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Everything Is Negotiable

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One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned since entering the business world is that everything is negotiable.

What do I mean by this? Well, think about the way that you have approached life thus far.

If you’re anything like me, you tended to take things at face value. If a class project in school had a rubric, you followed the rubric to get the “A”. If you went to get your hair trimmed or booked a hotel room, you paid the price listed.  

Don’t get me wrong, rules and prices are there for a reason. We have to have structure to keep the wheels turning. And sometimes there is no better way or better price.

But one skill you can develop that can get you surprising results in many cases is making it a habit to question the first answer that you’re given and seek a more favorable one.

To illustrate what I mean, here are some things in the business world that may be negotiable if you’re willing to ask more questions:

1. Estimates or quotes

If you make purchases on behalf of your business unit, whether it’s supplies, services, merchandise, or something else, you are in a position to test the negotiability of the business world.

Purchases of goods are easy in this regard if you’re buying in bulk. Always ask for a discount if you’re buying in bulk, especially if you’re a repeat customer.

If you’re buying services, read the itemized estimates. Are all of the hours of work necessary? If you’re working with an outside vendor, are there discounted rates they can offer depending upon the length of the contract?

An example of what I’m talking about happened at work recently when I asked for an estimate from IT to program an auto-generated customer-facing email into one of our systems. The estimate to implement the automatic email came back way higher than I was expecting.

Fortunately, I learned the “everything is negotiable” rule from one of my mentors at work. I reached out to a trusted IT contact to probe further into the itemized estimates. We reviewed them.

It turned out that one whole category of itemized work wasn’t necessary to complete the project, which took the cost down significantly. There was an existing way to capture the data we needed, a workaround that eliminated the need for the solution they were going to program. It pays to ask questions!

As shown in my example above, it often helps to reach out to experts in some instances to get a second opinion. See if you really need an extra or upgraded service that they’re quoting you – or in my case, if you even need all of the base services.

You don’t have to negotiate the price of everything, but when it makes sense, such as for frequent purchases or relatively expensive services, it will benefit your business unit and in turn make you look good if you hunt for a lower price.

2. Processes

If you’re a young professional doing work a certain way because that was the way you observed it was done in your company, or because someone told you to do it that way, you may want to reconsider.

Examples of this can include reporting processes, work intake processes, the way presentations or communications are created, the way supplies or services are sourced, the way sales calls are made, and more.

A lot of business processes get grandfathered into current times because there was a reason way back when that served as the basis for the creation of that process, and it may no longer be relevant. But people continue to follow the process because they haven’t been told to do it any differently.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way.

When you find yourself asking, “Why am I doing this?” or “Why am I doing this in this particular way?” and you can’t give yourself a satisfactory answer, ask some questions. Figure out why the process was created in the first place. Are the reasons why still relevant?

If not, or if there weren’t any good reasons in the first place, look for ways to improve or even eliminate the process. People in leadership positions always appreciate people who can find efficiencies.

There might even be processes that could be eradicated completely. A former colleague of mine who moved to a different company discovered this recently.

His whole company gathered for a monthly meeting for which they compiled an enormous Powerpoint deck each time. Apparently, no one was very fond of the process of creating the deck, and the meeting didn’t necessarily add value or result in any business decisions.

My former colleague dared to ask, “Why do we do this?” The answer was, essentially, because they had always done it. My colleague pointed out that by eliminating the meeting or communicating the important points in a different format, such as a monthly email, the company could save hours of productive time.

Another thing to keep in mind here when you’re looking to create or improve upon a process is that there are always at least three options for how to do something. One of the options might simply be “do nothing” – eliminate this process entirely – which could very well be the best course of action!

To come up with the best possible outcome, think through three options or more and weigh the benefits and consequences.

3. Work and work experiences

Just because you were given certain projects doesn’t mean you can’t propose other projects to work on.

And just because you work in a certain function doesn’t mean you can’t ask to learn more about or experience what the day-to-day is like for another business unit.

Let’s say you work in finance but you’re interested in sales . See if your manager or someone he or she knows can introduce you to a salesperson. Then ask if you can ride along on a sales call.

I too was interested in the sales side of my company. As a marketer in the insurance and financial services field, I wanted to know how things worked on the front end. When I told my manager, he was more than happy to connect me with one of our field sales offices.

