Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Best Way to Learn Most Things: A Tutor

I believe that tutoring is the best way to learn most things, especially if you use them right.

For example, to do his job well, a client of mine needed to learn some electrical engineering. Rather than recommending he go back to school for a certificate let alone a degree, I encouraged him to find an electrical engineer in or out of his workplace who is willing to answer his emailed or phoned questions when he gets stuck.

Learning on a need-to-know/ just-in-time basis is so much more time-effective than taking a course. In the latter, you're taught a mountain of content, most of which you'll never need, and what you will need, you'll long have forgotten by the time you need it. Oh and of course, courses are much more expensive and time consuming.

A Key to Time Management

Key to being time-efficient is to think of yourself as a transmission. You decide which speed is appropriate to the task:

For some tasks, you can stay in Park--not do them or delegate them.

Other tasks, 1st gear: slow and steady.

Other tasks, 2nd gear: do them midspeed, mid-quality.

Other tasks, overdrive: fast, cut corners.

Just don't go into reverse.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reason Must Trump a Visceral "Ugh!" Response

It's long been said that our greatest advances are first met with ridicule, then with reluctant acceptance, and then thought to have always existed.

As science develops ever more rapidly, it becomes ever more essential that we don't let our initial "ugh, yuk!" response prevent us from doing a reasoned analysis of proposals.

For example, Julian Savulescu, director of Oxford University's Center for Ethics, wrote, "Our fundamental cognitive abilities, physical ability, even capacity to love could be influenced by changes in human biology." In other words, if society were to allow such research to be funded, parents could eventually use gene therapy to ensure their children had high intelligence, immunity to cancer, and a loving nature.

Many people viscerally cringe at such a prospect, recalling, for example, the Nazi eugenic atrocities. Yet as with all technologies, they can be used for good or evil. The Nazis goal was extermination of all non-Aryans. Allowing parents the freedom to ensure their children are intelligent, cancer-free, and loving is vastly different. And not only would the parents and children benefit, the world would be enriched by billions of wiser, kinder people. The likely result will be fewer wars, a cure for AIDS, not to mention unimaginably amazing iPhones.

Yes, we must address issues such as "Because it will be expensive, only the rich will do it. Won't that further increase the gap between society's haves and have nots?" A reasonable question. Society would have to decide, as with all health care, whether to, like immunizations, make it affordably available to all citizens, to subsidize it for the poor, or like a Lexus, to assert that the rich should be allowed to reap the benefit of their having earned more money without having to fork over more taxes so the poor can get it too. That's a reasoned discussion, not a visceral, antiintellectual "yuk" response. Let the discussion begin.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Media's Liberal Bias: A Compelling Example

From the American Thinker, Oct. 16, 2010

If George Bush Had...
by Eileen Toplansky

If George W. Bush had doubled the national debt in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed to double the debt again within ten years, would you have concurred?

If George W. Bush had criticized a state law that he admitted he never even read, would you think he was just an ignorant hothead?

If George W. Bush joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder whose side he was on?

If George W. Bush had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling merely because one company had an accident, would you have thought this was disproportionate and harmful to American workers?

If George W. Bush had forced a change in your health care coverage even though the majority of people did not seek or approve of these changes, would you begin to worry about an abuse of power by the executive branch of the government?

If George W. Bush continually bashed the United States and seemed to side with known dictators, would you feel comfortable?

If George W. Bush had been the first president to need a teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how linguistically inept he is?

If George W. Bush had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take Laura Bush to a play in New York City, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had reduced your retirement plan's holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have endorsed this move?

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have chuckled with approval?

If George W. Bush had given British Prime Minister Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, would you have considered this shabby and not befitting proper presidential protocol?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought this embarrassingly narcissistic and tacky?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have been taken aback?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the nonexistent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had filled his Cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current with their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had stated that there were 57 states in the United States, would you have said that he is an embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had flown all the way to Denmark to make a five-minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him, would you have thought he was a self-important, conceited, egotistical individual?

