The Million Roses

Have you heard about The Million Roses company? I recently saw one of their products watching “Selling Sunset” on Netflix and I was intrigued. I looked them up online and found that they cultivate and grow these beautiful roses and preserve them for up to 3 years. So wow. Now they are a little pricey, but considering their shelf life compared to fresh cut roses, it isn’t that bad. It just so happened to be my mother’s birthday so I decided a box of roses would brighten anyone’s day. If you are looking for an awesome gift, then I highly recommend you give some of these to a lucky someone.

I was not paid for an endorsement. If you sign up for their text messages you will get a 15% off (one time use) coupon/discount. Do that before you buy.

 

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I Work Hard For the Money!

Have you ever noticed that society is fickle AF? It encourages small creative individuals to go big or go home. But when they make it big, they want to knock them down. Just because someone has figured out how to earn money does not mean they are obligated to give it away. Kim (Kardashian) has worked hard her whole life to be successful. She sort of worked retail once. Not like me slaving away at Walmart and Bob’s Super Store, but kind of close. My VERY first job was cleaning cars at the local car dealership. I think I was paid $10 a day, but that was bank to me. While I didn’t know it at the time, it taught me to detail my own car for years to come. Every nook and crack cleaned with a Q-tip. That was before my days of throwing newspapers on people’s front porch.

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Yep, I was a newspaper carrier for years and years. I learned the value of customer service, earning tips, counting back change, and of course, a healthy dose of exercise every single day. I grew strong from carrying heavy heavy bags of paper, and then throwing those perfect cylindrical weapons of destruction. I also learned the very useful skill of prospecting and sales. When a new person would move into a renter house, I would deliver the newspaper for a week with a note saying it was complimentary from me. After a week, I would go knock on the door, introduce myself and sell them a subscription that they needed to pay for now. It was like, a whole $5. Worked every time. As a carrier I got one free subscription for myself … which I gave to them for a week. After getting used to reading it, people just wanted it. Today they call it a free trial subscription, one month free. Technically I was an employee, but I never paid any taxes to the IRS for my newspaper money. When customers would write a check to the Kearney Daily Hub, I would just signed their business name, and then my name and deposit into my personal checking account. Never once did they ask for an employee verification to prove I could deposit it. I guess after I got onto my bicycle and pedaled away they knew I was for probably the paperboy. “Oh no! That kid stole a $5 check!” Yeah, not likely some kid broke into a house and wrote a check to himself for $5. That would be just stupid. Gotta say, of all the jobs I have ever done, that was one of the worst. Think about all that shitty snow in the winter. Yeah, you can’t ride a bike very easily. And the summers. My God the summers were blistering hot. The worst ever.

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The torture didn’t stop there. In Nebraska they do this thing called “detasseling”. WTF is that right? Well,there are millions of ears of corn that grow little seed-like tassels that need to be pulled out in order to grow big. Well, children are exploited for slave labor and they do it. It is hard, hot sweaty dirty work. And I did it. One summer was all it took and I was grateful forever for my shitty job at Taco Johns.

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All of these horrible experiences taught me that being educated, smart and making wise financial decisions would prevent me ever having to do those jobs again. So if I could offer you one piece of advice that would/could change it forever, it would be … invest in real estate. And there is no reason why you couldn’t do that now. Just saying. Good in sales? Take the test and be a real estate agent. Have some equity/capital/savings? Invest in a rental property. If you are military or veteran, take advantage of the LOAN. Zero down. Buy low, hold it, sell high. When it appreciates on its own, take out another equity loan to buy another house. Rent it out, and when it appreciates, take out another loan for the down payment and buy another home. Rent it. It does not have to be in the same town the you live. $28 a day, is $10k a year. In 2 year, $20k, which is enough to find a starter home to rent. Home sales historically are the only for sure investment that will guarantee you an increase in value over a long term period. If you don’t have your own equity, do you know someone who loves and trusts you with theirs? Do your parents have thousands in their paid off home that they would loan you some of that in a home equity loan you promise to pay every single month on time? Do not buy at the peak of the market, only buy when a property is at its low point. Find a deal, something that might need a cosmetic face lift.

