Friday, January 29, 2016

You will have seven careers in your life

Time to wear a new hat? 
This is what we used to tell people in an employment mentoring program I used to run,

Matt Tarpey, CareerBuilder, says if this is the year you change your focus, you need to get started.

Assess yourself first. Look at your likes, dislikes, talents, past successes--and past less than successes.
Be realistic. Sometimes people do start medical school in their thirties, but it's rare.

Then look at your target market. Pick an industry or job on the way up--not out.

Need new skills to make the jump? Then you need to get them. Explore free online courses, low-cost community college, company training programs, apprenticeships.

Make a list of everything you want from the new career--more money, satisfaction, a different location, new subject matter, to work with a different sort of people, etc. See how options line up with these wishes.

And be patient. You may be in the chosen "business" a decade or longer... Wait for the right fit.

Sure, it sounds easy on paper--but this is a big life decision. I have had basically three careers. They just sort of happened. Would it have been different if I had approached it this carefully. No idea.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why oh why is technology such a pain?

On the good side, I am getting requests for my cartoon scripts, which means signing a release form--and this means needing to scan it. I had no scanner, but had to buy a printer that has one.

The carton came. This is the exact point at which I FREAK OUT.

Luckily, my daughter is not intimidated by manuals and installs (although she has no use for the internet or twitter or any Millennial doodad).

She worked five hours on getting this thing going and we still don't have the proper driver. She insists she will get it done this evening.

I swear in my paranoia that some teenagers kloodge this stuff together and then the same day, invent another version of everything which does not work with the preceding one.

Back in the day, when IBM had two systems--A & B...We had B. And we still had issues.

And don't even get me started on AOL. I have had it since it was invented. And it still does not work.

The last time I hired a "geek," he estimated two hours at $100 per and yakked with me a third hour, which he also charged for.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How to manage robot employees

Artificial intelligence is here, according to Bruno Benton, Nextgov.

Many industries already have blended it into their operations. Robo-analysts offer investment advice. Smart glasses help people repair equipment. Drones take care of crops.

The problem is, AI will increasingly free managers from time-consuming tasks. The "human work" will focus on interpersonal relations, helping staff with problems, and interacting with customers.

Yet, 57% of a sample of 1,700 managers wondered whether they had the skills to succeed in this new role over the next five years.

They also do not trust AI to make business decisions. Fourteen percent of lower-level managers had such doubts, and nearly half of the top managers felt the same.

Companies need to do a better job experimenting with fitting AI into the company. Managers have to see this isn't happening TO them, it's something they control.

For one thing, many managers now consider grasp of technology their number one need in five years--where interpersonal relations might be more important as AI takes over the tech aspect.

Just to get employees to work with robots will require some mad interpersonal skills.

Remember that Bender from FUTURAMA? He was a needy one.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Good old Evelyn Wood

Silly rabbit, you are not reading're
 running fast.
Do you even know who Evelyn Wood is? Back in the day--way back--she personified "speed reading," which was a fad for quite a while.

Speed readers were depicted as running their hands down a page at lightning speed--then saying, "got it." Everyone wanted to know how to do it.

I guess speed reading is still around--and some people think it's the solution to the text we must read every day--from emails to white papers. In fact, I learned, it is back in vogue, but dolled up in digital.

In a report in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a scientist at Univ of California San Diego, named Elizabeth Schotter, concluded that there is--sadly--a tradeoff between speed and comprehension.

Skilled readers can read at 200-400 words a minute. But some speed reading "technology" (besides the hand guiding down the page) puts the words rapidly in the middle of a screen, each new word replacing the previous one.

Problem is, shifting the eye back to the left takes only 10% of the time in reading. And the brain processes the ideas by seeing ahead and combining the words into a thought or sentence.

In tests later, these speed readers don't do well.

Still, they tell us, skimming can increase speed--you can get the gist.

Evelyn would be scandalized--the gist?

