Saturday, April 30, 2011

Well Paying Jobs You Can Get Right out of High School

With increasing costs to higher education, pursuing a college degree can be tough for some. But here's the good news: Even if you don't continue school for another four years (or put it off until later in your career), there are still a surprising number of career opportunities for those with a high school diploma. With many career paths providing on-the-job training these days, it's often possible to move up into higher-paying positons without an additional degree.
Here's a look at jobs you can get right after high school, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook:
Loan officer
Average annual salary: $61,928
Anyone who's ever taken out loans to pay for a house, a car or even to start a small business has had to turn to a loan officer to help complete the transaction. Loan officers not only facilitate the lending process but are also involved with determining how clients will repay the loans.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The New Rules of Job Interviewing for Boomers (and All of Us)

Today, it isn't the pleasingest job-seeker who gets the nod. It's the person the employer most believes can solve its problems.

My inbox is deluged with job-search queries. That's understandable: the job market remains tepid, and Business and Career Tips doesn’t see the unemployment rate dropping below 9% this year.
Some of my correspondents want suggestions on job-search direction or particular employers. Most of them do not. The vast majority of folks seek guidance on the ultra-specific Do’s and Don'ts in a job search. "Is it okay to wear capri pants to an interview, if I wear a jacket in the same fabric?" one lady inquires.
Some of my correspondents want suggestions on job-search direction or particular employers. Most of them do not. The vast majority of folks seek guidance on the ultra-specific Do’s and Don'ts in a job search. "Is it okay to wear capri pants to an interview, if I wear a jacket in the same fabric?" one lady inquires.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Best Companies to Work For: Happy Campers

Taking care of top talent is taking precedence as the economy picks back up. Here's how Zappos, DreamWorks Animation, and Teach for America do it.

Smart companies don't take retention for granted, especially now that the economy is showing signs of life. How do they keep employees loyal? We interviewed human resources executives and regular staff at three firms that made this year's 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Bottom line: These HR stars all offer welcoming office cultures that motivate their workers. And the perks ain't bad either. Best practices from Zappos, DreamWorks Animation, and Teach for America.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

8 Tips for battling job search fatigue

Job searching for any length of time can be frustrating. But when your search has gone on for months or even years, even job seekers with the most endurance can get tired.
It doesn't help that many job seekers are looking for work under the notion that the recovering economy means automatic work -- and now.
"The economy is on the rebound but the job market is still very slow to respond," says Caroline Dowd-Higgins, director of career and professional development at Indiana University Maurer School of Law and author of "This is Not the Career I Ordered." "Candidates should be cautiously optimistic."
But sanguinity in times of dejection is easier said than done. Job searching for long periods of time can not only make job seekers tired -- it can affect them emotionally, too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

10 Tips to Ace Your Next Job Interview

Many workers are pondering a topic they haven't worried much about lately -- job interviews.

Here are my favorite interview tips for job candidates, from new grads to ultra-experienced hires:

1. Know the employer’s business.

In the pre-Internet days, job-seekers were advised to ask, "Who do you consider your principal competitors?" to show their alertness and interest in a job. These days, it signals the opposite. By the time you arrive for a job interview, you've already got to know not only the employer's business profile but also which organizations compete in its arena and how your target employer compares to every other major player in its market. That's true whether you're applying for the CFO slot or hoping to answer the phones in its call center.

Begin by touring the employer's own Web site, then move on to LinkedIn to learn about its leaders. From there, journey over to to see what past and current employees are saying about the firm, its culture, its business prospects and the quality of its leadership.

2. Prepare questions.

Your research will pay off in another way: It will give you fodder for great interview questions you can ask the recruiter, hiring manager and any other company reps you meet during your interview. When you're invited for the interview, ask your scheduler who you'll be meeting, by name and title. Knowing the job titles of the people on your interview roster will allow you to come up with position-specific questions to pose to each person you meet. If you're a marketing person and one of your interviewers is a sales manager, you can ask, "What should the person in this role accomplish in the first three months, for you as an internal customer to be overjoyed with his or her performance?"

3. Get the inside scoop.

Use LinkedIn to find people in your second- or third-degree network who worked for your target employer in the past. Since they're connected to people you know and they don't work there anymore, these folks will be more likely than current employees to give you the eye-opening scoop on the organization's culture and challenges. Use the Get Introduced Through a Connection button on the user's LinkedIn profile page to make these connections through mutual friends, asking for a quick telephone chat. (Be sure to thank these helpful folks for their time!)

4. Collect personal contact information.

As you meet each new person in your interview lineup, ask him or her for a business card. Do it the minute you're introduced, before you sit down, or you're likely to forget. Since lots of people don't carry business cards in their pockets while they're at work, be ready with pen and paper to take down each person's name and contact information if no business card is handy. You'll need to know the names, titles and e-mail addresses for each person you meet, so you can compose and send a customized thank-you note to each of them.

