Links to LinkedIn Posts You May Find of Interest

Ten Things for Veterans to Keep in Mind When Conducting a Job Search

10 Things to Do to Get over the Holiday Job Seeking Blues

Why I Believe I am Correct in Accepting Connect Requests from Everyone

The 5-Second Resume Skim

Two Jobs to Think Thrice About Before Taking

How I Got a Former Prostitute Hired

5 Steps to Successful Career Change

Closing the Salary Gap

9 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask in an Interview and Why

Before hiring, meet the wife!

Why reading the classics is important

Check Your References

What is an Informational Meeting and How Should You Conduct One?

The Dangers of Frivolous Accusations of Sexual Harassment

Why Volunteering is so Important for Job Seekers

What is appropriate to share with colleagues and what isn’t?

Is this the Dumbest or Most Brilliant Reason for Working on a Straight Commission?

On Time Management

What will the 2018 Resume Look Like?


The Future of Hiring?

Years ago a fellow member of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce asked me what I thought of video resumes. I told him they were a total waste and that it was difficult enough to get an employer to spend more than five seconds reading a resume; there was no way they would spend five minutes watching a video. Then he showed me the technology behind the startup with which he was involved and I got hooked. I was wrong then; I don’t think I am wrong now.

I suffer from vertigo. It ain’t fun! Let’s just say you don’t want to be standing behind me when I am about to step on the Down escalator and leave it at that. So when I was reading this month’s issue of Inc. magazine, and got to Amy Webb’s article, “Virtually Convincing,” she had me at her first sentence, “I don’t like heights.”

Ms. Webb then went on the explain how using a virtual reality device triggered her vertigo. For that to happen, a VR device has to convince your brain that what you are seeing is “real.” And that got me thinking about recruiting, especially when she went on to write about how VR is being used to treat veterans suffering from PTSD.

If VR is real, maybe it can shorten recruiting time big time. Imagine this scenario:

You are applying for a job which involves interaction with people. In a normal setting, you convince the recruiter that you are a great people person. But let’s say that they handed you a VR device and you had to spend 30 minutes interacting with the rude and obnoxious. They could see for themselves if you are a “great people person.”

This is not so farfetched. Plenty of times people who are hired for a skill are tested. You say you can code? Code! Here’s a computer. Go to it! You say you can type 100 words per minute. Here’s a test. Type! You say you know QuickBooks… Well, you get the idea. But those are “hard skills.” VR will allow for the testing of “soft skills,” people skills.

We do it today. “Sell me this pen,” is the classic example. But the interviewer has to have a conversation with the candidate and, what’s worse, sit there hearing a story about how the pen has saved the lives of countless orphans carrying boxes of puppies across busy streets. With VR, the interviewer will only have to look at the recording, and maybe not even that.

No doubt something akin to voice recognition software will be deployed to score the candidate’s tone of voice. It exists today. When you are speaking to the computer and anger is detected, you get transferred to a customer service rep. Similarly, frustration will be noted in the candidate’s voice and will be a disqualifier. Did you remain calm, cool and collected? Congrats! You get to meet with a real live human being who will now look at you and your resume.

Think of the time this will save when everyone has a VR device or access to one. Want to apply for a job? No form to fill out. Take the VR exercise. If the employer (or their computer) likes what they see, they’ll send you the form and ask for your resume. The employer saves time. The candidate saves time. What’s not to love?

And since the VR can be programmed with any scenario, it could be used literally for any position in a company. Need a new CEO who can deal with angry stock holders? Put her in an annual meeting. Need a new president who can deal with hostile media? Put him in a press conference. Need a new purchasing agent who can negotiate with vendors? Need a new director who can motivate? But wait, there’s more!

Not only will time be saved, but also money and, more importantly, safety will improve. Let’s say the position involves building something. No need to waste supplies. The candidate can virtually “build” whatever it is. And there won’t be any safety issues because you can’t cut your real thumb off with a virtual knife, or smash it with a virtual hammer. And if virtual property is destroyed, it will magically reappear whole and intact when the program is rebooted. No waste. No danger. No OSHA!

Think about it. This may not be all that crazy.


Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 300,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website,, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

The Key to Team Building: Being Able to Spot Intelligent People

First, whenever you are told you cannot even begin speaking without signing an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), you know you are in for an interesting conversation.

