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Going After The Job You Really Want

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In the years that my children were in grade school, I enjoyed getting to know the support people in their buildings – the custodial staff, the secretaries, the para-professionals – and it never ceased to amaze me how the two latter groups consisted, in large part, of former lawyers, accountants, and business executives.

Similarly, many of the women stacking shelves at our local Gap store and manning the counter at the spin and barre studios were former accomplished professionals, too.

The pull of a low-stress job and a school-hours or flexible schedule must be strong, I used to assume.

But I was wrong.

True, working the same hours as your children is convenient, and having a job that you don’t ‘take home’ with you at night and over weekends, has its advantages. However, I learned through two decades of coaching and placing these women that it wasn’t the schedule or the workload that drew them to these positions. It was the safety.

Most of the aspiring women-returners I’ve met in the last 20+ years arrived at my office already defeated. When, after having a child, they were faced with the “all or nothing” choice to work 60 hours a week, or quit and stay home, they chose the latter, leaving behind careers that they loved and becoming part of the female brain drain that plagued (and still plagues) the U.S. Then, when they’re ready to opt back into the workplace, résumé gaps and related biases have made it difficult for these women to land.

By the time they come to me – a kindred spirit, having been one of them myself – they are discouraged and fully expect rejection as ‘punishment’ for taking years off to raise their children. Which, of course, is ludicrous, and I get right to work helping them erase that narrative from their heads.

But in the heads of the ones who don’t come to me, that narrative is on a continuous loop. Many of them are now helping our kids in the classroom and signing us in to spin class because they settled for ‘safer’ jobs.

A 2015 Women in the Workplace study conducted by LeanIn.Org and management

consulting firm McKinsey found that 43% of leadership-track women derail

themselves for child rearing at some point; 90% of them with the intention of

returning. These women should be assuming leadership roles, growing companies’ bottom lines, and changing workplace culture, yet many are stuck. They don’t know how to properly prepare for their career re-launches and they get quickly discouraged by early rejections.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Women-returners are unquestionably employable. Employers my partners and I polled consider them the best hiring demographic. I’ve personally witnessed hundreds – probably over 1,000 – of them find fulfilling work in my small corner of the world (Connecticut).

Some things make it easier, of course, like keeping up with industry trends, staying current with certifications and licensure, and maintaining relationships with old clients and co-workers. But even women with significant skill deficiencies and long-lapsed credentials can return to work successfully if they have these five things:

1 – realistic expectations based on thorough research and honest self-assessment

2 – a compelling résumé that meaningfully accounts for her opt-out years

3 – a commitment to remediating skill gaps on the job or through inexpensive means like online or local continuing education courses

4 – aggressive (not a popular word among women, but spot-on here) networking to get in front of connectors and hiring managers

5 – flexibility and the willingness to consider unconventional offerings like temporary projects or low-paying internships as a way to get a foot in the door.

The economy is improving. The labor market is tight. The voluntary quit rate is at a 17-year high. Employers are competing to hire good people. And, these days, you don’t have to be perfect to be ‘good people’.

Your gapped résumé, your ‘not entirely perfect’ experience, your application that meets only 60% of the job criteria, are all plenty good enough now.

So, if you are wistful for more challenge (and money) than your current job can provide; if you want to get back on the corporate track, but are playing it safe working for minimum wage; listen up. Your time at home was valuable; its impact will be long-lasting, but you have an opportunity now to take advantage of favorable economic timing and get back to the work that you really want to do. Go for it.

Susan Rietano Davey was a longtime partner in the staffing and consulting firm Flexible Resources, Inc. She recently co-founded Prepare to Launch, LLC., a company focused on coaching women through the return-to-work process. An online version of the company’s successful women’s career re-entry course, Prepare to Launch U at https://preparetolaunchu.com, goes live on October 1, 2018.

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Business

The Secret Method for Establishing Your Child’s Financial Future

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The innate drive I have as a parent to teach, influence, and leave a legacy for my children was unexpected. It was sparked at the hospital when they were born and hasn’t stopped since then.

While I was growing up, I wasn’t taught much about money, investing, business, and entrepreneurship. I had to learn a lot of painful lessons. I have been fortunate to establish a financial system from which my kids are already benefiting.

My system runs contrary to the traditional financial system parents and grandparents used to save for their kids’ future in many ways.

But the only way to get uncommon results is through uncommon means. This is my system for establishing for your child’s future.

The Unnecessary Burden of a 529 Plan

The 529 plan, also called a qualified tuition plan, is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to encourage saving for future college costs. These plans are very popular and have become a sacred cow, even though they have only been around since 1996.

When my two girls were born, my dad was insistent on contributing to a 529 plan for college. At the time, I was barely into my first job out of college and hadn’t learned what I teach now, so I decided to open one up.

