New Department of Labor Website

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

The U.S. Department of Labor has launched their new website to help job seekers match their skill-sets to occupational possibilities. The new site prompts the user to type in an occupation you’ve held and then a list of possible job categories are offered to look over that share some of the same skills. Along with that information, the site shows a salary range for jobs within that particular occupation and an option to click through and see what positions are available to you in and around a selected geographic region.

Although this type of career tool is available on many job boards, this site (at the very least) shows what jobs are ‘green’ sector jobs and it does diversify somewhat more than others.

I hope all of you will take some time to at least give it a try and see if there might be something there for you that you hadn’t considered before or perhaps help others decide if re-training might be a better option.

The ongoing economic recession is slowly limping its way towards a second dip in the murky waters of financial misery and uncertainty. Many economic advisers and pundits fear a stalling of the economy is in the offing if drastic action is not undertaken to correct the situation in some way. Is a second stimulus package something to consider and does the President still have the political clout to even suggest such a measure? The answers are still eluding the best and brightest number crunching minds at the Nation’s disposal. What is certain, however, is the painful fact that an ever-growing number of Americans are enduring serious, life-altering hardships. Far too many middle-class Americans are staring down the barrel of joblessness, faltering personal budgets and shaky career paths. Add to this the number of families struggling with personal property foreclosures and it’s not difficult to see the massive problem growing throughout the nation.

Home foreclosures have hit even the most rural and unassuming areas of America and this phenomenon has a profound, immediate impact on the very structure of life for those enduring it. Just the thought of losing one’s home or property is devastating enough for the short term. Walking away from a family homestead and all of the memories, love and experiences held therein is soul crushing, at best. Many Americans put much of their own personal identity and pride in these homes. Then the day arrives when your job cuts salaries, freezes anticipated regular salary raises or terminates your employment altogether. Without a safety net or significant personal savings, foreclosure is the only path to follow. As if this life-changing event isn’t gutting enough, there follows a spiral of madness that has no mercy.

The American Financial System, such as it is, attaches a premium to our very lives by issuing to each of us a number. Although, many numbers identify us throughout our lives, like our Social Security and Driver’s License numbers, none is more important to the relative comfort/misery of our lives than our Credit Score. Monitored by three credit-reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, our credit score follows us everywhere we go and determines our ‘station’ in society. Depending on how you’ve managed your personal debt and credit, purchasing and financial transactions are determined. Someone with a ‘lower’ credit score might not be able to secure higher credit limits, as someone with a ‘higher’ credit score might. This allows the financial institutions to calculate our particular and personal caste in society. With all of the information above, let’s begin the equation that demonstrates how this recession/depression can throw even the most careful middle-class American into what I call ‘The Poverty Spiral.’

A foreclosure event on your personal financial history is a red flag to financial lending institutions in addition to being a personal punch to the gut. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a job, you must now attempt to find new housing with credit lenders examining your newly created ‘station’ in life. The result is higher interest rates and lower quality housing than what you could once afford…yet another body blow. But the most wicked consequences await those that have had the misfortune of losing their jobs compounded with a foreclosure.

Hardly spoken about outside of Internet job forums and company Human Resource meetings, is the ever growing propensity of hiring managers and job creators to require potential job applicants and candidates to submit to a credit check before any offer of employment takes place. There is a wave of anger and disbelief washing over the masses of people seeking gainful employment about this issue. That being said, there are career positions that have always required this information due to the nature of the job, such as accountants, bank employees and higher-strata financial careers. Yet, today, this information requirement is becoming the norm and standard for every position available. Having that foreclosure on your financial history could ultimately become the deciding factor in what type of employment you will eventually obtain…all of this through no fault of your own. You may have enjoyed a lovely, 4 bedroom split-ranch home and paid the bills with your mid to high five figure banking career, yet due to this recession and company down-sizing, you’ve lost your home and damaged your credit rating. Now you have to endure a jaw-dropping low five figure dead-end job as a Wal-Mart greeter (if you’re lucky enough to find work at all) and decorate your new one-bedroom apartment with the memories of a happy lifetime gone by. Is it any wonder the sales of anti-depressants are skyrocketing and the American suicide rate is pushing ever higher?

I wanted to take a moment out of this constant struggle for work, hope and purpose to remind some of us of a few things…things we find difficult to consider during these rough times. With so much on our minds today that seems like a head full of bees and chaos, I wanted to ask you to take a moment to read what I’ve written here and give it some thought. I’m not a self-help kook, but I think all of us need a brief reminder of who we are every so often. So often we are branded and defined by our careers and material worth that we fail to reflect on who we ARE or were…and could be again.

The headline I use here is a line from a Roxy Music song titled, “If There Is Something”. The song is a stroll down a man’s memory lane of love, loss and reflection. The man recalls his youth when, “the trees were taller, the grass greener, the hills higher…when we were young.”

