MONEY first jobs

Why Millennials Shouldn’t Fear Quitting a Job

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If you're not on the right career path, act quickly. Oscar Wong—Getty Images/Flickr Select

Hating a first job out of college can make anyone feel like a failure. But your early twenties are the best time to take a mulligan.

An irony in my career, given that I write about money, is that my first job at age 22 paid more than my current job, at 29.

Yet I love my job today, just as I am certain that quitting that first job—a financial management consultant position I grew to hate after only a couple of months—was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I was lucky: The reason I disliked my job wasn’t an unsafe workplace, unkind boss, or unfair pay. I was simply bored by a position that turned out to be less interesting and meaningful than advertised.

But the thing about boredom is it can really eat away at you—at your sense of worth and your enthusiasm to get up in the morning. When I found myself constantly looking at the clock, daydreaming about the weekend, and, eventually, crying in the bathroom at the very thought of coming in the next day, I knew I needed a change. So I lined up a teaching job in China and gave my notice, after only two months at the consultancy.

As short a stint as that was, recent research suggests that an increasing number of millennials are in the same boat. That is, they are spending less time at their first jobs after graduation than young people have in the past. That trend has accelerated even within the last year, with fewer graduates staying at jobs past the one-year mark—and a growing number leaving after three months (or less):

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Source: Express Employment Professionals survey of employer estimates.

Why might that be? Well, for one, research shows that only 38% of young adults under age 30 express deep satisfaction with their jobs—compared with 63% for people age 65 and up. This might seem unsurprising at first glance, since older people have had more time to build confidence and get established in their careers.

But millennials aren’t just feeling unfulfilled because they are low on the totem pole; the current job market is also to blame. More than 40% of recent college graduates say they weren’t able to find a job in their desired field, according to a recent McKinsey study. The survey also found that almost half of graduates from four-year colleges report being in jobs that don’t require a four-year degree.

“Many in the millennial generation are taking jobs that they are over-qualified for and thus are eager to move on when something better appears,”says Bob Funk, CEO of Express, the firm that conducted the job duration survey. Plus, he adds, “we’ve seen a decrease in employees’ commitment to employers as a higher value is placed on personal advancement.”

All of this is to say that if you’re unhappy at your first job and are contemplating quitting, you’re not alone.

Still, figuring out when and how to make a move is tricky. Here are three tips on making a smooth switch, from former hiring manager Alison Green, author of askamanager.org.

1. Be honest with yourself. Green has spoken with workers who have stuck around in bad jobs, despite serious problems at work like harassment, because of fears about money, security, and student loans. “If you are truly miserable, you should trust your gut and not be too afraid to lean on savings, a spouse, family, or part-time work instead,” says Green. “For those who don’t have that luxury, keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and direct your energy into finding a better job in the meantime.”

It’s also worth doing a little soul searching as soon as you start to feel unhappy, to see whether the problem truly lies with your boss or the position—or if the real culprit is your attitude. One litmus test is to try to behave differently for a week and figure out if that makes you happier. For example, if you normally sit back and wait for assignments, speak up and volunteer. Conversely, if you’re typically too willing to please, try to dial back on how much responsibility you’re taking on at once.

2. Line up another job before you quit—but not just any job. When you quit a first job out of college, says Green, very few future employers are going to hold that against you, especially if you’re able to articulate what you learned from the experience. The danger, however, is that when you’re desperate to leave a job, you might be tempted to take the first new offer you get, even if it’s wrong for you, too.

“It’s okay to quit once, ” Green says. “You kind of get one freebie. But you can’t let it become a pattern.”

3. Leave gracefully. It’s important to be upfront with your employer and give the company time to prepare for your departure. If you are respectful and help out with the transition, you should be fine. “A good employer shouldn’t want you to stay if you’re unhappy with the fit,” says Green.

As for questions from future prospective bosses, post-college jobs of six months or less need not to be added to your resume, says Green. More than that and employers might wonder about the gap.

Watch real people talk about their best and worst bosses in the video below:

 

TIME Careers & Workplace

Watch the 5 Most Popular TED Talks of All Time

Whether you’re looking for outstanding orators to emulate for an upcoming speaking engagement, or whether you’re in the mood for Crossfit crunches for your brain

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

Happiness, vulnerability and orgasms. These are few of the TED Talks themes that people love most.

