About pbilodeau01

Born in Berlin, N.H.; bachelor of arts, major in journalism, Northeastern University; master's degree in urban studies, Southern Connecticut State University; was an editor and reporter at New Haven Register, an editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a reporter at The Meriden Record-Journal. Now a freelance writer and editor.


#Thinkoutsidethebox #Breakingdownbarriers #breakingdownwalls #humanresources
Think outside the box.
Many have gone to job-related meetings and seminars in which they were encouraged to think outside the box.
Others have gone through job interviews in which the interviewer may have said something like: I’m looking for a candidate that’s going to break through that wall and show me he or she is transformational.
These rather bold concepts have been normalized in the human resources/ employment world.
But here’s the rub: After being motivated to think outside of boxes and break down walls, one may go back to his or her job and actually be DISCOURAGED from doing those things. Perhaps, he or she would even be PROHIBITED from doing those things.
You see, employers have boxes and walls for a reason – to keep employees in line and to pigeon-hole employees into categories. After all, there are products to be made, quotas to be met, operations to preserve and, of course, executives to be protected.
Very few employers want a whole staff of out-of-the-box thinkers and wall breakers.
In fairness, this does not describe EVERY employer. There are some companies that not only encourage, but also reward, such rebels. These are the companies usually voted among the best places to work among employees.
But, as we all know, not everyone can work for such a company. In fact, not every company can become such a company because, in certain industries, certain rules have to be followed. Certain ways of doing things have proved to be optimal over time, in some industries.
So, where does that leave the out-of-the-box thinker and wall breaker who happens to work in one of these confining industries?
There is good news here. There are several programs out there through which, by devoting a couple, non-work hours a week to start, can allow you to earn extra income without being confined, pigeon-holed or otherwise trapped. Full disclosure: some of these programs have routines and systems to follow that have proved successful for many others doing the same thing.
But, you have to think outside the box to check them out. To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Certainly, the boxes at work of which you need to think outside are made of steel – welded shut. They are tough to escape. If being in such a box is treating you well, by all means stay in it.
If it is not, then you may have to look at other ways out.
At the same time, if you work for a company that values and rewards outside thinking and wall-breaking, take full advantage of that.
What you do may not necessarily be your entire self, but it may be part of you.
What you do may not satisfy all your needs and wants, but it may be a step toward getting what you need and want.
What you do may not be a part of your dreams, but it can give you a jumping-off point that will get you toward your dreams.
In summary, thinking outside the box and breaking down walls may not be part of your JOB – but it may be part of you. It may be time to find an outlet that will allow more of you to shine and get you closer to the kind of life you envision.


#suburbia #suburbanliving #changingsuburbs #competition #sameness
We think of suburbia as a place where people compete with one another to see who can have the most gadgets and other stuff.
“Mothers complain about how hard life is, and the kids just don’t understand,” to quote a lyric from “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and recorded by The Monkees decades ago.
The song is an anthem about the sameness, competitiveness etc. of suburbia.
The suburban lifestyle is something to which parents wanted their children to aspire.
Suburbia represented contentment. It represented achievement. It represented security.
But, not long after The Monkees released that song, things began to change. The kids who grew up in suburbia were now having trouble affording to stay there. Housing prices went through the roof.
Now, suburbia is becoming as much of a melting pot of diversity as the cities from which they spring.
More to the point, let’s look at why the suburban lifestyle became a goal.
We mentioned contentment and security. Do current suburban residents feel content and secure? Chances are, if they are smart, they know that they are one reorganization, or one bad manager, away from a lost job, or even a dead career.
What does that do to contentment and security? It makes both less so.
A lost job could mean, ultimately, a lost house. A lost house could lead to a lost lifestyle.
Furthermore, do you really want your children to aspire to a life of sameness and competitiveness with neighbors? Or, do you want them to explore dreams, learn what and who else is out there, make new friends and explore the world?
Yes, the end of World War II sparked the growth of suburbs. The GI bill allowed those who came home from war to easily buy, or build, new homes in places yet to be developed.
That led to the age of the automobile, and the growth of GM, Chrysler and Ford.
Today’s younger folks may aspire less to sameness and more to diversity. They may not dream of a life of contentment, and security. Their definition of achievement may be different from that of their parents.
That begs the question: do you aspire to the sameness and competiveness of suburbia? Are you certain that the path toward that lifestyle will be smooth for as long as you travel it?
If you have doubts, or are looking for the “change of scenery” that the Monkees’ song talks about, there are many programs out there that can help you achieve whatever you are looking for.
They can help you regardless of your education, experience or background. They can help you out of the sameness your parents may have wanted for you.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
In summary, the suburbs are changing. Some still insist on a degree of sameness, with homeowners associations etc. But just because the houses look similar doesn’t mean the people have to be similar. Your neighbor may have a completely different set of goals and objectives from yours.
But that’s OK. It’s also OK to pursue whatever makes you happy, regardless of what your elders may have wanted for you.
Contentment and sameness may not be your goals, or those of your neighbors.


