dreamstimefree_767099Are you taking your own calls, drawing up your own memos, filing your own documents, buying your own office supplies? Why, then, this Administrative Professionals Day is for you!

Your hard work and that of those like you has been celebrated since 1952, when the holiday was created by Young & Rubicam exec Harry F. Klemfuss and the National Secretaries Association.

Here’s what you might do to celebrate…

red-check-mark-150Maybe it’s been a while since you were on the receiving end of a job interview. Maybe your current technique isn’t helping you snare a job. Or, are you simply ready to take your interviewing game up a notch? Whichever stage you’re at, these six tips will help you make the most of your next meeting.

  • Craft an answer to “Tell me about yourself.” And write it down. And practice it. We suggest the response be three to four minutes long, and highlight your accomplishments and experience with the skills that are critical to the job, as well as explain your progression between positions.

laidoffcamp-150Want the skinny on launching a media startup? Tomorrow night I’ll tell the tale of how Recessionwire started, at the first Life After Digital event in Soho. We’ll be discussing our experiences and the opportunities we see in the post-digital era. Admission is free—and so are the drinks.

Also, registration begins today for LaidOffCamp NYC (May 1-2, 2009)…

The Last Supper

by Ruthie Ackerman on April 15, 2009 in Unemployment

logoforbes-150A celebration to end all celebrations…literally.

I had heard the rumors that there were more layoffs to come at Forbes, but given that my salary as a reporter was at the bottom of the newsroom totem pole, I felt certain I would not be a casualty.

Further proof of the fact that I was irreplaceable sat on my desktop: an invitation from Steve Forbes himself to a party for the African economist-turned-author Dambisa Moyo, whom I was interviewing about her new book Dead Aid. It didn’t make sense to invite me to a party and then lay me off. Or so I thought…

elizabeth-mcgowan-150Profiles of people who turn economic lemons into lemonade.

Elizabeth McGowan
New York, Upper West Side

Before recession: Corporate Technology Project Manager at Morgan Stanley

Now: Career/life coach at McGowan Coaching, where she helps others discover their passion and realize their potential through periods of transition in career and relationships.

When did you notice a shift in the economic climate?

In September 2007, layoff rumors were circulating. Around this time, I experienced a shift in my thinking about how fulfilled I was as a Project Manager. After attending a coaching class, I identified my talents through assessment, discovery, and review of my current path…

Each week, “Joe the Trader” chronicles his experiences with life after Wall Street.

taking back money 150Last week I had my third interview with my most promising job prospect. While I may have to go through another round of pleasantries, at least as far as I’m concerned, it is time to fish or to cut bait. Fortunately, the chief investment officer of the firm was the one to bring up the touchy topic of pay.

“Lets talk comp,” he said. “What are your thoughts?”

What are my thoughts? Are you kidding me? Just give me a job and a reasonable salary. But of course, I couldn’t sound desperate. A few years back, when times were good and I was being lured away by a prospective employer, my dad advised me to “ask for enough to make them squirm.” While that might have been the appropriate strategy at that time, now I am not exactly playing with the strongest hand—nor with the house’s money. So I decided to try to balance the two.

light bulbChances are growing that you or someone you know has been laid off in the last year. The unemployment rate pushed further upward last month with the loss of an additional 663,000 jobs, to 8.5%. It’s beginning to look a lot like 1983, the last time the unemployment rate hit this level.

But is it? In 1983, the national mood was not very hopeful – despite a new president in the office, the Cold War still raged on, crime was holding strong, the inflation rate was 3.22% and unemployment actually hit 9.6%.

Times are hard now, there’s no denying that. Breadlines have appeared in some areas around the country, and Michigan is struggling with a mighty burden of turning around or replacing its major industry and employer to chip away at its 12% unemployment rate…

clipboard-listSo many people report that being laid off came as a total surprise. One morning they show up for work as usual. An hour later they’re sitting behind their steering wheel stunned, with a box of pictures and books in the backseat.

It’s bad enough to lose your job. But to have it take you by surprise is just unfathomable. How can you read the tea leaves on something like this so that it doesn’t happen to you? Or so that it doesn’t happen to you again?

Here are some signs that you might be on a list of people to be laid off:

  • Your company has hit hard times and has publicly announced that it will institute “cost-cutting measures.”
  • Your industry sector has taken a dive on Wall Street.
  • Your company has been acquired, and there’s someone just like you already ensconced in the acquiring company.
  • Your company just bought your competitor, and there’s someone just like you in the newly acquired company…

Each week, “Joe the Trader” chronicles his experiences with life after Wall Street.

sushi tuna rollAs I was watching Federer dismantle Safin in the Australian Open in January, my 10-year-old daughter sighed.

“Oh Daddy, I guess since you don’t have a job we won’t be able to go to the US Open this year. I sure hope you get one soon because that was fun.”

She was referring to the weekend I was able to bring my three children and girlfriend to a luxury box, courtesy of Royal Bank of Client Entertainment. While my lady and I drank Veuve Clicquot and enjoyed watching Rafa and Venus play, the kids focused on finishing their Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bars before they melted in the late summer sun. Yes dear, it was a bit of alright. For now, no more US Open, no more Yankees tickets, no more ski conferences. I sure hope I get a job soon too.

Each week, “Joe the Trader” chronicles his experiences with life after Wall Street.

taking back money 150Joe the Trader is angry.

I’m angry at AIG, Merrill, and all the companies that are being propped up by the government and still paying people as if it were 2007. In January, I asked a good friend, Colin, who is employed by a troubled bank, how big a hit his bonus payment took.

“It really wasn’t all that bad,” he said. “I was paid down only 40%, but I don’t know how that’s possible—without the government we would be bankrupt.”