Hire an MBA by the hour
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Tired of getting gouged by consulting firms? BusinessWeek recently profiled a new site called Skillbridge where you can engage consultants by the hour or on a flat fee basis for prices that are much more reasonable than firms like Bain or McKinsey. Or, you can rent out a qualified candidate as opposed to hiring a new employee.
A growing number of companies are using freelance MBAs to access the same brain power they might find at a top-tier consulting firm. The demand has given rise to online marketplaces that are a cross between executive search agencies and freelance job sites—where the featured contractors are skilled at financial modeling, competitive analysis, and marketing.
The site claims that every consultant is screened and has a minimum of two years’ experience. For small companies and startups, this looks like a nice option to have.
It also offers a nice career option for consultants who are sick of the long hours and endless travel.
Posted in: Your Business, Your Career, Your Team
Tags: Bain, BusinessWeek, competitive analysis, consulting career, consulting firms, financial modeling, freelance MBAs, hiring an MBA, marketing., MBA, McKinsey, online MBA marketplaces, Skillbridge
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October
The October jobs report was surprisingly strong in light of the government shutdown inflicted on the American economy.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing, and health care.
The key issue with these numbers remains the size of the workforce. It remains to be seen how accurately these government surveys are in light of new trends where people work at home. Look at these numbers:
While the economy has been miserable for small business, and many larger ones as well, the ranks of the self-employed have been growing. According to research by Economic Modeling Specialists International, the number of people who primarily work on their own has swelled by 1.3 million since 2001 to 10.6 million, a 14% increase.
How does this factor into the unemployment trends? Nobody seems to be talking about this when the jobs numbers come out.
Writing advice from Tim Ferriss and Neil Strauss
Here’s a great video with Tim Ferriss interviewing Neil Strauss about writing and being an author. Both have been very successful writers and they offer up some great tips. Some highlights include:
- Tim noted that he created a daily quota of two pages to write when writing his books. Neil laughed about that but then acknowledged that having an easy daily quota made it much easier and less intimidating to getting started each day. This strikes me as excellent advice.
- Neil explained that deadlines really do help, which seems obvious but is still worth noting.
- Writing clarifies your thinking, so both explained how your conclusion or thesis may not be fully developed when you get started. The writing process is important for clarifying your thinking.
- Using the TK device while working on your draft.
Check it out.
Posted in: Your Career
Tags: advice from authors, aspiring writers, experiential journalists, I want to be a writer, Neil Strauss, successful writers, Tim Ferriss, tips from writers, work as a writer, writing advice, writing career, writing tips
Women opting back into the job market
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More women are re-entering the workforce after years of staying home with their kids. The New York Times takes a close look at this trend in the context of what was once called the “Opt-Out Revolution” in the last decade, when many educated career women decided to leave their careers to stay home with their kids.
Posted in: Your Career
Tags: businesswomen, careers for women, female entrepreneurs, females in business, jobs for women, Opt-Out Revolution, successful women, women entrepreneurs, women in business, women opting back into careers, Women opting back into the job market, women opting out of career
Eight Ways How Technology Has Changed The World Of Conferences
Technology has changed the world of conferences quite a bit over the last few decades. It wasn’t that long ago that there was little to no digital technology at a typical conference. Now, they are completely consumed by all of the digital wonders. There are many ways to utilize technology to have a strong presence at a conference or trade show. Here are eight ways that technology has completely transformed the world of conferences.
1. Credit Card Payments
For those selling thing at conferences, it used to be a bit of a gamble. Salespeople had to hope that the check or credit card someone was giving them was good. Now, they can instantly swipe a credit card on a mobile reader on their cellphones, receiving their payments instantly.
2. HDTV Displays
Booths have come a long way from the days of simple banners. Now, entire presentations can be constantly broadcast on a display at the booth. This makes it much easier for presenters to get out the information they need to attendees. HDTVs can be placed up high on a booth wall to ensure maximum exposure to the crowds, allowing attendees to see information about a booth from a long distance away.
3. Social Media
It has become so much easier to get in touch with someone that you meet at a conference. In the past, you had to take their business card, and then you would have to try to get in touch with them on the phone or send an email. Now, you can instantly connect via twitter, or facebook and have a way to easily get in touch again.
