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Home > Blog: Work/Life

Reaching Work / Life Balance

Ever Consider Working as an Emergency Nurse?

This is a true career story as told to This interview will take you through the ups and downs you can expect as an Emergency Nurse, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn, and more.  More »

Steve Jobs on Job Searching (RIP)

A simple quote from the late Steve Jobs on what goes through a hiring manager's head when they're looking for new employees. Keep it in mind during your job search!  More »

How to Dress Interview Appropriate on a Tight Budget

What do you think of when you think of interviewing? I think of answering a lot of tough questions and wanting to make a good first impression. The best way to make a good first impression is to dress appropriately for the company setting. For a lot of women, this can be a daunting task because they simply don't have the means to get a business appropriate outfit.  More »

Going Back to School Doesn't Have to Be Scary

A lot of people talk about or consider going back to school at some point during their career, either to learn more about their field, earn that ever-important graduate degree, or to reach the next step on the corporate ladder. But many don't actually enroll for one simple reason: It's scary.  More »

How to Stay Sane While Working at Home with the Kids

Let's face it: caring for kids is a full-time job, especially when they are younger than school-aged. Your typical day already consists of diaper duty, snack and meal times, play activities, and (hopefully) educational instruction of some sort. And you're expected to get your work done with all of this going on! Here are some ways to keep your family and work life running well, without losing your sanity.  More »

Poll: Are You Feeling the Optimism, Job Seekers?

Signs are pointing to better times ahead, but long-term job seekers are having trouble staying optimistic. As Optimism Month continues, what's your feeling about your job search prospects? Are you optimistic, neutral, or miserable? Let us know in our poll.  More »

March is Optimism Month: Be Positive!

Last year, an 18-year-old boy who played on my son's high school football team lost his battle with brain cancer. Why would I mention that in a post about optimism? Because this kid left an extraordinary legacy of optimism. Sharing his message seems like a wonderful way to kick off Optimism Month. Watch for more posts about Optimism in the Job Search on the Pongo Blog every Tuesday throughout March.  More »

The Pay is $100 an Hour, But Only Nitpickers Need Apply

Many of us dream about what it would be like to have a high-paying job, like a doctor or a lawyer. A big house, fancy cars, the nicest clothes … then we wake up! But did you know you can be a nitpicker and get paid as well as a surgeon? You just have to know how to pick nits. Literally.  More »

Name Something You Love about Your Job (or the Search)

Here's a question to ponder for Valentine's Day: What do you love about your job search? Or your job? Share it with us.  More »

6 Ways to Revive Your Job Search Resolutions Today

Do you feel like pulling the plug on your New Year's resolutions because you haven't made enough progress? That's fine if you resolved to clean out your closets. You can try again next year. But if your resolution is to find a new job, giving up is not an option. Renew your resolve with these six ideas.  More »

Does Your Job Fit Your Zodiac Sign?

Has your astrological sign ever impacted what career or jobs you've chosen? Or your job search? Maybe it's worth a second look. One group of astronomers says the signs are all wrong, but astrologers disagree. Does your job or career reflect your astrological sign? If so, which one?  More »

Poll: How Long Should Someone Stay at a Job?

Some people change jobs often. And when hiring managers review your resume, they might look at your length of time with current and previous employers for signs of job hopping. But how do you define that term? Vote in our poll and comment on the topic.  More »

Unemployed? 3 Tips for Surviving Holiday Parties

If you've been unemployed -- whether for six days, six months, or even longer -- there's a good chance some stranger will soon catch you off guard with that oft-used icebreaker at a holiday party: What do you do? Here are three ways you can respond without getting bummed out.  More »

What Are You Thankful For in Your Career?

While you're busy making pies, cooking up cranberry sauce, or picking up your pre-cooked bird because you can't cook, take a minute to ponder what you've been thankful for in your career this year.  More »

A Pilgrim's Job Search: Not So Different from Today

As you watch this video, you'll probably find the colonial job seeker's struggles eerily familiar. In 1625, blacksmith William Palmer, a victim of the economic troubles in his native England, had lost his business. Like many of his modern counterparts, he made a difficult decision to relocate for better job prospects.  More »

Do Employers Put Too Much Emphasis on a College Degree?

Does everyone need a college education? More to the point, if a job posting calls for a bachelor's degree, and you meet all the other requirements, should it matter that you don't have a degree? Jump in to comment on this topic.  More »

Was There a Teacher Who Influenced Your Career?

