Millennials get a lot of attention these days. For some strange reason everyone seems to be fascinated with the current crop of young workers. Maybe we’re all taking Whitney Houston too seriously when she sings that the children are our future. Regardless, you can’t pick up a newspaper or blog (including this one) without reading about the exotic culture of the 18-29 crowd. These professional newcomers are revolutionizing the workplace … or so we’re told.
A new study from the Pew Research Center looks at what makes Millennials different from the 30 and older crowd. The study looks at all aspects of this generation’s characteristics, from their politics to their views on family responsibility. Although no study can define every member of a group, these results show a generational consensus on many issues.
According to the study, Millennials are experiencing economic hardships due to the recession, but their attitudes don’t reflect it.
About two-thirds of Millennials (68 percent) say they are not earning enough money to live the kind of life they want. However, within that group the vast majority (88 percent) say they expect to earn enough in the future to live the good life. That is significantly higher than the percentage of Gen Xers (76 percent) or Baby Boomers (46 percent) who share this hopeful view.
You might think that this optimism is curious, especially considering what they’re up against. After all, the economy hasn’t been great for anyone, much less for young people who haven’t had time to accumulate a financial safety net. Yet, the survey points out, the optimism might not be entirely unfounded:
Time is on their side. When the jobs return, the survey results suggest these young people will be prepared. Millennials appear to be on track to becoming the most educated generation in America’s history. Millennials have not yet matched the educational attainment of Gen Xers. So far, 19% are college graduates compared with 35 percent of Gen Xers.”
The study goes on to talk about a lot of stuff — and it’s interesting to see not only what Millennials say but how they compare to past generations. It’s worth a thorough reading.
We’ve mentioned here before and in articles that this generation loves technology, embraces collaboration and expects to climb the professional ladder faster than past generations. We know this (and the study goes into more detail). We are dealing with a group of professionals who have an impressive amount of education but many obstacles in their way, so no rules exist on what they should expect.
Looking at this study, do you think Millennials have a reason to be optimistic or would you caution them to be less hopeful? Are you one of these Millennials?
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When I look back at pictures of myself from years ago — specifically the 1980s — I cringe. The jeans, the ill-fitting shirts, the hair gel. At the time I thought I looked cool and no one told me otherwise. Alas, the pictures do not lie. I have the same feelings about my earliest job interviews, where I thought I was smooth and polished. I was actually a fumbling mess. I remember telling an interviewer that, no, I didn’t know anything about the company.
Looking at a recent CareerBuilder survey, I suppose many other job seekers share the same face-in-the-palm level of embarrassment about some of their missteps. For the survey, employers were asked to name some of the most notable interview mistakes they’ve witnessed, and they gave some whoppers. As outrageous as some of these missteps are, I’m sure we’ve all had interviews we wish we could take back. The professional equivalent of acid-washed jeans, if you will.
Here are some of the most entertaining responses:
- Candidate wore a business suit with flip flops.
- Candidate asked if the interviewer wanted to meet for a drink after.
- Candidate had applied for an accounting job, yet said he was “bad at managing money.”
- Candidate recited poetry.
- Candidate applying for a customer service job said “I don’t really like working with people.”
- Candidate used Dungeons and Dragons as an example of teamwork.
- Candidate filed fingernails.
Even if you haven’t exhibited interview behavior on this level, you might have still left an unfavorable impression behind. According to employers, these are the most common mistakes candidates make during interviews:
- Dressing inappropriately
- Appearing disinterested
- Speaking negatively about a current or previous employer
- Appearing arrogant
- Answering a cell phone or texting during the interview
- Not providing specific answers
- Not asking good questions
In the full release, vice president of human resources Rosemary Haefner offers several tips on how to avoid being the candidate who is singled out for strange behavior. Perhaps the most important piece of advice she gives is to practice. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to ramble or say something you’ll eventually regret. Read the rest of the release for more tips and examples of interview faux pas.
So how about it, readers–who else can admit to some embarrassing interview behavior? Surely I’m not the only one.
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We try to discuss current workplace topics as much as possible, but we can’t possibly keep up with every news item that comes out. So here’s a quick rundown of some noteworthy workplace-related items worth reading:
- Panel OKs lower pay for young workers (in Arizona)
- Highlights of Senate jobs bill
- How to decline Facebook friends without offence
- Workplace bullying: How common is it?
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The standard workplace looks very different than it did a few generations ago. Technology alone has revolutionized the way most organizations function. Look beyond the contemporary furniture and laptops to see another difference: your boss. Gone is the image of your manager or boss as a curmudgeon with an ill-fitting short-sleeved, button-up, yellowing shirt with an askew tie. Today’s bosses look very different, and not just because they can wear jeans on casual Fridays.
