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- 04/18/14--10:23: America’s Favorite Anarchist Thinks Most US Workers Are Wage Slaves
- 04/24/14--07:20: How To Eliminate The Repetitive Tasks That Are Ruining Your Day
- 04/24/14--09:27: How Wall Street Does The Quarter-Life Crisis
- 04/28/14--14:06: 12 Ways To Get Paid To Travel The World
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- 05/22/14--10:15: It's A Myth That Americans Are Busier Than Ever
- The irony of abundance. Keynes predicted that the age of abundance would make us all relax, because it would be easier to get everything we need, like food, clothes, and entertainment. But maybe knowing that there are 10 great TV shows you should watch, nine important books to read, eight bourgeois skills your child hasn't mastered, seven ways you're exercising wrong, six ways you haven't sufficiently taken advantage of the city, etc., fosters a kind of metastasized paradox of choice, a perma-FOMO. Knowing exactly what we're missing out makes us feel guilty or anxious about the limits of our time and our capacity to use it effectively.
- The fluidness of work and leisure. The idea that work begins and ends at the office is intuitively wrong. We laugh at animal pictures on our work computers, and we answer emails on our couches in front of the TV. On the one hand, flexibility is nice. On the other, blending work and leisure creates an always-on expectation that makes it hard for white-collar workers to escape the shadow of work responsibilities.
- The curse of wealth. Linder, who coined the term "harried leisure class," says that rich people feel more anxious because they feel more compelled to maximize their free time. The idea is that rich people have a real, even rational, sense that their time is more valuable—in the non-spiritual sense, of course—so that their wasted time feels more wasteful. If this is right, it suggests that wealth buys an expectation to maximize productivity leisure time. Which ultimately means that wealth buys anxiety. Ick.
- The "joy" of work. "High pay is highly rewarding," Kolbert writes, and in a winner-take-all economy, we're motivated to put in extra-long hours to, well, win. Maybe people who don't like leisure are richer in the first place because many of them just like working more, and a permanent sense of busy-ness is the psychological price they agree to pay.
If you've ever fantasized about hiring an assistant with the idea you'd get heaps more work done with someone else handling all your bothersome administrative responsibilities, you may have the wrong idea.
That's according to Krish Ramakrishnan, CEO and co-founder of Mountain View, California-based Blue Jeans Network. Ramakrishnan practices a "no admin" rule that appears to be working. After growing and selling two previous startups to Cisco, his current cloud-based video collaboration service has more than 200 employees worldwide and in just over two years has captured about 30 percent of the video conferencing market. He says since last year Blue Jeans has experienced 500 percent growth and a 50 percent uptake in monthly usage, all while he scheduled his own meetings, booked his own travel, and cleaned up his own inbox. Here's why he says he goes to the trouble.
When you control your own calendar you spend less time in meetings.
The majority of internal meetings are painful and expensive time-sucks, especially if you consider the collective wages and time your company is losing for however many people to sit around and talk.
Whereas someone may convince an admin he or she deserves time on your calendar, if they have to come to you for the request you may be able to take care of the matter with a quick conversation, instead. Ultimately, you don't want your day driven by the calendar, but by priorities that are aligned with your company's goals and the immediate needs of the day.
"Time is your most valuable commodity," he says.
On the other hand, if you're immersed in work and a high-priority meeting does present itself you can immediately switch gears and give it your attention without having to involve an intermediary.
Only you know the priority level of a meeting.
Imagine you meet someone at an industry event who could be pivotal in your company's future growth. If you leave scheduling a meeting with him or her up to someone else you could lose out on the opportunity.
"[An] assistant may not understand the strategic nature of the business and may book for the first available slot, which for a busy executive will be many weeks out. The momentum of striking a deal succumbs to not having a timely follow-up," he says. "This type of scenario plays out over and over again in business."
Technology has taken much of the pain out of administrative chores.
Booking a business trip used to be a much bigger deal than it is today and involved actually picking up the phone and interacting with travel agents. Today, of course, you can schedule a trip in just a few minutes sitting at your computer or tapping on your mobile device.
"Once upon a time it was cumbersome to do everything self-service, book an airline ticket, schedule a meeting or go somewhere. Today everything is at your fingertips," he says.
A gatekeeper will keep people away.
Someone sitting outside your office is a deterrent to an open-door policy. And you don't want that, at least if keeping your fingers on the pulse of your company is important to you.
"Unfiltered [and] unscheduled information... leads to better decision making rather than just [going to] scheduled meetings every half hour or every hour," Ramakrishnan says.
Want more advice on how to get more done? Check out "8 Tools to Amp Your Productivity."
Karen Kawabata represents the best of Japan’s intellectual capital. She has just graduated from the University of Tokyo, the most prestigious in the country.
Wry and poised, with an American mother and Japanese father, she has the languages and cosmopolitan attitude that Japanese companies particularly value nowadays.
In April she will join McKinsey, a consultancy that should give her immediate membership of a globe-trotting elite.
Yet Ms Kawabata sees obstacles in her path. She is acutely aware of the difficulties she would face at traditional Japanese companies, should she find herself joining one. Ferociously long working hours, often stretching past midnight, are followed by sessions of "nominication", a play on the Japanese word for drinking, nomu, and the English word "communication"; these are where young hopefuls forge connections and build reputations. Nowadays women trying to impress the boss are allowed to drink plum wine mixed with plenty of soda instead of beer, says Ms Kawabata.
But that is hardly a great improvement.
Above all, she worries that having a family will be nigh on impossible to combine with a demanding career. When she met her boyfriend’s father for the first time this year, she reassured him about her intentions at McKinsey. "I told him that I would rethink my career in a few years’ time," she says.
That one of the brightest of Japan’s graduates needs to say such things should worry Shinzo Abe, the prime minister. Japan educates its women to a higher level than nearly anywhere else in the world: its girls come near the top in education league-tables compiled by the OECD. But when they leave university their potential is often squandered, as far as the economy is concerned.
Female participation in the labour force is 63%, far lower than in other rich countries. When women have their first child, 70% of them stop working for a decade or more, compared with just 30% in America. Quite a lot of those 70% are gone for good.
Beyond the Festival of the Dolls
Mr Abe says he wants to change that. In April 2013 he announced that allowing women to "shine" in the economy was the most important part of his "Abenomics" growth strategy. Raising female labour participation to the level of men’s could add 8m people to Japan’s shrinking workforce, potentially increasing GDP by as much as 15%, according to Goldman Sachs, an investment bank.
More women working for more pay would also increase demand. Hence speeches from Mr Abe attaching new-found importance to matters such as the opening hours of kindergartens and the challenges of breast-feeding outside the home.
For the prime minister, who belongs to the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), this is quite a turnaround. In 2005, when a previous government was taking steps towards greater equality, Mr Abe and his fellow conservatives warned of the damage to family values and to Japanese culture that could result if men and women were treated equally.
They worried that rituals such as the hina matsuri, or Festival of Dolls, an annual celebration of young girls and the state of matrimony, could be endangered. Their concern was not just based on tradition; keeping women out of the workforce, conservatives thought, made economic sense too. If the country’s "baby-making machines", as a former LDP health minister put it, stayed at home then they would produce more babies, and thus more workers.
This insight proved to be flawed. As the LDP encouraged women to stay at home, the fertility rate, already low, plunged further, bottoming out at 1.26 children per woman in 2005 before edging up to 1.41 in 2012. The consequent dearth of young people means that Japan’s working-age population is expected to fall by 40% by 2050, exerting a powerful drag on the economy.
As a solution to this, the direct measure of getting more women out into the workforce would have great advantages over the indirect tactic of encouraging them to stay at home in the unfounded hope that they will breed instead.
Indeed, it may even turn out that working and having children go hand in hand. In other rich countries, higher birth rates nearly always accompany higher female employment, and in Japan itself the birth rate is higher in the countryside, where more women work, than in the big cities, where fewer do. The changes that might encourage more urban women into work--such as better child-care provision, and a less demanding corporate culture, which would mean shorter working hours for men and women alike--might encourage them and their husbands to have more children, too.
