Getty ImagesI spend every Sunday visiting my 94-year old grandmother. She is unusually healthy and independent for her age. But what strikes me most about her is that she is lacking in purpose. Little things take on big importance because not very much happens from day to day. And she is always looking back at the period in her life when she felt useful and productive. When she could do things and go places. This experience, coupled with the fact that I really enjoy my work, makes me think I will likely work until I can no longer work.
The interesting thing is that my grandmother doesn't even understand what I do -- a common issue for people who age and lose connection to the workforce. In fact, we had a running debate on whether "blog" was a real word since it wasn't in her dictionary. Finally, she saw a reference on CNN to Larry King's blog and then an article in her Readers Digest about blogs, and she conceded that I was not making up this work I claimed to do. Since my grandmother has never
Blog Posts by Marci Alboher, Working the New Economy
Getty ImagesI spend every Sunday visiting my 94-year old grandmother. She is unusually healthy and independent for her age. But what strikes me most about her is that she is lacking in purpose. Little things take on big importance because not very much happens from day to day. And she is always looking back at the period in her life when she felt useful and productive. When she could do things and go places. This experience, coupled with the fact that I really enjoy my work, makes me think I will likely work until I can no longer work.Read More »from Will you work when you're eighty?
With the national unemployment rate at a whopping 9.5%, it has now reached the point where even if you're working, you know plenty of folks who are out of work. And while it's safe to say that the majority of the unemployed need and want to be working, a new attitude has arisen around a subset of the unemployed. It's called "funemployment" and it's taken hold among those who are working to squeeze some enjoyment out of their time off. The term is showing up on blogs and Facebook groups and has been chronicled in a few buzz-generating newspaper articles, like this one.Read More »from Can unemployment become "funemployment"?
I've been talking to lots of folks about funemployment and yesterday I appeared on NBC's Weekend Today show to talk about the phenomenon with Jenna Wolfe (you can watch the video here.) Here's some of what I learned.
Funemployment isn't new
There have always been people who have been able to enjoy a period of unemployment either because they have the financial means to feel secure or an ability to remain positive during
Getty ImagesNow that so much of the job search process happens online, the most common complaint I hear about is the "black hole" -- that mysterious place to which resumes seem to travel from the moment an applicant hits the "send" key. If you're involved in a job search where you feel like you repeatedly send out resumes in response to ads and rarely hear back, then it might be time for some new online search techniques. Try these 5 tricks to shake things up:Read More »from 5 online job search tricks
Answer questions on Linkedin
Your strongest chance of being hired is to find ways to show off your expertise and build relationships in your field. One easy way to do this is to troll the "Answers" section on LinkedIn and start responding to questions where you think you can be helpful. People whose answers get high ratings show up on a list of experts. Nabbing one of those spots is a terrific way to ensure that people using the site to fill a position will find your profile.
Play around on Twitter, which offers a slew of ways to search
Getty ImagesI can't go a day without talking to someone about how to get started as a freelancer, consultant or entrepreneur. Some folks are going solo by necessity; others are betting on themselves over employers in a market where jobs are no more stable than gigs. I spent the weekend with my cousin and her fiance who had both been laid off from jobs in adventure travel. We brainstormed about how they could build careers as entrepreneurs or consultants.Read More »from How to break into freelancing
A few days later I had lunch with a colleague who is in the midst of a negotiation with her boss about moving from employee to consultant because she thinks she'd have more opportunities if she diversified her client base rather than remain at one company.
Those conversations came in handy this morning when I was interviewed by Tory Johnson on how to break into freelancing for a video series promoting her new book, Fired to Hired, which will be published in early August.
Here's a summary of our chat:
Dip into freelancing while keeping your job.
Getty ImagesRecently, I started using an old family friend as a travel agent. Before then, we'd never had occasion to email one another. From the start, I was shocked to find that she regularly wrote her emails exclusively in all uppercase letters. I politely mentioned that using all caps in an email is the equivalent of screaming in voice conversations and she said she appreciated the tip. Still, I couldn't help wondering how a professional could get by today without mastering one of the most basic tenets of email manners.Read More »from How to improve your email etiquette
And that's not the only email etiquette breach that makes me scratch my head. Every time I have to scroll through 50 email addresses before reading a message from a colleague who used the cc rather than bcc function, I find myself wishing that some kind of licensing or training were required before people were allowed to get on email.
