The American Jobs Act 2011 Spreadsheet

President Obama and the White House for the United States have provided a pdf file for the American Jobs Act 2011.

But as an Independent voter (and as Your Excel Coach), I can’t find the Excel spreadsheet version of the American Jobs Act for 2011.  I don’t know if one exists.

(As an aside, I live in Chicago, IL USA and voted for President Obama in 2008.  I am a political independent.)

Can’t find the American Jobs Act 2011 spreadsheet on the Internet

I can’t find a simple spreadsheet depicting the American Jobs Act 2011 on the Internet.  It is reported that American Jobs Act 2011 will cost 447 billion U.S. dollars.  So obviously, somebody added up the various programs for a total.

The American Jobs Act for 2011

  1. It’s 155 pages long.  There is no table summary of the programs equalling 447 billion dollars.
  2. There is no chart depicting any “slices” of this $447 billion dollar pie.
  3. There is no table summary, spreadsheet, or chart depicting the costs and how the new program will be paid.

The American Jobs Act for 2011 on the Internet

Using the keyword phrase American jobs act 2011 spreadsheet I searched Google, Yahoo, and Bing.  Here are my results.

  1. Google – I searched the 1st 2 pages of Google.  No spreadsheet or summary of expenses/revenues.
  2. Yahoo – Same as above.
  3. Bing – Same as above.

If you can find anything on the Internet from the White House (I don’t want secondary sources) regarding the American jobs act 2011 spreadsheet, please leave a comment for this post.

White House Blog and The American Jobs Act for 2011 spreadsheet

I did skim the White House Blog on the American Jobs Act for 2011.  They offered expanations but no simple spreadsheet or table of expenditures totaling $447 billion.  Neither did they offer any table or spreadsheet regarding payments for the jobs act.

Sent a request to the White House today

I am sure the White House has many thousands of emails a day.  I hope my email bubbles to the surface.  I think any bill as important as the American Jobs Act 2011 needs an explanatory Excel spreadsheet indicating program expenses and expected revenues.  My email to the White House was sent approximately Monday, September 19, 2011.  As soon as a I receive a response, I will post an update.

Sent a request to my Senators and Representative

I live in Illinois so I sent a respectful request for the American Jobs Act 2011 spreadsheet to my two Senators and Congressman.

  1. Senator Dick Durbin.
  2. Senator Mark Kirk.
  3. Congressman Mike Quigley.

Those emails were sent approximately Tuesday, September 20, 2011.  As soon as a I receive a response, I will post an update.

If you find the Missing Spreadsheet, Contact Me

Spreadsheets affect our lives whether we know it or not.  In our personal lives, at work, in our government, spreadsheets work behind the scenes whether we acknowledge them or not.  I think the spreadsheets of our lives are important, and a worthy topic for Your Excel Coach.

If you should find the actual spreadsheet for The American Jobs Act, 2011, please leave a comment on this blog post so I can contact you.  Thank you.

Simple Excel time sheet

One of my website visitors wanted a simple Excel time sheet.  Her husband wants to keep track of his hours and wages on a monthly basis.

Here is TechSmith video of less than 5 minutes.  It was made using Jing.

To hear this Jing broadcast you will need to turn on your speakers.  Just click on the green link below.

Click on Excel time sheet to watch my 5 minute video using Jing.

Was this Jing broadcast on a simple Excel time sheet helpful?  Leave a comment to let me know.  Thanks for visiting Your Excel Coach.





Excel Quiz

This will be the shortest Excel quiz you ever see; the shortest Excel quiz you’ll ever take.

Who is “My Dear Aunt Sally”?

If you’ve already know “My Dear Aunt Sally”, you probably don’t need this quiz.  But my Aunt Sally is pretty important to Excel users.

A Short Excel Quiz

Look at the short spreadsheet shown below.  Using Excel on your computer, solve the problem.  A decent Excel user will solve the problem in less than a minute.

Short Excel Quiz

Was this Excel Quiz Difficult?

In my Excel training ten to fifteen years ago, only 10% of my Introduction to Excel students (adults actually) would solve this problem quickly.

