Finding a job when unemployment is at 9.4% is hard enough. But the recently laid-off have another hurdle to contend with: Many employers are most interested in attracting candidates who are still working, the Wall Street Journal reports. “If they’re employed in today’s economy, they have to be first string,” says a partner at an executive recruiting firm.
Employers and recruiters figure that such “passive candidates” are the top performers in their field. It’s also easier to match a candidate’s skills to a position when they are already working a job with similar responsibilities. But there’s still hope for the unemployed, especially if job loss resulted from the elimination of a department, rather than a selective layoff.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
After countless bear hugs, fist bumps, elbow grips, and pats-on-the-back, Elizabeth Bernstein realized that she is her office’s “touchee”—someone co-workers know will be receptive to physical demonstrations of support, she writes for the Wall Street Journal. That got her thinking: When is such touching OK, and when does it invade personal space, or constitute harassment?
From a legal standpoint, handshakes are the only 100% approved physical contact—everything else is dangerously open to interpretation. Nonetheless, touching is a fundamental aspect of personal communication—look how we’ve inserted it into Facebook and Twitter via the “nudge” and “poke”—and brings a dash of humanity to the office. “It shows that we’re not alone,” said one worker of back-scratches she gives and receives from colleagues. “And it’s like a 5-second vacation.”
President Obama has a big new supporter in his push for health-care reform: Wal-Mart. The nation's largest private employer reversed course today and told the White House it supports the idea of requiring large employers to provide health insurance to workers. Most large corporations, along with the US Chamber of Commerce, oppose an employer mandate as too costly. Wal-Mart's shift could give Obama momentum on one of the most controversial aspects of his reform plans, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The National Retail Federation, the main lobbying group for the industry, declared itself "flabbergasted" by Wal-Mart's letter to the president, which also was signed by a prominent union and a liberal think tank. Wal-Mart already provides insurance to its employees and doesn't want to give an advantage to companies that don't, notes the Journal. The company may be trying to head off an alternative that could be even tougher on employers of low-income workers.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Restaurants are finding Twitter a highly useful marketing tool, allowing for direct communication with customers other forms of advertising can’t provide, the Boston Globe reports. Boston’s Tupelo (@tupelo02139), for example, used a Twitter feed to post updates as the restaurant passed inspections, set the décor and decided on a menu. “Our opening night was packed,” said a computer consultant. “At least half were there because of Twitter.”
Other restaurants have used Twitter to post daily specials, promotional offers and give a glimpse of life in the restaurant biz. “It’s instant and free marketing,” said the manager of L’Espalier in Boston—and it doesn’t require a lot of technological sophistication. “You could be a pizza guy at a greasy-spoon sending text messages from a 3-year-old cell phone,’’ said one restaurant critic. “It’s very utilitarian.’’
Saturday, June 27, 2009
With people living longer and having fewer children in developed countries, the population is aging even as the workforce shrinks. And with retirement ages in the 60s, retirees are living longer on pensions. Those demographic shifts make a policy shift inevitable: we’re all going to have to work longer, the Economist contends. The retirement age for state-backed pensions should be 70.
It doesn’t have to be a disaster; in fact, many baby boomers say they’d like to keep a toe in the work world. “Many people benefit in mind and body from having something to get them out of the house,” the Economist notes. And although older people may not be as productive as their younger counterparts in some tasks, they could be assigned different, more appropriate jobs; Japan’s Hitachi already uses such a strategy.
Diddy may be mixing beer with his vodka soon. Rapper-pitchman-entrepreneur Sean Combs is in talks to help market Guinness and Red Stripe, sources tell Advertising Age. Combs has already worked with Diageo, the British company behind the brews, on its Ciroc vodka brand. If the deal goes through, Combs would buck a hip-hop artist trend of endorsing one only beverage at a time, a la Jay-Z (Bud Select), Kanye West (Absolut), and KRS-One (Smirnoff).
