TIME Careers & Workplace

The Secret to Not Flubbing a Job Interview

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Zero Creatives—Getty Images/Cultura RF

A phone interview can be a convenient first step for job-seekers and employers alike because it takes less time and expense than an in-person meeting. Be aware, though, that phone interviews present some unique pitfalls.

Want the edge on your fellow applicants? Read on. If you’re looking for a job, here’s what experts say you need to do to make sure that time on the phone gets you a call back.

Do your homework. “Have handy a copy of the job description, talking points about your qualifications, and the questions you’ve prepared for the interviewer,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at mobile career network TheLadders. Read over them before the interview to refresh your memory.

Find someplace quiet. “Make sure you are in a quiet place with the doors closed so no one can barge in and disrupt the call by creating noise,” says Scott Dobroski, a career trends analyst at jobs and salary site Glassdoor. A crying baby or barking dog in the background isn’t going to help you project the professional image you want.

Don’t use, like, verbal filler. “Avoid verbal crutches like “um,” “like,” and “uh” that can undercut your communication skills and make you sound like you’re not confident,” says Robert Hosking, executive director of staffing service OfficeTeam.

Make clarity a priority. “Over the phone, the interviewer needs to be able to hear what you are saying as clearly as possible,” Hosking says. “Make sure you have at least one glass of water before the interview so your voice doesn’t crackle or become dry,” he says. It’s not a bad idea to keep a glass of water at hand in case you get a tickle in your throat, too.

Practice “verbal nods.” “Remember, the interviewer can’t see you shaking your head through the phone,” Augustine points out. This means you’ll need to give the interviewer verbal cues that take the place of a nod. Phrases like “I understand,” “Sounds great,” “Alright” and “That makes sense” will all do the trick, Augustine says. “Basically, you’re making sure the person on the other end of the line knows you’re following along with the conversation and on the same page,” she says.

Keep on track. Since people tend to ramble when they’re nervous, Hosking says it’s important to make sure you get to the point quickly. “While you certainly don’t want to give a series of one-word responses, aim to be thorough, yet succinct. It’s OK to pause and collect your thoughts before you begin to speak,” he says.

Sound confident. “Your interviewer is likely trained to glean from your conversation your level of self-confidence, personality and ability to communicate effectively,” Arnie Fertig, founder and CEO of Jobhuntercoach, writes in US News & World Report. Don’t rush through your replies to the interviewer’s questions, ramble during pauses in the conversation or slip into overly colloquial language. “At the same time, do show something of your personality,” he says.

MONEY Sports

3 Career Lessons From Kevin Durant’s Blockbuster Nike Deal

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Kevin Durant (#35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder backs up to the basket against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Chesapeake Arena on May 31, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Richard Rowe—NBAE/Getty Images

On his way to signing a blockbuster deal with Nike, Kevin Durant faced some of the same decisions as anyone weighing compensation offers. Here's what you can learn from his choice.

On Sunday, Kevin Durant celebrated Labor Day weekend by signing a monster endorsement deal with Nike. Various news outlets report the contract could be worth anywhere from $265 million to $300 million over the next decade, and may span 20 years. That’s a lot of money, but Durant could very well be worth it. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Oklahoma City Thunder star’s shoes are a top seller for Nike, second only to four-time MVP LeBron James’s own line of footwear.

More noteworthy than the deal’s price alone, however, is that Durant had to make a choice between suitors: Sportswear maker Under Armour also offered him a similarly rich compensation package that Nike—which had the option of matching any competitor’s offer—was reportedly forced to top.

Sure, the numbers are astronomical, but Durant faced some of the same issues as ordinary people weighing compensation offers. Here’s what you can learn from his decision to stick with the swoosh.

Whether to Accept Cash vs. Stock

The most striking difference between Nike and Under Armour’s respective offers is that, according to ESPN, 10% of UA’s deal was in company stock. Even assuming the lowest estimates of Durant’s deal are true, that would mean Under Armour offered around $26.5 million worth of company shares. UA stock has more than doubled since January 2013 and is up about 90% year-to-date. If Under Armour grows as much in the next half-decade as it did in the previous one, Durant could have earned $300 million in in 5 years from stock alone.

Viewed that way, it seems like the the Thunder player may have picked the wrong offer—but the more lucrative deal also had outsized risk. There is no guarantee that Under Armour will continue its recent growth surge. Worse, Under Armour could falter, and Durant’s association with the company could end up hurting his brand. Nike might not offer the same upside as its competitor, but the shoe giant might be a more stable bet in the long run.

What you can learn: Even if you’re not an NBA superstar, you may face a similar decision, both when it comes to where you work and how you structure your compensation. Do you want to work for a startup that could be worth billions —or fail—in a few years, or join with an established corporation that is slower growing but more secure? Is it better to get a bigger paycheck or take some compensation in stock options?

Ultimately, it depends on how much risk you’re comfortable with taking. In Durant’s case, he chose the conservative approach instead of risking it for the highest potential returns.

Join the Leader or Be a Big Fish in a Small Pond?

Had Durant signed with Under Armour, he wouldn’t just get a fat paycheck—he would have become the virtual face of the company. Under Armour’s only major basketball endorsement is Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Curry’s a good player, but he doesn’t have the star power of Durant. Had the OKC forward jumped ship to a new brand, his success would be Under Armour’s success, and vice versa.

That’s an enticing prospect, but, once again, Under Armour’s offer carries more uncertainty. Being the face of a brand sounds nice, it would also put a lot of pressure on Durant to carry the Under Armour torch. Joining Nike, on the other hand, means being associated with the company’s other big names: Jordan, James, and Kobe. With colleagues like those, Durant doesn’t have to worry about carrying all of the load.

