Here's what your astrological sign says about your career path

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 5:17 PM

When faced with personality tests, here's what you need to know They're used as a screening tool to help determine which job candidates will stick around and succeed on the job Asking a polite, professional question or two about the test can also glean some telling information about the company Experts recommend not overthinking the questions and instead going with the first answer that comes to mind The more sophisticated tests have built-in checks that can detect inconsistencies

Whether you're thriving in your career or constantly struggling to come to terms with your workplace situation, maybe you were born this way.

Just like Meyer's Brigg personality tests or any number of other workplace prognosticators, your zodiac sign may influence your career values and motivations. Horoscope astrology is based on the idea that our identities and the events that shape our lives are influenced by astronomical events by week and by year, explained career horoscope astrologer Lucien Holm. (Yes, there actually is a job titled "career horoscope astrologer!")

RELATED: Hate those job personality tests? Here's how to hack them

Your sign analysis can reveal a lot about your temperament, qualities, flaws and how compatible you are with other astrological signs, which can help you improve your odds of success and happiness at work by guiding your career choice.

And if you're super skeptical, put the whole exercise down to good, clean fun.

Here is how astrologer Kelli Fox of TheAstrologer.com sees each sign in terms of what kind of employee you are, what makes you do well in your work environment and what careers will make you the most successful, as reported in Marie Claire.

Aries (March 21-April 19)

Natural born leaders, Aries can transition easily into being the boss but are not the best at working for the boss, especially one prone to micromanagement and restriction. Ideal careers: CEO or management professional jobs that allow you to be in control and anything competitive or physical. Think outdoor guide or personal trainer, athlete or working for a sports organization.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Grounded and practical, Taurans can segue from leader to follower in any situation, and their hard work and dedication make them great team players (though the well-known stubborn nature of this sign can put off co-workers and bosses, so you'll need to pick your battles.) Jobs like flower arranging, food industry jobs or luxury sales provide Taurus with much-valued beautiful things and a steady routine. The sign also tends to be great with money and practical financial advice, so banking and finance careers are a plus.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Geminis thrive in workplaces that offer them a fast pace, variety and a chance to interact with many different things, from people to applications or diverse environments. Note: this also indicates a tendency to get bored easily. Teaching and communications are perfect for Gemini, as well as careers in PR and publicity or jobs that involve project management.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

The most traditional, nurturing sign, Cancers lead by example and handle responsibility with ease. Ideal careers include childcare workers and nannies, social workers, human resource employees, lawyers, teachers and executives.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

Leos love inspiring others to be their best, so teaching and politics are top picks for this sign. They're also good at being the boss, once they get past the tendency to be high maintenance and win over their team. Leos also do well in entertainment fields and make magnetic leaders.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

Ever the perfectionist and a compassionate, considerate, natural follower, a Virgo is basically the ideal employee. Virgos have strong memories and know what to do when emotions run high. Good career choices run the gamut from the service and care industries to anything that requires mass amounts of research or stats — think fact-checker and editor, technician, translator or detective.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

Social and talented at bringing people together, Libras are great at careers that involve mediation, in and out of the office.

Working with others is crucial to their happiness — think hospitality, customer service, diplomats, travel agents and even wedding planners. Careers in justice and law enforcement are also natural fits.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Secret-keepers to the core, Scorpios thrive in positions that require discretion. Scorpios are ideal in the surgery room or as a secret agent, as well as working in crisis management. They're also great with resource management and logistics and would make outstanding CFOs.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

A Sagittarius has a knack for conversation, inspiring morale and working hard as a team player. Any job with travel is good for these upbeat people, as well as teaching, youth program leaders or working for a nonprofit.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

Serious, practical and organized, Capricorns are still charismatic and are good at rung-climbing careers. They also make great engineers, architects and design-adjacent employees.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Hardworking with an out-of-the-box attitude, ideal careers for the Aquarian include science or tech (where they can explore new theories or applications), graphic design or photography and even project management. They are also ideal entrepreneurs or independent contractors.

Pisces (Feb. 19-Mar. 20)

Pisces are as flexible as they come in the workforce, and ideal careers include anything having to do with healthcare, the arts or a combination, like working in arts programs that help troubled teens.

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6 most impressive benefits offered to Amazon employees

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

How much do you know about Amazon?

As Atlanta and 19 other cities strive to become the site of Amazon's next headquarters, aka "HQ2," an important question needs answering: What's in it for potential employees?

After all, HQ2 could bring 50,000 new jobs to the chosen city.

According to business publications like Business Insider and Fairygodboss, those employees would be in good hands.

