Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do. : Oscar Wilde

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Welcome to My On-Line Seminar, Friday through Sunday

It's for Career Developers, or anyone else who is interested, and the topic is On-Line Assessments. Everyone is invited to share what they know. Come and see if there are any nuggets that you haven’t spotted before.

Course link

If you encounter any difficulties in connecting please Twitter me (@BillBell) or use the IM (chat) thingy in the righthand column of this blog page.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Job Listing for Career Developers (update)

Now includes jobs scraped from Career Professionals of Canada. Also, please note the posting dates for some of these jobs! Surely the employers aren't so fussy that they're still looking. Link to the listing is highlighted in the righthand column.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't Never Say You're a Perfectionist

A friend of mine has been teasing me on facebook about my claim to be thinking about what I will do in an upcoming seminar rather than actually preparing that seminar. He's accusing me of procrastinating.

Quoting from a findcounseling.com article, Piers Steel, an expert on the subject at the University of Calgary “says that the popularly cited perfectionism is not at the root of most procrastination. Rather, a lack of confidence combined with other factors such as self-control, distractibility, motivation to achieve, task aversiveness, self-efficacy and impulsiveness are strong predictors for an individual's likelihood to procrastinate.” Whew! If any employers have been reading Steel’s ideas then you don’t want to risk telling an interviewer that you’re a perfectionist, do you? No, no, no. (Incidentally you can read Steel’s article, which is cited in the findcounseling page—if you get around to it.)

There’s another article about procrastination that I read recently about procrastination that might be helpful in this context. I was putting off writing about it because I could not find a good enough hook. I’m not altogether happy with what I’ve written so far in this blog item either but it will just have to do.

Rick Nauert and others have reported a study led by Sean McCrea of the University of Konstanz that appears to show that abstract instructions as opposed to concrete ones tend to lead to more procrastination. Added to Steel’ work I take this to mean that there are both intrinsic and extrinsic factors involved in the phenomenon, as would be expected I suppose. This being the case, and whether or not one is a dyed-in-the-wool procrastinator it would appear that one could take advantage of the results of McCrea’s group’s work by rewriting sequences of instructions—even for oneself—to make them as concrete as possible, and avoiding abstractions. Clearly broad-brush generalities might be alright initially but they should be replaced quickly if one has any tendency to ... well, you know what I mean. (No need to be compulsive about completing every last thing, is there?)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Labour Market Information (LMI): Workopolis Job Ad Count

This is a summary of how it was today around midday using the Workopolis categories. Includes:
  • French- and English-language jobs
  • Brantford and area
    Hamilton and area
    Simcoe and area
    St. Catharines and area
  • the most recent 30 days.
My thanks are due to Ken Walker of John Howard Society in Hamilton for pointing out something about Workopolis which turned out to be a huge clue for me. (Thanks once again, Ken!) Incidentally I found that twill is good for Workopolis.

475 other
93 healthcare support
71 nursing
65 management
58 sales
35 engineering
31 financial
29 accounting
28 manufacturing
27 skilled trades
23 administrative support • customer service
22 medical
19 general labour • retail
17 computers • construction
15 insurance
13 banking • engineering-mechanical
12 call centre • food services
11 maintenance
10 warehouse
9 business development
8 engineering-electrical • grocery • pharmaceutical • therapy
7 dental • human resources • project management • security • technician/technologist
6 automotive • computers-software • driving • physiotherapy • property management • quality control • telemarketing
5 analyst • auditing • education • general office • hospitality • purchasing • social services
4 cosmetician • engineering-civil • executive officers • hardware • marketing • risk management • supervisor • elecommunications
3 computers-hardware • consulting • emergency services • inventory • law enforcement • legal • printing • real estate • science
2 arts & media • care giving • childcare • cleaning • computers-support services • dispatcher • engineering-oil & gas • health and safety • hotel/resort • gardening & landscaping • merchandising • repair • shipping/receiving • training • transportation
1 architecture • biotechnology • communications • counseling • distribution • engineering-geological • entry level • environmental • fashion design • graphic design • decorating • nutrition • recreation • research • securities • technical writing • urban planning • waste management
0 advertising • aerospace • agriculture • bookkeeping • broadcasting • civil service • computers-internet • courier services • drafting • economy • engineering-aerospace • engineering-biomedical • engineering-chemical • engineering-computer • engineering-environmental • engineering-industrial • engineering-mineral • fishing & fisheries • foreman • forestry • fundraising • geosciences • import/export • janitorial • land development • library & archives • mining • mortuary • mutual funds • optical • public relations • publishing • special events • surveying • team lead • translation • travel • vet • writing & reporting

More Suitable Career => More Happiness

Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" in this video.



When I started to read the positive psychology research I noticed that one of the experimental paradigms involves having subjects keep diaries in which they record various kinds of activities and their emotional responses to them. The idea was to identify which activities led to Czikszentmihalyi's "flow". Of course career developers nowadays use an informal version of this technique when we ask clients to discuss what they prefer to do. If you want to achieve flow, however, then you must take the time to perform this work with greater care.

Here's a new and worthwhile site that is scientifically based and meant to help its members achieve greater personal happiness which might be akin to flow: happier.com. Although it does not focus on work most of us would find it difficult to avoid career issues in finding a path towards greater happiness. In other words, aim for happiness and as part of that you will probably find a better career path. What I find most striking about it though is that the exercises this site offers attempt to influence members to identify broader goals, themes, meanings and so on. This is just what constructivist practice seeks to do and it will be interesting to see how effective the site proves to be.

(Let me mention just one concern: the language level is too high for a great many of the unemployed people that some of us see in agencies.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Job Listing for Career Developers

Yup, so far it merges items from Contact Point, Charity Village and the Job Bank into a single sortable table, and does it on a daily basis for all of Canada. As of today there are 70 jobs.

See the link to the right.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tell Me About Yourself

Stories seem to be the best way of conveying lots of amorphous information from one human being to another, providing of course that these stories are reasonably well crafted. In many of the situations surrounding careers they are, indeed, what a listener or reader is most ready to absorb. For example, when a recruiter asks, “What are your objectives in life?” she is likely most prepared to hear what stages you expect to negotiate on your way toward some ultimate set of possible career goals. Likewise, when an interviewer asks this old chestnut of a question she is really asking, isn't she?, what you bring in the way of experience and savvy to the job for which you are being considered.

Almost every item in a resumé or portfolio has at least the potential to be a story. Certainly most of the responses that one gives in an interview can be wrapped in stories. Some of us (like me!) have become reasonably good at writing procedures that direct machines (they’re called “computer programs”) or people. Almost all of us could use more practice at setting down our own stories.

More about this in a future blog entry. Meanwhile, here’s another blog that’s well worth following, as a set of examples of, and advice about, writing career related stories. It’s Tell Me About Yourself.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

OT: TappedIn Items to Google Calendar

As I've mentioned on this blog before, TappedIn is one good venue for seminars for career developers, facillitators and teachers. Although their calendar might not be standards-based they do offer an events feed. If you use the FeedDemon news reader to process feeds then you can use the code I have written and deposited here to copy individual TappedIn items from FeedDemon to your Google calendar. I haven't written installation instructions; if you would like to use it just add a comment to this blog item.

[OT=Off-Topic]