The Desk

September 8, 2014

The Minimum Wage Push

It was May 23 that I said we need to increase the minimum wage and that it would happen. By June 1 I was back on the increase minimum wage soapbox. The Federal Congress didn’t seem to want to listen to me. A few weeks later, they said “no” to increasing the minimum wage. Ah, but that was June and July. This is November.

It seems as though more than just dear George are listening to the populace. Among the election revelations was that several additional states voted to increase the minimum wage. It appears the federal government will adopt a resolution to increase the minimum wage.

This minimum wage increase issue is still being fought tooth and nail. Commentary on this morning’s news brought out the fact that for each 10 percent increase in wage there will be an accompanying 2 percent decrease in number of jobs available. The spokes person advocated for retaining the minimum wage. The logic is that it provides a great bottom-line entry-level wage for new workers. It is not fair to increase the wage and then cause minorities and especially minority youth to lose their opportunities at gaining work experience at entry-level wages. Unfortunately, the spokes person did not take into consideration that there are veteran workers who still slave at minimum wage and work three and four jobs at that wage in order to support them selves and their families.

What’s interesting about the conservative argument is that it so profoundly and adversely affects the minority communities. Imagine having someone from any one of those communities turn to you and say they cannot escape from the blight in which they live because they are force to live on minimum earnings, if that. Additionally, they foresee that business in their community will die out because “you can’t buy anything if you don’t have anything to buy it with.” No discretionary income means no spending on entertainment. It means hold the standard low for learning and achievement. It means kill the potential for qualified skilled workers. It means the American Dream will become welfare and less than meager existence. Sloth.

Yes, adjustments will have to be made because of raising the minimum wage. No doubt the cost of goods will be increased in order to absorb some of the cost. The increase will be so marginal compared with the opportunity value of the wage increase that those affected by price increases will hardly complain. In fact, they’ll rejoice at the fact that they are able to purchase and enjoy.

Salary increases are not the means of retaining good personnel. But good, livable wages are the way to attract willing workers who are interested in doing a good job. And those livable wages are a means of saying “thank you” to those who are willing to do their part in contributing to Domestic Product.

[Republished from The Desk (on Recruiter.com), Trends and Forecasts, November 9, 2006]

July 22, 2014

EEOC Announces Expansion of “Disabled”

Today I’m working on clearing some content off of my desk so that I can return to better productivity. Today I’m going to share with you a bit of the processes (but not all of them!) I go through to come up with some of the answers that are shared with my readers.

This particular topic isn’t quite as old as the research from the Meet the Press April 27 assertions about Asian women being the lowest paid of the minorities. And it doesn’t quite match the things I found about how recruiters review profiles on LinkedIn. Oh, there are quite a few things that have been crushing The Desk. But the matter of the expansion of the definition of “disabled” needs to be better organized and in a folder of its own.

It was late February or early March when I read an email that brought awareness of the fact that the EEOC had expanded the definition of “disabled” so that it now includes non-visible disabilities. The case related to Williams v. Toyota Motor Mfg. where a production line worker developed carpel tunnel syndrome and was not provided with sufficient accommodations for her disability. You’d think a simple thing like muscle strain would not give rise to such a momentous change in the law. But another phenomenon that was happening was people with diabetes or having been diagnosed with breast cancer were also suing their employers for disabling conditions that kicked them out of the employment arena.

12" wire cart accessibility device

A shopping cart or accessibility device?

I took this change in law to the Accessibility Advisory Committee’s March (or was it April) meeting because the Committee focuses on accessibility issues for seniors and the disabled. They needed to know about this change in definition. Also significant to the group’s awareness was the fact that I was the one who brought to their attention the matter of non-visible disabilities at the August 2013 meeting. The Committee, therefore, in its efforts to effectively serve its constituents was leading other organizations with regard to the matter. And the Committee could be said to be on the cutting edge of disability awareness and accommodation regulations and ways to address how they provide accommodations.

