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The Millennial Journey: College internships are hardly optional.

By Gorick Ng

I applied for my first job at the age of 12 to support my family. I applied to housekeeping jobs, burger flipping jobs, grocery bagging jobs, and clerical jobs – and tried (poorly, in retrospect) to obfuscate my age and lack of work experience with sized-13 font and overly generous spacing for the “References Available upon Request” section in my resume. While I was all-around unsuccessful in securing a job using the resume I frankensteined together (and, instead, resorted to mowing lawns), little did I know that that experience would help me build a decade-long head start in the art of resume writing and resume building.

Ten years later, as I was writing what seemed like the hundredth iteration of my resume and cover letter in search of a full-time job after college, the edge I had built up became increasingly apparent: after having interned or worked with over two-dozen organizations from middle school through college, I was not only armed with a resume filled with work experiences, but I was also ready to pounce on any question interviewers could throw my way.

Meanwhile, to this day I see resumes from brilliant college seniors filled with demanding courses, but little substance in their experience section articulating their leadership and problem solving skills. Worse, the useless “References Available upon Request” section is somehow still present in all too many resumes I come across.

Reality struck: if you want an edge in the post-college job search, start resume-building in college.

Indeed, of the attributes that employers look for in job applicants, internships and employment ranked the highest, while college GPA and college reputation ranked the lowest.[1] With nearly 60% of graduating seniors having held at least one internship, [2] not having any work experience effectively puts you in the bottom half of the application pile – a place you do not want to find yourself.

Importance of Attributes in Evaluating Graduates for Hire

Unfortunately, such guidance too often falls on deaf freshman ears despite college career offices’ repeated attempts. Of the dozens of career counselors I have spoken to, too often do they see seniors floundering just days before commencement. One college career center I interviewed even sets up a booth adjacent to the commencement lawn.

So what’s to be done?

The message has to get out – and from as many trusted sources as possible: internships are hardly optional.

Just as Millennials find online user-generated content (messaging from peers rather than authorities) 50% more trustworthy than other (traditional) media,[3] the college career center should be but one of many bearers of this message: the message also has to come from alums, parents, mentors, and peers not in the form of a formal workshop, but rather as an insider tip on “what I wish I had known.”

Work experience matters – and having it on your resume is just as, if not even more important than good grades. Pass it on.

[1] https://chronicle.com/items/biz/pdf/Employers%20Survey.pdf

[2] http://www.naceweb.org/2012-student-survey.aspx (links to 2016 report)

[3] http://corp.crowdtap.com/socialinfluence

Gorick Ng helps companies work more productively with Millennials. From his work Gorick has spent thousands of hours understanding the experiences of Millennials, career counselors, and employers – and the “soft skills” and “hard skills” gaps that exist in the transition from school to work.

Gorick is pursuing his MBA Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Harvard College, where he now serves as a Resident Tutor leading pre-career advising. He was the first in his family to attend high school and college and is passionate about helping young people pursue their dreams.

More on Gorick here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gorickng

 

 

It’s Not Personal, It’s Business” Wait, Yes It Is!

By Jennifer Serra, Westfield State University

We frequently teach our students the importance of networking, making connections and making it personal, but how often are we practicing this? We take the time in our one-on-one appointments, however students at our presentations and campus programming don’t gain that same quality individualized time. We set aside time to contact employers after a job fair and should try to do the same with the students we meet.

Something I’ve done to reach first and second year students in presentations is having them write their name, email and what their goals are/dream job is on a notecard along any other question they have but might be too afraid to ask. I have a feeling I’m not the only one that hears crickets when I ask if there are any questions. I collect the notecards and send them a personalized email within a week. I know what you’re thinking. When am I going to find the time to send out individual emails? However, I only do this with presentations to first and second year students and in smaller classrooms. Since they are settling into campus life, visiting the Career Center is probably not a priority at this point. I am committed to sending them the email and addressing their job or question they had wrote down within that week time frame. In the email, I include helpful links that I reviewed in the presentation and our Steps to Success 4 Year Plan handout. The links direct them back to our website and get them familiar with our online resources. When I present, I usually don’t see students jotting notes down so this is a guaranteed way to get them the appropriate information and establish myself as a resource they can go to for help down the road.

