Monday, June 30, 2014

What grade would your boss get?

Lunch time!
Ever wish you could give your boss and A to F rating?

Of course, they did a study and 63% of US workers said their manager deserved an A or B (CareerBuilder, June 19, 2014).

Twenty-three percent said C.


And F--5%.

Communicators rated higher than Silent Sams. This includes email and texting.

What earns an F--dopey or horrible requests unrelated to the job.


Getting an underling to fire someone and drive the person home.

Coach others on how to beat a drug test.

Put weird purchases on their Amazon acct so the boss's wife wouldn't find out.

Go on the roof and see if there were any dead birds.

Well, heck YES! We can't have dead birds up there.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Ew--not at the office

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, June 16, 2014, advises us of some things NOT to do at work. Really--we need to read this? Guess so.

Clip your toenails.

Bringing your pet bird to work.

Shave your legs in the Ladies.

Blow bubbles outside to see if they would freeze.

Hide to scare people.


Sleep but then say you were praying.

Take bathroom selfies.

Change clothes in your cubicle.

Warm your feet under the bathroom air dryer.

I once put a black paper May Basket on my doorknob with catsup coming out. And I kept my job.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Aging in place, you mean, living?

Most oldies, including your humble blogger, do not care to be a "home" even if we could afford a "home," which we can't.

So we are in our houses, for the time being. This is called aging in place. (Where do they come up with this stuff?)

Shirley S. Wang, WSJ, June 3, 2014, talks about some new wrinkles. I have also written about this for the Washington Post and others--floor sensors to tell if "Grandma" has gotten out of bed--reports back to adult children--and so on. My adult child lives here.

Some approaches:

Wearable alarms--"I've fallen and I can't get up" etc.

Radar to detect people in the home from a distance. Creepy.

3D sensors like in video games. No idea what this is.

They are using young people to take fake falls--teaching them to fall like old people. Now there's a job, kids.

In one nursing home, if a patient falls--the staff gets an email. An email? No carrier pigeons? They measure people's stride length, pulse, respiration to figure out what they are doing.

We're watching Real Housewives--now scram!

OK, I should not be such a smartass. I creep around my home aging away, afraif of falling, half-blind.  I really hate alll this.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Don't make these rookie mistakes

Maybe you just graduated or have been out of the job market a spell--Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, says:

Don't put too much weight on your GPA. Great academics are not controlling in getting a job.

Do your research. Go to the library--read up on the company on the internet.  See if the company is in the social media.

Stay up on industry trends, the field in general.

Consider temp or short-term to get your foot in the proverbial door. Some temp agencies even offer helpful courses.

Don't limit yourself to jobs directly related to your degree.

Do not make the interview about you, how much you need the job. Talk about how you can be an asset to the company.

Dress appropriately and be enthusiastic.

Don't focus on salary to decide yes or no. There may be other considerations.

And don't take the wrong job just to work.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Which comes first--major or career path?

Some people--CareerBuilder says--enter college knowing what they want to "be." Others pick a major at some point but may end up doing unrelated work.

Should you pick a major and then see what jobs fit it--or think about your interests and then select a major?

Of course this depends.

If you want to be a doctor or say am accountant, mechanical engineer, or a chemist--you need to get in the proper major early.

A lot of skills aren't subject-focused--for instance, ability to work in a team, communicate, solve problems.

Down the line in college, you may need to decide how big an issue money is for you, can you have the career and the family you want at the same time, do you want to help people.

If you think you picked the wrong major and can't start over, take electives of interest.

Actually you will have many careers--not jobs--and plenty will match up to what you learned in college. Or not. Maybe some will be OJT--that's on the job training.

I was an Asian Studies major--never used it except to write a big story on China. I ended up being a lobbyist and then a reporter. Now I am back to screenwriting.

But you never know--my senior thesis was on man undersea--that paper got my my job in the aerospace industry.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Reverse mentoring--can work out

I had an exasperating conversation with my DSL provider over whether the black thing next to my computer was the modem. I still don't know.

The young chap seemed quite annoyed with me.

Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, May 28, 2014, advises older managers to admit defeat and get a youngster to tutor them in bits and bytes and social media.

Often. though, these pairups don't work--the younger person may be intimidated by the CEO sitting there.

One woman was in computers at MasterCard when she was asked to tutor the human resources director. He wanted to relate better to employees born after 1980 (37% of the workforce). Also he wanted to reach young people better to get them to get a MasterCard.

The older man stepped up his visits to LinkedIn and to share with his connections there.

The young woman asked him how he wanted to brand himself in cyberspace. He had no idea.

She researched things for him, helped him make up tweets.

His 26-yr-old son said he never thought dad would be in Twitter. He also has 2300 LinkedIn connections and tweets 50 times a month--all by himself.

Once, coming back from a meeting, he tried to talk to his young mentor, but she was eyeing her phone. He said it was like being with his 14-yr-old daughter.

Yet, the young woman now reviews MasterCard websites and has gained in stature and confidence.

Winners all!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Young people--Uncle Sam wants you

According to a story in the WSJ, Rachel Feintzeig, June 11, 2014, only 7% of government employees are under 30.

This compares to 25% in the private sector.

The government may fall behind in technology (cough, Obamacare website, VA, cough). What about our digital future--with hackers sniffing everyplace and that sort of thing?

Yet, the federal hiring process is confusing and lengthy and deeply broken.

Getting more young people in is a challenge, according to the head of the Office of Personnel Management.

When surveyed, only tiny percentages of STEM grads want to go into the government.

They say since the shutdown last year, it's too unstable.

What about how no one gets fired? Doesn't that give anyone heart?

Come on--someone has to.

Check out Yes, Jooble.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

And the young shall lead us

Kids today are not that into getting a car. Digest that one.

But we are supposed to follow their lead in technology, according to Geoffrey A. Fowler, WSJ, June 11, 2104.

First, forget email. Only 6% of kids do this old-hat thing. They use it only for communicating with colleges and other official things.

Instead, they cobble up apps like SnapChat, Facebook Messenger and Twitter to talk to select people.This can avoid all conversations being saved, too.

Ninety-one percent of teens use images to communicate. Just don't overshare. You know what I mean.

You can hide your identity with unexplained jokes or hang with friends on Minecraft and group Skypes.

Teens also toss the user manual and find ways to bend these programs to their will. The send a friend a tiny amt of money on Venno instead of a Like.

I am so lost.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Don't forget to be awesome

Are you sick of that word? I am. But it's a catchphrase now--there are bracelets that read DON"T FORGET TO BE AWESOME. I sometimes (ironically, of course) say that to my kid.

Anyhow, Jessica Wrobel, CareerBuilder, writes about The LEGO Movie and the lessons of life therein.

An ordinary construction worker, Emmet, is picked to save the word from President Business.  He has help from other Lego figures.

Everyone in LEGO world since a song called Everything is Awesome. The evil Business dude uses positivity to keep everyone in line.

But even negative people need to concentrate on what is going right SOMETIMES.

Each of Emmet's allies uses his or her special power to great advantage. He is supposed to be a master builder--but really isn't--and he uses the powers he does have.

If you need an idea--look at the ideas you do have first. then gen up as many as you can.

So....I guess this is the toy theory...

What can I say? Don't forget... Aw, never mind. That evil business thing left me cold--try getting a job from someone who is not in business.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Blessed interns

Martha Mendoza, AP, AZ Republic, June 15, 2014, says people who intern at the Silicon Valley biggies--Google, Twitter et al--roll in perks.

Bikes, buses, massages, pools, classes, parties, housing...the good tech life.

Of course, they also get paid--thousands a month. This isn't volunteer.

The companies look at this as a chance to snag talented people for the long haul. They troll the gold-plated schools--Stanford, Brown, MIT, Princeton.

Of course, the companies hope they come back summer after summer for the technical challenges.

Of course.

Now, peel me an organic grape and where is my finished laundry?.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Restauranteur incubators

When I was a reporter just starting out, I wrote a story for the Wash Post on people who started food empires in their own kitchens. Even then, regulations were pushing them into facilities approved for preparation of food for sale.

