/blog > archive > October 2012

Making a comeback

With all the talk of much-needed job creation in the build up to the US Presidential election, it’s good to see that there are some industries that have seen double-digit growth over the past few years. A report released by CareerBuilder and EMSI  last week highlights the occupations that are making a comeback and the markets that have fared best since the recession. Making sure not only that your skills are current, but also that you’re aware of the skills you need to learn and develop moving forward, will help ensure you are best placed to take advantage of opportunities to develop your career. Robert Pozen in a recent interview with Fast Company, discusses his top career tips and how you can improve your productivity by marrying an understanding of both the big and the small picture. Key to an individual’s career management, from Pozen’s perspective, is an understanding of…

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onlineed

At Forbes, Richard Vedder describes the Unholy Alliance Against Online Learning, beginning with the recent story out of Minnesota that earned national attention: In Minnesota recently, the Office of Higher Education announced that no one could offer courses unless the state authorized them. Authorization involved filling out forms, getting bureaucratic approval and paying a fee. Since the online venture Coursera didn’t do any of that, the education office insisted that Coursera update its “terms of service” to inform Minnesotans that they couldn’t take Coursera’s classes or, if they did, they had to complete most work outside the state. The rule lasted one day. News of the clampdown led to a national outcry, and the restrictions were quickly lifted, allowing time for the Minnesota Legislature to update its education statutes. Coursera restored its normal terms of service. The “unholy alliance” is between institutions of higher education who don’t like the thought…

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cyclone

There is talk about how disruptive Hurricane Sandy will prove for the presidential election next week. Already it is threatening to impact what may be the last big news story before election day, the October jobs report: The U.S. Labor Department will wait to gauge the impact of Hurricane Sandy before determining the status of the October jobs report, the last before next week’s presidential election. The monthly employment data are scheduled to be released Nov. 2 at 8:30 a.m. in Washington. The median forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg call for payrolls to rise by 125,000 workers in October and for the jobless rate to increase to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent. “We will assess the situation when the weather emergency is over and notify the press and public of any changes at that time,” Labor Department spokesman Gary Steinberg said in an e- mailed statement today. The jobs…

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hrconfessions.001

HR fesses up. My personal favorite: People assume someone’s reading their cover letter. I haven’t read one in 11 years. Ouch!Read More…

Translation-app

Traditionally, there are three great barriers to global communication: distance, language, and understanding.* The story of technological progress is the story of the dismantling distance as a barrier. The progress was slower at first, primarily involving incremental improvements to shipbuilding, but it really took off with the introduction of the telegraph. Then came the telephone, e-mail, Skype, Facebook, etc. In short: distance has been all but conquered. The next barrier is language. It need not be that significant a barrier as long as one party is willing to take the months or years required to master a new language or as long as you can find someone to intermediate between you. And now we’re closing in on technology provides a third alternative: An app offering real-time translations is to allow people in Japan to speak to foreigners over the phone with both parties using their native tongue. NTT Docomo –…

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HONDA_ASIMO2

…but Federico Pistono says  that’s okay. His book is subtitled: “how to survive the economic collapse and be happy.” That would appear to be a two-pronged challenge: 1. Survive the economic collapse. 2. Be happy about it. We spoke to Pistono about these ideas a while back when he was still working on his book. Around that time, he was on the record with statements like this: Without a backup plan to adjust to a new paradigm, we can expect the worst. Civil unrest, riots, police brutality, and general distress of the population will continue to rise until critical levels are reached, at which point the whole socioeconomic system will crumble upon itself. This has negative repercussions across the whole spectrum of the population, and it is against the interest of everyone on this planet, even of the richest and wealthiest people. Presumably this “backup plan” is fleshed out in…

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jeevesandwooster

I was talking with a friend the other night about how much I enjoy the works of P. G. Wodehouse, especially the Jeeves novels. They are laugh-out-loud funny, even today, primarily because Wodehouse was a genius at ending a sentence differently than the reader expects. He does it dozens or hundreds of times in each book and it always works (at least it always works for me.) I went on to explain that another reason the books are great entertainment is that nothing serious happens in them: Bertie Wooster and his aristocratic pals think they are suffering huge losses and facing unbearable consequences, but their lives have training wheels, as it were. Nobody is going to fall off. In the end, they are all still going to be rich and they are all still going to be leading very comfortable lives. This public service ad for Water Is Life makes…

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Sextant2

At Via Meadia, Walter Russell Mead references the recent story about a Hong Kong couple who spent more than $2 million on consultants to help get their kids accepted at a top school. Putting the question of whether such exorbitant fees could ever be justified — the couple thinks not, btw, and are suing the consultant although they did get both of their sons into “top schools,” — Mead applies to this scenario an interesting aspect of economic progress, one that was discussed at length on a recent edition of FastForward Radio, and finds some opportunity there: One of the classic methods of economic progress is that goods and services once reserved to the very rich gradually become available to mass market consumers at a lower cost. Figuring out how regular middle class families can get help that in the past only elites could have is a way by which…

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chloe

According to Harvard Business Review, the sexiest career these days is data scientist: Goldman is a good example of a new key player in organizations: the “data scientist.” It’s a high-ranking professional with the training and curiosity to make discoveries in the world of big data. The title has been around for only a few years. (It was coined in 2008 by one of us, D.J. Patil, and Jeff Hammerbacher, then the respective leads of data and analytics efforts at LinkedIn and Facebook.) But thousands of data scientists are already working at both start-ups and well-established companies. Their sudden appearance on the business scene reflects the fact that companies are now wrestling with information that comes in varieties and volumes never encountered before. If your organization stores multiple petabytes of data, if the information most critical to your business resides in forms other than rows and columns of numbers, or…

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kittinger

So did you hear about this guy who rode a balloon out into space — more than 100,000 feet up! — and jumped from it, hurtling towards the earth at hundreds of miles per hour before safely parachuting to the ground? His name is Joseph Kittinger. He made his astounding leap from the US Air Force experimental craft Excelsior III some 52 years ago,  on August 16, 1960. You may have seen Kittinger recently (or at least heard his voice), as he was in charge of mission control communications for Felix Baumgartner’s successful space jump — which finally, after all these years, broke Kittinger’s records for skydiving altitude and skydiving speed. It’s less likely that you’ve heard of Nick Piantinida, who broke Kittinger’s record for high-altitude ballooning on February 6, 1966, reaching 123,500 feet in his balloon named Strato Jumper II. Unfortunately, Piantinida’s attempts at beating Kittinger’s skydiving record were unsuccessful;…

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