A TV sitcom actor from the 1980s becomes a high school teacher. And the lesson he imparts is that being a teacher is not an easy job, but it can be rewarding. In honor of World Teachers' Day, tell us what teachers have inspired you in your chosen careers.  More »

What's Most Important in Accepting a Job Offer?

Ever get the feeling that you and the people who run businesses are on different planets? If you do, you're not alone, at least when it comes to what a job seeker is looking for in an employer. A recent study found differences of opinion between employers and employees on the reasons people want to work for a company. What's most important to you when you decide you want to work for a particular company?  More »

Labor Day: It's Got Something to Do with Work, Right?

For many, Labor Day is not so much a pause to celebrate labor as much as it is the unofficial end of summer, the time when most families take vacations from work and the kids stay home from school. But in thinking about this holiday, here's a question for you to ponder: What do you like about your job, the work you do, your co-workers, or your chosen profession?  More »

Talk Careers with Your Kids When They're Kids

Watching my daughter graduate from Penn State this year was a proud moment. It took me back to the time I graduated, and how I had had my pick of several job offers. But for my daughter and millions of other new grads, the scenario has changed. That's why it's important that parents talk about careers with their kids when they're kids.  More »

Simplify Your Life and Your Job Search Will Follow

August 1-7 is Simplify Your Life Week. Maybe we should all celebrate by figuring out the few simple disciplines that we can do each day to move us closer to our own brand of success.  More »

Valuable Career Lessons from a Baseball Controversy

The other night, in a mistake heard 'round the sports world, an umpire's incorrect call robbed a pitcher of a place in baseball history. But it's the reactions of the two principals in this drama that offer valuable lessons for job seekers and job holders.  More »

New Grads: Don't Wait to Start a Retirement Fund

If you're still looking for that first job after graduation, saving for retirement may be the last thing you want to think about. But, it's actually one of the best things you can do for your future finances, even if you'll want to spend every penny of your first few paychecks and know you won't be retiring for four more decades.  More »

Poll: Is it Better to Work on Strengths or Weaknesses?

A couple months ago, my manager had our whole team take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment test. I'm a sucker for quizzes, questionnaires, and personality tests, so I was delighted. I went into it curious to find out about my strengths. What I didn't expect was that learning about my strengths would give me a whole new way of looking at my weaknesses. (They may not be so bad, after all).  More »

What Did You Learn from Your First Job?

Many of us are inclined to remember a lot of firsts in life: first kiss, first beer, first date, first car. And, of course, first job, especially the first job after graduating from college. What first job experiences do you think are most important for those who are just graduating from college?  More »

Meet Cori, a New Grad Facing Life after College

What's it like to make the transition from college to the real world? Here's the story of how one member of the Class of 2010 has prepared to find that first job.  More »

New Grads: What Did College Prepare You For?

I feel like most of my college courses were useless, unnecessary, and a waste of time and money. Don't get me wrong: College was undoubtedly an experience worth having. But just as most college students would say, college did not teach me how to grow a career, be a homeowner, or navigate my personal life around a full-time job. What did it do for you?  More »

Tell Us about the 'Wrong Turns' in Your Career

Good hiring managers will always have their antennae up during job interviews for signs of a good or bad candidate. Recognizing the difference is a skill that comes from experience, gut feel, or both. But when they ask about the wrong turns people may have taken in their careers, many candidates wind up tongue-tied.  More »

A Job Seeker's Networking Letter to Friends

Stephen H., an active job seeker from Oakville, Ontario, is fully aware of the importance of networking. He keeps his LinkedIn profile updated, attends a job seekers' networking group, and has told all his professional contacts he's looking. What he hadn't done, until recently, is reach out to his personal network, the people in his life who know him from non-work-related settings. This networking letter solves that problem.  More »

Back on the Job? Restore Your Battered Finances

Poor economic conditions, including unemployment rates near 10%, have forced many people who wouldn't normally do so to liquidate their savings and rely on credit cards to pay their bills. As the economy improves, and more people go back to work, rebuilding financial strength should be a top priority. Here's where you should begin.  More »

Unemployed? What Do You Wish Your Friends Would Do?