Add to that viral mix soul-stirring speeches about education, inspiration, and revelation, and you have the stuff of the most-watched TED speeches of all time, the cream of the presentation crop with millions upon millions of views and growing.

Related: 5 TED Talks That May Change Your View on Life

Whether you’re looking for outstanding orators to emulate for an upcoming speaking engagement, or whether you’re in the mood for Crossfit crunches for your brain just because, here are the top five TED Talks of all time. Feast your mind.


1. Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity

Children are naturally creative, right up until we educate the raw spark of wonder out of them. In his witty, 18-minute takedown of the talent-squandering treadmill that is the traditional public education system, Sir Kenneth Robinson challenges us to “radically rethink” the way we teach our children. He invites educators to encourage kids to dance, experiment and make mistakes.

Related: 7 Public Speaking Tips From One of the Most-Watched TED Speakers

Business leaders can apply Robinson’s outlier theories to inspire their teams in much the same way. Start by allowing your employees to make mistakes. They’re not bad. They’re gateways to innovation.


2. Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

If you’re a habitual arm crosser, watching Amy Cuddy’s body language 101 might convince you to drop the habit — and your arms — right away. The social scientist, who kicks off her speech with a “free no-tech life hack” that will probably turn your frown upside down, says our body language speaks loud and clear to those around us. And it might just have a lot to do with our success. One thing’s for sure: You’ll walk a little taller and sit up a little straighter after you take Cuddy’s 20-minute “power posing” crash course. Remember, “Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes.”

Related: Inspiring TED Talks Every Entrepreneur Should Watch


3. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Extolling the trailblazing, renegade spirit of iconic historical figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Wright brothers, ethnographer Simon Sinek dares people be rebels, to “think, act and communicate” in ways that are “the complete opposite of everyone else.” In his talk, the author of the motivational classic Start With Why (Portfolio Trade, 2011) describes what he calls the “golden circle.” It’s a means of communicating “from the outside in,” a way to passionately talk about what you care about and believe. He says Apple does it — obviously to great success — and your company can, too.

Related: Why TED Talks Are Impossible to Resist


4. Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Humiliation, embarrassment and shame are the fields of study that Brené Brown specializes in. Not many people talk openly about thosekinds of feelings, let alone in front of thousands. In her touching, often funny speech, the University of Houston research professor and author of five bestselling self-empowerment books, reminds us to be true to ourselves. How? By embracing our imperfections, something society pressures us not to do, at home and at work. Instead, Brown asks you to be you, to be real and really vulnerable. When you are, you’re kinder to yourself and to others. It’s not easy, but once you accept who you are — not who you think should be — flaws and all, Brown says you’ll connect with others in deeper, more meaningful ways. And P.S. — Stop beating yourself up already. You are enough.

Related: An Oft Unspoken Key to Success: Put Aside Your Ego and Be Vulnerable


5. Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight

When Harvard-trained brain researcher Dr. Jill Bolte says she had a stroke of insight, she means it literally. One morning, at the age of 37, she suffered a devastating cerebrovascular accident. A blood vessel in her brain suddenly burst. She could only speak “like a Golden Retriever” when calling for help. Her right arm “went totally paralyzed” and her world came crashing down.

You won’t believe Taylor’s first thoughts upon realizing she was suffering a stroke: “Wow! This is so cool! How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out?” Amazing, right?

Related: 4 Motivating TED Talks to Help You Bounce Back From Failure

In her deeply personal talk, Taylor pulls us into her eight-year recovery journey. She describes learning to walk, talk and think again — from scratch. And, of course, she also reveals her biggest “stroke of insight” as a brain hemorrhage survivor. It’s simple but so complex: our right minds can be gateways to nirvana, but only if we choose to step out of them.

Related: 3 TED Talks That Will Convince You to Get More Sleep

TIME Careers & Workplace

How to Turn Life’s Disappointments Into Success Stories

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In work and in life, disappointment is often inevitable. Turn life’s curveballs into your success stories

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Life is full of surprises that aren’t always the kind we would wish for. What makes these unwanted surprises even harder to accept is our attachment to the way we expected things to go. This particular brand of discomfort — the kind fueled by a life drunk with expectations and the resulting crash from failing to meet them — is profoundly sobering and uncomfortable. I call it an Expectation Hangover®, which I define in my latest book, “Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love and Life,” as:

The myriad undesirable feelings or thoughts present when one or a combination of the following things occurs:

  • A desired outcome does not occur.
  • A desired outcome does occur but does not produce the feelings or results we expected.
  • Our personal and/or professional expectations are unmet by ourselves or another.
  • An undesired, unexpected event occurs that is in conflict with what we wanted or planned.

