Archive for October, 2007

One of the reasons I wanted to be an architect as a kid was my deathly fear of being strapped to a desk 9 to 5.  I envisioned myself cruising around from site to site or just meeting with clients in quichy restaurants. A traditional office job simply felt like I was “punching a clock, without the clock!

Career Secret Sauce is about helping you create a winning career, but it’s also about finding the place where you love your job and your work environment. Possibly the biggest work environmental downer is the office itself. As you read through the 9 Lessons, you’ll find countless techniques for helping you break the work-a-day syndrome without hurting your career.

The following article is the first I’ve found that actually discussed specific jobs that allow a high degree of personal flexibility. Even better, it includes average salary being paid, which as you can see varies wildly. The $20,321 figure for Fitness Workers falls below the poverty level, while a Technical Support Specialist’s $63,993 paycheck is quite amble.

As a kid, I never appreciated the pay disparity between careers, but it really jumps out loud and clear in this piece.  As I look back on friends who never got ahead financially, a lot of them made early career choices in favor of flexibility without fully understanding the salary implications.

This is great post to pass along to younger people who have yet to commit to a career (late high school thru early college).



10 Jobs With Flexibility


Posted: 2007-10-17 11:39:21

Let’s face it, life is messy and unpredictable. It doesn’t always allow us to work the traditional 40-hour, Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 schedule. You may need to be home at times to take care of a child or parent. You might have chosen a career that never has a set schedule. (Retail, anyone?) It could be you need to work around a class or internship. Or, you might be one of the 7.5 million Americans who works more than one job. Perhaps you just prefer working an alternate schedule.

Whatever the case, more than 27 million full-time workers have flexible work schedules according to the most recent data (May 2004) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This comprised 27.5 percent of all full-time and salary workers. If given the opportunity, a lot more employees would choose to work alternate hours. In a 2007 survey by Robert Half International and CareerBuilder.com, the No. 1 perk that workers said would cause them to choose one job over another was flexible scheduling (65 percent).

In the private sector, industries with the highest prevalence of workers with flexible schedules included financial activities (37.7 percent), professional and business services (37.6 percent), and information (34.9 percent). Industries with the lowest prevalence of workers on flexible schedules included mining (22.9 percent) and construction (20.3 percent). In the public sector, flexible schedules were more common among federal (28.8 percent) and state government employees (28.4 percent) than among workers in local government (13.7 percent).

If you in the market for a job that fits into the rest of your busy schedule, here are 10 jobs that can meet your needs:

Accountants track finances and advise individuals and institutions on financial matters. Most accounting jobs require a bachelor’s degree in accounting in order to practice. Due to the technical nature of the job, many accountants may be able to do part of their work at home.
Average annual salary: $43,267*

Administrative Assistant
Administrative assistants manage the workflow of an office, and their duties may include training new staff, conducting Internet research and operating new office technologies. Increasingly, they need to be proficient in computer programs and database systems. The technical nature of the work allows them to create flexible working arrangements, including flex schedules, part-time work or telecommuting.
Average annual salary: 33,950

Admissions Representative
Admissions representatives are like sales representatives for educational institutions. They recruit new students to fulfill enrollment goals by generating interest in the university, conducting college interviews and calling potential students. Like many sales professionals, they often enjoy the luxury of setting their own schedules.
Average annual salary: $31,734

Carpenters work from blueprints and instructions to construct, install and repair a variety of structures, from bridges to window frames. Because the jobs they take on are so wide-ranging, becoming a skilled carpenter usually takes between three and four years of both on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Most of the work is on a contract basis, meaning hours and schedule to vary by project.
Average annual salary: $33,835

Fitness Workers
Fitness workers lead, instruct and motivate people in cardiovascular, strength-training and stretching exercises. While group fitness instructors don’t necessarily need formal training, many gyms require certification. Because most gyms are open long hours, many fitness workers can divide their work weeks among early morning, late evening or weekend hours.
Average annual salary: $20,321

Medical Transcriptionists
Medical transcriptionist listen to dictated recordings from health care professionals and type them up to produce medical reports, correspondence and other administrative material. They often enjoy the flexibility of working from home-based offices or as self-employed, independent contractors.
Average annual salary: $27,628

Physical Therapist
Physical therapists help patients suffering from injuries or diseases restore function, relieve pain and prevent disability. They typically need about two years of training as well as a state-required license in order to practice. Because they work on an agreed-upon schedule between patient and client, therapists often have atypical working hours.
Average annual salary: $53,508

Registered Nurse
Registered nurses, after becoming licensed, provide general care to patients in health care facilities and keep track of patient health records. Shift work allows them to divide their working hours among daytime, nighttime and weekend work.
Average annual salary: $49,534

Security Guard
These professionals guard industrial or commercial property against fire, theft, vandalism and illegal entry, and often need a combination of one to three months of directly related training and experience. Although they work weekend and holiday in addition to daytime shifts, their schedule rotates to allow for sufficient time off as well.
Average annual salary: $24,034

Technical Support Specialist
Technical support specialists ensure computer systems are working properly, address technical problems and train workers in using computer equipment. Many of these professionals have a bachelor’s degree in their field of specialty. As computer networks expand, more technical support specialists may be able to work from home.
Average annual salary: $63,993

*Salaries are averages based on information from CBsalary.com.

