Three Not So Obvious Interviewing Tips

“Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.” – Kurt Vonnegut

 

It’s been awhile since I’ve wrote a blog and I’m certainly due. A recent conversation with a friend of mine jarred my senses about interviewing and the interview process. Everywhere you look I feel the same approach is being said: be strong and confident, bring two or three copies of your resume with you, and of course have your resume memorized to the tee, blah, blah, blah. But there is so much more behind what goes on in an interview. Trust me, I’ve been on countless interviews and it wasn’t until I started to think of some non conventional ways of interviewing, did it finally sink in. Take a look at my top 3 not so obvious interviewing tips, I hope you find them as useful as I did when interviewing:

 

Double Down On Your EQ – There are still many people (including interviewers) who have no idea what EQ is. EQ stands for emotional intelligence. Ever hear the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” well your EQ is responsible for “who ya know.” It’s the ability to tap into not only your emotions but read the emotions of other people. When you are interviewing, pay attention to the interviewer’s body language. Are they sitting back? Are they on the edge of their seat? What ever they are doing with their body language mimic just that; you may do this without even realizing it. However EQ isn’t just about mimicking body language; it’s about listening. When you are on an interview I always like to take a 80/20 approach. Where the interviewer does 80 percent of the talking and I talk for 20 percent of the time. Of course it’s tough to hold back nerves but being able to listen and respond accordingly is a big part of any position

 

Dive Into Your Roots – Now I’m not exactly an anthropology guru but there are some deep seeded traits all humans have. The number one thing to realize when interviewing are that all interviewers are 100% human. What does this mean? Well it means you need to establish who has the dominant upper hand in your relationship with the interviewer. Look at it this way: For a moment pretend you’re a chimp (I know what you’re thinking, hear me out) you are now entering a new chimp tribe that you want to become a part of. In order to get into that tribe the alpha’s henchmen (the interviewer) must approve of you. So what are you going to do to make them like you? You are going to play the part of the submissive chimp. Let the interviewer guide the conversation, speak in a calm slow voice. To some, this might seem incredibly natural. To naturally dominant people it might be tough to play this part. Understand you’re joining a new tribe and once you are part of the new tribe your journey to become alpha (if you want to become alpha) can begin.

 

Show Your Superpower – If you’re like me, you really hate talking about yourself. When someone asks me what I’m good at (#doeseatingcount?) I usually don’t reply with confidence. However, I’ve recognized a few super powers in myself; work ethic, humility, and empathy are my biggest powers that I over emphasize on any interview. What are yours? Recognize your superpowers, tune into them, and then use them to your biggest advantage during an interview. Note being great at pivot tables isn’t really a super power (I mean I guess it could be?) but really dive deep into yourself and think what excites you or what keeps you going. Think of specific traits that separate you from every other candidate out there and and why you are the best candidate for the position. Use those super powers to leverage yourself. I’d love to hear what some of your super powers are, and how you’re going to use them to drive yourself forward!

 

Conclusion – I hope these tips have helped you identify ways that you can make yourself stand out in a non conventional way during your next interview. Keep in mind interviewing is nothing more than becoming a part of another tribe. Whether it’s friends, meeting a significant other’s family, or on the job search we’ve all been interviewed before. Tap into your superpowers and share your personal tips, successes, and experiences with the community!

Three Steps To Take If You Get Fired

“- If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L. means “First Attempt In Learning”

End is not the end, if fact E.N.D. means “Effort Never Dies”

– If you get No as an answer, remember N.O. means “Next Opportunity”.

So Let’s be positive. – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

 

Let me tell you, getting fired is a strange feeling between feeling the purest failure and a future of complete uncertainty. I should know, just two months into my first job out of college I was fired. I remember all I could think about was how was I going to pay my student loans, how was I going to reinvent myself; without even officially inventing myself. There’s no doubt that being fired is a harsh feeling; but can at the same time be an incredible blessing. In this blog I’m going to share three tips on how to get back on your feet and start your next opportunity.

