I clung to the middle class as I aged. The pandemic pulled me under
Source: The Washington Post
By Ray Suarez
An eye blink ago, I was anchoring a nightly program for the cable news network Al Jazeera America. Before that, I had long tenures with “PBS NewsHour” and NPR. When I read warnings that workers could face sudden and catastrophic losses of income in their final years of employment, I was empathetic but concluded it could never happen to me. Then the wheels came off.
After Al Jazeera pulled the plug on its young network, I shoved down the rising panic, kept one eye on my bank balance as I started freelancing, and kept the other eye out for the next big thing. Like hundreds of thousands of men in their early 60s across the country, I had to get used to the idea that the marketplace might have already decided I was “done.”
“What’s this about? Corporate greed. Greed has a lot to do with it,” says Nick Corcodilos, the author of the Ask the Headhunter blog and an employment consultant.
Six years ago respected news correspondent Ray Suarez interviewed me on the fledgling Al Jazeera America network about why good people can’t find jobs. Ray’s stellar career included years at PBS NewsHour and NPR. He’s a 60+ old white guy with a lot of talent. Is corporate greed killing off the well-paid professionals that help make corporate America rich? That’s what I think.
Are companies wise to eliminate their most experienced and costly older workers? It certainly saves them money. Does it actually pay off? Share your own stories — but what I’d really like is your analysis about whether this is good for business and the economy. (In this highly charged time of partisan politics, I ask that we avoid partisan politics in our discussion — there’s plenty to say and debate about how this affects business, the economy, and workers. Let’s try to stick to that. Thanks for your cooperation.)
COVID-19: Should I even bother applying for jobs right now?
COVID-19 has sent shockwaves through the business world, and many are asking if they should even TRY to get a job right now. It’s… it’s complicated.
Source: The American Genius
By Lani Rosales, COO + News Director
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, most people are either working from home, or nervously in an office setting right now, or are already unemployed. Many are wondering if they’ll have a job tomorrow, and worse, folks already unemployed are wondering if there is any hope in sight. I won’t sugar coat this – it sucks.
This whole thing sucks. For some sectors, despite the government working toward relief efforts, this is devastating. Truly. For other sectors particularly those in tech or corporate life (which is where our focus is for this story), there is a recovery in the future.
It’s universally awful, but it’s not an impossible situation. In fact, this could turn out to be a major advantage for you if approached properly.
What sucks is all the lame advice about jobs during the COVID-19 crisis. But Lani Rosales offers uncommon insights about your job prospects — and about employers. I like her candor and no-nonsense directive to “deal with it but be smart.” There’s a bit of throwaway advice (pay for a professionally written resume), but this quick read delivers some very tasty tips and useful perspective. And it’ll make you feel better.
What’s your take?
What did you find in Rosales’ tips that changes your view of getting or keeping a job during the crisis? Let’s compare notes — and talk about how to implement some of these ideas. Please post your thoughts in the Comments below!
The New Collar Workforce
In today’s manufacturing environment, it’s skills and ability—not academic pedigree—that matter most. It’s time to update the blue-collar/white-collar approach to the workforce.
Source: Industry Week
By Adrienne Selko
Former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty: “IBM has championed a new educational model for the United States — six-year public high schools that combine traditional education with the best of community colleges, mentoring, and real-world job experience.”
The concept is to look at ability, not academic grooming.
“Getting a job at today’s IBM does not always require a college degree. What matters most is relevant skills, sometimes obtained through vocational training. We are creating and hiring to fill ‘new collar’ jobs — entirely new roles in areas such as cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence and cognitive business.”
Another welcome trend is the emergence of regional partnerships for apprentices and other training. The best route for these partnerships is to work closely with companies to determine specific job needs. Community education should be aligned with the skills of open jobs.
News I want you to use item submitted by long-time reader Rick Manning.
Sounds great. I’m a big believer in a 4-year college education, but I also believe in apprenticeship. (See The Training Gap: How employers lose their competitive edge.) Rometty suggests taxpayers should pay for an Alt. college degree to custom-train workers for New Collar jobs at IBM. Who pays for what, and who’s really getting the benefits?
What’s your take?
