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- 11/07/13--16:36: _This Tech Company P...
- 11/11/13--07:48: _All Job Hunters Nee...
- 11/19/13--15:06: _This Big Law Job In...
- 11/20/13--12:22: _How Millennials Can...
- 11/23/13--05:30: _Here's What It's Li...
- 11/25/13--12:11: _EXECUTIVE COACH: He...
- 11/26/13--14:24: _Get A Raise: 10 Ste...
- 11/26/13--15:28: _5 Stubbornly Persis...
- 11/26/13--18:22: _These Charts Prove ...
- 12/09/13--08:25: _The Hidden Costs Of...
- 12/10/13--20:59: _The 22 Best Tech Co...
- 12/27/13--06:32: _Law School Grad For...
- 01/03/14--04:57: _Here Are The Top Ci...
- 01/08/14--06:38: _Unemployed Law Grad...
- 01/09/14--18:00: _21 Enterprise Start...
- 01/13/14--10:05: _What Investment Ban...
- 01/13/14--14:31: _The Sad Truth Is Yo...
- 01/14/14--08:07: _It Looks Like Peopl...
- 01/15/14--08:15: _A Wall Street Analy...
- 01/19/14--12:56: _I'm About To Join A...
- 11/20/13--12:22: How Millennials Can Fight Stereotypes Of Being Disloyal And Needy
- 11/23/13--05:30: Here's What It's Like To Work At A Failed Startup
- 11/26/13--14:24: Get A Raise: 10 Steps For Getting Your Boss To Think You’re The Best
- 11/26/13--15:28: 5 Stubbornly Persistent Business Myths
- 12/09/13--08:25: The Hidden Costs Of Working On Wall Street
- 12/10/13--20:59: The 22 Best Tech Companies To Work For, According To Employees
- 01/03/14--04:57: Here Are The Top Cities For Job Growth In The United States
- 01/09/14--18:00: 21 Enterprise Startups To Bet Your Career On In 2014
- 01/14/14--08:07: It Looks Like People Overestimate How Much Many Jobs Really Earn
- 01/19/14--12:56: I'm About To Join A Generation Of Jobless PhDs
Salaries for engineers are at record levels in Silicon Valley, at least one recruiter says.
So who pays the most? It isn't Google, although Google is in the Top 5. It isn't Facebook (No. 9). And it isn't Twitter (No. 5).
According to research by Glassdoor, it's Juniper Networks, which pays $160,000 on average. Juniper, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., is a company that makes network hardware and computer security products. It competes with Cisco (No. 17).
In terms of highest paying regions, the Valley comes in first a$111,885. Seattle is No. 2 at $103,196, and San Diego lands at No. 3 at $93,993.
The Bay Area also has the most software engineer job openings (3,846), followed by New York (2,264) and Washington, D.C. (2,139). Currently, 15,732 employers across the U.S. are looking to hire software engineers.
Here's the Top 25. There's another surprise in there, Walmart is No. 8. It pays better than Facebook.
So you're graduating from a top business school and you think you're hot stuff, eh?
So did David Rogier.
But he kept striking out with the companies he wanted to work for.
Finally, his advisor told him: Go have lunch with a guy named Tristan Walker and find out how he got his career going.
Walker is currently an entrepreneur in residence at Andreessen Horowitz. He made his name as the first business development guy for Foursquare.
In a blog post, Rogier tells the story of how Walker got that job. It wasn't easy.
Tristan wanted to work at the hottest start up in the Valley — Foursquare (it was 2009).
He applied on Foursquare’s website.
Tristan found the CEOs email address on the website and sent him a note.
Tristan emailed him again.
Tristan emailed him again.
Tristan emailed him again.
(I have chutzpah, but I would have stopped at the fourth email)
Tristan didn't and emailed him again.
Tristan emailed him 3 more times. No response.
So what did Tristan do? He started working for them. He wanted a job in business development, so he started doing business development. He called up companies said he was a student and asked if they would be interested in advertising on Foursquare (remember, Tristan did not actually work for Foursquare). He had to explain what Foursquare was — but, miraculously, a few companies said yes.
Tristan then emailed the Foursquare CEO a 9th time and said — I’ve lined up a few advertisers for you.
This time, the CEO replied. They met the next day. Tristan went on to run Business Development at Foursquare.
Rogier now works for IDEO, the design consultancy. He says he learned a lot from eating lunch with Walker, including the idea that your job application should actually emphasize the areas you’ll be perceived as weak.
"Before I applied to IDEO (the revolutionary product design consultancy), I asked a former IDEO employee (the wonderful Emily Ma) what IDEO would perceive as my biggest weakness. Her answer: are you actually creative? I didn't have a portfolio and I came from supply chain. Instead of filling out their application, I decided to make a book. I spent 10 hours in 4 different airport baggage claims, interviewed 23 people and put together a book on Snapfish about how I would improve baggage claims (the book). I got the internship."
For lots more wisdom, go read Rogier's whole post: "Recruiting Advice No One Tells You."
While his busy day — lasting until 3:45 a.m. and starting hours later — sounds painful, his not-busy day sounds depressing too. It involves long periods of isolation, not much stimulation, and still lasts until 8:45 p.m.
The day starts at 7 a.m. when the lawyer checks his work email right away. Since there are no immediate fires to extinguish, the lawyer goes to the gym and heads into work by 9:30 a.m.
The rest of the day is spent in almost total isolation, proofreading and marking documents. At one point, the lawyer gets up to get coffee just to have a chance to speak to somebody. The lawyer is "a little happier" because of brief conversations with the cashier in the cafeteria, people at a coffee shop, and people in document services.
"Otherwise, I just spent the last 11.25 hours alone in my office proofreading and marking documents without any human interaction," the lawyer writes.
How quickly would you burn out if your "easy" day were more than 11 hours long and filled with drudgery?
As former BigLaw partner Steven Harper has said, part of the problem for lawyers like this one is that the drudgery of the law conflicts with their expectations going into law school.
"People go to law school thinking they’re going to grow up to be Atticus Finch or Alicia Florrick, and actual practice turns out to be quite different,"Harper has told the legal blog Above the Law. "Real life doesn’t bear much resemblance to such images."
Things have gotten worse for associates in recent years because new ranking lists have put more pressure on corporate law firms to be hugely profitable, Harper has said in an NPR interview. As a consequence, young lawyers often sit behind their desks doing grunt work and billing hours instead of, say, sitting in on a trial and getting mentored.
"You didn't go to law school because you thought you're getting to sit in front of a computer screen for hour after hour after hour reviewing documents," Harper told NPR.
There are countless examples of the establishment criticizing the style or behavior of a new order on the up. In music, swing icon Louis Armstrong strongly disparaged bebop cats when the style was developing, much as classic turntablists currently criticize producers and disc jockeys who perform with advanced technology and software.
