State of DISUnion? Reinventing You and the Union

President Obama is currently telling the USA and the world about how this country will win the future by reinventing ourselves and our workforce. He says this nation is 9th in the world in earned college degrees! He says the future jobs will be won and held by innovators who are educating themselves and reinventing their skill sets. And I agree.

In my book, “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010,” I describe 30 people who built on their skills and reinvented themselves. America’s Job Coach has reinvented himself several times over the years. My advice to that 55 year-old college student the president mentioned in his speech, is that she should appear to be moldable and teachable when she goes on job interviews.

How about you? Can you be like the woman from (I think) South Carolina who is, at age 55, now going to college and studying biotech. More power to her–I hope she competes well with the 22 year-olds with their newly minted degrees. I vote for her in the job as she competes with those “kids” –life experinece rules!

Obama is also championing the role of teachers as nation-builders in the new world economy. How about you? If/when they actually do raise teacher incomes could YOU build our nation by building our youth? Millions of baby boomers are going to retire from classrooms in the next 10 years and there is a growing younger population due to current immigration and birth trends. Teaching is rewarding and important. How about YOU?

It may have been Mother Theresa who said we can make a better world if we start by sweeping our own back steps. Kinda ties in with the theme of Union inside yourself.

If you are struggling with knowing what to do, then here is your answer: DO SOMETHING. IF you have disunion in your head or your heart, take some kind of action and reinvent yourself.

So don’t be disunified–go out and do big things. Dream big and may God Bless the United States!

America’s Job Coach
http://www.americasjobcoach.com

Mayor Suttle–“Laid Off & Loving It?”

As mentioned briefly on my linkedin page…Mayor Jim Suttle of Omaha, Nebraska is in the fight of his political life. Enough signatures have been gathered by Omaha people to force the mayor into a recall situation. If he loses the January “election of one,” he will lose his job!

Will he then be “Laid Off & Loving It?” Will he need my book, “Laid Off & Loving It For 2010?” even though it will be 2011?

Follow the story here!

America’s Job Coach
http://www.americasjobcoach.com

“SHE-Shoring” During This “HE-cession”

“HE-cession” means that during this recession, the unemployment rate for men is 10.7 %, but the unemployment rate for women is “just” 8.1%. This term was coined, I believe, by David Zincenko of Mens’s Health in a USA Today op ed piece. Let me know if I am wrong.

So, are employers “SHE-shoring?” America’s Job Coach invented this term while reading about the He-cession. We’ve heard for years how women are paid less than men for similar work. Some studies say up to 30% less! I am not a statistics guru, but I think we can all agree that in too many cases, women earn less than their male peers for similar work.

Now add to the mix that fact that this recession has been slightly “less cruel” to women. Fewer women than men have lost their jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics (8.1% verses 10.7%). My question: Why?

SHE-shoring is “Offshoring Gone Female.” Offshoring, in case you have been under a rock for a dozen years, is where a company ships chunks of its work off US shores to countries like India, China, Mexico, Ireland, and a host of other places. Employers “offshore” tasks to locations to try to save labor costs. And firms often layoff US staff after completing the offshoring.

Computer work, customer support work, manufacturing etc. are often functions which see work offshored but all professions are being touched by this trend. Even some USA fast food restaurants will use an offshored person to take your order over the drive through window. That person then sends your order over the Internet to the locals who cook and wrap your triple cheeseburger.

So can I blame that China-based fellow for the lack of honey mustard in my chicken nuggets bag? I suppose it was the local guy who stiffed me on the dip though. But hey, they are communicating across the globe so it is no wonder my sauce is missing sometimes! As Thomas L. Friedman has aptly pointed out, The World Is Flat.

So, most major companies have embraced some level of Off-Shoring to save labor costs. Do they therefore, have a grand design or plan to lay off women less often than men? If a Fortune 1000 company sends work overseas to save money, doesn’t it make sense that they also would lay off their most expensive people first? Does this explain the He-cession? If a gender pay gap exists inside a company, does ACME layoff Harry or Harriet? Is Joe sent packing before Joan?

