Monday, June 30, 2008

Going Back to Work and Negotiating Salary

Rule of thumb for salary discussion in the interview - Wait for employers to bring it up and avoid being dragged into that discussion before you have had a chance to sell yourself.

Per Jack Chapman, author of Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute,
"Salary negotiation is all about timing. The time to talk about salary is when they say they want you for the job. Before that, it’s a moot point...Don’t give them a chance to eliminate you based on salary."

Read They Like You, They Really Do - Taking the Fear Out of Salary Negotiations

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ways to Keep Learning as Your Company Falls Apart

-Bank of America and Countrywide announced a merger and 7,500 jobs will be lost!
-United and Continental airlines cutting routes and personnel due to rising fuel costs!
-UBS, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs distribute pink slips on Wall Street only months after meltdown of Bear Stearns.

When we speak at the organizational level like this, we sometimes forget that there are people working with these companies whose lives and careers are changing in ways they might not have foreseen. New college graduates, especially the Class of 2008 might feel particularly vulnerable, worried about being last in and first out. Many even had their Wall Street offers rescinded from the likes of Bear Stearns.

A recent college graduate with a MS in Human Resources, (Class of 2003) shared that the call center where she is now the HR Director, was experiencing financial challenges due to the economic downturn. The future with the company where she has built a career doesn't look promising. She was considering making a move quickly to something more stable.

Many employees facing similar career decisions consider job hunting for more secure jobs. Once we dispelled the myth of "secure" jobs in today's business environment we started to see some of the benefits that she, as an HR Director, could get from staying with an organization in crisis. We realized quickly that the opportunity that was unfolding offered several advantages to learn new job skills and develop new competencies.

Having maneuvered through industry downturns before, I shared some career advice about some of the Human Resource management skills she could develop through this shaky transition. Some include:

- Managing internal communications by staying on top of the rumor mill. Sharing relevant information with staff as needed in a positive way.
- Helping workers transition out of the organization by working with headhunters and out placement firms.
- If the company does not close but retools, she would learn a lot about how to to lead an organization through change.

It is hard to see the bright side of being downsized, furloughed or laid off, but it is possible. Think the situation through carefully and look for opportunities to learn even as the company struggles through difficult times. Before making life changing career decisions, ask for career advice from someone who could help and offer some perspective.

Read - Five Reasons It's a Good Idea to Stay on a Sinking Ship

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Scaring Employers With Personal Technology

We discuss the use of technology in the job search on this blog all the time. Some of the blog entries written include:

-Tips for Job Search Email Success
-Blogging Your Way to Career Change
-Register with Employment Websites
-Online Writing Lab Now Open
-Cell Phone Etiquette for College Students

Yesterday, I found another resource for you - an article by Roxanne Ravenel, The - Three Sure-Fire Methods of Scaring Off Potential Employers.

Ravenel offers great career advice and tips for effective use of personal technology in a job search.

-Using emails that are not strictly business. Emails with references to body parts, religious or political affiliations or Obscenities are a no-no.

-Hitting a sour note with ring backs on your phone - Ravenel urges to avoid "cutesy or edgy ring-backs and stick to the traditional ring, at least during an active job search".

-De-valuing voicemail - Use voicemail during the job search and check it frequently. Missed messages equal missed opportunities.

If the job search is stalled, check to see if technology is the culprit.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rising Gas Prices Could Affect School in Rural America

How will the rising cost of gasoline affect students in community college and vocational training programs?

Vocational students, just like the rest of us, are going to be making serious choices about habits, especially where a commute is involved. Enrollment at some rural schools, community colleges and Vo-Tech programs might be affected this fall.

"Every time you fill the truck up, it costs $10 more a week than it did a year ago...That's $10 that's not being spent somewhere else," says Paul Kraft, at the University of New Mexico at Gallup, a two-year institution in the remote high desert. (Source - Chronicle of Higher Education)

Some tips to help vocational students manage the commuting crisis this fall:

- Car pool if possible. Visit the career placement office to find out about other students who want to car pool.
- Look at class schedules with longer days like a full Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday options.
- Definitely take online classes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Capella University Opens Online Writing Lab to the Public

Capella University, a fully accredited online university established in 1993 has opened the online writing lab for public use.