 

Let it Go – Let it go, let it go, you don’t need that job anymore (#frozen). I get it, after you’ve worked at a place for 10 years and you get fired it’s really tough to not be angry, resentful, or even downright hurt about what you did for that company. Here’s a little piece of advice that might help. Your feelings are natural and completely justified. Time is non refundable, we give our time to businesses in return for money, a refundable resource. When we get fired, or laid off, it results in wasted time which is extremely hard to get over. However the next step forward depends on this first step. Use any negative energy you might have to stick it to that last employer by getting a better, higher paying position. Take this time to recognize and discover your value and really connect to it. It’s an extremely powerful tool.

 

Be Open About It – Here’s something you might not hear everyday. Admit you were fired and be humble about it. Many times our initial reaction to getting fired is to be on the defensive. Try taking the exact opposite approach by showing humility and at the same time honing in on your strengths. Next comes the big question: Do I mention that I was fired on a resume or job interview? In my experience, I say a big Hell Yes. Listen, there is no exception to “honesty is the best policy” your future employer will not only appreciate your honesty and humility about the situation but will further appreciate your openness about what might have happened. Nothing is ever personal in business (although it may seem like everything is personal in business) sometimes things don’t work out and it’s totally fine. You’re ready to move on!

 

Connect to the Value You Create – This is a big one. Typically the next step after being fired is a bit of self reflection. Where do you go from here? Do you start your own business? try a career change or different industry? do you maybe try to utilize the time to extend your network? The possibilities are endless. Above all, take your time to connect to the value that you can create for not only yourself but others. No matter what interviews you go on, or clients you might take on with a business venture, you are defined by the value you create. I absurdly believe in that statement so I’ll say it again you are defined by the value you create. Before you apply for that next job think of what you can bring to the table, what ideas do you have, what skills (or as I call them, superpowers) do you possess that would be perfect for that next career. It’s not something that might be discovered overnight; but the thought is well worth the effort.

 

Conclusion – There’s no easy way to say this; getting fired sucks. But the only thing that sucks about it is the forced opportunity it brings to you. I’m a firm believer that everything in life is perspective; it’s all in how you look at things. A job is no different than a relationship; sometimes things go perfect and sometimes they don’t. That doesn’t mean that you should never invest yourself again. You are valuable and it’s time to show potential employers just how much they are missing out on by not having you on their team.

Three Steps to Protect Yourself From Burnout

“Burnout occurs when your body and mind can no longer keep up with the tasks you demand of them. Don’t try to force yourself to do the impossible. Delegate time for important tasks, but always be sure to leave time for relaxation and reflection.” – Del Suggs

 

I’ll cut to the chase. Being burnt out is no fun at all. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of being completely drained mentally, physically, and emotionally; burnout is the product of an insane amount of stress. We all put pressure on ourselves to find the right jobs, make the right investments, and utilize our time in the way we feel will get us the best return (we do this consciously and subconsciously) Burnout is downright unhealthy; and makes you feel apathetic to all life has to offer. Yet, there is a bright side! It is totally preventable with a little change in behavior and mindset. Here are my top three tips to prevent yourself from Burning Out:

 

Perspective – When you are burnt out you are really consumed in your own life. You might only see that report that’s due, or might only concentrate on what your boss said in that meeting. In essence you’re paranoid! Your brain wants you to slow down but for some reason you can’t. I’ve experienced this multiple times and use this simple exercise, which helps me alot. Before I go to bed every night I literally say out loud everything I’m thankful for. Whether it’s running water and food to family and friends; it’s important to say out loud all the things that you are thankful for. Take a moment to practice gratification and really connect to other people, and the life you’ve created for yourself. You might find by disconnecting from yourself you find rejuvenation in the world around you.

 

Relinquish Responsibility – It’s ok to step away from life for a little bit. Burnout typically happens when we are so consumed with controlling everything around us that we forget to let the cards fall. Just relax and let the universe play things out. Keep in mind there is no such thing as “good” or “bad”. only life experiences. Everything is the way we perceive it to be. When we feel we need to control everything we forget the most simplest things in life. I’ll give a brief example: when I bought my first investment property I was absolutely freaking out.

 

I had/have a very demanding full time job, I sell houses on the side and offer all of myself to my clients, I was trying to manage a relationship, and now I’m responsible for tenants on top of that! What if my tenants don’t pay rent? What if something major in the house breaks? What if I lose my job? (#Stressedoutyet?) I came to the realization that if you want to have everything (in my case achieving financial independence before 35) you have to be comfortable with losing everything or not having it to begin with. It’s not by accident that some of the poorest countries on earth who live the simplest of lifestyles have the happiest people; keep that in mind. It might sound silly but one of the best stress relievers to this day for me is to take a walk in the woods. For that time being there are no phone calls or emails only natural instinct and nature.

