Posts Tagged ‘Baby Boomers’

3 Tips For Interview Success

February 27, 2014

3 Tips For Interview Success.

10 Ways to Get Hired : CareerFuel

September 11, 2013

10 Ways to Get Hired : CareerFuel.

What if you could make money just by owning a phone?

August 18, 2013

Raise your hand if you think there is nothing more annoying than getting a random phone solicitation call in the middle of dinner.

You’re sitting around after a long day of work with your feet propped up and dinner resting on a TV tray in your lap with the best television show of the week about to start, and invariably the phone starts ringing. If you’re lucky enough to have caller ID on the TV screen, or if you’re phone is nearby, you can choose to simply ignore those nuisance sales calls.

That usually is not the case when I’m kicking back. Normally I’m stuck with my feet up on a stability ball and the phone is a long way away.

So the other day while I was thinking about ways to take the financial burden off the middle-class, and I came up with a notion that would put the onus where it belongs — big business.

If Big Brother can watch every move we make, why can’t we turn our telephones into profit centers? Genius, right? We’ve all got phones. We all get random sales calls and charities inquiries at the least convenient times. So why can’t we start charging people to call us? With a little help from the phone and cable companies and the government this could put a little coin back in our pockets and help stimulate the economy.

Here’s how. First, each person who owns a phone could create a friends and family list that would allow them to register the incoming numbers that you want to receive. These folks would not be charged.

Next would be your own version of the “no-call” list. These would be all the others who are not on your list. The first call would be charged say 50 cents. The number of this incoming call would be recorded through the magic of digital technology and eventually a sliding scale would be created so that repeat offenders on the no-call list would have to pay an increasing amount of money the more times they tried to call.

For example, let’s say XYZ insurance company has you on its robo-call list, and they repeatedly call around 9 p.m., just when you’re starting your favorite show or some other leisure activity. First call, 50 cents, regardless of whether you answer or not. Next call from XYZ will cost them say a dollar for your inconvenience. And so it would go up to whatever level we cap the system at.

The trick would be the “limbo” people — those callers who you’re not sure whether you want to talk to or don’t provide information. I’d say charge them the first 50 cents and then find a way to waive the fee if you want to add them to your “OK to call” list.

The beauty of the plan would be that folks who receive the majority of these unwanted calls — Joe and Jane Six Pack — would benefit the most. They could receive either a lump sum check at the end of each month from their phone provider, or the money could be used directly to pay their phone bill.

Think of it as TARP money for the middle-class. We’ve all got phones, so this project is beyond shovel-ready. What better way for politicians on both sides of the aisle to put a little money back in the economy than by this simple pay-to-play plan?

But I’m not greedy. I’d be willing to share some of the wealth by cutting the phone company in on a small portion of the money — emphasis on small — to cover the cost of data mining the incoming calls and setting up the system. Let’s say 10 percent. And of course the government could have its 5 percent (with the majority earmarked for education spending and not pork projects). So the average family would be getting 85 percent of the net.

This all makes too much sense, so it will never work, you say. Of course, you’re probably right. But just once, wouldn’t you like the folks who disturb your dinner to have to pay up? I know I would.

Have I ever told you about the Ice Cream Man?

March 20, 2013
Randy Woelk

Randy and Annie

My uncle died recently, and while his passing was sad the stories we’ve shared about his life remind me of all the characters we are losing with the demise of the Greatest Generation.

Born into the poverty of the Great Depression and steeled by the perils of war, this was a generation that persevered and was rewarded with a lifetime of grace and abundance like this country had never seen.

My uncle was many things in his life: A state champion miler (“the Galloping Goose from Goessel”), a soldier, a teacher, an author, a ham radio operator, a Fuller Brush salesman, a father, grandfather, great grandfather and great-great grandfather.

One of my two New York aunts wrote to me about Uncle Randy, saying he could always find something good to do whatever the situation. She recalled that when his unit landed on Luzon in the Philippines in anticipation of the invasion of Japan during WWII, a team member found an ice cream freezer for sale in the village, and he bought the freezer.

Randy had a relative in the supply quarters, and he asked him for ice cream powder. He then traded some supplies for an ice-making machine, and the unit lived like kings eating ice cream every day.

But in an instant, their lives changed when the commanding officer found out about the ice cream freezer. The CO said it wasn’t fair for Randy’s unit to have ice cream when no one else did and confiscated the freezer. So much for living like royalty.