#careerchanges #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #employment #jobs
Erica Hanley was a business development representative for a travel company.
She was laid off when the pandemic hit.
A year later, Hanley, 37, gainfully employed in a new career – mortgage data processor for a local bank.
She was trained for the job through Rhode Island’s Back to Work program, a public-private partnership that was launched during the pandemic to help out-of-work residents learn new skills to find jobs in other industries.
Hanley’s story, and the program in Rhode Island, was told in an article by Andrea Noble, who writes for Route Fifty, a digital news publication that connects people and ideas advancing state, county and municipal governments. It was published May 31, 2021, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Lots of folks, undoubtedly, can see themselves in Hanley’s shoes. Though many employers are gearing back up after the pandemic shutdowns, and are desperately looking for workers, many workers have had to change course in mid-career.
It’s not easy. It’s probably not fun. Plus, not every state offers what Rhode Island does to help workers through the process.
The coronavirus outbreak has prompted other companies to re-evaluate what they do, and how they do it.
The work-from-home experiment was difficult for some, but very convenient for others. As companies saw little to no change in productivity among some employees working from home, many are now rethinking how much office space they actually need.
Will we see a glut of empty office buildings, or, at least, a decline in the number of new ones being built? Time will tell. It may suggest that the commercial real estate business may not be a preferred career for those who have had to change careers.
So, how has the pandemic affected you? Has it put you in dire financial straits? Has it made you re-evaluate your life and lifestyle? Has it forced you to prioritize differently?
And, here’s a big question: If you were laid off temporarily, and your employer wants you back, will you go back? Is that job, or workplace, really worth going back to?
If the answer is yes, great. Go back. There’s a very good chance your old boss not only will welcome you, but also, perhaps, treat you a little better.
If the answer is no, and you don’t know where next to turn, there are many programs out there that allow you to earn money — potentially a lot more than you made at your old job. The work can be done regardless of any pandemic, albeit a bit differently. And, you can base yourself from home.
There is no specific education, experience or background required. You just need an open mind, and be willing to be coached.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
The pandemic has created a new normal for employers and employees. Some could benefit greatly by the change. Others, not so much.
So, it’s important to have an attitude that YOU are going to succeed no matter what changes are made. If the changes don’t suit you, find the changes that do.
Remember, too, that as good as the Rhode Island program looks on paper, retraining has its pitfalls. You could work hard to learn a new job, only to have it go away as your old one may have. Then, you have to be retrained yet again and face the same peril.
Do what’s right for you. Plan on change. Then, plan to find where you fit in that change and prosper.


