MONEY Careers

Surprising Ways Older Workers Find Second Act Jobs


If you're older and have been out of work for a while, try these strategies to land a new job

What’s the secret to landing a new job when you’ve been out of work a long time?

A new report by the AARP Public Policy Institute uncovered some surprising strategies that older workers are using to get back into the workforce.

That’s important because, while the job market is significantly better overall, the situation is still dismal for the long-term unemployed. The jobless rate for people out of work six months or longer is 30% vs. 5.5% overall.

Older workers make up a distressingly large portion of that group: 45% of job seekers 55 and older have been looking for work for six months or longer.

The AARP report examined the job search strategies that led to reemployment for people age 45 to 70 who were unemployed some time during the last five years.

It found big differences in job search strategies between older workers who landed jobs and those who are still not working.

The overall picture is mixed: Among those older workers employed again after a long time out of the workforce, some were earning more, getting better benefits, and working under better conditions. But for many, the jobs were not as good as the ones they had lost: 59% of long-term unemployed older workers made less money, while 15% earned the same and 25% made more.

So, what set the successful job seekers apart? These moves stand out.

  • Embrace change. Almost two-thirds of reemployed older workers found jobs in an entirely new occupation and women were more likely to find work in a new field than men. Of course, some of the unemployed didn’t choose to switch occupations. But for others, the change was a decision to do work that was more personally rewarding and interesting or even less stressful with fewer hours. Whether it was by choice or design, broadening your job search may pay off.
  • Go direct. Older reemployed workers were much more likely—48% vs. 37% of those still looking for work—to contact employers directly about jobs instead of just applying to the black hole of online job postings.
  • Network strategically. Everyone knows that networking is the best way to get a new job but apparently talking to everyone you know may not be the most effective method. While half of those who landed a new job reached out to their network for leads, only 34% of the unemployed used personal contacts at all. But the reemployed were less likely to rely on friends and family to find out about job opportunities, focusing instead on professional contacts.
  • Move fast. When hit with a job loss, many people use it as a time to take a break or think about what they want to do next. That lost time can cost you. The reemployed were much more likely to have begun their job search immediately or even before their job ended than those who are still unemployed.

A couple other surprising findings about what works and what doesn’t: Conventional advice is that the long-term unemployed need to keep their skills up to date if they are jobless for a while. While that can certainly help, additional training didn’t make much difference between those who landed a job and those who remained out of work.

As for social media: While 56% of the reemployed found job boards a good source of job leads, just 13% said online social media networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook were effective in helping them get a new job.

Among the most ineffective strategies: Using a job coach, talking with a headhunter, and consulting a professional association.

MONEY Millennials

5 Big Myths About What Millennials Truly Want

Jamie Grill—Getty Images

We've heard a ton about millennials—where they want to live, what they love to eat, what's most important to them in the workplace, and so on. It's time to set the record straight.

In some ways, it’s foolish to make broad generalizations about any generation, each of which numbers into the tens of millions of people. Nonetheless, demographers, marketers, and we in the media can’t help but want to draw conclusions about their motivations and desires. That’s especially true when it comes to the young people who conveniently came of age with the Internet and smartphones, making it possible for their preferences and personal data to be tracked from birth.

Naturally, everyone focuses on what makes each generation different. Sometimes those differences, however slight, come to be viewed as hugely significant breaks from the past when in fact they’re pretty minor. There’s a tendency to oversimplify and paint with an exceptionally broad brush for the sake of catchy headlines and easily digestible info nuggets. (Again, we’re as guilty of this as anyone, admittedly.) The result is that widely accepted truisms are actually myths—or at least only tell part of the story. Upon closer inspection, there’s good reason to call these five generalizations about millennials into question.

1. Millennials Don’t Like Fast Food
One of the most accepted truisms about millennials—easily the most overexamined generation in history—is that they are foodies who love going out to eat. And when they eat, they want it to be special, with fresh, high-quality ingredients that can be mixed and matched according to their whims, not some stale, processed cookie-cutter package served to the masses.

In other words, millennials are huge fans of Chipotle and fast-casual restaurants, while they wouldn’t be caught dead in McDonald’s. In fact, the disdain of millennials for McDonald’s is frequently noted as a prime reason the fast food giant has struggled mightily of late.

But guess what? Even though survey data shows that millennials prefer fast-casual over fast food, and even though some stats indicate millennial visits to fast food establishments are falling, younger consumers are far more likely to dine at McDonald’s than at Chipotle, Panera Bread, and other fast-casual restaurants.

Last summer, a Wall Street Journal article pointed out that millennials are increasingly turning away from McDonald’s in favor of fast casual. Yet a chart in the story shows that roughly 75% of millennials said they go to McDonald’s at least once a month, while only 20% to 25% of millennials visit a fast-casual restaurant of any kind that frequently. Similarly, data collected by Morgan Stanley cited in a recent Business Insider post shows that millennials not only eat at McDonald’s more than at any other restaurant chain, but that they’re just as likely to go to McDonald’s as Gen Xers and more likely to dine there than Boomers.

