Education Career Services

April 16, 2010

Career Global: Educational Support Required

Is the United States prepared to go career-global? Are our colleges and universities training student’s international perspectives? What about cultural sensitivities and cultural semantics? Is the United States taking a “don’t ask don’t tell” approach when it comes to leading beyond borders? Being a former instructor and dean at a small college, I refuse to answer the above questions as many will not like the answer (especially any politicians scanning this post).

Promises aside, government and the year-old administration must accept and resolve educational complacency by supporting institutions of higher learning. Only an aggressive approach and infusion of capital will create a long-term resolution to our recession, economic and intellectual.  The world is global and the manner in which we guide leaders of tomorrow must support that philosophy… unless we, as a people and country, accept second-nature status.

Are you ready to be a second-place loser?

Will our government, specifically going out to the big man in Washington, address the issues of career management on a grand scale or will educational budget freezes ruin progressive thinking?  If the past year is the trend of the future, first place may not be an option.

Political accountability can not be placed on hold any longer. On a side note, can you pass the tea?

President Obama, give our children and young adults the opportunity to better themselves and, in return, improve the United States standing in the world. Now is the time to invest in our future. Now is the time to invest in education and career management! Bailing super-sized and corrupt corporations sends a message… and not a very nice one. Students and the working class of America require faith regained.  

Educational and Career management policy and implementation are long-lasting solutions where benefits are built upon a foundation of progression, not complacency. Strapping students and those wishing to promote themselves is not an option we can afford.

The talk, rhetoric, and promises may have been fine for yesterday and throughout last year, but not today. Time for talk, rhetoric, and promises is over, Career global and educational support must be on the forefront of government investment.

Promises built the last presidential campaign; now it is time for delivery.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC, author, educator, and co-owner of Career Services International and Education Career Services, www.educationcs.com.  He may be reached directly at dhuffman@careersi.com.

February 24, 2010

Labor Equilibrium NOT So Balanced for 2010

Synopsis: Nothing new is in the employment mix as many U.S. major organizations plan to hire while just as many intend to practice workforce reductions.  What else is new?

Don’t you love surveys telling you how wonderful the world is going to be if only we can hold back a few more months?  Just as exciting and revolting is how statisticians and politicians (yes, even our President) manipulates numbers knowing all too well the truth behind reality.  Holding onto Hope’s final thread, it seems like our hunger to believe is much greater than what is being served. 

With tomorrow’s menu searching for takers and for those not always in the loop of the latest, let’s take a look at what a new survey by Towers Watson (http://www.towerswatson.com/research/960) is predicting.

Good News / Not-so Good News (Notice how they always comes in two’s):

          Good News: 92% of those responding plan to hire in 2010
          Not-so Good News: 36% of those responding are planning targeted workforce reductions

Continuing with the main course:

          * 41% felt it’s easier to retain talent now than it was before the financial crisis
          * 51% think retention will be more difficult a year from now (on a side note, those responding noted a rise in productivity over the past year)

The survey confirmed the toll the past year has taken on employees in terms of pay and benefit cuts, and how employees have responded:

          * 52% said the percentage of their employees working past their desired retirement age is higher than it was before the financial crisis
          * 31% expect employees working past their desired retirement age will be even higher a year from now
          * 32% said their employees’ cost of health-care coverage is higher now than it was before the financial crisis
          * 38% think healthcare costs will be even higher a year from now

Other Interesting findings:

            * 30% of companies report employees have on average reduced their contributions to 401(k) plans from pre-financial crisis levels, and 51% have seen an increase in employees’ hardship withdrawals from pre-financial crisis levels.
          * 48% said employees had shifted 401(k) plan allocations out of equities; however, 37% expect employees to shift back toward equities a year from now
          * Respondents expect to fund their short-term incentive plans at 100% this year, compared with 80% in 2008 and 60% last year

The survey is based on responses from 118 mostly large employers in the United States and 459 employers globally, and was conducted in early January 2010.

What do you think of the latest survey?  Will 2010 be the turning point or, as many surveys predict (mostly from economists), will our employment scene not feel any significant improvement for another two to three years?  Or would you prefer to tell me what’s really on your mind and tell all those statisticians, politicians, and predictors to take their numbers where the sun don’t shine?  After all, what really matters is job creation and placing real food on our table. 

What else is new? Absolutely nothing.

