Personal Finance for Dummies.

First—he says and I agree—it’s hard to pick up and transplant yourself someplace else.

I know—I moved to Chandler AZ 17 yrs ago—and this is not my place in the sun. But here I am. I miss DC every day of my life.

Also it is tough here to sell a house—most of us owe more than we could get.

But this article said weigh the pros and cons.

Remake the kids’ rooms into man caves or sewing rooms.

Or—maybe—a smaller house would be better—put the kids in a hotel if they come and save on utilities.

Everyone dreams of living cheaper—but locales don’t vary all that much. I watch House Hunters International—decent houses in rundown countries are way over $300,000.

So., take your time. Be sure. Maybe the kids don’t want to come to Mexico all the time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ace that Skype interview

Why do I keep writing about Skype—I barely know what it is.

But, naturally, that does not stop me.

Simply Hired’s Laura Backes writes about how to do this video-like phone interview. First, the background—think about this—you want a simple but not boring background. Maybe a bookshelf. Avoid white walls.

Lighting is also important. Overhead fluorescents wipe you out. Maybe light from a window?

For clothing—lose the jammies, of course. Maybe a nice basic shirt and jacket. Women may want to check their makeup before game time.

Look at the camera—not the screen.

Practice with a friend who has Skype…see how you are playing.

Because this may not be a game.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Need a wheelchair ramp?

I recently discovered a neat website called Living on the Cheap— I like it.

Anyhow, I learned about a group called Rebuilding Together –

If older or disabled people need help with home renos, maybe this place can help.

For more than 30 years, it has helped with home repairs.

They do 10,000 projects a year, including wheelchair ramps, walker steps, yard maintenance, and other home modifications and fixes.

Check it out! People are usually pretty nice and decent.

Don’t tell anyone I said so. The Curmudgeon Union might find out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer jobs for teens--don't count on it

Hope Yen, AP, says summer jobs are disappearing—people grab them for underemployment—underemployment now being a goal.

I also read the unions are going to organize the unemployed—they might want to check into how we will pay those dues.

These days only 3 out of 10 teens have a summer job. This is the lowest since World War II.

Supposedly this is because kids are at pre-college camp or something. I sort of doubt that.

In truth, upper income white teens are more likely to have summer employment.

Starting work in HS leads to good work habits.

I say start a lawn mowing business—if your area does not have a bunch of loony rules and regs preventing it.

Even then you may be crowded out by older people or immigrants.

So print up a babysitting card at Get out there. Hustle.

By the way--it's already summer!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

ReServe can be your Act Two

A friend and I were talking—our businesses are so crappy, we thought, “You know—we could be retired and not know it.”

Jim Fitzgerald, AP, writes about a possible outlet—ReServe. This group pairs professionals with nonprofits—at a bargain rate for the nonprofit.

In seven years, 1,500 execs have pitched in. They are mentors, bookkeepers, writers, teachers, paralegals, nurses, doctors, anything you can imagine. Fundraising and grant writing are hot now, due to the slow economy.

The biggest branch of this is in New York.

The nonprofits pay $15 an hour—with $2.60 going to ReServe (which also receives private money) and $2.40 to the company that manages payroll.

At the moment, they have more people than they can place…but what about your area…think you could get something going?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sharing values determine the "fit"

Some companies are ruthless—people stay until midnight—law firms can be like this, financial firms.

Others, like Google and Facebook, are about the games, the paid dry cleaning, the gyms—but they also don’t discourage your staying until all hours.

Others make the annual lists of companies good for women, flexible, child conscious.

Some places let you bring your pets.

You need to be sure you are OK with the ambiance. If the company is wild for their softball team and you never show up, much less play, this can be noticed.

It the company is team-based—not top-down—and you are some sort of loner-genius, this could be misunderstood.

Most bosses play favorites—you might not be the favorite—how would you feel?

Often you don’t know these things until you are in there, but don’t say they don’t matter, because they do.

Friday, June 8, 2012

How to cope--show up

Who said, “Ninety percent of life is showing up.”

“Keep on trucking.” (Thanks, Mr Natural)

Keep on keeping on.

You’re either on the bus or off the bus (Thanks, Ken Kesey). On is better.

Suit up. Get dressed. Do something each day you never did before. Create new brain pathways. Go to a weird website. Find a wacky blog (besides this one— Drive a different route to work. Brush your teeth standing on one leg.

