With workers and employers feeling ghosted, it’s clear that the hiring process is not working. Here’s how companies can improve.

A woman waiting to be called for a job interview
  • The current labor market has a serious matching problem, as evidenced by the ghosting phenomenon.
  • Workers are looking for jobs, but employers can’t seem to find them – or keep them.
  • Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has solved similar problems before.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In careers as in romance, a happy and successful relationship depends on finding a good match – and one match is not the same as another.

The labor market, as Insider’s Juliana Kaplan writes, is seeing a major mismatch of skills, geographies, and expectations, which is leading companies across the US to complain of a labor shortage as millions of people actively look for work.

One result of this matching problem is a phenomenon that’s familiar to anyone who’s tried to find a romantic partner in the past decade or so: ghosting. Instead of having an uncomfortable “it’s you not me” breakup conversation, a person quietly stops responding and disappears.

While job applicants say employers have a long history of ghosting them instead of offering a clear rejection, employers have more recently begun to worry about ghosting by prospective and newly hired employees.

Regardless of how things got to this point, it’s a complicated problem that is having very real financial and psychological consequences for the people on both sides of the bargaining table, not to mention the wider circle of coworkers, families, and customers who rely on these jobs getting done.

Long before Daniel Kahneman was a Nobel Prize-winning psychology professor, he was a lieutenant in the Israeli army in the 1950’s, where he was tasked with finding a better way to assign new recruits to suitable teams.

In short, he was a matchmaker.

Recently, Kahneman shared his insights on hiring practices with the Wall Street Journal, saying that the traditional approach most organizations have been using is “not the best way of doing things.”

With the caveat that “I am not an expert,” Kahneman shared several ways companies could do a better of hiring for roles at all levels from entry-level to CEO.

The first aspect of Kahneman’s approach is to focus on the attributes that are relevant and necessary for the job, giving those attributes a numeric score, such as a ten-point ranking.

“Pick maybe half a dozen traits needed to succeed, whether punctuality, technical skill, even anger management. Then think of questions that can help you determine if candidates have these attributes,” he said.

In addition, while cognitive intelligence is clearly a valuable trait, Kahneman says what matters more is whether someone can actually do the work. For that, he recommends including tests or samples of the kinds of tasks that will be part of the job.

By emphasizing consistent metrics and tests that are relevant to the actual work, recruiters are able to compare applicants more evenly.

Kahneman also recommends hiring managers keep an open mind throughout the process until they’ve gathered the necessary data to make an informed decision, at which point they should act decisively.

“Simon would tell you to hire the first candidate to pass your criteria,” Kahneman said, in reference to economist and psychologist Herbert Simon. “You’re not really looking for the absolute best because that would take too long.”

A more systematic and focused approach can help hiring managers make better decisions more quickly, Kahneman says, but there’s still an inherent risk that simply cannot be avoided.

“Good interviews might improve the likelihood you’ll be right say from 50% to 60%. If you can go to 65%, it is wonderful,” he said. “Doing better may be impossible.”

Check out the full interview with Kahneman at the Wall Street Journal.

Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-last

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to tell if you’re a covert narcissist

Welcome back to Insider Weekly! I’m Matt Turner, co-EIC of business at Insider.

“Am I a covert narcissist?”

That’s the question at the heart of Rebecca Knight’s latest work-advice column this week. Rebecca’s spent her career answering these kinds of questions, most often focused on the emotional life of work. As boundaries between home and work blur in the WFH era, they’re more relevant than ever.

Also in this week’s newsletter:

Let me know what you think of all our stories at mturner@insider.com

Subscribe to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here. Download our app for news on the go – click here for iOS and here for Android.

From narcissism to hybrid life, our work-life columnist tackles tough questions

Meryl Streep as Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada."

Correspondent Rebecca Knight takes us behind the scenes of her work-life column What’s Working?:

What most interests me about work and careers are the people-problems. When launching my column, “What’s Working?”, I wanted to find a way to talk about these things and help workers through the challenges they face.

Work and home have merged into one in this pandemic. There is much more of an acknowledgement and a focus on what’s going on in our personal lives outside of work. The reader questions I’m getting most often are about personality clashes in the remote setup and about people reassessing what they want out of their lives and out of their jobs.

My most memorable column so far was about remote-work paranoia. A reader worried: “There must be another Slack channel that everyone else is having fun on and leaving me out of.” That reader tapped into something that a lot of us are feeling right now – and as a remote employee myself, I sometimes feel it, too.

So that’s why it’s important to remember that we’re all doing our best in this pandemic. Have compassion for yourself and for others. And if you need any advice, send me a question at rknight@insider.com.

Read Rebecca’s latest column here: ‘I always thought that I was a socially anxious introvert. Now I worry I’m a narcissist. What do I do?’

