3 Ways to Ruin Your Career

If you want to succeed in your first job, there are a few key rules you should follow: be punctual, polite, and professional. However, the list of things you shouldn’t do is rarely written down, and it’s a fine line. Here are three rules you shouldn’t break when you start out in your first job. Think of them as the written rules of what not to do as you begin your professional career!

1) Dressing Too Casually

Sure, you’ve probably heard about artistic or tech jobs that don’t care if you wear jeans and a t-shirt to work every day. What they don’t mention is that almost every profession has times when you must dress to impress. Specifically, you should dress well when you are presenting at meeting or when you’re meeting with a director or someone important in your company. Not dressing to impress can be indicative of your attitude toward your job, whether or not that is true. Don’t let people assume you care about your job as little as you care about your attire.

The bottom line: Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. If you would like to be in the director’s chair, watch how she or he dresses and mimic that style. Show him/her that you know the culture and style, and you’ll be noticed – in a good way.

2) Blaming Others

Sometimes you just won’t know how to do things, particularly if you are starting out in a new job. If you make a mistake, you might be tempted to blame a coworker for not giving better instructions, or your supervisor for not providing training. Instead of owning up to your mistakes and asking for constructive criticism, you blame others and cast them in a bad light. Do this often enough, and people will avoid helping you or, worse, resent you.

The bottom line: Own up to any mistakes you made, but ask for help. If you made an error on an assignment because your supervisor did not give clear instructions, instead of blaming his/her communication style, ask for ways to improve communication. Note that you’re an entry level employee who wants to provide good work, done right the first time. That positive and eager attitude will impress your supervisor – and keep you in good standing among your coworkers.

3) Resisting Change

You may have joined your new company based on your boss’ reputation as a stellar communicator and mentor, only to find she was on the retirement track and will retire in three months. Software you’ve been using for months and Excel at may be phased out and replaced with something more complicated. Either way, complaining and resisting these changes does nothing but make you miserable. There will be enough other people in your company who also loathe the changes, and misery loves company. Don’t let yourself be dragged into a complaining spiral – it will only make you less productive and less likely to be seen as a team player.

The bottom line: Change happens. You will deal without it throughout your entire career, so look at the changes happening early in your career as a time to learn and improve your skills. That new, complicated software? Embrace the change and learn a new system. You never know if your next job will require that skillset, and you may be one of the few employees who know how to use it. New manager? Be open-minded about what you can learn from him/her. If you’re seen as someone adaptable to change, you’re likely to be given more responsibility and projects – which will get you noticed by others in your organization for something positive.

Originally posted 2015-03-26 10:00:55.


How to Get Your First Salary Increase or Promotion This Year

Getting a raise at a new job is often seen as a complicated or uncomfortable task, especially for millennials. We tend to either be too scared to seek out a salary increase or promotion at our new job, or think we’re unworthy of deserving one.

I recently posted about how I found my first job out of college after majoring in an industry that was not in demand according to society. After being at my job for 6 months, I’ve already earned a 10% raise and promotion with the opportunity for even more growth as the year progresses.

I’m here to tell you that if you’re trying to earn a raise or a promotion, 2015 will be your year. These steps will help you determine your value within your company and how to communicate it to your superiors to score a much needed pay raise.

Step 1: Get a Job You Like With Room for Growth

If you want to advance at your workplace you have to actually like your job and the work that you do. Otherwise, it will be very hard to convince your boss of your work ethic and achievements if you’re not even passionate about the work you do.

When you first started your job you should have already talked to your boss or managers about growth within the company. This is crucial because you cannot earn more or advance your responsibilities if there is no room for growth at your workplace.

Unfortunately some companies cannot afford to pay their employees what they are worth, and I have seen this in my industry where writers are often under payed for their work and undervalued.

Make Yourself Irreplaceable

Once you’ve established that there is indeed room for growth at your company, then it’s time to start making yourself an irreplaceable entity of the company. Understand your role and optimize the results you bring in. Even if your department or job title is not a necessity in the company, make your superiors believe that it is.

