• As Workers' Health Costs Balloon, So Do Their Waistlines

    The Census Bureau Tuesday reported a record number of Americans without health insurance: 47 million, an increase of more than 2 million. One of the major reasons for the jump, according to analysts and news reports, is that employers are shucking health insurance coverage, leaving workers to fend for themselves.

    The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer examined the connection between escalating health costs and another troubling trend: adult obesity rates, which rose in 31 states last year, says a report by the Trust for America's Health.

    Susan Dentzer, health correspondent for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, explained:

    But what the connection is -- and some health economists have begun to look into this -- is we not only spend more to treat people who are obese because they have very costly conditions, very frequently diabetes, but that's been a real contributor to the rate of growth of spending. And, in fact, one analysis suggests that as much as 27 percent of increase in health spending from 1987 on has been due to the rising rate of obesity.

    Both problems need fixing, but how?

  • Professional Organizer and Redesign Specialist

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    Name: Noelle Jackson
    Job Title: Professional Organizer and Redesign Specialist
    Where: Seattle, Washington State
    Employer: (Self) Small Business Owner - Redesign Consulting, Home and Work Redesign
    Years of Experience: 1 year of professional home and work redesign, 10 years doing home and work redesign for friends and family
    Education: College and Graduate School ( Northwestern University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill )

    Professional Organizer Salary

    Thanks to our fast-paced society, professional home and work organizers are in big demand these days. A professional organizer can set their own schedule, so this is an appealing career choice for those who need more flexible hours. We recently interviewed Noelle Jackson who explained exactly how to become a professional organizer and do efficient home and work redesign.

    She also spoke about the the factors that affect a professional organizer's salary, the steps she took to become a professional organizer, training to be a professional organizer, the National Association of Professional Organizers, home organizer tips, what exactly home and work redesign means, and why this is a good job for women making a career change.

    If you're wondering "How do I become a professional organizer?" or "What is a typical professional organizer salary?" and/or want to start your own business in home and work redesign, this Salary Story should be a priority on your to-do list!

  • Hospitalist Salary: Hospitalist Job Openings

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    Name: Frank L. Urbano, MD, FACP
    Job Title: Hospitalist
    Where: Mount Holly, New Jersey
    Employer: SAI Inpatient Resources, Virtua-Memorial Hospital of Burlington County
    Years of Experience: 9 years in practice
    Education: BS, Rutgers University; MD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; internship and residency, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

    Hospitalist Salary: Hospitalist Job Openings

    Many people who have seen hospitalist job openings may not know what a hospitalist position is, or have any idea about the average hospitalist salary. In this interview, we spoke to hospitalist Dr. Frank L. Urbano who gave us a detailed diagnosis on hospitalist employment, steps in pursuing a hospitalist career and the responsiblities of a hospitalist job.

    He also told us about the factors that may affect hospitalist salaries, how hospitalist physician jobs compare to other physician careers and the outlook on hospitalist opportunities. If you want to learn more about the requirements for establishing a hospitalist career, the typical hospitalist salary and what to expect from hospitalist jobs, this Salary Story is just what the doctor ordered!

  • Job Stress Can Lead to Mental Illness

    We live in an overworked society--and increasingly, it seems, in an overworked world. That's the gist of several recent news reports that explore the link between high-stress jobs and poor mental health.

    According to a BusinessWeek story:

    In a highly competitive, globalized world, psychological health is increasingly taking a back seat to moon-shot target-setting and a relentless focus on making the numbers. Jeffrey Pfeffer, who teaches organizational behavior at Stanford Business School, sums up the prevailing attitude at many companies: "First we're going to scare you to death and, now, give you some psychological counseling to try to make you feel better." Much more effective, says Pfeffer, is getting "rid of the source of the problem and not Band-Aiding it."

    Meanwhile, a recent study by New Zealand's Otago University and King's College, London found that 14 percent of women and 10 percent of men with work-stress experienced anxiety or depression by age 32.

    How can we get a hold on job-stress before it gets a hold on us?

  • Typical Salaries for College Professors, Higher Fees for Students?

    Will the increase of typical salaries for college professors ultimately affect average salaries for college grads? That's a question raised in a recent article in the New York Times. More public universities are charging higher prices for certain college courses in order to pay for equipment and college professor salaries - those who teach "premium" classes. For example, this fall at Rutgers, general ed tuition will be $8,541, but business students will ante up $8,716, while pharmacy and engineering majors will shell out $9,484.

    The idea behind this multi-tier system is that the average salaries for college grads, those taking "premium" courses, will be higher in the long run, so why not charge them more? But some educators worry that increasing certain college course fees is unfair to lower income kids who will have to take lower priced courses, thus resulting in a lifetime of lower average salaries for college grads. Does this undermine equal opportunity, or actually prepare students for the "free market?"

    How does your salary compare to typical salaries for college professors?  Find out with our salary survey.

