5 Tips for Full-Time Workers Who Go Back to School

Grad SchoolBeing a student—whether in high school, college, or grad school—can be challenging.  It can be even more challenging if concurrent full-time employment is involved.  And furthermore challenging if marriage and parenthood is involved.  However, even with all of those challenges, reaching your goal of gaining more education is still achievable—you just need a few tips to get you over the hump.

(1) Move to 2nd or 3rd Shift

Maybe don’t do this forever, but definitely try it while you are in school.  I have worked with several people who have done this, and it made taking traditional classes a lot more feasible.  Also, most people who work on off shifts get paid a little more than their dayshift counterparts because of the perceived inconvenience.  One man’s inconvenience is another man’s treasure.

(2) Take Online Classes or Weekend/Evening Classes

If you’re pretty much stuck on dayshift or irregular shifts, try taking online courses or weekend/evening courses.  Not only does this potentially give you more flexibility, it also keeps your employer from getting annoyed with all of the personal time off (PTO) you are using to attend classes during traditional daytime hours.

(3) Make the Most of Downtime

Do you have a 10 minute work break? Write flashcards.  Do you take a 60 minute lunch period? Read your textbook.  Is your baby asleep? Start a term paper.  Did your husband go to the home improvement store? Take a practice test.  Downtime is precious.  If you notice that you have some, make the most of it.

(4) Become a 7 Year Senior

Streeeeeeeetch out your time in school.  If you have a pretty decent job and can pay the bills, slow your academic pace so that you can spend more time with your family and friends.  Being able to socialize and stay connected may help the grunts of hard work be a little easier to bare.

(5) Utilize Employer Tuition Reimbursements

With the stress of working a job and going to school, money is the last thing many people want to worry about.  That’s why it’s good to check to see if your employer offers tuition assistance.  This will greatly decrease your financial burden and may help you sleep easier at night.  Better sleeping equals better reaping.

What are some other success tips not listed?

Top 5 Reasons to Quit Your Job (and Yet Remain Employable)

Photo: http://janeencarlberglaw.com/

Photo: http://janeencarlberglaw.com/

If you have followed my career at all, you are well aware that I have been around the block a few times when it comes to employers.  Most of that has to do with the short-term and long-term repercussions of changing careers two years after college because of the M-word—marriage (which I thoroughly enjoy, by the way).

This career change has taught me a lot about recruiting, interviewing, vetting, and networking.  But it has also taught me a whole lot about quitting.  Fancier people may call it “resigning” or “seeking new opportunities,” but regardless, there is an art and science to being able to quit without it being seen as a negative attribute on your resume.  So without further ado, here are the top 5 most acceptable and commendable reasons to quit your current job.

(1) Unethical and Unsafe Work Environment

This is my number one because it has the biggest impact on your future employment.   If you are with an employer that does not truthfully prohibit unethical and unsafe characteristics then you will probably be hurt more by staying than if you quit.  Please turn in your two-week notice immediately if your boss or a significant portion of management are guilty of doing or accepting the following:

  • lying to customers and suppliers
  • using sexual or suggestive language
  • touching coworkers sexually or inappropriately
  • drinking alcohol or doing drugs on the job
  • consistently paying workers late or not paying at all
  • making racist comments or jokes
  • letting jealousy and anger affect decision-making
  • endangering workers with poor safety practices or no safety practices
  • doing other inappropriate behavior

(2) Becoming a Stay-at-Home Parent

This is a very tough (or very easy) decision for many families to make.  If this decision is something you and your spouse are going through currently, then please do not be pressured into feeling you have to work outside the home to be a fully developed human being.  Being a stay-at-home parent is perfectly acceptable as long as you can pay your bills on-time and not accumulate debts.

In order to prepare for this season in life, try living on only one income for 3 months while you are still working.  If you succeed at this task, then go ahead and let your employer know your family’s decision for you to become a stay-at-home parent.  And again, please do not feel pressured into staying at work.  And please, only come back to work when you want to come back to work.

(3) Spouse Works Significantly Far Away

Often this affects newly married couples and military couples the most.   It also affects couples who have a spouse that has received a dream job offer in a distant city.   If you and your spouse work with employers that are hundreds and thousands of miles apart, then you have a pretty arduous decision ahead of you: determining which one of you has to quit.