If George W. Bush had been so Spanish-illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, would you have winced in embarrassment?

If George W. Bush had misspelled the word "advice" and mispronounced the word "corps," mistaking it for a dead body, would you have wondered about this man's ability to articulate English and represent his country?

If George W. Bush had burned nine thousand gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?

If George W. Bush's administration had approved of Air Force One flying low and then sending in a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan, thus causing widespread panic, would you have wondered at the lack of sensitivity displayed by the Commander-in-Chief?

If George W. Bush had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest, with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans during Katrina, would you wonder if this lack of assistance had racial overtones? Clearly you would have been incensed by the gross incompetence -- wouldn't you?

If George W. Bush had created the positions of 32 czars who report directly to him, bypassing approval by the House and Senate, would you have begun to wonder if American democracy was being trampled?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though the president has no constitutional authority to do so, would you have worried about the moorings of this country and the abuse of power?

If George W. Bush had ignored outright voting rights violations and did not recommend that the Department of Justice render justice, would you begin to wonder if the man was the president of all the people or just some of the people?

So what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? He's done all this in fifteen months -- and we still have another two years and nine months to go.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Plan for Improving Our Ethics

Per the previous post, I am deeply concerned that poor ethics is devastating society. That post briefly described a possible solution. I flesh that out here.

To effect such a fundamental change in people's values I believe requires a program that starts nearly at birth and continues well into adulthood:

-- Parenting education (as part of LaMaze and other pre-birth parenting education--e.g,. in the post-birth hospital room), including stressing the primacy of teaching your child that ethics must trump expediency.

-- Pre-K-through-graduate school. Every year or two, students create (for example, as a term paper) a model ethics training program for slightly younger students. Such an approach immerses the students in the process, unlike in a lecture should generate minimum defensiveness, and provides an ongoing source of improved ethics courses.

There would be only three rules for that course development:
-- Its goal must be to change the fabric of a student's thinking process so s/he will almost reflexively choose ethics over expediency.
-- It must be critical-incident based, e.g., for elementary school students: bullying, for high school students: cheating, for business-school students: withholding negative information to sell a product.
-- It must put students in the shoes of the victim of ethical malfeasance. For example, when, to make more money, a surgeon recommends surgery when drug treatment would do, imagine how the patient feels on hearing he "needs," how his family feels, how he feels when he's checking into the hospital, wheeled into surgery, etc.

Optional component: A contest for the best ethics courses. Every year, there would be winners--a la the National Science Fair or Spelling Bee.

-- To extend the ethics "curriculum" beyond the school years, producers of public-service announcement, TV dramas and sitcoms, movies and video games would be encouraged to create story lines that present thorny ethical dilemmas: for example, where expediency would yield great benefit and the ethical violation to derive that benefit is not great.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ethics Education: The most important topic that's so rarely taught

Today I received yet more reminders of how ethically deficient we are. On top of the Charlie Rangel outrage, in my own private practice just today, clients made the following statements:

"Lawyers often double-bill."

"I want to milk the education thing as long as I can so I don't have to grow up." Professional students waste class slots that could have gone to people who would use that slot to be productive, to better society.

"I flirt to get what I want and then I claim I feel violated when they flirt back." Beware.

As I've written before, physician clients admit to me that they do procedures, including surgeries, that could have more wisely been treated medically. Why? Simply to make more money.

All that ethical filth is on top of the corporate excesses, priests screwing parishioners (including children,) people lying on the resumes and income taxes, using synthetic urine to pass drug tests, and as I wrote about yesterday, hiring people to write their theses, etc., etc., etc.

A society in which integrity is lacking will be so much less than it otherwise could be.

