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- 07/18/13--06:22: _The Career Path Of ...
- 07/18/13--10:27: _5 Tips For Survivin...
- 07/18/13--11:34: _Make These Changes ...
- 07/19/13--06:07: _10 Things They Don'...
- 07/19/13--09:26: _Could You Afford To...
- 07/22/13--08:21: _How To Have A Secon...
- 07/23/13--08:12: _5 Law Firm Intervie...
- 07/23/13--08:14: _10 Rules About Prof...
- 07/24/13--11:08: _A Wall Street Hedge...
- 07/30/13--13:47: _'The Seinfeld Strat...
- 08/04/13--13:19: _8 Fulfilling Career...
- 08/05/13--16:02: _Bill Gates And His ...
- 08/29/13--08:13: _Why So Many Lawyers...
- 09/05/13--08:57: _New Ranking Says BY...
- 09/10/13--10:31: _This Calculator Sho...
- 09/12/13--08:06: _5 Financial Factors...
- 09/20/13--10:38: _Former Film Studio ...
- 09/20/13--12:12: _Here's When You Sho...
- 09/23/13--15:16: _A 72-Hour Work Week...
- 09/24/13--12:55: _7 Traits Of Executi...
- 07/18/13--06:22: The Career Path Of The Future Is Squiggly
- 07/18/13--10:27: 5 Tips For Surviving The Rapidly Changing Workplace
- 07/18/13--11:34: Make These Changes To Your Workspace To Increase Productivity
- 07/19/13--06:07: 10 Things They Don't Tell You About Your First Internship
- 07/19/13--09:26: Could You Afford To Be A Politician?
- 07/22/13--08:21: How To Have A Second Career As A Novelist
- 07/23/13--08:12: 5 Law Firm Interviews That Went Horribly Wrong
- 07/23/13--08:14: 10 Rules About Professionalism You Need To Know
- 08/04/13--13:19: 8 Fulfilling Careers For Retirees
- 08/29/13--08:13: Why So Many Lawyers Are Unhappy With Their Jobs
- 09/05/13--08:57: New Ranking Says BYU Is The Best Private Law School For The Price
- 09/10/13--10:31: This Calculator Shows Your Chances Of Passing The Bar Exam
- 09/12/13--08:06: 5 Financial Factors To Consider Before You Quit Your Job
- 09/20/13--10:38: Former Film Studio Execs Reveal How They Coped With Being Fired
- 09/20/13--12:12: Here's When You Should And Shouldn't Go Over Your Boss' Head
- 09/23/13--15:16: A 72-Hour Work Week May Be The New Normal
- 09/24/13--12:55: 7 Traits Of Executive Presence, The Key To Winning People Over
In the rapidly changing new world, you've got to abandon the linear career trajectory.
Instead you should get comfortable with the "squiggle," argues digital marketer Mitch Joel in his new book, "Ctrl Alt Delete." That means being ready and willing to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.
In practical terms, Joel offers four lessons from a squiggly career, which we've summarized below.
1. Don't be afraid of short and powerful projects.
You should be "constantly working to put ideas, innovations, and products into market." This could involve multiple projects within an organization or working with multiple organizations. Switching jobs won't hurt your resume as long as "you can prove that the moves you've been making were done because you accomplished (and surpassed) the pre-established goals.
2. Don't be afraid of big.
"If you're not thinking about the bigger problems that face your industry, someone else is," Joel writes. As examples of people who dreamed big, he cites Jack Dorsey, who dreamed of a world without cash registers, Steve Jobs, who talked about making a dent in the universe, Mark Zuckerberg, who talks about connecting the world, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who talk about organizing the world's information. Big dreams are within reach these days.
3. Get Squiggly.
This means not getting stuck in "decisions that you made and followed back in high school and university (or because your predecessor did things a certain way)," Joel writes. Be willing to switch to a totally new career. Even in your current job you can "take on a challenge within your organization, work with a new department, change something within your business that is antiquated or draconian."
4. Be incompatible (maybe just a little bit).
What Joel means here is that you have to be willing to be unpopular, as you will be if you push for change, make people do things they don't want to do, treat your work like art, disrupt the way other people do things, and commit to lonely work. "
"Ctrl Alt Delete" is a reassuring book for millennials, who have been criticized for their inability to commit to a steady job, and also for older workers, many of who have watched as their industry has imploded in the IT revolution. Not everyone is going to be the next Steve Jobs, but an openness to change is a useful attitude change.
Digital marketer Mitch Joel has coined a new term for today's career trajectory: squiggle. In his just-released book, "Ctrl Alt Delete," Joel says the squiggle is a somewhat random, non-linear process that involves constant career tweaking and iterating — and it's the path we should all embrace to stay employable in today's "business purgatory."
Embracing the squiggle and getting over the "lazy" straight path can be scary, but Joel says success has never been easier.
We summarize his "squiggle" concept in detail here.
Below are some broader lessons for succeeding in a rapidly changing workplace.
Be a perpetual entrepreneur.
"If you don't cannibalize yourself, someone else will." Joel refers to this memorable line from Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs as an example of innovation stemming from a perpetual entrepreneurial spirit. As proof, two-thirds of Apple's revenue come from products that were invented from 2007 onwards.
Joel says having a constant zeal for invention and innovation will separate those who create the future from those who are left behind.
"Business owners think a lot less about creating the future because they are much too concerned with both mitigating risk and minimizing mistakes. There's nothing wrong with being a business owner, but it's an important distinction to make as we lurk in these moments of purgatory."
If you want to break out of the purgatory, constantly look for new projects and problems to solve. Be an entrepreneur.
Make yourself indispensable.
At a time when budgets are being slashed and jobs are not in huge supply, moments of purgatory (in the form of layoffs) are more prevalent. The ones who survive will make themselves indispensable beyond their current role at their company.
"Your resume no longer solely exists on a white 8.5'' x 11'' sheet of paper. It's 3-dimensional. You are not just the employee of a company ... Write blog posts, podcast, get your name beyond the confines of that 8.5 x 11..." says Joel. "If you don't like to blog, that's fine. But at the end of the day, the world is still creating content whether it's on FB or LinkedIn or Twitter. It's an important part of who we are. Your presence and what you've accomplished needs to be available so the people who can affect your life in terms of finances and success can see."
Take a digital-first posture.
Rather than be distracted and overwhelmed by each shiny, new platform, turn your attention to the overall digital landscape. Stay aware of technology, trends and the impact they are having on the world.
"I've really struggled to find an industry where there hasn't be a dramatic digitization of the industry (either on the front or back end) ... whether you blog or not, there is a social scoring system that has started and will continue to affect your life. If you go blasting an airline on Twitter, the airline's ability to see who you are, who you're connected to, and how much your message amplifies, will be indicative of their reaction and what they do to fix it."
Find your blend.
Forget about work/life balance. True superstars work constantly but do so willingly. If you love what you do, the work will merge with your personal life into a "healthy blend".
"The most adaptive path for you to find your success in these times of purgatory will be in your ability to forget about the notion of work/life balance and find the blend in your work, personal, and community life."
Get in the mode of 'why'
Marketing guru Seth Godin made an appearance at Daniels' book launch in New York and offered several nuggets of advice, including one on how he manages to write on his blog every day:
"I notice things for a living. If I see something that I don't understand, like, 'Why is there a line in front of Mission Chinese restaurant?', I try to figure it out. Get in this habit and ask why.....By observing, you can see a teacher fail in real time. You can see a student ending their educational career in real time. Why does that happen? And by asking that question relentlessly, you'll see how things work."
If there's any other message at the core of "Ctrl Alt Delete," it’s that none of this can wait. The world is changing as you read this. So, get comfortable with the squiggly.
It’s easy to get distracted by the little things that life throws your way. De-clutter your desk, and life, from distractions by using these simple tips to organize your workspace and increase your productivity.
Sort out all the loose papers, notes, magazines, and any other items that need to be addressed. File away what you need, recycle what you don’t, and save what you think you may need for the future. If you’re like me, you may have endless magazine tear-outs that you have saved for inspiration. Start that file or scrapbook you’ve been meaning to begin—it’ll clear your desk, and your mind, of distractions.
2. Tech issues
There’s nothing more annoying than an automatic update request filling your screen when you’re in the middle of a deadline. Set aside some time to update your computer’s virus protection, while also installing any new software that you may need. Keep on top of your digital filing, and clear out any cookies or temporary internet files that may be slowing down your computer’s productivity.
3. Backup and storage
We all know we should do this regularly, and it’s only when a crisis happens that we wish we had followed the sensible advice. Save your important and sensitive documents to external storage, as well as any picture and media files that you couldn’t bear to loose.
