Manitowoc County Job Center - Manitowoc WI





Sep 24

The Right Way to Slack Off at Work

Posted in Career Article at 3:06 pm

Would you care if your colleagues called you a slacker?

Your instinct might be to deny allegations of being anything less than an overachiever, but in reality you could be better off as a lazybones.

The conventional workplace wisdom is to keep up with the Joneses and then leave them in the dust. After all, in a competitive job market, you don’t want to be seen as a weak link. But if you’re getting all your work done well and on time, why shouldn’t you take a little time to relax?

Hectic workplaces

A decade ago multitasking was a buzzword; now it’s a way of life. Between technological advances and evolving workplaces, you might only have one job title but perform the duties of several positions.

If you scale back on anything, you might feel like you’re not doing your job even if you are. In order to preserve your sanity and help your productivity, try to bring a little relaxation to your daily routine. While your job may never resemble a tranquil meditation retreat, it doesn’t need to remind you of a scene from “ER.”

Here are a few ways you can be the right kind of slacker at work.

No, really, it can. You don’t have to answer an e-mail the moment it pops up on your screen. Unless you’re waiting for that one message that could make or break your career, you should designate time to check e-mails so that you don’t get distracted while doing other tasks. You can even disable the new message icon and noise alert so you don’t get distracted while doing other tasks.

Saying ‘no’ won’t get you fired.

If the boss or someone comes to you with a task that’s part of your core job duties, by all means accept it. However, if you’re drowning in work as it is, telling co-workers that you just can’t get to their request right now won’t necessarily hurt you.

If you tactfully explain that you’d like to help them but you’ve got too much on your plate shows you care about the quality and promptness of your work.

Don’t multitask.

The ability to simultaneously talk on the phone, send an e-mail and heat up the meatballs for the monthly potluck is an admirable quality but not necessarily the most beneficial. Multitasking has become the de facto approach to daily operations in many workplaces. The problem is that often we end up doing a little of everything and never making much progress on any one task.

Give yourself a break.

Literally, just get away from work for five minutes. Take a walk around the floor or step outside for some fresh air. Without Saturday and Sunday off, you’d probably go a little stir-crazy. Think of brief breaks throughout the day as small-scale versions of weekends. You’ll return with a clear head and produce better quality work.

Don’t eat lunch at your desk.

Eating at your desk can be an occasional necessity, either because you’re close to a deadline or you’re in a productive zone that you don’t want to interrupt. Having your lunch in front of a computer every day, however, doesn’t give your eyes or your mind time to relax. You might feel like a slacker if you’re the only one taking your sandwich outside for thirty minutes, but your mental health is worth it.

Schedule some “me” time.

Go into your calendar and block off a period of time for whatever work you need to do without interruption. Treat the meeting as if it were an important appointment with your boss and consider it non-negotiable.

If someone tries to schedule a meeting with you, tell him or her that you’re busy but can try for another time. If possible, book a conference room so you won’t be interrupted by a chatty co-worker or a phone call.

Sep 04

10 New Blue-Collar Jobs

Posted in Labor Market Stats at 2:44 pm

In the old days, there were blue-collar workers and white-collar workers. These days, there are white-, blue-, green-, gold-, pink- and gray-collared workers, too. (Seriously.)

The problem with these classifications is that not only are they based on stereotypes but for the most part, they’re inaccurate.

Pink-collar workers, for example, supposedly work in jobs that have traditionally been considered female, like hairdressers, nannies and nurses. One can argue, however, that a significant percentage of these jobs are also occupied by men in today’s work force.

Gray collar allegedly classifies workers who work beyond typical retirement age (an allusion to gray hair?) and gold-collar workers are apparently young, low-wage employees who spend most of their paycheck on luxury items.

While today’s labor force is a far cry from the segregated one that existed in the first half of the 20th century, worker classifications still exist. Perhaps the worst typecast group is blue-collar workers, often assumed to have poor education and minimal capabilities.

In reality, these physically demanding jobs actually require extensive training and certifications and usually involve work that no one wants to do themselves.

Here are 10 blue-collar jobs that are following the ways of the world as technology, the environment and the population rapidly changes. These labor-intensive jobs offer decent (though not the highest) pay and job growth through 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some of them you might not have heard of — but when you read the job requirements, you’ll realize how often you utilize their work.

Landscaping and groundskeeping worker

Many homeowners can’t find time to take care of their lawns and also desire to entertain outdoors in an attractive setting. Hence, groundskeeping workers remain vital to our work force. Salary: $10.22/hour; $21,260/year

Electronic home entertainment equipment installer/repairer

If you tried to lift or install the new 60-inch flat-screen TV you just purchased, you know it’s not easy. Plus, such equipment isn’t cheap, so buyers are willing to spend the extra money to have it professionally delivered and installed, or to get it fixed when it goes on the fritz. Salary: $14.42/hour; $29,980/year

Terrazzo worker and finisher

As people become as concerned with image as function, terrazzo finishers will continue applying decorative and attractive finishes to hallways, patios, floors and panels in households around the world. Salary: $15.21/hour; $31,630/year

Highway maintenance worker

Roads require constant maintenance, conforming to safety standards or repairing damaged roadways. Since cars don’t seem like they’ll fly anytime soon, maintenance workers will be around for a while. Salary: $15.67/hour; $32,600/year

Security and fire alarm systems installer

Though there was a 2.6 percent decrease in property crime in the first six months of 2007, according to the FBI, robbery, burglary and larceny-theft still pose a threat. To continue fighting crime, security and fire systems installers will work to ensure people feel safe in their homes. Salary: $16.73/hour; $34,810/year

Computer, automated teller and office machine repairer

Computers and office equipment are vital to the day-to-day activities in both business and home, like the convenience of banking and bill-paying online. These machines always need to be up and running and we need professional repairmen to make sure they are. Salary: $17.54/hour; $36,480/year

Tile and marble setter

Along with the population, businesses are growing, too. Tile and marble are becoming more popular for use in shopping malls, hospitals, schools and restaurants. These, along with other nontraditional housing materials, are also popular in homes nationwide. Salary: $17.59/hour; $36,590/year

Heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanic and installer

Environmental concerns continue as both people and companies strive to “go green.” For many, this means installing new, energy-saving heating and cooling systems in their homes and offices. Those who already have such machines require them to operate at the highest efficiency, which means professionally maintaining them. Salary: $18.44/hour; $38,360/year

Structural and reinforcing iron and metal worker

Similar to people, structures get older. As they do, buildings, bridges, power plants and highways need to be rehabbed, repaired, replaced or maintained and these are the people who will do it. Salary: $19.46/hour; $40,480/year

Subway and street-car operator

With our ever-growing population and the strong push to improve the environment, public transportation like subways, street cars and light rails will become more prevalent in the next few years. Salary: $23.55/hour; $48,980/year

The Job Center is open to the general public Mondays 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Tuesdays-Fridays, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.