Wednesday, 05 March 2014 11:07
Believe it or not, most managers are just as nervous as employees are about annual reviews. Even if the review is positive, decisions have to be made regarding compensation, future goals, etc. A good manager knows that having a strategy going into the meeting is important. So it should come as no surprise that the same goes for the employee as well. Below, are some ideas about how to best position yourself for your next review.
- Brag about yourself…a little – Reviews are a great time to remind your boss of the value you bring to the organization. It’s ok to point out a few accomplishments and highlight your strengths, just be humble and don’t go overboard. Good managers like confident employees. Loudmouths? Not so much.
- Align your goals – Whether you like it or not, work is a place where you have to be flexible. The more you’re able to align the goals of your manager with your own, the more likely you are to be at top of his/her mind for raises, promotions and opportunities for growth. Asking what ways you can help your department goes a long way.
- Dig deep for what you need to improve on – There’s a universal truth that people don’t like to give negative feedback. It’s uncomfortable and too often managers aren’t even willing to give it. That’s why it’s a good idea to bail your boss out by being proactive in this area. Ask for ideas to improve and remove the negative connotation altogether.
Here at Greater TEXAS FCU we recently explored a similar concept called feed forward. More info on that concept can be found here.
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 10:18
Let’s face it, for most of us working in an office, email can be and often is a beast. Between internal communication between colleagues, customer emails, sales pitches, and the dreaded SPAM; email can easily overwhelm the best of us. While there are many strategies out there to manage email, the first step in fixing the problem is to work at writing better emails ourselves.
To help, Medium recently published a guide, written from the perspective of a CEO.
Here are the top tips from the article:
Cut out the Fluff – Be concise. Treat your emails like Twitter’s 140 character limitation. This will help your email actually get read and in most cases get you a quicker response too. Bottom line: Long emails require long responses.
Ring, ring. Ring, ring – When you need to communicate on a topic that will require some length, ditch the email altogether and pick up the phone instead. While you don’t want to just replace a lengthy email with an equally lengthy phone call, the telephone is a better means of communication for more in depth conversations. Bottom line: Use the right communication tool for the right scenario.
Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:48
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about or unfortunately been the victim of a data breach. Target’s debacle is the most recent example of how massive these breaches can get. Out of these breaches, millions of dollars has been lost due to fraud, increased operational expenses to financial institutions and lost time to consumers. To combat this, both MasterCard and Visa announced recently that they are moving to a new credit and debit card technology called Chip & PIN starting in October 2015.
Current Card Technology – In the United States almost all credit and debit card run on magnetic strip technology located on the back of cards. This technology, as we have seen over the years, is readily open to hacking which can come in many forms. However, in much of the rest of the world Chip and PIN is the standard.
Chip & PIN Basics – When this new technology is implemented over the coming years, consumers will receive new cards with a chip inside. This tiny computer encrypts the financial data needed to confirm the purchase in a much more secure way than a magnetic strip. To go along with that, consumers will be required to enter a PIN as an added layer of protection.
Changes to How You Pay - As these new cards are available, merchants will be switching to new payment terminals. These terminals function more akin to an ATM where you slide the card in, the chip is read, you enter your PIN, and then the card is spit back out. Because of this, merchants such as restaurants will present you with the machine at your table rather than taking your card to another area.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 08:36
There’s a new scam going around lately that targets cell phone users. Read below to find out more.
What you need to know: Scammers are preying on people’s curiosity by calling random cell phone numbers and then hanging up after just one ring. Their hope is that you call their phone number back.
Unbeknownst to you the phone number you’re calling back is an international line that carries fees, costing you upwards of $15 - $30 per call. The phone number comes through looking like a US based line, but is often based out of the Caribbean where placed calls don’t require international codes to go through.
Oddly, this is a play on an old scam when landlines were still prevalent. But with cell phone users making fewer and fewer actual phone calls, this new twist on the scam preys on the idea that a missed phone call must be important.
What not to do: Don’t call back numbers you don’t recognize. Remember, these callers aren’t leaving messages. Their scam hinges on letting your phone ring once and then hanging up. In that way the scammer doesn’t get charged for their side of the international call. If you do happen to pick up the phone after the first ring, the scammer will hang up immediately.
What you should do instead: Google any numbers you aren’t sure about. Literally type the number into the search bar, no dashes needed. There are growing lists of either tel-marketing or scam-related phone numbers on various websites. Check the first couple of pages of Google, if it’s a scam number often you’ll find it there. Likewise, if it’s a legitimate phone number (ex. a business) you’ll often find relevant info to help you determine if you should call back.
Thursday, 30 January 2014 10:14
While filing your taxes is never fun, there are advantages to getting it done sooner rather than later. US Money recently offered up three reasons why you should file early, rather than waiting until the April 15thdeadline. Here’s a quick rundown of each.
