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Monday, January 31, 2005

My new book is out!

Visit my websitefor details on how you can buy your copy.

Jim Stroud and The Apprentice

I was the keynote speaker at the kick-off event for WebChallenge 2005. WebChallenge is an annual community service event supported by the TAG Foundation. The contest is designed to get Georgia high school students excited about using the Internet and learning about the latest technology through a hands-on design experience, all with a little help from Georgia's high-tech business community. Students who participate in WebChallenge develop web sites that are intended for use by a non-profit organization selected by the WebChallenge committee.

During the course of my presentation I met Velshonya Jackson, an exemplary student who impressed me so much that I have accepted her as my apprentice. During the year of 2005 (and beyond), it will be my priveledge and pleasure to encourage and assist Velshonya in the pursuit of her dreams. Expect to hear more from this remarkable person in the near future.

Friday, January 28, 2005

If you don't stop, you'll go blind...

After joining the Bank of Ireland as CEO, Michael Soden issues a dictate: No porn surfing on the job. His next dictate: The IT department is to be outsourced to Hewlett-Packard. Shortly after the outsourcing deal goes through, IT staffers, now employed by HP, discover porn on Soden's computer. Soden resigns, leaving the bank and HP scrapping over who should pay his severance, estimated at $5 million.

SOURCE: Business 2.0's The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business

Thursday, January 27, 2005

No smoking means, no smoking!!!

Four employees of a health care company have been fired for refusing to take a test to determine whether they smoke cigarettes. Weyco Inc., a health benefits administrator based in Okemos, Mich., adopted a policy Jan. 1 that allows employees to be fired if they smoke, even if the smoking happens after business hours or at home.

Read: Company Fires All Employees Who Smoke

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Never say die!

The Nobel laureate James Watson, who started a revolution in science as co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, put it to me straight a couple of years ago: "Never retire. Your brain needs exercise or it will atrophy."

Why, then, am I bidding Op-Ed readers farewell after more than 3,000 columns? Nobody pushed me; at 75, I’m in good shape, not afflicted with political ennui; and my recent column about tsunami injustice and the Book of Job drew the biggest mail response in 32 years of pounding out punditry.

Here’s why I’m outta here: In an interview 50 years before, the aging adman Bruce Barton told me something like Watson’s advice about the need to keep trying something new, which I punched up into "When you’re through changing, you’re through." He gladly adopted the aphorism, which I’ve been attributing to him ever since.

Combine those two bits of counsel — never retire, but plan to change your career to keep your synapses snapping — and you can see the path I’m now taking. Readers, too, may want to think about a longevity strategy.

Check out: ‘Never retire

Extreme makeovers for jobhunters?

According to Mark Hovind, business consultant and owner of JobBait.com, finding a 6-figure job takes more than a world-class cover letter and resume. Job-seekers can"t just throw their hat in the ring and expect a miracle to occur. And they can"t just post their resume on websites and expect Corporate America to beat a path to their door. They must get fierce, intense, motivated and passionate.

Mr. Hovind offers, "Go straight to the decision-maker (President, CEO, Owner or Chairman) and ask for the job. Grab their attention with a cover letter that answers three basic questions right up front — so what, who cares and what"s in it for me? Be unique, compelling and even unexpected." For example:

* Dear Decision-Maker: Less than one year after posting a $1 million loss, John Doe, the CEO of Acme Corporation, sold his $35 million business for 5 times its net worth. Can you imagine the smile on his face? As CFO, here"s how I helped him do it.

Read: Extreme Makeover Job-Hunting Strategies for 6-Figure Executives

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Sometimes its better not to work...

Think your job’s bad? Try dragging a bedspread around tick-ridden thickets, pausing regularly in the 100-degree heat not to squeegee the sweat from your brow but to tweeze dozens of the tiny pests into a collection jar. Reconsidering your career choice? Imagine training for years as a veterinarian, only to find yourself engaged in labwork designed to make the tail-wagging puppies in your charge sick, knowing all the while that when the study is over, the pooches will be euthanized. Having a bad day? Just be glad you’re not spending it in minute examination of unusual growths on a dozen or so people’s posteriors. But don’t feel sorry for the scientists and staffers employed in these travails and the 14 others gathered in this, our second annual countdown of the worst jobs in science—they probably wouldn’t want your job any more than you’d want theirs.

