Monday, March 30, 2009

The List of Climate Change Skeptics Grows


"Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear."

— PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA, NOVEMBER 19 , 2008

With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.

We, the undersigned scientists, maintain that the case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now.1,2 After controlling for population growth and property values, there has been no increase in damages from severe weather-related events.3 The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior.4 Mr. President, your characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect.

  • Yun Akusofu, Ph.D University Of Alaska
  • Arthur G. Anderson, Ph.D, Director Of Research, IBM (retired)
  • Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D Anderson Materials Evaluation
  • J. Scott Armstrong, Ph.D, University Of Pennsylvania
  • Robert Ashworth, Clearstack LLC
  • Ismail Baht, Ph.D, University Of Kashmir
  • Colin Barton Csiro (retired)
  • David J. Bellamy, OBE, The British Natural Association
  • John Blaylock, Los Alamos National Laboratory (retired)
  • Edward F. Blick, Ph.D, University Of Oklahoma (emeritus)
  • Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen, Ph.D, University Of Hull
  • Bob Breck Ams, Broadcaster Of The Year 2008
  • John Brignell, University Of Southampton (emeritus)
  • Mark Campbell, Ph.D, U.S. Naval Academy
  • Robert M. Carter, Ph.D, James Cook University
  • Ian Clark, Ph.D, Professor, Earth Sciences University Of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
  • Roger Cohen, Ph.D Fellow, American Physical Society
  • Paul Copper, Ph.D, Laurentian University (emeritus)
  • Piers Corbyn, MS, Weather Action
  • Richard S. Courtney, Ph.D, Reviewer, Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change
  • Uberto Crescenti, Ph.D Past-President, Italian Geological Society
  • Susan Crockford, Ph.D University Of Victoria
  • Joseph S. D'aleo, Fellow, American Meteorological Society
  • James Demeo, Ph.D, University Of Kansas (retired)
  • David Deming, Ph.D, University Of Oklahoma
  • Diane Douglas, Ph.D, Paleoclimatologist
  • David Douglass, Ph.D, University Of Rochester
  • Robert H. Essenhigh, E.G. Bailey Emeritus, Professor Of Energy Conversion The Ohio State University
  • Christopher Essex, Ph.D, University Of Western Ontario
  • John Ferguson, Ph.D, University Of Newcastle
  • Upon Tyne (retired)
  • Eduardo Ferreyra, Argentinian Foundation For A Scientific Ecology
  • Michael Fox, Ph.D, American Nuclear Society
  • Gordon Fulks, Ph.D, Gordon Fulks And Associates
  • Lee Gerhard, Ph.D, State Geologist, Kansas (retired)
  • Gerhard Gerlich, Ph.D, Technische Universitat Braunschweig
  • Ivar Giaever, Ph.D, Nobel Laureate, Physics
  • Albrecht Glatzle, Ph.D, Scientific Direc tor, Inttas (Paraguay)
  • Wayne Goodfellow, Ph.D, University Of Ottawa
  • James Goodridge, California State Climatologist (retired)
  • Laurence Gould, Ph.D, University Of Hartford
  • Vincent Gray, Ph.D, New Zealand, Climate Coalition
  • William M. Gray, Ph.D, Colorado State University
  • Kenneth E. Green, D.En v., American Enterprise Institute
  • Kesten Green, Ph.D, Monash University
  • Will Happer, Ph.D, Princeton University
  • Howard C. Hayden, Ph.D, University Of Connecticut (emeritus)
  • Ben Herman, Ph.D, University Of Arizona (emeritus)
  • Martin Hertzberg, Ph.D, U.S. Navy (retired)
  • Doug Hoffman, Ph.D, Author, The Resilient Earth
  • Bernd Huettner, Ph.D
  • Ole Humlum, Ph.D, University Of Oslo
  • A. Neil Hutton, Past President, Canadian Society Of Petroleum Geologists
  • Craig D. Idso, Ph.D, Center For The Study Of Carbon Dioxide And Global Change
  • Sherwood B. Idso, Ph.D, U.S. Department Of Agriculture (retired)
  • Kiminori Itoh, Ph.D, Yokohama National University
  • Steve Japar, Ph.D, Reviewer, Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change
  • Sten Kaijser, Ph.D, Uppsala University (emeritus)
  • Wibjorn Karlen, Ph.D, University Of Stockholm20(emeritus)
  • Joel Kauffman, Ph.D, University Of The Sciences, Philadelphia (emeritus)
  • David Kear, Ph.D, Former Director-General , Nz Dept. Scientific And Industrial Research
  • Richard Keen, Ph.D, University Of Colorado
  • Dr. Kelvin Kemm, Ph.D, Lifetime Achievers Award, National Science And Technology Forum, South Africa
  • Madhav Khandekar, Ph.D, Former Editor, Climate Research
  • Robert S. Knox, Ph.D, University Of Rochester (emeritus)
  • James P. Koermer, Ph.D, Plymouth State University
  • Gerhard Kramm, Ph.D, University Of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Wayne Kraus, Ph.D, Kraus Consulting
  • Olav M. Kvalheim, Ph.D, Univ. Of Bergen
  • Roar Larson, Ph.D, Norwegia n University Of Science And Technology
  • James F. Lea, Ph.D
  • Douglas Leahy, Ph.D, Meteorologist
  • Peter R.Leavitt, Certified Consulting Meteorologist
  • David R. Legates, Ph.D, University of Delaware
  • Richard S. Lindzen, Ph.D, Massachusetts Institute Of Technology
  • Harry F. Lins, Ph.D. Co-Chair, IPCC Hydrology and Water Resources Working Group
  • Anthony R. Lupo, Ph.D, University Of Missouri
  • Howard Maccabee, Ph.D, MD Clinical Faculty, Stanford Medical School
  • Horst Malberg, Ph.D, Free University of Berlin
  • Bjorn Malmgren, Ph.D, Goteburg University (emeritus)
  • Jennifer Marohasy, Ph.D, Australian Environment Foundation
  • James A Marusek, U.S. Navy (retired)
  • Ross Mckitrick, Ph.D, University Of Guelph
  • Patrick J. Michaels, Ph.D, University Of Virginia
  • Timothy R. Minnich, MS, Minnich And Scotto, Inc.
  • Asmunn Moene, Ph.D, Former Head, Forecasting Center, Meteorological Institute, Norway
  • Michael Monce, Ph.D, Connecticut College
  • Dick Morgan, Ph.D, Exeter University (emeritus)
  • Nils-axel Morner, Ph.D, Stockholm University (emeritus)
  • David Nowell, D.I.C., Former Chairman, Nato Meteorology Canada
  • Cliff Ollier, D.Sc., University Of Western Au stralia
  • Garth W. Paltridge, Ph.D, University Of Tasmania
  • Alfred Peckare k, Ph.D, St. Cloud State University
  • Dr. Robert A. Perkins, P.E. University Of Alaska
  • Ian Pilmer, Ph.D, University Of Melbourne (emeritus)
  • Brian R. Pratt, Ph.D, University Of Saskatchewan
  • John Reinhard, Ph.D, Ore Pharm aceuticals
  • Peter Ridd, Ph.D, James Cook University
  • Curt Rose, Ph.D, Bishop's University (emeritus)
  • Peter Salonius, M.Sc., Canadian Forest Service
  • Gary Sharp, Ph.D, Center For Climate/Ocean Resources Study
  • Thomas P. Sheahan, Ph.D, Western Technologies, Inc.
  • Alan Simmons, Author, The Resilient Earth Roy N. Spencer, Ph.D, University Of Alabama-Huntsville
  • Arlin Super, Ph.D, Retired Research Meteorologist, U.S. Dept. Of Reclamation
  • George H. Taylor,MS, Applied Climate Services
  • Eduardo P. Tonni, Ph.D, Museo De La Plata (Argentina)
  • Ralf D. Tscheuschner, Ph.D
  • Dr. Anton Uriarte,Ph.D, Universidad Del Pais Vasco
  • Brian Valentine, Ph.D, U.S. Department Of Energy
  • Gosta Walin, Ph.D, University Of Gothenburg (emeritus)
  • Gerd-Rainer Weber,Ph.D, Reviewer, Intergovernmenal Panel On Climate Change
  • Forese-Carlo Wezel, Ph.D, Urbino University
  • Edward T. Wimberley, Ph.D, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Miklos Zagoni,Ph.D Reviewer, Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change
    • Antonio Zichichi,Ph.D President, World Federation Of Scientists

