MONEY Careers & Workplace

Why ‘Millennial Bashing’ In the Workplace Needs to Stop

This is the year we stop shaming Millennials at the office or, uh, wherever it is they work.

The volume of research on Millennials grows by the day, and we’re gradually learning that this much-maligned generation of 80 million is finding its footing on some important fronts—especially the workplace, where they overwhelmingly see their job as a means for doing good in the world.

Nine in 10 young adults believe they are actively contributing to an organization that is having a positive impact, according to the 2014 Millennial Impact Report from Achieve, a research and branding firm, and the Case Foundation, which promotes positive change. An employer’s position on giving back plays a big role at every stage of a Millennial worker’s career. The report found that:

  • What a company makes and sells is the top consideration for Millennials when applying for a job.
  • A company’s support for a cause is one of the most important factors in deciding whether to apply there.
  • Nearly half of Millennials had volunteered for a cause or nonprofit through their workplace in the past month.

Surpassing even baby boomers in number, Millennials are making their mark in a lot ways. They have different dreams. They are changing banking, and in some ways they are ahead of the game in terms of saving for retirement. But the workplace is where they are having the biggest impact.

A Hartford trend report called The End of Millennial Shaming notes that these young adults “are not kids anymore” and that this is the year “we end the Millennial bashing once and for all.” This generation is now invading the workforce and “taking on more and more leadership roles in business, government, communities and culture.” The Hartford found that 41% of Millennials already have four or more people reporting to them and that 78% consider themselves leaders in some part of their life.

The message to employers is clear: It is time to adapt to the next generation’s style of work. That means more collaboration, teamwork, flexibility and use of go-anywhere technology. It also means that companies that really are trying to solve the world’s problems will attract the best talent. Fulfilling passions and fully utilizing their abilities are among the top reasons Millennials cite for staying with a company, the research shows. From the Achieve/Case report:

Today’s forward-thinking companies are looking at the future of corporate social responsibility and how employee cause-work, company-branded volunteering and pro bono programs based on skills can play a role. For a company desiring to build a culture that resonates with this growing demographic of current and future employees, leveraging their passions is crucial.

The good news for employers is that the best talent is ripe for picking. Millennials have little sense of employer loyalty. More than half expect to have between two and five employers in their lifetime and a quarter expect to have six or more, PwC found.

And right now Millennials are feeling more burned out from work than any other generation. Among Millennials looking to switch jobs, 86% say they feel exhausted by their jobs. That compares to 76% of more experienced workers looking for a change, according to a Monster.com workforce talent survey.

The workforce will bend to this generation’s will, just as it largely equalized opportunity for women, made the office a home away from home, and adopted casual Fridays for 78 million baby boomers. What’s exciting about this next generation is that it really does want to make the world a more sustainable and peaceful place, and is calling on the resources of capitalism to deliver.

 

 

TIME Careers & Workplace

20 Awesome Things to Say That Will Radically Improve Your Life

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Karan Kapoor—Getty Images


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.

The biggest problem with deciding to do something is deciding to wait to do it. Why put off doing something you really want to do? Anything worth doing is worth doing now. Here are 20 things you need to say to yourself this week – not because you plan to do something but because you’ve already done it. And each is a lot easier to accomplish than some grand, sweeping, hopefully-life-changing-but-in the-end-you-never-manage-to-accomplish pledge. So let’s get started!–Jeff Haden

“I finally got started!”

You have plans. You have goals. You have ideas. Who cares? You have nothing until you actually do something. Every day, we let hesitation and uncertainty stop us from acting on our ideas. Fear of the unknown and fear of failure often stops me and may be what stops you, too. Pick one plan, one goal, or one idea. And get started. Do something. Do anything. Just take one small step. The first step is by far the hardest. Every successive step will be a lot easier.

“It’s totally my fault.”

Everyone makes mistakes. That makes it easy to blame others for our problems. But we are almost always also to blame. We did (or did not) do something we could have differently or better. Instead take full responsibility, but not in a masochistic, “woe is me” way, in an empowering way. Focus on being smarter or better or faster or more creative the next time.

“You’re awesome!”

No one receives enough praise. No one. Pick someone who did something well and tell them. And feel free to go back in time. Saying, “I was just thinking about how you handled that project last year” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. Maybe a little more impact, because you still remember what happened a year later. Surprise praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient.

“That wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought…”

The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown. (At least it is for me.) Yet nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as you think. Plus it’s incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You’ll get that “I can’t believe I jumped out of an airplane!” rush, an amazing feeling you haven’t experienced for too long. So go do something you were afraid to do. I promise it won’t be as bad as you thought.

“I’ll show you, —hole.”

One of the best ways to motivate me is to insult me — or for me to manufacture a way to feel insulted. I use rejection to fuel my motivation to do whatever it takes to prove that person wrong and, more importantly, achieve what I want to achieve. Call it childish and immature. I don’t care — it works for me. And it can work for you. So next time don’t turn the other mental cheek. Get pissed off, even if your anger is unjustified and imaginary — in fact, especially if your anger is unjustified or angry — and use it for fuel to shake you out of your same thing, different day rut.

