How much does being ugly really cost?

Being ugly may not only be a detriment to your social life, but it could also greatly hinder your financial potential. There have been numerous studies indicating a correlation between beauty and professional success. And the verdict is…. hot people make more.

Don’t believe me? A study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, found that hotties-with-naughty-bodies make 5% more per hour than their average looking colleagues. Even worse, “unattractive” people were found to be making 8% less than average looking persons.

Not only do the attractive people make more money, but they also have a higher statistical shot at landing the job in the first place. Here’s a quote from a CNN article on the study…

After variables like education and experience are factored out, Fed researchers said the “beauty premium” exists across all occupations, and that jobs requiring more interpersonal contact have higher percentages of above-average-looking employees.

And here’s another snippet from a published study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences…

When someone is viewed as attractive, they are often assumed to have a number of positive social traits and greater intelligence.

That means beautiful people (like Justin Bieber) are not just gorgeous, but also perceived as smarter. Now I know why so many people think I’m a geenyus. Haha, get it… “Geenyus”. It’s funny ’cause I spelled it wrong. Man I’m unBIEBERlievable (yeah, I got the Bieber Fever).

Don’t worry though. Even if you are beat-up-from-the-feet-up or tore-up-from-the-floor-up, you still may have a chance at earning a decent wage. That is if you are tall. A study by two professors at the University of Florida found that “tall” people earn a substantially higher wage than their shorter counterparts, with each inch providing $789/year more in income. So, I guess it’s true… size matters ūüėČ

Moral of the story kiddos. Don’t be ugly and don’t be short. Otherwise, it could cost you some major moolah. If you’re not attractive, don’t worry. There is always plastic surgery. I mean remember how good Michael looked after all his plastic surgery…

Have you ever witnessed some beauty biased in the work place? Can any level of “equal employment policies” prevent beauty from becoming a professional factor? Who are some exceptions to the “beauty” rule (think Bill Gates, Jack Black, Amy Winehouse)?

Think Twice: Crucial Considerations before You Make a Career Change Decision

You’re stuck in a career that does nothing for you, and you keep hearing that you’re supposed to do something that you love if you are to be successful. What do you do, though? A career coach may be able to show you the way, but it can help to put in some¬†work¬†yourself. The more you know about yourself, the more information you’ll be able to give the career coach to help you with.

Tread carefully when it comes to picking a new career 

You’re in luck if you do have a reasonable idea what you want to do. It can never do, however, to assume that your ideas are on the money. Plenty of people make poorly thought-out career switches simply because they’ve fallen in love with a trendy choice, or because they want to imitate someone they admire.

It’s important, before you actually make a move, to take a few classes for the career in question, or try a couple of unpaid internships. These attempts will help you see how your mind responds to the career choice.

Try multiple possibilities

It can be hard to know what talents you really possess, or what really makes you happy. It can be an excellent idea to narrow down your list to three different career options, and try your hand at each one of them. In many cases, it even make sense to try a new career in your own industry. It could help you take advantage of your industry experience.

You could even try a quick internship in a career path that you know you aren’t interested in. The experience will help solidify notions that you’ve always held, and it will lend new resolve to your search for a career that will truly make you happy.

Do you have other aims?

As wonderful as it can be to finally know what you want to do, you do need to know if your choice can work well with your other hopes, dreams and lifestyle choices. Do you live in your own home, and will moving require you to sell? It could be a sensible move to do so if you are willing, see Abbotts for more info. Career changes can be undermined by things as simple as the requirement in a new job to commute, or the need to work late. Pay, benefits, vacation, work stress and even exposure to economic uncertainties can all make an otherwise well-loved career difficult to put up with. It’s sensible to take a year for research.

There’s the transition problem

For far too many people hoping to switch to careers they love, the stumbling block turns out to be the transition. They need a plan for how to get by in the time that they take to earn their qualifications, enter the new career and advance to a level where they make a reasonable income. Do you have savings? How about relying on a partner? You need a definite plan for what you will do.

Do you have a fallback?

Even the best laid plans are known to fail. Taking risks can come easier when you don’t have a family to support. If you do have responsibilities, though, you won’t have the luxury of taking your time to find a new job or career path. You’ll need to plan a fallback before you make any irreversible moves away from your current career. Not only will this mean less tumult in your life, it will mean less anxiety, as well. It wouldn’t hurt, for example, to make sure that your old job is always open to you before you move out.