Not surprisingly, this phenomenon has penetrated the modern workforce in the negative stereotypes many baby boomers and Gen-Xers associate with Gen-Y or millennial colleagues.
This idea was quantified in the recent "The Gen-Y Workplace Expectations Study" by Millennial Branding and American Express. The study found that while millennial employees generally think positively about their managers, those more mature managers have negative associations about millennial underlings and co-workers. The findings are included in "Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success," written by Millennial Branding's founder Dan Schawbel.
Considering such, let's take a closer look at two of the major negative stereotypes millennials are likely to face in the workforce, why those stereotypes exist and how they can be addressed.
Millennials aren't loyal.
The Future Workplace's 2012 study "Multiple Generations @ Work" found that 91% of the millennials surveyed expected to stay in a job for less than three years. Consequently, pejorative associations have arisen that Gen-Y employees are loyal only to themselves and will jump ship for another opportunity the moment a job has become anything less than ideal.
Solution: Think inside the box.
There are plenty of compelling reasons that might lead a professional to seek a new employer. However, Teddy Dziuba, a 29-year-old new business/underwriting manager who has stayed at his post at a Massachusetts-based wealth management firm for a half decade, points out that many of his peers are compelled to seek new opportunities not because they're in a bad environment but because of their hyperactive wiring.
"It is not enough for millennials to be sitting at a computer completing a spreadsheet," he says. "They have to be checking Facebook, listening to iTunes, sending a text message and Snapchatting a photo of their cluttered desk WHILE working on that spreadsheet. This is not a slight on my peer group, it is just an unfortunate compulsion to have constant and varied stimuli, which also causes millennials to get tired of the status quo very easily and seek new challenges via new employment opportunities."
To break this first negative stereotype, millennials might consider thinking inside the box, by exploring if those new challenges and stimuli can be attained at their current job, before deciding that hitting the job boards is the only effective solution. "Try to make the most out of your situation before moving on because maybe you're able to transition to a different position in the same company or even create a new position," Schawbel says.
Should any of these alternative tactics prove possible, then you'll have the resources to show a meaningful tour and upward progression with a single employer. With that kind of track record it becomes much harder to suggest you can't play it the company way.
Millennials don't respect hierarchy.
Millennials are arguably most notorious for being "the trophy generation;" a group rewarded consistently by helicopter parents for mediocre performance, as a way to shield damaged feelings. This perspective worries many more seasoned professionals who believe that because of their soft upbringing, millennials expect to be a part of executive discussions at work without a track record, disregarding the time and energy required to climb the ladder and earn prestigious distinction.
Solution: Win a race before asking for the trophy.
Sources like TheLadders report the workforce may be evolving toward a less hierarchical structure, since the fastest growing jobs shy away from managerial responsibilities and instead call for detailed subject expertise. Still, millennials need to remember to prove themselves by engaging in all the behaviors that earn new hires respect before asking for anything bigger or better.
This is the strategy 24-year-old Jacob Gallice used when he organically rose from a junior marketing coordinator role at Blood, Sweat and Cheers, a free daily email service of active events, to his current position as sales manager. Gallice put in hard time generating results and learning from his environment.
"Several months into my tenure [as marketing coordinator], I was asked to step up and fill the higher level position [as sales manager]," he says. "It's important to prove yourself and your work ethic, rather than expect to start at the top. I think you should always achieve first and ask second. Put your head down and work your butt off. Then once you've shown what you can do, the higher level positions and discussions will often be presented to you in due course."
With that in mind, do what needs doing to quietly prove you're one of those rock star or ninja employees. Few would disagree that the runner who consistently comes in first place is deserving of the trophy.
As we previously reported, photo sharing site Everpix was forced to close its doors this month, for lack of money, even though business was going well.
We just talked to one of its first employees, Sameer Sundresh, a lead engineer who is surprisingly chill over the situation. Sundresh was hired by Everpix about a year ago, after Everpix landed its seed money.
With a PhD in computer science, he's already juggling a number of job offers, he said. The startup had seven employees, and some, like Sundresh are still working there, winding it down.
The Everpix experience also didn't leave him gun shy about startup life. He's sure he'll do it again.
The good news is that, even though Everpix couldn't get an investor or buyer, it was able to sell some of its technology (to an undisclosed buyer for an undisclosed sum) and fund the costs of a proper shut down.
For instance, employees like Sundresh, who were working for minimum wage for about the last month, will get their back pay. Customers will be able to get their photos back and refunds. Amazon will be paid its roughly $35,000.
Everpix raised $1.8 million in angel and seed rounds, and took on $625,000 in debt, according to its CrunchBase profile, and those investors will be mostly out of luck.
But employees survive, and sometimes even thrive, in the Valley after a failed startup so long as the startup didn't just close shop and vanish, Sundresh says. He has no concerns that Everpix's fate will hurt his career in any way.
"If you're doing the right thing for people. If you're making something that people want, even if for a while things go slower, in the end people respect that in society," he said.
A failed startup, or one that rises from its death bed, is almost a badge of honor in the Valley. Everyone in the startup scene seems to have lived through at least one.
There are "cases where their startup was shut down, cases where you are able to cut back massively and then you get a big customer. But to get a big customer, you have to be enterprise, or be able to license some software," he says.
The harder part, he says, is engineering a product during dubious times. "You have to decide what you are going to work on. Until we were working on the premise that we were going to shut down, we had to release features that will be useful regardless of if we shut down."
For example, in those final months, the engineering team focused on features to let people to remove their photos, useful functions if they survived. Necessary if they didn't.
There's also a culture of cooperation among failed startups, he said. After news broke that Everpix would close its doors, he's gotten calls from all sorts of people, looking for advice and lessons learned.
The biggest lesson he's learned, he says, is that a startup has to balance the risks and rewards of taking on outside investment.
"The particular path we ended up taking as a company wasn't the ideal path for the kind of product we were building," he said. "Personally, I'm not a fan of taking investment. Or if you do take it, you can't rely on it being there for future investment. If you have the money you can build a fuller product. If you don't have the money you have to figure out what kind of product you can build with the money you have."
You go into an interview. You really want the job. You're clamming up. You're anxious.
What do you do?
In an interview with OneWire, a career site for financial professionals, executive coach Ann Mehl says it's actually not that hard to get rid of your nerves as long as you're open about them.
"I often say to folks, when you get to the meeting, if you feel nervous and you're sweating and you're feeling like you're panting, admit it. Say it. Drop it into the room. Just say, "My nerves are getting the best of me right now and I just want to admit that." Because the other person is human and I think they'll relate to you more if you share it than if you're all strung out."
