Careers

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 …

Categories: Careers

How To Interview: The 3 Things That Matter

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 …

Categories: Careers

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 …

Categories: Careers

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 …

Categories: Careers, Frugality

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 …

Categories: Careers, Education

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 …

Categories: Careers, Frugality

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 …

Managing Your Daily Energy and Focus for Maximum Return

Not too long ago, I had an office job that was, at times, highly stressful and very demanding of my focus and energy. There were often “do or die” projects that needed to be completed, reports that needed to be carefully written and filed, and lots of computer code to be designed and written. Since …

Categories: Careers

The Fallback Question

For many people, the interesting career path that they feel most passionate about is one fraught with risk. Entrepreneurship. The creative arts. Professional sports. All of those career tracks – and many more – are ones where success is relatively hard to come by. Let’s say you’re a relatively skilled high school baseball player. You …

Categories: Careers, Education, Family

The Story Others Tell About You

Recently, I read a fascinating interview of the film director Steven Soderberg on why he’s giving up on directing as a career path (thanks to kottke for the link). One particular piece stood out at me, though (my emphasis in bold): On the few occasions where I’ve talked to film students, one of the things …

Making Work Into Play

Work, for most people, is primarily a way to turn their time and energy into the money they need to make ends meet in their lives. It’s not something that’s particularly enjoyable for most people, based on job satisfaction surveys. Last week, though, I happened to be on the campus of the local university for …

How I Get Things Done

Yesterday, I answered a question in the Reader Mailbag describing how I manage several to-do lists at once. By the end of the day, I had received several follow-up questions by email asking all kinds of questions about how I manage tasks and my workflow, so I thought I would explain my entire system for …

What Are Job Benefits Worth?

A few days ago, I posted an article entitled A Salary Isn’t the Whole Picture, in which I discussed the fact that many jobs have additional costs and expenses that aren’t included when you simply look at the salary that a job pays you. From that article, I received a fair amount of reader feedback …

A Salary Isn’t the Whole Picture

Everyone’s job has some sort of expense associated with it. For example, my current work pretty much requires me to have an internet connection at home and at least one computer. If I don’t have these things – and I pay for them out of my own pocket – I can’t create posts and get …

How Much Are Family-Friendly Benefits Worth?

If your employer came to you and said, “In exchange for a 20% pay cut, you can work from home,” would you do it? If your employer suggested that, for an 18% cut in pay, you only had to be in the office one day a week and could work your other 32 hours a …

6 Simple Ways to Avoid Burnout

Studies estimate that stress, symptoms from fatigue, and exhaustion cost US businesses up to $300 billion dollars in lost productivity each year. In the wake of such statistics, there is beginning to be a larger discussion about burnout, which is essentially when stress, pressure (often in the workplace) and fatigue have become so great that …

Categories: Careers

Review: Confessions of a Public Speaker

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. Unless you’re intentionally sticking with purely entry-level jobs or greatly restricting your career choices, you’re going to eventually find …