5. Tell personal stories.

When you're asked the standard interview questions, use stories to make your accomplishments come to life. You don't have to wait for the interviewer to ask you a “story question,” such as "Tell me about a time when you worked with a difficult customer." You can give a story-type answer to any interview question.

If the question is "Have you been using FrameMaker very long?" your answer can begin, "You know, once we were under the gun to get some documentation done for a version of the product that was custom-built for one client. I hadn't used FrameMaker for that sort of thing before, so I pulled out the manual and began reading...." It's a great goal to tell two or three pithy, human stories in each job interview, to bring your talent to life and to get out of the zero-impact "yes, no, somewhat" rut.

6. Zoom in on the employer’s pain.

In 2011, it's not enough to let an employer know that you've got skills X, Y and Z. You have to make it clear that you've faced down the same dragon the employer is facing now, and that means you've got to know which sort of dragon is circling the castle. Float a pain hypothesis early on in the interview –- something like, "My take is that you're looking to get sales leads assigned and acted on more quickly after trade shows. Is that the biggest area you're looking for this new hire to handle, or am I missing something major?" Once you and the hiring manager are talking about the business issues and not the often-irrelevant list of job requirements, your conversation will become much more substantive and fun.

7. Save the salary discussion for round two.

It's not a great idea to bring up salary in the first interview, because it's a bad use of everyone's time. If they aren't interested in you, why worry about the salary? When you get the call or the e-mail inviting you for a second interview, go ahead and broach the salary topic. Ask the recruiter, "Is now a good time to sync up on salary? Would you be the right person to have that conversation with?"

There's no sense going for a second interview (or first interview, if you've already passed a phone screener) if you and the employer aren't in the same ballpark salary-wise. If they ask you what you were earning at the last job, smile and say, "I'm focusing on roles in the $X range."

8. Save a question for the end.

Hiring managers tell me that when they've got a promising candidate sitting in front of them, it's a terrible disappointment for the manager to ask "So, have any questions for me?" and to hear the candidate say "No." Don't be left queryless -- have a list of ten or 20 questions, and jot down new ones that occur to you as you're sitting in the interview. (Yes, it's fine to bring a pad and pen to an interview, tucked into a portfolio, and it's fine to take notes as you're listening or even talking.) Here are a couple of useful questions: 1) What was the incident or the trend that caused you to decide to hire this person now? and 2) Can you tell me why this position exists -- either a bad thing that happened in the absence of this person, or a story about a time when my predecessor (assuming I get the job) saved the day?

9. Stay alert.

Job interviews can be overwhelming and exhausting. An interview is a performance, and performances are grueling. You've got to stay alert and in the game, whether you're on site for two hours or six. That means no spacing out, staring into space or (as one of my memorable least-favorite interviewees did) spitting water into the potted plant during the interview.

Be focused from the moment you walk in the door. That means not using your cell phone while waiting to be picked up in the lobby, and having a warm greeting in mind when your host shows up to meet you. (It's hard to forget a young man I met in the lobby one day. Tim had arrived for a face-to-face interview; I'd phone-screened him the day before. "Are you Tim, by chance?" I asked. Tim looked startled and replied, "Why, yes, I am! Are you Miss Ryan? You sounded so much younger on the phone!")

10. Say thanks.

Thank each person you meet on the interview trail, and when you get home, send each one a thank-you e-mail, as well. (That's when the contact info you grabbed from each person will come in handy.) In your thank-you notes, mention as specifically as you can what you and each interviewer talked about. "Thank you for your time" is general and namby-pamby, but "Thanks for your fantastic description of the plastic extrusion process. You put a complicated process into words very well!" will not only flatter the recipient but also bring you, the candidate, back to mind sharply. Say something in each thank-you message about the wheels that are still turning in your head, post-interview. "Since I left you, I've been thinking about the CRM issue you raised, and wondering whether the new Siebel plug-in tools would be worth a look." Let the manager know that your brain is already turning over the issues the firm is facing. Don't beg for another interview or praise yourself, but be positive: "I'm looking forward to the next conversation" has the right mix of hopeful and not desperate notes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week

(April 25 - May 01)
We know that your job search can get quite frustrating these days with more people trying to find a job and less employment opportunities available.

To ease the burden, we've tracked down 10 top companies with the most job openings this week -- from sales jobs to finance jobs, full-time jobs to part-time jobs. We hope you find a job that's perfect for you.
Good luck job hunting!

1. AT&T

How far can you go with AT&T? Considering that we’re the world’s largest communications company, about as far as your talent, your drive and your dedication can take you. As we continue to make huge advances in the entertainment and communications industries, we can offer you opportunities to do something amazing with a team that’s just as impressive.