Now that your job search is a few months along, the initial flow of support has probably dried to a trickle. It's not that your friends don't care anymore, but they might not know what else they can say or do to help you. It's up to you to give them some suggestions!  More »

May There Always Be Work for Your Hands to Do

It's St. Patrick's Day and, Irish or not, people in workplaces across North America are wearing green and planning after-work celebrations that include such Irish favorites as corned beef and cabbage, or a pint of Guinness.  More »

5 Ways Women Can Ditch the Overwhelm and Build a Career

It wasn't long ago when women were expected to stay home and take care of the children and household while men went to work to bring home the bacon. Of course, today, they're more likely to be harried mothers, madly juggling business meetings with kids' day-care schedules. Juggling multiple responsibilities can overwhelm even the most ambitious woman if she's not careful. Here are five keys to managing all of that while building a career.  More »

Getting Back at Employers Who Snub You

Most of us have gone through the experience of following up on a resume submission, or a promising interview with an employer that was very interested in hiring you. But then they inexplicably ignore you. Here's how one person settled the score.  More »

5 Things Job Seekers and Employers Should Do This Year

Many writers like to make predictions around this time of year. I contemplated writing a list of job market predictions for 2010, but came to realize that a list of five things employers and job seekers should do would be a more nourishing helping of food for thought.  More »

Confused about Jobs, Work, and Money? Ask a Kid

We adults may believe we're the only ones who think about our future careers or the bad economy. But here's proof that kids have some astute thoughts and opinions on such topics, too. We interviewed five children, ages 4 to 14, who are all related to Pongo employees. Their answers impressed and amused us. See if they do the same for you!  More »

Can't Spare a Dime? Volunteer Your Time

Money is obviously tight this holiday season, which means charities are likely to take a hit. If your holiday traditions usually include a monetary donation that you can't seem to make this year, try volunteering instead (and guess what--you can add that volunteer experience to your resume!).  More »

Job Seeker Q&A: Mom Looks for a Part-Time Career

A 32-year-old mother was laid off a year ago from her job as a senior administrative assistant. In this post, she talks about some of the ups and downs of her job search, and what she's been doing while she tries to get back into the workforce.  More »

Tampons, Teenage Boys, and Work-Life Balance

Work-life schmalance! I defy any parent to show me even one day when their work and personal lives are in balance. It's a constant, grueling tug-of-war. I submit, as evidence, my experience of yesterday (the day I almost ruined my son's life).  More »

One Woman's Layoff Yields a Needed Reminder

A layoff yields an important lesson: You don't need to be defined by what you do for a living. If you're jobless, there's always something else that either demands your attention or calls out for some.  More »

How Often Is Too Often to Change Jobs?

In the world of about 40 years ago, when my parents were in their working years, the prevailing notion was that an employer would take care of you for a long time with a secure job and a decent pension. But that's gone the way of the typewriter and carbon paper. Today, it's not uncommon to change jobs -- voluntarily or not -- every few years.  More »

End of Summer Blues? Candy Corn to the Rescue

Cheer up! The first candy corn of the season is out, and we all know there ain't nothin' funnier'n placing two candy corn kernels over your front teeth and flashing a big yellow smile around the office. Alas, if you're one of those who doesn't find that as amusing as I do, perhaps these humorous job-related sayings will help bring a smile (albeit not a big yellow-toothed smile) to your face as you work on your resumes, cover letters, and interview techniques:  More »

POLL: Will You Be Laboring on Labor Day?

Monday, September 7th, is Labor Day. Just out of curiosity, we were wondering how many of our readers actually have to work on Labor Day. Answer our poll and let us know!  More »

Poll: How Long Have You Been Unemployed?

Consumer confidence levels may be soaring and unemployment numbers may be dropping, but none of that matters to you if you're still in the middle of a job search and desperate for a paycheck. Take our poll and see if the duration of your unemployment is longer or shorter than the national average.  More »

Are You Unemployed and Happy or Employed and Miserable?

I hear and read stories about people who feel miserable in their jobs, but can't risk quitting in today's job market. Some who have held onto their jobs are even expressing envy toward those who have been laid off. But would you rather be happily unemployed? Or employed and miserable?  More »

Monday Motivation: Summer's Arrival Spurs Warm Thoughts

Summer is here (almost). It arrives officially this coming Sunday, which, coincidentally, is Father's Day. But whether you're a dad or not, summer's impending arrival leads to thoughts of vacations and long weekends. So, have some happy work-related thoughts for your Monday to help boost your job search.  More »

Monday Motivation: A Recovery in Sight!

When Monday is a holiday, as it was last week, you don't really need motivation (well, maybe to drag yourself out of bed). After last week's holiday hiatus, Monday Motivation is back to help stir your passions at the start of a new week -- and a new month. What better time to give a little boost to your job search!  More »

Wellness Programs: Good Investment or Corporate Waste?