In the Chronicle of Higher Education article Small Changes in Teaching: Making Connections by James E. Lang, he discusses a few ways faculty members can help students’ link course content to the world around them. This holds true for those of us teaching Career Development as well. The best connections and relationships usually begin with an in-person meeting rather than a phone call and with students it’s no different. Presentations and programming get us in the door and from there we need to make the connection. We can promote our resources and social media networks all day long but they first have to see the value in what we’re doing and have to offer them.

As we know, students are bombarded with mass emails. The personalized email is sure to stand out to them! My hope is that the students find the emails helpful and it’s extremely rewarding to receive that response from them letting you know that it is. If we can engage them early on and develop a helping relationship, the end result benefits the entire institution.

computer-image

Source
Lang, J. M. (2016, February 08). Small Changes in Teaching: Making Connections. http://www.chronicle.com/article/Small-Changes-in-Teaching-/235230/

Jennifer Serra is a Career Counselor at Westfield State University in Westfield, MA

Cranky Director’s Corner – I’ve Got Your Ban Right Here

I’m particularly cranky today. A pair of posts I’ve been laboring over just aren’t coming together. That’s on top of the last few weeks of political theater. And by theater I don’t mean something as refined as opera or exotic as kabuki. Something more akin to a few kids with a bed sheet as a backdrop, only without the potential charm.

The travel ban has been the most curious and troubling. One could go on about the failure to form and leverage a serious and well-informed advisory group, the incompetency of the rollout, and overall just horrendous display of the worst bits of American behavior. Let’s be clear, this ban is nothing new. We’ve long been a nation that’s demonstrated less than welcoming attitudes towards those seeking our shores (not to mention those found along our shores and already living inland). It’s just a new iteration of a sourness and fear with deep roots. Much has already been said and written on this front, though. And while it impacts us as Americans and likely impacts us through our institutions, that topic is not the focus of today’s grumbling.

Let’s turn our eyes to the corporate response, led by major tech companies. The New York Times points out that at some companies opposition to the ban is driven by rank-and-file employees, and that’s great. A read of the amicus filed jointly by the companies leads with the impact on recruiting. Not surprising. Our major technology companies, as well as those with significant technology components to their operations, have longed bemoaned the challenge of maintaining their talent pipelines. Specifically, the US does not produce enough (pick one: engineers, programmers, computer scientists, etc.) to meet their needs. Now I’m a big fan of open, legal immigration. But if US tech companies are focusing on pulling talent from off shore, isn’t that essentially the same as US companies a century ago plundering raw materials from other countries? Natural resources, human resources, we treat both as though it’s all the same. Take what we need, when we need it, while minimizing impact on the bottom line.

Meanwhile our country has inner city and rural schools struggling for resources, with kids fail to receive adequate modern education and do not have access to opportunities. I’m a big fan of teaching kids to code, regardless of what they ultimately major in or do in their careers. Knowing at least the basics of how all the machines, devices, and gadgets in our lives work affords an extra bit of power over our own lives.

So here’s an idea. Instead of focusing short term efforts on plundering the talent of other countries, I’d like to see our tech giants invest in our disconnected urban and rural communities. How? Reach out to communities with struggling students and schools, fund a computer lab and pay for a staff member to teach code as an after school program. (This is about adding to curriculum, not supplanting it.) Build in an incentive program so as they progress through projects and improve their skills kids earn their way towards the prize of their own computer . Network the classrooms so kids in rural Texas are engaging with kids in Oakland, California, Gary, Indiana, etc. End products: strong, deep talent pipelines for companies; improvement of education quality; integration instead of marginalization of populations historically disconnected from opportunity and power; encouragement of entrepreneurialism; alleviation of poverty; and, as a bonus, keeping kids busy with constructive activities is demonstrated to keep them out of a host of problems that have long term degrading effects on their lives and options. Sure things like this are happening, here and there. Time to step it up.

