Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Workforce a'changin'

According to CareerBuilder, the workforce is changing in this country.

--Women make up a greater percentage. In 2014, women made up 49%, compared with 48% in 2001.

--Men are branching into other professions (such as pharmacy and physical therapy)--gaining share in 79% of all occupations.

--Jobs with a high concentration of men still pay more, on average.  $25.49 median hourly for men, five bucks less for women.

--Women are losing share in high-paying jobs.

--Among the occupations that lost 10,000 or more jobs since 2001, 76% were male-dominated.

--Women dominate in college grads, not top-paying jobs.

--The teenage workforce is a third smaller than in 2001, while the age 56+ workforce is up 40%.

--Workers over 56 make up the workforce in 210 occupations--this used to be 86 occupations in 2014.

--Hispanic and Asian workers make up a greater percent of the workforce than in 2001. Hispanics hold 13% of jobs (2014) as opposed to 11% in 2001. Asians--5% in 2014, up from 4% in 2001. African-Americans stayed steady at 12%.

--Whites lost share--down 2% from 2001--to 71% of total.

--Non-whtie students also made up 37% of all associate, BA and post-grad course completers in 2013--up from 30% in 2004.

Pretty big shifts.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Making the most of a conference

A friend recently attended a huge conference in a distant city. She is a consultant and paid for it herself, so she had to make the most hay she could.

She has attended this same meeting for several years and says when she first went, she psyched herself to talk to anyone she saw, make as many contacts as possible.

Most of these, she says, did not pan out and were a waste of time.

So now she concentrates on asking questions of the "suits" who speak--brushing up on the industry and getting tidbits of info. When people hear her questions, they approach her.

She goes to breaknout sessions in things she is already working on--trying to get intel--rather than trying to spread out and get into every aspect of the industry.

She also talks to trade journalists there--they cover the waterfront and know the players.

Above all, being at this pricey conference gives her cred with her clients--and she reports back to those who did not attend on things that she learned.

So...from one who has been there and keeps going there...

In the day, I went to many conferences--I would try to find out ahead of time who would be there...I have a plan. That doesn't hurt, either.

Friday, March 27, 2015

My networking adventure

I graduated from The Elliott School of International Affairs at Geo Washington Univ in DC in 1966.

That is officially The Wayback.

I still get the alum magazine and emails from The Elliott School (is the "The" pretentious? Yeah, a little, I think).

Anyhow, I noticed they were having a virtual networking event. What is that?

Well, it turned out to be a computer-based chance to type back and forth with grads for up to eight minutes at a time--compare notes, maybe make a connection. They make a transcript you can look at later.

I signed up for LA--since I am seeking contacts for my cartoon venture.

The event was one hour. I sat there waiting for a contact to be flashed on my screen and then would engage in a little typed convo.

It was kind of high pressure--read, digest, type in a second...Most of the people were pretty recent grads, I think. Several in accounting... I would ask where do you work? Do you like it? I also in several instances, recommended this site for those looking for job advice.

I got one contact who might be useful in my cartoon area--an intellectual property lawyer. Will tag with him later.

If you are interested in setting something like this up, it was run by Brazen Careerist-- http://brazencareerist.com. I am sure they will be eager to help.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tips for successful conference calling

Isn't it weird--but you never hear of conference calling between friends. It's a business thing--made more popular in recent years by the cost of travel. It's quicker, cheaper.

According to Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, 29% of workers participate in at least one conference call a week.

So here are some tips on how to make it work for you.

--First introduce yourself before you speak--the most common mistake made is to not let others on the call know who is speaking.

--The person who leads the call should introduce the people present. Then this leader needs to keep the call on track, pay attention to time, and sum up and delegate action items.

--If you need to cough, drink, type or something else, mute your phone.

--Do not even "yes" or "uh-huh" if there are a lot of people on the call.

--Try to give the call your undivided attention. Only 29% said they did this. One in five gave half or less of their attention--checking email, texting, working on another project, surfing the internet, even leaving the room. Fifteen percent made fun of people on the call!

Be brief, be bold, be done is the motto.

If an issue comes up that involves only two people on the call--tag up later.

I don't care what you call it, it's still a meeting. Not a fan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tips for getting a decent home loan rate

Housing is creeping back up--not like a house afire (heh) but in the right direction.