#graduation #graduationseason #commencementspeeches #wordsofwisdom
Patricia Murphy loves commencement addresses, she says.
But, as she points out, giving life-changing advice to 1,000 people when they just want their diplomas or degrees is no easy task.
How many people do you know who may have fallen asleep during a commencement address?
Murphy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Political Insider columnist, tackled the topic of how politicians use the commencement address in her May 23, 2021, column.
After a year of cancelled events, Murphy says, Georgia leaders had plenty of advice to give graduates.
U.S. Sen Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., told Savannah State University grads: “Have a mountain? Just climb it. A river? Just cross it. A dream? Just chase it. A vision? Just pursue it. An idea? Just do it. A bad habit? Just break it,” according to Murphy.
Warnock’s speech was just one example Murphy used to illustrate the speeches during this season.
Commencement speeches are supposed to inspire. Do you remember the great advice the speaker gave you and your classmates at your graduation ?
Mostly, graduates want their degrees. They want to get the formalities over with, so they can get comfortable and party. After all, it’s generally pretty warm on graduation day, and staying dressed up is a drag.
Then, if they don’t continue their education at the next level, they just want to go to work. They want to find work that pays decently and, if they get lucky, provides benefits.
Today, that promise is much more elusive than it was decades ago.
Most people who start at Job X likely won’t stay at Job X for their entire working life. Some will choose to change jobs. Others will have their jobs changed. Still others will lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
It’s been said that the only sure thing is change. That may be the best advice graduates get this season.
Some change is good. Some, not so good. One personally cannot stop change, particularly in the workplace, but one can figure out how best to deal with change.
If you graduate this year and take a job, you’d be wise to set up a Plan B, as you will inevitably face change in your workplace – in some cases, frequent change.
There are many programs out there that enable people to earn potentially lucrative income with just a few, part-time, off-work hours a week.
There are no education, experience or background requirements to take advantage of them. The main requirements are an open mind, the ability to be coached and the desire to take advantage of what you have your hands on.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Meanwhile, if you are graduating this year, congratulations. Perhaps you’ll get a nugget of wisdom from your commencement speaker. Regardless, don’t hesitate to dream. Don’t hesitate to go after what you want. And, beware the many changes you will see as you go after it. You’ll likely find the path to what you want will not be straight and/or free of obstacles.
Above all, stay optimistic. Learn to deal with adversity. Remain honest with yourself and others. Do what you want with the intention of helping not just yourself, but others along the way.


#electricvehicles #electrictrucks #gaspoweredvehicles #gaspoweredtrucks
Imagine a Ford F-series pickup towing a million pounds of cargo.
Now, imagine that the truck that tows a million pounds is an electric vehicle.
Rachel Maddow showed this demonstration on her MSNBC news show May 18, 2021.
The Ford F-series pickups are the best-selling vehicles on the planet.
Sales of those trucks generate more revenue for Ford than all revenue of a lot of major companies, Maddow pointed out.
Ford has created an all-electric model of its best-selling vehicle, and quietly demonstrated how it can pull rail cars, AND rail cars full of F-series pickups.
If they mass-produce those electric trucks, would they sell as well as their gas-powered ones?
If so, it could change the automotive game, big time.
With the recent gasoline shortage caused by the hack of the Colonial Pipeline computers, people began to look at electric vehicles.
Perhaps people thought electric vehicles could never be better, or have more power, than those powered by gasoline.
But the electric Ford F-series pickup IS better and more powerful, the demonstration showed. It also, at least initially, will be more expensive.
It was noticeable that Ford didn’t try to tow a million pounds with a regular pickup.
There are issues with electric vehicles – not the least of which is the lack of charging stations that can juice up a vehicle quickly during a long trip.
But the Ford demonstration showed the power and potential of electric pickups.
A big question will be: will those fans of pickups – and obviously there are many – like the electric ones as well as the gas-powered ones?
Will they be as useful, as fun to drive, etc.? The Ford demo shows they can be better than the regular trucks.
Perhaps those pickup fans will have to think outside the box a bit for the electric pickups to catch on. But, as Maddow’s piece demonstrated, the electric pickup is here and could be at your local dealership relatively soon.
A purpose in the Ford demonstration is to show the advantages of the electric vehicle. But it also shows what happens when a company thinks ahead and doesn’t rest on its very successful laurels.
People should do the same. If you are successful at what you are doing now, or not, you may want to think outside the box about how you earn money, since the way you earn it now could suddenly disappear.
There are many programs out there that can, with a few part-time hours a week, allow you to earn an income that could potentially dwarf what you are earning now. But, you have to be willing to think outside the box – outside of what you are now comfortable with.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
The electric pickup demonstration had a WOW factor to it. OF course, most people may never have need to tow a million pounds of cargo. But, it illustrates an example of how new things can indeed be better than the old.
It may not seem as much fun to ride off into the sunset in your electric truck. But, if you use your imagination, it really could be fun.