What you can learn: That same thinking applies to your career too. Being “the man” or “the woman” can be exhilarating—or exhausting. Sometimes it’s more enjoyable to join a larger organization with other equally skilled colleagues, even if that means less personal prestige.

Play Prospective Employers Off Each Other

Durant also benefited from a bidding war. Before Under Armour entered the picture, Nike was offering Durant roughly $20 million per year. Once Under Armour entered the game, that number shot up to potentially $30 million annually for the first 10 years, and another $50 million over the following decade.

What you can learn: As Durant found, having multiple offers rarely fails to increase your value. If another employer is dangling a higher salary, ask your boss to match it. At worst, you could take the higher offer, and at best, both companies will compete, boosting your pay even further. It’s a game you should play carefully, so you don’t create bad feelings with either your current employer or potential boss.

MONEY Careers

WATCH: From IBM to Scooter Salesman

A North Carolina entrepreneur went from working in the computer industry to running a successful scooter store.

MONEY

5 Secrets to Landing the Job You Really Want

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Matt Chase

Dream of venturing forth into a new and rewarding career? Navigate your journey with expert help from people who know the territory.

Twenty years ago as she whip­ped up peanut but­ter balls for friends, Cathy Churcher never thought she’d wind up making a living as a candymaker. But after a series of deaths in her family—including that of her brother, at age 49—Churcher quit her job as the director of admissions at a nursing school and opened Chocolate Cravings, a 400-square-foot shop in Richmond. “It was about happiness,” says Churcher. “I stepped out in faith that I could make a go of it in a new career.”

Churcher, then 50, wasn’t depending on faith alone. Three years before launching, she began writing a business plan. She studied local candy stores, trying to learn from their successes and failures. She earned a certificate as a professional chocolatier. And two years before she opened her shop, she started selling at farmers’ markets and to local stores and restaurants.

Fifty-five percent of U.S. workers want to change careers, according to a University of Phoenix survey. As Churcher’s story suggests, those shifts take time. To make a switch, you’ll have to learn new skills, make new professional contacts, sock away cash, and more.

Maybe you, like Churcher, want to start a business, or maybe you’d like a salaried job in a new field. While the prospect of starting over may be daunting, it can also be deeply rewarding. So if you ache for a professional reboot—either as your own boss or working for someone else—follow these five steps to learn from experts and people who have successfully made such a move.

1. Make sure your dream has some connection to reality

In 2011, Jennifer Johnson, a general manager at Johnson Controls (no relation) in Plymouth, Mich., had an idea. Noticing an increase in seasoned executives no longer working full-time, she thought she might match them up for project assignments with local companies that could use their expertise.

Was this a viable business? Johnson, then 35, resolved to find out. On nights and weekends she studied other professional-services firms. She cold-called people running similar businesses in other states, asking them everything from how they dealt with competition to how much they charged. And, believe it or not, they told her. “People who have started businesses generally want to be helpful,” she says.

Johnson’s research led her to Patina Solutions, a Milwaukee-based firm already doing what she envisioned. Rather than start her own company, she proposed teaming up with Patina, and in February became managing partner of the firm’s new Detroit office.

Research like Johnson’s is key; you need to learn if the image you have of your proposed career—the routine and the money—is an accurate one.

How to do it:

Get the inside scoop. Reach out to people doing the work you want to do, and ask them all you can about their jobs. How did they get started? What do you need to succeed? And what can you expect to earn, both at first and later on? Because you aren’t asking for a job, the discussion should be relaxed. “Be an inquisitive child,” advises Jayne Mattson of Keystone Associates, a career-management firm in Boston.

Do a trial run. Moonlight or apprentice yourself to someone already in the field. A client of career consultant Maggie Mistal who baked in his spare time did a second-career dry run making cookies on nights and weekends. Over six months he saw how much effort beyond actual baking he’d have to put in, and he decided he couldn’t earn enough to support himself. He kept his day job and now just bakes for fun. “Don’t ruin a hobby that you love,” says Mistal.

If you want to work for a nonprofit in a cause meaningful to you—a common goal among career changers—then volunteer; you’ll not only see what the day-to-day work entails, but also meet people in the organization.

2. Identify the skills you need.

After 24 years as an engineer at IBM, Alan Zollner landed a job as a high school physics teacher in 2009. “I am working harder than at IBM—12- to 13-hour days,” he says. “But my work has a lot more meaning than before.”

To change careers, Zollner, from Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., squeezed in three years of required courses while still full-time at IBM, taking advantage of IBM’s Transition to Teaching program, which paid for $15,000 of his education—nearly two-thirds of the cost.

Be prepared, like Zollner, to spend the time and money to get the skills, credentials, and contacts you need to get relaunched—but don’t assume that you’ll need a costly degree.

How to do it

Find the right school. As you do research, get a handle on the education you need. To avoid wasting your money on a particular school, talk to graduates and the director of the course of study you’re considering. Get a list of employers who have hired graduates too. Ask those employers whether the credential affects their hiring decisions.

Unless you’re entering a profession with specific academic requirements —nursing, say—a degree may be overkill; a certification or training program may suffice. The quicker the training, though, the less value it may have; a certificate that you earn in a few days probably won’t provide the knowledge and gravitas you will need.

Get financial aid. Fifty-four percent of employers offer tuition assistance to employees, reports the Society for Human Resource Management. You may have to repay the funds, though, if you don’t stay with the company for a certain number of years afterward.

