Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Everyone

Ready………….Set………. GO!

Just a few more hours and this year will be history! If you are like me you are glad it is coming to a close and praying that the coming year is going to be better.

If you are still out there looking for work, I hope that you went ahead and did some job hunting before Christmas and that you are doing so right now as well!  Chances are there are going to be some openings in January and companies will be collecting resumes right now.

Many companies laid off people in December, especially if they had no intentions of keeping them this coming year. By doing so, before the first of the year, they will not have to continue to carry their records on their books this coming year. Companies are famous for layoffs about two weeks before Christmas!

If you are still not employed, take this time to reevaluate your needs vs. your desires as far as your salary requirements and the types of positions you are looking for. Take stock of your actual needs.  Can you cut some more corners in the way of expenses in order to be able to accept a lower salary?  Are you now willing to relocate?  Take a job that doesn’t have the fancy job title that you think you need to have? 

Predictions are that the job market is going to be a tough one for several more years and there will be an abundance of available workers to fill even the most menial positions.
It appears that there are going to be some sectors that will have increasing needs for qualified employees. Expect there to be increased hiring in the health care industry. This will include everything from nurse’s aids, LPN’s, RN’s and PA’s in various types of employment settings from nursing homes, traveling nurses, and hospitals to doctor’s offices and the new types of housing developments where there are assisted living facilities as well as full care facilities in one location. Elder care is going to be on the increase as our aging population continues to grow.

In the past I would have suggested that there is always a need for teacher’s assistants, teachers, firemen, policemen and other types of law enforcement personnel to work in the jails and the court systems, or any position in a government setting, But with cuts in funds to operate these needed facilities at all levels of government, I would not recommend these occupations at this time. The coffers are hurting at city and state government levels as well as at the federal level. Many City and State governments are reducing services because of lack of funds to cover salaries.  

Once again, brawn power over brain power may well be in demand. There will continue to be needs for good auto mechanics, plumbers and electricians. Not necessarily plumbers and electricians for new home construction but for taking care of needed repairs in existing homes. There may also be a demand for construction people who are good in handling remodeling repairs and changes to existing homes. Many people are deciding it is much more practical to put money into remodeling their existing homes rather than to try and purchase a new home in the present housing market. Again, look to an increase in work for the elderly who have decided to “age in place,” either out of choice or necessity. There will be work to do in making homes more wheelchair accessible, which will include widening doorways, adding safety bars in bathrooms and ramps outside to eliminate the need for navigating steps.

There is still work that will be available working on the Internet. Whether it is signing up to do surveys, which will bring in some money depending on how many you do per day, or writing articles for companies who will pay you to do so. You might also want to start a blog, such as this, where you share information with others and have affiliate marketing ads on your site that might be of interest to your readers. You won’t get rich quick but over time you might find this to be a nice source of some extra income and have an enjoyable time doing it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Job Hunting in December

Many people think December is a horrible time to start job hunting when in reality it is quite the contrary.  Many businesses are getting ready to make employee changes, in fact many have already done their layoffs. How many people do you know who have been laid off two weeks before Christmas or the week before Christmas?  This happens when companies start their new fiscal year on January 1st. If they get rid of people after January 1st, they have to carry their names on their records for the entire upcoming year. By letting them go before the end of the year they do not have to do that.

Many companies are not actually “downsizing” their companies, they are just getting rid of “dead wood”!  So go ahead now and get your resumes and cover letters submitted so that they can be reviewed and possibly even have an offer of employment to begin on January 1st!

Good luck in your job hunting endeavors!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I want to take time to say thank you to every one of you who drop by my blog to peek in and see what the latest news is. I hope that I have been able to provide you with some good ideas about job hunting, where to look for jobs and information as well as provide you with some inspiration and positive thoughts.

Be thankful for what you have no matter how little it may be. If possible, go out and take advantage of a free meal at one of the local offerings in your community tomorrow. If you do not go to enjoy the meal, helping to serve it is appreciated. I say this for several reasons. You are not alone in being without a job or down on your luck. There are many many people in the same boat as you are!  By being out among others who are unemployed, you will learn to appreciate their fellowship. Who knows, you might just be the inspiring force for someone else.

We all come into each others' lives for a reason, a season and a purpose, either to teach or to be taught. Some we will just cross paths with, while others will stay for a season or a lifetime.

Each of you have a very blessed holiday; share it with family, friends or even strangers, who may eventually become friends. Take the day to reflect, count your blessings. 

                                           Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

High Demand Jobs

The hottest job market now and in the future is going to be in the health care industry.  The need for doctors, registered nurses, limited practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, physical therapists, are all going to be needed desperately. 

Hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in home care required help will be in high demand as our aging population is now living longer than ever before. The trend now is to age in place, which means that there will be needs for trained personnel to assist them in their home. Therefore, LPN’s and CNA’s will be very busy fulfilling these needs.

Most state now require complete criminal background checks as well as current TB vaccinations on all their medical student applicants.

Training required for an LPN (Limited Practical Nurse or LVN- Licensed Vocational Nurse) will take approximately a year to complete and can be done at universities, community colleges and technical schools. There will also be a requirement to have hands on experience working in a medical setting in many states. The cost is between $8,000 and $20,000 depending on the school selected. Then you must take a state certification test and register with the state nursing registry and pay your dues.

Salaries will average between $40,000 and $48,000 right now but expect this to increase as demands for LPN’s increase in the coming years.

CNA ( Certified Nursing Assistant) training can be done extremely quickly depending on what state you are living in, determines their requirements. Classes can be from four weeks to twelve weeks in length and the cost will run between $400 and $800. Because of the high demand for these positions, many hospitals, nursing homes and long term care facilities will help you with your tuition with a commitment to work for them for a period of time after graduation. Usually you will be asked to commit to them for a year’s service, while others will ask you to just repay the amount of the tuition that they paid up front.

Salaries will start around $18,500 to $20,000 depending on the state, the shift differentials and the number of hours you work.  You will need to take a test, get registered with your state nursing agency and pay your licensing fees.

Plumbers and Electricians

Plumbers on a national scale make between  $36,000 and $67 ,000 a year while Apprentice wages, average from $27,000 to  $42,000 per year.

Trade Schools, on line classes, apprenticeships with hands on work can range from 3-5 years.
Licensing is required by the state in order to work independently. Some states also require licensing at the county and city levels as well as at the state level.

Some universities run classes under their Mechanic and Repair Technologies Studies, Construction Management and Trade Programs.Manual dexterity, good physical condition for lifting, mathematics abilities are all requirements to doing this type of work. As a Master Plumber you will probably want to start your own company and hire others to help you. Then you will also need to be sure to have good bookkeeping skills to keep track of wages, taxes paid out to others and of course materials lists.


Apprentice programs where you learn to read blueprints, electrical theory, electronics and math. You will work 3-5 yrs with an electrician learning the trade. State testing and licensing is required. Classroom as well as on the job training, which usually is from several years to as many as six years before you are ready to strike out on your own and take the state test and get your license which would allow you to work o your own and have your own business.

Trade schools, the Armed Forces and universities that offer a trades curriculum will be places to get your education. Then you will need to find a good company to work for to do your apprenticeship training.

Salaries range from $36K- $64K depending on your location and your experience. Master Electricians will usually own their own business and have crews with both experienced and apprentice electricians working for them.

Auto Mechanics

There will always be the need for an experienced mechanic to get under the hood of your car and fix whatever is wrong.  With today’s automobiles and all of the computerized functions and machines that can be plugged in to analyze the problems, pinpointing a problem is much easier than it was in years past.

Many begin their training with classes in high school and many schools actually have shops where people can bring their automobiles to be repaired by students at a reasonable price. Of course these students are supervised by an experience teacher, guiding them in their diagnosis and repair of problems.

