Article 43


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Job Hunting Apps


Remember Want Ads for Jobs? Now You Find Them on a Phone

NY Times
January 29, 2014

What do you do when you lose a job or need bigger challenges than your present one offers? Start that job hunt. You could earn more money or even prove the person who fired you wrong by landing a better job elsewhere.

Today you only have to look as far as your pocket to find new work because there are many apps for mobile devices that can help.

One of the simplest job-seeking apps is Glassdoor’s Job Search, Salaries and Company Reviews - free on IOS and ANDRIOD. Think of a quick-hit news reporting service that only reports on new job openings and youre close to understanding how this app works.

You hunt through an ever-updating feed of jobs by looking for those that match your search keywords: “analyst” perhaps, or “math teacher.” Once you tell the app the geographic area or city you’re interested in, it will create a list of openings that match. Tapping on a job in this list takes you to a page of detailed information, and you can also look up data on the company offering the position.

You can filter the job lists by job, company or salary. Filtering by job is likely to be most useful for most people, but for job seekers keen to see if their favorite firm is hiring, the company filter is also useful.

The most interesting filter, though, is salary. This lists the kind of pay levels that are associated with your search keywords in the professional area youre looking for. This data could help you decide if the pay being offered for a specific opening is likely to be reasonable.

This app isn’t a full-featured job finder that can house your rsum and automatically fill in job applications. But it is the kind of app you could spend five minutes browsing through on the off chance you will see some jobs you’re interested in. Many of the jobs advertised through the site have an apply now铔 button in the job details pages. The application process is usually external to the app involving, for example, getting documentation sent to your email address.

The app is highly regarded, and I can see why: Its interface is good-looking and easy to use, and it makes hunting for jobs a swift experience. Thereגs little to criticize.

For something a little more sophisticated, try LinkedIn. This behemoth of a company is more than a social network for catching up with old work colleagues.

The LinkedIn app can recommend jobs, based on data you enter on your profile page. This information is a de facto digital rsum if you fill in all your experience and job history details. The recommendations won驒t necessarily always fit your needs for example, the app is recommending a sales consultant job for me at the moment, although I have never worked in sales - but they may still be interesting or thought-provoking.

The sites search engine works a lot like Glassdoor’s. It offers a list of jobs that match your search terms, and specific data on each job when you tap on a result. You will even find useful buttons like apply for this job on the company’s website. But be careful with your keywords. Searching for “business analyst” without specifying a location, for example, gave me results in places as far removed as Geneva and Johannesburg.

LinkedIn works best if you spend some time entering data into it. Its many levels of complexity and functions mean the app isn’t always the easiest to navigate. I dislike the odd slide-to-reveal menus on the iOS version, for example. But it is at least free to download and use on IOS, ANDROID and WINDOWS Phone.

Sitting somewhere between Glassdoor and LinkedIn in terms of complexity is CareerBuilder’s Jobs app, free on IOS and ANDROID and for KINDLE devices.

Like Glassdoor, CareerBuilder has a neat design that makes browsing the various job listings pleasant. But it also has some sophisticated features, like being able to calculate commuting distances based on your phone’s GPS data. You can upload your resume to Career Builder and even apply for some positions directly through the app. On the iPad you can also see basic data on how many people are competing for a job.

The app is easy to use, but some people complained in the reviews that they had experiences with spam email after using it. As with any online service that you enter personal data into, it’s worth remembering to be careful about what you share. You should also check the authenticity of search results that you see.

Remember that in a competitive job market and our digital age, positions can be offered and filled very quickly. So using the search engine in the Twitter app - free on IOS, ANDROID and WINDOWS PHONE - may also be a great place to hear about new job openings.


Posted by Elvis on 01/30/14 •
Section Job Hunt
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Job Hunting Tips For Old Farts

Looking for a Job When You’re No Longer Young

By Anne Kreamer
Harvard Business Review
March 22, 2012

We operate in a business landscape driven by an obsession with youth. I should know. I used to work in the red-hot center of one of the most youth-oriented companies on the planet, Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon is part of the MTV Networks where even the unwritten code of dress and grooming and behavior has one non-negotiable axiom: no matter what kind of work you do, it is essential to come across as youthful, or at least not too square. I am convinced that one senior-executive colleague never achieved his full potential because he simply looked too much like a conservative banker. Translation: he looked old.

