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Archives: October 2011

Businesses, Leery Of Recession 2.0, Will Do Anything But Hire

From the New York Times’ “You’re The Boss” blog comes a tale of woe from a small business owner: too much work, not enough employees.

It’s a real problem, because this sudden uptick in new business is very real, but if sales start to fall again, the owner will not be happy that he hired more people.

We see this as a different problem, though: While owners, understandably leery of what the economic future will bring, dither, hard workers can’t get jobs and current employees pick up the slack.

At Paul Downs Cabinetmakers, the company mentioned on the blog, Downs authorized unlimited overtime and temporarily moved a sales engineer back to the workroom floor.

“I’m still kicking around the idea of hiring another builder on a permanent basis and even interviewed a candidate who would be a good fit. But I’m not at all certain the high level of sales will continue, particularly given that the beginning of December is usually dead, dead, dead,” Downs wrote. “So I’m afraid I won’t be doing any more to bring down the unemployment rate this year.”

Downs says he can’t hire temps (there are few woodworking temps out there, anyway) but temps are another area where hiring has increased. And there’s nothing wrong with temping, but many people prefer the security of a “real” job.

According to a recent report on temporary staffing, temp jobs are predicted to increase 10 percent over 2011 and another 7 percent in 2012.

Whoa Whoa Whoa: Marketing Firm Asks Bloggers To Insert Ad Links ‘Under The Radar’

Gawker writer Hamilton Nolan says that yesterday he was approached by a marketing firm and asked to insert links to clients into otherwise normal blog posts, for a “generous” payment.

The agency is called 43a (“It’s named after the apartment we started out of,” the emailer told Nolan), and they say they have “some of the biggest clients in the world.”

That said, this understandably seemed like a strange arrangement. Nolan dug deeper and received the following response:

We work with bloggers mainly. That’s not to say we don’t have editors working for us (we work with editors at the Huffington Post, Business Insider and Technorati — to name a few). We generally meet with resistance when dealing with editors, but bloggers aren’t paid as well and most are willing to make some extra money.

What we suggest (as long as you think it won’t get you into any trouble — we don’t want anything that isn’t beneficial for both parties) is trying to drop a link in the article, and seeing if the editor mentions it. If he does, remove the link, and we’ll go our separate ways. If he doesn’t, we’ll pay you handsomely, and we can continue if you want to. We don’t do this for every article, and there is a certain “under the radar” element to it, so you don’t want to over do it.

That said, I also don’t want you in trouble with your editor. So if it can’t be done, just let me know and we’re totally cool with that.

HuffPost, through a spokesperson, and Business Insider, through CEO Henry Blodget, denied the practice.

This is totally ridiculous. If true, it destroys, as Nolan says, “the fundamental (this is a corny and dramatic word, but accurate) sanctity of honest writing in exchange for money.” But it’s so ridiculous we wonder if somebody isn’t being punked. Who on earth would pay for this, and what writer would jeopardize their job by accepting money for ads under the table?

Mediabistro Job Search Boot Camp Begins Tomorrow

It’s not too late to register for’s job search boot camp, which begins tomorrow and costs $145. Each week for four weeks there will be a live online presentation and in between presentations you can catch up in a special form for classmates, complete homework assignments, and (we hope) land a new job. Watch the video above to learn how online courses work.

Here’s the course description:

In a four-week online event, Mediabistro presents their brand-new Job Search Boot Camp, October 27 – November 17. This online conference and hands-on workshop is designed to help you discover your unique qualifications and learn how to showcase your skills to employers.

You’ll learn from leaders in career management how to:
Define your target job and learn how to get the position you’re after
Effectively communicate your core skills and competencies in your resume, cover letters, and online presence
Create your personal brand and use social media to get the word out about your strengths and your goals
Activate your professional network. Improve your face-to-face connections and create connections online

Speakers include Mediabistro founder Laurel Touby; Kathy Caprino, a nationally recognized work-life expert; Dan Schawbel, a personal branding master; and Allison Cheston, a career advisor.

On Women, Mentors, And Flowers

A Big Bouquet of RosesEven in this century, it’s tough to be a working woman, but not as tough as it was, a new LinkedIn survey seems to imply.

Fewer than a third of women between the ages of 45 and 66 say they’ve ever had a mentor, while more than half of Gen Y women have had or currently have a mentor.

The women who haven’t been mentored said they “never encountered anyone appropriate.” Wow.

We’re coming to this research from Forbes contributor Kerry Hannon, who wrote that it makes sense that fewer older women had mentors: when they were younger in the workforce (and perhaps more in need of mentoring), there were even fewer women in senior positions to look up to.

And those that had gained some seniority had had to claw their way there and were unlikely to “pay it forward.”

Hannon says that when she was a reporter at Forbes in the 1980s, she was assigned to do the reporting for a female columnist’s column.

One day, she had a cover story for the magazine, or I should say, we did. I reported a huge chunk of it, flying around the country to interview top academics in California and so forth. It was heady stuff.

When the day came for it to go to press, the copy desk editor, showed me the advance pages and wow, the columnist had given me a co-byline on the story. I was walking on air–my name on a cover story for Forbes.

I raced out to buy flowers for her and took them to her office to say thanks. She snapped” “What are these for?” When I told her, she said, “You are not getting a byline. It’s my cover.”

If you want a mentoring relationship healthier than this one, Hannon offers a few tips: start by just asking (most people are happy to help), pay it forward, and skip the flowers.

