How To Make Your Name Professionally

Think of yourself as a product on a grocery store shelf: Do you want to be a popular, sought-after brand like Kraft or do you want to be a generic, lifeless brand?

In many ways you’re viewed in your professional life like a brand in a grocery store. Without a shiny packaging, you’re just another cheap commodity that anyone can buy anywhere. But as a powerful and recognizable brand, you can charge more, appear more valuable, and ultimately get chosen over the generic guy next to you.

Much like popular brand names don’t appear overnight, making a professional name for yourself and raking in huge checks doesn’t happen incidentally. It takes a ton of work and requires you to leverage every possible outlet to get your professional name out there. Fortunately, making your name professional doesn’t require a huge marketing budget or a big name PR firm. You can do all the hard stuff yourself.

Survive The 3-Month Crunch

You’ve surely experienced it yourself, the sudden production rush that occurs during the fall season, making the months of September, October and November a living hell in most offices. In some sectors, this labor-intensive period is due to the approach of Christmas and all its commercial opportunities. In others, it’s got more to do with the fiscal year coming to an end. Regardless of the cause, it’s best to prepare for the difficult times ahead. Here are six tips on how to survive the 3-month crunch without damaging your career or your personal life.

Pace yourself

Don’t procrastinate, but don’t try to do everything at once either. You wouldn’t want to burn out on the first week. To survive the 3-month crunch, schedule your workload with care, making sure to accomplish a reasonable number of tasks every day, and be mindful of your peak hours. Most workers get a bit groggy in the late afternoon, so use this period to handle repetitive assignments that demand little attention. You should also leave yourself time, especially in the last month, to deal with unforeseen complications. You can bet there’ll be more than a few.

How to Reinvent your Career

If you work long enough, something along the way will probably happen to you. You will work with a co-worker who drives you crazy, a boss that doesn't get you, or an employee that keeps you up at night.

It's all a part of the working world.

At other times, things will happen to you that will throw you for a loop. Your job is eliminated. You are fired without reason. Your industry goes away. This is when it's important to take stock in who are you, what you want out of life, and where you want to go next.

So, how do you get yourself back on track; find your passion and purpose again, and reinvent the next phase of your career? You soul-search and ask lots of questions.

Helping Teenagers Find Their Dreams

Q. What, if anything, can parents of high-school-age children do to guide them toward their true professional calling?

A. Some parents are apt to put pressure on their children about choosing a first career, thinking that it will determine the course of their lives. Yet as adults, we often reinvent ourselves more than once, moving among professions. So whatever your children choose now won’t necessarily define their future.

“I see many teens who jump on the first career track that someone recommends just to avoid being directionless, only to find themselves miserable a few years later,” said Tamar E. Chansky, a child-and-adolescent psychologist in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., and author of “Freeing Your Child From Anxiety.”

Ms. Chansky says it’s best to have conversations with teenagers about their strengths and interests, rather than a specific career, and then to listen to what they have to say. “If the parent is putting out all the ideas, you wind up with the parent’s dream, not the kid’s,” she said.

Eleven Easy Ways to Destroy Your Company

Businesses make hundreds or thousands of decisions every year, many of which seem inconsequential. But the smallest details can have business-changing or even business-ending consequences. Here are 11 of my favorites to watch out for:

1. The lowly extension cord. People get cold feet. They get a space heater. They plug it into a two-pronged extension cord. They forget to unplug it when they leave work. That night, while you are sleeping, your entire business burns down. Your brilliant marketing plan, your three-year projections, all of your records, your new product samples … . You get the idea. This is not something that most business owners think about, but insurance companies know that extension cords and space heaters are major fire hazards. It is good practice not to allow any extension cords in your business that aren’t three-pronged.

10 Surprising Minimum-Wage Jobs

The U.S. federal minimum wage recently increased 70 cents from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour. Who will be affected by this boost? Cashiers and fast food workers? Yes, but some minimum wage jobs also come with surprisingly hefty responsibilities.

From preschool teachers to hospitals aides, there are many people in critical roles whose salaries don't necessarily reflect the importance of their professional contributions. You may be surprised to find out who's making the bare minimum.

1. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

Bottom 10% earn: $8.79 per hour
U.S. median salary: $11.41 per hour
Job description: Assess injuries, administer emergency medical care, and extricate trapped individuals. Transport injured or sick persons to medical facilities.

An EMT may pull you from a car wreck and keep you alive on your way to the hospital -- and maybe for as little as $9 an hour? New EMTs must be brave, decisive, compassionate, and knowledgeable. Fortunately, their salaries go up after they get some experience under their belts.


How to Fire Someone

Since the beginning of the year, more than 17 million Americans have lost their jobs. Someone had to let them go.

Most bosses who aren't Donald Trump say that laying people off is one of the toughest tasks they face. And they have to do it more frequently all the time. In hopes of helping both firer and the fired, we talked to pros in the employment and therapy fields to come up with some advice for those who must wield the ax.

First rule: When delivering bad news, get to the point quickly, clearly and concisely. Jeffrey Garber, founder of the career services Web site, says he once fired a graphic designer who had trouble getting the message. "The employee said, 'I can change,'" he remembers. "She went on for half an hour, with me trying to tell her it was a final decision."

Gossip Your Way to a Great Job

Titillating as it can be, gossip is something most people realize they should avoid, especially at work.

But there is an upside to gossip. In a recent survey by staffing firm Randstad USA, more than half of the respondents felt gossip was useful to job hunting. Gossip can also help you identify new opportunities within your own workplace. And even the most casual office chit-chat can give you insight into your work, your company, and even your own job security.

Follow these tips to gossip to your career advantage:

1) Rethink your idea of gossip. Work gossip isn't just about who's dating whom in the office. Any piece of information about a company or industry can be used to your advantage. Reading journals and websites specific to your industry may give you useful information about which employers are growing their workforce. Or hearing a rumor that free snacks in the break-room are a disappearing perk can be a heads up that your organization is doing some belt-tightening.

How to Stay Positive, Proactive, and Productive

Are you stuck in a rut and anxious to leave a job you used to like?

Perhaps after receiving several promotions, you're spinning your wheels in a role where there's little room for further advancement. Maybe your company's corporate culture has taken a turn for the worse, or a new manager is placing unrealistic demands on you. Feeling unchallenged, underappreciated, and overextended are just a few of the many reasons people become disillusioned with once-appealing jobs.

The problem in a tough economy is that it can be extremely challenging -- and time consuming -- to secure a new position that fits your career goals. With countless other professionals looking for employment today, you may discover you need to remain with your current employer until conditions improve. If this is the case, use the following strategies to make the most of a bad situation:

Unreality TV: What the Hottest Prime-Time Jobs Really Pay

Between the clever quips, the incessant cleavage, and the convenient storeroom sex, this year's fall TV lineup makes a day at the office look nothing short of a college frat party. But anyone who's worked as a nurse, publishing assistant, or criminal investigator will tell you that the TV versions of their jobs are far racier than the reality.

To set the record straight, we asked workers in the trenches what TV's hottest prime-time shows get wrong about their jobs. We also dug up what these positions actually pay (hint: often less than their fictional counterparts) and how stiff the competition is, especially in today's tricky job market.


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