Corrections or additions?
Coping with Xers
These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 18, 1998. All rights reserved.
Some believe that Generation X needs a taskmaster and
it may have one in Bruce Tulgan. While many of this age group
(roughly early 20s to early 30s) may be resentful about the
insecure career prospects of the ’90s, (or "McJobs" as Tulgan
calls them), he takes the Xers to task on this dissatisfaction.
The president of Rainmaker Inc., a New Haven-based think tank for
Generation X workplace issues, the 30-year-old Tulgan has published
his second book, "Work This Way," from Hyperion (229 pages,
$14.95). His first book, "Managing Generation X: How to Bring
Out the Best in Young Talent," targeted managers; this book speaks
directly to the Xers without ranting or demonizing the ruling classes.
Tulgan makes a grand effort to look at the solution side; he doesn’t
He opens the book welcoming readers to what he calls "the
era," then devotes chapters to training and education, networking,
adding value to your company, finding balance, and pacing a career.
His advice may seem rudimentary at times, but it is backed by a
amount of research — he conducted 1,000 interviews with young
workers and crafted a young professional’s how-to that no one else
has yet found a way to articulate.
One of Tulgan’s most urgent suggestions is to learn voraciously and
he proposes several clever ways to accomplish this. Learning, for
Tulgan, is not limited to working hard on a college or graduate school
degree. He especially advocates on-the-job training and setting up
a self-styled learning program, or even getting a
"While there are many functions that still must be performed
by licensed professionals, there are also many that need not be,"
he writes. "With a less expensive and less extensive course of
training (often nothing more than on-the-job sink-or-swim training),
you can become a de facto medical technician, legal assistant,
bookkeeper, architectural draftsperson, engineering technician, or
whatever. You learn skills, build valuable relationships, achieve
results that help you prove your value, and try out a profession
committing to a full course of graduate study."
On thornier issues, like dealing with overbearing bosses, Tulgan
taking diplomatic approaches. When a boss gets abusive or
Tulgan advises: "Remember, this is his or her psychological
not yours." When confronted with a micromanager, he urges,
yourself firmly but gently. Demand a concrete deadline for every
result that is your responsibility."
But for the most part, Tulgan assumes that most bosses are reasonable
and will usually go along with strange Xer work habits — as long
as the work gets done. It’s not an us-versus-them thing; it’s an
to make sense out of the seemingly chaotic, ephemeral job market of
the late ’90s.
And Xers can improve their lot in this market even better if they
can learn to perceive their job as their business enterprise du
jour. "Thinking of yourself as the sole proprietor of your
skills and abilities is the only way to get in the mood for working
in the post-jobs era: everyone is a potential customer," he
— Peter J. Mladineo
Getting specified ain’t what it used to be. In the old
days, putting up a construction project meant that a professional
triad between the owner, the architect, and the general contractor
was established. The architect and the general contractor would both
have separate contracts with the owner. Now in the design/build era,
there is only one contract. It’s usually between the owner and the
general contractor, who then hires the architect.
This changes plenty for the architect, who must now put his material
requests through a contractor, and it also changes a lot for the
product manufacturers. "The most important thing to getting
is to have a familiarity with the construction process itself,
the design process," says Raymond Hennig, an architect in
Montclair who also is a consultant for Sweet’s Catalogs, published
by McGraw Hill.
Hennig, 41, is married to Lisa Hennig, the career counselor
based in New York City and Montclair (U.S. 1, November 12). He speaks
at the Construction Specifications Institute on Thursday, March 19,
6:30 p.m. at the Novotel. His other panelists are Greg Moten,
a senior associate at the Hillier Group; and Bob Chandler, an
architect. The cost is $25. Call 609-452-8888.
According to studies by the F.W. Dodge Project News Service,
projects comprised only five percent of construction projects in the
early ’90s. But within the last two years, nearly 35 percent of the
projects Dodge tracks are design/build.
The design/build process, if you remember, sits at the center of the
debate over the Millstone Bypass, the proposed artery that would
Route 571 with Washington Road and eliminate several traffic lights
on Route 1. Opponents of the bypass say that the state Department
of Transportation’s decision to design/build the roadway alienated
several pockets of area residents. "The reason that it works for
government agencies like that is because it’s easier for the
to deal with a single source," says Hennig. "There’s only
one place to put the blame."
Like the highway designer, the architect loses a significant amount
of quality control with design/build. "What ends up happening
is that there are a lot of issues relative to quality that will all
be based on price," says Hennig, "whereas when the architect
has direct contact with the owner, the architect can sit at the
table with some clout and hold some specs."
For the building product manufacturer, design/build changes the
model slightly. With a general contractor writing out the
the chances of "value engineering" (choosing cheaper
in the design increase. "There are a lot of items that get
out," says Hennig. "There are a lot of manufacturers that
should be aware of that opportunity."
