Monday, February 28, 2011

Wage differences between men and women – sexist or functional?

There is no denying that women get paid less for doing the exact same jobs as men. Ample research has persistently shown that the wages of women, irrespective of qualifications and experience, are lower for the same kind of work. The only thing to be debated is “why?”

Some researchers have suggested that people who conclude from this finding that women are discriminated against jump too hastily to that conclusion, because the underlying reasons could be more complex and subtle than that. We should be more cheerful, and not immediately make such sinister inferences.

The story of firm specific skills

Instead, their explanation hinges on “firm specific skills”. With firm specific skills we mean the experiences and qualifications that employees may build up over time that are particularly valuable to the person’s employer, because it concerns knowledge about its specific product portfolio, a technology particularly crucial for the firm, relationships with its most important customers, etc. These firm specific skills are very important and pivotal because if this person (who has accumulated this knowledge over the course of his or her tenure at the firm) were to leave, the firm could not just find a replacement somewhere on the job market, because they are by definition not skills anyone can pick up at school or at some other employer. Firms, who are afraid that women are more likely than men to resign from their job at some point (to give birth and take care of children) are more reluctant to assign jobs that lead to such firm specific skills to women. Therefore, on average, women build up less of those crucial firm specific skills. Therefore, they earn less money for what seems to be the same job.

I found this an appealing explanation. Because I guess it might be true that employers make the assumption that women are more likely than men to drop out of employment at some point. It also seems quite possible that two people having the same function might not get paid the same salary because – although we cannot observe this directly from their resumes – one of them might have built up more of those important firm specific skills, which employers reward in the form of a higher salary (because they are more afraid to lose them). So, intuitively appealing indeed, I thought.

Clever research: Temporary employees

But, in spite of its intuitive appeal, no-one has actually provided any evidence for it… And that is because it is incredibly difficult to research; it is just very difficult to measure such firm specific skills, whether certain jobs are associated with more of them than others, etc. Basically, all we can measure is someone’s sex, their job status, and their salary – and not much more.

But sometimes that is enough, if you choose your research setting in a clever way. And clever is exactly what Isabel Fernandez – my colleague at the London Business School – is. She decided to examine and measure wage differences between men and women in the temporary employment sector. And why is this so clever? Well, because by definition, firm specific skills do not matter much in this industry. Temporary employees, employed by staffing firms, are meant to be transcient and hopping between jobs. Firm specific skills are all but irrelevant for the kind of work they do. If Isabel were to find equal wages between men and women in this sector, it would be strong evidence that gender pay differences in other sectors are likely due to firm specific skills, and not some evil discriminatory attitudes amongst employers. On the other hand, if she’d even find wage gaps here, it would be convincing proof that we cannot simply attribute gender differences to firm specific skills (which men might have more off) and justify them in that sense. Then, something else (perhaps more sinister) must be going on...

Thus, Isabel talked a staffing firm – specialized in high skilled IT related contractors – into providing her with their internal databases: resumes, client information, demographic data, project characteristics, prices, and so on. Subsequently she compiled an extensive and detailed database on 250 of its temporary employees who, over a period of several years, jointly were involved in 1462 projects across 462 different companies. She measured their hourly pay rate and statistically corrected the differences between them for things such as years of education, specialist training, experience, project characteristics, and so on. Until there was only one variable left to examine: gender.

And she found that, even in temporary jobs, women get paid substantially less than men, for the same type of work. Women earned an average of $25.08 per hour while men, for the exact same job with the same qualifications, would earn an average of $29.66. And we can’t blame that on firm specific skills.

Hence, “firm specific skills” are a nice story – but not much more than that. They belong to the greater works of fiction. Because, as Isabel showed, they do not explain the difference between male and female wages. And that is rather unfortunate, because it leaves us with the nasty but inevitable conclusion that the world of business does on average still discriminate against female employees. And surely we cannot be cheerful about that.

Gearing Up for S.R.'s Vintage Barbie Birthday Party

I hope that you all had a great weekend. I had a fantastic weekend. I attended a ladies retreat, and I got to meet so many fabulous women. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful Christian women!!!