But at least he had a job. During the last decade, the number of unemployed older workers has increased 300 percent. Workers over 45 are also unemployed longer than younger workers. And federal age discrimination actions filed annually increased 66% between 1999 and 2011. But workplace age discrimination is very, very hard to prove. If youre looking for a new job and over 50, the answer is (probably) not to sue. It’s to play the hand you’ve been dealt as best you can.

In this stressful market, with no guarantees of pensions or government safety nets taking care of us in our later years, and so with a need for all of us to keep productively working as long as possible, there are a few basic things I might suggest to help you cope.

Consider the industry.

An obsession with youth is not a phenomenon unique to a company like MTV Networks, focused on programming for people under 30. Digital technology, one of the world’s fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors, is popular with consumers of all ages. Yet the Internet and software and consumer electronics industries are dominated by people under 40. According to, the average age of a software developer in Silicon Valley is 24. So perhaps its not surprising, as the National Academy of Sciences found, that older workers in the technology sector are three times more likely to lose their jobs in layoffs or reductions in force than younger workers. And according to a survey by Network World magazine, only about one in eight tech managers 30 years old or younger had hired anyone over 40 during the previous year.

If you’re aiming at a youth-dominated sector, know the odds. And know that job descriptions with language like “energetic” and “fast-paced” could be code words for “young.”

Know your geography - both organizational and literal.

There can be striking, stereotypical regional differences, as I learned when I pretended to want to get back into corporate work ח having let my natural gray hair grow out as research for my book on aging. One of the headhunter-experts I talked to for that project was Ann Carlsen, a recruiter in telecommunications and technology based in Boulder, Colorado. She was bracingly blunt. In California companies, דpeople over 40 are out to pasture. And while they might not feel the same in, say, Connecticut, in any geography, she told me, if I were serious about re-entering the corporate world I should be prepared for a long and frustrating process. And this was before the recession. “At your age,” she said, ravaging my (simulated) hopes for full-time re-entry into business, “You should be a consultant.” In other words, according to Carlson, at 50 the only person I could work for was myself.

The organizational “geography” also matters - chief marketing officer versus chief financial officer. Older job-seekers have to ask themselves: Is competence or creativity the most important attribute to convey? And what signifiers are used to convey those qualities? For instance, would a woman with spiky orange hair land a COO job? Or would someone who looks like Meg Whitman get the gig as head of a record label? (No and no.)

Pat Mastandrea, the former COO of the British satellite channel SKY TV, is now head of The Cheyenne Group, a New York-based executive recruitment firm that specializes in placing top executives in media, entertainment and education companies. The pressure to be (or at least look) young, she said, is more important in certain job functions. I had a candidate who was in sales, and one day she just woke up and looked around and realized that all of her colleagues were in their 30s and her clients were in their 20s and she was in her 50s and she realized that there was a disconnect and she had to change fields. Sales positions are not as accepting of the aging process.

Be aware of how you present yourself.

I asked Carlsen if she saw any basic differences in the kinds of candidates that different industries look for. Across the board more companies are targeting younger demos, so they are focusing on hiring people whom they believe will think like the animal. Clients wont tell her straight out, of course, that one of her potential hires didn’t get a particular job because they were too old. That would be against the law. Instead, they’ll say that the person just wasn’t a good fit for the culture, or that the person is over-qualified. Of course, overqualified can have real meaning - someone who’ll be unhappy with the lack of challenge or authority - but it can also be code for a younger manager being uncomfortable at the prospect of managing someone older.

Mastandrea agrees that overt age discrimination is tough to spot. “Some clients arent even aware of their aversions or know why they discriminate,” she said. “They couldn’t begin to articulate why [they think] someone wouldnt be a good fit.” This lack of awareness is what makes age discrimination so tricky to police.

