Open the Books

A friend told me about the website, Open the Books, which lists all U.S. government spending from local to federal jobs. You can find salaries and expenditures.

I wonder if other countries have this data openly available.

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Getting Your “Dream” Job, Some Tips

I wanted to share some tips for getting, what the presenters called your “dream” job. I do have a problem with the idea of “dream jobs” as they sound so romantic and out of reach. It’s not that I think it’s wrong to be ambitious, but a dream is ethereal and not real so I don’t think it’s a good term for our career aspirations. Yet, it’s catchy and probably why the session was approved.

The session was given by a successful Executive Director at a library and the executive recruiter who discovered her.

I’ll share the tip, explain it and then give my 2¢.

  1. When you see your dream job, set your cap for it.
    In a nutshell, if you see an ad for a job you love, don’t for a minute allow any doubts.
    Hmm. I have a more balanced outlook and believe this thinking is akin to looking for your soulmate. It might work out or it could lead to emotional devastation. In addition, it might mean you lose out on equally good opportunities that you hadn’t considered. I would say that if you have doubts, you can overcome them and perhaps you should listen to them. Develop your powers of discernment. If you’re job hunting with the rose-colored glasses of “dream jobs,” then my hunch is you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. 
  2. When asked what you’re most proud of in your life, always tell them something about your career.
    Okay, I guess that’s what gets you the job, though it’s short-sighted.
    If I were hiring, I wouldn’t discount someone who shared something from their personal life to answer this. Actually, I doubt I’d ask this question. I have interviewed lots of people for the JET Programme and it’s just not a question that helps us determine who’d make a good assistant language teacher. 
  3. Find typical interview questions online and practice your answers repeatedly.
    Seems sensible.
  4. Make sure you dress for the job that’s one level above what you’re applying for and make sure your shoes look good.
    People will scrutinize you so don’t overlook anything. At another job hunting program, I heard that you shouldn’t overdress. I suppose going more formal is better than dressing too casually.
  5. Always write a thank you note. 
    Most advisors suggest this. On Wednesday they also said not to contact them otherwise. Don’t be a pest. Well, if they keep you waiting for months, it’s hard to be so passive.
  6. Your cover letter should have flair.
    Here I’ve lately been straightforward and an attempt to prove how transferable my skills are. One speaker gave an example sentence when trying to move out of Youth Services to Adult Services in public libraries. She attributes her phrase that “Youth Services Librarians are mental gymnasts” to her getting an interview. So I do agree that being more clever can help. I do think too many gimmicks could backfire by making you sound odd. In ESL/EFL I don’t think such language is necessary, but if you know the field and its conventions use that knowledge when composing your letter.

I’ll share more tomorrow.

I was surprised when someone asked about job posts that don’t specify the salary range. The executive recruiter said that it’s fine to call and ask. They may not say and you shouldn’t talk about money till later in the interview process. One reason jobs may not publish the salary range is that they may end up paying someone $70,000 for a job that’s range is actually $55,000. Then someone might sue if they found out saying, “I’d have applied if you said the range was up to $70,000.” I’m surprised that someone could sue based on that. I’m astonished that an employer would pay $15,000 or more above what the range is supposed to be.

Thursday Door Challenge

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The Plaza Hotel

Someone suggested I join Norm’s Thursday Door Challenge, so I’m sharing some doors I saw in New York City. You can check out more doors on Norm’s blog here.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

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Poem of the Week

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Autumn Movement

by Carl Sandburg

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts.

The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the copper
sunburned woman, the mother of the year, the taker of seeds.

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes,
new beautiful things come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind,
and the old things go, not one lasts.

You Were Never Lovelier

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Starring Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth, You Were Never Lovelier is good light entertainment. Astaire plays Robert, a New York dancer who’s gone to Buenos Aires and wants to work at a a night club that’s owned by a man who’s got four daughters. The first daughter is married and soon never seen again. The second daughter is in no hurry to marry but her two younger daughters have secret fiancés lined up. However, the father just finds Astaire to be irritating.

Dear old dad decides that he’ll write mysterious love letters to Maria, daughter #2. He has no idea how this game will end or actually give her daughter long time happiness. Maria does get swept off her feet by the romantic letters and mistakenly assumes Robert has been writing the letters. A typical 1940s plot unfolds. Rita shines and Astaire is Astaire. They both dance wonderfully and the costumes are dazzling. Yes, the story is far fetched and the jokes rather corny, but the film is fun.

The song’s lyrics aren’t the best. Some rhymes are forced, but I was entertained.

Trivia

Astaire once said that his favorite dance partner was Rita Hayworth. He said that if she was taught a complicated dance in the morning, she’d have it down by lunch.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m getting ready to go to Peoria for the Illinois Library Association Annual Conference. I’m volunteering so the registration fee is waived. It’s about a 2 hour drive so I’m able to borrow a car and have used hotel points so the trip is very economical. One day I hope to have a job where I don’t have to pay for such events out of my own pocket.

I have come to regret getting this Master of Library Science. As much as I love libraries, I have learned that while it looked from the outside that there were plenty of full time jobs for hard working, successful graduates, there aren’t. It’s a very costly field as you have to sacrifice years of full time work with benefits and take poorly paid part time work to get your foot in the door. So this week I ramped up my applications to other jobs outside libraries. Fingers crossed.

I highly recommend Coursera’s Manager’s Toolkit course. I’ve finished three weeks and the information is well researched and useful. On top of that it’s free!

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I’d discuss Poldark, Season IV and if you haven’t seen the series, I’d urge your to watch. The characters are well drawn and the conflicts nail biting.

I want to add how demoralizing it was to see a friend I taught with in Japan. She’s smart and hardworking. She’s a single mother and wants to live in her hometown, the Bronx, where her older mother is. She has to cobble together a slew of part time ESL university jobs and never knows if she’ll have enough work to make ends meet. Schools don’t offer courses till the end of a semester and it’s hard to make the schedule of school A fit with the work offered by school B. Sadly, she qualifies for Medicaid. This is why I’m intent on leaving the field. This is no way for an educated person to live.

On a lighter note, I’d urge you to check out You Were Never Lovelier with Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth. I knew Astaire was a master at dance, but Hayworth also is.

Offensive Ads Continue

Dear Word Press,

Just last week, you promised to remove the ads I find offensive and condemn from my website. Now they’re back.

This is the fourth time I’ve written about this. You continue to post offensive, mature audience ads on my site. Your promises to fix the problem are empty.

Have you no respect for your customers? I should not have to be held hostage and pay more to avoid supporting an organization that I deeply disagree with. Why not put a check box so people can opt in to supporting controversial group that despite its name offers NO support for parents whatsoever?

There are plenty of people who will want those ads. I do not. I had to write you about this last week.

You can do better.