This week is going to be nothing but planning and scurrying. 
 Saturday is the Big Party day...
not as big as they have been in the past...these parties have been killing me;o) 
S.R. is turning 3 on Thursday....I can't believe it!!
She is having a Vintage Barbie Birthday Party. I have already started getting stuff together. 
Remember when I shared with you my inspiration for the party?
You can go HERE to check it out.
Super-de-duper Caa-ute!
These are some of the decorations that I will be using...I have a vision and I can't wait to see it come to life.....hopefully it will come together ;o)
 These are some of the flowers left over from S.R.'s Butterfly Birthday Party.
Hoping to make some cute center pieces with these again.
Looking forward to sharing the end result with you!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guest Posting over at Infarrantly Creative

Hey Guys! Just wanted to give you a heads up. I am guest posting over at Infarrantly Creative today. I made a knock off version of Ballard Designs' Pruvost Plaque.

To see how I made it, head on over and check it out!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My New Addition

 Is this not the sweetest face you have ever laid eyes on? This is Scosche(pronounced sk-oe-sh) The hubs surprised me with this little bundle:o)
  And when I say little, I mean little:o) 
The hubs actually named him Scosche because he is so tiny.
He is four months old, and we are now in the throws of house training. Yuck! We are making sloooow progress.
 He is a little snuggle bunny, and I love it:o)
 Scosche is a BOY, and this will be the only time you see this sweet face with a bow on top of it. He looks a little mad doesn't he?:o)
He was actually squinting, but we'll pretend that he's scowling;o)
This was my BEAUTIFUL and DELICIOUS birthday cake. It's a Vera Bradley Cake. 
When we got home from picking Scosche up, there were a lot of people at my house waiting to surprise me:o)
 It was a GREAT birthday. The hubs did a wonderful job of planning the entire day. Turning 30 couldn't have been any better!

Monday, February 21, 2011

And the Winners Are....

I am officially 30, and I am already feeling the pains of old age;o) 
Anyway, you don't care about my just wanna know who won, right?
The winners were randomly selected using

And the winners are....
The gift card goes to:
The Loops

The Shampoo Gift Set goes to:

And the Books of the Bible goes to:

Grateful Gramma 

Thank you all for your participation! I'll be in touch with the winners.
I plan on having a great day today...
as long as the gravel in my kidney decides to stay put:o)
Have a great Presidents' Day!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Giveaway #3..Little bit of the Inspired Word

The Bible is our go-to for anything and everything that we need. We are a family that is focused on the Lord. He has given us so many wonderful blessings, and we praise Him everyday, thanking Him for His goodness. Over the past year, I have really consumed myself in the Scriptures, and have enjoyed my renewed love for God. The pages of my Bible are no longer stiff, but are soft from being used so often. That's a really good feeling, isn't it? Soft Bible pages.
The hubs really enjoys reading "The Books of the Bible" version of the Word. It has no chapters or verses. It's reading the Bible as it was letter form. It seems to take the pressure off of running to the Bible for answers and allows you to just read and feel inspired.

 The Books of the Bible is a presentation of Today's New International Version in case you  were wondering.
It's easier to read that some of the older versions of the Bible. 

So here's how to enter:
You have to be a follower of Fussy Monkey Business....and that's it!
You can enter as many times as your little pea-pickin' heart desires:o)
I hope that you all have a wonderful Friday. We have a play date today and we are really looking forward to it!!
Make sure to enter the other giveaways I have going on right now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baby Burp Cloth Tutorial

