Category Archives: Work & Money

3 All Too Common Issues Women Face in the Workplace and How to Dismantle Them

The number of women in the workforce is steadily increasing. According to the United States Department of Labor, as of 2015, 57 percent of women and 69.2 percent of men over the age of 16 are a part of the nation’s workforce. As women continue to pursue more meaningful careers, it is crucial that we understand what makes a safe work environment — for all of us. Here are three all too common issues women routinely experience in the workplace. By beginning to dismantle them, more companies can create spaces where women are comfortable and respected.

Microaggressions

Microaggressions are subtle comments or actions that draw attention to one’s marginalized status; for example, as a female or a minority. Comments such as, “You’re not like most women,” or “You’re a pretty good sales associate for a girl,” are examples of microaggressions. Statements like these make it clear that the speaker thinks less of women than they do men.

Rather than calling attention to someone’s gender, get in the habit of giving compliments or feedback that are gender-neutral. Something as simple as, “Great job on that project. I can tell you worked hard on that,” is an excellent way to give feedback based on a person’s accomplishments. By focusing on someone’s strengths or giving constructive feedback without bringing gender into the conversation, you can go a long way to avoid microaggressions and implied sexism.

Gendered Language

The English language is dominated by male-based terms. In the workforce, prime examples of this include policeman, fireman, and mailman, to name a few. While this may not seem like a big deal, it is one of the many ways in which our language affects the way we view the world — or a particular profession.

Gender-neutral or female-oriented language can help to fight the subconscious male favoritism in our everyday language. When talking about employees, sending out memos, or addressing a group, use terms such as “the individual,” “he/she,” “we/us,” or “employees,” while avoiding terms like “you guys.” By focusing on inclusive language, you will create a powerful shift towards a more female-friendly work environment.

Open-Door HR Policies

The human resources department is responsible for making sure that all employees are treated fairly. It also ensures that the company and its employees follow proper policies and procedures. Human resource professionals are trained in conflict resolution, sexual harassment awareness, and combating discrimination.

When a company implements an open-door HR policy, they are giving their employees the freedom to walk in and voice a complaint, suggestion, question, concern, or personal issue. It is also a way for a company to protect its marginalized employees.

Feminist advocate Jennifer Dziura recommends filing a complaint with HR as soon as a sexist comment or action occurs. If you should experience sexism in the workplace, it would be well within your rights to contact your company’s HR department. By calling attention to a problem, you will have an influence on your company’s progress towards becoming a female-friendly workplace.

Before starting a new job, review potential employers to determine if they are female-friendly, like this Assurant review. As Jane Park of Julep says, companies are mini societies. “There are many ways that rules of a company impact our lives more than the rules of a government.” So make sure that your mini society is a place where you and your coworkers can thrive. Start off on the right foot with an employer who knows the importance of making the workplace female-friendly.

5 Steps to Paying for a College Education

It’s no secret that the cost of a college education continues to rise with each passing year. For the 2015-2016 school year, the price for a moderate in-state education was $24,061. The cost of a private education came in at $47,831. Many parents hope to be able to pay for their child’s college. However, if you have less than $100,000 in savings by the time they are approaching the gates of higher education, you may have to find other sources of income to help fund the four years of your child’s bachelor’s degree program.

Over the last four years, college and university enrollment has fallen 6 percent. But those numbers don’t have to slow down your child. With early financial planning and smart strategies, you can conquer the rising challenge of paying for college. Here are some tips how.

Start Saving Early

It’s never too early to begin building your child’s college fund. Invest your funds in a financial plan designed just for this purpose, like a 529 plan. This investment program lets you contribute tax-free and earn a high interest rate. Each state has its own 529 plan and your child doesn’t have to use the money in the same state it was invested in, so you can start setting aside money for college long before they know where they want to attend.

Carefully Choose the Right School

If there isn’t a fat college fund waiting for your child, cost will be a factor in the search for the right school. Academic programs, extracurricular activities, and campus life are important considerations that come at a price. Because of this, it’s important to prioritize what they need from a school.

