Monday, March 13, 2017

Trump/Bannon war against federal "administrative state" has more good than bad news for job markets


Time Magazine has a feature story Marcy 20, “Inside Donald Trump’s War Against the State”  which comports with Steve Bannon’s promise “to disassemble the administrative state” (or was it "deconstruct"?).  How this matches up against nationalism, I’m not so sure.

But the Washington Post offers Damian Paletta’s front page story this morning, “Historic cuts in Trump budget; Plan would shake government; Top workforce contraction since end of World War II”.
 
How would this affect subsidiary jobs in the area;  will contractors also get cuts?  It seems to be mostly outside of the military and law enforcement.  Jobs in defense, homeland security and law enforcement (and especially in areas like cyber security) should increase.  W-2 contracting jobs for states' social service agencies could increase around the country if states have to take over more of their own business.   That could be good for the market nationwide but not so good locally in DC.  It might not be so good for real estate values either.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

GOP bill could give employers more access to associate genetic test results


MSN reports about a House bill that would allow employers to see employee genetic test results, if it’s in connection with an employee wellness program (presumably related to workplace hazards), story link here.

During my last year, 2001, at ING (now Voya) in Minneapolis, there was an employee wellness program that paid a slight bonus for getting an annual physical.  That resulted in my starting mild hypertension medication.



By the way, you may want to read George Will’s column, “The Liberals Who Love Eugenics”  with a video about disruptive protests at a Vermont college when libertarian author Charles Murray spoke.  I’ll mention that there have been negative news stories about IQ and immigrants from poor countries – but the cause is probably educational and cultural deprivation during childhood (which Nicholas Kristof and others want to address) and disease rather than raw genetics itself.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Companies pay their associates to disconnect completely during vacation


NBC News reported tonight that some companies will actually pay associates a bonus for staying disconnected from work during a vacation.  That means no reading of email or accessing corporate servers in any way (as to check on production cycles in I,T.)  NBC’s link for the report is here.

One of the companies was Olark Live Chat in San Francisco.  The report also mentioned Seed Factory Branding in Atlanta.

Unplugged vacations are legally mandatory in some European countries.

During my last two years at ING I did have four weeks vacation.  I went to Europe twice (1999, 2001).

Since I know somebody at Interface Engineering, I wonder how it fits into this paradigm.  The "paperless" drive is interesting.  Twenty years ago, it was common for people (me especially) to keep hardcopy paper trails for CYA purposes.  That's not feasible today, and absolute adherence to proper elevation procedures (wrt to security) is more important now than it was three decades ago. You want to forget your job when you are a few thousand miles away on vacation.  Or maybe you're in a space station orbit.  Sorry, to go to Mars it's a minimum of 3-4 years.

Picture: Brown Mountain, NC.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Are there "best places to work"?


Washingtonian Magazine has an article “50 Great Places to Work in Washington”(March 2017), link here.

The list online isn’t quite the same as in print.  For example, online we see American Immigration Lawyers, which is an interesting choice given the times (and the people helping immigrants need as much legal help sometimes as the immigrants themselves).

The last comprises a variety of small companies, some with fewer than 25 associates.  Many are partially “employee owned” – wonder if that means you get paid in stock.  Many offer all kinds of generous benefits and paid, gender-neutral family leave. All would be LGBTQ friendly, probably (although one of them is mostly working moms).

They are in a variety of businesses (one even sells cars);  some are Beltway-bandit software companies.  Some are in healthcare.

Many are located just outside the Beltway (Rockville MD is popular).

Friday, February 17, 2017

Facebook, Linked-In add new widgets for job seekers, especially for people who don't know they're looking


Facebook will help you find a job, even if you aren’t looking, according to a Washington Post story Friday by Abha Bhattarai.   It will provide widgets to enable you to apply for jobs from Facebook, based on your likes and behaviors.

It would sound conceivable that this could put me in touch with news outlets to become a “real” journalist at 73.

But I wouldn’t look at conventional sales jobs.  Being interested in classical music doesn’t make me want to call people to get them to buy concert subscriptions (any more).

Linked-In wants you to apply for jobs on its site under your boss’s nose, story by Jena McGregor here.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Some employers offering "free" branding tattoos


This hardly sounds relevant to IT, but I’ve noted a story about a pizza company offering free tattoos of the company logo to associates, Washington Post story by Abha Bhattarai     The company seems to have a generic name (&pizza).

I would wonder what happens if an employee leaves.  It seems that some of the tattoos were intrusive, covering entire forearms or chests.
 
A new idea, though, could be to use DuoSkin for temporary branding tattoos, or new “exterior implants” to unlock doors, access computers. Etc.   Could body art, previously considered uncouth, become mandatory?  Your body doesn’t seem to be completely your own anymore.  Remember the barber shop the first morning of Army Basic?

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Rare laptop fire at southern CA home; fortunately, "the kids are all right"


A 2006 Dell laptop exploded while charging on a couch in a southern California home recently.  It exploded four times before finally stopping.  The kids were home and fortunately nothing else caught fire. The story is here.

The old laptop had a lithium battery that had been recalled.  Such fires are rare, but the incident could raise question again about airlines.

Most of us have to carry our laptops with us, as hotel business centers are generally rather inadequate. Yet, around 2000 or so it was still common for people to depend on Internet cafes with desktops (like Kinkos) with time to rent while traveling.

Remember, Donald Trump says, "No computer is safe".