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Real Estate, ownership of it, will be a safe retirement plan. In 30 years from now, what would a brand new home be worth? New homes are still being built, who says you have to live in it to buy it? No one. Well, in Denver they have some weird rental home ownership laws. Don’t buy in Denver. It is overpriced and at the peak. Wait a few years when there are way too many properties for sale. There are new homes being built by the airport, in a community called Reunion. I think they start at $400’s. In 30 years it would be worth close to a million. Naturally you will need to have excellent credit to pull this off, but if you can and do, then when you retire you will have dozens of homes you can sell. What would a 4-5 bedroom new home rent for these days? I am guessing around $4k–$5k a month. A $400k mortgage is only $1700 a month, but you are collecting twice that in rent. Hmmm. That seems like a no brainer to me. Just saying. Say you got a full $5k a month for rent. Or $60k is about $40k in profit. JUST for having that $80k for your 20% down. You either pay it down fast, or you live off of $40k a year just for being the landlord.  Now imagine you own 5 properties, each making $40k. That is almost $200k a year, … for doing nothing but be rich. Heck yeah, I think I like the sound of that. Don’t you?

 

 

“Being rich is all about mindset. Did you invest that stimulus check in AMC or MGM or did you spend it? Mindset.”
–Aaron M. Stephens, M.B.A.

 

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Veritas — Truth Serum

“A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.”

 

Dispensing more good advice … this is my favorite quote. What it means in the simplest terms — if you get drunk and your sober friend does not, chances are you will spill your secrets and or truths. You won’t remember it, but he/she will.  So keep that in mind the next time you decide to get hammered with your best “work” friends. You really don’t want your subordinate employee knowing all the dirt. Years ago I created a rule for myself that I did not associate with people from work, while I was still employed there. If one of us quits or moves on then it would be okay to “hang out” outside of work. If you go to the happy hour events with coworkers you will find out all kinds of secrets.
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Now some people think this is bad advice as they have made a lot of good or great friends from the workplace. Good for them. I also know of “friends” who had dirt on their other friends and used it to blackmail their coworkers into doing their bidding. In some companies things like, days off and preferred schedule shifts are highly coveted that can be easily granted or denied. Of course you can BE friends AT work. I am saying when you leave the building and go off into your merry little world, there really is no need to have a work friend join you.
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Women are catty (bitches) and men are … untrustworthy. And when it comes to money and the workplace, things can get even nastier. I am talking about sales people who steal sales from each other. Commissioned sales and friends in commissioned sales are not a good combination. Just remember that everyone comes from a different background and way they were raised. Simply being employed at the same company and working in the same department is not reason enough to have a new best friend. I have also witnessed when two best friends apply for the same promotion.  You can already guess where that is headed. In the game of sales, there is only ONE number one salesperson each month.
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And just in case you haven’t had a role model tell you … NEVER get drunk at a work function. Romance and the workplace is not advised. You don’t want to work with your ex if you have a bad break up, right?  I also do not advise in “friending” your new coworkers on any of your social media platforms, especially Facebook. People are weird and some people do not have good intentions. Remember, there is evil in this world, and sometimes it is in your own company. Trust no one.

 

 

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Angel Academy Print Version

Angel Academy was released November 18th 2014. Most of my readers know that was my contribution to the Universe. While I would love to take credit for this masterpiece alone, it actually was the collaborative work of many individuals. Before the book launched I did all kinds of marketing techniques that were super successful. Focus group, bookmarks, reader participation, character development contributions, book cover contest and many more.

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I spent the morning just reviewing all the posts on the Facebook business book page. If you haven’t liked it or checked it out, you can click here. It has literally been years since the book was released and it literally went on auto pilot and I didn’t have to do much of anything. Before the Facebook algorithm changed, I would post something on the page and it would instantly get hundreds of not thousands of likes. I have to admit that I don’t remember composing all those posts, but some of them are really good. Anyway, holiday is upon us and I discovered one of my publisher affiliates who is offering free international delivery, $18.97 USD. Warning, it is a tear jerker and you will fall in love with it and the characters. Or go look at the posts on Facebook and then decide.