Mentally preparing yourself

When it comes to career changes, popular anecdotes show Americans going through as many as seven in a lifetime. While there isn’t much evidence in support of the number, it does show that career changes are common across the Atlantic.

Career changes are healthy, because they demonstrate a desire to take risks. Successful career changes on a resume can even look attractive to potential employers. Yet, Britain has some way to go here. With not many used to the idea of career switches, you could see resistance both among employers and friends and family. Yet, it’s important to not give up on the idea. The freedom to change careers can mentally free you up to go after a better life.

Marie Powell worked as a careers advisor for most of her working life before retiring last year. She now spends her time travelling, spending time with her young grand children and writing articles for career focused blogs sharing her knowledge.

Good news friends. I’m not dead.

So let’s just talk about the big elephant in the room.¬†

Yes.

I dropped off the face of the earth for the last two and a half months. And ya know what, it felt soooooooooo good.

I wish I had some cool story about how I was doing awesome things that kept me so busy I had no time to blog. But the reality is, I just didn’t want to write.

It’s that simple.

I like to consider it a blogging sabbatical. I mean I’ve been writing now for six years, a break was very much needed.

Special thanks to the dozen or so of you that sent me emails checking to make sure I hadn’t been kidnapped and had all my skin cut off by a creepy blog reader.

Much appreciated ūüôā

On another note…

Girl Ninja and I might be moving. To where you ask?

ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

I applied for a job¬†with a well known government agency back in April, and over the last three¬†months I’ve been jumping through a bunch of¬†pre hiring hoops.

I’ve been interviewed, lie detected, stabbed, pricked, poked, x-rayed, and investigated.

 

I’ve successfully passed each of the stages and am awaiting a final hiring decision.¬†Word on the street has it, that decision should be coming very soon.And if I am extended a final offer, Girl Ninja and I could be moving.¬†

Most secret squirrel jobs with Uncle Sam require the employee to sign a mobility agreement. Meaning, the employee agrees to move where the agency requests they go. In my case, that could end up being anywhere in the world. 

Literally.

I requested to be placed in either Seattle or San Diego (since these two locations are where we consider “home”), but there is nothing stopping them from putting me in the midwest, the south, the east, or even the Middle East, Korea, Africa, Spain, etc.

What’s more, it’s possible I don’t even get a job offer. Which means we’d be staying put in Seattle and I’d have to figure out a new game plan in regards to my career path.

Needless to say, life is a little crazy right now and we’re doing our best to temper our anxiety. I feel like a college student all over again, waiting for the acceptance (or rejection) letter to show up in the mail.¬†Fingers crossed the news comes this week!¬†

In conclusion, look at how cute Baby Ninja is now that he doesn’t look all alien like…

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How much does child care cost?

Girl Ninja and I just got back from a glorious 10 day San Diego / Palm Desert vacation. I ate many a California Burritos (9 total), Baby Ninja ate a gratuitous amount of sand at the beach, and Girl Ninja consumed her body weight in Starbucks. We spent time with¬†old friends, visited our Alma Mater’s campus, and reminisced on all the memories Girl Ninja and I have from our time living there.

While Girl Ninja and I made the 2.5 hour car trip from San Diego to Palm Desert we talked about a whole slew of things, one of which was her role as a stay at home mom.

We’re¬†fortunate to be in a position where Girl Ninja can stay at home with Baby Ninja full-time¬†and even more-so because my¬†job allows me to spend about half of my work day at home (I’m out in the field the other half). Baby Ninja is kind of growing up with two stay-at-home parents.

Leaving teaching was hard for Girl Ninja. She loved her job and loved the school she worked at. About twice a month,¬†Girl Ninja’s mom will babysit and GN will take a substitute job at a local school. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

  • Girl Ninja’s mom gets quality time with her grandson.
  • Girl Ninja gets to relieve herself of her motherly duties for a day
  • She still gets to dabble in the profession that she loves
  • She makes $150 each day she subs.
  • The school she teaches at gets a Substitute that legitimately loves teaching.

Next fall¬†year, Baby Ninja will be 15 months old. Which also means he will be significantly less dependent on “mom”. If GN isn’t pregnant by summer (we aren’t trying, but we’re not preventing… was that too much information?), we started toying with the idea of her working more consistently next school year.

