You can learn a lot by observing and asking questions. But to shake things up, you have to get real ticked off about the important things that need fixing. The dangerous alternative is complacency.

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Recent Posts

2016’s Best and Worst Jobs

Millennials Want Some Respect

Oldsters Have their Day

Older Workers Can’t Win

Older Women Hit Hardest By Economic Downturns Face Challenging Job Market

2016’s Best and Worst Jobs

Americans have mixed feelings about the best and worst jobs, according to a recent poll conducted by Carlsbad, California’s career portal CareerCast. Blogger, general practice physician (GP), CEO and teacher were voted the best jobs. Yet GP and teacher also made CareerCast’s worst job list.

Why the disparity?

While a physician’s pay is excellent and saving lives is rewarding, others felt that the stress and being responsible for the lives of others also made physician an undesirable profession, said Kyle Kensing,  CareerCast’s online content editor.

And the job of teacher is appealing because teachers derive satisfaction from molding young minds, and equally important, they have summers off and shorter work days — perks most career builders can only dream about.  The downside is teachers’ pay is nothing to rave about. The median annual salary for an elementary school teacher is $54,890, which is about 70 percent less than a physician’s $187,200 median annual salary, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Within the teaching universe, salaries vary greatly. High school teachers’ median annual salary is approximately $56,310. While the highest paid 10 percent earn approximately $88,910, the bottom 10 percent earn about $37,540. Compensation is based on years of experience and educational level. Salaries and benefit packages can also differ greatly at public and private institutions. The highest paid high school teachers work in the metropolitan areas of New York City, Fresno California and Poughkeepsie, New York.  

Move toward educational reform

The CareerCast poll is only a snapshot of a tiny segment of the broad teacher market. While teaching salaries, in general, have always dramatically lagged other professions, a number of states are trying to increase salaries for math and science teachers, largely because of the growing shortage of qualified educators in these disciplines.

In an effort to prevent math and science teachers from leaving public education for higher paying jobs in the private sector, many school districts throughout the nation are working toward educational reform. The Douglas County Colorado school district, for example, kicked off a new teacher pay plan that called for paying math and science teachers more than other similarly qualified teachers. Douglas County officials defined five different pay bands for its teachers based on how much competition there is in the job market for the specific skill set they teach.

To attract qualified math and science students, Mike Flanagan, superintendent of Michigan’s Department of Education, increased teacher salaries up to $100,000. Michigan is not the only state instituting educational reform. Other states have or are in the process of increasing teachers’ salaries.

CareerCast’s worst professions

Other professions voted among the worst by CareerCast include telemarketer, garbage collector, and assembly line worker. Deadlines, low pay, low growth potential, and poor working conditions were the most-cited factors cited in choosing the worst jobs. In another CareerCast job poll, newspaper reporter, broadcaster and pest control worker were ranked among the worst jobs of 2016.

On the rosier flip side, CareerCast found that CEO, photographer, veterinarian, and oddsmaker (someone who calculates and sets betting odds) are considered “dream jobs.” A few improbable nominations included member of the Kardashian family and professional soccer player.

What constitutes a great job? pay is No. 1. Half of the respondents to the CareerCast poll cited salary as the top factor in determining the best jobs. “High pay correlates with the prevalence of respondents who saw CEO as a great job,” said Kensing. Chief executives earn an annual median salary of $175,110, according to the BLS. 

Posted on: May 30, 2016 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Millennials Want Some Respect

If you thought the baby boomers are getting all the press these days, you’re wrong.  The books about boomers keep coming, and they’re likely to flood the market until 2029 when the last boomer turns 65. But running parallel to the boomer trend are a plethora of articles and books about millennials (born between 1982 and 1994) — a largely misunderstood generation, according to Bruce Tulgan, author of “Not Everyone Gets A Trophy, How to Manage The Millennials.” 

The millennials have been wrongly raked over the coals, according toTulgan.  They’ve been analyzed and scrutinized and largely misunderstood. 

The author sets the record straight by dispelling the following 10 myths about attitudes toward work and career:

Myth 1: Disloyal and unwilling to make real commitments to their employers.
Reality:  Millennials can be very loyal, but they don’t exhibit blind loyalty to hierarchy, tight observance of rites of passage, patience for recognition and rewards.