#RisingRents #housing #HousingOptions #homeownership #economy
Metro Atlanta’s home prices have gone ballistic in the last decade.
Rents are following suit.
Michael E. Kanell, business reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discussed this in an article published Jan. 1, 2021.
In fact, renters pay more in Atlanta than in any other Southern city, Kanell quotes RentCafé. Atlanta ranks 10th highest nationally. The median rent for a two-bedroom home has surged 65 percent to $1,474, Kanell writes. That compares to $3,680 in San Francisco and $2,235 in Washington, D.C., the article says.
Just a decade or two ago, new houses were plentiful, Kanell writes. The default for young professionals was to buy. They would move however far into the suburbs that they had to to find affordable houses, Kanell writes.
But the median home price has gone up 98 percent since 2009 to $251,125, the article quotes Rent Café.
Though the metro Atlanta economy has added more than 650,000 jobs and drawn a steady flow of young residents – many with good jobs and good pay – many are choosing to rent rather than buy, Kanell writes.
In breaking this down, we find that the American Dream of homeownership is being shattered. Many young people, even those with the means to do so, are electing to rent rather than buy. This is probably true in places other than metro Atlanta as well.
It’s a lifestyle, rather than a financial decision.
Financially, a home can be an investment that can appreciate over time. Yet, renting gives people more flexibility should there be a sudden change in employment. It makes a young person, or young family, freer to move elsewhere should a job opportunity arise, without the hassle of having to sell a house.
At the same time, real estate, like any other investment, can have its ups and downs. Renting can free a person from those ups and downs.
Ask yourself this, when deciding whether to buy or rent: do I want the responsibility of homeownership? Is it worth my financial investment to do so? Would I rather have the flexibility to move on short notice should something come my way?
If money is an issue, whether you want to buy or rent, there are many ways out there to enhance your income by investing a few, part-time, off-work hours a week. To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Rising rents go along with rising home values. If you find yourself unable to afford the housing you want, you may have to boost your income.
If getting a second, traditional job doesn’t suit you, look for other ways to put more money in your pocket.
Buying a house can be like paying yourself, rather than a landlord. But it comes with responsibility. Renting also comes with some responsibility, but to a much lesser degree. Choose the housing option that best suits your life.


#EconomicBoom #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #MothersDay #WomenInWorkforce
Some experts are predicting a post-pandemic economic boom.
And, after we have just celebrated Mothers’ Day, experts are saying that women workers were hurt the most by the pandemic recession.
Fareed Zakaria predicted on his GPS show May 9, 2021, on CNN that he sees the beginning of an economic boom because of the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and things getting back to normal.
He said that the money put into the system through government aid packages, plus our learning how to do things differently because of the pandemic, is producing conditions that could send the economy soaring.
Certainly, we’ve seen signs of that as businesses reopen and beat the bushes to find help.
The aid has helped businesses and individuals stay afloat during the pandemic, allowing, as they get back to normal, for the potential to prosper.
Meanwhile, ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” featured a Mothers’ Day panel discussing how the pandemic recession affected women in the workforce.
One notable statistic from the recent jobs report says 165,000 women have left the workforce since the pandemic.
The panel, including Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, Lareina Yee, chief diversity and inclusion officer at McKinsey & Co., and Fatima Goss Graves, CEO and president of the National Women’s Law Center, discussed how women have had to make hard decisions and sacrifices during the pandemic.
As pandemic restrictions ease, the panel said the choices women have had to make was to go back to work – many cannot work from home – or stay home with their children, who may not yet be back in school full time.
The women also discussed how the trend of women leaving the work force has increased since 2000, well before the pandemic, largely because of a “care crisis” that leaves many with no one with whom to leave their children while they work.
As we watch these trends emerge, or continue, many of us will have decisions to make. If you are not seeing the potential for an economic boom from where you sit, you may want to look at other ways to earn an income – even one that could dwarf whatever income you could make at a job.
Or, if you are a woman who hesitates to go back to work because of child care or other issues, there are many programs out there that can allow you to earn a potentially sizeable income from your home, particularly as technology improvements make that task easier.
To check out one of the best such programs, message me.
Obviously, the economy’s performance will depend on whether the pandemic subsides enough to kick everything back into high gear.
It could also depend on whether resources could be provided to enable more women to work outside of the home.
It will depend on how many people get one of the proven vaccines against the coronavirus.
It will still be an individual decision on whether, and what type, of work you could return to. The good news appears that there are more options out there than anyone may realize.
It may also depend on whether you see yourself as an optimist or a pessimist. Here’s a hint: optimists are more likely to succeed.