Amy Edelen, special to the AZ Rep, June 15, 2014, says out here in AZ we have an incubator facility for restaurant entrepreneurs--one of 135 shared-use kitchens in the US.

It's called the Arizona Culinary and Wine Center in Tempe. The owner is opening a larger one downtown.

Such incubators have approved kitchens for rent, but also marketing and business help.

LaCocina--in San Francisco--is aimed at low income women wanting a food business. To even apply, you need a business plan, though they will help you with it before applying.

The Phoenix one is looser--they will help you develop a business plan if need be after you are in.

These "reduce the risk of failure"--a good thing.

I remember one of the women I interviewed talking about picking her way across her slippery, ice covered yard with her hands full of cheesecakes.

Maybe a truck could pull up at one of these incubators--much better.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Are you too smart for your own good?

Maurice Ewing, PhD, an entrepreneur, says some of the smartest people he knows are unemployed or underemployed for long periods.

Supposedly the better thinkers they are, the more blindspots they have. They trust their guts more. Guts can be full of it.

Many "smart" people don't seem to be looking for a job. If you list yourself as a CFO on Linked In, yo may get a call--"Financial Wizard" may not trigger an overture.

Smart people's CVs may be too long--they do a lot in a small period of time because they are so smart, get it?

Smart people often confine themselves, wanting a strict matchup of experience and duties.

They also may be too humble. Yes, some are braggy. But truly intelligent people want to seem "normal."

Does any of this sound familiar?

You may not want to slap your Mensa card on the table first thing, but charm and well-roundedness play well in most situations.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Do some biz schools "enhance" applicant numbers?

Melissa Korn writes about this in the WSJ, June 5, 2014.

The elite business schools seems swamped with applicants--sometimes as much as a 20% increase from last year.

Harvard, UCLA, Univ of NC--all boasting bumper crops of would-be grads.

Yes, Millennials are thinking there is a chance of getting a job, but a lot of it is aggressive recruiting abroad.

The more applicants, the more desirable a school looks--and the more selective it can be.

Some schools are trying to boost the waning interest of US students by holding info sessions and getting back to those who started, but did not complete, applications.

Business school is a business, too, after all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A tale of two age groups

Matt Ferguson, CareerBuilder, June 5, 2014, says the Boomers and Millennials have fared differently in the Great Recession.

Housing, stocks, and jobs were affected--and the effects slammed through.

From 2007-13, the number of jobs held by Boomers grew 9%. For Millennials (22-34) job growth was non-existent.

Millennials were starting, Boomers ending. With the weak prospects, Millennials left the force in greater numbers or took crappy jobs.

Boomers postponed retirement and did not leave--cutting openings.

Those over 55 have never been this prevalent in the workforce. Still--they are leaving at some point.. But when?  Older people are now a bigger percentage of the population.

So where does that leave us? I am not sure, but I do think this is significant. I know younger people leaving boring jobs or job hopping without a qualm. I also know people who can't retire or don't want to.

I guess we just keep on keepin' on, as we used to say.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Do you annoy would-be employers?

Val Matta, VP of business development at CareerShift, says 2/3 of those who get interviewed don't follow up and following up is good--but many people do it wrong.

Be sure you contact the right person. Thank the person who posted it on social media, for instance.

Do not call or email if the posting says not to.

Do take schedules into account, Matta says. Wait a week at least. Even then people don't have time to respond to everyone. Face it.

You can follow up twice--that's it. Things do get lost in the shuffle.

Still nothing? You need to cut your losses. It's probably not personal--maybe someone else was more quallified or the boss's nephew or something.

Move on.

Also have more than one thing out--work with a net.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Yes--Pay me every time I am annoyed

Don't get your hopes up--we are talking about travel insurance, according to Scott McCartney, WSJ, May 29, 2014.

If your flight is delayed--bam! If you miss a connection--money!

For domestic trips, this costs $25. It's called Air-Care. (It's from Warren Buffet's Berkshire-Hathaway--those people probably don't even know where a commercial airport is, but I digress.)