Panacea? Not by a long shot, but it’s a big step in the right direction. So US companies, please stop putting a friendly face on that old school American corporate imperialism and actually invest in American students for the long term. Being socially responsible doesn’t begin and end with filing amici or addressing the problems only your organization finds interesting, it means addressing the real problems and sharing your power.

About the Author:  The cranky director will deliver rants on the economy, technology, social engineering, lack of a really good nearby falafel place, and idiot politicians (broadly defined)  to your computer desktop of preferred mobile device the fourth Friday of every month.

The Millennial Journey: We Need to Help Students Think Long-Term

By Gorick Ng, MBA Student, Harvard Business School

Should students pick majors based on employability?

US colleges educate over 20.5 million students each year,[1] of which 75-85% will change their majors at least once.[2] The choice of major is no easy feat: for most students this will be the first consequential decision of their lives, second only to their choice of college. It is for good reason: from a future earnings perspective, picking one college major over another can yield a lifetime earnings differential of up to $3.4 million.[3]

But employability should not be the primary purpose to going to college… or should it?

There are compelling arguments on both sides: on one end are the likes of John Dewey, who in 1897 suggested that education “is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.”[4] On the other end are those, who, facing over $1 trillion in student debt[5] and discouraging levels of college grad underemployment,[6] are looking to college not for intellectual stimulation, but for a job. Indeed, 91% of matriculating college students rate “to improve employment opportunities” as their reason for going to college.[7]

“I really want to study history, but studying economics will lead to a job. Which should I choose?” asked Andrew, a pragmatic college sophomore.

Then there is Margot, a college junior, who told me that “I like to read and be surrounded by books so I majored in English.” No doubt Margot would have sided with Dewey.

I have seen students like Andrew who choose a “practical” major, only to later regret the decision after showing little interest in the common post-grad paths available. I have also seen the likes of Margot later struggle marketing their English degrees to employers and who wish they had more rigorously evaluated their options earlier.

While Andrew and Margot took opposite approaches to deciding their majors, they share one commonality: they could both benefit from more visibility to the long-term implications of their decisions.

Employers, educators, and parents all have a role to play:

Educators, who are under more pressure than ever to show graduation rates and post-college job placement statistics, have a responsibility to better reveal the post-grad pathways and “value propositions” of their programs.

Employers, especially those who are experiencing a skills shortage, must more clearly articulate the skills, competencies, and knowledge they expect of new hires to take the guesswork out of applying for a job.

Parents, who may ultimately be on the hook with tuition bills, need to consider the long-term return on investment of a given program – both immediately after college and longer term.

For those who would argue that looking at college majors in isolation is overly simplistic – I am on your side. After all, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner majored in Asian studies and former astronaut Sally Ride was an English major – and many more of us are in fields that have nothing to do with our college majors. But there is little doubt that one’s major matters – and students need our help in thinking long-term.

[1] https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

[2] http://ns.eab.com/Student-Success-Collaborative-Major-Switching

[3] https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/valueofcollegemajors/

[4] http://dewey.pragmatism.org/creed.htm

[5] https://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/notes/feds-notes/2015/how-much-student-debt-is-out-there-20150807.html

[6] http://www.epi.org/publication/class-of-2016/

[7] https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/edcentral/collegedecisions/

Gorick Ng helps companies develop tactical skills training to accelerate the learning curve of new hires. From his work Gorick has spent thousands of hours understanding the experiences of Millennials, career counselors, and employers – and the “soft skills” and “hard skills” gaps that exist in the transition from school to work.

Gorick is pursuing his MBA Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Harvard College, where he now serves as a Resident Tutor leading pre-career advising. He was the first in his family to attend high school and college and is passionate about helping young people pursue their dreams.

