Author: Dr. Al Lee

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12 Tips for New Entrepreneurs Who Want to Try Crowdfunding

Q: What is one tip you would give a first-time entrepreneur who wants to crowdfund their new idea or venture? The following answers are provided by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's m
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14 Tips for Managing a Side Business With Your Day Job

Q: What's one practical tip for managing a "side" business while you continue working?The following answers are provided by The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising
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Time to Ask for a Raise? What the PayScale Index Says

PayScale recently released the Q3 2011 PayScale Index. The PayScale Index tracks pay trends by location, industry and job category. A salary index that says how much pay has changed in the last year seems like a great source for figuring out if you...
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Why We’d Rather Be in Canada: Wages Up

With the release of the second quarter (Q2) 2011 PayScale Index, we added tracking of national pay trends for Canada. The striking difference is how much better Canadian wages have bounced back from the recession than in the United States. In this blog post,..
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Are Unemployment Rates Really Going Down?

How accurate is the unemployment rate? As it goes up and down each month it causes a lot of people, particularly those looking for work, quite a bit of stress. Do you ever wonder if it can really be trusted? Or, if it matters...
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Salary Raises: Understanding Cost of Living vs. Merit Pay Increases

I have been looking at pay raises lately, and one thing I have been struggling with is how HR managers talk about raises. For example, a recent question on an HR discussion board was whether companies should give cost of living adjustments (COLAs) or "merit"
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2010 March Salary Madness: Another Reason to Hate Duke

Here at PayScale, it's all about the Benjamins. So when we made our predictions for the 2010 NCAA Men's College Basketball tournament, we ranked the schools based on the earning power of each school's alumni. With Stanford (and the whole PAC 10) ha
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Comp. Time and Overtime: Only After 45 Hours of Work a Week?

Things have been busy at PayScale – we have been adding new features to our flagship professional product, PayScale Insight, and our Research Center – so I haven’t had as much time to post on salary issues. I did respond to a reader’s
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“Salaried, Non-Exempt:” When Hourly Rate is “Flexible”

The question of "salaried, non-exempt" jobs came up again in my inbox (I have changed a few details to make the email not personally identifiable): My classification was Salary Non-Exempt, and I am being told that I will not receive time and one half
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Are Ford Workers Really Paid $73 per Hour?

The David Leonhardt article in today’s New York Times on the pay of automotive workers for the Big 3 got me thinking about what hourly wages really mean. Are Ford workers really paid $73 per hour? I did a quick look in the PayScale...
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Telecommuting From Home Success Stories

Csmonitor.com devoted an entire article to telecommuting from home success stories. In the age of Blackberry, Skype, e-mail and instant messaging, it is becoming more common for businesses to allow employees to telecommute from home, or even the local coffee s
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Why Graduates of the Best Ivy League Schools Earn More

Coveting entry to the best Ivy League schools is an American tradition. A recent PayScale study adds another reason to chase acceptance: Ivy League grads out-earn their liberal-arts colleagues. According to the study, the median starting salary for Ivy League
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University Graduate Salaries: Which Schools Pay Off?

PayScale just released a College Salary Report: Best Colleges & Degrees. With my able associate Erica Sanders, I had a great time digging through our extensive data to understand whether graduates of different schools have different long-term salaries. Wha
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Jobs with Good Vacation Plans

For some folks, time off from work can be just as important as salary. Fortunately, there are careers that allow you to take more time off than the average Joe who might get two weeks. In fact, some careers offer two to three months...
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Setting Pastor Salaries and Pastor Compensation

The stereotype of the televangelist with six cars and seven houses has pretty much faded away. When it comes to setting pastor salaries these days, BaptistStandard.com reports that the national average pastor compensation is $77,096. This average comes from Th
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Legitimate Work at Home Jobs: Work at Home Internet Jobs

We’ve all heard of outsourcing, but lately that trend is reversing somewhat, creating new legitimate work at home jobs in the U.S., according to an article on CSMonitor.com. These work at home internet jobs are called “home-based customer service a
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Avoiding nightmarish job interview questions and other disasters: Don’t show up drunk, or talk about religion, or …

With graduation season in full bloom, new grads are sailing the job-interviewing seas, but some are drowning right out of the gate. Others will confront nightmarish–and sometimes illegal–job interview questions. One candidate at Tavalon Tea, a prem
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Graduate School: Is It Worth It?

