TIME

Fast Food Workers Will Go on Strike Next Week

Protesters lobby for higher wages for fast food workers and urge fast food workers from around the globe to join their campaign outside a McDonalds on May 7, 2014 in New York City.
Protesters lobby for higher wages for fast food workers and urge fast food workers from around the globe to join their campaign outside a McDonalds on May 7, 2014 in New York City. Andrew Burton—Getty Images

American employees at fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy's and KFC are due to join their counterparts in dozens of cities around the world on May 15 to walk off the job and demand a raise to $15-an-hour

Fast food workers frustrated by low wages will participate in an organized, global walk-out in protest next week in as many as 150 cities, an advocacy group said Wednesday.

McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC employees in the United States will demand a raise to $15-an-hour next Thursday, joined internationally by fast food employees also seeking higher pay, in as many as 33 countries.

The strike’s announcement, at a New York City McDonald’s on Wednesday, came days after fast-food workers and union leaders from across the globe came together for the first time at a meeting organized by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Tobacco Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF). The Manhattan-based group leading the protests, Fast Food Forward, has led a “Fight for 15″ campaign since 2012. The efforts have reportedly attracted fast food workers in Argentina, Morocco, Japan, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the Dominican Republic, among others.

“The highly-profitable fast-food industry needs to know we won’t stop fighting until our voices are heard,” Ashley Cathey said in a statement. Cathey is a McDonald’s worker from Memphis, Tenn., who makes $7.75 after six years on the job.

Throughout 2013, dozens of U.S. cities saw similar demonstrations.

TIME career

Leaning In at Work, Traditionalist at Home: Women Who Hide Their Success

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Retro housewife Bojan Kontrec—Getty Images/Vetta

Why we need to stop worrying about emasculating men

I once hid my raise from my live-in boyfriend for a full year before he found out. I was already the decision-maker in our relationship, and I didn’t want him to feel bad that he made less than I did.

It’s the kind of scenario we hear often: ambitious, hard-charging women purposely shaving off a couple digits when talking about money with their partners. Women who subtly downplay their accomplishments in order to protect their boyfriends’ egos. Those who play the damsel in distress to cater to some caveman-like need to save. Even toning down an online dating profile – deleting accolades and advanced degrees – to sound less “intimidating” to potential suitors.

“I would let him make the decisions even when I knew they weren’t the right ones,” one friend told me recently, of her (not coincidentally) now ex-husband.

“I never reveal where I got my PhD on a first date,” said another, who is an Ivy League grad.

“I think my biggest fear in a relationship,” a New York editor quipped over brunch recently, “is emasculating the guy and ending up alone.”

It’s a feminist by day, traditionalist by night way of life, and it would make our Second Wave mothers cringe. By day, these women are successful and self-assured – part of a cohort dominating the working world and outpacing their male peers in college and advanced degrees. The under 30 set are outearning their male counterparts in nearly every major city in America. And when it comes to married couples, the number of female breadwinners has been steadily rising: 24 percent of wives now make more than their husbands.

And yet when it comes to their romantic lives, these women are unabashedly shrinking violets, their behavior influenced by age-old stereotypes about men, women and power that have simply not shifted as quickly as the working world. They’re also being influenced by a bevy of advice books – including a new one, When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women, by financial advisor and journalist Farnoosh Torabi.

One part financial manual and two parts primer in retro-femininity, the book is a guide, she says, for single women whose success may intimidate potential suitors. Rule No. 1: Face the Facts. And the facts, she explains are clear. “When a woman makes more than her man, the odds are stacked against her in many ways: she’s less likely to get married, more likely to be unhappier in marriage, and there are many psychological and sexual costs,” writes Torabi.

Torabi is wrestling with the contradictions of a particular cultural moment: women are less dependent and passive than ever before. And yet, as Ronald Levant, the editor of the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, put it recently, “men are stuck” – caught between caveman-like desires to protect and provide, and the fact that more and more women are the ones doing the providing. One recent study found that men subconsciously suffer a bruised ego when their wives or girlfriends excel — regardless of whether they are in direct competition. Another survey, from Pew, found that 28 percent of Americans believe that it is “generally better for a marriage if the husband earns more than his wife.”