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On a side note, my little puppy Cookie had to have emergency surgery yesterday and when I took her in, I also took a copy of the book. My favorite vet/doctor was there and I had to give her a book. I said there was a chapter “Dog Heaven” along with the rainbow bridge that she will just love. She said I was going to make her cry. My eyes welled up with tears and I said “I just know YOU are going to be my angel and save my little girl.” And thankfully, she did. Miracles happen every day. I give thanks one happened for me.

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Did you see The Eternals or Spencer? Or Dune? I saw all 3 and I can’t say I would give any of them a 5 star review. I talked with another movie enthusiast who said she thought it was more of a chick flick and her husband didn’t think it was worthy. I’ll just say that it was NOT worth the $20 admission per person. Spencer was about Princess Diana. Her maiden name was Spencer. Didn’t know that until the show. Not quite what I was expecting, as I had no idea she was so sad and lonely. Kristen Stewart just whispers the whole time so I’m not sure if that was intended but I could barely hear or understand her. It is also done by an international producer, not Hollywood. If you are wondering if you want to see it I’ll save you some coin. Don’t go. You will be bored, fall asleep and wonder when anything, SOMETHING was going to happen.  Dune? I never saw the first one so this one was kind of … neat. Okay it was semi-interesting. And the highlight of the movie is that they pull a Lord of the Rings, and stop halfway through the storyline/plot and you have to wait until part 2. Lame. If you have HBOMax go ahead and watch it for free. The special effects are neat.

 

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More New Content!

You would think that with every artist and writer locked up at home, alone, that there would have been some really cool masterpieces created. Right? New award winning grammy songs, new plays, and of course, new books from your favorite authors. Don’t look at me, I update the blog WEEKLY. Some writers haven’t written a tweet, let alone an actual blog. Although, I think that more celebrities and authors SHOULD write more. I think reading the thoughts, hopes and dreams of some well known stars would be fun. If you can talk, you can write. While some authors may not be the best at writing, at least they were trying. Some people write differently than how they talk. As I have instructed many aspiring writers, … are you “telling” me what happened, or am I experiencing it using all my senses? Do I “feel” what you feel? Can you smell the fresh baked bread in gramma’s kitchen as the amber sunlight slowly creeps in her flower box window? So I am taking a short break from the job search blogs, today. Yes I know they are entertaining and informative, but they are actually really boring for me. My days were filled with looking at bad resumes from students for years. I could quickly scan a resume and find at least one error … every time. But it takes a trained eye. Some HR recruiters might not even notice some errors. I think I covered most of the bases. Y’all should be able to get a job on your own now.

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So let’s flip over to talking about social media training. I know there are thousands of readers that would love to have a huge social media following. First ask yourself, why do you want that following? Maybe it is so you can build a platform so you can get publishers to notice you and print/publish your book? Your ability to prove to a publisher that you will sell future books is monumental. They claim it costs a lot to print books. Wrong. It costs a lot to print unsellable books. Just think how many stores Barnes & Nobles has, and how many books have to stock each store. Some readers want a following so they can monetize their content. Right. So if you get enough views on YouTube, then advertisers will pay money to put their stupid ad on your video. But you get paid. You might have a big “voice” that other people want to hear. Maybe you have a different take or perspective on a particular issue, and your platform shares those concerns? If you are in the spotlight, your personal lifestyle choices might be “reviewed” and if not deemed appropriate, YouTube can/will demonetize your channel and you get paid nothing. I can think of a certain individual who not only got banned but also lost monetary abilities.

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So if you own a website it may or may not have a blog incorporated into it. Believe it or not, that is something that is extra. If it is a WordPress website it is super simple to use the blog feature. If you didn’t know, WordPress allows additional software, called plugins to be installed to enhance your website. I think this is what has made their platform so successful. One thing that I would encourage website owners (you) to do, is use the Jetpack plugin which has all kind of cool features. If you have subscribed to the site, then you know you don’t have to visit it daily to check if a new blog has been posted. Super convenient for you, and also gives the site a rest from getting too many hits. That is a Jetpack feature. I don’t own my server, so if it gets overloaded, it causes it to stall or get a 503 error. You refresh and it is fixed. But imagine if you were say, Lady Gaga, who has millions of fans. Everyone’s website is different and has different reasons/usage. Some sites actually sell products, and when they launch a new product, … it crashes.