Now the uiversity's 23,000+ students in doctoral, masters, bachelors and certificate programs will share the resource with any and all needing writing help.

"We decided to make this writing resource available to the general public, first, it's the nature of writing centers to share resources, and second, we have some unique resources to share because of collaboration among faculty, staff and our incredible web and instructional designers," said Leslie Olsen, coordinator of the writing center.

The Capella online writing lab categorizes information in five easy to navigate sections:

1. Writing Resources
2. Writing Handbook
3. Academic Publishing
4. Academic Integrity
5. Special Interest section which includes motivational quotes to move writers beyond writers block through inspiration.

New college graduates should bookmark this new writing resource as they embark on new careers.

Writing resources for new college graduates:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Career Reentry Programs

Check out this great list of career reentry training programs specifically at Most of these programs are designed to offer reentry career advice for college grads who have been away from the workplace.

Check your local community colleges and universities for programs.

-Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario"Reconnect".

-Baruch College Zicklin School of Business, Opting Back In, New York, NY.

-Bentley College Workshop Series - M.O.M: More Opportunities For Mom

-University College at Fairfield University "Comeback Moms".

-UC Berkeley Haas School of Business: Re-entering the Business World -- Positioning Yourself Successfully.

-Harvard Business School, Boston, MA - “A New Path: Setting New Professional Directions”

-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Mid-Career Acceleration Program

-Wharton School of Business Career Comeback

-Stanford Graduate School of Business: What's Next - A Career Re-Entry and Development Series

-Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Hanover, NH - “Back in Business: Invest in Your Return”

-University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Charlottesville, VA - “Re-entering the Workforce”. Contact Connie English at (434) 924-3029/

-Wellesley College Shifting Gears: Women in Career Transition program for alumna on career break.

-Xavier University: Back to Business. The three-week course is designed to help women who hold master’s degrees or equivalent work experience, and who have been out of the workforce for three to 10 years, brush up on their skills and land high-level jobs.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Start a Career with the Federal Government

Job hunting after college for an entry level career? The Federal Government, the largest US employer hires more than 3 million people and has job openings. For example in 2006, over 230,000 people started new careers with the federal government. Many were new college graduates. Regardless of major or college degree, careers demand is high in growing sectors of government including law enforcement, healthcare, education and information technology. Many offer excellent career options for new college graduates.

Landing a job or career with the Federal government begins by knowing where to look. Here is where the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB, 2001), says that HR Managers post federal jobs: (Many use multiple sources)

Federal Agency Web Site - 44%
Federal Agency Email system - 32%
Agency Bulletin Boards - 30%
Local or National Newspapers - 6%
School or Career Centers - 4% (Listings in the career center are the tip of the iceberg)
Community bulletin boards - 3
Trade Journals or Magazines - 2
For Fee recruiting agency - 1%

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Workforce Development Career Training Online

New Jersey Congressman, Rush Holt, has introduced legislation to provide grants of up to $100 000 to states that implement or enhance online workforce investment courses.

The bill will also establish a center for excellence in online job training to encourage technology-driven teaching.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) became law in August 1998 to consolidate and streamline the nation’s employment and training. WIA authorizes Federal funds to provide the employment, training and career planning services through a system of one-stop career centers that offer job training and job search help.

Walking off Stress at Work

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) focused recently on sports and exercise statistics of Americans.

BLS reported that approximately 16% of people aged 15 years and older participate in sports and exercise activities daily. The most common activity on the list is walking.

