Three ways to handle coffee-fetching internships


The applied learner’s key to success: Entrepreneurship

By Guest Contributor

How to Wreck Your First Job in One Simple Text

The clash over talking vs. texting

Young businesswoman reading texts on cellphone

It was the second week of Jen's new job. She was fresh out of college and thrilled to be working at a Fortune 500 company. She was also thrilled to be invited to an early morning executive leadership breakfast at a nearby hotel. But when none of her team showed up at the designated meeting place by the appointed time, she did what she always did in similar situations. She texted.

Oops. It turns out that new hire Jen was on the wrong side of the Great Communications Gap. She was a texter; her new boss was a talker. She'd left a voicemail for Jen about the hotel change. But Jen wasn't in the habit of checking her voicemail. "I'm not sure it was really installed," she explained later.

If you're a recent college graduate, you may not know much about this growing Talking versus Text gap. Or maybe you do. Think about your Mom. When she wants to get in touch, does she text you? Or call you?

If she's a Baby Boomer, it's likely that she wants to hear your voice. Not your LOL or smiley emoji. While virtually every age group these days is spending less time talking on the phone, boomers are the only ones gabbing like they did when they dialed Flagstone 2-8066 on the Princess phone.

Statistics from the Pew Internet & American Life Project support this generational clash. Research says that the younger you are, the more likely you are to prefer texting. Nielsen reports that texting among 18-24 year olds --prime first job territory-- has more than doubled in recent years, from 600 texts a month to more than 1,400. Unlimited data plans accelerate this trend. And as we all know, email is so last millennium.

Obviously, this is fine in your personal life. But what about at work? Could that first job of yours be sabotaged by not being aware of the accepted communications etiquette in your office?

Career experts suggest the following:

Make no assumptions. Baby Boomers are not necessarily Luddites nor are your fellow Millennials always texting up a storm in the office. Ask your manager and your colleagues directly about the ways in which they want to be contacted.

Don't balk at the talkers. If it's your boss, that is. You're not going to convert a Talker to a Texter if she's had decades of communicating via voice. Texters frequently view phone calls as "intrusions" while Talkers are often annoyed by emoticons and abbreviations.

Luke's manager, Tina, was in the habit of calling him while she was commuting and stuck in traffic. She used that time to tap into her SUV's Bluetooth and catch up on work calls. The constant background noise, bad connections and call fails drove Luke crazy. He tried approaching her candidly but soon realized that Tina's habit was too deeply entrenched. So Luke came up with a work-around: he switched his personal trainer appointments to Tina's commute time. The rules of the gym forced him to turn off his phone.

If you do text with your managers or even another employee, avoid the BRB and shortened spellings. One of the sensitivities among non-texters relates to grammar and punctuation. Also discuss what's reasonable in terms of a texted answer. Comfortable Texters are usually rapid-fire real-time responders. Infrequent texters may consider "ASAP" to mean the next time they text. Which could mean "tomorrow."

Understand the vernacular. Texters may use the expression "talk" to mean texting or even Facebook commenting. "Oh, I talked to her yesterday" may mean texting, not voice. Employees should be clear about the type of communication they've conducted with business related conversations.

Be smart about video calls. Just because your boss prefers talking does not automatically translate into a desire for a Google Hang-Out or Skype call. Ask before you click VIDEO when scheduling a conference call.

Look to HR for guidance. In some European countries, new employee-employer communications protocols are in place. In Germany, even the government has become involved, banning certain types of after-hours communication behaviors such as phone calls. Some corporations such as VW actually turn off email at close of business. While these practices don't appear to be widespread in the U.S.,Human Resources professionals are monitoring these trends closely.

