The Top Paying Jobs of 2014

Advanced degrees = Advanced salaries
It’s hardly a surprise.  The highest paying jobs seem to go to those who paid high tuitions.
According to CareerCast’s 10 Best-Paying Jobs of 2014, seven out of 10 of the highest paid professions are in medical professions.  (We’re looking at real jobs and careers here and not movie stars or professional athletes.)

Most of these jobs are found in the health care industry and require advanced degrees. This means that a six-figure salary can often come at the expense of six-figure debt. For instance, general practice physicians make an average of $187,200 a year, but according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the medical school class of 2013 graduated with a median debt of $175,000, and 86% of all graduates left with some debt.

The highest paid salary on the list went to surgeons, who make an average of $233,150 a year; general practice physicians came in second. In ninth and tenth place were podiatrists at $116,440, and attorneys, at $113,530, who also face a lot of education before they can practice.

There were only two high paying jobs on the list that don’t require graduate degrees: petroleum engineers and air traffic controllers, who on average make $130,280 and $122,530 respectively. The report cautioned, though, that “for those who choose a different path [than graduate education] to attain one of the best-paying jobs, be prepared to exchange paychecks for a high level of stress.” It described air traffic controllers as dealing with “some of the most stressful working conditions.”

Despite stressful working conditions, jobs as air traffic controllers are hardly up for grabs. The industry predicts only a 1% growth outlook by 2022.  Petroleum engineers, however, can look forward to a 26% growth outlook in the same period.  All of the health care professions on the list anticipate growth of 14% or higher. “As baby-boomer doctors … reach retirement, there often aren’t enough new doctors,” explained CareerCast publisher Tony Lee.

 

Don’t Ask Me Where I’ll Be in Five Years

A friend gave me this exercise recently, and it stumped me. It was almost embarrassing to realize that a driven, future-focused person such as myself couldn’t give a good, honest answer to where I want to be 5 years from now.

Then I realized that the trouble was not with me, it was with the question: I don’t want to be anywhere in 5 years–I want to be doing. This almost trivial semantic shift cracked open the floodgates.

But first, let me give you some science and some metrics.
I Don’t Know What Makes Me Happy (and Neither Do You)
In his book Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert points out that we (humans) aren’t very good at predicting our own happiness. There are multiple reasons for this. One is because we’re not very good at predicting things in general. Another is that we tend to have flawed memories of the past, hence our predictive base of information is already distorted. (For example, movie-goers’ memory of their movie enjoyment correlates better with their prediction of enjoyment than with their actual reported enjoyment at the time of watching).

Given that I do want to be happy 5 years from now, this puts me in a tough position. Luckily, I’m pretty happy right now, so I’ll start by trying to create some metrics around the types of activities that make me happy.

Metric 1: Degree of Selfishness
Every day I do some things for myself and some things for others. The “others” bucket includes my family, my company, and the rest of the world. It’s a pretty big bucket. It’s easy to get lost in that bucket. It’s also easy to be so intimidated by that bucket that you pretend it isn’t there. Balancing between self and other is hard, but it’s vital.

 Metric 2: Discount Rate
Sometimes you’re putting money in the bank, sometimes you’re making withdrawals. Everything you do has some present value (which may be negative if you’re investing) and some future value (which is positive if you have a good rate of return).

There’s a ton of interesting math that goes into the problem, but in general people value a dollar tomorrow less than a dollar today. (Ten dollars tomorrow, however, might be worth it.) The same calculations happen with my time and energy.

I am, by nature, an investor. I am future-focused. The risk here is that if I spend all my time investing, I don’t have any time left to fully enjoy the present. When pondering what I want to be doing in the future, I have to consider how much I want to be investing versus enjoying the fruits of today’s labor.

So where will I be in 5 years? I don’t know, and I don’t really care. Hopefully what I’ll be doing is a good mix of helping myself and helping others, investing and enjoying.

 

The Most Important Two Words in Your Interview

As a staffing professional at BarryStaff, I often help candidates to land interviews with our clients.  When I know that my candidate is facing stiff competition from other people applying for the same job, I recommend that they quickly follow up their interview with a hand-written Thank-you card sent to the interviewing Manager who will be making the hiring decision.  Recently I read the below article which confirmed my belief that, even in this high-tech world this personal touch is still very powerful.

The Power of Two Little Words in an Interview

When we are unemployed, looking for work and spending our full-time trying to secure interviews and our next job, it can feel like we are being ground down and that no-one cares about us. It can be very easy to forget two simple words with meaning that can set you apart from the rest of the jobseeker pack.

The two words are: “Thank you.”

