Thursday, January 31, 2013

Are you REALLY a team player?

Team player, team player--every company seem to want team players. But just because several people are involved in a project, this does not make it a team.

Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, says the University of Phoenix did a survey and 95% of the respondents said working in teams served an important purpose--but only 24% wanted to be on a team.

Different generations, different agendas, different personalities--this can be trouble.

Trouble can be gossip, passing the buck, and disagreements--even disagreements that turn physical!

Why is this? Maybe because younger people are used to working alone--alone with their Facebook or phones.

Face to face? Uh-oh!

I notice this on Project Runway--when they are told they must be in a team, the faces fall.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Antezen? What's an Antezen?

Antezen is a new website to match people to a company who might like them. It's kind of touchy-feely--you fiddle around remembering all your skills and how good you are at them--then colored boxes appear--and these go in your Skillsume (that name!).

Anyhow, it's kind of fun--try it.

It feeds off Facebook or Linked In. I quit FB, but it grabbed my Linked In stuff.

They are creating new apps--such as determining what kind of people you like working with. When they get enough data, they can suggest places that would love you.

Affinities--skills--voila--a match.

I figured it could not hurt to sign up. I think my boxes got a little confused, though.

It's Antezen.com if you want to spare the time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PEEVED! High tech sites are so messed up!


You'd think a high tech site--like a website host or a blogging host--would be able to boil down the technology and spoonfeed it to idiots.

But nooooooo.

First, I use Blogger for this and my other blogs. They took a few-click system into a hellish "two-ways to compose, both lose spacing between paragraphs when you press PUBLISH" system.

Of course, Google, which owns Blogger, has no interest in customer service, so we users huddle in a user group and try to keep each other from defenestrating.

Then I got a domain name--http://thwim.com--from GoDaddy! OMG--GoDaddy can go! I tried for two days to craft a one-page site...one page! Changes did not appear for a day or more. They tell you that! Emails result in an Incident Report that they don't answer for 33 hours.

When I tried to buy more pages for a website--it said I needed to load a better browser. I spent half an hour doing that--and it said I needed a better browser! Got my money back.

Then I went to another host--first, it upsold me a bunch of bells and whistles I learned I was supposed to UNCHECK! Got my money back for those. Then it said it had "hundreds" of templates--try 50 instead. All were lame and generic. Cancelled that whole thing.

You'd think a tech place could do this--you'd be wrong.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Degree--no classes, no tele-education

Caroline Porter, WSJ Jan 25, 2013, says the University of Wisconsin is going to award degrees to people who can pass a battery of tests of their knowledge.

No classes required. The tests will be given online.

This is sort of a response to the MOOC thing--Massive Open Online Courses--which give people free knowledge from big schools but don't add up to a degree.

About a fifth of the people in Wisc have some credits but no degree. Wisconsin calls it the Flexible Option. It will be offered this fall in info tech, diagnostic imaging, and nursing.

There will be a fee, to be determined--but it will be less than tuition.

Wisconsin's governor Scott Walker plans to finish his degree with it--he left school in his senior year for a good job opportunity.

We are going to be seeing lots of permutations, kids. It's not your parents' college degree anymore.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Using slides in a talk


Powerpoint..usually, yawn.

Darlene Price, author of "Well Said!", has listened to hundreds of presentations and has some tips.

The most effective tool, she says, is not Powerpoint--it's the presenter, you, the speaker.

Unless there is some screwup, the focus should stay on you--not the screen.

Be sure the audience can read the slides--use a contrasting background, large type.

Begin with an agenda slide. Also end with a summary slide.

Follow the 10-20-30 rule. No more than 10 slides, speak no longer than 20 minuites, and use a 30 pt font for slides.

Rehearse!

Face the audience. If you have a laptop showing the slides, look at that, not the screen.

And--hand out the points on paper afterwards.

Or--maybe just give me the paper and call it a day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Grrr....smartphones are dumb


Screens, ringtones (why not say "rings"?) this stuff is everywhere. People call me and then start swearing at some driver--ack, they on the road.

Or I send a long, and (naturally) witty email and get "OK" back--then "Sent from my phone, Verizon, blabbety-blah."

OK?

It's not OK.

I am just bitter--I am home a lot. I don't need a cell and don't have one. My kid is obviously twisted because she is young and also does not want one.

Scott Elbin, Government Executive Magazine, Jan 23, 2013, says he even saw a TV in a public john.

People text in movies, during meals, even sitting in my office.

Doesn't this say addiction to you?

Sometimes, Elbin says, you need to leave the phone behind--or else you WILL check it during a meeting. (There is a photo of the whole Obama family during the Inauguration--all four of them on their phones.)

Also, try meditating--no, not with a phone app! You are hopeless!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bye-bye, happiness

Don't you love coming to this site and getting the bad news? Well--sorry.

According to the now-infamous administration mouthpiece known as the Associated Press, in a story by Bernard Condon and Paul Wiseman, many jobs lost are gone for good. The villain--technology.

