How To Succeed At Work

Last year my niece secured her first part time job as she’s still in school.  With that job came advice from various people (myself included) on how to do well at work.  It was a job at the movie theater for a little more than minimum wage.  It can at times be hard and grueling work, sometimes she would get burned from the popcorn machine.

The theater would hire dozens of high school and a few college students, within 6 months over half will quit and within a year over 90% are gone. During the first week of training a third of the kids quit, some don’t bother calling or even showing up.  Others when the surf is up they just don’t show up for work so they get fired.

I understand it’s a hard job for low pay, but for many of these kids it’s their first job.  They’re already developing bad work habits and a shitty attitude which will set them up for failure later on.  No work experience and they think this job is beneath them?  Not bother showing up or even a phone call to let them know you’re quitting is very disrespectful, regardless of what you think of the job.  That’s whats often lost on the $15 an hour minimum wage debate, there a lot of shitty ass workers with bad attitudes that think the job is beneath them.  I saw that when I worked at Walmart.  When you apply for a job and get hired you’ve made a commitment, not showing up is not following through on it.

Here is the advice I gave my niece:

1. Find out what’s most important to your boss.
What are they looking for in an employee? Does he value strong planning, or certain platform skills. I had a boss who believed if you were on time you were five minutes late. I always made sure to come to meetings early.

2. Find out what makes the top three employees in your group successful.
You’ll know who the usual top performers are. Emulate what infrastructure they have in place to help them succeed? Are the well organized? Do they listen well? Do they seek out higher value projects? Observe and ask them for help, you’ll find most people will be flattered and be willing to help.

3. Observe the worst two employees and don’t do what they do.
Are they often late or procrastinate? Do they have a shitty attitude about their job? People often forget that they can’t hide a bad attitude, which often affects their quality of work.  Learn from these workers and don’t make the same mistakes they do.

4. If you don’t know who the two worst employees are, then YOU’RE the worst one.
If you can’t figure out who does the worst work, than it’s you. It’s similar to that person who always complain of numerous bad or crazy roommates, they’re the shitty roommate. You never want to be this person.

If she follows these rules she’ll always be able to find a job and succeed at it.

What other tips would you give to succeed at work?


Six Month Mid Year Review

side hustleWith any measurement it’s always good to have benchmarks along the way.  I check on my net worth once a quarter, with a mid year and annual review.  For 2014 our goals is to achieve a $250,000 net worth increase.  $250,000 is more than our combined household income earned from our salaries, bonuses, profit sharing, dividends, side hustle and real estate income.  This accounts for market gains.  To achieve our goal we’re doing the following:

Live on one income and 100% invest the other
Maximize all retirement account contributions
Reinvest all dividends, rental income, and tax windfall (earned from our solar rebate)
Invest 100% any side hustle money I earn

Real Estate                                 +$17,915

This is the equity gained from paying down our mortgages in my primary house and rental units.  I don’t calculate any property value changes in this number.  Once a year in December I calculate the changes in property values based on neighborhood comps, tax assessment and Zillow.  Considering Hawaii properties are expected to rise 7% this year with the median house topping $700,000 and condo at $350,000 the fourth quarter should show some nice gains.

Stocks/Bonds                             +$144,986

This is across all 401K and taxable accounts, includes appreciation and contributions.  I invested my $15,000 solar tax return in a bond fund, I also received $35,000 from a business venture.  Used that money to invest in stocks.  In the first quarter I received my bonus and profit sharing which was then invested into the market.

In dividends I have received $8,777.13 so far this year.  The bulk of my investments are in retirement accounts which pay out their dividends in the fourth quarter.  Last year in the fourth quarter I received $10,140.53, looking forward to that again.

Business Venture                       -$35,000

Cashed out on a business investment and invested the proceeds into the stock market.

Cash                                               -$5,000

The first half was quite expensive, spent $13,000 on a family emergency.  Also went on a fancy Boston vacation and spent quite a bit.  Received $50,000 from a tax refund and business venture and invested that into the market.

Total Net Worth Gain                 +$127,901

I’m at 51% of my 2014 goal. The problem is I got there with a $50,000 windfall, my profit sharing and bonus in the first half.  In October my wife will hit her 2014 contribution limits in her 401K and I’ll hit mine in November, so we’ll be going from pre tax dollars to post tax dollars which will lower my contribution rate. We also have a couple of vacations lined up that will be an added expense.

I didn’t want to but it looks like I’m going have to rely on the market gains in both stocks and real estate to achieve my 2014 goals. We’ll look at controlling more of our expenses, I’ll look at increasing some of my side hustle income.   In January our $35,000 solar loan comes due so we’ll already be in the hole for 2015.  I’ll have a final update at the end of the year.

How are your first half goals?  Will you achieve what you set out in January?

Side hustle  photo image credit: college

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