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Friday, October 29, 2004

What the best dressed interviewers are wearing...

Even though many companies have relaxed the internal company dress code, interviews still follow the conservative standard. We've pulled together the do's and don'ts for interviewing attire as a general guide. If in doubt about interview attire at a particular company, don't be afraid to ask the recruiter what is or isn't appropriate to wear. You can also check with people you know at the company to see what others interviewing have worn.

CHECK OUT: Interview Attire

On the job, who really cares how smart you are?

We might like to believe that the way to get ahead in the corporate world lies in hard work and brain power. But in his new book, Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It, David F D’Alessandro, chairman and CEO of John Hancock Financial Services, stomps firmly on that idea.

“Organisations are not rational,” says D’Alessandro. Don’t expect your future to be decided on merit, he warns. You’re smart ? So what? “People with IQs of 135 or 140 are as common in organisation life as bad coffee. They’re everywhere,” he writes.

So what matters? Your personal reputation. What D’Alessandro calls your “personal brand.” You build it by avoiding the myriad ways described in the book of crashing your career — no matter how good your performance appraisals. You build it by, among other things, paying attention to seemingly minor moments that can push you forward.

READ: 10 steps to a perfect reputation

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Why not be the boss?

What do you do if you're an entrepreneur with a dream but lack capital? Find an investor to help bank roll your idea. Easier said than done! Last week Donna Lynes-Miller, president of GourmentStation, invited me to attend the Tennessee Valley Venture Forum (TVVF) with her. Interesting look at a world where deals are made and dreams can either soar or crash and burn.Show Me The Money

Trick or treating in the workplace...

Halloween has become a big deal at many companies, as the holiday has grown in recent years well beyond a candy-fueled bacchanal for trick-or-treaters. More adults are dressing up these days, and many are wearing their costumes to work. A benefits survey by the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, Va., found that 35% of employers had Halloween parties last year.Halloween Redefines 'Dressing Up' for Work

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Don't call us, we'll text message you...

"'Many jobseekers are usually on the go and with SMS alerts, they can now be alerted of a potential employer anytime, anywhere,' said Kenny Goh, Macro Kiosk chief executive officer. " Check out: Job-hunting, via SMS:

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Job Hunting In The Bible

Job Hunting Deductions

If you are looking for a job, the New York State Society of CPAs points out that you may qualify to deduct some job hunting expenses. Deductible expenses include costs associated with the preparation of your resume, long-distance phone calls, employement agency fees and qualified travel-related costs. READ: Job Hunting Deductions

Friday, October 22, 2004

Sometimes you just have to spend it...

With most things in life, you get what you pay for. But occasionally, a purchase gives you more than you expect. Your world gets easier or simpler or more fun. Your purchase enhances your life, rather than adding more stress and clutter. Instead of bemoaning how much it cost, you find yourself thinking, “I’d pay more for that. It’s worth it.”

These 10 little luxuries are my own, subjective list of splurges that are worth every cent. READ: 10 little luxuries worth every penny

Holiday fun...

Are you into Halloween? Well if you are (and if you are not), here is some online fun for you. Virtually carve your pumpkin here: The Swan Virtual Jack O' Lantern

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Get Next Year's Income Tax Refund Now

Each year the IRS sends out nearly 100 million income tax refunds. Most people are anxious to get their refund and many even pay exorbitant fees for income tax refund loans in order to get the money a week or too sooner. This is ironic considering that they could very easily get next year's income tax refund now! READ: Get Next Year's Income Tax Refund Now

As Fred Sanford would say, "I'm comin' to join ya' honey!"

A German study has found people caught in traffic are three times more likely to have a heart attack within the hour than those who are not stuck in a jam. READ: Heavy traffic bad for your heart

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Psst... Wells Fargo is hiring! Pass it on...

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo tops a list of job-creating firms in the United States in a survey to be published in the November issue of Business 2.0 magazine. Wells Fargo leads "who's hiring" list

If you are sick, STAY HOME!!!

A widespread shortage of flu vaccine and the oncoming flu season has workplace experts worried about a significant enemy of productivity in the months ahead - a phenomenon known as presenteeism. A recent study by CCH, an employment law consultancy in Illinois, found that 40 percent of employers complain that their workers come to work sick, unproductive and contagious.