At the same time, McDonald’s was the restaurant brand that millennials would least likely recommend publicly to others, with Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, and Jack in the Box also coming in toward the bottom in the spectrum of what millennials find worthy of their endorsements. What it looks like, then, is that millennials are fast food regulars, but they’re ashamed about it.

2. Millennials Want to Live in Cities, Not Suburbs
Another broad generalization about millennials is that they prefer urban settings, where they can walk or take the bus, subway, or Uber virtually anywhere they need to go. There are some facts to back this up. According to an October 2014 White House report, millennials were the most likely group to move into mid-size cities, and the number of young people living in such cities was 5% higher compared with 30 years prior. The apparent preference for cities has been pointed to as a reason why Costco isn’t big with millennials, who seem to not live close enough to the warehouse retailer’s suburban locations to justify a membership, nor do their apartments have space for Costco’s bulk-size merchandise.

But just because the percentage of young people living in cities has been inching up doesn’t mean that the majority actually steer clear of the suburbs. Five Thirty Eight recently took a deep dive into Census data, which shows that in 2014 people in their 20s moving out of cities and into suburbs far outnumber those going in the opposite direction. In the long run, the suburbs seem the overwhelming choice for settling down, with roughly two-thirds of millennial home buyers saying they prefer suburban locations and only 10% wanting to be in the city. It’s true that a smaller percentage of 20-somethings are moving to the suburbs compared with generations ago, but much of the reason why this is so is that millennials are getting married and having children later in life.

3. Millennials Don’t Want to Own Homes
Closely related to the theory that millennials like cities over suburbs is the idea that they like renting rather than owning. That goes not only for where they live, but also what they wear, what they drive, and more.

In terms of homes, the trope that millennials simply aren’t into ownership just isn’t true. Surveys show that the vast majority of millennials do, in fact, want to own homes. It’s just that, at least up until recently, monster student loans, a bad jobs market, the memory of their parents’ home being underwater, and/or their delayed entry into the world of marriage and parenthood have made homeownership less attractive or impossible.

What’s more, circumstances appear to be changing, and many more millennials are actually becoming homeowners. Bloomberg News noted that millennials constituted 32% of home buyers in 2014, up from 28% from 2012, making them the largest demographic in the market. Soaring rents, among other factors, have nudged millennials into seeing ownership as a more sensible option. Surveys show that 5.2 million renters expect to a buy a home this year, up from 4.2 million in 2014. Since young people represent a high portion of renters, we can expect the idea that millennials don’t want to own homes to be increasingly exposed as a myth.

4. Millennials Hate Cars
Cars are just not cool. They’re bad for the environment, they cost too much, and, in an era when Uber is readily available and socializing online is arguably more important than socializing in person, having a car doesn’t seem all that necessary. Certainly not as necessary as a smartphone or broadband. Indeed, the idea that millennials could possibly not care about owning cars is one that has puzzled automakers, especially those in the car-crazed Baby Boom generation.

In many cases, the car industry has disregarded the concept, claiming that the economy rather than consumer interest is why fewer young people were buying cars. Whatever the case, the numbers show that the majority of millennials will own cars, regardless of whether they love them as much as their parents did when they were in their teens and 20s. According to Deloitte’s 2014 Gen Y Consumer Study, more than three-quarters of millennials plan on purchasing or leasing a car over the next five years, and 64% of millennials say they “love” their cars. Sales figures are reflecting the sentiment; in the first half of 2014, millennials outnumbered Gen X for the first time ever in terms of new car purchases.

5. Millennials Have a Different Attitude About Work
As millennials entered the workforce and have become a more common presence in offices around the world, much attention has been focused on the unorthodox things that young people supposedly care more about than their older colleagues. Millennials, surveys and anecdotal evidence have shown, want to be able to wear jeans and have flexible work hours to greater degrees than Gen X and Boomers. Young people also want to be more collaborative, demand more feedback, and are less motivated by money than older generations.

That’s the broad take on what motivates millennial workers anyway. An IBM study on the matter suggests otherwise, however. “We discovered that Millennials want many of the same things their older colleagues do,” researchers state. There may be different preferences on smaller issues—like, say, the importance of being able to dress casually on the job—but when it comes to overarching work goals achieved in the long run, millennials are nearly identical to their more experienced colleagues: “They want financial security and seniority just as much as Gen X and Baby Boomers, and all three generations want to work with a diverse group of people.”

What’s more, IBM researchers say, millennials do indeed care about making more money at work, and that, despite their reputation as frequent “job hoppers,” they jump ship to other companies about as often as other generations, and their motivations are essentially the same: “When Millennials change jobs, they do so for much the same reasons as Gen X and Baby Boomers. More than 40 percent of all respondents say they would change jobs for more money and a more innovative environment.”

