Career Tips: Negotiation, Messaging and Interview Follow-Up (John Hadley Edition)

Photo of John Hadley
John Hadley teaches job seekers internationally strategies and skills that enable them to tap into the ‘hidden’ job market and find the best jobs now. He also works with professionals struggling to become and be seen as influential leaders.

John Hadley was a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in the financial services industry for 25 years. He began his career at Equitable Life, ultimately serving as Disability Income Product Manager. Commercial Life brought John in to build a new department, where he progressed to Chief Actuary. He then opened a successful consulting practice helping companies make their systems operate as advertised, which generated over $2.5 million in revenues.

John continues to be active in the community and the corporate sector. He has served on many community and industry initiatives, is a sought-after speaker on career and marketing issues, contributes regularly to a variety of publications as well as his own Career Tips newsletter, with over 9,500 subscribers. He conducts a wide variety of tele-classes, webcasts, and seminars. He has a BS in Mathematics from Stanford University, where he also satisfied the requirements for an Economics major.


Dear Career Tips: More Salary Negotiation
I’m in-between jobs. Recruiters are asking salary per hour. Some jobs are asking for salary range – this is OK. Some are contract. This means they pay per hour. How do you set a price per hour that would include benefits – medical, vacation, etc. – if these are not included?

Dear Negotiating:
There are so many aspects to negotiation, and they are so situation-specific, that it’s hard to give you a meaningful answer to such a general question. You might want to pick up “Never Split The Difference” by Chris Voss: it’s all about the psychology of negotiation, and filled with real-life examples of applying those techniques, including salary / job offer negotiations. And the techniques are pretty straightforward.

The general thought I was advised on and followed for determining the hourly rate I wanted was to take my desired annual salary (for a full-time job), add 25%-35% to cover benefits, and then divide by the expected days per year (times 40 hours) as if the contract was for a full year. I would subtract the vacation time I would plan on and holidays in the expected days, so as to cover that. In other words, if I expected to take 5 weeks off per year, I would consider the full year to be 47 weeks.

Then I would consider the length of the contract. If it’s a short, guaranteed contract (say, less than 6 months), then I’m going to add another 25% to account for the time I need to spend marketing to get my next assignment. If it’s longer, then I’m willing to compromise on that factor.
Dear Career Tips: Networking & Searching After a Break
I’m a Compliance professional with 5 years of experience in Banking and I quit my previous position several years ago. I moved to the US some time back and am in a job search. Here are my challenges: 
– I reach out to people on LinkedIn sending inmails or messages trying to network, but either get no response or just a standard response.
– How do I approach hiring managers about my career break, which I took for family medical reasons? 

Dear Compliant:
What message are you sending those people on LinkedIn?  

Are they ‘random’ people, or do you have some connection to them – some way in which you are ‘members of the same club’ that would warm up the request? I would look for any way you can warm it up – a connection, school, employer, job area or interest you might have in common. Make reference to that commonality in your message.  

Next think about whether your messages and profile are results-oriented. I hire because I need someone to produce certain results, NOT because they happen to have experience in an area. Having experience is a low bar, that just puts you in a very large pool of candidates who have experience.   

Right now, your resume basically speaks to experience and not results, so that makes me wonder about your communications in general. If the one you sent me is what you are sending others, it may also inadvertently suggest to them that your work on the job may be a bit sloppy: the font sizes and indentations are inconsistent among the bullets, and even the bullet symbols are not completely consistent.  

The career break may make a case for you to use a functional resume instead of a chronological format. Have you been doing anything in terms of part time work, volunteer initiatives or continuing education during that break? And you will need to be prepared to explain the prior gaps as well, since you were only at your most recent job for a relatively short time.  

Your biggest issue isn’t really with the hiring managers, as the break and prior gaps will make it very difficult for you to get through any screening process. Most will simply pass on to the next resume in the pile. That means you need to put almost all of your energy into building a powerful network that can speak on your behalf, and ultimately recommend you to a hiring manager directly.  

In networking, the break also isn’t a core issue. Yes, you need to have your HERO story that you are going to use in actual networking 1-on-1 meetings to engage people, but the break is a very small piece of that.  

You will need to be prepared to discuss the gap when you meet with a hiring manager, and the key there is to keep it simple, and then focus on the future. Here’s something I wrote about that in a prior issue of Career Tips:

Talking About Gaps 
I left a lucrative job in early 2016 mainly to pause and have more time with family. I am ready to return to the workforce and look forward to working full time again. How I can frame my response when asked to explain my work gap?

Dear Gapped:
First, read this article.

Basically, your story needs to be about the future, and what you can do for your prospective employer. Yes, you had a gap, and you had a good reason for it. End of story.

