Archive for August, 2009

Why is education so important to our nation — check this out:
(by the way, you don’t need to turn your sound on to get the message)

The picture this video paints is pretty frightening – essentially, it says that the world, and the world economy has shifted dramatically in the last few years and, well, the United States is on the verge of losing its leadership position.

These startling factoids by looking at what’s going on in China and India

There are more people in China and India with genius IQ’s than there are people in the United States.

China will soon have more people living there who speak English than any other country on earth

Now think about those two facts and consider that you could export every single job in the United States to China and they would still have an unemployment problem.

And how about this one: in the 6 minutes it takes to watch this video, 60 children will be born in the US, 244 in China, and 351 in India.

That’s pretty scary – but enough about China and India what about shifts in the US?

The net shift has to do with careers and this stuff is even more eye opening:

According to former Secretary of Education Richard Riley:

“The top 10 jobs in demand in 2010 didn’t even exist in 2004!

And the final shift deals with the exponential expansion of the world of information and technology – which is the key platform for innovation and industrialization.

Check this out:

  • It’s estimated that the amount of information contained in just one week of the New York Times than a typical person might learn in their entire lifetime just 100 years ago.
  • And now we’re generating 1.5 extabytes of new and unique information this year alone, by the way, that’s a big number – I think it’s a trillion, trillion, trillion – and that’s today.
  • By 2010, this number will double every 72 hours – which means that half of what a college freshman learns in 2009 will be obsolete by their junior year.
  • The US has now slipped to 20th in terms of the percentage of the population using the Internet.
  • And finally – this is my favorite part: By 2013, the world should have the first supercomputer capable of modeling the human brain.
  • And in 2023 – when today’s first graders will be starting their careers, that supercomputer capable of modeling a human brain will cost less than $1,000.
  • And while it’s tough to look out beyond that, there are predictions that within 40 years, a $1000 computer will exceed the entire computational capabilities of the HUMAN RACE

This is a huge wake up call. And to make matters worse, our education system is stuck in the 1950’s, held hostage by government bureaucrats who take orders from the teachers unions – who refuse to change anything they do with first negotiating a raise.

We have two choices. We can sit back and watch our country slip into third world status, or demand that our elected officials have a national commitment to teaching math, science, and more importantly, stop taking money and marching orders from the teachers unions.Shift Happens – will you be ready?

This Week on The Career Mechanic — “The Back to School Special”
Click HERE to Listen

We’ll be talking about getting the most out of college. Our guests are Dr. Katharine Brooks, author of “You Majored in What,” Hayley St. Philips, who’s college internship turned into a killer career with Fox Entertainment, and Dr. Tina Seelig, the Executive Director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, and author of “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World.”


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In February, President Obama pushed though the stimulus package and one of the big items it was said to fund was the new Green Economy and Green Jobs.

In California, where they need lots and lots of help, they’re doing everything they can to fast track projects tied to stimulus money earmarked for environmental projects like wind and solar energy.

The whole thing is even more pressing because the California legislature has mandated that energy utilities derive 20% of their power from renewable sources by THE END OF THIS YEAR.

So why has the 500 Mega Watt Solar Power Plant Project in Victorville come to a complete stop?

Next Gen Solar Plant in Victorville Being Stopped by Big Labor and Obama

Next Gen Solar Plant in Victorville Being Stopped by Big Labor and Obama

Like so many failings in mankind, the answer is simple – GREED.

Organized labor in California has launched a comprehensive attack on the project’s developers demanding that they use all union labor or face a firestorm of legal challenges;

Big Labor has threatened to bring the developers of this project into court to answer over 150 trumped up environmental charges like:

  • Proving that the weed killer they use is environmentally friendly.
  • That the cleaning products used for the solar panels are harmless.
  • The impact of the dust generated by bulldozers on the environment.

And this isn’t an isolated event; another developer also got hit with 143 charges including minute details like the horsepower on the water pumps and environmental approval for the brand of pump used.

