5 Outdated Pieces of Career Advice You Should Ignore
Source: Medium By Pete Ross
[These are short excerpts from Ross’s article in Medium. That’s right: there’s more, if you can swallow it…]
1. Don’t get involved in office politics
Dear god, this is some clueless shit right here. Office politics are everything when it comes to success in the corporate, military and even academic world. Anyone that tells you otherwise is hopelessly naive or flat out lying to you.
2. Dress plainly for an interview
This one must come from the book of “just an opinion with no actual facts behind it.” I’ve seen this everywhere when it comes to job interview tips and in my experience, it’s just a great big bunch of bullshit.
3. Leaving a job on good terms
I actually read an article where it said you should resign in person because it’s the right thing to do. What is this, a fucking break up? Why does my boss deserve to get treated better than I do in the situation?
4. Making life easy for your boss
“What is my boss willing to do for me?” For many of you, I bet seeing that question was like getting a cold slap across the face, because you’ve suddenly realised that the answer is something along the lines of jack shit. I’ll admit that the first time I heard that question, my mind was blown — I’d never once considered what my boss would do for me.
5. That you need work/life balance
This is a super outdated concept, because it assumes everyone is the same. It assumes we all dislike work and love life, so we have to find some balance that minimises the former and maximises the latter. It’s just not true.
Nick’s take on bullsh-t career advice
Bad career advice seems to be selling nowadays, so I want to inoculate you against nihilists like Pete Ross. I don’t know him, but I know his ilk: unhappy people who want you to be miserable, too. I think I can summarize his points quickly:
That seems to be his message. How is this “News you can use?” You know what they say about bullsh-t: Know what it is so you don’t step in it. (Occam’s Razor might help you cut through stuff like this quickly.)
What’s your take? Do you buy any of this guy’s advice? What’s your best advice on each of these 5 topics?
An Employment Severance Agreement Explained in Detail
Source: Carey & Associates, PC By Mark Carey
Whether or not you use an employment attorney to review and negotiate your employment severance agreement, you need to know the mechanics of the agreement. Generally, all severance agreements accomplish one task, paying employees to release their claims against the company in exchange for money and confidentiality. I have seen thousands of these agreements in my twenty-five years of practicing employment law for employees and executives. They are all relatively the same in the terms, but differ in their layout.
Every severance agreement contains a non-disparagement clause, but one only applicable to the employee and not the employer. We advise clients to include a mutual non-disparagement clause to be signed by the employer so it does not engage in blacklisting, which is a very real phenomenon.
We often see employers sneaking into severance agreements brand new non-competition and non-solicitation provisions where none previously existed during the employee’s employment… The following discussion will go in depth and explain the legal terms in an understandable way…
Nick’s take on the severance agreement
My buddy Mark Carey, a leading employment attorney who represents only executives and employees (not employers), shows you how to hack that severance agreement. You don’t need to hire Mark to get his insights and advice about how to protect yourself when you part ways with an employer — he shares a lot here! I learned a couple of things myself. (Don’t miss Mark’s column about employment at will on Ask The Headhunter.)
What’s your take? Do you have a severance agreement? Has one ever hamstrung you? Got a horror story? How about a positive experience with a severance deal? Let’s dissect these agreements!
Making Freelance Academic Work a Fairly Paid Venture
Source: Inside Higher Ed By Brian DeGrazia
As a graduate student and early-career scholar, building a portfolio of professional academic experiences provides a lot of potential value. Freelancer jobs in editing, translation, indexing, research and similar kinds of work… The benefits of such work are certainly real, but they should not be thought of as compensation or reason enough by themselves to take on a project. Indeed, one of the main challenges of this kind of work is receiving market-rate pay for it. The notion that working for free or less than market rate can be “worth it” for the experience or exposure is pervasive and certainly not limited to the academy.
Freelancers, regardless of their title or position within the university, are workers, and they should be treated and compensated as such. A fair rate of pay, beyond helping to pay the bills, also offers one last but vital piece of professional development for early-career scholars: it helps them see the value of their time and work, hopefully giving them more confidence throughout their careers to seek properly paid freelance and full-time opportunities and avoid those that are less desirable and less fair.
Below I suggest some best practices, both for those of you looking to be hired to do this kind of work and for those looking to hire them.
Nick’s take on freelancer abuse
Academic and commercial employers get highly educated graduate students and other academics to do freelancer work cheap. These folks are usually terrified of the job market and will often accept jobs for no pay at all “to gain experience.” DeGrazia exposes this slave-wages racket. Read his article for great suggestions about how to get fair pay! (Also see 20 pointers for new graduates.)
