Worst Bosses Gallery

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Californian's Final Conclusion about Ticket to Work

I’ve been part of Ticket to Work for nearly two years and have not returned to full or part time work - and it’s partially my fault. The major mistake was not going back to school, as my first case manager suggested.  The other was wanting to go back to work less than a year after having two major surgeries, 16 blood transfusions, and six rounds of “heavy dose” chemo for uterine cancer (which was originally diagnosed as ovarian - and has a lower survival rate).

After giving the second case manager, Carol, the heave-ho, I went online instead of going through the directory that TTW sends out.  The office is always friendly but I figured it was time to think outside the box.  By entering “ticket to work” and “California”, I got some interesting results.


One place not far from me couldn’t decide whether they still offered the service...I’m still waiting for them to get back to me.  Another in Tulare requested my information and never confirmed receiving the documents.  So one consistent name in my search comes up and I decide to go there.

I tell the truth as to why I want to leave my current EN as well as my career goals, the primary being to work at home.  Unfortunately, only the State rehab agencies can sign off on returning to school or job training.  

After meeting with about three different people, I get a case manager who’s not only new but claims to have experience in job placement and preparation (a Master’s).  While the first few weekly meetings were okay, it began to feel redundant after a while.

Firstly, I was inundated with resources.  Some helpful but others were generic and best for someone who either never worked or hadn’t worked in two decades.  Then there was a form to fill out prior to every meeting.  Not to mention, Samantha* really had no leads or a real idea as to how I should market myself.

THE BREAKTHROUGH

One day, I got a call from a higher-up, Bill*.  It seemed like I was always in contact with the case manager and I wasn’t looking forward to filling out more paperwork or being congenial with someone with no work-at-home leads.  However, the phone meeting was refreshing.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Why Diversification Helps in Content Writing


What I’ve learned in the past year is that more people are getting hired through their online content.  Not just as professionals or writers but even applicants for entry-level positions are finding that having a positive (yet relevant and non-controversial) online presence gives them an edge over the competition.  The good news is that one doesn’t have to restricted to just blogging or writing SEO-friendly articles for a byline only.

If a person can turn their words into a tutorial, there are many ways to go about this.  There are video tutorials (anyone who doesn’t want to film themselves can just create something quick with Windows Movie Maker), infographics, slide presentations, and more.  There are content sites that accept visual and text submissions.

Another reason why spreading content around is important is - you guessed it - companies close or
content writing web freelance article blog marketing
change their submission policies.  Sometimes with new management, old content is wiped clean from the web without notice and even veteran contributors have to undergo the new submission process in order to get published (see Article Document as a recent example).

So instead of getting mad (because you may be one of those people that signed an agreement without reading the legalese - Non-Disclose. Agreement - LOL), always be on the lookout for new places to publish your bylined work.  If you don’t have a Google Adsense or Publisher account, get one and find out the many social media sites that will pay-per-click (PPC).  No, it’s not a lot of money but your article ideas can be used other places.

If you consider yourself an industry expert, Experts 1-2-3 has a high search rank and authors are given a byline.  You can also post articles to LinkedIn, as their Freelance Marketplace program (a free service) likes to use potential candidates who demonstrate industry knowledge by posting content and/or participating in relevant groups.

Creating a portfolio website is easy.  Some like to go through a service but using a platform like blogger.com, one has more control.  If you can copy and past, creating links and category subheaders is easy.  The best way to add video is to copy, paste and save the embedded image on the HTML or text form.  Look at the layout on the Compose form and make the final edits there.

So if you’re one of the those people who made money from Associated Content, Helium and other companies now in the content graveyard, you know to save those articles on a hard drive.  If that’s not possible, saving live articles as a PDF or text and save on a personal drive.  You can make money from your words as long as they matter to someone.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Ticket to Work and California Pt.5/6

Ticket to Work and the California Worker...A New Year?


Okay, I’m winding this down but here’s the main takeaway.  If a disabled Cali resident cannot work a regular job (with me, the chemotherapy has left me fatigued, with severe sinus trouble resembling hay fever, and my extremities go numb....without warning) but decides to work from home...the system is not designed for you - unless you go back to school


NO MONEY, MORE PROBLEMS



At the beginning of 2016, I was at my wit’s end with the previous employer network (state rehab. agency).  


So I call the TTW Customer Service line and get updated listings for prospects and go with the first listing.  Yes, they accept California residents for WAH jobs.  Yes, they assist in getting a home office setup.  Yes, the transitional money still applies.  Yes, yes, yes.  Enter Carol*.


Fast-talking with a slight drawl, Carol was a chatty one.  Sometimes I had to repeat myself and take notes to ensure I’d heard correctly.  And I’d heard a lot, as closing my file with the state rehab took nearly three months.  By the time we had our first initial intake interview, it was 4/21/2016.  She didn’t sound much older or younger than me (40ish), so the first few words were awkward.