In recent training classes, the number of Intro Excel students solving this problem has climbed from 10% to more like 20-30%.  People are becoming more knowledgeable about Excel.  Also, college students have learned some basic Excel formula logic, and they can solve this Excel quiz easily.

But still, many adult computer users don’t have the correct answer to this Excel problem.

Let’s Work on this Excel Problem Together

You may want an answer to this problem.

Using your brain, what is the answer?

  • 50 + 150 = 200
  • 200 / 2 = 100

Did you get the answer 100 in cell A4?

Did you solve the problem at all?

Or did your formula produce the answer 125?

Excel does what its been programmed to do, not what you think it should to do.

Yes, that’s the harsh and beautiful truth about Excel.

Excel does what its been programmed to do, now what you think it should do.

If your formula generated the answer 125, you need my help.  If you were unable to create a formula for cell A4, you also need my assistance.

Here’s the reason so many people still have trouble with this short Excel quiz:

  1. Order of Precedence.
  2. “My Dear Aunt Sally”.

Order of Precedence

This is the technical explanation of how Excel does formulas.  It sounds pretty scary doesn’t it:  order of precedence.

This is Excel’s explanation of operator precedence taken from their website .

If you combine several operators in a single formula, Excel performs the operations in the order shown in the following table. If a formula contains operators with the same precedence — for example, if a formula contains both a multiplication and division operator — Excel evaluates the operators from left to right.

Did the Excel explanation from their website make sense to you?  In all fairness, I gave you only one paragraph of the explanation.  But frankly, if I listed the entire discussion at their website , you wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

It’s time to meet My Dear Aunt Sally.

My Dear Aunt Sally

She’s a lovely gal, you should meet her.  It’s a learning acronym for the concept:

Computers multiply and divide before they add and subtract.

That’s why many of you failed with your formula at the start of this blog.

My Dear Aunt Sally Explains the “125” Formula Mistake

Who needs to understand MDAS?

  • Beginners – Your formula was wrong, obviously you need to understand My Dear Aunt Sally (order of precedence).
  • Intermediates – Even if you had a correct formula, one day you’ll meet or manage someone who needs to understand the logic of “My Dear Aunt Sally”.

Here’s the common MDAS mistake in the short excel quiz.

MDAS Explains Mistake

 MDAS Explains Excel Mistakes

MDAS rules the logic of Excel formulas.  Computers (and Excel), multiply and divide before they add and subtract.

So in the above formula for C4:

  • C2/2 = 150/2 = 75
  • C1 + 75 = 50 + 75 + 125

That’s why some of you mistakenly had the answer 125.  It’s MDAS ruling Excel formulas.

Parentheses are the Answer

When I tell classes that they need a parenthesis, they normally exclaim, “Oh right, I should have used a parenthesis.”

Maybe they knew this, maybe they forgot, but the key concept is that they didn’t use a parenthesis.

Under time pressure, even people who know about using parentheses in formulas forget to use them.  And forgetting to use parentheses in Excel formulas can have very bad, inaccurate results.

MDAS with a Parenthesis is the Answer

See below.

MDAS Solution

Here’s the explanation of logic.

  • C1 + C2 = 50 + 150 = 200
  • 200/2 = 100

Did you pass this short Excel quiz?


If you thought the question was too simple for you, then you’re a bit more advanced than other Excel users.  Believe me, there are many managers who manage people who have no understanding of order of precedence or My Dear Aunt Sally.

If you didn’t pass this short Excel quiz, or had trouble doing it quickly, then hopefully Your Excel Coach has taught you something important today.





Microsoft Excel, Your Resume, and Getting Hired

Is Microsoft Excel listed as a software skill on your resume?  If not, why not?

Microsoft Excel and the Evil Twin Theory

In my computer classes I often explained what I called The Evil Twin Theory.  I think most times I was in an Excel class.

Let’s say you have an identical twin.  They look  like you, they have all of your job skills, and both of you are applying for the very same job.

But your evil twin knows Microsoft Excel and you don’t.

Who do you think will get the job?  Your evil twin wins.  You don’t know Excel.