Nonetheless, Carlsen says she doesnt coach candidates on appearance before a job interview. She thinks that it’s important that the client have a sense of the real candidate. However, if someone has been rejected a few times they tend to figure it out themselves. Across the board they will color their hair if they get turned down. And did Carlsen think WOMENS APPEARANCES were judged more harshly than men’s? Duh. The deck is even more stacked against older women. You’ve got to look like you;ve been working out. You need good shoes and accessories, and the tan. The men [who run companies] tend to dismiss older women as not relevant. If the job is in sales or any area with high visibility, the issue is further compounded. If you put two women up for the same sales job and one is blonde and hip and the other more dowdy there is never a doubt about how that will come out, regardless of the position or the company or the skill set.

There are internal and external issues that play into how old you read to others. Here are a few thoughts to address the easier-to-deal with external style issues:

Stand up straight. Sounds simple. Sounds stupid. But trust me, nothing ages a person faster than poor posture.

Get physically active. Theres a reason politicians bound up the steps - fast movement makes people seem active and therefore younger.

Conduct an image overview. Is your hair cut contemporary? Are your clothes dated? Don’t try to be something you are not. That will read as fake - even pitiful. But if you’ve got 80s shoulder pads in your suits, rethink them.

While my dream is that Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer and Nancy Pelosi will start letting their natural hair grow out, until that time, if you feel you must, dye your hair.

Assess your mental adaptability.

Now for the harder, internal barriers to seeming alertand youthful. The stereotype of an old person is someone resistant to change, slow to learn, less productive, and who will have fewer years in the organization to recoup any training costs. To counteract any of these negatives conduct a hard, cold, objective assessment. Do you think you in any way mirror this stereotype? If so, tease apart the issues one by one:

If you feel intimidated by new technology, ask for help from someone outside the office. Experiment with new media - Twitter, Pinterest, your own WordPress blog. The more you play, the more fluent you will be in the modern ways of the working world. No one needs to master all media expressions or technology platforms, but being conversant in the most popular ones will dispel the “out-of-it” stereotype. Build this into your schedule, just as youd set aside time for other priorities.

If your skills are rusty, enroll in a course to supplement your gaps.

Network and meet young people. Spend time with them. You will learn something. And they will be glad to have your mentorship.

While you don;t need to know every new band or movie (the market is simply too fractured to keep up), its a good idea to keep abreast of current culture. Publications like The Week or websites like HuffingtonPost are a starting place.

Is it possible to go too far? One former advertising executive and desperate-to-be-perceived-as-young contemporary of mine owns and operates a successful social networking consultancy. She says that her employees bought her slang flash cards so that in the Twitterverse she wouldn’t come across as out of touch i.e. old. Her staff introduce her to words and phrases such as “ThatshitCra” (short for that shits crazy) and they applaud her when she calls her car her whip. While this seems extreme to me, in an age and a country where youth culture is the culture, trying to seem with-it at work can be seen as a necessity. Even if it makes me a little sad.


Posted by Elvis on 01/28/14 •
Section Job Hunt
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Why The Rich Love Unemployment

By Mark Provost
Washington’s Blog
May 23, 2011

Christina Romer, former member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, accuses the administration of “shamefully ignoring” the unemployed. Paul Krugman echoes her concerns, observing that Washington has lost interest in “the forgotten millions.” America’s unemployed have been ignored and forgotten, but they are far from superfluous. Over the last two years, out-of-work Americans have played a critical role in helping the richest one percent recover trillions in financial wealth.

Obama’s advisers often congratulate themselves for avoiding another Great Depression - an assertion not amenable to serious analysis or debate. A better way to evaluate their claims is to compare the US economy to other rich countries over the last few years.

On the basis of sustaining economic growth, the United States is doing better than nearly all advanced economies. From the first quarter of 2008 to the end of 2010, US gross domestic product (GDP) growth OUTPERFORMED EVERY G-7 COUNTRY EXCEPT CANADA.

But when it comes to jobs, US policymakers fall short of their rosy self-evaluations. Despite the second-highest economic growth, Paul Wiseman of the Associated Press (AP) reports: “the U.S. job market remains the group’s weakest. U.S. employment bottomed and started growing again a year ago, but there are still 5.4 percent fewer American jobs than in December 2007. That’s a much sharper drop than in any other G-7 country.” According to an important study by Andrew Sum and Joseph McLaughlin, the US boasted one of the lowest unemployment rates in the rich world before the housing crash - now, it’s the highest.

