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26 posts from July 2009


Track and Field: Rickey C. Cooper

Rickeycooper Track and Field: OK, you say what does Track and Field has to do with finding a job.  I say plenty because it has stuck with me thru-out my years since Denton High School with my Track and Field Coach (Ken E. Garland).  This man emphasized to me not to QUIT the race but WIN the race.  That has stuck with me and has served as a inspiration to not give up on my job search.  It gets tough when you are on the sidelines and you want to participate in the race.  I am a competitor without any competition right now due to unemployment.  There will be two career fairs next week on the 5th of August.  One is The Arlington (DFW) Career Fair from 10:00 a.m. - 02:00 p.m. at the LaQuinta Inn 825 North Watson Road. Arlington, Texas.  The second career fair is The Targeted Job Fair from 11:00 a.m. - 03:00 p.m.  at the Plano Centre 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway. Plano, Texas.  Due to time conflicts with these career fairs I will decide on which one to attend over the weekend.  Until next time God Bless and don't quit the Race but Win it. Regards, Rickey C. Cooper

Just One Step: Nancy Wood

Nancywood At any time, any one of us can become gainfully employed (hooray) or become unemployed (bummer).  The difference is just a step – in or out of employment. For the employed, we may still be one step away from the dreaded unemployment.   Likewise, for each of you searching for that employment opportunity, you are just one step away from employment bliss.  So, the message is the same, stay strong and focused on your future.  Take more than just one step.  Step in several directions if you can - diversified your skills into different industries, re-educate yourself, and when the opportunity comes again, secure your finances for the next rainy day.  Step.  Step.  Step.  Just don’t march in place.  Nancy Wood


Desperately Seeking Job... As Usual: Emily Allen

Emilyallen Okay, so I originally said I would blog this morning. Oops. Sorry.

Forgive me for sleeping in - yesterday was a very long but enjoyable day that required waking up at 5 a.m. to head downtown to the Riverwalk in San Antonio. Yes, if you watch the TODAY show, I was one of the crazy people who got up early to be in the crowd.

Here's where my job hunt comes in - I went armed with my resume and cover letter as part of my attempt to sneak it to a producer. I have wanted to work on the TODAY show for years!

Unfortunately, my little plan didn't work out since I was unable to track down someone who was actually from the TODAY show amidst the chaos of being live (well, in Eastern time anyway). Oh well, it was worth a shot.

Back to reality... I had that lovely phone interview with the Texas paper that I mentioned in Monday's blog. I think it went very well, considering they asked me to come in for a second in-person interview! I am currently working on scheduling a time to go in and meet with their staff sometime within the next week.

I should also mention here that I have not heard from the other Texas paper (the one I did the reporter's test for), but it's only been a week or two. I'm debating sending an email tomorrow to check in and see if any decisions have been made.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. I feel like I am so close to landing something. I just hope I'm not wrong.

Again, my prayers and thoughts are with all of you job-seekers out there - don't give up just yet!

- Emily Allen

David Rawles moving CareerSolutions radio to new station

Rawles David Rawles, founder of the popular CareerSolutions workshops, is moving his radio show to KDKR 91.3 FM. Beginning Aug. 10, Rawles' show will be on air at 3 p.m. each weekday.

Rawles' show currently is on air each Saturday on KVTT 91.7 TheTruth, but a sale of that station forced Rawles to find a new home. He will continue to be on air at KVTT through August.

Rawles said he was offered a spot by four stations in the DFW area, including three that offered to take his show five days a week.

"God has answered our prayers concerning our CareerSolutions radio program," Rawles said in an emailed message announcing the move. "And he has done it in a most compelling way."

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram 

Mind Your Manners: Nancy Wood

Nancywood As most of you know, I left the ranks of the unemployed about 6 weeks ago. In my new role in the healthcare industry, parts of my responsibilities include hiring. Recurring events with applicants in the past two weeks prompted this blog on “manners”.

You see two small children. One is animated, bright eyed, smiling or laughing. Suddenly you abandon your state of mind to share in the child’s joy. You may stop to talk and engaged the youngster, wave as you pass, or at the very least smile back. The child has made a momentary and perhaps lasting impression on you. Another child you see is expressionless. You may notice him or her but you continue with your agenda. There is no further recollection about this child. Probably both children are equal in talents and intelligence.

