Want to move up on the job? Are you promotion-ready? Here some things you can do to be sure.

Work’s going well. The economy is good. You’re killing it, and you want to move onward and upward. How do you get that next promotion? Here’s how you can bet you’ll get one more step up the ladder to your dream job.

Set yourself up for success.

Understand the value you bring to your team or organization and where you struggle. Self-improvement is noble, but there are some theories, such as Gallup’s Strength Finders, that say focusing on getting better at what you’re best at may be a better use of your time and energy.

Understanding your limitations and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Richard Branson said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” It’s, also, important to understand that consistently good, small steps may sometimes be better than risky leaps. Stretch yourself, but don’t tear yourself apart.

Don’t be entitled.

By all accounts, you may deserve the next raise or promotion. You may be the ideal candidate for a new job. You may, in fact, be the smartest person on your team or in your company. That said, there are multiple variables to running a business and sometimes the reasons for some decisions aren’t always visible to everyone.

That said, there are multiple variables to running a business and sometimes the reasons for some decisions aren’t always visible to everyone.

Coming across as entitled will make you a turn-off.

See the forest and the trees.

It’s great that you know what your long-term career goals are. It’s great to work with mentors who are doing what you want to do. Remember, though, that it’s often not a direct path from where you are to where you want to be. It may sometimes help to make lateral, and even backward career moves get to that long-term goal.

Remember, though, that it’s often not a direct path from where you are to where you want to be. It may sometimes help to make lateral, and even backward career moves get to that long-term goal.

Don’t suck up.

No one respects a suck-up and a suck-up is obvious to everyone. Especially if your goal is to be the leader of your current team someday, you’ll want the people who will eventually report to you to respect you.

Don’t be an asshole.

If you’re unapproachable and hard to work with, it’ll be more difficult to move up the corporate ladder. Of course, there are assholes everywhere, but business leaders need to lead, and it’s hard to lead if everyone hates you.

Don’t get too comfortable.

Live in the here and now, but don’t get stuck in it. In today’s economy, it’s helpful to get a broad range of experiences and knowledge. Learn what you can learn in a particular role and then move onto the next position, which may or may not be a step up.

If you stay in a job for too long, you may be “typecast” in that role and it’ll be hard to grow.

Be self-aware.

Life and business aren’t little league soccer. If you didn’t have a good year, don’t ask for a raise or promotion. If you come across as aloof and unaware of yourself, the value you add to your team and your performance, those who decide who moves up and on may decide you’re too out of touch.

Keep it business.

Keep your work life separate from your home life. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. No matter how friendly you get with colleagues and peers, keep it professional.

If you become too casual about work, you may come across as not suitable for moving up.

Show up.

It never ceases to amaze me the value of simply showing up. Show up to work regularly and when you’re supposed to show up.

Do your job. Network with colleagues and superiors. Have mentors. Always keep learning. Then, apply for jobs as often as you need to get the job you want.

Be persistent.

If you do everything else, then be persistent. Continue to show up and continue to apply for the jobs you want until you get the job you want.

Don’t expect others to have your dream.

You may be crystal clear on your career path and the job you want, but no one else will know unless you share your vision with them. Find confidants and mentors to share your dreams with and ask for help and guidance. If you don’t express what you want and work to get what you want, you won’t get it.

If you don’t express what you want and work to get what you want, you won’t get it.

Be courageous, not obnoxious.

Those who are brave enough to share their ideas and correct their superiors stand out as leaders. However, don’t come across as offensive or as a know-it-all. No one likes either trait, and neither will get you far.

When you’re right, be quiet. When you’re wrong, apologize.

No one cares about your drama.

Keep the drama at home. No one cares that your cat is sick or that your ex is a jerk. Personal days are just that – days to deal with your personal drama at home. Keep the drama in your personal life and not your work life.

Learn from yours and other’s mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. Not only is it wise to learn from your mistakes, but it’s also efficient to learn from others’ mistakes. Why repeat the same mistake someone else made when you can learn from it?

Some people make the same mistakes repeatedly. If you watch what’s going on around you, ask questions and learn from others, you’ll become better that much quicker and with fewer of your own mistakes.

Everything you do isn’t special.

Let me repeat, life and business aren’t little league soccer. Some people want to praise for everything they do. Refilling the coffee machine, as hard as it apparently is, isn’t cause for celebration. Organizing the team lunch, though helpful, doesn’t qualify you to be the boss.

Likewise, simply doing what you’re expected to won’t be enough to get you that next promotion. If you consistently achieve your job descriptions, that’s great. Congratulations! However, those who decide on who gets the next promotion may decide you’re perfect in your current role.

Be a solution.

Business is about seeing opportunities and overcoming challenges. Look for the possibilities and then propose ways to take advantage of them. Spotting problems is easy. Creating solutions is how you can turn a problem into an opportunity.

Ask for help.

You don’t have to go it alone in business. In fact, it shows great character when you can ask for help and then use the help that you’re given. No one knows all the answers, including the boss. The best leaders are those who can process the guidance they get from their teams and make the best decisions.

Ultimately, be the employee you want to have when you’re the boss. No one is perfect and no one expects you to never make a mistake. But, if you can learn from your mistakes, add value and be easy to work with, you’re likely to land that dream job sooner than you think.