What’s your take? Are you a grad student or other academic just starting out? Have you taken jobs that pay little or nothing? Is “experience” worth working for slave wages? How do you convince employers to pay for your work? If you’re an employer, do you pay academic freelancers fairly?
Source: SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) By Kathy Gurchief
The gender pay gap narrowed overall by 6 cents in three years, with women ages 25 to 30 seeing the most improvement in that time, according to a new report released in conjunction with U.S. Equal Pay Day on March 24. In 2017, women in that age group made about 79 cents for every $1 men made; that increased to 86 cents in 2020, a 7-cent gain.
Women earn less, on average, than men, and so must work longer for the same amount of pay. Based on its findings, Visier [an HR consulting firm] forecasts that women could achieve pay equity in about nine years at the rate the wage gap is closing.
The Society for Human Resources Managers (SHRM) says its members can’t fix a national compensation problem. But HR is in charge of compensation. If SHRM can’t lead HR managers to a solution, how will HR managers lead their companies to pay equity? How much are companies paying those HR people, anyway?
What’s your take? Who’s going to fix the pay equity problem? Why do professional women’s associations say it’s going to take longer than HR says it will? Why do HR departments own compensation policy if they can’t manage compensation? Is this another reason to eliminate HR altogether?
Millions Are Out Of A Job. Yet Some Employers Wonder: Why Can’t I Find Workers?
Source: NPR Morning Edition By Kat Lonsdorf
At a time when millions of Americans are unemployed, businessman Bill Martin [who runs a medical plastics company] has a head-scratching problem: He’s got plenty of jobs but few people willing to take them. “I keep hearing about all the unemployed people,” Martin says. “I certainly can’t find any of those folks.”
His difficulties are putting a spotlight on a peculiar problem in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. Julia Pollak, a labor economist at employment recruitment site ZipRecruiter, says Martin is not alone in struggling to find workers. Most job seekers, she says, are looking for remote work. The problem is that those are not the jobs available right now.
“There’s this huge gap between the kinds of conditions under which people are prepared to work and the kinds of conditions that they actually find in the jobs that are available,” Pollak says. That is leading to a mismatch in filling jobs, and it’s contributing to the painful, slow recovery in jobs.
ZipRecruiter claims only 1 in 10 posted jobs provide the option of remote work — so that’s why you’re unemployed. It’s because you want only remote work. I dunno, maybe that’s true, and I don’t blame you if it is. But that’s why employers like Martin are scratching their heads. So the net is, there are loads of jobs going begging today.
What’s your take? Is this why you’re unemployed? Would COVID pay (like combat pay) change your mind? Better protection against infection? On-site testing? Or is there something else that’s keeping you unemployed?
The best people for certain jobs may not have perfect résumés. Oh, sure, they’ll have the skills you need, but you might spot a “their” that should be “there” or vice versa. Many hiring managers reject such people on the spot. Research suggests that this may be a bad idea.
Typos are made because we’re so busy trying to convey meaning that we don’t always notice when we’ve made an error. We all know that it’s difficult to catch our own typos, but why is that? It’s because we already know what we mean, so our eyes read one thing but our brain translates it into the meaning that it already knows exists.
I almost always agree with my buddy Suzanne Lucas, one of my favorite HR people. But not about typos. I’ve discussed why I think illiteracy is a sign of ignorance before. The fact remains that writing is a serial process — you put down one word after another. This permits you to go back and check for accuracy. If the document is an important one, there’s no excuse for errors.
Do you carefully proof your resume? Would typos in a resume lead you to reject a job applicant? Do these kinds of errors tell us anything about a job applicant? Or am I full of baloney? What’s your take?
CEO Secrets: “My billion pound company has no HR department”
Source: BBC News By Dougal Shaw
Greg Jackson is the founder and CEO of Octopus Energy, a UK start-up valued at more than £1.4bn ($2bn), selling green energy. Despite now having more than 1,200 employees, he says he has no interest in traditional things like human resources (HR) and information technology (IT) departments.
There is a tendency for large companies to “infantilise” their employees and “drown creative people in process and bureaucracy”, says Jackson.
HR and IT departments don’t make employees happier or more productive in his experience, he says.
So he doesn’t have them.
We’ve discussed why Human Resources is unnecessary before. Tom Peters, a management sage of the 1980s, famously said the maximum size of an organization before it begins to fail is 11. He later upped it to 25. Greg Jackson turns even this unconventional wisdom on its head. Jackson has 1,200 employees and his company seems to work well because none are in HR or IT. I wish the article included more details about “how” other employees can handle such tasks.
Can a company with 1,200 employees really operate without HR and IT departments? Are managers and employees really going to learn to do those tasks? How? Can somebody in HR or IT enlighten us? What’s your take?