“Can you help me?”

Asking someone for help instantly recognizes their skills and values and conveys your respect and admiration. That’s reason enough to ask someone to help you. The fact you will get the help you need is icing on the achievement cake.

“Can I help you?”

Then flip it around. Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness so they hesitate. Yet we can all use help. But don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will automatically say, “No, I’m all right.”
Be specific. Say, “I’ve got a few minutes, can I help you finish that?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. And then actually help. You’ll make a real difference in someone’s life and take a solid step towards creating a real connection.

“I did something no one else is willing to do.”

Pick one thing other people aren’t willing to do. Pick something simple. Pick something small. Whatever it is, do it. Instantly you’re a little different from the rest of the pack. Then keep going. Every day do one thing no one else is willing to do. After a week you’ll be uncommon. After a month, you’ll be special. After a year you’ll be incredible, and you won’t be like anyone else.
You’ll be you.

“I don’t care what other people think.”

Most of the time you should worry about what other people think — but not if it stands in the way of living the life you really want to live. If you really want to start a business but you’re worried that people might think you’re crazy, screw ‘em. If you really want to change careers but you’re afraid of what people might think, screw ‘em. Pick one thing you haven’t tried simply because you’re worried about what other people think — and just go do it. It’s your life. Live it your way.

“I’m really sorry.”

We’ve all screwed up. We all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, failing to step up, step in, or be supportive. Pick someone you need to apologize to — the more time that’s passed between the day it happened and today, the better. But don’t follow up your apology with a disclaimer that in any way places even the tiniest amount of blame back on the other person. Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. Then you’ll both be in a better place.

To read the rest, click go to Inc.com.

Read more from Inc.com:
How 4 Entrepreneurs Started Up (Really) Young
Firing an Employee–Even a Bad One–Is Hard to Do

TIME Careers & Workplace

America’s Worst Companies to Work For

A RadioShack Store Ahead Of Earnings Figures
RadioShack Corp. signage is displayed outside of a store in New York, U.S., on Sunday, March 2, 2014. RadioShack Corp. is scheduled to release earnings figures on March 4. Photographer: Craig Warga/Bloomberg via Getty Images Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

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This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247wallst.com.

Employees can now share their opinions about employers online. As a result, companies face new reputation risks that can affect their customers and shareholders.

For the third year, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the nation’s worst companies to work for. 24/7 Wall St. analyzed thousands of reviews from jobs and career website Glassdoor.com and selected the 11 companies with the lowest ratings.

Click here to see America’s worst companies to work for

Many of the companies on this list continue to be in the retail sector. As a result, complaints tended to focus on wages and hours worked. In many cases, these concerns focused on how difficult it can be for sales employees to meet targets that qualified them for commissions.

In other instances, employees complained more about how they thought a company was mishandling its customers. In the case of the Children’s Place, employees protested the pushy sales tactics. Jos. A. Bank employees wrote that the company’s changing product prices made it hard for them to make sales.

However, employees working in retail are not all unhappy. Scott Dobroski, associate director for corporate communication at Glassdoor.com, suggested that pay plays a big part. “We know that compensation is the number one factor job seekers consider when determining where to work.” Starbucks and Costco are examples of retail companies that offer benefits or pay above the industry average and that employees rate highly.

A significant share of employee grievances was directed at middle management. Workers at these companies were also highly likely to disapprove of their CEO. Chief executives at 10 of the 11 worst companies to work for received positive approval ratings from less than half of their employees. At six of these businesses, less than 30% of workers endorsed the CEO.

In the case of a number of these businesses, such as RadioShack and hhgregg, falling revenues, weak earnings and a sinking stock price may all contribute to lower employee morale and negative perceptions of executive performance.

However, negative employee opinions are not always a direct reflection of a company performance. Dillard’s has been a Wall Street darling. The company’s stock price has risen tenfold in the past five years.

To identify America’s worst companies to work for, 24/7 Wall St. independently examined employee reviews on Glassdoor.com. To be considered, companies had to have a minimum of 300 reviews. Of the more than 500 companies with more than 300 reviews, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 11 publicly traded companies that received the worst scores — 2.4 or lower. Employee totals are from each company’s latest 10-K filing.

These are America’s worst companies to work for:

4. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 317
> CEO approval rating: 24% (R. Neal Black)
> Employees: 6,469
> Industry: Apparel retail

Sales managers at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB) frequently expressed frustration at the number of hours they were required to work. Sales workers often complained as well, with many citing a difficult commission structure and the company’s ever-changing product prices. While many employees said they enjoyed helping customers immensely, others felt customers were often demanding.

But while employees were unhappy with the company, Jos. A. Bank’s former shareholders had reason to be quite pleased. After months of bitter back-and-forth negotiations — which helped to drive up Jos. A. Bank’s share price — the clothing retailer was acquired by Men’s Wearhouse for $1.8 billion in March. The deal formally closed in mid-June. Unlike Jos. A. Bank employees, Men’s Warehouse’s staff has a higher view of their business, with employees awarding their company a 3.3 rating on Glassdoor.com.

MORE: America’s Most Profitable Products

3. Frontier Communications
> Rating: 2.3
> Number of reviews: 306
> CEO approval rating: 27% (Maggie Wilderotter)
> Employees: 13,650
> Industry: Telecom services

Frontier Communications Corp. (NASDAQ: FTR) is one of the larger communications companies in the United States, known primarily for providing services to rural and smaller American towns and cities. While Frontier Communications has been downsizing its workforce in recent years –headcount dropped by roughly 1,000 between 2012 and 2013 — the company considers its relationship with its employees to be good. Its employees may disagree, however. A number of reviewers seem to think Frontier Communications is no longer on the forefront of communications technology. One current employee explained, “The reason you can’t hire is that no one wants to work on a dinosaur.”

Despite the challenges of providing services to small, remote populations, Frontier has sought to expand its control of the rural market in recent years. The company bought 4.8 million access lines from Verizon in 2009. The company’s revenue, however, declined from $5.2 billion in 2011 to $5.0 billion in 2012 and then to $4.8 billion last year.

2. Express Scripts
> Rating: 2.2
> Number of reviews: 646
> CEO approval rating: 28% (George Paz)
> Employees: 29,975
> Industry: Health care services

Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) is a leading pharmacy benefits manager, facilitating a wide range of pharmaceutical drug operations, including distribution and cost management. Poor work-life balance was one of the most common complaints among Glassdoor.com reviews. One former employee wrote, “work life balance is nonexistent, you are expected to be available to work all the time.” Less than a third of employees approved of Express Scripts’ CEO George Paz.

Unlike several other companies on this list, Express Scripts has grown considerably in recent years. After a merger with Medco Health Solutions in 2012, Some employees expected the company to conduct layoffs. Total employment declined only slightly, however.

MORE: Nine Companies with the Most Unusual Origins

1. Books-A-Million
> Rating: 2.0
> Number of reviews: 302
> CEO approval rating: 22% (Terry Finley)
> Employees: 5,400
> Industry: Specialty stores

Books-A-Million Inc. (NASDAQ: BAMM) employed roughly 5,400 workers at more than 250 U.S. stores as of the beginning of this year, most of which were part-time. Like many retailers with unhappy employees, Books-A-Million institutes commission-based pay structures. Perhaps as a result, high stress and low pay were common complaints on Glassdoor.com. One employee wrote, “to[o] much stress for the pay, very low pay, low chance of promotion, hours are based on magazine and discount card sales. Even if you’re normally good, if you have a bad week you get cut.”

Just 14% of employees said they would recommend this company to a friend. Books-A-Million’s culture and value were rated just 1.8, the lowest among companies reviewed. CEO Terry Finley is also not popular, with just 22% thinking he is doing a good job. Over the past several years, the company has struggled to keep up with other large retail and online book sellers like Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com

Read the rest of the list on 24/7 Wall Street.

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Americans Watch Only 17 TV Channel

What to Do If You Won the $149 Million Powerball Lottery

MONEY retirement planning

Your Biggest Financial Asset Is You. And That May Put Your Portfolio At Risk.

A lot could go wrong at once if you invest in the same industry that employs you. Work in real estate? Avoid REIT stocks.

You may think of your chosen career as something completely separate from your investing strategy. But according to David Blanchett, the head of retirement research at Morningstar Investment Management, your profession should play a bigger role in your investment decisions, and not just as a measure of future income. By ignoring the connection, you may be taking on more risk than you should—especially these days.

In economists’ terms, the value of an individual’s skills and talents is called “human capital,” a field pioneered by Gary Becker, a Nobel-prize winning professor at the University of Chicago who died last month. Becker’s models of human capital became the underpinning for the generally-accepted rule that young people should invest in stocks since they are still building human capital, while those in retirement who have “depleted” their human capital should have a more conservative asset allocation (although that theory is now being challenged by financial adviser Michael Kitces, among others.)

Blanchett believes that we need to go one step further and look more specifically at which industry workers are in to measure the inherent risk of an individual’s human capital. At the recent Morningstar Investment Conference in Chicago, he unveiled model portfolios for different professions (my nominal profession, journalism, wasn’t one of them, although “manufacturing” might work as a proxy—more on that later.)

How exactly do you measure the risk of human capital? Blanchett and his co-author Philip Straehl started with an equation for the variability of its return created by Roger Ibbotson. They then plugged in industry-specific wage growth rates, along with a bunch of other factors, such as the yield on the corporate bond index, for each industry to measure its relative health. (“We assume that the certainty with which the average worker within an industry gets paid a salary is the same as the certainty, priced into the bond market, with which the average company represented in the corporate bond index is able to meet its coupon and/or principal payments,” the authors explain.)

