Archive for the ‘Work’ Category.

Ozymandias – “And this, too, shall pass away.”


The “Ozymandias Collossus”, Ramesseum, Luxor, Egypt, by Charlie Phillips

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

The Honeycombs

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

Abraham Lincoln, Address to the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, WI, September 30, 1859

This Too Shall Pass Away, by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Schadenfreude: pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

No College Degree, No Problem

Employers require degrees because the degree is considered a proxy for skills, knowledge, or ability. Managers don’t have time to vet every candidate thoroughly, so they depend on this institutional stand-in for a value judgment. It borders on irresponsible, but they do it. Some of the time, it works. But, understanding why they rely on degrees in the selection process should help you address what they really want: Proof you can do the work and proof that you have the sophistication to grow in the job.
. . .
Resumes and degrees are not always valid indicators of ability to do a job. So, help employers by giving them other ways to judge you. No one says this is easy — sometimes you have to be clever. I know one guy who followed a manager to a professional conference, chatted him up, talked shop, and got an interview and an offer. This shared personal experience tops any formal credentials — but it’s a lot of work. It should be. Managers are sometimes foolish to hire based on a piece of paper, or on a sheepskin — because candidates who deliver credentials can’t always do the job.

No College Degree, No Problem, by Nick Corcodilos (emphasis added)

Every manager today can attest to the truth of this statement: “candidates who deliver credentials can’t always do the job.”

Community colleges are one of America’s incredible resources for adults. Check out the courses available at your community college. And for goodness sake do NOT borrow money to attend school.

What is going on? And what can we do about it? McKinsey argues persuasively that a big part of the problem is that educators and employers operate in parallel universes—and that a big part of the solution lies in bringing these two universes together: obliging educators to step into employers’ shoes, employers to step into educators’, and students to move between the two.

The best way to do this is to revamp vocational education, which outside the German-speaking world has been treated as the ginger stepchild of the education system. Governments have poured money into universities. Universities have competed to sing their own praises. As a result, parents and their offspring have shunned vocational schools: many students surveyed by McKinsey chose to go to academic schools despite thinking that vocational ones would give them more chance of finding work.

The great mismatch: Skills shortages are getting worse even as youth unemployment reaches record highs

U.S. Community Colleges by State – Univ. of TX

List of community colleges – Wikipedia

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity for a woman out of vo-tech school being given a job so quickly,” [Keith Hammond, welding teacher at Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Tech School] said. “Her TIG welding skill got her this job.”

But for [Molly] Soule, the confidence she gained while attending CPVTS proved most valuable.

“Vo-tech is such a wonderful opportunity, even if you don’t know what you want to do,” she said. “It gives you so much confidence and so many skills that you can use in life. It’s really a great thing.”

Perry County welder takes one giant leap for womankind


Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT).

Tags: , ,

“8 College Degrees with the Worst Return on Investment”

Tags: , , ,

3 Quick and Dirty Rules

So here is a fast and frugal “heuristic” to determine whom you might want to marry:

If all their close friends are also “pretty”, birds of a feather and all that, you don’t want to marry them. They are likely too worried about their image and trying to be “cool.”

If all their close friends are not “pretty,” you don’t want to marry them. They have a “Queen Bee” complex and need to be the center of attention.

However, if their friend group is more diverse on that particular dimension, they’re a much better bet.

In my unscientific survey, this is true whether the overriding trait you’re searching for is looks, wealth, education, or some other quality

. . .
Having diverse set of friends leads to out-of-the-box thinking and an ability to branch out of one’s comfort zone.

The “Pretty Girl” Paradox, by Auren Hoffman


Student debt is NOT a good idea

Taking out student loans is a very bad idea for students and for their parents

There are record numbers of student borrowers in financial distress, according to federal data. But millions of parents who have taken out loans to pay for their children’s college education make up a less visible generation in debt. For the most part, these parents did well enough through midlife to take on sizable loans, but some have since fallen on tough times because of the recession, health problems, job loss or lives that took a sudden hard turn.

And unlike the angry students who have recently taken to the streets to protest their indebtedness, most of these parents are too ashamed to draw attention to themselves.

Child’s Education, but Parents’ Crushing Loans

Tags: , ,

Another reason why teenagers should have jobs

As Schumpeter pointed out in 1942, an expensive university education makes it much harder to consider manual trades, even if employment opportunities are greater there. I’d add another, as well: it is not simply the college experience and the expectations it creates – it is also the way in which the system pushes students to prepare to compete for college, while still back in high school, with fewer students working the jobs that they used to work, in fast food or retail or other things. The kind of work in high school that was ordinary and normal even for very smart, college and beyond-bound students, coming from the middle and even upper middle classes, is both less available and less respected – disrespected, even – by parents, by the college entrance system, by the students themselves. So much for the intrinsic dignity of labor.