The missing salarywoman
Mr Abe’s interest in all this is new; the problem is not. Yoko Kamikawa, an LDP politician, recently served on the party’s new committee seeking to improve the lot of women. In the 2000s, during Mr Abe’s first term as prime minister, she was his minister of gender equality. She is startled, she says, by the lack of progress since then.
In most countries women’s participation in the labour force dips around the years when they marry and bear children; after that it recovers. But this M-shaped curve is much more pronounced in Japan than in most other rich countries (see chart 1). Japan’s curve has levelled out somewhat in recent years: in 2004 the rate of full- and part-time employment for 30- to 34-year-old women was 61%, a figure which by 2012 had risen to 69%.
Yet young, married mothers are still largely absent from the workforce, and many women returning to work go into part-time or temporary jobs with low pay and little security.
Those who stay in work often do so in jobs that waste their abilities. Few women hold professional, technical or managerial roles. In 2012 they made up 77% of Japan’s part-time and temporary workforce.
Many of these workers are well-off married women seeking a little extra income. But others are poor and marginalised.
The precarious existence of such workers was described in "Out", a bestselling 1997 crime novel by Natsuo Kirino which had a resonance, and earned acclaim, beyond the borders of the genre.
The heroine, who spends her nights toiling in a soulless packed-lunch factory, helps conceal the murder of a colleague’s no-good husband. Ms Kirino’s subsequent bestsellers have also focused on the division of gender roles, describing men slaving away in the corporate world, disconnected from women in the home.
At the very top of corporate Japan, the "bamboo ceiling"--so-called by women for being thick, hard and not even transparent--is starting to let in some chinks of light, but they are few and far between. In 2011, 4.5% of company division heads were female, up from 1.2% in 1989. But relative to other countries the numbers are still dismal. Of the most senior, executive-committee-level managers in Japan, 1% were women in 2011, according to a regional study by McKinsey. The equivalent figure for China was 9%, for Singapore 15%.
Corporate culture is by far the biggest obstacle for Japanese women. The practice of hiring graduates fresh out of university and employing them for their entire working lives makes it difficult for employees to take career breaks and seek new positions elsewhere afterwards.
Promotion tends to be based on tenure and overtime, rather than on productivity and performance. And straightforward discrimination remains rampant. In a study that compared the reasons why Japanese and American college graduates leave their jobs, American women cited child care and looking after elderly relations as the main factors. Japanese women blamed dissatisfaction with their jobs and a feeling of being put into "dead-end" roles.
The fact that their husbands, who spend more time at work than their counterparts in other developed countries, spend less time on child care or household chores, adds to the perceived need to stay at home (see chart 2).
When Japanese firms take their pick of university graduates they choose men and women, but they still prefer men for management, sticking most of the women on the "clerical" track.
Foreign companies have been able to take advantage of this prejudice by hiring and promoting able female graduates, says Georges Desvaux, the head of McKinsey’s Tokyo office, who also leads the firm’s global research on the role of women in companies.
Overseas executives inside large Japanese companies tell tales of über-secretaries with the talent to run the whole business.
Keidanren, Japan’s most powerful business lobby, has been markedly uninterested in doing much about this.
Though government pressure recently got the lobby to start internal discussions on promoting women, corporate leaders regard Mr Abe’s new enthusiasm for improving the lot of women in the same way as they look on reforms to corporate governance: as costly distractions from the task of lifting Japan Inc’s profits.
Keidanren refuses to ask its members even to state the number of women on their boards, in fear of being asked to increase it, or having quotas imposed. Bureaucrats seeking to find the number scan documents for the suffix "ko", usually found on female names.
Male dominance extends beyond the corporate world: in politics, too, women are grossly under-represented. In the lower house of the Diet, women hold only 8% of seats, with 19% in the upper house. In a global survey of women in parliaments, Japan ranked 123rd out of 189 countries. The older generation of men is particularly traditionalist, and still wields the most clout.
Pampered wife, wise choice
Yet women are not simply being held back by the patriarchy. When the choice is between leisurely dependency in the home--known as sanshoku hirune tsuki ("three meals and a nap")--and the sorry life of a salaryman there is something to be said for putting your feet up. In wealthy places like Tokyo many women simply do not wish to work, says Takeshi Niinami, chief executive of Lawson, a chain of convenience stores.
Mariko Bando, author of "The Dignity of a Woman", a bestselling guide for women on how to succeed in the workplace, points out that many Japanese women do not feel they need a high-status job to enjoy high status. A well-educated woman working part-time in a supermarket will not see that job as defining her identity if she is the wife of, say, a high-ranking Mitsubishi Corporation executive.
Remarkably, women seem to have become more conservative about work in the past few years. In 1979, 70% of women agreed with the statement that "The husband should be the breadwinner and the wife should take care of the home". By 2004 that had fallen to 41%. But in 2012, perhaps because of the recession in 2007-09, just over half said they preferred to stay at home. A survey last year showed that a third of very young women want to become full-time housewives. Potential husbands, meanwhile, were less traditionalist: only one in five young men said he wanted his future wife to stay in the home.
Feminism has remained a timid force in Japan. The long economic boom that began in the 1950s was a national priority which left little room for questioning traditional roles in the home or workplace, says Chizuko Ueno, Japan’s best-known feminist. And women are not without power behind the scenes. Housewives control the family finances, and in the workplace so-called "office ladies" wield a lot of influence over the lives of salarymen, quietly hindering the careers of those they dislike.
There are, however, some indications that the role of women could change. For one thing, the boom that overrode all other interests is long gone. Stagnating wages mean the three-meals-and-a-nap way of life is less widely available, with households increasingly in need of two incomes. And the divorce rate is rising. More Japanese women are opting out of marriages to overworked and largely absent salarymen, and so thus increasingly need to fend for themselves. Although a portion of young women want old-fashioned gender roles, the rest, including the "parasite singles" who prefer living with their parents to marriage, want change.
Herbivore men, carnivore women
Some of the most motivated graduates nowadays are female, and a growing number of companies are waking up to the possibility of putting them to better use than in the past. According to Sakie Fukushima, a director of another business lobby, Keizai Doyukai, human-resources executives say in private that they would hire young women ahead of men most of the time. Yet they are afraid that they will lose them when they have children. Japan’s female 20-somethings now tend to be far more internationally minded than their male equivalents, says Lawson’s Mr Niinami. They outperform soshoku danshi, or "herbivore" men, so-called for taking low-responsibility jobs and preferring shopping to sex. These same young men have little desire to follow the breadwinner/housewife model adopted by their parents. Indeed, Japanese media have recently, with some surprise, begun to note a trend towards young fathers taking on more child care.
In some corners of corporate Japan, firms are changing the old working practices. At DeNA, an internet-services company, employees have noticed that their colleagues in California never stay late at the office, instead continuing their work at home. They are now starting to follow the American example, says the company’s founder, Tomoko Namba. A few firms are trying to increase productivity while shortening hours. Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, a leading blue-chip, is discouraging workers from staying in the office after seven o’clock.
By 2020 Mr Abe wants women to occupy 30% of all "leadership" positions--which would include members of parliament, heads of local government and corporate executives. His most practical step has been to try to shorten waiting lists for child care by allowing more private companies into a previously state-dominated sector. Here he has seized upon the work of Fumiko Hayashi, the mayor of Yokohama, who after being elected in 2009 managed to reduce the city’s child-care waiting list, then the longest in the country, to zero in just over three years. A former senior saleswoman at Honda, BMW and Nissan, she brought private firms into the sector. Mr Abe wants to expand her "Yokohama method" across the country.
Yet many Japanese women, who are particularly protective of their children, distrust day care (one reason women in the countryside have more children is that they are more likely to have parents nearby to lend a hand). What is required, more people now argue, is an army of foreign nannies. In January, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Mr Abe suggested Japan’s immigration rules could be eased so that foreign workers could help care for children and elderly relatives, another duty that falls most heavily on women. There have been unconfirmed media reports that the government is considering allowing in as many as 200,000 foreigners a year to work in areas such as construction, child care and nursing.
