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A Tribute to Martin R. Katz

As I was growing up, I often thought of making a career in writing, but it never occurred to me to write about careers. This career path, which has been so rewarding to me, I owe to Marty Katz. He died March 17, age 98.


In 1979, he hired me to develop career information for the SIGI program at Educational Testing Service. The System of Interactive Guidance and…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on March 31, 2015 at 9:41am — No Comments

Which Boats Get Lifted Fastest by a Rising Tide?

The old saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In today’s context, this means that the recovering economy should be improving the lot of all workers. I was wondering, however, whether some boats are rising faster as the tide comes in. In other words, which types of occupations are getting the…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on March 13, 2015 at 10:30am — No Comments

Is “Breaking Bad” a Skill?



This blog was inspired by the very last episode of the popular television drama “Breaking Bad” [spoiler alert!]. Walter White, once a milquetoast chemistry teacher and now a ruthless drug baron, confesses to his wife that he did not persist in his life of crime for his purported reason, which was to acquire a nest egg for his family to live on after his death. “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really—I was alive.” Setting aside the matter of…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on February 26, 2015 at 10:50am — No Comments

Which Industries Are Recession-Proof?



Everyone knows that the nation is now recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. But not every industry sank into recession or recovered from it on the same schedule. In fact, some did not sink at all, and some have not yet recovered. I thought it would be interesting to look at employment in the major industries and see how their experiences varied over the course of the years from 2007 to 2013.



The most important lesson to take away from all three…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on February 13, 2015 at 12:24pm — No Comments

The Changing Expectations of Employers and Employees

As teenagers turn into adults, they and their parents need to renegotiate the terms of their relationship. The parents have to let go of the control that they had over their children’s’ lives, and the new adults have to learn how to fend for themselves without the parental safety net. The transition usually takes several years, during which there are always awkward, even painful moments when the two parties’ expectations don’t totally match.…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on February 5, 2015 at 6:11pm — No Comments

Will a Drone and a Robot Take Your Job?

In the past, when talking about the use of robots to replace human workers, I have often given the example of ground transportation at the airport. To get from Terminal A to Terminal B at many airports, you take a robot-controlled trolley. No human judgments are needed to navigate the rails, make the stops, and open and close the doors. However, to get from the airport to your hotel, you take a shuttle driven by a human, because a robot cannot make the many judgments that…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on January 28, 2015 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Young People and Urban Careers

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal ran an article titled “More Young Stay Put in the Biggest Cities.” Drawing on an analysis of census figures, it noted that between 2004 and 2007, “before the recession, an average of about 50,000 adults aged 25 to 34 left both the New York and Los Angeles metro areas annually, after accounting for new…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on January 21, 2015 at 12:44pm — No Comments

Careers in the Era of Cheap Oil, Part 2

In last week’s blog, I discussed some of the career-related effects of the current rapid declines in the price of petroleum. I mentioned that low-skilled workers in the oil patch will see job losses, and that the advantages that manufacturing will enjoy from low energy costs will be offset in some sectors by diminishing demand from the petroleum-extraction…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on January 15, 2015 at 1:41pm — No Comments

Careers in the Era of Cheap Oil

One of the biggest trends in the American economy right now is the low price of oil. As the price per barrel approaches and sometimes dips below $50, you can expect some changes in the job outlook for various occupations. But these are not necessarily easy to predict, and it is important to remember that the price of oil has a long history of ups and downs. The boom in domestic production was triggered by the development of fracking technology, but the continuing plunge in prices owes a…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on January 8, 2015 at 12:06pm — No Comments

Two Very Hot Careers

At Ivy League colleges, the most popular on-campus interviews have been for two careers: consulting and finance. By consulting, I mean specifically work for management analysts hired by consulting companies such as Ernst & Young and Accenture. Finance covers a large and diverse industry, but the focus of the on-campus interviewing has been mainly on Wall Street jobs.