Mortgage rates are still low, but come June, the Federal Reserve may ease govt subsidies to the financial system and rates may climb.

The rate you can get depends on your credit score and the amount you put "down."

--First size up your credit, writes Alex Vega, AP.You need good credit and proof of income these days, in addition to the down payment (which used to be zero). A FICO of 750 out of 850 should nail you a decent rate.

--Ask a lender to assess you. You will get a pre-approval letter if you pass muster.

--Keep an eye on fees, such as closing costs.

--Negotiate--Sometimes these fees are negotiable.

There is a lot to this--it is best to get a buyer's agent--worth the percentage. They will walk you through this.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Think of one thing you could do today to....

Is this little guy a boring cliche?
....Jumpstart your career. Work gurus Dale Dauten and JT O'Donnell talk to a guy who says he has made bad career choices and is now 50 and feels stagnant.

Dauten points out that stagnation can happen at any age--even the twenties. Many are in this boat by their 30s of 40s.

If you try to reignite your career then you may run into "age" issues--Dauten says so what, forget it.

You just have to work harder.

Get refreshers or new training.

Learn how to relate to and network with younger people.

Research your industry even if you've been it for years. Subscribe to the paper--read the biz sections.

Go to conferences if you can.

Get a new wardrobe or a couple of items.

And my advice is do one thing a day--just one--to blast through the glums and stagnation. Call someone, write a memo on an idea, ask someone to lunch, something...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Where does the day go?

Speaker Diana St. Lifer writes about time management.

See calls it "choice management."

When you let events manage you, she says, it's like a frantic video game--aliens coming at you from every direction, do this, no that, think about this, answer this...

Try to think of time as space to be filled with your choices and in the order you want.

Know your goals--finish a project, think of solutions, make friends, network...whatever it is. Each will result in different use of time.

Have a to-do list, don't jump from thing to thing.

Learn to say no--if something does not fit your taste or goal, bag it.

Keep checking your priorities--if you don't know which ones the boss wants first, second, third--ask.

I am a huge jumper-arounder. I need to do better.

Friday, March 20, 2015

How about a certification instead of a degree?

Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder, writes about some growing occupations that require or offer a certification to increase your appeal and pay.

One recruiter says you can never go wrong getting a certification.

Audio and video tech. Projected growth rate through 2022--9% (average). Society of Broadcast Engineers offers 8 certifications. Median pay--$41,200.

Court reporter. 10% growth rate (average). National Court Reporters Assn offers certifications in several areas. Median: $48,160.

Dental assistant. 25% growth (faster than average). National Dental Assisting Board. $34,500.

Emergency medical tech and paramedic. 23% growth (fast). National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. $31,020.

Heating, air conditioning and refrigeration mechanic and installer. Many courses and certifications. $43,640 a yr.

Heavy equipment and tractor-railer driver. 11% growth (average). Commercial driver's license.  $36,200.

Licensed practical and vocational nurse. 25% growth (fast). State programs leading to National Council Licensure Exam. $41,540.

Manicurist/pedicurist. 23% growth (fast).  License through state boards.

Massage therapist. 23% growth (fast). State exam or one of two national tests. $35,160.

Phlebotomist. 27% growth (fast). National Center for Competency Training, American Society for Clinical Pathology and American Medical Technologists offer certifications.

Skincare specialist. 40% growth (fast!). State licensing. $28,640.

Surgical technologist.  20% growth. National Board of Surgical Technology and Assisting offers a certification. $41,790.

These are just some--see if you can score a piece of paper that will make you more money.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cheers across America

I should have done this on St Pat's--but forgot. St Pat's is Amateur Hour in drinking world anyway.

I like bars. I like bartenders. But now I am too laid up to hang out, so this is a fond memory.

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, writes that there are 580,000 bartenders in the US. That is under two bartenders per 1000 people. So tip, people!

But--of course--in some cities it's easier to get a drink than in others.  The best places--New Orleans and Las Vegas, naturally. There are five innkeepers per 1000 in LV, 3+ in NO.

Next--Buffalo with 3 bartenders per 1000 people. Cleveland--same--three.

Milwaukee has almost three.

But then look at poor Key West--with 75K people, only 13 bartenders.

Spearfish, SD, 8 bartenders for 23K people.

Oh, this is too sad...I can't go on.

We need more bartenders!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Is March Madness work madness?