Who knows what goes on in executive minds when they are deciding what staffers to cut. Now however, statistics imply that men are harder targets for the layoff axe than are their wives, sisters, moms and daughters.

Who cares? You should. This blog exists to help people get on their feet during a career transition. Part of that is knowing the look of your playing field. If you are a male looking for work or a better job, be aware of SHE-Shoring. If you are a female looking for work or a better job, be aware of SHE-shoring. It is critical to know your competition when job hunting.

I heard a story about a guy who was prepared to answer the salary negotiation question with, “I’ll take $100 a year less than my closest competitor for this job.” The tale is likely anecdotal, but you get the idea about being aware of your compeition…He-cession, SHE-shoring, and all.

Kindly share your SHE-Shoring or He-cession story or comments with this job coaching community!

America’s Job Coach
Author, “Laid Off & Loving It for 2010”

Two Girls For Every Boy!

In 1963, the song Surf City was recorded by a young, feel-good band named The Beach Boys.  It was the number one song on Billboard  Magazine‘s Top 100 (according to www.Wikipedia.com).  Some people who are ‘Over-50 Types’ might even remember when the song hit gold. 

What a fun concept for millions (of especially young men) to think about — a place where the girls may have worn an Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, AND there were also two girls for every one boy!  Wow!  

First Wave Boomers were not alone in their indoctrination to this song however. It went on to be enjoyed by millions more who were born later and grew up hearing it at wedding dances and theme parties for decades to come. Throngs (not thongs!) of youth heard it for dozens of years and it became a part of culture.

Fast forward 45 years or so. Instead of ‘Two Girls for Every Boy,‘ now we have “Six Seekers For Every Job.”

A recent editorial by Paul Krugman of The New York Times included the statistic that we are now seeing six job seekers pursuing every one available job.  That doesn’t sound near as much fun as Two Girls for Every Boy. This level of competition for work looks like it is going to be with us awhile. It may become part of our culture…

If you are stuck in a job you don’t like, or you are out of work, that culture thought might be depressing.  Don’t let it bring you down!  Three out of five 50-something laid off people I know have recently found jobs! Collectively, they were competing against hundreds of other job seekers. But, they managed to land something despite the long odds.   

But the numbers are still the numbers. We are probably stuck in a “hot mess” with regard to optimal employment for at least the forseeable future. So what do you do?

A short answer is similar to what you may have heard already. If your line of work is clogged with too many competitors for too few jobs, you may need to reinvent yourself. This topic is addressed in many, many good books out there so I won’t go into detail. The short version is this:

  • Take what you know better than anyone else, repackage it, remold it, add a new, big dash of passion to it,  get someone smarter than you to review your efforts, and give it a whirl. 
  • Maybe you now can become a consultant to your former industry, or to a niche you have followed for a long time? Maybe you can boldly approach your former employer with a new “value-add” proposition or TwitterVator Speech? Maybe the time is finally getting close where you can turn your hobby into a small business?

I won’t expand much here, but instead invite readers to comment. Free job coaching by this blog’s participants may be helpful if you are struggling with how to reinvent yourself. But you have to be willing to ask for the help…

Let this group help to conquer your career crisis as you work to catch that perfect career wave and land your surfboard on an ideal beach of a job! 

Maybe comments by this blog’s readers will lead to Two Jobs for Every Boy (and Girl)!

Surf’s Up!

America’s Job Coach

 

Did He Get the Job? Also, Job Posting Scams

In my last post I discussed a young man who was interviewing for his first job out of college. The job was for a sales position and he was wondering if in fact the niche he was exploring was good for him. I mentioned  how some industries in the current economy are looking for people like him: young, techno savvy, moldable and cheap. 

None of that is new news to you who are “decades into” your careers and maybe months into your job search. Employers are flooded with applicants and some are taking advantage of that. There was an article in the Omaha World Herald on 10/26/09 which described how formerly hard to fill hands on care giver jobs were now doing just fine due to some factory closings in a Nebraska community. Before some jobs in that town vaporized, the health care facility had a hard time staffing these positions. Now it has a surplus of applicants. Ah, perspective.

