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How To Become Invaluable at Your Job

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[Transcribed and adapted from the YouTube video: ‘How To Become Invaluable at Your Job with Pamela Slim and Ramit Sethi’]

Key Takeaways

  • In uncertain economic conditions, it’s crucial to think about your value in the workplace
  • Demonstrating value is more about your mindset
  • Ask for and get used to receiving feedback on your work
  • Learn to place value on yourself

Let’s face it: times are tough. Right now, there’s record unemployment, a pandemic, and murder hornets. AKA, a lot to be worried about. One thing that we often stress about, even when things are normal, is how we’re valued at our job. 

That makes sense. We’re being reviewed, critiqued, and audited constantly and then given raises based on our performance—literally putting a value on our work. And, now that there’s such volatility in the market, people are more worried than ever about getting laid off, fired, furloughed, etc. 

Now, there’s the obvious, cliched ways to become valued at work: 

  • Be the first to arrive, the last to leave
  • Dress for the job you want, not the job you have
  • Hit every deadline with exceptional work
  • Contribute to discussions and meetings with pertinent information
  • Be a team player

But let’s go a little deeper into two areas: receiving feedback and learning to value yourself. I wanted to write about a conversation I had with Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation and Body of Work, business coach, and writer. We had a wonderful, insightful conversation about how you can become invaluable at your job right now. You can do these things in the next hour and you’ll instantly exhibit more value at your job.

Bonus:If the COVID-19 pandemic has you worried about money, check out my free Coronavirus Proofing your Finances guide and protect your money during this pandemic!

Get Used to Feedback

Pamela’s first piece of advice to becoming invaluable at your job is to accept and consider the feedback you receive from supervisors or peers. 

She admitted that receiving feedback was a massive learning curve for her that’s taken a long time—she used to hate it. Pamela was in the field of training and development where everything she did always had an evaluation attached to it. And, within her personality of being kind of a perfectionist, she would get all 5 out of 5 for 40 people.

But, two people would give her 3 out of 5 stars, and she would feel crushed and devastated.

You have to realize that many people who give you feedback simply want you to be better because they care about you. In fact, I’d be skeptical of someone who doesn’t give you feedback because that might mean that they don’t take your work seriously enough. So it’s crucial to learn how to take feedback. 

However, it’s equally as important to sort through people who are being vindictive—people who like to make people squirm—versus people who actually see the potential and who you are and are willing to give you tough feedback.

Let’s put a real-world example on asking and receiving feedback. November 2011.

Pamela called me in November of 2011 and said, “Ramit, I want to have a call with you. I want specific feedback on these areas of my business.” 

She detailed out the exact parts of her business that she wanted feedback on. So, I reviewed her business and I gave her some feedback. Ultimately, I told Pamela that her prices were too low.

She was way too valuable for what she was charging and it was negatively affecting her brand. Do you know how Pamela took the feedback?

She embraced the feedback because she trusted me, and that’s why she asked specifically for my help. Learn from Pamela’s example of trusting the person to give you honest, usable feedback. Then, internalize what they’re telling you so you can make adjustments and perform better next time.

Bonus: Want to turn your dream of working from home into a reality? Download my Ultimate Guide to Working from Home to learn how to make working from home work for YOU.

Learn to Value Yourself

Let’s now talk about undervaluing ourselves. Creative people tend to undervalue their work, chronically. It’s true—I undervalued myself with my $4.95 ebook. (Nowadays, a lot of that information in the ebook can be found in our free resources.)

The sales copy is still online! It’s horrible. It’s like, “Hey guys, I know you could probably get this for free, but…” I look at it and I want to vomit. 

I asked Pamela if she could share any personal insights or insights she’d gotten from coaching people.

When Pamela was making a career transition earlier in her twenties, when she was working for companies, she remembered a piece of advice that she got from somebody that helped her to think differently about undervaluing herself. Pamela was interviewing at different places, and a woman asked Pamela, “What salary are you asking for?” 

Pamela said, “Well, I probably need something like $50,000. That’s probably pretty good.”

The woman told Pamela, “When it comes to compensation, especially if you’re a female, you must charge what the market will bear, especially in relation to your male peers.” And then, if you find yourself unable to figure out what to do with the extra money—you can give it away.

Wow… Pamela’s story hit home because we’re taught that a big salary must equal that you’re a more important or valuable person. In truth, it’s not about that. 

Valuing yourself in your job can take a lot of forms:

  • Not being afraid to voice your opinion during meetings
  • Following your gut instinct on the direction of your projects
  • Asking questions
  • Taking the initiative to learn new things that interest you or further your skillset
  • Respecting and valuing to other people’s work and input
  • Ask for what you truly deserve (whether that be more compensation, more benefits, better resources, etc.)