Top Job Categories:

Sales Jobs
Retail Jobs
Consultant Jobs

Customer Service Jobs

Admin - Clerical Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

California Jobs

Texas Jobs

llinois Jobs

New York Jobs

Oklahoma Jobs

2. Avon

When you work for others, they determine your salary, your hours, and often, your career path. When you run your own business with Avon, there's no limit to your financial and personal success! Your potential is driven by your goals and determination. Choose to work as little as 20 hours a week - and you'll probably earn more than from a "regular" part-time job. Or jump start your income by becoming a Leadership Representative: share the Avon opportunity with others and profit from their success. In addition to this incremental earning potential, you'll be helping other people transform and take charge of their lives. You could join the elite team of Leadership Representatives, some of whom have earned six figure incomes, won luxury vacation packages and enjoyed company acclaim - with Avon, you can make your dreams a reality.

Top Job Categories:

Marketing Jobs

Sales Jobs
Consultant Jobs
Business Development Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

California Jobs
Florida Jobs
Texas Jobs

Ohio Jobs
North Carolina Jobs

CyberCoders Engineering

CyberCoders Engineering is your source for finding an engineering job that takes you to the next level in your career. CyberCoders Engineering is the engineering division of one of the top recruiting firms in the nation, CyberCoders. We specialize in engineering, financial, sales & operational positions across all industries.

Top Job Categories:

Engineering Jobs
Information Technology Jobs
Professional Services Jobs
Design Jobs
Management Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

California Jobs

Massachusetts Jobs
New York Jobs
Texas Jobs
Maryland Jobs

4. Ernst & Young

At Ernst & Young we value an atmosphere that celebrates the diversity of ideas and allows each of us to achieve our aspirations while serving our clients effectively. Our distinctive workplace is the key to the leading-practice assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services we provide to some of the world’s leading companies. By bringing together the viewpoints of our 135,000 people worldwide, we support and strengthen our people, our clients and our communities.

Top Job Categories:

Finance Jobs

Management Jobs

Accounting Jobs

Customer Service Jobs

Admin - Clerical Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

New York Jobs

California Jobs

Texas Jobs
Illinois Jobs
Ohio Jobs

5. Farmers Insurance

The Farmers Insurance Group of Companies was founded in 1928 when Farmers Insurance Exchange, an automobile insurer, was formed. As customer demand for additional insurance services increased, the Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange were established for home and commercial insurance needs. Today, the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is the country's third-largest writer of both private passenger automobile and homeowners insurance.

Top Job Categories:

Insurance Jobs

Sales Jobs

Entry Level Jobs

Business Development Jobs

Management Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

Texas Jobs

California Jobs

South Carolina Jobs

6. Macy's, Inc

Macy's, Inc., with corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York, is one of the nation's premier retailers, with fiscal 2008 sales of $24.9 billion. The company operates more than 800 Macy's department stores and furniture galleries in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as 40 Bloomingdale's stores in 12 states. Macy's, Inc.'s diverse workforce includes approximately 167,000 employees. The company also operates and Prior to June 1, 2007, Macy's, Inc. was known as Federated Department Stores, Inc. The company's shares are traded under the symbol "M" on the New York Stock Exchange.

Top Job Categories:

Retail Jobs

Sales Jobs
Professional Services Jobs
Customer Service Jobs
Management Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

California Jobs
New York Jobs
Texas Jobs
Florida Jobs
Pennsylvania Jobs

Randstad US

Randstad US is a wholly owned subsidiary of Randstad Holding nv, a $17 billion global provider of HR services and the second largest staffing organization in the world. We play a pivotal role in shaping the world of work, leveraging the true value of human capital for the benefit of our clients, candidates, employees and investors.

Top Job Categories:

Admin - Clerical Jobs
Manufacturing Jobs
Customer Service Jobs

Skilled Labor - Trades Jobs
Finance Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

Pennsylvania Jobs

Florida Jobs
Texas Jobs
Massachusetts Jobs
New York Jobs

8. Robert Half Finance & Accounting

Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance & Accounting pioneered financial recruitment and is the worldwide leader in the industry. We specialize in placing experienced professionals in accounting, finance, credit and collections, bookkeeping, payroll and taxation. For more than 58 years, we have developed lasting relationships with the industry-leading companies we serve, which gives us access to the best career opportunities for our candidates.

Top Job Categories:

Accounting Jobs

Finance Jobs

Management Jobs

Customer Service Jobs

Admin - Clerical Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

Texas Jobs
New York Jobs
New Jersey Jobs
California Jobs
Massachusetts Jobs

9. Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Sears, Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD), is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. Sears, Roebuck offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,700 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States and Canada, which includes over 890 full-line and more than 1,350 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck also offers a variety of merchandise and services through,, and specialty catalogs. Sears, Roebuck offers consumers leading proprietary brands including Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck is the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. The company is the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 11 million service calls made annually.

Top Job Categories:

Customer Service Jobs

Retail Jobs
Skilled Labor - Trades Jobs
Sales Jobs
Installation - Maint - Repair Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

California Jobs

Texas Jobs
Florida Jobs

Illinois Jobs
New York Jobs

10. Volt

Volt Information Sciences is an international success story. Started in 1950 with an initial $13 investment, Volt has grown to an international corporation thousands strong, publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and listed on the Fortune 1000, with annual revenues exceeding $2 billion.