Lee Igel, writing on Forbes.com, says tens of millions of people come to work and then spend some time on their brackets.

Many companies accept this and know their bandwidth will be turned over to this pursuit.

This amounts to $1.9 billion in lost wages, according to one estimate.

But it seems so endemic and intense, it is hard or even impossible to prevent.

This is a short-term tradeoff for a long-term gain in morale. People who are happier at work tend to stay and work harder.

Still, some employers begrudge time spent watching games. Igel says this is a throwback to manufacturing days--when a line would have been stopped.

Knowledge workers can allot their time and are given more leeway.

Quashing March Madness may lead to grumpy Aprils...and who wants that?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to be a good coworker--or at least not rotten

Marla Gottschalk, Government Executive, says rotten coworkers can color the whole job or working experience.

We all know who they are--the whiners, the ones who don't show up, the blamers, the underminers, the gossipers, and so on. But what can you do to not be one?

First, Gottschalk says, offer to lend a hand sometimes. See someone struggling or on deadline--step in.

Don't keep every good thing for yourself--link people together.

Be upfront with your motives.

Remember, leaders are still coworkers. You may get promoted, but don't forget to be not rotten afterwards.

Champion people--and value the contribution of others.

I have found over the years that if you hang on too tight--battle people to protect your turf--somehow it slips away even faster.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Do you ever feel like the internet is the Forest Primeval?

I like to have an internet site I can go to every day or a few times a day and gossip, compare news and notes, and snark and joke.

I have had various ones over the years and over time, they have disappeared or changed in character depending on the people who start coming to them.

Sunday a site I have been contributing to (or I thought I was holding my own on posting fun pix, gossipy info, snark, etc) suddenly was trolled by some sick idiot who posted dismembered body pix. The site owner was not around (it was Sunday) and it took a while to get them off, but in the meantime, a regular was trying to insult this person and I said she wasn't helping.

OMG! It was World War III--how could I say ANYTHING critical of this poster? The hate poured forth--they spelled Star "RATS." So clever. Apparently because I had said in the past that I lived in DC for many years--this amounted to thinking I was so "great." Also I had once said I felt like down-arrowing some horrible comment. Apparently down arrows are NEVER to be used. How could I?

Ths site owner, who is funny and a good writer, sent me a long letter lambasting me for driving away her regulars.

Needless to say, I am done there. She said oh, do come back and snark. Uh...don't think so.

Remind me why we like the internet so much...I am losing the loving feeling.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Have you ever lied about your importance?

When someone asks, "What do you do?", what do you say? According to Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder, and a CB study, 11% of people um...lie...when asked that question.


--Embarrassed by the job--30%
--To impress friends--27%
--To impress new acquaintances--23%

and it went on down the list--to gain leverage with colleagues, negotiate a better deal, impress neighbors, get something for free,                                                           and other.

Other would probably people who just always lie. Even when the truth is interesting enough.

What do these lies consist of:

--Inflating scope of responsibilities--39%
--Inflating title--37%
--Inflating salary---30%
--Inflating influence in company--12%

and there were more reasons: Said they were management and they were not, inflated bonus or pretended to get one, pretended to be friends with the boss, pretended to have a degree they didn't have, said they won an award they didn't win, you get the drift.

When I left my "real" job many moons ago, my title was Assistant Legislative Counsel--before that it was Assistant TO the Legislative Counsel. Some people said--"Counsel? You are not a lawyer." I said becoming a lawyer took three years--getting that title took six years!

I have no idea what that means in this context--it just came to mind.

Personally, I find lies hard to keep straight--but I guess more agile minds than mine can do it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What do you know about senior management

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, says a recent CB survey shows that more than half of workers have never had a conversation with the CEO. A quarter say they don't even know what this person looks like (real good researching there, people).

What are bosses like?

Well, only one in five wears a suit or considers this appropriate office attire. Eighteen percent even wear jeans or shorts to work.

Most bosses drive to work.

Eighteen percent are environmentally aware--taking public transport (9%) hybrids (4%) or walking or riding a bike.

Don't count on Happy Hour to get to know the boss--more than half of senior management does not drink at office Happy Hours. They often opt for soda, water or coffee.

If you work a lot of overtime--chances are the boss does, too.Forty hours is a minimum cited by bosses--32% work 52 hrs or more.

One in five say they never work out. The other 82% work out one day a week, with almost 40% getting in four or more days a week.

