April 3, 2016

"I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But I am getting so I like to sleep late."

Farm Kid Writes Home After Joining The Marines

Dear Ma and Pa:

I am well. Hope you are. Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you get to stay in bed till nearly 6 a.m. But I am getting so I like to sleep late. Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing.

Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there’s warm water. Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food, but tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food, plus yours, holds you until noon when you get fed again. It’s no wonder these city boys can’t walk much.

We go on “route marches,” which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it’s not my place to tell him different. A “route march” is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks......
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:09 PM | Permalink

March 3, 2015

Don't 'Follow your passion' instead 'Make a dent in the universe'

"Follow your passion' is bad advice writes Cal Newport on Business Insider

Toward the end of a high profile panel discussion on job creation, held during the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the conversation turned to a ubiquitous piece of career advice: follow your passion.

One panel member in particular disagreed with this suggestion: Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson. It wasn’t Isaacson’s dissent that caught the audience’s attention, however, but instead his revelation that the late Steve Jobs agreed with him.

“I remember talking exactly a year ago right now to Steve Jobs, who was very ill, and I asked him that question,” Isaacson said.

He then recalled Jobs’s response:

Yeah, we’re always talking about following your passion, but we’re all part of the flow of history … you’ve got to put something back into the flow of history that’s going to help your community, help other people … so that 20, 30, 40 years from now … people will say, this person didn’t just have a passion, he cared about making something that other people could benefit from.”

Isaacson’s summary of this perspective was harsher:

“The important point is to not just follow your passion but something larger than yourself. It ain’t just about you and your damn passion.”
Jobs flips this mindset. Instead of asking what the world can offer you, he suggests, you should instead ask what you can offer the world. The goal is not to love every minute of your job, or to identify your one true passion, but is instead to put a dent in the universe (to use another famous quote from Jobs).
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:53 PM | Permalink

February 5, 2015

Foreign workers winning jobs over Americans

Fewer US-Born Americans Have Jobs Now Than In 2007

Report from t.  Fewer Americans born in the U.S. have jobs now than were employed to November 2007, despite a working-age population growth of 11 million. The amazing drop in employment highlights President Barack Obama’s slow recovery from the deep 2008 shock, but also spotlights many companies’ growing reliance on foreign migrant labor. Almost one in every two jobs added since 2009 have gone to foreign-born workers reports the Center for Immigration Studies
“All of the net gain in employment since 2007 has gone to immigrants (legal and illegal). … Native [aged 16 to 65] employment has still not returned to pre-recession levels, while immigrant employment already exceeds pre-recession level,” said a Dec. 19 statement from the group.
Since January 2010, 5.4 million foreign-born people have gained jobs in the recovery. That’s almost equal to the 6.9 million Americans who gained jobs since January 2010, even though the U.S-born working age population is five times larger than the immigration population.

What does that look like?  Southern California Edison (SCE) announced a “transition effort” that will dump 500 employees and replace them presumably cheaper H-1B visa holders imported from India. Many laid-off employees are complaining that in a demoralizing betrayal, some laid-off workers are being assigned to train their India replacements on how to do their jobs.

In an unprecedented column on the Gallup website, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton rips into the government's jobs data in a piece not so subtly titled: "The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment."

In it, Clifton calls the Labor Department jobs data "extremely misleading" and scores the White House, Wall Street and the media for their incessant cheerleading on the official decline in unemployment from around 10% to the current 5.6%.
"Right now," says Clifton, "as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely unemployed.
He defines a good job as one that provides 30-plus hours of work each week and a regular paycheck. By that measure, just 44% of the adult population have jobs that meet those very basic criteria.  Even to get that up to 50%, he says, we need "a bare minimum of 10 million new, good jobs to replenish America's middle class."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:36 AM | Permalink

September 1, 2014

"Our badly damaged labor market is not just an economic crisis, but a moral one"

Michael Strain has written a terrific essay on A Day to Celebrate Work — and think about how we can help the millions who can’t find it.

The statistics are so slow to improve that I fear we are desensitized to them. Over 11 million workers are unemployed — 7.4 percent of the labor force is looking for work but can’t find it. An unemployment rate of 7.4 percent is awful. Over 8 million workers are working part-time for economic reasons, given only limited hours because of slack business conditions or because they could only find a part-time jobOver 4 million workers have been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. The unemployment rate for high-school dropouts is 11 percent. The unemployment rate for black teenagers is over 40 percent. The share of the population aged 25 to 54 with jobs — one of the best indicators of the overall health of the labor market — took a big hit during the Great Recession, and hasn’t even come close to recovering. At the recent pace of employment growth, it will take many years to restore the labor market to full employment.

Labor Day is set aside to celebrate American workers. It seems a touch unpalatable to celebrate American workers when so many of them can’t find jobs.

Work does set us free — it emancipates us from our passions by occupying our time. It frees us from among the worst torments of modern (and comfortable) life: boredom. Work frees us by giving us the opportunity to do what we ought.

Work educates the passions by directing them to productive ends. Work gives us a sense of identity; much of who we are — for Americans, probably too much — is defined by what we do. Work gives us a sense of purpose. Work gives us the ability to meet among the most primal needs: providing for our children and caring for those whom we love.

Work allows us to be creative, to express ourselves. In the parlance of our MBA culture, work allows us to contribute to the team. In extolling the virtue of the price system over central planning, the great economist F. A. Hayek, in one of the greatest essays ever written in economics, celebrates “the knowledge of the particular circumstances of time and place.” Hayek writes: “It is with respect to this that practically every individual has some advantage over all others because he possesses unique information of which beneficial use might be made, but of which use can be made only if the decisions depending on it are left to him or are made with his active cooperation.”
It is no stretch at all to say that work, properly understood, is deeply spiritual. Blessed John Paul II wrote in Laborem Exercens that man is “called to work.” John Paul the Great points out that “in the very first pages” of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, in being told to “subdue” the earth, man is told to work. “Man is the image of God,” writes John Paul, “partly through the mandate received from his Creator to subdue, to dominate, the earth. In carrying out this mandate, man, every human being, reflects the very action of the Creator of the universe.”

If to know God we have to be like Him, then we have to build, to create — to work. Indeed, the Church teaches that in working, even in our ordinary, daily tasks, we are “unfolding the Creator’s work.”

Those who can’t find a job are deprived of all this. In this sense, our badly damaged labor market is not just an economic crisis, but a moral one. How can a young person build a life, find a spouse, and make a home without a job? The probability of suicide goes up when a worker is unemployed. Divorce rates are higher when the unemployment rate increases. The children of unemployed workers tend to have relatively worse labor-market outcomes. Unemployment is associated with a range of psychological problems. The loss of a job often means a loss of self, of identity, of purpose, of the ability to provide for yourself and your family, to contribute to society.
this Labor Day, let us leaven our celebrating with solidarity. Let’s think of the unemployed.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:41 PM | Permalink

November 14, 2013

“We’re lending money we don’t have, to kids who will never be able to pay it back, for jobs that no longer exist”

 Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe on How Many Are Following the "Worst Advice in the History of the World", i.e. ““the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success.”

Rowe’s motivation for the work largely began with what he described as “the worst advice in the history of the world” – a poster he saw in high school challenging students to “work smart, not hard.”  The picture of the person working “smart” was holding a diploma, and the person working “hard” looked miserable performing some form of manual labor.

“Today, skilled trades are in demand. In fact, there are 3 million jobs out there that companies are having a hard time filling. So we thought that skilled trades could do with a PR campaign,” he said with a smile. “So we took the same idea, went ahead and vandalized it. Work smart AND hard.’”
Rowe said he wanted to make something clear.  “I’m not against a college education. I’m against debt,” he said. “That was the only four letter word in my family…”

What he’s against, Rowe added, is that we started promoting college “at the expense” of the vocational training that, in many cases, is what’s actually needed for the career.

Mike Rowe unveiled last month a new scholarship program to get high school seniors ready to enter the workforce with the skills they need to land jobs that are available in the U. S.    From his website

Personally, I think it’s insane to start a career thirty grand in the hole, especially when there are no jobs in your chosen field. The fact is, the vast majority of jobs today do NOT require a four-year degree. They require training, and a truly useful skill. I think we’ve confused the cost of an education with the price of a diploma. That’s why I started The mikeroweWORKS Scholarship Fund. I want to challenge the idea that an expensive four-year degree is the best path for the most people, and call attention to thousands of real opportunities in the real world that real companies are struggling to fill.
To qualify for a mrW/MTI Scholarship, you have to be a high-school senior who is willing to learn a skill at MTI. You’ll need to write an essay. You’ll need to provide attendance records and references. You’ll also need to submit a short video and post it on Facebook. In short, you’ll need to make a case for yourself, because the public is going to vote on who gets the money. And the money at stake is significant – on average, $15,000 per scholarship. And something else – you’ll need to sign The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge (Skills & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo).

This is great advice for many, many young people.  He knows what he's talking about.  He's had more dirty jobs than anyone. 

As the creator and executive producer of Discovery Channel's Emmy-nominated series Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe, Mike has spent years traveling the country, working as an apprentice on more than 200 jobs that most people would go out of their way to avoid. From coal mining to roustabouting, maggot farming to sheep castrating, Mike has worked in just about every industry and filmed the show in almost every state, celebrating the hard-working Americans who make civilized life possible for the rest of us.

No one is better suited to the role of good-natured guinea pig than Mike — mainly because it's not a role. Dirty Jobs is entirely unscripted, and Mike doesn't cheat; he actually does the work, with a sense of humor rarely portrayed in such professions. In fact, the notion of depicting hard work as noble and fun is central to his personal mission.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:30 PM | Permalink

August 19, 2013

Lean Back

The Economist.  Schumpter  In Praise of Laziness

the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too much—too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness.
office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. Workers generate e-mails because it requires little effort and no thought. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster.
This activity is making it harder to focus on real work as opposed to make-work.
It is high time that we tried a different strategy—not “leaning in” but “leaning back”. There is a distinguished history of leadership thinking in the lean-back tradition. Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s favorite prime minister, extolled the virtues of “masterful inactivity”. Herbert Asquith embraced a policy of “wait and see” when he had the job. Ronald Reagan also believed in not overdoing things: “It’s true hard work never killed anybody,” he said, “but I figure, why take the chance?”. This tradition has been buried in a morass of meetings and messages. We need to revive it before we schedule ourselves to death.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:47 PM | Permalink

July 24, 2013

On Lawyers: "You can't imagine the terror when the money dries up"

An absolutely devastating piece in The New Republic, The Last Days of Big Law  You can't imagine the terror when the money dries up

Of all the occupational golden ages to come and go in the twentieth century—for doctors, journalists, ad-men, autoworkers—none lasted longer, felt cushier, and was all in all more golden than the reign of the law partner.
“Stable” is not the way anyone would describe a legal career today. In the past decade, twelve major firms with more than 1,000 partners between them have collapsed entirely. The surviving lawyers live in fear of suffering a similar fate, driving them to ever-more humiliating lengths to edge out rivals for business. “They were cold-calling,” says the lawyer whose firm once turned down no-name clients. And the competition isn’t just external. Partners routinely make pitches behind the backs of colleagues with ties to a client. They hoard work for themselves even when it requires the expertise of a fellow partner. They seize credit for business that younger colleagues bring in.

Becoming A Banker Instead Of A Lawyer Was The Best Life Choice I Ever Made

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:52 PM | Permalink

July 3, 2013

Non-traditional career advice for the young

The Strongest Careers Are Non-Linear  Penelope Truck. 

Some of her suggestions:

1. Skip college
2. Focus on internships instead of school
3. Start a company instead of writing a resume

I’m struck by Marissa Mayer (number 3 on Fortune’s list) whose announced acquisition strategy is buying small, cheap companies. Which is, in effect, buying the team. Silicon Valley calls these acqui-hires. She is looking at young people who start companies that are not necessarily successful in terms of product or sales but successfully market the founders as visionaries, self-starters, and hard workers. You can’t show those traits in school, so if you have those traits, you slow yourself down by going to school

Interview with Laszlo Bock, SVP for people operations at Google

On the hiring side, we found that brainteasers are a complete waste of time.
One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation. Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore, unless you’re just a few years out of school. We found that they don’t predict anything.

What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well. So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.
After two or three years, your ability to perform at Google is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different. You’re also fundamentally a different person. You learn and grow, you think about things differently.

Another reason is that I think academic environments are artificial environments. People who succeed there are sort of finely trained, they’re conditioned to succeed in that environment.

College Insurrection. 85% of college students are wasting their time and money

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:31 AM | Permalink

June 22, 2013

We'll work until we're 74 and then we'll sing

Walter Russell Mead, When It Comes to Working, 74 is the New 65

Workers aged 60-74 now command better wages on average than workers 25-59, according to a new Brookings Institution study:
With innovations in health care it will become possible for workers to stay productively employed even later into life, as long as employers invest smartly and wisely in the physical health of their employees. This will be good for older Americans, because working is an essential part of a full human life and a key determinant of happiness. It will be good for younger workers as well; as the aging work force reshapes the economy, young and old alike will benefit from more flexible, service-based employment.

The demographic shifts we’re experiencing now present a huge policy challenge for the country in the short term, but in the long term they could be a source of strength for the US economy.

Singing for Old Folk A Search for Harmony

You may recall “Young@Heart,” the 2008 documentary about a Northampton, Mass., senior chorus of the same name. Going strong since 1982, the group rehearses twice a week, has released three CDs and has given concerts around the world, most recently in Belgium and Holland.

You might expect performers over age 73 — the minimum age — to stick with memory-fanning songs of their youth. But Young@Heart is currently working on tunes by Yo La Tengo and the Flaming Lips.

“It exercises the brain. You have to learn stuff,” the choir director Bob Cilman said. “People work hard to stay in and continue. It’s probably good for their health.”

There’s some evidence that he’s right. Choral singing has been shown to strengthen neural connections, fortify the immune system and reduce stress and depression. “It seems to tinker with the chemicals in the brain in just the right way to make people feel better,” said Stacy Horn, author of the new book “Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness Singing With Others.”

Opening this weekend is Unfinished Song with Vanessa Redgrave,  Terence Stamp and Gemma Atherton.  NYT film critic Stephen Holden says, "It may be hokum, but it gets to you."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:21 AM | Permalink

May 23, 2013

85-year-old Graduates from College, Finds Job

Hats off to Willadene Zedan


Inspiring 85-Year-Old Lands A Job Four Days After Graduating From College

She's proof that it's never too late to do the things you didn't get to do in the prime of life and that "lifelong learning" is more than hackneyed happy-talk.

With exams over and just days until her graduation from Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, 85-year-old Willadene Zedan began preparing a banquet for her 5 children, 15 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.

"If I demanded the whole bunch of them show up, it's the least I can do," she says. "Some way to insist on a family reunion, isn't it?"

Her college education began after her husband of 50 years died of a heart attack. 

She relocated to Fond du Lac, where both church and mall were within a 10-minute drive of her daughter's home. She had no firm plans except "to keep my mind alert." Marian University, founded by an order of nuns but now a more broadly based liberal arts school with 2,600 combined undergraduate and graduate students, was a promising place to do that. Zedan had some trepidation about whether she was up for the rigors of college coursework. Auditing her first class erased that worry. She made the acquaintance of another older woman on campus who had been auditing classes for years. Zedan, a no-nonsense sort, realized that if she went that route, "I'd have kicked myself" if she later found she would have had enough credits to graduate had she actually matriculated.

So Zedan added a class at a time and, finally, as many as four in a semester. During her years at Marian, where she majored in theology, it became clear to her that she was doing more than just exercising her brain, as she might with crossword puzzles. "I was preparing myself for a new career," she says, one she hoped would allow her to visit those not blessed with her good health in old age and encourage them to be as physically and mentally active as their situation allowed.

