Work Smarter, Not Harder

Work smarter not harder

I was writing a comment on this article.  The article was about being a type A personality and it inspired me to kind of dig deeper because this guy was writing about how he has like 3 jobs and is a perfectionist and easily works 16-17 hour days. And he was kind of promoting this as a normal thing to aspire for. That he was type A personality, a perfectionist that demanded so much from himself.

I was short and sweet with my comment but was basically like, “You need balance, dude! Work smarter, not harder!”

We live in a work culture that takes advantage of these types of people and pits the work horses against everyone else for the sake of production.  We don’t need to be promoting this type of behavior. Honestly, the writer was essentially sacrificing his relationships and health in the long term for more money short term. And that to me does not seem like a good deal.  I guess he had to think it over, but he eventually commented back that he was only working this hard to build for his future for his finance and cut down his debt and that he agreed that this current workload was not sustainable.

It really did make me think about the type of people I often find in my workplace vs the type of employee I wanted to be.

There are really 3 types of workers:

Lazy workers- Typical worker, makes up a majority of today’s work force. Doesn’t care to improve or grow professionally.  Happy with their slice of pie, only thinking about their salary increases and benefits. Looks at investments and business opportunities as too risky.

Hard workers- Time is money and these people tend to follow paper like it’s the gospel to life. They sacrifice all their personal relationships, free time, hobbies to work. These work horses generally are high earners in their company but leverage their salary for more responsibility and more hours. They are also adverse to risk and are only going to consider investments and business endeavors if it will reap quick money.

Smart workers- leverage their experience and time for more money. Unlike hard workers, who sacrifice time for money in positions that they are easily replaced in, smart workers focus on long term career growth ands specialize in niche areas that will be of great use and high demand. Or they recognize their unique experience to be valuable and come up with a business idea that blows up.

I think the difference between the three workers is really just attitude. The lazy worker is the worst, they are not really able to see beyond themselves and their long term contributions to their work. They don’t have the ambition or drive to give extra and see what it reaps. They often hold the belief that they are hard working enough and that they should get better pay for just being there. They often exhibit bad habits like lateness, lack of detail, lack of effort, a disinterest in the work.

My previous receptionist was this type of worker, I had mentioned her in a previous post. Her issue was that she knew the work but would “pretend” to forget or not know in order to lighten her workload. Over time this worked she had the easiest role in the office, leaving at 6 when me and our manager would often leave at 7. But when my asst. director came in to restructure the office, it became obvious she was the weak link to our production, so she was the first to be cut and the easiest to replace.

My old manager was a hard worker she would make sure all deadlines and reports were complete, it would be so detailed. Everything had to be perfect. Any reports that she did would take hours to compile. Her work was correct but at the end of the day none of the directors had the time to actually review it in depth so it went unnoticed.   She was also a shrew that made sure she had a majority of all the deals so between the deals she had to close and the detailed reports she had to do, she was working 60 hours a week. Yes, she was making more money. But she was also working more hours and putting more effort to make more money. She wasn’t any happier either. For all that money she was making, she wasn’t enjoying it and she eventually pushed herself out of a good job with her self-created discontent.

I think the happiest kind of employment, the one I aspire for, is to be a smarter worker. I think it takes a lot of self awareness to pick which traits are marketable and in demand.  I also think courage to take take that skill and make it a business, especially if no one else has done that before.  And I think it takes a lot of confidence to put a price on those skills and stick to it.

When I was an rental agent , there were other agents charging less than a months rent in commission.  They were undercutting a lot of agents.  Considering you had to pay the brokerage a piece of your deals, taxes, and other business expenses, that basically meant that those brokers had to work on a high volume basis.  They were spinning their wheels, showing apartment after apartment in the summer heat.  They had to be dishonest to keep the leads and clients flowing.

I didn’t have the heart for all that.  I focused on quality and getting the highest commission possible, almost 2 months worth of rent.  I focused on creating value and marketing my skills for getting the best deals for clients so that my commission would pay itself off after the first year.   Well, I wouldn’t say I was the highest earning salesperson but I definitely made just as much as the high volume agents with literally HALF the work.  That was working SMART.  I had people who were so happy with my service, they were referring other clients who would pay FULL commission.  They were referring other clients who would buy properties with me!

I ended up leaving that work environment due to personal reasons, but I never forgot the lesson of what it meant to work smarter.

Now I’m working  a salaried position and I’m constantly trying to find ways to make my time more valuable, to do more with less and be more productive.  I’m hoping my company would value that and reward me at bonus season.  I’m also trying to find ways to leverage my other talents and skills, to hopefully something profitable.

