Sunday, February 28, 2010

Skills for Survival

When times are good, it's often easier to simply replace something that breaks. The time and money it would take to repair it have their value too.

But as things get tight, being able to repair things when they break can free up the money you would otherwise use to replace them so you can put it to something else. And when you're really struggling just to make essentials like food and rent, being able to fix something is the difference between being able to make it last a few more months and having to go without altogether.

For instance, what do you do when the switch on your table lamp starts to go bad? Or when a sock develops a hole?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Breaking the Experience Catch-22

Even in the best of times, it's difficult to be a first-time job hunter. Employers want people with experience, but how can you get experience if no one will hire you in the first place?

In these trying times, it's even harder for the simple reason that there are so many more experienced people out of work and competing for jobs with people fresh out of high school and college. It's very easy to become trapped in a Catch-22 by which you can't get the experience you need to get a job because you can't get a job to give you experience.

One of the things to consider while still a student is the possibility of an internship with a company in your field. Through an internship you can get experience that's actually relevant to your career plans. Although part-time minimum wage jobs do show that you're able to work on a schedule and under close supervision, they don't necessarily tell anything about how well you'll perform in a professional office environment.

And since times are tight, the prospect of working for no pay, or even having to pay to work, may be financially daunting for students who are already struggling to finish their degrees. But it is possible to get an internship that actually pays you money, although it may be only a stipend to help with travel and lodging.