Today's post is a little later than anticipated. I have had a busy day today, but a good day. Hair business is picking up, so crafting is coming in spurts right now:o)
Yesterday I went to Target to get S.R. a new bike helmet. It HAD to be a Disney Princess helmet. That girl is all about some princesses. Everything is "princess." However, she is still my little tomboy. She will roll around in the dirt and muck with the best of them:o) I wouldn't have it any other way;o)
Anyway, I decided to walk the ENTIRE store just to make sure I didn't miss any good sales. I ran across this stack of towels. They were $6 for the whole set. I thought these would be PERFECT to make burp cloths out of. They are lint free and super soft. 
We have like a bajillion babies being born at the church where we attend...really, a bajillion. It seems that there is a baby shower every week...think I'm, no..really.
So I am always in need of a baby gift, and I am all about quick and easy. I am sure that you are as well, so here is a quick tute on how to make your own burp cloths.
 These towels measure 16"x18.5" so I can get 2 burp cloths out of one towel..score! That means 20 burp cloths!!
These two fabrics were left over from some other projects. It's always a good idea to have scrap fabric lying around. Ya never know when you may need to make a burp cloth:o)
 I started by cutting the towel in half lengthwise.
 Each one is 8" in width.
 I then cut the scrap fabric to the same size as the towels.
 I wanted to personalize them, so I monogrammed the baby's name on each one. I then stacked the printed fabric on top of the towel. Next I grabbed some wide double fold bias tape. This stuff saves so much time. I always have several packages on hand.
See that nasty cut on my hand...told you the hair business was good. Hazard of the trade:o}
 Sandwich the two fabrics betweens the tape.
 And guys know that I hate to pin, but in this case, it makes things go a lot smoother. Especially around the corners.
 Stitch all the way around the inside edge of the tape, and make sure to catch the tape on the backside as well.
Didn't this turn out cute?
 I monogrammed one of the towels, but I think it looks a little messy, so from now on, I'll just do it on the printed fabric:o)
Easy peasy right?
So if you go to church with me and you are expecting a baby, you know what you will be getting from me in the near future;o) I've got plenty of towels to go around!!
If you haven't entered the giveaways yet, you have a few more days.
Hoping to get one more giveaway up sometime tomorrow. Go
HERE & HERE to enter.
Oh yeah, if you haven't noticed by now, you can subscribe to get emails of post updates. Just look on the left side bar.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Equity analysts (and their lunch breaks) force firms to look and act alike

The inclination to imitate others is part of human nature. We imitation our peers’ habits, speech, behaviour, taste in clothing and music, and so on. Top executives, making decisions on the strategies of their corporations, are no different. There is evidence from research that companies imitate each other when it comes to the choice of organizational structure, CEO remuneration, acquisition premiums, plant location, foreign market entry decisions, and so on.

As a consequence, in many industries, we end up with a large number of firms doing pretty much the same things, and in the same way. However, this inclination to imitate does not only stem from top executives’ personal propensities and uncertainties; sometimes companies are forced to do similar things and act in similar ways, even if these ways are detrimental.

Forced to act alike

For example, research by professors Benner from the University of Minnesota and Tushman from the Harvard Business School showed that the implementation of ISO9000 (a quality management system) could be detrimental to firms (because, in the long run, it killed off innovation) but even if a firm did not want to implement the system, it was often pretty much forced to do so by various external constituents.

That is because not implementing the popular practice would make a firm look “illegitimate”. As a consequence the company will be likely to get downgraded by analysts, may find it harder to find customers or financiers, and even the firm’s own employees might start to ask questions why the firm is “lagging behind” and not doing what others do. Eventually, top management may decide to implement the practice after all, even if they have doubts it is actually effective.

One powerful group of external constituents in our society who often force firms to act alike (even if it is to their detriment) are equity analysts. The influence of equity analysts in our business society is very substantial. That is because – as research has confirmed – the impact of their stock price recommendation is very real and significant. Thus, they determine the amount of financial resources available to a firm. However, their impact actually goes quite a bit further than that; because of their power to determine a company’s access to financial means, they also have a substantial influence on what sort of strategy the firm is pursuing in the first place. A good setting to illustrate this is firms’ strategic decision regarding corporate diversification and their choice of in what combination of businesses to operate.

The influence of analysts (and their lunch breaks)

In general, where in the 1960s many firms operated in a diversity of businesses, since the 1990s we have witnessed a reversal in that trend towards de-diversification. There might be good economic reasons for that – shareholders are not fond of diversification because they can diversify their stock portfolios themselves; they don’t need companies to do that for them – but sometimes it does make sense for a firm from a strategic, value-creation perspective.

