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11 rookie mistakes to avoid during the first year of your new job

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 4:57 PM

Here's what you should do when starting your own business, according to the Small Business Administration Be aware of the many different laws and regulations you must comply with Decide on your business structure Don't give up when something isn't working Be comfortable with uncertainty and a lack of security Be willing to change your perspective at a moment's notice and act quickly

Whether you're in your first job straight out of college or are a seasoned professional starting with a different company, your first year can set the tone for success or failure. 

RELATED: It's in the eyebrows: 6 simple ways to win over your co-workers

 

Early mistakes can be difficult to overcome and can torpedo your career in the longer term.

The following are 11 rookie mistakes you'll want to avoid during the first year of your new job:

Ignoring the office culture

Each office has its own way of doing things, and it's part of your job to learn the culture of the organization you're becoming a part of, according to Fortune. Focus on what the company's priorities are, who the decision-makers are and how they arrive at their conclusions. Even if your goal is to change the organization, you'll first have to learn how to fit in.

Trying too hard

Although it's tempting to try to prove your worth immediately, trying to do this too fast can make you look arrogant, Fast Company advises. Instead, ask a lot of questions, which will help you learn the ropes as well as build trust with your colleagues.

Not clarifying expectations

The Public Relations Society of America recommends meeting with your manager to discuss your responsibilities, priorities, how your performance will be evaluated and how your role fits into the company's goals. You'll also want to request ongoing feedback to ensure that you're staying on the right track.

Forgetting relationship-building

You can start a new job with a plan for success, but you can't leave people out of the equation, according to Time. Know whose help you need to get your work done, and build productive relationships with these employees.

Taking on more than you can handle

In an effort to prove your worth, you may be tempted to take on more responsibility than you can handle. Experteer.com recommends that you make sure you can handle your workload and you're properly trained for new tasks, or you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Failing to listen

You may start a new job trying to show what you know, but don't dominate conversations, Time warns. Instead, listen to others, who can guide you with valuable input.

Talking about your previous employer

Think of your former employer as a previous boyfriend or girlfriend. Your current significant other doesn't want to be compared to your ex, and your present employer doesn't want to hear constant comparisons to your old company. You can mention things that worked at your former employer, but be helpful, not pushy, Experteer.com says.

Turning down invitations

Building bonds with your new colleagues is an important skill, so if you're invited to lunch, Bubble Jobs says you should take the opportunity. Otherwise, you could find that you're not asked again and will find yourself out of the loop.

Exaggerating your skills or experience

Don't act as if you know more than you do, Fast Company warns. Embellishing your skills and experience will come back to haunt you, so if you don't know something, own up to it and learn about it.

Holding back

Dawn Zier, the CEO of Nutrisystem, told Fortune that learning the ins and outs of the whole company is important. You should make time to meet people in all departments and hit the ground running and working collaboratively. Don't be afraid to ask constructive questions, but make sure they're well thought-out and that you listen carefully to the answers.

Over- or under-sharing

You shouldn't share your entire life story with your colleagues, but you also don't want to talk only about work, according to The Muse. Strike the right balance between over-sharing and being too silent, which can make you harder to relate to and make you seem arrogant or aloof.

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How to win an argument at work - or stop one before it starts

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 4:52 PM

Here's how to get a promotion anywhere in the world Understand what the hiring process looks like in your company Let the company know you want a promotion Make sure your values are in line with the company Make sure you have developed Emotional Intelligence Manage your stress levels

No one expects to navigate the work world without the occasional argument. And it's nice to "win" when you're in the right.

»RELATED: Does birth order affect you in the workplace?

But what really matters more than besting your manager or co-workers in an argument is how you handle the conflicts that are an inevitable part of work, according to a Forbes piece co-written by Travis Bradberry and Joseph Grenny.

"A persistent finding in both of our research is that your ability to handle moments of conflict has a massive impact on your success," they said. "How you handle conflict determines the amount of trust, respect and connection you have with your colleagues."

Psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne gave tips for winning arguments in any setting in Psychology Today, borrowing ideas from Israeli psychologist Eran Halperin about political conflict and interpreting them on a personal, rather than global, level.

"In an argument, your appraisal that you're losing, your belief that you need to be 'right' and the extent to which you like the other person can all have an impact on the emotions you experience," she wrote. "Your emotions can also get aroused by the desire to gain the respect of onlookers - no one enjoys being made to look ignorant in front of others, and when you feel that you're being made the fool, your outrage only increases."