Where that leaves us? If you believe Torabi, with a complicated set of rules to follow – lest we end up, as the Princeton Mom warned, a “spinster with cats.” Not only must we achieve at work, we must stroke our partner’s ego. We can land the big deal, but we still must play the damsel in distress. We can go to Pilates, but might still consider asking him to lift that box – to make him feel like a man. Oh, and we may be the primary breadwinner, but we should still let him pay in public (as Torabi often does with her own husband) – even if it’s coming out of a joint checking account.

“Calling it stroking his ego can sound controversial, but money is a huge source of power and self worth for a lot of people,” she says. “So you have to understand that.”

Or better yet: you can reject it altogether.

Yes, men have been breadwinners for 10,000 years. They’ve been conditioned to be dominant. Hunters, gatherers … you know the drill. But let’s give dudes some credit.

College-aged men and women almost universally say they desire unions in which housework, child-rearing, ambition and moneymaking will be respectfully negotiated and shared. There are plenty of men – as a recent Cosmo survey on the topic helped made clear — who would happily date a woman who made more money than they did (and like it). (Of more than 1,000 straight men ages 18 to 35, nearly half say they’ve dated a woman who made more money than they did. Fifty seven percent say they are “more attracted” to a woman who is ambitious at work.)

We are, as the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher recently told me, “in a time of tremendous transformation.”

So here’s a rule for when you make more than your male partner: Don’t believe everything you read.

MONEY Obamacare

Thanks to Obamacare, More Workers May Quit Their Jobs

The ability to buy health insurance on a state exchange, no matter your health, means you're less chained to your job. Is that a good thing?

Health reform set out to ensure that nearly every American has coverage, in part by requiring that virtually all large employers offer the benefit or pay a fine — and creating insurance exchanges for workers who miss out.

The Obama administration has delayed the employer half of that equation more than once. But for many near-retirees and budding entrepreneurs, the second part may prove to be more important: Obamacare means you don’t have to depend on your boss for coverage.

In February, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that because of health reform, workers will put in 1.5% to 2% fewer hours between 2017 and 2024, the equivalent of about 2 million jobs. That’s not to say that companies will push employees out. That cut is almost entirely from people choosing to work less.

Some may scale back to earn less and qualify for a larger subsidy. Others will take jobs without benefits (think startups and part-time work) since individual coverage is guaranteed.

Plus, notes University of Illinois economics professor Robert Kaestner, “the number of people retiring early is expected to increase.”

Some firms, though, are worried that top performers will exit now that other insurance exists, says Tom Billet, a benefit consultant at Towers Watson.

Before you make any move, research your potential premium at Healthcare.gov.

On average, 45- to 54-year-olds are paying $362 a month for single coverage, reports eHealthInsurance.com. That may be a cost that puts saying farewell within reach.

TIME career

It’s Not You, It’s Science: How Perfectionism Holds Women Back

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How can women rise to the top if they don't believe they belong there? Jacquie Boyd—Getty Images/Ikon Images

A new book by journalists (and recovering self-doubters) Katty Kay and Claire Shipman looks at why women still lack confidence no matter how much they've accomplished

There are certain things one might assume you’re supposed to have mastered as a columnist. One is how to start a column. But if you’re me, you can spend hours writing and rewriting and deleting and restructuring a piece before coming to the conclusion that you have no business having a column at all. Crumpled over your sad desk in your living room, in your freelance uniform (pajamas), you are pretty sure your new writing contract will be revoked by the end of the week.

Then you realize: you’re doing precisely what it is you’re supposed to be writing about — doubting yourself, over and over again, to the point of crippling paralysis. The perils of feminine self-doubt — and how they impact women’s professional aspirations — are the subject of a new book, The Confidence Code, by journalists (and recovering self-doubters) Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.