I recently had the honor of guest-blogging for Michelle Goodman’s always-informative “Anti 9-to-5 Guide.” Michelle and I discussed whether–and how much–higher education is essential to certain career paths. We also chatted about the soaring c
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Is a Person’s Salary Considered Privacy Act Information?

Is a person’s salary considered privacy act information?  SignOnSanDiego.com reported that the California Supreme Court ruled in favor a newspaper seeking government job info and salary numbers of public employees. The ruling said that the city of O
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List of Future Jobs in Demand: 2006-2016

"Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?" That is a hard-to-answer question in the ever-changing U.S. job market. What if you could look into a crystal ball, and see the fastest growing occupations ten years from now? While predictions about the
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Movie Actor Salaries, Are They Worth It?

With the Oscars around the corner, we will be hearing about movie actor salaries, which always seem to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Few of the best picture nominees are big box office winners. Fortunately for us, George Clooney has decided...
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Software Developer Salaries: Ruby on Rails vs. Java

"willCode4Beer", a software engineer and blogger in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently posted a comparison of "Ruby on Rails" and Java software developer salaries, using PayScale data. Noting that the average salary for developers in San
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10 More Good Jobs with No College Degree Required

In today's economy where people are losing their jobs and needing to start over, a hot topic is top paying jobs for people with no college degrees. Topping that list is an employment recruitment specialist; someone who helps companies recruit job candidate
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Hollywood Writer Salaries, Hollywood Writer’s Wages: Why They Are On Strike

You may have heard that members of the Writer’s Guild are on strike, but it’s not just Hollywood writer salaries that are in jeopardy. According to Reuters.com, non-writing staff members of TV shows are being shown the door. NBC recently laid off t
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25% Regret New Jobs: What to Consider When Considering a Job Offer

I have a colleague whose friend was one offered the head-writing job on the Fox-TV series America’s Most Wanted. He accepted the job, but was then told he would have to fly to a different location every week with the crime-fighting host John Walsh....
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Starting Lawyer Salary: Partner Lawyer Salaries

Wal-Mart is famous (or infamous depending on your POV) for its employees' salaries, and now it appears the big box giant is concerned about today's starting lawyer salary. As recently reported by the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart sent a memo to its legal couns
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Reining in Unwieldy Meeting Costs

Meetings come in all shapes and sizes. There are one-on-one meetings that can actually be productive, where you discuss a new strategy with a like-minded colleague. High-level, closed-door meetings are another sort, a permanent haven for some bosses. And there
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Salary of Surgical Technologist

Name: Patricia Eder, CST/SA/CTBSJob Title: Surgical Technologist/Surgical AssistantWhere: Kenosha, WIEmployer: Aurora Health CareYears of Experience: 34Education: Associate Degree +Salary: See the PayScale Research Center for median surgical technology salarie
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State Teacher Salary Comparisons: Texas Teacher Salary Gap

Texas state teacher pay is an interesting topic. In a previous column (Salary for Teachers vs. Average Pay for High School Coaches), I noted how high school football coaches earn a far greater salary than most teachers in Texas. The Statesman.com also reported
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Oil and Gas Geologist Jobs: Striking It Rich

With gas prices going through the roof over the past year, you might think the only ones doing well in the petro industry were oil company executives, but oil and gas geologist jobs are also bringing in strong annual salaries, according to a recent...
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Median vs. Mean Lawyer Salaries: Is Law School Worth It?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), "Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers", reported on the large number of law school graduates suffering under large debt with surprisingly low salary prospects. If only these prospective law s
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Professional Careers in Demand for the Future

Part of the American Dream is moving upwards, doing better than your father did, but a recent report on Money.CNN.com, suggests that the average job salaries of American men are heading downwards, and that they are actually earning less than dear old dad. The.
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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
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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 admi
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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 turnin
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Employee Wages: What is the Typical Wage in the USA?

A couple of comments by readers got me thinking about typical wages again. In the process, I realized that even the federal government does not know what a "typical" worker in the United States earns. This came as a shock to me. With the...
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Working for the Airlines: the Worst of Times?

