Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.


Get a Jump on Boosting Your Career


The state of working in America is abysmal for just about everyone. Complaints drown out positive stories. Most workers are dissatisfied about some aspect of their jobs. Owners are unhappy, management is unhappy and labor forces are unhappy. Those who remain without work—-7.75%, still high but down from 10% in 2008—-are the unhappiest of all.

Why so much unhappiness? Those lucky enough to have a job are working longer hours for less pay and, in many cases, with no job security. That’s old news to many yet at a time when technology should be transforming the workplace, making us more efficient and productive, as well as creating new jobs that can lead to better careers for so many, we are faced with nothing less than an employment crisis.

Should work make us happy? Freud might have argued in part yes, but I would qualify that. Work should bring us some form of satisfaction yet a job alone, no matter how exciting and lucrative, should not be responsible for our overall happiness. Family, friends, and what we do in our off hours should contribute to our sense of self worth. Still, our jobs should not be making us unhappy and, in extreme cases, sick. Unfortunately, that’s what we are seeing in so many industries. People are unemployed, underemployed or over-employed (those working multiple jobs and still not able to make ends meet). Change is needed but how to make those changes?

2014 is a new year and with a new year come new opportunities. There are reasons to be hopeful, even excited about the opportunities to come. So make that New Year’s resolution to do something about your job situation, whatever that might be.

Control Yourself

Collective thinking may be saying that the outlook for business is poor. Stop looking at the overall picture. Control what you can: your own situation. You don’t need the economy to be “good”, you need ONE opportunity. In fact some believe there are more opportunities for those just starting out in so-called “bad times” than in economic booms. Thinking as an individual is also going to be one of the foundations of the new economy so why not start by focusing on yourself?

Avoid the naysayers. Discontent breeds more discontent.
Vow to make five new contacts each month whether on LinkedIn or by attending a meeting or lecture.
Change habits, even seemingly harmless ones.

What's ImportantWhat’s Important

Finding out what’s important is the basis for your value system. Again, don’t let others dictate what you find important. Value systems don’t start with what others see in us, but with what we see in ourselves. What you really want in life is a hard question to answer but if you can identify what you need to lead a happy, productive life, you can begin to see how your job fits into that vision.

People who explicitly stand for something, whether the quietly brilliant characteristics such as integrity, honesty, or compassion, have advantages in the business world. Those traits inspire others. When your personal value system extends to your job, your career decisions will be made for you.

List three things you can’t live without.
List three things you could live without.
What business person/s do you admire and why?
Tune out. Most people who say they can’t decide what they want are simply distracted or entranced by their daily routine. Set aside time to do nothing but think about yourself.

The Challenge

The world is a much different place than it was ten, even five years ago. The technological revolution is doing what it should be doing: changing everything. Tasks that were once a full time job are now done in a millisecond. Entire industries are faltering, failing, or being completely reinvented in order to survive.

Education is the single most powerful tool in this new environment. What type of education someone needs today is less likely to be as simple as a degree. It more than likely may mean the learning of various skills separately while then taking those skills and assembling them together to create a unique resource within yourself that gives you tremendous value.

We see this over and over again in the computer sciences. The pace of change in that industry has much to do with it becoming a necessary way of working for many who learn all aspects of one discipline only to put it together with a secondary set of skills which in turn create an entirely new and productive worker.

Take a course, in a classroom or online, that will give you a new needed skill.
Again, read, read, read, whether magazines or books that add to your knowledge.
Stop thinking of math and science as…well, math and science. It’s not. It’s creative and flexible too.
Learn Microsoft Office software. If you already know it then learn Quickbooks or Salesforce. If you know those learn HTML. No I am not kidding.

Be the Mother of Invention

Once you have gained this new knowledge, find ways to put it to use. Have you ever been at work and wondered why there wasn’t a person you could call who could perform a specific task or handle a certain part of a job? Maybe that person is now you. Do you work in a job where waste and inefficiency are a problem? Define the problem and solve it, then bring that information to your supervisor. Do you work in a real estate development office and find people who would pay a consulting fee to get direction when dealing with all of the paperwork? You get the idea.

Invent solutions, answers, and even new ways to see old problems. Do not be shy about presenting your ideas and you may be surprised at your employer’s reaction.

If you are like many Americans you are facing part time work offers. My advice is to see this as a way to start your own business. Work those hours and then see if it translates to something else you can do on your own. Many times we have to piece together a living while we are building our careers so take advantage of part time employment.