Rethinking retirement? Strategies for staying in the game and in demand


Rethinking retirement
By Kim Monaghan

In our new economy, many employees are rethinking retirement due to limited raises, drops in healthcare coverage, and wavering pensions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force participation rate of workers 55 and up will continue to grow reaching 43 percent by 2018 and 22 percent for those 65 and over.
Additionally, The Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College follows continued trends of older workers staying employed or re-entering the workforce even after retirement. Is it all financially driven? Not necessarily. For many, now that we’re living longer, we simply want to contribute longer. So for those rethinking retirement, consider the following strategies to stay in the game and in demand.
Polish your skills
It’s a slippery slope from fear to failure, so don’t let your discomfort with new technology send you packing. Social media, smart phones and Skype are here to stay, so time has come to get “techy.” In fact, learning something new is the best way to keep the brain sharp and honed for increased functioning. But with the trend for strategic cutbacks, don’t always rely on your employer to provide skill-based training. Take the initiative by attending seminars, workshops, conferences or by investing off the job time to polish your skill set through continued education. AARP Worksearch Foundation provides resources for people over 50 and older looking for work and for additional skill development training.
Embrace a multi-generational workforce
What a better way to stay current on technological trends then to buddy with the generation born online. Making an effort to understand and embrace younger generations is not only a great way to learn from their expertise but to demonstrate you’re a team player. Trainings abound on navigating generational distinctions in an effort to help professionals collaborate effectively. Be willing to considering new approaches and priorities from younger counterparts and recognize that seniority doesn’t always equal superiority. When in doubt about lingo or logistics don’t be afraid to ask questions. After all, they’re just as curious about you.
Take advantage of resources
Staying healthy and well-informed is that much easier when you take advantage of organizational resources. Most companies offer benefits including heath tests, wellness coaching, financial planning and fitness classes are free or low cost. Get up and actively pursue these perks while you’re working and beyond by taking steps now to establish a strategy for retirement. For instance, many of my clients on the exit track work with me to develop a retirement plan that includes a benefits analysis, wellness plan and an encore career development strategy. I highly recommend any employee over the age of 50 to start working on all of these facets and routinely tweak them as you get closer to leaving. The transition to a new job, retirement or even an encore career is easier and less daunting when you’re healthy and fit and have a plan for your future in place.

Stay engaged
Avoid mentally checking out by staying in the game and you’ll see the mutually beneficial rewards of making a contribution. Mentoring younger co-workers is a great way to give and gain as older workers Savvy organizations that recognize that a lack of certain skills in younger workers can be found in their older counterparts and encourage this cross-generational imparting of wisdom. Additional ways to stay engaged might include spearheading “bucket list” projects that sometimes take flight easier when you’re affiliated with a company. Key-note speaking, formulating philanthropic partnerships, starting a foundation or even leading formalized training programs are embraced and sponsored by organizations. But probably the best way to stay engaged is to interact with others by joining groups or attending work-sponsored activities. Yes, who you know and who knows you helps keep you in demand, but more importantly having a continual sense of community is imperative for optimal well-being.

How to quit your job (the right way)

By Guest Contributor

How to turn your Twitter into a valuable industry resource


Blue bird on speech bubble
By Adrienne Erin
If you already have a Twitter account, no doubt you already know the great value of this social media platform. But did you know that you can turn your twitter into a valuable resource for your industry? It’s true; you can, and there are plenty of reasons why you should want to do this. Creating an industry resource with your Twitter builds your reputation and helps you gain influence. Here are the steps to follow to make this happen.
1. Make a list of influencers
Carefully construct Twitter lists of the people you’d like to emulate. These can be leaders in your industry or field, people unanimously respected in the industry, or new up-and-comers who are rapidly gaining popularity in your field. Also, you can look at other influencer’s lists, such as Robert Scoble, to find ideas of people who should be on yours. You can even subscribe to public lists of other people on Twitter.
2. Start curating
Great industry leaders such as Maxwell Systems collect or ‘curate’ resources that will be useful for their followers. Maxwell has become well-known in the construction technology sector for being so good at finding great resources to share with their followers. So how do you find this great stuff to share? You can start by sharing the best snippets of content from the blogs that you’re already reading. In addition, you can frequently find good material from your Twitter lists.
It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on news headlines. Watch for any breaking stories with relevance to your field or industry, and share them on your Twitter. Subscribe to newsletters that you find informative and like pages on Facebook that post interesting content. Be a student of your industry or field and make a conscious effort to always be learning.
Read books and magazine or journal articles written by experts in the field, and listen to podcasts by experts. Attend webinars and conferences, and always have a pen and paper ready to take notes. You never know when you’ll come across some inspiration for great content.
While you’re curating this content, there are two important things to consider. First, always give credit where credit’s due. If you’re using content created by someone else, be sure to acknowledge them for it. Also, try not to just pass along this information. If you’re really serious about using your Twitter to become a valuable industry resource, you should make your own contributions to the wealth of material that’s already out there.
This means that you should expound upon the material that you’re curating. Why is it so good? What makes it valuable? What are some important points that the original creator might have failed to mention? Think about and explain these things to your audience.
Another important tip to keep in mind: you should be using a tool to schedule your tweets. Buffer and HootSuite are two good ones worth checking out.
3. Build a following
Once you’ve found great influencers and have started to accrue some great content, the next step is to build your own following. One of the brilliant minds behind Tweet Smarter, Dave Larson, says that the answer to building a following on Twitter is finding a ‘Super Advocate.’ And you find this, Larson explains, by becoming a ‘super advocate’ for someone else.
This means that you do everything you can to support that person, from retweeting their tweets to commenting on their tweets and giving shout outs that praise them on your own Twitter. Why is this strategy so effective? It all goes back to the golden rule: do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. Endorsing someone else on Twitter makes it much more likely that you will be endorsed on Twitter. Remember, what goes around comes around. It pays to be nice.