    Footnotes

    1. Swanson, K.L., and A. A. Tsonis. Geophysical Research Letters, in press: DOI:10.1029/2008GL037022.

    2. Brohan, P., et al. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2006: DOI: 10.1029/2005JD006548. Updates at http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature.

    3. Pielke, R. A. Jr., et al. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 2005: DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-86-10-1481.

    4. Douglass, D. H., et al. International Journal of Climatology, 2007: DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651.

The Government Warrantees U.S Cars?!

Just when I think the Obama administration couldn't do anything more unwise, he announces that the government will ensure that all American-made cars receive warranty coverage.

Why do I believe that's so unwise?

1. Can you just imagine: The government will have to set up inspection centers to verify, for example, that a balky engine is caused by a factory defect rather than the need for new spark plugs, which is the owner's responsibilty.

2. As with many government giveaways, many people will fabricate claims. Think of how much fraud exists in, for example, welfare and Medicare.

Is it really worth yet more of our tax dollars to create yet another bureaucracy to prop up an industry that makes bad, overpriced cars, thereby stifling competition from new companies that might build excellent ones?

Obama Ignores Domestic Violence Against Men

This excerpt is from Cathy Young's recent article in Reason:

As for combating violence against women, it is, of course, a worthy goal. But plenty of men and boys are victims of family violence as well. The same federal study which found that one in four women in the United States have been assaulted by a partner at least once also found that nearly 40 percent of domestic assault victims every year are men. Women face higher risk of injury due to disparities in size and strength; but the problem of abused men, though largely neglected, is hardly negligible.

The Bush White House was often assailed for building its policies on ideological myths rather than facts and 'reality-based' thinking. So far, the Obama administration's initiatives on women are not exactly reality-based.

Job Bias Charges Jump

According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, job bias charges in 2008 hit an unprecedented 94,402, a 15 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.

Do you think that is more the result of increased racial/gender bias or increased tendency to play the race/gender card, perhaps because of the bad economy?

Women Earn 78 Cents on the Dollar... NOT!

I've written about this frequently, but here's a recent summary of the research from nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker. She wrote it in response to President Obama's announcement of a White House Council on Women and Girls:

There isn't space here to fully critique each statistic mentioned by the president, but here's just one: Women still earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men.

As has been often explained, apparently to deaf ears, this figure is derived by comparing the average median wage of all full-time working men and women without considering multiple variables, including the choices women and men make. A more accurate picture comes from a 2007 report prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor by the CONSAD Research Corp.

Although women do not lead as many Fortune 500 companies (only 3 percent, according to Obama), they account for 51 percent of all workers in the high-paying management, professional and related occupations, according to the study. Women outnumber men, for example, as financial managers, human resource managers, education administrators, medical and health services managers, and accountants and auditors.