Kenny Colbert, president of the Employers Association, a HR consulting firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, says he doesn't want any heroes at work. "I made a point last year with several of my employees I could hear sneezing, hacking and coughing, " said Colbert. " I said, `You can either stay in your office with the door closed and spray Lysol when you leave or you go home now.' "

John Challenger, chief executive of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, advises employers to let their workers know they should stay home when they get sick.

"The fact is sick employees coming to work are not only damaging productivity, but they are infecting other workers," he said. The flu hits 10 to 20 percent of U.S. residents each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

READ: Offices need to prepare for the flu season, too

Bosses need love to...

Did you celebrate "Boss Day?"

National Boss Day is Oct. 16 every year. Even this year, when Oct. 16 landed on a Saturday.

The day was started by Patricia Bays Haroski, a State Farm secretary from Illinois, in 1958. She worked for her dad, whose birthday was Oct. 16, and wanted to do something special to honor him.

In 1962, Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner proclaimed Oct. 16 National Boss Day.


Turn up the thermostat!

If your office is too cold, chances are that you might not be typing as accurately, or as much, as you could be.

READ: Study Links Office Temperature to Keyboarding Performance:

Friday, October 15, 2004

How to play well with others...

The guy next door clipping his toenails. The takeout that leaves the whole office smelling of Chinese food. Hour after maddening hour of listening to your neighbor's Kenny G.

Seems like everyone who works in a cubicle has a horror story.

In today's workplace, cubicles are as ubiquitous as e-mail -- and so, too, are their problems. Prized by employers because of their cost advantages and embraced during the 1990s as facilitators of open communication and teamwork, cubicles are more often loathed than loved by the estimated 40 million Americans who work in them.

But our carpeted walls aren't going anywhere. Even while annual sales of new cubicles have fallen nearly 50 percent since a high of $4.3 billion in 2000, cubicles are too portable and affordable for companies to ignore, says Mitchell Kirsch, co-CEO of New York-based Cubicles.com.

READ: Hold the garlic, and turn down the volume

One strange recruiting job...

What if your job description went something like this: ``Chasing people through woods in scary clown costume with weapon of choice -- be it a meat hook, chain saw, or machete.''

Sounds scary, but being a seasonal monster for $5.15 an hour may not be a bad part-time option for some.

Check out: Wanted: convincing monsters

"The Apprentice" on the cheap...

MEA (Merit Employment Association) was formed in 1965 by 34 leading Atlanta employers representing a wide cross-section of the Atlanta business community. MEA was set up as a support system to provide knowledge on how to establish Affirmative Action programs. At that time, the organization focused on a number of projects to carry out MEA’s objectives.

In support of the objectives and purpose, MEA conducted the following programs:

· Adopt-A-Student Program (AASP)
· Youth Motivation Day (YMD)
· Scholarships
· Educator’s Day

MEA has changed its name and focus. The new MEA (Metro Employers of Atlanta) continues to be comprised of Metro Atlanta companies that share an interest in supporting education. The mission is:

· To partner with students to prepare them for workplace opportunities
· To assist in the development of competitive work and social skill standards For more info, contact: Metro Employers of Atlanta YMD/AASP

A touchy subject...

At a time when the nation's minority population is fast-growing, the government under President Bush is implementing new guidelines that could scale back a decades-old effort to diversify a federal workforce that is largely white and male.

Under the new guidelines, known as Management Directive 715 and handed down by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the word "underrepresented" is no longer used to describe women and minorities, who in fact still are, the EEOC's own numbers show.

The directive instructs managers at federal agencies to de-emphasize the statistical makeup of their staffs while making hires and promotions, as called for in prior directives. Instead, they are being asked to evaluate potential barriers that stymie the advancement of women and minorities. EEOC officials say statistics alone do not indicate if discrimination is at play.

"Conclusions concerning the existence of workplace barriers cannot be drawn from gross numerical assessments," the directive says. "Rather, the identification of workplace barriers will require a thorough examination of all of the circumstances."

READ MORE HERE: EEOC Applies New Diversity Rules

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The National Association for the Self-Employed

If you are a business of one, check out this resource.

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation's leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses (up to ten employees), providing a broad range of benefits and support to help the smallest businesses succeed.

The NASE was founded in 1981 by a group of small- business owners in search of a structure of day-to-day support, benefits and consolidated buying power that traditionally had been available only to large corporations. Today, the NASE represents hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and micro-businesses, and is the largest non-profit, non-partisan association of its kind in the United States.

