In the new movie “Larry Crowne,” Tom Hanks plays a Navy veteran who is a manager at one of those big box stores where you can buy bananas, a TV, new tires for your car and fish tank all under one roof. Although he is something of a superstar employee, he’s unceremoniously let go when the company downsizes, and one reason he’s given is that he lacks the college education many other professionals have.
Of course, magical movie land, Hanks decides to go to community college to get an education and revamp his career. After making friends with a delightful group of students who ride scooters—because why wouldn’t they?—he develops a crush on his embittered speech teacher, played by Julia Roberts. You can only assume that romantic hilarity ensures. This is, after all, a comedy starring Hanks and Roberts. You’ll recall that last year she played a woman who needed to escape the confines of daily life and decided to eat her way through various countries. Along the way she ate and prayed and still looked fantastic. And Hanks managed to make being stranded on a deserted island fun and heartwarming. In other words, this movie’s goal isn’t to expose the anguish the average American would feel in this situation. The predicament, however, is all very real for many workers.
Veterans in the workforce
That Larry Crowne is a veteran who finds himself in a tough professional spot isn’t surprising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The unemployment rate for veterans who served in the military at any time since September 2001–a group referred to as Gulf War-era II veterans–was 11.5 percent in 2010.” (Admittedly, this group of veterans would be of a different generation than Crowne’s.) Although the overall employment rate for veterans is approximately the same or slightly better than nonveterans in most categories, younger veterans have a moderately higher unemployment rate than older veterans.
A recent article on the Chicago Sun-Times highlights the plights of many unemployed veterans. According to the article, “Among the reasons for the high rate of veteran joblessness, advocates say:
- Military culture, language and job skills are not easily translated or understood in the civilian world.
- Many veterans coming out of the service don’t know how to effectively market themselves.
- Insufficient private-sector involvement in government programs designed to help veterans transition into the civilian workforce.”
Education and career advancement
Another significant issue facing workers is education, or a lack thereof. The Lumina Foundation, an education advocacy foundation, has assessed the education level of the current workforce overall and state-by-state, and they found that college degrees will continue to be deciding factors in employment.
Recently on PBS’s “Nightly Business Report,” Jamie Merisotis, the president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, explained where we’re headed as a nation.
“The facts show that the number of jobs for workers with high school diplomas is shrinking, rapidly. In many cases, entire industries that employed these workers are vanishing,” Merisotis said. “Lifetime earnings of college graduates are nearly double of high school graduates.”
This outlook is mirrored by Dr. Mary B. Hawkins, president of Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb.
“Higher education is an economic issue when the unemployment rate for people who’ve never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have gone to college,” she explains. “It’s an issue when nearly eight in 10 new jobs will require workforce training or a higher education by the end of this decade.”
That said, workers face serious hurdles when it comes to obtaining a degree: time and money. In the movie, Crowne can afford to go back to school and spend time with his scooter pals. In reality, workers would be panicking to pay for school and find a babysitter for their children or another job to offset the cost. Granted, this would have made for a downer of a film.
Some people have been able to overcome the time dilemma with online courses at schools like Bellevue or countless others, which allow for flexible schedules. Some students opt to take a lighter class load so that they can continue to work and earn money. Even with these options school is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor that workers, their families and maybe even their employers will continue to deal with in the future.
To get a clearer picture of where Americans are headed with regard to education, check out this extensive study, which breaks down education attainment state-by-state. It’s worth a read to see how the country’s workers what the workforce in your state looks like and what your job-search competition looks like. It might inspire you to hit the books or at least to revamp your résumé and cover letter to emphasize your educational qualifications. (Or maybe you’ll meet a teacher who looks just like a movie star and fall in love! If that happens, let us know in the comments section.)
As always, we’re interested in your experience. Has a college education been a boost to your career? Do you think employers are demanding a college education as a minimum requirement these days? Have you or anyone you know gone back to school to improve your career prospects?