Unfortunately, that Public Comment was omitted from the meeting minutes in spite of the fact that several who were present asked for the information to be repeated while they feverishly copied the name of the case into their notes. It was necessary to find that email message again or at least the additional Web content that backed it up so that the accuracy of the shared information could be assured. And that’s when The Desk started growing its slush pile.

My efforts to commute on public transportation were meeting with increasing denials. My efforts to effect change and improvement through membership on the Committee were being met with increasing resistance and suspicion. I was finding I was spinning my wheels while being cut out of conversations and opportunities to provide input on driver training modifications. Worse yet, it began to appear that the presentation I’d done regarding non-visible disabilities was going to become (or had already become) yet another instance of watching my work be credited to someone else’s efforts while I sat on the sidelines with a reputation as a troublemaker but no attribution to the originator of the content. That isn’t what consulting is about.

  • Out of frustration, I took a new step by bringing my concerns to the Metro Board. But first, I wanted in my hand an official definition of a non-visible disability. I found What is an Invisible Disability?
  • It’s one thing to go before a body with a lot of platitudes and shrieks about “do something”. But a governing body has little room for action when it has few facts on which to operate. If I were on that body, I would want to know the size of the population that’s being affected. In answer to that, I researched on the string “how many suffer from non-visible disabilities

It isn’t clear whether Metro will make modifications to their operator training so that the drivers are much more sensitive to the fact that there is a class of commuter that is disabled but the evidence of their limitations is not obvious. They should not be accused of being shiftless homeless people. They should not be denied transportation. They should not be forced to over-exert themselves when simple deployment of a ramp (that is supposed to make boarding easier) could be done. They need to be cognizant that the person may have just exited their doctor’s office and are operating on instructions to limit certain activities. They may be suffering from an ailment that causes impairment to their balance.

Pass-ups happen to more than individuals using wheelchairs. Sometimes they happen because the person wasn’t paying attention; the bus approached and they didn’t collect their self fast enough so that the operator could stay on schedule. Those with sleep apnea may doze off without any fault on their part. Or just the fatigue of having to ride the bus all day to accomplish a paltry number of things (one or two) has worn the individual into an ennui. Unfortunately, the Chair of the Committee doesn’t seem to appreciate these conditions.

Furthermore, commuters should be treated with respect. Insulting words and insinuations are simply not appropriate and will cause your customer base to be motivated to find an alternative.

There you see some of it. These are just part of the process of collecting the information that falls on The Desk that needs to be reported to you, especially as today’s content relates to the volumes about the expansion of “disability” as it relates to non-visible disabilities.

Sponsored Link:

Sociopolitical Aspects of Disabilities: The Social Perspectives and Political History of Disabilities and Rehabilitation in the United States

 

July 8, 2014

Vocabulary Builder: STEM

Filed under: Vocabulary Builder — Yvonne LaRose @ 11:20 PM
Tags: , , ,

It’s an acronym that’s been popular in the world of education since 2001. It has to do with encouraging youth, especially girls, to consider challenging themselves with certain subjects that are not the usual curriculum for girls. It encourages all youth to enjoy the subjects and fulfill their natural curiosity about something called

  • S
  • T
  • E
  • M

Who can tell me what these letters stand for?

There’s a new focus that proposes that STEM should become STEAM. Any idea what the “A” stands for?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could encourage more people to be more involved in these subjects? With the popularity of things such as Androids and iPhones, not to mention the advancements of online games and moving our lives into actually living Star Trek lives, it would seem there would be few who are shy about delving into STEM and the things that relate to it.

So What does STEM mean? Maybe we should be talking about STEAM.

Maybe a better question is what are you doing about bringing it into more lives?

Additional Resources:

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June 21, 2014

Personality: Being a Great Boss

Filed under: Education and Training,Leaders — Yvonne LaRose @ 10:48 AM
Tags: , , , ,

This week was full. There were many things to take in. But by far, the most compelling was an instagraph about personality traits a leader needs to have. Do you agree with the 12 traits? There’s one additional that’s sort of obscured because it’s w-a-a-a-a-y down at the bottom. It’s called encouraging good habits.

great boss personality traits

Although it’s more an advertisement disguised as a blog post, the content is still worth taking into consideration. It’s especially important for women who are climbing and clawing their way out of being a support person and into being a manager, a leader, a boss. It puts things into perspective and turns the lens of the camera [of investigation] back on the user. Many times, the problem is internal and comes from what you are projecting onto others and your environment.

