It’s easy to conclude that this job market is terrible for everyone, even young people. But I don’t buy it. I think it’s very bad if you are old, and not so bad if you are young. And that we get a skewed view of the stress level out there because older people tend to run big news operations — offline and on — and really have no sense of how younger people are handling the downturn. Read more
One of the hardest things about being unemployed is worrying that you will not end up in a good job. People want to be picky, but that’s a mistake. You should take any job. It really doesn’t matter. You’re better off taking any job and then start trading up.
Here’s why: Read more
Here’s an idea for what women should do if they’re unemployed: Have a baby. Your first reaction is probably that this is a throwback to the 1950s. But it’s not. This is the most up-to-date career advice you’re going to get for dealing with a down-in-the-dumps job market.
Here’s why a stint of unemployment is a great time to have a baby: Read more
The end of December is one of the hardest times of the year to be unemployed. The peer pressure for good cheer is outrageous, the financial pressure of gifts is huge even for those with a steady paycheck, and the constant catchup with friends and family means everyone will ask, “how are you doing?”
Here are ways to feel better in these situations if you are having a tough time right now.
1. Remember that most people have empathy.
The biggest shift in the workplace is that unemployment always looms, for everyone. It used to be that people who had “good careers” did not have to worry about being unemployed. These people had a ticket to retirement if they just stayed in one place and put in their hours. In those days, being unemployed was the equivalent of being a failure. Those days are over. Today everyone worries about being unemployed. Most people have been laid off more than once. Almost no one is so arrogant to think they are better than you because you can't find a job right now. And if you do meet someone who snubs their nose: They are delusional and out of touch, and should probably be more worried than everyone else about their own employment. Read more
My company, Brazen Careerist, partnered with PayScale to come up with a list of the Top 50 Employers for Gen Y. The list is based on what we at Brazen Careerist know about Gen Y and the new workplace, and what PayScale knows about slicing and dicing workplace data.
To me, the most interesting thing about Top 50 lists like this is the assumptions behind them. So here are the assumptions I think are interesting:
1. Salary negotiations are over.
In most polls, if you ask Gen Y what they care about when choosing a place to work, the top three things will be, in varying orders: flexibility, interesting work, and likable co-workers.
You will notice that salary is missing from the list. Many people assume this is because Gen Y doesn't care about salary. In fact, they care a lot. No generation has more debt than Gen Y, and no generation is more financially knowledgeable so early on in their lives as Gen Y.
Gen Y doesn't consider salary to be a huge factor in choosing a place to work because Gen Y knows that salary data is public. The days when a company can screw you by underpaying you are over. Anyone can go to a place like Payscale and find out what other people in a similar geographic location are getting paid for a similar job. Read more
But many of you are making lots of social media mistakes. I know because so many people tell me that social media is a waste of their time. They're wasting their time, and continuing to make mistakes, because there's a set of common lies that people believe about social media. Here are those lies:
Lie #1: LinkedIn is for networking.
LinkedIn is great. I'm on LinkedIn. I have 650 connections. At first I wondered, why do I need this list of connections published on LinkedIn? What was the purpose of it? But now I get it. With LinkedIn, people can tell that I am a very connected person.
Most of you already know I'm well connected—I'm a print journalist, blogger, and startup founder, which are all very network-intensive jobs. But if you're someone who doesn't know how to tell whether someone is connected, LinkedIn is a great scorecard.
Potential employers like LinkedIn because they can glance at your LinkedIn profile and get a sense of how connected you are and how much money you make. (Yes, large networks correlate to large salaries.) That’s the utility of the scorecard. Read more
Here is my advice about job hunting long-distance: Forget it. It’s not going to work for most of you, and you’ll need to relocate before you get the job. But for a few of you, there’s hope for a long-distance job hunt will work. So, here’s some advice if you must make it work:
1. Pitch yourself as specialized.
Most people are relocating from a city that is in low demand to a city that is high demand. For example: Tucson to San Francisco. There are not a lot of skill sets that someone has to look outside San Francisco to get. If you want to get a job from Tucson, you need to have one of those skill sets that people do not think they can hire for in San Francisco. Usually this means that you’re very specialized. So, the first thing about getting a job in a city you don’t live in is that you need to be very specialized or in high demand.
The idea behind being a specialist is that you are so good at a very specific thing that people are unlikely to find someone as good as you locally. Sometimes a good career coach can help you rewrite your resume to focus on a specialty. If you don’t have one, a good primer for finding a specialty is reading about the funeral industry, where you have to specialize in something (sometimes weird) in order to survive. Read more
People always ask me to answer questions on my blog. So I am sort of going to answer questions. Questions I hate (that I have edited to save people from the trauma I probably caused David Dellifield):
Email number one: The obnoxious reference check
[Name redacted] is applying for a position at our company and listed you as a reference. I was hoping that you could complete the brief questionnaire attached to this email to provide your feedback. Thank you in advance for your help, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
This email is from InvestorGuide.com. Let me tell you something: That questionnaire was not brief. It was about ten essay questions and then insanely inapplicable multiple choice questions.
This company is ridiculous for sending an onerous questionnaire to references. For one thing, it puts me in a bad spot because I loved working with the guy who gave my name as a reference, so I want to give him a good report, so I have no choice but to fill out the BS questions and try to have a good attitude.
The other reason the company should not send a form like this is they look incompetent. Not just for destroying the relationships potential new hires have with their references, but also for not being able to make hiring decisions without asking a third-party if the candidate is professional. Seriously. Open your eyes in the interview, guys. Read more
Be careful who you take career advice from. Knowing who to take advice from is a really good skill for any aspect of your life, but especially in the field of work, because work is changing very fast right now. A lot of advice that was good ten years ago is not good now. And people who are using old language to talk about contemporary careers are thinking in terms that will pull you off track.
Here are three examples of topics your parents talk about all the time in their careers, but these topics will not be a part of new millennium careers. Watch out for these three terms — they probably come with outdated advice.
1. Career change
When Baby Boomers change careers, they stand on mountaintops. They announce that career change is a new trend, and they are doing it, of course, to save the world. The Baby Boomer specialty is saving the world by screaming from mountaintops, and then borrowing some more money to support that habit.
The other thing about Baby Boomers and career change is that they didn't really do it before now. I mean, they did, but it was cataclysmic and often seen as reckless. For example, it's what men did in their 40s after a midlife crises. Or what people did when they got to middle management and realized they were sub-par at their chosen career. (Note: It's very easy to delude yourself that you're competent until you get to your mid-30s. Around then, the less competent end up competing with people in their late 20s and losing.) Read more
Everyone thinks transparency and authenticity are great. But sometimes you need to rein them in. I've talked about how I do this with my blog, which is really an example of how I rein myself in at work. There are times we each have to do this at work, and in some cases, we need to lie. Here are three times:
1. Lie if you are a messy person.
People make a wide range of judgments based on your office, whether you like it or not. For example, a plant makes you look stable, and a candy dish makes you look like an extrovert, according to Sam Gosling, professor of psychology at University of Texas and the owner of the hottest head shot I have ever linked to on a university web site.
If you have a messy desk, people think you're incompetent. They think you are overwhelmed by your workload, that you are not conscientious, and that you are not thinking clearly. It doesn't really matter if you really are those things, since you are promoted and fired based on peoples' perceptions of you. You cannot control for what people base their perceptions on, but you can make changes in your life to change how people perceive you. So do that.
But before you say messiness should be acceptable, consider this report in the Economist, that shows people are nicer, and better versions of themselves, in an environment that is neat and clean. Read more
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