I had a good friend in a similar situation, though his pause was precipitated by a reorganization / layoff. He stayed home for the next several years to raise his 3 sons, something he had always wanted to do, letting his wife be the primary breadwinner. He did some odd jobs, such as window dresser, insurance salesman, and grocery store stock boy, that he could fit around his parental duties, but those duties were his primary concern.

When his kids were older, he called me, concerned no one would take him seriously for the manager level role he deserved.

We talked through what he had done, constructed a simple (true) story about taking advantage of this time to do something important to him and his family. We focused on how excited he was to now get back to work and what he could do for a prospective employer. Within a few months, he landed as the customer service manager for a bank.
Dear Career Tips: Interview Follow-up
I applied for a lower position than what I have had in the past. I am looking for work and level doesn’t matter to me; I’m older and really need a job. 

Towards the end of the interview I asked if there were any concerns he had about me. He replied that he knew I could do the job but was worried that I would be bored. I tried to quell his fears and stated that I enjoy this type of work and would want to do it.  I am not sure if he believed me. 

He stated that he thought he would make a decision within one month. On a side note, he did ask me if I would be also interested in a manager job. He is getting promoted to take over his boss’s position as he retires, and he has one employee also retiring.

Do you have any suggestions on what I should have said and if I should send him another email to discuss this?  I have already sent him a thank you email for the interview to let him know that I am very interested in this position.

Dear Interviewing:
It sounds like he was exploring you as a candidate for the manager job that would open up when he moves up. What did you say to that?

If it were me, I would have said something like:While I would be quite happy with the role we have been discussing, of course I would be interested in the manager role, were that to open up.”  

Now back to the issue of the ‘bored’ question. 

Telling him you enjoy this work deals with part of the issue, but there can be a lot going on in the hiring manager’s head around this, and your best bet is to try to explore that, rather than simply answer the question. 

For example, you could have said: “This is the type of work I really enjoy, and I wouldn’t see myself getting bored. Can I ask what you are worried might happen?” 
This would get the hiring manager to go deeper, perhaps revealing an underlying concern he isn’t verbalizing.

I’m not sure how trying to set up another meeting would be received at this point. And you would need to decide which role you really want, the non-manager or the manager.

If the latter, perhaps you could try something along the lines of:“I was caught off-guard at the end of the interview when you indicated there was a possibility of a manager role. If you have a few minutes, I’d love to discuss this with you further.”

If the former, then something along the lines of:“You seemed to have some concern about whether I might find the role boring. Let me assure you that this is the type of work I love to do, and would be prepared to dive into whole-heartedly. If you still have any concerns about this, I would be happy to have a further discussion with you.” 

You might also think about some past experience that shows how you dive deeply into technical work, and how you happily take on what others might consider ‘boring’ work. You could even add that example into the 2nd note above.

Q&A for John

John: “Help keep me supplied for future issues: Send me your questions about your career search, obstacles you are encountering at work, issues that get in the way of your networking efforts, etc. I’ll respond to you directly, and if there are insights of value to other readers, I’ll include them (edited to ensure your anonymity) in a Dear Career Tips column.”

Demystifying the Word “Commission” in Real Estate

Image via Home Real Estate of Kearney LLC

The Head of Business Development at 4 Stories, the Marketing and Consulting Division for New Developments at LG Fairmont, Leah Azizian discusses about how “commission” is a word that gets thrown around A LOT in the real estate field…

Whether it’s by:
– Starting agents who don’t fully understand how much commission/money they will make
– Clients who like to use our commission as a negotiating tool/tactic toward a price they should accept
– Seasoned agents who like to “advertise” their earnings

Therefore, Leah figured that it’s about time that we break down how much money real estate agents actually make – not out of “spite”, but to provide some more clarity around this term.

So let’s say we’re looking at a property that is $800,000. The average commission in New York City is about 5% to 6% of the purchase price. Six percent of $800,000 is $48,000 gross commission.

  1. A majority of your deals will be co-broked. The first thing to keep in mind is that 90% of the time, you are co-broking your deals with another brokerage.
    • 50% of the gross commission will be split amongst 2 brokerages.
      • So the $48,000 will get split down the middle amongst both sides.
      • That leaves your brokerage with $24,000 (that is how much your brokerage takes).
  2. There is another split within your brokerage based on what you negotiate with them.
    • So take 50% — 50% of $24,000 which will leave you $12,000 (your net commission).
  3. You will be splitting your net commission accordingly with whoever you partner with.
    • Could be your colleagues
  4. Your partner/colleague will be deducting marketing expenses. This goes for:
    • Photography
    • Videography
    • Listing platform expenses
  5. You will also have your taxes to keep in mind.

Don’t get caught up with all the glamour and glitz that you see. Your net commission is usually about a quarter (1/4) or 1/3 of the gross commission.


