MONEY Workplace

Great Career Advice from 2015 College Commencement Speeches

A host of incredibly wealthy and successful commencement speakers told the class of 2015 to follow their passion and not worry about getting rich.

Graduation season is in full swing, and with it come the parades of 20-somethings in flowing gowns, doting families snapping photos, and, of course, star-studded commencement speeches.

Some of the past weeks’ remarks were emotional, others were comical, and a few were just plain terrible (sorry, Duke grads). But many were filled with inspiring life and career lessons from leaders across industries. Here’s a look at a few of the most insightful.

 

  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.

    Apple CEO Tim Cook
    Alex Brandon—AP

    George Washington University

    “You don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well … Work takes on new meaning when you feel you are pointed in the right direction. Otherwise it’s just a job, and life is too short for that.”

    Cook also offered some wisdom from his former boss, the late Steve Jobs: “I always figured that work was work. Steve didn’t see it that way … He was an idealist … He convinced me that if we worked hard and made great products, we, too, could help change the world.”

    “Your challenge is to find work that pays the rent, puts food on the table, and lets you do what is right and good and just,” Cook advised.

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Tyson
    Don Treeger—The Republican via AP

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

    “Your grades, whatever is your GPA, rapidly becomes irrelevant in your life… I cannot begin to impress upon you how irrelevant it becomes. Because in life, they aren’t going to ask you your GPA.”

    “I think on some level, role models are overrated … Growing up in the Bronx, had I required, as a prerequisite, that another black man from the Bronx had become an astrophysicist for me to become one, I’d still be in the Bronx.”

  • Former President George W. Bush

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Bush
    Clayton T. Smith—Southern Methodist University

    Southern Methodist University

    “Those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done … And, as I like to tell the C-students, you too can be president.”

  • Mary Karr, Poet

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Karr2
    Stephen Sartori—Syracuse University

    Syracuse University

    “If you can get curious about what scares or infuriates you, especially if it’s part of yourself, you can get way less scared.”

  • Colin Powell, Former Secretary of State

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Powell
    LaVergne

    Rice University

    “Leadership is all about followership. Leaders put followers in the best possible environment to accomplish a unit mission or an organizational mission. It works in the Army; it works in the university; it works in any endeavor in the world where humans come together to achieve a purpose.”

  • First Lady Michelle Obama

    Michelle Obama150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Obama
    Brynn Anderson—AP

    Tuskegee University

    “Throughout this journey I have learned to block everything out and focus on my truth. I had to answer some basic questions for myself: Who am I? No, really, who am I? What do I care about?”

  • Tom Brokaw, Journalist

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Brokaw
    Laura Greene—AP

    High Point University

    “Don’t be afraid to be disruptive; find new ways to do the conventional and the useful; and don’t run from big and bold challenges.”

  • Mellody Hobson, Chair, DreamWorks Animation

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Hobson
    Gus Ruelas—Unversity of Southern California

    University of Southern California

    “A lot of graduation speeches will encourage you to be passionate about something. I’m here to encourage you to be passionate about someone … For me, it was career. Business. Those were my priorities. It took me a long time to be as brave in my personal life as I was in my professional life.”

  • Condoleezza Rice, Former Secretary of State

    150521_EM_CommencementAdvice_Rice
    Stephen Salpukas—College of William & Mary

    College of William and Mary

    “You’re headed into a world where optimists are too often told to keep their ideals to themselves. Don’t do it. Believe in the possibility of human progress and act to advance it.”

    “Your passion may be hard to spot, so keep an open mind and keep searching,” Rice said. “And when you find your passion, it is yours, not what someone else thinks it should be. Don’t let anyone else define your passion for you because of your gender or the color of your skin.”

MONEY salary

Temps Make 10% Less Than Full-Time Employees for the Same Work

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Joerg Steffens—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

It's common knowledge that temp workers aren't treated as well as full-timers. But this is pretty awful--and blatant.

There’s bad news for those working as temps or on-call workers—a group of Americans that has grown since the recession.

Despite doing equivalent work, so-called “contingent” employees earn about 10.6% less per hour than standard full-time workers, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Contingent employees made up about 18% of the workforce in 2014, up from 12% in 2009. That increase has come in great part because of growth in the “gig economy,” says Mary Beth Maxwell, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor.

“For some, these changes represent greater access to the labor market. For others, they mean reduced access to workplace protections, benefits and stable income, and increased exposure to health and safety risks,” Maxwell wrote in a letter to the GAO.

Indeed, a different new study reveals that on-demand workers (like Uber drivers) most commonly cite low pay as their top reason for quitting.