You will use both mechanical and electronic skills to perform your job. There are Associate degree programs offered by Technical Schools and universities and the Armed Forces. Having good English skills, so that you are able to read repair manuals to use with good diagnostic and problem-solving skills, and be trained in computer and basic electronics, should have the best chance of obtaining employment.

Salaries will average from $23,000 to $44,000 per year.

Home Repair People Home Remodeling Contractor

The ability to go into a home and assist with general home repairs from replacing a faucet, putting down needed flooring, refinishing kitchen cabinets, to painting or building a patio or an outbuilding

Older homes have many areas that may need fixed whether it is replacing plumbing in the bathroom to fixing a ceiling fan or redoing a kitchen.

Or adding handicap features to a bath or widening door openings and building ramps. In newer homes it would be more like adding decks and patios, perhaps water features to yards.

If you are not able to perform all of these tasks yourself, you will need to subcontract out work, such as extensive plumbing or electrical work, which will need to have a certified licensed contractor and be inspected by a city or county inspector before you get paid for your work done.

You will want to be licensed as a general contractor and be bonded.
Knowledge in architecture and carpentry skills are a must along with manual dexterity.

Low overhead because you can work from home is a definite advantage and there are going to also be tax breaks, so be sure to inquire.

Knowledge of the construction trade skills and knowledge of how things must be done and when will be a must for knowing when to schedule certain repairs and subcontractors.

 Bookkeeping skills, to record, wages, withholding taxes, materials purchased lists, office and  business operating expenses.

Home Inspection Service

You will inspect every part of a home for structural integrity, from the foundation, electrical, plumbing, a/c heating and insect damage.
You need to have a solid knowledge of local building codes so that you know what aspects of a home are passable and what are not.

You will require certification, city and county permits and a business license. Your state may also require that your company be bonded.You will need errors-and omissions insurance protecting your assets in case of mistakes.

If you have experience working for a construction companies that is a plus, since you’ll already have many contacts and know local, regional and state requirements for certification and also job referrals.
Equipment investment will be about $500 for the basic tools to do your job. You may need to spend a little more to buy non-invasive electronic inspection devices.  You will need ladders, gloves, coveralls, masks and a hard hat while crawling into attics and below in crawlspaces. You will also need to have a pickup truck or panel truck to haul it all.

You can also purchase a home inspection business franchise from $45,000 to $150,00 which will provide all the hands-on-training and materials you need.  Check out The Franchise zone for information on franchises.
You can also get information and training from programs offered by America Home Inspection Society and the National Association of Home Inspectors, Inc.  for less money.   Depending on your location, and the type of environment you are working in, salaries can range from $50,500 to $75,000 per year to start.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Work From Home Too!

If you are under the assumption that all I do is sit here and create blogs, (okay so I have three now) then you are wrong!  Like you, I also have to work even though I technically should be retired. There is no way that I can make ends meet without creating some income to meet my expenses!  One of the companies I am working for is Text Broker, where you write for companies that need short articles created. If you enjoy writing, you might try this. I can tell you right now there are numerous categories to choose from and various subject matters. I enjoy picking topics that are challenging, so consequently I take time to research the subject before I start writing. Now granted, this does slow down the number of articles I can create in a given period, but I also know that what I do produce will be truthful and accurate, which I am sure the client appreciates.

If you are a beginning writer for the Internet, this is a great company to get started with. Both the company and the client have the opportunity to rate your work. You have the ability to increase your ratings by producing good work, which in turn will increase your pay rate. Clients who like your work are able to create direct orders, which mean that you are the only author offered the assignment and you are paid more for the assignment.

Several other companies offer opportunities to write for the Internet, which I have listed on prior posts. Men, seem to do very well writing for such companies as, giving tips on how to troubleshoot problems with things such as cars, the household plumbing or the furnace that refuses to work properly. They also do well on teaching others how to set up financial planning, purchasing stocks or opinions about politics. Women who write for ehow,enjoy writing about a wide variety of subjects dealing with homemaking, such as how to can, sewing, gardening or creating craft items.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A New Week Renew Your Vigor

Okay, so last week was a drag!  You sent out 50 resumes, didn't get a single call back. The job boards on the Internet are looking mighty skimpy right along with your bank account!  You are beginning to panic because there just doesn't seem to be anything out there and each week that goes by you are thinking how much longer can I hold on!  The hamburgers and hot dogs are now being downsized to macaroni and cheese and poor man's spaghetti (that's made without meat in case you've never had it up until now) and hopefully there is enough in the cupboards to hold you till the next unemployment check comes in!

Before things get any worse, if you haven't looked over to the right side of this blog and taken advantage of the resources listed there, SHAME ON YOU!  Start going down the list and get signed up at some of those places, use some of the search engines to put in new resumes and conduct job searches. Read some of the work at home material that is available over there. Believe me, trust me, you really and truly can find some decent places to work listed there. Many of them won't cost you a dime, others will only ask you for money to conduct background checks as the final step in the hiring process.

Each day this week, promise yourself you are going to send out no less than 20 resumes each day, that you are going to call at least 5 personal friends daily that you know and ask if they happen to know of any positions that might be available. Sign up with a Temporary Employment Agency, contact someone from your business contacts (such as your insurance agent, the coach of your son's football league,the pastor at your church, your dentist) and ask them if they might know of someone who would be looking to hire someone with your qualifications.

Expand your employment search area. Start looking at cities 25-50 even 100 miles away from where you are now. Research the largest employers within that city and send out resumes to them.

If you are thinking of working for an Internet Call Center, This Plantronics Noise Canceling Headset is an excellent buy.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What Does Your Credit Report Look Like?

When was the last time that you got a copy of your credit report? Are you aware that you are entitled to one free credit report per year? You might mark your calendar to get a copy every year on your birthday, just like you do for your yearly physical exam with the doctor.

This is one thing that we often forget about and you really do need to take advantage of this every year; especially now in today's very unstable credit environment and it also impacts your job search as well.

When I went hunting for new car insurance this summer, I called several local agencies as well as conducted an online search where you can get quotes from several companies all at the same time. Little did I know that each one of those inquiries would show up on my credit report. How did I find out about this?  Well when I received my new insurance policy, there was included a note that said the information on my credit report was used in determining the rates I would be charged on my coverage. I was told by the credit bureau when I called, that those inquiries should not affect my insurance rating. This was a red flag to me that something was wrong, so I sent for a copy of my report.

Several days later I received it in the mail. Upon checking my report, there was an address listed there of a place I've never lived, an alternate spelling on my last name and  several credit entries that are not mine and have less than stellar ratings. I called the credit bureau immediately to discuss this with them and advised them of the incorrect information. They said they would check everything out and send me a copy of their corrected findings. They also agreed to check a rating that was given on one of my own accounts that was inaccurate.

Did you know that most prospective employers check your credit report and many also do a criminal background check ? If you are job hunting I would suggest that you get a copy of your credit report and your criminal background report. Review them so you don’t have any nasty surprises and are able to correct any errors quickly.

Employers  feel that how you handle your credit obligations is an indicator as to how good of an employee you are going to be. With so many people unemployed for a lengthy period of time,struggling to make ends meet on just their unemployment benefits, many have gotten behind on their obligations. Under normal circumstances they handled their finances responsibly.  I personally hope that prospective employers are taking our unusual high unemployment rates and length of time being unemployed into consideration when reviewing a prospective applicant. It would be a shame for them to turn down a candidate who would be a fantastic employee if they did not consider that credit report.

If you are receiving multiple turn-downs for open positions, maybe it is time to be doing a follow-up call to the company and ask to speak to the person who interviewed you. Explain to them that you would really like more information as to why they felt you were not qualified for the position. Ask what do they feel you need to strengthen in your qualifications in order for have a position with their company. Come right out and ask them if they pulled credit and criminal background checks on you and if so, was there information in those files that contributed to their decision not to hire you. Most companies have a written policy that obligates them to advise you of derogatory information received in a credit report and some also require them to tell you if they also found something in a criminal report.

