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    Entries in career (176)

    Friday
    Jan252019

    Cool Job Alert: The Weinermobile Needs Drivers

    Looking to make a career change?

    Or maybe you are a college student scheduled to graduate this spring and wondering what your next move will be?

    Do you like (in no particular order), driving, public relations, marketing, and hot dogs?

    Well if so you are in luck - the iconic Oscar Meyer Wienermobile is looking for a new batch of drivers. Here are the details as reported on Mental Floss:

    Applications are being accepted for the one-year position now through January 31. Hotdoggers tasked with commandeering the Wienermobile will be responsible for doing media interviews and appearing at grocery store, military, and charity events across the country. The position is primarily a PR job, and candidates with a BA or BS in public relations, journalism, communications, advertising, or marketing are preferred.

    Carl Mayer, the nephew of Oscar Mayer, introduced the first Wienermobile in 1936, and today there are six vehicles on the road making 1400 stops a year. After disappearing for a couple decades, the Wienermobile was revived in 1986 for its 50th anniversary. Oscar Mayer hires 12 new hotdoggers each year and usually receives more than 1000 applications.

    The job comes with benefits and a competitive salary in addition to the impressive title. The new hires must be ready to hit the road in June of this year. for a shot at becoming Oscar Mayer's next Wienermobile driver, email your resume by the end of the month.

    Steve here, I don't have much else to add to this, other than to say if I didn't have a ton of other commitments this year I would absolutely toss my name in the ring for a spot as a Weinermobile driver. It just looks like an awesome job - traveling all over the country, passing out free hot dogs, getting to ride in one of the most unique vehicles ever created - what's not to love? Even the name of the job, 'Hotdogger' is super cool.

    I am going to follow the story this year and try to get an interview for the HR Happy Hour Show with one of the new lucky drivers this summer - if any readers have an 'in' with the Kraft/Heinz/Oscar Meyer people, let me know.

    And now I want to have a hot dog.

    Have a great weekend!

    Wednesday
    Jan232019

    In a hot labor market, even the best employers can get ghosted

    By now you have likely become familiar with the term 'ghosting' - the phenomenon whereby a friend, a romantic partner, and as we shall see in a moment, a job candidate or employee seems to disappear - and ceases to respond to any and all forms of outreach and communication. Phone calls are not answered, texts are not responded to, and pretty much no matter how you try to get in touch with the ghost, your efforts are unsuccessful.

    With a 10 year or so expansion of the labor force and a reduction in the unemployment rate, the ghosting phenomenon seems to be happening more and more in our little part of the world, the HR and Talent Management arena. Good, qualified candidates seem to disappear with more frequency, scheduled interviews are simply skipped (with no contact or explanation), and just about anyone who can pass a background check probably has more than just your job to consider. Even longer term and at least on the surface reliable and trustworthy employees are more likely, in this hot labor market, to just move on to another, hopefully better opportunity without so much as a 'Hey boss, I am thinking about making a move' or even a 'Hey boss, I would like to formally submit my two weeks notice.' And all of a sudden, they're gone. Leaving HR and hiring managers to have to wade back into the candidate pool, hopefully not to be ghosted by the next candidate of choice.

    And it is not just the corner store or local manufacturer that can be impacted by candidates or employees simply disappearing. It can happen in any of the most prominent and successful workplaces as well. Case in point, (Warning: a sports reference is coming) what has happened, according to a report in Deadspin, with the University of Alabama Assistant Football Coach Dan Enos and the circumstances behind Coach Enos' departure for new opportunities.

    Per the Deadspin piece:

    According to a report from The Athletic, the fear that (Head Coach Nick) Saban uses to manipulate the sport to his whims has also permeated throughout his current staff, which is why none of his coaches were brave enough to tell him that one of his assistants had left the program to take a similar job in Miami:

    “Where the F#$% is Dan?!?”

    Several of the staffers knew the answer to their boss’ question. Word had already spread that 50-year-old Enos was headed to Miami to become offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Manny Diaz. No one in the room wanted to be the one to break that news to Saban, even though Miami was primed to announce it in a couple hours.

    “Dan” is Dan Enos, Alabama’s quarterbacks coach this past season and reportedly the man who was set to take over as the program’s offensive coordinator, following Mike Locksley’s departure to be the head coach at Maryland. Enos decided instead that the Hurricanes were a better fit for his talents. Maybe it was this kind of treatment that convinced him to go to Miami.

    The details of how Saban found out do paint a great picture:

    One staffer scrambled to check if Enos was in his office. It was empty, save for a pencil on the desk. Maybe he’d already moved into Locksley’s old office, but that one was empty, too.

    “He moved out like the Colts,” said one person with knowledge of the matter, equating Enos’ departure to the middle-of-the-night exit by the old Baltimore NFL franchise to Indianapolis.