Blanchett and Strael then examined at the correlations between industry-specific human capital and the returns of 13 different asset classes. Some of the connections were intuitive—construction and real-estate had the highest correlation to REITs and high-yield bonds, while utilities had the lowest correlation to large and small growth stocks.

For investors, there are obvious implications: You should reduce your exposure to the asset classes with which your industry is already highly correlated, and increase your exposure to those with low correlation. “It’s sort of an extension of the rule that you should not hold a large amount of your own company’s stock in your portfolio,” explains Blanchett. “People tend to want to “buy what they know,” so someone who works in the tech industry buys tech stocks. I would recommend against this, with the exception of a small ‘play’ portfolio.” The same applies for health care, real estate, finance, etc., so it makes sense to prune your portfolio of specific stocks that are too closely tied to how you get your paycheck.

At a portfolio level, try to think of your profession as an asset class. In some examples Blanchett cited, if you’re a tenured professor, your job is more bond-like—low-risk but low-return—but if you work for a hedge fund, your job is more stock-like, so allocate accordingly.

When I later asked Blanchett what journalism was akin to, he responded, “Journalism would be an interesting case study. Our initial analysis is based on historical risk/correlations so I don’t think it would capture the risk of journalism today. I’m pretty sure both manufacturing and journalism are not likely to grow at the same rate as other occupations, so that’s a different risk that’s included in our model, and definitely complicates the issue.”

The fact that Blanchett and others are now looking at occupations to build portfolios points to a larger trend, which is that since 2008 human capital in general has gotten riskier across almost all professions. “In the past, a tenured professor was probably 100% bond-like, but today it might be more like 80% bond-like and 20% stock-like,” notes Blanchett. In today’s disruptive economy, stable jobs may not remain that way. Your human capital may need replenishing in the future, just like any other asset.

Ruth Davis Konigsberg, a fortysomething journalist and consultant to Arden Asset Management, writes weekly about retirement planning.

MONEY Careers

7 Ideas That Could Make Life Easier for Working Parents

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Alamy

Experts gathered Monday at The White House Summit on Working Families to discuss ways to reduce the conflicts between the office and home. One working mom thinks these seven ideas would make for a good start.

All that “girls can, too” stuff that was popular when I was growing up seems to have paid off.

Women now comprise 47% of U.S. workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 6 in 10 women are now the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners for their families—echoing the results of Money’s own recent survey.

So great, we did it. Kudos to us. We are a new generation of women on top.

But for those of us who are also moms, working a double shift—at the office for the big cheese and then at home for the little bosses—doesn’t give us time to rest on our laurels. Or rest at all. Life is a constant juggling act, and one in which the balls are always dropping and the audience is booing.

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg may make work-life balance sound like a cakewalk, but a $800 million pay package buys flexibility that’s not really available to those of us with less made-up sounding salaries, not to mention workers making the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

For most working moms like me, work and home are in near-constant conflict. While your family gets that you need to work in order to put dinner on the table, your employer may not make it easy for you to make it home in time to put that healthy meat-and-veg casserole in the oven. (Pizza again?) Or pick up your fifth grader from school. Or take care of a sick baby. (Did I mention that my son is home with a fever today? Insert mommy guilt here.) And then there’s child care, which presents special challenges this time of year when school lets out for summer. (Check out some ideas for saving here.)

Only 14% of Americans think our public policies and workplace policies are keeping up with the changes in the workforce, according to a Center for American Progress survey.

On Monday, the White House and the Center for American Progress convened an event—The White House Summit on Working Families—aimed at finding solutions for the challenges working families face. At the plenary session, Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard University; Mark Weinberger, CEO of professional services firm EY; Makini Howell, owner of Seattle’s Plum Bistro Restaurant; and Mary Kay Henry, president of Service Employees International Union; came together to offer their thoughts for what could help. These seven ideas caught my eye:

1. Make the school day more reflective of the work day. “There’s no reason school begins with a six-year-old,” said Goldin. “There isn’t any reason why it can’t start at three or four years old. There is no reason why school ends at 2 or 3 o’clock. And there is no reason—and sorry to all the kids—why it ends in June.”

2. Get parents at the top to set a standard. “When I was offered this job, I asked my kids, ‘Should I do this?'” recounted Weinberger, CEO of EY, which surveys its employees annually on flexibility. “My daughter asked ‘Will you still be able to keep the commitment to us?’ And I said absolutely, I was a father first.” Three months later, he said, he was in China giving his first speech as CEO when he was asked if he would be attending that evening’s dinner. Weinberger responded by saying that he had to leave for his daughter’s driving test. “Not a single person remembers my great speech, but I got hundreds of emails from people telling me what that freed them up to do.”

3. Require paid sick leave. “If I have a worker who dedicates five, 10 years of their life to my success and my small business, my question is why not pay a sick day?” says Howard, who helped pass paid sick leave legislation in Seattle. “When you care enough about your employees to provide a safety net, they don’t abuse what you offer…and if I can’t trust you to tell me when you’re sick, I should have more issues than you having a paid day off.”

