If I Were Running A Company…Inequality

I am participating in Blog Action Day 2014. This year’s topic is Inequality.

Inequality comes in many forms and sizes. There are different reasons why there is a lot of inequality not only in the United States, but in the world. There are many reasons, but in reality, there is really one cause for inequality.

Some say it’s race. Although we have progress in race relations, there are some pockets in this country that race relations are still in the pre-Civil Rights era.

Some say it’s class. Although we’re a more tolerable country than years past, there are still lines drawn, literally and figuratively, to distinguish the poor and the rich. Just look at the pay gap.

Some say it’s our own biases. Maybe that is true, but not all biases are that bad. We have our biases because we want to setup the workplace they want to have. That is why hiring is subjective by nature, but can also be the problem.

Inequality by race, class, or any other other biases plays an underlying part of it. It’s primarily the individual or group’s insecurity and status quo. We all know power comes with responsibility and influence, but some take advantage of their role among themselves because of their own selfish needs for wealth or absolute power (and influence).

Nearly everyone knows about pay gaps among gender and race is still wide, but some do not know that Ferguson, Missouri makes a profit from petty crimes and poverty. Same thing goes to sexual harassment, as you heard all over the news lately, mostly from football. The people are taking advantage because of who they really are and the position they’re at.

Is there a way to combat inequality? Of course there is;  it’s the route you want to take. If you love the company you’re working with, create value on your own with the company and yourself so you can have a voice. If you are finding a job or opportunity, find someone with similar backgrounds and interests if they have something for you to do. If it takes a village to raise a person, it will take most of your employees (or groups of individuals) to create change.

When I think of inequality, I think of the lack of opportunity that companies and individuals provide for a variety of reasons, for better or for worse. There are opportunities out there. Remember, nearly 33% of the workforce are freelancers. Take advantage of these opportunities. What is inequality’s greatest fear? Competition. Force the issue.


One Year After Mid-Life Crisispalooza

This week is my birthday and I have to say, I had an adventurous 30th year in life:

Do I expect my 31st year to be as epic? Not really, but I could try.

As you know, every birthday year on this blog, I have a list charities to donate as a gift for y readers, friends, followers, creepers, you name it. This year, it’s self-explanatory. I mention I work for Recruit4Cause, a social enterprise job board where portions of the sale go to charity. If you have a job opening, you can post to Recruit4Cause’s site and donate to these charities:

As a bonus, if you do post your job on Recruit4Cause’s site, I will assist you on finding the people that you need.

My 30th year was pretty good. Maybe it’s the following year I finally become an old man.

If I Were Running A Company…2020 and Beyond

If you follow European soccer, they have a period called the “Transfer Deadline.” It’s like the trading deadline in North American major sports. It’s where clubs try to get players from others for a price. There are two types of transfers:

  • Permanent – where the team has ownership of the player until terminated
  • Loan – where the team borrows a player from their previous team for certain time.

Why I brought this up is I was on Twitter Chat with SHRM’s We Know Next on recruiting and this was the last question:

I said that companies will have partnerships with non-profits and other companies to attract applicants who want to do one thing. Here was the question before:

I said you should see more competency-based models in colleges in the next ten years to attract students and get them in the workforce early. Everything I mention is related to the future and what could be an interesting dilemma between the millennials/Gen Z and companies.

On the individual side, there has been new data that 53 million working are freelancers:

To further break this down, 38% of freelancers are 35 and younger and 32% of freelancers are 35+. It also states that people freelance to make a positive impact and/or it’s “exciting,” or as we like to call it: “Better Career Opportunity.” We keep hearing that full-time jobs are hard to find, but people are finding opportunities (including myself), from Elance and others, to find “exciting jobs. This could be the new unemployment rate because people are finding work, but in different ways. This gives a good idea of what companies expect from this and the new generation.

Speaking of companies, they’re in a unique position. Obviously, companies have job openings, but companies also are in position to influence. Colleges, non-profits, and small companies need new revenue streams to keep afloat. Why not partner with corporations and others to share employees and reduce costs for all parties involved. Larger companies have the money and resources to allocate them.