If a student burns through their college fund too quickly, they may have to transfer to a less expensive school. And credits don’t always move seamlessly from one school to another. Make sure that you can afford your child’s first choice school ahead of time so that they don’t lose credits that have already been paid for.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are scholarships available for nearly every area of interest, so there’s no excuse for passing up this source of free money. While academic success is one way to score a scholarship, there are also those that base their awards on a student’s location, family background, field of study, or talents and hobbies. There are several websites that collect and organize scholarship opportunities. Search for those that fit your child’s unique situation and begin applying.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to wait until your child’s senior year to apply for scholarships. They can begin submitting applications as early as their sophomore and junior years of high school.

In addition to scholarships, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is a must for any prospective college student. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, fill it out anyway. A few thousand dollars a year in financial aid is well worth the effort of applying.

Reconsider Housing Options

Dorm living may seem exciting, but if your child is attending school close to home, it can be an unnecessary expense. If your child isn’t attending school close enough to stay at home, other living options like a shared apartment (maturity level permitting) can help save money before adding room and board to your total college expense.

Earn Some Extra Cash on the Side

If you’re still struggling to meet the financial obligations of your child’s education, you may want to look into a part-time job or other flexible employment opportunity. Consider selling Amway products for extra funds or handmade trinkets and keepsakes on Etsy. You can even clear out the garage and list items for sale on eBay. There are plenty of money-making opportunities out there that are flexible and fun enough to feel more like play than work.

Paying for college is a major challenge, but there are ways to get it done. It may take some hard work, penny-pinching, and sacrifice from both you and your college student, but that degree in their hand will be worth it.

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Retail Sales Associate

Retail sales associates have various tasks they must complete in a shift. In addition to handling sales, they are responsible for keeping shelves clean and stocked, arranging displays, and offering advice to help customers find the right product for them. Retail sales jobs can require you to work long or irregular hours and navigate stressful customer interactions. But don’t let all that scare you away. There are plenty of positive aspects of the job, too. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of taking on a job as a retail sales associate.

Retail Can Be Flexible

There’s a reason why people who are in school, working more than one job, or trying to make extra money while they find a career path choose to work a retail job. Retail can be flexible. Some retail sales jobs offer the benefit of working around your schedule so that you can plan your life around your sales gig. Additionally, no two days are ever the same when you work in retail. Your coworkers change, the customers change, and the dynamics change daily. For someone who gets bored easily, this is an ideal job.

Save Money With Exclusive Discounts

One of the biggest advantages of working in retail is the employee discount you receive on store merchandise. If you work for a store you regularly shop at, saving money with your discount can maximize your budget. The only problem you may run into is that deals may be too good to pass up. You don’t want to spend the majority of the money you make at the same place you earned it.

Earn a Commission

Self-motivated salespeople have the potential to earn more as a commission-based sales associate. While fast-paced and often competitive, commission-based sales give you a piece of every sale you make, guaranteeing that the more sales you make, the bigger your paycheck. This is a benefit for employees and employers alike as everyone goes home with a bigger slice of the pie.

Limited Education or Experience Required

You don’t need a college degree or previous experience to apply for a job as a retail sales associate. As long as you have a high school diploma or equivalent, you can begin work as a retail sales associate. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t apply for a retail job if you have a higher education degree. While not mandatory, a degree may warrant you a higher starting salary or even a management position.

Slow Advancement

One of the biggest drawbacks of retail sales is that advancement within a company is slow and difficult. There are limited managerial positions in the retail world and the job mostly requires associates to do the hard work. Other types of work have many different paths where you can take your career, but it can be hard to advance out of a retail sales associate job.

Limited Income Potential

For salaried and commission-based associates alike, the income potential of retail is lower than many other jobs that require more specific education or training. The average retail associate earns about $10.60 per hour, or about $22,040 per year. However, most sales associates do have potential to earn bonuses, profit-sharing proceeds, and sometimes commissions.

Some of the leaders in retail include Walmart, Macy’s, Home Depot, Target, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Verizon Wireless offers the best paycheck, averaging $40,000 per year for retail sales associates. If you can navigate customer relations, are skilled in client interaction, or can handle cash, you may want to consider a job as a retail sales associate.

Branding Your Business with Fashionable Office Supplies

Brand recognition is one of the most powerful and important aspects of building and running a successful business. By branding your business, customers and potential customers will come to know and recognize your business’ brand simply by seeing your color scheme, logo, or mascot, and they will be more likely to associate your company with the products and services they might be searching for, or might seek out in the future.

