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The latest news on Careers from Business Insider

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    Puppets in the likeness of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (R) face-off as they pose for a photo after a mock Avenue Q sponsored debate in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

    Standing up for yourself is an art form. If you are too forward you may come off aggressive. But then if you're too timid, it's less likely you'll be taken seriously.

    Psychologist Adam Galinsky says in a blog post on TED that how we act depends on our personal range of acceptable behaviour.

    When we step outside this range, we associate it with punishment. For example, being dismissed, or shut out by whoever you're talking to, or even losing the raise you were working towards at work.

    Being assertive is a key part of being successful. Nobody gets to where they want to be by letting people walk all over them. However, there are right ways and wrong ways of going about it.

    We've come up with a list of seven tips from Galinsky, and other sources, to help you be confident and assertive at work. It might just help you out if you're trying to negotiate a tough situation or you feel someone might be trying to take advantage of you.

    1. Stretch your 'range.'

    Galinsky says your range of behaviour isn't fixed, it's dynamic. However, the amount you can stretch your range is determined by how much power you have. This comes in many forms, from your position in the company to the number of alternatives you have in any given situation.

    Unfortunately, Galinsky says, the less power you have the more likely you will choose not to speak up, because the chances of punishment are greater. To tackle this, Galinsky says you need to find a way of expanding your power. A good way of doing this is by working out what gives you confidence.

    "When you feel powerful, you feel confident and not fearful, and you can expand your own range,"he writes. "When other people see you as powerful, they grant you a wider range. So we should find and use tools that help expand our range of acceptable behaviour."



    2. Know the difference between assertion and aggression.

    In a blog post on Psychology Today, Dr Leon F. Seltzer says that it's important to stand up to someone in a way that won't be damaging to yourself or anyone else.

    Assertiveness is a good thing. It lets others know what you need, how you feel, and shows you have confidence and self-respect. You show the other person your needs matter, and that your point of view needs to be taken into account.

    However, aggression isn't a good thing. People who are aggressive act like their opinion or needs are more important. This means it comes across like you have no interest in the other person at all. In turn, whoever you're up against will be similarly defensive and belligerent and you won't get anywhere.



    3. Think about how you're coming across.

    If you feel yourself getting worked up, you might fall into the aggressive category.

    "If you resolutely proclaim the righteousness of your position without attending to the other’s wants, needs, and feelings, you’ll be perceived as aggressive — regardless of what may be your conscious intention simply to stand up for yourself," Seltzer writes.

    So keep in mind throughout the discussion what the other person wants to get from the situation. Seltzer recommends you consider where the other person is coming from by asking yourself what their thoughts and feelings might be.

    Could you ask them what they want or can you work it out by putting yourself in their shoes? Remind yourself of this throughout the conversation, otherwise you could find yourself slipping.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    email mistake

    You might want to think twice the next time you're considering looping your boss in on an email chain — according to studies by David De Cremer, a professor of management studies at the University of Cambridge's Judge Business School, this simple choice can actually harm your relationships with your colleagues.

    De Cremer wrote about the results of his studies in Harvard Business Review, and, though the findings are preliminary and the academic paper is still under review, the findings were pretty interesting.

    He performed six studies — using experiments and surveys — to see the impact CC'ing others into an email had on trust.

    The more often study participants included a supervisor on an email to coworkers, the less trusting the coworkers were of them.

    The experimental study contained 594 working adults. They read a scenario in which their coworkers always, sometimes, or almost never copied supervisors in when emailing them and then assessed how trusted the person would seem in each situation. The consistent feeling was that having a supervisor "always" copied in made the person significantly less trusted.

    "This feeling automatically led them to infer that the organizational culture must be low in trust overall, fostering a culture of fear and low psychological safety," De Cremer said.

    To give some context, if you were asking a colleague about something, and the person answered your email with your manager copied in, would you think the person did it on purpose? You might not think twice about it, or you might see it as your colleague trying to undermine you. By copying in a supervisor, the person could be suggesting you can't do your job without asking for help. If this happens a lot, you might start believing your colleague is trying to sabotage you.

    The studies were performed on both Western and Chinese employees, and the results were fairly consistent. De Cremer said this showed that even in very different cultures, copying in supervisors could be seen as threatening.

    Of course, sometimes you include a superior into an email thread because you want confirmation you're doing the right thing. You might not mean it to come across as a power play, but it can be misconstrued as such.

    De Cremer found, however, that these well-meaning mistakes are rare. When employees imagined sending emails in which a supervisor was looped in, they usually knew the recipient would probably be offended by it. The level of mistrust they thought would occur was higher when the supervisor was always copied in than when it happened occasionally or never.

    This suggests that if a coworker is copying in your boss very often, the person is probably doing it strategically.

    In which case, when employees say they're feeling less trusted, there's probably good reason.

    CC'ing can sometimes be done under the assumption that it creates "transparency" in the workplace. But having transparency as a goal probably isn't the "Holy Grail" that organisations think it is, De Cremer says. This is because companies get hung up on making transparent information exchanges the goal, without considering the repercussions.

    "Such a perception makes employees suspicious that what they say or do can be used against them, especially when supervisors and higher authorities are included," De Cremer writes.

    He recommends that if supervisors want to minimise the chance of distrust forming among their employees, then they can be explicit about at what stages they should and shouldn't be included in an email conversation.

    So next time you're thinking of including your manager in on a private email exchange, have a think about why you're really doing it. Before you do anything, ask your colleague whether you should get some advice from higher-up. This way the person won't think you're up to something.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 3 things that could be making you unhappy


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    positive

    We all know that sometimes things can start to get you down. Whether it's something in your personal life, the political climate in your country, or even a global issue, it can be almost impossible to stay positive all the time.

    Self-help author, writer and speaker Anne Jones travels the world to spread her ideas on the things people can do to improve their own situations and stay positive.

    "It's based on things that I've experienced, and things I've seen work for other people," she told Business Insider. "A lot of the time you can't change people's lives, but you can help them manage the circumstances they're in."

    We spoke to Jones to come up with a list of tips you can use to protect yourself from the negativity in the world, especially when you're starting to feel overwhelmed. Some of them might seem simple, but Jones says she's seen the benefits some of these tricks can have first hand.

    1. Avoid office gossip.

    If you hear gossip at work, you should avoid it as best you can, Jones says. In fact, try and avoid any talking at work which is negative, be it about coworkers or world news.

    "The worst thing you can do is to step into that and contribute," Jones said. "The only thing you can do about that is to step back."

    She says that although it might be tempting to get into a debate, if you know it's not going to end well, it's best to avoid it altogether and get on with your work.



    2. Create a mental bubble.

    Your mind might have more power than you realise. You've probably heard of getting "in the zone" while you're on a tight deadline, so creating a mental bubble or egg around yourself when you're feeling a lot of negativity coming your way can be a version of that. Rather than letting negativity in, you can imagine an invisible barrier around yourself.