Oh, well, no shortcuts to glory.

Your estimated time to read this: One minute.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Top water cooler health issues

They're well hydrated anyhow.
The Mayo Clinic's National Health Checkup is a poll of sorts on how Americans look at health.

The top resolution for 2016--eat better. Second was exercise more. And third was schedule a wellness visit with the doctor.

Women were more likely than men to say they will do things to improve their health in 2016.

--Eat a healthier diet (80% of women, 67% of men)

--Schedule a wellness visit (70% to 62%

--Get more sleep (67% to 58%)

--See the doctor for symptoms (62% to 51%)

--Take a nutritional supplement (63% to 47%)

--Schedule a milestone screening (56% to 26%)--only a quarter or men will get a colonoscopy

Interesting, people in their 30s were less optimistic than other groups about aging better than their parents.

The survey also show telemedicine is still gaining ground, but most people would prefer an in-office visit.

As for what people talk about by age group:

--20s--Healthy meal options (there's that kale again)

--30s--Maintaining a healthy weight and parents' health issues

--40s--Maintaining a healthy weight and children's health issues

--50s-80s--Their own health issues

That's the truth--that last one. I never thought I would be whining about pain and intestinal problems like all the older people I knew as a kid--but sure I am.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Blizzed out

Flake Fiction
Nothing like living in the desert and watching people cope with snow. I believe they call this schadenfreude. Sad-happy.

My old stomping grounds--Washington DC--is apparently expecting two feet of the white stuff. So many memories--being hip deep in snow and slowly tumbling over sideways and my daughter, then about 8, laughing hysterically. People cross-country skiing on Connecticut Avenue. Getting the last bottle of milk off the smeary shelf in the store.

Updating the scene: Now--I read--the delivery apps are doing two and three times their usual business to get essential liquor and other goodies into homes, where the federal employees will await, having been let off early. The mail carrier, Dominos--are you artifacts of a distant age as Ubers creep through the unplowed streets?

It all takes on a holiday atmosphere--off work, a snow day...all memories of trying to get home Wed and Thurs with one inch of snow now in the rear view.

Monday the little kids will tune into radios to hear which schools are closed...or do they do email blasts now or something. The radio? Where have I been? Oh, that's right--the desert.

And if it doesn't happen--and I have found when widely heralded like this, it often does not--well, I had the memories.

If you want all this to be bittersweet, come on out to Arizona--where all the flakes are human.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Think you'd be a good air traffic controller?

Laura Pizzo, writing in The Desktop Economist, says there is an air traffic controller shortage as the baby boomers retire and is only going to get worse as more leave.

Will there be enough young people to replace them?

Half of the controllers are 45 or older now. Twenty percent are over 55.

This would seem to be a profession appealing to middle-skill people--at almost $60 an hour. Also, the educational requirements are relatively low--60% have less than a bachelor's degree.

Also this is a profession that really helps people.

People who completed training between 2003 and 2013 were up 151%, with some dips.

But on 2013, there were fewer completions than openings.

Just completing a program does not mean a student will pass the air traffic standardized aptitude test. (AT-SAT).

And the job is high stress.

Are you up to it? How about you military people who did this in the service?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Reasons you coworkers may not like you

Mary Lorenz, CareerBuilder, says think of work as a reality show--you didn't come to make friends. Or did you?

Being dislikeable can hurt your career.

The less likable you are, the less cooperation you will get, the fewer recommendations for promotion, and so on.

So what things make you dislikeable?

--Never sharing the spoptlight. Stealing other people's thunder. Acting superior. Give credit where it's due.

--Never admitting mistakes. Blaming on someone else or covering up--make you disliked.

--Complaining. Negativity pushes others away.

--Anti-social. At least attempt to get into the spirit and participate in some activities.

--Bad body language. Most communication is non-verbal. Looking bored, eyerolling, looking down all the time--not attractive.

