Discrimination Against the Unemployed

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A reader named Susan left an interesting comment on Never Hire an MBA. She doesn't like the article, but what I found interesting was this part of her comment: Are you familiar with discrimination laws, well although there is not currently a discrimination law that would protect individuals from potential employers from discriminating against individuals who are unemployed, I am proud to say that I am one of thousands who have signed a petition against little minded people who discriminate against the unemployed. I hadn't heard of this before, but after a little research I found that some employers are including requirements in their job postings that basically say, "we only consider job … [Read more...]

How to Memorize Verbatim Text

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If you are visiting from StumbleUpon and like this article and tool, please consider giving it a thumbs up. Thanks! Memorizing does not have to be as hard as most people make it. The problem is that most people only know how to memorize by reading the same thing over and over again. You have to learn to memorize. In this post we are going to look at how the brain remembers and then show how to use that knowledge to come up with a method for memorizing verbatim text.  Any tip or trick that will improve your memory even slightly is well worth the effort. In this article we are going to focus on a technique that will let you easily: Memorize a speech Memorize the Bible Memorize … [Read more...]

Effort vs. Ability

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Scientists did an experiment with a bunch of children where they gave them several tests that got increasingly more difficult.  After the first two tests, they told the children that they had done very well. Group A was praised them for being smart and talented. Group B was praised for their hard work. Next they gave them a very difficult test--so difficult that many children didn't get a single question right. They then told both groups that they hadn't done as well on this test and asked them if they knew why. The students from group A said that it must be because they weren't smart enough. Group B said that it must be because they didn't try hard enough. That in  itself is … [Read more...]

Free Derek Sivers Video

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AppSumo has some free videos of Derek Sivers talking about starting, running and selling CD Baby. Derek wrote the book Anything You Want which I highly recommend--except the cover, I hate the cover. The free deal only goes for the next 60 hours or so.  You have to sign up for an AppSumo account, but it relatively painless and doesn't require a credit card because the cost is $0. If you are interested in starting a business or helping run a business, I'd highly recommend getting this.  You can download the MP3, video or PDF of the talk. I haven't listened to all the videos yet, but I wanted to let readers know about it while there was still time to get it. If it is anything like the book … [Read more...]

Is an MBA a Waste of Money?

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Normally I've taken the position that an MBA can be well worth the money. Even my arguments that many employers overvalue MBA candidates suggests that the degree may be a very profitable career decision. My article Never Hire an MBA got a lot of attention.  I was surprised at the number of people who missed the point of the article, thought I was saying that no one should get an MBA and tried to defend the degree.  While there were some well thought out arguments, there were quite a few that were---well lets just say, less well reasoned.  Take a look at them for yourself and you'll see what I mean.  Also keep in mind that I moderated quite a few of the really … [Read more...]

Anything You Want – Book Review

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Anything You Want is a short book by Derek Sivers.  Derek started CD Baby and eventually sold it to Disc Makers. CD Baby lets musicians sell their CDs online and grew out of Derek's frustration with trying to find a solution to sell his own CDs over the Internet. Usually when I review a book, I try to give enough information that Productivity501 readers can tell if they should invest in reading it for themselves. This is one of the few books where I feel I can safely say, "just go read it."  It is an excellent book and I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't learn something from it. It took me a lot longer to review Anything You Want because I couldn't ever find the book in my house.  It … [Read more...]

Effective Communication

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Yesterday we talked about influence. One of the primary keys to influence is good communication. It doesn't matter how good your ideas are if you can't communicate them in a way that will connect with your audience and bring about change.  In this post, we are going to look at three ways to communicate  more effectively. 1. Be visual I once ran an IT department for a non-profit with about 200 employees.  In the work room we had a large color and a large b&w printer.  The cost on the color printer was about $0.15 per page.  The cost of the b&w was $0.015 per page.  I kept trying to ask people to use the b&w unless they had a compelling reason to print color.  When you are … [Read more...]

