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The Recovery is Here, Part II: Holiday Parties and Taxi Cab Economics

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Over the last several months, the conversation at The Hired Guns HQ has revolved around the feeling that the economy is finally rebounding. We’re getting more good news by the day. From improved housing stats to the Fed announcing in its most recent Beige Book that — wait for it — there are modest hiring shortages, particularly in high tech.

After a recession like the one we’ve just experienced, it’s like crawling out of a mineshaft after five years to find yourself staring at the sun: can a recovery really be true? While I am an optimist, I am also inherently skeptical and feel the need for constant gut checks. One thing I do is constantly talk to real people — especially job seekers — about how they’re feeling about the economy. Perhaps my best barometer for what’s in the air, as unscientific as it is, is what I call “The Taxi Cab Index.”    Read More →

Fatigue is Your Enemy: Tony Schwartz’s Words of Wisdom on Workplace Burnout

The Hired Guns are exceedingly proud to reprint this piece by Tony Schwartz, noted author and President and CEO of The Energy Project. The piece below originally appeared in the Harvard Business Review, for which Tony is a popular blogger.

Two years ago, I began hearing the phrase “It isn’t sustainable” over and over from senior executives. They were talking about the everyday demands at work.

The day of reckoning seems to have arrived. During the past month alone, no less than a half dozen senior executives have told me that fatigue, exhaustion and even burnout are the biggest issues they’re facing both for themselves and among their troops.

Sustainable capacity — meaning sufficient fuel in the tank — is what makes it possible to bring one’s skill and talent to life. Not even the most talented and motivated employees can run on empty.    Read More →

What We’re Reading: Wednesday, November 28

  • The next Silicon Valley is…Manchester, New Hampshire? DNS start-up Dyn wants us to think so. via Business Insider
  • Cyber Monday might be pegged perennially as a myth, but don’t tell that to the consumers. Spending was up 30% this year, with a healthy boost from mobile users. via Marketing Pilgrim
  • Employee engagement is hot term right now, but venerable Canadian brewer Labatt was ahead of the curve when they created an official booklet of company drinking songs back in the 1930s. via Retronaut
  • Forget bargain pharmaceuticals and pleas from imprisoned foreign royalty. It turns out that marketing emails account for 70% of all spam complaints. via eConsultancy

Do What You Love, Love What You Do: How to Be Happy and Successful at Work

He's going to need a bigger desk.

“People do best, what they like best to do.”

That’s an old adage by Frederick W. Taylor, the original management guru. Seems like common sense, doesn’t it? And yet, so many people hate their jobs.

So why is that?

Well, think about your hobbies. You know, the things you do for fun. Whatever it is, whether it’s playing a sport, a musical instrument, practicing a craft, or whatever, you probably do it for at least one of the following two reasons: you’re good at it and/or you enjoy it. Otherwise, why do it?    Read More →

In the News: Catch Heirloom Meals On PBS This Thanksgiving!

We’ve been documenting Carole Murko’s journey from the world of financial services to the development of Heirloom Meals, a storytelling platform that uses multiple channels to explore the connections between food and family. Carole was a part of The Hired Guns network for quite some time during her former career and we’re excited to help get the word out about her Thanksgiving Special.

Those who live here in New York can catch her Heirloom Meals Thanksgiving Special on WNET-13 at 5:00am EST on Thanksgiving Day. Or, check your local listings for more information.

And if your interest isn’t already piqued, Carole will be making cranberry-stuffed acorn squash, brazilian cheese rolls and chipotle-spiced pumpkin pie. And now we’re hungry. Thanks, Carole.

How to Do What You Love, Part 2: The Launch

We recently introduced you to Carole Murko, a long-time Hired Gun and founder of Heirloom Meals. In the second installment of How To Do What You Love, Carole shares with us the trials and tribulations of launching her own company, as well as joys of eventual success. Her Thanksgiving special airs this week on your local PBS station!

To me, Heirloom Meals was destined to be a TV series with me as the host, sharing the stories and recipes of my guests. And, as a big thinker, I went straight to the head of the class. I networked and found a lifestyle TV producer who loved the Heirloom Meals concept and helped me produce a five-minute demo reel. We brought it to public television. They loved it. And they gave us a letter of interest to produce a 26-episode series. There was a catch, however: public television does not provide funding.    Read More →

Too Much of a Good Thing: The Problem With Related Content

“We should give the user more of what they obviously want.”

It seemed like such a good idea at the time, didn’t it? Reading about holiday entertaining? Then you must want to see more recipes and decorating ideas. Checking out career success tips? We’ll give you a ton of career success tips.

Here at Budget Travel, I have yet to talk to a single partner or advertiser who doesn’t want to target users based on what they’re already looking at. Selling deals? Put a deal to Paris on a page about — wait for it — Paris! All of this makes sense…up to a point.

   Read More →

Introducing Boots to Bytes: A Digital Re-Skilling Program for Returned Veterans in NYC

Monday was Veteran’s Day. Today, unemployment for post-9/11 veterans still sits at a staggering 10%. That’s a pretty grim employment picture to return to after serving your country. Not only do you risk your life, but you also risk your retirement. It doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?

Returning servicemen have two really hard battles to win when it comes to job hunting. First, vets have to figure out how to translate their military skills to what’s needed in Corporate America, but in many fields — digital in particular — those needs are constantly evolving. Maintaining relevancy, by which I mean “applying your work experience to what’s needed in a new job,” is a challenging task for even the most seasoned of job seekers, so imagine what it’s like for a returning vet. I’ll give you a hint: darn near impossible.    Read More →

Why Math Matters: Practical Lessons in Big Data from an Unlikely Source

I was reminded again of the importance of knowing how to harness and utilize big data in the run-up to this month’s US presidential election. By many accounts, more than $2 billion was spent by the two main candidates this election cycle. On the basis of being able to aggregate and read massive electoral datasets, that money was well-spent. Deciding how to spend that money was largely a function of being able to correctly analyze electoral “big data” – demographics, likely vs. registered voters, the public’s responses to various issues, etc. One side, however, utilized big data better than the other.    Read More →

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