Category Archives: Business

Why on-the-job training has mostly vanished

Is On-the-Job Training Still Worth It for Companies? – Businessweek.

The relationship between employers and employees is such that jobs are rarely long lasting anymore. As a result, employers do not wish to invest in worker training for fear they will not see a return on investment. Another fear, not mentioned in the article, is that training workers with new skills often implies they should earn more money – which employers prefer not to pay. And when the employer does not pay for those additional skills, the employee leaves for elsewhere.

An issue in my field is employers seeking applicants with a long list of degrees and certifications, paid for by the employee. But employers are not paying much more for the employee’s own investment – the result is employers are expecting more but paying less for that value. Which is another way of saying that pay is going down, even if the $ value looks greater.

US GAO’s full report on management failures

Here is the full report: Ineffective Planning and Oversight Practices Underscore the Need for Improved Contract Management (PDF)

I do not have time to read it just now but look forward to going over it later as a lesson in software engineering practices.

“Why I quit Facebook”, by Chris Chan

Why I quit Facebook and we are sharing much more than you think | LinkedIn.

As of today, the above post has been shared over half a million times.

I am now restricting my FB logins to once or twice per week. At some point, I may delete the account too.  Chris’s reasons are relevant, but for me, the bigger issue is the non-stop sharing without thinking – literally the excessive sharing of items using obvious methods of propaganda to persuade others.

Facebook is what I call a frictionless conduit for the dissemination of propaganda through the unquestioned sharing of stories that rely on logical fallacy, appeals to emotion or factual inaccuracies and other methods of propaganda used to persuade others. Few people will challenge their friends; the result is a perfect platform for propaganda. And that means a waste of our time.
Separately, Facebook’s tracking and collection of data is far larger than most realize.

McDonald’s installs 7,000 self-order entry systems in Europe

As the cost of labor increases, investing in fixed cost capital improvements like robotics and self order systems becomes an easy decision for those hiring low skilled work forces:

McDonald’s hires 7,000 touch-screen cashiers – CNET.

Grocery stores, bank ATMS, even Home Depot, have replaced cashiers and clerks with self checkout systems. The McDonald’s systems use debit and credit cards only – making it all the more easy for your activities to be monitored.

Labor Force Participation Rate

The decline in the labor force participation rate is worrisome: The Demise Of The American Dream In 2 Charts | Zero Hedge. Link shows a chart for men in the workforce, which is different than the general labor force workforce. That figure has dropped from 86% to 69%. But the general labor force participation rate is down quite a bit too – this chart is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a Federal agency:


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The challenge of health information data normalization

Different facilities and doctors use different terminology to describe the same things which makes the exchange of patient data difficult:

Until the data is normalized, the true potential of HIEs will be stunted. That potential lies in the ability to instantaneously act on the exchanged information. Ideally, two doctors sharing the same patient will be able to automatically absorb each other’s separate patient data.

via Health Information Exchanges Lack Standards – Healthcare –.

Providers used to jot down their diagnosis on a paper chart. Today, diagnoses are entered into an electronic medical record (EMR) and then may be transferred between providers – where the method of encoding the data is different. This problem is far more challenging than it seems on the surface (having studied graduate medical informatics, I have been introduced to the complexity).

Health Care and Insurance Fees to Consume 1/3d of typical family income by 2022

Look for insurance savings – San Francisco Chronicle.

By 2022, the typical family will pay 1/3d of their income to the health insurance and health industry industrial complex:

It is difficult to see how the U.S. will remain competitive in any economic activity when, over time, all of our income will be spent on health insurance and health care industries.

Individual purchasers of pre-paid health care (aka health insurance) – and only individual purchasers – are required by ObamaCare to purchase a rich package of Federally defined “benefits”.  Corporations and government are exempt from this requirement.

Among the oddities, under ObamaCare, the elderly and women who have had hysterectomies and men who have had vasectomies are required by ObamaCare to purchase maternity care insurance. Those who do not drink, smoke or do drugs are required by ObamaCare to purchase drug abuse counseling insurance.

Those who purchase medical devices – say an Epi-Pen to prevent loss of life due to food allergies – will pay an additional 2.3% tax to fund ObamaCare. (Epi-Pens, which used to be sold individually, are now sold only as a pair. Why sell one when you can sell two for twice as much? Cost: $232 every year.)

In the past two weeks, Sen. Max Baucus who wrote the law, and Sen. Harry Reid, the Majority Leader  who pushed the legislation through, both said ObamaCare looks to be a “looming train wreck”.

What a mess. That certainly inspires confidence 🙂

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HR is often a road block to hiring good workers

Ask The Headhunter: The Talent Shortage Myth and Why HR Should Get Out of the Hiring Business | The Business Desk with Paul Solman | PBS NewsHour | PBS.

At many companies there are layers of HR-related staff and automated resume scanners that pre-screen applications.

But as the author of the linked article points out, the HR staff generally lack the technical skills to adequately evaluate technical applicants, and they are not held accountable for the good people they inappropriately reject.

The author’s recommendation is that HR should not be involved in the recruiting and hiring process – that job properly belongs with the managers who are trying to fill positions. In other words, outsourcing (or insourcing) the recruitment process is not working, he says.


Why my posting here has been light – we’ve bought a home in the Portland, OR area and are wrapping up prep’ing our current home for sale. Plan to call some real estate sales people later today. Anyway, this has been intensely time consuming and blogging fell off the task list.

Self-Published Authors should charge $2.99 to $9.99 for their e-books

Self-Published Authors Say ‘Don’t Overcharge for E-Books’ | Creatives at Work.

Interesting but this conclusion appears to be based on opinion (which I agree with) but there’s no hard data presented. The pricing model is also oriented towards short to mid-length novels rather than all types of e-books.

Still, I think consumers expect a discount for purchasing an e-book. And a lower price point may encourage more people to buy on a whim.

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