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Majority of Canadians Feel Their Employment is “Just a Job,” Study Finds »

Majority of Canadians Feel Their Employment is “Just a Job,” Study Finds

Nearly one in four plan to change jobs this year


TORONTO – April 23 – Getting up and going to work every day is harder when you don’t see your occupation as a career. Nearly three-in-five (58 per cent) Canadian workers feel that they have “just a job” as opposed to a career (42 per cent). The national survey was conducted online in November through December of 2013 by Harris Poll on behalf of and included a representative sample of 426 full-time, private sector employees across industries and company sizes.


Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of Canadian workers say they plan to change jobs this year, up from 17 per cent last year. What is driving workers to explore other possibilities?

Employee satisfaction may be one cause. Job satisfaction matters to most (88 per cent) Canadian workers, yet one in five (18 per cent) employees say they are dissatisfied with their job, up from 15 per cent last year. Still, 57 per cent are satisfied with their current jobs, mostly because of their coworkers, benefits and work/life balance.


Those who reported being dissatisfied with their job most frequently cited the following concerns:

  • Don’t feel valued, I feel like just a number – 61 per cent
  • My salary – 56 per cent
  • I don’t like my boss – 43 per cent
  • Inability to make a difference – 33 per cent
  • No training/learning opportunities – 31 per cent
  • I don’t have a good work/life balance – 27 per cent
  • I don’t feel challenged – 26 per cent


Those who are satisfied cited the following reasons:

  • I like the people I work with – 80 per cent
  • Benefits – 62 per cent
  • I have a good work/life balance – 58 per cent
  • I like my boss – 54 per cent
  • I feel valued/my accomplishments are recognized – 48 per cent
  • My salary – 42 per cent

“Offering frequent recognition, merit bonuses, training programs and clearly defined career paths are important ways to show workers what they mean to the company,” said Mark Bania, Sr. Career Advisor of CareerBuilder Canada. “With new positions constantly being added across Canada each month that are enticing workers to change jobs, now is the time for employers to look at their recruitment strategies and make adjustments so their top talent doesn’t jump ship.”


Improve Retention

Employers looking to reduce employee turnover would do well to listen to their employees’ opinions. Canadian employees were asked what they considered to be the best way for employers to increase retention. Besides just raising salaries (74 per cent), top responses included:

  • Increase employee recognition (rewards, cash prizes, company trips) – 56 per cent
  • Increase benefits – 55 per cent
  • Ask employees what changes they want to see and put feedback into action – 52 per cent
  • Provide flexible work schedules – 51 per cent
  • Increase training/learning opportunities – 40 per cent
  • Provide special perks (free lunches, concierge services, game room, etc.) – 32 per cent


Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within Canada by HarrisPoll on behalf of among 426 Canadian workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between November 6 and December 2, 2013 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 426 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 4.75 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.


About is a leading job site in Canada.  Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), the Tribune Company, The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), powers the career centers for more than 250 Canadian partners that reach national, local, industry and niche audiences.  These include leading portals such as and  Job seekers visit every month to search for opportunities by industry, location, company and job type, sign up for automatic e-mail job alerts, and get advice on job hunting and career management.  For more information about products and services, visit


Michael Erwin, Media Contact.                                                                                                                                        CareerBuilder

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How to beat the bad boss blues »

How to beat the bad boss blues

By Robert Half International


TV shows and movies are full of bad bosses. From Michael Scott in “The Office” and Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada” to “The Simpsons’” Mr. Burns and even Ebenezer Scrooge, there is no shortage of examples.

But what if the horrible boss you fear isn’t fictional? What she sits in the same office as you?

Bad boss

Unfortunately, this situation isn’t uncommon. Nearly half of employees surveyed by our company said they have worked for an unreasonable manager. Among those who have been beleaguered by challenging supervisors, 59 percent stayed in their jobs and either tried to address the situation or resolved to live with it.


