Friday, November 30, 2012

More vets getting work


With more soldiers coming home, more emphasis is being placed on getting them work.

Some stories—such as vet suicide and PTSD—may be subconsciously influencing employers, but CareerBuilder says more vets are getting work anyway.

There was a story this morning in our paper about former corpsmen working with a local hospital to check Medicare patients’ care after leaving the hospital. Sounds like a great job!

According to CareerBuilder, 29% of employers now actively look for vets. But vet status is not always evident.

The younger vets, 18 to 24, have the highest unemployment. They made the world safe for us—how about us returning the favor?

If you are a vet, you get preference in federal hiring, did you know that?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Free courses


You can "go" to Harvard free in the privacy of your home. How about "Introduction to Computer Science?"

Remember auditing? Taking a college course free—no credit, but also no payment?

Harvard, Duke, Stanford, AZ State, University of Virginia, Univ of Edinburgh, Weslan Univ, Columbia, and the Univ of Illinois are just a few of the universities offering online courses free.

These are called MOOCs—massive online courses.

Sometimes they are sort of soft info—such as how to make life decisions.

Some educators say this may be a game changer as college gets more expensive.

Still, dropout rates from MOOCs can be as much as 90%. Students may not stick with it.

Usually, too, these are not the same as paid courses—the schools do not compete with themselves.

Does taking a free course lead to enrolling in a paid curriculum. This is just one question schools are trying to answer.

I remember taking an early morning math course in PBS when in HS—all I recall was how cold it was in the TV room.

Still, it’s good to learn—and I don’t see why these could not be included in a resume.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday office etiquette


Remember when they had etiquette books—Emily Post? Miss Manners? Quaint.

It may not be in a book—but a wrong move can cost you in the office situation.

Should you get the boss a present? Depends—do other people? Maybe your office has a secret Santa setup—you get another coworker a gift. Giving the boss a gift can be misconstrued.

You don’t owe anyone a gift—if you get one, don’t lie and say yours will be coming tomorrow…Just say thank you.

Gifts should not be clothes other other personal items such as cologne.

Also around the holidays—what about charity and fundraising. This can be for a soup kitchen or a colleague’s kid’s school. Set an amount, say $5, and stick to it or just say no thank you and wish them luck.

The boss’s kid? You’re on your own!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ew--algebra


Math math math—all you ever hear. When will I need it? you wail!

Well, it does come up. In figuring percentages, as I have to sometimes, I remember to do to the opposite of what I want to—I  divide the small by the big.

CareerBuilder says modern-day business people tend to call on it more. One woman uses equations to determine the efficacy of her loyalty programs.

Another uses it to analyze surveys—he goes from employee surveys to deciding the rate of employee retention. Don’t ask me how. Numbers!

One even did a “word problem” to decide which was cheaper—renting a car or driving her own at so much a gallon.

OK, easy as one two three—for them!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Learning from your rmistakes--ugh


I hate it when that happens—you have to learn from a mistake! A friend quit her job after a promising interview, and now the new one is not quite to the offer stage.

Ooops.

Don’t dump the bird in the hand and let it fly off.

Writing for the AZ Republic, Nov 25, 2012, Morgan Dowling says if you don’t get a coveted job, it natural to wonder why.

It’s OK to ask why if you are not resentful. Listen to the answer, don’t counter every point or offer excuses.

The most common reason is a lackluster interview—you didn’t ask enough, sparkle enough, seem to want the job and they responded by being pro forma and blah.

Research the company—get some talking points.

Never bring up other bad interviews.

Of course, it could be the credit check—those are tripping up more people these days.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Packaging can set you off



You can be job hunting, opening rejection letters, trying to find money to fix the washing machine--and you go to get a pill or glass of milk--and there is some infernal tab, foil seal, or hardened plastic matrix that could resist an atomic blast--and you lose it!

Of course, scientists have studied how freakin' annoying this is--but do designers?

Ann Lukits, WSJ, Nov 20, 2012, talks about the worst packaging for those with sore hands.

I HATE ALL PACKAGES and I don’t even have arthritis in my hands—at least not too badly.