As with much of the country’s ambitious programme of structural reform, however, such a loosening will face high political hurdles. Immigration is unpopular with the Japanese public; insiders note that Mr Abe may say such things in Switzerland, but has not given public voice to them in Japan.
Until overseas talk is followed by domestic action, many will think Mr Abe lacks the will to push for changes that would greatly improve the life of working women. His actions so far have not impressed. A request that firms allow mothers to take three years of maternity leave--compared with the 18 months they can take now--met with derision from all sides. Companies said it would cripple them; feminist critics said that it was part of the old agenda to keep women in the home. The target of 30% women in leadership roles by 2020 was first proposed in 2003 by then-prime minister Junichiro Koizumi. "The target is an old one, and it was not implemented," says Yuriko Koike, head of public relations for the LDP and a former defence minister. The deadline arrives in only six years; there is little chance it will be met. The idea of reducing waiting lists for child care, too, dates back to Mr Koizumi’s time in office.
Some of Mr Abe’s allies frequently remind voters of the prime minister’s former traditional views on the family. In January Michiko Hasegawa, whom Mr Abe had approved as a board member at NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, published a column saying that women’s most important task was to bring up their children, and that this should take priority over working outside the home. "The message on women is somewhat mixed," concludes Ms Koike.
If the government really wants to increase female employment, argues Kathy Matsui of Goldman Sachs, it could do so by axing tax rules that keep women’s earnings low. The "head of household", normally a man, is allowed to claim a tax deduction of ¥380,000 ($3,700) as long as his spouse’s income does not exceed ¥1.03m. The pension system, too, encourages limited earnings. As long as a wife’s annual wages remain under ¥1.3m she can claim the national pension without paying any premiums. Tackling such privileges, however, could cost the LDP the votes of millions of housewives and their husbands.
At a private dinner in Davos Mr Abe listened to a small group of senior women, including a former head of state, discuss what Japan should do differently. An awkward moment came when one of the guests, Miki Tsusaka, a partner at the Boston Consulting Group, told him she had dreaded returning to Japan after a successful career spent mostly in New York. Yet increasingly, behind their soft tones and feminine demeanour, many Japanese women are getting ready to break out of their dolls’ house. If the country’s policymakers can find the right ways to help them, those women could boost the economy and reform corporate culture. Both they and their sararimen stand greatly to benefit.
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Recently, I landed an extremely large 30-day project from a client that would normally take 3--4 months to prepare and complete. The company had good financial resources but were short of people knowledgeable in this particular process.
Normally I would push back on the timeline and some of my colleagues actually did. But the reasoning for a fast completion was compelling. Plus the compensation for getting it done on time was rewarding, so I took it on.
When taking on projects like this, my theatrical training serves me well. In theatre we are used to these fire drills. We are always building mountains and castles and creating entire worlds in 30--45 days.
Because there is usually a large amount of experimentation in a theatre arts project, sometimes you have to scrap ideas and start over at the last minute. But ultimately, you have no choice but to finish on time because come opening night the show must go on.
This sort of tight deadline project management has been going on successfully since the time of the ancient Greeks. Here are the 8 steps we theatre people use to get things done absolutely on time in a crunch.
1. Strip away the unnecessary.
When you first get the project, there are usually a lot of"nice to haves" Identify those quickly and determine what's truly important for the project to be successful. Cut the project down to just the "must-do" items for the desired outcome. You can always add in bells and whistles if time and resources permit.
2. Plan slowly to move quickly.
So many people just jump in haphazardly with a big, quick project. Then they hit a dead end because they didn't think it through or they didn't have the right resources. This is the death of efficiency. Better to spend a few hours or even a day talking through the scope and planning. That way you can triage appropriately setting the priorities based upon available time and resources.
3. Grab the right team.
For all the drama in a theatre production, most of it is kept on stage with the performers. There is no need for theatrics among the team when you are in a tight race to the finish. Pick your team members carefully. Leave the panicky people outside the working group. Enlist the specialists you need and a few creative utility players that can take on any job. Make sure there is one person in charge of documentation and logistics.
4. Make a clear division of labor.
Don't let people just assume tasks. If you put all the work on a few people and others are sitting around, you'll never make the deadline. Have a clear checklist of the items to be completed with dates and times. Make sure each item has only 1 person accountable so you know who owns the project. Make sure people assess the time it takes to do those projects figuring in outside dependencies and distractions.
5. Have brief but regular check-ins.
When you are in the rush, details can get lost in the cracks. Make sure your team is communicating regularly. Email and text is insufficient. Set abrief huddle for once a day, or twice near the end. This is a chance to do a 15-minute check in to make sure no one is stuck and nothing has been forgotten. Don't use it for long discussions or you will derail the team. Take big issues offline unless you need the whole team to weigh in on a longer meeting.
6. Make use of elves.
In my current project, we are building a long-term system. The challenge is that many of the proper methods necessary for scalability would take months to install. Our only choice is to throw people at the problem. We can hire people to manually do today what we'll program into the computers eventually. It will be seamless at the front. Behind the scenes doesn't for now. Nobody needed to know at the time that the doors on the original Star Trek were actually opened and closed by people because the technology didn't exist.
7. Build in time for testing.
If you run your production process right up to the last minute of the launch, something is bound to go embarrassingly wrong. In Theatre we haveTech Rehearsals to pre test all the complications before performance. Schedule in a day or two before the end. It won't upset your deadline and you'll for sure be glad you tried it all first.
8. Accept what is good enough.
You don't need to skimp on quality, but not everything needs to be perfect down to the last detail. Focus the effort on what's truly important. In most productions people would sit 20 feet away. No need to make it look good from 10 feet. Wow them where you can and make everything else passible. Once you launch you can improve along the way.
If after all this the project still seems daunting, maybe you should hire a theatre person.
Employers want their workers to be healthy—both for insurance-cost and humane reasons—but aspects of those very jobs can make workers sick. A study published this month in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that workers who toiled for more than 40 hours per week or were exposed to a hostile work environment were significantly more likely to be obese.
Both of those are fairly intuitive—long hours at the office can make it hard to squeeze in exercise, and dealing with, shall we say, “a strong personality” all day can make it tempting to indulge in an extra helping of curly fries. (A more tragic explanation would be that people who are already obese are more likely to be harassed at work.)
But surprisingly, the researchers also found that certain industries and occupations in and of themselves correlate with higher obesity rates, even when controlling for the demographic makeup of those jobs.
The study authors used data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey and connected it to self-reported weight and height information, as well as industry and occupation codes from the Census. For the hostility factor, they asked workers: “During the past 12 months were you threatened, bullied, or harassed by anyone while you were on the job?” (The obesity rate was 13 percent higher among those who said yes.)
Among the industry categories, manufacturing, healthcare/social assistance, transportation/warehousing, information, utilities, and public administration had the highest obesity rates:
Surprisingly, though, only the healthcare/social assistance and public administration industries had significantly higher-than-average obesity rates after the study authors adjusted for factors such as race, gender, and health behaviors like smoking.
"Public administration" means, roughly, bureaucrats in local, city, and federal offices. "Healthcare and social assistance" is anyone who works in a healthcare setting.
This is a bit odd. It’s plausible that sitting behind some far-flung city hall desk might lead to weight gain; it’s more shocking that people who work in doctors’ offices suffer from high rates of obesity even as their workplaces preach healthy living.
From there, the researchers looked at actual job descriptions:
Protective service workers—cops, security guards, and jailers—had the highest obesity prevalence, at more than 40 percent. But again, only engineers, office administrators, and social-service workers had unusually high obesity rates after adjusting for the demographic and other factors.
In some ways, this chart simply represents a broad swathe of a country where one in three people are obese: “Engineering” is a pretty wide-ranging description, and the "office and admin" field encompasses everyone from bank tellers to receptionists.
But again, the “social service workers” category includes people working in counseling, mental health, and child protection—a.k.a. healthcare.
So why are people in healthcare jobs portlier than others? The authors think it could be because certain characteristics of those jobs—their sedentariness, for example—contributes to obesity. Doctors might be on their feet all day, but their receptionists and billing staff are glued to their desks, licking envelopes and answering phones.