Through dozens of interviews, scientific research and even experiments in genetic testing, The Confidence Code takes on the science and art of self-assurance, as well as the fact that women (like me) tend to struggle with it disproportionately. Why it matters? Well, by now most of us have heard the stories about how women are climbing the corporate ranks, dominating the workforce and graduating in higher numbers than men. “Lean In” has become part of the pop lexicon. But what does any of that matter if women can’t have the confidence to own their accomplishments and strive for their goals? How can women equal the ranks of the professional world, the authors ask, if we don’t even believe we’re supposed to be there?

“I think there’s a mainstream recognition now that organizations are better off with a diverse group of women at the top​ — and a focus on how to get more women in the pipeline and in power,” says Shipman. “But there’s also something inside of us that’s holding us back.”

Longtime friends Kay and Shipman realized over dinner one night that each struggled with the same problem of self-doubt. Kay, a news anchor for the BBC, has covered three presidential elections, the wars in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, and speaks several languages. And yet she spent her career convinced she wasn’t smart enough to compete for the top jobs. Shipman, a contributor to ABC and Good Morning America, had a habit of telling people she’d gotten “lucky” when she asked how she got into journalism. She began her career as a foreign correspondent at CNN, reporting from Moscow.

But the confidence problem wasn’t just limited to them. In two decades covering American politics, the two journalists had interviewed some of the most powerful women in the nation — lawmakers and CEOs, professional athletes, leaders of social movements. Time and again, they saw the same self-doubt: bright women with ideas afraid to raise their hands, speak up, ask for a raise or a promotion; that inexplicable feeling that they don’t own the right to rule at the top.

“If they are feeling all that,” the authors write, “imagine what it is like for the rest of us.”

What it’s like looks something like this.

When a professional endeavor goes wrong, women are more likely to blame themselves. Yet when something goes right, they credit circumstance – or other people – for their success. (Men do the opposite.)

Women are more likely than men to be perfectionists, holding themselves back from answering a question, applying for a new job, asking for a raise, until they’re absolutely 100 percent sure we can predict the outcome. (Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 50 percent.)

Women are a quarter as likely as men to negotiate a raise. We doubt our opinions and begin our sentences with “I don’t know if this is right, but—.” We are more prone to “rumination” than men – which causes us to overthink and overanalyze. (Sound familiar?)

I was watching Hillary Clinton up on stage recently, at a conference for women. She was asked to give the younger generation career advice. “At this point in my career, I’ve employed so many young people,” Hillary began. “One of the differences is that when I say to a young woman, ‘I want you to take on this extra responsibility,” almost invariably she says, ‘Do you think I’m ready?’ But when I ask a man, he goes, ‘How high, how fast, when do I start?!’”

“Too many young women,” Clinton continued, “are harder on themselves than circumstances warrant. They are too often selling themselves short.”

In other words, they lack confidence. And confidence, as the authors make clear, is as important to professional success as competence.

Now naturally, there are plenty of ways that women can gain confidence. And in fact, it’s not quite so simple as learning those skills. (In many cases, it’s the same qualities that make women good for business — they are more collaborative, for example — that holds them back from touting their accomplishments or taking credit.) We also need to address structural changes that hold women back — as, naturally, there’s only so much leaning in a person can do.

But perhaps the most useful aspect of all of this talk about confidence is recognizing that it’s a problem at all. Knowing that it’s there, that it’s backed by science, that it’s not just you – and then trying to correct for it.

“I think it’s important for women to recognize that it’s totally normal for us to feel nervous, particularly in situations in which we’re so often the only woman in the room,” says Kay. “That realization — for me, anyway — has helped me work to overcome it.”

 

Jessica Bennett is contributing columnist at Time.com covering the intersection of women, business and pop culture. A former Newsweek senior writer, she is also a contributing editor for Sheryl Sandberg’s women’s foundation, Lean In. You can follow her @jess7bennett

MONEY Careers

Get Out From Under a Too-Heavy Workload

Buried by tasks on the job? Here's how to speak up if you're maxed out, without sabotaging your next promotion. Illustration: Mikey Burton

Ready to collapse under your workload? Consider it a form of flattery: With companies today demanding that employees work faster while tackling more complex tasks, the nimble professionals who “get it” have been deluged, says Anat Lechner, associate professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. “When you’re that kind of person, everyone knows who you are.” Lucky you. Here’s how to speak up if you’re maxed out, without sabotaging your next promotion.

