Working From Home

With more and more people quitting their jobs to pursue their passions as freelancers and home based entrepreneurs, the landscape of work is changing. Back in the day, you had to to have a 9-5 job – any job, especially if you were the man of the house – just to conform to society’s standards.

This often meant doing a job you hated, in an office you despised, much like what many people are still going through now. But what the heck. As long as it pays the bills and provides health benefits, all’s well that ends well. Right? Well, that pretty much sums up why 70% of Americans hate their jobs!

Shifting Gears

This has brought on a shift in the way people think. Many of them are realizing the benefits of working from home and are turning to freelancing or accepting positions as virtual employees for some of their income, while working on another side hustle to generate more money.

Telecommuting is fast on the rise, with an estimated 3.2 million Americans enjoying the comforts of working from home and many more international employees getting hired by companies who realize they could get cheaper talent abroad at a fraction of the cost. Freelancing has also become a pretty lucrative business if you’re skilled at what you do.

The benefits are awesome, to say the least:

  • Everyday is dress down day.
  • No traffic!
  • No jostling for position in a crowded subway.
  • Eat healthy, home cooked meals all the time.
  • Everyday is bring your pet to work day!
  • Everyday is bring your child to work day!
  • Perfect work-life balance.
  • Extreme flexibility.
  • Never be late!
  • Lower your carbon footprint.

These are just a few of the benefits of working from home. Of course, your pet or child can’t be with you for the duration of your work, but at least you can spend time with them during lunch or when you’re having a short break. Your office should also look and feel like an office, or your productivity will suffer.

What job can I get working from home?

There are many things you could get into while working from home. Here are some of the more lucrative jobs and projects you can take on:

Writer

If you’re a talented wordsmith, put your pen and wits to good use by offering your services as a writer. There are many options to choose from, depending on what you love doing. You can be a ghost writer, web content writer, copy writer or technical writer. Writers get paid either hourly or per project, so choose which one is most applicable for you, and don’t forget that you should charge for research!

English Tutor

There are many websites that can pair a native English speaker to a person from across the globe looking to learn, all from the comfort of home through VoIP. If you’re an English major or if you know how to teach basic English, tutoring is a great way to earn money from home. Conversational English may be part of the deal, but translation isn’t. If your client is looking to you to help translate a document, ask them to try a professional linguistic service.

mb-2015-10-laptopGraphic Designer

If you got an eye for design and color, a career as a freelance Graphic Designer may be in the cards for you. The good thing about this is that everything can done virtually, from talking to clients by VoIP to getting an idea what they want. Files can be shared instantly, and cloud computing makes collaboration much more easier to do.

Web Designer

Another creative telecommuting idea is to offer services for web design. These days, web design is all about templates, and sites like WordPress, Weebly and SquareSpace offer templates by the dozen. But if a client wants something unique and different, you can use your CSS and HTML5 skills to make them beautiful web pages.

Other good, work from home careers are in accounting, customer service, tech support, sales and programming.

See you at Home!

The list above is hardly complete and there are a myriad of other lucrative work from home jobs available if you know where to look and if you put in enough time and research into honing the skills you’re offering. Don’t forget to check out sites like Fiverr, Elance and Freelancer if you want to view what jobs are in demand and what other people are charging.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Mystery Solved: Dilbert Works At Volkswagen!

If you work in an office, chances are you’ve run into one comparison between your office and the Dilbert comic strip.  I love Dilbert, and ever since the stopped making new Far Side strips, it’s my desk calendar of choice.  One of the things I’ve often wondered is what company Dilbert would work for in real life.  Well, after reading the news this week, I think the answer is pretty clear.  Dilbert must work at Volkswagen!

Liars, Cheats, Polluters

One of the top stories, and I think it will only keep gaining momentum, is how Volkswagen got caught and fully admitted to lying about their diesel cars.  They made hundreds of thousands of diesel cars, and it turns out, had a computer software program that blatantly worked so that they were lying about emissions and polluting the enviornment.  And, this was all intentional!