Everyone knows that workplace stress is a career buster and affects productivity and creativity at work. Consider walking at work as a way to handle workplace stress. offers tips for employers and career advice to encourage walking at work:
1. Offer a break on healthcare premium
2. Schedule working into the work day
3. Provide place to walk at work
4. Create friendly competition between employees and offer incentives

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

High School Diploma and Employment Certificate

Almost 200 high school students who graduated this year from Amador Valley High School in California, graduated with more than a high school diploma this year. They graduated with a eligibility certificate to show potential employers that they are capable of getting hired and keeping a job.

The "Tri-Valley Educational Collaborative "Employability Certificate" is available to schools in three school districts - Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore.

To qualifiy for the "Employability Certificate" students needed to have a cover letter, high school resume and a career portfolio.

The program was a result of complaints from regional employers who said complained that high school job applicants did not have the basic skills needed to get hired and succeed on the job.

The hope is that this "Employability Certificate" will give students an advantage in finding a summer job and subsequent job searches.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Who's Going Back to Work? Mom or Dad

In the recent annual pre-father's-day survey, Career Builder received almost a thousand responses from employed men with children under 18 years old living at home.

Here were some of the survey highlights:

- 22% of fathers said their jobs have a negative impact on relationships with their children
- 47% of working fathers spend fewer than three hours daily with their children
- 25% of working fathers stated that they work more than 50 hours a week
- 24% of fathers said they bring work home at least once, if not more, a week

Richard Castellini, VP of Consumer Marketing at and parent of three offered tips to help working fathers create a more healthy work/life balance.

Here are some additional tips from the Mayo Clinic for working parents who want to maintain a healthy balance between work and life:

1. Keep a log by tracking everything you do for a week. Include work and non-work related activities. Make a decision about what is necessary and satisfies you. Discard what you do not enjoy. Essentially, do a job analysis.

2. Explore all of the options your employer has available include compressed work weeks, telecommuting or job sharing.

3. Learn how to say "NO" and leave work at the office. A colleague of mine often says that many people forget that "No" is an actual word.

Read the rest of the list here.

Sometimes we forget that men reenter the workforce too. The Career Builder survey gives good insight into how they are thinking.

Where to Find Jobs Paying $100K

Today's job search resources are focused on serving the needs of specific groups of job seekers. One such niche getting a lot of attention, is job seekers who want careers to earn $100K+.

The US Census Bureau shows that about 15.82% of US employees earn in excess than $100K. Recent layoffs have probably affected that number.

Here are 2 job sites available for those seeking careers with $100K or higher salaries.

1. The Ladders - Served 750 000+ job seekers in October 2006. The company reports over 25,000 recruiters list high paying career opportunities with The Ladders.

2. 6 Figure Jobs - This job posting website claims to support a database of 600 000+ pre-qualified job seekers looking for high paying jobs and career advice.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Gas Prices Affecting Manufacturing in a Good Way?

As gas prices reach record levels, a recent Wall Street Journal article focused on some manufacturing companies that were bringing jobs back to the US in order to reduce costs.

The report states, "The rising cost of shipping everything from industrial-pump parts to lawn-mower batteries to living-room sofas is forcing some manufacturers to bring production back to North America and freeze plans to send even more work overseas".

If you are considering going back to school for retraining this year, consider vocational training in specialized manufacturing programs.

Learn more about manufacturing jobs available:

-Advanced Manufacturing Jobs Still Available
-Manufacturing Jobs are not Completely Gone
-Manufacturing Jobs Desperately Need Skilled Employees

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Strange Job Interview Questions

I listened to a favorite radio talk show host, Michael Smerconish, this morning on The Big Talker 1210 in Philadelphia.

The conversation turned to strange job interview questions and what interview answers say about a job seeker. The conversation turned to why man hole covers are round.

Smerconish's genius callers, shared:
- square man hole covers can fall into the hole
- man hole covers are heavy and round - easy for rolling
- if not round, it would be hard to climb in and out

The jury was still out on whether or not, a triangular man hole cover falls through or not. I think so - if NOT an equilateral triangle. (:>

A subsequent caller, a software developer, shared the following strange question his company asks job seekers: What is the number of barbers are in the US?