Leah has also cleared up misunderstandings from clients who made comments or had questions below. Hopefully some of these questions answer yours!

  1. People always tend to grab big numbers by guessing…
    • Leah: Always… the gross numbers by us tend to get marketed frequently, leading to lots of misunderstandings. Time we clear things up!
  2. Great post! A vendor/supplier should never have to break down their numbers for their clients. If the client doesn’t trust you, then he’s not a right fit for you. Of course there are always basic negotiations guidelines, but to get down to your actual numbers? Never!
    • Leah: Agreed, precise/actual numbers should never be disclosed. This post was meant more on the conceptual side, for people to see that there’s more beyond the gross numbers. It is easy to calculate a 5-6% commission. But in reality, that’s not what we take home…
  3. On behalf of all realtors, thank you Leah! It’s imperative that the public understands the commission structure, perhaps it will bring more clarity and perception to light.
    • Leah: Agreed, there are plenty of more conversations to be made…

If you have any questions for Leah regarding New Developments, learning more about the real estate field, or even working in the real estate field, please reach out to her via LinkedIn or lazizian@lgfairmont.com!
LG Fairmont is hiring a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson and if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, then you may be the ideal candidate. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Sales Tips and the Number One Mistake Sellers Make

Like many of you, Leah Azizian (The Head of Business Development at 4 Stories, the Marketing and Consulting Division for New Developments at LG Fairmont) get a ton of messages where people just automatically pitch their service or product before saying hello or introducing themselves — it is something that everyone will see more and more as LinkedIn grows.

Image via Process.st

Leah’s Sales Tips

According to Leah: As a real estate advisor, the word SALESPERSON has always invoked mixed feelings. It may come off as a surprise to many of you, but I think it gives off an impression that we’re just there to make money and that we’re there to sell you. Which is why I think salespeople usually have a bad reputation of being dishonest. Ultimately, I think it overlooks all the time, attention, and care that we put into every single relationship and deal that gets across the closing table.

When pitching your product, it’s super important to:

1. Understand whether your product or service is even suitable to that person. That person may just get automatically turned off because that product is just not attractive or appealing to them. And I think you have to keep in mind that it may not be attractive to them, but it may be attractive to a friend or a family member.

The best thing to do is to…

2. Try a build a relationship with this person that you are speaking with — even if it’s over messaging. They may not be a client — but their friend, sister or brother may be. Be curious. Be genuinely interested about the person. You know, you see them in a certain type of field — ask about it. Ask what inspired them to get into that field.

Important Note: Try and build some type of thread of relatability because once you it’s SO much easier to tell them about you and who you are, how you can grow your business together and just network with more people.

People just tend to forget this and if it’s not a way of doing business in real life, it’s definitely not a way of doing business over messaging.


Leah also highlights the importance of the POWER OF COLLABORATIONS. This doesn’t just apply to those who are in the real estate field, but wherever. If you are in the sales field, you understand that there is this stereotype that exists.. that negotiations have to be really aggressive and pushy and dominant in order to make it happen.

This stereotype couldn’t be any more wrong. Don’t get it twisted — negotiations don’t have to be aggressive to be successful.

You will see when you get into sales — that the best negotiations and the most successful deals where the best value is achieved, is usually when both sides work really well with each other and they respect each other, and they can get creative and collaborate to make both sides happy while still respecting the fiduciary duties and the client confidentiality.

There is a power of collaboration that exists throughout all sales industries. We see this in the real estate field, that when both brokers can work well with each other and RESPECT each other, it opens up a world of opportunity — to creativity, happier clients (on both sides of the table) and greater value achieved overall.


The Number One Mistake Sellers Make

  • They price their homes far above the market rate
  • To make things even worse, they drop the price of their homes in increments instead of doing one major price drop

What Leah means by this is:

Exhibit A: Home in the Upper West Side

  • Started at $2.94 million
  • Dropped to 2.595 million over a span of several months
  • Timeline: Decreased 0%, Decreased 1%, Decreased 4%, Unavailable, Relisted, Decreased 2%, Decreased 6%

Exhibit B

  • Started at $4.9 million
  • Dropped all the way down to $3.9 million

The best practice is to stop overpricing! Selling a home can be an emotional roller coaster, and when it comes to pricing a home, we often find that sellers tend to lean toward pricing a certain way. The mistake mentioned above is what should be avoided!


If you have any questions for Leah regarding New Developments, learning more about the real estate field, or even working in the real estate field, please reach out to her via LinkedIn or lazizian@lgfairmont.com!
LG Fairmont is hiring a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson and if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, then you may be the ideal candidate. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

CNYCA’S COVID-19 Economic Update: NYC jobs resumed their return in February and March after a flat four months

Disclaimer: Content in this article was obtained from NYC Employment + Training Coalition’s (NYCETC) NYC Workforce Weekly and the Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA) to serve as a resource for job seekers and those who are curious/interested in learning more about the current economy of the workforce.


