Thursday, December 31, 2009

Creating Job Security Resource Guide 2010 edition has arrived!

For so many, 2009 was a year we're only far too happy to say goodbye to as we welcome 2010. For those still unemployed -- 75% of those who lost jobs in 2009 were men -- the promise of a better job market ahead cannot come soon enough.

As the job market recovers in 2010, and it will, the secret to finding the job you want, need, and are qualified for will be finding the resources that connect you to hiring managers in your field. While large job portals have their place, hiring managers can afford to cherry-pick the best and brightest job candidates right now. And to find job seekers with industry experience, they're turning to industry specific job portals rather than to the big boards.

Creating Job Security Resource Guide, 2010 edition, includes nearly 130 critical job resources you need to find the job you want this week or this month.

To get you started, here a a few of my favorites. More are included in Chapter 6:
Advanced Manufacturing -
Biotech/Pharmaceuticals -
Educational tutoring -
Freelance jobs and temp work - (this is an awesome site!)
Hospitality -
Human Resources -
Marketing / PR -

If you know someone who is looking for a job or a career, there is no better guide than the Creating Job Security Resource Guide, 2010 edition. At just $8.95, it will cost you less than a bistro sandwich for lunch.

Thanks to the Mike Siegel Show in Seattle, Wash. for inviting me to guest on the Dec. 23, 2009 show dedicated to the economy and jobs market. To listen to this broadcast, download or save the MP3 at

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's All About You...

Share your story. Most people have been forced to come up with creative ways to reduce their expenses or bring in additional income. Many families have experienced either a reduction of hours (income) or a layoff by one or both breadwinners in the house.

How has the economy affected your family? What have you done that others could learn from? Please share your messages to support and uplift others who may be facing a similar circumstance.

GREAT NEWS!! The Creating Job Security Resource Guide -- 2010 edition is almost out. Last year's edition had more than 75 online resource.

This year's edition include 130 online hot job resources!!! Wow! Most of the new resources fall under industry specific job portals. If you see an industry we missed, and you know of a great job portal to recommend, post it here. We'll credit you with finding it and make it available to job seekers around the world.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Preparing For a Resurgence of Jobs

For as long as economic data has been tracked, there has always been a percentage of unemployed, even within a healthy economy. But today, the percentage of people who are unemployed or underemployed has surpassed a dire threshold, creating a catastrophic situation for government bodies ranging from local municipalities to the national level worldwide. Even worse for individual workers, this perfect storm peaked at a time when many families were already balancing dangerous debt to asset ratios.

At some point, despite how staggering the unemployment numbers, and despite the constant deluge of related data and economic predictions, the most basic reality comes down to one question: “How is this affecting my family?” And that this point, indeed the recession is affecting every family, if not directly, then indirectly in a multitude of ways.

Job hunting in this economy is different than in previous recessions. Not only have millions of people found themselves looking for work or additional income for the first time in a decade or more, the number of underemployed workers has grown exponentially.

Reliable job resources for both primary employment and supplemental income are in demand more than ever before. For those looking to work from home, several really great job portals exist. One of my favorites that I talk about regularly in my seminars at Kaplan University and to many of you on Twitter is Others that I also like include: and

Economists talk about a jobless recovery, but for families struggling to pay the mortgage or cover health insurance, the only recovery that matters is a recovery that includes a resurgence of good-paying jobs.

Will you be prepared when that resurgence arrives?

COMING SOON: Creating Job Security Resource Guide - 2010 edition and Creating Job Security, The 2010 All-In-One Workbook available through The Graduate Group (

Friday, September 25, 2009

Time for the Government to get Creative

The US government is talking about a “jobless recovery” like it’s something that exists. A jobless recovery -- where the price of everything goes up -- from stock price to home prices to the price of bread in the store is not a recovery. It’s inflation. The value of the dollar is not up. It’s down -- consistent with inflation, not recovery.

With the unemployment numbers so high, 13 states are going to the federal government to ask that unemployment benefits be extended. Obviously for the families who need income to survive, this request is necessary and seems to be the best short-term solution.

But the government cannot keep funding a jobless recovery by creating government jobs and extending benefits. It’s time for them to get creative about driving a jobs generation campaign.

Companies that stay in business for more than three years, and which in that time grow their business year-over-year have a significantly improved chance of lasting long-term. I would like to see the US government enact a creative tax ladder for new businesses whereby they would only pay half the taxes due in year one; if their net revenue has increased in year two, they only pay half their taxes in year two. And if by year three, their net revenue has grown year-over-year against year two, and they have hired at least one additional person full-time, they would owe their full taxes in year three but receive a write-off equal to the other half of their year-one taxes.

Essentially, under this plan, new businesses would receive a new business tax discount equal to the taxes they would have paid in year one and half of year two, but by year three they would pay full taxes and have created a minimum of two jobs. And to qualify, they would have had to generate an increase in net revenue year-over-year for three years, so the taxes owed in year three would be more than years one or two.

Do you have a creative idea for the US government to create more private sector jobs, or do you think it’s better to just keep expanding government and extending benefits until there are more people requiring help than those left employed to help?

Please share your thoughts! Follow us on Twitter @Job_Security

Monday, August 17, 2009

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Leave your comments and ideas that have helped you, and you may just be able to help someone else in the process.