--Not respecting others' time and space. Entering without knocking, being loud--all create enemies. Call ahead.

--Gossiping. This can get into bullying. No one likes that.

You don't have to be liked by all--no one is. But try not to be reviled, Lorenz says.

Key to my career--try not to be reviled.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Is an elderly person you know being scammed?

Most people know by now that the prince in Nigeria isn't really leaving them his money, but there are many other scams, many of which are targeted to the elderly.

Older people answer the door, answer the phone, have money saved, and like to talk or relate to people. Prime marks.

A company called SYNERGY HomeCare has compiled a Senior Scam Alert Guide.

Seniors lose $36/48 million to scams. The average loss is $30,000.

The "illicit eight" scams are:

--Contractor fraud
--Romance scams
--Grandparent scams
--Overpayment scams
--Medicare scams
--Bogus charities
--Prize awards

The aim is to steal the identity or get their paws on the actual cash or gifts.

For every case reported, dozens go unreported. People are too embarrassed.

My mother was waltzed around by a horrible cab driver--he took her to lunch, brought her single roses, and in the end, she bought him a car and a gun. Then we found out--and stopped it.

Be alert.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Multitasking is bad for you and your resume

I am of a, ahem, certain age and find I can't multitask very well anymore. In fact, it scares me when my friends, also of that certain age, try to talk to me on those dopey phones and drive the car. You can be talking with them, even on speaker, and all of a sudden they blurt out, "Hey, put on your blinker!"  Shows you are second, their driving is first. How about one or the other?

I know, I am an old crock. But that is how I feel.

But now, a young crock named Anne Grinois, assistant dean for faculty development at Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, says employers are more interested in outcomes than your efforts--so putting multitasking on your resume maybe a mistake.

She cites some myths about multitasking:

#1--People believe they can focus on two mental activities at once. While the subconscious can take care of some parts of familiar activities, but driving should not be one.

Conscious activity happens one activity at a time. Say you text during a meeting, you will likely miss the meeting part.

#2--People think they can go back and forth between two mental activities and stay on top of both. Poor outcomes and burnout will like prove that wrong. Grinois did a study where people kept their phones in class and tried to read a lesson.  The more they texted, the less well they did on a test of the material.

#3--People also believe they can monitor themselves as they multitask. Most of us do not do this as well as we think.

Grinois reminds us of what a fourth grade teacher once told her class. "Do not watch TV while you do your homework, or you will find yourself doing TV while watching your homework."

Bam! Good one,.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tupperware reaches out

Tupperware, a giant with more than $2.6 billion in operating revenue, has reached out to Brigham Young Univ students for product ideas that will appeal to Millennials.

A third-year studio class at the school spent a semester brainstorming ideas. Tupperware likes BYU--and has hired students as interns.

The students came up with three suggestions for those Millennials:

--Produce authentic, sustainable, and versatile products.

--Create a meaningful online presence.

--Continue to home sales parties with workshops on both new foods and new cooking methods.

Millennials think inviting strangers into their homes to sell to them is a little strange. So that needs to be tweaked. Maybe more meaningful convo and less sales pitching.

One student recommended a "buy a product, give a product" idea. Buy kitchen tools and then send an identical kit to someone in need in the world.

Another proposed a multi-purpose bowl that could be baked in, stored in, or displayed.

Or how about biodegradable products--bury them in dirt for 47 days and they reabsorb?

Does Tupperware still "burp"? What's not to like about that?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

When to talk money

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, says it's tricky to know when to discuss money in a job interview.

Do you, as the applicant, even bring it up--or should you wait until the employer makes an offer?

That depends...

You need to time it right. Bringing it up too soon takes away from the case you are trying to build on why you should be hired. It's presumptuous.

Most experts say wait for the offer or strong signs of an offer coming. Say, when they say how soon can you start--or can we check your references.

According to one authority, you need to say you are very interested in the job and might you ask the compensation?