What could help? Ethics courses have, of course, been taught for decades, especially in law and business schools, alas with only modest effectiveness. Nevertheless, my best proposal is, as I wrote yesterday, that a critical-incident-based ethics curriculum in which we feel the effects of unethical behavior on the victim, be suffused through K-16 education, including emphasizing the primacy of parents BEING ethical--No matter how much a parent urges their child to be ethical, if the parent behaves unethically, the kid will realize that the words are empty.

The message of ethics over expediency need be so woven into the fabric of all our citizens that people will reflexively, with little temptation, make the ethical choice, even if it leads to poverty.

Fortunately, ethical people are probably no more likely to end up impoverished by their integrity. They may even be rewarded for it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to Reduce Academic Dishonesty

This morning, I was on a syndicated Canadian radio show to comment about the now well-publicized company that writes college admissions essays, term papers, and theses for students.

The existence of such companies is, alas, not surprising, especially as times get ever tougher, because many people will do what's expedient to get into a good school, get good grades, land a job etc.

That, of course, is why ethically challenged people hire resume writers--to deceive employers into thinking the candidate writes, thinks, and organizes better than s/he, in fact, does. (If that's not the reason, as some resume writers have argued in response to a previous post, then why don't candidates add "This resume was written by Mary Jones, a professional resume writer?" Why don't resume writers, ever eager to get more clients, insist that candidates do so?

In this post, I propose solutions:

To reduce academic dishonesty, if professors made term papers, theses, etc. of greater learning value to the students, many more students would write them rather than pay someone else to write them in their name. After all, few students hire others to do their fieldwork or internship. For example, rather than asking students to write about the significance of the doppelganger in 18th century literature, why not ask them to interview ten people about how they managed to use their liberal arts education to improve their lives?"

Speaking of academic fraud, I know two people who went to Yale Law School. Both got in dishonestly. One wrote an admission essay claiming her father was a terrible sexist pig and she had to fight to conquer that. In fact, her father was a full-fledged feminist. The other student claimed to be Native American, when in fact, she was not.

Here's an approach to improving societal ethics more broadly: Have a K-16 ethics curriculum filled with simulations of real-life ethical dilemmas. That curriculum would also teach the primacy of teaching the students' children that the cosmically ethical choice is always wiser than expediency. And that that must not only be preached but practiced. If a parent preaches ethics but to get a discount, tells a restaurant cashier the child is 12 rather than the true 13, the kid gets the message that expediency trumps ethics.

Of course, colleges have filled even k-12 curriculum with so much arcana that professors deem essential (from the Peloponnesian Wars to quadratic equations), that there's no room in the curriculum. So let's wrest curriculum selection from those trivia-obsessed research professors and replace them with successful people from all walks of life, from ethical businesspeople to social workers, scientists to blue-collar workers.

We'd have a more ethical and better world.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Good Question About ObamaCare

My wife forwarded this to me.

Let me get this straight . . . .

We're going to be "gifted" with a health care
plan we are forced to purchase and
fined if we don't,

which purportedly covers at least
ten million more people,
without adding a single new doctor,
but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents,

written by a committee whose chairman
says he doesn't understand it,

passed by a Congress that didn't read it but
exempted themselves from it,

and signed by a President who smokes,

with funding administered by a treasury chief who
didn't pay his taxes,

for which we'll be taxed for four years before any
benefits take effect
,

by a government which has
already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare,

all to be overseen by a surgeon general
who is obese,

and financed by a country that's broke!

'What could
possibly go wrong
?'

Another Example of Illegals Unfairly Benefiting at the Expense of Legal Residents

The ACLU proudly announced today that, thanks to the their efforts, California Supreme Court has ruled that illegals are eligible for in-state tuition at California public (taxpayer-funded) universities.