Noom says it offers personalized weight-loss support. Users say otherwise.

Noom app

An industry leader in weight-loss apps, Noom has millions of dollars worth of venture-capital funding. It claims to use psychological methods and customized plans to help users lose weight – though users say they largely get cookie-cutter content.

While the app sells itself on a concept of psychological reset and long-term weight control, a registered dietician said Noom advises an extremely low daily calorie goal – “It’s not really an adult serving size.” Here’s why some clients reported feeling anxious and burnt out.

Get the full story on Noom’s canned advice and expensive subscription service.

Private-equity firms are locked in a power struggle with their investors

A stressed big law worker with a laptop over her head surrounded by file folders and a gavel to the right side on a red background. Papers are up in the air and a document stamped with "PRIVILEGED" is in the very front.

Private-equity firms and their investors are at each other’s throats with expensive demands and competing interests. Legal teams from both parties are caught in the middle, waging a secret war that investor attorneys see as “a game of holding the line.” Ambiguous contractual changes between legal teams, firms, and investors muddy the water, and changes are rarely uniform across the industry.

The back-and-forth often results in seven-figure legal expenses, as private-equity-firm billing rates can cost up to $1,500 per hour. But the battle, according to one attorney who works for investors, is one-sided in favor of private-equity.

Read about the expensive legal war between private-equity firms and their investors

A wild party and COVID outbreak have raised safety concerns for Launch House

Michael Houck, cofounder Launch House

Los Angeles startup Launch House, a coliving program meant for founders, threw a mismanaged house party with hundreds of guests. Police had to shut it down – but that’s part of the “work hard, play hard” ethos of Launch House, according to former residents.

While at times, Launch House was poorly controlled and potentially unsafe, with COVID-19 outbreaks and parties, residents also said there were many benefits. A strong community, invaluable network, and fireside chats with like-minded entrepreneurs all remain part of the culture. But the safety concerns have put the company under scrutiny.

This is how Launch House plans to move forward – with the help of venture capitalists.

More of this week’s top reads:

Compiled with help from Phil Rosen, Lisa Ryan and Jordan Erb.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I finally quit my finance job to become a full-time musician – here’s how I’m making the jump

Dane Drewis playing guitar.
Dane Drewis and his guitar.

    • Dane Drewis is quitting his finance job to pursue music full-time by treating his music like a business.
    • Drewis treats his music like a business and has mapped out a financial strategy to move forward.
    • He recommends acquiring digital production skills for more control over your music.
    • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Sometimes you need a nudge to make a leap of faith.

But a pandemic lockdown can do the trick, too.

Once music gigs dried up during COVID-19 lockdowns, California musician Dane Drewis decided he would quit his corporate finance job and make the jump from part-time to full-time musician. Drewis, who was most recently the VP of finance at design and technology company 14th Round Inc., has done a lot of jobs in his working career: business, finance, waiting tables, and even running a restaurant that Beyoncé invested in.

But that list never included music, until now – and that’s because he’s decided to treat his music like a business venture, not just a side hobby.

“I’ll be turning 39 soon and I’ve never made a full commitment with music,” Drewis told Insider. “I want to be able to look back and say I went all in with music.”

Drewis, whose parents are both musicians, fell in love with music in college thanks to late-night jam sessions and endless hours practicing guitar alone in his dorm room. But as he took on a professional career, he didn’t have the time or energy to go all in.

Despite a comfortable salary at his old job and the flexibility to play music on weekends and during evenings, Drewis felt he had to both answer his passion and stop doing what he didn’t enjoy.

“Honestly I’m tired of doing spreadsheets all day,” Drewis said. “I’m ready to share as much happiness and love as possible through committing myself to music.”

No more safety nets

Several years ago, Drewis gave up an attempt at becoming a full-time musician because sleeping in his van and living with fewer comforts took its toll. He couldn’t secure enough music work to make ends meet and eventually he had to find a full-time job.

“Being that broke is stressful and it makes it really hard to be creative,” Drewis explained.

This time, Drewis has given himself a runway to launch off of – the security of a roof over his head and a nest egg of savings, as well as a more developed financial strategy as opposed to playing music at casinos, weddings, and small-time gigs for low pay.

“I’ve done the whole starving artist thing, but it won’t be the same this time,” Drewis said. “Less scrambling for cash and more consistent work this time, promotional events. I’m treating this like a real business venture.”

In his previous attempt, Drewis kept his finance degree front and center as his backup plan. The safety net, he said, is ultimately what prevented him from full dedication.

“No backup plan this time around,” Drewis said. “Before, I was like, ‘I can do finance if I need to.’ But this time’s different. I know for damn sure I don’t want to do finance again. That’s what’s driving me this time.”