Schumpeter on the Effects of College on the Willingness to Do Manual Labor,” by Kenneth Anderson

Tags: ,

“Where miracles are made. Not in Washington, DC”

A pro at work

Tags: , ,

Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing – 1-day course in DC

Writing for Government and Business: Critical Thinking and Writing

How to Compose Clear and Effective Reports, Letters, Email, and Memos

This is the first course in our 2-course Word Workshop, offered throughout the year. The second course is Writing to Persuade.

Editing a paper, by Nic McPhee

Editing a paper, by Nic McPhee

Do you need to improve your writing skills? This intensive one-day course helps you, and your staff, understand the three dimensions of professional writing: organization, format and style.

Our writing courses are designed for anyone who wants to improve their writing, including agency staff who want to improve their writing and comply with the Plain Writing Act of 2010 (H.R. 946) and Executive Orders 12866, 12988, and 13563.

Our writing courses have been described as “really about how to get better job reviews and get promoted” because they help you improve one of your most important, and visible, job skills: written communication.

July 11, 2012, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Where: Location in Washington, DC will be announced on web site before course.

For more information, see
Approved for CEUs from George Mason University
Approved for 0.6 CEUs from George Mason University.

Certificate Programs from TheCapitol.Net
This is a required course for the Certificate in Communication and Advocacy.

For more information about both courses, including agenda and secure online registration, see

These courses and any combination of their topics can be tailored for custom on-site presentation at your location and both are available via the GSA Schedule.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Learn to say “No” and learn to make choices

Every time you say “YES” to something you don’t want to do, this will happen: you will resent people, you will do a bad job, you will have less energy for the things you were doing a good job on, you will make less money, and yet another small percentage of your life will be used up, burned up, a smoke signal to the future saying, “I did it again.”

The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it. The greater your internal fire is, the more people will want it. They will smoke every drug lit by your fire. They will try to ignite their own fires. They will try to light up their own dark caves. The universe will bend to you.

How to Avoid Burnout,” by James Altucher

Not long ago, the psychologists Timothy Judge and Charlice Hurst conducted a fascinating study (5-page PDF). Partnering with the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth they examined the progress of more than 12,000 people for more than two decades. They were interested in all sorts of advantages and disadvantages that might impact whether a person winds up digging ditches or founding the next Apple Computer. Judge and Hurst looked at things like the occupation of the teenagers’ parents. Did they grow up in a blue collar home or a white collar home? Were the teens’ parents doctors and lawyers, or dropouts and n’er-do-wells? The researchers were also interested in finding out what kind of grades the teens earned in high school, and what kind of scores they received on their SATs.

Then Judge and Hurst compared all of these things to the annual income the teenagers were earning by their late thirties and early forties. In general, the results turned out how you might expect. The kids with the wealthy, well-educated parents who graduated near the top of their high school class tended to make more money as adults than the blue collar kids who figured out early on that formal school wasn’t really their bag.

But Judge and Hurst also looked at something else. This is where things get interesting. A unique subset of people in the study did not follow this pattern. By the time they reached their middle years, some sons and daughters of roofers and plumbers whose grades (ahem) made the top half of the class possible, still ended up making 30-60 percent more money each year than many of their more privileged peers. What this select breed of underdogs had in common was nothing but a unique set of personal beliefs (stemming from emotional stability, internal locus of control, self-efficacy, and self-esteem) about their ability to shape the future. Those beliefs translate into the ability to choose one course of action (entrepreneurship, less prestigious career path, etc.) while quitting others.

Why Quitters Win,” by Nick Tasler

Chris talked to lots of people about this, but the clincher for him was the advice he got from Ron Morris. Ron is a highly successful serial entrepreneur whose latest venture is an entrepreneurial talk radio network. Having sold his business for a tidy pile of cash, Ron was constantly receiving pitches from entrepreneurs looking for start-up investments. Many of those came from kids who had just graduated from prestigious universities. He told Chris that if he had a choice between betting on a 23-year old who had just graduated from a top school, or betting on a 23-year old who had worked for a small business, all other things being equal, he would choose the latter. Better still if the 23-year old had founded a small business—even if the business failed.

How The Bowyer Family Played The College Tuition Bubble,” by Jerry Bowyer


Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

Tags: ,