The gap between economic growth and job creation reflects three separate but mutually reinforcing factors: US corporate governance, Obama’s economic policies and the deregulation of US labor markets.

Old economic models assume that companies merely react to external changes in demand - lacking independent agency or power. While executives must adapt to falling demand, they retain a fair amount of discretion in how they will respond and who will bear the brunt of the pain. Corporate culture and organization vary from country to country.

In the boardrooms of corporate America, profits aren’t everything - they are the only thing. A JPMorgan research REPORT concludes that the current corporate profit recovery is more dependent on falling unit-labor costs than during any previous expansion. At some level, corporate executives are aware that they are lowering workers’ living standards, but their decisions are neither coordinated nor intentionally harmful. Call it the “paradox of profitability.” Executives are acting in their own and their shareholders’ best interest: maximizing profit margins in the face of weak demand by extensive layoffs and pay cuts. But what has been good for every company’s income statement has been a disaster for working families and their communities.

Obama’s lopsided recovery also reflects lopsided government intervention. Apart from all the talk about jobs, the Obama administration never supported a concrete employment plan. The stimulus provided relief, but it was too small and did not focus on job creation.

The administration’s problem is not a question of economics, but a matter of values and priorities. In the first Great Depression, President Roosevelt created an alphabet soup of institutions - the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) - to directly relieve the unemployment problem, a crisis the private sector was unable and unwilling to solve. In the current crisis, banks were handed bottomless bowls of alphabet soup - the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP) and the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) - while politicians dithered over extending inadequate unemployment benefits.

The unemployment crisis has its origins in the housing crash, but the prior deregulation of the labor market made the fallout more severe. Like other changes to economic policy in recent decades, the deregulation of the labor market tilts the balance of power in favor of business and against workers. Unlike financial system reform, the deregulation of the labor market is not on President Obama’s agenda and has escaped much commentary.

Labor-market deregulation boils down to three things: weak unions, weak worker protection laws and weak overall employment. In addition to protecting wages and benefits, unions also protect jobs. Union contracts prevent management from indiscriminately firing workers and shifting the burden onto remaining employees. After decades of imposed decline, the United States currently has the fourth-lowest private sector union membership [8] in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

America’s low rate of union membership partly explains why unemployment rose so fast and, - thanks to hectic productivity growth - hiring has been so slow.

Proponents of labor-market flexibility argue that it’s easier for the private sector to create jobs when the transactional costs associated with hiring and firing are reduced. Perhaps fortunately, legal protections for American workers cannot get any lower: US labor laws make it the easiest place in the word to fire or replace employees, according to the OECD.

Another consequence of labor-market flexibility has been the shift from full-time jobs to temporary positions. In 2010, 26 percent of all news jobs were temporary - compared with less than 11 percent in the early 1990’s recovery and just 7.1 percent in the early 2000’s.

The American model of high productivity and low pay has friends in high places. Former Obama adviser and General Motors (GM) car czar Steven Rattner argues that America’s unemployment crisis is a sign of strength:

Perversely, the nagging high jobless rate reflects two of the most promising attributes of the American economy: its flexibility and its productivity. Eliminating jobs - with all the wrenching human costs - raises productivity and, thereby, competitiveness.

Unusually, US productivity grew right through the recession; normally, companies can’t reduce costs fast enough to keep productivity from falling.

That kind of efficiency is perhaps our most precious economic asset. However tempting it may be, we need to resist tinkering with the labor market. Policy proposals aimed too directly at raising employment may well collaterally end up dragging on productivity.

Rattner comes dangerously close to articulating a full-unemployment policy. He suggests unemployed workers don’t merit the same massive government intervention that served GM and the banks so well. When Wall Street was on the ropes, both administrations sensibly argued, “doing nothing is not an option.” For the long-term unemployed, doing nothing appears to be Washington’s preferred policy.

The unemployment crisis has been a godsend for America’s superrich, who own the vast majority of financial assets - stocks, bonds, currency and commodities. Persistent unemployment and weak unions have changed the American workforce into a buyers’ market - job seekers and workers are now “price takers” rather than “price makers.” Obama’s recovery shares with Reagan’s early years the distinction of being the only two post-war expansions where wage concessions have been the rule rather than the exception. The year 2009 marked the slowest wage growth on record, followed by the second slowest in 2010.

