Article 43

 

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Outsourcing Repeats a Sad History

Over the years, philosophers from Karl Max to Yogi Berra have observed the tendency of history to repeat itself—as tragedy, farce and/or déjà vu all over again. 

Outsourcing has been around long enough to inspire that haven’t-we-been-here-before feeling. The current surge in outsourcing projects, taking off with the 2001 recession, seems a lot like the original wave of outsourcing deals in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Recession and debt were among the main drivers that inspired corporations to farm out data center operations and, eventually, network operations and application development services.

It didn’t take long for trouble to start. Deals were renegotiated or abandoned entirely. Today’s outsourcing phase may be hitting a similar wall.

Deloitte Consulting LLP surveyed 25 large enterprises in a range of industries and found that 70 percent had significant negative experiences with outsourcing. The survey results are summarized in a newly released report, “Calling a Change in the Outsourcing Market.”

Ken Landis, a senior strategy principal at Deloitte Consulting, likens the customers’ discontent to marriages gone awry. “Their experience mirrors the divorce rate,” he said. One in five outsourcing deals end in the first two years of the relationship and half fail within five years, according to a Dun & Bradstreet survey cited in Deloitte Consulting’s report.

A number of problems crop up in outsourcing deals. Landis cited a mix of issues including higher than expected contract administration costs and loss of flexibility. As for the latter ailment, Landis said outsourcing customers recognize outsourcing as an attractive tool in a recessionary environment. But as economic growth revives, the overhead of an outsourcing contract renders them “arthritic in the marketplace,” Landis observed.

The Deloitte Consulting report indicates that 64 percent of the respondents have brought some outsourced services back in house.

What will become of outsourcing? If history’s any guide, the practice will likely continue. Outsourcing, after all, survived the earlier bout of corporate discontent. What’s more, outsourcing can deliver value. Today, certain segments of outsourcing, such as human resources business process outsourcing, are boosting service levels and reducing cost for clients, according to industry analysts.

Vendors also have a way of recasting services when customers resist. Around 1992, providers began to develop service lines to make outsourcing more palatable. For example, as client/server deployment began to heat up, some companies began offering transitional outsourcing. The idea: park your data center temporarily with an outsourcer while you figure out how to migrate business applications to the client/server world.

During the same period, co-sourcing and gain-sharing deals began to emerge. The aim was to make vendors and customers more like partners and less like adversaries.

Will variations on these approaches play out in the coming months? One safe bet: Vendors will respond to cues from their customers. The Deloitte Consulting study already points to shorter contracts as an emerging pattern. A little more than half of the survey participants reported moving from long-term, six-to-10-year deals to shorter contracts of up to five years.

Yogi once advised travelers encountering a fork in the road to take it. Service providers face two paths: learning from history or repeating it.

Source:
http://www.thechannelinsider.com/article2/0,1759,1789170,00.asp

Posted by Elvis on 05/22/05 •
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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Stress of Being Layed Off

Everyone copes differently with stress, and being laid off is certainly a stressful situation, but how you choose to react can affect your job search future.

Losing Self-Esteem

When Robin McConnell lost her job as a corporate personnel administrator, she soon described herself as felling, “lost and without direction; my self-esteem was deflated. I also worried that I would not be able to find a job that measured up to the one I had been forced to leave.”

Dealing with anxiety and a damaged self-esteem are probably the most difficult aspects of being laid off. But remember that you are not alone. Thousands of people have recently lost their jobs. They had no control over their situations; no one will blame them.

You also should not blame yourself. Try to “reframe” your problem, thinking of it as a “temporary setback” and a “chance to do what you’ve always wanted to do.” Reframing is a method of controlling your outlook through your beliefs. “It is nothing more than choosing to look at a glass at half full instead of half empty. You don’t have to be overwhelmed by anxiety and self-doubt. In fact, you can choose not to be.”

We deserve more than to waste time and energy blaming others for “bad breaks,” “indulging in self-pity,” “seeking revenge” or “focusing on past mistakes.” We must understand our doubts, fears and poor self-image. A port self-image can’t be erased, but it can be “reprogrammed.” Anyone at any age or stage in life can change the way he/she sees himself/herself.