Some temp workers are paid especially poorly compared to their full-time counterparts, the GAO report found: Teachers and educators make nearly 14% less than standard workers per hour if they are contingent. On the other hand, construction workers make about the same on an hourly basis no matter if they’re contingent or collect salaries full-time.

Unsurprisingly, the job benefits are worse for contingent workers–that is, if they receive benefits at all. Temps are about two-thirds less likely than standard workers to have a work-provided retirement plan and less than half as likely to have employed-based health insurance, the study found.

MONEY Workplace

Answer These 5 Questions Before You Go Freelance

Getty Images

Be smart about quitting your day job

Planning to quit your day job to become a full-time freelancer can be the most exciting transition in your career. You gain control over your own schedule, and have the freedom to choose the type of projects you work on.

But with this excitement comes a lot of financial questions and planning. In order to make the leap from your day job as smooth as possible, here are five questions to ask — and answer! — before becoming a full-time freelancer.

1. How Much Should You Save?

If you have no other sources of income to pay the bills after you quit your job, how long would your savings last? Do you feel comfortable giving yourself three months to get your new freelancing career off the ground? Or is six months a more reasonable timeline? Obviously the more money you save up, the less risky your leap into freelancing will be.

There are additional factors that need to be accounted for too, like whether or not you’re the breadwinner for your family. It’s likely you’ll have to pay for your own health insurance, taxes, and fund your own retirement account. All of these things need to be calculated before you can accurately estimate how much money you should save.

Most experts suggest that you keep at least three to six months’ worth of expenses in a separate savings account to cover any emergencies or losses of income (some even suggest as much as twelve months’ worth). As a freelancer you might as well double this amount to account for the added risk of being self-employed.

2. What’s Your Bare Minimum Budget?

What’s the bare minimum amount of money you need to make in order to pay your bills each month? Make sure you add in all of your household bills (utilities, insurance, groceries,) as well as the cost of doing business as a freelancer.

When I was in the process of quitting my day job, I calculated my bare minimum budget to be $3,000 a month. This meant that I needed at least $18,000 saved up ($3,000 a month X six month savings cushion = $18,000) in order to cover my bare expenses for six months while I built my freelancing business.

Calculate how much money you need to adequately pay your bills every month, then multiply this figure by six to eight months. This is the amount you’ll need to save in a separate account to make the transition from a day job to freelancing a successful one.

3. Do You Have Passive Income Streams?

One other way to make this process much easier is creating multiple streams of income. Aside from your core freelance duties, do you have other options for creating passive income? What other assets can you leverage to bring in more money each month?

Maybe you can branch out and offer business consulting, or create an online course that teaches a specific skill based on your background and experience. Do you have investments that earn small dividends or interest?

Every little bit of income can help you save up money faster, while easing the transition of quitting your job and steady paycheck.

4. Are You Willing to Do What it Takes?

How much time do you have available to dedicate to finding work? Are you prepared to spend nights and weekends building your business? In the beginning, clients won’t come to you, so you’ll have to actively seek them out and build a solid network from scratch.

How much time you spend in the beginning will determine how quickly you’re able to replace your day job’s income. There will likely be a lot of sleepless nights and stressful days, but in the end you have to determine if the reward is worth all the effort.

Freedom is never free, and this includes financial freedom. You have to figure out if the cost is worth it.

5. Do You Have a Financial Backup Plan?

What happens if Plan A doesn’t work out? Do you have a Plan B in place? In the event that you blow through all of your savings, and are still not where you can fully pay your monthly expenses, how are you going to cope?

Create a backup plan of action for this specific event. List out the possible solutions and scenarios for how you and your family will deal with this. Are you going to find another full-time job? Will you be able to move back in with your parents?

This is another reason that having a large chunk of money stashed away in savings can really help you during the process of quitting your job to freelance full time. Calculate at least six months’ worth of your minimum budget expenses and then save money like crazy.

More From Wise Bread:

MONEY Workplace

These 4 Character Flaws Can Kill Your Career

Tony award winning play Death of a Salesman 1949
W. Eugene Smith—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Caption from LIFE. Losing his mind as result of worry, the salesman, Willy Loman (Lee J. Cobb), babbles at imaginary characters in a restaurant. This two sons attempt to restrain him while a couple of floozies the boys have picked up look on in cold puzzlement.

Character is tricky. You often don’t notice it until it’s gone.

Character is an orchard. What do orchards have? Trees, weeds and farmers. The trees are character traits that need to be planted, watered, tended and deliberately grown. The weeds are all the things that threaten to destroy your orchard. The farmer is you.

Before you start to plant generosity, empathy and presence, make sure you’ve got a handle on your weeds. The weeds we can’t stand in others are often the weeds we’ve been ignoring in our own orchards.

