Seldom does a day go by that we don't get mail, phone calls or faxes from people who want to know where the jobs are, how to get them and how to keep them.
So we decided to take a look at some of the questions asked most frequently.
Q. There often are listings under employment agencies that promise to get you overseas jobs at $50,000, with benefits and transportation. The catch is you have to pay processing fees ranging from $300 to $1,000. It sounds good, but are there actually any jobs overseas?
A. If you follow the very good advice never to pay for a job, which is what the "processing" fees really are, you will rule out using companies promising overseas jobs. If the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Most are scams. The Australian government, for instance, says its offices throughout the United States are flooded with complaints from people claiming they've been ripped off by agencies offering to find them jobs in Australia, where unemployment is at its highest rate in a decade.
To find out whether the agency is legitimate, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Stuart Alan Rado, the Ralph Nader of the employment agency world, at 1500 W. 23rd St., Sunset Island 3, Miami Beach, Fla. 33140; phone: (305) 532-2607.
Q. Employee training is going to be a big business in this decade. How can I find out which colleges offer degrees in it?
A. About 250 colleges and universities offer degrees in employee training. For a list of them, contact the American Society for Training & Development, P.O. Box 1443, 1630 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. 22213; phone: (703) 683-8100.
Q. I'm a manager, and I'm not sure what to do if an employee makes allegations of sexual harassment. How should I handle complaints?
A. "Harassment is a business problem, not a women's issue, costing businesses anywhere from $200 million to $500 million a year in productivity alone," said Nancy Dodd McCann, president of the Fordham Group, a business consulting firm based in Barrington, Ill.
"First, institute a written policy on sexual harassment and a program of how to handle complaints. Make sure the complainant feels comfortable. By law, you must investigate the charges -- while protecting the rights of both parties."
Ms. McCann and consultant Thomas A. McGinn of Charlottesville, Va., wrote "Harassed: 100 Women Define Inappropriate Behavior in the Workplace" (Business One/Irwin, $14.95). She stresses that management's goal should be to "help victims solve the problem and take back control of their own environment."
Q. Health care is one of the fastest-growing segments of the job market, and I see lots of ads for nuclear medicine technologists who do imaging for diagnostic purposes. Please tell me more about the profession and what it pays.
A. Nuclear medicine technologists prepare and position the patient, prepare and administer radioactive drugs, operate imaging equipment and use computers to analyze the data. Entry-level salaries range from $25,000 to $32,000.
Job growth is being driven by the aging of America. The best jobs require certification by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board. For more information, contact the board at 2970 Clairmont Road., Atlanta, Ga. 30329; phone: (404) 315-1739.
Q. I'm a vocational-technical high school student and want to know what the job opportunities are for skilled technicians. Also, is there anything I can do while still in high school to improve my skills and bring myself to the attention of prospective employers?
A. Among the fast-growth jobs are repairers of major appliances, precision machinists, drafters, carpenters, food-service personnel, police officers, aircraft mechanics, dental assistants, cosmetologists, practical nurses and nursing aides.
For $5 you can join the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA), and it will be the best $5 you ever spent. VICA is a national organization for students training for trade, industrial, technical and health occupations. Based in Leesburg, Va., it has 260,000 student members in high schools, vocational schools, trade schools and community colleges. Its 12,500 chapters are headed by volunteer teachers. About 200 corporations and labor organizations support it.
Its program includes everything from professional seminars to international skills competitions. You'll learn not only your trade but also to be a good communicator and problem solver.
Since corporate leaders run the program, you'll meet potential employers through the organization. For more information, call (800) 321-VICA.
Q. I didn't know there were schools that teach all aspects of the jewelry business, but it sounds like a worthwhile trade to learn. Where can I get more information about becoming a jeweler?
A. The jewelry business requires a high degree of skill. About 25 trade schools nationwide and 200 colleges or universities nationwide offer courses and degrees in gemology. One well-known program is offered by the Gemological Institute of America in Santa Monica, Calif. For information, call (800) 421-7250.