For example, a company like Monsanto sort of had to operate in pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals and agricultural biotechnology because their expertise bridged these different areas and therefore it was advantageous to operate in all of them. Hence, sometimes diversification might make sense. But that something makes sense from a strategy perspective doesn’t mean it makes sense in light of an analyst’s lunch break. What do analysts’ lunch breaks have to do with any of this, you might wonder? Well, it is very important for listed firms to be covered by analysts. We know from ample research that firms who receive less coverage usually trade at a significantly lower share price. Now consider this quote, from an analyst report by PaineWebber in 1999:

“The life sciences experiment is not working with respect to our analysis or in reality. Proper analysis of Monsanto requires expertise in three industries: pharmaceutical, agricultural chemicals and agricultural biotechnology. Unfortunately, on Wall Street, these separate industries are analyzed individually because of the complexity of each. At PaineWebber, collaboration among analysts brings together expertise in each area. We can attest to the challenges of making this effort pay off: just coordinating a simple thing like work schedules requires lots of effort. While we are wiling to pay the price that will make the process work, it is a process not likely to be adopted by Wall Street on a widespread basis. Therefore, Monsanto will probably have to change its structure to be more properly analyzed and valued”. (Adopted from Tod Zenger, Professor of Strategy at Washington University.)

Wait a second, you might think, did they just suggest that Monsanto should split up because it requires three (industry-specific) analysts to cover them and these three guys cannot find a mutually convenient time to meet?! Yes, I am afraid they did. Analysts prefer firms who follow their own internal division of labour and if firms do not conform to this requirement, they will downgrade them or stop covering them altogether.Along similar lines, in a large research project, Ezra Zuckerman, professor at MIT, found that firms divested businesses, split up or demerged in order to make themselves easier to understand for analysts. Those firms who, for one reason or another, comprised an unusual combination of businesses in their corporation and therefore were “more difficult to understand” for equity analysts traded at a significantly lower price.

They could try to explain their strategy at length but after a while the only thing left for them to do was to split it. Arthur Stromberg, then CEO of URS Corporation, who initiated its spin-off, declared: “I realized that analysts are like the rest of us. Give them something easy to understand, and they will go with it. [Before the spin-off,] we had made it tough for them to figure us out”. Security analysts usually specialise in one or a specific combination of industries. If a firm does not conform to that division of analyst labour, they are more difficult to understand and analyse, which is why they will trade at a lower price. It then makes sense to give in to the analysts’ whims, and focus and simplify, even if that would make you weaker in a strictly business sense.


Hence, analysts rule the (diversification) waves. And their lunch break will determine your stock price. But is this influence really beneficial for companies and society as a whole? I guess one could speculate whether the unifying influence of external constituents on firm strategy in general is a healthy thing; after all, they help both the spread of good and bad management practices.

However, it seems evident and beyond debate that the barriers erected by equity analysts for firms to follow original, contrarian strategies – because it does not suit their lunch schedule and division of labour – is less than positive. That is because such contrarian strategies that cut across different businesses are often the most innovative ones, creating most value for companies, shareholders and society as a whole. Hence, figuring out a way to restrict this detrimental influence of equity analysts seems to anyone’s benefit.

I'm Turning 30 Giveaway Number 2!

I have decided the theme for these giveaways will have a little something to do with me or what I enjoy.
My main occupation is a stay at home mom, but my side job is being a hair stylist. I have a little "shop" set up in the nook of my laundry room. It's the perfect spot to take care of my clients...
..much better than having them flip their head upside down in a kitchen sink;o) 
So for today's giveaway, I have a Redken gift set. This set includes shampoo, conditioner, and a moisturizing mask.
$30 value....30 seems to be popping up everywhere!!lol
Here's how to enter:
1st Entry: Be(come) a follower of Fussy Monkey Business
2nd Entry: Tell me what your favorite service at the hair salon is

That's it:o)

Make sure to enter yesterday's $35 Gift Card giveaway
The winners of all the giveaways will be announced Monday, February 21, 2011....My 30th birthday.

all giveaways are opened to U.S. and Canadian readers only. Giveaways will close Sunday February 20th 9 p.m. CST.

