Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I’ve Stared Into the Abyss…and Seen a Lot of My Friends

If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention.

Bad times are here, folks. Those people who make the numbers 4 and 5 are busy printing them up as fast as they can for gas stations. As in: $4.00 a gallon. $5 a gallon.

The front page of AJR (American Journalism Review) reads:"Maybe It Is Time to Panic."

And here's a press release from JobFox: "While the value of the dollar is shrinking, many job seekers - including in-demand technology specialists - must accept new positions at lower salaries than they did just a month ago."

OK, you don't have to beat me over the head with it. I get it. It's bad and it's time to take action and not just sit around and wring my hands.

So, in the last two weeks, I have:

*Networked with dozens of new people and established contact with them online and via phone.
* Done detailed research about where new opportunities are being predicted and how I can move into those areas.
* Checked in with all my bosses and clients to make sure they still find my product of value.
* Began adding "extras" to my work -- and letting my bosses and clients know about it.
* Checked into new technology and researched where it can help me do my job better. I'm ready to make an investment in voice recognition because my bad elbow is seriously hampering my productivity.

So, what are you doing about your current career situation? Are you hunkered down and praying the next business or economic downturn will pass you by?

I want to know: What are you doing to UP YOUR GAME?


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Monday, April 28, 2008

Revealing Salaries Favored by Young Workers

In a live radio interview last year about my book, the host asked me:

"So, Anita, how much do you make writing your syndicated workplace column?"

Thankfully, you couldn't see my reaction, because I have a feeling my face sort of resembled a landed halibut. But after a moment's hestitation, I answered him in a round, ballpark-figure-sort-of-way.

I thought of this as I read The New York Times story that noted younger workers don't really have a problem telling someone else what they make, and even financial adviser to the huddled masses, Suze Orman, chimed in that she thought fessing up to what you make is a good idea.

My parents were very closed-mouthed about their income, and the only reason I ever figured it out was because I snooped into their income tax report sometime in high school. My own kids don't have a clue what my husband and I make, although with the way we constantly yell at them to turn out lights "because it costs money!" and "No, you can't have the new Wii...do you think we're made of money?!" I'm sure they think we make about $450 a year.

Should we be discussing salary with our kids? What about with our work mates? Orman thinks it needs to be out in the open, claiming it will help level the playing field and get rid of income disparity. Younger workers claim they have no problem with it, and is part of their willingness to be more transparent.

As for me, I have to say that when the the radio host admitted that he doesn't make any more than I do as a workplace columnist, I felt better. But am I going to tell my kids our annual income? Probably not. I'm not buying a new Wii anytime soon.


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