Once you know what is in both your credit report and your criminal report ahead of time, you can address potential problems that might arise during the initial interview process and help you get that second interview and be hired.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More new ways to job search

If you are looking for a job, you are more and more aware that the newspapers, especially on line, are now affiliating themselves with some of the larger on-line job websites, such as and rather than listing jobs in the classified section. Businesses are being inundated with resumes and their own personnel departments are unable to handle the volume of screening efficiently.

It used to be, that if you went to a recruiter to assist you in locating a position, anyone in mid-management or above could count on the company picking up the fee from the agency. With 1 out of 4 people now unemployed, it is becoming more and more difficult to have the company pick up the entire cost.  If you are lucky, you can get them to split the cost with you and then have a written agreement, that after you are employed with them for a year, they will reimburse the half that you paid upon your year review date.

One thing that you can do is begin using the white business pages of your telephone book. I suggest this rather than using the yellow pages, because not all companies take out a yellow page ad. Locate companies that either you know or think could use your skills.  Make a list of these companies, along with their address and phone numbers. Now go to the internet and see if they have a website. If they do, search under careers or jobs to see what openings they have listed.  Even if a position is not listed, but it is a company that would hire for your job description, send them a resume.

If you are thinking of moving away from the city where you now reside, go to the Internet and do a search on the cities you are thinking of moving to. Profiles of the cities are listed and the largest employers in the city are included. You can also go to their Chamber of Commerce listings and look under the membership column for even more companies. You can also go to the website, do a business listing search using a category name.

Granted, doing searches like this will take time, but it is well worth the effort. You can become better acquainted with different areas of the country that may or actually may not be a better location for you to consider moving to. The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence once you begin doing the research.

I used to tell people, when I was doing personnel placement as a profession, that looking for a job is like having one. You have to put in the effort of looking for work, putting out the resumes, be creative in your job search.  It is an 8 hr job 5 days a week to find a position.  It was then back in the 1980’s and it is even more so nowadays.

In today’s job market, it is the blue-collar workers and the white-collar management sector as well. Even CEO’s, or as I like to call them “the gray flannel suits” are also out there looking. No one has been immune to this depression and many people are going to be unemployed for a long time. There is a lot of competition out there and you are going to have to do everything you can think of to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

One thing you will need to remember while you are out there on your search, is that not only the value of houses has decreased a good $20,000-$40,000 but so have the wages that are being offered to those looking for a job. Yes, you many have been making $125,000 at the job that you held for 10 years before you were laid off, but do not expect to come back into the workforce with a new company for that figure.
Check out or, both of them have excellent salary calculators and relocation cost of living calculators for you to use.   Be prepared to be shocked! I know I was!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wild Wacky Ways To Promote Yourself

Unemployment continues to climb and with each passing week that you are out of work, it becomes harder and harder to find a new job. It is expected that an additional 12,000 people will soon be joining you on the streets as the stimulus money that was used to create jobs in the private sector runs out.  Employers will no longer want to continue keeping those workers on their payroll if the government is no longer picking up the tab for their salaries.

So now you have even more people, out there competing and you have not had a single bite on your applications and each passing week you are becoming more frantic about finding a position. So what are you going to do now? Have you posted your resume on every job board on the internet that you can think of? If not, get busy and do so. Are you using your social media sites to their full capacity?  If you have a Face Book account but don't have a My Space or Linkedin account be sure to set one up. Post your resumes on your My Space and on your Linkedin account.

You can also create a blog and post your resume, set up several at different blogging websites. There are also places where you can create a free website, go ahead and take advantage of those locations.

Are you using your networking resources?  Old classmates that you have stayed in touch with or have reconnected with through Face Book, My Space or Linkedin? Have you thought of asking other professionals that you know who might possibly know someone else that could create a lead?  This would include ex-coworkers, others at competitor companies that you know in the same industry that you were in before being laid off, your minister, your dentist, your doctor, your insurance man and your neighbors. Spread the word to everyone you know that you are searching for a new job.

If you were in any type of management or executive position prior to being laid off, contact a "head hunter" personnel agency. Let them know right up front that you will not pay their fee to find you a job, that a company worth working for will be willing to pick up the tab to get someone with your skills. Oh believe me, they will try to get you to agree to pay either all or part of the fee, but tell them absolutely not. Stroke their ego, tell them if they are good at their job, then they know the company will pay!

If you attended or graduated from college, go see their alumni department for some assistance and leads. Ask someone to look over your resume and cover letter and make suggestions on how you might improve both for today's job market.

If you are just answering classified ads or sending out letters of inquiry for a position, you are losing out on the chance to be seen by a prospective employer.  Get off the couch and go after that job you want!

Get dressed up in your interviewing clothes, grab your portfolio, fill your briefcase with resumes and put on your walking shoes. Make a list of companies in your city where you feel that your qualifications can be utilized. Map out your route and hit the trail!  Start out early in the morning, say around 8:30AM and plan to keep going to different locations up until 11:30AM. Take a lunch break and then hit the trail again from 1:30PM to 3:30 or 4:00PM at the latest. Do this on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Mondays and Fridays are terrible to try and get anyone to speak with you!  Don't just "drop off " your resume, ask to speak to someone in the Personnel Department. Let them know you are looking for work and ASK if they presently have or anticipate having any positions available that can use your background. Summarize your best skills to tell them about and ask them to accept your resume for consideration when they do have positions become available.

Get really inventive and creative like some of those on Wall Street when they got laid off. They made "sandwich boards" with a summarized resume written on it and stating that they were looking for work. At this point, you need to do whatever you can to get an interview!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Going It Alone

“I can’t find work so I guess I’ll just go into business for myself” are words that I am hearing more and more often. Hold your horses! It all sounds like a great idea, heaven only knows we need more small businesses, that will be what finally helps pull this country out of our present economical situation. In today’s job market, with many people unable to find work, they are stepping out in faith and starting their own businesses. This can be an exciting adventure which unless thought out thoroughly, can have its’ pitfalls as well.

What Type of Business Will You Start

If so many other people are out of work and those who are working are watching their spending like a hawk, what product or service can you offer them at a reasonable price? Will what you offer be something they need vs. something that they just want? What makes you think they will deal with you over and above another company? Hard questions to ask yourself I know, but ones that must be asked and evaluated.

It will be important to not only consider what your passions are, which will be a driving force to help you through the lean times of getting started, but you also must think long and hard about the type of business you want to start. We hear a lot about niche marketing, it is a buzz word that is used often by those who are setting up Internet businesses. Is this what is truly needed in today’s economy? If you are too “specialized” the need for your services are going to be very limited.

Be sure to put together a business plan, outlining the structure of your organization, the advertising and marketing program, the bookkeeping system, demographics of the customer base and projected sales and income.

Look At Your Customer Base

What can people afford to pay for the services that you will render with your new company? Will the company carry high priced items and services that only a few clients can afford or will you want to appeal to a larger client base? What products and/or services are needed by the majority of people right now?


Consider how much can you afford to lose not how much you expect to gain. How much can you personally afford to invest in starting your company? Do you have cash on hand or will you have to attempt to borrow funds from a bank or credit union? Right now if you don’t have A-1 credit, the chances of securing funds from a lending institution are slim. Do you really want to use money from your savings account or worse yet, remove funds from a 401K or IRA before maturity to fund this venture? If you are considering these options, think of not what the potential might be to replace those funds quickly, instead think about it as funds to never be regained and replaced. As money lost! Now are you still ready and willing to take that risk?  Invest what you only  can afford to lose.

Your Business Structure

Will you be purchasing products to start your business or will you be utilizing your own personal set of skills to provide services?

Are you planning to be a sole proprietor, a limited partnership or an S Corporation. Consider the advantages and disadvantages to each type of business structure available. Some will give you more personal protection both tax and liability wise than others. Research and then make the decision either on your own or with the assistance of an attorney and a tax adviser. This is one area where making an extremely wise decision is important.