Sometimes I feel like, somebody's watching me...

Gail Nelson of Salem tries to make time to exercise. She used to do that by walking to and from Salem State College, where she's a clerical worker. She had to change into her work clothes at the office, but she didn't mind. She was usually the first person to arrive and the last to leave, so she just ducked into a high-walled cubicle.

Then she heard about the camera.

Her immediate supervisor had set up a video camera to watch for intruders. But when Nelson's clothes-changing was captured on tape, she said, the boss didn't tell her she was being watched. A co-worker clued her in.

"I would go behind the screen, where the cameras were, and change my clothes," said Nelson. "They knew that I did that. What reason was there not to tell me? There was none."

But Nelson's boss had no obligation to tell her she was being captured on film. She sued the college for invasion of privacy, but lost. The case is on appeal. The college refused to comment.

READ: Watch yourself -- you might be monitored

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Take The Job Security Quiz

This job security quiz will help judge how long you'll end up at your current job and what will become of you.

The boss appears at your cubicle and finds you playing DOOM at your desk, you... A. Swear to take the game off your hard drive forever, but first make a copy for his kid. B. Inform him that you're planting a virus in the program so that everyone who plays it on company time will get reported to Human Resources. C. Tell him that whatever he wants will have to wait until you've finished the level.


There's a cush job opening in the mail department, stuffing envelopes with free samples. It pays twice as much as your current position. What do you do? A. Meekly suggest to your boss that transferring you might improve the morale of everyone who's been working with you. B. Politely ask your boss for a transfer and offer to split the salary increase 50/50 with him. C. Barge into your bosses office and demand reassignment so that you, "Won't have to work under someone who should have retired before he became a laughingstock."


When your boss throws a party and invites everyone in the office except you, what do you do? A. Stay home and watch 'I Love Lucy' reruns. B. Show up at the party anyway, with a really expensive bottle of wine and a briefcase full of small, unmarked bills. C. Go over to your bosses house after everyone has left and throw rocks at the windows, shouting obscenities.


Your boss criticizes your work unjustly; what do you do? A. Listen politely, and then apologize. B. Blame someone else. C. Climb on top of your desk, and hold up a piece of paper on which you've written the word "union."


When the CEO parks his car in your spot, you... A. Wash and wax it, then leave your business card under the windshield wiper. B. Key it ... then tell the CEO's secretary you saw your boss near it, loitering suspiciously. C. Key it ... then proudly tell the CEO's secretary that you did it.


Your boss asks you to play Kooky the Clown for his kid's fifth birthday party, what do you do? A. Offer to pay for the costume rental and cake, too. B. Agree to do it, then blackmail a co-worker into doing it while pretending to be you. C. Agree to do it, then show up as yourself and tell the children that Kooky is dead.


The boss accuses you of not keeping the office clean; you... A. Clean the office while he supervises. B. Tell him that you delegated the job, then fire the underling you supposedly gave the job to. C. Clean the office again, but this time, you use your boss' face.


Scoring this test Mostly A's: You have nothing to worry about. They'll never fire you because you're a doormat.

Mostly B's: You're not just going to keep your job, with your complete disregard for other peoples feelings, you'll positively shoot up the ladder of success. Congratulations! You're a real jerk.

Mostly C's: You are a career kamikaze. The boss would have fired you long ago, but he's terrified of what you might do.

Don't read this at work!

In a recent study on Internet deprivation, people forced to live without Net access for two weeks said they missed the 'private space' the Internet provided them at work. Well, I have news for you. That Internet account you have at work is not your private space. It's also your boss's space, and your boss's boss's space, and so on up the line. In fact, if you think you have any real privacy on the job, you're laboring under a delusion. Here are some of the more common myths about Net privacy at work.

Myth number one: My company would never spy on its employees. Maybe so, but if that's the case, you're in the minority. According to surveys by the American Management Association, nearly two-thirds of companies actively monitor where their employees go on the Web. Some 52 percent scan e-mail, and around one in five keeps an eye on instant messaging. "

READ: Your Boss Is Watching

Monday, October 11, 2004

Vote for me and work tomorrow!

