Posts tagged ‘Dayton’

Shop Local? City Governments Should Practice What they Preach

(UPDATE: City of Dayton responds: In a comment on a newly developed Facebook page about the controversy, the City of Dayton Office of Economic  Development responds in a comment )

In September 2010,  the City of Fort Wayne, Indiana hired a PR firm from Chicago, paying them $72000 to teach city employees about Social Media. The local, and very active Social Media community there was outraged. With all of the local talent, why spend taxpayer money out of town? The city said they needed the specialized talents of Carolyn Grisko & Associates, who had worked with other city governments. Fair enough. Still, was there really no individual or company who was up to the task (and might have taken a shade less than $72000?).  I would at least, think so.

Apparently this is widespread. The Dayton Daily News reported on Friday,  April 20, that the  City of Dayton Office of Economic Development had contracted Atlas Advertising, LLC from Denver to create an economic development website that promotes the city to businesses.  Atlas beat 15 other bids, including 5 local companies.

What’s wrong with this picture? Dayton has been hit especially hard by the recession, the closure of auto and auto-related plants, moves of companies that were once local institutions like NCR, which moved to Atlanta; and a talent exodus as people move to find other opportunities.  Dayton is undergoing a rebirth as more technical companies move in, and the city would like to attract more companies and talent.  That’s what the Office of Economic Development is all about.

What does it say about a city when businesses who are thinking about locating there don’t have enough confidence in their local companies to spend taxpayer money with them? Are the needs so specialized that only this Denver company can provide them? Yes, there is a difference between a one-person shop operating in a basement and a large company that can provide sophisticated back-end and database services, but there are several companies in Dayton that can do that.  Did the Economic Development commission even bother asking the members of New Media Dayton for recommendations?

The Cities of Fort Wayne, Dayton, Indianapolis, Knoxville or even Denver have every right to do business with whoever they want. Likewise, firms, including in Dayton,  can and do solicit business from around the country and world.  Still, if you’re the taxpayer entity that wants to tell the world how great your city is as a place to locate your business, why give your local providers a black eye?

When a city preaches about shopping local, but doesn’t do that when it buys city services, it rings a little hollow.

Your thoughts are welcome!


Setting myself free from the job search

Statue of Liberty

Whenever our government releases new unemployment statistics, they will talk about those who have given up looking for work. I often wonder how they know how many people are in that category. Surveys? Focus Groups? Is there a form to fill out? Maybe Form 8696 Schedule 16 is the official “I’ve tossed in the towel” form. I’m not sure what people are doing once they’ve “given up”. Fishing is only fun for awhile.

I’m going to find out, because I’ve given up job hunting! No more Applicant Tracking Systems for me, thank you. Who needs to guess the right keywords? Not me! Don’t like what’s on my Facebook page? Tough it out. My tie not straightened just right? Oh well. You want to know my credit score? I’m not telling. You think I’m too old because I like the Beatles and don’t like Lady Gaga? Tough! I’m setting myself free at last…to work even harder that I ever would at a J.O.B. Also to help more people and eventually find much better rewards for myself and my slowly-spreading-across-the- country family.

It’s no secret from those who know me that it’s been awhile since a regular paycheck has landed in my bank account like clockwork. I’ve spent a lot of time at The University of Brad (which could also be called the School of Hard Knox…ville), learning new media to combine with my old media and marketing skills. I’ve had a chance to study and learn from the best, and others who are doing trial and error.

Many, if not ,most of us, bought the idea years ago that we should only have one source of income, and we should be someone’s employee. In return, the company would “give” us health insurance and a pension, a couple of weeks a year off the job, and their loyalty. While some grew up in entrepreneurial families, entrepreneurship was all but non-existent for many of us. The company would take care of us, and if they didn’t, we’d find another one who would. Then, someone moved the cheese.

I’ve come to believe that just maybe, I have the skills to market my services directly to businesses that can benefit from them, much more than I can go through a tedious process of applying for jobs, going through interviews, and coming in second, or not even being able to get past the HR screen. Sometimes posted jobs don’t even exist, or they have a candidate in mind but have to go through the formality of a search process for legal reasons.
Don’t get me wrong. If the perfect, dynamite job opportunity comes along, I’ll be all over it. Those opportunities seem to come from networking, not HR offices and job boards.