For those who choose to try, here are five initial steps:

1. Make a list of your personal liabilities (past mistakes, failures, embarrassments). Burn this list, watch it turn to ashes and say aloud, “That’s the last time I will let you get me down. I have more important things to do!” Why? Your actions always reinforce your dominant thoughts. Learn from those past bloopers and get rid of them. Get off your own back. There are enough monkeys in the world waiting to jump on it for you!

2. Make a list of personal assets (your competencies, achievements, attributes). A realistic resume is a good start. Ask your friends for help. Read this list aloud three times a day for 21 days, and then read it as soon as you get up each day thereafter.

3. Read or listen to something motivational or inspirational every day. Why? Positive imagery requires positive examples. You also need “OPE” (other people’s experiences). Their research, techniques and results cut years off your learning curve and save you from painful trial and error.

4. Writespecific goals. Why? A true, written goal triggers your in-born automatic goal seeking mechanism. Even while you sleep, your subconscious will help you overcome roadblocks, obstacles and defeats. As you achieve your goals, the written proof supports you as a worthy, achieving person and plants good self-image seeds.

5. Take responsibility for your emotional environment. It is hard to soar like an eagle when you’re surrounded by a bunch of turkeys. Why? The law of emotional gravity is strong: You become like those with whom you associate.

These beginning self-image building steps may seem simplistic, but they are based on sound research and results. They are the foundation for a strong “internal net worth.”

A wise friend told me, ”About 80% of the people in this world could care less about your problems, and the other 20% are glad you have them!” An overstatement? Perhaps, but it makes it clear that if I want change, I must act. When you and I believe in and support our strengths and values, and accept responsibility for being deserving, creative achievers, then we have begun to plant a new crop.

(This outline was adapted from “Recovering From a Layoff” by Scott Passeser in the National Business Employment Weekly and from “How to Rekindle Confidence and Esteem” by Jolene Brown in the March 1986 issues of Successful Farming).

Understanding The Emotional Landscape

The challenge to a person’s self-esteem may be the most difficult consequence of an unwanted or unexpected job loss but our minds begin to churn out many other messages as well, that generate feelings. Being able to understand this process and figuring out how to use it can make the career transition successful:

There is no right, wrong or prescribed way to feel about job loss and/or career transition.

Our feelings tend to fall into one or more broad categories: afraid, mad, sad, and glad or indifferent.

We generally don’t go through these feelings in sequence. We each may have a different pattern and it is likely that we will move from one to another and back again over time.

Often times, confusion, anger, and sadness are emotions that temporarily loom large. When those feelings are pervasive, it can complicate the task of finding new employment. It is important to remember however, that opportunity resides in crisis. Possibility and potential are also part of the career transition process.

Sometimes the emotional landscape has a tar pit or pot hole. You step in and find yourself stuck. “Stuckness” can come from emotions that are getting the best of you. Talk to trusted friends, your career counselor or a competent psychologist. They can help you get and stay on track.

Making Your Feelings Work For You

Each of the job transition feelings has a rational basis creating an expectable response to the transition. They also serve a purpose in making us successful in our efforts.

I’m Afraid
Our work world is coming to an end.
Our work routines are interrupted and we have nothing identical to replace them.
Financial uncertainty.
Life is now beyond control.

But…
Fear and anxiety may be our best friend because it is there to wake us up in the morning, establish new routines, work out interim solutions to cash shortages and to pursue a job search with determination and competence. Using it to energize our job search is a way to reclaim control over our life.

I’m Mad
Betrayed, left out in the cold, and deceived.
A normal response to “loss of control” and to hurt.

But…
Anger can be a powerful motivator.
You can keep it for as long as it helps you mobilize you and your resources.
Keeping your anger simply means capitalizing on its adrenaline. It does not mean nursing a grudge, bad mouthing your old employer in job interviews, or poking holes in the tires of your former supervisors.

I’m Sad
Means saying goodbye to the part of our lives.
We won’t be seeing our co-workers each day.

But…
Telling yourself not to feel sad and despondent is almost a sure-fired recipe to stay sad and despondent.
This feeling encourages us to slow down and take the time to heal.