This recently happened to me. Someone, I can’t tell you who, apparently has been reading my posts on LinkedIn (definitely needs to get a life!), and invited me to apply for a position in a something, I can’t say what, devoted to helping people, I can’t say who or why, by showing that I know how to spot intelligent people. I can say that it is not for the purpose of team building, nor is it for any illegal, immoral or unethical purpose.

In order to be accepted to this whatever, I had to explain in an interview (nothing is in writing except the NDA) how I would spot an intelligent man or woman in a professional setting. (They emphasized the word “professional” which I took to mean a conference or networking event, and not a purely social occasion.) Since there is nothing in the NDA forbidding sharing responses, I’ve decided to share mine as it may help employers build teams, not to mention job applicants.

Given the nature of the challenge, I began by dismissing any appearance of insult. I made it clear that finding and eliminating “stupid” people would not result in the intelligent remaining. The answer was not the process of elimination. Just because someone in not “intelligent,” does not mean they are not “smart.” I’ve always liked the line, The difference between smart people and intelligent people is that smart people know how to get out of difficult situations that intelligent people don’t get into in the first place! But clever comments aside, “smart” is learned. You can be “book smart;” you can be “street smart;” and you can be both. But “smart” relates to knowledge. It is taught. “Intelligence,” on the other hand, relates to intellect and either you are born with it or you are not.

I took the challenge to mean that the test was purely visual and auditory based on the word “spot.” (By the way, they made it clear that they were not interested in social media so Facebook foolishness, etc. were irrelevancies. Put differently, there would be no opportunity for research.) I also assumed, and explained, that I was proceeding on the assumption that the intelligent people would be in the minority, perhaps even a minority of one for each gender, making them easy to “spot.” (Remember Sesame Street? “One of these things is not like the other…”) After explaining my approach, I suggested the following:

Let’s start with men so I can be vilified for being a misandrist before the feminists start piling on!

No intelligent man wears cologne or scented aftershave. If you are planning to meet with people, you don’t want to literally turn their stomachs because of what they consider to be an unpleasant odor. If you smell, no one is going to want to be around you.

Next comes what I referred to as the “absent minded professor.” This is the highly intelligent person who looks disheveled. But there is “messy” and there is “messy.” A man with his shirt tails sticking out from his trousers is different from a man who is wearing a suit that has survived a number of presidencies and looks it. The first is probably sloppy, not a trait of the intelligent, while the latter has more important things on his mind than buying new clothes. (It still fits; there are no holes; why spend the time and money?)

On the other hand, there is “well-dressed” and there is “well-dressed.” It’s one thing to wear a nice looking $300 suit and quite another to wear a $3,000 suit. Problem is, wealth has nothing to do with intelligence so for men, the brands they wear say nothing about their intelligence.

In other words, simply by looking at appearances, you really can’t spot an intelligent man.

The way to spot an intelligent man is by his behavior. Intelligent men do not “hit” on women in professional settings. Think of the last networking event you attended. Did you notice the attractive woman surrounded by four or five men? Trust me, those guys were not Mensa members! (Well, maybe they were, but you get my point!)

Next, intelligent men, attending conferences, always have a question to ask the panelists or speakers. They do not ask questions which put people on the defensive; they know how to word a question so as to initiate conversation not argument, and certainly never to cause embarrassment. (Basically, they don’t ask for justifications, dispute facts, or make accusations, they pose questions along the lines of, “I was interested to hear you say… because I always thought…” or “When you said…I was reminded of what…wrote in her book…”)

Perhaps more importantly, conversations with them are one-sided. They always listen more than they speak.

So much for men.

Women, in some ways, are easier. So let me go from misandrist to misogynist.

First, just like men, intelligent women do not wear perfume, the brands of their clothes means nothing, they don’t “hit” on men in professional settings, they have proper questions to ask panelists and speakers, and they listen more than they speak. In other words, as with men, so with women, behavior is key. But when it comes to clothing, you can easily spot intelligent women:

Intelligent women do not wear high heels. They are bad for the feet; bad for the legs; and bad for the back. (How “high” is “high?” I would say above two inches.) They may make women appear attractive in the western (as opposed to, let’s say, Asian/Indian) sense, but intelligent women don’t put looking good above their health. Also, no intelligent woman would place herself in harm’s way. You never know, especially today, when you are going to have to do a lot of walking, or maybe some running.

(I am reminded of the time when the boss asked to meet with a few of us at the main entrance to our facility. There were four of us, two men and two women. He said, “Let’s walk.” After about 20 minutes one of the women complained that her feet were “killing” her. She was wearing high heels. Not pleased, but considerate, the boss turned around and we started to walk back, albeit it slowly. To her credit, she never wore heels again to work.)

