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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    jack welch suzy welch

    Today's advice comes from Jack and Suzy Welch, business leaders and contributors via LinkedIn:

    "When you have a big, crucial job opening to fill, it's just too easy to fall in love with a shiny new candidate who is on his best behavior, telling you exactly what you want to hear and looking like the answer to all your prayers. That's why you can never hire alone."

    Jack and Suzy say the biggest hiring mistake employers make is trusting their gut, instead of balancing it with reason and other opinions. They recommend having a team with at least one "hard-nose"— the kind of that is hard to please and can "sniff out the phonies." Finally, let the interviewee do most of the talking.

    "Yes, you want to sell your job, but not at all costs. In interviews, ask candidates about their last job — and then shut up for a good, long while. As they describe what they liked and what they didn't, you will likely hear much of what you really need to know about fit."

    Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.

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    Confidence Course

    Pretend you need to make a choice between doing this or doing that. Both options have their merits. Both have upsides and downsides. Absent a clear winner (which is often the case) what should you do?

    Always go with the hard choice.

    Here’s why:

    Effort creates its own reward.

    Hard work – especially incredibly hard work – rarely pays off in the short term. But without incredible effort there is almost never an incredible payoff.

    The hard choice usually requires the most effort and the greatest personal investment on your part: And when you put in the time, you learn more, grow more, and achieve more.

    Even if you don't hit the target you aimed for you will have hit a lot of other targets along the way... possibly some you didn't even know existed.

    Always choose to work harder. It always pays off.

    Hard choices build outstanding reputations.

    Staying late to complete a project, making a tough call to a customer, tackling an employee issue head-on, biting the bullet and taking responsibility when you make a mistake... you don’t have to do any of them. In a crisis there are always easier options.

    But there is usually only one right option — even if it's the least attractive option.

    We all admire people who sacrifice, who compromise, who stand tall in the face of adversity – so do the right thing, even if the right thing is the hardest thing, and in time you may become someone other people admire.

    Luck is occasional, but intent lasts forever.

    Deciding to take the easy way out usually means you hope luck will play a part.

    "We'll go ahead and ship this... if we're lucky the customer will never notice the problem." (Almost everyone who has worked in software or manufacturing has decided to let a quality problem go so they can meet a ship/release date and hopefully avoid the cost of rework. Sometimes you get lucky… and sometimes you don't.)

    While it's painful to make the, "I'm sorry, but we're going to be a day late but we found a quality problem we need to take care of,” call, it's a lot worse to answer the, "How could you ship us this garbage?" call.

    The angel lies in the details.

    Shortcuts, high level decisions, quick fixes ... sometimes they work out, but they also mean you lose the chance to spot other problems, identify other solutions, or find different ways to improve.

    "Quick and easy" creates an illusion of success. Effort and application – and a willingness to do what others are not willing to do – builds the foundation for lasting success.

    The hard choice is always binary.

    It's easy to convince yourself that a black-and-white situation is actually gray. Usually it's not: Needing to fire the employee who doesn’t fit; needing to bypass a senior employee for promotion for a person less tenured but more deserving; needing to call investors to let them know results are falling short of forecast … you can talk yourself into thinking there are reasons not to make the hard decision, but in the end you're just rationalizing.

    Usually there are a host of wrong answers, and one right answer.

    Think about a tough decision you face. You can probably list a number of easy answers – and one very difficult choice. Bite the bullet and pick the hard choice.

    Maybe you won't now… but later, you will be glad you did.

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    laboratoryThere are lots of jobs in America if you know where to look.

    The fastest-growing industries — according to a 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics report— include ones tied to the aging population, like home health care services and offices of health care practitioners. 

    High tech industries are also doing well, and there's even a steady comeback happening in construction.

    Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS projects an overall gain of 20.5 million jobs in America.

    Community and vocational rehabilitation services

    557,500 jobs in 2010.

    738,400 jobs in 2020.

    2.9% annual job growth.

    Vocational training will be in high demand in an uncertain and shifting job market. Community services will be needed for an aging population.

    2010 data and 2020 projections from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012).

    Facilities support services

    134,000 jobs in 2010.

    177,600 jobs in 2020.

    2.9% annual job growth.

    These are the people who take care of buildings, from security guards to receptionists to janitors. They will be in growing demand as the rest of the economy grows.

    2010 data and 2020 projections from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012).

    Other professional, scientific, and technical services

    573,100 jobs in 2010.

    760,200 jobs in 2020.

    2.9% annual job growth.

    This industry provides support for other white collar workers. It includes office clerks, health technicians, and more. They will be in demand as the rest of the economies grow and gets more complex.

    2010 data and 2020 projections from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012).

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Azita Ardakani

    Today's advice comes from our interview with Azita Ardakani, CEO and founder of digital media agency Lovesocial:

    "In the services space, it's easy to want to say 'yes' to everything, but for us, saying 'no' keeps us specialized to our sweet spot, and ensures that we over deliver every time. It keeps us focused on building for the long-term as opposed to being reactionary and taking low hanging fruit just because it's there."

    Ardakani says profit is important, but aligning your revenue has a potentially stronger value. Making a quick buck off projects that do not match your value proposition can distract from long-term goals. Saying "yes" to everything can also overextend capability, which can inhibit your company's ability to consistently perform at its best.

    "Working with clients that truly understand what we bring to the table, and what we are building for the future allows us to optimize our services and for them to make the most of the outcome.  Sometimes saying no is the best sales strategy."

    Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.

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    Madison MaxeyAt 20 years old, Madison Maxey should be finishing up her second year of college. 

    Instead she's dropping out to become one of this year's 20 Thiel fellows. The program was launched by PayPal founder Peter Thiel to give inspiring young entrepreneurs the funding ($100,000), time (two years), and mentorship needed for their creative work.

