#CollegeEducation #education #colleges #EducationDecisions
Does one get a college education simply to get a good job? Or, does one get a college education to expand his or her mind, and learn to think critically?
It appears most students today view a college education in practical terms: what’s the (employment) payoff at the end?
But, should they?
Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, explored this topic in her May 10, 2022 column.
Downey quotes from the book “The Real World of College: What Higher Education Is and What It Can Be,” by Wendy Fischman and Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The authors accuse college of “mission sprawl” and abandoning their main purpose, which they describe as enabling students to analyze, reflect, connect and communicate on the critical questions they will encounter in their lives and in the world, Downey writes.
“You go on a college tour and you hear about 100 different things,” Downey quotes Gardner. But what they don’t hear enough, in the authors’ minds, is how colleges develop the mind, Downey writes.
“If students don’t leave college better thinkers, writers and communicators, the colleges fail their core mission, Downey attributes to the authors.
Let’s break down what a college education is, and should be.
First, let’s establish that no college education is wasted, if the student vigorously pursues his or her studies, regardless of what his or her major is.
But, if a student, or his or her family, is paying dearly for that education, the student and family can reasonably expect a payoff at the end. Usually, that’s defined as a good job and career launch for the student. Worse yet, if the student incurs thousands of dollars in debt for that education, he or she had better have a good income to pay it back.
Today’s political environment might describe what the Harvard authors say the colleges’ mission should be as “indoctrination” of a certain political position. Or, as Downey calls it, “political correctness and free speech.”
A college education today also involves fun, new friendships, sports and other entertainment that can help mold a young person’s life.
This begs the question: why can’t a college education accomplish both the academic and practical goals students may have?
Certainly, some students’ studies can focus on critical thinking. Others can focus on the practical skills and knowledge that will help them launch the careers they want.
It boils down to choices. A student first must figure out what he or she wants to do after college. That requires him or her to take a certain batch of core courses toward that end. But in every semester schedule, there are usually electives that a student can choose to take that may have nothing to do with his or her major, but are of personal interest.
The smart student will choose those electives to help him or her develop his or her mind and make him or her a more well rounded, or well grounded, person.
Remember, too, that a college education isn’t for everyone. So, students and parents must determine whether the prospective college student is suited to college and ready for college (academically and financially).
The choices the student makes if he or she goes to college will determine how he or she uses his or her degree after graduation, and what kind of person he or she becomes.


#jobs #JobMarket #employment #employees #employers
Despite talk of recession, layoffs among tech companies and others, the job market is still hot.
In fact, a remarkable 517,000 jobs were created in January 2023, according to reports.
“Employers are having to work harder – in some markets – to attract talent.”
So says Sarah Johnston, founder of Briefcase Coach, as quoted in an article by Andrew Seaman, senior editor for Job Search & Careers at LinkedIn News.
“You are seeing shorter job applications, more recruiter outreach and in some cases compensating candidates to interview,” the article quotes Johnston.
Still, she says in the article, applicants have to put their best foot forward.
Sure, jobs are plentiful at most levels. Walmart plans to hire 50,000 associates. Dell plans to hire 5,000 workers, Raytheon needs 3,750 more employees and Wells Fargo says it hires thousands of entry-level people each year, the article says.
In other words, yes, employers need workers. But they are still particular about whom they hire.
Therefore, as a prospective employee, you can perhaps be more confident, but you still have to impress.
Employers need more bodies, but they also need dependable bodies.
There are many stories floating around about workers reporting for work one day, then not showing up – in some cases, ever again.
In previous times, employers would leave a position open until they find just the right person. Some likely still do that, but many may be a bit more flexible in today’s market.
But, if you, as a prospective employee, find a place you’d like to work, show your prospective boss that you have what it takes, that he or she can count on you to be there day in and day out and put forth a good image for the company.
As employers, it’s best not to overpromise and under-deliver to attract workers. If workers find that what you told them doesn’t match the reality, they likely will not stay long.
As employees, know that job descriptions change. Sometimes, things you were promised when you were hired can be altered. The job you thought you were taking can turn into something a bit different. Don’t let that bother you, if you like where you work. You may have to roll with the changes, because, to stay competitive, companies have to evolve – often quickly.
If you have to leave an employer, do so with as much notice as possible. Be aware, also, that employers may not offer you the same courtesy. You could show up one day, and immediately be shown the door. But, as an employee, you have to be a good person. You may need that employer to give you a reference someday.
Yes, there are laws and company policies in which previous employers can verify your employment, but that’s all. It’s best to have the best relationship you can have with any employer, so that he or she can personally recommend you.
In short, the job market is great for most people looking for work. But, as a potential employee, you still have to be at your best to land a good job.
You have to strive to not only be a good employee, but a better person.