Intelligent women do not wear clothing that highlights their physical attributes. They want people, men and women, concentrating on their intellect and nothing else. (Similarly, intelligent women wear little if any makeup.)

That, dear readers, is basically what I said in my application to join the thing I can’t tell you about. What I can tell you is that I was accepted on the spot (by the two interviewers, one man and one woman) and then rejected them for reasons I can’t tell you about.

But the lesson is this: If you are building a team try to arrange for a professional gathering. Invite candidates to a reception to meet with staff and clients. Smell for perfume, etc., see what they wear, and, obviously, pay attention to how they behave. With whom do they spend most of their time? Executives? Senior management? Board members? Staff? Clients? Who do they ignore? There’s no right or wrong here (except maybe regarding those who they ignore which can indicate feelings of superiority); it all depends on the position for which they are being considered. But most importantly, listen. What questions are they asking? You can learn more about a person from what they say, or don’t say, than anything else. We can’t learn if we are talking. Want to hire intelligent people? Find those who speak little but say a lot.


Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 300,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website,, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

How to Get a Job in the US AND KEEP IT!

First, let me make this clear.  I am not an attorney and nothing in this post should be interpreted as offering legal advice. 

Second, this post is meant for foreign nationals wanting to move to the US.  Be aware, there is no shortage of charlatans who will try and con you out of your money.  Remember: No one can guarantee you a job.  If someone promises to get you a job if you pay them, even if it is only an “administrative fee,” they are lying. 

The purpose of this post is to help foreign nationals outside the United States to understand what it takes to get and keep a job in this country and to announce the launch of a new service which I am offering to these individuals.

Of course, the simplest way to get a job here is to enter as a student.  Get as many internships as possible.  Do a great job.  Have an employer who hired you for an internship sponsor you.

Alternatively, work for a company in your home country with offices in the US.  Like everything else, you will have a lot of competition.  The key to getting a transfer to the US, once you have proven yourself, is differentiation.  Your employer will want to know that you will be able to “handle” the US.  That’s the service that I now offer:  I will make you different from your competition in the ways that matter: communication and culture.

In addition to being a student or a transferee, foreigners can get work visas either as Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers or Permanent Workers, for which there are only 140,000 visas.  To say that this is a complicated labyrinth is to engage in understatement.  That is why it is so important to utilize your local US Consulate and, possibly, to have an immigration attorney.

Regardless of which visa you have, when you arrive you will have to have an employer.  It’s the only way to get the proper visa. Countless people contact employers constantly asking for sponsorships.  They are denied because they don’t know how to ask.  They are not prepared.  My clients will be prepared.

Let me reiterate, my concern is not with the legalities of immigration.  For that there are immigration attorneys and, obviously, the US Consulate.  What I am concerned about is that the immigration be successful.  What could be worse than moving all the way to the US only to be fired because “it is not a good fit?”

Just because you get the visa does not mean you are guaranteed employment for life.  Things don’t always work out.  You may have all the professional skills and credentials, but because of a strange culture and language, things may not work out.  In other words, what is missing are the personal skills.  I want to make certain that does not happen to you.

These are the problems that I want to eliminate for my International Career Counseling clients:

  • Knowledge of conversational English. Professionally, your English may be perfect, but your everyday English may be wanting.  You can describe your latest professional project perfectly, but you can’t order breakfast at a local diner.  You will learn to converse in English.
  • But it is not enough to know the words, pronunciation and articulation are just as important. If no one can understand you, you might as well be speaking your native language.  If necessary, I will introduce you to a speech therapist who will teach you to speak clearly.  (It can be done using a Skype-like system.)
  • You may know the history of the United States better than most Americans, but you may not understand the culture. What is acceptable in your country may not be acceptable here.  This is especially true of workplace behavior.  One mistake, even an innocent mistake, could result in your employer being sued and you losing your job.  You will learn what not to do in the workplace and, for that matter, on the street.
  • Looking for a job in the US, from building your brand to networking to cover letters to resumes to interviewing, will be different for you. You need to understand the process before you start the search for a sponsor (assuming you are not coming to the US as a student or a transferee from a local company).  You will learn the process.
  • Once you get the job, and start work, there is plenty that can still go wrong. You may be uncomfortable speaking with your boss or colleagues about certain topics.  You’ll have me to consult with for the first year that you are in the US.