    They had no clue he had peaced out.

    Steve here - really entertaining and illustrative look at a reasonably prominent employee move from what has arguably been the most successful and famous "company" in its industry. Over the tenure of Head Coach Saban, Alabama football has been consistently among the best performing teams in the country, regularly competing and sometimes winning, National Championships. That one of Saban's assistants felt confident enough to leave for another opportunity at another university without, apparently, letting his boss Saban even know speaks volumes about the labor market today.

    Most of us would probably like to leave a job under positive circumstances. We might need a referral someday, we may even want to keep the door open to a return to the company we are leaving some time down the line. But to essentially pack up the office in the middle of the night and disappear? Well that takes more guts and confidence than we've all become accustomed to from employees. 

    I am 99% pro-employee in just about all workplace situations. So I kind of don't have too much of a problem with what Coach Enos apparently did to Saban and Alabama. But that 1% of doubt is saved for the realization that the job market can't possibly always be so good, and ghosting employers either as a candidate or a departing employee might not be the best strategy for the long term.

    That's it, I am out - have a great week!

    Monday
    Dec172018

    Three Observations from the LinkedIn 2018 Emerging Jobs Report

    Recently, our pals at LinkedIn released their 2018 Emerging Jobs Report, a look at the jobs and skills that have been most in demand from employers on the LinkedIn platform, both in 2018 and over the last few years. it is a really excellent look at activity on the LinkedIn platform, which I am pretty confident in stating is the world's largest professional networking site, and which remains for many organizations one of the most important sourcing and recruiting tools.

    I have been a little skeptical or perhaps cynical over the years at these kinds of reports, mainly because they always seemed to skew way towards the jobs and skills that Silicon Valley Tech companies were seeking, and was not terribly illustrative or indicative of the overall US labor market. Said differently, the kinds of jobs that LinkedIn usually reports are 'hot' are the kinds of jobs very few people actually have. Office and administrative support or retail salesperson (two of the most common job categories in the US), never make these lists. And while there remains a little of that kind of 'not the real world' feel to the Emerging Jobs Report, (you will see in a moment what I mean), there are also some pretty interesting and important insights in the report I wanted to highlight. So here goes..

    1. As I alluded to above, the top 'emerging job' is one almost no one has

    Number one on the LinkedIn list for emerging jobs in 2018 is called 'Blockchain Developer' with 33x growth in activity and interested in 2018. If you are a blockchain developer or are an HR or talent person who is recruiting blockchain developers, well, I probably have nothing else to offer you on this post. Suffice it to say, for 99% of us the next blockchain developer we run into will be the first. But let's keep looking through the report.

    2. Number three on the emerging jobs list is actually a job lots of people have, most of us have someone in our lives who has this job, and lots of the HR and talent pros reading this are probably recruiting for - Application Sales Executive

    According to LinkedIn, there has been a 8x increase in activity for these roles. This is pretty amazing to me, as there have been Application Sales Executives in just about every tech company for ages. For a mature kind of job type to see that much growth year over year is remarkable and also, hopefully a signal that the pace of innovation, development, and new technology hitting the market will continue in 2019. Sales is no doubt not for everyone, but this data suggests plenty of opportunity for those willing to put in the time and effort.

    3. The number one skill that LinkedIn claims employers are having trouble finding has nothing to do with Blockchain, or AI, or software development of any kind.

    LinkedIn says that 'Oral Communication' is the skill group with the highest shortage in nearly every major city in the country. Think skills like public speaking, effective communication, presentation skills and the like Maybe it's because we (the societal we) have spent a decade or more trying to convince every kid that he/she needs to learn how to code, that many of us, (especially anyone under 30), has essentially replaced phone calls with text messages, or that the classical liberal arts kind of education and background has over time been diminished in value. Whatever the reason, employers are having trouble finding candidates with quality skills in oral communication. That to me is more interesting than however many more people go chasing blockchain development skills in 2019.

    Go check the entire report over on the LinkedIn blog. It is a fascinating look at one (admittedly big) slice of the job market.

    Have a great week!

    Wednesday
    Dec122018

    Job titles of the future: Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer

    If 2018 was the 'Year of AI' in enterprise technology, 2019 is shaping up to be Year 2 I would suspect. The development, growth, spread, and seeming ubiquity of technology providers touting their AI and Machine Learning powered solutions is showing no signs of slowing as we end 2018. As with any newer or emerging technology, the application of AI technologies offer great promise and potential benefits, but also can lead to some unexpected and even undesirable outcomes, if not managed closely and effectively.

    One leading enterprise technology company, Salesforce, is acting more proactively than most AI players in recognizing the potential for negative applications of AI tools, and is taking steps to address them, most notably by creating and hiring for a new position, today's 'Job Title of the Future' the 'Chief Ethical and Humane Use Officer.' 

