How do I evaluate a job offer?

“Ask Brianna” is a Q&A column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans – all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions about postgrad life to askbrianna?nerdwallet.com.

Q: I got an offer for a full-time job. How do I decide if it’s right for me, or if the salary is fair?

A: The job hunt can feel like a decathlon: multiple contests, many competitors and one victor _ hopefully you. There are so many individual events, from the resume revamp to the post-interview thank you note, you may feel nothing but exhaustion by the time you get that congratulatory call or email.

But keep your energy up. Closely evaluating an offer can be the difference between taking a job you run to and realizing you made a huge mistake, forcing you to start the job-search process from the beginning.

Of course, you may not have the luxury of weighing multiple options. But even if you have a single offer, you can still think critically about how to make the best of the opportunity _ and whether you want to negotiate for perks you value especially highly, such as health insurance starting on day one.

After doing your happy dance, thank the hiring manager and request 24 hours to respond. Then use the following framework to assess the position from all angles.

BOOST YOUR SALARY SMARTS

The proposed salary will have a big effect on your day-to-day lifestyle and your future earning power, so make sure you know what you’re worth. Use resources such as PayScale or Salary.com to find the average amount your role commands where you live.

Rick Sass, a career coach at Lee Hecht Harrison near Seattle, recommends having two numbers ready, ideally before the official offer comes in: the salary you want to make (say, $55,000) and a lower amount you’re willing to accept (say, $50,000, which is about the mean wage, or average salary, for 25- to 34-year-olds across all education backgrounds, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). If you haven’t already shared these salary expectations or your pay history, don’t do it just yet.

“The first person who gives a number is generally the loser,” Sass says.

THINK BEYOND BASE PAY

Turn your attention next to employee benefits, such as health insurance and matching retirement contributions. These add up: As of September 2016, 31.4 per cent of what employers paid for the average civilian worker’s total compensation was for non-salary benefits, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

Ask the hiring manager for a summary of your total package. It should include paid time off, out- of-pocket costs for health insurance and whether your company offers a retirement plan or matching contributions. Check whether there are tenure requirements to participate in any of these programs.

Consider your non-compensation priorities, too. You might want your gig to include a strong social mission, a more reasonable commute, a boss committed to mentoring you or experience working for a big-name company.

If the offer checks most of your boxes for salary, benefits and values, it’s time to negotiate.

BE FLEXIBLE AND CONFIDENT

The employer will expect you to negotiate, so don’t let nerves or a fear of seeming overbearing get in the way. If the proposed salary is lower than what you deserve, say thank you for the offer and then counter with what you believe is appropriate for your skills and experience.

If salary negotiations stall, ask instead for a non-salary benefit you value. That could be the option to work remotely one day a week or a signing bonus, Sass says.

When Camille Galles was looking for a new sales job in the digital media industry, she had four job offers. One was a startup that didn’t offer her as much in salary as the more established companies. But when she asked for a signing bonus and an additional performance-based bonus after her first 90 days on the job, the startup went for it.

Now Galles, 31, is the CEO of her own three-person digital advertising company. Weighing different job offers based not just on salary but on how much she could learn in each role helped her get where she is, she says.

“It’s really given me the fuel to stay two steps ahead of my peers.”

 

Ways to Become More Productive

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Time: it’s the one thing no one will ever have enough of and many mismanage. Even if one begins their day with a “to-do” list and good intent, it’s too common a scenario to fail achieving the day’s agenda by the end of the work day. That is, unless one possesses good work ethic and self motivation.

Thankfully, being productive is a skill which can be learned. By adopting the following habits, you, too, may learn how to better utilize your resources and become more productive.

1. Have a plant on your desk

Sound silly? This latest study found that people with a plant on their desk are 40% more productive and creative. If you’re seeking a promotion or just wanting to check more items off your list, having a plant nearby will produce more oxygen, reduce stress, reduce airborne molds and bacteria in the air, and even boost your immune system.

2. Visit your goals every day

If you need constant inspiration to stay on track, make a habit of looking over your short-term and long-term goals every day. A good habit is to contemplate, plan, and visualize your goals for five minutes every morning over your breakfast or hot tea.