So remember, just because you have that prized piece of paper – the visa – in your hands, guarantees you nothing more than the opportunity to be successful in the United States.  Your success will be dependent on your ability to communicate in English and to understand American culture.  That’s where I come in.

Ironically, after proofreading this post, I stepped away from my desk.  Someone called and left me a message.  I could barely understand him.  It sounded like he said he was from Kenya and that I had gotten a job for one of his friends.  He asked me to call him back.  First problem, I did not understand his name.  Second problem, he did not leave a number.  Third problem, when I phoned the number that appeared on my telephone I.D., I received a message that voice mail had yet to be set up.  This is exactly what I mean by “personal skills.”  This man may be very accomplished in his field, but because he does not understand how things are done in the US, and probably no one has told him about his communication problems, he may not find employment.  Learn from his mistakes; don’t repeat them!


Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter, career counselor and business advisor.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.  Visit the homepage of his website,, to read about the latest questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies.

Is LinkedIn Legal?

I am a huge fan of LinkedIn.  It is by far the best site for job seekers and employers, not to mention recruiters.  The vast majority of the candidates I find for my executive recruiting clients I find through LinkedIn, and I find them quickly.

The secret of my success, so to speak, is my vast network.  With tens of thousands (forty at present!) of first degree connections, I can literally find anyone, in any industry, for any conceivable position – and, occasionally, a few inconceivable ones!

But is it legal to use LinkedIn for recruitment purposes?

I am not an attorney, and do not claim to be, so make sure to check with an employment lawyer but, to the best of my understanding, here is the situation:

I have nothing to worry about because I never look at profiles on LinkedIn.  That’s right, the profile that LinkedIn members spend so much time preparing is irrelevant for me.  The only things I am interested in are where the person is located and what industry they belong to.  And that’s it.  Nothing else matters.

What I do is send an individual message to each of my first degree connections.  I create a list of connections to contact by doing an “Advanced Search” and filtering by geography and industry (or industries).  I basically write to each, “I’m a recruiter.  I have a client looking to hire a ______.  The job description follows.  If you are interested, I would be delighted to receive your resume.  If you happen to know of possible qualified candidates, please feel free to share this message with them.  Thanks, Bruce.”  And that’s it.  What do I care what is written in their profile?  If they are interested, they’ll send me their resume.  If they are uninterested, they won’t and reading their profile would have been a waste of time.  And if they are uninterested, but know of someone who might be a good candidate, reading their profile would still have been a waste of time.  All that matters is location and industry.

And because I do not look at profiles, I cannot be accused of breaking the law.  What’s the problem with a profile?  How could I break the law?  The photo.

Everyone in the United States seeking employment belongs to a “protected status,” meaning a group of people who cannot, by law, be discriminated against.  Protected status, depending on where you live, includes: gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, genetic predisposition, military/veteran status, arrest record, domestic violence victimhood, and marital status, to name the key “classes.”  (Just as an aside, an employer also cannot discriminate against the unemployed.)

Think of how many of these statuses can be determined by a photo.  Except for not being able to tell if someone has a genetic predisposition to a certain illness or medical condition, has been arrested or is an abuse victim, you might be able to determine the rest based on a photo.  And then go prove that that was not a factor in reaching your decision as to whether or not to invite the individual for an interview.

And that is what we are concerned with: the pre-interview process or, if you prefer, the candidate selection process.  Did you decide not to invite Ms. Smith in for an interview because you saw her LinkedIn profile photo and immediately knew that she was a woman, Hispanic and a Christian?  And did you guess, based on her last name, that she is married because her race does not match her name?  No?  Prove it!

And you can prove it.  First, the person making the final decision about potential candidates should not be looking at profiles.  Second, the person looking at profiles should prepare a written report explaining why they believe the individual should be contacted.  Third, nothing in the report should relate to any protected status but should clearly indicate qualifications.

Just to take this one step further, the same is true if an employer decides to do more than just look at their LinkedIn profile.  If they want a Google search done, they should receive a report based solely on non-protected status details of what is discovered on-line.

So to summarize, employers can use LinkedIn to find candidates, as long as they do not know about their protected statuses.

If you have any questions about this or any other employment related topic, list to my interview, this Wednesday at Noon, on The Voice of Manhattan Business, and call-in to ask your questions.