You probaby don’t have an evil twin, but you certainly are up against a lot of competition for any job.  When you start applying for jobs you might want to consider what skills you possess that could be a “tie breaker”.

Knowing Microsoft Excel well is a “tie breaker” skill.

I’m not talking about Accountants

Accountants, financial analysts, quantitative analysts, they already know Excel.  They learned it in high school or college.

But you aren’t an accountant, or a traditional “numbers” person.

Young Adults, Microsoft Excel, and their Resume

But I can make the argument that most any young adult starting off in business, government or the non-profit world, needs to know Excel.

If you’re a young adult in your 20’s or 30’s, people expect that you already know Excel.  Do you?

Imagine the hiring manager’s surprise when you can’t prove you know how to use Excel.

  1. You are applying for a marketing position as a new college graduate.  “You know how to “work the numbers” of our new campaign, don’t you?”  (Sometimes the managers don’t know Excel, they hire younger people to do Excel.)
  2. You are a freshly minted MBA with a major in management.  Get ready.  The hiring manager will want to know if you can use Excel upon request.
  3. You’re in your 30’s with medical office experience.  This time you want to move up and be a medical office manager.  Obviously, they want someone familiar with Excel to monitor their cash flow and billing.

What does your resume indicate?

  • Software skills:  Excel.
  • MOS Certification – Microsoft Office Excel 2010.

Middle Aged Job Seekers, Excel, and their Resume

You are now in the land of forty and fifty year olds.  I’m no resume expert but if you claim to know Excel, you better be more concrete about your use of Excel as an accomplishment.

  • Used Excel to analyze website visitor traffic and reduce wasteful ad spends by 50%.
  • Used spreadsheets to correct 33% error rate on company’s 6 million data point investment database.
  • Used Excel pivot tables to identify wasteful international spending in different countries.

All 3 of the bullets above were some of my Excel accomplishments.  When you are in your 40’s to 50’s, you need to prove that you used Excel to help your company or non-profit.

And you need to prove this on your resume.

C Level Executives, Excel, and their Resume

I am not a C level executive (CIO, CMO, CEO, you get the idea) so I can’t tell you waht human resources is looking for on your resume.

But I do have some C level executive stories.  Here’s one of them.  I’m discussing online marketing with a potential client who is the CMO, Chief Marketing Officer of her company.

CMO – One of these days I’d like you to teach me some Excel.

Richard – Excuse me?

CMO – I need to learn Excel.  Let’s put it on the backburner of our things to do.

Richard – OK.

I have nothing but respect for the talented C level executives who know a variety of software skills.  But I was shocked when a Chief Marketing Officer told me they didn’t know Microsoft Excel.

I guess I’m just too naive sometimes.

Winning the Job Race with Microsoft Excel

If your evil twin applies for the same job as you do, guess who gets the job?  The twin (or job candidate) that has good Excel skills is favored over the candidate who knows little about Excel.

There are a lot of “tie breaker” skills in the job market that pertain to you.  Perhaps you need to learn or to achieve:

  1. Microsoft Project.
  2. WordPress for blogging.
  3. MBA.
  4. Certifications.

But it’s possible, whether you are a young adult, middle aged adult, or C level executive, you may need to learn enough Excel (not everything) to describe some Excel skills or spreadsheet accomplishments on your resume.

Because one day, someday, 90% of us in the job world will be asked:

Do you know Microsoft Excel?  You’re good with spreadsheets, aren’t you?

Perhaps you need one of my quick study Excel ebooks or private Excel training over the Internet.  Whatever you choose, I’m Your Excel Coach.


Is Microsoft Excel easy to learn?

Is Microsoft Excel easy to learn?

It’s a great question, and my first blog topic for Your Excel Coach.

Honestly, the real answer is “maybe yes” and “maybe no”.

The unpleasant truth after my teaching thousands of adults how to use Excel is this:  If you’re not into numbers, learning Excel can be difficult.  It will take you months of practice to feel a small growing confidence in using Excel.

Two Types of People trying to learn Microsoft Excel

In the classroom, I estimate I have taught at the very least, 2000 adults how to learn Excel.  So my next comments are based on my classroom observations.  There are two major groups of people trying to learn Excel.