"But if anyone can juggle multiple alcohol brands, it's Mr. Combs, who already has his name on clothing and fragrance lines in addition to Ciroc—and, of course, his music career," writes Jeremy Mullman.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Tomorrow being Take Your Dog to Work Day, People Pets weighs in on what NOT to do if you want bring Fido back to your cubicle next year. Don’t:
... bring a stinky dog. “Hygiene needs to be a top priority,” says a Humane Society rep.
... wander the office with your pooch. It’s an office park, not a dog park—take her outside when it’s time for that.
… let your dog hang out in common areas. Your colleagues should be allowed to go to the bathroom without worrying they’ll run into your best friend.
… pretend you’re the Dog Whisperer. You may be pack leader in your house, but that doesn’t apply to co-workers’ pets.
… let your dog off-leash. No matter how cool people seem to think he is.
… wash his dishes in the common sink. Common sense. Right?
… bring along squeaky toys. If you think that dude from HR is annoying, imagine how the guy in the next cubicle feels about Fido’s George W. Bush plaything.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
He’s an ad exec by trade, but Andy Azula displays his acting chops—not to mention his drawing skills—in UPS commercials so popular a rival is spoofing them. In the ads, the long-haired Azula diagrams UPS service on a whiteboard. FedEx recently launched a website that features a similar spot with an Azula lookalike, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Apparently familiar with the sincerest form of flattery, Azula doesn’t mind the parody but does say, "I think I have better hair." He got the job after his work as a stand-in tested better with viewers than actors’ auditions. Now he’s getting stopped on the street and winning acting offers from agents and indie filmmakers. But “I tend to pass them up pretty quickly. I'm an advertising guy,” he says. “This is just a strange anomaly."
The first waves of graduates from California's pioneering "green collar" training program are ready to put their new skills to work reducing the state's carbon footprint, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The trainees, including ex-cons and low-income residents, have finished an extensive course in construction skills to equip them for entry-level jobs in the green economy.
In Oakland, the mayor has championed the program as a way to reduce crime and poverty. Recruits to the city's training program were drug-tested and required to have near-perfect attendance. Of 45 recruits, 42 finished the course, according to its director. "I'm a perfectionist, but I think the whole thing went extremely well," he said. "We're very optimistic we can keep this going, although it's all predicated on funding."
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Executives at bailed-out banks are still using company jets to fly to vacation homes and resorts, the Wall Street Journal reports. The newspaper reviewed FAA records to find that banks receiving federal aid have flown top execs to locales such as the Caribbean, Aspen, and Europe. Case in point: Less than 2 weeks after getting $3.5 billion in TARP funds, the chief of Regions Financial Corp. in Alabama used two bank jets to fly his family to a four-day vacation at a resort in West Virginia.
Bank of America received $15 billion in October and $30 billion in January; in November and December, company planes flew to Aspen and Savannah, Ga., where the bank’s CEO has a place. Morgan Stanley and PNC are among banks with similar stories. While the cost of such flights isn’t much compared to bailout receipts, other banks have stopped the practice after getting government cash.
The baby boomers may be pushing 60, but they're primed to lead another "entrepreneurship boom" in America, Dane Stangler writes in the American. After all, according to one study, it's the close-to-retirement-age crowd—not 20-something whippersnappers—that has led US entrepreneurial activity since it last picked up in the mid-1990s.
With technology-driven businesses cheaper to run, and people either job-hopping or out of work, it's time for America's gray-hairs to save us from this recession. "Even if business formation rates fell within this age group," Stangler writes, "we would still have tens of thousands of potential mentors to the next generation of entrepreneurs." But with Americans living longer and healthier, boomers will likely lead the way.
Friday, June 19, 2009
If astronaut school seems too daunting, this might be the next best thing. NASA is offering $160 per day for human testers to lie down at a slight downward angle—a position that simulates the moon's gravitational pull—for months at a stretch. It may sound easy, but bodies aren't built for it. (Catheters are involved.) Being a "pillownaut" can cause muscle atrophy, bone density loss, headaches, and nausea, Wired reports.