MONEY Financial Planning

4 Things You Need to Change Your Career

Want to change your career or launch a new business? A financial planner explains the four things you need.

A few years ago a client, Peter, came to me and said, “I’m doing all the work, but my boss is making all the money. I could do this on my own, my way, and make a whole lot more.”

Peter was an instructor at an acting studio. He was working long hours for someone else, knew the business inside and out, and felt stuck. He wanted a change.

We talked through his dilemma. Peter wanted to know what he needed to do to venture out on his own and start his own acting academy.

Many of us find ourselves daydreaming about making such a bold life change, but few of us do it. So what is stopping us from taking the leap? Why don’t we have the courage to invest in ourselves?

Peter and his wife, Jeannie, sat down with me to chart out a plan. We determined that they needed four major boxes to be checked for Peter’s dream business to have a real shot at success:

  1. Support from the spouse
  2. Cash reserves
  3. A business plan
  4. Courage to take the leap

Let me break these down:

1. Support from the spouse: Peter and Jeannie had to be in full agreement that they were both ready to take on this new adventure together. In the beginning, they would have significant upfront investments in staffing, infrastructure, and signing a lease for the business. Money would be tight.

2. Cash reserves: Peter was concerned. “How much money can we free up for the startup costs?” he asked. We discussed the couple’s financial concerns, reviewed financial goals for their family, and acknowledged the trade-offs and sacrifices they would need to make. We determined a figure they were comfortable investing in their new business. Then we built a business plan around that number.

3. Business plan: It has been said that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Peter and Jeannie needed a written plan in place so that their wish could become a reality. Their business plan would serve as a step-by-step guide to building and growing the acting academy. It included projections for revenues, expenses, marketing strategies, and one-time costs.

Once we wrote the business plan, we had one final step remaining: the step that so many of us don’t have the courage to take. Peter and Jeannie had to trust in themselves, believe in their plan, and…

4. Take the Leap: Regardless of how confident we are, how prepared we feel, and how much support we have, this is a scary step. We have to walk away from our reliable paycheck, go down an unfamiliar road, and head out into the unknown.

I’m happy to share that Peter and Jeannie’s story is one of great success. They faced obstacles and bumps along the way, but Peter persevered and succeeded in accomplishing his goal. He is now running a thriving acting academy with multiple instructors and a growing staff. If you decide to invest in yourself, you will need to take the four steps too.


Joe O’Boyle is a financial adviser with Voya Financial Advisors. Based in Beverly Hills, Calif., O’Boyle provides personalized, full service financial and retirement planning to individual and corporate clients. O’Boyle focuses on the entertainment, legal and medical industries, with a particular interest in educating Gen Xers and Millennials about the benefits of early retirement planning.

MONEY salaries

This Easy Negotiation Trick Could Boost Your Salary


New research shows that framing your desired pay for a new job in a particular way can help you hit your target.

A new study finds that asking for a dollar amount during a negotiation is more successful if you put it at the bottom of a range instead of just asking for it outright.

So for example, if you’re targeting a salary of $52,000, you’re best off asking a prospective employer for something between, say, $52,000 and $56,000.

The finding, by Daniel Ames and Malia Mason of Columbia University, might seem obvious at first glance—but it actually contradicts existing schools of thought. Some experts have theorized that you should not open salary negotiations with a range because doing so could make you seem either uninformed or manipulative and might cause the person you’re negotiating with to consider only the lowest number in your offer.

Instead, the new research found, couching your request in a range can actually make you seem more cooperative and flexible—and make it harder for a prospective boss to counter with a much lower salary number without seeming impolite. The key is choosing the right high and low anchor numbers so you don’t accidentally low-ball yourself.

“The lowest number is the point offer you are aiming for, and the high number is more ambitious,” says Mason. “People who want $100,000 will often ask for $90,000 to $110,000, but it is going to be most effective to ask for $100,000 to $120,000.”

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and sometimes a different tactic might be more effective to gain the upper hand during a salary negotiation. Another study Mason conducted showed that that asking for specific, unrounded figures in negotiations can be better than asking for rounded ones, because it makes you seem more informed. So to use the same example from above, if you want about $52,000, you might want to ask for $52,500.

Those findings aren’t necessarily inconsistent, Mason points out.

“Context is important,” she says. You might be better off using a precise number if you want to send the message that “you have done your homework. But if it seems important for you to appear flexible, then you could signal that by offering a range.”

That’s one reason to pay close attention to the cues your interviewer is sending out. If he or she drops a lot of language about adaptability and cooperation, naming a range might cast you in a more positive light. Alternatively, a specific number might be appropriate if the job description seems to emphasize preparedness, knowledge, and thorough experience in the field.

But none of this is to say you should suggest a salary without being asked about it directly, says Mason. Top recruiters agree that—when you can help it—it’s best to let a potential boss be the one to bring up a number first.