4. Desk accessories
Some companies have instated a clean desk policy to keep employees focused and organized. Invest in some proper filing for your desk such as a box, magazine files, or a simple tray to keep your papers in line. Why not accessorize with a matching pen pot or mousemat?
5. Color coding
Consider color-coding your in tray so you have visual cues for your organization. I have a purple file for documents I need each week, a green file for my writing, and a yellow file for important details, such as log-in information. No more scrabbling to find an all-important password!
6. Social media
This is perhaps the biggest distraction of them all. Five minutes checking your Twitter feed can easily turn into so much longer. Consider downloading apps like AntiSocial, which blocks specified amounts of time to social networking sites, and Focus, which helps to isolate certain windows on your computer.
"If only I'd known then what I know now..."
This familiar statement particularly applies to careers, where success is mostly achieved through experience, trial and error. What if, instead, you had the inside track on what to expect before an experience began?
For anyone who might start their first internship sometime soon, consider this list the dossier on what you need to know:
1. You need to be on time for everything. This one might seem basic, but it's important to underscore. "We're talking about an age group that's around 18 to 26," says Yair Riemer, the vice president of marketing at CareerArcGroup, which is the parent company of the website Internships.com. "Their first internship could be their first professional experience period, and things that might seem very basic aren't yet second nature to them, necessarily."
"When you're in school and going to class, you might show up a few minutes late, and it's not always a big deal," Riemer continues. "But punctuality is important in the workplace. Map out your route, and try it the day before or the week before [starting your internship]. Always show up on time for meetings. It shows that you're reliable and can be trusted with deadlines."
2. Social capital is sometimes more important than ability. Showing what you know is important, because no one wants to work with a ding bat. But there are unquantifiable benefits to being likable in the office. On the short list: It helps boost your morale and that of your colleagues, plus it allows you to stay front-of-mind to receive a full-time position and further promotion opportunities. "When I speak at colleges and high schools I stress the importance of networking and mentorship during an internship," Riemer says. "Ask a colleague to go to lunch with you occasionally, then ask them questions about their career path."
3. You could be an intern for awhile. Internships are a stepping stone to the next stage of a career, but these days, that stone's throw from flunky to full-time is a much longer distance. A job offer isn't guaranteed, and even if it does come along, it could be months or years before a company hires you. The more competitive the industry, the longer you could spend hopping internships. To avoid confusion, "Ask what the specific start and end dates are before you begin working with a company, and find out for sure whether they might consider hiring an intern full-time," says Nathan Parcells, the chief marketing officer for the internship placement firm InternMatch.
4. Busy work comes with any job. Look at the bottom of any job description. Do you see the spot where it says "Perform other duties as assigned?" Those duties could range from filing paperwork, to data entry, to taking notes in an important meeting, and no matter how highfalutin your chosen career path or GPA, you won't escape some clerical tasks. "There's a yin and yang to the working world," Parcells says. "Every job comes with some component of administrative tasks, and having perspective on how those tasks [to] help the company overall is important."
Aim for excellence, no matter how mundane the task may be. "There's excellent busy work, and then there's mediocre and sloppy busy work," Riemer says. "If you've been given a data entry assignment, then turn in a spreadsheet that's above and beyond, that's easy to navigate and well organized."
5. It's OK to make mistakes. Always strive to do your best, but remember that internships are designed to offer a learning experience. You're not going to know everything, and you're going to botch things a time or two. That's expected, and a good manager will recognize this, expect this and be patient. Ask questions and for assistance when you're struggling, and ask for feedback for how to prevent making the same mistake twice. "Millennials are a generation with 'I can do everything' personalities, and so they don't always respond to failure well. But bosses expect interns to be on a learning curve, and more learning comes from failure," Parcells says.
6. Your ideas are encouraged. It's natural to be timid at first, but it behooves you to speak up, so participate in meetings and pitch new projects. This is how you prove your mettle. "Bosses love employees who take initiative. And one of the reasons companies like to have interns in the office is because they provide a fresh perspective," Parcells adds.
7. You're going to be bored sometimes. There are many assignments that just can't be entrusted to you because you're too new to handle them. And there might even be times when you find yourself twiddling your thumbs while your manager determines what your next task will be. This is normal and something that pretty much every newbie experiences. To combat that, "Keep communication open with your supervisor to determine how you can pitch in," Riemer says. "And learn to set your own internal goals of what you'd like to achieve even if your supervisor doesn't."
8. There's a difference in responsibilities for paid and unpaid interns. Some say you should always be paid, while others say it's not mandatory, but according to the law, it depends. The U.S. Department of Labor outlines six criteria that an employer in the private sector must meet to have unpaid interns:
1) The duties assigned have to be similar to those given in an educational environment.
2) The internship must be to the benefit of the intern.
3) An intern must not displace a regular employee.
4) The employer receives no immediate advantage from the intern's duties.
5) The intern isn't necessary entitled to a job offer.
6) Both intern and employer understand that the former isn't entitled to wages for the duration of the internship.
When interviewing you can ask about your responsibilities. If you feel that you're being offered an unpaid internship that doesn't abide by these standards – particularly the standard of the internship being an educational experience – then pass up the opportunity.
9. Quality is more important than quantity. As a student you've learned the importance of meeting deadlines, and it is true – deadlines are important. But it's not efficient to work hurriedly and then leave several t's uncrossed and several i's without their dot. "Students and first-time interns tend to think faster is better and that they appear smarter if they work quicker," Riemer says. "But it's OK to stop, ask for feedback and do a thorough job. Learning takes time."
10. Work casual and campus casual are not the same thing. Don't let semantics trip you up: Many offices now have liberal policies and/or enforcement concerning dress code, but you need to dress slightly better than the full-time employees do. Here are some pointers: More of your body should be covered in fabric than isn't, regardless of season. And make sure everything is clean, ironed, not too short, not too tight – not too anything.
In early July, a Gallup poll showed that 64 percent of Americans don't want their children to become politicians.
Which is probably just as well. Most children seem to harbor hopes of becoming movie stars, professional athletes and veterinarians, and not of someday being Speaker of the House or judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
It's the adults who daydream about running for office.
But as civic-minded people know, politics is a money game. Running for office, especially once you get to the state level, requires raising vast amounts of money. Beyond that, it also requires having green stuff of your own.
One may wonder why. After all, most politicians raise money from other people. As long as you have a legal place of residence, you could live in government-assisted housing and run for governor – and yet so many politicians are attorneys, physicians and businesspeople.
In fact, in the 113th U.S. Congress, there are 45 former or current lawyers and 22 businesspeople in the Senate, and 128 lawyers and 108 businesspeople in the House of Representatives. One member of the House was a youth camp director before running for office. Another was a mill supervisor. But generally, politics is akin to trying to join a posh country club. The rich people do it.
It's nothing personal, though. Here are some reminders of why it helps to have money when you're competing in politics.
You need a career that will allow you time off. Politics can pay well, or reasonably well. The President of the United States currently makes $400,000 a year. The salary for most members of Congress is $174,000. The mayor of Omaha, Neb., who just requested a pay cut, will receive $102,312 a year, starting in 2014.
Whatever you make while in office, running for office is a job in itself that no one will pay you for, observes Rick Wade, a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
"A candidate has to consider that the mortgage, car payment, utilities, child care, dog care and all of the other bills still have to be paid," says Wade, who now runs the Wade Group, a Washington, D.C.-based global business development firm.
Chris Randolph, based in Philadelphia, can attest to that. Randolph ran as an independent for U.S. Congress in 2004, when he was 33 and at a point in his career when he could take some time off work. He didn't have a family to support, and he was a contract researcher for a think tank. He didn't have to quit a job; he simply stopped working for his employer for five to six months.
While he spent $5,000 of his own money to win about 1,000 votes and ultimately be crushed by the incumbent, it was the not making money where he really lost out. "I lost almost a half a year's salary," says Randolph, who is now selling books and records online and is in the midst of starting a nonprofit.
Randolph didn't plan on spending $5,000 of his own money on his campaign, but things came up due to the difficulties of running against an incumbent and as an independent. Much of his five grand went to hiring an election lawyer and defending the signatures he collected to get on the ballot. Even if you don't encounter these obstacles when running for office, you may need to spend money on things you might not have considered, like childcare if you're off campaigning a lot, a new wardrobe or odds and ends like campaign signs and pizza for volunteers if the fundraising isn't going as well as you hoped.