I’m Glad
Signified acceptance which is the willingness and readiness people experience to get on with their lives, following a major disappointment, loss or change.
For some it happens instantaneously. For others, it takes a little longer. It is very rare to not happen at all.

But…
Its primary benefit is to temper the down sides of the other feelings and to kindle optimism and hope.

How to Reduce Stress

Typically, when people are under stress they are likely to let the power of the crisis affect them and may not even realize it. They tend to eat poorly, reduce their exercise, sleep less (or far too much), and may avoid friends and support persons. To decrease the impact of stress, research shows that you need to feel power over some area of your life. A first step is to admit that the crisis is important and needs attention.

Take one day at a time. Some changes in our lives are permanent. In time, they must be accepted if we are to grow. Until acceptance comes, take one step at a time. Set small goals and celebrate your progress. Don’t try to resolve all your problems at once.

Get Organized
Plan, schedule, take notes, and keep good files. Organizing the daily nitty-gritty of life reduces stress. Save your memory for more creative and pleasurable things.

Take Breaks/Allow Time for Fun
When dealing with planned tasks, take a 10 minute break after every 50 minutes to maintain peak performance. Don’t mistake working hard for working effectively. Don’t work past the point of diminishing returns.

Rehearse
When you’re facing a situation that you know will be stressful to you, rehearse it. Either mentally or with a friend, anticipate what might occur and plan your response. Being prepared reduces stress.

Do It Now
Do your most difficult or most hated task at the beginning of the day when you’re fresh. Avoid the stress of dreading it all day. Procrastination breeds stress!

Know Your Limits
Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. It’s better to do less and do it well than to do more, poorly.

Change Attitudes
Train yourself to view stressful situations as a challenge to your creative thinking, rather than considering them insurmountable problems.

Learn to Say “No”
Say “NO” when your schedule is full; to activities you don’t enjoy; to responsibilities that aren’t yours; to emotional demands that leave you feeling drained; to other people’s problems that you can’t solve.

Schedule Your Stress
Scheduling stressful activities can reduce the number of stressors you must juggle at any one time. Don’t invite your in-laws to visit the same week you have a big interview scheduled.

Treat Your Body Right
You will have more energy and self-confidence and be less susceptible to the physical side-effects of stress when you eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

Positive Self-Talk
Use positive self-reinforcement: “I can handle this one step at a time,” instead of frightening or depressing yourself by coming up with reasons why you can’t cope.

Take Charge
Take responsibility for making your life what you want it to be. It is less stressful to make decisions and take action than to feel powerless and react to others’ decisions. Decide what you want and go for it!


What About My Family?

Unless you are the only surviving member of your family, expect your loved ones to have a response to your job loss or career change. They will have their own personal reaction and a reaction to your reaction. We’ve observed that the family’s reaction will be directly influenced by yours. For example, if you come home, pronounce that this is the absolute worst thing that could happen, persist in that belief, and push the family away don’t be surprised that they come to share your view. This is especially true for younger children. They will rapidly tumble to something being different and will look to you for how they are supposed to feel.

A degree in psychology isn’t required to realize that your family’s feelings will run the same gamut as yours: fear, anger, sadness and perhaps relief. They will also be worried for you and want to know what they can do. Making room for these feelings can work for the benefit of the whole family.

Making room in the family means that communication is open about the transition. With adult family members, tell them how you feel. It’s okay to be angry, anxious and sad. Expressing emotions doesn’t require you to stomp the floor, bite the carpet, or wallow in pain. Instead, it can be as simple as sharing how the career transition is affecting you inside and asking them to listen. Making room certainly includes allowing your family to be of assistance. Think of your home as the first place to begin your networking.

In addition, bring your family in on your planning. Invite them to brainstorm with you. Create a climate where they can tell you about their feelings, concerns, and ideas. With children, don’t let their imaginations concoct an explanation for your mood or your being home. It is unnecessary to convey your innermost apprehensions, financial or otherwise, but it will help them to know what is happening and what immediate changes might occur around the house. Children may think that your losing a job means you screwed up big time or that they somehow were at fault. A little reassurance can go a long way in decreasing their anxiety; this holds true with teenagers as well. Teaching them that transitions of many kinds are a normal part of life can put what is now happening in the family in perspective.