It can be overwhelming to try to develop all of these traits in one sitting or one day. Habits are developed over time. Personality traits are developed over time. They may be deliberate efforts in the initial stages. But eventually, they no longer need any thought. It’s been internalized to such an extent that it’s simply the automatic reaction, a bit like developing muscle memory when training for a physical activity.

It was once said that in order to conquer something so that it becomes ingrained, it must be repeated at least seven times. With self governance practices, it would be more accurate to say it must be done at least everyday for about a month. But that isn’t the end of the exercise in developing a habit. Practice is usually done in a private place. So the next step in developing a habit is to develop the boldness to do it in public and without embarrassment. The goal is to make it your habit – your positive habit.

Let’s say you already have some of these traits in your arsenal of positive traits. What’s the first one you’re going to work on developing and the one after that? Are you going to seek out a support system to pull these things together? Maybe they don’t even need to be told they’re part of your support system. They’re merely your friends or colleagues who are part of your associations. Isn’t that great? They can watch you evolve before their eyes. You can measure how well you’re doing by the reactions they have to what you’re doing. Sneaky little thing, that. [snickering] Of course, another way to accomplish one of those traits is to learn how to encourage collaboration, which is another way of creating informal mentoring and training relationships. Get busy learning about developing yourself so you can do likewise with others.

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June 9, 2014

The Growing and the Going

Here’s some interesting news. The job market is opening up again. Unemployment claims are down from the April 2014 statistics. “Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 1.2 percentage points and 1.9 million, respectively.” (Employment Situation Summary of June 6, 2014) Nonetheless, the critical questions are

  • In what industries is there positive growth?
  • Are there age limitations on these opportunities?
  • What is the average salary?
  • How much education is required?

Growth Jobs

Now these are some excellent things to take into consideration. The first article I found lists seven careers that are growing while offering compensation at significantly more than a minimum wage. All of them require at least an Associate’s degree. But the average pay starts at approximately $22 (computer support specialist and paralegal) and increases to just over $34 (diagnostic medical sonographer and dental hygienist). Sandwiched inbetween are occupations such as police officer, web designer, and registered nurse.

It’s important to also state that “all wage information [is] from the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Employment and Wages data, May 2013.”

A police officer is going to have age (35 years) and physical agility restrictions. The LAPD puts their officers through their specialized training and schooling. For some reason, it seems they are also required to learn penmanship. This would be a good occupation for someone who knows how to take orders, show restraint, know the difference between a situation that requires active intervention and when just talking the individuals into calmness is appropos. This occupation also requires good listening skills and being objective.

A dental hygienist is also going to have physical demands on their abilities. Standing for long periods of time and the ability to reach, especially at odd angles, are things that should be considered.

The jobs that require personal interaction with people will also require good listening skills, sensitivity to what’s happening with the person with whom you’re dealing, and the ability to tactfully and accurately give instructions. Where reports need to be prepared as part of the follow up, good grammar and spelling are imperative.

Take a look at the occupations that are enumerated. Some of them can be accomplished while seated, even seated at home. So don’t rule out web design just because you can’t sit in the traditional cubicle. (In fact, maybe you want to celebrate that one!)

Shrinking Demand

The next five occupations are noted as having “salary information and projected job growth rates from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012.” The growth rates between 2010 to 2020 are low, in some cases only 5%, in one case as low as 0%. In other words, these are jobs to be avoided if you’re looking for long-term opportunities.

