“These days we live in a world in which ‘diversity’ is the goal, rather than competence.”

by David Cole at Taki Magazine

Well, that is damned inconvenient. A state-of-the-art pedestrian bridge hailed as the inevitably wondrous result of diversity in engineering has collapsed within days of being paraded before the media. Did I say inconvenient? I should have said symbolic.

“Diversity Bridge” (that’s not the structure’s official name, but I think it fits) was designed to connect Florida International University to the city of Sweetwater, where many FIU students and staff reside. The bridge, installed (though not yet opened to the public) a mere four days before its failure, spanned a busy Miami highway, and the collapse crushed cars and people underneath. Authorities report at least six deaths.

Prior to pancaking, Diversity Bridge had been championed as “an engineering feat come to life.” One of the geniuses who accomplished this “feat” is an engineer who was hailed by President Obama in 2015 as a “champion of change”: Atorod Azizinamini, director of FIU’s Accelerated Bridge Construction Center (now renamed the Accelerated Bridge Destruction Center). The firm that built the bridge, Munilla Construction Management (MCM), is run by the Munilla brothers—Raul, Juan, Jorge, Lou, Fernando, and Pedro (is that a construction firm or the latest incarnation of Menudo?). And then we have Leonor Flores, MCM’s senior manager. On March 14, as Diversity Bridge was being installed, Flores was quoted in this breathless puff piece on the FIU website:

Twelve-year-old Michelle Flores shared a special moment with her family at FIU this past Saturday: She and her sister Gabriela joined their parents, FIU alumni Leonor and Henry Flores MIS ’01, to watch a 950-ton section of a pedestrian bridge swing into its permanent position across Southwest 8th Street. Leonor Flores ’98 is a project executive and one of 63 FIU alumni who work for MCM, the construction firm building the FIU-Sweetwater University City Bridge. She was excited to share her work with her family, especially Michelle, who is interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in school. Said Leonor: “It’s very important for me as a woman and an engineer to be able to promote that to my daughter, because I think women have a different perspective. We’re able to put in an artistic touch and we’re able to build, too.”

She’s an artist, all right. That bridge became a pile of junk art that would have made Arman jealous.

“These days we live in a world in which ‘diversity’ is the goal, rather than competence.”

Needless to say, the day after the collapse, damage control needed to be done, and fast. The piece on the FIU website was updated (in bloodred letters, no less) to read: “To clarify, Leonor Flores did not work on the FIU-Sweetwater University City Bridge project in any capacity.” Funny, because in that very same piece the bridge is referred to as “her work.” On its Facebook page, MCM deleted tags with Flores’ name. Also deleted (but archived by me) was a March 8 post declaring: “A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink. Thankful for all of our MCM women who help us overcome challenges every day and #BuildExcellence. #HappyInternationalWomensDay #WeAreMCM.”

A wink? Personally, I prefer engineers who keep both eyes open while looking at challenges.

To be clear, I’m not saying that bridge design is some kind of exclusively white male endeavor. To even suggest such a thing would be ridiculous. But these days we live in a world in which “diversity” is the goal, rather than competence. Who cares if a few bridges collapse? Do we really expect leftists, who still champion communism even after it cost a hundred million lives in the previous century, to worry about six dead motorists? 

Keep reading.  The last part about Willie Odom will put the issue into bold relieft if it isn’t already.


Jimmy Iovine: “I want to work with talent”

In spite of all the channels, all of the social media, all of the hits from a Google search, it is amazing what you can miss in the world. I’d never heard of Jimmy Iovine. This interview is quite good. You will hear and learn some excellent business advice though the interview is about much more than that. 

Chris Voss does an excellent job, too, of drawing out some lessons from the man who negotiated a $3 billion dollar deal with Apple.

“Get the job. Look around for opportunity.  Identify the opportunity. Exploit it.  Work it.  Get good at it.”

The message, which is not new, certainly is an important reminder to high school students.  First and foremost, get the skills. Then get the job.  Then look around for opportunity.  Identify the opportunity. Exploit the opportunity.  Work at the opportunity.  Then get good at the opportunity.  Then the figured out how to love it.

h/t Entrepreneur

Seek opportunity, not your passions.

