The week@work May 4 – May 10 The US economy improves, the best resume fonts, networking tips & stay@home dads

This week@work brought good news with the US Labor Department reporting the addition of 223,000 Jobs in April, lowering the  unemployment Rate to 5.4%. Wage gains have not kept pace, registering only a 0.1 percent gain last month. The New York Times reported on the “mystery of missing wage growth”:

“As the unemployment rate has dropped, many economists have kept predicting that substantive pay increases would come soon. But as long as wage gains remain just around the corner, their absence is expected to fuel increased public frustration and become a central issue in the presidential campaign.”

“The difference between where we are now and where we were in the 1990s is that the prosperity then lifted more boats,” said Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez. “The unfinished business of the recovery is wage growth. Too many people are working a 50-hour workweek and getting their food at a food pantry.”

If you are currently on the job market, your resume is your calling card, and Bloomberg Business suggests the best and worst fonts to use.

“A résumé, that piece of paper designed to reflect your best self, is one of the places where people still tend to use typeface to express themselves. It does not always go well, according to people who spend a lot of time looking at fonts.”

“We went digging for a complete set of professionally fly fonts and returned with just one consensus winner: Helvetica.”

“If you are very experienced, use Garamond to get your long rap sheet to fit into a single page.”

You have your resume, the job market is improving and you’re off to an industry networking event. Fast Company published founder and CEO of Circle Bank, Manoj Ramnani’s strategies to prepare for the event, ‘work’ the event and follow-up after the event.

“To get the most from these events, there’s quite a bit of front-loaded strategizing and after-the-fact upkeep. Think long-term goals, a slow burn, and you’ll approach these events with a much more productive attitude.”

“Identify your goals. Know who’s coming and reach out. Define your value.”

The last item this week@work tells the first-person account of ‘stay at home dad’, Liam Robb O’Hagan.

“Two years ago, I flew through Heathrow airport in London. On my arrivals card, I listed my occupation as stay-at-home dad.

The Customs and Immigration Officer, who was trained in the finer art of welcoming visitors to the country — or friendly chit-chat as normal people call it — made the comment that he had never seen that occupation listed before. I had to admit that it was the first time I could remember offering it as my profession.

I still find calling myself a stay-at-home dad awkward. My discomfort doesn’t make it any easier when I have to answer the question, “What do you do?” I’ll often couch my answer in the phrase, “Right now, I am a stay-at-home dad.” Perhaps I’m doing this in the hope that will give the inquirer license to delve into my distant past or just talk about the weather.”

As much as we resist, in social settings our work defines us. ‘What do you do?’ is a question that creates a first impression.

The occupation of ‘stay at home dad’ is a critical to the future of our society as ‘stay at home mom’. Many entrepreneurs and  professionals ‘work from home’. Maybe it’s time to include parents in this category. They don’t ‘stay at home’, they ‘work from home’.

Week in Review

Groundhog Day has always been one of my favorite annual celebrations. Since the Bill Murray movie, I think of it as the national day of second chances. So, if you don’t get it right the first time – you get another chance.

I launched ‘Workthoughts’ on Groundhog Day because a blog about work should be a blog of career evolution, lifelong learning and many second chances.

The blogs of this past week introduced some of the themes I hope to expand as we continue our conversation. Here’s a quick summary of the week that was:

Finding your work ‘place’ may be a more realistic way to find your ‘passion’.

The vanishing ‘snow day’ still provides an unexpected window into work/life balance.

Storytelling is still alive and well in both job funding and venture building

Competence and confidence will only get you so far.

Poetry is the portal to visualize your ideal.

We learn from the wisdom of others – this week, Bob Dylan.

‘In the news’ – The New York Times reported the ‘The economy cruised into the new year with a bust of fresh momentum, adding jobs at the fastest pace since the boom of the late 1990s and lifting unemployment and wage prospects for millions of Americans left behind in a long but mostly lackluster recovery.”

Will the recovery lead to more mobility within the employed? Good question to explore as we continue the conversation next week.