Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hot Jobs and Job Ruts

I came across a great quote from Casey Stengel to begin this Tidbit Tuesday: "They say you can't do it, but sometimes it doesn't always work."

Here are some items I also thought might be of interest:

* Turn your head and cough: Sixteen of the 30 jobs with the fastest growth are health related, reports the U.S. Department of Labor, while six are computer related.

Most of the remaining fast-growth occupations are in environmental services and education. The fastest-growing major occupational group—professional and related occupations—is made up mostly of occupations that generally require postsecondary education or training. Examples of these are physician assistants, network systems and data communication analysts, computer software engineers, database administrators, physical therapists, preschool and postsecondary teachers, and environmental engineers.

* Social work recall: Working with older adults has been a low priority for social work students, faculty, practitioners and employers, and has created an impending shortage of gerontological social work services, says The National Association of Social Workers - Illinois Chapter.

The chapter now offers retired social workers everything from computer skills updates, interviewing and personal marketing advice, as well as ongoing training on various aspects of working with older adults. A press release states that some return to work for financial reasons, while others are seeking personal and professional stimulation they found lacking in retirement.

* Enron, the sequel: Six years after high-profile corporate scandals rocked American business, there has been little if any meaningful reduction in the enterprise-wide risk of unethical behavior at U.S. companies, according to the Ethics Resource Center's 2007 National Business Ethics Survey®.

Interviews with almost 2,000 employees at U.S. public and private companies of all sizes for the survey show "disturbing shares of workers witnessing ethical misconduct at work - and tending not to report what they see. Conflicts of interest, abusive behavior and lying pose the most severe ethics risks to companies today."

* Smell the love: If you've ever wondered why you like some people at work, and not others, it may be your nose knows the answer. New research from Northwestern University suggests that humans -- like dogs -- pick up infinitesimal scents that affect whether or not they like somebody.

The study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that subliminal sensory information -- whether from scents, vision or hearing -- affects perception.

* Stuck in a rut: Fast Company recently asked Timothy Butler, a Harvard Business School professor and author, how you get "unstuck" at work if you have a mortgage and can't just go off and live in a cabin and find yourself.

Butler's answer: "I'm initially quite suspicious of the person who leaves it all and goes off to a cabin. That sounds more like a geographical cure rather than really looking at the issue itself. Often, negotiating impasse does not mean changing a job or what would be seen as a dramatic change. It does mean recognizing there's something missing and deliberately going about trying to collect information about it. The outcome may be as undramatic as a conversation with your boss about something you'd really like to be doing more or something you'd like to be doing less."



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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Road Warriors, Networkers and Wordsmiths

On this Thanksgiving Tidbit Tuesday (I seem to have an abundance of alliteration), lets consider the habit of saying "thank you."

Don't be a turkey: According to HotJobs, it's a good idea to send a thank-you note after a job interview, although opinions vary as to the impact on getting the position. One senior manager said he had yet to see a thank-you note from a candidate really being the deciding factor in being offered a job, but concluded that every little bit helps. Still, he stressed that if you do send a note, make sure you check for grammar and spelling.

Another executive felt a little more strongly about the importance of sending a thank-you note after an interview, noting that while it probably won't be only thing getting you a job, it certainly doesn't hurt. She mentions that if there are multiple candidates who send notes, the candidate who doesn't send a note sticks out in her mind.

Forget the hot breakfast, just get me a hi-speed connection: Hotels and airports are gradually catching on to the fact that mobile workers need more help getting their jobs done on the road, The New York Times reports. "Hotels that cater to laptop-toting travelers are scrambling to add electrical outlets in easy-to-reach places, install better task lighting and design chairs with flat armrests that can double as desks.

They are putting desks on casters so the desks can be wheeled in view of the television or even extend over the bed. And perhaps most important to business travelers, some hotel chains are installing technology to make their Internet service more reliable or adding employees to offer better support when guests call for help", the story says.

Further, "airports have not made as many changes, though some are adding kiosks where passengers can charge gadgets, check e-mail messages or buy a flash drive to replace one they forgot."

Pass the crab dip, please: Crain's Chicago Business reports that "in many careers, embracing the social whirl goes hand in hand with climbing the ranks. Staying on top of industry issues or becoming acquainted with potential clients can differentiate those moving up the ladder from those happy to stay on the ground.

But that division can cause friction at home and point up fundamental differences in how each partner weighs career vs. family."

The story profiles some couples, and how, for example, they handle the networking needs of an outgoing person with those of a homebody. Some couples compromise on which events the spouse will attend, while others feel part of their role is to remind the partner that life exists outside of work.

Look it up: In case you didn't know it, there's a Dictionary Society of North America, and it often posts jobs for lexicographers, the folks who help add words to our life.

According to Portfolio, assistants start at around $30,000 a year, while senior editors can hit the low six figures; freelancers are paid either by the project or hourly at a rate of $25 to $45.

Useful skills include a grammar and computational linguistics knowledge, along with a proficiency with search engines and the ability to be open-mindeded, curious about language and detail-oriented.

There are an estimated 200 full-time positions in the U.S., with an equal number of freelance jobs.



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