#RuralAmerica #EconomicDevelopment #jobs #employment
Rural areas want to boost their economy.
They want to attract companies/employers who can employ lots of people who are now out of work for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is where they live.
Kyle Wingfield, a columnist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution, took on this issue, as it applies to rural Georgia, in an Aug. 27, 2017, column.
“There are a lot of different factors that affect the quality (of the workforce),” Wingfield quotes Amy Lancaster, director of workforce development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. “The education system is a big piece of that … but the opioids (epidemic), criminal justice reform – all those things have a big impact, so it’s hard to limit or confine it to one issue or agency,” the quote continued.
Regarding the education system, Wingfield discussed the community college system with Lancaster. “The course offerings may not be aligned with local demand, at least not from the employer side,” Wingfield quotes her. In other words, what the employers want the students to learn is not what the students themselves want to take.
She told Wingfield that there are no incentives for colleges, either two-year or four-year, to offer what the employers really need students to learn.
Let’s break this down further. Rural areas, be they in Georgia or any other state, have a distinct disadvantage to urban areas in terms of attracting employers. It’s difficult to attract the type of talent employers seek because the workers they want to attract, usually young and fairly educated, don’t want to move to a rural area. They look for the multitude of life options urban areas provide in abundance. And those workers already living in rural areas may not be the type of workers Company X needs.
Secondly, though there is relatively high unemployment in rural areas, it doesn’t appear that people are willing to do what it takes to become more employable. In other words, if a company needs, say, welders, and people are not willing to take the necessary training to become a welder, there’s a mismatch between the supply of employable people and the demand for the needed skills.
From the worker’s perspective, he may think, “is it worth my time to get the extra training that Company X wants me to have, only to find that a year or two later, the employer demands something else – or needs to reduce staff — and I’m no longer needed?”
Many workers who thought they had secure jobs have lost them, so it’s easy to figure out why they would ask whether the extra training and effort would be worth it in the long run.
An example might be truck driving. Would a prospective new truck driver want to go through all the training that it might take, only to discover a few years later that his company will be going to driverless vehicles?
Welders may be in demand now, but will they be replaced by robots later?
It’s a tough position all around. But, if you are a prospective worker who is examining what to do with your life, you might want to think outside the box. There are plenty of ways out there to make a potentially sizeable income, without a W-2 job, if you are open to checking them out. To learn about one of the best, message me.
If you are an employer, consider that workers willing to be retrained for the skills you need now will want some assurance that they will be able to adapt as your technology changes. And, in fact, that they will still be welcome as needs change. So, it’s not only the educational institutions that need incentives to offer courses in skills employers need, the workers, too, need incentives that a decent future awaits them, if they make the effort to be retrained.
It’s not just technical skills that employers look for. The so-called soft skills – being able to work as a team, being friendly and attentive to customers etc. – can be just as important to employers.
It’s a tough world. Good things come to those willing to adapt. How you adapt – and how you think about the future – could make all the difference in your success.


#BreakTheRules #employers #GoodWorks
Sometimes, one makes progress by following a set of rules.
Sometimes, one really gets ahead by breaking the rules.
At the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, if one breaks the rules or otherwise shakes up the status quo, he can win $250,000.
Tamara Best discussed this program in a New York Times article, which was published in the March 20, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“There are people doing really important things, breaking either the rules or sticking to their principles with knowledge that they will be hurt or punished in some way,” Best quotes Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab.
“In a lot of large institutions, there’s really two ways you can make progress,” Best quotes Ethan Zuckerman, director of MIT’s Center for Civic Media. “You can make progress when people follow the rules and work their way through the processes, and then sometimes you can make very radical progress by someone who essentially says, ‘Look, these processes don’t work anymore, and I need to have a radical shift in what I’m doing,” Zuckerman’s quote continues.
If you work for someone else, you should follow your employer’s rules. Some employers don’t handle radical thinkers well.
But let’s talk about “rules” that your parents perhaps handed down to you. They may go something like: Get a job with good benefits and decent pay. Keep your head down at work. Do what you are told. Your job security is the best thing you have. (I would use the word “own,” but no one owns a job. One may take ownership of his work, but the job belongs to the employer).
