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Rachel Kaufman

Did She Or Didn’t She? Gov Report Says Sandy Had Little Effect On Jobs This Month

Despite an ADP report to the contrary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics today said that Hurricane Sandy did not “substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.”

That and 146,000 jobs were added to the economy, an unimpressive gain.

The good news: The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent as companies hired in retail, health care, and hospitality. And for the first time we recall, also in motion picture and sound recording (+15,000 jobs). Hey, that’s kind of like media.

The bad news: 12 million people are still unemployed, plus another 8.2 million underemployed and just under 1 million discouraged workers–those who were not officially counted as unemployed because they had given up looking for work.

Two days ago, payroll giant ADP projected a smaller increase in private-sector jobs (118,000) and said that that number would have been much, much higher if not for Sandy: “Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market in November, slicing an estimated 86,000 jobs from payrolls,” a Moodys analyst said in the report. “The manufacturing, retailing, leisure and hospitality, and temporary help industries were hit particularly hard by the storm.”

Not only that, but when offices are closed, they can’t report data, leading to an artificially lower estimate.

But the Bureau says that on that second point, you can rest easy: “Our survey response rates in the affected states were within normal ranges. Our analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.”

We kind of wish the response rates were lower. That would mean more jobs. Ah well.

What Fresh Hell Is This? Resume Writer Says To Stop Searching For A Job Because Your Next One Will Find You

Have you ever spent ten minutes searching for your car keys, only to find them appear just as you’ve thrown your hands up and said “Screw it, I’ll walk”? Sure that happens every now and then, but people do tend to find their car keys while looking for them.

Yet master resume writer Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter says that “you might actually land a job” when you stop looking for one, so, yeah, just quit your job search.

wonder how this made it past the DMV. photo by flickr user gammaman: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gammaman/


Should you “[p]lay hard-to-get by being nonchalant about job offers that do come your way”? This, Barrett-Poindexter says, will make you “be seen as a challenge, and the competition to hire you will heat up.”

No, no, no. Nonchalant is bad in today’s market. Overly attached, clingy, and needy is also bad, but there’s middle ground. If you need a job, present yourself as excited and passionate and energetic—not hard to get.

Oh, and Barrett-Poindexter also says that in times of real stress, just stop job-searching altogether. “The perspectives you gain during this time will more than make up for any perceived time loss.”

Agreed…if you’re talking about a couple hours. Maybe even a day, if you’re having a really wretched time and need a mental health break. In fact, we support the general idea of approaching the job search from a place of calm, a place of positivity, etc.–not a mental state of stress and negativity. That stress will spill over into the way you present yourself to employers, so coming from a good, happy place is good. But that doesn’t mean just to quit when it gets rough.

Job searching is a job, as anyone who’s done it for an extended period of time knows. Without discipline and putting in regular hours, you’re less likely to achieve the result you want–a job. Yes, people get called out of the blue by headhunters, and sometimes the perfect job falls into your lap, but The Secret isn’t real and you’ll better your odds by sticking with it. A job search is not like looking for your car keys.

Finally, Barrett-Poindexter also lists a bunch of tips about quitting your job search by using social media, volunteering, and going on job interviews. Funny, those things sound a heck of a lot like….job-searching. So maybe you don’t want to quit your job search after all.

LinkedIn ‘Open Endorsers’ Ruining It For Everyone

First there were LIONs, or LinkedIn Open Networkers—essentially people who would friend anyone who asked, presumably in order to win a meaningless pissing contest on the Internet about who had the most internet friends.

Now we’ve learned from Tim Tyrell-Smith that there are Open Endorsers, or people who will endorse you for all your skills if you do the same for them.

(Quick backtrack primer on endorsements, since they’re one of Linkedin’s newest features: Your connections can now indicate that you’re good at Skill X with one click. Much less work than writing a full recommendation, but about as meaningful as clicking “Like” on someone’s status update, we suspect. However, there’re rumors swirling that your endorsements will affect how you rank in search, so like many other changes social media companies have forced on us, we have to play along to stay competitive in this personal branding world.)