They had software that controlled emissions, and it could be set to have certain systems bypassed in normal use, and only be activated during testing.  What this meant is that a car being tested for emissions would report everything just fine, but during everyday driving, would be putting out lots more (up to 40 times more, to be exact) harmful emissions.

Unbelievable!

I never really read too much about why they would do this, but I’m assuming that if the emissions were ‘as they should be’ all the time, that the mileage would be significantly worse or the car would not function as well or that repair costs would be higher.

But, honestly, does it really matter?

No.

So Why Does Dilbert Work At Volkswagen

Dilbert, in his comic strip, has a whole slew of scenarios in which he or his co-workers are featured.  They all focus on the absurdities of daily interactions, often around dating or relationships with family members, but most of the time, it’s focused on where he works.

His boss ‘The Pointy-Haired Boss’ and his bosses boss ‘The C.E.O.’ are two of the most wicked characters, but now that you read about the VW scandal, you realize that they’d fit right in there!  Let’s look at some of their common behaviors:

They Lie All The Time

Both of the bosses lie all the time, right to the faces of their employees, vendors, and yes, their customers, and then even laugh about it behind their backs.   Sound like something that might have happened at VW?

They Act Above The Law

Little things like laws and regulations matter not to Dilbert’s bosses, and it’s evident that such trivial things like rules don’t matter at all to those at VW.  Something like this had to go all the way or pretty near the top.

They Mock The Intelligence of Others

In Dilbert, the bosses will purposefully send a product to market that could harm consumers or simply wouldn’t work, but they don’t mind because they assume that nobody will ever figure it out.  With hundreds of thousands of diesel VW cars on the road, you’d think that it would occur to someone that it’d all get figured out someday, but apparently they really didn’t care or think that anybody would ever uncover what they were doing.

They’re Driven By Money At All Other Costs

Dilbert’s bosses will cut corners, fire employees, and do a whole mess of other actions.  All they care about are their bonuses.  Something so ridiculous as this VW scandal can only be driven by one thing: Greed.

The Big Difference

The one big difference between Dilbert and VW is that Dilbert is funny. You’re supposed to laugh at the sheer absurdity of what they present.  But, what’s happening at VW is not funny at all.  A company that’s spent decades building a reputation is now going to see it tarnished.  Stockholders have already lost over 20% of their holdings since the scandal was uncovered.

mb-2015-09-pumpYou have to wonder how this started, but I have an idea.  Just imagine, somehwere in the VW headquarters: Someone or a bunch of someones were one day reading Dilbert, and instead of laughing and putting the comic aside, they said “Hey, that’s not a half bad idea….”

And, voila, a $7 billion scandal was born!

Side note: I really think that Dilbert is in good fun.   I know that the author writes it with that intent.  This post is in jest, but the similarities are pretty hard to ignore, no?

What’s Next At Volkswagen?  Can They Recover?

But at VW, it’ll probably get worse.  Many times when something like this happens, then other things magically start bubbling to the surface.  Does anybody really believe that this is the only shady thing that VW has been up to?  On top of that, a diminished reputation leads to lower sales. This  could send things spiraling down and down.  Eventually the $7 billion that they’ve estimated will be just the tip of the iceberg.

Smart, eh?

Readers, anybody out there drive a VW or have any feelings about the scandal?  What do you think inspires something like this?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

What Are Your Most Memorable Work Stories?

I just figured out that I’ve been in the professional work force for nineteen years now.  I’ve worked at a variety of different jobs and have encountered many different people along the way.  Many have been long forgotten, but there are a few that left their impression.  I’d love to hear some stories of memorable co-workers or occasions that you’ll not forget.

Here are a few of mine, with my favorite at the end.

Bad Luck Does Strike Twice

I spent a few months down in Panama City Beach working at a hospital.  One of the guys that worked for me at the time was a little goofy, and after awhile, I commented, and someone pointed out “Oh, he’s been hit by lightning.”

Then they added, “Twice.”