Leaps of Imagination

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Einstein was a smart, but the world is full of smart people.  What was different about Einstein that allowed him to come up with the theory of relativity?  Simple.  Einstein was able to take a leap of imagination. At the time, everyone believed that time was constant.  If you and I synchronize our watches and I wait on the ground while you take off and fly on a very fast space ship, it was assumed that when you came back our watches would still match. It was such a fundamental concept that no one even bothered to question it. However, Einstein realized that something didn't quite seem right. The basis of his uneasiness with the modern theories came when he was 16 years old and began to … [Read more...]

Do The Work – Review and Free Book

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Steven Pressfield is  the author of a number of  books including The Legend of Bagger Vance and War of Art. His newest book Do The Work walks you through a process for getting work done.  This quote gives you a good idea of what you'll find in the book. Our enemy is not lack of preparation; it's not the difficulty of the project, or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.  The enemy is resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why he can't/shouldn't/won't do what we know we need to … [Read more...]

Personal MBA

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Josh Kaufman sent me his new book  The Personal MBA.  His "Personal MBA" started out as list of recommended reading for someone who wanted to really learn how business works, but wasn't sure an MBA was really worth it. The list grew with input from others and now consists of this list organized by topic along with reviews of each book. Eventually Josh decided to distill what he had learned into his own book and the result was The Personal MBA. I think the book is excellent. He first talks about his quest for learning  how businesses really work and lays out a pretty effective argument that top MBA degree programs are: A poor investment - If you use the things … [Read more...]

5 Simple Networking Tips

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As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the importance of who you know keeps going up.  Here are five tips for cultivating and growing your network. Note: I don't advocate doing any of this to simply take advantage of other people.  Networking only works if you are genuinely interested in the people you are trying to connect with.  If you try to fake it just to get favors from people, everyone will know. 1. Use Social Networking Tools Sites like Facebook and Linked In make it easy to find people you've known in the past.  In particular, the ability to look at the friends of your current friends can save you a lot of time in hunting down acquaintances from school or previous … [Read more...]

7 Ways To Upgrade Your Brain

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If you like this article, please share it with your friends on your blog, email, a thumbs up on StumbleUpon, Facebook or however else you share links. A person's mind is their most powerful tool.  Yet very few people take intentional steps toward "upgrading" their brain and trying to become smarter. Here are some scary statistics from an article in The Economist: In 1991 a worker with a bachelors degree earned 2.5 times as much as a high-school drop out. In 2010 a worker with a bachelors degree earned 3 times as much as a high-school drop out. There is an obvious trend toward paying people who have "upgraded their brain" more money. This probably isn't too surprising, but … [Read more...]

Read Stuff You Don’t Understand

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If you want to grow you must push yourself beyond where you are at. Sometimes this means reading material that you don't completely understand. Obviously you can't pickup a book in a completely foreign language and expect to get anything out of it, but you can pickup a book on a topic where you don't really have the right prerequisite knowledge to understand 100% of the content and still learn a lot. Lets say you are reading something where 25% of it is completely foreign to you. By foreign I mean that you understand the words, but you don't really understand what is being said. Many people would consider this a waste--because you don't understand it. However, your mind is a … [Read more...]

Questions about Online Degrees

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Here are some of the questions I've received from readers about online degrees.  Most of these were prompted by my post about getting my masters degree from Harvard's Extension School. So would you recommend the Harvard Extension School program? ~ Dana Yes. If they have a degree that fits your needs and you can meet the residency requirement, the Harvard Extension School offers some of the best value in education that I'm aware of. Be aware that some of the students who are full time on campus have a negative view of the Extension School students. One of the main complaints I've heard is that it is too easy to get into the Extension School. Some students feels that their acceptance into … [Read more...]