HiPeople picks up $3M seed to automate reference checks
Source: TechCrunch By Steve O’Hear
HiPeople, an HR tech startup based in Berlin that wants to automate the reference checking process, has raised $3 million in seed funding. HiPeople says the investment will be used to support growth so that more recruiters can hire remotely using automated reference checks.
“Abstractly-speaking HiPeople is in the talent insights business,” say [founders] Gillmann and Schüller. “HiPeople currently solves this by automating candidate reference checks from request, to collection, and analysis. This allows companies to extend the information they have on a candidate without additional manual work”.
As a result, the startup claims that its users on average collect 2x the amount of references on a candidate. “Workflow automation of repetitive processes, and insights on the candidate that go beyond the limitations of the CV, are a clear pain for anybody in recruiting.”
Actually talking to your references is a clear pain for anybody in recruiting. So these guys are going to automate yet one more aspect of recruiting and hiring by eliminating even more human judgment from the process. Because, as HR execs like to say, people are our most important asset!
How does this automation of reference checking affect you, the job seeker? I shudder to guess at how your references will communicate their subtle judgments and comments about you when there’s no conversation, no back-and-forth. But these guys didn’t create this service to benefit you. It’s to enable recruiters to gather 2X the amount of referenceswithout manual work!
So do you have 2X the number of references who will gleefully report to the Robo Reference Checker? (You could always just decline to provide references.)
Is this going to help or hinder you at getting a job offer? Does it mean less work for you? How about your references? What’s your take?
Health equals wealth: The global longevity dividend
Source: International Longevity Centre, UK By Sophia Dimitriadis and Patrick Swain
We’ve become accustomed to our ageing population being presented as a bad thing. Dangerous rhetoric painting older people as disposable has become far too common, particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of ageing is portrayed as being overwhelmingly negative for our economy and society. Policy makers are so fixated on the direct costs of ageing that they fail to notice the significant and growing contributions that older people make.
This prevents them from fully realising the social and economic potential of older people – and from appreciating the potential longevity dividend. In countries that spend more in health, older people work, volunteer and spend more. Increasing preventative health spend by just 0.1% can unlock a 9% increase in annual spending by people aged 60+ and an additional 10 hours of volunteering.
In a recent Guest Voices column we learned that 60, 65, and 70+ year-olds can keep getting hired. This brief article from a UK longevity think tank explains why it’s good for companies to hire older workers and why keeping them healthy generates big bucks for nations in the G20. Don’t miss the more detailed report that you can download from the ILC website. Taking care of older workers pays off.
Do healthy older workers pay off in your world? What rhetoric have you encountered about the “costs” of hiring older people? Can you share an example of how aging employees pay off?
My Week of Radical Transparency at a Chinese Business Seminar
Source: Wired By Yiren Lu
After decades of copycat culture, Chinese tech companies like Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance, maker of TikTok, are now out-innovating Western ones in mobile payments, ecommerce, and livestreaming.
Today China is 1.4 billion strivers, many of whom juxtapose within themselves tradition and modernity, freedom and duty, obeisance and hustle. The hand of the state is the ever present guiding force. It manages this striving, swaying the direction of industry and prescribing a set of public virtues and narratives.
Huang spent seven years in Paris getting a master’s and PhD in history. One day over lunch, he told me that Chinese society could be divided into three groups—the top 15 percent, the next 30 percent, and the bottom 55 percent, i.e., the masses. Each of these groups understood their respective role—the top groups were to be the “brain” of the country; the bottom, the “body.” In his opinion, this partitioning of responsibilities meant that, unlike in the US, where we are governed by the majority, China’s decisions reflected the thinking of the smartest people and were made in the country’s long-term interest. When I asked whether this meant the top 15 percent would make decisions that benefited only themselves, he seemed unmoved. After all, further enrichment at the top could only happen if the masses were fed, entertained, and sufficiently wealthy to drive domestic consumption.
Software engineer Yiren Lu is a second-generation Chinese American who suggests American entrepreneurs may not have the stomach for honest self-examination that their Chinese counterparts do. Is it possible that China is kicking our ass, and that its secret weapon is the willingness of its leaders to predicate their success on the economic success of the masses? Is this a trade-off Americans once embraced in our own way, and did we redefine freedom to be selfish, self-absorbed and willing to throw others under the bus to get and keep “what’s rightfully ours?”?
Will China kick our ass because they’re better at working “one for all?” Are we too simplistic in discounting China’s successes as the results of crooked dealings and unfair practices? Do you see hints of truth in Lu’s story about China’s economic turnaround and technological (and possibly social) ascendance? What freedoms would you trade for economic success? Can you use any of Lu’s “findings” in your own career?