But the researchers also bring up an interesting data point: An earlier National Health Interview Survey found that the occupational category “health services,” which includes lower-wage clerical staff, had a much higher obesity rate than so-called “health diagnosing” jobs, which comprise higher-earning roles like doctors and nurse-practitioners.
So, as with most trends that seem to co-occur with obesity, it might all just come down to income. Your job might affect your body, but it’s how much you earn, not where you work, that ultimately matters.
The day I went off to college, a friend gave me this quote, which is questionably attributed to Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. Over the years, it has inspired me and I have seen it posted on the walls and bulletin boards of many entrepreneurs and leaders.
Bold people stand out from the group. They are confident, courageous and directed. I believe there is boldness in most people. Given the right set of circumstances, many will take action to better the world around them.
People who choose to be bold are inspiring not just because they get big things accomplished, but because they instigate growth, progress and movement for themselves and others around them. Sadly, far more people wait for someone who is bold to lead the way, hoping somehow luck will shine success upon them.
Perhaps it's time to unleash the bold leader in you. Try adding these seven actions to your daily repertoire and see how much faster the magic of boldness takes you toward success.
1. They own their flaws and strengths.
There is a difference between boldness and carelessness. Bold leaders have strong self-awareness. They know when they should take bold action and when they are out of their element.
They minimize the risk for themselves and others by constantly reassessing themselves and engaging others to accommodate for personal weakness. Want to be a bold leader? Be more self-aware. Engage others who can compliment your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.
2. They keep clear priorities.
Someone who constantly jumps into action without a plan isn't bold, just foolish. Bold people know their objectives and prioritize them clearly. They can afford to be bold because they can recognize the right opportunity when it comes along.
Want to be a bold leader? Know clearly what you need to accomplish and seek those chances that will move the team forward. Avoid unimportant activities that lead to distraction.
3. They speak up.
Bold people are not necessarily loud or boisterous, but when they have something to say, they say it. More importantly, they understand when and how to say it. Being bold does not equal being a bully or a loudmouth.
Bold leaders must be better at tact and empathy since the very nature of their words will carry power and impact. Bold leaders also understand that often silence is the greatest statement one can make, and they use it judiciously. Want to be a bold leader? Say what needs to be said before the silence derails the team.
4. They pair action with knowledge.
Even though bold leaders are prone to action, they are rarely considered rash. They apply the same sense of action to learning and due diligence as they do to any other activity.
Bold leaders want to make sure their actions lead to success so they investigate before leading their team to the charge. Want to be a bold leader?Improve your odds of success by doing your homework. You'll increase your confidence and your success rate.
5. They accept the value of failure.
No one is totally comfortable with failure, but bold leaders understand that greater rewards stem from greater risk. Still they know how to mitigate catastrophic risk and how to protect their team. Bold leaders also know how to use risk to their advantage.
They harness the energy and adrenaline and make sure that every failure is a learning opportunity. Want to be a bold leader? Make failure an acceptable part of your process. Teach the team how to assess and limit risk so missteps can happen without total destruction. Then get people to learn and reboot.
6. They make the most of small wins.
Many people sit and wait around for the right opportunity before they are willing to step up and take action. Sadly, sometimes that right opportunity never comes. Bold people understand that rarely is any situation perfect from the beginning.
They look to make the most of any given set of circumstances that lead to victory, even a small one. Cumulatively, consistent little wins spell success, attracting followers. Want to be a bold leader? Start with a small battle you think you can win, map out a plan, and take the field. Winning builds confidence as well as your reputation.
7. They build momentum.
Bold people recognize that a single victory is not enough to sustain leadership. They work to create a series of actions that help the team gather confidence, speed and power. They have a sense of when to add energy to drive forward and when to let the momentum itself carry things forward efficiently.
Want to be a bold leader?
Craft your plan so that each action takes advantage of the success from the last. Take advantage of any win that gains attention respect, and popularity. Activate your fans, cultivate relationships, build buzz. Don't coast!
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Conventional wisdom says that if you are just starting out in your career and Google offers you a job, take it! Having Google — or Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. — on your resume will open doors for life.
Indeed, Gayle Laakmann McDowell, who worked as a software programmer for Microsoft, Apple and Google and then wrote some career advice books, offered this advice in 2011:
"Don’t join a start-up when you graduate. Or, at least, don’t join a small, unknown start-up if you can instead get into one of the top big tech companies. ... most start-ups fail ... On the other hand, when you work for Google, Amazon, Microsoft or Facebook (and other top tech companies), that credibility will stick with you for a long, long time."
At my first startup I met Reed Hastings (who was the CEO) [via Pure Software]. The folks at that startup taught me how to negotiate, how to run an engineering team, and most of all, how to respond when engineering management doesn't appreciate engineering. The company IPO'd and I learned a lot about how to manage stock options that way.
At my second startup, I met Jeff Rothschild, Steve Grimm, Marc Kwiatkoski [from Facebook] ... Kwiatkowski taught me everything I know about how to do releases, a key skill that Google would hire me for 5 years later. Note that even if I'd missed out at Google, Jeff would have grabbed me for Facebook, and I could have joined Reed again for Netflix.
... if you join a startup, you're learning everything about a company and engineering. If you join a big company, you're learning a lot about a very little domain, and if you want to get anywhere, you'd better learn how to be a great office politician.
There are plenty of startups that will be ... negative to your career. ... working with world-class people means the startup already has (even if small) somewhat of an elite reputation and that funding isn't an issue, so you'll be able to start on full salary. If the business co-founder is telling you to accept a third of what Google would pay you, he's not world class.
And another software engineer, one that doesn't have Google on his resume, yet, added this:
If you turn down an offer from Google it's not like you're locked out forever. They'll continue to recruit you.
However, if Google does keep calling, you might want to eventually say yes. It was named No. 1 on Fortune's 2014 List of the 100 Best Companies To Work For.
Perhaps if you had known that some of the best jobs of 2014 would require mathematical skills, you would've paid more attention in math class.
Professions like mathematician, statistician, and actuary are a few of the top jobs in America right now, according to CareerCast, a career guidance website that just released its 26th annual Jobs Rated report.
CareerCast evaluated income, outlook, environmental factors, stress, and physical demands for 200 professions across a wide variety of industries, salary ranges, and skill levels.
Using this data — gathered from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Census Bureau, trade association studies and other sources — CareerCast was able to determine the best and worst jobs of 2014.
This year’s report named mathematician the best job, due primarily to the robust hiring demand among a huge range of employers.
CareerCast says public and private companies, government agencies, educational institutions, and the non-profit sector all seek to hire mathematicians, in part because of the growing popularity of mathematical principles and concepts in almost every area of work, especially statistical analysis.
“Mathematicians are employed in every sector of the economy and have critical skills related to the success of many businesses, from Wall Street brokerages to energy exploration companies to IT R&D labs to university classrooms,” says CareerCast publisher Tony Lee. “Mathematician rose significantly in the rankings thanks to rising hiring demand and higher salaries, which help to boost much of the other criteria we measure.”
According to the latest data available, the median annual pay for mathematicians is $101,360. “And at a projected growth rate of 23% by 2022, the field’s outlook is very bright,” CareerCast says.
Here are the 10 best jobs of 2014:
|2||Tenured University Professor||$68,970|
|8||Computer Systems Analyst||$79,680|
Click here to see the full rankings of all 200 jobs and the report’s methodology.
SEE ALSO: The 14 Most Stressful Jobs In America
Only 41% of Americans report that they've asked for a raise. Get the salary bump you've earned by taking the time to prepare and following these steps.
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One of the surest signs of an improving economy and improving labor market is a rising quit rate.
In theory, if times are tough, you're likely to hang on to the job you have. But when times are good, you're more likely to take a risk and quit your job in exchange for the possibility of greener pastures.
Perhaps you think you'll be able to make more money.
For whatever reason, the quit rate in the U.S. labor market has been on the rise, which brings us to some timely career wisdom from an investing greybeard.
In his latest newsletter, veteran stock market analyst Richard Russell shares the story of a time when his father left a good job for more money.