 

Take Care of Yourself – Keep in mind a bad case of burnout can take a while to recover from. Think of your brain being sprained. You need to take care of it, go easy on it, and let it heal. If you need to work while you’re burnt out (like I did) it’s really important to have self awareness to take a deep breath and go easy on yourself. It’s important that when you go home you shut off your phone, disconnect, and just relax. Really concentrate on the things you enjoy doing even if that means binge watching your favorite TV shows and not being productive for the time being. It’s ok to take a day or as many days as you need to take care of yourself. Relax, and let yourself get back to normal.

 

Conclusion – When going through Burnout it’s so important to take a step back from what you’re consumed in. It’s your brain’s way of saying, “no more!” Take your time to focus on yourself, whether it’s through meditation or just doing something you love. Practice gratification and flourish in all your accomplishments. You’ve come so far, you’re doing great, and you got this. Do you have any burnout prevention tips? Let us know in a comment below!

I Pledge Allegiance To…

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress: Working hard for something we love is called passion.” – Simon Sinek

 

The employer-employee relationship, something that will always interest me. Businesses need employees, and so many of us need that job to pay our bills, and sustain our way of life; the relationship is completely codependent. But what happens when the relationship becomes abusive? What happens when our work-life balance gets all in a tizzy? When we find ourselves being glued to our phones and email day in and day out; something we may have never intended to happen. Now what?

 

I’d like to share some of my experience when I was put in this situation. I’m not sure if you’ve read enough of my blogs to really get a good feel for me. To sum it up I’m the most introverted, hard working, and complete people-pleaser individual you will probably ever (or never) meet. I love helping people and I love making people happy. So when work asked me to pick up additional hours or work on my off days I really didn’t think anything of it.

 

What I found after months of “working outside of work” is that your brain needs a rest. Businesses and managers alike may not understand this. Any CEO is dedicated to their business, and what I found in my situation is that the same level of dedication was expected of me. More hours, same pay, more responsibility. I suddenly realized I was not getting the deal I wanted. My free time was taken up, I felt like I was on call all the time, and didn’t see a dime more for my efforts. This was not good.

 

The purpose of this blog is for those of us who over work ourselves to remember why we’re doing it; especially if we’re not happy or become unhappy with our lives. I’ll stand by the statement that many of us pledge allegiance to our jobs and businesses. The reason? I think work always gives us a sense of purpose but I think many of us are scared of losing it. What happens if we lose our jobs and can’t afford the mortgage, the student loans, the car payment etc… Yet, we don’t think what happens if a business can’t get anyone to work for them; which would result in no business at all. It is important to remember that employees have the upper hand in the relationship. A business relationship, like any other relationship, can sadly become abusive. Stay connected to your worth.

 

Our most precious resource on earth is time. Most of our time is spent working. Doing what we love is simply not enough; we are creatures of environment. Business culture is no different than the values you set on yourself. Sometimes though, business values and personal values collide. That is what I was experiencing in my personal experience. I personally hated working all the time for two reasons. I’m not all that in love with what I do, and I love having control of my time.

 

At the end of the day I didn’t quit my job, and I didn’t yell at anyone. I made a behavioral change. I will always continue to help, it’s literally in my nature to do so; but I’m more aware of the stress and toll things have on me now. When I come home from work I turn my phone off; anything that I’m not in the office for can wait till the next day, and if my employer has an issue with that I’d be more than willing to address it.

 

In closing I truly believe it is so important for us to value our time, because I’m not sure if we can assume any business will. As depressing as it is, in business, people are a replaceable commodity. People come and go but our work ethic stays with us and is a point of uniqueness that makes us stand out. We can always be the employee that every business would want; but what would it take for every business to be a place we would want to work for?

 

Has anyone run into an experience like this? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this topic!