    "We've got a really powerful will as individuals," Jones said. "If we really set our intentional will to something, we can do all sorts of things. And just simply by saying, right, I'm sealing my energy off from the rest of the world, you can get into a bubble."

    You can practise getting into this frame of mind every day in the shower, Jones says, so you're ready to conjure it up if someone starts being disrespectful or criticising.



    3. Disengage from arguments.

    It isn't always possible, or even a good idea, to avoid arguments. When you're in a relationship, disagreements are inevitable. It's also nearly impossible not to meet people in everyday life you don't particularly get along with. However, Jones says that when you can, you should take a step back and choose not to argue against what the other person is saying.

    "You might feel exhilarated straight after the argument, but later on in the day your energy will plummet," she said. "When you've had an emotional fight with your partner, you feel sick afterwards and your energy gets drained. You might think you've got one over on him...but then afterwards you think — was it really worth it?"



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    We all want to be liked at work, especially by our bosses.

    These are the people who make decisions regarding our promotions and pay raises, formally review our performances, and as a result, could play a significant role in our overall happiness and success.

    So if they don't like you, you'll want to know so you can try to turn things around. However, that's not always so easy.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    stressed worker

    "I've been in this field for the last 15 years, and I have to admit that I'm miserable."

    I listened with sadness as Josh voiced his dismay over how he ended up feeling this way about a career that began with such promise. 

    Now a 39-year-old senior accountant in a leadership position for a mid-sized firm, Josh enjoys a loyal client base and a lucrative income. He's lucky to like his coworkers and get along well with the company's CEO.

    Just last year, he built a new house in a great neighborhood, and is proud to be able to take his family on an annual vacation to a white-sand Caribbean beach. By all outward appearances, Josh has made it. 

    "I know that I should feel grateful that I've been able to parlay my college degrees into a fruitful career, but more and more, I'm just feeling lost," Josh shared. "It's like I'm living someone else's life. And the scary thing is that I've felt this way off and on for the last seven years, but this time it's different. It feels like I shouldn't ignore it."

    Josh's story is all too common. As I work with leaders and teams in various industries, the theme of career restlessness is echoed in the hallways and corner offices of companies across the globe. I find that, as individuals mature and become more personally and professionally self-actualized, the ache for deeper meaning in work and life only increases. So how do so many of us end up here, even after carefully executing a well-laid-out plan for a successful career? What is that we miss along the way?

    My research suggests that the process begins early, and is often influenced by external and internal expectations, limitations in our systems of education, and other eroding factors that can set us off on a 20-year detour to career happiness. And, it's a detour that's often difficult to reroute.

    Of the factors that I've seen land people in the wrong job, these are the 10 most common:

    wrong job infographic

    The good news is that you can overcome the influence of these pressures on the trajectory of your career, by first becoming aware of the factors that are most at play in your own life. Here are four recommendations for crafting a better career outcome:

    Focus on self-knowledge

    If you've been a dutiful student, it's likely that you've concentrated your attention on knowledge accumulation and skill-building, so it may now be most important for you to seek opportunities and experiences that will enhance your self-knowledge. Likewise, if you take little time to reflect on what you've learned about yourself through work and personal experiences, clarifying your future career direction will be enhanced by developing a consistent practice of reflection. 

    This could be as simple as committing time each week for a walk alone in nature or as complex as daily meditation and journaling. The best choice of reflection methods is the method that works best for you, but research proves how essential reflection is for developing a sense of engagement with your work.

    Narrow your net and seek the best fit

    If you are searching for a new job, it's smart to be picky. Rather than pursuing a wide variety of jobs, get clear about what you most want to do and narrow your focus. Choose work that excites you in an organization with which you share common values. In years of working with clients, I've never seen anything fix a flawed value match, so understanding your own values and how they align with a potential employer is critical.

    Regardless of how good an opportunity appears to be on the surface, if you don't see an outlet for your passions, skills and values in the job, it's likely not the right choice for you. As a result, force fitting yourself into a job that's devoid of the qualities that you need to thrive will set you off on an arc for failure. You'll perhaps exist in the job, maybe even live a quiet life of daily desperation within it, but you will surely fail to grow the job, which is what leads to future success.

    Pay attention to your instincts

    I find that most of my clients who end up leaving a job or are considering doing so had a sense that they might be making mistake when they were first offered the job. There were signs early on that all might not be as advertised, yet many of them talked themselves out of the wiser counsel of their instincts. We all have an inner voice that stems from a primal drive for survival. How many times have you kicked yourself for failing to listen to yours?

    Determine your lifestyle goals

    How do you define success? Is it based on the amount of money you accumulate and the possessions you collect, or do experiences carry more meaning for you than money? What's the balance that you need to strike between the two?

    Understanding what's required for you to craft a happy life can prevent you from becoming a slave to the lifestyle monster's insatiable appetite for more, and trapped in a job just to feed that monster. I've met more than one executive with an extravagant lifestyle and enviable possessions who felt empty from the very things that were supposed to bring fulfillment.

    Here's a sobering thought to consider: You'll spend more than 85,000 hours of your life at work, and you can't get those hours back. So, it's worth choosing your work with a clear eye on who you are, what you want to offer, and what you need to thrive.

    There's no refresh button on moments.

    Alaina Love is chief operating officer and president of Purpose Linked Consulting and co-author of "The Purpose Linked Organization: How Passionate Leaders Inspire Winning Teams and Great Results" (McGraw-Hill). She is a recovering HR executive, a global speaker and leadership expert, and passionate about everything having to do with, well … passion. Follow Love on TwitterFacebookYouTube or her blog.

    SEE ALSO: 8 questions to ask yourself to figure out if you're in the right job

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The 5 workouts that burn the most calories in an hour


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    Clinton waves as she arrives to a campaign event accompanied by popular progessive Senator Elizabeth Warren (D MA) in Manchester, New Hampshire on October 24.

    Whether you're a morning person or not, there seems to be a universal reluctance to greet people first thing. It's very unlikely you meet a person who enjoys saying hello to each one of their coworkers with a smile every morning without fail.

    If you do know this person, you probably think they're weird.

    However, in a post on the career advice blog Jobacle, Andrew G. Rosen argues that we're actually missing out by being reluctant to greet each other. He says there are several reasons why you should start the day right, regardless of whether you enjoy the early start or not.

    Sam Sommers, a teacher and researcher of social psychology at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, also argues about the power of hello in a blog post on Psychology Today. He writes that research has shown it's the little things that make a big difference in social interaction. For example, smiling is contagious, and employees who smile more have customers who report higher satisfaction. He recalls one of his students thanking him for taking the time to say hello and talk to the class before beginning his lectures.

    Saying hello might feel a little awkward at first, but it is actually appreciated by people more than you might think.

