Windows 8 and Businesses Won’t Mix

I have previously written about Windows 8 being a real nail bitter. Already the new Windows Surface tablet is proving to be troublesome, which Microsoft addressed by lowering the cost from the predicted 600$ to a possible 200$ to rival that of the Amazon Kindle running on Andriod. Recently every head hunting company shrieked with excitement upon hearing about LinkedIn integration into the new Outlook, Microsoft will be releasing with their new OS. Of course, they got excited all too soon. Everyone from Gabe Newell to random internet strangers have pointed out the numerous flaws in the new operating. This leads me to believe that alas, companies will not be switching to Windows 8, but rather doing another version of “sit and wait on Windows XP,” this time titled “sit and wait on Windows 7,” until Microsoft gets the next thing right.

What’s Not Going to Stick:

  1. Some people might be ok with a tablet-like interface, but it’s pretty clear that if only 11 percent of the adult population owns a tablet, not everyone wants to use one. Really the displeasure should be obvious, considering no one buys a desktop if they really want a tablet. Especially, considering the comparative cost of the two. I could sit here and be frustrated over the fact that had Apple started the desktop-as-tablet revolution, Macheads would have been sure to claim it as the new way of technology. Instead, I am going to point out that Microsoft started the tablet-as-desktop revolution, forcing non-tablet users to integrate into tablet format on their computers. Basically, it’s nice to have a tablet that works like a computer and syncs all of its information across all devices, but not one wants a computer that looks like it has half of the features a desktop.
  2. I might be overly skeptical, but I’m not really sure that the LinkedIn integration will work the way recruiters want it to. Sure, there is no doubt we will get to see whatever your contact may have added to their LinkedIn profile. But do we also want the reminders that we still need to connect with someone we have possibly never spoken to based on a recommendation? What about the idea that social media is invading into one of the few things online we still like to believe is personal—our email? Is this inevitable because social media is an inseparable part of today’s society or did LinkedIn and Microsoft just get greedy?
  3.  It can’t be used comfortably for…anything. The start and desktop as apps? Having Office on the cloud? Not many people have adapted Microsoft’s current tools. Let’s look at the update from the perspective of those people who do not get the latest gadgets all the time. The good ol’ baby boomers who are still a huge part of the economy in their working efforts. I’m certainly generalizing here, many have an issue adapting early to a new operating system that looks nothing like anything they’ve dealt with before. Other than those who are now sporting the new Windows Phone and eagerly waiting for the Surface Tablet, Window’s new OS will be a big change—something that few want to deal with. One of the reasons that Windows 7 was successful, was its mix between some people being familiar with Vista and wanting a better version of it and others just sitting on Windows XP for entirely too long. Most companies will not jump on the band wagon right away and will in fact run away from it if it’s too unfamiliar.

Finally: I hate to admit it, but people have always turned to Windows to be innovative while keeping things familiar. It’s one of the reasons people do not switch to Mac. I am not suggesting that Microsoft should have just stayed with Windows 7, but this is not the answer. People were not prepared and they certainly will have a tough time adjusting. If my predictions are right, this new OS will roll out, already few like it and even fewer will once it’s out of beta. Their next operating system will simply remove the new extremes and become more videogame-friendly again. Unless, Microsoft is also trying to get people to use their Xboxes and not their PC’s for gaming, but that’s a huge can of worms we are not about to open yet.

Socially Unemployable

We all know them. They fill up our social feeds with the awesome time they had last night, talk about how great it is to not get up until noon at earliest. They post pictures of their Xbox GamrTags and those funny things most of us can only refer to as Mee-Mees. In the end, they ask why they’re not employed, and they ask it across all of the social media sites they are on. In general, these friends/follows/instagramers/gamers we know, fall roughly into the same categories and are unemployed for these exact social media reasons. As following:

1. The Juicer/Socialite

How could he possibly be sending out his resume if he needs to get pumped to go out later? Which means right now he needs to go to the gym and he wants to make sure you know about it. On his way over to the gym, he will post a facebook status. Then, he will ask for a retweet from everyone who is also currently driving and tweeting on their way to a gym. Once in the gym, he will post a picture of his protein shake on instagram. Just so you don’t forget that he’s been working out this past week (and how could you, ever), he will also post several pictures that he took of himself looking into a mirror.