Your relationship with your manager has more bearing than any other factor on your ability to succeed in your job — and how much satisfaction you derive from it. Here are four types of bad bosses and ways to maintain a productive, harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship with each of them:


“My boss is too controlling”

The type: The controlling boss isn’t comfortable unless he knows everything and has a say in all decisions, no matter how small or routine.

How to respond: The best way to make progress with this type of boss is to do it gradually. The next time you’re assigned a task, break it down into steps. Select one or two that are relatively simple and that you know for certain you can handle on your own.

Go to your boss and, as tactfully as possible, ask for responsibility over those tasks. Assure your manager that you’ll run everything by him and allow plenty of time for changes or feedback if necessary.

You’ll gradually earn your boss’s trust and broaden your sphere of responsibility. Just keep in mind, however, that your success depends on your ability to deliver on promises. Any failure on your part could reinforce your boss’s tendency to micromanage.


“My boss is too wishy-washy”

The type: This boss is reluctant or slow to make decisions. She is also unable to articulate clear objectives, set precise deadlines or give constructive feedback on your performance.

How to respond: Whenever you need your boss to make a decision, do your homework first and then offer a recommendation. For example, you might say: “I see three options: A, B or C. I believe that B is the best choice because of X, Y and Z. Do you agree?” Reassure your boss that you’re confident about your recommendation.

Also be sure to communicate deadlines. That alone can sometimes prompt indecisive managers to take action. Just don’t push too hard, or you risk damaging the relationship.


“My boss makes unreasonable demands”

The type: This type of manager asks you to squeeze in 12 hours worth of work into an eight-hour day. The result: You either stay late or risk being reprimanded for your poor performance.

How to respond: Sit down with your manager and make a list of performance objectives. If you see a gap between what’s being requested of you and what you believe you can accomplish, ask that expectations be altered or that you be given additional resources.

A good way to strengthen your case before such a meeting is to create a detailed report that tracks your activity over a few weeks. This document can help show that you don’t have enough time to complete all the tasks you’ve been assigned. Your log also can highlight tasks you’ve been given that fall outside your job description and prevent you from completing core duties.

Above all, keep an open mind. Requests considered unreasonable at one company may be considered reasonable at another. You need to understand the norms at your company and decide whether you can live with them.


“My boss is a tyrant”

The type: The worst type of boss. This manager is prone to angry outbursts and other forms of unacceptable or even abusive behavior.

How to respond: Unfortunately, your options are limited. Your first step may be to try to talk things out with your supervisor. If you’re uncomfortable with that idea, you might bring your concerns to senior management or human resources. But these actions may not improve the situation and could even backfire.

If you’ve dismissed this strategy, or it hasn’t been effective, ask yourself two questions:

1. What do you stand to gain by hanging in there? If it’s something you can’t get elsewhere — such as unique training or a fantastic paycheck — you may decide the tradeoff is worth it, at least for a while. This realization alone may help you cope more effectively with the pressures.

2. Can you adopt coping mechanisms that will help get you through the tough times? Clearly, you need a thick skin if you work for a tough boss, which means you can’t allow yourself to take it personally when your manager starts to blow off steam. You also need to become more attuned to the day-to-day moods of your manager and adjust your behavior accordingly.


In the end, the question of whether you can work for a truly difficult boss comes down to your own personality and tolerance. Here’s a simple test: If you get a knot in the pit of your stomach as soon you walk in the door, your job or company is probably not right for you over the long term.


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Robert Half International is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 350 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit For additional career advice, view our career bloopers video series at or follow us on Twitter at

How to craft a cover letter worth reading »

Justin Thompson, CareerBuilder writer

References still useful in job search(200X200)The cover letter. Perhaps the most controversial job-search document. Well, if not the most controversial, then it’s at least the one that annoys people the most. “What should I put in it?” “Do I really need to include this?” “Will anyone actually read this?” “What’s the point if I’m including my résumé?”

I always recommend including a cover letter, especially if the job is related to communications, marketing or any profession that relies on you being well-spoken and having exceptional writing abilities.

