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Thursday, January 26, 2017

How To Respond To Buy American Hire American And H-1B Protect & Grow American Jobs Act

A lot of folks across the globe have started to panic with Donald Trump's statement of Buy American, Hire American along with the news of protect and grow American jobs act being reintroduced in the congress.

Before we dive into understanding the reality let us first understand what is protect and grow American Jobs act?
This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to revise the definition of "exempt H-1B nonimmigrant" to eliminate the masters or higher degree requirement and raise the annual salary threshold requirement from $60,000 to $100,000.
(An exempt H-1B nonimmigrant is a nonimmigrant H-1B [specialty occupation] worker meeting certain criteria whom an H-1B dependent employer may hire without having to satisfy certain otherwise applicable H-1B hiring criteria. An H-1B dependent employer is generally one whose H-1B workers comprise 15% or more of the employer's total workforce, with different thresholds applying to smaller employers.)
The bill requires an inflation adjustment to the salary threshold every third fiscal year.
Source of above information is

Now that we fairly know the intent of American administration, it is quite logical that most folks would panic if their job depends on any of these decisions. But this is not the first time that people will lose jobs because of certain decisions(for e.g: changes to h1b visa) that they don't control. It has happened multiple times in the past for different reasons. Here is a recap from the recent past (source Wikipedia):
2008: The Recession of 2008 (also called the Recession of the late 2000s or the Great Recession) was a major worldwide economic downturn that began in 2008 and continued into 2010 and beyond. It was caused by the Financial Crisis of 2008.
2000: Dot-com bubble burst. The stock market crash of 2000–2002 caused the loss of $5 trillion in the market value of companies from March 2000 to October 2002. Laid-off technology experts, such as computer programmers, found a glutted job market. University degree programs for computer-related careers saw a noticeable drop in new students. Anecdotes of unemployed programmers going back to school to become accountants or lawyers were common.
Hundreds and thousands of folks lost their jobs due to these events in the past but most of them eventually managed to survive.  If anything similar happens in 2017-2018 then this valuable information from the history should give us the wisdom to plan for a 'recession proof' future. 
Here is what one should do...

Find out if your job is under threat
  • It is clear that there will be direct or indirect impact if you work for an American company or any other global company who can get impacted by these policy changes. Find out the impact to your own company and department by reviewing the current customer base, future pipeline, internal policy and strategy.
  • If your job depends on any of any of the global policy changes understand that you will achieve nothing by pressing the panic button. Best thing to do in this situation is to carefully plan the next 3 to 9 months.
  • In situation of lay-offs high cost and low value-add workers are removed first. Check if you belong to this category by asking simple questions: 
  1. Is my work drying? 
  2. Am I sitting idle most of the day? 
  3. Am I doing anything additional than the regular mundane tasks
  4. Am I doing any value-add work needed by the company? 
  5. Is my department or my boss under cost cutting pressure? 
  6. Do I get paid highly as compared to my co-workers but I do the same job?
If answer to one or more questions is 'Yes' then it's time to upgrade your skill and change your attitude.

What Should You Do?

  • Prepare for the worst. Save funds equivalent to salary of 6 to 9 months. This will help you support yourself in worst case scenario.
  • If you are in based out of USA then you should start searching for job options in your home country. Figure out the potential companies who may not get affected and look for desired profiles and roles. It's time to get active on LinkedIn.
  • Start reading top industry research to understand where the Industry is heading and what are the top trends for the next year. For example, Gartner says that By 2018, more than 3 million workers globally will be supervised by a "roboboss." This means that factors other than the USA policy change that will affect jobs a lot more in the coming year. It also means that there will be newer job opportunities.
  • If your current job is a low level IT job that involves lot of repetitive work then it's time to upskill yourself. Reading latest research as mentioned above may help you find the right direction. Again, remember that there is no need to panic, all you need to do is find the right direction. For IT professionals: IoT, AI, Mobility, Analytics, NLP, Blockchain, Data Science are some of the new horizons.
  • Most folks make the mistake of being confined to their area of expertise/ special skill. Make no mistake, being an expert is definitely an asset. But in addition to being an expert in a specific domain/ technology/ market segment, one also needs to acquire generic skills like People Management, Sales, Public Speaking and Interpersonal skills, Administration and Project Management etc. These are evergreen skills which are always in demand and acquiring these skills gives you the much required edge over your competitors.