NASA uses the studies to understand and treat such symptoms. The last batch of subjects kept themselves busy doing crafts, watching movies, reading books, and talking to one another—until Hurricane Ike forced a premature evacuation. They had to rehabilitate their feet in a few painful hours, rather than days. Even so, "It was absolutely, totally worth it,” says one participant.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Nora Roberts is the most popular romance writer in America, but it’s not easy being on the top. “People go, ‘Oh, you work six or eight hours a day, oh my God,’” she tells the New Yorker. “‘Well, yeah, how many hours do you work?’ ‘Well, yeah, but …’ But nothing.” Roberts churns out five books a year, sold more than 18 million copies in 2008 alone, and brings in about $60 million a year.
Roberts has just one rule for writing: “Ass in the chair.” She doesn’t apologize for her genre, or care much for the more literary side of publishing. “They’re just not as productive, and their writing is probably not any better than mine.” And she’s pretty clear on what her readers want: “Sex is important in the books because, without it, it would be like eating a rice cake instead of a cupcake.”
With his 10th NBA championship win yesterday, Phil Jackson has shattered the record of Red Auerbach, a man who “loathed” Jackson and believed his nine championships as coach could never be surpassed, writes Adrian Wojnarowski on Yahoo. “Roll over Red. Phil Jackson is the greatest coach ever,” Wojnarowski asserts. Jackson knows that winning isn’t about having a Kobe or a Shaq—it’s about “humanity.”
"There are few coaches alive who could’ve commanded the respect of those players for all those years." Auerbach won his championships in a different age. “These times are far more demanding on a coach, far more difficult to dominate,” yet Jackson "didn’t live in fear of a coup, or players leaving as free agents. His icons respected him for it, and ultimately, it elevated their talent." The question now is whether Jackson will stick with coaching for another season, or if, like Auerbach, he'll “leave titles on the table and walk away.”
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Economists think the US unemployment rate will stay above 9% through 2010, the Wall Street Journal survey finds. Accordingly, those in the know believe the Federal Reserve will hold interest rates down at least through spring. “For real people, there is no recovery until the unemployment rate stabilizes,” one economist said. “If the Fed starts raising rates in the face of continued job losses, it could abort a recovery.”
On a more positive note, most economists surveyed foresee the recession ending in August, and economic growth returning to the US in this year’s third quarter this year. Many praised Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, but most see the Fed as primarily responsible for the impending recovery. And “inflation is more of a 5-year than 2-year threat,” one economist said.
The way to employee satisfaction is apparently through their stomachs. Businesses slicing jobs and benefits in tough times are finding that free food is a cheap way to boost worker morale, the Boston Globe reports. The majority of financial officers recently surveyed—68%—is taking steps to boost employee spirits. Increasing contact was the top approach, but experts say food is also effective.
“It appeals to our need for relatedness,” says a communications professor. “You kind of break through that barrier when you sit down and break bread together.” Adds one payroll manager, “The ones we keep, we want to take care of.” But it’s not a selfless move: Companies need the employees that remain post-layoffs to stick around. “Feed ‘em and they’ll come," the manager notes.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Things are tough all over. Retirees from Molson brewing in Canada are up in arms after learning that their lifetime supply of free beer is running out, the Toronto Star reports. The company told pensioners it will gradually cut their allotment from the current 72 dozen bottles per year to precisely zero bottles in five years. The free suds cost the company about $1 million per year.
"There was no consultation, we just received a letter that this is a done deal, which is totally unfair," said one worker who retired six years ago after 32 years. "I think with the economic downturn they're trying to take advantage of us, as a way to cut retirees' benefits and justify it."
The millionth word to enter the English lexicon is pure geek-speak, the Telegraph reports: Web 2.0 was entered this morning by Global Language Monitor, which recognizes words once they’ve appeared 25,000 times in the media, blogs, and social websites. The linguistic cataloger estimates that a new word is generated every 98 minutes.