4. Make paid maternity leave a must. “If someone who is working has a child or has a disability and has to leave that job, and then has to search for another job, that’s a cost for everyone in the system,” said Goldin, pointing to California’s law, which pays 55% of an employee’s base weekly wages for up to six weeks.

5. Boost wages for caregivers. “Childcare workers are building the brains of the next generation to be globally competitive,” said Henry. To that end, caregiving needs to be better rewarded as a profession, she said. “These need to become jobs people could raise their families on. Home-care and childcare workers could be the autoworkers and steelworkers of the future.”

6. Bump up minimum wage. “The number one issue is how do we drive wages up at the bottom of economy so that wage pressure on jobs in the middle can increase,” said Henry. “It’s not about whether we can make ends meet with one job, it’s about families doing three jobs and becoming ships passing in the night to care for children.” Howell, who was involved in helping bump Seattle’s minimum wage to $15, echoed this sentiment. “We have this race-to-the-bottom mentality in wages,” she said. “But raising the minimum to $15 puts more money into the economy since my workers are another business’s consumers.”

7. Encourage companies to invest in flexibility. “Many industries have become more flexible,” said Goldin. That’s in part due to technologies that allow employees to work remotely, she added, noting that she hopes other industries will follow.

MONEY working in retirement

How to Find Happiness in Your Second Career—and Earn Money Too

These days, the retirement-planning conversation goes something like this: How can I earn an income after my initial career and give back at the same time?

This article was originally published at NextAvenue.org.

Cindy Lennartson is a 48-year-old library specialist at the University of Texas Libraries, in Austin. She has worked for a university library system for 25 years and is excited about retiring from there at 52 (when she can collect her pension) to start her next career. But she’s not quite sure how to do it.

After Lennartson read my inaugural column on rethinking retirement, “Why I’m Not Buying the Retirement Gloom,” she emailed me for insights on how she might make, and embrace, a life transition. I’ll offer them, as well as advice for others contemplating their move into “unretirement,” shortly.

The Lure of Trying Something New

To find out more about Lennartson’s situation and the future she envisions, I spoke with her. She told me that she’s a recently divorced mother of three who has loved her job and, until a few years ago, believed she’d retire at 62. But the lure of trying something new has convinced Lennartson to start reimagining her next chapter.

(MORE: Busting the Myths About Work in Retirement)

With her new plan of “retiring” at 52 when her children are out of the house, Lennartson said, she can use the next four years to find an encore career that will be meaningful and will come with a paycheck. “I’m rethinking the whole retirement thing — what else do I want to do,” she says. “I’m in the exploratory stage.”

Lennartson is far from alone. For more than three decades, the national conversation among people contemplating retirement was dominated by the haunting question: What is my number? Of course, the sum of savings we’ll need to live comfortably when we’re no longer working is disconcertingly uncertain. There’s no way of knowing what the market will return, let alone how much money will be enough to fund a lifestyle and medical bills.

The New Retirement Question

That’s why, these days, the retirement-planning conversation is increasingly focused on a different question: How can I earn an income after my initial career and give back at the same time?

Recent polls have found that most boomers expect to earn a paycheck during retirement. For example, 72% of pre-retirees age 50 and over just surveyed by Merrill Lynch and the Age Wave consulting firm said they want to work during the traditional retirement years. (You can read more about the survey in the Merrill Lynch report: Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations, Career Reinventions and the New Retirement Workscape.)

What I found particularly striking in that survey was that many of the respondents said they see retirement “as a chance to try something new and even pursue careers dreams they were unable to explore during their pre-retirement years,” according to the report.

(MORE: Bright Spots and Challenges of Growing Older)

The Payback for Working in Retirement

The personal financial return from earning even a slim paycheck well into the traditional retirement years is big.

Your savings can continue compounding and you’ll live off your accumulated assets for a shorter period of time. A job can also allow you to delay filing for Social Security. Benefits are more than 75 percent higher if you start claiming at age 70 than at 63.

The difficult issue, as Lennartson has discovered, is figuring out what to do next — locating a paying gig that is also engaging.

Lennartson is smart to have a four-year exploration horizon and I encourage you to do the same. “You should be looking for the kind of jobs you could do that are challenging and interesting and offer an acceptable income,” says Arthur Koff, the septuagenarian founder of Retired Brains, an online job and advice portal. “The time to do it is while you’re working.”

(MORE: Change Careers With the ‘Sugar Grain’ Principle)

Why Planning Ahead Can Help

Making inroads before you retire can also help make you more valuable in retirement, as Jake Warner, the founder of Nolo.com, the self-help legal publisher explained to me.