Anger pretty much kills your ability to win an argument in any sense of the word "win," Whitbourne said. Instead of building to an outraged furor, she recommended six key, argument-winning tools:

Know your facts

Whitbourne reminded people of all the times they made a claim about a bit of trivia, quickly realized they were wrong, and then stuck to their guns anyhow. "This is not an ideal way to win (or enter) an argument." Stop and think before you make a blooper and you'll be less likely to lose an argument, whether it's trivial or actually important to your career.

Prepare to acknowledge the other person's point of view

You don't have to agree with your foe, but if you want to win the argument, "you do need to be able to see the world the way your opponent does. Stepping into the mental set of those you argue with allows you to figure out what's influencing them. Perhaps they're feeling threatened, anxious, or annoyed. Perhaps they know something that you don't. In any case, showing empathy will lower the temperature of the debate."

Try to be, or at least seem, open-minded

"Becoming defensive is one of the worst ways to win an argument. Don't let your opponent sense that you're digging into your position without being willing to consider alternatives. And if you let your opponent speak, he might come to your side without your having to do anything other than listen."

»RELATED: 7 steps to transition from a 9-to-5 to a full-fledged entrepreneur

Keep your emotions in check

Halperin's research revealed how important emotions are in determining your ability to appraise situations. "If you lose your temper, you'll only antagonize your opponent, which will further heighten his or her wrath, and the process can only escalate upwards," Whitbourne explained. Worried that you'll seem weak if you suddenly become calm in the middle of the argument? Don't worry. You'll gain points by showing self-control.

Stay hopeful that the argument can be resolved

Arguments can stir up negative emotions. If you're in the midst of a screaming fest, it's tough to envision a resolution where you still have your dignity intact. But strive to stay optimistic. "Invoking the feeling of hope allows you to think more clearly, leading to the possibility that you'll win by sheer force of logic." If you believe there's a way out, you're more likely to find one. "This is what happens in ordinary problem-solving, when thinking outside of the box can help all sides come up with a solution. Such an 'aha' moment in an argument can lead you straight to victory."

Respect your opponent

You may not emerge as the clear victor in an argument, or you may get your way but make your business relationship worse. It's important not to insult or degrade your opponent during the conflict. "Even if the individual is someone you'll never see again, it's still important to show that you meant 'nothing personal' in the dispute."

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8 easy, money-making side gigs for teens 

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:29 PM

Employment bloggers recommended these eight part-time jobs for full-time teens Barista Juice/smoothie shop cashier Lifeguard Caddy Product merchandiser Car wash attendant Packing and moving services Photo scanner and archivist

Whether it's the teen who'd like extra money for things like clothes or gas or a parent who'd like to see their high school or college-aged child get off the couch when school’s out, a part-time job can be a wonderful thing.

»RELATED: Apple hiring for work from home positions

Of course, child labor laws dictate how young is too young to work and what hours (and under what conditions) older teens can work. They'll eliminate a few job options for teens, but there are still plenty of places to work. 

Just keep in mind a few things, according to the team at Localwise: "It's important to be able to get to your job easily and relatively stress-free." They also advised teens to make sure the job fits with their schedule and note any unique experience a job might require before applying.

»Localwise and other employment bloggers recommended these eight part-time jobs for full-time teens:

A barista pours a cup of coffee at Colson Patisserie on February 22, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)(Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

Barista: "Working as a barista will hone your skills at making the perfect cup," Localwise noted. If you can hack the early morning shifts, it also gives you a chance to become a coffee snob.

Juice/smoothie shop cashier: "The only thing you need to know going into this job is how not to stick your hand into a blender," Localwise joked. There is also a little math involved, so overall this job is great for teens looking for money-handling experience or who are interested in non-greasey fast food work.

Lifeguard: Localwise considers this job as "close to Super Hero as it gets." While lifeguard jobs can involve winter hours at health clubs and indoor pools, they're more likely to be available in the warm months. Check into water parks too. Be sure to find out where you'll get your CPR training and lifeguard certification - and who pays for it.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks to his new caddie Harry Diamond during a preview day of the World Golf Championships.

Caddy: One of Localwise's "best paying jobs for teens," caddies can make $50 to $100 in a day, sometimes in cash, and you can choose your own hours. You do need to know your way around a golf course and be able to walk and lift equipment, though. 

Product merchandiser: Teens can flourish on the sales floor of a shop, restocking, taking inventory and styling display mannequins. Expect to make around $12.50 per hour in this position, according to Localwise.

Car wash attendant: Money Crashers highly recommended working at a car wash for students who like to stay busy at work, like to have a shiny car themselves (since they can probably get washing services free) and would appreciate the occasional tip in adddition to minimum wage.

