Archive for October, 2007

10 Spooky Jobs

Happy Halloween!

Some Halloween thoughts: Have you noticed that older we get, the more inappropriate Halloween costumes become? Also, am I the only one who wishes I wasn’t too old to go trick-or-treating?

Well, I’ve got something better than candy or popcorn balls this Halloween. In the spirit of the holiday, here are 10 spooky jobs that deal with corpses to violence to death to the supernatural. They’re not for the faint of heart, but if you wish Halloween was year-round, consider one of the following 10 spooky jobs to keep you looking over your shoulder every day.

Why it’s spooky:
Coroners observe corpses and investigate the cause, time and manner of death, mostly when it happens under unusual circumstances.
Scary salary: $35,866*

Ghost hunter
Why it’s spooky: Ghost hunters use scientific tools to measure and collect evidence of paranormal activity in areas that are said to be haunted. Teams of these people are called paranormal investigation teams.
Scary salary: Salary information is not available

Mystery writer
Why it’s spooky: Mystery writers need the creative mind to develop scary plots, suspenseful story lines and twisted characters to comprise compelling novels for their readers.
Scary salary: $45,442

Why it’s spooky: Morticians (also known as undertakers or funeral directors) oversee all funeral arrangements for the deceased, including details of body preparation for viewing and preparing the body itself.
Scary salary: $42,284

Witch doctor
Why it’s spooky: Witch doctors are healers through magic and witchcraft. They believe illnesses and injuries are caused by magic and witchcraft and so they are best treated that way.
Scary salary: Salary information not available.

Why it’s spooky: Embalmers prepare corpses for burial or cremation by washing, drying and disinfecting the body; releasing excess air from the lungs; draining blood from the circulatory system and replacing it with embalming fluid and applying cosmetics to create a more lifelike appearance.
Scary salary: $34,791

Crime scene cleanup
Why it’s spooky: Crime scene cleaning crews sanitize and clean the aftermaths of crimes on all levels, from murders to domestic violence.
Scary salary: $35,000 average starting salary; can increase to $75,000 or $80,000 based on markets with higher violent death rates.

Grave digger/Cemetery worker
Why it’s spooky:
Grave diggers work in cemeteries digging graves before funerals, oftentimes working late into the night or early morning hours. Cemetery workers assist in the upkeep of grave and memorial sites.
Scary salary: $33,601 for grave diggers. Cemetery workers’ salaries are determined by whether the individual is working for a distinguished cemetery and whether the location is non-profit, according to the International Cemetery and Funeral Association.

Obituary writer
Why it’s spooky: Obituary writers are responsible for writing summaries of the lives of the deceased for such publications as newspapers, magazines and Web sites.
Scary salary: $42,150

Crematorium technician
Why it’s spooky: These technicians incinerate corpses and collect the ashes to give to family and loved ones.
Scary salary: $35,000

*Salary information from Salary Expert, International Cemetery and Funeral Association and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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From the editors of CareerBuilder.com and Second City Communications comes Cube Monkeys!

Feeling lost in your first job out of college? Wondering how to deal with the loonies, a.k.a. co-workers, in your office? Only been working your new gig for a week, but feeling like you already need an excuse for a day offf?

“Cube Monkeys: a handbook for surviving the office jungle,” a new book written CareerBuilder.com and Second City Communication, is the answer to your prayers.
Released in September and filled with hilarious irreverent humor, Cube Monkeys is the “must have” resource for anyone who “must have” taken a wrong turn in their career (even if was early on for you new graduates). From nightmare bosses and co-workers to cube etiquette and meeting mishaps, Cube Monkeys helps workers tackle the challenges faces on the job every day… and brings some comic relief to the workplace.

Cheaper than therapy, Cube Monkeys is your secret weapon to surviving the longest 40 hours of the week. Wanna get the overachieving intern fired? Don’t know how to tell the Stink Bomb down the hall he needs a scrub a dub dub? Afraid you may have told off the boss after your fifth margarita at last night’s happy hour? Need a handy list of excuses good for any occasion? Look no further. The editors of CareerBuilder.com and Second City Communications have answers to your most pressing office survival questions, as well as advice, tips, and more to help you make it through the day without killing anyone. (Well, maybe the intern will take a hit. But that little snitch had it coming.)

See the Book in Action! CareerBuilder and Second City launched two videos on YouTube, highlighting lessons from the book:

Impress the Big Dogs

Boss to English Dictionary

Here are some excerpts from the book:

Quiz: Are you the Office Party Animal?

1. Your cubicle…
a. Is always neat and tidy.
b. Has a certain homey charm.
c. Has been moved to the strip club down the street.

2. You prepare for the annual office Christmas party…
a. A few days in advance.
b. A few weeks in advance.
c. In June.

3. How do you take your coffee?
a. With just a hint of cream.
b. With a few packets of sugar.
c. With gin.

4. Your fellow employees enjoy carpooling with you because…
a. You always pay for gas.
b. You make friendly chitchat.
c. It invariably results in a spontaneous road trip to Tijuana.