Today, millions of people have them, and your kids and grandkids are attached to them. In my experience, saying no to a 529 plan is like telling a mother her baby is ugly.

I don’t want to say what you’re doing is bad. You’re planning for your child or grandchild’s financial well-being, which is commendable. But if you look at the nature of a 529 plan, it’s not set up for your best interests or the best interests of the child or grandchild.

It’s pitched to you as a benefit, but it’s just another way for Wall Street to sell you mutual funds and make money off your desire to do well by your kids.

The objective of the 529 plan is to put money away and pay for future college expenses while getting a tax benefit for doing so. The catch is, if the money is not used for college or some other qualified higher education expense, you have to pay penalties for withdrawing it. What if you don’t need the account anymore—your kid decides to skip college, for instance—and you want to use that money for something else? Is the penalty you pay on the 529 plan worth it from the beginning?

Additionally, the burden on families to completely fund college has an opportunity cost that is difficult to quantify. Because of that, the financial future of the family may be put in jeopardy. I have seen it bankrupt a few.

The 529 in Practice

Here’s an example of what I mean. Assume your child is five years old and you have committed to taking care of their educational costs for a four-year degree.

Right now, the average annual cost to attend a public university is $25,000, rising by 5 percent a year. That means that by the time a five-year-old today is 18 and ready to go to college, tuition would be almost $50,000. Over four years, factoring in tuition rises, that comes to a total cost of $213,344.

For a 529 account to pay out that much when it’s needed, it has to start with $100,000 and earn a net 5 percent every year through graduation.

Or, you could just save $8,147 a year for 18 years.

To really drive this point home, the opportunity cost for the family during their later years is really where the price is paid.

If you saved $8,147 a year for 18 years and then let it grow past that point until your future retirement, your balance at the end of 35 years would be $551,602.

If you spent that down through a 20-year retirement, the cash flow would be $42,154.24 per year, for a total lost opportunity cost of: $843,084.80.

A More Certain Future

The opportunity cost that comes with following the typical college path doesn’t simply disappear if funded through a WMA—it only gives you more options.

You’re trying to prepare for something in the future that may not happen the way you think or may not happen at all. Consider the opportunity cost of that money—what that money could do between now and the time your child goes to college.

When I learned about what I do today, I cancelled the 529 plans I had and opened Wealth Maximization Accounts on each of my kids. Today, I have multiple policies for each of them.

However, the idea isn’t simply to treat these as 529 comparisons. The money inside a WMA can be used now, without any restrictions. In my experience, that has been a most powerful tool to teach kids, including my own, about money.

Instead of saying no to things they want, I can say yes. The money is borrowed against their policies, however, so it becomes their responsibility to pay it back. We call it our family bank.

For example, my daughter Meghan has used her policies to buy numerous types of electronics and a $400 gymnastics mat, amounting to thousands of dollars cumulatively. She had to create a payback plan before she was given the money. She felt she could earn enough for the payments by increasing the amount of babysitting she did in the neighborhood.

She also researched ways to earn bigger tips by giving better service, such as making little videos of the kids, making sure the house was cleaner than when the parents left, and leaving a handwritten note. This experience has given Meghan an appreciation for where money comes from, what a loan is, and what interest is—both the interest you pay and the interest you earn. I know that will benefit her in the future.

Wealth Maximization Accounts for your kids are the ideal way to teach them about money and also to prepare for their future purchases, such as a car, college, and beyond. Properly structured plans are a superior alternative to a 529 college savings plan. For more resources take a look at Paradigm Life.

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Business

My Dream Job as CEO of a Porn Company

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Bella French of ManyVids

If you would have told me five years ago that I was going to build a successful porn company, chances are I’d say you’re crazy (or probably call you something worse). But here I am, CEO and co-founder of ManyVids, and I could not be prouder or more professionally challenged. This is my dream job, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So how does a girl like me wind up in a place like this? It’s been a wild ride. Starting my own business was always in the cards, from setting up a lemonade stand as a child, to studying business in University. Everything seemed to be going according to plan as I was busy running my own clothing store, but when a flood destroyed my inventory and wiped me out financially, that’s when things went from bad to weird. Desperate for cash, a friend of mine suggested I could make some quick money as a cam girl. I had never heard the term before, so as soon as he explained that “camming” involved stripping or performing simulated sexual acts in front of a camera, I let him know exactly what I thought of his not-so modest proposal. There is no way I would EVER do something like that! But two weeks later, amid growing debt and no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, there I was, adjusting the lighting, fixing my hair and setting up for my first cam show.