Speak to the firm’s interests

Your manager probably hasn’t thought about what else is on your plate when she asks you, in passing, to take on a new proposal. It’s up to you to speak up if you don’t have bandwidth. “But you have to be able to react within seconds,” says New York City career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine.

Related: Don’t let divorce wreck your finances

Keep a running tally of all your projects, so you’ll be ready to respond. Then, rather than whining to the boss that you already do the job of five people, you can explain how taking a new project will prevent you from achieving some other equally important task, says Atlanta executive communications coach Darlene Price. You might say: “Jim, the client in New York needs my attention this week so I can close the deal, which is worth $1 million. What should we do?”

Related: Baby on the way? Time to make a budget

Of course, the right approach depends on your manager’s personality and the security of your job. You may find it safer to agree to a task but ask for the resources you need to do it. “Say, ‘Yes, but to do that, I need x, y, or z,’” suggests Lechner.

Name the right recipient

Aim to hold on to high-profile jobs and offload work that won’t help you advance. Instead of letting the duties fall upon your peers, who may not be pleased to pick up your discards, suggest that a junior colleague take an unwanted project as a stretch role. “Something you don’t want to do can be useful to someone else,” says Ceniza-Levine.

Draw a line in the sand

If a manager essentially tells you to suck it up, you may be part of a workaholic culture or chronically understaffed department where the only way to scale back is to leave, says Price. Once you have a “walkaway” strategy, consider making a final attempt with your boss.

Related: Budgeting for a new home, and a disability

One executive Price coached — who traveled so often her 6-year-old asked her where she lived — tried repeatedly to get her manager to reduce her business trips. Finally she told him she couldn’t accept the working conditions and asked if he’d write her a letter of recommendation. “That called his bluff,” says Price. With this tactic, you’ve got to be ready to hear “buh-bye” — but you may be better off in a new job anyway.

TIME career

Here’s Meryl Streep’s Spot-On Advice About Being a Woman

Meryl Streep Receives Honorary Degree From Indiana University
Meryl Streep receives a Conferral Honorary Degree from Indiana University on April 16, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana. Ron Hoskins—Getty Images

Meryl Streep just added another accolade to her already crowded resume: an honorary doctoral degree from Indiana University. Despite being a Vassar graduate, Streep is a Hoosier by association because of her marriage to sculptor Don Gummer, who studied at IU.

After being given the honor, the three-time Oscar winner sat down for a conversation with professor Barbara Klinger. Streep was her predictable amazing self, dropping knowledge nuggets about getting started in Hollywood, being an actress over 50 and that time she had pizza at the Oscars. Also, apparently her fans are called Streepers. Who knew?

But she hit a home run when she offered advice to people, specifically young women, who want to make it in the entertainment industry:

“For young women, I would say, don’t worry so much about your weight. Girls spend way too much time thinking about that, and there are better things. For young men, and women, too, what makes you different or weird, that’s your strength. Everyone tries to look a cookie-cutter kind of way, and actually the people who look different are the ones who get picked up. I used to hate my nose. Now, I don’t.”

So listen to Meryl and embrace your inner weirdness.

The other best piece of information? Streep says that in the year she turned 40, she was offered three roles as a witch. A WITCH. Actually, on second thought, Meryl as a witch sounds great. And it’s even better when you realize that she’ll play The Witch in the upcoming film version of Into the Woods.

Hollywood, thanks for letting Meryl be great.

[h/t Elle]

TIME career

Being Creative Outside of Work Makes You Better at Your Job

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Ronnie Kaufman/Larry Hirshowitz—Getty Images/Blend Images

Researchers at San Francisco State University surveyed 341 employees about their "creative activities," which ranged from writing to video gaming, and discovered that having an outlet connects to experiencing mastery, control and relaxation

Have a creative outlet has long been considered good for your well-being, but a new study suggests it will help you be better at your job.

