Unemployed United: Creating real opportunities for the unemployed

Unemployed United

(Clicking on this image will take you to the Unemployed United website.)

One of the most gratifying experiences of Internet surfing is stumbling upon other people’s great ideas, and I find that there are quite a few great ideas out there that deserve a lot more attention! In this post I’d like to draw your attention to one such idea that developed into a start-up company called Unemployed United. They won’t simply be providing another platform with smart features to search for work on. In what other ways do they aim to help, you ask?

Unemployed United’s stated mission is to assist those unemployed in the USA, UK, and Ireland to find or create jobs, and this is to be achieved “either by means of initial business investment or extra training to improve their chances of becoming employed. €10,000 per month will go to our unemployed members and we intend to increase this amount as the popularity of the website increases.” I must say that I quite like that intent to help give people a nudge in the direction out of unemployment they wish to take. Continue reading

Coping with Job Loss and Uncertain Times

English: Job loss chart from BLS data here: ht...

English: Job loss chart from BLS data here: http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/SurveyOutputServlet?series_id=CES0000000001&output_view=net_1mth. Prelim data for Dec 2009 and Jan 2010. Made with OpenOffice.org Calc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a previous post, I mentioned the possibility of a future in which a greater proportion of the population work as free agents (such as described by Daniel Pink’s Free Agent Nation). Although this is an ideal that I would embrace for myself, the picture isn’t all rosy as this also means fewer secure employment opportunities being available for those who want them. The days of having a secure job at the same organization for one’s entire work-life have declined indeed, however it’s become apparent that not everyone has made the adjustment in mindset. Furthermore, there are many who are ill-prepared for, and/or don’t welcome, the difficulties associated with more autonomy and taking a more entrepreneurial approach with their careers.

Apparently, there appears to be room for debate about automation being the cause behind the decline of jobs (see Robert D. Atkinson’s post – an explanation which, I’ll admit, is new to me). In addressing a transition to a more entrepreneurial way of life however, I agree with many of the recommendations proposed by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, authors of Race Against the Machine. In this book, they listed changes to policies and societal infrastructures to support people as conditions necessitate a greater need to be one’s own boss – subject matter that I’ll cover in a future post.

For now however, I’d like to share some tips, videos, and articles that may prove helpful in putting you in the mind-frame to think about important steps to be taken if you happen to be dealing with job loss under these current conditions. Continue reading

How to make your case for teleworking

Lynn Patra:

“What can individual employees do aside from passively waiting to see whether or not there’ll ever be interest from those at the top?” is a big question that has been asked of me as a telework advocate. Christine Bhatkar’s post answers this question by outlining how to approach this diplomatically. Her post comes complete with a practical steps you can take to make the idea of establishing a remote work arrangement more palatable to key people in your organization. Read on!

Originally posted on Third Workplace:

working remotely

Getting your boss and HR to agree to teleworking can feel like pulling teeth. No doubt, you already know the benefits of working remotely but it can be hard to put that in a proposal that is appealing to management. If you’re looking to make your case but you don’t know where to start, try these tips below.

1. Explain how telecommuting will benefit the company directly. If it means you don’t have to write an expense report then bring that up. If it means you can log on earlier each day then mention that. Most businesses want to know how it will affect the bottom line, so be sure to highlight any cost reducing benefits. Try putting together cost/benefit analysis.

2. Include recent studies that show the benefits of working remotely.HBR recently posted an article that talks about the benefits of telecommuting. Bring these studies with you to…

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The Gig Economy: Hope for Renaissance Men and Women?

English: Self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. R...

Stories of young adults facing the realities of advancing in today’s work world (like this one here) bring to mind one of the worst aspects of working in the silos of the Industrial Age. Those of us who want to make a living off of our desire to excel in multiple fields are constantly reminded that having anything more than a monotonous list of the same roles on our résumé or LinkedIn profile page is the “kiss of death.” Yet, those of us who count ourselves as polymaths have experienced how expertise in one field, through providing a fresh perspective and broadened understanding, enables us to make valuable contributions to work in another. Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where we can point to our multifaceted experiences, flexible minds, and insatiable curiosity as advantages and be taken seriously? Continue reading

Freedom = Loyalty: Understanding the Self-Employed Mindset

Since the rise of the Industrial Age, the vast majority of the population have chosen to go with regular employment in order to make a living due to existing incentives (e.g., pensions, benefits, etc.). Since this trend has been the norm for quite some time, self-employment has become perceived as “the ugly stepchild” – something people turn to when they “can’t get a job.” It’s true that a good contingent of people are forced into this situation, however there are still many who purposely choose it. Are they crazy?

