Archive for July, 2009

Only time will tell who the ultimate victim of the 2009 Recession will be, but for my money, I’d like to nominate the “50 something” baby boomers who were recently laid off and can’t find a job. I’m starting to hear that more and more of these unlucky souls are reaching the conclusion that “ageism” does exist and the target is on them.

Like all discriminatory practices, you seldom get hard evidence that it’s occurring, but after months of interviewing without a job offer, today’s unemployed baby boomers are realizing that their days of willful employment may well be over – they’ve become reluctant retirees.

So what’s wrong with that; don’t most people dream about early retirement?

In some cases, it’s okay, but for the majority of reluctant retirees, it’s a nightmare that just won’t end. Imagine finding yourself out of work at 55 with no hope of every finding another job in your career:

  • No social security for 7-10 years.
  • A 401K that’s worth half what it was in 2007.
  • A home and a mortgage that you can’t get out of.
  • 18 months of COBRA healthcare and then what?
  • 10 years to go before you qualify for Medicare.
  • Kids still in school.

Now that’s what I call scary!

The Accidental Entrepreneur Has Recession To Thank For Their Second Career

Faced with this nightmare, many reluctant retirees are turning to the only option they have – starting their own business. Ann Meyer, who writes the “Minding Your Business”  for the Chicago Tribune recently wrote an article called Growing Breed Of Accidental Entrepreneur Has Recession To Thank For Business Creation that highlights this recent trend.

Ann Meyer writes Minding Your Business

Ann Meyer writes Minding Your Business

Unemployed for more than a year, Jim Glay of Arlington Heights is trying something he had never imagined: launching a business.

So are thousands of other professionals stymied by the deepening recession and worsening job market, experts say. Unlike those who have dreamed of being their own boss since childhood, this growing breed of accidental entrepreneur sees starting a business as Plan B.

“I can’t say it was something I planned to do,” Glay said about starting CrashBoomBam, a company that will sell vintage drums and accessories online.

Glay, who for 22 years headed Midwest sales and marketing for a French record label before losing his job in May 2008, hopes to launch his Web site just before he turns 60 in August.

Glay is on the forefront of what the Kauffman Foundation is calling “The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom.” Triggered by the recession, an aging population and less job security, a perfect storm of entrepreneurship conditions is emerging, according to a new report from the Kansas City, Mo.-based non-profit.

The age group with the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity might surprise some, said Dane Stangler, senior analyst at the Kauffman Foundation. It’s the 55- to 64-year-olds who start businesses most often, because they have the experience and the savings to give it a try.

The number of older entrepreneurs is likely to climb because long-term employment has fallen for those ages 35 to 64, the report suggests. What’s more, adults are living longer, giving them more years after a late-career layoff or early retirement to start a business.

The trend has larger implications for innovation and new job growth, Stangler said. “An increase in entrepreneurship means job creation. That’s a tangible thing to measure,” he said.


This Week on The Career Mechanic – Saving The Reluctant Retiree
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When the dust settles, the people who have been hurt the most by the recession of 2009 might be “50 something” baby boomers who were laid off and discovered that no one wants to hire them because their too old, too expensive, or whatever. This week Dave talks with Chicago Tribune reporter Ann Meyers who recently published a story on this trend; Otis Aust, an out of work Baby Boomer who is going it alone, and Dan Byrd, CEO of a company that helps out-of-work Baby Boomers find an entrepreneurial second career.


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In a recent Presidential Address, President Obama said:

“The stimulus program is helping state governments save jobs.  Were it not for the program, the president said, “state deficits would be nearly twice as large as they are now; resulting in tens of thousands of additional layoffs — layoffs that would affect police officers, teachers, and firefighters.”

What jobs are Obama stimulating?

What jobs are Obama stimulating?

A few days earlier, Joe Biden was out in Ohio pandering for 2012 votes and he also spoke specifically of teachers and police officers, repeatedly demanding of Republicans who voted against the stimulus measure:

“What would they do? What would they say to those tens of thousands of teachers who got their pink slips this year but are able to go back into the classroom? What would they do . . . [let] all those cops get laid off? Would they say, ‘Okay, no problem?”

So there you have it…

The so-called economic stimulus package has not held unemployment below 8% as promised in February; rather we’re heading to 10% and beyond. That’s because the stimulus package wasn’t really designed to reduce unemployment for all, it was designed to protect jobs for one select segment of society.

That’s why when Obama and Biden feel the heat from the skyrocketing unemployment rate, they both have a single response, without the stimulus, all of these union and government workers would be laid off , and we can’t let that happen – can we?

But what about all of those Americans who are losing their jobs in the private sector?

Why doesn’t Obama seem to care about small businesses in America?  Everyone agrees that they create 90% of the new jobs in America, but they are currently buckling under growing taxes, tight capital, and energy costs that are being pushed skyward to fight a theoretical problem called Global Warming?