If I asked you to name five people you’ve worked with who had strong character, it would take you a lot longer than if I asked you to name five people who have no character. We tend to remember the knives in our back easier than the pats on our back.

Those people, the ones you couldn’t stand working with, all had one thing in common—they lacked character. Their orchards were choked by these workplace weeds:

Do Over by Jon Acuff

1. Narcissism

I completely get the irony of someone who has a picture of his headshot inside the cover of a book telling you about narcissism but life is ironic. When it comes to character the weed of narcissism is the belief that you’re the only one who matters at the company. The company is there for your benefit and the phrase “Take one for the team” is your kryptonite. This is the one I struggle with the most, possibly compounded by the fact that car services pick me up with a little sign in baggage claim when I fly to an event. Recently while heading to the limo, I pressed the #2 button in the elevator for the floor we were parked on. The driver said, “Sir, please do not do that. You are a guest.” He’s right! These are typing fingers, not elevator‑pushing fingers. I can’t be using my hands that way! I’m Jon Acuff! These are callus‑free writer hands. I can’t sully them like normal people! (I can’t pull the narcissism weeds in my orchard; I usually have to use a flamethrower because there are so many.)

2. Dishonesty

This weed comes in a tremendous amount of varieties. Dishonesty at work can mean simple lying. Someone said they did something that they did not do. They covered a small mistake with a slightly bigger lie. Dishonesty can also take the form of gossip. When you talk bad about someone else behind their back, you’re lying to their face if you’re friendly when you see them. Dishonesty can also mean overpromising and underdelivering. I might pretend I wrestle with this because I don’t want to disappoint people, but when I promise them a timeline I know I will never hit, I’m lying. In my defense this might be caused by the exhausting amount of elevator buttons I’ve been pressing all by myself lately.

3. Pessimism

Oh, you little black cloud, you. Eeyore of Winnie the Pooh fame would bump into you and think, “I get why I’m sad. Someone stuck my tail on with a nail gun, but what’s that guy’s problem?” People who only have the ability to see the negative and then the gift to spread the negative aren’t fun to work with. This can morph into paranoia as well, as a coworker starts to operate from an “I’m under attack” perspective. Sometimes when I get voicemails my first thought is, “That’s someone calling to tell me I’ve screwed up something.” I can’t explain why I live from a “called to the principal’s office” point of view, but I do. If I’m not careful, that pessimism weed grows until I can no longer brainstorm and dream, two activities that require the optimism of creativity.

4. Apathy

People who don’t care about their jobs don’t have to worry about having jobs for very long. This is one of the easiest weeds to see in someone else. It’s the surly service on the phone call, the lazy attention to details and the general “whatever” that floods a coworker’s every action. Most destructive of all is that apathy cripples your ability to launch a Career Jump. No one who is apathetic has the energy or heart to try a positive, voluntary career transition.

Character is sometimes tricky to talk about because it has so many definitions. Weeds though are easy. We can all agree that narcissism, dishonesty, pessimism and apathy have no place at work. If you ever find them in your own orchard, pull them quickly.

This article was adapted from Jon Acuff’s new book, DO OVER: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck. Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of five books. Read his blog at Acuff.me and follow him on Twitter, @JonAcuff.

MONEY Startups

5 Ways to Tackle the Problem That Kills One of Every Four Small Businesses

Getty Images/Hero Images

Smart strategies for managing your cash flow

It’s a phenomenon that most people who have never run a business have a hard time understanding: That a seemingly healthy business—even one that is both profitable and growing—can go bankrupt.

The explanation comes down to what’s known to accountants and business people as a cash flow problem. Your company might have a contract to deliver a gazillion widgets in December at a fantastically profitable price. But it’s July now, and in the meantime you need to buy the raw materials needed to produce those widgets and pay people to assemble them—and if you don’t have enough cash on hand to make it until December, well, let’s just say the holidays are going to be kind of bleak this year.

That’s why, for example, Chris Carey, CEO of Modern Automotive Performance, works hard to keep his cash flow as smooth as the rides his customers crave in their souped-up cars. Carey’s 40-employee company, based in Cottage Grove, Minn., provides auto and truck parts to owners of vehicles like the Mitsubishi Evo X and Dodge Neon SRT-4, allowing them to do things like handle better and accelerate faster.

It’s a seasonal business that peaks in the spring, when drivers get ready to hit the roads—and sometimes the racetrack. One way Carey avoids running short of cash to pay his bills during the frigid winter months is by charging all of his customers in advance. “We’re being paid for the products before we have to pay our vendors,” he says.

By keeping a close eye on cash flow, Carey has enough available cash and access to credit to keep Modern Automotive Peformance well stocked with the type of inventory that keeps customers flocking. He has grown the business to $11 million in revenue annually since 2006.