Mehl, who launched her executive coaching business in 2005, has worked with employees from Citigroup, Kickstarter, Etsy, Morgan Stanley, Yahoo and more. In that time, she's found that the same open, honest energy you should apply to an interview, should be applied to leadership in the workplace as well.
“The first thing I think about [that makes a good leader] is positive energy. That means that when they show up, they’re not whining about an issue, or trying to blame someone, or telling me they haven’t slept or eaten in days, I think goes a long way.”
Watch the video below, or head to OneWire to check out more interviews from their Open Door series.
People always want to know how to ask for a raise. 99% of whether you get a raise has nothing to do with wording.
The vast majority of the time the result of that negotiation is determined long before you enter the room. And it’s usually up to your immediate boss.
When I asked Stanford MBA school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer for the single most important career tip, what did he say? Please your boss.
Keep your boss happy. If your boss is happy with you, everybody will be happy. If your boss isn’t happy with you, I don’t care what else you’re doing, you’re going to have trouble.
So how do you do that? Here’s how to become great in your boss’s eyes:
1) Take 100% responsibility for the relationship
Don’t expect your boss to change. You adapt to them; they’re not going to adapt to you.
If there’s a problem between you two, you need to fix it. Always.
The subordinate’s job is not to reform the boss, not to reeducate the boss, not to make the boss confirm to what the business schools and the management books say bosses should be like… Does this individual need the information to be there when he gets to the office in the morning, or does this boss (as do a good many operating people) want it at the end of the day, say around 3:30 on Friday afternoon?
2) Have Regular Interaction
You can’t impress people who don’t know who you are and what you do all day.
Have regular meetings with your boss.
Don’t stay away. If you have a boss who doesn’t reach out to you, or with whom you have uncomfortable interactions, you will have to reach out yourself… Get on your boss’s calendar regularly.
3) Find out what your boss cares about — and do that
Don’t do what you think is important, do what they think is important.
This is how you make a boss happy.
First of all you need to figure out what your boss actually wants. Many people assume they know how they’re going to be evaluated and the criteria that other people in their organization are going to use, but unless you’re a mind reader you probably would be well served to actually check that out.
4) Make your accomplishments known
You’re doing what your boss feels is most important. Great. Now make sure they know about your fantastic progress.
Figure out what matters to your boss, and your boss’s boss, and make that stuff matter to you, too, because you can only impress your boss with your management skill if you are accomplishing things she cares about. And be loud about your accomplishments. Set measurable goals for yourself and let people above you know that you’re meeting them.
Best way to do that? A weekly sum-up email.
5) Make your boss look good
This should always be on your mind. It’s just human nature for everyone to want to look good — and to like others who help them achieve it.
Making your boss look good is never listed on a job description but it’s something every supervisor wants and is lavishly rewarded.
In the cutthroat world of work, appearances are reality.
Many people think “that shouldn’t be important”… until they become the boss and don’t want to look stupid.
6) Make your boss’s life easier
This is your real job description. Hold this as your highest goal and even the most self-absorbed of supervisors will warm to you.
The first Do is to realize that it is both the subordinate’s duty and in the subordinate’s self-interest to make the boss as effective and as achieving as possible. The best prescription for one’s own success is to work for a boss who is going places. Thus the first Do is to go to the boss – at least once a year – and ask: “What do I do and what do my people do that helps you do your job? And what do we do that hampers you and makes life more difficult for you?”
7) Manage expectations
Wondering how you’re going to do all this? Wondering how it’s even possible? It’s not.
Which is why you need to manage expectations.
Make sure when you’re telling the boss about your accomplishments you’re setting realistic timelines and goals.
Half of success is shaping what defines success.
Make sure the boss understands what can be expected of you, what the objectives and goals are on which your own energies and those of your people will be concentrated, what your priorities are, and, equally important, what they are not.
8) Have things in common with your boss
This is just human nature: We all like people who are similar to us.
Why does everyone take up golf when the boss takes up golf? Because thatworks.
Via Influencing Up:
In general, people most easily partner with people who they feel are like them… You always want to look for anything that you might have in common with the powerful person— whether it’s related to your organization’s positions, issues, or even personal interests.
9) No surprises
Not knowing what is going on is lethal to a person in a position of power. Even appearing to be unaware makes a leader lose face.
Have your boss’s back by keeping them clued in. This builds trust and a reliance upon you. And those are very good things.
Never expose the boss to surprises. It is the job of the subordinate to protect the boss against surprises — even pleasant ones (if any such exist). To be exposed to a surprise in the organization one is responsible for is humiliation, and usually public humiliation.
10) Complain… twice a year
If you do a great job and don’t complain, a boss will love you. Why? Because a boss hears complainers all day long.
If you’ve done all the other things on this list for 6 months to a year, a good boss will be eager to help you with problems.
Ask for nothing and they’ll fear you’re preparing to leave. Say what’s causing you trouble and watch the Red Sea part.
The biggest thing that prevents people from moving forward in their career is not accomplishment, it’s attitude.
And nobody likes a complainer. Companies pick attitude over hard work every day of the week.
The closer you bring yourself into the appearance of alignment through your daily actions and choices, the more favorable the company’s opinions of you will be, and the more secure your job will be… employees are being promoted who don’t have the best skills and may even have to be taught how to do the job, at great expense and time, because they appear to be in alignment and the company feels they can be trusted over others.
Oh, and there is one more thing, actually:
11) If it’s not working, move on
You did all of this and nothing happened? You may just be working for a jerk. Or a company that is in bad shape.
Doubling your efforts at an employer that cannot or will not give you what you need is wasted time and energy.
Better to move on where your hard work will be rewarded.
…if bosses and colleagues have formed some unfavorable impression of you in your current setting, then find another one. Many people want to “prove” that others are wrong about them — and they may be. But it’s a waste of precious time to fight that uphill battle. Why make heroic efforts to dig out of a hole when the same energy spent elsewhere could make you a star?
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From your parents telling you not to cross your eyes because they’ll stay that way and “early to bed, early to rise …” to taking Airborne or high doses of Vitamin C will cure a cold, there’s no shortage of myths in the world. And there’s no shortage of reasons why.
Most of us just love to make broad, sweeping generalizations from a single data point. We commonly mistake luck and coincidence for cause and effect. You know, just because you ran the table after taking three shots of tequila, that doesn’t mean you shoot pool better when you’re drunk.
And you’ve got to admit, we often believe what we want to believe, even if it’s just blind faith or rationalizing why things didn’t turn out the way we’d hoped.
Only one thing’s for sure: myths are stubbornly persistent because we keep them alive. Here are five business myths that live on for no rational reason. They’re not just annoying; they’re misleading and potentially damaging to your career.
Myth #1: It’s not what you know but who you know.
What may be sage advice on the importance of networking has long been misinterpreted to mean that only the privileged few get ahead because they have connections.