Becoming an industry resource on Twitter is an essential part of establishing yourself as a leader in your industry. With the right influencers, a curation of great content and a good following, there’s no limit to what you can do!

Is job-hopping moving your career forward or setting you back?

By Susan Ricker
man jumping at drawing rock
Whether it’s an intentional strategy or not, some workers find themselves moving from job to job quickly in a short period of time, also referred to as job-hopping. Perhaps the job wasn’t what the worker envisioned, maybe a better opportunity came along or sometimes circumstances simply change. A new CareerBuilder survey finds that by the age of 35, 25 percent of workers have held five jobs or more. For workers ages 55 and older, 20 percent have held ten jobs or more.
While it’s not as common now for workers to stay at one company for the duration of their career, are employers more understanding of job-hoppers? More than half (55 percent) of employers said they have hired a job-hopper and nearly one-third (32 percent) of all employers said they have come to expect workers to job-hop.
But is this a move that can help or hurt your career in the long run? The answer is…it depends. Read on to learn about when job-hopping is expected and when it becomes a red flag.
New graduates may get a pass
Employers expect a higher rate of job-hopping among younger workers who are still trying to find their footing for their long-term career. When hiring a new college graduate, nearly half (45 percent) of employers expect the new hire to stay with the organization for two years or less, while more than one in four (27 percent) expect new college grads to stay five years or longer.
However, this may not be something to mention in an interview when the hiring manager asks how long you plan to be around or what your five-year plan looks like. Go into an entry-level job with the best of intentions and aim to garner as much experience as possible before pursuing greener pastures.
A phase you grow out of?
Just like new graduates, employers understand that younger workers are likely to try more jobs before they find one they can settle into for an extended period of time. However, employers become less understanding as job candidates mature. Forty-one percent of employers said that job-hopping becomes less acceptable when a worker reaches his/her early to mid-30s (ages 30 or 35). Twenty-eight percent find job-hopping less acceptable after the age of 40.
If you find yourself a veteran job-hopper, employers will expect a good reason before they consider hiring you. If this is the beginning of a pattern, prepare a convincing argument for why this is the job that you’re ready to settle into. By appearing aware of your job-hopping, as well as being able to ease an employer’s mind, you’re much more likely to show that you can bring your varied experience to the position and thrive in it.
Job-hopping by industry
Though job-hopping can become a risky career move if your employment history looks sporadic, there are some industries where it’s come to be expected. Information technology, an industry with a notable talent shortage and highly competitive recruitment tactics, has the largest percentage of employers who expect workers to job-hop.  Rounding out the top five industries are:
How employers see a job-hopper
When does job-hopping become a red flag on a résumé? It depends a lot on the employer. The study shows that a significant number of employers (43 percent) won’t consider a candidate who’s had short tenures with several employers. In contrast, 55 percent said that they have hired someone they’d categorize as a job-hopper.
The difference in perspective may be what a candidate can bring to the position. More than half (53 percent) of employers said job-hoppers tend to have a wide range of expertise, and can adapt quickly (51 percent).

