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Should I Accept a Promotion

indecision.jpgWe recently ran across a study by the University of Warwick. We found it interesting that their results fly in the face of a long-held assumption.

For years, it’s been assumed that people get healthier after a promotion. Researchers postulated that people who get promoted feel more in control of their lives. They also thought these people may feel better about themselves.

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More mental strain

But the researchers at the University of Warwick found that this wasn’t the case. In fact, they showed that people who get promoted have ten percent more mental strain on average.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? A promotion often comes with increased responsibilities, increased hours, and perhaps more people to supervise.

It can place a tremendous amount of pressure on our free time. The researchers at the University of Warwick cited this time pressure as a reason that people were twenty percent less likely to go to the doctor after a promotion.

It’s life on your own terms, not the terms of your company

Our business culture tells us that we’re supposed to move up. We’re supposed to seek out opportunities to get promoted.

But as you know if you’re a regular reader, bigg success is life on your own terms. You have to decide if a move up is consistent with how you define bigg success. Nothing else matters.

It’s not absolute

There’s more than one way to move up. One person may choose to move into management. Another one masters a craft and becomes known for it. That’s moving up too!

You may want to move up, but now is not the right time. When you think of life on your own terms, think of “terms” as phases of your life. You may have kids at home and want less responsibility right now. That’s a great reason to postpone a promotion.

When the kids go to school full-time, the time may be right. You’re breaking life on your own terms down by the terms of your life.

A framework for decision-making

We’ve identified five elements to bigg success – money, time, growth, work and play. You can use the five elements to help make decisions like this one. Let’s break it down:

Money – You’ll presumably have more if you accept the promotion.

Time – You have the same amount no matter what. But most likely, you’ll have less time away from work.

Growth – Even though their sport seems like it requires mostly physical abilities, top athletes understand how important their mental condition is. We must understand that we need to look out for our health as well as our mental abilities. Besides that, a promotion may allow for a lot of personal growth or it may detract from the personal growth you really want.

Work – You may find your work more, or less, fulfilling. It depends on your goals.

Play – You’ll likely have more money to spend on leisure but less time to enjoy it.

When you know what life on your own terms means to you, it makes it easier to make decisions. The five elements offer a framework to make those bigg decisions. Think about how the five elements come into play with life on your terms and then consider how any potential opportunity affects them.

Don’t stop there!

We’ve also said that the bigg idea behind bigg success is to find synergy. You may realize that the real secret to making this promotion work is to learn to delegate effectively. That’s growth – one of five elements.

You may find that you can accept the promotion, move up at work, and make more money without sacrificing time for play. It may even involve a little more time initially while you develop your delegations skills, but you know it’s worth it because of all the long-term benefits.

Look for synergy in the five elements as you consider opportunities for even bigger success!

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So what if you decide a promotion isn’t for you? Please join us next time when we talk about how to turn it down.

Thanks for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Make 55 Percent More Money – Part 1

watch_time

We recently did a couple of posts about project selection – how to choose the projects that are best for you. First, we talked about knowing if you should invest your money in a project. Then we integrated the value of our time into the project selection methods.

Now we want to extend that concept. We hear a lot about the right mix of assets when it comes to investing in our retirement portfolios. But we don’t often think of the activities we perform – how we invest our time – as a mix of assets.

Investing time like a venture capitalist allocates money

We should because the things we do should add value to our lives or we shouldn’t do them. So we want to approach our investment of time like it’s a portfolio … specifically, a venture capitalist’s portfolio.

A venture capitalist invests in a bunch of companies. Then they see how they perform and make decisions. If a company is hitting its marks, they keep funding it. If not, they don’t. They are constantly allocating money to the companies that look like they will generate the greatest return.

We can use this as a model for how we invest our time.

Read more

Is Your Project Worth Your Money?

money If you’re like most bigg goal-getters, you have a lot of ideas. But how do you know which ones you should invest in? That’s what we want to talk about today – project selection.

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This process can be used for so many things. You could use it to decide if you should start a business. It would help figure out if you should expand your existing business. You could even use it to determine if it’s worth going back and getting more education.