How to turn one or two books into a $100 Macy’s gift card

I’m pleased to announce the impending publication of my new book Success! As Employee or Entrepreneur.  Purchase a copy before February 1 and be entered to win a $100 gift card.  I’m offering a 30% pre-publication discount on Success! and my previous book, A Hooker’s Guide to Getting a Job.  Buy both and get a 40% discount.  Click here for details!   And check out the Library page on my relaunched website.  You’ll find hundreds of free articles, video and audio files on all aspects of a job search.  Good luck!

Why We Should Support Outsourcing

The following is based on my new book, Success! As Employee or Entrepreneur.

How can anyone support the sending of US jobs overseas?  It’s a perfectly logical question to ask.  The answer is, however, rather simple:  The more jobs we send overseas the more jobs are created here by foreign-owned companies and by the very companies that chose to outsource some of their jobs.

Yes, it is a catastrophe for the individuals who lose their jobs to a call center in Mumbai. But it is also an opportunity for those who were laid off to be trained for those Twenty-First Century jobs that will provide them with security and prosperity.

Of course, some jobs cannot be sent overseas: Obviously, government jobs aren’t going anywhere.  Healthcare comes to mind.  Medical billing may go overseas and we may utilize foreign physicians to augment staffing so, for example, x-rays can be analyzed around the clock, but physicians actually treating patients cannot be outsourced.  Additionally, there are non-profit jobs, as well as those in construction, assembly and installation that are not going anywhere.  Indians cannot provide social services, install television satellite dishes or solar panels on the roofs of our houses.  Your mechanic and dry cleaner are staying put!  The same goes for work in the recreation, hospitality and food services industries.  More importantly, the high-paying administrative and leadership jobs are here to stay.

The entire question about outsourcing is nothing new.  The debate dates back centuries to David Ricardo whose “law of comparative advantage tells us it is far better for the Argentineans to grow beef, the Japanese to make cars, and the Italians to turn out high-fashion shoes than for each nation to attempt to become self-sufficient in all three areas.”[1]

I first became interested in outsourcing when I read in Inc.[2] magazine that in 2003 134,000 jobs were outsourced from the US to foreign countries.  What first caught my eye was that the number was so small.  Based on all the media reports, I had thought outsourcing was having a far greater impact.  But what really shocked me was the number of jobs outsourced from foreign countries to the United States – what is referred to as “insourcing.”  According to the same article, 5.3 million people were employed by US subsidiaries of foreign companies.  So there is no misunderstanding, foreigners can’t just conduct business in the US, they have to set up businesses here.  They have done so and the result is over 5 million jobs for Americans.  Put differently, in 2003, for every one job outsourced to a foreign country, 39.5 jobs were insourced to the US!

And this is not some fluke.  Everyone outsources and everyone benefits:

Does your father make shoes?  Do you milk your own cows?  No?  Then you’re outsourcing,” says Martyn Hart, chairman of the U.K.’s National Outsourcing Association… “People think it means job loss, but it actually creates jobs because companies become more efficient, which generates more wealth.”  He’s not kidding.  According to McKinsey Global Institute, for every dollar of corporate spending Americans outsource to India alone, the US economy gains $1.14…[3]

Still not convinced?

            In 2003, Matthew Slaughter, an economist at Dartmouth College, took a look at companies that engaged in offshoring in the 1990s, and found that for every job the US multinationals created abroad (2.8 million by his count), two jobs were created for the parent company (5.5 million jobs) back home in the US.[4]

Finally, according to a study by the International Monetary Fund, offshoring “does not appear to be leading to net job losses,” but it does make the caveat that the jobs lost in one sector are only “offset by jobs created in other growing industries.”[5]

So why is outsourcing good for business and, by extension for employees and the country?  According to Vivek Wadhwa from Stanford Law School, who is an economist and recognized authority on outsourcing, “It lets companies do their grunt work abroad, and focus resources domestically on research, development and product.  We know more innovation grows the economy and as a result creates more jobs.  Such allocation also helps businesses stay competitive to stay open, which of course is the No. 1 issue for keeping jobs.”[6]

He is not alone in his appreciation of the value produced in the US as a result of outsourcing.   Inc. interviewed Columbia University Professor Amar Bhidé about his new book, The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World.  In discussing outsourcing, Bhidé explained that outsourcing is not a zero-sum game.  A lost job to India is not a net gain for India and a net loss for the US.  As he put it,