I’ll be announcing my plans and projects in the next day or so. Wish me luck, tell me I nuts, or tell me your own story in the comments section.

Statue of Liberty

TV, Weather Panic and you

Blizzard of March 2008

Winter Storm on the way!

As I write this, the Dayton area and much of the eastern part of the country is under a Winter Storm Watch. This storm is on the heels of a winter storm that blew snow, ice and destruction from Texas, through the Midwest, Southeast and the District of Columbia. The DC area had a second storm this week. Fortunately, we missed out on that one as it stayed just south of us. This one is dead center on our area, as well as for the east, and, again, Washington. (Do I want the politicians snowed in or out?).

Now, you may be expecting me to complain about all of the radio and TV coverage of these weather situations, but I won’t. I’m actually somewhat of a weather geek. I bemoan the fact that the Weather Channel has been dumbed down to the point that they run reality shows and preach about global warming. If I ever see a tornado, count on me taking pictures of it.

All TV stations play the game of “my Doppler is bigger than your Doppler”, for the most part, at least in our area, they’ve done a little better at getting it right compared to years ago. The truth is, the extra coverage is there because you want it. “What?”, you may say. “I don’t want all of that weather crap! It interferes with Jerry Springer!” TV stations spend millions on research and find the number one thing people want to know about is the weather, especially if it’s going to hamper daily activities.  Sort of  like Tiger Woods; everyone said there was too much coverage, then wouldn’t stop talking about it.  To be sure, there is such thing as overkill; such as about five years ago when Channels 2 and 7 went wall-to-wall on a Sunday afternoon before the first flake had fallen (Sam, what’s it doing in Springboro? Not a thing. OK,How about at the rest stop in Piqua, Sally? Well so far it’s just cloudy, Mike). For the most part, our meteorological folk provide good information.

There are a couple of staples of TV coverage. As surely as the Weather Channel anchors slip off their sportcoat as the hurricane gets closer, someone from the local news crew gets to stand in front of the big salt pile to do a stand-up. Then someone will take a ruler and measure the snow. The closings will crawl by at the bottom of the screen, including the little beauty school with five students (Free plug? Why not?). Maybe a Weather Channel reporter will be holed up at the Motel 6 at I-75 and I-70, just like during the Christmas storm of 2004. (They could at least have let him stay someplace with a bar).

So make sure you have plenty of bread and milk, and of course snacks for that football game that I’m not allowed to say the name of..

Job Search and your Online Reputation

The economy continues to tank. Unemployment where I live is close to 12%. If you were to count those who are not eligible for unemployment, it could be close to 20%. There is no shortage of advice on job boards and other networking venues on how to conduct one’s search and professional life.

I believe there’s a certain paranoia that some “experts” are actually encouraging. I’ve read some articles and message board postings that have people questioning almost everything about their lives. Should I post my picture on LinkedIn if I’m over 50 or a racial minority? Should I scrub my Facebook profile? Delete my religious and political affiliations?

I especially want to address the Facebook issue. I have read dire warnings (cue the ominous sounding music) that since everything you post online is there FOREVER (which is true), you had better post with extreme caution.

Nothing on line should ever mark you as ever being anything other than the perfect model corporate worker bee. You even sleep in your three piece suit!

Using Facebook to share with family and friends? No, we can’t have that. A vehicle for self expression? There will be NONE OF THAT! Those Cabo pictures? Gone! (and sternly warn your friends to never, ever tag you in a photo). You are a citizen concerned about political issues? You’d best get that, as well as any groups you belong to, off your profile. After all, Mr. or Ms. Hiring Manager may have a different point of view, and make a paper airplane out of your resume. That church (synagogue or mosque) function you were at? Better get rid of those, pronto!

What about that Beatles song you posted? Well, if you remember the Beatles you are obviously old and unemployable. You have pictures of your grandchildren? Better dump them lest Ye All Powerful HR Person will realize you are old enough to have grandchildren! Mentioned your divorce? Well, this company is about family values, you wouldn’t fit (though the successful candidate will work 80 hour weeks).

When did the job search go from a company looking for someone to solve a problem to this game of jumping through all the right hoops?

What if a potential employer goes to my Facebook page and finds out they could hire a real human being who is fully engaged, has opinions, and has a life, rather than being an automaton? Is it possible I might still qualify to work for you?

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