Let’s look at the scenario. You’ve actually secured a job interview. You go to the interview looking your sharpest, you navigate the hypothetical scenarios, talk about your background relevant to their position and ask some probing and intelligent questions at the end of the interview that are sure to make you stand out. You finish the interview with a firm hand shake and a smile and then you say, “Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you today.”

This is an excellent start, but you’re not finished.

As soon as you get home, you pull out your box of thank you cards that you keep at the ready, and you jot a thank you note inside focusing on how excited you are by the opportunity to work for this amazing organization. You thank the recruiter for their time. And you sign it. You put the card in an envelope, fill out the envelope with the recruiter’s name and address info, you put a stamp on it and you mail it the same day. This is important. Snail mail can take a couple of days and in the private and not-for-profit sector, hiring decisions can happen fairly quickly.

“We live in a world of email and much faster communication,” you say, “why should I send a snail mail thank you card?”

Because no-one else will!

Your objective at this stage in the hiring process is to stand out. And a snail-mail thank you note will certainly do that. Once you’ve secured that first interview you’re over the hurdle of getting your foot in the door. So what does a snail-mail thank you note do?

1. There is now a hard copy message sitting on the recruiter’s desk – it could sit there for days, constantly reminding the recruiter who you are and that you want the job.

2. It shows that you respect other people’s time and that you feel gratitude and are willing to show it. These are sometimes tough to measure in an interview but very, very important to team-building and group cohesion.

So after your next interview, don’t forget the thank you card – you’ll be glad you sent it. It may be old-fashioned, but it works. Remember, I’m rooting for you.

 

Job Search Gimmicks. Good or Bad Idea?

In today’s ultra-competitive job market, it can sometimes help to make yourself stand out from other job seekers through a bold gesture or nontraditional résumé. After all, if you or your résumé don’t stand out in some way, you run the risk of being overlooked for what could be your dream job. So why not be bold and take a risk? I’ll tell you why — because there can be a very fine line between being innovate and being overbearing and even a little scary.

The key to success is to carefully consider the atmosphere of the company you are applying to (a staid accounting firm may not appreciate your dressing up in a gorilla suit to deliver your résumé), and learn what you can about the hiring manager before making first contact. When trying to separate yourself from your competition, consider these moves made by fearless — or frightening — job seekers. Sometimes they pay off, and sometimes they fall flat.

 Good Idea:
Be innovative: A laid-off sales manager targeted his dream company by creating a website that was devoted to his job search at that company. The site included photographs of himself, his résumé and even a blog detailing his job quest. It got the attention he wanted, and it paid off with a phone interview and meeting with company recruiters. In this case, putting himself out there was a good way to get noticed.

Go where the decision-makers go: You don’t want to come off as a stalker, but you do want to find out where influencers meet and join the club, like one job seeker did in New York. This entertainment industry executive joined an exclusive gym frequented by celebrities and media moguls in order to increase his visibility, and it paid off. In essence, this is like taking networking to the extreme, and we all know that networking is one of the best ways to land a job.

And NOT such a good idea:
Don’t be childish: One job seeker got a bit too cutesy with his cover letter in his application to a company in Florida. He used the letters of his first name to highlight his strengths, sort of like an elementary school writing project. (For example: D is for Determined; A is for Attentive; N is for Nice). N must also be for “No way!” He didn’t get the interview.

Always be professional, and don’t resort to gimmicks or toys. Another job seeker brought a Rubik’s Cube to her interview to illustrate her problem-solving skills. It was distracting and socially awkward. Remember that you’re an adult and a professional.

Don’t bring food:  Although most office workers appreciate those home-baked goodies their co-workers bring in, it’s not a good practice for a job seeker to employ. You may be a great baker, but delivering cookies (or candy or even office plants) to a potential employer smacks of desperation and perhaps a bit of bribery. Your merits should stand on their own; plus, many people are wary of eating items brought by strangers.

The Really BAD ideas:
Don’t be a stalker: Sure, you want to get your name out there; you may even want to hand-deliver your résumé. Just don’t do what this desperate Boston job seeker did. She visited the company every day for several weeks, each time asking to speak to a different company representative. She then sat in the reception area for hours, waiting for that person. It came across as creepy, and no one ended up meeting with her.

Don’t go bananas:  That gorilla-suit example mentioned previously really did happen. A man delivered his résumé in costume to a construction company and then sang about the qualifications he had that made him the perfect candidate. He even brought balloons. The company CEO was not amused, and the man was escorted from the building.