But this new breed of union thugs aren’t extorting developers in the name of the environment, they’re demanding:

  • That every worker on the site be a member of their union.
  • That any workers who aren’t union members be forced to join the union, pay the initiation fees, and the monthly dues.
  • And they’re demanding that the developer start contributing to the unions pension and healthcare funds.

This sleazy tactic now has a name – Greenmail

Here is what the US Chamber of Commerce says about Big Labor Greenmail at Victorville:

“The project has also faced opposition from the labor union group called California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE), which is supported by various construction unions. It has a history of fighting new projects in California unless the applicant agrees to use union labor for the project.”

In fact, the Chamber of Commerce has a great web site devoted to stories about how Big Labor and Environment groups are conspiring to stop projects that could bring great new green jobs to America when we need it most (click HERE to visit web site).

And all of this was made possible by an executive order called Project Labor Agreements, which president Obama signed at 6:30 PM one Friday night in February, just to make sure it wasn’t reported on the nightly news.

President Obama’s executive order makes all of this union extortion legal, in fact it encourages it.

So don’t give me any of that crap about Obama being the first green president, or being committed to creating a green economy in the United States.

He and his team are perfectly happy to throw the new green economy under the bus if they get between them and the huge special interest group that fund their election.

This Week on The Career Mechanic — The New, New Economy
Click HERE to Listen

What will the post recession economy look like; where are the best new careers? Our guests will be Bruce Richardson, Senior Vice President of AMR Research and David Banfield who is the CEO of a company that sits on the leading edge of the post-recession economy.

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I talk to a lot of people who are looking for a new job. Last week I discovered a new technique that sounds like a solid way to both see more job opportunities and ultimately land a dream offer letter.

Jeff Allen

Jeff Allen

I had this guy on The Career Mechanic Radio Show last week —  Jeff Allen, because he is the author of the new book Instant Interviews: 101 Ways to Get the Best Job of Your Life. My guests are all usually pretty interesting, but I seldom learn something that I didn’t already know. But Jeff’s interview was interesting because I learned two new things that I’d never heard of before, and one of them was this whole MPC strategy for finding a new job.

Placement Law

The first thing I learned about from talking to Jeff was the whole field of “Placement Law.” Jeff works in Los Angeles and he pretty much invented this legal field. In a nutshell, Placement Law is all about adjudicating disputes between 3rd party recruiters and companies who hire the candidates they represent also temporary placements and companies when they hire temps and don’t pay the finder’s fee.

Believe or not, this is a very hot legal field these days.

Instant Interviews and The MPC

The second think I learned from Jeff was how to find a job when no one’s hiring. Jeff was a corporate HR manager, a recruiter, and more recently a placement lawyer. Recently, he wrote the book Instant Interviews: 101 Ways to Get the Best Job of Your Life and while I was interviewing him I learned what the TLA (three letter acronym) MPC meant.

A MPC is a “Most Placeable Candidate,” and Jeff’s contention is that the key to winning a job offer in an interview and landing the most potential interviews is to be an MPC. Essentially, Jeff believes that you can make a contingent job search firm work for you if you can convince them that you can “go the distance,” and deliver great interviews with very little prep time.

Running With an MPC

Jeff recommends that everyone, particularly people who are looking for a job, develop a close relationship with a Contingency Based Recruiter (click HERE for information on the different types of recruiters). He contends that Contingency Based Recruiters are the “Great White Sharks” of the job market. He says that since they generate operate without any kind of binding agreement with the corporations they target for placement, they tend to be very aggressive and essentially chase any job lead that moves.

He then went on to describe his term “Running With an MPC.” He says that these Contingency guys select potential candidates who interview very well — MPC’s. He contends that the best Contingency guys introduce their top MPC’s to every job lead they can and he calls this “Running With an MPC.”

Jeff believes that anyone can learn the techniques it takes to become and MPC and once they do, they can effectively make these Contingency great white sharks work for them.

If you’d like to learn more about how to become an MPC, check out this week’s episode of The Career Mechanic.

This Week on The Career Mechanic — Job Hunting a Year into the Recession.

