Archive for May, 2009

Fab Graduation Gift Idea

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Had to share this email from lovely friend Linda:

Just a note to let you know how much I’m enjoying your book.  (I’m reading it before I give it to my niece for her graduation.)

I’ve decided to tuck a dollar bill in each chapter before I give it to her.  Thought you’d enjoy this fun idea….

Yes, that IS a fun idea, Linda!  So fun am passing it along to everyone…..

Making Mama Happy

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

US World and News ReportsNot that you should pick a career solely for its perceived “security” but maybe you might consider factoring in what work society has a need for and will continue to pay for.

Just a thought.  More over at today’s U.S. News & World Report post.

Your Job Stress Vs. Theirs

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Everyone is feeling more and more job stress these days (if you are lucky enough to have a job) but there are always jobs that are more stressful than others.

According to a recent release from CareerCast.com, the five most stressful jobs are surgeon, commercial airline pilot, photojournalist, advertising account executive, and real estate agent.

The five least stressful jobs are actuary, dietician, computer systems analyst, statistician, and astronomer.

So how do you think your job measures up?  Is your day more stressful than a surgeon’s?  Less stressful than an astronomer’s?  According to the American Institute of Stress (yes, there is one), 40% of workers say their jobs are very stressful, 25% view their job as the chief source of stress in their lives, and (only?) 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress.

So, people talk about job stress, but does anyone do anything about it?

Good news:  You can do something about it.  The root cause of stress is a sense of powerlessness.  Your aim, then, is to gain some power over your worklife.  You can find a friend/ally at work to talk with, better organize your work, ask for feedback, get more training, and expand your social network.   And look for ways to measure the success of your work.  (A lot of job stress just comes from an inability to see any results of what you do all day. That’s why “The Case for Working With Your Hands” is one of the NYT’s most-emailed articles this week.)

Want more?  Here’s a good article from QuintCareers on 10 strategies for managing job stress. 

For a list of 200 jobs rated by stress, work environment, physical demands, income, and outlook, check out the 2009 Jobs Rated Report.

Learn, Don't Run From Goofs

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

You are an idiot.

That the conclusion of this recent New York Times article.    It relates the misadventures of various folks who took on fix-it jobs (plumbing, carpentry, car repair, hair care), screwed them up, and then had to hire a professional to repair the damage, often paying more than they would have in the first place.

The NYT’s takeaway from this piece was: Even though you might want or need to save money, you–you poor schmo you–better not try doing things yourself because you will fail and it’ll only end up costing you more. 

But is that the lesson to be learned from these stories?  Really?

How about this lesson instead:  Next time you try the do-it-yourself route, think it through first.  Get a good how-to book from the library.  Talk to friends who have experience and know-how in these matters.  Proceed with care.  Use your head.  Learn from your mistakes.

You may choose not to change your own oil or fix your toilet or color your hair for very good reasons (your time is better spent elsewhere, for example).  But one of those reasons should not be that you’re too helpless or unteachable to figure it out yourself. 

You could.  You can.  You’re not an idiot.

1st Thing To Do After A Layoff

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

US World and News ReportsWhen you lose a job, you lose more than a paycheck.  You lose your work community. 

If you’ve had one job for a long time and are one of the many people who know few people outside of work, you may feel lost.  So, post layoff, the first thing you need to do is start to rebuild your community. 

There’s a simple little tip for how at this week’s U.S. News & World Report post.

Why Women Don't Rule…

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

(…as a rule.)

David Brooks’s column over at the NYT today describes a successful CEO.  He is:

  • attentive to detail
  • persistent
  • thorough
  • analytical
  • organized
  • dependable
  • resolute
  • unidimensional

Here is what successful CEOs are not:

  • good listeners
  • good teambuilders
  • warm
  • flexible
  • empathetic
  • sensitive
  • agreeable
  • well-rounded

Brooks doesn’t say, it’s not the point of his essay at all, but this might be a pretty good explanation for why business leaders are almost all male. 

Huh.

Working Girl Chats With Women

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Meaning, WG was on the renowned Chat with Women radio show today. 

Check it out here.

Bad/Good News For College Grads

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Íf you’re graduating from college this spring, you may be worried.  How hard, you wonder, will it be to find a job?  Here are some salient facts gleaned from this recent Wall St. Journal article:

  1. College grads are still more likely to find a job than people with only a high school diploma.  In April the unemployment rate for recent college grads was 6.1%; it was 19.6% for high school diploma holders the same age.
  2. However, even as a college grad, you may find yourself needing to take two part time jobs, or work freelance for a while.
  3. People who graduate in economic down times and who start off at lower salaries as a result tend to make less over the first 15 years of their work lives than people who start off at higher salaries.  No, it’s not fair.  But it’s important information.  And a hint to watch your debt accumulation; don’t take on more than you can handle.
  4. You may be better off, if you can afford it, staying in school.  People who went to grad school during the early 1980s recession didn’t suffer the same accumulative wage loss as people who found jobs.
  5. No surprise here: People who major in fields like engineering, chemistry, and physics earn more overall than humanities majors.

Conclusion:  Think long term!  If you don’t land what you believe is your dream job right out of school, don’t despair.  You have a long work life ahead of you.  Strategize.  Be flexible.  Be creative.  Brace yourself to try harder and longer.  You can get what you want.  It just might not be by the path you were anticipating.

Ignore Those Unemployment Numbers!

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

US World and News ReportsAll those numbers flying around about high unemployment and whatnot are scary, aren’t they? Especially if right now you’re looking for a job. 

So why not try just ignoring them?  Working Girl makes a case for this approach over at her regular Wednesday U.S. News & World Report post.

Then & Now & You

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

You’ll find much food for thought in David Brooks’s Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Times.  And encouragement, if you’re thinking that the bad place you’re maybe in now is “forever.”  Bottom line:  Your past isn’t a great predictor of your future.  Your screw-ups aren’t going to haunt you always.

There’s more, too, but it’s what struck Working Girl about this editorial and the current Atlantic article it’s based on.   Go.  Read.  Think.