Having worked in career development in Southern California, this was a typical job interview queston used to hire fast and beat the competition to the next best idea.

Listeners thought wierd job interview questions give insight into how people approach and solve problems. I think it could be a good indicator, but most job seekers figured out how to spot and master that type of job interview question quickly.

Another caller was asked in a job interview: "What is the name of the shape of the Washington DC monument?" Answer? Obelisk.

Smerconish thought questions are asked to screen out job seekers.

My point? None of these questions are objective measures of how job seekers will perform on the job or career. Job interviewing is by no means an exact science as HR managers discover what works for the company. However, some ways are better than others at uncovering whether or not someone will be a good fit for a company or a career.

My question? How would an interviewer judge someone who answers these questions in the following possible ways?

Q. Why are man hole covers round?
Possible answers:
A. I am not sure. Will I be working in one?
A. This is a good time for a work site tour.
A. Which specific man hole are you asking about?

Q Name the shape of the Washington Monument?
Possible answers:
A. The pointy thing in DC.
A. Is there a point to this question?
A. Am I interviewing for the DC tour guide's job?
A. Don't we just call it the Washington Monument?

Number of barbers in the US?
A. Geez...I don't use a barber. I use a stylist. Is that the same thing?
A. Is something wrong with my hair?
A. Do you need one? I was wondering...what's up with that hair!

What's the weirdest job interview question you have been asked?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Problem Solving in the Job Interivew

I read a great post by Phil Rosenberg at titled "Interview Road kill - “I Haven’t Done it, but I Can Learn”.

Rosenberg advised job seekers to eliminate the phrase, "I can learn" from their vocabulary. Why? He feels that employers are not as interested in job seekers who can learn to solve the problems, but in job seekers who have solved similar problems before.

Rosenberg's advice, "Anticipate problems the company has through your research, before you even craft your customized resume. Read press releases, SEC reports, articles, blogs…and gain an understanding of the companies’ challenges and problems."

I commented on the blog to share a comment I had read in BizEd Magazine several years ago when a survey revealed that employers no longer wanted to hire "fixer upper" employees.

In addition to job interview preparation, it behooves career reentry professionals to gain the skills to succeed in today's workforce.

Hide Tattoos for Job Interviews

There was a time when even a glimpse of a tattoo in the job interview was a career killer and cause immediate disqualification of the jobseeker. Career advice from career professionals would definitely include a warning about tattoos in the job interview.

TV reality shows like Miami Ink and LA Ink are inspiring people to get tattoos. In fact, my 30 year-old niece just got a koi, on her instep.

What number of people have tattoos?

Pew Foundation:
- 36% of 18 to 25 year-olds (2006)
- 40% of those aged 26 to 40 (2006)

National Geographic:
- 15% of Americans were tattooed (2000)

In a recent survey of employer perceptions by NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers hiring managers were asked to quantify the influence certain factors had on their hiring decisions.
- Only 29% of employers said obvious tattoos strongly influenced them
- 71% of employers said tattoos had slight to no influence on their hiring decisions.

Of course none of this means that employers look favorably on tattoos in the job interview.

Jobseekers should heed career advice from a recent Harris Interactive poll of 2000+ adults showing that 32% of people without tattoos believed that individuals with tattoos were more likely to do something deviant. More than half believed that a person with a tattoo is more rebellious.

While employers are changing their attitudes in the job interview, jobseekers conducting a serious job search should remember that personal biases affect hiring decisions. Although it is more acceptable, careers could still be stalled because of tattoos in the job interview.

Develop New Skills Through Volunteer Work

The recent Volunteer Impact survey from Deloitte showed that Generation Y employees feel that volunteerism is a good way to develop new job skills.

91% of the respondents to the survey agree that skills-based volunteering, such as sharing accounting skills with a non profit organization could add value to their long term marketability.

