Feet on the Street

Career Resources, Information and News

Archive for January, 2010

50 Jobs Worse Than Yours

Posted by Lori on January 29, 2010

Fix yourself a hot fudge sundae and crack open a can of diet Coke. It’s finally Friday, and time to take our tired ol’ feet off the street, throw them up in the Lay-Z-Boy, and just relax. Our topic of discussion for the next couple Fridays is a look at Jason Racz’ book, 50 Jobs Worse Than Yours (2004). Where, o where, do we start with this one?

Of all of the jobs I have worked, probably the worst was at a large meat packing plant in Dodge City, Kansas. I started my brief, 3 month-long, career weighing beef carcasses in the cooler. Then, I transferred out to the yard moving the live cattle closer to a grocery store near you. Probably the most important thing I learned about the industry was that I didn’t ever want to do it again.

Perhaps it depends on your perspective as to which job, or jobs are worse than yours. I decided to throw caution to the wind and select 5 jobs from the list that I think wouldn’t even light the board on being dreadful. Here’s my list for the day (in no particular order):

  • Garbage Barge Skipper – Standing amid the rubbish, transporting it from Point A to Point B, there would be no escaping the odor. The good news is that the dress code is casual; a skipper hat, sunblock, and deodorant are all that is needed. In addition to that, to an olfactory system made of steel would be beneficial! However, the drawback, according to Duffy Saint Pierre, Garbage Barge Skipper is, “Starboard side, port side, everywhere you look, crap’s ahoy.”
  • Domino Setter-Upper – I think this job would require nerves of steel, as well as a mighty steady hand. Tools of the trade include: a yardstick, domino stoppers, Scotch Tape and knee pads. There is tremendous satisfaction when the plan comes together and the dominoes fall, but big time disappointment when they don’t.
  • Stevie Starr: Regurgitator -This one is just plain weird. According to Racz, the job is to, “Swallow foreign objects, such as goldfish, needle and thread, a Rubik’s Cube, and then bring them up whole, threaded and solved.” Believe it or not, this is a skill that cannot be taught!
  • Sherpa – If you were at the USA Conference in Wichita this week, you heard Keynote Speaker, Skip Yowell from JanSport, use this term a couple of times when he talked about his mountain climbing expeditions. Sherpas assist hikers at Mount Everest by toting crates, assisting with camp building, and cooking. Their base pay is the equivalent of about $7.00/day. The book states an amazing factoid – people freeze to death at 28,000 feet and one out of 20 Sherpas do not make it to the next hike.
  • Chick Sexer – As you might suspect, these folks sort the girl chickens from the boy chickens. It may not be a glamorous occupation, but it pays fairly well with Sexers earning $400-$700/day plus expenses. Probably not a bad living in the grand scheme of things. I just think it takes lots of chick looking to garner the big bucks.

That’s it for today. We’ll get back to business on Monday and end the week looking at 5 more jobs that are still worse than yours. Have a great weekend!

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Manage Your Online Reputation

Posted by Lori on January 28, 2010

When I visit with people who are entering the workforce for the first time or who are seasoned professionals changing careers, I caution them about their online presence. Job offers have been retracted, people have been fired, and some have even been taken to court for content they had either written or posted online. FinancialJobBank.com has some great advice for creating a new network, or managing a current one:

  • Join Online Professional Networks – Online professional networking sites are a great way to develop and extend your network of trusted contacts. With millions of business professionals now networking online, you don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity. In addition, your networking profile can double as an online resume and can help you find and be found by former colleagues, clients, and partners that may lead to a potential job opportunity.
  • Expand Your Online Exposure – Once you have created a social networking profile, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be easily found on the internet. It is important to complete your profile to its fullest extent and consider using Search Engine Optimization techniques through keyword placement and links to ensure your profile is highly ranked among search engines and you are getting noticed by potential employers.
  • Create an Online Career Portfolio – A fast and easy way to create a positive online presence is by creating a career portfolio that showcases your resume and other relevant career-related information. By giving employers an opportunity to learn more about you online, it can help distinguish you from other candidates and give you an extra edge.
  • Avoid Unprofessional Content and Pictures – Review and monitor any social networking sites you have subscribed to, in order to be sure that you are presenting yourself in a positive manner. Remember to pay attention to tagged photos and content that you did not necessarily post, but can be equally damaging. Employers will review these sites and you will want to make a good impression. When in doubt, be conservative!

Some people do not realize that an online reputation can be immortalized digitally forever. It is crucial that great care is taken in posting appropriate material even if you are not in the job market.  You never know when an opportunity will present itself, then be taken away for  something you posted.