Of course, not every office requires the same sacrifices. Some positions, like city council, mayor and county supervisor can be part-time and don't require as much time to campaign for, points out John Oxford, a director of external affairs and PAC chairman for Renasant Corporation, a bank holding company in Tupelo, Miss. Before aligning himself with a bank, Oxford ran numerous campaigns on the local and regional level.
"In Tupelo, Mississippi, the part-time city council has a retired art teacher, a painter, a furniture salesman, an insurance salesman, grocery owner, a construction company owner and a history teacher. Since it is a part-time job and is local, they can all keep their day jobs and serve," he says.
Oxford says when it comes to running for office, "the best-positioned people financially are usually recent retirees or individuals who have investment wealth because they have less debt and expense, and have investment-producing income so their running would not impact their careers."
You need rich friends. "Generally, the higher the office and the greater the number of voters, the more money you need. If you are talking about a U.S. Senate race, the cost is likely to be in the millions, and a U.S. House race is likely to run into the hundreds of thousands and sometimes more," says Jack Holmes, professor of political science at Hope College in Holland, Mich.
Since you're hopefully smart enough not to sink your life savings into your campaign, you'll have to ask others to chip in. Friends, family and strangers will suddenly be potential campaign donors. That's why, once again, an attorney, physician or high-profile businessperson tends to do better in politics than an elementary school teacher, Wade says.
"Money begets money," Wade says. "Candidates who are wealthy and financially stable attract money. And they have broader networks, which makes it easier for them to raise much-needed campaign funds."
You need to feel that if you lose, you'll be able to soldier on. It's easy to see the upside if you win an office, but what if you're the one delivering the concession speech?
"If you lose, how will that affect your ability to gain future employment and financial security?" Wade asks, pointing out that if you're in a competitive race, you could see your good name and reputation thrashed. After all, in this day and age of polarized politics, a good half of your community or state may not think very highly of you – which could hurt if you come out of the race with less power and prestige and a smaller bank account to boot.
That's why so many people under 40 don't risk running for office, Oxford says: "They have bills, debt, young families and cannot take the risk of losing an election and losing their careers or means of income at the same time."
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Writing a book is at the top of many boomers’ bucket lists. As a new author myself (shameless plug: Second-Act Careers), I appreciate that. But I also know that figuring out how to go from bucket list to the best-seller list can prove a bigger challenge than you think.
That’s why I decided to spend some time at ThrillerFest last week in New York City. Now in its eighth year, the conference is a one-of a-kind networking and educational event for aspiring and seasoned thriller writers. At a speed-dating-inspired session there, would-be authors pitched their projects to dozens of literary agents.
First Published After 40
One of the things that intrigued me most about this conference was how many of its featured authors didn’t get published until they were over 40, sometimes not until their 50s.
Physician Michael Palmer, whose first novel came out when he was 40, told me: "My initial writing dream, besides simply finishing, was to see my name on the cover of a novel and maybe to give copies out to friends and family for Christmas. When my agent phoned to say that the outline of the book had been bought by a major publisher, she asked me to guess how much my advance was going to be. My initial guess, with fingers crossed, was $5,000. In reality, it was 50 times that, and suddenly a second career was a big reality."
Today, Palmer splits his time between working as a physician and a novelist. His most recent medical thriller is Political Suicide.
6 Tips for First-Time Authors
Here are six of my favorite take-away tips for anyone itching to publish a first novel, thriller or otherwise, in midlife (plus, a bonus: a few thrillers and mysteries you might enjoy reading this summer):
1. Leverage your life experience. Did you ever notice how many thriller writers came out of careers in government, the military, law and medicine? That’s no coincidence. They’re able to bring authenticity to their spy novels, medical mysteries and courtroom dramas because they’ve walked the walk and talked the talk.
Plenty of other first careers can provide great material for second-career, first-time novelists, too.
At ThrillerFest, I learned, for example, that Daniel Palmer (Michael Palmer's son) is a former e-commerce pioneer who penned three novels about the dangers of our technocentric world (his latest is Stolen) and Maria Hudgins is an ex-high school science teacher and author of archaeological and travel mysteries (most recently, Death of a Second Wife).
So think about ways you could weave your previous work and adventures into a compelling story.
2. Wait to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Coming up with a great tale is a bit like producing fine wine: You can’t rush the process.
“The more time you take thinking about the idea, the better chance you have of developing the plot,” says Phillip Margolin, a former criminal defense attorney and author of multiple New York Times best-selling thrillers, including Capitol Murder, his latest.
During one of the ThrillerFest sessions, Margolin pointed out there was a three-year span between the time he came up with the germ of the idea for Gone, but Not Forgotten and began writing it.
While working on his book outlines, Margolin keeps asking himself questions (who, what, where, when and how) and continually refines the plot. He often spends four to six months developing and revising the outline before starting to write.
3. Model the masters. One of the best ways to learn to write well, which will up your odds of getting published, is by studying books you admire. Analyze the ebb and flow of their plots as well as the authors’ word usage and character development.
Even seasoned authors find this technique helpful. M.J. Rose, the best-selling author of 13 novels (Seduction just came out) and founding board member of International Thriller Writers, told me she often reads her favorite books three times. The first time is to simply enjoy the story. The second is to focus on the writer’s style. The third is to dissect the book’s tone and structure.
Incidentally, Rose – a former advertising exec – self-published her first book, Lip Service, in 1998 after several traditional publishers turned it down.
4. Be willing to ask for feedback. “If you want to be a writer, you’ve got to be able to handle criticism,” Margolin says. “Everyone needs help and every book needs work.”
Finding the best people to critique your book can be a process of trial and error. If you know any editors or agents, ask them for feedback. If not, consider joining a local writers group. (Check with the continuing education coordinator at your community college or your reference librarian for nearby groups).
Just try to avoid asking family or friends for their opinions if they’re not in the publishing world. “They mean well, but they’ll drive you crazy,” Margolin jokes. On top of that, they probably don't have the expertise and wisdom to provide good advice.
5. Learn about the business of the business. Selecting the best method for publishing your book – going with a traditional publisher, an e-publisher or a print-on-demand service – can be a project in and of itself. Each alternative offers distinct advantages and drawbacks, so take your time exploring the options. If you hope to attract a traditional publisher, you'll generally need to have an agent.
Brace yourself for repeated rejection, however, if you do decide to pursue the traditional route in hopes that a publisher will oversee and pay for the book’s production, design, editing and distribution, assist with marketing and anoint you with instant prestige.
Virtually no one lands a publishing deal quickly. Even best-selling author Diane Mott Davidson wrote three novels before one was accepted for publication, when she was 41. (Her newest Goldy Schulz suspense novel, The Whole Enchilada, comes out in late August.)
I still laugh thinking about what my daughter, Juliana, told me after I received my sixth rejection letter: “Don’t worry, Mom, all that means is now you’re officially a real author.”
6. Don’t go it alone. Most writers tend not to be joiners, by nature. But as I saw at ThrillerFest, it pays to attend conferences with your peers. They’re wonderful venues for learning, networking, connecting with agents and meeting people who can help fuel your writing.
The next ThrillerFest conference will be held next summer in New York (July 9-12, 2014). Other possibilities coming up: the Southern California Writers' Conference (and Retreat) in San Diego, Feb. 14-17, 2014, and the Romance Writers of America Conference in San Antonio, July 23-26, 2014.
To find more get-togethers, including summits for writers in particular regions and novelists in other genres, check out the robust listing in the Conferences and Residencies Database on the Poets and Writer’s Magazine website.
Most important, have fun!
“Understand the reality of the business you are getting into,” M.J. Rose says. “Then, write because you enjoy the process – not because you expect to have the next New York Times best-seller.”
One redditor who was nervous about impending interviews reached out for OCI horror stories to help "ease the tension." Here are the five of the best responses.
1.) From gillesthegreat:
Not my story but from someone I know.
He was interviewing with Dewey & Leboeuf and politely asked "how is the firm's name actually pronounced?" A legitimate question. The answer came back, slowly articulated and dripping with condescension ... "Jones Day." The guy had gotten his interview schedule confused.
2) From Achlies:
My legal name is not what I call myself and thus not something I ever put on my résumé. However, my transcripts and my résumé, with different names, obviously made the interviewer curious.
He simply asked, "Why do you go by [nickname]" in a very polite, honestly-just-curious way.
I was such an uncomfortable bundle of nerves, I said, "because it's pretty" as though it hasn't been my nickname all my life and tied deeply to my heritage. Like I had just named a pet and a friendly neighbor asked me why I chose that name.
We shook hands as the interview ended and I had to sneeze but — nerves killing me — instead of being a normal person and letting go before sneezing, I sneezed on our clasped hands.