The truth is that knowledge, skill and experience are at least as important as getting out and meeting people. And for every success story, like Snapchat’s 23-year old co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel – who indeed had connections – there are dozens like Starbucks founder Howard Schultz and yours truly who started with nothing.
And these days, it’s actually far easier to make connections and network than it’s ever been, thanks to social networks and our entrepreneurial culture. Just remember: one real connection with a real human being in the real world is worth 1,000 virtual Twitter followers.
Myth #2: The boss is always right.
This is a tricky one. Indeed, if you decide to go head to head with your boss – who happens to have low self-confidence or a chip on his shoulder – you may very well find yourself publicly chastised or out looking for another job. Sad but true.
That said, competent executives, effective managers, and successful business leaders know how critical it is to hire the smartest, most talented people they can find and encourage them to speak their minds. Yes, they even listen.
Yes-men who tell their bosses what they think they want to hear and sugarcoat the truth to gain favor only get ahead in dysfunctional and bureaucratic organizations that are generally going nowhere.
Myth #3: Nice guys finish last.
Sure, if you’re a pushover, a doormat, someone who needs to please everyone to feel good about yourself, or an incurable optimist with hopes and dreams that aren’t remotely grounded in reality, you’re probably not going to get to the top of the heap.
But all things being equal, you’re better off being a genuine, good person who respects those who deserve it and is tough on those who don’t. You can be professional and competitive and still be nice to people. They’re not mutually exclusive.
Also, humor and humility are perhaps the most underrated leadership traits.
Myth #4: You don’t have to work hard if you work smart.
In spite of all the popular feel good fluff you read these days, the truth is, to be really successful in this world, it helps to work smart but you have to work hard. With rare exception, there’s simply no substitute for a strong work ethic and hard work.
Every time I bring up the myth of the four-hour workweek, I hear from hoards of Tim Ferriss followers. What they don’t get is that he’s successful because people buy his books and attend his speeches in search of a shortcut that doesn’t exist.
Myth #5: It’s called work for a reason. It’s not supposed to be fun.
It is true that business is about business, and it’s definitely not all fun and games. That said, your absolute best chance of making it in this world is to find your passion, what you love to do, and do that for a living. Granted, it helps if you’re genuinely good at it. Being delusional is never a good thing.
Look at it this way: If you dread getting up in the morning because you’re doing what you think you’re supposed to be doing, you’re just going to end up bitter and miserable.
As Steve Jobs once said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
When it comes to desirable places to work in the tech industry, two companies are always at the top of the list: Facebook and Google.
But which one is really the better employer?
To answer that question, we compared the two companies head to head,with the help of data gathered exclusively for Business Insider by Glassdoor. Glassdoor is a job hunting site where employees rate companies.
We looked at the companies in multiple rounds of comparisons and declared a winner in each round.
Round 1: Overall satisfaction ratings — Facebook wins
(Score so far: Facebook - 1; Google - 0)
Facebook employees rate their employer slightly better overall (4.6) compared to how Google employees rate Google (4.1), from at least 550 company reviews per company.
Satisfaction ratings are based on a 5-point scale: 1.0=very dissatisfied, 3.0=OK, 5.0=very satisfied. So, we can see that employees are highly satisfied with both companies.
Interestingly, Google's rating has been climbing, indicating that current employers are getting happier. As of this quarter, the two companies are tied at 4.5 each, as the chart below shows:
Round 2: CEO Approval Rating — Mark Zuckerberg wins
(Score so far: Facebook - 2; Google - 0)
In 2011, Google employees were far happier with their CEO, Larry Page, than Facebook employees were with their CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Those were Facebook's pre-IPO days, when rumors were circulating that Zuckerberg planned to sell Facebook, and people were grumbling that Facebook needed a more mature CEO.
By the start of 2012, just before Facebook's IPO in May, employees were feeling great about their young CEO. His ratings wouldn't dive again until just before the so-called Facebook phone was announced, Facebook Home, and the HTC smartphone built with Home that failed fast.
Even so, Zuckerberg has eked out a slightly higher approval rating from employees overall, 97%, compared to Page of 95% of employees who approve of Page, based on at least 475 ratings per CEO.
And so far in Q4 13, Zuckerberg is enjoying a perfect 100% CEO approval rating.
Round 3: Employee confidence in the future — Facebook wins
(Score so far: Facebook - 3; Google - 0)
More Facebook employees (84%) than Google employees (80%) believe their company’s business will improve in the next six months.
More Google employees (18%) than Facebook employees (16%) believe their company’s business performance will remain the same in the next six months.
More Google employees (2%) than Facebook employees (0%) believe their company’s business performance will get worse in the next six months.
(This data was based on at least 60 ratings per company over the past three months, August-November.)
Round 4: Perks and Salaries — Google wins
(Because this is such an important area, it's worth two points. Score so far: Facebook - 3; Google - 2)
One big thing that Google has over Facebook is that it pays more for technical talent.
Over the past 12 months, the average salary for a Google software engineer was $128,225; At Facebook it was $121,183.
And more Google employees are happy with perks like free food than Facebook employees. More Google are happy with work/life balance and work hours than Facebook, too.
These are the most common compliments and complaints employees have:
“You work with some of the best and brightest in the world. Whichever field you're in there'll be at least one and probably several of the field's most renown luminaries working at Google. The perks are amazing, it's a great environment to get things done.” – Google Security Engineer (Mountain View, CA)
“It's a big company now. It often takes a lot of effort to start new projects and there are plenty of distracting or disassociated programs.” – Google Program Manager (Mountain View, CA)
“Brilliant colleagues, fantastic startup-ish culture and desire to do things the right way, interesting and widely varied technologies and challenges to solve, great perks to make your life comfortable.” – Facebook Production Engineer (Menlo Park, CA)
“There isn't a lot of hand holding or pats on the back, and being critical and outspoken is rewarded almost all the time. This can get exhausting.” – Facebook Analyst (New York, NY)
Round 5: How hard is the job interview? — Facebook wins
(Score: Facebook - 4; Google - 2)
Both companies have high standards. And interviews shouldn't be too easy. But we also assume that neither company would invite a candidate to an interview if the person didn't have exceptional qualifications.
So, how hard do they make it on the person during the interview before they give an offer?
Google job candidates say the process lasts 35 days. Facebook job candidates say it lasts 31 days (on average, based on at least 210 interview reviews per company so far in 2013).
Interview difficulty ratings based are on a 5-point scale: 1.0=very easy, 3.0=average, 5.0=very difficult.