Taking a John Wayne approach to finding new work may enhance your self-image, but leave your family in the dark. Remember that as much as you might be feeling powerless, so will they. Giving them opportunities to show interest and compassion will help them feel they are contributing. There may also be very concrete tasks related to your job hunt that they can do; i.e., typing envelopes, taking trips to the post office, copying, answering phone calls, etc. Go ahead and practice your interviewing skills with them, as well as review your job hunting strategies. The experience that you are involved as a team, working toward a common good, can fortify the family and promote a newfound sense of togetherness.

Financial Management

When You Lose Your Job, Don’t Panic...Take Control of Your Finances

Unemployment can be devastating to any family, but there are steps you can take to help ease the pain. Remember that there are many people who are facing the same problem you are--fewer dollars to meet the same bills. Don’t blame yourself. Blaming yourself won’t get you anywhere. It’s a waste of your energy. It’s normal for you to feel stressed, but once you’re over the initial shock, don’t panic. Getting control of your personal finances is a must during unemployment. It is a time for you to get a handle on the situation--to take charge.

What you need to do at this time is to develop a plan to help you survive this setback until you can find another job.

Establish the Gap
For most people, job loss is going to create a gap between your new income and your expenses. Figuring out the size of the gap should be your first priority.

Make a List of Expenses
Until the list is in black and white many people do not know all they owe. Without the list it will be hard to create a plan to prioritize the use of your finances. Look through your checkbook stubs and your credit card statements to see where your money is going. This list needs to be as thorough as possible. You might divide your monthly expenses into three main groups:

    1. Fixed Expenses
    Examples include: rent/mortgage, savings,
    car payment, monthly medical bills,
    alimony/child support, credit cards, etc.

    2. Variable Expenses
    Examples include: groceries, eating out,
    child care, postage,household/miscellaneous,
    clothing, basic telephone, etc.

    3. Periodic Expenses
    Examples include: car repair/maintenance,
    income and property taxes, gifts,
    home repair/maintenance, etc.

Calculate Your Income
For most of us our income sources are few in number but since each person’s situation is different, we have listed a number of potential sources. You should identify these for the entire household and calculate them on a monthly basis: net wages/salary, part-time work, self-employment, unemployment compensation, bonus/overtime/tips, child support/alimony, A.F.D.C., disability compensation, food stamps, pension, Social Security, National Guard/Reserves, other.

Figure the Gap
Subtract your spending from your income. This final figure will tell you whether you are in the hole.

Closing the Gap
All those who still have more income than expenses after completing these three steps can go to the mall. Everyone else might want to consider taking a few more difficult steps.

Cut Expenses
For most, the obvious places to cut are in our variable expenses such as groceries, eating out, entertainment, recreation and household costs.

Go back through the list of monthly variable expenses and set for each the lowest budget for each you feel you can live with. You may find it helpful to change old habits so that it will be harder to spend. Some ideas are outlined below:

Stop carrying your credit cards.
Pay in cash. If the temptation to use the cards is strong, try this. Fill a one-gallon jug with water. Put all your credit cards in the jug of water. Put the jug in the freezer. Freeze your spending. By the time the ice thaws, you will have time to think about the potential purchase and will not have used the card, but will have the card available in the future when your financial picture improves. This might be a good time to cut back to two or three credit cards.

Take grocery buying seriously.
Prepare a list of the foods you need. Clip discount coupons from the newspapers. Bring only enough cash to pay for the things on your list. Shop at the supermarket. Stay away from convenience stores--convenience is very expensive. Shop once a week, buy the store brands. Try to stay away from the junk foods and prepared foods.

Stay away from restaurants.
We spend 16 percent of our income on food. More than a third of that amount is spent in restaurants, snack bars, and fast food joints. It’s a lot cheaper to eat at home or bring a homemade lunch.

Stay away from malls.
Americans visit some kind of mall at least twice a week. It’s too easy to spend money on impulse when browsing at a mall. Too many people have the notion that shopping is a form of fun and entertainment. Shopping is not entertainment. Shopping is an expensive and serious form of family business.

