January 28, 2010
One Person's Revenge on the Job Search Black Hole
Job seekers far and wide have expressed their anger and frustration about the job search black hole. And in this economy, folks seem to be getting lost in it more often.
But for all of you who have felt this discouragement, you may have a new hero: writer Neal Hirschfield. In a NY Times blog, he explores the electronic snub and details his tale of revenge.
The story begins innocently enough with his being invited to interview for a magazine. He does so and even completes and returns an editing test at the company's request. Then three months go by without a word.
"The magazine had left me in limbo. I was going to have my revenge," he writes.
"Sitting down at my computer one morning, I emailed the managing editor to say that I had happily accepted the job. More specifically, I wrote that I was 'delighted to learn that I will be joining the editorial team!' I went on to say that 'the salary and vacation are fine and I will report for duty bright and early Monday morning.'"
Of course, this results in the magazine contacting him in all sorts of ways. Eventually he speaks with the HR director, where he really tries to get across that it is not right to treat job seekers this way. Spoiler alert: no, he did not get the job.
While I don't recommend you make this a part of your job search follow-up, it is nice to know that people are out there standing up for what is right.
Check out this advice for what to do while you're in the job search black hole and share your stories about how you combat this feeling of limbo below.
January 26, 2010
Before You Tweet, Does Your Employer Have a Social Media Policy?
The NFL doesn't allow players to post to Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites at certain times on game day.
The US Marine Corps has banned access to social networking sites from its network.
Companies take such measures when it comes to social media to prevent information from being leaked by employees, even inadvertently. Other companies are concerned about security risks that may come from these sites.
Over at Erickson's Blog on Social Networking and the Law, Megan Erickson wrote a post about how employers should think about their social networking policies. She brings up the IBM Social Computing Guidelines, which was one of the first such policies to be publicly available. But she cautions employers that what works for IBM may not work for every company, and you need to keep your own company's business needs in mind. "More than 10 years ago, when most employers were trying to limit employees’ online activity, IBM was encouraging its employees to use, learn and participate in online activity; the company continues to advocate its employees’ participation in Web 2.0. The overarching business interests of a technology company like IBM (i.e., promoting use of online media for marketing and business reasons) may conflict with the overarching business interests of other employers (i.e., perhaps a greater need to protect proprietary business information)," she writes.
So where does your employer stand? And what would be the tipping point for you before your company's social media policy becomes unacceptable?
January 21, 2010
What the Stars Say About Your Work
I was recently talking to a friend about an article we had posted about understanding your boss based on astrology. I am a Leo and I feel the article paints my leadership skills in a nice light.
While I would not say I subscribe to astrology, my sign's basic characteristics fit me to a T. So I decided to do a little more research on the stars and my career. Here's what I found:
· According to "Best Careers by Astrology Sign," the best careers for me would be as a performer, interior decorator or tour guide. Does it count that I used to write about interior design?
· According to ForeverHoroscope.com, this year I should be focused on government work, politics or religion. This reminds me of the interest inventory I took in high school that told me to be a priest. Hmm.
· Horoscope.com gave me an actual career horoscope of the week, and Saturn is in retrograde in my communications zone -- I don't think that's good.
So what do you think about astrology and your career? Some clean fun? Total bunk? A guide to plan your career by?
And if you want to do some work-related soul searching, our career assessment articles can help.
January 19, 2010
High Stakes for High-Profile Jobs -- Just Ask Leno and O'Brien
After a failed prime-time slot for Jay Leno, NBC wants to put him back in his old spot, which has been occupied, briefly, by Conan O'Brien. The two talk-show hosts have been using their monologues -- and the rest of their shows -- to duke it out. Meanwhile, Americans speculate and NBC -- and its lawyers, I'm sure -- make some final decisions.
The whole situation makes me wonder: How would this play out in an actual workplace? If Company X promotes Susie to a new job and then promotes Bill to Susie's old job, what happens if Susie just doesn't do well? I'd think it would be toxic to take Bill's promotion away from him in order to put Susie back where she belongs. Would the company just work with Susie to make her more successful? It seems like more of the onus needs to be on the manager who made all the changes rather than on the workers who were moved around. Note: Jay Leno is publicly saying the ordeal is not his fault.