Great. So now, illegals admitted to Berkeley pay less than those who are legal residents of Arizona. And, of course, with universities' reverse discrimination admissions policies (the so-called "comprehensive admission criteria,") on average, those illegals get in with lower test scores and lower grades, resulting in many more qualified legal applicants being rejected. And illegal students, again at taxpayer expense, use far more than average amount of student services, creating shortages of advising, counseling, tutoring, etc., for legal residents. Despite all that, illegals' graduation rate is far lower than for legal residents--meaning that the taxpayers' investment in them did not pay off in their being professionals, let alone better professionals than if legal residents were admitted. Is this justice?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Career Counseling and College Counseling

This morning, I was interviewed for an article or series on my thoughts related to career and college counseling. Here are a few ideas you might find helpful:
  • Hiring a resume writer is no more ethical than a high school student hiring a professional to write his or her college application essay. Imagine you were looking to hire someone, even if it was a job working with their hands. Wouldn't you appreciate being able to judge how well the applicants organize their thoughts? When an applicant hires a resume writer, s/he gets an unfair advantage--the employer sees the resume writer's thinking and communication skills, not the applicant's. Resume writing is an unethical profession.
  • It's far more valid to pick a career or job based on its meeting your career's non-negotiables (e.g., primarily using words, working at home, non-profit work, whatever) than by trying to come up with some career that matches your skills, interests, values, etc. An attempt at the latter usually fails for a variety of reasons (I've written about them HERE,) whereas the former succeeds far more often.
  • High school counselors and college admissions people would be far more ethical if they stopped pushing nearly every inquirer to go to college. (They feel particular pressure to do so for "underrepresented" minorities.) Instead, using success-rate statistics as available, they should help the student decide whether s/he'd most likely be successful and happy at a four-year college (which by the way, usually takes much more than four years,) two-year college transfer program, short-term community college training program, apprenticeship, on-the-job learning, or self-employment.
  • Career counselors would add far more value if they did not focus on helping people find a career or land a job. Instead, they should focus on helping people succeed in the current job, and learn how to be master users of Google--a window to so much information--if you know how to time-effectively access it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The College Report Card: Key to higher ed accountability

If we require each drug to submit mountains of data to the FDA, if we require each food item to list how much protein, calcium, etc it contains, if we require each tire to have a tread life, traction, and temperature rating molded into its sidewall, shouldn't we require each institution of higher education to post, linked-to from its home page, a College Report Card that presented this information?:

(This version regards bachelor's-degree institutions but, of course, could be adapted to Associate and graduate degree programs, as well as disaggregated for transfer students.)
  • Freshman-to-senior average growth in critical thinking, writing, quantitative reasoning, etc. (disaggregated by high school record)
(For you statisticians out there, a variable consisting of pre-post growth embeds significant error variance, but with the large N and that variable being only one of a number of indices of college quality, the wisdom of including a measure of growth outweighs the disadvantage of a large confidence interval. And if that argument is deemed inadequate, a reasonable proxy would be to use senior scores adjusted for high school weighted GPA and SAT score.)
  • The results of a recent student satisfaction survey
  • Four-, five-, and six-year graduation rates (disaggregated by high school record)
  • The percentage of graduates professionally employed, including average salary. (disaggregated by high school record and by major)
  • The accreditation team's most recent report on the college.
The first institution to voluntarily post such a College Report Card would get free PR from the media far more valuable than the fortunes that the institution spends on marketing to attract students.

I know that some readers of this blog are senior college administrators. If you're one, should you advocate for your institution being that first one to post such a College Report Card?

If you don't do it voluntarily, I predict that in light of the growing groundswell of articles questioning higher education's value as well as of the integrity of colleges' admissions operations, the federal government will mandate that you issue an independently audited report card. To encourage that, I have meetings scheduled with two potentially sympathetic legislators.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

FreedomCare: How I'd Do Health Care Reform

I believe that the following simple plan would be infinitely more helpful to patients than ObamaCare and challenge you to make a legitimate case why I'm wrong:

1. Per the post I just wrote, make health care provider training shorter and more practical. That would improve quality while reducing cost and increasing supply of providers.