Here are a few highlights of the survey including the statement and feedback.

1. Volunteering offers me the opportunity to enhance my leadership skills.
- 76% strongly and somewhat agree
- 20% neither agree nor disagree
- 4% strongly and somewhat disagree

2. Volunteering offers me the opportunity to develop skills I can use at work.
- 75% strongly and somewhat agree
- 21% neither agree nor disagree
- 4% strongly and somewhat disagree

3. The greatest contribution a company can make to a non-profit organization is...
- 37% Making a financial donation
- 26% Allowing its employees to volunteer their work-related skills or talents
- 25% Allowing its employees to volunteer in a hands-on (more physical) way
- 8% Making a product donation
- 3% Other

Find out where and how the company is involved and get on board. You could build a powerful network through volunteering.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Paying for College in a Tough Economy

Both students and parents are worrying about the availability of student loans for college this fall as the crisis in the financial sector begins to affect education loans.

One way the US Congress is addressing this is by announcing that the federal government plans to now purchase and invest in education loans. The hope is that this will give confidence to lenders, allowing them to make new loans for vocational training and higher education. The solution on the table from congress is for one year only and there are no long term solutions being considered right now.

In the 2007 – 08 year, the federal government made or guaranteed almost $110 billion in student loans including Stafford loans for undergraduate college students and PLUS loans for parents or graduate students.

If you don't have a private education fund that you can tap and funding your vocational training or career education program is a challenge for you, consider exploring the following:

- Research or ask about and apply for scholarships. Do not just look to your vocational school for scholarships since there may be opportunities they don't know about. A student in a vocational training program recently told me about a scholarship program sponsored by the property management company that oversees the apartment complex where she lives.

- If you participated in special clubs or activities in high school, there may be private scholarships available, if you choose to continue the activity in school. Music and art teachers are a great source of private scholarship information from donors or even alumni.

- If you were not thinking about working, think about it now. Although 300,000 jobs have been lost this year, and the US is flirting with a recession, there are still part-time job opportunities available. These might be even more popular when employers want to keep costs low and do not want to higher full time employees.

- Consider a public or state funded vocational program rather than a private school. Tuition is definitely lower for in state students. If your goal is to compete a 4-year degree at a later time, completing 2 years at community college will save you a lot of money and give you a lot of transferable credits.

- Negotiate full or partial tuition reimbursement with your current employer. Many companies will support the cost of additional education and relevant training if they see your education as an asset to the company.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Top 10 Secrets of Interns Who Get Full Time Jobs

Did you know that most companies with an internship programs really wants to convert the college students in the internship program into full time permanent career hires? Well they do.

Organizations like INROADS prepare college students to participate in prestigeous internship programs with that goal in mind.

As you complete your paid internship or unpaid internship this summer, think about these "must haves" from INROADS to help you convert your summer internship to a full time job offer.

-Good college resume(College Sample Resumes)
-Excellent communication skills
-Team skills
-Strategic outlook
-Training as it relates to performance
-Problem solving and critical thinking skills
-Community service experience
-Self confidence
-Corporate etiquette is crucial
-Networking makes you more attractive

Read the full article at IMDiversity here: Top 10 Secrets of Interns Who Get Full Time Jobs.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Failure to Launch A Career After Graduation

A Hayden Wilder survey of new college grad hiring shows that HR Executives say that 85% of entry level candidates are not prepared for the job search process.

One of major barriers for new college grads getting hired is a lack of follow-up. Keep in mind that job search follow up does not just mean following up after interviews, but keeping your word throughout the process. If you have graduated are job hunting and looking to start that perfect career, job search follow up has to be consistent, professional and timely.

Here are some of the areas where a lack of follow-up can really cause a failure to launch into that new career. This list is by no means exhaustive and is based on several years of working with new college graduates.

1. If someone who wants to help you in your search gives you the name of a hiring manager or HR recruiter; follow up and make the connection. Make connection with this new person and establish your own relationship. Be sure to acknowledge where you received their name.

