Archive for the ‘career’ Category

Is Entrepreneurship The New Degree?

June 5, 2012

I saw this clip of Alan Patricof and started wondering how the increase in entrepreneurship will influence the job market and hiring in the future. Historically… well a century ago… building a business was the norm for most people to earn a living. Granted the businesses were different, but earning a living was a family affair or that of a small group of people building a small company (a blacksmith for example). That isn’t to say that higher education didn’t exist, it just wasn’t the norm for most people. It wasn’t really required as anyone could build a great business and those that built great businesses were known as good people to work with. People learned from their most infuential failures and carefully refined their business models based on learning from these failures.

http://plus.cnbc.com/rssvideosearch/action/player/id/3000076777/code/cnbcplayershare

I wondered as Alan talked about all of the incubators and the startup fever that has taken over the nation (for the second time in 20 years) if entrepreneurship was more valuable than a degree. As a father and someone who believes that higher education is beneficial, I struggle with this thought. I know I would be proud of my boys if they built successful or failed startups, but would they do this instead of obtaining a degree?

What do you think?

Reducing Payroll Costs Closer to Home

April 25, 2009

I have been slowly following a series of cost reductions that seem to touch a lot of people I know (yes myself included). We have all heard the stories on the news about automotive workers, home builders, and financial industry types losing jobs and not having anywhere to go. These seem so distant though (despite my brother-in-law being laid off from GM and my sister-in-law, his wife, being laid off from Expedia). Yeah there are some home builders here putting people out of work, there was WaMu, there is Russell. We don’t have much in the way of auto workers around here though. We’ve got a fair amount of airplane and boat makers instead that seem to be less impacted. We clearly aren’t as bad off as other areas hit harder by the declines in these sectors.  Michigan has the highest unemployment rate at 12.6%, which is drastically different than Seattle’s unemployment rate of 8.7% (ranking it 191st on the list of major metropolitan areas). So what are the entities around here doing to reduce their costs if they aren’t closing up shop or laying off people? Surely the value of goods here in Seattle can’t be higher than the value of the goods elsewhere.

Organizations around here do seem to be reducing their costs. My friend Nathan has some great advice on reducing costs of running your business and the importance of cash flow. Other organizations out there (companies, nonprofits, government agencies) are all showing an interest in preserving cash too. Besides the great ideas for reducing operating costs that Nathan has, there are the payroll costs that usually take up a bulk of the costs. Obviously the fastest method to reduce the cost on people was to get rid of the dead weight these organizations were  carrying around for unnessessary projects or simply in an inneffective workforce. These are the numbers that we track on a grand scale. This is also what we hear the most of… “My friend lost their job”. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the agency that tracks these numbers. Their report for Washington State has things like, construction jobs being down 12.4%, Education and Health Services, Other Services, and Government as having an increase in jobs (1.3%, .3%, & 1.2% respectively), and a total of only a 4% drop in the last twelve months…

What do all these rises and drops in wages mean to the value of the goods we are buying and selling? Looking further at the data, the rise in the average hourly wage at a national level is roughly $5 over the last 10 years, that’s $.50/year. With an average hourly wage of $13.27 in January of 1999 and $18.43 in January of 2009. This doesn’t even include the rest of the real cost of hiring employees. Clearly we as employees cost more money these days (even if the output we are making is worth less due to decreased demand). The result? A paycut…. Of course!

The average paycut seems to be 5-10% (reflecting that on the hourly wages, 5% of $18.43, puts us back at the hourly wages of August 2007 – 10% puts back to the hourly wages of March 2006). With these kinds of cuts should we be looking to value our assets at these levels? The stock Market is much lower than the ’06 levels, the current value of the Dow is at 1998 levels. Should we be looking at wages from these levels? I sure hope not, that’s more of a 25% paycut…

So if we aren’t going to lay off a bunch of people, but we need to make our companies operate at the levels of 2006 and 2007, and perhaps even 1998. There needs to be methods for doing so, paycuts, benefit reductions, and furloughs seem to be popular choices. A few that I have heard about recently are summarized below. What about you? Are you an employee or a business owner? Are you part of a cost reduction? If you are an entrepreneur – are you paying yourself less?

Some non-layoff measures I’ve heard of lately (local and not so local):

Paycuts:

EMC Corporation – 5% accross the board for 2009, perhaps re-instated in 2010, then again maybe not. Executive staff took a previous paycut.

Siemens Business Services – Managers & directors took a paycut

Denali Advanced Integration – 5-20% paycut depending on level and margin contribution. Raises and bonuses frozen.