More on Gorick here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gorickng

 

Introducing “The Millennial Journey”

By Gorick Ng, MBA Student, Harvard Business School

EACE is pleased to introduce “The Millennial Journey”, a monthly segment featuring the research of Gorick Ng, a Harvard Business School MBA who specializes in the transition from school to work. Over the past year Gorick has interviewed ~200 employers, students, and career counselors to understand the pain points – and opportunities – in today’s hyper-competitive economy.

Each month we will feature a new step in “The Millennial Journey”, each with a thought-provoking headline question for our community to consider.

We will begin with a Millennial’s first steps on a college campus – all the way through to when a Millennial enters their first job out of school. Our goal is not to “average” our students down to a size that fits no one; it is to share the cross-cutting emotions and pain points observed through hundreds of conversations with Millennials from all walks of life.

This monthly segment is meant for career counselors, employers, parents, and students alike. We hope there will be something for everyone.

Let’s have a substantive conversation!

About the Author:  Gorick Ng helps companies develop tactical skills training to accelerate the learning curve of new hires. From his work Gorick has spent thousands of hours understanding the experiences of Millennials, career counselors, and employers – and the “soft skills” and “hard skills” gaps that exist in the transition from school to work.

Gorick is pursuing his MBA Harvard Business School and is a graduate of Harvard College, where he now serves as a Resident Tutor leading pre-career advising. He was the first in his family to attend high school and college and is passionate about helping young people pursue their dreams.

More on Gorick here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gorickng

Flipping the Classroom: Taking a Career Development Seminar Online

By Lauren E. Creamer, M.S., Co-op & Career Advisor, Wentworth Institute of Technology

Co-ops and internships are integral to the success of students post-graduation; and the offices that support those programs must find effective ways to prepare them for these experiences. Our office, The Center for Cooperative Education and Career Development at Wentworth Institute of Technology supports nearly 900 students per year in their search for co-op, a graduation requirement for all majors. Advisors were spending countless appointment explaining the same concepts time and again. In the fall of 2014, in an effort to meet the needs of the students, Co-op Institute was born.

What is Co-op Institute? co-op_institute_logo_rgb

Co-op Institute originated as a five-week, lecture-style seminar with a goal to disseminate information to as many students as possible in one place. Topics include resume and cover letter writing, networking, job searching, interviewing, and professionalism. Each semester material cuts were made to insure the class could run in the time allotted. And each semester we found ourselves saying “… but I want to teach more.”

In the summer of 2016 we decided it was time to flip the classroom. I led our advisor team in the development of this program, taking our existing lecture materials and turning them into short, narrated videos. This opened the instructors up to interact with the students in a more personal way, giving them the ability to facilitate activities and provide one-on-one feedback during peer-editing sessions.

The process was long, and not-too-painful, but it did involve vetting a number of different video platforms and much back and forth with our technology division.

Options We Considered

The only way I had made videos in the past was via iMovie and for a few weeks I was convinced that I needed a Mac to make any kind of video. Not so. iMovie is a great option and comes standard on Macs, but if you don’t have one don’t sweat it. Windows has comparable software.

We also considered Echo360, a screen capture tool, and a strong contender. The tool allowed users to flag material they had trouble understanding and allowed for built-in quizzes. It would have been great for the end user, but the set-up was complex and required more work than the advisors had time to offer.

Our Platform

As we utilize Blackboard to share our course materials, it was important that we use something compatible. We ended up choosing Kaltura CaptureSpace, a software that was already connected to our Blackboard system.

Kaltura is easy to use for screen capture and allows the user to add in questions (multiple choice) throughout the video. The downside is that you can’t flag areas of confusion and there is no option to stall the video if the user doesn’t get the questions right. All things considered, a perfect fit for our first run through. (And the Institute already paid for it).

recordscreen

Other Free or Low-Cost Options

For the budget-conscious team, consider using Facebook Live or YouTube to develop and upload content. The Haitt Career Center at Brandeis has been using Facebook Live for the past several months and it’s pretty cool. Lots of schools are using YouTube to upload original content (of course, this still means you need to have a webcam and a means of recording it).