2. Many college career centers will give college graduates a list of companies that are hiring new graduates. It is important that college graduates follow up by doing the required research on the list of organizations and apply for positions of interest.

3. Career counselors or career coaches will often give job seekers "homework". These are assignments that must be completed before a candidate can move to the next step. Whether this homework is to complete a career assessment, do an informational interview or draft a first resume, read an article completion and follow through is important.

4. If you collect business cards at a public event be it job fair, a MeetUp or an open house at a local organization, follow up within 48 hours after meeting someone.

5. Interview follow up can be in the form of a phone call, voice mail, an email or a written letter. Regardless of which format you choose to use, keep your message positive and professional.

6. Once you do land that first job and begin your path towards a long successful career, thank everyone who helped you to get to this point. Connect with your college career center or professors and let them know your decision. Thank the HR managers who may have referred you to the next level. Thank friends and family for their support and set up a schedule to keep in touch with these folks in six months or so. These people could be important again later on in your career.

Average Age of Congress is 61.8 Years

If anyone wanted additional proof that people are working longer and well into their senior years, look no further than the United States Congress where the average age is now 61.8 years.

Lauren Victoria Burke, in an Associate Press article, shared that the constitutional framers, in the late 18th century, set the minimum age requirement for the Senate at 30 and for the House at 25years. That was then considered late middle age at a time when the average life expectancy even a century later was around 40 years."

Since the first session of the United States Congress, in 1789, the average age of members of the Senate has risen from 47 to an all-time high today of 61.8, according to Senate records.

Fast forward to today and you will find active members of congress who are well into their senior years.

Senator Robert Byrd at 90 years old told a reporter recently to “Shut up,” when a reporter asked how he would respond to those who questioned his capacity to run the committee. Senator Byrd is the longest-serving senator in history.

Others whose careers are a definite inspiration to all of us:
- Arlen Specter, 78 years old
- Senator John Warner ,81 years old
- Senator Ted Kennedy, 76 years old
- Senator Frank Laughtenberg, 84 years old

Senator John McCain at 71 years old, the youngest of this group is actually very much in the running for the toughest job in the land. He is currently engaged in the longest job interview of his life as he runs for the role of President of the United States.

John McCain, if elected, would be the oldest person to take the office.

Dealing with a Boss Who Drives you Nuts

I wrote yesterday about an Anita Bruzzese blog post titled, "Seven Ways to Deal With the Co-Worker Driving You Nuts". After thinking more about it, I thought some of these tips could apply for working with a boss that may be driving you nuts.

1. Write things down.
Develop a succint list of things to discuss with your manager. Prioritize the list. Not everything is urgent and important and meetings are more valuable with documentation and preparation.

2. Speak to your boss directly
Speaking badly about the boss to everyone else but the manager is not smart. Bend the ear of a mentor inside or outside the office for career advice. Do not make the situation worse by feeding the office rumor mill or adding to water cooler conversations.

3. Ask for change
Some people think it is not possible to ask a boss who is driving them nuts to make changes. It is possible, but the manager is not the only person who has to make changes. One-on-one, career planning meetings or staff evaluations with a boss or manager is a good time to address concerns - not in an accusatory way, but in a professional manner with the department outcomes being the focus.

4. Be honest with your boss
Honesty does not mean putting everything on the table. It means, deciding on the important things that will impact long term career plans. Unfortunately, less than honest communication fosters bad feelings and resentment.

5. Cut to the bottom line
Of course. The goal is to improve your career satisfaction and to create a situation that supports and improves workplace productivity.

6. Fess up
What's your role in this situation? Is there something you are doing that is aggravating this "bad boss behavior"? Honest self evaluation is a requirement for career growth and job satisfaction.

7. Look for solutions
This has to be the ultimate goal. Some workers enjoy complaining about bad bosses and bad companies, but are not serious about finding positive solutions.