2. Except for the truly indigent and for catastrophic health care, health care would be paid directly by the consumer. If consumers had most of the money at stake, 300 million Americans would be exerting the power of the invisible free hand of the market to drive down costs and improve quality. The good quality, cost-effective providers would succeed, the bad ones driven out of business.

3. To ensure that those consumers had the information needed to make smart choices of health care providers and procedures, there would be outstanding, easily accessible consumer information on all licensed doctors, nurses, hospitals, etc: for example, patient satisfaction (disaggregated by condition,) the provider's risk-adjusted success rates for different procedures, etc.

So what do you think of this plan?

Doctor, Dentist, Nurse Training Should Be Shorter, More Practical

Training for health care providers is long and arduous...and unnecessary. I've spoken with many top health care providers (including top doctors at UCSF) and many admit that they'd be better trained in far less time if instead of the endless theory- and arcana-filled program, all that was required was a one to two year program in diagnosis and treatment of the most common situations, training in how to use medical information software to help with non-standard situations, plus guidance, of course, on when to seek help from a specialist.

That approach to training would not only be less expensive, time consuming, and painful, it would also increase the number of providers. That would lower their salaries and in turn our health care costs. It would also help accommodate the large number of additional people who will be getting health care under ObamaCare.

Why did the status quo of absurdly long, arduous training come into being? Do health care trainers let alone their students really believe, for example, that a physician needs organic chemistry, calculus, physics, four years of extremely demanding medical school, 100-hour-per-week internships, plus two-to-four-year residencies? The reasons for the unnecessarily demanding programs are:
  • Universities like the tuition that come from longer training programs
  • The programs are developed by university professors, an anomalous group of people who just love academic learning, arcana, and learning for learning's sake. So they believe, for example, that it would be nice for registered nurses to take a year of inorganic chemistry.
  • The professional associations for doctors, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, etc., favor longer training because their profession obtains more prestige. And any added requirements don't apply to existing members--they get grandfathered in, so those associations' leaders, who make the decision to require the additional training, reap the prestige benefits without having to put in any more work.
I've written other pieces asserting that higher education is America's most overrated product. This is merely one more example.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Demonstration of Twitter's Power

One reason I'm blogging less is that I'm tweeting more. I'm finding that for many ideas, Twitter's 140-character limit results in my offering more help per my minute of my work and per minute of the reader's time.

Here are my 90 tweets. It should take you about 10 minutes to read them all. I believe you'll find that a rewarding use of ten minutes. Let me know if you agree.

If you do find my tweets useful, just click on the "Follow me on Twitter" button near the top of this blog and you'll get all my subsequent ones.

Solve doc/dentist/nurse shortage while improving quality: Replace long, abstract-science-based training with a short practical program.

The right health care reform: consumers have the most skin in the game, their choices abetted by excellent, accessible consumer info.

First it was storefront, then truck, now cart. Next? Backpack. e.g., In high-foot-traffic area, wear cute cap w. dozens in your pack.

Looking for a college? A commnty coll honors pgrm may be THE wisest choice--even if you're rich and kid is Ivy-level. http://bit.ly/a4quVF

Career coaches & counselors must often go beyond career: Help clients craft a life: esp. relationships, avocations & developing perspective.

Worried? Feeling sorry for yourself? Fill your time helping others and otherwise being productive.

In selecting an employee, these things count far more than experience and knowledge: intelligence, drive, ethics, kindness, and being low-maintenance.

The Repub. win reflects not just anger at big govt but voters resisting the media's efforts to manipulate them into voting Dem.

Do not begin a note with, "My name is XXX." That makes a terrible first impression because it's redundant with your signature line.

Meg Whitman would have won if instead of spending her $140M on ads etc., she donated it to charity. She'd have won while being a hero.

There's no good answer to how to increase US jobs when avg US income is 50K + generous benes & protections while the worldwide average is 1K.

