Thursday, March 31, 2016

Do you suffer from FOMO?

FOMO--Fear Of Missing Out.

This particularly affects teens and Millennials.  And it's taking a toll.

At least 24% of teens are online almost constantly.

The average college student spends as much as 10 hrs on his or her phone every day.

And Millennials are especially affected because they have jobs and carreers and feel a rival may NOT be missing out when they are.

"Give me more" and "I want that" can lead to dissatisfaction. Of course, they have studies.

If you have FOMO, you are looking out--to a celebrity, a friend, a Facebook name, a Twitter personality--instead of inward on what satisfies you.

If you are constantly absorbing what others are doing--or wondering what they are up to--you miss out on your own life.

There are a few do-overs in life.

What can you do about this? Try writing down every time you have a negative thought--say a friend is taking a great rip and you're not. Write how you feel.

Ask yourself what can I learn from this knowledge.

And remember--what looks to you like someone else's great fortune may not be exactly that.

You are probably not missing out on anything much.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

More employers want college

Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, says 32% of employers have raised the bar in the last five years.

More than a third (37%) are hiring employees with college degrees for posts formerly held by those with HS diplomas only. Twenty-seven percent now want a master's, where a BA or BS was OK before.

Part of this is because they can--the job market has been tight--they can ask for more.

And now they are seeing advantages...

--Higher quality work--57%

--Productivity--43%

--Communication--38%

--Innovation--37%

--Employee retention--32%

--Customer loyalty--25%

--Revenues--21%

Thirty-six percent of employers in this group also said they would not promote someone without college.

But all is not dark. Employers are also pitching in to train low-skill workers for high-skill jobs. Thirty-five percent of employers did that in 2015.

Sixty-four percent hire people with most of the skills--and train for the rest.

Forty percent of employers even send employees back for an advanced degree, and 12% pay the freight.

Time's are a-changin'.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

She started young with a life plan

I look back and see that I kind of let life happen to me. Not everyone is like that. CareerBuilder writer Debra Auerbach interviewed a high schooler who had given a LOT of thought to her future.

Grace, is from LaGrange, Illinois. She went to the site called http://findyourcalling.com I wrote about a few weeks ago.

She said she definitely was headed to college. What major? Maybe something in the health sciences--physical therapist maybe or a dentist.

They asked had she gotten info on what education is involved. She said she hadn't but would like to know which schools would be best.

She liked the Find Your Calling site and found it useful.  She was surprised though that some matches were not things she thought she would be good for.

She also said the site was easy to use.

The site told her her best fit was sports medicine. She is already thinking of applying to the Univ of Wisconsin or Univ of Michigan--sports medicine.

First, she's young--she may change her mind. But she also, as a young woman, had the will to try to see her options. This all bodes well.

I am trying to encourage my own daughter to go to the site--so far, she's reluctant--I think she is afraid to get swept into a big life change...but isn't that part of life--big changes?

Monday, March 28, 2016

"Not face" is universal

Across many lands and cultures, the "not face" seems to be recognizable as conveying a negative emotion.

It consists of a furrowed brow, pressed lips, a raised chin...it is "not" happy.

The Ohio State study (published in Cognition) says we form the "not face" with the same frequency ass we speak or sign in ASL.

Sometimes in ASL, the speaker just makes the face and doesn't sign it.

The researchers called this evidence that this face was a unique part of language.

Previously this team has identified 21 distinct emotional expressions--including compound ones, such as happy-disgusted (think Hangover movie).

Charles Darwin believe the ability to communicate danger was key to human survival before we even had language. Of course, the scientists tested this in a study.

The "not face" is composed of the furrowed brows of anger, the raised chin of disgust, and the pressed lips of contempt.

My question is--is this the same as a bitchy resting face?

Friday, March 25, 2016

Workers more likely to help those with way higher or lower status

A new study seems to show that you are more likely to help someone several rungs down or above you--but not right near you in status.

Robert Lount, assoicate prof of management and human resources at Ohio State, coauthored the research. (Academy of Management Discoveries--online).