Now fast forward to adulthood and interviewing. Do I need to emphasize the importance of pleasantness and first and lasting impressions? Good manners are still recognized, appreciated and duly noted by others. You recall – the “please”, “thank you” and “may I”. And in the southern region of the country, there is the respectful “ma’m” and “sir” as in yes, sir.

Do I need to draw a diagram of the kinship between good manners and customer service? Handling being called out of your name is deserving of discussion under minding your manners. Being called out of your name can be someone mispronouncing your name, shortening your name or using a nickname without your permission. Or it can be from good folks who may affectionately use the words “honey”, “sweetie” or “Missy” when addressing you.

Once you get to know this person, you find you are not singled out but they call most everyone that name in their haste of handling lots of people. To react abusively to being called out of your name is detrimental to your career (unemployed or employed). An unprofessional display of objection shows poor judgment and poor communication skills. If being “Missy”, “honey” or “sweetie” bothers you a lot, practice how to politely let the caller know you prefer to be called by your name. Emphasis is on politely with a sincere smile. Do I need to draw a battlefield showing the divide between good customer service skills and poor judgment and poor communication skills?

Last but not least is bad mouthing your former company, its management or co-workers. This disgruntle behavior is also a career buster (employed or unemployed). If you talk about them like that in the community, you will do the same to us and our company tarnishing our reputation.

Do you see the correlation between this attitude, reputation and customer service? The road to gaining employment and retaining employment may be more difficult ‘09. Don’t lose out on any opportunities because bad manners. Hiring staff everywhere are mindful of good manners. Evaluate yourself, make an attitude adjustment if necessary … then stay strong and focused. - Nancy L. Wood


Fort Worth Career Search Network continues to expand

The Fort Worth Career Search Network continues to add affiliates to its stable of jobs networking groups in the area.


Csn2 The network started earlier this year, meeting Mondays at the North Fort Worth Baptist Church, and now regularly sees more than 80 jobhunters weekly at that get-together, said Foster Williams, one of the group’s organizers and managing principal with his wife Cindi of search4uinc.com, a jobs site that feeds free job listings into the Career Search Network’s Yahoo message board.


The Network also folded in a year-old human resources professionals group that Williams started a year ago. In the last two months, the Network added groups in Colleyville and Mansfield and two in Arlington, and a once-a-month job-search skills workshop.

In the last two weeks, the Network formed groups in Waxahachie and North Richland Hills. The Network is about to add a third Arlington group, scheduled to have its first weekly meeting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 6 at the New World United Methodist Church in North Arlington. It’s also considering moving its South Arlington-Mansfield group, which has been meeting at different locations, to the Arlington Public Library branch at Southwest Green Oaks Boulevard and Kelly Perkins Road.

Finally, the Network’s organizers, through friends in Colorado, also are helping form a career search group in Denver.


Csn1 The goal (for the Tarrant County area), Williams said, is to develop a large number of small networking groups that draw 15-20 people at their weekly meetings, in contrast to the 300 that have sometimes packed the meetings of the popular Southlake Focus Group in recent months, or even the 100-plus that the flagship North Fort Worth Baptist group has drawn.


A smaller gathering is “more intimate,” says Williams, a former Verizon national hiring manager who also is a member of the Southlake Focus Group leadership team. “You have more time to talk, you have more time to strategize, because you have fewer people.”


Network1 And even the large networking groups break out into small table discussions at their meetings, he notes.


In some cases, FWCSN also expects some of the smaller networking groups to take on contrasting demographic makeup. "We're starting to see it already," Williams said. "Mansfield and Waxahachie are more blue collar."


More info on the groups:


North Fort Worth Baptist Church, 5801 North I-35 W. Meets 8:30 a.m. Mondays.

HR Focus Group, Cornerstone Bible Church, 585 Nolen Drive, Southlake. 9 a.m. Wednesdays.


Covenant Church Colleyville, 3508 Glade Road, Colleyville. 9 a.m. Tuesdays.


Walnut Ridge Baptist Church, 1201 Texas 360 and Broad Street, Mansfield. 7 p.m. Thursdays.

Cowboy Church of Ellis County, 2374 W. U.S. 287 Bypass, Waxahachie.5:30 p.m. Mondays.

South Arlington-Mansfield. 10 a.m. Meets second and fourth Fridays, different locations.


First Baptist Church-Arlington, 300 S. Center St. 9 a.m. Mondays.


New World United Methodist Church, 2201 N. Davis Drive, Arlington. 6:30 p.m. Thursdays.