    So, here are some of the reasons to give "good morning" a try:

    1. It's basic manners

    Let's be honest, saying hello to people is just a courtesy — one you should have learned at nursery. Greetings should be as basic as "please" and "thank you" in our daily lives, Rosen argues. "These two little words also go a long way towards improving communication and the overall atmosphere," he says.

    2. It humanises coworkers

    You spend a lot of your time at work, so why not get to know those around you? Rather than seeing your coworkers as other cogs in the machine, get to know them as people, even if it's just for a few seconds in the morning. You might like them more than you think.

    3. It creates a more democratic environment

    If everyone from the bottom all the way up to the CEO says hello to each other, it gives the impression of a more equal workplace where everyone is valued.

    4. It's quick

    Even if the idea fills you with dread, saying hello only takes a couple of seconds, at most. If it's really that painful, it might signal a bigger issue.

    5. It's free

    It also won't cost you anything to give it a try.

    6. You might get noticed yourself

    Everyone wants to be recognised for the good things we do in our careers. Saying hello to people might get you noticed, and you might then get the recognition you deserve once people actually know who you are.

    7. It reduces awkwardness

    If you have to talk to someone later on in the day, it is significantly less awkward if you've already said hi when they walked in. Better communication leads to better work arrangements, and you might find a whole load of benefits to getting to know people better.

    8. You might cheer someone up

    Don't feel so arrogant that you might completely make someone's day, but we all appreciate a smile and a greeting now and then. This is especially true if we're having a rubbish day.

    Sommers writes that the biggest obstacle people face with trying to form friendships is the fact we assume people aren't interested. In reality, almost everyone wants to interact with people from all walks of life. Saying hello, Sommers says, is a simple way of starting to break down these barriers.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A Navy SEAL commander explains why you should make your bed every single day


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    Promotions are often a time to celebrate an employee. Many people love the recognition and the praise, but a manager can go too far with public accolades. In her book "Radical Candor: Be A Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity,"Kim Scott explores finding the sweet spot in management, somewhere between obnoxiously aggressive and ruinously empathetic. She discusses the two key flaws many managers have when promoting employees. Following is a transcript of the video. 

    Managers tend to make two mistakes around promotions. The first mistake is to make a big hoopla over promotions. When you are promoting somebody, you're rewarding them for doing great work and you're giving them additional responsibilities. And you're also probably giving them some additional pay and in some cases additional stock, and there's enough extrinsic recognition in a promotion that comes through improved compensation and so on and so forth.

    You don't need to give people public recognition around a promotion because then you're just hooking into ego. And you don't want to connect ego and promotion too much in your organization. It just creates a bad – creates promotion obsession. And promotion obsession is really unhealthy for the people who have been promoted but it's also unhealthy for those who haven't been promoted. There's often going to be on your team a lot of people who are great at their job but not necessarily gunning for the next job or not necessarily – they don't necessarily have the skills for the next job and if you make the whole purpose of work about getting a promotion, you're guaranteeing that the majority of people on your team are going to be unhappy every promotion cycle.

    Another mistake that managers make around promotion is they save up all the best performance ratings and the biggest bonuses for the people who are on a path to promotion and this is really unfair to the people who are great at their job and doing just as great work at that moment in time but who are not on a path to promotion. If you take a look at performance in any given time period bonuses and performance rating should be about performance in that period. Not about future promotion. When these people who get promoted, get promoted that's when they get extra pay. They shouldn't get extra pay for that period.

    Produced by Sam Rega  

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Jeff Bezos Blue Orgin

    In 2000, with his six-year-old business Amazon.com well on its way to becoming a retail empire, Jeff Bezos quietly launched his childhood dream: a rocket company.

    Called Blue Origin, Bezos kept the operation cloaked in secrecy for many years; only the occasional interview, or rare explosion in the deserts of west Texas (where test flights occur), divulged his plans. The company's initial goal was to launch people to the edge of space and back — all while recovering the rocket to dramatically lower the cost of flight.

    Yet Blue Origin has since dramatically expanded from a enigmatic startup to an employer of more than 1,000 people, according to the company's LinkedIn profile. (A representative for Blue Origin declined to tell Business Insider how many people the company employs or has employed in the past.)

    blue origin capsuleAs it finalizes designs for its suborbital space tourism business, Blue Origin's ambitions grow to low-Earth orbit and beyond. The company has signed deals to ferry payloads into space, is tailoring powerful new rocket engines in support of military satellite launches, and is developing a reusable super-heavy-lift rocket that'd rival those of both NASA and SpaceX.

    "Our vision is millions of people living and working in space," Bezos said in an email sent to reporters in September 2016.

    As its careers page reveals, Blue Origin is looking to hire nearly 100 people to help fuel those ambitions.

    The jobs currently available at Blue Origin

    blue origin new shepard

    Blue Origin's careers page offers a huge variety of jobs across three locations.

    Of the 92 positions open as of May 1, 2017, some 84 are based out of Kent, Washington (the company's headquarters); four are located in Van Horn, Texas (where test launches often occur); and four are in Cape Canaveral, Florida (where Blue Origin plans to launch its giant new rocket system, the New Glenn).

    About 50% of the positions call for engineers, 16% for project or service managers, 13% for technicians, 3% for specialists, and 3% for inspectors.

    blue origin launchMost of the jobs are highly technical and come with titles like "dimensional inspector" or "robotic laser operator" or "supply chain strategic commodity manager for composites". As a result, dozens of the positions require multiple degrees and up-close experience working with rocket engines, robots, software, explosive fuels, or other high-tech systems.

    Yet some are more familiar-sounding.

    For instance, Blue Origin is looking for a staff attorney to help it negotiate rocket-launch contracts.

    If you have an eye for young talent, there's also an outreach coordinator gig to work with universities.

    And like all big modern companies, Blue Origin has a need for an accounts payable staffer, plus helpdesktechnicians (two of them) to troubleshoot software, computer hardware, and other issues with its information technology infrastructure.

    Bezos also offers a general application to find people that don't yet fit anywhere.

    "We want to hear from talented people who believe in our mission," the posting says. "If you’re passionate about space exploration, feel free to send us your resume and cover letter, even if you don’t fit one of our currently open positions."

    What it's like to interview at Blue Origin

    blue origin new shepard

    If you're thinking of applying and hope to be interviewed at Blue Origin, you may need to steel yourself.

    According to a 2016 post by Reddit user tuntini31, it's not unusual for top candidates to be required to give a presentations to multiple vice president-level department leads, then meet individually with those managers (among other one-on-one interviews).

    "I thought I did well, though, apparently not because I did not receive an offer," tuntini31 wrote.

    Reviews left by alleged applicants at the jobs site Glassdoor.com also state that multiple in-depth technical interviews are common.

    The process also may not be quick; one applicant who got a job offer said it took "12+ months" to receive it from the moment he or she applied.