For the fit teen who needs a flexible schedule, Money Crashers recommends a side hustle as a residential packer and mover.(Contributed by Money Crashers/For the AJC)

Packing and moving services: If you like to stay active and are organized, look into working for a bonded and insured moving company as an assistant for packing and moving personal possessions.

Photo scanner and archivist: Teens whose schedules are chock-full of activities and high-pressure homework can still take on work if they concentrate on side hustles instead of employer-based schedules, according to Money Crashers. One good idea scanning and archiving documents and photos. "No one has the time to tackle this time-consuming task," Money Crashers noted. 

How to help your teen get a job

It's a good idea for parents to stay involved in the job-seeking process, according to Readers Digest Canada. They recommended these steps:
  • Keep the resume current. Get a jump on other summer job seekers by polishing resumes as soon as kids decide they want employment. Check with your child's high school, community job centers and job-seeking websites for help. Review the job history section yourself, reminding your child of any assets, awards or experience she may have neglected to include. "We look for sports, drama, yearbook - anything that shows the applicant doesn't just watch TV," Jim Shaw, franchise owner of 11 Tim Horton's restaurants in Nova Scotia, told the magazine.
  • Brainstorm references. Be ready to provide reference letters from teachers, coaches, baby-sitting clients, your minister or a family friend.
  • Practice the interview. Pretend you're the employer asking questions. For a real confidence boost, have your teen write down and rehearse answers. Keep in mind that employers are mostly looking for enthusiasm from teen employees. 
  • Pound the pavement. Teenagers need to be on the lookout for "Help Wanted" signs, but they can also approach businesses that appeal to them but aren't hiring at the moment. The student who checks in every now and then is the one who will come to mind when that business finally has an opening.

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8 ways to stop wasting money at work 

Published: Thursday, January 11, 2018 @ 4:56 PM

Telecommuting is on the rise, and can save you big. See if you’re cut out for it, and if so, here’s a way to find work.

Certainly, it's ironic that it costs money to work to make money to pay your bills. But if you haven't considered how much you spend on the expenses of working, from commutes to coffee, you may be missing significant ways to cut back your personal expenses.

These tactics are even more important if you're considering cutting back on your work hours in the near future, or another upcoming event in your life will necessitate saving money in all areas.

»RELATED: 5 surefire ways to get to retire earlier than you thought

Cutting back on work expenses may be far easier than you think, according to frugal bloggers. And there are side benefits like improved health from walking instead of always taking a cab, or packing a lunch instead of eating fast food.

Here are eight quick money-saving ideas to consider:

Consider sharing your ride. If your work involves a lengthy commute, or even a short one, you may be kissing hundreds of dollars a year goodbye in commute expenses. One way to save the big bucks, according to Marie Claire, is simply to find someone to carpool with. If you're feeling adventurous, check out erideshare.com to hitch a ride with a friend you haven't met yet.

Cut gas costs while you're driving. Keep your heater or AC on just long enough to get your car to the right temperature, or roll down your windows to save gas money.

Double check the bus and train fares. Marie Claire suggested re-checking your route and pinpointing the place at which your commuting fare goes up. "If you can save a few bucks a day by getting off two blocks earlier, it might be worth the extra cash," it noted.

Walk on by expensive hosiery. If you're habitually spending $40 a pair for hosiery that adheres to your company's dress code, cut it out, Real Simple recommended. "That $40 pair may take a little longer to ladder, but in winter especially, you're usually better off buying multiple pairs of cheaper tights than one or two pairs of expensive ones, New York-based image consultant Annie Brumbaugh told RS. 

If you're in a white-collar career, buy one really good jacket. Instead of spending lots of time and money coming up with new business outfits each week, buy a quality jacket and base your wardrobe on that. "A very good jacket can do a lot for your overall look," Brumbaugh said. "You could wear just a T-shirt and jeans, but an expensive, fabulous jacket upgrades your outfit." RS advised to look for a jacket that fits the widest part of your body and if your bust is large, buy a jacket that will close over your chest. In any case, have a reputable tailor fit the jacket so you can wear it with several outfits a week.

Protect those expensive work shoes. Instead of buying lots of inexpensive shoes that won't last or continually replacing one high-quality pair, Brumbaugh recommended buying high quality in a style you can wear daily. To protect that investment, have your good work shoes weatherproofed and the soles reinforced with rubber at a shoe repair shop.