  1. People who clearly enjoy using words more than numbers.
  2. People who like numbers.

Perhaps that’s too simplistic an analysis, but I think it’s accurate.

When “Words” People Learn Microsoft Excel

You know who you are.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this phrase in the business world or at non-profits:

I don’t do math.  I’m a “words” person.

Some people are just amazingly good with words.  In the computer world they spend most of their time using Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint.  They happily spend an hour putting all the bells and whistles on a PowerPoint presentation of their department budget.  But they spend less than ten minutes looking at the Microsoft spreadsheet a staff worker is presenting at the budget meeting.

Have I been too harsh?  Are you a “Words” person who doesn’t know Excel?  Ask yourself if the behaviors listed below sound like you.

  1. I didn’t have time to learn Excel before.  But now I’m a new manager and I have financial responsibilities.  I need to learn how to use Excel to manage my budget.
  2. I use Microsoft Excel for data sorting.  I keep our database of customers in Excel.  But now my manager wants that database to keep track of money.  I need to learn Excel.
  3. I’m studying for my MBA and I’m intimidated with Excel spreadsheets.  I need some help in getting over my spreadsheet fears so I can get my MBA.
  4. And more…

Here’s my classic story on when I finally realized in the classroom that words people can have a deathly fright of spreadsheets for one major reason:  formulas

I was teaching a new 3 hour class at RushUniversity one day called PowerExcel.  It was actually a precursor to my ebook, The World’s Shortest Excel Book.

A bright, young lady was in my class.  She had taken my Excel, PowerPoint, and Word Intro series.  9 hours of Excel training, 9 hours of PowerPoint, 9 hours of Word.  She had been a terrific student, quick to learn software interfaces, artistic, good with words.

I needed a volunteer to create a simple Excel formula based on a problem I had described.  It was an easy formula.  I asked for a volunteer.  Nobody raised their hand.  I asked the young lady if she could give me the formula.

She was quiet for a moment, then I could see the panic in her eyes.  Nobody had ever asked her to do a formula, in any setting.

I knew I had made a mistake.  In less than 10 seconds I altered the question, took the focus away from her, and spared her the embarassment of not knowing how to do formulas.

This incredibly bright young woman who loved software had a fear of numbers, and formulas.

Are you a “words” person who feels uncomfortable with Excel, spreadsheets, numbers, and formulas?  I know you’re good at your work.  Perhaps you’re a terrific writer using Microsoft Word.  Or perhaps you are very artistic with PowerPoint (I’m envious, I’m horrible at art, decent at photography).  Or maybe you’re a manager that makes thousand dollar decisions every day.

But you are a “words” person who needs help learning Microsoft Excel.  Perhaps this is your website.  I want to be Your Excel Coach.

When Numbers People Learn Microsoft Excel

I’m sure you think I’m talking about accountants.  Accountants like numbers, surely they pick up Excel easily.  Most practicing accountants or financial analysts working today learned how to use spreadsheets when they were teenagers in high school or college.

Actually, there’s a segment of the population who like numbers but probably wouldn’t do well as an accountant.  I am one of those persons.

In graduate school I wasn’t very good in my accounting courses, but I was pretty darn good in financial analysis.

I think 10-20% of the adult population like numbers and playing with them.  My Dad was an immigrant from Germany who worked as a blue collar worker all his life.  But his ability with math was astounding.  He seemingly could crunch numbers in his head and then give you an answer.  My Dad would have been very good at Excel.

Who are the “numbers” people in the world?  The adults who find a need to learn Excel, who didn’t learn it in high school or college?  Some of them are doctors, bookkeepers, carpenters, scientists, fundraisers, some managers, etc.

Perhaps you are the “numbers” person who never got around to learning Excel at any level.  I believe about 80% of the adults learning Excel are really “words” persons.  Perhaps you are a “words” person.  Your Excel Coach can help you.

Is Microsoft Excel easy to learn?

Now you know the answer.  it all depends on whether you are a “words” person or a “numbers” person.

Whoever you are, I hope you return to this website.  I’m Your Excel Coach if you need one.