The Fine Balance of Life

The Fine Balance of Life

As life passes from day to day, we get caught up in the business of creating a life for ourselves. Earning enough to live comfortably and take care of the ones we love. And from in the middle of all that striving sometimes it’s easy to forget the things that mean the very most in our lives.

Once we’ve taken care of the essentials, for most of us the most important thing in our lives isn’t the car we drive or the square footage of the house we live in or the designer labels yelling out from our clothing. It’s the other people we share our lives with.

Greatest impacts

When you think about it, what made the greatest impacts on your life? The things you got or the things you did? Most people would answer, experiences. Times we shared with others.

Who are the people who stand out most in your memory? We’d be willing to bet it’s the ones who helped you in some way, along the way. Which means the people you impacted most were most likely the ones you helped.

The balance between give and take

Life is a fine balance between give and take. On the take side, are people who have helped us. Given us letters of recommendation. Introduced us to others who could benefit us. Paid for a year of our tuition. As we go through life, we balance that against the give side. All the people we in our turn, have helped.

The people who helped us and the ones we were able to help are the ones who make the house of our lives a home. We don’t give and take because we are keeping score or out of obligation. We do it out of a true desire to help. Because it makes us feel good. Because we can.

Advertisements

Time to Pay Back Student Debt?

Time to Pay Back Student Debt?

My son Matt just finished his master’s degree in education. Last week we got the diploma in the mail. Today we got the letter from student loans detailing his payback schedule – including interest accrued before the repayment date event starts!

 

According to an article about student loan debt from Forbes, student loan debt in 2019 is the highest ever. “There are 44 million borrowers who collectively owe 1.5 trillion in student loan debt.” It’s so rampant that student loans make up the second highest debt category – right behind mortgages!

 

Debt across the ages

The student loan epidemic isn’t only a problem for people just out of school. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear people in their thirties are still carrying student loan debt, but according to the above Forbes article, the largest increase in student loan debt comes from people in their sixties.

 

Depending on whether the student has a private loan or a federal one the interest rate will vary. My son has a federal loan so his interest rate is about 6%. His loan is for $7, 220. Luckily, it’s not huge. If he does nothing but follow the payment schedule provided by the loan office he will pay just over $80 a month for 114 months to pay it back. At that rate he will end up paying a total of $9,489 – an extra $2,269 in interest. Almost an extra third!

 

Obviously the higher the loan, the higher the accrued interest -but none of us is doomed to be a statistic.

 

Pay bi-weekly

Whether you have a student loan or some other outstanding debt, a painless way to make an extra payment a year is to pay your loan twice a month instead of once. We’re not saying to pay more (although yes, we do want you to pay more – but more on that later), what we are saying is to divide your payment in half and pay it every two weeks instead of once a month. As I said, Matt is supposed to pay $80 a month. If instead of doing that, he pays $40 every two weeks then over the course of a year he will have made 13 months of payments rather than 12!

 

Get high interest loans out of the way

If student loans are not your only debt, you need to prioritize yourself. Figure out which debt is costing you the most in interest every month. Make the minimum payments on everything then clear through the one that’s costing you the most first. Once you’re finished with that move on to the next one.

 

Review your budget

The payment amount set by the loan office for Matt is $80, but of course the more Matt pays the faster he dispatches the loan and the less interest he pays as he goes and overall. Matt’s first priority is to assess his budget. He needs to figure out much extra he can put towards that loan on a monthly basis and where that money will come from.  That might mean taking his lunch to work more often or riding his bike instead of taking public transit. It might mean he decides to move back in with me for a while to put that rent money toward the loan.

 

Student loan repayment benefits

To help deal with the overwhelming problem of student debt, many companies offer student debt payment assistance as part of their benefits package. Some will simply put money toward your debt on a regular basis, others will match payments made by the employee. Here are a few examples. A little research will help you track down more!

4 Tips To Work Healthier

4 TIPS TO WORK HEALTHIER

Have you read those studies about how sitting down will slowly kill you? They might be a little over the top, but theres truth in there. If your job has you sitting down at a desk and starring at a computer screen all day there are health risks, especially over a long period of time . If youre looking to work healthier and feel better throughout your day, weve got a couple tips that can help you out. 