Hidden Initial Expenses

There are numerous expenses that are not often thought about when beginning one’s own business. There is the physical location of the proposed business, the contract arrangements for leasing or purchasing the store front. The cost of deposits for utilities and insurance on the structure, the materials to display merchandise, such as counters, racks and of course a cash register for those sales you are anticipating. Setting up a bookkeeping and inventory system along with a marketing program. This could take months to put into operation before you can even open the doors to the public.

There is also establishing your inventory. Are you going to be paying cash upfront to stock items in your store or perhaps having items drop shipped; what is their return policy on items that don’t sell?

What? Still No Paycheck?

That’s right, be prepared not to pay yourself a pay check for at least six months if not a year. It is going to take that long to get the business established. Mortality rate on new businesses is extremely high. Figures have changed over recent years from stores closing in five years to seven years if they are not making a profit. So don’t expect to come out of the starting gate being able to pay yourself as well as possibly any employees, replenishing merchandise stock and meeting all the expenses of the operation  with monies brought in from sales to customers. It just isn’t going to happen!

Getting Up and Starting Over

As one who ventured out and followed my passion of starting my own business, I feel I can advise you honestly of what some of the upsides and downsides are. Was I successful? Let’s put it this way, it was fun while it lasted and I spent way too much money before I had to acknowledge to myself that this just wasn’t profitable. I thought I had done my homework, started with enough capital, had a good business plan and marketing and advertising program in place. Then disaster struck, something totally outside of my control and sharply business dropped, I lost several good accounts that were the backbone of my business and I eventually had to close up shop. Lesson learned, be prepared for the unthinkable and unforeseen problems that lay ahead. I suffered like many others because of 9/ll, because products I was purchasing came from back East where the Anthrax scare was. Two of my largest accounts were in the housing and real estate sector and there was a major slow down and cut back in that area. Within months, even with heavy advertising to try to develop more accounts, I saw my business caving before my eyes.

Having a Plan B or Plan C If Necessary

So what do you do when the bottom falls out? You consider your options first of all. Have going out of business sales and liquidate the stock, or try to find a buyer for your business as is. Sell your business name and all the stock intact if it is a long established company. Perhaps you have just an Internet business and you can sell just the business name if it has been getting good traffic up until now.

Consolidate your bills, refinance your home and get enough money to cover the outstanding debts you have incurred. Become as debt free as possible so that once again you have breathing room.

Go to work for someone else as you decide what to do about starting over again if you think you want to try another business venture of your own.
Find work that you can do from home to bring in an income.

Decide on another business venture and find investors who will be willing to take a chance on you and back the business; or form a partnership with others and build on the strength of all of your expertise and credit ratings to secure a loan to begin again.

There are plenty of opportunities out there and believe me, I am not trying to discourage you from taking that step venture out on your own. I do want you to be informed and ready for all the challenges that you will be facing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Is It Time Yet?

How Long Has It Been?

How long have you now been out of work?  Are you really starting to fall behind in your bills now?  Have you had to make arrangements to start paying only partial payments on your utility bills? Has the credit card company canceled extending you any more credit on your card? Is the car payment and the house payment behind or soon will be?

You better be ready to start taking some drastic action in order to play catch up now before you get so far behind that you feel you will never see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The further behind you get the harder it will be to catch up. This frustration and panic will also carry over into your job searches and you won’t go through your interviews appearing confident and self assured. The fear will show through the lines on your face and the dark circles under your eyes from lack of sleep because you are worried sick!

Face it, you are ready to hit rock bottom or already have.
Now is not the time to let your pride stand in your way. It is time to let go of “stuff!” It might just be enough to pay your bills and put food on your table if you do it now. Look at it this way, after you get a job and back on your feet, you can always replace the “stuff” that you sold but by then you might realize it really wasn’t that important to have anyway.

Lighten Your Load

Sure easier said than done you say! I am going to give you some real practical suggestions here so hear me out!

Quick Cash

When I say lighten your load, lets take a good hard look at what you have in the way of personal possessions that you can sell right now, through a free ad on a trade paper, through one of the Internet groups that you belong to (ie: Yahoo groups, business forums, etc) or on Craig’s List or even spend the money and do an ad in the newspaper.

Pawn Shop Here I Come!

Another place you might find some instant cash is at the pawn shop. You can either take a loan ticket on the item (if you think you really might want it back) which of course won’t give you as much money as it would if you sold it outright to them. If it is something that you really don’t care about continuing to own, sell it outright and get the top dollar you can barter for.

Have Mower Will Travel

Depending on where you live, there might still be a couple more weeks left to where some of your neighbors might need their lawn mowed. By now they are probably tired of doing it themselves (so many this year went this route because of the economy) and are now willing to pay someone to do it for them. You’ve probably been approached yourself by someone knocking at your door, looking to mow your yard. You may have actually taken time to ask them how much they would charge. I know that I’ve had estimates anywhere from $30 to $15 to do both the back and front yard and I live on a large corner lot! Get out your lawnmower and go hunt down some jobs!
Have a Garage Sale

Now this will probably take some preparation, so get your other sources of quick cash started first while you work on this project. Start making a stack of items that you can sell in a garage sale. If you have something you haven’t used in 6 months or clothes that you’ve been holding onto that are either too large or too small, put them in that stack. Get them priced reasonable, go get you a garage sale permit from the city (if required in your area) and have a big old sale!  Put out signs on street corners directing people so they can find you easily. Advertise it in the local paper.

Helping The Elderly and Getting Paid
Maybe there are some elderly people in your neighborhood or at your church who would be willing to pay to have some work done around their home. Maybe they would pay to have you drive them to a doctor's appointment or to take them to the grocery store. Approach them and see what type of response you get; you might be surprised.

Barter Your Services

Barter your services like they used to do in the olden days. Perhaps you can exchange your abilities of fixing a car or painting a fence for some groceries that you might need. This would release money that you would have spent for groceries to be used to pay one of the utility bills, or perhaps help with part of a car payment.

I have a friend who is quite a good artist, but right now people are not buying art work to hang in their homes. But she also paints business signs and has contacted local shop owners about making signs for their stores.

I have another friend who makes jewelry. She has all her supplies but sales over her Internet website have been down. So she has taken some of her wares to small independent boutiques with a marketing plan. Put these on consignment in your store, if people purchase them, we will split the sale 60/40 or even 50/50, your only investment will be keeping track of the sale from the ticket item# and providing space to show the jewelry.

These are just a few ideas to ponder. Put on your thinking caps, before you get in such a panic that you can no longer think straight. I am sure you can come up with some ideas also.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Working at Home - Discipline and Determination

Distractions and interruptions are to be expected but can be minimized when you work from home.
Let your friends, neighbors and grown children that don’t live at home that you do work from home and tell them if you aren’t answering your home phone, the answering machine will catch the call but don’t be offended if you are not available to take their call immediately.

Putting a note on the front door that says you are a day sleeper, “do not ring bell“, will keep people from ringing the door bell or knocking on the door.

Decide how many hours per day you are going to work or how much money you want to earn each day and then work until you have reached that goal. Remember just because you do work at home, you really are entitled to breaks and a lunch time, just like you would in a brick and mortar job. One thing you do need to be aware of is that working at home, at the computer, you do actually have a tendency to sit longer than you should, or world, in a regular office job. You actually are not aware of how often you get up and down when working in a regular brick and mortar office. This can actually be a health hazard, affecting your circulation and your heart so be sure to get up and move around at least every two hours for a minimum of 15 minutes.  This break would be a good time to go throw that load of clothes in the washer or dryer, or do that stack of dishes in the sink.

This brings me to the time management or flexibility of your new job and they really do go hand in hand. Working from home requires you to actually be very disciplined and flexible also. The children are not taking their naps today, you are home alone and no-one there to help care for them. There is no way you are going to be able to have a quiet home to work in. You have to cancel your shifts and just go play with the kids. But you will have to figure out when and where you are going to make up that time lost working, whether it is later in the evening after they go to sleep or on another day.