Read: The Worst Jobs in Science

Monday, January 24, 2005

Its better to work smart than hard...

Selling your boss is critical to your success. If you can’t get your boss’s approval when you need it, you are not going to go very far in your career. As the president of a company, I spend a good deal of time listening to proposals. Those doing the pitching usually need my approval to proceed with their project. Frankly, I never cease to be amazed at how poorly most people do in this kind of situation. Unfortunately, most of us never receive any formal training in this important skill. As a result, we flounder about, trying to figure out how to do it better. In this article, I want to provide you with a few shortcuts, based on my 27–plus years in business. Hopefully, this will shorten your learning curve. As someone who is constantly pitched one thing or another, I have a lot of experience on the receiving end of proposals. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are six keys to getting your boss to say yes.

I recommend that you check out: Working Smart: How to Sell Your Boss

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Blogging can cost you a job?

Check out this list of companies that (supposedly) "fired, threatened, disciplined, fined or not hired people because of their blog."

1.) Delta Air Lines
2.) Wells Fargo
3.) Ragen MacKenzie
4.) Starbucks
5.) Microsoft (some say yay, some say nay)
6.) Friendster
7.) the Houston Chronicle
8.) the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
9.) Nunavut Tourism (Canada)
10.) the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies, Harvard University

Click here to discover the others

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Teenage angst makes a comeback...

Cheri Pupp's teenage daughter appeared the picture of success. An honor student, four-sport athlete and member of the school band and church choir, she had every reason to be confident of a bright future.

Thus Ms. Pupp and her husband were stunned when the 14-year-old wrote them a letter pouring out her anxieties over choosing a career. "I don't know where I want to go in life," she lamented.

"I had no idea she was feeling so pressured by the idea that she needed to know now what she was going to do for the rest of her life. She was falling apart and we didn't know it," says Ms. Pupp, who quickly took steps to reassure and encourage her daughter. "She gets up with a smile on her face every day. Now I have to wonder if that's not masking a lot of internal turmoil."

A problem is mounting among kids: future angst. The roller-coaster ride from the high optimism of the late 1990s, when teenage millionaires peopled the headlines, to the layoffs and economic turmoil of the new decade has given many kids a bad case of vertigo.

READ: Teens' Career Angst Is a Growing Problem

Shooting yourself in the foot

I read this on Seth Godin's blog and thought, "Hmmm..." This also applies to people who want to move up the corporate ladder.

READ: Rules for failure

Pssst... They're hiring in Philly...

In advance of the Pennsylvania state unemployment report, Adecco (NYSE:ADO), the staffing industry's market leader in the U.S. and the world, today announced it is seeing increased demand for employees in the Philadelphia area, especially in the retail, healthcare, banking and insurance industries. Philadelphia is one of many locales across the country where Adecco is responding to a growing need for contingent workers from employers in a variety of industries.

Jon Roesser, operations manager for Adecco in the greater Philadelphia area, says, "The current employment outlook in the Philadelphia region is quite promising for a wide range of positions in a number of industries. The first quarter of each year generally is slower as the holiday season winds down, but that has not been the case in 2005. We are receiving significantly more orders now than we were at this time last year."

Job seekers in the Philadelphia area will be pleased to know that entry-level positions such as general clerks, cashiers and administrative assistants as well as higher-level jobs, including loan, bill and claims processors are in high demand across the retail, banking, insurance and healthcare industries. Adecco has seen a particular spike in hiring in the healthcare sector.

READ: Adecco's 'Where-the-Jobs-Are' Report Shows Increased Hiring in Philadelphia

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Become... "one" with your cubicle...

If your workspace makes you shudder and your job is the pits or you're making no money or feel like you're in a rut, you might need to find some balance and set some goals. You could find peace in the workplace with the ancient art of feng shui.

"Feng Shui (pronounced fung-schway) is an ancient Chinese philosophy of design that can be applied to any room, building and desktop. It's mainly about how your space makes you feel – often on a subtle, energetic level," write Holly Ziegler and Jennifer Lawler in their book Feng Shui Your Workspace for Dummies. It literally means "wind and water" which refers to the two universal elements essential for life. These forces are connected to "chi," meaning life energy or life force. Feng shui allows you to harness your life energy to enrich your environment and create balance in your life.