America’s labor market depression propels asset price appreciation. In the last two years, US corporate profits and share prices rose at the fastest pace in history - and the fastest in the G-7. Considering the source of profits, the soaring stock market appears less a beacon of prosperity than a reliable proxy for America’s new misery index. Mark Whitehouse of The Wall Street Journal describes [12] Obama’s hamster wheel recovery:

From mid-2009 through the end of 2010, output per hour at U.S. nonfarm businesses rose 5.2% as companies found ways to squeeze more from their existing workers. But the lion’s share of that gain went to shareholders in the form of record profits, rather than to workers in the form of raises. Hourly wages, adjusted for inflation, rose only 0.3%, according to the Labor Department. In other words, companies shared only 6% of productivity gains with their workers. That compares to 58% since records began in 1947.

Workers’ wages and salaries represent roughly two-thirds of production costs and drive inflation. High inflation is a bondholders’ worst enemy because bonds are fixed-income securities. For example, if a bond yields a fixed five percent and inflation is running at four percent, the bond’s real return is reduced to one percent. High unemployment constrains labor costs and, thus, also functions as an anchor on inflation and inflation expectations - protecting bondholders’ real return and principal. Thanks to the absence of real wage growth and inflation over the last two years, bond funds have attracted record inflows and investors have profited immensely.

The Federal Reserve has played the leading role in sustaining the recovery, but monetary policies work indirectly and disproportionately favor the wealthy. Low interest rates have helped banks recapitalize, allowed businesses and households to refinance debt and provided Wall Street with a tsunami of liquidity - but its impact on employment and wage growth has been negligible.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer PROVIDES INSIGHT into the counterintuitive link between a rotten economy and soaring asset prices: “We are and have been in the longest ‘bad news is good news’ moment that I have ever come across in my 31 years of trading. That means the bad news keeps producing the low interest rates that make stocks, particularly stocks with decent dividend protection, more attractive than their fixed income alternatives.” In other words, the longer Ben Bernanke’s policies fail to lower unemployment, the longer Wall Street enjoys a free ride.

Out-of-work Americans deserve more than unemployment checks - they deserve dividends. The rich would never have recovered without them.



Why corporate America isn’t making a ruckus about the economy

By Robert B. Reich
August 7, 2013

Job growth is sputtering. So why aren’t the captains of American industry and finance—the nation’s top CEOs, the titans of Wall Street, the corporate movers and shakers—demanding that more be done to revive the economy? They have the political clout to make it happen.

It can’t be they don’t know that job growth is sputtering. The data are indisputable. July’s job growth of 162,000 jobs was the weakest in four months. The average workweek was the shortest in six months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also lowered its estimates of hiring during May and June.

They can’t really believe further spending cuts will help. They can see the devastating effects of austerity economics on Europe. They know that the studies relied on by deficit hawks to justify more spending cuts have been debunked. Not even Republicans are any longer trying to make the case for austerity.

So why isn’t corporate America demanding more drastic measures to boost job growth? I can come up with only one rational explanation.

They don’t really mind high unemployment. In fact, they rather like it.

That may seem like a harsh conclusion, but consider the realities. For one thing, high unemployment is keeping wages down. Workers who are worried about losing their jobs SETTLE FOR WHATEVER THEY CAN GET—which is why hourly earnings keep dropping. The median wage of American workers is now 4 percent lower than it was at the start of the recovery.

Low wages, in turn, are boosting corporate profits. Corporations are doing well not because sales are up but because costs are down.

High unemployment is also fueling Wall Street’s extraordinary bull market. That’s because the Fed is committed to buying long-term bonds as long as unemployment remains high. This keeps bond yields low and pushes investors into equities.

The bull market in equities is boosting executive pay, which is tied to stock-market gains through stock options and bonuses. And it’s making Wall Street traders richer than they were before the Street’s near-meltdown five years ago.

Finally, high unemployment keeps most Americans economically fearful and financially insecure. Why would the captains of American industry and finance want this? Because people who are losing ground are more likely to believe that taxes should be cut on corporations and wealthy “job creators.”