When trying to stand out during a job hunt, it’s still best to stick with traditional means: Express your qualifications in your cover letter and résumé and shine in that coveted job interview. If you want to do more, make sure your gesture is appropriate for your industry and for the particular company to which you are applying.  Sometimes, taking a risk can really pay off, like the MIT graduate who stood on a busy New York street corner handing out résumés. He ended up landing a job at an accounting firm.

Sometimes a little risk can bring great rewards.

 

Don’t Worry. Your Career Will Get Better

By Vanessa Wong – BloombergBusinessweek

Ever worry that the peak of your career is already behind you? Don’t fret: You’ll keep having happy experiences in your professional life—moments you’ll appreciate a few years after they’ve passed.

In a survey of 1,070 men and women by Citigroup and LinkedIn, about two-thirds of the respondents, including those 55 and older, felt they had just recently experienced their happiest years at work.

“It’d be depressing to me if all age groups reported being happiest in their late 20s,” says Bryan Dik, a vocational psychologist and co-founder of the career-matching startup jobZology.com. “What it tells me is that either things get better as they go along or people are only able to remember recent events well when they make this appraisal.”

2014 Today’s Professional Woman Report Question: Look back at your career—at what age were you happiest?

The results of this Today’s Professional Woman Report are not unlike those in Gallup’s “State of the American Workforce” report last year, which show the levels of worker engagement increasing with age.  Millennials were the least engaged with their work.

Expect growing pains, though. ”Developmentally, middle-career often seems to be a challenge,” says Dik. Midcareer professionals, usually in their early-to-mid 40s, “are typically taking stock and realizing they may not have achieved everything they aspired to. At the same time, they are looking ahead and wondering what they should focus on for the remainder of their career, and what kind of legacy they ultimately hope to leave.”

Flush with fond memories of recent successes, the professionals in the Citi-LinkedIn survey are persistently optimistic. Most (roughly 60 percent) believe their careers will get even better still.  The average point at which workers ages 55 and older feel they will reach their peak is 62.  And while even seasoned workers are sunny about their futures, that survey suggests that the best years for ambitious millennial workers are likely decades away.

 

BarryStaff Inc. Selected as Google’s Featured Business

Featured Business
BARRYSTAFF

Dayton, Ohio
“Our Internet presence was absolutely crucial for us, coming out of the recession”

Doug Barry, Owner
25% annual growth since 2009

Founded as a family-owned staffing franchise in 1980, BARRYSTAFF became an independent company with a new name in 2000. Today they specialize in industrial, clerical and permanent placements. “Most of the staffing we do is in manufacturing,” says Doug Barry, owner of the Dayton-based company founded by his parents. As one of the few local staffing companies left in the area following the recent recession, “we picked up a lot of the work from our competitors who went out of business,” he notes. Doug credits their current growth in large part to the Internet and digital tools from Google.

Doug rebranded BARRYSTAFF in 2010. “We have had to change our total strategy on how we go out and sell, based on social media and the Internet—which has been good,” he explains. Google is part of that strategy. The company uses Google Maps for “getting people from point A to point B, not only to our office but also from their house to the job site.” Employees use Gmail and Google Calendar to keep up-to-date, and Google Search to stay current with both clients and prospects. The staff is also mobile, equipped with smartphones and tablets for complete access to all of their digital tools from anywhere. The company plans to create training videos on YouTube, and to use social media to attract new workers as well as new clients.

Manufacturing is on the rebound in Ohio, Doug says. With fewer local staffing resources available, “companies were looking around for someone who could pick up the slack. We had an Internet presence, and that is where a lot of them found us. It was absolutely crucial for us coming out of the recession, and it has helped us with our growth going forward.” BARRYSTAFF now has four locations—another good economic sign for the Buckeye State.

Check out the story on Google

 

Getting Back to Work after a Long Time Off

So, you took several years off from work to be Manager of your own household, taking care of a new baby and developing your interpersonal skills of persuasion and patience. Or maybe you’ve been traveling, caring for an ailing family member or working on volunteer pursuits. Now you’re ready to go back to work, but where do you start? Working with a quality staffing company like BarryStaff might be a good place to start. But to ease your transition back into the working world here are a few helpful steps to take.

1. Notify your network
It’s the best first step in any job search: Tell your family, friends, acquaintances and former colleagues that you’re completing your stint as stay-at-home parent or full-time caretaker and you’re planning to go back to work. Before you reach out to your network, make sure your résumé is ready; if one of your contacts knows about a good opportunity, you’ll want to be able to send out an application package immediately.