Tip for establishing eye contact: What's his eye color? Does her eye area look kind or mean--eyes are a window to one's soul.

Many colleges market themselves as unscrupulously as a sleazy business might: http://bit.ly/aZl8YO.

Odd coincidence that the Giants representing the U.S's most liberal city beat George Bush's Texas Rangers on election eve. An omen? ;-)

Are you cut out for self-empl? 1. Would you sell and sell well? 2. Are you a self-starter? 3. Have the knack of buying low, selling high?

When setting a phone interview, have the person call you--that makes him feel he/s pursuing you. You'll more likely get what you want.

Want to be a better speaker? I used to tout Toastmasters but I'm now more impressed with Speaking Circles: http://bit.ly/cXfZRI

Love is feeling good when you're just sitting next to a loved one. My doggie, Einstein, is sleeping next to me at my desk now. I feel love.

Before prepping for a job interview, put yourself in that employer's shoes, "Would you hire you for that job?"

When it's out of your control, let it go. Let the river run, my friend.

Try pitching yourself to a RELATED field: For example, higher ed. reporters quote me because I'm a career counselor not another professor.

I've been watching many candidates on C-Span and I'm finding, in general, the Republicans vaguer and less direct.

How to get promoted even in this market? "Think two steps ahead of your boss and give her what she needs." Maya Mavjee, prez, Crown Publ.

Sign of the times: I've heard this so often: "I'm thankful to have any job." Scary.

It seems EVERY field is hypercompetitive. Ex: A guy wanted to make promo videos for realtors. Alas, many already do it well and cheaply.

Good Google-searching can make you more expert about your situation than are most experts.

Obama's racial policies are getting ever crazier and more unfair to Asians and whites: http://bit.ly/aRsylG

Be kind where possible, tough where necessary. It all comes down to that.

Would we have better political leaders if they were selected by a panel of 20 for-profit, non-profit & govt leaders plus random citizens?

Bringing a drug to market costs average $1.2 billion--FDA requires 3 truckloads of docs collected over 12 years.

Most older people don't mind a young boss. They mind a young boss who's inferior and thinks s/he's superior.

I've noticed that drivers of status cars (e.g., BMW, Jag, MB) are more likely to be mean to other drivers--e.g., won't let them into lane.

Language matters. That's why, for example, Dems changed "liberal" to "progressive." The liberal media picked it right up.

To uncover what's wrong with an organization, ask employees; "What's bothering you?" It can also be a good Q to ask of anyone.

Career counselors act as if IQ & its proxies SAT/GRE, etc don't matter. They think "Just merge skills, interests, values." Wrong.

Voting is the ultimate crowd-sourcing but it is near-impossible to be a fairly informed, not brainwashed voter.The media is so liberal-biased..

Glut of degree holders. Now, 17M w. B.A. are janitors, car parkers, waiters. 5,000 janitors with PhD. .http://bit.ly/aZEluG

Why should anyone be paid more than anyone else? Their success is largely preordained by their genetics, parenting, and birthplace.

I've been working with some constrained people. Encouraging them to sing unconstrained is making them live less constrained.

Better than franchising: Talk to non-local bizes top-rated on Yelp, etc. Merge their best ideas. Use the best as your consultant.

Don't let ego or embarrassment keep you from asking your network for help landing a job (or anything else) These are tough times.

Key: Publicly funded campgns w. only a debate, simulation (run a meeting on key issue,) & a doc w record & platform. http://bit.ly/bNxLu3

You can't be honest re race/ethn. e.g., NPR's Juan Williams got fired for saying he feels nervous on seeing full-garb Muslim get on plane.

Would we elect better leaders if we banned political TV and radio commercials?

Classes have bad ROI. Screaming need for online ed filled w must-have content, immersively, interactively guided by transformational tchs.

New use of offshoring: Even many large accounting firms outsource U.S. tax return preparation to India--at 80% savings.