Unfortunately, his attention to cash-flow is rare among entrepreneurs. “It’s not something most small business owners think about,” says Dave Kurrasch, a former senior vice president of Wells Fargo who is now vice president and general manager of Small Business Payments Company, a financial technology provider.

That can be a fatal mistake. Recent data compiled by the research firm CB Insights found that 29% of startups fail because of a cash crisis. It was the second highest cause. (The number one factor, at 42%? A lack of a need for their product in the marketplace.)

So how can you make sure your business beats the odds? Here are five strategies to keep your cash flow healthy.

Strategy #1: Choose a lower-overhead business. It may seem obvious—and for some businesses, simply too late—but the fact is that certain enterprises require much more or less cash to launch and grow than others. If you don’t have much access to startup funding, your best bet may be business you can fund mostly through the revenue you receive from customers.

“Consultants, if they’re good at what they do and are well known, can be instantly cash-flow positive,” says Kurrasch. That’s because they tend not to have a lot of inventory and if they hire people, the team members often contribute directly to producing revenue. “Most businesses that have inventory—restaurants, retail outlets, manufacturers—tend to be negative cash flow producers, at least for the first three to four months, if not longer.” Which leads us to our next point….

Strategy #2: Secure credit before you need it. By talking with experienced business owners in your intended industry before you open your doors, you can find out how much cash you’ll likely need to survive until revenue starts coming in the door—and finance your operations accordingly.

Start by being realistic about it. “If you own a restaurant or a Hallmark card shop, a real traditional small business, [venture capital giant] Kleiner, Perkins isn’t going to come along and put a bunch of money into your company,” says Kurrasch. “Either you have cash reserves or you have friends and family you can call on.”

Start your money hunt long before there’s any chance you’ll run short of cash. “Try to get as much credit as you can before you enter the business,” advises Nat Wasserstein, managing director of Lindenwood Associates in Upper Nyack, N.Y., a provider of services such as crisis management. If you wait until you’re in a jam, you’ll find it hard to get anyone to lend to you.

Strategy #3: Find your ideal dashboard. By keeping keep close tabs on the money coming in and out of your business, you’ll reduce the chance of getting caught short when it’s time to meet payroll or pay a key supplier. “A lot of entrepreneurs don’t even understand that they could be profitable and strapped for cash at the same time,” says Wasserstein. If you need money now to pay your bills and don’t expect customers to pay you in the immediate future, you’ll find yourself in a crunch where you need to borrow.

Fortunately, there are simple tools to help you keep on top of cash flow without spending a lot of time on it. You can get a free excel worksheet to figure out your cash flow through from the CCH Business Owner’s Toolkit. Or, if you want a more automated solution, you can use inexpensive accounting software such as QuickBooks to create a “statement of cash flows.” Kurrasch’s company offers a cash forecasting app, called Small Business Workbench, that costs $6 a month for the basic plan.

Strategy #4. Put your credit card to work for you. Carey has found that one of his most valuable tools in managing his cash flow is his business credit card. He happens to use the American Express Plum card, which offered him 2% cash back if he paid the balance in full when he signed up in 2006, and now offers users 1.5% back. Carey will often spend as much as $750,000 a month on his card to pay for inventory and other expenses, enabling him to get anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 a month once he pays the bill on time. That gives him a big incentive to keep on top of the money coming in and out of his business. “Everything in our cash flow revolves around making that payment for the American Express card,” he says. The American Express Plum card is one of many cards offering cash back, so shop around for a good deal.

Strategy #5. Know when to say no. It’s easy to get excited if a big retailer offers to carry your product or a big contract drops in your lap at a professional services firm. But before you say yes, make sure you understand how quickly a client will pay you—and figure out if you can manage the outlay to fulfill the deal in the meantime. If you won’t be seeing any cash for 120 days, it’s very possible to run out of money and find your company on life support. “Not every sale is worth taking,” says Wasserstein.

Of course, before you turn down business, it’s worth exploring creative ways to get customers to pay you more quickly. For instance, some small vendors offer early-payment discounts to big suppliers to get them to cut checks more quickly and sign up for direct-deposit payments to their bank accounts, which may speed payments by a few days. These approaches are often a lot cheaper than borrowing.

MONEY Wages

Los Angeles Just Raised Its Minimum Wage to $15

May Day Rally Held in Los Angeles
Sandy Huffaker—Getty Images Protesters chant during a May Day rally in downtown Los Angeles, California.

The increase will kick in by 2020

The Los Angeles City Council has voted to ramp up the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour from $9 over the next five years.

