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.

 

TIME Retirement

Boomers: Prepare for Your Second Act

Life is long. Yours may be overdue for an overhaul

My friend Meg was successfully treated for thyroid cancer in her 30s, but at every annual checkup afterward she braced for bad news. At lunch after a recent visit with her doctor, she was wearing such a worried expression that we were prepared for the worst. Here’s what her doctor had said: “Meg, I think you’ve dodged a bullet. I don’t think that cancer is coming back.”

Good news! And yet the look on her face was not joy or even relief. Meg had been living year to year. Now, facing the prospect that she might go on living a long time, she felt completely unprepared. As she said, “What am I going to do for 40 years?”

It’s the question of the age–and the question of our age. My generation is the first to get a heads-up that many of us will be living longer than we ever imagined, many of us working into our 70s and living into our 90s. But what are we going to do? As Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, notes, “The culture hasn’t had time to catch up. The enormity of this hasn’t hit people.”

Our midlives are lasting longer. What does midlife mean now? It used to be the beginning of a long glide into retirement, which many of us still look forward to. Unlike previous generations, who retired from something, my generation hopes to retire to something. Retirement is a word with new meanings–no longer a door marked EXIT. Think instead of a door that swings on a hinge, moving us forward to something new–though many if not most of us lack a ready answer for what that something is. Still, research has shown that people 50 and older are more active and vital in their outlook than 50-somethings were only 10 years ago! We share an inchoate feeling that there is something more.

Marc Freedman of Encore.org, which helps people pursue second acts for the greater good, says we’ve been blessed with a “bonus decade or two or three.” We still have options. And the Gen X-ers are not far behind–they started turning 50 in 2014.

The timing isn’t bad. A few years ago researchers discovered that, around the age of 40, people begin to experience a diminished sense of well-being. They were surprised to find this in men and women, rich and poor, all over the world. But the bigger surprise was what came next: around the age of 50, feelings of well-being begin to rise again–and keep on rising, well into the 70s. In the 21st century, 50 is the beginning of a new and aspirational time of life.

We have all known inspiring individuals who have defied the stereotypes of aging to lead long, creative and productive lives, but until now that was perceived as the exception. You may be surprised to know that people over 55 represent the largest group of owners of new business startups. At a time when our own parents and grandparents expected to wind things down, 50 is now the era of the second wind.

That doesn’t mean it is going to be easy. Stanford’s Carstensen notes that with our new vitality come some pretty big questions. “Those of us living today have been handed a remarkable gift with no strings attached–an extra 30 years of life for the average person,” she says. “Now that gift is forcing us to answer a uniquely 21st century question: What are we going to do with our supersized lives?”

I don’t fashion myself an authority, but I have spent the past few years of my life traveling the nation talking to people who have reinvented themselves. Here are some common misconceptions you may have about reinvention: that you have to get it right the first time; that there is some more authentic “you” waiting to be revealed; that reinvention is a total makeover. Or that everyone has a passion to follow.

Based on my own experience, I’d endorse a couple of counterintuitive ideas instead: Trial and error are keys to growth and self-knowledge. Reinvention may require being reintroduced to yourself. Self-discovery may not be a requirement for reinvention, but it may be the payoff.

It’s been my personal observation that if there’s a secret to reinvention, it’s that there isn’t one, or rather, there isn’t only one. There are as many ways to do it as there are experts eager to guide us. As Bertolt Brecht put it, “The shortest line between two points can be a crooked line.”

For the lucky few, here’s a chance to reach toward a long-nurtured dream. For many, the way forward may feel like groping in the dark, as it did for me. Frankly, we are all making it up as we go along. But how reassuring to know we’re all in this together.

Pauley’s latest book, from which this article is adapted, is Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life (Simon & Schuster)

TIME Careers & Workplace

Here’s the Solution to Deadly Office Meetings

Hate sitting around a conference table for yet another meeting? Well, one group of scientists has a novel suggestion: They think you should be standing.

That’s right, the stand-up meeting. Thanks to wearable sensors (devices similar to the Fitbit or Nike+ FuelBand), researchers from Washington University found that taking the chairs out of the room had positive effects on workplace productivity.

“Our study shows that even a small tweak to a physical space can alter how people work with one another,” says lead author Andrew Knight, an assistant professor at Washington’s Olin Business School. “We wondered how this type of arrangement would play out for people working together in a group to achieve a collective goal,” he says.

Knight found that when standing, meeting participants were more excited and receptive to collaboration.

This work builds on earlier theories that suggest people do better work when they’re not sitting still. A lot of people use metaphors like rat race, hamster wheel and so on to describe corporate life, but some experts claim using actual treadmills delivers benefits.

Devotees say moving while working taps creativity. There are treadmill-desk combos like the Steelcase Walkstation and the TreadDesk, made by an Indianapolis company. Last year, the AP reported that TreadDesk expected to see a 25% increase in sales, thanks to purchases by big companies ranging from Microsoft to Coca Cola to Procter & Gamble.