But I began to scrutinize the jobs a little closer and paid closer attention to the descriptions. Perhaps it isn’t so much a matter of the jobs dying as much as the titles are changing to something else. While a teller may be a job that holds little promise of a future (and low pay), it is a starting point in the world of finance. There is some merit to considering it as a job to get you through school at night while earning your degree – and the qualifications for the next step. That occupation is compared to opportunities as a financial analyst which requires more sophisticated skill sets and more advanced education.

Likewise, it was surprising to see that fashion designer is a fading occupation. However, the article attributes a number of factors such as competitiveness and allure of the trade contribute to its low pay. On the other hand, a position as an art director is a much more lucrative situation as far as compensation, growth, and opportunity for career diversity – not to mention prestige.

What’s in a name? It seems, quite a bit. The dental lab technician is a low paying job with little growth prospects. But turn that into being a dental hygienist and the options explode. Much like the teller jobs, it appears the lab tech is an entry-level situation that can be done while gaining education in order to take the next step.

A craft and fine artist has a lot of competition going against it in addition to poor economic conditions. However, before leaping into a career as a graphic artist (much more lucrative), consider the markets that the fine arts and crafts fields offer. Rehabilitative services can be delivered to those whose motor skills are impaired or in need of development. That creates opportunities for a broad age spectrum from small children who need to learn how to hold and manipulate instruments in order to do many things all the way to seniors who need to maintain their motorskills – and all the folks on the spectrum inbetween.

Which leads me to the last category of jobs that are fading – credit authorizer compared with actuary. While the availability of online credit reports is creating pressure on the life of the credit authorizer, there will still be banks and real estate businesses (title companies, for example) that will rely on the authorizer’s collection of data. Again, it’s a starting point; it doesn’t have to be done in a cubicle; there are low physical demands although the need for care in collecting and interpreting data for the correct individual or entity is paramount.

There for the Taking

These forecasts aren’t in a crystal ball. Anyone can access them for free by using the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a comprehensive tool published by the federal government. Portions of the information is available by using the salary calculator tool on any job website. And there are also salary websites (whose calculator tools are usually part of the job websites) such as Salary.com or PayScale.com. Use them in combination with other tools or just use one. Do your research. Keep yourself on a positive plane.

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May 18, 2014

Career Tip: Overcoming Recent Knowledge Objections

For whatever reason, you’ve been out of the formal employment situation for quite a while. You’ve also been out of school for more than two or three years. (Try approaching a decade or so.) All of those stellar accomplishments that happened while you were in the work world are becoming stale. One recruiter was tactless enough to tell you your skills aren’t sufficiently up to date to qualify for a temp assignment.

Have you been sitting in a dark room and doing absolutely nothing all this time or have you been active in all manner of activities that are being dismissed, even taken for granted? The only reason I would accept that excuse is if you were in a coma and on life support for an extended period of time. And even if that were true, your doctor probably prescribed occupational rehabilitative support so that you can get back into current practices. So you weren’t in a coma but maybe you were undergoing some type of traumatic illness that took you out of mainstream Life for a while. Start your own retraining regimen. (Maybe you already have but weren’t aware.)

It’s important to read everyday. Even the simple postings on social media are forcing you to read content, analyze it, and draw conclusions. Make certain real news is included in your diet of reading. Make certain you’re reading includes recreational content. Make certain your reading includes industry news that helps you recognize names of individuals as well as know which company merged with another – and which moved out of the state. Read.

Okay, so you haven’t been in school for a while. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to bury yourself in academic halls for another four to six years. There are continuing education classes offered that rely on not only being in a physical class room. There are online classes that can help you refresh your knowledge, remind you of techniques and tactics, and make you aware of innovations since you earned your degree. Maybe an online class or continuing education class of one hour in duration is the answer.

While we’re talking about school, there are some online universities that would like to add people who can teach a class. Investigate what their criteria for a course is. Since you have some time on your hands, you have time to research and outline your own course and present it – after you’ve done research on which universities are accepting new classes and what their terms are.

You’re blogging about your boring life and the travails of not finding things that are a match for what you have to offer. You’re taking your blogging skills for granted. Which platforms are you using? There are companies that need people who are skilled at using certain types of blogging platforms.

