Friday, March 6, 2015

We need a better "snow day" deal

When my daughter was young, I remember the giddy hours in the morning when snow was falling in Washington, DC--would school be closed? She would snuggle in bed with her radio waiting, waiting, then BAM! St Anne's was closed! Yay!

Suddenly she was infused with energy--racing around the apt--a long day was coming. Even though I worked at home, I needed some quiet and peace. I would try to get her to walk or run in the halls--no way! It was TV all day!

Now with this warming or cooling (who knows) stuff, the snow is blanketing back east. In Boston, kids have missed nine to 11 days. Detroit is one day from it's allowed maximum of missed days.

Parents freak out, trying to find child care.

The districts are trying to make up the lost days. In Salem Mass, students and teachers have to come in for two days of Spring Break. Other areas are adding days to the end of the term. Some kids will go to school on Good Friday. Still other areas are lengthening the days.

Or--kids must WORK from home--with by going online or using "blizzard bags" of worksheets.

Aw, what fun is that?

I am kidding--I approve. These kids are so undereducated as it is. Watching The Price is Right all day is hardly educational.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Hardest working cities in the US

Want to work hard and scramble to the top? Kathryn Dill,, talks about the hardest working cities.

Number 1--Anchorage, Alaska.

WalletHub looked at the 16 most populous cities--average workweeks, commute time, labor force participation rate, workers with more than one job, hours volunteering per resident, average days a month with below-average sleep, and average daily leisure time.

This was the cities alone--not surrounding areas.

First, Americans are four times as productive now as in the 1950s.

In 1950, Americans worked 214 more hours a week than they did then. This is due to techonology, a lot of it. But still, Americans work 50% more than their European counterparts.

In Anchorage, residents work an average of 40.7 hours a week. The labor participation is almost 80%.

Virginia Beach, Virginia, has an average week of just over 40 hours. Labor participation is 77.8%.

Next are Plano, TX, Cheyenne, WY, and Irving, TX with just over 40 hours a week and labor participation of about 80%.

At the other end--Burlington, VT--33.1 hours a week, under 71% participation.

You are enjoying life a little too much, Vermont. Step it up!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Too much STEM?

Alexandra Ossola, Nextgov Mag, Dec 3, 2105, says many companies are financing STEM programs--and of course, the government is pushing science, tech, engineering and math like mad.

STEM STEM STEM. Is this being overdone? She says sometimes this can be an overused buzzword.

Students pressed into these majors can fail to get a well-rounded education.

She quotes David Drew, an education prof at Claremont Graduate Univ in California and author of STEM the Tide.

He says there is a profound shift in how the economy functions--since the 1960s, the economy has moved more to being a service economy.  More time on customers, less time on product.

While this means more technology to help customers, the T part in STEM may be emphasized. But there is not likely to be a shortage of scientists.

Drew also says there are barriers to getting into STEM fields--discrimination even.

The United States is not at the top of STEM. But being literate in these areas, he says, is the equivalent of being literate and numerate in the 19th century.

But the jobs may not exist--so why push it so hard. Because we should, Draw says, basically.

This conversation, he says, will be kicking around for a while.

What does this amount to? If you do not want to be a scientist or technologically oriented--it is probably OK--but most students will continue to get a push into these areas.

My take, anyhow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Where else you gonna fish?

You know the saying--"Never fish off the company pier."

This means don't date people at work. But Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, says one of their surveys shows that 37% of workers have dated their coworkers.

Basically, the idea is that people are there--you see them every day--you know their reputation--you see them at their best and worst.

What's more--Tarpey reports--in 19% of those who have done this, one or both people were married.

In three in 10 cases, this dallying led to marriage.

What would keep someone from an office romance?

39% said this does not work on a consistent basis.

25% tried it already.

20% travel a lot.

8% work nights.

Incidentally, women are less likely to date someone who has dated a coworker. Men don't seem to care as much.

All this is fascinating, but as someone who tried this ill-advised behavior--expect the unexpected. All I am saying.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lessons from Pepsico's summer internship

Want a summer internship with a big player?

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder, writes about this. First there are things to do NOW.

Create or update your res. Go online--find out how to write one. Or check with your collegeoutplacement office.

Take risks--approach your dream place--what do you have to lose?

As an example, Pepsico held a meeting of the Minds Contest.

It closed, but you could still take a page from it and create a short video relating to the business of your target company. Pick subject matter you as a younger person would know about--tech, music, athletics.

 Show your passion--your talent--even your humor!

Friday, February 27, 2015

New job--new problems

Susan Ricker, writing on CareerBuilder, says a new job can mean a feeling of being overwhelmed with newness. New people, new projects, new conflicts...

Often you feel in over your head after a big project is underway--even if you are not new.

Look at what management consultants do--they break each big thing into smaller tasks.What about the equipment...what about the marketing message...what about social media..what about measuring results...

Sometimes you need to get guidance from others on the team--what is the first priority, the second..Don't be afraid to ask.

Make realistic commitments--yes, you have to sleep, eat, see your family. Put together a written timeline, don't careen from idea to idea, task to task...

Talk to your manager--see how you are doing, get suggestions. This is perfectly OK when you are new, and usually it is also OK and preferred by managers even when you are not new--they don't like surprises, either.

It's like the first day of school--you are not expected to know everything that will be taught.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

How to spend your first paycheck

Calling all grads and Millennials and other newbies. You finally got a job--and with it came a paycheck.

You are on your way! This according to Matthew Tarpey, writing on CareerBuilder.

But on your way to where--the bar the celebrate? The casino?

A first instinct is to spend the first money on yourself--you deserve it.

But--please--do not change your lifestyle too fast!

Living beyond your means is very hard to reverse.

Have a plan for that first check. Maybe put aside a small amount to splurge or for a long-desired purchase.

Yes, another paycheck is coming--but this is no excuse to run riot. You need to account for food, shelter, clothes, taxes, insurance, savings.

A very good move is to open a savings account and have 10% put in it automatically.

Save a percentage--not just something like $100. In a few years, that $100 will be a low percentage.

And remember--look at the FICA--Uncle Sugar helped himself to a ton--money doesn't go as far as it used to.

I know--I am a big buzzkill. Listen or not--you will find your way.