Tomorrow I will share some baby gifts I am making for a mommy-to-be at church.
Happy Wednesday to you all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Business, February 16th 2011 "Bursting Seams" Edition

This week The Business is bursting, BURSTING I say, at it's imaginary seams with extra special guests from both "here" AND "there." Along with all the usual, adorable Businessmen (Bucky, Alex, Chris and Sean), check out who we got spitting hot comedy for you this week:

W. Kamau Bell is no stranger to The Business by any means (necessary). This visit to our humble show he is hot off performing two nights in Oakland with his come...dy compatriots that comprise Laughter Against The Machine, a powerhouse of intelligent and challenging socio-political comedy that is also FUNNY AS HELL.

Matt Ruby is a funny fellow from New York City. He performs hilarious stand-up comedy and writes about hilarious stand-up comedy on his blog Sandpaper Suit. He is also a show producer, a contributor to MTV, a maker of award-wining videos and a veteran of many stages and festivals.

Dan Goodman is a comedian and show producer also from New York, not a locally based LASIK surgeon as Google would have you believe. According to his bio, he rocks, and has been rocking since birth. And now he will rock our stage for us...and for you.

As yo
u know we charge a meager $5 at the door, start at a meager 8pm, and there is no BYOB anymore but you can get delicious food all throughout the neighborhood and eat it in a meager fashion whilst watching the show.

I'm Turning 30....Giveaway Time!!!!

Yep, you read the title correctly...I'm turning 30.
(this baby isn't me...I was born AFTER color photos were invented!!)

I received this lovely birthday card from my in-laws yesterday.
The White paper with the smiley face sticker is the ENVELOPE...Crystal "30" W.....My father-in-law is nuts! He will pay dearly;o) 
 This is the inside of the card....can you tell that my father-in-law is a math nerd?
Oh yes, the wheels of revenge are turning:o)
My birthday is next Monday. So I have 6 more days to hold onto my 20's.
To celebrate these 6 days, I will have a few giveaways...not sure how many, so I guess you will have to check back here daily to see what's going on:o)

Today's giveaway:
A $35 Gift Card
 Here's how to enter:
1. Become a Follower and leave a comment, or tell me that you are a follower
2.  Invite your friends on Facebook, leave a comment
3.Most memorable birthday, leave a comment
You can enter until Sunday, February 20th 9 p.m. CST
The winner will be announced on Monday, February birthday;o)
This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian readers only...sorry:o/

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope that you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day! Ours started bright and early this morning:o) I wanted to share the kids' Valentine's cards that they will be handing out.
These are for E to pass out today to all of his little buddies....all 22 of them. 
 The inspiration came from Better Homes and Gardens. These took FO-EVUH  to make, but they are super cute. Who cares that as soon as the little ones take hold of this that they will be ripping this sweet little robot to bits....not me:o} 
 This is the back. I made E write his name on EVERY single one of these cards. He was very unhappy about it. Especially since it was 22 times, but he got it done....btw, I erased the rest of his name for privacy purposes;o)
 Since S.R. isn't in preschool yet, I let her hand out goodies to her buds at church yesterday. She felt so big:o)
For this free printable, head over to Skip to my Lou.
 This is for E's teacher. The inspiration for this box came from eighteen25.
 A look inside
Hopefully you haven't waited until the last mili-second to get your V-day cards in order:o)
Have a good one!!
Make sure to head over to Sew Dang Cute to cast your vote for the Champion of Crafting with the Stars. They brought their A game, ya'll!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Some Valentines Ideas

Some exciting new for today. I have been featured at Mod Podge Rocks.  Amy is featuring my Damask Drawer Set that I entered in Crafting with the Stars. Pretty cool, huh?

I thought so;o)

Anyway, this is the first year that we have had a Valentine's Day party to participate in. I have been scouring the net looking for cute ideas for E to give as V-day gifts. Here are some of my favorites:

Butterfly Valentine from Skip to My Lou
 Eye Chart Heart Printable from She Wears Flowers
 Teacher Goody Box from eighteen25
 Beary Valentines from Just Deanna
 Shovel Valentines from Just Deanna
Now it's time to get my "Valentine craft on" with the help of my little man.
Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Find and a Table Runner

 I got a new-to-me terrarium. I can't wait to fill it with some new plants. I found it at our local thrift store for $5. We have a really nice nursery here, so I want to take the terrarium to them and have them fill it up for me.