We’ve come to learn that these rules are obsolete. You can do great work, show up every day, stay out of trouble and even put in lots of extra effort that may or may not be in your job description. That may not keep you in a job for as long as you want to be.
Your good works may not get you into heaven, and they may not guarantee you job security anymore.
What to do?
Think radical. Upset the apple cart. Do something – perhaps not at work or on the job – that others might not do for fear of breaking the “rules.”
Some might say that I can think radical as well as anyone, but it may not get me anywhere, except in trouble.
There is a way you can think, if not radical, at least outside the rule box.
You can look at one of many ways you can earn an income without a traditional job. You can work for yourself. You can help others along the way. All you have to do is be open enough to check it out. If you’d like to check out one of the best vehicles to accomplish this, message me.
In some settings, it’s OK to break the rules, especially if the rules don’t help you get what you want. Sometimes, the rules are enticing you to break them. That can be good – or bad – depending on the setting.
The best rule for breaking the rules is to do it in a setting where it is encouraged. That can be at a place like MIT’s Media Lab, or in your own home.
Some rules are meant to be broken. Others break themselves. So examine your situation and determine whether it’s time to break the rules – or not.


#DoTheRighThing #employers #employees

“Catch someone doing the right thing.”
“Do the right thing, even if no one is watching.”
These two quotes seem contradictory. However, they have much meaning together.
When one does the right thing, it’s sometimes for the display factor. They know they are being watched, evaluated etc., and they do what they’re supposed to do.
If you are a boss, you are more likely to look for people doing the WRONG things, and disciplining them for it. After all, you EXPECT people to do the right things, since that’s what they are getting paid for.
But what if, as a boss, you looked for people doing the right things? Would you think that your staff would be more motivated or excited to witness acknowledgement of what’s right, instead of punishment for what’s wrong?
Now, let’s say you are the employee. Your boss has stepped away from your area. Are you tempted to do the wrong thing, i.e. slack off, take a break etc.? If you are a good person, you keep doing your job, even if your boss isn’t watching. It matters not to you what your coworkers are doing. You just keep doing your job.
Now, as a boss, what if you surprised your employees by doing something nice for them? How would that make them feel? How would that make you feel?
Doing the right thing, no matter what, is always right. When you are in a job, you want to find the things about it that motivate you, other than the money. Finding non-monetary motivators is a key to happiness at work.
Of course, some jobs make finding non-monetary motivators more difficult than others. It’s tough to find such motivators when you clean toilets, haul trash etc. Still, your role in the organization may be vital, and you have to take encouragement from that.
On the other hand, if you are truly miserable at work, or you and your boss are constantly at loggerheads, you might need to find a path to success outside of that environment.
There are many ways out there to spend some part-time hours outside of work so that you can say goodbye to that miserable job. Message me to learn about one of the best vehicles out there to do that.
Sometimes, doing the right thing involves leaving a situation in which you are encouraged to do the WRONG thing. There are some unscrupulous employers out there who might put you in that position. In that case, getting out is doing the right thing.
As humans, we find ourselves doing the wrong things occasionally, even if we are, by and large, good people. In that case, apologize, correct your mistakes and proceed to do the right things.
It doesn’t matter who is watching. Find the right things to do, and do them vigorously and constantly. At the same time, look for others who are doing the right thing, acknowledge them and emulate them.
You will feel good. You’ll make others feel good.



#life #purpose #MakeADifference
“The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to have it make some difference that you lived at all.”
That quote, from Polish-born writer Leo Rosten, is one of many inspirational quotes and words in the book, “The Power of One: How One Person Can Make a Difference,” by BJ Gallagher and Steve Ruttenberg.
Let’s dissect the quote for a minute. If you work for someone else, perhaps you only want to be productive enough that the boss will pay you, and keep you around awhile.
If you work in a place in which only the owner of your company, and a few key executives, are getting rich, and you are not, that feeling is understandable. Why, after all, would you want to give your all so that they can take all – or at least the lion’s share.