25 million people are out of work or underemployed just in the US and the figures continue to rise this week. Where and when it will end no one knows. In the meantime, unemployment benefits are running out for those who have been unemployed the longest. There will soon be no government assistance and you are going to have to find a way to take care of yourself and family members if you have a wife and children. Take action now before it is too late. Find something, anything to help bring money into your home.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Job Market Woes Continue to Grow

Last month another 156,000 people joined the ranks of the unemployed.  In June it was reported that there are 14.6 million unemployed people in the US, this is nearly twice the amount as there were in late 2007 and does not include those who have just given up looking.

Some companies are posting non existing jobs, collecting resumes of those who are willing to work for less than their current employees are making.So what appears as an increase in opportunities opening up may not really be the case at all.

In some areas of the country 1 out of every 4 people is unemployed, a very frightening and startling fact. Are you one of those four people? What are you doing to try and find employment? 

Since many financial analysts are predicting we may be in this recession/depression for at least another ten years and the likelihood of companies adding back a lot employees is dim, it is going to be imperative that those who are unemployed start to think about what they are going to do to earn an income. It is hard to think about humbling yourself to work below a salary level you were once used to earning, or in a position that doesn't have the "status title" that you once had, but it may be necessary in order to survive.

You are going to have to start thinking outside the box, perhaps learning new skills or rekindling old ones in order to bring home the bacon!  In some households, parents are switching rolls. It may be that your spouse has skills that might be more in demand than yours are. You, the man of the house, may end up being the one that stays home, cleans the house and cares for the children. Some men have actually found that this is very rewarding in several ways. They learn to appreciate their wives a lot more. If they ever thought that their wives didn't work as hard as they did, just wait till they take over all the chores of keeping house and taking care of the children! And to think that this woman never gets paid for doing this, only the love and appreciation that her husband showed to her. It also gives you, the husband, time to reflect on what really is important in your life. Maybe it is time to step back and not be so money and workaholic oriented. It is time to appreciate the finer things in life, the simpler life. It will also create bonds with your children that may not have been there before or strengthen them, whichever the case may be.

As a couple, try to set new goals to go along with what is now "the new norm" as it is being termed in today's rough economy.

Some things you might consider

Continue to keep your new way of living downsized even when the economy does turn around
Only pay cash for all purchases
Continue to buy American made products when possible to help strengthen America's worker force
If you didn't make a home garden this year, do so next year to increase your self sufficiency
Increase your pantry supply of foods so that you don't have to worry about going hungry
Any major purchases, agree upon together what you will save for and don't buy it until you can pay cash

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Help Me to Help You

In order to better meet your needs for information I need you to interact with me and tell me what you want to know.

What types of articles would you like to see here?
Do you wish to have me stay with just the job opportunities ?
Do you need or want articles that go into other areas such as
how to cope with job loss, adjusting your lifestyle to living on a reduced budget, how to cut corners in order to survive, money management and budgeting?

If you are interested in not working at home but wish to return to the regular workforce, would you like to see articles on how to write a resume, how to handle interviews in today's job market, how to dress for success?

You are the reason for this blog! So tell me what YOU want to read and learn about. Please leave me some feedback so I know if the articles I've been writing are helpful, or if there is a particular subject you would like to written about.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Temporary Employment Agencies

There is a great article over at Yahoo today regarding temporary employment and the myths that go along with them.

Having worked in the industry as a placement counselor, I can tell you that this article is right on!

A well written article by Doug White who is with Robert Half, International and I hope you will take time to go read it.

There are several additional things that I would like to point out that Mr. White could have added to his article.

When you do take an assignment, you will need to report that to your unemployment office because your check will be reduced by the amount of money that you earn on that assignment. You will need to report this after you receive you paycheck for the assignment and then your next unemployment check will be lowered by that amount.

Many temporary job assignments turn into full time employment. By hiring through a temporary employment agency, a company has an opportunitiy to see prospective full time hires in an actual work environment before making an actual offer to employ them. They can see first hand how you interact with other employees and supervisors, as well as how well you work independently and as a team member. As Mr. White pointed out, in these extemely volitle times, companies are cautious about making a hiring decision. The hidden cost of hiring is probably close to 33%  over an above the salary offered. There is a big investment to put someone on their payroll nowadays.

Back when I was working in the temporary agency field we did not offer any benefits to the people we sent out on assignments. I am glad to see that there have been some changes in the industry where some of the temporary employment agencies are now offering that to their temporary staff of people.

In this article, the author briefly stated that there can be opportunities to learn new skills, that the agency itself may offer you an opportunity to learn new skills right there at their office. I know that we used to do that all the time, everything from improving your typing skills to learning new computer programs. You can also  learn new skills directly on an assignment. I found that there were times when I had someone who was extremely computer literate but lacked a lot of expertise in one of the particular computer programs that a client might want for an assignment. If that person was strong in other programs, especially one that was similar to the the one they had requested, they would actually give that person an opportunity to fiill the assignment and then teach them how to use the program in question. Of course what comes to mind is working spreadsheets. Maybe you have experience using Lotus 123 but never worked with Excel; or you have used the Word word processing program but never used Works. If you have used one or the other, it is easy to switch over to the other program.

The other thing that I want you to know, from working in a temporary employment agency, is that we didn't just sit back and wait for companies to call us with their needs. We would actively call companies telling them about the great applicant that we are wanting to find work for to see if they might happen to have a position they could utilize their skills.

I worked for two temporary employment agencies where we would have engineers, computer programers, and management personnel seeking work back in the 1980's. We would actively look for positions to place them in on a temporary basis, calling companies to see if they might have a need for these people. Back when I was working, we never mentioned the person's name, just their skills. We did the same for all of our clerical and accounting people, as well as our construction personnel.

Last but not least, Doug White forgot to tell you that working temporary jobs will help keep your self esteem up as you go through this economically slow employment time. Getting out there and working on temporary assignments gets your face out there in front of potentinal hiring opportunities. You never know if someone you happen to work with on one of your assignments may know someone at another company who is looking for someone with your qualifications. Perhaps even within the company you happen to take the assignment for, there are other positions which you could qualify for on a permanent basis. By working temporary, you are getting up, getting dressed, putting on a smile and going out and doing something very productive!

Please don't think of working as a "Temp" is your last resort, make it one of your first choices. Go ahead and take some jobs that are different than you are usually used to doing, go have some new experiences. You might find that they are really something you need to explore further in your permanent job search.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Interviewing Processes

Looking for a job in today's job market is so different than it used to be. Years back you could present your resume to a company that was advertising that they were hiring, except a call within a week to come in to talk with them, have one interview, with someone in the personnel department and be hired.

Then years later, the interviewing process changed again. The companies began adding some additional steps to the interviewing process. Not only did you interview with the recruiter in the Personnel or Human Resources Department, you now have additional interviews, with the person who will be your immediate supervisor and then with the department supervisor. They can be individual interviews or they can interview you at the same time. 

As the use of illegal drugs and alcohol has increased most firms now require drug testing. This wasn't done years ago. Another test you might get is where they have you do a "Why do you think you are qualified for this position" statement, done in your own handwriting. This is done not only to see exactly how you think you qualify and fit into the position offered and to see your thought processing abilities, but they are also doing an analysis on your handwriting by a qualified graphoanalyst or graphologist. You are also likely to be asked to take some psychological tests as well. I personally can tell you, hands down, that the graphoanalysis will be much more accurate of your total personality than the psychological tests!