Okay, but ‘open endorsers’ are idiots. Here’s the profile of a person who tried to connect with Tyrell-Smith:

Useless. All noise, no signal.

If LinkedIn ranks people in search results based on the relative distribution of endorsements within their profile, fine. If we start getting compared to the people with 99+ endorsements in every skill ever, just because that guy agreed to say “yes” to all his friends, coworkers, and random strangers on the Internet, we’re doomed. Thanks a lot, idiots!

Does This Video Make You Want To Intern At TheStreet.com?

In what has to be the weirdest intern recruitment video ever*, TheStreet reporters talk about….everything besides why you might want to intern here. The tongue-firmly-in-cheek video has reporters talking about how their interns from last year “can’t be working” (“actually, they’re interning at Bloomberg now,” says another), points out that the Wall Street bull statue’s “bollocks are bigger than its brain,” and then shows viewers how close TheStreet’s offices are to Zucotti Park, where “thousands of jobless kids just like yourselves rose up against the greedy investment banks. The same greedy investment banks that keep business journalists like us employed.”

*Ok not really. This video aired at the 2012 Financial Follies, a sort of White House Correspondents Dinner for New York financial journalists. On the other hand, it’s all about interns, and can’t help but leave some sort of impression in interns’ brains. Do you find the jokes funny? Does the vid make you more or less likely to want to intern at TheStreet?

Facebook Launches Social Jobs App, It’s ‘Not A Linkedin Killer’

“Not a Linkedin killer” is about the nicest thing anyone could think of to say about Facebook’s new social jobs partnership, which lets members search job postings from Monster, BranchOut, Work4Labs, US.jobs, and Jobvite.

Josh Bersin, writing on Forbes, said that the new app is “a fairly poorly implemented search system which doesn’t even come close to the services offered by LinkedIn or Indeed.com.” “I don’t think Facebook put a lot of energy into this ‘partnership,’” he added.

Former HR guy Lance Haun had some even harsher words: “If I were Facebook, I would quietly remove the server that hosts the application, toss it into San Francisco Bay and start over, never to speak a word of it again.”

The search is indeed a bit tricky (to say the least). And confusing. See below:

Using Facebook’s app to search Monster jobs for “PR” in Washington, DC yields zero results (click to enlarge):

Yet performing the same (or a very similar, in any case) search on Monster.com yields plenty (click to enlarge):

Believe it or not, getting zero results is actually an improvement over what some people were seeing; Haun searched for HR jobs in California and was given results for restaurant jobs in Great Britain. So seen from that light, getting nothing is fairly good.

As folks are saying, this half-baked effort isn’t going to destroy LinkedIn for now, but if Facebook took the time to put together a seriously killer aggregation engine, then with its huge user base, watch out world.

Ouch: Canadian ‘Community-Powered News Organization’ Has Its Bank Accounts Frozen, Owes Freelancers

Luckily, the individual amounts in question are only a few hundred bucks in most cases, but even a hunsky owed is an annoyance at best and a hardship at worst for the unpaid freelancer.

The startup in question is called OpenFile, and it operated in six Canadian cities before it stopped publication in September. Readers would suggest story ideas, and then OpenFile would assign reporters to them. But on Sept. 28, the company went “on pause.” It’s now November and not only is OpenFile not unpaused, but freelancers still haven’t been paid, the editor-in-chief has found a new job, and auditors have physically removed the company’s books so the founder doesn’t even know the extent of how many people are owed money, MediaShift reported.

Founder Wilf Dinnick still says the company will return in 2013 and that everyone will get paid. He also said that “running a startup is like being punched in the face every day.”

The below video shows how OpenFile should work on a good day. Here’s hoping that blue skies and sunny days are indeed in the future for this as-of-now beleaguered organization.

About OpenFile from OpenFile on Vimeo.

Guest Post: Does Marissa Mayer’s Approach To Maternity Leave Make Sense?

Contributed by Sebastian Bailey, PhD, Co-Founder and President, Mind Gym, @DrSebBailey

As far as first 100 days go, unexpectedly increasing revenue and the share price of a company described as “ailing” while raising a newborn is not a bad result for Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer.