This can be very difficult because both spouses may love their jobs; however, spouses need to love each other more than their jobs.  Firstly, seek to see if you can just transfer within your current company.  Secondly, if this is not possible or takes too much lead-time, then you will have to quit.  This does not have to be an immediate resignation, but you definitely need to get the ball rolling in that direction.

(4) Becoming an Entrepreneur

Do not do this on a whim.  Only do this if your hobby or “side hustle” has become lucrative enough that you can afford to quit your day job.  The romanticism of being a business owner fades quickly if you cannot put food on your dinner table.  However, if your business is capable of paying you similarly to or more than what you are making currently, then by all means, quit!

Careful: Just be sure not to burn any bridges with your current employer. You may need them to hire you back in the future if your business flops.

(5) Seeking More Pay or More Opportunity

Sometimes you reach the proverbial glass ceiling.  Many large companies do not give pay increases very often, or they give pay increases yearly but at a 1% or 2% rate.  Meanwhile, many smaller companies only have a handful of employees so opportunities for promotion are pretty slim.  In order to grow and reach your potential, you are going to have to quit.  However, make sure you have a new job first!

Depending on the situation, some people may call you greedy for making a move.  Take their opinion with a grain of salt though—while your mentors may have your best interest at heart, other people may just be green-eyed with envy.

ARE THERE ANY OTHER VALID REASONS TO QUIT BESIDES THESE?

The Truth About Your Ice Bucket Challenge Donations

If you are reading this, you have probably heard of the ice bucket challenge.  In short, you get nominated to take the ice bucket challenge.  Once nominated you have two options that you are supposed to choose: either donate $100 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association (ALSA) or pour a bucket of ice water over your head, donate $10 to the ALSA, and nominate three more people to take the ice bucket challenge.  “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.”  It is a terrible disease that ultimately results in death. Donating money to this charity sounds like a good cause.

There are some critics. There are articles and videos that claim ALSA does not spend the money correctly.  After coming across this dissent, I became curious and decided to investigate.  How does the ALSA spend their money and is that spending appropriated correctly? Let us find out.

In this video the author says that less than 8% of the 2012 ALSA expenses went to research.  The 2012 ALSA annual report (see page 12) confirms this claim.  In the table below we can see that 7.71% of ALSA expenses went towards research.  I found it interesting that the consolidated financial summary is accompanied by this comment “The consolidated summary has not been audited or reviewed by the auditors and is not part of their financial reports.” and decided to investigate.  After investigating, I found a discrepancy.  The consolidated financial summary reports a “total combined revenue” of $55,446,772 but the total expenses for 2012 is reported as $15,435,227.  I could not reconcile the numbers in this report.  Feel free to comment if you reconcile the numbers.

Using the expenses for 2012, we see an entirely different situation.  ALSA spent $3,904,240, or 25.3% of their 2012 expenses on research.  In addition, ALSA spent $4,629,111 or 30.0% on patient and community services, $1,859,100 or 12% on public and professional education and $3,269,624 or on fundraising.  In 2012, ALSA spent a total of $13,662,075 or 88.5% of their expenses on research, fundraising, or ALS awareness leaving 11.5% for overhead. Put another way, in 2012 88 cents out of every dollar spent by ALSA went to better understanding ALS.

We find a similar trend for the 2013 year.  In 2013 the ALSA had an expense total of $25,737,701, 66.7% more than in 2012.  Of the $25,737,701, ALSA spent $6,616,367, 25.7%, on research.  While ALSA proportionally spent similar amounts of research, the total dollar amount spent on research increased in 2013.  Additionally, 91.5% of ALSA spending in 2013 went towards research, fundraising or ALS awareness leaving only 8.5% for overhead.

The trend continues for the year ending in 2014.  In 2014 the ALSA had an expense total of $26,204,122.  Of this, ALSA spent $7,170,481, 27.4%, on research.  The ALSA spent 1.7% more in 2014 on research.  Additionally, 92.7% of ALSA spending in 2014 went towards research, fundraising or ALS awareness leaving only 7.3% for overhead.