“Let’s say someone thinks of themself as an environmentalist and dreams about working in environmental causes when they retire. But because of work, saving money, raising kids — all the pressures of daily life — they don’t get engaged,” said Warner. “Now they’re 70 and they have time. They head toward an environmental group they admire and say, ‘Here I am. How can I help you?’ The answer is going to be probably not much. Now, take that same person who gets involved with several local environmental groups in their 40s or 50s. At age 70, they’re valued and they’re needed. They earned it.”

The Librarian’s Encore Career

What might Lennartson do for her encore career? Well, she currently volunteers at a nonprofit, recording incarcerated fathers reading to their children and that’s an activity she finds deeply fulfilling. Perhaps there’s a paying job for her with the nonprofit or a similar endeavor.

Alternatively, since her undergraduate degree was in Spanish, she could try to land a job that would let her use her language skills.

Whatever she decides, a part-time gig would probably be best, since Lennartson wants the freedom to travel with her daughter, an activity they enjoy doing together.

Part of the equation revolves around her finances.

Running the Numbers

Lennartson had initially thought she would keep her house in retirement so her children would have a bedroom to come back to. Now, with her new next chapter mindset, she wonders if maybe just a couch is enough. A move into a smaller place would lower her expenses, giving her greater financial freedom.

Henry “Bud” Hebeler, founder of the retirement planning website Analyzenow.com, recommends Lennartson run the numbers to see how much downsizing will boost her cash flow. (That’s a useful site for anyone over 50 noodling a next act.) When she gets closer to making a shift, Lennartson could run her financial blueprint by a professional planner, he says.

As Lennartson is finding, transitions can be tricky and the process takes time. But they’re also liberating. “I feel like I am in college, so much is open to me,” says Lennartson. “It’s like I’m 21 or 22 once again,” she says. Now, that’s exciting.

Chris Farrell is economics editor for APM’s Marketplace Money, a syndicated personal finance program, and author of the forthcoming Unretirement: How Baby Boomers Are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community, and The Good Life. He will be writing on Unretirement twice a month, focusing on the personal finance and entrepreneurial start-up implications and the lessons people learn as they search for meaning and income. Tell Chris about your experiences so he can address your questions in future columns. Send your queries to him a tcfarrell@mpr.org. His twitter address is @cfarrellecon.

MONEY Careers

How to Tell Chatty Coworkers to Shut the @#$%& Up—in a Nice Way

Chatty coworkers on The Office
In every office, there are some people you want to avoid at all costs. NBC—Courtesy Everett Collection

Open offices naturally lead to more socializing. But you don't have to participate in every conversation. Here's how to duck out without looking like a grouch.

Q: I work in an open floor plan office and lots of socializing goes on. I find it distracting and have a hard time getting my work done. How can I break away from the office chitchat without looking like I’m no fun?

A: Open floor plan offices naturally lend themselves to more socializing. But you’re hardly alone in finding the chatter distracting. A study published last year found that open office layouts had a negative effect on productivity, contributing to “mental workload, poor performance, stress, and fatigue.” Another paper, from 2011, found that sound was one of the main factors affecting workplace productivity, with conversation being among the most annoying of them.

The problem of too-chatty coworkers isn’t limited to those in cubicle-ville. No matter what your work environment, you’ve likely at some point or another been cornered by a colleague—or worse, boss—who jabbers on endlessly about their weekend while you’re anxiously running through your gargantuan to-do list in your head.

The key thing to keep in mind: “Most offenses happen because the other person doesn’t realize it,” says etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, who founded of The Protocol School of Texas.

“Open cubicles require open communication,” she adds. In other words, speak up.

When you need to get something done on deadline, let people know right away when you walk in for the day. Just make it clear you’re stepping away for the benefit of the company or a particular task—not because you’re trying to avoid your coworkers, says Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach and etiquetteexpert.com. You might say something like, “I just need a little privacy and some time to concentrate so that I can finish this project on time.”

Peppering it with a bit of humor—”I know you miss me, but I’ve got to get this report done by noon or Julian will have my head” —should help you avoid looking like a grump. You might also make use of the “do no disturb” settings on your instant messenger program, phone and email to underscore your point.

For when the din of other people’s chatter becomes overwhelming, have a set of noise-cancelling headphones on hand. The bigger the better, since your “friendly” co-workers may not notice if you’re wearing earbuds. Listen to music or simply white noise, whatever will block out the conversation and help you get your work done. Get a phone headset, too, so you can always look like you’re on the phone even when you’re not.

Have a neighbor whose loud personal phone calls keep disrupting your work? The next time it happens, politely ask your cubemate to quiet down or take the calls elsewhere. It’s more effective to tackle such issues as they arise—with a simple “Can you please keep it down? I’m trying to focus on this work.”—rather than letting them keep building.

When all else fails, duck into your office’s private meeting rooms for a while to guarantee complete silence. Just make sure to communicate with your team and not simply disappear, which sends the wrong message, Gottsman says.

All this said, try not to seem too anti-social. Socializing facilitates camaraderie—and participating shows you’re part of the team. “When there’s a birthday party and everyone runs over, make sure you’re involved,” says Gottsman. “You don’t want to stay seated, hunkering down, and hiding.”