James A. Parrott, the Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies of the Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA) at The New School has prepared the latest report of NYC’s economy issued February 2021.

New York City lost 750,000 payroll and self-employed/independent contractor jobs on average between the months of February and December in 2020. The loss for the entire year was the worst single-year city job decline since the 1930s. The partial rebound since last spring has been called a K-shaped recovery for good reason; many in the bottom half of the economy have lost jobs or earnings and are experiencing severe housing and food insecurity, while most of those in the top half of the income distribution retain their jobs, and many have seen their financial assets rise in value. Signs of serious economic distress are multiplying, long-term unemployment is skyrocketing, many of the new jobs emerging are lower quality than the jobs that have been lost, and many of those returning to jobs are only working part-time. The city’s underemployment rate is 25 percent. This report examines the Covid-19 economic and employment impact in New York City at the end of January 2021, assesses the several labor market challenges for the year ahead, and discusses how much and what kind of job growth the city can expect in the year ahead. The report looks at the demographic and industry contours of the job market effects and investigates how the pandemic has exacerbated wage and income inequality.

James A. Parrott

Like the national picture to some extent, jobs have resumed returning in a handful of New York City industries in the past two months. The latest New York City jobs numbers released on April 15th showed a 40,000-gain in March and the February numbers were revised upward by 12,000, to show a 48,000-job gain over January. This follows four months of backsliding after an initial rebound during the late spring and summer months of 2020 from the low point reached last April. Still, the city’s payroll job count remains 585,000 below the pre-pandemic level.

New York City’s 12.5 percent jobs shortfall from pre-pandemic levels is two-and-a-half times the nation’s five percent falloff from February of 2020 to March of this year. Job losses in the city have far exceeded those in the rest of New York State where the decline over the past 13 months has been 7.6 percent. Sixty percent of New York State’s pandemic job losses have taken place in the city, which accounted for 48 percent of all Empire State jobs before the pandemic.

The table below shows the detailed New York City industries sorted into the three categories useful for analyzing the pandemic economy. It indicates the monthly job gains for February and March of this year as well as the extent to which the February-to-April job collapse in the early days of the pandemic has been made up in the months since. Even with the moderate gains in the past two months, New York City has only recouped 37 percent of last spring’s job losses. Only a little more than a third (35 percent) of the 725,000 job losses sustained in the face-to-face industries have been regained. 

While every industry had either job gains or very small declines in March 2021, only six industries had significant job gains in February and March, accounting for over 80 percent of the net job increases during those two months. Food services and drinking places added back over 23,000 during the two months (but were still down by 140,000 compared to last February). Private colleges and universities (part of the private education industry) and local government brought back workers (16,000 and 10,000, respectively) over the past two months after cutting headcount in December and January as the second Covid-19 surge spread. Home health services (within health care) added 8,200 jobs, temp agencies (within administrative services) 8,100, and motion picture production (part of information) 6,100 jobs, with all three industries reaching their highest levels since the widespread pandemic cutbacks. 

The remote-working industries have been much less affected by the pandemic than the face-to-face industries, with a net decline of 6.4 percent vs. 23.5 percent in the face-to-face industries. Nevertheless, finance and insurance has reduced employment slightly since last April and the job rebound in professional, scientific, and technical services has been only six percent. Health care, on the other hand, has regained 88 percent of the job reduction experienced between February-April 2020.

Interview Preparation – Retail Industry (ZARA Edition for Entry-Level Job Seekers)

As the retail industry slowly opens back up, more and more job applications are being submitted and students are in dire need of jobs to pay off their student loans and tuition. But also, if you are highly interested in fashion — you may want to consider applying as well.

To give a general idea on how to prepare your job application and interview for the retail industry, this post will focus on one of the brands, ZARA.

Watching the video below will be helpful to those who are interested in learning more about the company before applying. (You can find the original PREZI slides HERE)


Zara’s History

Zara is the richest valued stock in the apparel sector. They have 2,259 stores globally and 21 online stores. In 2019, the leading brand of the Inditex Group was Zara with a global net income of over 19.5 billion euros and almost 600 Zara Home stores in operation around the world.


Zara’s Customers


Understanding Expectations and Various Positions


Preparing For the Interview

Normalize Prioritizing One’s Mental Health

Image via Wall Street Journal

While WFH during the pandemic has been a toll for a staggering number of workers’ mental health, it is important to normalize making our mental health a priority instead of prioritizing our workload. That could come later. Just like how we do not expect elite athletes to perform without rest and recovery. There is no sustainable productivity improvements without addressing well-being. This goes for “connected employees” – those who are heavily engaged and connected to their company, role and colleagues.