In addition, I mentioned that colleges might be soon go to competency-based models; companies might have a hand on determining their employee/student’s curriculum. This helps reduce the employee’s student debt and great standing with the university. This is where the lines are drawn.

As you see from the chart, nearly 1/3 of the people working are freelancers and it will likely grow. Companies are reducing full-time jobs because of budget, technology, and automation. Individuals want freedom and controlling their own destiny. Companies want control, period.

The real answer, from the two questions above, is we don’t know what the workplace will look like in 2020, 2024, or 2015. What we can do is look at data and trends of where the workplace is going. Looking at the data, as we see, we might have less full-time jobs, but more opportunities for the current workforce. It’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it will be interesting how the two intersect in the future.


The Power Of The Gnome

June 17, 2001
May 20, 2005
June 6, 2005
December 26, 2005
June 6, 2008
May 10, 2010
June 8, 2010
August 26, 2010
June 14, 2011
June-July 2012
January 2014
May 25, 2014
July 1, 2014

And now you can add September 8-9, 2014 as one of the happiest moments in my brief lifetime. Here’s the weird thing: those two days were not in my original plans.

It all started on Tuesday, September 2nd, when the Nationals were holding a #LateNightNats contest vs. the Dodgers. This was my submission:

As you see, the picture got cut off (I still have an old phone and iPad, by today’s standards) and the Post-It Note says, “You Go Dan Kolko!” as in reference to this:

That post gave me two tickets and be part of the Starting Nine on Monday vs. the Braves. In the same week, I got an email from MASN that the Lunch with Mike Rizzo is now Dinner with Mike Rizzo on the following day. It was supposed to be in early August, but when Orioles-Nationals was rained out and rescheduled to August 4, MASN was aiming for that date, but when that happened, they needed a time and place for Rizzo to have free time, so September 9 was chosen. MASN did not clarify if we needed tickets or not, so I had to exchange two games to September 9 just to make sure. As for giving them out…

The first objective was to get tickets for my friend, Elissa, who helped me filling in doing NatsJobs earlier in April while I was in mass for Holy Thursday. This was the game the Cardinals crushed the Nats, 8-0, and I felt sorry she had to witness that so I definitely owe her big time. I gave her three options: Monday’s game where I was in the Starting Nine; Tuesday with Dinner with Mike Rizzo, or Saturday, September 27 on Tyler Clippard Bobblehead Day. She chose the dinner and I got one thing out of way. Now I have to give away Saturday’s ticket, Tuesday’s two tickets after learning MASN did have the tickets for the contest winners, and two tickets for Tyler Clippard Bobblehead day.

I tried to combine the deal that if you wanted all five tickets, just pay the hotel room near Nationals Park or in Arlington. That didn’t worked out and Saturday’s game was inching closer, so I gave away the ticket to a random fan and now my concern was Monday. I asked my friends, networks, Twitter. Got no responses. Then, I did the boldest move I made so far in my life: I asked 5 separate women on OkCupid and Match.com that I really like, from the pictures and profiles, and asked if they’re interested to be my date on Monday night and I did mention it’s first come, first serve. No responses, although I knew one was a teacher and she couldn’t go so I asked her if she’s interested on September 27. So there were no takers.

September 8: 

It was a cloudy and cool day, so I decided to take a walk from Ballston to Nationals Park, with a few stops. I had to buy lottery tickets for my mother’s birthday and got a library card at the Arlington Public Library because I needed to print tickets because my own printer has been haywire. Around lunch time, I dressed up as the gnome because I heard of the “Buffalo Ramos” Burger at Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom from the D.C. Sports Bog. I wanted to try it before it’s gone. Sadly, I only had $5 (the burger was $7.70, including tax), so I did a quick impromptu contest that if you spotted the gnome and buy me the “Buffalo Ramos” Burger, the ticket was yours. After close to two hours, not a peep or touch from anyone. So, I change back to my normal clothes and decided to go to Starbucks and use some of my $25 gift card, I got in the summer, on lunch.