Zedan's classmates were kind and friendly, she says, shouting greetings from across the campus and holding doors open for her without making her feel like "a baggy old lady." But they were hardly her pals, she says, nor would that have been appropriate.
Her professors were her allies, she says, and have told her that her active participation in class would be missed. "The kids, to their disadvantage, are afraid to speak up," Zedan says. "They thought I didn't give a rip," she says, about sounding clever or always getting the answers right. "And I didn't. The teachers say they'll miss my input. ….."
That attitude, of needing to satisfy nobody but yourself, is a wonderfully liberating part of old age and it pervades Zedan's life.
Zedan's job offer came from her own doctor during a recent checkup when talk turned to her imminent graduation. He asked if she'd consider accompanying him on visits to the homebound – starting next Wednesday. Surprised and delighted, she never even asked if he intended to pay her, nor does she much care.

"My body tells me I'm growing old," she says, "and I assume that when I've pushed the Lord as far as I can push him, one day he'll give me one swift kick. But in the meantime — and if I'm lucky, that could be till I'm 100 — I'll be doing what I was trained to do. When I get to the other side, I want to be able to say I used the talent I was given."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:09 AM | Permalink

April 16, 2013

"I wish I hadn't taken the job for the money."

The Top Five Career Regrets by Daniel Gulati

I sat down with 30 professionals between the ages of 28 and 58, and asked each what they regretted most about their careers to date. The group was diverse: I spoke with a 39-year-old managing director of a large investment bank, a failing self-employed photographer, a millionaire entrepreneur, and a Fortune 500 CEO. Disappointment doesn't discriminate; no matter what industry the individual operated in, what role they had been given, or whether they were soaring successes or mired in failure, five dominant themes shone through. Importantly, the effects of bad career decisions and disconfirmed expectancies were felt equally across age groups.

Here were the group's top five career regrets:

1. I wish I hadn't taken the job for the money. ... Whoever called them golden handcuffs wasn't joking.

2. I wish I had quit earlier.

3. I wish I had the confidence to start my own business. ….. A recent study found that 70% of workers wished their current job would help them with starting a business in the future, yet only 15% said they had what it takes to actually venture out on their own. Even Fortune 500 CEOs dream of entrepreneurial freedom. Admitted one: "My biggest regret is that I'm a 'wantrepreneur.' I never got to prove myself by starting something from scratch."

4. I wish I had used my time at school more productively.

5. I wish I had acted on my career hunches.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:56 PM | Permalink

April 13, 2013

Ennobling the art of practice

The surprising secrets of great master coaches in Great Teaching and Great Learning

Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code, is known for propagating the thesis that the brain substance myelin -- rather than genes or an undefinable innate talent -- is responsible for exceptional human performance. He believes that myelin production -- and consequent excellence, be it in music, sport, writing, or indeed any human endeavor -- can be stimulated by the application of three elements: what he calls "deep practice" (extreme repetition), "ignition" (passionate desire), and "master coaching."

But how to recognize a master coach?

  1. Master teachers love detail. They worship precision. They relish the small, careful, everyday move.
  2. They devise spectacularly repetitive exercises to help develop that detail — and make those exercises seem not just worthwhile, but magical. As Denk writes, “Imagine that you are scrubbing the grout in your bathroom and are told that  removing every last particle of mildew will somehow enable you to deliver the Gettysburg Address.”
  3. They spend 90 percent of their time directing students toward what is plainly obvious. They spend the other 10 percent igniting imagination as to what is possible.
  4. They walk a thin line between challenging and supporting. They destroy complacency without destroying confidence. This is tricky territory, and requires empathy and understanding on both sides — particularly when it comes to understanding the moment when it’s time to move on.
  5. They do not teach lessons; they teach how to work. As Denk writes, they “ennoble the art of practice.” (Isn’t that a fantastic phrase?)
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:50 AM | Permalink

January 14, 2013

Unconventional financial and career advice that makes sense

Penelope Trunk has 8 new ways to think about financial security

2. Your ability to make money fast is your emergency fund.

3. Your ability to stay engaged is your retirement account.

6. Your high learning curve is unemployment insurance.

And for all the Young people who are screwed, Bryan Goldberg in Pando Daily recommends

Learn how to make something
There are millions of unfilled jobs in America, and most of them are careers where you actually have to make and build stuff. If you grew up in an affluent environment, then you see your software engineer friends getting jobs easily. But it’s not just them. There are countless labor jobs — everything from HVAC to plumbing — that still pay big dollars. But rich kids don’t even know what those jobs entail.

My advice to young people is to figure out how to make something. That means either working with your hands, or learning how to type code with them.

And his  Lesson No. 4: Don’t worry about your network. Worry about your friends.   

If you have successful friends, you will be successful. It’s pretty much that simple. If you hang out with a bunch of losers, you too will adopt their loser ways and not achieve anything. Regardless of whether or not you go out and network, please make sure that your friends are ambitious and hard working people who you admire.
Your friends bring you up or pull you down. There’s no in-between. Make sure they are pulling you up.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:02 PM | Permalink

September 23, 2012

Mike Rowe, McDonalds, soft skills and a very happy baker

Lamb Castration, PETA and American Labor - Mike Rowe at TED.  Don't miss it, it's great.


Taking on the dirty job of dignifying hard work,  Rowe has his own very cool website and heads a foundation "to promote the skilled trades in areas of public awareness, reducing stigmas, education, career planning and job opportunities as well as support organizations that get us there.
Yeah, it’s a trade thing."

Mike Rowe and Manual Labor

His work on Dirty Jobs, where he is a “perpetual apprentice,” has allowed Rowe to see from the front lines of the workplace our national attitudes towards work. “Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers … they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again,” he says. “Our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce.  We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it.”
Rowe wrote that “the ranks of welders, carpenters, pipe fitters, and plumbers have been declining for years, and now, we face the bizarre reality of rising unemployment, and a shortage of skilled labor.” This is the so-called “skills gap,” where jobs that require certain abilities or know-how remain unfilled even in the face of a vast number of otherwise available workers.

Hard Unemployment Truths About 'Soft' Skills  Nick Schultz

What exactly are the skills you can't find?" I asked, imagining that openings for high-tech positions went begging because, as we hear so often, the training of the U.S. workforce doesn't match up well with current corporate needs.

One of the representatives looked sheepishly around the room and responded: "To be perfectly honest . . . we have a hard time finding people who can pass the drug test." Several other reps gave a knowing nod. Applicants were often so under qualified, they said, that simply finding someone who could properly answer the telephone was sometimes a challenge.

More than 600,000 jobs in manufacturing went unfilled in 2011 due to a skills shortage.

Schultz says the principal missing skills are  the punctuality and dependability inherent in a good work ethic along with an elementary command of English, interpersonal skills and enthusiasm and motivation.

5 Life Lessons Learned Working at McDonalds

No task is beneath you

"McDonald's founder Ray Kroc was famous for dropping in on a restaurant, driving [up in] his Cadillac, dressed in his business suit and gold watch, and then asking for a mop so he could clean up some spilled mustard,"

Challenge yourself to master new skills

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos recalled how proud he was that he could crack 300 eggs into a bowl with one hand. As Teets said, every job can teach you something about yourself, even if it’s just to learn what you don't like.

Roll with the punches

What one Marine Corps lieutenant colonel learned about being an effective decision-maker under stress served him well during his multiple tours of duty in the Middle East.

Learn from the successes of others

Drew Nieporent, a successful New York restaurateur who owns Tribeca Grill with actor Robert DeNiro, still uses the lessons he learned while working at McDonald's, even as he’s moved on to gourmet restaurants, Teets discovered.  "As a current restaurant owner," he said, "seeing McDonald's on the resumes of applicants would be a huge plus."

How to deal with people and become a leader

Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card, who worked his way through college at a McDonald's, said a big part of his job was finding different ways to help each employee succeed.

Vincent Talleu is one happy baker!    I found his video of Bakery Work mesmerizing  and his bread photos divine.  Thanks Sippican. 

 Vincent Talleu     

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:13 PM | Permalink

August 10, 2012

Sign of the Times

The jobseeker's Facebook dilemma.  Declare your normality to the world, or risk being labelled a psychopath?

Some psychologists and employers now believe that someone who does not have a page on Facebook, or on another social networking site, may be a misfit or even a psychopath.

Facebook is now used so commonly by young people that not having an account might indicate that you are abnormal and dysfunctional, or even dangerous.
Having a Facebook page can be seen by some as a testimonial declaring social normality, with a wide circle of friends. The absence might indicate that there is something serious to hide.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:55 AM | Permalink

July 30, 2012

Catholic Monks and Crazies

"He who labors as he prays lifts his heart to God with his hands,"  Bernard of Clairvaux, a French Cistercian monk, mystic and founder of the Abbey of Clairvaux.

Why are some countries richer than others?  or Did Catholic Monks Make the World Rich? 

The idea is that some countries have established institutions that form a good breeding ground for education, savings and technological progress – or they have simply been blessed with a culture or a geography that has formed a productive environment…..

Jeanet Sinding Bentzen, of the Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen, who has just defended her PhD thesis Why are some countries richer than others?

The German economist and sociologist Max Weber, widely considered as one of the founders of social science, highlights what he calls ‘The Protestant Ethic’ as being particularly beneficial to capitalist prosperity.
“The proportion of Protestants in a society might be an indicator of these values, but the problem here is that it wasn’t a coincidence that some countries converted to Protestantism. It could well be that a society which for instance had higher levels of education had a greater tendency to convert to Protestantism, while at the same time achieving greater economic success, despite Protestantism.”--
This prompted the researchers to go as far back as to the point that has previously been identified as a possible origin of The Protestant Ethic: when the Roman Catholic order of Cistercians was founded in France in 1098.
Cistercians were known to be extremely diligent and frugal – the exact virtues that Weber ascribed to Protestantism,” says Bentzen. “Weber himself highlighted the Cistercians as early forerunners of the Protestant Ethic.”
We are cementing that the monks passed on their cultural values by showing – based on the European Values Study – that European regions with several Cistercian monasteries still to this day value diligence and moderation more than other regions,” says Bentzen.

“Our study of monks shows that societies that had a culture where diligence and moderation were highly valued had an advantage when the Industrial Revolution started. All else being equal, countries with high levels of work ethic will, historically speaking, achieve greater prosperity.”

More to life than happiness

Here are three circumstances in which an individual might want to pursue a course that will not make them happy but is nonetheless more important to them than their own happiness. (a) The case of wanting to achieve something in one's profession or field of endeavor, come what may so far as happiness is concerned. (b) The case of feeling one has an obligation to others which one must not fail in, however hard it may be to fulfill it. © The case of feeling a need to act against grave injustices whether or not doing so will enhance one's own life.

Why the 'Crazies' Are the Ones Who Will Make It

Ambition is good, but not if it just leads to wanting to do well. Ambition must be paired with action and execution to be truly meaningful. Otherwise, it’s just a daydream…..
Delusional is better …delusional people also tend to be more productive, which is less obvious. Why? Because delusional people are more optimistic about completing goals, and humans, as emotional beings, are more likely to work toward (and execute on) goals we think we have a good chance of completing….delusional people imagine and build the impossible.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:54 PM | Permalink

July 24, 2012

There are only three true job interview questions

Top Executive Recruiters Agree There Are Only Three True Job Interview Questions

The only three true job interview questions are:
1.  Can you do the job?
2.  Will you love the job?
3.  Can we tolerate working with you?

That’s it.  Those three.  Think back, every question you’ve ever posed to others or had asked of you in a job interview is a subset of a deeper in-depth follow-up to one of these three key questions.  Each question may be asked using different words, but every question, however it is phrased, is just a variation on one of these topics: Strengths, Motivation, and Fit.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:02 PM | Permalink

May 30, 2012

Big Dewey Falls

When I graduated from law school, my first job was on Wall Street with the law firm Dewey, Ballatine, Bushby, Palmer and Wood, then the largest firm in New York City and the country as far as I know.

Largest again.  The successor to Dewey Ballantine, after a 2007 merger,  is Dewey & Leboeuf and it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday in the biggest collapse of a law firm in U.S. history

Negative economic conditions, along with the firm's partnership compensation arrangements, created a situation where its cash flow was insufficient to cover capital expenses and full compensation expectations, Dewey said.

With the bankruptcy, comes Big Dewey Debts

The beleaguered New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP owes millions of dollars to thousands of creditors, including legal headhunters, legal-research vendors and a dining service that kept Dewey's lawyers fed, according to papers filed in federal bankruptcy court.
The entire unwinding could take years. In addition to the hundreds who were laid off and the big creditors who are owed money, including secured lenders, bondholders and federal pension regulators, Dewey's demise leaves holes in the balance sheets of enterprises large and small whose services are essential to big law firm functions.
"I would say it is the worst possible result for everyone," said Brad Hildebrandt, the chairman of Hildebrandt Consulting LLC. "Now the creditors will have to fight over what's left, and the partners will inevitably have to contribute."

At Above the Law, people comment on why the firm failed in Gone Dewey Gone.

The ‘Steves’ are to blame, but ‘ineptitude’ is too kind a word to describe what they did at Dewey. Greed and unchecked power proved to be a lethal cocktail.”
Debt is what killed Dewey. Debt is what killed most other firms the past few years. It will kill many more. I’ve heard that just three of the AMLAW100 operate without incorporating debt into their operations. Three!  Many of them distribute all their cash to their partners at the end of the year, and then operate in the red until October or November. All it takes is a few partner departures or a collapse of one or two practice groups to destroy most firms.”

The biggest winner in the reader poll was the Guaranteed compensation deals for certain partners.

“An absolutely insane idea, especially in a shaky economy. What motivation does a rainmaker partner with a multi-million dollar guarantee have to hustle to increase his book of business? Likewise, what motivation does a service partner making $300k have to work harder when all (and I mean all) of the big money is being funneled to the rainmaker partners? And, how was this plan supposed to work unless revenues kept skyrocketing?”

The New York Times reports Dewey's Collapse Underscores a new reaity for law firms

Dewey collapsed under the weight of a toxic combination of high leverage, lavish financial guarantees to many partners and faltering revenue. This makes it, in many ways, the Lehman Brothers of the legal profession, although perhaps that’s unfair to Lehman Brothers. Though highly leveraged, Lehman Brothers had enormous assets on its balance sheet — while Dewey, like law firms generally, had scant tangible assets. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop the firm from heavy borrowing of about $225 million, both by issuing bonds and by drawing on a large line of credit.

“This absolutely falls into the category: What were they thinking?” Bruce MacEwen, a lawyer and president of Adam Smith Esq. and an expert on law firm economics,

I left after a year because I was completely bored with the work and didn't want to get used to the money.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:45 AM | Permalink

November 7, 2011

"I am very detail-oreinted"

via Bookworm, comes this hilarious list of things never to put on your resume

1. I am very detail-oreinted.

2. My intensity and focus are at inordinately high levels, and my ability to complete projects on time is unspeakable.

3. Thank you for your consideration. Hope to hear from you shorty!

4. Enclosed is a ruff draft of my resume.

5. It’s best for employers that I not work with people.

6. Here are my qualifications for you to overlook.

7. I am a quick leaner, dependable, and motivated.

8. If this resume doesn’t blow your hat off, then please return it in the enclosed envelope.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:56 PM | Permalink

October 19, 2011

Too grand to care

I have occasion to visit a local hospital every other week or so to see patients for 2 or 3 hours.  Most of the time, the nurses are sitting in front of computers.  Although I ask the patients if they are being well cared for, they never complain but say they are treated well.  It may be that I visit at a time when the nurses are catching up with paperwork which is no longer on paper but on the computer.  I've never heard stories like the ones Melanie Phillips writes about, but then, in England, it's government-run health care.  Though I have no doubt, there are horror stories in American nursing homes as well which is why no one ever wants to be in one.    When I visit my sister who has been in an extremely well-run nursing home for the past 20 years because of her multiple sclerosis and loss of short-term memory as a result of a bout of encephalitis 25 years ago, she is happy and well cared for by Haitian aides who far outnumber the nurses.  They carry bedpans, wash the patients, put on their clothing, life them into their wheelchairs.  If a patient can't feed himself, an aide will sit next to him and feed them. 