An extremely helpful and knowledgeable salesperson planned a half-day of job shadowing for me, including setting up meetings with underwriters, product managers, and sales analytics whizzes. I got to meet some sales leaders in the process and learn way more about how the product I market is made, priced, and tracked.

Experiences like this can help you learn quickly about another unit and broaden your view of your company and the possibilities it holds.

You don’t have to limit yourself to one-off experiences like this, however. Sometimes there are opportunities to do work for another area of the business, especially if there are natural points of connection between that area of the business and yours.

Don’t be afraid to propose work projects to your boss that span functional units outside of your own. If there is legitimate work to be done and you can present a business case on why it should be done, oftentimes leaders across the units involved are more than happy to sponsor the work and consequently give you an opportunity to work on something new and broaden your horizons.

When you discover how to negotiate the business world, it can feel empowering. You can chart your own course and influence outcomes. And of course, this can spill over into your personal life as well.

Maybe there’s a “side hustle” that you’ve always wanted to start, but practical reasons have held you back: finances, lack of time to devote to it, lack of perceived skills to get it going, etc.

Are there alternatives? If you lack the money to invest in your side hustle and get it going, can you crowd-source? Cut out something discretionary each month and save over time? Get a small loan, if you have a clear business plan you can assemble?

If you think you lack the time, can you get up earlier to devote an hour to your side business? Can you go to a coffee shop for your lunch hour to work on it? Could you get a partner with whom you can divide the time?

There are always ways to make things happen if you’re willing to look a little beyond face value and realize, as Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek said, “reality is negotiable.”

This article was written by Libby Stagnaro. Be sure to check out Libby’s other powerful article: 5 Career Tips For Young Women.

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10 Careers For People Who Love Helping Others

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Know you’re someone who loves serving others and is naturally inclined to that kind of work? A career that allows you to live your passion is just what you need.

For a lot of people starting off in the working world or looking for a new career, financial rewards are not the number one thing they are looking for.

Instead, they want a job that provides a sense of personal satisfaction through the feeling of helping others. These jobs are out there.

You have a whole host of jobs that put you in direct contact with those in need, whether this is through healthcare, education, charity or another option.

And then there are the jobs that provide a broader contribution to society including science and engineering.

So, let’s go through a list of 10 potential options if you are looking for a job that prioritizes helping others.

1) Teaching and Education

Education is a broad field that gives you the opportunity to impart your skills and knowledge onto others, whether these are children or adults.

Beyond the traditional primary and secondary school paths, there are also opportunities to teach at further education colleges or else children with special needs.

To qualify as a teacher, you will need a degree and a further year of hands-on training, but there are also opportunities such as youth work, childcare or becoming a teaching assistant.

Essentially, the knowledge that you are having a direct impact on people’s lives and you are helping them to develop themselves is immensely rewarding.

2) Nursing and Healthcare

As well as being able to serve others, nursing is a field that is always looking for new staff members so there will be no shortage of job opportunities. Just take a look at https://www.staffnurse.com/ to find out more.

Beyond the range of hospital jobs that you can choose from, you could also find yourself working in a GP surgery, adult care centres or people’s homes, to name a few.

The launch of the nursing degree apprenticeship has been designed to make the career easier for people to enter, but obtaining a degree is still required to progress in this field.

Otherwise, there are plenty of other careers in healthcare apart from being a nurse including physiotherapy, midwifery or pharmacy.

3) Medicine

Although it takes a great deal of hard work and commitment to enter this career path in the first place, there is no doubt that working in medicine is one of the most rewarding options out there.

After all, you are helping people with their most important commodity; life.

As well as becoming involved in the day-to-day treatment of patients, there is also the option to go into the research side of the field and help develop groundbreaking medicine.

And there are also a wide range of medical specialties to choose from so you can decide on one that perfectly suits your interests.

On the down side, this tends to be a very demanding option that requires a lot of dedication to the role which can often impact work-life balance.

4) Social Work

Social work is a career that brings you into direct contact with some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Some of the most common include elderly people, adults with mental health issues and people with learning difficulties.

You will probably be required to get involved in some very tough situations including child protection, adoption or working with offenders. To become a full social worker, you will need to obtain a degree, but there are other non-degree options that give you the opportunity to work in this field in other capacities.