Valuing Feedback, Valuing Yourself

Trust me, I know that these two pieces of advice can take a while to perfect.  

It’s kind of like that thing about confidence, right? “Fake it ‘til you make it?” If you act confident, then people will think you are confident. Then, one day, you’ll simply be confident. 

If you’re the kind of person who thinks they’re invisible or dispensable, I have a challenge for you: in your next meeting, bring up ONE point. It doesn’t even need to be anything special. Just contribute one thought or idea to the next meeting. See how it feels. Then, make a habit of it and pretty soon you’ll be leading the ideas instead of reacting to them. 

Don’t take valuing feedback and yourself for granted—plenty of people go through their work day thinking that they don’t contribute anything and that their job security is hanging by a thread. Take Pamela’s advice because she’s one of the smartest people I know. I promise you that if you take these to heart, people will start to value you and the work that you do more.

How To Become Invaluable at Your Job is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.



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Introducing Coverage Critic: Time to Kill the $80 Mobile Phone Bill Forever

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A Quick Foreword: Although the world is still in Pandemic mode, we are shifting gears back to personal finance mode here at MMM. Partly because we could all use a distraction right now, and even more important because forced time off like this is the ideal time to re-invest in optimizing parts of your life such as your fitness, food and finances.

Canadian Readers – we have also collected some recommendations for you at a new Canadian Mobile Phone recommendations page.

Every now and then, I learn to my horror that some people are still paying preposterous amounts for mobile phone service, so I write another article about it.

If we are lucky, a solid number of people make the switch and enjoy increased prosperity, but everyone who didn’t happen to read that article goes on paying and paying, and I see it in the case studies that people email me when looking for advice. Lines like this in their budget:

  • mobile phone service (2 people): $160

“NO!!!!”
is all I can say, when I see such unnecessary expenditure. These days, a great nationwide phone service plan costs between and $10-40 per month, depending on how many frills you need.

Why is this a big deal? Just because of this simple fact:

  • Cutting $100 per month from your budget becomes a $17,000 boost to your wealth every ten years.

And today’s $10-40 phone plans are just great. Anything more than that is just a plain old ripoff, end of story. Just as any phone more expensive than $200* (yes, that includes all new iPhones), is probably a waste of money too.

So today, we are going to take the next step: assigning a permanent inner-circle Mustachian expert to monitor the ever-improving cell phone market, and dispense the latest advice as appropriate. And I happen to know just the guy:

Christian Smith, along with colleagues at GiveWell in San Francisco, circa 2016

My first contact with Chris was in 2016 when he was working with GiveWell, a super-efficient charitable organization that often tops the list for people looking to maximize the impact of their giving.

But much to my surprise, he showed up in my own HQ coworking space in 2018, and I noticed he was a bit of a mobile phone research addict. He had started an intriguing website called Coverage Critic, and started methodically reviewing every phone plan (and even many handsets) he could get his hands on, and I liked the thorough and open way in which he did it.

This was ideal for me, because frankly I don’t have time to keep pace with ongoing changes in the marketplace. I may be an expert on construction and energy consumption, but I defer to my friend Ben when I have questions about fixing cars, Brandon when I need advice on credit cards, HQ member Dr. D for insider perspectives on the life of a doctor and the medical industry, and now Chris can take on the mobile phone world.

So we decided to team up: Chris will maintain his own list of the best cheap mobile phone plans on a new Coverage Critic page here on MMM. He gets the benefit of more people enjoying his work, and I get the benefit of more useful information on my site. And if it goes well, it will generate savings for you and eventual referral income for us (more on that at the bottom of this article).

So to complete this introduction, I will hand the keyboard over to the man himself.

Meet The Coverage Critic

Chris, engaged in some recent Coverage Criticicism at MMM-HQ

I started my professional life working on cost-effectiveness models for the charity evaluator GiveWell. (The organization is awesome; see MMM’s earlier post.) When I was ready for a career change, I figured I’d like to combine my analytical nature with my knack for cutting through bullshit. That quickly led me to the cell phone industry.

So about a year ago, I created a site called Coverage Critic in the hopes of meeting a need that was being overlooked: detailed mobile phone service reviews, without the common problem of bias due to undisclosed financial arrangements between the phone company and the reviewer.

What’s the Problem with the Cell Phone Industry?

Somehow, every mobile phone network in the U.S. claims to offer the best service. And each network can back up its claims by referencing third-party evaluations. 

How is that possible? Bad financial incentives.

Each network wants to claim it is great. Network operators are willing to pay to license reviewers’ “awards”. Consequently, money-hungry reviewers give awards to undeserving, mediocre networks.