    Maxey will be Thiel's first fellow in the fashion industry. Her goal is to transform the garment manufacturing process.

    "To do something that no one else is doing can be really isolating," she tells us.

    Maxey learned how to sew by the age of eight and by 16, she was entering exclusive European fashion events on VIP press passes for her popular bilingual street style blog, La Société de Mode. This eventually led to a scholarship from the CFDA and Teen Vogue. 

    After a semester at Parsons College of Design, however, Maxey realized that school wasn't for her.

    "I remember a teacher getting angry with me for missing class to interview with a major publication for an internship," says Maxey. "In my mind, something that can really help you boost your network and help you enter the field should not be something you have to fight for." 

    Maxey decided to draft a proposal for her parents explaining what she would do the next semester when she dropped out of school. "I told them, 'This is what I want to do, how much it's going to cost, how long it's going to take, who I will ask for investment …'"

    She subsequently created Madison Maxey Blazers, a New York-based start-up that uses recycled fabrics to manufacture blazers. Maxey tells us that one of the biggest lessons she learned running her own business is that rejection happens. At one point, the fashionista created buying packages for 100 targeted boutiques and didn't hear back from any of them.

    "It hurts, but you learn that you'll be okay afterwards," she says. "Your friends still like you. People still let you eat in their restaurants."  

    5_00pmShe never intended for Madison Maxey Blazers to become an e-commerce site, but while interning for Enstitute and as a host at General Assembly, Maxey discovered how much technology could expand her vision.

    "I ended up moving into this weird mesh between fashion and tech," Maxey says. "I started learning to code, and switched into doing more web-based projects."

    She heard about the Thiel fellowship from her sister and immediately sought to learn more. She applied for an Under 20 Summit in New York City, which is a program for potential Fellows. Attending the summit allowed Maxey to connect with like-minded visionaries, which was enough to convince her to apply. 

    When she starts her fellowship this year, Maxey will explore the ways garment manufacturing can be optimized to create smarter clothing patterns with lightweight solutions. She tells us she wants to integrate efficient international practices in the U.S. to help cut costs, replace heavy machinery with necessary software, and keep manufacturing jobs here (as a teenager, Maxey learned about these practices when visiting factories in Shanghai).

    "By looking at pattern-making software, we can cut down on labor and make domestic production more efficient," she tells us. "Unfortunately, fast fashion companies aren't going to come here unless something monumental happens. But if we can make a change in cost of production for small companies then we can compete a little more with international markets."

    Maxey, who lived in Brooklyn for the past year, is now beginning the first part of her Fellowship in San Francisco. While fellows are encouraged to live in the Bay Area to capitalize on the connections the area provides, they are free to live and work from wherever they want. For the first time since it launched in 2011, the program will provide a shared dormitory-style living space at San Francisco for Fellows in the area.

    "The validation part is hard. When I say, 'I'm on a gap year from college,' people wonder a little," she tells us. "But to me, I know I'm not wasting my time." 

    "You have to be able to set up your own system and implement regulations upon yourself. For people who can do that, school is a hard place to be because school conflicts with that."

    Non-college options are not for everyone, but Maxey believes that kids should have the freedom to take time off if they want to do something else, and shouldn't be told that college is the only route to success. Ultimately she has just one rule she always follows: No excuses.

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    grinding-sparksThe long decline of American manufacturing isn't over yet.

    Fifteen of the 20 fastest shrinking industries are in the manufacturing sector, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report on job growth from 2010 to 2020.

    Government jobs, especially in the postal service, are also getting axed.

    Glass and glass product manufacturing

    80,700 jobs in 2010

    68,800 jobs in 2020

    -1.6% annual job growth

    Glass production and sales have steadily declined over the past five years, likely stemming from the the slump in local automotive manufacturing and the long-term substitution of glass containers in the food and beverage-packaging market with alternative materials, such as plastic.

    2010 data and 2020 projections from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012).

    Metalworking machinery manufacturing

    153,200 jobs in 2010

    130,500 jobs in 2020

    -1.6% annual job growth

    The manufacture of powered tools for shaping metal parts has experienced a declineas demand from key foreign and domestic downstream markets has dropped. 

    2010 data and 2020 projections from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012).

    Miscellaneous manufacturing

    266,000 jobs in 2010

    210,300 jobs in 2020

    -2.3% annual job growth 

    This category includes a wide range of products that are increasingly being manufactured in China, including: medical equipment, jewelry and flatware, sporting and athletic goods, dolls, toys, and games, office supplies, signs, concrete burial vaults, Christmas tree ornaments, Christmas tree lighting sets, beauty and barber chairs, burnt wood articles, lamp shades, matches, metal combs, and electric hair clippers.

    2010 data and 2020 projections from Bureau of Labor Statistics (2012).

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    speechThe point of a presentation is to convince decision-makers to make a public commitment to whatever you're selling, according to G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa, co-authors of the excellent book The Art of Woo. Here's how:

    1. Make it vivid.

    Rather than abstract concepts ("reduces costs,""increases productivity") use concrete, real-life examples that carry emotional heft with the audience ("saved ABC $1 million,""prevented XYZ from going bankrupt.")

    2. Put your heart into it. 

    If you don't really believe in yourself, your firm, and its offerings, you'll persuade nobody.  And it's not enough to simply believe... it must be obvious to the audience that you're a true believer.

    3. Tell a story. 

    Humans use stories to order events so that they make sense to their daily lives. Your presentation should have a hero who overcomes obstacles to achieve a goal. BTW, the hero must be the customer, not you.

    4. Personalize your examples.

    A presentation should cause an emotional shift from being "undecided" to being "certain."  This is only possible if your presentation is relevant to your audience's work and life experiences.