5 Tips On How You Can Manage Your Student Debt Today

“Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you keep.” -Robert T. Kiyosaki

 

It’s time for us to have a heart to heart. One of my goals for this site is for it to become a complete resource for development. From career advice, to landing the job, to creating wealth. Today’s lesson: Debt. If you’re reading this I know you have some interest in getting out of debt but maybe aren’t sure how, or are so overcome with the balance of your debt that it might not even seem like it’s worth it. Just a little background, I was able to pay off all my student loans (about 45k) by 24 by just making $12.00/hr. I won’t lie, it was alot of hard work and strategy, but paying off student debt has put me in a really good position to accomplish my goal of financial freedom by 35. Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips on how you can manage your student debt today:

 

Start from the beginning – This might seem like an obvious place to start but it is oh so important. With student debt it’s really important to know and understand what you’re getting into. The issue is that you’re only 18 when you make one of the biggest financial decisions/investments of your life (#brokensystem). Student debt is incredibly interesting, many times what university or college you attend might not matter as much as you think it would when it comes time to start your career. If you are in the position where you are picking a college or thinking of going back to college, really weigh the return you might see from having a college degree with the debt you’ll be taking on. Furthermore think if you’d like to commute or dorm. I get the whole “college experience” thing and being away from home; but is it worth the extra 25k in tuition? Weigh your options carefully; you’ll be dealing with your decisions later in life.

 

Loan Consolidation – For many of us the “damage” is already done. I personally know I had a terrible return on my education first coming out of college. My debt was 45k and I came out making 12.00/hr or approximately 24k a year. For New Jersey, that really sucked. So how did I pay off those damn loans? First step, loan consolidation. After you graduate you might have 4-5 different loans floating around all with different interest rates. Take as many loans as you can and try to consolidate them under one interest rate. There are services such as So-Fi and Earnest that actually specialize in this; we have links to these sites on our resources page. By getting most of your loans under one interest rate you should save not only time, but a ton of money.

 

Get Aggressive – I have a really weird relationship with Money. I hate losing it, and spending it on stuff I won’t see a good return on; so college wasn’t exactly on my good side. I literally wanted to beat the proverbial snot out of my loans. How did I do this? Every month I’d get a statement, and every statement I’d give them a few hundred dollars more than what they asked for. Listen up, this is the big secret behind any debt: They get you with the interest rates. If you only make minimum payments you will be losing money every time you pay, even if your interest rate is low. The key is for you to feed that loan money until the interest rate no longer matters, and your payments are being applied solely to the principle of the loan. For example say your lender asks for $500/mo, give them $1,000.00 or $1500.00. Even if it’s $750 it’s still better than just paying the minimum balance.

 

Get Hustling – When I finally landed a fulltime job I remember being so relieved. I literally thought my work was done. I found a job, I spend 40 hours a week there, I then get to go home and play with my cat. I was crazy wrong. I’ve talked with so many graduates over the year whose salaries don’t justify their debt. (example 200k in debt vs 50k salary) Their full time jobs can’t support their debt never mind their lifestyle and cost of living. So what are they supposed to do? I honestly hate Math, but the one thing I like about it is that it’s very cut and dry. Sometimes there simply isn’t enough money, so you need to create money. How do you do that? You either pick up overtime at the current position you’re in, or you find a side hustle to make extra money to put towards your loans. In my instance I worked 50-60 hour weeks picking up any overtime I could for probably about a year and half to two full years; was it hard? Hell yea it was hard, but I was able to pay down my debt super fast and you learn to be grateful for the opportunity. So what are examples of some side hustles? You can pick up a part time job aside from your full time job, get your real estate license, give lessons on anything you are good at ex: guitar lessons, math tutoring, any bonuses you see from your full time job put towards your loans etc..,… If you get hustling you will be able to pay down your debt. no doubt about it

 

Saving Money Is The Same as Making Money – Often times when we feel there isn’t enough money in our lives we look for a higher paying job. We feel that if we only made more money than things would be so much easier. Sometimes that might be the case, but often times you can make lifestyle adjustments to accommodate your financial requests. If you ask me, it’s really important to track your finances and analyze what you are spending money on. When you have a loan payment coming up, did you really need to drop $300.00 on shoes? How about instead of going out to eat every day, try once a month? You see what I’m getting at. Luckily there are a plethora of tools out there to help track your spending and calculate your net worth. Probably the two best apps for calculating your networth is Mint, and Personal Capital. I personally use Mint. For me it gets the job done, it links to my accounts, tracks my spending, and calculates my networth. I can set personal goals for myself and make lifestyle adjustments around my goal. Both of these apps are incredible tools and I would certainly encourage anyone looking to advance their financial future to use them.