Leveraging digital skills and a business plan

To make the jump to full-time musician, Drewis has revamped his digital skills and has used his education to map out a financial strategy for his music business. He shares music on Instagram and is a verified artist on Spotify.

He’s invested in learning how to produce his own songs rather than relying on a company to produce his music for him – something essential to maintaining creative freedom, Drewis said.

A post shared by Dane Drewis (@danedrewis)

“I’ve put a lot of time into learning the software behind music production, tracking and producing my own songs,” Drewis said. “I’m taking control over my recordings for my own work.”

By producing his own music and working on his own timeline, Drewis aims to create original content on a regular basis. Then, he has plans to build out his music-licensing business to get his songs on television commercials and elsewhere.

“Ten years ago, I never treated music like a business,” Drewis said. “I just saw myself as a singer. But now I see this as a startup company. I know my revenue and expenses. I have a firm business plan.”

To younger artists looking to make the leap, Drewis recommends becoming as tech-savvy as possible with music production.

“[Digital] skill set is the primary currency today,” Drewis said. “You want to be your own artist, you want to be able to translate what’s in your mind onto the computer and into people’s ears, all while making your music sound exactly how you want it to sound.”

Drewis recommends becoming proficient at Ableton, a production software, as a way of gaining more autonomy as a musician. These tools allow for greater control and customization, he said.

Drewis returned from his first international tour in Germany last week, and he has a slew of shows planned for the coming months. His focus remains on building out his digital presence, filming music videos, and growing his audience.

“For musicians, a big worry is artistic failure,” Drewis said. “But a bigger worry, for me, is wondering if I was good enough to really do this. Now’s the time to find out.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

More than half of college students in the US considering remote work are worried about being isolated

a woman working from home and using her laptop
  • A survey from Universum asked college students in the US if they are interested in remote positions.
  • Although 75% said they are, these students are also concerned about feeling isolated.
  • Additionally, some are worried about their earnings if they land a remote internship or job.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The option to work from home is a plus for many. But some college students who haven’t experienced office life yet are worried about what they might miss out on or how it can affect their work.

Employer branding agency Universum asked over 50,000 students in the US between October 2020 to March 2021 as part of a survey for the firm’s Most Attractive Employers ranking for the United States whether they would be open to remote work. These remote work opportunities include internships during the school year and offers after graduation. Most respondents said they are interested, at 75%.

Although many of the respondents are interested in landing a remote internship or remote full-time job, they have some concerns about this work model. In particular, they’re worried about missing out on the social aspect of work.

The following chart highlights the results from Universum shared with Insider:

Of those interested in remote work opportunities, 56% said they are concerned they’ll “be isolated and miss out on social connection with coworkers.”

Emma Grace Cromwell, a freshman at Elon University, is still early in her college career but has thought about remote internships. She said she likes that she would be able to apply to jobs not in the area while in college.

She said she also thinks remote work could be a good option after college in part because she likes the idea of traveling while working. She told Insider, like the survey respondents, she does think it could potentially be isolating and may mean weaker connections with coworkers, especially since she enjoys working in groups.

“Young talent are not only expecting employers to offer remote work options as the new normal for 2021, but also demanding companies to effectively address their concerns on isolation and lack of social connections when it comes to remote or hybrid work alternatives,” Kortney Kutsop, managing director at Universum Americas, told Insider in an email.

“We see that especially tech female talent living in large cities are willing to take on fully remote positions that allow them to have flexibility and work-life balance,” Kutsop added.

The following chart shows the share of respondents in different fields of study who are interested in remote work:

Being in an office can be especially beneficial for people still early in their careers

There are different benefits to working in the office, such as in-person collaboration. Working from an office could mean no longer having to take all your meetings via your computer and can avoid Zoom fatigue.

A Harvard Business Review post also noted the benefit of getting to understand the company culture.

“In general, new employees who work remotely are likely to find it harder to get things done – if you can’t watch what people are doing and if others can’t notice when you’re struggling, then everything about the job has to be taught more explicitly,” Art Markman wrote.

Julia Lamm, a workforce strategy partner at PwC, previously told Insider she learned at her first job after college by observing coworkers.

If managers “happen to be going off to a client meeting, see you’re sitting at your desk and say, ‘Hey, do you want to come along?’ that’s a great opportunity for someone where, if you’re at home, it just might not be top of mind for them,” Lamm said.

For Cromwell, hybrid work sounds like it could be a good option, enjoying the both benefits of remote work and being in an office.

“I would have the connections of work people, but I would get to work in the comfort of my space and my house.” Cromwell said. “I would have a good balance, and I think especially if it was where I could go in when I needed to.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

For designers of Universal’s annual Halloween bash, spooky season never ends. Here’s what their job is like.

A graveyard character at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando.

