Tag Archives: job

Want to Work From Home? Amazon Is Hiring 5,000 People to Work From Their Kitchens and Living Rooms

Jeff Bezos. CREDIT: Getty Images

These jobs are all about the flexibility and the benefits–including, of course, the ability to work from home.
  
  By Bill Murphy Jr. 
There's nothing like working from home–that is, if you can make it work for you. Prerequisites: an efficient space, a healthy respect for your own time–and, of course, a job.

If it all sounds appealing to you, and you haven't already found your work-from-home nirvana, perhaps Amazon might be the answer. The company recently announced it's planning to hire 5,000 home-based workers to join its customer service teams.

Many of the new jobs will come with benefits, including health insurance, sick and vacation time, and tuition.

Jobs "with benefits"
We'll get to the hourly pay in a minute, but the real value in these jobs is probably in the flexibility and those two little words: "with benefits." Because if you work more than 20 hours a week at Amazon, the company says, you get:

"… life and disability insurance, dental and vision insurance with premiums paid in full by Amazon, and funding toward medical insurance," along with the company's Career Choice program, which "prepays 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a future career at Amazon."

"There are lots of people who want or need a flexible job–whether they're a military spouse, a college student, or a parent–and we're happy to empower these talented people no matter where they happen to live," Tom Weiland, Amazon vice president for worldwide customer service, said in a press release.

In addition to these positions, Amazon says it's hiring another 25,000 part-timers to work onsite this year, and another 100,000 full-timers over the next 18 months.

There's no word on what the home-based jobs pay in the press release, but a separate job listing says the "pay rate nationwide is $10.00 per hour."

And, at least for now, it looks like the part-time hours are limited to nighttime and weekend work, which could make it tough for parents who were hoping to work while their kids are at school, for example.

Also–again at least for now–Amazon is limiting hiring to people who live in 26 of the 50 states. (Sorry Californians and Texans.) You can find the details and the application process here.  http://www.amazondelivers.jobs/about/our-opportunities/#hourly-fulfillment-associates

Nobody is going to get rich working from home for Amazon for $10 an hour, of course, but even though we're technically at full employment in America, that's an economic term–of course there are still people who would like to be working but can't find jobs.

Among them: lots of stay-at-home moms, military spouses, and others who need income but might not have the flexibility to work outside their homes. Here's hoping other companies follow suit, and that these unemployed and underemployed workers might now have a steady, new, workable option.

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Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water

By Paul Rincon
Science editor, BBC News website
3 April 2017
 From the section Science & Environment 42 comments    Artwork: Graphene-based membranes hold huge promise in desalination
A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater.
The sought-after development could aid the millions of people without ready access to clean drinking water.
The promising graphene oxide sieve could be highly efficient at filtering salts, and will now be tested against existing desalination membranes.
It has previously been difficult to manufacture graphene-based barriers on an industrial scale.
Reporting their results in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, scientists from the University of Manchester, led by Dr Rahul Nair, show how they solved some of the challenges by using a chemical derivative called graphene oxide.
Isolated and characterised by a University of Manchester-led team in 2004, graphene comprises a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Its unusual properties, such as extraordinary tensile strength and electrical conductivity, have earmarked it as one of the most promising materials for future applications.
But it has been difficult to produce large quantities of single-layer graphene using existing methods, such as chemical vapour deposition (CVD). Current production routes are also quite costly.
On the other hand, said Dr Nair, "graphene oxide can be produced by simple oxidation in the lab".
He told BBC News: "As an ink or solution, we can compose it on a substrate or porous material. Then we can use it as a membrane.
"In terms of scalability and the cost of the material, graphene oxide has a potential advantage over single-layered graphene."

Of the single-layer graphene he added: "To make it permeable, you need to drill small holes in the membrane. But if the hole size is larger than one nanometre, the salts go through that hole. You have to make a membrane with a very uniform less-than-one-nanometre hole size to make it useful for desalination. It is a really challenging job."
Graphene oxide membranes have already proven their worth in sieving out small nanoparticles, organic molecules and even large salts. But until now, they couldn't be used to filter out common salts, which require even smaller sieves.
Previous work had shown that graphene oxide membranes became slightly swollen when immersed in water, allowing smaller salts to flow through the pores along with water molecules.
Now, Dr Nair and colleagues demonstrated that placing walls made of epoxy resin (a substance used in coatings and glues) on either side of the graphene oxide membrane was sufficient to stop the expansion.

