Eight Great Careers
High school special-education teachers, physical therapists and management consultants are among the eight "Best Careers," according to a new report by CareerJournal.com. The site based its recommendations on extensive worker surveys and analysis of labor data. The other "best" careers are curriculum and instructional coordinators; hospital and clinic managers; medical researchers; sales, marketing and advertising managers; and social workers, counselors and related managers. "While career fulfillment is subjective, dependent on an individual’s values, interests, needs, skills and abilities, these eight careers have a great mix of qualities," noted David Patton, editorial director. For profiles of people currently working in these careers, go online to careerjournal.com/bestcareers.
Graduating into the World of Work
You may have graduated magna cum laude, aced the interview and landed your first job with a Fortune 500 company, but you’re still a newbie when it comes to the workplace. Recent college grads should take the time to maximize their opportunities for success by following some simple rules. "Just like the President of the United States, a new employee’s first 100 days in office is a time when all eyes are on them to see if he or she will meet expectations. Making the transition while seeking to make a mark is a challenge," declares workplace legal expert Robin Bond. "Starting your first job is exciting, but can be overwhelming. It takes finesse to handle pressure with grace." Bond notes that new employees, regardless of age or experience, should be mindful of the personal and professional dynamics in every office, and offers advice for fitting in and getting ahead at a new job:
Dress Appropriately – Deciding what to wear the first day is a big challenge. Know your company’s dress code and pay attention to what others are wearing. Tread lightly – Understand your role as a new employee and be careful not to step on anyone’s toes. There is a happy medium between being an overachiever or a super-slacker. Take it seriously – The days of lazy summer jobs and casual internships are gone. You need to think of your position in a long-term mindset. Set goals and show co-workers your professional demeanor. Find a mentor - Once you get a chance to assess everyone and their roles, find someone you can trust to provide valuable advice and guidance on your work.
On the Job Front
NATIONWIDE – The productivity of American workers increased slightly in the second quarter, but annualized at 1.6 percent it was way below the 4.3-percent mark for the first three months of 2006. Second-quarter wages increased at an annual rate of 4.9 percent – good news for workers, but troubling to economists concerned about inflation. The US Labor Department report also identified scattered labor shortages and rising wage pressures, especially for workers with specialized skills.
CENTRAL VALLEY – Comcast Corp plans to hire about 450 workers over the next 18 months to support its new telephone services debuting next year in markets from Marysville to Fresno. The firm already offers cable television and Internet products in the region. Most of the new openings will be for field service technicians and customer service reps.
Bedeviled by a Bad Boss?
Few employees may report to bosses as coldhearted as those sometimes portrayed in the movies, but most will encounter less-than-perfect supervisors at some point. While professionals cannot control their managers’ behavior, they can change how they react to it, advises career expert Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. She cites three common types of challenging supervisors and tips for working with them:
The Box of Chocolates – As with selecting a bonbon from an assortment, you never know what you’re going to get with this boss. The manager may pal around with you one day and turn a cold shoulder the next. There seems to be little rhyme or reason to her moods. Your strategy: Understand that your supervisor’s disposition has little to do with you, so try not to take things personally. Remain calm and composed when interacting with this type of boss; be the steady presence she may need. When this manager is on edge, try to limit communication unless a matter is urgent.
The Bully – This boss has a consistent disposition: overbearing, and he wants to do things his way, or no way at all. He tends to be gruff with others and is easily frustrated. Your strategy: Deal with this person the same way you would a schoolyard bully: Stand up for yourself. When an idea is dismissed, calmly explain your rationale. If accused of a mistake you didn’t make, keep your composure and describe what happened. Often, this type of boss will relent when presented with a voice of reason. In fact, the bully may do a complete turnaround once he is convinced you’re up to the challenge of working together. If your relationship doesn’t improve and your manager continues to bully you, however, it may be time to look for a new job.
The Micro-Manager wants to know every detail of every project and be involved in all decisions. This type of person has trouble delegating and may not give you very challenging assignments. Your strategy: The first step is to look inward. Have you done something to undermine your boss’s confidence? Because trust is usually the issue, try to do everything in your power to build it. This includes being detail-oriented and keeping management apprised of all the steps you’ve taken to ensure quality work. The more confident your manager is in your abilities, the less controlling that person is likely to be.
Few Revved Up About Telecommuting
Americans’ love affair with the automobile is costing the US economy $3.9 billion a year in fuel and time equal to 470,000 jobs, according to the National Technology Readiness Survey (NTRS). The annual survey found that despite 25 percent of respondents citing supportive employer telecommuting policies or jobs that would allow work from home, only 11 percent are doing so. "With national gas prices hovering near $3 a gallon, American workers could suffer less pain at the pump if they took advantage of workplace telecommuting policies," asserts Roland Rust, executive director of the Center for Excellence in Service. The problem is that even if workers could telecommute, they still would choose not to do so the majority of the time. "It seems the professional and social environment of the workplace wins out over money and time savings," concludes Charles Colby, president of Rockbridge Associates, a tech research firm and underwriter of the survey. "Though a fourth of the population could be working from home, most Americans still choose the office environment for the majority of their workweek."