How can applying it to workplace help your job? Whether the corner office, a cube or a desktop feng shui can be used to cure imbalances, erase energy blockers and even soothe your interaction with difficult co-workers. It can make you more productive and help you accomplish career goals. You create and use intentions – state what you want and then make the changes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Elementary my dear watson, elementary...

An abrupt departure can mean many things, but don't expect your employer to tell all. Still, you can at least get some clues. There's something disconcerting, a little Twilight-Zoneish, about stopping by a colleague's workstation to leave a message, or check on a meeting time, or just say hi and hear, "Uh, Charlie doesn't work here anymore."

What the heck? I talked to him yesterday, you think, as though you just heard that Charlie had expired during the night. In fact, the shock is often akin to getting the news that someone you know has died of a heart attack or in a traffic accident. What could have happened to Charlie? He looked fine the last time I saw him.

READ: When a co-worker vanishes... (Insert spooky music here)

Linked In Kills Monsters In The Marketplace

Although I wrote this for Cybersleuthing - the best blog for Searchologists on the planet, I thought this would prove of interest to jobseekers as well. Cybersleuthing is written by Shally Steckerl, a legend in sourcing talent and a god among online researchers (smile).

Linked In Kills Monsters In The Marketplace


That is the best (and in my opinion) only way to describe what is going on at Linked In (www.linkedin.com). I received an email today hyping Direct Employer’s latest offering, a job board for recruiting candidates. In case you are saying “So what?” Let me be the first to enlighten you on why I think this move will kill Monsters in the marketplace. Every job board out there uses resumes as their collateral, but who else has managed to leverage social networks as effectively? It is a widely-known secret that if you are sourcing candidates in a hurry, Linked In is among the first few places you visit. While there may be similar offerings by competitors, I wonder how well they have been integrated into a sourcing routine. (I would LOVE to hear back on this.) Linked in functions best (I think) in offering so much in a simple package (Was it designed by the UI gods themselves?) that passes the grandma-what-does-this button-do test in user-friendliness hands down. However, what makes it an automatic winner (with me) is in how it delivers the most valuable offering any recruitment tool can give: “relationships, references and reputation.”

If you are already a member of Linked in and a recruiter, let me explain why you should be excited about this.

1. It will save you time and money.
2. It will save you time and money.
3. (and this is most important) It will save you time and money.

Consider this, you post a job, resumes come back and you review several resumes that you HOPE are accurate. Additionally, you overlook those applicants who are the most qualified because they do not use the keywords you are looking for nor do they have the wherewithal to create a stunning work history. Yet, your client would see them as the position messiah sent from above to deliver their department to profitable glory. Now, thanks to Linked In, you get the inside scoop on everyone who applies. You see who you know that they know, you see who they know that (perhaps) you would like to know and you see what people who have worked with them have to say about them. As a recruiter, what more could you hope for prior to actually speaking to the person applying? (Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he works at Linked In.)

Curiously enough as I write this, I realize that a whole new dynamic is taking shape in recruitment. I can sense savvy candidates becoming keenly more aware of the power they have (and really, always had) over recruiters serving a certain niche. The good recruiters always had a cadre of standby candidates they could prod for references or client leads at any given time. Now the power is shifted to those savvy candidates who are now instant power brokers. For example, “Mr./Ms/Mrs. Recruiter, take a peek at who I know on Linked in! Look at the endorsements from their co-workers. Would you like to know them? Yes? Then play nicely with me. What is “play nicely?” Return my phone call (or at least send an email), know who I am when you call me; do not waste my time by missing our scheduled call. I understand things happen, but consider my time and (at least) give a courtesy call or email (ahead of time) explaining the delay. And by all means, when you call please let the job match my skill set.” Not only has Linked In empowered a recruiter as never before, but they have likewise empowered the job hunter. Now exemplary service to potential hires has become all the more crucial. If I as a candidate do not like how you treated me, it is going to get that much harder for you to get to my known contacts (and get your messages forwarded to people connected to people I know) after I bad mouth you to my peers.

To recap, Linked In has leveled the playing field on both sides of the recruitment process. Recruiters get to save time and money while jobseekers are elevated from faceless pieces of CV meat trapped inside a blackhole. What happens next will be very interesting…

Jim Stroud

Yahoo launches dream job contest!