Myth 2: Won’t do grunt work.
Reality: They are eager to prove that they will do anything you want them to do. But they won’t do grunt work if they fear that nobody is monitoring what they are doing and giving them credit.

Myth 3:  They don’t know very much and have short attention spans.
Reality:  “They may not have the same shared knowledge base that people with a certain level of education used to take for granted,” Tulgan said. But they have “more information in their heads and more information available at their fingertips than anyone ever has before.”

Myth 4: They want the top job on day one.
Reality:  Millennials don’t want to waste time. From the onset, “they want to hit the ground running,” Tulgan said. They want to make things better, and make an impact.

Myth 5: They need work to be fun.
Reality:  Millennials want to be taken seriously. They want to be challenged and to “understand the relationship between their work and the overall mission of the organization,” according to Tulgan.

Myth 6:  They want to be left alone.
Reality:  They want their employers to know who they are know what they are doing, and they want them to provide guidance, help them solve problems, and keep track of their successes, Tulgan said.

Myth 7: They want their managers to do their work for them.
Reality: They want managers who will take the time to teach them how to do their work well and fast.

Myth 8: They don’t want to climb the career ladder.
Reality:  “Millennials career paths will be erratic and eclectic, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be progressive and developmental,” Tulgan explained.

Myth 9:  Money and traditional benefits don’t matter to them.
Reality: Money and benefits certainly matter to the millennials.  Like most career builders, they want the best deal they can get, and they’re quite knowledgeable when it comes to comparing what employers offer.

Myth 10:  Money is the only thing that matters to them (opposite of previous myth).  Many managers feel that millennials can be very brazen about demanding competitive salaries.
Reality: Money is a threshold issue, Tulgan said. “If they are asking for more money, what they are really asking is: ‘What do I need to do to earn more?’  Once they meet the threshold of competitive money and benefits, millennials care about five other things: schedule, relationships, task choice, learning opportunities and location.”

Posted on: May 29, 2016 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Oldsters Have their Day

Did you know that May is Senior Citizens Month? And I almost let May slip by without mentioning it. Scary.  Maybe my girlfriend is right: I must be getting older.

Nevertheless, it’s still May.

With boomers the subject of countless stories, many of which are depressing downers, the oldsters ought to take to the streets and celebrate Senior Citizens Month.

A little history.  In May, 1963, President Kennedy designated May Senior Citizens month. Following a meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens, Kennedy encouraged Americans to pay tribute to older people across the country. Since then, every president has issued a proclamation during or before the month of May in support of the nation’s senior citizens. 

President Jimmy Carter changed the name to Older Americans Month in 1980. To this day, May continues to be the month to celebrate Americans 65 and older with ceremonies, events, and hard-earned recognition. If you’re not familiar with the numbers, this is no small group. In July, 2014, baby boomers accounted for 14.5 percent of the total population, growing from 44.7 million in 2013.

However, with Americans living longer, the numbers get scary the further out we project. In 2060, people in the 65 age group will make up almost one in four Americans. Of that number, 19.7 million will be 85 or older. In 2060, the youngest boomers would be — are you ready? — 96 years old. If you think those numbers odd, better yet, disturbing, in 2033, the 65 and older population for the first time will outnumber people younger than 18 in the U.S.

But problems mount as Americans get older as the country copes with issues it wasn’t prepared for, the biggest of which is meeting aging boomers’ health-care needs, in the face of growing poverty statistics.  In 2014, the median income of households with people 65 and older was $36,895, accounting for 10 percent of the population.  The picture gets bleaker the further out we project.

Instead of ending this blog on a down note, a maudlin minor key, let’s stick to the opening theme: Celebrating the oldsters.  While we’re celebrating, we ought to praise and respect their spirit, and most importantly, their accomplishments.

Posted on: May 25, 2016 10:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Older Workers Can’t Win

Despite companies’ insistence that they don’t discriminate against older workers, the truth is the cards are stacked against older workers. Evidence is abundant that they’d rather hire younger workers over older ones for a number reasons. The disturbing truth is many older workers can’t return to the kind of jobs they once held, and if they find comparable jobs, they’re not likely to be paid salaries commensurate with their experience. So they either wind up taking any job they can latch onto, usually at insulting, demeaning pay.

