Career Calling

March 23, 2014

Work When We Want You

Common Dreams has posted an article by the great labor writer Michelle Chen, who examines the growing practice of “on call” work schedules.  In this labor model, the employee works only when the employer offers hours.  There is no set schedule.  As Chen notes, there are several disadvantages to this model:  no set schedule, getting sent home early, being called in the same day to work, and having no control over free time since you can only work when it is available.  This model is becoming more common in retail stores and restaurants, industries where the minimum wage or tip wages are often the norm.

Chen ends her article:  “While it purports to optimize workplace efficiency, the Just-in-Time system exploits work-time as a commodity. A just schedule takes into account the true value of a worker’s time, on and off the clock, and it’s the only way to truly ensure a fair day’s pay.”  True words.  But in a world where so many working people have bought into the argument that business is always right, I’m afraid that on call schedules are going to be just one line on a long and growing list of workplace concerns that workers are going to have to fight to change.

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January 11, 2014

Hard Choices in a Career Change

One of my clients, let’s call him Jim, came to see me about a career change.  Jim has had a very successful career in sales, but feels burnt out.  He also wants to get off the road and spend more time with his family.  We discussed his options for career change.  Given his industry expertise and background in sales, it would be natural for Jim to pursue a new career in purchasing.  He was excited by that option.

Here’s the problem that leads to hard choices:  If he pursues a career in purchasing, Jim is likely to face a big cut in salary, as much as $50,000.  Against this, he has to weigh time away from his family and the pressure that comes with a six-figure sales position.  What should Jim do?  I rose the questions, but didn’t have a good answer.  When we make career changes to improve quality of life, one of the challenges is often working for a lower salary.  Jim is weighing his options with his wife.  His story is one many people are facing today.  The choices aren’t easy.

March 29, 2013

Making Choices

I was talking to a client today who is having trouble jump starting her job search.  Her biggest problem is balancing priorities.  I do not mean to be critical of this client.  All of us share this problem, and it’s a matter of making choices regarding our careers:

How much money do I want to make?

What level of responsibility do I want to hold?

How many hours do I want to work each day?

How much time do I want to spend commuting each day?

While the list of questions could go on and on, a smart job seeker needs to address the questions listed above before starting a job search.  A scatter-shot, “I’ll take anything” approach usually has the same result: a bad job and even more unhappiness.  Take the time to plan your career moves and set goals.  That’s the first step to landing the job you really want.