4. Mobile Event Apps
This is one of the coolest new developments at conferences. Attendees can download a mobile event app that will provide them with everything they possibly need to know about the conference or trade show they are attending.
5. Smartphones & Tablets
There are so many great ways that mobile platforms can help at conferences. People can use them to instantly input contact information of people they have met, take notes, photos, and so much more. They can use them to take video of interesting displays. They can use them to get in touch with their home office or coworkers who are at the event. Many people blog during the event to keep their followers up to speed on what they are learning. The possibilities are endless.
It is possible to set up a touchscreen interactive display that allows interested attendees to quickly find all the information they want. This allows the person manning the booth to really engage with the conference attendees.
7. LED Lighting
LED lighting allows booths at conferences to be lit up in spectacular ways that were never before possible. They can be used to spell out messages. They can also change colors and can move around in interesting patterns.
8. Interactive Exhibits
The typical exhibit of just a few decades ago was a poster board with some information, a few banners and an employee to man the booth. Now, booths are outfitted with computers that people can use to look up information about the product. They are outfitted with HDTVs that constantly broadcast new information about the product. They have been transformed from a boring experience in which attendees were just viewers into interactive experiences that capture the imagination and interest of attendees. This is a great change that makes conferences much more effective.
Simply wash away your Facebook history, photos and posts
One of the downsides of social media sites like Facebook involves broadcasting everything to everyone. Basically, anyone can’t find photos of you drinking like a fool if you or someone else posts the photos.
Many have learned the hard way that your social media footprints can come back to haunt you, particularly when you’re out looking for a job.
Fortunately, there’s a new app called Simplywa.sh that will help you clear up all that nonsense. Check it out, and you can quickly remove things that prospective employers might find. This won’t guarantee success, as even deleted photos can be found through various search techniques, but at the very least you should be able to reduce the chances of having these things get discovered.
Cutthroat professional life in Washington, D.C.
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Netflix scored big this year with its new, original TV drama “House of Cards,” depicting life in Washington D.C. Needless to say, the cutthroat nature of life in our nation’s capital takes center stage, as most of the characters will do anything to advance their careers and influence in the city. Yes, it’s fiction, and some of the stories are a bit far-fetched, but a recent book called “This Town” by New York Times Magazine writer Mark Leibovich portrays DC as a craven town where everyone is just focused on getting ahead. You can get some of the story in his latest article titled “How to Win in Washington.”
It’s not that Washington hasn’t forever been populated by high-reaching fireballs. But an economic and information boom in recent years has transformed the city in ways that go well beyond the standard profile of dysfunction. To say that today’s Washington is too partisan and out of touch is to miss a much more important truth — that rather than being hopelessly divided, it is hopelessly interconnected. It misses the degree to which New Media has both democratized the political conversation and accentuated Washington’s myopic, self-loving tendencies. And it misses, most of all, how an operator like Kurt Bardella can land in a culture of beautifully busy people and, by trading on all the self-interest and egomania that knows no political affiliation, rewrite the story of his own life.
So read the entire article and the book and check out the show before you venture off to DC. This way you’ll have some idea of what you’re getting into.
But keep in mind that you’ll be one of many if you venture off there. DC is booming and life there was detailed in an article last year in time called “Bubble of the Potomac.” The author explains how a new affluence is flooding DC and likes to refer to it at über-Washington, working off the name of the popular Uber limousine app that is so popular in the city. This affluence, along with the natural political power base, has helped amplify the competitive climate described above. The article describes some of the realities in the city:
- there are two government contractors for every government worker. Yes, people are getting wealthy on government contracts.
- Washington is filled with young people. That’s always been true but seems even more true today. That culture is definitely affecting the nightlife and the city in general.
- Thursday night wheels up parties at Happy Hour are huge.
- Much of this is fed by the intern culture, which starts with free internships during college, then paid internships or entry-level jobs, and then it goes from there.
For may this will seem exciting. For others not so much. It’s another example of where you need to have your eyes wide open before making a decision.