  • Lora Sauls and Charles Gray are two of the people behind Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights.
  • The annual 42-night event takes place around Halloween and includes 10 haunted houses.
  • For Sauls, Gray, and the team, Halloween never ends. They’re already working on next year’s event.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights – HHN for short – began as a three-night event with only one haunted house in 1991. It has since ballooned into a 42-night event with 10 haunted houses, five outdoor scare zones, live shows, themed foods, and souvenirs that transform Universal Studios Florida park into a twisted, terrifying, and downright disgusting good time.

Halloween Horror Nights’ milestone 30th anniversary season kicked off on September 3 to sold-out crowds, thanks in large part to Lora Sauls, the senior manager of creative development and show direction, and Charles Gray, the senior show director of creative development. In short, Sauls and Gray lead Universal Orlando’s entertainment creative development team in bringing the park’s marquee events like Halloween Horror Nights to life from concept to completion.

Headshots of Lora Sauls and Charles Gray from Halloween Horror Nights.
Lora Sauls and Charles Gray from Halloween Horror Nights.

When Insider asked how he spends his evenings during the event, Gray joked – at least, we think he was joking: “We just kind of hide out in the bushes and see what’s happening. We like seeing people experience the thing we’ve worked on for so long.”

Sauls shared a similar sentiment, adding: “I love to stand at the exits to the haunted houses and hear what people are saying when they leave. Whether they’re running, screaming, crying, or laughing, it gives us immediate feedback of what they feel about the house.”

Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House at Halloween Horror Nights Universal.
Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House at Halloween Horror Nights.

Those reactions often aren’t a measure of a job well done, but when your job is scaring people for a living, they’re exactly what you’re hoping for. Sauls and Gray, along with the rest of the Creative Development team, are involved in every aspect of HHN, from mining the darkest recesses of their brains for haunted-house ideas to casting and training the scare actors whose job it is to terrify you.

Scaring people for a living is a year-round job

This year’s HHN isn’t even close to over, but Sauls said the Creative Development team is already hard at work dreaming up nightmares for next year’s event.

“We say we work on Halloween year-round, and we do,” Sauls said. “We really dive into next year’s conceptual design during the current year’s event.”

Before next year’s houses can be populated with scare actors and gory props, the Creative Development team works together to determine the theme of each house. In recent years, that includes a mix of houses inspired by popular names in movies and television like “Beetlejuice” and “The Haunting of Hill House,” as well as original concepts like this year’s Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience. Let’s just say, you don’t want to know what happens when a maniacal puppet troupe begins transforming guests into (gulp) life-size marionettes.

Revenge of the Tooth Fairy at Halloween Horror Nights Universal.
Revenge of the Tooth Fairy at Halloween Horror Nights.

After years of honing his craft, Gray knows the best houses are a collaborative effort.

“I really love teamwork and collaboration, because I don’t think any singular design stands up as well as something that has the strength of three people behind it,” he told Insider. “There are four show directors and three or four scenic designers. We all get in a room at the beginning of the process and talk about our dream and lovingly argue through it.”

Take this year’s Case Files Unearthed: Legendary Truth house, for example.

“I really wanted a film noir detective story, someone else wanted a monster hunter feel, and somebody else wanted to tell our historic Legendary Truth stories [a paranormal research team who has shown up in various ways throughout Halloween Horror Nights history], so we found a way to combine them all,” Gray said. “Guests who have never been to HHN can come in and say, ‘Oh, this is a really cool 1948 New York vibe,’ but fans who have come to the event multiple times will recognize props and characters because there’s a lot of history with this house.”

Beetlejuice at Halloween Horror Nights Universal.
Beetlejuice at Halloween Horror Nights.

Once the designs are complete, the walls of next year’s houses will begin to go up.

“I specifically remember our whole team going out on Valentine’s Day one year and taking a photo of the first walls going up in a haunted house,” Sauls said. “That’s something we love to do. Not your typical way to spend Valentine’s Day, but it’s pretty obvious nothing about this job is typical.”

By late spring, casting auditions begin for the ghosts and monsters who will inhabit the houses and scare zones.

“We cast such a wide range of characters, which is part of the fun,” Gray said. “The training process differs from house to house because some houses, like this year’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre only, have a few characters, but there’s a multitude of them throughout the house.

“Others, like Wicked Growth: Realm of the Pumpkin, have one scene with goblins, one with a witch, and one with a big grim reaper, so it takes a little more time to get the intricacies of their characters. It’s really fun to watch them embody those characters, especially once they have their masks and costumes on.”

Then, as Beetlejuice would say, it’s showtime!

They want to scare you, but they also want you to have fun

Gray and Sauls know that what scares one person might not scare another, and they’re experts at ensuring everyone’s worst fears are somewhere within the park. This year’s Beetlejuice house has some great jump scares, but it’s also fun and offbeat like the film.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are original houses like Revenge of the Tooth Fairy, which is over-the-top gory and, sorry to say, will do absolutely nothing for your fear of the dentist.

