“We are talking about jobs that pay $12 an hour. These are people without hope”

Dr. Gary North wrote an article recently on the Amazon hirings across the country.  I saw a few ads for Amazon’s hiring in their new warehouse in El Monte, a city not too far from my home here in Southern California.  The ad advertized jobs for $12/hour.  Not great wages, but at least I’d be working for Amazon, right?  Well, right, but not such a big deal. If you’re the kind of job-seeker who believes a big name on a resume guarantees you future work everywhere, guess again.  I am, er, was of that opinion.  It just doesn’t work that way.

But there was something that Dr. North pointed out that I thought was terrific, or at least helpful to me.  Okay, so Amazon offered 50,000 jobs to job-seekers at 10 different warehouses across the county.  Dr. North says “They came.  By the thousands, they came.”  I can believe it.  Jobs for many appear tight.

North then pointed out what these applicants were pursuing, “They were after jobs that pay $12 an hour. This is $3 an hour below the minimum wage of Seattle.

Here is the report for Thursday, August 3.

“A record-breaking 20,000 applications were received on this day alone with thousands of job offers extended to candidates and more to come in the next few days,” Amazon vice president of human resources John Olsen said in a statement. “We continue to process candidates at events across the country and expect that to continue over the coming days. We’re excited to welcome these new employees to the Amazon team.”

The Robbinsville, New Jersey, warehouse alone had 1,500 jobs up for grabs, according to local news outlet NJ.com. When we stopped by, we watched as hundreds of people turned out to try to snag a role.

So lots of job-seekers across the country, folks of varying age seeking $12/hour jobs. Nothing wrong with that, right?  One should not despise work that provides real value, right?  But then Dr. North nails it,

Here is what one manager said: “We’re looking for people with a great attitude first and foremost, who are obsessed with customers—that is the most important thing to Amazon—and who are looking forward to being a part of the team.” This is great rhetoric, but we are talking about jobs that pay $12 an hour. These are people without hope. Let’s not kid ourselves. Anybody who takes a job that pays $12 an hour is desperate. There isn’t anything else available.

I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve been willing, nay, actively seeking low-paying jobs, like this $12/hour job.  It means that I am seeking low-level customers, customers with low-level expectations.  And who are the customers?  Amazon managers who can get hundreds of applicants in one day to interact with computerized sorters.

Dr. North gets it.  “These people are without hope.”  Here he’s not just talking about the economy at large but about a person’s prospects when weighing the opportunities in their own trade.  So don’t settle.

Vacation to Seattle, if you must, but don’t settle.


Do you want me to fail?

Yes is commitment.  No is protection.

Do you want me to fail?

[Well, that answer is clearly a no, and now we have to talk about what the terms are that are necessary for success.]

He knew they were going to underpay him and not give him enough authority.  So he asked them, “Do you want me to fail?”

They said “No,” and they renegotiated their deal.

Questions like that can make a really big difference.

The fear of loss in our head is huge

from Investopedia

Prospect theory assumes that losses and gains are valued differently, and thus individuals make decisions based on perceived gains instead of perceived losses.

Perceptions of Gains & Losses

People put a value of losses twice what an equivalent gain is.  Losses are twice as heavy as gains.  5 to 7 times.  Losing $5 stings at least twice as much as gaining $5.  Skewing in our brains over loss.

Prospect theory: if you think what you’re offering is worth $100 and only charging $80, they’re not going to make that exchange.  Paying $80 for something, it’s got to be worth $160 in our heads.

An accusations audit?

People are more likely to do things to avoid losses.

What’s going to be lost if this isn’t done?

Taking people hostage to the future.  If I can convince you to do all this work for me for nothing, all this business will come your way as a result, which is actually done a lot in the business community.   Come and do this business at a cut rate, and we’ll introduce you to all this business and you’ll be fabulously wealthy as a result of our referrals.  Well, if you can buy into getting all that money, now you’re being taken hostage to the future abd you’ll do the business for nothing because now you’re afraid of losig those referrals.  Common and people catch onto it.

Not doing this deal, costs you everyday.  If you do nothing, you lose.  If you don’t address this issue, it’s going to cost you.  If the status quo becomes loss, then people are more likely to make a decision to make a move.  Because of prospect theory.  The fear of loss in our head is huge.

“How am I supposed to do that?”

My notes . . .

“What?” & “How?” should be the form of any question where you’re gathering information.

No is “How am I supposed to do that?”

Got a problem.  Forced empathy.  You want the other side to see our position, constraints.  How am I supposed to do that?  You’re right, you can’t.  they felt she said I can’t do this anymore.  It establishes a limit that doesn’t back the other side into a corner.

If they reply “Because you have to!!!” [is not them terminating the deal or giving you an ultimatum; it’s them saying, no, I’ve got no more room to give without the negotiations breaking off] what you’ve just found out is that they’ve just been pushed as far as they have been on that issue about as far as they’ll go.  That’s good information.  What do you do with someone who’s been pushed?

Have I gotten everything I could from what is on the table on that particular term?  So while giving the other side the Illusion of control while signaling limits, is a great way of staying in the conversation and not leaving anything on the table.

