Archive for the ‘jobs’ Category

Job Satisfaction

Job Satisfaction Factors:
  • Culture — work environment, office space, coworkers, company values
  • Salary — amount, paycheck every week/bi-weekly/monthly, direct deposit
  • Benefits — flex spending accounts, health, dental, vision, vacation days, reimbursements, perks
  • Location — commutes, cost-of-living, distance to/from home or friends
  • Position — title, daily work, career goals, status
The perfect job would have all five things tailored to your preferences, but in the real world, you usually have to sacrifice one for another. For example, an individual may have a large salary with excellent benefits, but stationed far away from family and friends. Or a large salary but little vacation days and an oppressive management. Or a small salary with little benefits in a fun, friendly environment doing rewarding work. Or decent salary and work environment in a field that may not give passion. The possibilities are endless.

I’m no psychologist or human resources professional, but it’s only logical that if a person looks for another job, one or more job factors in their current position aren’t met. I think there’s a natural evolution with this because the things you felt when you first started a job may no longer be the same after time and experience.

Anyway, all this to say, I’m really curious to hear what others think regarding this topic:
  • Has anyone ever taken a pay decrease through changing jobs?
    If yes, what did the lower-paying job have that the other one didn’t?
  • Of the five “job satisfaction factors” which are most important to your current position? If you were to switch jobs right now, what factor would you look for in a new job?
  • Is your salary worth the amount or is it higher/lower based on other job factors?
I sound like an interviewer or something. :) I’ll share a little more of my personal experience later, but would really appreciate any insight from others!!

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Employee Review & Goals

On January 21st I had my annual employee review at my company. To preface, I love my job. I won’t disclose what I do or where I work, but I love the company, my coworkers, and the variety of the projects. I work underneath two supervisors who I admire greatly. I have been with this company for 19 months now and in that time have received three raises totaling $8,000. Pretty good for a first out-of-college job, eh?

During my review, we pretty much discussed my job performance, including areas of strength, improvements from last review, and areas for improvement for 2010. Oh, and I got a $1,000 raise as well (one of my 2010 goals achieved!).

Here are the things they put for my Areas of Improvement for 2010:

  • Continue to be proactive and learn
  • Speak up in client meetings when you’re informed
  • Speak up in staff meetings
  • Trust your instincts
  • Share your spirit, information, and enthusiasm with others

It was encouraging that the list was very short and I love that they couldn’t think of really bad things about my performance… but I don’t really like vague goals such as “trust your instincts.”

So here is my own personal list for work:

  • Read one industry-related non-fiction book this year
  • Meet with supervisors once a week to discuss projects and opportunities for more responsibility
  • Speak up more in staff meetings (that was a good one up there)
  • Initiate and lead client-meetings
  • Eventually manage my own account

Has anyone else recently had an employee review? What are some of your work-related goals for yourself?

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I mentioned a while back that my older sister lost her job in New York. What I didn’t mention was that her rent was $1300 a month (by herself) on a $40k salary. Needless to say she needed to find a job or a subleaser fast. She found a subleaser last week and in two days moved back home to figure out her life and take care of my mom. My younger sister also lives at home as she is beginning her photography business in our hometown.

My family is really close and it is so strange to be the only one not at home right now. I am going home this weekend for Mother’s Day and considering surprising my mom and taking tomorrow’s workday off. In the next few months I have at least five trips to NC planned. And it could be more than that. My sister wants to find a job in Charlotte. My roommate A will be moving to Atlanta come July. My boyfriend J lives in NC seven hours away. My closest friends live within two hours of each other in the South. If these are the people that mean the most to me, what is keeping me here?

I initially moved to DC for the post-graduate experience of a big-city life. Granted, it’s not that big of a city, but the traffic alone makes you feel like you’re surrounded by millions. I do love the area so much, but really the only thing keeping me here is my job. It’s a great first job and I know that with two years’ experience I will have the skills to take me pretty far in my field. Plus they’ve hinted at a possible promotion in the next six months. But is a secure job reason enough to stay somewhere that I’m not vested in?

I think so. But then sometimes I wonder. If I am wishing for this next year to fly by, am I just wasting a year? And why wait after two years of my job to start what I want to do in my career; I should be actively looking for positions I want right now. And am I holding on to old relationships so much that I am closed off to making new friends here?

I didn’t mean to ramble so much about this. I am just feeling a little overwhelmed and a bit burnt out with traveling south so often.

Why can’t I just be content with where I am?

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My Greatest Ally

In the game of saving money, dumping debt, and managing your cash flow, income is your greatest ally. You have to have money to manage it.

My sister recently lost her job. She lives in expensive New York City and is struggling right now to find work and keep her head above water. I’ve been helping her with the process, but it got me thinking about my own life and job. There’s no such thing as job security, especially in this economy, but I put together a list of things to help ensure that my income continues.

1. Actually Work at Work
I know that this may sound a bit hypocritical, but I try to avoid blogging at work. I am an early-riser, so I always write blog posts first thing in the morning after I’ve worked out (not today!) and am drinking my first cup of coffee. I do publish the posts at work, but only because I like to review them once more. (It’s 7:15am right now as I type.)

The same goes for Twitter. And chatting with friends on IM. And browsing Facebook all day. And watching YouTube videos. Now, I do make updates on Twitter, occasionally comment on other blogs, and get distracted by the overwhelming amount of information that the internet offers, but it’s important to remember to do what I’m being paid to do.

2. Keep an Updated Resume & Portfolio
This was one of my April goals and it’s amazing to me how often I forget about the projects I worked on last month, or even last week. I keep a document filled with all of the possible things I have done (in college, in my career, extracurricular), and then come time for job searching, I can pick and choose different skills or job responsibilities that I’ve handled tailored to whatever I am applying for.

3. Develop & Maintain Relationships
I hate the word “networking” but it’s brought up so much for a reason. If I was going to hire someone to work underneath me, I would really prefer someone that I’ve met and can get a feel for their character, rather than sorting through a stack of well-qualified resumes. I have a list of all kinds of professional and non-professional contact information for just this reason (well that and because I genuinely care about most of them). When the time comes to change or move jobs, I hope that the people I’ve met in this job and former jobs will be a huge help in offering advice, networking, and even serving as a reference.

4. Learn New Things
When things are slow at work, I usually ask my other slammed co-workers what kinds of things I can do to help. I ended up learning HTML coding that way, something that is not at all in my job description. I also sign up for Webinars whenever there is one related to my field because the more I learn, the better marketable I become.

5. Remember to Follow My Dreams
(I know, so cheesy.) Sometimes my dreams are fuzzy and I lose focus on what exactly I want to become, but I need to remember that at the end of the day, a job is just a job. I never want to feel trapped with my position and want to have the freedom to explore new opportunities.

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At the beginning of this year I decided to set up a Flexible Spending Account with my employer for $200 a year. This means that each paycheck pre-taxed dollars are set aside into an account. If I purchase health products, including any prescriptions or over-the-counter medicine,  I turn in my receipt and get reimbursed from this account. Initially I thought it was a great idea, but that was before I realized that the account expires in December (dumb!), my other health benefits are great (covers contact lenses), and I’m overall pretty healthy .

So far I’ve only spent $11 on allergy medicine, but I have yet to be reimbursed for it since the total needs to be $15 or greater. Perhaps this is something I will use once I have children or change jobs with sucky benefits, but right now I don’t think it’s worth it. I am considering just going to CVS,  buying a bunch of medicine, turning in my receipts to get reimbursed, and then returning all of the medicine.

Has anyone else had luck with their FSA?

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Extra Moola

One of my yearly goals is to make an extra $80 per month. I always budget according to the income I am guaranteed from my salary, so extra money in the bank is always a wonderful surprise. I went through my budgets from this year and realized that my babysitting jobs have been really beneficial! It’s amazing to me how just $100 makes a difference in boosting savings, dumping debt, or just adding a cushion to the budget.

Babysitting Money:
Jan: $75
Feb: $125
March: $225
April: $150

I’ve made $575 this year, not including tax refunds, interest, or monetary gifts.  I am going to copy No More Spending and change my goal from just $80 a month to a total $2009 yearly addition (brilliant). This means I need to make about $120 per month for the rest of the year. Totally do-able if I continue to have about one job per week.

I would also like to venture into new areas of making some cash. I’d like to start taking surveys, selling some books online, and I’ve been thinking about buying my own domain name to add advertising to the site–unfortunately WordPress doesn’t allow ads.

If you’ve found a cool way to make some extra cash, or have written a blog post on this topic, please let me know.

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Second Jobs

When I first began my debt-fighting battle, I realized that my entry-level income could only get me so far and began searching for a part-time job. I looked into waiting tables, but my full-time job ended so late that I wouldn’t be able to get to a restaurant in time. Then I thought about working at a gym in order to get a free membership with it. But I have worked in a gym before and my entire motivation for working out was shot since I associated it with “work.” I thought about just finding a place to work on the weekends, but with a long-distance boyfriend and needing to make friends in the city, I ruled that out. Finally I landed on it: babysitting.

I stumbled upon two websites that connect you with jobs and positions nearby where you live: Sitters.com and Care.com. You can also find other odd-jobs such as tutoring, pet-sitting, housekeeping or care-giving for the elderly. I live in a populated area, so I am not sure if it will be a useful tool for everyone, but it was for me.

I got in touch with three families that fit my needs of occasional date-night babysitting and another family I babysit for every Thursday for a steady $45 weekly income. What other job can you get paid $10-15 per hour to watch TV? (It’s also especially nice when you don’t have cable!)

But I’m really curious and would love to know what others are doing:
What part-time or second job do you have to help reach your finance goals or to get out of debt?

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