Posts tagged “jobs”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] The Media Equation – The Antenna Uproar – No Hair Shirt for Jobs [NYTimes.com] – [In the case of the missing iPhone signal, traditional publication Consumer Reports had more impact than younger, leading-edge media sources] How did Consumer Reports make Apple blink? In large measure, the article in Consumer Reports was devastating precisely because the magazine (and its Web site) are not part of the hotheaded digital press. Although Gizmodo and other techie blogs had reached the same conclusions earlier, Consumer Reports made a noise that was heard beyond the Valley because it has a widely respected protocol of testing and old-world credibility.
  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] Pop-Up Magazine [website] – [The return of the variety show? Media channel-bending experiment marries a magazine-esque approach to content with the ephemeral nature of live performance.]
  • [from steve_portigal] Concern for Those Who Screen the Web for Barbarity [NYTimes.com] – [Mind you, these consequences serve to reinforce the value of the service] With the rise of Web sites built around material submitted by users, the surge in Internet screening services has brought a growing awareness that the jobs can have mental health consequences for the reviewers. One major outsourcing firm hired a local psychologist to assess how it was affecting its 500 content moderators. The psychologist developed a screening test so the company could evaluate potential employees, and helped its supervisors identify signals that the work was taking a toll on employees. Ms. Laperal also reached some unsettling conclusions in her interviews with content moderators. She said they were likely to become depressed or angry, have trouble forming relationships and suffer from decreased sexual appetites. Small percentages said they had reacted to unpleasant images by vomiting or crying. “The images interfere with their thinking processes. It messes up the way you react to your partner.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Jobs on the Kindle, January 2008 – Today he had a wide range of observations on the industry, including the Amazon Kindle book reader, which he said would go nowhere largely because Americans have stopped reading.

    “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

  • Roger Ebert’s Books Do Furnish A Life (plus a ton of amazing comments) – I cannot throw out these books. Some are protected because I have personally turned all their pages and read every word; they're like little shrines to my past hours. Perhaps half were new when they came to my life, but most are used, and I remember where I found every one. The set of Kipling at the Book Nook on Green Street in Champaign. The scandalous The English Governess in a shady book store on the Left Bank in 1965. The Shaw plays from Cranford's on Long Street in Cape Town, where Irving Freeman claimed he had a million books; it may not have been a figure of speech. Like an alcoholic trying to walk past a bar, you should see me trying to walk past a used book store.

    Other books I can't throw away because–well, they're books, and you can't throw away a book, can you? The very sight of Quick and Easy Chinese Cooking by Kenneth H. C. Lo quickens my pulse. Its pages are stained by broth, sherry, soy sauce and chicken fat.

  • Seats Of Gold – A writer's experience in the newly-redefined "luxury" seats at the new Yankee Stadium. Fascinating as Wall Street hyper-greed spills into other industries and illustrates how to kill loyalty dead. Hard to summarize this piece, but it's a great case study and a well-written piece as the author documents their own experience supplemented with a lot of background interviews.

Loyalty Cuts Both Ways

In a full-page ad in today’s SF Chronicle jobs section, Columbus Foods asks for help in hiring their employees who have lost their jobs after a recent fire. It’s a pretty dramatic and heartfelt demonstration of an employer’s loyalty to its employees, a vector of loyalty we don’t consider as often as its inverse.

We Need A Hand After The Disaster

On Thursday, July 23, 2009, a significant fire hit Columbus' Cabot Packaging and Slicing facility in South San Francisco. The building was completely destroyed.

Being in business for over 90 years, we have faced many challenges, but it is our employees'strength, dedication and resilience that has brought us our continued success. At Columbus, we have always had pride in the quality of our people.

We are still in business and, long-term, fully expect to come out stronger from this challenge. We have been able to relocate about 40% of the work force of this facility to our other locations and to associated companies. However, because of the fire, the remainder of the workers from the affected facility will be displaced. While we have provided generous severances, we want to do more to help these employees find new jobs.

