CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER “There is value in having a strong work ethic.”

Posted May 1, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

Tip for the day:  “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” (Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer)

Q:  Dear Connie:  My boss keeps talking about new employees not having a strong work ethic.  What is he talking about?  I have not seen anyone stealing from the company. 

A:   Dear Searching for Ethics:  In the 1950’s, my parents and their generation were known for having a very strong work ethic.  The old-fashion definition of work ethic is a dependable, honest, and hard worker.

Some employers have expressed concern that they are having trouble finding strong work ethics in their younger workers.  As a young worker, you will want to impress your boss with a strong work ethic by performing well on the job.  In today’s job market, managers are often expected to do more with less staff.  If you are the employee who is seen as dependable, your chances of success are greatly increased.

Until the past few years, ethics seemed to have little connection with success.  Young people could site examples of CEO’s, CFO’s, and politicians who were not held accountable for making unethical decisions and yet were extremely successful.  We have witnessed a shift in the value of work ethics.  Politicians are being removed from their positions; companies are vanishing because of unethical financial decisions that were made by the company’s management.

In Stand Out, Andrew J. DuBrin gives some tactics that are characteristic of people with strong work ethics.  You can start improving your work status by practicing these suggestions:

  • Demonstrate competence even on minor tasks
  • Assume personal responsibility for problems
  • Assume responsibility for free-floating (non-assigned) problems
  • Get your projects completed promptly
  • Accept undesirable assignments willingly
  • Follow through on tasks
  • Submit timely information
  • Be willing to work beyond the standard 40 hours per week
  • Look busy

If you take each job you have seriously by being on-time, dependable, honest and a competent hard worker, you will be giving yourself an advantage that leads to success.

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER “Having a Drug-Free Workplace”

Posted April 24, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

Tip for the Day: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Q: Dear Connie: Can you give me information about the Drug-Free Workplace Program? I have heard that my company may save money by implementing it.

A: Dear Drug-Free Workplace Employee: The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDOL&WD) provides some startling statistics regarding drug use in the workplace. For instance, nearly 70% of current users of illegal drugs are employed. One-third of employees know of the sale of illegal drugs in the workplace. Between 38% and 50% of Worker’s Compensation claims are related to drug abuse in the workplace. The use of illegal drugs in the workplace impacts productivity causes higher rates of absenteeism, and results in higher rates of turnover.

To counteract this growing problem, the Tennessee legislature created the Drug-Free Workplace Program. This voluntary program provides many benefits to participating employers. According to the TDOL&WD, employers who participate are given a 5% credit on their workers’ insurance policy. Also, if an employee is discharged because they are found to be in violation of the policy, it will be considered “for cause” which means that the employee will probably be unable to collect unemployment benefits. Finally, if an employee is injured on the job the burden of proof is shifted from the employer to the employee if that employee either fails a post accident drug test or refuses to take a post accident drug test.

If you are a small business owner, implementing this program may be beneficial to you and your business. A very small percentage of small and medium size businesses participate in this program even though most Americans work in small or medium size businesses. Having a program in place can protect your business interests and the people that you employee. 

The TDOL&WD has free materials, including posters, sample letters to employees, and a directory of resources, available to any company who is interested in implementing this program. You can receive more information by calling 1-800-332-2667 or by visiting .

Connie’s Career Corner Crime does not pay or does it?

Posted April 17, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

Tip for the day: Do what you love and you will love what you do.

Q:  Dear Connie: Recently I notice the letters CFE written after someone’s name. What does that stand for?

A: Dear Get Paid for Crime Investigation:  When you see “CFE” after someone’s name that means they have earned the designation of Certified Fraud Examiner. Certified Fraud Examiners are widely recognized as experts in the anti-fraud field. There are many career opportunities for CFEs and the area is growing at a fast pace.

Certified Fraud Examiners have the proven expertise to detect, prevent, and investigate a wide range of fraudulent conduct. Most major U.S. corporations, businesses, and government agencies employ CFEs, as do many international organizations.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ Report to the Nation provides the following statistics about fraud and white-collar crimes:

  • Fraud and abuse costs U.S. organizations more than $400 billion annually.
  • The average organization loses about 6 percent of its total annual revenue to fraud and abuse committed by its own employees.
  • The median loss caused by males is about $185,000; by females about $48,000.
  • The typical perpetrator is a college-educated white male.
  • Men commit nearly 75 percent of the offenses.
  • Median losses caused by men are nearly four times those caused by women.
  • Losses caused by managers are four times those caused by employees.
  • The most costly abuses occur in organizations with less than 100 employees.
  • The education industry experiences the lowest median losses.
  • The highest median losses occur in the real estate financing sector.
  • Occupational fraud and abuses fall into three main categories:  asset misappropriation, fraudulent statements, and bribery and corruption.

According to SmartPros, Certified Fraud Examiners have the expertise to resolve allegations of fraud from inception to disposition, gather evidence, take statements, write reports, testify to findings, and assist in the prevention and detection of fraud.

Connie’s Career Corner “Is a degree enough to be successful?”

Posted April 10, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

Tip for the day: If you want positive career growth, improve your skills.

Q: Dear Connie: I am struggling on my job. I have a degree but that does not seem to be enough to be successful. Do you have any suggestion on improving my situation?

A: Dear Needs More: Education is a valuable tool needed to enter many desirable positions in the workplace. It is not uncommon for a job to require a specific level of education before you can be interviewed for that position.

Many people who lose their jobs find themselves undereducated. A person may have been able to obtain employment many years ago without having a high school diploma. Now, we are finding that entry level jobs are requiring a minimum of a G.E.D. or high school diploma.