There is a chance your school already pays for tutorial videos such as Lynda.com or Atomic Learning. If that’s the case, this could be a great idea if you don’t have the time to develop your own content. There are some quality career development videos on each.

If you’re not up for video, but your institution has a radio station and open air time, consider hosting a show. Our office also produces WITworks Radio – tune in Mondays at 1:00 PM!

Feedback from Students

We’re still sifting through the student feedback at this time (we finished up about one month ago), but a major trend seems to be that students really love the interactive nature of the class-time. Whether they love the videos as they are now remains to be seen. There is always room for improvement!

Bio:  Lauren is a Senior Co-op + Career Advisor at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. She works with biomedical and electromechanical engineering, and applied mathematics majors. She has worked in higher education for five years in both career development and residential life. Lauren is responsible for executing and assessing Co-op Institute, a seven-week preparatory seminar focusing on applying to and interviewing for co-ops. This past year she led the advisor team at Wentworth in flipping the classroom for Co-op Institute, to allow for a more in-depth learning experience.

Membership Spotlight: Dawn Lazar

Excited for one of our 1st new #EACE member spotlights feat. Dawn Lazar of Cenlar FSB. #WeAreEACE

profile-pic_2What was your career path to get your current role? My career path is funny because I looped around a bit, but recruiting has always been the reoccurring theme.  As an undergrad at Florida State University (FSU), I had the unique opportunity to work in the admissions office as a telecounselor.  It was probably the coolest job ever at the time.  I called high school students and I spoke to them about the application process and why they should pick FSU as their school of choice.  From there, I did a stint in the staffing industry doing technical recruiting.  Agency wasn’t really my thing, so I moved back into higher education and spent 10 years of my career there focusing on admissions, academic advising, continuing education, and finally once I completed my master’s degree, I landed in career services.  After 5 years of building the undergraduate wing from the ground up as an assistant director in career services at the College of Business Administration at Florida International University (FIU) I felt it was time for a change.  I spent so much time advising companies on campus recruiting best practices, I wanted to switch to the other side and just do it.  I worked at BlackBerry running their US Internship Program for 18 months, moved on from there to start the university relations program for the Retail Marketing Division of Bluegreen Vacations and personal reasons brought me to the Northeast earlier this year and now I truly get to merge my experience advising, coaching, training, and developing young career seekers with my love for recruitment as the Program Manager – Talent Development for Cenlar FSB.  My primary responsibilities include overseeing all program planning, development, and recruitment for our Summer Internship Program and Leadership Development Program.

What was your first job?  First job out of college – Technical Recruiter for TEKsystems / First job ever – cashier at Publix (grocery store in the South)

Why did you choose this career?  I love working with people, helping them discover their passion and coming up with a plan on how to get there.  I am especially drawn to working with those early in their career, because I feel college students and recently college grads are at such a pivotal point in life where the possibilities are endless if they just take advantage of the resources allotted to them.

What is the skill that is most important in your current role?  Listening intently and then taking action.  It seems simple, but I feel it’s really important in any role, not just mine.

How did you develop this skill and how do you fine-tune it regularly?  In every role, not just in our field, it’s important to listen in order to truly help someone get to where they want to be and truthfully in order for everyone to win.  I learned early in my career that in order to successfully recruit, coach, advise, develop someone you need to listen to what their wants and needs are before acting, otherwise you will sell someone on something that they don’t really want and in the end everybody loses.  Life moves so quickly sometimes things happen that remind you to go back to this basic principle in order to stay on track, so yes I would like to think I’m constantly evolving and trying to get better with it.

Did you have a mentor? Yes, I have several.  I think seeking out mentors and accepting those that offer mentorship is a key ingredient in being successful.

What is your biggest career accomplishment?   Building a department that didn’t exist prior to my arrival in a position.  I’ve done this 3 times in my career (2 at the university and once in corporate).  I think being able to leave a legacy behind is something I’m most proud of. 