Hopefully it goes to something fun, like a water park or cocktails by the pool. But we know it’s also going to job searching. Unfortunately, a job search can’t take a holiday and even when the kids are out of school and our favorite shows are in reruns, résumés are being written and interviews are being conducted. So fear not, we bring you our regular Tuesday feature of companies hiring this week.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of health care in this week’s list. Many positions are actual health care jobs, but if you click through the links, you’ll see that they are also hiring other positions (such as IT or project management), so don’t let an industry name intimidate you. Look in different fields to use your talents and you might be surprised what you find.
Here are 10 companies hiring this week:
Industry: In-home nursing and rehabilitation
Sample job titles: Agency director, call center representative
Amedisys Home Health
Industry: Home health care
Sample job titles: Occupational therapist, IT infrastructure project manager
Apollo Health Street
Industry: Health care billing
Sample job titles: Procurement, medical billing account manager
Certified Payment Processing
Industry: Merchant services
Sample job titles: Sales executive
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Wound care nurse, director of rehabilitation
Groundwater and Environmental Services
Industry: Environmental services
Sample job titles: Geologist or environmental scientist, environmental field technician
Horace Mann Insurance
Sample job titles: Senior appraiser, trainee claims counselor
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Nurse practitioner, licensed clinical psychologist
Sample job titles: Safety leader, key account sales manager
Industry: IT solutions
Sample job title: Director of software engineering, systems analyst
There’s nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning and realizing that it’s the weekend, knowing that you have the entire day ahead of you to do whatever it is you feel like doing. Unless, of course, you wake up on Saturday morning and realize that you have to work all day.
While working on the weekend may sound like a bad dream to many of us, it’s actually a routine reality for a fairly large part of the U.S. population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “American Time Use Survey,” more than one -third (35 percent) of the U.S. population is working on any given weekend (this accounts for jobholders who usually work on weekends, as well as those whose work occasionally carries over onto weekends).
Making the weekend workday slightly more bearable is the fact that, while the average workday during the week is about 7.9 hours, jobholders put in an average of just 5.5 hours per day on weekends.
So what else did the survey tell us about a day in the life of the average American? Below are some of the more interesting findings about how we spend our time.
- Among full-time workers, men worked about .4 hours more each day than women — 8.2 hours compared to 7.8 hours.
- On the average workday, 24 percent of jobholders did at least some work from home. Eighty-three percent did some or all of their work at their workplace.
- Self-employed workers were more likely to work from home than wage or salaried workers — 64 percent compared to 19 percent.
Home and leisure
- On an average day, women were not only more likely than men to do household activities like cleaning, cooking and lawn care — 84 percent compared to 67 percent; they also spent more time each day on these activities — 2.6 hours for women, compared to 2.1 hours for men.
- Overall, Americans spent the most leisure time watching TV (2.7 hours), followed by socializing — visiting with friends and attending social events — (about 45 mins).
- Men were more likely to participate in exercise, sports and recreation than women — 22 percent compared with 16 percent.
- In households with children under the age of 6, adults spent an average of two hours each day providing primary child care (where child care was the main activity) and 5.6 hours providing secondary care (where child care was done at the same time as a leisure or household activity).
How do these stats compare to your life? Let us know in the comments section.
We’ve established that co-workers can be just plain weird. They can even be toxic. If you’ve been lucky, you might have also found that they can be great friends. Can they also save your life? Yes. (They can also kill you, as any quick online search will tell you, but let’s not go there.)
In a 2011 article published in “Health Psychology,” the American Psychological Association finds that some workers benefit from having a “peer support system” from their co-workers. According to the study, this support system is defined by co-workers who help others solve problems and who act friendly to one another. Workers with this system have an increased likelihood of living longer than workers without helpful co-workers.
If you are or know a control freak, you’ll be glad to know that feeling in control can also have the same effect. The study found that men who felt like they were in control and like they had the authority to make decisions exhibited the same benefits of the protective effect.
“[P]eer social support, which could represent how well a participant is socially integrated in his or her employment context, is a potent predictor of the risk of all causes of mortality,” the researchers claim in the full-length article.