Similar to the résumé infographic we created to show you the before and after, here is an infographic on cover letters and how to make one that is eye-catching to a hiring manager.

Follow this link for some tips, and examples:

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Justin Thompson is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Tips for negotiating a raise »

Tips for negotiating a raise

By Aimee Hosler,


The country may still be in the midst of a post-recession economy, but employers are slowly warming up to the idea of offering more raises. According to The Huffington Post, surveys suggest that the average raise in 2014 is an estimated 2.9 percent. This may not sound like much — another article from The Huffington Post notes that the average hovered between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent from 2000 to 2008 — but with rising consumer prices and inflation, even a modest increase matters. The trick is knowing when (and how) to ask for it.


Timing is everything: When to ask for a raise

As with marriage proposals or home buying, timing can make or break one’s raise. U.S. News and World Report advises workers to look at how things are going in their industries in general and within their organizations specifically. Are they experiencing a lot of growth? Are their companies growing or investing in their groups? Are their industries more prone to salary increases? Workers should also consider their own personal stock, so to speak. Do they have special skills or talents that are difficult to replace? Are they receiving more lucrative offers from elsewhere? None of these conditions guarantees a raise, but they sure can help. Of course, how one asks for more money is just as important as when.


The how-tos of salary negotiation

The key to a successful salary negotiation often hinges on how well one knows her boss and the company’s overall culture. Some employers are more formal and rigid when it comes to how and when they offer raises; others are more fluid. Either way, how one asks matters, and it pays to be prepared.


The following tips can help:

  • Do some market research. Before setting up a meeting to talk salary with an employer, it helps to know how one’s current salary compares with those in similar positions. Factors such as position, education and experience matter, as do location and the size of an organization. There are a number of websites that offer this type of data at little or no charge.
  • Be honest. Raise-hungry workers benefit from approaching negotiations with an honest evaluation of both their worth and the state of the company. They should enter a meeting with a list of their accomplishments — the more the better — and the ability to defend them.
  • Set a date. It is helpful to know if the company has a fixed window for salary increases so that one can schedule a meeting appropriately. In companies that are more flexible, it can be helpful to schedule negotiations after a particularly good financial report or personal accomplishment.
  • Steer the discussion. In this post-recession economy, managers may still be under a lot of pressure to reel in costs, so some might not approach the discussion openly or happily. In a column she penned for The Huffington Post, Kim Keating, founder and managing director of Keating Advisors, advises workers who feel tension to guide the conversation in a more positive, less difficult direction. It may be more productive to ask a manager how salary increases are typically handled and how one might go about making it to that next rung of the salary ladder than to ask for a specific raise.
  • Prepare for the worst. Not all employers can offer salary increases year over year, but that doesn’t mean the discussion is over. More on that next.


If at first you don’t succeed, try asking for something else

It can be disheartening to prepare for the big salary talk only to be shot down for budgetary reasons, but that doesn’t mean one should move on. In fact, in a column for Forbes, Keld Jenson of MarketWatch Center for Negotiation suggests walking into a room expecting a salary increase means one has set his sights too narrowly. If more money is not an option, are other perks or benefits on the table for discussion? Jenson recommends considering other ways companies can reward solid employee performances, such as additional vacation time, sick days or paid education and training. What about performance-based bonuses or the freedom to telecommute a couple days a week? A company cellphone? It pays to be creative and flexible. If, in the end, one finds the metaphorical door closed, remain professional, diplomatic and tactful — which might just set the stage for a more productive discussion down the line.


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Aimee Hosler writes for This article was originally published on

How to inspire innovation in a non-innovative culture »

tBy Robert Half Technology


Innovation and technology go hand in hand: Innovation drives new technology, and technology, in turn, helps to further innovation. Ironically, many IT departments — the hubs of technology in their businesses — do not maintain work environments that are conducive to innovation in tech.