I figured they had to be kidding, but they weren’t.  One time he was standing near a body of water and lightning worked its way through and jumped up to touch him briefly.  Another time, I believe he was in a building that got hit and some jumped to him.  Neither were serious enough to do permanent harm (his shoes were knocked off during at least one hit, if memory serves), but he did seem a bit ‘looser’ after that.

Since that area is prone to afternoon thunderstorms during the summer months, you best believe that I steered clear of him after around 3pm most days!

The Thief

There was a guy at my current job that seemed pretty good at what he did, but nobody really liked him much.  He just seemed a little….slick.  And, while he delivered results, he hinted all the time that he wanted more, that he felt he should be in a higher position and making more money.

Apparently those things didn’t happen fast enough so he took it upon himself to take the lead, at least on the money portion of it.  At our company, when desktop computers have reached the end of life, we work with another company that either scraps, recycles, or resells them.  After some numbers didn’t add up on the returns, they found that the shortfalls were tied to some of his projects, and were able to catch him skimming some of the computers.  He figured that they wouldn’t notice.

They did and that was the end of his job.

The Pregnant Accountant

We did some consulting work for a holding firm, and one of their accountants announced she was pregnant.  She was a woman of, well, considerable size, and as such, she didn’t ‘show’.  She went on at different points about morning sickness, ultrasounds, doctors mb-2015-06-chartappointments, getting things ready, all the usual things that expectant moms have.

Except that, as it turns out, she was never pregnant.

Nobody ever really heard the story about how she was discovered, but she never came back.  I believe the company tried to get her to get mental help, but nobody really knows much about how that went.

That’s kind of a sad one, but still one that stuck with me.

When You Shouldn’t Go To A Farewell Party

I was at one job for around a year when I was given a transfer to a different department.  Same company, same type of work, but different building and under different management.  I was liking the new opportunity because I moved from a group that offered 24×7 support to one that offered normal business hours support, so my hours were going to be a lot more stable.

We were a pretty close knit team, so the manager suggested that we all go out for a drink after work on my last day to celebrate.  A bunch of us got together, had a drink or two, and my manager unexpectedly offered to pay the bill, which was a very nice gesture.

Apparently, she’d been keeping tracks of the drinks and matching it up to the people from the point when she got there, but there were a few drinks that she wasn’t sure of.  She asked the waitress just to be certain everything was on the level, and the waitress gave descriptions of the people who had drank the several drinks that she couldn’t account for.

As she was the manager, she quickly realized that one of the people who had been there before she arrived was working the afternoon shift, and had come in before his shift.  That was a strict no-no and he ended up losing his job.  Since it was my going away party, I felt horrible, but there was no way I could have known as I didn’t know the schedules.  The story did have somewhat of a happy ending, as I ended up working with his wife at a job later down the line, and she confirmed that he got another job, picked up right where he left off, and enjoyed success.  Luckily that happened during the late 90’s tech boom where IT jobs were easy pickings!

Insert Foot Directly…Well, You Know

This is my absolute favorite work related story and one that I don’t think will ever personally be topped.  Book ending Y2K, I worked for a very small company where there only about 15 people total, 5 of us on the server and desktop team.  Mike, one of the other guys, and I happened to be in the office at the same time as the owner, and we were in his office just shooting the breeze.

We were a small group so we knew each others families and such from holiday parties and such.  So, Mike was walking around the office, and he picked up a picture and said to the boss, “Hey, who’s this guy with your wife?”

The boss looked and said, “That’s me, about ten years and fifty pounds ago.”

Mike’s face went the deepest red I’ve ever seen it, and I just started laughing and didn’t sop for at least ten minutes.  The boss was a good natured guy and laughed it off, but that story (thanks to me) became one that Mike didn’t live down until he left (and he quit, he wasn’t fired, ha ha).

In fairness, the weight and years had changed the boss quite a bit, but just the way he blurted it out and the look of realization that crossed his face when the answer came back was absolutely priceless.  They could have put the entire sequence on The Office and not had to change a thing, and it would have fit right in.

Readers, please share some stories along the way that you remember?