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Join the forum. Join the fun. Welcome!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Time Off Blog to Start a New Job

One of the benefits of researching job opportunities was when I found out about an opportunity that was just too good to pass up applying for. After four interviews (three formal and one informal) I was offered the job. It was good to go through the process again as it reminded me of things I hadn’t thought about in a while.

1. The best way to get your foot in the door is through a personal invitation. Even though several people told me about the position and encouraged me to apply, what actually got me on the short list to be interviewed was when someone made a call to a friend and said, “You need to look at this resume.” TAKE AWAY: Make a personal positive impression on someone who works there or on someone who knows someone who does -- and use social media to research who you know who might know someone at the hiring organization.

2. Companies really only care about what you can do for them. Your skills, your experiences, and your history are only important as they relate to the hiring organization. TAKE AWAY: The fact that you have traveled the world is not that interesting unless it means you speak a foreign language (relevant to their customers) or that you are flexible enough to live out of a suitcase if or when the position ever calls for it.

3. Degrees are great but smarts are better. There are a lot of people with formal education who can’t actually think themselves out of a box. If the job requires an advanced degree, don’t lie. That can backfire, including with termination if you do get the job. TAKE AWAY: If you can demonstrate your creativity and intelligence in a meaningful way during an interview series, the actual degrees you hold may not be as critical.

4. Give them something to brag about. If you are their top choice, and they write up an announcement to staff, what about your background or skill set is going to make the staff feel impressed that the company they work for found and hired you? TAKE AWAY: If you can figure out what would make you a great new hire, be sure to add that in your cover letter and emphasize it in your interviews.

As the new Director of Marketing for Yakima Regional Medical & Cardiac Center in Central Washington, I have been quite swamped with my position. I’ve been working anywhere from nine to 16 hours a day (although the 16 was only once.) Some weeks breeze by, and others offer challenges hourly. But at the end of six weeks, I can honestly say I absolutely love the job; I love the people and I’m so proud of the organization. I’ve been fortunate to have some pretty terrific jobs in my life; this one might just turn out to be my best one yet.

To purchase a copy of Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook, for $30 tax and shipping included, visit Creating Job Security Resource Guide, with more than 100 job resources, is available at for $8.95.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Walking in A Job Seeker's Shoes

Anyone who's undergone a search for employment in the past year knows that job hunting is not easy. The recession has increased not only the number of competitors an applicant is up against, but also the level of experience and skills prospective employers are able to seek in candidates.

Ultimately, many highly qualified candidates find themselves in the heart-breaking position of hearing, "While we decided to go with someone else, we appreciated your time and we've enjoyed getting to know you." Growing up, my mom used to say, "Close only counts in horseshoes." In a job hunt, second place is perhaps the most difficult honor to receive. Second place doesn't pay the mortgage.

I recently applied for a Director of Marketing position in the city where I grew up. To date, I have had three interviews. In the last one, I learned that the company really hoped to find someone with at least some graphics skills. While I'm an ace at using templates, I am not experienced in graphic design -- and I was upfront with them about that.

As someone who regularly speaks and writes about the jobs market and the economy, I address people every week who are searching for jobs. This experience has made me more keenly aware of the personal experience that accompanies the professional search.

So far in the process, I've learned that companies are ultimately seeking smart, creative employees who bring a variety of skills and a zest for life with them. It's very hard to bring that "zest" or that "positive energy" when you've been job hunting for months and the unemployment is running out or you've moved in with family or friends to just get by.

When some of my friends found out I applied for this position, they suddenly got worried. I've made my living as an author and freelancer for so long. Was this a sign the economy was so bad that even I had to find a full-time position?

The premise of the Creating Job Security book series is that what's ideal for you today might not be ideal tomorrow, and it's okay to change your choices based on your needs at the time. For many years, freelancing made great sense to me. It was my ideal choice. But the position that came available, at the company I applied to, was such a wonderful opportunity, that applying was a personal choice that made sense to me. It was not my way of making a statement about the state of the economy at large.

I would love the opportunity to work with this company. It's a terrific company and it would offer me the opportunity to work as a Director of Marketing. Indeed "I believe" it would be the ideal job for me right now. Having said that, the process of applying for this position has increased my awareness and empathy. It has taught me new things that I'll write about here in the weeks ahead.

To get your hands on the Green Light Scoring Model, and discover your ideal job at this point in your life, visit and select the featured title, "Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

With the Rising Cost of Advanced Education

There are a lot of things people of my generation took for granted, and I took for granted, prior to this recession. One of them was the wide availability of a college education. As my 20-year class reunion steadily approaches, I look at my former classmates and most either went to college or specifically chose another route. In the early 1990s, a four-year degree was affordable at a state college. Today, that’s no longer the case.

Cut-backs have forced many schools to raise tuition fees at the same time that grants and loans are harder to obtain. What does this mean for high school seniors who are graduating in 2009?
And what does that mean for job seekers in the next few years who may not be able to get the grants and loans they need? For some of the most talented there are trade schools. Others will seek opportunities for training, advancement, and educational benefits through the Armed Services. For many, training will consist of certifications and a collection of college courses taken on an availability basis (when job seekers have the time and the money to take them.)