Otherwise, wage differences can be explained by "observable differences in the attributes of men and women," including, among many, the fact that a greater percentage of women than men take leave for childbirth and child care, which tends to lead to lower wages. Also, women may place more value on "family-friendly" workplace policies and prefer non-wage compensation, such as health insurance or flexibility.

The statistical analysis, which included these and other variables, produced an adjusted gender wage gap between 4.8 percent and 7.1 percent. The gap shrinks to almost nothing when men and women of equal backgrounds and tenure are compared, according to another study of young, childless men and women.

While no one would argue that women shouldn't be compensated as well as men for the same work, it isn't quite accurate to suggest a widespread problem of wage discrimination.

Or, as the Labor Department labor study warns against, to justify policy-level correctives.

Whatever imbalances remain should be self-correcting as women and men achieve educational parity, but that's if boys get some help. Indeed, men and women reached educational parity with college graduation rates in 1982. Today, women receive 58 percent of bachelor's degrees and represent half of graduates in medical and law school.

Boys, meanwhile, are the ones dropping out of school or being expelled. They're the ones failing, abusing drugs and committing suicide. What kind of men do we expect them to become, assuming they survive?

Cathy Young, in a recent article in Reason, added this: "Numerous studies show that when differences in training, work hours, and continuity of employment are taken into account, the pay gap all but disappears. Most economists, including liberal feminists such as Harvard's Claudia Goldin, agree that while sex discrimination exists, male-female disparities in earnings and achievement are due primarily to personal choices and priorities. Women are far more likely than men to avoid jobs with 60-hour workweeks and to scale down their careers while raising children. They are also more likely to choose less lucrative but more fulfilling jobs."

I do not understand why liberals are so eager to be unfair to men.

How to Use LinkedIn

This from career coach, Lindsey Pollak:

Join LinkedIn and use it every day. Many recruiters, headhunters, small business owners and corporate hiring managers are now recruiting through LinkedIn, so make sure you are taking advantage of every aspect of this social networking site. First, set up a complete profile including keywords an employer might use to find someone like you. Join professional networking groups on LinkedIn to build your connections and become part of conversations about industry news. Scour other people's profiles to look for companies you may want to apply to, job titles or professions you didn't know about, professional organizations where you might network and people with similar interests who might be willing to offer you some job search advice.

Be the Last Person Interviewed


The temp agency Robert Half reported research that the last person interviewed gets the job far more often than any other. So, when you’re offered an interview, ask for the last slot. That may be the easiest way to boost your chances of landing a job.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Favorite Business Idea

I come up with business ideas all the time but I've continued to like this one for ages. Indeed, I believe it may be the lowest-risk way to become financially independent: a chain of coffee carts. Succeed with one and keep cloning it in a different location until you're making all the money you need. Here's an article with some details:

Guide to Coffee Vending Carts



Making a living off coffee vending cart sales is relatively easy. You have little overhead and you don't even have to deal with advertising--your customers are purely from foot traffic. As you become better known, patrons will keep coming back when they're in your area.

You can set up your coffee vending cart in a number of places, including busy sidewalks, parks, malls and near special events. Select from a variety of mobile or stationary cants, and, if you have the desire and cash, customize the cart you choose to best fit your business.

Before you jump in and buy a cart to start your business, think about the following:

1. Do some research on what it takes to start up coffee cart businesses. Your most expensive cash outlay will be for the cart itself.

2. Determine the best locations for your coffee vending carts. You must choose places that have lots of foot traffic as well as customer bases that will take advantage of your services.

3. Start with a small, basic cart and then upgrade as you begin to see some profits. When buying a coffee cart, just start out with an affordable cart that fits your initial needs.

Action Steps

Find a quality mobile coffee cart for sale Portable coffee carts have to be able to stand up to the abuse caused by transporting them around on a regular basis. If you want to sell coffee on the streets, at concerts, art shows or special events, you'll need a sturdy cart that's made well.

I recommend: Check out the towable carts that Apollo Food and Beverage Carts offers. If you're interested in exploring coffee cart franchises, Cuppy's Coffee & More might be the right opportunity for you.

Set up a stationary coffee vending cart Many hospitals, airports, malls, theme parks and other gathering places have coffee carts and kiosks set up for their visitors. Stationary carts are better for these locations since it would be a real hassle to move a mobile cart each and every day.

I recommend: Choose from a wide array of coffee and espresso vending carts at Merchandising Frontiers. Take a look at the variety of coffee and beverage vending carts at AAA Commercial Products.

Consider custom coffee vending carts When you start a coffee cart business, it's beneficial to get your company's name and logo printed on your awning or your cart. This makes you look more professional and allows customers to spread your name when they talk to their friends about how good your coffee is.

I recommend: Compare the carts from AllStar Carts and Vehicles, which can be customized for your business. 21st Century Products also offers custom carts.

If you only need access to a cart for special occasions or if you only work seasonally, consider locating a coffee cart rental company in your area. That way, you're not paying to use the cart when you don't even need it.

My Latest Business Idea: FastShirt

There are eight buttons on a typical shirt, ten if it’s a button-down. As a result, you spend about a minute every time you put on a shirt. 

Say you wear a shirt four days a week. That’s four hours a year or 320 hours over a typical lifetime. That’s 320 hours that yields absolutely not a moment of pleasure nor a whit of productivity. 

But what if there was a shirt that could be donned in five seconds instead of sixty and would look better? Wouldn’t you prefer it? Enter FastShirt—a shirt that closes with Velcro. Not only does it close fast, it’s more attractive because there are no buttons to break the placket's clean line.