What’s interesting to note is that women didn’t exhibit the same effect as men when it came to having perceived control over a situation. The researchers explain that the study focused on workers in blue-collar jobs and women didn’t show the same level of frustration when they didn’t feel in control. Therefore having more control didn’t alter their overall feeling of support.
What have learned?
1. Surround yourself with good people. I’d venture to say that helpful, supportive colleagues make any job more bearable.
2. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be in control, then maybe you should seek out leadership positions. If you don’t like being in control, then don’t make yourself miserable and get a job as a leader. You know your personality better than anyone, so follow your instincts. Not sure if you’re a control freak? Take this quiz.
Do you agree with the study that supportive co-workers can extend your life (or at the very least make life better)? Do you think controlling people can feel better just because they think they have more control, even if they don’t? Let us know.
This morning on Twitter, I asked job seekers how they were ringing in the first official day of summer. One person eagerly responded that she had just accepted a temporary position. A new job seems like one of the best ways I can think to begin the summer. At least one of the best ways not involving a beach and arm floaties.
With that can-do attitude, here are your companies hiring this week, summer job seekers!
Sample job titles: Oracle PL/SQL developer, Peoplesoft functional HR consultant
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Midlevel Web developer, client executive
Sample job titles: Senior manager, health care product, operations analyst
Career Systems Development
Sample job titles: Human resources instructor, sr. Java engineer securities (equities trading)
GES Global Experience Specialist
Industry: Professional services
Sample job titles: Senior financial analyst, senior project manager
Industry: Rehabilitation services
Sample job titles: Central supply clerk, vice president of development
Insphere Insurance Solutions
Industry: Insurance sales
Sample job title: Sales representative
Liberty Mutual Group
Sample job titles: Claims customer service representative, associate case manager
Lowe’s Home Improvement
Industry: Retail (IT)
Sample job titles: Monitoring systems engineer, Siebel CRM specialist
The Nielsen Company
Industry: Information services industry
Sample job titles: Membership sales representative, sr. technical business analyst
The summer vacations of our school days might have ended a decade or two ago, but many of us still think of summertime as vacation time. It’s like a “less work, more play” instinct kicks in for most people — and at most offices — around June 1.
However, the downshift that many workplaces experience during the summer shouldn’t deter job seekers from searching for work during warmer months, says Patty Coffey, a partner in the information technology division of Winter, Wyman, one of the largest staffing organizations in the Northeast. In fact, Coffey calls the summer hiring slowdown a “myth,” and says that, if job seekers play their cards right, June, July and August may actually be some of the best months for job searching.
By Patty Coffey
It’s summertime — those carefree months when you put your flip flop-clad feet up, and sip a glass of lemonade in front of the ballgame. And it is certainly time to abandon that job search for a few months, right? Wrong! The perception that companies cut back on — or even stop — hiring in the summer is a myth. In fact, companies are filling positions at the same, if not an increased, pace during the hottest months of the year.
Conducting a job search during the summer can be tricky though, and it is important to avoid the biggest hazards for job seekers during the summertime — timing and schedules. Because of vacations — your own as well as employees of the companies with which you wish to interview — trying to schedule interviews can be complicated. An interview process that would typically take three weeks may take five or even longer!
Patience, therefore, is key for summer job seeking. Candidates shouldn’t feel discouraged if the interview process takes extra time, and those who can withstand a longer process may just find that perfect job.
Summertime is actually an opportune time to start or continue a job search. Here are eight great reasons why you should keep hunting when the mercury rises:
1. Summer is a slower season for some industries — Employees of many companies may actually have more time to interview candidates in the summer, when they aren’t on vacation, because it isn’t a busy time for their organization. For example, accounting firms are busiest in the winter and early spring, so summer is a great time for these firms to build and train their staff.
2. The jobs are there — Companies still need to hire even when it is 95 degrees outside. If you stop your job search, you could miss out on some great opportunities. And you may face less competition if other job seekers are buying into the summer slowdown myth.