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The Flip Side of a Job Interview

Posted by Lori on January 27, 2010

Did you ever think that the person sitting across from you at a job interview could be a nervous wreck with sweaty palms? Honestly, that thought never crossed my mind! We all know the drill, the interviewer asks questions, and we merely sit there dreaming up the best answers in order to illuminate our qualifications and how well they amazingly coincide with the job description.

So what about the person asking the questions? Have they been in that position for long, or are you their first candidate? If you are new at interviewing people, then you will want to read this article that published in AgCareers.com. Lyndsay Swinton of MFTROU (Management for the Rest of Us), gives us 7 Interviewer Interview Questions for First-Timers. Everyone who is preparing to interview a job applicant for the first time should read the list to ensure he or she is asking the right questions. Then, click on the link to see what types of answers the candidate should be giving.

  • Tell me about your current role…
  • What interests you in the position you applied for?
  • Managing your own workload is critical in this job. Can you give me an example of when you had to manage your workload to meet conflicting deadlines?

The author suggests to aim to ask about two to four different competencies, as the role requires and time allows.

  • Take your time to think through your answer, and please ask me to repeat or explain more fully anything you don’t understand. (The author states that this is not a question, but states that it is a good phrase to get the best out of your candidate.)
  • That’s a great example – to help me understand more fully, could you clarify what your role was in this example?
  • What are your career plans, and how does this job fit in?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

Job applicants will benefit from this information just as much as a the person who is interviewing his or her first candidate. What do you think? Have you ever been in a situation when the interviewer was nervous?


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Doors to open on more opportunity

Posted by Lori on January 26, 2010

Take a look at the opening paragraph in Saturday’s Edition (01/22/10) of the Hutch News:

The Career and Technology Education Academy, one of the crown jewels in the Hutchinson school district’s $78.8 million bond-financed expansion and renovation program, is nearing completion.

I think that is the most exciting news I’ve read with regard to Career and Technical Education in a long time! The new Career Tech Academy houses new training for students interested in Health Sciences, Auto Mechanics and Collision Repair, Machine Technology and Welding, Commercial Construction, and Family and Consumer Sciences careers. Hutch High also has an entrepreneurship program where students operate a coffee shop and t-shirt business. The students receive state of the art training while still in high school giving them a leg up on their chosen careers. Toting industry-recognized certificates, many students can enter the workforce directly from high school.

“I think we’ve always known how important career and technology education is,” said David Patterson, director of the academy. “We’re fortunate for the community and taxpayers to value that as well. Traditional vocational programs seemed like they were for a certain segment of the student population. But we’re finding out that they have benefits and rewards for all our students.”

Congratulations to the community for having the foresight to invest in their most precious commodity, their students!

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These days, is college a good value?

Posted by Lori on January 25, 2010

A little over a month ago, I was one of several hundred Kansas State University students to waltz across the stage and collect an advanced degree diploma. It only took two years and several thousand dollars to finally earn my Master’s Degree in Adult Education. When I enrolled in the program, the economy was in pretty good shape and I had plans to increase my overall personal net worth. With the current state of affairs in our state, I wonder if my decision to sink so much money into myself was such a good idea. According to an article in the Wichita Eagle by Mara Rose Williams, others are wondering the same thing. Here’s an excerpt from her article:

Educators and politicians — President Obama included — say loudly and frequently that everyone should seek some college. In speech after speech, you hear that college graduates make at least $1 million more in their lifetimes than those who quit after high school.
But is it true?
In 2007, Sandy Baum, a professor of economics at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., studied the value of a degree for the College Board. Her research — which factored for inflation and left out advanced degrees and their higher earning power — found that someone with a Bachelor of Arts degree plus 40 years of earnings came closer to earning $550,000 more, on average, in today’s dollars.
Baum said that college was easily worth the cost. Plus the recession has laid bare another factor to consider:
“Even in this economy, the number of unemployed college graduates is half that of the unemployed who did not go to college,” she said.
Another, even grimmer, way to look at it: The poverty rate is 10.8 percent among high school grads. It is one-third less for those with bachelor’s degrees.

I wish President Obama would substitute the word training for college when he refers to people needing more education than a high school diploma, as there are many technical schools that provide equally rewarding opportunities for people. The article is a bit lengthy, but it certainly lends a new perspective when faced with making a decision on whether or not to invest in yourself through higher education.

Read more: http://www.kansas.com/news/story/1150691.html#ixzz0dddN00vZ

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