 

I soon put everything I had into being the best cam girl there was. I researched it day and night, worked on my wardrobe, my technique and building a loyal audience. Spending this time inside an industry that is pretty much in the unknown to most people, I was shocked to discover a world I had never given much thought to. The people who work in the adult entertainment business, from the men and women creating amateur cam videos to porn stars in adult films, they were all lovely, gentle, and clever human beings who deserved to be treated with respect and have greater control over what they do. Porn is a multi-billion-dollar industry and from what I can tell, these “porn stars” weren’t making their fair share of the profits.

So, I put on my entrepreneurial hat once again and decided to step away from in front of the camera to build a website that was an e-commerce platform for these sex workers that would make each one of them entrepreneurs as well. They would have their own marketplace, where they set up what they’d like to sell, setting the price, producing and promoting their content on their terms, and they would have full copyright ownership of their work, a huge deal in an industry full of pirated content. Plus, we would promote sex-positivity and raise awareness about the issue of abuse among sex workers. And so ManyVids was born. In the beginning it was just the three of us, Sed, my friend and now boyfriend who had originally introduced the idea of camming, along with our friend Gino. Together we worked in a basement apartment, the guys worked on the coding and the back end for the website and I came up with the marketing plans to launch our product and managed all the financial aspects of running the business.

After 3 months of intense work, things started to take off and it kept growing faster and faster.  As the company grew, success came with a whole slew of different problems: basically, how do we keep up? There were cash flow problems, lack of resources, lack of experience, lack of time and lack of space. We converted our apartment into our official ManyVids Office. We kept one room to sleep in and transformed the rest of space for working. At that time, every decision we took was a huge risk. Because of the lack of funds, one wrong move and everything, the business, our dreams would be over. We hired our first team members without having the proper funds. We believe it was the right decision and it was. We moved the MV Offices from the basement apartment into a much bigger, much nicer office space, moving a few times as the team grew, to our current 16 000 square feet office in Montreal, Quebec.

Today, almost 4 years after the initial launch of ManyVids.com, the MV Team is composed of over 100 dedicated team members that believe in our vision and mission and wish to help adult content creators from all over the world become successful independent entrepreneurs.

 

At ManyVids, we have the utmost respect for all our strong and courageous MV Stars. There are over 17,200 performers on our site and the most important thing that we want to get across to them is this:

“You are not alone! You are important and you can and will accomplish amazing things in this world”.

I am incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished and it’s just the beginning. There is an incredible amount of work ahead of us that to help change perceptions and conditions for these people who give so much of themselves. I truly believe that it’s possible to have a profitable business that considers caring and helping a top priority that influences everything we do. What could be better than that?

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Spotlight Features

Ways to Relieve and Reduce Anxiety

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It can be incredibly difficult to live with anxiety.  Although you may find it hard to get away from it, it’s important that you try and make room for life without these symptoms.  It may be that you need to find an anxiety therapist online to resolve your issues long-term, but in the meantime – we have given you some tips as to how you can hopefully reduce your anxiety symptoms.

Talk to a Friend

This may seem obvious, but some people live with their anxiety issues on their own. Sometimes reducing levels of anxiety can be about distracting yourself, which is exactly what talking to a friend will do.  Get on the phone to someone that you trust, and don’t be afraid to tell them if you are feeling anxious.  Sometimes just having a supportive ear can do wonders when it comes to reducing your anxiety symptoms.

Listen to Good Music

Music can inspire all kinds of emotions in you.  If you listen to some of your favourite tunes, it can really help your anxiety levels.  Make sure you don’t just put on music that you like, but that is designed to make you feel a certain way.  It could be that you want to listen to rock music if they are angry or listen to listen to music that has sad connotations to let it all out.  Music can be its own therapy.

Don’t Be Afraid to Express Yourself

The more you try and fight your anxiety – the more it will affect you.  When you try to stop it from happening, that in itself can put a lot of pressure on your physical wellbeing.  If you find yourself in an anxious state, you can go somewhere private and let it all out.  You can even do silly things like yell out loud or throw the occasional pillow now and then.  It can make you feel better.  Make sure nobody else is around and you don’t damage anything!

Get in Touch with What Relaxes You

There are already things that you will find relaxing in life, the trick is to find them and to use them.  It could be having a nice long hot bath, or shower – heading to a nearby beach and listening to the waves, or just having a stroll in the park.  Whatever it is, make sure you find time to do it – particularly if you start to feel anxious.

Get in Control of your Breathing

Breathing plays a massive part when it comes to anxiety. When you are feeling anxious and stressed your breathing pattern will change.  It is likely that your breaths will become more shallow and you could end up hyperventilating and prolonging the anxiety attacks that you are having.  There are some great breathing techniques that you can use to help calm yourself down.

If you do get feelings of stress and anxiety – then hopefully some of these tips and pieces of advice will help you.

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