Why are these jobs so popular? Probably the main draw is that…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on December 12, 2014 at 4:29pm — No Comments

Conspiracy Theories About Jobs Numbers

Every month, the Labor Department releases figures on the current state of the economy, and every month, without fail, malcontents take to the media to say that the numbers are phony. For example, Paul Singer, a hedge fund billionaire and prominent donor to Republican candidates, recently wrote to his investors, “Nobody can predict how long governments can get away with fake growth, fake money, fake jobs, fake financial stability, fake inflation numbers and fake income…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on November 19, 2014 at 6:25pm — No Comments

When Robots Create a Need for Human Workers

Yesterday a Facebook friend of mine wrote about an “eerie and creepy” experience. An advertisement had just appeared in the margin of the Facebook page she was reading, showing a tee-shirt with the lettering, “Just a California Girl in a New Jersey World.” It is no coincidence that my friend is a native of California and now lives in Flemington, New Jersey. Facebook obviously sold this user-profile information to advertisers, one of whom found a way to develop a highly…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on November 12, 2014 at 11:30am — No Comments

High-Paying Occupations with a Few Superstars

My most recent book, Your Guide to High-Paying Careers, is my first for my new publisher, Meyer & Meyer. Here is a brief excerpt, giving you a peek at some occupations where the sky is the earnings limit--for a few outstanding workers.

Have you ever fantasized about winning the lottery jackpot? Some occupations have a few jackpot positions that pay…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on November 5, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments

Revisiting My Predictions for the President’s Stimulus Plan

These days, it’s easy to forget the excitement that many people felt when President Obama was inaugurated. Many businesses attempted to capitalize on this historic moment by issuing commemorative merchandise, such as plates and tee-shirts bearing Barack Obama’s image. It was also a time of recession, and many people were wondering what relief they could expect from the incoming president’s promised stimulus plan. As a result, the editors at JIST Publishing thought this would be a good time…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on October 29, 2014 at 12:08pm — No Comments

The Outlook for Wind Turbine Technicians

Green careers are attracting a lot of interest, but it can be difficult to find reliable figures for projected growth and even current employment. Here is an update about wind service technicians, based on the best figures I was able to find.

Back in 2009, I researched several green occupations, including this one, for a special supplement to the Occupational Outlook Handbook that I was preparing for the publisher JIST Works. At that time,…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on October 22, 2014 at 4:27pm — No Comments

Am I Using a Credential Fraudulently?

You may notice the “PhD” following my name on some of my book covers. I do hold a doctor of philosophy degree (earned, not honorary), but my use of these letters brings up an interesting question of when it is—and is not—appropriate to use work-related credentials. This issue is particularly timely because so many people are now working (or seek work) in fields that they did not prepare for formally.

What raised this issue for me was a…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on October 8, 2014 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Welcome Your New Teammate: A Robot

Everybody knows that the ability to work well collaboratively is growing in importance. Teamwork involves several specific skills, such as communication, negotiation, learning, and comfort with diversity. But a new kind of collaboration is happening in many workplaces: not between one person and another person, but between one human and one machine. And that requires a slightly different set of collaborative skills.

Robots have been used in manufacturing for some time now. General…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on October 1, 2014 at 10:56am — No Comments

Best Jobs for Your Personality, part 3

Enterprising…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on September 24, 2014 at 12:08pm — No Comments

Best Jobs for Your Personality, part 2

Artistic…

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Added by Laurence Shatkin on September 24, 2014 at 12:07pm — No Comments

Best Jobs for Your Personality, part 1

Among the books I’ve written, one of the best-sellers is 50 Best Jobs for Your Personality, now in its third edition. For this blog, I thought it would be useful to update the lists in the book to reflect more recent occupational information from the Department of Labor.

Note that…
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Added by Laurence Shatkin on September 24, 2014 at 12:05pm — No Comments

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Today's Daily Quote

Lee Iacocca Quote on Listening

“Listening can make the difference between a mediocre organization and a great one.” ~Lee Iacocca

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quote about Dreaming and Taking Action

“Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Howard Hughes Quote on the Concessions

“Once you consent to some concession, you can never cancel it and put things back the way they are.” ~Howard Hughes

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