Let me know your thoughts and perhaps we will post our own survey…

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

October 14, 2009

Working for Free…a Georgian Experiment

Unemployed and looking for a job?  Good news, jobs are out there!  Only one catch, there is no pay.

According to an Intelligence Report from Parade.com (October 11, 2009 page 6), the unemployed throughout the state of Georgia are “working without a salary in auditions for paying gigs.”  Naturally, I was hooked on the read and continued as, at first, if felt this was a rather brilliant idea.  An hour or so later, and after my morning cup of tea, I am not so optimistic the consequences of such a program will all be beneficial.

But first, a quick review (for those who have not read the article).  Under the Georgia Works program, jobless citizens work part-time for up to six weeks at businesses with job openings.  Let’s begin by highlighting the one very important element: you guessed it, a majority of individuals who took part in this program and worked part-time for a business also under this program received an offer to work permanently (58% of participants).  Pretty impressive!

So far so good?  Enough of the sugar-coating for a moment.  If an individual is working for free while unemployed, how will they be able to effectively search for a career of their choice?  Additionally, what are the rules the business owner must follow?  Does this program equate to a college internship?  On note, will this program become mandatory for all unemployed individuals?  In other words, if I suddenly became unemployed, would I be forced to work for free in order to receive benefits?  On the surface, this seems a tad unfair….or is it?

According to the article, 17 states (besides Georgia) have asked about starting similar programs.  The article concludes with the following quote from Andrew Stettner of the National Employment Law Project: “the purpose of unemployment ought to be to enable people to search for suitable work, not to give employers free labor.” 

An interesting article and insight into the world of politics….just keeping you in the loop.

Have a different opinion?  We’d love to hear it!

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
dhuffman@careersi.com
www.linkedin.com/in/dannyhuffman
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110

July 20, 2009

Career Optimist or Just Another Survey?

optimist62% percent of companies who practiced hiring freezes and 69% of those who practiced salary freezes plan to eliminate them within the next 12 months.

The past few years have been difficult due to our economic crisis, no denying that fact.  I continue to worry about tomorrow and hold off making purchases until my confidence level improves.  I don’t believe this tactic is far off the views of most.  So when I hear news of brighter things coming down the road, I want to share the information.

As a result, when I noticed a title “Companies planning to reinstate some programs cut during the economic crisis” pop up recently, I felt compelled to share with you.

Watson Wyatt conducts bimonthly surveys with a goal to placing a finger on the pulse of our economic state.  Their recent survey includes responses from 179 employers.  In a nutshell they found a majority of U.S. employers plan to reverse some, but not all, of the changes they’ve been making to their pay, benefits and other HR programs.

This information is viewed as a sign of economic improvements.  Knowing that many companies plan to reinstate some programs cut during the economic crisis adds confidence to what resides ahead.  To top the survey off, here are some of the findings you may find interesting (and include the finding at the top of this submission):

  •  48% that have reduced their employer 401(k) / 403(b) matches plan to reinstate them in the same timeframe.
  • 60% of employers plan to reverse salary reductions (55% within the next year and 5% within 18 months), while 20% of employers will keep them in place, and another 20% are unsure.

Despite the expectation of many improvements, more than 40% believe there will be long-term difficulties in:

  • attracting (41%) and retaining (45%) critical-skill employees,
  • 79% of companies expect to see an increase in employees working past their desired retirement age, and
  • 73% expect an increase in the percentage of health care costs paid by the employee.

Heck, now I’m feeling a bit better about tomorrow.  Maybe I should go ahead and make a few purchases?  After second thought, change often takes more than the 30-day credit bill cycle so I best hold off a month or two…just in case.

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

Source: http://www.watsonwyatt.com/news/globalnews2.asp?ID=21645&nm=United%20States

July 14, 2009

Economic Darwinism: For Better or Worse?

July 13I had the opportunity to check out this Sunday’s employment section and was not impressed by the amount or type of open positions.  I don’t recall the last time this section was such a quick read as I barely had time to take two sips of my tea!  Anyway, after a short pause to shake the thin webs of a one-page print off, I had to find out what was really going on.

Is our employment situation getting better or worse?  To answer that, one must come to an understanding as to what’s really going on.