Soon thereafter, someone noticed that the officers were making ice cream for themselves with the little freezer, so one night the duty guard snatched it back. The unit made a secret space in a large pile of batteries to store the freezer, and soon they were able to make ice cream again.

The colonel used to join them for a treat, instead of turning Randy in.

We could all learn a lesson about resilience and perseverance from our Greatest Generation — truly resourceful people make their own luck. When life deals us a bad hand, we’ve got to find our own ice cream freezers and make the best of it when we do.

Job Wanted: Will Write, Edit, Photograph, Design, Cough for Food – CareerFuel

March 14, 2013

Job Wanted: Will Write, Edit, Photograph, Design, Cough for Food – CareerFuel.

What would You do to feed your family?

Barack, Joe: Thanks Helping Me Find My Career Sweet Spot

January 22, 2013
02

Dear Barack, have you thought about a White House blogger from outside the Beltway?

When I started blogging, I promised myself that I wouldn’t just write to be writing.

I had seen too many self-indulgent rambling passages that people passed off as blogs, so I wanted my work to be worthwhile should somebody stumble across it and invest the time in reading it.

Blogger Jeff Bullas reported that in 2012 there were 429 million blogs, according to statistics from WordPress.com. From that number, there are 500,000 new posts a day and 400,000 comments are posted.

State-of-Blogging-in-2012

So in other words, thanks for finding me and reading my blog.

Because I am a job seeker, I pore through a lot of blog posts during the course of a day looking for new insights into perfecting the hunt and landing a job. Somehow my email has landed on a White House mailing list and amongst the random notes for growth hormones, unsightly hair removal and testosterone replacement was a note from Joe Biden that was titled simply, “If not now, when?”

Cool, I thought. The White House really cares about my job search. Barack and Joe are riding to my rescue. This couldn’t get any better!

Now I’m pretty sure I got on the White House email list because I have repeatedly attempted to get the president to send a recognition letter to my son acknowledging his earning the rank of Eagle Scout. It’s OK, by the way, son No. 2 is now getting close to becoming an Eagle, so maybe the White House can save some postage and just mail the two certificates together along with an offer to become the official blogger of the Obama administration.

What Joe was writing about was guns and gun control, but what I really wanted him to be spending time on is rebuilding our economy by helping people who have been without a full-time job so long they’ve either fallen off the radar or run out of unemployment benefits.

I don’t have the answer to guns and violence in our country. By I do see neighbors and friends fighting the good fight and watching their retirement funds and rainy day accounts slipping away as more burden is placed on the middle class.

Bruce Kasanoff recently penned an interesting article that we all need to take to heart. He suggested finding a sweet spot in our life and then pursuing things that fall within those parameters. The idea comes “Who Are You and What Do You Want?” by Mick Ukleja and Robert Lorber.

sweet spot

First, don’t be afraid to get messy in this exercise. First make ovals containing your strengths, passions and obligations. These should appear in a graphic shape like in fourth-grade math so that the ovals overlap.

It might take you two or three attempts, but ultimately the goal is to find where your obligations, strengths and passions coincide and build from that sweet spot.

I know most of us have this giant oval of obligations: Bills, taxes, rent, food, unexpected car/house repairs, the next shoe dropping, anything Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey said we should be saving for.

And it may take some soul searching to find out what you are truly passionate about. I know in my case I’ve let obligations stand in the way for such a long time that it is hard to let my passions show through for fear of not meeting my obligations.

Often times, societal expectations based on your perceived strengths can keep you from believing in your passions, and meeting your obligations simply serves to exacerbate the ability to dream and find the sweet spot.

So while I’m waiting to hear back from Joe and Barack about the whole White House blogger thing, I’m going to draw up some ovals and try to find that sweet spot. And if you have any influence with the West Wing, I’d still like those Eagle Scout certificates.

einsteinquote-300x225

Must have been talking about finding your sweet spot and going for it!

Sometimes You’ve Got To Eat An Elephant

January 14, 2013

first step

A recent article in the Business Day section of the New York Times stopped me right in my tracks.

“Over 50, and Under No Illusions,” the headline shouted from the NYT website. But it wasn’t the headline that stopped me so much as the first two or three paragraphs of the story written by Caitlin Kelly.

“IT’S a baby boomer’s nightmare. One moment you’re 40-ish and moving up, the next you’re 50-plus and suddenly, shockingly, moving out — jobless in a tough economy.