But wait. Over the longer term, high unemployment can’t possibly be good for the captains of American industry and finance.

The real job creators are consumers, and if average people don’t have jobs or good wages, this economy can’t have a vigorous recovery. As growth slows, it’s only a matter of time before profits take a beating and stock prices plummet.

Over the long term, the corporate and Wall Street elites of America would do better with a smaller share of a rapidly growing economy than their current big share of an economy that’s hardly moving.

If they took the long-term view, they’d support higher taxes on themselves and their corporations to finance public investments in roads, bridges, public transit, better schools, and affordable higher education and health care—all of which will generate more and better jobs, and lead to faster growth.

But the captains of American industry and finance don’t take the long-term view. Their time horizons are myopically focused on tomorrow’s stock price and next quarter’s profits. That’s how they’ve made their money.

And that’s the problem—because the rest of America is languishing in a long term that’s looking ever bleaker.

Robert Reich, former U.S. secretary of Labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future.” He blogs HERE.



Why are US corporate profits so high? Because wages are so low

By Jamie McGeever
Reuters Blogs
January 24, 2014

U.S. businesses have never had it so good.

Corporate cash piles have never been bigger, either in dollar terms or as a share of the economy.

The labor market, meanwhile, is still millions of jobs short of where it was before the global financial crisis first erupted over six years ago.


Not in the slightest, according to Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs:

The strength (in profits) is directly related to the weakness in hourly wages, which are still growing at just a 2% nominal pace. The weakness of wages and the resulting strength of profits are telling signs that the US labor market is still far from full employment.

Companies have not been unable to raise prices much because of the economic recovery has been fragile. But they’ve still managed to boost profits beyond anything ever seen before because theyve got away with employing as few workers as possible at as low a rate as possible.

Compare and contrast these two charts:



So, corporate profits are their highest ever and wage growth is near its lowest in half a century. But don’t expect the transfer of that cash from businesses to workers to start any time soon, says Hatzius:

The bottom line is that the favorable environment for corporate profits should persist for some time yet, and the case for an acceleration in the near term is strong. Hourly labor costs would need to grow more than 4% to eat into margins on a systematic basis. Such a strong acceleration still seems to be at least a couple of years off.


Posted by Elvis on 01/27/14 •
Section Dying America
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Reinventing Yourself

Over at self help groups for LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED - I hear over and over again - “You gotta reinvent yourself.”

Some people go back to school, change careers, find new jobs - and things work out - but for most of us “reinventing yourself” is at best false hope to kill time. 

The probem is there aren’t enough jobs for everyone.

It’s the SYSTEM that needs to REINVENT ITSELF.

Not us.


Following Your Dream Brings Bliss, but Not Always Money

By Alena Tugend
NY Times
January 24, 2014

WHEN Trent Brown was laid off from his job as a sales representative in 2010, he chose to view it as an opportunity to make a life change. Instead of searching for some other company job, he decided to help his wife, Janell, expand her cupcake and cake-making hobby into a business. Just six months after he lost his job, they opened One Sweet Slice in the Salt Lake City area where they lived.

Mr. Brown, 35, triumphantly wrote on his wifes blog, “Thank you for laying me off, corporate America.” Posing with their four children on <a href=" rel="nofollow">THEIR WEBSITE</a>, they represent one of those stories everyone loves. Lose your job, find a passion and turn it into a business that’s fun and successful.

But while their cakes and cupcakes garnered acclaim including winning Food Network’s television show “Cupcake Wars” and brought in substantial revenue, it wasn’t enough to support their family. And the decision to open a second store pushed them into unexpected debt.

“I’m pretty conservative and I knew it would be difficult, but it was a hundred times more difficult than I thought it would be,” Mr. Brown said.

Karin Hazelkorn wants to combine her business skills and knowledge of textiles. Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

So, even though “everyone thinks were wildly successful,” he decided he had to return to the corporate world to support his family. And given his age, it was a realistic option. While his wife is still in charge of overseeing the stores, a few weeks ago he started a job as an interactive marketing manager.

In these times of job insecurity and rapidly evolving careers, reinvention is both a dream and a comfort for many.

