Friday, September 29, 2017

Low-wage workers in franchised business chains face non-compete agreements

Rachel Adams gives us a perspective on “non-compete” agreements for employees even in the fast-food industry, which tends to keep wages down, story (Sept. 27) here

The practice seems to affect mainly people from moving from one owned franchise instance to another. 
It would sound like it could happen with any business typically run by selling branded franchises to individual owners.  This is certainly not my own cup of tea. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

NYTimes article takes on the issue of older people learning to code in "newer" OOP languages

“To Old to Code: That Does Not Compute”, an article in “retiring” I the New York Times by Vivian Marino, on p. 5 of the Sunday Business of the New York Times, Sept. 24, 2017.  The by line is “You don’t have to be young to master skills such as web design or programming.”

There is information on Khan Academy courses as well as “boot camps”.  I wonder if there is such a thing for music composition software like Sibelius.
I found the transition from “mainframe” (COBOL, JCL) to “client-server” back in 2000 difficult. But one problem is you have to build an application from bottom up and support it yourself to become good at things. That's especially true of object-oriented programming.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Landlords, condos, insurance companies may become more concerned about "working from home"

It’s becoming more common for a lot of people to set up their own small businesses to supplement income or replace income after layoffs, or after retirement. Multi-level marketing has appealed to many more extroverted people.

Back some number of years ago, you heard a lot about Amway.  You still do. 

Much like with a franchise, you become an “individual business owner.  This would appear to mean you have to take the legal steps:  a DBA name, probably a home-based business license in most communities, and state sales tax filing (article).  

A lot of people obviously do this in apartments and condominiums, and I have wondered if people get into trouble.  Probably not often, unless they have large meetings of “subordinates” (which they may need to have) in their homes, requiring traffic and parking. But as local and state government systems go more online and as “public records” become easier to find, it would sound logical in the future if landlords or some homeowner’s groups become intrusive. Even homeowner’s insurance companies might become concerned.

Yet, you hear cases where people rent Airbnb in apartments they rent under the table, like here
I do wonder if this kind of problem could break out into the open. 

Another topic would be work-at-home customer service agents for companies like Sykes Alpine Access (list for VA).  But these sound like telecommuting jobs, not individually owned home-based businesses requiring legal documentation as such.  

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

What if the federal government tries to guarantee everyone a job?

Vox has a provocative article by Dylan Matthews, “What America Would look Life if It Guaranteed Everyone a Job”. 

I presume this would try to keep retirees (even me) working as long as possible, maybe well into their 80s, and cut social security dependence.

It would practically force people used to solitary “individual contributor” work into social contact with those in need or at other cognitive levels – note the child care, eldercare, etc. 

It is hard to see if less skilled people could do the infrastructure career.

It would also end the “inherited capital” based career I have as a citizen journalist.  You could only publish when you were going to get paid for it.  

Sunday, September 03, 2017

I do end user testing of companies as a customer

I worked on billing systems on two of my major employment gigs from the 80s into the 90s. 

Recently, I did overlook a bill with my local gas company.   I had had problems with its website before, but when I got a collection notice, I went online immediately and got in, and paid by check.

At first, it seemed to work.  The site listed the payment as “pending”.

The payment did not show up on my bank.  So I checked an hour later and the payment had disappeared. I did not get a confirming email. But I had written down the confirmation number. So I called the collections department.  The collector couldn’t find the payment, so I did it over the phone again.  It disappeared again.

The next day, though, both payments showed up again. 

Am I doing the user testing for this company’s collections system even though I don’t work for them?