    5. Make it a puzzle. 

    If there's some mystery to your presentation, your audience will get involved solving it. So don't reveal everything up front, especially when you're telling a story. Let the story evolve into a meaningful ending.

    6. Use telling metaphors. 

    Drawing parallels with the familiar helps the audience grasp complex ideas. Example: "Photolithography becomes problematic at 180nm." Or, in other words, "It's like trying to draw a blueprint with a hunk of chalk."

    7. Force them to think.

    True decision-makers are quickly bored by ideas and information that they already understand. Instead, they crave opportunities to exercise their brainpower to learn something new and insightful.

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    working, guy, young, millennial, gen yWe spend an increasingly large amount of our time at work, and whether you like them or loathe them, it is important to try and get to know your colleagues.

    Cooperation is key in any type of office or business. If you’re not working together, things simply don’t get done. If you already have a stressful job, the last thing you need (or want) are disagreements and extra tension between you and your co-workers.

    So, what can you do to try and get to know your co-workers?

    Learn the art of small talk. Start with a simple hello, and ask how their weekend went. Did they do anything fun or just simply relax at home? Learning some little conversation starters can really help to break the ice and help to maintain good working relationships with your colleagues.

    Take time to learn about your co-worker’s life and interests. What are their hobbies? What sports teams do they support? Where is their favorite place to vacation? You may be surprised and find that you share some common interests!

    Network within your organization. While it’s important to get to know your colleagues in the immediate vicinity, I have found it is also important to mix with employees that work in other departments. Relationships in other areas of the building can provide you with a welcome break from what may be a tense working environment, as well as helping you to further your knowledge about the organization you are working for.

    Avoid gossip and negativity. It’s easy to get caught up with the office gossip, or inadvertently contribute towards it. Try your best to dissociate yourself from what can quite easily develop into a toxic situation.

    Engage with the office atmosphere. If your fellow colleagues have dinner once a month, oroffice drinks at the end of the working week make an effort to go along. It’s the easiest thing in the world to say no, but just showing up for half an hour can make a big difference and get you noticed.

    Above all, try to maintain an atmosphere of politeness, respect, and geniality, even when times get tense. Play your part towards creating a great working environment, with a strong team ethos. Engage in conversation, and listen to the suggestions and thoughts of others.

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    Oliver and Leo Kremer

    In less than four years since launching in New York City's Union Square, Dos Toros Taqueria has earned a cult following and expanded to four locations in the city, with another opening in Washington D.C. this year.

    It all started with a simple realization.

    Brothers Leo and Oliver Kremer from Berkeley, Calif., were visiting New York in the fall of 2008 when they tried to get a burrito.

    Not only were they underwhelmed by the local offerings, but they were also shocked not to find any in the (San Francisco) Mission style, with thin, flaky tortillas and a ton of filling.

    "The burrito is not a revolutionary idea. But there were no good burritos in New York. That was weird," says Leo, the older of the siblings at 32. "We thought, 'Someone should do that.' Once we had that realization, it became an execution challenge, being that we had zero experience."

    "The whole business opportunity is to bring this to a place where it is unavailable," Leo says.

    Dos Toros burrito

    The brothers both took jobs at Mexican restaurants to understand the workings behind a burrito business. They also conducted preliminary research in September 2008, embarking on an epic Mexican culinary tour that involved eating at 35 Mexican places in 10 days. It took them a year to perfect their own burrito recipe.

    "Texture in Mexican food is everything," says Oliver, 27. "If you mess up something as simple as the rice, which should be fluffy, you could end up with a very mediocre burrito."

    "We grew up on the customer side, eating this stuff," says Oliver. "So, we agonized over everything from that perspective. In addition to the product, we observed everything in restaurants from how many inches people are sitting above the floor to even how the napkin dispensers are aligned. Every little thing about Dos Toros we obsessed over."

    Dos Toros inside

    Walk into a Dos Toros location and you'll see heavy wood and leather stools. The music playlist won't repeat a song for days (as for their musical taste, it helps that Leo is the former bassist of rock band Third Eye Blind).

    Personality is valued more in their new hires than the ability to assemble a burrito. They look for friendly, warm people who embody the Dos Toros culture. Hiring the right people, they say, has been key to their success.

    "Pre-opening, we obsessed about the logo, website, logistical stuff," says Leo. "But since opening the restaurant, it's suddenly become all about the people. Finding, managing and training employees has become the focus."

    Today, with approximately 80 employees, Dos Toros has created two music videos that capture the founders' hip, fun-loving spirit. There's the creative twist on the Unk song "Walk It Out"— better known as "Guac it Out"— along with their most recent version of Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow"-turned "Black or Pinto" which announced their new Williamsburg location. 

    While the videos generated a lot of buzz, they were more about capitalizing on the team's many creative talents than marketing. Oliver says the best part about starting Dos Toros is being able to promote and recognize staff.  

    Leo & Oliver2.JPG

    Despite their success, Dos Toros is in no rush to become a franchise or corporate entity.

    "We want to expand to other cities in a controlled, organized way. We like things slow and simple," says Oliver.

    Dos Toros is a curated example of a San Francisco burrito, but there is a slim-to-none chance that it will make its way back home.

    "Our whole reason for being is to bring everything in the Bay Area to the places where it isn't," says Leo. "We're not about making things complicated."

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    woman on lap top

    Does being good looking help your career?

    If the real estate industry is any indication, it sure does. 

    A recent study found that more attractive real estate agents often have higher list prices for homes they are trying to sell. Consequently, that also translates into higher sale prices and a higher commission for those real estate agents as well.

    To prove this theory, Frank Mixon, a professor of economics at Columbus State University’s Turner College of Business and a research team had 402 people look at photos of real estate agents. Mixon, along with Sean Salter of the Jennings A.

    Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University and Ernest King of the College of Business at the University of Southern Mississippi, then asked those people to rate the attractiveness of those real estate agents on a scale of one to 10, with 10 representing a very attractive real estate agent.

    [10 Personality Types Most Likely to Get Hired]

    After having those respondents rate real estate agents, the researchers then referenced attractiveness rankings with Multiple Listing Service (MLS) information. The researchers looked at the prices of properties listed over a seven-year span to see listing price, sales price and the time on the market. Agents deemed more attractive were found to have higher listings, sales prices and commissions.       

    "The results weren't surprising to me," Mixon said. "There is a growing literature in economics that relates physical attractiveness to productivity in the workplace, and to all sorts of choices people make."

    However, the researchers also did find that real estate agents rated less attractive were found to have more listings and sales, which leveled the playing field among all real estate agents. 

    "Given the nature of the brokerage system, this confirms our theory that beauty enhances an agent’s wage," the researchers wrote in the report. "More attractive agents may be using beauty to supplement, rather than to complement, other productive activities."

    The research was published in the Applied Financial Economics journal.

    Follow David Mielach on Twitter @D_M89 . Follow us @bndarticlesFacebook or Google+. Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

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    Atlanta food truck park

    Just a few years ago, Howard Hsu's barbecue truck, Sweet Auburn Barbecue, was one of the only food trucks in the city. Today it is joined by a park full of other "food on wheels" units, plus many more outside the premises.

    As the city's first permanent food truck site, the Atlanta Food Truck Park and Market attracts an average of 1,000 people daily; but last year the bustling space was nothing more than an abandoned lot.

    It was last April that Hsu began looking for property where he could station Sweet Auburn Barbecue, because, while he enjoyed being able to roam the city and meet customers in different locations, he says he was tired of constantly moving.

    "Having a mobile food truck was very rewarding and fun," Hsu tells us. "However, it was stressful because you would go to certain events where there would be no business."

    IMG_4190While looking for a place that would provide his business more consistency, Hsu came across a vacant three-acre plot of land — a former hotel site — in an area west of Atlanta on Howell Mill Road.

    He quickly realized that the space was large enough to accommodate a number of trucks and decided that if he was having problems finding a parking spot for his mobile business, maybe other food truck owners were, too.

    Although the park can only host 15 trucks at one time, food trucks from all over the city apply to the space. The city has also recently eased its once-stringent zoning restrictions, which prevented mobile trucks from operating in multiple locations. This has resulted in a significant growth in the number of operating food trucks and there are around 80 licensed trucks today compared to 20 at last year's food park opening.

    "[The park] has brought a lot of young entrepreneurs who are on the fence about starting their own business," Hsu tells us. "They are more willing to pull the trigger when they see there is a location they can conduct business." 

    atlanta food parkAside from creating a space accessibly to those craving street food, the Atlanta Food Truck Park and Market also contributes to jobs created in the area and has the potential to have a significant economic impact on the city's long-term development.

    The space currently hosts attractions, such as live music, car shows, and special themed events like SurfFest, a recent festival that featured local instrumental bands. On certain days, there are close to 5,000 people visiting the park.

    Hsu tells us that he hopes to eventually turn some of the green space into a venue for concerts, movie screenings, and playgrounds. If all goes well, it could potentially become a tourist destination and citywide attraction for residents.

    "There are [visitors] of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Depending on the time of day, you'll see a different crowd of people."

    Despite the park's first-year success, there are still challenges for food truck owners. While some of the city's legal restrictions on food trucks were eased in late 2011, applying for a permit in Atlanta is still a rigorous process. Food trucks must have separate business and vendor's permits, plus a health license for each location they serve at.

    aft2Although the park's site is properly zoned, it was closed for several weeks last year because of permit issues for some of the individual trucks.

    Despite the challenges, Hsu says that it has been rewarding for him "to help young entrepreneurs start-up their businesses and create their livelihoods."

    "[The park] has created small business opportunities in Atlanta while transforming what was once a vacant space into a destination, attraction, and place for commerce."

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    Foursquare Office Tour

    James Somers, a Web developer in his mid-twenties, planned to quit the field and become a freelance writer.

    He had a sweet first assignment lined-up too. He was going to write a profile about Douglas Hofstadter, and magazines were already lining up to pay him $10,000 to $20,000 to publish it.

    But then he got a job offer to go back into Web development.

    These were the terms:

    "$150,000 in salary, a $10,000 signing bonus, stock options, a free gym membership, excellent health and dental benefits, a new cellphone, and free lunch and dinner every weekday. My working day would start at about 11am. It would end whenever I liked, sometime in the early evening. The work would rarely strain me. I’d have a lot of autonomy and responsibility. My co-workers would be about my age, smart, and fun."

    Somers took the job.

    In an article for Aeon, Somers reflects on his own experiences and explains why people like him get paid so much.

    He writes:

    These days the cost of finding out whether a start-up is actually going to succeed isn’t hundreds of millions of dollars — it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s the cost of a couple of laptops and the salary you pay the founders while they try stuff. A $100 million pool of venture capital, instead of seeding five or 10 start-ups, can now seed 1,000 small experiments, most of which will fail, one of which will become worth a billion dollars.

    And so there is a frenzy on.

    You can see why I’m in such good shape. In this particular gold rush the shovel is me. We web developers are the limiting reagent of every start-up experiment, we’re the sine qua non, because we’re the only ones who know how to reify app ideas as actual working software. In fact, we are so much the essence of these small companies that, in Silicon Valley, a start-up with no revenue is said to be worth exactly the number of developers it has on staff. The rule of thumb is that each one counts for $1 million.

