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Happy Thanksgiving 2015 from Just Workin' It

Best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving and a lovely long weekend. May this celebratory time be enjoyable, whether you relax with family and friends, participate in turkey-themed recreational activities, volunteer with a philanthropic Thanksgiving outreach, or log holiday overtime hours.

Thanksgiving blessings all around.


5 reasons I might refuse your JOIN GROUP request on Facebook

Social networking can be a strategic part of career networking, for sure. But it takes some savvy to do it well. Just being a joiner, seeking membership into as many Facebook groups as possible, is not enough.

Having started a few special-interest Facebook groups, I have found myself groaning over nearly daily lists of JOIN GROUP requests from folks that clearly have no legitimate reasons for wanting in. I handily reject these requests.

OK, hold it right there. I’m not trying to be elitist or exclusive. The issue is spam.

Consider these five reasons I might refuse a JOIN GROUP request on Facebook.

None of these criteria for denying a request to join a Facebook group is prejudicial. These issue simply point to the likelihood of a petitioner being a potential spammer, rather than actually seeking to participate in the Facebook group.

Take a look. Here’s why I might reject your request, if you ask for entry to my Facebook groups.

Don’t take this personally, please. This post is aimed at being helpful and instructive. And, hey. I have accepted at least 2,000 member requests for one particular group, which is targeted to a very specific interest niche. Another group is growing rapidly as well.

1. We have no mutual friends on Facebook. Suppose my Facebook group is about Biking in Ohio. If you and I both pursue this activity, wouldn’t we be likely to share a few Facebook friends?

Here’s a definite red flag. If your profile reveals that you have NO Facebook friends at all, then you will surely look like a spammer.

2. Your entire Facebook profile page is written in a foreign language. This is not an ethnic bias. If your online activity occurs in another tongue, it may be a fair bet that you are not an active participant in the pursuit covered by a local or regional Facebook group (as mine are). For example, am I honestly to believe you are a Grand Rapids quilter, if your Facebook page is composed solely in another alphabet?

3. You already belong to a bazillion Facebook groups on all sorts of topics. Unless you are a spammer, can you actively participate in that many online communities? Could you possibly be passionate about that many subjects? Or are you simply selling something?

4. Your Facebook profile page shows no hint of the Facebook group’s focus. Here’s a tip. Suppose I run a Facebook group about agility dog training and competitions. Before you send me a JOIN GROUP request, you might want to have a few dog photos on your own profile page.

5. Your current location is nowhere near the region covered by the Facebook group. Here we go again. Let’s say a Facebook group is all about Gulf Coast fishing, but your Facebook profile page indicates you live in Paris, France. As the group administrator, won’t I wonder why you wish to join?

Like any Facebook group administrator, I’d love to see my groups grow and gain interest in their own arenas. But I refuse to overlook the possibility of inappropriate joiners, who might only clutter the Facebook group walls with spam ads for sneakers, sunglasses, or get-rich-quick schemes.

Smart networkers work the ‘net strategically, but also appropriately.

Adapted from public domain photo

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Do you love your work or just work for a living?

Does your profession come from your personal passion, or do you work it because it works?

Maybe some people really love what they do for a living. Sure, we all know people like that. They seem to leap out of bed each morning, raring to go. They can’t wait for the weekend to end, so they can jump right back into their livelihoods.

Or maybe not.

How many more people go through the motions, whether they honestly enjoy their jobs or not? Certainly, they appreciate being able to pay their bills, keep the home afloat, and perhaps make a mark in the world somewhere. Perhaps their occupations occupy lots of their time, while they earn enough to finance their real passions. Maybe they have hobbies, personal ministries, or a volunteer pursuits. That counts for plenty, so they show up for work.

Most American workers seem to feel at least somewhat disengaged from their jobs, according to a 2015 Gallop poll. That doesn’t mean employees aren’t meeting deadlines or quotas or that they are shirking their responsibilities across the board. They just aren't feeling it.

Where’s the passion?

The Journal of Applied Psychology recently published the findings of a Tel Aviv University study (in collaboration with the London School of Economics), examining the costs or benefits of pursuing one’s passions in the workplace. The research followed 450 high school music students for 11 years, tracing their careers. Those who carved out music careers earned statistically less than those who worked in other fields and continued musical pursuits outside of their jobs.  On the other hand, the professional musicians indicated higher career satisfaction then their musically-oriented counterparts who were earning  more money by working in other industries.

How might these findings be applied to folks in any career path?

"If you experience a strong calling, you need to be cognizant of your relative preferences for intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards and potential trade-offs between the two, then decide accordingly," said Daniel Heller of Tel Aviv University's Recanati School of Business.