Here's how one Google candidate describes the interview process:
“Stay calm and talk through your answers. Don't assume you did poorly or well, it’s too hard to guess and treat each interviewer individually. Overall a long process, but a fair one. In engineering it’s important to keep standards high and consistent.” – Google Software Engineer interview candidate (Mountain View, CA)
Here's how one Facebook candidate describes it:
“I had a really positive overall experience during the interview and hiring process. My recruiter and hiring manager were so good at communicating next steps and they would follow up weekly to let me know where the team was at in the process.” – Facebook Program Manager interview candidate (Menlo Park, CA)
Here's some sample questions recently asked at each company.
“Why does Starbucks expand the way they do having multiple stores next to each other?” – Google Product Manager interview candidate (Mountain View, CA)
“How would you design a parking system?” – Facebook User Operations Team Lead interview candidate (Austin, TX)
And the champion is ... Facebook.
Final score: Facebook - 4; Google - 2.
Yes, you make a lot of money when you work on Wall Street, but you're going to have to spend a lot of money to stay there.
To go to work every day you'll need to look the part — the suit, the shoes, etc. To live every day with a banker's schedule, you'll need people to take care of you — maid service, dry cleaners etc.
And then there are the social obligations — trips, schmoozing, memberships ...
Wall Street is full of Joneses, and as the saying goes, they're hard to keep up with.
Here's how much money it takes to try.
From the start, prepare to drop $3,000+ on an apartment in the Financial District
Rents may have slightly declined in Manhattan in 2012, but the average rent is still more than $3,300 a month according to Citi Habitats.
We searched two-bedroom apartments in the area and turned up a few for less than $3,000, but they were few and far between.
Luckily, the Financial District/Battery Park City area saw the biggest drop in asking prices — down 12 percent at the end of the year from October.
And given the beating Superstorm Sandy subjected the area to last fall, you'll definitely want to budget for flood insurance.
Men need at least $200 to invest in a solid pair of dress shoes. That figure doubles for women, who will need at least two pair.
What good is a $5,000 suit if you're rounding it out with the same pair of kicks you used to hit the streets in as an intern?
Men, invest in a solid pair of black or brown dress shoes that meet these three critera: They won't scuff easily; they'll hold up to daily beatings running around the office; and you can go from work to cocktail hour without having to change.
Let's be real, if you want to look great, you'll need more than one pair.
Ladies, unless you're willing to teeter over potholes and cracked sidewalks in 4-inch Manolo's, you'll need a sturdy pair of flats to trek to and from the office as well.
Trust us. Nothing ruins a $300 heel faster than a puddle of mystery Subway sludge.
And it costs at least $20 per month to keep your soles from caving in.
Unless you've nabbed a private office with a view by now, chances are you're not in any hurry to burn cash on shoe replacements every few months.
For a few bucks, turn over your weary kicks to the plethora of time-tested cobblers on Wall Street. Judging by dozens of glowing reviews, few are as beloved as Minas Shoe Repair.
"[Minas Shoe Repair] is the only place I take my designer shoes for repair," writes one Yelp reviewer. "It can get pricey, but paying a little under $100 for resoling and re-heeling and fixing up a $700 pair of Chanel flats definitely beats shelling out another $700 for new ones."
Wall Street's also one of the few places you can pop in for a $3 shoeshine at the corner drugstore.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Of all the companies in the nation, which ones are the best to work for according to their own employees?
Interestingly, almost half of the best rated companies (22 of them) were tech companies. So we created this list that ranks only tech companies.
And the outcome was surprising.
For instance, Apple didn't make it into the top 10. There are a few companies on this list we bet you've never heard of. Most of the best tech companies offer enterprise tech, not consumer tech.
Glassdoor filtered through over half a million company reviews submitted by during the past 12 months to come up with its list of 50. It ranked companies based on how employees rated the company's CEO, its business strategy and the positive and negative things they said.
No. 22: Salesforce.com knows how to work hard play hard
Employee rating: 3.8 out of 5
Headquarters: San Francisco
What it does: Salesforce.com offers a cloud computing service that helps companies find and support customers.
What employees say:
“Very vibrant culture which is focused on education and growth. Company knows how to work and play hard. Very socially minded with a focus on 'foundation' and employees that are generally very nice and respectful.” – Salesforce.com Customer Success Employee (San Francisco, CA)
No. 21: eBay is a great opportunity to learn and grow
Employee rating: 3.8 out of 5
Headquarters: San Jose, CA
What it does: eBay is an online Internet ecommerce site best known for letting consumers sell stuff through online auctions.
What employees say:
“Great opportunity for growth and work with great people who are friendly and are willing to help. I am able to learn a lot of new things while on the job. It’s a good learning experience for me.” – eBay Inc Software Engineer III (Santa Clara, CA)
No. 20: Texas Instruments is a huge company chock full of opportunity
Name: Texas Instruments
Employee rating: 3.8 out of 5
What it does: Texas Instruments is a semiconductor manufacturer.
What employees say:
“TI is an older company with great values but still has the expertise to be a great competitive technology company. TI is a huge company and has a foot in many areas, so there are good opportunities.” – Texas Instruments Senior Software Engineer (Dallas, TX)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
As the New Year looms, many law graduates with heavy debt have yet to find work as attorneys — including the author of the self-deprecating new blog "Law Grad Working Retail."
The blog's anonymous author graduated from a law school that was in the top 50 ranked by U.S. News and World Report. He was on law review and even got a summer position at a firm after his second year. He didn't get a job offer though.
This grad still hasn't found legal work and took a job selling cologne just before the holidays to make ends meet. Now he says he's "liveblogging the loss of my last shred of dignity." His blog is both funny and heartbreaking.
The funny parts often involve his coworkers assuming he can answer every law-related question they have. His coworker Shaina grills him after it's discovered that another coworker named Julian is apparently "robbing the stock room blind." Here's the exchange:
"LawGrad, you a lawyer," Shaina began, "can Julian sue the store?"
"You know, accusing him of stealing because he’s Mexican."
"But he was stealing."
"So he can’t sue?"
Shaina also asks random questions like, "Is it illegal for a hospital to turn you away at the emergency room?" LawGrad tries to tell her he's not actually a lawyer, but she doesn't seem to get it and asks him at least three times what kind of law he practices.
"I told her cologne selling law," he writes.
Everybody at work also wants LawGrad to tell them how to get out of petty traffic tickets, based on the assumption that he learned every law in the world when he earned his JD.
"I try to explain to people that I didn't learn anything that practical in law school," he writes.
The sadder parts involve managers talking to him like he's an idiot. From the blog:
The other day I was in the stock room alone unpacking inventory and I was throwing cardboard boxes into this big dumpster. I wasn’t breaking them down because I was going to wait until I was done and then break them all down at the end. A manager came in and f---ing chewed my ass out telling me to never throw boxes in there without breaking them down first. She actually explained to me very slowly that the purpose of breaking down the boxes was so we could fit more boxes in. I was on law review.
