How to evaluate a recruiter

DFN: Good insights into what a recruiter is trying to get from you in an interview: 1) Business Focus 2) Problem Solving 3) Agility 4) Purpose. If the recruiter you’ve talked with on a ‘phone screen’ doesn’t ask question designed to get this insight about you, run!

How To Evaluate A Job & Career Recruiter
Posted by Jeff Hunter • November 2nd, 2009

Liz Ryan brought up a good point last week – corporate recruiting doesn’t often work the way it should. Reactions to corporate recruiting tend to range from “amazingly bad” to a “soul-sucking, dehumanizing experience from hell.” Everyone agrees that things could be done a lot better. But you can make it better.

We have been talking about ways for you to take control of your career, to make sure that you are in the driver’s seat when the email or call comes from a recruiter. But what happens when that first contact actually happens? How can you make sure that this call is actually worth your time? Do you really want to be behind the velvet rope at this particular event?

Every recruiter approaches that first contact differently. Of course we are all looking for relevant qualifications. But experienced recruiters know that experience and education aren’t usually all they are cracked up to be. As we have discussed, the world of work is changing fast. Talking about what you learned 20 years ago at college isn’t quite the hook that it used to be.

Good recruiters avoid the “tell me about yourself” knee-jerk exploratory party-starter questions. They know that time (yours and theirs) is their most limited resource. They want to figure out quickly whether you are worth their time. But don’t forget: you are in control. Your time is even more valuable than theirs. Hanging out on a phone call with a bad recruiter who is wasting your time is like going to the dentist without the fun. You need to be able to evaluate the recruiter, just like they are evaluating you.

Here are four areas a good recruiter will try to explore in the initial conversation. Turn-about is fair play.

1.Business Focus: The recruiter needs to quickly determine whether you get ‘how to’ add value to a business, regardless of the type of job. Recruiters are decreasingly interested in a narrowly-focused specialist as it is easier to outsource and automate those kinds of jobs. A good recruiter will be able to tell you how the job they are pitching relates to the success of their business. A good candidate can talk about what kinds of businesses excite them and how they have added value in the past.

2.Problem Solving: Hiring managers are starting to figure out that no matter how well they plan, s*&t happens. Positions that don’t require good problem solving skills are most likely going to lower cost locations (see a pattern here?). A good recruiter knows how to tell you what kinds of problems this job will likely face and why solving those kinds of problems is important to the business. A good candidate can talk about specific problems they have solved in the past and what those examples demonstrate about the value and importance of their capabilities.

3.Agility: If there is one thing that is going to be important in any job that stays local, it is going to be agility. Some call this flexibility or adaptability. It all comes down to the same thing: ability to shift gears rapidly, to respond to change gracefully and actually take advantage of the new situation. If a recruiter tells you that this job is stable, challenge them. A stable job can be easily outsourced. If the recruiter is pitching security they probably don’t know what they are talking about (and are therefore wasting your time). Be prepared to talk about how you react to change and have used it to your advantage in the past.

4.Purpose: We have discussed this at length. Be prepared to answer the lotto question: “If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do?” As we have discussed, a good recruiter knows that the specifics of a job can change from day-to-day but that the long-term objectives of the business are likely to stay the same. They need to be able to tell you about what is really important to the business and the management (the “business purpose”). Similarly, you need to apply the lessons we have talked about previously and be able to determine whether the job being discussed is something that is part of your purpose, and not just another way to turn you into a zombie.

Final advice: get to the point, and demand the recruiter do the same. You really don’t want to be getting phone calls, emails and offers from a company that runs a business you are not interested in, can’t tell you what problems you would be expected to solve, isn’t honest about the importance of change, and doesn’t align to your core purpose. You certainly get enough spam already. Put yourself in the driver’s seat, be ready to answer these questions, and be ready to show the recruiter why they should be working for you.

Problems can be opportunities in disguise

DFN: I often wonder why I have so many problems, now I know, there being thrown at me to challenge my leadership qualities and to help me grow. I need more problems!!

Problems Can Be Opportunities in Disguise
11/07/2009 – Denis Waitley

One of the most desirable attitudes of a leader is an ability to view problems as opportunities and setbacks as temporary inconveniences. This positive attitude also welcomes change as friendly and is not upset by surprises, even negative ones. How we approach challenges and problems is a crucial aspect of our decision making process, whether in business or in our personal lives. In companies and environments in which criticism, pessimism, cynicism and motivation by fear prevail, an attitude develops that leads to avoiding failure at all costs. The trouble with failure avoidance is that it’s simultaneously avoidance of success, which depends on big risks.