Perspective is what the young job seeker had too. He was “wax” just ready to be molded by his potentially future employer. He didn’t have an entitlement attitude and his small dose of arrogance was more attributable to his youth than any entrenched “in your face” cockiness.

Yes, his potential employer wants him back for some “job shadowing.” That is where our young applicant will sit and listen to the current staff while they make their daily spate of phone calls. Not just anyone or everyone can sit in a cubicle and make 70+  phone call attempts a day. I don’t know if our young hero will want to but that employer has invited him to find out if he wants to. And there is a fairly handsome base-plus-commissions to go along with it. I’ll keep you posted on his progress. And keep remembering his child-like interview exuberance while you do your job hunting.

Speaking of commissions, I saw a listing of “The Top Twenty Most Helpful Job Hunting Websites” or some such similar title the other day. I immediately thought that would be a logical link for this blog. And of course, I clicked through on many of the web sites listed.

Well, you won’t see me linking to that list anytime soon. I found many sites I had never heard of. And the ones toward the top of the list had many “jobs” posted. The problem was, most of these “jobs” were work at home schemes. Nothing wrong with working at home…millions of people around the world work for thousands of legitimate companies in a remote fashion. Online technology allows and encourages that.

But so many of the “jobs” posted were all about multi-level marketing businesses. Many have an investment required or involved some marginally shady types of plans. The rise of this kind of “noise” out there has tracked and kept pace with the rise in the number of unemployed.

I have nothing against legitimate multi-level businesses. I have been involved in some in the past myself and have learned from them. I am just saying use caution when you “apply” for jobs within this world. Most are not jobs with a regular paycheck. Growing your own business is great but just know what you are getting into when you start. Will your new “job” require you to buy inventory?

Have any of this blog’s readers ventured into this area?  Again I have no problem with these legitimate marketing businesses but I do dislike it when these outfits dress themselves as “jobs” on what were formerly job boards. Who has a story to share on this?…

Next posting will be about a 50-something “coachee” who was recently laid off, DOES know a lot of people to network with, but is stuck in the 1990’s regarding using those contacts.

America’s Job Coach

Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010

But I Get No Feedback From Employers!

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “Community of Career Transition Advice” for people over 50 years old over a 50 week period.

Put your summarized career dilemma in the comments section so the group can offer their tips to you!

Here is a gentleman who appears to have some good ideas about self marketing and follow up.  His advice applies to all ages.  

Please come back after you watch and tell the community what you think!  Thanks to www.jayobi.com for making this available!

Paul M. America’s Job Coach  www.americasjobcoach.com

 Here is the link for the video: 

 Step 4. Contacting Employers.

I hope YOUR follow ups are positive!

Can You Sell Yourself In 30 Seconds?

 

The 50 Over 50 Project is a ”Community of Career Advice”     for people over the age of 50 who are in a career transition.  Just list your career-improvelment related question as a comment to get helpful pointers from fellow blog readers! 

 

The Atlanta Journal Constitution (my new favorite newspaper–I’ll tell you why below…) ran an article on October 9 about how Atlanta firms were hiring again. 

The article mentions that firms are hiring more consultants, more people with specific, not generalist skills, and the importance of candidates/job applicants needing to sell themselves in a short, 30 second story.

America’s Job Coach agrees with the above–especially the need for your own personalized TwitterVator Speech.  Here is the short version of what a TwitterVator Speech is: 

  • List your strengths in short phrases
  • Figure out what your tight niche is (what you know better than most anyone else)
  • Focus on what the problems, needs, goals, and opportunities are within your present industry or the one you want to enter
  • Shake all these up in big jar and write it down in 140 characters or less

Why 140 characters? The twitter world knows. And the linked in status update box knows too: You can send out tweets or updates OF THAT LENGTH as often as you like (but don’t wear our your public or spam them!!). 

There is much more to my concept of a TwitterVator Speech (the blend of the old fashioned Unique Selling Proposition, the Elevator Speech, and the restrictions/opportunities available via today’s social media tools like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc., etc.

You have what you need to get started on your own TwitterVator Speech above. If you want to learn more, check out my web site or book but I’m not linking to them here because I am trying to be a helpful voice here, not a shill for services. 