Should public education policy be driven by the needs of industry? Should taxpayers foot the bill to custom-train workers for IBM?
Every employee’s worst nightmare, getting outed on Glassdoor, could become a reality
By Michael Grothaus
You’ve left a company that you have legitimate grievances against. As thousands of others do, you go to Glassdoor to leave what you believe is a fair and accurate appraisal of your work experiences at the company. A short while later, you’re notified that your former employer has taken court action to out you, claiming your review breached the company’s severance agreements.
But this is no hypothetical nightmare; it’s what no fewer than 10 former employees of cryptocurrency exchange company Kraken are facing. As EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) Staff Attorney Aaron Mackey says: This litigation is designed to harass and silence current and former Kraken employees for speaking about their experiences at the company.
Glassdoor built a mud pit. It has long profited from employees who enter the pit and sling mud — anonymous negative company reviews. Meanwhile, companies reward HR staff for posting fake positive reviews. (See also: Is wrong information being given out at Glassdoor?) Now companies are conditioning severance packages on no-mud-slinging (non-disparagement) clauses. It was only a matter of time until the splatter triggered lawsuits.
What’s your take?
Once they enter the mud pit, does anyone have a right to complain about getting splattered? Do you have a right to post anonymous complaints about your experience with an employer? Does an employer have a right to stop you from talking about its reputation — in exchange for a payoff in a severance package it gives you?
Amazon Lawsuit: Managers Scoured Job Candidates’ Social Media for Race and Gender Info
It doesn’t matter what your motivation is, illegal discrimination is illegal.
By Suzanne Lucas, aka The EvilHRLady
Lisa McCarrick filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Monday, alleging two significant problems. The first: she’s paid less than her male coworkers. The second: her manager told her to “scour” job candidate’s social media to determine race and gender/ethnicity and then fired her when she complained.
McCarrick claims that her managers wanted her to search out race and gender to increase diversity at Amazon…[but] It doesn’t matter that your goal is to increase your minority or female hires. You cannot discriminate based on race or gender for almost all positions.
This article gave me a headache. Amazon HR instructs managers to use job applicants’ social media footprints to make sure they hire more women and minorities. Is that discrimination or reverse discrimination or just plain illegal any way you slice it? And if a manager refuses to scour a job candidate’s social media for race and gender info, the manager gets fired? You can’t make this stuff up!
What’s your take?
Have your social media tracks ever helped you get a job? Or cost you a job? What will HR and employers think of next to discriminate — and to get their companies sued?
Cost Cutting Algorithms Are Making Your Job Search a Living Hell
More companies are using automated job screening systems to vet candidates, forcing jobseekers to learn new and absurd tricks to have their résumés seen by a human.
Source: Motherboard | Vice
By Nick Keppler
“I’m doing something else while the system is interviewing my candidates,” [a “senior recruiter”] says with a smile. The message is clear: She’s offloaded much of her work to someone else. Ifeoma Ajunwa, an assistant professor of labor and employment law at Cornell University said automated systems will probably continue to amass between jobs and jobseekers. “I think that’s the way it’s going to advance… Companies have come to count on it.” The makers of more advanced applicant tracking systems are acutely aware of the bias problem, but are not certain of a solution. Should job applicants rebel? Should they refuse to take online assessments or to upload video faux interviews or engage the next faceless gatekeeper?
HR tech in your face: Nick’s take
Don’t miss this excellent run-down on the “pseudoscience” and “profoundly disturbing” technology that HR is using in its never-ending battle to turn you into a bucket o’ bits. See also Why does HR waste time, money and the best job candidates?
What’s your take?
Do you let employers put HR tech between you and a job? Between you and the hiring manager? When is this going to stop — and who’s going to stop it?
Dr. Robert Cialdini: The Psychology Powering Influence and Persuasion
Source: Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People Podcast
Bob Cialdini is the “godfather of influence.” He is to changing people’s minds what Martha Stewart is to changing people’s lifestyle.
Bob Cialdini has spent his life studying the parameters of compliance — how we get others to do what we want. And that’s exactly what you need to know to get an employer to hire you.