Why Unemployed: Because he liked his prospective employer’s company page, which the head of HR checks regularly to see the profiles of those who have sent in their resumes. Upon further clicking, the HR coordinator found a bunch of half-naked pictures of Juicehead (how else are people going to see his killer abs?). And with interests including, pumping iron and kicking a$# who could resist hiring Juicehead? Everyone, that’s who.

Recommendations: All Juicehead has to do, besides make his profile private, is diversify. Include other interests, Like pages that relate to the job skills you claim to have on his resume. The best advice I can offer? Remove the pictures of yourself in the mirror with the flash reflecting back into the camera. Not only is that very “Myspace” and five years ago, it is also very tacky. More importantly, it won’t get anyone the kind of attention they deserve: girls will only be interested in the picture, not the man and companies could care less about the picture, so they won’t be interested at all.

2. The Cat/Dog/Cartoon or Video Game character

While Mr. Whiskers does make for the most adorable model laying there on your windowsill, Whiskers in not looking for a job. Neither is Spots and, frankly, Mario already has one—he’s in the business of princess rescuing. While I completely understand the need to keep yourself protected online and camera shyness makes the best of us, try to avoid it if you are looking for a job currently.

Why Unemployed: Because while an employer does get a glimpse of your personality (it seems like you might be a dog person) the information you’re willing to put out is not valuable to any employer. In addition, it makes it seem like you are trying to hide something. I’m not saying good employers should make assumptions about your work ethic based on your being attractive/unattractive—they should never. However, who are you more likely to want to speak to? Someone smiling back in their profile picture, just being their best self, or Mario, the pleasantly plump plumber with an aversion to turtles? Why stick around someone introverted and dig around to find anything viable, if you can just move onto the extrovert on the next page, who looks like they want to talk to you?

Recommendations: Go to your settings and re-check what you’ve made public knowledge. Better yet, have a good friend take a picture that you would be happy with. Put it up for the time being across your social media, until you get employed. Then you can once again retreat to your comfort zone of relative anonymity. There’s another piece of advice here in store for you: Fake confidence—this little tid bit brings you a long way, fake it enough and you’ll soon realize the world of communication that you’ve been missing out on. Good news is, you are still doing better impression-wise than the next person.

3. The Absentee

You might think it keeps you incognito, and you’re keeping yourself safe. Other companies think that you have something to hide. Considering there is a 90 percent chance that your friends are socially active and have had you in their pictures, you are already online. Now, it’s just a matter of you accepting the 21st century and coming in or being scared and avoiding it like the plague.

Why Unemployed: This situation is similar to cat person’s above.  But why not have a facebook page that is set to be entirely private, except for a picture? You take pride in the fact that you did not succumb to the temptations of the internet, but what about those who tell you they are not even on facebook? Do you rejoice in finding a kindred spirit or do you worry that they have alternate reasons for keeping offline?

Recommendation: At least create a LinkedIn account until you get employed. This way you stay professional, but there’s a name to a face and your achievements are exactly how you want them to look—not crowded by pictures of you with a pint. It’s like back in the day, when having your name and picture in the paper meant you’ve made it. If you’re not in any paper and completely off the board, it writes you off the competition. Come on, this way you will have something other than reddit to get your news off of.

Finally, all of us have archetypal tendencies, so just make sure yours does’t make you look bad.

Keep Your Friendship and Get a Job

There are really only two options in employment (employed or unemployed). With the unemployment rate around a steady 8.3% chances are most of your friends if not yourself are unemployed, especially if you’re millennials. A group of friends gets rapidly more boring as everyone’s money dwindles and people move back into their childhood bedrooms and basements.