    It helps that there aren’t enough of us to go around. I’m told by a friend at Bloomberg that they missed their quarterly tech hiring target in New York by 200 people. I get at least two enquiries a week from headhunters trying to lure me from my current job. If I say that I’m actively looking, I become a kind of local celebrity, my calendar fills with coffees and conversations, reverse-interviews where start-ups try to woo me.

    It’s as if the basic structure of this sector of the global economy has been designed for my benefit. 

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    Female golfers

    Every year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers' list of the highest-paid college majors are dominated by a select few fields.

    This year, 7 of the top 10 highest-paid majors are in engineering alone, with computer science, management information systems and finance majors rounding out the list.

    But fortunately for students who aren't interested in these industries, those aren't the only lucrative degrees out there.

    These commonly overlooked college degrees not only provide new grads with enviable salaries but they also include generous compensation packages, the ability to scale the corporate ladder and, in some cases, the opportunity to freelance or work from home.

    Though they don't all bring in mega-salaries, these eight college degrees do lead to jobs that provide serious bucks for their student loan dollar.

    SEE ALSO: Duke Grad Student Secretly Lived In A Van To Escape Loan Debt

    Game design: $75,065

    Designing for the console, computer and mobile worlds may look like fun and games, but the work (and salary) is nothing to laugh at. According to the 2012 salary survey in the March 2013 issues of Game Developer Magazine, the average salary for game designers is $75,065 per year. Programmers, game producers and audio professionals on average rake in $92,151, $84,127 and $81,543, respectively -- though individual pay can vary dramatically.

    Game design degrees incorporate courses in computer science, multimedia production, project management, quality assurance testing, game engines and business. Degree programs may lean toward the artistic or technical sides of the industry, but the most successful job candidates will have both, says Andrew Greenberg, president of the Georgia Game Developers Association, a video game trade group.

    "Those who can really distinguish themselves by work they've done beyond their schoolwork -- games they've made on their own or with a small team -- are the ones who succeed to a higher degree," he says.

    The market also values self-starters, those with a diverse range of skills and job candidates who make industry connections through attending conferences such as the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco or E3 in Las Vegas, Greenberg adds.

    Technical writing: $65,500

    Everyone knows computer scientists, architects, engineers and systems designers usually fare financially well, but so do those who help those workers explain what their products do and how to use them. Gifted with the ability to break down complex concepts to reach an audience who's not as well-versed in the field, technical writers must have excellent communication skills in addition to a thorough knowledge of the industry they're writing about, says Nicky Bleiel, president of the Society for Technical Communication, or STC.

    "Technical communicators are employed by and can be an asset to all kinds of companies, from Fortune 500 companies on down," she says. "It's also a very viable path to starting your own business."

    Technical communication degrees offered through schools such as Carnegie Mellon University and Northeastern University require a mix of mathematics, science and communication courses, but certificates and two-year degrees are also available. On top of a degree, you'll also need industry connections, Bleiel says, which you can gain through internships, networking and STC's mentoring program. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers rake in a median salary of $65,500, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $100,000.

    Soil conservation: $58,740

    Money doesn't grow on trees, but for these workers, it may be found in the dirt. Dedicated to keeping soils healthy, nutrient-rich and safe from erosion, soil conservationists help farmers and government entities retain soil nutrients and water-holding capacity.

    Soil conservationists "study everything from the physics of soils, the chemistry of soils, the biology of soils, the organisms and microorganisms that live in soils, how soils appear in the landscape, and how they develop," says Nicholas Comerford, director of the University of Florida's North Florida Research and Education Center and former president of the Soil Science Society of America. They may also work in areas such as waste management, soil mapping or degraded land reclamation.

    Though many soil conservation jobs are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they're also found through public health organizations and environmental consulting firms, Comerford says. Breaking into the field requires a bachelor's degree in soil conservation or soil science, though some employers require additional certification through SSSA.

    BLS reports the median soil scientist salary is $58,740, with the top 10 percent of workers earning nearly $97,000.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    busy guy on the phone

    It’s easy to spot when people are lying to themselves—like when a co-worker confidently starts a huge project at 4:30, but has a 5 PM deadline. “Who’s he kidding?” you might chuckle. But when you’re telling lies to yourself—well, that’s another story.

    When it comes to productivity, you may think you have it mastered. You check tasks off your to-do list, multitask like the best of them, and stay insanely busy from morning until night. But it turns out, your so-called “productivity” may actually be a jumble of popular myths that make you think you’re getting more done than you actually are.

    Think you’re using your time wisely? Check out these four lies you might be telling yourself about being productive—and how you can free yourself from that false reality.

    Lie #1: My Day’s Full of Activity, So I Must Be Super Productive

    These days, there’s no shortage of digital time-fillers that can make you feel productive. You can easily spend all day emailing, tweeting, searching, instant messaging, texting, and whatever else it takes to stay in the online loop. But while your fingers are busy typing and your eyes busy reading, all you’re really doing is getting hits of information—over and over again—instead of working toward a goal.

    Or, you might pack your schedule to the brim—coffee meetings in the morning and networking events after work—which forces you to spend all night responding to all the emails in your overflowing inbox. Sure, that makes you feel (and look) busy, but are you really getting anything significant done?

    Solution: The Done List

    To make sure you’re actually accomplishing substantial tasks each day, keep a “done list”—that is, a list of tasks you’ve completed instead of things you have left to do. When you stop to recognize each day’s accomplishments, you’ll be able to reflect more constructively: Did you spend your time wisely? Did you make any significant progress today? If “instapapered some super-useful articles” is the only item that made it onto your done list, you may need to reevaluate how you’re spending your time.

    Lie #2: Please, I’m a Multitasking Master

    Multitasking can trick you into feeling like you’re a productivity superhero. After all, if you have the skills to simultaneously compile a budget, listen to a podcast, and catch up on your email, you must be running circles around your single-tasking co-workers, right?