Find cheaper ways to play.
We spend close to 10 percent of income on entertainment--movies, video rentals, cable TV, CD’s, hobbies, sports, toys, and other recreation. Put a clamp on it.

Economize at home.
Turn off the lights and the TV when not in use. Run the dishwasher, clothes washer, and clothes dryer with full loads. Set the house thermostat to 68 degrees in winter. Use fans instead of air conditioners during the summer.

Reprinted from the booklet “Surviving A Layoff. Copyrighted, 1995, Dahlstrom & Company, Inc.

Increase Your Income
At least for a short time the following tips might help you raise cash.

Collect old debts.
Stop and think, does anyone owe you money? Well, now is the time to ask for it.

Sell your skills.
Do you have a real skill like typing, doing taxes, taking photos, drawing, cake decorating, giving music or dance lessons, tutoring, or just about anything else? If so, put an advertisement in the classified section of the newspaper and cash in on your skills.

Sell old valuables.
Walk through your home and take an inventory of the valuables you no longer use: baby furniture, kitchen sets, freezer, power tools, photo equipment, musical instruments. Put an advertisement in the newspaper and sell the stuff.

Clean out the garage.
Have a garage sale. You could earn a bundle selling old junk such as books, hand tools, toys, clothes, dishes, lamps, fans, and other things.

Sell the luxuries.
Unload the second car, the boat, the mink coat, or any other luxuries that you may have. Pay off the debt and pocket any profits you might have.

Reprinted from the booklet, Surviving A Layoff. Copyrighted, 1995, Dahlstrom & Company, Inc.

Cut your bills.
For some, the suggestions above will be enough but for most it will be necessary to see if we can get our bills cut back temporarily. Almost any bill you pay on regularly--utilities, telephone, taxes, rent, auto loans, credit cards, medical bills, day-care, insurance--should be considered for your budget ax.

This is the step that for most people would create the biggest savings in their monthly cash needs. It is also the step that most have the hardest time doing or doing right because it involves dealing with creditors. The best approach is to call your lenders before they call you and use one of the following approaches to work out a budget program with them.

Pro-Rated Payments
If you were paying $600/month for your total debt payments but can now pay only $300/month or one-half (50%), offer to pay 50% of the normal payment for each bill.

Percentage of Total Debt Payments
If you have $3,000 in total debt and you have four creditors, figure out what percentage each is owed of the total debt. For example, one might be owed $1,500 or 50% of the total. If you can now pay $150/month against your total debt, that one creditor could receive $75/month which is 50% of the total you can pay.

Interest-only Payments
Payments due on loans and most credit card bills include a portion that goes to pay against the principal and a portion that is an interest payment to your creditor. Some creditors may be willing to accept a payment only of the interest portion, especially for a short period. In most cases this could reduce the monthly payment due to a creditor by 70-90%.

Why Do It All Alone?

Sometimes, the financial concerns after a job loss can distract you from focusing on your main objective...finding a good job or the training to get one.

How can you concentrate on your interview skills when you are in turmoil about your daily needs? Make sure they are taken care of. Sometimes that will mean you should consider the use of public resources. Why not? When you get back on your feet financially, you will probably pay back in taxes any money or services you use. Anyway, if you access some of the following sources you will be more able to:

* focus on your job search/training
* keep your family healthy and together
* keep yourself health and together

Consumer Credit Counseling Service

This not-for-profit agency provides debt management services and repayment programs free of charge. They can intervene with your creditors during this time of job transition. Thousands of families and individuals use this service each year for a variety of circumstances. In central Missouri, the average CCS client has 9 creditors excluding their home mortgage with consumer debt of $8,750. If you add in car loans that average jumps to $21,440. While CCS will work with all your creditors, in many cases, individuals choose to work directly with some, while the agency will handle the remainder.

Division of Family Services

Apply for any assistance for which you are eligible. After all, while you were working you helped pay for or these services. Some of the programs for which you might be eligible include:

* emergency assistance
* food stamps
* child care assistance

Many other programs offered by the Division may be accessed if your unemployment is prolonged. In addition, agency staff are typically familiar with the network of community resources in your area.

Crisis Counseling

Severe and prolonged stress associated with job loss may seriously affect your physical and mental health. In addition, stress contributes to many types of accidents through human error, fatigue, worry and haste.