3. Know when to say “yes” and “no”

In order to feel accepted, many feel they need to say ‘yes’ to every request. Pride your time and abilities, and only engage in those projects which support your elite productivity.

4. Sell your T.V.

Instead of watching others and their success, use the time you’d spend in front of the silver god to invest in your own dreams.

5. Sort your relationships

If you seek success and a fulfilled, happy life, be willing to say goodbye to energy vampires. Individuals that drain your energy or constantly harp on your goals are only holding you back from realizing your unlimited potential.

6. Keep Organized

Mess creates stress. Clean it up and work in an environment that is conducive to your studies.

7. Stop Multitasking

New research confirms that distractions common in modern day living are rewiring the way the brain works. (And are dropping the average IQ by 5 points!) Choose one task to focus on and give it all of your attention.

8. Get Fit

Take care of yourself first so you can be as efficient as possible. Being in peak physical condition can create explosive energy, renew your focus, and heighten your creativity.

9. Adopt Routine

The lives of highly productive and creative men, like Thomas Edison, John Grisham, and Stephen King, follow strict daily routines. Peak productivity is not about luck, it’s about devotion. Be willing to set a schedule (get up, start work, exercise, and relax) and stick to it.

10. Work chunks at a time

Working for 90 minute blocks with a ten minute break will allow your brain’s RNA to replenish. It’s then easier to go back to your work refueled. (Spirulina, the blue-green algae, also replenishes your brain’s RNA which can make you more productive).

11. Use your commute time

If you’re spending thirty minutes traveling one way per day, in one year you’ve spent 6 weeks of 8 hour days in your car. Listen to an inspirational audiobook, podcast, or study materials while you carpool with another individual.

12. Get lost

Escape to a quiet zone where there are no distractions. Turn off your devices and let yourself create, write, plan, and create. With intense focus, you will achieve massive results.

13. Drink more water

When you’re dehydrated, it’s more difficult to think; you’ll also experience a loss of energy. Begin your day with 8 oz of water (optimally with lime or lemon juice) and boost your body’s hydration.

By adopting these habits, you’ll discover how productive life can be. Dare to dream big and accomplish the unthinkable.

By: Amanda Froelich, trueactivist.com

Connect with ILSTV on facebook and on Twitter at @ILStv.

Ways to Radically Improve Your Life This Month

Ways to Radically Improve Your Life This Month

Excerpted article written BY MARCEL SCHWANTES | Principal and founder, Leadership From the Core

Let me be completely honest with you, as I’ve done in the past with my recommendations for 31 ways to improve your life in just a month (in case you haven’t read it yet): There are lessons below that may stretch you. Some will require yourmost-courageous self to show up.

But I say this with a great measure of encouragement and hope for you. I’ve learned that the true path to personal improvement starts with looking deep within oneself, and acknowledging the blind spots that may hold us back from the life we want.

Perhaps something here will trigger you to consider new possibilities–to change something that is no longer working. Search deep, friend, and think of familiar patterns or obstacles that no longer serve you.

How to radically improve yourself this month (or any month).

1. Be true to yourself.

How would you feel if, every day, you said what you meant, stayed true to yourself, and behaved in accordance with this? Imagine the happiness and self-respect you’d feel. Being true to yourself is far less stressful than being someone you are not. By being who you really are, you not only trust the judgments and decisions that you make, but others trust you as well. They’ll respect you for standing by your values and beliefs.

2. Choose to live in integrity.

When you’re honest, you don’t hesitate to do the right thing. You never have to second-guess yourself. Who you are, what you do, and what you believe in–all of these align perfectly.

3. Deal with your problems quickly instead of neglecting them.

Don’t procrastinate, avoid conflict, or sweep things under the rug. Be open and honest with yourself enough to admit the things you need to take care of. Then take the first step! (that’s the hardest part, it’ll get easier from there)

4. Watch your words when you speak.

There’s an old saying from a wise leader that goes like this: “Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.” So much conflict, confusion and misunderstanding come from our words and what we communicate. So be wise and careful about what you speak: give sound advice, don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth, and always have the other person’s best interest in mind. When you do, you’ll get a lot more in return.