3. Contract-to-hire positions are abundant — Many organizations will hire contract employees during the summer months, to fill long leaves of absence such as extended vacations and sabbaticals, and these positions could turn into permanent employment.
4. There are unexpected networking opportunities — Summer is a social season, so job seekers can take advantage of golf outings, barbeques, and neighborhood get-togethers to network with other professionals.
5. A shortened interview process is possible — While summer vacation schedules can prolong the interview process, they can also expedite it. If the schedules of all involved align, companies will speed up interviews (to even just one day!) to avoid the complexity of scheduling multiple meetings.
6. Summer makes for an easier transition — Summertime is typically a less hectic time to transition to a new job. Prospects can get acquainted with the company when less people are in the office and things are slower. It can also be less traumatic for families if a move is involved, since children wouldn’t have to switch schools mid-year.
7. You can sneak out of the office more easily — Many companies have a more lax schedule in July and August. Some close early on Fridays while others have more unofficial long weekends. Bosses are often on vacation or may take a long lunch, so employees can slip away unnoticed. Vacation days are more accepted–your boss won’t think it is odd if you take a vacation day or two in August. In fact, you could even consider taking a “job search vacation” where you conduct a week-long blitz of intense searching and interviewing.
8. It’s a time of energy — The days are longer. Flowers are in bloom. Summer is a buzzing season with a lot of vivacity! Serious job hunters should capitalize on both the energy of the season and myth of the summer slowdown by beginning or continuing their search. Jobs are certainly there, waiting for tenacious job hunters to beat the heat and find them!
What are your job search plans for summer? Let us know in the comments section, below.
One of the most frequently asked questions of the post-recession is, “Where are the jobs?” And we dutifully attempt to point you in the right direction, whether it’s our weekly list of companies hiring, a monthly list of companies hiring, or our occasional look at the state of employment around the country. All of the above have one thing on common: They point to signs that jobs are out there for the taking, even if they’re not at the pre-recession levels.
Such is the case with the recently released employment figures and unemployment rates for each state in May, the most recent month for data is available. The data, as tallied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reveals mixed news for job seekers throughout the country. Certainly, anything less than “unemployment reaches an all-time low” is going to be unwelcome news for many frustrated and discourage job seekers. However, compared to where the employment status has been over the past few years, we’re still trending in the right direction (even though we’re seeing hiccups here and there).
(The release contains more numbers and statistics than the average person cares to read, so if you want information for each state, look here.)
Here’s what we do know from April to May:
- 24 states experienced decreases in their unemployment rates
- 13 states and Washington, D.C., experienced increases in unemployment rates
- 13 states had no change in their unemployment rates
Perhaps most telling and promising are the year-over-year figures:
- 43 states and Washington, D.C., experienced decreased unemployment rates
- 4 states experienced increased unemployment rates
- The unemployment rate was 0.5 percent lower
When looking at states with the largest growth in employment month-over-month, you can look at both the raw numbers of employed workers and the percentages:
- Florida added the most jobs, with 28,000
- Ohio added the second most jobs, with 12,000
- Arizona and Louisiana each added 10,100 jobs
- Texas added 8,800 jobs
- In terms of percentage, Wyoming experienced the largest growth with 0.8 percent
- Louisiana came in second with a 0.5 percent increase
- Arizona and Florida each saw a 0.4 percent increase
For the not-so-great news in month-over-month news:
- California saw the steepest decrease, losing 29,200 jobs
- New York came in second with a 24,700 loss in jobs
- Pennsylvania experienced a 14,200 decrease in jobs
- Alaska’s employment dropped 1.5 percent, the largest decline
- Vermont’s employment decreased by 1.2 percent
- Delaware saw a 0.9 percent drop in employment
When looking at the good and bad in year-over-year numbers, here’s what we know compared to 2010:
- 39 states experienced increases in employment
- 11 states and Washington, D.C., saw decreases in employment
- North Dakota experienced the largest employment percentage gain with 4.3 percent
- Texas saw the second-largest gain, with 1.9 percent
- The largest decrease occurred in Maryland at 0.8 percent
- New Mexico was second was a decrease of 0.7 percent
And if what you want is to know where your best chances are for finding work, you can look to North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and South Dakota, which registered the lowest unemployment rates in the country, ranging from 3.2 percent to 4.8 percent, respectively. Nevada and California have the worst unemployment rates, with 12.1 percent and 11.7 percent respectively.