Consider professional advice from your family physician, mental health professionals, lay groups, community agencies and clergy if your problems become an emotional burden. These outsiders can help you deal with extreme stress and the physical and emotional trauma that may accompany it.

Many community agencies exist to help you. The Division of Family Services (DFS) as well as other social service agencies may be available in your area. Family services, mental health centers, crisis centers, suicide prevention centers, drug crisis centers and emergency hotlines are available at little or no cost to those needing help.

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Posted by Elvis on 05/21/05 •
Section Dealing with Layoff
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Book - Racing To The Bottom

How Antiquated Public Policy Is Destroying the Best Jobs in Telecommunications

Current telecommunications public policy is destroying some of the best jobs in America, jobs that afford non-college graduates the opportunity to earn decent pay and benefits, enjoy stable employment and advancement through training, and secure basic workplace rights and representation. Federal and state economic regulation and taxation of the long-established telecommunications carriers have tilted the competitive advantage toward local carriers such as cable television and wireless, which offer employees inferior conditions of employment. This competitive advantage is not based on productivity, service quality, or underlying access costs, but arises primarily from higher government-mandated costs imposed on established carriers, particularly the former Bell companies. In this regulatory environment, wireless and cable TV carriers are advantaged in ways that have damaged the industry and its employees:

The traditional wired or “wireline” telephone carriers have eliminated 15.5% of their jobs since 1998; these jobs paid at least 26% more than comparable work in the cable industry, where lower-wage employment increased 22.6% between 1998 and 2003.

Turnover, in the form of layoffs, dismissals, and quits, is 10 times higher in cable than among the traditional Bell incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs).

The Bell ILECs provide significantly more training for their employees than all other communications providers, including more than twice the qualifying training offered by cable television providers, four times the amount provided to technicians by wireless companies, and more than three times the amount provided to service representatives by wireless companies.

Unions represent 96% of technicians and 77% of service representatives at the Bell ILECs, a share that is more than double the average rate of any other telecommunications provider. This high rate of unionization leads to improved job quality, better skills acquisition, less turnover, and more stable and productive workplaces at the Bell providers relative to other carriers.

Tax policy heavily discriminates against the Bell as well as the independent ILECs. Taxes as a share of gross revenue range from a high of 17.9% for traditional telephone service to 4.5% for cable franchises and 0% for broadband services, including Internet phone services, the newest competitor to the Bell ILECs.

As communications platforms increasingly compete to deliver comparable services, tax and regulatory policies favor cable companies. The United States must create a level playing field for all players in the voice and data communications markets to protect the most vulnerable consumers and support the creation of good jobs for working Americans in these critical high-tech industries.

Introduction

Less than 10 years after passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which established a federal policy of promoting competition in telecommunications services, vigorous competition has emerged among wireline, wireless, and cable television companies, each of which uses a different technology to provide local access to services such as voice calling and Internet connectivity. Historically, “local exchange carriers” (LECs) such as the Bell companies or independent telephone companies like Alltel or the former GTE provided publicly switched wireline access for voice communications. These providers held a monopoly over “the last mile” the two-way transmission lines connecting each home or office to the larger telecommunications network. Since the passage of the act, however, new firms have entered the local market as competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), offering alternative wireline access. Wireless providers such as T-Mobile, Sprint PCS, and Cingular now offer affordable and convenient substitutes to wireline services. And major cable TV companies such as Comcast and Time Warner have entered the telecommunications market with voice and high-speed Internet services. At the same time, the cable TV monopoly over one-way distribution lines for cable television has eroded. Now satellite television provides alternative access, and the traditional telephone companies are deploying new broadband technologies to offer television and video-on-demand. In sum, new technologies, massive capital investments, and changes in public policy over the last decade have created alternative ways for customers to access local voice, Internet, television, and multimedia services.