I think at some point, all of us reflect on our past and see missed opportunities, open doors we didn’t walk through and perhaps regrets aplenty. Yet, we can conjure up in our minds moments of sheer ecstasy, bliss and contentment. If we take a moment out of our dizzying lives, we can get comfortable in a quiet place, close our eyes and wash away the buzzing static of our minds and bring forth the faces of lost loves, moments of deep pride and self worth and visions of a time when life was deep and rich with lush sweetness. Your first kiss, the moment you proposed to your spouse…the warm breeze on your face when you looked out at life with passion and eager hope. Or felt the cool, autumn winds through your hair at the Friday night football game…reaching out for the hand of your date. Breathe deeply and think of the first song that caught you, …moved you. When was the last time you heard that song? All of these moments, these gifts we hold buried within us that wait patiently, deep in our minds for us to revisit, serve to breathe hope back into us today. They are a touchstone to our humanity in world gone haywire. We can all make a withdrawal from this vault of power if we take the time. Use the joy, nostalgia, pain, hope and ambition held therein to re-energize ourselves for the fight ahead. Your life before now MEANT something. If not just to you, but to those faces before you in your mind…in your past. Imagine those faces right now, sitting quietly remembering times with YOU. You have value…you changed the world around you as the calender pages flipped past.  Take these memories, those faces, and that power and stand strong again. In these tough times, take that yester-you breeze and breathe life back into you now. Redouble your resolve, take no prisoners and never take ‘no’ for an answer. You’re still in there. Close your eyes…focus..and come out fighting. I believe in you…and your yester-you is waiting for you to believe again.


Hi everyone. I wanted to bring this presentation (The Secret of Oz)  to all of you in its entirety because I feel every American should have some understanding of just how deep into the weeds this country is economically. We have learned from leading economists that this recession is poised to get even worse than it is today and lead to a decade long struggle to survive. I don’t have to tell most of you what that means to all of us out here scrambling and searching for work, hope and purpose. We are in trouble, folks…deep, deep trouble. And without a concentrated, laser-focused plan for all of us to help one another, we are in for a Lord of the Flies scenario in this nation. The main stream media will sugar-coat the news we see to downplay the misery. After all, the main stream media are bought and paid for by the same Corporatist lobbysists/advertisers that have bought and paid for our politicians and that sway the direction of the global economy.

I ask all of you to turn off the television, turn off the video games, grab a drink and some popcorn and lend me your eyes/ears/brain for 1hr and 53minutes. You will not regret watching this documentary on our monetary system and those that seek to manipulate it. I promise you it is NOT boring and you will come away with a knowledge most Americans do not have. If you love our Republic, if you want to understand just how big the ‘machine’ truly is, please grab a neighbor, friend or loved one and watch this film. You will even learn something amazing about the true message of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Please watch. (Click on the lower right corner of the YouTube window to expand to full screen.)

I ask that you SHARE THIS, SHARE THIS, SHARE THIS!!!! Tweet this, DIGG this, StumbleUpon this and get this message out anyway you see fit.

Consider your mind blown…

In these tough economic times, with so many skilled, talented and experienced workers sitting idle hoping for a foot in the employment door, I have been floored by the myriad of stories regarding interviews with and job postings from company hiring managers.
I have read countless stories from countless job board forums about the requirements for potential job candidates and more specifically, the position itself.
There seems to be an almost deliberate attempt by companies to list impossible (…or laughable at the very least) requirements for a position. Here’s an example:

Are you a tech-savvy person with great communication skills? Do you enjoy solving problems in unconventional ways? Do you like gadgets and cool tools to make work easier? Are you a former Web project manager looking to make a move into new media?
We are currently looking for a qualified candidate for a Media Technology Analyst position.

This position would include, but is not limited to:
• Project management
• Research and test new business and media technologies
• Development of new products.
• Train employees on new and existing software
• Create efficiencies in new or current processes through the use of technology.

Requirements:
* Bachelors Degree or higher
• Former project management experience
• Excellent organizational and analytical skills
• Strong technical background, with the ability to learn complex technical concepts on the fly.
• Strong attention to detail, ability to multi-task and follow-through projects to completion.
• Strong communicator.
• Able to react to change productively.
• Great team player

We are looking for candidates with degrees from the following degree types, but not limited to:
New Media, Interactive Media, MultiMedia Design, Web Development, Database Management, Software Development, Graphic Design.

Experience in the following areas.
• Applescript
• Actionscript
• Javascript
• jQuery
• HTML/HTML5
• MySQL/SQL
• Flex
• XML/Data Integration
• FBML
• Creative Suite software.