President Bush and Senator John F. Kerry are waging a classic debate on how to strengthen the US economy, a debate that pits tax cutting against deficit reduction, market forces against government action, and free trade against protectionist sentiment. READ: Job-creation proposals skirt the underlying causes

Friday, October 08, 2004


UnemployedVoters.org is an independent, nonpartisan web site that educates voters about unemployment-related issues. It has bulletin boards, regular news updates, and information on where the presidential candidates and your elected officials stand on issues that you may care about. If you're out of work, here's a good way to make sure your vote counts! ONLINE AT: UnemployedVoters.Org

TV Apprentice is "fired" by Donald and real-life...

It has finally happened. Being on a reality TV show has ruined somebody's real life. Jennifer Crisafulli, a.k.a. Jennifer C., lost her regular job as a Manhattan real estate agent the day after she was fired on "The Apprentice," and all over something she said on the show.

After losing the running a restaurant competition, Ms. C. was seen blaming her loss on bad reviews from "two old, Jewish fat ladies ... the pinnacle of the New York jaded old bags." Donald Trump gave her the famous dismissive hand gesture a few minutes later, and Jennifer C. returned to her day job selling and leasing big-ticket office space for New York's Prudential Douglas Elliman. But when her bosses saw the scene on TV, they decided she had become a liability for the firm. Apparently, "old, Jewish fat ladies" and other "New York jaded old bags" of various backgrounds are an important part of their client base.

READ: TV ruined my life

No more work visas issued until 2006?

As of 8:00 PM on Friday, October 1, 2004, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the H-1B cap had been reached for fiscal year 2005. The fiscal cap was reached on the first day of the government year. Unless there is legislation, there will not be new H-1 visas available until fiscal year 2006, which begins October 1, 2005. There is no legislative fix at this time.

The H-1B cap normally applies only to first time H-1 petitions. Individuals currently in H-1 status who change employers or those who will file for extensions of stay are not subject to the H-1 cap. In addition, there is an exemption from the cap for individuals employed at an institution of higher education or a related or affiliated non-profit entity or at a non-profit research organization or governmental research organization. Employees at these organizations are not subject to the cap. However, if an individual who has not been subject to the cap seeks to change employment to an employer who is not exempt from the cap then the cap would apply.

The USCIS is not going to be accepting new H-1 petitions again until April 1, 2005.

Who knows the origin of the resume? Shally does...

Ever wonder where just how resumes came to be? Probably not, but I wanted to know so I asked research guru Shally Steckerl of Job Machine. This is what he came up with:

"(Resumes are) a WWII throwback from when the GI's were coming home. There were few jobs, and plenty of candidates so managers wanted a summary version of their curriculum vitae - which was traditional at the time - in order to make quick decisions out of large piles of candidates. CV's were too big and took to long to look through, so the one page "resume" version became standard."

Working for the perfect company...

"Imagine a sharply angled building with walls of sea-green glass. Just inside the front door is an auditorium full of people doing aerobics. Past the auditorium is a two-story white hallway flooded with light from outside. The left wall is adorned with stars bearing people's names; the right leads to meeting rooms with brightly colored walls and furniture. Upstairs, the walls are decorated with photos of smiling people at parties and on camping trips. Beside the stairs, a man in jeans carries on a cheerful conversation about fermentation with someone on the second floor. Believe it or not, this is not a high school or a college campus. This is a biotech company." Check out: Let employees design their own headquarters? Here's how a biotech company nurtures people with imaginative benefits, keeping them happy, loyal -- and productive.:

Oh, you gotta' see this one...

Okay, in all likelihood this was NOT what he had in mind. However, done in a proper sense, a publicity stunt is one sure way to get an employer's attention. At least in theory. Consider Andy Tyler who is presumably an engineer (or a rocket scientist in-training?) that connected a jet engine to a shopping cart. Weird, wild and wacky to be sure. Recommended? Not on your life. But if you were hiring the best and brightest for NASA, would you (at the least) want to check out a guy who jet powered a shopping cart based on instructions he downloaded off the internet? You gotta' see this one: He's off his trolley.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The worst jobs in history...

If you think your job is bad remember, it could be much worse.

