Daily Archives: March 12, 2013

Job Seekers…Think Before You Shop

business-squareLocal career expert Lisa (a.k.a. Recruiter Uncensored) shares some of her knowledge with us every Monday. You can read this post in its original form along with comments here.

An important aspect of job search strategy that’s rarely talked about is what those looking for work can do to ensure there are jobs to apply to in their community. It’s hard to experience success searching for something if it doesn’t exist, no matter how solid your resume and interview execution may be.

With jobs harder to come by, job seekers must consider how their own spending habits contribute to the availability of work in their community. Most people want to work close to home. Long commutes and relocation aren’t a reasonable option. That being the case, every effort should be made to shop with local providers of goods and services. If local businesses don’t have customers, they don’t have jobs. It’s just that simple.

Most of the arguments people give for skipping over local companies revolve around convenience and price. Ordering something online from some mega-discounter at 10 p.m. may seem convenient and frugal, but what about the inconvenience and expense of having to relocate because there aren’t any jobs nearby?

Others feel drawn to the bells and whistles franchises and chains have the resources to provide. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to get the likes of a Happy Meal from most locally owned restaurants. They don’t typically have easy access to cheap toys from China and can’t afford the usage fees for luring in kids with movie characters. The case is made that those chains are creating jobs for all of those Happy Meal handlers, but the economic benefit to the community is low compared to what a local restaurant contributes. Chains provide mostly entry to mid-level management positions. Executives with their big paychecks live, are taxed and spend their money in other communities.  A fraction of the chain’s revenue is subject to local taxes, with much of the revenue recognized and taxed where the headquarters is located. Add to that, local restaurants are much more likely to use web designers, insurance providers, law firms, ad agencies, etc., in their home community. Can you see the benefit in supporting businesses more likely to help other businesses in your community grow? I used restaurants as an example, but it’s true in all industries.

The small to mid-sized locally owned businesses are suffering right now. They are the backbone of our communities. Just like many job seekers, they have been left out of the recovery currently being enjoyed by Big Business and the ultra wealthy. They need our attention and support if they are to survive. We’ve been told all along hiring from small to mid-sized companies is key to financial recovery in our nation. They are where many hold high hopes for hiring. They can’t live up to that expectation if they don’t have customers, though. All the tax reform in the world won’t do for them what increased business from local consumers can.

I’m not advocating people spend their money with locally owned businesses exclusively. Sometimes what you want or need simply isn’t what a local provider is offering. All I’m suggesting is to put some thought into how you are spending your money and consider how out of balance consumer choices have become. If locally owned businesses are important to job creation in our communities, then everyone has to make a conscious effort to see they thrive.

– Lisa W-P, CADL Guest Blogger

March is Reading Month: Take a Chance on a Random Book

The challenging part of reading is deciding what to read next. Sure, recommendations from friends are great, but if they recommend a popular book, finding a copy at the library can be a challenge. Likewise, I keep a To Read list on my smartphone via the Goodreads app — but if my next read isn’t available, I’m back to square one (or for Settlers of Catan fans, hex one).

What do I do if the book I wanted is not available at the library? I take a chance on something else. There lies the beauty of the library: the reading options are nearly endless, and right at your finger tips. I walk the stacks, scanning the shelves until a title, subject or author catches my eye.

And yes, in this case, I occasionally do judge a book by its cover (but not always).

TheMotherOfMountainsMy most recent random choice was a volume of the comic Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai, The Mother of Mountains. I heard of the Usagi Yojimbo comic over the years, and its influence, but never read a single page. So I took a chance.

A few pages later, I was hooked. I have since checked out another volume from the library, and purchased two others SearchingForBobbyOrrfrom a local comic shop. I have a new favorite comic—and artist—all because I took a chance on something I didn’t plan to read.

Another random read was Searching for Bobby Orr by Stephen Brunt. It is no secret I am a hockey fan, so when I spotted a book about the pride of Parry Sound, Ontario in the Biographies section, I knew what my next read would be.

My goal in 2013 is to read more books outside of my ‘comfort zone’ (familiar authors, fantasy, science fiction, and humor), and the Capital Area District Libraries are already helping. I began 2013 not even knowing about Stan Sakai, and now, I am a devotee who owns a couple of his books (with more on the way, I’m sure).

March is reading month, so take a chance on something random at the library—you just might find a new favorite book.

– Daniel J. Hogan writes humor and draws comics for clattertron.com. Follow him on Twitter, @danieljhogan.