A packed lunch will always save money over eating out, but only if you choose items you'll actually eat.(Contributed by Bicycling.com/For the AJC)

Break the fast food lunch habit. Eating lunch from home instead of greasy fast food may be one of the easiest ways to start saving money, according to the Balance. "Food prices are going up, and it is common to spend around $7.00 or $8.00 a meal at a fast food restaurant," it said. "If you add this up for lunches, it would be around $40 a week or $200 a month. This is just for one person for one meal."

To make eating lunch at work easier, the Balance recommended packing a lunch the night before and carrying it to a park to eat if you can't bear to stay at your desk while you eat. "Frozen dinners and soup are a good fallback for the days you didn't have time to prep a lunch," the Balance noted.

Kick the big bucks coffee habit. According to the Good Financial Cents blog, it's easy to spend $4 per cup or up to $80 per week on coffee. To cut the habit, GFC recommended flavoring your own coffee with spices, eating a piece of fruit for an energy boost in the afternoon instead of drinking coffee, and at the very least, looking for gift cards to your favorite cafes on eBay and Craigslist to save money.

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6 signs it's time to break up with your workplace friend

Published: Tuesday, January 09, 2018 @ 10:58 AM

Here are five of the most common toxic colleagues The Flake: factor in their anticipated laziness when you're given a project with a lazy co-worker The Betrayer: they'll throw you under the bus the second a project goes wrong, so protect your ideas by sending a memo of your thoughts The Full-time Downer: spend as little time with them as possible The Office Gossip: keep your personal details close and limit this co-worker's access to your social media posts The Narcissist: keep your expectations of what t

Since you spend so much time at work, of course you want to have friends there! But whether you're enjoying the nonphysical, non-romantic friendship of a "work spouse" or have numerous buddies at the office, some friendships do more harm than good.

»RELATED: 5 of the most toxic co-workers and how to deal with them

According to workplace and psychology experts, these are six signs you might need to end a workplace friendship:

Your friend needs you... all the time. "Women tend to rely on their friends more heavily for emotional sustenance," Irene S. Levine, psychologist and author of Best Friends Forever, told Real Simple. "But if someone is constantly depending on you, that's when it's toxic." An overly-needy buddy will exhaust you and take up precious workplace time, with demands that range from acting as her consultant on every decision to requesting financial help.

You're on a rollercoaster. Similar to off-hours friendships, a workplace friendship that goes up and down and around might need to come to an end, according to Levine. "The unpredictability takes a toll on you," she said. "It can make you anxious, nervous, or depressed when you don't know what to expect from a friend whom you're supposed to rely on."

Your "work spouse" is showing signs of too much attachment. If your go-to work partner is now closing the door each time you meet, scheduling lots of after-hours activities that don't really have much to do with work or spending every hour in your cubicle, you may want to pull back a bit, according to Monster.com. Even if you don't have a spouse waiting at home, you want co-workers to know that your workplace relationship is on the up and up. Aside from stopping the rumor mill, you also want to let other colleagues know they are appreciated and equal.

A work friend wants you to do their chores.  A friend who's taking advantage of you should cease being a friend, starting tomorrow. You can assume you really are charming and co-workers like spending time with you, but only up to a point, according to U.S. News. If a recent friend, or even a long-time pal, starts asking you to take on some of their work, it's time to question the validity of your connection. "More devious types may simply be the equivalent of that kid who, during group projects, unloaded all the work on you and walked away with an 'A' on the project," U.S. News noted. "You're mature now, so don't let that happen ... again."

Colleagues essentially consider you the same person. If you're so close to a co-worker that people literally cannot distinguish you, your friendship is depriving you of a chance to shine as an individual and take on new challenges, said psychologist Andrea Bonior in Psychology Today. You'll also suffer from any negative parts of your friend's reputation or job performance. "Don't let your bosom-buddyhood keep you from being seen as your own person," Bonior said.

It would be too drastic to end such a friendship, but you should definitely seek other buddies at work, ask to be put on separate projects occasionally and ask others for input when you can, not always your work twin.

Your supposed friend betrays you. A friend who betrays a bond doesn't get a pass just because it happened at work, according to Levine. Don't ignore that gut feeling telling you it's a big deal. Any betrayal is a sign to reevaluate the relationship.

As for setting out on another workplace friendship, there are warning times you should take it slow, Levine told CNN. Note whether a potential friend is jealous, needy or passive-aggressive, she advised. Be especially cautious if one of you is supervising the other, you work in a very competitive environment, or your paychecks are far different. Such friendships should unfold slowly "so you have a good sense of the other person, and know whether the person is trustworthy and has good judgment," Levine added.

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