Then, think about how much you matter to them. They may like your work, and may even think pretty highly of you. But how much are they going to sacrifice to make sure you don’t leave? Chances are, they see you as nothing more than a tool, a human resource. If they determine that you are costing them too much, or they need to reorganize and get rid of a few people, do you think they are going to care about what happens to you?
They may say nice things, but they will tell you they had to make some “tough decisions.” Some employers, undoubtedly, honestly feel bad about letting people go. But most of them aren’t going to take money out of their pockets to make sure there is money in yours.
Rosten, undoubtedly, was not thinking about employer-employee relations when he spoke those words.
He was referring to what’s inside YOU. Are you doing things in your world, if not at work, outside of it, that matter to others? Are you helping others, to borrow from the late Zig Ziglar, get what they want, thereby getting what you want?
It can be tough to matter. It can be difficult to be productive, generous, humble, even honest.
It can be hard to like everyone.
But Rosten’s words say that we should strive to be and do all those things.
Personal happiness, perhaps, is selfish in his mind. But without personal happiness, it will be a struggle to be the person you want to be – someone others see as valuable.
One does not have to be financially rich to give happiness. But one must strive to give what he can so others can succeed.
Some bosses want you to give, so they can take. You’d much rather give so that others can get and, by extension, you can get as well.
If you see yourself as a giving person, or are striving to be, but are looking for the best way you can give, visit You’ll see stories of people who became successful by finding the best way to give to others.
You can stay on the treadmill of a job, with a boss who doesn’t care about you. Certainly, if it pays well enough, you can sock enough money away to leave that job sooner rather than later. If you are lucky, you’ll be able to hang in as long as you want to.
But that may not be the way YOU want to be productive, to matter or to make a difference. You may have to look for the best way for you to do that.


#PredictiveAnalytics #SocialMedia #jobs
We all know the job-search routine: find a job you might want, send a resume, fill out an application, sit for an interview and, assuming you decide the job is for you, get hired.
But with the advent of social media, employers not only have ways to find out things about you, they can do social media profiles, so-called predictive analytics, on you to determine whether you have the characteristics they want.
Rodd Wagner, best-selling author and confidential adviser to senior business and government leaders, discussed this in a Jan. 21, 2016, column in USA Today. Wagner’s most recent book is titled, “Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They’re Real People.”
Wagner’s book title is ominous, though most of us have probably had jobs in which the boss may not have looked at us as “people.” We were more like “assets,” or “human resources.”
Few people realize how much digital evidence they leave in their wake, Wagner writes. A person’s profile of the “Big Five” personality traits – openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism – can be discovered through a person’s Facebook posts and likes, and machine coding of what the person has written online, Wagner writes.
We’ve all heard creepy stories of prospective employers demanding to know one’s Facebook password, so he can delve more deeply into one’s personality. We’ve also heard stories of schoolteachers and other public figures being fired for posting a picture of himself or herself enjoying a harmless glass of wine.
Many of us don’t think that what we do online is in the public domain. We may think that only our “friends” see it. Now, Wagner asserts, an online profile of you can be created through patterns of activities on social media and elsewhere in the digital world.
Is this fair? Fairness doesn’t matter. Employers will do whatever is legal and possible to find out everything they can about you, especially if they are hiring you for a big-time or sensitive job.
Wagner writes that this process is messy. Poor decisions will be made because of that evidence. There will be abuses. There will be lawsuits, either because the computer picked someone else for a promotion, or, if predictive analysis proves far superior than human judgment, because a company relied solely on people rather than machines to make its decision.
Messiness also produces backlash, Wagner writes. There will be legislation and court rulings to redefine worker privacy and managerial discretion in the predictive analytics world. The goal is to ensure that science serves employees with a better job fit and opportunities, as much as it serves the business, Wagner writes.
The moral here is to be careful on social media. Watch out for political discussions, controversial posts etc. Read them if you must, but react to them publicly at your peril, if you ever intend to look for a job. “Like” a cute picture, but be wary of “liking” a controversial drawing or cartoon.
Most of all, take care in what you write. You can be yourself, and still be somewhat unassuming. Be careful in complaining about someone, or something. Make sure your posts are as positive as they can be.
