Archive for May, 2009

Recently, President Barack Obama gave a 60-minute speech to the nation regarding the state of the economy.  His speech discussed his administration’s five pillars for addressing the economy.  However, President Obama’s plans for helping America’s biggest job creators, its small businesses, were conspicuously absent.

Small Business Job Killer?

Small Business Job Killer?

During the campaign, President Obama said he would create millions of jobs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 98 percent of all U.S. firms have less than 100 employees, yet those firms are responsible for over 98 percent of all new jobs in America. To date, President Obama has given 100 percent of the stimulus funds to the top 1 percent of American firms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, those large firms have not created one net new job since 1977.

In his March 22, 2009 column in the New York Times, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman wrote about President Obama’s plan to save the economy and stated, “This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair.” Klugman wrote. In March, Krugman also stated that Obama’s economic policies are almost certain to fail.

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Obama The Job Killer?

Yes, we do hear a lot about “Jobs” coming from the President, but where are they? Every week another half a million Americans lose their jobs — mostly from the private sector — but all that Obama does is pour more borrowed money into fattening up government and social programs.

Here’s an excerpt for a story by Don Lambro in The Washington Times:

“You don’t build a house by blowing up its foundations. Small businesses and the entrepreneurs who lead them have been the primary drivers of job growth over the past decade. This plan would punish them with higher taxes, resulting in less government revenue, less economic growth, and fewer jobs – not more,” said Bruce Josten, chief lobbyist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

On Capitol Hill, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio called the budget plan a “job killer,” saying that “small businesses, family farms, middle-class families, retirees, charities, everyone with a 401(k), and anyone who flips on a light switch is going to pay higher taxes under this plan.”

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Is it Too Late?

On February 6, 2009 — Economics professor Martin S. Feldstein was named to president Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. But here is what this world recognized economist said about Obama’s economic program two weeks ago in a Wall Street Journal Op-ed:

“It’s not too late for Mr. Obama to put these tax increases on hold. If he doesn’t, Congress should protect the recovery and the longer-term health of the U.S. economy by voting down this enormous round of higher taxes.”

What Can You Do?

I think it’s safe to say that Obama has pulled a few surprises on the American people since taking the oath on January 20th. It is also clear that the only stimulus he has planned is government and union stimulus. He has not only done nothing for business, but has actually hurt the ability of American small businesses to do what only they do best – CREATE NEW JOBS!

If this concerns you as much as it does me – write the White House and tell the President to cut taxes for small businesses that create jobs. If that doesn’t work (and I doubt it will), start looking for candidates for the 2010 election who are committed to cutting taxes to fuel business growth.

Don’t get hung up on the party affiliation. While most republicans support growing business by cutting taxes, not all do; and there are a number of democrats who break ranks with the president on taxes as well. Vote for the person, not the party.

This Week on The Career Mechanic – Going It Alone
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Do you realize that 98% of the new jobs created in the United States over the last decade came from companies with less than 100 employees? Ever think about taking the plunge and going it on your own? This week, Dave will be joined by George Hill, Senior Vice President at Office Depot and Geoff Burch, small business speaker, author, and the host of the BBC reality TV show – “All Around the Shop.” They will look at what’s happening in the world of the self-employed.

Next Week: The Power of Unconventional Leadership — we’ll be on the bleeding edge, with two authors who have books due out this summer that relate directly to this topic. Our guests will be John Hanes author of “Change Focused Leadership” and Ralph Heath – author of “Celebrating Failure.”


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I’ve now been back in New England for a month. This is the earliest I’ve been here in 15 years and I realize that one of the things I miss the most is the arrival of spring in New England. Winter here is cold and wet; it’s quite depressing. But that’s why spring is so wonderful here.

Spring Snow

Spring Snow

The buds are blooming, the grass is growing, and the birds a singing; it is the essence of rejuvenation. And even though I didn’t suffer the torment of winter in Massachusetts, I can thoroughly enjoy the arrival of spring and the human rejuvenation that comes with it. You see it in people’s faces as they come outdoors again and begin to enjoy the sun’s warmth.

Career Rejuvenation

This spring, we can all really use some rejuvenation. Who would have imagined a year ago that we’d go through the national malaise of the banking crisis, massive lay-offs, and unemployment rates going through the roof? And although things seem to have settled down a little, they’re far from normal.

If you feel like your career needs some rejuvenation, now is a great time to take action. Take on more results oriented projects that you can tout on your resume. Start promoting yourself on linkedin.com; get associates to “endorse you” and if the shoe fits, start your own blog with inside secrets about how your specialty.

Resume Bay

Career Rejuvenation?

Career Rejuvenation?

 I met a couple of guys recently who started an Internet service called Resume Bay that can help you with a career rejuvenation. It’s pretty cool. They offer a lot of important essentials for a couple of hundred bucks (resume writing and interview coaching) and they also have some pretty good free stuff too (I love free stuff).