If things weren’t bad enough for older workers, the AFL-CIO recently released its annual Death on the Job Report, which found that there was an increase in the number of job fatalities in 2014 (most recent figure available). Here are the Report’s important findings:

·   The biggest increases were in fatalities among older workers. Workers 65 and older now have a fatality rate 3 times the national average.

·   The number and rate of job fatalities among Latino workers declined in 2014; the numbers and rates for all other races increased.

·   The states with the highest fatality rates were Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota and Mississippi.

·   Workplace violence remains a serious and persistent problem. Over the years, while the job injury rate has declined; injuries/injury rate due to workplace violence has increased, particularly for workers in healthcare. Women workers suffer 66% of the lost time injuries due to workplace violence.

·   OSHA’s resources are declining and its capacity to inspect workplaces is getting worse. For FY 2015, federal OSHA could inspect workplaces on average once every 145 years; in 1992 when the first DOTJ report was issued, OSHA could inspect workplaces once every 84 years.

·   OSHA penalties remain low. The median penalty for killing a worker was $7,000 for federal OSHA; $3,500 for the state plans.

·   Only 89 worker death cases have been criminally prosecuted under the OSHAct since 1971.

·   Workers won a major victory in 2016 — the final OSHA silica standard was issued which will prevent more than 600 deaths and prevent nearly 1,000 cases of silicosis a year.

·   There is still much work to do and major challenges ahead as employers and republicans are trying to roll back protections, including the new silica rule, block new protections and cut funding.                          

Bottom line: The nation needs to renew its commitment to protect workers from injury, disease and death and make protecting workers a higher priority.

Posted on: April 29, 2016 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Older Women Hit Hardest By Economic Downturns Face Challenging Job Market

New research from the St. Louis Federal Reserve suggests that when the 2008 crash caused a massive surge in unemployment, the hardest hit were older job seekers, particularly women.

Following the crash, the chances of being unemployed long term more than doubled for people over 65. Before the crash in 2007, 14 percent of women over 65 were unemployed for longer than 27 weeks; in 2013, over 50 percent were. In contrast, 23 percent of older men were unemployed long-term in 2007, and 48 percent were in 2013.

Economist Teresa Ghilarducci discusses why the job market is harder for aging women than aging men in her new book, “How To retire With Enough Money and How to Know What Enough is.”

Below, Ghilarducci explains what older women face in the job market and some tips on how to beat the odds.

  1. Make it easy for employers to see your worth. Demonstrate that you will solve their problem by showing specifically why your life experience — even if it includes years off to care for a sick parent — makes you a savvy strategist.
  2. Make it hard for a potential employer to know your age. Leave off dates you graduated from various schools.
  3. Follow economist Peter Cappelli’s advice to write your resume so a computer picks you out among thousands of applicants.
  4. Research indicates that a white lie of omission might be necessary. If you are college educated and had to take a low-level job while you were looking for a professional one, you might want to leave it off your resume. Research suggests that older, college-educated women who took a low-level job while they were searching for a professional position received fewer callbacks than those who didn’t have low-level positions on their resumes.
  5. Stay on top of technological advances. Technological proficiency isn’t a destination, it’s a journey — and an ongoing one. Tech literacy makes you look hirable to an employer and advances in technology tend to make jobs easier, not harder — if they didn’t, they wouldn’t replace old methods.
  6. Make and keep friends in your line of work. Networking was a popular concept of the 1990s because it paid off. It still does. If you’ve been laid off, connections and goodwill are incredibly important to getting the next job. People will pick up the phone and talk to someone they know and like. They’re much less likely to answer a phone message with an unfamiliar name and number attached.
  7. Have reasonable expectations. It’d be ideal to keep working in your chosen field, but that may not be possible. Statistics tell us that employers in manufacturing, finance, insurance, wholesale trade, scientific and technical services, arts and entertainment and the recreation industry all have a strong bias toward hiring younger people. However, older workers may find jobs in home health care, retail trade, management, administrative support, waste management services, education, health care and the social assistance sector. Those professions may not sound as interesting as your old one, but new challenges are fun and exciting.



Posted on: April 29, 2016 01:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

I think somebody should come up with a way to breed a very large shrimp. That way, you could ride him, then, after you camped at night, you could eat him. How about it, science?

- Jack Handey