The sweet spot for helping seems to be someone at modertate distance from you in status, he says.

The notion is that someone near you in status poses more of a threat to you.

But helping people far below or above may take more time and impact your own job performance.

I wondered--would this finding affect mentoring or explain it?

Of course, they did some studies on this...I won't go into the details.

The profs were quick to point out that this did not mean  most people would refuse requests from coworkers near them in status.

But it might mean it is not a good idea to assign a newcomer to someone who was recently hired.

I don't know--what do you think?

I think a worker would be quick to help someone way above them...but would they help say, another level employer collate copies? It seems kind of bogus to me. Yet--people do recognize threats and respond accordingly.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jobs that will go begging

Hey, students--thinking of declaring a major? According to CareerBuilder, certain programs are not producing enough grads to keep up with demand.

The upshot? Could be job security.

Here's an example from Debra Auerbach's story: In 2014, 1157,591 people graduated with degrees in computer science and information sciences. From Jan 2015-Jan 2016, 689,685 jobs were posted in these fields each month. But the average number of hires was 209,035 a month--leaving 480,650 positions open.

STEM (science tech engineering math) fields are affected, but they aren't the only ones.

Gaps between openings and those who can fill them occur in:

Registered nursing

Pharmacy and pharmaceuticals

Human resources

Electrical and electronic engineering

Mechanical engineering

Biology, general health info/med records

Legal asst/paralegal

Economics

Civil engineering

Graphic design

Almost half of employers think students just don't know this.

Again, you can check out http://findyourcalling.com to see what fields might be right for you.

And might WANT you.

Graphic design--I was surprised to see that one...I have worked with many designers...Fun field.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dumb blonde is a dumb myth

Plenty smart.
A study of 10,878 Americans found that white women who said their natural hair color was blonde had an average IQ within three points of brunettes or people with other hair color.

Jay Zagorsky, a scientist at Ohio State, says the dumb blond jokes have real-world implications.

Stereotypes, he says, have an impact on hiring, promotions, and other social interactions.

The same went for blonde men--by the way--not dumber.

Blonde women had an average IQ of 103.2 in the study. Women with brown hair rated 102.7, 101.2 for red heads, and 100.5 for those with black hair.

Interestingly, they also found that blondes grew up in homes with more reading material...

Hmmm..also interestingly, they estimated that 3.5% of the subjects said they were natural blondes but probably were not based on statistics.

Lie about hair color? At least they didn't check.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Does your boss hate you?

Liz Ryan is CEO and founder of Human Workplace. Writing in Forbes, she says when she was younger she was shocked at how personal the workplace is, If your boss likes you, you will rise. If not, through no fault of your own, you may be held back or thwarted.

People are driven by emotion, she says, to a degree most business leaders would not admit.

Managers surround themselves with people who hold their world view. Not all, but many.

If you seem to be a threat--the knives come out.

Some signs your boss hates you:

--Your job description seems to be in flux--you get assignments, they are suddenly taken away--this is to keep you off balance/

--Your projects and initiatives, once high priority, are languishing.

--Access to the manager, formerly accepted, is now unavailable.

--Coworkers as, "What happened between you and So-and-so?"

--Perks disappear.

--You learn about changes to your workload through the grapevine.

--Your boss snipes at you in email or even before others.

--Your boss second-guesses you all the time.

--You are no longer in the inner circle, are the last to know.

So what can you do if this happens?

First, ask yourself have you gotten everything out of this job you can. Is it worth it to stick it out?

You can ask the boss what's up, but it probably would be clear by now.

Your best bet, Ryan says, is to start a stealth job search.

She says the bright side is if you get in this situation again, you will see it for what it is sooner.

Yeah...some bright side.

Monday, March 21, 2016

It's my job and I'll cry if I want to

First--full disclosure, when I had an office job, I cried a time or two. Or more.

Olga Khazan, Government Executive Magazine, interviewed 15 high profile women about crying at work and the majority expressed negative views.

Khazan maintains there is nothing inherently bad about crying. Even men, in the olden days, cried without restraint.