The symptoms are similar, but far more miserable and lasting, to those caused by a hangover from alcohol: lethargy, depression, lack of motivation, confusion, denial, anger, poor work performance, diminished creativity, strained relationships, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, regret and a disconnection from a higher power. But when our expectations are met, we feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Often risking little, we feel safe, in control and on-track. Achieving our goals is intoxicating. We are compelled toward them, sometimes disregarding the underlying motivations that come from our ego. While striving for goals has value, holding expectations and attachment to the way life “should” go sets the stage for disappointment.

Most of us don’t like it when our life seems to miss the memo on how we think things should be. But the truth is that the universe doesn’t miss anything. When we keep fighting for what we think we want, never slowing down enough to actually learn the lesson that our expectation hangover is attempting to teach, we’re too drunk with expectations to notice when we are headed in the wrong direction. The result? We continue to wake up with expectation hangovers.

So how do you treat them? It takes a lot more than two aspirin, some greasy food and staying inside with the lights low. Because we don’t like not feeling good, and so we look for an external way to ease the discomfort: rebound relationships, abrupt career changes or miscalculated risks, and addictions (drinking, gambling, sex, drugs, work, shopping) are common. We lose faith and sink into the quicksand of victim-hood and hopelessness.

Instead of thinking about how to rid yourself of an expectation hangover, consider how you can leverage it. Ask, “What am I learning?” rather than “Why is this happening?” Keep your mind out of judgment, regret and shoulda-coulda-woulda thinking. Think about some of the most inspirational people you know. I guarantee that part of what makes them so inspirational is how they leveraged their hangovers for growth and learning. Instead of perceiving something as a failure, they used what they learned to to create their next success. Your expectation hangovers are gifts. Each one has been an opportunity to let go of something external that you have clung to for worth, safety or love. If you learn how to respond to expectation hangovers from the perspective of a student rather than a victim, I guarantee you will walk through doorways of transformation.

TIME Careers & Workplace

You’ll Never Guess the Most Affordable City for Young People

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Mexico City, Mumbai and Rome are all contenders

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

You’re a young person with big entrepreneurial dreams and plans to change the world. Good for you! But you need to pay the rent while you build up your skills or get your fledgling enterprise off the ground. So where should you move?

There’s no shortage of advice for young people on which cities make the best launching pads for post-collegiate life. One recent study looked at which metro areas were more popular with mobile well-educated young people to indicate the best destination for your U-Haul, for example. Other sources of advice have crowdsourced community opinion to rank the best locales for digital nomads.

But another recent index of possible new homes for recent grads takes a different approach. Rather than just solicit the opinions of the group or look at standard cost of living measures, the Youthful Cities Index from consultancy Decode takes into account not only how much you spend on essentials like rent and food (though that’s weighed too) but also how much entry-level workers will bring home if they make minimum wage, as well as other less-often-used but more youth-relevant indicators of a city’s costs like the price of attending a live gig, going to a movie, and taking public transit.

So what was the result of the global ranking after all these unusual numbers were crunched. Here are the results (bet you didn’t see number one coming):

  1. Paris
  2. Toronto
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Chicago
  5. Berlin
  6. Dallas
  7. Rome
  8. New York
  9. Tokyo
  10. London
  11. Seoul
  12. Buenos Aires
  13. Istanbul
  14. Cairo
  15. Johannesburg
  16. Bogota
  17. Lima
  18. Mumbai
  19. Lagos
  20. Sao Paulo
  21. Manila
  22. Shanghai
  23. Mexico City
  24. Nairobi
  25. Kinshasa

Of course, as Quartz writer Zainab Mudallal points out in her writeup of the index, affordability and opportunity are two totally separate things. “France has also recently been called a “sick” economy by its own economy minister, with its high unemployment rate and reputation for worker inefficiency. The high cost of doing business in France means that some employers consider it a risk to take on young people. So it may not be easy to find a job,” she notes.

It’s a valid point. No matter how affordable a city is theoretically, if you can’t get even one of those relatively well-paid minimum wage gigs, a promising budget on paper isn’t going to mean a thing. So take the results with a grain of salt before you rush off to brush up on your French. The rankings, however, do serve as a reminder that a lot more goes into making a city attractive to young people than sensible-sounding basics and cheap housing.