Also companies have been forced to do more with fewer people. With the coming of the health care law, many companies will also want to stay under 50 people to avoid the law.

Half of the 7.5 million jobs lost recently paid well--between $38K and $68K. Only 2% of those that came back pay that.

This "hollowing out" of the middle class workforce is far from over. Technology is axing far more jobs than it's creating.

Startups can launch with one-third fewer people--thanks to technology.

Usually technology will eventually create more jobs. Will that happen this time? Yeah--for robots! And THEY will be made by fewer humans.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Speak up--sooner or later, it will come to that

In a meeting, before a club, a toast at a wedding. Sometime you will have to take the floor and speak.

Yes, yes, you would rather eat spiders. But speaking to more than one person is a job skill. A communications must.

Some tips: Keep it short, under 20 minutes.

Practice it ahead of time.

Do not read it.

And put in three take-aways--but realize that only one, tops, will be retained.

Don't do a joke unless you are actually funny. Those jokes in "jokes for speakers" books--painful! I mean the "Ladies and Germs" type stuff.

And go to the room ahead of time, inspect and try out all the equipment. Or bring your own equipment (say a laptop) and test that, too! Most listeners are pretty forgiving. If you keep it short, they will tend to like you.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Words from the wise

Some job advice from experts and past job seekers: Be careful how you answer interview questions. Practice first. One jobseeker was asked what job she was most proud of having--and she said, "Being a mother." This was not the answer they were seeking.

A business owner says not to listen to all the doom and misery talk. He is hiring--others are.

And, network like a mad person! Learn more about whole industries and how they are doing--not just individual companies hiring.

And--before you go to an interview--see if the company is in flux, has current issues, and so on--at least google.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First days in a new job

Cortney Bennett, Arizona Republic, Jan 16, 2013, has some tips for starting a new job.

First--be prepared to go more than the extra mile. Usually there is a 90-day probation period--you  need to ace it.

Make smart decisions and don't be afraid. If you make a mistake, show you learned from it.

But also don't be a know-it-all.

Don't watch the clock.

If they do an old task a new way, do it their way.

Listen to chatter in the office--you may find a new way to make yourself useful.

Be friendly. Ask people's names. Remember them.

You also need to use the probation period to see if the job is a good fit.

OK--now keep all this up!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

FICO--the F word


I hate talking about credit ratings. I feel like the whole game is rigged.

Cancel an account--get punished for trying to control your credit. Bah!

They also offer a free copy of your report--but make you pay for your number.

See where I am going with this?

But if you are a responsible grownup, you need to think about this sometime. Everything--rates for insurance, a mortgage, even your fitness for a job--are dependent on your score. A credit score between 760 and 850 gets you an interest rate on a house of 3.08 percent. Between 660 and 679, you will pay almost $70 more a month. This means more than $24,000 more over the course of the 30 yrs.

This is so depressing. To get your free report, go to annualcreditreport.com. FICO has more nifty ideas for you at myfico.com.

One big thing you can do is pay bills on time. Do not close unused cards!

Oh--and I did not know this--shop for a loan all within a two-weeek period--it will be treated as one application. Yes, someone asking about your credit a lot hurts you.

I need a nap now.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Feeling a little draggy--think, be smart

The flu is now at epidemic proportions.

Some companies have half or way more than half of their workforce out. Those who come to work may be contagious (two days before onset of real symptoms) but are soldiering on and coming to work anyway--and infecting people.

The shot is only 62% effective--but it can shorten the days of misery--so from both standpoints is worth it.

Some companies are also handing out face masks.

Just a month or two to go--be smart.

We went in the grocery story--no table with nurses--but we asked the pharmacist and after diddling around FOREVER, he gave us the shot.

If you do get it, stay home 24 hours after you start feeling better.

Friday, January 11, 2013

In case of Zombies...or whatever


Out here, Arizona way, with this loose talk of gun grabs, some people are getting kinda Doomsday Preppy.

Even the government sort of joked about how to put together a Go-Kit "in case of Zombies." (We'll be needing those guns, too, guys.)

To fill your emergency preparedness kit (and empty your bank acct), go to http://www.bt.cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/disasters.

In addition to water and batteries and flashlights, the feds remind us about baby food, dog food, hygiene products, cash and maps, to name nut a few necessities.

Matches, rain gear, towels, gloves, duct tape, sheeting, bleach...the list is endless.

Are you supposed to carry this someplace or just hunker down in place--depends on the nature of the emergency.

Cell phones are great, but a two-way radio might be better.

I once got interested in this, got a huge jar of peanut butter, then eventually ate it. I guess I am destined to be Zombie chow.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Grammar counts

Yeah, I am an old stickler.

And I ain't standing for no sloppy grammar in letters to me. I sometimes make typos because I can't see too well, but you have no excuse.

Don't forget, in a cover letter or resume, you are handing a company grounds to rule you out--rather than in. It's a buyer's market.