What is your advice to students looking for their first job?  Take full advantage of the resources afforded to you at your college/university career center and NETWORK!  Get involved in organizations both inside and outside of school that are aligned with your interests and career goals.

What is your advice to young professionals in the field who aspire to your current role?  Network, ask a lot of questions, join professional organizations get involved as much as possible, set informational interviews with those that have the position that you aspire to have, and continue your education.  All these things will make you more visible and more marketable in the long run.  Be willing to take chances and open to relocating. 

What was the best career advice you have ever received? You don’t get what you don’t ask for….this goes with everything in life and I really try to live by it.

What would you like colleagues to know about your organization? Cenlar FSB, is a national leading loan servicing provider, engaged in mortgage loan servicing and subservicing as a core business for more than 40 years.  Located in the greater Trenton area, we are an employee owned company, that is currently growing exponentially.  As a result of this, talent development has become a major organizational focus which opens doors for not only internal employees but for recent grads and other driven newcomers that wish to truly have a career path.  Two college programs that are a part of these initiatives include the Summer Internship Program and Leadership Development Program which start each May/June.  Feel free to reach out to me with questions.

Bio: Dawn Lazar has dedicated over 15 years of her career to career services, recruiting and talent development roles. She’s had the pleasure of working on both sides of the house, spending 10 years of her career in student/employer services at Florida International University and later taking a leap over to corporate managing the US Internship Program for BlackBerry, building the University Relations Program for the Retail Marketing Division of Bluegreen Vacations and now managing the University Talent Development Program for Cenlar FSB.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The Florida State University, Master of Science in Adult Education from Florida International University, and holds the SHRM recognized, Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certification from HR Certification Institute (HRCI).

You could be next! Tell us about yourself using this easy new Google form: http://ow.ly/ZcKU3065LdI

Cranky Director’s Corner – Post-Election Bonus Post

The past week has provided much material for emotional roller coasters, regardless of how you felt Wednesday morning. Sidestepping the overtly political (we’ll have plenty of that in the months and years to come), I’d like to address a couple majors contributors to the shock and surprise experienced by many over the last few days – data and bubbles.

In recent years we have raised data from a useful tool to a fetish to a nearly messianic thing that will cure our most pernicious diseases, solve our perennial social ills, improve our marketing and complexion, optimize our pipelines, and eliminate human error from all decision making! We’ve enshrined data-driven decision making in our policy and operational discussions, our personal and departmental goals, and our strategic plans. Big Data or Big Brother? Better data collection and analysis does offer more ways of capturing what has happened within our constituent populations. However, we should heed to the cautionary tale from this year’s election polls. Two lessons to remember:

  1. Data only tells us so much.
  2. Data is only as good as the assumptions we build into the collection and analysis processes.

The simplest way to avoid the first employs combining anecdotal evidence and our professional knowledge with the data. Does the data make sense? Does it align with the conversations we and our team (or others in our organizations) have with our constituents? Beware cherry picking stories to drive a preferred narrative. This leads us to tackling the second lesson. Humans are prone to an array of biases that affect our personal, professional, and political judgments, even as we strive to exercise objectivity. If data is to serve us, rather than us eventually serving it, we need to take clear steps to define data’s real role in our organization. Data’s role in our offices and the world is significant and a blog post is not suitable for a comprehensive discussion of this, but here are a few questions to get us started and regularly rehearse. Who are the consumers of the data, and can they speak back to it and us to challenge it? What are our goals? Where does data really fit into our regular processes, including our decision making? When do we gather, analyze, and share our data? Why do we need this piece of information from this source? How do we collect and share the data? Keep in mind the caveat Mark Twain attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” While we should not become enthralled to the data, neither should we manipulate it to our own short term ends.