Often I’ve heard that those who prefer regular employment and those who prefer self-employment don’t understand each other. Indeed, it seems to be the case of different values, motivations, and fears. I believe this gap between those who have an employee mindset and those who have a self-employment mindset is encapsulated well by one of my favorite Aesop’s fables, “The Dog and the Wolf.” For those who are unfamiliar with this story, here it is in the video below: Continue reading

5 Factors That Determine How Innovations Gain Adoption

innovation - 3

innovation – 3 (Photo credit: nyoin)

One question telework advocates often entertain but can’t definitively answer is, “When will working anywhere and anytime gain more widespread acceptance?” Having researched this topic extensively, I’ve seen plenty of predictions that didn’t come to pass. Moreover, many are scratching their heads asking questions along the lines of, “Why hasn’t this happened already? We had the technological capability back in…” Yes, to a great extent, we are still working like it’s 1980. Furthermore, others muse that it will take a disaster of epic proportions (e.g., major natural disaster, pandemic, etc.) for the powers that be to change the way we work.

We know that new ideas and situations are scary to many, however I wanted to go beyond the scariness factor. Delving into factors that come into play with regard to coming up with a good, educated guess only opened up more issues to think about. Upon researching why it’s so difficult to predict if and when innovations gain acceptance, I came upon this wonderful explanation of factors which provided much fodder for thinking about the issue of resistance to telework. Excerpt: Continue reading

Living With or Leaving the 9-to-5 Lifestyle?

Many of you are already familiar with the living-for-the-weekend mindset and with how fleeting weekends seem to be. As soon as another weekend creeps up, it’ll soon be over and you’ll be dreading Monday all over again. For those who experience an intense level of anxiety and stress on Sunday nights, the following tips and coping strategies may be worth trying:

To those suggestions, I’d add: Try to keep the situation in perspective. Indeed, there are worse life situations to be in, and there are plenty of people out there who have it much worse. However, the question of whether you should focus on accepting the situation or trying to break free and create a work-life that you have more control over is a personal one. Some questions you can ask yourself to clarify if making a break for freedom is for you: Continue reading

Images of Industrial Age Office Work: Clock Watcher

Clock Watcher 16" X 20" acrylic Copyright © 2013 by Nathan Myhre

Clock Watcher 16″ X 20″ acrylic
Copyright © 2013 by Nathan Myhre

A couple of months ago, I mentioned that Nathan Myhre would be contributing art that represents the life of the average Industrial Age knowledge worker. I say “Industrial Age” even when it comes to post-Industrial parts of the world because we’re still bidding a long and difficult farewell to the Industrial Age work-style with most knowledge workers coming, going, and working essentially the same work-shift (9-to-5). What’s the alternative? Harness and utilize today’s technology to give workers more control over where and when they work as well as to work more productively. Continue reading

In Support of Introverted Remote Workers

Internet search results for articles and research studies generally come down on the side of extroverts and ambiverts who lean towards extroversion as having what it takes to be productive remote workers. It makes sense that, especially in a virtual team situation, your coworkers and people you report to would have difficulty with a remote worker who tends to go missing in action. Building trust comes with difficulty without a sufficient degree of communication and oftentimes there’s critical information that needs to be conveyed in a timely manner. Continue reading

Interviewing, Selecting, and the Lying Game

I know all there is to know about the lying game. I’ve had my share of the lying game!

That was cheesy, I know. Seriously though, from pretending to work, to pretending to like your job, to pretending to be interested in the job you’re interviewing for, appearances matter a lot within our current system. Like they say, appearances can be deceiving. As someone who’s been on both sides of the interviewing and selection process, I’ll share my thoughts on this issue and touch upon technological advances that may change the process of interviewing and candidate selection in the future. Continue reading