“More workers are pursuing opportunities with various companies to expose themselves to a wider range of experiences, build their skill sets or take a step up the ladder in pay or title,” says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “While building up a wealth of experience is a good thing, make sure that you’re staying with a company long enough to make an impact and provide a return on the investment they’ve made in you. Employers may be more understanding of job-hopping today, but most employers are still more likely to hire the candidate who has a pattern of longer tenure with organizations.”

11 things the military teaches you about leadership


Military leadership
By Alison Griswold, Business Insider
Does military experience translate to leadership and business savvy?
A glance at today’s most successful corporations would suggest that it does. Many of the biggest names in the business world — Verizon’s Lowell McAdam, FedEx CEO Frederick Smith, former General Motors CEO Daniel Akerson — have military backgrounds.
In 2005, a comprehensive study of S&P 500 CEOs by Korn/Ferry International found that more than 8 percent of top execs were ex-military officers, which is nearly triple the 3 percent of U.S. men who serve as officers.
What does the military teach that helps these ex-officers climb to the top of major corporations? We combed through interviews with many of them to find out the biggest lessons about life, business, and leadership they learned from the service:
1. Always look sharp.
Years out of service, FedEx CEO Frederick Smith still keeps up the tidy appearance he learned in the Marines. “Even in a blue pin-striped suit, I still make sure that the right-hand edge of my belt buckle lines up with my shirt front and trouser fly,” he’s said. “I shine my own shoes, and I feel uncomfortable if they aren’t polished.”
2. Take good care of your people.
Former General Motors chairman and CEO Daniel Akerson says military service taught him to lead by example and “to take good care of your people.”
3. Assemble diverse teams to get a range of perspectives.
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, a former captain in the U.S. Army, says military training taught him the value of working with diverse teams. “I quickly discovered no one had a lock on the right answers,” he told DiversityInc.
4. Invest in relationships for the long term.
The relationships formed in the military are “lifelong” and “serve you well in a business career,” says Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, who served in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps.
5. Be willing to listen to everyone.
Michael Morris, the former CEO of American Electric Power, has said that the military developed his “willingness to listen and formulate an opinion that incorporates as many people’s ideas as possible.”
6. Stay calm under pressure.
Morris also likes to compare a CEO to a pilot in bad weather — it’s up to him to keep his cool through a storm so his passengers (or shareholders and employees) stay calm. “The last thing you want is to appear to be rattled,” he says.
7. Act decisively even with limited information.
David Morken, CEO of Internet and phone services company Bandwidth, learned to “operate in the fog and to execute and decisively engage when you don’t have access to a complete data set” from his time in the Marine Corps.
8. Carefully plan out the logistics.
Robert Myers, CEO of Casey’s General Store, says his time in the Army made him a perfect choice later to run the company. The company’s founder figured no one was more qualified to head up a distribution chain than a former military logistics officer, reports.
9. Lead with integrity.
“Veterans have special abilities and common traits, including discipline, maturity, adaptability, and dedication,” John Luke Jr., CEO of MeadWestvaco and a former Air Force pilot, has said. “They operate with integrity and high ethical standards in all that they do.”
10. Be, know, and do everything you ask of those below you.
“When I was attending the Drill Sergeant Academy, I was taught to always ‘Be, Know, Do,’ when dealing with subordinates,” former U.S. Army Drill Sergeant and Argo Marketing Group CEO Jason Levesque tells Business Insider. “Be the expert; know the job; do the difficult [tasks]. Your subordinates will follow you and, best of all, try to emulate you.”

11. Give 100 percent of your effort.
Robert McDonald, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, explains that his time in the infantry convinced him to always commit to something 100 percent. “If you’re going to be in the Army, go into the infantry,” he says. “If you’re going to be in marketing, work for P&G. You don’t do things halfway.”

Working moms and dads: The divide between salary and job titles

By Guest Contributor

Working moms and dads

Mother’s Day and the soon-approaching Father’s Day are opportunities to appreciate the hard work that goes into being a parent and providing for a family. Those parents who hold down a job while raising a family face a complicated set of responsibilities and challenges both at home and at the office.

In a new CareerBuilder survey examining the professional and family roles of working parents, workers’ salary, title and job satisfaction are evolving year to year. This shift is partially due to the workforce’s increasingly favorable view of flexible schedules and work/life balance. However, the survey sheds light on the remaining gender gap and the career challenges faced by working parents who are also the sole financial earners in their households.

