Career

The Most Dangerous Jobs In The USA

Some jobs are inherently dangerous. Working with large machinery or unsafe conditions can lead to injury and even death. Employment background check company, EBI, looked into the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ injury and illness reports for all industries in 2015. What they discovered was a collection of industries that have the highest incidence rates – making them some of the most dangerous industries in the US. They also looked into the state by state breakdown to determine the most dangerous states to work as well. You can see the whole study here (Source: Employment background investigation)

 

How ‘evolving’ technology leads to fewer choices and creates mountains of waste

Sharad Sinha, Nanyang Technological University

Let me ask you a question. Are you periodically forced to buy a new laptop because the technology – hardware or software – in your current laptop is no longer supported even though it’s fully functional? The Conversation

The Microsoft Windows operating system is estimated to power about 90% of world’s personal computers today. Newer versions of Windows appear every couple of years or so. Once that happens, many applications, such as your favourite web browser, rush to support the new version. Over a few years, these applications move away from supporting older versions to the same extent as the new one.

Google Chrome is a case in point. When it’s running on Windows Vista (a much older Windows operating system) on my laptop, it no longer receives updates from Google — that support has been removed. Microsoft has itself stopped support for Windows Vista.

Another example: I have found it very difficult to find an external hard drive – the device you use to back up your data, photographs of family and friends and songs – that works with my fully functional eight-year-old Windows Vista-based laptop.

Almost all easily available external hard disks now support some of the more recent versions of Windows. So, how can consumers like me get the required hard disk? The answer is that they probably can’t.

Product lifespan

Companies design products with an expected lifespan, and they plan technical support and product warranty accordingly. A good rule of thumb to estimate a product’s lifetime is to look at its warranty period, as it can help you guess how often its manufacturer would be launching new products.

Apple provides a one-year limited warranty and launches a new iPhone almost every year. After the initial warranty period, you need to purchase an additional warranty for extended coverage.

The warranty period is clearly not the actual expected lifetime of a product. But it does mean that if you don’t care for your device, you will be paying extra money for additional coverage in the best case scenario, or buying a new and more expensive device in the worst.

After a few years, even your caring attitude will inevitably reach a point of diminishing returns because no matter how functional the hardware is, the software technology driving it evolves much faster.

Reduced choice

New products are seen as new choices but, unless you have the financial means, you actually have fewer choices.

Using your older device constrains you because of the limited support for its hardware and software. And what happens when your old device runs into issues, even if they are minor ones? Since there’s no more support available for the hardware or the software, your options are to upgrade, or look for people with the skills to repair it.

An upgrade can be expensive and the people with the necessary skills may simply not exist. Technical repair skills have sadly been on the decline.

This is not just the case in the consumer electronics industry, where the US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts a decline of 2% from 2014 to 2024 for electrical and electronics engineering technician jobs, but also in the automobile and other industries. This is a trend seen across in advanced economies.

Developing countries tend to have secondhand markets and thriving repair bazaars, such as Nehru Place and Gaffar Market in New Delhi, Harco Glodok in Jakarta and 25 de Marco in Sao Paolo. You may have access to these markets, but the quality of their services is seldom guaranteed – and not all services are legal.

Effect on purchasing power

It’s one thing to have purchasing power limited by financial means and another entirely to have it curtailed because of reduced choices.

While companies may claim that user expectations change market dynamics, it’s also true that many companies make tireless efforts through advertisements and promotions to influence user expectations. Some actually try to set user expectations.

The latter is typified in the idea that “customers don’t know what they want”, which is eschewed by many because of Steve Jobs. The goal of this idea is essentially to manoeuvre customers to satisfy a company’s goals.

When a large customer base moves towards a particular set of products, a company need not continue offering support for pre-existing products. Many people may not need the new product, but they sell in the name of technological ‘evolution’ even when this evolution is nothing more than feature enhancement.

Contribution to e-waste

In countries where a service provider also sells consumer devices on contract, reduced choices may not be apparent. Take for example, smart phones such as Apple’s iPhone, which are sold by mobile carriers. With the launch of every a new iPhone, customers may have the option to upgrade to the latest device at a cost. Many see this as an opportunity to get a new device every few years.

Some of the devices discarded as a result may find their way through vendor buyback programs, others may be recycled or refurbished versions in certain markets – but mostly without any warranty. Many others still, though, find their way to a landfill and thus contribute to electronic waste.

Even if we give consumers the choice to not contribute to e-waste or delay it as much as possible, will they be likely to exercise it? Probably not, given the rate of technological evolution. Devices discarded because of a lack of technical support (like my laptop) are likely to find their way to landfills.

A lot of the technological evolution in consumer electronics market today is not trying to solve a pressing need. Rather, it’s trying to fulfil desires, not all of which are innately human. And, in the process, it is reducing the choices we have.

Sharad Sinha, Research Scientist in Computer Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Suceeding At Your Job, Facebook vs LinkedIn, Midlife Career Change

 

When just being good at your job isn’t good enough!- “To keep succeeding in your career, you must add value to your organization through continuous learning” (more at Strategy+Business). Also, here is how a ‘Craftsman-Like Approach’ helps to achieve greater joy at work (Forbes)

Okey! This one is a little tough- Is LinkedIn the new Facebook? Or Is Facebook the new LinkedIn? Either way, the game is changing. LinkedIn has completely transformed with some added functionality some of which include “Facebook-style” timeline. Facebook on the other hand, is now helping lower-skilled worker, freelancers, and those individuals who aren’t actively looking for a job.(see The Next Web)

Well, the big question is how would jobs seekers, employers and companies benefit from all of this?  Here’s how Facebook is helping small businesses having trouble hiring (Techcrunch)  Also, here is how to make  LinkedIn work for you (Converge) And finally, when you want LinkedIn  to retain its professional integrity, and avoid getting into a noisy conversation (Business2Community)

Midlife career changes happens more often than we can imagine. But with good planning, making a big career move in your late 30s or older is possible and can be quite rewarding. Here is what you need to do to  successfully make a midlife career change- (Entrepreneur) Also,  NPR shares a few posts highlighting reasons why people consider midlife career shifts (npr.org). At some point, radical change is required. Depending on your goals, if you choose a a completely new career direction you might require a re-training to improve or acquire new skills.(More at Stuff)

Yes, you can still  change jobs when you are near retirement. But there is need to understand the pros and cons, of voluntarily changing jobs on a retirement timing. Here is how -(Market Watch)  Also, understand how a midlif e career change can have a tremendous effect on retirement planning (Globe and Mail)