Still got the job.
3) From jbiresq:
This was at a callback last year but a partner, who was really well known in his practice area, asked me to talk about a legal issue. I could have talked about 50 things I knew. Instead I decided to talk about the Paramount antitrust case and how it hurt the release of "Magic Mike." And I described "Magic Mike" to him. That was pretty stupid in hindsight.
4) From invaderpixel:
I had a contact act up right before one interview, even though I took the thing out before it started, I cried a continuous stream of tears out of one eye throughout the interview as I awkwardly explained and they offered me tissues. On the plus side, they were super nice. Didn't get a job/call back, but looking back I don't think I was going to get any jobs/callbacks anyways.
5) From etcerica:
I got an interview with a large-ish regional firm only because of a family connection. (Not a thing I am ever happy to take advantage of, I like to earn things on my own.) They threw me in the schedule at the last minute and I was the only 2L being interviewed, so I went in already embarrassed about the circumstances. Then in the middle of it I projectile spat all over the conference table in the middle of a sentence. Three interviewers. Sorry, family connection...Got your own law firm interview horror story? Let us know in the comments.
You probably know that it's important to be professional if you want to have a successful career, but what does that actually mean?
After all, professionalism is rarely taught; you're supposed to pick it up on your own through a combination of observation and osmosis, but that's not always easy to do. And learning on the job can be fraught with land mines, since you might not even see your mistakes coming.
So without further adieu, here are 10 key elements of professionalism that you should master early in your career.
1. Pay attention to the cultural norms in your organization, and follow them. If you watch how others in your office operate, you'll learn all sorts of important things about "how we do things here." For instance, you might observe that everyone shows up precisely on time for meetings, that they modulate their voices when others are on the phone, and that people rely on email for non-urgent questions. These are important signals for what will be expected of your own behavior – and you'll come across as tone-deaf if you ignore them.
2. Be pleasant and polite to people, even if you don't like them. You will have to work with people whom you just don't care for, and even with people who aren't very nice. You'll look far more professional if you don't let them get under your skin and instead remain cordial and easy to work with.
3. Take work seriously. If you make a mistake or something doesn't go well, don't brush it off or use cavalier responses like "my bad." Accept responsibility for your part in what went wrong. Part of taking work seriously leads to…
4. Speak up when work isn't getting done on time or when there are problems with a project. Part of taking real ownership for you work means that you're responsible for alerting your boss when things are going off course, rather than trying to ignore it or just hoping that no one notices.
5. Realize that getting feedback on your work – even critical feedback – is part of the job; it's not personal. Getting angry or defensive or otherwise taking it personally when your manager gives you feedback can be an easy trap to fall into, but it will make you look less professional. And after all, if you care about doing your job well and advancing, don't you want to know where you need to do better?
6. You need to write clearly and professionally. That means no text speak, and correct punctuation and capitalization. This doesn't mean that you need to write as if you were addressing the Queen of England, but you do need to take care that you don't sound like you're texting a friend from a nightclub either.
7. Be flexible. Yes, your workday might formally end at 5 p.m., but if staying an hour late will ensure the newsletter goes to the printer on time, you should do it unless that's truly impossible. That doesn't mean to ignore important commitments in your own life, but you shouldn't let important work go undone just because of your quitting time. Similarly,be flexible when it comes to changes in work plans, goals or other things that might evolve as work moves forward.
8. Show up reliably. Unless you have pre-scheduled vacation time or you're truly ill, you should be at work when they're expecting you to be there. It's not OK to call in sick because you're hung over, or because you stayed up late last night watching soccer, or because you just don't feel like coming in.
9. Be helpful, and do more than solely what's in your job description. The way that you gain a great professional reputation – which will give you options that you can use to earn more money, get out of bad situations and not have to take the first job that comes along – is by doing more than the bare minimum required. That means always looking for ways to do your job better, helping out colleagues when you can, and not balking at new projects.
10. Don't treat your manager as your adversary. If you have even a semi-decent manager, she wants to see you do well and isn't your enemy. But if you instead see her as someone whose job is to enforce rules, spoil your fun and make you do things you don't want to do, it will show – and it won't look good. Treat your manager as a team-mate, one who has authority over you, yes, but one who's working toward the same goals as you are. (And if you're not sure whether this is true of your manager, that's a big red flag to pay attention to.)
We've got another awesome OneWire video for you.
This week, OneWire CEO Skiddy von Stade sits down with Steve Ketchum, the Founder and CEO of Sound Point Capital. Ketchum founded the credit-oriented alternative asset management firm after holding several roles at top firms including UBS, Bank of America, and Donaldson, Lufkin, & Jenrette (DLJ).
In the interview, Ketchum talks about how he came to found his own firm, and points out what he thinks a lot of recent graduates he interviews are missing today — the ability to think for themselves.
When hiring, he explains, “I look for evidence that a candidate is able to fend for themselves…have an assignment and go off and figure it out, as opposed to needing feedback or oversight every minute of the day. And frankly, I do think, having been in the business of hiring people for the last 15 years, I do see that skill set—the ability to be a self-starter—I see that on the wane…Today being able to show…a potential employer that you are a self-starter is hugely important.”
Aside from being a self-starter, Ketchum also says any hire he makes has to be trustworthy and able to market themselves.
“As I look back…getting on the right career path is part art and part science. The science part of it is creating a network and making it a numbers game…And the art is trying to figure out how to market yourself.”
Check out the video below from financial career site, OneWire:
Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most successful comedians of all‐time.
He is regarded as one of the “Top 100 Comedians of All-Time” by Comedy Central.
He was also the co-creator and co-writer of “Seinfeld,” the long-running sitcom which has received numerous awards and was claimed to have the “Top TV Episode of All-Time” as rated by TV Guide.
According to Forbes magazine, Seinfeld reached his peak in earnings when he made $267 million dollars in 1998. (Yes, that was in one year. No, that’s not a typo.) A full 10 years later, in 2008, Seinfeld was still pulling in a cool $85 million per year.
By almost any measure of wealth, popularity, and critical acclaim, Jerry Seinfeld is among the most successful comedians, writers, and actors of his generation.
However, what is most impressive about Seinfeld’s career isn’t the awards, the earnings, or the special moments — it’s the remarkable consistency of it all. Show after show, year after year, he performs, creates, and entertains at an incredibly high standard. Jerry Seinfeld produces with a level of consistency that most of us wish we could bring to our daily work.
Compare his results to where you and I often find ourselves. We want to create, but struggle to do so. We want to exercise, but fail to find motivation. Wanting to achieve our goals, but — for some reason or another — we still procrastinate on them.
What’s the difference? What strategies does Jerry Seinfeld use to beat procrastination and consistently produce quality work? What does he do each day that most people don’t?
I’m not sure about all of his strategies, but I recently discovered a story that revealed one of the secrets behind Seinfeld’s incredible productivity, performance, and consistency.
Let’s talk about that what he does and how you can use the “Seinfeld Strategy” to eliminate procrastination and actually achieve your goals.
The “Seinfeld Strategy”
Brad Isaac was a young comedian starting out on the comedy circuit. One fateful night, he found himself in a club where Jerry Seinfeld was performing. In an interview on Lifehacker, Isaac shared what happened when he caught Seinfeld backstage and asked if he had “any tips for a young comic.”
Here’s how Isaac described the interaction with Seinfeld …
He said the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.
He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day.
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.”
You’ll notice that Seinfeld didn’t say a single thing about results.
It didn’t matter if he was motivated or not. It didn’t matter if he was writing great jokes or not. It didn’t matter if what he was working on would ever make it into a show. All that mattered was “not breaking the chain.”
And that’s one of the simple secrets behind Seinfeld’s remarkable productivity and consistency. For years, the comedian simply focused on “not breaking the chain.”
Let’s talk about how you can use the Seinfeld Strategy in your life …
How to Stop Procrastinating
Top performers in every field — athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists — they are all more consistent than their peers. They show up and deliver day after day while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.
While most people get demotivated and off-track after a bad performance, a bad workout, or simply a bad day at work, top performers settle right back into their pattern the next day.
The Seinfeld Strategy works because it helps to take the focus off of each individual performance and puts the emphasis on the process instead. It’s not about how you feel, how inspired you are, or how brilliant your work is that day. Instead, it’s just about “not breaking the chain.”
All you have to do to apply this strategy to your own life is pick up a calendar (here’s an inexpensive one) and start your chain.
A Word of Warning
There is one caveat with the Seinfeld Strategy. You need to pick a task that is meaningful enough to make a difference, but simple enough that you can get it done.