Then there’s technology. In addition to blogging, you may be capable of using software and applications with great ease. Maybe you’re even developing your own apps. Your cell phone is either an I-Phone or an Android, both of which use the tap and swipe methodology. You’ve probably ditched your stand alone and are now using a laptop. In fact, you’ve probably ditched your laptop and are now using a tablet (with wi-fi and double-sided camera). Are you getting some ideas yet about things you’ve been overlooking?

But we’re talking about actualizing new technology. We haven’t been talking about reinforcing existing knowledge. That’s fine. While you were “laid up”, situations arose wherein you could get involved in volunteer projects. Sure, they didn’t pay you dollars and cents for seeing your duties through to completion. But you were in charge of some aspect of the project or put your energies into fulfilling your duties. Volunteer projects can count toward maintaining skills and work experience.

In fact, that reminds me of a blog post that my colleague, Steve Levy, wrote about his being hospitalized. It was a time when hospitals didn’t allow patients to have access to the Internet. So Steve charmed one person after another and networked until he got permission to talk with the IT Department. They allowed him to have access to the Internet. His recruiting endeavors continued after a one day lapse. He gained new contacts at every rung of the hierarchy. I think he even picked up some candidates for some of his unfilled job orders. That post resonated with me in many ways.

There are many examples of unofficial things that are done that could be counted as applicable experience without straining to legitimize it. Too often we take situations for granted and miss the fact that they could be considered work experience. Too often we forget that what was done could have been a form of consulting. Just make certain you verify that interpretation before putting it forth without substantiation.

As for those continuing education classes, get your certificate that verifies your attendance and that you earned your credits. Then do some things in order to apply that refreshed, renewed knowledge. And then get out there and start networking so you can effectively market yourself.

Sponsored links:

 

April 29, 2014

Career Tip: Economics of Search

Job search can be a very expensive proposition. There are the costs of preparing your portfolio. Wardrobe and cosmetic expenses. Transportation costs. Hygiene related issues. We still aren’t talking about the cost of Internet access, stationery and reproduction costs, much less postage (do we still mail things via snail mail?).

Sometimes you need to rein in the costs so that you don’t go bankrupt, not from the lack of a steady income but because of the expenses of doing the job search. There are some strategies that can keep you looking sharp while saving your wallet.

Your interviewing outfit doesn’t have to be wool or satin (or sateen) or silk in order to have a professional appearance. A blend will work. If it’s washable (instead of dry clean only) and still has a crisp, finished look out of the dryer, all the better. Just remember to keep an iron handy in order to at least steam out little puckers and wrinkles.

Selecting your interview wardrobe at least the night before is a wise move. It gives you time to make any repairs that weren’t noticed the last time you wore the clothing. Stains can be handled instead of trying to find a substitute outfit 15 minutes before you’re supposed to walk out of the door. Does it still fit? If not, the night before gives you time to check for alternatives that are a good fit.

A woman who spent several years as a working, single mom bestowed some knowledge that has proved extremely useful over the years. Wear skirts and blouses (with a nice jacket) instead of a dress. Coordinates are good. They’ll work to create several looks and over time will make it appear you have a huge wardrobe. It may seem as though an ensemble would be more expensive but just the opposite is true. Where the blouse may need to be washed out on a nightly basis, the skirt (or slacks) will still have some wear available. It isn’t the entire outfit that needs to be cleaned in order to have a fresh outfit the next day.

Should you be shopping at Nieman Marcus or Saks or will an outfit from Out of the Closet work? Let’s think about this. You’re probably surviving on limited unemployment stipends. If the upscale stores are having a 75% off sale, you may be able to find a bargain. Buy at sale prices. Buy one, possibly two, items at a time in one month. If you can buy it over time (we’re returning to layaway sales), do so.

Also shop for classic styles that won’t age quickly and become oh so last year in three months. Classic styles will carry you through just about any employment setting and situation. Rely on them. If you can find a couple of items at a recycled clothing store and the item is gently worn, you’re a clever one and can show it.