#TakingRisks #security #ancestors #parents #LessonsfromAncestors
In an Ancestry.com TV ad, the leading lady says, to paraphrase, our ancestors were the kind of people who took risks.
And, it implies, she wants her children to know that their ancestors took risks to come to America from wherever they came from.
Such inspiring parenting leads to the question: does this same lady want HER kids to take risks? Or, did her ancestors take the risks so their descendants wouldn’t have to?
In generations past, even though the elders came from risk-taking stock, parents taught their kids to look for security. Work hard, but keep your head low. Make sure that if you get a job, it provides you with what you need for a comfortable life.
In other words, they were taught to look for and settle for contentment. After all, taking risks would jeopardize your comfortable life.
So, are today’s parents teaching their kids what their parents taught them?
To paraphrase Andy Andrews, the Greatest Generation may not have been the greatest. Their parents may have been the greatest generation, because they raised the Greatest Generation.
We all want to raise our children to be responsible adults. But, in today’s world, what we used to call responsibility is harder to come by.
There are no safe, secure jobs and work environments – or, at least, very few of them.
In past decades, progress in the workplace plodded.
Today, progress can be instantaneous.
And, progress can interfere with the secure, safe, contented life parents of yesteryear wanted for their children.
Today, we hear teachings that say things like: be innovative, be creative, dream big and follow your dreams.
In the past, dreams interrupted contentment. Today, contentment is hardly good enough to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
So, where does that leave you? Are you merely content? Or, do you go to work each day waiting for the next shoe to drop?
Either position is, or will be, untenable in today’s world.
But there are programs out there that can move you to the next step in a changing world. You just have to be willing to check them out. Also, they may involve doing something you would have never thought you would do – or, perhaps, have been taught by your elders to avoid.
These programs don’t care about your education, background or experience. They just want you to open your mind, get out of your comfort zone and be coachable.
To check out one of the best such programs, message me.
Today’s world requires flexibility, desire and a willingness to be uncomfortable. Finding the spot that gives you a content, comfortable life – nothing special – is fraught with peril.
Don’t settle for contentment. Instead, go for prosperity. Explore new ways to channel your energy into a life that not only benefits you, but also can benefit others.
A life with purpose can breed prosperity for those who continue to evolve, explore and, when they find the right thing, pursue it with consistency.


