Archives for January 2019

Anyone want to work for the government? How the Government Shutdown will impact the US Employment Brand


Some people pick their trade or career based on what they like doing, can easily be trained to do, and that will pay them well. And some people take the safest route, the one they think will likely lead to job security. This leaves them vulnerable to being the victim of external job conditions they can’t control.

Sometimes, governments shut down. Sometimes unions strike. Sometimes companies decide to sell and/or reorganize and reduce their workforce.

Anyone who once thought of pursuing a job with the US government for job security is thinking again right now.

The people I have known who wanted to pursue employment with the US government had one, a combination or all of the following motivations: Steady employment, early retirement, and/or patriotic duty.

A comment I read accused people of sensationalizing the personal financial crisis of government workers during the shutdown. “Come on. It’s just one paycheck. Don’t make it sound like people are starving.” Except, a resolution doesn’t appear to be close and this individual must not be one of the many Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Good for him, but he can’t empathize.

40% of Americans have less than $400 in their savings, and 67% have less than $1000. One missed paycheck means some people have to choose between eating and paying utilities. God forbid they need medical attention and have to cover a copay or deductible or have their water heater break down, or need a car repaired.

Are federal employees in the same boat as these Americans? Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz believes that the percentage of government workers living paycheck to paycheck may be smaller, but there are still a large number of government jobs that don’t pay a living wage, according to the reality of living wages today.

Where I live, living expenses are supposedly $68K per year for a family my size (2 adults, 2 children.) This is based on an estimated $6,271 for medical expenses. How many people do you know that pay that little for a family insurance plan plus copays and deductibles annually? Have kids that play sports? I know parents who claim to visit an emergency room or urgent care center monthly.

I also know many families with 2 small kids who pay a lot more than $1,096.25 monthly for childcare. So, even this calculation seems to not cover actual living expenses.

Guess what’s not considered a necessary living expense: cell phones and internet access. Yet how many people would be disadvantaged in pursuing steady employment or better employment without that? Sure, there are ways, but the disadvantages are still there.

Think vacations are important? I do! Actually, if families can’t afford to travel or pay for entertainment, there are many detrimental economic impacts. In fact, it would spur a recession, if not a depression.

How patriotic can you remain if you work for a government who doesn’t pay you a REAL living wage?

So, they may be able to recruit based on patriotic inclinations, but we’re already seeing reports of government employees quitting in record numbers as a result of this shutdown.

Even before the government shut down 64% of government leaders reported difficulties attracting and retaining talent.

And how about disengagement? Even if they can attract bodies to fill the vacancies based on patriotism and retirement benefits, how can they keep their workforce engaged and productive? Right now disengagement in federal jobs mimics disengagement for private sector jobs at 66%. Globally, companies lose $700T per year on disengagement and its resulting productivity drag. While in the US, Gallup estimates the losses are somewhere in the $350B – $550B range.

So, employers lose 34% of each disengaged employee’s salary. Out of 9.1M government employees, 6M or so are disengaged. At an average $51,340 per year, the US government is right now losing $105 TRILLION on disengagement annually.

So, just to break down the math, based on the data, each disengaged worker (6M) is costing $17,455.60 each.

Is your jaw on the floor?

Considering what could be done for the American people with that money, this is a problem that impacts and deserves that attention of ALL Americans!

That is based on 2018/2019 current data! What happens when these numbers skew? What happens when the government finds it harder to recruit and engage talent after this shutdown? What happens when they aren’t able to sell job stability to millennials and Gen Z? Gen Z, by the way, is the generation that witnessed their parents, who worked hard and did everything they were supposed to do, still face financial ruin by the 2008 economic crash. They crave security. Now they are looking at job prospects. Is the government even going to cross their minds as a possible career path? Doubtful!

Let’s do more than just hope that this shutdown ends soon.

So what can we do? Use our voice! Use the communication channels that exist (the media, calling your Congressman/Congresswoman, social media) to raise awareness of the full breadth of detrimental impacts of this shutdown!  Don’t let anyone minimize the problem! For too many, it’s very real and happening now.  SHARE THIS ARTICLE!

We can also champion our federal workers, the majority of whom felt that getting a steady paycheck was more important than serving the public, and engage them from the outside by showing them that they are appreciated by the public they serve, that we know that they are critical to running our country, no matter what role they have. Thank a federal employee today!


Europe-Mr. Government Man

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Don’t Be A Statistic: Quit Right – What To Do Instead Of Ghosting Your Employer


Executive Director of the Philly Great Careers Group, Lynne Williams, shared an article that stated alarming statistics thought to be due to unemployment being and staying at a record low since September. Apparently, more people quitting their jobs without giving “proper” 2 weeks’ notice. On top of it, they are then “ghosting” their employer.