There’s no one rule for working smarter but if I had to name one thing that will definitely help you: STOP DOING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING.  Most people are not smart or even hard workers.  Following the status quo is the recipe for mediocrity.

Share the ways you were able to find better use of your talent and time below, I’d love to hear it.

Feel free to read my other posts:

Playing The Game Of Life And Winning: 5 Approaches To Success

Organize Your Mind: How To Be More Productive With Your Day

My Job is Killing Me….

Status Update: Don’t Over Do It!

Feel free to like, share and follow if you liked this post

Why I Took The Risk And Quit Law School

Happy successful business people in office having fun throwing documents

I think a lot of what has held me back in life has been my own insecurity over what other people think. There’s kind of a safety in following the herd and doing what’s expected. I was always one of those people who found safety in numbers. Sure, standing out meant you might be liked more but it could also be an opportunity for people to put you down. So that’s what I did for many years, I was a self chosen wallflower. I wasn’t much different from anyone else, nor did I want to be.

For people who suffer from self esteem issues, there’s a lack of self acceptance that causes you to doubt yourself. A little voice in your head that says, “I don’t know about this, people might think this is stupid.” What I’ve learned over time is that that voice is irrelevant. I really pushed myself against what other people think. In my heart, I knew what was right for me and though my actions seemed risky to others, I followed my passions.

I feel like the story about how I quit law school is pretty relevant to this message. You see, like many young college students I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea what my talents were or where my interests lay. I knew I was smart and was able to get good grades with some studying. Grad school seemed like a good option. And I like money and respect so going to law school seemed perfect. I could figure out what kind of law later. I had a vision that once I became a lawyer, I would be important and rich and everyone in life would like and respect me. So I took the LSAT, applied to different schools and finally was accepted to a decent law school in NYC with a partial scholarship. Everything seemed perfect.

A few days before I started law school I had a gut instinct that I didn’t want to go. I didn’t know where this feeling came from, I knew I shouldn’t be pursuing this degree. It was like a feeling of dread, like something terrible was about to happen. Logically, I didn’t have a good enough reason not to go, I didn’t listen to that instinct.  I went and spent 30K on that 1 year of law school.

And I bombed.

I sucked at the test taking. No matter how hard I tried I just wasn’t absorbing the information. I sucked at legal writing, I sucked at contract and real estate law. And I wasn’t happy. By the end of the first semester I started to question whether law school was the right direction for my talents.  My parents said, “No, you’ve got to see it through. Don’t be a quitter.” I didn’t want to be seen as a quitter by anyone. Even though that terrible gut feeling of doom was back, I continued my education for more torture.

That second semester, I was not sleeping or taking care of myself and literally abusing my body with adderral. I needed to get better grades, at whatever expense. I was getting addicted to adderall and by the end of that semester I was just over it. I didn’t bother checking my grades, I knew I was at the bottom of my class. June came and people had internships and I was like WTH, no one is going to hire me with these grades and I don’t think I can get through two more years of law school and a bar exam to become a lawyer.

So I quit.

The Assistant Dean actually called me when he saw I didn’t enroll again. I just let it go to voicemail. I couldn’t go back. My parents told me, “This is a decision you’ll regret for the rest of your life.” I wasn’t hearing it, I wasn’t going back.

That year, people would ask me how law school was going and it was so embarrassing to tell people I had quit. I tried to say it in a way that didn’t sound like quitting, “Oh I decided I didn’t want to be an attorney. It wasn’t for me.”  And it wasn’t. But being seen as someone who walked away from an opportunity really hung over my head.

After that I did an oddball office job until I got the special idea that I should be a real estate salesperson in NYC. I think I got the idea from Million Dollar Listing NY. LOL. I just loved the flashiness of it and the hustle. It seemed so legit. So I got my license and then signed up with a rental brokerage. It was the easiest thing ever.

I sucked at that too but I had the passion and drive to keep at it. I could tell you a billion stories about all the shitty client’s I had and all the fun deals I did but I’ll save that for another story.  I eventually climbed up the ranks to a great six figure sales opportunity. When I think about my current opportunity, I think DAMNN, you lucked out girl. This was a true hustle.

Other things happened in my life that I felt was totally not the norm, like getting pregnant at 23 and having a gunshot wedding to my college boyfriend who dropped out of undergrad.  Without a plan in sight, I’m sure it looked like our lives were about to crash land into loser land.  But K and I hustled like a dream team and made it work. Now people are looking at us like the power couple that got it all done before 30.

