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The Big Q

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The following postings have been filtered by category Jobs and Money. clear filter
  •  Shot on the Job Hunt

    Monday, Feb. 3, 2014

    The first 20 student comments on “Shot on the Job Hunt” win a $5 Yiftee gift to a local business. Use your gift to try out that new flavor of ice cream at Mission City Creamery or spend it on two slices of your favorite pizza at Pizza My Heart. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, February 16th, 2014. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**

    Mike is a senior public relations major at a large university preparing to join the work force. One night, he gets in a conversation with his roommate Anne about career options and applying for jobs. Anne is also a public relations major, so they have similar interest in what they would like to do after college.

    Mike finds out that Anne has recently applied to a company called Reed PR. Anne went to the career fair the previous quarter and found a contact with Reed to network with. After some time networking and finding out more about the company, Anne determined that it was her first choice company to work for. She spent hours putting together a solid application. During her conversation with Mike, Anne shows him a blog that she created for her application with her cover letter, resume, recommendation letters, writing samples, and fun facts.

    The next morning, Mike decides to follow Anne’s example and create his own job application blog. He copies Anne’s format and finds out how Anne created her blog. He regularly checks Anne’s blog to look for tips in order to get a job. Mike decides to send his new blog to Reed PR as well, without telling Anne. He doesn’t think it’s important to let her know.

    About a month later, Mike hears back from Reed PR that he has been invited to interview with the company. Mike tells Anne this and finds out that Anne hasn’t made it on to the next round. Anne is surprised that Mike applied to Reed and is upset at him for not telling her and copying her application format. She feels betrayed.

    In a competitive world, was it okay for Mike to apply to the same job as his roommate? Should Mike have told Anne that he applied? Is it unethical that Mike copied Anne’s job application blog format? Does Anne have the right to be upset at Mike, or should she get over it?

    Useful Resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision-Making

    On the Job Hunt, Trust No One

    You and Your Friend Applied for the Same Job. What to do?

    What to Do When You’re Competing With a Friend for a Job

    Photo by Gvahim available under a Creative Commons license.

  •  Time is of the Essence

    Monday, Apr. 8, 2013
    The best student comment on "Time is of the Essence" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, April 21st, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates. 
     
    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
    Stephanie is wrapping up her junior year of college and beginning her search for a summer job. Stephanie has great grades, previous work experience, and considers herself to be charismatic and articulate in interviews. On paper and in person, she would be a great employee!
     
    However, there’s one big problem. Stephanie does not go to school in her home state, and since summer break only lasts three months, she (like many other out-of-state college students) needs to find an employer who will hire her despite the fact that she will be returning to school in the fall.
     
    After months of searching, Stephanie finds a dream job working as an Outreach Intern for a local non-profit, applies, and is asked to interview. The interview goes extremely well, and Stephanie is hired on the spot! As she is considering the offer, she notices that the organization uncompromisingly requires interns to work for a minimum of 6 months. She knows that she will be leaving the state to go back to school in the fall, so she either has to settle for a minimum-wage job that won’t build her resume (something that will be crucial when she graduates in a years’ time), or she has to lie by omission to this employer.
     
     In this job market, Stephanie’s find is rare and a perfect jumping off point for her future career. Her parents tell her that this is too good of an opportunity to pass up, and that a little white lie will do more good than harm. Stephanie is inclined to agree as she sees her classmates struggling to find work, and she rationalizes that as soon as she has to leave, an equally deserving candidate could be hired to fill her place.
     
    What should Stephanie do? Should she turn down the offer that she worked so hard to get and clearly deserves, but remain fully honest in doing so? Or, should she imply that she can work for the required 6 months, but simply tell her boss that she is quitting when she has to go back to school?
     
     
     
    Useful Resources
     
     
     
  •  Forgive and Forget

    Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

    The best student comment on "Forgive and Forget" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, March 10, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates. 
     
