• 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 …

  • 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 …

  • 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 costs 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 and pressure (often in the workplace) have become so great that overall quality of life and quality …

  • 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 …

  • FedEx Delivery and Your Career

    If you’ve been watching the news the past few days, you’ve probably seen the infamous video of the FedEx deliveryman who just tosses a computer monitor delivery over a fence. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it: As I write this, FedEx has said that they’ve merely “disciplined” the driver, but I wouldn’t be …

  • Dressing for Success and Career Goals

    I got a great email recently from Marjorie: My husband’s father just gave him a huge speech about how he doesn’t dress appropriately for work and how he will never get promoted or “become a manager” dressing the way he does. My husband is a computer programmer who works with a bunch of engineers. He …

  • Some Thoughts on Careers and Cyber Monday

    A few days ago, I was chatting with someone who was telling me how he only shopped for Black Friday sales online. He didn’t like to go out to the stores, and I completely agreed with him. After that, the conversation switched to Cyber Monday, and he told me of the long checklist of websites …

  • The Unemployment Plan

    Craig writes in: I just found out that I’m being “downsized” at the end of the year. While I have a small emergency fund, I do have a mortgage and a bit of credit card debt. I also have three kids at home. My wife will continue to work, but she has only a part-time …

  • Review: From Bud to Boss

    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. One of the best discussions I’ve ever had with a reader was with Emily. Emily worked in an office …

  • Underemployment

    About twelve years ago, I had a job as a computer lab monitor at the college I attended. The job was easy. All I had to do was go to that room during designated hours, sit at a particular desk, and answer user questions, along with a few other minor tasks such as reloading printer …

  • Preparing for Your Next Act

    A few days ago, I was standing by the bus stop waiting for my oldest child to arrive home from one of his first days in kindergarten. There were a few other parents of kindergarteners there and I struck up a conversation with one of them. We shared what we do for a living, what …

  • Some Thoughts After a Long Vacation

    Over the past three weeks, I’ve taken a long vacation. My family and I traveled to the Seattle area to see the sights, visit family, and take our children to Mount Rainier and the ocean. We attended my sister-in-law’s wedding and reception and a few other events surrounding it. After that, we hosted several family …

  • Gathering Your Thoughts

    In the near future, I have to give a pair of presentations on similar topics, mostly related to online writing, mostly focused on methods for earning money at it and building an audience. As with any presentation that I give, I want this to be an excellent presentation, and I’m willing to put in the …