February 2, 2009
Equal pay and other good news amid the usual doom and gloom
Amid the never-ending reports of layoffs this past week, there have been a few glimmers of light.
I don't diminish the significance of losing one's livelihood. Nor am I living in an employment dream world. (Almost every outfit I freelance for has significantly cut their workforce and freelance budgets in recent weeks; like many of you, I'm preparing for the worst, just in case.)
But I do think it's helpful to highlight the positive news out there. So with that, I give you my picks for the best news I've heard in the past week:
1. Obama signs the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Of course we can't legislate gender discrimination completely out of existence. But this move to help eliminate the wage gap is a long-overdue milestone.
2. Washington's Employment Security Department adds Saturday hours. The hope is this will shorten the longgggg wait times that people applying for unemployment benefits by phone are experiencing. According to the News Tribune, the ESD is frantically training new phone agents to help lighten the load, with 27 more due on the job this month and 50 more in April. (It's worth noting that if you file your claim online, you don't have to worry about being put on interminable hold.)
3. Freelance, contract, and part-time work goes mainstream. Tina Brown's essay on the gig economy caught Newsweek's attention last week. And that tickles my heart. Because the more the rest of the country acknowledges that one-third of U.S. workers are independents, temps, and part-timers, the more likely we'll be to see an eventual shift in how health insurance is obtained and taxes are paid by the self-employed and alternatively employed.
How about you? Read or heard anything to cheer about lately?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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