List five things you could change about your job given the opportunity.
Practice presenting your ideas to your supervisor.
Treat everything as a trial and error process. In the new world they sometimes call this iteration.

Creative Thinking2Different Thinking

The best way to think differently is to doubt yourself. Approach the same material as if your past thinking was wrong. If you start to question things in a logical progression, you may find new ideas.

This way of thinking is so important in the new world economy that top schools are devoting millions in funding and resources to it. Take the now prestigious d-school at Stanford University also known as The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. Launched in 2005 with no affiliation to any department, the program offers no degrees, yet could fill three times as many seats as there are openings.

The Johns Hopkins Business School and the Maryland Institute College of Art also have created “Design Leadership” courses that along with the d school are quickly becoming popular among recruiters from companies like Google, Nike, and JetBlue.

There is no one way to describe all of these programs and how they work but a glimpse at the d school shows people literally being trained to “reinvent” or re-think things they already know. This could include observing the checkout process in a supermarket, or attempting to discover new procedures for applying paint to an automobile. Students are asked to perform exercises based in evolving a hybrid talent of business and design skills. What this means for those of you unable to attend these classes is that a trickle down effect will shape the rest of the workforce until everyone is expected to think in a more adaptable manner.

Take just one routine task you perform each day and find another way to do it.
Study something profoundly. Headlights. Lipstick. A door hinge. Pretend you were asked to redesign it.
Guess more. Guess using information you have and then compare your guess to the actual solution. Smart guessing is a skill.
Find people who challenge you. You don’t have to agree with them, just hear them out, let them make you a little uncomfortable. It’s good for you.

The next few weeks can be a time of reflection but should also be a time of action. Many of the best traits in the new economy are not primary characteristics of past workers. People now have to work with less on the job training, but are expected to have the skills and training at the interview.

My advice is that if the corporate world wants the workforce to be responsible for their own training, then go one better – own it. If you own that skill not just from the expertise point of view but from the idea that you are now such a particular expert that you deserve high compensation and consideration then slowly every person will be their own best agent for their personal independent contracting. Even as an employee you may see benefits as the leverage you bring to salary negotiations alone can only enhance your standing. If your employer knows that you just might go out there and make a go of it alone they might give you the extra vacation weeks or the best parking space.

And as for those of you that may give more serious thought to taking that entrepreneurial spirit out there on your own, the near future may be something to keep your eye on.

Jason Veduccio, founder of In1Concepts, works with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

The New American Dreamer: Searching for Yourself


Two of the most important things to know about yourself are your credit score and your online presence. You can change or correct errors or problems on both but only if you look.

We spoke about how nosey everyone is these days, constantly snooping about each other online. What a potential employer or client finds might affect your career. So take a closer look at what could be a valuable asset and make sure it’s not a liability. (Review my previous story on resume keywords).

Let’s say you do a search for yourself and you see something you don’t quite like. This happens more than you think and there are ways to deal with it. First of all, remain calm. Before you leap to all sorts of conclusions contact the people responsible for posting the information by email and nicely state why you believe the information to be untrue and ask if they would be willing to take it down.

Not sure who is running the site or who to contact? Try this website to see if they are listed: www.whois.domaintools.com. If it’s listed look for “Admin Email” and contact them at that address. If they aren’t listed, there will be a technical contact with an email address available. You can also go to Google Content Removal with your plea but it’s very time consuming, so be patient.

Now most of the time simply asking someone to change something is enough, but for those rare instances when it isn’t, you can take further action. I suggest contacting a lawyer who can report Terms and Conditions Violations for you.

Many of the things people dislike about their reflection in the “digital mirror” can be found on Facebook. Facebook can assist you if necessary but many times that photo of you holding a beer in each hand (Hey, I know one was for your husband who went to the rest room, but the photo doesn’t say that!) can be easily removed when you simply ask.

You may be feeling fortunate when you search for yourself online and find nothing, nada, zero. Not so quick. You may not want derogatory information about you on the Internet, but you do need to have a presence online.

So if you need to take steps to remove offending information and photographs that could damage your reputation, act now to do so. The next step is going to build some impressive content about yourself online, controlling in a very positive manner what people see and think about you. Stay tuned.

Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

The New American Dreamer—
What Your Email Says About You


After taking last week’s quiz, you may have some new ideas about your future. You feel energized and want to hop on your computer and get started on your journey. Just a minute! Let’s talk about emails.

