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Bright spots emerging in gloomy job market

If you have the right degree or just know where to look, the job market could yield a steady new paycheck - a belated holiday gift by any measure..

Class and conscience

Companies need a way to give back. Nonprofits need managers with executive training. One firm helps them meet on common ground.

Sick, on the job

Don't read this sitting down. Walk, jog, take the stairs - anything to help soften the news that the health of the American worker is appalling, and declining.

Taking the next step

The face of the classroom is changing as the sour economy prompts more older adults to return to school.

Fessing up to being a mom can backfire on job seekers

A marketing consultant was on the phone last month with an executive recruiter when the interviewer began asking her the questions that moms dread most: Does she have kids? How many? How old?

Kids with disabilities shut out by economy

Kristen Bardon, 17, applied for a state summer jobs program last week, hoping to add to the part-time job she has at a local bakery. Brennan Srisirikul, 17, will return to a beloved apprenticeship at a local theater, unable to find a better-paying summer gig.

'Can't talk now'

Faced with a litany of lawsuits, numerous employers are cracking down on yakking and e-mailing behind the wheel.

Unexpected benefits

Necessity has pushed Ariel and Amiri Ayanna to downshift their finances - and life. But that has been a welcomed change for their family.

Sharing the burden

Nurturing isn't just girl's work, and breadwinning isn't strictly a guy thing anymore. Traditional attitudes - that men should work and women care for home - are crumbling rapidly, especially among younger generations, according to a national study of workers published recently by the Families and Work Institute.

Employers get creative to reduce staff stress

De-stressing employees, who are so anxious about layoffs, overburdened from job and budget cuts, and distracted by declining family finances that they often can't put their best foot forward - just when companies need them to shine.

For families, layoffs shift responsibilities, roles

With deep waves of layoffs predominantly hitting men, women's earnings has become more crucial than ever.

Tuning in to hear others

Is listening under siege? Deborah Hicks, chief human resources officer at Harvard Medical School, thinks so. Listening is an overlooked skill in an era of hurried schedules, high-tech overload, and now economic anxieties, says Hicks, whose 8- and 13-year-old sons keep her honest by demanding that she repeat back what they say, if they suspect she's not hearing them fully.

Downsized, but still in the game

For survivors of a layoff, the anger and grief they feel may lower productivity - making them candidates for the next round of pink slips.

Bosses responding to special needs

Second in a two-part series on caring for children with disabilities In the past, some of Kajuana Ezell's bosses and colleagues hadn't understood when she had to drop everything and leave work to care for her 17-year-old autistic son, who was mute until he was age 5.

A parental juggling job

First in a two-part series on caring for children with disabilities Meg Comeau has flexible work, good family health insurance through her husband's job, and the right schooling for their daughter. Yet life, she says, is still a "house of cards."

'First mom' has other roles

When Michelle Obama wrote this month that her number one job as first lady would be to be a mom, eyebrows were naturally raised. After all, she's a smart, Ivy League-educated lawyer who worked most recently as a top hospital executive.

Down, and no one to talk to

Hinda Swartz tries not to share too many of her work and financial worries with her significant other anymore, so she often lies awake at night, her mind racing.

As the economy worsens, more people are taking on additional jobs

Tina Wells is squeezed. Unable to find sufficient work in her field, the Clinton social worker and mother of two is now supplementing a five-hour-a-week consulting gig with weekend work as a restaurant hostess - a job she thought she'd left behind in graduate school. Her husband, Chris, is a project manager at a corporate audio-visual firm.

The art of mentoring, modernized

Layoffs are mounting. The stock market is sliding. How can you begin to recession-proof your career? Try mentoring.

Firm support for the family

When Beth Reilly returned to work this spring from nearly nine months of maternity leave, her husband, Patrick Callahan, began a summer at home in Needham tending full time to their son, Ryan. Next month, they'll get a nanny. But the couple was thrilled to share care for their son's first year of life. (8/24/08)

Coach Wellness

At the end of this past spring's exhausting tax season, Quincy auditor Jasmine Hsu began having doubts. She wasn't sure she wanted to stay in a field that demanded all-consuming, 60-hour workweeks for a big part of each year. And she especially longed to find time to exercise again. (8/10/08)

Job market wasted on the young

After shuttering his small Groton metal fabrication business in 2005, Gary Williams began looking for work. But he hunted for two years for a managerial post without success, and he thinks he knows why. He's 61. (7/27/08)

Creativity can thrive, if you keep the e-mail in check

It's not just the e-mail. The phone calls, instant messages, digital documents, meetings, conference calls, and text messages add up. The result is information overload, and a workforce increasingly buried under data points and communications tidbits. (7/13/08)

Attention class

In the fast-paced, distraction-plagued arena of modern life, perhaps nothing has come under more assault than the simple faculty of attention. We bemoan the tug of war for our focus, joke uneasily about our attention-deficit lifestyles, and worry about the seeming epidemic of attention disorders among children. (6/29/08)