Bits and Bobs

Freelance writing: Ebb and flow

Ebb and flow, wax and wane, up and down: This lil’ freelance writing thing I’m giving a go is indeed a study in cycles. It seems that just as my time with Ology comes to a close (you can still find all of my previously written articles on the Ology site), the blogging component of my work with FlexJobs is picking right up.

Here are my most recent articles at FlexJobs.com:

  • Employers Should Warm Up to Telecommuting in Winter
  • Government Gets Serious about Telecommuting
  • Customized Resumes and Cover Letters are Better for Your Job Search
  • Freelance Jobs Change the Way Companies and Individuals Work
  • Job Search Scam Tip – Just Because It’s Free Doesn’t Mean It’s Not a Scam
  • Fun, Cool Job that can be Done From Anywhere: Official T-Shirt Wearer
  • 8 Great Tips for Phone Interviews
  • Part-time Job Opportunities for Professionals
  • Employees Value Telecommuting, Survey Finds

Where did internships come from?

Forbes.com has a historically interesting article on the “Evolution of Interns” which traces the history of internships and related types of work, and why they’ve become so important.  The full article is here, and here is an excerpt:

Almost everyone seems to agree that an internship is a valuable part of career development. But if you were in college before the 1980s, chances are you never did anything called interning. So where did the experience come from, and how did it become such a seeming necessity for today’s future job-seekers? Continue reading “Where did internships come from?”

It’s the end of the economy as we know it, and I feel fine….

Well maybe not fine, but the doomsday headlines of this week are conveniently hiding some key pieces of information to make them salacious enough to scare everyone into reading them voraciously.  Here are the headlines of my Google News feed for “career or job or employ or job market”

Only ONE in five headlines tells the true story.  Continue reading “It’s the end of the economy as we know it, and I feel fine….”

The Handiness of Unitasking.

My husband laughs at me when I say I’m a multitasker.  “I hope it doesn’t say ‘multitasker’ on your resume” is a common household expression at our place.  And lately I feel like I’ve been multitasking like crazy but also feel that I’m getting much less done.  So I decided to try out unitasking and see if I fair any better.

First, I examined my typical workday:  Continue reading “The Handiness of Unitasking.”

How would “blind” interviews alter the makeup of the workplace?

In career services, we stress the importance of appearance at job interviews.  Dress conservatively, get rid of distracting jewelry or scents, if you play with your hair, pull it back, don’t wear rings on ever finger or in every piercing, don’t have loose change in your pockets, and so on. 

WomenForHire.com has a thought provoking blog post today about conducting “blind” interviews and how our workplace might be different if hiring managers weren’t allowed to see job applicants, but could only hear the answers to their questions.

Here’s a excerpt from their post:

“Before blind auditions became common in the 70s, just 10% of new hires at major U.S. orchestras were women. The theory was that women weren’t very good musicians. But labor unions protested the hiring process and pushed for blind auditions where musicians would try out behind a curtain so appearance and gender were concealed.

In studying personnel from 11 major orchestras, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin and Princeton’s Cecelia Rouse found that 29% of females and 20% of males advanced to the final round in blind auditions. When auditions were not blind, only 19% of women advanced compared to 23% of men.

Even though sex discrimination is hard to measure, those stats speak volumes. Fortunately, since the 80s, about half the news hires at the New York Philharmonic, 40% at the San Francisco Symphony and more than a third in Boston and Chicago have been women.”

If we apply the same concept from these orchestras to hiring for other types of jobs, it’s amazing to think of how the workplace might be different.  I interviewed someone once who had tried to do the right thing by taking out his piercings, but had accidentally caused the piercing area to bleed, which was probably a lot worse than us just seeing the piercings in the first place. 

Have you ever been in an interview, on either side of the table, and felt that appearance, gender, age, looks, etc. played a roll in the outcome?  Do you think it would have been different if the interview situation had been “blinded?”

20 Best Job Search Websites according to PCMag.com

The 20 Best Job Search Websites, according to PCMag.com (full article has reasons for each).  I have to agree with most of the ones on this list, though I am particular happy to see niche websites listed.  I find those much more helpful than the mega huge job boards like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com. 

If you’re like me, you’re probably always poking around on job sites to see what’s new and interesting, without really thinking of applying to jobs.  My personal favorites from this list are SimplyHired and Indeed, Hound, Beyond, and LinkedIn.  I would also add Idealist.org, a great site for nonprofit work.  What websites do you like the best?

I hadn’t even heard of the one below until I was searching for images for this post, but it certainly caught my attention!  Anyone ever heard of it or used it?

Alternatives to Traditional Offices

I awoke in the middle of the night last night with a thought- people’s workspaces are designed to keep them chained to their desk.  (work must be subconciously bugging my brain if I wake up with deep thoughts about being chained to a desk…)

Look at your desk.  You’ve got your computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse.  Then you’ve got your cell phone, within arms-length of the computer.  The trash can (and hopefully recycling bin) are also within reach.  If you’ve got a calendar on the wall, it’s probably just a couple inches away.  You almost never have to leave your desk during the day.  And in an environment like that, it’s easy to get lazy, physically AND mentally.  Creativity, innovation, and development can all slow down when there’s no need for you to turn more than a few inches in either direction for a full 8 hours every day.  And forget motivation.  Motivation is draining away.

Why not change the way we work by literally changing the way we work?  I thought I’d experiment with this. 

I put my trash and recycling bins directly behind me across the office.  Now I have to not only turn completely away from the computer to throw something out, I have to either throw it for real (which is just plain fun) or get up and bring it to the can.  Either way, I’m moving more than I was before.  AND I’m allowing myself to stop focusing on my computer for a few seconds, which almost always distracts me into doing something else.  And anything that gets a tech-obsessed person like myself away from the computer is a good thing.

I do resume reviews on top of my bookshelf.  No, I’m not perched up there, but I am standing completely and resting my arms on top of it.  It’s the perfect height to stand and correct resumes, again, getting me out of my chair and moving around.  And, again, it focuses my attention away from the computer and more towards my immediate environment.

I take a few minutes every day to sit in the chairs on the other side of my desk, where my students sit when they come in for advising.  I see how other people see my office.

I took down my lousy, uncreative bulletin board and created an inspiration board in it’s place.  This idea came straight from Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind.  I’ve already chronicled my love for the inspiration board here.

What ways can you see yourself reorganizing your workspace to change your behavior, your motivation, your creativity, and your development?

ps- here is a version of my dream office.  pps- it’s in my home.  Some day!