• Bruising or Beneficial: In the Amazon Debate, What Really Counts Is What You Want (From Your Employer)
    Ever since The New York Times published its scathing, 5,000-word takedown of work culture at Amazon, the topic of work-life balance has been the talk of the town. The commentary won't stop, whether it's from Amazon's most rabid defenders or passionate opponents. Even famously silent CEO Jeff Bezos has issued a response. The resulting debate has been fascinating (and probably a bit cathartic for anybody who found themselves working over the weekend), but searching for a definitive answer about whether Amazon is "good" or "bad" probably won't make a difference in your daily life or sense of job satisfaction. What you can, and should, take from the ongoing conversation is the importance of corporate culture in general and its effect on the way you think about the idea of total compensation, and ultimately, the way you negotiate salary.
  • Why Do We Rank Schools? Vote for PayScale at SXSW, and Find Out
    How does South by Southwest pick its panels? By asking the internet to choose which of its most burning questions deserves an answer first. This year, PayScale has three potential sessions up for your approval: The Rankers on College Rankings: Why We Do It; How To Diversify Tech & Hack Our Unconscious Bias; and How Working in a Social Agency Made Me Hate Social. Use the SXSW PanelPicker, and tell organizers what you need to know.
  • The 10 Best Colleges in America
    What makes a school great? Every publication that ranks colleges and universities has its own methodology, usually a combination of test scores prior to entering school and starting salary after graduation. Business Insider, which debuted its seventh annual ranking this week, uses SAT scores per College Board, median starting salary for grads according to PayScale, and feedback from a survey of over 1,000 readers. Their list might not contain many surprises, but it does provide insight into what makes a top school in 2015.
  • When the Boss Loves Meetings, Escape Using This 5-Step Plan
    If you're a manager looking to shorten meetings, there's plenty of advice out there for you. Tips on how to free up your time when you're not the person in charge are a little harder to come by. That's because managers and the people they manage often have two very different sets of priorities: for the managers, every minute spent in meetings is potentially applicable to their goals; for the managed, meetings often represent a desert of productivity, dead time in which nothing gets done. If you're among the latter group, you might feel powerless to change your circumstances – but you're not totally without options.
  • Is Amazon a 'Soulless, Dystopian Workplace'?
    This weekend, The New York Times published an exposé of working conditions at Amazon corporate. Amazonians, the article claims, are required to work long hours, in a data-driven environment that means constant performance evaluations; are expected to answer emails after midnight, sometimes at the prompting of follow-up texts; and are encouraged to inform on one another to management. Workers who don't come up to snuff allegedly are culled in layoffs that a former employee describes as "purposeful Darwinism" – some former employees claimed to have been pushed out after miscarriages or cancer. In an internal memo shortly after publication, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos responded, saying that the company described doesn't match his view of the organization and urging workers to come forward if they disagree.
  • PayScale's VIP Blog Roundup: Help! My Helicopter Parents Might Sabotage My Career
    Today's parents are pretty involved in their children's lives – often to a degree that seems excessive to those of us who grew up (or raised kids) in the '70s and '80s and were lucky if we knew we knew what a seatbelt was and that cheese didn't naturally form in pre-packaged single slices. Unfortunately, some of these helicopter parents don't let go once their kids graduate and join the work world. In this week's roundup, we hear from one such adult child, plus get some tips on what recruiters want to see on your resume and how to free yourself from negativity.
  • No, Your Company Is Not a Family
    In a perfect world, we'd be honest with our employers and they with us. No worker would ever fudge their previous salary in order to get paid what they deserve; no hiring manager would claim to be out of budget, when in fact they were using it to secure a more in-demand skill set. Perhaps most important of all, no executive leader would ever tell this corporate fib: "Our company is just like family."
  • The 10 Worst States for Student Loan Debt
    The class of 2015 is the most indebted to date, with student loan debt adding up to almost $68 billion total, including federal and private loans. The average graduate will have to pay back $35,000, according to data analysis by Edvisors, and the student loan default rate hovers around 13 to 14 percent. While politicians debate the best way to combat student loan debt, or mitigate its crippling effects, individual students must decide the best way to minimize their debt load. A recent WalletHub report reminds us that where students live can be an important factor in determining how much money they owe – and how quickly they're able to pay it off.
  • Bad News, Men: Robots Are Coming for Your Jobs, Specifically
    The robots are coming, and they're going to scoop up some, most, or hardly any of our jobs, depending on which expert you're listening to and which data they're using. What a potential automated takeover would mean for mankind is up for debate, but recent research shows that it's probably mankind, and not womankind, that needs to worry. If robots do take over our jobs, Oxford researchers say, they'll come for the ones that are most often done by men.