Do you have any great tips to add? Have any of these tips helped you on the job? We’d love to hear about it in the #Adulting Facebook community

 

 

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Jobs can suck hard. Don’t be the person that makes it worse. Get your co-workers on your side.

It has been awhile since I’ve worked in an office, but I still remember the people that I truly loved working with. And fortunately for me, I’m still friends with a large number of those amazing people.

It’s not easy becoming the co-worker that everyone loves. There are so many landmines to avoid when you’re in the workplace, and being “the co-worker that people love to hate” is not the title that you want to wear at work.  Let’s talk about all of the ways you can get your co-workers to love you without becoming the office brown-noser.

Always remember to respect other people’s time.

You don’t have to watch the clock obsessively, but be aware that people notice when you’re constantly late for work, meetings, or keep them waiting in general. After a while it stops being funny and just makes you look like a douche and unprofessional. And, seriously, those are two labels you want to avoid at work.

It doesn’t matter if you run constantly late for everything and everyone else in your life (even though it’s still annoying). Be self-aware enough to know that disrespecting other people’s time will ultimately make them dislike working with you.

Create a plan so that you’re on time and stick to it.

Can you hear me now?

Practice active listening whenever you’re in a conversation or meeting with your colleagues. I remember being constantly frustrated because I felt like people weren’t listening to me.

We would have discussions in one of the endless meetings that could have been an email. I would pipe up to make a point and then people would talk over me or ignore what I said – all the time. They clearly weren’t listening to me. It was so annoying and I felt disrespected.

Be the person who truly listens to others. We notice when you do. Offer thoughtful and kind responses to whatever proposals or questions that your colleague brings up. If you’re in disagreement with their comments, be kind when offering point of view.

It sometimes feels like people have forgotten the art of being tactful. At work, it still reigns supreme.

Don’t eat other people’s food.

They always find out who does it.

I’ll never forget the drama that ensued one year because one of our colleagues kept eating everyone’s lunches. I worked in education so it was normal for  everyone to bring  their lunch. We also had a ton of community food for everyone to take if they were hungry. So it baffled me when this person would eat the food that other people brought…but, they did. On and off for a year.

The worst part…it was just too awkward to call this person out. Instead, everyone gossiped about the fact that they were eating everyone else’s food. That person even helped themselves to  my Perrier and that was the end for me. Fortunately, this person left and things got back to to normal.

If you have nothing nice to say…

Gossiping will also get you shanked professionally. The thing about gossip is that even if you’re telling the truth about a person or calling out a situation, if you’re constantly gossiping, people will wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.

I have a very firm policy of whatever I say – I will say to your face. It makes life easier. But, at work you really should avoid gossip in general. If you find yourself in a group of people and they start gossiping just float away and say you have something else to do. If you still find yourself sucked in, just joke and say that you’ve got nothing to say and move on.

Know which topics are off limits.

For the love of all that’s holy-be self-aware enough to avoid talking about how young or old you or your colleagues might be. For some people it could come across as talking down to others (if you’re older) or, it could be perceived as disparaging other people’s age if they are older than you.

I’ve literally cringed when people begin talking about age at work. Just do your job and move on.

It feels like it’s obvious but for the sake of just stating the obvious-avoid talking about religion, race, or politics as much as you possibly can. Discussing any of those topics almost never ends well.

At my old job we actually were able to talk about these issues because we were all almost of the same mindset regarding all of those issues. But the typical workplace won’t have that high a level of value alignment. Leave the talk at home for people who have no choice but to listen to you.

By no means am I saying that you have to stop being yourself, never say what you mean, or pretend like you don’t have an opinion. But, what I am saying is that the self-aware worker is the one who is well-liked, listened to, and promoted in the office space.

Be that guy or gal. It’s not that hard.

Do you have any other tips for being a good co-worker? Or any stories about bad ones? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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A resume is stale. Show who you really are. Learn how a blog can really make you shine.

So, is it time to update your resume and LinkedIn profile? You can do that, but it’s not enough.

No, really. Resumes are so 2009. LinkedIn profiles may be a little better.

What you need is a blog. Why? For starters, a blog is a more robust example of who you are and what you can do.

Improve and demonstrate your writing skills.

Good writing skills are essential for most jobs. Whether you’re a customer service representative, a journalist, or a team manager, your writing needs to be clear, accurate, and compelling – unless you’re a doctor.

Admittedly, far too much business today is done by email. That said, if your emails to clients are confusing or droll, you won’t be effective.

Rather than learn good writing skills on the job, learn at home. Your blog readers, who will likely be your friends and family at first, will let you know if your writing isn’t making sense. I won’t hear from friends or family for years, but I’ll get an email or direct message when they notice a mistake in my writing.

You don’t have to go solo, though, there are numerous online courses that you can take to help with your writing. Some are free. Some are cheap. A good writing course is worth it.

Improve and demonstrate your critical thinking skills.

Businesses are desperate for critical thinkers. Those who excel do more than regurgitate information. Hiring managers and business leaders want to know that their teams can manipulate and apply information and data in a way that’s useful and beneficial to the organization.

What better way to make sure you’re interpreting information accurately and coming to unique, valuable conclusions than to share your interpretations with the world on your blog and social media?