He's also constantly afraid he'll run into somebody he knows. He really, really doesn't want anybody to see him cleaning.
"[A]s much as it would suck for a law school classmate to see me selling cologne, seeing me cleaning up broken glass on my hands and knees would be a million times worse," he writes.
Perhaps the most gut-wrenching part of his blog comes when he writes about a picture of the Chicago river on the wall behind the cologne counter where he works.
"They could have picked any picture of Chicago to go on that wall, but they picked this particular part of the city at this particular angle," he writes. "The building I worked in 2l summer is in this picture. Every day I sit in front of this picture of the firm that no offered me, peddling bullshit to rich assholes."
Now Watch: Here's What It Takes To Work At Hooters
The Milken Institute is out with a great new report on the top cities for job growth across the country. The organization uses a number of criteria to rank both large and small cities, including job growth, wage growth and high-tech industry growth.
Job growth takes into account employment gains during 2013 as well as those made during the previous five years to give a more comprehensive picture of each city's economic status instead of a yearly snapshot.
Topping the list for the second year in a row for large cities was Austin, Texas as its technology sector has flourished in recent years. Coming in second was the Provo, Utah metro area with San Francisco finishing third.
Columbia, Mo. was the top city for economic growth amongst small cities in 2013, rising nine spots from 2012. Columbus, Ind. was the runner-up.
Here are the top 25 performing large cities:
And here are the top 10 performing small cities:
Check out the full report for a detailed breakdown of all 379 cities.
Our stories on the plight of underemployed law grads have prompted a huge response from readers — including one who never found an attorney job but did okay for herself anyway.
That reader, 31-year-old Jacqueline Young, attended University of Nebraska's Law School (ranked 61 in the U.S.) and passed the bar after graduation in 2010.
Over the course of a year, Young applied for something like 1,500 jobs, some law-related and some not. She had no luck and worked as a food server to make ends meet. Finally, in October 2011, she got an idea for a business while babysitting a young volleyball player: selling headbands and other sports accessories at kids' tournaments.
This is obviously not what she set out to do when she took out about $100,000 in loans to go to law school with the idea that, in her words, "it would be cool to be a corporate attorney."
But she seems happy with where she is and she's not doing bad financially, either. The business — Bad Sportz— had $250,000 in sales its first year. Young has been throwing any extra cash from her sports apparel business at her student loans, and her $100,000 debt is now down to $60,000.
Meanwhile, a few of her law school classmates who did find work as lawyers after graduation are already looking to leave the law.
"People question me all the time about why I am selling headbands and sitting at a volleyball tournament on the weekends when I could be an attorney," Young told me in an email message. "It’s funny because I probably make more than most of my classmates. I just smile and say there is nothing better than owning your own business."
On the phone, I asked Young whether she regretted going to law school, and she said that she didn't. A glass-half-full kind of person, Young mentioned that her hefty loans give her an incentive to make sure the business does well.
Still, Young said of law school, "I wouldn't do it again, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone."
NOW WATCH: What It Takes To Work At Hooters
2014 promises to be another hot year for startups creating tech for businesses rather than consumers.
VCs are still tripping over themselves to fund enterprise startups and a slew of them are getting ready to go public this year.
All of that is reason to consider a career with an enterprise startup that could make you rich on stock options.
Plus, many of these startups are creating amazing, important new technologies and showering their employees with perks.
Apttus: A winner with Salesforce.com.
Apttus plays in a hot market called "quote to cash" (CQT). That's software that helps an enterprise deal with bids and quotes.
Apttus is a service specific to Salesforce.com.
When Oracle bought one of its competitors, Big Machines, for what was reported to be more than $400 million, Apttus gained attention.
Salesforce.com had a minor stake in Big Machines but it had, a month earlier, bet even bigger on Apttus, partaking of its $37 million round of investment. That put Apttus under the protective arm of Salesforce and maybe, one day, to be fully acquired by it.
Birst: Google for the enterprise.
Birst offers a cloud service that lets businesses search through their own corporate data as easily as Google lets people search for stuff on the Web. And it also offers businesses Amazon.com-style recommendations.
The company is trying to disrupt the traditional "business intelligence" enterprise market and has nabbed a long list of customers, including American Express, Cisco, and Kellogg's.
It raised $38 million in 2013 ($64 million total).
Box: A Valley star on a roll.
File-sharing and collaboration startup Box was on a roll in 2013 and Valley insiders think the company will go public in 2014.
In December, Box raised another huge round of funding, $100 million, with a valuation of $2 billion. It has raised more than $400 million so far from a who's-who roster of investors.
In addition to funding, Box made four acquisitions in 2013 and now claims over 20 million users.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
This is a big week for employees at US investment banks. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, BAML and Citi all report their full year results for 2013. Employees at those banks will also be told their 2013 bonuses.
Ahead of that moment – and before European banks’ results next month – here’s a brief run through of expectations regarding pay based on average accruals in the first nine months. In summary, most banks look likely to cut pay per head by an average of 5% – although Credit Suisse and RBS are on track to cut by substantially more. UBS is on track to increase pay in its investment bank.
Predicted pay at Credit Suisse’s investment bank for 2013: $388k average
Quantum: By the end of Q3, Credit Suisse had accrued CHF4.1bn to pay its investment bankers, working out at an average of CHF263k per head. If Credit Suisse continues to accrue at the same rate, it should pay its average investment banker CHF350k ($388k) for 2013.
Likely direction: Down. In the first nine months of 2013, Credit Suisse cut average pay per head by 16% – more than any other bank except RBS.
Predicted pay at Deutsche Bank’s corporate banking and securities business for 2013: $315k average
Quantum: At the end of the third quarter, Deutsche Bank had accrued a total of €4.3bn with which to pay people in its corporate and investment bank. This worked out an average of €173k per head, suggesting that Deutsche will be paying around €231k ($315k) per head for the full year.
Likely direction: Down. Average pay per head fell 4% in the first three quarters of 2013 vs. the same period of 2012.
Predicted pay at Goldman Sachs for 2013: $427k average
Quantum: At the end of the third quarter, Goldman had accrued a total compensation pool of $10.4bn. With 32,600 employees, this worked out at an average of $320k per head. If Goldman accrues at the same rate during the fourth quarter, the implication is that it will pay an average of $427k for the full year. In fact, it may pay slightly less – the rate of pay accrual typically slows in the final months of the year.
Likely direction: Down. During the first nine months of 2013, average pay per head at Goldman was down 5% on 2012.
Predicted pay at JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank for 2013: $221k average
Quantum: JPMorgan no longer reports results for its investment bank alone, choosing to bundle them up with results for its commercial bank. This obfuscates how much its investment bankers are getting paid. In the first nine months, total compensation accrued for people at JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank totaled $8.7bn, which worked out at $166k per head. For the full year, the average JPMorgan corporate and investment banker should earn $221k.