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News suggests 5 effective steps to take in the workplace: 1) Establish workplace mental health programs, 2) Encourage mindfulness breaks, 3) Have an open-door policy, 4) Conduct mental health safety training workshops, and 5) Promote health work-life balance.

Companies need to have/implement policies – no checking of email, phone calls or any company business while being away on vacation. The company can wait so we can have the employee back at full capacity upon his/her return from well needed time off.

A Human Resources Director mentioned “I used to be a connected employee. No more – when I am gone on vacation from now on, I will not be taking my cell phone or my laptop. It can wait. If something catastrophic in HR happens, my team knows how to get in touch with me. Short of an employee death or a workplace violence act.”

The trouble during this pandemic is so many people have “worked” during their staycation/vacation. Sadly for many of us, it’s do as we say and not as we do. Poor mental health isn’t sustainable for WFH.

While this pandemic has headed into an economic boom, it could last into 2023. Therefore, right now couldn’t be a better time to start thinking about taking “mental health days” and the mental health’s impact on the human physiology. You cannot perform at your job if your head is operating in a not-so-optimum environment. Mental health days are absolutely real and absolutely necessary. With the way things have changed virtually at every workplace, looking after mental health is equally as important as physical health. It is crucial to have days to unwind and refresh. We are not robots are we are not meant to function 24/7.

Tips on how use your mental health days/breaks wisely:

It is true that when employees take a mental health day, they come back refreshed and more creative. Giving permission for yourself to relax and do something outside of work resets your brain for new thoughts, ideas, and promotes energy.

It seems that unfortunately for minimum wage workers and many essential workers, mental health days do not exist. These workers are spending so much time prioritizing the needs of the community, but they need to prioritize themselves first in order to better provide for the community. We need advocacy for more sick day pay to include mental health for this population. Labor laws must change to acknowledge mental health as a priority — to be inclusive to minimum wage workers as well as other worker segments.
Illness is NOT an opportunity to get caught up or ahead. It is the way our bodies speak to us to indicate something is amiss and requires attention.

In addition, many managers need to remember to encourage their employees to take vacation time. It is also the employee’s responsibility, but during this period of working remotely, it seems like a lot of folks forget to take breaks, and others who do — end up feeling guilty when they see their colleagues not taking vacations or days off. Management needs to keep making it clear that if you are entitled to time off, take it. No ramifications.

It is okay to ask yourself the question, “Am I OK?” everyday. If you cannot say yes to that, then you cannot expect yourself to be able to be productive and be your best self at work. It is okay to let colleagues know as well. To have that support system and to be okay with putting yourself first is so important. It needs to be normalized, as so many workers have that temptation to work from bed.

This is a reminder that we all must set our mental health as a priority everyday. Do not forget the Out of Office message. With so many working from home in this past year, it is imperative to take relief breaks throughout the day. Just as in the workplace, we can push ourselves too long and experience burnout.
More people nowadays, took a pandemic to realize and be more aware, of both the greater need for mental health days, the working de-stigmatization of it, and knowing that we all have days where our minds are tired — and it’s worse for folks with long lasting mental health issues.

We are living in a time where the normalization of mental health is starting to gain traction. Health is holistic. It encompasses not only the physical but the mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual and financial components of individuals.


Below, NetQuote surveyed 1,012 Full-Time American Employees about their mental health.

CNYCA’S COVID-19 Economic Update: NYC job losses proportionately greatest among largest U.S. cities

Disclaimer: Content in this article was obtained from NYC Employment + Training Coalition’s (NYCETC) NYC Workforce Weekly and the Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA) to serve as a resource for job seekers and those who are curious/interested in learning more about the current economy of the workforce.


New York City’s Covid-19 payroll job loss was 13.6 percent over the first year of the pandemic, more than twice the 5.9 percent national job decline and greater than the job losses experienced in the next 14 largest U.S. cities. These data reflect the annual revision to the monthly establishment payroll employment data that was released by the New York State Labor Department on March 11th (see next item below). San Francisco’s 13.2 percent job loss and Los Angeles’ 12.1 percent decline were close behind New York City’s. The next five cities – Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Chicago – were clustered in the -9 to -10 percent range. Four cities among the 15 largest in the country – Riverside (CA), Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix – had smaller job declines than the nation overall.

The New York City metropolitan area had 9.9 million jobs in February 2020, or 6.6 percent of the 151 million national job total. During the pandemic’s first year, the metropolitan area had an 11.2 percent job decline; the rest of the metro area outside of New York City saw jobs fall off by 9.1 percent compared to the city’s 13.6 percent decline. New York City had 3.1 percent of all U.S. payroll employment as of February 2020. 