The urban center is the largest among several cities—including Seattle, San Francisco, and Oakland, California—that have moved to increase pay for their lowest-earning workers. Once signed by the mayor, the L.A. law could affect as many as 800,000 workers, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Other cities, including New York and Washington, D.C., are still considering laws that would also set the local minimum wage at $15. (See this map of places where local minimum wage increases have been enacted or proposed.)

The first pay bump would occur in July 2016, increasing wages in Los Angeles to $10.50 per hour.

Read next: These Are the 25 Best U.S. Cities for Jobs

MONEY Workplace

10 Times It Pays to Speak Up at Work

John Wildgoose/Getty Images

Don't be a workplace wallflower

There are times during anyone’s career when it’s preferable to stay quiet, and avoid confrontations or drama. And, there are other times when staying quiet may be the easy thing to do — but not the right thing. You may be put in a situation that requires you to speak up for the good of the company, yourself, or another employee. Your job could be put in jeopardy by not speaking up. You could simply be doing yourself a disservice by not speaking your mind, and letting others know just how you feel. Here are 10 of those times. In these situations, speak up, and do it quickly.

1. Any Time You Are Being Harassed

Whether sexually, physically, racially, or emotionally, the workplace should be harassment-free. Most employers require you to take harassment training courses these days, and with good reason. Harassment is not only disruptive to the work environment, it can lead to deep psychological scarring, lawsuits, and in the worst cases, suicide. The moment you suspect anything has gone from playful banter to something much more serious, you must arrange a meeting with someone from your HR department. If you don’t have one, then you need to talk to your supervisor, or someone else in a position of authority. The longer you leave it, the worse it will get.

2. When You Witness Harassment

Look out for fellow employees who may be too afraid to take action against harassment themselves. If you notice that someone is experiencing any kind of harassment that could be contributing to a hostile work environment, follow the procedures set in place by your HR department, or superiors. This is not just a “nice” thing to do — it’s actually your responsibility to the people you work with. Again, this needs to be nipped in the bud quickly, before it gets out of hand and creates a very serious situation.

3. During Brainstorming Meetings

If you work in an environment that requires brainstorming sessions, be they about finances, advertising, engineering, or just the holiday party, you must not make the mistake of staying quiet in these meetings. Whether it’s from shyness, self-doubt, or preferring to listen instead of contribute, your lack of involvement will only be viewed in a negative light. You will be seen as someone who doesn’t contribute, has no ideas, or is apathetic to the task at hand. To combat this, speak up early; ideally within the first few minutes. This is a great way to make sure you break the silence, boost your confidence, and avoid searching your brain for an idea that is not already on the table.

4. When You Don’t Understand the Assignment

There’s a famous episode of Seinfeld (“The Bottle Deposit”) that involves George receiving a very important assignment from his boss, Mr. Wilhem. As George is getting briefed, Mr. Wilhelm enters the bathroom, and George stays outside. But when he eventually follows him in, Wilhelm has finishes the briefing and thinks George heard every word. The comedy comes from George trying to figure out what on earth Wilhelm wants, without asking him to repeat the instructions.

Don’t be like George. If you misunderstand any part of the brief, go back and ask questions; explicit questions. This is not the time to beat around the bush, and your boss will appreciate you making sure you are going in the right direction. Of course, there is one caveat; don’t continue to ask the same questions over and over. Getting clarification is one thing, but if you have to be told something five times before it sinks in, you may not be in the right career.

5. If You’re in Physical Pain

It doesn’t matter if you do a desk job, or you’re out doing hard labor. If you’re in pain, you must speak up, and quickly. Experiencing pain on the job can severely impact your performance, and also make the cause of the pain even worse. If it’s a migraine, take the day off if you have sick days. If you don’t have sick days left, see if it is possible to work from home after the pain has eased a little. If you’re experiencing physical pain, like a bad back or shoulder, explain it to your supervisor. It could be work-related, in which case the company may be obligated to help you eliminate the cause of the pain. These days, many office workers find it better to stand at their desks, and your employer could provide you with the appropriate desk and equipment.

6. When You Witness Something Illegal

Your company’s code of conduct will likely cover compliance issues, and how to make sure you are not breaking any laws (even accidentally) while at work. If you should notice someone breaking these rules or laws, you need to speak up. Your employer should have a whistleblower policy to cover this, and you will be able to report the incident anonymously. If there is something systemic going on, like the Enron scandal, your quick action could save hundreds of jobs. If you believe you, yourself, may have inadvertently broken a law, you must also speak up. It is far better that it comes from you, than someone who notices your genuine mistake and reports it to your superiors.