Still, I post this piece because caring for the old and the sick and the disabled is so little valued when, in truth, it's the highest form of service.    Very hard to do for any length of time if you are not religious.

Melanie Phillips asks Did Feminism Kill Nursing by Making Nurses "Too Grand" To Care?

Last week, a devastating report detailing what can only be described as the widespread collapse of the ethic of nursing was produced by the Care Quality Commission.

This revealed that more than half of all hospitals in England do not meet standards for the dignity and nutrition of elderly people. One in five hospitals were found to be failing the elderly so badly that they were breaking the law.
These horrifying revelations do not signify merely incompetence nor — that perennial excuse — the effect of ‘the cuts’.  No, they illustrate instead something infinitely grimmer: the replacement of altruism by indifference, and compassion by cruelty.
We’re looking here at nothing less than the crumbling of a sense of common humanity. And that is because nursing has been all but engulfed by a fundamental moral crisis.

Nursing is not a job but a vocation. That means it is governed by a sense of duty to the patient, rather than any self-interest.  Of course, it must be said there are still many dedicated nurses caring magnificently for their patients. But, in general, the presumption of care has been systematically eroded — by modern feminism.
Nursing was effectively created by that 19th-century feminist pioneer, Florence Nightingale. To her, nursing was in essence a moral act. In her book Notes On Nursing, published in 1860, she wrote that ‘the greater part of nursing consists in preserving cleanliness’.  That wasn’t just because hygiene was essential for recovery and health. It was because keeping both hospital and patients clean meant the nurse needed to be motivated by the most high-minded concern for the care and dignity of the patient.

Accordingly, lowly functions such as washing, dressing and administering bedpans were functions that were invested with the highest possible significance. If a nurse declined to perform them because she was concerned about her own status, then nursing was not her calling, wrote Nightingale. That great soul must now be turning in her grave.

...during the Eighties, nursing underwent a revolution. Under the influence of feminist thinking, its leaders decided that ‘caring’ was demeaning because it meant that nurses — who were overwhelmingly women — were treated like skivvies by doctors, who were mostly men.

To achieve equality, therefore, nursing had to gain the same status as medicine.
Student nurses now studied sociology, politics, psychology, microbiology and management, and were assessed for their communication, management and analytical skills. ‘Specific clinical nursing skills were not mentioned,’  In short, nursing ditched its core vocation to care. Bedbaths and feeding those who are helpless are tasks vital to the care of patients — but are now considered beneath the dignity of too many nurses.
Dame Joan was much nearer the mark when she observed that the decline in kindness and sympathy was linked to the decline in religious observance. In other words, the crisis in nursing is part of a far broader and deeper spiritual malaise.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:02 PM | Permalink

September 23, 2011

The War Against the Young and the Lost Generation

The War Against The Young: Warning From Italy and Japan

The war on the young is led “by cadres of elderly men, content to manage decline” and exacerbated by younger generations, who don’t seem to know what’s going on or understand the gravity of the financial situation that will hit them in the future.
To succeed today, many young people need to recognize that no job will be waiting for them when they finish studying.  They are going to have to create their own opportunities.  It is a good time for creative entrepreneurs.

Italy and Japan have particularly bad cases of the blues; with relatively small numbers of young people and large ones of older people, the old are not only cunning and entrenched in positions of power: they can still beat the kids in elections.  Politicians reinforce generational privilege rather than acting on the knowledge that, in the end, an economy that doesn’t work for the young is an economy doomed to decline.

A warning too late?  The recession that began in 2008 is hitting the young the hardest.  The young are becoming a "lost generation" amid the recession.

In record-setting numbers, young adults struggling to find work are shunning long-distance moves to live with Mom and Dad, delaying marriage and buying fewer homes, often raising kids out of wedlock. They suffer from the highest unemployment since World War II and risk living in poverty more than others — nearly 1 in 5.

New 2010 census data released Thursday show the wrenching impact of a recession that officially ended in mid-2009. It highlights the missed opportunities and dim prospects for a generation of mostly 20-somethings and 30-somethings coming of age in a prolonged slump with high unemployment.

"We have a monster jobs problem, and young people are the biggest losers," said Andrew Sum, an economist and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.

Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard University, added, "These people will be scarred, and they will be called the 'lost generation' — in that their careers would not be the same way if we had avoided this economic disaster."

Economists say this trend will continue for another decade and when it's over it will take another decade for this generation to recover fully.

Of course this delays the entire process of becoming an adult, getting married, buying a house, and starting a family.
When the Lost Generation is found again, they'll be older, inexperienced and without assets to speak of. And they will need to grow up fast.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:14 AM | Permalink

September 16, 2011

The Future of Work

In the past week or so, there's been a number of articles about jobs and the future of work worth reading.

The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time from the Atlantic.

Today, careers consist of piecing together various types of work, juggling multiple clients, learning to be marketing and accounting experts, and creating offices in bedrooms/coffee shops/coworking spaces. Independent workers abound. We call them freelancers, contractors, sole proprietors, consultants, temps, and the self-employed.

And, perhaps most surprisingly, many of them love it.

This transition is nothing less than a revolution. We haven't seen a shift in the workforce this significant in almost 100 years when we transitioned from an agricultural to an industrial economy.

What about those who are still looking for jobs?

Arnold Kling an economist/blogger writes about The Job-Seeker's Paradox

A job seeker is looking for something for a well-defined job. But the trend seems to be that if a job can be defined, it can be automated or outsourced.

The marginal product of people who need well-defined jobs is declining. The marginal product of people who can thrive in less structured environments is increasing.


The same technology that is eliminating jobs also connects us and empowers us in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. Maybe what’s becoming obsolete is not jobs per se, but the idea that they are something that you simply find.

Increasingly, perhaps, a job is something that we each have to create. We can’t count on someone else to create one for us. That model is disappearing. We have to carve something out for ourselves, something that the machines won’t immediately grab.

Who wants to be a corporate drone?

Megan McArdle The New New New Economy

Then the jobs started to go away and we discovered that many people like dreary predictability--at least, compared to the real-world alternative, which is risk.  What many, maybe most, people actually want, it turns out, is the creativity and autonomy of entrepreneurship combined with the stability of a 1950s corporate drone.  This is a fantasy, of course, but given their druthers, it's not clear that most people will pick risk over dronedom.

Walter Russell Mead Where Are the Jobs

It looks as if we are trapped: globalization is killing job growth in the tradable sector and we can’t all work for the government or in healthcare.  Burger flipping, many conclude, is the wave of the future; the middle class is doomed, and American standards of living are bound to decline....That could not be more wrong....

There is much more room for growth in non-traded services than people think.  Last spring Matt Yglesias had an important post that offered a glimpse of the promised land. In “The Yoga Instructor Economy” Yglesias pointed out that there will be a rising demand for personal services that can’t be outsourced.
Value added intermediation is the rationale for a whole range of services that entrepreneurs will be building in coming years.  You might have a family tech agent that for some reasonable fee reviews and manages your communications life...Similarly, many people would benefit from someone to help them navigate the healthcare system; somebody who understood your insurance, knew their way around the local medical system and was committed to helping you get the best treatment at the best price... 
These jobs will be in non-traded services and they will often be locally based.

Are jobs obsolete?

We start by accepting that food and shelter are basic human rights. The work we do -- the value we create -- is for the rest of what we want: the stuff that makes life fun, meaningful, and purposeful.

This sort of work isn't so much employment as it is creative activity. Unlike Industrial Age employment, digital production can be done from the home, independently, and even in a peer-to-peer fashion without going through big corporations. We can make games for each other, write books, solve problems, educate and inspire one another -- all through bits instead of stuff. And we can pay one another using the same money we use to buy real stuff.

After reading all these, The Education of Steve Jobs is particularly telling.    Schools are inhospitable environments for aspiring entrepreneurs.    Yet, it is precisely in becoming entrepreneurial that people will find the work they love and the success they want in the new, new economy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:55 PM | Permalink

September 14, 2011

Freelancers Unite

Sara Horowitz asks Why is Washington Ignoring the Freelance Economy?

Despite the fact that close to one-third of the country's workforce is comprised of independent workers, this sizeable chunk of our economy has none of the protections and benefits that "traditional" employees have. Health insurance? No. Unemployment insurance? Nope. Protection from unpaid wages, or race, gender, or age discrimination? Not a chance. We've left these 42 million workers out to dry and entirely out of our social support system.

The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time

It's been called the Gig Economy, Freelance Nation, the Rise of the Creative Class, and the e-conomy, with the "e" standing for electronic, entrepreneurial, or perhaps eclectic. Everywhere we look, we can see the U.S. workforce undergoing a massive change. No longer do we work at the same company for 25 years, waiting for the gold watch, expecting the benefits and security that come with full-time employment. We're no longer simply lawyers, or photographers, or writers. Instead, we're part-time lawyers-cum- amateur photographers who write on the side.
This transition is nothing less than a revolution. We haven't seen a shift in the workforce this significant in almost 100 years when we transitioned from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Now, employees are leaving the traditional workplace and opting to piece together a professional life on their own. As of 2005, one-third of our workforce participated in this "freelance economy." Data show that number has only increased over the past six years. Entrepreneurial activity in 2009 was at its highest level in 14 years, online freelance job postings skyrocketed in 2010, and companies are increasingly outsourcing work. While the economy has unwillingly pushed some people into independent work, many have chosen it because of greater flexibility that lets them skip the dreary office environment and focus on more personally fulfilling projects.
This new, changing workforce needs to build economic security in profoundly new ways. For the new workforce, the New Deal is irrelevant. ...

The solution will rest with our ability to form networks for exchange and to create political power. I call this "new mutualism ."

She's doing her bit with the Freelancer's Union that provides advocacy, tips, resources and insurance for the independent workers that make up 30% of our nation's workforce.    Good for her.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:31 PM | Permalink

September 9, 2011

What people don't get about my job

In the Atlantic, a fascinating look at What People Don't Get About My Job: From A to Z

A is for Army Soldier
"Some of the most free-thinking people in the United States are in the US Army."

E is for Engineer
"I wish children could understand how much fun I have."
G is for Graphic Designer
"The vast majority of designers make ugly things for incompetent people."

H is for Historical Archivist
"I am the preserver of history itself."

I is for IRS Employee
"You are the middle class! I'm helping you!"

J is for Journalist
"The purpose of opinion journalism is to make money ... to generate ideas ... to get on television...."

K is for Kindergarten Teacher
"I am not only a teacher, but a security officer, tutor, mentor, and counselor."

N is for Nanny
"Seeing the world through children's eyes is intense and beautiful and fleeting"

P is for Professional Philosopher
"I love being a philosopher, even though it may sound pretentious.".

R is for Referee
"You can't imagine that I don't care who wins. But I really don't."

U is for Unemployed
"I have never known this desperation."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:57 PM | Permalink

September 2, 2011

"Create your own grad school. Open your own doors"

Penelope Trunk's Best alternative to grad school strikes me as quite good advice.

If you are thinking of going to graduate school, you need to understand that the process of discovering what value you bring to the adult world is a very hard process to endure. Because you are probably smart, and you like to learn, and most jobs are not about paying you to learn. You have to create that for yourself.
Life should be a process of learning and doing, learning and doing. Grad school is all learning. It’s an imbalance that is not fair to you, and not right for you. Create your own grad school.  Open your own doors.
Find a foot in a door and then start learning everything you can to open that door wider.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:24 AM | Permalink

August 4, 2011

" Camels weren’t designed to carry such a load."

ObamaCare's Most Frightening Consequence: Not Enough Doctors

ObamaCare’s defenders promised the law would increase patient access to care, but a closer look shows that increased regulations combined with higher demand for health services could cause many physicians to give up practicing medicine.

The Doctor shortfall In 2016 will be  63,000 doctors, in 2020,  91,500 doctors say The Associations of American Medical Colleges.

Dr. Bob is selling his practice.  This is his perspective

The past year or so has been one of the most challenging in many a season, on a number of fronts. Professionally, the passage of Obamacare has made it abundantly clear that the independent private practitioner is a dying breed, and likely will disappear — with the exception of cash-only, concierge-style arrangements — within the next few years. The administrative burden is crushing — unfunded mandates, such as pay-for-performance, compliance programs, HIPAA, mandated “government certified” EMRs (even though existing, non-certified ones are fully functional), and intrusive, abusive audits by the Feds and third party carriers. Such mandates and regulatory excesses place, or will soon place, such an overwhelming burden on the solo physician or small group as to make their continued existence unsustainable, even in the near term — and the full implementation of Obamacare will put roses on their grave. Reimbursements are dropping precipitously (my income dropped about 25% last year), as expenses spiral upward (employee health insurance rates are up 25%; malpractice rates up 15%, etc., etc.). The small business model of solo practice or small medical group is rapidly becoming extinct: its executioner, Big Government and Big Insurance.

The medical-legal environment remains as hostile and capricious as ever — I have endured two lawsuits in the past three years, both resolved with decidedly mixed outcomes while taking an enormous toll both in time wasted and emotional sobriety. I hope to share some insights thus gleaned on this horrendously dysfunctional system in the not-too-distant future.

Personally, although my health remains good, the exhaustion borne of these and other struggles had taken much of the joy and energy from life. The time for renewal was long overdue.

And so, big changes are in store: my practice will be sold in the next few months to a large medical group affiliated with a nearby hospital, and I will have as a primary responsibility inpatient hospital care, with a much diminished office practice focusing primarily on my specialty of male infertility and vasectomy reversal. I have decidedly mixed feelings about this change — I anticipated going to my deathbed as a private, solo practitioner, loving the independence and rich patient relationships which this brings.

But I am weary. After nearly 30 years in private practice, I am not sure which straw broke the camel’s back, but it is most surely broken. It is a weariness born of 14 hour days; of dictating charts and finishing paperwork until 8 or 9 pm each night, after starting the day at 7 am; of endless audits by the insurance industry and Medicare; of the constant threat of litigation; of the crushing burden of one more federal requirement mandated but never recompensed; of a host of ever-expanding administrative burdens having nothing to do with patient care, and everything to do with bureaucratic micromanagement of the profession. And this before we have even begun to see the nightmare which Obamacare will inflict. Camels weren’t designed to carry such a load.

Well, Isn't THAT Special is his comment to the news that hedge funds are financing medical malpractice cases to the tune of $10 billion in 2010.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:07 AM | Permalink

June 16, 2011

Different paths to leadership

In Businessweek,  God's MBAs:  Why Mormon Missions Produce Leaders

Before setting out in orderly pairs to spread their gospel door-to-door, nearly all U.S. Mormon missionaries pass through the Provo Missionary Training Center. Inside the sprawling brown-brick complex, thousands of 19- and 20-year-old men in oversized black suits work alongside women in below-the-knee skirts and brightly colored tops. All of them wear name tags.
The Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) and its curriculum are designed to render all trainees equal servants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), yet
many of the men who prepared for their missions here, or at the center's earlier incarnations, have gone on to become among the most distinguished and recognizable faces in American business and civic life.
Reflecting on his own mission to the mid-Atlantic states, Cornia adds, "When I left, the son of a relatively poor mother and a father who died when I was young, I frankly didn't know if I could do anything. I came back with the confidence that I can accomplish most hard things. I may not have had that otherwise."