Researchers from San Francisco State University surveyed 341 employees about their creative activities, including what they do during downtime, how creative they are at work and how well they supported their employer and co-workers.

The researchers let the interviewees determine for themselves what “creative activities” meant — and the results spanned from writing to video games. Originally, the researchers wanted to know if having a creative outlet impacted a worker’s performance by allowing them to detach and recover from a stressful work day. But they realized it wasn’t so simple because it’s hard draw to a line between career and hobby for some people. For example, a wedding photographer by trade may take pictures of landscapes in their free time. The work is still very similar to their day job, so “detaching” from the daily grind doesn’t fully apply.

What they discovered was that partaking in creative activities was linked to experiencing mastery, control and relaxation, as well as reported positive work performance related outcomes.Why? The researchers are not certain, but it’s likely that people learn new skills through their other activities, and these skills may be applied to their daily work.

“It can be rare in research to find that what we do in our personal time is related to our behaviors in the workplace, and not just how we feel,” said study author Kevin Eschleman, an organizational psychologist at San Francisco State University in a statement.

Even though what the participants defined as “creative” was different for each person, the researchers said that whatever the activity was, it provided them with some form of self-expression and ability to discover something new about themselves. This type of experience can have implications beyond just relaxation after a hard day, but can actually help people with their day-to-day duties, like problem-solving.

The study is published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.

TIME Careers

Arianna Huffington on the Key to Finding Success (Without Burning Out)

With her new book, Thrive, the editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post aims to redefine what we call success

In her new book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington makes the case for upending our culture of overwork and 24-hour connectivity. TIME spoke to Huffington about her mission to change corporate priorities and what we should be giving up to get more sleep.

TIME: You have a lot in Thrive about the importance of sleep. And I know a decent night’s sleep is the holy grail for many of us. So why is that so difficult to achieve?

We are now moving to the point where people know they need more sleep, but actually doing it is the key. That’s why I’ve included baby steps at the end of each section of the book, about three little things we can start doing, like making your bedroom dark and keeping it cool. You can start by giving yourself 30 minutes more a day, or at least taking a nap. I went from 4-5 hours sleep a night, to 7 hours a night. It was a gradual changing of habits over a period of weeks. But then you begin to feel better and it’s such a reward and that makes it easier to prioritize.

What do you say when people tell you it’s impossible for them to get enough sleep?

People say they don’t have time, but if you actually look at what they’re doing, at their day and their night, they do. You don’t need to stay up to watch Jon Stewart. The key for me has been saying no to good things. Now I know that if I get enough sleep, my life is going to be much happier and more creative. In my pre-awakened state I would drag myself through the day. I would look under my desk and wish I could crawl down there and rest.

So it’s about changing our priorities?

I was looking at my phone and saw that it was 95% charged and I thought, we are so much more conscious about how charged our phones are versus how charged we are. It’s too bad we don’t have the same kind of indicator to show how depleted we are. We have a million ways to recharge our phones, portable chargers, cables, extra battery packs, but look at how we treat ourselves. Our own energy has to be below 5% before we figure out that we need to sleep, to recharge, to take a break. That has to change.

In the wake of the recent recession, a lot of people are afraid to set limits with their employers that would help them combat burnout. Do you have advice for them?

I feel very strongly that we’re going to be better at work when we’re taking care of ourselves. We are able to see the one red flag that others are missing or be more creative and more productive. We’re moving to this new era, the second machine age, where a lot of tasks are being done by robots and machines, and increasingly, creativity is going to our most valuable asset.

Let’s be realistic though, there are situations where you might have a terrible boss and horrible working conditions. Let’s imagine all those conditions are true, but even then we still have the opportunity to take care of ourselves outside of work. Our choices do not end with the boundaries of work. You may be struggling to put food on the table, for example, but you still can choose your attitude, however terrible your working conditions. Choosing your attitude has a deep impact on how you feel.

There are lots of new books with advice for young women. How do you think young women should navigate that push and pull between starting a family and ramping up their careers?