7. As Soon as You Know Something is Wrong

Wrong? How? Well, it all depends on the kind of job you have. If you’re in accounting and you notice a mistake in the numbers, don’t wait until the financial report is at the printers. Say something when you first notice the mistake. If you’re in advertising, don’t stay quiet when something is clearly wrong with the ad (or bottle… as Bud Light found out recently to much blowback). If you’re in engineering, and see something that could cause major problems later on (such as GM’s poorly-made ignition switch), for goodness sake speak up. These mistakes can cost lives. Staying quiet because it’s easier than causing a fuss is not good enough. Be brave, speak up, and do the right thing.

8. When Someone Takes Credit for Your Work

It happens a lot in businesses all over the world. You have a great idea, you say something to someone, and the next thing you know, they’re claiming ownership. They get the pay raise, the new account, the promotion, the accolades, and you’re left holding with a whole lot of bitterness. These “leeches” work everywhere, and are quite happy to take the credit and climb the ladder, be it in a Fortune 500 company, or the local bakery or autoshop.

How you speak up is important though. It can’t come down to whining and complaining. Make sure you approach your supervisor, show them the work you had done beforehand (if you have it) and calmly discuss the fact that this was your idea. You may want to approach the person who stole the idea first; sometimes, they may be unaware of their mistake. In those rare cases, they may be quite happy to speak up on your behalf. Either way… take what’s yours.

9. If Anything You Own Goes “Missing”

Make no mistake: there are sticky fingers in offices and businesses around the country. It can be as small as someone using the milk you brought in for their own cup of tea. Or, it can be more expensive items, including money, electronics, clothing, or even collectibles. When you start noticing that your things are going missing, report it immediately to HR or your superiors. It’s important to at least get them alerted to the problem. It could be an internal person, someone from the cleaning staff, or anyone else trusted to walk around your business or office. HR can even install security cameras if it is serious enough.

10. When Rumors and Gossip Are Running Riot

You can’t avoid water cooler chats and idle gossip in businesses. It happens in kitchens, bathrooms, conference rooms, and anywhere else people congregate to chat. However, when this gossip goes from a little harmless griping, to something much more toxic, you need to speak up. You can either put a stop to the chat instantly when you hear it (i.e. “No, she didn’t say that, and was never even in that meeting”) or you can take your concerns to your superiors so that they can address the issues. Gossip can be very destructive, and needs to be stopped.

When has speaking up at work made you most proud?

 

MONEY Best Places

These Are the 25 Best Cities for Finding a Job

Chamber of Commerce, Raleigh, NC
Visions of America—UIG via Getty Images Chamber of Commerce, Raleigh, NC

A new report shows the best places to find a new gig.

A new Glassdoor study ranked America’s 50 biggest cities and come up with the best 25 for workers.

The formula weights each city’s housing affordability, how employees rate their job satisfaction on Glassdoor’s site, and how easy it is to get a job (the ratio of openings to population).

Thanks in great part to its location in the university-heavy “Research Triangle,” Raleigh, N.C., is the top-rated metropolitan area for jobs. Like Austin and Seattle, which also rank in the top five, the city has benefitted from a tech boom in recent years, as companies and workers have left higher-cost areas like San Francisco and New York.

Scroll down for the top 25 cities—or check out the full ranking at Glassdoor, which has Riverside, Calif., and Las Vegas landing at the bottom of the list.

