Saturday, January 29, 2011

8 Signs It's Time to Change Jobs

Over the past couple of years people were just happy to have a job. But now with an improving economy and increased hiring, some of you are taking stock of your current employment situation. When do you know it’s really time to change jobs? A few years ago this list came out and it’s credited to Richard Bayer, Ph.D., chief operating officer of The Five O'Clock Club (, a national career-counseling network based in New York City:

1. You don't fit in. Your values don't match the company's. If your colleagues are "dishonest and focused on getting ahead regardless of legal or moral barriers," Bayer says it's time to quit before an Enron-style scandal sinks the ship.

2. Your boss doesn't like you and you don't like him or her. If your boss never asks your opinion, and never wants to chat or have lunch with you, and if you disagree with his or her agenda and dislike their style, your days are numbered. Adds Bayer: "If you've ever done something that undermined your boss, you might as well get out now."

3. Your peers don't like you. Feeling isolated, gossiped about, and excluded from the inner workings of the organization is a very bad sign, as is feeling that you're not part of the team and wouldn't socialize with your colleagues even if they asked you.

4. You don't get assignments that demonstrate the full range of your abilities. "Watching all the good assignments go to others, while you're given the ones that play to your weaknesses or are beneath your professional level, should tell you something," says Bayer. Likewise, if it seems the boss doesn't trust your judgment, you're in trouble.

5. You always get called upon to do the "grunt work." Everybody has to take on a dull or routine task now and then, but if you are constantly being singled out to do the work no one else wants, alarm bells should ring.

6. You are excluded from meetings your peers are invited to. Sound familiar? If it's painfully clear that your ideas aren't valued, why stick around?

7. Everyone on your level has an office. You have a cubicle in the hallway. Bayer notes that, whatever your title, your digs can speak volumes about your real status in the organization. If your peers have offices with windows and you're asked to move into a broom closet - no matter what the official explanation - start cleaning out your desk.

8. You dread going to work and feel like you're developing an ulcer. Ah, here's yet another of your symptoms, and a particularly nasty one at that.

Any of these signs striking close to home? If so, it might be time to update that resume and start looking for greener pastures.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

That Giant Sucking Sound

Ross Perot coined this phrase back in the early 90’s as he objected to NAFTA during his campaign for the Presidency. Boone Pickens resurrected it a couple of years ago in describing the impact of foreign oil on the U.S. economy. And now I can think of no better to describe what might happen to our fragile economic recovery in 2011 and is certain to happen eventually.

Ok, I’m on the record as being eternally pessimistic and I tend to be uncomfortable when things are going well. But I take no pleasure in predicting that we will soon be back in recession mode. It’s not complicated. We cannot take 350-400 Million dollars per day out of consumer pockets and expect to keep the economy on track. It just doesn’t work. Some are forecasting that summer gasoline prices will be in the $3.75-4.00 per gallon range. At least a dollar per gallon more than it was in 2010. The United States consumes between 350 and 400 million gallons of gasoline per day. (That’s just gasoline…not diesel or any other petroleum related products).

The knockout punch in 2008 may have been the housing bubble or the credit crunch, but it was set up by months of body blows in the form of rapidly rising gasoline prices. When you take $100 or $200 out of a family’s monthly budget just to buy gasoline, it will soon take its toll on the economy. IF the $3.75-$4.00 per gallon predictions are correct, we will be taking almost $150 BILLION PER YEAR out of mainstream economic circulation. Yes, some of it does stay in this country and some individuals prosper from higher oil prices and spend those dollars on other goods and services. But for the most part, it’s bad for our economy. Depending upon what you believe about how a dollar circulates through the economy when used to buy something other than gasoline, the real economic effect is multiplied two or three times.

However, some are saying that we will dodge the big bullet, at least for awhile. If gasoline prices settle in at around $3.25 per gallon this year as most industry analysts predict, the economy may wobble a bit, but should be able to maintain the forward momentum. The real question is not IF gasoline will get back to $4 per gallon, but WHEN. And when it does, That Giant Sucking Sound will be too loud to ignore.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why Are We Shocked?

For the past week everyone has had their say or written about the shootings in Tucson. Well, I might as well take my turn.

First of all I don’t know what caused this particular tragedy. I’m not that smart. But I’m not shocked when something like this happens.

Secondly, I don’t know whom we should hold responsible (other than the shooter). I’m not that smart. But I’m not shocked that someone would commit this heinous act of violence.