Posted in: Your Business, Your Career, Your Team, Your Workplace
Tags: über-Washington, Bubble of the Potomac, career in politics, DC career pattern, DC interns, DC internships, egomania in business, government contractors, House of Cards, How to Win in Washington, interns, interns in DC, internships, journalism careers, Mark Leibovich, Netflix, New York Times Magazine, political careers, political media career, This Town, Washington DC, Washington DC careers, Washington DC culture, Washington DC jobs, Washington DC professional life, wheels up parties
Unassigned desks and new trends in company offices
The world is changing as more workers prefer to be mobile, and companies are adjusting by radically changing the layout of office workplaces.
More companies are shedding square feet by shifting workers into unassigned desks. Being untethered suits increasingly mobile employees, but it can be a hard sell for people who feel like they’re losing status or privacy. For employers, the rationale is simple: saving money, attracting young employees and popping personal bubbles to push collaboration.
Nowhere is that more evident than the Ernst & Young Tower in downtown Cleveland, the city’s first new multitenant high-rise building since 1991.
Accounting firm Ernst & Young, which moved into the tower last month, placed more than 60 percent of its employees into a “hoteling” pool — a group that flits in and out of the office and uses an online system to reserve desks. Even the partners share offices.
The cost savings and improved flexibility are huge advantages with this movement, though it will be interesting to see over time how these changes affect worker productivity, recruiting and retention. One aspect that seems cool is the ability to reserve spots electronically. This can also apply to premium conference rooms, or just hanging out and using the room when it isn’t reserved for specific business.
Posted in: Your Business, Your Team, Your Workplace
Tags: adapting to mobile workers, cafeteria discussions at work, Cleveland jobs, Cleveland office space, Ernst & Young Tower, hallway discussions at work, hoteling office pool, impromptu team meetings, online system to reserve desks, popping personal bubbles, push employee collaboration, team collaboration, unassigned desks, unassigned offices, untethered employees, worker flexibility, working side-by-side, workplace collaboration, workplace issues, workplace trends
Shale gas boom’s ripple effects on job market
If you’ve been paying attention, you’re aware that fracking has led to a domestic boom in the production of oil and gas, including places like North Dakota and Bakken shale formation. Naturally, this trend has created a number of jobs directly related to the oil and gas industry, but as populations explode in places like North Dakota with these workers, we’re naturally see a significant ripple effect as services are needed for these new workers. This goes far beyond just creating housing and other services. The economic ripple effect is great news for the American economy.
An example would be a company like Safety Oil Services, which is focused on helping “safeguard the wellbeing of employees and the natural environment within the high-growth sectors of oil and gas-related services, including drilling and fracking.” This is one of many companies that provides necessary services to this growing industry.
Also, the demand for workers goes well beyond those directly employed by the oil and gas companies and companies that service them. BusinessWeek has an interesting article on how the shale gas boom is bringing opportunities for women as well.
While men dominate North Dakota’s shale-oil industry, women in the region are starting complementary service businesses ranging from oil-well geology to occupational testing to day-care and medical clinics. “There are great opportunities for women,” says Kathy Neset, 57, president of Neset Consulting Service. “Whatever skill you have, we need it in western North Dakota.” Neset and her husband founded the geological services company in 1980 in Tioga, which is in the northwest part of the state. More than one-fifth of its 180 employees are women. Neset regularly gives presentations at elementary and middle schools in the upper Midwest, encouraging girls to pursue careers as geologists, where salaries range from $80,000 to $140,000 a year.
Naturally, this is having an impact on wages as well. Read the entire article for a great snapshot on how these job opportunities are expanding for everyone.
If you’re in a rut on your job search and you’re open to relocation, start researching the areas of the country that are booming due to the fracking boom. You don’t have to be an oil engineer or rig worker to find work!
Posted in: Your Business, Your Career
Tags: Bakken shale formation, employee safety, fracking, fracking boom, fracking jobs, gas boom, gas boom jobs, gas industry, gas industry jobs, hydraulic fracturing, hydraulic fracturing jobs, North Dakota, oil engineer, oil industry jobs, producing shale gas, Safety Oil Services, shale gas, shale gas boom, shale gas opportunities for women
Construction jobs going unfilled
The numbers for new home construction have been steadily getting better, and that has been having positive effects on the job market. But this article explains how many construction jobs are going unfilled as contractors are having a tough time finding qualified workers, particularly in markets that got hit hard in the housing crisis.
This presents excellent opportunities for unemployed workers will to do this type of work. You have to be a self-starter and be willing to learn new skills like dry wall installation, but the jobs are out there.