For instance, if an architect drew up plans for a steel panel system
that costs $500,000, the contractor could value-engineer that system.
"They’re going say, `Wait a minute, instead of steel, we’ll use
an aluminum panel and we’ll put baked enamel on it,’" says Hennig.
"That makes it lighter and makes the substructure lighter and
cheaper. They will provide drawings and specs for that system for
the architect to approve and wave the $150,000 of savings under the
owner’s nose. And that architect will get the same look he wants."
More opportunities to sell materials pop up towards the end of the
project, after the "substantial completion" date. Hennig warns
product manufacturers not to assume that the window of opportunity
is closed at this point. There could be an enormous amount of product
substitutions taking place. "Don’t recognize that date as `it’s
over,’" says Hennig. "If you have a certain type of lighting
that you can get in after the substantial completion you’ll probably
get it in. There are a whole range of mostly interior finish products
that can actually be substituted."
It’s also important for product manufacturers to get to know the
"The architect is a glorified technical shopper," says Hennig,
who graduated from the Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1979.
"The best way for a building product manager to get specified
to get their products installed in building projects is to get to
know architects. It’s to facilitate relationships with the
However, this is not a matter of picking up a phone and introducing
yourself, either. It’s a matter of knowing when to pick up the phone.
"Understand that what the architect sells is time," he says.
"I don’t have time to talk to a building project manufacturer
who makes metal doors when I’m designing the roof. As long as the
building product manufacturer knows the process and has a relationship
with the architect then the building product manufacturer will know
when to call. And they’ll know who to call."
— Peter J. Mladineo
First there were smart highways; now there are smart
buildings. The National Association of Industrial and Office
will be hosting a "Smart Buildings Seminar," on Wednesday,
March 25, at 7:45 a.m. at the Newark Club. The fee is $75.
The panelists are Richard Vanderbeck, of Federal Business
Sam Spata of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum; Don Porter of
HLW International; Larry Lenrow and Nikolas Tavlarios
of Compass Management and Leasing; Kenneth Patton, Cape
and Charles Klatskin of the Charles Klatskin Company, the
real estate broker that has an office at 1095 Cranbury-South River
The panelists’ aim will be to "discuss ways to stay competitive
in today’s dynamic commercial real estate environment by making your
existing and new buildings state-of-the-art." For more information
A comedian once suggested an interesting approach to
road rage: if when someone ticked you off on the road, wouldn’t it
be nice if you could just kill that person for five minutes?
no one has quite figured out how to accomplish that, and despite the
state’s anti-aggressive driving campaign, fatalities caused indirectly
or directly because of road rage are steadily increasing.
Raritan Valley RideWise has now stepped into the fray of simmering
drivers and is having a road rage workshop on Thursday, March 26,
at 6:30 p.m. at the Raritan Public Library at 54 Somerset Street in
Raritan. Call 908-704-1011.
"In 1997, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said that there
were 10,000 reported road rage incidents in country — that’s a
51 percent increase from 1990 to 1996," says Patti Hanlon,
Ridewise’s special events coordinator. "It’s rivaling drunk
Short of wielding a weapon with a temporary-kill switch, here are
the three ways Hanlon says to deal with the urge to maim your fellow
says Hanlon. "Driving becomes like a contest for a lot of people.
Put yourself in the other driver’s shoes."
in left lane, don’t tailgate, and — not least — resist the
temptation to make obscene gestures. Whistle "Dixie" instead.
eye contact, and get help if you feel endangered.
in New York City, but Hanlon insists that it works. "I just don’t
take it personally anymore," she says.
And if you’re still raging at the wheel after giving these suggestions
a spin, it may be necessary to seek professional help. For more
about road rage, get the AAA Foundation’s brochure by calling
or visit its website http://www.aaafts.org.
While there is a multitude of free services and programs
for small businesses in New Jersey, finding those services and
can be another matter. The New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network can
teach you how at its meeting on "Leveraging New Jersey
on Wednesday, April 1, at noon at the Forrestal. The cost is $35.
The meeting is co-sponsored by U.S. 1 newspaper, among others, and
features a panel of experts at tapping the state’s resources. They
include Henry Wojtunik, president of Anacom Systems, a developer
of fiber optic equipment in the 100 Jersey Avenue incubator in New
Brunswick; and Gail Eagle of Gail Eagle Custom Publishing
a home-based business at 3 Rosemary Road in East Brunswick.