Likely direction: Down. In the first nine months pay per head at JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank fell 5% on 2012. Rumour has it that its investment banking bonuses will be flat versus the previous year.
Predicted pay at Morgan Stanley’s investment bank for 2013
Quantum: Morgan Stanley doesn’t break out the number of people it employs in its institutional securities division, making it impossible to compute pay per head. However, in the first nine months it accrued a total of $5.3bn in compensation and benefits expenditure, suggesting its total investment banking pay pot should be around $7bn for the full year.
Likely direction: Down. Morgan Stanley’s $5.3bn accrual in the first nine months was 3% lower than in the same period of 2012.
And, yes, Apple says that people spent more than $10 billion in its App Store in 2013 — including more than $1 billion in December.
But the truth is, your chances of getting rich from a mobile app is depressingly slim.
There are more than 1 million mobile apps in both Apple's App Store and Google's Play store, and less than 1 percent of them will be any kind of financial success for their developers through 2018, market research firm Gartner says.
Many of those apps aren't intended to generate income and that's a trend that will grow, too. Today about 91 percent of mobile apps are free, reports Network World. By 2017, 94.5% of mobile apps will be free, Gartner says.
Of the remaining 5.5% of apps that people pay for, 90 percent of them will make less than $1,250 a day, or generate less than $500,000 a year.
Now, $500,000 a year is still a healthy income, but very few developers will make that kind of living.
"Our analysis shows that most mobile applications are not generating profits," says Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney.
But writing free apps can still be a pretty decent source of income. A lead mobile app developer makes an average salary of about $100,000 a year nationwide, according to Indeed.com.
Put it all together and the obvious advice for would-be mobile app entrepreneurs: while working on your strike-it-rich mobile app, don't quit your day job.
A new Business Insider/Survey Monkey Audience study identified the most overpaid and underpaid jobs as well as some interesting trends about how people's opinions on the subject change when given more data.
In our primary version of the survey, we showed respondents the mean annual wage for each of the jobs, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' May 2012 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, and then asked whether the jobs were very underpaid, somewhat underpaid, paid about right, somewhat overpaid, or very overpaid.
In our secondary version of the survey, we asked the same question, but without showing respondents the actual annual wages for each of the occupations. In this version, respondents based their answers on their pre-existing knowledge or beliefs about the salary levels for the jobs.
For many of the jobs, especially those on the higher and lower ends of the income scale, respondents who were not shown the actual mean wages were much more likely to answer that those jobs are overpaid and less likely to answer that they are underpaid than were respondents who were shown the wages. One possible explanation for this difference is that people may think these occupations pay more than they actually do.
For a lot of professional and skilled trades jobs in the middle of the income spectrum, however, there was not as much of a difference between the two surveys, and most respondents answered that these jobs were paid about right on both versions of the survey, indicating overall weaker feelings about these occupations' pay levels.
Here is a breakdown of the differences and similarities between the two versions of the survey for some of these professions.
For example, here are the results from the two surveys for barbers and hairdressers, one of the jobs on the lower end of the income spectrum:
The horizontal axis shows the five survey options. The blue columns show the results of the first version of the survey in which respondents were not told the salaries, and the red columns show the results from the second version in which respondents were told the salaries.
On the version of the survey without the salary information, most (59%) respondents said that barbers and hairdressers were paid about right, with only about 29% of respondents saying that they were either somewhat or very underpaid.
However, on the version of the survey that included the salary information, the responses were flipped. A majority of 54% said that barbers were somewhat underpaid, 15% said that they were very underpaid, and only 30% said they were paid about right. In this version, nearly no respondents said that barbers and hairdressers were either somewhat or very overpaid.
A number of other low to medium wage jobs had a similar shift in opinion between the two surveys — respondents who were told the actual annual wages for the jobs were more likely to reply that those workers were underpaid. Bartenders went from a majority of respondents saying they were paid about right in the first version of the survey to a roughly even split between being seen as very underpaid, somewhat underpaid, and paid about right by respondents who were told their annual average wage of $21,630:
In both versions of the survey, about half of respondents said that cooks were somewhat underpaid. However, in the version without salaries given, about a third of respondents said that cooks were paid about right, and about a tenth said they were very underpaid, while respondents who were told the salary information had these proportions reversed:
Similar kinds of reversals were seen for other lower- to medium-wage jobs like highway maintenance workers, auto mechanics, construction laborers, and building cleaning workers. While on both versions of the survey, most respondents said that people in these jobs were either underpaid or paid about right, with very few replying that they were overpaid, those surveyed were far more likely to say that these jobs were somewhat or very underpaid when given the actual annual wages.
There was a similar shift in opinion between the two versions of the survey for many jobs at the wealthier end of the income spectrum. Athletes are the most extreme example — in the survey without salaries given, over three quarters of respondents replied that athletes are very overpaid. However, the BLS finds that, on average, athletes make $75,760 per year.
This result, which is lower than might be expected when considering the giant contracts given to MLB, NBA, and NFL superstars, likely comes from a combination of two factors. First, many athletes might be competing in less lucrative leagues or sports — a second line defenseman in the American Hockey League likely makes less money than Joe Flacco. Second, the BLS wage results are based on surveys, and so it is possible that those superstar contracts are not reflected in these summary data.
Respondents who were given this average salary were far more inclined to reply that athletes were paid about right:
A very similar, if slightly less extreme, pattern held for other occupations with relatively, but not insanely, high average annual salaries, in which a few astronomically high paid superstars dominate the public mindset — chief executives (average annual salary: $176,840), lawyers ($130,880), and agents for entertainers and celebrities ($88,620) all saw the same kind of shift in opinion from majorities or near-majorities describing them as being very overpaid in the survey without the salary information, to a more modest distribution with a much higher proportion of respondents saying they were paid about right when told the average salaries.
The most dramatic shift in opinion between the two versions was for legislators. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate make $174,000 per year, but the vast majority of legislators are working at the state and local levels for much lower levels of pay. According to the BLS, the average salary for a legislator is $38,590.
Without this info, a majority of survey respondents said that legislators were very overpaid. Respondents who were given the average salary were far more sympathetic:
Only a handful of jobs saw a big shift in the opposite direction. For both pharmacists and postal service workers, at least a plurality of respondents on both surveys said that they were paid about right. However, in both cases, respondents who were given salary numbers were about twice as likely to say they were somewhat overpaid, and very much less likely to say they were somewhat or very underpaid:
The final group of occupations were those that saw little change between the two versions of the survey. First are a couple low-wage jobs that respondents on both surveys said were underpaid: waiters and waitresses, and fast food and counter workers:
There were also a number of professional or skilled trade jobs for which majorities of respondents on both surveys replied that these jobs were paid about right, with very little difference whether or not salaries were given. Architects are a representative example of this group:
The distributions for a wide range of jobs, including clergy, plumbers, aircraft pilots, accountants, reporters, and carpenters all look very similar to this chart. In general, it seems that people have very little to complain about the salaries of these kinds of solid middle class jobs.