Bubbles conjure memories of childhood and laughter. The US was also just blindsided (apparently we don’t know how to look in a sideview mirror) by different bubbles clashing in a way that demands attention. Politics aside, we do this in our offices. Do you serve all majors on your campus equally? Passive services like walk-in hours don’t count. Recruiters, do your organizations seriously entertain students with the right skill sets, regardless of major? Have you found you work more with some departments because they’re easier to work with? Has that compromised your own department’s reach and fulfillment of mission? Technology that encourages selective news consumption, mindsets born of behaviors on social media, and natural tendencies towards groupthink and herd mentality (Bay of Pigs anyone?) all isolate us from those that are other. And the human capacity to slice and dice who is “us” and “them” is nearly infinite. The best way to pop these kinds of bubbles is not with needles, but with bridges.

I’d like to close with a turn to one of the responses emerging from last week’s decision – safety pins. First used as a secret badge by the Dutch Resistance in World War II, then an emblem of the UK and US skinhead* and punk movements, now a sign of solidarity in the UK with those in fear of the uptick in racial attacks following Brexit, they are something to consider beyond being simple symbol. Since 1970s and 80s counterculture is lending us this, I recommend we take another step and hoist the 2 Tone flag.

*Skinheads were originally apolitical and non-racist and continue to mostly be so, but like Pepe the Frog, media coverage tended to allow the smaller racist element to define the whole in the public at large.

About the Author:  The cranky director will deliver rants on the economy, technology, social engineering, lack of a really good nearby falafel place, and idiot politicians (broadly defined)  to your computer desktop of preferred mobile device the fourth Friday of every month.

Cranky Director’s Corner – Ubering Our Livelihoods Away

Welcome to the “Happy Extortion Day” or Halloween edition of the Cranky Director’s Corner. While gratified that the editorial board of the Chronicle has chosen to follow the lead of my last post for their Innovation issue, there’s no resting on laurels around here. Onward. Forward! PROGRESS! What can possibly go wrong?

I’m glad you asked, so go grab your sabots and we’ll find out where to throw them. That does not mean this post or the Corner offer safe haven to Luddites. It is a blog after all. But as we venture into this month’s topic, let us reflect on the hard won lessons of the Industrial Revolution. It only took a matter of decades and incidents like the Triangle Shirt Fire to introduce reforms to protect workers. Of course these lessons don’t mean much in the American economy now that we’ve effectively off-shored much of our manufacturing. While off-shoring our consumer demand, we seem to have forgotten to send along our ethos on protecting workers from the predations of unscrupulous owners.

As globalization, outsourcing, and off-shoring encroached we pacified ourselves with things like Friedman’s The World is Flat, quietly thankful that the hardest hit employment sectors were not our own white collared ivory towers. Security by being knowledge workers or part of the creative class sounds wonderfully enlightened, yes?

Have you heard the one about the Uber driver? Imagine if you opened your news aggregator on your smart device and read your employer was investing heavily in putting you out of work within five years. What is your incentive for working hard and looking out for your employer? Of course, Uber drivers are part of the gig economy, so let’s consider the trucking industry. Similar timeline, though varying opinions abound, with a projected 3.5 million professional truck drivers potentially impacted. This amazing world we live in means these kinds of advances are not just coming to roads near us. Remember Foxconn from a few paragraphs ago? (you do click the links, don’t you?) Well, at least advances in AI and robotics means less people will be living that “dream”. Of course in the new economy, and in the old for that matter, it is the worker’s responsibility to retool for a new career. So what happens when the second half of creative destruction outpaces the first? What happens to a society when the pace of change is too rapid for people to make lateral or upward career shifts, or when jobs simply disappear without replacement opportunities emerging? If you think it cannot happen, you missed that it already has, and there are political implications for masses left behind.