Okay, one year down, who knows how many more to go. It’s high time to revisit job hunting strategies in a post crisis era. We’ll be joined by Jeff Allen, author of “Instant Interviews: 101 Ways to Get the Best Job of Your Life,” Richard Krueger who wrote the book “Facebook Marketing for Dummies” and Ford Myers, author of “The Ultimate Career Guide” and “Get The Job You Want – Even When No One’s Hiring.”

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As I have mentioned before, I was born in 1952 and my entire career existed in the era of affirmative action.

After getting a verbal offer on my first real job, I was told that they would be hiring a less qualified candidate – because she was a woman and they didn’t have enough women working at the company.

I can state unequivocally, that at that moment, I had never discriminated against any women in the workplace, I never owned a slave, and by the way, neither did my father, his father, or any of my ancestors – they were all poor fishermen in Canada who became LEGAL IMMIGRANTS in 1922.

Yet I paid the price for years of discrimination against minorities in the United States.

On March 6th, 1961 President Kennedy signed executive order 10925 funding the Employment Equal Rights Committee which became the EEOC, which is the federal bureaucracy that messes with peoples careers based solely on the color of their skin.

On March 6th, 1961 President Kennedy signed executive order 10925 funding the Employment Equal Rights Committee which became the EEOC, which is the federal bureaucracy that messes with peoples careers based solely on the color of their skin or their sex.

And that was supposed to make me embrace diversity.

To me, that’s the absurdity of the whole diversity program.

We all agree that long ago, white men – white men who have been dead a long time, did some ugly things, by the way, in the case of slavery, they had a lot of black men helping them.

But the conventional wisdom solution is insane. Most people don’t realize that the job market is a zero sum game. By that I mean that if you force someone to hire someone who’s less qualified because of the color of his skin, you’re also taking a job away someone who earned it – just because his skin is white.

And in most cases, the “someone” in question is a young person – just starting out in their career.

And here’s the cruel irony of the whole thing — most young people are not born racist, biased, or discriminatory when they – they learn it from older people.

So how to we teach them to not discriminate?

We re-engineer society to discriminate against them – our own young people.

Meanwhile, we live in a country with a black president – that’s good! And I live in a state with a black governor – even better! Yet we just keep cranking up the rhetoric about the need for more diversity, or as President Obama calls it – Social Justice.

In the meantime, we continue to sacrifice white male children career’s in the name of diversity.

Maybe that not’s perverse, but it certainly doesn’t feel right, and I’m not sure it’s actually helping to solve the problem.

This Week on The Career Mechanic  — “The Times They Are A Changing”
Click HERE to Listen

After almost 50 years of Affirmative Action, diversity has become deeply engrained in the workplace culture. This week we’ll be joined by noted affirmative action expert and author of the book “The Diversity Machine” Dr. Fredrick Lynch, a New England firefighter – who will be with us incognito, and Jim Craig, the Olympic hockey legend for the 1980 miracle team that beat the Russians about the similarities between 1980 and today

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The Jerk at Work

Are you one of those people who jump out of bed every morning and rush into work thrilled to face another day? Or perhaps you’re more like the rest of us; you load up on coffee, time your arrival so that you’re “just early enough” to avoid being labeled a clock puncher, and keep your head down hoping to avoid trouble.

The thing that makes work heaven or hell is seldom the nature of the work; it’s the people we work with. At several points in my life, I had a best friend at work. And that made work a very nice place to be. Unfortunately though, for every great friend I’ve encountered, I’ve run into 2 or 3 jerks.

My Top 5 Jerks at Work

I spent almost three decades in white collar office work and worked with thousands of people in eight different companies. Along the way, I had the good (or bad) fortune to encounter a complete cross section of jerks at work. Without further ado, here are my top 5,


I ran into my first time sucker at DTS in my very first job. He worked in accounting and had a very perverse view of office life.

He was obsessed with the shortcomings of his coworkers and seemed to spend most of his time studying what everyone else was doing and collecting stories of people who screwed up or just wasted time.