5. Don’t be arrogant.

Especially if you’re in a leadership role. Research by Jim Collins in Good to Great has already proven that the best leaders (what he coined as “Level 5” Leaders) demonstrate humility. And humility will save you in close quarters when the unpredictable nature of people is involved.

6. Learn from the wisdom of others.

An extension of humility is to acknowledge that you don’t know everything. You must view yourself as a small fish in the great big pond of life — seeking out connections and appointments from wise sages to learn to do great new things.

7. Avoid gossipers at all cost.

Smart people will walk away from the moment they pick up gossipers on their radar. It’s in the gossiper’s DNA to dig up things about other people and spread rumors like a tumor. There’s an insecurity to them that if they aren’t talking bad behind someone’s back, or devising some kind of scheme to get their way at someone else’s expense, they’re not being themselves. Take the higher road by not associating with such people. It will save you in the long run.

8. Exercise patience. Lots of it.

People who exercise patience have self-control and are slow to anger. So their conduct is steady, rational, and manageable. In the heat-of-the-moment, they seek to understand first before being understood. And they speak little — giving them a clear edge in communicating and diffusing someone else’s anger. That’s someone you can trust and depend on.

9. Look at both sides of an issue.

You do this with self-awareness — a component of emotional intelligence — which belongs to people who look at the whole picture, and both sides of the issue. They tap into their own feelings but also those of others to choose a different outcome, like a win-win. Highly empathic people, research states, are radical listeners, self-reflective, and curious about the lives of others. This trait is a sure winner in diffusing conflict or solving an interpersonal problem.

10. Walk your talk, others are watching.

As the famous saying goes, “do the right thing, even when no one is looking,” isn’t always easy. However, when you walk the talk, the benefits are tremendous:

  • You don’t question yourself and others don’t question your motives.
  • You command respect.
  • Your confidence shines for others.
  • You have influence — people listen to your words.

11. Accept that some things are beyond your control.

OK, so you’re the controlling type who thinks the world is accountable to you. Please stop for your sake. Many times, your worries are a direct result of the fact that you’re not in control of the people, things, and situations in your life or business. The things that are in your control, you can manage just fine. Relax, slow down, take one thing at a time, and then focus again on what’s immediately in front of you. This will help to ease your anxiety.

12. Practice Mindfulness.

A growing body of research in neuroscience suggest that mindfulness is one of the best-kept secrets to help entrepreneurs to deal with anxiety. You can practice it by intentionally putting the focus on your emotions, accepting in a nonjudgmental way whatever thoughts and sensations you’re experiencing in the moment. This Harvard Business Review article shows you some excellent techniques.

13. Made a mistake? Admit it to others.

Honest people show their likable humanity when the chips are down, rather than letting hubris rear its ugly head. When they make mistakes, they will admit them. And when employees make mistakes in an emotionally safe work environment, it’s also safe for them to risk being open enough to say, “Hey boss, I messed up.” They can say this due to the high levels of trust built over time with their team and bosses.

14. Be assertive and speak up when you have to.

If you want to avoid conflict, here’s what to do: avoid creating distance, being silent, or stone-walling–all passive-aggressive ways to deal with conflict. Instead, be assertive and courageously run toward the eye of the storm because cutting through a conflict to resolve a problem with respect, dignity, and good listening skills is easier than the negative consequences of running away from a conflict.

15. Speak your truth.

Similar to No. 1 on this list, by being your authentic self, you don’t say things to sugarcoat, try to please others, or to look good in front of your peers. It’s highly unlikely that you will hear a person who speaks her truth as someone being talked about around water coolers on Monday morning for “throwing someone under the bus.” It’s really a simple formula for success: Speak clearly, honestly, and with integrity.

16. Don’t just listen; listen to understand.

Effective communication isn’t just about talking; it is also the ability to listen and understand what’s happening on the other side of the fence. So in meetings or one-on-ones, listen and reflect back what you heard to clarify (“What I hear you saying is …”), and ask questions to probe the other person’s feelings or opinions on the topic of conversation. This can be as simple as: “Tell me how you feel about this.”

17. Don’t be a perfectionist.

Perfectionism will surely strip you of your joy and vitality, kill collaboration, and, you’re a boss, send your best people packing. Perfectionism silently stifles productivity by showing up in self-defeating thought patterns that are pretty easy to recognize in yourself, if you’re willing to self-diagnose.