  • Becoming A Flight Attendant

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    Name: Sherri Blaise
    Job Title: Flight Attendant
    Where: Detroit, MI
    Employer: Mesaba Airlines
    Years of Experience: 5+
    Education: B.S. in Journalism, Florida A&M University
    Salary: See the PayScale Research Center for the median flight attendant salary.

    Becoming A Flight Attendant

    For readers interested in becoming a flight attendant, or who want to know more about a flight attendant career, this Salary Story has the answers. We recently spoke to flight attendant Sherri Blaise about her steps toward becoming a flight attendant, what to expect from a flight attendant career and the average flight attendant salary.

    Working as a flight attendant means traveling to numerous destinations. That may sound fun, but Sherri gave us the inside scoop on what it takes to be a flight attendant. As Sherri explains, if you are flexible and have a winning attitude, you might be the perfect candidate for a flight attendant career. So fasten your seat belts as we prepare for takeoff, and learn more about becoming a flight attendant.

  • The Evolution of Higher Education

    The New York Times recently examined several public universities charging higher tuition for certain majors, such as business, science/engineering, and journalism.

    According to the article by Jonathan D. Glater, "Such moves are being driven by the high salaries commanded by professors in certain fields, the expense of specialized equipment and the difficulties of getting state legislatures to approve general tuition increases, university officials say. 'It is something of a trend,' said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers."

    Differential pricing draws mixed reviews from experts, bloggers and others, and some say it's not a new phenomenon. The bigger question, mentioned by a source in the Times story, is whether such trends  are pushing public higher education toward becoming a private good.

  • Bachelor's Degrees: Just What Are They Worth?
    Growing up, Saretta Holler always knew she wanted to write. She explored her options as college drew near, thinking she'd go into journalism. But after realizing she could pursue writing in public relations and make more money, she opted to study PR at San Diego State University and graduated in 1999. Holler's story begs the question: What's the value of a subject-specific bachelor's degree?
  • PayScale - Online MBA Programs, Online Degrees Accepted
    Distance learning is on the up and up. Not only are a record number of students engaging in higher education online-more and more college officials think distance learning is as good as or better than traditional classroom learning, according to a recent study.

  • My Job Duties Exceed my Pay; What Should I Do?

    A couple of readers asked the following questions:

    "[1] How do I get an accurate report on comparable salaries when my job duties far exceed my job title? I took a "part time" while finishing school which has transformed into much more than administrative assistant. [2] How do I know the true worth of the duties I perform?"

    The first question, since it is about market pricing an employee, is something we obsess about here at Payscale.com. The second goes beyond market data, and gets into the question of worth and what people should be paid.

    In this post, I will look at these questions. For those in a hurry, here is a hint at the answer to the first: complete the PayScale salary survey. :-)

  • Working Women and Online Distance Learning = A Virtual Match Made in Heaven
    For some women studying at Northeastern University in Boston, distance learning has made all the difference.
  • Uncle Sam wants you to drive to work. Then again, no he doesn't.

    The U.S. government is sending contradictory messages to the American public about driving to work, according to a New York Times story. A federal tax break supports people driving, allowing up to $215 a month in pre-tax dollars to go toward parking at work. But earlier this week the U.S. Department of Transportation announced $848 million in grants that seek to dissuade people from driving in five major cities.

    According to the article, Jeffrey M. Zupan, a senior fellow for transportation at the Regional Plan Association in New York, said: "It is perverse. If you’re going to institute pricing measures that are intended to reduce the amount of driving, you don’t want to keep in place other measures that encourage people to drive. What you want is a set of policies that work together.”

    What can be done about this illogical setup?

  • More on Workers' Health

    A recentpost on the CommuterPageBlog looks at a new U.K. report suggesting that country's increasing dependence on cars has contributed to obesity and climate change. The report, by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, offers American workers food for thought, especially since some companies are charging employees who don't meet certain health criteria (see my recent post on the topic).

  • Negotiation Techniques in Salary: Men and Women

    Negotiation techniques in salary vary from person to person, but a recent article in the Washington Post focused on the marked differences between men and women.  In evaluating salary negotiation differences, the post recalls an incident ten years ago, when a group of female graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University filed a complaint with Linda C. Babcock, a professor of economics.

    The female students complained that male students (in the PhD) program were teaching classes on their own, but the females were relegated to the role of teaching assistants. This was (and is) a big deal, because students who taught their own classes gained valuable experience. Babcock looked into it, and subsequently found that males had asked to teach classes, whereas females had not. This prompted Babcock to begin evaluating salary negotiation differences between the sexes.

    Are your negotiation techniques in salary successful?  Find out with our salary calculator

  • Fast Food Jobs: Salary of Fast Food Workers

    Name: Tyler Zimmerman
    Job Title: Fast Food Worker (Cashier)
    Where: Carbondale, Illinois
    Employer: Arby's
    Years of Experience: 1 and a half years
    Education: GED
    Salary: According to PayScale's Research Center, the median salary of fast food workers ranges from $5.91 to $8.86 per hour in different U.S. cities.