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Take Your Time To Achieve Better Results

One of my favorite sayings is the one that goes “There’s never enough time to do it right, but there’s always enough time to do it over.”  I love it because it’s so true!  It applies in so many areas in life, but it’s a lesson we often forget.

Teaching The Value Of Taking Your Time

Our five year old son is now in kindergarten, and they’re concentrating a lot on writing out their letters and simple words.  Each month they get a homework packet, each with a few sheets that focuses on one letter per sheet.  It has them trace the letter a few times, then leaves space for them to do it on their own.

My son can do the writing very well if he takes his time, but there are times when he tries to rush through it, and when he does the work is sloppy.

We encourage him to do the work, and remind him at the beginning to take his time.  He’s already learned that if he rushes through it and doesn’t do a good job, that he has to use his eraser and start over.

His teacher sent back last month’s homework and was very impressed with the results, as we really concentrated on having him take his time.  She even saw one page where we made him erase an entire row of P’s and re-do them, and wrote that she was ‘glad’ he did those over.  We sat down with him and showed him the things that his teacher wrote, and used the positive notes as encouragement to take his time and do the work right the first time.

We can tell that he is taking more time, even on his own, as he has learned the lesson the hard way that quick work leads to being sloppy, and sloppy work means that he has to do it again.

Honestly, my son knows his letters very well, and outside of a few that he writes backwards (those silly S’s), he can write them well.  The biggest lesson he’s actually getting from doing that is the lesson of doing it right the first time, by taking his time.

When Rushing Leads To Sloppy Work

This lesson doesn’t apply just to kindergartners doing their writing lessons, this applies to many areas in life.  Rushing through things can lead to sloppy work in many areas:

  • Work – We’ve all seen the results when you try to rush through something at work. mb-2015-01-watch Poor quality of a product can result, or if you’re writing an e-mail or proposal, a costly spelling or grammar mistake from being rushed can lead to big problems.
  • Money – Trying to skip over doing a budget the right way will likely lead to a budget that isn’t accurate or doesn’t help properly lead to making better money choices.
  • Parenting – I’ve learned my lesson more than a few times that the best way to teach a child is to take your time with them.  Trying to rush through any part of being a parent will often lead to missed opportunities or more.
  • Painting – If you’ve ever painted a room and tried to rush through it, you learn very quickly that there is no fooling a paintbrush and roller when it comes to trying to rush through it.

The list can go on and on, because as the initial quote I posted sort of suggests, it can apply to just about anything.

How To Avoid Rushing Through Things

Taking your time is easier said than done.  So, how best to go about it?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. State your goal – This one may sound unnecessary, but it’s really quite the opposite.  If you state your goal, whether it be writing it down, communicating it, or even just thinking it in your head, you’ll have an end result that your mind can picture.
  2. Focus – Once you have that goal stated, keep referring back to it in whatever form you have it, and know that you’re working toward that goal.
  3. Set milestones – If you have a big room to paint, break it down to various tasks or walls.  Same goes with just about anything.  With our son, when he sees his work as daunting, we tell him to work on one line, and not worry about the rest.  This provides the ability to concentrate more and get better results.
  4. Budget time properly – If you know that taking your time to do something will take 30 minutes, then don’t give yourself just 20 minutes to complete the task.  Make sure you’re allocating enough time to actually complete the work.  Who needs to be rushed when it’s not necessary?
  5. Visualize the work beforehand– When I got started on re-painting last year, I first walked through the room and looked at each area I wanted to paint.  What did this do?  It set each task that I had to do in my head, and it also provided me some reminders on materials that I might need or things that I would need to do.  This helped so that I wasn’t rushing around looking for items that I might not have otherwise thought of.

It’s always tempting to rush through a task, especially one that isn’t fun or that you don’t have the desire to complete.  However, there’s always going to be those things in everybody’s life, so by making sure to take your time, you can actually end up spending less time on them t than if you tried to rush through them.

Readers, what are your techniques to avoid rushing through things?  What are some examples you’ve had or witnessed where rushing through things has actually led to having to spend more time on something in the long run?

 

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