Restricting the swelling in this way also allowed the scientists to tune the properties of the membrane, letting through less or more common salt for example.
When common salts are dissolved in water, they always form a "shell" of water molecules around the salt molecules.
This allows the tiny capillaries of the graphene-oxide membranes to block the salt from flowing through along with the water.
"Water molecules can go through individually, but sodium chloride cannot. It always needs the help of the water molecules. The size of the shell of water around the salt is larger than the channel size, so it cannot go through," said Dr Nair.

By contrast, water molecules flow exceptionally fast through the membrane barrier, which makes it ideal for use in desalination.
"When the capillary size is around one nanometre, which is very close to the size of the water molecule, those molecules form a nice interconnected arrangement like a train," Dr Nair explained.
"That makes the movement of water faster: if you push harder on one side, the molecules all move on the other side because of the hydrogen bonds between them. You can only get that situation if the channel size is very small."
By 2025 the UN expects that 14% of the world's population will encounter water scarcity. As the effects of climate change continue to reduce urban water supplies, wealthy modern countries are also investing in desalination technologies.
Current desalination plants around the world use polymer-based membranes.
"This is our first demonstration that we can control the spacing [of pores in the membrane] and that we can do desalination, which was not possible before. The next step is to compare this with the state-of-the-art material available on the market," said Dr Nair.
In a news and views article accompanying the study in Nature Nanotechnology, Ram Devanathan, from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, US, said more work needed to be done to produce graphene oxide membranes inexpensively at industrial scales.
He added that scientists also needed to demonstrate the durability of the membranes under prolonged contact with seawater and ensure the membrane was resistant to "fouling" by salts and biological material (which requires existing barriers to be periodically cleaned or replaced).
"The selective separation of water molecules from ions by physical restriction of interlayer spacing opens the door to the synthesis of inexpensive membranes for desalination," wrote Dr Devanathan.
"The ultimate goal is to create a filtration device that will produce potable water from seawater or wastewater with minimal energy input."
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Entrepreneurs And Finance People Share DNA

Gone are the days where your average finance person was the stereotypical bean counter. Today they come in all sorts of shapes and forms and you will find that many of them are starting to show some DNA of an entrepreneur. Wow, did he just say that? I couldn’t think of two kinds of people that are more different. OK, hang on and let me try to explain. First, let’s just agree on what an entrepreneur really is.

“a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.”
There are two main elements of above and then some other aspects that are not that well covered. 1) Someone who starts a business and 2) Someone who takes risks in hope of profit. I’ll give you that while there are finance people who set up businesses because they are also entrepreneurs then that’s not the main point as finance people, in general, are not people who set up businesses. As for the second point then there’s starting to more resemblance.

Risks vs. profits
At school, all finance students are taught about the relationship between risks and profits and how to balance them. A typical framework used is the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) which describes the relationship between the expected returns at any given risk profile.

So the balance between risk and returns is a finance person in a nutshell and a clear area where entrepreneurs need to also become more like finance people. If we continue to test that argument then let’s look at what’s missing from above definition. The idea! So in order to become an entrepreneur you typically need to have an idea. Entrepreneurs are full of these although it’s always harder to get idea #2 after you’ve made a living out of the first one. When it comes to finance people I always say that they don’t have to come up with the ideas but more need to be facilitators of ideas i.e. take them from the idea stage to something that gets executed on. But does it stop there? It shouldn’t. Finance people who truly know and understand business will be able to come up with just as many ideas as entrepreneurs. Finance people then have the added advantage that they are able to quantify and qualify the idea, create a business case and connect with the right people in a company or in the market to execute on it. Some entrepreneurs do this very well, of course, but I’d also say that here another area where entrepreneurs can learn from finance people.