It later turned out to be the biggest mistake of his life.
Here's Russell via King World News:
During the Great Depression, my father had a top job in a large and very high class real estate management company known as Bing & Bing, that built and managed many luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan. At one point the “Dishman Company” (name has been changed) offered my father a lot more money. My father took the job with Dishman, which he said was the biggest mistake of his life.
He said that the Dishmans lied to him, and he was miserable there. Meanwhile, when the president of Bing & Bing returned from a trip, he asked my father why he had left. My father told him about the money, and the president of Bing & Bing said, “I would have met that raise and more. Why didn't you talk to me before you quit?” My father realized the great mistake he had made, and he cursed the day that he had ever left Bing & Bing to go to the Dishman Company.
He spent a few years at Dishman during the Depression, and he later had a nervous breakdown, brought on by his frustration at the Dishman Company. My father later told me, “If you've got a good job and you like it, never go someplace else for the money. Furthermore, always talk to your boss before you leave.” I never forgot my father's wise words. No amount of money is worth a loss of peace of mind. Peace of mind is priceless, and no amount of material things can replace it.
The job market isn't too unlike the stock market. Opportunities for more returns typically come with much more risk to the downside.
This is not to say we shouldn't take risks. Rather, the lesson is that we should understand and appreciate the potential downside.
Conservative proponents of the guaranteed income want a lump sum payment (Charles Murray suggests about $11,000 to all adults) to replace existing social welfare programs and downsize American bureaucracy.
But some leftists oppose those government welfare agencies, too, London School of Economics professor David Graeber says.
The leftist critique of private and public bureaucracies, Graeber explains, is that they “employ thousands of people to make us feel bad about ourselves.”
Bureaucrats pushing paper decide what we and our work are worth. But somewhat ironically, Graeber suggests, it’s those bureaucrats who perform the most meaningless work of all.
If we gave everyone a lump sum basic income and eliminated those bureaucratic jobs, we’d all be better off, he says.
Graeber doesn’t self-identify as an anarchist (“anarchism is something you do”), but as an activist in the Occupy and student loan movements, this is all part of his concern that workers today are “wage slaves.”
With a basic income, everyone would have access to the market. Workers (including those government paper-pushers) could pursue the work they want, while society as a whole would benefit from their scientific breakthroughs and artistic talents. From the Beatles to Derrida, Graeber says, this form of public assistance has supported people who would otherwise be “lifting boxes,” or performing some other mundane job as a condition of welfare.
Graeber appears in our Making Sen$e segment on Switzerland’s basic income debate and its appeal in the United States, below. Paul Solman’s extended conversation with him about how a basic income would liberate wage slaves follows.
So you like this idea?
I think it’s great. It’s an acknowledgement that nobody else has the right to tell you what you can best contribute to the world, and it’s based on a certain faith — that people want to contribute something to the world, most people do.
I’m sure there are a few people who would be parasites, but most people actually want to do something; they want to feel that they have contributed something to the society around them.
The problem is that we have this gigantic apparatus that presumes to tell people who’s worthy, who’s not, what people should be doing, what they shouldn’t.
They’re all about assessing value, but in fact, the whole system fell apart in 2008 because nobody really knows how to do it.
We don’t really know how to assess the value of people’s work, of people’s contributions, of people themselves, and philosophically, that makes sense; there is no easy way to do it.
So the best thing to do is just to say, alright, everyone go out and you decide for yourselves.
But Friedrich Hayek famously wrote that the market system is an un-replicable way of everybody with their own little piece of knowledge telling you, the producer, what to make and what to use — how much of this, how much of that — via the price system, right?
Right, well, giving people money isn’t eliminating a market system.
You could make the argument that that would be true if everybody started with the same amount of money in the market, but when the market is as skewed as it is, where some people control almost all the wealth, and most people have none at all, the market communicates what people with lots of money want.
I mean, think about it: I have a friend — the story is very typical — who’s a musician. He had a hit record — he’s very talented obviously — but having just one hit record won’t set you up for the rest of your life.
Eventually, he lost his contracts, so what did he do? He went off and became a corporate lawyer.
Pretty much anybody with any brains can get a job as a corporate lawyer, so what does that tell you?
In our society we have a very, very limited demand for brilliant poet-musicians, but we have an infinite demand for corporate lawyers; anybody who can get a law degree will get a job.
Well, is that because most people think that corporate lawyers are better to have around than poet-musicians? No. Almost everybody, given the choice, would go for the poet-musicians, but people with lots of money like to have corporate lawyers, so that’s what the market actually ends up saying.
So you think the market is so skewed that a dramatic move against it would be an improvement?
Yes… If everybody has the same means to vote, then the market will actually represent what most people want.
When they’re voting with their dollars?
So in that sense, the minimum income is a total welfare improvement?
I think it would mean that people’s spending patterns would reflect what they actually want. First of all, survival needs would be taken care of, so that skews people, and you could see what people think is actually important in life.
I think that’s why even a lot of libertarians, whom I don’t agree with on a lot, actually kind of like the idea of basic income — because they know that it would make the market work the way they say a market should work.
The libertarians I talk to all said this is great, but great because it will eliminate all the government programs that are otherwise skewing the way these people behave.
Yeah, and there’s something to that. I think that one big problem we have on the left is we don’t really have a strong critique of bureaucracy. It’s not because we like bureaucracy very much; it’s just that the right has developed a critique. I don’t think it’s a very good critique, but at least it’s there.
I think this is a perfect left critique of bureaucracy: Who are all these people — and this goes for private bureaucracies as well as public ones — sitting around watching you, telling you what your work is worth, what you’re worth, basically employing thousands of people to make us feel bad about ourselves.
Just get rid of those people; just give everybody some money, and I think everyone will be much better off.
So would you get rid of government programs?
It depends on which. The amounts of money that they’re now talking about giving people aren’t enough to take care of things like health care and housing. But I think if you guarantee those sorts of basic needs, you could get rid of almost all the programs on top of that.
In huge bureaucracies, there are so many conditionalities attached to everything they give out, there’s jobs on jobs on jobs of people who just assess people and decide whether you are being good enough to your kids to deserve this benefit, or decide whether you’re trying hard enough to get a job to get that benefit. This is a complete waste. Those people [making the decisions] don’t really contribute anything to society; we could get rid of them.
So you’d get rid of, say, the food stamp bureaucracy?
If we had a basic income, we wouldn’t need to decide who needs food and who doesn’t.
Libertarians have said to me that this would make people more responsible; there would be more communitarianism…
In fact, that actually has happened in places. In Namibia, they did an experiment where they used to give aid, and instead they just gave everybody a flat sum of money.
And the first thing people did was get together, take half the money, put it in a common pool, and that created a democratic system.
They decided what they really needed was a post office, which is something no aid group would ever have thought of. These people actually do know their communal needs better than somebody from outside.
So in fact, I think there’s a certain communal tradition that might not exist in a city like London. It might take some changes for people to bring that together, but it would at least give us the opportunity to get together and create common projects in a way that we haven’t been able to do before.
Are you surprised that there’s right wing support for this?
Not at all. Because I think there are some people who can understand that the rates of inequality that we have mean that the arguments [for the market] don’t really work.
There’s a tradition that these people are drawing on, which recognizes that the kind of market they really want to see is not the kind of market we see today.
Adam Smith was very honest. He said, well obviously this only works if people control their own tools, if people are self-employed. He was completely rejecting the idea of corporate capitalism.
Smith rejected corporate capitalism because it became crony capitalism.
Well, he rejected the corporate form entirely; he was against corporations. At the time, corporations were seen as, essentially, inimical to the market.
They still are.
Those arguments are no less true than they ever were. If we want to have markets, we have to give everybody an equal chance to get into them, or else they don’t work as a means of social liberation; they operate as a means of enslavement.
Enslavement in the sense that the people with enough power, who can get the market to work on their behalf…
Right — bribing politicians to set up the system so that they accumulate more, and other people end up spending all their time working for them.
The difference between selling yourself into slavery and renting yourself into slavery in the ancient world was basically none at all, you know. If Aristotle were here, he’d think most people in a country like England or America were slaves.