Be a team player, but also be highly dependable and efficient with everything you do. This will make you stand out from others who are a hassle to work with and it will secure your position for a long time.

Step 2: Research Your Industry, Excel Over Your Coworkers

Research your industry and get an idea of how much people are expected to be paid. To do this try a site like which publishes salary and reviews for many companies. If you find that you are being underpaid according to industry standards, this is all the more reason to ask for a raise. If you are seeking a promotion, you will have a better idea of how much of a raise you will seek out.

Be Pleasant and Stay Out Of Workplace Drama

Workplace drama is unnecessary, distracting, and reminiscent of high school. Getting caught up in the drama will only annoy your superiors and lessen your chances of getting a raise. It’s important to keep work separate from your personal life and remain professional at all times.

Remember that your managers may be nice people, but they are observing you and how you react in certain situations more than you think. During my first few months of work there were definitely some things I could have complained about but I kept it to myself and remained focused on the task at hand.

No one likes whiners and complainers.

If you are trying to be promoted it’s also a good idea to avoid becoming ‘besties’ with your coworkers. While my coworkers are very nice and I enjoy working with them and chatting about nonsense from time to time, I made sure to keep the relationship with my coworkers strictly work-based and apart from my personal life.

I am the youngest person at my company and I’m sure that if my boss saw getting too close with all my coworkers or worse acting immature and stirring up workplace drama, he would have thought I did not have the discipline or maturity to supervise and train employees who were older than me or anyone for that matter.

Excelling Over Others

Don’t get me wrong, most jobs are heavily focused on teamwork and the finished product, as they should be. But you’ll have to admit that supervisors and managers are placed in a higher category because they excel over others in their work. You have to be willing to work hard, go above and beyond your job requirements, and even stay late some times to stand out from others at your place of work. Making a portfolio of tasks completed and ways that you’ve benefited the company through your performance is a great way to excel over others and eventually earn more.

Step 3: Leverage Your Annual Review and Ask for Your Raise

Your mid-year or annual review can be the perfect time to seek out a raise or promotion. You will be discussing your performance, most companies receive a new budget each year, and are often looking to make some changes. It’s important to ask your boss where they think you are headed in the company and express your interest in any open leadership positions if they apply.

If you are not offered a raise, be sure to ask for one that is at least a 10% increase from your current pay. If you put in the hard work and performed well you should not act entitled but yet, very humble and deserving of pay a raise. Break out your portfolio of work or simply discuss your assets and what you’ve been able to achieve and make sure your boss understands that you are here to stay and the value you bring to the company is irreplaceable. Stay persistent and remember, you’ve earned it.

Good luck!

Originally posted 2015-02-12 08:00:00.

Earn Extra Income

Transitioning from 9-5 to Full Time Blogger (Can I have my cake and eat it too?)

This was initially posted on July 17, 2014 about a month after I left my full time job to become a full time blogger.

Cake Day.

I’m going to miss Cake Day.

As I get ready to pack up my desk my mind races but settles on this one event. Each month my employer celebrates birthdays with cakes.

This month is my birthday month so I had a chance to help choose the two cakes that the entire company will eat. Unfortunately, I will miss the opportunity to celebrate June birthdays.

There is really no one else to blame. I made the decision.

I decided to leave my relatively safe, well paying position for the unknown.

As of 5pm on June 13th, 2014 I will become a full time solopreneur.

Love this story! This shows exactly what's possible. Can't wait to set my quit date and grow my blog so I can work for myself as a full time blogger! :D
I wrote the excerpt above a few days before my last day of work.

That’s right.

I am no longer a 9 to 5 employee.

The decision to strike out on my own was a tough one. I knew that I was not meant for the cubicle life before I even started my career.

However, I made it a point to get comfortable with it because I had bills to pay.

Credit cards, student loans and a car payment were all on my mind along with my cell phone bill and living expenses.

So instead of starting a business with savings, I had to get a job to dig myself out the financial hole that I created.