I think a lot of young women look at my generation and say we don’t want to do it this way. They say, ‘we don’t want to burn out in the process of climbing the career ladder. We don’t want to make those sacrifices in our health and happiness. They’re prioritizing giving.’ But I have a bigger dream and wish for all women where we lead a third women’s revolution. We don’t just want to be at the top of the world, we want to change the world because it’s not working. I think it’s a stunning statistic, that women in stressful jobs have 40% increased risk of heart disease.

What role does media play in our culture of overwork? After all, we’re still seeing movies like The Wolf of Wall Street in which money and power are glamorized.

We are living in a split-screen world. On one side of the screen you have the old paradigm in full force with people running around the clock thinking that they can’t stop pushing to get more, like the rats in the Skinner experiment who keep pulling the lever even after there’s no cheese. There are billionaires who keep pushing the lever even though more money won’t add anything to their life. And then, on the other side of the screen, you have the 35% of corporations that have incorporated some form of stress-reduction practices in their workplace and a number of CEOs coming out about their own meditation practices. And of course all the scientific data supporting the benefits of slowing down.

How do you change corporate culture in companies that might not have a CEO who has discovered meditation or any other healthy living measures.

The way you do it is to expose leaders to thee facts and the data we have showing the benefits of stress-reduction programs, like yoga, acupuncture and meditation. After CEO Mark Bertolini made these changes at Aetna he brought in Duke University to look at whether there were cost savings. They found a 7% reduction of health care costs (in 2012 for Aetna employees who participated), and these employees had 69 additional minutes per day in productivity. Those numbers are the way to convince leaders that this matters.

Arianna Huffington is the co-founder, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group. You can find more about Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder here.

TIME

5 Things Super Lucky People Do


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

“The Luck of the Irish” is an American phrase that comes from the days of the gold rush in the 1800s. Intolerant Americans figured the Irish people weren’t smart enough to find gold, and blamed their success on being lucky rather than skilled. In reality, America’s early immigrants have time and again proven themselves to be hardworking and smart enoughto generate their own good fortune consistently.

So often I have witnessed people excuse their own inadequacies by crediting the success of others to luck. Salespeople I know disparage their more successful competitors as lucky. If those salespeople would make as many calls or work as many hours as their competitors, they would realize that their probability of closing is fairly equal. The competitors are simply swinging the bat more often.

The truth is that seemingly lucky people are opportunists. They do the things that allow them to take advantage of the world around them. For them, it’s not about being in the way of good luck or bad. It’s the actions they take to get what Jim Collins refers to as a high return on luck whichever way the pendulum swings. Follow these five tips and you can be as lucky as anyone, no four-leaf clover or rabbit’s foot required.

1. Play to your strengths. So much time and energy is wasted trying to do things you probably don’t do very well. Author and Inc. columnist Lewis Schiff learned from his survey of incredibly wealthy people that they got that way by focusing only on what they do best. Everything else you can delegate, or you could find a partner to compensate for your weaknesses. That way, you will shine where you excel and attract opportunity. Good things come to those who emanate success.

2. Prepare in advance. Unlucky people often get that way because they’re reactive and unprepared for whatever comes. People who have stored food and water in their basements aren’t lucky to find themselves prepared when disaster strikes, they used forethought to make sure they had what they might need just in case. I personally scoff at this horrible recent trend of disparaging business plans because things change constantly. The point of a business plan isn’t to follow it no matter what, it’s to establish a structure for smart decision making that allows you to succeed no matter what the future might bring.

3. Start early. Some people seem to have more hours in the day. I myself don’t need more than six hours of sleep and am constantly finding ways to be more efficient. I use that extra time to start my projects well in advance. My rewards aren’t dependent upon the time of day that I take action. (This column is being written at 3 a.m.) But it does matter that I’m beginning to explore projects I expect to complete months or years from now. So many people only want to put their energy into things that provide immediate gratification. The most fortunate people I know are the ones who planted seeds early and now reap thatharvest of happiness.