Beginning today, Yahoo! HotJobs (Nasdaq:YHOO), a leader in the online recruitment industry, is launching THE BIG GAME PLAN, a national sweepstakes that will award eight lucky participants an up close and personal opportunity to discover their dream job.

Yahoo! HotJobs is teaming with top companies nationwide to offer short-term experiences in the television, publishing, fashion, music, automotive, food & beverage, entertainment and athletics industries. Whether it’s walking the red carpet with reporters from Star Magazine, shadowing famous fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, or learning the ins and outs of professional football from record-breaking wide receiver Amani Toomer, each is a unique hands-on opportunity for job seekers still searching for their dream job. The Yahoo! HotJobs promotion launches on January 17 and will be active through February 8, 2005. Log on to http://www.hotjobs.com to enter.

READ: Yahoo! HotJobs BIG GAME PLAN Helps Job Seekers Discover Their Dream Job

Don't believe the hype...

An Indian woman here is reported to have duped several Nepalese with promises of cushy jobs abroad and more than 40 job-seekers are presently stranded penniless in Kabul. Several similarly tricked blue-collar workers who managed to return home last year have filed a police complaint against Ishwori Ale, who is from Sikkim, the Himalayan Times daily reported Monday. Ale had taken unspecified amounts of money from the 42 workers currently stranded in Kabul, promising them jobs as security guards there. But when the young men went to Kabul via Delhi, they could find no signs of the $1,900 per month job they had been promised. The tricked men went on staying in Kabul in the hope they would get a job to pay for the huge expenses they had run up to go there. Though their visa reportedly expired earlier this month, they were unable to leave as they had no money to clear their hotel dues and pay their fare.

READ: Indian woman running illegal job racket in Nepal:

Monday, January 17, 2005

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Labor

I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream—a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality. That is the dream...

READ:Martin Luther King, Jr. on Labor

Baby Mama Drama

Kristian Denny Todd found out she was pregnant with her first child in the fall of 2003 -- about the same time she was interviewing for a new job. Todd was facing a dilemma many women face: how to navigate a job search when motherhood, complete with a need for maternity leave, is imminent.

READ: Job Hunting In a Family Way

Friday, January 14, 2005

More money? Yeah, that'd be great....

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, took out full-page advertisements in more than 100 U.S. newspapers, including The Sun, yesterday to counter criticism that it pays workers less and offers fewer benefits than competitors.

"It's time for us to be more aggressive in telling the good story we have to tell," said H. Lee Scott Jr., the company's chief executive.

Unions such as the United Food & Commercial Workers have said the discount chain pays less than competing supermarket chains and offers fewer health care benefits.

Wal-Mart employees in California earn about 31 percent less than those who work at other retailers, according to a 2004 study by the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California at Berkeley.

"We think it's long overdue that management speak up about the unfair criticism that they have received," said Bill Dreher, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG, adding that negative publicity has dampened the rise of Wal-Mart shares.

READ: Wal-Mart ads dispute cheap-boss image

Don't hate the player, hate the game...

Many negative emotions can rear their ugly heads in the office, but one of the most common is jealousy. Most professionals have been on one side of the jealousy coin at one time or another. You know what it is like to feel slighted by the boss's constant praise of another employee or passed up for a deserved promotion. But being on the other side is just as troubling. If you are the target of office jealousy, it is probably coming your way simply because you are a stellar performer. So what can you do if a co-worker is out to get you just because you are enjoying some well-deserved success? READ: Five Tips for Dealing with a Jealous Co-worker

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The blind leading the blind...

Bill Frueh says being blind helped him inspire the disabled to succeed

This is truly an inspirational story!

(Freuh's) co-workers threw him a retirement party Monday at Northeast Career Planning, where he was a sheltered employment counselor.

The not-for-profit agency was formed in 1954. It used to be called The Workshop Inc. It has an $8 million annual budget and employs 200 disabled people at a warehouse in Menands. They pack GE caulking tubes into plastic bags; sort and pack local college printed materials; label and pack Beech-Nut baby foods. Each year, the agency also places more than 400 disabled workers with local companies.

Frueh worked with people often marginalized by society, those with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, brain injuries, mental illness, blindness and deafness. He helped them believe in self-reliance instead of self-pity. Even when they were earning $6.75 per hour, on average, in an assembly line-type operation.