I believe one could sell enormous quantities of these. Most of the world’s seven billion people wear buttoned shirts. If even 1 in 10,000 people bought just one shirt, I would have sold 700,000 shirts—and as you’ll see, at a net profit of approximately $3 a shirt: a cool $2.1 million. 

Here’s how I’d develop the FastShirt concept: 

Step 1:  I’d create a prototype by having a local seamstress replace the buttons on a standard white business shirt with Velcro. 

Step 2: I know that Wal-Mart sells great-looking iron-free standard business shirts for $8.99. So, I estimate that Wal-Mart must pay no more than about $3 per shirt. I’d google "dress shirt manufacturer" to find one willing to make me a trial run of 1000 standard business white shirts with Velcro closures at $3 a shirt. I’d try to convince them to do so by letting them know that if the trial is successful, my goal is to eventually order shirts in quantities of 100,000+. 

Step 3: I’d try to convince the major retailers of shirts (Lands End, LL Bean, Macy’s, etc.,) to pilot test FastShirt—selling it to them at $9 per shirt, expecting to retail for $29.95 (the same price as their standard business shirt.)  If they all said no, I’d put samples in my car and drive from retailer to retailer trying to convince them to try selling my shirts. If necessary, I’d sell them on consignment—if they don’t sell, I’ll buy them back. 

Step 4. If I was turned down by the major chain retailers but then had a successful trial with a local retailer, I’d report that success to the majors and see if that would change their mind.  If my trial utterly failed, I’d sell the shirts on eBay and/or from a search-engine-optimized website. 

So this strikes me as a relatively simple business that has small risk and large potential.

What do you think? Any suggestions for the idea's improvement?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Excellent Thank-You Letter

Everyone knows that after a job interview, you’re supposed to write a thank-you letter. But just saying thank you will not put you ahead of the pack.

Here’s an ahead-of-the-pack thank-you letter. A more accurate term for it is influencing letter:

Dear [insert name(s),]

Thank you for the professional yet pleasant interview. I especially appreciated your sharing some of the company’s challenges.

I’ve done a little thinking about your dissatisfaction with your customer service operation in India. Of course, you may have already considered and rejected the idea but I’m wondering if this might help: Have your best American customer service rep make a recording of him/herself handling the types of calls the Indians find problematic. Then, send that mp3 to the offshoring company’s manager in charge of training your Indian customer service reps. Just a thought.

I’ve also had a chance to reflect on your question about sourcing (a question you flubbed in the interview.) Might it make sense to source the raw metals from Africa and, for assembly, ship it to Vietnam or Thailand (often lower cost even than China)?

In any event, I’d welcome the opportunity to meet again with you and/or to draft a brief white paper describing my approach to operations management.

Again, I appreciated the good interview and while I do have other irons in the fire, I hope to continue our discussions.

Sincerely,

Jane Jobseeker

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We ARE All Socialists Now....Whether We Like it or Not

The government lets us keep no more than 25 cents of every dollar we earn.

Lest you think I exaggerate, consider this list of what you're forced to give to the government:

Federal income tax

State income tax

Local income tax

Social security tax

Capital gains tax

Medicare tax

Disability tax

Corporate tax (passed on to you in the form of higher prices)

Tariffs on foreign goods (passed on to you in higher prices)

Sales tax

Property tax

Local business tax (Where I live, in Oakland, California, I must pay $3.60 for every thousand dollars of GROSS income.)

Utility taxes (phone, gas/electric, garbage, water)

User fees, for example, public college tuition, mass transit fares, park entrance fee

Excise taxes (for example, on tires, alcohol, cigarettes, soft drinks, blank recording media, even vending machines)

Car rental taxes

Hotel occupancy tax

Parking lot usage tax

Gasoline taxes

Bridge, tunnel, and road-use tolls

Passport fee

Airplane ticket taxes

Car registration fee

License fees (from profession to your pet, from a hunting/fishing license to a license to run a radio station)

Gas guzzler tax

Parking meters

Real estate conveyance taxes (when you buy or sell, in addition to the aforementioned capital gains tax.)

Driving citations: The fees for parking and moving violations have become usurious: Where I live, $45 for a parking ticket, $250 for not coming to a full stop at a stop sign, and dare you get caught driving under the influence: $6,000 is the average cost.

Other citations: I got a $250 ticket for having my dog off-leash in an empty park!

Beverage container "deposit" (5 or 10 cents per bottle and can in most states--and who bothers to return them to reclaim the deposit?)

Additional taxes. For example, where I live, there are additional taxes for libraries, mosquito abatement, schools, ambulances, etc. Should not these basics already have been covered by the myriad other taxes we pay?

And, when you die, managing to still have some bucks, there's estate tax.

I’m sure we pay other taxes I’m unaware of or can't think of.

And President Obama wants even more of our money. He’s already pledged to increase taxes on the wealthy and he wants yet more from everyone. For example, he wants to increase the number of toll roads and his carbon tax (pleasantly called "Cap and Trade") will increase the cost of anything that contains carbon, which is practically everything: for example, plastics, gasoline, even skin cream.

Most neutral observers insist that Obama’s mammoth deficit budget and projections for yet more bailouts and “stimulus” spending will force further tax increases, including to the middle class.

By one estimate, President Obama's current budget will cost the average taxpayer $25,573.48 in federal income tax alone.

In addition, as the New York Times reported today, the Obama administration is printing money "at the fastest rate in its (the Feds') history" to, today alone, "pull vast sums of money ($1 trillion) out of thin air." This deflates the value of every dollar we manage to have saved.

Do you feel you receive fair value for giving the government 3/4 of what you earn? Do you believe the nation as a whole derives fair value or do you suspect that large gobs of your money go to bureaucratic waste and pork-barrel spending that few taxpayers would support if given a choice?