 

Conclusion – Student Debt can be an incredibly tough obstacle to tackle if you do not have a plan. I hope some of the above tips and strategies help you to eliminate your debt and start your journey to wealth accumulation! Remember that debt is completely controllable and might take some behavioral and lifestyle changes but can be managed. You got this! Do you have any tips, good sites, or apps that helped you with your student debt? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Destructive Superpowers And How To Overcome Them

“Your anger gives you great power. But if you let it, it will destroy you.” – Ra’s al Ghul

 

I have a firm belief everyone has superpowers; innate traits or abilities that make each of us strong and dynamically unique. Traits like work ethic, drive, even empathy are all super powers that can be a huge asset when harnessed and leveraged. Yet can these superpowers be destructive? Can the very traits that propel us forward in our work and personal lives be destructive and hold us back? Here are my three tips on how to identify three destructive superpowers and what you can do to overcome them:

 

The Ability To Suffer – We all say it, “I’ll get a new job when the time is right”, or “I’ll take time off when work isn’t so busy”. What we are really saying is “I’m scared of change and even though I’m miserable it’s less painful than trying something new.” The ability to suffer is an incredible superpower that enables people to stick things out for much longer than need be. We’ve all been in relationships, jobs, and situations that we stayed in for too long because it was just so much easier to “suck it up.” Yet, there is a much easier way: defy your destructive superpower and turn it into a strength. The ability to suffer is not a good superpower to have; having the resilience to not quit is a superpower you can use to your strength. What’s the difference between the two? Your happiness. You suffer when you’re not happy, yet you can be determined and driven when you are working on a project that you love and interests you. Next time you feel stuck at work, in a relationship, or any other situation think to yourself “am I happy?” if the answer is “no” ask yourself, are you settling by suffering? Or if you might be in need of a change or new opportunity.

 

Lack of Confidence – I like to say I’m part of the 30 under 30 club… 30 interviews under 30 years old. There was a time when I went on a TON of interviews. I went into each interview doing the exact same thing and expected different results every time. Naturally all I got was a big supersized “NO”. Looking back, after about interview number 5 I needed a confidence overhaul… big time. We all have that little voice in our heads that says “you might not be enough to get this job” or worse “you don’t deserve this job or promotion.” So how the heck do you get around this? Take a step back from interviewing and really think about your day, how far you’ve come, all of your accomplishments you’ve made up until this point; and celebrate your wins.. Every last one of them. Even if you got up and went to the grocery store, celebrate it, and feel good about it. Start building your confidence up, you’ll find your confidence superpower was there all along. Start to double down and realize all the amazing qualities your possess. It’s time to unleash them!

 

Ego – Our ego can come in extreme handy; it’s great to feel confident and we all take comfort in seeing someone who can lead and provide that assurance. Yet, when our ego gets out of control everything can spiral leading to self sabotage… fast. So how do you know when to tone down your ego and what are some signs that might distinguish between confidence (a solid superpower) and an inflated ego? I think the biggest sign of having an inflated ego is the inability to learn or really take in information at the highest level. What do I mean by that? You’re ego’s main job is to protect you from feeling… well like a loser. It wants to protect us even when we’re wrong (and even at times when we consciously know that we’re wrong) which is when we get defensive or downright angry. The bottom line here is that having an inflated ego is a bad recipe for working with others and cooperation within a community of people; whether that is at work, with an interviewer, or even in a relationship. Once an ego is brought back down to earth it’s the perfect combination of self confidence, humility, and assurance. A perfect trifecta of superpowers that can easily be used to your advantage.

 

Conclusion – We all have superpowers and with those powers come great responsibility. It’s so easy and even natural to fall into any of the above destructive superpowers. Always check in with yourself and assess how you are doing. Are you holding yourself back? Or lacking trust and confidence in yourself? Always connect back to your greatest superpowers; they will time and again consistently outweigh any of your shortcomings. What is your greatest superpower? How do you use it to your advantage? Have you ever had a destructive superpower? How did you overcome it? Let us know in the comments below!

