14 Fatal Mistakes You’re Making at Work Today

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Is what you’re doing at work today really the best thing for both your company and for you? Spare a few moments to gain some work perspective. You might discover you’re making some fatal mistakes, or even fourteen of them.

Not Understanding the Company’s Goals: It’s everyone’s responsibility to understand the most critical goals for their company. Even if you weren’t told what’s most important, it doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t figure it out. The more disconnected you are from these goals, the more you’ll be task managed. Doing what you’re told isn’t enough; we have to do what most needs to get done.

Not Making Yourself Instrumental: Ask yourself: “If I was fired tomorrow, would my company suffer any major disruption or difficulty?” Be honest. If the answer is “No!” then you’re setting yourself up to be replaced. You’re likely either not excelling at your role, or you’re working on the wrong objectives.

Not Having a Work Best Friend: Plenty of research shows that having a “best friend at work” makes you happier, more positive and more likely to stay in your job. In fact, a landmark study revealed people who have a best friend at work are seven times as likely to be engaged in their job! Yet, only about 30% of employees say they have a work best friend. Get happy, find your WBFF.

Being Yourself: No one is the best professional they can be. One trick to perform better is to emulate the habits of your professional heroes: how would Steve Jobs stay productive, how does Mark Cuban make decisions, how does Marissa Mayer handle phone calls, how does Magic Johnson conduct meetings, and how do they dress. By playing the part of your mentors, you’ll settle into your own optimal work style, and become the best version of yourself.

Not Taking Enough Breaks: I always hated seeing my team goofing around, but I realized how important breaks are later on in my career. Now I’d much rather have team members go on as-many-as-needed energizing breaks (outside the office) throughout the day, but then be 110% engaged and working until the job gets done. Over-worked zombies infect everyone else, and leave you with an office of aimless employees.

Putting Limits on Yourself: We almost never accomplish more than we can imagine for ourselves. Many people are fond of telling us what we can’t do, and sometimes these voices become our own limiting self-talk. This doubt becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Go into work every day with the attitude you can get anything done. Be something more tomorrow than the something less you were yesterday. The only limit of your potential is your imagination and effort.

Forgetting the Customer: People as important as your children, spouse, siblings and parents are spending their hard-earned money on your products or services. How much of your workday do you spend thinking about, talking to, or interacting with your customers? Probably not enough. Businesses that are disengaged from their customers tend to die untimely deaths. Lead your day with a customer-centric focus and you’ll never go wrong.

Not Acting Like the Boss: I often encouraged my team members to come into work, and imagine you’re the CEO. What’s the mindset you’d need if you were the leader and how would you act? That’s the same sense of urgency and ownership you need to have a daily basis to excel in whatever your job function entails.

Assuming No One is Judging Your Performance: People are always talking about how you stack up as a team member. You’re not fooling anyone; your managers and co-workers know what kind of job you’re doing. Just because you haven’t gotten any critical feedback lately, doesn’t mean people think you’re doing a good job. Your own standards should be much higher than everyone else; judge your own performance daily and assume everyone else is as well.

Not Being Likable: Ideally, all work environments would be pure meritocracies. But we’re social organisms. People like working with people they like to be around. You get ahead, in part, by getting along. Consider this scenario: Company management needs to do cutbacks. Given a choice between two relatively equal performers, guess which one gets the ax: the temperamental teammate or the affable employee?

Taking It Too Personally: So much time and energy is wasted being upset. When faced with a conflict or critical feedback, our first instinct should be to ask: “How I can improve?” Trust the intentions of the person giving the feedback. Quite often it’s not a personal condemnation; they’re hopefully thinking about how to achieve the best outcome. You may disagree with their conclusion or approach, but there’s always valuable feedback on how we can improve in any conflict or critique.

Not Staying on Top of Your Industry: Dedicate half an hour each day to reading about the latest news and trends about your industry, whether you’re in tech or fashion or furniture. This will keep you current on the changes coming so you can bring new ideas and perspectives.

Forgetting the One Most Important Thing: What’s the one most important thing you can to accomplish today, this week, or this month to move the business forward most. Write it down each day and hold yourself accountable to accomplishing that endeavor above all else. Too often we devote our energy to mundane tasks like checking email or meetings that falsely let us feel productive. We can get many things wrong, and still be doing a great job, if we get the most important things done right.