And if you told 20 year old version of me that I would be killing it at 29, I would have called you a liar. But we really did it and worked hard for the life we have now.

I think the moral of this story is more like:

Don’t be afraid to do you. Follow your gut and take risks. You’re not going to win at every single risk you take but at least you’ll have the experience and learn from it.

People who don’t take risks have nothing to lose but also nothing to gain. That’s the truth. The people in my life who played it safe are now wondering, “why isn’t life happening for them?” I just want to shake them and say, “because you did nothing to make it happen.”

I want to inspire everyone who’s reading this to think about the one thing you always wanted to pursue and then make a plan to create that reality in your life. Life and success doesn’t happen to lucky people but rather people who go out and make things happen. So the one thing I would recommend everyone focus on is to care LESS about what other people think about them. Of course there’ll be people who don’t like you or try to put you down. Those people are the minority and if you’re making people upset, that just means you’re doing something right.

I hope my story was one that inspired you! Please like, share and follow!

Check out my other posts too!

The Power Of Positivity

Playing The Game Of Life And Winning: 5 Approaches To Success

What Does It Take To Be Charismatic and Likeable?

I Survived A Toxic Manager

My manager was a b*tch. She was a bonifide b*tch. And if this goes viral and she reads this, I hope she knows I’m talking about her. (Thanks EK for being the worst manager I have ever encountered).

We all have that one manager that we hate. The one that uses their position of power to serve themselves and abuse others. The one that uses emotional manipulation to guilt you into staying extra hours, often unpaid. The one that tries to screw you over financially and points fingers when things don’t go well. The one that manager that makes you question your commitment to your job and makes you want to quit with anxiety. I don’t know who put these people in their roles but, holy crap, the hiring process needs to get better.

I had just gotten into a position that I was really excited about when I met EK, she seemed friendly enough. She showed me how to do everything; put the bare minimum in training me but I was okay with that. After all, I didn’t want to be a burden, she was obviously very busy. I told myself that I could learn from my mistakes and I could learn quickly with very little instruction.

There were multiple red flags and looking back I realized what a dupe I was to believe her evil manipulations. In reality, I was between a rock and a hard place. A lot of stuff she did didn’t really make sense or feel fair but she was the only person who could show me the ropes. Even though she was only a year older than me, she had much more experience in the company and was well connected. Her brother and dad worked in other departments. EK always used her experience as a point of reference, “Trust me, I’ve been with this company for 10 years.” I mean, who can really argue with that logic?

The dark side started to show when she would hold these “meetings” five minute before the end of the workday. Looking back I really should have made a complaint at this point because these stupid were keeping me over 30-40 minutes and she wasn’t paying me overtime. I just felt sooo isolated. The director who hired me wasn’t really investing into my training or checking in to see how I was doing. (Tells you a lot about this company, huh?). If I spoke out, who would listen?

I took on a lot of work beyond my scope because not doing so just made my job harder. Our receptionist isn’t trained? Well then, I’m fielding all the calls. Her paperwork isn’t closed out? Well then, her clients are going to be screaming at me on her days off when things don’t go their way. EK just liked to point fingers and not take responsibility. Apologies were not in her vocabulary. And with Upper Management not digging into their sites or taking a closer look, who was going to be the wiser?

She was the coldest woman I ever met. When she would get stressed she’d throws me under the bus and make sure I knew exactly how I was failing in my position. I could literally feel her satisfaction as I stuttered an apology and looked down at my desk feeling helpless and losing confidence in myself. Over time my work self-esteem just started slipping away. There were times she wouldn’t even bother to hide her nasty personality, her sneers at how incompetent I was still ring in my ears.

Why would I put up with that, why would I let someone disrespect me like that? Don’t I have any self-respect? How many times did I really think about storming out and throwing the towel in? So many times, but I worked too hard, got too far to let ONE person push me out. The truth is that my job wasn’t that bad. I’m paid well and reasonably. I’m doing something that I enjoy and am good at. The benefits and time off were good too. This was a GOOD JOB. And to quit now would be going back to the drawing board, career-wise. So I stayed and took it. I made sure to document the issues I had with her and keep her on edge. Over time, she was still a bitch, but a more cautious bitch. And eventually she became more and more jaded with her own position, found another opportunity and left.

It was such a breath of fresh air to be away from the negativity EK brought to the office.