The job market is not a reason to justify burning any bridges. Though there are talent gaps predicted for certain technical and trade skills, this economy is not expected to last. I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but finance theory is based on cycles. It’s a job seekers’ market right now, but it won’t stay that way forever.  I also can’t imagine that it would feel very free to have to maintain a kind of online blueprint veil to prevent your employer from finding you online.

Even if your employer is the pits, even if you believe “everyone knows” what an unethical jerk he is, even if you have seen others drop like flies…

Strategize your escape to give your employer notice and take the high road.

It’s true that fewer and fewer employers will provide an official bad recommendation for fear of litigation, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t lose out in other ways. It’s also true that this courtesy doesn’t work both ways. Many companies know for weeks to months that they are going to lay off their workers and don’t inform them until their last day. If you live in an at-will state, not much is required. You are free to leave at any time, legally. That doesn’t mean there are no consequences.

I know for certain that some jobs put workers’ health, wellbeing, and safety at risk daily.  I’m not suggesting that you comply with all of your employers’ demands no matter how unreasonable, or that you stay in a situation that puts you at risk of a mental or physical health breakdown. No job is worth that!

Sometimes, though, we hit our breaking point.  When you know things are starting to build up, start preparing yourself for that fateful day. You’ll feel better knowing you are at the beginning of the end.

If that fateful day creeps up faster than you anticipated with the infamous straw that broke the camel’s back, don’t deviate from your plan and go out in a blaze of expletives, even if you think it will feel really good and they deserve it.

You’ll feel better later if they don’t get to see you at your actual breaking point. No one is at their best in that moment. The last thing you need on top of a rotten job/boss and the prospect of scary change is to lament the moment you let them see just how they got to you or to analyze over and over again what you said and did and what you’d have rather said and done.

It’s not worth it. Don’t be a viral case. Don’t go out with a bang, even though you may become a hero to other oppressed employees.

It’s a matter of simple substitution –

Instead of saying “I quit” or just walking out, say…

“I’m taking a mental health day for the rest of today and maybe tomorrow.”  Inform your boss and HR and leave. You may be fired for it, but that would be a litigation risk for them; protections for mental health are gaining more focus. It’s even possible (depending on your state, company policy, and terms of your employment etc.) that you might even be able to make a claim for unemployment compensation if they let you go for that.


Can we talk in your office in 10 minutes?” Give yourself some time to breathe, calm down your nervous system and stress response so that you can be judicious with your words.

“I am officially giving my 2 weeks notice. That is all I want to say right now.”

There may be a LOT you want them to know, but it’s better to sit down and write it all out in your own time. Get it all out first – everything you really want to say without judging it. Write or dictate stream of consciousness style – letting it flow out.

If you’ve never done this before, the process is a lot like cooking popcorn. It will start with one or two thoughts “popping” until soon you get so many at once you can hardly keep up, and then as you get more and more out of your head and into a record (digital or printed) the thoughts will go back to a trickle. You may still add one or two things after you think you’re finished and put it away. Keep it nearby. If you sit down with paper and nothing comes out, engage in a cathartic activity, like walking or cleaning. It won’t be long before your stress response gives way to your reflective thinking.

If given the chance or invited to an exit interview, go through your notes pick out what’s really necessary – just the basic human resources requirements. If they want to know more, perhaps they sincerely want to mitigate whatever situation caused you to want to leave, boil it down to clinical facts, meaning everyone would agree that it is true. For example, though you may believe your boss is an insensitive jerk, you would instead cite a particular moment that your boss was a jerk and state exactly what happened without interpretation. He said this, and then I said that.

Then there may be things that you think they should want to know. But do they? What is it that you’d like them to know for their sake? What would you like them to know for the sake of their remaining employees, customers, investors, etc.?  Should you share this? I don’t know.

What are the potential detriments or fall out that can happen by sharing this?

If the fall out may come back on you, hold on to this information, at least for now. Don’t decide what to do with it until you are safely landed on the other side of your job search.

Why would you do this? Why would you choose to take the high road with an employer who so clearly chooses to be “wrong?”


You are grace, and in your grace, you inspire people to want to be better. That person may not be your employer, but it could be.  It could be anyone else witnessing the events. It could be the next person who leaves. It could be your kids. It could be the complicit HR person who finally leaves the company and decides later that you were so impressive in your grace that you deserve to work for his/her new employer.

It’s much harder for someone to justify treating someone badly who is still good in return. The moment a bad boss starts to question if they were justified, change is possible.

Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It (Official Video)

Watch the official video for Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, from their 1984 album ‘Stay Hungry.’ The single reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, making it Twisted Sister’s only Top 40 single. The song was ranked number 47 on 100 Greatest 80’s Songs and number 21 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (, is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.