1) You Get More Ooops Time – By getting a jump on your taxes you can breathe easy when a form is incorrect or you haven’t received a form altogether. Avoiding additional stress is the key here. It’s already stressful enough, especially if you do your taxes yourself. Why make it harder by delaying the inevitable?
2) Show Me My Money – If you’re one of the millions of Americans due a refund, you’ll get it that much earlier by filing early in the tax season. As it gets closer to the April 15 deadline, there are inevitably more delays in processing taking that much longer to get you the money you’re owed.
3) Knowing is Better Than Guessing – If you’re anticipating having to pay money to the IRS, it’s even more important to get a jump on your taxes. By filing early in the process, you can determine exactly how much you owe and then budget for that amount until April 15th. The key is to file early but pay at the deadline.
Source: US Money
Thursday, 23 January 2014 09:22
To add insult to injury, Target customers affected by the recent security breach are being sent bogus emails offering credit monitoring services. These emails direct the customer to enter in all their personal information and in some cases ask for money.
The kicker is that Target is sending out emails of their own offering a code for free credit monitoring through Experian Inc. Fortunately, Target has released some easy ways to detect these scam emails.
1) Misspelled Words and Obvious Grammar Mistakes – The emails in question are littered with incorrect spelling and poor grammar. The correct wording can be found here in case you’re not sure.
3) Money Is Requested – The official Target email offers a free code that can be redeemed with Experian. Some of the scam emails ask for money. Don’t fall for it!
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:26
In 2014, I’ve challenged myself to find new ways to save money. Based on several people I’ve talked to recently, I’m not alone in this New Year’s resolution. We recently ran across a great article from the folks over at gobankingrates.com that has some great tips you may have never heard of (click the link for the full article).
Programmable Thermostat – Automating your thermostat is one of the easiest ways to save money. Yet, there are many people who still manage their heat and A/C manually. Making a small investment upfront can reap huge savings over the remainder of 2014 and beyond. For the easiest installation and usability, check out Nest, a 21st century thermostat.
Friends and Family Phone Plan – Let’s face it, cell phones are the norm now. So why not bundle your plan with other family members to save money. In fact, Sprint recently announced a plan to allow customers to bundle their phone packages (minutes, data, text, etc.) with friends (not just family). Sprint will even bill you separately. They call it their Framily Plan…get it?
Friday, 03 January 2014 13:41
Each year, millions of Americans are cutting the cable cord to save money. Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others, it’s easier than ever to stream the shows and movies you want directly to your TV. So nowadays, it’s very important to have a fast, stable internet connection. But what happens when your internet provider says you have the “turbo” package but that latest episode of “House of Cards” keeps freezing?
If you’re experiencing a slow internet connection, here are two tips to check out:
1) Reset or upgrade your wireless router. – One of the common causes of internet slowdown is a wonky or outdated router. Often, routers go years without being reset or upgraded. Check your router manufacturer’s website for instructions on how to reset it. If that doesn’t speed things up consistently, it may be time to upgrade completely. Here’s a list of the best routers available.
2) Prioritize what gets the juice. – If you do get a new router (or if your old router has the capability), make sure you go into the settings and prioritize what internet usage gets full access and what gets a lower priority. For example, you can dictate that video streaming be the first priority, then general internet browsing (preferably via a fast browser like Chrome or Firefox), and finally mobile device connections.
Thursday, 02 January 2014 07:58
This post will especially interest our Aggieland CU members as we ran across a delicious story from Bryan, TX. The A&M Traditions club set out recently to break the Guinness World Record for the largest Gingerbread House. They accomplished just that by erecting an edible structure of over 39,000 cubic feet.
The home was built to not only break the record but also as a way to raise funds for St. Joseph Health System. Bill Horton, the Tradition club’s General Manager was the brains and muscle behind the project and with the help of many more volunteers the house has attracted visitors from all over the country. So far the club has been able to donate over $150,000 to the health system. Way to go Aggies!
Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:17
Let’s face it, for most of us saving money is hard. So hard in fact, that often we must trick ourselves into saving money before we spend it on the next shiny thing to come along. The list of tips and tricks to save money I’ve run across over the years is fairly extensive.
One I ran across this morning though caught my eye. It comes from a favorite site of mine, Lifehacker. The idea is to impose a tax on yourself whenever you’re buying something you don’t absolutely need.
Here’s a snippet from the article:
Whenever you buy something that isn't a necessity, you impose a 100% tax on yourself that goes toward your savings account. For example, if there is a Blu-Ray you want to buy on Amazon for $20, you have to have $40 to spend on it. $20 goes to the Blu-Ray and $20 goes to the savings account...
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