Online Degree Programs

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Over the next ten years, I believe we are going to see an ever increasing shift toward online degree programs in areas where people have traditionally attended a physical university. There are a number of obvious reasons for this trend, but here are a few: Low cost to scale - A well designed online degree program may have a high fixed cost, but a low-cost to add an additional student.  The cost to provide a degree program to 20 students vs. 40 students requires a much smaller percentage increase than doubling the number of student physically coming to class. Tighter focus on education - Online degree programs tend to be much more focused on the actual educational process with less of a … [Read more...]

Executive MBA Programs

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When I wrote Never Hire an MBA, I think some people thought I was recommending against any type of MBA degree. This isn't the case.  If anything the arguments in that post would support the idea that an MBA is valuable. My main point was that employers need to make sure they don't get blinded by the MBA credentials and make sure they are hiring people with more than just a diploma. If you are an employee looking at an MBA, you have quite a few options. In this post I want to discuss executive MBA programs and how one of these programs might support your career goals. Executive MBA programs are designed for people with experience who are in the middle of successful careers and don't … [Read more...]

Starting College

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With school in full swing again it seemed like a good time to do a post geared toward helping people who are experiencing college for the first time.  If you aren't in college, but know someone who is, please consider passing these tips on to them. Learn outside the classroom What you learn in the classroom will only be a very small part of your college education.  It is easy to get so focused on the formal side of education that you miss out on learning from everything that is going on around you.  College is a great place to learn how to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures, deal with strange and difficult people, and negotiate. Too often, students overlook the … [Read more...]

Be Brilliant

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Are you average or above average? By definition, you are probably average although I like to assume that most readers of Productivity501 are above average. But for the moment, lets assume you are average.  How can you become above average? Time is the great equalizer. Everyone has the same amount of time--whether you are average, below average or above average.  The simple difference between people who are average and those who are above average is that above average people spend more time on the things that really matter. While this is simple to state, identifying the things that are really important and that really matter can be surprisingly. When Bill Gates dropped … [Read more...]

Graduate School Options

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Graduate school is the next academic step after getting a bachelor's degree.  Graduate schools award masters and doctorate and several other types of recognition.  In this post, we are going to look at some of the different types of graduate school options and talk about what each one entails and how it benefits you in the job market. Graduate Citation A graduate citation isn't a degree, but it recognizes the completion of a collection of classes on a particular topic. A graduate citation is similar to a certificate (see below), but smaller in scope. It is the smallest unit of work you can do beyond a single class that is formally recognized. It generally requires three or four … [Read more...]

Fire (or keep) the Workaholics

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A while back Jason Calacanis made a list of things to save money in a startup. One of his points was to fire people who aren't workaholics. David from 37 Signals responded with a post saying that you should fire the people who are workaholics. Since then Jason has changed his position, but the idea of how much time you should expect employees to dedicate to their work is thought provoking. Both of these posts are worth reading--even if you have no intention of starting a business yourself. Behind the work you do is a problem that needs solved. Your work solves this problem. Your paycheck reflects that somewhere in the value chain, someone is willing to pay for your ability to solve … [Read more...]

Diplomas – What to do with them?

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Erin at Unclutterer posted an interesting reader question about what you should do with your diplomas. Some of the suggestions in the comments really blew me away.  Here are a few: Hang them in your closet or bathroom where no one will see them. Give them back to your school. Put them in a binder on a bookshelf. Evidently some people feel awkward about putting them on the wall in their home, office or cubicle. Granted, everyone's college experience is different, but I think people are missing out on some of the motivational value of keeping your diploma visible. Inspiring Your Children While I don't believe that college is for everyone, there are many people who could … [Read more...]

Interview with Jennifer Armitstead

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Back in June I met Jennifer Armitstead who runs a career coaching company and does a weekly radio program called Job Club Radio. She does career coaching at both the corporate and individual level so she has some great insights into current issues on what it takes to find and get an ideal job. She graciously agreed to be interviewed about some of the current trends in the job market and career planning. You can read more about Jennifer's company at JA Career Coaching and be sure to check out her blog for more career tips. I know you work as a career coach, but what exactly does that entail? Can you give us an idea of what you do for clients? As a career coach, I work with people … [Read more...]