    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
     
    Consider these two students’ financial paths through college, and consider what the “Fairness for Struggling Students Act” (FSSA) would do for both of them. The act, now before Congress, would allow people with college loans from private lenders to get out from under those loans in bankruptcy. Currently, college loans are not dischargeable even if the borrower declares bankruptcy.
     
    Katrina’s parents worked hard all their lives, and although they were very well off, they always  encouraged her to earn her privileges through hard work and dedication. She has never gotten a  handout or “freebie” from her parents—she started working when she was sixteen, bought her own car,
    and worked hard at everything she put her mind to. When it came time for Katrina to go to college, her
    parents told her that they wanted to pay for her four years in full. Since they had the financial ability to, they wanted to give their daughter the peace of mind that comes with graduating with zero debt. Katrina realized that this is an enormous gift that required sacrifice, and she was incredibly grateful.
     
    Emily was also raised with the value of maintaining a strong work ethic. Unlike Katrina, however, she  wasn’t raised in a home that had the financial capacity to pay her tuition at an expensive private college,  largely due to the fact that she had three younger siblings. They were willing to send her to junior  college, but they could not afford more. Despite her parents’ inability to pay for her first-choice school,  she was determined to find a way to make it work at any cost. She applied to many grants, but she didn’t qualify for any federal or private need-based scholarships because her parents’ joint income was  just barely above the required threshold. After much difficulty, Emily decided to take on $150,000 in  debt to a private lender in order to go to the school of her dreams.
     
    Both girls graduated school with honors. Katrina was overcome with gratitude for her parents’ gift of a college degree, and decided to further her education with graduate school. As Emily crossed the podium, she looked forward to starting work at a non-profit agency.
     
    Five years later, Katrina had successfully attained a Master’s degree and was settled into a career. Emily,
    however, had been unable to keep up on her loan payments, and found herself deep in debt. Facing no
    other alternative, she filed for bankruptcy.
     
    If the Fairness for Struggling Students Act were to pass, Emily’s college loans would be forgiven when
    she declared bankruptcy. Is this fair to taxpayers and families like Katrina’s? Did Emily essentially make a
    poor investment choice by taking out so many loans, in effect robbing taxpayers of thousands of dollars?
    Are Katrina’s parents essentially being punished for being successful? Alternatively, Emily did everything
    “right,” except for opting for a cheaper education. Is this act the only way that an honest, hardworking student like Emily can find justice in an extremely flawed system?
     
     
    Useful Resources
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

  •  Paying For College – Who Should Take Responsibility?

    Saturday, Apr. 28, 2012
    The accompanying photo is by DonkeyHotey, available under a Creative Commons license on Flickr

    The best college student comment on "Paying For College – Who Should Take Responsibility?" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate.  Entries must be received by midnight, May 13.  Finalists are selected by likes, so get your friends to like your comment. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by email in the right hand column) for updates. 

    Kevin is enjoying his sophomore year at a small, private university on the east coast. He has good friends, he’s close with his professors, and he is involved with a community service club on campus. He also works 20 hours a week for dining services to defray the cost of his room and board. Unfortunately, however, he has just learned that a scholarship he received for the first two years won't be renewed, and his tuition money will take a big hit.

    When Kevin chose this college, his parents had agreed to pay for his schooling; however, in order to afford the increased cost, they would have to push back their retirement, working years past when they intended to stop.

    Kevin is already working the maximum number of hours he's allowed.  Assuming he can't find scholarships to cover the rest, should he be expected to attend a cheaper, state college? Or should Kevin’s parents be expected to make the sacrifice?

     

    Further Information

    Framework for Ethical Decision Making 
    Who Should Pay for College? (USA Today College)
    Student Debt and the Importance of College

  •  Resume Inflation

    Monday, Mar. 5, 2012

    The best student comment on "Resume Inflation" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, March 18. Finalists are selected by "likes," so click the Facebook icon above to let your friends know about The Big Q contest.  For updates and to learn the winner, subscribe to The Big Q blog by RSS (above) or by using the email feature at the bottom of the right hand column.