So we are reaching out to the greater business community for help placing these skilled and loyal employees. It is important to us that we do everything we can to help them, as without them we would have never gotten to the place we are today. If you have any openings, please send correspondence to helpcabot@Columco.com. We will work with you and the employees affected by this disaster to ensure minimal disruption to their lives. And thank you in advance for lending any support.

cabot

20 Oddest Jobs from CareerBuilder.com

Taken from this list

18. Dice Inspector
What they do: Inspect dice used in casinos for lopsided angles, misspotting and other blemishes that could cause error when the dice are rolled for gambling purposes.

19. Ethnographer
What they do: Research and study single groups of human behavior through fieldwork, observing and questioning participants.

20. Gum Buster
What they do: Remove gum stuck to sidewalks, street benches and other unwanted areas by de-sticking the gum through a steaming process.

[Thanks, JZC]

This Week In Globalization

We have some time before we can expect to be driving Chinese cars.

Despite growing anxiety that the Chinese would quickly seek to conquer yet another important industry, it now looks as if it will be at least another several years before Chinese automakers start exporting large numbers of cars they both design and make. They had intended to start selling their own brands in the United States as soon as 2007 but have pushed off their plans by a couple of years.

And now, some Chinese auto executives admit, it could be as late as 2020 before they will be ready to take on the world auto market.

That’s not to say that the Chinese will not follow in the footsteps of Japanese automakers, who first sent over chintzy cars that were roundly criticized, only to set new standards for the industry in later years.

Still, despite China’s manufacturing prowess, it is, for now, proving a lot harder than automakers here anticipated to make cars that appeal to Western tastes.

Here’s a story about who these Indian engineers are, or aren’t. Frankly, I was glad to see this article, not for protectionist reasons, but simply to acknowledge that we’ve got dramatically different cultures around work, collaboration, education, success, and everything else, and that’s obviously going to play out in the hiring/working space.

India still produces plenty of engineers, nearly 400,000 a year at last count. But their competence has become the issue.

A study commissioned by a trade group, the National Association of Software and Service Companies, or Nasscom, found only one in four engineering graduates to be employable. The rest were deficient in the required technical skills, fluency in English or ability to work in a team or deliver basic oral presentations.

And finally here’s yet another story about Americans working for Indian firms (I last blogged about it here)

For the job seekers, India represents a new kind of ticket. Katrina Anderson, 22, a math major from Manhattan, Kan., accepted the Infosys offer because, she said, it provided the most extensive training of any company that offered her a job.

An added bonus was the chance to travel halfway around the world. “Some people were scared by the India relocation,” she recalled. “But that pretty much sold it for me.”

When she finishes the training in January, Ms. Anderson, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, will return to the United States, to work in the Infosys office in Phoenix.

For the Americans at Infosys, culture shock combines with surprising discoveries. Mr. Craig and Ms. Anderson admitted to having their stereotypes of India quickly upturned. Mr. Craig expected elephants and crowded sidewalks; Ms. Anderson expected stifling heat and women who covered their heads.

The Infosys training center, with its 300 acres of manicured shrubbery, is a far cry from the poverty of much of this country. There is a bowling alley on campus, a state-of-the-art gym, a swimming pool, tennis courts and an auditorium modeled on the Epcot Center.

Mr. Craig, who still calls home nearly every day, says he has made an effort to teach himself a few things about his new, temporary home. He has learned how to conduct himself properly at a Hindu temple. He makes an extra effort to be more courteous. He has learned to ignore the things that rattle him in India – the habit of cutting in line, for instance, or the ease with which a stranger here can ask what he would consider a deeply personal question.

“I definitely feel like a minority here,” he said, sounding surprised at the very possibility.

