Thursday, February 28, 2013

The least surprising breaking news of the year

Groupon is entering a new era.

CNNMoney is reporting that CEO Andrew Mason is out at the company that he founded.

I wrote in November that it was likely that Mason was going to get fired. He survived that quarterly earnings period, but couldn't survive the most recent results.

It's not much of a surprise because of two things. First, they should have taken Google's offer to buyout for some $6 billion. Upon passing on that, they needed to diversify and earn revenue from that diversification fast.

Groupon started to diversify, including such things as a new credit card processing service (a highly watered down market as it is), but it was basically too little, too late.

So where does the company go from here? They will name an interim CEO, but from there the company has a few options.

They are now a major target for a takeover at a huge discount to what Google offered. They may also keep trying to further diversify their offerings and basically 'restart' the company. Third, they may end up going private.

It's a bit too early to say which way the company will go, but we will likely know by the end of the year.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Martha Stewart is a horrible person to work for

Who would wan't to work for Martha Stewart? I know I certainly would not.

Business Insider has compiled a list of stories from sources close to her, detailing how difficult she is to work for.

Such stories include her canceling a deal with Macy's hours before it was announced, and she instead went with J.C. Penney, needing to be personally involved with every item that bears her name and invoicing her former best friend for her expenses on a trip to Europe.

She has also created what can only be described as a hostile work environment with those who work closest to her.

I could understand if a handful of the antidotes were true, as I'm sure there have been challenging times dealing with any CEO. But just the wide nature of the stories and the sources they come from, tell me there is a terrible culture associated with Stewart.

Most people that work close to her must be doing it for other reasons. Perhaps the pay is good, or they are using it as a stepping stone to another position within another company. Maybe they have become accustomed to her outbursts and have just learned how to roll with the punches.

But I would be pissed if I worked for someone, who after a significant amount of work, came in and blew the whole project up at the last second because it was slightly the wrong shade of green. However, knowing what I know about her, I would never apply to work for her. Plain and simple, she is a bully. There are many companies out there who's CEOs know how to treat their employees well. Those are the companies I want to work for.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Advice from a jobseeker on keeping spirits up

If you have spent any time unemployed over the last several years, you know how difficult the job market has become. The tables have been tilted in favor of the employer and the longer your unemployment drags on, the more frustrated you are.

I'm not going to give you tips on how to improve your job search (ok, maybe one), or give you tips and secrets on how to get that job. There are a million people on the Internet, and in your personal life who are more than happy to do  that.

Instead, I'm going to give you tips to keep your spirits up, coming from someone who has been unemployed now for a significant stretch of time.

1. Get out of your house/apartment every single day. Go for a walk around the neighborhood at a bare minimum. Or to the park. Become a mall walker. Especially if it is winter, cabin fever will get to you. Counter that by just getting outside and out of your home environment.

2. Don't hide. Similar to the first item, you want to be out front with your job search. Let others know of your predicament and you never know what they may be able to offer in support.

3. Set small goals. Obviously the main goal is to get a new job. But you also want to set small daily, and weekly goals. Perhaps it's to apply to five jobs each calendar week. Or to make two new LinkedIn connections per day. It is much easier to reach and obtain these goals if you keep them small and reasonable. Plus, it will help keep your motivation up.

4. Speaking of LinkedIn, the one improvement to your job search that I highly recommend make involves you and your LinkedIn profile. Complete it and then do what you can to get to over 500 connections. Concentrate on people in your field, or desired field and connect with those at your desired companies. Also, connect with those in your current or desired geographic location. Finally, make sure that you include as many people who have 500+ connections as possible. LinkedIn only works based on three degrees of separation, so you want to get as many people as possible to be within those three degrees.

None of this is guaranteed to help you get a job within the next week, but it can help you cope. Yes, you will have down days, and perhaps down weeks. But maintaining a positive attitude can, and will help you find your next job!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Marissa Mayer is out of her league

Marissa Mayer has a problem. A big problem.

She is out of her league.

I get that Yahoo! has had a lot of problems for quite a long time. But she is going about fixing things in all the wrong ways.

First, she took a two-week maternity leave. While that may be all she needs, she is sending a message to her employees that they better not ask for a lengthy maternity leave. Hopefully no employees have pregnancy complications that require significant time off.

In addition, she doesn't respect anyone's time but her own. It doesn't matter if you are the guy working in the mail room or the CEO. If you can't show up to things on time, it's time to reassess what you are doing. Nobody is going to respect her. It's going to be impossible to get anything done otherwise.

Then she showed off the new homepage on Today, while Yahoo! is a major partner of Good Morning America. Plain and simple, there was a lack of thought to that decision and shows out out of touch Meyer is with what is going on with who the company deals with.

Now, she is not allowing anyone to work remotely. I get that people slack off when they work from home. Guess what? People slack off when they work in the office too. In addition, if people aren't getting work done at home, they aren't being managed properly. Get rid of the problem managers. Don't punish all of those that work remotely because managers don't manage.

While Mayer is making missteps, it is possible she will be able to right the sinking ship that is Yahoo! However, she is showing a trend that shows she is out of touch, disrespectful and not able to make decisions that address the actual problem. She is certainly not someone that I would want to work for, and I am sure there are many people at Yahoo! who are thinking the same.