Jay and Jon at Resume Bay are former corporate recruiters. They know all the things that make one resume jump out of the pile and scream “call me in.” They also know all of the little mistakes people inadvertently make that can send their resume to the trash can without a second look.

I think the guys at Resume Bay can help people rejuvenate their careers in general, but I’d really recommend it to two opposite groups. In this economy, young people entering the job market for the first time can use help figuring out what Gen X and Baby Boomers are looking for; things they didn’t learn in school.

The other group is Baby Boomers who have resumes that stand out in the crowd and scream “dinosaur.”  I have only recently learned how the art of resume writing has changed in the last 5 years. I think it’s worth a couple of hundred bucks for people in either of these groups to get some career rejuvenation outside help.

You can listen to me interview Jay and Jon about Resume Bay on this week’s episode of The Career Mechanic.

Life Rejuvenation

Sometimes our problems run deeper than simply our jobs. Our relationships, family priorities, home finance struggles, even spiritual needs all conspire to pull the rug out from under us. And when you add in this stinking economy, it’s pretty easy to drown in the struggles of everyday life.

If your job is okay, but the rest of your life is a mess, you need to call a “time out” and address it. Life is too short to suffer needlessly, and if you have personal problems stewing in the background, it’s just a matter of time until they boil over into your work life and jeopardize your career.

Blastation – An Interactive Life Coach

Allison Maslan's Book

Allison Maslan's Book

One of the nice things about doing the radio show has been the people I’ve met doing interviews. One person, Allison Maslan is really quite incredible. She’s a pathological entrepreneur – having started eight new businesses, but she is also a Homeopathic physician. I met her talking about her new book (Blast Off! The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams into Reality) and we also talked about her experience as a “personal and prosperity coach.”

Recently, Allison has launched a “mini-me” version of her coaching services in the form of and Internet service called Blastation . This tool helps people set goals in every area of their lives and then manage their achievement on a day-to-day basis celebrating something called “mini-feats.”

You can listen to my interview with Allison on this week’s episode of The Career Mechanic by clicking here.

Try It – It’s Free

After talking to Allison about Blastation, I asked her to come up with a deal that would let all of my friends, readers, and listeners try it out for free! She came back with a free 30-day license deal. Just click here,  sign up, and use the promo code BlastationFB.  Please give it a test run and let me know what you think.

The Career Mechanic This Week – Career Rejuvenation
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Some Careers “stall on take-off”, others get stuck in a rut, and unfortunately some crash and burn and need remedial help. The truth is, everyone needs a little career rejuvenation now and then. And occasionally we need to rejuvenate our lives to balance all of our competing obligations. Dave will explore this topic with his guests Jay Hofmeister and Jon Davidson, cofounders of the new career service “Resume Bay” and Allison Maslan, author and creator of Blastation, a new web based interactive life coaching system.

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Everyone knows there is never enough talent to go around. In fact, according to Dr. John Hoover, author of the book “How to Work for an Idiot,” the majority of managers actually are idiots. John’s definition of an idiot manager is a little complicated.

First, they’re clueless when it comes to doing the management part of their job; and second, they’re very good at defending themselves from accusations of incompetence. They are masters at shifting the blame for their failures to others.

This is all the more reason why you need to seek talent relentlessly when you’re hiring new people, and seek companies that are rich in talent, when you’re looking for a new job.

The Talented Joe Petro

As I look back at all of the talented people I’ve worked with, the one that stands out the most is a fellow named Joe Petro. First, Joe really didn’t care much about his career when I first met him in 1994. He was interested in racing cars and his gourmet pizza restaurant.

Here is an article from Motorsport.com featuring Joe’s racing skills and his corporate “side life.”

Joe Petro – ISMA spotlight

Racing series   ISMA
Date 2005-04-17


Joe Petro Racing Number 33

Joe Petro Racing Number 33

Oswego, NY — Joe Petro has been an on and off competitor on the tough ISMA Lucas Oil/Helping Hands of America supermodified series circuit, mainly due to his work schedule. In 2005, Joe is ready to meet the challenge of a full season head on. He has a new car number (33) and the strong desire to prove to himself he can be competitive.

“The real goal for 2005,” said Joe, “is to take all the excuses off the table. We’ve got the car and the engine, now it’s up to me.”

Petro may not look like the ordinary guy around the racetrack. He may look more at home as an executive in a board meeting, but Joe’s family background yielded both his racing and business careers.


Talented People Find Their Own Career Defining Moment

Joe started working for me in 1995 and slowly but surely started taking his career seriously. In 2008, I featured Joe in a story on careersecretsauce.com about Career Defining Moments.

Here’s a powerful excerpt:

One of the key ingredients in Joe’s formula revolves around something he called “career defining moments.”