It wasn’t until she finally left that I realized how toxic she was. I had always struggled to get deals through but apparently she had the system rigged. Which was surprising because for the past year and a half I was led to believe I just wasn’t trying hard enough. You know when someone points out some obscure yet plausible reason why something is happening, but in reality the two are unrelated? That’s exactly how she explained things to me. My manager had played the system so that she would get the bulk of the commissions. All her arbitrary rules, on what could be accepted plus her rules on which clients were hers, favored her heavily. She knew this full and well but still took the digs at me for being low performing compared to her. She went as far as to complain about me to upper management, saying, “I can’t focus on my own role because Alex is too underperforming. I need to make all the deals.” She suggested adding another agent, so that I would compete with them and then they could drop the lowest performing team member.

You would think women would lift other women up in the workplace, seeing how we’re underrepresented and all. So it really surprised me to realize that EK didn’t care to mentor me or help me grow. She was numero uno and that was all that mattered.

For those dealing with a toxic manager or coworker here are a few thoughts of advice:

1. Pick your battles but speak up! If something doesn’t seem right, say so. Plain and clear. Let the other person be defensive and show how they are not screwing you over.

2. Break down your interactions and minimize them. I only had to work with EK 3 times a week and sometimes it would be 2 or 1 times due to holidays and PTO. In the larger scheme of things we only worked together 135 days out of the year. Our overall interaction in a day might add up to an hour. Dealing with her was manageable when I thought of it that way.

3. Document Everything: most jobs will want to “build a case” against you if they want to fire you. Documenting everything can save your ass especially in a company that likes to point fingers. You can build a case too on how you were a good and reliable employee and how your employee committed wrongful termination.

4. Think about the bigger picture. Your manager is one person in a small part of your life. She or you may leave for a better opportunity. It’s hard to think about it that way when week after week, someone is using their position of authority to get ahead of you. But life has taught me that challenges are temporary.

5. Things are always changing: My bitch manager left! If she didn’t leave, I probably would have found my way out. The corporate environment is a living breathing organism, constantly changing.

My manager was horrible and I can only wish most of my readers don’t have to work in that kind of environment.  But at the end of the day we can’t always choose who we work with.  Stay strong and stay motivated!

Please follow, like and share if you found this post helpful.

Check out my other posts

My Job is Killing Me…. and Status Update: Don’t Over Do It!

Build An Eye Catching Resume And Get More Interviews

I’m currently offering resume review services but thought I would share some insights on what has helped me land interviews and land jobs for myself and my friends/family.  These tips are how I get my resume noticed.

This post is for people who have sent out resumes and:

  1. Have not gotten even a single response back,
  2. Have not updated their resume recently,
  3. Don’t know how to improve their resumes, and/or
  4. Want a job and don’t know where to start.

Ideally you’ll be well connected and able to to find a job through a friend or family who can recommend you for a position you really want, and win the opportunity.  But if you’re like 90% of the rest of us, you are not well connected and have no clue how to get your first job by applying and cold calling for jobs postings in your area. You’ll draft up a resume and send it out in a quick email.

Here are some ways to be successful and increase your chances of an interview.

A) Tailor Your Resume:

You might be applying for any job or a very niche job in your field. The biggest mistake I see is people not tailoring their resumes. They just slap all their experience together like, “Look how much I’ve done with my life. Hire me!” Nope, does not work like that. A recruiter or hiring manager might get hundreds of applications and spend 10-30 seconds reviewing applications for a specific job. The less specific your resume is to the position, the longer it will take a hiring manager to discern if your experience fits the role, making it more likely that they will cast your resume to the side.

You should be editing your resume for every single job you apply for. Yes, this is annoying and probably a very time consuming part of the search, but it works.  But this is how you make your resume stand out.

Ex: You previously had experience in retail, ringing up customers and meeting sales goals, keeping an area clean, and answering questions. Now you want to bar-tend and you just took a course in bar-tending. Your resume is tailored to retail, since that’s your previous experience. It would be a mistake to send it out to restaurants as is, because at first glance the hiring managers is going to be like, “this persons experience has nothing to do with the job.” They’re going to think about all the training they’ll need to invest in you, something they DON’T want to do. Rather, you should tailor your resume to show you graduated bar-tending school recently, education should be at the very top as most relevant and the work experience will be specific on what is transferable to bar tending. You’ll focus tailoring your retail experience to show you have customer service skills and sale skills to upsell drinks.

A resume for that purpose might look like this:

Resume 1

B) Keep It Simple

You want to keep your resume as digestible as possible. So that anyone scanning for specific information can find it. Resumes should be no longer than 1 page. You can adjust margins, text size and spacing but 1 page is enough to show your skills.