AOL Careers interviewed me yesterday about high-paying jobs that require little to no education, and which were projected to grow in the next five years. And so began my search. One of my favorite Web sites for this type of information is actually produced by the US Government in a partnership between the Department of Labor and the Department of Education.

Over the next week, I’m going to pull out some of the positions that strike me as worth mentioning. The truth is that while there are good-paying jobs that do not require a college degree, the competition for all jobs these days is steep. Five years from now, when the economy has long recovered and the Baby-boomers (my parents generation) are finally feeling financially confident enough to retire, there will be more jobs than people to fill them. But of course, that is still four to five years away.

To find the job that is ideal for you today, the Green Light Scoring Model is a step-by-step approach to discovering your path to creating job security. It’s available exclusively in Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook at for US$30, including tax, shipping and handling. Best of all, you can reuse the scoring model every few years to determine your ideal job at that time. This one-time investment will be your career partner for years to come.

Happy Memorial Day, to those who celebrate the men and women in the Armed Services who have made the ultimate sacrifice (both with their lives and their time away from their families) to keep us safe. We honor your sacrifice and we salute you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Are Jobless Claims Peaking?

Jobless claims have historically peaked six to 10 weeks before recessions end, according to a report by Goldman Sachs. "But the latest report shows job losses remain high. The four-week average of claims, which smoothes out volatility, dropped slightly to 646,750, about 12,000 below the peak in early April. Goldman Sachs economists have said a decline of 30,000 to 40,000 in the four-week average is needed to signal a peak."

For survival, many people take whatever job they can get. It's a good strategy to pay the rent. But for true job security, it's important to find the ideal job for you right now -- a traditional job or entrepreneurial position that considers your needs for income, opportunity, creativity, feasibility, flexibility, stability and longevity.

Imagine if there was a scoring model that could help you create the ideal job for you this month. There is. It's called the Green Light Scoring Model and it's available through The Graduate Group. For only $30, including tax and shipping, you can truly discover the ideal job for you right now. (Career experts, contact me about a free PDF to make your own copies on site for your customers. Buy 25 copies in one order to The Graduate Group and receive a PDF to make an unlimited number of additional copies.)

SPECIAL NOTICE: Are you a Kaplan University student? Join me May 4 for a one-hour presentation on hot job resources. I'll be answering your questions live.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Bright Spot in a Dark Economy

The weather in my home town this week was an awful lot like the news about the economy. First it was sunny and lovely. Two days later we had hail that looked like snow as it covered the ground. The next day, we had snow -- big white flakes the size of quarters -- for several hours. A day later it was cool but not cold, followed by today which offered up full sun and 75 degrees. I took a chance and moved my topsy-turvy back outside from over my kitchen sink. But I covered the tomato plants tonight, because no one seems to have any idea what's going on with our silly weather that's all over the map.

It's a snapshot of what we've all experienced with the economy for the past year. The stock market was down, way down in early March. Now it's back up but job loss is still a concern and housing starts are down. People are saving more, spending less, and no one can figure out why gas prices are climbing at the pump when the barrel rate is at a record low.

An unlikely star emerged this week to offer up an unexpected bright spot in a dark economy. Her name is Susan Boyle and her audition on Britain's Got Talent is the biggest thing on YouTube. Indeed she has the voice of an angel, but I don't think that's why she's a worldwide hit. I think she's a hit because we all feel like she looks -- ordinary and imperfect. And yet inside of her is something so unbelievably beautiful that it pushes her to the front of the line.

This economy and the state of the job market have brought out the Susan Boyle in each of us. And for those in desperate need of inspiration (and jobs!), her voice may have offered up just enough encouragement to help keep going. (Not to mention the fact that the words of “I Dreamed a Dream” describe exactly how a lot of people are feeling.) Is it possible that while we stood up and cheered for her, on some level we were also cheering for ourselves?

How long will this economic winter last? Will it snow again just when we think spring should be well under way? Maybe it will. But like a candle in the dark, even those most uncertain of what tomorrow holds next can for one brief moment, stop and listen to the music, and feel somewhat assured that despite the odds, there is hope, there is light, there is music -- and if Susan Boyle can captivate the world, we too can find a talent or two to share.

For job resources you can depend on, Creating Job Security Resource Guide is available for $8.95 at To discover the absolute ideal career for you right now, Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook is available at Follow us on Twitter @ Job_Security.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Cacophony of Job News

I’m in the business of helping people create their own job security -- whether by finding a position that’s right for them or seeing a need and finding an entrepreneurial way to fill it. As part of my passion, I read a lot of job and economic news. I study trends and analyze economic data. I work with people one-on-one and sometimes in groups.

But even I am finding myself overwhelmed by the loud banging cacophony (noise!) that is being sometimes carelessly thrown around from a lot of voices -- some of them with very little to say. If I’m overwhelmed imagine what the poor man or woman who just wants to support their family is feeling.

And the messages are mixed. Tonight on CNN alone, there were two jobs-related stories right beside each other. One was about how President Obama feels upbeat about a glimmer of hope beginning to shine into the economy and job market. (Easy to say when you have your job guaranteed for four more years, and a roof over your head.) The other was about overcrowed job fairs across the US, and the many people who are turned away. I wonder how much hope the 10,000 people who showed up for a Job Fair in New Hampshire felt -- especially those who had to be turned away.