Crying, she says, is an unexpected emotional cue--like a burst of laughter--but snaps people to attention, as she puts it.

In one survey of 700 people, 41% of women admitted to crying at work in the past year. Women do cry more than men and yes, it's a hormonal thing.

Usually it's not from sadness but from helplessness or hopelessness. Men might react to the same thing with anger.

Crying at work, though, makes some people (men) think you can't handle the pressure--this can inhibit promotions.

Many times, it's involuntary--but almost always people think the female crier is doing it intentionally.

As a rule, women who cry are thought to be emotional, manipulative or lacking in control. If a man mists up, he is regarded as "human."

So there you go--it's a crying shame.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Refresher on what to avoid in jobhunting

No, uh-uh.
Seems like I write about this all the time--but getting a job is still a big hurdle.

Arnie Fertig, MPA is the jobhunter coach.

He warns about some pitfalls you may run into in your job hunt.

You might take extended time off from hunting. There can be any number of reasons--kids home for the summer, want to travel. Ask yourself: If you were working, would you take this much time off? Taking too much time off also lets skills go stale and networking contacts to fade.

It is also a mistake to spend lots of time on job boards and applying online. Only 10% of jobs come to people who just went online and scored.

Some job hunters also spin wheels asking others what they should do (I guess that would include reading this blog).  You can put out the word to your network or on Linked In but those people may not know you well enough to know what job might be appropriate.

It is better to say--I understand ABC is looking--do you know anyone there I could speak to?

It is also a big mistake to telegraph your desperation. In a job hunting situation--it's what you can do for them, not what they can do for you! Remember that in the interview, too.

And last, it's not a good idea to apply only to dream jobs. Everyone will say follow your passion, but this may not be practical. Stick with your field, what you know best and where you have the most to talk about and offer.

Gee, sounds so easy. It's not. I know that.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Slow, unmotivated, burned out

Fake it till you make it? 
Brett Steenbarger, writing on Forbes.com, says Gallup surveys show only a third of workers are engaged in their work.

You become engaged when you can do what you do best, have a voice at work, and have someone who encourages your professional development.

Not only are these downplayed by poor management, but also by the absence of a positive emotional experience.

Joy! Happpiness, pleasure--for work or off hours?

Satisfaction. Doing meaningful things.

Energy. Excitement, optimism.

Relationships. Closeness, support.

One source in this story described her loss of "hum," her ability to stay creative. She was a designer and all the colors seemed the same and she was no longer having fun.

This is ineffective self-management, Steenbarger says.

This designer decided to say YES to more things. She played more, gave her kids undivided attention.

Play is fuel. We do best when our tanks are full.

Too much routine is stifling.

No is the enemy of engagement.

I have been feeling blah the last few days--teasing at a plot problem in one of my cartoons, wanting to get a logo for the project created but feeling I should not spend the money.

Should I say YES to something?

I don't want this to sound too Pollyanna--but probably... Hmmmm...Or should that be HUM?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Millennials--so misunderstood?

Oracle.com ran a piece on Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) by Jessica Kriegel, author of Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes.

These people have been in the workforce 15 years since college (if they got a job).

She says younger workers make older ones feel threatened, so much so that Saturday Night Live even did a skit on Millennials--and that is their audience!

She says the data does not support the stereotype of Millennials as obsessing over their phones, demanding immediate promotions, and taking time off to get "perspective."

She studied the learning technology preferences of 399 Boomers and Millennials at a railroad organization--their preferences were identical.

(Not sure if that is conclusive evidence, maybe it's a Millennial thing--kidding, kidding.)

Still, as Kriegel points out, people get denied promotions, and are excluded from opportunities for being "young" and apparently feeling entitled.

This may not be true.

Maybe we could take it on a case by case basis. Think?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

In the interview--dress for the part

Business casual.
You've read all the advice--I have WRITTEN the usual advice--but should your attire vary by the company where you are interviewing?

Mary Lorenz, CareerBuilder, says a suit is no longer the universal standard. IBM's idea of professional may not be Google's, in other words.