A degree does not mean you’re going to find your dream job, Rowe explains.  “Dream jobs are usually just that–dreams. Their imaginary existence just might keep you from exploring careers that offer a legitimate chance to perform meaningful work and develop a genuine passion for the job you already have.  Your happiness on the job has very little to do with the work itself.”  With what, then?

Get a job.  Look around to see what other people are doing.  Get good at your work and prosper.  Get passionate about winning. Septic tank expert learned that he was passionate about other people’s crap.”  Meaning someone else is setting the mark or parameters for what’s valuable to you.  That’s something that you’ve got to find. English, history, math, and science teachers will tell you how important and valuable their subject is.  It is valuable.  To them!  And since you’re learning of its value from them while sitting captive inside a tax-funded classroom, they might be able to persuade a percentage of kids minimally by attrition.  They will wear you down, particularly if you’re in the system for 12 years.  So there’s that.

Polite society calls professional jobs “good careers.”  Maybe they are.  Try one on for size.  Try serving the public, every one of them.  Employers are struggling to fill 5.8 million jobs that no one is trained to do.

Skills gap: when people follow their passions, they miss out on kinds of opportunities they didn’t even know existed.  So they never take the time to learn the skill.  They only invest time in chasing down their passions.

Can still be a tradesman but only if you get yourself a different kind of toolbox.

“Staying the course” only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction.   And while passion is way too important to be without, it is way too fickle to follow around.  Never follow your passion but always bring it with you.

In general, Rowe’s advice is quite good.  It is sobering.  It would be rare to hear this pragmatism from a tax-funded, high-school teacher.  But Wall Street Journal writer, Dr. Peter Cappelli, points out a few other reasons why kids are opting for those “good jobs.” He argues that “Some of the complaints about skill shortages boil down to the fact that employers can’t get candidates to accept jobs at the wages offered.”  Perhaps.  Employers should treat each hire as an investment with a measurable plan of increase wages and responsibility.  But they don’t.  They don’t want to talk about future responsibility or performance in an interview of positions currently held by tenured employees.

Here is a list of difficult-to-fill jobs for 2016.  How many of these are manual labor jobs? Not many.  Which makes Mike Rowe look like an oracle for the working man.

Essentially, it looks like healthcare, education, and technology is where job shortages are. Then fill them.  Want to be a writer?  Fine, just be a healthcare writer or tech writer and so forth.

A decent graphic on where the job shortages are.

In 2016, Employers Want Business & Tech Grads, Not Readers of Othello or Grapes of Wrath

Employers Are Looking to Hire Class of 2016 Business and Technical Grads

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

December 9, 2015

from NACE via Robert Wenzel

Among Class of 2016 bachelor’s degree graduates, those from the business, engineering, and computer science disciplines are most in demand by employers responding to NACE’s Job Outlook 2016 survey.

Sixty-nine percent of these employers anticipate hiring graduates from the business disciplines, while 67 percent plan to hire engineering graduates and 58 percent expect to hire computer and information sciences graduates. (See Figure 1.)

The top majors in demand are also from these three disciplines and include accounting, computer science, finance, business administration/management, and mechanical engineering. (See Figure 2).

The Job Outlook 2016 survey was conducted from August 5, 2015, through September 13, 2015, among NACE employer members. A total of 201 NACE employer members participated in the survey—a 20.1 percent response rate.

NACE members can access the Job Outlook 2016 report through MyNACE.

Figure 1: Top bachelor’s degrees in demand, by broad category

Broad Category # of respondents that will hire % of respondents that will hire
Business 125 69.4%
Engineering 120 66.7%
Computer & Information Sciences 104 57.8%
Math & Sciences 50 27.8%
Communications 40 22.2%

Source: Job Outlook 2016, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Figure 2: Top bachelor’s degrees in demand, by major

Major # of respondents that will hire % of respondents that will hire
Accounting 98 54.4%
Computer Science 97 53.9%
Finance 91 50.6%
Business Administration/Management 86 47.8%
Mechanical Engineering 83 46.1%
Information Sciences and Systems 75 41.7%
Management Information Systems 73 40.6%
Electrical Engineering 71 39.4%
Logistics/Supply Chain 67 37.2%
Economics 64 35.6%
Marketing 64 35.6%

Source: Job Outlook 2016, National Association of Colleges and Employers

– See more at: http://www.naceweb.org/s12092015/employers-want-business-technical-graduates.aspx?terms=top%20degrees%20in%20demand#sthash.tFmOKcBj.dpuf

You Already Have All the Skills You Need to Succeed

“If you overhear other negative conversations, just avoid actively participating in them.”

by Trent Hamm

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At my first job after college, I wound up working on a data organization project. Originally, this was to be at least a three-person project, but shortly after the project began, the third member of the team was let go.