Looking at where we are today can feel frustration or just downright confusing. If we’re post-recession, as experts say, shouldn’t we feel post-recession? Shouldn’t every state be adding jobs and employment rates be increasing steadily? Ideally, yes. In reality, the economic turnaround isn’t an overnight occurrence, and the year-over-year numbers show an overwhelmingly positive trend.
Far be it for me or anyone to tell job seekers, “See, it’s not that bad!” because when you’re having trouble finding a job, all that matters is whether or not you’re close to earning a paycheck. And looking at this information, the best news we can take from this is that there is more good news than bad coming out of monthly employment reports.
That’s what the report says. But we want to hear from you, the job seekers, both employed and unemployed, what kind of changes you’ve seen from this time last. Is the job market improving for you? Do you see more opportunities out there? Are your friends and family having better luck finding work? Let us know.
During childhood, their wisdom may have helped us see a situation in a new way (“The smart kids may not be the cool ones now, but they’re the ones everyone will want to be in 20 years.”), and as we got older, it may have confirmed things we already knew deep down (“I didn’t want to have to tell you this, but that guy you’re dating is a jerk.”).
So, in honor of Fathers’ Day this weekend, we asked our Facebook fans and Twitter followers for the best career advice their fathers had given them. Here’s what their dad’s had to say.
- “You have to start somewhere. Take that job and make the best out of it.” – Will C., via Facebook
- “Success and happiness at work come by embracing and using the strengths that makes one different.” –@assetspersonifi via Twitter
- “If you’re on time, you’re late…”– Sheina S., via Facebook
- “’Always leave work each day having done more than you were paid to do.’ He was a disabled vet, but never acted it — a hero.” — @DesertDojo , via Twitter
- “Stay strong.”– Jeimyy N., via Facebook
- “Start your own business, treat it like it’s a baby. (You would never turn your back on or leave a baby alone.) [Then] you work your butt off for about twenty years.” – Brian W., via Facebook
- “No job is beneath you.” – Eric B., via Facebook
- “If you pick a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”– @HR_Cynic, via Twitter
- “Truthfulness goes a long way, honesty is the best policy.” – Jessie C., via Facebook
- “Always send a hand written thank you note. Maybe the best advice he ever gave.” – Michael G., via Facebook
- “Don’t quit!” – Debra M., via Facebook
- 12. “Show up on time, always give 100 percent and only leave when the job is done.” – Janiero C., via Facebook
- “Never say I don’t know. Say ‘Let me get back to you’ and go look it up.” – Carolyn H., via Facebook
- “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – @L_Gilmour, via Twitter
- “Do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, and be proud of whatever you do.” – Beverly R., via Facebook
- “Grin and bear it.” – Paul S., via Facebook
- “A great career lies at the crossroad of what you love, what you’re good at, and what people are willing to pay you for.” – @WhatUrGoodAt, via Twitter
- “As long as you’re putting food on the table for your family, hold your head high and be proud!” – @myJobble, via Twitter
- “Live your life by your own moral code and never sacrifice that same code in the workplace.” – Renee E., via Facebook
- “Love what you do, never give up, take risks and treat everyone with respect.” – @GenerationsGuru via Twitter
- “To write things down and regroup every day.” – Amie P., via Facebook
- “Get the best education you can, so that you could support yourself in case you marry the wrong man … It’s a good thing I took that advice!” – Donna E., via Facebook
- “Successful people take risks!” – @Career411Dan, via Twitter
- “Get up, go to work, do your job and be proud of yourself.” – Michael M., via Facebook
- “Do everything I didn’t and nothing I did and you will succeed.” – @easyresumewrite, via Twitter
- “Shut up and listen, there is always someone who knows more than you do. [And] it’s difficult to soar with eagles when you work with turkeys.” – Beth G., via Facebook
- “At 17 [years old], my dad told me to either go to college or into military. He had a GED. I now have MS [in engineering].” – @LindaLHargrove, via Twitter
- “Quit. They don’t deserve you.” – Keri C., via Facebook
- “Basically it’s ok to start off at the bottom but it’s not ok to stay there. Look at the top, see what they’re doing and do it.” –@ApolloGreg, via Twitter
- “You can’t change the circus, unless you change the clowns.” – @mdtnavedu, via Twitter
It’s Flag Day (this should help you get in the spirit) and it’s also the day before the Stanley Cup champion is decided (Go Bruins!). But, we hope you can tap into your excitement reserves and show some enthusiasm for our weekly list of companies hiring, below.