Once upon a time, the U.S. airline industry was a good place to work, and employees showed up at work with smiles on their faces. So went the discussion I had recently with a retired airline worker, as we endured an almost eight-hour delay...
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Talk Show Host Salary: The Top Talkers

Getting paid millions to talk is about the easiest job out there, but getting there is another matter. Forbes recently covered the topic of talk show host salary. You may be surprised to learn that the largest talk show host salary belongs to Howard...
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Are PayScale Surgeon Salaries Off?

Chris, a reader, commented on the surgeon vs. football player salaries post, "Many of the average/base salaries for physicians/surgeons posted in this article are off by hundreds of thousands of dollars." I am confident that the data points that make
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Salary for Teachers vs. Average Pay for High School Coaches

Teachers don’t make a lot of money. That’s common knowledge. Still, it may surprise readers to learn that the average salary for teachers in Texas public schools is significantly less than the average pay for high school coaches, according to an ar
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Registered Nurse Careers

Name: Kim McAllister Job Title: Registered Nurse - Staff EmergencyWhere: San Francisco Bay Area Employer: Medium-sized community hospitalYears of Experience: 29Education: Associate's Degree in Nursing, Currently in school for my BSNSalary: According to the Pay
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Misleading Average Salary Predictions: Your Pay Will Increase 3.6 Percent in 2007

World at Work (the compensation professional organization) released recently a compensation budget survey by Compdata Surveys. The big news: the average preliminary pay increase budget is 3.65% for 2007! Broad averages like this drive me berserk. It is incredi
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Pro Athletes and Their Salaries

Athletes and their salaries are making the news often these days, CNN.com reports that international soccer star David Beckham has signed a 5-year deal worth $250 million dollars (salary + endorsements) with the Los Angeles Galaxy. The 31-year-old will be earn
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Top Paying Jobs for People with No College Degrees

In a previous column, I mentioned some top paying jobs for people with no college degrees.  The response was so strong that we are back for round two of the "best career choices with no college degree." Lest any parents out there accuse me...
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Salary Range for Recreational Therapist

Name: Sherri Kelly Job Title: Recreational TherapistWhere: San Diego, CA Employer: Various - Independent ContractorYears of Experience: 1Education: BS, Recreational Management, Utah State UniversitySalary: Use the PayScale Research Center to find t
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Salary Comparison: Married vs. Unmarried

Within the U.S. armed forces, married soldiers are paid a higher annual salary than military singles. This salary comparison hasn’t gone unnoticed by military singles who are marrying strangers in order to get a higher salary, according to a recent report by
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Salary Requirements for H-1B Visa: Pros and Cons of H-1B

Marketwatch.com recently reported that Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, appeared in front of Congress, which was weighing the pros and cons of H-1B workers. Gates advocated more H-1B visas to lure foreign workers to the U.S. because these "workers are u
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It’s All About Your Salary — and Your Debt

A recent New York Times story details the debt of Christine and Mark Moellering, a Midwestern couple earning average salaries–she earns $30,000 a year as an administrative assistant, while he makes $36,000 a year as a software applications designer. (Pay
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Wolfowitz to Depart World Bank

Paul D. Wolfowitz, president of the World Bank, on Thursday night announced his decision to resign following a weeks-long ethics controversy. According to the New York Times: The decision came four days after a special investigative committee of the bank concl
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America’s Squeezed Middle Class

A recent New York Times article examines two explanations for the so-called middle-class squeeze: inequality and instability/volatility. According to the story: The first one is about inequality. The top 0.1 percent of earners — that’s one taxpayer
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He Earns, She Earns

A new study by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation that cites a pay gap between men and women has sparked a flurry of discussion. According to an AAUW release: ” … just one year out of college, women working full tim
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Do Women and Men Earn Equal Pay in 2007?

