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,  He may be reached directly at


August 18, 2009

Sorry Tony, Some Things do End

August 18During a recent annual doctor’s visit, I had the pleasure of hearing (how many times now?) I needed to lose 25 pounds.  Nothing new to me and perhaps this time I will actually do what it takes to become leaner.  Last night I had a vision about the economic atmosphere and began drawing parallels between my weight and our global employment crisis.  Wondering if such a correlation exists, I propose the following:

For the past ten years I did not worry about what I ate or the amount or what I ate.  Oh, those were the days of hot fudge, plenty of ice cream, lots of grease (who can resist onion rings?), and four meals a day.  Worries of larger sized britches and an increasingly uncomfortable lower back were placed on the back burner.  In reflection, it seemed as if my body could handle everything without consequence (okay, so a pound or two crept up as the months and years flew by).  Unfortunately, Tony Curtis’ song forgot things do end… 

           Those were the days, my friend
           We thought they’d never end
           We’d sing and dance forever and a day
           We’d live the life we’d choose
           We’d fight and never lose
           For we were young and sure to have our way

Sorry Tony I realize you just turned 84 (two months ago) but I am getting close to 50 years of age and it’s time to realize (and sacrifice) for the error of my dietary ways. 

Ten years ago the global economy and employment rate was going better than good.  Heck, we had it all, low unemployment, impressive industrial growth, and just about everyone was purchasing a home (or getting ready to).  Yep, those were the days of gluttony without worry of consequence.  Without doubt, those were the days…

So many were young not only in years but in experience; but ten years has a way of creeping on in a blink.  Over the past ten years we accrued a great deal of excessive fatty tissues from which to rake up credit card debt on the promise that tomorrow would exceed the profits of yesterday.  Where’s Tony when we need him now?

Yep, it was a good run and we ate, and ate, and then ordered dessert in a fight we thought we would never lose while the band played in the background!

Today, our economy, employment, and overall health are paying for the excesses of song and dance.  No longer are we experiencing the days of all you can eat buffets (metaphorically).  Rather, businesses, families, and just about everyone must go on a diet, some due to health reasons, some due to economic circumstance, and some due to a combination of both.  Will this be as fun a ride as we experienced in the not too distant past?  I’m not sure but I do realize there are positives and opportunities in all challenges; either way I can always watch reruns of Spartacus.

Last night I had the pleasure of dining out (just another way of contributing to economic growth via spending) and carried a new approach to the table.  Elaine and I shared a main entrée as the issue of excess (and the constant nagging from my doctor) flooded our minds.  After the meal, both of us were comfortable; neither stuffed to the gill (in my typical fashion) and neither feeling guilty about the evening. 

Being lean does not mean being without pleasures or being in jeopardy.  This morning I jumped on the scale and noticed two ounces missing…a good start.  Thinking about our economy and employment rate, perhaps chipping away two ounces at a time can be a lesson we all can share.  After all, have you noticed the sense of entitlement in every crack and cranny of our existence?  Perhaps it is time to get back in shape, to shed a few pounds, to share a main entrée, to help others in need, to become less self-centered, and to become MORE human. 

My doctor probably did not intend for her request for me to place my weight in check to become an economic philosophical model, but it has.  Can you lose the weight, the excess, the sense of entitlement?

And one more thing while on the subject, Mr. Curtis, you will always remain one of the best…

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP
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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
Education Career Services:
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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
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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
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April 20, 2009

Beach: a story of metaphoric consequence

This past weekend I went to Clearwater Beach, Florida for a quick getaway.


You’re asking what does this have to do with career management.  Right?  Let me get to the story…early yesterday we walked along the beach to enjoy the solitude and limited crowd.  As we walked I couldn’t help but notice trash (cups, wrappers, toys, plastic bags, napkins, etc) littering every few feet (literally).  At this time, more people began walking the beach, intentionally stepping over or ignoring the filth.  Not sure what they were thinking but it must have been: “won’t worry about picking up the trash, I didn’t throw it away so I don’t need to clean it up.” 


Before 20 minutes I collected two loads of trash. 


Now we’re getting to career management….


Is the “I didn’t create the mess so I don’t have to clean it up” philosophy carried over to employment?  Like it or not, there’s a mess out there!  Who is going to fix the problem?  I suspect the first thing to do is examine the roots of the economic / employment problem and then develop a plan to resolve it.  To most (as witnessed on the beach), the attitude of “I will let someone else fix it—perhaps the government,” remains status quo.  Besides, what can one person do with such an epidemic?


Much like my picking up litter on the beach, we all need to do our part…okay, so what is my or our part?