As the “Robert Half Technology 2014 Salary Guide” notes, “innovation is the lifeblood of nearly every business … [and] the work of technology professionals gives rise to day-to-day improvements, both obvious and subtle, that enrich our lives.” But navigating everyday workplace challenges — from demanding customers to “fire drill” projects to office politics — leaves the typical IT professional with little time or support to formulate new ideas, explore new technologies and develop new work approaches.

This is unfortunate for both tech workers and their employers. Most IT professionals thrive on challenges and may be inclined to part ways with a company if they don’t find their jobs stimulating. When they do leave, organizations are at a disadvantage not only because skilled IT workers are hard to find, but also because potential value creators for the business are lost.

If your IT department feels like an innovation dead zone, here are a few things you can do as an employee to help open the door to fresh thinking. Remember, if you take a creative approach with your work, those around you will be more likely to do the same:


Question the status quo. Most high-performing IT departments have a startup mind-set, even if they’re part of a well-established company. Their IT teams are always rethinking old processes and asking questions such as “Why are we doing things this way?” and “What if we took an entirely different approach to this problem?”

If you want to help promote change in your IT department, start raising these types of questions when opportunities arise. Use tact, of course. Your colleagues, especially your boss, may not initially embrace being challenged.

Initiate a brainstorming session. Next time a perplexing IT problem has you stumped, or you’re searching for a better way to accomplish a routine task, invite your teammates to engage in a brainstorming session with you. To help make new idea generation an ongoing process in your department, suggest to your boss that a few minutes be set aside at the end of regular staff meetings for brainstorming about ways to solve issues and improve processes.

Keep an eye toward the outside. While staying up-to-date with technology used by your organization is essential to doing your job well, don’t lose sight of what’s happening outside of the company. Many disruptive technology trends that help to inspire innovative ways of working emerge from the consumer side (hello, smartphones and social apps).

Stay on top of developments in technology and business by leveraging technology itself: Use tools such as Bing or Google news alerts that will notify you of new online content you should read, based on specific filtering preferences you’ve set.

Seize learning opportunities. You need a solid knowledgeHeadhuntress-300x209 base to serve as a springboard for new ideas, especially when it comes to technology. Be quick to sign up for training, workshops and seminars — especially those that your company hosts or offers to help pay for. Educational opportunities will allow you to grow your expertise and gain new skills that ultimately can create value for your organization — and, possibly, advance your career.

Relationships are important to fueling innovative thinking, too. So, don’t spend all your time hanging out in the server room or staring at a computer screen. Get to know your colleagues inside and outside of the IT organization, and always be looking for opportunities to collaborate and share best practices in person. You’ll likely find their insights and perspectives will help to inform your work and fuel new ideas.


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With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at . Follow Robert Half Technology on Twitter at

Update these 5 items on your résumé »

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder writer

Quiz - rephrase resumeEverything needs updating every once and awhile. After having the same haircut for a few years, it’s always fun to change it up a bit. When a new season arrives, it’s a good excuse to clean out the closet and update your wardrobe.

When it comes to your résumé, it’s smart to periodically revisit and refresh it, even if you aren’t looking for a new job at that moment. Having a current résumé will come in handy should you find yourself in a position where you need or want a new job right away.

No need to panic that your résumé needs a total overhaul. There are a few basic items that you can update easily. Here are five:


1. Contact information

This might seem like an obvious one, but if you haven’t touched your résumé in a while, you may still have your old address or cellphone number on there. Also, check to see which email address you’ve included; you want the email address on your résumé to be as professionally sounding as possible. If your email address is still, it’s time to create a new one. Consider [first name].[last name] instead.

2. Objective statement

Your objective statement may be up-to-date, well thought out and well written. The problem? You have an objective statement in the first place. Objective statements are outdated and are being replaced by professional summaries or summaries of qualifications. The difference between the two is that objective statements talk about what you want in a job; professional summaries recap your job-seeker “brand” and explain why you’re the right fit for the position in question. Since this is usually the first thing hiring managers will read on your résumé, you want to make sure it grabs their attention and makes them want to learn more about your skills and qualifications.