Many companies, once they have received your resume and either prior to or after your initial interview, will be headed to the Internet to begin checking you out before going further into the interview process. They don't want to waste their time interviewing just to find out later on in the process that you are not a good match for the company. They will begin by checking out your social networking sites. If you have any blogs or other websites of your own, they will be looking at those, checking out the content and how well you are able to express yourself. They will be evaluating the content of your site, to see what types of subjects you are discussing, how you are handling any conflicts and your opinions on different subjects. They will also be scrutinizing the people that are your contacts on those sites as well.  So if you have a Face book, My Space or any other social networking site, or any blogs, be sure that you remember that what you are discussing is open to public viewing. Your prospective employer will also be obtaining some other important reports about you. They will get a copy of your credit report and do a criminal background check on you. These two reports probably won't be done until they are almost sure that they are going to be offering you a position. Don't be surprised if during your final interviews, if you have any blemishes on any of these things, that some questions are posed at you in regards to them.

The overabundance of qualified people out there in the job market competing for positions, as well as the Internet,  has totally changed the dynamics of the interview process. You will have to really hone your interviewing skills, in order to stand out amongst the crowd of others applying for the position. Be prepared for not only days but weeks in between the multiple interviews that you will be going through. Use your time wisely while waiting. Read up on the company so that you are familiar with their operations, if they have a website, go visit and browse through the different sections on it. Pay attention to their Mission Statement. If they are on the stock market, go look at how they have been doing over the past quarter.  You have an obligation to them as well as to yourself to be as informed about them as they do to know about you. You want to be sure that you are accepting a position with a good stable company, one that is going to not only weather financial storm in our present economy but one that will be able to forge ahead and show continual growth over the coming months and years. You are looking for a position with a company where you will have opportunities for advancement in position as well as increases in salary. You want to know that there is a retirement program in place with this company that is diversified where your contributions will be as secure as possible for continual growth so that when you are ready to retire your nest egg has grown to your expectations and needs. Your goal is to find the best possible career position you can so that you can grow with the company and have a secure future. You don't want to have to be out there going through this entire job hunting process again in the near future.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Drastic Times Call For Drastic Measures

Our present high unemployment situation doesn't appear as if it is going to change in the near future. Published government reports say our present unemployment stands at 9.5% slightly down from previous months, but this report came out prior to the laying off of all the temporary jobs that were created for US census takers, which has now been completed and those people are once again back in the unemployment pool.  The July statistics will be published on August 6th and I personally expect to see that figure rise back up to double digits.

Drastic times call for drastic measures in trying to get back into the employed sector. Therefore I am going to make some suggestions that hopefully will help you keep your present skills polished while you are attempting to get back into the brick and mortar sector of employment or perhaps sharpen some of your own personal skills allowing you to stay self employed and working from home. For those of you who feel that raising buffalo or bees is a little to adventurous for you, why not look at your other skills.

Finding a job or new career is like having a job in itself. It takes time, research, organization, determination and needs to be done every day, from 9am - 5pm,  just as if you were actually employed at a company. The average length of being unemployed has increased dramatically over the past two years. The expectations of meeting your old salary requirements or increasing your salary requirements are out the window. The longer you are unemployed, the more you can expect your beginning salary with a new company to decrease from what you once were making. I don't mean to burst your bubble and your expectations, I am just the messenger, reporting to you what I've been reading. If you have been astute in your "homework" of job hunting, you know exactly what I am saying because you have read it also.

Take Inventory of your skills

Take a sheet of paper and fold it lengthwise down the center. On the left side, starting with your last position of employment, list the name of the company and your job title. On the right side, I want you to list all the skills that you used to perform that position.

I want you to work backwards, through all of your jobs, from the time you started working.

Look for the common denominator of skills that you used in each of those positions. Those will be your primary skills .

Now I want you to take a notebook or create an excel spreadsheet on your computer, or a folder where you can keep track of your work search information. List the last 5 jobs that you have had (don't be concerned about how many years ago some may go back)  Not only do I want you to list the company's name but I also want you to list the type of company that it is.... IE: retail, manufacturing, engineering, etc.

Next you are going to use the businesses section of your  telephone book. Start at Z, yes that is what I said, start at Z and work your way back to A. Most people when they job hunt, start with A and miss out on some great opportunities back at Z!  As you review the names of the companies, think about how that particular company could use your skills in their organization. Start writing down names of companies, their address and phone number. Next column, list the skills that you will prompt to them. Next column will be reserved for a contact name at the company, small column to place a check mark saying you have either sent or given them a resume in person, with the date. Make a column where you can write up facts that you have learned about the company itself (this will help you during the interviewing process). Next column is where you list your interviews, the name of the persons you interviewed with and your impressions. Last column, place the date and a check mark for the Thank You note that you are going to write them for the interview. Some people don't think that a thank you note is important, but I can tell you from personal experience, as well as what I'm currently reading even now, this is one thing that is really looked at favorably in the interviewing process.

As you continue your search for permanent employment, don't be afraid to contact the companies that you have interviewed with or those that just say they have no openings at the present time, sending them a letter offering your services and skills as an independent contractor on an "as needed" basis.

Following Up

Following up after your interviews is very important. When you interview, one of the questions that you do need to ask is in what time frame are they planning to make a decision about this position. If they say they are going to make a decision at the end of a month, there is nothing wrong wit contacting the company at the end of that time frame to verify that they have closed out the position and have made a hiring decision. There is always a chance that they didn't have enough qualified applicants and are leaving the position open for additional applicants. This is a good way to get your name back in front of them and tell them that you are still interested in the position. Ask them to review your resume and application and ask if there is any specific skills that you don't have that they are looking for to fill that position. Let them know that you would be willing to acquire those skills in order to be considered for the position.

Most  people who have crafts and hobbies always have materials around and if you get things ready now, they could be a source of income for you. Many small boutiques are now finding that their customers really appreciate having handcrafted items and are drawing on local artisans for merchandise. This could actually end up being a full time employment if you are lucky to make that type of connection.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What Color is Your Parachute Revisited

Don't worry folks, I haven't forgotten about you!
I have finished going through all the exercises in the book, What Color is Your Parachute. I am finding it quite interesting on how some of my answers have changed over the years.  The last time I used the book, I was in the middle of some major career changes. I was getting away from doing accounting type work where I had to do accounts payable and accounts receivable along with collection work and I made the switch to more creative endeavors which included selling and marketing and then getting into the personnel field full time. Later on I made another change to where I ended up in business for myself for about 3 years, where I was able to really get into a lot of creative design work, making gift baskets and the marketing end promoting the business. I even decided to try my hand at a year of substitute teaching after I retired.

Now that I no longer have children to support, being able to pursue my creative endeavors seems to be coming to the forefront. It is time to really do the things that I enjoy doing, be able to make some money while doing it but really enjoy the feeling of fulfillment that comes with following your passion.

I went to the library and picked up a current copy of What Color Is Your Parachute and I am so glad that I did. They have really revised this to the current job hunting market and there are references in there for you to get some of the evaluation tests on the Internet as well as an entire section on how to incorporate the Internet into your job search but also advising you not to limit yourself to that type of job hunting only.  They also advise you on how to use the Internet to gather information about the companies that you are interested in interviewing with. If you are presently unemployed and working with your state unemployment office and they haven't advised you to get this book, they are missing the boat!  Please, beg, borrow or purchase this book!
                                                                                                                                       I can not stress enough the importance of adding this book to your own personal library! Let it guide you as you go through this very new job interviewing and hiring process.

So what have I learned?  I am a creative, detail oriented, organized, self-motivated writer and teacher. I enjoy sharing information with others and seeing them be able to utilize what they have learned in order to be successful. I am at that stage in my life where I don't want to make a lot of money, I just want to live comfortably.

What are your traits, temperament and personality type:

Check out by Myers-Briggs for your personality type.
Then go to their home page for their testing resources.
You can go to for some free tests that are loosely based on the Myers-Briggs tests.

Another good free test is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter at This is also similar to the Myers-Briggs test.