To gain better insight and learn about the career turns of working parents, consider these findings from CareerBuilder’s annual Mother’s Day survey.

Salary and title by gender
Choosing a career path that can support a family’s financial and time demands is a challenge every working parent faces, though not everyone chooses the same route. While many households have two parents that work, others have one sole financial provider, and the survey reveals some noteworthy characteristics of these parents.
Thirty-one percent of working moms and 37 percent of working dads reported that they are the only earners for their households. While working moms and dads who are sole financial providers are equally likely to work in a management position (20 percent), more men reported holding a senior management role, such as a CEO, CFO, Senior VP, etc.
Working moms
The survey findings also point to a significant disproportion of men and women in other job levels within a company. Working dads who are the sole earners are nearly twice as likely to report holding a professional or technical role — 57 percent compared to 28 percent of working moms. Working moms who are the sole earners are twice as likely to report working in an administrative or clerical role — 52 percent compared to 23 percent of men.
Working dads who are the sole earners also tend to be in a higher earning bracket. They are four times as likely to earn six figures, while working moms who are the sole earners are nearly twice as likely to earn less than $35,000:
Earn less than $35,000 annually
  • Working moms who are sole financial providers: 38 percent
  • Working dads who are sole financial providers: 21 percent
Earn $100,000 or more annually
  • Working moms who are sole financial providers: 6 percent
  • Working dads who are sole financial providers: 24 percent
Job satisfaction by gender
While working moms earn less than working dads, they tend to be more content in their jobs overall.  Seventy-eight percent of working moms reported they are happy in their current roles at work compared to 73 percent of working dads.
Working dads
Maternity and paternity leave
Financial concerns, demanding roles and the pressure to stay on top at work may be influencing early returns from maternity or paternity leave. More than one third (34 percent) of working moms who had a baby in the last three years didn’t take the full maternity leave allotted to them by their companies, up from 30 percent last year and 26 percent in 2012. One in five (22 percent) took a leave of one month or less,  while 11 percent took two weeks or less.
More than half (54 percent) of working dads who welcomed a new baby in the last three years didn’t take the full paternity leave offered by their companies. Half of working dads (49 percent) took two weeks of paternity leave or less, 21 percent took five weeks or more while 22 percent didn’t take any time off. Working dads were twice as likely to work while on leave at 21 percent.
Some new parents couldn’t completely leave the office behind, even with a new baby in the family. Ten percent of mothers and 21 percent of new dads say they worked while on maternity and paternity leave.
While employers are beginning to embrace work/life balances, thanks to the rising acceptance of flexible work arrangements and telecommuting, working moms and dads continue to make sacrifices and manage personal and professional responsibilities.
Stay-at-home parents returning to work
Moms and dads are on a 24-hour shift, seven days a week, and the skills developed as a parent to teach, troubleshoot, manage multiple priorities and arbitrate are very transferable to corporate environments. If you’re a parent getting back into the workforce or first joining it, incorporate what you learned from those work experiences at home.
The majority of employers (65 percent) believe that parenting can qualify as relevant experience for the workplace. Aside from patience, the top work-related skills that employers said people acquire as parents include:
  • Ability to multi-task – 64 percent
  • Time management – 58 percent
  • Conflict management – 49 percent
  • Good problem-solving skills – 48 percent
  • Mentoring – 40 percent
  • Budgeting and managing finances – 34 percent
  • Negotiation – 33 percent
  • Project management – 25 percent

A career comes with its own challenges, and adding family responsibilities to the workload will require an adjustment period for parents and employers alike. New parents need to communicate their needs and have a frank conversation with their employers. Employers need to encourage this dialog and find ways to accommodate their employees’ changing needs. Collaboration between both parties can help working parents have happy and successful careers and home lives.