It would be wonderful if you could write 10 pages a day for your book, but that’s not a sustainable chain to build. Similarly, it sounds great in theory to be able to deadlift like a maniac every day, but in practice you’ll probably be overtrained and burnt out.
So step one is to choose a task that is simple enough to be sustainable. At the same time, you have to make sure that your actions are meaningful enough to matter.
For example, researching good jokes each day is simple, but you’re never going to write a joke by merely researching. That’s why the process of writing is a better choice. Writing can actually produce a meaningful result, even when it’s done in small doses.
Similarly, doing 10 pushups per day could be simple and meaningful depending on your level of fitness. It will actually make you stronger. Meanwhile, reading a fitness book each day is simple, but it won’t actually get you in better shape.
Choose tasks that are simple to maintain and capable of producing the outcome you want.
Another way of saying this is to focus on actions and not motions, which is a concept that I explained in this article: The Mistake That Smart People Make
Mastery Follows Consistency
The central question that ties our community together — and what I try to write about every Monday and Thursday — is “how do you live a healthy life?” This includes not merely nutrition and exercise, but also exploration and adventure, art and creativity, and connection and community.
But no matter what topic we’re talking about, they all require consistency. No matter what your definition is of a “healthy life,” you’ll have to battle procrastination to make it a reality. Hopefully, the Seinfeld Strategy helps to put that battle in perspective.
Don’t break the chain on your workouts and you’ll find that you get fit rather quickly.
Don’t break the chain in your business and you’ll find that results come much faster.
Don’t break the chain in your artistic pursuits and you’ll find that you will produce creative work on a regular basis.
So often, we assume that excellence requires a monumental effort and that our lofty goals demand incredible doses of willpower and motivation. But really, all we need is dedication to small, manageable tasks. Mastery follows consistency.
For the last eight months I’ve written a new article every Monday and Thursday without missing a beat. Simply setting a schedule has helped me keep that pace and I plan to keep it as we move forward.
But I also want to graduate my writing habits to the next level and start writing 1,000 words each day. Some of those words will turn into books and courses, and some of will continue to be my Monday and Thursday posts.
My “1,000 words per day” chain is currently at 4. (I made it to 5 last week before breaking it for a day.)
You may have a couple false starts yourself, but eventually I’m hoping that both you and I can simply tell ourselves, “Don’t break the chain.”
James Clear writes at JamesClear.com, where he shares ideas for using behavior science to master your habits and improve your mental and physical health. For more of his articles, join his free newsletter.
For many, retirement signifies the end of work and a shift to a more relaxed lifestyle. However, sometimes a shift to a different kind of work is enough to create the lifestyle you dreamed up while planning for retirement.
For a number of people, retirement means the opportunity to pursue passion projects and set their own rules for work. Whether you’re close to retiring or still have a ways to go, consider these avenues retirees have taken, as well as the personal advice they offer after finding a fulfilling post-retirement career as…
A web designer
“The retirement ‘job’ should be the one you’ve always wanted to do or try. It is not about the money you will make, but the memories you will have.
“So often people think they should be doing something to help others. That’s fine. But this is a time in life to put yourself ‘first’ and do whatever it is that you’ve always wanted to do.
“I’ve always been a techie. It paid well. But I’ve always wanted to be an artist. It didn’t pay well (or at all!). Now I get to be both as a web designer.”
- Alan N. Canton, web designer
A family mediator
“After retiring, I earned certification and opened a private practice as a family mediator. Helping couples and ex-couples resolve legal issues by facilitating constructive negotiations is often very rewarding. They save thousands of dollars, avoid a lot of anxiety and distress, make good parenting plans and control the decisions about dividing assets and debts. I love being self-employed — doing the work I want to do the way I want to do it. Developing a web presence and a referral network was hard for me, but work/life balance has been pretty good. I work only as much as I want to, and I make my own schedule.
“If asked for advice, I would say choose meaningful work and then get help from a local small business development center to learn how to grow your business.”
- Virginia Colin, professional family mediator
“I have found a fulfilling career as an author, publishing e-books on Kindle, which can provide seniors a reliable passive income for years to come. Writing books, long or short ones, and rinsing and repeating the process, can provide a stable full-time or part-time income for the 50-plus crowd, of which I am a part. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it builds authority that many have never gained and it’s powerful. Everyone has a book within. Not everyone realizes that they can actually make a living at it, within weeks.”
- Lee Evans, author
“After retiring from my 37-year career as a probation officer, I attended an acting class for seniors for three years with my father starting when I was 60 and he was 85. We performed scenes I wrote in six class showcases before live audiences. As a result, I went on to became a professional actress in my senior years. Then, I became an author when I wrote a recently published memoir about it called, ‘Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class.’ I’m now also a speaker as I give talks about my book and to inspire baby boomers and seniors to find a passion as a motivation to embrace life. My ‘second act’ keeps me vital and dynamic, and makes me excited about life.”
- Lee Gale Gruen, actress, author, speaker
A fine craft artist and author
“My latest career is creating ornaments, pins and magnets from low fired clay. I do all the production work. My partner does all the painting, wiring and beading. We’re in our thirteenth year of supplying fine craft galleries without contemporary designs. I’m 75. My partner is in her forties. We live in two different states and work well together.”
- Pat Holt, artist and author
“I was a corporate pharmaceutical design engineer. Now I am an award-winning professional artist. I am pursuing my passion in ways I could not have when I was younger, building my career in biochemical engineering, and raising our three children. My advice, especially as it pertains to art would be, ‘Be tenacious in pursuit of your passion. Succeeding as a fine artist takes patience and persistence. Have no regrets. Have no excuses.’”
- Debra Keirce, artist
“The whole idea about retirement is that you now control how you spend your time. Make sure whatever you choose, you can afford to do it. That way you can continue to be ‘retired’ rather than forced to get another job. I retired on a Friday and on Monday, my husband and I started writing a book together. We just released our fifth book together and I started printing my fine art photography. When asked what we do for a living, we stopped saying we were retired. Instead we say we changed careers.”
- Carol Roullard, photographer and author
“I’ve started my retirement career three years before I retire. By the time I retire it will be a full-fledged business that will bring in a nice income and is just what I want to do. In fact it’s already bringing in a nice income, one I could actually live on now. I’m writing and self-publishing books.”
- Lloyd Tackitt, blogger and book author
The Gates Foundation is encouraging employers to do something called "skills-based hiring" as an alternative to hiring based on college degrees.
By using a college degree as a requirement, employers are automatically overlooking people that are capable but have no degree.
Ultimately, this isn't helping the employer, the workforce or the economy, Angela Cobb argued in a blog posted by the Gates Foundation on Monday.
Research from the Aspen Institute points out that despite the high unemployment rate, nearly 3 million U.S. jobs are unfilled because employers can't find people with the right skills, Cobb points out.
So the Gates Foundation, in connection with an organization called Innovate+Educate, is working on a program called the New Options Project, lead by Cobb. It acts like an alternative to a traditional college education, somewhat like a cross between a vocational school and an exam. Employers in a region can work with the program to develop a skills-based credentialing system. People can take the test to show mastery of a skill or aptitude and get more training from there.
Innovate+Educate says skills-based hiring fills jobs faster than traditional methods, and finds candidates who need less training and are less likely to quit.
"Ultimately, our hope is that this method will help to level the playing field and give everyone a shot at having a fulfilling career regardless of past education or work experience," writes Cobb.
Gates himself famously never finished college and he's a fan of this approach, as he told Fast Company's Anya Kamenetz in April:
Editor's note: A version of this post appeared on Quora in answer to the question, "Why are so many lawyers unhappy with their jobs?" We are republishing an edited version of the post with the author's permission.
Crippling student debt
Most countries have a way to limit the number of attorneys. Japan and China for instance have much harder bar exams with much lower passage rates. The U.S. does it by making us spend THREE YEARS and a ridiculous amount of money (Columbia was about 260-270k all in including room and board). This narrows your career options (i.e. why over 90% of my classmates from CLS in 2010 went into the type of biglaw firm where anon above  is a midlevel associate). If you've read his answer, you understand why some of my classmates are unhappy.
Law is depressing and lawyers are paid to be cynical
In law school, you learn about unjust laws and cases. After school, litigators are paid to resolve conflict — often between two acrimonious and irrational sides. Most of the conflicts that necessitate getting a lawyer are not happy ones. In other words, time and time, case after case, you're brought in after things have already gone horribly wrong. In many cases, you're helping make the situation even more wrong (e.g., expensive, protracted lawsuit that causes both sides extended grief and suffering).