Yes, but they didn’t make a distinction back then. Throughout most of recorded history, the only people who actually did wage labor were slaves. It was a way of renting your slave to someone else; they got half the money, and the rest of the money went to the master.
Even in the South, a lot of slaves actually worked in jobs and they just had to pay the profits to the guy who owned them. It’s only now that we think of wage labor and slavery as opposite to one another. For a lot of history, they were considered kind of variations of the same thing.
Abraham Lincoln famously said the reason why we have a democratic society in America is we don’t have a permanent class of wage laborers. He thought that wage labor was something you pass through in your 20s and 30s when you’re accumulating enough money to set up on your own; so the idea was everyone will eventually be self-employed.
Do People Like to Work? Look at Prisons
So is this idea of a guaranteed basic income utopian?
Well, it remains to be seen. If it’s Utopian, it’s because we can’t get the politicians to do it, not because it won’t work. It seems like people have done the numbers, and there’s no economic reason why it couldn’t work.
Well, it’s very expensive.
It’s expensive, but so is the system we have now. And there’s a major savings that you’ll have firing all those people who are assessing who is worthy of what.
Philosophically, I think that it’s really important to bear in mind two things. One is it’ll show people that you don’t have to force people to work, to want to contribute. It’s not that people resist work. People resist meaningless work; people resist stupid work; and people resist humiliating work.
But I always talk about prisons, where people are fed, clothed, they’ve got shelter; they could just sit around all day. But actually, they use work as a way of rewarding them. You know, if you don’t behave yourself, we won’t let you work in the prison laundry. I mean, people want to work. Nobody just wants to sit around, it’s boring.
So the first misconception we have is this idea that people are just lazy, and if they’re given a certain amount of minimal income, they just won’t do anything.
Probably there’s a few people like that, but for the vast majority, it will free them to do the kind of work that they think is meaningful. The question is, are most people smart enough to know what they have to contribute to the world? I think most of them are.
What Is Society Missing Without a Basic Income?
The other point we need to stress is that we can’t tell in advance who really can contribute what. We’re always surprised when we leave people to their own devices.
I think one reason why we don’t have any of the major scientific breakthroughs that we used to have for much of the 19th and 20th centuries is because we have this system where everybody has to prove they already know what they’re going to create in this incredibly bureaucratized system.
Because people need to be able to prove that they’ll get a return on the investment?
Exactly. So they have to get the grant, and prove that this would lead to this, but in fact, almost all the major breakthroughs are unexpected. It used to be we’d get bright people and just let them do whatever they want, and then suddenly, we’ve got the light bulb.
Nowadays we don’t get breakthroughs like that because everybody’s got to spend all their time filling out paperwork. It’s that kind of paperwork that we’d be effectively getting rid of, the equivalent of that.
Another example I always give is the John Lennon argument. Why are there no amazing new bands in England anymore? Ever since the ’60s, it used to be every five, 10 years, we’d see an incredible band. I asked a lot of friends of mine, well, what happened?
And they all said, well they got rid of the dole. All those guys were on the dole. Actually in Cockney rhyming slang, the word for dole is rock and roll — as in, “oh yeah, he’s on the rock and roll.”
All rock bands started on public relief. If you give money to working class kids, a significant number of them will form bands, and a few of those bands will be amazing, and it will benefit the country a thousand times more than all of those kids would have done had they been lifting boxes or whatever they’re making them do now as welfare conditionality.
And in the United States, the entire abstract expressionist movement, whatever you think of it — Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock — was all on the WPA [Works Progress Administration], on the dole.
Absolutely, look at social theory. I remember thinking, why is it that Germany in the ’20s, you have Weber, Simmel, all these amazing thinkers? In France, you have this endless outpouring of brilliant people in the ’50s, Sartre… What was it about those societies that they produced so many brilliant thinkers?
One person told me, well, there’s a lot of money — they just had these huge block grants given to anybody.
And you know, again, 10 out of 11 of them will be people we’ve completely forgotten, but there’s always that one that’s going to turn out to be, you know Jacques Derrida, and the world changes because of some major social thinker who might otherwise have been a postman, or something like that.
In order to make the millions, you have to scale the un-scalable: time.
Your time is the most valuable resource you have at your disposal. The time you spend at work is an investment in the future of your company. Like any investment, it should be working for you: structured to maximize efficiency and yield the greatest possible return.
We all have the same fixed supply of hours (if only we could invent a way to squeeze out more than those precious twenty-four!), but spending more of your time working is not necessarily the answer. The problem is a matter of distribution, not volume.
Chances are, a good portion of what floods your inbox and comes across your desk in a given day are "high-tax tasks" -- things that are costly in terms of the attention and time they consume, yet are consistent, repetitive.
To work smarter, not harder, you need to hack into scalable productivity. Here are the three steps to put in practice, today.
1. Track the time-sink
To eliminate waste and maximize the hours you have, you first need to get a sense of the big picture. Make a "To Do" list for the week. As you work your way through it, track the time it takes to complete each task as you check items off the list. Use this information to identify problem patterns. Once you find the patterns, you can create routines to patch those leaks of time.
My approach is always client-first. Those matters take precedence and priority, so my day is day inbox-driven to an extent. But inbox-driven does not mean interruption-driven. As a general metric, when a non-urgent task comes up in your day that you can tackle and complete within two minutes, do so. You will quickly gain a sense of which interruptions are both time-consuming and recur regularly. These are the untapped oil well of your day (after all, your time is no less precious a resource!).
Everything that can be automated should be. That goes for everything from bill pay to periodic task reminders. Set it, and forget it. This will free up time day-to-day, reduce the number of steps that are sensitive to a potential error, and lead to faster responses in time-sensitive situations.
First, step back and take a snapshot of a month’s worth of recurring tasks. Chances are, most of these are ripe for automation. Set that up. You spend the time to do it once, and it will save you precious time every week going forward.
Next, look at your organizational procedures. Most likely, you can introduce a few tweaks that will allow you to turn these into automated processes, too. Think lean: Pare down as much as possible, and make continuous adjustments to hone your processes over time. Group and pre-schedule similar tasks so they can be accomplished efficiently but with minimum attention. All of a sudden, where you once had five individual weekly follow-up tasks that each cause you to divert and then re-focus, you now have a single two-hour block of time slated for weekly follow-ups.
Make templates for every recurring event you can think of. You’ll spend less time approving outgoing items if they follow a pre-approved template, and regular tasks are less likely to fall through the cracks when everything happens on a schedule.
3. Learn to love errors
Look at errors as an opportunity. Once an error is made, you have just identified a hole you can fill forever. How does this save you time, to boot? Simple: efficient systems. Mistakes raise red flags that you should read as red alerts. They highlight specific points of weakness in your current system (or indicate a lack of a system where there should be one). You can’t ask for a more direct symbol: here is where the process in place isn’t clear, isn’t feasible, or is too vulnerable to (inevitable) human error.
The time you spend monitoring for, catching, and fixing such errors when you treat them as singular events can be reduced in one fell swoop. When the problem is systematic, the solution is, too.
Institute a policy of Quality Control checks done by at least two different employees. This provides a self-monitoring system of checks and balances to reduce error, it will help maintain consistency in writing style and formality, and it keeps members of the team in the same loop.
Though it involves an investment of time on the front end, it creates a streamlined (read: time-saving) process that is ultimately a time-saver (and a headache-reducer) for you on the back end.
Think of it this way: when you’re bogged down in the daily details, you’re on a treadmill - running but getting nowhere new. Redistributing your time for maximum efficiency will make you bigger, better, faster, and stronger. With more time comes more energy and focus, so you can run the race with enhanced attention on your productivity, your profit, and your customer service - the three things that are really the most important for your business.
Wall Street is a career of stages and rites of passage. First, you're an intern, then you're an analyst, and after analyst you're an associate ... and then there comes a fork in the road, and with that fork comes a crisis.
The fork looks like this: If you continue with your career in finance, either you will become one of the few hundred people who make a real difference in markets or you will become a part of an army of modelers, deal builders, and paper pushers.