    And while you're shopping for a gig at a startup rocket company, don't forget to look into positions at SpaceX: Musk's outfit is looking to hire coffee baristas, line cooks, security officers, and more.

    Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

    SEE ALSO: Here's how the used rockets of tech billionaires just might save humanity from doom

    SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos just revealed a mock-up of the spacecraft his rocket company will use to take tourists into space

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin just showed off its SpaceX competitor


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    Irvine, CaliforniaWhen it comes to paid family leave, the United States is behind the curve. The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without a paid parental leave policy for new parents in place at the national level.

    And according to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 12% of private sector workers had access to paid family leave through their jobs in 2015. Since most parents in America are working parents, these are startling statistics.

    The number of parents choosing to work outside of the home is increasing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of families with at least one working parent rose from 88.7% in 2014 to 89.3% in 2015. In 61.1% of families with married couples, both parents work.

    Paid parental leave is more necessary than it has ever been. But even in states that rate well for their family leave policies (like California and New York), there’s a need for additional legal protections for new and expecting parents.

    Read the 2016 edition of this annual study

    Study specifics

    SmartAsset wanted to find the best cities for working parents. So we ranked 464 of the largest U.S. cities using nine factors, including the unemployment rate, the average high school graduation rate and the violent crime rate. We also looked at household income, average childcare costs, housing costs and average commute time.

    Much like we did in the 2016 edition of our study, we considered a rating of the family leave policies in every state. To learn more about how we conducted our analysis, read the data and methodology section below.

    Key findings

    • Orem does it again. For the second consecutive year, this small town in Utah ranks as the best place for working parents.
    • Childcare costs are rising. Since we published the 2016 edition our study, the cost of childcare for children up to age 4 has risen in almost every state. In places like Colorado, it has risen by more than 15% since 2014.
    • California earns an A for its family leave policies. Seven cities in California rank among the top 25 cities for working parents. In 2015 the Golden State passed laws that offer paid sick days to many parents who need time off for prenatal and children’s doctor’s appointments. 

    SEE ALSO: Zillow is launching a new site just for millennials looking for their first home

    DON'T MISS: Here's what you'll pay for a babysitter in nine of the most expensive cities in the US

    10. Wichita Falls, Texas

    Americans across the country have long and stressful commutes. And traveling back and forth to work is costly. A recent report from the Citi ThankYou Premier Commuter Index revealed that the average cost of commuting is around $2,600.

    Fortunately, the average commute in Wichita Falls isn’t that long. Local residents spend just 14.5 minutes traveling to work. That’s the third-shortest commute in our study.

    Median annual housing costs in Wichita Falls have risen by 2.84% since we published the 2016 edition of our analysis. But a low cost of living and good schools make the city a great place to raise a family. The average high school graduation rate (96%) is among the highest rates in our study.



    9. College Station, Texas

    Living in College Station, Texas has its perks. Unemployment is relatively low (3.2%) and the average high school graduation rate is high (92%). Plus, the Lone Star State doesn’t have a personal income tax. This means that working parents have more room in their budgets for childcare costs. The average annual cost of childcare in Texas is $8,510.



    8. Oshkosh, Wisconsin

    Oshkosh ranks at the eighth-best place in America for working parents, down from seventh place in the 2016 edition of our analysis. The city rates particularly well for its affordability. The average household only spends 21.35% of its income on housing-related expenses.

    A recent report from the National Partnership for Women & Families gave the state of Wisconsin a C for its family leave policies. There’s still plenty of room for improvement. But the Badger State earned points for giving workers more access to job-protected family leave than federal laws. There’s also flexible paid sick time that parents can use to care for a new child.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    meeting

    An HR veteran with over 15 years of experience shares her insider’s take on what really goes down during the hiring process.

    Before launching my own consulting business, I earned my HR stripes working for everyone from big-name financial service companies to an equally big electronics and entertainment company.

    So I know firsthand the techniques that are used to vet potential employees — and it’s not all as compliant as you’d expect.

    If there’s one thing my time in the trenches has taught me it’s that HR reps are willing to do a lot to pinpoint the right employee.

    Think hiring managers aren’t trolling your social media accounts? Or that having children won’t impact your odds of landing a great gig?

    Think again.

    Take it from me: These are some lesser-known, semi-sly tricks that hiring managers resort to—regularly.

    1. We dig (and I mean really dig) into your background

    It goes without saying that hiring managers are going to contact your references to check whether those accolades on your résumé are legit.

    But prehiring reconnaissance goes a lot further than that.

    The HR community is small, and while it isn’t exactly kosher, many of us will call someone we know at a company where a candidate has worked previously.

    The goal is to get “off-the-record” insights about the person’s work habits, personality, aptitude and more. We’re getting the inside scoop — from someone who isn’t on the candidate’s referral list.

    Don’t believe me?

    In the last month alone, I’ve received two calls from HR reps asking whether I’d vouch for former colleagues.

    Another way managers dig around is through social media — especially LinkedIn.

    After scanning a person’s LinkedIn network, I’ve become skeptical about candidates who don’t have enough industry connections. It makes me question if they’re overmarketing themselves.

    Of course, being mindful of what you post on all of your social media channels is a no-brainer. I’ve even heard of managers who snoop on their own employees’ accounts to see if they’ve been talking poorly about the company.

    Related: LinkedIn Super Secrets: 9 Tips for Job Seekers, Brand Builders and Hiring Managers

    parenting

    2. Have kids? Why you might not have the job …

    Although it’s illegal for an employer to take someone’s family into account when considering them for a position, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

    Personally, I don’t believe this is usually malicious or deliberate. But a candidate can’t control what might be lurking in a hiring manager’s subconscious. (“Will this person really get the job done if they’ve got little kids waiting at home?”)

    And it’s not just HR managers who fall prey to this kind of second-guessing.

    I once worked at a financial organization where the internal sales team was mostly comprised of guys fresh out of college. When they interviewed new employees, I found out many of them used the opportunity to suss out if a candidate had kids by posing questions like, “What do you like to do on the weekends?” It was a tactic to see if the person would bring up little league or other kid-centric activities.

    Knowing that new employees would be required to work long hours, these guys assumed that children would make these candidates less committed—and less likely to party after work and wholeheartedly embrace the company culture.

    Certain hiring managers (especially those who don’t have a legal background) really want to make sure that the person they hire is a good culture fit — someone who’ll make a good employee and buddy.

    But this impulse can end up alienating qualified candidates simply because they don’t gel on a personal level. In the case of that financial company, it created a bias against women — and we, in HR, brought the practice to a screeching halt.

    And while we’re on the topic of bias, I hate to say it, but if a woman is interviewing while pregnant, she’s probably better off keeping that to herself until she knows she’s got the job.

    It’s especially relevant at the executive level, when the stakes are typically higher. While a manager would never come out and say it, my experience leads me to believe that mothers, in general, do get passed over more than childless applicants.