Three Ways To Avoid A Social Media Identity Crisis

“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” – Jay – Z
Take a journey with me. The year? 1999. Social media doesn’t exist and your social circle is much smaller; and your employer? Well your employer only knows you inside of working hours and that’s it! No Facebook, no LinkedIn, and no twitter. Fast forward to 2017 and much has changed. We now socially brand ourselves with our unique personalities, and anything out of “character” sticks out like a sore thumb. So how can you get around this? What happens if you say or did something you don’t want to world to know about, never mind your employer!? Here are my three tips on how to avoid a Social Media Identity Crisis.
If You Have Nothing Nice To Say… – Say it with me… “don’t say anything at all!” This simple little saying my parents told me when I was five has certainly done wonders. It’s no exception on social media. If you have any social media accounts (including LinkedIn) it’s extremely important to realize your character is on display 24/7. As you might have guessed, one thing that turns people off is inconsistency of character. It is so important to think before you type, or post that picture; your character is now out in the open and vulnerable.
What Is Your Brand – The best way I can explain this is that your personality and character is like your own personal business; your brand. Who will you be? If you market yourself as the introverted scholar, what happens when you’re tagged in a photo of the rager last week? You see what I’m getting at; it comes back to consistency of character and employers are looking for just that. The problem that social media has created for us is that the human species isn’t meant to be on display 24/7. We all have sides of us that we want people to appreciate, and there are other sides of us that we have yet to accept and acknowledge; never mind it being on display for a total stranger or even worse our future employer. So what can we do about this?
Mind Your Settings – Obviously you can’t be a hermit, or worse, somebody everyone else wants or perceives you to be. So what’s left? The best advice I can give is monitor your social media settings and platforms that you really use. If you’re not going to use a social media platform, it doesn’t make sense to have an account for it. For example get ready for it… I have never used instagram… (#sorryIguess) the reason? Because I don’t really care that people know what I’m doing; that’s just my personality. I’m all about value, what value would you be getting from a picture of my dinner (#chickennuggets) it doesn’t make sense to me. However maybe you love posting pictures of your adventures, or tweeting the latest trends of your interests. Bring value to your social circle and your employers will see the value you will bring to them. You also want to check your settings and make sure only your friends or contacts can see your posts (if you want them to). The worst thing is someone seeing something that wasn’t intended for them to see. Social Media, as we have found out, can be incredibly useful, but we need to recognize and respect the power of it as well.
Conclusion – Social Media is here and there aren’t many ways around it. Even if you choose to not have a social media account many employers are looking for candidates with Social Media accounts. Why? Because it’s an easy way to vet candidates before they even set up an interview. What are they looking for? Consistency of character. The best advice I can give is for any posts on social media to really align to the image you’d like to portray in your professional life. I want to hear your thoughts? How much of an impact do you feel social media has in the workplace? Let us know in the comments!

3 Reasons Why Credit Means Nothing

“Inside of every problem lies an opportunity.” Robert Kiyosaki

Everywhere you look nowadays credit is required for you to make purchases. Whether it’s a car, a house, or even furniture; credit seems to dictate what we can and cannot have in our lives. Yet, what are people with bad credit supposed to do? I guess they just can’t have stuff and need to live in a box… Of course not! With a little strategy and a game plan you can literally have anything your heart desires. Here are my three reasons why Credit means nothing:

 

What is it – Credit to most people means how well they pay their bills on time. They make sure they pay everything timely and at least give a little something towards their debt. I look at credit a little differently. At face value having good credit means you are really good at borrowing other people’s money. Now I’m not saying stop paying your bills! But what I am saying is certainly be conscience of your purchases. Instead of maxing out a credit card and believe that you are “building credit” look at it as a charge card; only put a dollar amount that you can afford on it so you can pay your bill off in full when the time comes. What does this do? It lets you avoid the interest that is charged, saving you a ton of money!

 

Doesn’t Stop You From Making Money – When people ruin their credit by either foreclosing on a home, or going through a financial hardship they assume they’ll never be able to own anything ever again. That is simply not true. Having bad credit doesn’t stop you from making money. Will it take work and discipline to save to buy a home in cash? You bet your sweet cheeks it will. Yet, if you’re dedicated to it, why not? Many times student debt is another big issue when going to buy a home. Millennials have the highest student loan debt the nation has ever seen; many are putting big purchases like home ownership to the side because they simply can’t build up their credit fast enough to get approved for a loan. So what gives?

