Worst Bosses Gallery

Friday, July 28, 2017

Is a Certificate Really Worth It?

This is not a dig at any school or learning institution, as I have good and bad feedback about college and franchises.  What I'm talking about is the process of doing research about a position or industry, looking for a resource which will help learning more.  Supposedly, if you're smart, you'll research the instructor or go for a class audit and, if all looks good, enroll.  Finally, you pass the class with flying colors only to learn that the one thing you needed (and it usually relates to technology) is obsolete.

If you paid to learn Adobe Flash in the past year, you know of what I speak.

What about those names that are not as powerful as Adobe, Microsoft, or Facebook?  Less than two years ago, I had a college instructor tell the class that Twitter is gone with the cassette player.  We reluctantly believed it but now I still see Twitter marketing classes...and it's not like the same way a person would see MySpace marketing classes advertised.

A few months prior, I took a social media class at a popular 2-year college and the emphasis was Tumblr.  While I don't hate this app, I've yet to see it work as a primary marketing tool the same way Facebook and Twitter work as a secondary marketing, or in conjunction with word-of-mouth.

So what's an eager beaver to do?  One poster on a respected blog stated they would rather attend classes at a place like General Assembly or Code School for all things related to social content and web design/development.  The good side of some of these schools is that they allow some classes to be taken a la carte for little or nothing.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Is Profanity the Latest in Water Cooler Talk?

A long time ago, when I was a kid (as in not quite drinking age), I said a profane word at work.  It was a single word.  Loud.  Then silent.  That was how it went  down at a Westside bank on a late Friday afternoon. ATMs had limited capabilities and there was no internet.   I hated my job and home life and had to let off steam.  Somehow when you've beaten a serious illness, you reflect and wonder how you got away with certain things.

One thing that encouraged me was my bosses, who always seemed unhappy to a degree (though some of their anger was focused in my direction), and had no problem spewing profanity, even when things were slow.  It took me a minute to learn  about "decorum" and paying dues in corporate structures.  Even though this situation was my first "work in hell" experience where I wanted to stab my bosses in the eye with a butter knife, I vowed to keep the potty mouth to a bare minimum.  Except for an occasional (but really funny) dirty joke, I've stuck by this for more than 25 years.

Like with popular music, my college experience has changed in terms of using colorful language.  Last year, I got an algebra teacher that sounded like the coach on Legends of Chamberlain Heights.  Problem is that I didn't learn anything and had to drop since there was nothing I said or did to justify his profane comebacks.

Fast forward exactly one year later where I'm taking a similar class but things are not well (see previous post).  Anyway, I'm sitting in class where I'm not only the oldest but possibly older than the instructor.  During a short break, a TA and another student are having a conversation loaded with f-bombs and it seems more like a bar than a classroom.  Hmmm.

Is this is a trend we decrepit (Gen-X and older) folks have to look forward to when millennials become our bosses?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Mantra to Adults Returning to College

For many, getting an advanced degree (or your first) is a helluva challenge.  However, when you start seeing more employers wanting a bachelors for a secretary (excuse me...Administrative Assistant), then now is probably time to take stock of what's out there.  Sounds simple huh?

If you come from a generation (or a culture) where you would rather find out things while you're young and PAY LATER, like all karmic events...there's interest to deal with.  You might have a situation where the classes you took during that rough freshman or sophomore year won't transfer to your current career aspiration.  So you have to start over.

Or you could be like me where not only do you fly right upon returning but your landings are smooth enough to make the Dean's List.  Alrighty then.  But...there's a big bump in the road, coupled with another life event that kicks your spirit into the depths of Satan's house.  It happens.

BUT...what if some of the things that are barriers are NOT YOUR FAULT!

While you are looking to better yourself, it's easy to forget that many workers don't have the same enthusiasm.  Not talking about the hard-working accountant that's daydreaming about being a captain on a cruise ship...and it's near the end of the fiscal year.  I'm talking about real simple $hit, like someone who's title is Data Entry Clerk/Specialist/Technician/whatever....and they don't enter your information into the database.  Your transcripts (that you paid to have sent over) are just sitting, not being utilized.

SCHOOL IS COOL SCHOOL IS COOL SCHOOL IS COOL

Imagine trying to repeat the above when you are steaming mad, and worse, their mistake may cost you money, in addition to time spent solving the problem.  The great news is there may be a way around your problem.

1. Unless you live in an area that restricts you to attending the nearest college, you can start over somewhere else.  If any serious actions should come up, keep a tight records of all events that led to the final outcome.
2. Additionally, you can save money and time by attending a vocational or continuing ed. school.  However, you should research each institution carefully before enrolling.
3. Try to aim for more positives before working on negatives.  For instance, if your transcript was lost, work on tracking it down and ensure that it reaches the right person.  Note dates, names, and timetables before reporting to a higher authority.

As a bonus, while the road can be discouraging, don't let messages like this cloud your judgement -
Funny but it won't pay your bills!

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 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 (As of July 2017, this is a NO!  Will explain in upcoming post) 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!