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.