Tag Archives: unemployment

Welcome, 2010…

According to the movie, this is the year we should be orbiting Jupiter and checking out what’s the deal with Io.  It seems that we are about as far from that as we can be.  We’re navel gazing as we try to figure out where the money and jobs went and worrying about nebulous threats from people we don’t understand.   UGH, I wonder if we, collectively, can get any more pathetic and depressed.  I can’t say that my state of mind matches the collective depression.  I still maintain there’s too much that needs to be done and this level of unemployment and collective “meh” is completely unnecessary.  We also need to try a new strategy when dealing with the folks that don’t like us (showing fear, dropping bombs, reacting in a knee-jerk fashion, infringing upon civil liberties, and randomly fondling people at the airport aren’t working well).   I wonder will 2010 be the year some brave leader steps forwards and says, “SNAP OUT OF IT!!! Let’s hire some people to solve some of these tough problems!

Here are some things that have me excited that I would love to work on:

  • Perfecting e-readers and tablet computers — technology, UI, UX, and media distribution
  • The future of the newspaper — let’s really put the power of the Internet to work!
  • Dreaming up “bone headed” ways we can save our environment
  • Dreaming up fabulously cool ways we can save out environment — some of the wild ideas about creating synthetic plants to process CO2 and light into energy and water sound cool!
  • 3D that doesn’t make my head hurt!!!
  • Infrastructure —  both physical and Internet!!!
  • Figuring out EFFECTIVE ways to deal with our enemies (we could start by not making more of them…as well as change US management culture, use the full power of the Internet, cultural diplomacy, cultural transfer (AKA some clever and innocuous propaganda — Movies, music, and books are powerful things…and when combined with the Internet, spreading culture couldn’t be easier … our enemies are doing it, so what’s stopping us from a countering.)

Anyhow, if you are a person with some influence, be a brave leader and kick things off.  Come on, don’t you want to be the beacon that leads us out of this foggy funk?  I know you do :).  You’ll go down in history as our savior.  Hahaha!!!  Putting it that way, it sounds drop-dead easy for a company with deep pockets to jump and hire 5000 people for something dreamy.  I like a recent seed from Rahul Sood:  “Want to find technology to help create a fully renewable green server farm, runs off the sun, and re-cycles the heat into power. Ideas?”  (http://twitter.com/rahulsood)

Now, everyone, find a groove to dance to and shake it!   Hellz Yeah! 2010!!!  And if that doesn’t make you happy, then you are truly hopeless ;p

Lovely Items

“Lovely Items” is a concept that I got from years of watching anime and reading manga.  It’s the idea that a character needs a lovely item to endear them to the other characters within the story and with the viewing audience.  There’s a good discussion of this in “Ouran High School Host Club” in which the Host club tries to make the son of a yakuza boss more approachable.   The idea of a lovely item can be as abstract as a personality quirk and as concrete as a signature piece of jewelry.   In essence, a lovely item is something that gives an object or and individual a distinct personality and facilitates approachability.   And so, that is what I want to do with my Lovely Items website.  I want to share the lovely little graphics that I make with who ever wants them so they can add some personality and friendliness to whatever web or print project they are doing.

This idea was born out of a little discussion I had with my Dad last week.  I had just finished redoing my personal website and I was feeling very empowered.  I wanted to do more work on websites and expressed to him that I’m willing to do it voluntarily for the experience.  Our concern, though, had to do with my “cute affliction” in that if I can’t get passed it, the range of customers I can design for will be limited.  My feeling is practice, practice … but at the same time, I should get the most out my cute affliction and develop it.  So here are some short term and long term goals for myself with this website:

  1. Give away lovely graphic items I design for web and print (practice makes perfect and spread the joy while building a portfolio and credibility as a designer).
  2. Do some voluntary design work — web, print, and vanity books to get experience and recognition
  3. On a limited basis take on web, print, and vanity book projects for actual paying customers.

This is something that I would like to do on the side while having full-time career.  I figured that now while I’m looking for a job and while jobs are scarce I should use the time to learn new skills and develop my innate talents.  I would love to do this sort of thing, too, for a company, focusing on the usability and visual appeal of web, web-to-print, and print-to-web projects.

So please stay tuned as my Lovely Items adventure begins.  One of my good friends suggested that I start by making some lovely wallpapers for mobile devices like the iPhone and cell phones … :).

www.lovely-items.com coming soon to bring loveliness one pixel at a time.