4. Connect with as many people as possible. The key to success is access to opportunity. Access comes from influence. If you’re influential, people will come and bring opportunities to you. The bigger your following, the more powerful your influence. The only way to build a big following is to provide value to many people. You have to provide the sort of value that will cause people to spread your thoughts far and wide, attributing credit to you when they do. Are you creating that kind of value? If not, figure how you can.

5. Follow up. Opportunities often come and go because people don’t respond in a timely manner. I’m always amazed when people ask me for something and I respond only to never hear from them again. Three months ago, a young woman asked me if I hire interns or assistants. I replied immediately saying I’m always willing to consider hiring people who bring value to my work. I asked her how she thought she could enhance what I could do. I never heard from her again. Perhaps she now considers herself unlucky that opportunity doesn’t come her way. I believe that following up is often more powerful and impressive than the act of initiating.

May you be so lucky to have people in your life that follow up.

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

TIME

5 Email Mistakes That Are Basically Killing You

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Sam Hofman—Getty Images

The average American worker got or sent 115 emails a day last year, according to market research company Radicati Group, which predicts this number will swell to 136 daily emails by 2017. Other research estimates that we spend more than a quarter of our time at work dealing with email. It doesn’t have to be like this. You’re probably inadvertently contributing to this digital deluge and the amount of time you spend on email. Here’s what you’re doing wrong and how to solve the problem.

You drop what you’re doing to check it. “Committing to a specific email schedule and turning off “push” on your mobile device can help break the habit of obsessive email check-ins,” market research technology executive Alexandra Samuel says in a Harvard Business Review blog post. This is the easiest advice to give and the hardest to actually follow, so Samuel offers some advice for untethering yourself from your inbox.

If you work for a boss that expects emails to be responded to immediately, Samuel suggests setting up a filter that prioritizes email sent from them. She also suggests that any very important messages you’re waiting to receive can be forwarded to your phone as text messages, which won’t require actually going into your inbox to read.

Not only is it time consuming, but checking your email constantly can actually be detrimental to your health. A study out of the University of California, Irvine found that office workers who constantly checked email had elevated heart rates compared to when they took an “email vacation” for one work week.

You get sucked into the “cc” black hole. If you’ve been cc’d, your input isn’t critical and you probably don’t even need to reply, experts say. Set up a rule or filter in your email system that bumps messages where you’re not the primary recipient into another folder, suggests Lloyds executive Ian Hallett. “I created an auto rule that routed every email I was copied on into a separate folder (called ‘Copied’, imaginatively). I allowed myself to check it only once per day,” he says in a column for LondonlovesBusiness.com. The transformation to his inbox was remarkable, he says. “I found that 50% of my email went to this folder and 90% of it could be deleted without a second thought.”

You abuse the “cc” function. This is the flip side of the above rule. If you copy everybody in the department, you’re probably going to get a lot more responses than you actually need or want to deal with. Not only are you wasting everybody else’s time, but you’ll be stuck answering questions from people who want to know why they’re included and what they should do.

And if you get an email with a bunch of people cc’d, don’t hit “reply all” automatically. “Try only answering the person concerned, it doesn’t necessarily need to become a group discussion,” task management technology company Azendoo suggests on its blog.

Your subject line stinks. The subject head should be specific to the request or task under discussion, not something generic like “checking in” or “meeting schedule.” Corporate writing instructor Jack Appleman tells the Wall Street Journal that emails, especially ones sent to people who are super-busy (like, say, your boss), are apt to be ignored if the subject head doesn’t tell them immediately why you’re writing to them. Likewise, if you change subjects, start a new thread with a subject line that reflects the new topic. You don’t want to spend 15 minutes hunting for details about a presentation because it’s buried halfway through a thread labeled “vacation schedule.”

You use it for everything. Seriously, just pick up the phone or walk over to a colleague’s desk, especially if you’re tackling something that ‘s going to be long and complicated to communicate. “Conversations, discussions and anything that requires a heavy amount of back-and-forth should be done on the phone or in person. Trying to use e-mail to have these conversations can be slow, time-consuming and painful,” says Scott H. Young, who blogs about productivity.

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