Read this post I wrote - "Is Your Boss a Jerk or Just Misunderstood". Sometimes honest discussion can clarify motive.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hidden Problems with Transferring from a 2 Year College

I commented on this post yesterday and wanted to share the posting here. It is a guest post from Todd Johnson at College Admissions Partners

Community colleges are a great choice for many students who either are interested in a technical type program or who want to save some money the first two years of college. But there are some little known problems that can occur with those students wishing to transfer to a four year college after a community college.

Jay Matthews, an education columnist for the Washington Post, highlighted some of those problems in an article entitled Community College Transfer Mess. One particular problem, that I have also seen among students with whom I work, is the failure of four year institutions to fully recognize all of the work done at the two year college. A related problem is that the four year institutions will often have requirements for a particular major that mandates a student take the course at the four year college and will not fully recognize a similar course taken at the community college.

There are also often concerns about financial aid for students transferring to a four year college since some four year colleges will reserve their best aid for incoming freshman, leaving less aid for transfer students. The result is that the last two years of college can often cost more than they would have if the student had started at the four year college initially. This offsets some, or all, of the savings a student receives from initially attending a community college. The New York Times also an article today discussing the problems with getting loans that some students at community colleges are having.

I have written about many of these issues in my college transfer help article. Transferring from one college to another can work great for some students but like most things related to college admissions, you need to know all of the issues before making a choice.
Todd Johnson is responsible for all college admissions counseling for College Admissions Partners.

Seven Ways to Deal with the Co-Worker Who is Driving You Nuts

Today a great guest post from Anita Bruzzese's blog.

OK, time to fess up. I don't care how nice you are, there's someone at work who is driving you nuts. It's either the guy who clips his fingernails while on the phone and leaves the droppings all over the floor, or the woman who complains nonstop about her worthless, freeloading kids. It could be the person who constantly interrupts, butting into your conversations or the guy who has to always trumpet his every success, no matter how small. ("I just reloaded my stapler!")

It’s not enough that you put in long hours on the job, sit in boring meetings and put up with irate customers. No, on top of the bad coffee and the elevator that always gets stuck between floors, you’ve got to put up with the aggravation in the next cubicle, also known as a co-worker.

You’re ready to crack. You like your job, but you can't stand another day with one or more of your co-workers. You don't want to complain to the boss -- how to explain that someone's nasal voice makes you want to shove your favorite snow globe up his nose?

Don’t despair. There is a way to handle a bothersome co-worker without screaming, quitting or running to the boss:

* Write down the things that really bug you. Separate personal issues (she laughs like a hyena) from the professional ones (she interrupts when you’re talking). It’s not your place to comment on personal pet peeves, but rather on the professional issues that prevent you from doing your job as efficiently and productively as possible. And remember: Only address issues that directly impact you.

* Speak to the person directly. Schedule some time with her, in a private area where you won’t be interrupted and she won’t feel compelled to lash out because she’s embarrassed in front of others. Be specific about your complaints. "You’re always interrupting,” isn’t helpful. Say, “I believe you interrupt me when I’m trying to make a point in team meetings.” Try to provide an example.

* Ask for change. Once you’ve outlined the problem, then be specific about what you want to happen. “When I’m speaking, I’d like to finish my sentence so that I can make sure all members of the team understand and then I’ll answer questions or listen to other opinions.”

* Be honest. If the co-worker’s actions are really ticking you off, then say so. Describe how frustrated you feel when she pops above the cubicle partition to offer her unsolicited advice. Remain calm while describing how you feel – it will have much more impact than pitching a fit.

* Cut to the bottom line. Make it clear that you’re not bringing up these issues because you’re a whiny sourpuss. State why the issue is important in a calm, serious way.

* Fess up. You need to be honest that you’ve let the issue go on too long without speaking up, or you should have communicated more strongly your beliefs. Make sure she understands that it stops now.

* Look for solutions. Let the other person save face by helping you come up with ways to stop the problem.

So, what's the thing that drives you crazy about your co-workers?