Read next: The Secret Formula That Will Set you Apart in a Salary Negotiation

MONEY salary

Your ER Doctor Might Get Paid As Little As a Wal-Mart Employee

Bentonville, Arkansas Walmart
Gunnar Rathbun—Invision for Walmart

Wages of about $13 an hour are one thing medical residents face in their first few years out of school.

Fourth-year medical students around the country celebrate Match Day on March 20, the day acceptances to medical residency programs roll in, and soon-to-be doctors learn of the hospitals, clinics, and cities where they will be spending the next few years of their lives.

One topic of conversation that’s less celebratory? How much they will get paid.

The average salary for a medical resident is about $51,000, according to While that is close to the median household income in the United States, residents are known for working very long hours—a practice that has caused controversy, in part because of safety concerns. Rules set by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education officially limit residents’ working hours to 80 per week—though exceptions allow hours as high as 88 per week.

What this means is that in hourly terms, pay for residents can be as low as $13 an hour. That happens to be the level to which Wal-Mart announced it would increase full-time wages this year.

The good news, of course, is that doctors can expect their salaries to rise significantly once they finish training: The average pay for general practice physicians is $131,000 a year, according to Payscale—with medical specialists like orthopedic surgeons pulling in starting salaries as high as $450,000.

MONEY Sports

The Staggering Numbers—and Dollars—Behind March Madness

Here's a look at some of the numbers behind the NCAA March Madness men's college basketball tournament, including special deals on pizza, TV packages, concerts, and, curiously, vasectomies.

  • $0

    Joseph Clayton, chief executive officer for Dish Network Corp., speaks at a press conference during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. Dish Network Corp. plans to unveil the first major online television service from a cable or satellite company, a $20-a-month set of 12 channels that targets U.S. customers who don't want to pay for larger, more expensive TV packages.
    David Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Cost of a seven-day free trial of Sling TV, the streaming service from DirecTV that includes TBS and TNT—the two main pay TV channels airing NCAA March Madness games, along with the broadcast network CBS. In order words, the service allows you to view all games in the tournament without a cable bill; it comes with ESPN too, so you’ll get your fair share of game highlights as well. After the seven-day trial, you can cancel or pay up $20 monthly, which is much cheaper than the typical pay TV package.

  • $0

    Rihanna performs on stage
    Matt Sayles—Invision/AP

    Cost of admission for the three-day March Madness Music Festival featuring Rihanna (pictured), Lady Antebellum, and the Zac Brown Band, among others. The free outdoor event is being held over Final Four weekend (April 3-5) in Indianapolis, which is also hosting the tournament’s final basketball games. In fact, Saturday night’s performers will be competing with the first semifinal game, which will be broadcast live for the music festival crowd.

  • 1.2%

    NBA basketball on court
    Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty Images

    Percentage of men’s college basketball players that are drafted by an NBA team. More than three-quarters of college players, meanwhile, think they will play professionally.

  • $4

    Tickets for the championship game with former Duke Blue Devil player Rasheed Sulaimon ahead of the game betweeen the North Carolina Tar Heels and Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the 2015 ACC Basketball Tournament Championship game at Greensboro Coliseum on March 14, 2015 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
    Grant Halverson—Getty Images

    Cheapest list price of any March Madness ticket—this one for a Thursday afternoon session in Louisville featuring Iowa State vs. UAB, followed by SMU vs. UCLA. Meanwhile, tickets to the evening session in the same location on the same day were starting at around $120, though the night games feature the tournament’s overall #1 seed (and local favorite) Kentucky.

  • $35

    Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates with his players after defeating the St. John's Red Storm earning his 1,000th career victory on January 25 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Duke defeated St John's 77-68.
    Jim McIsaac—Getty Images Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates with his players after defeating the St. John's Red Storm earning his 1,000th career victory on January 25 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Duke defeated St John's 77-68.

    Number of college basketball coaches in last year’s tournament who were paid more than $1 million per year before any bonuses, according to data gathered by USA Today. Top earner Mike Krzyzewski’s total pay: more than $9.6 million.

  • 42% vs. 100%

    Davidson guard Brian Sullivan (3) celebrates after their 67-66 win over La Salle in an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament in New York, Friday, March 13, 2015.
    Mary Altaffer—AP

    The range of basketball player graduation rate success among NCAA March Madness contenders, with Indiana University on the low end and Davidson College named as the tournament’s overall academic champ. (In fact, several tournament teams boast 100% basketball player graduation rates, including Maryland, Notre Dame, Butler, Dayton, and Villanova.)

  • 50%

    Domino's hand-tossed pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and green peppers
    Jeff Padrick—Klug Studio Inc.

    Discount on all regular priced Domino’s pizzas now through Sunday, March 22, which marks the end of the tournament’s first weekend.