Never Hire An MBA

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If you are responsible for hiring people, someone with a master's degree in business administration might look like an attractive hire. While, "Never Hire An MBA" might be a bit extreme, I see a lot of people who overvalue an MBA.  In particular, small and medium sized businesses will often try to "hire an MBA".  Consider that statement. Wouldn't it seem strange to say, "I want to hire a Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering"?  A Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering isn't a person--it is a degree.  You can't hire a degree. What you really want is a software engineer or maybe a computer scientist--a person. But when it comes to the MBA degree people talk as if you can just hire … [Read more...]

Continual Self-Development

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One of the biggest reasons people don't reach their full potential is because they don't really understand continual improvement. Skills and capabilities aren't things that you achieve and then coast on for the rest of your life. You can't exercise for three months and then decide you are set for the rest of the year. Pretty much everything you want to improve will require at least a small amount of effort on a regular, ongoing basis. Exercise and health If you want to stay healthy, you must continually eat, sleep and exercise. Bursts of healthy eating for a week followed by a month of eating junk isn't going to really help you. You must build healthy habits into your lifestyle where … [Read more...]

Are You Becoming An Idiot?

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Pop quiz! Are you becoming an idiot? Wouldn't you hate to wake up one day and suddenly realize,"Oh my! Over the past 10 years, I've become an idiot!" It would be better to know now and take corrective action before you reach the point of no return. This is a ten question quiz to determine whether or not you are becoming an idiot. Have you read at least two non-fiction books during the last 12 months? Do you spend more than 2 hours a week channel surfing? Have you taken any formal college training in the last five years? Has it been more than 5 years since you did a long division problem by hand? Have you been to at least one cultural event in the last year? (Museum, opera, … [Read more...]

If I Get Fired…

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On a recent Sunday afternoon I was sitting on a bench at the local park watching my daughter on the playground equipment. I overheard an interesting conversation among another family. The adults were commenting on what their 8-year-old boy wanted to be when he grew up. Mother: "Of course he wants to be a fireman when he grows up." Boy: "Or a policeman!" Father: "Well, which one do you want to be?" Boy: "Well, I'll be a policeman if I get fired from being a fireman." Mother: "Well that is sure aiming high!" What I found fascinating about this was that the 8-year-old boy understands something about the modern job market that many adults have a hard time grasping. Your job isn't … [Read more...]

5 Tips for Networking Geniuses

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Your network is the people you know and stay in contact with. The size and quality of your network has a huge impact on your opportunities in life. Obviously, keeping your network "healthy" is instrumental in growing it. What is a healthy network? A healthy network is one where the people who know you, think of your name when there is an opportunity that you might be interested in, a job you might like, or question you can answer, or a favor you can provide. Notice, it isn't just about taking--it is about people thinking of you both when they need something and when they can help you. In this post, we are going to look at five tips that will help make you a networking genius--someone … [Read more...]

Why You Aren’t Successful

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If you feel you are wildly successful, then you probably don't need to read this. However, if you are only moderately successful, you probably spend a lot of time wondering what the people who are wildly successful are doing differently than you. There is one huge difference between successful and unsuccessful people. That difference is their ability to finish. Yes, luck, connections, family, training and a number of other factors influence success, but none of those things really matter if you can't finish. Things of Value Success is a matter of producing things of value. That doesn't mean everything you create and finish will be a huge success, but if you don't finish it, you'll … [Read more...]

Can Exercise Make You Fat?

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Sounds like a stupid question doesn't it?  We all know the answer. Exercising in and of itself will not make you fat. However, the side effects of exercising can encourage behavior that will make you gain weight. Unless you understand how you mentally react to exercising, it is easy to get in a situation where your rituals around exercise can make you put on the pounds instead of shedding them. Self-control Most people tend to treat self-control as a finite commodity. In other words, if they exercise self-control in one area, they will lessen the self-control they apply in another area. Some of this is a mentality of trying to reward yourself for good behavior. So if you exercise for … [Read more...]