I walked down to the Navy Yard and went to the Marriott Courtyard to do some additional work, but their WiFi was out of service for some reason, then I went to Starbucks and they didn’t have WiFi and then realized it’s a federal building, so I went to Gordon Biersch and they got WiFi and sports so I can catch the new Highly Questionable studios (which I did. I miss the kitchen set), but the coverage was dominated by Ray Rice and Roger Goodell. After I finished my work for the day, I change my attire again to the gnome and headed to the Park.

Before entering the gates, I see a small line of people trying to buy $5 tickets. I asked them if anyone was interested in a free ticket (I could not sell it because the Nationals bought it for me) and the guy with the old DC baseball shirt got the free ticket. I went into Nationals Park and seeing a lot of my friends running around for some reason. then someone forward me a flyer that the Nats were doing a scavenger hunt at the Park. Luckily, I was more worried about not getting trip on the field. I talk with my friends about what should I expect in the Starting Nine and other stuff. Then, it’s time.

Before going to the field, I had to go to section 103 to check-in. Before checking in, one of the Nats HD crew wanted me for Fan of the Game. I wanted it to do it on August 5 when I had the gnome. I didn’t bring the gnome with me, but if I did, I had something great planned. Instead, I did this for 28 seconds to copy another gnome (the other 2 seconds was just random dancing):

Another Starting Nine participant, Justin, saw my performance and told me that I should win Fan of the Game hands down. I said that I hope there are no kids participating in Fan of the Game. When I turned to my right, I saw a kid, who was also participating in The Starting Nine, doing something for Fan of the Game. I turned to Justin and said, “I’m screwed.” After everyone was checked-in, it’s time to head to the field.

This was my sixth time on the field: three times for season ticket holder events, the one where I was a last-minute replacement (Tolu has a great story about that time. If you want to know more about Tolu’s catfish story, go here), and the one where I was the first ten for the Ignite Your Natitude! Tweetup to have a meet and greet with players on July 3, 2012. This on-field experience was different because I’m in public and with the media, TVs surrounding the park, I don’t want to be embarrassed by tripping over or screwing up the field that alters play. The Secret Service team at Nationals Park gave us a rundown on what and what not to do and ask us what position we want. Since there was a kid there, he gets first shot and he had a Bryce Harper jersey, so he wanted left field. The people and the security team knew I wanted right field and got it. In addition, The Starting Nine took some pics and selfies. Here are a few of mine:


The pre-game ceremonies are starting with the first pitch and I had to take off the hat and wig for the National Anthem because out of respect for the people who serve and protect to give me the right to act weird (and hipster if you look at the photo carefully). After the lineup exchange, everyone lineup around the backstop warning track to run to the field.

As I run onto the field, I was worried to not touch the foul line and forgot to go crazy while I was running. I did jump over the foul line and wave at the crowd waiting for the team to get onto the field. When Fister lead his team onto the field, I saw Span coming out and briefly saw his look that has a “WTF?” face. A few seconds later, Jayson Werth came out and told me, “This is good look, I love it” while tugging the beard.

2014-09-09 09.15.12

Photo Credit: Alex Brandon, AP














And Werth had the biggest smile I have seen him in public.

2014-09-09 09.18.05

Photo Credit: @natslibrarian


Afterwards, I introduced myself and wished him good luck and that was it.

Heading to the field exit, the Secret Service team and the rest of the Starting Nine asked me about that experience and I was overwhelmed to answer. Heading to the elevators to get into our seats, Carol and I talk about what happened on the field. It took us awhile, but we got to our seats at section 240.

At section 240, I met the guy who I gave away the free ticket and brought a whole pizza from 7-Eleven which the money was suppose to be used to buy a ticket initially. We introduced ourselves and settled in and the guy offered me half a whole cheese pizza to say thanks and at the same time, my iPad and phone were pinging about my Jayson Werth experience…and I was posting jobs at NatsJobs. At the same time, Ian Desmond drove in a run to make it 1-0 Nationals. It stayed there for several more innings. Then, the first true tweet to come out about my experience was this:

Chris Ford added my Twitter handle and my stream went bonkers afterwards:

The action really picked up (for me) at the end of the 5th inning when the Nats were doing the Fan of the Game. I didn’t had a good look because the the HD scoreboard was directly behind me. What I can tell was the bottom half and I was facing two kids and I was Fan #2, so I thought I was screwed.  When I came up, there was a loud ovation from my section and it trickled like the wave (properly) and when Jerome announce, “And The Winner is Fan #2″ I was really in shock because I was facing the kids and no adult should beat the kid. The entire 240 section gave me high-fives and fist bumps and salutes, as well as the sections next to us.