My job was to meet with Carol every other week but outside of registering with one third-party placement agency, nothing happened.  She discouraged me from attending the TTW online job fairs because the forum setup didn’t allow for 1-on-1 conversation.  Though I had summer school, I was hoping that one of the at-home customer service jobs would begin the interviewing process by August.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Why Hire Writers is a Cool Place for Content Writers

I’ve been writing for almost a decade now and there ‘s a lot to share with anyone who’s interested. While few novices can get rich, the rewards and lessons learned along the way can pay dividends in the future. However, when a person finds a content company that’s honest, trustworthy, and has been around for some time, this is something worth cherishing.


Hirewriters.com has a fairly easy application process. You don’t have to write a thesis paper or anything similar because they use a ratings system. Everyone starts at this level regardless of credentials, education, or how many writing credits they have.


The fantastic thing about this system is that submissions are determined by the clients. Once an article receives 4 to 5 stars, the writer can move up the ladder quickly. If a wordsmith is really good with SEO, formatting, and writing unique content quickly, they can see their rank improve in a matter of days.


Hirewriters.com makes it crystal clear as to what criteria is required in order to move up. Besides quality, timeliness is another important factor. While the average 300-500 word assignment has a turnaround of one day, it’s expected that the writer submit a completed submission within that time. Like other content companies that use a ranking system, this means more opportunities.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Video - Signs That Your Days are Numbered at Work



I'm making some updates...as promised, and while navigating content, I ran across this gem.  While I hate they had to use an overweight guy for this, I have seen this scenario play out many times.  The victims just ride it out so they can collect unemployment and plan for the next hustle.  Or see it as a sign to switch careers.

Unfortunately, Number 3 happened to me.  If you remember the old format, I used to talk candidly about lessons learned through my temping years.  Seldom did I give real names of bad bosses because of the obvious karma, some things were my fault, and the fact that some people have really good memories.  

Anyway, almost 9 years ago I returned to temping after taking a break from the public school system.  Things had changed for the worst.  Agencies were seconding people out for jobs with no consistency.  For instance, one data entry job paid $13/hr.  It was 2007, so not the best or worst but weeks later (the company was closing), they offered me an assistant position where phones, double-entry bookkeeping and account analysis were required...for the same wage! NO BUENO.

By the time they sent me the CB Richard Ellis in El Segundo, I had already talked nice to LAUSD so it was a matter of getting paperwork processed.  On the first day, I was seated among the rest of the data entry pool.  However, the brown-noser of the group took me and another person out for lunch.  Not knowing her exact role at the time, I was an open book about my life including living with someone.  I was wrong but I didn't care since I was already prepping myself to wipe the career slate clean with the school system.  

It appeared strange then but it made sense later.  On the second day, the supervisor Allen, placed me not only far away from the group but at the messy cubicle of someone who was on-leave.  Until I was harassed and had to leave, I did my job accordingly but there were many clean cubicles.  Because there was a lot of turnover anyway and I'd had a good record, I was placed elsewhere within 48 hrs. of assignment end.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Ticket to Work and the CSU System

After a little research, Michelle and I found a college extension training program that was short-term and didn't cost much ($1200).  A new program at the Dominguez Hills campus was called Convergence Media (now Social Media Marketing).  In short, there were a couple of concerns in regard to books but as long as the state took care of my transportation, I would pay out of pocket.

I should've known the class was BS when the instructor bragged about Hackathon, her 1980s sitcom writing credits, and just her...period.  To her credit, I did learn some things about creative writing and she wasn't a mean person...just different. I'd taken a copywriting class just weeks earlier at UCLA Extension and it was like comparing a capon to Church's chicken.  Being that Michelle was hearing impaired and her translator seemed to look less than happy anytime I'd visited, I just finished the 9-week class and got a certificate

So, I signed up in March '15, started the class in August and finished in early November.  The instructor gave me her sinusitis, which made me feel bad but I was determined to not make disability a lifestyle.  So I played ball by going to all the little requirements that Dept of Rehab needed.  By this time, I managed to get a rapport going with Michelle's translator so it can only get better, right?

Nope...not at all!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Training With Ticket to Work, Part 3 of 6

Once my paperwork was approved, it was my job to come in and discuss an action plan.  At the time, things were in limbo because though I scheduled to get my AS in June, I had yet to satisfy my math requirement.  I'd gotten a tutor but while going to school I also had an internship, after school credit and still did small writing jobs for clients.  So I was a little burned out on continuing my education further though I'd gotten pre-acceptance from the state university.