    Actually, multitasking can make you perform worse in whatever you’re doing. Studies show that when you try to focus on too many things at the same time, you’re less likely to be able to filter out irrelevant facts, switch between tasks effectively, and remember important information.

    Solution: Practice Single Focus

    Try focusing on one task at a time. Why should you work against what you believe are your natural multitasking talents? Hear me out: It might feel less productive—or even be less enjoyable—to work on one thing at a time, but extreme focus will bring out your best.

    To help you get out of your task-juggling habits, work in ones: Keep one simple to-do list. Complete at least one significant task toward the beginning of your day. If you’re really up for a challenge, try working in only one browser tab! When you single-task, you’ll boost your brainpower—and since you’re not spending partial attention on multiple tasks, you’ll get the task at hand done faster. 

    Lie #3: Schedule, Schmedule! I Go With the Flow

    Some people relish planning. I, on the other hand, tend to go with the flow and work from a mental to-do list, starting with whatever seems most appealing at the moment. Usually, this isn’t a problem, and I’m able to get my work done, but I’ve noticed that I get stressed from trying to hold everything in my head.

    You may think that having a flexibile and open schedule can be conducive to creativity (and it can be, to a certain extent), but that doesn’t mean all forms of scheduling should go out the window. A little structure can help you clarify your goals and think more clearly—so you won’t waste time trying to figure out if you overlooked anything from your mental to-do list.

    Solution: Get Into Rhythms Rather than Timetables

    Don’t worry—if you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type, you don’t need to start scheduling out your day by the minute. But what you can do is create a more reliable rhythm for yourself. Instead of scheduling your day down to the very last detail and task, try working with broader goals in mind.

    With this strategy, I still recommend to-do lists—but not necessarily filled with specific tasks. Instead, list categories of what you’re working on. For example, replace itemized tasks like “write one blog post” or “contact Beth,” with higher-level goals, like “complete one task that supports growing my network” or “do two things that will broaden my expertise as an analyst.”

    This will allow you to work productively toward your goals without locking yourself into turn-by-turn directions. Then, set aside a dedicated block of time for you to work on each category, so you can minimize distractions and focus on actually producing.

    Lie #4: No Worries! I’ll Do it Tomorrow

    The power of procrastination is, well, pretty powerful. Without much thought, the top task on your to-do list can get pushed to tomorrow, and then to the next day, and then to the next. And in your mind, you truly believe you’ll get to it eventually—but “eventually” keeps getting pushed further and further away.

    Solution: Find an Accountability Ally

    The root of procrastination is often a lack of accountability—if no one knows what’s on your to-do list, no one knows that you’re not actually making any progress on it. To stay on track, partner up with a co-worker or group of peers—people who are committed to helping each other do what they say they’re going to do—and plan to check in with each other at least once a week. Whenever you meet (whether virtually or in person), review your progress, share your upcoming goals, and provide feedback and encouragement. You’ll be a lot more likely to finish your blog post if you have a friend who checks up on you: “I haven’t seen an update on your blog today—when are you going to post it?”

    If you can’t find an accountability partner, technology can help you become your own coach. Check out apps like iDoneThisLift, and Email Game, which keep you updated on your progress toward specific goals—which can help keep you on track and motivated to stay productive. 

    Admitting our productivity lies can be tough. In fact, you may even go through a mini-cycle of grief when you first hear them: denial (“I don’t procrastinate!”), indignation (“I get plenty done!”), bargaining (“I’ll start tomorrow”), and a bit of blues—all before finally accepting them and taking the next steps. But, those steps aren’t as hard as you think: With these solutions and a hearty dose of honesty, you’ll be on your way to unmatched productivity in no time.

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    company culture

    If you've ever worked somewhere that made you miserable, you know how important it is to check out the company before accepting a job there. But that's easier said than done – companies don't usually make it easy to peek behind the curtain and see what working there will really be like.

    But there are clues throughout the hiring process that can tell you whether this is somewhere you'll be happy working or not. Here are five ways to help figure it out.

    1. Think about what things you care about most. Everyone has different priorities and different deal-breakers. You might value a flexible working environment, or having your own office, or working with a boss who welcomes input. You might hate a culture that expects you to show up for weekly happy hours or requires you to carry a work cell and be available at all hours. Getting clear in your head about what you care most about will help you screen for it – by asking direct questions about it and by simply being alert to cues about these items. For instance, if you know that a friendly, collaborative culture is one of your key must-haves, you'll be less likely to overlook it if everyone you pass when walking to your interviewer's office is silent and miserable-looking.

    2. Ask why the position is open, why the previous person left and how long she was there. If the person left after less than a year – and especially if her predecessor did too – you want to know why. Is the workload unmanageable? Are the expectations unrealistic? Is the boss impossible to get along with? Hearing about the experience of people in the job previously won't always be definitive, but it can give you some insight into what you might encounter in the role.

    3. Ask the right questions. Simply asking about work-life balance policies isn't likely to get you useful information; your interviewer may give lip service to the virtues of a 40-hour work week when in fact no one leaves work until well past 8 p.m. Instead, try asking questions like:

    • "What time do you normally come in to work and leave for the day?"
    • "What are the busiest times of year, and what are those times like?"
    • "What kind of person fits in well here and what type of person isn't a strong fit?"
    • "If you could change one thing about the culture here, what would it be?"
    • "What do you wish you knew before starting work here?"

    Be suspicious of interviewers who tell you that everything is sunshine and roses. No workplace is perfect; even the best have some things they could do better, and good employers know what those things are and are willing to be transparent about them.