Startups are often looking for people. But they tend to be more lax in dress.A suit may mark you as uptight--not a good fit for a place with a bar and Foosball.

Yet, some places require suits or equivalent female attire every day--law firms or finance firms come to mind.

You need to do your homework. But here are some definitions:

Business professional. Suits for men, skirts or pants with heels for women.  Men can also wear a blazer, button-down shirt, tie, dress shoes.

Business casual.  For men, dress slacks or chinos, a button-down or polo shirt, belt, dress shoes. For women, a conservative one-piece dress or blouse/sweater and skirt, dress shoes or boots.

Casual. No jeans or flipflops, For men, khakis, long-sleeve shirt, belt, dress shoes. For women, a collared shirt with pants or pencil skirt, or a work dress.

Check out the company ahead of time--see how people dress on the website. Ask people who work there.

If in doubt, err on the side of overdressing a little--a step above the usual attire in the office (that's for after you get the job).

Blue is the most employer-approved color, followed by black, brown and gray.

Also--don't wear perfume, aftershave or cologne. Some hiring people have allergies and it can be a distraction.

Basically, I would say don't show the "girls," wear flipflops, sandals or ripped jeans, or throw on so much clunky jewelry you look like an outtake from Harper's Bazaar.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Look alive, sleepyhead

Oh, for heaven's sake.
According to Deanna Hartley, CareerBuilder, three out of five workers say they are not getting enough sleep--and this takes a toll in the workplace.

Only 16% in one survey said they got 8 hours. Sixty-three percent said they settle for 6-7 hours.

A full fifth of those surveyed get under 5 hours.

What's the deal here? Well, almost half say they can't sleep thinking about work.

Forty-three percents have caught someone sleeping on the job.

So how does this affect work?

A fourth said they are less productive.

17% said it affected their memory.

More than a fourth said they were less motivated.

And 13% said it made them more irritable with coworkers.

Turn off those devices and cop some Zzz's... Everything will be there in the morning--including you bright and shiny-faced.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Have you heard? The world is changing

Sometimes the old becomes new again.
We older people tend to look at the younger ones coming up as "entitled," or "frivolous," yet many are idealistic, industrious, people-oriented, and have good, solid values.

But as a bloc, they do require a different approach in convincing and marketing to them, according to  Summer Gould, president of Eye/Comm Inc, writing in Target Marketing Magazine, Mar 10, 2016.

Yes, they still have direct mail--although don't you see a lot of two-sided postcards these days? I do.

Gould says you need to pay attention to the images in your direct mail pieces in order to appeal to Millennials. Don't use stock or bland pictures of one man showing another man a piece of paper.
Put your actual employees in the shot.

You also need to be accessible. Is it easy to reach you? Are there many ways to do it--phone, street address, website, Twitter, email, etc.?

Be human--Show your brand in action, with real people.

Be socially aware--show the good things your company does for social causes. How do your employees give back--do you give them time to do coummnity work? Show charities in line with your mission.

Technololgy is also important to Millennials. Put the latest contact methods in your direct mail--codes. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.

Be informative, not pushy. Use social media.

And remember! Track all responses--what is working and what isn't? This is your database.

And your database is your customer base.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

When you should ask the questions

You have read up on the company, scoured their website, googled, and think you know the culture--you are ready to answer any questions the interviewer has.

But--asks Rob Zalivar of CareerBuilder, what questions do YOU have?

He quotes Ron Fry, author of 101 Smart Questions to Ask in Your Interview. You need to know company history, major competitors, how this company compares in size to others in the industry, products, services, large customers, and the latest news.

You also should know the backgrounds of the principals.

But you also may want to ask or clarify: What role the job plays in the organization. Why is it vacant?

Beyond that, you may wish to say something like, "I read about your new (product, service, initiative, IPO)--how will I be able to contribute?"

Or: "I noticed your company values listed on your website. Tell me how I can be customer-centric (or another value) in this position?"

Or: "What is your favorite part of the company culture?"

