How sexy is Bill Clinton his ideas that you may not need sex to win election

Former President Bill Clinton, during his speech at the Democratic National Convention, pointed to the biggest issue with American jobs today: “There are already more than 3 million jobs open and unfilled in America,” he said, despite a high number of Americans out of work.

Regardless of where your politics fall, it’s hard not to agree that Americans should work to bridge the gap between millions of open jobs and the nation’s August unemployment rate of 8.1 percent.

And, according to Clinton, the jobs equation doesn’t add up “mostly because the people who apply for them don’t yet have the required skills to do them.” I see this problem every day.

It’s a race to find qualified, fitting candidates, especially in business to business sales, escalated customer support, billing support and financial services jobs.

More specifically, there have been nearly 50,000 open positions in business to business sales since mid-August of this year. And customer support, billing support and financial services positions all ballpark around 25 to 30,000 openings.

So, what can we as employers and job seekers do to push the number of open jobs down and put American back to work?

For the companies out there looking for qualified employees with both the right skills and the right cultural fit, it is often quite a challenge. However, that does not have to be the case. Folks in the unemployment line could become sought after talent filling millions of open jobs. To do this successfully it is going to take movement from both sides–the employer and prospective employee.

During a recently hosted Career Chat on Facebook earlier this month, a professional photographer, who has worked in photo labs for over 20 years, talked about how his industry is going digital. He shared how hard it is for him to find work because he does not have the skills in web design and Photoshop that is required of photographers today.

Our advice to him? Adapt! His willingness to change and evolve his skillset to the skills in-demand today is the key to making or breaking his career future. With today’s unlimited access to knowledge and resources on the web, there is no longer an excuse for “not knowing”.

Take advantage of free reputable educational organizations, like the Khan Academy, Coursera, MIT’s free online courses, to name a few. Stanford, recently ranked by Forbes as one of the top colleges in America, even offers affordable online executive programs that anyone in the US can take. Approach a mentor. Invest in yourself by taking in-demand courses like Excel, Photoshop and programming.

Tap into all the amazing online resources to make yourself the hottest commodity in the job market.

It is not just the unemployed who need to shift their mindset. Hiring managers also need to consider changing their hiring approach.

When employers set out to fill an open position, they look at five primary factors in the perfect candidate: the candidate’s experience (resume), education, skills as they relate to the job, work ethic, and interpersonal skills. Brad Brummel, PhD in organizational psychology and CareerBliss advisor puts it best when he says, “there is a limited supply of people who qualify all aspects.”

That’s why, “most employers focus on the skills first” and then hope to get lucky on the other four.

In order to bridge the gap between the high unemployment rate and influx of vacant job openings, companies need to shift their focus and zoom into candidates’ soft skills and overall cultural fit. Will this candidate fit the values and attitude of our company?

If they do, in this economy, it is worth investing resources to train cultural fits rather than wait for the perfectly skilled candidate to appear exactly when and where you need them to.

Do not settle for the next-best skilled professional. Instead, aim for the candidate who has the competency, values and personality that align with your company. Be willing to invest a little on development of skills, and you’ll see positive results in the long run.

Shortening the unemployment line is really a two-part equation. If companies start shifting their focus away from skills and start focusing on conditioning candidates with the right attitude and job seekers start becoming more proactive in learning new skills — in the long run — America will slowly but surely witness the unemployment rate drop.

  Two very different visions of America are locked in a contest for the soul of this country. What kind of nation should it be, say, 30 years from now; what would it look like; and what values should it endorse? A debate now rages.Come November, the presidential election will indicate the direction in which a current majority of Americans would like to go. And since this still is the richest and most powerful nation on earth, that popular choice will matter for the rest of us.Last week, the Republican Party had a national convention in which its members nominated Mitt Romney as its presidential candidate. This week, the Democratic Party’s convention nominated Barack Obama for a second term as president. The two conventions were starkly different in tone, appearance and substance. The Republican gathering was overwhelmingly white, Christian and Anglo-Saxon despite an array of speakers from different backgrounds on stage; the Democratic one was multi-ethnic, multicultural and multi-hued and that was just the visible difference.The two parties stand far apart from each other in worldview, values and attitude towards government. Today’s Republicans, who call themselves conservative, are in fact radical-right in their ideology. It’s not in their almost dogmatic championing of free markets alone; after all, the Democrats are not against free, but in favour of watchfully regulated, markets. The Republicans actually want a drastic reduction in the powers of government, by which they mean the federal government since they favour an increase in states’ rights. The Democrats believe a strong federal government is essential for maintaining national cohesion as well as a level playing field.

To this outsider looking in, the argument over the size and powers of the federal government camouflages two fundamentally different visions of what America should be a few decades from now. The Republican Party, as it stands today, voices the increasing alarm of those who believe that they, their kinfolk and their co-believers built this nation, which is now under threat of takeover by culturally alien, ethnically different minorities and they want to push back the possibility of such an outcome. The Democrats, on the other hand, accept an evolving reality of global economic and demographic patterns and would like all citizens, present and future, to embrace diversity as long as they all share the values affirmed in the Constitution.

Almost all their differences boil down to an attitude towards evolving change in society. Points of conflict range from economic and fiscal policies through women’s rights, religious belief and sexual preference to science and human evolution itself.

The differences are even noticeable in trivial pursuits. A recent Scarborough Research consumer survey of 2,00,000 adults suggests that Republicans and Democrats tend to get information, shop and entertain themselves differently.

