Careers

The Second Job Paradox

Amy writes in: I’ve been a paralegal with the same law firm for four years. I love the job and the work that I do. I feel like I’m genuinely helping people. In October, my boyfriend and I sat down and looked at our finances as you suggested. We came to the conclusion that we …

Categories: Careers

Got Unused Vacation Time? Put It to Use with a Personal Sabbatical

In September 2004, I was about to leave my first post-college job. My boss at that time – who happens to be one of the people I respect the most in this world, even now after my radical career shift – observed that I had a pile of unused vacation time that was basically going …

Deliberate Practice: Improving Your Finances, Career, and Life

I’ve mentioned deliberate practice in the past, but after several experiences in recent days, I felt like it was a vital topic worth revisiting. What’s deliberate practice? I first learned about the topic from Stephen Dubner at the New York Times, who was writing about how Alex Rodriguez built his baseball skills. Dubner noted that …

Categories: Careers

Review: You Majored in What?

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. I double-majored in life science and computer science. What on earth am I doing writing a blog about personal …

When Should a Hobby Remain a Hobby?

One constant theme of The Simple Dollar is my encouragement of people to try to find ways to turn their passions and hobbies into a stream of income. This is a path I followed in my own life, as I turned my hobby of writing into a major revenue stream. While that may have been …

Categories: Careers

The Limits You Choose

A few days ago, Kenia left a very interesting comment on my earlier post What You Are – and What You’re Not: Great post, Trent. Very inspiring. I have to disagree slightly though… “There’s still nothing keeping you from having a life filled with doing the things you love. Focus instead on who you are, …

What You Are – and What You’re Not

I’m never going to play in the NBA. That’s an unrealistic goal for me, and I knew it to be an unrealistic goal when I was ten years old on the playground. I wasn’t fast enough and didn’t have the natural reflexes of the other ten year olds on the court. It was a painful …

Review: Evil Plans

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. Evil Plans, by Hugh “Gaping Void” MacLeod, focuses on the desire that everyone has to do something that they …

Downgrading Your Job, Not Your Life

In March 2008, I walked away from a great job into a writing career path that, at the time, paid me about 50% of what I was making at my previous job. To a lot of people in my life, this seemed like an amazingly difficult step. That move reduced our monthly household income (at …

Categories: Careers

An Artist on the Side: Coppola on the Future of Artists and Artisans

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a great interview with Francis Ford Coppola over at the 99 percent. In this interview, Coppola talks about the past and future of people making money from their art, whether it be music, movies, or other things: We have to be very clever about those things. You have to …

Review: Bait and Switch

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 my first book reviews on The Simple Dollar was of Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed. In that …

Career Moves and Decisions

This week, someone from my past reached into the present and dropped a job offer on my lap. If this job offer had appeared three years ago, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. It allows me to work from home. It allows me to take complete control of an interesting software development project …

Who Is Your Real Boss? Some Perspectives on Career Success

Let’s get this straight right out of the chute: your real boss is you. “Yeah, right,” you might be saying to yourself. “Easy for you to say. You’re self-employed. I’ve got a boss that’s constantly breathing down my neck and a pile of ridiculous demands on my desk.” Here’s the scoop: you’re making the choice …

Categories: Careers

Flipping the Mental Switch for Success

If I have one single piece of career advice to give to anyone, it’s this: figure out how to get in the zone and do it as often as possible. If you can do that, everything else really is secondary. You will find success. What do I mean by “in the zone”? It’s something I’ve …

Categories: Careers

Vocation, Career, and Job

Vocation. Career. Job. Three different things that so often seem to overlap in our minds. However, when we let them overlap, we lose something valuable in the translation. A job is simply any situation where you are paid in exchange for your labor. Nothing more, nothing less. Warren Buffett has a job, as does the …

Categories: Careers

I Can’t Find a Job in This Economy!

I get a lot of emails from people with the above statement, usually followed by some sort of plea for help. I have a lot of sympathy for their situation. I can’t even imagine how painful it would be to not have a steady income, have no luck finding work, and have others depending on …

Categories: Careers

Review: The Other 8 Hours

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. A while back, I reviewed Robert Pagliarini’s The Six-Day Financial Makeover and concluded that there was some very good advice buried inside a lot of marketing gloss. The core of that advice was strong enough that I kept an eye out …

Review: 48 Days to the Work You Love

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller keeps getting recommended to me over and over again by readers. Initially, I had filed it right next to Margin in my mind as a “great career advice book with …

The Cost of Negativity

Several years ago, at my first post-college job, I worked in a small office with three other people. One of them (who I’ll call Campbell) was probably the best co-worker I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. The other (who I’ll call Kathy) made the office environment so poisonous through her constant negativity that …