Careers in Death and Taxes … those Ought to be Safe …

My search for a job has led me to think about sectors of the economy that might not be suffering so much right now.  I figured “death and taxes” should always be hiring … But all sectors are suffering I sadly found out (including the govt … not much hiring going on there and the cycles to get a job are 3 – 6-months …).  Anyhow, here’s a nice website I found for my friends in So. Cal that lists the biotech companies in SD.  I’m browsing for manufacturing jobs.  I see lots of openings for chemists and chemical engineers ;p.

link

As for the taxes … well, Intuit has job openings …

Give me a Break! Carly Fiorina

Buwhahahahaha!!!

She says the government should stay out of determining executive pay when a company receives a TARP bailout.  Ummm … OH REALLY, Miss-I-was-paid-$20-Million + to-leave-HP-after-failing-as-a-CEO?  Does she even understand how much R&D could have been funded with her “failure bonus”?  (And that goes to the rest of you tech CEO’s receiving millions in bonuses while cutting R&D spending and jobs …)

Buwahahahahaha!!!  Whooo!!!  My sides hurt!!!  I can’t stop laughing!!!!

Here’s a link to the nonsense that dribbled out of Ms. Fiorina’s mouth.

Layoffs At OLPC

Leave it to profit seeking to ruin charity.  Yep, OLPC is cutting it’s staff by ~50% and lowering the salary of those that remain.  Here’s a link to an article for more details.  I suppose now that netbooks are the hottest new segment amongst paying customers in 1st world countries, you can’t just give them away anymore (okay, not give them away — but pretty close to it.)  I’d like to see OLPC push on though in terms of continuing to develop technologies that allow for computing where there is no power infrastructure, let alone a wired communication infrastructure.  In the long run, those types of devices will be good for everyone because they can be used literally anywhere.  Well, we’ll see … As a proud new owner of a netbook, I would love to have a little solar cell to power my laptop when I’m away from home 😉

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2008 — Green Rant

It’s the end of the year and it’s mighty slow for those of us looking for a job.  Things started drying up dramatically around Thanksgiving and then it trickled to next to nothing on Christmas Eve.  I guess it’s to be expected.  I hope things will pick up shortly after New Years.

Sigh … I wonder how the latest financial problem involving that Madoff guy will affect everything.   How many more are out there like him?  And how many companies will soon find out that the money they’ve “lent” out evaporated?  I hope this doesn’t erode the little bit of confidence that could have been built up in the past few weeks.  I realize that it’s going to take a while to unwind everything and figure out how much money there really is in the system.  I imagine a lot of money is being double counted now.  My feeling, though, is that it’s time for a return to sanity and for the world economy to be based on actual trade again rather than debt swapping.  We’ll see if that actually happens.  The US isn’t in the best position to actually manufacture much of anything anymore.  Plus, there aren’t enough creative business people and managers who can envision cost effective manufacturing in the US that pays a good wage, is safe for the environment, and provides cost competitive products for consumers.  It takes a strong will to change things and it takes courage to act.  Right now, though, I see a bunch of flimsy spined folks running around who only know how to cut costs with a chainsaw or beg the government for corporate well-fare.

( Hahaha … irony of ironies … spreading personal wealth to corporations.  There are so many out there who don’t have a pot to pee in blinded by the thought of  the stereotypical “Well-fare Queen,”  who have been fooled into thinking that they are middle class or even rich.  Hahaha!!!  It blows my mind!  I guess this explains the state we are in.  Everyone was  living beyond their means because so many people deluded themselves into thinking that they had means.  Welcome to reality and enjoy the global “three finger salute.”  Not everyone can and should own a house and a car … that’s why there are apartments and public transportation.  The rest of the world seems to understand this.  Anyhow, there are some nice stats on Wikipedia about household incomes in the US — link.  I wonder how many people have actually looked at their finances to understand their true situation.)

