Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cliff Bleszinski, games designer: interview

Cliff Bleszinski, the highly successful games designer who knew what he wanted to do when he was six years old is interviewed here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Non-Profits: Getting More from Social Networking

Most of the non-profits in Canada that I have noticed focus on just a couple of facets of marketing in their on-line activities, for instance, service delivery or building awareness of the organisation. Here's a page that provides a more complete list of objectives for you to consider to make your organisation more effective: Investing More Time Brings Sophistication to Social Media Efforts.

Amusements Relating to Alienation, III

This is how somebody has responded to my postings about alienation on facebook. I try so hard and then something like this happens.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Amusements Relating to Alienation, II

Last Monday I collected some items about alienation. Then by co-incidence I heard a CBC Radio Ideas interview of Sociology Professor Lorne Tepperman of the University of Toronto wherein he was asked about aspects of inequality that still 'confound' him to this day. He mentioned alienation.

To hear the interview go to Making Sense of Sociability. The part I'm referring to starts about 38 minutes in but the whole thing is very interesting.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Self-Help for Those with Anxieties and Phobias

Although it has been around about as long as I have been using the 'net I heard about tAPir, the Anxiety Panic internet resource, for the first time only today, on the Psychsplash blog.

Here's what they have to say for themselves: "Welcome to the web’s first and still best self-help resource for those with anxiety disorders. Panic attacks, phobias, extreme shyness, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and generalized anxiety disrupt the lives of an estimated 15% of the population. tAPir is a free grass-roots website dedicated to providing information, relief, and support for those recovering from debilitating anxiety."

I have only just started dipping into the site but it looks pretty good to me. There is a fairly high incidence of these problems in the general population. It's inevitable that we will meet people with these difficulties amongst our clients (and colleagues).

Jane Austen Couldn't Spell

Many people who read résumés say that they stop reading as soon as they see the first spelling or grammatical mistake. They say that there is no excuse for these errors now that we all use word processors equipped with adjunct software capable of exposing our mistakes. I believe their point is that marketing documents are so important that job applicants should be expected to exert every possible effort to achieve perfection.

My position is that very few jobs require perfect spelling or perfect grammar, or even good spelling or good grammar. Not only that, when you discard applications on the basis of spelling or grammar you are almost certainly discarding some that would achieve good results in the measures that are of actual interest to you as an employer. Before you review a stack of résumés decide what performance you need from the new incumbent and judge accordingly.

I have been prompted to write this item by an item in the CBC News: [Jane] Austen was bad speller: U.K. scholar. Austen the treasured author! Even her spelling and grammar didn't matter (that much) because it could be corrected by an editor.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jobs: Durham Region (bilingual)

Développeur d’emploi, Région de Durham

Thanks to Patricia Martin of Career Essentials.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Un-, Under- or Mis-employed: All Bad

Read The Wrong Job Can Be Bad for You which discusses how underemployment can be worse than unemployment. Is it too big a leap of intuition to expect that employment in an unsuitable job is unhealthy too?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Others See Us More Favourably

As most readers of this blog know, the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) is, roughly speaking, a generalisation of the MBTI. Using the NEO the authors of a recent study show that there is a cross-cultural pattern, that people 'view themselves less favorably than they are perceived by others.'

See the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology abstract for more detail and access to the full report.

Looking for Christmas Gift Widget

It's really not too early to be thinking about this.

A few years ago I saw a web page by a Peterborough, Ontario agency that listed requests from people who were financially distressed, for low-cost items at Christmas. Stuff like warm winter coats, warm gloves, cosmetics or telephone cards. The agency posted the items on the page on behalf of these folks, collected the items from donors and then removed the items from the page as they were collected.

Someone, somewhere, has probably made a widget that can be installed easily on web pages that would make it easy for any agency with a web site to do this. Obviously avoiding the need to hire a web programmer to build a special-purpose page.

Have you seen a widget or gadget like this? I would like to spread information about it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Amusements Relating to Alienation

Marx' ideas about alienation, I mean. Good introductory discussion: Jonathan Wolff on Marx on Alienation.

@eventsecrets (on Twitter) prompted me to collect these items when he quoted Theodor Adorno recently: "Work while you work, play while you play - this is a basic rule of repressive self-discipline." We are all supposed to absorb that in school.

Laurie Taylor and his guests discuss a kind of alienation that they call the 'emotional work' that people like hairdressers and masseurs do in the 13 October edition of Thinking Aloud starting about 12 minutes 30 seconds into the broadcast. The first part of the broadcast about the expectations of economic migrants is of interest too.

Differentiating Amongst STEM Interests

STEM = science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Did you know that there's a free, on-line instrument that attempts to measure the levels of interest in some fields in this category of occupations? To give you an idea of what kind of results you can obtain here's what I got:
Physical Sciences2.83
Information Technology2.75
Life Sciences1.60
At this stage of my life nothing here came as a surprise. As usual, though, it was interesting to see it in black-and-white and, having it in this form makes it all easier to question too.

The main shortcoming that was apparent to me in the instrument was the absence of items relating to the social sciences.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Video: Using LinkedIn to Find a Job

Thanks to twitterers: @CareerCenter_LU and @careerchatter.

Diigo for Managing Job Search

Diigo is a popular web site for saving bookmarks to web pages that you have annotated and tagged. This makes it an excellent spot for saving job advertisements and cover letters. When you find a job advertisement that interests you highlight the significant features with Diigo, add sticky notes and some tag words too if you would like, and then bookmark the page to Diigo. Diigo will keep your bookmark; it will index the page according to any tag words you have added too.