“During the Great Recession, when the labor market was at its weakest, business creation rose to record highs,” said Dane Stangler, director of research at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

From 2004 to 2010, the number of new businesses both those with employees and one-person operations - grew steadily from an average of 470,000 a month to an average of 565,000 a month annually, according to the Kauffmann Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, an annual study conducted by the foundation. It dipped a little last year, probably because of the improving job market.

Its impossible to say how much of that business activity is part of a second career move. But according to, which helps people over 60 find meaningful work, a 2011 survey found that almost 40 percent of Americans aged 44 through 70 are already in or eager to start second careers.

But the numbers say nothing about the true human and financial cost of reinvention - or the failure to reinvent. So maybe its time to step back and CONSIDER some of the lessons learned from those who didn’t strike it rich the first time out, or even the second, and, some experts suggest, judge ourselves less harshly in the process.

“We have an intoxication with starting fresh, with rebirth, with radical heroic transformation,” said Marc Freedman, chief executive of ENCORE. “It makes for a very dramatic story, but it sets an impossibly high bar for people at any stage of life.”

“That doesn’t mean,” he said, “that people can’t move to different paths and successfully change careers.” But rather than reinvention, we should look at it as reintegration - of building on the knowledge, interests and skills a person already has.

The image of throwing out a past career, he said, and careening in a totally different direction is “unrealistic and misleading.”

Karin Hazelkorn, 59, can attest to this. She took a generous buyout from Cisco Systems in 2011, where she worked for 12 years in marketing, business development and project management, with the aim of converting her love of handcrafted textiles - and desire to preserve the craft into a new career.

She moved from San Francisco to New York for half a year, took classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, went to industry trade shows and traveled to Southeast Asia to test her idea of creating a partnership between textile artisans and fashion houses.

But it was’t coming together. She admired those people who seemed to go from “banker to baker” and felt a little deficient.

“Did they work harder than me? Have better contacts?” she said.

Eventually she decided her initial idea wouldn’t work, and now is considering other opportunities that will combine her business skills and knowledge of textiles. She is excited, but it is different from her original plan.

“I would tell people to really build on the skills you have,” Ms. Hazelkorn said. “It may not be exactly what you wanted to do, but its a more natural move.”

“The inspiring stories that portray drastic career moves in a rosy light are coming from a good place,” said Ofer Sharone, a professor of work and employment research at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “But they go too far. They paint a picture that someone can take complete control, when they can’t.”

And, not everyone knows her passion or has one.

“People in the labor market are blaming themselves for not being able to find a passion,” said Professor Sharone, author of the book “Flawed System/Flawed Self: Job Searching and Unemployment Experiences.” “The presumption is everyone has a deep-seated passion, but they might not.”

Dreaming big while being realistic is one critical piece of advice. Another is to have a financial cushion.

Kevin Lincoln, who was laid off in 2006 from his job at a paper mill in Green Bay, Wis., after 34 years, was one of the fortunate ones. His severance package included displaced workers benefits that paid for training and education. He went to a community college to study leadership and management, graduating with almost straight As. But the jobs were hard to come by - largely he believes, because of his age - and he’s now working as a delivery driver for about half his previous salary.

“It’s easy to say I’m going to reinvent myself, said Mr. Lincoln, 62. “Just go and try.”

“Without financial resources,” said David Blustein, a professor of counseling, developmental and educational psychology at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, “people need to think of a survival job in the short term, and ideally scaffold up to a long-term plan.”

Tiffany Aliche, 30, of Newark, had savings. But her desire to become a financial coach after being laid off as a preschool teacher cost her big. She went through her savings and ended up moving back in with her parents. Her condominium went into preforeclosure, and she reduced her possessions to fit into two suitcases.

But by working free and doing relentless social media marketing, she started her company, the Budgetnista, last year, and made almost as much as she did as a preschool teacher. She said she hoped to surpass that this year.

But knowing that her family would never let her end up homeless or starving is what allowed her to continue, she said.

Something that is not always obvious is that critical success does not always equal financial success. One writer who wanted to see if she could develop a thriving business making artisanal jams said the impressive accolades and awards were wonderful, but “there was no money.”