One of my favorite quotes is “To burn always with that hard, gemlike flame is to be a success in life.”

Even if you’re down to a pilot light, you can flare. Just show up.

That’s Mr Natural in the pix. You know another of his sayings… “Always get the right tool for the job.”

I swear half the problems in this world come from not doing that.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Perks not in job offer letter--now what

Always something, isn’t it? You get a decent offer—finally—with a bump in six months, this much vacation, a 401K, etc, then when the offer letter comes, none of this is in there.

One jobseeker reports that when she asked for these things to be put in writing, they shuffled around and said maybe she “wasn’t a good fit.”

This is called lying.

But—if you need the job—you need to go over this in your mind—were these things offered or just discussed in some form.

Maybe the standard perks--vacation, pension, probation period, are assumed. They may be in the job manual. You need to feel this out.

Can you live without the perks left out?

Do you think the company is open to discussion—was this oversight deliberate, in other words?

This will be your first meaningful discussion with these people—think before you pounce.

Maybe one or two could be sacrificed as bargaining chips to show your good faith.

Or not--if you are really irked, then walk.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Avoid this in an interview

Negativity. If you assume you won’t get the job, you probably won’t. This is shown by slumpy posture, a neutral or blah face, big sighs.

Desperation. Gotta watch the flop sweat and also only apply to appropriate positions.

Lack of confidence is another no-no. You don’t want to be overbearingly self-centered, but you do want to seem calm and assured.

And above all, avoid the “your search is over I am perfect” attitude. Interviewers like to think they have their own reasons for hiring, their own standards.

And they do! They will see through this type of behavior in a hot one.

I also advise against too much humor--and certainly don't tell a joke. Humor can really be killah in the wrong hands.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It's not all good--not all good, I say!

MORE Magazine was touted as for women of a certain age, which I took to be 40 and up, but which they apparently take to be any age insecure enough to care exclusively about wrinks and crinks and assorted aging topics.

Which laser is for which affliction—hag hairs, “coffee drip” brown stains (on your skin, not your blouse)…

MORE also had a story recently about siblings taking care of aging parents and how they don’t always get along. Well, gosh—really? And of course, there was the obligatory musing about how 60 is the new 40 or however that goes.

I am 68 and feel every second of it! I am not striding through the neighborhood in toreador pants, looking forward to my next low-cal smoothie.

I use leftover creams that have failed my sister. I secretly think hand lotion would be as good. Even a failed hand lotion.

My mailbox is stuffed with ads from forward-thinking crematoriums…oh, ick, go away. (Jeez, now watch Google put ads on here for those.)

This is all stupid. Forget the reversible skirts, the ebay originals, the creams made from the afterbirth of minks, etc. Just live, breathe a lot, be glad you can—and try to do something to help someone.

Did this help you?

If not—sorry. I meant to. I thought maybe you were cynically challenged.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Before you push SEND

Tian Chen, AZ Republic, June 3, 2012, says everyone has sent an email to the wrong person.

I have—a catty remark to the person, not a friend. Yoops.

One time, I sent a letter to a whole list saying the list owner was an “old lady.” He wasn’t even female. Ack.

But at work—these amusing little faux pas can cost ya.

Writing about illegal or unethical things the bosses do can result in your termination, not theirs.

If you just send something personal—call and apologize. Try to just put it to bed.

If you get to the end of a bad day and write something—hold it until the next day.

When addressing work emails, write out the whole name—the autoaddresser could put in the wrong person and you might not notice.

Quit using REPLY ALL. Ever.

Remember, once you SEND, it’s gone—and also, the company owns it. Soooo….watch out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Boomer badges

I was a Girl Scout for years…had a ton of badges. I like badges. I want more badges. Why do we have to stop getting them? Who says?

In MORE mag, Carolyn Bucor suggests some badges we could still get.

ROUTINE HOME MAINTENANCE badge. The vacuuming, toilet scrubbing—you are a good scout and this badge is the only thanks you will get.

“I REMEMBER” badge. There are two male singers named Bono. Why did I come into this room? Good! Here’s a badge.

DIDN’T RETIRE EARLY badge. Are you 56 and wnt to work—you get a badge, darn it.

COMPLETE OUTFIT badge…You get this if you wore a coordinated outfit—including accessories.

PRETENDING TO CARE badge. If you really mean it and still have your edge, you wear this on earmuffs.

I usually don’t like Geezer Chic—but these badges are neat. If only I could still thread a needle.