But—me aside—an article in The Journal of Hand Therapy said those new-fangled peel-off tops are the worst because they take so much strength. What is that glue--barnicle slime?

They are darn tight! I use the “Psycho” method—jab with a knife while going “eee eee” like in the movie of the same name.

Anyhow, thus study enlisted 100 Swiss people around 60 years old—they had all sorts of hand issues—including carpal tunnel. There were also 400-some controls in their 50s with no hand issues.

Sure enough, the hand issue people could exert only 53% of the force to peel back tops. Aluminum tabs were slightly easier to grip than plastic.

I hate those cardboard covered with foil ones on mayo. Time for Psycho.

Jam jars with screw lids were also hated. For those, I smack it flat down on the counter—lid down. It seems to loosen it immediately.

Now…about those stupid milk cardboard things with the little plastic tab. Someone needs to go to the Hot Place for inventing those.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

For cold-weather texting and device operating


I guess if you’re at the playground, on the slopes, on the golf course, or walking down the street and need to answer or send a text, gloves could be a drag—if they are not Touch Screen Gloves, that is!

Yup—you heard me.

These are schmancy gloves with special conductive material in the fingertips for those all-important al fresco communications.

These babies come in pink, grey, cream, brown or black.

And they are not “itchy” or “flimsy” like cheesier imitations, the manufacturer says.

Soooo….go to http://iphonegloves.net and get busy!

Santa himself probably wears these with all the texting he has to do these days and what with being hurled through the snow-filled night while doing it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Want to help after the next Sandy?



Emergency management may be for you! Emergency Management Magazine, in an article by Charisma Williams, Nov 8, 2012, has some tips on how to get into this.

First, don’t wait until you get a degree in this to get involved. Learn the underlying ideologies, principles and terminology now. FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute’s Independent Study Program has 150 free online courses.

Second, get out and volunteer. Go to the Red Cross or Salvation Army, for instance. How about your local fire house? We have talked about Community Emergency Response teams on this site—search on CERT above.

Try to get an internship at a local company or organization. This also allows you to see if you like this work.

Also—try for an informational interview with someone in the news from the field. Ask for a few minutes of their time—prepare questions ahead of time. Do not leave a resume—this is not a job interview. This is a contact.

If you do all this, maybe you will someday be able to say…I am with the government and I am here to help you—and mean it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Compromise...compromise...it's the bomb


Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, says we need to compromise in the workplace, too! Jeez, why can’t it ever be MY way?

Anyhow, first, she says the current president wants to compromise with Congress. Nope.

Moving along, though, in the workplace, you can’t just use some perceived advantage you have to stuff things down people’s throats. You need to get buy-in. Everyone likes to feel they got something—or that no one got everything.

Once a course is decided upon—no gloating and those who don’t follow the program should be warned or even terminated.

By that, I mean fired.

Man, Anita is mean today. Why can’t compromise ever be—do it my way this time, your way next time—not always some dumb way in the middle? Just wondering.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gettng paid to get healthy



You’d have to pay me to go to a gym. Wait—Humana will!

Ken Alltucker, AZ Republic, Nov 16, 2012, says health plans are now extending more carrots to members—pay for gym visits ($20 a mo for 12 visits), buying healthy food, and walking a certain number of steps a day.

At the gym, every time you swipe you card—your employer is informed…

Hmmmm.

Half of United’s business customers opted for this feature.

Many already went to the gym and this was a bonus. But others did sign up.

One study at Harvard showed that wellness programs reduced health claims by almost $1500 a person.

United also offers a wellness coach.

Customers get cholesterol kits for self-monitoring.

Humana also gives a 5% discount for veggies at Walmart.

This also increases morale.

I can see that—I am sitting here kinda sick and my morale is not the best.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Flirting--what is it really?


With all those generals sniffing around those babes in the news, the art of flirting is getting a bad name.

The WSJ even tried to define it Nov 3, 2102, saying people flirt to get a mate, have fun, boost self-esteem, gauge interest, or reinforce a relationship.

How scientific.