 I also made this table runner the other day. A friend from church spotted one on Etsy, and I really liked it. I felt the urge to make my own. Now, obviously, I like the one from Etsy better b/c I have not mastered the fabric flower.
The hubs asked me who left their turban on the table:o/.... 
 I guess fabric flowers aren't my forte. It's still a neat idea:o) And it's staying:o)...for now.
Today is another snow day....with "under-the-weather" of which has a double ear times:o)
Hope you have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Round 3 Entry, S.R.'s New Room

Well, we didn't make it to Round 4..and I am slightly okay with that. This has been a tough competition, and my babies haven't been feeling well for a few days. A big thank you to Beckie from Infarrantly Creative who was my coach/mentor/friend throughout this competition. She made this experience so fun. I definitely would not have made as far as I did without her assistance....THANK YOU BECKIE!!!!
Congratulations to the winners of this round. I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves for round 4;o)
 This was my entry for Round 3 of Crafting with the Stars. I just want you all to know how much I LOVE THIS ROOM! It turned out exactly how I envisioned it. S.R. is so happy with her new room and has decided that she would much rather sleep on her new "couch" than her actual bed:o) (Makes for a proud daddy)

We are definitely past the "Baby" stage, so when I found out that the challenge for round 3 was "baby," my immediate thought was toddler daybed. S.R. has been in her big girl bed for about a year and a half, but I thought that a day bed could very well serve as a couch for her room. Plus, if we have guests to stay the night, there would be an extra spot for the kids to sleep.

I headed straight to Hobby Lobby for fabric. Shocker, huh? I was beyond ecstatic when I ran across my FAVE fabric that I had originally wanted to use in her room for $4 a yard(previously $13/$14? a yard).
Thus began the snowball effect:o) After purchasing the fabric, I ran to Lowes and found two coordinating paint colors and got home as fast as I could and started painting. This process can take one day, but I didn't start until Wednesday afternoon. There was church that night, and preschool the next morning, so I got finished with the painting by Thursday afternoon. 
 This is the mountain of tape that was removed from the walls once I was finished...all 2 and 1/2 rolls!
 I had a simple design in my head of how I wanted the daybed/couch to look, and the hubs came through for me. He started working on this Friday night and had it ready for me by Saturday afternoon. He refers to himself as the "hired-help" around here:o) He does such a good job and I really couldn't have finished the room the way I wanted it without his help!
 The carousel horse prints are pictures that I pulled from the internet and used a projector to transfer them onto the boards. If you remember the flower pictures that were hanging in her room before, I "up-cycled" them and spray painted them:o) It's always a good idea to have extra spray paint lying never know what last minute project will pop up:o) And I am really pleased with how this table skirt turned out.
 I actually found the table and the bird cage from our local thrift store. They were $2 each.
 I wanted to do some sort of pennant window treatment, and this is what I came up with. 
 Here is a picture of her closet and bathroom doors. I painted some flowers above just to fru-fru it up a bit.
 A closer shot. I am by no means a muralist, but I do like to attempt things that are outside of my comfort zone every once in a while.
 This is directly across from her bed. The frame was a clearance section find at, you guessed it, Hobby Lobby. I am the sole reason why Hobby Lobby stays in business:o)
 And the day bed. The cover on the crib mattress is actually made to come off. I made it in the same way that a sheet is made. That way, if it needs to be cleaned, I can pull it off and throw it into the wash. I added some piping just to dress it up a bit, so that it didn't LOOK like a sheet.
 The front view. 
This room was completely exhausting, but I am so glad that we did it. Now both of my kids have really cool rooms:o)
To see E's room, click HERE
Thank you all who went to the polls over the past few weeks. Even though this competition has been grueling at times, I have learned a lot, and in return, ended up with some great finished projects. Make sure to stay tuned to see who the winner of the final round will be!!