To help you answer that question, let me tell you about the one little corner of government spending I'm familiar with because my wife is a superintendent of schools: the education bureaucracy. Enormous sums of our tax dollars are spent every year devising, implementing, monitoring, and often litigating regulations: “No, Regulation 43.77659 B in Section 654.37D in the California Ed. Code states that the county should get the money." "No, Federal ruling 25.7736b says the district, not the county should get the money.” Only pennies on your dollar go to actually helping kids learn. You'll be amazed to see how absurdly labyrinthine even one set of rules governing one little pot of money is. Here, for example, are the rules governing just one portion of the additional tax dollars Obama is giving to state education departments.

So here’s a thought experiment: All government is hereby dismantled and all tax and fee dollars are returned to the taxpayers. Tens of thousands of dollars would be returned to the average family each year, which adds up to over a million dollars(!) over their lifetime. Thus, individuals could spend and save that fortune as they saw fit.

Companies would thus sprout up to provide services the public would be willing to pay for: roads, mass transit between highly-traveled places. The public would likely be willing to give the government some carefully monitored money to provide national defense and law enforcement and probably a safety net for people truly unable to support themselves on their own or through private charities. Schools, like most services currently provided by the government, would likely be private--no massive bureaucracy, which means most dollars would go directly to the classroom. Social Security probably wouldn't exist--a recent survey found that, if given a choice, half of people would opt out and simply rely on themselves to save money in a better investment vehicle than Social Security. (which is not hard to find.)

So imagine an America in which we got to keep 90% of what we earned rather than 25% and in which we had more choice in what services would be publicly or privately provided. Do you believe America would be better or worse than the America Obama is creating?

A Secret to Self-Employment Success

There’s a little-discussed key to self-employment success: You need to be a cheapskate.

No, you needn't treat workers like coolies nor comparison-shop paper clips but especially in the beginning, you must spend very wisely. Here's what I'd do:

  • Provide a service rather than a product. That way, I won’t need to buy inventory, let alone a storefront.
  • Run the business out of my home. Even if I were living in a studio apartment with baby in tow, I recognize that avoiding rent will save me a fortune each year, money I’ll need for more important things.
  • I wouldn’t spend a dime on redecorating nor buy more than basic Office Depot/Ikea furniture. If I need to see customers and worry that my office will turn them off, I’ll meet them at a coffee shop, halfway between my office and theirs.

  • I’d hire independent contractors for $15-25 an hour to do work that would free me up to make much more than that per hour, for example, by selling my service. I’d also hire a contractor to do work I can't or don't want to do: for example, creating a database and maintaining accounting records.
  • I’d think three times before hiring anyone as an employee. The payroll taxes are onerous as are employee rights, for example: 12 weeks of family leave (every year! and Obama wants it to be paid leave) and ever growing rights to sue for wrongful termination. Most startups are wise to use only contractors, on an as-needed basis.
  • Is it worth comparison shopping? My rule: If I'll likely save $50 or more per hour for my efforts, I will. I routinely use Amazon to shop—it sells nearly everything, its prices are competitive (usually offering free shipping) and it lists affiliated retailers and their prices. So in no time, I can comparison shop.
  • Let’s say my business does sell a product that I must purchase from a manufacturer (or if necessary, a middleman.) I estimate what I’m willing to pay in light what the cost of manufacture is likely to be. So, for example, if I were importing eyeglass frames, I’d think, “The raw material costs pennies as does the cost of manufacturing. After all, we can buy 1,000 paper clips for 50 cents. Eyeglass frames aren’t that much more complicated. So, I’d look to pay approximately 50 cents per pair. I also realize that eyeglasses will likely cost least if manufactured in a low-cost country, so to find a manufacturer, I might, for example, Google "eyeglass frames, manufacturer, China.”
Of course, there's more to running a business than being a cheapskate but that's a necessary and underdiscussed key to success.

Friday, March 13, 2009

RealMatch: A Better Job Board?

RealMatch is the match.com of the work world:

It matches job seekers with employers based on their compatibility. Employers and job seekers find matches based on compatible skills (not just keywords,) salary, geography, etc.

RealMatch seems particularly desirable for employers because, instead of a mountain of applications (mostly ill-suited), RealMatch sends only the best matches.

RealMatch should also be good for job seekers because it empowers you to state what you want and then you receive a list of compatible job openings.

Alas, that's just the theory. I don't know how well it works in practice. Do you?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Obama's New Council On Women and Girls: A Man's Perspective

Yesterday, President Obama announced a new Council on Women and Girls. Its mandate is to address these areas: violence against women, women’s health, economic security for women, and balance between work and family. Each of those will exacerbate the already unfair treatment of men:

Women 's health. When women have a deficit, for example, they're underrepresented in engineering, massive redress programs are initiated but when men have the deficit, even the ultimate deficit--they die 5.3 years younger and live their last decade in worse physical and mental health--all we see is yet more focus on women's health. Countless nonprofits and government agencies address women's health, few address men's.

Violence against women.
What about violence against men? The research clearly indicates that 25% to 45% of severe domestic violence is initiated by women. Yet Obama ignores that.

Economic security.
In announcing the Council, Obama said, "Women still earn just 78 cents for every dollar men make." Few statistics are more misleading: As is well documented, for the same work and same level of expertise, women earn at least as much as men. But the Council, using such profoundly misleading statistics, will likely demand legislation hurting men further--raising women's pay but not men's. And in a tight economy, tight budgets will often mean that if women's pay must be raised, men's will be decreased.

Balance between work and family. The Council on Women and Girls will, for example, likely urge employers to provide paid family leave, which more women than men will use, thereby saddling men with the work those women leave behind.