Even corporate/contract lawyers are paid to think of all the things that could go wrong. The role of corporate and in-house counsel is to tell the business people the legal constraints and risks they face. Often, we're seen as the ones trying, at worst, to jettison a deal or, at best, getting in the way of a deal with our endless bickering over the ramifications of (in the eyes of the business folk: remote) possibilities.
I-bankers, and certain other finance types, have been known to call us "monkey scribes."
Law is boring
Finality, consistency, and efficiency/administrability are each just as important as fairness when it comes to what makes a law good or bad .
Unfortunately for lawyers, the desirability of having laws and cases that settle disputes with finality and consistency means that judges try to follow precedent, and even contract lawyers are usually paid to apply the law the same exact way every time. A significant amount of research assignments for corporate junior associates involve researching past cases and deals with similar fact patterns or contract provisions that are desired by our side on the current deal. Many conference calls with the other side's counsel degenerate to seeing who can cite more deals to justify that their version of the purchase agreement provision is "market" 
Law involves a lot of downtime and a lot of stop and go for both litigators and corporate folks (i.e., periods of high stress and activity followed by periods of having to be on call but not really having anything to do). This happens at the courthouse, the boardroom, in the office, and at the printers at ungodly times of the morning. This is beautifully described by anon's answer below already. I just stress that the lifestyle is incredibly unhealthy, mentally and physically, and has made many of my colleagues more prone to substance abuse and addiction .
This is one that I haven't seen others confess. The qualities I describe above: unhappy, bored/boring, and low financial means seem to fit most of the law students and lawyers I know.
I suppose it makes sense. Many unhappy, unfulfilled people — many of whom do not know what they want to do or are looking for a higher paying job — go to law school. Families that are obscenely wealthy are more likely to send (i.e., pay for) their children to get humanities PhDs than JDs when it comes to post-graduate education — certainly my wife's colleagues and classmates in Yale, Harvard, or Beida/Fudan's anthro and sociology PhD programs came from wealthier families, on average, than my classmates and colleagues from Yale law, HLS, CLS, etc.
Some people go to law school because they "like to argue." To be honest, I suppose being a douchebag may have made me want to go to law school a little bit more too. Assholes want a leg up on the competition when it comes to picking and winning fights.
Of course, since law and the practice of law have the same qualities (boring, depressing, money-hungry), these traits tend to get reinforced in law school and during practice. I've seen stick-thin humanities majors straight out of college with gentle eyes and old souls emerge from law school basements and law firm conference rooms after a decade of too much sitting, stress and seamless as enormous, immature lunatics who waddle along the halls of the firm raving obscenities at opposing counsel, clients, colleagues, subordinates, family, and lovers alike .
Clients/service industry From one of my earlier answers [3 again]
Law it is at the end of the day, a service industry with the expected levels of ass-kissing, unreasonable demands and advice that is solicited and then ignored. Much of law is cleaning up (or trying to prevent) the messes of others, and some of the time, especially at a junior level, you're just doing menial tasks that the client (i.e. in-house counsel) can't be bothered to do themselves. There are midlevel associates in biglaw who bill out at $500-700 an hour who spend a shocking amount of time doing stuff like fixing typos in disclosure documents and press releases.
To expound on the service industry aspect, there is tremendously less ownership over what is done with your work product and less opportunity to see the results of that work product. Reading about the deal you helped make happen on the front page of the WSJ doesn't mean you'll be reaping any additional profits or feeling any additional satisfaction if the deal is deemed successful in the coming few years. You won't even get overtime pay or a bonus for all the weekends and all-nighters. There also are the typical and expected agent-principal conflicts/problems between client and attorney.
Billing Already been mentioned here and elsewhere already :
Billing entails keeping track of how many minutes you work for each client, whether you worked during travel time and if so how to apportion the time spent on the plane/train/etc. between the client you're traveling for and the one you did work for, and all the stupid little rules that differ widely from client to client (e.g., whether overtime meals or other expenses can be billed, whether they want you to bill in increments of 6 minutes or 15, whether they will pay for the work of a summer associate, whether they will pay for research, and so on). I've had days where I billed time to over a dozen different clients. It's not fun keeping track of all these things when you have a hundred other, more important matters on your mind.
For biglaw corporate lawyers who bill out at $500 to $2,000+ per hour, whether you count the 5 minutes you spent sitting on the can (but you were thinking about the deal/case the whole time!) as billable time can actually make a hundred dollars or so difference to the client. If my "diaries" slip behind by more than a couple weeks, I don't get my next paycheck. For sole practitioners or boutique firms who deal directly with smaller clients and who are under greater pressure to tailor their fee structures, it must be even worse.
Every lawyer more or less has to do this. You can have your secretary do some of it for you, but ultimately it's your responsibility.
Part of the stress is because every lawyer knows it is a slippery slope. One day you're padding your time by five or 10 minutes because you know other lawyers at your firm who do far worse, and the next day you're just making your timesheets up as you go and committing fraud and malpractice.
As someone who has worked for everything from construction crews to hedge funds and who returned to a general management and marketing role after two years in biglaw, I would note that no job is perfect. The practice of law does have positives. There are brilliant moments of triumph and self-actualization as well as the defeat and ennui described by the other answers here. If the question had been "why are lawyers happy with their jobs," I'm sure you would have gotten some good answers too.
 Anonymous' answer
The comments are generally spot on as well.
 Lack of innovation and creativity. Models/form agreements and other precedents (in both litigation and corporate) are given great deference, and even archaic turns of phrase are painstakingly preserved just in case changing the wording might change the legal meaning of a document . On practically every M&A and securities agreement I've worked on, a partner, client, banker or someone from the other side will ask "What's market?" or "What was done on the ___ deal?" From a social and business point of view, this is understandable given the desirability of consistency in how law is practiced and applied, but it makes the job really boring after a while.
Attorneys: What is the most frustrating thing about being a lawyer?
Not all deliverymen standing in the lobbies of investment banks, PE shops, and biglaw firms past 8 pm on weeknights are delivering food.
 See 6 and 9: http://www.eharmony.com/dating-a...
That eharmony list was obviously not written by a lawyer, someone who has dated one, or anyone who has ever worked for or with one.
The Jurist, the "voice of legal education" looked at tuition, debt, and cost of living compared to the percent of employed graduates and bar exam pass rates.
This list only includes private law schools. The Jurist will publish the full best value list in October, and BYU stands as the only private school on the full list. In 2007, 13 private schools made the cut.
“With rising tuition, it has become increasingly difficult for private law schools to make the Best Value list," Jurist's Editor-in-Chief Jack Crittenden said in a statement.
The top five private law schools on the list of just private schools have an average indebtedness below $105,000.
Malcolm Gladwell created his own version of law school rankings in 2011 for the New Yorker that also considered financial burden. BYU came in at number two, only beneath the University of Chicago.
The Jurist's previous ranking techniques come with their criticisms, though.
Popular blog Above The Law called The Jurist's best law school's list "pure ridiculousness." That list didn't include LSAT scores or GPAs and placed the University of Alabama's law school above Harvard.
An associate professor at the Pepperdine School of Law created a calculator that can predict aspiring lawyers' chances of passing the bar.
The professor, Robert Anderson, wanted to help law students choose where to take the exam.
"I suppose it's considered bad manners to point out that the same student who would have a 30% chance of passing the California bar exam might have an 70% chance of passing the bar examination in another state," he wrote in his personal blog WITTNESSETH.
His method considers LSAT score, law school class rank, law school ranking, and bar examination state.
Consider someone who scored a 150 on his or her LSAT, an average score, and graduated in the top half of their class — once again pretty average — from a top 50 law school. According to the calculator, he or she has an 89% of passing the bar in New York. But change one factor, law school rank to "not in the top 150," his or her probability drops to 79%. Now check California — 55%.
The details clearly matter.
Anderson cautioned that this calculator is an "experimental" version. He's hoping that law school administrations will send him better data so he can calibrate the calculator to make more accurate predictions.
Click here to check for yourself.
Leaving a job is inevitable, especially if you recently graduated and are employed in your first, full-time position.
Hopefully, you won’t have to experience getting fired or laid-off, but rather, make the choice to leave for personal reasons. Perhaps you’re thinking about going back to school, or maybe you realized you’re not a right fit.
It would be wise to wait until you find another job or hold off until a few weeks before school starts. However, not all situations are the same and you may feel compelled to leave before you have secured a new position. It is risky-business, but as long as you financially plan for your leave, you can make a smooth transition without feeling too much stress.