 2. Prepare your pitch
When you start your job search, you need to be able to talk to anyone you meet or reacquaint with about why you’re going back to work and what you hope to find in a job. Practice your 30-second elevator pitch so that it comes naturally. Don’t hide the fact that you’ve been on hiatus, and do project a positive attitude about your situation. You might say, “I’m an accountant with eight years of experience. I took the last several years off to be with my kids (or travel or take care of a sick parent), and now I’m looking forward to rejoining the workforce.” Then briefly list your previous jobs and describe what kind of position you’re looking for now.

 3. Build up your résumé by volunteering
If you’re able to fit it into your schedule, volunteering can be a great way to boost your résumé and keep your skills current. For example, you could help a local nonprofit or charitable organization or tutor students. Giving of your time like this is a great way to slowly re-enter the working world, dust off your skills and network with people who might be able to help you in your job search.

 4. Take classes
Whether you’ve been out for two years or 10 years, it never hurts to brush up on your hard skills. Technology is always changing, and it’s essential for job seekers to keep up-to-date on the latest industry best practices. Check out the class schedule at a nearby community college, or try to find online courses that will meet your needs. Don’t forget about MOOCs (massive open online courses), the vast majority of which are free. Search for courses at MOOC-list.com.

5. Consider temporary or part-time work
If you’re at all nervous about going back to work, try easing into it with temporary assignments or a part-time position. This can be an especially smart method if you’ve taken time off to be a stay-at-home parent, as transitioning directly from full-time parenting to a 9-to-5 job can be jarring for both you and your family. Accepting temporary positions also gives you the opportunity to sample several types of employers and job roles and assess which ones are good fits and which are not.

 6. Focus on the skills you’ve gained
What skills have you developed during your break from office life? Although your time off might not have given you much time to work on your technical talents, you’ve had many opportunities for personal growth. Employers are increasingly seeking workers who have strong interpersonal skills such as communication, collaboration and adaptability. Mention those assets in your social media profiles, cover letters and job interviews.

Job searching is rarely easy, and it’s even more of a challenge for professionals who’ve been out of the field for a while. It can take time to find a good position when you’re going back to work after an extended break. If you get discouraged, remember all your positives: education, experience, soft skills and determination. With time, patience and perseverance, the right job will come your way.

 

A Job Seekers’ Guide to the Real Meaning of Job Descriptions

We’ve all seen them… job postings that look too good to be true. And like Mom always said, “If it appears too good to be true, it most surely is.”

I’ve been in recruiting for over 20 years. During my tenure, I’ve seen tens of thousands of job descriptions fly across my desk. Some job requirements are very specific, some are vague, a few are humorous, and some are downright misleading.

For those newbie job seekers taking a first look at job descriptions, I thought I would compile a fun little list of what the most popular job description terms MIGHT mean. Obviously, this is a little tongue-in-cheek. So the items on this list may actually have another, more sincere meaning.

A Job Seekers’ Guide to the Real Meaning of Job Descriptions:

IMMEDIATE OPENING
The person who previously held this position suddenly quit and walked out; good luck with training and transition into this role.

ENTRY-LEVEL POSITION
You’ll be making minimum wage… for a long time.

SEEKING ENTHUSIASTIC, FUN, HARD WORKING PEOPLE
We’re actually looking for people who still live with their parents and don’t mind making minimum wage.

JOIN OUR FAST-PACED COMPANY
We have no time to train you; you’ll have to introduce yourself to your co-workers and figure out what to do.

SELF-MOTIVATED
Management doesn’t train and won’t answer questions.

SALES POSITION REQUIRING MOTIVATED SELF-STARTER
We’re not going to supply you with leads; there’s no base salary; you’ll wait over 30 days for your first commission check.

CAREER-MINDED
Female applicants must be childless (and remain that way).

MUST HAVE AN EYE FOR DETAIL
We have no quality control at all.

MUST BE DEADLINE ORIENTED
You’ll be six months behind schedule on your first day.

SOME OVERTIME REQUIRED
Some each night and some each weekend.

SEEKING CANDIDATES WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE
You’ll need it to replace the three people who just left.

PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS A MUST
You’re walking into a company in perpetual chaos.

REQUIRES TEAM LEADERSHIP SKILLS
You’ll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.

GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want and do it.

ABILITY TO HANDLE A HEAVY WORKLOAD
You whine, you’re fired.

JOIN OUR DYNAMIC TEAM
Be prepared for motivational tapes, seminars and a lot of non-productive meetings.

COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT
We have the most amount of turnover in our industry.

FUN WORK ENVIRONMENT
Your co-workers will be insulted if you don’t go out drinking with them.

CASUAL WORK ATMOSPHERE
We don’t pay enough to expect that you’ll dress well; most employees are in t-shirts, shorts, sandals and wear earrings (and that’s the men).