In a down market, many people are so desperate to find a job, they sometimes open themselves up to a position that isn’t necessarily a good fit for them. Take healthcare for example. The news about healthcare as an industry is consistent. The number of jobs in healthcare is growing. But not everyone makes a good nurse. Not everyone makes a good caregiver. It is a special job that requires targeted skills and a personality dedicated to compassion for patients who aren’t always at their best.

One of my clients is a regional hospital. I love working in healthcare. It’s rewarding even for those of us with non-clinical positions. I have the incredible opportunity to meet patients and share their stories of struggle and ultimately success -- of overcoming disease, surgeries, and other ailments that somehow compromised their ability to function without the help of a skilled physician and his/her staff. But my job wouldn’t be for everyone. Sometimes, what patients -- even those with a success story -- need most is to have someone just sit and listen. They want to walk away and feel heard. They want to know that someone from the hospital that helped them sees them as a person first and a patient second.

What’s most important for you, and for every job seeker out there, is not to listen to the news or to the trends economists are telling you. What’s most important is to undergo a thorough assessment of how you can best use your skills and talents to make a living -- and to make a life.

You are an individual, with special skills, talents and gifts that are completely unique to you. If you’re ready to explore those skills, talents and gifts, the Green Light Scoring Model located in the easy-to-use guide Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook, can help you. Learn more today at

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Preparing for a Job Apocalypse

Is the economy really as bad as the media would have you believe? For some, it is worse. More than 4 million jobs have disappeared since the recession began in December 2007. And with the rate of job losses accelerating, people are beginning to ask where recession ends and depression begins. This world economic downturn is already in its 15th month, making it longer than all but two downturns since World War II. And, as if that is not enough, the Dow seems to be in free fall, and one in eight American homeowners is in foreclosure or behind on payments. It’s not out of the question why some are wondering if we are headed for a worldwide job apocalypse.

The world is not going to have a job apocalypse, although it is possible that more services will be exchanged in the form of trade than at any time in recent history. The reality is that there are way too many people who need too many products and services for a true job apocalypse to set in.

But to achieve some peace of mind, imagine for a moment that you lost your job tomorrow and you weren’t able to find a similar position for one year. Leading economists are suggesting a recovery could be a year away.

What would you do to survive? If you are wise, and among a single-digit percent of Americans, you have a safety net. Financial planners have been preaching just such a plan for years. If you are fortunate, you will receive unemployment compensation that covers at least your basic expenses. But if you are like most people, you will be faced with the immediate need to re-evaluate your skills, talents and the things you can do to come up with a set of real service options you can offer those in need of services -- those with the funds to hire your help.

The value of considering a job apocalypse is not to induce massive fear and chaos. Worry never solved a single world problem. But expecting a break-down in the status quo and preparing for a job loss before it happens, can help you sleep better whether you lose your job or not. People who have a plan B or even a plan C don’t have to fret about the future, because regardless of what the future holds, they have a plan. Do you have a plan?

The best way to go about creating a plan is to engage a methodical approach to listing and then considering your options. First list all of your skills, talents, hobbies, and the things you or others have noticed you’re good at. For each skill or activity you have listed, write down three or four jobs in which you’d use that skill -- in other words, three or four ways you could use your skills to make money or create a job for yourself. Once you have a list of 20 or 30 jobs you could actually perform using your skills, hobbies, talents and experience, determine which ones might be best suited to your life right now.

Ultimately, whether you find yourself jobless or not, you are not without options. You are not with possibilities. And you are not without hope. And no matter what happens within the domestic or world economy, when you have options, possibilities and hope, you can easily develop a plan.

If you could benefit from a step-by-step approach that walked you through what can otherwise be a frightening process of discovering how to create your own job security, Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook is available at for $30 including tax and shipping. It’s a really inexpensive investment in your future job security. If you already know what you want to do but just need the resources to help you get there, Creating Job Security Resource Guide is available for $8.95 at

Saturday, February 28, 2009 - 5 Friends Pooling their Talents and Resources to Create Job Security & One Really Hot Company

With the right tools and solid resources, nearly everyone has the ability to create their own job security - that's the fundamental message to readers of the Creating Job Security book series. Of course the books take readers step-by-step through this process as well. For some people, creating job security means finding out which of your talents, gifts and experiences will make you a more valuable employee. For others, self-employment is a much better option. A third group is comprised of people who prefer to receive a regular salary but who are willing to go out on a limb, work hard, and use the tools and resources they have to make ends meet through a tough economy.

One of the questions I get asked by those who express hesitation about starting a small business stems from them trying to discover something that pays the bills but that they don’t find (to put it bluntly) “beneath” them. Truly entrepreneurial types prove that there is no job too small for a person or team with passion, creativity and determination.

After much prodding by family and friends, I finally created a Facebook account in early 2008. I quickly learned that the foundation of connecting on a personal level with old friends is to supply pictures -- lots of pictures -- from before digital prints existed. This of course meant pouring through stacks of albums and then scanning photos into my all-in-one machine, onto a memory card, which then went into my computer to be cropped, sized, and otherwise fixed. Is there anything more tedious and mundane than scanning old photos?