They even laid out rules—assess the level of interest of the other person, don’t let banter head in a gross direction, don’t try to make your partner jealous. When there is a power difference—say between a boss and an employee—watch out.

Don’t put a hand on an arm without knowing it it’s welcome.

We used to have a family friend who called everyone "dearie." She was cute--even in her older years. No one objected.

To me, flirting is human interaction—charm, if you will. You are showing an interest in what someone is saying or pleasure in their presence…people like that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sarcasm--yeah, so mysterious



This was actually a story in the WSJ—boo-hoo, marketers can’t tell when people are being sarcastic on line…

Like that would happen.

Well…email is kind of uninflected—you have to add the laffs or eyerolls to show the direction a message is intended to go.

This apparently foils so-called dataminers, who can’t tell if “Yeah, Obama is God” is sarcastic or a religious statement.

Of course, people have tried to create sarcasm equivalents of the LOL laughter thang. (*S) is one.

The one I see most often is which to me is clearer.

But if you have to ask…just talk to the person!

To me sarcasm is a lifestyle—the internet could ruin it. Such a delicate art form.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fooling around--note the word fool



I saw it in real life—now we are seeing it in the headlines. Occasionally, high-ranking or successful people (most often men) think they deserve whatever sexual opportunities come their way. Somehow the rules do not apply to them.

Are they really so stalwart in their business dealings and then so weak in their personal will power?

Does their word (marriage vows) mean nothing?

Is this somehow justified because they deserve some babe instead of the mother of their kids, maybe with her untinted hair or matronly figure?

Of course, no one can look inside another person’s relationship—I have learned this. But in this latest case, this gal seems pretty manipulative over this married man, to the point of forgetting her own husband and kids. Or at least figuring they would not find out.

What is the word I am looking for—unstable. That’s it.

If you are on either side of this—prepare to hurt and be hurt. Is it worth it?

To be forthright, in my youth, I once engaged in an affair with a married man. I figured it was between him and his wife--not me. Now I see how stupid THAT was--this has haunted me for decades. My own relationship blew up partly because of another woman. This stuff is not good.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Can you get one of these 3 million jobs?

Check out this story from the Nov 11, 2012 edition of 60 Minutes.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57547342/three-million-open-jobs-in-u.s-but-whos-qualified/?tag=contentMain;cbsCarousel

Apparently there are millions of manufacturing jobs going begging because people need training for the specific job—the companies say they can’t pay for training and pay American wages, soooo…. They claim training could take 1-2 yrs.

This means the ever-popular government is going to pay…There are already programs in some junior colleges to certificate people for certain jobs. (This seems to take a few months, not 1-2 years.)

In the piece, the trainees had to master trigonometry—but were thrilled to have the precision tooling work.

Are too many people going to college—and not enough to short-term training? Could be.

By the way--Chandler, AZ, my burg, is now being touted as the chip--makers to the world. If you get a job here, look me up.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Do you have a job search mentor?


I am trying to think if I ever had a mentor. I did have a full-on insane, alcoholic boss who gave me raises and threw things I wrote back to me and said, “Try again.” Is that how I learned to write?

Oh, well…he’s gone now and I am still here.

CareerBuilder says having a JOB SEARCH mentor can help. Hey—I thought I was your job search mentor!

Make it someone you respect—someone you look up to.

Your mentor can provide a second set of eyes on your materials.

You can maybe get access to that person’s network—a good thing.

The mentor should be honest even if it hurts your feelings.

Maybe this person is an old boss.

But whoever you find, be considerate of their time.

Keep it professional.

Don’t get defensive—be open.

Show you have followed the advice—and thank the person.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Internships again

Am I looping?

Well, young grads still can’t get a starter professional job, so many are still working in an professional environment for free or a pittance. So here goes again on internships.

Supposedly, 78% of companies hire interns.

Before you start your internship, learn all about the company.

While at your desk, forget the personal email and Facebooking. UNLESS--you have been asked to work on the company's social media program--which is also something you can add as a skill if you are good at it.

If everyone around you is scrambling, ask for more work. “How can I help?” is a good one.