Since that's never going to happen, here are a few ways to ensure that your email style makes you look as smart as possible and doesn't annoy
Getty ImagesWe all know that most jobs come through unofficial channels -- introductions from friends or colleagues, poaching from other employers, old boys' and new girls' networks. I'm proof that many interviews take place when you don't even know you're being interviewed.Read More »from Life: One big interview
I got my first job as a lawyer when a classmate asked me if I would meet his father, a solo practitioner who was looking to hire someone. It was 1991, a terrible job market, and I had graduated with no offer in hand. My friend, with whom I'd worked on law review, had hand-picked me to fill his father's position and the job proved to be a perfect launching pad. My next legal job came through a woman I met at a boring conference who convinced me to skip the afternoon sessions to go shoe shopping with her. We had a great day gabbing and window-shopping, and I thought she might become my mentor as she was a bit ahead of me in the same field. About a month later, she called me in for an interview in her legal department. I had no
Getty ImagesLast week, I had yet another coffee date with an acquaintance who was recently laid off. Before we met, I thought a lot about how I could be helpful to him without offering tired cliches like "It will all work out for the best." Less than a year ago, I lost what I had thought was a dream gig -- writing a regular column and blog for The New York Times. As I prepped for my meeting, I tried to remember how I was feeling during that time and which people made me feel good and which made me want to clock them. Here's what I came up with.Read More »from How to help someone who's been laid off
When you reach out to someone who's recently been laid off, keep in mind that layoffs hit people differently. The good news is that there's little shame in being out of work today. Still, for almost anyone who has been laid off, it is a sensitive time; emotions can be unpredictable. So try to be gentle. Especially if you're a member of the family. What might be considered a polite observation by a friend could easily be interpreted as offensive meddling by
Getty ImagesThe voices of working mothers have long dominated much of the conversation on work/life issues. But lately, and with a new generation of men coming down the pike, it seems like men are chiming in more often, giving voice to what it feels like to be a stay-at-home or involved dad or how it feels to blend their working and parenting lives.Read More »from Are dads the new working moms?
On Daddy Dialectic, a popular blog about 21st century parenthood (which has spawned a new book, The Daddy Shift by Jeremy Adam Smith), Smith and other fathers record their daily experiences and philosophical musings on fatherhood and philosophical musings, much in the style of so many mommy blogs. Typical posts describe his son's favorite imaginary characters, give advice on how people can support the parents in their communities, and offer thoughtful discussions of gender roles.
Deborah Siegel, who is working on a book about how men's changing roles are affecting women says it is not as simple as saying that dads are the new moms. "Dads are the new
Getty ImagesI spend a lot of time thinking about improving the way I make decisions, so I was intrigued to learn that two new Web sites, Let Simon Decide and Hunch, offer free services to help on that front. At first, I thought the whole idea of going online to work on making decisions sounded hokey, but I have a weakness for tests that promise to help with self-awareness and these sites have a little of the same feeling.Read More »from Would you let a web site make decisions for you?
If you like to make lists of pros and cons, you'll probably like Let Simon Decide, which feels like the more serious of the two. Simon (as the site likes to be called) is promoting itself as a tool to make career decisions, among other things, so I spent some time checking it out. To start, the site takes you through a series of questions to identify your decision-making style (e.g. When you buy a car, do you research different models, specs and costs, or buy it based on how it looks, or a little of both?). You also get a chance to identify your goals, your current life
Getty ImagesUsually I'm on the advice-giving side of things. But some readers have recently given such good advice in the comments that it's about time to shine the spotlight on those wise souls who are teaching me something about careers, putting me in my place when I've failed to see the whole picture on something, or simply disagreeing with me.Read More »from Career advice from my readers
Here's a few of my favorite nuggets from the comments section:
In response to "Who's finding jobs now?" came this practical bit of advice from "Jennifer S" on preparing for an interview:
After three months of searching and a few interviews that I felt didn't go well, I decided to really prepare for the next interview I had. I copied and pasted the job description into a blank document, left space under each one, and wrote the strengths and experience I had for each qualification listed. That way I could talk about how my experience directly related to the job I was interviewing for. Then I looked up frequently used interview questions and prepared