Author Archives: bizcombuzz

Talk the Talk: Preparing a Skills Worksheet

[Instructors: Download the Skill Summary Template to distribute to your students.]

Whether you’re investigating a potential field of work or readying yourself for a job interview, knowing your skills and being able to discuss them is key. Complete the worksheet below to help prepare yourself to talk intelligently about your skills and attributes. Be sure to include both technical skills, or knowledge in a specific field, and soft skills, interpersonal attributes you possess that will be valuable in the workplace.

Example

Skill (Hard/Soft) Experience or Example
Proficiency in Adobe CS  (H) Design monthly newsletter for accounting firm
Excellent written communication (S) Write news releases, other marketing materials for ABC Inc.

Skill Summary Template

 

Brands Courting Eco-Conscious Consumers

Floating islands of plastic are no one’s idea of a good thing, and now major brands like Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Unilever, and PepsiCo are looking into reusable containers to address consumer concerns about disposable plastic and the waste it creates.

Single-use packaging is much of the culprit in creating islands of trash in the Pacific. In response to consumers’ complaints about this waste, manufacturers of shampoo, detergent, and packaged food will begin testing this summer to see if they can sell their products in glass, steel, and other materials designed to be returned and refilled.

Unilever will put deodorant in refillable steel containers. PepsiCo will sell orange juice in a glass bottle. P&G will sell its Pantene shampoo in an aluminum container. The products will not change, but their outward packaging will, and in so doing will respond to demands for recyclability and reuse.

Although the products in the reusable packaging won’t cost more, they willrequire consumers to pay for a deposit and arrange to return the refillable containers. The companies testing the packaging are waiting to see if their investments in the sustainable packaging will fly. Because unless a lot of people—not just the most eco conscious—are willing to do more than complain about waste, the mountains of plastic will just keep growing.

Discussion

  1. Why is it in the interest of big companies to offer reusable containers?
  2. What kinds of entrenched human behavior will these big brand manufacturers have to combat for reusable containers to become mainstream?
  3. What do you think motivates these companies to curtail plastic waste?

Avoid Burnout—Here’s How

Teaching college can be a burnout profession, especially for adjunct faculty with heavy class loads or tenure-track professors balancing research and publishing. Last month we wrote about student anxiety, so as we close out academic year 2018-19, it seems appropriate to address how college instructors’ demanding jobs can lead to teaching fatigue, and how to avoid it.

Between prep for multiple classes, mandatory administrative duties, the tyranny of endless grading, and the necessity for continuing professional development, it’s hard to stay fresh. Add needy students and the constant pressure of student evaluations, and it’s little wonder the flame that drew us to teaching flickers from time to time.

But who among us wants to be the instructor who looks bored before the semester starts, whose lack of enthusiasm kills even the most energetic student’s drive? To help you recharge before greeting your new students in the fall, we’ve put together some strategies that may help you approach your job differently next academic year.

Manage student expectations. Tell students early in the term that you are not available 24/7, and set policies for responding to student e-mails. You might, for example, tell students that you’ll reply to their questions within 24 hours and encourage them to connect with classmates to ask questions about assignments or missed class. Preserving time away from your students—protecting your downtime—is crucial to avoiding burnout.

Remember why you became a teacher. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day details: meetings, institutional requirements, administrative duties, and the like. Try to tap into what drove you to academia in the first place. Regularly remind yourself about the positive aspects of your job.

Develop efficiencies. Examine your workload and see where you might make changes that will ease your load. Perhaps you can develop rubrics that make grading a little less time consuming or drop one or two assignments. If you’re a researcher, maybe it’s time to slow down and engage with your job in a different way. Sometimes changing just one element of your routine can make an immense difference and help you feel less drained.

Be ready for under-prepared students. A common source of instructor burnout is dealing with students who are unprepared for academic rigor. While you cannot control your rosters, you canshow students that academic rigor is in their best interest because it helps prepare them for their futures as members of the workforce. By doing so, you can feel good about helping to create a generation of resilient learners.

Pursue positivity. Think about one or two positive events each day and reflect about why they were important. Research shows that this simple activity leads to less depression and improved satisfaction.

Weed out the negative. Track what adds to your energy level and what diminishes it. Add more of the activities that bring personal satisfaction and eliminate those that drag you down.

And last but certainly not least—take it easy over the summer!


Have you experienced burnout? How have you overcome it? Tell us your story.

 

 

 

This is very good! Should we name a source? Or sources?