For example, Democrats are more inclined towards doing yoga, visiting art shows, buying eco-friendly products, watching MTV, Comedy Central, Oscars and Grammy awards than are Republicans. Their news sources also tend to be different. And that creates nearly exclusive echo chambers of opinion. If you watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh’s radio shows you are likely to be a Republican. If you are a fan of MSNBC, or even CNN, you are probably a Democrat. The twain rarely meet.

Be that as it may, the ongoing debate is engrossing. Opinion polls say almost all Americans, maybe over 90% of the electorate, have made up their minds one way or the other for November’s election. Only around 5 or 6% remain to be convinced. The fight in the remaining time will be over these undecided few.

The argument is relevant for all democratic nations of significant size. In Europe, for instance, this issue of a monochromatic versus a varied national cultural identity these days frequently leads to confrontations, some of which turn violent.

In India, we have been debating the matter over six decades. We have a most unusual national experiment on hand. Arguably, no democratic republic ever has held as much linguistic, ethnic and religious diversity as India has.

As we move on, do we see ourselves 30 years from now as a united nation reflecting a dominant personality built on a singular tradition? Or do we reaffirm our secular diversity in a more resolute and impartial manner than we have so far?Some 12 years ago, as Bill Clinton was winding down his second term, I jokingly asked the then President why he shouldn’t think of running for office in India, perhaps contesting a parliamentary election. He was only 54 and would be demitting office in a few months because of US term limits which don’t allow a third shot at the Presidency. It seemed such a waste, considering the stellar record he had established in what were, looking back, the boom years of the United States. Couldn’t we in India, stuck with a lumbering, geriatric 20th century leadership, borrow him or hire him to take us into the 21st century?

Of course, it was a lighthearted suggestion; we knew the law wouldn’t permit it. But he burst out laughing, and chortled that maybe he should think about it. By then he had taken a liking to India, and I think even the thought of it intrigued the wonk in him. The exchange took place in the White House during a state dinner the Clintons hosted for then Prime Minister Vajpayee. The Indian delegation had left the party early (the Prime Minister was leaving for India that night), but Clinton had urged local guests to stay back (it was the last banquet of his presidency), so the party went on till the wee hours of the morning, enabling almost everyone to chat with the President.
There was plenty of wine and desserts that night. A colleague who got fairly sloshed asked me around midnight what would happen if he passed out in the White House – would they allow him to crash in the Lincoln Bedroom? (One of the many White House scandals those days centered on Clinton allowing friends to sleepover at the Lincoln Bedroom in return for campaign contributions.) “Well, more likely they will put you in a cab, send you home, and you will never be able to set foot in the White House again,” I chuckled. Mind you, those were heady pre-9/11 days.
Indeed, those were giddy times, and early days in the renewed US-India courtship. President Clinton had decisively tilted Washington New Delhi’s way during the Kargil war, triggering off a big change in Indian perception of the US. But Clinton’s courtship of India occurred very late in his second term, almost as an afterthought. Both his trip to India and Vajpayee’s return visit to Washington took place in the President’s final year in office, but on both occasions, he showed Indians not familiar with him his complete mastery over both style and substance when it came to engaging the public.
Clinton’s speech to the Indian Parliament in March 2000 is one of the most eloquent I’ve ever heard in the Indian context. But there are many others that came to mind – including his farewell remarks as President at an airport hangar in Maryland — as I sat listening to his peroration at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week. The compelling thing about Clinton’s speeches is not mesmerizing words and soaring rhetoric. He’s all about policy, dressed up in folksy humor and personal anecdotage. In the era of global communication and instant reach (and feedback), he has reinvented the fireside chat, and elevated it to such a level of intimacy that you feel he’s talking only to you. Most of what he speaks about is what you’d call kitchen table issues – sending your kids to school, healthcare, social security etc., neatly arranged in a grand architecture of Democratic Party principles.
Soon after his address, friends on social media, swooning over his performance and wallowing in nostalgia, raised that decade old question again. Oh, why can’t we borrow him (he’s still only 66) for India? But a more pertinent question is: why aren’t our leaders, even those cerebral and analytical, similarly gifted in framing policy, problem-solving, and connecting and conveying them to the masses? Why is our political discourse full of platitudes, banalities, and triteness of the “Gandhiji ne kaha tha…garibi hatana hain” kind?
Our leadership is a reasonably accurate reflection of our people and our priorities. Indian voters largely vote on identity issues, not policy matters. And when they do vote on issues, it’s usually short-term concerns. We don’t make our politicians work hard for our votes, never ask them questions about long term issues like national education or health blueprints and budgets. So if we don’t bother to learn and don’t ask, where is the compulsion for our mostly mediocre politicians, many of them semi-literate criminals and still mired in a moffussil mindset, to have any grasp, much less mastery, over the subject?
To see what we are missing, take a look at our leadership’s desultory speech on (any) Teacher’s Day or any speech on education for that matter. Compare that to the several made by Obama (including an epic State of the Union in 2011 when he called for a “sputnik” moment). Check them out for vision, depth, clarity, urgency, passion, all illustrated by statistics, personal stories, and anecdotes. Then recall our own prime minister’s heartwarming journey from an unlit home in the boondocks to 7, Race Course Road, and his government’s epic Right to Education Bill, both spottily conveyed to voters. Imagine what Clinton and Obama would have done with such material.
Well, we missed hiring Clinton in 2000. Maybe we can try hiring Obama as our policy wonk and explainer-in-chief when he steps down.
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