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So if you are a normal person, you probably won’t get millions of hits. But when you do, you can upgrade your site with your hosting server. Just so you know, there will be fans that love you so much they will actually set your website as one of their start up tabs. From the back-end you will know this happens as the same IP address is registering daily in your logs. Everyone has some interesting “hobby” that they are sort of an expert. You can write about it, or YouTube about it, and someone will like it and be a new fan. If you create interesting, new, fun content then you will start your social media following. What are you known for? Then brand yourself that way. Or what do you WANT to be known for? If you knew you were going to die next year, what do you want your legacy to be known for? Or do you have a secret recipe that you really should share with the world? Pin it. Instagram it. Write about it. Do all of the above.

 

Maybe you don’t want a huge social media fan base, but you can still start a free blog and document/write your thoughts that you want shared to your family and friends one day. I know you’re just bored, so do it out of sheer boredom. Writing out your thoughts can really help your mental health.

June. Teenth. What a stupid name for a federal holiday. Wow congress really has their priorities don’t they? May 4th should be a federal star wars holiday. I am sure there are lot of other “groups” that say “Where’s my fucking holiday?” Just saying, since no one else will. Evil is now streaming on the Paramount app instead of CBS. It is like $5 a month. So $1.25 an episode as they launch now every Sunday. I saw it, and it’s worth it. You do get a free trial.

 

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Just Another Bad Situation

So, let’s pretend your work/life situation is not to your liking. It happens. There might be a coworker, a customer, or even a manager that you just absolutely despise. In some businesses, you might see that problem customer, over and over again, month after month. If it is a supervisor or manager, then you might be faced with making a difficult decision. Do you make that conscious decision to actively start looking for a new job, secretly, or do you suck it up and make the best of a shitty situation? Well, it really depends on how much you really hate that individual.

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Like I said before, people don’t leave jobs because of the nature of work, they leave because of conflicts with managers. That “manager” might be the owner of the company so there may not BE any workable solution other than leaving. I worked for the owner of a 3 person company and he said to me “My company. My rules.” He was a financial planner and unethically told all his clients to sell a particular fund against his own prior advisement. Then he insinuated he had “secret” insider information (hush hush don’t tell your friends). Also illegal. He is long dead now, so no repercussions to him.  Well, if you didn’t know, there is a fee associated with selling and when you have hundreds of clients all selling and then buying, that broker gets paid. It’s a really shitty way to rip off your customers so you can make more money off of them. Most people pay a professional to make smart decisions for them so they make money, not so they can keep paying stupid fees.

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So with any relationship situation, it is best to start the list. You know, the pros and cons of that relationship. This applies to dating as well as work. What do you like? Why is it beneficial for you? Are you paying your dues? Is the person who is making life difficult really a secret mentor in disguise? Are you supposed to learn something from this person or teach something to this person? In many years to come you will look back and understand the “why” behind your reason for being there.  Now ask yourself, do you REALLY want to start all over in a new environment? Bottom guy on the totem pole? Starting all over again sucks. Making new friends (if applicable). For some people the thought and idea of getting out is a fresh of breath air. Others are in their comfort zone and will continue to tolerate the shit. When you tell your employer all your life stories, they got you. You’re trapped. You just bought a new car. You have kids. You have a mortgage. You aren’t going anywhere. They will work you to death and you are just an employee number to them. Seriously at the end of the day, unless you are married to the owner or his/her kid, they don’t really give a hoot about you. If you leave, so what. There are a dozen struggling, unemployed people out there someone will happily take your job and laugh at why you quit. Your new job might be worse off than the one you are in now. So you hate ____ about your job. Everyone hates something about their job.