3. Skills/areas of expertise section

The skills or areas of expertise section is usually where you list out in bullets everything you’re proficient at; so anything from a certain Web design program you’ve mastered to your negotiating skills. Take a look at your list to make sure you can still confidently say you excel at all those skills, and see if there are any new skills you’ve acquired that you’d like to add. Also think about the “So what?” for each skill listed; if you can’t answer or speak in depth about your expertise, don’t include it. Something else to consider? Removing this section all together and incorporating your skills into the professional summary/summary of qualifications section.

4. Education

You may be proud of your 3.9 GPA or that you graduated with honors. And if you’re entry level, you should include such achievements, along with relevant coursework, on your résumé. However, if you’re an experienced job seeker, it’s no longer necessary to mention your GPA or go into specifics about what classes you took as an undergrad. Instead, keep this section simple, listing the college you went to and its location, the degree(s) you graduated with and years attended.

Of course, if you recently went back to school to obtain a post-graduate degree or certification, that information should be included, especially if it shows how you have gained skills that will help you succeed at the job for which you’re applying.

5. Formatting

With the limited amount of space that you have to include your entire work and education history, it can be tempting to use a ton of different font sizes, bullets and section breaks to break up the content and keep it organized. If your résumé looks like an eye sore, it’s time for a formatting refresh. Sleek and simple is the name of the game — use easy-to-read fonts and clean formatting. You can use all caps or a different font color to emphasize section headers, but keep it consistent and stick with basic colors such as blue.

Sure, change is never easy, but with a few simple updates to your résumé, you’ll be in good shape to tackle a new job search — whether that’s a few days, months or years down the road.


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Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.


Ways to pursue your passion while paying the bills »

WBy Kaitlin Louie,

We’ve all been there (or at least 99.9 percent of us have): We come home, browbeaten after a long day at the office, and as we stare at the cold chicken in the fridge or our reflection in the bathroom mirror, we ask ourselves, “Is this it? Is simply chugging along at an unsatisfying job that pays the bills going to be my future forevermore?” And the thought that this could be a possibility makes us upset.

Part of this frustration comes from the fact that, from childhood onward to our college graduation, we are encouraged to find and pursue our “passion,” to make our mark on the world. Steve Jobs’ immortal words during Stanford’s 2005 commencement speech summarize what every young person hopes for professionally: “You’ve got to find what you love. […] If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Despite these ideals, the past few years have been an era of “settling” for many recent graduates — in other words, of scrambling for a job, any job. The New York Times recently reported that the bachelor’s degree has become the new prerequisite for even the most entry-level jobs. Additionally, CNN reported Accenture’s finding that 41 percent of college graduates are overqualified for their present job. Some of us don’t need statistics to know that finding work that you enjoy, much less feel passionate about, is difficult. When faced with the choice of pursuing your passion or paying rent, the latter often wins out, especially if you have a family.

If you dislike your current job or find it unfulfilling, you are in good company. Here are some action steps that you can take to build a career that you can be happy with:

  • Self-evaluate, then be vocal. A wise friend of mine told me during a low point in my professional sanity that I needed to clarify not only what I wanted long term for my career, but also what I wanted immediately. “What can you learn while at this particular job that will be useful in your future career? Identify that, and go after it. Nobody’s going to give it to you,” she told me. Every job, whether it be in your field of interest or not, has something to offer in terms of skill building or networking. Working in social media at a marketing company, but have no interest in Twitter? See if you can help your team out with marketing analytics. Working at a clothing store when your real passion is Web design? Ask your manager if you can help maintain or update the store’s website. The key is to work on projects you enjoy while developing marketable skills in your field of interest.
  • Try freelance or contract work. If your current full-time role doesn’t allow for much flexibility in your projects, don’t despair. There are other ways to build your professional skills and add variety to your workday. One way is to supplement your full-time job with freelance or contract work. According to Entrepreneur, contract work can help strengthen your résumé and job prospects and is becoming increasingly popular among employers and employees alike. As an example, Entrepreneur cites recent grad Kelsey McBride, who completed freelance projects while working full time as a loan company publicist. When she got laid off from her 9-to-5 job, she built out her contract work clientele and now supports herself exclusively with freelance publicist projects.
  • Start a personal project. What if you can’t find a company that will hire you as a contractor? Consider branching out and doing your own skill building for free. If you are a writer, build a blog or website about an interest of yours. If you’re a coder, find a way of using your tech skills to create an application or software feature that interests you. If you love setting up events, see if there are any nonprofit organizations that you could volunteer for as an event coordinator. Challenge yourself while feeding your creativity.
  • Find a way to “quantify” what you love doing. In an interview with Online Degrees, VP of Union Bank & Trust Chad Thies emphasized the importance of quantifying your skills and accomplishments on your résumé. “For me, what differentiates people on résumés is numbers and data backing up what they’ve said they’ve done,” he explained. This advice is useful for projects you complete at your full-time role but can also be applied to less formal projects such as volunteering, freelance work or your personal blog.


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Kaitlin Louie is a writer for This article was originally published on


How to advance your career in 2014 »

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder writer

Is 2014 the year that you’re going to get noticed by company leaders, secure that big promotion or finally land that dream job? If this is the year you’re really going to supercharge your career, then put a plan in place now to ensure that you’re taking all the right steps to make it happen.

Here’s how you can set yourself up for advancement in 2014 and take your career to the next level:

Set stretch goals

To start, think about what it is you want to accomplish and if you can push those goals even further. “Set stretch goals, but don’t bite off more than you can chew,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” “For example, [your goals may be] to expand skill-based knowledge, raise your professional visibility, get a promotion or find a new job. This can happen in a variety of ways: by taking classes, getting a certification or writing an article for an industry publication.”

Become an expert

Michelle Riklan, professional résumé writer and career coach, says that whether you’re looking to position yourself for future internal or external opportunities, you can heighten your profile and gain more clout by becoming an expert in your field. “Experts share information and comment on industry news/trends,” Riklan says. “Spending a little time each day to communicate with your network and add your voice and opinion regarding other experts’ materials will increase your visibility, keep you top of mind and create the perception/reality that you are ‘in the know.’” Riklan recommends using sites such as LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter to get your name out there and be heard by individuals who may be interested in what you have to say.


Find a mentorNetworking - 5 things

Every company has its internal politics and organizational challenges, so seeking out someone who is well established within your company can help you navigate any potential roadblocks to your advancement. “It helps to have the perspective and protection of an insider who can also serve as a role model for you,” Cohen says. “There are an infinite number of potential landmines in all organizations. Seek out an individual who, by virtue of his or her achievements and success, can offer you insight and feedback.”


Establish relationships with influencers

Beyond finding a mentor within your company, you should also look to other influencers within your industry from whom you can learn. “[Influencers] are people who are in the loop with respect to industry trends, opportunities and career insights,” Cohen says. “Don’t approach them for a job. If you approached me with that request, I’d say no and so would they. Instead, view them as mentors or advisers who you reach out to for direction, perspective and ideas. Make sure they’re busy people … they’re more likely to have dynamic careers and have their hands in a range of initiatives.”

Align your goals with your company’s

“To inspire company/organization leadership that you have career advancement potential, it is best to align your goals with theirs,” says Aaron McDaniel, a corporate manager, entrepreneur, author and speaker. “Do all you can to make your team successful. Understand your boss’s goals/objectives/mission, and do everything to make him or her succeed at it — and make them look good in the process. Being a leader is [about] understanding your skills and strengths and focusing them on the success of the team.
When it comes time for promotions — and bonuses and raises — this is the kind of thing that inspires people to believe in and support you.”