Read more  to see how their proverbial work ethic, self improvement and self reliance is formed at a young age in what is, in effect, a 2 year  boot camp for leaders.

After the financial crisis, others, too few of them, are re-examining just what their corporate lives are doing to them.

Behind corporate walls, the masters of the universe weep by Stefan Stern via The Browser.

So it was heartening, in a way, when I recently started picking up examples of things being discussed rather differently, in private, behind closed corporate doors. It was only encouraging in part because the stories I have been told are of secret grief and hidden angst, bursting out in an extraordinary way.

These kinds of stories are as yet completely under-reported and under-analysed.

On three separate occasions in the past few months I have been told about startling moments of truth within the walls of some mighty global corporations. At last the silence has been broken, and the unsayable has been said.
These episodes have one thing in common (and it is almost a leitmotif): the tears and misery of senior managers.

At an elite management consultancy an informal discussion about career goals degenerated into the sort of group confession masters of the universe are simply not supposed to make. Work was ridiculously intense, yet meaningless, they said. The financial rewards were considerable, but many wanted out.


Umair Haque, director of the Havas Media Lab, has just published a radical new book called The New Capitalist Manifesto ...Haque let rip on some of the absurdities of contemporary business and economic life. “Just ask yourself,” he wrote, “if you were to walk into any corporation, would you find faces brimming over with deep fulfillment and authentic delight – or stonily asking themselves, ‘If it wasn’t for the accursed paycheck, would I really imprison myself in this dungeon of the human soul?’ ”

We are trapped, Haque argues, in
a futile “pursuit of opulence”. “The pursuit of opulence,” he says, “isn’t just failing to make most of us better off in human terms — more troublingly, it’s also failing to ignite the spark of enduring wealth creation today.

It does not have to be like this. If we could make a series of shifts our individual and collective prospects could be brighter. The first shift involves moving from being a “shallow generalist” to being a “serial master” – genuinely knowing what we are talking about. The second shift requires us to give up being an “isolated competitor”, instead becoming what Prof Gratton calls an “innovative connector” – in plain terms, working far more collaboratively. The third shift involves giving up being a voracious consumer and instead becoming an “impassioned producer”, doing
(and consuming) less, perhaps, but doing it better.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:37 PM | Permalink

June 8, 2011

"Small business formation as the key to mass middle class prosperity in the next fifty years"

Rather than focusing on home ownership, American social policy should probably be looking at small business formation as the key to mass middle class prosperity in the next fifty years.

The American Dream is not in the last analysis a farm or a home and a good job.  It is the dream that through hard work and good choices the average American can be prosperous and independent, and that ordinary people with these life experiences can govern themselves wisely and well without the ‘guidance’ of their ‘betters’.

That dream is timelessly valid, and it is still the thing that people around the world admire most about the United States.  We are going to have to re-imagine and re-engineer the dream to keep it alive in the decades ahead, but that shouldn’t daunt us.  America is a nation of dreamers; building the future by following those dreams is what we do best.

Walter Russell Mead on The Death of the American Dream II

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:37 AM | Permalink

May 20, 2011

"Congratulations! You're in Debt"

It's tough out there for college graduates.  I wish them all the best.

I was stunned to learn that student loan debt now tops credit card debt debt and is expected to reach $1 trillion this year.  Student loan debt is not dischargeable in bankruptcy but remains a millstone around each  student's neck, affecting the ability to buy a house or even get married in the first place.

A just-released Pew Study asked whether "Is college worth it?"

Fifty-seven percent of those questioned in the survey of members of the public said “the higher education system in the United States fails to provide students with good value for the money they and their families spend,” according to the report. Moreover, three-quarters say “college is too expensive for most Americans to afford.”

It's an unlucky time to be a graduate.  The damage of the recession is evident in the lives of new graduates who can't find work.

The chemistry major tending bar. The classics major answering phones. The Italian studies major sweeping aisles at Wal-Mart.
“If you don’t move within five years of graduating, for some reason you get stuck where you are. That’s just an empirical finding,”  said Till von Wachter, an economist at Columbia. 

Congratulations!  You're in Debt writes Rich Lowry .

There’s no doubt that graduating from college brings a significant economic advantage, but that doesn’t excuse the waste and self-satisfied lassitude of American higher education. Colleges appropriate tuition dollars from America’s students with an ever-accelerating voracity, yet don’t deliver any additional educational benefits — indeed, they do the opposite. Higher education is one of the sectors of American life that most desperately needs a thorough re-conception.

Despite many fewer hours spent studying, grades are still high thanks to grade inflation.  There are few professors who spend less time teaching, but many more "managerial professionals"

What kind of learning environment is it, after all, without a director of sustainability initiatives?
This is not a formula for drinking deeply from the fountain of learning. Arum and Roksa find only minimal gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing for many students. Forty-five percent of students barely ticked upward after two years, and 36 percent hadn’t budged after four years.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:10 PM | Permalink

April 13, 2011

An Education in Entrepreneurship

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, says Forget art history and calculus.  Most students need to learn how to run a business.


How to Get a Real Education

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:37 PM | Permalink

April 1, 2011

True Grit and a Grain of Sand

In Fast Company, Why True Grit Matters in the Face of Adversity

In fact, new psychological research suggests that grit -- defined as endurance in pursuit of long-term goals and an ability to persist in the face of adversity -- is a key part of what makes people successful. In a culture that values quick results -- this quarter's numbers, this week's weight loss, this month's click-throughs -- grit can be an underappreciated secret weapon.
Grit is not synonymous with hard work. It involves a certain single-mindedness. ...Grit is often undervalued in business, because businesspeople like breakthroughs, which are good ideas that you'll have next week.

Single-mindedness and persistence because of an idea that you just can't get out of your head.    Listen to what Rummer Godden has to say about grit. 

“Every piece of writing... starts from what I call a grit... a sight or sound, a sentence or happening that does not pass away... but quite inexplicably lodges in the mind.”

We think of grit, physical grit, as nothing more than grains of sand, too often found in shoes and on newly mopped floors. 

It took Gary Greenberg to show me the secret beauty and wonder of each sand grain. 


On an ordinary day, sand is just that brown stuff you walk on by the water.  Up close, each grain is a small jewel. unique in all the world.  Like God sees us.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 AM | Permalink

January 4, 2011

Wisdom of the Hands

In Boston, woodworking as a class in middle school and high school is seeing a resurgence.

Drills and skills

While there’s no quick fix, many woodworking teachers are convinced that getting students to work with their hands and not just their heads would help. They believe that shuttering the shops was irresponsible and shortsighted, a mistake that has helped create a dependent generation of young people who don’t know how to fix things and lack even the most basic manual competence. They say it’s also alienated students whose intelligence and gifts do not lie in traditional classroom learning.

“Does working with your hands make you smarter? Woodworking teachers have observed that effect for years,’’ said Doug Stowe, an Arkansas woodworker and teacher who writes a blog called “Wisdom of the Hands,’’ which advances the concept that hands are essential to learning.


“Culturally, we reward people who are very good in mathematics and writing, and we also value athletes,’’ he said. “But there are a lot of kids in the world who are extremely talented experiencing the world through their hands. And I think we should support them and help them.’’

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:13 PM | Permalink

September 1, 2010

Ora et labora and the revalorization of the trades

I thought One of my favorite writers, Camille Paglia,  on a subject dear to my heart, Revalorizing the Trades

Having taught in art schools for most of my four decades in the classroom, I am used to having students who work with their hands—ceramicists, weavers, woodworkers, metal smiths, jazz drummers. There is a calm, centered, Zen-like engagement with the physical world in their lives. In contrast, I see glib, cynical, neurotic elite-school graduates roiling everywhere in journalism and the media. They have been ill-served by their trendy, word-centered educations.
Jobs, jobs, jobs: We need a sweeping revalorization of the trades. The pressuring of middle-class young people into officebound, paper-pushing jobs is cruelly shortsighted. Concrete manual skills, once gained through the master-apprentice alliance in guilds, build a secure identity. Our present educational system defers credentialing and maturity for too long. When middle-class graduates in their mid-20s are just stepping on the bottom rung of the professional career ladder, many of their working-class peers are already self-supporting and married with young children.

The elite schools, predicated on molding students into mirror images of their professors, seem divorced from any rational consideration of human happiness.

One of my earlier posts also quoted Paglia on the same subject.   

Perhaps there's hope of change because of the tens of thousands of liberal arts graduates with expensive degrees who are finding themselves out of work and depressingly marginalized in a society where the manual trades offer guaranteed employment at relatively high wages. A dose of Buddhism might do people good: Sweeping garden sand into oceanic designs around ornamental rocks is considered a spiritual exercise in Asia. I say that landscaping, construction, carpentry, metalworking and all the other trades should be promoted by primary education as worthy careers for both men and women. The pre-college rat race is a sadomasochistic imposition on the young that robs them of free will and saps their vital energies. When will they rebel?

But my favorite old post on this subject is Happy Like the Muffler Man. 

When St. Benedict, later credited as the father of Western monasticism, wrote his rule back in the sixth century, he dignified manual labor and required it of all the monks.  Work was holy and  he believed a balanced life of prayer and work was ideal for the happiness, bonding and contemplative life of the small monasteries then beginning  to spread across Europe.  Ora et labora became the Benedictine  motto.      Even today, monasteries derive their income from physical and manual labor.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:21 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 10, 2010

Creative job exits UPDATED

My, but people are getting creative in quitting their jobs.  I mean who didn't feel a little thrill when Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who finally cracked at the abuse and cursing of passengers, in particular that of one woman,  announced that he was quitting, grabbed a couple of beers, pulled the emergency slide and slide out , ran home and into the arms of his boyfriend before being arrested by the police.

I don't know who Jenny is, but she quit her job on a dry erase board and emailed the entire office 33 photos which are hilarious.


Maybe not the best career move, but a cool drink of delicous-ness for all of us stuck in the August doldrums.


JetBlue passenger says flight attendant started fray that led to infamous exit

Jenny who's real name is Elyse Porterfield is an actress in LA and her creative exit was a hoax designed to get her attention and boy did it.


Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:39 PM | Permalink

June 16, 2010

Happy like the Muffler Man

I am not at all surprised that more college-educated jump tracks to become skilled manual laborers.

They started out studying aerospace engineering, creative writing and urban planning. But somewhere on the path to accumulating academic credentials, they decided that working with their hands sounded more pleasant -- and lucrative -- than a lot of white-collar work. So bye-bye to term papers and graduate theses, and hello to apprenticeships to become plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics and carpenters.

And why not?  Such jobs can't be outsourced and You can't hammer a nail over the Internet

Camille Paglia a few years ago called for a Re-Valorization of the Trades
Perhaps there's hope of change because of the tens of thousands of liberal arts graduates with expensive degrees who are finding themselves out of work and depressingly marginalized in a society where the manual trades offer guaranteed employment at relatively high wages. A dose of Buddhism might do people good: Sweeping garden sand into oceanic designs around ornamental rocks is considered a spiritual exercise in Asia. I say that landscaping, construction, carpentry, metalworking and all the other trades should be promoted by primary education as worthy careers for both men and women.

If you work hard, you just might count yourself among the happiest of workers like Muffler Man

Leo had majored in Romance Language Literature at the University of New Mexico but when his young family came to California years ago he decided to apply himself to an honest trade.

“People think that because I know all these languages, and poems, and books, I should have been something more than a mechanic. But if I worked in my academic field, I’d be fighting to make twenty or thirty thousand a year. And guess what? Last year I took home over two hundred grand from this little shop.”

As I backed my car off the hoist he was belting out a Puccini aria.

My muffler man does good work, and is easily the happiest person I’ve met so far in California.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:19 PM | Permalink

June 9, 2010

Bubbles bursting

Is the higher education bubble about to burst?  Glenn Reynolds thinks so.

College has gotten a lot more expensive. A recent Money magazine report notes: "After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439 percent since 1982. ... Normal supply and demand can't begin to explain cost increases of this magnitude."
A New York Times profile last week described Courtney Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University with nearly $100,000 in student loan debt -- debt that her degree in Religious and Women's Studies did not equip her to repay. Payments on the debt are about $700 per month, equivalent to a respectable house payment, and a major bite on her monthly income of $2,300 as a photographer's assistant earning an hourly wage.

And, unlike a bad mortgage on an underwater house, Munna can't simply walk away from her student loans, which cannot be expunged in a bankruptcy. She's stuck in a financial trap.

There's the financial bubble, but also the reality bubble where college students learn disdain for real, tried and  true methods of creating and distributing wealth.

Thomas Sowell on The Real Public Service

Commencement speakers express great reverence for “public service,” as distinguished from narrow private “greed.” There is usually not the slightest sign of embarrassment at this self-serving celebration of the kinds of careers they have chosen — over and above the careers of others who merely provide us with the food we eat, the homes we live in, the clothes we wear, and the medical care that saves our health and our lives.
This didn’t come about because of the politicians, bureaucrats, activists, or others in “public service” that you are supposed to admire. No nation ever protested its way from poverty to prosperity or got there through rhetoric or bureaucracies.

It was Thomas Edison who brought us electricity, not the Sierra Club. It was the Wright brothers who got us off the ground, not the Federal Aviation Administration. It was Henry Ford who ended the isolation of millions of Americans by making the automobile affordable, not Ralph Nader.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:48 AM | Permalink

March 19, 2010

Bad credit derails job seekers

If you're looking for a job, you have to realize that More Employers Are Conducting Credit Checks on Job Applicants.

Companies typically look back over a period of years for patterns in applicants' behavior, says Mike Aitken, the professional group's director of government affairs. "It's a longer-term snapshot to see if that's indicative of fiscal responsibility," he says.

The vast majority of employers who conduct credit background checks do so for jobs with fiduciary or financial responsibility, such as accounting, budgeting or those involving cash or sensitive credit-card information. Nearly half the respondents also consider the credit of candidates for senior executive positions.

Lawsuits or other judgments outstanding, or multiple accounts in debt collection, were the types of credit information most likely to keep an organization from extending a job offer, according to the survey.
Certain factors that could hurt your credit score, such as a recently reduced credit-card limit, would be unlikely to hurt your job prospects. Employers focus on issues like collections and defaults, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for Credit.com Inc..

Just one more reason to pay what you owe, keep your credit rating high and check your credit report  yearly .

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:31 AM | Permalink

December 29, 2009

Amazon's Elves

For many, Christmas is a very busy time at work.  Just check out The Secret Lives of Amazon's Elves.

 Amazon's Elves

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:58 AM | Permalink

October 6, 2009

'Time management is a myth'

What every Super Achiever Knows About Time Management  from the Field Guide for Real Estate Investors

Yet, the super achievers seem to have all the time they need. They must know the secrets of time management the rest of us don't. In December of 2007 and January of 2008 I interviewed a sampling of the really high achievers here at the Field Guide and I learned an amazing time management revelation.

They do know a secret but it is not the one you might expect. The super achievers know that time management is a myth. They focus not on managing their time but on managing their achievements
They know a to do list is often used as an excuse to avoid the difficult, yet critical, task.
Super achievers don't manage their time, they create, manage and maximize their opportunities. At any given time they know the one critical, must complete, task and they work on that task

HT Instapundit

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:07 PM | Permalink

October 2, 2009

Asperger Syndrome at work

Penelope Trunk, the Brazen Careerist, has Asperger's Syndrome. 

 Penelope Trunk

This week she is offering career advice on How to deal with Asperger Syndrome at work.

People often tell me that I should write career advice for people with Asperger Syndrome. This is because I am surrounded by people who have Asperger’s, and I have it myself.  Please, do not tell me I don’t have it. First of all, it looks very different in men and women, and most of you have experience with men. Second, I’m way more weird in person than I am on the blog. And surely you thought it was the other way around.