While advertising on the radio, TV, and internet is important for building brand recognition, you can also expand your company’s reach in the community and foster the recognition you need to compete by using branded office supplies, like pens, notepads, personalized packing tape, and other items that can bear your company’s insignia.

Customizing Your Supplies Online

You may have worked diligently to ensure that your company’s logo, color scheme, and mascot stand out among your competitors. It is important that your office supplies bear the exact image that you worked so hard to perfect.

When you seek a printing and branding company to create your branded office supplies, you might not have time to mail them a copy of your business branding images, but do not want them to recreate your images, logo, and color schemes from nothing. Using the above website, you can upload a depiction of the images you would like included. The website provides the function for uploading the image quickly and without any charge. You can then proceed with ordering the amount and sizes of tape rolls and other supplies that will fulfill your business needs.

Choosing the Amount of Office Supplies

Part of running a successful business involves making sure that you have enough supplies on-hand at all times. When you run low on things like tape or boxes, you risk getting behind on production and shipments. You can use the online guides to figure out how much tape and other supplies you need to order and how soon you may need to reorder for your needs. The table also shows you how long the typical roll is and how wide the tape is once it is applied to the packaging.

Building a company requires that you promote your brand. By branding your business, you can get your image out there and make sure that customers associate your color scheme, logo, or mascot with your brand by using customized office supplies.

3 Ways You Can Start Earning Cash Online

Are you completely unhappy with where you are in your career? Don’t worry, there are many people who find themselves in the same situation, and it’s easier now to make a change you’ll love than it has ever been before. The incredible power of the internet has opened up new avenues for money-making and career-building so that you can start earning cash online without all of the pressure and anxiety that go along with a formal job interview. The internet offers a vast amount of opportunities for employment; it all depends on your specific skill set.

Here are some worthwhile ideas to consider, whether you simply want to earn some extra cash or start an online career.

1. Become a Blogger

Blogging has been a fast-growing field over the last several years, first with writers and other creative types looking to build an online form of expression with added perks, and then those in other fields began to see how they could make blogging work for them. Today, there are countless blogs out there on more topics than anyone can imagine. While blogging can be a great way to earn an income online, it does take some time to keep it updated with fresh content and promote your work, at least at first. But if you build a blog that develops a following and garners impressive numbers, those numbers can turn into advertisement inquiries, brand partnerships and sponsorships, and even some exciting life opportunities.

2. Become a Survey Taker

You may have never heard of this before, but becoming a survey taker is a very real way to make money online. There are various websites out there, like Crowdology that are actually willing to pay people to take online surveys. Some tips to keep in mind when looking at this option, however, is that because not all surveys pay out the same, it would be in your best interest to investigate which survey sites are willing to shell out the most cash. Otherwise, survey taking is a very easy way to make some cash in your spare time.

3. Buy and Sell Things

The proliferation of online classifieds and auction sites has made it possible for many people to make a living by buying and selling things. Anything, really. These people scour various sites where items are being sold and purchase them at or below market value. They then resell those items for a profit. It can be quite a lucrative business if you know what you’re doing, and it’s best to only buy and sell items that you have knowledge about so that you can get the most bang for your buck.

Working for yourself and on your own terms doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. You just have to know how to make it your reality, and the internet is loaded with opportunities to start earning cash online.

6 Simple Ways to Revamp Your Desk for the New Year

A new year has rolled around once again, but unlike in years past, it’s time to make goals and really stick to them this time. Yes, this year will be different. When you’re running your own business or trying to start one up, getting your office organized is one of the first steps towards success. While it might seem daunting to get everything put together in an aesthetically pleasing way that will maximize productivity, there are small steps you can take to slowly get your office in order and ready to start working for you.

Here are 6 simple ways to revamp your desk for the new year.

1. Organize Your Equipment by What is Used Most

First thing’s first: clean off your desk and get rid of anything that you don’t use regularly. You don’t need it. The desktop is prime real estate in your office, and you need to make sure that it’s cleared enough so that you tend to the multiple projects you will be taking on. Any electronics that you use frequently should be in close proximity; for example, if you require your computer for the work you will be doing, that should be front and center. If you use a printer every day, it should be positioned within arm’s length.