Of course this doesn’t even begin to address money and awareness raised by the ice bucket challenge.  The ALSA has raised $79.7 million  as of August 25th.  You can rest assured knowing that, for the most part, your donations are being put to good use.  But don’t just take my word for it.  The ALSA meets all the Better Business Bureau’s 20 standards for charity accountability.  In addition Charity Navigator gives them a 4 star rating.

patrick-stewart-ice-bucket-challenge

4 Ways to Keep a Pay Raise from Stealing Your Joy

Salary increases are very important to self-esteem and motivation.  However, joy is much more important.  Often times, salary increases can steal your joy—making you wish you had your old salary back.  As a by-product of this bittersweet phenomenon myself, I have several tips that you and the folks you share this article with can use to maintain joy or increase joy throughout your careers.  (Please follow the chart below as a reference guide)

Job Happiness

(1) Seek Promotions or Lateral Moves Within Current Company

This tends to be easier at larger firms; however, smaller firms may give this opportunity as well.  In an ideal world, I would have done this at the first company that I worked for after college.  The company provided a large network for career paths at the location I was stationed as well as at other locations in the region.  In fact, this type of mobility and versatility was encouraged by management (to a point).  As stated in the title of this section, sometimes you do not necessarily need a pay increase or promotion to increase your joy, you just want a change of scenery. Staying with the same company makes that possibility quite easy—as long as you like the company you are with, of course.

(2) Keep Current Job and Develop a “Side Hustle”

What if you have very predictable working hours and lots of leisure time, but the pay is awful?  That’s how I felt within Firm B in 2012.  Nothing got on my nerves more than knowing that the peers I graduated with were making more money that I was.  However, instead of being smart, my pride got the best of me—I wanted employment elsewhere.  With the amount of leisure time that I had though, getting a new job should have been the last thing I wanted to do.  I should have sought a side hustle.  A side hustle is a miniature version of the DREAM CAREER that you want in the future.  If you work 40 hours per week or less, I highly recommend this option for increasing or maintaining joy.  Use your spare time to make your dreams come true—maximizing your joy and your checking account.

(3) Reduce Personal Debt and Give Yourself a Raise

Simply put, if you eliminate your debts (student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc), you will effectively have more recreational money and investment money—you have given yourself a raise!  Not only does this mean that you have more money to have fun with, but you also have more money to invest in yourself and your family (please revisit Step 2).  Reducing your debts is completely within your control as well.  So unlike landing a promotion or snagging a raise, you do not have to depend on luck—you can depend on faith and will-power! What’s not joyous about that?!

(4) Thoroughly Vet Opportunities for Advancement before Jumping Ship

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  You heard me earlier mention how I had almost laughably easy working hours.  I haven’t had that type of work/life balance in years.  And the stress is definitely wearing me down.  However, this could have all been avoided if I vetted the companies that I wanted to work for as thoroughly as possible.  Sometimes this isn’t easy, but it can be done.  Ask people who currently work at the firm that you wish to apply for.  If you end up getting an interview, ask to speak to an individual who has a similar job to the one you are applying for.  And lastly, if you get some unescorted time, look for the people who have the worst jobs within sight—they might be the most honest with you! If you get “bad vibes” after doing a proper vetting, then stay put and wait for another opportunity to arise—a pay increase isn’t worth sacrificing your joy for!

#CareerJoy What are some other ways to maintain joy while also increasing your income?

Why AT&T Next is a Win/Win for Both Consumers and AT&T

Edit: I made an arithmetic mistake in the original article that inflated the savings of the new AT&T Next plans.

AT&T rolled out its new no contract payment plan called AT&T Next. In this model AT&T no longer subsidizes the cost of the phone in exchange for a 2 year contract. Now, consumers will have to pay the full price of the phone. I am going to tell you why that is a good thing.

AT&T will let you pay for your new phone in monthly installments added directly to you bill. There is no down payment, activation fee, upgrade fee, or financing fee (interest). The total cost of the phone divided by the number on months financed is added to you bill.

There are two AT&T Next options—Next 12 and Next 18. With Next 12 the cost of the phone is spit over 20 months with the option to upgrade again at 12 months. After 12 months you have two options for upgrading. Firstly, you can trade in your current working phone for the next phone you want to upgrade to. Or you can pay off the balance on your current phone and upgrade to the next phone. Then the process starts again and you’re paying on a new phone. There is also the Next 18 which has allows for an upgrade at 18 months and the cost of the phone is split over 24 months.

Of course, you don’t have to upgrade. After your phone is paid in full, you are capable of going month to month on your payments while maintaining full ownership of your phone.

I talked to an AT&T representative about this, and his response indicated that it is up to the particular AT&T representative if your phone is in good enough condition to be traded in. However, he did mention that if it powers on and is not cracked then it should be accepted. Dents, scuffs, and general wear and tear are acceptable.