To get started, you’ll need to make some projections, using assumptions, about the expected income and expenses of your project. The process itself is a science but the assumptions are definitely an art. It requires that you use your own judgment and the only way to learn how to do it is by doing it.

So let’s look at the two most common ways to determine if a project is worth doing.

Payback period

As its name implies, this method simply looks at how quickly you get your investment back. So if you invest $100 now and earn $25 the first year and $75 the second year, you have a two-year payback.

Payback is commonly used because it’s so simple. But think about it … it ignores all the money you could make after the payback period. And that can really skew your investing decisions. You choose projects that return your investment quickly and neglect projects that may offer greater potential but more patience. 

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Discounted cash flow (DCF)

Fortunately, there is a better way to calculate the worth of a project. With this method, you explicitly recognize that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. However, a dollar tomorrow is still worth something which isn’t recognized by the payback method.

It’s called discounted cash flow because we look at all of our expected cash flows and determine how much they’re worth right now by discounting them back to today. That is called the “net present value” (NPV).

Calculating the NPV is a four step process:

  • Determine how much you will invest by year.
    Usually most of your investment in a new project is made upfront (and probably in the first year). But if your project requires that you make an investment over a few years, you’ll want to account for that.
  • Estimate how much income this project will generate by year.
    Obviously, you don’t want to take on a project if it doesn’t increase your income. So look at how much you think you will make with this project and compare that to how much you think you plan to make without it. That’s your increased income from the project.
  • Decide upon your opportunity cost.
    Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Consider where you could invest your money if you didn’t invest it in this project. Weigh in how certain you are about your projections.
    For example, if you determined your project was no more risky than investing in Certificates of Deposit at a FDIC-insured bank, you could use the interest paid on those accounts as your opportunity cost.

Most projects aren’t that certain so your rate will usually be higher than that. Just remember – the less certain you are about your incremental income, the higher your opportunity cost.

  • Run the numbers in Microsoft Excel (or your favorite spreadsheet program) using the formula:

NPV formula

Example – Should I get certified?

We’ll offer an example so you can see this concept in action. Let’s say you want to go back to school to get certified. It costs $2,000 for the certification program. You expect to make an additional $2,000 a year if you do it. You plan to retire in three years so the increased income won’t benefit you for too long. You’ve looked at other opportunities and determined that you need to earn at least 6% on your money.

We see that your payback period is one year. That’s how long it will take to pay you back the money you invested.

Using DCF, your NPV is $3,157 as shown in this screenshot from Microsoft Excel:

Microsoft Excel set up screen shot

To get that, use Excel’s “Insert Function” command:

Microsoft Excel insert formula command screen shot

With DCF, the rule is: If NPV > $0, then invest in the project. After all, your expected return exceeds your expected cost. So in this case, your NPV is over $3,000. Therefore, you should go for it! 

If you want to know what your annual return is, just change the opportunity cost field in your spreadsheet until your NPV equals $0. In this case, your annual return is 83% over the life of the project.

In general, pick the projects with the highest NPV until you run out of money to invest. However, there is one important variable we failed to account for in this calculation – your time. We’ll discuss that tomorrow.

Thanks so much for stopping in to read our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Where Should I Stuff My Money?

mattress In days gone by, mattress stuffers hid all their money somewhere in or around their home – in the backyard, in cans, between the pages of books, in the walls, in a cookie jar, and even under a removable section of floorboards.

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A recent article in the Wall Street Journal talked about the new generation of mattress stuffers. People increasingly don’t trust anyone or anything, a response to falling home prices, crashing stock prices, bank troubles, and government ineptitude.

It’s something we don’t talk about much, but an increasing number of people are taking matters into their own hands to prepare for the next crash. Needless to say, these people aren’t optimists!

They’re pulling their money out of the stock market and stuffing their mattresses the 21st century way.

Stuffing money in treasuries

Instead of actually stuffing cash into their mattresses, they’re buying treasury bills, the safest of all investments. Most financial experts refer to these and other treasury securities as risk-free investments.