I doubt that would mean her taking a full-time teaching position, but she could start subbing¬†two to four days per week instead of once every two weeks like she has been. If she substitute taught three days per week next school year, she would make $16,200 in additional income for our family. It’s nowhere near the $45,000 she would make if she took a full-time job, but¬†every little bit helps.

The only problem with this idea is we have no clue how much child care costs. Sure Girl Ninja might make $16,000 more next year, but if it costs us $10,000 to put Baby Ninja in to child care during the school year is it really worth it?

No way. 

From what I’ve learned from friends is it seems full-time childcare runs about $1,200-ish per month.¬†If we used child care three days per week, I’m guesstimating it would cost about $600 to $800 per month. She would be earning about $2,000/mo subbing at this rate.

The way I see it there are two ways to look at this…

Extra money is extra money

Sweet! We net a little over $1,000/mo in additional income. This could be used to further advance our taxable investment account. Perhaps open a college savings plan for Baby Ninja. Or allow us the freedom to spend a little more frivolously (meaning travel a bit more, or do some work on the house. not meaning buy a new tv just for the sake of buying a new tv). It would be a welcome addition in deed.

Extra money is extra money, but at what cost

Sure we would bring home $1,000 a month more than we do now, but Girl Ninja would also be away from Baby Ninja much more than she is now. Is $1,000 really worth missing out on some significant milestones or entrusting a large chunk of our child’s development to a stranger? I’m not too sure.

I guess what I’m really getting at is I would love to hear from a few of you who have dealt with a similar decision.

  • Did you pay for childcare (if so, how often¬†and how much)?
  • Did you forfeit an income so one parent could stay at home (if so how much did you give up)?
  • How does one have their cake and eat it too (get to be with their child while make a ton of money) ūüôā ?

Overtime.

My field office¬†has been one of the hardest hit field offices in the country in terms of work load. We have fallen way behind because we don’t have enough agents to complete all the work that comes in. We’re generally known as a¬†busy office, but things have gotten so out of hand that we aren’t expecting to be caught up until 2016, possibly even 2017.

We’ve¬†had several agents from different areas come in for three weeks at a time to try and support our team and get things more manageable. While it helps, it’s still not enough.

One of the perks of working for the federal government, or at least my position within the government, is that I never have to work more than 40 hours a week. While some of my friends in different industries might make more money than me in a calendar year, I always remind them that my hourly rate is not far off from theirs since they frequently show up to work early, stay late, and even go in to the office on the weekends.

Sixty hour work weeks have never been a part of my life. 

Thank goodness.

Yesterday, my boss sent out an email, letting me and a few colleagues know that we are authorized to work up to ten hours of overtime per week for the foreseeable future.

It is completely optional, and there is no expectation from management that we must take advantage of this program.

I get paid 1.5 times my hourly rate for overtime.

Assuming this stays an option the rest of the year, I could gross an extra $30,000 this year.

Which virtually replaces the income we forfeited when we decided Girl Ninja should quit teaching and be a stay at home mom.

Let me get this straight. Girl Ninja can quit working the 40+ hours per week she was putting in as a Kindergarten teacher, I can pick up an extra 10 hours per week, and it’s like nothing changed in regards to our income?

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While I legitimately enjoy the work life balance my job provides, I’m definitely willing to give up a little more of my free time if it means we can provide a nice financial buffer for us this year.

How many hours a week do you put it in at work? Do you get paid overtime for extra hours? If your supervisor offered you 10 hours of voluntary overtime right now would you take advantage?

 

I’ve realized I’m a lifer.

A few months after graduating college,¬†the federal government offered me a job to work for them as a Special Agent. I was 21 at the time and the prospect of a “cushy” government job seemed too good to pass up. I mean, I had $28,000 in student loans to pay back after all.

I remember taking the job and being asked by my peers if I thought I was going to do this gig for the rest of my life. My response was always the same…

“If I’m still doing this job five years from now, I’ll probably do it for the rest of my life.”¬†

Right at the five-year mark I got super motivated to look for a new job. I applied to a couple dozen positions, had a few interviews, but was rejected from every job I applied for. In case you aren’t familiar with the process, getting rejected sucks. But hey, that’s life right?