  • $595

    businessman with bandage on zipper
    Mark Hooper—Getty Images

    The special price of a “Vas Madness” deal, covering an initial consultation and a vasectomy—yes, a vasectomy—from The Urology Team in Texas. “Get your vasectomy, then sit on the couch for 3 days watching sports– Doctors orders!” the pitch explains. Many vasectomy clinics report a spike in appointments timed to coincide with the NCAA basketball tournament, and in some cases men who get snipped have wound up with free pizza as part of the package deal. A few years back, one Cleveland urologist explained the appeal of getting a vasectomy during March Madness this way: “If they’re going to have a day off, it might as well be on a day when they would want to be watching basketball, as opposed to watching ‘Oprah.'”


  • $212,000

    basketball on top of heap of cash
    Dan Thornberg—Shutterstock

    The estimated average value of a college basketball player to his school and program, according to a 2014 study. Meanwhile, another study indicates that the average value a student athlete receives, in terms of scholarships, health care, coaching, and such, is about $125,000 per year. The players, of course, receive $0 in salaries because the NCAA insists they are student athletes and not employees.

  • $1 million

    Pizza Hut restaurant, Torrance, California.
    Patrick T. Fallon—Bloomberg via Getty Images

    Prize that Pizza Hut will serve up if any of the three randomly selected contestants make a half-court shot backwards at a special event in Indianapolis on Sunday, April 5. To have a chance at being selected, go to and enter by Sunday, March 29. Three winners will get a free trip to Indianapolis and have one chance to nail a half-court shot facing the wrong way. Pizza Hut is also selling Stuffed Crust Pizzas for $9.99, which is the same price listed when the product was introduced 20 years ago.

  • $40.5 million

    Mangok Mathiang #12 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates his winning basket with teammate Chinanu Onuaku #32 after the game against the Virginia Cavaliers at KFC Yum! Center on March 7, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville defeated Virginia 59-57.
    Joe Robbins—Getty Images

    Annual revenues raked in by Louisville’s college basketball team, which is tops in the nation. After factoring in expenses, Louisville’s program makes a profit of $24.2 million, while schools such as West Virginia and Notre Dame reportedly lose about $2 million annually because of their basketball teams.

  • $240 Million vs. $1.15 Billion

    Shaquille O’Neal, Julius “Dr J” Erving, Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner in AT&T March Madness "Legends" campaign
    AT&T Shaquille O’Neal, Julius “Dr J” Erving, Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner in AT&T March Madness "Legends" campaign

    Estimated total ad revenues for the Super Bowl and March Madness, respectively, from 2013, the most recent year such data is available. Granted, March Madness is a full tournament while the Super Bowl is just a single day.

  • $1.9 Billion

    Office workers watching March Madness on television
    Sarina Finkelstein

    Estimated loss incurred by businesses due to workers being “distracted and unproductive” during the basketball tournament, according to an annual report issued by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

  • $2 Billion+

    Mirage hotel-casino Race and Sports Book, Las Vegas.
    Julie Jacobson—AP

    Amount wagered on some 70 million March Madness brackets filled out for the 2015 tournament, per the American Gaming Association. The total amount expected to be bet on the tournament is $9 billion, only $240 million of which will be wagered with Nevada sports books.

  • $10.8 Billion

    Baylor coach Scott Drew, left, and members of the team including Isaiah Austin, right, peak in on the CBS crew following a news conference at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 22, 2014, in San Antonio.
    Eric Gay—AP

    Amount paid by CBS and Turner Sports to the NCAA for the rights to broadcast the March Madness tournament for a 14-year period ending in 2024.

  • 1 in 9.2 Quintillion

    Workers add team names to a 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship bracket that is displayed on the side of the JW Marriott, Monday, March 16, 2015, in Indianapolis. The championship game will be played Monday, April 6, in Indianapolis.
    Darron Cummings—AP

    Odds of picking all the correct winners in the tournament, from start to finish, for a perfect bracket. What’s a quintillion? It’s a one followed by 18 zeros. So 9.2 of those. This is all according to Bleacher Report, which points out that you have far, far better odds of being hit by lightning, getting bit by a shark, having identical triplets, winning the lottery, or becoming an NBA player.

MONEY women at work

How to Get Heard in Meetings

mouse talking into megaphone
Jan Stromme—Getty Images

Making your presence known during meetings can be tricky -- especially for women. These tips can help you make an impact.

It pays to contribute confidently in meetings. You don’t want to end up in a six-month performance review with a boss who complains that you “don’t speak up.” But it can be hard to speak up when others speak over you, interrupt you, and are apparently in love with the sound of their own voices.

There are ways around this — and I’m not talking about psyching yourself up in the bathroom mirror before going into a meeting. You don’t need to become louder and more aggressive. You don’t need to become part of the problem.

Read on for tips on speaking up and getting heard.