According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 43 percent of workers 35 and older currently work for someone younger than them. For workers 45 and older, the figure climbs to 53 percent. And for the 55 and up group, the number leaps to 69 percent. While you can still think of many complaints to lob at your boss, the old standbys of “he should’ve retired 10 years ago” or “she’s been in the industry so long she’s lost her edge” are passé. Today’s bosses are young and far from retirement.
When asked if reporting to a younger boss was difficult, young workers expressed the most trouble. Here is the breakdown of workers who find taking orders from a younger boss difficult:
- 16 percent of workers 25-34
- 13 percent of workers 35-44
- 7 percent of workers 45-54
- 5 percent of workers 55 and older
What’s the problem and what can you do about it?
Are you one of these workers whose boss has fewer candles on the cake? If so, these complaints might sound familiar to you.
- “They act like they know more than me when they don’t”
- “They act like they’re entitled and didn’t earn their position”
- “They play favorites with younger workers”
Experts over at PrimeCB, a site dedicated to career opportunities and guidance for mature workers, stress the importance of working together. We are talking about your career, after all, so ignoring your troubles won’t make life easier. Here are some of PrimeCB’s tips:
Understand others’ point of view: You and your boss are coming from different points of views. You don’t necessarily share experience, education or work history. Neither of you is wrong—just different. So try to be open to the other person’s approach.
Adapt your communication: Whether you’re interacting with your boss, co-worker or direct report, you should always be mindful of what communication style is most effective. Many (though not all) younger workers favor new technology to communicate, such as IM and e-mail. Some older workers (though, again, not all) prefer to talk face-to-face or at least pick up the phone. Both parties should work to make communication go as smoothly as possible.
Keep an open mind:Neither you nor your boss is inherently right (or wrong) because of your age and work history, or lack thereof. Approach each other as two professionals and base all judgments on performance. Making assumptions about your boss because he looks like a high schooler or she’s the same age as your daughter doesn’t do you any favors.
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Oprah, Letterman, Leno, Chelsea (and Conan, once upon a time)—they all earn pretty paychecks talking. Sure, Oprah oversees a multimedia empire and Leno has his comedy career, but their primary jobs are hosting talking shows and gabbing with guests. They all have the same career — basically chitchatting in front of the world. That’s the entertainment world, though, and most of us aren’t paid to be that verbal.
I’ve known office workers whose draconian bosses actually reprimanded them for talking too much. Not for job performance problems or deadline issues. No, they were good workers—they just got in trouble for talking … as if they were first-graders during a schoolassembly. Oy.
Not everyone likes to gab, so a quiet workplace doesn’t bother some people. But for workers who can’t keep their lips sealed, silence is torturous. To help those of us who thrive on jibber jabber, here are six careers you might want to consider. These jobs require more skills and education than just the ability to gab, but talking plays an important role that will make your day that much better:
You can’t possibly list every responsibility nurses have. Whether in an emergency room, physician’s office or a number of other settings, nurses are working one-on-one with patients, ensuring tests are ordered, updating charts and staying calm. Patients who are sick or about to undergo surgeryare often temperamental, nervous or just having a good old-fashioned freakout. The best nurses stay on task while talking to patients, whether finding out more information about their malady or just trying to keep everyone calm. Here, the gift of gab can be a patient’s dream.
Dispatchers obviously rely on their speaking skills to find out information about the emergency, so that’s a no-brainer. Among their multitasking skills, a knack for conversation is just as important as the ability to extract and report information. In emergency situations, people (e.g., witnesses, victims) get unnerved and often frantic. Dispatchers maintain conversations with the callers until help arrives, and that’s no easy task as they have to be calm and think quickly under stress.
If you’re going to sell anything — a pair of jeans, a car, a business plan — words are your best friends. Anyone who works in sales has to know when being aggressive is appropriate and when toning it down is better. Not every technique works every time, so understanding how to most effectively talk to the customer is a skill not everyone is blessed with.
I know I’m not the only person who has been at a dental appointment, wearing the fashionable paper bib and protective glasses, while the dentist chips away at my teeth and asks how my job is. Luckily, most dentists have the good sense to time their questions when I’m about to get a break from all the oral construction going on so I can respond. Good dentists know how to fill the silence of a dental visit without peppering the patient with questions he or she can’t answer. At the same time, they understand that we don’t want to hear 30 minutes of personal ramblings while we’re a captive audience (with a numb mouth).