So what comes next?  It’s clear that the rate at which people are accumulating stuff is not sustainable because there’s only so much matter on the planet.  Which leads me to some “Duh!” moments I’ve had in the last few days:

Duh! #1:  My husband says to me after thinking really hard about it,” What if there were some way like plants and trees to convert the CO2 to oxygen and water, then we wouldn’t have to worry about carbon so much anymore.”  My deadpan response, “Uh, why not just plant enough trees and plants to cover your carbon usage …Duh …”  Continue reading Goodbye and Good Riddance 2008 — Green Rant

Poor Management Can Cost You Your Job

Poor management can cost you your job.  This is something that I’ve been thinking about in light of my own unemployment and, in particular, with respect to the trouble the US automakers are going through.  Poor management can cost you your job and being mere grunts, there’s nothing you can do about it.  The thing about management, though, is that is where the senior people go.  Sometimes it’s not a matter of competence as it is “social promotion” or management becomes a self reinforcing organism in which ill-suited people are made managers to protect the ill-suited people in the upper ranks.  Then there’s the matter of entrenchment in which managers are happy within in their little fiefdoms and they will do what it takes to maintain their little kingdoms.  In other words, they aren’t going anywhere and, consequently, nobody beneath them is going anywhere either.  It kills youth and innovation when this happens — but this is what happens in mature companies when organic growth slows to near zero.

I’ve always like the idea of managers either having to move up or move on from a position within 5-yrs.  I say if you don’t get it in 5-yrs, then you won’t get it and you don’t want to.  Experience is a double-edge sword.  On one side their is wisdom and on the other there is calcification — we will do things the way we’ve always done them because these ways worked in the past.    Experience is not accumulated by doing the same thing over and over again until death.   We see this within in RPG games:   the rewards for killing the same beast over and over again diminish with each time you kill it.  Wisdom arises from a variety of experiences.  But wisdom is useless without imagination.  To be effective, one must be able to apply what one has learned to many different situations.  One must see the patterns and recognize the differences and the similarities amongst situations.  Then that person must use that accumulated wisdom to imagine solutions and what the outcomes from those solutions may be.  I know many foolish, unimaginative, and just plain dull managers with lots of experience doing the same thing.  I imagine that these are the same types of managers at the big auto 3 US autos that killed the first electric vehicles, watered down the daring looking Volt to look vaguely Prius-like, who couldn’t see past the next hour to $4/gallon gas, and who constantly ignore the customer in favor of doing what’s familiar, safe, and, ultimately, the bare minimum of what they can get away with.

Personally, I look forward to GM and Chrysler going into bankruptcy because when management gets too corrupt and calcified, often total collapse is the only way to get rid of the entirety of upper and middle management and bring in new blood.  No, no, a reorg outside of bankruptcy never solves that issue.  I’ve seen and heard about it from friends and family too many times.  What happens in a reorg is that the managers themselves pick and choose who stays and goes and, in the end,  the self reinforcing organism does just that.  They rehire each other and get rid of any talent below them that causes a threat.   Essentially you get the same structure with new acronyms — it’s the same same story everywhere, in private companies and the government.

I’ve just had a revelation:  Perhaps this economic meltdown is nothing more than a changing of the guards — a transfer of power from the boomers to Gen X.  So far it’s not a smooth transition, mainly because some boomers can’t accept that they are old and that it’s time to pass the torch.  We saw this in the Presidential Election, although McCain was part of the whatever came before the Boomers — the WWII people, Brokaw’s so called “Greatest Generation.”   The younger people feel oppressed and want change while the older people are happy with the present and feel assaulted from below.  They feel their experience should count for something.  And it does, which is why they need to pass it on through mentoring younger generations.  But then I think about those old people who really seem wise and relevent to me — Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Al Gore, and T. Boon Pickins come immediately to mind because they are in the popular media a lot these days.  I think these are people who have kept relevant with the times.  They never stopped observing and they never stopped imagining a better future.  They are, also, still pushing into the future despite their age.  These are leaders who can create jobs for us :).

So in wrapping this up, if you are in a organization in which management only thinks of preservation, then start packing your bags, looking for a new job, and saving money for unemployment beause people only preserve that which is already dead.  If you are a manager, take an honest look at your mindset and motivation.  If you are in preservation mode, think carefully about what you are preserving.  You may say you are trying to save all the jobs you can, but the reality you can’t admit to yourself is, “I can’t be a manager if I have no one to manage.”  If you find yourself there, then maybe it’s time for you to stop being a manager because you’ve totally lost perspective.  You are no longer working for the good of the company, the stareholders, the customers, or the employees.  You are now thinking only about yourself.  On the other hand, if preservation never crossed your mind and your aim is growth, then you are doing great and we can count on you to grow jobs through the support of new ideas and younger employees.