Glorifying the finance person at the expense of the entrepreneur?
Right, if all finance people are so great at everything an entrepreneur does then why are they not all successful entrepreneurs? OK, so I might be glorifying the finance people a bit here and maybe what they lack is the true courage to jump into a business adventure, yet the evidence of sharing DNA is definitely still present. While they might not be bean counters anymore they are still a bit conservative and perhaps not willing to become entrepreneurs also. So if you can take the best of both you will get entrepreneurs that become better at managing risks for profits and managing the full cycle from idea to execution and delivery. What’s not to like about that? Then we can talk about what finance people can learn from entrepreneurs another day!

To stay updated on how Finance can help the business create value I would encourage you to follow my “value-series” where you can find past articles below. To be sure to stay informed about future articles you can either connect with me or join my group Finance Business Partner Forum. Last but not least you can also follow me on Twitter.

Finance Needs A 20/20 Vision On The Business

How Much Value Does Your Finance Job Create?

5 Ways For Finance To Start Adding Value Now!

Finance’s 5 Drivers Of Value Creation

How Can Finance Help The Business Add Value?

Don’t Measure Finance’s Value Creation

How To Become Great At Business Finance

We Need More Business In Business Finance

How Finance Business Partners Improve Company Performance

What Finance Business Partnering Really Is

How Finance Can Help When Business Is Bad

Anders Liu-Lindberg is the Senior Finance Business Partner for Maersk LineEurope Region and is working with the transformation of Finance and business on a daily basis. I have participated in several transformation processes among others helping Maersk Drilling to go Beyond Budgeting and transformed a finance team from Bean-counters to Business Partners. I would love the chance to collaborate with you on your own transformation processes to help you stay out of disruption. If you are looking for more advice on how to get the most of LinkedIn I also have a few tips to share as well as if you want help in your job search. Don’t be shy! Let’s get in touch and start helping each other.

Anders Liu-Lindberg Anders Liu-Lindberg
Senior Finance Business Partner • Maersk Line 

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Total Compensation in Silicon Valley: It’s More Than Just a Paycheck

MYTH: Silicon Valley is where 22-year-old nerds in Gap hoodies make major bank overnight, then go out and buy yachts and posh mansions in Palo Alto.

REALITY: Uhhhh, not so much.

If you believe everything you read in the news or see on TV, you might think that working at a hot startup in Silicon Valley is your instant ticket to riches. Regardless of what Hollywood has managed to cook up in movies like The Social Network and TV shows like Silicon Valley (natch), however, the real world of startup employment is quite a bit different. As in: Long hours for sometimes (nay, often) crummy short-term pay (or even no pay at all!) as a trade-off for the chance to make big bucks down the line in the form of company equity if your startup employer turns out to be the next Facebook or Google.

But while the chance for startup riches definitely exists, the hard reality is that most startups don't become the next Facebook. Many startups don't even get acquired in an modest equity-cashout deals. In fact, a lot of startups outright fail, leaving talented people with little to show for their long hours and lost sleep besides a worthless equity agreement. Bottom line, if you're not independently wealthy, it's usually not a good idea to work under an equity-only pay agreement—unless you are willing to live in your parents' basement while eating government cheese. Sure, it might have worked out for the Woz, but much like winning the lottery, an Apple-style founders' payoff is a mega-long shot for most people.

Sounds depressing, huh? Don't fret, because there's a silver lining for talented tech workers. If you're smart enough to work in Silicon Valley—or any tech company, for that matter—then you're smart enough to be strategic about your compensation. If you're better informed about what top talent should be demanding from companies when negotiating your total compensation package, you're also more likely to pick a startup outfit that has the staying power to keep you working (and paid) well over the long term, especially in terms of potential equity cashout. And if by chance your employer crashes and burns, negotiating a solid base pay package upfront can offer you some short-term stability while you look for your next opportunity.

