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Opinion Editorials

Iowa Under Water, HELP!

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original image of Iowa this week, courtesy of CR Artist


Tragedy Strikes Twice

Iowa has had an excrutiatingly rough week and many residents are still playing a waiting game to see when the river in their area will crest. The state is still reeling from the loss of four boy scouts killed in a tornado and many many people have fled their flooded homes while others brace for the rising water.

Cedar Rapids Realtor Weighs In

I spoke to Kam Hubbard, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Realtor who expressed that many people can’t work because where he is, the highways are blocked and the only direction anyone can travel is west. Kam said the cleanup has not yet begun and will not begin until the waters recede and in his case, the river hasn’t yet crested, so they’re all in a holding pattern with no internet or digital cable services (although I could hear Kam’s television in the background and he noted he’s one of the lucky ones with satellite tv)!

$700 Million in Damages

Kam shared with me that it may be weeks before internet is restored and cleanup begins, and many businesses are shut down. The damages so far are estimated to total $700 million. Yes, seven hundred million dollars and there is a potential for more rain this week.

Please Help

Kam wanted everyone to know that he is grateful for the support and that his state is hurting. Although he doesn’t have specific needs at this time, he asked that we support the local Red Cross and will let us know when things dry up a bit and if Kam, any of his team members or any of his clients have detailed needs.

The Real Estate community online is big, it’s strong and we always have been and always will be here for each other, regardless of our ideological differences. Please take a moment to donate to Red Cross, even if it’s only a few dollars- Iowa thanks you.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Chris Lengquist

    June 16, 2008 at 6:59 am

    I had the honor of meeting Kam while in Phoenix for Bloodhound. I wish him and his fellow Iowans the best.

  2. Mack in Atlanta

    June 16, 2008 at 7:36 am

    My heart goes out to the citizens in Iowa as well as the other mid western states that have been pounded by rain and tornadoes. We could use some of the rain in metro Atlanta, just not to the extent that has hit Iowa recently.

  3. Ken Smith in Chicago

    June 16, 2008 at 11:11 am

    This isn’t just an Iowa issue, it’s effecting many other states in the areas. We have multiple cities with homes, schools, churches, under water in IL and WI also (sure there are more). Iowa has gotten the media attention as it has the highest levels of water, but other areas need help just as bad. A homeowner that is without access to their home doesn’t care if their home is under 1 foot or 4 foot of water, either way the home needs major repairs and everything inside is lost.

    Please remember that many effected by these floods don’t have and never would have thought of flood insurance. The repairs of their homes and replacing of their lost belongings is going to come out of their pockets and from the help of charities. I hope that everyone can open their hearts and wallets for those effected by these floods.

  4. Benn Rosales

    June 16, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Ken, you’re so right, and we certainly do not want to cherry pick who we help, we simply just want to help bring more attention to this horrific situation.

  5. Ken Smith

    June 16, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Benn I just got off the phone with a water engineer that works for a US base charity. He normally is in Africa or some other 3rd world country trying to provide clean drinking water supplies. His charity has already mobilized in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana. From their estimates and what officials on the ground are saying this will end up being worse then Katrina in terms of damage.

    The small amount of flooding in the Chicagoland area is minor compared to what other states are facing. But it is big enough that any other year it would have made national news. Really wish there was a good way to put it in perspective, but there isn’t a good way to do so.

    When talking to the engineer we discussed that when there is a local emergency like this that there is always less money raised then when it’s a 3rd world country. People just assume that the victims will have insurance or some other way to cover the losses and that just isn’t true. These people need our help and they will need it to continue over an extended period of time. This will take years of rebuilding efforts.

  6. Kam Hubbard

    June 19, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks for the kind words of concern. The recovery process is underway. For current updates on the recovery efforts go to this website: http://www.corridorrecovery.org

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Opinion Editorials

Have an in-person job interview? 7 tips to crush the competition

EDITORIAL) While we all know the usual interview schtick, take some time to really study for your next face-to-face job interview.

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Job interview between two women.

So, you’re all scheduled for an in-person interview for a job you’d kill for. It’s exciting that you’ve made it to this step, but the question is, are you ready? Especially with remote interviews being the new norm, your nerves may feel shaken up a bit to interview in person – but you’ve got this! And many of these tips can be applied no matter the interview setting.

We all know the basics of a job interview: dress nice, get there early, come prepared, firm handshake, yada, yada, yada… However, it’s good to really sit and think about all of the requirements of a successful interview.

There are seven steps for crushing a face-to-face interview. Do your homework upside down and inside out in order to walk into that room.

Which brings us to the first step: know everything you need to know backwards and forwards.

This can be done in two steps: getting to know the company and getting to know yourself. By doing website, social media, and LinkedIn research, you can get a feel of the company culture as well as the position you’re interviewing for.

By getting to know yourself, have a friend ask you some interview questions so you can practice. Also, take a look at your resume through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. Make sure everything is clear and can compete with other candidates.