I believe parents, teachers, community, and the media share a piece of the responsibility equation.  In other words:


  • Parents should create a home environment conducive to educational advancement; where excuses and circumstances are not allowed. 
  • Teachers should pick up students falling behind, losing sight, being ignored, and/or or those being intentionally side-stepped…giving each student a foundation of belief and confidence.
  • Community must be a place where fear, intolerance, crime, and prejudice are eliminated.  No doubt the supporting cast runs deep and affects each one of us.  But each one of us can dedicate time to tutor or donate books, supplies, etc. to a worthy cause.
  • Media must display the value of education and the benefit that care will bring not only to the initial recipient, but to the countless of others who will be touched.  The media has created a social and economic paradigm following the tenets of instant gratification while undercutting the moral fabric of which built this country.


Our economy has issues, plenty of them for all to share.  Looking at a gestalt approach to resolve today’s ailments, each piece is just as important as any other.  If we want to progress, it must begin with sacrifice, dedication, and hard work—even if it means bending over and picking up items often ignored or intentionally thrown away. 


Together is the only way to beat the greed, the hatred, and the fear.  


At the end of the day at the beach, I saw just as much litter as the day before…as if my effort was a futile attempt to make a difference.  Perhaps nobody cares about our beaches, about our economy, or about the next generation.  I’m not buying into that.  


I’ll continue to believe parents, teachers, our community, and the media have the capacity to make a difference….what do you think?


Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

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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
Education Career Services:
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April 6, 2009

Dinner and the outsourced

Had an interesting weekend until the topic of outsourcing and illegal aliens came up; let me backtrack for a moment.  My wife and I were invited to have dinner at a friend’s home and naturally we accepted.  In typical fashion, upon the completion of dinner we discussed current and concerning issues.  Not sure how it began or who initiated the conversation but the concept of outsourcing was thrown out there… seems like there are three topics one should avoid while entertaining: religion, politics, and now outsourcing.

april-06-2009Our hosts own their own company and are strong believers in outsourcing.  My wife is diametrically opposed to outsourcing while I am a middle-in-the-road person with this topic (as a Libra, it’s just the way of the stars).  One more factor which should be considered, neither of our hosts was from the US – both come from a socialistic country. 

Our hosts questioned the inborn sense of “entitlement” many of the people in the US carry and “our” overall laziness.  Additionally, in their country, and in most they have visited and lived in, poverty is much greater in the US as is crime (they threw that in as icing).  The words slung back and forth – no one was going to convince the other their view was right.  Thirty minutes of argument (no longer a discussion) later, I decided to go to the family room and watch the NCAA semi-finals… at least there would be a winner in that competitive setting.

Here it is Monday morning and I can’t shake the feeling and discussion from two nights ago.  Do US workers own a sense of entitlement?  I take this to be translated into:

“the company (or country) owes me just because I happen to be born in a specific geographic boundary.”

Could this be true?  How many people out there have experienced this type of expectation either from peers or fellow employees?  As for me, I have a good group of employees who, in my opinion, work hard and (generally) do not have a sense of entitlement.  As a matter of fact, my group is a solid band of employees.  I quite possibly may have the very best group available… this being the product not of outsourcing but of training, developing, and respecting the great staff I have. 

My concern has not waned over the past two days—as a matter of fact, the idea that we own a sense of entitlement is rather upsetting…regarding my wife, she remains fit to be tied over the concept as she owns passionate views – especially when it comes to home…and the United States is our home.

What do you think?  Are American workers spoiled?  If you owned a company and needed to hire a group of 20 employees, would you intentionally look for individuals outside the United States?  If so, which country would you focus attention to?  And finally, am I reading too much in the after-dinner conversation?  How would have you reacted?

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

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March 23, 2009

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


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

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March 9, 2009

12.5 Million Unemployed: could this be true?

Mind boggling, don’t you think?  On my way home a few days ago, a reporter for NPR stated we are at an 8.1% unemployment rate, equating to 12.5 million people looking for a job.  Does this number include the millions of people not on unemployment who happen to be unemployed as well?  If not, and I seriously doubt it does; who knows what the true unemployment rate is.  I don’t!


So, where are we as a country?


I’m not an economist; I am an optimist.  Beating the odds and securing a job (and for many, any job) may be a matter of luck—being in the right place at the right time.  If this is the case, how does one become “lucky?”  Truth known, to me, luck is a matter of strategy and preparedness.


  • Strategy:  know where job fairs are happening and attend; attending social and professional functions; becoming aware of employment trends and educating yourself in your field of choice; attending seminars, workshops, and webinars; developing a calendar of events, obligations, and goals (short and long term); and always display professional respect to all you come across—after all, one never knows who that person getting in the elevator with you happens to work for—he or she may be a hiring executive in need of an entry-level recent graduate or a CEO to head a product development phase.
  • Preparedness:  not only look and behave professionally in all arenas, but have well-written material ready at the hip.  Practice your marketing quip (elevator speech), have a professional review (redo if necessary) documents (a well-written document may be the wisest investment of your career), and know your surroundings.


Unfortunately I believe we experiencing an unreliable unemployment rate—I think it is much higher than the government wants the masses to believe.  Naturally they would have an agenda to keep this number low…but that’s jut my opinion.  I did tell you I was optimistic—I forgot to tell you I am also a realist.


Let me know what you think,


Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

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