    4. Believe what the employer shows you about how they operate.Too often in a hiring process, candidates ignore important cues about how an employer functions and then are surprised when they see those same traits play out once they're working there. For instance, if the employer handles the hiring process in a disorganized and chaotic way (no clear job description, interviewers who are unprepared to talk with you and not getting back to you until weeks after they said they would), assume that the work culture is disorganized and chaotic too. Or if the entire hiring process is scripted rigidly, the interviewer tells you that no one is allowed to follow up with candidates except human resources and it takes weeks to get a written offer after the verbal one, assume that the environment is a bureaucratic one where decisions are slow and process is sometimes valued above action.

    5. Do your homework. Check sites like to see what employees are saying about the company's culture, check LinkedIn to see if you have connections to anyone likely to know the real scoop at the company and ask to talk to others who work there. Gather as many opinions as you can and watch for patterns.

    6. Listen to your gut. If you feel uneasy about the job or the people you'd be working with, don't ignore that feeling. Unless your gut has a history of overreacting, it's worth paying attention when a voice inside you is screaming, "Don't take this job!"

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    Getting fired for posts on Facebook or Twitter has become so common that it almost seems old hat.

    But human ingenuity — or foolishness — and evolving social media technologies guarantee that people will find new ways to post their way out of a job. Look at what some are doing on Instagram.

    A quick Web search shows people who post personally identifiable information, show or say where they work, and use the tag #worksucks#calledinsick or, even better #hatemyboss. Many didn't respond to AOL Jobs' request for comments, so it's not clear if their managers have seen these posts yet. 

    But two employees at a Thai-Japanese restaurant in Delaware lost their jobs after they posted "photos, credit card receipts, vulgar remarks and racial slurs" on Instagram about low-tipping customers. During a four-month period, the manager of Padi allegedly posted a running string of stupid comments and images, using the hashtag #cheap #jew: Here is one example:

    About three weeks ago,... a photo of a bill for $53.80 from a customer with an Indian surname was posted on the fumanchu85 Instagram account. The bill shows that customer tipped $5.20, or less than 10 percent. Fumanchu85 wrote: "What do you expect from a last name like that?" Then fumanchu85 wrote a derogatory term followed by #cheap #jew.

    A sushi chef at the restaurant, who seemed to defend the manager in comments on a local newspaper's website, was also fired.

    You might think that enough examples of employees being fired for Facebook posts might have convinced people to be more careful on Instagram, but apparently not. It may be that, despite a large number of users, people may think that Instagram flies further under the radar.

    But it clearly doesn't, as a staff member, whose name hasn't been released, at an assisted living home in Deer Creek, Minn. learned. He was fired after reportedly taking a picture of a resident on the toilet and then posting it to Instagram. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, which publicly addressed the situation late in May, the resident showed skin to the upper hip and didn't know about the picture.

    Someone not employed at the facility saw the picture and reported it on April 17. The staff person admitted the incident, according to news reports. The employee handbook reportedly expressly forbids taking a picture of a client.

    The number of cases will likely only increase, as the number of people essentially begging to be fired grows. Soccer player Sebastien Bassong got into hot water with his team last month when he posted pictures of himself with guns on Instagram and quickly deleted them. Replacing Bassong would be anything but a casual effort.

    However, you must wonder about the wisdom of many who post how much they dislike their jobs. An Instagram user, kingleno1620, for instance, posted a photo of someone's sneakers on a table filled with beer bottles; the hashtag was #calledinsick. Another user posted a photo of herself smiling, giving the finger, with the hashtags #nurse, #hatemyboss #nurse #tired.

    Maybe some of these people should check for Instagram's engraved "fire me" invitation filter.

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    jim collins

    Today's advice comes from Jim Collins, author of "Great By Choice", via Inc:

    "The great leaders I've studied are all people whose energy and drive are directed outward. It's not about themselves ... Take Bill Gates. His deep, abiding passion was for what software could do in the hands of all kinds of people. He wanted Microsoft to be a conduit for it. I don't think it ever crossed his mind that his work could make him a billionaire. That's what I mean by outward. You see the pattern. Every one of these leaders had the idea of shaping the world around them.

    Collins, who has studied companies that have demonstrated consistently exceptional performance, says a great leader is able to turn a company into a movement by inspiring a culture that pushes people to reach their highest potential. Doing this requires a unique mix of discipline and creativity.

    "Great leaders in any generation have always helped people understand why. Mediocre leaders don't ... Greatness is rare. It's so rare that, when you come across it, it often feels like it's new."

    Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.

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    You've submitted a stellar résumé and shined in your phone screen interview. You've prepared stories and crafted questions that will demonstrate your skills and accomplishments when you meet the hiring manager face to face. You know in your heart that, if given the opportunity, you have the ability to succeed at the job you'll discuss. You're set to knock the ball out of the park.

    At the same time, you might be a woman, 40 years old or older, a person of color or have an obvious disability. Perhaps you have a distinct foreign accent, or your name is uncommon and difficult to pronounce. Maybe you display an affect that is often associated with a particular sexual orientation.

    And then it happens. You are in the midst of the job interview, and as the conversation progresses the hiring authority poses a question like one of these:

    • When do you plan on starting a family?

    • In what country were you born?

    • Are you gay?

    • What is your religion?

    • Do you have a neurological or degenerative disease that caused you to limp into this room?

    • How many years will it be before you qualify for social security?

    You will likely assume that these questions reflect employment bias, however they might instead arise because the interviewer is inexperienced and isn't familiar with what can and can't be discussed. Whatever the case might be, each of these questions touches on a legally protected class and has no place in a job interview.

    How do you respond?

    If you directly challenge the interviewer you may win the point but lose the job opportunity. Doing so is likely to make the interviewer view you as combative – a trait that, in and of itself, can disqualify a job seeker.