Though Amazon does not appear on the ranks of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® 2017 , it does offer premium benefits and perks to its full-time employees and it would extend the same or similar packages anywhere it chose as a second headquarters.

»RELATED: 9 best-, worst-paying jobs at Amazon 

As its VP of HR John Olsen told Business Insider, the company provides uniform benefits across all levels of employees. "My benefits package is the same as a benefits package here at the fulfillment center," he said. "I think we've got an egalitarian process."

Here are six current Amazon employee perks or benefits to drool over:

The new Amazon Books store at Domain Northside opened in March and features about 2,000 book titles, as well as Amazon’s electronic devices and some nondigital products, such as board games, toys and high-powered blenders. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman(American-Statesman Staff)

Top-rate tuition reimbursement. Amazon corporate communications manager Nina Lindsey included this teaser on the full breakdown of Amazon benefits she shared with Business Insider: "Both full-time and part-time hourly employees are eligible for Amazon's innovative Career Choice program that prepays 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a future career at Amazon." Amazon even steers students to a few good bets in the future economy, though they don't match the company's hiring profile (at least not yet). "Career Choice allows employees to develop in-demand skills for professions of the future, including medical technicians, paralegals, robotics engineers and solar panel installation professionals," the website enthuses.

Some of those classes might even be held onsite at the HQ2 if the current headquarter continuing education strategy is duplicated.

»RELATED: 5 things to know about Amazon

A "network of support" when it's a jungle out there. According to the Amazon jobs site benefits link (and with the caveat that these benefits apply to full-time employees and may vary by location), company benefits designed to "make life a little bit easier" include an extensive and free, employee assistance program. It provides confidential 24/7 support for multiple aspects of work and personal life. This assistance runs the gamut: from access to financial counseling and estate planning to online assistance with children's developmental disabilities.

Dental and vision insurance for part-timers. According to the Amazon jobs link, employees who work more than 20 hours per week still receive "funding towards medical insurance" and dental and vision insurance with "premiums paid in full by Amazon."

A bias-resistant interview process. Amazon's rating on the women's work website Fairygodboss isn't too rousing: Just 33 percent of its female employees who offered feedback would recommend it to other women. But Amazon did get a glowing review of its ongoing interview process improvements.

"Amazon has even incorporated bias training into their interviewing practices so that every Hiring Manager and Interviewer considers subconscious biases they may have coming into the interview (an example would be women coming across as 'abrasive' in an interview whereas a man would come across as showing backbone)," one woman wrote. 

Enhanced ability to adopt. According to the Amazon jobs page, the company also gives full-time employees help with qualified domestic and international adoption expenses including attorney fees, court costs and travel. The adoption edge at Amazon also includes leave prior to, and following, the birth or adoption of a child. It taps into Amazon's industry unique "Leave Share" option, where an employee can share time off with a spouse or domestic partner whose workplace doesn't offer the option.

An Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair heads into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. Butler County's Liberty township is making efforts to snag Amazon's second North American headquarters.((AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)/For the AJC)

Bring your dog to work every day. Really devoted pet parents would adore working at Amazon, at least if HQ2 follows the current headquarters. Fairygodboss describes Amazon as "a dog owner's dream. On any given day, you can find hundreds of dogs roaming the company's campus, where they happily enjoy doggie water fountains, a dog park, and treats at the reception desk."

As solid as the Amazon's job benefits are, Atlanta would do well to also try to draw an Audible outpost for top worker perks. The Amazon-owned company, based in Newark, listed some of these perks for employees during a recent hiring spree, according to Business Insider: In-house gym, Happy Hour on Fridays, tuition assistance, transit reimbursement and a breakfast and juice bar on Mondays.

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5 side hustles you can do from the comfort of your home

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 @ 4:09 PM

Here are five of the most popular expert-recommended work at home businesses Start a business plan service and grow as you're able to devote more time and resources Be an accountant, from simple bookkeeping to providing analytic tools Those looking for a profitable after-hours side hustle might want to consider small engine repair Airbnb your home to business travelers or tourists Land a job as a home-cased call center

It's not all working in your pajamas, sleeping late and eating cereal at all hours, but part-time work from home can help you earn money while you watch the kids.

Plus, you'll avoid a commute and earn great experience you can take into the world for a later career. 

Here are five of the most popular expert-recommended work at home businesses:

Business plan service

One of Entrepreneur's "55 ideas for starting a home-based business for less than $5,000," a business plan service costs less than $1,500 to get off the ground. You'll complete market research, a business plan narrative and financial statements for clients. Author Cheryl Kimball advises, "Base your fee on whichever deliverable the clients wants most and bill the others as 'add on services.'" Along with the ability to work from home, this idea has the added advantage of expansion possibilities, so you can start small and grow as you're able to devote more time and resources.