Here are some things to critically assess before quitting:
Rent and Utilities
For most people, your income covers this cost, and hopefully it’s not too high.
In New York City, the average rent depends on which borough you live in, with Manhattan being the most expensive. It is a good rule of thumb to save up three to six months for rent/utilities.
It’s a tough job market and you may still be looking for a full-time position well after three months. However, having at least three months covered puts your mind at ease because it will be one less distraction and you can thoroughly focus on your next endeavor.
It might also be a good idea to look for a part-time job in the meantime to cover other costs such as transportation and food.
Some recent graduates are still able to take advantage of health insurance from their parents, which takes another distraction out of the job-quitting/seeking equation.
You can also prepay your insurance through your company for the year. Most companies give you the option to pay out of pocket for your health plan after you leave the organization.
Have a conversation with your HR department to know what kind of health benefits are entitled to you. Remember, just because you aren’t sick when you leave your job doesn’t mean you can’t get sick months later. It is best to prepare in advance for unforeseen medical expenses.
If you are planning to attend a wedding, a vacation, or anything major that will drain your finances, you may want to wait on submitting your two-week notice.
Sure, you may have some savings and feel as if you are capable of doing a little splurging, but it wouldn’t be fiscally responsible. Your spending habits will have to be re-evaluated to fit a low-budget lifestyle until you are gainfully employed again.
Do a risk-reward analysis to see if leaving your job will negatively impact your quality of happiness. If yes, then it is best to wait until something better comes along before leaving.
College Loans and Other Expenses
If you have student loans, don’t feel compelled to stay at a job you dislike in order to pay them off. Sallie Mae offers Economic Hardship and Unemployment Deferment requests. You can also defer private loans, if you explain your situation.
The length of deferment will vary, but at least six months is the norm.
Other expenses may include your cell phone or credit card bills. Try investing in a lower cell phone plan to reduce cost.
You may also be able to negotiate a new repayment plan with your credit card company if your balance isn’t too high. If not, it will be another expense to plan for before leaving.
So I know what you may be thinking, why would anyone subject themselves to this kind of torture? Two years after graduation, I have witnessed many friends leave their jobs without another one lined up.
Looking for full-time employment is like having a full-time job. For some, it is just easier to focus on applications and interviews without worrying about coming to work late or taking days off.
It is a personal call that some have to make in order to increase their skill set or happiness. It’s a scary road, but if you plan accordingly, it won’t be as bumpy.
Earlier this month, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson was reportedly blindsided after learning of his dismissal via media leaks just hours after partying at the Toronto Film Festival.
Fogelson isn't alone.
In fact, he was the third top film studio executive to lose his job this year.
But it shouldn't come as a surprise to studio execs, as the gig isn't known for its stability. (NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer is the exception to the rule after 18 years in the post.)
"You're essentially hired to be fired," Bill Mechanic, who was pushed out as chairman of the Fox studio in June 2000, explains to The Hollywood Reporter. "There is no riding off into the sunset."
THR talked to several top execs about what they did after leaving the studio world and found their answers were very similar.
They told the truth:
Bill Mechanic, Former Chairman at Fox Studio: "Everybody said, 'You shouldn't say you were fired. I did this interview saying I didn't resign, I got fired, and everybody thought I was stupid. [But] I don't think there's anything wrong with being fired in that job. Nobody lasts, nobody survives, so why would you think it's a big deal?"
Nina Jacobson, Former Head of Production at Disney, Current "Hunger Games" producer: "You're usually encouraged to come up with a party line about how you're pursuing your lifelong dream. I chose to be honest about it and not try to spin it as my choice when it wasn't."
And went back to work:
Donald De Line, Former President and Vice Chairman of Paramount: "I just went right back to work as a producer. It was disappointing, but I knew it was 50-50 at best when that kind of changeover happens."
Mechanic: "You think everything will evaporate, but it doesn't disappear right away. You can go to restaurants, you can still get seated. You don't become the plague."
Jacobson: "I will always remember the people who stepped up for me. (Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider soon offered her a deal at DreamWorks.) Having somebody who wanted me meant the world to me, and it gives you a sense of looking forward and not back."
While some employers like to boast that they’re “flat” organizations, the reality is, all of us report to someone at the end of the day. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a boss who knows what he or she is doing and will become a great mentor and ally for you.
But, bosses are people, too, and sometimes they make a mistake or (gasp!) don’t have all the answers. What then? What if you can see a disaster coming from a mile away, and your boss doesn’t see it? Or what if your manager is doing something you know isn’t right? Are you supposed to just sit idly by while carnage ensues?
The answer, as you may have guessed, is not a simple yes or no.
Whether your boss is a rock star or ridiculously underqualified, this person is still your boss, and someone put him or her in that place for a reason. Which, in short, means you need to respect that as much as possible. That said, there are a few serious situations where going over your boss’ head is definitely OK.
If you’re considering a flanking maneuver on your boss, check out these dos and don’ts before making your move.
Don’t: When You Just Don’t Like the Job
Hating your job is a drag — trust me, I feel your pain. But, even if you think your boss is the devil incarnate, that’s not necessarily his or her fault. For example, if your manager continues to dole out seemingly tedious assignments even though you’ve expressed your desire for more advanced responsibilities, chances are, there’s a reason. In fact, he or she probably loathes giving out the assignments as much as you hate following them.
The first time I experienced this was with an employee who constantly complained about the tasks I assigned to her. No matter how hard I tried to find ways to mix things up and re-engage with her, she had already decided she hated her job, and nothing I did was changing her mind. Eventually, she decided her dissatisfaction with the job was a direct result of my management style, and she expressed her frustration directly to my boss.
When my boss pulled me aside to fill me in, I was devastated. While he said he knew I was trying my best and reiterated his support for my approach, I couldn’t help but take it personally, and it was a huge blow to my confidence. For several weeks after, I constantly questioned my methods — not to mention that employee’s sense of loyalty — which didn’t help the team, or me, improve performance.
If you ever find yourself tempted to tattle on your boss, first ask yourself it it’s really your boss that’s the issue, or if it could just be the fact that you don’t like the job. If it’s the latter, try to come up with a list of ways the job could be more satisfying — and taking that up with your boss directly, instead. And, if you can’t come up with a single thing for that list? Maybe it’s time to start looking for a new job.
Do: When Your Boss is Breaking the Rules — Big Time
You know that saying, made famous by the Department of Homeland Security, “If you see something, say something”? Well, the same goes for your work environment. Although we may not all receive the same level of corporate governance training, it goes without saying that we’re all on the hook to some degree if something starts going south in the home office.
While I’ve never had the unfortunate distinction of being involved in a corporate scandal or investigation, I’m pretty sure there are a few former Enron employees who wonder if disaster could have been averted – at least to some degree – if they’d disobeyed the boss’ orders and reported what was going on.
That said, going over your boss’ head, especially when it’s under delicate circumstances, is a tricky maneuver. Simply running to the CEO’s office and blurting out that you saw your manager shredding documents after hours would not be wise. Instead, gather as many facts as you can, including dates, names and any specific information related to the situation. When you’re sure something shady is going on, schedule a meeting with someone senior to your boss, and discuss what you’ve found. Be sure to express your concern for both your boss and the company when sharing your story. It’s important that whomever you speak with understands you’re looking out for the company — not simply trying to tattle on your boss.
Don’t: When You’re Trying to Get Ahead
Probably the most tempting time to flank your boss is when you see an opportunity to surpass him or her. But trust me — this is a huge mistake.
Fortunately, I’ve never done this myself, and I haven’t had it done to me (at least, as far as I’m aware), but I have seen it happen to colleagues, and it’s not pretty. Here’s how it plays out: Employee smells weakness in boss. Employee starts to position herself for advancement by subtly discrediting boss and promoting her own ideas. Someone with a “C” in her title notices. Employee thinks she’s on the fast track, only to find out the C-level colleague was just scoping her out and now questions her loyalty and ability to recognize leadership. Employee is now branded as an opportunist, rather than ambitious, and is passed up for the next big promotion in the group.
The lesson? While opportunities will definitely present themselves, remember that managers of all levels look for loyalty, collaboration, and general ability to be a team player when promoting their employees. What’s more, your actions matter, and how you respond to your boss is a direct reflection on your ability to tow the corporate line. While that may seem a bit dictatorial, think about this: If you had your own business, wouldn’t you want to know with as much certainty as possible that your employees would stick behind you, no matter what?
Do: When You Encounter Harassment or a Hostile Work Environment
While it may seem obvious that one should immediately report instances of harassment or a hostile work environment, actually going through with it is complicated, to put it mildly—especially if it’s your boss that’s the source of the issue.