Interrupted? Interrupt Back

Soraya Chemaly in the Huffington Post wrote that there are ten words every girl and woman should learn:

“Stop interrupting me.”

“I just said that.”

“No explanation needed.”

But for a meeting involving your boss, “Stop interrupting me” is probably a bit harsh. You need to have some meeting-appropriate alternatives at the ready so you can get back to what you were saying before the interrupter runs away with the conversation (and possibly takes credit for your idea).

I’m a fan of the joking-not-joking approach. For instance, “Hang on, I’ve still got the floor.” Or even, “Do we need to use parliamentary procedure?! Hold the phone, buddy!”

Also, get in the habit of confidently turning attention back to other people who get interrupted. As in, “Hang on, Sameera wasn’t finished. Sameera?”

If you do this consistently for everyone, then even when you do it for yourself you’ll come across as someone with a good attention span and an appetite for order, rather than as someone seeking attention for herself.

And, of course, some of the people you lend a hand to will, hopefully, do the same for you.

Create a “Teaser” via Email

If the meeting’s agenda is set in stone (or a Google doc), and the person running the meeting doesn’t seem to care that you exist, pump up your contribution the way you’d promote an indie film you’re hoping becomes the new sleeper hit — with a teaser.

If it’s normal in your company to “reply all” with the group attending your meeting, wait for the email reminder about the meeting, reply all, and write, “Can’t wait! I have some ideas about how to solve the LogicCorp problem! Looking forward to everyone’s feedback.”

Ooh, teaser! Now it would be weird if the whole meeting went by and you didn’t contribute. You’ll get your opening. You’ve created suspense.

If the group email won’t work, try the same thing in person. Catch others who will be in the meeting later at the proverbial water cooler, and tell them, “I have some amazing data that will help us decide X.” If pressed about the “amazing data,” say, “Let’s save it for the meeting so we can get everybody’s feedback.”

Get on the Agenda

Do meetings just come and go, while you barely get a word in? Set the agenda.

Even if you’re the least powerful person in the room, you can often set some part of the agenda. Who called the meeting? Run into that person a few hours before the meeting and ask what the agenda is. If you get a vague answer (“Well, we’re just going to talk about…”), try something like, “Great, I’d like to make sure I get to share [this thing I’ve been doing] so we can all coordinate [other parts of the project]. Can we make sure we give that five to 10 minutes?” Or, “I’d like to give a progress report on X. Can I get five minutes for that?”

If what you really want to do is have your ideas heard and get credit for them, don’t say that, exactly. Couch it in language no boss could say no to. For instance, you’d like to give an “executive-level briefing” about Project X. Ooh, executive-level briefings are for important people! I want one of those!

If you can’t quite pull that off, “briefing” is still a great word. It puts the emphasis on the importance of the listener, which can help to get you airtime.

Practice Socially (Not at a Podium)

If you have trouble speaking up (or if the trouble isn’t yours, but rather a personality problem held by sexist coworkers), you’re going to want to practice.

But you don’t need to join Toastmasters. In fact, taking a public speaking class isn’t very good practice at all, because speechmaking is pretty much the only time ever that you get a specific amount of time to speak. This will not happen in a meeting. Even if you get 10 minutes on the agenda, it is quite likely that you will be interrupted and talked over during much of that time. You need to practice in a situation that is very much like a meeting. That is, a conversation with a bunch of power dynamics going on.

Go out to dinner with a male partner, friend, or your brother. Tell him ahead of time you’d like to share some interesting things you’ve been working on, because you haven’t talked about work in a while. Think over a five to 10-minute update. Plan ahead of time what you’ll say to deal with interruptions. For instance, “Oh, I want to hear about that, but let me finish my story.” Or just, “Hold up, I wasn’t finished.” Of course you’ll get normal conversational interludes and feedback, but stay on-message like a politician: You specifically invited someone out for the purpose of giving your update, so bring the conversation back on track and make sure you get your airspace. And then, of course, return the favor and listen.

Then, try it in a group. If you don’t have a social event with six friends planned anytime soon, join a Meetup on some random topic where you’ll be the new person. Maybe even pick a group that seems mostly older, or mostly male. And then show up at that Barnes & Noble cafe and make your opinions about The Fountainhead known. Did you get steamrolled and have a terrible time? Better at the Objectivist coffee klatch than at work. Pick another Meetup and keep at it until you can hold your place in any room.

Think Posture, Not Just Body Language

There are a lot of mixed messages out there about professional women and body language.

Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on power poses tells us that standing in a “confident posture,” even when we don’t feel confident, can affect cortisol and testosterone levels in the brain (oh please, why did I even go to college when I could have just upped my testosterone!).

However, I am opposed to advice that tells women to try to puff themselves up to look larger, like blowfish. What is the point of advice that, when applied to women, will allow most women to come in a distant second to most men, at best? Furthermore, pop culture telling women to be smaller and business articles telling women to seem larger — well, it’s a bit of a double bind, isn’t it?

