Tag Archives: employment

Use Your Career to Change the World

The last few years have seen a crazy world take shape in front of us. Between climate crisis, the pandemic, economic upheaval, wars, racial inequality, gender issues, and political turmoil, it makes one wonder how to best contribute to building a better world for the future.

After all, it feels good when we make a positive impact. It can be a small change such as contributing a few dollars to someone in need, or it can be a larger change such as starting a new program or organization for social justice or community service. And of course our jobs and careers can also contribute to making positive changes, either through donating money or using our time to make inroads to solving issues.

A movement called “Effective Altruism” formed in the late 2000s by Oxford University philosophers uses science and data to determine how people can use their time and skills to do the most good in society. When the movement first began it focused on lucrative careers so as to generate more money to contribute to important causes. But that has morphed into other approaches to doing good with our careers. This has been particularly true in the past few years during the pandemic as workers consider their purpose and meaning of their work.

This led to the nonprofit called “80,000 Hours” which evolved from Effective Altruism to help people design careers where they can do good things in the world. Why 80,000 hours? On average, today’s workers are likely to spend 80,000 hours working over a 40-year period (40 hours/week x 50 weeks/year).

But how does someone find the right career to pursue? What is our best opportunity to have a positive impact in the world? 80,000 Hours gives advice to job-seekers who are looking for high-impact jobs that address the social problems that concern them. Perhaps it is working at a start-up company focused on a new medical intervention, or a technology company focused on climate change.

The four main factors for defining your impact are:

  1. Help solve a more pressing problem.
  2. Find a more effective solution.
  3. Find a path with more leverage.
  4. Find work that fits you better.

Think about it.

What issues drive you? Where can you do the most good?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This is a slightly softer activity that the usual ones about creating a new marketing program. But, it is very relevant to today’s students.
  2. Discuss the importance impacting local and global issues for the future benefit.
  3. Poll students: What are their concerns for the future? With what issues would they like to get involved?
  4. The following two organizations and websites can take some time to review. Set aside some class time to allow teams to review the articles and approaches.
  5. Show the website for Effective Altruism: https://www.effectivealtruism.org/
  6. A video explanation: https://youtu.be/nwhoSX9AFXU
  7. Show the website for 80,000 hours: https://80000hours.org/
  8. A video for 80,000 hours: https://youtu.be/1xsR0XBwyo4
  9. Divide students into teams and have each team prepare a summary of what was learned from these websites.
  10. Consider a discussion board or assignment that focuses students on the topic of how to use their skills.

Sources: Varagur, K. (Oct. 10, 2021). Can your career help change the World? Wall Street Journal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

The Changing Consumer Spending

Consumer spending drives the U.S. economy, accounting for roughly 68% of the GDP. The spending includes everything we buy: food, services, entertainment, groceries, haircuts, and more. From the beginning of the year (when the economy was up), the nation has seen rising unemployment, and that means less wages to spend.

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are changing consumer behavior – what we spend our income on as well as how much we spend. As consumers have weathered the coronavirus pandemic and states have enforced lock-downs for shopping and entertainment, our spending and saving habits have shifted.

Interestingly, personal income rose 10.5% in April, the result of a rise in government rescue programs and household stimulus payments. But consumers also cut their spending on restaurants and hotels, as well as cut health care expenditures. In regards to large purchases, spending on autos declined 30% and furniture and appliance spending cut by 20%.

The first few weeks of the pandemic brought consumers out in mass to stock up on pantry items including toilet paper, soup, macaroni, beans, and other comfort foods. The next few weeks saw consumers buying more basic ingredients as they cooked more meals at home.

What’s next for consumer shopping changes?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: In the past month, roughly how much money have they spent? What items have they purchased?
  2. Is this spending different than what they experienced before the coronavirus pandemic? How is it different?
  3. Show video from WSJ about spending: https://www.wsj.com/video/consumer-spending-slid-in-april-here-why-that-matters/14661D9B-8251-43EB-B082-EDDE09187E2F.html
  4. Discuss trends in items being purchased.
  5. How should companies be using these changing habits to their advantage? Should marketing campaigns change?

Source: Wall Street Journal; other news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Employees Tell the Best Places to Work

Looking for a job can be intimidating and confusing. Companies (just like prospective employees) try to put their best foot forward to convince you that they are the best place for you to grow and deploy your talents. But, that is not always true. Working for a company that isn’t a good fit can be a miserable and negative experience for employees.

So, where should I job candidate look for information about a company? Try asking a companies’ current (and previous) employees for information. One such source for this type of information is the Employees’ Choice Awards from Glassdoor. These awards are based on the input from at least 75 employees at a company, and covers topics such as work environment, pay, and more. The list covers the best 100 companies to work for in 2019, as well as best cities for jobs, and highest paying jobs.

This year’s top companies to work for include:

  1. Bain & Company
  2. Zoom Video Communications
  3. In-N-Out Burger
  4. Procore Technologies
  5. Boston Consulting Group
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Facebook
  8. Google
  9. Lululemon
  10. Southwest Airlines

Where do you want to work?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Suggestion: For this discussion, invite someone from the campus career services center to attend class and moderate the discussion.
  2. Discuss what makes a job and company rewarding. What companies are they interested in working at?
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a list of the 10 things they want from a job.
  4. Build the list on the white board. Where are the common themes?
  5. A brief video can be found at: https://youtu.be/s5BuPaNCbiE
  6. The full report is at: https://www.glassdoor.com/Award/Best-Places-to-Work-LST_KQ0,19.htm
  7. Give students time to explore the site and companies. Now, where are they interested in working?

Source: Protalinksi, E. (4 December 2018). Glassdoor: Zoom dethrones Facebook as the best tech company to work for in the U.S. Venture Beat.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities