• One Hour a Day Keeps the Pink Slip Away

    Prior to 2008 (when I made the decision to write for a living so that I could have a much more flexible schedule for my family), I held a job in a research lab where I was involved with the processing and sharing of large quantities of scientific data. This required both computer programming skills …

  • When Work Becomes Overwhelming

    As I mentioned a month or so ago, I’ve come to the recognition that time management is a vital part of personal finance. It not only helps your career, it also has an impact on your focus throughout the day and on your other financial choices. With that in mind, I’m writing occasional articles on …

  • Children, Failure, Careers, and Money

    Like virtually every parent in the world, I want to see my children succeed. I love it when they take on something challenging and then overcome it. This is a big part of the parenting philosophy that Sarah and I hold. We regularly encourage our children to take on challenging things, whether it’s a hard …

  • Passion and Reality

    Passion can be a really tricky thing. For some people, a lifelong passion is something they discover at a young age. I know talented musicians, writers, and scientists who knew what they wanted to be from early childhood. For others, passions are fleeting. They’ll discover something they’re passionate about, but then in a few years, …

  • You Have a Vested Interest in Your Coworkers’ Success

    If there is one lesson I want to teach my children about their professional lives, it’s this one. You have a vested interest in the success of your coworkers. Let’s walk through some of the pieces of that. If you talk negatively about your coworkers, it hurts you. You’re adding a bunch of negative emotions …

  • Why You Should Consider Trade School Instead of College

    For a lot of people, going to a four year college seems like an automatic choice when they graduate from high school. The reason is obvious – more income. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, a college degree accounted for $15,000 in additional income per year versus a high school diploma ($30,000 versus …

  • “Fake It Until You Make It” Isn’t an Excuse to Spend

    The idea of “fake it until you make it” can be a very useful one that leads you to success some of the time, and it can be a disastrous one that leads you down an incredibly dangerous path at other times. The trick is knowing which is which. First, let’s take a look at …

  • The First Steps

    I received a wonderful question from Jane, a sixteen year old female, who writes: “Last week we had a “consumer education” week at school and our school brought in some financial people to talk to us during homeroom. This made me think about money so I started searching Google and I found your site. What …

  • The First Steps for Building a Professional Network

    I am a huge believer in the value of professional networks. Over and over again during my career years, I saw the value of having positive professional relationships with people both in your organization and in other organizations. Strong relationships can help you survive layoffs. They can help you have a leg up when it …

  • What Are You Learning Today That Your Next Employer Would Desire?

    The title of this article is the one fundamental question I would ask everyone who is currently employed and expects to stay that way for more than another year or two. What are you learning today that your next employer would desire? Let’s break down this question a little bit. First of all, it’s a …

  • Fake It Until You Make It? Another Look

    Janine wrote in recently concerning my previous article on “faking it until you make it.” She says I have it all wrong: “The idea of “faking it until you make it,” as I’ve understood it, doesn’t mean turning in bad work in the workplace. It means giving off the constant appearance of success and of …

  • Self-Education During a Career Hiatus

    As many of you know, before The Simple Dollar became successful, I had an enjoyable career as a software developer. I wrote code to analyze, dig deep into, and share scientific data. I deeply enjoyed the professional work that I did. I also deeply valued the camaraderie and friendship with my coworkers. In fact, I …

  • Every Time I’ve Hired Someone, Three Things Have Always Separated the Good from the Bad

    Over the course of my life, I’ve been involved with quite a few interviews and hiring decisions. At my previous job, I was involved with many interviews of professional coworkers and even on interview committees to hire people who would eventually be above me in rank. Since leaving there, I’ve interviewed several people for potential …

  • Building a Skill Set That Employers Want

    As I was working on this morning’s roundup, one quote kept ringing back at me: “If you do a job where someone tells you exactly what to do, they will find someone cheaper than you to do it.” I think this is the single most valuable lesson of the modern workplace. There are a lot …

  • The Danger of “Needing” a Job

    I am close to quite a few people who live a “paycheck to paycheck” lifestyle. They drive nice cars and trucks, have tons of expensive toys, and are paying down hefty mortgages. A few of them have student loans and other expenses on top of that. One of these friends in particular works for the …

  • Your Degree Isn’t a Ticket to a Career

    About once a week, I get an email from a panicked student about to graduate from college (or recently graduated). They’ll tell me about how they entered into a major that they thought led to a great career, only to find upon graduation that they’re working at Starbucks or not working at all, as are …

  • Dressed for Success

    Monica writes in: At my new job, everyone dresses incredibly well. Everyone is wearing expensive – or at least expensive-looking – suits and other businesswear. My wardrobe is simply not up to snuff. Catching my wardrobe up to the level of everyone else is going to be really expensive. Do you have any suggestions? First …

  • Is a Second Job the Right Decision for Increasing Income?

    Undoubtedly, frugality can be a powerful tool that can help you start digging out of a financial hole. Every time you make a choice to cut your spending, you’re directly leaving more money behind in your bank account. It’s an immediate effect, too. That’s money you can use to pay off debt, buff up an …

  • Does “Leaning In” Make Sense?

    If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve probably been unable to avoid mention of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, a book by the Facebook COO that encourages professional women to “lean in” in some areas of their life and “lean out” of others, abandoning the idea of “having it all” (here’s an example of CNN’s …