The answer is as simple as it is frightening.

The American’s who work for the private sector are not Obama’s People.

His people work for the government, they belong to unions, they work for community organizers like ACORN and get paid to register voters – early and often.

And man are they growing.

I saw a cartoon during the last election that said “vote for me and I’ll take money away from the people who don’t vote for me and give it to you.”

Kind of funny – but unfortunately – it is now true.dogbert-for-president-taxes1

According to Gary Shilling, an economist in Springfield, New Jersey, the majority of Americans – 52.6 percent – now receive significant income from working for the government or some kind of government programs.

In 2000, that number was just over 49% after dropping from 55% at the end of the Carter Administration in 1980.

But now with Obama in charge the number is rapidly heading back to 55% and perhaps beyond.

And that’s why Obama only talks about “his people” when he talks about the effectiveness of his so-called economic stimulus package.

Because Obama’s so-called economic stimulus package is nothing of the kind.

It is a government worker, union worker, ACORN stimulus package

His goal is to grow the numbers of American workers who owe their financial livelihood to the government.

And man is he succeeding at that goal — beyond his wildest dreams, or our worst nightmare.

I guess it all depends on who you work for.

Unfortunately, if you work for the American private sector in 2009, you do not have a President looking out for you – just some guy who’s taking your money and giving it to people who will vote for him and his colleagues in 2010. And that scares the crap out of me.

This Week of The Career Mechanic — How Deep is this Economic Mess?
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Let’s face it, we were already in trouble before we hit the current economic downturn and now; well it’s not pretty. This week Dave will be talking with Dr. Laurence Kotlikoff, senior economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan and author of the books “The Coming Generational Storm: What You Need to Know about America’s Economic Future” and “Spend ’til the End: The Revolutionary Guide to Raising Your Living Standard – Today and When You Retire.” We will also be talking with California employment specialist Janel Canepa about the current state of malaise in the Golden State.

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I fell in love with Sara Palin that night during the republican convention when she said:

“… I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”

Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican Convention

Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican Convention

That was beautiful (but I’m still trying to figure out what a community organizer does all day.)

I admit that one of the things that drew me to her was the fact that McCain was such a Casper Milquetoast. He was boring, he couldn’t read a teleprompter, and worst of all, he had a hard time articulating why regular people who didn’t work for the government or belong to a union should vote for him.

Then came Sarah and I felt like I finally had someone who said what I was thinking.

She was light on experience, not as light as Obama, but neither of them had any business in the big chair at the White House. But Sarah wasn’t running for the top job, so her lack of international experience was okay with me, not great, but okay.

Then things got really weird.

The Tina Fey thing on Saturday Night Live made me sick – not because they were poking fun at my girl, but because so many air headed Americans seemed to believe that Sarah Palin had actually said some of the stupid things that Tina Fey said on the show

Then she did those two hatchet job interviews – one with Charlie Gibson and one with Katie Couric and I felt like screaming into the TV!

“Sarah what were you thinking, of course they’re going to edit the interview to make you look like an idiot – that’s their agenda!”

Katie Couric's Palin Hatchet Job

Katie Couric's Palin Hatchet Job

And then more recently, the whole thing with that sick slime ball David Lettermen making a joke about her 14 year old daughter having sex with Alex Rodriguez.

Have you ever seen such a concerted personal attack on anyone in your life? And now the hastily prepared July 3rd press conference and her sudden resignation as governor. Again, I am hard pressed to find another example of another politician doing anything like this.

So my question – what was Sarah thinking?

I have studied Sarah’s words and I think she is doing it to create a “Time Out” for her young family. She may be back stronger later, but she may not. Right now she just needs to make some serious coin. Todd’s a good guy, but he races snowmobiles and fishes – that doesn’t pay squat.

I hear she might have her own TV talk show – I like that idea, no doubt it will be on Fox News. I  heard that she is writing a book – that will be a guaranteed best seller and that she’ll be hitting the speaking circuit – do you realize that Bill Clinton as made over $100 million in speaker fees?

One of Sarah’s problems has been the steady barrage of nuisance lawsuits against her personally and even though all but one minor suit has been dismissed, it costs a lot of money to fight these things, so maybe she just needs to make some real money to protect herself and her family.

But here is an interesting question:

In the midst of all of the media hand wringing about “the real reason Sarah resigned”, I heard someone point out that ambitious politicians quit in the middle of their terms all the time seeking higher office and no one gives it a second thought, in fact, people see is as a good thing.

And I think that is exactly what Sarah’s doing, except the higher office is the good of her family – not the good of her own political career.

Love her or hate her, you have to admit that Sarah Palin is a very talented woman, who can really do almost anything she wants these days.

What would people say if Sarah were a man instead of a woman?