The next step is to anticipate solving future problems. Have some insight on the department that you are interviewing for and come prepared with ideas of how to better this department. (i.e. if it’s marketing, give examples of campaigns you’ve done in the past that have proven to have been successful.)

Step number three requires you to go back to the research board and get some information on the employer. Find out who you’re meeting with (head of HR, head of the department, etc.) and make your self-presentation appropriate for the given person.

Next, work on making the interview conversation a meaningful one. This can be done by asking questions as people like to see you take an interest in them. Also, be sure to never answer the questions as if it’s your regular spiel. Treat each job interview as if this is the first time you’re presenting your employability information.

With this, your next step is to have stories prepared for the job interview. Anecdotes and examples of previous jobs or volunteer/organization experiences can help bring life to an otherwise run-of-the-mill resume.

After this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re showing enthusiasm for the position you’re interviewing for. Don’t jump on the couch in the lobby like you’re Tom Cruise on Oprah, but definitely portray that you’re excited and up for the challenge.

Lastly, make a good impression by being impressive. Be professional and in control of your body language. Put yourself in the mindset of whatever position you’re interviewing for and show them that you have what it takes.

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Opinion Editorials

The benefits of remote work are just too good to overlook

(EDITORIAL) Employees scream it from the rooftops and businesses don’t want to admit it: Remote work is just too beneficial to pass up- and here’s why.

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Work from home written with scrabble letters.

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

Less happily, many people lost their job during the pandemic, but they ended up having more time to put toward their passions or were compelled to get creative with their remote business ideas to ensure a consistent stream of income.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Allowing your employees to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean they work from home full time. There are benefits to having your employees work in an office part of the time – say, two or three days – and working from home, in more familiar surroundings, the rest of the week.

In this way, your workers enjoy some freedom and independence while retaining the ability to interact face-to-face with their peers. That provides human interaction, which can play a substantial role in terms of improved mental health for your staff.

Happy employees means healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

Whether you are a small business owner or have crafted your work to tailor toward a life of remote labor, this is an opportunity for someone who has dreamed of being a digital nomad. You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Multi-member Zoom call on a Apple Mac laptop with a blue mug of black coffee next to it.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

When you’re a business owner, this can be incredibly useful when you outsource tasks to save money. You can find a higher quality of performance by searching for contractors anywhere in the world and it doesn’t limit you to workers who live near to your office.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

 In the end, remote work typically saves money for every person and entity involved. Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

According to FlexJobs, employees or remote business owners may save around $4,000 on average every year for expenses such as car maintenance, transportation, professional clothing in the office, or even money spent dining out for lunch with coworkers. Eventually, the costs add up, which means extra money in your pocket to take that much-needed vacation or save up for a down payment on your first home.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

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Opinion Editorials

Do these 3 things if you TRULY want to be an ally to women in tech

(EDITORIAL) We understand diversity helps and strengthens our companies, and individual teams. But how can you be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce?

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Two women at meeting table discussing working in tech.

More and more women are leaving their positions with tech companies, citing lack of opportunity for advancement, wage gaps, and even hostile working conditions as some of the reasons why.

What’s better for the tech industry and its employees than cultivating inclusive and diverse departments? Diversity is known to strengthen the overall performance of a company and its teams, and there are a number of ways you can be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce. To name a few:

1. Be open to listening to different perspectives.

It can be awkward to hear so many reports of workplace politics stacking against women, especially if you’re not a woman!

Instead of getting uncomfortable or defensive – ask open ended questions and be interested in a perspective that isn’t yours and may be unfamiliar.

Don’t seek to rationalize or explain the experiences you’re hearing about, as that can come off as condescending. It’s common for women to be interrupted or spoken over in team gatherings. If you notice this happening, bring the conversation back to where the interruption began. Offering your ear and counting yourself as responsible for making space will improve the overall quality of communication in your company.

Listening to and validating what women have to say about the quality of their employment with a company is an important step in the right direction.

Expressing something as simple as “I was interested in what you had to say – could you elaborate on your thought?” can help.

2. Develop an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program.

An ERG is a volunteer-based, employee-led group that acts as a resource for a particular group of employees. An ERG can help to foster inclusiveness through discussion, team-building activities and events. It’s common for a department to have only one or two women on the roster.

This can mean that the day to day feels disconnected from concerns commonly shared by women. disjointed it might feel to be on a high performing team, without access to relatable conversations.

3. Be responsible for your company’s culture.

Chances are, your company already has some amazing cultural values in place. That said, how often are you checking your own performance and your co-workers performances against those high standards? Strong company culture and values sound great, but whether or not they’re adhered to can make or break the mood of a work environment.

Many women say they’ve experienced extremely damaging and toxic cultural environments, which lead to hostility, frustration, and even harassment. Take action when you see the new woman uncomfortable with being hit on at team drinks.

Call out those who make unfriendly and uncouth comments about how women perform, look, or behave.

Setting a personal threshold for these kinds of microaggressions can help you lead by example, and will help build a trustworthy allyship.

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