Casey Erin Clark, who runs Vital Voice Training in NYC with Julie Fogh, also finds fault with the artificial power pose:

“We’ve all heard that stress can cause a fight or flight reaction — but there is a third response, and it’s the most common one we see: freeze.

You know those “low-power pose/high-power pose” example pictures? Yes, sometimes we do shrink when we get nervous — but we also see clients who find that formula of good posture and then lock into it. Contraction (freeze) is about tension, whether you’re crossing your arms and receding into your chair or standing in a full-out ‘power pose.’ Neither reads as compelling, and locking into ANY position prevents you from accessing your full breath, voice, and physical presence.”

Also, here is a picture of Sheryl Sandberg standing with her ankles crossed, like some kind of submissive sucker — it seems to have worked out pretty well for her.

There’s something to be said for body language. However, if you are small, you are not fooling anyone by trying to act tall — or worse, sitting like you have giant testicles that need an airing. Everyone looks better with good posture, though. Here’s a tip from Julie:

“Want to ‘take your space’? Think direction, not destination. Space originates from your center (core, lungs, ribcage, back), not peripherally (Wonder Woman arms). Practice breathing into your back. It seems simple, but it’s seriously effective.”

Be Concise and End On Point

Most of the little speeches people make in meetings would be more powerful if they simply ended sooner. For instance:

Typical: “I’m not sure that assigning two new people to the project is the solution. If we do this, we may just be prolonging a project that ultimately isn’t going to work, and we lose the opportunity to put the new talent where it counts. So I think we should consider some other options. Not that the new people aren’t great….”

Better: “I’m not sure that assigning two new people to the project is the solution. If we do this, we may just be prolonging a project that ultimately isn’t going to work, and we lose the opportunity to put new talent where it counts.”

If you’ve made your point, simply stop talking. Make (piercing!) eye contact with the other person. You’ve made a point, ended decisively, and you expect a meaningful and on-topic response. Don’t pad your statement with softening, relationship-building conversational chitchat that just trails off at the end.

Sometimes I find that I’ve already made my point, and I’ve even gone a few words past — usually something like, “So, well, I really think….” I just stop right there, mid-pointless sentence. It’s abrupt; that’s okay. Then I say something like, “So is 5,000 the right number or should we go higher?” or “Can I count on your support?” Prolong your command of the situation by asking a direct and specific question (not, “So what do you think?”).

When you say something meaningful and follow it with a bunch of wishy-washy, wasted verbiage, you’re training people to think that half of what you say doesn’t matter. Don’t do it. Cut the crap. Say what you mean. Then stop.

Jennifer Dziura is the founder of GetBullish and the Bullish Conference.

This article originally appeared on

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MONEY life hacks

This Is Why I Keep a “Burner” Email Account—and You Should Too

The email trick that protects your identity, minimizes targeted ads, and saves time.

When the news hit that Hillary Clinton had a private email account that she used in her duties as Secretary of State, I thought, “Doesn’t everyone?”

Maybe that’s my default reaction as a millennial who has picked up and dropped about 10 email addresses over the past decade or so. But it’s also because the value of navigating the online world without exposing all of your personally identifying information is so clear to me. We’re living in a post-Target, post-Anthem, post-[insert next company here] world. The reality for the average Internet user is that guarding your personal information online is getting tougher.

First, a few caveats. I’m not a security expert. I’m not an organizational guru. I’m not doing anything illegal a la “The Wire” that would require a complex system of burners to evade law enforcement (though I do love that show). I’m not catfishing anyone. I’m not creating entirely new identities in order to dupe, scam or hurt anyone. I’m just explaining a system that has worked for me personally and that could work for you.

I introduce to you the “burner email” — an email address that you use with the intention that you’ll delete it at some point down the road. Here’s how it works: I have an email address with a reputable, secure free service, with no personal information about me included in the handle — it’s entirely random and has no personal information included. I use that email address for usernames, login credentials, etc., whenever I don’t want to use my main email address. This could be for everything from writing my email address down to enter a raffle at a local lunch spot to signing up for an online service that I may not use frequently. My main email address stays separate from my “burner” account and it helps me compartmentalize my life a bit. Here are the perks.

1. To Keep My Identity Secure

When it comes down to it, your email address holds a lot of personal information about you. For some people, their name is their email address. Others include some seemingly meaningless information like their alma mater or their pet’s name in their handle. While that information may be easy to remember and seems innocuous, an identity thief can piece together answers to security questions and other details about you to get access to other online accounts you may have.

It also can help protect my main email account from hackers. For example, when a minor data breach of an online retailer where I shop exposes only usernames (and the usernames are email addresses, as they commonly are), I can rest easy if I know I’ve used my burner account. The information those hackers have unearthed may be used in a phishing attack on me, but I can “burn” that email and create a new one just as easily.