Third, I don’t know how to prevent this type of tragedy from happening again. I’m not that smart. But, I won’t be shocked when it does happen again.

Why are we shocked? We live in a violent world. The United States is a violent nation. We like our guns and we like to shoot them. I own guns, several guns including handguns, shotguns and rifles. I like my guns, I like to shoot them; and I will use them to protect my family. I believe that we should have the right to bear arms, but not without rules and limitations. It is way too easy for people to get guns in this country. I don’t have a good answer. I know that deranged people will find a way to act on their violent intentions with or without a semi-automatic and a twenty round clip. I know that criminals will find a way to get weapons. So I’m not shocked when someone uses a gun to commit a violent act.

Why are we shocked? Television, movies and video games deliver messages that violence gets results. Some of my favorite movies are those where the lonely hero exacts bloody vengeance on the evildoers. Who didn’t cheer when, in Lonesome Dove, Gus McRae said “They don't know yet, but the wrath of the Lord is about to descend on 'em come sundown”.
Then he proceeds to single-handedly wipe out the villains who had kidnapped and raped Ms. Lorena. When Denzel Washington goes after Dakota Fanning’s kidnappers in the movie “Man on Fire”, it is a beautiful thing. And I was all for Clarence (Christian Slater) shooting that nasty pimp, Drexl (Gary Oldman) in the ‘nads and then between the eyes in True Romance. However, some people cannot separate reality from fiction. Violence becomes a solution. Violence is justice served, payback earned. So again, I am not shocked when someone commits a violent act.

Why are we shocked….when a madman shooter gets not just 15 minutes of fame, but days and weeks and fame forever? For the crazies out there, the only question becomes…how to go out with a big enough bang. Oklahoma City, Columbine, the Beltway Snipers, Virginia Tech…now Tucson. We want to know about them. We need to know about them. But their desire to be known, or at least to do a thing that will be known forever, is somehow part of their madness. I am not shocked when someone on the edge chooses violence as a pathway to celebrity status.

Why are we shocked when a mentally ill person commits a violent crime? Why are shocked when we find out that a violent act was committed by someone “under the influence”? Why are we shocked that someone did not do something sooner when all the signs were there? Why are we shocked? Because we cannot face reality. We cannot face the reality of a problem that is so huge and so unmanageable, that we know it will happen again. So we pacify ourselves by agreeing to “tone down the rhetoric”, to engage in “more civil discourse”, to be nice and respectful, to not use violent metaphors as we compete in politics, sports and commerce. We agree to tip-toe through the crazies and pray that we are not their next target. Why are we shocked?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Too Busy To Blog

That is this week’s message. I see it as good news for all of us. Being ever the pessimist (as noted more than once in prior blogs) this too shall pass. But for now, our firm is busy. Companies are starting to hire and finding the right people in the right places is becoming a challenge. So I’m going to take the easy way out this week and use someone else’s material. did a survey some years back (2002 as I recall). They gathered feedback from over 2500 recruiters and came up with “THE TOP TWENTY THINGS RECRUITERS HATE ABOUT RESUMES”. I think it’s still a pretty good list and worthy of your consideration.

1. Spelling Errors, Typos and Poor Grammar
2. Too Duty Oriented - reads like a job description and fails to explain what the job seeker's accomplishments were and how they did so.
3. Dates not included or inaccurate dates
4. Contact Info - none or inaccurate contact info or unprofessional email addresses
5. Poor formatting - boxes, templates, tables, use of header and footers, etc
6. Functional Resumes as opposed to writing a Chronological Resume
7. Long Resumes - too long
8. Paragraphs - Long Paragraphs . not Bullet-points
9. Unqualified Candidates - Candidates who apply to positions they are not qualified for
10. Personal Info not relative to the Job
11. Employer info not included and/or not telling what industry or product candidate worked in
12. Lying, misleading (especially in terms of education, dates and inflated
13. Objectives or Meaningless Introductions
14. Font Choice - poor font choice or style
15. Resumes sent in .pdf, .zip files, faxed, web page resumes, mailed resumes and not sent as WORD Attachment
16. Pictures, Graphics or URL links no recruiter will call up
17. No easy to follow summary
18. 1st or 3rd Person - Resumes in either 1st or 3rd Person
19. Gaps in employment
20. Burying important info in the resume

Now I'm going to get back to work. I've got resumes to read.