I’d be thrilled to see you take a stab at writing YOUR TwitterVator Speech HERE in this blog where it is safe and free. The readers will help you and the exposure can’t hurt. We’ll craft it together so you have a sharp “pitch.”

Oh yeah…you must be able to back up your pitch. Sure we can together write a strategic summary for you but don’t be a clanging bell only. You must have the goods or the track record to back up what you are “hawking.”

Give it a try and I hope to see your TwitterVator Speech draft in the comments box below…

Paul David Madsen

PS: I like the Atlanta Journal Constitution because their logo is AJC. Can you guess why that acronym is interesting to me?

Can You Teach An Old Dog New Tricks?

The 50 Over 50 Project is a 50-week Career Advice

Community for people over the age of 50 who are

in some form of career transition.

 

Today’s 22-year-old who is just now entering the workforce has never known a world without computers. Born in the late 1980s, he came into this world after Microsoft and Apple had gone public.  His parents may have used a brick-sized cell phone to call their parents when little Junior emerged into this world. So wireless is the norm for him. He grew up ON video games, laptops, and probably never loaded a roll of film in a camera. Wouldn’t know what a flashcube was if it burned him on the finger. Heck, he has really only known two presidents B.O. (Before Obama).

This is all fine and normal.  Junior’s different educational experience enables him to feel very comfortable in a technology-driven workforce.  IM chat and social networking are no big deal because they were always there. He is not afraid of any new technology and conforms and embraces to new versions, tools, and trends like warm Silly Putty.  

The Over 50 Folks however remember the glee and awe that ran through the office when the fax machine was introduced. “No more putting stuff in envelopes and typing out an address on it and putting a stamp on it and running it to that blue mail box on the corner in time for the last pickup and, and, and…”

So where does that leave us ‘oldsters’ when we have to compete for too few jobs with some of these tech-savvy snot nose kids who are quicker to adapt and cheaper to hire?   I won’t rehash the two most recent posts to this blog because they do give you some good ideas on this theme.

What I will do is remind you about resources which can help you compete. The President has allocated, according to a recent US News & World Report article, 12 BILLION NEW dollars to support the mission of the nation’s community colleges.  This funding will support the schools which are projecting 5 million NEW (as in added) community college graduates by the year 2020, according to the magazine’s September article.

So, fellow Baby Boomers, it may be time to follow Rodney Dangerfield’s example and go Back To School. His wealthy character the 1986 movie of that name had a few advantages due to his money. One perk was the direct tutoring of Dangerfield BY Kurt Vonnegut HIMSELF for the former’s English paper!  We can’t expect that level of tutoring under President Obama’s plan but we “get it” that ongoing technical training is just plan mandatory for a high percentage of future and present jobs. 

Colleges are booming now due to the nearly 15 million unemployed people out there. Even if you are working full-time, it is vital to learn more to keep your skills sharp. The government is supporting the mission of those schools because it knows that practical training will get America working again. And many schools and training programs are catering their offerings to those who are old enough to remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot.

 Consider being part of those statistics–the people who are enrolling and graduating from public and private, PRACTICAL and TECHNICAL education.

Please share YOUR story of how you got some new practical education and how that has helped your career or that of another person.

If you are thinking about picking up some training, but not sure what to study, share your thoughts here in this Career Advice Community!

We are eager to hear your successes and your fears and possibly help. We won’t even discuss how to load actual film in a camera!

America’s Job Coach

www.americasjobcoach.com

Do As I Say, Not As I Do…

OK, OK… I am guilty! 

This community forum is about my facilitation of helpful career advice from cyberspace. The advice is from and for people who are in some form of transition as they enter and go through their fifties.   But here is the problem:

I have failed you!

I have found that the older people get, the more they like routine. We all have those older relatives who want to know two weeks ahead of time what time a dinner event is scheduled for. That way they can mentally prepare for it days in advance and be ready two hours ahead of actual event. 

