Opting out: Penny Vickas has spent months looking for a new job — and being rejected. And the marketing and event-planning professional...
Opting out: Penny Vickas has spent months looking for a new job — and being rejected.
And the marketing and event-planning professional from the Chicago area says she just isn’t going to take it anymore.
“I’ve encountered some real obstacles,” Vickas said. “Despite my 10 years of experience, even when I apply for executive or administrative assistance posts, I rarely get a call back. All this has made me realize that I just don’t want to work for a company anymore.”
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And she realizes something else:
“I have a strong personality, desire and drive, and there are very, very few companies that embrace these kinds of characteristics. Most companies look for the ‘yes’ person — and that is not who I am. I’ve had so many doors slammed in my face that I’ve decided the only way I’m going to be happy is to have my own business.”
Last October, Vickas took the leap and started her own company, AnyTimeBaskets, which makes gift baskets. The entrepreneur is working as a temp until she can live off the business.
“I work on my gift-basket business during my lunch hour and at night — and I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “I finally feel as if I have my destiny in my own hands and no one else but me will determine my success. This feeling of empowerment is great.”
And at last she has a boss who appreciates her “characteristics.”
Out in the cold: If you frequently complain that the temperature in your office is much too frigid, you may be right. According to a recent study by Alan Hedge, professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, there is indeed an impact of indoor environmental conditions on worker productivity. In fact, the professor’s research shows that “typing errors increase and output decreases as office temperatures drop.”
To find out the links between office temperature and keyboarding performance, Hedge studied nine workers whose workstations were equipped with miniature temperature recorders provided by Onset Computer Corp.
The results: At 77 degrees Fahrenheit the office workers were keying 100 percent of the time with a 10 percent error rate, but when the temperature dropped to 68 degrees, the keying rate fell to 54 percent of the time — with a 25 percent error rate.
The conclusion: “This study shows that when employees get chilly … they’re not working to their full potential,” said Hedge. Brrr.
In the lab: Though only as recently as 2001, chemists were in demand, the employment picture for them is not as bright as it has been, according to Chemical & Engineering News, a publication of the American Chemical Society. The society has offices in Washington and Columbus, Ohio.
The magazine reports that unemployment has increased to 3.6 percent from 3.5 percent last year, a slight upward tick. And the study also shows that “a declining percentage of new chemistry graduates are finding full-time employment.”
Though doctorates often are the key to success for most professionals, “for Ph.D. graduates, this decline has been from 45 percent of the 2001 class to 37 percent of the class of 2003.”
But wages often are the litmus test of prosperity, and full-time salaries for 2003 doctoral graduates averaged $68,500 annually, up $500 from the previous year.
The report concludes that “overall, industrial hiring is stagnant and recruiters generally predict few new positions for the coming year.”
E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.