SALARY RANGE X-Y
You’ll start at the lower figure… and like it.

FLEXIBLE HOURS
Work 60 hours; get paid for 30.

DUTIES MAY VARY
Anyone in the office can boss you around.

NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED LEADER
A news organization recently broadcast a fraud expose on us.

WHERE EMPLOYEES FEEL VALUED
Those who missed the last round of lay-offs, that is.

COMPETITIVE SALARY
We remain competitive by paying less than our competitors.

WE OFFER GREAT BENEFITS
After 90 days, you can join our HMO, which has a deductible and a co-pay.

PROFIT-SHARING PLAN
The profit is shared amongst the C-suite executives; after that, there isn’t any profit to share.

PENSION/RETIREMENT BENEFITS
After three years, you’ll be allowed to join a 401(k), without any matching contributions.

APPLY IN PERSON
If you’re old, fat, or ugly you’ll be told the position has been filled.

NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE
We’ve filled the job; our call for resumes is just a legal formality.

I would love to hear from those of you who have job description terms I may have neglected to include and define on this list.

 

THE MINIMUM WAGE IDENTITY

Minimum-wage increases could appear on the ballot in as many as 34 states this year. President Obama has also proposed increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10, from $7.25. Who makes the minimum wage, and who would be affected by any of the proposed increases?

All the statistics here apply to those who would be affected by the proposed increase to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The analysis also includes a number of workers making slightly above $10.10, who, history suggests, would receive a raise if the minimum wage were increased.

Minimum-wage workers are older than they used to be. Their average age is 35, and 88 percent are at least 20 years old. Half are older than 30, and about a third are at least 40.

These patterns are somewhat new. In 1979, 27 percent of low-wage workers (those making $10.10 per hour or less in today’s dollars) were teenagers, compared with 12 percent in 2013, according to John Schmitt and Janelle Jones

They’re split fairly evenly between full-timers and part-timers. Most — 54 percent — work full-time schedules (at least 35 hours per week), and another 32 percent work at least half time (20-34 hours per week).

Many have kids. About one-quarter (27 percent) of these low-wage workers are parents, compared with 34 percent of all workers. In all, 19 percent of children in the United States have a parent who would benefit from the increase.

One in eight lives in a high-income household. About 12 percent of those who would gain from an increase to $10.10 live in households with incomes above $100,000. This group highlights the fact that the minimum wage is not nearly as well targeted toward poverty reduction as the earned-income tax credit, a wage subsidy whose receipt, unlike the minimum wage, is predicated on family income.

Still, a minimum-wage increase does much more to help low- and moderate-income households than any other groups. Households that make less than $20,000 receive 5 percent of the nation’s total earnings, for instance — but would receive 26 percent of the benefit from the proposed minimum-wage increase.

Who Benefits From a Minimum-Wage Increase?

A federal proposal to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from $7.25, would help some high-income households but mostly low- and middle-income ones.

 

Most are women. Women make up 48 percent of the work force yet 55 percent of the would-be beneficiaries of the increase in the minimum wage.

Most are white, but minorities are overrepresented. Hispanic workers account for 16 percent of the work force but 24 percent of those who would be affected by the wage increase. For African-Americans, the comparable shares are 11 percent of the work force and 15 percent of those who would gain from the increase.

They’ve got some schooling, though less than other workers. Of those who would be affected by the increase, 78 percent have at least finished high school, about one-third have some college under their belts, and about 10 percent have graduated from college. By comparison, 91 percent of the total work force has at least graduated from high school, and 34 percent have completed college.

As with the population as a whole, low-wage workers are more educated than in the past. In the late 1960s, less than half had finished high school and only 17 percent had attended any college at all.

Their earnings are a big part of their family budgets. The average worker in this group brings home half of his or her household’s earnings; 19 percent of those who would get the raise are sole earners. Parents who would benefit from the increase bring home an even larger share of their families’ earnings: 60 percent.

They’re in every state, but are overrepresented in the South. Because most of the states that have raised their minimums above the federal level are outside the South, a national increase would have more bite there. Workers in Southern states make up 17 percent of the nation’s work force but 21 percent of minimum-wage beneficiaries; workers in Northern states make up about the same share of the work force but just 16 percent of those who benefit from the proposed increase.

The debate to raise the minimum rage will no doubt rage on, as diverse views persist both in the work force and the halls of politics. But it’s important to know who we’re talking about in terms of those who benefit from the policy. Our workers, including the low-wage sector, have aged and become more educated in recent decades, at the same time that changes in trade, technology, and bargaining power have pushed against their earnings.