How financial services job seekers can overcome the skills gap


Business document
By Kevin Knapp, CFO of CareerBuilder
Nearly half of financial services companies are struggling to fill certain positions, despite plenty of potential candidates that could have a positive impact in these roles. According to a new survey by, CareerBuilder’s job site for finance and accounting professionals, 47 percent of financial services firms have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates and 49 percent cite a skills deficit as a reason for vacancies.
Financial services organizations require a high caliber of employees due to the technical expertise required and the high impact information they deal with, but the fact that almost half of financial services companies grappling with a hiring issue requires a deeper look. For job seekers, becoming aware of and overcoming the concerns of these hiring managers is the most effective way to secure a job and help close the skills gap.
When pursuing a role in financial services, consider these actions:
Be realistic about salary and don’t forget the benefits
Thirty-seven percent of hiring managers reported gaps in expectations around wages as the top contributor to long-term unfilled positions.  Too often companies are restricted by budget concerns to address it by simply increasing compensation.
Currently, only 19 percent of financial services employers think their organizations offer “extremely or very” competitive pay. Only 42 percent said they would consider increasing compensation for tough-to-fill roles while a third (32 percent) said they would not. Twenty-six percent said they’ve already increased compensation.
To trounce the pay issue, decide on several wage levels you’re willing to accept using market data, not water cooler rumors on what you might be worth in the marketplace. Also, make sure you take into account other job benefits that employers are offering that may make up  for a lower cash paycheck  Remember that employers are more willing to open their pocketbook for known impact players so accepting lower compensation up-front and then proving your worth by exceeding expectations once you are on the job is often the best route to a higher salary rather than waiting for that “ideal” offer from the outside to materialize.
Search for new skills on and off the job
When employers cite a skills gap as their roadblock to finding qualified employees, they may mean that the employee can’t meet their overly specific job requirements (32 percent) or that the candidate has education gaps in particular areas (29 percent).
One encouraging fact to think about: A majority (55 percent) of financial services employers believe training should be equally shared between employers and workers. In fact, 27 percent say the bulk of the responsibility should fall on the employer. Perhaps more surprising is finding that 37 percent of employers provide technical skills training on-the-job.
In the application process, communicate to employers your willingness to learn.  Many employers are more apt to take a calculated risk on someone who might not have the specific skills today but has demonstrated an eagerness for self-improvement.  If you notice many job postings requiring the same software knowledge, mathematical abilities or business know-how, consider pursuing the education needed to obtain these qualifications.
Point to the bottom line
The skills gap isn’t specific only to financial services — this issue is being seen across the workforce. In a separate CareerBuilder survey, 1 in 4 employers admit they have lost revenue due to extended job vacancies. The average company can lose more than $14,000 for every job that stays open for three months or longer. One in six companies lose $25,000 or more.
In addition, employees are affected by positions left open for too long. Workers burdened with heavier workloads have lower morale (41 percent), produce lower quality work (30 percent), certain work never gets done (40 percent) and work that is done is not delivered on time (34 percent).
When a company sees how much revenue they’re losing due to a vacant position and how much they can save by investing in new-hire training, the appeal of candidates who have big potential but offer different skill sets than they expected suddenly goes up.
Don’t put it off.  Take advantage of recent job growth
In a separate nationwide survey of financial services hiring managers and human resources professionals, 35 percent of financial services employers are increasing full-time headcount this year compared to 2013 — 11 points above the national average and up from 27 percent in 2013.
Job growth in financial services is expected to outpace job growth for all occupations in 2014, which is good news for workers of all experience levels. An industry quickly adding new jobs makes room for workers with less qualifications to gain experience and affords opportunities for more seasoned workers. Those contemplating opportunities in financial services may want to take advantage of the current market conditions now before they invariably shift again.

Navigating the skills gap may bring an extra challenge to a job seeker’s search, but those workers with the desire to make it in the competitive financial services industry will undoubtedly be able to overcome this issue.

Working for a startup: Is it right for you?

By Robert Half

Beginning your information technology career at a startup company may sound like a dream job. There’s the opportunity to hop aboard a fresh venture, have your voice heard and skills appreciated and shoot up the ladder. You also have the potential to make a difference, a bunch of money and important decisions that could steer your own future and that of the company.

Working for a startup is very different from being part of a large, established corporation. Hot, young companies often break the mold in terms of business ideology, culture and modus operandi. On the flip side, startups typically demand 110 percent of each team member’s passion, perseverance and dedication. What’s more, they’re notorious for their lack of guarantees.