Scareactors frighten visitors inside "The Bride of Frankenstein" maze on the opening night of the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood
Two scare actors frighten visitors inside “The Bride of Frankenstein” maze at Universal Studios Hollywood in September 2021.

Not to mention, being scared is part of the fun.

“If you see somebody get scared and they’re with a group, everyone is kind of laughing afterward, like ‘Ah! You got scared,'” Gray joked. The social aspect and the endorphins you get from being scared and making it through the houses safely make the event just as fun as it is scary.

The Creative Development team also knows that not everybody enjoys being scared. During the event, there are live shows that are more entertaining than scary, and a few of the park’s most popular attractions stay open for late-night rides.

Or, as Gray suggested: “You can also just sit on the sidelines with an adult beverage and watch other people get scared.”

For Gray and Sauls, their favorite part of HHN is just that: the people, whether it be those he works with or those at the park ready to be scared.

“It’s awesome to see the guests enjoy it so very much,” Sauls said. “To me, the most special compliment that we can get is the fact that the guests love what we get to do.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 parents reveal what it’s like job-hunting during the pandemic: ‘We’re all on our own’

Caitlin Tolchin and her daughter. Jenny Powers
Former art Caitlin Tolchin says she’s struggled finding jobs that allow her to work from home to care for her daughter.

  • Many parents trying to return to the workforce have new demands for what their future job entails.
  • More want to find remote work, like single mom Cari Gerber who cares for her son attending virtual elementary school.
  • Others, like dad of two Michael Kidd, are choosing to go back to school over starting another minimum-wage job.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Caitlin Tolchin always imagined when she found out she was pregnant, she and her husband would find a clever way to craft a baby announcement. After all, she was an art director and creativity was her strong suit.

But in April 2020, within days of her positive home pregnancy test, Tolchin found herself sobbing on the floor of her New York City apartment. She just learned she’d been laid off from her job as art director at Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

“The timing couldn’t have been worse. It really packed a punch. Here I was pregnant and now out of a job while the world was coming crashing down,” the 38-year-old told Insider.

When COVID hit, Tolchin’s department began working remotely. Within a few weeks, a mass email went out saying that business had taken a hit and staff reductions were imminent.

“Moments later, I got an email from HR that I’d been laid off and was shut out of my corporate email. After three years, that was it. No furlough, no two weeks notice, just like that, done,” said Tolchin, adding that her furloughed supervisor did call to check in on her, but the damage was already done.

Tolchin says job recruiters told her no one would hire someone who’d need maternity leave that winter, so she put her job search on hold. But even after having her baby, she couldn’t find a job. Now her daughter is 10 months old, and Tolchin says the job market for creatives still doesn’t look promising.

Caitlin Tolchin and her daughter. Jenny Powers
Caitlin Tolchin and her daughter.

“I’ve heard companies are outsourcing work to third-world countries and paying a fraction of the cost,” Tolchin said. “I’ve sent out somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 to 300 resumes and only received about 5 calls, all for in-person work which I’m no longer interested in.”

In the meantime, she says she plans to enroll in an online art class to build up her skill set. It hasn’t been easy, though, because like 7.5 million other Americans, she also lost federal unemployment benefits in September.

Tolchin isn’t alone in the desire for remote work flexibility, and a willingness to hold out for a job that’s the right fit. A recent Insider survey showed 41% of women saying remote flexibility would attract them most in a job offer or incentivize them to expand their job search.

More professionals are considering switching careers

A recent Pew Research Center report revealed 66% of the unemployed people surveyed “seriously considered changing fields or occupations since they’ve been unemployed.

Forty-one year old divorced mom Cari Gelber says she toyed with the idea after being furloughed from her job in April 2020 at a New York-based video production company. She took the leap – twice.

Cari Gelber and her son Jenny Powers
Cari Gelber and her son.

“With my son home all day attending elementary school remotely, I looked for work I could do from home,” Gelber told Insider.

Gelber soon found a remote, commission-based sales position through a former boss, but stayed on the hunt for something more stable. Several months later, she applied for a full-time remote position at Club Feast, a subscription-based restaurant delivery service. Thanks to her previous hospitality experience, she got the job and now works in the company’s restaurant partnerships department.

Despite reopenings, not all hourly workers want to return to hospitality

Michael Kidd, a 29-year-old married father of two, was fired from his hourly food service position at Elon Musk’s Texas-based company SpaceX in April 2021.

“When COVID hit, it was like the world was collapsing and there I was whipping up potatoes and gourmet meals in the employee cafeteria,” Kidd told Insider. “I was working 55 to 70 hours a week and then coming home to help my pregnant wife put our 1-year-old son to bed.”