Be in the know that many of these jobs come along with high levels of anxiety and the need to work in some very challenging situations.

5) Emergency Services

Comprising of the police, ambulance and fire and rescue, the emergency services are three different career paths.

They all have in common the responsibility to directly respond to people in their most urgent time of need. And these tend to be very community-oriented jobs, as well as ones in which the tasks vary greatly.

There are a wide range of different options and entry levels for each of the three sectors we have mentioned.

The downside is that the working hours tend to be unstable and you are also likely to find yourself working on call.

But there is also a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a genuine difference to society.

6) Charity Work

There are all kind of career paths that are directly linked to the charity sector from fundraising to marketing.

You may find yourself directly interacting with people or you may be in a more office-based role, but either way, you will have the knowledge that you are closely involved in helping others.

Jobs are open for both graduates and non-graduates, and there are also plenty of voluntary opportunities as well.

If you know that you are directly involved in a field that you are passionate about, this is a fantastic and motivating feeling that can give you immense job satisfaction. Keep in mind you may have to work your way up from the bottom to get there or come into the sector from a different career path entirely.

7) Law

You may not naturally associate a career in law with one which is helping people, but there are some options which give you the opportunity to give a voice to people without one.

For example, you could go down a career in criminal defence in which you support people who have been accused of crimes.

You could also become involved in the child protection side of law in which you help children in very vulnerable situations. Solicitors and barristers are the jobs that grab most of the headlines, but there are also plenty of entry-level positions that all you to work your way up.

Ultimately, you need to be selective about the type of job you are going for so that you have the feeling that you are helping people and making a genuine difference to their lives.

8) Science and Engineering

Though a lot of science and engineering careers are less about helping people on a daily basis, they are often involved in making the big societal changes that make all the difference in the long run.

For example, in a science career role, you could be involved in protecting the environment or developing new health treatments for people.

Plenty of engineering paths also lead to positive changes for people such as developing renewable energy sources.

Again, it is all about being selective with your career choice so you go for one that provides you with the maximum amount of job satisfaction and the feeling that you are really helping people.

9) Public Service

Though people who work in politics often have a bad reputation, many people do enter this particular career path because they want to help others.

The work that you are doing could impact the entirety of the country, even though whether you are in contact with them directly or not depends on what job role you go into.

So, if you are particularly passionate about the community you live in, a career in local government could be the ideal solution.

Alternatively, you could work in central government and choose between all the different major areas such as pensions, healthcare, education and justice. Job roles are varied so you could be coming in from a wide range of backgrounds.

But if you progress high up the career ladder, stress levels can rise accordingly as you are having to make the decisions that really impact people’s lives.

10) Psychology

Psychology still remains a rapidly developing field. And the increasing focus on mental health in society means that there are more options than ever before becoming available.

Some of the most common branches of psychology that people enter include health, clinical, counselling, educational and forensic.

Like other job roles we have talked about already, you have the reward of knowing that you are directly helping people who are struggling with a range of complex issues.

Final Words

The 10 career paths we have talked about are just some of the potential options you have if you are looking to get into a career that involves helping others.

While some require a great deal of training and study, others can be entered at any stage.

Essentially, you should think about where your passions lie before matching yourself up to one of these options.

It may be that you want to come into contact with people directly and feel like you are helping people in this way. It may be that you like the idea of contributing to wider societal changes that help people in the long-run.

Whatever the case, many people find that personal rewards and job satisfaction from one of these types of career outweigh the financial incentives of other paths.

Though if you work your way up, you still have an excellent opportunity to strike the perfect balance of finding a job that is rewarding in both senses of the word.

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High Risk Career Choices That Could Pay Off Big

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Are you the type of person who enjoys adrenaline and high-risk, high-reward opportunities? You’ll probably fit perfectly in one of these risky career fields below.

Career choices are never easy. Whether you’re a high schooler, a college kid, a young professional, or a middle aged adult, it’s difficult but crucial you find the right job.

A large portion of your happiness and future depend on it.

While there’s advice all over about how to find the right career based on your personality, sometimes this can lead to overthinking and feeling paralyzed on what to do next.

It’s best to know yourself and trust your gut when it comes to making the right career choice.

Since every choice you make in life will come with its own risk that it may not pay off, sometimes the ones with the most risk are the ones worth risking everything for to be happy.

For the risk-takers out there who need to have a sense of fulfillment in their work, the following high risk jobs could be right up your alley.

Starting Your Own Business

If there’s one career move that a lot of us will want to make, but can often be afraid of, it’s starting a business from scratch.

Starting your own business will always be a risk. Even when you have the capital, a solid business plan, and a lot of experience in your field; you can never guarantee that it’s going to work out.

But if you’re willing to work hard and work at it, it’s a risk that can often pay off.

Becoming A Freelancer

Similarly, choosing to leave job security and go freelance can also be risky business (albeit less than starting your own business), but it’s often worth it.

The risk of going freelance is real and it will also depend on how well you are at adjusting to freelance life. Work won’t always be handed to you; you have to chase it. The investment you need to give here is both your heart and time.

By putting everything you’ve got into going freelance, you should see success.

Working In Another Country

When you do own your own business, or if you have a side project that you’re working on, there may be a time that you decide to go international. And there are always risks associated with this move.

When you’re moving into a market that you don’t know and that you have no experience in, there is a greater chance that you fail.

If you can do your research and plan your entry carefully, the potential successes will always be worth the risk.

Real Estate Investing

There’s always the option to turn to real estate investing.

If you’ve wanted to start a career for yourself that you can operate alongside your work, for the time being, property investment is a strong option.

Whether you look into buy to let options, BTO, or decide to start flipping properties, you have the potential to earn more money than you know what to do with on your own.

Many beginner investors need to first just build up capital, and then be willing to patiently wait until the property and price is right.

Becoming A Professor

When you’re starting out on your career path and still in college, or considering going back to study for your graduate degree, you may consider becoming a professor.

This is a risk for two reasons.

Firstly, the cost of getting your doctorate can’t be ignored. Debt and risk go hand in hand together.

And secondly, the idea that you’re missing out on being in the working world and getting paid a high salary for your skills.

Now if you make it through academia to become a professor and earn tenure, then your job security will be at an all-time high and career risk at an all-time low.

Becoming A Doctor

For those considering becoming a doctor, you may wonder if it is entirely worth it.

Medical education is long, challenging, and expensive.

So you have to be able to analyze the cost vs. the reward relationship when it comes to training to become a doctor.

If you’re skilled, passionate, and willing to work hard, you should be able to both out-work and out-earn your student debt before you know it.

Training As A Pilot

As far as adventurous careers go, if you want to enjoy job security and a good salary at the same time, you’re often limited with choice.

However, a strong option would be to train as a pilot.

Of course there are risks with any kind of job like this, but you should find that although the training is costly, the salary you receive in return will repay your investment, and your security will shatter any risk.

You’ll also gain the flexibility to fly commercial or private, which can’t be said in many careers.

Joining The Army

An army job does not need as much of an investment upfront in terms of experience or money, but it does require a few years of your life.

Although some positions will require a college education like an army officer, it’s not required across entry-level positions. Out of all the options on this list, this one may be the easiest to begin.

Keep in mind a career within the army may prove a risk to your life at times, but the security, skills training and experience may make it the best investment you could make.

Working For The Government

You may also want to consider joining the government.

Working for the federal government, although not a risk in itself (depending on your role) can be worth the investment in your education that you may need to make.

You will often benefit from great working rewards and enjoy a varied working day, especially if you decide to go into an intelligence field.

Mentoring Others

At some point in your career, you may also want to think about going into mentorship.

Mentoring is often a great way to give back to the industry and encourage bright talent for the future, although it can mean you have to give up your time with very little financial gain in return.

Often times mentors find that the personal rewards make any risk you take entirely worth it.

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5 Best Future Careers, And 5 That Will Disappear

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If you’re going to look for a new career, why not consider the best future careers to make sure that job is going to be as profitable in 20 years as it is now?

There’s a whole bunch of careers that are set to disappear as organizations become more dependent on computers and automation to do the heavy legwork for them.

Some experts think that somewhere in the region of 47% of jobs might be lost over the coming decades. That’s absurd if you think about this for a minute!

If you’re looking for a career that will stay relevant, you’d have your head on straight if you considered picking a field from the five we’ve listed below—and avoiding the five industries listed below them.

Good Future Careers

1. Cyber Security

The world’s going to be even more reliant on internet systems than it is now. With the arrival of the “internet of things”, it’s going to be all around us, a part of everything we do.

