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Archive for November, 2007

So you’re heading home for winter break and you’ve got a few weeks of pure relaxation ahead of you. It’ll be your first break in a while, especially if you took summer courses. Your plans are simple: sleep late, eat everything you can find (it’s free, after all), and watch TV.

And on the second day you’ll be bored.

I know it sounds crazy, but doing nothing gets old after a while. So after you’ve given yourself a little break, why not spend some—not all, just some—of your break preparing yourself for your future job hunt? Graduation might be a semester or two or three away, but you can never start too early. So between waking up at sunset and heading out to have fun with friends, do some prep work for your future. It’ll be easier to do it now that you have the time than in the middle of the semester.

  • Internships: One of the best ways to put yourself ahead of the pack after graduation is to have an internship on your resume. You can find internship opportunities for any profession. Even if you’re doubting your major, it’s a good chance to see what working in your field would be like, so you can decide if it’s for you. Plus, there’s no such thing as a wasted internship. You make contacts, you learn the ins and outs of the professional world, and you show future employers (of any field) that you’re prepared to work hard.
  • Part-time Jobs: Going to college is a full-time job, I know. But some semesters are easier than others, and if you know you’re upcoming one isn’t going to be a killer, it wouldn’t hurt to get a part-time job. You can get a little extra cash and improve your resume. Neighborhoods near colleges always have a wealth of restaurants, stores, and other businesses that need part-timers. Plus, if you look now, you’ll beat the rush of students who don’t start looking until classes start up again.
  • Browse job requirements: It may sound weird, but browsing job listings gives you an idea of what’s expected of you once you’re in the market for work. You might find out that, in addition to your degree, a year-long internship in the field is required or that customer service skills are important. Even if you’re not applying to these jobs right now, take some time to see what you’re competing with once you graduate.

And of course rest up. You work hard all semester, and you need to rejuvenate yourself before you start up again.

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With the holiday season officially here, you know you’re about to begin the most stressful time of year. No, not finals—family gatherings. As much as you love some of your relatives, they’re not always the most enjoyable people to make small talk with for several hours. Among the many unpleasant conversations you’ll smile and nod through, one you don’t have to dread is the “So what are you going to do with that degree?” one.

For many students, family gatherings consist of relatives wanting to know why you’re throwing away thousands of dollars on a worthless degree. No matter what you study, somebody’s around to criticize you. Heaven help you humanities and fine arts majors. Part of the fun of college is figuring out what you’re good at and where your interests lie. It’s perfectly fine not to know what you want to do with your degree when you begin studying—I didn’t!

Here is a list of occupations and their average salaries for some of you majoring in concentrations that don’t always seem to have a straight career path. Some require a Bachelor’s and others ask for post-graduate degrees depending on the specific job title. So when your aunt asks you to pass the potatoes and just what you intend to do with that degree of yours, you’ll have an answer.

Major: Philosophy
Job: Lawyer. Yep, I said lawyer. A philosophy degree actually prepares you for a variety of occupations, and one of the most popular is law. Studying philosophy gives you strong critical thinking skills that make law school a logical next step.
Salary: $74,114

Major: Social Work
Job: As a child welfare worker, one of your key responsibilities is to ensure the physical and mental health of a child. You can do this in a variety of ways, including meeting with the child’s parents, guardians and teachers or pairing the child with a therapist for regular sessions. The job can be stressful but also highly rewarding.
Salary: $44,108

Major: English
Job: If you’re an English major who doesn’t expect to be a famous novelist right out of school and teaching isn’t your thing, think about public relations. A public relations director promotes a positive image of a company to other companies, the general public and its own employees.
Salary: $93,471

Major: Women’s Studies
Job: Organizations seek out women’s studies majors to act as lobbyists because they recognize the increasing influence women have as professionals, heads of households and consumers. As a lobbyist, they research and analyze the way a specific demographic reacts to campaigns.
Salary: $50,147

Major: Art
Job: As an art therapist, you incorporate artistic activities into various types of therapeutic activities for patients with various disabilities. This field is growing in popularity and often appeals to art majors who like working with people on a more regular basis than museum positions normally allow.
Salary: $36,502

Major: Psychology
Job: Counselors work in clinics, hospitals and a variety of other places to advise individuals on their personal problems. Depending on the type of counselor you become, you may need a Master’s.
Salary: $45,125

Major: Spanish
Job: Among the many jobs Spanish majors can get in a market that increasingly looks for bilingual professionals, a translator allows you your language skills to rewrite documents from one language to another. Other foreign language majors will also find just as many opportunities available to them.
Salary: $40,092

Major: Physics
Job: Maybe you intend to continue on to a PhD, but in the mean time or as an alternative, a four-year degree in physics can qualify you for a job as a software developer. Your background in mathematics and critical thinking prepare you for a job as a developer—of course excellent computer skills don’t hurt either.
Salary: $74,196

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“Going green” is a trend that has gone beyond citizens, lawmakers and environmentalists and has seeped into small businesses and corporations around the country. Going green – preserving the earth’s natural resources and improving our standard our living – is especially important to young workers, like us.