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Artists who become self employed realize they have to collect on accounts and those types of conversations might not be so fun for them. Most small business owners find themselves in a boatload of administrative HR stuff, along with accounting. Hate it, but have to do it. So think carefully before you leave that cushy job in the nice cool air conditioning. What if that problem person just went away instead? Now there is an idea. Can you outlast that person? I worked retail for a really, really long time. I know that most hourly retail workers don’t have more than a year in them before they burn out. Sometimes you can just wait until they leave on their own, … or get enough bad surveys. Hmm, could your friends be that person’s customer and then they give him a shitty survey score constantly to get him/her fired? Yes. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and the only one who is looking out for you (other than me) is YOU. At the end of the day, you got bills to pay and responsibilities.

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So I know that some of my readers are EXACTLY is this situation right now. My advice, if you are going to start looking for a job, tell your network. Let one of your contacts be your champion and get you that interview. Did you know you have been considered for positions before, but the hiring manager thought you were happy and would never leave your job? Oops. Always open to new opportunities and challenges. Actively seeking new projects/clients/1099’s. We never know what tomorrow holds, unless we are dealing the cards. So deal a wild card today. Did you write your items for your dream job? Who knows, it might be in your near future.

 

 

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Employee Referrals

Have you ever gotten a job interview/offer because someone you knew, recommended you? A friend, relative, prior co-worker, classmate, … someone who likes you, and wants to put their reputation out on the line for you? Having that employee recommendation, even if they don’t know your work performance, is key to getting great jobs. I am sure you have heard the phrase “It’s all who you know.” And this is true in any situation. An employer would rather hire someone with a little bit of background history that can be verified, rather than none at all. As I have mentioned in the past, some of those letters of reference or actual phone calls, might not be as truthful as employers would like them to be. Some of them all sound the same.  ______ (insert name) is hard working, loyal, dedicated, trustworthy, oh and an Eagle Scout! He coaches little league and is an outstanding choir member in the church. <rolls eyes> Gosh, that sounds just perfect. When can you start? No. Those letters are so fake it’s not even funny. I think it is expected that every employee act like a boy/girl scout. Strong work ethics, team player, gets along well with others. And if you’re not, then you need to start acting like it. We all know, not all employees are model employees. I can think of a few I’d fire in a heartbeat. IF you are giving that recommendation, please do not tell anyone that candidate is going through a divorce, a bankruptcy, or anything that might accidentally hurt his/her chances. Employers hear those things and they cringe.

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As a recruiter, we are looking for “talent”. There is a show called “America’s Got Talent”. If you haven’t seen an episode, you should check it out. Look at what those people can do and compare your own skill/talent. See there difference? Some things like typing super fast is a skill. Gotta say, going through hundreds and hundreds of resumes for ONE position, and you quickly start screening candidates out very quickly. Impressive skills and talent is what we are looking for in these marketing brochures of candidates. HOWEVER if just one of those resumes comes from a well liked employee, say manager or above, that resume will get more than a 10-20 second review. If there are gaps, or questions, those are sometimes overlooked. Why? Employee referral. And as I have mentioned in the past, when you get someone hired, you are the current employee, will get a monetary bonus added to your check, usually after 90 days. I can attest that I have received thousands in employee referrals. I would find an candidate at Best Buy and then I would tell them to put my name on the application, and I would spell it correctly, and tell them they would have a much better chance of getting hired if they say they knew me. Okay. Cool. So they just met me. They still knew me. 😉 And when they were asked HOW they met/knew me, they always said, “Mutual friends”. I could always say, “He seemed like a good guy.” You can’t place negligent hiring practices on someone who just said “He seemed like a good guy”. If HR didn’t ask the right questions, or do a drug test, that’s on them, not you. So, do you have a buddy or friend who you just LOVED working with daily? Yeah, me too. Go find him/her and see if he/she can get you a better job.

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If you have started your LinkedIn.com profile, you can start connecting with those professionals you have met in past positions and see what they are up to now. Whom have you kept in touch with from college or grad school? All the people I kept in touch with are in very different fields/industries. Terrific, if you got a job there you wouldn’t be in the same department, but you’d be great lunch buddies. I will do another article/blog on LinkedIn.com. Until that time, do NOT use that profile to apply for jobs … yet. Your employment profile is like building a house. You achievements and skills are the foundation, since that is what is important. Can you do the job and how fast can you do it? If you are still working on them, think to yourself, “Is that impressive?” Fluent in 4 languages. Yes, impressive. You have a social media following already? Impressive.