North Richland Hills Baptist Church, 6955 Boulevard 26. 9 a.m. Tuesdays.

Enhanced Job Search Solutions Workshop, Trinity Vineyard Fellowship, 1401 W. 5th St., Fort Worth. 9 a.m.-1 p.m., last Saturday monthly.

Information: http://www.fwcsn.org/


– Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram


(Photos: Spring meeting at North Fort Worth Baptist Church, upper left. Organizers Paul Vercher, Foster Williams, Doug Williamson, bottom right.)


Patience is a virtue.

Emilyallen Unfortunately, I have serious issues with patience... especially when it comes to concept of employment.

I received my reporter's test from the aforementioned Texas paper (see last blog post), completed and returned it just over a week ago. I haven't heard anything yet, but I did hear that one of my former professors emailed the city editor (whom I have been in contact with) on my behalf - always a plus!

I applied for a few more jobs over the weekend, some which have nothing to do with my major but are jobs nonetheless and ones in which I could still succeed.

Of course, just when I was beginning to feel a little down, the phone rang.

It was the editor of yet another Texas newspaper that I had applied with nearly a month ago! Due to my location, I am now scheduled for a phone interview with the paper tomorrow afternoon.

Needless to say, I was so overjoyed at the offer of yet another interview that I had to call my mother in celebration. Maybe I'm not striking out afterall.

It's only Monday afternoon and I already have high hopes for the week. I have a big idea for something job-related on Wednesday, so look for a post that evening/Thursday morning. This is going to be interesting, but I don't want to spoil it yet.

Until then, please keep me in your thoughts for my interview tomorrow and my adventure on Wednesday. I hope I will have something new to report by then!

Many thanks from dry and sunny San Antonio (please send us the DFW rain!),

Emily Allen


Texas' minimum wage for tipped workers stays the same...

Waitree We've received some calls today from restaurant waitstaff, wondering how much of a pay raise they're getting with the minimum wage hike. The answer is, their wage will not rise.

Texas and 17 other states set the minimum wage rate for tipped workers at $2,13 per hour, with tips supposed to make up the difference. If tips don't bring the actual wage up to the federally required minimum wage for everybody else, which just rose to $7.25 per hour Friday, then the restaurant owner must make up the difference. In practice, experts say this rarely comes into play.

Tipped workers have advocates on their side who want Congress to up their base pay rate. Here's a link to a report on the topic from the National Employment Law Project, which looks at minimum wage rates and practices for tipped workers in the 50 states.

- Scott Nishimura

Texas extends jobless benefits to unemployed people

Jobless Here's Austin Bureau reporter Dave Montgomery's story this week on thstate's emergency extension of unemployment benefits.

- Scott Nishimura, job and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram

Debate rages on minimum wage hikes

There's no shortage of opinion on whether the raise in federal minimum wage is a godsend, or about to drive the country deeper into recession. Here's a sampling of analysis available this week from various quarters on the topic:

Here's the Dallas Fed Bank's "Higher Minimum Wage Looms Large in Texas" article last year, which essentially comes down the middle on the issue.

From the Economic Policy Institute: "Even with this latest increase, workers making minimum wage today are earning about 18 percent less than in 1968," And, "minimum wage increases stimulate the Waistre economy through increased consumer spending."

From the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas: "Today's increase in the minimum wage will discourage employment growth even more than expected, mainly because of the impact of health care costs."

From letjusticeroll.org, which is campaigning for Congress to raise the minimum wage base for tipped workers to $3.75 per hour from $2.13, where it's been "frozen" since 1991: "Tipped workers, such as restaurant servers, delivery workers and others will benefit from the July 24 increase, because base pay plus tips must add up to the minimum wage or else employers must make up the difference. But too many managers take advantage of workers by illegally underpaying them." Here's a report from the National Employment Law Project on tipped workers' and their wages. 

From the National Small Business Administration: "Amid a tight labor market, most owners were already paying higher-than-required wages to attract and retain workers, even entry-level ones. However, economic conditions are quite different today than they were only two short years ago. Unemployment has increase for nine months straight...Throwing a minimum wage hike into the mix could hurt."

Wondering how much income you need to stay above poverty in America?

Here's the Poverty in America Living Wage Calculator from Penn State University. You can get their researchers' estimate on what it costs to make ends meet in Tarrant County.

Finally, here's the Bureau of Labor Statistics "Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2008" report.

- Scott Nishimura, jobs and workplace reporter, Star-Telegram 


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