5. You greet new clients…
a. With polite professionalism.
b. As a future friend and colleague.
c. By handing them a business card that reads: “Sleeping through my job since 1995.”

6. Your 401(k)…
a. Is your retirement fund.
b. Is being saved for your kids’ education.
c. Has already been used for keg money.

7. Lunchtime is the right time for…
a. Getting extra work done.
b. Returning all of your unanswered e-mail.
c. Doing beer bongs in the bathroom.

8. Your weekend begins…
a. Saturday morning.
b. Friday at 5 P.M.
c. Sunday at midnight.

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No experience? No problem.

October is awkward month to talk about job searching. It’s in the middle of a semester, so really the only people avidly looking for a job are those who are graduating in December – even though you should ALL be looking, no matter what time of year.

Despite the time of year, if you don’t have a job, you should always be on the lookout for one. Last week I talked about balancing school and work, giving a few examples of part-time jobs you could have on the side. But, let’s be realistic – not everyone has the time for a job, even one that’s part-time. No job not only means no money – it also means no experience.

Don’t despair. You WILL get a job – it’s just a question of whether it happens sooner or later. I’m here to help you make sure it happens sooner.

You may feel like you have a few skills and a little experience – but nothing that amounts to anything that will “wow” the socks off your future employer.

Chill out. It’s not like you’ve been sitting around doing nothing for the last few years. You’ve been going to school, involving yourself in extracurriculars, working during the summer. And hello, you’ve graduated (or at least you’re in the process…)! Did you know that, according to the Occupational Outlook Quarterly, workers who have a bachelor’s or graduate degree have higher earnings and lower unemployment than workers who have less education? See – you’re on your way already.

Some employers don’t care if you don’t have experience – as long as you’re willing to learn, you’ll get hired if given the chance. Here’s how to get that one chance you need, despite your lack of experience, according to ‘The Everything Get-A-Job Book,’ by Dawn Rosenberg McKay.

When you’re talking about experience, consider the following:

  • Have you done any internships? If so, you have experience. Even if your internship was not directly related to what you’ll be doing at your new job, almost any skill can transfer from job-to-job. You had to have been doing something to keep you busy – think about your responsibilities and use them to your advantage. If you haven’t had an internship, it’s not too late to get one, even after you’ve graduated.
  • Have you ever had a part-time job? If so, even if it wasn’t in college, think about all of your duties. Did you help customers? Answer phones? Babysit? All of this counts as work experience.
  • Did you participate in extracurricular activities? Potential employers look favorably upon students with an active role in college, especially leadership positions. It shows you weren’t just “coasting” through college.
  • Talk about any volunteer work you’ve done. There’s a good chance you got a lot out of the experience and picked up some useful skills along the way.
  • Talk about your skills. Add up all of the skills you gained through all of the above experiences. Examine your job duties closely to discover what you learned and how you carried out certain situations. As I said earlier, most skills are transferable. Here are some examples of “transferable skills”:
      • Motivating others
      • Knowledge of software
      • Ability to use a certain piece of equipment
      • Delegating responsibility to others
      • Training others
      • Problem-solving
      • Multitasking
      • Time management
      • Resource management

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This morning on my way to work, I overheard two graduate students talking about how stressed out they are with school. Adding to their stress seemed to be the fact that neither had a job. Why? No time.

Their conversation was all too familiar for me, as I was in the same boat during my college years. Taking 18+ hours every semester (yes, I was crazy) allowed zero time for anything extracurricular. The little free time I did have, I used to keep my social life hanging by a thread. To this day, I have no idea how I managed to pay for rent, food and fun without a job. (OK, I remember. Thanks Mom and Dad…)

If I had this problem, and these two guys were having a problem, then it occurred to me that you might be having a problem too. I’ve come up with a list of part-time jobs that will allow you keep up with school, keep up your social life and make you a little extra cash along the way.

Student Recreation Working at the student rec center is the perfect job. Not only can you work-out at your own disposal, during the quiet gym hours, you’ll have plenty of time to get in some last minute studying or homework.

College bookstore Not only will you score a discount on that hefty sum (aka waste of money) you spend on textbooks, the bookstore usually opens and closes relatively early. This means you can work in between classes and it also frees up some time to work on your homework or hang out with friends at night.

Bartender Shifts usually start late enough that you’ll be able to get your schoolwork done before you clock in. Plus, it’s always fun to see your friends out – they’re usually better tippers.

Barista Different than a bartender, a barista works in coffee shops. This means your local Starbucks or student coffee shop. During customer lulls, there’s no reason why you can’t get a little work done.

Promoter Ok, so I lied. I guess I did have a small part-time job. I worked as a “Coors Light girl,” which meant that for about 3 hours during the weekend and special events like the Superbowl, I had to wear a Coors Light t-shirt and give away Coors Light memorabilia. Trust me, it was not hard. The best part was that I got paid $8/hour, to take part in festivities, see my old friends and make some new ones at the same time. There are plenty of positions like this out there; you just have to look.

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