Know your homephones--words that sound the same, such as to, two, and too. Use them correctly.

"Its" as a possessive has no apostrophe, although other possessives do. It's just the way it is.

Keep tenses in your resume the same. If you put "managing this or that," then don't follow with "supervised this or that."

Proof!

Have someone else proof!

With my luck, there is probably something wrong in this.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hiring autistic workers means thinking literally


Anita Bruzzese says more companies are hiring people with the unique brain wiring that classsifies them as "autistic."

Austistic people are usually very intelligent, hard-working and dedicated--they just may have some quirks and look at things differently than you do.

The key is not to isolate these folks and give them only simple tasks.

For one thing, the applicant may take questions in the interview literally. When asked what they would do with $50 if they found it, the person might say, "Put it in my pocket."  The supervisor needs to tell them no, give it to the manager--they will.

A noisy workplace with a lot of interaction with workers and customers may be a bad fit. Jobs in quality control--looking for changes in a pattern--may be a good one.

People with autism tend to be very focused. They don't stand around the water cooler--they work.

Think about it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Can we be more resilient?

Last year, with Mom's death, the continued lunacy in DC, many ailments and setbacks, knocked the pulp out of me.

I am not the chirpy type--all evolved and resilient. Sometimes things suck. My glass is not half full or empty--there is not even a darn glass!

Uh-oh, someone needs to bounce back!

Yeah, well...

One guru says we are like rubber--we can return to our old form.

Tell Gumby.

But--of course--we all know most of us will suit up and get on with it. Like we always do. To that degree, we are rubber. But maybe we can't erase the past--some of us.

Plus--cooing positive people who urge us to look at the bright side all the time can use some erasing themselves. We all have our own style.

So, if you feel like a dope because you can't shake off the negatives, I have news for you. You are human!

Now try to do one fun thing today--OK?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Maybe you need a brag partner


You know--someone who knows what you do and appreciates you.

Sarah Agan wrote about this in Government Executive magazine. She said she got stress dreams--being in college and ditching all classes then being faced with the final, forgetting people's drink orders as a waitress.

She was facing a meeting she had to lead.

But she did well! She told her husband but rushed to tell a friend who always appreciated her successes.

The friend said SHE had exactly the same problem--a big meeting coming up.

They discussed being brag partners--the person who wold never think the other one was a dope for being proud of herself.

There is no shame in tooting your own horn sometimes--people rarely grab it out of your hand and play a tune about you themselves.

Friday, January 4, 2013

If you feel like stirring


I don't do resolutions. If you do and one was to run around or get healthy or something, try to do it sensibly.

By that, I mean, cheaply.

If you know someone with a gym contract, see how much they use it.

Sign up at first for free trials. Maybe try several places before deciding.

Ask for a discount if you like one. Can't hurt.

Paying for a year costs less overall, but be sure you will go.

Get a buddy, not a trainer--cheaper.

Eat healthier food--try adding more beans, for example.

Maybe your health insurance will pay some of the gym fee--mine does, don't even ask.

Or walk outside, buy a DVD, or bike to work.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Do you trust your gut?


I don't know about you--but my gut is always babbling about something--do this, do that, try this...

Sometimes I just want a nap.

I liked a show called Startup: Silicon Valley--on Bravo--I guess it ended, these things come and go. Anyhow, it was about some young people developing apps and courting investors.

One app was a sort of scale-mixed-with-a-balance dealie you stood on to measure your health somehow--also if you changed something, jogged more, ate less, you entered that someplace and then it told you--on the spot--how the change had altered your life expectancy.

Well, my gut told ME--forget this! They were young--what a hoot. But as you get older and the wheels start to come off, you don't really want to know how your future has changed.

Anyhow, these are gross statistics applied to an individual--I think. I never did have it straight. But I know THAT does not mean much.

I am thinking of dropping DO THE HOPEY COPEY--the blog you are reading--but then I think I should add more blogs.

My gut hurts from all this reacting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hot--and not--in coming months

First, I am not doing 2013. I am doing Wednesday. So Happy Wednesday.

I had seven friends, relatives, or friends of friends I knew about die in 2012. I had weird-ass ailments, ER runs. Forget even thinking of a year...can't do it.

So....on Wednesday, what might we be looking at in a day or two...according to USA Today in a story by Bruce Horovitz, look for the Duracell Powermat--some battery operated thing to charge batteries on all your smart doohickies.

Or how about cool shaving--Braun CoolTec. Makes your face feel...well, cool. This will come some day in the Fall. Also--heard of cool tissue?--I had some tissues with something in them that made them feel cold. Weird.

How about sports dog food--you know, for active, for performance, etc. Cats have this--for fat, furball-afflicted, indoor and indolent.

How about smartphones for babies? Mickey or Minnie calls and says time to use the potty.

Age-defying shampoo. This is Pantene. Makes hair fatter.

Fat hair. Yeah, I like that one.

And last but not least, some weird powder to put on veggies. We used to call that salt.