    Related: How I Made It In a ‘Man’s’ Field: 5 High-Powered Women Tell All

    3. The offer you get often has plenty of wiggle room

    During the hiring process, salary negotiations are par for the course. But most managers can offer you way more than they let on.

    That said, they probably can’t budge too much when it comes to base salary—there’s typically a range in mind before the interview ever takes place. But they can throw in different types of financial extras.

    Sign-on bonuses, for starters, are attractive to HR managers because they don’t reoccur or show up in the employee’s salary line. And many hiring managers are willing and able to throw in a onetime cash-out if that’s what it takes to seal the deal.

    The same goes for relocation packages. While some companies have rigid policies in place when it comes to relocating new hires, it’s still very much a gray area that many HR managers have no problem negotiating.

    The catch, not surprisingly, is that interviewers aren’t exactly eager to offer up such perks. It’s up to you to ask.

    Bringing up a sign-on bonus or relocation package will likely get you more traction than if you focus on the salary alone. Even so, that doesn’t mean negotiating the base salary isn’t still worth it—but you’ll need to convince the HR manager why you should be at the higher end of their preestablished range.

    I’ve even seen people successfully negotiate to have a new company match the last job’s total compensation package.

    Related: Beyond Your Paycheck: 5 Things to Negotiate at Work

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    4. Mutual exits are more common than you think

    If an employee quits — as opposed to getting laid off — severance and unemployment benefits likely go out the window. So from a financial standpoint, it appears to be in a company’s best interest to have a less-than-stellar employee quit on their own.

    Would a manager ever deliberately try to get a disliked employee to voluntarily hit the road? I’ve heard it happens — but it’s more likely to come from a direct manager, and the HR person may find out about it after the fact, when the manager shares that they “rode a guy hard” until he quit.

    I think sometimes these managers struggle with giving feedback and coaching employees, or run into situations where they feel backed up against a wall. The end result is that they run out of patience—and make crummy management decisions.

    A few of my current clients have experienced this kind of passive-aggressive approach, and I encouraged them to negotiate a happier ending by way of a desirable exit package.

    Essentially, the company allows the employee to leave on certain mutually-agreed-upon terms. In some cases, it may require the employee to stay until a certain end date, finish a particular project, or agree not to take talent from the company for a set amount of time. In return, the employee receives a specific amount of money, known as a retention payment.

    The deal, known as a mutual separation, isn’t considered severance. It’s also something that happens all of the time behind closed doors.

    It’s yet another example of how established employees and new hires alike can even the playing field — so long as they’re informed.

    SEE ALSO: 8 signs you just nailed that job interview

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    Step Brothers

    Interviews are intimidating for nearly everyone. After all, one mistake could lie between you getting the job.

    We go in with our perfectly rehearsed answers to everything we think the interviewer might ask. But of course, we can't be prepared for everything — and there are some questions that are worse than others.

    A survey conducted by recruitment website Totaljobs questioned 6,000 people looking for work. It produced three questions job seekers fear most. Here they are:

    1. 'Why should I hire you?'

    This is a hard question to answer, because you'd think that the reasons would have become clear throughout the interview. Career website Monster advises you think of yourself as a product when this question comes up, and try to sell yourself.

    This isn't the time to talk about what you want — like the job. Instead, show what you can do for the company. For example, if the company is looking for someone to take control of a team, show what skills you have to do this effectively.

    2. 'Tell me about yourself'

    What a gloriously vague question. Where do you start? Your hobbies? Where you grew up?

    Unfortunately, this is often used as an ice-breaker question, so you better be prepared to tackle it straight away. The best thing to do is stay focused, according to Monster, and think about what you want the interview to remember when you leave. Start with your experiences and proven success, then move onto your skills, strengths, and abilities.

    Start with your experiences and proven success, then move onto your skills, strengths, and abilities.

    3. 'What is your biggest weakness?'

    Everyone hates this one, because there seems to be no good way to answer it. Every interviewer will see right through the cliché answers of "I'm a perfectionist" or "I'm always early!" and, of course, you don't want to be too honest, like saying you struggle to get up in the morning

    According to TargetJobs, this one can actually be a great opportunity to show you're right for the job. You should really think about some of your shortcomings in the past and put a positive spin on them. For example, although you recognised a problem, you looked to combat it, such as going on a time-management course, or practising your public speaking.

    You can also answer with a strength that is disguised as a weakness, but this is hard to do. For example: "I tend to get very passionate about my work, so I get frustrated if others don't have the same enthusiasm."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Scented soaps and luxury cosmetics are commonplace on the bathroom counters of high-end hotels and households.

    But while you might assume these products are sourced from expensive brands and designers, this isn't always the case.

    The Soap Co, which calls itself an "ethical luxury brand," launched in September 2015, and sells handmade soap bars, liquid hand wash, hand lotion, and luxurious gift sets — all made by disadvantaged and disabled people.

    Based in East London with a factory in Keswick, the available roles vary from production to retail and commercial roles in marketing and sales. The company's profits get re-invested into the organisation, so it can employ more members of staff.

    Its parent company, registered charity CLARITY Employment for Blind People, is the UK’s oldest surviving social enterprise, according to Soap Co, and has been employing, training, and supporting people with disabilities since 1854. CLARITY started off making baskets and mattresses then moved into soap in the 1930s.

    Camilla Marcus Dew, co-founder and head of commercial of Soap Co, told Business Insider that CLARITY's luxury soap had already been used under the umbrella of other brands over the years. Her job is to make it a brand in its own right under the Soap Co banner.

    "They'd go into The Ritz and The Cavendish and The Savoy [with other labels]. They had our products, which were made here in the factory," she said.

    Soap&CoKit SQ.JPG"I saw an opportunity to refine the products and branding, and take something to market that our generation would love and connect with," said Marcus Dew, who had a corporate career working for the likes of Accenture, Lloyds Bank, Disney, and Asda until she made the move to Soap Co when the brand launched.

    Louise Thomson, the company's sales and marketing manager, added: "We thought an ethical luxury brand would sell more, and make more profit to go back into the business to employ more people."

    The simple black and white branding on the bottles, 25% made up old milk bottles, features braille, which Thomson said "peaks the curiosity of our consumers." Marcus Dew added that the brand "has a Scandinavian feel" in fitting with the trend of "beautiful minimalist bathrooms."

    The products are all made in the UK with natural extract and added vitamins, and are colour and paraben free. The labels and paper are also compostable and recyclable. "There's a trade-off between the design and the social/environmental side," Thomson said.

    JL_201508_SoapCo_0962_FA

    Soap Co currently employs more than 105 people across the country through a government disability scheme, 80% of whom are blind, or otherwise disabled or disadvantaged. The company uses a "semi-automated production line" in their London factory, with a traditional homemade process workshop in its Keswick location.

    Three of the staff in the factory also have guide dogs, or use "other ways of getting around," according to Thomson.