Innovation and creativity are impossible when people are in fear of being penalized for failure.
experience often teaches that failure is to be avoided at all costs. This begins in childhood, when we encounter the first “No!!” It grows like a weed when we are criticized by our parents, other family members, our teachers and our peers. It leads to associating ourselves with our mistakes, and to a self-image of clumsiness and awkwardness. Not wanting to be criticized or rejected, many adults also seek security rather than risk looking foolish or appearing awkward. They quietly ride with the system, not rocking the boat.

All lasting success in life is laced with problems and misfortunes which require creativity and innovation. Winners turn stumbling blocks into steppingstones.

In the 1920s, when Ernest Hemingway was working hard to perfect his craft, he lost a suitcase containing all his manuscripts. The devastated Hemingway couldn’t conceive of redoing his work. He could think only of the months he’d devoted to his arduous writing—and for nothing, he was now convinced.

But when he lamented his loss to poet Ezra Pound, Pound called it a stroke of luck. Pound assured Hemingway that when he rewrote the stories, he would forget the weak parts and only the best material would reappear. Instead of framing the event in disappointment, Pound cast it in the light of opportunity. Hemingway did rewrite the stories, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This week, concentrate on framing your challenges as “opportunities to grow” rather than “disappointments and problems.”

Valuation and Option Pool

DFN: I’m about to begin valuing a startup, so personally, the article is very timely and talks about valuation in terms that even I can understand. You should really use the url below, to see all the ins and outs covered by the vast number of responses to the original post.

Valuation And Option Pool
Fred Wilson Nov. 6, 2009, 10:17 AM
http://www.businessinsider.com/valuation-option-pool-2009-11

One of the more contentious things in the negotiation between an entrepreneur and a VC over a financing, particularly an early stage financing, is the inclusion of an option pool in the pre-money valuation. As my friend Mark Pincus likes to say, "it’s just another way to lower the price".

I’ll accept that critique. And take it one step further. The option pool is absolutely a piece of the price negotiation. But it is a very important one as I’ll explain.

But first, let me lay out a few things for those who aren’t well versed in these matters. The pre-money valuation is the value of the company before the money comes in. Let’s say we call it $4mm. And let’s say the financing is $1mm. Then the post-money valuation is $5mm and the $1mm round is 20% dilutive ($1mm/$5mm).

But to the entrepreneur it might be a lot more dilutive due to the inclusion of the option pool in the pre-money valuation. Let’s say that the VC’s term sheet says that a 15% "fully diluted post money" option pool needs to be in the pre-money valuation. What that means is that the investor wants 15% of the company, after the financing is closed, to be in an option pool that has not been granted to anyone.

In the case of the $5mm post money valuation, that means there needs to be $750,000 worth of options in the pre-money valuation. If the pre-money valuation is $4mm, then that means the true pre-money valuation to the entreprenuer is $3.25mm. And therein lies Mark’s critique that the option pool is just another way to lower the price.

I am sure I lost a few of you on all of that math. If you want to drill down on it, please leave a comment and we’ll help you figure this out. It is very important you understand all of this if you are or want to be an entrepreneur who raises venture capital.

The bottom line is the deal I described leaves the entrepreneur and his/her shareholders with 65% of the company after the financing, the VC investor will own 20%, and there will be an option pool representing 15% of the company that has not been issued yet. The $1mm financing was not 20% dilutive, it was 35% dilutive.

So it is not surprising that entrepreneurs hate this provision and fight about it every time. And like most terms, VCs have been abusing it for years by asking for excessive option pools making the provision hated more than it needs to be.

The first point I’ll make is that VCs should be upfront about this provision and the fact that it is simply about price. In the example above, I’d be happy to pay $3.25mm pre-money with no option pool. Or I’ll pay $4mm pre-money with one. They are the same thing to me. What an entrepreneur needs to do is find out what the market price for their company is with and without an option pool in the number. Once they do that, the negotiation over this point is a lot less contentious.