Too young to retire, too old to start over. Or at least that’s the line. Comfortable jobs with comfortable salaries are scarce, after all. Almost overnight, skills honed over a lifetime seem tired, passé. Twenty- and thirty-somethings will gladly do the work you used to do, and probably for less money. Yes, businesses are hiring again, but not nearly fast enough. Many people are so disheartened that they’ve simply stopped looking for work.

For millions of Americans over 50, this isn’t a bad dream — it’s grim reality.”

And the real twist of the knife came with this line, “For a vast majority of this cohort, being thrown out of work means months of fruitless searching and soul-crushing rejection.”

Crushing rejection? Had Kelly somehow been spying on my existence over the past three years? Had she crawled up in my psyche and somehow learned my inner secrets, or was my story of job searching as familiar and transparent as so many others.

Yes, up-and-comer in my 30s. On to middle management in my 40s. But the 50s have been a bear, and I’m just getting started.

After my first media layoff, I bounced back into another media job as an online editor. Nice work, fun, educational, interesting and rewarding. I used my personal network to quickly move on from my first layoff. But then came round two of media layoffs.

While my first time without full-time work had lasted less than two months, this second go-around has taken longer. But it’s not from not trying. I’ve added skills, tried new things and applied to as many jobs as I can.

How was I to know that 50 was the new 60?Throughout the early 2000’s we were all told that 40 was the new 30 and 50 the new 40, but then the recession hit and from the sound of Kelly’s article 50 is the new employment purgatory.

During the past 18 months I’ve been tested, tried out, screened, poked, prodded, grilled, skewered and twisted more than 20 times in the job-seeking process. I laughingly refer to myself as the king of runners-up for job openings.

One of the things I’ve learned through the job interview process is there are a lot of really cool people out there doing rewarding and interesting stuff. So many of us get into a career and spend our lives at one type of work, so we’re cloistered away from seeing what other people do.

Because my skill set ranges from writing to photography and now online and social media, I have been invited to interview for a wide variety of jobs at universities, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies. Each interview has been an opportunity for discovery. Perhaps fruitless in terms of getting a job immediately, but important for personal growth and education.

If LinkedIn were a degree-offering institution, I’d have my PhD by now. Twitter is thinking about a hall of fame induction, but they fear I’ve been using performance-enhancing tweets, so I’m off the ballot for now, so I’ve moved on to courting Pinterest.

One thing I’ve come to notice during this time is the cottage industry of job-seeker help and general life-coaching opinions that has manifested itself in the blogosphere. I have to say, after battling in the trenches for this long, I want on that gravy train. How do I get one of those jobs? I’m not an ivory tower-type; I’ve been fighting the good fight as one of the grunts in the employment wars.

At this point, I’ve lost 20 pounds and 20 years off my resume in hopes of getting hired. My portfolio lives online. My LinkedIn profile is razor sharp, and my elevator speech goes clear to the top.

I know how to look interviewers in the eye, and not to chew gum at the interview. I know to dress nicely, and yes a suit and tie still does go a long way to impressing hiring managers. I know to have questions ready and engage an interviewer in conversation.

Countless blog articles and advice emails focus on following your passion. I understand the sentiment, but in some ways that’s where my passion and the reality of keeping the bills paid part company.

I love doing online and social media work, and to this point I’ve been able to do enough contract work to keep the dream alive. But it’s finding the next step that is difficult for many of us as we struggle to put our kids through school, pay the bills and face the challenges of daily life.

Still I go back to these lines from Kelly, “Too young to retire, too old to start over. Or at least that’s the line. Comfortable jobs with comfortable salaries are scarce, after all. Almost overnight, skills honed over a lifetime seem tired, passé.”

I’m definitely too young to retire, and I’ve done my best to morph my skill set into what employers are looking for, so I offer no excuses. To me it’s a matter of keeping an eye on the prize and being willing to adjust and adapt accordingly. In the 18 months that I’ve been away from a full-time job I’ve been lucky to have enough contract to keep me off unemployment for all but a few weeks. There was even a run in there last summer where I worked seven days a week for clients during a three-month span.

Most important, for all my job-seeking friends, don’t give up the fight. Rejection is only soul-crushing if you let it be.

I think job hunting is similar to a piece of advice I saw recently in a blog posting. It asked how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And that’s how you find work, one interview at a time.