Uncle Sam can also help. Depending on your income, you may be able to claim the Lifetime Learning Credit, which can cut your tax bill by as much as $2,000 annually. The credit can cover up to 20% of tuition and expenses for college and graduate courses, or for any class you take to obtain or improve job skills. (The benefit phases out completely for married couples earning $128,000 and singles earning $64,000.) If you’re studying more than half time at participating schools, you can also take out a federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan (see studentaid.ed.gov); the current professional-school interest rate is 6.21%. Go to FinAid.org and Edvisors­ .com for information on scholarships and grants for older students.

3. Get your finances in shape for your adventure

When Churcher quit her day job, she and her husband, Ian, forfeited her $50,000-a-year salary. To prepare for that hit, the couple had put a moratorium two years earlier on big vacations. A year after the store opened, they moved their son from a $7,000-a-year private school to a public high school.

Chances are that you, too, will take a salary cut when you start over, whether you’re starting a business or working for someone else. When you factor in your training costs, health insurance (if you’re going out on your own), and perhaps the loss of an employer’s matching 401(k) contribution, the expenses can ratchet up. “Remove your rose-colored glasses and assess your finances,” says Brian Kurth, founder of the online mentoring service PivotPlanet. Following your passion is great, but make sure you can afford your dream job.

How to do it

Live less large. Chart a personal budget to find ways you can pare back your spending. Discretionary expenses like travel and dining are obvious targets, but also look at costs of housing and other necessities. One option for reducing your monthly nut is to downsize to a smaller home or condo. Another is to refinance your mortgage to a lower rate. Then, beginning at least two years before your transition, pay down any outstanding non-mortgage debt, from credit card balances to auto loans.

Pile up the cash. One big payoff of cutting back well before your switch: You can set aside money to carry you through lean times ahead. Aim to save up at least a year’s worth of living expenses, rather than the three to six months’ worth that’s standard for emergency funds; you may have to live off that money during your transition. To make saving easier, set up a new bank account and make automatic deposits from your current paycheck.

4. Line up more money than you think you’ll need.

When B.J. Jones retired in 2009 from her job as director of human resources at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, she hung out her shingle as a career coach. But for the first six months, Jones, now 56, took on clients gratis. “I looked at these as practice sessions,” she says.

While Jones was prepared to forgo an income, most people who take the entrepreneurship route overestimate their initial income and underestimate their startup costs. Little wonder that half of all new small businesses fail within five years, according to the Small Business Administration.

So at least two years before you plan to launch, get a clear picture of what a startup will cost you and then begin to line up your potential sources of financing.

How to do it

Get real about costs. To get an honest assessment of your likely expenses, consult with the free resources available to you. One is SCORE, a national organization of experienced businesspeople who volunteer their expertise to entrepreneurs. The Small Business Administration and AARP provide online educational resources and webinars to help develop a business plan, among other startup needs.

“It’s a good idea to pull together an airtight budget,” says Edward Rogoff, a professor of entrepreneurship at Baruch College’s business school. “Then add a cushion of 20% to your up­front costs to be on the safe side.”

Raise some cash. Sorry, but the chances that a venture capitalist will shower you with money are slim. Eighty-two percent of funding for startups, according to a study from Babson College and Baruch, comes out of the entrepreneur’s own pocket or from friends and family. Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter can make it convenient for you to ask people you know for contributions, but don’t plan on the kindness of strangers to launch your business: Most Kickstarter campaigns are for one-off artistic projects.

Homegrown funding has its risks. Pull cash from your traditional IRA, and you’ll possibly pay a 10% extra tax on funds withdrawn prematurely. Dip too deeply and you’ll endanger your retirement. “If you’re in your twenties, you can bet the ranch, because if it fails, you can always start over,” says Rogoff. “But if you’re near retirement age and your business fails, you won’t be able to get the ranch back.”

Borrowing from friends and family, as opposed to getting no-strings crowd­funded cash, can strain relations, so be clear about the terms of any loan and put everything in writing (go to nolo.com for loan paperwork).

The upside of a friends-and-family loan is that you can probably borrow relatively cheaply—say, a five-year loan for 2% (above the rate the IRS currently requires to show that a loan is not actually a gift). A more expensive but less fraught avenue is the Small Business Ad­ministration’s micro­loan program (sba.gov/microloans). Interest rates for these loans, which average $13,000 and are administered by local nonprofits, generally range from 8% to 13%; startups aren’t necessarily disqualified, but you may have to meet training requirements.

Your costliest option is probably plastic: The average rate on new credit cards is 15%, according to CreditCards.com. Proceed with caution.

5. Show people how far you’ve come

For all the effort you made researching, studying, and saving for your new career, you’ll still need to land a job if you aren’t starting your own business.

For Zollner, success took time. First, he got hired as a substitute physics teacher by parlaying a solid recommendation from the teacher he had worked with as a student teacher. Then he sent personalized cover letters and résumés to about 30 school superintendents. Eventually one responded, and Zollner got his first steady classroom gig.

Getting hired can be a challenge for anyone; it’s especially hard when you’re entering a new field—and when you’re perhaps decades older than the usual low-level applicant.

How to do it

Network, network, network. Employers hire people whom they know themselves or who are known by someone in their circle. Check in with everyone from whom you got advice in the early days of your research. If you networked like a pro over the past few years, you’ve kept them in the loop about your progress. “Those are the people who will end up hiring you or referring you to someone who is hiring,” says Mattson.