At this point you must be thinking “Why would I want to pay full price for my phone that I was getting at a subsidized price?” AT&T thought the same thing and now offers a $15 monthly discount for data plans less than 10GB and a $25 monthly discount for data plans above 10GB. This monthly discount, subsidy, is why the new AT&T Next is good for you and your wallet. Let me explain. (Assumption: you like having a relatively new phone as often as you can afford it. If you still have a Motorola Razr or Nokia brick, then you’re probably not reading this article anyways.)

With the old 2 year contract plan you could buy a phone at a subsidized price, pay an activation fee and be on your way. After 20 months you are eligible for a phone upgrade if you sign another 2 year contract. You get a subsidized phone price, but you can only get that price once every 20 months. In the table below, you can see the associated cost comparisons for old 2 year contract model and the new Next 12 and 18 models.

Firstly, let us look at the first month’s costs for each of the plans. With the old 2 year contract model you would be required to pay for the cost of the phone and activation fee. For the new flagship phones (i.e. Samsung Galaxy or iPhone) the cost was typically $200. The activation fee is approximately $45. The first month’s costs for 2 year contract are approximately $245 plus any other fees and taxes. The first month’s (net) costs for AT&T Next are $17.50 and $12.08 for Next 12 and Next 18 respectively plus taxes. For the first month of your new Next plan you are going to pay approximately $230 less than your old 2 year contract.

Now let us look at the monthly costs (after the first month) of each of the plans. For the Next 12 you pay $17.50 more each month and for the Next 18 you pay $12.08 more each month than the 2 year contract plan. If you keep your phone until it is paid off you will pay $105 more for Next 12 and $45 more for Next 18. However, if you take advantage of the 12 and 18 month trade-in, you will come out $35 and $27.56 in the black for Next 12 and 18 respectively.

This isn’t a lot of savings. In fact, if you wait too long to trade in your phone you will end up paying more than you would have on the old 2 year contract model.

There are some perks that will have ranging subjective values for different people. For starters, there is not large down payment. You can get your new phone today without a down payment and without any financings fees or interest. When money is tight people tend to avoid spending a lot or money at once. It is pleasant to not be charged more because you can’t pay in full up front. Finally, there is the value of being able to upgrade every 12 months. If you are a savvy at selling things online, you could sell last year’s model and turn a profit.

The new AT&T Next plans will save you a couple bucks. But how does AT&T benefit from this model. Simple, AT&T is no longer subsidizing the other $450 of your new iPhone or Samsung which is more than the $15 a month they give. And if you trade in the phone on your next upgrade, they can sell that as a refurbished phone.

In summary, the new AT&T Next plans can save you up to $35 a year if you upgrade to a new phone every 12 months. It can also cost you as much as $105 over 20 months if you choose not to upgrade. It isn’t a lot, but every dollar counts. With T-Mobile’s Jump and AT&T’s Next installment plans, we might be seeing the start of a shift in how we buy phones.

Cleveland’s Very One-Sided Trade for Love

When I caught wind of the news that Love was going to Cleveland, my first thought was that the league is in some serious trouble. By any metric, the Cavs now have 2 of the top 3 players on the same team in Love and Lebron. It is not going to be fair or very pretty for other NBA teams. Lebron and Love were created to be on the same team together. I looked up the trade framework and immediately felt sick. The Cavaliers gave up almost nothing to get Love, a top 3 player in the league and a player who instantly puts the title run through the city of Cleveland. How could the Timberwolves give away Love and change the face of the NBA? They couldn’t hold out for something better? The Timberwolves knew they had all the leverage and that Lebron is running the show in Cleveland, and Lebron demanded Love.

LeBron

Lebron is happy his team just committed highway robbery. I know saying 3 first round picks, 2 of which are the first overall, for Love being one sided sounds ridiculous. But lets look at the absolute values of these players. Basketball Reference has an awesome statistic called “win shares” that calculates how many wins a player is worth. Lets see what value these players bring: Kevin Love – 14.3 Anthony Bennett – -0.4 Andrew Wiggins – 5.1 (more on this) 2015 protected 1st round pick – between -1.0 and 4 So, here is what we are looking at. By having Kevin Love on your team, he is giving your team 14.3 wins. That is good for third best in the league and only 1.5 behind Lebron James. To make this trade worth it, you need to get a value somewhere close to what Love gets you. Keep in mind Love is only 25. Wizards v/s Timberwolves 03/05/11

Kevin Love no longer has to play with a shit sandwich for team mates. Here is what the Timberwolves got in return for Love’s immense value.

  • Anthony Bennett, who is giving you negative wins by being on your team. He was one of the worst rookies ever, for someone who played big minutes. Anthony Bennett is so bad he costs your team wins. Great.
  • Andrew Wiggins. Where did I get 5.1 for Wiggins? That is what Lebron’s win shares were his rookie year. I am giving Wiggins a HUGE benefit of the doubt by saying he will be at least Lebron James rookie good during his first season. What’s more likely? He has a win share between 3 and 4. I’m having to assume Wiggins is going to be Lebron to even make this trade make sense. Which I am not seeing, at all.
  • The first round pick Minnesota is getting will fall between 20 and 30. How valuable is this pick? Not very. It can be worth negative wins all the way to 4.0 wins. What’s more likely? About 1 win.

If you are keeping score at home, the Timberwolves are getting 9 win shares of value for Kevin Love’s 14.3. And that is the absolute BEST case scenario. More than likely, the Timberwolves will be getting about 5 win shares of value for Kevin Love’s immense value. This is a horrible trade.

Anthony-Bennett

Bennett is just happy to be here. He is just costing your team wins to be here. I know the trade is all about future dividends. Wiggins could become the best player in the league, but he most likely won’t. Bennett is so bad that he most likely will only have a ceiling of good role player off of the bench. And historically, the 1st round pick will become nothing more than an end of the rotation player. To recap, the Timberwolves are getting a guy who doesn’t project to be a top 10 player, a role player, and an end of the rotation guy for a 25 year old superstar who is a top 3 player in the league. This is despicable.Wiggins

The Wolves are hoping Wiggins is the next coming of Lebron. No matter how you slice it, the Timberwolves got ripped off and failed to get value from Kevin Love. Cleveland pillaged them and almost guaranteed a half decade of championship basketball. Meanwhile, the Wolves continue a historic run of incompetence. Wiggins may turn out to be great, but Wiggins would need to be once in a generation great to make up for this very one-sided trade. Don’t let all the fluff of number 1 picks fool you. This was a horrible trade that will only look worse as time goes by.   UPDATE It is rumored that the Timberwolves will be flipping Bennett to Philadelphia for Thad Young. Young is worth 3.5 wins. It would help garner extra value in the trade, but Young is who he is. It wouldn’t stop this trade from being just awful.

How My New Car Cost Me $1,000,000

“I Will Always Have a Car Loan”

The next time that you hear someone say this phrase, please sprinkle holy Evian on them immediately and then refer them to this blog. That phrase is not only false, but it will cost us MILLIONS of dollars over our lifetimes.  Millions? Yes, millions! Let’s break things down so we can get a clearer picture of what I mean.

The average brand new car in March 2014 was $32,086 with an average monthly car loan payment of $710 with the assumption of a 48 month loan term at 3% interest.   For the record, this example has already made our total loan repayment $34,068 before we really get too deep. Yes, we just lost $2000 before we even left the car dealership lot. But let’s move on to bigger fish.

Typically, cars lose 20% in depreciation in the first year, 15% in the second and third year, and then 10% in the fourth year. So in this example, this would mean that the car is worth $16,691.

The average age of cars on the road in the United States today is a little over 11 years old. Most automobiles are pretty dependable nowadays because of the advances in quality and technology—so 11 years is not a stretch at all. So given that information, we could have owned the same car for over 50% less money if we had just waited a few years and bought with cash. But, I’m still not done.

Let’s assume we repeat this “gotta have a new car” buying habit for 40 years. For simple math purposes, let’s assume each new car costs exactly as much as the first car did.

So after 40 years, we have bought 10 cars and lost:

(a) a whopping $20,000 to car loan interest

(b) a monstrous $173,950 to depreciation

But it gets worse, you also lost:

(c) a life-changing $2.36 million dollars!

2MILLION DOLLARS

(Assumes we invested $404 per month in lost depreciation and car loan interest every month into a good mutual fund at 10% rate of return for 40 years)

CAN YOU AFFORD TO LOSE THIS MUCH MONEY?

For giggles, let’s assume we learned our lesson on the first car, but we still bought the first car anyway. In that scenario, let’s deposit $404 per month for just four years and then wait 40 years. After 40 years, you still lost the opportunity to:

(d) a still life-changing $760,000 dollars!

700K

CAN YOU AFFORD TO LOSE THIS MUCH MONEY?

Top 5 Faux Financial Emergencies

With Back-to-School season quickly on the horizon, shoppers all over America will soon reach maximum panic mode.  As hard as it is to believe, the vast majority of parents forget that their children start school every year in August (or September).  Obviously, I’m being exaggeratory.  However, many parents swear school shopping is an emergency and that they must use their “only for emergencies” credit card to get them through this unexpected situation.  Because I generally hate shenanigans, it is time for another great list—Top 5 Faux Financial Emergencies:

(1) School Shopping | While we are on the subject of school shopping, let’s park here a bit.  If something happens at the exact same time every single year, then it is not an emergency.  Emergencies by definition are unexpected, catastrophic, and costly.  College-ruled paper obviously does not fit this definition.

(2) Christmas Shopping & Other Gift Shopping | Christmas shopping and birthday shopping are in the same category as school shopping. These occasions happen at the exact same time every year but catch people by surprise way too often.  Even gifts for weddings and baby showers aren’t unexpected—unless you weren’t invited :-/

(3) Automobile Maintenance & Repairs | Not only are oil changes not surprises but there is usually a reminder sticker in your windshield telling you to change your oil after a given mileage or given date.  Other automobile repairs are a bit trickier but not exactly rocket science.  Tires eventually wear out.  So budget a little bit for a new tires every month until you need new tires.  Please use this same strategy for car batteries, brake pads, etc.  If your transmission goes out, then yes, that is an emergency.  Act appropriately.

(4) Brand New Minivan & Other Bad Car Choices | College students (usually with student loan debt) graduate from school and suddenly “need” a new car.  New parents (with student loan debt and maybe new debt now) suddenly “need” a new minivan because their paid-for sedan is too small and uncomfortable for their 8 pound baby.  Automobile purchases are a lot cheaper if you save up ahead of time and buy smart.  I know this.  You know this.  Yet, financing always seems to happen.

(5) Home Renovations | This tends to get the baby boomers more so than millennials, but it affects everyone.  You have a reached some sense of unhappiness and all of a sudden, your kitchen or bathroom just isn’t good enough anymore.  All of a sudden, getting a $50,000 home equity line of credit (HELOC) seems like the smartest thing ever.  It isn’t.

Can you name any faux emergencies that I didn’t mention?

emergency-money-bank2

Top 3 Success Tips for the Unemployed

Unemployment—we have all been there for one reason or another.  Some of us complete high school or college only to realize we cannot get a job as fast as we had hoped.   Others of us have had solid jobs but are now in between jobs due to layoffs, injuries, etc.  The reasons are endless but the feeling we all share when unemployed is the same—anxiety!

I personally felt this anxiety during the 1st quarter of 2012. During December of the preceding year, I had willingly resigned from a major nuclear facility to relocate to be with my brand new wife.  The only problem with that is that the new city’s major industry was automotive—an industry that I knew very little about and had very few connections in.

While I applied for numerous jobs every day, visited every career fair in the area, and possibly overcompensated on domestic cooking and cleaning duties, I still made one mistake that I sorely regret—I left “easy money” on the table!  Here are my tips on how not to let much-needed “easy money” slip through your fingers while unemployed.

(1)  Don’t Be So Picky – Having worked for a Fortune 200 company as a student and as an engineer, I was very snobby about small insignificant issues with new jobs.  For instance, if it was a short-term contract job, I didn’t want to do it.  If it was a “teacher’s salary” permanent job, I didn’t want to do it.  Luckily, I grew out of this habit once debts and bills started being due.  And guess what? Once I started being humble and less of a brat, better job opportunities opened up that were previously unavailable.

(2)  Be Entrepreneurial – Although it may take a few lucky bounces to land a permanent job with benefits, you do not need luck if you start your own small business.  You may not know this but many people in your town need their kids watched, their dogs walked, their leaves racked, and their houses cleaned.  If you visit websites like CARE.com, you will see tons of opportunities to make the equivalent of $20-$30 per hour!

The best thing about those jobs is that they do not take up all of your day or all of your week.  This will still give you plenty of time to apply for full-time jobs and to interview for full-time jobs.

