Does Your Job Have Staying Power?

Bug breeder. Road kill collector. Catfish noodler. Alpaca shearer.

Those are a few of the positions Mike Rowe lists on his résumé. Rowe is host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, a show that exposes people to all kinds of jobs that they don’t necessarily see in the classified ads each week.

If you asked 100 elementary school children what they wanted to be when they grow up, I’d bet no one would mention any of the jobs that Rowe has tried out on his show. But doctor, teacher, politician and artist would probably rank high on the list.

Those four also showed up on list of occupations that will “stand the test of time,” according to CareerBuilder.com. Also included on the list of professions there will always be a need for:

Barber
Construction worker
Farmer
Law enforcement officer
Mortician
Religious leader
Scientist
Soldier
Tax collector
Waste disposal manager

Can you think of other jobs that are necessary and will still be relevant in the future? What about your job?

I love my career, however I’m not sure my position will be around in 50 years. But then again, I probably won’t either.

Who’s the Kid in My Boss’s Office?

If you look around your department, you are likely to see someone who is quite a bit older than you – or quite a bit younger. With so many Baby Boomers prolonging retirement and with nearly 80 million Generation Y workers beginning to enter the workforce, it is becoming more common for older and younger generations to share a cubicle.

In some instances, Baby Boomers are actually working for some of these younger individuals. I recently watched an interview on Good Morning America where they spoke with a 54-year-old who had recently landed her ideal job in event marketing. She ended up getting fired because she couldn’t tolerate working for a boss 25 years her junior.

“I think that it’s very common for someone older to be a little resentful to someone who is 25 years younger telling you want to do,” she said in the GMA interview.

Do you find this sort of thing happening in your company? If you’re reporting to someone half your age, how does that make you feel? Do you have a problem working for someone younger who has less experience? Or, if you’re the young boss, how do you communicate with the members of your staff? Do you feel that authority comes with experience or performance?

American Idle

Teenagers aren’t working hard for the money this summer.

Only 49% of teens age 16 to 19 were working in June – the lowest in the 70 years the U.S. Labor Department has kept records. That was down from 52% in June 2006 and below the 60% in the labor force in June 2000.

That’s a significant decline – 11% in seven years. What’s happened to today’s youth? The answer might surprise you.

Today’s teenagers are studying. Yes, studying.

Nearly 38% of teens ages 16 to 19 were enrolled in summer school or college courses instead of working, according to the Labor Department. They are investing in their future earning potential by dedicating 12-months a year to their education.

This is a change from 20 years ago when only 12% of working-age teenagers were spending their summer months studying.

My own experiences as a teenager in the late 1980s included balancing both work and school. Every summer after I graduated from high school I took two community college classes. Plus, as an 18- and 19-year old, I had a job working 30 hours a week so I could sock away as much money as possible for school in the fall.

Those were some of the best days of my life. The combination of balancing school, work and play taught me some important lessons regarding prioritization, and time management. Somehow I think today’s teens who are opting out of the summer workforce might be missing out on some of life’s important lessons.

What’s In Your Wallet?

Are you getting paid what you’re worth? I’ll guess, probably not. I don’t know of anyone who thinks they make enough money.

Well, I have some good news for you, courtesy of an online survey conducted by USA Today and CareerBuilder.com.

More than half of the hiring managers they surveyed said they raised their employees’ pay in the second quarter, and nearly half said they expect to increase pay from July to September. According to the Department of Labor, over the last 12 months, wages have grown by 3.9 percent.

So the trend is: wages are on the rise!

Increasing wages are directly tied to unemployment being at a six-year low. The labor market is beyond tight right now. Employers are having difficulty filling open positions, so they’re focusing more efforts on employee retention. One retention method is increasing wages.

A 5% raise based on $30,000 a year is an extra $1,500. That’ll certainly help when you’re filling up your vehicle.

You’re probably thinking, “So, where’s my raise?” If the survey is true and the experts are accurate, it should be coming down the pike. Have you noticed your employer clamoring to stay fully-staffed? If so, has the recruiting affected your compensation?

I’d like to hear your experiences. How did you prove your worth? What were the results?

My Temporary Summer

During my four years in undergrad, I held a variety of positions – custom framer, office manager, ditch digger, substitute teacher, waiter and dishwasher. After graduating from college, I had a full-time job and graduate school waiting for me in the fall, but I needed something to occupy my summer.

My parents suggested I apply with a staffing company. After I interviewed with the staffing consultant, I was assigned to my first job. For the next three days, I worked at an oil and gas company where I boxed up files. I wore a shirt and tie and ate lunch out of my briefcase.

My next assignment was in a college library installing anti-theft devices in the binding of every book on the shelves. The college was small, but it still took five people two weeks to finish the job. No tie was required, and I could listen to my Walkman (it was 1990) all day.

I’d had two jobs in three weeks, and both of them were pretty boring. I was looking for a gig that could carry me through the rest of the summer. So I called the staffing consultant again and asked about my employment options. Pam offered me a longer-term assignment with the same oil company I’d worked at earlier in the month.

In a non air-conditioned warehouse, I worked with three guys for the remainder of the summer. The oil company was moving to Houston, so we spent the next two months moving all the office furniture into storage five blocks away. The furniture was then donated to local non-profits. I wore jeans, work boots and T-shirts and made $1.50 more an hour than at the previous assignments.

I had so much fun that summer. In the 17 years since I had that job, I’ve moved 10 times. Every time I move, I use the skills I learned in that warehouse.

What was your favorite summer job growing up? And do you use any of the knowledge gained in your job today?

Are You Looking for Community or Solitude at Work?

Time Magazine recently featured an article about a new trend of communal dining. According to the article, a number of popular restaurants now offer group dining experiences for their patrons. These swanky establishments allow guests to break bread and share an evening getting to know a group of strangers. It seems people are hungry for more than just a good meal – they’re looking for companionship.

What’s behind this trend? Have modern communication tools like e-mail, blogs and social networking sites left people longing for more face-to-face interaction?

At many jobs, workers rarely speak to each other except through e-mail and the occasional phone call. How do you think modern communication has affected workplace relationships? Do you find yourself missing human interaction and seeking ways to interact with your co-workers in a more personal way? Or, do you sit in a cubicle or work closely with others all day and crave more privacy?

How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Hours)

There’s a lot of discussion right now about work/life balance. Especially during the summer, when family vacations and relaxing getaways are most popular, the issue becomes particularly hot. People want to spend time relaxing, getting away from the grind, but that isn’t always possible.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs often find work and life colliding during vacation time. Steven Fisher at Startup Spark recently wrote a post about how its critical for entrepreneurs to find time to really get away from the pressures of work. We’ve also written about work/life balance for small business owners and tips for how to take a vacation.

But taking work with them on vacation isn’t just an issue for business owners. Eager workers often find themselves logging in to their e-mail or working on projects from home or the beach. Many others are putting time into their own projects and working on vacation.

Ryan Healy’s post “When working on vacation isn’t work” on Brazen Careerist shares his views as a twentysomething on work, personal time and vacation. He says that for him, he “works” on his own ideas while on vacation because its something he enjoys doing and wants to pursue in his personal time.

Do you feel it’s possible to truly unplug from work and enjoy your time off? Do you think how someone spends their vacation time depends more on their personality, line of work, generation or employer?

Even though you may not take vacation time on the Fourth of July since it’s a national holiday, what will you be doing with your time?