#PoliceOfficers #GoodPeople #jobs #hiring #students #Memphis #TyreNichols
The tragic death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn., raises lots of questions about policing, but also about hiring.
How did the officers involved in Nichols’ death get hired as cops in the first place?
Today’s job market is such that in many fields – technology overhired during pandemic and many of those firms are now cutting staff – there are more jobs than people. A record 517,000 jobs were created in January 2023, producing the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.
In the past, a student graduating high school who wanted to be a police officer had a slim chance of getting into the academy. It was very competitive.
Today, departments have staff shortages all over the country. Are those departments lowering their standards to fill their vacancies?
These questions require some thought about how we got here. First, policing, even with strong public support, is a difficult job. It requires people to put their lives on the line every day, not knowing whether they’ll finish their shifts and get home in one piece.
It requires great physical stamina. Many young people today are not in terribly good physical shape, shrinking the pool of the best recruits.
Are departments lowering their physical requirements just to fill vacancies? Is an out-of-shape cop better than no cop at all? Is the prospect of whipping a recruit into good physical shape too daunting? Would you kill that recruit in training before he or she gets into shape?
Another issue in hiring for police departments is public support. Often, the communities most in need of police provide minimal public support for law enforcement. Even if you are a good cop, or potentially a good cop, are you able to withstand a community that, more often than not, thinks ill of you?
Lastly, police in many places, although they receive great benefits, may not be paid well. Are you, as a recruit, willing to work all kinds of shifts, and put up with lots of abuse, for what you will receive in compensation? Do you have to have some other reason to want to be a cop? Is that reason to help the community – or not?
The reasons for raising these questions is that we don’t just need police officers. We need GOOD police officers.
A diverse police force is a great goal to achieve, but, first and foremost, we need good people who treat others, regardless of how they themselves are treated or what these people may have done, with respect and dignity. They must know the difference between self-defense and aggression.
All people get angry at some point. But, people who are constantly angry, regardless of what they are angry about, may not make good police officers.
The next question to raise: are good people hard to find?
The rhetorical answer may be yes and no. But, the actual answer may involve deeper questions about how children are raised, educated and cared for.
Parents don’t just need to raise good children. They need to raise good adults.
Educators don’t just need to produce academically good students. They also need to show students how to behave in a diverse world, how to interact with people who may or may not be like them and how their actions – good or bad – will have consequences.
If we produce good adults through good homes, schools, churches etc., we will have better police officers. We will also have better people in other professions.
It may be the hardest job we have as a community, or as a world.


#ComfortZones #ChangingComfortZones #FindingComfortZones #CreatingComfortZones

To borrow from a Regions Bank TV ad, one does not get out of his or her comfort zone, he or she changes comfort zones.

Comfort zones are not always comfortable.

You may have a job that earns you a paycheck, and that you can do relatively easily.

But, it’s not necessarily getting you where you want to be in life.

Therefore, to get what you want, you may have to change comfort zones.

In this labor market, there are certainly available options for job changes.

So, what should you change to? It may depend on your education, experience and other things about you that employers may like.

It also may depend on how willing you may be to do something that perhaps you had never thought about doing.

Once you’ve decided on your new comfort zone, then you have to show your new employer that you are more than capable of doing the job.

That may not just entail doing the job correctly or smartly. It may involve doing it with enthusiasm.

Certainly, it may be difficult to be enthusiastic about some jobs. But, if they are rewarding enough in terms of pay and perks, you may need to use those rewards to ignite your enthusiasm.

If neither the job nor the rewards are stellar, you may have to consider doing something else.

Being happy at work has been an elusive goal for many. For some, the job is a means to an end. For others, the job could be simply a dead end.

Still, for others, a job may enable a person to do something outside of work that gives him or her joy. Perhaps one works for a living, but lives for children, family, hobbies etc. The work enables the other.

For some others, the work is the pleasure. It’s been said that if it were not “work,” they would not pay you. But those who love their jobs certainly want to get paid, but still love their work.

So, what, in work and life, gives you comfort, or makes you want to get up in the morning?

Are you not feeling either pleasure or comfort in your life? Such feelings don’t always come naturally, or serendipitously.

Sometimes, YOU have to look for them. In some cases, you can find them among your existing activities. In other cases, you have to find new activities to give you those feelings.

It’s OK to talk to friends or family – or a professional in more severe cases – to find out what may be missing in your life.

Often, the people you know best can either make you see the good things already in front of you, or spur you to find something different, or better.