    "[The dogs] have the nicest time," she said. "There's a volunteer who walks them every day, and we have a range of dog shampoo. They're very much a part of the brand."

    The goal isn't to find long-term staff, but to offer Soap Co as a "stepping stone" to other employment, for those who are able to achieve it. Marcus Dew said that 50% of the company's staff are there on a "transitional basis."

    "Some people might be with us for a few weeks, then get a job elsewhere, which is a massive celebration for us," she said.

    The company's goal is to generate over 60 new job opportunities every year. In 2015, 49 people were hired after a period of unemployment lasting at least six months, and 28 people moved onto "mainstream" employment after their time at Soap Co.

    ETSY   Ricky and Jasmine

    Despite the company's history of being used by other brands, Soap Co. is starting to make a name for itself.

    The brand is currently stocked in a number of independent retailers, and hopes to announce its launch into a national retailer this summer.

    Marcus Dew added that the company has "had some great conversations with restaurant chains and hotels, and we're building a footprint with independent shops and restaurants."

    Ultimately, she believes that there doesn't need to be a trade-off between luxury, design, and social impact. "Charities and social enterprises can do luxury as well," she said.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    i robot

    Being a millennial is hard.

    You may never make it onto the property ladder, and older generations have made political decisions you'll have to live with.

    To make matters worse, you're likely told you're spoiled and entitled when you can't find a job.

    However, all might not be lost. According to new data from Indeed, one of the UK's largest job search websites, when you do get a job, you're more likely to hang onto it when the robot revolution comes. This is because the jobs millennials tend to choose are at lower risk of automation.

    The site analysed the online search patterns of millions of UK jobseekers over six months, and found that nearly half of millennials (48%) were searching for what economists term "non-routine" jobs, such as professional and management roles. In comparison, 61% of baby boomers were looking for "routine" jobs, which include sales, admin, transport, and construction roles.

    These sorts of jobs are more prone to automation according to economists, because they often involve repetition, which machines are quick to master. Jobs which include more human interaction are less likely to be replaced by robots.

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    Over a third (34%) of searches by baby boomers were for routine manual jobs, compared to barely a fifth for millennials, who were 67% less likely to search for these roles.

    Mariano Mamertino, an EMEA economist at Indeed said that technology continues to reshape the way we work as well as the type and number of jobs that are available.

    "Of course, no generation of jobseekers is completely doomed," he said. "Automation is a process, not a single event, and technological progress is going to impact different occupations at different times."

    "Disappearing jobs can be a frightening concept and it's impossible to know exactly which jobs are 'safe' — but everyone can prepare for the future by building up transferable, non-routine skills that can be applied across a wide array of occupations," he added.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    monopoly

    Living in London isn't cheap. This is especially true if you work in a creative industry and you're expected to complete months of unpaid internships before you start earning a half-decent salary.

    While some people can live off the bank of mum and dad for a while, others aren't so lucky. For some people, this can make breaking into their dream job incredibly difficult. 

    If this applies to you, today might be your lucky day. Rental company UNCLE has just started advertising for someone to spread the word about the brand through a blog, vlog, illustration, or other creative idea. In return, the company will offer the chosen candidate 12 months living in one of its properties rent-free.

    The competition is targeting young professionals who "want to live in a buzzing city, but need the peace of mind that comes with a good deal and a landlord they can trust."

    The ideal candidate should have plenty of "witty and refined" content ideas to help spread the world about UNCLE's apartments on social media.

    On the application the company is asking to see your ideas in whatever format you want to work with: a photo, 60-second video, meme or GIF, illustration, infographic, or blog.

    "We're not fussy," the advert says.

    If you think this sounds like the ideal opportunity for you, you can apply here. The competition will start on Monday May 8 and run through to July.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    One day, Jody Shield was sitting at her desk at the advertising company she had been working at for a decade, when a voice in her head told her to quit her job. The voice was so strong she thought it was coming from someone in the room.

    She soon realised, however, that she was talking to herself.

    "Maybe it was my inner wisdom, but it was a voice," she told Business Insider. "It was amazing because it changed my life forever."

    Shield left her job as business director and now works as an intuitive mentor, life coach, and meditation expert. She released her book, "LifeTonic," last month. By retraining, she has now worked with thousands of clients to help them transform their lives.

    But the first transformation Shield dealt with was her own. After taking a few minutes to think about it, she realised if she was going to quit her job, she had to do it then and there. She just needed to trust that she could take care of herself if she took a leap of faith.

    "I just knew in that moment that everything was going to be okay. I don't know how I knew, I just knew. There was this reassuring feeling that it was all meant to be," she said. "I also knew that I had to act on the impulse to quit then and there, because every second that I didn't act on it, I was losing trust in myself."

    Though going into the office of her boss to resign was one of the scariest things she's ever done, Shield also said it was completely empowering.

    If you're thinking of quitting your job to follow your dreams, Shield has some tips for succeeding:

    1. Trust your gut

    Trust, Shield says, is an easy word to say, but it's hard to do. She calls our gut feeling our "inner guidance system," and apparently we are very good at ignoring it. It tells us to go and talk to people and take actions, but we stop ourselves out of embarrassment or fear.

    Shield says that this energy from your gut then freezes in your body somehow, and this makes us lose faith in ourselves. The more we do this on a daily basis, she says, the more disconnected we become from ourselves.

    2. Don't wait for the perfect time

    "Grow some balls and jump," Shield said. "If you wait for things to be absolutely perfect in how you want them, it never happens."

    There will always be a reason not to try something. Maybe you're in the process of buying a house, or you are thinking of having a new baby. Shield says she is always inspired by the people she meets who decide to make massive changes during the most difficult times of their lives.

    "When you see people like that who have come from a lot of fear, maybe their partner is going through depression, or they've just given birth to a child a couple of years ago, and yet they are thinking about what's next, it inspires me to keep going and doing what I do," she said.

    3. Put a plan in place

    Before you do jump, though, have a plan in place. During the three month notice period after she quit her job, Shield built a website and started to clearly think out what she was going to do. She started to build up an idea of what she stood for, how her business would work, and what the benefits were for people coming to see her. A couple of years previously, she had started retraining behind the scenes on different methods and techniques like meditation, healing, and coaching and built up a "toolbox."

    "I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but it was what I was interested in," she said. "So I decided to isolate what I was interested in and just spend some energy and focus on exercising that muscle, and gathering together a toolbox of things."

    meditation

    4. Learn about people you admire

    Shield also did a lot of research on the kind of people she wanted to be like before she took the plunge and left her desk forever. She watched videos from coaches and started to subconsciously model herself on them, so that she had inspiration.

    5. Fund your undercover life

    "I would suggest that if you're wanting to leave the corporate world, just set something up on the side, and use the wages you get paid as a venture capitalist [to fund] this other kind of undercover part of your life, until [it] feels strong enough for you to make the leap and jump," Shield said.