If you volunteered with an organization, you’re in an even better position. The hiring manager has had a chance to observe your passion and work ethic, and when a job opens up, you’ll be top of mind. This is particularly true at nonprofit organizations, where volunteers and board members are often the first to be considered for paid positions. Last fall, for example, Jones—a longtime volunteer with the United Way and other local charities—was offered a paid fellowship with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence at United Way of Central New Mexico; in addition to her freelance coaching, she’s now helping volunteer skilled professionals advise hunger-relief agencies on measuring their effectiveness and getting grants.

Polish your act. While hiring managers ought to see your age as a marker of experience or wisdom, chances are they’ll wonder if you’re too old for the job. Beyond the obvious moves of updating your skills and knowledge and showing your comfort with new technology, what can you do?

Rehearse your job interview. No matter how at ease you are in business situations, trying to break into a new industry is a special challenge. Like going out on a date for the first time in 20 years, interviewing for a job does not come naturally. Enlist friends to conduct practice interviews, and record the sessions on video to see whether you’re conveying the enthusiasm and vitality that an employer would value. And why wouldn’t you be energized? You’re embarking on a new adventure.

TIME Careers

America’s Fastest Growing Jobs

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Nurse talking to older man in home Cultura/Tim MacPherson—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.

By Robert Serenbetz

After the recession wiped out millions of jobs, the American labor market has at least partially recovered. So far this year, the United States has added roughly 1.6 million jobs. And in the 10 years through 2022, the BLS estimates that employment will grow by over 15 million jobs, or by 11%.

Some jobs are expected to better capitalize on economic, demographic, and workplace trends than others. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists are expected to grow 53.4%, the fastest in the nation, and occupations in the health sector are also anticipated to disproportionately grow. Based on estimated employment figures and projections for 2012 and 2022 published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for more than 1,000 occupations, 24/7 Wall St. identified the fastest growing jobs in America.

Click here to see the 10 fastest growing jobs.

The jobs with the largest expected growth are often those that benefit from America’s changing demographics. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Martin Kohli, chief regional economist for the BLS, noted that the effects of an aging population, which has access to Medicare, “combined with innovations that provide new treatments” has led to increases in health care spending. In turn, more spending creates “a high demand for jobs to provide these services,” he added.

In fact, the average of all health support occupations is expected to grow 28% by 2022. Six jobs within the top 10 are in the health care sector.

Some of the fastest growing jobs are expected to receive a boost from economic trends. For example, the BLS expects that a continued economic rebound will lead to greater demand for construction and renovations. While construction laborers and helpers are expected to grow 25%, jobs such as masons’ helpers are expected to grow at a considerably higher rate of 45%.

Government and private sector initiatives are also expected to contribute to growth in specific occupations. New federal health care legislation is expected to increase access to health care and, in turn, to the scale of the health care industry. Meanwhile, mechanical insulators are expected to benefit from an increased focus on environmental sustainability.

Most of the occupations with the highest estimated growth rates are not especially large. Only two occupations, home health aides and personal care aides, are estimated to be among the larger jobs by number of people employed in 2022.

There does not appear to be wage or educational trends among the jobs with the largest growth rates. These occupations all have various levels of median wage as well as differing educational requirements.

To determine the jobs with the highest forecast rate of employment growth, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed BLS Employment Projections program data for 2012 and 2022. In order to qualify, occupations needed to reference a specific job rather than a broader classification. Figures from the BLS for 2012 represent estimates, while figures for 2022 represent forecasts and may be revised. Further information on each occupation came from the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

These are the fastest growing jobs in America.

1. Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 53.4%
> Number employed, 2012: 1,600
> Number employed, 2022: 2,500
> Median annual income: $83,580
> Educational qualification: Master’s degree

Industrial organizational psychologists are anticipated to be the fastest growing job in the U.S. in the 10 years through 2022. The BLS estimates that in the 10-year period through 2022, employment of industrial-organizational psychologists will rise more than 53%, dramatically higher than the growth rates for all jobs and for other psychologist professions. The use of psychology is expected to increase across the nation as individuals and institutions look for help in solving or managing problems. Industrial-organizational psychologists address issues relating to workplace productivity, organizational developments, and employee screening. Becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist typically requires a master’s degree, as well as an internship or residency. Despite the forecast growth rate, the actual number of jobs expected to be added is very small — just 900 by 2022.

2. Personal Care Aides
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 48.8%
> Number employed, 2012: 1,190,600
> Number employed, 2022: 1,771,400
> Median annual income: $19,190
> Educational qualification: Less than high school

Similar to home health aides, personal care aides provide individualized home health services to elderly clients living at home. However, personal care aids are restricted to providing only basic medical services and will often work in conjunction with nurses or social workers. The BLS expects that over 580,000 jobs for personal care aides will be created in the decade through 2022, the most out of any of America’s fastest growing jobs. Yet, the median annual wage for personal care aids was just $19,910 as of 2012, well below the nationwide median of $34,750 for all occupations.

3. Home Health Aides
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 48.5%
> Number employed, 2012: 875,100
> Number employed, 2022: 1,299,300
> Median annual income: $20,820
> Educational qualification: Less than high school

An aging population will likely result in a greater need for home health aides, who provide individualized daily client care. The number of such aides is expected to grow by over 48% in the 10 years from 2012 and become one of the most commonly-held jobs by 2022. Home health aides typically work for a medical institution and keep a record of services performed and the client’s conditions, in addition to providing home care and companionship. For elderly clients, home health care is increasingly popular because it offers a “less expensive alternative to nursing homes or hospitals,” the BLS notes.