#EssentialWorkers #jobs #employment #employers #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve
In the last year or so, some workers have been labeled “essential.”
For this argument, we will not include health care workers, who, indeed, are the ultimate essentials.
We’ll focus on those workers who produce and sell food, utilities. fuel and other things everyone needs to survive.
Because of what they do or provide, they MUST go to work, regardless of conditions, and risk their safety, and that of those with whom they must interact.
While deemed “essential,” generally, they don’t get paid a lot.
How can someone be so ”essential, ” and make so little?
There are arguments one can pursue here related to education, skills etc. In fact, some of those who work in health care who do jobs that don’t require higher education would undoubtedly put themselves in this category.
The fact remains: if we all can’t live without these folks’ work, why are they so underappreciated, at least financially?
Posing this question brings us to today’s scenario. The COVID-19 crisis, though still a crisis in many places, is showing a few signs of abating in many locales. Businesses are gradually getting back to their operations prior to the pandemic.
However, these businesses are finding out something. The workers they employed, and suddenly may have had to put out of work for the better part of a year, are not necessarily in a rush to come back.
Perhaps they have found other work in the meantime. Perhaps the pandemic has created complications in their lives that work interferes with.
Many of these workers may not necessarily be deemed “essential” in general, but they apparently are essential to their employers.
One argument for this phenomenon goes like this: people are making so much with unemployment benefits that they would lose money by going back to work.
That devolves to arguments about laziness etc. Very likely, however, unemployment benefits do not cover all the “essentials” these folks, and their families, need to live. If those benefits don’t cover all the essentials, and work pays even less, why go to work? the argument goes.
This is less likely a question of ambition and more likely a question of economics. If you are a business that depends on workers, and you are having trouble finding, or persuading, those workers to work for you, just pay them more. If you pay them properly, they will come. If you pay them properly, they will work.
The good news here is if you are a worker who doesn’t want to go back to your old job, or your old job is not worth going back to, there are ways you can not only meet your required expenses, but you can potentially prosper beyond what you had ever thought you could.
There are many programs out there that will allow you to do that. Yes, they do require work, so those without ambition need not explore them. And, they don’t require specific education, experience or background. But, they DO require that you look at something you may have never thought you would do.
To check out one of the best such programs, message me.
The argument for higher pay to attract workers is old. Businesses generally fear that paying workers more would mean higher prices for their products or services, thereby a reduction in demand. Most companies who make good products would find their customers would pay $1 more, or some nominal amount more, for their products or services, knowing they are paying their workers properly.
To be “essential” and poor makes no sense. Workers may also be thinking that I may be “essential” today, and gone – again – tomorrow. Putting financial pressure on people with few means makes little sense, in the long run. So, it’s up to employers, not government or anyone else, to solve this. They don’t do so at their peril.


#bosses #CluelessBosses #coronavirus #FlattenTheCurve #COVID19
The majority of workers feel they are struggling in pandemic working conditions. Many are thinking about leaving their employers this year.
Meanwhile, most business leaders believe they are “thriving.”
So says a Microsoft survey of global workers. Bloomberg News discussed the survey in an article also published March 23, 2021, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Employee burnout is widespread, the article quotes the survey. Some 54 percent of workers say they are overworked. Some 39 percent say they are exhausted, the article quotes the survey.
Many employees are working remotely, and being overlooked by their managers and company leaders, the article says.
Meanwhile their leaders say they are doing great, the article says.
Gen Z workers – those 18 to 25 years old – are faring worst, the article quotes the survey. Researchers believe those younger workers’ feeling of isolations are higher because they are more likely to be early in their careers and single, the article says.
Industry leaders are mostly men. But the survey found women, front-line workers and new employees reported challenges in the workplace, the article says.
“Leaders are out of touch,” the article quotes Microsoft Vice President Jared Spataro. “Sixty-one percent say they are thriving – that’s 23 percent higher than the average worker, so there is a disconnect there,” the article quotes Spataro.
So, are you thriving during this pandemic? If so, more power to you. If not, don’t fret. There may be solutions out there for you.
We can make comments about out-of-touch bosses, but the pandemic has likely made many of them more out of touch. They don’t see you. They don’t have face-to-face interactions with you. They may see you on a screen every so often, but that’s probably it. You, as the worker, have no idea what your boss is thinking about you.
That can undoubtedly produce paranoia: is he thinking that I’m at home collecting a paycheck and doing very little?
If you feel underappreciated, and don’t want to go back to your job even when it becomes safe to do so, there are solutions you can pursue.
There are many programs out there that allow a person to put in a few, part-time, off-work hours a week and not only augment his or her income, but potentially dwarf the income he or she earns at a job. They require a person to think outside their comfort zone, and look at perhaps doing something he or she may never thought he or she would do. And, you can do it remotely if conditions require.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has changed most of our lives. Some of those changes could become permanent. If you didn’t like your work situation before the pandemic, chances are the coronavirus outbreak made them worse.
Many talk about jobs coming back, but will the one you have be worth going back to?
Many new jobs will be created, experts say, and working conditions will change. You may not know until the changes come whether you will be better off.
It may be a good time to start creating a Plan B. Chances are, when changes are made because of a situation you, as an employee, cannot control, they will not be for the better, when it comes to you.
Wouldn’t it be better to walk out of an untenable situation with a smile?