So, anyway, the reason I’m good at giving career advice is because I had to learn things systematically, which helps me break it down for everyone else.

For example, I had to learn that a candy dish on someone’s desk means “I like to talk with people.” Other people read this cue instinctively.

I don’t really do career coaching. I don’t have patience. But often career coaches send people with Asperger’s to me, because mostly, these people are extremely difficult to coach.

They are difficult to coach because the biggest problem is that non-verbal cues that are obvious to everyone else are totally lost on people with Asperger’s. For example, you can tell when you are boring someone, but someone with Asperger’s cannot—we just keep talking.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:18 AM | Permalink

September 28, 2009

Hobbled from the start

The unemployment rate for those 16-24, not counting students, is now 52.2%, higher than it's ever been in history.

Dead end kids
millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults -- aged 16 to 24, excluding students -- getting a job and moving out of their parents' houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession -- in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

With no one in the current administration, at the senior level anyway, with any experience in starting and growing a small business,  there are no plans or tax credits  to encourage small business to hire the young unemployed. 

Al Angrisani, the former assistant Labor Department secretary under President Reagan, said last week,
"There is no assistance provided for the development of job growth through small businesses, which create 70 percent of the jobs in the country.  All those [unemployed young people] should be getting hired by small businesses."

John Gordon points out that the minimum wage has increased 40% since 2006.
A small-business owner with 10 minimum-wage employees in 2006 could have hired another four with the wage increase he has been forced to pay to the ones he already had. So, of course, many of them didn’t hire anybody.

The evidence that minimum-wage laws work against, not for, the interests of the unskilled is pretty clear. There are, for instance, 13 states, ranging from California to New England, with minimum wages above the federal level. Their unemployment rates among the unskilled average higher than the national unemployment rate. That’s unlikely to be a coincidence.

The biggest backer of a higher minimum wage has long been Big Labor, few of whose workers are paid the minimum wage. But many of their workers are paid wages that are multiples of the minimum wage, so any increase in the minimum boosts their wages as well.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:27 AM | Permalink

September 18, 2009

"This economy has made people really soul-search"

When the financial bubble burst, a lot of people with jobs in financial services lost them suddenly and had to find other ways of making a living.

"Something I've never seen before in 30 years is that this economy has made people really soul-search," says executive recruiter Jeanne Branthover, who heads global financial services for Boyden Global Executive Search. "They're saying, 'If I'm not going to make as much money as I did, I want to look for something that I really like this time.' "

As Riches Fade, So Does Finance's Allure

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:49 PM | Permalink

May 26, 2009

"You can't hammer a nail over the internet."

Before I read The Case for Working with Your Hands, I quickly jotted down what first came to my mind.

1. You see what you have accomplished.
2. Your job can't be outsourced.
3. You have time to contemplate all the mysteries of life and death

Matthew Crawford is more eloquent.

[C]onfrontations with material reality have become exotically unfamiliar. Many of us do work that feels more surreal than real. Working in an office, you often find it difficult to see any tangible result from your efforts.
The imperative of the last 20 years to round up every warm body and send it to college, then to the cubicle, was tied to a vision of the future in which we somehow take leave of material reality and glide about in a pure information economy. This has not come to pass. To begin with, such work often feels more enervating than gliding. More fundamentally, now as ever, somebody has to actually do things: fix our cars, unclog our toilets, build our houses.
The Princeton economist Alan Blinder argues that the crucial distinction in the emerging labor market is not between those with more or less education, but between those whose services can be delivered over a wire and those who must do their work in person or on site. The latter will find their livelihoods more secure against outsourcing to distant countries. As Blinder puts it, “You can’t hammer a nail over the Internet.”
There is a pervasive anxiety among parents that there is only one track to success for their children. It runs through a series of gates controlled by prestigious institutions. Further, there is wide use of drugs to medicate boys, especially, against their natural tendency toward action, the better to “keep things on track.
The trades suffer from low prestige, and I believe this is based on a simple mistake. Because the work is dirty, many people assume it is also stupid. This is not my experience

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 AM | Permalink

May 13, 2009

Life is on your side

Most people think life is against them, trying to piss them off, that they are unlucky, that things don't work out for them. Einstein said that "the most important decision we will ever make in our lives is whether we believe we live in a friendly or an unfriendly universe." If you want to get good at change, you must believe life is your partner, on your side, conspiring for greater good coming into your life -- despite the apparent immediate loss it might appear to be. Change isn't there to hurt, anger or annoy you. It's there to bring new things, people, jobs, opportunities. Always.

Ariane de Bonvoisin in Principles of Change

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:14 PM | Permalink

February 3, 2009

Working at Wal-Mart

A senior editor for Wired magazine gets a job at Wal-Mart

Life at Wal-Mart

The job was as dull as I expected, but I was stunned to discover how benign the workplace turned out to be. My supervisor was friendly, decent, and treated me as an equal. Wal-Mart allowed a liberal dress code. The company explained precisely what it expected from its employees, and adhered to this policy in every detail. I was unfailingly reminded to take paid rest breaks, and was also encouraged to take fully paid time, whenever I felt like it, to study topics such as job safety and customer relations via a series of well-produced interactive courses on computers in a room at the back of the store. Each successfully completed course added an increment to my hourly wage, a policy which Barbara Ehrenreich somehow forgot to mention in her book.

My standard equipment included a handheld bar-code scanner which revealed the in-store stock and nearest warehouse stock of every item on the shelves, and its profit margin. At the branch where I worked, all the lowest-level employees were allowed this information and were encouraged to make individual decisions about inventory. One of the secrets to Wal-Mart’s success is that it delegates many judgment calls to the sales-floor level, where employees know first-hand what sells, what doesn’t, and (most important) what customers are asking for.

As for all those Wal-Mart horror stories—when I went home and checked the web sites that attack the company, I found that many of them are subsidized with union money. ...Why are unions so obsessed with Wal-Mart? I'm guessing that if the more-than-a-million Wal-Mart employees could be unionized, they would be compelled to contribute at least half a billion dollars per year in union dues.

Subsequently I considered writing about my brief experience, but a book defending a company that has been demonized does not have a large potential audience, and the writer tends to be dismissed as either hopelessly naive or bribed by corporate America.

Similar factors result in someone such as Adam Shepard remaining relatively obscure.

If you haven’t heard of Adam Shepard, this illustrates my point. His remarkable book Scratch Beginnings, now being promoted through www.scratchbeginnings.com, describes how he went through an experience far more gruelling than my brief flirtation with low-paying work. He placed himself in a homeless shelter with $25 in his pocket, found a job as a day laborer, then worked for a moving company, and after 10 months had a pickup truck, an apartment, and $2,500 in savings. His conclusion: People can still make it in the United States if they are willing to live carefully on a budget and work hard.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:36 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2009

Re-valorization of the trades

I can't resist quoting Camille Paglia.  She says things no one else dares. 

 Camille Paglia

Last month she wrote this

Computers alone will never solve the educational crisis in this country: They are tools and facilitators, not primary conveyors of knowledge. Packing his team with shiny Harvard retreads, Obama missed a golden opportunity to link his public works project with a national revalorization of the trades. Practical training in hands-on vocational skills is desperately needed in this country, where liberal arts education has become a soggy boondoggle, obscenely expensive and diluted by propaganda and groupthink.

A reader wrote her back

"Revalorization of the trades": You've perfectly articulated what I've thought for years. Time to remove the stigma and recognize trades for the skilled and professional work they are (and to bring that level of professionalism to them).

As a college writing professor, I see many students who clearly don't want to be on the university path but are there because their parents want them to be and are willing to foot the bill. It's all so misdirected. Wouldn't our society and citizens be better served if we quit thinking of vo-tech types as "flunkies" and second-stringers?

Marna Krajeski

Paglia responds.

I agree with you completely!
The American system of higher education has become an insane assembly line -- bankrupting families to process hapless students through an incoherent, haphazard and mediocre liberal arts curriculum. In the '60s, there was a brief moment when middle-class young men were dropping out of college to become silversmiths or leather workers in San Francisco or Greenwich Village. As the product of an Italian-American immigrant family where the crafts were honored, I cheered that development and prayed that it would continue. But it sputtered out -- probably because the recession of the 1970s was a cold dose of reality.

Perhaps there's hope of change because of the
tens of thousands of liberal arts graduates with expensive degrees who are finding themselves out of work and depressingly marginalized in a society where the manual trades offer guaranteed employment at relatively high wages. A dose of Buddhism might do people good: Sweeping garden sand into oceanic designs around ornamental rocks is considered a spiritual exercise in Asia. I say that landscaping, construction, carpentry, metalworking and all the other trades should be promoted by primary education as worthy careers for both men and women. The pre-college rat race is a sadomasochistic imposition on the young that robs them of free will and saps their vital energies. When will they rebel?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:20 AM | Permalink

June 16, 2008

For graduates starting their first real job

You would do well to pass on A Primer for Young People Starting Their First Job to those who have never before encountered taxes, health plans and 401(k) plans they had to pay for.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:06 PM | Permalink

May 21, 2008

The Next American Frontier

Michael Malone writes that the United States is on the verge of becoming the world's first Entrepreneurial Nation in The Next American Frontier.

What Turner couldn't guess was that the unexplored prairie would become the uninvented new product, the unexploited new market and the untried new business plan.
We still have companies and corporations, but now they are virtualized, with online work teams handing off assignments to each other 24/7 around the world. Men and women go to work, but the office is increasingly likely to be in the den. ..
More than 200 million people now belong to just two social networks: MySpace and Facebook. And there are more than 80 million videos on YouTube, all put there by the same individual initiative.

The most compelling statistic of all? Half of all new college graduates now believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job. Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today's high schoolers intend to start their own companies, according to a Gallup poll.
Without noticing it, we have once again discovered, and then raced off to settle, a new frontier. Not land, not innovation, but ourselves and a growing control over our own lives and careers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:44 PM | Permalink

May 5, 2008

"Go out and make a bunch of money"

Not many commencement speakers give away such advice, so it's a breath of fresh air to read a  commencement address by P.J. O'Rourke

Go out and make a bunch of money.
There's nothing the matter with honest moneymaking. Wealth is not a pizza, where if I have too many slices you have to eat the Domino's box. In a free society, with the rule of law and property rights, no one loses when someone else gets rich.

Don't chain yourself to a redwood tree. Instead, be a corporate lawyer and make $500,000 a year. No matter how much you cheat the IRS, you'll still end up paying $100,000 in property, sales and excise taxes. That's $100,000 to schools, sewers, roads, firefighters and police. You'll be doing good for society. Does chaining yourself to a redwood tree do society $100,000 worth of good?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:02 AM | Permalink

March 11, 2008

The Office Phone Call

I can’t imagine how a young employee learning the ropes can acquire what she needs to know, as speedily, without the advantage of eavesdropping on her boss’s phone conversations.

How can anyone get a grasp of an industry’s pertinent relationships or decision-making time frames, let alone the fragility of a particular office’s egos, if there are so few chances to hear these people talking to the outside world? The office phone call, properly overheard, is really the cheapest, easiest way to transmit institutional knowledge.

That brings up another reason the office phone call is worth preserving: there’s no ready substitute for practicing the necessary summoning of courage for potentially fraught encounters. Advancing in business is often a matter of gaining capacity for confrontation; to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever had to steel herself before sitting down to type a tough e-mail message.

The Office Phone Call Was Music to the Ears.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:14 PM | Permalink

December 13, 2007

Depressed lawyers

Quality of life for lawyers 'is a huge raw nerve" says attorney Dan Lukasik who posted a web site to help depressed lawyers.

Even Lawyers Get the Blues

That lawyers are among the most miserable of men -- and women -- is well-known. Some 19% of lawyers suffer depression at any given time, compared with 6.7% of the population as a whole, says the University of Arizona's Connie Beck, a leading researcher on the subject; one in five lawyers is a problem drinker, twice the national rate. Escalating billable-hours quotas fuel chronic overload, and the ceaseless deadlines and adversarial nature of the work feed anxiety. Some 19% of associate attorneys quit law firms every year, research shows.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:53 PM | Permalink

December 11, 2007

Successful Dyslexics

You know that kid in school who never quite got the skill of reading in hand but always had trouble reading aloud, tripping over words.

You probably thought they would have trouble all their lives, but no.  They compensated and became small business owners.

Over a third of entrepreneurs identify themselves as dyslexic. 

Think Nelson Rockefeller , Richard Branson, Charles Scwab.

Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia

The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than nondyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.

“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,”
One reason that dyslexics are drawn to entrepreneurship, Professor Logan said, is that strategies they have used since childhood to offset their weaknesses in written communication and organizational ability — identifying trustworthy people and handing over major responsibilities to them — can be applied to businesses.

Successful dyslexics probably make a whole lot more money than you or readers like me.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:59 AM | Permalink

August 30, 2007

The Call of the Entrepreneur

I've never liked the way Hollywood and the mainstream media  depicts the world of business as if everyone in business were greedy, arrogant and corrupt.  So, I was happy to learn about a new documentary entitled  The Call of the Entrepreneur  that follows the stories of three entrepreneurs, a farmer, a merchant banker and a fashion CEO.  The trailer gives a fine taste of

In his review at First Things Saint Duncan of Wall Street, Ryan Anderson finds that commerce can be a pathway to holiness.

So, what do these three stories in The Call of the Entrepreneur demonstrate? They show that an entrepreneur—even when just trying to keep his family farm afloat—is always other-regarding: always looking and reaching outside of himself to think of a product that others need and of innovative ways to make it. And in this creative act he cooperates with God and participates in divine creativity. Creation is an ongoing reality in which God upholds the world and empowers human agents to participate.

The emphasis, thus, is not on free markets as an end in themselves but rather, as Gilder points out, as a means to free human beings—free inventors, free producers, and free consumers. Brad Morgan took an unlikely resource and turned it into a highly demanded product. Frank Hanna identified the people who had entrepreneurial vision and enabled them to succeed. And Jimmy Lai worked his way from factory worker to fashion and media CEO thanks to the structures in place in Hong Kong. He now works to make the freedom and prosperity he enjoys available to the country he left behind.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:09 AM | Permalink

August 16, 2007

The Dignity of Working Men

Misbegotten since its conception, the Times Select wall is coming down and I'm delighted because I'll get to read David Brooks regularly.

I only happened upon Truck Stop Confidential  because  the Independent Women's Forum reprinted long excerpts.

"He has one of those hard jobs, like mining and steel-working, that comes with its own masculine mythology and way of being in the world. Jobs performed in front of a keyboard don’t supply a code of dignity, which explains the spiritual anxiety that plagues the service economy.

"As the trucker spoke, I was reminded of a book that came out a few years ago called ‘The Dignity of Working Men,’ by the sociologist, Michèle Lamont, who is now at Harvard. Lamont interviewed working-class men, and described what she calls ‘the moral centrality of work.’

"Her subjects placed tremendous emphasis on working hard, struggling against adversity and mastering their craft. Her book is an antidote to simplistic notions of class structure, because it makes clear that these men define who is above and below them in the pecking order primarily in moral, not economic terms. …

A code of dignity for working men.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:18 AM | Permalink

August 2, 2007

Respect vs. Glamour

The most prestigious job in America is that of firefighter.

61% of those interviewed by Harris surveys said that job had very great prestige.  Coming close were scientists (54%), teachers (54%); doctors (52%), military officers (52%) and nurses.

The least prestigious are real estate brokers (5%), actors (9%), bankers (10%), accountants (11%), entertainers (12%), stockbrokers (12%), union leaders (13%) and journalists (13%).

Selfless service to others seems to me the common thread.    Interestingly, "celebrities" rank so low even if stories about them obsess the media.  Seems as if we can tell the difference between glamourous work and work worthy of respect.