    Details from reporting on Business Insider on the new appointment:

    In the midst of the ongoing controversies over how tech companies can use artificial intelligence for no good, Salesforce is about to hire its first Chief Ethical and Humane Use officer.

    On Monday, Salesforce announced it would hire Paula Goldman to lead its new Office of Ethical and Humane Use, and she will officially start on Jan. 7. This office will focus on developing strategies to use technology in an ethical and humane way at Salesforce. 

    "For years, I've admired Salesforce as a leader in ethical business,” Goldman said in a statement. “We're at an important inflection point as an industry, and I'm excited to work with this team to chart a path forward."

    With the development of the new Office of Ethical and Humane Use, Salesforce plans to merge law, policy and ethics to develop products in an ethical manner. That's especially notable, as Salesforce itself has come under fire from its own employees for a contract it holds with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

    A C-Level hire with the remit to develop strategies to use tech in an ethical and humane way is a pretty interesting approach to the challenges of increasingly powerful AI powered technologies being let loose in the world. Most of the time, enterprise tech companies sell or license their technologies to end customers who are then more or less free to apply these technologies to help them solve their own business challenges. The technology providers typically have not waded into making value judgements on their customers or the ways that the technologies are being applied to the customers' ends.

    What Salesforce seems to be indicating is that they intend to be more intentional or even careful about how their technologies are used in the market, and want to signal their desire to ensure they are used in an ethical and humane way.

    This to me is a really interesting development in how technology (or potentially any kind of product producer), may need to look at how their products are used by customers. This role at Salesforce is focused on AI technologies, probably because AI seems to be an area ripe with the potential for misuse. But AI tools and technologies are by no means the only product that once unleashed on the market can drive negative outcomes. Here's a short and incomplete list: firearms, soda, fast food, tobacco products, cars that drive 150MPH, skinny jeans, and on and on.

    Will this appointment of a Chief Ethical and Human Use Officer at Salesforce mark the start of a new trend where product creators take a more active role in how their products and solutions are applied?

    We will see, I guess, it will be interesting to watch.

    Have a great day!

    Monday
    Nov192018

    Learn a New Word: The Glass Cliff

    Over the weekend reports dropped that the NFL's Cleveland Browns, long a league doormat and in need of yet another new head coach for next season, were interested in interviewing former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice for the open role. While later reporting seemed to indicate that in fact Rice was not likely to be a candidate for the Head Coach spot, it has not stopped a pretty tremendous level of reaction in the sports world. While those various reactions (the Browns are nuts, the role of Head Coach is evolving, Why not look in a novel direction for this hire, it can't get much worse for the Browns?) are all interesting in their own right, it was a term in the Fortune piece linked above that caught my attention - The 'Glass Cliff'.

    I had never seen this term before, and since as the author of this blog I have to assume what I think is what you think too, I thought it a valid entry as the latest 'Learn a New Word', even if I am really the only one who is learning this for the first time. 

    Ok, here's the definition/description of The Glass Cliff: (from a piece on Vox)

    The glass cliff is a relative of the “glass ceiling” — a metaphor for the invisible, societal barrier that keeps women from achieving the highest positions in business, politics, and organizations. The glass cliff is a twist on that: Women are elevated to positions of power when things are going poorly. When they reach the upper ranks of power, they’re put into precarious positions and therefore have a higher likelihood of failure, meaning there’s a greater risk for them to fall.

    It is a really interesting concept that is backed up both by some empirical research, as well as by what many of us have seen or been impacted by in our own careers. One prevailing theory is that when things are going poorly for a company or any kind of institution, and there is the need for new executive leadership at one of these organizations, the very fact that things are going poorly deters many if not most of the typical (read white male) candidates for the open executive position. Since these kinds of leadership positions become harder, relatively, to fill than others, more women and people from underrepresented groups become candidates and relatively more of them get hired. But, since the organization is already in trouble, the chances for these newly appointed executives to succeed are not that high, and more of them end up failing than they would if they were joining more healthy organizations.

    The above linked Vox piece has a number of great recent examples of the Glass Cliff phenomenon, (Mary Barra at GM, Carol Bartz then later Marisa Mayer at Yahoo, Jill Abramson at the New York Times) and ends with what may be a definitionally classic 'Glass Cliff' appointment - Jill Soltau the new CEO at beleagured retailer JC Penney - a company that has been deterioting for years. Whether or not Soltau will be able to revive the company is anyone's guess, but there is no doubt she's walked into an incredibly challenging set of circumstances - standing on the edge of the figurative Glass Cliff.

    Ok, that's it for me, back to try and find something new to learn, especially something I should have learned a long time ago.