MORE: The Best (and Worst) Countries to Find a Full-Time Job

4. Mechanical Insulation Workers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 46.7%
> Number employed, 2012: 28,900
> Number employed, 2022: 42,400
> Median annual income: $39,170
> Educational qualification: High school diploma

While the BLS forecasts above average growth in construction employment, the estimated growth rate of mechanical insulation workers is projected to be more-than twice that, at 47%. Unlike other types of insulators, mechanical insulation workers require greater specialty given the challenges of applying insulation to pipes and ducts in all types of buildings. Increased emphasis on energy efficiency will result in growing demand for mechanical insulation workers instead of non-mechanical insulation workers.

5. Interpreters and Translators
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: 46.1%
> Number employed, 2012: 63,600
> Number employed, 2022: 92,900
> Median annual income: $45,430
> Educational qualification: Bachelor’s degree

The BLS pointed to increased globalization and greater diversity within the United States as the primary driver of growth for the profession. Although computers have greatly increased the efficiency and productivity of interpreters and translators, technology cannot provide the specific nuances of human translation. Demand will likely remain strong for frequently translated languages, but most growth will likely be due to greater need for translators in American Sign Language and emerging market languages. According to the BLS, “growing international trade and broadening global ties” will create new jobs for interpreters and translators.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

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TIME Time management

6 Ways to Take Control of Your Schedule

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Paul Bradbury—Getty Images/Caiaimage

Reduce your stress levels with these important tips

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This story was originally published on StartupCollective.

By Jordana Jaffe

Way too often, we feel like our days and hours guide us, rather than vice versa. Our schedules are the master and we their abiding servants.

But not only does that arrangement not feel great, it can also only last so long. When you and your energy, needs, or desires aren’t aligned with your schedule, you will crash and burn sooner rather than later. To help you avoid that crash, or even better, to stop the madness once and for all, here are some things that you can start doing right now to finally feel in control of your time.

1. Take inventory.

Get super clear on what’s going on in your day right now. If you already have an organized calendar, get clear on where your time is spent. If you don’t, spend the next few days keeping a time journal: write down everything you do and to the minute how long each task takes you. It may feel a bit tedious, but the results will astound you.

2. Identify what’s not working.

Where is too much of your time being spent? What do you absolutely dread doing? What are the time wasters in your calendar? Make a note of all of these things and also jot down how much time you currently spend on all of them.

3. Write down what you would rather be doing.

Have you been craving going to that yoga class? Are you longing to catch up on weeks’ worth of your favorite shows on DVR? Write a list of all of the things you would love to start including in your schedule as well as the time commitment for each.

4. Reevaluate.

Now it’s time to make some changes. Look back to what’s not working in your schedule: how can you delegate or outsource some of these things?

Here are two great resources for outsourcing:

  • Fancy Hands: For $45/month, you are given 15 virtual tasks that you can delegate. From setting up doctor’s appointments to booking tickets for a show to researching where to find that dress you love, this resource is a must (note: it may seem like all of these tasks shouldn’t take you very long, but trust me, they add up).
  • Task Rabbit: This is for all of those tasks that you need an actual person to help you with. For example, building the baby’s crib, dropping those envelopes at FedEx, or even picking up groceries.

Now think about all of the time wasters you can eliminate all together. If you’re having a problem prying yourself off of Facebook, ask yourself why. What is Facebook giving you? Entertainment? Connection? Consider seeking those feelings from something more fulfilling.

5. Makeover time.

Now it’s time to start including all of that stuff you’ve actually been wanting to do. Fit these activities in the white space you now have thanks to eliminating the time wasters and outsourcing everything you don’t absolutely need to be doing.

6. Live into it.

Making a change takes time, no matter how badly you may want it. See how your new schedule is working out. Figure out what is working really well and what needs to be adjusted, and then shift things accordingly. Above all, make sure to be gentle with yourself. Progress always trumps perfection.

MONEY working in retirement

Here’s the Best Way to Rescue Your Retirement and Find Happiness Too

A second career can provide income as well as meaning. This advice from retirement expert Chris Farrell can help you plan your next venture.

Chris Farrell has a hot retirement investing tip for you, but it’s not a stock or bond.

Farrell wants you to invest in yourself. In his new book, Unretirement (Bloomsbury Press), he argues that developing skills that can help you earn income well past traditional retirement age offers a better return on investment than any financial instrument—and it can help transform the economy as it continues to heal from the Great Recession.

Farrell is senior economics contributor at public radio’s Marketplace, a contributing editor at Bloomberg Businessweek and a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In a recent interview, I asked him to describe his vision of unretirement.

Q: How do you define “unretirement”?

“Unretirement” is about the financial impact of working longer. If you can work well into your 60s, even earning just a part-time income through a bridge job or contract work, you’ll make so much more in the course of a year than you could from saving.

That changes the financial picture—and not just income. You also don’t have to tap your retirement nest egg during those years, and you might be able to add to it. And it allows you to realistically wait to claim Social Security between age 66 and 70, depending on your health and personal circumstances.

Q: What are the essential tools and strategies for people trying to figure out how to unretire? Where should they begin?

The most important thing is to begin by asking yourself what it is you want to be doing—what kind of work. Do informational interviews with people. The real asset that older workers have is their networks—the people who have known them over the years. Talk with them to find out if you need to add new skills.

Don’t romanticize any particular idea—research it. Think about how you can take your existing skills and move into a different sector of the economy with those.

Q: One of the biggest obstacles facing older workers is age bias. Are employers adapting to help older people keep working longer?