Jai ho—Hindi for “may you be victorious”—came just one word too early. Gaming term n00b, financial tsunami, and octomom were also recently added. “Some 400 years after the death of the Bard, the words and phrases were coined far from Stratford-upon-Avon, emerging instead from Silicon Valley, India, China and Poland,” says a word analyst.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
A website hopes to meet the "tiny challenge" of cataloging every concert ever given, writes MG Siegler on TechCrunch. Songkick, a site developed in 2007 to provide recommendations for live music based on where you live and what you like, also wants to add a mix of social networking to its database. An “I Was There” button in the site’s catalog allows concertgoers to chime in about a particular show.
“You know when you look up a movie on the IMDb,” Siegler writes, “and then you click on an actor to see what else they’re in, then you click on that movie? The same type of rabbit hole exists on Songkick when you start looking up concerts.” And, of course, the comments could lead you to the next big thing. The site thinks it can monetize by advertising or even selling concert merchandise.
Regularly getting less than seven or eight hours’ sleep raises the risk of high blood pressure, research suggests. In a study tracking the blood pressure and sleep of 578 adults, every lost hour of sleep was tied to an average 37% higher risk of high blood pressure over 5 years, while missing two hours boosted the risk 86%, Bloomberg reports.
The results “confirm what we’ve seen in the lab that there are health consequences to not getting enough sleep or not sleeping well,” said the study’s head author. “People don’t respect sleep relative to diet and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Sex without commitment, also known as hooking up, has been common for years on college campuses. And now, as those college kids graduate and get jobs, hooking up is replacing dating in the real world, too, NPR reports. "Going out on a date is a sort of ironic, obsolete type of thing," says a Boston 25-year-old.
Part of the reason: People are marrying later and don't feel the need to find a serious relationship right away. "My first few years out of college was about trying to get on my feet and having a good time," the Boston woman said. Social networking sites also make casual encounters easier. But some worry that casual sex doesn't teach intimacy or prepare young people to settle down with one person.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
The jobless and work-weary alike are flooding deejay schools across the US, embarking on dreams as the economy comes apart, Time reports. Some enroll at schools like New York's Dubspot—not exactly cheap at $1,695—to deejay professionally. Others are yearning for more creativity, less rat race. "They're feeling it's no longer just about money," says Mark Rankin, Dubspot's founder.
Just what do deejay students learn? Technical skills, of course, but they also learn not to announce a cake-cutting at a wedding before the photographer arrives. "These little things make a big difference," Rankin said. But graduates' biggest problem is today's flooded deejay market. "Business is a little slow right now," said one Colorado deejay and former Dow Jones pressman. "I'm like a fireman waiting for a call."
Friday, June 5, 2009
Wal-Mart plans to add 22,000 jobs to its US stores this year, down from last year's 33,800 new jobs in the face of slowed expansion. The retailer has gained market share from recession-minded consumers, but hasn't been immune to the downturn, and recently slashed 700 jobs in its home office, Reuters reports.
All that glitters may not be gold, but these days you might prefer silver anyway, MarketWatch reports. Silver has rocketed to the top of the precious metals food chain, outperforming both platinum and gold because it’s an industrial material in addition to an inflation hedge. But the outsize gains silver offers also come with outsize risks, because fewer people trade it.
When "prices of precious metals turn higher across the board, silver will tend to move up faster,” said one researcher. “If all the prices come off, you will see silver prices collapse faster.” So far it’s been all upside—the London fixing silver benchmark is up nearly 50% this year to $16 an ounce, a 10-month high, and industrial demand is expected to pick up in the second half.
Steve Jobs will likely return to Apple this month as planned, insiders tell the Wall Street Journal, leading some to wonder whether he’ll make a surprise appearance at Apple’s yearly software developers’ conference next week, where a new iPhone is expected to be debuted. Either way, Jobs’ time away has shown that the company can function well without him: Shares have risen 68% since his departure.
“We look forward to Steve returning to Apple at the end of June,” said an Apple spokesman yesterday, in line with what the firm has previously said. “He was one real sick guy,” noted a person who recently saw Jobs, who went on sick leave in January, but he’s “coming along.”