Stuffing money in gold

New generation mattress stuffers are also buying gold coins in record amounts. You may have noticed an increase in the number of ads on TV about gold. This flight to safety has been evident after just about every financial crisis, as people return to the gold standard.

Who is primarily driving this trend?

Many baby boomers have taken a huge hit to their portfolios just as they near retirement. They are the driving force behind this trend because they don’t have time to recover from the recent stock market losses before they retire.

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What if you’re not ready to retire?

If you’re not close to retiring, it’s crucial to think clearly about this new mattress stuffing strategy. There are definitely some pros and cons.

Pro: We should own a well-diversified portfolio.
Experts tell us to diversify, diversify, diversify. Typically, the more diversified we are, the better. A diversified portfolio might include stocks, bonds including treasuries, real estate, and perhaps some commodities like gold. Diversification generally delivers the best return given the overall risk.

Pro: Treasuries should be part of most diversified portfolios.
Until recently, a lot of people found treasuries kind of boring because they didn’t deliver enough return. That’s because they aren’t considered risky at all, which is also why they are an essential component of a fully diversified portfolio.

Pro: Gold may also be a wise investment as a small part of a diversified portfolio.
Gold and other tangible assets usually perform best in times of high inflation. So gold can serve as “insurance” against such times. The reason that people often flock to gold in times like these is that, historically, it has been an acceptable way to pay for things.

Con: If you put all of your assets in treasuries, your returns will be much lower.
This lower return is not unjustified. After all, you’re investing in an asset that’s considered to be risk-free. The problem with this strategy is that you may not end up with as much money as you need for your retirement.

Con: It’s dangerous to put a significant percentage of your assets into gold coins.
If experts recommend gold at all (and many more are these days) as part of your portfolio, most suggest keeping it to around five percent of your total assets. Unlike treasuries, gold carries risk – its price goes up and down. One other tidbit – gold has underperformed most other assets historically.

Con: There’s no cash flow with gold.
Treasuries pay interest at regular intervals. You don’t earn any money on a gold bar or a gold coin. The only way to make money by holding gold is to sell it at a price higher than what you paid for it.

Next time, we’ll take this discussion a step further. We’ll apply some real world numbers to help you with your diversification decisions.

We are so thankful that you took the time to read our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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This Word Helps You Keep Your Resolutions

no We found a list of the thirteen most popular New Year’s resolutions. It’s a great page full of links to tips on how to keep them.

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The list itself doesn’t contain any real surprises:

  • lose weight
  • manage debt
  • save money
  • get a better job
  • get fit
  • eat right
  • get a better education
  • drink less alcohol
  • quit smoking now
  • reduce stress overall
  • reduce stress at work
  • take a trip
  • volunteer to help others

As we discussed this list, we realized that there is one word that can often make all the difference in keeping our resolutions.

That word is … No!

You can’t keep putting yourself, or your goals, on the back burner and expect anything to change. You have to say, “No!”

Say no to everything that doesn’t help you achieve your goals.

Say no and get fit

For example, assume your resolution is to “Get fit.” Depending on your commute to your preferred fitness center, it will take at least an hour every time you work out.

But it’s really important to you so you’re going to make time to do it.

Then a co-worker or a friend asks you to serve on a committee or join a club that has weekly meetings. Just say No!

Your “No” doesn’t have to be forever. It just has to be for right now while you fit (pun intended) exercise in your daily routine. Once you’ve made it a habit, then you can consider something else.

Say no and get out of debt

Another common resolution is to “Manage debt.” Of course, the first step is to stop getting further in debt.

Since this is really important to you, you’ll find ways to control your spending.

Two common things that hurt our budgets are major purchases and daily decisions. Get in the habit of saying no to things you don’t need so you stop getting further in debt and save money to pay your debt down.

No – it’s a negative word that will positively help you reach your goals!

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Would you like help setting strong, achievable goals? Get our FREE Goal Planning Workbook when you subscribe to our FREE weekly newsletter. That’s something you’ll want to say “Yes” to!

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We really appreciate you checking in on us today. Next week, we’ll look at what’s hot in 2009. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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How to Reach an Agreement with Your Spouse on the Family Finances

By Bigg Success Staff
06-25-08

Bigg Success with Money

couple

Opposites attract. Unfortunately that can create some problems when it comes to the family’s finances.