The Time Sucker

The Time Sucker

To make matters worse, he had a minor substance abuse problem – basically he lived to smoke pot.

This could have accounted for his obsession with studying other people, but whatever the cause he was a huge pain in the neck.

Stoned or not, his favorite pastime seemed to be visiting me in my cubicle, droning on about how screwed up everyone else was and trying to draw me into his game.

The problem was that I liked him and didn’t have the heart to tell him to pound sand, but man did he drive me crazy.

Over the years, I’ve run into plenty more TIME SUCKERS, but he was the absolute worst.


These are the folks who are lost without rules, guidelines, or the dreaded “Standard Operation Procedure.”

I’ve run into too many of these to count, but there was one British guy back at Prime that absolutely took the blue ribbon for being by the book.



Insisting that everything go by the book wasn’t the thing that really drove me nuts about dealing with him, it was the pathetic glee he took when he thought he was tossing caution to the wind and breaking the rules.

Of course he couldn’t actually break the rules; his idea of breaking the rules was something like:

  • Telling a customer that our products were better than the competetion.
  • Having a glass of wine at a dinner meeting, taking a cab home, and putting the cab on his expense report.
  • Approving some very minor concession in a contract negotiation that had nothing to do with anything.

Of course, whenever he did something like this he’d act like he was robbing a bank or skipping school – absolutely pathetic.

And needless to say, he had no friends at work, no one wanted to work for him, and he never accomplished a stinking thing. Pretty common for BY THE BOOK jerks.


I was in the software business and needless to say, software never really works as advertized.



This very nice woman worked for me and she was incredibly capable of getting great work done in a short period of time – but man was she one huge “worry wart.”

I’d go see her to thank her for a job well done and she’s take my praise and use it as a platform to launch into a monologue about  everything the company was doing wrong (according to her).

And I do mean monologue – she could go for hours without coming up for air.

The worst thing is that there was no way out.

If I argued with her, she’d repeat her entire doomsday monologue.

And if I agreed with her, she would become instantly skeptical and tell me all the reasons why she didn’t think I was being sincere, or why my solution to the problem she was woefully inadequate.


These people thrive on working in crisis mode, even to the point of creating one when one doesn’t exist.

At the beginning of my career, I worked in manufacturing and back then, manufacturing was going through this huge transition from old school damn the torpedoes full speed ahead to the new world of computerized planning and scheduling systems.



And the first crisis warriors I ran into were the guys in the Production Control department at Data Terminal Systems. I was working for a guy who was trying to bring order to the system and these guys were like little kids sneaking around and doing everything they could to undermine us.

They loved nothing more than having the VP of sales call them to help a customer in need and sneaking out on the plant floor at night and stealing parts from one order to save the day.

Later in my career, I ran into the same types in sales; people who claimed everything was a customer crisis and used that as an excuse to break rules and go around the system.


The first jerk I ran into with this bad habit was the department secretary at Prime Computer.

She certainly seemed like a sweet young woman. She would who would come into my office and offer to help me with anything I needed done.

But there was one problem – she never did any real work, she just collected it so she could claim to be overworked.



After a few days I’d go see her to see how my work was going and get a long sob story about how much other work she had to do and why it came before my stinking little job.

I think she figured that this would make us appreciate her more; like she was so indispensible and that we should worship her for any little thing she did – because she was so busy.

I have run into dozen’s of GIMMEE WORK WHINERS over the year, even senior executives and vice presidents – their mommy’s must have been mean to them.

Do you have Jerks at Work, who you like some proven strategies for dealing with them? Check out my guests on this week’s show.

This Week on The Career Mechanic — The Jerk at Work

If you work in an office, particularly if you’re a “cube dweller,” you probably know a jerk or two who drive you nuts (unless you’re the jerk). Join Dave and his guests Marc Hershon, author of the book “I Hate People,” Marsha Petrie Sue – The Decontaminator of Toxic People, and Mark Song coauthor of The Hamster Revolution for Meetings: How to Meet Less and Get More Done, to talk about the Jerk at Work and what to do about it.

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