Scanning photos doesn’t seem like something five friends, all with their MBAs from the Wharton School of Business, would be interested in doing as a full-time career. (The service they provide through is obviously more comprehensive than that!) As it turns out, these friends shared a passion for family pictures, and they went about creating an exceptional service to meet a need they couldn’t find in the marketplace. It’s a service nearly anyone with a home scanner, a computer and Photoshop could provide.

But the team is anything but ordinary; they have created a really hot company by involving technology at every level. is an exceptional example of what can be accomplished for those willing to use a comprehensive mathematical analysis like the Green Light Scoring Model found in Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook at to explore your talents, hobbies and gifts and turn them into your ideal job today.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!! Creating Job Security Resource Guide was mentioned in the national edition of this week, serving more than 60 metropolitan areas with city-specific information readers need and want to live, love, learn and work. You can read Heather Huhman’s article, “Avoiding office gossip & politics without seeming anti-social” at Creating Job Security is also on Facebook at - feel free to stop by. We’d love to have you join the club where fans are entered to win signed copies of the Creating Job Security Resource Guide, available at for $8.95.

CONTEST: Share your thoughts - inspire someone and cheer someone on. During March, order or check out at your local library a copy of "Creating Job Security Resource Guide" and write a review on Then send your friends to vote for your review. The review of Creating Job Security Resource Guide that receives the most "yes this helped me" votes by March 31, 2009 wins a $25 gift certificate from

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bank of Obama: Send a Bailout Check to Your Friends

As someone who takes the economic crisis very seriously, and is dedicated to helping job seekers find resources that will result in them finding their ideal job right now, I would never intentionally make light of the very serious situation facing millions of people. Having said that, I am also a huge believer in the value of humor and an occasional fun prank (providing you are sensitive to those you let in on the joke.)

This post (on Mashable) is an attempt at stimulus humor. Bank of Obama: Send a Bailout Check to Your Friends It is not real. It will not solve the credit crisis - nor any other real crisis. But I hope you have some fun with it like I plan to.

As long as I can remember, my sister has been talking about someday winning the lottery. So the Bank of Obama isn't the lottery, but if I send her a check for $10,000,000, I bet I can get her to at least chuckle or shake her head.

A serious post is coming soon. Enjoy this one for what it is... some light humor on a day when the markets gave us all a really ugly dose of reality.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bad Economies Offer Good Opportunities to Try Self-Employment

Running a small business is a lot of work. Imagine taking any business based on a skill set or talent you excel at, and adding marketing, customer service, accounting (everything from inventory to taxes), and supervisory skills to it -- and you have small business. As the daughter of an apple farmer and a small business owner, I concur with those who would caution that running a small business is not for everyone; in fact, it’s not for a lot of people.

But there are also a lot of people out there who are not entrepreneurs simply because they haven’t had an opportunity.

If you have a family depending on your income to meet the mortgage, you may not have the opportunity to quit your job and try your hand at self-employment. But if you’ve been laid off, and especially if you have a severance package and unemployment benefits, you may just discover that life has handed you a rare opportunity to take a chance you never expected.

With hundreds of thousands of layoffs announced each month, imagine if just 20% of those people went into business, and became successful enough to grow their enterprises enough to employ two additional people. Over half the people laid off would have new jobs.

In most states, applying for a business license is relatively inexpensive. It’s affordable even on unemployment. In Washington State, where I’m licensed, I paid less than $35 to apply for my license and doing-business-as (DBA) names. When I started out, I used the computer I already owned, along with a desk from a garage sale and a lamp I bought on clearance. My blog was free and my Web site cost less than $200 a year for the domain name and hosting.

Like many people who originally go into business, I had personal reasons. I wanted to live near my family in the small town in Central Washington where I grew up. City life would have been more conducive to finding a job that paid what I made in Los Angeles, but I opted for quality of life over quantity of pay. Oddly enough, the cost ratio of metropolitan living means I actually have more discretionary income here than I did there.

People go into business for all kinds of reasons -- some of them personal -- some of them not. Some people opt for self-employment to be home with kids, or aging parents, or to have the flexibility to work around a spouse’s schedule. Some want to bring in a little “extra money” for the family to offset the expenses of inflation or tennis lessons for the kids. Some prefer to answer to themselves. Some want the challenge and adventure that goes with forging their own way in the world.

But for those with the gifts and the skills to make it in business -- because the truth is that you will work harder for yourself than you’ll ever work for anyone else -- a down economy can offer the perfect scenario to give that incredible dream a shot. The reality is that many small businesses will fail. But if half of the new businesses inspired by laid off workers looking to try something new were to fail, that still means half will succeed. Half will bring additional revenue and additional jobs into the economy. Half will need vendors and suppliers. Half will spend advertising dollars. Half will energize and revitalize communities from California to Maine.

If you’re thinking about starting your own business, and you have the time and the severance or unemployment benefits to fall back on, could there be a better time to launch a dream?

Credit is tight right now, but there are a lot of small business opportunities that can be launched with the tools, equipment and skills you already have. My mother’s favorite cliché when I was growing up used to be, “Poverty is the mother of invention.” Imagine growing your business from a seed, an idea, an oven, a computer, a lawnmower -- or whatever else you have that you can use to get started. Add some dirt, some work, some water, some time, and a few tips from the Small Business Administration. You might be pleasantly surprised what grows.