If President Obama were to be fair, he would institute a Council on Men and Boys. Its mandates would include:
  • Reducing the life-expectancy gap between men and women.
  • Helping to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for truly equal work.
  • Reducing domestic violence against men and women.
  • Ensuring fairness to men and women in divorce and custody cases.
  • Ensuring fairness to men and women in college admissions, hiring and promotion. (For example, among this year's college graduates, almost 60% will be women, only 40% men. Society didn't tolerate it when, decades ago, the situation was the reverse and society shouldn't tolerate it now.)
  • Ensuring that the curriculum and the media doesn't unfairly demonize boys and men. Today, textbooks focus on women's accomplishments and men's evils. Boys are falling further and further behind girls in student achievement. Movies and television programs disproportionately portray women as smart and efficacious, men as boors, idiots, dishonest, and/or violent. Men have contributed mightily to society: from the transformative (inventing everything from refrigeration to penicillin to Google) to the mundane (from building our homes to policing our streets to digging our graves.)
Obama claims to be a president for all Americans. He needs to prove it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Summary of My Environmental Views

Today, I received an email inviting me to join an environmentalist organization. Here was my response:

I would not join such an organization. I am distressed at how environmental policy has become "religion," going well beyond the science, claiming consensus where it doesn't exist, and censoring the hundreds of dissenting, responsible scientists.  (They had to create their own annual conference because they were shut out of the UN/IPCC's, which these scientists blast as politically motivated.) Here is Reason Magazine's coverage of this year's conference, which concluded today.

Especially in these tight economic times, we should not be doing what Obama and the Al Gore-led ExtremeGreens want to force us to do--divert massive amounts of our precious fiscal and human resources in a (vain) attempt to cool the earth.

Nor do I support the onerous restrictions on our lives that Obama and his ExtremeGreen-packed team plan to force upon us in an attempt to obtain energy independence, for example, pressuring us onto time-wasting mass transit by building no new freeways and converting existing ones into toll roads. Meanwhile, TeamObama is  wildly spending our tax dollars on physics-delimited solar and wind power and his green allies are throwing as many roadblocks as possible in front of building nuclear plants, which Europe and China wisely recognize as core to the energy-independence solution. 

If America intentionally were trying to destroy itself, it could hardly do a better job than Obama and his ExtremeGreens are doing, powerfully promulgating policies most of which, at their root, are based on bailing out bad and irresponsible businesses and individuals with money from the good and the responsible. He generally follows Marx's core tenet: from those who have to those who don't. Per the fall of the Soviet Union, all the Eastern bloc countries, and Cuba, that's a formula for a society's demise. 

When our children grow up, they will shake their heads wondering what we did to America.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Storytelling: A Great Tool for Getting Hired and Getting Ahead

Many employers wonder how much BS is contained in resumes and cover letters.

Yours will be more credible if they embed stories of your successes and failures.

Senior career counselor at the Oakland Private Industry Council, Maureen Nelson, gave me a heads-up on a forthcoming book: Tell Me About Yourself: Storytelling to Get a Job and Propel Your Career.

Here are types of stories you can embed in a cover letter and resume :
- Stories of early interest in your career path and determination to reach your career goal.
- Stories that depict your motivation, enthusiasm, and passion for the job you seek.
- Stories describing specific projects you've led or collaborated on, including results.
- Stories detailing problems you've solved for your employers.
- Stories describing other accomplishments and successes.
- Stories that reveal your personality.
- Stories describing long-term interest in, knowledge of, and admiration for the organization you're targeting.
- Stories that describe how well you fit in with the organization's culture, values, and mission.
- Stories -- for new graduates -- of how your education has prepared you for the targeted job.
- Stories that touch the heartstrings.
- Stories to back up your claims about yourself.
- Stories that tell how you are uniquely qualified for the targeted job.
- Stories that capitalize on networking contacts.
- Stories to explain unusual or potentially negative situations.
- Stories to explain a career change.
- Future stories that address employer needs and challenges and tell how you would address those issues.

See how to deploy all these types of stories at: www.quintcareers.com/cover_letters/

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What I'd Do If I Got Fired Today

If I were fired, I wouldn't take a vacation--I'll only be more scared when I come back. I woudn't wallow--That will only spiral me down. Here's what I'd do:

1. Tell myself that the layoff will pay off: I'll find better work. (It may not be true but it helps to think that way.) 

Is this an opportunity to change to a better and better-fit career? 

I'm not interested in a career change, but you might find helpful this list of rewarding, viable careers I just assembled for you:  weatherizer (Obama priority,) medical informatics/health care IT, physician assistant, physical therapist, optometrist, patient advocate, haircutter, program analyst, science/math teacher, blue-collar workers for new installs and repair re alternative energy, infrastructure, school building projects, and health care (e.g., biomedical equipment repair,)  accent neutralization specialist, program evaluator, prospect researcher. 

If I needed more career options, I'd review the lists in U.S. News' Best Careers, 2009, my Kiplinger.com column, Job Trends for 2009 or the 500 in my book, Cool Careers for Dummies.

2. Immediately slash expenses:

No eating out. In-house: oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, tuna on whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta. 

Entertainment: read a book I already own or take from library or cheapo used books from Amazon, internet reading, TV, hikes with dog, play piano, volunteer. No vacations--a short one AFTER I get my new job.

No purchases: no clothes, no gadgets, no nothing.

3. Commit to getting my part of the job search done in one week:

Hit 10 to 20 target employers without regard to whether they're listing a job. Find ObamaJob leads at recovery.gov? (Obama promised he'd list which companies and agencies get the money but I haven't yet seen that. So far, it's an Obama PR site.)

