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Archives: October 2012

New Study Reveals Working From Home Bolsters Happiness & Productivity

This just in…a new study published by Stanford indicates working from home results in a spike of productivity and happiness.

Keep in mind the study was only conducted at one company. The 10-month research study was conducted at, a Shanghai-based company. Researchers compared productivity of employees who worked from home four days a week with workers who performed the same task inside office walls.

As for the end result? People who worked from home were more productive. They answered more calls and worked longer hours mainly because they took shorter breaks. Also, they didn’t use as much sick time as their counterparts did in the office. Home dwellers also reported being happier and fewer quiet. Read more

Career Tips From ‘Jersey Shore’ Executive Producer — ‘Keep Swinging & Swing Big’

We like to gather career wisdom and inspiration from all over so what better place than reality television, right? It’s competitive, it’s thriving and so very now.

Last night during the NY Television Festival, SallyAnn Salsano participated in a panel discussion with the cast of Jersey Shore. Mind you, she’s the executive producer of the highest rated show on MTV so when the sassy exec talked, we listened.

Sure, most audience members probably wanted to hear from Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and the gang, but Salsano dished insight and back story about the show and consequently about making a mark in her career.

Read more

New Survey Reveals Many Americans Believe 80 is New Retirement Age

If 65 is the new 40, then 80 is the new retirement age. Or something like that.

When we read the following statistic, our jaws kind of dropped so if yours does, too you’re not alone.

According to a piece in Forbes, a growing number of middle-class Americans say they’ll need to work until they’re at least 80 years-old to comfortably retire!

This is based on a new Wells Fargo study which revealed 30 percent of survey respondents felt this way. More than half of respondents indicated their biggest financial concern is paying monthly bills. As for their second concern? Saving for retirement.  Read more

Author of ‘So Good They Can’t Ignore You’ Explains Currency of Passion

You know how people frequently say to follow your passion? Well, what if you don’t have one? Better yet, what if your skills are stronger than your passion?

According to Cal Newport, author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, people who love what they do actually started out by honing a skill that’s “rare and valuable.”

He explains to The New York Post, “That’s the foundation on which most passionate careers are built. My advice is focus on doing something really well, and the passion will follow.”

So, how can you focus on doing something really well? The equation is quite simple. He recommends choosing a field that seems interesting. Instead of the full on pressure of finding your true calling or dharma, he boils it down to a coin toss.

“If there are five, flip a coin. Once you have that, study the stars in your field. Identify what they do that is valuable — what other people can’t do. Then you can choose which [skill] appeals to you most or that you have the best shot of being able to cultivate.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, how can you get really good at it? He points out that hard work alone isn’t going to pave the way. Instead, look at professional athletes, musicians or chess players; people who “stretch their abilities by using what psychologists call deliberate practice.”

Yes, this means forging outside the comfort zone and pushing yourself beyond the point that feels comfortable. He adds in the piece, “It’s not fun, but it can be deeply satisfying. Most people in a knowledge-work position avoid this type of discomfort.”

Five Easy Ways to Remember Names and Faces

Ever go to a networking event with nametags? Ah, nametags. We’re big fans.

Now, have you ever gone to an event sans nametags? Someone introduces his or her name to you and with a shake of a hand and within the same moment, you can’t remember the name at all?

Never fear. According to a blog post on PsychologyToday, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. provides several tips to remember names along with faces. Read more

Less Really Is More

Less is (almost) always more.

That point is driven home in the provocatively-titled post on Brazen Careerist, “If You Really Want To Make Your Point, Start Stripping.” It’s not about taking off your clothes, of course, but about stripping your job application down to its bare essentials.

“For your resume…commit to one page and stick to that. It will force you to keep your most relevant experience and ditch the fluff.” Yes. As Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch once famously said, and has been repeated in every freshman comp seminar since, “murder your darlings.”

Same with your elevator pitch. Sixty seconds is good. Thirty is better. Shorter, writer Tim Murphy says, is even better. Can you distill who you are and what you’re looking for into 15 seconds?

The advice can even be applied to interviews. If you’re rambling, stop. It’s OK to ask for a second or two to collect your thoughts before launching forward. Remember, companies aren’t just looking for the “right” answer–they’re looking for someone who can communicate that answer effectively, and brevity is key.

We’d say more, but that would make us less than brief. Good luck!

Unemployment Drops In 44 States In September

Unemployment rates were lower in September in 44 states and the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.

The five states where unemployment increased were Rhode Island, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and New Mexico. (Maine’s unemployment rate remained static.)

Meanwhile, only two states, California and Nevada, had unemployment rates higher than 9.9 percent.

Texas, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia added a total of 52,000 jobs in the past month.

The following image shows state-by-state unemployment rates for September; darker shading means a higher unemployment rate.

‘Freelancer’s Bible’ Released Today

We got so excited about the Freelancer’s Bible, we just had to share. And then we realized it’s not being officially launched until November 13th but guess what? We’re too excited to not share at this point! (Amazon’s release date is today so I suppose it’s all semantics at this point, yes?)

Written by Sara Horowitz and amassed from her nearly two decades of work on behalf of the freelance workforce, it seems this book provides steps to become more flexible in an ever-changing journalism landscape.

Some sections to highlight include the following: Seven start-up steps, building your portfolio, getting clients, marketing yourself, managing your work and your life and 10 steps to retirement planning.

In her blog post on The Freelancers Union, Horowitz wrote, “I’ve learned a lot about what makes a successful freelancer. It’s about networks, contacts, contracts, kindness, and so much more.”

Technical Writing Ranks Among Top Ten Paid Virtual Jobs

According to a piece on Forbes, there’s good news we pretty much already knew: Virtual jobs aren’t only here to stay, they’re an opportunity to create big bucks. That is, if you select the right path.

In addition to careers like telepharmacists and telenurses (and yes, even phone sex operators seem to bring in mighty greenbacks per the piece), technical writers are included in the top ten list with an average annual salary of $63,000.

Michael Haaren, cofounder and CEO of jobs website Rat Race Rebellion and coauthor of Work at Home Now, explained to Forbes,“Younger workers don’t want to limit themselves to commuting and cubes. Several trends support the prediction that working from anywhere will soon be the new norm.”

Plus, the market is heading to a state of independent contracting. He added, “People with the old employee mindset will suffer. The entrepreneurial and self-driven will prosper.”

How to Handle Yourself During a Workplace Investigation

Here’s an interesting situation: An office investigation!

Insert ominous music here.

Seriously. Investigations are no laughing matter especially when it relates to a colleague. For instance, last week’s New York Post outlines a situation whereby an employee has been told he needs to cooperate and be interviewed about the situation.

What are his or her rights considering the employee isn’t exactly thrilled to participate?

Well, according to the piece, Gregory Giangrande, chief HR executive at Time, Inc., writes, “You have the right not to be a “snitch” and not cooperate. Your employer also has the right to fire you for not cooperating and telling them what you know.”

Considering the nature of the investigation, we need to take a macro view on this. After all, it’s not about being an office snitch but rather, simply telling the truth.

He adds, “We’re talking about a shared obligation to ensure that your workplace is free from unethical, unscrupulous, unlawful behavior that threatens the company and everyone’s livelihood. So you have a choice to make.”