Money is one of the biggest sources of disagreement between spouses. It’s often the case that one spouse is a “saver”, while the other is a “spender”.

If you’re the saver …

You may feel like you’re beating your head against the wall. Your spouse doesn’t seem to understand that you’re trying to save for the future. So, just when you think you’re getting a little ahead, your spouse goes out and spends the money. Now you’re back to little, or no, money in the bank!

If you’re the spender …
You may want to “live a little”. Your spouse doesn’t seem to understand that you can’t put off all the fun. You can’t worry about every single dollar you spend. Life’s too short to not live it. Your spouse just wants to save money for when you’ll be too old to enjoy it. You want to live now!

So how do you come to an agreement on the family’s finances?

By having a conversation with your spouse.

Values
Talk about your respective values. To one of you, being debt free may be important. Perhaps you don’t like to use credit cards at all. Or perhaps it’s important to one spouse to buy certain things. It may be as simple as eating lunch out every day.

Understand what’s important to each of you individually before you try to proceed collectively. Something may be very important to your spouse and not important at all to you. That’s okay. You don’t have to agree with each other. You just need to understand to each other.

Goals
Now that you understand each other, you can proceed to your mutual goals. Certain items should be somewhat sacrosanct. An example would be funding your retirement. If you would like to have the option of not working at some point, you have to set money aside while you are working.

As you establish your goals, keep each other’s values in mind. Instead of trying to find ways to pay for what’s important to you, look for ways to get what’s important to your spouse. Ask him or her to do the same thing for you. This role reversal will make the conversation more productive because you’re not fighting for what you want; you’re fighting for what your spouse wants.

Strategies
With your goals established, you know what you need to do. Now you just have to do it. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

It’s not!

This is the hard part because it’s involves the daily decisions that make or break the budget.

There are a number of strategies you may employ. You may each take an allowance for all of your incidental expenses. You may set a limit and agree to call each other before spending that amount. You may maintain a joint account or separate accounts. You may even do both.

Find what works for you and your spouse through trial and error. Then go for your goals. As you see your accounts grow and grow, following your plan will get easier and easier!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Moving On to Move Up

By Bigg Success Staff
06-13-08

Life Changes

At some point in your career, you may decide that you’ve reached a plateau with your employer. You realize that you can’t advance the way you’d like without a change.

You have to move on in order to move up.

Making a decision like this is (or should be) a logical process, but actually acting upon it can be very emotional. Especially when you’re leaving people with whom you’ve had a long-term relationship.

One of those people may be your boss. That boss who has been more than just a boss. There could be many words to describe the role he or she has played in your career.

Mentor. Cheerleader. Coach. Supporter. Trainer. Advisor.

Your boss may have become almost a surrogate father or mother to you. Your relationship has gone past the professional; you have become friends.

How do you tell this person about your decision? 

Be upfront and honest

If you truly value your boss, he or she deserves to know why you’re leaving. Let them know that you feel it’s time to move on. Tell them what you plan to do and what your timetable is.

Be appreciative
Thank them for what they’ve taught you. Let them know how glad you are that you got to work with them. Offer to help train someone to take your place. Let them know that they can contact you should a question arise once you leave.

Fulfill your obligations

Honor the commitments you made as part of your employment agreement. For example, if you signed a non-compete agreement, don’t compete with your former employer during the agreed-upon time frame. It’s that simple.

Keep the door open

If you handle it right, your former employer may be a tremendous resource in your new career. Just because you leave the firm doesn’t mean the relationship has to end altogether. Let your boss know that you would like to stay in touch.

Be prepared to go
If you’ve done all of the above, you’ve handled your separation in the most professional manner. That doesn’t mean your boss will do the same. Be prepared to leave the moment you tell your boss your plans.

Different companies and different people have their own ideas on how to handle a departing employee. Even if you do it all the right way, they may still proceed aggressively.