  • Job-search-oriented twittering, linked to a LinkedIn or Facebook profile.

  • Call-email call:

-- Call all 10 or 20 hirers after hours to announce upcoming email

-- Send non-desperate tease email to the person with the power to hire.  Sample subject  line: Top IT mgr seeks next opp. Append a White Paper, one or more strong references, and resume, perhaps a visualcv.com resume. 

 -- Phone follow-up two days later.

Contact (phone, email, drink, whichever feels right)  the 10 to 20 people in my network most likely to have a good lead or job. 

--  Brief pitch, e.g.,  "I've always gotten good evaluations as a manager but in the bad economy, my company contracted, so I'm looking." (That's easy to remember. And it leaves plenty of room for them to ask me more info--and the more they ask, the more invested they are in me.)

--  "Would you mind keeping your ears open for me and if I'm still looking a month from now, would you mind if I call to follow up?"

Answer the 10 most on-target ads from indeed.com, simplyhired.com (which links to LinkedIn) usajobs.gov, craigslist, sfgate.com, mercurynews.com ans cocotimes.com.

--  Use a two-column format. On the left side, list the job requirements in the ad. On the right side, prove that you meet them.

4. In interviews:

Dress one notch above what I'd wear at work. (Ask admin for guidance.)

Pretend I'm my most confident self

Follow the traffic-light rule: First 30 seconds green, second 30 yellow.

Appear interested but not desperate. 

Prepare three PAR stories that would impress that employer. 

Ask good questions, early if possible--e.g., "Is it clear what you'd hope I'd get done in the first few weeks?"

Look for an opportunity to play consultant.

Look for an opportunity to say, "This is what I might do in that situation...Do you think that might work?"

5. My thank-you notes would include one or more of these:

A second crack at a question I flubbed. "Regarding your question about how I'd handle a sewage overflow, on reflection, Y."

A proposed agenda for a second meeting, e.g., "I'd be pleased to further discuss how you might cash in on the Obama spending package.

A proposal or white paper, for example, outlining how the company might cash in on the Obama spending package.

"I'm more interested than ever in the job because X."

6. If a desired employer rejects or ignores me, I'd offer to work a month for free on the condition that if they liked my work after a month, they'd offer me a fair-paying job.

Friday, March 6, 2009

BBC Feature on Domestic Violence Against Men

President Obama is planning to strengthen the Violence Against Women Act, which specifically excludes male victims even though, as I've documented in previous posts,  the literature is clear that 25-50% of serious domestic violence is initiated by women.  Much information on this is available here. 

While the American media refuses to report on this issue, I am gratified that the BBC just did a 30-minute radio program on the problem in England, Ireland, and Scotland. 

The Latest Painful Letter from a Victim of Reverse Discrimination

Because I've written widely on the topic of discrimination against men, I receive many letters from victims of it. Here's one I just received and found particularly painful to read.

Thank you, Dr. Nemko for being brave enough to write about reverse discrimination against white males. I'm writing here to provide yet one more case for what must be a very thick file.

My experience with reverse discrimination against white males started way back in the early 80s. In my interview for a job at the National Forest Service, the interviewer literally said to me that I wouldn't get hired because I was a white male. Indeed, two women without degrees (I had a forestry degree) got hired and I didn't.

More recently, I've suffered terrible discrimination in the pharmaceutical industry. I developed terrible back pain and so I requested to work part-time. Even though countless women at the company are granted permission to work part-time/job share, merely because they want to spend more time with their kids or simply don't want to work full-time, my more seriously based request was denied. H.R. told me, off the record, that part time/job shares were only for women. And don't think I was a bad employee--I have a 4"-thick collection of my accomplishments.

I tried litigation against my first company but no attorney would touch reverse discrimination. They told me they were afraid of being labeled sexist.

Finally, I got myself hired by a competing company, where I became the very first male job share. A colleague told me that my boss (a woman) hated me for being the first male job share. She did in fact try to make me go full time and insisted I get an MRI and EMG to prove I needed to stay part-time. I did so, which revealed two types of spinal stenosis, nerve damage on my whole right side, my spinal cord being pushed into my spinal canal in at least two places and herniated discs. I have extreme pain in my spine (cervical and lumbar) and both legs and arms.  As I said, women get to work part-time merely by saying they wanted time with their kids.

I have more experiences to share. It is so sad that political correctness is now so dominant in America. No longer are we solely judged on our efforts and result but on whether you're a woman or a minority. I'm sure that this issue is one of the unspoken reasons for America's decline and China and India's rise. I'm certainly glad I don't have a son. It would be terrible bringing him up in today's world.

Rich Scheben
mtmountains@gmail.com 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Where Are the Green Jobs?

One of the best ways to find the right carer for you is simply to scan a list of them. Broad general lists can be found in the government's Occupational Outlook Handbook and my book Cool Careers for Dummies.

But if you'd like to join the environmental wave (or fad, depending on your perspective,) here's the most comprehensive list I've seen of green careers. It's from the free download of Jim Cassio's Green Careers Resource Guide.