For many people, hairstylists are the human equivalent of a Leatherman knife — you know the kind that is basically a pocket-size MacGyver. Hairstylists serve as some clients’ stylists (of course), as well as confidantes and therapists. While they’re clipping hair and mixing dyes, stylists are forming bonds with their clients as they discuss their lives and jobs. Anyone who’s experienced an awkwardly silent haircut knows how strange it is to be inches from the person holding the scissors and looking at you in the mirror, and yet you have nothing to say to each other for the full hour.
Perhaps most important for the stylist is the ability to communicate what he or she will be doing to the client. If the client asks for a trim and the stylist says, “Sure, we can do that,” then proceeds to chop off six inches … well, that’s not good. Effective communication benefits them both (and probably leads to a better tip).
News reporters, as far as the public is concerned, are just talking heads, but they do more than just stand in a hurricane and tell you that, yep, it’s wet and windy. Reportersare interviewing people, both in taped segments and on air, and you don’t want a mumbling, incoherent mess doing that job. Amazing news goes unnoticed if the reporter’s speaking abilities are subpar, so their talking prowess needs to be as outstanding as their investigative skills. You want someone who can talk on camera as if he or she is talking to you one-on-one, and that’s not easy.
If you’re a talker and have found a way to earn a paycheck, let us know. We know there are more jobs out there that other chatty readers would love to know about.
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At a glance, you can quickly see that our culture is fixated on tests. From tests for children whose overachieving parents want them into exclusive day cares to students playing the college admissions game, people are filling in bubbles left and right these days. And I guarantee that most of us have had the sniffles in the past decade, only to immediately search for our symptoms online and take a quick self-test. Turns out, we might have the seasonal flu, a flesh-eating virus or a rare case of malaria that has been dormant for a century. We know it’s probably the flu, but the tests are so easy, how can we not take them?
So the concept of assessing your best career choices by clicking on colors seems fun but, well, too simplistic, doesn’t it? I think it’s fair to say the average person (if I might call myself average) is skeptical of the process. The whole idea of CareerPath’s Career Color Counselor sounds odd: You go to the site and follow the instructions to click on colors that you find most and least appealing. Then after a five minutes of clicking, you get an assessment of yourself and what careers are best for you.
Some of my co-workers and I took the test. Our results were fairly similar, and under normal circumstances that would be problematic, but we all have creative backgrounds so they should be similar. And although I don’t understand how color preference is indicative of career options, it seems to hold true for everyone. CEOs who took the test showed similar traits. It wasn’t as if they all chose the boring, primary colors of power ties as their favorites. Says USA Today:
[When] 877 members of USA Today’s CEO panel took an online personality color test, they were three times more likely to favor magenta than the public at large, three times less likely to select red, and 3½ times less likely to choose yellow.
And, as USA Today points out, the test might highlight some qualities of CEOs that we don’t consider.
[The] color test shows that the typical CEO is more sensitive and private than the typical person and is less likely to be a perfectionist or to be dominant and more likely to be emotionally unstable.
You can take the test here to see if the results reflect your current occupation or if they suggest a career you’ve always wanted to try but have been unable to. The fun of the test is that it takes five minutes and might remind you of untapped talents that you’ve forgotten about over the years. Or it might suggest careers you hadn’t considered. When you’re looking to change careers or find a job, you need all the inspiration you can get, and this is one more tool to get you there. (Or, at the very least, the next time you’re standing in front of a wall of paint chips, trying to choose a color for your living room, you’ll have even more reason to doubt yourself!)
Try out the Career Color Counselor and let us know what your results are.
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You might have read fellow Work Buzzer Kate Lorenz’s article on strange things written in cover letters and résumés. As expected, hiring managers and employers have seen some pretty bizarre things. A couple of examples:
- “One of the weirdest résumés I ever received was from someone who had a statement at the top about how dependable he was and then a doodle of him on a skateboard.” – Heather R. Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended
- “Hobbies: Sleeping, etc., etc.” – Carrie Rocha, www.pocketyourdollars.com
Over on our sister blog, The Hiring Site, employers are encouraged to share their unorthodox experiences reading cover letters and résumés. (I admit, I’m eager to see what other bizarre information job seekers have felt compelled to share with their potential employers.) If you’ve ever been in the hiring seat, feel free to head over and share your story.