How can you gauge whether you should work for a startup? We’ve all heard stories about ones that changed the world, made millions overnight and showered their team with unbelievable perks. But what is working for a startup really like? Here are five things to expect.

1. Inspiration
Working for a startup is exciting. You’re building something from the ground up, and the fruits of your labor could become something truly meaningful. You’re surrounded by passionate, hardworking people who are rooting for the company to succeed. If you have your own ideas for launching a business someday, working for a startup is the ideal training ground.
2. Intensity
Most startups are built on their founders’ determination … and piggy bank. And because they’ve devoted so much time and energy to their “baby,” many founders expect you to do the same. Make-or-break goals, irregular hours, heavy workloads, tight deadlines, close-knit relationships and plenty of ups and downs — working for a startup is rarely part time or halfhearted. If you’re ready to give it your all, a startup may bring out the best in you. However, if you have other major commitments or like being able to clock off at five o’clock on the dot, this culture may not be for you.
3. Empowerment
Besides putting your IT knowledge to excellent use, you’ll have a hand in shaping not only the company’s products but also its culture, goals and values. Your opinions, outlook and personality will be crucial to building the company. Your input will be welcome, and you’ll be given greater responsibility and decision-making capacity than you’d get at a “traditional” company. What’s more, you can bet you’ll have a great chance of road testing and refining your ideas in real scenarios.
4. Variety
As startup teams are generally small and dynamic, you will probably wear several hats. If you’re keen to venture into new territory, startups can offer a spectrum of experiences. You could find yourself programming, interviewing job candidates, leading a brainstorming session and giving your input on product design — all in the same week or even day.
5. Risk
Startups are risky. Seed funding doesn’t last forever. If a company takes off within that make-or-break period, it’s cause for champagne. However, money may run out before the venture sees a profit, or the product or service may never gain traction with consumers. You can win big or lose big through no fault of your own.
Working for a startup: Pros and cons
While every company is different, the following advantages and drawbacks are fairly standard elements of a startup:
  • A cool, open-minded work environment
  • Being part of a close-knit, dynamic team
  • A large amount of responsibility and decision-making capacity from day one
  • Opportunities to grow quickly and move up in your career
  • Greater transparency than in many larger companies
  • A chance to be part of something potentially major from the beginning
  • Irregular hours and the need to be “always on”
  • Less-than-spectacular pay and benefits, especially in the beginning
  • Little job security
  • A lack of structure and direction, and unclear roles

If you believe working for a startup might be right for you, look at it from all angles: What is important to you? What do you want to prioritize? What are you prepared to compromise? Are you ready to take the risks? You may find it helpful to make your own pros-and-cons list and speak with others who work for a startup. If a new company has offered you a job, do your homework. And don’t be afraid to ask — the startup and yourself — plenty of tough questions before saying yes or no.

The career lessons I wish I knew when I was younger

Businessman stop time

It’s a statement you know you’ve said to yourself before: “If I could go back five/ten years, I would change X, Y and Z.”

You probably have a handful of changes you would make, know some questions you would answer differently, and have actions you’d take a lot sooner. And you’ve probably imagined how different your current situation would be.

If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, you may bring up the idea of investing in Apple or Google. You might toy with the idea of telling yourself to invent Facebook. You may even decide to give yourself the winning lottery numbers for all those jackpots you’ve missed (no future judgment). But what lessons from the working world would you pass along? How would you ready yourself for your future career?

This week, we posed the same basic question to the members of our social communities: If you could give your younger self one piece of professional advice, what would it be?
Here are just a few of the common threads that emerged.