If you have limited work experience, add in any volunteer work that may be relevant

If you have a lot of experience in a specific area, you’ll want your experience to include ONLY what is both recent and relevant. You’ll want to include maybe 3-4 jobs you’ve had but be very detailed in the responsibilities you’ve had and tailor that to the job you are applying to.

Resumes don’t need to include ALL experience, just relevant experience.  You want your resume to be effective in showcasing your strengths.

If you’ve only worked at 1 company for a majority of your career you might want to break up your resume first by the company you worked for and then by the different roles you may have had in the company.

Resume 2

C) Write A Cover Letter In The Email Of The Job Post Response

This is essential. Too many people skip this step. They send out a generic “Hello, I’m interested in position X and am available X days. Please contact me via email or phone to schedule a visit.”

A message like that pretty much says you put zero to no thought into a message and are just hoping to land a job through mass mailing.  You need your resume that gets you the job and hired.

The body of the email is your opportunity! It’s the first thing a recruiter is going to read. It’s a great way to discuss your passion for the work you do or explain a gap in work. It can captivate, inspire and get that recruiter to open up the attachment. Then your perfectly tailored resume is going to tell the story of why you should be hired.  Recruiters look at your resume for an average of 6 seconds, you need a resume that gets you hired.

FYI- Never paste your resume in the body of the email. I’ve seen this before and it’s done to get recruiters to look at the resume right away. However it looks ugly, disorganized and is hard to share with other people if there are other decision makers. Don’t do it

Hopefully you find this post useful in your job search.  Let me know your feedback and feel free to like, share and follow!

View my other posts:

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

 

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

Not many people can honestly say they have a good work life balance. I feel like I’m always chasing  paper or time. Time back from my commute, time for my family, time back from my overtime. There have been moments I’ve worked less and made less money. There have also been times I’ve worked more and made more money. But I’ve never worked less and made more money. And yet I keep finding myself chasing that elusive unicorn job.  The one where we have enough time during the day to get things done. Where we get an hour lunch break, where there some light politics but no animosity.   But while we are chasing for the perfect job we have to try to make the most of the job we have now.  Here are some ideas

1. Time Management: Is probably the best but hardest thing to master. Determining what can wait until the next day and what you need to do now based on priority. You don’t want to take care of all the non essentials and then at the end of the day scramble to take care of what you are now realizing is a must on the to do list. The best time management tip is this: take a few moments to collect your thoughts and make a list of what you need to do for the day.

2. Cutting BS activities: sometimes we engage in non essential work habits that we “think” are productive but are really a waste of time and causing your hours to be longer. Things like engaging in office gossip, constant bathroom and smoke breaks, the lunch hour that over extended result in reduced employee productivity. It’s ok to engage in these activities here and there but constant and daily disruptions to work will be noticed by higher ups and will extend your work day and make you less productive at work.

3. Delegate: I really struggle with this one. I really think I’m the best person to do the work so I’ll take on all the work I can, then I’ll burn out badly. Taking work off your shoulders and giving it to someone else might seem like you’re passing off your responsibilities but it’s really not. In a Corporate environment usually the workhorse takes on everything, sacrifices personal time and energy to get everything done. Do you want to be the workhorse? Everyone should do their share and if you feel overwhelmed don’t be afraid to speak up and give work off to others who are less busy, and then hold them accountable for their work.

4. Take Time Off: Take all your PTO, especially if it doesn’t roll over. Take personal days and sick days if your not feeling great. I usually take a mental day after a long project.

5. Don’t Be The Workhorse: Learn how to say “No I’m not going to do this. Not because I don’t want to but because I can’t.” Learn to say no if you think something might be unfair to you. The workplace is cold-hearted and everyone is vying for their own interests. My experience in the corporate world is that these companies can take the best intentioned employees, the ones that are passionate about their work, and turn them into human capital to be exploited for productivity.  Saying no sometimes allows you to create boundaries that are needed.

6. Live Closer To Work-Commuting sucks. I have a 2 hour commute round trip and If I could shorten it I would. Often we have to consider work life balance in the sense of, am I willing to spend more on rent to get time back for my commute? Right now I’m not in a position to move but do try to take into account heavy traffic times so I can try to minimize time lost in traffic.

7. Change Careers: I decided I wanted to be in real estate. I wanted the big money.  And after 5 years I finally have all the money needed to pay off my student loans. I’m also working 50-70 hours and work Saturdays. Even if I changed jobs the hours would likely still include weekends and evenings. I need a career that is more flexible, work from home, or I need to save more so I can eventually scale back the hours. Changing careers is not always feasible, definitely not at the drop of a hat, but I’m making serious moves to change that and free up some time, even if it means a pay cut.

