Salary and Promotions

Poll: Is Business Ownership for You?

MOV_POLL-ICONRecently, the Creative Job Report found that 55% of employed U.S. adults would choose to be self-employed if they could still pay their bills. The numbers were even higher for the Millennial generation, age 20 to 34-years old, with 67% saying they want to start a business. But taking the leap from wanting to start a business to actually being a business owner can be an overwhelming and thrilling process. With more than 500,000 businesses created monthly, we want to know if our Movin’ On Up readers are planning an entrepreneurial rung on their career ladder. Let us know by voting in our poll!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Being A Pro At Being A Professional: 3 Reasons Why Professional Organizations Are Important

professional organizations_Aug2013_webSo you landed the big job. You’re officially a “professional.” So, what now? It isn’t time to put your feet up and bask in your accomplishment! Your career development doesn’t just happen overnight, and promotions and raises are earned, not gifted. But, how do you develop yourself? How do you make yourself a valuable commodity not an expendable? Hit the ground running in your career by joining a professional organization. According to the Center for Association Leadership, there are more than 1.9 million organizations currently in the U.S. which means there are plenty to choose from.

Finding the organization that is right for you and your field is important. You may have to do a little research or it may be as simple as asking your coworkers or colleagues what they are a part of. Once you find the organization that covers your field, you may have to pay for a membership, but many employers are willing to pay these dues for you. If they don’t, it’s okay. Just look at the money you spend on dues as an investment – maybe one of the most important investments you will ever make. Now that you’re in and have become part of something larger than yourself, I bet your next question is, “what is this going to get me?” Below are three ways professional organizations can help you grow your career.

Network, Network, Network
Networking can give numerous opportunities to further your career. Rubbing elbows with your peers opens up a forum for idea exchange. This open line of communication can drum up new business, new friendships, great concepts, and maybe even future career opportunities.

Conventional Conventions
Many organizations have one or more conventions every year. At these conventions, there are breakout sessions, keynote speakers, and round tables where you can learn and collaborate with your peers in your industry.  These opportunities allow you to grow as a professional as well as stay on the cutting edge of your field, while establishing dialogue with individuals in your field.

Developing the Leader in You
Organizations generally have boards or committees that are in charge of club operations. Becoming a member of the board is often as easy as asking current leaders about opportunities to join the board or committee in charge. Becoming a part of the leadership in an organization can develop important attributes found in great leaders that can help advance your career. Not to mention, your peers will have a front row seat to the display of your leadership skills. The amount of involvement is completely up to you. Since it’s typically a volunteer position with a “term system” similar to our own government, you decide how involved you get. If you’re interested in taking on a more time intensive positions make sure you discuss this interest with your manager, as the more involved you are, the more time intensive the position can be.

These are just a few benefits to being a member of an organization geared toward your industry. If you have another way that your experience in a professional organization has helped you, please share in the comments section below.

3 Ways to Build Influence

Influence_July2013_webWhen considering change and development in your career, it’s important to factor in your sphere of influence. Before you can impact a decision or bring forth an idea, you’ll need to establish a respected and involved in the process. To help define your place, it’s important to take proactive steps to develop your relationships, skills, and knowledge. Your sphere of influence is your ability to impact decisions and actions. It’s about being trusted, respected, and having a say in the decision making process.  So, here are three ways you can build influence.

Be Reliable
Your ability to influence a conversation or decision begins with trust. One of the best ways to build trust is to be reliable. This includes being on time, avoiding gossip, being honest, and being consistent. Respect is earned over time and you can gain that by consistently taking care of your workplace tasks well.

Be Knowledgeable
This can be the most fun and interesting part of building your influence. Staying on top of industry trends, changes in market conditions, and technology developments in your field can lead to some great opportunities to build your influence. Make sure you’re aware of current events, legal changes that may impact your business, and your company’s current progress on its goals. By sharing what you’ve learned with your manager or applying your knowledge to your projects, you’ll demonstrate your desire to add value to the business and develop your skills.

Be Connected
Your relationships at work with your vendors, and in your professional community not only create opportunities for you, but are an asset in your sphere of influence. Make sure you’re building a network within your company. If your manager can rely on you to complete a requisition form in a short deadline or process a large shipping order because you’ve built relationships outside of your department, your ability to connect and collaborate will no doubt be an asset to the company. Additionally, by having relationships in your community, you may be able to contribute to sales development for your company. The value of connections with others is not to be underestimated.

In regards to the ideas here, how do you work to demonstrate reliability, and stay knowledgeable and connected? Share in the comments section below your personal tips for developing influence.

Infographic: Do You Live Paycheck to Paycheck?

Living paycheck to paycheck has been the norm for many in the past few years, especially those entering the workplace for the first time. Now that the economy is recovering, are workers still more focused on keeping the lights on and water running or are they looking to save and invest in their retirement?

Take a look at this infographic from CareerBuilder that sheds some light on how Americans are saving for the future, compared to three years ago.

Are You Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Workplace Fashion Police – Just the Facts

The Workplace Fashion PoliceWorkers and job seekers, the advice you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to protect the improperly dressed.

It was Friday, Oct. 26, and sultry day at Fashion Police headquarters. I was getting reports of neglected promotions, missing job offers, and lacking professionalism. I didn’t know why it was happening, but I had to try to stop it. Appearances can be deceiving, especially in this workplace-fashion lineup. According to Southwest Florida Business Today, 93% of executives across the country admit a person’s work attire influences his or her chances of earning a promotion.

This is a video. I carry a badge. I am the Fashion Police – I tell the difference between who gets hired and promoted, and who doesn’t.

Stop Swearing at Work with These Questions

How to Stop Swearing at WorkA recent survey by CareerBuilder shows that 64% of employers said they would think less of an employee who repeatedly uses curse words, and 57% said they’d be less likely to promote someone who swears at work.

Half of the employees surveyed reported that they swear in the office. With such a large percentage of employees swearing at work, it seems like this habit is not only a hard one to break, but also one that can hinder a career. Here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you break the habit and flush away your potty mouth.

Why do you Swear?
For some, swearing is almost unconscious. And because swearing can be naturally ingrained into their vocabulary, words can slip without you even realizing it. It’s important to be aware of how many times inappropriate language is used while at work.

The common trick has always been putting money in a “curse jar.” But, consider keeping a jar at your workplace that’s not for money, but placing inexpensive tokens, trinkets, or other knickknacks that can be found at hobby stores into the jar every time you swear. When your shift ends, you can see how many times you’ve cussed throughout the day. It may surprise you to know how often it occurs. You could make it a game for other co-workers to put their color token in the jar if they hear you swear and you don’t realize it.

If you’ve noticed that your profane language comes from moments of extreme stress or dealing with difficult co-workers/management, then it may not be so much your swearing problem as it is work environment issues.

What Are Your Alternatives?
If you want to break your cursing problem, you’ll have to treat it like any other bad habit that you’ve broken over the years. It’s going to take a behavioral change, which won’t happen overnight. Keep a thesaurus at your desk or workstation, and when you have some free time, look up some alternate words for the curses you have been using.

Swearing often occurs out of negativity, which can dampen the mood for other co-workers. Instead, embrace positivity and strive to change your problems instead of complaining. Consider even the smallest annoyance a challenge, and feel proud of yourself for taking care of it cheerfully and efficiently.

Are Co-Workers Crutches or Cheerers?
Research suggests that sometimes environment can cause people to perform certain behaviors, even if they’re actively trying to stop. Try limiting your interactions with co-workers who encourage your bad habit. If you can’t alter these interactions, try changing the social configurations like taking breaks at different times than those who tempt your bad behavior.

Your co-workers can also help encourage you. The typical curse jar may be clichéd, but you can give it your own spin to get your co-workers involved. Try bringing popcorn kernels to work, and have you and your co-workers put one in a jar every time you avoid using a bad work or your colleagues help you avoid swearing. Once the jar is full, you can have a popcorn party when you’re on break.

Breaking a bad habit like cursing is all about training your conscious mind to eventually implement it in the subconscious. What have you done to curb bad habits like swearing while on the job?

3 Questions to Ask About Employee Benefits Before You Get Hired

3 Questions to Ask About Employee Benefits Before You Get Hired Getting a new job requires some detective skills, including understanding your total compensation package prior to accepting a job offer. While most of us need our job to provide a regular paycheck to take care of our living expenses, we also need to consider the benefits program offered by a potential employer. Here are a few questions you might consider asking your prospective employer to help you make a better decision in evaluating a job opportunity.

  1. How much of my total compensation will include a benefits package?
    While your salary is important, don’t forget to consider the amount spent on employee benefits. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in March that private industry employee benefit programs accounted for 29.5% of total compensation. This compensation includes paid sick leave, holidays, and vacations, as well as employer contributions to health and life insurance, retirement savings, and into Social Security and Medicare in the U.S. It is appropriate in your job offer process to ask for a clear outline of the benefits program offered. A job opportunity may look more or less attractive based on the benefits, so it’s critical to have the full picture before making your decision.
  2. May I review your health insurance program?
    If you are expecting your employer to provide a health insurance option, make sure you have a firm understanding of the program. You’ll need to consider what you’re currently paying and what you’ll be expected to pay under the program offered by your potential employer. If you’ll need to use that health insurance to provide care for your family or dependents, make sure to uncover the costs with that type of program and their eligibility. When you review the health insurance program look for information on co-pay amounts, pre-existing condition rules, deductible amounts, and prescription drug programs.
  3. What are your most unique employee benefits?
    While you should have uncovered all of the benefits offered in your employee summary, there may be a few employee perks you’ll find important. This is also a good question to uncover a little more about the culture of the company you’re considering. Companies may offer an employee gym, onsite child care, flexible work schedules, or other unique programs that may make a position more attractive, even if the salary is smaller. And don’t forget to find out about smaller benefits that can really add up like paid parking, discount dry cleaning services, or an economical onsite dining option.

Looking for a new job can be stressful, but when you do get a job offer make sure to slow down and evaluate the entire offer before accepting a position. It’s possible to negotiate your salary and benefit options before you’re hired, but it can be much harder to negotiate, or not possible, after you’ve accepted the position.