According to information released this month by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the ratio of job seekers to job openings is slightly above: 5 to 1.  To be specific, there are 5.4 job seekers for every advertised job opening.  Is this a good number or a not so good number and what does it tell us about the better or worse question?  Then again, think about it, the advertised job opening market only represents about 25% of all job openings out there—seems like our first step is one guided by misdirection!

On the other side of the story, the number of job seekers can also be misleading if one is not careful.  From all accounts and from several business economic classes way back in the dark ages, job seeker counts are typically under-recognized.  In other words, government statistics claim the 5.4 seekers for every job advertised but do not take into account those individuals who are passively looking to better themselves or the super-sized number of underemployed conveniently forgotten about by those in control.

I know what you’re saying, numbers are no good unless there is something to compare them with and 5.4 may be a number to strive for.  Unfortunately, we can look at the figures from March (4.8 job seeker for each advertised position) and the numbers from when the recession officially began.  That would be December of 2007 when there were 1.7 job applicants per single job opening.  Hmmm, wonder if further interpretations by me are even necessary?  Are we beginning to get a clear picture of the better or worse question? 

All of this to the side, there remains hope for the applicant who is skilled in the art of career management and self marketing.  Think about it, we seem to be experiencing an economic/employment Darwinist revolution where the fittest not only survive but STRIVE in this new jungle.  True enough, there remains good news amongst the struggles: During the month of April, there were 4,099,000 new hires!

What’s it going to take to be leading the pack?  Continue checking out this blog for guidance and interaction.  Many of our previous submissions are focused to get you through the hard times by offering insight and time-tested approaches to career management.  Thus, review the lessons from submissions posted in the not so distant past…just because a post was presented two weeks (or even six months) ago does not mean it has lost any value.  Take a journey to the beginning; you will find value at such little cost.

Ultimately to answer the question of better or worse, it all depends on you.  For those insisting on defeat and self fulfilling prophecy, don’t let tomorrow pass you by due to your lack of initiative and ability to maximize all resources. 

Help is one the way but your hand must also reach.

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

June 10, 2009

Career Magic in Orlando?

june 10Yippee, I’ve lived in Orlando for over 8 years and the basketball team is in the NBA finals.  Sorry for not getting overly excited but life will go on no matter the outcome of the games.  And truth be told, no matter who wins the series, career management for the non-basketball players will not suddenly become brighter as reality hits surprisingly hard.

As a matter of fact, the unemployment rate and foreclosures continue to rise while the average American remains struggling in an economy that (on the surface) appears to be inconsistent with the disbursement of services.  So, what do we do?  For some, temporary relief will be found in front of their television set or at the arena screaming at the refs for unfair calls.  For others, this sport called basketball simply reinforces the idea of an unfair marketplace.  Let me break it down for a second, how can our world justify paying huge sums of money to sports athletes while close to 9% of our workforce is unemployed? 

Hey, I am an Orlando Magic fan and did a bit of screaming last night as well.  My intent with today’s submission is not to become philosophical and ask for radical change.  I am simply bringing a point of reference to the surface and asking the question “what is fair?”

True enough, there is value (an emotional/psychological catharsis if you will) in sports and no doubt we all need to find ways to release tension—I’m asking is there may be a better way to invest the millions of dollars than handing the money over to young adults, wealthy owners, and greedy vendors.  Think about an alternative for a second, what type of redevelopment programs would be supported if we reined in on the craziness of sports?  Take a look around your community; do you have any ideas where you would invest millions of dollars?  Perhaps there are ways this money would make your area more economically stable (and not just for one or two groups—for the community as a whole).

I checked out Orlando’s Workforce program recently.  Without argument, additional funds are needed (and I am not talking about a ton) for career guidebooks, support material, additional training, more employees, and extra resources which will in turn increase the marketability of those not properly prepared to market themselves.  I got it, this spending is not glamorous.  After all, who wants to go to a building where there are no banners, no lights, no dancers, and no television contracts?  Then again, perhaps our politicians are doing the right thing by supporting sports franchises?  Where else can one go to purchase a $6 hot dog?  At this price, no doubt someone is expanding their career aspirations—but at what cost and who is paying the price!  Leading me to the question, what does your city do for the unemployed, the struggling, the poor community, and the people who need support the most?  Bringing me to the next story…

Several weekends ago, while on the way to the farmers market, I went to an open house as I like to dream and see how the other world lives.  The neighborhood was beautiful.  The house was huge.  The neighbor was Dwight Howard.  The price was $5.5 million.  The pinch hurt!