Quality of life VS Cost of living. That’s always the underlying question when it comes to acheiving work life balance. I hope these tips helped Feel free to comment below your tricks to balancing it all.

Please subscribe, like and share if you find my posts helpful! 🙂

Check out my other posts Build An Eye Catching Resume And Get More Interviews and 5 Amazing Ways to Alternative Living. Live Outside the Box. and My Job is Killing Me….

Thinking About Working For Yourself? Consider These Strengths & Pitfalls!

Thinking about going it alone, quitting your job and starting your own business? Or maybe you’re tired to trying to make ends meet and just want a stable job with benefits? There’s a lot to consider when deciding on what kind of work you want.

Over the past couple of years I’ve worked for myself but recently made the change to work for an employer. Both come with their own share of positives and negatives. I’m a corporate employee by one of the largest real estate company in my area. But personally, I have a preference for being self employed.

You might ask, “Am I Self Employed?” If you work for yourself, own your own business, engage in “Gig” Work or Freelance Work, or an Entrepreneur then yes, you’re self employed.

Pros of Being Self Employed

Not Having A Boss:

Is probably the sweetest part of not being employed by a company. I don’t have to answer to anyone other than my clients. My career is not determined or influenced by one single person. As an independent contractor, I had kiss ass with clients but if a person didn’t like me or respond to me by giving business then it wasn’t the end of the world. Working for a good, caring and mentoring boss is probably the rarest thing in the world. I wouldn’t depend on it. People I could look up to in my industry fell far and few between but working for yourself means you’ll only have to look up to yourself.

Sense of purpose: I knew exactly how I wanted to run my business. I knew I could find a way to make money that would fit my lifestyle and personality. I motivated myself and kept my spirits up during slow periods because at least I was “making money on my terms.” I’m employ

No Red Tape:

I really like not having Red Tape on how to run my businesses or how to do things. Creative solutions are welcomed when you run the show. No rules or regulations. You can go as far as you want to go. Some people feel stressed in that kind of situation. Like, “What do you mean I can do whatever I want and how I want it??” “This is chaos!” Nope, with choices come freedom and innovation.

Flexible work hours: Ok it wasn’t that flexible. I had to work when my clients were available which in real estate meant evenings and weekends. But it wasn’t every weekend and it wasn’t every evening. If it was slow, I worked less. If it was busy, I worked like a dog. I’m in real estate which is a demanding industry. Some other versions of self employment can be more flexible and allow you to work from home like freelance writing, consulting or social media marketing.

Sounds really awesome, right? Why doesn’t everyone just work for themselves. Why would anyone work for “The Man”?

“The Man” pays your taxes and subsidizes your health insurance/benefits:

Did you know that your employer pays your taxes? Specifically part of your social security tax. An employee pays 6.2% and an employer will pay the rest. When you’re self employed you’re paying the whole 12.4% for social security. What about your commuter benefits? Health insurance premiums, what if you had to pay the premiums outright or pay out of pocket? PTO is also pretty nice. Not going to work but getting paid anyway. These are things that we just expect when employed but self employed individuals have to cut into their profits to cover these costs.  The self employment tax is a pretty penny and should be considered when deciding to take the plunge.

You Get Paid No Matter What:

Whether it’s a bad day or a good day, you get a check at the end of your two weeks! I don’t know about you, but I like to get paid. Having to hustle day to day or deal to deal in order to make income can get tiresome. The truth is when you’re self employed your not going to make as much in the beginning as your employed counter parts. There’s no promise you’ll even succeed to make equivalent to what you would have made if you were employed. The beginning of starting your business will likely be slow and you’ll need some sort of cushion to break yourself in.. my first year in real estate I made -$6000. I made negative income!!! The cost of my business was more than my income. I lost money. Then my second year was $36K, then 46k. Now I’m making double that being employed.

When it comes down to it, the type of employment you choose is entirely up to you and is a matter of personal choice.

Check out my other posts Playing The Game Of Life And Winning: 5 Approaches To Success and One Of The Biggest Financial Decisions You’ll Ever Make and Why I Budget and How to Budget: Personal Finance In A Nutshell

The Power Of Change

In a previous post I mentioned the power of positivity. I think now is a good time for me to discuss the power of change.