In general understand the fact that there is no such thing as a good, safe, secure job. Hence, you always need to have a plan B or plan C to support your family and meet your daily needs. Also remember that no company or organization wants to let go good people. Everyone wants to retain their best of staff. There is always a need for competent people even in the time of recession. All you need is the 'focus' to remain competent.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you are more than 18 years old you would also like to read this post How Much Money Would One Save In USA? 

Monday, January 23, 2017

10 Effective Ways To Pass Time At Workplace When Your Boss Is Not Looking

Your boss is not around and you have some free time at work and not sure what to do? Here are few suggestions that you may want to follow:
  • Number one habit to follow during your free time is to read good content. It doesn't matter whether you read books or online articles or newspaper or magazines, but as long as you are reading stuff you are growing your knowledge and that is what matters the most.
  • Create new contacts. Get to know more and more people. This is the most under-rated thing but comes in handy in the time of need. Target to make 50 or 100 new contacts every month at your workplace. These may be your customers, colleagues, user groups, peers, superiors etc. Create a decent goal for yourself and work towards it. It works wonders in the long run. You may also want to read: The Power of 1000 active contacts on Social Media
  • Identify 2–3 things that you want to learn. Also identify the resources, reading material, free webinars, videos etc. that will help you learn those 2–3 things. As soon as you get some free time at work divert your attention and focus on learning. This is the best you could do rather than gossip or chit chat.
  • Next best thing is to invest time in updating your CV, updating your LinkedIn profile and sharing it with the job consultants. This will help you remain up to date. You may also consider appearing for job interviews even if you don't want to change your job. This will give you some real practice and clear idea of how the current job market is trending.
  • Subscribe to online hobby groups, forums and blogs. This will automatically send lot of good stuff in your inbox which you can read as per your convenience. This is one time effort which proves very beneficial. You may also want to configure aggregator apps like Flipboard to keep you updated on the current trends.
  • Attend trainings/ workshops. Based on the time available find out which trainings you want to attend. This will help you remain in touch with the latest tools, technology and processes.
  • Devote some time for social causes. You may want to join your corporate social group and help the community.
  • Participate in the extra-curricular events organized by HR. This is a wonderful way to socialize with people and spend some quality time on company/ team events.
  • Last but not the least, use your free time to organize yourself. Plan the activities for next few months or years. This will help you to be disciplined.

If you control your free time then you can practically add lot of value to yourself. Take a pause and look at your schedule, get rid of those gossips and water cooler chit chats, these are not the best ways to pass time at work. Avoid that extra coffee break and get organized. There is a lot that can be done by small adjustments, it is just a matter of getting disciplined. Try it now because Time and tide wait for no one.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you are more than 18 years old you would also like to read this post How Much Money Would One Save In USA? 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

How The Power Of 1000 Active Social Media Contacts Can Work Wonders For You?

The power of 1000.

I read somewhere that in the information age driven by social media if you have 1000 'active' genuine contacts/ followers/ fans then a lot of good things happen to you automatically.

Here are some of those good things:

1. All the top trending content liked, upvoted or shared by your contacts on various social media sites is delivered in your feed. This ensures that you are always updated with the latest business and technology trends.

2. You are updated with the latest happenings around the world because your contacts are active on social media. There is hardly any need for you to watch TV News.

3. Your contacts like, upvote or share your content with their network which helps you build your personal brand. You reach increases exponentially.

4. You get to know of hobby groups and communities on social media followed by your contacts and this in turn expands your own reach and enables to you reach millions of like-minded people around the globe.

5. Last but not the least there are some tangible benefits as well. Some examples include: You get to know the latest job openings of your interest or if you are an artist you get to know of the latest events or concerts happening in your area or online. You can also create your own content and promote or sell it on social media through your contacts.

To start with I didn't completely believe in this concept of having 1000 genuine contacts, but I still found it interesting enough to explore and see if works. I looked at my social media contact list. It looked somewhat like this: Facebook around 320 friends, LinkedIn around 180 contacts, Quora around 380 followers.

I then decided to grow my network and that is when I found how difficult it is to add 1000 contacts on social media. Forget about 1000 I struggled to get 500 contacts on Facebook. I realized one primary reason why I struggled on Facebook is that I don't have 500 contacts in my real life and that is why I can't have 500 friends on Facebook. 

I also realized that similar to Facebook each social media website has a niche or unique purpose and I will be only successful if I follow or master that niche. For example:

  • I will be able to increase my followers on Quora only when I write quality answers
  • I will be successful on LinkedIn only if I am professionally active
  • I will be popular on Instagram only if I post quality pictures

After I had figured that out I started afresh on my mission to grow my network. Today, I have 540 Facebook friends, 458 LinkedIn contacts and over 975 followers on Quora.

