Archive for the ‘Workplace Skills’ Category

  • Rosie the Riveter – Still Riveting and Relevant at 93!


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    I was amazed to read NBC News Correspondent, Mike Taibbi’s, report “A Rosie the Riveter Still on the Job at 93” and learn that one of the original Rosies continues to work and not just at any job but at the Boeing plant in Long Beach California. Taibbi interviewed, Elinor Otto, 93,  who still gets up at 4 a.m. each morning and drives to the Boeing plant, where she inserts rivets into the wing sections of C-17 cargo planes.  It’s a job she’s been doing at various aircraft assembly plants since 1942 when she was part of the original Rosie Brigades.

    “We were part of this big thing,” Otto said. “We hoped we’d win the war. We worked hard as women, and were proud to have that job.”

    Otto’s first job paid 65 cents an hour, about $38 less than she makes now, and she had to pay $20 a month for her young son’s childcare.

    At war’s end, the “Rosies” disappeared. “Within days we were gone,” Otto said.

    And with bills still to pay, Taibbi notes, Otto tried other lines of work.  But office jobs didn’t appeal to her, and a short stretch as a carhop fell by the wayside when they told her she had to do the job on roller-skates.  A stroke of luck though: Southern California had come out of the war with a booming aircraft industry and Otto’s skill set — she was an ace with a rivet gun — brought her back into the game.

    Otto’s story inspired me to do a little more “Rosie Brigade” research and I discovered there really was a riveter named Rose who worked in the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Neither that Rosie or our Otto, however, was the famous character depicted in the well-known 1942 poster by J. Howard Miller with the title ”We Can Do It.” Miller’s character was a fictional representation of all the Rosies, and his bandanna-clad Rosie became one of the most successful recruitment tools in American history, and remains an iconic image of working women.


    Another iconic, albeit far more political, Rosie poster was created by Norman Rockwell for The Saturday Evening Post May, 1943, cover. Rockwell portrayed Rosie with a flag in the background and a copy of Adolf Hitler’s racist tract “Mein Kampf” under her feet.


    Though the images are fiction the working Rosies were certainly real. American women entered the workforce in unprecedented numbers during World War II, as widespread male enlistment left gaping holes in the labor force. More than 310,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry in 1943, making up 65 percent of the industry’s total workforce (compared to just 1 percent in the pre-war years).

    So why is Elinor Otto, one of the original Rosie’s still working today?

    She says, “I’m a working person, I guess. I like to work. I like to be around people that work. I like to get up, get out of the house, get something accomplished during the day.”

    One of the things she’s accomplished, Taibbi reports, is to serve as an inspiration — to her co-workers, her boss, and to those who honored Otto when they founded the Rosie the Riveter Park in Long Beach, CA this past September.

    Perhaps the greatest accolade came from her boss, Don Pitcher, who said, “Otto is still on the job because she can still do it!

    To remain so relevant at age 93 – that’s truly an inspiring accomplishment!



  • No fainting goats… and no sheep!


    This fascinating “White” paper, Take Charge in Changing Times: Ten Career Tips from Australian, Joanna Maxwell is a must read. I rarely use “must,” preferring to let readers make their own choices, but there are so many valuable insights here, it is a must! The insights are grounded in reality – the kind of tips that first seem so obvious we cannot understand why we had not noticed them before. These “Ten Career Tips” are just as applicable for any aspect of our lives – not just our business genes. Even better – the words and the colourful art are incredibly good fun!

    Joanna’s highly creative website WorkInColour: Work.Think.Live.In Colour is a feast for your eyes, mind, body and soul. Enjoy!

  • College Alums? You Can Go Back to the Well


    This NY Times article, You Can Go Back Again, describes the ways in which your old college career office has begun opening its doors – and resources – to those who graduated years ago and are seeking career changes and new jobs.

    Take advantage of these opportunities – many are free. It’s not just the information and skills training. Just as important is the network because, as the article notes, this is not pure altruism on the part of your alma mater. The college has a vested interest in the success of this outreach. The career office provides a way for them to stay in contact with graduates, and successful alumni may be more likely to help others find jobs, or even contribute money to the school’s endowment. So it’s a win-win for everyone – the best possible scenario!

  • Time To Translate and Repurpose Your Skills for the 21st-Century Marketplace


    This might seem a daunting task, but help is on the way at the O*Net Resource Center. This free online tool is worth the weight of its extensive database in gold.

    The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. Information from this database forms the heart of O*NET OnLine, an interactive application for exploring and searching occupations. The database also provides the basis for their Career Exploration Tools, a set of valuable assessment instruments for workers looking to find or change careers.

    About those “descriptors:” Every occupation requires a different mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and is performed using a variety of activities and tasks. These distinguishing characteristics of an occupation are described by the O*NET Content Model, which defines the key features of an occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables called descriptors.

    The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is being developed under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

    Bookmark this site!

  • Do Boomers have a competitive edge in today’s job market?


    You bet we do! We just need to sell our age advantage. We have more professional and life experience and we have more successes and failures under our belts than your average 20, 30 and 40-year old.

    That being said, age bias thrives. Some view our gray hair and liver spots as blemishes, but – in reality – they are badges of valor for valiant campaigns waged.

    Finding a job for anyone is a full-time job – for those 60+ it means  researching, thinking, networking 24-7.  We need to redefine our experience, translate or retool our skills, and perhaps retrain. In short, we need to rebrand ourselves to meet the market’s need and expectations.

    Tired of hearing “60 is the new 50 or 50 is the new 40?” That’s a fine way to define our stamina and intellectual prowess but it’s not much help when we post a resume which broadcasts the fact that we graduated 30–40 years ago. If we get past that resume dead-end, we need to gear up for the interview. The interviewer must see us as a viable asset and not as their parent or grandparent.

    Speaking of resumes, every word counts. In fact every size letter counts. Never submit a resume in anything larger than a 12pt font; it’s a clear signal you might be visually impaired. And, if you’re visually impaired, who knows what else might be fading…  brain cells, creaky joints maybe???

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve not found many resources online or other­wise offering tips or tools for finding and securing a good job for savvy seniors with buckets of experience. Be clear – we’re talking about paying jobs. There are many volunteer jobs but some of us still need to pay rent or a mortgage or be totally frivolous and take a holiday now and then.

    So, it’s time to circle the Conestogas, or as Russell Crowe instructed his fellow gladiators, “form a circle and put up your shields.” We can learn from each other: how to survive a headhunter’s gauntlet and how to find and land the job we want. I’ll be posting all manner of practical tips, tools and resources here, and I hope you will chime in with your experiences and nuggets of wisdom.

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