    Larry Bodine, editor-in-chief of, offers two alternative approaches to deal with the situation:

    Respond with a question of your own. "That's an interesting question. I've never been asked that in a job interview. Can you tell me why you asked?" Or, put it this way: "I'm happy to answer that question. But can you help me understand how that relates to the job?"

    It is fair for an employer to ask a question that relates to a candidate's ability to accomplish the work intrinsic to any specific job. These questions give the interviewer the ability to justify the question – if at all possible. And, if not, they can give the interviewer a necessary but friendly prod to get back on solid ground.

    Answer the concern behind the question. The hiring manager might ask the illegal question: "Do you have kids?" Rather than challenge the question itself, you might determine the issue behind it. For example, this instance might be rooted in the company's experience of high employee absenteeism due to child care issues. Bodine suggests you respond by saying simply: "There is nothing in my family life that will get in the way of doing the job."

    Regardless if you take one or the other of Bodine's suggested responses, or go a different route, it is important to take control of the situation. You should try to keep the focus on the job, the company, your abilities, your accomplishments and how you represent a strong fit. And once your interview has concluded, you will be able to consider another response.

    Evaluate the situation and what is in your best interest. Ask yourself if you believe the offending question was the product of real bias, or an unintentional misstep on the part of an inexperienced interviewer. If it is the former, is this really the kind of company at which you want to spend 40 hours every week? Is it a job you still want to pursue, or do you want to just move on to the next opportunity? Is the offense sufficiently clear cut and egregious so as to merit a formal complaint?

    As a job hunter, you should take the time to educate yourself about what kinds of discrimination are prohibited by law. Sometimes, there are things you think ought to be illegal, but they are not. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the laws that prohibit employment discrimination based on: age (for workers older than 40), disability, genetic information, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, race and religion.

    For information about current federal laws and regulations regarding workplace discrimination, visit the EEOC's site: For specific information about your particular situation, consult an attorney who specializes in employment law.

    Unfortunately, we can't legislate away boorishness and all forms of prejudice. But there are effective ways to respond to it when it occurs. By responding intelligently, you maintain your own dignity and maximize the possibility of getting the job of your dreams.

    Happy hunting!

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    Ariel_Diaz Boundless3

    Today's advice comes from an interview with Ariel Diaz, CEO of  Boundless:

    "If you are clear on what to focus on, your time will take care of itself. The best way to task-manage is to pick 2-5 goals for the week and make sure those get done. Mental energy is critical for productivity, so when the subconscious mind is focused on the right thing, it works toward your advantage."

    Diaz, who runs an education startup, takes extreme measures to ensure his morning is as unencumbered as possible. He wears the same thing everyday. He sticks to the same routine: coffee, two eggs, and water. All of this frees his mind and helps him focus on making the decisions that are really important.

    "All of this helps me minimize unimportant decisions, because all decisions take a toll on one's mental energy."

    Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.

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    The title “intern” should be banished from the profession of architecture. It’s about time. It has run its course. It’s outmoded and contributes to a culture of exploitation in the guise of opportunity. Frankly, it makes us look so nineteenth century.

    More importantly, I’m tired of seeing articles decrying the state of interns every summer when “intern season” kicks in. Can we just be done with this? It’s depressing. Don’t exploit the interns! Pay the interns! No free labor! Class action lawsuit! Solidarity! FU pay me! All very well and good. However, if labor laws and ethics have not fixed the problem, maybe getting rid of the title will. It’s just a title, but it sets a bad precedent.

    It’s some weird vestige of early-modernity, anyway. It came about with the birth of the factory and the industrial revolution…and child labor. But in architecture we now have adults cast as interns, placed in child-like roles in which they are dependent on “elders” for exposure and access to the profession.

    This is the gate-keeper mentality of the old guard, the old boy’s club. But contemporary architecture is open to all and architectural knowledge is no longer controlled by a handful of institutions or by firms themselves. Almost anybody can get an architecture degree or study architecture in some form.

    The position of the intern is rooted in the idea that an individual comes into practice as more or less a blank slate, an empty vessel—except for what she may have learned in the academy. But these days, that intern may actually know more than licensed long-term practitioners in many respects. He may be a specialist in technology, materials, that design software the old guys can’t seem to figure out. The interns deliver the new knowledge to the firms that have already been around since the days of blueprints and maylines. They propel the profession forward and onward. They get tired of being interns so they start firms of their own. Meet your new competition.

    Interns are for internships. From my college days, internships were for volunteering for good causes or for gaining inside exposure to different professions. Internships might be what you did for the summer when you weren’t in school. But in architecture there are no internships, there are just interns. And interns can be interns for years. Ever meet the forty-year-old intern?

    I think the AIA was on the right track with the title “associate”. It sounds more dignified, embodies more optimism, and has a higher-paid ring to it. You are an associate, not an intern. In the bigger scheme of things this helps the profession by conveying more value. It also imparts more value and a sense of participation and responsibility to new members of the profession. Something like this communicates a “we take care of our own” sensibility versus the “we eat our own young” approach.

    The client is getting team members who are associates, not lowly, underpaid or unpaid interns. The client thinks the intern is the guy who sharpens pencils, makes the coffee, and takes out the trash. The client views the intern as representative of old hierarchies. The client doesn’t want interns designing her hospital.

    Doing away with the title would be a symbolic step toward leveling the profession, shaking up the organization, removing another vestige of factory thinking from the collaborative world of design. Collaboration and teamwork do not need interns. They need creative, intelligent participants who bring their own unique qualities and talents to the mix. Oh, and make your own damn coffee!

    Guy Horton, based in Los Angeles, is a frequent contributor to Architectural Record, Architect, GOOD, Metropolis and other publications. His most recent book, The Real Architect's Handbook: Things I Didn't Learn in Architecture School is now available on Amazon. Follow Guy on Twitter @guyhorton.

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