Sunday, November 23, 2008

Aloha – Please Bring the Tourists Back

Nowhere do people feel the effects of a struggling economy quite like an island or state built largely on tourism. Isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 2000 miles from most international airline hubs, Hawaii feels that pinch in a way unlike most U.S mainland locations.

The local shops on Front Street in Lahaina are quiet. There are no long waiting lists for reservations at all our favorite places: Hard Rock CafĂ©, Kimo’s, Longhi’s, or Bubba Gumps. The service is as great as ever and the food is still wonderful. It’s not a ghost-town; cars still line the streets. But it’s not bustling the way it has been in holidays past.

It started with Aloha going out of business and other airlines cutting back on schedules. Gas prices have come down – and that is appreciated – but a gallon of unleaded still costs $3.28. With fewer tourists dropping money on everything from postcards to rum, things are tighter here on Maui than most places for the locals. It’s not like they can drive 30 miles and find work in a different industry. A lady at a local souvenir shop shared that there are fewer service jobs and those that remain offer fewer hours.

In a non-isolated region, displaced workers using the Green Light Scoring Model™ can take a few easy steps to determine alternate careers. The local people of Hawaii have a special challenge; they’re limited in many cases by a lack of customers. Many own homes which they cannot sell or they have families they do not want to leave behind. A lot of workers across the U.S. and the world are feeling the same challenges felt here. Adapting to this environment is difficult but not impossible.

To survive this economy it’s critical for all workers to find and cultivate alternate skills and income sources. The Green Light Scoring Model can help you do exactly that.

For those who have the skills but need reliable job leads, you need a comprehensive online job resource with 75+ hot job sites that cater to job seekers by industry, executive, general, and freelance/contract or work-at-home. We’re responding with a mini guide that also includes actual corporate questionnaires you may be asked to complete when you apply for a job.

Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook, published by the Graduate Group, comes out December 1. Coming soon, the Creating Job Security Resource Guide. Your pain is real. But there are solutions. They are inside you and we can help you unlock them. If you have suggestions or tips for other blog readers, please share them here and give someone else hope this week as the U.S. celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday. Someone will be thankful you did. Mahalo and aloha.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fixing the Job Market Will Take Everyone Digging In – WARNING CONTROVERSIAL

Earlier today Ted Turner was on CNN doing a junket for his new book. He was asked whose fault it is that we’re suffering through this world financial crisis. His response: “We all are.” He went on to say that the average person can only live beyond their means for so long before it catches up. Ted Turner understands what it takes to make a business profitable.

Hours ago, the Japanese government announced that the world’s second largest economy is officially now in a recession. I haven’t had a chance to call my college roommate Asano in Tokyo to ask how the slowdown is affecting Japan's job market, but I’m sure it’s affecting her like it’s affecting us all.

This may seem controversial to say – everyone wants to hear how hard we all work – but the truth is that few people outside of those whose pay is linked to the success of the business, invest in the companies we work for like we would invest in ourselves. And again controversial – unions may be among the worst offenders. Union positions are so regulated by work times, break times, paid holidays, precise duties, etc. that there’s no room for industrious employees to say, “I’ll stay until this job gets done.” [My uncle is a janitor at a public school, and he’s not even allowed to screw in a light bulb per his union contract. He has to call plant operations.] Can anyone argue that’s either productive or that it inspires someone to go the extra mile?

The only way for our economy (and by extension our job market) to get back on track is for 1) companies to cut the fat out of their budgets, 2) employee pay to be compensated in large part by performance-based commissions and/or bonuses, and 3) there to be a significant increase in the number of small businesses or employee co-ops where the compensation reflects the effort invested. It sounds harsh – especially in light of the U.S. job market where benefits are an expected extension of salary. But if Ted Turner is right – and I think we all know he is – that American’s have been living beyond our means for far too long, the only way to move away from our role as world consumers and begin producing products and services again, is to take back the power through an explosion of small business.

I’d like to hear what you think. Please consider sharing your insight with other readers by commenting today.

Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook, published by The Graduate Group, will be available December 1. To order e-mail, call +1 860 233 2330, or visit them online at

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Media Not Immune to Downsizing

Journalists take a lot of heat for the way they report stories – and sometimes that heat is deserved. Most will tell you they make an effort to tell the story without bias. This week in Central Washington, 17 reporters, editors, photographers, and other staff at twolocal ABC affiliates “became the story” as management announced plans to drop one newscast entirely, outsource another to a sister market 200 miles away, and truncate the 11:00 news to just five minutes. In an economy where jobs are lost every day, the storytellers have unfortunately become the story – not due to any fault of their own.

The layoff, according to management, is the result of their expensive transition to digital. Like this medium-sized station in Central Washington, multi-national corporations and organizations all have their own “transition to digital.” The health of the economy is uncertain, consumers are tightening their belts, and there’s less money to go around. The only thing that seems to be “in excess” these days are fingers pointing at someone else.

Today, more than at any time in the past 20 years, it’s critical for people to have access to the latest tools to help them discover new opportunities and create their own job security. Reliable online staff resources can jump-start your job search. We offer more than 50 of them, sorted by industry, executive resources, general resources and work-at-home opportunities, in the 2009 edition of Creating Job Security. Some of my personal favorites include:,,, and Do you have favorites you’ve found helpful to share with those who have recently received bad news about their jobs – maybe even from the newspaper, TV or radio station where they once worked? We want to hear from you.

Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook, featuring the Green Light Scoring Model for creating your ideal job right now, can now be preordered through The Graduate Group. It is available December 1. E-mail
Telephone: 860-233-2330. Visit them online:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Releasing Yourself from the Golden Handcuffs

Do you know someone who is struggling to find a job that pays the same salary they made in a previous position? Maybe it’s you who once made ten, twenty or even fifty thousand dollars more than the offers you are receiving today. It’s frustrating to balance maintaining your self-confidence and self-worth while still being weighted down by what career counselors call the “Golden Handcuffs.”

I had a career counselor tell me just this week that many of his clients feel it is “settling” to take a position that pays substantially below a position they formerly held. He disagrees. He pointed out that each job offers unique benefits. While compensation is a part of that, so is the ability to expand your field of knowledge to a new industry or field.

Job hunters seeking to create true job security, ultimately need to consider if the position provides the income, opportunity, creativity, feasibility, flexibility, stability, and longevity that meets their needs right now. Those are the keys to the Green Light Scoring Model™. To disproportionately consider income is to be tied up by golden handcuffs which may prevent you from finding a position that is otherwise ideal for you right now.

Is this downturn in the economy more of a hardship on men than on women? At a career fair in Parsippany, New Jersey – 35 minutes from Manhattan – approximately 90% of fair attendees were men, most of which described themselves as middle management. One female attendee [a former marketing VP] commented on this saying, “I think as women, we’ve learned to adjust in ways that men don’t consider, taking secretarial work temporarily or taking a part-time job to work around kids.” She added that with her husband making the primary income in the household, she didn’t have the pressure to be the family’s primary breadwinner.

In Creating Job Security, the 2009 All-In-One Workbook, due out in December 2008, readers benefits from a seven-step scoring model that empowers them to determine the ideal job right now. We’d like to hear your views. Are men suffering more than women in the current economic downturn? What advice can men give each other to help them cope while they work to determine the ideal job for them right now?