Did I reap any tangible benefits? No, not yet. But I realized that I have started to see a lot of quality information flow in my feed not just because a lot of people follow me but because I follow a lot of good people and in the process I have subscribed to a lot of good topics/ forums and blogs. I directly get the mind share of top CEOs, CIOs, authors and thinkers. This helps me grow personally as well as professionally.

I am still far away from following or adding 1000 people to my social network but I see real value in doing so. And mind you the goal is not to add 1000 random contacts, the goal is to add 1000 'active' genuine people who can add value. Becasue a lot of people are dormant or passive users the task of adding 1000 'active' users is not at all easy. In order to find those 1000 people one may need to add 10,000 people or more but as long as you believe in the power of networking this is not an impossible task.

At the core of this theory of having 1000 contacts on social media is the habit of reading good content. If you are eager to learn new things and if you want access to best of the content then the social media can play a very vital role. The pace at which technology is changing you never know how the power of your social network may work wonders for you. All you need is the focus, perseverance and belief. Hence, I believe in the power of 1000, do you?

I hope you find this information helpful. If you are more than 18 years old you would also like to read this post How Much Money Would One Save In USA? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Implicit Laws Of Giving And Receiving Feedback - The Game Everyone Plays

Sam manages a team of over 25 technical associates, Sarah is one of them. Last week Sarah made a mistake in one of her assignments. Sam immediately caught the error and called a meeting with all the team members. He went on to share the incident along with the details of what went wrong. Sarah was annoyed with the fact that her manager Sam gave her negative feedback in front of the whole team. She approached him and said: I know I made a mistake but is it right for you to give me all the feedback in front of the whole team? You could have done it in private too! I am really disappointed.

Sam responded I had no intentions to make you feel bad in front of the whole team; I was just doing my job and thought that if I share the incident with the whole team then everyone can benefit from the information and avoid making similar mistakes in future.

This is a classic example where the implicit laws of giving and receiving feedback are not being followed. 

Here are those laws:

Never give negative or critical feedback to individuals in a public forum. Everyone has an ego. As a manager you need to be careful of not hurting any one's ego. Make sure that you first share critical or negative feedback in private and then share the information with the larger audience.

Utilize one on one informal discussions as a mode to share critical feedback. Rather than calling up for a formal one on one meeting, a quick discussion over coffee may be a good informal setting to share feedback in one on one discussion. However, if this doesn't work, you may need to go back to a formal setting later.

Avoid sharing critical feedback on e-mail. Emails are best suited for sharing information or action items but e-mail should be avoided as far as sharing critical feedback with a team member is concerned. If arranging an informal meeting is not possible then the next best way is to call for a formal in-person meeting. If you want to record the events then you may capture and share the meeting notes after the meeting is over.

Giving Feedback to Employees

As a manager one needs to careful while giving feedback because one bad experience can have a lot of negative impact on the associate. Sometimes employees feel that the Manager only looks at the negative aspects hence it is very necessary to share the positive feedback from time to time. Unlike critical feedback scenarios, public forums are ideal place to share positive feedback. Managers should encourage the culture of sharing positive feedback in public forums. Following are some tools and techniques to share positive feedback:

  • A quick 'Thank You' and/ or appreciation email
  • Nomination for award or reward certificate
  • Sharing the good work done by the employee in team meeting/ group forums
  • Awarding gift vouchers/ value points as per policy

Receiving feedback from employees

As far as receiving feedback from the employees is concerned, managers should utilize the following proven tools and techniques:

  • One on one meetings
  • Online Surveys
  • Informal group meetings(Like Lunch, Coffee or Tea Meetings)
  • Gamification techniques

Giving or receiving feedback is a tricky thing. Once has to be very careful irrespective of whether you are giving feedback to employees or giving feedback to managers or giving feedback to your boss. While there are so many tools and techniques available some people still find it difficult to share or ask for feedback. Sometimes they are just scared of listening or saying negative things and hence they avoid asking or giving feedback to/ from their boss or employees. In the end, I would like to stress that one should not shy away from giving or receiving feedback because it is a very critical factor in the overall growth of a person/ organization/ society. However, one needs to be careful in picking the right medium of communication to convey as well as receive the message. Needless to say that it should be done in the right spirit, sharing feedback with wicked intentions does not serve any purpose.

To conclude, here is a quote from Ken Blanchard...