  • 3 Happy Reasons People Quit Their Jobs
    Very few workers stick around until retirement, collect their pension and their gold watch, and ride off into the sunset. This is mostly because there are no pensions, watches now bear Apple logos and will be updated every six months until the earth is swallowed by the sun, and retirement comes whenever you're past age 60 and get laid off. In fact, the average worker stays at a job only 4.6 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But, that doesn't mean that every reason to quit is bad news.
  • PayScale's VIP Blog Roundup: How to Rebound From Burnout
    Feeling totally done with work today? Unfortunately, it's probably not time to go home yet. Worse, maybe your problem isn't just a "today" issue – burnout can sneak up on you, and knock out your productivity for quite some time. In this week's roundup, we look at ways to prevent and overcome burnout, plus methods for dealing with academic isolation, and how to do just one thing that will make your boss love you forever.
  • BLS Jobs Report: 215,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment Unchanged at 5.3 Percent
    After a relatively soft ADP report, tallying the addition of 185,000 jobs to private payrolls in July, this morning's release of the Employment Situation Summary from the labor department is good news. The report, which includes government jobs as well as those in the private sector, showed that total non-farm employment increased by 215,000 jobs last month, just shy of the 223,000 jobs predicted by economists. Unemployment was flat at 5.3 percent.
  • Microsoft Doubles Maternity Leave, Increases Paid Parental Leave
    A day after Netflix announced it would offer a year of unlimited, fully paid leave to all new parents, Microsoft announced improvements to its own parental leave policy, as well as increasing 401(k) match and adding paid holidays to the company calendar.
  • 5 Working Parents Share What It's Really Like to Use Parental Leave
    Last night, Netflix announced what may well be the most generous parental leave policy in the country – which isn't saying much, given that the U.S. mandates no paid leave, and offers only 12 weeks of unpaid time off for new parents. To get a sense of how radical (and unusual) policies like these are, we asked working parents in a variety of industries to share their experiences of the state of parental leave in the United States today.
  • Netlix Offers 'Unlimited' Year of Paid Maternity and Paternity Leave
    The United States is one of only four countries in the world that doesn't guarantee any paid leave for new parents. Americans who work for the government or private companies with 50 or more employees are usually covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period – but when expenses are higher than ever before, families are often hard-pressed to use unpaid leave. As a result, employers in competitive niches like tech use paid parental leave as a way to woo in-demand talent, with giants like Google and Facebook often topping the list. On Tuesday, Netflix announced a paid parental leave policy that would make even the most pampered employees green with envy: unlimited time off, at full pay, after the birth or adoption of a child.
  • ADP Jobs Report: Private Sector Added 185,000 Jobs in July
    Prior to this morning's release of the ADP National Employment Report, economists predicted the addition of 215,000 jobs to private payrolls. The actual number, 185,000, was the lowest since April.
  • Here's Why Your Office Is So Cold
    If you're a woman and work in an office, you're probably longing for fall, and not because you enjoy autumnal fashion and Pumpkin Spice Lattes. No, for many of us, the end of summer will mean the end of freezing to death under the arctic blast of the office air conditioning. Before you roll your eyes, menfolks and other warm-blooded people, go put your hands in the freezer for a few minutes and then come back and try to type something. We'll wait. When you return, cast your eyes on the abstract of a recent study, published in the journal Climate Change and entitled Energy Consumption in Buildings and Female Thermal Demand, which demonstrates what many female office workers have been saying for years: the office thermostat is set with men in mind.
  • 10 Standout Tips From #MondayMotivation
    Supposedly, Monday is one of the most productive days of the week, but some weeks, you couldn't prove it by how many of us feel. After a weekend of chores and catchup and sometimes, sneaky bits of work when our loved ones aren't looking, it's no wonder we don't feel super motivated come the first day of the week. Ironically, help arrives via one of the greatest means to waste time and tank your productivity: Twitter.
  • 1 in 3 Workers Have Fallen Asleep on the Job
    How are you feeling today? If you said, "sleepy," you're not alone. In fact, one survey found that 31 percent of human resource leaders have seen or heard about a worker falling asleep on the job. The cost to companies is obvious – $63.2 billion in lost productivity due solely to insomnia – but if you're among those sleep-deprived workers, you're probably more concerned about the fact that all that lost sleep is impacting you personally and professionally.
  • PayScale's VIP Blog Roundup: Kill the Vocal Fry, Get the Job You Deserve?
    There's plenty of debate about whether or not vocal fry, that Kardashian-esque speaking affectation, is bad for you, professionally. Some experts claim that talking like a reality TV star will permanently cripple your career, while others note that even high-level financial executives now embrace the professional equivalent of baby talk. Regardless, having more awareness of and control over your public image is always a good thing. This week's roundup covers how to manage vocal fry, plus networking without feeling phony, and staying productive during the lazy days of summer.