The Labor Department’s revised payroll employment data also revealed that New York City’s job losses in 2020 were greater than previously reported. In our February 12th report, New York City’s Covid-19 Economy Will Not Snap Back, we wrote that the February-December 2020 payroll job loss was 507,000, a decline of 10.9 percent. The job level for last December has now been revised downward by the Labor Department to show a drop of 575,000 from February, a revised job falloff of 12.3 percent. The annual revisions are based on administrative data compiled in connection with the payment of employer payroll taxes for unemployment insurance purposes. (The employment figures cited here are not adjusted for seasonal effects since pandemic-related impacts have been much greater than the usual pattern of seasonal ups and downs.)

The January employment levels dropped further because there had been some seasonal hiring in November and December that then ended. Even with a moderate 40,000 increase in February employment levels, the February 2020 to February 2021 New York City change shows a drop of 635,000 jobs, or 13.6 percent. The table below shows these 12-month job changes for individual industries grouped into the three categories (Essential, Face-to-Face, and Remote-Working) we feel best reflect the predominant dynamic caused by Covid-19 economic impacts. 

The revised data underscore the now-commonplace observation that the Face-to-Face industries have borne the brunt of the adverse pandemic economic and employment impacts. Led by the steep job losses in leisure and hospitality and the arts and entertainment industry, Face-to-Face industries as a group have seen a 25 percent drop in employment compared to a seven percent decline in the Remote-Working industries and a slight three percent decline in the Essential category. Nearly four out of every five New York City jobs lost over the past year have been in the Face-to-Face industries, where most workers do not get paid if they don’t work and where only a tiny fraction of workers can do their jobs remotely.

The annual employment revision saw a handful of industries with significant downward revisions while a smaller number of industries had upward revisions. Two of the hardest-hit industries had sharp downward revisions: hotel employment was revised down by 44 percent and eating and drinking places had a 12 percent downward revision. On the other hand, the other among the three hardest-hit industries –arts, entertainment, and recreation – had a 44 percent upward revision in its job numbers. However, as the above table shows, this industry still suffered a 51 percent job loss over the past year.

Child care employment was revised down by 21 percent and the revised job levels for temporary employment agencies were 30 percent lower. It had earlier been thought that given its essential role, employment had been fairly stable in grocery stores and drug stores; however, the more definitive administrative data resulted in a 10 percent downward revision in the number of grocery store jobs and a 17 percent negative change in drug store employment. There was a surprising upward revision elsewhere in the retail sector, with clothing store employment revised up by 43 percent. Among upward revisions in the Remote-Working industries, employment in publishing was reported to be 10 percent greater in the revised data, and there were upward revisions of five percent in investment banking, six percent in computer services, and eight percent in management consulting.

The Future is Hybrid

Image via The New Indian Express

Many working parents do attest that being able to work remotely or working from home was very labor-saving. They are able to dedicate time to work as well as be present for any schooling issues that their children are dealing with, on top of not having to deal with the stress of morning traffic. If they had a choice, they would prefer not to return to the office or in other words, the pre-pandemic Monday to Friday, 9-5 world.

However while there are many who praised working remotely/from home, there are many instances where employees miss/crave human interaction. There are some individuals who find that going into the office gets them out of their home. We all know that the thought of solely working from home full time would trigger mental health challenges as well.

Many employees are looking to a hybrid schedule — as it would be a nice middle ground for both companies and employees, especially where technology is available and accessible.

However, there are certain roles that make it impossible to work from home/remotely in the long term. Business domains, meeting clients, sales & marketing, human resources responsibilities, to name a few. Interaction can be hard if the client/candidate refuses to show their face on the Zoom camera, making it hard to make decisions without knowing their facial expressions.
Of course, you may be thinking it is possible through FaceTime but not everyone has an Apple device. Sales people don’t need to be in the office and HR has been working remotely for the past year.
Great, but have you ever thought about doing something and doing something well are two different things? Because it is very challenging to work with new grades in remote setup. Building trust and bonding is missing with the rest especially with new hires.

While it is completely understandable why so many folks desire to continue working remotely due to the convenience — it is functional, but far from optimal not only for the businesses but for all folks. Individuals who will continue to work remotely will find limited opportunities to grow in the firms as being out of sight, out of mind will have a new meaning. The interactions that happen on Zoom will never replace those that happen in a conference room or in the office, we all know that. There is concern for working parents where they will have a lot of time to tend to their kids and taking coffee breaks/bathroom breaks, but at difficult times like these, companies still seek ways to cut out those that they consider unproductive.

