Hot Topics: Wall Street Dumps Midcareer Employees
Since the recession, Wall Street firms have dumped more middle-aged midcareer employees through layoffs or attrition than any other age group, according to a FINS.com report. Between March 2008 and March 2011, almost half of workers ages 35 to 54 at U.S. investment banks and brokerages lost their jobs, or about 113,000 people, according to the report. During the same time, the total number of U.S. investment industry employees ages 20 to 34 fell by 39 percent, while the number of workers 55 and older grew 18 percent. Investment firms held onto younger employees because they work hard and get paid relatively less, and retained senior workers because of their knowledge and client relationships. That squeezed out the middle. "They're expensive and relatively expendable," Dan Ryan, a partner at executive recruiter Heidrick & Struggles, tells the site.
Beating the Bad Job Blues: More people are staying in jobs even if they don't care for the work because it's better than the alternative. So how do you not go crazy in a position you're not crazy about? One way is to bring your personality to your work, according to weblog Lifehacker, which came up with the top 10 ways to survive a crappy job. Others: stay healthy, play nice with coworkers, shake off minor annoyances, or work fewer hours -- and accept the pay cut that goes with that.
Corporate Escapees Discover Entrepreneurship's No Cake Walk: More Americans have started small businesses since the beginning of the recession than in any other period in the past 15 years, but many corporate refugees are discovering self-employment is harder than they realized, according to a New York Times report. Along with the freedom and fulfillment of working for yourself come hurdles such as learning a new trade, no safety nets, and physical and mental exhaustion. Jackie Alpers, 43, a laid-off media relations coordinator turned food photographer in Tucson, tells the Times she dreads not knowing when her next assignment will come up. But her hard work and anxiety are starting to pay off. "Even though I hate taking on all the responsibility myself and I'm often crazed," she says, "the moment that I hold a book I've completed, it makes up for all the uncertainty of getting there."
Ex-Lifeguard Sues Over Swimwear: A New York appeals court last week reinstated the claim of a 61-year-old former Long Island lifeguard that he was fired from a job he'd held for 40 years for refusing to wear a Speedo for an annual swim test. Roy Lester sued the state's parks and recreation department in 2007 after losing his Jones Beach lifeguard job for failing to squeeze into the skimpy swimwear, according to the New York Daily News. The lawsuit was tossed out on technical grounds in 2008, as was a second suit Lester filed. The reinstated case could go to trial this year or next. Lester, who's also a bankruptcy attorney, told the paper he believes the swimsuit edict was intended to help the beach dump older lifeguards. "This was not right," he says. "To me the whole key to being a good lifeguard is experience. An older guy sees a save before anyone else. You know the water."
A Real Bionic Man: Hugh Herr lost both legs at age 17 after a climbing accident, and was motivated to do something worthwhile in life in tribute to the rescuer who died trying to save him. That motivation led Herr, 46, to become head of MIT Media Lab's Biomechatronics Group, where he creates advanced prosthetic devices that feel and act like biological limbs. Herr, who still climbs using modified prosthetic feet, is profiled in a new book, The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices: How the Digital Magicians of the MIT Media Lab are Creating the Innovative Technologies That Will Change Our Lives. "My biological body will degrade in time due to normal, age-related degeneration," Herr tells "Fresh Air" in a report on the book and his work. "But the artificial part of my body improves in time because I can upgrade. I predict that when I'm 80 years old, I'll be able to walk with less energy than is required of a person who has biological legs, I'll be more stable, and I'll probably be able to run faster. The artificial part of my body is, in some sense, immortal."
The Age Issue: Vogue devoted its August issue to the issue of age. There are plenty of youthful models and Hollywood starlets featured in the publication's usual lavish advertising and editorial spreads. But the issue also devotes coverage to women at the other end of the age spectrum, including cover woman Sarah Jessica Parker, who recently turned 45, and Glee star Jane Lynch, 51. A particular favorite of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, according to her editor's note, is Ida Keeling, 96, a world-record holder in the 60-yard dash. "My pace has got some age on it," Keeling says.
Website of the Week: Ever wondered what a forensic photographer does, or how to get hired as a hotel revenue manager? InsideJobs.com, a new career site, has descriptions of thousands of jobs, including salary ranges, typical work schedules and education requirements. The site has separate sections on degree programs and schools, as well as videos of people in various occupations explaining what they do.
Last Word: "All this training has saved me and kept me alive." -- Charlie Futrell, a 90-year-old triathlete, in an Orlando Sentinel article
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