Take Breaks and Move Around

Dont sit down all day. Take a break and go for a quick walk. Maybe you can walk around your office building if its nice out, or just run down to the coffee room and grab a drink of water. Getting up and about keeps your body in motion and the blood moving. You should also do stretches. This doesnt have to be big obtrusive stretches thatll get you weird stares in the office, just small ones at your desk will help.

More Water

Chances are, youre not drinking enough water. You should be having about 10 cups of water or beverages a day. Coffee and tea count! If youve ever experienced that 3 oclock wall of tiredness, its usually caused by dehydration. So keep drinking water and youll feel more awake, alert and healthy.

Check Your Posture

Posture leads to all kinds of problems. Everything from neck and back aches to dry eyes can be blamed on posture. Mashable offers a couple excellent tips for keeping good posture at work. The better your posture, the better youll feel after a long day at the office.  

Naps

This one is tricky. There arent too many workplaces where a small power nap is okay. Even a little nap after you get home can help you replenish on sleep you might not be getting at night. It might be a little outside the box, but consider taking a power nap in your car over the lunch break if youre really feeling droopy.

Check out this actionable guide for staying healthy from Nifty Benefits

 

If you find yourself struggling to get to sleep, don’t stress– there are plenty of ways to get to sleep quickly. Whether it’s meditation or putting your phone away, a nap isn’t far away

 

The healthier you are at work, the better work youll do and the better youll feel when you get home.

Take The Time To Make The Most of Your Next Interview

Take The Time To Make The Most of Your Next Interview

You’ve already got your next interview scheduled. You might think you’ve got what it takes to go there and wing it. If so you’ll most likely be knocked off your perch by others who took the time to prepare.

 

Write down the most relevant things you want to convey at the interview

There are things you want to ensure the person doing the interview knows about you. If you just think about them, there’s a spectacular chance they’ll fly out of your head when you come face to face with the interviewer. If you write them out before hand and read them a few times before the interview, they’ll dance out of your mouth at the appropriate time like choreographed works of art.

 

Take timing into consideration

There’s a thing called decision fatigue that comes over people as the day wears on. Essentially everyone has a finite amount of decision making capacity throughout the day. As the day wears on decisions become harder to make and the quality of decision making deteriorates. When booking your interview do your best to get yourself scheduled earlier in the day when the interviewer is still at their decision making peak.

 

Invest in business cards

You might think the only people who carry business cards around are the ones who already have jobs, but that’s not necessarily the case. Rather than thinking of it as a business card, think of it as a calling card. Something to set you apart from the other candidates. A tangible reminder of who you are and what you’re all about. Include your name and all your contact information and a line or two about what you do. It’s a great way to make an impression and ensure the potential employer remembers who you are!

 

Create a field of positivity around yourself

Do all your homework in advance. Research the questions you think they’ll ask and your answers in the days before. Don’t do any more preparing the day of the interview. Go in knowing you are qualified and experienced and ready to take on new challenges. Ensure you arrive well before the interview, cool, calm and collected. Radiate positivity. Leave them wanting more!

How Counseling Can Help Young Graduate Job Seekers

How Counseling Can Help Young Graduate Job Seekers

Guest post from Bethany Seton

At a certain point in our education, we all find ourselves at a crossroads when we’re expected to make life-changing decisions related to our future careers.  Many young people have only a very vague idea of what awaits them in the real world of business. Learning about what a job involves theoretically is different from the complex network of skills needed to become successful. Seekers need to know how to search for work. How to present themselves in the best light. Deal with people and stressful situations. Handle pressure and take initiative, to name a few. This is when the help of a counselor can be important. Proper guidance makes the transition into adulthood a lot easier.

 

Value of counseling sessions

If you’re not sure how to proceed with your career a guidance counselor is the right person to see. A confident approach to a future career means becoming aware of our strengths and weaknesses, aspirations and career goals. A good counselor will establish a valuable rapport which will enable them to better understand the student’s personality. People who specialize in working with the youth know how to listen and understand problems. How to build trust, and most importantly, assess future career goals.

Where is that ideal job?

Your first job is very rarely the dream job you were hoping for, but the point is to get as close to your ideal position as soon as possible. In order to do this, understanding the job market is essential. The counselor should closely follow the market and all the issues facing it in order to help you make the right decision. Downsizing, global competition, automation are all factors affecting job opportunities. There’s not much point in preparing for a career which is currently in decline. The modern employment environment dictates its own rules. Applicants need to be well skilled in the use of contemporary technology. They need to be open to diversity and aware of the importance of always being up to date in what’s relevant.