Accountant

Those willing to perform financial services for small businesses can easily choose their level of involvement, from simple bookkeeping to providing analytic tools like income statements and financial reports. If you have the requisite background and certifications, you can offer specialized services like tax accounting. If you're new to the field, beware employment ads promising big profits, as they're probably not legitimate accounting jobs.

RELATED: Uber isn't everything: 7 other lucrative part-time side gigs 

Small engine repair

Not every part-time home-based job is for white collar workers, according to Entrepreneur. Stay-at-home parents or those looking for a profitable after-hours side hustle might want to consider small engine repair. Of course, you'll need experience or licensing for this garage-centered business, but most community colleges offer courses on engine repair. You also might be able to start out at someone else's shop to learn what you need to know. Before you put up fliers or a Craigslist ad, you'll want to know how to repair different types of lawn mowers, rototillers, chainsaws and generators.

This home in the South Park neighborhood rents on Airbnb starting for about $99 per night. CONTRIBUTED(Staff Writer)

Airbnb

If you're considering ways to make money working part-time from home, spend a few hours evaluating whether your home itself could provide sideline income. Airbnb is simply a website that acts as an online community, connecting travelers and hosts. Members list and rent lodging to other members, from entire houses to a spare bed. Airbnb handles all the transactions for a small fee from both host and renter. You'll need to consider whether you can attract enough business travelers or tourists to your home, according to the Simple Dollar, which offers tips for creating an alluring listing and for scheduling your opening at the same time as a big local event that will boost demand.

Home call center

As more companies shift to an increasingly remote workforce, there really are opportunities for legitimate work-at-home call center positions, according to the Spruce. Having experience in a office-based call center or even previous retail experience is often enough to land you a job with a home-based call center. Speaking more than one language will also make you an extra-appealing call center candidate. Avoid scams by watching out for job offers that include testing costs, application or training fees or reqests for the job applicant to pay for specialized equipment and software.

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Uber isn't everything: 7 other lucrative part-time side gigs 

Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 @ 9:59 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 @ 9:59 AM

Uber isn't the only option for making extra money Become a notary public Start dog walking and pet sitting Be a modern-day disc jockey Or a freelance personal chef Clean garages and attics Be a computer tutor Or a picture framer

Uber is usually the first side hustle mentioned when talk turns to part-time jobs for people who already have full-time work. 

It does offer flexible earning power, especially if you live in an area with lots of nightlife and own a car that qualifies. But Uber isn't the only option for making extra money working around your full-time commitments. 

»RELATED: Become a rent-a-friend? 6 under-the-radar ways to make some extra cash

These part-time businesses are recommended for people who already have a full-time job and want to make extra money or start getting established as an entrepreneur:

Become a notary public: Each state has different requirements, but notary publics are always independent contractors who earn money by handling mortgage signings, notarizing trust documents and performing many other tasks. This part-time money maker offers the advantage of adding another skill to your resume or enhancing your current job qualifications. It's also a good side hustle for weekends and evenings, when typical notary publics may not be available. You'll need state certification, which will probably cost less than $100. Visit the National Notary Association to learn more about how to become a notary in your state.

Dog walking and pet sitting: If you're good with animals, you may have a head start on a part-time pet sitting business. Drawing from friends and neighbors is a good way to grow your business and you can increase your rates a bit once you're established. If you can't commit to boarding animals in your home or staying overnight with other people's pets, consider a dog-walking or waste clean-up business. Get more business quickly by registering with a service like Rover.com, which links pet owners with sitters and dog walkers (after you pass a background check and provide references).

Modern-day disc jockey: ‪Event entertainment is in high demand, providing dance music for weddings, birthdays and bar mitzvahs and background tunes for more casual events. This is the ideal side hustle for people who already have an organized music collection, mixing software and a "have laptop, will travel" mentality. While full-fledged disc jockey equipment can be pricey, you can rent speakers, subwoofers and other bells and whistles until your business can justify purchasing your own.

Freelance personal chef: Cook meals for new moms, working parents or people who want to enjoy their weekends off. According to Entrepreneur, there's lots of demand for personal chefs.

Garage and attic cleaning: You might find doing someone else's dirty work can actually be fun. Along with the base fee, you may earn more by finding saleable treasures among the giveaways or bottles and cans you can recycle for profit. The only possible deal breaker: you'll have to acquire a truck if you don't already own one (they're typically too expensive to rent when you're trying to turn a profit).