The second point I’ll make is that the option pool request needs to be reasonable and based on some kind of budget. I generally ask the entrepreneur to put enough options into the "pre-money pool" to fund the hiring and retention needs of the company until the next financing. My thinking on this is that I don’t want to get diluted between financings. So I like to see a headcount based hiring plan with expected options against each hire combined with a retention plan for all current employees who will need additional option grants.

In most of the early stage financings I’ve done in the past few years this work on the option pool has shown a need for around 10% in unissued options. I’ve seen it as big as 15% but that is rare. I’ve also seen it as low as 5%, but that is even more rare. But the point is this; don’t guess or negotiate this number. Do the work, figure it out, and put it in the pre-money and then negotiate price.

I’ll wrap with a true story about this provision. When Mark and I were negotiating the first round of financing for Zynga, we got into a real tussle about this provision. He did not want an option pool in the pre-money valuation. I did. Once we agreed that it was just a fight about price, the conversation got easier. I got him to give me an estimate of the pool he would need. We added it to the valuation we had agreed to. He got an increase in price, I got an option pool. And I got one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

Supreme Court Case could stifle innovation

DFN: If companies don’t get patents on business process / software the pace of innovation will slow. It would be disastrous if this ruling is retroactive versus going forward.

Patent case before Supreme Court could have major implications for software
By: JOELLE TESSLER
Associated Press
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/economy/ap/69462867.html

11/07/09 12:35 PM EST WASHINGTON — With the technology industry looking on, the Supreme Court on Monday will explore what types of inventions should be eligible for a patent in a pivotal case that could undermine such legal protections for software.

A ruling that sides with the Patent Office could bar patents on processes and methods of doing business, such as online shopping techniques, medical diagnostic tests and procedures for executing trades on Wall Street. And it might even undercut patents on software.

In a worst-case scenario for the high-tech industry, the ruling could invalidate many existing software patents or at least make them more difficult to defend in lawsuits. And it could make such patents harder to obtain in the future because software is generally patented as a process for doing something rather than as a physical invention.

"Technology companies care about this case because it will define what you can and cannot get a patent on," said Emery Simon, counselor to the Business Software Alliance, which represents large technology companies including Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. "The scope of patentability could have ramifications for the path that technology takes."

It’s impossible to know what products might never have come to market without patent protection for software. But tech companies say these patents have played a critical role in keeping the U.S. at the cutting edge by giving people control over their inventions for nearly 20 years.

"The software industry would lose an important incentive to innovate if the government ceased issuing software patents," warned patent attorney James Carmichael, a former judge on the Patent Office board of appeals.

Although technology companies insist they’ll keep innovating no matter how the high court rules, an unfavorable outcome might force them to write patent applications in a different way or rely more on copyright and trade secret protections. And it might even draw Congress into the debate.

The facts of the case are not about software.

The roots of the dispute go back to 1997, when inventors Bernard Bilski and Rand Warsaw tried to patent a method of hedging weather-related risk in energy prices. That process, which powers energy billing services offered by a Pittsburgh company called WeatherWise USA, can be used to lock in energy prices, even during an unusually cold winter.

The Patent Office concluded the process was too abstract and denied the application. So Bilski and Warsaw took their claim the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which upheld the Patent Office decision last year and said a process is eligible for a patent only if it is "tied to a particular machine or apparatus" or if it "transforms a particular article into a different state or thing."

The Bilski filing, the court found, did not meet the test.

Now, the question facing the Supreme Court is whether that "machine-or-transformation" test is the right standard.

The answer should settle a long-running debate over whether business methods should be eligible for patents.

Some of the best-known business-method patents in technology come out of electronic commerce, including Amazon.com Inc.’s "1-Click" tool for completing online purchases and Priceline.com Inc.’s "Name Your Own Price" model. Yet many big companies, particularly in technology and financial services, argue that such patents are too broad and too often used as weapons in costly infringement lawsuits to extract licensing fees.

Technology companies, meanwhile, are watching the Bilski case for another reason: If the Supreme Court upholds the machine-or-transformation test, one of their fundamental assets — software — might no longer qualify.

The number of software patents has been climbing sharply in recent years — a reflection of the technology industry’s explosive growth and the increased reliance on software in all industries. A series of court rulings upholding software patents in the 1990s, including a key case in 1998 that opened the floodgates to business-method patents as well, also helped drive up software patent numbers.

Not everyone agrees software patents are a good thing, though.