Both photos via @Carol_Dagny

Jayson Werth saw it on the screen that I won Fan of the Game and we both saluted each other and Werth tried to throw the baseball to me.  He overthrew it by a few rows and it was caught by an older guy, who gave the ball to the kid in front.

Of Note #1: Terrance came by on the 8th to give me the business card of the Senior Manager of Entertainment, Tom Davis. They ran out of Harris Teeter Gift Cards at that time and had to contact him the following day.

Of Note #2: Remember I mention I asked four women on OkCupid and Match.com (technically five, but one was a teacher. She gets a pass.) who did not respond? If either responded, I would of split the $50 Harris Teeter gift card since they only had $25 gift cards. Your lost, ladies.

Oh by the way, the game picked up when Fister was on the 7th and when Matt Williams came out to get him out, Fister convinced Matty he will get Andrelton Simmons out. Williams said ok and came back to the dugout. Fister got the third out and yelled “Yeah Baby.” Later on, Nats score on a fielder’s choice, the Braves score on a Freddie Freeman single, and Drew Storen went 1-2-3 to get the save and Nats won 2-1 to capped off probably the most thrilling night I ever had. Laura Roose probably sums up the best about my night:

Photos from others:

For your information: I’m 3-0 when I win Fan of the Game; 0-1 when I lose. Ponder that, Nationals.

Tuesday, September 9:

Waking up on a cloudy day, I was checking my emails for work-related stuff, then I saw Dan Steinberg wrote a piece about me that night. I got a lot of tweets and replies from my friends and followers about this. Here are some of the best/interesting responses I saw:

In addition of the great response I got from the previous night, my hamstrings tightened up after I forgot to stretch yesterday as I did some running. So, I took the Metro to Foggy Bottom (and got enough money to pay for the burger) and return to Whole Foods to get the “Buffalo Ramos” Burger. The verdict: it was delicious.

2014-09-09 13.35.55


After getting some work done at lunch, it was time to head to the Navy Yard again. I check with the Marriott Courtyard if they had the WiFi fixed. They did not and I was back at Gordon Biersch again. I did the same routine as the previous day and headed to Nationals Park. This time, I had two additional tickets as the fallback plan previously. I gave it to the mother-son combo and for the next 45 minutes, I stood outside the Center Field Gate for people who want to take pictures of me as the gnome and free McDonald’s smoothie samples. At 5:15PM, I headed to the media entrance. While going around Nationals Park, I saw the Virginia Cavaliers baseball team arriving and most looked at me and some say “Hey, it’s the Jayson Werth Gnome” I waved at them and head to the media entrance to meet up with Elissa and the other winners.

Dinner was at the Red Porch and Rizzo was coming down and I was a bit surprise that there was no crowd following him because he is the architect of this team and most fans would know his face. I won’t say much about what Rizzo said in the  dinner because it was among the MASN winners and guests, but I will say is Rizzo was friendly, courteous, and did not pull any punches of the questions we asked, specifically the Doug Fister trade.

Photos from the dinner are here. (For the record, I had to take off my costume because I had a fake beard and wig on and don’t want any food to get caught.)

2014-09-09 18.53.37



MASN provided seats at section 100 and it is unique point of view that is is far away, but you can see everything. Although section 100 was not rowdy as as 240, it has his own set of great Nats fans, which was led by Bob, who high-fives, fist bumps, and punching the shield with the Red Porch crowd when the Nats do something good. In the middle of the game, Bob order me a pretzel for just being a Nats fanatic. Nats won the game 6-4 and the magic number was reduce to 10 at that time. It capped off probably the most thrilling and magical two days I ever had.

To end the series, Atlanta beat the Nats, 6-2 on Wednesday and I wasn’t there. Coincidence?