What do Uber’s Otto, Facebook, AI, Drones, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have in common? (Hint: “really two things”)

  1. Most people weren’t asking for them.
  2. Everyone needs to adjust to their societal impact.

In every one of these cases someone or some small group of people had a vision that has, or is, overtaking broader society. Opting out becomes less of an option. When all cars are self-driving cars by fiat of market forces and/or regulatory action, will those refusing to buy get on the self-driving bus? Walk to work? (I hope no Mercedes are nearby.) Already the failure of IoT manufacturers to account for weak security in their appliances has enabled massive DDoS attacks like the one on October 21. Never mind the vulnerability of the power grid, they took away my Twitter! Now I like tech. It’s amazing to see what people come up with. Unfortunately, whether its high tech infrastructure in our homes, or robots, chatbots, and AI in the workplace, disruption carries a lot of costs. But we have over a century of experience with technology creating upheaval in the workforce. You’d think we would be getting a handle on how to minimize the negative impact so people don’t get left behind unless they choose to.

The question facing us as a professional community is where to start. Well, we are the braintrusts our schools and organizations have employed to think about and speak to these issues, whether they realize it or not. We start in our own backyards. Online tools should augment and extend our office capacities, not lead to reductions in staffing.  That tool or outsourced service that frees up a staff member today can be seen by your organization’s leadership as a potential cost saver by eliminating that position for the cheaper option. What our offices lose, what our students and applicants lose, is that crucial human element. I want my team constantly striving for the forward thinking, innovative, “what’s next” for our students, but I also know something simple like a resume review session is often that first point of contact or that important relationship builder that creates trust and leads to that student excitedly emailing when they got the interview/job/promotion. Tech always needs to be applied with wisdom, and we should never confuse fiscal concerns with actual wisdom. Slowly undermining the integrity of our offices, our teams, our quality of service for a short term technological band-aid is not innovation. Even if we’ve got a shiny new webtool, app, or gadget to show off.

So my doorstop haunting, cosplaying, candy fiends, here’s a trick and treat. The trick is if before you tuck into some turkey, you read the Chronicle articles and create a new initiative to serve your audience, you’ll get the treat of expanding your service and reputation. Great for annual reviews, budget discussions, and EACE conference proposals. Now get off my lawn!

About the Author:  The cranky director will deliver rants on the economy, technology, social engineering, lack of a really good nearby falafel place, and idiot politicians (broadly defined)  to your computer desktop of preferred mobile device the fourth Friday of every month.

5 Ways to Market “Road Trips to the Real World” on YOUR Campus!

rtrwbanner2017EACE’s Road Trips to the Real World offers your students the opportunity to attend employer site visits for ONE DAY between January 4 – 13, 2017. Host companies will talk about their organization, industry, internships, and job opportunities This is a chance for your students to get the inside scoop and literally get their foot in the door at 40 participating employers across the northeast…BUT space is limited and spots fill up VERY quickly, so encourage students to register now! Registration opens today, October 17th, and closes on December 9th. Students can register at: http://bit.ly/RTRW2017

Here are 5 ways you can spread the word about Road Trips on your campus:

  1. Social Media: Check out our Career Center Marketing Toolkit which has sample tweets and Facebook posts ready to go. Follow the suggested timeline, copy and paste, and boom – your students will catch wind of the great sites participating this year. Attach our infographic for a nice visual.
  2. Campus Announcements: Use your school’s campus wide announcement system to post a message about Road Trips. We’ve drafted up a sample campus announcement template which along with our infographic or flyer will catch their eye.
  3. Targeted Emails: Send targeted emails out to various student groups (specific majors, professional clubs, faculty and academic departments, special student leader groups like RA’s, OL’s, student workers, athletes and coaches, etc.) Use our Student Email template and tweak accordingly.
  4. Career Management System Messages: Whether you have CSO, Handshake, or Simplicity chances are you can send mass emails out to students. Use our campus announcement template and send it out using your Career Management System.
  5. Good Old Word of Mouth: Talk to students during your one-on-one appointments, at events, over the phone, or during a workshop. When you have their undivided attention, they’ll be more likely to hear all the great benefits of participating in Road Trips!

If you’d like more help in marketing the Road Trips program on your campus, please contact Committee Co-Chairs Katie Vagen at kvagen@bridgew.edu and Kelly Bellew at klb261@psu.edu. This program would not be successful without the help of our amazing EACE college and university members!

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