Of course, if you’d like not to have to worry about predictive analytics, visit You’ll find a way to save money, make money and avoid confrontation with a prospective employer.
Your online activity can say lots about you, whether it’s correct or not. You may have a hard time correcting incorrect perceptions should you have to confront predictive analytics.


#employerspying #privacy #spyingonemployees
Imagine your boss forcing you to download an app on your personal cell phone that would allow him or her to monitor everything you do, everywhere you go, both at work and at home.
Would that bother you? What if deleting that app from your phone got you fired?
Heather G. Anderson, a lawyer with the Miller Anderson Law Group, discussed this in a column in the June 21, 2015, edition of The News Sentinel newspaper in Knoxville, Tenn.
Many employers equip their company vehicles with GPS systems to monitor their whereabouts at all times, Anderson says.
Now, a California company has opted to require employees to download an app on their personal cell phones, so they can monitor what the employees are doing at all times, she says.
Certainly, employers can have legitimate reasons to monitor people. They certainly don’t want their employees goofing off, or dealing with other personal issues on work time. Employers may even want to track employees and vehicles in search of better and quicker responses to problems, more efficient use of company property and employees’ time etc.
The big question becomes, what about an employee’s privacy? Anderson says employees expected privacy in the workplace by locking desks, password-protecting documents etc. But employers have discovered that some employees abuse the latitude they are offered in the workplace.
So, Anderson says, if you are an employer, and you don’t want to offer your employees any privacy while on the job, including Internet and cell phone use, you need to spell that out.
But what about monitoring an employee outside of work? Anderson says many states have laws regarding employee monitoring, and some require permission in advance from the employee to do so. Others make it illegal to fire an employee based on lawful activity outside of work, unless specific exceptions apply. Tennessee does not have any off-duty conduct laws, she adds.
Anderson recommends, as one might expect, that employers check with an attorney to determine the rights and risks involved in setting up a monitoring policy.
Many employers will try to get away with anything to learn as much as they can about someone who works for them. They delve into a person’s social media activities, do background checks etc. A rule of thumb here for an employee or prospective employee: if you have something you don’t want your employer or prospective employer to know, don’t put it where it can easily be found. Better yet, keep it to yourself.
The bigger questions, besides the legal ones, become: what limits do employers have? What expectation of privacy should employees have when they go to work someplace? An employer’s curiosity may not stop with the interview question: what are your hobbies?
Of course, you can eliminate the possibility of an employer snooping on you by becoming an independent business person. How? For one of the best ways, visit You can work for yourself, not by yourself, and create the freedom to do what you like, without anyone watching. Of course, it’s always best to do good things, even when no one is watching.
As employers look for tighter leashes for their employees ostensibly to improve their bottom lines, they risk sending great, or potentially great, employees out the door. If you are one of those great, or potentially great, employees, your options may not be as limited as you might believe.


We’ve all had friends who have, usually as they are leaving us, wishing us well and telling us not to work too hard.
Our parents, teachers, coaches and other mentors all tell us that hard work is required to get almost anything.
So why would our friends tell us not to work too hard?
Let’s forget for a minute work-life balance, and overwork-induced stress. Our friends don’t want us to work too hard because we might give our employers more than the employers are paying for.
Most good, conscientious people don’t want to be deliberately unproductive, or give less than they know they should. Most of them want to be as productive as they can be. Some will risk their physical and mental well-being to be so.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do things right, and pleasing your boss. But there should come a point at which one asks himself, who’s working for me? If I’m working for him or her, is he or she also working for me? If I am helping him or her get what HE or SHE wants, is he or she returning the favor?
Many people believe that they work for a paycheck. They get so busy doing that, they don’t even think about their own big picture. Sure, your boss might ask you in a performance review where you want to be in five years, 10 years etc. You give some pat answer, even if you KNOW you may not want to be in that place, doing what you are doing now, all those years later.
Even people who want to be doing something different in the future are so consumed by their circumstances that they not only can see no way out, but also they won’t even consider great alternatives that may be presented to them.
Those that do consider alternatives sometimes find great things that they never knew existed. To do that, one has to be willing to look. Serendipity is great when it happens, but, generally, one has to be willing to look for alternatives to find them.