Eighty percent of young workers are interested in scoring a job that has a positive impact on the environment, according to a recent poll. Ninety-two percent would be more inclined to work for a company that’s environmentally friendly. Companies are listening to this demand and are responding by developing eco-friendly policies – not only to attract young talent, but also to increase productivity and decrease absenteeism.

Companies are implementing recycling and community effort programs. Some employers are going as far as reimbursing employees for purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles or finding other means of commuting. With these changes and more, finding an eco-friendly environment has never been easier.

Not studying science but still looking for a “green” career? No worries – Education, communication, business and most other lines of work all have jobs that let you go green. Science teachers and professors educate the public about environmental well-being. Public health officials look out for health and environmental safety. Eco-friendly interior designers and architects create buildings and spaces that save energy without losing style. Housekeepers and dry-cleaners are ditching harsh chemicals and processes in favor of more energy- and air-friendly means of cleaning. The list goes on.

Here are just a few careers to steer you in the green direction:

  1. Hydrologist – median annual income: $51,080
  2. Environmental engineer – median annual income: $50,000
  3. Pest control technician – median annual income: $30,500
  4. Conservation biologist – median annual income: $52,480
  5. Science teacher – median annual income: $41,400 to $45,920 (depends on level of education you teach)
  6. Toxicologist – median annual income: $79,500
  7. Pollution control technician – median annual income: $32,000
  8. Fund-raising director – median annual income: $45,000
  9. Ecologist – median annual income: $68,950
  10. Camp counselor – median annual income: $19,320
  11. Business manager – median annual income: $50,000
  12. Economist – median annual income: 72,780
  13. Forester – median annual income: $48,230
  14. Environmental attorney – median annual income: $70,000
  15. Community affairs manager – median annual income: $56,000
  16. Environmental health and safety technician – median annual income: $35,500
  17. Landscape architect – median annual income: $53,120
  18. Waste disposal manager – median annual income: $35,000
  19. Environmental chemist – median annual income: $51,080
  20. Corporate waste compliance coordinator – median annual income: $39,000
  21. Urban and regional planner – median annual income: $45,250
  22. Agricultural inspector – median annual income: $35,000
  23. Wastewater water operator – median annual income: $35,000
  24. Wildlife biologist – median annual income: $42,000
  25. Air quality engineer – median annual income: $66,000

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Remember a few month ago when I wrote about how younger generations have an “attitude of entitlement?” Well, I got a slew of feedback, mostly chastising me and telling me how I rude I was to have written such words, and how this “attitude” doesn’t really exist.

Well, now I have proof.

There are more pronounced generational gaps in communications styles and job expectations in today’s workplace than years ago, according to a new survey by CareerBuilder.com.

Eighty-seven percent of hiring managers say some or most Gen Y workers feel more entitled in terms of compensation, benefits and career advancement than older generations. Employers provided the following examples:

  • 74 percent say Gen Y workers expect to be paid more
  • 61 percent say Gen Y workers expect to have flexible work schedules
  • 56 percent say Gen Y workers expect to be promoted within a year
  • 50 percent say Gen Y workers expect to have more vacation or personal time
  • 37 percent say Gen Y workers expect to have access to state-of-the-art technology

Nearly half (49 percent) of employers said the biggest gap in communication styles between Generation Y (employees under the age of 29) and workers older than them is that Gen Y workers communicate more through technology. Twenty-five percent say they have a different frame of reference, especially in pop culture. Another 55 percent of employers older than the age of 35 feel Gen Yers have trouble taking direction or responding to direction.

Lucky for you all, some (15 percent) of employers said they changed or implemented new policies or programs to accommodate Gen Y workers, Here’s how:

  • More flexible work schedules (57 percent)
  • More recognition programs (33 percent)
  • More access to state-of-the-art technology (26 percent)
  • Increased salaries and bonuses (26 percent)
  • More ongoing education programs (24 percent)
  • Paying for cell phones, blackberries, etc. (20 percent)
  • More telecommuting options (18 percent)
  • More vacation time (11 percent)

Why am I telling you this? As you’re looking for a new job or internship, keep this idea in the back of your mind. It’s perfectly fine to expect to be reimbursed for your efforts – in college, in your job, in anything. Just remember that most people are also working as hard as you (and perhaps have been around longer than you). You don’t deserve special treatment just because you’re young and willing to work hard.

On that note, keep working hard in your job search and all these perks will come to you in due time.

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