Now, in my seventh year as a fed, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m probably a lifer.

That’s right, I will most likely work the exact same job, day in and day out, for the next thirty years.

AND I’M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT IT!¬†

At 21 years old, I thought one’s professional success is defined by the job title they hold and the salary they command.

I nailed that first one. I mean how sweet is it that my literal job title is Special Agent?

The second one, not so much.

While I make a nice chunk of change, I’ll never earn a huge six-figure salary. It is the government after all and everything is regulated by congressional mandates.

But at¬†almost-30-years-old,¬†I’m realizing one’s salary means¬†very little in the grand scheme of things.

Imagine this…

Ten, twenty, fifty years from now you are on your death-bed. One of your teenage grandkids looks at you and says,

“Grandma/Grandpa, What’s the one thing you wish you could have done more of in life”

How many of you are going to respond to that question with “I wish I could have made more money.”?

Probably not you. right?

Although we may not always act like it, deep down inside, we know that our income should not define our worth.

To further convince myself of this fundamental truth, I decided I would make a Pros and Cons list of my position:

Work pros and cons

According to math there are far more things on the left side than the right.

Therefore, I should be content and keep my job. 

Anyone else out there a “lifer” in your position¬†(teachers, firefighters, and physicians where you at!)?

How many jobs have you held in your adult life? 

 

 

How I got a job with the government, and why you can’t.

If you didn’t already know, I work for the federal government as an investigator.¬†I like to think my job is pretty cool and apparently a lot of other people do too.¬†I¬†get asked pretty frequently, both here on the blog and in real life, how I managed to snatch up a sweet gig at such a young age. Like this email I got the other day…

I’m a 23 recent graduate working as a Talent Acquisition Specialist. I studied psychology in school (Industrial Organizational Psychology) and wanted to know what career you took in the public sector since you yourself was a psychology major.

I’ve been trying to apply for HR jobs in the public sector since I was in school, but almost all HR jobs go to vets. I know most of your current topics are about the married life, houses, etc., but I’d love to hear your advice.

Let me tell you the story…

The week before I graduated college with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, I got an email from one of my psych teachers that said something along the lines of “Hey this job looks pretty cool, you should consider applying for it.”

At first I was a little offended. Although my degree was in Psychology, everyone knew my plan was to go to medical school so I could become a Psychiatrist. Instead of taking surfing, bowling, or pottery as my general electives in college, I suffered through Calculus, Organic Chemistry, Physics, and Microbiology. My professor knew my plans, so why would she send me an application for a job in a completely different field?

Maybe because the job sounded awesome! 

These were a few of the highlights from the application:

  • Be a special agent (yes please)
  • Work from home (is this a joke?)
  • Travel the world (who doesn’t want to do that)
  • Get a work car (I want to save gas money)
  • Make reasonable money (might not ever be rich, but I’ll make enough)

My world was rocked. The job seemed too good to be true. But was it worth giving up my dreams of being an MD? Obviously I ended up getting offered, and accepting, the government job.

Goodbye medical school debt, hello income! 

So Mr PDITF reader guy, how can you get a government job like me? Two words…

You can’t.¬†

Allow me to explain, per congressional requirements, veterans must be given a preference when applying for government jobs (often a ten or fifteen point advantage on each application).

Say I score 100 out of 100 on a certain application, a veteran also applies and scores 91 out of 100. Since they are a veteran, they get a 10 point bump netting them a total score of 101 out of 100. They get the job, I get a rejection letter. The priority is hiring veterans, not necessarily hiring the most qualified candidate.

To be honest, I got really lucky and graduated at the right time. My job was announced through a short-lived hiring model¬†called the¬†Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP).¬†The FCIP was created by Bill Clinton¬†in 2000 with the goal of attracting “exceptional men and women to the Federal workforce” and preparing them “for careers in analyzing and implementing public programs.”

Or in other words, it was a way for the government to hire unexperienced college graduates, instead of being forced to hire veterans, to backfill all the pending baby boomer retirees.

About 100,000 people in total joined the federal government through this program. That was until March 2011 when Obama signed an executive order ending the FCIP, basically saying it was unconstitutional and veterans needed to be given preference for federal jobs.

Now when people ask me how they can get a job like mine I tell them this,

  • join the military
  • serve a few years
  • get out
  • pray you get deemed most qualified