Rob Tiller, assistant general counsel for software company Red Hat Inc., maintains that software patents actually discourage innovation because software developers are at constant risk of infringing on existing patents. Red Hat embraces the open-source movement, which makes software code freely available for anyone to modify, improve and use and is fundamentally at odds with software patents.

As the justices sort through these issues, they will have to determine how to draw the line between theoretical ideas not connected to the real world and concrete applications that put those ideas into practice.

The Supreme Court has already established that abstract ideas, natural phenomena and laws of nature cannot be patented. But there is still plenty of disagreement over what qualifies.

The same appeals court that ruled in the Bilski case had reached one conclusion when it upheld business method and software patents in the 1990s, saying that any invention that produces a "useful, concrete and tangible result" can qualify. The machine-or-transformation test arrives at a very different understanding.

Michael Jakes, a patent lawyer representing Bilski and Warsaw before the Supreme Court, argues that the new test is too restrictive and would exclude too many innovations — including software — in today’s service-based, information-age economy.

"The test may have made sense for industrial processes such as curing rubber or tanning leather," Jakes said. "But with today’s technology, we have processes that don’t fit these categories. But they are still practical and useful and innovative and important."

At this point, there is no firm consensus on what the test for patentability should be. IBM Corp. says an invention should be eligible if it makes a "technological contribution." Microsoft says an invention should be eligible if it has physical properties or produces a result in the physical world.

Under both tests, the companies say, software would make the cut and the Bilski risk-hedging application would not.

Indeed, Horacio Gutierrez, deputy general counsel for Microsoft, said the Supreme Court would actually help the technology industry by blocking a patent in this case — sending a strong signal that the government must hold patent applications to high standards.

Whatever test the Supreme Court ultimately settles on, IBM attorney Marian Underweiser hopes it will be flexible and broad.

"The danger is that if the test is too narrow and too specific," she said, "it won’t stand the test of time because technology moves so quickly."

Dealing with a Spouse’s Layoff

DFN: GREAT article summarizing the feelings and effective solutions about how to deal with a spouse’s being laid off. FYI, my wife and I are now a two income household, we’re both receiving unemployment checks from the State of California. This is an example of how I try to deal with unemployment, by retaining a sense of humor. Someone at our Job Connections meetings said " Remember its a season, not a sentence".

Dealing With a Spouse’s Layoff
November 7th, 2009 (6:00am) by Meryl Evans
http://webworkerdaily.com/2009/11/07/dealing-with-a-spouses-layoff/#comment-330168

This week, my husband was laid off for the second time in five years. This one hurts more than the first. At that time, I held a corporate job, so our health insurance and other benefits remained intact. But I became a full-time freelancer after he found a stable job with benefits. Now that’s all gone or won’t be around for long.

After I stopped reeling, it was time to start dealing. And deal I did — by taking these actions.

Accept the situation. It does no one good to scream and worry about it. Of course, I still worry about the situation, but I don’t let it paralyze me or prevent me from moving forward. It’s OK to scream when you hear the news, just know when to stop and move on.

Stick to the schedule. Despite the bad news, you need to try to stick to the schedule and make your deadlines.

Respond to emails at the right time. Sometimes you may not be in the best frame of mind to reply to a difficult email. Address problems and more challenging emails when you know you can respond logically and not emotionally.

Take care of your physical self. Exercise eases some of the pent up stress and symptoms that come with it. I also make sure I get my seven to eight hours of sleep, drink plenty of water and follow a balanced diet.

Help with the job search. This gives you a feeling of some control. Plus, you might be able to contact some people that your spouse doesn’t know.

Reach out to friends and colleagues. Letting others know about the situation ensures others understand why you may not act like everything is hunky dory. They might also help by contacting their connections who may have jobs or know people who do. If your friend is laid off, wouldn’t you want to know?

Write about the situation and your feelings. For some people, writing down their thoughts and emotions can ease the frustration and anger.

I know we’re no different from the many families with at least one person out of a job. My sister, my friends and others have all had loved ones out of work for months. All we can do is talk and support each other while pushing forward to find the right job where employee and employer can benefit from the partnership.

How do you handle a life-affecting situation like a layoff?

Unemployed facing new kind of job hunt

DFN: Details the challenges and the rewards of facing a job search in today’s market. Reward, I say, because its very gratifying when people that you really don’t know, reach out to help. This is a key to today’s job market and recovering from unemployment. FYI, rather than call it a job hunt, I’d prefer to call it a quest.