Unless you’re reading this on a print out brought to you by your twelve-year old, I think it’s safe to say that you have an email address. Most likely you use it to email your friends, your family, and maybe even co-workers. Until now you probably haven’t had reason to give it much thought. After today, I hope you will.

Think of your email address as your name. Have a nice ring to it? Even with the .com ending? View this email address as your digital name because that’s exactly what it is. Whenever you send or receive emails, people see your name. It’s free advertising for YOU.

How do you put together this email address? Pick your full name or first initial and last name and put them together as in judyjones or jjones. If your name is common, chances are that someone with your name got there first. You may have to add something to your name, the two-letter abbreviation of your state, for example, such as judyjonesny, or a two-digit number, judyjones67. Yes, you can use a dot (judy.jones) but just be aware that the dot will have to be very clear in all communication or you will lose email to that vast digital no man’s land.

It seems like I shouldn’t have to say this but I will: for your business email, don’t use any nicknames or, even worse, an address that displays a less serious side of your personality, such as pokershark98@yahoo or kimtequila@msn.

If you’re determined not to leave your playful side behind, then sign up for a few email addresses. I suggest three—one for business, one for your social side, and one to handle all that junk mail you receive. No, you won’t have to check them all every day and you can have all your mail forwarded to one email address easily enough. The idea is to have one email address for business as we discussed today, one for personal use such as kimtequila@msn, and then one for those deals online that make you give up your email address so they can then send you endless amounts of junk.

Next you need to pick a provider such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail or any number of other choices. My advice is to go straight to Google and sign up for a Gmail account. No, I don’t have stock in the company. The fact is simple: They have a great email system and a set of supporting tools that are easy to use.

There is one other option and that is to purchase your name at a registry and create a professional looking judy@judyjones.com address. There are many companies that do this but a few popular ones are www.godaddy.comwww.register.com, and www.networksolutions.com.

OK, judyjones59@gmail, nice work. With this out of the way we will continue with our journey.

Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

Five Popular Business Ideas for Women


Here at Woman Around Town, we’re all about helping you take on the world. We’re here to help you find your passion, and turn it into a long-lasting career. But, what if you’re not the type who works well under a boss? You’ve got itchy feet, and a notebook full of creative ideas. What if you’re the type of person who wants to work for herself? Today, we’re looking at five popular business ideas for women. Ready? Let’s take a look.

Start a tech company

The tech industry is in good health right now. Venture capitalists are throwing millions of dollars at creative and inventive startups. Just look at the likes of Facebook, Netflix, and Google. These companies are thriving, and we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible. Unfortunately, the tech world is still dominated by men, but here’s an interesting statistic. Companies with women on the board or in the boss’ chair consistently outperform those with just men. Start a tech company, and there’s no reason you can’t leapfrog the biggest players.

Open a restaurant

Restaurants need three things in order to thrive. Number one, a fantastic chef. If that’s you, then it’s time to come up with a wonderful menu, and unique dishes. If you’re the brains behind the operation, then your first job is finding the best possible chef. Number two, a great location. Wait for the perfect premises to come on the market, and snap up that dream location. Number three, a winning concept. In other words, find something that sets you apart from others in the area. Don’t forget about all the intricacies of setting up shop either. You’ll need to work with a supplier such as Restaurant Source, and set a strict budget.

Parenting blogs

We know plenty of entrepreneurial women who love to pass on their advice and wisdom. One smart (and lucrative) way to do this is through parenting blogs. A large amount of these mom-blogs and advice columns have sprung up over the last five years. They make money by selling advertising, and capitalizing on affiliate sales. You can do a similar thing, and it’s a wonderful way to keep busy if you’re on maternity leave.

Event planning

Everyone loves a great party, but imagine if attending events was your job. There’s no bigger thrill than hosting a successful party. When everything comes together, and people have a great time, it leaves you with a smile on your face. This option is only for the very meticulous, and organized individuals. There are plenty of to-do lists and jobs to get sorted. It’s exhausting, but it’s a lot of fun. Start by offering to organize your friends’ events, and build your contacts from there.

Editorial services

There’s a huge demand for writing and editorial services online right now. Companies all over the planet are producing content to help promote their businesses. By offering your services, you can make a small fortune working freelance. You could even become a full time author.

That’s all for now, folks! Have I missed any other fantastic business opportunities? Let me know.

Contributed posts are advertisements written by third parties who have paid Woman Around Town for publication.