2. Invest in Quality Storage Systems

Get either shelving or standalone storage systems to store items such as papers you need to keep or necessary office supplies. A storage system will keep your desk space clear while also keeping the supplies you need handy. There are heavy and permanent systems you can incorporate into your office design, or choose a portable system for flexibility on location.

3. Keep Your Workspace Clear

It’s more difficult to get work done if you’re constantly pushing papers to the side trying to make room for your work. Revamp your desk and keep your work space clear by investing in a desktop calendar and utilizing storage space to the side or under your desk. The only items that should be on the top of your desk are whatever you are currently working on for your business.

4. Develop a Paper System

While many systems have gone digital, it’s still often necessary to keep hard copies of documents on-hand. Develop a paper system for your desk. On top of the desk, have organizers for work-in-progress paperwork, inbound, outbound, or whatever system you need. Get filing cabinets for long-term storage of paperwork you do not necessarily need access to every day but are still required to keep on-hand.

5. Use Wall Space as Necessary

It’s important to make your desk space your own so that you have a certain amount of comfort and enjoyment while working there. However, decorations like pictures often take up valuable desktop space. If you want to display photos and other decorations, use the wall space around your desk. A pinboard is particularly useful and provides a dedicated space to put up photos of family, friends, motivational quotes, or whatever else that is important to you.

office wall art

6. Leave Your Desk Organized at the End of the Day

Make a resolution now to clear your desk of any paperwork and clutter at the end of each day. Take the last few minutes of your dedicated work time to throw out papers you no longer need, file those you do, and organize everything on your desk. This may help to keep your mind free and clear, and allow you to walk into your home office each day with a fresh outlook on the day’s work ahead.

Each of these tips should help you revamp your desk and get your business off to an organized and productive start this year.

Tips for Securing Hope and Financial Stability for Tomorrow

One of the toughest challenges facing the average person is the ability to save money and have the financial means necessary to take care of their various expenses. While the money struggle is real, those who are able to make wise decisions regarding the money they do have coming in certainly put themselves in a better position for financial stability when unforeseen circumstances come tugging on your purse strings, as they always do.

Here are some helpful tips to consider when thinking about your financial situation and how to improve it, both now and over the long-term.

Saving a Little at a Time

The idea of saving money can be daunting for some, especially if you listen to top economists who primarily give financial advice suitable for those who already have savings to work with. For those who are just working up to that level, it’s easy to conclude that in order to save money you must put all of your income, or at least a substantial portion of it, into a retirement savings account that you won’t see again for several decades. While that conclusion may seem irrational to someone who has already begun to save for their golden years or an unpredictable crisis, it is this uphill battle that scares many people away from making an effort to start saving money when they can.

It’s perfectly okay to start small when saving money; after all, a penny saved is a penny earned. A good place to start is by simply putting away $20 each week or each paycheck. It may seem like an insignificant amount of money that won’t make a big difference, but that money will add up over time and can be invested into a 401K account. When you are ready to retire, that $20 a pay period that you didn’t think would be significant could potentially give you the security you need when you are no longer able to work. You could also use it to purchase real estate, like a smaller and more manageable home or condo. To make sure that your investment in your future works best for you, work with the help of Kuba Jewgieniew of Realty ONE Group or a similar realtor, who are knowledgeable about potential savings you may be eligible for. Whatever you use your savings for, it is wise to have a small nest egg to fall back on when you need it.

Making Wiser Decisions for Financial Stability

It’s almost stunning how quickly money can disappear; just look at the spending habits of teenagers and college students who seem to be experts at spending money at fast food joints and trendy coffee shops. While there is nothing wrong with spending money, even on the occasional comfort or luxury item, it’s important to keep those purchases to an occasional minimum if you’re trying to save money. Instead of getting together with your friends once a week, cut back to a bi-weekly or monthly dinner. The savings that can be made when you skip a few morning coffees or a night out at a bar or restaurant can quickly add up and go into your growing savings account or to pay down debt. One of the best decisions someone trying to save money can make is to refrain from or cut down on unnecessary purchases.

These are just a couple of tips individuals trying to start saving money can use to grow their savings account with little effort or sacrifice. Intentional and mindful living can keep your finances in order, make you appreciate the comforts as they are purchased less frequently, and make you thankful that you started now, rather than when you’re older or when a crisis arises where you need the money you have saved up.