Michael Kidd with his youngest son.
Michael Kidd with his youngest son.

Kidd says he was emotionally and physically drained, and it became a struggle to get out of bed each morning.

“I have ADHD and my work started to suffer,” he said. “When I arrived at work late a few too many times, they fired me. They were right to do it, but it still stung,” Kidd said.

In May, just one month after losing his job, Kidd’s wife gave birth to their second son. Instead of looking for another in-person job, Kidd decided to look from work home toa help out more with the new baby.

“I started doing freelance content writing and went back to school to earn my Associates degree,” said Kidd, who as an army veteran was also able to take advantage of the GI Bill for education costs as well as to assist with rent.

In July, Kidd contracted COVID-19 and was bedridden for a week. In August, Kidd’s wife took a job as an assistant at a local dance studio to bring in extra money. Around the same time, the family’s food stamps came to a stop after a caseworker requested paperwork Kidd was unable to provide. Now he says he has to refile in order to reopen his case.

“We’re trying to keep up, but it’s been touch and go at times financially. The stimulus checks bailed us out for a while, but it hasn’t been easy,” he said.

Like Kidd, unemployed parents across America are bracing themselves for another season of the pandemic, and hanging on by a thread.

“Just making the time to search for a job while caring for your family is a job unto itself. They say it takes a village, but because of COVID there is no village,” Tolchin told Insider. “We’re all on our own right now just trying to do our best.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Zuckerberg, Bezos, Gates and others in the tech elite see themselves and the world

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth increased substantially in 2020.

  • From Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos, the tech elite is “a class for itself,” according to a PLoS ONE study.
  • One researcher said they deny their role in influencing democracy with their financial capital.
  • The researchers claimed the tech elite’s view of the world was shaped by a meritocratic ideology.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The tech elite is “a class for itself,” a study published in PLoS ONE journal found.

Researchers Hilke Brockmann, Wiebke Drews, and John Torpey concluded that the tech elite had “a distinct social identity” that made them easily identifiable in “the large pool of Twitter users.”

Looking at the Forbes list of the 100 richest people in tech, the researchers analyzed their use of language and emotions, using machine-learning approaches.

At the top of the list was Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. His net worth skyrocketed in 2020 with an increase of $72.7 billion.

Following closely behind was Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – although the latter’s wealth also increased substantially later in the year, taking him to over $100 billion.

Gaps between the tech elite and the rest of the population

The study examined how the language used by the tech elite differed from the rest of the “American Twitter-using population.”

They found that “disruption is consistently at the core of the communications of the tech elite,” who favor words including “can,” “great,” “people,” and “new.”

Words used by tech elite
The study examined how the tech elite’s language differed from the general population.

Their language was also much more achievement-oriented, using words that fell into an “achievement” category a total of 19,431 times.

This figure was twice as much as the general population’s, which came in at 9,439 times.

They also tended to draw more links between merit and employment compared with the general population.

The team hypothesized that the tech elite “saw its endeavors in ‘entrepreneurial technoscience’ as driven by a desire to ‘make the world a better place.'” They found that the language they used also reflected this goal.

Many of the tech elite have also signed the Giving Pledge, a scheme created by Bill Gates and his wife Melinda.

The scheme was set up to encourage billionaires to give away most of their wealth.

A 2020 report by the Institute for Policy Studies found that very little money may be helping people, as many of the billionaires were earning faster than they were giving.

Giving Pledge mission statements tech elite
Many of the tech elite have also signed the Giving Pledge.

The study also analyzed their subjects’ relationship with democracy and how it related to their wealth. “As representatives of an economic elite, they do not see or do not want to communicate a connection between these components of social potency,” the researchers said.

This constituted an active denial of the relationship between wealth and democracy, a view not shared by the general population.

“The tech elite does not take a critical view of the role they play relative to their abundance of power,” said Brockmann in a press release. “They deny their role in setting technical standards and influencing democracy with their financial capital.”

The researchers claimed that the tech elite’s view of the world was shaped by a meritocratic ideology. They believe their wealth is earned through effort, and so they don’t question their financial position.

Highlighting the elite’s “disproportionate influence” over how consumers spent their money, the team outlined the need for future policy research investigating how to “shape social outcomes” in a manner fitting of a democracy.