What we are seeing is a reflex reaction to the situation imposed upon us. There will always be some folks who perform better with greater flexibility, as well as those who need the structured environment. Just as those who enjoy the comfort of working in pajamas and those who feel more professional and productive in business casual. However, the reality is twofold. We have not yet seen the leveling out, which is a great argument for the hybrid environment. That being said, since adaption and adoption haven’t leveled out, there will be an ebb and flow. This may depend on developing new habits for productivity or even dependent upon what type of project/assignment is being worked on.

Employees are curious on how effective the hybrid model will be, since there will be those who get more face-to-face interactions with leadership may receive a natural competitive advantage for promotions. This raises a question — Will this create a divide? Where folks willing to go into the office, would volunteer to go in 5 days a week as a career development approach and the folks who prefers not to, will shift to companies with their entire workforce being remote?

The skills that we all have in our more traditional ways of working aren’t the same as the skills we need in a more flexible working environment. While many employers favored the positive impact location that independent work has had, they fear not being able to measure output the same (such as effective communication/engagement with internal staff).

A hybrid future is most likely, why? It can provide an excellent alternative for those who need flexibility, but also enjoy coming into the office. Of course many miss the human interaction, but not many miss the 1-2 hours of traffic, budgeting for gas, car repairs, etc. The next crucial step toward building a hybrid work environment will need to be led by leadership, where they empower their workers to have full autonomy over their own schedule. This is how companies will help more workers enjoy the flexibility that they deserve while providing them the support they need to make a successful transition.

Many individuals couldn’t work their ideal roles because employers didn’t offer flexibility. Moving forward, a blended approach is a great way to show flexibility — which empowers employees as there is a shared sense of trust and responsibility when employers allow employees to find a greater balance between work and life.
As work life will change, it opens up our freedom of choice. Some days/weeks, it will be better for our mental and emotional health to either be in the office or to work remotely. This is the best option to keep everyone happy, but also be ready to pivot again if necessary.

There are also pitfalls for hybrid future, meaning there will be less office space needed. As they are consolidating and closing locations in major cities worldwide, commercial real estate investors are showing desperation in demand, bellowing and pleading that there will be a return to the old ways.

What would be interesting, is to see the effect and hopeful reduction in the burnout that could happen when saying you do not have to take a full vacation (working remotely for a few days and not burning out on your Paid Time Off). Time will definitely tell, for those hoping to see the work/life balance become healthier with such flexibility.

College Students Encounter Obstacles of Financial Insecurity

Image via The Balance

Amid the pandemic, college students are encountering food and housing insecurity — one of the main obstacles of graduating on time and succeeding as it hinders their long-term career goals/path.

This poses as a financial crisis to many college students and recent graduates. Once again, Millennials and Gen Z’s are bearing the brunt of those who came before them.

It is not hard to believe that many students have lost financial support from their parents as a result of the pandemic, and that it would lead to food scarcity for them and not being able to pay their full amount of their rent, mortgage or utility bills. They may have lost their own supplementary jobs as well due to the long hiring freeze of many companies since March 2020, although many sectors have been slowly picking back up.

The status of their financial well-being affects between 68-72% of their mental health, leading to anxiety and depression being the highest among college graduates. Entry-level hiring has been almost cut off entirely and even STEM majors are going to have an absolutely degrading experience looking for their first job right out of graduation.

For many college graduates/recent graduates, it seems that this financial crisis leads to no hope for them. And the term “financial crisis” fits this current circumstance as there is a net inflation of tuition for certain college degrees. We are about to hit the fourth wave of the virus, and while things still are not entirely back to normal, the goals that these students set have been energy draining instead of motivating them during this situation.

Graduating from the Class of 2020 is extremely hard as this was the year that led to burnout. Additionally, there were many instances where graduates have shared the same concern about closely giving up on the idea of becoming what they studied for, while endless applying for jobs in their field that led to rejection and being ghosted by the employer.

It is going to be a major crisis for the United States if we turn our backs on an entire generation when graduates are trying to enter the workforce.

So what if you are currently lost? What if the job/career that you are looking for is currently on a hiring freeze or a decline? No vacancies at the moment? You still need to make some kind of income to keep a roof over your head.

  1. You either get creative and start your own side gig/freelance project such as starting a website/blog and get paid for it. Or if you can create your own shampoo product or using your design skills to start your own clothing line online, go for it!
  2. Or you can take a step backwards, and apply for jobs to keep you busy. Even if it isn’t the job that you are looking for, it is still a good chance for you to develop new skills that you can display on your resume.

According to Dorie Clark’s article at Harvard Business Review, he mentions something similar that will probably speak out to the crowd who is going through a tough journey right now.