Either you're confident you'll be in the former or you must be content with being in the latter. If not, prepare for a crisis.
“I don’t know how anyone works for Blackstone, or Bank of America, or Goldman Sachs. I don’t think I could ever do that," said one private equity analyst in his late 20s who preferred not to give his name. "You’re just like one cog in this enormous machine ... I guess the smaller the machine, the less you feel like a cog. I’m a small gear. I’d like to be a bigger gear. Or at best, run my own machine.”
This goes especially for the type A people. The ones who made it a point to do everything right: the right school, the right job, the right life. They want to leave a legacy, and on Wall Street that's incredibly hard to do.
People usually only talk about this after a few drinks. The conversation starts like this: "I'm thinking of joining a startup."
The tech sector has created a new kind of highly paid alternative to finance. It's one with fewer formalities and red tape and busy work. It's more creative because you get to create something tangible — at least that's the dream.
In reality, finance people in the tech sector are using the same skills they were using on Wall Street. The difference is culture.
"Paying your dues" is a part of Wall Street culture at a lot of firms. Everyone is meant to know his or her place, especially those at the bottom. This can make young people feel as if they have no stake in the firm.
"You need formal mentoring that is taken seriously, and everyone has to be treated like they could run the firm one day," said another young analyst at a buy-side firm. "I think at startups and smaller companies you can see yourself progressing as the company progresses."
The analyst said at one of the bulge-bracket banks, the career-development officer did little more than play favorites.
"It actually harmed morale more than it helped," the analyst said.
Now, the Googles of the world need deal structures and financial modelers. However, especially for those with jobs that require specific skills, such as trading credit derivatives, leaving Wall Street is more of a pipe dream than anything else.
"The fear of unknown tends to keep people in their place," said Jesse Marrus, founder of financial career matching site StreetID. "It definitely does seem to me that there is frustration ... It's kind of silly to hear them [Wall Streeters] complain about compensation, but some of these guys ... the money becomes a trap."
The trap isn't necessarily the money; it's the lifestyle.
“People that are satisfied with money are inside their head and view the world from a 'me' perspective," said the buy-side analyst. "They’re happy with their ability to have a nice wedding and have a sweet apartment ... for them the means is the end.”
For others, it can just be money without meaning. And then there's the question of time.
As one happy trader told Business Insider, "My perception of investment bankers has always been that they want to make a lot of money without a lot of risk, but they all fail to realize that wasting time is the biggest risk of all."
Hope you all can figure it out.
With airfare rising more than 10% in the past five years and hotel rooms going for exorbitant prices, conventional tourism has become more challenging to do affordably.
But what if you could travel and not spend a dime? What if you could even get paid?
Many would jump at the opportunity to experience new cultures, traverse through beautiful landscapes, and satisfy their insatiable wanderlust.
We’ve compiled 12 ways for just about anyone to get their golden ticket to spending weeks, or years, in exotic lands while earning some cash.
1. Become A Tour Guide
Leading tours through some of the world's most iconic and historic places sounds like a dream come true. It can offer tons of variety, depending on how you approach it. Do you become a tour guide in one dream place — say, Paris! — and lead hordes of American tourists through the Louvre, the Bastille, and the Eiffel Tower? Or do you lead groups on longer trips that go through a series of destinations?
Either one can be a solid way to make a living and see new cultures. There are a few cons, though. Guides who stay in one location will likely be working freelance, which may mean uneven paydays and a lack of job security. Some guides give free tours and try to use their personalities to get tips from generous tourists.
Longer-term guides may be lucky enough to get a contract or a full-time gig from a touring company, which adds stability but means they will be the one dealing with all the logistics, planning, and headaches that come with trying to manage a group of cranky tourists for weeks at a time.
Be prepared to be extroverted and friendly at all times, even when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
2. Go WWOOF'ing
WWOOF, or Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is not a traditional business. Volunteers go for a set period to work on a farm with like-minded travelers in exchange for accommodation and home-cooked meals. The terms are flexible with WWOOFers staying as long or little as they want, and the opportunities are plentiful. While you'll have to pay your own way to fly to the farm, once you are there, there are plenty of people who can offer a ride to the next destination.
WWOOF'ing isn't quite a career choice, but it is an excellent way to see the world while keeping your bank account (mostly) even.
3. Teach English
If you're looking for adventure in a foreign land, one of the most accessible and lucrative ways to get there is by taking up a job teaching English. Jobs in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America are abundant, and most of them do not require that you speak the native language.
Schools are looking for native English speakers with bachelor degrees who can teach the "direct method," by which students learn through concepts, pantomiming, and the target language exclusively.
While not all schools require it, a certification for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can make you a more desirable candidate. Salaries can be as high as $36,000 a year in Japan or $45,000 in the United Arab Emirates.
4. Trade Specialty, Foreign Goods
Looking to travel and have a little capital to start with? Consider getting in the import-export trade and head out to exotic countries to find local, specialty, and handmade goods that will appeal to travel-hungry consumers back home. Pick up goods that areas are known for (examples include Italian leather, Mexican hammocks, and Turkish ceramics) as well as one-of-a-kind pieces that can't be purchased by the truck full. Once you are back in the U.S., sell them to stores, collectors, and even eBay for a handsome profit.
You'll have to figure out how to navigate customs regulations, but when you can sell goods for many times their original worth, the hassle pays for itself.
5. Research For A Travel Guidebook
There aren't many professions as romanticized and misunderstood as researching and writing for travel guidebooks such as Lonely Planet and Fodor's. While the job is exhilarating — jetting you off to hundreds of places to try the local culture, food, and hotels — the reality of the work is a grind. Most guidebook researchers and writers report having to meet unrealistic deadlines that require them to work 12-to-14-hour days. In addition, seeing the sights is a small part of the job. Researchers and writers must crank out reports and articles, make maps of the areas they visit, and engage in extensive, tedious data entry.
Because of tightening budgets and an abundance of 20-somethings willing to do the job for next to nothing, guide writing is hardly a lucrative profession. But you can earn enough to make a living.
In an illuminating New York Times' feature about the lives of guidebook writers, Warren St. John reveals the cardinal tenet of the job: "Most who do it quickly learn the one hard-and-fast rule of the trade: travel-guide writing is no vacation."
6. Become A Flight Attendant
If you don't mind taking your travel with a side of 9-to-5, a great option could be applying to become a flight attendant. Flight attendants make between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, and they get free travel benefits for not just themselves but also their families. The pay might sound low, but consider that the average schedule has attendants working 80 hours a month.
7. Work For A Cruise Line
Working on a cruise ship similarly sends you to exotic locales for pay, yet there are a few key differences. The job comes with long hours for comparably poor pay, but with all expenses paid and free travel. Crew members have their own dining halls, shops, Internet cafes, gyms, party areas, and even organized activities, which creates a fun culture. There are numerous jobs on a ship, with certain ones better than others. Washing dishes just doesn't sound as good as chaperoning passengers on exotic excursions.
8. Start A Travel Blog
Being a professional travel blogger is a tough gig. While traveling to every sight imaginable is a tantalizing part of the job, it takes a lot of work to make it happen. Most travel bloggers spend a year building their sites, churning out several posts a day and building up a following on social-media before they ever see any money from their sites.
Almost all travel bloggers start out by spending their savings just to get up and running. Even once you've built a following, a network, and ad partnerships, you are running your own business, which means that in addition to traveling and writing, you must handle all the marketing, site growth, and financials. As you can imagine, it's a job that never ends. To make it all work, you have to truly love travel and blogging.
9. Work As An Au Pair
An au pair, or an extra pair of hands, is an international nanny who lives with a family for a set period, taking care of their children in exchange for travel, room, board, and pocket money. It can be a fantastic way to see a new culture from the locals' perspective and make some money. Most au pairs are students or recent graduates, so get in before it's too late.
Many families don't require au pairs to speak the native language, and many even prefer it if you speak to their children in English so that they can improve their fluency. There are websites, such as Au Pair World, that help match people with families.
10. Become A Destination Wedding Photographer
This one requires a bit of skill, but for those with the artistic temperament a wedding-photography business can offer free travel and an outlet for creative expression. It goes without saying that you will have to be a talented photographer, or at least a well-practiced one.