Advertising Services (Green)
Agriculture
Green sectors include:
• Sustainable/Organic Farms
• Sustainable/Organic Nurseries/Greenhouses
• Sustainable Aquaculture Farms/Fish Hatcheries
Alternative Fuel Vehicles
Green sectors include:
• Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) Manufacturers (hybrid and fuel cell
technologies)
• Alternative Fuel Vehicle Manufacturers (vehicles designed to run on biodiesel,
electricity, ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas and propane)
• Alternative Fuel Producers/Distributors/Retailers
• Alternative Fuel Vehicle Repair/Modification Services (technicians, first–responders)
• Alternative Fuel Vehicle Sales/Service
• Battery Manufacturers & Suppliers (for Alternative Fuel Vehicles)
Bicycles
Green sectors include:
• Bicycle Courier & Cargo Services
• Bicycle Manufacturers
• Bicycle Sales & Service
Biotech/Life Sciences
Green sectors include:
• Blue Biotechnology (marine and aquatic applications)
• Green Biotechnology (agricultural applications)
• Red Biotechnology (medical applications)
• White Biotechnology (industrial applications)
• Bioeconomy (investments and economic output)
Clean Tech
While “Clean Tech” is often used to describe a select group of industries, it is actually a
reference to the clean technologies and eco-friendly business practices used in various
industries in order to dramatically reduce the use of natural resources as well as the output
of emissions and wastes.
10 Green Careers Resource Guide
Cleaning & Janitorial Services (Green Cleaning)
Clothing & Accessories (Organic/Natural/Recycled Material)
Green sectors include:
• Design
• Manufacturing
• Wholesale
• Retail
Ecotourism
Engineering Services
Green sectors include:
• Chemical
• Civil
• Construction Management Services
• Energy
• Environmental
• Land Planning
• Manufacturing/Production
• Surveying
• Transportation
Environmental Services
Green sectors include:
• Carbon Trading & Offsets
• Emissions Control Services
• Energy Auditing Services
• Environmental Consulting Services
• Environmental Health & Safety Services
• Environmental Monitoring/Compliance Services
• Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Services
• Environmental Engineering Services – see Engineering Services
Food Processing/Manufacturing (Natural/Organic Food Products)
Food Services (Natural/Organic Foods Eating Places)
Geography & GIS Services (Green)
Where are the Green Jobs? What industries? 11
Government Agencies
Green sectors include:
• Federal – e.g. Army Corps of Engineers; Bureau of Land Management (BLM);
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Department of Energy;
Environmental Protection Agency; Fish and Wildlife Service; Forest Service;
Geological Survey (USGS); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA); National Park Service; Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
• State – e.g. Agriculture and Food Safety; Coastal Zone Management; Community and
Economic Development; Emergency Services; Energy; Fisheries and Wildlife
Protection; Parks and Recreation; Planning; Pollution Control and Prevention;
Public Health; Water Resources
• Local (cities, towns, counties, special districts) – e.g. Air Quality Management;
Conservation/Park Land Management; Electricity; Green Building; Green Business;
Public Transportation; Recycling; Regional Planning; Waste Management; Water
and Wastewater Treatment
Green Building, Sustainable Design & Energy Efficiency
Green sectors include:
• Architectural Services
• Building Maintenance, Repair and Weatherization Services (including Handyman
Services)
• Building Materials (Manufacturers, Suppliers and Retailers of Sustainable Building
Materials)
• Building Performance Contractors
• Electrical Contractors
• Energy Efficiency Companies
• ESCO (Energy Service Companies)
• Furniture/Cabinet Makers (using environmentally certified/recycled wood)
• General Contractors
• HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) Contractors
• Interior Design Services
• LEED/Green Building Planning/Consulting Services
• Lighting Systems Design and Installation Services
• Plumbing Contractors
• Roofing Contractors
• Salvage & Deconstruction Services
• Solar Energy Systems Contractors
• Water/Wastewater Services (private conservation, treatment and collection)
• Other Specialty Contractors (stone, cement)
Investment Services (Sustainable/Socially Responsible Investing – aka SRI)
12 Green Careers Resource Guide
Journalism & Publishing (Green/Sustainable)
Landscaping & Habitat Restoration Services
Green sectors include:
• Arborist/Tree Services (certified)
• Gardening/Landscape Maintenance Services
• Habitat Restoration Services
• Landscape Architectural Services
• Landscape Contractors
Legal Services (Environmental and Land Use Law)
Natural Sciences Consulting Services
Specialties include:
• Atmospheric and Space Scientists
• Biochemists, Biophysicists, and Toxicologists
• Chemists and Forensic Toxicologists
• Environmental Scientists
• Epidemiologists
• Foresters and Forest Pathologists
• Geoscientists, Environmental Geologists, Hydrogeologists, and Marine Geologists
• Hydrologists and Water Resources Managers
• Microbiologists and Environmental Health Microbiologists
• Physicists and Health Physicists
• Soil and Plant Scientists
• Soil and Water Conservationists
• Zoologists, Wildlife Biologists, and Marine Biologists
Nonprofit Organizations (Green/Environmental)
Pesticide Services (Natural/Organic)
Printing (Green/Sustainable)
Public Relations Services (Green)
Recycling (Green)
Green sectors include:
• Electronics (cell phones, computers)
• Glass
• Metal
• Paper
• Plastics
• Textiles
Where are the Green Jobs? What industries? 13
Sad Fact: While recycling is one of the basic fundamentals of being green, many recycling
companies are not green due to inefficient processes and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions.
Renewable Energy
Green sectors include:
• Biomass
• Solar Energy Systems Manufacturing
• Solar Energy Systems Sales, Installation and Service
• Solar Power Plants (Utility Scale)
• Wind Turbines Manufacturing
• Wind Turbines Sales, Installation and Service
• Wind Farms (Utility Scale)
• Also small hydro/marine power and geothermal power
Utilities (Committed to Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency)
Green sectors include:
• Electric Power Generation, Transmission & Distribution
• Natural Gas Distribution
• Water Treatment
Other – Misc. Retail (Green/Sustainable/Organic Products)
Includes:
• Crafts/Artwork Made by Third–World Artisans
• Gardening Supplies
• Recycled, Reclaimed and Earth–Friendly Products
• Outdoor Apparel/Equipment
• Scooters