 

For those of you who are students, I always loved asking what the candidate’s G.P.A. was in high school and college if applicable. And then I would ask WHY. Verifiable. Don’t lie. If you are a nerdy brainy bookworm like me, … now is the time to brag about it. If they ask you to sell something, think about the strategy you are using, and don’t use price. I can sell it cheaper. No. It might be a luxury item they want you to sell, like cruises or diamonds. “I have a large network of professionals who are friends who I know will support my endeavors with a new company.”  You’re hired.

 

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Tell Me About A Time …

Okay boys and girls, it is story time, and I am not talking your magical fairy tale. I am talking about the interview question that forces you to find a concrete example to demonstrate whatever skills they are seeking. Your answers should detail your thought process, perhaps your decision making abilities, and of course, the actual question is looking at how fast you problem solve. Now if it something they are seeking that you don’t have, then it is going to be hard to fake. Okay for some old timers, like me, there was a movie back in the 80’s, called “Working Girl”. Loved it. Melanie and Sigourney Weaver starred in it, and one of the characters stole the idea/concept from the other. So, when confronted, the “idea” needed to be outlined, just to prove that it was HER idea. Oops.

If you headed up a project, an event, or something really big, you can easily talk about the process, the project time line, the critical path, the point of no return, … all those fun little challenges you were faced and overcame. If you had control over money, like say a budget, or fundraising, you should also bring this up in your answer. Why? You are there to prove what you did was beneficial for the company, and you can easily do it again. So if I can get $5k in sponsorships from local businesses for an event, chances are I can do even more for the next event.

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Many times you can outline your thoughts and ideas in an effective manner so they produce profits, simply by implementing a program awareness event. Okay back to my Walmart days, when I was a lowly hourly cashier I wanted to be part of the management team. When I applied someone else always got it. My store director said in order to be a manager, you need to be a leader. Not all managers are leaders, but I ONLY promote leaders to managers. I felt like I was sitting at the sphinx with some unsolvable riddle. I happened to be in a management course in college at the time, and using some of the things I learned, I started a stakeholders committee and recruited a few managers and friends to join. We/I found ways to save money, make money and increase store traffic with a meager $100 monthly budget. Eventually I did get promoted.

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Here is another secret in your interviewing arsenal. The more stories and examples you tell in your interview, the more likely you are going to be remembered. Some people try to use humor in the interview. Don’t. You are not applying to be a stand up comedian. Your sense of humor may mistakenly be misinterpreted. Impress that person with what you have done, can do, and will do. If that person is impressed, he/she will move you forward in the interviewing process quickly. Mostly likely there are dozens if not hundreds of jobs/interviews to complete. Think how many positions are open at Amazon. Wow. Hundreds, if not thousands worldwide. I always tell candidates that they need to tell the employer “Hire me. I want to work here. I see myself growing with this company. I want this job.”

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And as always, the job you are applying for RIGHT NOW, as you talk to that interviewer, IS your dream job. For now, all you can do is dream about being employed, and this might be it. So act like it, show enthusiasm, and ask for the job. And remember, 20k more boomers retired this weekend. Go get their job!

 

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Leaving the Job Market

So if you are are IN the job market, meaning you are actively working, you get a paycheck and you probably report to someone. As I was talking with a client yesterday I had to remind him that in addition to the thousands of people dying from COVID there is also that nasty little fact that every day over 10,000+ boomers are retiring and leaving the job market forever. That is a fact that has been happening for quite awhile, and you are already starting to feel the impact of that. PLUS there are a TON of “housewives” who are done working and want to go home and stay home. Thousands of nurses, cops, teachers, first responders who all said enough is enough. And as strange as it sounds, there is an entire generation that just wants a sugar daddy or sugar mommy. Who would have imagined that would be someone’s “career plan”? I personally can attest to the corporate bullshit you have to deal with on a daily basis. I left big business to work for a small company, of 4 employees, and sure decisions were made quickly, but laws were broken ALL THE TIME. Just so you know, it is ILLEGAL to pay someone in cash and not report it on your taxes. You may think you are doing your employee a favor, but it’s illegal. Oh sure I LOVED getting envelopes stuffed with cash. Who wouldn’t? Sometimes, many times it is a “I won’t tell if you won’t tell” situation. HR knows ALL the dirty secrets. Sometimes they play along, sometimes they act like the good cop.