18. Trust your intuition.

I’m speaking of that “inner voice” — that gut feeling from deep down inside — that clues us in to thoughts and feelings under the typical layers of logic and rationale. In such times, intuition kicks into high gear as an internal compass to keep us moving in the right direction. If you’re not sure of whether your intuition is speaking to you,here’s a list of the things your inner-voice will be telling you.

19. Develop your emotional intelligence (EQ).

While IQ still remains the best predictor of job success, once you land a job in your field of expertise, and start thinking about increasing your role, getting promoted, leading others, and navigating political landscapes, IQ will be begging for EQ to show up. Daniel Goleman, the foremost authority on emotional intelligence, has put together these 9 important questions to help you evaluate your own emotional intelligence, and get you thinking about your strengths and limitations in EQ.

20. Be a giver.

The late Jim Rohn said, “Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have.” In The Go-Giver, the main character learns that changing his focus from getting to giving–putting others’ interests first and consistently adding value to their lives–ultimately leads to unexpected returns. Science also says giving makes us feel happy, is good for our health, and evokes gratitude. Lastly, giving isn’t restricted to money. Give of your time, mentor others, volunteer at a shelter, support a cause, sponsor a child, fight injustice, and have a pay-it-forward mindset.

Source: INC

ILScorp Celebrates Labour Day Long Weekend, We’ll be Back on Tuesday

ILScorp Celebrates Labour Day Long Weekend, We’ll be Back on Tuesday

It also means that ILScorp won’t be in on Monday, Sept 5, as we will be celebrating Labour day, which means there will be no ILSTV news or newsletter that day. But, as all good things do, the long weekend will come to an end, and We’ll be back Tuesday morning, ready to take your calls, answer your questions and register you for online insurance programs. You can reach us from 8 a.m. – 5  p.m. Pacific Time.

You can also register for our insurance training programs online, anytime, at ILScorp.com

For ILSTV newsletter subscribers, check your inbox, on Wednesday, September 7th and you can get caught up on all of the insurance industry news you may have missed while floating down a river, building a dock or whatever else you may have planned.

From all of us ILScorp and ILSTV – Have a Wonderful LABOUR DAY HOLIDAY.
To learn about insurance training options in your province, visit ILScorp.com, Canada’s leader in online insurance education.

Get free and instant access to the day’s news with the ILSTV Daily Newsletter, or receive email updates every Friday with a five-day insurance news overview with the ILSTV Weekly Newsletter.  Sign up here: Newsletter Sign Up

Top 20 most ANNOYING BUZZWORDS and PHRASES in the WORKPLACE

MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — While today’s workplace is awash with buzzwords and cliches, certain terms and phrases are more common — and grating — than others, according to an Accountemps survey of human resources (HR) managers. “Dynamic,” “deep dive” and “leverage” were among the most overused and annoying business buzzwords cited by those polled.

Mouth covered with tape

The survey was developed by Accountemps, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on interviews with more than 600 HR managers at U.S. and Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

“Clarity is still king when communicating in the workplace,” said Bill Driscoll, New England district president of Accountemps. “Jargon tends to confuse, not clarify. It’s generally best to avoid the tired cliches and trendy buzzwords in favor of clear, straightforward language.”

Managers were asked, “What is the most annoying or overused phrase or buzzword in the
workplace today?
” Their responses included:

  • “Out of pocket”
  • “Deep dive”
  • “Forward-thinking”
  • “Dynamic”
  • “Let me get back to you.”
  • “Pick your brain”
  • “Employee engagement”
  • “LOL”

In what may be a sign of both employee burnout and improved job prospects, some of the phrases suggest workers now feel more comfortable venting about their workloads and salaries:

  • “It’s not my job.”
  • “It’s above my pay grade.”
  • “When am I going to get a raise?”
  • “I am overwhelmed.”
  • “Crunch time”

Some buzzwords simply refuse to go away. These well-worn words and sayings also were cited in similar Accountemps surveys conducted in 2004 and 2009:

  • “Win-win”
  • “Value-added”
  • “Think outside the box.”
  • “Leverage”
  • “At the end of the day”
  • “Circle back”
  • “Synergy”

SOURCE Accountemps

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