This was fairly distressing, because the third member of the team was supposed to be the expert on the data we were organizing. She was supposed to understand what the data meant, I was supposed to build the interfaces, and the other guy actually kept the database running – the database administrator, in other words.

So, for most of a year, the database administrator and I were shuffled away into a separate office from the rest of the team. There were definitely some overtones that the project was in trouble, not from our own efforts, but from events going on outside of our control.

Unsurprisingly, over that year, I began to build a really strong relationship with the database administrator. We spent a ton of time studying the data that we had, figuring out relationships between the data sets. We looked at lots of different interfaces for similar data sets and tried to borrow from the good things about those interfaces.

It worked. Our project did spectacularly well at each and every review milestone and we changed the perspective of some of the decision-makers higher up the food chain. Eventually, we were offered much more permanent jobs.

So, why am I telling you this?

The database administrator, the one who was crucial in making all of this work, was trained as a high school teacher – and not a computer science high school teacher, either. He taught agriculture classes at a rural high school in Iowa.

So, how did he wind up as an Oracle database administrator? He didn’t have a degree in computer science or information services. How did he get there?

The truth is that he simply applied a bunch of skills that were completely unrelated to computer science in order to get there. He applied skills that everyone already has. The only difference is that he actually applied them.

If you want to move up in your career or switch to a different career, going back to school can certainly help. However, you likely already have most of the skills and traits that you need to make that shift.

Here are seven skills and traits that you already have that you may not be applying as well as you could. If you can execute these things, you’ll have a massive leg up on the people in your field and find it easy to get your foot in the door if you want to make a career change.

When someone needs something from you, do you come through for them? Do you only call in sick when you’re legitimately sick – and that’s pretty rare? Can people depend on the fact that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do at work?

Surprisingly enough, reliability is actually pretty rare, even at higher level jobs. I know many people that, when you email or call them for a particular task or item that you need from them, will say “sure!” and then never deliver anything. Similarly, I know many people who seem to never go to work – they’re always out “sick” or “on vacation.”

Those people aren’t reliable, and the people in their workplace are bound to notice this and be adversely affected by it. You can be the most skilled person in the world, but if you’re not reliable with those skills, they’re not really very useful.

Almost every organization in the world would prefer to have someone reliable and relatively unskilled at the desk than someone highly skilled but unreliable. The reliable person might not be able to produce amazing things, but when you ask them for something, they’ll produce it; they’ll also be there when you need them. The unreliable person? They might produce something great, but they also might just produce nothing at all.

What can you do to improve your reliability?

  • Show up. A big part of success is simply showing up. Yes, everyone wakes up sometimes with a desire to not go into work. Everyone has days where they’d rather hang out around the house than work. A reliable person goes in anyway, and in doing so becomes more valuable in their workplace.
  • Keep track of the things asked of you and fulfill them promptly. Maintain a to-do list and spend your time working through that list as efficiently as you can. Put a priority on things that other people are relying on to do their own work.
  • Don’t waste time. There’s always something you could be doing, even during the down times. Work on tasks that will make it easier to deal with the challenges during the busy times. Keep your workplace organized. Build skills.

Yes, many workplace meetings are incredibly boring. Most of the time, you’d rather be anywhere else, doing anything else. Of course, it’s that very unwanted nature of meetings that makes them such a valuable place to be.

All you have to do to stand apart from the pack is pay attention when you’re meeting with others, whether it’s a one-on-one meeting or a large group meeting. Stay as focused as you possibly can on the moment and react naturally to what you see and hear.

Here are three specific steps that are well worth taking.

Continue reading how to apply the skills you already have . . . .