There also was not much difference between the two versions of the survey for first responders. Overwhelming majorities on both versions responded that police officers and firefighters are either underpaid or paid about right, with little variation between the two surveys:
Since everyone's talking about junior staff hours in investment banking, we might as well bring this story up again.
It's an ugly one.
Back in June of 2012, a bank intern tipster sent Business Insider the sad (and embarrassing) story of a junior bank analyst who had a complete meltdown while his bank was short staffed.
The story takes place right before this analyst was about to be given some respite, quite sadly. The bank had just hired another analyst for his desk to start on Monday.
However, the Thursday before this new analyst was supposed to start, the work had really started to pile up.
Our poor burnt out analyst asked for help, but his co-workers weren't interested. Work distribution had become a tense topic on the desk since they'd become short staffed, and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, they decided run right to it.
On Monday the new analyst showed up for her firstwas a deliverable in the morning that had to get shipped out, and the burnt out analyst was supposed to have been in the office early in the morning to take care of it.
But the burnt out analyst didn't show up. The hours passed — 9:00 am, 10:00 am — basically the afternoon on Wall Street. Calls went unanswered — straight to voicemail.
At 11:30 am, the burn out analyst showed up, but he wasn't alone. His parents had been visiting him from China and brought him into work themselves. He looked like hell, according to our source.
Burnt out analyst's parents walked up to our source, since he speaks Chinese, and told him that Burnt Out Analyst needed to go to a hospital because he hasn't slept all weekend.
While all this was going on, the burnt out analyst went to his desk, started talking gibberish and slammed his mouse and his head on the keyboard.
He kept on saying he'd get everything done right away. Our source describes it as something out of The Exorcist.
Burnt out analyst ended up going to the hospital. His replacement, starting that day, didn't last long either. After a few months she was out.
It's an unbelievable story, so maybe you don't believe it. Maybe you do, because you've seen something like it. Your call.
Either way, over the last week, I've gotten a few e-mails from older bankers saying that these junior bankers are complaining too much. One told me that they hadn't figured out the concepts of genuine work and sacrifice.
The senior bankers feel that when went through this process, it made the stronger, and better, and like with any tradition, they consider it a part of their culture. It's a rite of passage.
But the problem with that mentality is that now banks aren't the most lucrative, prestigious employers on the block. Ambitious young people have alternatives — not just going to private equity or a hedge fund after two or three years working at a bank — they have big companies like Google and Facebook.
And as banks help turn startups into big companies through initial public offerings, there will be more alternatives. It's good for the economy, and it's something every American should want.
The most talented young people will be able to take advantage of these options, and as banks now fear, there will be a brain drain — not just for one analyst, for one weekend, but for the whole Street.
Not that banks aren't considering this. It has become increasingly clear that they are very, very aware.
Lisa Du also contributed to the reporting of this story.
Amanda Chung is a PhD student at the University of Washington.
My friend leaned forward over the table where we were having dinner. It was a loud, busy restaurant, but she lowered her voice conspiratorially and her eyes took on a sheen of excitement, tinged with fear. "I accepted a position working with a non-profit in the South American rainforest after I graduate, but I haven't told my professor yet. If I already have a job lined up, he can't stop me, right?"
At first I considered this apprehensive attitude to be unique and maybe unwarranted. Why wouldn't a PhD student want to tell her professor, with whom she works so closely and who supervises her PhD, about such a unique job opportunity? But over time, I saw this scenario again and again, and not without reason. Classmates were told they would not be allowed to pursue non-academic opportunities. Professors scorned the idea of being a "bench monkey" at a private biotech company. Internship programmes advertised to us during our PhD interviews were quickly retracted and made to disappear as soon as any real interest was shown.
After entering a PhD programme, it became obvious that when in academia, the only respectable future job is in academia. Becoming an academic is typically considered the holy grail for PhDs in the sciences. Certainly, one can see how the position is an honourable one. To dedicate one's life to the pursuit of science and discovery, for the sake of knowledge. And with tenure appointment comes the freedom to pursue the answers to the questions you care about, instead of the questions the stockholders of a company care about.
But I have major issues with the view that academia as the be all and end all of science careers. The drive by the US to produce more scientists began around 1940-1950. Spurred by events such as the Manhattan Project and later the space race, increased funding for science and technology drove a perceived need for more scientists. More recently, reports and testimony from the likes of Bill Gates have continued to encourage the production of more scientists. Nevertheless, as numerous recent articles have warned, the population of science PhDs is steadily growing, while the number of available faculty jobs increases at a pace only a snail could envy.
As a result, the competition for faculty positions has become incredibly competitive, and PhDs end up languishing in post-doctoral positions for more than ten years, many never attaining a full-time academic position. Yet, instead of universities taking precautions and educating their students in a way that would provide them with the skills to be competitive in job markets outside of academia, these institutions continue to maintain a traditional instructional framework. While a PhD programme provides experience in skills such as project management, problem solving, and communication, students still come out with a narrow window of extremely specialised knowledge and techniques that are often not transferable to the job market.
What can schools do to produce more well-rounded PhDs? Progress would be to offer courses that train students in a wide variety of skills. This would make them more attractive to potential employers. Additional courses in broader topics such as writing and business would also be beneficial. But classes can only provide limited experience; direct, hands-on training is also vital. Therefore, departments should also provide infrastructure and support that provides opportunities for internships in a range of companies.
With plunges in funding for science research and increases in the number of people earning their PhDs, advances in science may need to come from sources such as private research facilities like Seattle's Allen Brain Institute. Other groups, such as Microryza and Sage Bionetworks, have started taking advantage of public interest and participation for funding and brainpower. It is becoming clear that traditional research is turning into a broken system.
I think it is time for a change of attitude towards acceptance of non-academic careers. Progress begins with the professors; they must become more open-minded to students' pursuit of alternate career opportunities. This includes allowing them to devote some of their time to cultivating skills and relationships that will provide a solid foundation upon which to find the right job after graduating. Students, like my aforementioned friend, should not have reservations about discussing their job future with professors.
In the dynamic job market for scientists where there is an increasing amount of competition for fewer academic positions, it is important for both professors and departments to provide support for their students. This includes changing the general attitude towards jobs that are not in academia, and providing programs that give students opportunities to gain skills and experience that will help them have a fulfilling career in science.
What is my next step towards finding my ideal job? Telling my professor I don't want to be like him...
This article first appeared on Amanda Chung's blog.
Amanda Chung does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.