Transferable skills tests for you to consider taking:

You can find some good sites to assist you determine what these are and even which job titles these skills will fall under. For a good test that will help you determine your transferable skills and a check list for you, check out the State of Wisconsin's Department workforce website at  Now this site will not point you to particular jobs but it is a very good site for you to check your skills at.

If you want something that will point you to particular jobs, try this . You will need to register to use the site but the first transferable skills test is free.

Another site that you need to register at is the Career Tests at Hot Jobs but it also is free and very good.
If you are just out of college or wanting to consider a new career field, I would suggest you take some of these tests. You will probably end up with some "light bulb" moments, pointing you in directions for a new career path that you might not have even considered before.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Putting More Eggs In Your Basket

"Putting more eggs in your basket" is a term that many of us who work from home use as our way of saying that you need to have more than one company that you work from home for. By doing this, when work is slow at one company you can concentrate more of your efforts on one of your other sources of income.

One thing that you might want to do is diversify, so that when one type of work, say customer service, is slow, you can supplement your income with some work from companies that mainly do transcriptions or you might want to establish yourself as an article writer for one of the services that specialize in articles for the Internet. Some people enjoy the change of pace and enjoy doing mystery shopping for different companies. One of the advantages of diversifying is that you are able to work more of a variety into your scheduled work time which will also help you stay interested in all of the types of work that you do.

Often, working from home by ourselves, we become bored with what we do. There is little interaction on a personal level with other people, since our work is conducted over the Internet and from our homes. Taking time to just get outside and either visit with friends or family, to take an afternoon to go to the mall or any type of store just to get out of the house is important. Perhaps a trip to the local library to pick up some new books or take part in one of their social or craft activities is what is needed to bring new interests and renewal into your life.  Stir up the intellectual modules of your brain, don't become stagnant,  you will find your work performance will increase as well as your personal energy.  You have heard of couch potatoes?  Well when you work at home and the furthest you travel is into your home office, you are neglecting many parts of your life.

Why do I share this advice with you?  Because I have found myself doing this very thing, becoming stagnant! I have been spending way too much time sequestered in my office working, attempting to increase my income. I had to do some self-evaluation the other day and I didn't like what I saw. The reality of the situation was that I was working more and enjoying it less. I needed to take some time to look at the types of work I am doing and plan on some restructuring so that I am doing more of the things that I truly enjoy doing. I personally also need to get out into the sunshine more and soak up some of that Vitamin D, intermingle with some people and enjoy a few laughs and conversations with people that I can actually make eye contact with.

Since Mondays are usually a slow day at my primary work at home position, I am going to take the best part of the day hours to go outside and putter around in my garden for a couple of hours and also paint that shelf unit on the back porch that has been neglected. Then I am going to come inside, enjoy a nice lunch and then sit down and make out a new goals list of where I want my home business direction to go. I am putting some new "eggs in my basket" and step out into some new areas of endeavor.

I am pulling out my copy of "What Color Is Your Parachute" once again. I am going to retake the quizzes in the book and see where it leads me. It has been several years since I've done that evaluation and as you all know you evolve over time and what were once your interests and priorities change as you get older.

I am also going to make myself out a new "wish list" of what I feel would be my ideal career position. As you go through your working career, no matter where you work, it is important that you take time to put together a written evaluation of where you want to be 5 years from now and 10 years from now. You are free to review this list as often as you want. Perhaps you need to do it yearly instead of making out your New Year's Resolutions, which most of us never keep anyway. Researchers have found that by writing out your goals you are much more likely to obtain them rather than if you just verbalize them. Some people will actually put up a Goals Board on their wall stating what their goals are. Others will make a picture montage of their goals. Whatever works for you is what you need to do but keep those out where you can see them often. If you need to change them, which hopefully you will because you are obtaining your goals, then make the corrections on your goal board. It is sort of like your "to do list" and the accomplishment you feel as you cross it off your list!

So I will be back here on Monday evening to give you all an update on my personal accomplishments for the day. I will share with you the results of my reevaluation quiz taking from the book, my personal wish list and some of the companies that I will be taking a look at to apply with.

Until then, enjoy the weekend and may you have some sunshine and blue skies to enjoy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cough, Sneeze, No Voice.... but I can still work!

I have no idea what it is that is going around, but whatever it is I got it!  It all started out as what I thought were allergies with a stuffed up nose, scratchy throat and coughing. Then it progressed down into my chest, wheeze, wheeze as I breathed in and out. Then the other morning I woke up and guess what?  Opened my mouth to speak and all that came out were little squeaks of what should have been my voice! Gargling and hot tea with honey didn't help one bit.

If I had a conventional job, I would have been calling in sick but since I work from home and have a few options open to me, I was still able to work. Now granted I wasn't able to get on the phone and speak with customers but I could sit here and do transcriptions till my heart was content. If I needed to get up and go get an aspirin for my fever, needed to stop and cough my head off, there was no one to be the wiser.  I could work a couple hours and then take a break and come back later.  It is so nice to be an independent contractor!

Now I do have to tell you that I don't make as much doing transcriptions as I do when I am speaking with customers and filling their orders. But by the same token, I am still able to work and not have a total loss of income like I would if I worked outside my home.

So many times when we are sick and work in a conventional work environment, we are really forced to go back to work before we are fully recovered and it isn't unusual to relapse in a week or so. We worry about infecting our coworkers but we also worry about losing our jobs if we stay out longer than management thinks we should.

Thankfully I am on the mend and hope to be back up to full speed here by the end of this coming week!No Limits: How I escaped the clutches of Corporate America to live the Self-employed life of my dreams

Thursday, April 15, 2010

High Expectations and Tight Job Markets

As our unemployment figures continue to soar and not many people able to find work, getting discouraged in this job market is hard to overcome. I can tell you all kinds of things about keeping a positive attitude but it has to come from down deep within yourself. 

A lot of people who are unemployed seem to think that they are going to be able to find a position at the same salary as the job that they left or even more than what they left at. With such a large pool of people to choose from, unless you are in a very specific highly skilled and highly needed area of expertise, don't count on it!  I hate to throw a wet blanket on your expectations but it is true. 

I can't begin to tell you how many people I've heard from who have been told "you are over qualified" for this position.  That is true, you may be overqualified, now you have to convince them that you are willing to accept less pay and that you will be staying around even after the economy does turn around. I have heard of people negotiating a hiring contract, where they agree to stay a certain number of years and accept a specified increase of salary per year during that time.

Even stay at home positions are becoming few and far between as people are looking into this venue to bring in income as they continue to search for a "brick and mortar" position. Since many work at home positions are Independent Contractor status, they find that they can have great flexibility with their hours, working around interview times and continue to earn money. 

In all my working years (I have worked since I was 13) I have never seen as many people searching for work at one time. In October 2009 average unemployment surged to 10.2%, the highest it had been in 26 years!  You have to go back to the Great Depression in the year 1933 when the unemployment rate was 24.5% and that depression was also world wide just as our current situation is.

Who knows what the answer is going to be to reverse our current worldwide situation as well as what we are facing locally in the United States. I certainly don't have the answers, I'm riding this one out just like everyone else!

I am presently reading this book, Rich Dad Poor Dad Prophecy and finding it very enlightening. You might want to pick up a copy, it is fascinating reading.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

OK So You Have To Get Dressed!

When you reach a certain age, it is really difficult to find work in a regular "brick and mortar" environment. Many "senior citizens" either have retired or have health problems that make it very difficult to work in a regular, structured environment but they have the desire to either stay busy working part time or do so out of necessity to supplement their other income. There's nothing like being self employed no matter what your age is!

Lillian is lucky to have a green thumb and she earns extra money by starting seedlings which she sells at the local farmer's markets starting every spring up to early fall.  She has invested some money into grow lights, good growing medium and little pots.  Not only do her plants supply her with additional income, but she enjoys going to the market and visiting with people and sharing her knowledge of growing healthy vegetables and plants. You can also find local farmers there selling their produce.