Computer tutor makes a profitable part-time business since many people can't afford or don't understand software manuals.(Contributed by Pressmaster/Shutterstock/For the AJC)

Computer tutor: Whether you're an expert at programs from Windows and Linux or just really good at desktop publishing or work processing, you can earn money helping people improve their computer skills. Technical manuals are often expensive and hard for average computer users to understand. Business News Daily recommends charging by the hour for complete tutorials or holding short classes for small groups at a business.

Picture framer: If you're crafty but not necessarily a framing expert, read up or take a non-credit course at a local college. Then work with gallery owners, print shops, artists, photographers and portrait painters to build a client list. You'll need tools (but you can rent the saws and miter boxes at a home store to start).

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Become a rent-a-friend? 6 under-the-radar ways to make some extra cash

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 1:40 PM

Uber isn't the only option for making extra money Become a notary public Start dog walking and pet sitting Be a modern-day disc jockey Or a freelance personal chef Clean garages and attics Be a computer tutor Or a picture framer

Need some extra cash or an ongoing side hustle?

It can pay (literally) to get a little creative. In fact, in today's inventive economy, it can pay even more if you go beyond "creative" and into the realm of pretty weird. Still, as long as they're legal (and the following suggestions are), what does it hurt to bring home the bucks in an odd fashion?

»RELATED: 5 unique side gigs you’ll probably enjoy more than your day job

For those who are open to an off-kilter experience and not ashamed to show it, here are six odd - but perfectly legal - ways to make money:

Serve as an online mock juror

It's fairly random, because it's not guaranteed that you'll get called, but if you sign up on sites like Sign Up Direct, you can get paid to become a surrogate juror.

Here's how it works: parties to a legal case require jury-eligible citizens from particular venues. Those selected listen to the case and decide the issues in the same way they would on a convened jury. Most sessions last either eight to 10 hours on a weekend or five to seven hours on weekdays and pay between $100 and $150 per session, just as soon as the "verdict" is returned.

Get paid to be a buddy

Consider the RentaFriend website, which takes applications for people who are wiling to provide (strictly platonic, no touching allowed) friendship in exchange for hourly pay that starts around $10. Fringe benefits include free meals and entertainment like concerts and sporting events.

The reasons people rent friends include needing a date for a business event or wedding or wanting someone to do stuff with in a new town. Some of the friends employed are able to offer additional services, like tutoring in a foreign language or etiquette advice. Do note that RentaFriend doesn't perform background checks on either its friends or its members.

Deliver phone books to real live doorsteps

While those yellow phone books may be old-school, individuals and charity groups who deliver them make modern-day money for their efforts.

Yellow Books doesn't pull any punches about the difficulty of the work: "Make no mistake, this is no walk in the park," they say. "It's good old-fashioned door to door deliveries so that means lacing up those runners, heading out into the fresh air and getting that blood pumping!”

On the plus side, you only have to be 18 or older, you can earn more the harder you work, you get paid four or five times per week during delivery season and you can often choose your turf. Yellow Books recommends checking out the active delivery locations listed on its "Where & When" page and then attending a 30 minute orientation to get started. 

(Drew Angerer/Getty)

Drop in on lazy dogs. Or maybe iguanas

While Rover is known as the nation's largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers, it also offers a "drop-in" option. That means you can create a business through them (if you pass the qualifications test) where you mostly stop by to feed and check on low-maintenance dogs, cats or caged pets. 

Play video games

Apparently, a few experts actually make a living playing the popular golf arcade game Golden Tee. In 2017, GO Banking Rates advised gamers to check out the earning potential of playing games while streaming live on video platforms like Twitch. "There, fans can interact with you as you play. Of course, it helps if you're actually good at the game, and can talk strategy and character builds. On Twitch, streamers with a few thousand followers and five-figure views earn an average of $3,000 to $5,000 per month playing 40 hours per week, and that's just off subscriptions. On top of that, ad revenue averages about $250 for every 100 subscribers."

According to the Smartasset blog, the three components of a Twitch channel are the game play itself, the webcam video of the player and the audio commentary. "That means broadcasters need a computer or console and other gaming equipment, plus a camera and a microphone headset for broadcasting purposes."

Make your backyard a wedding venue

"Renting out your property for backyard weddings is also a great way for homeowners to generate income while helping couples create a special day their guests will never forget," according to the Install It Direct blog. Venuelust estimated that engaged couples will spend anywhere from $2,500 to $30,000 for a unique venue, but of course you could start smaller in the beginning.

If you're sold on the idea, Venuelust offers a complete guide to renting your home for wedding events. They begin with the advice to avoid potential liability by listing with a venue management company like Estate Weddings and Events that takes precautions to protect you from such risks. 

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