TIME Business

How Do I Know If It’s Time for Me to Change Jobs?

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Paul Bradbury—Getty Images/Caiaimage

Marty Nemko holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from UC Berkeley and is a career and personal coach.

Instead of a pros-and-cons list, try this

Should you change jobs? Even make a radical career change? Most articles on the subject offer a checklist or pros-and-cons list. Here I offer a different approach: an internal debate.

Person: I’m sick of my job. I’m ready for something new and there’s too little opportunity here.

Alter ego: But I don’t have the time or energy to look for another job when I’m working 45 hours a week already. It can take months, sometimes longer to find a good job, especially if I try to change careers. And I doubt anyone wants to hire a newbie at anywhere near my salary.

Person: But, God, I don’t want to stay at Western Widget Works, Inc. forever.

Alter ego: No, but I worry that after all that job hunting, I won’t even like my new job or career any better.

Person: I need to remember that I don’t have to take that new job. I just need to take a little time to see if I can find something better. If not, I’ll stay put. I’ll just start networking.

Alter ego: But I hate networking and I’m lousy at it. I just don’t make a good first impression, no matter how much I practice. I’m better off spending the time improving my skills: tech stuff, public speaking.

Person: Okay, maybe I should do that, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be looking for a job. If I don’t want to network, I’ll just answer some on-target ads, one a week.

Alter ego: But if that’s all I do, a year or two from now, I’ll probably still be at Western Widget. Ugh.

Person: So, fine. I’ll apply to three jobs a week.

Alter ego: But every job opening gets so many applications.

Person: I really have to make mine better—Write a cover letter that, point by point, explains how I meet the job’s requirements.

Alter ego: But if I’m changing careers, I won’t be meeting most of the requirements.

Person: Okay, then I’ll include a white paper, like a term paper, on a topic related to the new job that would interest that employer. That will show current chops and interest, and a concrete work sample.

Alter ego: But that will take a ton of time.

Person: No it won’t. A few-page white paper is like one of those papers I wrote in college. One day I knew nothing about the topic and two days later, I knew a lot and cranked out a good paper.I need to stop complaining. It’s better than staying at Western Widget. Right?

Alter ego: Maybe. What if the problem isn’t the job but me? If I’m honest with myself, as I look back on all my jobs, I’ve always struggled.

Person: Do I have to face that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed?

Alter ego: That may be part of it. I know that I can’t seem to make myself consistently care enough about work. I do my job but I can’t seem to maintain the fire in my belly. I’m not sure I can change that.

Person: So maybe I need to downscale my job aspirations. Up isn’t the only way. I fought my way to be a manager, but maybe I’d be happier and more successful if I did something less demanding.

Alter ego: Am I the poster boy for the Peter Principle, rising to my level of incompetence?

Person: Maybe. I’ve always tried to compete with my high-achieving friends. Isn’t that silly? Maybe by trying to be what I’m not, I’m making myself miserable and ensuring I don’t succeed.

Alter ego: But what should I do?

Person: Maybe I should go back to being an individual contributor or a support person. I’m organized and good at details. Maybe I should go back to being a coordinator, a marketing coordinator. Maybe I should talk with my boss or HR about getting that kind of job at Western Widget?

Alter ego: Actually, I don’t give a crap about marketing widgets.

Person: I need to remember that as long as the widget is worth marketing, it’s worth doing.

Alter ego: Stop with the pious preaching.

Person: How sure am I that I’ll care more about work if I were doing something else? I say I care about gifted kids being ignored in today’s elementary schools but would I really, after a honeymoon period, be that much more motivated to work hard on some job related to that, or will my laziness come along with me wherever I go?

Alter ego: I don’t want to think I’m doomed to mediocrity. I can’t be sure whether I’ll be any happier on behalf of gifted kids but maybe I should try.

Person: That’s probably right. I should volunteer a few hours a week at some school with a lot of bright kids or maybe even for a school district’s director of programs for the gifted. I should do a little networking, make the case that my skills in marketing and being organized and detail oriented would be valuable there. I should apply to jobs anywhere I might be willing to live that excite me. If I get hired, fine. And if not, I’ll feel better for having tried. And who knows? In spending time around those people quite different from those at Western Widget, I may learn about something or about myself that I wouldn’t know if I just kept on keeping on with my same-old routine.