So, if your comfort zone needs changing, it’s OK to change it. But, before doing so, figure out what you want from life. That will guide you toward either a comfort-zone change, or finding the comfort in your current zone.

There’s no need to slog in a fog when you can have fun in the sun.



#resumes #JobInterviews #managers #prospects #jobs #workers
In separate ads for Wavely, the job-searching platform, a hiring manager is looking for that special something in a prospect that his or her resume does not reveal.
The second ad shows the prospect hoping the hiring manager will find her to be the perfect candidate.
Thus, we have the competitive world of hiring.
In the past, resumes were seen as a tool to hire or get hired. Prospects tried to craft a resume that would make him or her stand out in a pile.
The resume evolved from simply listing job titles, duties and years of experience to trying to convey how the prospect brought value to the company he or she worked for. In other words, the resume turned from a roster of experience to a story of experiences.
In today’s hiring world, in many cases, there are fewer prospects for every job.
So, how does one stand out? One has to tell his or her story, as briefly as possible.
Hiring managers, in most cases, do not want to read long narratives. But they want to know not only what the prospect did – job titles seldom reveal that – but how effective the prospect was. That involves telling the hiring manager how the prospect’s effort(s) either made money for the company, saved the company money or added some other value to the company.
That’s a tall order for many applicants. Many see themselves as a performer of routine tasks – tasks the employer finds vital, but not necessarily game-changing.
How does a prospect who has experience as a clerk, for example, convey his or her value?
Perhaps the prospect can tell, briefly, how he or she helped his or her boss succeed.
Or, he or she could spell out how much time he or she saves his or her boss.
In short, stories sell, and everyone has stories.
In the past, many hiring managers didn’t always know what they wanted in an ideal candidate. They had to know it when they saw it (in a resume).
Today, hiring managers largely know what they want, and it’s up to the prospect to display that. Certainly, a hiring manager can still stumble upon an unusual candidate. But, generally, the managers have pictures in their mind of what the ideal candidate is.
For the candidates, overselling oneself can be fraught with peril. Truthfully telling your value is usually the best avenue.
Confidence is also a good trait for candidates. It’s not easy to display confidence in a resume, but, if a prospect gets as far as the interview, that’s when he or she can display confidence.
Hiring is not always easy. Getting the right job is not always easy.
For the prospect, the job description does not tell you everything. For the manager, the resume does not always tell you everything.
But both can give some clues about the job, or the candidate. One may have to get further into the process to know whether a job and a candidate are a match.
In summary, if you are looking for a job, have your resume tell the employer what you did, rather than what job you had. For the employer, look to find out what the prospect did, rather than the job he or she held.
May all managers and job seekers find the perfect matches.


#HoldYourHeadUp #KeepYourHeadLow #ambition #survival #jobs #goals
Hold your head up.
Keep your head low.
The first concept, the title of a 1972 song by Argent, tells you to put your head up, get noticed and go after it.
The second concept, taken from a 1974 song titled, “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero,” by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, tells a soldier to keep his head low, avoid getting shot and come back to his fiancée.
In a workplace, do you hold your head up, do something unusual to draw recognition with the intention of attracting the boss’ attention? Or, you keep your head low, blend into the woodwork, thinking, perhaps, that you are less likely to get your head cut off – lose your job, or otherwise get punished.
Different types of people keep their heads in different places. Ambitious people hold their heads up. Those who just want to survive keep their heads low.
If you are in survival mode, stop. Think about what you want and where you want to be. Survival should not be a goal. It may require you to think about what you want your life to look like. EVERYONE has life goals. You can try to survive as a temporary status, but you should have a goal to do something that will get you want you want.
A job is a job, but a life goal may help you convert a “job” into a means to an end.
You may not want to keep your head low forever. You may want to raise your head slowly, and, eventually, keep it up.
A raised head is always better than a lowered one.
Then, you may have to find something to help you keep it up. Your current job or situation may not be it.
For no other reason, keeping your head up will help you help others. Others will respond to people whose heads are up. They may not see, or recognize, someone whose head is low.
“Billy,” the soldier, did not take his fiancee’s advice, according to the song. He volunteered for a risky mission and was killed. The fiancée was told she should be proud, but she threw the notification letter away, the song says.
The fiancée wanted Billy to come home alive, for her own, understandably selfish reasons, Yet, Billy was unselfish.
In short, goals can create ambition. Those who keep their heads low and blend in may never get the life they want. They learn to settle for contentment – or just plain survival.
If you don’t have natural ambition, you have to generate it yourself – and you can. You have to know what you want, why you want it and where you want to go. If you determine all of those things, you can find how to get them.
That is how ambition is created.