Copyright 2007 CareerBuilder.com.


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As some of you know, I live in Massachusetts in the summer and Southern California in the winter. Right now we’re driving across country heading back to the desert, so this week, I’m posting a article I found in Money Magazine about screwing up on the job.

This may well be one of the toughest lessons to learn as your career progresses.

Conscientious people tend to over react to “fumbles” and may actually do additional career damage by dwelling on their errors. Others let it all “roll off their backs,” and don’t realize they’ve dug their own grave until it’s too late.

You need to find the safe middle ground; everyone makes mistakes, the trick is to cut your losses, look for opportunities to recover, and most importantly — MOVE ON.




Work life will hand you lemons – that’s a given. It’s up to you to squeeze some career cred out of the situation.

Money Magazine

By Sam Grobart, Money Magazine senior editor

(Money Magazine) — It’s a fact of life – and of work: Bad things happen. Deals are blown, ambitions are squelched, things go to hell in a handbasket. But a bad situation doesn’t have to be all that bad – if you know how to make it work for you.

First thing you have to do? It’s like that song in West Side Story: Be cool. A level head is key; repeated bouts of guilt and self-recrimination won’t get you anywhere.

Focus instead on what you can do to turn the situation around, then act swiftly and decisively to capitalize on the opportunities the circumstances present.

Of course, some mistakes are impossible to recover from. But if you’re able to pull it off, you may wind up impressing people in ways you never could have if everything had gone according to plan.

Just consider the possibilities in these commonplace office nightmares:

No. 1: You screw up

The knee-jerk response Distance yourself from your mistake as much as possible. If you can, blame someone else.

The smart response Don’t run away from a problem, run toward it. Own the mistake, showing how quickly and effectively you can fix it.

Last year Rebecca Greenglass, an executive at an office-supply wholesaler in Fort Lauderdale, blew a big job for a major client when she wrote down the wrong quantities of merchandise in their order.

“It was a simple mistake but a significant one,” she recalls.

Instead of panicking, Greenglass took charge: She alerted the client to the problem as soon as she discovered it (before they found out themselves), moved heaven and earth to secure the supplies they wanted in the proper amounts and then personally accompanied the shipment to the customer.

A week later the client called her boss to rave about what a great job she’d done. “Of course, I wish I hadn’t made the mistake in the first place,” Greenglass says now, “but I developed a much better relationship with the client as a result of it.”

“Recognize that you have a chance to impress with how you handle mistakes,” says Arlene Hirsch, career counselor and author of How to Be Happy at Work.

Just because you messed up doesn’t mean the game is over – it’s just changed.

No. 2: You ask for a promotion and get rejected

The knee-jerk response Hole up in your office and lick your wounds. Stick pins in a voodoo doll of your boss.

The smart response Use the rejection to map out a clear path to achieving your career goals.

A few years ago I was working at another publication and felt I deserved a promotion. My boss felt otherwise. In a huff, I walked out of his office and did what any normal person would do: I complained to a friend who worked a few cubicles down.

He said, “Hey, this isn’t so bad. Why don’t you ask the boss exactly what you need to accomplish here to get that promotion and then establish a schedule to do those things?”

So I dropped the attitude, went back to my manager, worked out a road map and suddenly had a mutually understood plan that led to the promotion I was seeking.

“There’s a difference between not getting something you want and not getting something you’ve earned,” says Hirsch. “If you haven’t gotten something you want, it’s up to you to figure out what you can do to earn it. Make it overt and objective. That way, it’s not about whether the boss likes you, it’s about whether you’ve done X, Y and Z.”

No. 3 Your office is losing people left and right – and you’re still there

The knee-jerk response Get bitter. Talk smack about the company. Assume you’re next.

The smart response Recognize this as a time to step up, make new alliances and take on new responsibilities.

About three years ago Bob Richardson saw his Newton, Mass. tech-consulting firm lose about a third of its staff to layoffs and resignations. Bob wasn’t initially thrilled about taking on the extra work the departures created, but it soon dawned on him that it was, in fact, the perfect time to take on new tasks he would never have had the chance to do when his company was fully staffed.

“I started to realize that I was learning a lot more about the business than if I’d just been doing my old job.”

Last year Bob was promoted. “It was rough going for a while, but I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to move up if I hadn’t stretched when times were tight,” he says.

It’s hard to be so coolly analytical when it feels as if the world is falling down around you, but it’s what you have to do if you’re going to take charge of a bad situation.

Doing well at your job when all is going well is easy. Doing well under fire is how you make a great career.

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