In other words, it's time to get smart about Silicon Valley compensation. Base salary is only one part of the equation. Equity is another, potentially lucrative part of your total pay package, and some tech workers choose a lower base salary in exchange for more equity (or vice versa). Bonus pay can be icing on the cake—or nonexistent if the company doesn't hit growth targets, or (worse) if your bonuses are tied to things you have no direct control over (like slacker employees that you don't supervise, or a second round of investor financing falling through). Meanwhile, often-overlooked benefits like health insurance, vacation pay, or even perks like onsite meals or a free gym membership have their own intrinsic value that can make up for lower base-pay packages. A combination of all of these compensation options—not just base salary—are equally important parts to consider when evaluating any potential job offer, whether you're working in the heart of Silicon Valley, at a Fortune 500 company, or at a mom-and-pop shop in the rural Midwest.

Know Your Local Market

Compensation standards vary widely by industry, region, and even neighborhoods within the same urban area. Local costs of living also vary widely, and what might be a great salary in Indianapolis is barely a subsistence wage in San Francisco. For example, an entry-level computer engineer in San Francisco often earns $125,000 plus bonuses and benefits. While that might sound like a lot of money, it doesn't go very far in the super-expensive Bay Area, where it might not even be enough to cover the rent on a basic two-bedroom apartment, let alone any special luxuries. Meanwhile, that same salary and benefits package in Indianapolis would be sky-high pay for an entry-level engineer, where the typical entry-level salary of $60,000 would still buy a very comfortable lifestyle. Compensation for some jobs sometimes doesn't even differ by region—-meaning that the same salary that would have you living in a crummy shipping container in the Bay Area could buy you a four-bedroom house and a brand-new car in Cleveland. Sites like Salary.com, Glassdoor, and Indeed offer salary data by position type, experience level, and region. Talking to colleagues who work in a given market or location about what to expect in terms of total compensation is also helpful.

Also, you'll need to ask yourself whether a startup/equity compensation package is really worth the extra risk. Startups often pay less than established companies (and may not always meet payroll at all!), but offer company equity, huge bonus potential, or special perks to make up for it. That equity/bonus potential could be worth millions—-or nothing. The potential for riches from equity and big bonuses therefore is supposed to outweigh the lower upfront pay, but remember, the keyword here is potential.

Meanwhile, established companies typically offer long-term stability and steady paychecks, but aren't giving away half the stock in the company to a single employee (i.e., you).

The question to ask when evaluating any job offer is, What's more important to you? And what are you willing to risk? If you're young, hungry, and don't have a spouse or kids to worry about, the startup/equity deal could be well worth the risk. ("There's gold in them-thar hills, Go West Young Man," et cetera.) But if you're married with two kids and a mortgage, you're probably better off with a conservative, steady gig at a stable company.

What if a medium-sized startup or more established company is offering you a modest equity/bonus package, but is still lowballing you on salary? Negotiate. When a company is on solid enough footing to recruit talent without big equity giveaways, that's a signal they should be paying closer to market rates from the get-go. Also, pay close attention to any proposed bonus structures, and make sure bonuses are tied to factors you have direct control over. Companies often give you pie-in-the-sky promises during the interview process to get you on board, but reality often doesn't match up further on down the line. If you can, ask the hiring manager to give you some hard numbers on what past bonuses have been for people working similar positions, and get everything in writing. Otherwise, you might end up with far lower total compensation than you expected if bonuses don't pan out

Other often-overlooked components of total compensation include benefits like health insurance (including how much you'll pay out-of-pocket for premiums and deductibles), as well as 401(k) company match and profit-sharing plans. For example, the company might say they offer health insurance, but if you're expected to pay 100% of the monthly premium plus a high annual deductible, that's thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars off the top of your salary. Meanwhile, a company that has lower base pay while offering free healthcare and a generous 401(k) match or a traditional pension may actually be a better deal in the long run.

When it comes to negotiating your next salary and benefits package, knowledge is power. Remember, in a tight labor market for top tech talent, everything is negotiable. There's no reason to accept a bad job offer when you can often get a better deal by communicating your expectations—or looking elsewhere.

 Leandro Margulis Leandro Margulis
Advisor | Investor • Pick-Eat

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Is Your Current JOB Replaceable by a ROBOT in the Next 5 Years?