Right now I’m going through a lot of change at work and it’s really stressful. My manager left and it took 1 and a 1/2 months for them to bring on a new person. We are severely short staffed and everyone is stressed and overworked. Apparently this is a good time for my Director to come in and shake things up. In his time at our office, he changed our deal flow, set up a billion meetings and let our underperforming admins go.

Le Sigh…now all of us (me) have to pick up all the slack.

Change in an organization is scary, but it’s also a time to shine. It’s a time when, let’s face it, shit hits the fan.

While my director was there I did all my duties, with no complaint and then some extra. I took this opportunity to make sure all my strengths were known and I took on a lot more to show I was reliable.

My receptionist didn’t fare so well with this change. I tried my best to keep her spirits up but I think she was reaching the end of her rope. In one meeting she basically said, “This is not my job, this is not what you hired me to do.”

We’ll..she just signed her death note. A week later my Director was making plans to send her packing. “We need people with a positive attitude and who want to be here,” he said. He wasn’t wrong. She was getting paid for her time there, not just for her responsibilities. It wasn’t expected she would take on those responsibilities forever and her resistance to taking on the extra work made her look like a slacker.

Change is natural in an organization. One persons opposition is not going to stop the will of the organization and the change that comes with it. Accepting change and greeting it with positivity can help you be perceived as a “Team Player,” “Progressive,” and “Positive.” It can lead to more opportunities and career growth. And being open to change also gives your managers/directors confidence that their ideas are valid and worth consideration. (Since then, my Director has confided in me that his job is actually really thankless).

My receptionist is gone and I really wish she would have just put on a happy face. She knew her job but the additional tasks that she opposed so fiercely cost her a job.  Now she’s back on the job hunt searching for work.

Change is vital and necessary.   Professional growth rarely comes without price.

Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation. –Mahatma Gandhi   Motivational quote of the day.

When Good Enough Is Okay

We live in a society that’s all about reward and recognition. We want to be the best, the smartest, the prettiest, the coolest. It’s a huge pressure we carry around, and we don’t even realize it.  As millenials, we tend to put a huge amount of expectation on our selves to perform and be overall successful by society’s standards.

When I was 21 I would cry in my bed just thinking about how everyone was having so much fun without me. Facebook was not nearly as political back then and it was all about getting likes and being in other people’s pictures. I wanted to be the prettiest and most liked and I would agonize over not being invited to stuff and, essentially, the center of attention.

But at 29, I can honestly say that those days I spent crying over problems I created were a waste. Days that I spent comparing myself to others were also wasteful. Not being happy with myself was so obvious, I’m sure I would made more friends if I was more positive and open.  Not being happy or confident in myself meant that I wan’t attracting, through the law of attraction, good things in my life.

I’m going on a tangent but I was good enough but unhappy about being “mediocre.” Mediocre is such a harsh word and I don’t think it should be applied to people. Now I’m finally at a place where I can say “Yes, I’m doing okay and that’s good enough.” I think it has a lot to do with gratitude and being grateful. I touched on gratitude in my last post.  They say “Perfection is the enemy of good,” and I would agree that perfection is not attainable.

Examples of Good Enough

1. Putting food and shelter over your head for the entirety of your adult life. (You get an A+ for doing this for multiple people)

2. Getting a passing grade in Algebra when you’ve always struggled to learn math.

3. Working 40 years in the same position but being able to retired with a comfortable nest egg.

4. Going to any college and finishing.

5. Not going to college and completing technical school.

6. Being married for 30 years and raising a family.

7. Being healthy and going to the doctor for regular checkups.

8. Creating a workout and meal plan, not always sticking to it but trying anyway.

9. Not having a large savings yet but being debt free.

10. Being of average appearance but keeping clean and well groomed.

I’m not saying we should abandon our aspirations and dreams.  Inspiration can come out of being ordinary.  Inspiring others by being a positive person with good thoughts and positive thinking. Being content with how things are today are the foundation blocks of growing and building as a person. When I started in my industry, I sucked. But that was good enough until I finally got better. I kept working on it and I’ll keep working on it. I didn’t let fear of failure or not being the best hold me back from what I intended to do with my life to be successful on my own terms.  Life isn’t fair and life isn’t perfect but you can’t let that fact keep you from trying. How’s that for a Motivational quote!

So I would say, it’s okay to be good enough today and it will be fine to be good enough tomorrow. Focus on what values you want to carry in your life. Being good enough in areas that you don’t value won’t matter in the long run.