While I obviously don’t think people in their 50’s and 60’s are OLD, I do realize that CONSISTENCY matters. I don’t know if the elasticity and suppleness of youth is gone by ones’ fifth decade or what it is, but people like routine as they progress in their lives.  Yes, I can show you some anal retentive 22 year  olds as well, but you know what I mean.

Routine matters. Routine matters when you are building a career, a family a fortune, or just about anything. Yes, we can “luck into” something good in those categories on occasion, but with regard to job hunting or career transitioning, the value of “routine” is high. 

I won’t repeat the often told tales of how Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or many well-known, high profile sports, cultural or business performers have reached their achievement levels due to nearly obsessive levels of drill, repetition and routine. 

But I have failed you, dear blog readers, due to MY lack of routine. You haven’t known when to check back in on this blog because you don’t know when the new stuff is going to be posted.  And with all the noise on the internet, you are unlikely to come back if you don’t know when to do so. 

I have been inconsistent because I too often waited for a juicy, success story of some formerly laid off person.  They may be in dialog with me via this blog or directly with me through  www.americasjobcoach.com. Or, I also hesitated when  “Suzie” was asking me about resume guidance and I waited to tell her story until it was complete. 

No more. I will not make you keep wondering and waiting for these tidbits. Even if the stories are not complete, I’ll throw out relevant, confidential career dilemmas so you the reader can comment on them and hopefully add your helpful comments to this career advice community. 

I will do a better job of “communing” with and communicating to this advice community. No more long pauses between posts while waiting for the other shoe to drop. No more hesitation for “perfect” content before throwing out some relevant stuff. People who need your advice so I will give you the chance to give it. 

YOU can keep this community helpful, relevant, entertaining and inspirational by offering your stories or the stories of people you know who succeeded (or didn’t). I can talk about how Brett Favre was laid off and loving it but I’d rather hear about how your neighbor got cut after 24 years with a Fortune 500 company and then started her own successful consulting company (like the woman did in Laid Off & Loving It For 2010.

I will strive to be more consistent and routine with my content posts here. You’ll see SOMETHING new and relevant almost every day.

Thanks for your loyal following and thanks also for your input and comments which will only make this community more vibrant. 

And speaking of dinner plans, it is time me to execute mine!  

Career Transition hint for today:  Be CONSISTENT in your job hunt efforts. Don’t fluctuate despite discouragement.  More about that later next week…

Layoffs Denied in Omaha, Nebraska?

  

The 50 Over 50 Project is a “community of career coaching” for 50 people over the age of 50 over a 50-week period.

 

Yesterday in Omaha, Nebraska a hi-tech company did a round of layoffs. While people getting the axe is far from new news these days, this firm had a history of fast growth, steady employment, and long tenure.  So this event is a shock to our community and an even bigger shock to those who were cut. Some of those layoff victims fit the demographical focus of this blog–they were over 50. Many had been with their firm for a long, long time. 

Their pressing question then is:  

What does a long-term employee, who is on the older side, who may have a narrow skill set for their local market, who maybe hasn’t kept up with newer technology, and who has above average earnings, DO NOW

The answers are many so we’ll address things over the next several posts. 

The first thing which might help these laid off Omaha folks is to realize their situation has some similarities to cancer. I have been very close to cancer’s worst impact so I am not trivializing it. And, I admit few people DIE from being laid off. So what is the similarity? It is this: How victims react.     

Here are the “Stages of Grief,” from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ book, “On Death and Dying:”

  • Denial (this isn’t happening to me!)
  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  • Bargaining (I promise I’ll be a better person if…)
  • Depression (I don’t care anymore)
  • Acceptance (I’m ready for whatever comes)

Do you see how these grief-related steps have heavy overlap for a person who has just been laid off and is nearly frightened to death? 

If you do, tell others who might benefit about these steps so they can start their process of “vocational healing.”

I’ve been laid off many times and have interviewed or led seminars with hundreds of others who have also been cut. So, our next few posts will explore this “teachable moment” we have right here in River City. Circle the wagons with your laid off neighbors or friends and we’ll work through these phases together…

As always, PLEASE offer your thoughts to keep this a “community of career advice.”

Paul David Madsen
Author: Laid Off & Loving It For 2010