Reading More

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Most people agree that reading is very beneficial and lament the fact that they don't have time to read more. Here are five simple tips to help you fit more reading into your busy schedule. Keep a book with you. Keeping a book with you gives you a productive way to fill in those little 10- to 20-minute pockets of time where you are waiting on someone or something. Not every book is good to read in short bursts, so choose something that works well with the time spans to which you plan to commit. Stop reading something if you don't like it. Just because you started a book doesn't mean you have to finish it--no matter how many awards it has won. I started reading The Sound and the Fury … [Read more...]

Harvard Online Master’s Degree

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There are few things that will give you a better boost in  lifetime productivity than a good solid education--you are essentially upgrading your mind to understand, comprehend and process more. Modern technology is making education surprisingly easy to obtain and  inexpensive. Years ago, you'd get a bachelor's degree, go work for a big company and eventually retire with a gold watch. That model doesn't really work anymore.  If you want to maximize your potential, you need continual education. This can be be formal and informal, but in this article we are going to look at my experience getting a formal education that leads to a degree while working full time. In particular, we are going to … [Read more...]

Your Intelligence – Reading, Writing & Arithmetic

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We looked previously at some ways to appear smarter and look more intelligent. In this post I want to talk about ways to actually become smarter. A portion of your intelligence appears to be fixed. Research seems to indicate that there is little you can do to drastically increase your IQ. However, IQ is only one component of functional intelligence. Your knowledge, experience and training have a very profound effect on your ability to solve real-world problems. So even if you can't directly increase your IQ, you can increase your ability and speed to solve problems, which functionally accomplishes nearly the same thing. We are going to look at three areas as the foundation for … [Read more...]

5 Tips To Become More Valuable At Work

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Not all workers are equal. If your company gets ready to do round of layoffs, you want to be in the group of people who are seen as vital and valuable. In this article, we are going to look at a few ways to increase the value you bring to your job in ways that are likely to get noticed. 1. Show up 5 minutes early If your boss shows up at 9 am like clockwork, then getting to work at 8:59, yourself, is a very worthwhile 1-minute investment. Even if you have to arrive 5 minutes early, it is well worth it to be there before your boss if at all possible. Think about it this way: If your boss has to cut one employee and all other factors are equal, do you think he will cut the person who he … [Read more...]

Reputable Language

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When you put yourself into a new social context, one of the things you learn is a new vocabulary. This is natural and normal. However, you must give care to develop vocabulary habits that will benefit and not hinder you in the future. I started college in 1994. After a few weeks on campus, I realized there were quite a few words and phrases that were in common usage that I was going to start using simply by being around them. While most of them were benign, there were several that I was a bit unsure whether I wanted to adopt or not. I'm not talking about obscenities. I'm talking about things like: Crap - Often used as an expletive, adjective or adverb. Sucks - Used to describe … [Read more...]

It’s Hard to Learn From Your Own Mistakes

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Failure gives you a chance to learn. When you make a mistake you can learn from that mistake and not make it again. Right? Well, yes, in theory. The problem with this approach is that failure triggers strong emotions and makes it very difficult to focus on the cause of the failure. For example, let's say that you were fired from a job. (Feel free to substitute your own big failure for this scenario.) When you think about being fired, your mind will focus on the emotional part of it--the being fired part, cleaning out your desk, walking out of the building, looking for a new job, etc. These are the things that are strongly branded in your brain because they contained the most emotion. … [Read more...]

On the Job MBA

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A Master of Business Administration degree is designed to give a broad set of skills needed in running a business. A good deal of what you would learn from an paid, formal MBA program can be gleaned from on-the-job experience if you are paying close analytical attention resulting in a free MBA level education. This article is going to explore some of the ways you can leverage your job experience to develop many of the skills you'd get going through an MBA program. In fact, if you apply yourself to this type of education, your free MBA skill set would put you well ahead of some state school MBA's I've had to work with. Business is not rocket science. A lot of what you need to know is … [Read more...]