What would they say if she was homely or frumpy – like so many female politicians?

Are there different leadership standards for men and woman?

You Bet.

This Week on The Career Mechanic – The Battle of the Sexes and Your Career
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Who knows how long the Battle of the Sexes has been waged, but one thing is clear, when it comes to your career, there really aren’t any winners. This week Dave takes on this touchy workplace topic with Catherine Kaputa who wrote the book “The Female Brand: Using the Female Mindset to Succeed in Business” to discuss her theory that women are biologically better wired for career success than men and Michael Gurian whose book “Leadership and the Sexes” looks into the science of gender and how it applies in the workplace.

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My own summer started last week when a couple of good buddies – Jim and Otis – visited me at my beach house for some golf and catching up. We had a great time

We golfed two days – of course me and Otis played much better than Jimmy.

And we spent some quality time on the back deck, sipping fine wine, listening to tunes and pontificating about the demise of the United States and all of the crap going on in Washington.

Then late the second night, after a dinner party at the Bay Club and quite few cocktails, Otis blurts out the line that felt like a dagger going through my heart: “I actually voted for Obama”

I screamed: “What, are you insane, how could you vote for that anti-business communist?”

My Friend Otis

My Friend Otis

Anyway, I settle down and ask him what he was thinking and what he said shocked me. Otis said that he wanted a president who would restore the reputation of the United States around the world.

Well, then I really went bonkers.

I screamed: “that’s a left wing fabrication – how can you be so stupid?

Then I told him — all of the old soviet countries loved Bush.

In Germany they tossed lefty Gerhard Schroeder and elected conservative Merkel.

In France they tossed lefty Jacque Chirac and elected another conservative Sarkosy.

In Canada they tossed out the lefty Paul Martin and elected strong conservative Stephen Harper.

Even the certified lunatic running Italy —  Silvio Berlusco is actually a conservative who liked Bush a hell of a lot more than Obama.

I challenged him — “who’s left that didn’t like Bush?”

Otis thought for a minute, but didn’t have an answer.

So I told him…

There’ s the Al Qaeda panderer in Spain – who got elected after terrorists blew up the subway the day before the election – they like Obama because he’s an appeaser just like him.

Then there’s Kim Jung Ill – the little doctor evil running North Korea.

Oh yeah – the nutjob Ahmadinejad.

And all those totalitarian dictatorships that make up two thirds of the UN – they didn’t like Bush.

But every nation that counts either loved Bush or has recently replace their left wing leader with one who’s more closely aligned with the positions of George Bush that those of Barack Obama.

Then just before Mrs Horne threw a pillow at my head and told me to stop yelling, I said: “Otis – where do you get you news.”

He said: “CNN – that’s all I watch.”

Well, there you have it – of course he thinks the rest of the world hates us – he’s getting his news from a TV network who wants him to think that way – even if the facts prove otherwise.

This whole story about the world losing respect for the US is simply left wing media crap.

If it were true, then the elections in France, Germany, and Canada – just to name 3 – would have gone differently.

The next day, when we were sober and calmer, we talked and Otis admitted that he really didn’t vote rationally – he was have a fair amount of tumult in his life and simply voted democrat across the board as a form of protest.

You know, I understand that.

That’s pretty much what I did in 1976 when I voted for Jimmy Carter after Nixon disgraced the office.

But it’s still a bad idea.

I said to Otis – “voting for Obama because you were angry with the way things were going in your career was like you having a bad day at work and going home and beating your wife.”

One doesn’t have anything to do with the other.

Then we walked through all of Otis’s career and life goals for the next 5-10 years and they all depended on a healthy private sector economy.

Then I showed him where Obama’s policies were going to inhibit private sector growth in the next 5-10 years.

Then finally, I named some democrats who were doing the right thing and fighting Obama’s massive debt and government expansion and I named a few weak kneed Republicans who were selling him down the river to feather their own nests.

I have no idea how Otis will vote in 2010, but I think I got him thinking.

And I hope I get you thinking when I lay out the same kind of logic week in and week out on the Career Mechanic.

And that’s all I ask. Do your homework and connect the dots between your career wellbeing and the programs your candidates want to implement – understand if each candidate will help or hurt your career. Then vote rationally – nothing good ever came out of a protest vote. Vote for the candidate who says he or she will do what you want done – specifically.

This week on The Career Mechanic – Fun in the Sun
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Finally, summer is here! The bleak economic winter is still out there, but at least for now, we can take a time out and enjoy life. Join us this week as we lighten things up a little to celebrate the official kick off for summer. Dave will be joined by Ernie Zelinski, who wrote the books “Career Success Without A Real Job” and “101 Reasons To Love A Recession” and Jonathan Fields who wrote the book “Career Renegade: How To Make A Great Living Doing The Things You Love.”

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