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True story, I was hired once as a “temp”, meaning no benefits. I was told I was exempt, so they worked me to death. Until they found out I had kept track of every hour worked overtime, and was planning on using it as my own comp time for vacation since I had no benefits. OMG, do you KNOW how much trouble they would have been in if the DOL found out what was going on? Being “exempt” has special rules, and you can’t use a temp as exempt. They paid me the actual overtime rate, and then later terminated me as a “corporate downsizing”. Hey it wasn’t my fault. They lied to me and told me I was exempt. I wasn’t. I was an hourly employee, lied to, and ultimately lost. If I knew back then, all the HR laws that I know today, I would have sued them, AND Walmart, and I would have won. But I didn’t because I didn’t know my rights were violated. Being part of a “group”, in my case Asian American, I also have rights that potentially could hinder/help an employer. If you are not being “fair” and only hiring, say, Caucasian male workers, and have no colored people, you could find yourself in an affirmative action lawsuit. So, point of the story, chances are you are being abused by your employer and you don’t even know it. If you are clocked out then you can’t take back a return to your department on your way out, help a customer or answer a phone. Only the manager can work off the clock.

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It is a known fact that people leave jobs because of bad managers. Some of them leave and never come back. Some get early retirement. Others marry rich or find a sugar daddy/mommy. If you are unemployed, looking for a better tomorrow, there is hope. Millions of people don’t want to work, prove that you aren’t one of them. Millions are in retirement, so can you find an opportunity that will cater to that market? Travel and entertainment will always be an area of opportunity, if you can find a product/service in that market. Did you see AMC stock shot back up? It has a low of a $1.91 a share and then went as high as $72. Can you imagine if you bought say, 5000 shares when they tanked? You’d be well off now. Car rentals and hotel rooms are at a premium, so can you rent your car or extra spare room? Turo and air b&b have a booming business model. As a writer I always teach that people, with some skill, can write something; an article, a review, a blog, a book, a speech/presentation. If you write it, they will read it. You can publish your autobiography and publish it as an eBook and people will buy it if it is somewhat interesting and inexpensive. Your family and relation might be interested in your life from your perspective.

 

If you are working on your career plan, you actually have almost all the things you need to be successful. Be sure you check out LinkedIn.com and create a profile for recruiters to view. Sell your skills. Sell your talents. Join groups on LinkedIn that are relevant to your career. Remember that job data sheet you were supposed to create?

You now need to add 3-5 good references with their information so it will be ready when you are offered that dream job. Those references can be former supervisors, committee members, coworkers, customers/clients, vendors, owner of the company, … the list can go on and on. People who can speak to your work ethic, personality, attendance, are going to be advantageous. If you are a reference, do not lie for that person. Tell the truth. I had a “friend” ask me to be a reference and I said, “Well, I have never worked with you, but I can say you are always late, you never pay the bill, you sometimes call in sick when you aren’t and you stole a laptop from your past employer.” He said “Thanks, no thanks.” So, moral of the story, your “friend” might not be willing to lie for you. I adhere to the SHRM (Society Human Resource Management) code of ethics, so I will always tell the truth.

 

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Money Talks …

Alrighty, let’s talk about money. We ALL want it. That is what drives us to get up every day and do the same boring/challenging tasks in our “career”. Is it satisfying? Sometimes. But at the end of the day it all comes down to money. You are there to make it, earn it, save it, spend it. Money is the one thing that you are always told not to talk about in the interview, UNTIL it is the right time. Now I do understand that there are HR people/hiring managers that do not always follow this protocol. Sometimes the employer just wants to screen OUT anyone who shouldn’t be there and they do that by asking your current salary and your requirements. If you are applying for a job that pays $80k a year but you only made $40k, then you might not be quite ready for job of such magnitude. Some might say, you are in over your head.

