What's hiding behind the buzzwords in job ads?

You've heard the job ad jargon so often, your eyes glaze over: detail-oriented, fast-paced work environment, team player. But these well-worn phrases can expose the dirty little secrets of your potential future employer.

This article was originally published by Fortune.com on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012.

By Katherine Reynolds Lewis, contributor

FORTUNE -- Read enough help-wanted advertisements, and you'll soon realize that they all basically sound the same. Jargon like "detail-oriented" and "self-starter" is so overused that the positions advertised begin to sound unremarkable: part of the expected landscape of hunting for a job.
But if you stop and think about what all of these buzzwords are signaling, you'll realize how much information you just might miss if you fail to read between the lines. First of all, when employers fall back on the same old jargon to advertise positions, it could very well be that they actually have no idea what they are looking for. They just know they have a spot to fill.
"Jargon is our way to grow lazier decision making in corporate cultures," says Kevin Fleming, owner of Grey Matters, a neuroscience-based executive development and coaching firm based in Jackson Hole and Tulsa. "We use these words to cover up something. It could also be a way to hide some ambivalence."

What can you buy for $300,000? Vacation homes to escape from the Beltway

This article was originally published by the Washington Post on Wednesday, February 22, 2012.

By Katherine Reynolds Lewis

Interest rates are still at historic lows. Real estate prices remain depressed in many areas. As you look forward to summer, you may be wondering whether this would be an opportune time to get a bargain on a vacation property that you could enjoy with your family while earning some rental income.

To answer that question, we looked at popular vacation destinations within a reasonable drive of Washington, D.C., to see what kind of escape from the Beltway you could purchase for $300,000. In some areas, sellers are stubbornly hoping that the market will rebound enough to reap the high prices they’ve set for their beach and mountain homes. In others, lower rental volumes and the tough economy have left property owners with limited resources for fixing up properties enough to make them irresistible to prospective buyers.