Top Job Categories:

Information Technology Jobs
Engineering Jobs
Manufacturing Jobs
Skilled Labor - Trades Jobs
Management Jobs

See All Jobs

Top Locations:

California Jobs

Texas Jobs
Minnesota Jobs
Illinois Jobs
Arizona Jobs

Wish you good luck and happy Easter.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fresh footage of huge tsunami waves smashing town in Japan

This is a Fresh footage of huge tsunami waves smashing town in Japan
See how tsunami destroy a town in Japan.

God helps them.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Seven Best Part Time Jobs For your Future

The common perception is that part-time jobs have less to offer than full-time positions.

That may be true in terms of hours in the work week, but many part-time jobs pay just as well as a traditional 40-hour week ones and a number of positions come with health insurance coverage, paid vacation days and employee discounts.

Here is our list of some of the best part-time jobs:

1. Tax Preparer

Thousands of people need help every year to file their returns. Part-time tax preparers are often accountants who know their way around deductions and forms, and who want extra income. Though the job typically peaks in the spring, many clients choose to retain their tax professional as a year-round personal accountant and adviser.
Salary: Set your own fee. H&R Block typically charges anywhere from $100 to $200 for their services, so you can probably charge up to $80 and still offer a bargain.

2. Substitute Teacher

Many states offer substitute teaching positions without requiring a teaching degree. Often, anyone with a bachelor’s degree is eligible, provided they pass a background check and interview. The length of employment varies and you should be flexible for days when you get a frantic last-minute call at 6 a.m., but it’s a good way to put your education to use while aiding in the education of others.
Salary: Varies depending on the state. In Oregon, for example, substitutes get about $150 a day.

3. Private Tutor

Jeremiah LeBrash started tutoring in college as a way to make some extra income. He’s now making enough money for it to be his full-time job. “I started out teaching SAT prep for Kaplan, but I was only making $20 an hour,” he says. “I realized I could do it on my own, give my students one-on-one attention, and charge twice as much.” LeBrash now charges $80 an hour for test preparation and $60 for general math and science help.
Salary: Companies like Kaplan and The Princeton Review pay tutors anywhere from $20 to $60 an hour, depending on the test they teach and the size of the class. Private tutors, like LeBrash, can set their own fee.

4. Part-Time Receptionist

Answering telephones and receiving packages may not be the most glamorous job, but according to career counselor Judith Gerberg, it’s a great opportunity to network. Gerberg, president of the Career Counselors Consortium, knew a laid off radio DJ who ended up working as a receptionist for a law firm. She soon became acquainted with a filmmaker client who loved her music knowledge so much, he hired her as an associate producer. “Lawyers and small businesses always need administrative help,” says Gerberg. “You might be making minimum wage, but keep your ego under wraps. You never know who will walk through the door.”
Salary: Varies, but can be in the $20,000-a-year range.

5. Computer Technician

Gerberg says there is an increased need for tech support, as more people move their businesses home. Computer technicians make basic repairs, set up wi-fi and perform other jobs. Companies are also looking for individuals who can build websites, which makes this a no-brainer for anyone with a little creativity and HTML experience.
Salary: Set your own fee. Tech support rates vary according to the job, rates can be around $30 an hour or more.

6. Copy Editor

“Copy editing is proofreading,” says Rachel Goldman, who took her skills honed in her day job as an online news producer and used them to score part-time work as well. In addition to checking texts for spelling, punctuation, grammar and formatting errors, "I also help the person brainstorm and flesh out their work,” says Goldman. Although she started out editing essays for college students, Goldman is now working on documents such as patent applications and television scripts as well.
Salary: Goldman’s fees vary based on length and subject matter, but she estimates that she makes about $100 per document.

7. Direct Seller

Companies such as Amway and Avon allow people to make money on their own time, while offering incentive programs like discounted insurance. And while the recession may have curbed consumer spending, Avon recently reported earnings that were above expectations. “Our products are selling well because it’s affordable luxury,” says Lindsay Blaker, an Avon spokesperson.
Salary: Blaker says she’s seen reps make anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to six-figure annual salaries. “I met someone who went from a corporate setting to becoming a full-time seller because she was making just as much money staying at home,” she says. “People love the flexibility of the job.”

Friday, April 22, 2011

Top 25 Paying Companies

Senior account execs at take home an average $249,607 total compensation annually. See which other Best Companies to Work For offer big paychecks.

1. Baker Donelson

Average total pay: $319,779
For: Shareholder*
Best companies rank: 77

This Memphis-based law firm is making quite a debut this year as a Best Company to Work For: It's already leaped to the top of our highest-paid list.