On top of this, many phone companies have whipped up combinations of confusing plans, convoluted prices, and misleading claims. Just a few examples:

  • Coverage maps continue to be wildly inaccurate.
  • Many carriers offer “unlimited” plans that have limits.
  • All of the major U.S. network operators are overhyping next-generation, 5G technologies. AT&T has even started tricking its subscribers by renaming some of its 4G service “5GE.”

However, with enough research and shoveling, I believe it becomes clear which phone companies and plans offer the best bang for the buck.  So going forward, MMM and I will be collaborating to share recommended phone plans right here on his website, and adding an automated plan finder tool soon afterwards. I think you’ll find that there are a lot of great, budget-friendly options on the market.

A Few Quick Examples:

Mint Mobile: unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 8GB of data for as low as $20 per month (runs over T-Mobile’s network).

T-Mobile Connect: unlimited minutes and texts with 2GB of data for $15 per month.

Xfinity Mobile: 5 lines with unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 10GB of shared data over Verizon’s network for about $12 per line each month (heads up: only Xfinity Internet customers are eligible, and the bring-your-own-device program is somewhat restrictive).

Cricket Wireless: 4 lines in a combined family plan with unlimited calling, unlimited texting, and unlimited data for as low as $100 per month (runs on AT&T’s network).

Ting: Limited use family plans for under $15 per line each month.

[MMM note – even as a frequent traveler, serious techie and a “professional blogger”, I rarely use more than 1GB each month on my own Google Fi plan ($20 base cost plus data, then $15 for each additional family member). So some of these are indeed generous plans]

Okay, What About Phones?

With the above carriers, you may be able to bring your existing phone. But if you need a new one, there are some damn good, low-cost options these days. The Moto G7 Play is only $130 and offers outstanding performance despite the low price point. I use it as my personal phone and love it.

If you really want something fancy, consider the Google Pixel 3a or the recently released, second-generation iPhone SE. Both of these are amazing phones and about half as expensive as an iPhone 11.

——————————————-

Mobile Phone Service 101

If you’re looking to save on cell phone service, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of the industry. For the sake of brevity, I’m going to skip over a lot of nuances in the rest of this post. If you’re a nerd like me and want more technical details, check out my longer, drier article that goes into more depth.

The Wireless Market

There are only four nationwide networks in the U.S. (soon to be three thanks to a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint). They vary in the extent of their coverage:

  • Verizon (most coverage)
  • AT&T (2nd best coverage)
  • T-Mobile (3rd best coverage)
  • Sprint (worst coverage)

Not everyone needs the most coverage. All four nationwide networks typically offer solid coverage in densely populated areas. Coverage should be a bigger concern for people who regularly find themselves deep in the mountains or cornfields.

While there are only four nationwide networks, there are dozens of carriers offering cell phone service to consumers – offering vastly different pricing and customer service experiences.

Expensive services running over a given network will tend to offer better customer service, more roaming coverage, and better priority during periods of congestion than low-cost carriers using the same network. That said, many people won’t even notice a difference between low-cost and high-cost carriers using the same network.

For most people, the easiest way to figure out whether a low-cost carrier will provide a good experience is to just try one. You can typically sign up for these services without a long-term commitment. If you have a good initial experience with a budget-friendly carrier, you can stick with it and save substantially month after month.

With a good carrier, a budget-friendly phone, and a bit of effort to limit data use, most people can have a great cellular experience while saving a bunch of money.

MMM’s Conclusion

From now on, you can check in on the Coverage Critic’s recommendations at mrmoneymustache.com/coveragecritic, and he will also be issuing occasional clever or wry commentary on Twitter at @Coverage_Critic.

Thanks for joining the team, Chris!

*okay, special exception if you use it for work in video or photography. I paid $299 a year ago for my stupendously fancy Google Pixel 3a phone.. but only because I run this blog and the extra spending is justified by the better camera.

The Full Disclosure: whenever possible, we have signed this blog up for referral programs with any recommended companies that offer them, so we may receive a commission if you sign up for a plan using our research. We aim to avoid letting income (or lack thereof) affect our recommendations, but we still want to be upfront about everything so you can judge for yourself. Specific details about these referral programs is shared on the CC transparency page. MMM explains more about how he handles affiliate arrangements here.



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Four career benefits of training to become a CFA, and how you can start now

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This article was created by StackCommerce. While Postmedia may collect a commission on sales through the links on this page, we are not being paid by the brands mentioned.