Dorie states, “Unfortunately, meeting those urgent needs sometimes means that longer-range goals get shunted aside. A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, many professionals have found themselves turning down coveted promotions in order to maintain flexible hours, accepting positions in fields they actually want to leave, or saying yes to jobs they’re overqualified for or unexcited about because they simply need the money.
Those decisions — while painful — may be necessary in the short term. But a temporary departure from your professional goals doesn’t mean that all is lost. It’s essential — and possible, even with a busy day job — to stay focused on your long-term career trajectory, so you can rebound quickly and get back on a path that feels right for you.”

Below, is a survey that illustrates the population that is most vulnerable to food and housing insecurity.

#RealCollege 2021: Basic Needs Insecurity During the Ongoing Pandemic

How Zoom And Other Software Tools Are On The Rise in a Post-Pandemic World

Image via NextPlane
Image via TechJockey

As the world reopens, many companies have learned that online collaboration works at a lower cost. Moving forward, tech darlings such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex can replace certain in-person meetings in which everyone or half the group traveled. In other words, the future will be more of like a hybrid environment. Some meetings could happen on Zoom, while others will remain better off as in-person.

Many current WFH employees have questioned if conferences will offer options of in-person or virtual. More employees will have the opportunity to attend at a lower price or even at no cost if virtual is a choice. However, many have also complained about developing Zoom fatigue due to burnout/companies overusing or improperly using the software.

Some agreed that there should be adoption and continuation of e-signature platforms in the post-pandemic world. Depending upon circumstances, suggested tech darlings will still have a role to play but at the same time, usage will drop off dramatically if folks seek ways to engage face-to-face.

Firms have also invested a lot in work-from-home infrastructure and they see that employee productivity hasn’t suffered. Moreover, company costs are plummeting as there is no longer a need for real estate. NYC is already seeing a huge decline in office space — leading to its devalue of commercial space. If working from home or remote work will continue into the future, this leads to the reason — finances.
Along the same lines, business travel won’t be coming back anytime soon to the levels that it used to be pre-pandemic — due to financial reasons as well.
A Regional Director at a software company stated that in a way, we are all victims of our own success, because if we weren’t able to conduct business using remote tools and our company’s bottom lines were hurting, we’d all be back on the airplanes tomorrow!

The pandemic has ushered in an era that was always technologically viable for the past decade, but culturally not acceptable. Yesterday’s “office” is not what tomorrow’s “office” will be. Remote work and Zoom is here to stay as we move forward.

For many employees currently working remotely, Zoom fatigue is real however they do not have to face nightmare traffic or the fear of being a few minutes late due to a train delay because of a sick passenger. The quality of life that zero-commuting hours have provided is not something that many want to give up.
Productivity has turned out to much higher for certain folks on a Zoom call when they do not have to pay attention to the portion of the meeting that doesn’t apply to them.
In addition, Zoom’s turning on/off camera feature allows folks to gain control over their participation level while yesterday’s “office” meetings did not give them that option.

Let’s put it this way — face-to-face has mostly qualitative benefits. Zoom and other tech darlings have more quantitative benefits as you can put a cost savings on how many less miles you have traveled, how much less utilities are being spent, etc. Many companies that were opposed to remote work are now implementing it as a standard form of work.
Even in the event that the current generation of business leaders usher in the return to offices and lead to a drop off of Zoom and other tech darlings, tomorrow’s business leaders (not to mention — the one’s that are more tech savvy), won’t forget that they could accomplish a lot of their work remotely.
In other words, Zoom and other tech darlings may face a slight drop off in the short-term, but their long-term future is looking bright.

All in all, companies will need to balance cost with profitability. So far, we have mentioned that there are folks with both sides of the spectrum.
There are those who feel that they need to have everybody in a room for brainstorming future projects and can’t get what they need done via Zoom meetings.
Then there are those who say in-person group meetings were a waste of time, and they can get much more done with a quick Zoom meeting where folks can say their part and tune out/leave if there are parts of the meeting that they are not accountable for.
Additionally, while some folks enjoy commuting to work, they will not want to spend wasted hours in traffic, so having a flexible and hybrid schedule kind of option would be beneficial to both parties.

This also leads to a theory that some folks have believed that while there will be some companies that will continue to allow their employees to work remotely, they are hoping that the option will become part of a company’s “benefits” package. This could be part of the new market as many job seekers are seeking remote positions.
Many businesses found Zoom to be a huge asset to them as their customer pool has expanded globally instead of locally, which helped their business grow immensely during the pandemic.
Even if some companies reduce their usage of Zoom, there are families who have adopted that software to stay in touch with loved ones at a distance.

Eventually, a return to workplaces and classrooms will decrease the need for Zoom meetings. However, the pandemic also showed so many companies how to do business with minimal travel travel and office costs — and this learning will continue to drive the market in many ways.