  1. Raleigh, NC – Glassdoor Job Score: 4.1
  • Number of Job Openings: 24,146
  • Population: 1,242,974
  • Median Base Salary: $50,950
  • Median Home Value: $198,400
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.3
  1. Kansas City, MO – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.9
  • Number of Job Openings: 28,786
  • Population: 2,071,133
  • Median Base Salary: $46,000
  • Median Home Value: $138,500
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Oklahoma City, OK – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.9
  • Number of Job Openings: 16,759
  • Population: 1,336,767
  • Median Base Salary: $38,100
  • Median Home Value: $129,400
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.3
  1. Austin, TX – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.9
  • Number of Job Openings: 33,198
  • Population: 1,943,299
  • Median Base Salary: $50,000
  • Median Home Value: $226,400
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.3
  1. Seattle, WA – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.9
  • Number of Job Openings: 69,423
  • Population: 3,671,478
  • Median Base Salary: $70,000
  • Median Home Value: $344,700
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.3
  1. Salt Lake City, UT – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.8
  • Number of Job Openings: 17,970
  • Population: 1,153,340
  • Median Base Salary: $44,000
  • Median Home Value: $224,000
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.4
  1. San Jose, CA – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.7
  • Number of Job Openings: 51,439
  • Population: 1,952,872
  • Median Base Salary: $99,000
  • Median Home Value: $863,800
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.5
  1. Louisville, KY – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.7
  • Number of Job Openings: 16,295
  • Population: 1,269,702
  • Median Base Salary: $40,000
  • Median Home Value: $131,100
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. San Antonio, TX – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.7
  • Number of Job Openings: 29,980
  • Population: 2,328,652
  • Median Base Salary: $40,000
  • Median Home Value: $147,600
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.3
  1. Washington, D.C. – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.7
  • Number of Job Openings: 116,770
  • Population: 6,033,737
  • Median Base Salary: $61,000
  • Median Home Value: $361,200
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.4
  1. St. Louis, MO – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.7
  • Number of Job Openings: 31,365
  • Population: 2,806,207
  • Median Base Salary: $45,000
  • Median Home Value: $133,200
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.3
  1. San Francisco, CA – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.7
  • Number of Job Openings: 94,933
  • Population: 4,594,060
  • Median Base Salary: $70,000
  • Median Home Value: $728,000
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.5
  1. Columbus, OH – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.6
  • Number of Job Openings: 25,242
  • Population: 1,994,536
  • Median Base Salary: $43,000
  • Median Home Value: $146,700
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.6
  • Number of Job Openings: 102,311
  • Population: 6,954,330
  • Median Base Salary: $50,000
  • Median Home Value: $157,900
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Boston, MA – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.6
  • Number of Job Openings: 86,565
  • Population: 4,732,161
  • Median Base Salary: $56,000
  • Median Home Value: $367,600
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.4
  1. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.6
  • Number of Job Openings: 48,231
  • Population: 3,495,176
  • Median Base Salary: $52,000
  • Median Home Value: $210,300
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Atlanta, GA – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.5
  • Number of Job Openings: 69,642
  • Population: 5,614,323
  • Median Base Salary: $49,180
  • Median Home Value: $155,200
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Memphis, TN – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.4
  • Number of Job Openings: 14,776
  • Population: 1,343,230
  • Median Base Salary: $42,000
  • Median Home Value: $107,000
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Indianapolis, IN – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.3
  • Number of Job Openings: 23,863
  • Population: 1,971,274
  • Median Base Salary: $44,000
  • Median Home Value: $130,100
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Chicago, IL – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.3
  • Number of Job Openings: 124,633
  • Population: 9,554,598
  • Median Base Salary: $50,000
  • Median Home Value: $186,900
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Houston, TX – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.3
  • Number of Job Openings: 74,442
  • Population: 6,490,180
  • Median Base Salary: $52,000
  • Median Home Value: $157,900
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Baltimore, MD – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.3
  • Number of Job Openings: 45,558
  • Population: 2,785,874
  • Median Base Salary: $46,000
  • Median Home Value: $244,100
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Richmond, VA – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.2
  • Number of Job Openings: 17,933
  • Population: 1,260,029
  • Median Base Salary: $45,000
  • Median Home Value: $186,300
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2
  1. Pittsburgh, PA – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.1
  • Number of Job Openings: 29,456
  • Population: 2,355,968
  • Median Base Salary: $43,000
  • Median Home Value: $124,500
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.1
  1. Nashville, TN – Glassdoor Job Score: 3.1
  • Number of Job Openings: 27,850
  • Population: 1,792,649
  • Median Base Salary: $41,600
  • Median Home Value: $176,700
  • Job Satisfaction Rating: 3.2

 

MONEY Kids and Money

How New College Grads Can Beat the Tough Job Market

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The career expectations of college grads may be overoptimistic. But these strategies can boost their odds of landing a job.

As another crop of college graduates frame their diplomas, another dose of reality is about to set in. The financial crisis may be ancient history for this group, most of whom were still in middle school when the market began to plunge. But the effects linger—and new entrants to the job market may be surprised at how difficult it is, even now, to move ahead in this economy.

Eight in 10 new graduates expect to have a job in their field within a year, with more than half expecting to land one within two months, according to an analysis from Upromise.com, a college savings website. That jibes with research from Accenture, which found that 80% of the Class of 2015 say their education prepared them well for the workforce. Yet here’s the reality: 49% of graduates from 2014 and 41% from 2013 report being underemployed (having no job or one that does not require a college degree), Accenture found.

Meanwhile, just 15% of this year’s graduates expect to earn $25,000 or less in their first job. But almost three times that many from the classes of 2013 and 2014 report that level of income. So for entry-level job seekers, it’s still surprisingly tough out there.

Despite their upbeat expectations, most new grads do have a fallback plan: Mom and Dad. About half expect to be financially dependent on their parents for two years after graduation, and they are prepared to move back home and pay rent, Upromise found. This won’t surprise their parents. Nearly a quarter of 25- to 34-year-olds lives with parents or grandparents, up from 11% in 1980, Pew found. This failure to launch is so widespread psychologists have given it a name: emerging adulthood. The share of parents that expect to support their college graduates for two years or more doubled to 36% this year, according to the Upromise analysis.