If you had a chance to talk with the CEO--what would you say? Here are some things people did say:

--Give me a raise.
--Offer more chances for advancement.
--Come around more often and meet us.
--Empower us to develop products and services.
--Fire my manager.
--Get a clue how to run our company.
--Keep your promises.
--Trust the people below you.
--The inmates are running the asylum.
--Work on your communication skills.

Would some of these be AFTER you had an adult beverage not shared by your CEO?

Just wondering.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Grrr---customer disservice!

Can any company run itself anymore? I swear...I have a meltdown several times a week trying to get the basic services promised by American corporations and professionals such as physicians.

Nobody seems to know anything or get anything right! And they are LIARS.

Item: We go through the drive-through at Church's Chicken (we hate KFC). Twenty-four bucks worth of grub, which for that amount should come with a waiter. But I digress. Anyway--we ordered "a bunch of biscuits." Do they say how many do you want--they come in three and six? No--they put in one biscuit for three orders of food. I called and explained that they should have clarified this. What do I get? Excuses. "Bunch" is not an order. We did not notice when she reeled off our order that she said "biscuit" singular. Oh, yes, our fault for sure. So I went on the website to lodge a written complaint. It malfunctioned. So I called--and finally got a "sorry how can we make this right." Finally!


Now, my phone/internet/TV horror of a bill. I call every month. They lied up one side and down the other about what my bill would be if I switched to this company, which we affectionately call Century Stink, But now I have it and every month, "promotions" depart and the bill climbs--every month. Then the box went haywire and erased the recorded shows. They brought a new box and even though they said no charge--they tried to charge me $100 for it. I spent 40 mins trying to get that off...we will see if it's off come next bill.

If I call my doctor--they have this wacky screechy new age music that would MAKE you sick.

Every phone robot makes you repeat everything three times--at minimum. Then: "Sorry, I didn't get that."

Bah! I need a nap. This is turning me into a cranky oldster. Turning? Oh, never mind.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Snow scoff-laws

The white stuff is piling up alarmingly this winter! Eight and a half feet in Boston!  Robert D. Behn, a lecturer at the Harvard JK School of Govt, writes in Government Executive about how local govts handle people who don't do their civic duty and shovel.

If a home or business owner does not clear the sidewalk--people have to detour into the street and that is dangerous.

I remember in DC, one side of my block on Connecticut Ave, at least eight stores and a library, did not shovel...it turned to ice--very treacherous.

In one Massachusetts city, overnight snow must be cleared by 10 AM. Snow in the daytime? Get rid of it by 10 PM. First offense $50. Third--$200!

But this same city also decided to name and shame--anyone who did not shovel got a big ugly sign on their door.

Still, some owners say the sidewalk is not owned by them and should not be their problem.

Behn had a great quote from H.L. Menchen--"Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody might be looking."

Even if this does not faze you--would what your neighbors think of you be a motivator?

Should govertnment--some argue--even be in the business of shaming citizens? Well--check out the feds--they do it everyday. So I guess the answer is yes.

Aw--just shovel... You don't need some Harvard guy to tell you.

Monday, March 9, 2015

One man confesses: I did not advocate for women

Adam Grant, writing in Government Executive, Mar 6, 2015, lauds Judd Apatow for switching from Bromances to Bridesmaids--men to women. He now produces Girls on HBO. Personally, I have heard Apatow on TV and found him self-congratulatory and neurotic, but you can judge.

Grant says many men are blind to gender bias--they don't take it seriously. I guess he is saying Apatow does.

He says his own perspective changed when he had two daughters. He called it "the daughter effect." He even said having daughters made male executives pay women better.

His eyes, he said, opened with that Sheryl SAndberg's TED talk about gender discrimination.

But, Adam, Cheryl herself was brought along at Facebook by males!

Still Grant did not bring up gender bias while teaching at Wharton.

But look at corporate boards--there are more males on boards named John, Robert, William, or James than all women of any name!

Now--Grant does teach it--or rather, against it. He says he considers it a social, not a women's issue.

Now, guys, you know some woman is making you look good--be honest. Pay her--lavish her with money!

If you are a female boss--the same goes for you...Pay for excellence and loyalty.

Friday, March 6, 2015

We need a better "snow day" deal

When my daughter was young, I remember the giddy hours in the morning when snow was falling in Washington, DC--would school be closed? She would snuggle in bed with her radio waiting, waiting, then BAM! St Anne's was closed! Yay!