I’ve experienced harassment with nearly every job I’ve ever had over the past 15 years, ranging from sexist comments in the elevator to physical harassment and everything in between. And you know what I did about it for most of those years? Not a thing. It’s probably one of my biggest regrets in my entire career. Why? Well, aside from the obvious, I was inadvertently setting up an environment that turned a blind eye to situations that were definitely not OK.
It wasn’t until one of my employees finally came to me to reveal that she had been harassed by my boss that I realized I had to do something. Then came another. Then, of course, there was my story, too. I realized at that point I had let not only myself but my entire team down by allowing this behavior to continue. So, I went over my boss’ head.
I wish I could say it was easy, but it wasn’t. Telling your boss’ boss his or her second in command isn’t cutting it as a manager is a difficult conversation. Telling your boss’ boss he’s been sexually harassing an entire group of employees felt impossible. But, the courage my employees showed in telling me their stories proved to me it could be done, and within a week, the issue had begun to be addressed.
If you’re experiencing – or witness – harassment of any kind, or a hostile work environment, know first and foremost that it is absolutely not acceptable, and it needs to be stopped, pronto. Chances are, you probably aren’t the only one who’s noticed, and given how difficult it is to broach this subject, it’s likely no one has ever reported it. Which means that’s your cue to drum up some courage and take one for the team.
Just like the situation where a boss is doing something against company policy or illegal, however, do get as much detail as you can about what’s happening, and make sure you bring your notes to the meeting. It’ll probably be an emotional experience, so be prepared to have all your senses firing on all four cylinders. That’s completely normal, and in no way should it deter you from telling your story.
We all deserve to work in safe, productive, and respectful environments. While we often look to our managers to assure that’s happening, occasionally, we need to shine a light on the situation ourselves.
I can guarantee there will be dozens, if not hundreds, of times you’ll feel the urge to go over your boss’ head. But, by thinking through each situation first and determining the best course of action, you’ll help establish yourself as a committed member of the team and position yourself as a future leader who knows how to navigate the maze of company hierarchy with grace and respect.
Jennifer Winter is a freelance writer, editor and career consultant. She translates her 14-years of corporate combat experience to help others navigate their own careers, and become advocates for their own success. Need help negotiating that raise or writing the perfect email to your boss? Jennifer’s your girl. Find out more about her services on her blog, FearLessJenn or follow her on Twitter @fearlessjenn.
The biggest enemy of work-life balance may be sitting in your pocket.
A new study, Always on Never Done, by the Center for Creative Leadership finds that workers who use a smartphone for work are connected to the office an average 13.5 to 18.5 hours per day, while those who don’t use a smartphone for work are connected to the office an average eight to 10 hours per day. Smartphone-equipped workers interact with their office a whopping 72 hours per week (including weekends).
“In today’s world, the expectation is that when a question comes up, you’ll answer it within 30 minutes, whether it’s 8:00 at night, or 6 a.m.,” says organizational consultant Ed Muzio, author of Make Work Great. “The expectation is that if you’re awake, you’re going to be checking in.”
The biggest driver of the constantly connected office culture is the proliferation of the technology that makes it possible such as smartphones and teleconferencing. But it also reflects lingering effects of the recession that has left fewer employees handling larger workloads. Such changes allowed companies to expand productivity and cut their expenses, fueling a surge in corporate profits. Globalization also plays a role, as more workers are interacting with colleagues across the world on what has become a 24-hour business cycle.
Experts say that workers generally accept 24-7 connectivity as the norm in today’s workplace—it’s rare to find a good-paying, full-time job that only requires a 40-hour workweek - but they warn that companies that take advantage of such policies generally have more turnover and lower job satisfaction rates.
“Some workers just feel like there never is an end to the day,” says Peggy Klaus, author of Soft Skills: Workplace Lessons Smart People Wish They’d Learned Sooner. “In addition to the stress and burnout from work, they feel like they don’t have any down time with their friends or family, and they start to resent their employer.”
A separate study by the American Psychological Association found that more than a third of workers said communication technology increases their workload, and makes it more difficult to stop thinking about work or take a break from work.
While smartphones and other technology are meant to increase our productivity, and experts admit that in many ways they enhance work-life balance – allowing a parent to duck out early to attend a school play, or to check on a big deal that’s closing during a scheduled vacation. But when used regularly around the clock, such technology can lead to diminishing returns in worker output. “There’s a fall off in productivity after a full day of work,” Muzio says. “After a certain point, you’re just not as effective.”
The CCL reportfound that connected workers generally had just three hours per day in which they weren’t sleeping, working, or checking in with the office. (And sleep may not actually offer an escape – more than half of consumers say they check their phone while lying in bed, before they go to sleep, after they wake up, and even in the middle of the night.
HIGHER STRESS AT HOME
“This isn’t just about work” says report author Jennifer Deal. “This is about our lives, and it affects the people with interact with and the people we care about.”
Twelve percent of executives regularly step away from dinner and other family gatherings to deal with business calls and other work issues, and 41 percent of executives do so occasionally, according to a study released last year by Forbes Insights.
Many workers think that they’re multi-tasking when they’re checking work emails while eating dinner or spending time with their family, but, in reality, they’re not giving full attention to both activities, says Larry Rosen, author of iDisorder: Understanding our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us.
Constantly checking a smartphone actually causes neurological changes. Once your brain is in the habit of looking at a small screen for updates every few minutes, when it’s unable to do so, it begins to activate neurotransmitters associated with anxiety and stress, Rosen says.
Indeed, a study last December in Britain last December found that higher levels of stress correlated to how often people checked their smartphones, with the most stressed individuals actually experiencing ‘phantom vibrations’ when there were no new alerts.
“For your own health, you need to set up boundaries and limits,” Rosen says. “The more you check, you’re just digging a hole for yourself. You’re modeling the behavior up to your boss and down to your kids, and setting yourself up for a lifetime of anxiety.”
Rosen recommends scheduling a certain time to check your phone, after dinner perhaps, and to plug it in—out of sight—at least an hour before you go to bed.
Still worried about missing an important email from the boss? Add an “out of office” alert and have a great weekend.
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Larry Ellison has executive presence. So did Steve Jobs.
Although very different people, they both had that confidence and composure that allowed them to connect with others.
Chances are, you may need executive presence, too, to get venture capital for your business, motivate your staff or get a promotion. How important is presence?
In a survey of CIOs, conducted by Gartner, it was second on the list of the top 20 leadership traits that make a difference. By comparison, technology skills ranked 12th.
There are seven traits that professionals with strong executive presence display. And you don’t have to be the most gregarious or outspoken person in the room to demonstrate executive presence.
Composure: Self-awareness and understanding others are essential components of executive presence. The ability to control your emotions, recognize emotion in others and manage your response to them is key.
Connection: It’s critical to engage others when communicating and make them feel comfortable. The best way to connect is to understand your communication style challenges, how to overcome them, and how to read and adapt to the style of others.
Charisma: People who embody executive presence have the ability to draw others to them. This is often achieved through strong listening skills and an ability to stay “in the moment.” As a result, the people with whom you are communicating know that you are solely focused on them, and not distracted by the many other things you could be doing at that moment. They matter to you.
Confidence: One key aspect of executive presence is to communicate confidence both in what you say and how you say it. To appear confident, good posture is essential. Next, eye focus is critical. Ensure you only speak when making eye contact and manage your eye focus appropriately when communicating with more than one person — one thought per person. Ensure your facial expression matches your message and that your voice has good pitch, volume, and pace. And of course, you must look the part. Choose your wardrobe and accessories carefully.
Credibility: Not only is your content important, but the language you choose to deliver it will impact your credibility. Filler language such as “um,” “uh,” and “so” immediately detract from presence. As do minimizers like “just,” “sort of,” and “this may not be a good idea but…” When someone with strong presence speaks, others take note, and there is no doubt of the conviction behind their words.
Clarity: For you to exude presence, the ability to clearly communicate is fundamental. If your point is unclear, any hope of commanding attention is lost. Ask yourself, “What is my message in 10 words or fewer?” If you can’t articulate it to yourself you are not ready to communicate it to others.
Conciseness: Being verbose kills presence. Just as it is critical to know what you want to communicate, you must be able to do it concisely. Once you’ve delivered your message and validated it briefly, reverse back to others by asking, “What else can I share with you about this idea?” This way you stay on point and only expand on a topic with the content that your listener needs.
Executive presence is within your reach. I’ve seen many executives develop their presence with a little personal reflection, practice and coaching.