Who’s Got Your Back Review

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I really enjoyed Never Eat Alone, so I was excited to get a review copy of Ferrazzi's new book, Who's Got Your Back. It is a good book and I'd recommend it.  If you can only read one of Ferrazzi's books, I'd go for Never Eat Alone.  However, I listened to an audio recording of Never Eat Alone and read a physical book of Who's Got Your Back, so I may have missed out on some of Who's Got Your Back by not hearing it read by Keith Ferrazzi, himself. Never Eat Alone talks about building a network of people that you can help and who can help you.  One of the constant criticisms of anyone who is seriously working on networking with people is that these types of relationships seem superficial and … [Read more...]

Are You Interesting?

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What is so special about you?  Why would someone want to talk to you? More importantly (as Keith Ferrazzi points out in Never Eat Alone), why would someone want to talk about you? It is easy to get stuck in a rut of focusing on the things that make us successful in our work, but our skills are only one part of the equation.  Our relationships with others are at least as important as our skills. Building relationships is much easier when you aren't a one-dimensional person.  If all you do is work, you may be very good at your job, but you are drastically limiting your circle of friends. Worse still, you are limiting them to people who are very similar to yourself. Making the effort … [Read more...]

The Difficult Things

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When I'm working on something very, very difficult, I often find myself bumping up against an invisible wall. It is as if my mind just isn't clear enough to break through. For example, when trying to learn a new, complex mathematical concept, I seem to spend a lot of time teetering just on the verge of a full understanding with no real idea of what is holding me back.  It is like looking through a fog. The feeling is similar to running at your top speed and trying to go just a little bit faster. Obviously, this is very frustrating.  You can almost taste success, but it just isn't happening. When I find myself in this situation, I can sometimes get past it by focusing more.  This … [Read more...]

The Dangerous Boss

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When you work for a bad boss, it is easy to just try to "keep your head down" and do your job. If your boss is merely annoying, this isn't a bad strategy.  Maybe he/she will get replaced someday and the risk of trying to find another job may not seem like it is worth it. However, I want to suggest that if your boss is really bad, he/she can do a lot more damage to you and to your career than just being an annoyance. Let me tell you a story. The names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent, but the facts are real. Acme Inc. employed about 150 people.  One of the assistants there seemed very competent.  We will call her Sally.  Sally was an above average worker, … [Read more...]

High Goals and Expectations

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Everyone has a different idea about success. Many times our expectations are determined by the way we were raised and our interaction with our peers. These expectations can cause us to set artificially low goals. I know a man whose goal is to get his GED so he can get a job and make payments on a car. I just met a girl who has a goal to finish a 9-month cosmetology program so she can work at SuperCuts in front of Wal-Mart. When looking at your goals, make sure you understand the expectations you carry that influence the magnitude of those goals.  If no one in your family went to college, you will probably set your expectations for your education lower than someone whose parents … [Read more...]

Tips for Exercise

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The trick to exercising is to make it a part of your lifestyle instead of just something you attempt to do a few times each week.  This post is going to look at several things you can do to integrate exercise into your life. Do you have anything you do to help keep yourself active?  Please share in the comments. Put your exercise equipment in front of the TV. Move out the sofa and chair and move in the exercise bike.  Your goal is to make it as easy as possible to exercise.  This works particularly well if you are working your way through a set of cliffhanger-type TV shows on DVD.  You still have to put effort into exercising.  Just sitting on a piece of exercise equipment won't help … [Read more...]

Offline Reading

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As more and more content becomes available on the internet it is easy to shift our reading online. There are some benefits to this. It is easy to get timely information on breaking events quickly. The downside is that you can spend a good deal of time reading things with little value or worse. Your educational reading can degrade into a few hours of mindless surfing the web. Sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, and Reddit supply a constant stream of interesting content that often is little more than a waste of time. I'm not saying that you can't get anything valuable off of the web. However, if most of your reading is done online the chances of it turning into a waste of time are high … [Read more...]