Full results here, The Harris Poll, 2007

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:54 PM | Permalink

July 11, 2007

Jobs with Everlasting Demand

Careerbuilder calls them jobs with staying power, the top indestructible careers.

Waste Disposal Manager
Tax Collector
Religious Leader
Law Enforcement Officer

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:00 PM | Permalink

May 4, 2007

How Much Is Friendship Worth?

Don't you love it when economists start putting numbers on intangibles?

Friends worth their weight in cash

On the plus side

Seeing friends and family every day + $205,000
Chatting up the neighbors regularly + $90,000
Getting married + $120,500

On the debit side

Losing a job -- $344,500
Painful divorce  -- $335,000

The conclusion, priceless.

An increase in the level of social involvements is often worth many tens of thousands of pounds a year extra in terms of life satisfaction," said Nattavudh Powdthavee, of the University of London's Institute of Education, which carried out the research.

Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:25 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

February 21, 2007

George Washington, Whiskey Entrepreneur?

Who knew that our first president, George Washington, after retiring from office began another career as a whiskey entrepreneur and became probably the No. 1 whiskey producer in colonial America?

Mount Vernon is opening on March 31 a complete reconstruction of his distillery.

When it came to his own future career as a distiller, Washington paid careful attention to the business. Mount Vernon owns the original financial ledger for the operation. This was no retiree's hobby; the ledger shows many important local families were customers and made the distillery very successful. The good times ended after Washington's sudden death in 1799 at age 67. His distillery passed into the hands of other owners and by 1814 had been dismantled to provide construction materials for nearby homes.

But for all of Washington's commendable belief in moderate alcohol use, he very much appreciated its utility. Esther White, a Mount Vernon archaeologist, told me Washington once lost a 1755 campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates because he didn't treat prospective supporters to a drink. Two years later, he rolled out 144 gallons of refreshment. He won with 307 votes, a return on his investment of better than two votes per gallon. He never lost another campaign.


We could say he was First in War, First in Peace and First in Smooth Libations."

George Washington, Whiskey Entrepreneur

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February 6, 2007

Making Up Your Career As You Go Along

Why career planning is a waste of time

Or why your best guess beats careful planning.

In reality, people frequently don't know what they want and psychology has proved it. 

We are very poor at what will make us happy in the future, We "miswant."

The argument about miswanting applies to any area of our lives which involves making a prediction about what we might like in the future. Career planning becomes painful precisely because it's such an important decision and we come to understand that we have only very limited useful information.

Maybe the Chaos Theory of Career Development makes more sense.
if you ask people about their career decisions, almost 70% report that they have been significantly influenced by chance events.

This seems to tie in with Purposive Drift: Making it Up as We Go Along by Richard Oliver at Change This

Your life is not a project plan.  Nobody knows where they will be in five years time.

Life is more open, much messier, more ambiguous, more complex, more mysterious, more surprising and filled with more possibilities for good or for ill than we can possibly imagine.

He argues that we revert to "machine-like' thinking because it promises a world of predictability and certainty to mask the frightening thought of our own fragility.

He says we are all more ignorant than we know and smarter than we think and believes our real compass point  is our sense of well-being.

Making it up as you go along, he calls Purposive Drift and that's a perfectly reasonable, responsible and realistic approach to life.

Seems to be the one I took.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:22 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

January 26, 2007

Career Comeback for Women

For professional women who have dropped out of the workforce to take care of children or an elderly parent , the Wharton School and UBS have teamed up to design a program just for them.

At no charge, thanks to support for UBS.

Career Comeback - a program to be praised and copied.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:17 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

January 12, 2007

Eight Steps to Enhance Your Career

From the Wall Street Journal comes good advice to consider in 2007.

Eight steps to enhance your career

1. Create your own board of advisors.  You are your own CEO.  Act like one.
2. Spread the word.  When other people give you a compliment, ask them to repeat it to your boss.
3. Try something new.  What new skill can you learn this year that will help out your boss and company.
4. Take inventory.   Enhance your capabilities, work on deficiencies.
5. Watch your company. Don't be the last to find out trouble is brewing.
6. Beware of burnout.  If you are reaching a breaking point, start looking around.
7. Get involved.  It's easier to network if you volunteer for a committee
8. Asset yourself.  Try Toastmasters.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:42 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

January 11, 2007

Webcams and sensors for sole seniors

Sue Shellenberger is following three trends she says are gaining momentum, just in time to counter the discontented more people feel with their work-life balance

Reasons to Hold Out Hope for Balancing Work and Home (Wall St Journal subscription only.

Some you might expect - more job flexibility, more telecommuting, fewer transfers and flex hours.

But this surprised me.  Overseeing Mom or Dad from afar will get easier.

Two vendors are about to begin marketing in-home electronic monitoring systems to consumers. The systems track a resident's movements through wireless sensors mounted on walls, switches, doors, medicine cabinets or appliances, and alert 24-hour emergency-response workers of irregular activity patterns. Caregivers can monitor the systems via the Internet or request notification of irregularities via email, phone calls or text messages.

Living Independently Group, New York, plans this month to start targeting working caregivers with cable-TV ads for its QuietCare system, says George Boyajian, executive vice president. The system will be priced at $199 to install and $79.95 a month thereafter. Lusora, Austin, Texas, also expects in the first quarter to start marketing its "Lisa" personal-security system, for $249 to install plus $50 a month, says COO Scott Gurley.

Marguerite McCullough, 67, who lives alone in a Florida retirement community, had QuietCare installed after she spent five hours one night alone and helpless in her bathroom, disabled by a bad case of stomach flu. The system, which is set to alert her four children or a neighbor of any problems, "does give you peace of mind," she says.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:13 AM | Permalink

January 9, 2007

Queen Bee Syndrome as Powerful as Sexism

Women bosses are significantly more likely to discriminate against female employees and are prone to mark down women's prospects of promotion. 

So say the findings of the authors based at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and published in the journal sex roles.

Office Queen bees hold back women's careers.

The findings, based on experiments carried out among more than 700 people, suggest that the “queen bee syndrome” of female rivalry in the workplace may sometimes be as important as sexism in holding back women’s careers.

Nicola Horlick, the City financier nicknamed “Superwoman” for combining a demanding job with a large family, said some women looked on other women as a threat and preferred to surround themselves with men.

“It is called the ‘queen bee syndrome’,” she said. “I have seen women in managerial positions discriminating against other women, possibly because they like to be the only female manager or woman in the workplace.”

We all know women like that. 

Hat tip to Dr. Helen who writes in Fight the Matriachy

I  guess the "Sisterhood" is only alive and well when the drones know their place.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:35 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

December 7, 2006

Work is your real life

Hugh MacLeod at The Gaping Void is encouraging readers to send in their brief manifestos.  He has his down to four words.

This one on Work by Pamela Slim who posts at Escape from Cubicle Nation is so good, I'm going to post it in its entirety. 

1. Work is your real life
. It is the way you translate your feelings, your thoughts, your hopes and your desires into something valuable, tangible and useful every day. You can choose to make work into a dreaded, necessary evil that you can't wait to finish so that you can get busy with your "real life." Why not just do work you love?

2. Good work will improve your sex life. Frustrated employees desperately long for excitement and release in the form of fantasy football, internet surfing, porn, and the affections of their stressed and overworked spouses. No superhero could fill the gigantic void of a passionless man or woman in a 15-minute tryst in bed. Express your passion through your work every day, all day, and find that you will be less needy, more attentive, open, giving and loving to your partner. Which makes for better sex.

3. Your secret desire holds the clue to your best work. You say that you would love to do meaningful work, but don't know how to find it. What is your secret desire? What idea are you a little embarrassed to share with someone because it is so delicate or bold or crazy or exciting? You often claim to not know what you want to do, but in fact censor yourself from what you know you want for fear of appearing ridiculous.

4. You can't fool your kids. Many of you claim passionless, dull and frustrating careers with the excuse that you must provide for your family. Providing for your family is noble; using it as an excuse to hide from your own greatness is a bad example for your kids. If you want them to grow up motivated, creative, free and enterprising, be that yourself. They are watching and emulating your every move.

5. Fear is the great inhibitor. All of the excuses that you find for not doing work you love have solutions. You do not enact them because you are afraid: of showing up too big in the world; of failing; of appearing as an imposter; of living in poverty. There is nothing wrong with fear. Feel it, talk to it, examine it and walk with it. Then step out and let yourself show up, warts and all. It will liberate you.

6. Owning is better than renting. While you may feel "safer" renting out your skills for a paycheck and benefits, you often sell all your energy this way and have nothing left at the end of the day. If you don't get what you need in this employment arrangement in terms of money, recognition, power or responsibility, you feel angry and frustrated. Own the means of production and the factory, and at least your glorious disasters will be your disasters. Accountability breeds passion and desire.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:14 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

November 30, 2006

Wanted: People hurt by fate or nature with large egos and imaginations

So you want to be a spy? 

Here's what Stalin's master spy recruiter looked for

“....people who are hurt by fate or nature — the ugly, those craving power or influence but defeated by unfavourable circumstances. In co-operation with us, all these find a peculiar compensation. The sense of belonging to an influential, powerful organisation will give them a feeling of superiority over the handsome and prosperous people around them.

Says Ben MacIntyre

This comes close to a perfect definition of the mentality of espionage. It brings together such different characters as Kim Philby, the upper-class British traitor, Melita Norwood, the octogenarian British KGB mole, and Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB officer murdered last week with radioactive polonium-210. Spies spy for many reasons: ideology, greed, sex, revenge, honour, fear of blackmail. As a trade, espionage attracts more than its share of the damaged, the lonely and the plain weird. But all spies crave undetected influence, that secret compensation. Espionage may spring from patriotism or treachery, but ultimately it is an act of imagination.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:07 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

November 27, 2006

Very Rich

When medicine and the law ceased to be professions and became businesses, we shouldn't be surprised when many lawyers and doctors as well as would-be teachers leave it all behind to go to Wall St.

Very Rich are leaving the Merely Rich Behind

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:34 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 19, 2006

Online resumes new spot for identity theft

When posting an online resume, be sure to clear it of all personal information.    Never ever post your social security number.  Be sure you are dealing with legitimate companies and recruiters before giving up any of your personal info.

Just assume that Identity Thieves are Reading Your Online Resumes.

When you post a resume, clear it of personal information. Cyberthieves have been able to gain access to resume databases and troll for Social Security numbers and other personal information, such as where you live and your contact information, says Pam Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a public interest research group in San Diego.
Think twice before revealing personal information by email or phone. Con artists "phishing" for information through fake interviews may ask for, say, information such as your Social Security number or a scan of your driver's license or passport, says Ms. Dixon, and claim it will expedite the application process.
You can start by searching on the company's name on the Better Business Bureau's Web site. Another helpful Web site is Lookstoogoodtobetrue.com, maintained by a joint federal law-enforcement and industry task force.

If the company that contacts you appears to be a well-known employer, don't think you're in the clear. Criminals are copying company Web sites and tweaking the contact information or links, says Ms. Dixon of the World Privacy Forum. Although a Web site may look credible, do an Internet search of the company to make sure the URL of the official Web site matches the address the employer refers you to. If there's a mismatch, find the phone number of the company's corporate headquarters on the official Web site to verify that the hiring manager who contacted you is an employee.

Since we're speaking of the importance of safeguarding your personal information, here's an ultimate guide to identity theft .

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:28 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 18, 2006

Drinking after work

It's not the alcohol, it's the social capital you build by nurturing relationships and meeting new people.

How a drink after work can increase your rate of pay.

Research from the US indicates that social drinkers earn, on average, up to 14 per cent more than teetotallers in the same profession, with women benefiting more than men.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:36 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

October 6, 2006

Thank the entrepreneur for today's miracles

From the Wall St Journal, Humanity's Greatest Achievement by Johan Norberg. 

Think for a moment about what this morning would have looked like if it were 150 years ago. You wouldn't have had electric light, running water or indoor sanitation. You couldn't have gone to work by car, bus or train. You couldn't have used a computer, which performs calculations in seconds that would take decades with pen and paper. In short, you would probably not have found this morning very comfortable or enjoyable -- if you had been alive to experience it. Back then, the global average for life expectancy was around 30 years.

We tend to take our opportunities for granted, but our ancestors could not have imagined what we now have. In the last 100 years, we have created more wealth than in the 100,000 years before that, and not because we work more. To the contrary: In the last century, work hours have been halved in the Western world. It is because new ideas have made it possible for us to work smarter and find easier ways to satisfy our needs and demands.

The people we should thank are the innovators and entrepreneurs, the individuals who see new opportunities and risk exploring them -- the people who find new markets, create new products, think out new ways to handle commodities commercially, organize work in new ways, design new technology or transfer capital to more productive uses. The entrepreneur is an explorer, who ventures into uncharted territory and opens up the new routes along which we will all be traveling soon enough. Simply to look around is to understand that entrepreneurs have filled our lives with everyday miracles.

Entrepreneurs are serial problem-solvers who search out inefficiencies and find more practical ways of connecting possible supply with potential demand. In that way, they constantly revolutionize our economy, and have made it possible for average people today to live longer and healthier lives, with more access to technology than the kings had in previous generations.

With that in mind, take a look at Small Business Heroes on YouTube.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:59 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Part time work online

Get paid immediately as you work online part-time. 

Wired magazine reports on ChaCah Search, a human-assisted search that offers its contracted workers the option of being paid immediately.

Beer money for college students, "pin money" for mothers at home.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:53 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

September 15, 2006

Rao's Rules

Long before Harvard began teaching Happiness, soon to become the most popular introductory class there, Columbia was offering a course in the Meaning of Life.

"Creativity and Personal Mastery by Srikumar Rao aims at nothing less than to help each student "discover your unique purpose for existence".    The "perennially oversubscribed" course is demanding, requiring extensive reading and time-consuming exercises.  Now, he has a book covering much of the same material.

"Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life" (Srikumar S. Rao)

It's the Ivy League version of Rick Warren's A Purpose-Driven Life, a book that has sold an astonishing 20 million copies,    People have an huge hunger for meaning and purpose in their lives.  I've read Rao's book and I think it's quite good.  If you want to get full value, be prepared to do the exercises.

Said Professor Rao who is considered a "life-long resource" for his students.

"At business schools, the vast majority of students don't have a clue what they really want to do."

"They're in business school for a number of reasons -- the most important one is economic security, they want to go out and make a ton of money, they want to be in a prestigious company."

However, many are also wary of the long hours and intensely competitive environment typical of post-MBA employers such as investment banks, he notes.

"My basic thesis is that work hours are getting longer and longer and more grueling. But if you don't get up in the morning with your blood singing at the thought of what you do, if you're not really into your life, then you're wasting your life. And life is short."

This can come as a shock to the traditional MBA student, many of whom have progressed seamlessly -- and successfully -- through school, university and the start of their business career.

"Just the thought that someone comes out and puts it so boldly is like getting hit in the face with a wet fish," Rao says. "They off and think about it, and they say: 'By golly, he's right!'"

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:33 AM | Permalink

September 12, 2006

Multitasking is Not Paying Attention

More evidence that multitasking doesn't work, so why do so many bosses insist on it?

From the WSJ's Cubicle Culture

Multitasking, a term cribbed from computers, is an information age creed that, while almost universally sworn by, is more rooted in blind faith than fact. It's the wellspring of office gaffes, as well as the stock answer to how we do more with less when in fact we're usually doing less with more. What now passes for multitasking was once called not paying attention.


Employers continue to seek out jugglers despite decades of research showing that humans aren't great multitaskers. (And in the case of distracted driving, we're downright dangerous.)

