Here are this week’s Life Pro Tips.
01. Corporate Human Resource Department is not your friend
Corporations exist to make money(for other people), so HR is not your friend, and it’s not a “family.” Having been to a lot of corporations, it became apparent to me early on in my career that HR is more about protecting the corporation, and mitigating the risks of lawsuits as opposed to protecting the interests of the employee.
In leaked Target/Walmart videos that attempted to paint labor unions as horrible. They used phrases like “open door policy” (referring to an employee being able to discuss anything with a manager/employer, which would be removed if big bad labor unions got in the way), or “we are a family.”
In no uncertain terms should you view your employer as a family. In most cases you are an expense, and it really is a race to the bottom; how little can they do for you in return for you working for them and generating revenue/value.
A Job/Career is simply an agreement between what you think your value is, and what the corporation feels you are worth as an expense. The more confident you are in yourself, and the more you look for other opportunities, the better off you will be.
Working extra hours above 40 hours a week, if you are salaried anyway, is something we all do/did, and it’s only when you are older and wiser that you realize that extra time is not worth the extra 1% bump in your salary. Shopping around for other companies can and do bump you 5-20% depending on role/responsibilities. Doing so constantly is the best way to maximize your income in the long run.
That being said, there are exceptions to the rule. The company I was at for 4 years contributed 50% match to my 401k, up to the federal limit. So if I put in 16k, they would match 8k, with a 4 year vesting period. Situations like that are useful for retirement.
Before the 1970’s, it was considered good practice to reinvest in your workforce, provide them with equity/pensions as a way to retain people. As automation/technological revolutions occurred, the value of each individual lessened. Additionally, during the 1970’s, a new train of thought was being taught in business schools that quarter over quarter profits for shareholders were more important than anything else. As a result, “trim the fat” became a mantra that future executives would hold dear, as well as be compensated against.
As an employee, your goal should be to gain as much as you can. Treat your employer with respect, but understand you are an expense. The days of loyalty are something corporations and HR love to talk about, but it seems to be a one way street. Don’t settle for less than what you are worth.
02. When negotiating, silence is golden
A lot of the times, if you state what you want clearly, and with conviction, once, and then just stop talking, you will get what you ask for. The key is to make your request in a way that suggests it’s simply going to happen, and then be willing to be silent until it’s awkward. Think, “I can do this all day.”
If the person looks like they are about to refuse, say, “is there something you can do?” (By “looks like” I mean they would have already spoken first starting to hint at a refusal, so if it comes to that and you ask this question you are not speaking first). No raised voice or defensive tone. Be quiet and let the person feel so awkward about it they scramble to fix it.
In short, state your position, demands, offer or counter offer then shut up. The first one to talk loses. This tip is great with price negotiations and returns. Thank them for their time.
03. Try to find 3 hobbies in your life
One that makes you money, one to keep you in shape, and one that lets you be creative. For your creative hobby, even if no one sees your art or photos, don’t stop creating them.
04. Whenever someone recommends you a place to check out…
Star it on Google Maps. Next time you’re in that city/state, you’ll have a bunch of stars to visit.
I like to star everything and everything people recommend to me. Say someone mentions this great seafood restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. Now, while I am not planning on going to Charleston ever, I star it on Google Maps. If I ever visit Charleston in my life, I have at least one place now that I should check out.
Every time I see a photo/article in backpacker/NatGeo/blog, etc of a place I might someday like to visit, I star it. Then if I am ever in that area, I know of something I’d like to visit or witness. I’ve traveled this way for years and it has led to many wondrous adventures.
05. How to select text inside hyperlinks
Holding ALT key allows you to highlight text inside of hyperlinks on webpages.