Alter ego: I’ll think about it.

Marty Nemko holds a Ph.D. specializing in education evaluation from U.C. Berkeley and subsequently taught there. He is the author of seven books and an award-winning career coach, writer, speaker and public radio host specializing in career/workplace issues and education reform. His writings and radio programs are archived on www.martynemko.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

You Don’t Get What You Don’t Ask For

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How simply asking for things in the right way can get you almost anything you want in life

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

90% of people are afraid to ask for things. Is that a real statistic? Nope. But I believe it to be a true statistic, if not higher than that.

We, as humans, are afraid to ask for things. We’re afraid to ask people to buy our products. We’re afraid to ask someone out on a date. We’re afraid to ask for more money at our jobs. We’re afraid to ask the tough questions in our relationships.

We’re afraid to ask because we fear rejection.

Rejection is this unbelievably strong thing that keeps us from getting so much in life. If you experience rejection one time, it is likely to derail you from ever asking for that thing again. Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of asking someone on a date and getting rejected. Unfortunately, that horrible empty feeling sticks with us for years to come (and for some people, the rest of their lives).

But why is rejection so strong? Why is it so hard to overcome the feeling that the tiny two-letter word “no” gives us?

Much like rejection, negativity is incredibly powerful. 100 people could tell you how freaking amazing you look today, but if one person says you look like crap, those 100 positive messages won’t matter.

See, on some level, we all just want to fit in. The reason we fixate on things like rejection and negativity is because they make us feel alienated from the rest of the world. Experiencing those things on any scale cuts us to our most basic human core.

Think about the last time you asked for something out of your comfort zone? Or even something in your comfort zone. You probably felt hesitation. You probably had 20 scenes play out in your mind, all disasters and worst-case scenarios. You might have even delayed your ask until you finally built up enough courage.

Over the years, I’ve had success in business for two reasons:

  1. I wasn’t afraid to ask for things most people wouldn’t dare ask for.
  2. I was willing to work my ass off to get the thing I wanted, because it was something I was really passionate about.

When people hear that I’ve made over $1,000,000 and worked with over 2,000 companies since 2009, I’m sure it comes off like a nice shiny success story. But what they don’t hear is that I sent more than 15,000 emails to make those deals happen (75% of those emails were most likely follow ups).

Writing that many emails wasn’t easy and on many occasions I was afraid to make “the ask.” One thing that always helped me overcome my own fear of asking was that I believed in myself and the thing I was asking for. If you don’t believe in what you’re asking for, you’re never going to overcome your initial fear.

Everyone wants to make good money, but most people are afraid to put in the hard work to make it happen. There were many times when I got discouraged when people said “no” to me. There were many times when I wanted to give up and thought my ideas weren’t good when I got negative criticism. But I believed in what I was selling and wanted it more than the feeling of rejection could dissuade me.

The simple magic to getting anything you want in life is just to ask.

The only caveat to simply asking for what you want is this: make sure you do it with creativity, confidence and effort.

When it comes to selling something online, your product or service most likely has competition. Someone else is already asking people to buy, so that alone should give you the validation and confidence to ask. But, you should also think about a unique or creative way you can package your ask so it stands out from the crowd.

When it comes to relationships, confidence is key. No one wants to talk to, let alone go on a date with, someone who has zero confidence. But just like asking for things, the more you work to build your confidence and the more practice you put in, the more results you’ll see. No one becomes confident overnight or by reading a few self-help books. You have to put in the work and not give up at the first sign of rejection.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens put it perfectly: “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”

Effort is truly a secret to success. No one has ever put in an insane amount of effort for something and not gotten some value out of it. The more you ask for things, in the right ways, the better you’ll get at it. And the better you get at asking, the amount of times you hear “yes” will increase.

You’re going to hear “no.” You’re going to feel rejected. You’re going to encounter negativity. But if you truly want whatever you’re asking for, you won’t and shouldn’t give up at the first sign or thought of adversity.

Start repeating these words to yourself every time you’re feeling hesitation: You don’t get what you don’t ask for.

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more of my writing, subscribe to my weekly newsletter (feel free to say “no” I certainly won’t mind).

TIME Careers & Workplace

11 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Failure

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Business failure won’t determine your future. Your response to it will

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

Question: What’s one piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs struggling with the fear of failure?