How am I supposed to that?  “If you want the house, that’s what you’re going to have to do.”  Which is a confirmation that they’d gotten as much as they could out of that term.  It’s a great way to give the other side the illusion of control.  Many people need to feel like they’re in control in a negotiation.  If they feel like they’re out of control, then they’re impossible to deal with.  If the other side feels like they’re in control the more amenable they are to collaboration.  You really don’t want people to feel out of control.

Get Your Group On

The article is titled “How to Find a Job on LinkedIn.”  Yeah, right.  It’s from Freelancer Community, the Australian gig posting site.

Who finds jobs through LinkedIn?  I’ve had scores of people look at my LinkedIn page, but never landed a job from it.  Still, the article had some excellent tips that I want to share with you now.

Tip #1: Box Yourself Up

Good advice.  Managers see a lot of resumes.  And your resume should read easily, like a package description, something you might find on Metropolitan Museum of Art insert on an ivory miniature relief of the nativity scene you just bought.  It should be sold and to the point.  Don’t write a resume like a journalist.  Be concise, yes; be comprehensive, of course.  Just don’t be wordy.  Think product description. You can fill out the details in an interview.

You might have a list of skills that run off the page, but if an employer reads your profile and can’t tell what you actually want to do, they’re not going to get in touch.

So hit them up front. Leave no doubt as to what kind of job you’re looking for.

We’ve all read the buzzwords. ‘Multi-skilled problem solver.’ ‘Good leadership qualities; excellent time management.’ ‘Works well alone, or as part of a team.’


These generic terms say nothing about what you want, or what you’re actually qualified for. Be specific. Put yourself in a box for a while – you can always break out of it later.

Here’s an example of what I mean.  The product below is titled The Medici Walking Horse Sculpture by Giambologna.

medici Walking Horse Sculpture 06060503_01_l

Now read the description:

The Museum’s sculpture is based on a model by Giovanni Bologna, called Giambologna (Netherlandish, ca. 1529–1608) that was probably cast in the workshop of sculptor Giovanni Francesco Susini (Italian, ca. 1575–1653). Giambologna’s models were created for the equestrian statue of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, which was finished in 1594.

Produced in cooperation with the Princely Collections of Liechtenstein.

Obviously you’re not a museum piece, but you want your resume package to read like it is something to be coveted.

Tip #2: Be on the Market

Add words to your LinkedIn headline to let recruiters know you’re available right now. ‘Seeking new challenge’, or the acronym ISO (In Search Of) are indicators that either you’re currently not working, or you’re actively looking to change your current situation.

This is good advice.

Tip #3:  Do Not Be Camera Shy

Easier said that done.  But do you must.

LinkedIn provides space for a profile photo. Use it! It gives you the chance to show yourself as you want to be seen – and showing potential employers your face forms a connection in the way a blank space does not. It doesn’t have to be a professional picture, but it should show you in a good light.

Leaving the space blank is the worst decision. It implies a lack of care, laziness, or a person too timid to present themselves to the world. None of these create a good impression.

Keep reading . . . 

The Gig Economy

The Gig Economy is freelancing.  What this means is fewer long-term packages offered by big business or corporations.  It’s the doing away with pensions.  Forbes explains:

One motivator for those looking to earn more through freelancing is the decline of pension programs, according to LinkedIn. The number of workers enrolled in pension plans at private U.S. firms has fallen from 60% in 1982 to only 14% today. That means less retirement savings and more long-term financial insecurity.

When you think of a gig economy, think of a single project or task for which a worker is contracted with start dates and deadlines.  We might more easily picture this happening in the tech industry, but it happens elsewhere as well.

In watching its members over the past five years, LinkedIn has seen a 100% increase in the number of gainfully employed people who add freelance work to their profiles. Says Walker: “This is a way for (professionals) to take matters into their own hands and proactively have more control over their professional lives.”

Some gigs are a type of short-term.  Think Freelancer.com gigs.

Lifehack offers a guide for making money online.  How much of this is doable versus how much of this is just novelty?

The gig economy makes up for only about 7%

The data BLS has for these types of workers are about a decade old. In 2005, contingent workers accounted for roughly 2 to 4 percent of all workers. About 7 percent of workers were independent contractors, the most common alternative employment arrangement, in that year. BLS plans to collect these data again in May 2017.

This article says that the gig economy will double in four years.  What, from 7% of the economic output to 14%?  Really?


The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) covers about 83 percent of the jobs in the U.S. economy. Its 329 detailed profiles of occupations are sorted by group. This section highlights some of those groups in which gig work may be increasingly relevant, giving examples of occupations in each.

Arts and design. Many occupations in this group, including musiciansgraphic designers, and craft and fine artists, offer specific one-time services or customized products, which makes them good candidates for gig work.

Computer and information technology. Web developerssoftware developers, and computer programmers are among the occupations in this group in which workers might be hired to complete a single job, such as to create a small-business website or a new type of software.

Construction and extraction. Carpenterspainters, and other construction workers frequently take on individual projects of short duration, a hallmark of gig jobs.

Media and communications. The services of technical writersinterpreters and translatorsphotographers, and others in this group are often project-based and easy to deliver electronically, fueling a market for gig workers.

Transportation and material moving. Ridesharing apps have helped to create opportunities for workers who provide transportation to passengers as needed, and on-demand shopping services have led to gig jobs for delivery drivers.

Here is the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  Use it voraciously.