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20 fast-growing, high-paying jobs where you only need an associate’s degree

MRI tech looking at scans from Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Some jobs typically need an associate’s degree, such as respiratory therapists.
  • That occupation makes above the median annual wage and is projected to see 31,100 new jobs from 2020 to 2030.
  • The following are 20 jobs that are projected to grow over the decade, pay at least the median annual wage, and typically require an associate’s degree.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
20. Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians

mechanical engineer plans

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 2,300       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $58,230

On-the-job training:None

19. Radiation therapists

Woman receiving radiation therapy treatments for breast cancer stock photo

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 1,600       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $86,850

On-the-job training: None

18. Broadcast technicians

rofessional sound and video engineer working in digital recording, broadcasting, editing tv studio

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 3,200       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $43,570

On-the-job training: Short-term on-the-job training

17. Avionics technicians

avionics technician

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 2,100       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $67,840

On-the-job training: None

16. Industrial engineering technologists and technicians

workers talking in a factory

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 2,800       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $57,320

On-the-job training: None

15. Chemical technicians

Two scientists working in a laboratory

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 3,300       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $49,820

On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training

14. Environmental science and protection technicians, including health

woman checking a sample of water

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 3,600       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $46,850

On-the-job training: None

13. Medical equipment repairers

Computer monitors for surgery

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 3,900       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $51,610

On-the-job training: Moderate-term on-the-job training

12. Magnetic resonance imaging technologists

MRI tech looking at scans from Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 3,400       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $74,690

On-the-job training: None

11. All other calibration technologists and technicians and engineering technologists and technicians, except drafters

calibration tool

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 4,100       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $64,190

On-the-job training: None

This is a catchall title that includes calibration technologists and technicians and photonics technicians.

10. Cardiovascular technologists and technicians

doctor doing a heart ultrasound

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 4,700       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $59,100

On-the-job training: None

9. All other life, physical, and social science technicians

scientists working in a lab

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 5,800       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $52,460

On-the-job training: None

This is a catchall title that includes quality control analysts and remote sensing technicians. 

8. Computer network support specialists

computer user support

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 14,200       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $65,450

On-the-job training: None

7. Occupational therapy assistants

occupational therapy

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 15,600    

Median annual wage in May 2020: $62,940

On-the-job training: None

6. Diagnostic medical sonographers


Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 14,400       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $75,920

On-the-job training: None

5. Radiologic technologists and technicians

MRI exam
Two technicians set up a patient for an MRI scan.

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 18,300       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $61,900

On-the-job training: None

4. Dental hygienists

dental hygienists

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 23,100       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $77,090

On-the-job training: None

3. Respiratory therapists

respiratory therapist

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 31,100       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $62,810

On-the-job training: None

2. Physical therapist assistants

physical therapist therapy

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 33,200       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $59,770

On-the-job training: None

1. Paralegals and legal assistants

paralegal writing document

Projected new jobs between 2020 and 2030: 41,400       

Median annual wage in May 2020: $52,920

On-the-job training: None

How we ranked the above occupations

Some jobs typically need an associate’s degree, such as paralegals or physical therapy assistants.

Insider was interested in looking at jobs that not only pay at least the median annual wage but are projected to grow over the decade. To do this, we took the geometric mean of median annual wages in 2020 and projected employment growth from 2020 to 2030. Both of these datasets come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We focused on jobs that are projected to see employment growth over the decade and that pay at least $41,950, or the median annual wage in 2020 per BLS data.

After ranking that list based on the geometric mean, where a higher value meant a higher spot in the ranking, we filtered out jobs so only those that typically need an associate’s degree for entry were left. This educational requirements data is also from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The above occupations are all ones that typically require an associate’s degree, are projected to see some kind of growth over the decade, and pay at least $41,950.

We also included on-the-job training for each occupation. Many of the 20 jobs above, however, don’t require on-the-job training. BLS writes that those that don’t need this kind of training mean “there is no additional occupation-specific training or preparation typically required to attain competency in the occupation.”

The most recent employment projections use 2020 as the base year, when the pandemic devastated employment across industries in the US. That means the employment projections were also affected.

“Many industries are expected to experience cyclical recoveries in the earlier part of the projections decade as industry output and employment normalize, returning to their long-term growth patterns,” BLS wrote in a news release. “Projected robust growth for industries in which employment fell in 2020 also is projected to result in strong growth for the occupations employed by those industries.” 

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How much should you be paid? Compare 250,000 salaries from top companies with Insider’s Salary Database

faang salary thumb 4x3
  • Insider has compiled more than 250,000 salaries across more than 250 companies to help you determine how much you should be paid.
  • The data comes from visa disclosures and can be used to compare salaries across industries, companies, and locations.
  • Check it out here.

Insider has built a searchable database of over 250,000 salaries from more than 250 companies so that you can know how much you should be paid.

America has long had a taboo against salary sharing, and public disclosures are only required when companies hire immigrant using different visas.

Insider has compiled that public information into a database, searchable by employer name, industry, type of job, and job location. Firms like Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Google, and Amazon were selected by Insider’s reporters because of their newsworthiness and how popular they are with job hunters.

Try it out yourself here if you’re an Insider subscriber.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I used TikTok to take my cotton-candy business online. I’ve made $165,000 in sales since March – here’s how.