If you say that it's not worth learning anything new to keep track of your job search then I have a couple of things to say to you:
  1. One of my relatives told me that he went into an interview recently and could not remember which of his résumés he had sent to the employer that was interviewing him. It was embarrassing. It's important to have a system for administering your job search records.
  2. In this economic climate it can take a long time to land a job. Consequently you could have a lot of paper to look after. It's wise to be systematic from the start.
If you use Diigo then I suggest using tag words for keeping track of where you are in the process of applying for the job being advertised. Here's one way. When you first bookmark the job tag it 'unprocessed'. As soon as you have written a cover letter or résumé for it retag it appropriately. Then, when you have completed the other item of this pair of marketing documents add the appropriate tag. As soon as you see both 'résumé' and 'cover' for an advertisement you know that you're ready to apply. When you do that you retag. You can use the comments field provided by Diigo for recording the names of the computer documents that contain the résumé and cover letter for that advertisement so that you can refer to them for an interview. And so on.
  1. Get yourself a Diigo account here.
  2. Once that ordeal is over go to 'Tools' in Diigo and get Diigolet (not the Diigo Toolbar, at least not as far as I am concerned; who needs the screen clutter?).
    • The instructions say only to right-click a button and click "Add to Favorites". There's slightly more to it. After you've right-clicked, and after you've got past the security message as Diigo suggests, select 'Favorites Bar' from the drop-down 'Create in' list. Then click on 'Add'.
    • You might find that the tutorial video is worth watching after you've added Diigolet.
  3. The following graphic shows a portion of a screen displaying a job advertisement I have highlighted to make it easy for me to find the name and email address to apply to. I could have highlighted anything. It also shows part of the Diigo Diigolet menu that offers highlighting, stick notes, commenting and bookmarking.

  4. When I now click on Diigo in the menu I can select 'My library' to see all of my entries, this new item included. In the left-hand menu I can click on the 'unprocessed' tag that I placed in the item to see all of the job advertisements that I have yet to work on. As long as the advertisement remains on the web I will be able to find it via my Diigo account.
Please, let me know what you think.

"Three win economics Nobel ..." (revisited)

I have embarrassed myself yet again.

When I read about the prize that is to be awarded next month, I wrote a blog article in which I concluded that it would be great to reduce the friction in the jobs market based on the results of the research for which the prize is being awarded because I thought this meant that job seekers could get back to work (in suitable jobs) more quickly.

Unfortunately I find that the Nobel Prize web site itself says that one way that friction could be reduced would be to reduce unemployment benefits. Let me just say that I am at all cheerful about the news of this prize like I was at first.

Let us see and want the best in, for and from people. We seek the tools and processes to enable them.

math_ability(women) == math_ability (men)


So says: Large study shows females are equal to males in math skills. Although I'm well aware that math skills relate to the way in which we construct 'feminine' and 'masculine' in our culture, isn't this just a tad boring?

What really counts in any case is what each individual wants to do and can do. And, as far as the 'can do' part is concerned, scant few occupations involve highly developed mathematics skills anyway.

Let's learn to live with the fact that about 50% of women have higher innate mathematics skills (or abilities or whatever) than 50% of men. Lots of things are like this.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Trend: Call for Versatile Staff

I just happened upon an interview with Jonathan Lister who was hired from Google Canada to run the new LinkedIn office in Canada. Notice what he says about five and a half minutes into the interview. He wants to find personnel who have wide sets of skills and who are willing to deal with detail.

I'm not going to offer links as evidence but this is not the first time I've heard this. In this difficult business climate many businesses are either restaffing some units at lower levels than before or they are opening new units at lower staffing levels than would have been customary. They therefore look for candidates with a variety of skills and the willingness to apply them, so that they can cover all of the ground.

How big this trend is: anybody's guess.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Three win economics Nobel for job market analysis"

It is perfectly obvious to anyone working as an employment advisor that there are large inefficiencies of various kinds in systems for assigning people to jobs. For instance, many jobs are advertised on big job banks but the job titles are not standardised making them more difficult to identify, and anyway many job seekers have only poorly developed Internet skills; and many jobs are unadvertised ('hidden') obliging people to network for them. However, I had no idea that there are academics studying these issues.

I've just read an announcement that this year's Nobel Prize for Economics is to go to three economists. The announcement says: "Since searching for jobs takes time and resources, it creates frictions in the job market, helping explain why there are both job vacancies and unemployment simultaneously, the academy said."

I hope what they've done can be put to practical use—and quickly.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10 October 2010: 8th World Day Against the Death Penalty

This year the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty is focusing its attention on the United States on its World Day.

I would ask, is the Death Penalty consistent with respect for life?

Friday, October 8, 2010

HAPPEN: The Networking Organisation

I've heard about HAPPEN and its benefits often on LinkedIn. They say on their web site, 'Since 1991 HAPPEN has assisted over 30,000 members find new careers and contacts by providing them with the skills and the opportunity to exploit the "hidden job market" via the power of Networking.' I can't tell you about any personal experience I've had with HAPPEN but I do think it's worth considering if you're a job seeker, and most of the people that read this blog might also find their blog at least as useful.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vacancy: Job Developer (Peel Region)

Thanks to Patricia Martin of Career Essentials.