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Bullet Points: The Rise of the Supertemp

Free Speech at Work? Maybe You Should Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Frances Codd Slusarz, an attorney based in Stamford, Connecticut, will be blogging for us about the complications, confusions, and, yes, legal issues that can arise in the workplace.

The confessional parting shots that Greg Smith and James Whittaker aimed last month at their former employers (Goldman Sachs and Google, respectively) might have made you itchy to share your own workplace gripes with the whole interwebs (or at least your Facebook friends). You’re a brave soul and a leader, just like them, and how else will you change what is wrong? How else is everyone going to know that you are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?

Let me make a suggestion: keep your mouth shut.    Read More →

Online Video: Annoying Orange Beats Talking Head

Jonathan Hills is a product developer and strategist who blogs for us about how traditional companies, particularly media brands, can reinvent themselves in the digital age.

When I began my career in digital back in the dark ages of the late 1990s, online video was something you rarely ran into. And if you did, it consisted of a postage-stamp-sized clip of blurry pixels that took about 10 minutes to stream via RealPlayer. Now, video’s everywhere. According to Comscore, over 180 million people in the U.S. watch online video every month.

With an audience that big, it’s not surprising that more and more brands are trying to grab a piece of the pie -– especially since online video advertising continues to grow at a rapid clip. So what’s the best way to build a viable online video product? Here’s a hint –- it doesn’t involve talking heads.

There are three things the Web really doesn’t need any more of. The first is group-buying sites/emails/apps. The second is photo-sharing apps. And the third is talking-head videos. Especially talking-head videos of website editors talking about something they’ve just written about 15 minutes ago.    Read More →

It’s Equal Pay Day: How Are You Going to Get Yours?

Today is Equal Pay Day. Right now women workers earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar paid to men (this is according to the National Partnership for Women & Families, a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group working for equal pay and benefits in the workplace). So in addition to it being Tax Day, today also marks the number of extra days in 2012 that an average woman needed to work to earn as much as a man did just working in 2011.

It’s tempting to just want to complain. But instead of kvetching and working ourselves into a lather about companies taking advantage of women, we can actually do something about it by owning the situation and not taking it anymore.    Read More →

The Questions to Ask at Your Next Job Interview

Alison Green of Ask a Manager heads to U.S.News to cover the questions that applicants should be asking at their job interviews (but often don’t). They’re questions that move the conversation forward, and their answers can actually help you know what the job’s going to be like, rather than just serving to butter up the interviewer. Things like “How would you describe the culture here?” and “What would a successful first year in the position look like?”

Maybe the most important thing to remember is to ask SOMETHING during the interview: “… if you don’t have any questions, you’re signaling that you’re not very interested in the job or you just haven’t thought much about it.”


[Photo: Milos Milosevic/Flickr]

What Freelancers Can Teach Traditional Workers

Roughly a third of all American workers are contractors, temporary workers, self-employed, or some other kind of independent, or “contingent,” worker. And that rate seems to be going up with every year.

Even though it’s a smart bet to think that you might be on your own at some point in your career, lots of us act as if we’ll always be doing more or less what we’re doing now. But if and when you suddenly find yourself out of work — or your job description changes rapidly — it can be a major challenge to try to figure out at that point how to get your career moving again.

The consultant and writer Alexandra Levit, an old hand at working for herself and dealing with the challenges of being a contingent worker, has some advice to help traditional workers get comfortable with doing what it takes to be their own boss. It’s mainly about building skills:    Read More →

The Hired Guns Academy Announces Its New Series of Panels on Mentorship

When you’re a Hired Gun, it’s you who needs to manage your own career. But that doesn’t mean that you need to do it all alone. A network of like-minded peers can be invaluable when it comes to navigating today’s confusing world of work. That’s why we’re so happy that we have that very kind of network right here at The Hired Guns, one made up of outstanding executives who have survived and thrived throughout their careers.

The idea sharing in our community is unbridled. In the last year, we’ve been unlocking it with our blog, and now we want to unlock it further with our new series of mentorship panels. Here we’ll tackle head-on all the most important aspects of career management by looking to the best and brightest people we know.    Read More →

The Power to Change… to Get the Power You Need

One of the main reasons we hesitate, procrastinate, or fail to take action is that we feel like we lack the power to act.

When we’re out of work or stuck in a dead-end job, or struggling to get others to buy in to our ideas, or even to return our phone calls or emails, it sometimes seems as if we have no leverage at all.

But guess what: You have a lot more power than you think!

Last month I introduced the Five Levels of Proactivity model and discussed the key reasons why we may not be as proactive as we might like to be -– and how you can go from being inactive and reactive to super-proactive. Now I’d like to show you how to give yourself the confidence boost you may need to proactively take your game — and your career — to the next level.    Read More →

Want to Be More Productive? Take a Break — and Get Moving

Taking a break for some exercise in the middle of your workday may have you getting more done. A Swedish study that was published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that physical exercise can improve productivity, even with a reduction in working hours.

In the study, employees at six “dental healthcare workplaces” were excused from work for 6.25% of the time (about 2.5 hours a week). One group had two mandatory exercise times, and the other group just got the reduced working time. The results? Both groups showed increased levels of productivity, even though they worked fewer hours. The exercise group also had fewer sick days on average.    Read More →

Five Undercover Tips to Land an Amazing Gig

Maria Coder teaches workshops and webinars on how to investigate your date in advance to avoid the con artists and cheaters in this world — she’s also the author of InvestiDate. As you’ll see below, her methods can also be adapted to help you suss out the right job as well….

Sure you’re looking for work, but are you reading between the lines? Sometimes what we’re looking for is right there, screaming out our name, but we miss it. Well, whip out your magnifying glass and prepare for your next assignment. Here are some surefire tips to arm your job search.

First, switch “fedoras.” Do you often search LinkedIn as a prospective employee? Next time, log on and imagine you’re a recruiter seeking to hire someone. Look at the right of the home page, where it says “jobs you may be interested in.” Would you really be interested in those jobs? If not, chances are your keywords are off on your resume. Keep redoing your profile until you see jobs that you want in that space. These days recruiters rely heavily on keywords; if those aren’t working in your favor on your screen, they’re not helping you on the recruiter’s end either.    Read More →

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