The Buddy System for Job Seekers

When I was in Girl Scouts many years ago, we practiced what we called the “Buddy System.” It was simple: you never went anywhere away from the main group without a buddy. Whether it was a regular meeting, a day trip, or a weekend at camp, you took a buddy along for safety.

Now comes evidence the same thing works for job seekers. If you want to get a job, it helps to have a job—but if you don’t, you definitely need to have friends who are employed.

The first evidence came from Italy, but now American researchers have reached the same conclusion. (There’s a $5 fee for that article, so I haven’t read it.) Naturally, there’s a certain advantage to having employed friends when you’re looking for a new job: they might know of a position with their own employers and recommend you. But I suspect there’s a bit more to it.

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An interesting confluence presented itself to me recently. I was reading about how difficult it can be to overcome a bad first impression, which we all know to be true. And then something happened in an online forum to remind me how difficult it is to overcome a bad “zeroth” impression. That is, what can you do if someone (perhaps well-intentioned) says something about you that others take to be negative or untrue? Try as you might, some of the metaphorical mud splatters on you.

I am not going to discuss the online mess I witnessed because, first, I only caught the end of the conversation and don’t know all the details; second, the person involved has already put up with enough; and third, it’s none of my business—nor yours, either. Instead I want to tell you about how something similar almost happened to me.

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Answer E. All of the Above

When I was in school it seemed like every multiple-choice test included at least a few questions for which the answer was “E. All of the above.” Once you get the hang of it, it’s not difficult: if you’re absolutely sure that at least two of the answers above are correct, “All of the above” is the right choice.

Moore's Law Graph

It’s been a while since I graduated high school. The intervening years have seen the rise of the Internet, the availability of smaller, faster, cheaper computers, and a sometimes bewildering choice of mobile communications technology. Along the way I’ve become a huge fan of Moore’s Law, which in 1965 predicted that “The number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.”

If you think that the number of transistors on a chip doesn’t matter, think again. You many not know what goes on inside your computer, but because Gordon Moore turned out to be right the laptop you’re probably using right now could run rings around ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the world’s first general purpose computer, which weighed 30 tons. And your laptop is much, much cheaper. Continue reading