Most of us may only think about CFAs when tax season rolls around. Chartered financial analysts are finance experts who can help you land that perfect tax refund, but they’re also a lot more than that. Becoming a CFA can be a major career boost to those already employed in the financial sector. For those who aren’t, learning what it takes to be a CFA is a good way to dip your toes into the world of finance. Ultimately, learning the skills and know-how of a CFA is good knowledge for any person who cares about their money.

If you’re interested in receiving a CFA certification,

The All-In-One CFA Level 1 Exam Certification Prep Bundle

is the perfect training material to prepare you for the first level of the exam. After this bundle—which is only $39.99 USD—you can decide whether to pursue a CFA further. Here are four reasons you should consider becoming a certified CFA.

It opens networking opportunities

Around the world, there are more than

156,000

CFA charter holders, many of them employed by some of the top investment firms. You’ll be able to find another CFA anywhere, which can help you propel your career forward in the field through networking. There’s nothing better than a global opportunity, and a CFA offers you that. The prep bundle even has a course on Ethical and Professional Standards, which may prepare you for mingling with your peers.

CFAs enjoy higher salaries

Who doesn’t like more money? Because so many CFAs work for global institutions, they often have higher salaries, too. If you’d rather work for a smaller firm, the pay is also exemplary because CFAs receive better-paying projects due to their skill level. A CFA charter holder can expect, on

average

, to earn $104,000. Financial professionals hoping to push their career forward would really benefit from

The All-In-One CFA Level 1 Exam Certification Prep Bundle

as it can open the door to this salary increase should you decide to take the exam. The bundle includes courses on corporate investments and equity investments to help refine those skills to succeed.

Don’t get hit with that FOMO

You can face some disadvantages if you don’t have that CFA title. While it was a rarity back in 2003, many professionals in the field now have it, giving them a distinct edge over those who don’t. You don’t want to look like you’re less than what you are because of a simple certification. More than 227,000 candidates are working on securing that certification, and you can be among them by taking these essential lessons. For some, this certification is about status. You don’t want to feel left behind.

It’s a better investment than an MBA

MBAs can be a substantial investment. Not only can they take a year or two, but they often come with thousands of dollars in debt. Taking the exams to secure your CFA won’t only cost less money, it’ll take you less time. Let’s face it: Sometimes, time is worth more than money. A CFA can cost you anywhere between $3,000 to $9,000. An MBA, on the other hand, can cost you a

whopping $50,000

. You don’t need an MBA to prove your financial knowledge. With a CFA, you can show your boss what you’re about and move forward in the industry.

The

All-In-One CFA Level 1 Exam Certification Prep Bundle

has got 62 lessons on everything you need to ace that first level exam. And if you wind up not liking it, at least you spent only $39.99 USD instead of the thousands you’d spend on the exam itself.



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5 Legal Documents You Need During a Pandemic

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As Americans grapple with how to stay physically and financially healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical to make sure you and your family have the right emergency documents. It’s much easier to prepare for a potential disaster than to recover from one that blind-sides you. After a tragedy occurs, it may be too late to make critical decisions.

Let’s talk about the different emergency documents and why you may need to create or update existing paperwork. If you get COVID-19 or have another unexpected illness or accident, these documents will help you manage your finances and make essential decisions with more clarity and less stress.   

5 emergency and legal documents to have during a pandemic

Instead of being caught off guard during a difficult time, consider if you should have these five legal documents.

1. Last will and testament

The purpose of a will is to communicate your final wishes after you die. Too many people don’t have one of these incredibly important documents because they mistakenly believe it’s something just for old rich people.

The fact is, every adult should have a will. If you die without one, the courts decide what happens to your possessions, not your family.

The fact is, every adult should have a will. If you die without one, the courts decide what happens to your possessions, not your family.

And once you have a will, don’t forget to update it periodically to make sure it addresses all your wishes, assets, and beneficiaries. Critical life events—such as getting married, divorced, having a child, or losing a spouse or partner—should trigger you to update your will.

If you’re starting from scratch, make an inventory of your assets—like bank accounts, investments, real estate, vehicles, expensive belongings, and sentimental possessions—and decide what you want to happen to them. You can list beneficiaries for specific items, like who gets a piece of heirloom jewelry or an artwork collection. You can also create distribution percentages, such as 50 percent of the value of your assets go to your partner and 50 percent to your only child.

In addition to dealing with your possessions, a will allows you to name a guardian for your minor children.

In addition to dealing with your possessions, a will allows you to name a guardian for your minor children. And don’t forget to leave instructions for what you want to happen to your pets, digital assets, intellectual property, and business assets. You can create a plan for your funeral, such as where you want to be buried and whether you want your organs donated.

Someone must carry out…

Keep reading on Quick and Dirty Tips



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