My goal when writing how-to: Maximum fresh, valuable ideas per minute of the reader's time.

Mortgage paperwork "scandal?" No/minimal wrong foreclosures yet Obama + 49 AGs investigating--poor use of taxpayer $. It's all politics.

Teach for America tch: "I'm tired of dealing w soiled pants, burning garbage cans, and yard fights. Their problems are too big for me."

Interesting how the term "hoodlum" changed to "disadvantaged" and now "underresourced." It mirrors our externalizing responsibility.

Think twice before saying no. Is there any way you could twist it around so you could say yes?

When employed, it's worth building a network. When unemp, It takes too long to turn strangers into source of good job.http://bit.ly/96HASB

Good way to identify your ideal target job: list your job non-negotiables and your "nice-to-haves."

Phillip Roth: "It's hard to give up what you've been doing for 55 yrs...I'm kind of a maniac. How could a maniac give up what he does?"

I have many physician clients. That has led me to believe, alas, that many docs prioritize making money over quality of care.

Do you find that Google search results on sociopolitical topics are biased toward liberal perspectives? I do.

League of Women Voters used to be a neutral. Now, I got calls from them advocating CA props. and they funded a biased voter "info" site.

Job seekers: Don't overdress for interviews. It makes you look like you're selling, and no one wants to be sold. Ask what's appropriate.

Linkup.com, which aggregates job listing from individual employers' sites, now includes federal job openings from 341 divisions!

Cold contact is not working. http://bit.ly/ab1St4

DC schools spend 30K per kid, #1 in world + SuperSupt Rhee yet st. ach. is worst. Tch unions are everywhere, so that's not it. What IS it?

Write one charming note per week: to a friend, coworker, client, employer. Even if it yields nothing, it contributes to a kinder society.

Today, the norm is to not respond to queries. A polite, quick, no is so much more humane.

An anesthesiologist told me he started using drugs to cope with a romantic breakup. Sometimes I wonder whether relationships are worth it.

I don't know if it's just the Bay Area but here, many people take offense so easily. The culture of offense-taking offends me. ;-)

Twitter's turning out to be a way to archive my ideas. And I use my week's tweets on my radio shows.http://bit.ly/cFc0rz

If the govt provided NO safety net, would the private sector step up and provide a better one or worse one? I dunno.

When I was young, I was sure that giving good advice, even if unwanted, was wise. I'm not so sure anymore.

They say "Outsource your low-level work" but I clean my house. That offers exercise, tangible accomplishment, break from the intellectual.

When you wake each morning, you have a choice of mindsets: gird for battle or enjoy each moment. Which you choose makes all the difference

Good counselor Qs: Your best hope? What diff. would that make? What's already helping? What would be the next sign of progress?

The best artists are self-taught. Teachers make you mechanistic and/or follow the teacher's preferences--all disempowering.

Esp. when applying for a high-level job, writing a thank-you can make you seem obsequious. Perhaps don't.

Cool avocation for sports nuts: Announcer for kids' sports league. How fun for a kid to hear his/her name over loudspeaker.

How to be a good salesperson: Listen more than talk. When you explain the product, pretend you're talking to a 6th grader.

Hire teachers who are NOT a natural: http://bit.ly/b3SA2H

My blueprint for a breakthrough, reinvented general education curriculum. http://bit.ly/dfoJNK. Feedback welcome.

HOW you receive a businesscard can make all the difference: #businesscardetiquette http://bit.ly/9X0Coq

Cool career: book packager: come up with title, angle, structure (table of contents,) look and feel, marketing.

Biz idea: organic perfume. http://bit.ly/aK7v9c

Choosing a career is like choosing a college. It matters far more whether you make the most of it than which one you choose.

Unlike say MD, most careers don't have obvious labels. To find em: search indeed.com using skills you want to use.