    Graduation is months away, and Nicole still doesn’t have a job. Thousands of dollars in college loans are backing up and payments are due soon. Furthermore, her mother was recently laid off, and her parents are in need of some supplemental income. Stress and pressure, then, is building as Nicole remains jobless.

    Fortunately, she just received a request from a marketing firm to send in her resume. However, Nicole’s resume is not quite up to the standard that this job expects. She has had an internship in marketing before, even excelled in the subject at school, but she doesn’t have the proper list of real-world experience her employers will desire. When pondering the issue, she realizes that she could exaggerate her responsibilities from her internship. Although she was typically filing and making coffee, she could say that she "wrote" a report she had in truth transcribed. When she staffed the front desk, she could claim she was doing “client intake.” And even though she quit after a quarter due to boredom, she could say she worked there for six months.

    Nicole knows she’s competent and capable of doing the job well; it’s just that her employers might not recognize it based solely on her resume. Since she is buried in debt and her family is in need, is it all right for Nicole to simply alter some facts?

    Useful Resources

    Framework for Ethical Decision Making
    Lying on Your Resume


     

    Photo by Chloe Fitzmaurice

  •  Should College Athletes Be Paid?

    Monday, Oct. 24, 2011

    Contest extended:  Best student comment on "Should College Athletes Be Paid?" wins a $100 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Nov. 6.

    Jordan’s family never expected to be able to pay for their son to go to college, but because Jordan received a full ride scholarship to play football at a big university, he has now been given an opportunity his family never hoped for.

    However, because his scholarship only covers tuition—and Jordan doesn’t have the time between classes and practices to get a job—he often isn’t able to afford social outings with friends like tickets to the movies or dinner in the city. In fact, he can rarely afford flights home to see his family, too. Still, he enjoys his sociology major and is looking forward to a career as a teacher after college.

    Meanwhile, the university itself is making millions of dollars off of the ticket sales, concessions, and memorabilia that Jordan’s athletic talents have helped stimulate. In fact, the value of Jordan’s scholarship is probably just a tiny fraction of the value that he, as a star running back, generates among the university’s rabid fan base. Thus, is it really fair that he doesn’t receive some form of monetary compensation in addition to his scholarship?

    Here are some resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    The Shame of College Sports

    Should College Athletes Be Paid? Why They Already Are

     

    Photo by Parker Michael Knight available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

     

  •  The Slowdown Hits Home

    Monday, Jun. 20, 2011

    $50 Amazon gift certificate to the best student response on this case received by midnight, June 5.

    Kayla is going to be a freshman at a prestigious university, which was her first choice for college.  Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more expensive institutions of higher learning in the country.


    When Kayla was making her applications, her family was in good shape financially, but just before she was accepted, she learned her father had been laid off from his job as a software engineer.  In order to send Kayla to her first-choice school, her parents intend to dip into their retirement accounts. 

    Should Kayla allow them to do this, or should she go to the less expensive state university, where she was also accepted?

     

    Here are some resources that might be useful:

     

    Balancing kids' college and retirement saving

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

    Pay for College (CollegeBoard) 

     

    Photo by Daniel Moyle available under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

     

    Posted by Rebecca Bivona-Guttadauro

  •  A Job Search Dilemma

    Monday, May. 23, 2011
    Job fair, University of Illinois

    Best student response of the week wins a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

    Eric, a second-semester senior, is looking for a job. Anxious about finding work in the worst economy in decades, he sends out scores of resumes for a wide variety of positions. The first call he gets is for a position that doesn't really interest him, but he figures he should be open to every opportunity. He schedules an interview, which he aces. In fact, the recruiter offers Eric the job on the spot. He would like Eric to start as soon as possible.

    Should Eric accept the offer? If he does, can he continue to pursue other jobs actively?

    Here are some resources that may help:

    First Offer Not Your First Choice?

    Job Search Ethics (UC-Berkeley)

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

    Photo by Jeremy Wilburn available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.