"Multitasking doesn't look to be one of the great strengths of human cognition," says James C. Johnston, a research psychologist at NASA's Ames Research Center. "It's almost inevitable that each individual task will be slower and of lower quality."

While multitaskers seem to be accomplishing a lot, they are in most cases literally just going through the motions. It is easy for our brain to schedule many different tasks, one after the other. And we'll gamely set out doing those tasks, some of which require little extra brain input and some of which require a lot. As a result, says Hal Pashler, director of the Attention and Perception Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego, "your mouth can be moving while your brain is elsewhere."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:21 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

Electronic Slavery

If you can't live without your Blackberry, you may be suffering from an addiction that is every bit as damaging and hard to break as one to hard drugs – and one that employers might one day be held liable for.

Trapped in electronic slavery

If you have a Blackberry, how long can you go without checking email?

If you're always looking down at your handheld and ignoring everything else around you including the people, chances are you've got a jones going.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:15 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 25, 2006

Taking to the Road in Paid Big-Rig Gigs

Retired and want to hit the road and see America but you haven't saved enough money?

The Over-50 Crowd Takes to the Road in Paid Big-Rig Gigs.

That's right.  Couples are finding second careers driving 18-Wheelers.

At a truck stop diner along Interstate 5 near Tigard, Ore., Daniel and Becky Ford were fueling up on pancakes and black coffee for the 2,200-mile run to Dallas they were about to make in a Freightliner tractor-trailer stuffed with auto parts.

It was the 10th week on the open road for Mr. Ford, 57 years old, and his 51-year-old wife, who chucked their old life in rural Pennsylvania in May for a cramped truck cab that keeps them moving 22 hours a day.

Their new career is taking them to places they always dreamed of visiting but couldn't afford. "When the money is tight and you have other worries, you can't be too adventurous," says Mrs. Ford, a former hairstylist. "Becky and I serve as our own boss," says Mr. Ford, a former carpenter. "We can stop wherever we want."
This fall, the American Trucking Association plans a billboard and television ad blitz to lure older drivers.

"We just thought if Ma and Pa can drive the Winnebago, maybe they can drive the 18-wheeler," says Tim Lynch, a senior vice president at the trade group.

Since 2000, the number of service and truck drivers 55 or older has surged 19%, to about 616,000, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The percentage jump is quadruple that of truck drivers overall.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:46 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Maybe you're rotting on the vine

Exhausted are you? 

You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest?"

"The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest," I repeated woodenly, as if I might exhaust myself completely before I reached the end of the sentence. "What is it, then?"

"The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness."

It's David Whyte on meeting Brother David. A remarkable essay

You have ripened already, and you are waiting to be brought in. Your exhaustion is a form of inner fermentation. You are beginning, ever so slowly to rot on the vine.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:54 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 15, 2006

Being broken.

Why do we work so hard?  Is it maybe time to quit your job ...and follow your path?

We are at once infuriated by and enamored with the idea that some people can just up and quit their jobs or take a leave of absence or take out a loan to go back to school, how they can give up certain "mandatory" lifestyle accoutrements in order to dive back into some seemingly random creative/emotional/spiritual endeavor that has nothing to do with paying taxes or the buying of products or the boosting of the GNP. It just seems so ... un-American. But it is so, so needed.

Case in point No. 1: I have this sister. She is deep in medical school right now, studying to be a naturopathic doctor at Bastyr University just outside Seattle, the toughest school of its kind in the nation, and the most difficult to get into, especially if you've had no formal medical training beforehand, as my sister hadn't.

She got in. She bucked all expectation and thwarted the temptation to quit and take a well-paying corporate job and she endured the incredibly brutal first year and rose to the top of her class. Oh and by the way, she did it all when she was over 40. With almost no money. While going through an ugly, debt-ridden divorce.

It seems as if most people have to be broken before the time is right and they find the courage to follow their path.  I was.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:54 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

July 27, 2006

Most admired profession

The profession with the greatest prestige is ....Firefighting. 

Doctors second; nurses, third.

Business executives. stockbrokers and real estate agents vie for the bottom.

Results from the Harris Poll.

We admire firefighters for their bravery and their duty to risk their lives to save everyone imperiled; doctors and nurses for their care when we are the most vulnerable.  We know they are not looking to make money from us, but see us as the pitiable human creatures we are  - and help us anyway.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:03 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

July 9, 2006

Beauty, More than Skin Deep

Beautiful people head start in brainpower tests

BEAUTY may be more than skin deep after all. New research suggests that good-looking people do better in exams and thus probably in later life, than the plain or downright ugly.

In the study, better-looking students achieved superior results in both oral and written exams -- the latter marked anonymously -- suggesting that success is not just down to teachers favouring attractive students but to superior natural ability.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:28 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 30, 2006

How to Get Fired

There's no permalink but if you go to Inbubblewrap, you may still find it under "Special Notes".

Seems as if at the last department picnic, management decided for liability reasons, they could serve alcohol if people were limited to only one drink.

The guy who ordered the cups was fired.

  Fired For Ordering Cups

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:42 PM | Permalink | TrackBack


You don't have to understand a word, it's just hilarious.

I couldn't stop laughing. The infectious quality of uncontrollable laughter.

I just wonder if the poor guy still has a job.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:33 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

April 19, 2006

Blogging for a good career

From the Boston Globe

Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field.
''For your career, a blog is essential," says Phil van Allen, a faculty member of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

''It's the new public relations and it's the new home page. Instead of a static home page, you have your blog," he said. It's a way to let people know what you are thinking about the field that interests you.

The eight reasons why are right here. Blogs 'essential' to a good career

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:03 PM | Permalink

February 17, 2006

Everything included

Thanks to Troy Worman, I clicked on Come Gather Round and found this terrific question

For what has my life been preparing me?

People who find a deep sense of purpose in their lives are almost always able to look back at their previous experience and see that nothing was wasted. Experiences such as the work that had gone before (even if unpleasant), a tragedy, seemingly random events and turning points, even childhood delights and traumas, were all preparation to fulfill the purpose.

So, if you are puzzling about the purpose that will guide you, the key to the puzzle may lie in the question,

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:20 AM | Permalink

February 16, 2006

Church of the Divine Road Trip

Three "existentially challenged Pepperdine University grads" traveled the country in a 1985 neon-green Fleetwood RV and interviewed 86 successful leaders in a variety of professions.

Every one essentially gave them the same career advice.

Block out the noise and
really pave your own road
guided by what lights you up

What's so surprising as they talked to twenty something college students, is that no one else, neither parents nor teachers, ever told them the gospel truth to follow your heart and lines of desire.

Countless emails arrive daily. "I sometimes [wonder] what would have become of my life had I never found your book that day in Target," reads one note from a recent grad who ditched her indifferent plans for law school and moved overseas. "Thank you . . . for writing about an experience in our lives most young people are too frightened to acknowledge."

Read Inspiration Junkies at Fast Company.

Seems like there's a big market in simple truths

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:35 AM | Permalink

February 8, 2006

Taking Care of Nurses

If you're a nurse, you never have to worry about losing a job or finding a job. You can go to a brand new city where you know no one and if you're a registered nurse, you can get a job in week. Everyone wants you. And for good reason. Nurses make all the difference when it comes to caring for patients.

Yet there are not enough of them.

My mother is a nurse. She stopped working when she was about 78. She still gets calls EVERY WEEK from some recruiter who tries to lure her back at 84!

The American Hospital Association says we will need 1 million replacement nurses by 2012, just six years away; yet, nursing schools turned away 32,000 interested students because there was not enough faculty to teach them. Nurses ache for aid.

U.S. hospitals could avoid as many as 6,700 patient deaths, 70,400 complications and 4 million days of hospital care if they hired more registered nurses and increased the hours of nursing care per patient, according to a new study in the January issue of Health Affairs.

The problem is too few nurses makes hospitals work the remaining nurses too long with too many patients until they finally burn out resulting in too few nurses.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:39 PM | Permalink

February 1, 2006

Orphans Preferred

Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen.
Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily.
Orphans preferred.

I remember reading William Least Moon's Blue Highways and laughing at this ad by the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company.

They called it the Pony Express and there was never a shortage of riders.

"Expert riders Willing to risk death" - how better to attract young men in their early twenties.

HT. Doc Searls

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:01 PM | Permalink

January 25, 2006

Out of a Job and an Identity

What happens when a boomer takes a buy out and discovers his passion and creates a legacy. It comes with your fifties.

For the first time, I was experiencing a reward that wasn't supposed to be hung on a wall or placed into my bank account. And it felt good.

Not long ago, when someone would ask what I did for a living, I'd say, "I teach, but I once worked in the corporate world." It was as if I was saying, "I used to be somebody, but I'm not anymore." Now, when asked that same question, I simply say, "I am a teacher." That's it. No caveats, no qualifiers, no need to say more.

I Was Out of a Job - And an Identity

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 PM | Permalink

October 29, 2005

Pressuring Workers to live healthier lives

From the Wall St. Journal's "Fiscally Fit" column by Terri Cullen. How companies are fighting rising health care costs.

More Firms Pressure Workers to Adopt Healthier Lifestyles.

Last month, Stephanie Sobel joined thousands of her colleagues at drug giant AstraZeneca PLC in taking a free online health-risk assessment test.

Ms. Sobel says that she'd long planned to use the tool but never got around to it. This year, however, she had an additional incentive: In September, AstraZeneca began penalizing workers who fail to fill out the online assessment tool by boosting their health-insurance premiums by $50 a month until they complete the questionnaire.

The assessment tool asked questions about the 32-year-old sales and safety manager's lifestyle, querying her on everything from nutrition to her past medical history. After plugging in all her information, Ms. Sobel received an evaluation of her health and detailed recommendations on ways to adjust her lifestyle to improve her well-being. The result: Her health isn't too shabby but she could stand to take a daily dose of vitamins.

"I like how it divided up into two sections what my health issues are, but also highlighted what my strengths are," she says, "It made me feel good and encouraged me to keep at it."

Frustrated with efforts to contain health-care costs, companies are stepping up the pressure on workers to use diagnostic tools and take better care of themselves – or be penalized when they don't.

"We didn't want to go down the path of cost shifting for all our employees so we decided to head in the other direction, encouraging workers to use the tools available to help them contain health-care costs by making healthier choices," says Penny Stoker, vice president, human resources at AstraZeneca in Wilmington, Del. The incentive appears to be working: roughly 10,000 of the company's work force of 12,000 have signed up to use the tool.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:57 PM | Permalink

October 10, 2005

When Professionalism is a Net Loss

Here's a very interesting essay by Paul Graham on what business can learn from open source. via Daily Dose of Optimism.

Another thing blogs and open source software have in common is that they're often made by people working at home. That may not seem surprising. But it should be. It's the architectural equivalent of a home-made aircraft shooting down an F-18. Companies spend millions to build office buildings for a single purpose: to be a place to work. And yet people working in their own homes, which aren't even designed to be workplaces, end up being more productive.
The atmosphere of the average workplace is to productivity what flames painted on the side of a car are to speed. And it's not just the way offices look that's bleak. The way people act is just as bad.

Things are different in a startup. Often as not a startup begins in an apartment. Instead of matching beige cubicles they have an assortment of furniture they bought used. They work odd hours, wearing the most casual of clothing. They look at whatever they want online without worrying whether it's "work safe." The cheery, bland language of the office is replaced by wicked humor. And you know what? The company at this stage is probably the most productive it's ever going to be.

Maybe it's not a coincidence. Maybe some aspects of professionalism are actually a net loss.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:37 PM | Permalink

September 29, 2005

When eBay is a Financial Lifeline

Facing age discrimination in searching for a job, the 55-Plus Crowd takes to eBAy Auctions.

Many people age 55 and older are turning to the online marketplace.

For some retirees, eBay has become a kind of financial lifeline, supplementing pension plans or savings that may not be sufficient.

Others have uncovered a latent entrepreneurial streak in themselves or simply see eBay as a creative outlet; they enjoy the sales process and the interaction an eBay business gives them with people around the world.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:24 PM | Permalink

July 12, 2005

Blogging Friends

One of the great advantages of blogging is that you meet so many interesting bloggers face to face that you've been reading.  I've been lucky enough to meet Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By, Yvonne DeVita at Lipsticking, and  the Diva of Marketing, Toby Bloomberg. 

Others I've met at Blogging Gatherings, at the first Blogger Con, back when I was just a reader and the idea of actually writing a blog seemed terrifying.    I've learned a lot and met a few people at the Thursday meetings at Harvard's Berkman Center even though I'm only a sporadic attendee.  People like Bill Ives, Dave Weinberger, Lisa Williams who also posts at a very interesting and local H20 town and Amanda Watlington.

The most recent blogger bash was an after-hours American Marketing Association where I met John Cass of Backbone Media whose recent survey of corporate blogging has just been published and which I plan to discuss over at Estate Legacy Vaults blog.  You can download it here and join the conversation at its very own blog.

One of my new blogging friends, Dina Lynch, is the Mediation Mensch.  That's mediation, not meditation.  Mediation uses a neutral third party to resolve disputes between two parties, well short of the all out warfare that  lawsuits too often engender.

I have a soft spot for mediators since my Dad was one and an arbitrator too, at one point, President of the American Academy of Arbitrators.  I'm happy to see how far the field of mediation has come in public acceptance as a legitimate and preferred alternative method of resolving disputes.  It means that we are learning to rise above our differences to stand on a higher common ground.

If you're interested in mediation, jump over to Mediation Mensch.  Dina is even making the generous  offer to coach two new practitioners for free.  Hard to beat that.

Many of my other blogging friends, and they are legion, I will meet at Blogher on July 30 out in Santa Clara.  Registration is almost full, but you still have time until registration closes on July 25th or until they fill the last 40 seats whichever comes first.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:20 AM | Permalink

June 21, 2005

Curt on Success

Lots of interesting posts over at Curt Rosengren's Occupational Adventure

There's the thirty career lessons from successful people including this one from Dionne Blackwell

Great questions to ask yourself like  How is this moving me forward?

Surprising tips - If you want to save big, you have to dream big  Who can stick to a long term savings plan unless your dreams fuel your will to save.

But most interesting is Curt's series of posts exploring what success means to him.   You want to read them all and as a spur to thinking about your own definition.  Curt lists career passion, financial abundance, time abundance, love, health, being present and meaning.

I would add of course Living and Leaving a Legacy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:41 PM | Permalink

June 15, 2005

Find what you love

Remarkably good life advice from Steve Jobs.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods in my life.
I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life's going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love, and that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it, and like any great relationship it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don't settle.

Every life transition, especially if it's hard,  is a chance to recreate your life, to reorient towards your own North Star, your truest self.

Philosopher and theologian, Harold Thurman Whitman wrote, "Don't ask yourself what the world needs - ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."     

Find what you love.  That's what makes you come alive.  Part of the Business of Life™.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:17 AM | Permalink

April 27, 2005

Do what you love

If you've only heard "Do what you love and the money will follow" Curt Rosengren at Worthwhile gives us the fuller, more accurate quote.

Do what you love, work really, really hard, be patient, be persistent, be open, work really, really hard so more and the money will follow

That sounds right. But how do you know when you're in the second "work really, really hard", closer to the end than the beginning?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:48 PM | Permalink

April 25, 2005

Why detail matters

Dervala is a happy new employee.    They gave her beautiful new notebooks with this inscription

This is my notebook. A collection of my thoughts, ideas, some other people’s thoughts, some good stuff, some useless stuff. All written down, mostly scribbled, some stuff that I can no longer read, in an attempt to preserve a brilliant moment in time. (Or, at the time, I thought it was a brilliant moment.) I got this notebook from Stone Yamashita Partners. They always feed me. They’re the kind of office that allows dogs. They believe in the power of good thinking to invoke change. And so do I.