It’s a vital question. Take a moment and think over it!!! As per a report by the University of Oxford, 47% of Jobs in US, 35% in UK and a whopping 77% in China are estimated to get automated. A quest arises, are we moving towards a ‘workerless’ world? The World is headed towards a more precision and error free operations whilst slipping into chaos day by day. Making sense of the world we live in is a tough task but the most we can do is safeguard our futures individually. We are seeing a rise in Self-Employment, Free Lancers and Entrepreneurship over the last decade. But how competent and sustainable will it be when the world gets even more fierce in terms of competition? A Small piece of pie will be chased by many. We need to brace ourselves for this coming time.

People in their 20s and 30s will be the most affected because of Automation. It is set to have a cascading effect on multiple industries and support functions displacing millions from jobs. Though Computers and Robots will make work processes more accurate and easy they will need highly skilled workforce to manage them. Constant skill upgradation embracing new systems and technologies will be needed by the future workforce. The element of ‘Human’ factor will slowly minimize making humans go crazy over machines and technology. It’s an uncertain world we are headed for which will have no place for low-skilled and semi-skilled workforce which make up a substantial chunk of the economy. Many say that Computers will enhance the existing work operations thereby assisting or complimenting the human ‘Brain’ and thought processes and therefore Automation should not be painted with a grey picture.

 

But have we thought of the millions of low-skilled and semi-skilled workforces which anyway will get displaced and the effect on the subsequent families associated with them. China, the world’s manufacturing hub is headed towards rising joblessness index as automation is slowly setting in. Foxconn, the manufacturer of iPhones recently replaced 60000 of its workforce with Automation Robots. Just as the world saw a gradual phase out of Tellers at Banks because of ATM’s, aggregations and app based functions will bring disruptions in industries. How do we govern and regulate all this? We are soon approaching a stage where development is crossing that threshold of sustainable development to destructive automation which has no place for Human Emotions and Human Factor. We who have created it are becoming victims of our own creation.  Transportation and Commutation is witnessing a revolution through 'Driver-Less Cars and Drones'. Uber, the world's leading Cab aggregator is set to test Driver-less cars in its network.

Populous countries like India and China are seeing mass displacement of people caused due to the sudden spurt in technology. Demographics of such nations are seeing a dramatic change and shift in lifestyles. India carried out a Demonetisation drive in the last quarter of 2016 wiping out 85% of Cash from the system's economy thereby encouraging the population to adopt Digital Payment Systems and Banking Channels. It was alarming to see the chaos and unrest across the length and breadth of the country throwing most of the people into a frenzy. The picture is slowly transforming now. People have realised the need to adapt Digital payments and Banking channels. 

We cannot stop automation from invading our daily lives but we surely must take steps to make the current and next generation adaptable to the new world. Millennials who are currently working in the Telemarketing, Insurance, Banking, Manufacturing, Transportation, Retail and Construction profiles need to start preparing themselves actively for the automated world which will soon knock on their doors. The question will surely arise as to what exactly can be done when the future seems so grim? In the words of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, the future world will be more of individualistic profiles competing against each other. Physical presence will matter no more but a virtual presence and virtual image on the 15-inch mobile device we carry will bear immense importance.

At Asterizk, we interact on a regular basis with Technology, Government and Industry Leaders through our think tank sessions which has really enabled us to bridge that gap and create programs and services customized to help working professionals brace for the Automated world. Interacting with individuals, youngsters, free lancers, self-employed professionals, college graduates to Senior Management officials has really made us realize and wonder over the power of human potential. There will be a need for human touch and human interference even in the automated world. We just need to strike the right balance to make sense of the world of automation.

At Asterizk, we are taking steps to amalgamate the smallest factor of working force with the automated world to make Automation more meaningful for all the sections of the society. We are taking steps to make every low skilled and semi-skilled individual realize his value, build upon his value and make him ready for the automated world. It’s an uphill task but when we have a collective desire to make a difference and bring about a change even the impossible seems possible.

To know more, You may follow Asterizk on Linkedin and Twitter

Harshal Bhalerao – Follow the Author on Twitter and Linkedin for more updates

Co-Founder and Director

ASTERIZK is a leading Business Intelligence and Resource Development Company Conceptualised, Strategized and Incorporated to service the Corporate Learning, Knowledge Management, Business Intelligence, Personal Branding and Networking Work Space. 

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