    Some people just jump, she says, but these people don't always land on their feet.

    6. Accept that you will feel uncomfortable

    Resistance is the force that tries to prevent growth and transformation, and you're going to experience a lot of it when you start something new. Shield says that ultimately we are scared of change, so we create resistance which pushes us away from doing things that are good for us. She encountered a lot of resistance when she decided to quit her job, but she learned not to let it take charge of her.

    "The only reason we get drawn back into old patterns is because of familiarity and comfort," Shield said. "Whoever grew by being comfortable? It doesn't happen."

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    7. Find your cheerleaders

    We tend to be our own worst critics. For this reason, Shield recommends you ask some friends who empower you to write down some of the things they like and admire you. Get them to send a letter or email with five things, and you can create a bank of motivational messages from the people who see the good in you and who know what you're trying to achieve.

    8. Meditate

    Just five minutes of meditation every day can help put you into the right frame of mind to make the best decisions for yourself, according to Shield.

    People often tell her they don't have time, but there are easy ways to try it out, such as with Shield's YouTube videos. The more you try meditating, Shield says, the more of a sense of calm and wellbeing you'll get.

    "The brain needs space to detox and empty itself, and meditation, the first few times you do it, will provide a space for your brain to detox all of the thoughts that its holding on to," she said.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    anchorman

    When we're waiting to go into a job interview, we have questions we hope come up and other ones we hope to avoid.

    Maybe you've rehearsed your answers over and over again, and you're super confident in some more than others. Or maybe you have something to hide.

    Sometimes the reason you're looking for a new job might be that you were fired from your last one.

    In this situation you don't have to lose all hope. According to John Crowley, who works in content and marketing at HR-software company People, an employer doesn't need to know whether or not you were fired from your previous job, and there is no legal obligation to disclose this information.

    "Having said this, they will probably want to know why you left — or at least why you're seeking a new opportunity," he told Business Insider. "At all costs, try to avoid being dragged into a conversation about why you were fired."

    If you start talking about the reasons why you were let go, you risk being dragged into a conversation where you have to defend yourself. This then immediately looks like you're blaming your previous employer, which can come across as bad-mouthing.

    "Instead, you're better off avoiding the technical reason your employment ended, and using a fairly neutral explanation, such as 'I left my previous job because things weren't working out and I needed to find a new challenge for my career,' or something similar."

    Crowley suggests two things you can say below. But these answers work only if your reason for being let go was something minor, and you want to lay all your cards on the table. If you committed a crime, then this will probably be found out in a background check anyway.

    • I was let go because there was a conflict of personalities. It was probably for the best for both parties, and as you can see from my job history, this isn't a recurring pattern.
    • I was going through a bad stage in my life, and was frequently late, made too many errors, or fell out with colleagues, which eventually led to my dismissal. I've since turned my life around, and I'm ready for my next challenge — as you can see, this hasn't been a recurring pattern in my job history, and was just a blip.

    It's common for hiring managers to ask for a reference from your last place of work. Employers aren't supposed to supply bad references, but they can decline the request, which Crowley says can immediately set off alarm bells.

    "With this in mind, if you impress your potential employer well enough, and demonstrate your skills and abilities, a reference might not be the 'be all and end all' of their decision," he added. "So don't let this bother you too much, as long as you can play to your strengths, and avoid being dragged into politics."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    sheryl sandberg

    Four years ago, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote a groundbreaking book calling for women to "lean in" to their careers.

    In a recent interview, she suggested that women should be doing the same with their relationships.

    When a Financial Times reporter asked Sandberg what she should be looking for in a relationship, the executive had a brilliant response.

    "The guys who want an equal relationship," she said. "Guys who want to support your career. You have a great career."

    Pressed by the reporter who was eager to know how to find these men, who Sandberg called "the good guys," the exec offered a simple but effective nugget of wisdom: Ask them.

    That's right. When you go on a date, be upfront, and ask the person if he is one of these "good guys" who wants an equal relationship and will support you in your career.

    While this might seem like too serious a question to ask on a casual first date, Sandberg recommends asking early, and "not [being] afraid of offending."

    "If they're going to be offended by the answer, you don't want to date them anyway."

    Here's a more in-depth excerpt from the interview:

    "'You can date whoever you want, but you should marry the nerds and the good guys,' she advised. You dated the bad guys? I ask. 'A little bit.'

    "I tell her I'm 30 and unmarried: who should I be looking for? 'The guys who want an equal relationship. Guys who want to support your career. You have a great career,' she said. Embracing the idea of Sandberg as agony aunt, I ask how you tell who the good guys are. 'You ask and you ask early and you are not afraid of offending. If they're going to be offended by the answer, you don't want to date them anyway.'"

    Read the full Financial Times interview »

    Learn about Sandberg's new book, "Option B: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    stanford

    I filled out an online survey recently — something I do a lot of, actually. (What can I say? Slider scales make me feel powerful, and I never pass up an Amazon gift card.)

    This one was for BEAM, Stanford’s Career Education Center, the only people more concerned with your career than you are (okay, aside from your mother).

    The topic was “meaningful work.” It was mostly the kind of undemanding click-through questions I’ve come to know and love, but one stuck with me. It asked something to the effect of, “What was meaningful about your last work experience?”

    Last summer I interned at a nonprofit publisher in Berkeley. Personal growth was the order of the day pretty much every day for two-and-a-half months, but it had nothing to do with my work.

    What did I do? I replied to emails, attended acquisitions meetings, wrote promotional copy, edited webpages, distributed event fliers, read Kafka on my lunch break and generally tried to look as busy and unapproachable as possible.

    What exactly was I supposed to find meaningful about that?

    Americans work a lot. On average, we put in 25 percent more hours per year than Europeans, staying later at work and taking less vacation time . Any American could tell you that these disparities are grounded in our culture. We believe in the inherent dignity of hard work and the moral status it confers.

    The ability — and more, the desire — to devote yourself to your work is a sign of character. It’s central to the story our country can’t stop telling itself: I came from the bottom , I pulled myself up by the bootstraps , I am a self made man .

    Even in this most secular of moments, the Protestant work ethic is still pulling our motivational strings. Self-reliance is the specter that drives our society, but equally it haunts us. All that work doesn’t make us all that happy.

    Ironically, we’ve come think our work should be fulfilling.

    As children, we play at being cops or astronauts (or in my case, an archaeologist), and adults ask us, What do you want to be when you grow up? Guidance counselors, teachers and well-meaning mentor figures promise us that someday we’ll discover what we’re meant to do , and so we’re initiated into a culture that tells us our place in the economy will be a matter of our individual interests.

    For some, that’s true.

    We’ve all met that person who decided in the womb that she wanted to be a doctor and is now headed to medical school. (Congrats, I guess.) Otherwise, you scrounge together as much self-knowledge as you can, do some educated guesswork and settle on something. You’ve probably met even more people for whom, when it comes to work, meaningfulness never enters the picture.