Debra Yergen is a U.S.-based author and journalist with experience in technology, financial software, health care and travel. She has held senior writing positions in the financial industry at firms including SunGard and Washington Mutual Bank. Debra is the author of Real Life 101, Creating Job Security: The 2009 All-In-One Workbook, published by The Graduate Group in West Hartford, Conn, and Creating Job Security Resource Guide, available for $8.95 at independent book stores and

SPECIAL NOTE: I was honored to be quoted in a warm, comforting and safe blog designed to support women who have suffered miscarriages. I was asked what sage advice I would give my 20-year-old self if I could go back and talk to her. My advice included: Enjoy Everyday, Success Is Based On Who You Are In Your Own Skin, Don’t Try To Be Older, Be Kind To Yourself, Love Your Mom, and Listen, posted on Feb 8. You can read this post and others at

Friday, February 6, 2009

Laid Off Workers - Don’t Wait By the Phone

Until the unemployment rate started pushing toward 8% nationally, most people cited “time” as their most depleted resource. Time was so precious, many people were happy to shell out a few extra bucks for conveniences that would save them time -- five minutes here, an hour there. It was the cost of doing business -- the business of life.

So it would go to reason that with nearly 8% of people unemployed, that all of these people, with all of this new-found time, would engage in all the activities they once only “openly wished” was possible. They would volunteer more at local charities, join the PTA, keep in closer contact with friends and family, and finally paint the living room that’s been “needing a fresh coat” for more than a few years now.

But it doesn’t work that way. Because as it turns out, even when the entire world understands that laid off workers are victims of a down economy, losing the reason to wake up at six o’clock every morning also takes away a great deal of the fuel that propelled a lot of folks busily and merrily from task-to-task for 12 hours straight.

When the money doesn’t come in, sacrifices have to be made. As it turns out, many folks would rather give up a home phone than the freedom a cell phone offers -- and those formerly huge minutes-per-month plans get cut back too, to the basics. And that means that when a call comes in from a friend on daytime minutes, unless it includes news about a newly posted job opening, those daytime minutes have to be saved for interviews and other job-critical calls.

At night, people aren’t staying up enjoying all those free nighttime minutes -- and weekend minutes, those aren’t being burned up either. So much of our lives are wrapped up in our jobs, that without a micro-managing boss to complain about, or the loud-talker in the cubicle next door, a lot of people don’t have anything they want to talk about. And even if they did, despite having more time than ever -- they just don’t have the energy.

For the remaining 92% still employed, self-employed, or intentionally unemployed, the best course of action is to simply give our friends their time and space. Don’t wait by the phone, or wonder why they haven’t called. They will at some point. It’s just one more way the world has once again changed.

It turns out that as critical of a resource as time is and was, maybe it’s not the only resource that matters. Maybe what’s more critical is the presence of friends who care from a distance, remain close but not too close, and know enough not to wait by the phone.

Creating Job Security was featured in USA TODAY, Tuesday February 3, on the cover of the Money section, Section B. The article was called "More families move in together.” You can read it at To purchase Creating Job Security Resource Guide for $8.95, visit

* This blog post is written in honor and memory of my very dear friend and mentor, Eileen Mintz, who lost her battle with cancer on Sunday, February 1, 2009.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Small Jobs Stimulate the Economy

A bad economy can provide a great opportunity to put a few “principles” on hold. First Lady Michelle Obama made news -- and made a lot of mothers proud -- when she announced that her daughters would still be making their own beds in the Whitehouse. Children should learn to participate in household chores, and those who don’t often grow up to be terrible spouses who seldom pick up their own socks much less make the bed or vacuum.

All good parents know that children need incremental responsibilities. But in this economy, there are a lot of adults who would welcome some extra hours a week working a side gig to bring in extra cash to keep their own families fed, clothed and taken care of. At the same time, there are a lot of nonprofit organizations in need of volunteers -- even the tiniest volunteers willing to sit and talk to a patient, fold towels or stuff envelopes.

What if every family with full-time employment, and $25 or more extra dollars available a week, were to hire a family in need of some extra cash to help with cleaning, yard work, organizing or errands for a couple of months while they found steady employment?

Could small jobs like this really stimulate the economy? Well, yes, actually any job that keeps money in motion stimulates the economy. [Be sure to check IRS guidelines for how much, and under what conditions, you can help out -- and what taxes, if any, need to be paid.]

If you’re reading this and you need to make some extra money, do you have friends or family who could use your time, help or expertise? With the job landscape changing, many people are returning to trades. Experienced workers 55+ are perfectly suited to offer apprenticeships to younger workers who are looking to develop skills to fall back on.

And of course there’s the matter of discretionary income. The economy has given a one-two punch to service industry workers who rely on tips for a significant portion of their income. Instead of going out to eat twice a week, what if you were to go out only once but double your tip? If your bill for two people is $30.50 and you usually add $4.50 twice a week, what if you only went once but tipped $10? You’d save tremendously and your server would feel very appreciated.

Indeed, there are small things everyone can do every week to make a big difference. If you’re in a position to give a little extra help, you’ll make a real difference to a family in need. If you find yourself needing some extra income, you might be surprised who would be willing to help out right in your inner circle. And the biggest surprise of all -- everyone wins. Because small jobs really do stimulate the economy.