READ: A life guided by inner vision

Bill Frueh, I salute you! Well done sir...

Looking for work while working is not easier...

It is a myth that it's easier to find a new job when you are working, said John Challenger, CEO of Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"It actually is more difficult because you don't have as much time to devote to a search because you are already working," he said. It also is harder to network, to tap into the so-called critical hidden job market, when you want to keep your intentions a secret. And you still have to explain to a prospective employer why you want to leave your current job.

''You have to take some chances that your company will find out,'' Challenger said.

The process involves other people, and it is impossible to make it foolproof. But if you still are eager to give it a try, here are some tips.

READ: It's best to keep at-work job hunting under wraps

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Pay attention, there will be a test...

Daily, tens of thousands of people use the Internet for career assistance. Most will take a career assessment, and they have many to choose from. "Career test" on the Google search engine results in nearly 22,000 hits. There are also numerous Internet-based educational career guidance systems being sold to schools and other organizations that offer career measures. But are these web-based career measures valid? Without research, it is impossible to know. Rarely do they offer a professional manual that reports the results of such studies. Knowing that (a) it takes years and substantial funds to develop a valid career measure, and (b) that most of these measures have appeared recently -- it is likely that most of them are invalid and harmful.

READ:Invalid Career Measures a Serious Problem

Friday, January 07, 2005

There's a new blog in town...

Find A Job Today - Resume and Job Hunting Advice by: Otis Collier.

This blog will teach you how to get a new job today. It will also clear up many of the most damaging misconceptions people have about how to write resumes and cover letters, how to properly interview, and negotiate their salaries. I recommend that you check it out! Read: Find A Job Today - Resume and Job Hunting Advice

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Stress + Job Hunting = Murder

An argument over a missed appointment for a job prospect escalated to murder, when an out-of-work Maple Valley truck driver shot his wife at point-blank range with a hunting rifle, King County prosecutors said. READ: Fight over job interview led to murder, prosecutors say

Could this have been you? If so, check these articles out:
23 Techniques that Relieve Tension & Stress
Can stress make you fat?
How to Diffuse Agressive or Hostile Behavior
Quit Clock - Fun!

The ratings are in!

Want to know which job boards are the most popular?
#1 is Monster
#2 is Careerbuilder

Check out: 1st Steps In The Hunt

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Its all about who you know...

Contrary to my friend's expectations, networking is not about finding somebody who is going to take time and interest to promote your career. That's a friend or a mentor, but you come across those few and far between.

Networking is about serendipity: making your own luck. We've all heard of some guy who just happened to have a friend starting a business and brought them in -- only to make a million dollars later. The reason the story is not uncommon is because that's how most positions are filled. I once saw a statistic that over 92% of positions are filled through extended networks rather than traditional means (classifieds, resume sites, recruiters).

This doesn't happen when you find one person and are persistent with them, however. Networking is more about finding the person who already needs your skills, or your company, or your money. It's about being in the right place at the right time. The more places and times you are meeting people, the more likely it is that you'll find what you're looking for. It's about making your interests and needs widely known (a new job, companies to invest in, people to hire, money to raise) and listening to the interests and needs of others. Because of the FOAF concept ("friend-of-a-friend"), you are likely to run across somebody who needs what somebody else you know is offering. Eventually, that person will be you. My friend should be looking for the right person who is already seeking his skills rather than expecting somebody he met will work to help him.

READ: Practical Networking: Make Your Own Luck

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Short on funds?

This site shows you just how far your money can stretch. Check out: Moneywallet.org

Interviewing is out of style?

Last week something very interesting happened. The CEO of a company I'd proposed some work to read my blog, decided that we were a good philosophical match, and gave me the project - before ever having spoken to me or exchanged an eMail with me. READ: ChristopherHawkins.com

Monday, January 03, 2005


Austin is in store for some healthy and long-awaited job growth in the coming years if the slew of projections coming out hold true.

Disproving the theory that economists can't agree on anything, they all say the same thing about job growth in Austin: It's all uphill from here. In the context of job growth, uphill is good. READ: Jobs coming back to Austin, TX

Because watching ER is not enough...

For U.S. workers who change or lose their jobs, a new rule issued by the Bush administration just before the end of 2004 could provide better access to group health plan coverage...Rule may let workers keep health coverage
Preparing the frustrated jobseeker for the market's inevitable return.

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