1. Focus on establishing connections.
“Network! Who you know will open doors to what you know.” – Louise O., via LinkedIn
“Maintain a high-quality network of peers. You might not need it at your current job, but it will be instrumental in helping you find your next one.” – Kim S., via Google+
“Join your industry associations and be an active member. Grow your network, become a subject matter expert and contribute content, and regularly refresh your résumé to include accomplishments that support your professional value/brand.” – Deborah O., via LinkedIn
“Don’t burn bridges.” @imjusttrynaeat, via Twitter
2. Think about what success means to you.
“Success is not measured by how much money you make, but how you inspire others to notice what you do because your career choices never got in the way of your life choices.” – Ilada W., via Facebook
“At the end of the day, despite everything that was said and done, it’s YOU that has to look in the mirror and say, “I made this decision. I can live with it.” – Steve R., via Facebook
3. Be easy to work with.
“Be sincerely nice. People remember that.” – Paul M., via Google+
4. Just do you.
“Go with your passion. Don’t let anyone else talk you out of what you really want to do. Listen to what people say but, in the end, follow what is in your heart.” – Lori S., via Google+
“Do not be discouraged by critics. Fight harder for success because at the end of it all you control your destiny.” – Nene S., via Facebook
“Do what you love.” – Pierre G., via Facebook
One thing to remember: You don’t have to go back in time to make changes for the better. You’re in the driver seat, and you don’t need to be driving a DeLorean DMC-12 with a flux capacitor to improve your current situation.

Take a moment to ask yourself what career advice you’d hope to impart on your younger self. But don’t stop there — we have a few follow-up questions for you: Am I currently taking my own advice? Why not? How am I going to change that?

Respect at work: How to get it back if you’ve lost it

By Robert Half

Respect at work How to get it back if you’ve lost it
First, it’s the tardiness and extended lunches. Then, you notice assignments are taking longer than usual to complete. You start hearing more phrases like “I can’t” or “That’s not my job.” It’s time to face the facts: You’re a manager who’s losing respect at work, and you need to make some changes quickly — before your clients and employees decide that it’s time to go elsewhere.
When workers respect their managers and feel respected in return, they are more creative, motivated, energized and, ultimately, productive. Employees place a high value on having a manager they can respect and learn from.
If you need to re-establish yourself as a leader whom your employees hold in high regard, here are some tips:
1. Remember, appearances matter
Perhaps you’ve taken the casual dress code to an extreme. While it would seem odd to wear business attire when the company culture calls for jeans and T-shirts, try upgrading your work wardrobe to earn respect at work. You want to project an approachable yet polished image.
2. Communicate
The importance of employee communication cannot be overstated. Managers who don’t listen to their staff won’t know what’s going on in the office, including why they’re not respected. By setting up regular feedback sessions, not only will you convey to your workers that you value their opinions, but you also will get a better sense of their strengths and weaknesses.
3. Demonstrate your trust
Empower employees to take ownership. Encourage them to take risks, but make sure they know that you’ll back them up if things don’t turn out as expected. Show that you trust their good judgment.
4. Watch your mouth
Pay attention to your words and actions. If you’re getting less respect at work, it could be because you haven’t been behaving in a professional manner. Keep your language respectful and clean, be discrete when it comes to personal issues, and don’t openly criticize other workers or managers.
5. Know when to keep quiet
Tirades may earn fear, but never respect at work. Deal with sensitive work issues or frustrations at a private, individual level rather than broadcasting them during meetings. But the opposite is true when it comes to praise: Be generous and public when thanking people for a job well done.
6. Transfer your knowledge
As a manager, you have the potential to be a valued mentor and teacher. Instruction can be either direct, such as working with a staff member to improve a speech, or indirect, such as leading by example. Bonus: By transferring your knowledge and helping workers succeed, you are training the company’s next generation of leaders.
7. Be open-minded
Put your preconceptions aside and listen to an employee’s proposal with an unbiased perspective. If there’s a conflict, avoid making assumptions. Be fair, don’t show favoritism and give everyone the same chances to succeed.
8. Stay involved
Don’t be a hermit in your office or socialize with just senior management. Earn respect at work by making a point of chatting with workers in a casual setting, such as an office party or after-work drinks with the team. Get to know your employees, and let them get to know you.
9. Be transparent
The unknown is scary. Put yourself in your staff’s position. If the company has had to tighten budgets, they’re going to wonder if layoffs are coming, for example. When change is on the horizon, keep your employees in the loop as much as you can.
10. Know the limits
If workers are still disrespectful after all your attempts, or if one or two bad apples ratchet up their level of disdain, you need to take more drastic action. Let them know their behavior is unacceptable, and explain why it’s important to maintain a proper level of respect at work.

It’s not easy to gain back respect at work once you’ve lost it, but it is possible. Start by having a higher regard for yourself and your workers, which will likely lead them to reciprocate. And who wouldn’t respect that?

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