If you believe your current situation needs to change, AND you are willing to see what might be out there to help you change it, visit Some may not find what they are looking for there, but others may find just the thing. You may also find not only that you can work hard for you, but others will work hard for YOU!
Polls show people dismayed, pessimistic and downright hostile to the future. But, when one looks at facts, rather than conjecture, he will likely find many good things out there to be had. He will also see that he can HAVE them by doing something a little different.
In short, don’t work too hard for someone else. Work hard for you! Very few others will work for you. Do what you need to do to make your situation better. Complaining requires energy that you need to do what you need to do.
You don’t have to abandon what you have, but you may need to have a different attitude about it. Good, hard workers in bad situations know that the situation is only temporary. They know that one day, what they want will be theirs.
Have a good mind-set about any task you perform. Always believe that the future not only can be bright, but you will make it so.
So, work hard, but have a reason, besides a paycheck, to do what you are doing. Take steps to get control of your future – control that no one but you can take away.


Every dispute, situation or dynamic is centered around power.
Those that have it tend to want to use it to control others.
Those that don’t have it look to find something they can use as a weapon against those in power.
When terrorists cannot implement their agenda, they use terror tactics to inflict damage against those whom they cannot conquer.
When a criminal wants what someone else has, knowing that person would not give it to him willingly, he gets a weapon to force the exchange.
Our only hope is that those who gain power use it to help others, not hurt others.
Anyone can gain power. Most of those who are successful in business, for example, didn’t get there without hard work, good fortune and some help from others. Now that they have achieved their success, are they using it to take from, or give to, others? And, in the process, are they using, or otherwise taking advantage of others to achieve their goals?
Some see power as evil, unless they have it. Power does not have to be evil. It can be very good, if used properly. Of course, it can be evil if not.
How do we use power for good? We use power to empower. We use power we have achieved to empower others. For example, we use our power as parents to empower our children. How? By acting toward others in ways you would want your children to act toward others.
You see, you can tell children anything, but what you tell them won’t matter unless they see you acting the way you are telling them to act. You can tell a child to stay away from drugs, but if you are taking them yourself, chances are your children will follow your actions.
If you are an employer, you can’t expect your employees to give you their best if they believe you are not giving your best to them. They have to see you act in the way you want them to act, and you have to reward them the best way you can if they perform well.
If you are a teacher, your students will follow what you DO, more than they will follow what you TEACH. Actions are the best teacher. Students can learn from books, but they will learn best when a teacher not only acts professionally, but shows the students respect. A good teacher empowers.
Anyone can get power. Almost no one is powerless. One just has to think right, find what they need to get power, then empower.
You are just a “working person,” you say? Your current job may not give you the power you want, but there are many ways outside of your job that you can gain power. For one of the best, visit You may find the classic tool to not only give you power, but give you the power to empower.
We all believe that if we had the power, we would use it wisely, and for the benefit of others. For some, achieving power changes them for the worse. Still others who gain power change for the better.
Some who gain power just want more of it, and will do what they must to get it. Others who gain power just want to give themselves to others and empower.
If you had power, would you distribute it or hoard it? Doing the latter could eventually come back to bury you. Doing the former could change the world for the better.
To paraphrase an adage, power can corrupt. Absolute power can corrupt absolutely. But the opposite can also be true. Power can enhance. Absolute power can enhance absolutely. It all depends who has it.


It started in the 1960s.
Young people wanting something better than – or, at least, different from – what their parents had and cherished.
Some 1960s protests turned violent. Today, in countries all over the world, the protests are very violent. The police and military in many countries are turning on their own people – largely young people – for trying to change the status quo.
Reporters David Kirkpatrick and Mayy El Sheikh discussed the chasm between young and old in Egypt, which has already overthrown its longtime dictator. But in that country, the “new” government hasn’t given them what they want.
The reporters’ story was published in the Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, edition of The New York Times.
We see it in countries all over the world – Syria, Ukraine etc. Young people want more freedom. Young people want to be who they really are – not who their parents or other elders want them to be.
If you are young today, the world is very different from that in which your parents grew up. Jobs are scarce. Employers are reorganizing every five minutes. So, even if you are lucky enough to land a good job, you can’t expect it to last.
