Some 5.6 million American manufacturing jobs have been lost since 1999, and many of those jobs don't appear to be coming back anytime soon. At least some of the people who worked in manufacturing are trying to learn new job skills: We look at the successes and failures of retraining programs with Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner. We're also joined by Hal Higdon, president of Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo., who says community colleges are too overburdened to be effective; and Robin Ambrosy, laid off in January of 2006 from her job with Sony and now retraining to become an occupational therapist.
Last week, we looked at how some banks were canceling consumer credit cards without warning and how consumers could avoid it by using their cards more. That discussion sparked a debate about whether people can get by without credit cards at all. We speak to two people who are doing just that: Joel Westendorf of Los Angeles; and Andrea Hermitt of Atlanta. Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner lays out some of the logistical benefits and drawbacks of life without plastic.
"There's a myth that you have to have a credit card to have a credit history, and that's not the case. If you're paying off a car loan regularly, or a student loan regularly, or a mortgage loan regularly, that is also building your credit history."
—Beth Kobliner, on the myth that credit cards are required to establish a credit score
Employees goofing off and wasting time at work is always a concern for bosses. But Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner says that as the economy tightens, employees are taking on extra responsibilities and that blowing off steam in creative ways can actually help maintain ones overall focus. She tells us why, with David Rock, author of "Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus and Working Smarter All Day Long." They share some downtime strategies that even your boss would approve of.
"We're taxing a part of the brain that we've never taxed like this before. The prefrontal cortex and our working memory was supposed to be used once in a while. Just ten years ago we didn't use it nearly as much, before email hit the ground in a big way. Now we're trying to focus on very complicated things for hours and hours on end, and our brains aren't really built to do it."
—David Rock, author, on the physiological reasons why taking mental breaks during the workday may be necessary
In the current economy, both younger and older people are finding it harder to get, or keep, a job. According to BusinessWeek, only 46 percent of people aged 16 to 24 had jobs last month – that is the lowest number since the government began tracking it in 1948. We look at the role of age in the workplace with Beth Kobliner, Takeaway contributor and author of "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties." We also speak with 25-year-old Harvey Cummings, laid off from his job as a middle school band teacher in June; and 65-year-old Jackie Goldenberg, who was laid off from the financial services industry two years ago, and cites her age as the primary reason she lost her job.
Incivility in the workplace is an unfortunate side effect of the recession, where jobs are scarce and everyone is aiming to hold on to whatever work they have. Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner says there are ways to stay in-the-know without being a gossip at work. We also talk with Will Marcum, a former GM plant worker of 20 years in Pontiach, Mich., to hear about his story of office politics during the economic downturn.
"Nine times out of 10, politics – not the best person – is going to be promoted. And this, I think, is what's killing America and killing the workforce right now."
—Will Marcum, former GM plant worker in Pontiac, Mich., on why politics should not play a role in workers getting promoted
American culture has always valued high worker productivity; it’s hard to encourage people in the U.S. to take time off from work. But one company thinks it can make more money by forcing employees to get out of the office and work fewer hours. For our weekly work segment, we talk with our contributor Beth Kobliner, Boston Consulting Group's Grant Freeland and Harvard Business School's Leslie Perlow about time off's benefits for employers and employees alike.
"By working as a team to try to create that predictable time off, it forced them to actually think about how they were doing their work, as a team, and to challenge some very deeply held assumptions about how work had to be done, and to realize things could be done differently."
—Harvard Business School's Leslie Perlow, on an experiment in which business groups were required to take regularly scheduled hours off work every week
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, we're soon likely to see a major shift in the gender balance of the working world. As early as this November, it's projected that for the first time in U.S. history, more women will be working than men. Add to this fact that 78 percent of the people laid off in the recent recession were men, and one sees a whole new picture of America's workforce.
We speak with Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties." She says the forces changing the demographics of the working world influence both men and women. Also, Sharon Meers, a former Goldman Sachs executive and co-author of "Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All," explains what the shifts might mean for the managers and workers of small and large companies across the country.
As the unemployment rate climbs, more people are having to relocate in order to find work. Almost 20% of Americans who took new jobs in July moved in order to get them. The Takeaway's finance contributor Beth Kobliner talks about the challenges — and opportunities — of a national job search. We also hear from Jeff Gilbert, who moved last year from outside Detroit to Wyoming, Ohio to take a job as general manager of a commercial manufacturing company.
Call it Big Brother or call it being a conscientious employer, but there's a new kind of software that monitors your use of email and online messaging: how many messages you send, how often, and when. It's called Cataphora and it also looks at instant messaging, word processors, and keycard use, to find out how useful an employee you are. We talk with Cataphora's CEO, Elizabeth Charnock, along with Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner, author of Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties.
For our Thursday work segment, we're talking about how work, or the lack of it, puts a strain on mental health. Some health experts say that stress from a recession can negatively impact your mind and body. Stress on the economy can lead to stress in your body, in other words. Joining us is our finance contributor Beth Kobliner, and Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist and physical therapist.
Dr. Lombardo's "GREAT" acronym for avoiding stress-related physical effects:
The first phase of the "Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009" goes into effect this week. While some major provisions of the law won't kick in until next year, credit card companies have to make some immediate changes, including giving cardholders advance notice about interest rate hikes. Personal finance expert and The Takeaway's finance contributor Beth Kobliner joins us to help explain the new rules.
With so much talk about the ailing economy, it may not seem like the best time to start a new business, but in our weekly work segment we look at some reasons why it might make sense to do it now. Takeaway contributor Beth Kobliner, author of Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties, joins us with two entrepreneurs who are doing well in the recession: Marva Allen, co-owner of Hue-Man Bookstore in New York, and Jo-Ellen Stammen, who runs her own design business. ...(continue reading)
What they see is [that] bigger, more established competitors may be having to cut back and lay off people, maybe not having that great service they used to have. So a new company could start, a small business could start, and really have that edge.
—Financial author Beth Kobliner on why starting a business during a recession can be a good idea
I tried to remove some of the age indicators from my resume...I definitely updated my resume to reflect the newness of the MBA and tried to play down some of the other dates.
—Susan Price, 49 year old laid-off professional trying to find a job
"Even though it has this nice sound—"furlough"—it's a pay cut and you're getting less money and you have to adjust your spending."
—Beth Kobliner on furloughs
We had a live online Question and Answer session with Beth Kobliner, author of "Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties."
Click through for the full transcript ...
Go to the Income Based Repayment site IBRinfo to get more information about this repayment plan.
"After 25 years, the government forgives all your debt."
— Beth Kobliner on income-based repayment of student loans