Though you have accomplished a bachelor’s level degree, there are other skills that employers value and deem necessary for you to be success in a job. It may be time to develop your skill set in areas outside of your formal education in order to continue growth within your career.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported that employers see three general areas that employees need to improve. The biggest group of failings reported by employers is in communication skills, specifically lack of writing skills. Other employers report that face-to-face communication is a problem because of the preference for e-mail communication. Interviewing, presentation skills, phone skills, and overall interpersonal skills are lacking, also.

The next group cited a lack of good ethics, analytical and problem-solving skills, initiative, specific computer skills, flexibility, and professionalism. Also, mentioned were independence, patience, and the willingness to work long hours to get the job done.

The third area was the lack of work experience in new college graduates. Some companies see the need for internships and any type of hands-on experience.

Compare the above attributes to your work skills and begin now to improve the ones that you find deficient. Also, give yourself time to improve on any of the mentioned skills you may be lacking. It will help you grow if you are able to find someone who has work experience, good interpersonal skills and work ethics to mentor you through this beginning phase of your career. Learning how to work is as important as learning the specific task that is needed for a job.

Connie’s Career Corner “Do your groundwork”

Posted March 27, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

Tip for the day:   When I read a good resume, I never wonder how long it took the person to write it. Spend as long as you need to make your resume outstanding.

Q: I have been working very hard to get a job. I still have not found a job. What else can I do to find employment?

A: You may need to work smarter, not harder to find employment. Often we think because we are staying busy, we are working hard to accomplish a goal. The truth is job searching techniques change over time. You may be job searching using outdated methods.

Use the right tools for your job search, such as:

  • a good resume
  • solid training and preparation
  • the proper uniform for the job
  • the right attitude for the job
  • good telephone techniques
  • good job-search etiquette
  • the right interpersonal techniques

Start by building your network of acquaintances. People are more comfortable hiring a person recommended by someone they know. When you start a new job you are not the only one that has to make adjustments. The employees that you will be working with also have to adjust to you and your work style. Hiring managers know that if someone they trust recommends you there is a greater chance of you blending in and being a positive addition to their work unit.

It is important for you to know who you are and what you have accomplished in your work life. If you do not know how to express this to a prospective employer, it will make it difficult for you to tell him how valuable you will be to the company. Try writing your accomplishments down on paper (use your resume as a guide.) Then practice explaining your accomplishments to a friend until you can deliver the information in a smooth, conversational manner.

If you are not job searching at the present time, you probably will be in the future. On the average, most workers change jobs every three years. So, while you are happily employed, go ahead and do the work to get your skills up to speed and keep your resume current. Then, if you do need to search for a new position you will not have to do the groundwork during a time of stress.

Connie’s Career Corner “What to do when you lose your job”

Posted March 27, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

Tip for the day: It is your job to clearly express to a potential employer what you can do for their company. Toot your own horn!

Dear Connie: I just learned that my company is closing and I am losing my job. What do I need to do to find another job?

Dear Soon to be Unemployed: Learning that your job is ending can be a shocking discovery. The fact that you can not do anything to prevent this from happening can make this a stressful time in your life.

What you can control is your search for a new job. Most people make the mistake of waiting until their job or unemployment benefits end before starting their job search. It may take you months to find the job you want and to be offered the job, so, start your search now.

First, take advantage of everything your company offers to help you transition to another job. Some companies provide outplacement service that may include workshops on resume writing and interviewing. You may have state and local representatives on-site to explain filing for unemployment and local career center services.

Next, you need to treat your job search like a marketing campaign. You need a marketing package that consists of your resume, cover letter and references. This marketing package becomes your personal advertisement! If you do not have a resume, this will take some time. You will need to identify your skills and present them clearly in written form.

This is the time to sharpen your interviewing skills. There are several different types of interviews. One type that is favored by employers is the panel interview. Knowing how to handle different types of interviews and practicing your response to questions will help you be more relaxed during your interview.

Finally, let all of your friends and family know you are job searching. Call up old co-workers and spread the word you are looking for a job. Networking is the way many people find their next job.

Connie’s Career Corner “There is no such thing as too old to learn.”

Posted March 20, 2014 by ncacstaff
Categories: Uncategorized

Tip for the day:  It is never too late to follow your dreams.

Q:  Dear Connie:  I never finished my degree.  It would be so helpful in securing a better job but I am too old to go back to school.  I will be turning 45 this year and do not think I would be able to do the work.  Do you think I could do it?

A:  Dear Need to Finish my Education:  Going back to school is a big decision.  Many people have gone back to school who are your age and much older.  Belmont had a young lady of 70 to complete her degree several years back. 

There are many skills that you have picked up in your life that will help you manage the stresses of college.  Your organizational skills are probably much better developed than when you attended college as a young person.  You will also see the full value of the almost lost opportunity of your first college experience. 

Consider all of the things that might be barriers to your success in finishing your degree:

  • Extra      expense that results from attending college
  • Less      time to be available to your family
  • Amount      of support from your family and friends
  • Your      own dedication to completing this goal

Work with the financial aid department to inquire about the amount of funds from PELL, scholarships and loans that are available to you to put toward paying tuition and books.  There are many sources of funding available and the financial aid officer will be able to suggest many different avenues for you to research. 

It is important to have a realistic idea of the time commitment required.  Talk with the schools academic advisors to get information about the classes you will need to complete your degree. Discuss the amount of time that will be needed to finish out-of-class assignments. 

Let your family know that you have always dreamed of finishing your degree.  Express your belief that education is important for everyone and can lead to a better life.  Ask them to support you in this effort.

The main thing you will need is to believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish this valuable goal.  You need to go into this venture with the determination that you have what it takes to complete your program of study.  You will build your self-confidence along the way as you see that you can complete the assignments and can do them well. You can do it!