    There’s a class element here. Do what you’re passionate about is the kind of advice we get, but imagine telling that to a plumber or a construction worker.

    Do you think the person who cleans your toilet finds their work meaningful? I wonder: Did my progenitors toiling in their damp Irish potato patches ever think to see more in their work than sheer survival? Meaningfulness is like Spotify premium: Not everyone can afford it.

    Whatever your socioeconomic background, a Stanford education is presented as your ticket to a comfortable life and a career in something you want to do. If you want to innovate, acquire capital or corner the market, go for it. If you’ve bravely elected to be an aid worker in a war zone or teach at a public middle school, that’s good too.

    Even if reality hits and slam poetry or witchcraft or philosophy don’t lead to the career you expected, you’re still expected to want to do the thing you end up doing. Work shouldn’t be good or fine or not great, let alone actual trash; it’s supposed to be meaningful. Having no particular desire to do any job in the first place is patently not an option.

    So what if I don’t expect my work to be meaningful? That doesn’t mean I can’t like it.

    My days are filled with activities I like but could hardly call meaningful. I’m not saying your work shouldn’t be meaningful. If it is, awesome, but don’t be confused: That’s not what work is for. The invisible hand doesn’t cater to your emotional or spiritual fulfillment.

    And why should it? Meaningfulness is too great a burden to place on something you do for a salary, the thing you must keep doing if you want to keep eating. What you do in the office doesn’t have to matter, and don’t let BEAM tell you any differently.  

    SEE ALSO: I'm black, I'm a student, and I'm tired of racism on my campus

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    intern2

    If you're rapidly climbing up the career ladder, sooner or later you may find yourself managing people who are older than you. This can be kind of awkward and, in some cases, can cause friction in the workplace.

    But it doesn't have to be that way. According to David Isaacs, a wealth adviser and CPA at Traust Sollus Wealth Management in New York, good conversation is the most important tool you can have.

    Isaacs is a millennial, and he is tired of hearing the stereotypical labels of laziness and entitlement about his generation. He told Business Insider that while the immediate response to "millennial" being used as a derogatory term was annoyance, he had learned to take a step back from it.

    The same logic can be applied to when you find you're in charge of managing people in a team who are in older generations. They might see you as spoilt or arrogant because of your age, but you can understand why they think that and change their mind with good communication.

    "My recommendation would be to try to be more intentional in your communication, and say, 'OK, help me understand why you think the way you do, or why you feel that that's accurate,'" Isaacs said. "Everyone looks at situations through the lens of the past, so their experiences are going to dictate how they view what's coming after them. We can talk to each other and actually understand what someone is communicating."

    Here are Isaac's three tips for what to do if you find yourself in a sticky situation with an older colleague at work:

    1. Improve the team's communication

    One way you can do this is by investing in communication training. Isaacs said that in the course his company took, one of the trainers pointed out that communication killed conflict and that conflict killed communication. So learning to talk to one another and appreciate others' points of view is pretty valuable in terms of reducing workplace friction.

    2. Pay attention to different opinions

    Nobody is perfect. Isaacs said that with this in mind, there would always be something new to learn and there would always be someone with a different experience from yours. If you approach a situation with the assumption you're always correct, then you're effectively shutting down any valuable communication.

    "Maybe it still ends up that you're going to do what you wanted, but maybe not — maybe there's another possibility you haven't thought of," Isaacs said.

    3. Ask how your coworkers want to be managed

    Not everyone wants to be managed the same way, which is important to remember. Isaacs said the first question he asks someone who joins his team is, "How would you like to be managed?" to understand what kind of style the person will benefit from.

    People who are fresh out of university compared with those who have been in the same company for 15 to 20 years will most likely require very different management styles. Some people like to be told exactly what to do, whereas others appreciate being left alone.

    You can ask, "What can I do to facilitate your productivity and your progress?" Isaacs said, adding: "You just need to be able to facilitate their work — you don't necessarily need to micromanage them, unless they want you to do that."

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    Boris Johnson

    Our beloved foreign secretary was all over the media recently for describing Jeremy Corbyn as a "mutton-headed old mugwump."

    Other people have said basically the same thing before — that Corbyn might be a bit thick, and a little aloof — but they didn't get nearly as much attention.

    That's the benefit of a really distinctive tone of voice — how you express yourself in words.

    One of the things that's different about Boris is that he doesn't sound like other politicians: he stands out from the cacophony of identikit political blah. And businesses, and business leaders, can use language to do the same.

    Here's how.

    Avoid formulaic response

    On its website, McDonald's says "Find a McDonald's near you." Pizza Hut says "Find a restaurant." But Wahaca's app says "Take me to the tacos!" It's a tiny detail, but it gives you a sense of its spirit, and tempts you just a little more Wahaca-wards with its Wahaca words.

    So if you're emailing a customer and find yourself writing, "please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further queries," have a think if there's a less formulaic way of saying it. Likewise, if you're a chief executive about to slip into the cliche of, "in 2017 we have faced challenging market conditions": stop. Maybe you could find a phrase that feels more genuine — and more likely to get listened to.

    Stick to it, even when things get sticky

    People are often happy to put their personality into the good news, but if they have to deal with something negative, they lose their nerve. When people — even chief executives — have to deliver unpalatable messages, they often subconsciously distance themselves from it. Their language becomes impersonal, passive and formal. They stop using their own tone of voice and hide behind the corporate line.

    United Airlines received a Twitter roasting when its chief executive Oscar Munoz described dragging a paying passenger off a plane as "re-accommodating" him. And again when he said United had: "followed our involuntary denial of boarding process … in order to gain his compliance to come off the aircraft."

    And it's why it was a breath of fresh air when Volkswagen's US boss Michael Horn admitted it had been rigging emissions tests by saying "We have totally screwed up." In that situation, you'll take some flak, but most people will also give you points for honesty.

    Think of your English GCSE

    Lots of the tricks you learned when being forced to deconstruct poetry will stand you in good stead in business or politics. One of a leader's main jobs is to condense complicated ideas and strategies into simple phrases that stick in people's heads.

    So the Tories are relentlessly repeating "strong and stable leadership" and "coalition of chaos" right now. And — assuming they don't completely overdo it — those bits of alliteration (the repeated "s" and "c" sounds) make for earworms which will burrow into our brains. Tony Blair loved repetition; that's why lots of us still remember "Education, education, education" and "Tough on crime; tough on the causes of crime".

    There's even research that shows we find phrases that rhyme more believable than those that don't. So mountaineers will tell you "cotton kills in the hills" (apparently in cotton you get hot and sweaty on the way up, and then freezing cold at the top.) Until your rhyme gets too cheesy, that is.

    Then it stops working.

    Neil Taylor is creative partner at The Writer.

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