Emily Harpel, 29, is a cotton candy maker based in Ohio and owner of Art of Sucre.
Emily Harpel founded her business, Art of Sucre, in 2016 after being inspired by Pinterest.

  • Emily Harpel, 29, is a cotton candy maker based in Ohio and owner of Art of Sucre.
  • After gaining over a million followers on her business’ TikTok, she launched an ecommerce shop and has made over 6 figures since March.
  • This is what her job is like, as told to freelance writer Judy Brumley.

This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Emily Harpel, a cotton candy maker and small business owner based in Ohio. It has been edited for length and clarity.

When I was planning my wedding, I saw cotton candy being used as favors on Pinterest. I thought it was a cute idea, but was disappointed in the options: pink or blue with no distinguishable flavor. Every other dessert, like cake pops and sugar cookies, had been given an Instagrammable upgrade, and I just couldn’t let cotton candy be left out.

I was planning to get my masters in clinical and mental health counseling, but since the program I applied to was full, my enrollment got deferred for a year. After my husband and I got married in March of 2016, I decided to withdraw my application and launched an LLC for Art of Sucre by May.

We chose the name during the 20-hour car ride home from our honeymoon. After a lot of Googling we landed on “sucre,” which means sugar in French.

I had zero experience and no equipment, so I bought a machine and taught myself by watching YouTube videos.

Emily Harpel Art of sucre cotton candy
Harpel says she taught herself to spin cotton candy by watching videos online.

Cotton candy is just flavored sugar. You pour the base into the hot center of a cotton candy machine where it melts into a liquid and spins. The spinning creates a centrifugal force, which pushes the sugar to the top. The sugar goes from a solid to a liquid then back to a solid, and you catch it on a cone during that in-between phase when it’s nice and fluffy.

Once I had the technique down, I started to create my own fun flavors.

For the first four years, I spun cotton candy at all kinds of events and celebrations.

I went to birthday parties and weddings, helped celebrate bat mitzvahs, and worked with professional sports teams, like the Cleveland Browns and Cavaliers. I even spun cotton candy for VIP ticket holders at Elton John, Ariana Grande, and Travis Scott concerts.

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I knew I needed to figure out how to make my business more COVID-friendly. I spent a lot of time consuming TikTok videos during quarantine and had nothing but time on my hands, so I created an account for Art of Sucre and started posting in July 2020. We hit one million followers in October, and that’s when I decided to transition from events to e-commerce.

Our biggest challenge with e-commerce was shipping and packaging logistics, because cotton candy is delicate.

Emily Harpel
Art of Sucre’s original flavors include champagne, orange bourbon, and piña colada.

We shipped prototypes to Australia, Canada, and Arizona to make sure they could survive any trip.

The online shop finally launched on March 15, 2021 with six original flavors (sugar cookie, bubble gum, piña colada, orange bourbon, champagne, and watermelon) and our best-selling shimmer glitter bombs. Our pre-spun pouches start at $12 each and the shimmer glitter bombs (puffs of cotton candy wrapped around glitter that floats when dropped into a liquid) sell for $22.

Since March, we’ve sold over $165,000 worth of cotton candy. That number doesn’t include sales from custom orders, which is my favorite thing we offer at Art of Sucre.

A father once asked if I could top mannequin heads with cotton candy hair for his daughter’s bat mitzvah. After I spent three hours spinning the hair, the mannequin heads – which had sunglasses on – were walked out on silver platters and devoured in seconds. We’ve also created custom shimmer glitter bombs using edible black glitter and silver stars for a galaxy-themed wedding, and pouches of pre-spun cotton candy that were half black and half white for a Cruella de Vil party. The possibilities are endless, and we’ll try anything the customer can imagine.

I used to have one person who would help with events – now I have a team of 15, including one full-time employee.

Emily Harpel
Harpel has a team of 15 to help produce and package cotton candy for the ecommerce site.

We keep our six core cotton candy flavors in stock and drop limited-edition releases throughout the year. We’re also working on some fun holiday treats and getting ready for the New York City Wine and Food Festival in October.

I still pop into the studio to spin cotton candy, but now most of my days are spent doing admin work. My full-time employee and I have a morning meeting around 10 a.m. before I take calls with suppliers, potential collaborators, and our design team. I create content for our TikTok, Instagram, and website in the afternoon and, after everyone else heads home, I test and develop new flavors.

Sometimes I feel guilty to have found such great success during a time that’s been so challenging for so many people, but as a small business owner and employer, I’m thankful for the growth we’ve experienced this year. It’s really special to see how something as simple as cotton candy can bring so much joy to people’s lives.

Judy Brumley is a freelance writer from Kentucky. She has written editorial and branded content stories across all verticals for brands like InStyle, Parents, PEOPLE, and Romper.

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