The only evidence I’ve seen of that is at companies that face very tight labor markets—typically technology businesses. It’s also true for the nursing profession. For the rest of the economy, I’ve been to conference after conference focused on older workers, where employers wring their hands about all the brain power walking out the door. They’re sincere, but when they go back to the office they really aren’t motivated to do anything about it because the labor market isn’t strong enough

Q: If that’s the case, how will unretirement be able to take hold as a trend?

The economy is getting better, and labor markets are tightening. But this also will be driven by grassroots change. Many leading-edge boomers are negotiating their own deals, starting businesses or setting themselves up for self-employment with a portfolio of part-time jobs. It’s very do-it-yourself.

And attitudes are changing—there will be enormous pressure from society as people push for this. They’re going to be saying, “We’re pretty well educated, and healthier than we were before, and the numbers don’t work for us to go down to Florida or Arizona and retire—and we actually don’t want to do that.”

Q: There’s a great debate under way over whether we are headed for a crisis in retirement security or not. What’s your view?

I don’t think there will be a retirement crisis if we continue to work longer. But we’re going to want to do it with jobs that provide meaning rather than those that make people just miserable enough that they have to continue to work.

One thing that upsets me is that we have a conflation of financial stresses facing the middle class and pretending that the middle class will be in poverty in retirement—and that’s just not true. There is a group that is really vulnerable—they’ve worked all their lives for companies that don’t provide retirement or health insurance benefits. That is the really vulnerable group.

I think two-thirds of our society will be fine, but for this other group, it’s not about investing in a 401(k), because they simply don’t have the money. For them, Social Security will be the entire retirement plan.

Q: That suggests we will need to beef up Social Security, at least for the lowest-income retirees.

Absolutely. If a majority of us are healthy and continue to work and pay into the Social Security system, we will become a wealthier society—and we will be able to afford to be more generous with Social Security.

Chris Farrell’s write columns on second careers for NextAvenue.com, which also appear on Money.com; you can find his articles here.

TIME Jobs

10 American Jobs That Are Disappearing Now

U.S. Postal Service Truck
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Very hard times ahead for these professions

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

By Alexander E.M. Hess

After the Great Recession, which cost millions of Americans their jobs, the U.S. labor market has begun to heal. So far this year the United States has added an average of nearly 230,000 jobs per month. In the 10 years through 2022, the BLS estimates that total employment will grow by more than 15 million jobs, or nearly 11%.

However, the outlook for some occupations is bleak. For example, the number of fallers — logging workers who cut down trees — is expected to decline by 43% between 2012 and 2022, the most of any occupation. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates and projections for more than 1,000 occupations for 2012 and 2022, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s disappearing jobs.

Click here to see the nation’s disappearing jobs

In many cases, these rapidly declining occupations are already quite rare. For instance, there were just 1,600 locomotive firers — who are responsible for monitoring train tracks and engine instruments — in the U.S. as of 2012. In all, five of the fastest declining occupations had fewer than 10,000 workers in 2012.

Yet, in other instances, occupations that are expected to contract still employ a large number of Americans. There were more than 320,000 people employed as data entry and information processing workers in 2012. There also were nearly half a million postal service workers.

The projected decline in postal service workers is especially significant. In all, the BLS forecasts that the number postal service jobs will fall by 139,000 between 2012 and 2022 — or more than all of the other disappearing occupations put together. A number of factors are expected to contribute to this decline, including continued drops in mail volumes as well as the ongoing financial struggles of the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS has already cut tens of thousands of jobs since 2012, and it is currently slated to cut another 15,000 jobs next year.

Increased automation, digitization, and technological innovation play a role in the decline of several of the fastest shrinking occupations. “We definitely think that technology and automation are a factor with some of these [jobs],” Martin Kohli, chief regional economist at the BLS, told 24/7 Wall St.

MORE: 10 Cities That Are Running Out of Water

The development of email has reduced mail volumes and, as a result, the need for postal service workers. Automated sorting systems have further reduced the need for human sorting. Similarly, motion picture projectionists have become less common as digital projection replaces traditional film rolls, Kohli said.

International trade can also play a part in the decline of an occupation. Specifically, Kohli identified free trade and imports as factors impacting textile occupations. Trade, Kohli said, “reduces the demand for people to make shoes and textiles in this country, because imported shoes and cloth, often from Asia, cost relatively little.” At the same time, he noted that this allows Americans to focus on other industries, such as high-level manufacturing and providing financial services. Semiconductor processors, too, have become less-common in the U.S., as many businesses have elected to outsource manufacturing work abroad and focus on design, marketing, and distribution.

To determine the jobs with the greatest forecast percentage decline in employment, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed BLS Employment Projections program data for 2012 and 2022. Most of these occupations refer to a specific job. In a few cases — postal service workers, data entry and information processing workers, and textile machine setters, operators, and tenders — we used a broader classification to reflect that multiple jobs in the larger job category would be among the fastest shrinking. Where several occupations were similar in their description, such as textile machine workers and fabric and apparel patternmakers, we selected only one occupation. Employment figures from the BLS for 2012 represent estimates, while figures for 2022 represent forecasts. Median annual wage figures are for 2012. Further information on each occupation came from the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

These are America’s Disappearing Jobs:

5. Semiconductor Processors
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -27.1%
> Number employed, 2012: 21,300
> Number employed, 2022: 15,500
> Median annual income: $33,020
> Educational qualification: Associate’s degree

Semiconductor processors oversee the manufacturing process by cleaning silicon, monitoring machinery, and testing circuits to ensure they function correctly. Processors work in perfectly clean rooms while wearing lightweight attire called “bunny suits” in order to prevent dust particles from damaging semiconductors. The combination of automation and foreign manufacturing is expected to reduce the number of processors by more than one-fourth between 2012 and 2022. Today, a number of major U.S. companies such as Broadcom and Qualcomm are “fabless” chip makers, meaning they outsource manufacturing operations, often to other countries.