Know That You Can Bounce Back

“Donald Trump famously filed for bankruptcy four separate times. By no means am I saying this should be part of your business plan, but as a worst-case scenario, it’s affirming to know that you can bounce back. In any business venture, the key is to ensure the business is structured such that your personal assets are insulated from the company so that you can always live to fight another day.” — Matt Ehrlichman, Porch

Don’t Waste Your Energy

“Let’s be straight: nobody wants to fail. But not wanting to fail and fearing failure are not the same. One is an attitude, the other is a mindset. If you are truly fearful of failure, you are wasting needed energy on something that has no benefit. Take that energy and redirect it toward iterating your current processes or diversifying your revenue stream so that failure is less of an option.” — Adam Callinan, Beachwood Ventures

Don’t Allow It to Stop You

“It’s been said that success is only a few steps after failure, but most people give up after they “fail” and never get there. If you can see failure through that lens and not allow the judgment of others or yourself to stop you, then you can make it to success!” — Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach out for Help

“Entrepreneurship can be a struggle, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Knowing who to turn to when you need advice will help make the lows more bearable. When co-founders and investors may be unable to help, try to seek out an experienced entrepreneur distant enough from the business to offer the advice you need (whether it’s personal or professional).” — Tyler Arnold, SimplySocial Inc.

Consider the Worst-Case Scenario

“When I left my job to start my company, I evaluated the absolute worst-case scenario that could result from making this move. When you stop and think about the worst that could happen, it’s usually much less scary than when it was unknown. The fear of a business failing is an issue for your ego, but failing as a person can only happen if you don’t try in the first place.” — Chris Hunter, Phusion Projects

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

“Being an entrepreneur is all about feeling uncomfortable but moving forward anyway. Learn to appreciate your discomfort, and wear it like a badge of courage. Celebrate your fear of failure, and you will eventually disempower it.” — Corey Blake, Round Table Companies

Learn From Your Mistakes to Prevent Failure

“The only time you fail is when you don’t learn from your mistake. If you’ve learned a lesson in defeat, then go back out and apply your new knowledge. I’ve made tons of mistakes, but I’ve had very few “failures” because I make those missteps valuable experiences.” — Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk

Be Afraid

“If you aren’t afraid anymore, then you aren’t pushing your boundaries anymore either. That little twinge of fear of failure means you just might be onto something, or you’re at least heading in the right direction. Embrace that fear, and use it as fuel to take the next big steps.” — James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

Fail Fast

“There are two big benefits from trying and failing quickly. Number one is that you can quickly figure out what isn’t working and iterate to find a new solution that is better. Number two is that each failure lessens the sting a bit, so the quicker you can get acclimated to the idea that not everything will work, the better.” — Patrick Conley, Automation Heroes

Talk About It

“Too often, entrepreneurs feel they must be eternally optimistic, particularly in front of employees, customers and investors. It’s essential to have trusted confidantes with whom you can be completely honest — for better or worst — and talk through some of your biggest challenges and deepest fears.” — Martina Welke, Zealyst

Be Humble

“An entrepreneur’s success is laced with failure. A first failure teaches us the humility we need to be successful. The sooner you fail, the sooner you realize you don’t have all of the answers. You get hungry, and you work harder. You seek advice, you share stories, and you connect with people. It helps you control your emotions because you’ve been there befor. And ultimately, it keeps you humble.” — Jonathan Boyle, Guns & Oil Beer Co.

TIME Careers & Workplace

End Your Day Strong With These 5 Power Tips

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Productivity experts will tell you that keeping your inbox empty makes you dramatically more effective

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

There is no better feeling than walking away from your desk in the evening with a sense of deep satisfaction for a job well done.

In fact, an entire crappy and unproductive day can end strong with just 15 hyper-productive minutes. Here are five ways to help you do just that:

1. Empty your inbox.

Productivity experts will tell you that keeping your inbox empty makes you dramatically more effective. I have found that an empty inbox late in the day gives me a strong sense of accomplishment and order in my life. If I want an empty inbox, it means everything is in a designated spot: either in the trash, in my calendar, or forwarded to someone else.

Related: 5 Nighttime Routines of Successful Entrepreneurs

I go so far as to make sure that hitting the delete button on the last trashable inbox message is my last action, and then I immediately close my laptop (while imaginary victory music plays in my mind) and I walk away. It is an incredible feeling.