If someone asks you to sit in an a meeting—grab the chance.

Always dress professionally.

Be passionate and enthusiastic.

And get to know people—these are your future networkees.

To get started--check out http://internships.com.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fewer hours could be the watchword


Now that a fraction of a percent more people wanted Obamacare, welcome to it.

First thing, if this hasn’t already happened to you, many new jobs will be part-time, under 30 hours a week so employers don’t have to provide health care—they can switch you to the exchanges for your mandatory plan.

In 2014, employers with 50 or more employees will have to provide health care for those working more than 30 hrs a week—or pay $2,000 per employee as a fine.

My daughter is already cut back at Wendy’s.

Be prepared.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bill collectors--yuck


All this talk of recovery—but I bet some people are still getting collector calls. I know because I get them for people who had my number FOUR YEARS AGO, you idiots.

Obviously, these skeevy people are still giving out my number. So, even though I am far from a perfect person, I am learning about collections second-hand, at least for now.

First, they robocall and then ask you to stay on the line or call back to be threatened. Who would do that?

Debt collectors can call other people, your friends or family, but only to find out where you live, your phone number, or where you work. They cannot say how much you owe.

If you get a collection call—ask them to put it in writing. Then when you get that, ask for validation of the debt. This buys you some time.

For more info, go to http://www.askdoctordebt.org.

Send complaints to the attorney general’s office in your state or to the Federal Trade Commission in DC at http://ftc.gov.

There are also fake collectors—you don’t owe and they threaten to arrest you if you don’t confirm the debt info or pay up. Ask for it all in writing.

I don’t even want to know this stuff, do you?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Supposedly someone might buy a house


In the usual lust to find good news in this mess, the housing market is touted as recovering. Out here in Phoenix, a lot of the buying is coming from rich investors, but you can sell your house if you are not upsidedown.

Ellen James Martin, AZ Republic., Nov 4, 2012, emphasizes that people buy houses on emotion. Make it look good, smell good, have pleasant associations. Even investors have emotions.

First, put in nice landscaping. Big bushes make houses look smaller, so trim them back.

Paint the front door or replace it. Make sure the lock works—nothing like struggling to even get in.

Empty the cat boxes, get rid of stinks. Smell is very emotional. If the smell is in the carpet, get professional cleaning.

Put in fresh flowers.

Although—once on FLIPPING OUT, designer Jeff Lewis put a bowl of carrots and rutabagas on a kitchen counter and the home owner walked in, saw it, and snapped: “What am I? A farmer?”

Friday, November 2, 2012

Up in the air on how to fire someone?

Did you like that movie UP IN THE AIR? I recently rented it. I was not thrilled—kind of creepy.

Anyhow, if you have any sort of clout, you may need to let someone go sometime. It’s an indicator of executive power—as well as a horrible obligation.

Melissa Korn, WSJ, Oct 20, 2012, says The Donald’s “You’re fired” is probably too dramatic.

The direct manager should do it—not some outside firm like in the movie.

Have someone else present—a witness. Just in case.

Have a written summary of what the employee is being offered.

Make it quick. Fifteen minutes.

Be specific about why. Don’t let the employee think it’s gender or age.

Do not apologize.

What day of the week is best? None is great. Do it when the decision is made.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Do you speak Executive?



In the Nov Marie Claire, there is a fun little translation of what executives say about you into what they really mean.

Too edgy. You are not friendly enough, not approachable. Smile more and take time for chitchat.

Lack impact. Too passive in meetings. Pipe up with ideas.

Too emotional. You wave your arms around and act out of control. Make more eye contact and gesture with one hand. (No, not with one finger.)

Not a team player. Standoffish with coworkers. Always go to happy hour.

Too laid back. You dress unprofessionally and don’t seem urgent enough about work. Get some new duds and schmooze more.

Need to dial it back. Too quick to offer your two cents. Praise someone’s idea first, then offer your twist.
Too risky. Your ideas may not be realistic. Watch the others—see what the boss likes.

Need to be more assertive. Maybe you speak too softly, giggle or use baby talk. Stop doubting yourself!