You get $50 if a flight is two hours late.Five hundred if your luggage is 12 hours behind you. Ditto for a missed connection.

Miss a connection and sit on the tarmac? Jackpot--$1,500!

Sounds like it could be a pain to collect, but supposedly they crank over the dough on the spot.

I will never fly again--ick, what a foul way to get someplace.

Now, let's talk Annoyance Insurance for everyday life--say $25 if someone would really like to take your call, but is--most horribly regrettably--helping someone more worthy.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

When you lose your smartphone

Have you wondered at all how that Bergdahl guy emailed his parents and fellow soldiers after leaving the base in the actual middle of nowhere? Hmmmm.

Anyhow, if you lose your smartphone in more civilized areas, Geoffrey A. Fowler and Nathan Olivarez-Giles, WSJ, May 29, 2014, write that real-time data can help before the phone is deactivated. Apple has something called Find My Phone.

Apparently this sets a message on the phone to call a number--Apple also follows up and tracks. But then what? If the police won't run over, do you brace down some jerk yourself?

If the police do come with, all they can do is ask if the phone is there. If the jerk says no, endy story.

Still one woman went to the door and the man who answered said he might have picked it up at the bar by mistake--he handed it over.

This is considered finding property--not actionable. If someone snatches it from your hand, that is theft.

The police may respond to that.

Anyone else have ideas?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Staying out of--or coming out of--retirement

You're too old to sit around! Retirement brings on you know what--and it isn't good. You have heard all this.

Some people, and I am one, just like being busy. Anyhow, who has money these days--we can't live on our savings at zero interest.

Kim Monaghan, CareerBuilder, May 24, 2104, talks about how to stay in the game.

The labor participation rate of those over 55 is climbing.  By 2018, almost a fourth of those over 65 will be working.

Don't let your fear or discomfort over technology worry you. You need to get techy. Learning new things keeps you sharp, anyhow. Attend seminars, classes.

Also, get used to it--almost everyone will be younger. What they like to call a multigenerational deal. You can even learn from these youngsters.

If you company has a wellness plan (that word again!) use it. Stay fit.

And don't check out of the game. Mentor younger workers. Join groups. Speak. Go to breakfasts and meetings.

And by all means, don't advise people to get off your lawn. Big no-no.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Be the best at all times--like my daughter

My daughter is an adult but she works at Wendy's because she likes it. It's walking distance, second shift, she has her days free to sleep or hang out, or both.

When she is on the mic, she opens with "Welcome to my Wendy's."

She has gotten several compliments on Wendy's website--but this one was stupendous:

"I wanted to compliment one of your employees, Kelsey. This location isn't the closest to where I live, but I now specifically make the extra drive because of Kelsey. She always remembers my wife and I and always provides the best customer service I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Our order is always correct, the food always hot and fresh, and she always remembers to throw in a couple extra crackers and chili sauce for my chili!...Because of Kelsey, this location has earned a customer for life."

So--pretty cool? I was busting my buttons with pride! One time Kelsey joked that she was a "window professional."

What is the takeaway (heh) here...Be the best no matter what you are doing. And, second, people are noticing--remember that.

Monday, June 2, 2014

You would know "vocal fry" if you heard it

It's a way of speaking going around--the sort of creaky, drawn out words...not Valley Girl, exactly, but distinctive.

Kim K, Britney Spears, and Zooey Deschanel do it, to name a few. Young women, usually.

According to Gail Sullivan, Wash Post, June 2, 2104, researchers at Long Island Univ are looking into this.


Because having a "creaky" voice can make you less hireable. See the journal PLoS ONE.

In this article, Duke researchers recorded seven women between 19 and 27 and seven men 20 to 30. They said the same phrase in their own voices and in vocal fry.

Because some think women use vocal fry to sound more low-pitched like men, this was accounted for.

Still, men, more than women, were deemed less competent, educated and trustworthy if they spoke this way.

Older observers disliked the vocal fry technique more than younger ones.

Soooo......So, I don't know. Don't speak like this if you do?