According to TheCelebrityCafe.com, this is NBC's plan: "…an agreement seems in sight between the network and O’Brien. What seems to be the deal so far according to ABCNews.com is that O’Brien would leave NBC with a severance payment between $30 and $40 million and go to another network, allowing Leno to reclaim his late night spot. The “Tonight Show” staff, many of whom came with O’Brien from New York, would get severance and contract buy-out packages."
With all the mudslinging that has been going on between O'Brien and Leno, in blogs and on other late-night shows, I'm glad nothing about my work or job searches has ever been on TV. In a down market, job searching and keeping your job has been tough enough. Have you been part of an unsuccessful job swap, competition or reorganization?
January 14, 2010
Hiring in Automotive and Hospitality on the Horizon
First, the auto industry. According to Monica Gerson's post on Benzinga.com, "American automakers are finally seeing signs of revival, with General Motors planning to reopen some factories in an effort to meet rising demand. GM closed 14 factories over the past couple of years. Meanwhile, Chrysler is poised to hire engineers and product development workers."
And in hospitality news, BusinessWeek reports that the upscale international chain Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, which owns the Sheraton, Westin and W Hotel brands, will be adding more than 12,000 jobs in 2010 -- half of which will be in the US. The article reports that "the jobs will be in fields such as general management, human resources, food and beverage, engineering and maintenance, housekeeping, spa and guest services." Many of the positions will be created by the opening of new hotels this year. Check out our 2010 hospitality hiring forecast for more information on what's in store this year.
This is definitely good news for the job market. Do you think these are some isolated cases, or could the economy really be turning around?
January 12, 2010
Americans Can't Get No Job Satisfaction
Last week, the Associated Press reported on the Conference Board study that shows only 45% of American workers are satisfied with their jobs -- the lowest level since the group began studying the issue in the late '80s.
According to the AP article, the study found: "Workers have grown steadily more unhappy for a variety of reasons:
Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting. Incomes have not kept up with inflation. The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into workers' take-home pay.
Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting.
Incomes have not kept up with inflation.
The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into workers' take-home pay.
If the job satisfaction trend is not reversed, economists say, it could stifle innovation and hurt America's competitiveness and productivity. And it could make unhappy older workers less inclined to take the time to share their knowledge and skills with younger workers."
So who's at fault for what potentially could be the demise of American productivity and creativity? Is it the employer for not making work and jobs more interesting and rewarding, or is it the employees' fault for not doing the same?
According to a study conducted by Monster.com and the Human Capital Institute last October, a majority of workers believe employers have exploited the recession to get more out of the workforce for less pay and fewer rewards. The press release says that the research "reveals a dramatic difference in how employers and workers perceive the impact of the current recession, potentially leading to employers facing mass talent drains as the labor market begins to turn. The reason -- employers are vastly overrating the morale of their employees as 84 percent of those surveyed indicated a belief that their workforce is content simply to have a job while only 58 percent of workers feel that way."
If you take a look at Grant Cardone's entry on The Huffington Post, he seems to think workers have been a little spoiled in recent history. "There is much more personal responsibility at play here that was obviously not included in the survey's questions," he writes. "The American worker is being forced to face reality for the first time in many years. The fantasy economy is over, the days of just sticking around and your job is secure, pay raises and your tenure gets you promoted is over. The 'toys' of the American worker have been taken away and they are disappointed." Ouch!
So, after reading these harsh words, what can you do? This KATU.com piece suggests following your passion to get on the road to job satisfaction.
Not sure where to start? Check out these resources, and let us know how you feel: Are you satisfied with your work? If not, who's to blame?
January 07, 2010
Which Jobs Will Be in Highest Demand?
If you're a nurse, customer service rep or food service worker, you shouldn't have too much trouble finding work over the next few years. Neither should biomedical engineers, home health aides or computer networking professionals.
