The Chicago Tribune has published its annual “Top Workplaces” for 2011. This page, which offers links to each company’s website, will be a useful tool for job seekers inChicago because it lists over 100 potential employers. Each company has been recognized by its employees as a great place to work.
If you have a specific, non-transferable skill (airline pilot, police officer) and are not seeking a career change, this list might not be for you. For most job seekers, however, it identifies established and growing companies where employees say they are happy. That’s a valuable resource to put in your job search and career management tool box.
The Chicago Tribune lists 9 companies that are hiring. Such lists should be added to a job search tool box. When companies grow, they tend to hire. Watch for growth. It could lead to your next job.
Two clients today said they were afraid about the job market. Why? The government report that the U.S.economy only added 54,000 jobs last month. This bad news cued the media to role out its “be very afraid – it’s the end of the world” headlines.
Let’s put things in perspective. First, the news was still positive, job growth. We have seen job losses that were much larger not that long ago. Second, much of the shrinkage is in the public sector. If experts are so concerned about job growth, they should argue for higher taxes that will let cities hire more teachers and police officers. Instead, those same wise ones want to lay off even more public workers. Finally, we need to be more critical of fast-changing numbers. Last month the news was unexpectedly good. This month it’s unexpectedly bad. Nice headlines, but will we remember what happened in these two months a year from now?
Whenever this type of story and meme appears, I go back to my 100% rule: Do you have a job? Do you have the job you want? If you can answer yes to both questions, your economy is great. If you don’t have the job you want, but you’re employed, your economy is good (but you still should be looking for a new job). Scary news stories mean nothing unless they impact us personally. Keep the focus on your career and what you can do to make it better.
According to the Chicago Tribune, American workers are using only 14 of an average 18 vacation days. Workers in other countries get more time off – and they use it (French workers take 35/37 days, English 25/28). The overall gain to companies through unused vacation time is estimated at $67 billion. That’s productivity!
What’s wrong with Americans? (That’s a loaded questions!) The reasons given in the article include: pressure from the boss, too much work, fear of being laid off, and understaffed companies where the work has to get done. In a time of high unemployment, such fears are reasonable.
But it’s odd that companies making big profits and often paying no taxes will ask employees to give back paid time off, especially after many were asked to take pay cuts in recent years. Maybe it’s not odd. Maybe it makes perfect sense given the way working people are treated today.
The Chicago Tribune reports that area CEOs have received salary increases that average 25%. In a related story, the paper lists the top ten best paid CEOs. Remember, this is just salary. High level executives often receive bonus and stock options on top of salary. What did Billie Holiday sing? “Nice work if you can get it.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that the rate of teen unemployment has spiked. It estimates that only 25% of young people (16-19 years old) will find work this summer. Many jobs for youth are funded by government programs. With government on every level cutting back, young people will spend the summer hanging out rather than earning some money and gaining job skills. Are we investing wisely? I don’t think so.
As the Chicago Tribune reports, the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.8%. Good news is always welcome, but I want to use this occasion to repeat my philosophy on this statistic: Don’t let it rule your job search. Use the 100% rule. Do I have a job? Do I have the job I want? Unless you can answer yes to both questions, you should be looking for a new job. You are not a statistic. Take control of you career!
The Chicago Tribune explores the future of the job market – “the new normal” – and predicts it will be long time until we reach “fuller employment.” Articles like this one are interesting, but not very useful in career planning. We cannot control the macro economic factors that impact unemployment rates. We can, however, manage our careers and keep learning more about the industries we want to work in. Rather than get lost in a forecast that more than likely is going to wrong, focus on your career, not the “new normal.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that John Rowe, CEO of Exelon, will receive a 14% raise, making his new salary $7.2 million. The article lists Mr. Rowe’s extensive gifts to charity. That’s a good thing to know about this man. But the article fails to address bigger questions: What was the average pay increase for all employees at the company? What is the average pay increase for American workers?
14% is a big number. Most of the clients I’ve worked with have lost salary and benefits: pay cut, hours cut, furlough days, high health premiums, no 401K match, and fewer (if any) benefits. It’s nice to be a winner. It’s just a shame that this country seems to have fewer and fewer winners.