4. Postal Service Workers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -28.3%
> Number employed, 2012: 491,600
> Number employed, 2022: 352,600
> Median annual income: $53,100
> Educational qualification: N/A

The number of postal service workers in general is projected to drop by more than 28% from 2012 to 2022, with postal service clerks expected to experience the biggest percentage drop. According to the BLS, “automated sorting systems, cluster mailboxes, and tight budgets” are all expected to lead to lower postal worker employment. The U.S. Postal Service has struggled for years to repair its finances, and posted a net loss of nearly $5 billion last year amid a decline in mail volume that will likely continue. In response to these declines, the USPS cut hours worked by 2.3% in 2012, and by an additional 1.1% last year. The USPS forecasts that it will run a multi-billion dollar loss in fiscal 2014. It has also announced plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs in 2015, an action that is being opposed by 50 U.S. senators.

MORE: America’s Best Companies to Work For

3. Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -35.3%
> Number employed, 2012: 3,500
> Number employed, 2022: 2,300
> Median annual income: $24,310
> Educational qualification: High school diploma

Jobs for shoe machine operators and tenders, who work to build shoes and shoe parts, are projected to drop by more than a third between 2012 and 2022. Yet, such jobs are already quite rare in the U.S., with only 3,500 people working in the field as of 2012. Today, many footwear makers outsource their manufacturing to foreign countries and companies. One such company headquartered in Hong Kong, Yue Yuen, employed roughly 413,000 people at the end of 2013. Major companies that outsource manufacturing to Yue Yuen include Nike, Adidas, and Puma.

2. Locomotive Firers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -42.0%
> Number employed, 2012: 1,600
> Number employed, 2022: 900
> Median annual income: $44,920
> Educational qualification: High school diploma

Locomotive firers are responsible for monitoring train tracks for debris, and they check various instruments in order to ensure that no problems are present with the trains’ engines. The job is currently very rare, with less than 2,000 workers as of 2012 — a number that is expected to drop far more in the coming decade. Already, many such jobs have become obsolete as automation has taken the place of people, with locomotive engineers and conductors filling most of these roles. A handful of companies — BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific, as well as the national rail operator, Amtrak — employ most railroad workers.

MORE: 10 Companies That Will Disappear in 2015

1. Fallers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -43.3%
> Number employed, 2012: 6,600
> Number employed, 2022: 3,800
> Median annual income: $35,250
> Educational qualification: High school diploma

Fallers are logging workers that cut down trees. According to the BLS, fallers face numerous job pressures that are projected to cut jobs by roughly 43%. Despite a focus on safety, jobs in logging are often dangerous due to the machinery used and the dangers of falling branches. According to the BLS, fallers face numerous job pressures, including increased mechanization, conservation efforts, and foreign competition, that are projected to cut jobs by roughly 43%. Logging workers are already something of a rare occupation. As of 2012, there were just under 44,000 logging workers in the U.S., of which roughly 6,600 were fallers. The number of logging workers, overall, is expected to decline by 8.7% from 2012 to 2022.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7 Wall Street.

TIME Careers & Workplace

6 Things That Define Indispensable Employees

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Sam Edwards—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

An employee survey turned into much more when a set of fascinating themes emerged

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.

By Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

Here’s the Danny Meyer school of thought on how to make a traditional service business into an enlightened, customer-centric hospitality mecca: Put your employees first and shareholders last to create a “virtuous cycle of enlightened hospitality.”

That’s lovely and all, but can it really be applied to a startup? It seems a little overwrought.

When Greg Marsh, CEO of Onefinestay, a home-rental startup based in London, set out with his co-founders to survey the hospitality company’s 100 employees more than a year ago, he was looking for insight on the very company he’d built. He and his team didn’t expect to find what they did.

“We listened to their answers and videotaped them all and noted the themes that emerged, and from that discovered a set of truths or behaviors that were fairly universal,” Marsh said.

The behaviors of existing employees helped Onefinestay identify its existing company culture and pinpoint traits it would look for in ideal new hires. Key among the findings was an unusual mix of applied problem solving and natural empathy. Call it the left brain and the right, in harmony.

There was also, in those employee videos, what Marsh calls “a distinctive pattern of drive and raw determination to succeed.”

Onefinestay boiled down the traits it loved in its existing employees to what it has dubbed “The Magic Six.” These traits now serve as motivators for the company’s now more than 500 employees, and a guideline for the culture the company is striving for as it grows.

Want employees who are competent and hard-working, and truly care? Here’s what to seek out and nurture.

1. Fire in the belly.

Take risks. Be determined, be ambitious, and get stuff done.

2. Smart works.

Be practical with your intelligence and apply it wisely.

3. Empathy is your friend.

Understand yours, and others’ feelings and motivations, and act accordingly.

4. Integrity is integral

Earn trust by telling it straight. Honesty gets you a long way.

5. All for all.

We’re all dependent on one another. Be ready to help, and willing to accept help.

6. Remember Alice.

(Yes, this means Alice in Wonderland, the little girl who dreamt she dined with the Mad Hatter, and got advice from a caterpillar). The quirks make us who we are. Embrace them.