 

The Strategy – Huddle in, here’s the game plan if you have bad credit or if you haven’t had a chance to build your credit yet. If you’re credit is already on the downside there is still hope. If you do want to make a home purchase there are still a ton of lenders who deal with people with judgments or collections actions on their credit (If you live in NJ just send me an email, I’ll get a list to you). Say your credit is really in the gutter; then the answer is to produce income. Again Credit doesn’t stop you from making money. Creating good spending and saving habits can be life changing and you’ll never have to ask anyone for money again. Now say you are trying to build your credit what do you do? In the event you want to make a big purchase like a home and don’t have the credit to do so you can always get a co-signer for the loan with good credit (such as a parent) and then eventually drop their name from the loan. Say you don’t want to go that route what is the next best way? I would really start hammering down on your student loans (or the loan that is causing you the most debt) as much as you can. This way if you pay a good chunk of the loan down in just a few months your credit will improve and you’ll also show creditors that you’re serious about paying back debt.

 

Conclusion – If you have bad credit or haven’t had time to build up your credit yet; don’t sweat it! There are multiple ways to get around borrowing money. Remember that generating more income might be harder than just taking out a credit card, but owing nothing to anyone is really priceless. I’d love to get some thoughts on this blog. Has anyone had bad credit and turned it around? If so how did you do it and what were your steps? Let us know in the comments below!

Three Ways You Can Be A Leader In The Workplace Without Having Any Experience

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” – Simon Sinek

At one time or another we’ve all been new at something. Whether it was sports, music, or even academia we’ve all broached and continue to broach new adventures everyday. Like all trivial or uncertain parts of our life, how do we endure? We have coaches, mentors, and leaders to help us. Yet, what about the workplace? Traditionally in the workplace we’ll have managers, supervisors, or even the CEO directly looking over us. What I’ve found in my working experience is that many people in a managerial position have no idea how to manage people. Additionally most managers don’t understand that people don’t want to be managed; we want to be led. Having a manger breathing down your neck for a deadline is much different than one that will give you all the resources necessary for you to meet that deadline. However, there is really good news. At any time you can be the leader you always wish you had and be a leader in your workplace no matter what your experience level is, or how long you’ve been working there. Here are my three ways you can become a leader in your workplace today:

 

Listen – Seems easy enough right? Just kind of open your ears and things will kinda sink in. Well not so much. If you want to be a leader in the workplace you need to really listen. Why? Because most people are afraid to tell you what they’re really thinking. Why are they afraid? Because they don’t want to be fired or thought less of if they need additional help. I certainly can’t speak for all work environments, but from my experience most businesses are so focused on the bottom line, they forget the people who serve on the front line and make everything possible. To step up and become a leader in whatever position you are in or aspire to be in, it’s so important to listen actively. Don’t just listen to the words your co-workers or associates are saying, pay attention to their body language. Do they need help? What do they need for their day to go a little smoother? Do they just need to vent? Be that rock for them.

 

Analyze – No matter what job I’ve had and will have throughout my career, I love to know the process of business. What does that mean? I’m obsessed with knowing what every department does and how the puzzle fits together. Again I can’t speak for all businesses but I will say most businesses do not offer any kind of cross training for you to see how the puzzle fits together. What does that mean? It means going out of your way to ask questions and learn. Ask someone in another department what they do and how it fits into the big picture. Once you understand the flow of the organization you work for, providing assistance to every department can become much easier, as you’ll understand and grasp the needs of those around you.

 

Ask – Now I’ve already mentioned ask lots of questions to those around you and especially in different departments. But the real asking happens when you are leaving for the day. Try this. Before you leave for the day ask your supervisor, CEO, or person next to you if they need any help or need to go over anything before you leave for the day. Simple as that. Show that you care not only about your own job, but other’s jobs as well. Show that you care just as much for the person next to you to get out on time, as much as you care aboutyourself getting out on time. When you start to look at things in more of a team atmosphere you’ll be able to connect more to not only your co workers, but your role in the workplace as well.