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Now I am going to have the conversation with you that is totally going to blow your mind away. YOU think you are worth X amount of money per hour, or per year. How did you come up with that number? Someone told you. Probably a salary report or maybe Google, or maybe it was Glassdoors.com that actually gives you real salary information as employees can post that information. Oh how cool is THAT? So, before you even decide you want to work there you can determine if it is going to meet your salary expectations. If you didn’t know, there are 2080 working hours in the year. Take that times your hourly rate and you get your annual salary. Some people think weekly, others bi weekly, and some even monthly. i.e. I get paid $5000 a month, or roughly $60k a year. 5×12=60. $60k divided by 2080 = $28.85 an hour. Can you live on that amount of money? Employers will sometimes try to trick you into thinking your salary is more than it really is by using big numbers. Don’t be fooled. Also keep in mind that Uncle Sam is going to take a minimum of 28% for federal, state, and FICA (social security) and any local taxes. So your big salary all of the sudden isn’t so big. $5k a month, after taxes actually is only a little over $3k a month, and that really isn’t a huge amount. The more you make the more the government takes. Things like an IRA are ways that you can reduce your taxable income. Knowing your take home amount is also really important.

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So knowing your value is extremely important. So, you take a kid who is 18, making minimum wage flipping burgers, who by many employers isn’t worth a very high salary right? I take him under my wing and mentor him for 6 weeks and train him how to build a WordPress website in a day and create a Facebook business page using Ad Manager and all of the sudden this “kid” is also worth $60k a year. He doesn’t have a tech degree, and barely if at all, a high school diploma. Now, how do you justify this guy’s $60k salary? Because he can now go out, market himself as a designer, and charge the same hourly rates as the professionals, just like me. Boom. Mic drop. Just because you DIDN’T make that much before, does NOT mean you are not worth it now.

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So you’ve made it to the final interview. Flew past HR no problem, clicked with the hiring manager and now the key decision maker is in your face. He/she might be an executive, the owner, a managing director, … someone who has monetary authority for the company. If you get to this person right away, like at a picnic, bbq, wedding, you will have a lot more bargaining power. HR people and hiring managers usually do not have any power over salary. When the offer is presented, HR simply is the middle man. If the offer is not what is stated with the key, then you need to get him/her on the horn and start barking. Every job has a range. You are usually given/offered the bottom lower end of that range, UNLESS you can prove you are worth more. This is where your negotiation skills are instrumental in your higher paid salary. I have negotiated 90 day raises after performance has been evaluated and an increase in new business has been demonstrated. If I do ______, then you will reward me with compensation of _______. Yes, this really does happen. If you are THE final candidate, then they want you. They want you really bad. AND they are willing to pay for it. They will never retract the opening offer. You need to think of it as as an opening big on a house. They start, you counter. You come to a happy middle somewhere. This is where you get your extra personal day. Flexible schedule, working from home, company laptop/smartphone/iPad, expense account, … you get the idea. When I negotiated my low salary at the Bar Association, I managed to start my 403(b) retirement immediately, rather than waiting a year. Who knew you could bypass that rule? Me. It came to over 3k in “benefits” not paid by the payroll. The 2nd largest office next to the emergency exit was also a nice perk. If you have to pay for parking, will the company pick that up? Again, not paid from payroll, but a different expense account. Just like in the real estate industry, you can implement the “Is this your best and final offer?” and see what they say. Most of the time they will say “No, that is not the best and final, what did you have in mind?” Before you go into any interview negotiation, you need to practice. Sell something to a friend and start arguing/debating price. This is how it works. You have to be confident in your abilities and skills. Employees who make money or save money are going to get better salaries than those who can’t detail why they are worth more money.

Money is a huge motivator for everyone. As a client once told me, “I have the TMAI philosophy.” Throw money at it. The more you throw, the more likely the problem will just magically solve itself or go away. Sales are down? Throw cash bonuses as floor sales day prizes. People will respond positively. Ask if there are bonuses. No? Then let’s start one now.

And my favorite quote from Jerry McGuire … “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”

 

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