Unemployed facing new kind of job hunt
By Jennifer Davies
Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 2:30 a.m.
Sean M. Haffey / Union-Tribune
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/nov/07/unemployed-facing-new-kind-of-job-hunt/?business

Hotline: Looking for work and looking for help? Get tips on how to improve your job prospects on Smart Living’s Job Seeker Hotline today between 10 a.m. and noon. Call (619) 293-2700.

Lorraine Clayton (left) spoke with former colleague Sophia Esparza at a networking event last week.

Lorraine Clayton has seen her share of tough job markets, but she has never experienced anything like this.

The Scripps Ranch resident was laid off as a project manager at a telecommunications company in May, a casualty of its global downsizing.

Since then, Clayton has sent out more than 100 résumés and gone to every networking event she can find. So far, she has failed to land even one interview.

“If you are 97 percent qualified, there’s a person who is 110 percent qualified, and the company will hire that person because they can get more bang for their buck,” Clayton said.

Not only are the unemployed facing a job market like none other in recent memory, but they’re also encountering changes in how to conduct a job search. From job Web sites to social networking to in-person networking events, job seekers must use new ways to connect with potential employers.

Clayton said she’s using all available avenues.

Every morning after she hits the gym, she heads home and spends the rest of the day exchanging information with other job seekers and scouring LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking site, for potential contacts at the companies where she would like to work.

The response has been overwhelming, Clayton said.

The way she sees it, people are grateful to have jobs but are fearful of losing them and feel more inclined to lend a hand to others.

“It’s like paying it forward,” Clayton said.

The problem that even diligent job seekers keep running into is the dearth of opportunities.

With San Diego County’s unemployment rate at 10.2 percent, the situation is bleak. Quite simply, there are more job seekers than there are jobs — a lot more.

Kelly Cunningham, an economist with the National University Institute for Policy Research, said San Diego hasn’t experienced a job market this bad since the 1980s. During the 1990s downturn, the jobless rate was 8 percent and only a few key sectors were affected, he said. This time, no sector has been spared.

Because of that, human resources managers say they’re being deluged with hundreds of résumés for each position.

“The HR folks and recruiters are overwhelmed,” said Linda Amaro, co-founder of NextWorks, a career-transition-services company.

Debbie Silott, a human resources partner at Pacira Pharmaceuticals, a local biotech company, said she has just one position open — a maintenance/mechanic job. Even though the required skills are specific to biotech, she’s getting applications from those who have worked at schools or in construction.

“People are just desperate,” Silott said.

Mid-career applicants are having to learn the new rules on the fly — from tailoring their résumé for each application to the etiquette on follow-up e-mails to discovering unadvertised jobs through online contacts. Job searching in the Internet age is like nothing they’ve ever experienced before.

But it isn’t just the job seeker with experience who’s struggling to find a job. Recent college graduates and current students are facing dim prospects, too.

James Tarbox, director of San Diego State University’s Career Center, said the school’s career fairs are down about 40 percent. He has decided to offer a new course on conducting a yearlong job search.

“They are much more aware,” Tarbox said. “They realize they have to have options.”

Victoria McIntyre, a marketing and technical writer, has had to learn to be flexible in her search. Since being laid off in February, she has gotten some contract work, but hasn’t found a full-time job with benefits. She’s making $21,000 less than last year and is saddled with hefty COBRA health insurance bills for herself and her college-age daughter.

“In this job market, I’m hearing over and over again from companies, ‘We just can’t afford to hire people,’ ” McIntyre said.

While contract work is frustrating for McIntyre, human resources experts say it could portend a turnaround in the job market.

Phil Haynes, director of AllianceQ, a national recruitment consortium for many large corporations, said he has seen companies begin to hire contract job recruiters. After the dot-com bust a decade ago, he said it was the hiring for contract recruiters in Silicon Valley that foreshadowed that region’s turnaround.

“They (companies) are now hiring the people who hire the people,” Haynes said.

Bob Williams, co-founder of Williams & Sewell HR Consulting, a San Diego firm that provides contract recruiting, human resources and outplacement assistance, said companies are gearing up to hire if the much-touted recovery takes hold.

“People are now calling and saying: ‘We may need to expand. Do you have recruiters?’ ” he said.