In 2011, when I posted my first blog post with my name on it, I had to work up the courage. I was concerned about what people would think. They might’ve thought my ideas were stupid, so I was prepared to rebut their rebuttals. They might’ve called out my writing, spelling and grammar skills, so I proofed, proofed and reproofed before I hit publish.

Hitting the publish button for the first time took me way too long. I’ve gotten much better in the last six years, and that’s a skill I can take to any job, whether I work for myself or someone else.

Show your personal brand.

Personal brands are gold these days. It’s harder for businesses today than generations past to market to and attract an audience. Unless it’s aired during the Super Bowl, a television commercial, like a resume, doesn’t carry the same weight as it once did. Therefore, businesses are looking for creative solutions to be recognized and to grow their buyers.

This is why a person with a solid personal brand is valuable to a business.

The best way to show potential business partners or employers your true self is with your blog. If an employer can scroll through even a few months of your blog, they’ll get a somewhat accurate understanding of who you are. Therefore, they’ll have a good idea if you can work together and, if so, of how you can work together.

Take, for example, a hair stylist. If a hair stylist, going through school, posts their work online and their work is consistently good or shows improvement, they can share their blog or portfolio with prospective employers and the hiring employer will have a good understanding of the candidate.

Build a following.

A personal brand backed by a substantial social media following is platinum. You don’t have to be an A-List YouTube star (if that’s such a thing). But, if you have an audience who likes and listens to you, you have leverage when business opportunities arise.

If that same hair stylist also posts their work on Instagram in addition to their blog, and they grow their Instagram following to one thousand, ten thousand, or more, they’re even more valuable to a prospective employer.

Also, the risk of failure for the stylist with the big Instagram following opening their own salon is less because they can guarantee a percentage of their followers will follow them to whatever salon they go.

Build a platform for your other skills.

In today’s economy, it’s good to have multiple streams of income. Employees no longer spend a lifetime working for the same employer. Even staying with the same job, within the same company for more than a few years is considered antiquated. The best way for employees to feel financially secure is to not rely on one source of income.

A blog is a great part-time job. Your blog can focus on your hobby, something entirely different from your day job. Or, it can complement what you do during the day.

Take, for example, someone who wants to be a nanny abroad. Thousands of people want to be nannies in different parts of the world. Being a nanny will be the prospective employee’s primary job. However, they could start a blog about how they went from the idea of becoming a nanny abroad to actually becoming a nanny abroad.

Blog readers can use the nanny’s blog as the template for how to become nannies themselves. Everyone can learn from the mistakes and successes of the nanny. The nanny can continue blogging about their experiences, what they like and don’t like, what they learn, and about other nanny jobs.

They could eventually monetize their nanny blog with ads and sponsored posts. They can become a resource for the nanny industry and write books, make videos, and become a speaker all because of a blog.

Have an accountability journal.

Another value of having a blog is that it can act as your accountability. If you’re striving to achieve a goal, such as paying off debt or losing weight, sharing your goals with the world makes it harder to quit when you don’t succeed as fast or as quickly as you’d like.

Likewise, people with the same or similar goals can act as your support, share their stories to help, and inspire you and others. Plus, everyone can learn from your trials and tribulations.

You can, essentially, create a community of people to help and uplift each other. Connecting with people because of your blog is even better than monetizing it.

Resumes are outdated.

Finally, resumes are static and stale. It’s easy to pad a resume and use the right words to make even the most mundane success seem incredible. Resumes won’t go away anytime soon because they’re an executive summary of your accomplishments.

A blog, though, has life and personality. It can demonstrate everything about you. To be sure, no recruiter or hiring manager will sift through every page of your blog and every video you create, but they don’t have to do all that.

Anyone considering hiring or working with you will easily and quickly get a sense of who you are from your blog. That’s why a blog is a nice complement to your resume.

So, don’t skip updating your resume or LinkedIn profile. But, complement them with a blog and stand out from others. Starting a blog isn’t as hard as you think and the value is more than worth it.

Have you seen success with a blog or have any questions about starting one? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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College is over-rated. Get a good job without a four-year degree.

The best way to support Adulting.tv is to subscribe and leave us an honest review. Thank you!

Do you want a good job, but you’re unsure if college is the right move for you?

It’s possible to make good money without a four-year degree. With the right skill set and training, you can make a decent living and enjoy a fulfilling career without taking the “traditional” college route.

Here’s what you need to know if you aren’t sure that a four-year stint at university is the thing for you.

 

Concepts

  • College grads are struggling to find jobs right now.
  • We might be seeing a skilled labor shortage, and that means you have a chance to make good money without a four-year degree.
  • The importance of developing a marketable skill.
  • Ideas for jobs that don’t require a four-year degree but still offer decent pay.
  • Thoughts on apprenticeship programs.
  • Tips for keeping your skills up to date.
  • The place of community colleges and vocational education.
  • How to research career paths that can pay without a long time in school.
  • Why it’s important to continue to update your skills and re-certify.

Our DO NOWs are all about creating a plan to make good money without a four-year degree. Start with a skills inventory to see what you like to do, and what you’re good at. Next, research in-demand careers and see what matches your skills and abilities. Finally, look at what you need to do in order to enroll in the appropriate program.

