Originally created 04/03/00

Briefcase



Vacationers set sail

More people are expected to cruise the friendly seas this year.

The Cruise Lines International Association is forecasting a 9 percent increase in the number of North Americans taking a cruise vacation this year.

Last year, a record 5.9 million set sail, an 8.5 percent increase from 1998.

The most popular cruise locations are the Caribbean and Bahamas.

About half of all passengers are expected to cruise there in 2000. Europe and the mediterranean attract about 15 percent of cruisers, and Alaska gets 7.5 percent.

Teens at risk at work

Teen-agers are more likely to suffer violence at work than in school, according to a recent investigative article in Good Housekeeping magazine.

The magazine found a teen-age worker in the United States is injured on the job every 40 seconds, and every five days, one of them dies. The injury rate for teens is nearly twice that of adults.

Intentional violence, mainly through robbery, accounts for 25 percent of teen workplace deaths.

Clothes, culture count

College students want to dress down to go to work. An online survey conducted by the tax and consulting firm KPMG, found that three out of four students consider dress code an important factor during a job search. They believe a dress code is an indicator of a company's internal culture, KPMG said.

The survey found that 76 percent of students are more likely to accept a job offer from an employer with a casual dress policy. Twenty-three percent said casual dress would not make them more likely to accept a job.

No sale on voice-mail

Telemarketers who leave voice mail messages for prospective buyers are probably wasting their time, according to Jacques Werth, founder of a sales consulting service, High Probability Selling.

Mr. Werth studied the success rates of telephone sales personnel who left voice-mail messages and compared them with sales personnel who didn't leave messages. He found that those who left messages had a 29 percent lower sales result.

The average telemarketer dialed 67 calls an hour and spoke with 14 people whom Mr. Werth called decision-makers; one out of 52 prospects bought. But sales personnel who left voice mail messages made a sale just once in every 622 calls.

Internet jobs open

The Internet has been a powerful magnet not only for lawyers but also for teachers, journalists, secretaries and just about everyone graduating from college or looking for a new profession.

The transition is easy to make, because aside from computer engineers, technicians and code writers, there is no trained work force for Internet companies so anyone can work for them.

Because Internet companies look for different sets of skills in applicants, workers from many different fields can qualify.

Attitude, determination, focus and self-motivation are determining factors in hiring.

Suite deal on the road

If the cost of staying in a hotel seems to go up every time you check in, perhaps you have only yourself to blame. That's because travelers can't seem to resist the urge to get out of town and spend their money.

The good health of the economy and ample disposable income kept demand strong from travelers, which in turn enabled urban hotels to raise their rates.

New York and Boston continued to have the most expensive rooms in the country, despite occupancy levels going down a bit from 1998. In New York, occupancy was 81 percent, and in Boston, 75 percent.

Education empowers

You can't stop change, but you can make it work for you, say William A. and Rosemary T. Salmon, authors of The Mid-Career Tune-Up: Ten New Habits for Keeping Your Edge in Today's Fast-Paced Workplace.

Based on their research, you'll be happier and more productive if you are open to change.

One of the biggest changes in recent decades is the emphasis on continuous learning in the workplace. You're expected to expand your skills and knowledge regularly, so take advantage of every workshop and seminar you can fit in your schedule.

Don't forget to ask about your employer's program for educational assistance. Most, if not all, of your fees could be reimbursed. If you must pay, it's a great investment in yourself.

South Florida is hot

Most people don't think of South Florida as a hub for e-commerce and Internet businesses, but the area is quickly evolving into the "Internet Coast."

Just about every day, a new South Florida Internet start-up is founded. Sometimes it's just an entrepreneur with an idea and a good Web site name. Other times, it's a group of executives, backed by millions of dollars in venture capital with a solid business plan.

Fueled by growth in the Internet industry, the number of high-tech companies in South Florida grew by 33 percent from 4,351 companies in 1996 to 5,806 companies in 2000. Total revenue represented by all high-tech companies grew by a brisk 62 percent over the three-year period to $29.3 billion.

Although the number of Internet-based companies in the area still lags the high concentration of wired companies in Silicon Valley, Boston or Austin, the region has gained a reputation as a place that can nurture high-tech start-ups into flourishing publicly traded companies.