Baltimore barometer

The Ticker

December 31, 1990|By Julius Westheimer

Joel (Bud) Finkelstein, CEO, Ace Uniform Services, southwest Baltimore, periodically provides us with a "look-in" on present and future local business conditions.

"We rent uniforms, so we're a good barometer," he explains, "and we saw the recession coming nine months ago. We can tell from rentals how various industries are doing and will do. Early this year we noted that uniform rentals were dropping sharply -- meaning lots of layoffs -- and we were getting very few 'add-ons,' so we knew trouble was ahead.

"Right now it's gloomy but not all bad. Automotive services' rentals are down, so are building trades, but some industries are doing OK, like service companies, medical labs, delivery companies, property management firms and the steel industry. But many businesses are cutting back on 'ancillary services' like walk-in doormats. In summary, things are pretty rough and will be for awhile because we see firms are not replacing people they lay off."

HOPKINS HINT: Do you have a sedentary job? "Here's good news for many of the 60 million Americans with high blood pressure, an antidote to the $2.50-a-tablet treatment method. It's exercise. In a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore found that men with mild hypertension who exercised regularly without medication did as well and sometimes better than their counterparts who exercised and also took anti-hypertensive drugs." (Changing Times, Jan.)

WORKPLACE WISDOM: "To overcome the wall of paper in your office, organize your paper into four stacks: to do, to pay, to read, to file." (Conquering the Paper Pile-Up by Stephanie Culp, $12.95)..."Pat Kelly, CEO, Physicians Sales & Service, Jacksonville, Fla., wanted his salespeople to sell a load of examination tables within 60 days, so he gave them an incentive up front: cellular phones that they'd keep if they sold enough tables. 'I knew they wouldn't want to turn them back in,' explained Kelly, who installed the phones while the contest was on. The sales force exceeded its goal by a huge margin." (Inc., Dec.)

LOST YOUR JOB? Here are suggestions. (1) First thing, think about financial arrangements -- continuation of your medical and hospital insurance, severance pay, unemployment insurance, etc. (2) Don't take a vacation. Improve your "new job" chances by starting to search immediately. (3) Regard your job hunt as a full-time job; plan to search for six to eight hours every weekday. (4) Develop a reasonable, honest explanation as to why you left ** your last job and don't be embarrassed by your unemployment; many people are terminated in a business downturn. (5) Ask friends for help; don't stay home waiting for the phone to ring. (6) Call hiring managers directly. Ask for a personal interview; avoid sending a resume. (7) Don't mention salary; the topic may show you're more interested in your welfare than what you can do for the company. (Above compiled from year-end mailings by several outplacement firms.)

WORKPLACE WINDUP: "It's a strange thing how unimportant your job is when you're asking for a raise, but how important it can be when you want to take the day off." (Bits & Pieces)..."A striking labor development of the 1980s was a sudden, marked narrowing of the men-women wage gap. Women still earn less, (( but they've come a long way." (American Enterprise magazine).

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