3 compensations factors that make companies great.

The great resignation marches on and in the U.S. unemployment is near record lows. Millions of people left the workforce due to the pandemic. Whether it was creating their own income streams or boomers retiring, there are a shortage of workers in the U.S. Now let’s be very clear here, the available jobs are not high end 6 figure salary roles. Sure there are some of those but nearly everyone has leveled up, so your traditional entry level positions are the ones that have the most openings presently.

Regardless of when you get a new job or if you are evaluating your current company there is one truism you always have to remember. Companies need you to perform tasks so they can make money. You wouldn’t be employed if you weren’t either generating income for the corporation, or supporting others who did. So in this sellers’ market (you the employee are the seller) we can now be even more selective of the places we want to work. There are 3 compensation factors that make companies great. This may not be in line with other lists you see out there but from an employee’s stand point, here they are.

Surviving 2020 & covid
Great, another list…..
  1. A robust retirement plan: This includes employer match, Roth and Traditional 401K/403B options. This should be managed through a large firm like a fidelity and the vesting time line is no longer than 3 years. Retirement planning is critical and most successful retirees in the modern era have created wealth through automatic withdrawals via their employer’s plan.
  • Comprehensive benefits: Health Insurance is obvious but you should have 3+ plans to choose from. Dental, LTD, STD, a 1-year life insurance of your salary. There should be A good PTO (Paid time off plan) that scales based on tenure. Every 5 years you should receive 1 additional week of PTO capping at 6 to 8. PTO should be one lump sum, vacation and sick and you get to manage it. Along with major federal holidays. This is where you really get value as this is part of your compensation package. It’s not just the annual salary, it’s the sum of the value of these “perks” as well.
  • Profit sharing: This is one of the rarest benefits you’re going to see out there. If you get into a company with this benefit you really lucked out. Most corporations keep their profits to make distributions to their shareholders. There is nothing wrong with that, they are paying you a salary and offering you benefits. It’s a fair exchange and one that has been the norm for decades. Profit sharing can come in all sorts of forms. Ideally what you get is if the company has a surplus to budget at the end of the year that amount is distributed to employees. Some managers are offered “profit sharing” of some form. I got quarterly performance bonuses based on budget performance in one role.

The 3 items listed above are in addition to your base salary. This is a sellers’ market and employees are now in a situation where they are empowered to create very good deals for themselves. THIS WILL NOT LAST FOREVER. Look, work isn’t meant to be easy. It’s likely you fall into one of two categories. You are either someone who truly loves what they do, or you work to obtain income so you can do the things you truly love.

Most of us fall into the latter category. Work is a means to get income to live life. The more perks you can get the better life becomes. Now is the time to look around, see what’s out there, measure your current work situation. Believe me if the situation was reversed and there was a surplus of workers your company would be looking to see if they could pay you less.

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Why do people leave jobs? Is it always money?

This is going to be an opinion post but in my opinion, an extremely important one for your career. If you have been in the “game” for a while you probably have figured this out already. For my younger readers you will experience this at some point in your working life. Now this isn’t industry specific, meaning most industries this is applicable too but some it’s never really going to apply. This specific advice is for those who work for companies. The capacity isn’t important, you can be a contractor, a temp, a full time employee. This advice isn’t really applicable to consultants, small business owners etc.

People don’t leave companies they leave leaders

Let’s put it this way, most companies offer the same thing, the magnitude of what they offer might be different but it’s really all the same. They offer:

  • Pay/Salary
  • Benefits
  • Steady employment
  • Job security (most of the time)
  • Holidays or Holiday pay

Basically they all have the same premise, they pay you for your time to help them make money. You get X, and they get Y. No matter where you go in your career this is true. I know its general but you get the point, all companies essentially offer the same outline of employment. What makes or breaks a job, or a career are the people you work with.

Toxic people at work are not hard to spot.

The most important person at work is your immediate report. That person largely determines if you stay with that company or not. People leave leaders not companies, the deal you have with the company is the standard deal you’ll get anywhere. Sure you might get more somewhere else, but the core of the deal is the same. The person you work for directly though can make it an absolute nightmare.

Always be mindful of why you feel the way you do at work. Consider carefully why you feel that way and what the catalyst is. 9 times out of 10 it’s your direct leader that is at the heart of your issue. That can be fixed and you should examine if there are opportunities to enhance that relationship. In the end your direct boss is usually the sole reason why you are unhappy. Maybe they are unfair, maybe they don’t do enough, maybe they are of poor character.

Remember, people don’t leave companies they leave leaders.

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Leif Erikson

How to be a better man – Learn a trade

This is a quick post today. Not because the wisdom is lesser but the information is fairly straight forward. For the last 50 years’ western society has created a narrative that to be successful professionally you must engage in the most expensive route to get there. That means college, and for millions that means student loan debt. A space once dominated by men, now more women are in college than ever before, and racking up massive debt as a result.

We now have more female doctors, pilots, engineers on and on and that’s great. For men? Trades are still wide open. Less and less people go into trades now than in the past. Females? Even less they have been marketed for the need for education for their success. Of course a woman can put an addition on a house just as well as a man can with equal training and experience but you don’t see high school guidance counselors telling them that do you?

As a man, learn a trade. Sure a lot of it is blue collar work but all these in debt college educated professionals are going to be busy working 60 hours a week to pay back their 100K of student loans. They don’t have time to rake the leaves, repair a deck, install cabinets. You’ll make a boat load of cash, have minimal expense to enter the profession and should you desire in the future you can go to college then, and pay cash for it.

Being a better man means looking at life in the short, mid and long term. College is a great option and I would never tell anyone not to go. I went and have made a great living as a result but there are other paths out there. Always gather as much info as you can, never rely on one source of info for your decision making. Last, but not least…. Look around, who is in demand? Plumbers or Doctors? Lots of doctors out there, have you ever met or seen a plumber?

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One key thing to do to getting the job you want

It’s a hot job market right now in the west, at least in the U.S. where I am. Employers are throwing all sorts of incentives at people. Why this is happening is a complex mix of covid lockdowns, early retirements, people getting other jobs, supply shortages, you name it. So as someone looking for a job you are in a fantastic position. Changing jobs is the single best way to increase your employer based income. Simply put, when you get a new job you likely do so with a 5-25% increase in pay.

Promotions happen too, but it’s not as likely as you going out and getting a new job for more money. How do you get the job you want though? It’s one thing to get another job, there are plenty out there and chances are you’ll make more but how do you get a job you really want?

Before I answer that question we have to be clear here. I want to be a base player for a rock band and play in front of thousands of people. That’s not going to happen, lol. The “key thing” only applies to realistic career expectation. If you are a financial planner and you want to be a brain surgeon this probably won’t work.

For those of you who are closer to the mark, maybe you are a carpenter and want to run your own crew, or you are a warehouse worker and you want to get into management this tip can help.

Careful for what you wish for, you might get it.

So how do you get the job you want? 

You have to ask for the job.

I know sounds WAY to simple doesn’t it. Here’s the thing, asking the question starts the ball rolling. You are planting the seed now, so you can harvest the bounty later. Whomever has the ability to give you the job you have to ask them for it. Every question you don’t ask is a default no anyway so there is that but asking this person that question helps them, help you get that job.

How you ask

  1. “What can I do now to better prepare me for (insert new job name here)”
  2. “I’ve been working hard and improving my skills so I can eventually move into (insert new job name here) my best guess is 2 years from now, that sound about right?
  3. “I see myself in this role (insert new job name here) as part of my career path, do you think I am going to be a good fit for it?”

There are many other ways to frame this dialogue, you have to find what works for you but the point is you need to ask the question, directly or by inference. This can be done during interviews, annually performance reviews, whenever you feel it’s the correct time. The one major caveat is, you have to be asking the right person.

You know who they are, you know who has the ability to put you in a position to get the job you want. This is by no means a full proof system but by asking the question, you put it out there for you and the universe to know that’s what you want. It’s empowering and it puts anyone who hears the question on notice. In today’s work environment that’s huge, now is the time to go after the role you want. It’s a sellers’ market, you are in demand.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Why do people leave jobs? Is it always money?

This is going to be an opinion post but in my opinion, an extremely important one for your career. If you have been in the “game” for a while you probably have figured this out already. For my younger readers you will experience this at some point in your working life. Now this isn’t industry specific, meaning most industries this is applicable too but some it’s never really going to apply. This specific advice is for those who work for companies. The capacity isn’t important, you can be a contractor, a temp, a full time employee. This advice isn’t really applicable to consultants, small business owners etc.

People don’t leave companies they leave leaders

Let’s put it this way, most companies offer the same thing, the magnitude of what they offer might be different but it’s really all the same. They offer:

  • Pay/Salary
  • Benefits
  • Steady employment
  • Job security (most of the time)
  • Holidays or Holiday pay

Basically they all have the same premise, they pay you for your time to help them make money. You get X, and they get Y. No matter where you go in your career this is true. I know its general but you get the point, all companies essentially offer the same outline of employment. What makes or breaks a job, or a career are the people you work with.

Toxic people at work are not hard to spot.

The most important person at work is your immediate report. That person largely determines if you stay with that company or not. People leave leaders not companies, the deal you have with the company is the standard deal you’ll get anywhere. Sure you might get more somewhere else, but the core of the deal is the same. The person you work for directly though can make it an absolute nightmare.

Always be mindful of why you feel the way you do at work. Consider carefully why you feel that way and what the catalyst is. 9 times out of 10 it’s your direct leader that is at the heart of your issue. That can be fixed and you should examine if there are opportunities to enhance that relationship. In the end your direct boss is usually the sole reason why you are unhappy. Maybe they are unfair, maybe they don’t do enough, maybe they are of poor character.

Remember, people don’t leave companies they leave leaders.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Am I contagious?

“Why did you leave your last job?” – How to deal with this question if you were terminated

I have been fired twice in my life, I deserved it both times. Neither was recent but both were during my professional career, meaning I’m not talking about being 16 and getting fired from McDonalds. In both instances I made mistakes and one of them was pretty big. So if you have been fired, I’ve been there. I wish I had some magical advice that would absolve you of this black mark, I don’t, it doesn’t exist. Until you put years (a decade normally) of work between that event and your current gig you’re going to have to answer for it.

In nearly every interview I have been on, and every interview I have personally conducted I asked some form of this question. As the hiring manager I have a limited view of you as the applicant. At this point I have your resume which is the highlights of your career, I’ve done a google search, I’ve looked at your social media if it’s under your name (Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) so I have an impression already. This question though is key and how you answer it makes or breaks my impression.

So here is the first thing to keep in mind as the applicant: The person interviewing you has a work story too. Like I said in the opening, I’ve been fired. Someone gave me another chance, I might give you one. Don’t assume the question is meant to trip you up or expose you negatively, it is meant as a general gauge to know why you want to work here. The hiring manager rarely cares about why you left, but why you want to work there. More money, better commute, shitty boss…..

The second thing to keep in mind as the applicant: Why EXACTLY were you fired? You have to be very specific here and study this and rehearse it in your head. You likely have a formal reason for being terminated from your last job, that formal reason is the ONLY reason. Let me explain. Maybe you were terminated for repeatedly being late. That’s a valid reason, and there may be a valid reason why you were late, I’m not asking for the later. The point? You answer the question directly with as little elaboration as possible and without talking negatively about the prior role.

Some jobs are forest fires

Now a good interviewer is going to ask follow up questions “why were you late” that’s natural and you should expect it. At this point you have a choice. You can be honest, you can be less than honest, or you can lie. It’s highly likely I as the hiring manager that I will never get the actual details of your dismissal, your prior company isn’t going to share it with me, you are my only source of detail for this event. Choose carefully here because lies tend to lead to horrible long term outcomes. That said if you were having an affair with the boss’s spouse at your last job you might want to not share that specific either.

People are terminated all the time it happens you aren’t the first person. If this was a mistake at work you own it, tell them you learned from it and be upfront. If this was a personal situation, like being late because say your kid had an illness, you can share it without playing a sympathy card. If this was a character issue, you stole, you harassed someone, you got into a physical fight with your boss (yes I’ve seen it) these are far trickier and require you to cultivate several references that will affirm you have corrected this issue.

So how do you deal with this question if you have been terminated prior? When in doubt tell the truth. As a hiring manager I am going to respect the hell out of you for owning it, and I will realize how tough that was for you to say it to me directly. Little do you know I’ve been fired too.

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The secret your employer won’t tell you (but I will)

We all have to work in some capacity. Income enables us to pay rent, put gas in the car, buy food, spend silly amounts of money on coffee… Most of us go somewhere to work, or we produce something that someone else consumes. Regardless of how you obtain your income we all have customers/employers. These are the people who pay us for our services. Now there is a whole gambit of work scenarios out there now.

Many of your Gen X friends like me marvel at the new “gig” economy. We didn’t have those options when we were 20-30 and it’s really opened up a lot of possibilities for everyone. Out there of course are all sorts of competition, we now have a global pool of people whom we can get what we want from. Outsourcing is a thing, and if you have a good Wi-Fi connection you can work from anywhere in the world.

A lot of positives I know, it’s a great time to be working (covid aside of course). Many of us though suffer from anxiety and work, or more specifically, how we obtain income can be one of our greatest sources of grief. Many of us worry daily about performance, availability of work, pay scale, coworkers on and on and on. It can really wear you down and in some cases cause serious complications to your life emotionally.

There is a secret though, something that is never on a job description. You don’t hear it in your reviews, companies don’t normally profess it.

Am I contagious?
Really? They need me? Is that why they give me money?

What is it? THEY NEED YOU

Simple right? Try convincing yourself of it though. All of these companies and individuals who want your time/expertise/product need you. Sure maybe someone else can produce the outcome you can, but then they would just need them. You are highly valuable, that Accounts Payable job at XYZ company? Why are the advertising it? Because they don’t want to do it and they need you (or someone like you) to do it.

I know this all sounds rather simplistic and it is. The problem is, the person producing the outcome other people want (that person is you) is rarely, if ever told how much they are needed. Imagine you got that AP job did it for a year and then said “I’m done” and stopped doing it? It would still need to be done, so who does it? There are no practice squad teams out there, someone else will have to be brought in (and paid) to do what you did.

They need you, and that is your leverage position. If nothing else this should give you a sense of value that, while you aren’t being told regularly, clearly exists. That job you’re doing needs to be done by someone. Don’t ever forget that your value as a person is well beyond the measure of what people say to you. Exampled above, your value is also intrinsic in the notion that you are needed to produce a desired outcome.

That’s huge and as individuals with Anxiety we should be reminding ourselves regularly of just how valuable we are.

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Dressing to feel good !

How much are you worth to an employer?

  • Get Paid What You’re Worth and Spend Less Than You Earn.

Okay but what am I worth? First, I think you are priceless but I’m not hiring you. One of the hardest things to do when determining your worth is gauging the value of your experience. I’ve seen it many times as a former manager, people with great educations and no experience over price themselves, people with great experience and average education under price.

So, a few tips for you when determining your worth in the workforce.

  1. Research your field: There are many, many websites that aggregate pay for specific professions. These will help you get a general idea of what type of pay you can command.
  2. The cost of living where you work, might be different then where you live: If you live in the city and are working in the burbs, chances are your pay isn’t commensurate with the cost of living you are experiencing.
  3. Experience, and specific targeted experience, increases your value: If you are an RN with a lot of Phlebotomy experience and you are going for a pediatric position, your experience won’t be as valuable. TLDR: Stay in your lane if you want to maximize your earning potential.
  4. You must gauge their demand: Has this job been open for a while? Do they seem “desperate”? that affects your value tremendously.

Being in the workforce is a bastion of anxiety for all sorts of reasons but feeling like you’re not getting paid what you are worth is horrible. It’s up to you to determine your value, taking a job just to have a job is okay but you won’t be happy. Remember this is a financial transaction and you must remove yourself personally (as best you can) from the transaction.

Experience is priceless.

They want to pay you the least amount possible for the most work, you want to work the least amount as possible for the most pay. The answer is always somewhere in the middle but take the time BEFORE you get the offer to determine how much you are willing to work for.

If you know going in that you will not do this job for any less than 60K a year, you’re in control of your worth. So many times, we leave it up to the company to “make an offer” then we are in reaction mode. Take some time before hand to determine what the job should be paying, and this will help relieve a lot of anxiety.

Remember many of us work for money to do the things we love to do outside of work. A precious few of us get to work at something we really love. If you are the later, I cant help you as you’ve nailed it already. If you are the former, take the time to formulate a value for your work before getting into a serious job search. This is going to help you straight out of the gate with the new job anxiety, you will be working for a wage you determined was fair.

Thank you for stopping by and supporting my blog! Please remember to like, subscribe and share this post I truly appreciate the support! Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

The anxiety of worth in the workforce

  • Get Paid What You’re Worth and Spend Less Than You Earn.

Okay dude but what am I worth? First, I think you are priceless but I’m not hiring you. One of the hardest things to do when determining your worth is gauging the value of your experience. I’ve seen it many times as a former manager, people with great educations and no experience over price themselves, people with great experience and average education under price.

So, a few tips for you when determining your worth in the workforce.

  1. Research your field: There are many, many websites that aggregate pay for specific professions. These will help you get a general idea of what type of pay you can command.
  2. The cost of living where you work, might be different then where you live: If you live in the city and are working in the burbs, chances are your pay isn’t commensurate with the cost of living you are experiencing.
  3. Experience, and specific targeted experience, increases your value: If you are an RN with a lot of Phlebotomy experience and you are going for a pediatric position, your experience won’t be as valuable. TLDR: Stay in your lane if you want to maximize your earning potential.
  4. You must gauge their demand: Has this job been open for a while? Do they seem “desperate”? that affects your value tremendously.

Being in the workforce is a bastion of anxiety for all sorts of reasons but feeling like you’re not getting paid what you are worth is horrible. It’s up to you to determine your value, taking a job just to have a job is okay but you won’t be happy. Remember this is a financial transaction and you must remove yourself personally (as best you can) from the transaction.

They want to pay you the least amount possible for the most work, you want to work the least amount as possible for the most pay. The answer is always somewhere in the middle but take the time BEFORE you get the offer to determine how much you are willing to work for.

If you know going in that you will not do this job for any less than 60K a year, you’re in control of your worth. So many times, we leave it up to the company to “make an offer” then we are in reaction mode. Take some time before hand to determine what the job should be paying, and this will help relieve a lot of anxiety.

Remember many of us work for money to do the things we love to do outside of work. A precious few of us get to work at something we really love. If you are the later, I cant help you as you’ve nailed it already. If you are the former, take the time to formulate a value for your work before getting into a serious job search. This is going to help you straight out of the gate with the new job anxiety, you will be working for a wage you determined was fair.

Surviving 2020 & covid

I hate my job, LOL

I have two college degrees and I have spent over 25 years working as a finance professional. I’ve done everything from processing accounts payable invoices to due diligence work on multi-million dollar property sales to estate planning. The pay is good, the benefits decent and to be blunt the work isn’t hard. All that said I’m tired of working. I know YOU ARENT SUPPOSED TO SAY THAT.

I am capable of working, I am competent I am just tired of it. I think a lot of people are, as I look around my office I see disengaged people who are nearly full on apathetic. This office is multi-generational and has multiple ethnicities represented and both genders. Clearly I am not alone and I am rounding the corner on the issue. What the means is I am beginning to actively work on a plan to relieve myself of this. I am actively searching out career alternatives and looking to shift my income streams to something else.

Like many people I have bills, family, I need insurance so I am kind of trapped here. I have to work I have no desire to life off the state but I am more interested in my personal health. Mental health is paramount and hating work, which is 8-9 hours a day 5 days a week is unhealthy.

In my personal growth process I have looked around for affirmation of how I feel. Everyone does it, few admit it. I stumbled across an interesting article which discussed some interesting reasons people are unhappy at work.  

“Though there’s a reason they call that thing we do at the office “work,” just because you’re earning a paycheck doesn’t mean you need to be miserable day in, day out. Yet more than half of U.S. adults identify as being unhappy at work. Job site Hired did some digging to see what it is that makes Americans so dissatisfied, and here are the reasons it uncovered that explain this trend.”

Source: https://money.cnn.com/2017/08/22/pf/hate-your-job/index.html

What happens when you have “all of the above” LOL.

Remember if you aren’t happy at work, you aren’t alone. If it’s become toxic for you and you are starting to “feel it” don’t ignore it. This can really affect your mental health and affect your personal life. Moving on to another job isn’t always the answer you really have to think about what you want to do. Let me put it this way, there are some people who really love what they do, and then there are others who work for money to do the things they love.

Which one are you?