Knight finds that the idea that not sitting down can bolster the flow of ideas holds true in a group setting, as well. Subjects in a series of experiments who were told to work together in a room where the chairs had been taken out reported that their fellow collaborators were less territorial about their ideas and more willing to share information than a control group that collaborated while seated around a table. Members of the research team also rated how well the groups did on their actual tasks (developing a university recruitment video) and found that the standers turned in a better performance than the sitters.

It might sound strange, but there’s an extensive body of scientific research showing that a person’s posture has strong influence on how — and how well — they work.

“Your posture influences psychology, and that influences behavior,” says Andy Yap, a post doctoral associate and lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Yap conducted experiments and found that when we sit in tight, contracted positions — like squeezed into a too-small seat or hunched over our phone — we feel stressed and powerful, but standing in an “expansive pose,” with legs apart and hands on a table or on the hips, can make people feel more powerful. “Even though you don’t have to stand like Superman, having an expansive workspace would actually cause you to feel powerful,” he says.

“I think the implications are really important,” Yap says of the standing-meeting research. He adds that people being territorial about their ideas is a common problem that can derail good group collaboration, which makes the findings about standing relevant for anyone who has to work on team projects. “It might be cool to see if sitting in movable chairs could reap the same benefits,” he suggests.

Yap does offer one caveat to the standing-meeting concept. “One drawback about standing is that one’s physique become more obvious to the people in the group meeting,” he points out. Taller, bigger people are often unconsciously perceived to have more power, which could mean a shorter team member might not participate as much. “These physical attributes oftentimes affect interpersonal dynamics,” Yap says.

TIME Business

5 Hot Jobs That Could Be Right for You Right Now

Some of the hottest jobs in the nation this year aren’t your typical “job of the future.”

This post is in partnership with The Fiscal Times. The article below was originally published on The Fiscal Times.

Sure, there’s a high demand for nurses as baby boomers age and increasingly require medical assistance, as well as for software developers as the tech boom continues.

Related: Jobs Report Confirms Economy Is on the Mend

But in some major local markets, jobs that are in high demand are more surprising, according to a report from ZipRecruiter released Monday. Here are a few:

  • Accountant/Financial Analyst: Although the accounting industry went through a significant round of layoffs after the financial crisis, accounting firms are hiring again. In Chicago and in Dallas, the hottest job for the first part of the year was accountant/financial analyst, a job that has a 2.8 percent projected growth rate in the Windy City and 4.3 percent in Dallas for the next six months. Demand for accountants is also expected to rise in Atlanta (5.2 percent), Baltimore (2.7 percent), St. Louis (2.5 percent), Houston (1.3 percent), Washington, D.C. (0.7 percent) and Philadelphia (0.2 percent).
  • Restaurant Manager: The Department of Labor barely sees growth in this field for the next eight years – but in Miami, at least, restaurant manager is the hottest job so far this year, with a projected growth rate of 7.8 percent for the rest of 2014. Restaurant manager also has high growth potential in New York (5.7 percent), Boston (3.6 percent) and Dallas (3.2 percent).
  • Machinist: Although the importance of manufacturing to the economy is declining in the U.S., machinist is the top job in the Minneapolis market; demand for machinists is projected to grow 3 percent there. Other markets where this demand will supposedly grow include Seattle (6.5 percent) and Tampa (1.5 percent).
  • Customer Service Representative: If you think customer service is now handled by computers or workers in India – think again. While it isn’t yet the top job in any major U.S. market, demand for customer service rep is expected to rise throughout the country: in New York (4.2 percent), Chicago (3.8 percent), Los Angeles (1.9 percent), Houston (1.9 percent), Miami (1.7 percent), Detroit (0.6 percent) and Philadelphia (0.3 percent).
  • Account Executive: This hot job also has growth prospects across the country for the next six months: Chicago (4.2 percent), Baltimore (3.4 percent), Boston (3.2 percent), Miami (2.2 percent), St. Louis (2.2 percent), Houston (0.8 percent) and Philadelphia (0.3 percent).

Related: Jobs Market Reaches Another Meaningless Milestone

ZipRecruiter studied job postings at more than 50 job networks to find the hottest jobs so far this year and their rate of growth for the rest of the year.

Read more from The Fiscal Times:

Top 10 Cities for Singles: Best Rents and Nightlife

Dems Keep Unemployment Insurance in Spotlight

12 Weird Uses for Drones

TIME Business

The One Question All Successful People Can Answer Immediately

And it's not "what's your biggest weakness?"

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

If starting multiple businesses people love is any measure of success for a serial entrepreneur, Tina Roth Eisenberg has got it made. Known as Swiss Miss, she runs a popular design blog, created a company making temporary design tattoos Tattly, and founded Creative Mornings, a breakfast talk series held in 80 cities (and growing!) around the world.