Creating Job Security was featured in this week's edition of the California Job Journal on page 9. The article was called "Customer Service - Where People Skills Create the 'Face' of an Organization." You can read it at To purchase Creating Job Security Resource Guide for $8.95, visit

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The World Has Changed -- Is It For the Better?

With a national unemployment rate of 7.2%, and some areas reaching double digits, the world has changed economically. Some companies are cashing in by offering bargains suited to the economic challenges of the day. Complete Entertainment Exchange, better known as CeX*, buys used electronics and entertainment in exchange for cash or store credit.

Even government is reigning in the spending. Governors in several U.S. states -- California, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah -- are looking at creative ways to trim state budgets. The news is filled with former mid-level managers and executives taking jobs delivering pizza or waiting tables. Most report the experience humbling but not impossible.

The question remains, will this recession change the way we do business and if so how? There are some things that cannot be undone. When AIDS began to spread rampantly in the 1980s and 1990s, the world began talking about safe sex in a new way with a much higher level of frequency. This recession will change the way the world talks about, thinks about, and uses money for some time to come.

A global economy with global communication means companies will outsource the jobs they can to the lowest bidder. So long as outsourcing call-centers to India and manufacturing to China is fiscally advantageous, fewer factories and manufacturing centers will remain open in the U.S.

Some jobs cannot be outsourced to foreign countries. Medical care cannot be outsourced. When someone is ill they are not going to hop on a plane and fly thousands of miles instead of going to a regional health care facility. The need for home health aides is estimated to grow by 40% over the next 10 years. Transportation cannot be outsourced. People still have to get themselves and the things they want and need from one place to the next.

Some jobs cannot be outsourced even within the same country. If a job requires a worker to contribute services at a set location and with set hours, it cannot be outsourced. Restaurant staff, retail staff, delivery services staff, staff managers, and government employees -- these positions cannot be outsourced. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, security officers, hair stylists and other personal service specialists will always be needed.

There was a time, not so long ago, when you asked kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, and they named a profession. “I want to be a teacher, a police officer, a lawyer, a reporter. I want to be a doctor, a fireperson, a pastor.” You did not hear little children say, “I want to grow up to be a data analyzer,” or “I want to be the assistant vice president of a large multinational conglomerate.” With more positions being outsourced to the global market, this recession could very well see posted openings increase for positions with job titles that describe the daily work required.

Can anything truly positive come from this economic downturn that has already devastated so many lives? Some would argue that despite the pain, this recession will bring constructive, long-term change.

As people begin to think through the purchases they make, this recession will likely make people think twice before they engage in “spontaneous, unprotected spending.” And , as more people stay home, and forgo premium services and subscriptions, a higher percentage of families will continue to report spending more quality time at home together.

As money becomes tight, more people report investing time in relationships rather than purchasing expensive gifts with shiny bows for loved ones. And as change weighs on the hearts and minds of people everywhere, more survey respondents report turning to faith in something beyond themselves to get them through difficult times.

Indeed, this recession has changed people, and in doing so it has changed the world. It has not been without pain or a call for humility. And according to some economics, it could get more difficult before the situation improves. Despite this, many agree, that in some ways, this recession has changed our lives very much for the better.

CALL FOR COMMENTS: I'd like to hear your thoughts about how this recession has affected your life or your thinking. Your comments may be just the inspiration someone reading this blog needs to hear to make it through their day with hope.

Creating Job Security Resource Guide is now available for $8.95 at independent bookstores and For those needing a hands on guide to walk you or someone you care about ste-by-step through discovering the ideal job for you right now using The Green Light Scoring Model, Creating Job Security, The 2009 All-In-One Workbook is available at for $30.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Executives and Intellectuals Looking for Work - Creatively Creating Job Security

Each week the news is filled with new names of executives and intellectuals -- people with Masters degrees, Ph.D.s, engineers, analysts, scientists -- people once highly sought after and highly compensated, now seeking entry-level jobs or doing crazy stunts like wearing a sandwich-board in NYC to get noticed.

There has to be a better way to let like-minded thought-leaders know you are available for employment.

While perusing Harvard Business School’s Web site, I discovered a site that seems to be well known by the world’s elite, but not really by many others. I felt like a fly on the wall at the G8. [For reference: WIKI “G8.”]

These intellectuals -- including Warren Buffett, Actor Ted Danson, Mike Elliott (the editor-at-large of Time) and other CEOs and senior decision-makers -- impress each other and help charities by conceiving of “predictions” of societal or scientific importance and then placing (in some cases) high stakes bets ($1,000,000) on “who’s right.” There are much smaller bets too! The money goes to charity.

Registration is free. Registered users may publish a prediction, and all predictions may be challenged with a bet. The fee to publish a prediction is $50. A published prediction means your name (and your bio -- think very brief resume) will be posted beside your prediction or any prediction you challenge with a bet. I won’t go into all the parameters of the site, but I will say it is a fascinating place to read arguments from extremely brilliant minds. The bets are about everything from science, to politics, to finance to sports.

It occurred to me that if I wanted to be noticed by Warren Buffett or Dave Winer (CEO of -- I’d probably pony up my $50 and come up with a really great prediction.