Specifically, Joe said:  “If you can recognize these [career defining] moments and ‘knock the ball out of the park’ you will break away from your peers and be recognized by everyone as a star. It doesn’t matter how many hours you put in or how many ‘i’s you dot or ‘t’s’ you cross, NEVER allow failure or mediocrity in these moments. I have personally found that this is the most important lesson of my entire career.”

The Hooligan was a Perfect Idiot

Dr. John Hoover's "How to Work for an Idiot"

Dr. John Hoover's "How to Work for an Idiot"

You know, talking about talented people is fun, but not as fun as talking about idiot bosses. I’ve been lucky to know more people like Joe Petro than idiots, but I’ve known my share of idiots as well.

The biggest idiot of all was this guy; I’ll just call him the Hooligan. He ran US operations for Computervision for one year in the nineties and really stunk up the place.

Anyway, if you want to hear a great story about a “perfect idiot,” especially if you worked for CV in the nineties, you won’t want to miss this week’s episode of The Career Mechanic

We’ll also be joined by Dr. John Hoover, author of “How to Work for an Idiot’” John and I dissect the anatomy of idiot bosses and even talk a little about Joe Biden; who Dr. John calls the “Village Idiot.”

The Career Mechanic – The Quest For Talent in a Sea of Idiots

Talent is not a word that is often associated with the corporate world, yet talented people can make or break a business. Unfortunately, talented employees are hard to find; unlike idiots – who seem to be plentiful in all walks of life. Dave and his guests — Susan Burns, President of Talent Synchronicity and Dr. John Hoover, author of the book “How to Work for an Idiot” will discuss this conundrum. And Dave will share a story or two about a perfect idiot he’s worked for.

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Yet another old adage – “nice guys finish last,” but is it true? It could be, if you think being nice means sitting back, being passive, accepting things as they are, or letting people walk all over you. But who says that’s being nice? I think that’s being stupid.

To me, being nice means being considerate of others, saying thanks when someone does something nice for you, and offering a helping hand – or simply a kind word – when someone is down.

People who live by this definition of “niceness” seldom finish last; in fact they often finish at the top of the heap. Too many people believe that the best way to advance their career is to constantly remind people that they are “the smartest guy in the room.” Unfortunately, people who do this alienate their coworkers and smart managers see this and avoid promoting these wise guys because they don’t want to upset the team.

On the other hand, people who are reasonably bright and exceptionally nice to the people they work with are far more promotable. Managers know that a person with a reputation for kindness will be “followed” by more subordinates than someone whose only asset is their cleverness.

Kindness and Promotionology

Readers of Career Secret Sauce: 9 Winning Strategies for Building a Great Career, know about Strategy Seven – Promotionology; The Art of The Raise. But you, and others, may have missed the fact that kindness is actually a key building block for Promotionology.

  1. Peer Support: Most promotions come from within, which usually means a coworker suddenly becomes the new boss. Most
    Kristin Tillquist's New Book

    Kristin Tillquist's New Book

    people hate this. They wonder why they didn’t get the bump up the ladder and if the one that was promoted is “the smartest guy in the room,” they really hate it. The best way to fight this is to become the “least hated potential new boss” – be nice.

  2. Save a Butt: Simply being nice isn’t enough to establish yourself as the least hated. In my experience, winning over coworkers is a process that happens one coworker at a time. And the best way to win over a coworker is to come to their aid when their in trouble, or better yet, about to hit a land mine. They will never forget you for it, and they might even be happy to see you become their new boss one day.
  3. Send the Boss a People Plan: Once you’ve “thrown you hate in the ring,” I always recommend that you surprise the hiring manager with a 30-90 day plan for what you’d do if you got the job. It’s not really possible to come up with a plan that doesn’t make you sound like a smart guy (or gal), but I recommend that take it one step further. Discuss the deeper people issues of the department you’re hoping to takeover in the plan. Show your future boss that you’re a leader of people and not just another up and comer.
  4. Don’t Go Changing: Nothing feed the ego like a promotion, but if you let it go to your head and start acting like you’re now “somebody important,” it may be a long time before your next promotion. Coworkers, subordinates, and executives want team leaders, not rulers. Stay connected to the people who supported you on the way up and go to bat for them and try to help them win promotions.

These are just a few tangible ways you can apply kindness to career advancement. Listen to this week’s episode of The Career Mechanic and pick up a lot more. You will also hear how kindness and new social habits are shaping the next generation of corporate leaders.

Leading The Next Generation
Click HERE to Listen to this week’s Career Mechanic Show

Every generation sees things through their own unique lens. This means that how you act at work and how you interpret the acts of others may be misinterpreted and that could be bad for your career. This is challenging enough among coworkers — but what about managers and their subordinates? You better know what makes people in different generations tick or you could get in trouble. This week, Dave will be joined by Kristin Tillquist, author of the book Capitalizing on Kindness: Why 21st Century Professionals Need to Be Nice and Darren Cinti, a partner with world leading executive search firm Heidrik and Struggles. They’ll discuss emerging leadership styles and the latest trends in workplace personal interaction.

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