In hindsight, what would made the two days complete is if I have more job opportunities to post or I handle the job opportunities for companies and organizations and if any recruiters are seeing this :), but those two days were surreal. I’m one of the rare few who got on the field to greet the players and very rare you get attention beyond your networks. So try to enter a contest or join a community for this very unique experience and I’m thankful for the support for not only my friends and followers, but to the people who I never met before for their generosity. I have worn wigs from Silver Elvis, the Rainbow Mullet, and a traffic cone hat (put that in the lost archives), but after a month, I would never expected a huge response of me dressing up as a gnome as a big deal.

I don’t know why and how I deserve it, but I guess that’s the power of the gnome.


If I Were Running A Company…Concepts

Laurie Ruettimann wrote two posts on recruiters creating and using apps to find candidates. She has been on record that recruiters should not use social media and search people to find any red flags. I agree that recruiters look at candidates at face value and missing on the whole candidate, and I agree with her that some recruiters do abuse social media and they give a bad name to the good recruiters out there who are using their resources properly.

Personally, vendors trying to advance HR with new technology and methods  to find talent and I do not mind recruiters using apps like Pinterest, Instagram, or Waze to find talent. In both cases, try to act naturally like flawed human beings, not sales weasels.

For HR vendors, we want to know more about yourself and/or the company, why you created the product, and what problems does it solve. I do not mind people comparing to their products, but companies should never compare themselves to others. An example is “Tinder for Jobs.” That, to me, sounds lazy and that your workplace culture is a mess. Why not say, “this is a concept we got from Tinder and we think it can translate into recruiting.” There, you give credit to the source and why this part might be crucial to recruiting. Vendors must present themselves as workplace experts and how to improve the process. Try to market yourself, a few have heard of, does not benefit your company in the long run.

For recruiters, you have tons of free resources to use as well as have social media tracking tools to keep up with interested individuals. Now, please be yourself. I want to see open positions in my feed, but I want you to also talk about what’s going on with current events like the Super Bowl, Ferguson, awards shows, or something else instead of auto-tweeting an article about what has been said already. This is why I rarely tweet on recruiting because it’s the same stuff that you will see from other recruiters; the differences is the field they’re recruiting and the personality. Be who you are in social media should be the primary part of your strategy, and being a recruiter should be secondary, then people will come to you not as a recruiter, but as a person.

What’s great about the open internet (except for hackers invading your privacy) is there’s ideas thrown around and people can take those ideas and test it out. Recruiters want vendors to build products that help them recruit. Vendors are trying to find new ideas to make the process easy. Both sides are trying to make this work. In those conversations, both sides need to find what works.

Remember that no idea is stupid. What is stupid is how your approach detracts customers or vendors.

Listen Up: Re-visited

Tony Kornheiser returns to the radio airwaves on Tuesday. To honor his return, we must celebrate the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Listen Up

Listen Up was a semi-autobiographical account of Tony Kornheiser’s life through his books and his columns in the Washington Post’s Style section. The sitcom mostly focuses on Tony’s personal life, but it also shows Tony’s day job as co-host of Listen Up.

The role of Tony Kornheiser (or in the sitcom world, Tony Kleinman) was played by Jason Alexander. The role of Michael Wilbon (Bernie Widmer) was played by Malcolm-Jamal Warner.  Instead of setting the sitcom in D.C., the show’s setting was in Philadelphia. It had all the Mr.Tony nuisances…but in Philly. In addition, Mr. Tony, in real life, is 6’0″, while Jason…is not, so a lot of short jokes were incorporated.

I wish I can tell you something memorable about Listen Up, but the only thing that pops up is Jason Alexander getting half-naked. I wonder Mr. Tony did that in real-life?

No wonder her daughter is afraid of him.

The first few episodes were standard family sitcom stuff, but the second half of the season picked it up. While not Emmy quality, at least it was better than Jason’s last sitcom he did after Seinfeld, Bob Patterson. Listen Up! was cancelled after one season. There’s unlikely a reunion, but it would be nice if Greg Garcia, of The Millers, and former board operator for the Tony Kornheiser Show, would re-boot the series

Random: If there is a sports writer who should have his own sitcom, I think it’s Dan Le Batard. He can tell stories of him being single, trying to make a relationship work, being sweaty, and have his father mocking him at every turn.