Never Believe The Propaganda, Create Your Own Purpose

Corporate America is a necessary EVIL.    I’ve never made more money than when I worked in a corporate environment.  So I need this job to make money but why am I at this job?  Can your career give you inspiration to live the best life?

Propaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

I’ve been searching for the past few years for a job that can give me meaning.  A purpose.

I envision being part of a group that is warm, friendly and a team environment.   Surrounded by positive people, positive thinking and inspiration. We’ll go out for drinks once in a while.  I’ll also get an hour lunch.  The workload will be totally manageable with time to spare.  I’ll be able to take initiatives over everyone else and be recognized as a performer.  I’ll be well-liked and have good benefits/salary.

I would say 97% of the population does not have a job like the above.

Most corporate environments do not offer that kind of environment.

Why?

Bottom line.

Corporations generally are in the business of making money. Making money means squeezing all your resources for what they are worth, including human resources.  As soon as money is involved, individuals tend to get crafty, shysty and overall unfair to others in order to get a leg up.  And then big bosses and companies will turn a blind eye, because it’s not effecting bottom line or rocking the boat will effect a bottom line. Financial decisions don’t take into account emotions, personal development, or personal growth.  It’s only about company and business gains.

Still, many companies have mantras, company values, and goals.  Many of them include excellence, honesty, integrity, teamwork.  Of course you can try to buy into this.  I did. And every time I was disappointment when I was overlooked for a promotion or someone who totally lacked these values received a better review.  The reality is that these values are a stick and carrot method of propaganda, meant to keep employees motivated and drive revenue.

In reality, company culture/values is nothing more than clever branding.  A way to keep people motivated as well as sugar coat any negative culture the company has.

So how do you stay motivated? Especially once you realize that the company values is a load of BULL*****.  How do you keep the inspirational thoughts and inspirational quotes alive in your head?

Well, take a moment to think about your own values and financial goals.   “If I work here X amount of years, what can I accomplish?” “What’s my next step, If I find this company isn’t working for me anymore? Can I go and do my own thing?”  “Does the work itself give me happiness?”  “Will this help me get to retirement/financial stability?”

Having a reason in your mind will help you get through the hardest of days and the darkest of nights.  Patience and time will always be on your side, so keep at it.  But don’t believe the propaganda because truth always has a way of coming to light. And motivation built on false propaganda is like a house made of sticks.

Thoughts On Holiday Parties

 

So it’s the morning after the holiday party and trying to comb through my foggy memories to make sure I didn’t do anything excruciatingly embarrassing. I had like 5 drinks, 1 per hour.

I think I did OK. I came with the goal to be somewhat charismatic/memorable which I think I accomplished but there were definitely areas for improvement.

It was a suit/tie event for men and dress pants/cocktail dress for women. I wore a nice velvet dress that fell right above the knee. I also brought a long sleeve cover up for my shoulders in case I felt cold or just wanted to look more conservative. Makeup was the only thing I went overboard with. But it was hopefully tasteful with bright red lip gloss for the holidays.

I worked the floor saying hi to everyone that I knew and trying to strengthen the relationships of the people I worked with or knew best. I work for a pretty big company and literally everyone works in different locations from each other.

I’d say I did really well at the holiday party in terms of being charismatic and having social grace. Though I wish I would have left a little earlier from the after-party. I left at like 11pm! Which I know sounds kind of early for a night out but my company is kind of conservative but we’re all still human! It was really important for me to make sure I wasn’t leaving the wrong impression.

As the night progressed and the alcohol kept pouring, people were getting more and more loose and more and more flirty. Coworkers were telling me things about themselves that were super deep and probably not what they were trying to have a conversation about had they been sober. To be more specific, things like their ability to conceive and their surgeries to other conversation like their discontent in their marriage. At times I think I come off as a little too interested in the conversation, making too much eye contact. I enjoy in depth conversation, it makes me feel connected to people but I don’t want to come off as inappropriate. I’ve realized that people can can feel very uncomfortable and unwoven if they reveal too much of themselves to someone they don’t feel close enough to yet.

In comparison to some others, I think I pulled through OK. There have been holiday parties where people are getting too hammered and getting sick at their work function to the point of hospitalization! I’ve also seen coworkers leave with other coworkers, etc. Girls screaming at each other in cabs and being a hot mess.

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Thankfully, not me last night.

Next time maybe just leave a tad bit earlier like 10pm or 9:30 before the crazy debauchery begins and I become associated as a witness.

I’m particularly interested in anyone’s thoughts on the friendly balance for conversation and how to maintain it. And also are holiday parties supposed to turn into hot messes or is there a proper etiquette?