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Written by: Paul D. Tieger
As the famous Stephen Stills song goes: “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” Although the song was written about personal relationships, it’s also great advice about how to look at a job you’re not quite ready to leave. So, how can you make your current job as satisfying as possible?
Well, that depends…on your Personality “Temperament.” Because people are different, the very same activity that might make one person deliriously happy might lead another into a deep depression. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to understand how you can derive more pleasure from your work – by going to www.personalitytype.com
(Note: The assessment will tell you your complete 4-letter Personality Type. To determine your “Temperament” – which is the core of each type – simply look for the letters: SJ, SP, NT and NF. Your type will include these letters).
Traditionalists (Sensor Judgers) need to have clear expectations.
To enjoy your job more, find a project that needs doing and volunteer to lead the effort, seek advice and opinions of colleagues who are different from you, suggest ways your office/company could be run more efficiently, ask your boss and co-workers to be explicit with requests and/or instructions, and/or set up short term goals that you can meet.
Experiencers (Sensor Perceivers) need to enjoy what they’re doing.
To enjoy your work more, look around for projects to volunteer for that would be fun, try to find at least some time to get outside, delegate to others as many routine tasks as you can, volunteer to help run and or participate in recreational or social activities, seek opportunities to use your negotiating skills, consider taking a time-management course, try to build more variety into your daily routine, and/or set short-term, achievable goals.
Conceptualizers (iNntuitive Thinkers) need to be challenged.
To enjoy your job more, seek out professional development opportunities, take courses or attend seminars to expand your expertise and add credentials, find other creative people to brainstorm ideas with, hire competent “detail” people, find a mentor you admire and respect or, mentor another person, and/or develop a “critical friends” group to critique each others’ ideas.
Idealists (iNtuitive Feelers) need to believe in what they’re doing and have meaningful relationships.
To enjoy your job more, create a support group to help people with personal and/or work-related issues, volunteer to do PR for your company or department, try (harder!) to leave your work at the office, consider becoming a trainer or coach in your field of expertise, volunteer to draft your organization’s mission statement, seek out other creative people to bounce things off of, and/or attend conferences or get involved in professional organizations.
In addition to enjoying your work more, implementing some of these suggestions can provide the additional benefit of making you even more valuable to your employer – which can come in very handy should you decide you want or need to stay in this job longer than you planned.
About Paul D. Tieger
Through his ground-breaking book Do What You Are, Paul Tieger changed how career counseling is conducted around the world. The author of five books on Personality type and the preeminent expert in this field, Paul has helped over one million people find career satisfaction and success. On any given day, Do What You Are is the most or second most popular career book on Amazon.com.
Paul is also the creator of PersonalityType.com and the PersonalityType.com
Assessment, a quick and accurate instrument which has been validated by over fifty thousand on-line users.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
During a commencement address last month, Barack Obama singled out the Peace Corps as an American institution dedicated to "opportunity, equality, and freedom." As the Los Angeles Times reports, the president's glowing praise—combined with Obama-era idealism and a weak job market—has contributed to a 16% jump in applications to join the volunteer agency.
Participation in the Peace Corps, founded by JFK, dipped in the 1980s but is flourishing again, and the organization is returning to former warzones like Rwanda and Liberia. "It's refreshing and uplifting to witness this sort of outpouring of American idealism again," said one professor, a former volunteer. Yet volunteers aren't blind do-gooders; one woman in Panama said she's extending her tour for a year because back home "it's so difficult to find a job."
he National Park Service is looking to stimulate summer vacations, with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announcing today that entrance fees at 147 national parks and monuments—including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite—will be waived on three weekends this summer: June 20-21, July 18-19, and Aug. 15-16. “During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families," Salazar said.
"I encourage everyone to visit one of our nation's crown jewels this summer and especially to take advantage of the three free-admission weekends," Salazar continued. For the Park Service, the free weekends will mean a loss of an estimated half-million dollars a day—though a spokeswoman said that revenue should be more than offset by an increase in park tourism.