That’s okay, though, because you can look at yourself in the mirror knowing that you did it in style. You’ve moved on to move up!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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Business Owners Must Be Duplicitous

By Bigg Success Staff
06-05-08

Bigg Success in Business

growing 

You may get conflicting messages about being in business. You hear that you need to be passionate about what you do. You’re also told to approach every business decision rationally.

So which is it – love or logic?

Love
As an entrepreneur, you need to love what you do. If you don’t love it, you won’t be able to make it through the inevitable tough times. So get into a business about which you have a passion.

  • Then take pride in your accomplishments. Celebrate them like you’ve just won the Super Bowl. Be human in defeat. Learn from it and then move on. Practice the 24-hour rule – give yourself 24-hours to enjoy victory or recover from a loss. Then move on.
  • Be stubborn about what matters. There are things that are important to your success. They are your core values and purpose. Don’t ever agree to compromise on the things that are important, but be quick to concede if a better idea comes along that’s not in conflict with these core values and your purpose.
  • Finally, don’t fear the fear. As a business owner, you will face fearful times. That’s okay. Successful entrepreneurs have faced the same fears; they just overcame them. You’ll need to do the same. Press on.

Logic
Emotion clouds your judgment. You have to get beyond your emotions in order to succeed in business. You have to be calculating, weighing the pros and cons of a given strategy against your goals and the pressures of the market.

  • Separate your ego from your business. Entrepreneurs often get in trouble when they start creating monuments to themselves with the resources of their businesses. Don’t make that mistake! Every business decision should move you one step closer to your dream life.
  • Admit your mistakes. If you don’t admit them, you’ll never learn from them. Unsuccessful business owners often devote even more resources trying to turn a bad decision into a good one. It rarely works. Admit your mistake and move on.
  • Aim before you fire. This is one of the best ways to make sure you’re not acting emotionally. Get ready … aim … fire. Business owners who fail often get caught up in the moment and forget this crucial step.
  • Focus on results. Measure everything you accomplish against your goals. Have you exceeded them or fallen short? Why? Answering those questions along the way will take you a long way toward the success of which you dream.


Example

An example of love and logic at play is to remember why you got into business in the first place. You had a goal in mind. You had a plan on how to achieve it. Along the way, you gained new insight and information. You changed your plan, but the goal is still the same. You’re practicing love and logic at the same time!

The bottom line is that it pays to be emotional and unemotional at the same time about your business … be irrationally rational!

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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25 Ways to Lead Your Organization Through Good Times and Bad

By Bigg Success Staff
05-14-08

Leadership Skills

twenty-five 

Leadership is challenging under any condition. In this article, we’ll offer some tips to survive the bad times and to let the good times keep rolling! We discuss five great tips from each of five great articles along with the links to the original articles themselves.

5 Tips to Keep Your Organization’s Knowledge in Your Organization

#1 – Don’t let your best people leave.

#2 – Establish a mentoring program for new employees.

#3 – Share best practices.

#4 – Share lessons learned.

#5 – Document, document, document.

This is a fantastic article on The Providers Edge site. Check out the entire article to learn how to reduce knowledge loss in your organization. *Note that this link will open a PDF file.


5 Key to Overcoming a Crisis

#1 – Keep in mind that business without risk is business without growth.

#2 – Work with the facts. Listen to the market, not your ego.

#3 – Act quickly and decisively. Delay makes things worse, not better.

#4 – Be a proactive leader and clearly communicate your decisions.

#5 – Be resilient and continue to innovate. Success is not forever, nor is failure.

These great tips come from Atsutoshi Nishida, CEO of Toshiba. He was discussing his company’s decision to pull the plug on HD DVD with Yukari Iwatani Kane of The Wall Street Journal. Check out the full interview for detail on overcoming a crisis in your organization.

 

5 Tips to Get the Best Results from Your Employee Training Programs

#1 – Remember that training is an investment.

#2 – Make sure the training is targeted and really needed.

#3 – Establish measurable returns.

#4 – Work with vendors that truly understand your needs.

#5 – Make sure the training is flexible and customized.

Chris Young wrote this excellent post on his Maximizing Possibility blog. You owe it to yourself to check out his complete explanation of his five tips for improving employee training and development during a recession or economic downturn.

