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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.

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 www.360jobinterview.com, 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:

Training Secrets for Easy Career Switches

Has your job gone stagnant in a flat economy? Perhaps you've reached the earning ceiling in your profession or you've specialized in a career that offers little flexibility. Today's employers have gotten more demanding of their workers, expecting everyone to handle greater duties than those for which they were originally hired.

If you're feeling left out, it may be time to consider enrolling in a college degree or certificate program that offers a quick, smooth transition to a relevant career.

Professionals who work in health care, education, or technology already know that in continuing their education or career training, or by picking up a new certification or related degree, they can shift toward management and higher earnings. Many employers even provide funds for continuing education or tuition reimbursement on the back end.

Let's look at career training or degree programs that can build bridges between where you're stuck, and where you want to be.

Ceiling Busters: 4 Paths to Career Advancement

Hitting a career plateau can be unsettling and disappointing. You know you've hit a plateau when you've gone as far as you can in your job and you find it unchallenging and well below your earning expectations.

Continuing education can be a real tonic. By adding a certification or advanced degree in your field, you can become more competitive for advancement or find fresh interest in a profession that has gone stale. Online career training or college degree programs can take as little as a year, while some educational pathways take a little longer. But the flexibility of online learning means you can meet your work commitments or family obligations while injecting fresh energy into your professional life.

If you love your field, take a look at these fast-growing careers and advanced training that can boost your challenges, responsibilities, and earnings.

Six simple steps to take, when you've lost your job

When you've lost your job, these simple steps will help you move forward.

Wake up everybody! Get out of the unemployment line, and launch your new and improved life: This is not the end of your world. It's the beginning of a much happier career and lifestyle.

Look around you. What do you see? There's a new world of possibility unfolding right in front of you. Wipe the fear from your eyes and focus on the opportunities. The world is crying out for new solutions to old problems.

Alternative energy and green lifestyles have become mainstream; careers in that field are the wave of the future. New technologies are needed to march us successfully into the future - as are new health care paradigms. People are searching for health solutions that don't require thousands of dollars worth of medical interventions. You're standing on this threshold for a reason. You intended to be here. Embrace the change and move forward.

Scrutinizing 2010 Insurance Options

Whatever you do with your health benefits during the current open enrollment season for 2010, there’s a good chance it won’t be what you did last year.

The time-honored “evergreen” option — defaulting to your current plan — may simply no longer be an option. Either your employer no longer even offers that plan, or the terms may be so radically different that you may no longer want it.

With so much in flux, this may be the year you will need to switch health plans. That realization hit home with me recently, and painfully, when I studied my own family’s health insurance options for 2010, under my husband’s employer-sponsored plan.

Finding Balance and Meaning in a Nine-to-Five World

I have actually heard people say that the way they are at work is "not really the way they are." I cannot think of a sadder declaration about the conditions of one's life than that. Work should not be a life sentence for suffering.

The idea of work-life balance is an illusion we create. The reality is that we have only one life, about one third of which we spend earning a living.

So, how do you want to live your life, in and out of work? That's the question everyone seeking happiness and a sense of balance should be asking. What are your conditions of satisfaction? What are your material aspirations? How much do you need to earn to meet them? How much are your time and skills worth? What kinds of people do you prefer to work with? What kind of work really turns you on, makes you sing?

6 Ways Your Computer Can Get You Fired

Your boss is furious about the abuse of the company's resources. You're facing disciplinary action because of an e-mail that made the rounds over your name.

You're being sacked for breaching corporate security. How could this happen?

WORKPLACE HAZARDS

The use of computer technology in the workplace has created a virtual minefield of potential pitfalls for employees who do not adhere to their corporation's computer usage policies.

Computer hardware, software and Internet access provided by an employer are intended for business use. The system belongs to the company and there should be no expectation of privacy on an employee's part. The company could engage in surveillance of your access and usage, including web surfing and e-mail content.

Here are some of the areas where you might be at risk and some tips to ensure that corporate security doesn't threaten your job security.

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