It’s natural to want everyone to get some kind of work before you all become potato chips (about one stage and a half after a couch potato). If you’re working, you will want to push your unemployed friends further to get jobs so you that everyone can return to enjoying happy hour at your local watering hole. If you’re not employed and looking with your friends, your frustrations might eventually be taken out on your friends. Additionally, your friends might be as motivated, more motivated or completely careless—all of which can be real deal breakers when you’re on the other side of the spectrum. Here’s some advice about how to handle it.

  1. A Man with a Full Belly Doesn’t Understand the Plight of the Starving

If you’re employed, it is likely your mentality will be “I got a job, so why can’t you?” After which you will begin to go on Criaglist in your free time and spam your friend’s email with all kinds of postings where he may/may not be remotely employable. This does not help your friend. If he/she is not right for the job, they will just receive another distressing rejection letter. It might be better to suggest opportunities. “Hey there’s a position at this company where I have connections, it’s not what you want, but it might be a good idea while you keep looking around,” sounds a lot better than mass emails that will make them feel like you do not trust that they’re making an effort. In addition, there’s a good chance other people are already wailing on them so you can easily sit back and take the supportive role.

  1. You Can Lead a Horse To Water…

So let’s say your friend is unemployed and he tells you “sure, I will look into that” about a position that’s open in your company. You promptly do not receive a resume from him, no phone call, zero effort. You send him a Criaglist listing for a position where you know the hiring manager and he thinks your friend would be perfect. Still, no response. You point out a new job board he can use that is specific to his experience (mediabistro.com for creatives for example) and he says tone of the classics:”I don’t know if that’s something I want,” or “I’m considering just waiting this economy out, no one is hiring in my field right now,” and finally, “I just don’t want to deal with that.” Finally, they can lie and tell you they applied when you know they didn’t. This is the perfect situation where it’s ok to tell yourself you’ve done enough and it’s time to step back. What it all comes down to is that your friend does not want to be employed and doesn’t want your help either. Take the hint, fire one last suggestion of staffing companies he can ask for help and let him do whatever he needs to do. Eventually, when you go to the bar without him or he sees the nice apartment you can now afford, he will come around.

  1. Eyes on The Prize

Here you are, going crazy, applying every day to at least 3 different positions. Taking the saying “searching for work is a full time job,” to a whole new level with your obsessiveness and determination. And your friend has the audacity to send you another position?! ….wait, this actually looks good, I am going to put a resume together for them.

Anyway, there’s your friend doing absolutely nothing and keeps complaining about it. Jobs are not just jumping into his arms by themselves. Well, here the same advice applies as above. Let them run their course and natural competitive instincts take their course. Once you put on a suit and get out there and they see it, they will catch up. Maybe he or she  will even let you proof read his resume.

Of course, the economy is horrid and finding a job includes so many various factors that might not even be within our control. Whether the whole group of your friends is unemployed or just you, there’s always something to do that’s cheaper than going to a bar. For one, utilize your parent’s basement and buy a six pack instead of going out. Better yet, take a hike or go the beach. Even better, go to a local bookstore and look through their job reference books to help you along the search. Attend networking events together, even if you’re employed. After all, friends should still be there for support so just have fun with the fact that unemployed or not, you have company. Stay in your own business but let a good opportunity pass you or your friend while you’re looking in the wrong direction either. Try not to make mom have to clean the basement too often, it wouldn’t kill you to do your own laundry during your stay either.