However, a consequence of current telecommunications policy in this changing technological and business climate is the destruction of high-quality jobs in the industry jobs that afford non-college graduates the opportunity to earn decent pay and benefits, to enjoy stable employment and advancement through training, and to secure basic workplace rights and representation. Federal and state economic regulation and taxation of the incumbent carriers have tilted the competitive advantage toward cable TV and wireless carriers, which offer employees inferior conditions of employment. This tilt is not based on productivity, service quality, or underlying access costs, but arises primarily from the higher government-mandated costs imposed on the long-established, incumbent carriers, particularly the former Bell companies.

In this report, we examine the quality of jobs and employment conditions for the two largest occupational groups in this industry: technicians and customer service representatives. To do so, we draw on a unique survey of general managers in a nationally representative sample of 327 establishments in the industry (see Batt, Colvin, Katz, and Keefe 2000, 2004). Chapter 1 examines overall trends in growth, employment, and productivity across wireline, wireless, and cable TV providers. Chapter 2 shows how the quality of jobs, defined as the level of compensation, stability of employment, access to training and job skills, workplace rights and representation, and the quality of the work environment, varies across these providers. Chapter 3 explores the role of unions in creating goods jobs in the industry. In Chapter 4, we develop employer report cards that identify the best and worst workplaces for technicians and service representatives. Finally, Chapter 5 assesses how public policy is destroying the best jobs in the industry and what can be done to reverse this trend.

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While cell phones, high-speed Internet access, interactive cable, and satellite TV services have become commonplace features of the new century, telecommunications policy remains an antiquated remnant of the old one. The former Bell companies, which compete to provide the state-of-the-art services we have come to expect from telecommunications providers, continue to pay taxes and are mired in regulation as if they were still public service monopolies. In the meantime, post-deregulation wireless companies, cable TV, and Internet providers pay a much smaller share of their revenue in taxes, if they pay any at all and are lightly regulated.

More is at stake than a corporation’s profits: the businesses hit hardest by taxes are also the firms offering the highest-paying and best quality jobs to the nation’s workforce. And as these firms lose ground to their deregulated competitors, some of the best jobs in America are disappearing.

The unintended consequence of federal and state telecommunications policy is to support the worst employers with favorable tax and regulatory treatment, while greatly disadvantaging good employers and their workers and unions. The FCC and Congress need to re-examine current telecommunications policy and create a level playing field to encourage competition across the growing number of traditional and innovative access technologies that make up U.S. telecommunications.

About the Author
Jeffrey H. Keefe is an associate professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. He is also director of the Telecommunications Program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

Source:
http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/book_racing

Posted by Elvis on 05/17/05 •
Section Telecom Underclass
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Monday, May 16, 2005

UK Worker Stress

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
The Independent

More than 5 million people complain of “extreme” stress in their jobs which puts them at risk of a breakdown, Britain’s leading mental health charity says.

The pressures of the workplace are exacting a social and economic toll which can no longer be ignored, says the report by Mind. More than half of Britain’s workers complain of stress and take almost 13 million days off sick as a consequence.

Stress costs the UK economy £1 in lost productivity for every £10 generated, yet less than 10 per cent of companies have a policy to deal with it, Mind found.

Its report will add to pressure on the Government to tackle the epidemic of mental problems in the country. Mental illness is now Britain’s biggest social problem, worse than unemployment and “at least as important as poverty,” according to Lord Layard, a Labour peer. He told a seminar organised by the Downing Street strategy unit before the election that almost a million people with mental health problems are on incapacity benefit, more than are receiving job-seeker’s allowance.

The total economic cost of mental illness he estimated at £25bn of which £21bn falls on the public purse. Only one in two people with depression receives any kind of treatment yet it is of proven effectiveness, with a gain of £3,000 in productivity for every £1,000 spent, he said.

The prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression is becoming the leading public health challenge in the industrialised world. Three in 10 people take sick leave in any one year with mental distress yet fewer than one in 10 of these receives specialist treatment such as psychological counselling, according to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental
Health.

The Mind survey found the most stressed workers were teachers, social workers, call centre workers, prison officers and the police. Workers in the public sector suffered most stress and “macho work environments” made it difficult for staff to admit to stress for fear of affecting their career prospects.

Richard Brook, the chief executive of Mind, said: “Employers cannot afford to ignore the ever-increasing levels of occupational stress and the long-hours culture of working Britain.