2. Determine what will make tomorrow special.

Too often we live with a time-and-effort mentality. “Well, I worked my butt off and it was a long day — I must have been effective.” Not necessarily so. Some of my most grueling days are my least productive. It is not about time and effort. It is about results. It is about a intentionally significant effort.

Plan out at the end of the day what will make tomorrow truly significant. What one accomplishment will make the entire day worthwhile?

3. Eat a frog.

Mark Twain suggested that if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing else throughout your day could possibly be so bad. I agree, but the advice also holds true for the last thing you do before you go home.

If you leave a nagging and undesirable task until the next day, you will walk away from your desk with a dark cloud hanging over you and a sense of dread. On the other hand, handle the task before you leave, (get it out of your life) and you will walk away with a feeling of freedom and victory!

Related: 5 Tricks to Maximize Your Time in the Office

4. Do something nice for someone else.

The key here is intentionality. Plan to end your day by doing something specific and beneficial for someone in your life — a coworker, friend, family member, client, etc. It is impossible to do something nice for someone without feeling better yourself. You get to walk away from work knowing that you made someone else’s life better and you are in a better state of mind.

5. Say thank you.

You have a job. People pay you. Because of this, you can put food on your plate. You live in a great country. You have opportunity, education and hope. Do you realize how rare that makes you in the grand scheme of things?

Take a moment before you shut things down for the day to thank God for your very life. Regardless of what else has happened in a day, ending it with thanks is a rewarding approach. When you go big picture with gratitude, you get a new perspective on the grievances of any given day.

End your day with an exclamation point! End your day like you mean it. End your day on an upbeat. End your day intentionally and with purpose. End your day strong!

Related: 5 Things You Should be Doing to Have an Insanely Productive Week

TIME psychology

How to Find The Perfect Job for You

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Should you follow your passion?

It may not be that easy unless we can all be athletes and artists:

Via So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love:

In fact, less than 4 percent of the total identified passions had any relation to work or education, with the remaining 96 percent describing hobby-style interests such as sports and art.

Chase money? Income doesn’t affect job satisfaction at all and job satisfaction affects income more than you might think. Happiness is only about what you earn when you get paid by the hour.

And money isn’t everything. There’s also sleep.

What topped the list of the most sleep-deprived professions?

  1. Home health aides
  2. Lawyers
  3. Police officers
  4. Physicians

So what should you do? Let’s look at the big picture.

Job satisfaction is key because work is often a bigger source of happiness than home, ironically. Enjoying our jobs has a great deal to do with how much control we feel we have and whether we’re doing things we’re good at. Social factors are huge too.

Happy feelings are associated with “the fulfillment of psychological needs: learning, autonomy, using one’s skills, respect, and the ability to count on others in an emergency.”

What do we know about the happiest and unhappiest jobs?

It’s interesting to compare these jobs with the list of the ten most hated jobs, which were generally much better paying and have higher social status. What’s striking about the list is that these relatively high level people are imprisoned in hierarchical bureaucracies. They see little point in what they are doing. The organizations they work for don’t know where they are going, and as a result, neither do these people.

What makes for a satisfying job?

…the strongest determinants of job satisfaction are relations with colleagues and supervisors, task diversity and job security.

Using your “signature strengths” — those qualities you are uniquely best at, the talents that set you apart from others — makes you stress less:

The more hours per day Americans get to use their strengths to do what they do best, the less likely they are to report experiencing worry, stress, anger, sadness, or physical pain…

You want to experience “flow”. It’s when you’re so wrapped up in what you’re doing that the world fades away.

There are a handful of things that need to be present for you to experience flow:

Via Top Business Psychology Models: 50 Transforming Ideas for Leaders, Consultants and Coaches:

  1. Clear goals that, while challenging, are still attainable.
  2. Immediate feedback.
  3. Knowing that the task is doable; a balance between personal skill level and the challenge presented.
  4. Strong concentration and focused attention.
  5. The activity is intrinsically rewarding.

And you want to be someplace where you’re treated like a partner — not an underling.

Via Gallup:

Learning something new and interesting daily is an important psychological need and one of the most prevalent attributes that people in communities with high wellbeing have in common. A key element in work environment wellbeing, being treated as a partner rather than as an underling lays a foundation for higher employee engagement and productivity, as well as better emotional and physical health.

Any specific jobs to avoid? Lawyers are miserable.