Do you need to advertise (or share) how clever you are in your economies? Definitely not. That’s your little secret. It’ll allow you to have a latte with friends and some laughter time. It’ll make you better company. Maybe someone will want to share some insider lowdown with you about a particular company because you’re so clever and sharp looking.

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April 18, 2014

Traits of a Great Leader

Today’s HR Daily Advisor has an article that itemizes the 14 traits of a great leader according to Marvin Bower and then talks about the qualities of those traits. The 14 traits are listed here.

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Fairness
  3. Unassuming behavior
  4. Listening
  5. Open-minded
  6. Sensitivity to people
  7. Sensitivity to situations
  8. Initiative
  9. Good judgment
  10. Broad-mindedness
  11. Flexibility and adaptability
  12. Capacity to make sound and timely decisions
  13. Capacity to motivate
  14. Sense of urgency

You can go to the article to read a discussion of each attribute.

The order of these traits is interesting; I speculate about whether they’re ranked in order of importance or not. Whatever the ranking system, the next thing to consider is whether you, in your career goals, have these traits or not and what you can do to develop them. Author of the article, Dan Oswald, tells us many of these attributes cannot be taught but can be learned and developed. I would venture to say having reliable mentors and coaches is one way to accomplish the learning and development involved. Further, these coaches and mentors should demonstrate these attributes in their own dealings, no matter what the industry.

And then comes the tricky part – does Boss have these qualities. If not, which are excusable and which ones aren’t required in that milieu.

There’s one very important characteristic that’s missing from Bowers list. Have you been wondering about its absence? Perhaps we should talk about that one another day. It’s “good ethics.”

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February 25, 2014

Seniors Employer Finder

One feature of many job boards is to help a candidate search for the right types of jobs and to help them focus on jobs available in their area. Not many of them offer a specialty feature such as employers who are actively seeking those over 50. For that matter, not any of the ones I’ve seen offer special features or highlight opportunities for those with disabilities. But I digress.

I have found what appears to be a great job board and search engine that targets the over 50 demographic. It came in the form of an AARP email that talked about finding a job with better benefits. Then the web page talked about job search for those over 50 and best employers for that age range. And then the Nirvana Moment. It provided a link to the Best Employers Job Search Tool. There’s also a list compiled by AARP in association with Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) called the Best Employers for Workers Over 50 awards program. Since I found this resource in the Summer of last year, what I can do is send you to the 2013 Best Employers list.

It is “a biennial program that was started in 2001 and recognizes employers with exemplary practices for recruiting and retaining mature workers.” The award winner was How each employer was selected is worth a read. After learning that they submitted an application to be included in the list, the question that comes to mind is how many knew about this opportunity. And the next thing to ponder is (given that the usual response rate to surveys and calls to action is about 10%) how many actually participated in being considered. And yet another thing to think about is whether the list of candidates is growing in its existence and the extent or rate of the growth.

Some of the criteria for selection looks at whether the employer has “set outstanding examples through programs that help them retain, retrain, engage and recruit the older workers who will be increasingly crucial to their success and the success of the U.S. economy over the coming decade.” It’s so glad to know that seniors are valued for the long run. Another intersting criteria for making the list is innovative ways of attracting and retaining senior workers.

This is not some local yokel award. The search has expanded to include international companies. And they get into considering the more creative ways of not only attracting but also retaining these valued, seasoned workers. Many have the tendency to consider older workers not as viable for positions as the younger generations. It has been found that assumption is a myth that definitely needs to be dispelled.

It’s entirely possible to simply build a page of links. It’s much wiser to provide you with some of the more meaningful ones on this topic and allow you to explore in order to come up with some of your own ideas about how to show your appreciation of and keep your older workers.

Resources:

Sponsored Link:

The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today

 

November 27, 2013

Ask Yvonne: Striking Out on Job Search

Filed under: Career Tips,Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 2:09 PM

Ask Yvonne: Striking Out on Job Search. [Is there something I can do to] help me find out if there is something that comes up on a background check that is causing me to strike out over and over in my job search?

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