(3)  Knock on Doors – Fun fact. You cannot find jobs online.  Well, at least not at the same rate as you would if employers have a personal connection with a living, breathing person.  Online job hunting only has a 1-2% success rate. I don’t know about you, but that’s a horrible success rate.  So my advice now and forever is to visit employers in person, ask for tours, and attend career fairs.  Those are sure fire ways to get your name out there, especially if you do not know anyone at the very beginning of your job search process.

Also, do not be afraid to get a head hunter or a recruiter—they are monetarily incentivized to look for great opportunities for you.  The more money you make, the more money they make too.  So take advantage of this relationship.  Recruiters know way more employers than you will ever know.

Can you think of other tips? Do you disagree with these tips? #unemploymenthustle

Hustle

Is 2014 Job Creation Truthfully Faster in States that Raised the Minimum Wage?

I came across a Huffington Post article New Analysis Debunks Claim That A Higher Minimum Wage Kills Job Growth. I was intrigued. I am a huge fan of statistics and data. I was expecting a complex statistical analysis of employment data that compares states with minimum wage increases versus those without. I was sadly disappointed.

While the Huffington Post article is what I stumbled upon, the data originally comes from 2014 Job Creation Faster in States that Raised the Minimum Wage from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) blog. CEPR compared the employment growth (data collected from Bureau of Labor Statistics) of all 50 states and Washington D.C from the last five months (August through December) of 2013 to the first five months (January through May) in 2014. On January 1, 2014 13 states raised the minimum wage. Of those 13 states, four states (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) of them pass legislation to raise the minimum wage while the other nine states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington state) raised the minimum wage at the beginning of the year due to inflation.

The chart below was compiled by CEPR and shows the percent change in employment by state. This graph is the only semblance of data analysis. Three major observations stood out to me from this chart. Firstly, states with minimum wage increases are mixed in with states without minimum wage increases when ranked in order of decreasing employment growth. There is no clear separation between the two just from looking at the graph. Secondly, almost all states had positive employment growth (43/51). Finally, two states with no minimum wage increase had the greatest employment growth, while one state with a minimum wage increase had the greatest employment decline. These are my subjective observations and others might have different observations.

What did the author say? You might have a good guess if you read the titles of the aforementioned articles. Huffington Post said that this data “debunks” the idea that higher minimum wage kills jobs. CEPR said that job creation is faster in states with minimum wage increases. How did they come to this conclusion?

The author concluded that states that increased the minimum wage had faster job growth by comparing the mean job growth from states with and without minimum wage increases. The author reports:

The average change in employment for the 13 states that increased their minimum wage is +0.99% while the remaining states have an average employment change of +0.68%.

This must be the case. Basic arithmetic tells us that 0.99% employment growth is greater than 0.68% employment growth. Unfortunately, basic arithmetic is not the correct tool to determine if means are different. Statistics provides a whole host of tools to compare means. In this case, a t-test is the correct tool to compare the means of employment growth with two groups (states that increased the minimum wage and states that do not increase the minimum wage).

What does the t-test tell us? Not much. The t-test reveals that the mean employment growth for states with a minimum wage increase is not statistically different than the mean employment growth for states without a minimum wage increase (p=0.2135). The figure below shows a boxplot for both groups.

I was curious and further broke down the minimum wage group into two groups. One group pass minimum wage specific legislation while the other group had minimum increases due to inflation. The correct statistical test to use here is an analysis of variance (ANOVA) since we now have three groups of employment growth. The ANOVA results are very clear, minimum wage laws had no statistical effect on mean employment growth (p=0.0543). The figure below shows a boxplot for each group.

The t-test and ANOVA results reveal that there is no statistical difference among employment growth between states with minimum wage increases and those without minimum wage increases. The boxplots help to visualize the variability in employment growth. The overlapping error bars are a strong statistical indicator that there is no difference.

Practically, what does this mean? Not a whole lot. This data does not the support the claim made by CEPR, that increasing the minimum wage causes faster job creation. This data does reveal that job growth is not solely dependent upon minimum wage laws. This makes sense to me. In 2012, only 1.1% of workers made minimum wage. This means that greater than 98% of jobs pay more than minimum wage. Each state has many different economic policies that have a large effect on the local economies. Historical data would need to be analyzed for each state in order to see the effect of minimum wage on employment growth before and after a change in minimum wage legislation.

minimum wage