Originally created 03/11/01

Pocket change



SOMEBODY'S GOTTA DO IT

Express Personnel Services of Oklahoma City says its informal poll proves there's a job for everybody. Some examples, including hourly pay:

Wipe blood and other body fluids from Plexiglas at hockey games, $7

Chase deer off an airport runway, $8

Pour thousands of cans of rancid beer down a drain, $6

Express found a company in Redmond, Wash., that hired three temps to look busy and professional to make visitors think it had a larger staff. The appearance of working paid $11 an hour.

REALLY WIRED

If you think that forest of wires growing out of the back of your home computer setup is outrageous, consider what happened at the Museum of Science and Industry, where 33 computers were set up for an exhibit called Networld that opened March 2. The idea is to teach youngsters how the Internet works.

But the best lesson about the tribulations computers foist on humans might be to show the children the wires behind the computers and assorted screens - 18,473 linear feet of networking cable, almost 3.5 miles long.

401KNOWLEDGE

If you know little or nothing about your company's 401(k) plan, you probably are failing to maximize your investment potential.

You're not alone. A Mutual of Omaha survey found that nearly half of respondents couldn't name one company that provides investment options for their 401(k) plan. Seventy-five percent said they spend less than 10 hours a year reviewing returns and studying options.

GRADS' PAY UP

The economy isn't slowing average starting salaries - they are higher than they were a year ago for graduates in many fields, particularly engineering. The Winter 2001 Salary Survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers offers examples for engineers, with percent of increase from 2000 if available:

Hardware design, $55,000 a year; computer, $53,443, 14.3 percent; electrical, $50,850, 6.6 percent; mechanical, $48,340, 5.8 percent; civil, $39,852, 9.2 percent.

Investment bankers, $49,741; economics and finance, $40,297, 5.7 percent; accounting, $38,739, 3.8 percent; business administration, $36,314, 1.3 percent.

HIGHER GROUNDS

Upscale coffee and beverages such as cappucino, espresso and latte are becoming de rigueur at many companies.

"Hot, black water versus Seattle's Best or Starbucks makes a statement about you as an employer or you as a client," said Richard Wyckoff, the president of Philadelphia-based Aramark Refreshment Services. "It's the difference between a pat on the back and a slap on the face."

U.S. gourmet coffee drinkers increased by 18 percent last year, Mr. Wyckoff said, citing a National Coffee Association study. The report also showed that, besides the home, the office is the preferred coffee-drinking locale.

"How do you keep the 24-7 economy moving if you don't have a good cup of coffee?" he asked.

FERRY FARE UP

Ferry rides to the Statue of Liberty rose a dollar to $8 last month. The round-trip is from Battery Park at the south tip of Manhattan or from Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

The $3 fare for those ages 17 and younger and the $6 fare for senior citizens 62 and older did not change. (For groups of 25 or more, the per-person rate increased to $7 from $6.) The National Park Service gave the operator of the shuttle, Circle Line-Statue of Liberty Ferry Inc., permission for the 14 percent increase, and cited increases in fuel, labor and other operating costs as the reason.