It's probably no secret to you that there's a lot of talk about reforming health insurance in the U.S., especially since President Obama took office. That issue has helped drive the development of corporate-based wellness programs. If you're searching for a new job, a wellness program may be an attractive perk, or a huge turnoff, depending on your perspective. But is it right for employers to try and make a little extra money off your personal health?  More »

Monday Motivation: Less Mope, More Hope

I know there's still plenty to mope about. The stock market is coming off a down week, Chrysler and GM are pulling the plug on hundreds of dealerships, and the number of initial jobless claims shot back up last week. But hey, it's Monday! And to get a brand new week off to a hopeful start, here are three bits of good news to add a bit o' zip to your job search.  More »

Monday Motivation: Confidence Boosters

Job search got you down? Is your resume not getting enough bites? Swine Flu statistics making you queasy? Cheer up ... it's Monday!  More »

Monday Motivation: Job Hunt with a Smile

Monday always gets a bad rap. The Mamas & The Papas sang about cryin' all of the time on Mondays, and The Boomtown Rats gave us the classic chorus I don't like Mondays (tell me why)… And The Bangles chimed in with Manic Monday back in the mid-80s. But forget all that! Here's a list of upbeat, potentially positive news from the world of jobs and job searching to help start your week right.  More »

Monday Motivation: The Brighter Side of Things

It's Monday. What better time to shine a light on upbeat, potentially positive news and happenings in the world of jobs and job searching? We hope these 'Monday Motivators' will help lift your spirits, or at least nudge them a little higher than where they are now.  More »

Survival Tips for Moms Returning to Work

Stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) and work-at-home-moms (WAHMs) have a lot of obstacles to overcome when they want to (or have to) transition back into the workplace. As a former WAHM for 10 years, I've lived with those powerful fears that seem insurmountable and keep us from going back to the office, hospital, school, factory, restaurant, or shipping dock. No matter how much you want or need to make the transition, it requires a major cognitive switcheroo… and that's never easy.  More »

Follow Us on Facebook and Twitter!

Pongo continues to claim space in the social networking sphere. We are now active on two of the most popular social networking sites on the web! View the full post to find out more.  More »

Is 'Career Path' An Outdated Concept?

A recent Boston Globe article drove home a point about how the notion of following a particular career path is changing, if not outdated. In fact, more people have warmed up to the idea that changing careers is the better path, even if it takes a few unexpected turns.  More »

Check out These Company Perks to Perk up Your Days

Enjoying a friendly relationship with your colleagues can increase morale and decrease stress. But if you can't spare time in your personal life to hang out with people you spend 40 hours a week with already, here are some examples of the kind of fun that can be had during work hours.  More »

Jobless? Sometimes You Gotta Leggo Your Ego

Searching for a new job when you are gainfully employed can sometimes be demoralizing. When you're laid off, however, a job search descends into the act of thrashing about for a life raft. Your ego takes a hard hit and emotions can take over.  More »

Laid Off? Try These Short-Term Jobs to Bridge the Gap

Have you noticed how we're all enacting cost-cutting measures that might have seemed unnecessary a few years ago? We've shifted from bookstore to library; organic to generic; premium to basic; convenience to economy. And for many people on the burgeoning unemployment rolls, the list of must-have job criteria has dwindled to just one item: a paycheck.  More »

Bald Guys Are Beautiful! So Why Not Hire One?

An Associated Press story had me falling out of my chair in laughter last week. An expert - who just happens to be a hair restoration surgeon - says balding people are at a disadvantage in getting hired. What's the follow-up story going to be - a plastic surgeon saying people with large noses are also at a disadvantage in the job market?  More »

Will Your Sick Day Excuse Pass the BS Detector?

Employees have been faking sicknesses since before you or I were born. As a result, supervisors (like parents and teachers) have become skilled at recognizing when employees are legitimately ill, or just sick of work. This 5-point questionnaire can help determine whether a sick day excuse is legitimate or BS.  More »

Is the 'Dream Job' Real? Or a Mirage?

Most of us can envision our own version of a dream job, the job that would stoke our passions, motivate us to the fullest, and put a spring in our step when we get out of bed each morning. But is there such a thing?  More »

Have Employers Ruined Facebook?