The first year at my new job was great.

The work was new and challenging, I was learning so many new things and it felt good to conform.

You know when someone asks you what you do? I could happily state my job title and then follow up with the explanation.

Most cubicle workers have the same interaction. It goes a bit like this.

Cubicle Worker 1: What do you do?
Cubicle Worker 2: I’m a Database Systems Analyst.
CW 1: Oh. What is that?
CW 2: Well, I blah blah blah….

There’s no point in going into the full job explanation because we all know that’s about where we all stop listening.

Anyway, I actually liked that exchange.

It was better than saying, “Hey I’m unemployed.”

The second year was even better, financially speaking. I had paid off my car loan and I had made a significant dent in my credit card debt.

I had also been contributing to my employer sponsored 401k and receiving the matching bonus.

I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

That’s when things started to change a bit.

You see, I had been working on my blog in my spare time. I started Young Finances after I graduated college, before I could find a job.

I graduated in May and it took me 11 months to land a position. In the meantime, I was working odd jobs and my blog.

I wanted to use the information that I had learned about finance in school. I planned to teach investing and personal finance; just the basics.

And when I say basics I mean the stuff that I wish I had known pre-recession.

So as I’m working my blog part time, I start making a bit of income and I think to myself how cool it would be if I could do this full time.

I knew I had to show consistent sustainable income before I considered it.

I decided to set a date after reading this post from Paula over at Afford Anything. Paula is a dear friend and I enjoy reading her posts on gaining freedom from the cubicle.

She mentioned setting a ‘damn deadline’ as part of her Four Step Guide to Escaping the Ordinary.

So I gave myself 2 years. 2 years to finish my debt payments and save a solopreneur cushion. I aptly titled my budget, ‘2 Years to Freedom’.

Last Day at Work Farewell for full time blogger

I knew that without debt and with a bit of savings, I could really make the business take off. I also knew that I needed more time to make it happen.

The good and bad of having a great job is the time required. I was working 9 to 10 hour days and sometimes 12 hour days.

In February, I planned to go full speed at the business. I worked on my blog at lunchtime, after work, and each day after work.

I set up a social media schedule, wrote and promoted blog posts and updated old affiliate links.

I knew that if I could make more money focusing my free time, then a full time income that matched my job income was entirely possible.

And you know what?

The experiment worked!

February was one of my best months in terms of income.

Now that I knew what to do, I started to outsource what I did not have the time to do.

And I kept saving.

And I kept paying down debt.

Finally, it was time to make the decision. It happened a bit sooner than I was expecting but I knew the time was right.

On the luckiest day of the year and 5 days before my next birthday, on Friday the 13th, I left my well paying job.

That means I officially retired from the working world at the age of 30.


So what’s next?


Well now comes the hard stuff. I have to work without a boss checking in on me periodically.

I have to work without the guarantee of a paycheck twice a month. And I have to make it happen on my own, without a full team of co-workers.

And I’m ok with that.

Each day I can wake up and plan my workday. I can decide to start two hours late because I wanted to sleep in before hitting the gym.
Solopreneur Harem Pants
I can stop working at 2 if I want in order to catch a midday movie or go grocery shopping

I can wear what I want. In fact, I bought my first pair of solopreneur pants. They’re super comfy. That’s my new work uniform.

It feels really good and scary at the same time.

I don’t have the benefits of cake day, or other social events that my company had planned for the year.

But what I do have is a location independent career.

If I want to spend two weeks in Costa Rica, I can do that. I can work wherever my iPad and Internet connection takes me.

Having that cake day each month was nice but it just kept me away from what I really wanted to do.

Now I can make my own cake, and once my income surpasses that of my previous job, I’ll feel comfortable enough to eat it too.

Are you ready to make more money as a blogger? I’ve got a special training just for you. Click here to see exactly how I made $10,713 selling courses and how you can create and launch a course in less than 30 days, even if you have a small audience!

Originally posted 2017-07-05 08:00:47.