If it doesn't feel right, then wait until the employer makes an offer.

Have an acceptable range in mind, the experts recommend. You can get average pay for various jobs at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Know your own worth so you an defend your desired figure.

Back in the day, we used to ask for perks if the salary stated was less than we wanted. Or maybe for a review in six months.

What would I do? Well, one thing would be to try to avoid being tied to the amount you made in your past job. If the new duties warrant a salary twice what you made before, you need to discuss why 10% more than you made before is not really acceptable.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Find your calling

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, says deciding on a career is not easy. Some people fall into a job. When I taught job hunting, we told people they might have as many as seven careers over a lifetime.

You may know what you like or are good at, but have no idea how that translates into money.

Well, CareerBuilder has joined with Economic Modeling Specialists Intl, to create Find Your Calling, a website that puts data science and inisghts to work to help you choose a career.

You take a simple interactive personality test, and are presented with careers that would suit you.

March 2 is Find Your Calling Day. Groups across the country will take the personality test and fan out over social media to report their results.

Based on these results, networking events will be created.

You can even host one of these...

Go to for more information.

C'mon...Find your passion, learn your passion, face the future...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Highest stress jobs--for 2016

War v bridezilla
Kathryn Dill,, says some jobs just are stressful and all the meditation in the world won't cure it (I added the meditation part).

A place called CareerCaste rated 200 professions by 11 stress factors... Such as travel required, deadlines, public scrutiny, physical demands, environmental conditions, hazards, risk to life, and interactions with the public.

In first place: Enlisted military. Median salary, $28,000ish.


Airline pilots

Police officers

(Not based on risk to life or physical demands):

Event coordinators

Public relations executives

Senior corporate executives


Newspaper reporter

Taxi driver (could some some physical risk)

A couple of these made me look twice. A wedding planner is more stressed than an ER doctor or air traffic controller? A newspaper reporter is more stressed than a movie director?

Well, for what it's worth...

Monday, January 11, 2016

The December jobs report--mixed

I've heard of bad apples--but sad ones? 
I am no admirer of this administration, although I leave politics pretty much out of this site. I do think these jobs reports are spun pretty hard. There may be more jobs, for instance, but not enough to replace those lost, or just seasonal, or part-time, or they ignore the fact that millions have left the workforce--given up or can't find squat. Or whole sectors--say manufacturing (cars excepted)--are lolling in the ditch.

Deanna Hartley writes in CareerBuilder about the latest report--December. First, she says, it was a strong close to 2015--with 292,000 jobs added in December.  Economists predicted 200,000, so this is way more than expected. Unemployment, as they measure it, stayed at 5%.

Hartley also says the previous months were revised up by a total of 50,000 jobs.

But--wages are still no where near where they should be, she says. She quotes the NYT as saying sluggish wage growth remains a persistent thorn--they were also flat in December.

Throw in the shaky stock market and talk of another recession, and how much of this "job growth" is real?

I honestly do not know. But, still--all you need is one!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Do you have "recruiters" calling you?

What are you up to, buddy?
I have a friend who's a high-end medical writer and she gets calls from executive recruiters off her Linked In profile. They set a time to talk to her, ask for her resume, then nada...they vanish.

First, you must understand recruiters are not like an employment agency trying to find you a job--they work for the company trying to find an employee. Or they may be trying to get a company as a client. You are grist for their mill--you make money for them. Not the other way around.

Liz Ryan, writing on, says they tell five lies.

--"I just want to hear your story, I have no job specs yet." Ryan says this is not true--no one would waste their time talking to someone without knowing what they were looking for in the person.  The recruiter who says this is adding you to the database. If you feel they are doing this, say, "Do you have a specific client?"

--"I will get back to you this week, I promise." Recruiters blow off clients all the time. Say, "I don't mind sending my resume, but if I don't hear back this week, you can't present me to this employer."