I wonder how many executives and intellectuals will get noticed and find well-paid positions as a result of the contacts they make and the people who notice them at It sure would beat wearing a sandwich-board in Manhattan.

Great news! the Creating Job Security Resource Guide includes Web portals dedicated to listing job openings exclusively for executives; and will get your started, but for $8.95 at this book is worth a lot more than one lunch out.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Information Overload - Creating Job Security Without Feeling Overwhelmed

If you’re looking for a job, and you were to read every article and listen to every story out there on finding a job, you could easily become overwhelmed by information overload. It is, almost without exception, the top story for every newspaper and newscast. And it’s taking its toll on people across the U.S. and around the world emotionally. Fear is setting in. That is the bad news.

The good news is that even if you are job hunting, or you are struggling to make ends meet, there is something you can do today to both invigorate your job search and to eliminate the fear and anxiety you might be feeling.

There’s something you can do right now to get rid of the fear.

Take three blank pieces of paper and line then up beside each other. Title the first one, “Things I can do today.” Title the second one, “Vague advice I’m not sure what to do with.” Title the third one, “The worst that can happen.” At the bottom of the third page, write: “So I lose the stuff. I will be just fine.”

Every time you hear of a job Web site to check out or a recommended book, add it to the first list, “Things I can do today.” Read excerpts from recommended books online at or via other links that offer free excerpts, and then determine if the books that meet your needs are in your price range or if you need to check them out at the library. If you see a wanted signed or you hear of an open position, add that to the list of things you will follow up on today or tomorrow.

Every time you hear generalized, big picture advice that you are not sure exactly what to do with, such as “do more networking”, “read industry publications”, “improve your look”, or “attend trade shows” (which are usually expensive and may not even be located in a nearby city), add it to the second list. It may be good advice, just not immediately achievable for where you are right now.

The value of networking comes from creating authentic relationships. Networking for the sole purpose of what someone can do for you will seldom provides more than superficial returns. Add to your first list, “Sign up for Plaxo, and LinkedIn,” to connect with colleagues you already know. Other sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and FriendFeed can be valuable but time consuming. Add those to the second list.

And finally, on the third paper, write down the worst that can happen. Maybe you have to give up the luxury car with the $500/month payment; maybe you’ll need to take your kids out of private school or even have them take a break from soccer, karate and other great but expensive after-school programs. Maybe you’ll need to put your belongings in storage and move in with a family member or friend. These are all very difficult decisions, but they are not life-threatening. So you lose the stuff. Stuff can be replaced. You will be just fine.

Creating Job Security Resource Guide is now available for $8.95 at It is packed with critical resources you can use today, including 75+ hot job resources, in a compact book that’s easy to slide into a notebook and take with you. On a budget? Download it at for $1.99.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Corporate Questionnaires: The New Gateway to Creating Job Security

For many years, a resume was the gateway to an initial job interview. Job seekers often sought the advice of books or writing specialists to help them craft the perfect resume, and in turn, human resources directors reviewed those resumes and sent the best entries to the manager seeking to fill the position.

Times have changed, and job seekers are adapting to a whole new set of rules. Today, corporate questionnaires are the new gateway to creating job security.

Job seekers still send in a resume. Only instead of being granted a nearly automatic job interview, top candidates are sent questionnaires that can take between two and four hours to complete. Companies use these sophisticated and robust questionnaires to find out a significant amount of information about job seekers -- in many cases before they even schedule an initial interview. It’s how they weed out candidates who are unqualified or unwilling to invest the time in researching their company.

The questions vary, but common sample questions you can expect to see on a corporate questionnaire may include:

1. Please visit our Web site and describe your understanding of our products.
2. Share with us your trends forecast for the industry.
3. How do you see this organization benefiting from corporate social responsibility [CSR] initiatives? By what creative means would you inform our customers/clients about our social responsibility initiatives?
4. What industry publications do you read on a regular basis?
5. Do you live within a 50-mile radius of our offices?

You would probably agree that this is a pretty intense list of questions, especially if you haven’t yet been granted an initial interview, but this list isn’t even a complete list. And this is only round one.

The days of sending 30 cookie-cutter resumes out to 30 companies is over. Job seekers need to be prepared to treat each application seriously. It’s better to be slightly overwhelmed now while you have the chance to catch your breath and prepare your thinking than it is to be overwhelmed when this application hits your inbox and you’re on deadline to return it.

Remember, your answers should not be about you. They should be about what you can offer to this company, and how you fit into their culture. It’s important to research the organizations where you apply so that your answers reflect your understanding of their needs in filling an open position.

The good news if you are living in a medium-sized town or a rural area is that these questionnaires are still largely reserved for larger companies in metropolitan centers. But they are becoming a trend of the future so it’s in your interest to become familiar with them. They also provide great insight for ways you can prepare for a phone or in-person interview regardless of where you are applying.

The Creating Job Security Resource Guide, now available at independent books stores and at for $8.95, includes a comprehensive list of common questions from corporate questionnaires, as well as online resources containing additional sample corporate questionnaires. Join the Creating Job Security fan club on Facebook today. Membership is free and the first 25 people to join the Creating Job Security Facebook fan club receive a free autographed copy of the Creating Job Security Resource Guide in February.