You will find Jackie and Hank at the local craft shows. She makes jewelry, from bracelets to necklaces and earrings and he makes handcrafted cutting boards and old fashioned wooden toys.

Sue on the other hand, finds it very difficult to get around so through word of mouth she has built up a business right at her home. People bring her their clean laundry for her to iron and do hand mending. She is able to work at her own pace and take breaks whenever she gets too tired.

Cindy has a unique job. She started a personal shopper service. Some seniors at her church were homebound or didn't enjoy going shopping. She has some people that she does their grocery shopping for them every week. They give her the grocery list and the money and she does their shopping for them.  She charges for her time and the gas for her car.  She also has several customers that will call her and ask her to pick up their perscriptions for them.

There's an elderly man at one of the local senior apartment complexes that hires out his services as a dog walker.

There are some pretty creative seniors who also design websites, write for the internet, write and publish books that all work from home.

So you have to get dressed for most of these jobs, but while you are growing your seedlings for sale, creating your jewelry or woodworking projects, you can work in your jammies!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Changes Often Equal A New Life Style and Occupation

Did you ever stop to think that out of what you perceive as a disaster can actually be an opportunity and a blessing in disguise?

In my many years of working in a variety of careers I've meet many people who were stuck in a job that they didn't like.  They stayed for the security of the paycheck, because they had a family to support or they needed to have the insurance coverage that came with that position in order to care for a sick spouse or child who had long term illnesses that would make it difficult if not impossible to get insurance if they changed jobs.

Some were just treading water in their jobs, not really comfortable where they were at but too afraid to step out with a leap of faith and look at other opportunities.

Back in the early 1980's there was a major downturn in the economy. At the time I lived in Austin, Texas and I was working as a Personnel Officer for a temporary agency that placed people in jobs. Major companies were laying off people right and left, including Engineers and other Management officers. Construction companies had built subdivisions of homes in anticipation of a major company's plans to move there and then they halted the clearing of the land they had purchased and the building of the company. Car dealerships that sold large expensive cars were closing up and shuttering their dealerships.  Interest rates on homes skyrocketed to double digits and many of those new home contractors with those subdivisions of speculative homes were now broke and filing bankruptcy.

I had people coming in applying for temporary jobs that were high powered engineers with Master Degrees that couldn't even find a job flipping hamburgers at a fast food place.  It was bad! People were losing their homes and their jobs right and left. Some people had seen the warning signs of this collapse coming. They planned ahead and had put away a savings account for a rainy day. Others had purchased large RV's that they used for vacations but also had the foresight to know that this could become their homes if they should lose their property and they would still have a roof over their heads!

So when this economic downturn happened, many who lost their jobs and/or their homes, looked at this as an opportunity to make total career path changes. They realized that now was the time to follow their hearts and do what they wanted to do rather than continue down the road that they were on. At this point, many were forced to take that leap of faith whether they wanted to do so willingly or not!

Some took their unemployment benefits and tried to out wait the downturn. Others found positions in a totally new career and others found it necessary to pack up their families and move out of Austin to other cities in Texas to look for work, while others totally left the state looking for greener pastures elsewhere.

I have to say it was a time of much soul searching. People redefined their needs vs their wants. They reevaluated what was really important to them in their lives. I would venture that most of them if you asked them today, would tell you that they came out of the situation happier and more satisfied with their lives today than they were back then.

So even though things may look very bleak for you you right now, there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. You do have choices and you have family and friends that can help you through these difficult times. If you are young, I would advise you to seek counsel from someone who's wisdom you trust, perhaps someone who is older who has already been through past difficult times. Ask for their opinions and their advice. Just knowing what they went through and how they handled it can give you the energy and courage to press forward.


Friday, February 19, 2010

It's Time To Tighten Your Belt

As I hear of more and more people being laid off from their jobs or cut back in the number of hours they work, forced to take "comp" time without pay in order to retain their positions, I realize how important it is that we discuss preparing ourselves for the possibility that we may not have a job to go to next week.

I think it is time that we talk about tightening our belts now, so that we have a cushion to fall onto if the rug is pulled out from underneath us.

Don't wait until you hear those dreaded words "I'm sorry we have to cut our workforce back, or we are closing the business."  Prepare and protect yourself now!

Sit down with your budget and a really sharp pencil and start deciding what you can get rid of right now.  Then take the money that you would have spent for that item and put it into a safe place. 

Some ways you can begin to cut expenses:

1. Get rid of Cable TV.  If you just can't bare the idea of parting with it, at least cut back to just the basic plan. Once you have been able to go back to the basic plan for several months you might find that you are ready to go ditch it entirely and go to just a converter box!

2. Go back to a basic phone line or a pay as you go cell phone. Ditch the call waiting, caller id, call forwarding. You don't need all that extra stuff. If someone wants to get a hold of you they'll call back. Go back to the element of surprise of the good old days when you didn't know who was on the other end until you said hello.

3. Stop buying your lunch. Start carrying your lunch to work.  Also stop buying that cup of coffee on the way to work, or the soda on the way home!

4. Make Changes in your car insurance. Increase the deductible, drop some of the different types of coverage, go to just your state minimum coverages for awhile in order to give you more money in your pocket.  If you have an older car, you may want to drop the comprehensive coverage. Instead of carrying uninsured motorist, go to the medical coverage instead. Look into changing companies for a better rate.

5. Increase the deductible on your house insurance. Raise the deductible from $500 to $1000. Look into changing companies for a better rate.

6. Stop buying prepared foods at the grocery store. First of all, most of them are loaded with preservatives that really aren't good for you and for the cost of having prepared foods, you can make them from scratch for about 1/3rd the cost!

7. Start shopping at discount stores,thrift stores and garage sales for clothes. Especially for children's clothes.  They outgrow their clothes before they wear them out and you can pick up lots of really nice things at the thrift store or at garage sales.
8. Freecycle. Type in and insert your zipcode, chances are you are going to come up with a freecycle group in your area. People list all types of items that they are giving away free, all you have to do is let them know you want it and go pick it up. I am continually amazed at the variety of items that are either offered or asked for.

9. Think about possibly refinancing your house. Depending on the interest rate on your home, how many years you still have to pay on the present mortgage, it might be wise to consider refinancing to a lower rate.If you are able to reduce your interest rate by 2.5% or more, and you don't have to come up with money to refinance, it may be worth looking into. With the present lending guidelines of most banks, you will have to have an extremely good credit rating to do this.

If you are pretty close to paying it off (say within 15 years on a 30 year note) it might be wiser to consider putting more money onto each principal payment every month and pay it off early. If you decide to do this, be sure to make a totally separate check out and write on it that it is to be applied to principal only. By doing this, you will also decrease the amount of interest that you are paying on your note.

10. Pay off the Plastic!  Get rid of all your credit cards except for one. Only keep that one for extreme emergencies and hopefully you can ditch it too down the road.  I don't care what the interest rate is that you are paying on your cards, start with the one with the smallest balance. Get it paid off as quickly as possible. Then move to the next card, adding the amount you would have paid on the previous card as a payment along with the amount that you have to pay as a payment on this card and do it religiously every month until paid off.  Do this with each and every card you have until they are all paid in full!

11. Get a part-time job if you are able to find one or create one in order to help get you out of debt.

12. Put in a garden so that you can grow some of your own food, seeds and water are a lot cheaper than buying at the store.

13. When you do have to make purchases, BUY AMERICAN! Help improve our economy by supporting those who keep their businesses here in our country.

14. Wait 24 hours before you buy and pay cash. Plan your purchases don't be an impulse buyer. Be a tightwad now so you can continue later with a life style you want to have.

Believe it or not, the amazing thing is, you are going to find out that it is really great to be able to make a few changes in your lifestyle in order to save money and you will not even consider going back to the way you did things before.  The peace of mind that will come from being debt free and having time to spend with your family will surpass any "stuff" that you thought you had to buy!