--"I need to know your salary history." Ryan says sure, recruiters would like to know your salary history, but they don't need to know this to present you to a client. They are trying to keep the upper hand. If they insist on a salary history, walk away.

--"The client told me you are not a good fit." They may not have even talked to the client. They might have been hoping your resume will get them in the door, as a matter of fact.

--"You need to trust me." Don't trust people who tell you what to do. Trust comes over time.

Ryan is founder and CEO of Human Workplace. She knows her cookies.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Nudge your career this year

Are you sick of these rah-rah resolution stories...I am getting tired of them myself.

But--Mary Lorenz, CareerBuilder, reminds us of ways to help ourselves this year.

Find a free course and take it. There are tons on Google...try under MOOG.

Give Happy Hour a chance. Socializing with coworkers outside work is usually a positive, not a dreary duty. Just do not overserve yourself.

Take a lunch break every day. You need to change things up, refresh, maybe even walk.

Need more money, think you'd be great for a new project? Ask for what you want.

Take a REAL vacation. It can be good for your career, not bad. Yet many people let their leave go to waste.

Stop saying "sorry" all the time.

And start saying "no." Or at least ask the boss to put the projects loaded on you in order of priority.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Will you be job hunting this year?

You choose--but remember
your resolution.
Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, says 30% of workers, mostly younger ones, say they expect to have a new job by the end of the year.

Last year, that was 23 percent.

Other top resolutions related to work:

Save more of your pay: 38%

Be less stressed: 28%

Get a raise or promotion: 26%

Eat better at work: 19%

Learn something new (courses): 17%

Last year, these resolutions were about the same, but  11% saved more, and only 13%  ate more healthy food at work.

This is why I don't make a lot of resolutions.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Self-employment still rising

Aw...get dressed
Last month, according to John Hall writing on, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said more than 15 million workers described themselves as "self-employed" last month.

There is a marriage between tech advances and layoffs and personal ambition and the desire for more freedom, apparently.

Does this amount to freedom from money? Not necessarily, say the experts. This can be lucrative, but a thorny issue is how to connect independent worker to the work.

When I left the freelance business after 35 yrs, the middlemen were cheeseballs who wanted to pay $5 instead of $500 for a story.

Naturally, this led to a drastic drop in income.

John Hall, the author of this story, claims to have built a strong freelance network in his company Influence & Co.

He cites such current middlemen as Upwork, Total, iFreelance, blur Group, and Guru.

I had some contact with Toptal and was not that impressed--it's mostly software-oriented jobs.

Guru used to be low-bidder..maybe it changed.

I don't really know if this has all changed in the last three years since I went back to screenwriting.

I did try to hire a guy from a service like this to draw a set of my characters and paid what he wanted, although he was being cut in for half of any proceeds. He then complained about the low pay and always claimed he had more important projects.

How not to do this!

By the way, throughout my at-home career, I battled the idea that freelancers worked in their jammies--now you can take up the cause if you want, I have moved on. Some do!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Weirdest work stories of the past year

Do I have a secretary?
Workplaces are wacky sometimes. CareerBuilder outlined some off-beat stories of the past year--with the help of their intrepid writer Matthew Tarpey.

To skirt the minimum wage, some German employers paid some of the wage in coupons for salons or charged the employees for their tools.

A convenience store robber gave a store a pass because he recognized the clerk... (Expletive), I know you, he said, and left.

A three-year-old boy became mayor of a town in Minnesota (a raffle, not an election).

A wanted bank robber turned to acting and was recognized in a role by US Marshals.

A pizza delivery guy was delivering to a hospital, when he was jumped and stabbed--but he went to the hospital anyway, turned over the pizza, then collapsed.

An airport worker fell asleep in the cargo hold of a plane, causing an emergency landing.

A man skipped work for 24 yrs and was finally fired--yes, it was a city job.

Ah, humans, love 'em or leave 'em.