Tech Brands, Reciprocate the Love with Competition

No office is complete without a techie. You know, the person who looks up specs for new items and definitely has a solid stance on the whole Windows vs Mac. Ok, maybe that person is me here at Winston. Regardless, that person is invaluable to the company they side with in a debate. All of their online rantings on tech websites, social media and blogs will diligently defend their favorable company with (usually) valid points to their friends, colleges (even if most of the time they can empty eyes as a response) and anyone willing to listen. Why are these people and their crazy antics so important? Because they increase brand recognition with their viral brand royalty. This means that not only is this person always going to buy the product you are selling, they might also persuade a person or two to do the same. These people are so important that their angry outcries of “why this?” and “I can’t take it anymore!” need to be heard and quickly soothed. Geeks need to continually be able to out-argue each other, because if they can easily concede to in an argument to competitor’s progress, your brand has just lost the tech war.

It’s scary to see that the government might not buy your product anymore because you have become less eco-friendly than you previously promised and it’s even scarier when people begin to say that your competition is getting ahead of you. At least it should be. I am not just referring to Jelly Bean’s lightening speeds, Siri’s lack of emotion or timely responses. I am speaking more along the lines of costumers outright letting you know (through a widely respected source) that they are switching from your product if you do not deliver in your next and (possibly last) opportunity. Google bothered quite a few people when it decided to make the internet more friendly by asking people to use their real names to comment on Youtube posts.

Apple’s response of removing Youtube from their new OS is not exactly a better business step. Consider how often you use or know someone who uses Youtube. Now consider how many videos you see that are not hosted by Youtube. Are you starting to understand the rampant foot shooting being done here? My point is, no business ever should regress. Competition exists so that your company knows that someone can always ‘one up’ you, not so that you can sit back when you think you are ahead of the curve. Deleting a service you have because your competition is involved or relaxing on your updates because you think you’re ahead is not recommended if you are rolling out a product that is known to raise expectations. In the technological industry a mishap or one lost audience member means thousands  of dollars in lost revenue.

Bottom Line? Get those who don’t like you on your side and keep those who already love you—closer.

Which Company is Right for You?

If your potential employer sees that you do not fit in with an office’s culture, you are likely not going to be the most desirable candidate. Everyone wants to avoid rejection, but in some cases it might be good for you. After you come home from an interview and and before yo udespair, consider the kind of company you interviewed with and weigh their strengths against your needs. Of course, it’s never good to turn something down before trying it, but if you were turned away from a position, it might have been good for you. If a company is not listed below, chances are, it’s already part of the other categories.

  1. Small, Growing and Willing to train 

Think a start up IT company

This company will value one thing over anything else–loyalty. They are small and want to build up their business brick by brick, employing people they think will be the perfect fit so they can train them with specific skills. They are willing to put in the time to train you because they know the payoff is a great worker who knows exactly what’s expected of them while the company continues to expand. Here the right person should have enough job experience to know what they want from a company. Since they are putting in the time to train you, they expect you to appreciate and seek opportunities to grow internally to reciprocate. If you decide to jump ship from this company without getting at least five years of work in or reaching your career ceiling, you will not get positive references to help you move on. Once it becomes pretty obvious that you are not interested in the long haul, you will likely fall out of the office culture here.

2. Large, Growing but Does not Train

Think Google when they launched Google Instant

This company has bigger fish to fry than worry about helping you grow your skill set. They certainly will give you some basic idea of what they want and how it needs to be done. But they will not put in the time to explain the business or a new strategy to you. They want you to complement their current efforts so they could just focus on getting their expansion working. This company is great to have on your resume if you are a seasoned professional because it will illustrate your strengths with a new, unique experience. In addition, if it’s large enough you can probably recommend your friends and help more people get in. This is the perfect company to have as you step up from your first two year job. Your loyalty is important and will certainly be rewarded here if the growth is successful, but it’s just as good to get a fancy name on your resume.