Suddenly she was infused with energy--racing around the apt--a long day was coming. Even though I worked at home, I needed some quiet and peace. I would try to get her to walk or run in the halls--no way! It was TV all day!

Now with this warming or cooling (who knows) stuff, the snow is blanketing back east. In Boston, kids have missed nine to 11 days. Detroit is one day from it's allowed maximum of missed days.

Parents freak out, trying to find child care.

The districts are trying to make up the lost days. In Salem Mass, students and teachers have to come in for two days of Spring Break. Other areas are adding days to the end of the term. Some kids will go to school on Good Friday. Still other areas are lengthening the days.

Or--kids must WORK from home--with by going online or using "blizzard bags" of worksheets.

Aw, what fun is that?

I am kidding--I approve. These kids are so undereducated as it is. Watching The Price is Right all day is hardly educational.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Hardest working cities in the US

Want to work hard and scramble to the top? Kathryn Dill, Forbes.com, talks about the hardest working cities.

Number 1--Anchorage, Alaska.

WalletHub looked at the 16 most populous cities--average workweeks, commute time, labor force participation rate, workers with more than one job, hours volunteering per resident, average days a month with below-average sleep, and average daily leisure time.

This was the cities alone--not surrounding areas.

First, Americans are four times as productive now as in the 1950s.

In 1950, Americans worked 214 more hours a week than they did then. This is due to techonology, a lot of it. But still, Americans work 50% more than their European counterparts.

In Anchorage, residents work an average of 40.7 hours a week. The labor participation is almost 80%.

Virginia Beach, Virginia, has an average week of just over 40 hours. Labor participation is 77.8%.

Next are Plano, TX, Cheyenne, WY, and Irving, TX with just over 40 hours a week and labor participation of about 80%.

At the other end--Burlington, VT--33.1 hours a week, under 71% participation.

You are enjoying life a little too much, Vermont. Step it up!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Too much STEM?

Alexandra Ossola, Nextgov Mag, Dec 3, 2105, says many companies are financing STEM programs--and of course, the government is pushing science, tech, engineering and math like mad.

STEM STEM STEM. Is this being overdone? She says sometimes this can be an overused buzzword.

Students pressed into these majors can fail to get a well-rounded education.

She quotes David Drew, an education prof at Claremont Graduate Univ in California and author of STEM the Tide.

He says there is a profound shift in how the economy functions--since the 1960s, the economy has moved more to being a service economy.  More time on customers, less time on product.

While this means more technology to help customers, the T part in STEM may be emphasized. But there is not likely to be a shortage of scientists.

Drew also says there are barriers to getting into STEM fields--discrimination even.

The United States is not at the top of STEM. But being literate in these areas, he says, is the equivalent of being literate and numerate in the 19th century.

But the jobs may not exist--so why push it so hard. Because we should, Draw says, basically.

This conversation, he says, will be kicking around for a while.

What does this amount to? If you do not want to be a scientist or technologically oriented--it is probably OK--but most students will continue to get a push into these areas.

My take, anyhow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Where else you gonna fish?

You know the saying--"Never fish off the company pier."

This means don't date people at work. But Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, says one of their surveys shows that 37% of workers have dated their coworkers.

Basically, the idea is that people are there--you see them every day--you know their reputation--you see them at their best and worst.

What's more--Tarpey reports--in 19% of those who have done this, one or both people were married.

In three in 10 cases, this dallying led to marriage.

What would keep someone from an office romance?

39% said this does not work on a consistent basis.

25% tried it already.

20% travel a lot.

8% work nights.

Incidentally, women are less likely to date someone who has dated a coworker. Men don't seem to care as much.

All this is fascinating, but as someone who tried this ill-advised behavior--expect the unexpected. All I am saying.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lessons from Pepsico's summer internship

Want a summer internship with a big player?

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, writes about this. First there are things to do NOW.

Create or update your res. Go online--find out how to write one. Or check with your collegeoutplacement office.

Take risks--approach your dream place--what do you have to lose?

As an example, Pepsico held a meeting of the Minds Contest.

It closed, but you could still take a page from it and create a short video relating to the business of your target company. Pick subject matter you as a younger person would know about--tech, music, athletics.

 Show your passion--your talent--even your humor!