Why, then, is this class of graduates so optimistic? First, optimism is rightfully a trait for the young, and Millennials possess it in staggering proportions—probably because they were raised by helicopter parents who constantly extolled their greatness and rewarded them with trophies for showing up. But more is at work here. The economy has been growing since 2009, when this class was taking the SATs. In their college years, this group has known only rising stock prices and an improving jobs and housing market. Consider: through four years of higher education the S&P 500 rose 2%, 16%, 32% and 13%. Even for the uninvested, that’s an encouraging backdrop.

This optimism may also spring from the Class of 2015’s improved career preparation. Accenture found that 82% considered the availability of jobs in their field before choosing a major. That’s up from 75% in the Class of 2014. To minimize student debt, more from this class also started at a community college. And—a crucial step—some 72% of this year’s class had an internship or apprenticeship while in school, up from 65% of graduates the year before.

This is all smart planning. More than half who took part in an internship said it led to a job, Accenture found. At the Intern Group, 88% of those who take part in an internship find work at a graduate level job within three months and 95% say the program was good for their career, says David Lloyd, the firm’s founder. Still, it seems we’ll be talking about the Great Recession a while longer.

Read next: The Costly Career Mistake Millennials Are Making

MONEY work life balance

Millennials Want Work-Life Balance Too. Here’s How They Can Get It

Hero Images/Getty Images

Don't be afraid to ask.

We all want a life more that’s more balanced between work and fun. But millennials, more than any other age group, are the unhappiest when they don’t get it.

Nearly one-third of millennials say managing their work, family, and personal responsibilities has become more difficult in the past five years. And nearly half—47%—are working more hours, compared with 38% of Generation X and 28% of baby boom workers, according to a recent survey by Ernst & Young’s Global Generation Research.

More than other generations, millennials want flexibility in terms of where and how they work and are the most willing to take a pay cut, pass up a promotion, or even relocate to manage work-life demands better, according to the survey.

But employers don’t make it easy. Nearly one in six young workers surveyed by EY say they suffer negative consequences for choosing a flexible schedule.

Why should employers care about millennials want? This group—age 18 to 34—now officially outnumber Generation X as the most populous group in the workforce and are on track to surpass baby boomers soon. As employers try to attract and retain the best and the brightest, knowing what’s important to them is, well, important. Turnover among millennials tends to be higher than other work cohorts, and high turnover is costly to companies.

The E&Y survey further illuminates why this generation is more adamant about wanting flexibility. Millennials are hitting the time of their lives when they marry, buy homes, and have kids at the same time the demands of work are escalating.

“Earlier generations were probably too afraid to ask for flexibility. The mindset was that work comes first,” says Rose Ernst, national director of G10 Associates program, which works with companies to hire and retain college graduates and Generation Y workers. But many millennials grew up with parents who got laid off or whose careers suffered during recessions despite putting in long hours in the office. Meanwhile, technology has evolved so it’s easier to work from anywhere.

The dynamic on the home front has also changed. Millennials are almost twice as likely (78%) to have a spouse or partner working at least full time, compared with 73% of Gen Xers and 47% of baby boomers.

Until more millennials advance in their careers and become managers, the reality is that an older generation of workers still sets the standard for where and how work is done at many organizations. Here’s how to ask your boss for a flexible schedule and make it work without hurting your career.

  • Be up front. If you’re interviewing for a job, don’t wait until late in the game to ask about the possibility of a flexible work schedule, says Ernst. Research the company before you interview to find out what the culture is like in terms of nontraditional work arrangements. Clearly some jobs are going to be more adaptable than others. If you’re a human resources person focused on recruiting and meeting with job candidates, you may be able to do some work from home or after hours. If you’re managing a large team of people who work in one location, it’ll be more difficult to work remotely.
  • Be reasonable about why you’re asking. If you want to leave at 4 p.m. twice a week to take a class relevant to work, or if you need a few weeks off every February for volunteer work in Costa Rica, that’s going to be perceived differently than asking to leave early because you play in a softball league on Thursday nights.
  • Have a plan. If you’re already on staff and want to move to a flexible schedule, such as job sharing or telecommuting, prepare a proposal on how you’ll get your work done.
  • Don’t be a flake. It’s obvious but critical to be reliable. You’re much more vulnerable to being judged as a slacker when people can’t see you working. Always be reachable, deliver work on time or early, and make it a point to check in regularly.
  • Give and take. Volunteer for projects when you can or offer to help out colleagues on deadline, especially if others are making accommodations for your work schedule.

It remains to be seen how quickly work norms are changing. But there is power in numbers. “The millennials are a huge cohort of workers who value flexibility more than previous generations,” Ernst says. “That gives them leverage to change how we work.”

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