Ms. Anderson has tried to ignore what she sees as a penchant for staring, especially by men. She has donned Indian clothes in hopes of deflecting attention, only to realize that it has the opposite effect. She has stopped brooding quietly when someone cuts in line. “I say, ‘Excuse me, there’s a line here.’ “

30 Days in Bangalore

truckobikes.jpg
Truck o’ bikes

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Browsing Cow

Yesterday’s episode of 30 days was pretty interesting. The show is hosted (and presumably created) by Morgan Spurlock and is inspired by his Super Size Me (where he ate only McDonald’s for 30 days). In each episode, someone tries something different for 30 days, with some Reality TV flavoring (i.e., next week, an athiest lives with a family of fundamentalists). The better episodes are more documentary in nature and less sensastionalist. Last season, Morgan and his girlfriend moved from NYC to another town for 30 days and tried to live on minimum wage. It was one of the most moving and disturbing things I’d seen on TV (it’s a failure, and we learn pretty directly about enormous problems faced by our society; especially the poor).

Last night’s episode featured a recently laid off software engineer from New York State moving to Bangalore for 30 days, living with a family and working in a call center. The previews were funny and wacky, a big doughy white guy sitting in a room full of brown people taking lessons in pronunciation – but the episode itself was very emotional on many levels.

My chest tightened as I watched our guy, Chris, struggle with the basic Maslow stuff that India makes challenging – his middle-class family hosts had a hornet’s nest in the bathroom. How could Chris get a job and adapt to this new culture if he couldn’t even clean himself safely? We see broken sidewalks and dirty signs and crowds and crazy traffic.

But Chris goes deeper and develops (what we are told are) deep relationships with his host family, with some touching departure stuff by the end of the episode. He’s an interesting guy, and I was reminded at times of the Michael Moore from TV Nation (or maybe a bit of Louis Theroux [deep aside: I see that Theroux had an early gig on TV Nation – small world]), where Chris was participating in the experience (say, going shopping in a fancy Bangalore mall, or attending a festival, or taking a test to qualify for a call center job, or visiting a placement agency), but also observing the experience (some tightly written and insightful voice-overs suggested that Chris was spontaneously uttering brilliant insights but I imagine it was written by others and added much later) and also provoking the experience by asking questions, persistently. When the city is exploding in riots over the death of a legendary actor and the call center is being evacuated, Chris stops to ask questions about what is happening, and why. I imagined myself taking immediate action but not spending a single second to inquire if it would delay my passage to safety (in an environment where feeling safe is obviously rare).

Chris (and we, the audience) leave Bangalore with some powerful perspective shifts. He’s seen how hard the Indians are trying to succeed, how little so many of them have, the challenges and changes between traditional and modern (“American” and “Indian”), and between men and women. And then casting all that back into the frame of his own situation – a newborn baby and being out of work.

The show runs Wednesday at 10 and again at 11, on FX. It looks like this episode (“Outsourcing”) will be rerun on Morning morning just after midnight and at 11:30 PM. Check it out!

AAA relocating 200 IT positions to Arizona

AAA relocating 200 IT positions to Arizona

The California State Automobile Association is moving 200 of its information technology jobs to a new call center in Arizona but has delayed further plans to relocate its remaining 1,000 San Francisco workers.

Last autumn, the association, a branch of the AAA travel and insurance club, announced plans to relocate most of its IT department out of state and shift most of its administrative operations to other parts of the Bay Area. AAA officials said now the 200 IT positions will be relocated to a new call center in Glendale, Ariz., that will open early this summer and eventually be manned by up to 1,400 workers.

What do I know? I was telling someone recently how 10 years ago a friend temping at an Intuit call center in Palo Alto saw their office close while the work was sent to Santa Fe. I knowingly announced that there was no way that would be happening now, that this would all have gone overseas since that was soooo long ago. Looks like I was way off base – there’s still jobs in call centers (and no doubt other similar types of commodity work) that is being re-sourced within the US.

I stand corrected. Or at least more informed.

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