The firm's 279 "shareholder" attorneys equivalent to partners elsewhere earn salaries averaging more than $300,000 a year, and that's before a nearly 20 grand bonus.

But it's not just the legal eagles who are well-compensated. Legal secretaries average a little under $50,000 a year, $1,400 higher than local market average, according to Baker Donelson; paralegals earn $2,600 more than the average of $56,760. And all staffers on board at least a year are eligible for a bonus of 2% of salary.

The firm also likes to bring staff together. Day begins with The Daily Docket, a 10- to 15-minute huddle of lawyers and staff in 10-person teams to update everyone on what's going on. There are three ground rules: 1) Start on time. 2) Finish on time. 3) Don't try to solve problems.


Average total pay: $249,607
For: Senior Account Executive*
Best companies rank: 43's focus on cloud computing its software helps companies manage sales and customer relationships online has helped it keep revenue growth sky-high. Sales, which have been increasing about 20% a year, topped $1 billion last year.

That leads to lofty pay for employees as well. The San Francisco-based company sets pay levels above market, and every employee is bonus-eligible under a "mahalo plan" (mahalo is Hawaiian for thank you). The more you make, the higher the bonus target: For senior managers, it's 15% of pay, for directors it's 20%.

"We have to save the customer from Microsoft, Oracle and SAP," rails CEO Marc Benioff in his 2009 book, "Behind the Cloud." To keep employees motivated for the crusade, the Salesforce gives stock options and restricted stock awards to a wide range of staff, and regularly enhances perks. One recent addition: $5,000 for adoption aid.

3. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe

Average total pay: $245,206
For: Associate*
Best companies rank: 95

The recession hit this corporate law firm hard: For the first time in its 147-year history, Orrick had to resort to layoffs last year. The firm ended up cutting 130 attorneys and 235 staffers (though all got severance and outplacement help). And Orrick's overall Best Companies rank slipped to 95, down from 87 last year.

But its status among the top-paying Best Companies stayed firmly at third place again this year. And no wonder: Non-partner lawyers average a hefty $201,000 annually, plus a $44,000 bonus.
The firm even rewards attorneys who don't want to pursue the traditional partner track. This year they are installing a new three-track model that includes long-term opportunities for lawyers who don't want to become partners at all. For some, flexibility is the best compensation of all.

4. Bingham McCutchen

Average total pay: $233,800
For: Associate*
Best companies rank: 12

Despite the recession, this merger-happy corporate law firm brought Washington, D.C.-based McKee Nelson into its fold last summer, adding 120 lawyers to its U.S. roster.

They join a team of associates that enjoys some of the highest paychecks for law firms on this list. They earn, on average, a base salary of $211,900 plus bonus of $21,900. The perks aren't bad, either: Employees at its Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., offices can lunch at subsidized cafes. Associates can take 14 weeks off at full pay for maternity or paternity leave, and get emergency backup care for their kids or elderly parents.

Like many law firms, Bingham was hit hard by the recession as client work started to dry up. But bankruptcy work increased, so the firm transferred some lawyers to those projects. It wasn't enough: In early 2009, Bingham froze salaries and laid off 16 attorneys and 23 staffers. In an e-mail to employees, the firm's chairman said he "deeply regretted that anyone within our tightly knit community had to lose a job."

5. Devon Energy

Average total pay: $187,819
For: Engineer*
Best companies rank: 20

More than 50,000 people apply for jobs at this Oklahama City-based oil and gas producer every year, attracted by a rich package of pay and benefits that includes one of the strongest retirement plans in American business: Devon funds 401(k) plans with anywhere from 8% to 22% of pay, depending on employee match and how long they've worked there. Performance bonuses average more than 15% of pay.

Another attraction: the company's unrelenting emphasis on doing the right thing, expressed in a mission statement called "The Devon Way." The company promises employees: "We will not have hidden agendas and we will not manipulate people." Says one employee: "I feel it is an honor to work for a company with such a high standard of ethics and values."

6. Alston & Bird

Average total pay: $185,938
For: Associate*
Best companies rank: 30

2009 wasn't Alston & Bird's best year: The Atlanta law firm laid off 14 attorneys and 38 staffers. Associates saw their average annual pay drop by about $17,000.

Still, among other perks, the 117-year-old firm maintained a family-friendly benefit package that includes 90 days of paid leave for new mothers and adoptive parents, 15 days' paid paternity leave, $7,000 adoption aid and on-site child care.

7. Perkins Coie

Average total pay: $183,376
For: Associate*
Best companies rank: 75

Lawyers at this Seattle-based firm work with big-name clients like Boeing, Microsoft, and Starbucks.

But as corporate work started to dry up with the worsening recession, the firm made cutbacks to try to avoid layoffs. It froze associate and staffer pay and trimmed partner salaries 10%. In the end, though, it cut 12 attorneys and 26 staff members.