… but we’re not done with training yet …


5 Pointers to Train Your People to Up sell / Cross sell

#1 – Tell your people what’s in it for them.

#2 – Give them clear objectives.

#3 – Create a non-threatening environment for role playing.

#4 – Assign them structured skill improvement activities.

#5 – Schedule a follow-up workshop about a month after the initial session.

This is an oldie, but a goody written by Brian J. Geery for BNET. He specifies it as sales training, but these tips are helpful for training for any human interaction. Read details of his five tips to ensure successful up selling / cross selling training.


5 Tips to Keep the Momentum Going

#1 – Reset greater challenges.

#2 – Review individual efforts.

#3 – Re-energize.

#4 – Rewind.

#5 – Recognize and reward.

Understanding these concepts is so important because momentum is such a precious thing. Check out the details on CareerBuilder’s top five tips for maintaining momentum.  

 

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What to Do if You’re Not Happy with Your Job

ByWynn Bigg
Bigg Success Contributor
04-15-08  

Wynn Bigg Today

Daniel and Debra are two of my closest friends. My wife, Fanny, and I recently attended the wedding of their “little girl”, Denise. Only she isn’t so little any more … I know I’m biased, but she was a beautiful bride.

It was great to see old friends again and catch up with all their comings and goings. But it’s the conversation I had the day before the wedding that I wanted to talk about today.

Fanny and I got to Dan and Deb’s house early Thursday afternoon. Dan was out-of-town on business; he wasn’t expected in for about five hours. Fanny, Deb, and Denise went shopping to take care of some last-minute details before the bigg day.

That left Derek and me. Derek graduated from college about three years ago. I’ll never forget the look on his Dad’s face when Derek went up to get his diploma.

Derek went to work for a large company. He was so excited because they had selected him for the management fast-track. He would rotate through a number of divisions and assignments over the next few years.

Derek and I hadn’t seen much of each other since he started his job. It was a gorgeous day, so we sat down by the pool to catch up.

I said, “Geez, Derek, I can’t remember the last time we really got to talk.”

“Yeah, it’s been a few years, Uncle Wynn.” The kids called me “uncle”, although we weren’t actually related.

“So how have you been?”

“Doing pretty good.”

“How’s the job?”

“It’s going pretty well.”

“Is it everything you hoped it would be?”

“Well, I guess I’ve learned quite a bit.”

“I’m sensing that you’re not telling me something.”

“Well, I guess the job’s alright … it’s just not everything I had hoped for. I feel like I could be doing so much more.”

“Why do you feel that way?”

“I have friends who have done so much better.”

“But Derek, you can’t judge yourself by your friends.”

“I know, I know … but I’m nearing the end of their management program … I just don’t feel that there are any good opportunities for me.”

“Why is that?”

“Because they keep cutting back … they’re selling off the companies where I really wanted to go.” He squirmed in his chair, and tugged on his tee-shirt. “I guess, Uncle Wynn, I’m just not as happy in my job as I thought I would be,” he hesitated before continuing, “what do you do if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing?”

“Ah, that’s a good question, grasshopper! You know, I get asked a question like this a lot. It’s really a very simple answer … you have to either change the job or change jobs.”

“What do you mean … change the job?”

“Well … you’ve made an investment in your current job. So has your company. So it makes sense to first try to change it so that it makes you happy.”

“How do I do that?”

“First, decide what you want from your job. We make the best decisions we have with the information we have. But we’re constantly getting new information. When you took this job, you made the best decision you could. Now you know more about your company, there have been some changes, and most importantly, you know more about yourself. So what do you want now? That’s the first thing you have to do.”

“Okay, so what’s the second?”

“Talk to your supervisor, or your HR people. Tell them what you want to do … what you want from your job. See what options they may have.”

“And if they can’t come up with anything that fits, I’ll have to start looking for a different job.”

“That’s right, Derek … you either have to change the job you have or you have to change jobs. Because work is too bigg a part of your life to not be happy at work.”

“Wow, Uncle Wynn … that helps. I’ve really been stressing over this. Thanks for the advice!”

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