However, I thought this would be a good place for job seekers to share the strangest things they’ve seen on job postings or heard during the interview process. I can attest from my experience as a job seeker that some employers try to get too funny with their postings, so I spend 10 minutes reading a description but have absolutely no idea what the actually job is. Or after I read a paragraph that begins, “Do you like to…” I come to the final sentence that says, “If this sounds like you–don’t apply for this job.” Clever, but you just wasted my time!
So, dear job seekers of past and present, what are the strangest things you’ve read or heard from employers in the hiring process? Share below.
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Do you hear something? It’s the sound of proud citizens around the globe puffing their chests as athletes from their nation head to the Olympics. *hums national anthem*
Every two years, either the summer or winter games dominate our TV viewing for two weeks. Events we wouldn’t normally give two hoots about suddenly must be DVR-ed. I admit, I only think about the biathlon every 206 weeks. Still, billions of people tune into the games every time they air. You don’t go out as much. You ignore the ringing phone. You pretend a foil-covered Ring Ding is a silver medal in bobsledding. (No? Just me?)
Host cities pour unbelievable amounts of money and energy into readying venues and lodging for the games. As a result, each city—this year Vancouver—experiences a temporary boost of jobs to construct and staff new stadiums and housing. London’s already seeing this happen for its 2012 games. And other existing jobs are put into overdrive as the city becomes the momentary center of the athletic world. For example, Ron Cameron is the general manager of BC Dome, the stadium hosting the opening ceremonies. Read about his job here.
Because I have the games on my mind, I did a little digging to see how some past Olympians are earning paychecks now that they don’t have to devote 80 percent of their waking hours to training. As expected, many finish their educations and start families—especially when you remember that many Olympians are teenagers during competition. So here are a few medalists and where they are today.
Event: Women’s Individual All-Around gymnastics
Current occupation: Singer
Source: Her own site
As always, good luck to all the Olympians (who are probably too busy to read this blog, but still) and have fun watching!
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When you think of TV’s most famous romantic duos — Jim and Pam, McDreamy and Meredith, Turk and Carla, Sam and Diane, Mr. Burns and Smithers – they all have one thing in common: They met on the job.
But when it comes to finding love, it’s not just reserved for primetime. Regardless of the economy, one thing remains the same: The workplace fuels romance.
“Employees are working longer hours and under increased pressure, creating an environment that could cause relationships to bloom,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.
CareerBuilder’s annual office romance survey of more than 5,200 workers found that nearly four-in-ten (37 percent) workers said they have dated a co-worker at some time during their careers. That’s in line with the 40 percent who said the same in both 2009 and 2008. Almost one-third said they went on to marry the person they dated at work.
And what about the office crush? While eight percent of workers currently work with someone who they would like to date, with more men (11 percent) than women (4 percent) reporting they would like to do so.
Twelve percent of workers reported that their relationships started when they ran into each other outside of work. Some other situations where Cupid’s arrow flew between co-workers:
- Happy hour
- Working late at the office
- Company holiday party
- Business trip
The question remains: Once the relationship is established, should workers keep it a secret?
“Workplace relationships are more accepted these days, with 67 percent of workers saying they aren’t keeping their romance a secret. However, it is the responsibility of the individuals to understand company policy and make sure they adhere to it,” said Haefner.
The survey also showed the repercussions of workplace romance, with 5 percent of workers saying they have left a job due to an office romance. To be on the safe side, Haefner offers these tips if you want to spark a workplace romance:
- Know your company’s office relationship policy: While some companies are completely open to office romances, others may have stricter policies. Make sure both parties in the relationship are aware of potential rules or consequences.
- Beware of social media: Before you start posting pictures and status updates about your newfound coupledom, it may be better to inform your co-workers or boss in person. That way, there is less chance for gossip or speculation.
- Always take the high road: If your relationship should end, do your best to maintain professionalism and not let the issues affect your performance on the job.
So tell us your office romance story. Was it a success or did it fizzle?
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If you’re one of the people who tuned into the big game yesterday–and seeing as the audience is expected to top 100 million people, you probably were a viewer–you saw a heck of a game. And by now everyone accepts the fact that the commercials are just as much of a draw as the game itself.
In case you were away from the TV getting your third plate of food (or, let’s be honest, opening up another bag of chips so you could eat bean dip straight from the jar), you might have missed some of the commercials. This year, CareerBuilder did something different from our usual big reveal during the game. We held a contest where anyone could submit a commercial idea to us and we’d pick the winner. We narrowed it down to three and let everyone vote on which should air during the game. And the winner was…”Casual Friday!” In case you missed out or want to watch it again, here it is:
If you want to see the other two commercials that didn’t air, check out our YouTube channel.
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