At the recent 99U Conference, Eisenberg shared stories from her journey as designer turned creative entrepreneur—and one question that’s helps keep her going. It’s a simple question, but one that she says gives her a lot of focus and clarity:

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Don’t worry: This isn’t another one of those curveball interview questions. She says that all the most successful people she’s met have been able to answer this question immediately: John Maeda, who led the MIT Media Lab and Rhode Island School of Design, responded with “curiosity.” Maria Popova, who curates the popular Brain Pickings blog by reading 12-15 books a week, said “doggedness.” Eisenberg’s own superpower? Enthusiasm.

Knowing your superpower means you know yourself well enough to have a focus, and that’s the same competitive advantage that makes you so great at what you do. It’s the quality you’re most proud of, the one thing that makes you stand out, and what gives you an edge over everyone else.

So, if you haven’t ever considered what your superpower might be, do! Having an answer to this question shows that you’ve thought hard about your best personal qualities, and you’ll even have something prepared for the “What’s your greatest strength?” question at your next interview.

And if your current answer doesn’t sit well with you? Well, there’s no better time to think about what you want to be known for and start getting to that next level.

About the author: Before joining The Muse, Sarah worked in social business innovation for Virgin Unite in London, strategy and innovation at Market Gravity, sustainability research in the Dominican Republic, and business development for a NYC startup. Wrapping up her time at Columbia University, she’s headed to McKinsey & Company after graduation. Say hi on Twitter @sarahlichang.

Read more from The Muse:

Are You Truly Reaching Your Potential?

How to Turn a Setback into a Stroke of Creativity

What Anyone Can Learn From a Trip to Space

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10 Words People Who Lack Confidence Always Use

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A.L. Christensen / Getty Images / Flickr Open

Want to avoid giving the impression you lack confidence and authority? Avoid these words


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.

Nine-hundred and seventy-two.

That’s the total number of e-mails I received just in May, and it’s about my average. That’s not counting the hundreds and hundreds of messages Gmail dumped into categories for promotional mail, forum posts, and social networking updates. I’ve become proficient at jumping through messages quickly (using the J and K keys), but there’s one thing I’ve mastered even more than that: spotting a lack of confidence.

I also take quite a few cold calls–people who are not really sure what I do and have not really done too much research but have me on a phone list for some reason.

In most cases, it’s a pitch about a product or someone asking a question about marketing to journalists. He or she might say he or she “usually” does something. In a few cases, it’s someone with a business idea he or she “suspects” will be perfect. Most of the time, these messages are straightforward–the sender isn’t messing around. But a few seem hesitant. I fire back a question, and the response makes me question the person’s authority on the subject.

These words are not always triggers about confidence level, but they are my first signal that something is amiss. They make me think the sender is not that sure about the product or service. And they are dead giveaways that I need to question what the person says.

1. Might

Be careful when you tell people you “might” do something. Are you sure about that? No one is asking you to solve world peace. When you say you “might” finish a report, it implies you lack some ability, don’t manage your time well, or have too many priorities.

2. Won’t

Here’s an obvious word to avoid in your emails. Anyone who says he or she “won’t” do something or “won’t” attend a meeting is generating a negative vibe. Be more decisive: Either accept an invitation or reject it; using the word won’t suggests hesitancy.

3. Usually

This is a trigger word in email that makes it obvious to everyone that you don’t have all the facts. If you say the accounting department “usually” doesn’t approve your expense report or the boss is “usually” late to work, it means you’re stretching the truth.

4. Suspect

Unless you are talking about a suspect in a trial, avoid saying you “suspect” anything. You’re not Sherlock Holmes. Just use direct terms: You know an investor is pulling out of the project, and here’s why; or you have facts to support your conclusion on a new marketing plan.

5. Impossible

I’ll bet Mark Zuckerberg has never used the word impossible in an email. The recipient will lose confidence in you quickly. State why something might be hard or difficult or just don’t agree to a course of action. Don’t bother telling people it’s impossible.

6. Worried

We all worry about the stresses of life. Telling people you are worried by email makes it seem as if you lack confidence in your abilities. If you are worried, don’t bother saying that to anyone–just express what you are concerned about and offer solutions.

7. Confused

Expressing your confusion will create even more confusion. It’s better to just say what you are confused about and ask questions. Saying you are “confused” gives people the impression that either you don’t understand something or that the topic is confusing to you.

8. Need

We all have needs in life. When you express those needs by email over and over again, it makes you look needy. I “need” you to come to work early, I “need” you to get that report done. Avoid saying “need” and express requirements more directly.

9. Quandary

Have you sent a message and said you were in a “quandary”? You should know that the word means you are in a total state of perplexity. I mean, you are really perplexed. That’s not often the case when it comes to a new business proposal or fundraising round.

10. Likely

Few of us are in the business of predicting the future. If you say something is “likely” in an email, you are expressing to the recipient that you are not really sure about the topic, and you don’t have all the facts yet. It’s likely that you just lack confidence.

More from Inc:

The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship

7 Ways to Lose Friends and Your Influence at Work

The Seemingly Harmless Act That Leads to High Employee Turnover

Simple Ways to Deal With Negative People

How to Be More Likable in 10 Easy Steps

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