Salary Negotiation

A successful interview session would often begin with resume review and end with salary negotiation. Do not walk away from it by simply agreeing to the salary and benefits offered to you. Never walk into one ill-prepared and jeopardize your chance of getting hired. Most importantly, clear your mind of the misconception that negotiating for a suitable pay package will kill your chance of getting the job. You should instead see salary negotiation as quantifying your worth and providing justification for a better pay package to your future employer.

Hiring company will hold either of the 2 stands towards salary negotiation – stay firm or negotiate. You can apply simple 3 step salary negotiation strategy when you have been offered the job. How far you can push the limit will very much also depends on how you have demonstrated your worth and value during the interview process.

If you have been recruited via a recruiter or headhunter, keep person in the loop and enlist the person help to negotiate a suitable pay package. This person can act as a buffer and prevent the hiring managers from having negative feelings of you. You do not want to come across as a greedy, demanding or full of yourself person before you even step through the Company’s door as an employee.

After all is said and done – pay is not everything. It must be a job you can learn, grow and contribute positively to. Ask yourself some simple questions like Is there visible career path? Are the superior supportive and nurturing? Whether the corporate culture matches your individual goals and objectives

If you really need time to think through, buy time. And talk to people in the know. It is not worth jumping into the wrong job only to quit shortly and to start the job search all over again. If you really have to turn down the offer, do it graciously, don’t burn bridges. Keep the door open. You never know when the Company might be hiring again.

Is Grad School Right for You?

You’re Passionate about What You’ll Be Studying

Perhaps one of the most important factors in deciding whether attending graduate school is right for you is to ask yourself if you are truly passionate about the graduate degree you will be pursuing. Completing a graduate degree requires an incredible amount of work and a massive investment of your time so it’s vitally important that you genuinely enjoy what you will be studying. If you are simply studying something that you feel will benefit your income and career, but which you aren’t really interested in, then you’re probably attending grad school for all the wrong reasons. Remember, grad programs are different from undergrad programs, you’ll be focused on a specific field of study, delving deeply into details. If you aren’t passionate about the field, your grad school experience is likely to be tortuous.

Don’t Go to Grad School If:

A Degree Won’t Lead to Career Advancement or a Higher Income

Unless you are at a place in life where you can afford to complete a graduate degree simply for pleasure, it’s not a good idea to attend grad school if you know that it will have little effect on your career advancement or earning potential. Graduate degrees require a huge investment, and they are not something you should invest in if you know that it’s unlikely to pay off.

If you’re unsure whether or not a graduate degree will help your career, complete some research and talk to professionals from within your field to get an idea for how important it really is. Ask people who hold positions that you’re interested in achieving if they think graduate school is worth the time, effort and cost. Ultimately, don’t go to graduate school if you’re virtually certain that it will have little impact on your salary or career development.

You Can’t Afford Graduate School

Wherever you go to graduate school, it’s going to be expensive, costing at least thousands, but potentially tens of thousands or even over a hundred thousand dollars. If you have this saved up or are able to secure student loans that you know you’ll be able to pay off fairly quickly after graduation, then you’re in a great financial position to go to grad school. However, if you have no savings put away and can’t guarantee that a graduate program will enable you to earn a much higher salary, then you probably can’t afford graduate school and should avoid it at all costs. Although accepting that graduate school is out of your financial limits can be a depressing pill to swallow, this doesn’t necessarily have to mean that your dreams of attending grad school have to be put off forever. People of all ages and stages of life go to grad school, so if you can’t afford it now, just be sure to start saving money and stockpiling a grad school fund which you can tap into down the line.

Graduate School Won’t Fit into Your Lifestyle

Graduate school will seriously shake up your existing lifestyle, so it’s important that you are prepared for this. Make sure that you can realistically cope with the necessary lifestyle adjustments, or you could find the experience to be a deep, dark, pit of despair. Studying for a graduate degree will require you to dedicate an enormous amount of time to attending class, reading and preparing your thesis or dissertation. If you have young children to care of, if you are responsible for the care giving of elderly relatives or if you can’t afford to give up your full-time job to attend graduate school, then this may not be a realistic option. Unless you enroll in a part-time or entirely online program, you will likely struggle to cope with graduate school if you have too much going on in your personal life.

