Archives For Careers

Thanks to Liz Weston (@LizWeston for linking to this on Twitter: What’s the value of college degree?

In light of the post I put up yesterday, this is a timely article. I love this point (bold mine):

Anthony Carnevale, the center’s director, explains why students need to pay attention to their earnings potential when picking a major.

Think about it…

If you become a petroleum engineer, you’ll earn $90,000 out of college. If you become social worker, you will make $35,000. The differences are huge.

This was the point I was trying to make yesterday. You have to look at your life as a business and perform some sort of due diligence and cost/benefit analysis when picking a major and a school. It makes no sense to go to a private school, accumulate $100,000 in student loan debt in order to become a teacher making $35,000 a year, and then complain to the rest of us about how hard it is to pay off your loans.

Granted, not everyone is engineering material. Not everyone is teacher material either. Go to school to become whatever it is you want to become. Just be sure and understand the costs/benefits of your desired degree.

Anyone seen this yet? Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs.

Mr. Smith’s problem with Goldman Sachs?

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.

Tell me one commission-based company (or any company for that matter) that isn’t that way?

This is a very critical piece. Give it a read if you have a couple of minutes.

Should he have written it?

I hope this guy never wants to work in banking again.

UPDATE:. I thought this snippet from a WSJ piece was interesting…

 Given the vagueness of the allegations, even Goldman’s pledge to “examine” them sounds silly. (Imagine the scene: “Hi, I am Goldman’s chief inspector. Did you call your clients ‘muppets’?”)

Instead of “examining” unprovable accusations, Goldman and other banks should ditch the “clients- first” mantra they constantly recite and state clearly what they are about.

Rather than extolling Goldman’s “client-driven” culture, as they did in their response to Mr Smith last week, Mr Blankfein and his No. 2 Gary Cohn should have seized the opportunity to explain how the business of finance really works.

Banks aren’t charities—they should have said—and they don’t just seek to make money for customers. They also have shareholders, employees and executives who want to get paid.

Financial bosses try to do everything legally possible to satisfy all their constituencies, but conflicts are inevitable. Customers and the public should be aware of that.

Ten Things Only Bad Managers Say:

If you don’t want this job, I’ll find someone who does.

I don’t pay you to think.

I won’t have you on eBay/ESPN/Facebook/etc. while you’re on the clock.

I’ll take it under advisement.

Who gave you permission to do that?

Drop everything and DO THIS NOW!

Don’t bring me problems. Bring me solutions.

Sounds like a personal problem to me.

I have some feedback for you … and everyone here feels the same way.

In these times, you’re lucky to have a job at all.

I agree with most of these except for the eBay/ESPN/Facebook example. I think people should work when at work and do those other things at home or during off hours. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. The rest of her examples are pretty much no-brainers.

WSJ: Generation Jobless

November 7, 2011

This morning’s WSJ contained the first article in a series this week on the unemloyment situation for young people. This morning’s article focused on young men between the ages of 25 and 34. The article profiled two young men. Neither of them had a college education (and one has a criminal record). I don’t envy these young men’s situations.

On a recent afternoon, he sat in his parents’ kitchen, combing online classified ads. But construction work remains scarce and other positions available for which he’s qualified don’t pay more than he makes at the factory.

This is what happens in a downturn/recession. Those most at risk are those who have little to offer employers.

My advice:

1. Realize that this is temporary (though it may last a while).

2. Come up with a plan. Maybe get another low-paying job. Go to school. Start a business. Accept anything but the feeling of helplessness.

And please…ditch the PS3 and XBox and PICK UP A BOOK!

From the main article in today’s WSJ “The Journal Report:”

To get America’s job engine revving again, companies need to stop pinning so much of the blame on our nation’s education system. They need to drop the idea of finding perfect candidates and look for people who could do the job with a bit of training and practice.

There are plenty of ways to get workers up to speed without investing too much time and money, such as putting new employees on extended probationary periods and relying more on internal hires, who know the ropes better than outsiders would.

It’s the author’s opinion that companies could fill positions if they brought back job training. In other words, they’re being too picky. Perhaps. However, I’m thinking that with unemployment as high as it is, wouldn’t there be a glut of qualified employees? I have heard other reasons why companies aren’t hiring (like uncertainty in taxes, healthcare law, and the economy in general).

The article then goes on to suggest that companies should work with education providers, bring back the apprenticeship, and promote from within. Pretty standard stuff.

I will say one thing more that’s related to this topic. My wife works for a chemical company. She went to a recruiting event at a local university. She was talking with one of the students and she (my wife) as the student why she was getting a chemical engineering degree. The student told her it was because she was going for another degree but found out that those who were employed in that field had to work a lot of hours and she she figured chemical engineers wouldn’t have to work as much. Wrong answer. I have a feeling this student will be in for a rude awakening IF she gets a job. Maybe she should read Larry Winget’s It’s Called Work for a Reason!: Your Success Is Your Own Damn Fault*.

*Affiliate Link

I read on MSN this morning about a study that found that promotion decisions are often based on favoritism.

I’m wondering why this is news.

I mean, isn’t the whole point of pretty much every self-help management/career book and seminar to learn how to work in a way that helps you win friends in order to get ahead? Simply doing your job to the best of your ability is not enough. You have to make an effort to schmooze with those who can take you places.

I’m sure the article is talking about instances where qualifications take a back seat to outright favoritism. Even so, eventually the unqualified employee’s performance shows that they are in over their head and they’ll either quit or be replaced.

That’s not to say that it’s easy to work hard and watch someone else get a promotion. My advice: read up on building relationships. A good place to start is with the classic, How To Win Friends and Influence People* by Dale Carnegie.

*Affiliate Link

Found this on MSN (For descriptions of the career, visit the article). One thing I’m not sure about is why they go the “flavorist” route as a career for someone with a chemical engineering background. My wife’s company pays a lot more than that for starting chemical engineers. Anyway, the list is interesting and is something a college bound student should consider when looking at degree plans.

1. Petroleum engineering

Average starting salary: $80,849

Career: Petroleum engineer

What it pays*: $127,970

2. Chemical engineering

Average starting salary: $65,618

Career: Flavorist

What it pays: $58,000 to $76,000 annually, according to Fast Company.

3. Computer engineering

Average starting salary: $64,499

Career: Programmer

What it pays: $74,900

4. Mining and mineral engineering

Average starting salary: $63,969

Career: Mining and geological engineers

What it pays: $87,350

5. Computer science

Average starting salary: $63,402

Career: Network and systems administrator

What it pays: $72,200

6. Electrical/electronics and communications engineering

Average starting salary: $61,021

Career: Electronics engineer

What it pays: $92,730

7. Materials engineering

Average starting salary: $59,826

Career: Materials scientist

What it pays: $86,300, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

8. Systems engineering

Average starting salary: $58,909

Career: Project manager

What it pays: $90,260, according to the “PMI Project Management Salary Survey, Sixth Edition.”

9. Accounting

Average starting salary: $49,671

Career: Auditor

What it pays: $68,960

10. History

Average starting salary: $40,051

Career: Teacher, post-secondary

What it pays: $70,860

11. English

Average starting salary: $39,611

Career: Editor

What it pays: $59,340

12. Psychology

Average starting salary: $40,069

Career: Social worker

What it pays: Varies, depending on type of social work.