2. To Confuse Microtargeters

With many email providers skimming your ingoing and outgoing messages for clues about what you’re buying, eating, drinking, watching and talking about, a burner email account can give you a little peace of mind when it comes to ads that are targeted at you. I don’t know about you, but it gives me the creeps when I check out a dress online, then am followed by that dress for the next few days in the form of in-email ads and customized units on other websites. A burner email can help me hide from the cookies, even if it’s just for a little bit.

3. To Keep My Main Inbox Clean

I’ve found there are two types of email users: People who are OK not reading every email they get, and those who have to read everything as soon as it comes in. I’m the latter. So keeping my main email inbox free of coupons, newsletters, daily deal offers, promotional and marketing materials saves me a lot of time. I can get to the emails from my parents, friends, etc. without having to delete 20 emails from companies that I may want to browse from time to time, but clutter my inbox and drive me crazy.

It’s also helpful to use a burner email address for projects. For example, if you’re applying for a job. With all of the job hunting sites and alerts you can sign up for nowadays, you could be getting hundreds of messages a day from potential employers and hiring websites with job recommendations and interview requests. Creating a burner email account for this ensures important emails don’t get lost in the process and it helps compartmentalize your life a bit. Having a baby? A burner email could help you sign up for all of your baby-related stores, websites, community boards, etc. without exposing any personal information online. Selling stuff online? Posting to Craigslist anonymizes your email address to a point, but if you’re setting up a meeting to exchange goods, a burner email could give you a little extra protection.

Let’s be clear — this is by no means a silver bullet. Identity theft really is the third certainty in life, and a burner email won’t stop you from getting got — but it might make you a tougher target for thieves and hackers. Monitoring your financial accounts regularly can help you reduce the impact of fraud. Experts recommend you check your bank accounts daily, and monitoring your credit can be useful as well. You can get free annual credit reports under federal law at, and you can get two of your credit scores for free every month on

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MONEY Getting Ahead

How to Learn to Love Your Job Again When You’re Feeling Burned Out

"There are things you can do to find joy around the edges," says career expert Kerry Hannon.

If you are counting the days to retirement because you hate your job, career expert Kerry Hannon has a message for you: “Stick with it.”

Burnout is one of the biggest problems in the workplace, especially for older workers. An annual survey on retirement by the Employee Benefit Research Institute consistently finds that about half of workers retire earlier than they expected—and that job burnout is a key factor.

But sticking it out is important to retirement security, Hannon says in her new book Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness. These are usually the highest-earning years of your career, she argues. And staying employed helps with everything from retirement account contributions to enabling a delayed filing for Social Security benefits.

Reuters asked Hannon for her tips on how older workers can stay engaged and on the job:

Q: Why is the idea of “falling in love with your job” important for older workers nearing retirement?

A: The people I interview have this palpable fear about outliving their money. They want to find work—full- or part-time. But even with the improved economy, if you’re over 50 and looking for work, it’s still hard—it takes almost 30 months longer to find a job than it does for younger people; ageism is still rampant. So, if you have a job, for gosh sakes, you should hang on to it.

Q: But what if your job is really awful?

A: There still are things you can do to find some joy around the edges—to make the job come alive for you. But it might not be specific to the job. Then, if you really need to make a change, by all means do so, but don’t leave your current job until you have a new one.

Q: What are some examples of finding “joy around the edges?”

A: Perhaps you don’t love what you do, but you do really like your co-workers or the mission of the organization. It might be the challenge of learning something new, or working from home—the things that circle around the job itself.

Extracurriculars tied to the job are one good way to get re-engaged. Many companies offer the opportunity to do volunteer work right within the organization. If you can find a volunteer gig through your employer, that can help build relationships with co-workers and bonds across departments that you might never have had otherwise. And it gets you out of your own head and gives you perspective on the needs of others.

A couple examples that I mention in the book: The National Institutes of Health has its own orchestra that plays gigs at assisted living centers and hospices. Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc has an employee choir.

You might find it by telecommuting. Research shows that telecommuting employees are happier, more loyal and have fewer absences. If you don’t have a boss hovering over you, that can give you a sense of flexibility about getting your work done.

Q: How about learning to love the job itself?

A: Learning a new work-related skill can be key. When you learn something new, your brain shifts. If your employer sponsors workshops or skill-based learning, they may not think of offering it to you if you’re older than 50 – but you can raise your hand and ask for it.

Q: How do life values change as we get older, and how does that affect the way we relate to our jobs?

A: When we are younger, our work is our life on so many levels. In your twenties and thirties, your social friends usually are your work friends. Your identity is tied up in who you are and your job. And, we are establishing ourselves in our fields.

But as we age we have families and more outside interests. In your fifties, you probably aren’t pushing your way up the ladder, perhaps even doing something that wasn’t your primary career. So, work loses its emphasis, but you want those hours to be fulfilling.

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