Perhaps chasing career dreams has a cost. But maybe it’s worth it, if the desire is strong enough.

Does security trump stimulation, when it comes to choosing a career? Is value worth more than values? Or is it more a matter of duty overriding desire to follow one’s personal or professional propensities?

Adapted from public domain photo

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After-school jobs prep teens for the work world.

 Whether mixing malts at the mall, stocking shelves at the shoe stor,e or flinging fries at the fast-food store, teenagers are working at part-time jobs all over. After school, on weekends and during school vacations, adolescents are sampling the working world and earning their own money, usually for the first time. 

Although most teens seek work primarily for the pay it will provide, a job can offer additional rewards, such as professional and personal training for adult life. After-school jobs for teens are not just about earning gas money.

What money management lessons can kids learn by holding part-time jobs?

1. Hard work pays off.

For most people, easy money is not nearly as satisfying as earned funds. Parents who do not encourage their teens to obtain jobs actually may rob their young adults of this wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Does anyone ever forget that very first real paycheck? How about the first pay raise, particularly if it has been awarded for on-the-job merit or achievements?

2. Character actually does count.

Many companies offer employee-of-the-month programs. Workers who display reliability, dependability, honesty, effort, personal initiative, and other positive character traits may see their names embossed on brass plates and displayed at the workplace for all to see. Perhaps a photo will be added. Maybe the employee-of-the-month will be featured on the company’s website.

Recognition at the workplace is rewarding, particularly for young up-and-coming future careerists. Regardless of the nature of the first job, who doesn’t love to be appreciated and featured? What’s more, employees who consistently display strong character will be most likely to earn performance bonuses, which will spell greater earnings.

3. Punctuality earns points.

Anyone can do the math here. Arriving on time for a job is essential. A teen will quickly discover the need to be on-site before his or her shift begins. Along the same lines, clocking out on time (no earlier or later, unless the employer approves it) will reap rewards as well.

On the other hand, failure to adhere to the employer’s schedule will lead to negative consequences, perhaps including the loss of the job. Punctuality is a powerful statement of an employee’s reliability, and a basic expectation of all employers.

4. Organization is essential.

Personal organization is paramount to any profession. Teens who hold part-time jobs will learn procedures for performing tasks and probably also for record-keeping.

At home, as adolescents begin bringing home paychecks, they will enjoy hands-on lessons in basic banking and bookkeeping. They will have to file tax withholding forms, as well as annual tax returns. By doing so, most will be pleased to receive tax refunds!

5. Delayed gratification can be good.

Whatever the wage level, working teens learn to plan for important purchases. Quite quickly, they begin calculating how long it may take to earn sufficient funds for car expenses or other significant items.

Gainful employment also offers teens the ability to support their own recreational interests, such as movies and dining out with friends. By chipping hard-earned funds to pay for gasoline, a young adult may quickly become an expert on the rise and fall of oil prices, as well as other current economic trends.

Is there any more powerful way to learn firsthand the value of a dollar, besides earning that dollar on one’s own?

6. Savings strategies are super.

Wise parents will help teens to plan, right from the very first paycheck, to stash some cash in the bank. Why not take a teen to the bank, with that check in hand, and setting up an individual savings account? Perhaps the family has established trustee or custodial accounts for that child, with higher education and other interests in mind. However, the personal account has another purpose. By setting up a separate savings account with the teen, parents offer that youngster an opportunity to practice fiscal responsibility, without granting access to important long-term investments.

A teen who learns to pay himself or herself right away, in terms of savings, will benefit greatly in the long run. Even a savings deposit of $20 per paycheck can pile up over time.

7. Tithing builds trust.

Families who tithe will want to impress this upon teens, once they begin earning their own money. Many parents begin this when children are quite young, if they receive allowances or payment for babysitting or chores. Learning this early sets a young person up for a lifetime of blessing.

8. Working is worthwhile.

A teenager’s part-time job may require a certain level of commitment from the rest of the family, particularly the parents. Perhaps transportation will be needed, to and from work. Family schedules may need to be altered to accommodate the adolescent’s work schedule. Trips and vacations may be affected by hourly shifts and other job requirements.

Still, most families will determine that the teen’s job experience is well worth the cost.

9. After-school jobs can open doors for future employment.

Working teens often enjoy jump starts to their post-education careers that non-working young people do not have. It’s never too early to start networking, especially on the job. And how many working teenagers gain helpful professional and character references after proving themselves to be valuable employees?

Adapted from public domain artwork

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