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

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Helping a Friend Land a Job

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Psych Radio"

Dr Christopher Moyer, of the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stout has a website where he offers podcasts on various topics in his subject. According to the article in Psychology in the News, "Most of the podcasts run about three minutes."

Here's his site. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Way of Overcoming Telephone Networking Phobia?

Some job seekers are definitely leery of making new contacts using the telephone. As anyone who has mastered the basic techniques knows though this makes for quite a handicap because some of the best information comes to us through personal conversations. Consequently I am always watching for ways of supporting people in their attempts to get past any barriers they might have in making warm or cold calls.

Here's an excerpt from a summary of a recent dissertation, Half of group free of phobia after a single treatment, published by the Swedish Research Council. It describes a method for desensitising people in anxiety-producing situations.

“In a one-session treatment the children, together with their therapist, gradually approach what they are afraid of in a controlled and planned manner. The therapist describes and carefully demonstrates before the child is allowed to try. Because the children remain in the anxiety-inducing situation, they can experience how their anxiety and fear abates and how the expected catastrophe in fact does not occur. With the patient remaining in the situation for an extended period, without running away, new learning occurs, producing a development toward a new behavior. This is all done on a voluntary basis, which is also a precondition for successful treatment.

“One-session treatment has also proven to be effective over time. Adults who have been treated with this method have been able to notice the effects of the treatment more than a year after the session. And nothing indicates that the effect would taper off sooner in children, which we assume will soon be confirmed by a follow-up study.”

This paradigm would appear to fit well with many of the practices in individual or group sessions used today. The facillitator would telephone a potential new contact, explain the purpose of the call and request (a) a few minutes of the person's time and (b) permission for one or more others to listen to the conversation. The the facillitator would conduct the conversation in a way intended to model what the job seekers would do, with them listening in to both sides of the conversation. Obviously some potential contacts would decline to participate but in these cases onlookers would see that this would not really be a catastrophic consequence of the attempt to connect. Once the facillitator had demonstrated a few times other members of the group could then be invited to make contacts via the telephone. The great thing about this approach is that these people would also be modelling behaviour and demonstrating to those who had not yet called that this kind of work might not be so hard to do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Construction Trades Exploration Opportunity

Future Building 2009

“... a three-day, construction-only hands-on career exhibition designed to help students, teachers, educators and the general public develop an optimistic view of occupations available
in Ontario’s construction industry.”

7 - 9 April (Tuesday-Thursday)
Clarington, Ontario

(My thanks to Patricia Martin of Career Essentials for telling us about this one. Clarington is between Oshawa & Peterborough.)

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Ada Lovelace Day Tribute: Dr Adele Goldberg

The 1987 Association for Computing Machinery Award Citation to Adele Goldberg, Daniel H.H. Ingalls, Jr. and Alan C. Kay reads, “For seminal contributions to object-oriented programming languages and related programming techniques. The theories of languages and development systems known as ‘Smalltalk’ laid the foundation for explorations in new software methodologies, graphical user interface designs, and forms of on-line assistance to the software development process.”

I was a member of the generation of programmers brought up on Fortran and assembler language. I suspect that Ada Lovelace herself would have felt perfectly at home in our now antiquated “programming environment” that involved large boxes of punched cards, keypunch machines, electromechanical sorters and lots of strange codes and noise. Thanks to Dr Goldberg, and of course other smart people like her, we got graphical interfaces (ok, I resisted them at first) and object-oriented languages with all of the outstanding expressive elegance that they brought with them. Although Smalltalk might not have had the market success that one could have hoped for, software features that it embodies live on in a language that I (and the people at Google and many other places) now use every day (Python).

Thank you, Adele Goldberg!

[Dr Goldberg's photo: Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland]

Upcoming Open Weekends: On-line Career Assessment

Meant for career developers, job developers, employment counsellors—anyone who does assessments relating to careers—these weekends will be held at starting on each of the following Fridays:

27 March
24 April
22 May
26 June

You are welcome to drop in at any time from 3.00 pm (EST) on the Friday through 3.00 pm on the Sunday. We are, and will be, gathering and discussing on-line assessment instruments that we have found and also looking at (1) how card sorts can be made available as web pages, and (2) depending on interest, how various visual representations can be used to enhance constructivist work.

If you haven't visited with us before then the easiest way of being ready for one of these Fridays is to go to in advance of your planned visit to register so that you have your password ready to use.

Do please join us!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Server Problems Yesterday

Neither "Job Bank Ads" nor "Job Ads for CDPs" were updated yesterday due to downstream server problems. My apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Would a Job in Rural France Appeal to You?