The wedding business is a competitive one with high entry costs (think computer, camera, lenses, editing software, portfolio, website, and, possibly, training), but it pays well. Many destination wedding photographers charge up to $10,000 a wedding, plus airfare, meals, and incidentals. While you'll be working hard during the wedding, extend your stay for a few hundred dollars and you are well paid and traveling free.
11. Join The Peace Corps
Joining the Peace Corps is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires a 27-month commitment in a developing country with few modern conveniences and not much opportunity to see friends or family. If you're still on board, and have a desire to make a difference in the lives of others, the Peace Corps can be a life-changing and rewarding experience.
Few opportunities immerse travelers in a culture as thoroughly as the Peace Corps. Expect to choose from an array of assignments, including teaching English, working in disease prevention, and building infrastructure. There is also an extensive application and interview process. The Peace Corps pays for travel expenses, living expenses, certain student-loan benefits, and it offers a $7,425 readjustment allowance upon completing your service.
12. Write A Literary Account Of Your Travels
If all else fails (or you are an incredible wordsmith), take a crack at writing the next "Green Hills of Africa,""Homage to Catalonia," or "The Sun Also Rises." If the book does well, you could have a cash cow on your hands in the form of royalties and advance checks. Of course, most would-be authors will never see a cent from their travels or literary hard work. If you have the courage to try, you could end up with the traveling lifestyle and your pick of publications to print your essays and stories.
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Most people know billionaire HP CEO Meg Whitman for her 10 years at eBay, growing that company from startup to tech behemoth.
But Whitman actually cut her teeth in the world of consumer products, working at Procter & Gamble, Disney and at Hasbro, leading Hasbro's Playskool division, which had 600 employees and $600 million in annual sales.
While at Hasbro she was responsible for the company's most precious toy: Mr. Potato Head.
Mr. Potato Head is one of the oldest continuously produced children's toys, invented in 1952. It's first-ever for a toy to be advertised on TV and it put Hasbro on the map. Mrs. Potato Head appeared in 1953, according to the National Toy Hall of Fame.
When Whitman was in charge, the toy was making a big come back thanks to its starring role in Pixar's Toy Story in 1995. She ran focus-groups to develop new Mr. Potato Head prototypes for Hasbro. She also licensed the toy to television which lead to the "The Mr. Potato Head Show."
Her other big accomplishment at Hasbro: she brought the UK's children's television show Teletubbies into the United States. Teletubbies was a very weird kids' show that ran from 1998 through 2008, if you include reruns.
She had to be convinced to leave this high-profile role at Hasbro to take the CEO job at eBay, the story goes.
But doing so turned her into a billionaire and eventually led to her job as CEO of HP, one of the world's biggest tech companies.
And all of the above caused CNBC to name her No. 18 on it's new list of the 25 most influential business people of the last 25 years.
It just goes to show that some of the most successful tech careers can come from the most unusual beginnings.
Or to put it another way ... the same person that brought you this:
Also brought you this:
Many people will tell you that the most effective way to find your next job is by meeting people and fostering relationships.
But a lot of people tend to get the whole process wrong. Here are the biggest mistakes people make trying to schmooze their way to employment.
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Not everyone is a people person, so we wanted to find the best jobs for people who prefer to avoid frequent communication.
To rank these jobs, we used data from O*NET Online, a U.S. Department of Labor database with information on hundreds of jobs.
O*NET gives scores between zero and 100 to occupations for a range of characteristics, based on surveys of employees in those jobs and input from professional job analysts.
We took O*NET's measures of the importance of four communication skills: communicating with people inside the organization, communicating with people outside the organization, writing, and public speaking, and averaged together the scores for each job. Jobs were ranked better if that average score was lower.
We also factored in the 2013 median annual earnings for each job from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. By combining the earnings rank and communication scores, we were able to identify high-paying jobs that don't require a lot of communication.
15. Locomotive Engineers
2013 median salary: $53,310
What they do: Drive train locomotives
Why they're on the list: Locomotive engineers have very little need for communicating with people outside their organizations, and basically zero public speaking duties.
14. Mining Roof Bolters
2013 median salary: $54,780
What they do: Install bolts in the roofs of mines for structural support
Why they're on the list: While communicating with coworkers is somewhat important for roof bolters, they have almost no contact with people outside the mine, and a below average amount of writing required in the job.
12 (tie). Applications Software Developers
2013 median salary: $92,660
What they do: Develop software applications targeted to end-users and clients
Why they're on the list: As with many of these jobs, communication within the organization is somewhat important. Much software development is done in teams, and keeping members of the team coordinated is crucial to many projects. However, public speaking is unimportant for app developers, and writing and communicating with people outside the organization is not typically emphasized.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Produced by Justin Gmoser
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Feeling harried? Swamped? Overwhelmed? Lucky you. It is, in many ways, a privilege to feel busy in America.
Elizabeth Kolbert's New Yorker essay "No Time," is built around an old essay and a new book about the future of busy-ness and leisure.
The old essay, by the economist John Maynard Keynes, predicted that by the mid-21st century, citizens of advanced economies would scarcely have to work, thanks to technological advancements.
The new book, Brigid Schulte's Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, responds to Keynes some 90 years later by explaining just how poorly his prediction has panned out. Instead of having an abundance of time, we are more starved for leisure than ever.
For much of the essay, this premise survives unchallenged. Obviously, we're working more than ever, because it feels like we are. Right?
Actually, no, we're not. As a country, we're working less than we did in the 1960s and 1980s and considerably less than we did in the agrarian-industrial economy when Keynes foresaw a future of leisure. It's not until the end of Kolbert's essay that the reader steals a glimpse of the cold hard statistical truth: Every advanced economy in the world is working considerably fewer hours on average than it used to.
The Global Decline of Annual Work Hours
Thousands of hours worked annually: 1950-2012
Even in America, which looks like an industrious outlier compared to Europe, we work less, both at the office and at home. Between 1965 and 2011, time spent on housework and childcare for women declined by 35 percent (or 15 hours each week), thanks to dishwashers, TVs, and other appliances that assist the work of stay-at-home parents.
The trouble with the graph above, however, is that it displays America as a monolith, when the experience of individual Americans is anything but. For many Americans, particularly less-educated men and women, Keynes' crystal ball has correctly foretold a future of historically high leisure time.
But single parents in the U.S. report the most hours worked and severe time shortage in the developed world, and higher-educated men and women are actually working more than they were 50 years, bucking the global trend.
Economists call this the "leisure gap," and it's a mirror reflection of the income gap. When it comes to leisure, the rich have less, and the poor have more. Here's how that leisure gap has evolved over time:
The Evolution of Leisure Time
The Least Educated Have the Most Time
Leisure hours per week (incl. sleeping) by years of education
This is an important graph to study for at least two reasons. First it shows just how fragmented America's leisure experience is (and this is only dividing the country by one variable). Second, it reveals the potential biases of the authors.
It's appropriate that both Brigid Schulte and Elizabeth Kolbert are successful working moms, since this category of workers has seen its leisure time fall despite rising incomes. Since 1950, young married women's work hours have tripled while married men's hours have declined, according to the Philadelphia Fed.
The well-educated rich, married, working mother is overwhelmed. But there are a lot of Americans who are neither well-educated, nor rich, nor working, nor parents. For them, there are probably more pressing concerns than belonging to (in the words of Swedish economist Staffan Linder) a "Harried Leisure Class."
Even among the HLC, there isn't much evidence in the time-use survey data to suggest that we spend considerably more time on work and chores than we used to. So why do we feel busier? Here are some pet theories (you should offer your own below):
The upshot is that there are plenty of psychological and social explanations for our pervasive busy feelings, and the folks most likely to read The New Yorker are probably caught in this hedonic treadmill of long hours and never-ending anxieties.
But don't confuse that rarified rat race among the privileged with the bigger picture. There is little evidence that America, as a country, is working more. Many of us—perhaps most of us—enjoy downtime that would look luxurious to a mid-century time-traveler.