“We urge more understanding of stress and mental health problems in the workplace. Today’s competitive and pressured work environments can make it difficult for people to disclose their problems.”

The report recommends that companies introduce flexible hours, keep jobs open for those off sick and allow them a gradual return to work.

The Health and Safety Executive launched a tough new code to reduce stress at work last December. The code sets six standards, including increasing support and giving staff more control, for easing the pressure and improving the quality of life in the office and on the
shop floor.

Employers who ignore the standards are at risk of legal action, the HSE said.

The House of Lords awarded more than £70,000 last year to Alan Barber, a former head of maths at East Bridgwater secondary school in Somerset, who left with a stress-related illness after being given extra duties and losing his deputies.

The case established that an “autocratic and bullying style of leadership” that is “unsympathetic” to complaints of occupational stress is a factor that courts can take into account in deciding claims.

Employers also have a duty to act if they know an employee is at risk from stress, the judges ruled.

Christine Greenhough, 52, actuary: ‘I had started to crumble ...’

Christine Greenhough, 52, was a successful actuary in a pensions consultancy when she suffered stress which ended in a breakdown.

“Some of us have to speak out or the stigma will never be lifted,” she said from her home in Stanmore, Middlesex. “Organisations must address the macho culture that makes it unacceptable to admit failure and seek help. There is not a lot of understanding of mental distress.”

Her company had moved her job to London where she had to deal with new clients while maintaining her old clients in another location. Tight deadlines and a heavy workload contributed to the pressure.

On her way to a meeting one morning, she became tearful and had to stop the car because she couldn’t see. She realised that she could no longer cope.

“I had started to crumble the previous day but I thought with a good night’s sleep I would be better. I was taken aback by the speed with which my body closed down. You think you can carry on but you can’t.”

She went on sick leave and was treated in a clinic. She was frightened of meeting people and suffered panic attacks. But with the help of a private counsellor who specialised in treating people with stress she slowly recovered her confidence.

When she returned to work six months later she found she could cope with some tasks but remained fragile. “People thought I seemed confident but the trouble arose as soon as things went out of control. That is a daily occurrence in most workplaces.”

She said her colleagues were supportive out of their own kindness but the company had no formal policy for dealing with the consequences of stress.

Four years later, she is off antidepressants, has learnt to manage her anxiety and is retraining as an adult education lecturer.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 05/16/05 •
Section Dying America • Section Workplace
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Monday, May 09, 2005

Verizon FNS Government Jobs

If you have, or had, a government clearance at Top Secret plus, check out Verizon.

Verizon Federal Network Systems (FNS) is one of the world’s leading providers of high-growth communications services for the government.  FNS designs, builds and maintains mission-critical networks for some of the world’s most demanding government, military and intelligence customers.  We are seeking experienced candidates with an active government security clearance and previous telecommunications experience.  We also have many non-technical/administrative positions available. If you meet the above criteria, then an opportunity is truly knocking.

Available positions are:

TECHNICAL

Installation Technicians
Switch Technicians
Network Controllers/Analysts
QA Manager (HW/SW)
LAN/WAN Engineers
Configuration Management Analysts
Systems Integrators
Systems Administrators
Helpdesk/Telecom

NON-TECHNICAL

Project Managers
Program Managers with DoD Experience
Business Developer with Federal Experience
Facility Security Officers
Storefront Managers/Assistants
Senior Contracts Administrators
Procurement Specialists
Logistics
Materials Handlers
Operators
Administrative Assistants
Administrative Support

Bring your imagination and dedication to work every day.  FNS has work locations in Virginia, Maryland, Las Vegas, Hawaii and internationally.  Full-time employment and periodic/term/temporary assignments will also be considered.  If you are interested and wish to learn more about these positions, visit the FNS employment Web site at http://www.verizon.com/fns.  You can submit your resume to jobs@fns.vzunet.com

If you have friends or family who are looking for a new job opportunity and they have an active government security clearance of Top Secret plus, tell them about the many FNS job opportunities and the Web site that has the information.  As retirees, you know the excellent career opportunities and competitive pay and benefits that Verizon offers.  Let your friends and family in on the action.

Posted by Elvis on 05/09/05 •
Section Job Hunt
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