TIME Careers & Workplace

6 Sure-Fire Signs They’re Planning to Replace You

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A J James—Getty Images

What to look out for and how to deal with it

LinkedIn Influencer Liz Ryan published this post originally on LinkedIn. Follow Liz on LinkedIn.

There’s lot of wildlife in Boulder. I was gobsmacked the first time bear came into our yard, after living in Chicago and New York for years. It got to be more normal, and then we had a mountain lion on our street. Now there’s a mother lion and two cubs wandering the neighborhood. We didn’t have this kind of thing in New Jersey.

They say that a prey animal’s nervous system shuts down when the prey animal is snatched by a predator. Humans have a bit of that going on, too. We tune out signals that should alert us to be on guard and on our feet, at home and at work.

Most of us are so tuned into the next thing on our to-do list and the general crush of daily obligations that we shut down our antennae for new information, especially scary information. We don’t take it in, for example the signals that tell you “You are not going to have this job much longer.”

Every day in our office we hear people say “I was completely blindsided. I got called into someone’s office, they gave me papers to sign and I wasn’t tracking with the conversation, I was so overwhelmed.”

When you lose your job suddenly, you’re in shock. It’s normal. When you get bushwhacked, how else would you react?

When you turn on your antennae to be mindful of signals in the energy field around you, you’ll be in a better position whether you’re working for someone else or for yourself.

The more information you can take in and attend to, the better. The closer you can keep an ear to the ground and all your other senses working at a high level, the stronger your position will be.

When people get in a rut at work it’s called falling asleep on your career. Your spidey sense weakens. Your old street muscles from the playground or the basketball court atrophy. You forget how to pay attention to what’s going on around you, and the press of your work makes that inattention even more likely.

Just then you get the lightning bolt and you’re out of a job without warning. Two weeks later when your body has had time to process everything, you’ll say “Actually, there were signs. I missed them.”

I don’t want to make you paranoid, but every time I write about this topic we get letters from people who say “I was guided to read your column today. I see it now. I’m putting the breadcrumbs together. My boss wants me out.”

That early warning helps you get centered. When you see the storm swells forming as you look out across the water, you can prepare. You can be proactive then. First we’ll walk through the six signs they’re planning to replace you, and then I’ll tell you what to do about them.

You’re Pulled Off a Big Project for No Reason

Be suspicious when you’re on a big project doing fine, and all of a sudden you’re off the project for no reason. That’s not a sensible business move, unless they can tell you what you’re doing next and why that’s good for your employer (and you). If you ask why you were pulled off the project and the answer is mushy and non-committal, get your job-search engine going and start building your mojo for a job search.

All of a Sudden, Your Knowledge is Valuable

God bless our colleagues who lack emotional intelligence, because they broadcast their intentions. One way they do it is to suddenly have an interest in everything you know about your job.

They’ll say one random day “Why don’t you train Elissa, our temp, on how you create newsletters and marketing brochures, and teach her how to do trade shows?” Cross-training is great, but there should be a particular need for it, because cross-training takes a lot of time. If you feel sketchy about somebody’s sudden desire to pick your entire brain, trust your feelings.

Former Strategic Conflicts Disappear

Knowledge work can get us emotionally and philosophically attached to our jobs. We care about decisions made at work when we’re connected to our power source there. Strategic disagreements can get fierce and personal at times.

If you’ve been in a wrangle with someone and suddenly it’s all forgotten, there’s no discussion and everything is fine, the word may have come down that you aren’t staying.

You Can’t Get Forward Visibility

Most folks outside the executive suite don’t get formal employment agreements unless they’re contractors, but we like to have some visibility a year or so into the future. We like to know what the organization is trying to do, and to hear as often as possible how well it’s doing with its goals.

If you can’t get a hint from your manager about your future, that’s a bad sign. Most people would rather waffle than tell you something and have to backtrack later. They may keep you treading water until they’re ready to toss you out of the pool completely.

Your Red-Hot Project Goes Suddenly Cold

A screaming neon sign of an upcoming personnel switch-out is for a person’s pet project which was high-priority suddenly to slip to the back burner almost without mention. It typically means that the leaders still still love the project but don’t want you running it, for whatever energetic-disturbance reason they have. They’ll low-key the project until you’re gone and then rev it back up.

Don’t take it personally. It isn’t about you. Your flame can grow from an experience like that, even if you leave. Look what influence you had! Your great ideas travel with you wherever you go.

You Just Feel It

Humans are an old species. Once I traveled to visit a friend, and on the last day of my visit she scheduled a half-day off work to show me her city. In the morning she had a meeting to attend at work, and she said “Come to my office and meet everyone. There’s a spare office where you can work.”

She went into her meeting and I sat in her office working. I felt a chill. I was in a private office but the door was open to a suite of three other offices in a corner of the building. I stopped typing and felt it. Something in the looks of my friend’s co-workers when they walked by — I couldn’t put my finger on it. I scribbled on a Post-It Note “Went down the street for coffee. Call me.”

My friend called me an hour later and said “Which coffee shop are you at? I’ll join you. I just got fired.”

The bad energy was in the air – the tension. It drove me out. You will feel things and your job is not to judge or pooh-pooh them but to let them sit in your right brain and percolate for a few days. Is there a change in the air temperature? If so, you’ve got to mention it.

What To Do If It Happens?

What if you see some of these signs, or all of them? Take the bull by the horns and find your center. Set up a time to talk with your boss and warmly ask him or her what’s up.

Jump here for a script to guide you.

Liz Ryan is the CEO and Founder of Human Workplace.

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