Nearly 20 other organizations that help small business are sending
representatives. These include the Mercer County College Small
Development Center plus the SBDC’s procurement and international trade
programs, the MIT Enterprise Forum, the New Jersey Economic
Authority, the New Jersey Technology Council, New Jersey Institute
for Technology’s Enterprise Development Center, Princeton University’s
Center for Photonics and Optoelectronic Materials, the Rothman
of Entrepreneurial Studies, Ace-Net, the Princeton Plasma Physics
Laboratory, the Stevens Technology Ventures Business Incubator, and
the United States SBA Loan Guarantee Program, represented by Prestige
The Small Business Administration is putting out the
call for nonprofits to participate in its women’s business center
program. This long-term training and counseling program for women’s
entrepreneurs needs nonprofits to provide technical, management, and
government procurement and certification assistance to clients.
Applicants are asked to submit a five-year plan describing proposed
fundraising, training, and technical assistance plans. Successful
applicants will receive financial assistance from the SBA for a
of five years.
The application deadline is Thursday, March 26. For more information,
contact the SBA office of women’s business ownership at 202-205-6673,
or visit the website sba.gov/womeninbusiness.
Do They Count?
Marketing people and technologists may view the Web
with dilated pupils but opinion researchers still seem to regard the
medium with raised eyebrows. "Not everybody has connectivity,"
reports Peter Milla, senior vice president and chief information
officer of Response Analysis Corporation. "If you want to use
a general population study, it’s not a good tool. There is also not
a good methodology in place to get E-mail addresses. How do you sample
Opinion research, he explains, was originally done in person or via
mail. Then came the telephone, which has remained the primary means
of conducting opinion surveys for decades because of its ubiquity.
But now, the Web’s emergence as a choice medium is hampered by the
fact that only a narrow percentage of people regularly use it. This
fact challenges its scientific validity.
Milla, who has worked at Response Analysis since 1985 and has been
in the opinion research industry for 17 years, speaks at the American
Association for Public Opinion Research on Internet surveys on
March 24, 6 p.m. at the Nassau Inn. Call 609-936-2781.
So far, Web interviews only seem to serve the purposes of opinion
researchers when their surveys deal with computing-related issues,
he reports. Yet the number of surveys conducted entirely on the Web
should become "more significant" with time. "But I don’t
think it’s ever going to get to ubiquity," he adds. "As it
gets to people’s homes it could become the predominant method."
Milla’s reservations about the Web is probably representative of most
of the opinion research industry, which was spawned in the Princeton
area when George Gallup started the American Institute of Public
Opinion in 1935. But, he reports, a lot of technology companies try
to pass off online surveys as opinion research. "A lot of it is
bogus," he says. "They’re recruiting people to be professional
"It’s a new technology and it’s very hot because everybody wants
to get out there or they’re going to get left behind," he adds.
"We view this as another method of data collection that we offer
to our clients, but only when it’s the best method or when it’s
It’s got a big future in the near term in business-to-business
Fans of Kingston’s bucolic charm may want to attend
the founding meeting of a new group, the Kingston Greenways
which convenes Thursday, March 19, 7:30 p.m. in the Kingston
It is being formed upon the recommendation of Kingston’s joint mayors
task force to create a new local open space advocacy group. The aim
will be to protect the ring of undeveloped land, the "green
surrounding the village of Kingston, plus various "greenways"
— paths and natural land connectors to that belt. The plan would
include making sure eventual backhoes don’t infringe on the D&R Canal
State Park, as well as Heathcote Park, the abandoned Rocky Hill ranch
Railroad, and a number of parcels of land in South Brunswick and
The group will also pay heed to land near the Millstone River in
Plainsboro, and Montgomery.
The founding meeting should include a review of the Kingston
Task Force recommendations on open space, and descriptions of the
proposed green belt and connecting greenways. The group’s directors
are Charles Dieterich, Dan Choman, Rick Goeke,
Southgate, Jean Wacker, and Robert von Zumbusch. Call
Dieterich at 609-924-7375 for information.
Meanwhile, the MSM Regional Council announced a plan to create a
of multi-functional "green infrastructure" in central New
Jersey. The design was funded by a grant from the United States
In contrast to the gray infrastructure — roads, sewer plants,
and utility wires — a green infrastructure concerns water quality,
natural habitats, and the mitigation of storm water runoff. The MSM’s
plan calls for the establishment of a green "network of nodes
and links" that’s planned at the local and regional levels.
This announcement coincides with the 30th anniversary of the council,
a non-partisan nonprofit that seeks "sensible development"
of the 32-town region it covers in Middlesex, Somerset, and Mercer
The American Society for Engineering Education spring
conference is on Saturday, April 25, at the College of New Jersey.
The preregistration deadline is Friday, April 3. The fee is $60. Call
Harry Hess at 609-771-2772 for more information.
Sessions will include ethics and engineering, expectations of
education, bold new changes in engineering technology education,
in engineering education, the first year experience in engineering
education. The keynote speaker is Marvin Sambur, president and
general manager of ITT Aerospace’s communications division. His
is "What Industry Would Like New Engineering Graduates to
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.