There are probably regions in Canada too displaying similar patterns. Although the heights are not quite so great, and neither are the incomes, there are compensations.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Careers Experts on TV!

Well, web TV anyway. The first programme was televised in November, and is still available for viewing. Free of charge.

Afternoon Tea with the Center on Education and Work:
A Conversation Series on
Career and Workforce Development Policies and Practice

Coordinated by the Center on Education and Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Purpose: Provide an engaging forum for learning about contemporary career and workforce development issues from dynamic national scholars who will speak about their research, theoretical ideas, publications, and/or considerations for practice on a variety of career-related topics.

Format: The Tea conversation will be structured as an open dialogue rather than a formal presentation with emphasis placed on the interaction between the interviewer and presenter. Prior to the event, a relevant reading will be emailed to participants to give them an opportunity to become familiar with some of the presenter’s work and help them begin to think about questions that they would like to be addressed by the presenter. Refreshments and continued conversation will be available after the formal conversation for those attending in-person.

Schedule of Events for the 2008-2009 Academic Year:

Friday, November 21st, 2008, 3:00- 4:00pm CST
Steven Brown, Ph.D., Loyola University of Chicago
Toward a Taxonomy of Career Decision-Making Difficulties

Monday, March 23rd, 2009, 3:00-4:30pm CST
Mark Savickas, Ph.D., Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy
Mark Savickas Unplugged

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 3:00-4:00pm CST
Terence Tracey, Ph.D., Arizona State University:
Innovations in Career Interest Assessments

Thursday, May 7th, 2009, 3:00-4:00pm CST
James Sampson, Ph.D., Florida State University:
The World of On-line Career Information Systems

Note: Please arrive in-person or log-in via webcast by 2:45pm for each event

In-person participation: The Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, Madison WI 53706
Remote viewing live via webcast:

Registration: There is no cost to attend or watch the Afternoon Tea conversation series. Please RSVP to one week prior to the event date with the following information: Name, where you are from, and the question you would like asked of the presenter.

Questions? Please email

I am very much indebted to BJ Berquist of for bringing this series of learning opportunities to my attention.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Facebook: For those of us with nothing to hide

Self-revelation on social networks is forever. My thanks to a colleague on for pointing this video out to lots of us on Twitter.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Colour Me Incredulous: Ottawa Is Innovative

The tech businesses in the Ottawa-Gatineau region are, anyways. According to an article mentioned in The Guardian this region is considered one of the world’s “Hot Springs” compared with others. One of the factors that leads to the success of high-tech enterprise is the availability of suitable personnel and information like this is therefore of interest to career developers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Useful Items/Ideas from Craig Delarge

Deliverables: An Alternative View of Value

Although one could not use this set of slides in a secular venue elements of the attitude and structure are definitely worth considering:

Finding Your Natural Gifts

Sunday, March 1, 2009

If You Want a Client to Reframe ...

... some aspect of his life to some advantage then you might need to begin by telling him what reframing is. Not that most of us don’t know what reframing is. Far from it. It’s just that that particular piece of jargon is not particularly evocative.

I’ve been thinking recently about where I might find metaphors to stand for the metaphor of reframing. Suddenly today, whilst doing dishes (usually my best thinking time), I realised that large numbers of mystery novels involve reframing plots. One could suggest to a client that he watch, say, an Agatha Christie on DVD and then point out how Miss Marple the detective solves the murder by reframing the problem.

But who has the time for that? I needed a shorter story.

Given the dreadful state of my memory it’s a good thing that I happened to read a good example of a chance reframing just a day or two ago, in an obituary. The death notice was that for Mr Ian Carr, a prominent jazz musician; and here is the relevant part of it:

‘The closest he came to the literary world at this time was an introduction to Somerset Maugham. This led to a series of visits to Maugham’s home, which ended abruptly when Maugham’s secretary, Alan Searle, took Carr aside and murmured: “Mr Maugham wants to know why you wear a beard, because youve got such a beautiful face.” Future invitations were refused.’

Maugham was gay but Carr hadn’t realised this and had been quite happy to visit him. Once he heard from Searle that Maughm found him attractive he reframed his understanding of what might have led to Maughm’s invitations.

Short stories with this structure could be very useful to us because so much of what we do as career developers involves encouraging clients to frame or reframe. At one extreme when we ask for lists of skills then suggest that a client think of other occupations that might appeal and involve the use of a similar set of skills we are asking the client to consider a different frame of reference. At another extreme when we suggest that a client entertain a different identity we are again offering a different frame.