Wendy and Lucy Movie

Kelly Reichardt’s name may not ring a bell to many moviegoers, but her last two films have led me to think that she is one of the most coherent and interesting American filmmakers working today.

I don’t know how many of you saw her previous film, Old Joy, but simply put, it was one of the 10 best American independent films of the past few years. Reminiscent of Gus Van Sant’s best work, the film was a naturalistic road trip where two “long-time-no-see” friends caught up with each other while wandering in a West Coast forest. A fascinating, poetic, bitter tale that made me eagerly await Reichardt’s next, which came in the form of Wendy and Lucy.

The parenthood of the female director is obvious.  Wendy is a young woman in the middle of crossing through Oregon, with her old car and her beloved dog, Lucy. Her aim? To reach Alaska, where a good job is waiting for her, away from her ongoing troubles. But her troubles are only beginning when her car breaks down in a small town and Lucy is taken to the pound.

As you can see, this is not a “big events” movie. No big adventures on the screen. This is a visually static and minimally elaborated trip. But as expected after the purity of Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy is a film that manages to express a lot with very little. Kelly Reichardt is a filmmaker that succeeds in commenting on society’s actual difficulties with what seems to be very little to exploit from. It’s a woman and her love for her dog. It’s the dreams that seem so hard to materialize while they seem so easy to obtain. It is the difficulty to maintain a decent level of living even in the most remote location imaginable.

Wendy and Lucy, by apparently dealing with a simple tale of a woman and her dog, has the discrete ambition of laying its finger on the pains and evils of today’s America. The love and the hate, the hope and the fear, the cruelty and the generosity, everything that makes our times so hard to live. But despite all its bitterness, Wendy and Lucy is above all a story of love and sacrifice, beautifully portrayed by Michelle Williams, which once again, like a few years ago with Old Joy, leaves us wanting to see more from Reichardt.

What is Courage? Are We Born With It?

Do you believe you are a courageous person?  Some people are born with fire inside of them and seem to have skins as thick as stone.  These people are lucky and they are also the exception to the rule.  Without proper education, these people could go on to do great things with their lives only to be torn down as victims of their own pride, to their risk taking, or even worse yet, never figure out their role in life.

Learning to be courageous is a lot like building muscle – you must exercise your mind and push your limits in order for it to grow.  If not, it will be the same size and you will only be comfortable tackling the same tasks as the same role.  

Doesn’t looking at obstacles sometimes just seem too daunting?  Sometimes it feels like a path through rosebushes only to face a giant grizzly bear at the end.  Just thinking about it makes your heart jump into your throat.  I am sure that we have all felt this once.  Not fear, but utter terror.

Now, I am going to tell you that the rosebushes and the bear really don’t exist.  The bushes are warm waves on the ocean, you are on a surfboard, and the grizzly bear is your lover waiting for you to get back to shore.  This makes the situation seem a whole lot more tolerable.  Even if you aren’t a surfer you can be more motivated at having this thought.  This mental device is called reframing and being able to use it is one of the most important tools to gain what you want in life.  Your obstacles are your friends – the giant beast at the end of your quest is just a tiny little shivering mouse.

Does attaining your goal mean you must be courageous?  Unless you have tiny goals of no worth to others or even yourself, the answer is yes.  Courage is part faith in your abilities and yourself, part burning desire that your obstacle must be defeated, and part planning.  Plan out and research your obstacle or your goal because if you don’t, you have no more knowledge of the subject than a newbie.

  • faith in your abilities
  • burning desire
  • planning

Courage probably means something different to everyone.  Don’t know what to be courageous about?  Start with your fears.  Imagine a fear you have that if you didn’t would make your life a whole lot richer.  Start there.


Value Yourself

Value yourself and your time.  How much are you worth?  If your answer isn’t “incalculable,” you have a lot to reflect on.  The real beauty is that everyone’s value is incalculable – it is just that most people don’t know it yet.

What does it mean to value yourself?  That your time is worth money?  That you have something great to contribute?  That you can’t concern yourself with tasks that are not your interest?  Any of these could be an answer.  Ever since I was a child, I knew what my natural talents were.  I couldn’t exactly put words to them, but I knew what they were.  As we grow up, the world and social pressure attempt to bury our subconscious self-esteem.  We are worth only as much as we put into someone else’s “better” venture, be it a company, a boss, a spouse, whatever.  Suddenly we are stuck in a rat race that we only just fell into and wonder what happened.