            It’s helpful to think of a specific example.  The World Wide Web was invented by a British scientist living in Switzerland.  Think of how much this invention in Switzerland has revolutionized lives in the US and has improved US prosperity, probably to a greater degree than it has in Switzerland and certainly to a greater degree than it has in most other parts of the world.  Why?  Because the US is really good at taking things like the Web and weaving them into our commercial fabric.  Or, to give you another popular example: Many of the high-level technologies associated with the iPod were developed outside the US  Compression software comes from Germany; the design of the chip comes from the U.K.  The whole idea of an MP3 player comes out of Singapore.  But most of the value has been captured in the US, because the US happens to represent the majority of the use of MP3 players in the world.[7]

One last thing to consider in a discussion about the evils and benefits of outsourcing is an intangible: goodwill.  When US popularity around the world was, to say the least, struggling, there was at least one exception: “India, one of the chief beneficiaries of US outsourcing, is also one of the few countries in which popular attitudes toward America have remained strongly positive.”[8]

Don’t underestimate the contribute that outsourcing makes to our national economy in, of all things, job creation.  By all means, feel for those who lose their jobs to outsourcing, but be happy for those who gain jobs through insourcing.

[1] William J. Bernstein, A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2008), p.18.

[2] “Insourcing 101,” Inc. (April 2006), p. 50.

[3] “The Sourcing Summit,”, November 16, 2010.

[4] Dan Fastenberg, “Is Outsourcing Good For The Economy — And Workers” (September 14, 2012).

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Amar Bhidé on why the techno-nationalists have it all wrong,” Inc. (November 2008), p. 100.

[8] Amy Chua, Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why they Fall (New York: Doubleday, 2007), p. 340.

Let’s Look at the Affordable Care Act

I keep on getting questions about Obamacare.  Is it as bad as people say?  Is it hype? What does it mean?   Well, here’s what I think it means (thanks, in part, to Inc. magazine):

If you have less than 50 employees or 50 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees, the law should not impact you.  However, from the perspective of hiring, if a business has 49 employees, odds are they will not make that extra hire.

However, if they have less than 25 FTEs, and their average salary is below $50,000, they might qualify for a two-year tax credit to enable the to buy health insurance. The good news is that they will then become a more desirable employer. Of course, the question is, What will happen after the two years?  Moreover, the government already gives tax credits to employers who hire veterans.  But the process is so cumbersome that most employers don’t even bother.  Will it be the same under Obamacare?  Time will tell.

If a company has 50 or more employees or FTEs and they offer insurance, the question is whether or not they pay at least 60 percent of their employees’ health costs.  If so, the next question is, Do any of the employees pay more than 9.5% of their W2 income on health insurance?  If so, the employer has to pay a penalty of up to $2,000, not counting the first 30 employees. So for number 31 to 49, the penalty is in force.

If the employer is not paying at least 60%, they may qualify for a tax credit, but the above mentioned concern is still valid.

The good news is that if they cover 60%, and no one pays more than 9.5%, then they are in compliance with the law and have no worries about penalties.

By the way, Full Time Equivalency means at least 30 hours or more a week, not 40.

And one more thing: If an employee is under 26, they can be covered by their parents’ insurance. So let’s say a company only hires 18 to 25 year olds. They will save a ton of money, which may be the only way they can operate.  But, are they opening themselves up to an age discrimination suit?

So is the Affordable Care Act affordable?  Only time will tell.


As readers of this blog and my book know, the mission of my company is to promote the hiring of veterans.  I take that mission seriously because I believe that it is our duty, as Americans, to offer the only tangible support we can to returning members of the Armed Forces: employment.  But it is not just the right thing to do.  As I wrote in a previous post about the treatment of vets, it’s also the smart thing to do.  Vets make great employees, have fabulous skills, are mission-centric and care about the people they serve.  They also have the “‘No’ is not an acceptable answer” attitude.  They get the job done.

I work in Manhattan and live in New Jersey.  Every morning and every evening I travel by bus to and from the City.  I actually enjoy the ride.  It gives me a chance to unwind and catch up on my reading.  Not having to drive is relaxing.

What is not relaxing is the Manhattan bus terminal a.k.a. the Port Authority.  If, and it rarely happens, I can get to the PA before 5:00, there are no lines.  But from about 5:15 the lines start to form.  Sometimes it’s all gates; sometimes only a few.  And when I say “lines” I mean “lines.”  Hundreds upon hundreds of people can be standing in winding rows leading to their gates.  Sometimes the lines even cross each other.  Thousands of people can be waiting for their buses.  This is not exceptional; it’s practically every day.  We are all waiting for New Jersey Transit buses.  There is never a representative of NJ Transit to found.  What would be the point?