Microsoft – lowering the amount they are paying vendors by 10%, removing cost of living adjustments this year.

401(k) reductions:

EMC Corporation – no 401k matching

Chase (wamu) – no 401k matching

Furloughs:

Siemens Business Services – 5 days mandatory

USBank – US Bank’s furloughs were voluntary.

King County – 10 mandatory days (everyone takes them at the same time), Cost of Living Adjustments still happening (so more base pay, plus a few days off w/o pay)

Planned Parenthood – 5  mandatory days (take them at your convenience)

Add more in the comments or email and I’ll add them to the list…

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!!

August 15, 2007

Wow, what a week for career moves!!

I’m sure no one noticed the comment on one of my really old posts, but Kevin Sheets at Qualis healthcare posted an Exchange opening in the comments. He’s not sure about using my new job board that focuses on Technology Infrastructure jobs (including, you guessed it Exchange & Storage jobs), perhaps the niche job boards are a little over rated, but they only take a couple minutes to setup and even less time to peruse for a new job!! (Btw, you can post a job)

Of course that’s not the only job related news I have….

EMC is following the herd and putting on a hiring event in Second Life!! I’m not sure if anyone is still in Second Life, but if they are EMC is going to try and recruit them…. The link has a bunch of jobs EMC is recruiting for, but nothing on where the physical location of the jobs will be (I don’t think they are hiring engineers to have a desk in world). In fact, I’m not sure how they will convince SL’ers to come to EMC at all considering I can’t get to SL with my company issued laptop due to a substandard graphics card (hmm, slight oversight). Looks like ‘Zilla is a little skeptical too…

And speaking of jobs, careers, etc… Almost every Lunch 2.0 host has been interested in hiring smart people and I have heard from a number of people trying to help people get hired. Perhaps we should get a Lunch 2.0 career event or career oriented talk at an upcoming event? I know my friend Nathan has a great startup job seeker site, but I’ve seen a lot of people interested in non-startup jobs too…

Professional Development

August 6, 2007

I rarely post about this sort of thing…. mostly because I’m too busy doing “keeping my blog focused” – yeah right – Really it’s because I don’t have anything insightful to say. I have had lots of success but haven’t spent a lot of time turning that around into how I can help other people be more successful. One blogger I read does though!! J.D. Meier is an MS blogger and posts on a variety of topics… including some posts on how to improve yourself, your person effectiveness, and your career. A post from the weekend has a great list of questions that you should ask yourself on a semi-regular basis (I would say every 6 months)…

For the full write up go check out J.D.’s blog

Improvement Frame

Area Prompts
Thinking / Feeling
  • Do you find your work rewarding?
  • Are you passionate about what you do?
  • Are you spending more time feeling good?
  • What thoughts dominate your mind now?
  • Is your general outlook more positive or negative?
  • Do you have more energy or less in general?
  • Are you still worried about the same things?
  • Are you excited about anything?
  • Have you changed your self-talk from inner-critic to coach?
  • Situation
  • Are you spending more time working on what you enjoy?
  • What would you rather be spending more time doing?
  • Do you have the manager you want?
  • Do you have the job you want?
  • Are you moving toward or away from your career goals?
  • If your situation was never going to change, what one skill would you need to make the most of it?
  • Time / Task Management
  • Are you driving your day or being driven?
  • Are you spending less time on administration?
  • Are you getting your “MUSTs” done?
  • Are you dropping the ball on anything important?
  • Do you have a task management system you trust?
  • Are you avoiding using your head as a collection point?
  • How are you avoiding biting off more than you can chew?
  • How are you delivering incremental value?
  • Domain Knowledge
  • Have you learned new skills?
  • Have you sharpened your key strengths?
  • Have you reduced your key liabilities?
  • What are you the go-to person for?
  • What could you learn that would make your more valuable to your team?
  • Strategies / Approaches
  • What are you approaching differently than the past?
  • How are you more resourceful?
  • How are you finding lessons in everything you do?
  • How are you learning from everybody that you can?
  • How are you improving your effectiveness?
  • How are you modeling the success of others?
  • How are you tailoring advice to make it work for you?
  • Relationships
  • Are you managing up effectively?
  • Are your priorities in sync with your manager’s?
  • Has your support network grown or shrunk?
  • How are you participating in new circles of influence?
  • How are you spending more time with people that catalyze you?
  • How are you working more effectively with people that drain you?
  • How are you leveraging more mentors and area specific coaches?
  • UPDATE: 08/17/2007: Here is an interesting tool from some of the guys in the EMC MS Practice. Kind of a SUPER short version of the above (I guess the short version is better for people with less time?)…