 

Conclusion – Literally anyone can be a leader in the workplace. Whether you have 5 days or 5 years experience, leadership is so much of what you do for others than necessarily a knowledge of subject matter. Make the people who you work with feel supported and a funny thing happens; You become supported. You define yourself as an asset to your workplace and that is how promotions and growth happens. When you are in the managerial role you will have the option to manage or lead. Take the steps, do the work, be a leader. What are some ways that you step up at work? Are there certain things you do to leverage up the people around you? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Reasons Why You Owe Your Success To Standardized Testing

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain

 

I want you to travel back in time with me. The year? 2006. I’m a junior in high school, and just found out that I failed the math portion of the State Standardized testing exam. As a result, I need to take remedial math classes in order to graduate high school. Now, I’d love to tell you that I absolutely sucked at school… but honestly I didn’t. In my high school class I went on to graduate number 96 out of almost 400 students; and college? I double majored and earned two bachelor degrees, one of which was Economics which generally relied on some quantitative math skills and analysis. I finished college with a 3.4 GPA. Throughout my education I always pulled generally good grades; finishing on honor roll or high honor roll almost every marking period. Yet, there was always one week out of the year that would make me proverbially shit myself; State standardized testing week. My state testing career started in the third grade and lasted to the twelfth, and yet I honestly was absolutely horrific at taking those tests. Let’s fast forward to 2017. I’m 28 years old and have been out of high school for 10 years, yet the lesson those tests taught me were a little more than the subject matter I proved to fail. Here are three reasons why I, and I’m sure many others, owe our success partially to State Standardized Testing:

 

Grit – I haven’t met one person who likes to sit in a classroom with a moderator for four hours taking a test. Come to think of it I haven’t met a person who likes to sit in a four hour meeting at work listening to people lecture either. See what I’m getting at? State tests teach grit to all those who don’t want to be there. I know when I was growing up that was me. I think most people would agree it’s important in life to do things that you don’t want to do, to get out of our comfort zones; it’s the only way to grow. Our brains have one job; to protect us, and we all love to take the path of least resistance. It’s always easier to not ask or negotiate for the raise, to not ask for help, and learn to accept things. Yet, what if you were forced to go against the grain? In my case, sitting through lengthy tests proved to me that sometimes you need to suck it up, do your time, and do what’s necessary and best to move on to the next chapter.

 

Time Management – I think what messed me up the most during standardized tests is knowing that you have a boat load of questions in front of you, on subjects you might not really care about, and oh yea you have like 10 minutes to complete them; good luck! Now I’ll share a little wisdom from experience; do not turn your scan tron sideways and make a smiley face by coloring in the corresponding circles, I assure you that is not a good idea… But I will share another piece of knowledge that I did learn. Time management. State tests are your first crack at time management. When will time management come into play? When it’s 3pm and your boss needs that report on his desk by 4:30pm, or when you’re managing five real estate clients and you need to manage your time between showing houses, writing contracts, and going to closings. You see what I’m getting at. It’s rarely touched upon, but I would certainly credit standardized testing to the introduction and cultivation of time management.

 

Be Prepared – Showing up to a test without a pencil sucks. Showing up to a presentation without anything prepared in front of the company sucks a little more. One thing that standardized testing taught me was to be prepared, mostly mentally. To me, tests were intimidating; that’s why my weapon of choice is writing. Writing is something I can carefully think about, take my time with, and always come back to. From a young age I realized I didn’t like to be put on the spot for something I couldn’t prepare for, especially to test my knowledge. Yet as I grew up and experienced life a little more I also realized there are so many situations and circumstances both professionally and personally that we could never prepare for. Like those tests, we sometimes need to take our best educated guesses and move on to the next question. Don’t get hung up on that one thing, or time will certainly expire.

 

Conclusion – If you’ve made it this far in this blog you’re probably thinking, so does this guy like standardized tests or does he hate them? My answer is a little of both. Do I think standardized tests are useful in testing any child’s knowledge of subject matter? Not at all. I think there are children who are great confident test takers and then there are those, like me, who psych themselves out about tests; getting anxious and even stressed about their performance. Yet, I feel there are underlying lessons in these tests that will prove useful throughout one’s life. What are your thoughts? Do you think standardized testing is useful in schools to wage academia? Or do you feel there is a greater or no purpose to them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!