Now to be fair, if there is an accident in the Lincoln Tunnel, where all the buses are heading to or coming from, it’s no one’s fault that the lines are long.  And if the weather is bad, traffic slows, accidents happen and, again, it’s no one’s fault.  But this situation exists even when there are no accidents and the weather is fine.

Two days ago, Tuesday the 22nd of May, was one such day.  The weather was fine – although humid.  There were no announcements of accidents.  I actually got to my Gate, number 224, just after 5:00.  The lines were just forming.  I was fifth or sixth in line waiting for the 5:20 bus.

Now I should explain that the 162 local, 163 local, 164 local, and the 144, 162, 163 and 164 express routes all use my Gate.   There can be three to four hundred people waiting in a line that I won’t even try to describe.  You have to see it to believe it.  Let’s put it this way:  Around 5:15 they have to shut down the escalator or people will start crashing into each other.

(Just an aside:  The escalator is the only way to access Gate 224.  If it is heading up, you have to leave the Gate and cross over to another Gate to find stairs if you want to return to the terminal.  The stairs have been blocked for months following the remodeling/renovation of the Gate.  Put differently, if something really bad happens, our only escape route is into the bus traffic lanes!)

But let’s get back to Tuesday.

It’s 5:20 and my bus, the 144, scheduled for departure at that time, is nowhere to be seen.  A couple of 162s and 163s come and go, but no 144.  The minutes tick away, the crowd gets larger, the humidity rises, and people start complaining.  One woman sees the dispatcher and calls him over.

She said something like, “Three 162s and two 163s have come.  Why no 144?”  The dispatcher tried to explain the situation to her, to no avail.  Then, being human, he got frustrated.  And then he said the truth.

Now I am sympathetic to a man who has to face one angry woman with literally hundreds of people standing behind, beside and in front of her, knowing that everyone supports her and no one supports him.  Add heat and humidity, and he’s entitled to be cranky.  And I’ll give him credit, Mr. Conrad Daniel told me his name when I asked for it.  That surprised me.  But what shocked everyone was what he said to the woman before turning around and leaving:

“A bus is coming for you.  You should be grateful.”

“Grateful.”  Probably the worst word he could have chosen.  Everyone was in shock.  A couple people asked, “What did he say?”

Well he said we should be grateful.  Why?  Here’s my theory:

Mr. Daniel (and I may have the spelling of his name wrong) is in the union.  (That’s an assumption on my part, but since NJT is unionized, I think it is a safe assumption.)  Apparently, according to him, we should be grateful that union workers do their jobs.  It’s irrelevant that we are paying them to do their jobs.  It’s also irrelevant that they are incompetent.

Why “incompetent?”  If, as I wrote, there’s a problem due to an accident or the weather, there’s no one to blame for a delay.  It’s the life of the commuter.  It’s the price we pay – in addition to the fare.  But the long lines and interminable waits when there are no accidents and the weather is fine are a chronic problem.  It’s practically every day.  If the good people at New Jersey Transit were competent, they would have figured out how to deal with the problem.  After all, they have the data.  They know how many riders there will be.  They know that 49 can be seated and 11 can stand.  Divide by 60 and you know how many buses you need.

Mr. Daniel’s “grateful” comment explains the attitude.  Mr. Daniel is not the disease; he’s the symptom.  The disease is unionism and the fact that it would take a Ronald Reagan (as in the air traffic controllers) to find the cure.

The Port Authority is owned and operated by the States of New York and New Jersey.  With all due respect to Governor Cuomo, who has taken on the unions, I doubt he’s a Reagan.  But New Jersey’s Governor Christie is a different matter.  Perhaps he would be good enough to take the lead…

Again, I want to be fair.  The buses running from New Jersey to New York come on time.  I’ve never really had a problem.  Every so often a bus is late or doesn’t show.  But it is so rare that it’s really not worth mentioning.  The problem is Manhattan and the Port Authority.

When Michael Dell started his computer company he did not use an IT company as his model.  His model was FedEx.  Reliable products and phenomenal customer service.  So let’s forget that New Jersey Transit and the Port Authority are involved with transportation.  Let’s look at them in a different way.

Tens of thousands of people arrive at a location in mid-town Manhattan to be taken by hundreds if not thousands of buses to various locations as far north as Montreal, as far south as Florida, as far east as Long Island and as far west as California.