If you don’t listen to another podcast this year, listen to Dr. Robert Cialdini’s clear, compelling conversation with Guy Kawasaki about how to ethically influence other people to “come in your direction.” Gene Webb, my mentor at the Stanford Business School, gave me Cialdini’s book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, while I was a graduate student. I’ve since given the book to my own kids and to many friends.
Robert Cialdini is professor emeritus at Arizona State University and one of the world’s leading researchers in social psychology. He’s probably also the most widely read psychologist in the sphere of sales. But don’t let any of that put you off. This isn’t armchair psychology or cheesy sales training. It’s must-hear information for any job seeker, employer or business person. (Do yourself a favor: Don’t read the transcript. Listen to the audio.)
What’s your take?
Did you find a tip in Cialdini’s podcast that you can put to use immediately? Did you learn something you didn’t know? How do you influence or convince employers to hire you?
Low unemployment isn’t worth much if the jobs barely pay
Source: Brookings Institution
Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation report (better known as the “jobs report”) to outline the latest state of the nation’s economy. And with it, of late, have been plenty of positive headlines. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story. Are these jobs any good? How much do they pay? Do workers make enough to live on? Here, the story is less rosy.
In a recent analysis, we found that 53 million workers ages 18 to 64—or 44% of all workers—earn barely enough to live on. Their median earnings are $10.22 per hour, and about $18,000 per year. Other research suggests that there are not enough decent-paying jobs for people without bachelor’s degrees. This matters—workers without bachelor’s degrees make up not just the majority of the low-wage workforce but the majority of the labor force as a whole, so the shortage of such jobs has wide-ranging consequences. Even with sunny job statistics, the nation’s economy is simply not working well for tens of millions of people.
Jobs Shortage: Nick’s take
While the feds and the media cheer “the great jobs numbers,” the dirty little secret is wages. Brookings scrapes the lipstick off the pig, and all that’s left is a pig. There’s no talent shortage; there’s a good-paying jobs shortage. Brookings focuses on the 44% of all workers who make barely enough to live on — and that’s troubling enough. What Brookings misses is more highly educated workers who are earning less than they used to.
Which one are you?
What’s your take?
Are you earning as much as you used to? What category in the Brookings report do you fall into? Are there really more good-paying jobs than there is talent to fill them? How many lower-paying jobs would you need to have at once, to earn what you once earned?
See also B.S. on the jobs numbers euphoria.
Warren Buffett Says This Is the Rule He Would Live By to Be Happier, if He Could Start All Over Again
Money is important, but not the most important thing.
In a 1998 lecture to University of Florida MBA students, business magnate Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, fielded a host of questions on investments and valuations before a thoughtful student asked, “What would you do to live a happier life if you could live over again?” According to the Oracle of Omaha, “The way to do it is to play out the game and do something you enjoy all your life and be associated with people you like. I work only with people I like.”
This article quoting Warren Buffett has an extremely high ratio of wisdom to words:
- “I work only with people I like” (See also Never work with jerks.)
- “you will move in the direction of the people that you associate with”
- “associate with people who are better than yourself”
- “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”
- “not having close friends is just as bad for your health as smoking”
- “if you’re still putting up with people you don’t like just for a paycheck, it’s time to make a change”
What’s your take?
Do you agree? Do you walk Buffett’s talk? Or is this easier said than done?
Why aren’t wages rising faster even with low unemployment?
Trade war, weaker economy are among reasons
Source: USA Today
By all rights, U.S. wage growth should be kicking into a higher gear amid falling unemployment and intensifying worker shortages…“Wage growth has hit a wall,” Joseph Song, senior economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, wrote in a report. Economists blame myriad factors, including President Donald Trump’s trade war with China and a slowing U.S. economy, weak productivity growth and meager inflation.
I love this topic. Washington crows about low unemployment, but nobody in government seems to worry that your wage growth sucks. “Explanations” get tossed around like dry leaves whipped up by a forest fire: It’s the trade war, productivity, low inflation. I’ve got a simpler answer: Successful companies don’t share the wealth with their employees because it just feels better to keep the money. Job candidates need to push back harder. Can’t negotiate a higher salary? Ask for more money.
What do you say?
- Why are wages not going up meaningfully?
- How can you get more money for your work?