So here I remain, back to reality and reality tells me I don’t want a $5.5-million dollar house.  I don’t want a famous neighbor.  I want our city, our state, and our nation to begin prioritizing where money is invested.  Schools are closing at a crazy rate.  Teachers losing jobs and our students are losing out.  I suggest that career management and career preparation be an investment made TODAY, creating an environment of shared responsibility and personal pride.

Then again, I could be a blind politician and forget about the whole community career thing and go to game four of the NBA finals…after all, nothing Kobe Bryant can’t break that Dwight can’t fix! 

On this note and my new desire to be amongst the crowd, if you have a couple tickets and can’t make it to the game tomorrow night, let me know.  I need an emotional release and yelling just may be the way!  One more thing, Dwight, you do have one beautiful house!

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

April 9, 2009

Education House Bill: Career Commitment?

In typical fashion, this morning I enjoyed a cup of tea for breakfast while relaxing in the back porch and reading the Orlando Sentinel.While skimming, I noticed the headline: “Tougher teacher tenure bills move forward.” As my neighbor is a teacher, I decided my attention would be necessary…after all; a teaching career is a highly respectable (though often under-appreciated) trade. (Quotes in this blog were taken directly taken out of the paper—just to add a measure of context.)apple-coreu-s-178660-3

“Teachers also could be fired at any time if their students underachieve.”

For several years I was an instructor at a local college and to now learn a teacher’s career can be decided by students seems be a tad unfair, unpredictable, and un-defendable. After all, there’s so much more to being an effective teacher than standing in front of the class and lecturing. For teachers out there putting in 60+ hour weeks setting curriculum, reading papers, and tutoring, my respect is freely given to you.

On note with the quote, no doubt there is a relationship between outstanding teachers and student achievement but how many students just don’t care about achievement or intentionally disrupt the learning process for all lucky enough to be in the same class as the trouble-maker? Is it fair to now bring the concept of child success or failure onto the sole burden of the teacher? Where are the parents in this equation? Is it right to allow students to play such a powerful role when deciding promotions and terminations? Additionally, once students become aware of their power, how long before it is leveraged to their advantage? How absurd is this new policy to you (or is it just me)?

“…a tenured teacher would be limited to a five-year contract.”

Maybe not so bad, at least at first glance. But then again, many of the best teachers I have had the pleasure of learning from held over ten years of classroom experience. When does the sense of commitment by the school come into play? We trust and ask our teachers to guide our children but then throw a huge question mark which can be used as an administrative scare tactic. I am highly concerned about the blatant message as well as the latent meaning with the subjective agenda of this house bill.

Schools are all about lessons…in this, what does this lesson teach those looking for a career and for those looking to hire? If you’re looking for a career, be prepared to live life as a puppet-where no matter how hard you work and how well you do your job, you have no control over the strings binding you with your company. In effect, the precedent is clear: the House and Senate say it’s okay to terminate on the basis of a customer complaint, no matter the factors or agenda behind it. Are you feeling warm and fuzzy?

The bill “passed both the House and Senate committee votes today.”

How many people throughout the state of Florida knew of the upcoming vote? How many people in the state of Florida are willing to accept the consequences of this bill? For those outside of Florida, look out, this bill will act like a virus – so be prepared.

We are experiencing some of the most difficult times of recent memory and to have our educational leaders (House and Senate) allow fear to dominate the lives of teachers is, in my opinion, a travesty. And what does this tell the community and the children going to public schools? Ultimately, how can we expect our teachers to remain committed to the students and community when there is no return of commitment?

I’m not sure who the winners in this career move are…but I am certain who the losers are.

What’s your school district up to? How many out there know, I mean really know?

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
dhuffman@careersi.com
Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com
Career Services International: www.careersi.com

March 23, 2009

In politics, “reality” is a four-letter word

march-23-2009

When does reality hit the road?  Better yet, when it finally does hit the road, what’s it going to look like?  Yesterday, I made the mistake of checking out the employment classified once again and after two blinks and a half yawn, the reading concluded with a “is this it?” thud.  Fortunately breakfast was not spoiled as I remembered President Obama would be on television to offer the world hope.  Quickly, I became not so under-joyed.