Employment agencies such as Manpower are seeing an uptick in hiring for skilled workers in such fields as information technology, engineering and accounting.

Temporary workers “are the first ones to be let go and the first ones you hire back,” said Mel Katz, executive officer at Manpower.

Clayton said she hopes the experts are right, but plans to keep plugging away at her job search.

“If you do everything you are supposed to do that day, then you can go to sleep at night,” she said. “Then you have to wake up and do it all over again.”

Unemployment and airplane crashes

DFN: Politics aside, this is pretty witty and informative at the same time. Great analogy about the derivation of unemployment. Good insights, of little solace, if your unemployed.

Unemployment and airplane crashes
By Jame Fallows
07 Nov 2009 12:05 pm
http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/11/unemployment_and_airplane_cras.php

A man in Florida sends what may be the ideal example of reader mail, combining as it does aerodynamic theory, politics, economics, and presidential rhetoric. If only there were a China- or beer-related angle… Seriously, his critique of how the Obama team has explained the continuing collapse of the U.S. employment base is insightful. Although it is obviously too late to adjust the rhetoric with which the Administration launched its economic recovery plans, arguments like this reader’s could help shape the ongoing discussion.

"I’m really confused by how the Obama administration has handled the narrative and voter expectations for this recession. I clearly understand that they had to carefully balance early 2009 dire warnings against economic pessimism, while making a case for the stimulus package, etc. But once the stimulus was passed, I believe that they should have boldly stated how bad things really were, how their economic policies were the correct choices (even acknowledging Krugman’s critiques of "too little"), and emphasizing that even the best possible management of the 2008 economic trainwreck would see significantly increasing unemployment as a lagging indicator.

"One analogy I’ve thought of often, aligned with your interests, is an economic analogy of an aerodynamic stall. When commerical credit froze and consumers reduced spending, the prevailing economic "lift" was gone. Stall! Conservative knee-jerk reactions for tax cuts were the equivalent of "pulling up" on the stick- intuitive but deadly. Obama’s expert advice was to gain speed by spending (diving), even at the cost of altitude (deficit/debt). High unemployment was destined from the moment the stall occurred. Only when sufficient airspeed/angle of attack (spending) had been reached could the economy begin to pull up, and the unemployment would be analogous to the altitude lost even after the decision to finaly "pull up" had been made. Passenger relief (consumer confidence) would follow long after the immediate recovery (i.e., GDP), and no one would be "satisfied" until the plane came in for a (economic) "soft landing."

"There are probably numerous logical errors with this analogy [JF note: seems pretty good to me], but the simple point is this: If "Joe six-pack" clearly understands that Obama saved his economic life, while Conservatives would have driven the plane into the ground, he’s more likely to appreciate and reward the unpalatable choices that Obama made. His appreciation would be enhanced if he understood all along that the pilot had no choice but to lose altitude, and the pilot explained that altitude (jobs) would take a long time to regain. This administration sorely needs a narrative that citizens can grasp and accept, otherwise the cynical partisan naysayers will continue to fill the void….

"I came across this, published online by Irwin M. Stelzer on 12/19/2008 in the Weekly Standard (hardly a liberal apologist):

‘Bush knows that Obama is inheriting a very difficult economic situation indeed. So does the president-elect. Economists with whom I have spoken–and these are the people listened to at the highest levels in both parties and at Ben Bernanke’s Federal Reserve Board–believe that the unemployment rate, now at 6.7 percent, will hit double digits sometime in 2009, and stay there well into 2010. They expect house prices to drop another 15 percent and share prices at least another 10 percent before finding a bottom.Worse still, they are predicting an extraordinarily sluggish recovery. Since unemployment is what economists call a lagging indicator–job creation doesn’t start until a recovery is well under way–the unemployment rate might remain high well into 2011.’

"None of this is news to you. But if the Weekly Standard could articulate this in late 2008, why hasn’t the Obama administration made sure that average Americans understand the "pre-destination" involved with unemployment?"

As an answer to the final question, my guess is that a combined message of uplift and caution is among the most difficult for leaders to convey. Obama and his economic team had to keep sounding optimistic, since so much of a recovery is affected by "animal spirits." But they also needed to acknowledge that for a long time ahead more people would be losing than gaining jobs. The dual message is not impossible, but it’s tricky, and as the reader suggests the proper balance has not yet come across.

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