Your parents may not understand you. They want what’s best for you, but may not have a clue what that is. All they have to go on is what was best for THEM.
If you are older, you shake your head at the younger generation. After all, your “dream” was a secure job with benefits, some advancement potential and a pension when you retired. If you got that far and achieved that: congratulations. But those younger than you may never see that. They will really have to be diligent to have financial security when they are your age.
Yes, the world is an ocean liner. It is certainly not a cruise ship, but in many cases it turns just as slowly. Make no mistake, though. It is turning. Perhaps it is not turning as quickly as the younger people want, but it is turning. When it turns, it will go in a very different direction.
Companies and employers have experts watching the ship, and trying to determine which direction it will go. Unlike the world of the past, this world will be turning constantly, as innovation in communication, manufacturing and technology evolve, and re-evolve.
Innovation, combined with education, give young people the courage to be who they are, not who their parents or elders want them to be. They have different, and more modern, ideas about how to live. In their minds, if they are going to survive, they have to fight for what they believe in. They have to fight for the freedom to be what they want to be.
In a changing world, we – young and older – need to have a Plan B. If the world changes in a way we don’t like, we need something that will give us the security to be who we are, and want to be. We need something that will allow us the freedom to not be dependent on an ever-changing employment situation. There are many ways to accomplish this. For one of the best, visit
Meanwhile, fight to be who you are in an ever-changing world. At the same time, let others be who they are, as long as they mean you no harm. Throughout the world, give the young people the freedom they so crave. With freedom comes innovation. Innovation will come, whether we want it to or not. So let people innovate.
If you are older, you must realize that change isn’t all bad. If you are younger, remember that your elders are fighting to keep what is dear to them. When young and old understand each other, the world will be more peaceful and prosperous for all. As Paul McCartney’s mother told him years ago, “Let It Be.”


If you are fortunate enough to work for someone who provides you with health insurance, count your blessings.
But also know that it probably won’t last.
Not only have state and the federal governments set up insurance exchanges, companies are also setting up private insurance exchanges.
Leading the trend is a company called Towers Watson, whose CEO, John Haley, was profiled in the Oct. 31, 2013, edition of USA Today.
Having health insurance with your job used to be a beautiful thing. Not only did a company pay you a salary and contribute toward your pension, it also paid a portion of your health care costs in the form of insurance.
If you hung around the company long enough, you could stay insured until Medicare kicked in.
But the recession that started in 2008 changed that mind-set. People lost jobs, and, therefore, lost their health insurance. People started to seriously question whether it was a good thing to have health insurance tied to a job. It was bad enough for a person to lose a salary. But losing health insurance compounded the problem many times over, especially if that person had a sick family member, or were sick themselves. Never mind what the stress of unemployment might do to their health.
Working people really began to wonder whether it was really good to have an employer have that much power over one’s life.
But modern companies want to provide good employees, and prospective employees, with the best packages possible. They understand that without good people, they will not thrive, and they will not survive over the long term.
Yet, health insurance as we know it is a serious cost to employers. Private insurance exchanges may be a vehicle to reduce those costs, and still provide affordable insurance to employees. If they can be devised so that the employee doesn’t necessarily lose benefits if he is laid off (he may lose the company subsidy), these exchanges might be the perfect solution.
We all want affordable health care. We all want to be able get the care we need under any conditions, without impoverishing ourselves or our families.
Between the government exchanges and the private ones, we might be on to a good, long-term solution.
Sure, the federal exchange Web site has had glitches. These, hopefully, are fixable. We might have to tweak the Affordable Care Act as time passes, to make sure it’s as effective, and inexpensive, as it can be to those insured, while not creating too big a government expenditure.
What if you had enough money on your own to buy whatever insurance you wanted? That would be ideal. If you are looking for a way to do that, visit
Meanwhile, shop carefully on whatever exchanges which you are allowed to shop. Choose the plan that is right for you. Also remember that paying penalties is throwing money away. Even though it might cost you more, when you buy actual insurance, you are at least getting something for your money. So buy insurance. You, your family and your community will be healthier for it.