Do women and men earn equal pay? I blogged some about this last year, but the gender gap in wage earnings was in the spotlight again when kgw.com (and other media) reported that five restaurant owners in Oregon plan to drop their prices for female customers by
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Praise Run Amuck

Management should shower accolades on the habitually tardy worker who suddenly shows up for work on time. That’s what a source says in a recent Wall Street Journal article on how many of today’s young adults can’t cope in the workplace withou
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NASCAR Drivers Salaries

Most people know that the National Football League (NFL) is the most popular sport on TV, but it may raise a few eyebrows to hear that the second highest-rated sport is NASCAR –the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. No longer just a...
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Global Warming Ventures

Is global warming heating up the U.S. job market? I spent the last few weeks asking that question, and found a trove of answers. Yes, experts explained, the way our country is beginning to confront climate change is spurring jobs now, and has the...
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No College Required: UPS Drivers’ Salaries and More

The route to financial success – I won’t even attempt to say what it takes to have a successful life in general – does not have to pass through college. Billionaire media mogul David Geffen went from high school graduate to talent agent assis
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Starting Salaries: College Grads

My son is a high school senior, so the angst is rising about applying to colleges, wondering about majors, and, generally, life choices. This got me thinking: what does the PayScale salary data tell us about colleges, majors, careers, and income? It turns out.
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Dream Job Description: What Is Yours?

“If you find a job you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life." I don't remember where I heard this first, but I think Confucius said the same thing centuries ago. Yet, according a recent survey by CareerBuilder.com and the Walt...
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Salary Range: Human Resources

Most children don’t dream of someday working in human resources, well, except maybe the precocious kids at HR.com. “Payroll administration,” “team-building games,” and “benefit guidelines” are not the most spine-tingling phrases in a job descript
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Pro Football Salaries vs. Surgeon Salaries: The Salary Super Bowl

As Super Bowl start time nears, this seems like an opportune moment to examine pro football salaries. Of course, the big question is, “Who is the highest-paid player?” The often-disappointing Atlanta Falcons failed to make the playoffs, but their quarterba
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Federal Judges’ Annual Salary: Constitutional Crisis

In his second annual report, Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts advocated an increase in federal judges’ annual salary, as reported by the New York Times. Roberts warned that federal judges’ annual salary “has now reached the level of a constitu
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Hourly Wage: Santa Claus

One of the more unique jobs out there is working as a Santa Claus. The job requirements include a sizeable tummy, a real beard (fake ones are out) and a convincing “ho-ho-ho.” While it may sound like holiday heresy to mention “Santa” and “
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Wage Rate: Tipping Bartenders to Casino Dealers

I have an ethically challenged friend who practices “second generation tipping.” He takes a tip off someone else’s table and puts it on his. His rational is, “I get good service, the waiter gets his tip; everyone wins.” To understand where his logic
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Career Salaries on TV

We all know that TV Stars, from Jerry Seinfeld to Ray Romano, pull in very large career salaries, but did you ever wonder what their characters make salary-wise? Remember the Baywatch cast? Back in their glory days, Pamela Anderson was raking in a reported...
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High Salary Range: Surprising Jobs

Would you like to make six figures? Who wouldn’t? Well, it may surprise you to learn that not everyone has to get a medical degree, work as a broker on Wall Street or spend their days inside a law firm to earn in the...
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Salary Calculator: Nursing 101

Recently the National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling (3-to-2) that will re-classify registered nurses — and possibly 8 million other workers — as “supervisors” if they perform certain types of duties. The National Labor Relations Board ruled tha
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Average Salary: Working in Iraq Worth the Risks?

It might surprise most Americans to learn that there are over 25,000 private contractors in Iraq. These contractors make up the third largest international force in the war-torn country, behind U.S. military and U.K. troops. For this reason, private contractor
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Mean vs. Median Salary: Why was mean ever used?

In a previous post, I showed how the mean salary and median salary can be very different. The median is much better than the arithmetic mean for giving a “typical" annual salary; median is the method that we favor in our PayScale salary survey....
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Why Is Median Better Than Mean for a Typical Salary?

In a previous post, I commented that PayScale's Salary Survey preferentially reports typical salaries based on the median instead of the arithmetic mean (average). Why is the median better than the mean for measuring "typical" values? The best way t
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Why Is There No Salary Standard Deviation on PayScale?

I am sometimes asked, "why doesn't the PayScale Salary Report and Research Center show the standard deviation of the data? (See Wikipedia for the (useless) mathematical definition of standard deviation.) People are are interested in the standard deviatio