Salary and Promotions

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.

To Share or Not to Share Your Salary History

Salaryhistory_Dec2011_webA key question for many job seekers is “How much does the job pay?” But, the flip side of that conversation for potential employers is “How much do you currently make?” It can be hard to decide how and when to share your salary history with a potential employer, or even to decide if you are willing to share it at all. All of this is compounded by the fact that talking about money is usually taboo, right up there with religion and politics in the workplace. However, when it comes to your career, learning how to professionally discuss your salary can pay off in a big way.

Why Does an Employer Want to Know?

It’s important to first understand why employers request salary information during the application process. Typically, employers have a set budget for positions based on the job duties and market value in that area. If an employer is asking for salary information to be included when you apply, they may be using this as a quick way to determine who to interview for the position. Employers may not want to interview candidates who have a higher salary than they are willing to pay, or they may seek to interview candidates with the closest pay rate, regardless of experience.

Check out this video on discussing your salary history in an interview from career coach Karen Chopra.

Karen Chopra, Career Counselor, Washington, D.C.

Please note, the video clips herein and their sponsors do not necessarily represent the views of Express and are used for educational purposes only.

What’s the Best Way to Share Salary Information?

Even if salary information is requested when you apply, you don’t necessarily have to submit it. Typically you want to be able to discuss salary history and compensation, it’s a conversation best not left to written correspondence. With this in mind, state on your résumé you are willing to submit salary information when requested. This puts you in control of who sees your salary history and how it is conveyed. Ideally you won’t share salary information until your interview, when you can have a conversation about your job duties and additional compensation.

How do You Evaluate Compensation?

 It’s important to keep in mind that your salary is more than just your pay, your compensation includes things your current job might provide, including health insurance, 401(k) matching, education reimbursements, and more. When you discuss pay with your potential employer, let them lead the discussion before you share your salary history. Ask what benefits you’ll receive besides pay that will make up your total compensation. Research the job market to learn what salary ranges are being offered for similar positions. Understand what the position requires in terms of education and experience and be prepared to discuss how your education and experience should impact your salary. Make sure your salary research is done in coordination with the city where the position is located, because pay is typically impacted by geography.

The last tip to keep in mind when discussing your salary with potential employers is to make sure you are consistent. If you’ve cited salary information within online job board databases, like your CareerBuilder or Monster profile, make sure the information on your résumé is documented the same. If you are including benefits and other compensation factors, let the employer know you are willing to negotiate within these pending factors. Your credibility is on the line during your job search, and misrepresenting your salary history can be detrimental to you career.


 By Rachel Rudisill

Moving From a Small Town Job to a Big City Career

Smalltownbigcity_sept2011_webDeciding to relocate for work can be a very tough choice with many factors to consider. For some, choosing to pack up life and head for more opportunity could mean moving from a small town of several thousand people to a major metropolitan area with a population in the millions.

Preparing for a new job is tough enough with new policies, procedures, and supervisors to consider. Adding in the stress and headache of relocating to a new city can make it all very overwhelming.

There’s a strange paradox newcomers often feel when living in a major city. They are constantly surrounded by people, but can feel isolated and alone at the same time. People from a small town culture are inclined to have a more leisurely and open approach with each other. In larger cities, many are rushed with where they need to be and don’t have time for interruptions.

Adjusting to the culture shock can take a long time, especially if you move to an area without family or friends. Here are some tips to help you cope with adapting to your brave new world.

Do Your Research

Don’t go into things blindly. Find a place to live before you move. If renting, some tenants in large cities need at least two weeks to process your information and ready the rooms before allowing someone to move in. Get settled in before you start your new job to help make the transition smoother.

Calculate the cost of living, taxes, insurance, and other expenses before you make the leap, but also take time to look into the little things like parking, weather, public transportation options, laws, school systems, and population.

Once you’ve decided on the area to live in, figure out how it works. Being prepared for the culture of your new area will make things go much smoother. Find out the distance between your home and the office so you know how long it will take you to get to work.


It’s your city now, so get out there and meet it. Try to find a detailed map of your newcity and take some time to see it first hand. Make sure you’re aware of important things like local grocery stores, fire stations, hospitals, police departments, and banks that are closest to where you live. Also, take the extra step and introduce yourself to your neighbors. Many of them can have insights to the many perks the city has to offer.

Exploring the city will also help you figure out the shortest and easiest routes to work, as well as find the busiest and longest routes to avoid, giving you the best commute possible. Just remember to add in extra time for morning traffic. And, don’t be afraid to get lost. Finding your way back will only help you familiarize yourself with the area.

Get Involved

Making friends and acquaintances is one of the best ways to make the adjustment time shorter. That’s why it’s important to get involved with local clubs and organizations. It’s a lot easier to meet people outside of work if you get involved with something that happens regularly on a weekly or monthly basis. Whether you’re interested in sports or the arts, big cities will have a group getting together no matter what your interest may be. A good place to start is with your local chamber of commerce. Many chambers now have monthly professional gatherings.

Go ahead and challenge yourself to try something new. There is a lot big cities offer that small towns just don’t have. There are several charities and organizations that need volunteers, so use your free time to serve the less fortunate and meet new and interesting people at the same time.

Check with your company to see what community projects they’re involved in. Spending a Saturday building a house, helping out at a local shelter, or even running in a 5K that benefits a nonprofit is a great way to get to know your co-workers.


Sometimes the hustle and bustle of city life can be too much. It’s OK to occasionally take a break from the concrete and skyscrapers, and search out some flowers and fields. Many big cities have suburbs with a smaller-town feel, beautiful outdoor scenery, and less crowds.  So if you start to feel overwhelmed, spend a weekend or even just an evening out of town. 

If leaving the city is impossible, finding shops or stores that remind you of homecan help escape without leaving. Many coffee shops and cafés can provide a warm feeling of home when sitting inside their four walls, allowing you to relax and recharge for the next day at the job.

There are also many places in the big city that can provide sanctuary to the rush of city life. Find a park and spend some free time there. Being in nature can help expand your horizon and help you recover from the stress of the cluttered city.

Relocating may be a big decision, but there are several benefits to relocating for work. If the job is right and you’re in need of a good challenge, go ahead and take a chance on the big city.

For those who have already relocated, what have you done to adjust to big city life?


By Jared Cole