I am a firm believer in the perfect harmony of the universe.  Everything works as it should and there is nothing right or wrong about it.  We are hands of the universe, we are here to create and harmonize with the spirit of the times.  All such notions of “truth” are invalidated as soon as someone notices them.

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What are your natural fortés?  Do you acknowledge them?  Even better, do you use them?  Do you feel at certain times of the day like what you just did was easy, effortless, fun, and satisfying?  That is one of your natural fortés, and it is a powerful sign to follow.  Don’t fear its power, instead, say yes to it and use it.  Realize that no one else born on this earth has the same combination of talents that you do.  Your job is to use them and to use them creatively.  You have nothing or no one to catch up to, because even while you may have great ideas only to find out someone else had to the same one before and maybe patented it, there is no one else that can do it like you.  

You walk your own walk, even if it might be in the same direction as others.  Instead of feeling crowded by them, feel kinship and community.  

Just remember, the more you believe your time is worth, the more worth will come to your life. 

Turn Your Heart Inside Out To Find Answers

The human heart is an amazing machine.  Even more so, the feeling we get from our hearts is even more amazing.  You feel it every day, but whether or not you listen to it is another story.  There are so many things that can block us from listening to what our heart is telling us.

So what exactly is the difference between what your brain and your heart tell you?  What our brains tell us is usually what we have heard all throughout our lives.

“You are a very nice person.”

“You are really smart.”

“You seem pretty quiet.”

“Your decision is very brave.”

“You have a lot of friends.”

These are examples of things that I’ve heard in my life about myself.  When I look back at them, I feel a slight disconnect.  These are not the way I think.  They are words that have tried to imprint themselves on my conscious and subconscious, asking me to follow suit, follow what the people say, and act accordingly.  Slowly but surely, if I let these sayings sink in, my personality will become a conglomeration of a little bit of what everyone has said about me.

This is what following your brain means.  Following my brain based on what other people have said.  Taking other people’s word for how I am.  And the brain cannot sufficiently analyze it because it is not a very accurate machine for analyzing itself.  We have out egos and superegos that get in the way.  I could easily say, “no, I’m not quiet, I just listen and choose my words accordingly.”  But then that would just be complicating the situation because then an internal struggle commences.

Ask your heart what it has to tell you.  Listen closely to what it has to say.  It will never say anything obscene like “you are x, you are not y.”  Most likely it is feelings you will find, emotions.  Feelings and emotions are starting points – they are roadsigns.  The “names” our mind puts on us based on other people’s words is like smoke.  It is impossible to grab and very harmful to inhale.  What you hear from your heart is like water.  It hydrates, it nourishes, it makes healthy the body you already have.  

So drink from your cup.  Drink from your heart.  Meditate while breathing into your heart.  It is so loud at times, but we are told that it is the natural enemy.  We confuse it with our primitive mind, the part of our brain that developed long before our new frontal lobes.  The heart is different because it is not grounded in survival antics.  In fact, it is completely useless in the process of traditional “survival,” but it is the key to opening all the best possibilities for you in this new world.  

Your heart tells you everything you think you should not say.  It speaks so loudly in such plain language, not at all complicated by logic, customs, or anything else.  It is the rugged gem of your existence.  Ragged does not mean flawed.  It means that it needs attention and then it will become more circular, more trimmed, more streamlined.  Your brain, on the other hand, is a series of tangents that lead us astray, because we can really only choose one tangent at a time.  The heart has the amazing ability to transform everything we do into a different color, into a different existence.  Your actions led by your heart will carry your own personal signature, while your actions carried out by your mind will be nothing more than self-conscious and indecisive.

Does any of this sound familiar?  All the criticism you have ever heard about yourself, can’t it be drowned out by your own enthusiasm?

So, what does “be yourself” exactly mean?  

Will you choose to be your brain self or your heart self?  How about just yourself?  What about your urself?   If you want answers that make sense to you and to you only, go with your heart self.  If you want answers that make sense to others based on how they perceive you, choose you brain self.  This post, as well as this site, are not meant to judge in any way your decision, because of the aim, as always, is to help YOU build your ideal life.   

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