Once you decide on a career direction, it’s time to look for employment. Research recruitment agencies for junior jobs, or any organizations interested in hiring entry level candidates locally.

 

Application and job interview

Another thing you should pay close attention to is presentation. The first impression comes with your resume. It needs to be up to code. Don’t let the fact that you have no job experience put you off. A youth counselor can help you go through your CV to highlight your skills and qualifications, achievements and aspirations.

It is important you go through the dos and don’ts of presenting yourself in the best light during your interview. At your counseling sessions, you will be able to simulate a job interview.

You will learn the importance of body language, tone, overall conduct and how to deal with unexpected questions.

 

How to deal with stressful work situations

A career counselor cannot prepare you for every single stressful situation at work, but they can teach you how to develop healthy responses. How to establish boundaries, recharge and relax, be assertive and find support.

Graduation is a major accomplishment, but not everyone is prepared to take on the unfamiliar world of employment or deal with all the challenges the job market has to offer. Guidance can help ease you into corporate waters. If you’re honest in your sessions, if you accept your weaknesses and improve, celebrate your strengths and are eager and ready to learn – success will never be far away.

Feel Like An Imposter At Work?

You Are Not The Imposter You Think You Are facebook

So, you’ve found a great job and you’re actually doing really well in it. However, for some reason you don’t quite feel like you deserve to be where you are. You feel like this is a mistake, and you’ve somehow tricked everyone here into thinking you belong. And they will soon find out you don’t! What you’re feeling is called imposter syndrome and it is very common among successful people.

Unfounded as it is, imposter syndrome is one symptom of success that may actually catch you by surprise once it hits. It can make you paranoid, guilty and anxious. The thing about it is, 9 out of 10 times it is based on nothing! To clear your mind of your mistaken assumptions, remember these things.

Many people applied for this job. You were chosen

If you didn’t deserve to be here, wouldn’t that make every single person who interviewed you, reviewed your work, and mentored you grossly incompetent? You were chosen for good reason.

Trust the people who believe in you

If you respect and admire the people who have helped you along your career path, do you really think they’d make a mistake this big? What’s more likely—you’re doing a good job, or all these people have no idea what’s going on?

Trust yourself

Another thing to think about is how much credit you’re giving yourself as a liar and trickster by not giving yourself credit for your actual work. Did you try to trick anyone into thinking you were better than you are?

If not, do you think you’ve pulled a gigantic con on the intelligent people around you entirely by accident? Are you that much of a genius at lying? Or is it more likely you’re just good at your job?

Imposter syndrome can make you feel like you’re walking on pins and needles everyday of your work life, but most of the time it’s totally illogical! You are as good as people who believe in you say you are. Believe that as you strive to become even better!

 

Do You Believe It’s Time For A Raise?

Do You Believe It's Time For A Raise?

Although automatic pay raises are the standard in some place, in most it’s not that straightforward. If you believe it’s time for a raise then it’s up to you to get the ball rolling.

 

Do some research

See if you can find some documentation regarding the company’s compensation policies. Evaluate your performance, and contributions you’ve made.

 

Have you helped increase profits in any way? Have you helped other employees in any capacity? What strengths do you bring to the position?

 

Have all those facts prepared before you start talking money.

 

Keep a running tally

It can be hard to remember all your great contributions over an extended period of time. That’s why it is a great idea to keep a running tally of your accomplishments. Goals you’ve met. Projects where you’ve made positive contributions. Revenue you’ve brought in, savings that can be attributed to you.

 

Don’t fade into the background

Make sure you get noticed. Speak up when opinions are asked for (even when they’re not) Ask questions, offer insights. Take opportunities when they are presented.

 

Stay positive

Don’t bring any negatives into the conversation. Even if you believe you work harder than others, stay longer, put up with more, only discuss the positives.

 

Be aware of timing

If you know the company is going through a difficult time financially then it’s not the right time to approach anyone for a raise. However if things are going well don’t wait for them to notice your good work. Make sure they are aware of it.

 

Don’t just talk about what a great job you’ve done, bring in concrete proof and wow them! The question won’t be will they give you a raise or not, it will be how much?