Still, the firm's policy is to pay at market levels in all locations. Full-time employees get 100% coverage for medical and dental insurance premiums. Everyone gets an end-of-year bonus: 5% of pay. Employees who bike to work get a new benefit: $20 a month reimbursement. And animal lovers can get discounted pet insurance.

8. EOG Resources

Average total pay: $171,943
For: Engineer*
Best companies rank: 67

Enron is long gone, but spinoff EOG Resources has become one of the nation's leading independent drillers of oil and gas. And despite lower oil prices, last year the company continued to hire new staffers and promote employees. No one was laid off.

EOG offers a rich pay and benefit package that includes stock options for all employees. And good news for employee stockholders: EOG shares are now trading near $100, more than double their $45 price in March.

It's not just the stock that's healthy these days. The company is promoting wellness: Several locations sponsor health fairs, and at its Houston headquarters, there's a walking club and a Weight Watchers program, where 64 employees lost a combined 754 pounds in less than a year.

9. Arnold & Porter

Average total pay: $171,074
For: Associate*
Best companies rank: 65

Employees looking to escape the typical law-firm pressure cooker might find Arnold & Porter's generous leave policies appealing: Staffers can take up to 18 weeks' paid maternity or adoption leave, and new dads or anyone who needs to take care of a seriously ill family member can take six weeks off with full pay.

Meanwhile, attorneys who just want to take a break for any reason can take an unpaid three-year leave of absence as long as they're in good standing; the Washington, D.C.-based firm will even pay their bar dues while they're away.

Arnold & Porter keeps an eye on industry surveys to make sure attorney salaries compare favorably to rival local firms. After two years on board, employees can enroll in a 401(k) plan; the firm contributes 7.5% of pay. Seniority is rewarded with every five-year anniversary: Employees are recognized at an awards ceremony and get bonuses ranging from $300 to $3,000.

10. Brocade Communications Systems

Average total pay: $170,175
For: Software Engineer*
Best companies rank: 61

Civic-minded employees can pay it forward at this Silicon Valley high-tech outfit: They can take up to five paid days off a year to work at a nonprofit (until last year, the maximum was one day off a year). Those who prefer to donate money can get their charitable contributions matched dollar for dollar up to $20,000.

The company -- it makes devices that connect servers with storage centers --- sets base pay at or above the industry median, and then piles on generous bonuses linked to performance. When they're hired, employees receive restricted stock units. Then they're awarded more units each year -- the better Brocade's doing, the more it gives out. Employees can also buy Brocade stock at a 15% discount.

11. Adobe Systems

Average total pay: $153,345
For: Senior Computer Scientist, Software Development*
Best companies rank: 42

It was a bad-news, good-news kind of year for the company behind such popular software as Flash, Photoshop and Acrobat. On the bad side, Adobe laid off 680 employees toward the end of 2009. On the good, layoff victims got severance "above industry standards," the company said. Also in the bad column: Total compensation for senior computer scientists fell by $12,000 last year. In the good, the average $153,000 a year they earn is still solid. In fact, Adobe slipped just 1 spot on our top-paying list to 11th place, down from 10th last year.

Salespeople at Adobe also can get nice rewards. Such top performers as the field marketing professional, consultant, and sales manager of the year got cash bonuses last year. The bad news? In 2008, winners got a trip to Hawaii.

12. Genentech

Average total pay: $150,000
For: Clinical Specialist*
Best companies rank: 19

This biotech firm pays well in general: Clinical specialists -- who are part of the company's sales force average 6-figure salaries. But a special bonus they received last year helped push Genentech onto our list of top-paying Best Companies.

A little background: In March, Swiss pharma giant Roche agreed to buy Genentech for $46.8 billion. To keep talent from fleeing, Roche gave every Genentech employee a retention bonus in lieu of the stock options they would have received otherwise: 11,000 employees split $182 million. A second round of retention bonuses will be paid this March.

Genentech, which ranked no. 1 on our 2006 Best Companies list, also took steps to make sure its special culture would be preserved: Roche agreed to continue such benefits as 100% 401(k) match up to 5% of pay, unlimited sick days, on-site child care, and six-week paid sabbaticals every six years.

13. Boston Consulting Group

Average total pay: $139,921
For: Consultant*
Best companies rank: 8

Strategy consultant to Fortune 500 companies starts new consultants at six-figure pay, and it gets better the longer they stay. Because of a lock-step advancement system, recruits can anticipate their total pay to increase tenfold over 10 years -- they may well be earning a million-dollars-plus annually a decade after they join.

BCG also pays attention to diversity: 34% of consultants are women and 26% are minorities. It created a career database and launched a global newsletter for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees. BCG scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.

14. Cisco

Average total pay: $135,877
For: Software Engineer IV*
Best companies rank: 16

Cisco replaced General Motors on the Dow Jones Industrial Average last year. But its spot on Silicon Valley job seekers' wish lists was already sealed: The company employs just 37,000 in the U.S.; in 2009 it attracted more than 250,000 applicants.