However, according to Michelle, this was the best course of action since she said most jobs through the program barely paid more than minimum wage.  There was no more discussion about NTI or any similar Ticket to Work program but the first order of business was a skills assessment.  This was held in Long Beach and every action - including how early I arrived would be monitored - for an entire week.

I was scheduled to start this process right after the graduation ceremony and it was really shameful that the state has to pay money for this waste of time.  I mean, if my work history reflects clerical work, I'm a business major, and have experience running a small business, why do I have to spend hours demonstrating assembly tasks and basic skills. 

It's not like I went to ICDC or ITT Tech Institute...dammit!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Californian and Ticket to Work

***This is the second in a six-part series about what really happens to those who sign up for Ticket to Work (TTW).***

The day I arrived to meet my new caseworker, the first thing I noticed was that she was really late.  By almost half an hour.  I noted this with the receptionist, who called the caseworker's cell because she was Iout to lunch.  Just as I'm about to leave for the day, two women enter the office while chatting.

"Are you my 1:30?", the shorter of the two asked me

"If you're Michelle*, yes."

"Okay, come with me." And she runs to the back office, with no apologies or the asking if I'm alright since my post-chemo fatigue has kicked by now.  She abruptly introduces her interpreter, Ms. Saldana* and she goes into the normal TTW pitch but those assigned a ticket after the verification process can opt to continue their education or return to work.

Firstly, I had no idea she was hearing impaired, not that I thought any differently since she owed me an apology for holding me up for nearly 45 minutes.  The education part sounded nice but I was burning out over my math requirement to get my associates'.  Everything else was easy-peasy but I fired back with my first question about working at home.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Ticket to Work Journey as a California Resident

***This is the first in a six-part series about what really happens to those who sign up for Ticket to Work (TTW).***
For the past three years, I have been dealing with reproductive cancer.  Thanks to super-strong chemo, I've been in remission for more than two years.  However, the after-effects have left me drained and with the hysterectomy the good ol' docs chose for me as the first step in removing the cells, sometimes I wake up fatigued.

But I wanted to resume life ASAP and this means going back to work. Before, my freelance gigs took care of the basics but a serious health matter will change anyone's mindset about going to work for the man.  School financial aid helped out with the incidentals.

So I get a call from a toll-free number one Sunday evening and the recording states I should call another number to speak with someone about going back to work while receiving SSDI.  No obligation.  The next day, I reached someone who said they would send a list of prospects that cover my area and feel free to call if I have any questions or concerns.

A week or so later, I get a huge book in the mail.  I go with people that are local (Los Angeles) to me and it does not go well.  The first person I contact sounds okay but when I ask exactly where his Carson (the nearest to me) office is, he says that he can't give me the cross-streets, but Google can.  Uh...no thanks!

The other places, like Goodwill, no longer participate in the program or, when I leave a voicemail message, I don't get a call back.  However, there is a little light around the corner...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Would You Take a Business Class That's

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Call her crazy but she got attention...which is good for most brands
..... taught by a celebrity? Yesterday, Yahoo News reported that TV mogul and entrepreneur Tyra Banks will be an Asst. Professor at Stanford U's business school.  It's an elective course about branding and I'd like to be a fly on the wall when classes are in session.

On the blogs were debates about Banks' credentials (high school graduate with a Harvard Extension Certificate...it took her 9 weeks to get the latter), how education in general has gone down the tubes, and what the hiring personnel at Stanford could have been thinking about.

One point that was brought up was real-life experience over what is taught in textbooks.  While some that walk the catwalk may not have much business acumen, the former supermodel made many strong alliances with people behind the scenes and used her noggin to move beyond being a live clothes hanger.

This is what led to her creating the (your country here) Next Model TV franchise, followed by her self-named talk show which ran more than a couple of years.  If you say that anyone can be on reality TV or push a microphone in guests' faces, peep her resume and you'll see she's accomplished a lot in 25 years.



 My thoughts went back to the 1986 movie Back to School where the late Rodney Dangerfield plays a wealthy father looking to bond with his college-age son by enrolling at the same university.  One pivotal moment of the film was Dangerfield sitting in a business class lecture and the very-rigid professor goes into the usual terminology mostly heard in upper management biz conversations.  Rolling his large eyeballs, Dangerfield's character rudely interrupts and gives what schools do not teach (bribery, negotiations, etc.).

In my business management class from a couple of years ago, I had a similar experience.  Though the government paid for me to go to school, it would've been worth it to have someone with hands-on experience verses fancy theories.  Especially the only jobs we would have been eligible for were hospitality or retail, assuming we were starting in a new industry.  Oh yeah, the instructor didn't like it when I spoke out on real world stuff either.

So, I know Stanford costs a pretty penny but it may be exciting for students to learn about what really goes on in the business world.  When it comes to media (which many brands are dependent on), her contribution should be priceless.