Post by Anita Bruzzese at

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

One in Four Workers Plan to Work While on Vacation

I was in one of my favorite stores yesterday, TJ MAXX, and overheard a woman on her cell phone who was having a meltdown. She was with her daughter doing, what we later learned was, last minute shopping for a cruise she was leaving on today.

She was yelling into the cell phone that she could not come back to the office, she had so much to do and she had to go. Her daughter, clearly upset, took the mom's phone, told whoever was on the phone that her mother was not going to be able to come back to the facility now and that someone else will have to do it (not sure what "it" was). The daughter put away the phone and helped her mother calm down.

It was loud enough to draw an audience. General consensus of the crowd? Let it go. I thought about that on my way home and continued to think about that this morning. I wondered how many people experience trauma at work before taking a vacation. How many of us have bosses who call us all the time and want to know every detail of where we will go.

A little bit of research and sure enough had recently published a survey on just that issue.

With cell phones, voicemail, email and mobile computing, going on vacation does not mean going on vacation - really! Everyone knows that time away from work can be energizing. What happens when you can't get away from the office?

Based on the survey results, vacation might actually be adding stress to some people's lives when they feel guilty about being away. In fact, the survey shows that "the stress of taking vacations may lead some to lie about ease of access at their vacation destinations. Seven percent workers said they have lied to their employers, claiming they couldn’t be reached on vacation."

Here are some highlights from this Career Builder survey:

- 25% of respondents said they plan to stay in contact with work while on vacation
- Industries made a difference. 50% of sales professionals work on vacation followed by 37% of both financial workers and IT workers.
- 15 % of employees gave up vacation time in 2007
- 12% of workers said they feel guilty when they are on vacation
- 6% felt that it could lead to them losing their jobs

Here is how workers plan to spend their vacations this year:
Workers plan to spend their vacations in a variety of ways, including:

Traveling (36%)
Visiting family and friends (24%)
Resting (20%)
Catching up on housework (8%)
Running errands (3%)

To reduce your stress at vacation time, set the tone about your availablity before you go. Less surprises, less workplace stress.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Real Washington Internship Story

Do you know who Huma Abedin is? You do or you might. You just don't know you do.

Huma Abedin is Hillary Clinton's body person. You probably saw her during the presidential primaries always next to Senator Clinton. Essentially, as Senator Clinton's body person, Huma Abedin manages the Senator's event schedule and meets her every need at public events. New York Magazine says, "Huma Abedin, Hillary’s beautiful, enigmatic “body person,” spends nearly every waking minute with Hillary and so has the best sense of her daily rhythms and routines."

Abedin is known for her extraordinary ability to multitask and juggle several assignments without breaking a sweat.

Huma Abedin was born in Michigan, to an Indian father and Pakastani mother. She was raised in Saudia Arabia and attended George Washington University. Abedin applied to the Whitehouse Internship Program and became an intern in 1996. She impressed Senator Clinton once she landed an internship role in the First Lady's office. Her internship role has evolved into that of the personal "body person", available to meet the candidate's every need from water bottles to keeping the press at bay.

Want to apply for internship programs in Washington DC? Consider the following:

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Internship
This Internship program is open to college juniors and college seniors as well as new college graduates within 24 months after graduation. College interns must be interested in careers in performing arts, management and/or arts education. College interns will work 37.5 to 40 hours weekly for a twelve to fourteen week rotation. About 20 students are selected each semester for this prestigious internship program.

Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Psychology majors in approved APA and counseling psychology programs are eligible to apply for the internship program at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington DC. The deadline to apply for this internship program is November 1. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, submit an application, 3 letters of recommendation and a formal statement from the program director supporting eligibility for the internship program.

Every year thousands of college interns spend time in Washington DC working and learning in a variety of internship programs. Not only do these paid internships and unpaid internships offer valuable work experience, the college interns get to build a network of contacts and mentors.

Abedin is one such college internship success story.