The maker of switches and routers that connect computers to the Internet sets pay above the market average. It gives stock grants to 40% of its workforce. And despite the tough economy, last year Cisco bumped up its dollar-for-dollar 401(k) match to 4.5% of pay, up from 4%.

But Cisco wasn't immune from tough times. The company announced layoffs of between 1,500 and 2,000 employees in 2009. It also offered an early retirement to employees 55 or older that included up to 12 months' severance, a lump sum equivalent to 24 months of medical coverage, a one-time 401(k) match equal to two years of a company match, and six months of outplacement services.

15. NetApp

Average total pay: $132,396
For: Member Technical Staff, Software 4*
Best companies rank: 7

Last February, as its customers started to cancel or delay orders, this data storage firm laid off 500 employees more than 6.4% of its workforce. NetApp gave laid-off staffers up to 12 weeks' severance, and since they were 9 months into the firm's fiscal year, pro-rated bonus checks.

Going the extra mile for employees seems to be part of NetApp's DNA. Consider: In 2009, many of the stock options employees held (all receive them) were "under water" -- worthless because shares were trading for less than the options' strike price. NetApp wanted to let staffers swap these options for restricted stock units, which retain some value even when the stock price falls. To do so requires shareholder approval, though, and as the annual shareholder meeting loomed, they were short of the needed votes.

So the director of investor relations made non-stop phone calls, imploring shareholders to endorse the swap. Some five million "yes" votes came in during the last 24 hours.

16. Colgate-Palmolive

Average total pay: $132,000
For: Manager*
Best companies rank: 100

Employees at this consumer products company, the world's leading seller of toothpaste, have a lot to smile about. On top of regular pay, which is benchmarked to match competitors' in New York, they get up to 2.5% of pay in preferred stock each year. Colgate also offers an array of bonus plans.

Staffers also enjoy rich benefits, including 14 paid holidays, tuition reimbursement up to $10,000 a year, and discounted interest rates on mortgages. Employees can contribute up to 15% of their pay to a 401(k), and also participate in a Personal Retirement Account which Colgate funds from 2.5% to 11.25% of pay, depending on length of service. No wonder 30% of employees have been at the company more than 15 years.

17. Chesapeake Energy

Average total pay: $126,854
For: Toolpusher*
Best companies rank: 34

Chesapeake, one of the nation's leading natural gas producers, has the most generous 401(k) plan of any Best Company. It matches employee contributions, dollar for dollar, up to 15% of pay. Unfortunately, the match is in Chesapeake stock, which has been hammered by falling natural gas prices. Shares, which were over $65 in 2008, trade in the mid-$20s today.

Luckily, the firm's young staff -- nearly half are under 35 -- should have plenty of time to make up for any declines in their accounts before they retire. And in the meantime, they earn relatively high wages for the industry: Average salary across the company is $69,218, and everyone gets a holiday bonus of $500 to $1,000.


Average total pay: $124,496
For: Information Systems Engineer, Lead*
Best companies rank: 69

Most top workplaces offer bonus programs, stock ownership plans and other such perks. Not MITRE. That's because it's a non-profit thinktank chartered by the federal government.

Nevertheless, MITRE's base salaries are higher than the pay levels at research and engineering companies where many of its employees might otherwise work. Researchers and engineers can earn well into the six figures, and hourly administrators make close to $60,000 a year.

Retirement benefits also are generous: MITRE's savings and retirement programs are geared to give employees 80% to 100% of their final pay.

Beyond that, there is the psychic reward that comes from working on projects of national importance, such as the scanning systems placed in airports by the Department of Homeland Security. As one professional said, "I can 'do the right thing' without worrying about the company's profit."

19. Scripps Health

Average total pay: $123,278
For: Manager-Director*
Best companies rank: 40

A legacy of Ellen Browning Scripps (of the Scripps newspaper family), Scripps Health is king of health care in San Diego County: It has a national reputation for top-notch patient care at its five main hospitals.

People clamor to work here (over 113,000 job applicants in the past year) because of its stellar pay-and-benefit package. On average, manager-directors earn well over six figures. But even RNs earn six-figure paychecks, averaging $113,000 a year including bonus. Nurse turnover is 9.5% vs. the 11.4% rate for all of southern California, according to Scripps.

Payroll grew by 15% last year. And once employees are hired, they tend to stay: More than 1,300 members of its 11,000-plus staff celebrated a 5-, 10-, 15- or 20-year anniversary with the company last year, and another 200 celebrated 25, 30, 35 or 40 years of service.

20. DPR Construction

Average total pay: $122,600
For: Superintendents*
Best companies rank: 57

This Bay Area-based general contractor really likes to toast special occasions like new projects, company awards, anniversaries (the firm marks its 20th birthday this year) -- it has wine bars installed in all of its 17 offices.