MONEY Careers

How to Tell Your Spouse You Want to Take a Pay Cut

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Corbis

You've had it with your job. You're ready for a more fulfilling career. Now the hard part: Telling your spouse that you'll have to live on less. Here's what to say.

You’re ready to quit your miserable job and do something that you know will make you happier. But there’s a catch. You’ll need to take a major pay cut, and you haven’t talked to your spouse about it yet.

“Assume that it’ll be a very anxiety inducing conversation,” says financial psychologist Brad Klontz. “Money conversations are critically important for the health of a relationship, but they’re minefields.”

To avoid a bruising argument over your lower-paid gig, approach the topic this way:

YOU SAY: “I’m stressed out and unfulfilled at work, and I’m worried I’ve been taking it out on the family. I’m seriously considering switching careers, and I want your input.”

First things first: If you’ve been coming home from work cranky every evening, your spouse may have realized long ago that you hate your job. “This may be a more welcome conversation than you think,” says financial therapist Amanda Clayman. “If you’re not happy in a job, this may not come out of the blue.”

Make sure your spouse understands you’re opening a negotiation, not simply making a declaration that you’re going to quit. This is a decision that affects your whole family, so emphasize that you want to hear your spouse’s thoughts. “You need a collaborative attitude,” says Maggie Baker, a financial therapist and author of Crazy About Money. “Make your partner feel like they’re part of the solution.”

YOU SAY: “I’ve looked at our budget, and I’ve noticed some costs I think we could cut to make up for the shortfall.”

Come prepared. Before talking to your spouse, take an honest look at your budget and assess where you (or the family) can afford to cut back. “The best thing to do is to think through the solution beforehand,” says Klontz. Could you spend less on meals out, for instance? Could your next car be a two-year-old certified preowned vehicle, not a new model?

Spell out the sacrifices you’re willing to make, like taking on part-time work or slashing your personal spending. “If there are ways this can have more of an impact on you, you’ll probably get less resistance,” adds Klontz.

Related: Six simple steps for building a better budget.

YOU SAY: “Before I leave my job, let’s test out these cutbacks for a few months.”

Before you quit, create this stricter budget. Then give your thriftier lifestyle a test drive and see if you can stick to it. “If you have this discussion well before you change jobs, you can practice a less affluent lifestyle,” says Baker. “By play acting it in that way, you can see if it’s doable.”

YOU SAY: “This might be a tough adjustment now, but once I switch careers I’ll have a good chance at earning more down the road.”

Taking a short-term pay cut for a new job can be a smart long-term financial decision, especially if you’ve topped out in what you’re doing. “Sometimes it’s good professionally to make less money,” says Neal Frankle, a certified financial planner and author of Why Smart People Lose a Fortune. That’s especially true if you have many more earning years ahead of you (and fewer big-ticket financial obligations, like kids in college). “Strategically, the younger you are, the more it could make sense to make less money.”

In your new career, you might find it easier to move up the leadership ladder, or perhaps you have the chance to join a startup with high growth potential. Alternatively, look into whether the lower-paying job might have better benefits. If you can argue that your drop in pay will be temporary—or evened out by other factors—make that part of your case for quitting.

YOU SAY: “I’m sure no one in the family will mind if I’m less grouchy around the house.”

Play up the positive. Leaving a job that makes you miserable will probably rub off on the rest of your family. You might have more free time to spend with them, or at least you could be more relaxed and happy after you get home from work. Figure out what’s in it for them, and mention that too.

Keep in mind that seeing you happier in your career will probably make your spouse happy too. “In a healthy relationship, one partner’s happiness and well-being has value in the family,” says Clayman. “It’s not all about the money.”

Read more on money and relationships:

7 Ways to Stop Fighting About Money and Grow Richer, Together

Common Problems, Uncommon Solutions: How Seven Couples Have Tackled Their Money Challenges

When She Makes More: How to Level the Playing Field

 

TIME Careers & Workplace

Here’s What to Do If Your Boss Kind of Hates You

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J.A. Bracchi—Getty Images

In an ideal world, we’d all get along great with everybody we report to. Here’s what to do if that's not the case

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

In an ideal world, we’d all get along great with everybody we report to. Here’s what to do if that isn’t happening.

Dear Annie: I’ve had my current job as a human resources manager for about a year-and-a-half, and everything was going fine until we got a new boss from outside the department. He seems to have a need to do everything himself. I’ve also come across instances where he has snooped behind my back to find out what I’ve been doing. Today, I found out he asked my admin for details of my attendance at the office, “just to check” on me.

At the same time, he is really nice to other members of my team, which leads me to conclude that, for some reason, he just doesn’t like me. In the beginning, I tried to build a rapport with him but, after being snubbed more than once, I just don’t want to make the effort any more. Is there anything I can do, besides find a new boss? — Odd Man Out

Dear O.M.O.: You probably don’t want to hear this but, if you want to stay in this job, you’re going to have to keep trying. “This is hard, because you have to humble yourself a little and find a way to see things from this manager’s point of view,” says Karin Hurt, CEO of Baltimore-based executive coaching firm Let’s Grow Leaders. She wrote a book, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss: A Practical Guide to Building a Better Relationship with Your Boss, that you might find useful.