Here's another reason.

On my first day, two months ago, my SY[P] co-workers gave me a neat stack of San Francisco guidebooks and a household address book that they’d filled with notes on opthalmologists, florists, car repair shops, hikes, plumbers, restaurants, dentists, and babysitters. This streak of inventive empathy, made elegantly tangible, runs through the culture from the stationery cupboard to the client presentations. It’s what makes them excellent, and it makes me glad they found me.

More in Detail matters.   

They got me at the notebooks.  I'm even more impressed after reading what Stone Yamashita does. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:58 PM | Permalink

April 8, 2005

What Really Matters

Have no doubt, meaning and purpose is BIG.  The extraordinary success of a Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren which to date has sold over 20 million copies.

Bill Jensen has a new book out called "What is Your Life's Work".  I've been reading excerpts he he's made available  on line, and already there are whole paragraphs I want to quote.  Normally, I would post this on Legacy Matters, but since this is also about work, here it goes.

From the introduction:

Put simply, this book is about what we learn about ourselves when we teach our loved ones, especially our kids, what matters and about the powerful need we have to leave something behind -what we want to be remembered for.

Bill has spent his career listening to people,  collecting stories and studying how we work.
To jump start insightful conversations, he used to ask "What really matters here?"   That is until the economy took a nosedive, no one wanted to rock the boat, everyone wanted to keep their job.  So he changed the question,

"What is the single most important insight about work that you want to pass on to your kids? Or to anyone you truly care about?"

BAM! The floodgates opened. A happy accident: Changing my question to something much closer to home, "Why do we do what we wouldn't want our kids to do?  Which of our mistakes should they not repeat?" unleashed completely new conversations.

Jensen than asked them to put their thoughts on paper: "Write a letter to that loved one.  Or keep a journal -a work diary."  ..." Something magical happened.  They got back more than they gave."....A work diary for others ends up being a tool for self-discovery."

Some astonishing facts:
• 75% of us are disengaged from our jobs
• 75% of all employees are now searching for new employment opportunities
• 83% of us wish we had more of what really matters in life."

You can pre-order the book at Amazon
HT to Curt Rosengren at Occupational Adventure who alerted me to the free downloads.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:11 PM | Permalink

March 10, 2005

Blogging good for your career

For some reason, the media seems to be focused on a few people who were fired for blogging.  There's quite another side as Tim Bray points out in Ten Reasons Why Blogging is Good For Your Career

1. You have to get noticed to get promoted.
2. You have to get noticed to get hired.
3. It really impresses people when you say “Oh, I’ve written about that, just google for XXX and I’m on the top page” or “Oh, just google my name.”
4.  No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice.
5. Bloggers are better-informed than non-bloggers. Knowing more is a career advantage.
6. Knowing more also means you’re more likely to hear about interesting jobs coming open.
7.  Networking is good for your career. Blogging is a good way to meet people.
8. If you’re an engineer, blogging puts you in intimate contact with a worse-is-better 80/20 success story. Understanding this mode of technology adoption can only help you.
9. If you’re in marketing, you’ll need to understand how its rules are changing as a result of the current whirlwind, which nobody does, but bloggers are at least somewhat less baffled.
10 It’s a lot harder to fire someone who has a public voice, because it will be noticed.

Hat tip Boing Boing

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:48 AM | Permalink

March 4, 2005

Muffler Man

Here's an anecdote from Dervala that makes my case about Happiest Workers.

Leo had majored in Romance Language Literature at the University of New Mexico but when his young family came to California years ago he decided to apply himself to an honest trade.

“People think that because I know all these languages, and poems, and books, I should have been something more than a mechanic. But if I worked in my academic field, I’d be fighting to make twenty or thirty thousand a year. And guess what? Last year I took home over two hundred grand from this little shop.”

As I backed my car off the hoist he was belting out a Puccini aria.

My muffler man does good work, and is easily the happiest person I’ve met so far in California.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:40 PM | Permalink

February 28, 2005

Happiest Workers

For some time now, I've been toying with the idea that young people should consider learning a trade before going to college.  As more and more "knowledge work" is being outsourced, knowledge workers are finding that their college degrees don't insure them jobs.  At the same time, work that requires a physical nexus - like plumbing, electrician, hairdressing - can never be outsourced.    Trade work is often the basis of a very solid small business, so I was not surprised to learn how many are the Millionaire Next Door

Now we have the results of a poll in the U.K that show they may well be the happiest workers.

Hairdressers (40%)
Clergy (24%)
Chefs/cooks (23%)
Beauticians (22%)
Plumbers (20%
*% who rated their level of happiness as 10 out of 10 in brackets.

Social Workers (2%)
Architects (2%)
Civil Servants (3%)
Estate Agents (4%)
Secretaries (5%)

*% who rated their level of happiness as 10 out of 10 in brackets.

Michael Osbaldeston of City & Guilds said there were plenty of reasons why hairdressers should be happy.

"It is the relationship they have with their client which makes the job what it is," he said. "They are appreciated. They make people feel good and look good. Many of them have the opportunity to be their own bosses and that also seems to be something that is quite important in people's happiness."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:28 PM | Permalink

February 1, 2005

Homicide Detective

Your chances of getting away with murder are 3 out of 4 according to a real homicide detective in Chicago who deals with 50 or so murders a year.  Fascinating look at a profession we only know from cop shows on TV.

I do love my job. I believe in silly old-fashioned ideas like justice, integrity, and law & order.  No one, no matter what they have done, deserves to be murdered. ... I ended up in this profession quite by accident and I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing. ... Being a homicide detective has had one personal drawback. I have an overwhelming sense of my own mortality. It is mildly depressing.  ....  On a side note; never trust a detective who dresses like one of those TV characters.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:12 PM | Permalink

January 19, 2005

Some fools get $10 million bonuses

Tired of the idiots at work?  Here's a safe place to vent.  I work with fools allows you to share anonymously work-related stories.  It could become a Page Six  for the Dilbert crowd.

I work for a major financial institution once known for using bleeding-edge strategic technology to make dramatic profits in the market. About 3 years ago management decided that technology was not strategic, technology was a commodity, yada, yada, yada. Anyone who felt differently was pushed out the door. Management arranged to outsource the entire global technology organization to another major corporation known more for their commercials professing their ability to provide technology services on demand, than for their ability to actually deliver said services, for a savings in excess of $2.5 billion. Of course our CEO received a $10 million bonus for this fantastic feat of magic. Three years later, after both companies experience exorbitant and unplanned technology-related costs for substandard technical services, the same management announces that technology is strategic (duh!) and should be developed and retained in-house. Furthermore, management has budgeted $5 billion to insource the jobs (not the people) over the next 3 years. Our CEO is receiving another $10 million bonus this year for bringing the technology jobs back in house; the architects of the original disastrous outsourcing, are now orchestrating the new operational model involving insourcing.
Who's the CEO and what company could this be?
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:43 PM | Permalink

December 16, 2004

Heart Attack or Joy and Meaning

Are you under a lot of pressure at work? At a job you don't even like? Consider this: Stressful deadlines boost heart attack risk six-fold.

    "The pressure of meeting a work deadline can produce a sixfold increase in the risk of suffering a heart attack over the course of the following day. And competition at work could double the ongoing risk, according to a new study.
    Previous research has shown that intense anger, sexual activity and emotional stress can all lead to heart attacks. But this is the first time having an intense work deadline has been singled out as a trigger for heart attack over such a short timescale.
    The study questioned nearly 1400 heart attack survivors from the Stockholm area, aged 45 to 70, about the period leading up to their first heart attack. They were compared with a control group of about 1700 people who had not had a heart attack.

Maybe it's time to consider something Worthwhile - work with joy and meaning. Maybe it's time to embark on a new Occupational Adventure. If fear of the unknown is holding you back, ask yourself if you are creating Hard times that will never happen. Better a leap into the unknown than a heart attack.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:24 PM | Permalink

September 7, 2004

Stress is Worse than you knew

Stress is taking a larger toll on our lives than we knew. The The American Institute on Stress calling stress the number 1 health problem in the US estimates that 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related problems .

The New York Times has a page 1 story on Workplace stress which costs some $300 billion year in health care costs and missed work. The changing workplace - non traditional (part time and self-employed) employment and increased hours are major factors as is what one expert called the "the work ethic of fear" and downsizing and surprisingly workforce expansion.

Workers who feel a sense of control experience less stress. But those who experience stress at work and stress at home get more than a double whammy. Psychiatrist Jeffrey P. Kahn, president of WorkPsych Associates, a consulting firm in New York, says. "Stress at home plus stress at work doesn't equal two units" of stress, he said. "It equals five."

On a very simple level, stress compromises the body's immune system

    "The physiological changes associated with stress are part of a complex system that once saved the lives of human ancestors, warning them of danger, said Dr. Bruce S. McEwen, director of the neuroendocrinology laboratory at Rockefeller University.
    But human physiology, Dr. McEwen said, was not intended to handle the chronic stress that is an inescapable accompaniment of modern life. The wear and tear of long hours, ringing phones, uncertain working conditions and family demands lead to what he calls "allostatic load," a stress switch stuck in the half-on position. The result: fatigue, frustration, anger and burnout.

Links are being found between stress and disease at the molecular level

    At Ohio State University, for example, Dr. Ronald Glaser, a viral immunologist, and his wife, Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a psychologist, are reaching across disciplines to understand how stress causes illness...

    "What we know about stress is that it's probably even worse than we thought," Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser said.

    Their most recent work focuses on cytokines, molecules produced by white blood cells, and in particular interleukin 6, which plays a beneficial role in cell communication. Like cortisol and adrenaline, interleukin 6 can damage the body in large and persistent doses, slowing the return to normal after stressful events. It has been linked to conditions that include arthritis, cardiovascular disease, delayed healing and cancer, Dr. Glaser said.

    The immune systems of the highly stressed subjects, Dr. Glaser said, "had the levels of Il-6 that we saw in the controls that were 90 years old," which suggests that their experiences "seemed to be aging the immune system" drastically.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:20 AM | Permalink

June 18, 2004

Combining Money and Meaning

From the Occupational Adventure, you'll find all sorts of tips in you're engaged in combining passion and career or want to be, Combining Money and Meaning
Cliff Hakim, author of We Are All Self-Employed shares five tips for combining money and meaning in your career (more details on each in the article).

1. Work from the inside out -- figure out your commitment...The only sustainable work comes from your heart.

2. Ask yourself how much is enough?

3. Give yourself permission and an opening to explore.

4. Persevere/flex, persevere/flex, persevere/flex.

5. Work darn hard.

But what I liked best

were the lessons from a successful career change
Lesson #1:
Have an unstoppable belief system and the commitment to make it work.

From personal experience, I've found that this comes from tapping into who you are at the core. My belief and commitment in what I'm doing now with my Passion Catalyst work are degrees of magnitude greater than in my old marketing career.

Lesson #2: Many heads are better than one. Network and build a strategic alliance of mentors, coaches, teachers and motivating friends

Lesson #3:
Luck is a residue of design. You find your own luck through the opportunities you seek and act upon.

Action begets action, pure and simple. Often the result is a complete surprise (for example, you meet someone that opens up a door you never even realized was there), but it would never happen without taking steps.

Lesson #4:
Set big, crazy or even unrealistic goals to stretch yourself.

I have to admit I can find this one challenging. Every time I turn my attention to creating the huuuuuuge goals, I find myself tempering it to make it more achievable. The really big goals can seem so out of reach. But they're really just another real possibility on the spectrum of potential futures. So why not aim for them?

Lesson #5:
When you do what you love and make a difference in people’s lives, you will never have to go to work ever again

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:17 PM | Permalink

May 30, 2004

Mom Returns to Work

We're starting to experience a shortage in the labor force when major US companies, like GE and Goldman Sachs, join together in a task force and discuss strategies of creating on-ramps for women seeking to get back into the labor force. "There is this whole body of high-potential women out there ... that are unrealized assets," says Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founder of the Center for Work-Life Policy, a New York nonprofit group that is sponsoring the task force.

This development and the burgeoning industry springing up around mothers returning to work is the subject of today's Work & Family column in the Wall St Journal entitled Mom for Hire

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:00 PM | Permalink

May 12, 2004

The Occupational Adventure

A blog for job hunters and career changers The Occupational Adventure

Curt Rosengren is a "passion catalyst" helping people find the pull of passion that will lead them to more satisfying jobs.

    That passion can be a powerfully compelling force, pulling you forward. That pull keeps you focused, and gives you the energy to achieve more with it than you ever thought possible. It also helps you make it through the challenging parts of the journey.

    With 50% of Americans are unhappy with their jobs, Rosengren helps people explore their passion, identify a new direction and take action to create a career that leaves you energized and excited.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:42 AM | Permalink

May 4, 2004

Finding Meaning in Your Work

Two Wall Street Journal veterans - Anita Sharpe and Kevin Salwen with four decades of financial journalism experience and a Pulitzer Prize between them have created WORTHWHILE, now a blog soon to be a magazine with ads if I read the tea leaves right. With a belief that without meaningful work, a meaningful life is impossible, WORTHWHILE offers a roadmap for business success that is more personally fulfulling and socially responsible.

A virtual team of writers offer news, insights and stories on passionate work, business, life and right livelihood. Read the comments and understand what terrific discussions and conversations are begun in the blogging environment

Here's Anita Sharpe on Finding Your Voice

    If you ever took Latin, you know that voice and vocation share the same root. Your voice -- or who you are at your essence -- sometimes screams and sometimes whispers, but it always tells you what you should do...That was obvious when we were eight years old; what we wanted to be when we grew up was what we most loved to do or think about. But as years passed, other voices drowned out our own.

    Writer Ray Bradbury tells a story about loving Buck Rogers more than anything when we was in the fourth grade -- until other kids teased him out of his passion. "He was gone, and suddenly life simply wasn't worth living," he writes in Zen in the Art of Writing. But unlike many of us, Bradbury at age nine chose his passion over the opinions of his peers. "My life has been happy ever since. For that was the beginning of my writing science fiction."

    Similarly, cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, speaking at a college graduation, gave the graduates this advice: "When you remember what you love, you will remember who you are. If you remember who you are, you can do anything."

Dave Weinberger on What I Miss About the Office

    I've been working at home for almost exactly ten years now, and I love it. But every now and then I spend time at a client's office and get wistful... I miss bumping into people I like. Getting an email...

Tom Peters on Health Clubs and Meat Market Madness

    Reject: "It's 18-44, Stupid!"
    Embrace: "18-44 is Stupid, Stupid!"
    "We" are getting older. LOTS OF US. Populations in the industrialized world are aging, FAST. And the meaning of "older" and "aging" is changing. RADICALLY.

    This trend is big. So must be our response to it.

One comment had this amazing statistic According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, health club memberships for those 55 and older rose from 1.9 million in 1990 to 7.4 million in 2000....

and lastly, one of my favorite bloggers Halley Suitt on It's Raining Men

    he rainy weather hardly dampened the spirits of a very noisy crowd last night at The Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. Up on the second floor there was a spillover mob at The Entrepreneurial Forum sponsored by General Catalyst Partners, a venture capital firm based in Cambridge, MA.

    It was packed. The crowd was so enthusiastic. The conversation was deafening. The food was excellent. The speaker, Millard Drexler, the CEO of J.Crew was certainly gung-ho. The partners from GCP were eloquent and inspirational. It's obviously the hot VC shop in town.----
    But ... it was practically 95% men.
    I have never seen so many men.
    It was raining outside.
    And it was raining inside -- it was raining men.

    If you've read any of my writing, you know I LOVE MEN. And I've organized events in the high-tech arena and it's simply difficult to even get women to attend, much less speak, but still I wish there were more of us there.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:24 PM | Permalink