This, naturally, will make the criminals of the world pay attention – and as such, as our reliance on these systems grows, so will the importance of staying one step ahead of the people looking to hack and causing mischief.

If you know how to keep these attacks at bay, you’ll be high in demand in the corporate or government sector.

2. Tech Development

Well now, the whole world isn’t going to become dependent on technology just by chance: there’s going to be people behind those systems, working hard to find the next great breakthrough and push the world forward.

It’s important to note that not all IT based jobs will be safe; the market for app development jobs, for example, is likely to wind down.

However, if you can train yourself in advanced technology systems and make sure you’re always at the cutting edge of what’s happening, you’ll find plenty of work.

3. Data Analyst

Data is already used to influence companies much more than you probably realize, but it’s set to become even bigger in the next decade and beyond.

There’s already more data than any company could need, but there’s a problem: there aren’t enough people who know how to interpret the data.

If you’ve got an eye for spotting trends and can make sense of large quantities of information, then look at becoming a data analyst. Computers won’t be able to make sense of it on their own (in the beginning at least): it’ll need the human touch.

4. Healthcare

And talking of a human touch; healthcare is another industry that will be kept safe from computers.

Of course, automation and AI will form a significant part of healthcare, but it’ll work in conjunction with health professionals, not replace them.

Don’t worry if you don’t like the thought of dealing with blood and other healthcare hazards; there are plenty of specialized jobs available that are just as safe.

If we take a look at the job prospects for a radiologist via wikiprofessional.org, we can see that it’s a future proof career option; demand for this job, along with other physicians, is due to grow by 24% over the next few years.

Some jobs just can’t be performed by a machine, and healthcare is right at the top of the list.

5. Social Care

There’ll also be plenty of jobs in an industry that can be considered the cousin of healthcare, social care.

Again, there will be elements of technology incorporated into the industry, but it’ll be working alongside the core workers, rather than replacing them, as the very essence of this type of work depends on human interaction.

And this market won’t just be safe because computers can’t take over: it’s a growing industry in its own right.

In the not too distant future, people aged 70 and over are going to form the biggest age group in the country, and there’ll need more people than there currently are to take care of them.

Bad Future Careers

1. Number Crunching

If you’ve got a knack for mathematics and producing reports and paperwork, then look away now, because this is one surprising career that is likely to shrink in importance in the forthcoming years.

While it currently requires a high degree of expertise, a slew of applications that will more or less automate the entire process are already here, and there will be more on the way, too.

Though traditional companies still rely on human hands to take care of these jobs, modern companies are using machines to take care of their account, bookkeeping, tax returns, and so on, and it’ll be these companies who dominate the future.

2. Global Knowledge

The rapid globalization of the economy has meant it’s been a golden age for workers who were able to navigate different cultures and languages.

While we’re still a ways off from not needing tour guides with specialized, in-depth knowledge, the abundance of apps and other smartphone related tools will shrink this industry over time.

At a more immediate risk are translators, who will have to compete with software that automatically translates languages. The tech isn’t quite there yet, but it is coming, and from then it’ll only be the highly sensitive translations that are done by humans.

3. Non-Artistic Writing

Now, there’s little chance a computer will take the place of a novelist anytime soon. That’s just not going to happen because art is inherently human.

However, writing that isn’t obviously artistic, such as web content, technical reports, and (gasp) newspaper articles will increasingly be written by machines.

Some news outlets already use bots to write their weather reports, and it has been reported (by humans) that robots are more and more responsible for what we’re reading online and in our newspapers.

4. Logistics

The entire logistics industry is about to be turned upside down, as nearly all components can be performed by a robot. Machines will be responsible for the running of warehouses, packaging, and delivery, with little to no human hands helping them along the way.

For a glimpse into the future, look no further than Amazon’s delivery plans. Welcome to the future!

5. Broadcaster

According to studies, broadcasters score some of the lowest when it comes to job growth, stress, and work environment.

This makes sense since competition has to be high for these limited roles and job security is not going to be strong when a media company can quickly fill a broadcasting role with another talking head.

It’s also difficult to find that first broadcasting job as radio stations become syndicated and the Internet gobbles up more music and sports positions.

These are just a few of industries where humans will have more or less importance in the future. So if you’re looking for a change of career, make sure it’s one for the future!

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