A good starting point: Assume nothing. The fact that this boss came in from the outside is significant, because it means he may be used to doing things in a different way. “A certain amount of micromanagement and what looks like ‘snooping’ may just be standard behavior in the organization he came from,” Hurt notes. “It’s annoying, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he doesn’t like you.”

For the rest of the story, go to Fortune.com.

MONEY Careers

10 Easy Ways to Make Yourself More Hireable

Sell Yourself as an Expert
Standing behind a podium gives you some serious expert cred. Even better if you're actually giving a speech. Colin Gray—Getty Images

Career coach and former HR exec Caroline Ceniza-Levine shares her advice for getting people to think of you as an expert.

In today’s competitive job market, it is not enough to promise you’ll get the job done. You need to already have a track record of accomplishment.

With smaller headcount, employers are gun-shy; they’re wary of making a hiring mistake when they do have the rare opportunity to fill a slot. So they try to hold out for the perfect candidate.

That means it’s even more critical that you are perceived as someone the employer can’t live without—the best in what you do, the go-to person, the expert.

For experienced professionals, this means being seen as the best for your industry (e.g., media, banking) or role (e.g., sales, financial analysis). Even new entrants to the job market can differentiate themselves as expert in baseline skills (e.g., computer software, communication skills, leadership potential).

Here are 10 ways to establish your expertise:

1. Collect testimonials. Post testimonials on your own website, if you have one, and on LinkedIn. If you say you’re great, it’s bragging. If someone says it about you, it’s social proof. Pick people who know your work well. Email or call them (however you normally communicate) and explain that you are editing your profile or website and would appreciate a recommendation from them. Be prepared to coach them on the specific details you would like them to emphasize—if they worked with you a while ago, they may not remember exactly what you did.

2. Hitch your wagon to brand names. You want people to know you were already selected by the best (and therefore the most selective) employers. Easy enough if the companies where you’ve worked are household names, but if not, look for ways to define them in a superlative fashion in your resume and on LinkedIn. For example, if a previous employer was a Fortune 500 company or leader in its field or the biggest of its peers, say so.

3. Share in another expert’s halo. When you’re going for a job or looking to meet someone important in your network, have someone you know who’s especially well revered in the field put in a good word for you. As a recruiter, when I got a referral from someone that I highly regarded, I regarded that referred candidate more highly.

4. Get published. Pen a guest post for a blog or newsletter that serves your industry. Authorship conveys expertise. (Ahem.) If you’re a member of an association that puts out a newsletter, contact the person in charge of putting it together and suggest ideas. If you’re a reader of a specific blog, it might have instructions right there on how to submit an idea; if not, contact the editor.

5. Get quoted. Not up for writing an entire article? Lend your expertise as a source. Network with journalists who cover your area—you can find them via HARO as well as Twitter—and let them know you are available at any time. Give them your cell phone number, even. Journalists love to know they have a go-to source who will pick up the phone when they’re on deadline. Remember to speak in catchy, therefore publishable, sound bites when they call.

6. Speak in public. In addition to writing, speaking is an effective way to share and promote your expertise. Consider conferences organized for your industry or for general professional associations (e.g., women’s groups, young leaders, MBAs) Volunteer to speak at an alumni event or career-services workshop for your alma mater. Put a Google alert on keywords and phrases, such as “TedX” or “call for speakers,” to get notified of speaking opportunities.

7. Get certified. Continuing education in your field implies that you are staying on top of the latest developments and keeping your skills updated. This could mean getting an advanced degree or formal certification. Depending on your field, it may be enough to take one-off courses without a full certification, attend conferences or lectures or join a professional association or Meetup.

8. Lead your peers. Don’t just join a professional association; head up a committee or sit on the board. Such groups always need volunteers, so it’s unlikely your offer to help will be turned away. No active group in your field? Start one or revive an inactive one—as the person who takes the initiative to bring like-minded people together, you put yourself in a leadership role.

9. See around corners. When you’re interviewing for a job in your target area, don’t just establish your current skills; establish how your knowledge can be applied to help the employer. When you go above and beyond what you know and talk about how you would actually apply it to situations your prospective employer might be facing, hiring managers see you as someone who has practical expertise.

10. Take a stand. In addition to knowing the trends and innovations, have a vision to propose. When you make suggestions to a prospective employer, you are seen as a solution to their problems. When you have opinions and ideas, you demonstrate leadership potential. You don’t just follow; you create new possibilities, new solutions. Employers will want you to implement that solution for them.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart® career coaching. She has worked with professionals from American Express, Condé Nast, Gilt, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, and other leading firms. She’s also a stand-up comic. This column will appear weekly.

 

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