3. Large Company, Downsizing

Think publishing companies

It sounds bizarre but when large companies downsize, they like to hire interns, temps, and part time people to do the work that the person they just fired used to do. A downsizing first gets rid of certain roles that do no require full time presence.  They need people to come in for a little bit to do the work that would otherwise be thrown at the already overworked current employees. The issue here is not that you would be doing a lot of work, it’s that you may or not be hired once your assignment or internship is over. However, like any other large company, it will more than likely be a great addition to your resume. Make sure you stay for long enough for the next person who sees your resume to know that you actually gained experience ( the duration of the assignment), otherwise, it will be pretty obvious that you just wanted to take advantage of a company name, and no one wants their business viewed that way.

4. Medium Company, Not Expanding

Think your local business with no more than three offices

Again, more likely to be a good fit for seasoned employees, but in medium sized, seasoned company, a newbie can find his or her place as well. This company values loyalty but also understand what a career is about. You are most likely replacing someone who moved on or retired. Since this company chose to keep a certain size instead of maxing out for profit, they know what they want from each employee and only need to hire new people when an old position becomes open. In some situations they will train, but more than likely, they want someone to pick up what the previous person put down. This is a good company to keep yourself steady and working, with potential for a raise and mobility because they will definitely hire from within first. The downside is that you might be in the same position for quite a while, waiting for something to open up or profits to rise in the company.

Medium Sized Companies Want a Team Player

 

The most important lesson here is: You won’t get a feel for any of this until you physically come in. A recruiter, or a friend, no one short of a future co-worker can give you an accurate expectation for the company when you apply. All you can do is come in with an open mind and a positive outlook.

Google Fiber For Your Business?

Google is nowhere done growing. Neither was Skynet in 2029 when it sent back the Terminator. Much like the number of zeros the number googol has, Google’s abilities run into hundreds. At this point, it’s passed pandemic proportions and moved into worldwide contagion. Much like with Apple products, you can completely Google yourself out. Chromium powered laptops, Andriod phones and tablets are a techie’s open source dream. Recently, tech companies have begun to press the power of wireless internet. Apple discontinued Ethernet ports in their new MacBook Pros and Chrome Books’ OS Chromium relies heavily on the internet to power and store your information.

The next step for Google is only natural: make internet better. Google’s next great, multi-million, multi-year venture is called Google Fiber. Fiber is going to be doing what so far only Verizon Quantum has attempted to do, for quite a bit of cash. Verizon services can offer you up to 300 Mbps speeds (2.2 min to download an HD movie) for 89.99 per month, and so far no major cable companies can compete. That is until Google came in with its Wal-Mart sized competition. Google is trying to do to basic home internet what Wal-Mart did to retail store prices.

Fiber offers a wide range of pricing from 0$ per month (that’s no typo) to 120$ for TV and high speed internet. For every business owner and tech nerd with at least three devices, this is a dream come true. And the three people whom I have pointed in the direction of Fiber have gotten excited all over for the mere prospect.

Cons: Getting closer to the possibility of having Skynet cyborg overlords. But seriously, let’s clarify some information. In order to use the free internet, a person needs to be part of the set up installation process that costs a 10$ when Fiber makes it to your city and a 300$ installation fee or 25$ a month, after which your internet is maintained at no cost. On all the other plans the installation fee is waived.  Will there be another catch? Possibly, in this case the large corporation will not be seeking to suck money from us, but something far more valuable—our consumer habits.

 

For your business, Google Fiber is an excellent prospect. Just consider the value of the product you could be receiving! For the time being, Fiber is not available for businesses even in Kansas City, as Google is keeping it residential during development.

It’s also important to note that several important addendums may need to take place before Fiber comes to your town, not to mention, your business. First, Fiber just launched in Kansas City in July. And the first tests have not brought the best results. Just as well, after initial testing, Google could realize the true cost of maintaining a 1Gbps speed and charge a lot more. Still, Google’s idea is truly noble: make internet a must have easy access tool for everyone and raise the bar in speed while they are doing it. Perhaps just seeing the competition heat up with make cable companies reconsider their current rates.