Martin Seligman, psychology professor at UPenn and author of Authentic Happiness, clues us in as to just how unhappy lawyers are:

Researchers at John Hopkins University found statistically significant elevations of major depressive disorder in only 3 of 104 occupations surveyed. When adjusted for sociodemographics, lawyers topped the list, suffering from depression at a rate of 3.6 times higher than employed persons generally. Lawyers also suffer from alcoholism and illegal drug use at rates far higher than non-lawyers. The divorce rate among lawyers, especially women, also appears to be higher than the divorce rate among other professionals. Thus, by any measure, lawyers embody the paradox of money losing its hold. They are the best-paid professionals, and yet they are disproportionately unhappy and unhealthy. And lawyers know it; many are retiring early or leaving the profession altogether.

Job satisfaction isn’t just about your job. Try to make yourself happier: overall happiness causes job satisfaction more than job satisfaction causes overall happiness.

Happiness makes us successful – yes, that’s causation, not correlation. (Employers should try to make their employees happier too: happy employees make for rich companies.)

And unless you’re really desperate, you might want to think twice about settling. People with no job are happier than people with a lousy job.

American workers who are emotionally disconnected from their work and workplace — known as “actively disengaged” workers — rate their lives more poorly than do those who are unemployed. Forty-two percent of actively disengaged workers are thriving in their lives, compared with 48% of the unemployed. At the other end of the spectrum are “engaged” employees — American workers who are involved in and enthusiastic about their work — 71% of whom are thriving.

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This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME productivity

For a Better Life, Do This Simple Thing Every Week

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A better you isn't that hard to achieve

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

In recent years, walking has gone from a generally healthful mode of transport to a public health crusade. Why? Lately, science has shown sitting all day to be the newest public health menace, right behind Big Macs and cigarettes on the list of things that will shorten your life and damage your body. The silver lining to this evolving line of research is that fighting back seems to be as simple as getting up and wandering around for a few minutes every hour or so (standing desks are another option).

An occasional stroll, therefore, has become akin to a morning vitamin or regular cancer screening–something you know you really ought to do. There’s no denying the truth of the necessity of adding a bare minimum of movement to our days, but there’s another side to walking that may be getting lost in the rush to remind people of its salutary effects.

Walking might save your life, but that’s far from all a good wander has to offer.

Traveling by foot isn’t just medicinal. It’s also a meditative pursuit with a long and storied pedigree that can lift your mood, improve your creativity, and give you the space you need for life-changing self-reflection.

Less Anxious, More Creative

The first couple of items on this list are the simplest to prove. Again we can turn to recent studies that reveal being outside in natural settings is powerful anti-anxiety medicine. Blog Wise Bread summed up the new findings this way: “The sounds of birds chirping, rain falling, and bees buzzing are proven to lower stress and evoke a feeling of calm.”

Similarly, science attests that getting out for a walk can spur creative thinking. Stanford News, for example, reports on studies out of the university showing that “the overwhelming majority of the participants in these three experiments were more creative while walking than sitting … creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when the person was walking.”

Walking to Find Yourself

It’s clear, then, that walking has short-term utilitarian uses–if you need an idea to finish that work project, a spin around your local park might help shake one loose. But there’s also lots of anecdotal evidence that longer walks can yield a deeper sort of creativity. The mental space created by long rambles offers the stressed and scattered the time and brain real estate needed not only to solve specific problems, but also to gain perspective on their own lives and rebalance out-of-whack lifestyles.

When blogger David Roberts decided to fight his profound burnout with a year-long digital detox, for example, he soon settled into a daily rhythm of long hikes. “Reliably, after about a half-hour of walking, ideas start bubbling up,” he reports in a fascinating writeup of the experience for Outdoor magazine. The wandering had other effects, too. “I spent hours at a time absorbed in a single activity. My mind felt quieter, less jumpy,” he says.

Roberts is far from the only thinker to notice these deeper effects of longer walks. On Medium recently, writer Craig Mod composed an ode to long walks, unearthing a treasure trove of historical figures and great thinkers who celebrated and dissected the benefits of walking. The common thread running through these accounts isn’t just that experiencing a place on foot offers a unique perspective and plenty of unexpected details to delight the walker, but also that “walking moves or settles the mind–allowing for self discovery.”

If you’ve lost touch with the art of the long ramble, it’s a must-read piece. And it begs the question:

Will you take time for a long walk this week?

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