That's according to the newest edition of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook, an often-cited source on which professions will be in demand in the future. Here are a few data points from the 2010-11 edition, which contains employment projections to 2018:
Occupations with the largest projected job growth, 2008-18:
1. Registered nurses: Increase of 581,500 jobs.
2. Home health aides: Increase of 460,900 jobs.
3. Customer service representatives: Increase of 399,500 jobs.
4. Combined food preparation and serving workers: Increase of 394,300 jobs.
5. Personal and home care aides: Increase of 375,800 jobs.
Fastest-growing occupations, 2008-2018:
1. Biomedical engineers: Projected increase of 72 percent.
3. Home health aides: Projected increase of 50 percent.
4. Personal and home care aides: Projected increase of 46 percent.
5. Financial examiner: Projected increase of 41 percent.
As for where the jobs won't be, is it any surprise to see textile, semiconductor and computer equipment manufacturing on the list of the most rapidly declining industries? See that list here and get more industry outlook information in the Handbook's companion publication, Career Guide to Industries.
Even though labor projections should be taken with a grain of salt, the Handbook is a good place to get a basic overview of various occupations. You can also check out Monster's own Career Snapshots to learn about the qualifications, skills and responsibilities associated with more than 2,500 jobs.
What do you make of labor forecasts? What jobs do you think will be in demand in the future? Leave a comment below.
January 05, 2010
Need Help with Your New Year's Resolutions?
What did you resolve to do in 2010? Did you start yet, or, like the people I overheard at the grocery store, did you wait until the first business week of the new year to begin?
Here's my professional life resolution: I'd like to be better at networking. I know, I write about this stuff for a living, but everyone could use a little improvement.
Being better at networking -- like numerous other resolutions -- is pretty open and a little vague, so where do I begin? I've looked up some best practices to help myself and hopefully you too.
5 Tips for Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions
Announce Your Intentions
A recent Wall Street Journal article recommends publicly proclaiming what you plan to do. This reminds me of a morning news program that showed public embarrassment is the number one motivator in weight loss. Six people committed to losing a certain amount of weight by a specific date, or else they had to wear bathing suits on national TV. All of them lost the set amount, and many of them exceeded it. By following this approach your commitment is made to others as well.
Take It One Step at a Time
The WSJ piece also discusses the need to break your resolutions down. Staring at one major goal can make it seem so insurmountable that you will likely give up before you get started. So if I start my commitment by identifying networking groups and events, that first step triggers a feeling of accomplishment and will help to keep me going.
Get Better Friends
This tip is from a Time article on Yahoo! and is based on the premise that we imitate the people around us. The article reads: "…the latest research shows that things like happiness, quitting smoking and obesity can spread like a contagion through social networks. So, surround yourself with friends who can also be role models. 'Make sure that people you hang out with are people who look and act the way you would like to. Social imitation is the easiest form not only of flattery but of self-improvement,' says Stanton Peele, author of Seven Tools to Beat Addiction."
Jodi Lipper and Cerina Vincent's "How to Keep Your New Year's Resolution (Without Feeling Tortured)" article on The Huffington Post acknowledges how busy people are today. "It's not enough to just say that you're going to take up jogging or always take off your makeup at night before passing out," they write. "It's not even enough to write it down. Instead, take a look at your life, find the free time that's hiding in tiny chunks here and there, and make a new schedule for yourself that includes which days you'll be getting up early to take a jog before work and what time you need to turn off Conan to take off that damn mascara."
Don't Be Upset by Setbacks
New year's resolutions are tough, otherwise we wouldn't need to make them. According to Psych Central, "…if you know ahead of time that there are going to be times in which your resolve weakens or you don't live up to a certain step or schedule you've set, it can help when it does happen. It's a part of the process and means nothing more than a temporary setback. Putting such temporary setbacks into their proper perspective can help you move beyond them and put them behind you." So counting on these lapses will get you closer to achieving your goals.
USA.gov has a list of the most popular new year's resolutions, each linking to resources that can help you fulfill them. And if one of your new year's resolutions includes improving your work life, check out our special report: Kick-Start Your Career This Year. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!