Dress Your Mind and Yourself For the Part

Don’t dress for the part you are given, dress for the part you want. Working at a dead end? There’s something you need to remember. A suit, is a suit, is a suit, is a suit. You don’t have to buy an Armani Suit if you can’t afford it because any suit is a…you get it.

Wouldn’t you hire snazzy Bradley Cooper?

Presentation for both yourself and your resume is extremely important. Competition is stiff now more than ever, and it might be that you have to do some psychological conditioning to get a paycheck. To get the job, you need to follow some natural human interaction rules.

1. Are you looking for a promotion? Start dressing for your new role.

Herein lay your number one key to success. Are you working at the front desk but wish you could get a raise up to HR or perhaps over to the sales team? Scoop out how the majority of the coveted department are dressing and start to mimic their clothing. It might sound ridicules. You don’t want to seem like one of those boys who gets Justin Beiber’s haircut to attract girls, but consider this. Do you remember what your high school cafeteria looked like? The Goths sat together, drama nerds sat in their little group? An office is not much different. There might not be a Mean Girl like Regina Gorge in your office but there are certainly divisions that happen naturally. Accountants just have more to talk about with other accountants. Now put all of that together and you’ll understand exactly how important it is to be the part you want. If you don’t fit in right away, edge yourself in, make yourself acquainted with the right people and express the reasons for your interest, explain why you know you are a fit. You have certainly envisioned yourself there, so don’t be afraid to explain your ideas. You have to really see yourself in that role so that others can see you in it. Of course once you get comfortable you can relax and show your uniqueness, but if you are not willing to initially put forward the effort fit into a group, perhaps it’s not the best idea to try to move up there.

2. Don’t come under-dressed for your first impression….ever.

With the short exception of retail jobs, it’s really easy to come underdressed to an interview. I am not trying to undermine retail; I am just referring to the easy to spot uniform most retail stores expect their employees to wear. If you’re looking for a waterslide in Target you look for someone in a red polo and khakis, and if you’re looking to get a deal on a printer at Best Buy you look for a blue shirt and khakis.

If you are going to discuss your finances with an investment banker, you will expect to see suit or at least a button up shirt, tie and slacks when you get to his office. Consider yourself the same way. It’s the association game. Picture the position you want, then consider the most relevant clothing—dress like that, but better.

 

Creative role? Same applies here, picture a graphic designer, now remove the tee and messy hair, add hair gel and a button up at least until you’ve made the perfect impression and viola! You got yourself the graphic designer the employer is expecting. Archetypes might be frustrating for some to deal with, but tell me the first image that pops into your head when I say Wicked Witch to prove me otherwise.

 

 

 

Guess which one gets the Green Light?

3. Make Sure Your Resume does the same thing for you.

Now that you’ve made sure you have a great image off paper, make sure your paper (or digital resume) looks fitting as well. Make sure its language and appearance, much like you in person, corresponds to the company you are applying to. Funny pictures applied to your resume and sarcastic remarks will only be appreciated by other companies that are known for liking funny pictures and sarcastic remarks. There is still a thin line here, don’t make inappropriate jokes: just because the company seems to make a lot of them, doesn’t mean their HR department will appreciate it.  For example, sending over a picture of Nick Cage titled Resume to work as a teller in a major bank will sent you right into the recycling bin.

Same goes when sending a boring resume with just your qualifications and no bacon over to a place like CollegeHumor.com. When countless advisors say, make your resume stand out, they don’t mean just put pretty borders on it. They mean, know what your boring competition is likely to put on their resume (Word, Quark experience) and change it up to make it more interesting (in addition to knowing Word and Quark, I can write at lighting fast speeds in a language that is quickly dying—proper English). Again, consider where you are sending it and make sure that it’s not a prim corporation where they will certainly not appreciate your splendorous skills).

Bottom Line:

Do we want to admit that appearance means a lot? That everyone is a tad shallow and based on a majority of Youtube comments, extremely judgmental? No. But is it the truth? Please comment and let me know when it’s worked otherwise.