Sample job titles: Claims representative, customer service representative, sales representative
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets
Industry: Grocery, retail
Sample job titles: Team leader, customer assistant, store manager, production managers, kitchen table associates
Public Consulting Group
Industry: Public sector consulting
Sample job titles: Business analyst, consultant, senior consultant, schools specialist, project manager, software engineer, program manager
Career Systems Development
Sample job titles: Residential advisors, instructors, cooks, drivers, alcohol and drug counselors, counselor
Sample job titles: Java technical architect, financial management analyst, Informatica developer, .Net support analyst
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Flu shot nurses, wellness iInstructors, medical directors
Industry: Electronics and electrical engineering
Sample job titles: Software engineer, product engineer, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, energy engineer, quality engineer, biochemist, research scientist, clinical application specialists
Lowe’s Home Improvement
Industry: Retail (IT)
Sample job titles: Web Sphere, Developer, C+ Unix, senior system analyst
The Dow Chemical Company
Sample job titles: Business analyst / IS, process automation engineer, analytical chemist, production manager, Improvement Engineer
Industry: Health care
Sample job titles: Software developer, implementation consultant
Location: Boston, New York, Raleigh, Chicago
For more companies hiring, check out recent posts, below:
It’s tough to own up to a mistake. It’s embarrassing and humbling, and often there are consequences to face after taking responsibility for a wrongdoing. That’s why sometimes, people ignore or even flatly deny mistakes they’ve made — even when seemingly caught red-handed — hoping to somehow avoid the repercussions of their actions.
However, like Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and former International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn have demonstrated in the news recently, denying a mistake — especially when others are pretty certain that you’re the guilty party — can often make a bad situation infinitely worse. When the truth comes out, you not only look like a fool, but a liar as well.
So next time you make a mistake at work, own up to it — it’ll save you trouble, it’ll save your professional image and it may even save your job. Since ‘fessing up is one of those things that’s easier said than done, though, we gathered some expert advice to help you do it right.
1. Admit to the mistake quickly. Once you realize you’ve messed up, it’s best to tell your boss as soon as possible. “If your boss hears it from you rather than others, she or he will trust you more,” says Joseph Grenny, BusinessWeek leadership columnist and co-author of The New York Times best-seller “Crucial Conversations.” Confessing right away will not only prove to your boss that you’re trustworthy, but also that you’re responsible and concerned about correcting your actions.
2. Overcompensate for your mistake. After you admit to the mistake, be fully prepared to rectify your actions by whatever means necessary. This isn’t the time for pride or ego. “If a customer was hurt, for example, surprise and delight them in how you respond to their concerns,” Grenny says. “And let your boss know as soon as possible what you’re doing to fix the problem so she or he recognizes you’re owning the problem you created.”
3. Share what you learned. Once you’ve rectified the situation, sit down with your boss and identify what went wrong, how it went wrong and how things will be different in the future, Grenny says. Explaining that you completely understand how you made the mistake and how you can avoid making it again will help restore your boss’s faith in you.
4. Ask for feedback. After sharing what you learned, “ask the boss what other lessons you should draw from this experience,” Grenny says. She might have her own perspective on the situation.
Did you make a mistake at work and confess? How did it work out for you? Tell us about it in the comments section.