    Salary of Fast Food Workers

    Fast food jobs vary as much as the people who work them. For some, fast food jobs are a part-time gig, for others, an entry into the job market, temporary position or a full-time career. Tyler Zimmerman is a teen who has worked for Arby's for almost two years; that's a veteran in fast food jobs.

    In this Salary Story, Tyler gave us his fast food cashier job description, plus a behind-the-scenes look into the salary of fast food workers, things that annoy fast food workers, challenges of fast food restaurant jobs, factors that affect the salary of a fast food worker and current trends in fast foods. This is one super-sized combo you don't want to miss!

  • The Highest School Superintendents Salaries

    Teacher salaries get quite a bit of press these days (read about the average salary of elementary school teachers on Salary Stories), but you rarely hear about school superintendents. However, recently, the New York Times reported on some of the highest school superintendents' salaries, which happen to be in Westchester County in New York State. For instance, Mount Vernon, New York is looking to pay a new school superintendent almost $317K (salary and benefits), way above the median salary ($141,127) for a school superintendent in New York State.

    Mount Vernon school board president Lynn McBride defended the superintendent salaries in the New York Times: "In order to entice anyone to come into Westchester, we had to be competitive with the rest of the salaries in Westchester. Our superintendent has been one of the lowest paid.” Not anymore. The Times reports that the median pay package for a superintendent in Westchester County during the 2007-2008 school year is $288,400 (salary and benefits). In 2007-2008, thirteen administrators will actually earn more than $300K (total compensation), putting them in the "highest school superintendents' salaries" category.

    How does your salary compare to the highest school superintendents' salaries? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Should Unhealthy Workers Pay Penalties?

    Clarian Health Partners, a hospital chain based in Indiana, in 2009 will start charging workers who smoke, are overweight, or have high blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol.

    The plan, which could charge workers up to $780 a year, has drawn fire from opponents. According to the Chicago Tribune story:

    Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a Princeton, N.J.-based employee rights group, called the trend "a very dangerous road that could lead to employers controlling everything we do in our private lives."

    The BusinessWeek story says other employers are interested in Clarian's approach, quoting one source who says it might be a trend.

    But is Clarian doing the right thing?

  • Summer Seasonal Jobs: Students Getting a Summer Job?

    In the ancient days known as B.C. (before cable TV), summer for teens meant (1) getting out of school and (2) students getting a summer job, at least part-time. But these days, as the Christian Science Monitor recently reported, summer seasonal jobs are turning very competitive. The article says that "summer jobs for teenagers" market never recovered from the recession of 2001, and in 2007 there is more competition from older workers for entry-level employment for summer months.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked the youth labor market (16-19-year-olds) since 1948. The BOLS says that teen employment for summer months has traditionally been above 50 percent, but starting in 1998, the numbers began dropping. Professor Andrew Sum Andrew Sum, an economist and head of Northeastern University's Center for Labor Market Studies, forecasted (in April) that only 36.5 percent of teens will have employment for summer months; down from 45.3 percent in 2000.

    My son entered the labor market this summer. He had to do a lot of digging to come up with a part-time bagger job at the local supermarket. By the time I was his age, I had worked mowing lawns, delivering newspapers, cooking fast food, and washing dishes at Deerfield Academy (I didn't go there; I was a townie who served the rich kids).

    Are my son and other teens today just slackers, or are there other factors at work in the hunt for summer seasonal jobs?

    How does your salary compare to your teen's salary? Find out with our salary calculator.

  • Geologist Salary and Job Outlook

    Name: Dr. Jim Reynolds
    Job Title: Geologist and Associate Professor of Geology Division of Science & Mathematics
    Where: Brevard, North Carolina
    Employer: Brevard College
    Years of Experience: 30
    Education: BA, Master’s, and PhD from Dartmouth College
    Salary: See PayScale's Research Center for median geologist salaries.

    Geologist Salary and Job Outlook

    What is a petroleum geologist? What are different options for geology careers? For readers interested in the job outlook for future geologists and geologist salaries, this Salary Story provides an insider's look into a rarely examined profession.

    Dr. Jim Reynolds works as a geologist, teaches geology, and has 30 years of experience in the field. He recently took time out from his busy geology career to explain the definition of a geologist and what it takes to become a successful geologist. He gave us insight into oil and gas jobs, environmental geologist jobs, as well as a academic geology careers. For those who love to travel, Dr. Reynolds also described some international opportunities for geology careers.

    If you want to become a geologist, or want more info on current geologist salaries, don't miss this earth-shaking interview!

  • Kicking Credit-Card Debt to the Curb

    Why do so many Americans rack up so much credit-card debt?

    Myriad news articles, reports and financial-advice columns offer a variety of reasons, which fall into two camps: spendthrifty consumers are to blame and so are credit-card companies' deceptive practices.

    Legislation should regulate credit-card companies so they don't take unfair advantage of consumers, says Suze Orman. On the flip side, consumers must educate themselves about the intricacies of credit cards and debt, and set financial boundaries, according to other news reports (see stories here, and here.