#transition #transformation #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #coronavirus #LifeChanges
So you want to make a change in your life.
Will that change be a transition, or transformation?
What’s the difference? Perhaps it can be summed up by saying a transition is a minor change, while a transformation is a major change.
COVID-19 has forced most of us to make small changes in our lives. It’s also forced some of us to make bigger changes.
Whatever type of change(s) you had to make, do you want to go back to the way things were?
Many would say YES, because they miss some interactions. They miss being able to do some things they liked doing.
But very likely, there are some – even quite a few – who see this period as a time to transform their lives. They actually do NOT want to go back to the way things were.
Perhaps the job they did before COVID was not satisfying to them. When the job disappeared during the pandemic, they had no thought about going back, although their old bosses really wanted them back.
Perhaps the pandemic led to more time at home, with children, family etc. They probably got to witness more of their children’s activities than they could when they were working.
Many probably discovered that going to work was expensive – commuting costs, buying lunch every day, day-care expenses etc. If they didn’t have those things, they discovered they could live on less. Or, they discovered that the pay they got was almost entirely eaten by those expenses.
So, how did the pandemic affect you? Did it give you perspective on your life, to the point that you realize there are better things out there for you?
Maybe you feel that way, but don’t know what those better things are. So, you instinctively go back to what you know, even though you didn’t particularly like that old situation.
Meanwhile, a “new normal” is evolving, We may not see a complete eradication of COVID-19 for some time, if ever.
Society has been trying to eradicate some diseases for decades. Other diseases – perhaps COVID-19 will be among them – can be kept at bay with vaccines. If you are eligible, but not vaccinated, getting the shots, including boosters, is your best weapon against serious illness or death.
Regardless, it would be safe to prepare for COVID-19 to be around for a good while. Adjust as you must, but know that you may not have to take unnecessary risks. If we all bore in mind that the virus is always lurking, perhaps we can all take steps to minimize its effect on our lives.
That will require an effort by EVERY individual.


#jobs #recession #economics #wages
The recent jobs report was double what was expected.
Yet, there is talk of recession.
It’s been said that a recession is defined by how each individual feels about his or her situation.
There are a few questions about the data, and economic perceptions here.
First, if there are a record number of jobs, are they all being filled? Many employers are begging for workers at all levels. Therefore, are they just creating empty slots on a payroll?
Secondly, if the economy has declined for two straight quarters – the technical definition of recession – shouldn’t employers be laying people off, not hiring?
In fact, many companies, Oracle, for example, are laying off people. But, is this a function of technological changes? Remember, as technologies evolve, the masters of the previous technology may not be needed when the new technology emerges. Changing technologies may mean changing staffs.
Thirdly, many people perceive we are heading toward recession because things are costing more, like food and gasoline. Inflation is indeed here, but that has many causes that are unrelated to a declining economy. The aforementioned labor shortages may be one, as companies have to pay workers more to hire or keep them. Supply-chain issues caused by the pandemic may be another, along with the war in Ukraine etc.
So, you may not feel that the economy is clicking on all cylinders, even if it may be. Inflation will ease as buyers naturally cut back. Therefore, ask yourself: is your job paying you more since the pandemic restrictions were lifted? Certainly, you are paying more for what you buy, which may mitigate your raise, but you could be paying more without getting a raise.
By the way, if you didn’t get a raise, feel free to look for something else. The jobs, and needs, are out there, and you may have more leverage as an employee than you’ve ever had.
Some describe this economy as complicated. Perhaps, it is. Suffice it to say that after pandemic lockdowns, there is pent-up demand not only to buy things, but to do things. And, many of those who sell or provide services to meet that demand are still staffing up to accomplish that.
Therefore, there will be some shortages and closings because there aren’t enough people to provide the products and services.
You, as a consumer, will feel that, and it won’t necessarily feel good. But, as the saying goes, one cannot turn a battleship around quickly. It will take time to resolve.
If you are feeling down about the economy, think of it this way: If you got a raise, chances are the raise will not go away. If prices now are eating away at the raise, and you feel you are no better off than you were, as inflation comes down, your raise will likely still be there.
If what you do for a living is becoming obsolete, and you can see it, try something else. We all have to adjust as times and technology change.
Sure, it’s no easy task to try something different. And, of course, if you learn something different, and THAT becomes obsolete, you are going to ask yourself “why did I bother?” The message here seems to be to keep learning and trying new things.
This economy is complicated. It is in transition. We all may have to muddle through for a time for things to get better.
But, we can say with some confidence that they usually do.


#Nonplayer #jobs #complainers “LaborMarket #employers #employees
A line from a Dilbert cartoon, by Scott Adams, says. “I’m a non-player character. I can only complain about my job and comment on the weather.”
The cartoon was published July 14, 2022, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The purpose of the line is to humorously illustrate how people think – or don’t think – at work.
People may complain about a job, but take no action to improve their situations.
In other words, “I’m here. I’m stuck. And I hate it!”
One may not be able to do much about the weather, but one can certainly do something about his or her work situation.
If you like WHERE you work, but don’t like WHAT you do, perhaps there are other jobs in that locale for which you can apply.
If you like WHAT you do, but don’t like WHERE you are doing it, you can look at other employers.
Today’s labor market is the best in decades. There are employers begging for help. Your options are probably greater than you imagine.
One should not feel he or she has to stay where he or she is, because there is nowhere else to go.
Employers in this market have to be creative to not only find the help they need, but also to keep the help they have.
This kind of labor market, plus disruptions in supply chains, oil markets, the food industry etc., coupled with post-pandemic pent-up demand for goods and services, are causing inflation today.
In the Dilbert cartoon, the question posed before the non-player statement was, “What do you think the government should do about inflation?”
The government has little control, and few available actions, to curb inflation. Politicians like to blame opponents for problems no one can really control single-handedly, but the reality is that foreign wars, pandemics and other phenomenon can dictate our terms of living.
Given how good the job market is, employees can be fortunate that they are getting raises that can help mitigate inflation, though most raises are not enough to make those employees feel significantly better off in these times.
Regardless of the uncontrollable problems in one’s life – the weather, inflation etc. – being a “non-player” and just complaining about things is not an option. YOU still have some control over your life. Work on the things you can control, and work around things you can’t.
Complaining and blaming are not strategies. You may not like someone or something, so you either improve your own situation, or move away from it.
Here’s hoping the labor market stays strong, inflation eases and storms are minimized.


#JobInterviews #BeYourBestSelf #jobs #employers #employees
Many theories abound about how to behave in a job interview.
The best advice is to not just be yourself, but be your best self.
If you try to be someone you aren’t, to try to impress the interviewer, that fakeness will show, either during the interview or after you are hired. Perhaps the worst thing one could do is to convince an interviewer that he or she is hiring someone he or she is not.
Therefore, be who you are. Be proud of who you are. And, tell the interviewer that you would be a great hire, just the way you are.
However, one should be conscious of some nervous habits one has, and try to control them. Nervous habits, though usually harmless with regard to job performance, can be a turn-off. That’s part of being your best self.
While being yourself in an interview, you also have to convince yourself that YOU would hire you, if you were the employer.
There’s a natural tendency to either dwell on our weaknesses, or to be overconfident in ourselves. Part of being your best self is to be confident, without being overconfident. It’s also to embrace one’s strengths, rather than be consumed by one’s weaknesses.
As you are being interviewed, don’t hesitate to interview the interviewer. Asking questions is not a sign of weakness. Questions can be empowering. After all, you want to be sure the job for which you are applying will suit you, as well as you suit the employer.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask for what you want. If the answer is no, then perhaps the job will not suit you. In this labor market, one should not be forced to take a job that will not work for him or her.
Also, be aware that no job, or situation, is perfect. When you evaluate it, try to figure out the potential for your growth. Sometimes, starting with something less than perfect can lead to bigger and better things down the road.
If you are allowed, take time after the interview to think about whether you want to take the job. Very likely, an employer will give some time, albeit not a lot of time, to think about it. The employer, too, usually wants time to think about whether to hire you. Be skeptical about situations that appear to be no-brainers. Sometimes, once you get in, such situations are not what they seemed during the interview.
If you get time to think about whether to take a job, it won’t hurt to talk to people you trust about your decision. Don’t necessarily rely on the advice of others, but use that advice to help you make an informed decision.
Some jobs can be temporary ports in a storm. If you feel that way about a job for which you are interviewing, don’t give that away. Very few employers – at least good ones – are looking for temporary hires. It’s OK to look at a job as a step toward something better down the road, even if it may not be with that specific employer. But, if you intend to work at a job for a time, and then leave, give it your all while you are there.
Part of being your best self is being secure, even confident, about who you are. You may be different from other candidates, but it’s incumbent on you to display how those differences will benefit the employer.
Be advised, also, that an interviewer may, for some reason, not like you. If you sense that, say thanks, but no thanks, to the job.
Today’s labor market is tight, but not necessarily easy to navigate. If you perform in an interview as your best self, you likely will not go wrong.