 

Not sure how many watched the show “60 Minutes” last night.  If you did, did you believe all that was heard?  Through that show, did we become more educated or more separated from reality as to what tomorrow holds in store for the regional and global economy?  Throw in the proverbial pointing of fingers, political rhetoric, and rapidly forgotten speech promises, and what is left for us to hold on to?

 

This morning, while driving my eight-year-old four-cylinder truck to work, I listened to a representative of the President state how the economy “may” turn around early next year but we need to continue feeding (or funding) private industry to secure such an outcome.  I don’t want to turn this career-minded blog into a political arena and apologize for the inference but at the same time, there is a direct connection between the economy, politics, and employment which needs to be addressed; or at least allowed a voice.

 

I think we all need to question the reality and consequences of measures which effecting not only the current population, but generations to come.  Are the programs being aggressively fought for and lobbied for the right ones?  Is action of this magnitude more beneficial than inaction?  Though inaction is action in and of itself – thus allowing the “invisible hand” to create a new equilibrium (one without the over-indulgence and entitlement many have internalized as a god-given right).  Are the tons of money our children going to pay back creating long-lasting jobs or are we simply throwing money at huge corporations without thought of consequence? 

 

I don’t have the answers, but I definitely have questions—and questions are the catalyst of change.  To accept with eyes closed and pockets empty, progress and positive change will never come about.

 

No doubt time will tell but for the 50 million families struggling, time (like jobs and money) can not be stretched beyond this evening’s kitchen cabinet.  I encourage your thoughts but more importantly, I promote the gift of questioning policies and individuals responsible for positive change.

 

Question “reality:” I may not be a mathematician, but I can count more than four letters in the word.  

 

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: www.careersi.com

January 20, 2009

Political Promises and Career Management: Can We?

Of all days within my recent memory, today is more than a day of inauguration; today is the first day of a promised economic Spring where fields of flowers will cover the landscape far and near. No doubt the world will be watching as our president-elect becomes sworn in…a glorious day indeed. Not to be caught up in the hyperbole of the moment, what does all this mean for the career-minded professional trying to get and remain ahead? We’ve heard the speeches and the promises; they sound, well, promising but how did we get into this mess anyway and will an economic stimulus package get us out of this funk today, tomorrow, or next decade?

 stack-of-cash-jan-201

I’ll leave the economic jargon, claims of greed, and wide mood swings for the final round and will concentrate on what I’ve come to hear in the past few months. My neighbors are excited; both are retired and feel confident they will be able to rebound from personal loses encountered from the stock market. Heck, they also carry the notion benefits will increase, mortgage payment will decrease, their undereducated and unemployed son will find a high-paying job by the end of February, and their daughter will once again be able to go to college (with the government paying most the way). I’m not sure how this is going to happen but I’ve listened to the rhetoric and witnessed the parades celebrating our sudden (okay, by tomorrow afternoon) economic turnaround.

 

In my opinion, economic relief without career guidance on a global scale leads to chaos.  I don’t have an issue with chaos theory (I am an avid supporter) but throwing money into a system ill-prepared to handle employment issues is not a feasible remedy. Is the United States prepared to go career-global? Are our colleges and universities training student’s international perspectives? Cultural sensitivities? Cultural semantics? Being an instructor and a dean at a small college, I refuse to answer the above questions as many will not like the answer.

 

Political promises aside, government and the new administration must accept and resolve our educational complacency by supporting institutions of higher learning. Only an aggressive approach and infusion of capital will create a long-term resolution to our recession, both economic and intellectual.

 

Will our new government address the issues of career management on a grand scale or will educational budget freezes ruin progressive thinking? With so much money being thrown in all directions without accountability, I wish I could be more optimistic.

 

President Obama, give our children and young adults the opportunity to better themselves and, in return, improve the United States standing in the world. Now is the time to invest in our future, not by supporting greedy corporate leaders, but by supporting academic institutions and the working class of America. Will supporting these causes be an overnight solution? Of course not.  Career management policy and implementation is a long-lasting solution where benefits are built upon a solid foundation.  America is put together upon intellectual freedom—strapping students and those wishing to promote themselves is not an option we can afford.

 

The talk, rhetoric, and promises are fine for yesterday and today.  In a time where optimism is required, the marketing strategies from President Obama’s campaign was not only perfect, it was our light in a storm.  But time for talk and promises are over and career management must be on the forefront of government investment.

 

Can we? Depends….

 

Danny

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