This week’s listener question is about helping your parents reconcile to the fact that maybe you won’t go to college.

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Resources

25 jobs to make good money without a four-year degree.
College grads struggle to find jobs.
Skilled labor shortage in the United States.

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Want a job? Tone down the online fame. Your next keystroke could have real-world consequences.

Newsflash: Nothing you do on social media is private!

We’ve known this since the early days when the careers of Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber launched and we were privy to way too much, way too often.

We pretend it’s not true, but we can’t pretend any longer because for us common-folk, the stakes can be really high. Your social media presence could get you fired or keep you from getting the job you want.

It may be that in the 1980s Steve Jobs gave the singer, Rockwell, a sneak peek into the iPhone and it inspired his ode “Somebody’s Watching Me”. Because today, yes, everyone and everything is watching you.

Whether you’re doing anything worth watching is in the eye of the beholder, and today there are people paid to behold you.

If you’re not online, you don’t exist. But don’t be too out there.

Between February 16 and March 9, 2017, Harris Poll conducted an online survey on behalf of CareerBuilder. The results surprised even me, someone who lives online and who used to do background checks on people.

According to the survey:

  • 57% of employers are less likely to hire a job candidate they can’t find online.
  • 54% have chosen not to hire a job candidate because of their online presence.
  • 70% of employers use an online screening process to vet job candidates.

The takeaway is that it’s becoming more important to have an online presence and it’s even more important to manage that online presence well.

Be Social, behave yourself, and be smart.

You may not be as bad as The Tinkler or Mr. Chocolate, but these funny yet unfortunate social media blunders aren’t the only examples of why you might not land that next job.

Posts and pictures with drugs and sexual references certainly won’t help you become gainfully employed. What you may not know is that two-thirds of employers polled by Jobvite in 2014 said that job candidates with posts that include profanity, guns and alcohol might make them consider someone else.

Even more surprising is that while 44% of employers said posts about alcohol were concerning, 66% were concerned about poor spelling and poor grammar in social media posts.

What can you do?

Be secure, not sneaky.

The answer to the social media screening process is not to have no social media presence (double-negative intended, future boss) and it’s not to lock down your social media presence like Ft. Knox.

The best way to manage your online life is to set up all your social media accounts, except LinkedIn, as private as possible. Then, create a professional, well-managed, and public LinkedIn profile and make it so amazing they can’t ignore you. This way, prospective employers can find you, and they find what you want them to find.

Vegas rules don’t apply.

The internet isn’t like Vegas. Hell, even Vegas isn’t like Vegas.

Anything you do online can easily go public no matter how private your settings. People like to share on social media. They like to do screen shots to make edits or to share on different platforms. So, if you told the boss that you’re home with the flu, avoid having pictures taken of you lying by the pool.

Remember, too, as many a newbie celebrity farther back than Madonna and Playboy has learned, that if ever someone can make money off of you, they’ll probably try! So, in the way, distant future when you may be a big name for yourself, that thing you thought no one would know – won’t be found out because you didn’t do it.

If you don’t have anything nice to say…

…then, don’t say it at all. This rule is like The Golden Rules’ slightly silver sister. In an age when even the slightest off-color remark can get someone fired from a job or treated like a pariah, don’t say anything negative about anyone, ever.

You may feel justified bashing this politician or that public figure and they probably deserve it. However, the person who may be able to get you the job you want may like that politician or that public figure and you may have just strained your relationship with them, if it ever existed. There are people paid to criticize people. If you’re not one, let them fight the good fight on your behalf.

Remember your grandmother.

Or, your mom. Or, Jesus. Or, whoever’s opinion you most cherish. Before doing, sharing, or saying something on social media, first consider what this most important person might think before going through with your plan.

If you’d feel embarrassed if they saw or read your brazen post or share, then a prospective employer might see it as a reason to not hire you or worse, “like” you.

For some reason, it’s easy to forget that on social media the whole world may be watching. What we think is private, funny, cool or justified may not be in that beholder’s eye. Until that day when you no longer need or want a job, keep that in mind.

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From money to relationships and everything in between, here’s the best advice from a panel of expert adults.

I know you won’t follow every piece of advice you’re about to read. Some of this won’t have anything to do with you, anyway. But bear with me.

That’s because I and the rest of the Adulting.tv team asked hundreds of people — some of them adults and others… “adults” — what advice they’d give their younger self. Some answered with very specific advice about opportunities they had at the age of 21. Some offered tidbits of wisdom they gained from making mistakes. Most didn’t answer at all.

Don’t worry — even if you take some advice to heart, you’ll still make mistakes in life. Mistakes are the best way to learn about yourself and how you can grow as a person.

But if you have the opportunity to avoid a few, you might as well take it. So let these certified adult experts help you.

Something in this fantastic round-up of advice will apply to you, at any age.

“21 wasn’t that long ago for me but I would say this: Choose a place to live that is inexpensive and allows you to save. Spending too much in rent can really hurt your ability to pay off your student loans, invest, and even travel the way you want to in the future.” Kevin Matthews II

“Don’t be afraid to try new jobs and careers. Like your actual life, your working productive life is a very long period of time and you’ll have many opportunities to switch and try new things. Don’t be afraid to do so, especially when you’re early and have less to risk!” Jim Wang

“Take the time to explore your priorities and hobbies, but make sure you have some buffer in your account. I ran out of money in my early 20s and found myself scrambling and unfulfilled. There is a way to be YOLO yet at the same time be responsible with your spending. Think about money as buying you time and choices instead of cool things, which was what I was most concerned about when I first graduated college.” Sarah Li-Cain

“Don’t always look to see what others are doing with money or what the current trend says you should be doing. Figure out what works for you… This also applies to starting a family, your career and pretty much anything else.”

“Don’t listen to people telling you that starting a business is the ultimate thing to do. Not everyone is built for it mentally or emotionally and it takes more than passion or an interest to make it a success. It’s more than acceptable to be an employee of someone else and plenty of people have lived great lives that way.” Eric Nisall

“Alcohol and sugar are overrated. Try sobriety and protein for a couple weeks.” Doug Nordman

“21 was just a few years ago for me, but the best thing I did and therefore the best advice I have is to start paying off debt ASAP, especially if you are single and don’t have children. I wasn’t dating anyone then, so I lived at home with family, worked 2 jobs and debt snowballed like crazy to pay off as much as I could so that someday when I got married I would be in a little less debt. It really helped, because when I got married at 23 a lot of the financial pressure was off since I had paid off about $17,000 worth of debt on my own. Also– be careful what major you pick in college! I graduated with a degree that I can’t do anything with, that I picked solely because the classes were fun and interesting. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to go back to college for a second degree to actually get a decent job.” Bailey Kay Cummins

“Trust your gut. It will never steer you wrong with jobs (if you are getting a stomachache thinking about the promotion you feel like you have to take, you’ll probably quit 6 months later), with dating (if you feel leery about a guy, he’ll probably be the sort of guy who gets mad at you for being sad), with money (if it feels like a bad use of your money, it probably is). Don’t railroad over those gut feelings.” Emily Guy Birken

“At 21 years of age I was living in a dumpy apartment in a Philadelphia slum with a year-old baby. I had a permanent part-time job and no child support or government aid. As a result, I was so broke I did all our laundry (including the diapers) on a scrub-board. Here’s what I would tell my 21-year-old self. Tough times show us what we’re really made of and what we’re capable of accomplishing. Often, we later realize that what we perceived as misfortune was actually crucial to making us the people we have become. (And in fact, that’s happened.)” Donna Freedman

“At the start of your career, move into a cheap apartment that you hate (ideally with roommates). Why? You won’t want to spend any time there. That makes it easy to skip out on luxury utilities (tv, internet, etc) and expensive furniture. Lower expenses means more cash to put towards investments. You’ll also be able (and willing) to put in more hours at work, creating clear differentiation between you and your peer group. Hustling hard early on should produce a steeper compensation trajectory. Before you know it, you’ll be on a clear path to financial independence.” Eppie Vojt

“This fall you’re going to go through the Student Union at college. There will be a Citibank representative there soliciting students to apply for a credit card. Do not stop. Flip him both birds, yell, “F YOU!” at the top of your lungs and keep walking.” Travis Pizel

Start contributing to a Roth IRA and take advantage of all the tax benefits in retirement investing. Even if you can only afford $50 a month, those early contributions really add up over the years. Just one $50 investment can grow to $749 over 40 years on a 7% annual return. Now imagine you were able to make that $50 a month!”

“When you’re young and don’t pay much in taxes, you might not be getting such a benefit from the instant deductions of a 401k or a traditional IRA. This is when a Roth IRA makes the most sense. You don’t get an instant deduction but get to withdraw the money totally tax-free in retirement, that’s contributions and all earnings tax-free.” Joseph Hogue

“Find what makes you happy and then organize your life around that. Quit comparing yourself to others. Everyone moves at a different pace and has a different focus. What’s important is that you do what’s best for you. Not what’s best for your friends or others around you. Life is much more enjoyable when you do that.” Andrew Daniels

“I know you’ve spent the last 16 years of your life in school, but don’t stop learning now. Keep learning and mastering new skills whether they’re related to your work or not.” Julie Starnes Rains

“Don’t build a life that requires a financial partner. Make your own money and make sure you can support yourself if the shit hits the fan. It’s great to HAVE a financial partner, but it’s another thing to NEED one.” Morgan Marie Quinn

“My biggest revelation after wasting four years of college and working a dead end job was learning that the market doesn’t care about my passions (which were fickle anyway); the market rewarded professions that were IN DEMAND. So my job was to find a niche in the job market that married my skills and interests with jobs that were HIGHLY needed, and that small realization changed everything for me. I no longer felt guilty for “selling out” to make money, because by choosing a career that society valued it was a win-win for everyone.” Curtis Hearn

Negotiate everything! Your salary, purchases, and business deals. It’s a muscle that needs to be built and there is always an opportunity to build it.” Alanna Jackson Anthony

“Don’t underestimate yourself. You might not think you qualify for those scholarships, but you’d be wrong. You’ll be kicking yourself to find out later only five people applied for that $5,000 scholarship and you thought 1,000 people would apply! This goes for graduate school scholarships and TA positions. Just apply.” Melissa Hoffman

“Youth is time to experiment and have new experiences. Manage your money so you can do that. It’s a better investment than grad school for most people. Be bold. But always be able to support yourself.” Teresa Mears

“I’d tell my 21-year-old self to party less. I was a neo in my fraternity at the time and basically wasted a year in school partying. My priorities were not in order.” Jason Butler

“No one cares more about your finances, your career, or your health than you do. Learn about each and pay equal attention to each one so that you have a secure and balanced life for years to come. Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. Life happens. Let it.” Amy Savage Blacklock

Exercise. Find a workout routine that makes you feel great and make movement part of your life every single day. I don’t care what you do, whether it’s running or yoga or lifting or walking for miles or playing rec league sports, just find something that gets you physically active most days. Physical exercise benefits your bod, but it’s also an investment in your mental and emotional well-being (and staying healthy = less in healthcare costs). Getting into a workout routine only gets harder as you get older, so start now while it’s easier to work it into your day so it becomes a part of your long-term lifestyle.” Kali Hawlk

“Take a deep breath and understand career success doesn’t happen overnight. Every day when you get to work, it is a new opportunity to impress your team and keep up the momentum. But don’t stop side hustling. Don’t be afraid to invest a few bucks in your projects and stay focused!” Eric Rosenberg

“(1) Work for experience, not income, because eventually the experience will command a far higher income. (2) Buy rental real estate instead of renting and begin as early as possible. Beg or borrow the down payment if necessary. As long as the property is positive cash flow and financed with a fully amortizing, fixed rate mortgage your financial security is just a question of time, and time is why you want to start as early as possible. Rental real estate provides inflation adjusting income you can never outlive, and there’s not many investments you can say that about.” Todd R. Tresidder

“Invest in defense industries. They seem to be doing better and better.” Mason Handke

“Jump on Bitcoin and Ford stocks. In other words, when you see a good financial deal, take time to learn enough to invest in it and do it quickly. Also, skip that whole finishing college thing. You guys know what you want to do; just get your certs and get out. The lost earning potential will eat you up later. Don’t let anyone else tell you what God wants from you. You’re smart enough to figure it out yourself. You’re going to have a lot of ‘I wish…’ moments down the road when you realize you’re letting someone else control your moral compass. Lastly, take that trip to Costa Rica. Just do it. Once you have kids and a real job, it’s going to be so much harder to do. The money’s there. Take the opportunity.” Lacey Keller Smith

Save up so that you can travel and see the world. Don’t worry about a new pair of pants or about going out every weekend. Explore this planet.” Martin Dasko

“Ironically, my 21-year-old self had more money to save and invest than my 37-year-old self. I would have told him to do that. But more than that, start a business. The barrier to entry for many businesses like insurance companies, online companies, etc. is so low, starting it young means great rewards while you’re still young instead of when you’re older like most people. But even more than THAT, be creatively productive with free time. Back then I had GOBS of free time and I did a fair amount of writing, but nothing else I did really created. I was focused mostly on entertainment. Nowadays I have all kinds of desires to continue to be creative, but no time. But if I had started something back then it would have been easier to *continue* working on my passion instead of trying to add time in my day for things I’m passionate about.” Greg Hamblin

“If you make $N per hour and can pay someone to clean your house (or other tasks) for $M per hour, and N>M, pay someone to clean your house while you work more. Now don’t forget to work the extra hours.” Brad Cole

“Open a Roth IRA.” Rhiannon Fox

“Don’t be so serious. Let things roll and have some fun. Explore more. Don’t be so afraid of life.” Joe Saul-Sehy

“Don’t get married!” Arantza Zabala

“You have another half-dozen major failures and reboots in front of you. Don’t take them so hard. Don’t bother getting complexes. Be more focused on what you can and can’t control and fight the one in spite of the other.” Rodney Staton

“Don’t be afraid. Although life can be scary, it is also worth it to face that fear. Don’t give up on your self. What most other people think if you doesn’t matter, especially those who dont like you. Don’t let those people decide your future. That have no investment in you! Work hard! Nothing is easy.” Laurie Clark-Jacobson

“If it is important, financially, it will still be there a week later. Be happy. Don’t take life too seriously.” Morgan Dayna McKinnon

“Do not look for someone else to make you feel good or happy. Try if you can to be secure in yourself. If you are looking, look for someone with same morals, values, and expectations. If your future is to be together your values will allow you to work together on any obstructions that come up. Values discussed before a close relationship, married or not, is key to enjoyment of one another.” Lenorah DeAngelis

“Jäger is NEVER a good idea. Neither is tequila. That petty thing or person you’re overly stressed about now? Let it go. It most likely won’t be there in one year and it doesn’t deserve your energy. See also: people who make you cry for stupid reasons. No one else’s opinion of you matters more than your own. Plan for all the things but don’t plan so much you can’t handle whatever is thrown at you. All those things people in their 30s and 40s tell you? It’s solid advice. Don’t dismiss it. They know their shit (or pretend like they do).” Jana Lynch

“Start early and always save a portion of your paycheck. Try to make it be the same each week.” George Morrison

“Figure out the monies. Know how much your life costs, how to minimize, save, and spend wisely. Never be without at least a month’s expenses in savings. Avoid student loans at all costs.” Lindsay Johnson Nuesca

“Find something you are really good at and make a business.” Kade Marquez

“Invest your money instead of wasting it on all the crap you’re about to buy. Oh yeah, and start a blog — the internet is not a fad.” Tom Drake

“Life is not going to turn out the way you think sweetie, but don’t worry, you are gonna make it and it’s gonna be GOOD.” Charlotte McLendon Baker

“When I spoke to a group of middle-schoolers earlier today I took them on a journey. I told them that I’ve been at my job for 10 years. And I showed them the importance of being picky with how they spend their money. I said 10 years ago, when I started my fancy pants engineering job I could have spent $5 per day on Starbucks coffee. Instead I bought Starbucks stock and now it has tripled in value! And I showed them different examples showing how those small choices made a huge impact! Crystal Hammond

“When you meet people always ask how you can help them achieve their goals, or how you can be helpful in general, and then help them. Never expect anything directly in return but forming those early bonds, and staying in touch will serve you well for your entire life.” Bobbi Rebell

“Get an IUD. ” Elyssa Jean Kirkham

“Make self development a habit. It will take you from good to great.” Felix A. Montelara

“Travel while you can! I didn’t have the travel bug back then. Once you get kids, the game changes. Both time and money are in very short supply. At 21, travel. David Leonhardt

“If you truly believe in your stance, hold firm. People will try to intimidate you, but that doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Applies to just about every part of life.” Kay Bell

“So strange. My nonlinear, unplanned, dirt poor youth doesn’t look at all troubling to me. Maybe just… invest in Microsoft.” Dean Ferguson

“Never marry someone who makes you cry.” Sherri Bible

“Travel. Leave your bubble and visit somewhere where you don’t speak the language; it’s even better if you can live in another country for a while. When you come home, start planning the next trip. Don’t let having kids deter you from traveling; it involves a bit more planning, but they only make it better. Pay off your student loans ASAP then save; you really don’t need a lot of material items. Spend your money on experiences (see first paragraph) and save your money.” Leslie Smith

“No matter your culture, it is okay to be single in your 20s. Discover yourself rather than discovering others, as this will be the one opportunity you have to do so.” Brynne Conroy

“Research is the key to everything related to finances. From renting a place to live and the utility payments required when you move in, to car knowledge when you go shopping for a car. Building credit and how to do it right. Relationships? Be smart, don’t just jump in. Know what matters to you and make those things important in your relationships. Oh, and credit is IMPORTANT. Don’t fuck that up.” Nik Thurnbeck

“Plan well for your retirement. Put away more than you think you can. Stretch! The time sneaks up on you – enjoy yourself some now, enjoy yourself a LOT later – you’ll deserve it! Also, be as good as you can to others — don’t leave anything to regret (oh there will always be regrets — so try to keep them to a minimum) I really think that’s the most important piece of advice. Be kind, be good. Be honest. Especially with yourself. Please keep your promises — every one. If you don’t think you can keep it, don’t make it. Sounds hokey, huh? But its true. Live the very best life you possibly can every day. Respect nature. Look to nature for lessons on life. The more you look at animals, birds, and just nature around us, the more you can understand about human nature. Seek simple affirmations and actualization. The more actualized and complete you feel, the easier it is to be satisfied by the little things. Now to take my own advice – early to bed and early to rise – huh, I wish! Oh one more — Polonious – Act I Scene III – Hamlet: ‘Neither a borrower or a lender be.’ Oh boy, I really mean that one!” Shari Berman Landes

“Always be nice. And don’t sweat the small stuff.” Wendie Berman Biegel

“People will show you who they are.” Jenna Carpenter Smith

“Spend time alone. You don’t have to be in a relationship all the time, and certainly don’t judge your worth based on whether you’re single or in a relationship. Learn to love yourself first.” Chris Kilian

“Don’t pour yourself into a man who doesn’t care enough to do the same for you.” Magdalen Sheffield

“All these responsible things but also make sure you have fun and travel in your 20s. Don’t be so work focused because your 30s, if you have kids, could be very very very boring.” Christina Marie

“Never be afraid to be who you truly are. Do all the things!” Aaron Sheffield

“Don’t worry about how successful other people are. It’s not a contest, and if it were, it would be a marathon, not a sprint.” Francesca Pellegrino

“Go to Vanguard and take the spot at Mystique. You’re gonna change jobs anyway.” Sean McReady

“Life isn’t a race. There’s no rush to finish college in 4 years. It’s OK to be the last of your friends to get married, have kids, buy a house, have a career. Life is a journey to be enjoyed. You will accomplish your goals when the timing is right.” Elizabeth Buono

“Travel as much as you can and don’t be in a hurry to settle down.” Nakki A. Price

“Follow your instinct. It’s usually right. Don’t be afraid to say no.” Danielle Marone

Wait for a job that you will LOVE!! Travel a lot! And never settle!!” Lauri Kane

“First you need to know the most important investment to make is in yourself. Strengthen your weaknesses. Fortify your strengths. Sometimes maybe go out of your comfort zone. Find yourself at a job. It may pay the bills and take care of your family but something that you don’t hate going to do everyday. Start at Step 1. Investments, credit, all of that stuff comes later. If you can’t manage yourself you can’t manage the rest of that stuff. Be successful at managing yourself and that’s when those other options start opening up. That’s when you start considering them.” Colin R Gelles

“If it’s working, it’s working. A messy, backwards, or unconventional approach to something doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I’ve finally learned to accept the way I live, create, and give, and it doesn’t look like anyone else’s. All kinds of people are needed to make this world work, so ignore what you’ve heard in the management, productivity, and success books. If you are working at your best and comfortable with the process, that is what matters. I wish I wouldn’t have fought against convention for all these years and just accepted my way. What a waste of time!” Linsey Knerl

“Make — and especially keep — more social connections. Your friends can become your support network (emotional and business) as you all gain more experience and responsibility.” Virginia Rich Diaz

“Listen to yourself and learn to trust what you hear.” Alan Steinborn

“And carpe diem!” Sally Dikowitz

“Try to prepare for things like illness, accidents, etc. and the possibility you may not be able to work at some time, you never know!” Pamela A. Parker

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We’re all replaceable. But what if you could be less replaceable? Get your shit together and show your employer that you really are someone they don’t want to lose.

You’ve got the job.

Now you need to keep it.

With the tough job market and concerns about student loan debt ratcheting up the worry levels, it makes sense to think about how to make yourself indispensable at work.

That way, when it’s time for lay offs – or even if you want a promotion or raise – you are more likely to be considered a valuable company asset.

If you’re trying to figure out how to make sure your employer finds you necessary, here are several strategies to try:

1. Develop strengths valuable to your company.

Pay attention. What skills does your company value?

A surefire way to become indispensable at work is to have strengths that your employer relies on.

It’s not enough just have a valuable skill, though. You also need to be one of the few people who possess it. Figure out what your strengths are, and then determine how they can translate into necessary skills that are somewhat rare at your company.

Once you do that, they’ll never want to let you go.

2. Cultivate a good attitude.

The better your attitude, the better you are for the company. True, positivity can’t make up for a lot of things, but it does go a long way.

If you are positive, see opportunities, and are good for morale, your employer will likely decide that you’re necessary. When it comes down to a choice between letting go of one of two employees, and one of you is a downer, it’s the downer that is usually out, all other things being equal.

Don’t be a downer.

3. Stay current with technology and skills.

If you’re up-to-date on all the latest technology and best practices, you are more valuable to your employer.

Plus, it can be enriching and a good way to invest in yourself to stay current with technology and keep your skills up to date.

Show that you are interested in remaining relevant in your field. As you continue to expand your skill set and ensure that your company stays ahead of the curve, you’ll make yourself indispensable at work.

4. Focus on tasks that matter.

It’s tempting to bang out a bunch of easy tasks to look productive. But almost anyone can do the easy stuff.

Instead, look to accomplish things that matter. They might not be super-easy things, but they should have a bigger impact. If you develop a reputation for doing things that matter you will be more likely to be considered indispensable.

5. Go the extra mile.

You’d think this goes without saying: go the extra mile. However, it often does need saying.

Is there a way you can add extra value? Do you go above and beyond?

When you can show that you do more than is expected, or if you can add an extra twist, you are seen as a valuable resource. You want to be seen as someone who will continue to help move the company forward, rather than someone who does the bare minimum.

It doesn’t mean you have to work overtime every week or let work take over your life. But if you can add that extra bit to your work, you will be more valuable overall.

6. Be a team player.

Are you a helper? When others know that they can come to you for a little extra help, you are likely to be seen as dispensable at work.

Collaboration is increasingly becoming a major part of doing business. If you can’t play nice with others, your employer is likely to see you as a liability, rather than an asset.

Do your best to help the team and show that you are willing to move forward with goals. Stay focused on the team goals and be ready to help the company, and your bosses will feel much better about keeping you around.

7. Show reliability.

One of the best ways to make yourself indispensable at work is to be reliable. If you say you’re going to do something, can you be trusted to do it?

Meet your deadlines and be someone that others trust. Avoid over-promising. Do your best to accurately estimate what you can accomplish – and when you can reasonably get it done. Then, if you can’t meet your obligation, let someone know ASAP.

However, if you are constantly late and unable to keep up, that could indicate an issue in how you manage expectations. Review how you do things and what you can realistically get done. Underpromise and over deliver on a consistent basis, and you’ll gain a reputation for reliability.

8. Build important relationships.

Sometimes it really is about who you know. And it’s not about sucking up to your boss’s boss.

Instead, it’s more about building relationships with people important to your company. Is there a client that you could connect with and become point person with?

Can you help build a partnership? Can you introduce someone as a consultant to help solve a problem?

Think about the relationships you can enhance in work and business. As you build these relationships with your co-workers, supervisors, clients, and others, you will be seen as an integral part of the workplace, and someone to keep around.

9. Make your supervisor’s job easier.

If you really want to be indispensable at work, make your supervisor’s job easier. Do what you can to pitch in, help out, and solve problems. When your supervisor can trust you, s/he is more likely to go to bat for you.

Your supervisor knows what you do to help them with work. When they look good, and your efforts are part of the reason, they know it. Supervisors want to keep people around when they help them look good.

As a team player and as someone who shows skills and abilities that can help your company, you can become indispensable at work.

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