Above all, don't be afraid to ask questions...

One I do not recommend is: "What time do people leave work?" At least not first thing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Worst--and best--jobs for your health

Chad Brooks of Business News Daily, Mar 7, 2016, writes that the American Heart Assn examined the health of a sample of people over 45 years of age-measuring blood pressure, BMI, total cholesterol, blood sugar, smoking, and diet quality.

The lead scientist said people tend to have worse cardiovascular profiles as they aged, but some jobs were worse than others in this respect.

Of police and firefighters, 90% tended to be overweight or worse, 77% did not have ideal cholesterol, and 35% had high BP.

Employees in service occupations--preparing food, custodians, groundskeepeers, and personal care workers--had the second highest risk of heart disease or stroke. Eight percent of these also had a poor diet.

Those working in sales--also high risk for heart disease.

Those working in management and white collar professional jobs had better cardio health. A third had ideal body weight, 75% were at least somewhat active, and only 6% smoked.

Health care professionals, employees in the arts, sports, and media--also rated well.

The advice--take walks at lunch, take the stairs, park a walk away from the door.

Small steps, the researchers said--do not get overwhelmed.

If articles like this overwhelm, sorry in advance.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Before a job interview...try this

Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, advises that getting up for an interview requires a lot more than memorizing some answer to "where do you see yourself in 10 yrs?" or "what is your biggest weakness?"

First, you need to look great appearance-wise. Clean, pressed business clothes, no skin, no mini-skirts or collarless shirts. Polished shoes--no sneaks.

Do your research. I type this over and over--do you always go to the company's website? Explore it, see the direction they are going? Do you search on NAME OF COMPANY and COMPLAINTS? Do you have a handle on their products, Have they merged with another company--or plan to.

Ask yourself if you are a good fit. Be honest.Go over interview questions with a coach or friend.

The most common questions you will face are:

Tell me about yourself...55% of interviewers ask this. Be short, hit the high spots. Do not ramble--"Well, it all began 27 years ago in St Louis..."

Why do you want this job? Half get asked this.

Why did you leave your last job--again half the time this comes up.

Greatest strength, greatest weakness--49% of interviews will get to this.

Describe a difficult situation you overcame at work--48%.

NEVER say anything negative about past employers, no matter how bad the situation might have been. Interviewers are human--they can see you saying the same thing about them in a year...and will cool in a hot second.

Game over.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Wacky things not to do in interviews

Where do I see myself in 10 years?
At very least, interviewers may be looking for common sense in job seekers. Don't shoot yourself in the foot going in--I mean, literally--don't shoot yourself in the foot.

Matthew Tarpey, CareerBuilder, says it would seem common sense would prevent the following errors, but as we all know, common sense is far from common.

--One jobseeker took a family photo off the interviewer's desk and put it in her purse.

--A candidate started screaming that the interview was taking too long.

---Another seeker said her main job was as a medium--would the interviewer like her palm read?

--When asked her ideal job, one said "painting birdhouses." The job was data entry clerk.

--Another SANG her responses.

--A prospect tried to feel the interviewer's chest so they could go heart to heart.

--Another had a pet bird with him--in his shirt.

--Candidate took a phone interviewer in the john--and audibly flushed.

Other missteps include body language.

In a survey, 67% of interviewers said the worst mistake was not making eye contact.

--Failing to smile--39%

--Playing with something on the table--33%

--Bad posture---30%

--Fidgeting--29%

--Playing with hair, touching face--27%

Weak handshake--21%

Gesturing too much--11%

Do I really have to tell you this stuff still?

Sometimes I think the WORST advice is Be Yourself.

Friday, March 4, 2016

From part-time to full

Is this you forever?
With the economy creeping to drowsy life in some sectors, some people will be able to promote a full-time job out of one that was part-time.

Matt Tarpey, CareerBuilder, offers some tips on things you must do to migrate to full-time.

Learn the skills. Treat your part-time job as a full-time responsibility--learn all aspects. Don't slough it off as temporary.

Be sure you are adding value--if only part-time. Think about the needs of the business, how you could fulfill those more full-time.