Doing Less

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Much of the current writing about time management and productivity focuses on fitting more tasks into each day.  The idea is that the more tasks we are able to complete, the more productive we are. To a certain extent, this makes sense.  If we spend time procrastinating instead of working, we'll be more productive if we can cut out unproductive activities. However, taking an "assembly line" approach to productivity does have its limits. Today the biggest productivity gains come from what we'll call "leaps of imagination" rather than just doing more of the same faster.  If we are so focused on doing more and more tasks, it can prevent us from really making the huge jumps in … [Read more...]

Tips for Continuing Education

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You can't rely on your college education to suffice for the rest of your career. If you want to stay at the peak of your earning potential, you will need to continue your education throughout your career. This can be done in a formal or informal setting. Informal education is very important. It may never show up on your resume, but it helps you stay up-to-date. Formal education has the added benefit of letting you work toward some type of recognition (degree or certificate) that employers are likely to reward. In some jobs, you can move to a higher pay-scale by adding a degree. In this article we are going to look at some tips and methods for both formal and informal education. … [Read more...]

11 Steps in Becoming Educated for Your Dream Job

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I had quite a few comments about taking classes online in my post "17 Things You Should Stop Doing".  When LifeHacker linked to the article, they had even more comments from their readers. Many of the comments were negative, saying that you shouldn't take classes online. So, I wanted to take some time to talk about the best way for college to fit into your career. First, here is a little background about my education to give you an idea of where I'm coming from.  I have a bachelor's and master's degree in music composition (both taken at physical universities where I was sitting in class).  I am currently working on my thesis for a master's focused on software engineering that I took … [Read more...]

Learning to Stay Current

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Imagine that your memory was only good for two years. Anything that you learned over two years ago was forgotten. The only education you had at your disposal was the things you had learned in the past 24 months. This should be a pretty terrifying prospect for anyone. However, some people would find themselves unable to function at all, while others would find themselves merely handicapped. It all depends on how much effort each individual has put into learning new things in the last two years. Some people graduate from college with the idea that they can stop learning. They pick up some additional education in the form of on-the job-training, but the amount they learn each year … [Read more...]

Optimal Sleep

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Sleeping is something we don't usually think much about, but if you could do something to convert just 90 minutes of each day from sleep time into productive time, that would give you an extra 10 hours each week. Steve Pavlina discovered that he could reduce the amount of sleep he required by an average of 90 minutes each day by getting up at 5 am 7 days per week. He only goes to bed when he is tired enough that he will immediately fall asleep. You can find more about his experience here and here. Polyphasic sleep is a drastic method of changing your sleeping schedule. Basically, you try to train your body to enter deep sleep immediately by taking a 20 to 30 minute nap every 4 hours. … [Read more...]

Striving for Genius

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Thomas Malthus ( 1766 - 1834) had a theory that continual increase in the world population would eventually cause food demand to outpace supply, and a collapse that would push the survivors back to subsistence farming conditions. Obviously, this hasn't happened and there are a number of theories why.  For example: Malthus' theory is just flat out wrong. He didn't take into consideration the growth of technology and the productivity of farming over the last 200 years has increased faster than what is necessary to (temporarily) prevent worldwide famine. Population levels determine agricultural output, not the other way around. Malthus didn't understand the impact of … [Read more...]

Understanding Other’s Perceptions

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The other day I overheard some young people talking. A fresh graduate from high school was posing this question to his peers. Is it illegal to wear a ski mask into a bank to conduct business? Obviously, I would not suggest trying this to find out. The brief snippet of this conversation I overheard started me thinking about how important it is to understand others' perception. If you walk into a bank wearing a ski mask, your intentions are far less important than others' perceptions of your intentions. When I'm on a bus or subway, I like looking around and trying to see how much I can tell about the fellow passengers just by looking at them. It is a simple way I try to keep … [Read more...]