First The EIC, Now This | Atlantic Poaches A Gawker Editor | More Yesterday’s News

First, the editor-in-chief of Budget Travel resigned, now, as you see below, the president, Nancy Telliho has resigned….Gawker’s Richard Lawson is joining The Atlantic….a couple of creative directors who intended to freelance have gone and gotten themselves ‘real’ jobs….and more stories from yesterday….

‘Far South’ Of 40 Staffers Let Go At Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Sadly that’s all the data we have for you right now, but sources across the web are reporting various numbers for how many employees have been laid off at the home entertaining media giant.

A source close to the situation told our sister blog FishbowlNY that “far south” of 40 employees were let go last Friday.

Here’s one comment from a downsized consumer marketer:

After 4 amazing years at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia the company is continue to downsize. I had been lucky enough to keep making the cut until now. Officially Monday morning I will be reporting to myself! Yup that’s right Events Beyond is off and running!! I will be continuing to do light business consulting for those we are in need of spicing up their marketing, pr or social media channels. I will also continue to consult for those who are starting a business. Feel free to email me at [redacted] for freelance jobs, business consulting and most importantly to plan your wedding or next event.

Update 10/26: Managing editor Marc Bailes has also been cut, according to his LinkedIn page.

Meanwhile, the company has 33 open positions, though FBNY says the layoffs targeted “top tier” publishing personnel and these openings are all across the board.

MSO announces its third-quarter results in one week.

Freelancers: Need A Hint? Check The Open Notebook

If you’re a freelancer who covers science, health, medical or technology, The Open Notebook blog has the thing for you.

The recently launched Pitch Database contains actual query letters from freelancers to magazines and other media as diverse as Men’s Health, National Geographic, The Atlantic, and This American Life. Some come with annotation and explication, others are just the letters as they were sent.

They’re all pitches for feature stories, which mean they’re nice and meaty. Here’s one that ended in a sale to the New York Times Magazine:

Dear Mr. Marzorati,
We talked a few years ago after I sent you a query about the row created in environmental circles by William Cronon’s assault on the concept of wilderness; you passed on the story but asked me to let you know when I had something else that seemed suitable for the magazine. (Congratulations on being chosen to take Adam’s place, by the way.) I’ve been following several subjects lately that might be of interest, from the growing prescription-drug scandals to flaps over the role of fMRIs in cognitive neuroscience, but at the moment I’d like to see if you can use a story on the “The Autopsy : How Its Premature Death Could Lead to Yours.” This story would examine how the steady decline in use of the autopsy threatens our individual and public health.

Good start. It’s a warm pitch, it contains flattery, and it has a good proposed headline.

Four more paragraphs follow, and here is the result. We find it fascinating. Even if you’re not a science writer, there’s a lot to learn from a well-structured pitch.

However, if you really want example query letters for other topics, remember that Pitches That Worked features looking at lifestyle, travel, health and parenting topics (among others) are free for AvantGuild members.

Smile! It’s Another Day Of Work

angry face
job searching roar! by flickr: Lara604

Is this really news? It’s in a paper of record, so it must be: Bosses are realizing that happy employees perform better on the job, the WSJ reports. In a call center, the reps who arrived at work happy stayed happy throughout the day, while the ones who were grumpy at work tended to let their grumpy customers get their goats and take more breaks throughout the day just to cope.

Unsurprisingly, workers can’t always check their emotions at the door, but with a little mindfulness (love that word!) you can “reset” and get ready for work.

“One important way employees can reset a negative mood on their own is by creating a so-called intentional transition. That might mean stopping for a coffee, listening to a favorite piece of music or taking a more scenic route to the office.”

Managers can help out by letting employees socialize at the beginning of the day, letting employees play with slinkies in meetings (really?) or even just providing free cookies or fruit.

But the best way managers can keep bad moods from spiraling out of control is to not be in one themselves, it seems.

“The manager who shows immediate frustration with an employee who arrives a few minutes late, for example, likely will exacerbate the person’s bad mood, sending the employee into a negative tailspin that results in lowered productivity and compromised job performance all day. Moreover, the employee is less likely to hear, process and benefit from the manager’s feedback at that time. Waiting for a more appropriate time to discuss the issue will help, both in terms of the manager’s own emotional reaction, as well as the employee’s ability to hear and discuss the feedback.”

5 Things You Need to Know This Week: Steve Jobs, Coldplay, and a Haunted Hayride

In this week’s episode of “5 Things You Need to Know This Week,” we dance like Chris Martin, get spooked by Angela Merkel, and talk to Siri about the Steve Jobs biography. Oh, and the world’s population increases.

For more videos, check out, and be sure to follow us on Twitter: @mediabistroTV

Starbucks(?) Decides To Help Create Jobs

Starbucks has announced a $5 million donation to Opportunity Finance Network, a network of microlenders, in order to help jumpstart job creation.

The coffee giant will also be accepting donations at the cash register beginning Nov. 1 and giving out snazzy wristbands.

Microlenders are nonprofit organizations that provide capital to small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs with perhaps more shaky credit than a “standard” business. Access to capital, especially in such a tight market, is crucial for businesses that are ready to expand.

“Small businesses are the backbone of America, employing more than half of all private sector workers – but this critical jobs engine has stalled,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We’ve got to thaw the channels of credit so that community businesses can start hiring again. Create Jobs for USA empowers Americans to help other Americans create and sustain jobs, with Starbucks and OFN as a catalyst and the Indivisible wristband as a symbol of our country’s unity.” Starbucks and OFN say that every $5 donation creates $35 in loan opportunities.

Okay, but that doesn’t make Starbucks (with 6,800 stores in the U.S. alone) a small business. And a $5 million donation is just over a percent of the $402 million profit the company pulled in in just one quarter. But every little bit counts, yeah? Learn more here.