Remember when Facebook used to be fun and lighthearted? A chance to connect with old friends and joke around? Ever since Facebook changed its rules to allow anyone and their 13-year-old brother to sign in, employers can snoop around your profile just to find a reason not to hire you. How's that for fun?  More »

Retire? More Seniors May Get to Dictate Their Futures

If you're nearing retirement age, or you're beyond it and want to continue working, there may be more incentive to keep picking up a paycheck than just propping up a sagging investment portfolio or paying for the rising cost of health care.  More »

10 Inspiring Quotations for the Discouraged Job Seeker

When you're mired in the frustrations that so often accompany a job search, sometimes it helps to step back and regain perspective from great thinkers throughout history. So I thought this would be an excellent time to rely on the collective brain power of others who have spoken profound words on the subject of job qualifications, job success, job performance, or job loss. I hope you'll find these 10 work-related quotations (from personalities as divergent as Aristotle and Steve Jobs) amusing and motivating.  More »

Think You're Ready to Retire? 6 Things to Consider

There's a question many 50- and 60-somethings may ponder today as the economy teeters on the edge of recession, retirement nest eggs fail to grow amid a down stock market, and health care costs keep rising as they have done just about every year: Should I retire around 65 or work a bit longer? Here are six questions you must ask yourself to determine your answer.  More »

Workers of the World, Pass the Ketchup

Today's post is for anyone who's ever wondered why Labor Day is called Labor Day, instead of Last-Big-Party-of-Summer Day, or School-Just-Started-or-Will-Start-Tomorrow Day. With a hat-tip to, here's a 7-point timeline of great moments in Labor Day history, so you'll know (roughly) how it came to be.  More »

Bringing Boomers and Millennials Together at Work

The oldest members of the Millennial generation (also called Generation Y, or Echo Boomers), now in their 20s, are flexing their muscles and making their mark in the workplace. Meanwhile, the oldest members of the Baby Boomer generation, now in their early 60s, are entering a career twilight fraught with uncertainty. While there may be a gap between these two groups in the workplace, there's a way to bring them together for the good of the company - and for each generation's benefit.  More »

Seven Lessons from a Long-Ago Layoff

Six years ago this month, I was laid off from a job - a great one with a great company - that I had held for six years. Why remember something bad? Because of the good that came out of it in the months that followed. The lesson here: If you're facing - or if you might face - a layoff, you can turn it into something positive that can rejuvenate you and your career.  More »

How to Negotiate Better Work Hours

High gas prices, family responsibilities, nightmare commute. Whatever the reason, many people are longing for more convenient work hours. And most employers will at least try to be flexible in hopes of retaining good, happy workers. Here are some ways you can try to negotiate a schedule change to benefit yourself and the company.  More »

Unemployed? How About a Life with That Job?

An active job hunt no longer takes all-day-every-day. But finding the right balance of job hunting and non-job-hunting pursuits is still elusive. We tend to do too much of certain things, and not enough of others. So how do you find your ideal work-life balance? Here are a couple resources you might try.  More »

Should Employers Play `Big Brother' with Your Health?

Picture this: On one side of the table, you have a well qualified, personable, impeccably dressed and thoroughly prepared candidate who has come in for an interview. The only apparent flaws? He's quite overweight and, tucked inside the pocket of his shirt is a pack of cigarettes. If you're the hiring manager at a company that expects a high level of productivity from everyone, do you see this guy as a risk? The bigger question: Should employers play Big Brother with your health?  More »

The One Thing You Need to Re-Enter the Workforce

We've heard plenty about the cultural phenomenon of career-oriented people leaving the workplace to become at-home parents (either stay-at-home or work-from-home). What we don't hear enough about is the other end of this odyssey, when you realize the time has come to return to work. This is often the point when you realize you no longer possess the single most important thing you'll need in order to re-enter the workforce: self-confidence.  More »

If You've Never Been Laid Off, You Will Be

Think that only the sub-par performers are the poor souls who get laid off? Think again. A layoff can hit you at any time, anywhere, even if you're a highly valued employee with stellar performance reviews, and especially as we live through challenging economic times. Here's what you can learn from getting served with the dreaded pink slip.  More »

Why Employees Aren't Loyal Anymore

Why do employees want to leave their companies and go on the job hunt? For most, it has to do with career opportunities, or a lack of them. Put another way, many workplaces don't care enough about helping their employees grow, which is why changing jobs is more commonplace today. Businesses should take this as a warning that insufficient care for employee growth could lead to insufficient business growth.  More »

Over 50? Your Time May Have Just Begun

Are you in your 50s or 60s and wondering what lurks around the corner as you head toward retirement? Do you feel you're in the twilight of your career, that every job search might take longer than expected because employers are looking for someone younger and more technologically savvy who won't command as much in salary as you would? The outlook may be sunnier than you might think.  More »

Welcome to the Pongo Blog!

Pongo has entered the blogosphere! Our goal is to provide job seekers with a fresh, timely perspective on topics related to resumes, cover letters, interviews, job searching, and career management - and how our lives fit in with all that.  More »
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