Request more responsibility. Offer to help others if you have time left over. Make it known you can take on more.

Talk to your boss. If you are serious about wanting to go full-time, let the boss know...Or ask, "Do you think this job could be expanded to full-time, does the company ever do that?"

And keep up ties with the rest of the team, as well. If you are helping them, they will be on your team to get on their team.

People do expand a part-time job into a full-time one--give it some thought.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

If the govt wants to throw money around--this is good

I am so distressed of late over the lack of critical thinking in the electorate--it's almost as if people don't want facts, don't want conflicting information, won't listen or maybe can't even listen.

I tend to blame the educational system, which does not seem to emphasize the 3 R's anymore--in some schools they don't even teach the multiplication tables or handwriting. Kids can't read a note from Mom when they find one pinned on the fridge.

And above all, I lament the poor reading skills, a widespread disinterest in reading for pleasure as well as information.

So I perked a little when I saw a story from the Cincinnati Children's Medical Center on a program in that city to incorporate reading into pediatric care.

A program called Reach Out and Read partners with doctors to encourage reading at doctor visits and at home.

Imagination Library, another program, is trying to provide each child with a library of books by the time they enter kindergarten--starting with a free book in the mail each month from infancy and up.

Forty-five hundred kids are collecting these libraries.

Studies show that reading TO children helps the brain develop in the area of visualization and keeping track of a story. In other words--listening.

The docs plan to assess reading readiness of the kids involved in coming years. But for me, this is a big YES!

Will there be "text" over 140 characters long or newspapers for these kids to read as adults--different story...

But for now--read read read. And above all, enjoy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Is a robot smarter than you in an emergency?

Follow me, all is well...well...well...well.
Researchers at Georgia Tech say we may trust robots too much for our own safety.  The simulated a building fire and people trusted the instructions from a robot even after the machine had proved unreliable--and people were even told the robot had broken down.

People seem to believe that a robotic system knows more about the world than they do and would never have a fault or breakdown, one researcher said.

They took 42 college student volunteers and asked them to follow a brightly colored robot labeled "Emergency Guide Robot" into a conference room, where they completed a survey about robots and read an unrelated article.

In the test, the robot led the subjects into the wrong room, traveled in a circle twice, and the researcher told them it had broken down. Then when the subjects were in the room doing their tasks, artificial smoke set off a smoke alarm.

When they opened the conference room door, they saw the smoke and the robot lit up and pointed with white pointers. They followed it to an exist in the back--not the one the subjects had come through to get in the building.

The robot had become an authority figure.

Some did question it in the "smoke" part of the exercise, but some followed it even when it led them to a dark room blocked by furniture.

Well, that's comforting. Heads up, people!

Do you believe the robot on the phone who says he values your call? Didn't think so.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Science can make working at home more productive

Even at home, you can delegate.
Science, huh? Well, that is the contention of an article on CareerBuilder by Mary Lorenz.

Apparently Stanford did a study that showed that people who work at home are more productive than those who lounge around the water cooler or half-pipe at work.

Supposedly there is science to back up each of these tips:

Create a to-do list.  Having a list on paper, researchers say, frees up your brain to focus. What's bext is a work task--not a fridge foray.

Put on pants. You can keep the jammies on and never leave your bed, but getting dressed is a focusing mechanism. I wear a nice top, jewelry, makeup, and well...some pretty clapped out shorts. But from the waist-up, I am presentable.

Turn off your phone. A 2015 CareerBuilder study showed phones are the biggest work killer. Some apps to help--Inbox Pause and ColdTurkey.,

Take a lunch or nap break, maybe both. Regroup, Eat a health lunch with protein.

Color yourself productive. Make your workspace soothing and neutral...yes, paint it.

Make some noise. Studies show you need some noise around to focus. Maybe music or a TV on in another room.

Don't isolate. Being around people boosts mood. Find a Meetup.com group, work in the library or coffee shop.

Find what works for you.

I find that wanting money and a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day--and maybe some fun--work for me.