Do the work of the job you want

As the saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” The same idea applies to the work you do. If you want that promotion, do the work of that higher-level position. “Start to look and act like someone who is at the next level up,” McDaniel says. “Dress the part, and find opportunities to exemplify the characteristics of those successful at the next level. Ask your boss [if you can] back him/her up, so you get the feeling of what their job is really like — both so you confirm that it is something you are interested in and to show you can handle the responsibility.”

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Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.


How close are these TV-show jobs to real-world jobs? »

Debra Auerbach, CareerBuilder writerTheOffice206


A lot of shows on TV are far from real — fairytale characters living in an average American town, a post-apocalyptic world dominated by flesh-eating zombies, humans and vampires caught up in love triangles. But the fantasy of these shows is what makes them so enjoyable.

And then there are those shows that are more rooted in reality — ones that take place at law firms, hospitals, fire departments and other real-world offices. Although these jobs exist, the shows don’t always accurately depict an average workday.

So just how close are TV-show jobs to real-world jobs? Let’s take a closer look at a few:

The show: “Grey’s Anatomy”

The accuracy assessment: The long-running medical show follows the professional and personal lives of doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. These doctors have been through a lot — ferry crashes, plane crashes, shootings and mega-storms, and yet they — for the most part — manage to survive. It seems pretty far-fetched for one hospital to be repeatedly dealt with such major catastrophes, but that’s what makes for good TV, right?

The drama also carries over to the doctors’ personal lives, where inter-office romances are the norm. An article on discusses the sometimes misleading medical moments of the show: “Instead of asexual father figures, the doctors on cast are hyper-hormonal. Attendings sleep with residents. Interns bed nurses. Even patients are fair game … Normally, any of these infractions would be grounds for dismissal. At Grey’s hospital, they’re all in a day’s work.”

Yet while the show is meant to entertain, not educate, it does get some of the medical stuff right. According to an interview between and real-life interns and residents, “The residents agree that the terminology and medical procedures are pretty accurate. Usually.”

The show: “Homeland”

The accuracy assessment: “Homeland,” currently one of the most popular cable shows on TV, centers on the CIA as its agents fight terrorism in a post-9/11 world. The show uses real American history and politics as its base, and the scenarios that unfold — a U.S. soldier who is “turned” by the enemy after being a prisoner of war, a hunt to find a terrorist living in the U.S. — while fictional, could still be plausible.

Yet the day-to-day lives of most CIA agents aren’t as action-packed as those on the TV show. In an article from The Telegraph, real CIA agents are asked how closely their lives resemble those of their TV counterparts. According to the article, “Homeland takes the high-intensity, high-adrenaline moments and packages them into an hour … The real job as an analyst was maybe 15-20 percent awe-inspiring and dramatic moments … Other times, it’s about writing reports. You wouldn’t want to watch an analyst at a computer writing a President’s Daily Brief.”


The show: “The Newsroom”

The accuracy assessment: “The Newsroom” is a political drama about events that take place at the fictional news channel Atlantis Cable News. News anchor Will McAvoy and his staff are on a “mission to do the news well in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles — not to mention their own personal entanglements.” This usually means the ACN crew taking a moral stand when other networks won’t, even if it means angering the station’s owners.

But just how well does the show succeed in resembling a real newsroom? In an article from, a former producer of “The O’Reilly Factor” talks about what the show gets right and what it gets wrong. According to the producer, the show is pretty accurate when it comes to the newsroom environment — the look of the facilities, the computers and software used by the staffers and the dress code; “The muddled dress code is true to a cable news workplace, where two competing aesthetic dynamics clash: the inherent schlubbiness of journalists and the flashy polish of television personalities.”

Yet not everything is spot-on with reality. In the article, the producer says that the biggest criticism against the accuracy of the show is that “… McAvoy is too safe, too middle-of-the-road, too afraid to offend or rock the boat,” compared with real-life anchors who are “quite eager to stir the pot.” The show’s accuracy is also off when it comes to how ratings are treated, according to the article. “In the world of ‘The Newsroom,’ the quest for ratings is portrayed as shameful, something that only the bean counters should care about, and that any serious journalist should ignore. But in the real world, every single cable news employee … is acutely aware of — or in some cases obsessed with — the numbers.”