Of course, everyone defines financial success differently. For some it’s reaping in large profits. For others, its not going bankrupt.

That’s the case for Seely Gerraughty. Fifteen years ago, she and her husband left their jobs in Houston and bought a deserted crack house in Narragansett, R.I. Ms. Gerraughty, who was a medical social worker, and her husband, a national editor at The Houston Chronicle, turned it into the Blueberry Cove Inn.

The first year they made $50 in profit. Now the inn is successful, in that it has survived and is usually full during the high season. “But most of our profit is plugged back into the infrastructure,” said Ms. Gerraughty, 57.

“Owning a B&B may seem like a dream career, if you gloss over the fact you’re on duty 24/7 and I worked from July to November without a single day off. There is brutal, grinding work behind any small business,” Ms. Gerraughty said.

But the Gerraughtys cannot say they did not know what they were getting into. They did their research before deciding to buy an inn, particularly by going into online chat rooms of trade organizations.

“In those chat rooms, they don’t paint the rosy pictures,” she said.

Mr. Brown agreed, saying he wished he and his wife had better understood some basics, like pricing and costs, before plunging in.

Now they review their financials with local free assistance from the Small Business Administration and their marketing strategies with mentors from SCORE, which provides free mentoring and workshops for small businesses.

And Ms. Hazelkorn said it was crucial to talk to people and ask pointed questions - from those who will give you real-world feedback on your ideas, not just friends and colleagues who will encourage you.

Of course if your second career doesnt work out or you tire of it, there’s always the possibility of a third one.

“I’m not settled on a career choice,” Ms. Gerraughty said. “I like long drives.  I’m thinking of long-haul truck driving.”


Posted by Elvis on 01/26/14 •
Section Dealing with Layoff
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Protecting Unemployed Older Job Hunters


Ever fill out a JOB APPLICATION that only accepts people currently working?

It may be illegal


Federal Law Protects Workers in New Jersey, New York, and Elsewhere from Unlawful Age Discrimination

By Resnick Law Group, P.C.
The New Jersey Employment Blog
January 14, 2014

Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday has agreed to settle a class-action age discrimination lawsuit for a total of $575,000. In EEOC v. Ruby Tuesday, Inc., the nation’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) accused at least six Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Pennsylvania and Ohio of engaging in discrimination against job applicants over age 40 in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). In addition, the restaurant chain allegedly failed to comply with provisions of the ADEA and EEOC regulations that require a business to maintain a copy of employment applications.

As part of the settlement, Ruby Tuesday must work to recruit and hire employees who are over age 40 at the six affected restaurant locations and ensure that all company job advertisements are created in accordance with ADEA requirements. The restaurant chain is also required to conduct regular audits to monitor each restaurant’s compliance with the law and ensure that no future discrimination based upon a job applicant’s or worker’s age takes place. Additionally, Ruby Tuesday has agreed to evaluate managers and other individuals with hiring authority at the affected restaurants based upon his or her ability to recruit and hire older workers. The restaurant chain must also provide extensive training regarding ADEA compliance to a designated compliance monitor, human resources personnel, and anyone with hiring authority at the six restaurants. Finally, Ruby Tuesday agreed to maintain all records related to company hiring practices and provide regular written reports to the EEOC.

Older workers often bring greater experience and leadership skills to the workplace. Despite that aging is a fact of life, some employers choose to discriminate against employees who are over age 40. If a manager makes his or her hiring, compensation, promotion, termination, or other employment decisions based upon a worker’s age, discrimination has occurred. As this case demonstrates, federal law protects workers who are over age 40 from age discrimination. In addition, employment laws in both New York and New Jersey provide discrimination protections for all adult workers or job candidates regardless of age.

Do not hesitate to call the Resnick Law Group, P.C. at 973-781-1204 or 646-867-7997 if you believe you were unlawfully discriminated against by a New Jersey or New York employer. The quality employment lawyers at the Resnick Law Group represent job applicants and both current and former employees in New Jersey and New York with matters involving workplace rights violations. To discuss your situation with a quality advocate, please contact the Resnick Law Group through our website today.


Posted by Elvis on 01/20/14 •
Section Dealing with Layoff
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