HELLO, my name is Scott -- Professional Speaker, Author and "that guy with the nametag"

What would happen if you wore a nametag at every careerfair you visited? What if you never took your name tag off - ever! Scott can tell you from first hand experince. READ: HELLO, my name is Scott -- Professional Speaker, Author and "that guy with the nametag"

The recruiters at Google are thinking... (Part 2)

If any Silicon Valley drivers have found that traffic is moving more slowly than usual these days on the southbound 101 right around Ralston, you may have us to blame. Last week we unveiled a billboard that's a bit unusual in that it promotes Google only to one very narrow constituency: engineers who are geeky enough to be annoyed at the very existence of a math problem they haven't solved, and smart enough to rectify the situation. READ: Warning: We Brake For Number Theory

The recruiters at Google are thinking...

Do you like programming challenges? Do you like competition? Do you like money? If you can answer yes to at least two of those three questions, then Code Jam, Google's annual celebration of the art of computer science, is for you. Every autumn, thousands of programmers sign up to tackle the most ego-deflating problems Google's engineers can come up with, in a race against time and their fellow coders. After several elimination rounds, the top 50 finalists get a free trip to the final round at the Googleplex here in Mountain View, where all 50 will wind up with a share of $50,000 in prize money ($10,000 to the winner, at least $250 to all 50 finalists). READ: Google Code Jam 2004

To work here, you need a #2 pencil.

We're a little obsessive about digging into hard computing problems, and we love finding more people like us. One way we find obsessive smart problem-solvers is by using a standardized test. Now standardized tests can suck, especially since you usually take them to become a broke student for years on end. Which can lead to starting a career that, if you're lucky, might eventually lead to a really cool job. But what if there were a standardized test that led, like, immediately to the really cool job?

READ: To work here, you need a #2 pencil.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

A recruiting tactic that makes sense.

For many companies, hiring customers makes good financial sense. One study found that employees who are also customers outsell employees who aren’t. Smart companies are putting this information to work, telling customers, “Hey, you’re in here every week; you should work here.” READ: Shop Our Store! Or Better Yet, Why Not Work Here?

Hmm... maybe this is a good tactic for jobseekers as well? If you spend a lot of money in a particular place, why not inquire about work opportunities? At the least, they will be kind in their response to you. (Don't want to disrupt income - wink.)

You've just been fired. Congratulations!!!

Got fired? You’re in luck! You’re now in the ranks of some of the world’s most successful people. Even better. You’re EXACTLY where they were when they started on their success path.

You have now joined the ranks of such failures as Joe Torre (the Yankee), Bernie Marcus (the Home Depot), Tom Stemberg (the Staple), Larry King (the Interviewer), Mannie Jackson (the Globetrotter), Michael Bloomberg (the mayor), and even Harvey Mackay (the author).

READ: America’s #1 Success author writes about failure.

Monday, October 04, 2004

You're out of work, but are you unemployed?

In August, when the official unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 5.4 percent, this alternative index remained at 9.5 percent -- right where it had been the previous month. Sylvia Allegretto, an economist with the liberal Economic Policy Institute in Washington, said this underemployment rate more accurately reflects the weakness in the job market.

"The shortcoming of the unemployment rate is that it doesn't capture the people who are leaving the labor force, such as discouraged workers,'' Allegretto said. She cited Labor Department estimates that 152,000 people quit the labor force between July and August, helping drive down the unemployment rate.

Interesting article: There's a difference between unemployment & underemployment

For future use: Bored Meetings

Board meetings can be a gigantic waste of time if not run appropriately. On the flipside, they can be a valuable source of input and guidance for a management team in the pursuit of maximizing shareholder value. While there are a number of different ways to approach and run a board meeting, I thought I would outline a few of my philosophies on them, and what I expect from my portfolio companies in terms of content. READ: Running an efficient board meeting

HOME DEPOT: All - American!!!

A Home Depot spokesperson declined to comment but CEO Bob Nardelli told Fortune magazine that the world's largest home-improvement chain expects to hire more than 10,000 veterans this year. READ: Home Depot to hire 10,000 vets.

Blogging for dollars...

"There is no conclusive data on the spread of blogs to the job market, largely because they are difficult to track, said Michael Gartenberg, a vice president and research director at JupiterResearch in New York who covers blogs. But based on anecdotal information, he said, people are using blogs on both sides of the job search process.

"It's a trend on the rise right now,' Mr. Gartenberg said, 'especially for employers, who get a much better sense of a person this way. Resumes and interviews are a very scripted process; read someone's Web log and you get a good sense of that person's thinking and perspectives."

READ: Need a New Job? Check Out a Blog.

Preparing the frustrated jobseeker for the market's inevitable return.

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