Posted: Friday, April 23, 2004

INTERNAL HIRES: You're burned out and angling for a new job. Good news 60 percent of executives surveyed recently said they're more likely to promote from within than they were three years ago.

Less than a quarter of the 150 executives polled said they are less likely to promote internally and 15 percent said they had not changed their position on the issue.

When times are good and jobs are plentiful, hopping from one employer to another is often the fastest path to career advancement. But in lean labor times, ''the best growth opportunities often are internal, particularly among those firms that recognize the morale and productivity benefits of promoting from within,'' said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, a temp-staffing firm for professionals that conducted the survey.

So, if you're hoping to get a better job inside the company, Accountemps offers a few tips:

Make the boss look good: If your work makes your supervisor esteemed in the eyes of higher management, your value and advancement potential gain considerably.

Take new tasks: Voluntarily assuming new responsibilities demonstrates your motivation and will lead you to new skills.

Know your goal: If the next job you want requires some sort of certification, training, or degree, prepare to do that.

Don't be a grinch: If all else is equal, those who are liked by peers and supervisors tend to advance faster.

The February Accountemps' survey involved executives from human resources, finance and marketing departments.

DOLLAR SHOCKERS: Americans traveling to Europe are getting a case of sticker shock, courtesy of the weak dollar.

If you're seeking more soothing exchange rates, there are plenty of alternatives, travel pros say, including Hong Kong, Panama and El Salvador. These places tie their exchange rate to the U.S. dollar, so currency fluctuations are minimal.

The May issue of Consumer Reports magazine has some other suggestions for favorable foreign exchange rates, such as Jamaica, Mexico, Kenya and Central America.

The Jamaican dollar has lost some 20 percent this year, while American dollars are an accepted form of currency in several Latin American destinations, such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama.

REFUND AND SPEND: Most of us aren't thinking savings when it comes to tax refund checks from the government, according to an annual survey.

More than two thirds, or 68 percent, of 1,000 Americans said they'll spend their tax refunds on everyday purchases, up from 59 percent a year ago, according to the Cambridge Consumer Credit Index, which conducts a monthly telephone poll.

Less than a quarter, 23 percent, plan to save it, down from 27 percent in 2003.

And for those who owe taxes, borrowing to pay was more popular this tax season. Seven percent of the people said they'd sought a bank loan, up from 4 percent last year.

''While the results indicate good news for the economy in the short term, they also indicate a more worrisome trend that an increasing number of Americans are relying on their tax refunds for everyday purchases and paying bills,'' said Jordan Goodman, a spokesman for the Islandia, N.Y.-based company.

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