The fact that Yahoo! appointed Mayer as CEO in July should not have come as a shock given her success at Google, except for the fact that she was pregnant—enough to make many directors think twice. Luckily Yahoo! didn’t fall for “baby-brain” stereotypes and made the right decision.

Mayer’s return to work two weeks after giving birth certainly highlighted her commitment to her new role. It also reignited the “how much is enough” maternity leave debate. There are oodles of opinions but little empirical research. Studies linking maternal employment with childhood obesity are accused of adding to working parents’ guilt. New research suggests that it’s not the amount of time parents spend at work that matters, but the amount of psychological strain they’re under.

Read more

The Atlantic Expected To Be Profitable Third Year Running

Say what you will about the death of media (we know you will whether we give you the opening or not), The Atlantic is one property that has seemingly cracked the code on digital.

Minonline reports that the company is expected to be profitable for the third year running, thanks to increased digital revenues (up 33 percent!) from TheAtlantic.com and the company’s spinoffs.

TheAtlantic.com’s traffic rose 45 percent over the year, the company said, and Atlantic Wire’s more than doubled to 4 million uniques in October. The smaller Atlantic Cities saw a 197 percent traffic increase, for 917,000 unique visitors.

Year-to-date digital sales are up 34 percent, the company said, and in October alone, The Atlantic ran nine custom projects for big brands like Bank of America, Fidelity, IBM and Mercedes-Benz.

The company turned a profit in 2010 for the first time in a decade by “pretending it was a Silicon Valley start-up that needed to kill itself to survive,” a New York Times article said back then. At the time, the company employed about 100 business and editorial folks, and hitting 4.8 million monthly uniques was considered a coup.

This October, the site registered 12.5 million visitors.

If HR Were President: Four Policies That Would Improve America’s Workforce

President Barack Obama edits his remarks in the Oval Office

Thankfully no matter which way you swing politically, the election is now over and Americans will be granted a reprieve from election cycle news until AT LEAST a week from now. (Honestly, it’s like Christmas music in department stores–starting sooner and sooner each year.)

But that hasn’t stopped Fistful of Talent blogger Andy Porter from wondering, what if a president took HR issues to heart? What would our nation’s leader tackle?

Porter says the four issues he’d tackle are paid parental leave, the minimum wage, student loans to encourage STEM careers, and immigration reform.

He writes:

“Paid Parental Leave – We live in the country with the highest standard of living in the world and the best we can do is 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave?? Seriously?… I propose all parents (mothers and fathers) be given up to 12 months of job-protected, paid leave that they can divide up between each other as they see fit. The only requirement is they must have worked for their company for at least one year. Companies who offer this benefit would get a tax credit for the total amount of salary they paid to employees on leave every year.”

As far as minimum wage goes, it should be pegged to both the cost of living and the income of the company paying it, Porter said. “Walmart, for example with 2011 net income of $14.5B shouldn’t pay anyone the federal minimum wage.” Intriguing, but not likely to ever happen.

Finally, he suggests that student loans be forgiven for those who graduate with a STEM degree and work in a related field for five years, and that foreign nationals with hard-to-find skills get a much easier time entering the country to work.

Porter’s day job is in HR with a pharma company, which may explain the focus on STEM, but both major presidential candidates talked about how science and technology was going to be the driver to create jobs and reboot the American economy, so there may be something to these proposals.

What do you think? Any chance of happening? Should Porter be flown out to the White House to meet with Barack and co.?

Meredith Xcelerated Marketing Staffs Up

Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (MXM) has brought on four new hires from the media and agency worlds, MinOnline reports.

The new hires are Tom Donnelly, formerly of CQ Roll Call, Gail Weiswasser (pictured), social media VP at Discovery Communications, James P. Clark of Mindshare and Megan Malli of AKQA.

Donnelly will be VP, public affairs at MXM. Weiswasser’s new title is VP of engagement. Clark, who led integrated paid and earned social media programs for Sprint’s digital presence at Mindshare, will be strategy director, and Malli will be senior account director.

MXM is an arm of Meredith, the media company that publishes Better Homes & Gardens among other titles. But MXM takes that experience and turns it into marketing wins for clients like Kraft Foods, Acura, and Lowe’s.

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