For the rest of your Labor Day Weekend, if you have a chance, watch Listen Up. Oh wait, you can watch all 22 episodes here:

Side note: Mazel Tov to Mr. and Mrs. Michael Kornheiser

Don’t forget Mr. Tony returns to radio on September 2 on ESPN980 at 10AM ET, and you can listen to the show on the same day if you missed the “live” show (hopefully) (and no, Dan Snyder didn’t pay me to do this).

Random Thoughts for August 17, 2014

There was a lot going the past week, it’s hard to do individual posts, so it’s best to summarize here.

Robin Williams

On Monday, Robin Williams took his own life at his home. It was later in the week, it was announced Williams was battling early stages of Parkinson’s disease.

On the entertainment front, Williams was a ball of joy. Either as a comedian, a guest on the talk show, or the main attraction in a comedy, Williams wanted to make you laugh and with his frantic mind, you have no idea where he was heading (read the behind-the-scenes of Mork and Mindy) and that was what Williams wanted: to see his mind and come join the ride. I know many tributes will include probably his most famous role as the teacher in Dead Poets Society. I have two favorite roles. The first is Good Morning, Vietnam, playing DJ Adrian Cronauer during the Vietnam War, for obvious reasons. The other was The Birdcage, where Williams plays a drag club owner to help his son getting married to a daughter of a political family with the help from his partner, Alan, played by Nathan Lane. Williams was funny, but restraint. There were over the top moments, but were not over the edge.

Robin also discussed his struggle with depression and see so many tributes people discussing their struggles with depression. There’s some research that discourage this, but some want to know how to battle this. We don’t know what is the best solution, but it is a consensus that when someone has depression, we should be there to support, by any means necessary.

Ferguson, Missouri

It all started with a police officer shot down Michael Brown. There has been two different versions of how Michael Brown was killed. The Ferguson police said Michael Brown was trying steal a gun from the officer and the officer acted in self-defense. Witnesses say Michael Brown surrendered, raise his hands up, got down to his knees, and then the officer shoot him. From the recent events the past week, we trust the Ferguson citizens more than the police department. We did know Michael Brown did something, but was it worthy to be killed for his actions, that seemed to be minor? Ferguson citizens, which 2/3rds of the population is black, thought the police, which the department is 94% white, took it way too far. This has resulted in looting; police in army gear; confusion not only in Ferguson, but in the state of Missouri (see Jay Nixon); and chaos that journalists are getting arrested for no reason. How does a small town get all that army gear? The modernization of the cop from friendly and upright citizens like Barney Fife are no more and evolved to essentially a soldier programmed to see any wrongdoing and take action.

We’re all upset by this because it has race and class overtones, but we’re also mad because we can see and hear what the Ferguson police are doing to their citizens in an instant. From the looks of it, the Ferguson police department are still stuck in the 1960s, while everyone is watching in shock and horror. Ferguson’s response is left to be desired.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

No, I have not participated in the ice bucket challenge because no one has challenged me, yet, but it has become a viral phenomenon and the ALS Association announced it raised over $11 million during that time. Most enjoy doing the challenge, while some are either sick of it, some think it serves no purpose, or few think we’re focusing too much on one cause. Two thoughts here: 1) $11 million was raised in less than a month serves the Ice Bucket Challenge’s purpose and 2) if you read or watch Pete Frates‘ story, you understand why it has become viral. This is Marketing 101 for nonprofits: find someone with a unique story to tell and let them and/or their friends do the work for you. Frates had a great support system. They pay it forward it to others, who are well-known athletes we admired, and it has spread. Now, people have more knowledge about this cause. Also, it’s appropriate since it’s the 75th Anniversary of Lou Gehrig announced he has ALS. He would be confused at first with why people dumping ice cold water on themselves, but happy they are doing this to b ring awareness to ALS. Of course with all this money, it’s how ALS spends it that’s more important and with a huge support of people behind the cause, the ALS Association better not screw this up.

That’s all I have. Back to your regular posts hopefully this week, unless something happens that is beyond my control or I actually have work to do.