Mainstream media can only thrive if providing rich multimedia content. Otherwise, bloggers, tweeters, etc will trump. http://bit.ly/aIUEjU

Obama technique: He holds his chin up. It appears authoritative.

Obama's fatal flaw: insistence that major taxpayer $$$ to have govt rejigger, regulate, and prohibit, will be a net good

A fad: "Making a Difference." See my blog post: http://martynemko.blogspot.com/2010/09/fad-making-difference.html

Keys to landingajob today: walk in, usajobs.gov, write a White Paper, start a low-risk biz (e.g., an gourmet sandwich/salad cart, then clone it)

Again, if you found these tweets worth your time, just click on the "Follow Me on Twitter" button near the top of this blog and you can get my subsequent tweets as soon as I post them.

Have a job search or career change success story?

Do you have a job search or a career change success story that you'd like me to share on my radio show? If so, email me at mnemko@comcast.net

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Time to Rage Against the Higher Education Machine

As a member of the media, I often get pitches for colleges trying to boost their enrollment. I am repulsed by colleges' marketing practices because they try to be perceived as beneficent institutions rather than businesses that only care about profit, yet they hide the crucial consumer information: for example, how much growth in critical thinking do average students derive, what percentage of students graduate in the expected time, and the percentage of graduates that are professionally employed within a year of graduation.

Today, I received a pitch from a college that I found particularly odious.

One of NYU's PR/marketing firms, G.S. Schwartz & Co., sent me a marketing pitch for their art business certificate (no degree) program. The teasing subject line: "Art Business a growth field for workers chasing their passions- case study available."

It turns out that the program consists only of 19 total class sessions (the approximate equivalent of one regular college course) yet costs $2,000. The pitch invited me to interview a student in the program named Dean Harmeyer who landed an internship at Christie's. (I append the NYU pitch at the end of this blog post.)

I shook my head in derision. I've had so many clients who hold far more than a mini-certificate (for example, a BFA, MFA, or MBA in art business or other similar fields) who never earn enough to pay their student loans let alone make a middle-class living using such a degree. Yet a brand-name school like NYU descends to trying to seduce students into its program using a pitch whose rigor its own professors would dismiss as utterly invalid (a cherry-picked anecdote of one student who got an internship) to make students believe they'll likely have a real arts career if they complete the program. Of course, even when I then reviewed NYU's web page for the program, there's no information on the graduation rate, let alone the percentage of graduates are earning a middle-class income in an art-related field.

It's high time we recognize that higher education is not a beneficent national treasure but just another business and an often sleazy one at that. It's time to rage against the machine, the Higher Education Machine.

Here is the pitch I received from that PR/marketing firm hired by NYU:

From:Keith Campbell [mailto:Kcampbell@schwartz.com]
Tuesday, November 02, 2010 8:33 AM
To:mnemko@comcast.net
Subject: Art Business a growth field for workers chasing their passions- case study available

Dear Marty:

The current unemployment crisis has seen many American workers refocusing their career plans. In many cases, recently laid off workers are reassessing their past jobs, and whether they were in fields that they were passionate about, or just showing up to cash a paycheck. In the pursuit of their passions, many people are looking to the arts, the business side of which is a booming industry.

I would like to offer an interview with Terry Shtob, coordinating chair of the Department of Liberal Studies and Allied Arts at New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and oversees programs in Arts Business, including professional certificates in Arts Administration and Art Appraisal. Terry can discuss the opportunities open to art lovers with business skills in the field.

I can also put you in touch with Dean Harmeyer, a student in both the NYU-SCPS Art Business and Art Appraisals programs who is currently interning for Christie’s. Dean can describe his transition from the music industry, which was floundering even before the global economic crisis, to the world of art business, and how he sees the prospects much brighter in the business of fine art.

I will follow up to gauge your interest in an interview with Terry and/or Dean.

Keith Campbell
For New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies
Tel: (212)725-4500 Ext. 318
mailto:kcampbell@schwartz.com