Sure, most TV shows — even those that revolve around real jobs or offices — aren’t so real. But if they were, they probably wouldn’t be nearly as fun to watch.


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Debra Auerbach is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

I hate my job…what’s next? »

Working hard working for youI hate my job…what’s next?
Susan Ricker, CareerBuilder Writer

Most people feel a little grumpy Monday mornings, but if your irritation clocks in the same time as you throughout the week, it’s time to make a change. Before you send in your resignation letter, however, check out these steps and see if job satisfaction and happiness can be a regular part of your workday.

Paint a clear picture of your current work situation
First, break down why, exactly, you’re unhappy at your job, and what you can do to change the situation. Lauren Milligan, job search coach and résumé writer at ResuMAYDAY, says, “Don’t quit your job until you’ve done everything you can to improve it. If you’re working in a job you hate, often it’s easier to change certain aspects of the job, or add elements to the job that you’ll love, rather than trying to find a new job…especially in this job market!”

“The problem with just bailing on a job without trying to improve it is that the next job might not be any better,” Milligan adds. “First of all, you have to figure out what it is you actually dislike. Is it an objective function of the job (the actual job tasks that you were hired to do), or is it a more subjective part of the job, such as the long commute, the co-workers, your boss, the slow computers that always crash or something else that has a negative impact on how you feel about the job? It can be one of these, or a variety, but you first have to identify the problem.”

If you’re having trouble pinpointing where your unhappiness stems from, it might help to ask what part you play in the situation. After all, if there’s an issue on your part, you don’t want to bring it to the new job or let it continue in your current role. Alanna Levenson, certified career and business coach and founder of I Love My Life Coaching!, says, “What a worker can do to help them make a decision as to stay or go is to ask themselves a few simple questions such as:

  • What attracted me to this company/position in the first place?
  • What is it that I’m running away from or is it that I’m trying to go towards a better career choice?
  • Assuming that I haven’t done everything to improve my current situation, what else can I do?

“Sometimes I find that people are avoiding having a conversation with an influential person that can change their situation but they don’t out of fear. I then want to know what it is that they are really afraid of.”

Take action and make changes
Breaking down the factors in your unhappiness at work can give you a clear picture of what needs to change. Milligan says, “Next, figure out which of things that you’ve identified are fixable, or able to be changed. Each of them will have different solutions. If it’s a long commute, do things that make your commute more bearable, such as listening to audio books or possibly carpooling. If it’s a detested co-worker, focus on making friends with other people. If it’s the work you despise, figure out what things you love to do, and see if there are cross-training opportunities in a different department. If you love to write, see if the company needs someone to put together articles for the company newsletter. If you’re really into working out in your off hours, put together a wellness committee for the company that gets people to walk during their lunch hour and discuss fitness and weight loss tactics. If you love classic cars, organize an outing to a car show over the weekend.”

“It boils down to this: Bringing more of the things you love into your workplace will make you happier at work. Now more than ever, managers and business owners see the value in happy, sociable employees,” Milligan says.

If it’s time to go, find somewhere good to go to
If you’ve made an effort to change but your work life is still making you miserable, you can let go and move on with peace of mind. That starts with taking what you’ve figured out and applying it to your job search. “Determining what factors are important to you in your next workplace or role can be fun,” Levenson says. “An exercise I have personally used and encourage my clients to use is to ‘Create Your Ideal Job.’ Create a list of all of your desirables and don’t censor yourself. Even if you start to hear that voice in your head that says, ‘You can’t have that!’ You never know.”

“Get specific about all of the things that are important to you that you want to have in your next job,” Levenson adds. “Here are a few ideas: the company reputation, your office space, the people in it, the benefits, location, commute, desired salary, the resources you’ll have to use, the training program, management styles, growth opportunities, hours and company culture.”