But let’s not call them “people,” let’s call them “packages.”  Who sends packages, around the world, on a daily basis?  UPS.  And what is UPS’s tag line?  “We love logistics.”  In fact, instead of “love” they have a “heart” and a trademark which, I trust, I did not just violate!  (By the way, UPS is a union shop!)

Logistics.  Who have we, the American people, trained in logistics?  I’ll give you a hint.  They are mentioned in the title.  Correct:  Veterans.  And we have tens of thousands of them unemployed and soon to be.

Now if you read the blog post I referenced earlier, you’ll discover that truck drivers and medics, trained by the military, that is to say the Federal government, are not licensed, meaning their licenses are not recognized in any of the States.  Let’s change that.  How does this sound?

Officers with logistics training will be hired to run the Port Authority.  Veterans who were drivers in the military, will be hired as drivers (New York and New Jersey will recognize their licenses), and other vets will be trained to be drivers and to fill other positions at both NJT and the PA.  None of them will be permitted to join a union.  The only guarantee of their continued employment will be competency and efficiency.  If they are good, they stay and advance.  If they have a “gratitude” problem, they’ll be grateful for their unemployment benefits.

Yes, there will be a strike.  And, in the case of the New Jersey-located staff, they may have a justifiable complaint that they are losing their jobs despite having nothing to do with Manhattan operations.  Perhaps they should be spared.  In any case, yes, there will be a great deal of short-term inconvenience.  When the attack on 9/11 occurred, President Bush did not call on Americans to make sacrifices.  He told us to go shopping.  He was wrongly criticized.  He was, in fact, correct.  The aim of the attack was to cripple our economy.  The weapon with which to respond was consumerism.

But now we do need to sacrifice.  And the sacrifice is for our veterans.  So what if we have to rearrange our schedules for a couple of weeks?  It’s nothing by comparison to what veterans and their families have had to do.  This is the best way for us to show our veterans that we are, to quote Mr. Daniel, grateful and are now willing to repay the debt.  Get rid of the union; hire vets!


I have hand delivered a copy of this post to the Customer Service Department at the Port Authority.  If they, or Mr. Daniel, wish to add a comment, it will be approved and posted without any changes or edits of any kind.  I will be happy to give them, and my fellow NJ Transit travelers, the last word.

The Key to Successful Non-Hiring: SHUT UP!

It’s always nice to hear from readers.  One woman, who works for a dermatologist, read my article on Bona Fide Occupational Qualifications.  Here’s the issue: You can discriminate against someone if their condition makes it impossible or unsafe for them to do the job for which they are applying.  No obese flight attendants.  No pilots over 60 being the captain of a commercial flight.  But what about not hiring someone with bad teeth to work Reception at a dentist’s office or, as in the case of the woman who contacted me after reading my article, someone who is sunburned wanting to work for a dermatologist?

I believe that it is an employer’s right to determine their company’s corporate image.  If you won’t hire anyone with tattoos, no problem.  If you only refuse to hire Hispanics with tattoos, problem.  Same for requiring good teeth for the dentist and good skin (or at least not bad skin) for the dermatologist.  But I’m not an attorney.  This is my personal opinion.  I do not give legal advice.  If I did, I could get into a lot of trouble.  As I like to say on occasion, I’m crazy, not stupid.  And it would be stupid for me to play lawyer.

So why did my reader contact me?  She was interviewing a candidate for a position at her office.  The candidate had a sunburn.  She told the candidate that she had a problem with her skin being sunburned.  Sounds logical.  Over exposure to the sun is the leading cause of skin cancer.  It’s a dermatologist’s office after all!  But, the woman is a minority.    She left, went home, and filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal  Employment Opportunity Commission against the dermatologist based on race and skin color.

There are minorities working for the dermatologist.   Clearly, they do not discriminate based on race or color.  And they decided not to fill the position.

Here’s the rub:  All of that may be irrelevant.  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that all of this could have been easily avoided.  There is no law that requires an employer to tell a candidate why they don’t want to hire them.  If you don’t want someone all you have to say is, “Thank you very much.  I’ve enjoyed meeting you.  We are in the process of interviewing candidates.  We’ll be in touch.”   (I write about discrimination in my book, A Hooker’s Guide to Getting a Job: Parables from the Real World of Career Counseling and Executive Recruiting.)  If you have a specific reason why you don’t want to hire a person, I’m willing to offer this piece of advice:  SHUT UP!

If you don’t, I can recommend a good attorney…

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