Employees of the firm, which builds facilities for companies such as Google, Qualcomm and Herman Miller, are in a celebratory mood, despite the lousy construction market. "In these economic times, they pay some employee salaries even though there is no project for them," says one. "This is unheard of in the construction industry." On a scale of 1 to 10, the toughest rating any employee gave DPR in a recent staff survey was 9.5.

Another reason for staffers to cheer: On top of the firm's solid pay and benefits package, nearly a third receive so-called "phantom stock." Last year, as 2003 shares vested, 362 employees were paid out $3.4 million, or about $9,400 each.

21. Goldman Sachs Group

Average total pay: $122,000
For: Other Exempt (Analysts, Program Analysts, Associates and Professional Non-Exempt)*
Best companies rank: 24

Wall Street's meltdown is so 2008. Goldman - which reorganized as a bank holding company, received billions in government help, and repaid some $10 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program debt with interest this past spring -- generated billions in profits in 2009. In the first 9 months of that year alone, Goldman set aside $16.2 billion for compensation, enough to pay employees nearly $500,000 apiece.

Although the firm said that its total compensation was lower than in 2007, a political uproar is already in full swing. To calm public anger, Goldman may pay more of its bonuses in stock, or ask employees to donate a percent of their earnings to charity. And the 30 top honchos at Goldman have agreed that instead of the usual cash payment, they'll take their bonuses in the form of stock they can't sell for five years.

No matter how it turns out, all employees will surely do well. The lowest-paid employees get at least $6,000 pumped into their 401(k) accounts. Goldman's stock grant plan was expanded to include more employees. Cash bonuses for much of senior management beyond the top 30 were expected to be in line with the 2008 payout, when Goldman awarded bonuses of more than $1 million to 953 employees and bonuses of more than $5 million to 78 executives.

22. Winchester Hospital

Average total pay: $120,953
For: Nurse Manager*
Best companies rank: 99

It's about more than the paycheck at Winchester, a nearly century-old community hospital that serves the northwest suburbs of Boston. To get hired, job applicants not only must pass muster with prospective co-workers who interview them, they must agree to the hospital's so-called PROMISE standards, which promote such beyond-the-numbers values as respect, empathy, a positive attitude and initiative in improving the environment, safety and quality.

That said, the money's good too. On average, nurse managers earn an average base salary of $112,645, supplemented by an $8,308 bonus. That may be one reason why, unlike many hospitals that are struggling with nursing shortages, Winchester has a low nurse vacancy rate (1.7%). And to keep nurses loyal, the hospital has a policy against offering new hires more dough than an employee with comparable experience. No wonder nearly 28% have been on staff more than 10 years.

23. Microsoft

Average total pay: $120,657
For: Engineering - Software Development Engineer in Test*
Best companies rank: 51

It's no surprise to find the world's largest software company on this list. Microsoft has minted many millionaires and a handful of billionaires -- since its founding in 1975. Stock options, the main source of this wealth, were phased out in 2003. But not to worry: 95% of employees now get restricted stock, which they can sell after a vesting period.

Being based in Redmond, far from the Silicon Valley all-work-all-the-time environment, is another perk. The landscaped headquarters features branches of popular local restaurants such as Spitfire, Chandy's Natural Café, Ivar's Seafood and Flying Pie Pizzeria. On the west campus, employees can burn those calories off at sports fields and other recreational space.

Employees say they work hard, but they also have personal lives. One employee with small kids said he appreciates his flexible work schedule at Microsoft: "It allows me to balance life challenges and the unexpected."

24. Intel

Average total pay: $118,295
For: Component Design Engineer*
Best companies rank: 98

With "Intel inside" computers everywhere, the chip-maker is able to reward everyone from engineers to administrative staffers well. Company policy is to pay "above market" when it's performing as well as competitors (now), and "well above market" when it's beating them. Bonus time comes not once, but twice a year.

Most employees get some type of stock when they're hired -- either restricted shares alone, or for senior managers, stock options too. The company contributes to employees' retirement via a profit-sharing plan; employees can pay into a 401(k) as well.

Even better, opportunities to move up abound. Intel spends more than $300 million a year on employee development. Staffers typically get new gigs every 18 to 24 months. Going back to school? Intel will cover up to $50,000 in costs, or more, depending on the program. Not a bad way to get an MBA.

25. Robert W. Baird & Co.

Average total pay: $117,650
For: Financial Analyst*
Best companies rank: 11

Milwaukee-based investment advisor navigated through the financial crisis without having to resort to layoffs. In fact, it increased its staff 10% since 2007.

Aside from total compensation averaging six figures for salaried employees, Baird offers:
  • 37.5 hour work week for hourly employees.
  • Bonuses and profit-sharing for all employees.
  • An opportunity to buy stock in this privately held firm. Nearly half of employees have done so.
  • Free investment planning for all employees.
  • Bonuses that range from $1,000 to $10,000 for referring a new employee.
"Baird cares about their associates very much," says one employee. "This place is like a second family."

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