Hourly compensation based on required experienced. ($11-14hr)

This posting is fantasy land…a great example of insanity turned loose on all of us looking for work.
Any person that could even remotely provide ONE HALF of the skills listed in this posting would command somewhere in the neighborhood of $75-100k a year. A company couldn’t OUTSOURCE a job with these requirements for the insulting, meager pay they somehow have the testicular fortitude to actually list. Now, transfer this madness to damned near every job posting out there. I’ve honestly seen job postings for trash collectors that require at least an Associate’s degree. I kid you not. Peruse your local state labor department job boards and be prepared to slam your head into the keyboard over and over again. You can expect to find jobs ranging from minimum wage to mind-blowing $13hr careers.
The poverty level in this country has fallen to such a level that a single person’s poverty level is now $11k a year and a family of 4 is just under $23k a year. Do you see what’s happening here? Re-adjust the poverty level to reflect the recession and $13hr looks pretty appealing to the damned near everyone. However, consider the single young professional that might somehow be relatively qualified for the above position. This person, no doubt, holds some amount of student loan debt. Now think about other debts this single person has, to include:

Rent/Mortgage – $800mo
Auto Payment  – $250mo
Utilities     – $300mo
Insurance     – $100mo
Credit/Loan   – $500-1000mo

We are already talking well over $2100mo just to meet the essentials. Notice how I didn’t calculate food, gas, clothing, and other payouts that come along? A job position that pays $13hr can’t possibly cover the expenses of daily, real world living. Sure, you can reduce rent by living in an apartment the size of a jail cell or do without some luxuries like food briefly. And this is a simple formula for a single person. Imagine those with children! But what kind of life is this…for anyone? The world around us is structured in such a way that you are kept in a ‘poverty spiral’. You’ll be allowed to earn just enough (or not enough in most cases) to pay many of your bills and keep a little bit of food in your belly. But, you can rest assured that saving any money is rarely possible. So, this keeps you in line and part of the system.
We are told by the ‘halo polishers’ that we should be thankful that we HAVE a job and that we should take 2 or 3 jobs if we have other financial obligations. As if finding 2 or 3  jobs is as simple as strolling into a fast food joint or a call center and taking your pick of all those empty chairs! It’s damned near impossible to find ONE job in this economic environment, let alone three! Reality has no place in these people’s lives. Reality has nothing to do with hiring managers and their desire to hire, humiliate and over-work their ‘gold standard’ new crop of American cogs for their massive, greedy, ugly wheels. And regarding those  ‘halo polishers’ that have all the answers for us poor, wretched, ‘to-be-looked-down-upon and-pitied’… I hear from them everyday. They have no idea of what we’re going through out here. They all might be well reminded of the old qoute:

“…be nice to people on your way UP, because you’ll meet them on the way down”…Wilson Mizner

Posted: August 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

A NEW PAGE!

I’ve added a Working From Home page to the site. You’ll find the tabs at the very top of the page and in the left sidebar. In keeping with my desire to not just talk the talk, you all need to know that I’m doing my level best to ‘walk the walk’. On this page you will find ideas, links, suggestions and posts from those seeking Work at Home positions. Please feel free to add to my list or add whatever you feel might help someone land a WAH job.

Also, share your stories about WAH jobs….good, bad…or ugly. If you’ve had a bad experience with a company, please share the details for others here to make up their minds about. If you know of WAH scams out there, please free to call ‘em out. Nothing is more frustrating than getting involved with a scam artist only to find them out much later, right? I hope there might be something here for someone.

Moving Forward…

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

It has been a few days since I created this site for folks to come and share their personal stories about unemployment and American joblessness. I am so thankful for those that have had the courage to post their words and express their frustration at the current economic roller-coaster all of us have been strapped into against our will.

The recent unemployment numbers were frightening this last release.  The numbers indicated over 500,000 Americans lost their jobs and were/are seeking unemployment insurance. That is a massive, ugly number. These numbers, of course, are only what’s reported officially. All of us know that this number doesn’t include those who are not eligible for UI including those that have simply stopped their job search. (How you can just ‘stop’ looking for work in these times baffles me)

Imagine the numbers of people leaving their own businesses, 1099 freelancers, and the countless other jobs lost that provide no unemployment insurance whatsoever!  The numbers are staggering and the nation seems to be stumbling around in the dark attempting to find answers to the ‘jobpocalypse’.

We hear tidbits and snippets of unemployment stories on the main stream media, but not nearly frequently enough to make an impact on the masses. It’s as if we have been left to our own devices or to wander off and live in a cave.

That’s why it is so very important that all of you not only post your stories here, but to do what you can to drive more folks here to this round-table blog. Tweet it, comment on Facebook about it, Digg it, or use whatever social media you like to get the word out. I want a thriving, stuffed full of stories site telling the ‘reality’ of this unemployment issue from those actually living it and trying to endure it. I want to be able to pepper the media outlets with our stories and get this site on as many minds as possible. We are not going away. We are not giving in and certainly not giving up. We are human beings with rich lives, experiences, histories and ideas. There is strength in numbers and we are many. So please, get the word out and maybe we can begin to develop a plan, method or network to be able to stand again amidst the apparent apathy of our fellow employed Americans.