Relying on Career Employment: Career employment no longer exists for many of us. You always have the skill set to get the next job. Ask yourself: “If I got fired today, would I be able to find a comparable or better job within three months?” If the answer is no, you’re sorely unprepared for this modern economy. In Reid Hoffman’s new book, “The Alliance,” he makes the case for a new loyalty pact between employer and employee. The employer can count on a commitment from the employee of up to four years, and the employee can count on the employer to provide the opportunity and training to help them find their next better career opportunity. Don’t let yourself get caught unprepared for your next voluntary or involuntary career move.

By Jason Nazar

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonnazar/2014/10/21/14-fatal-mistakes-youre-making-at-work-today/

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5 Things NOT to Buy at Costco and Sam’s Club

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Many a shopper has walked out of warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club with a receipt containing at least a few extra zeros. And while you may feel like everything you bought was worth it (half off!), sometimes, despite their reputation for low prices, these warehouse clubs aren’t the best places to be spending your hard-earned loot, experts say.

“Sometimes you can get better deals at other places or you should skip buying some items,” says Matthew Ong, the retail analyst for NerdWallet.com. However, “what you should buy is a longer list — their reputation holds,” he adds.

Ong says that meats, such as bacon and chicken breasts, are often great buys at warehouse clubs (freeze whatever you don’t use), as are some kitchen appliances like toasters and microwaves.

Erin Konrad, a spokesperson for CouponPal.com, says that car parts like batteries and tires can be had for a very low price. “You can find the same brand tires as automotive stores, but for less, and get them installed while you shop,” explains Jon Lal, CEO and founder of BeFrugal.com.

Drugs also tend to be a good warehouse-club buy: A 2013 survey by Consumer Reports found that Costo was the cheapest place to buy drugs, while drugstores like CVS and Rite Aid were the priciest. Other to-buy items include alcohol and beach gear like beach chairs, says Lal.

Still, experts say, you may want to avoid — or at the very least do a thorough price comparison on the warehouse club vs. other area stores — on some of the items sold at warehouse clubs. Here are five.

Books, CDs and DVDs

“It might be tempting to buy books or DVDs at these stores, but you’ll find much lower prices online (like on Amazon),” says Konrad. Warehouse clubs sometimes put items like books, CDs and DVDs out near the register hoping consumers will pick them up, even though the prices aren’t the best, Ong explains. And because Amazon offers these products so cheaply (sometimes for a few cents) — even with shipping, it’s still sometimes cheaper to buy online.

Condiments, sunscreen and other surprising perishables

There are probably only a handful of shoppers who haven’t, at least once, bought something perishable at Costco or Sam’s Club, only to see it go to waste. In general, Lal says that you shouldn’t buy the food perishables — “as they will likely be in bulk and there is too great a risk that you won’t consume it in time” — with the exception of items that can be frozen. That, you probably already knew.

But Ong points out that some perishable items might surprise you, including condiments, sunscreen and beauty products. “Many condiments go bad after about six months,” he says. That means unless you have a big family or lots of parties, that six-pack of mustard, ketchup or another condiment might go to waste. You should also watch out for buying things like sunscreen, which may suffer from a similar problem, as well as some beauty products.

Diapers

Konrad says that sometimes diapers are cheaper at Target or Wal-Mart (she’s found them a few cents cheaper per diaper in some cases, which she notes “adds up”) than at warehouse clubs (though this is far from always true). Another option that may be cheaper is Amazon, which allows you to buy in bulk and save through its Amazon Mom (free with a Prime membership) program, which gives 20% off diaper subscriptions that are delivered to your doorstep.

Laundry detergent

While buying laundry detergent in bulk may seem like a good idea (and the prices at warehouse clubs make it tempting), Ong points out that it may not be smart for some consumers because it can lose some of its efficacy fairly quickly, at least compared with some other cleaning products like disinfectant sprays and surface cleaners, which can last for a couple of years. The rough rule of thumb is that detergent may begin to lose some of its effectiveness after about six months to a year on the shelf, though it’s typically still safe to use. Of course, if you have a big family and do a ton of laundry, this may not be a problem (and then, by all means, hit up Costco and Sam’s), but for many people, it may be better not to buy this in bulk.

Paper goods

Paper goods — everything from toilet paper to facial tissues — can sometimes be found cheaper at Target or Wal-Mart, says Konrad; Ong adds that sometimes paper items (even paper plates and napkins) can even be found cheaper at the grocery store, that is, if you look out for the coupons that the stores put into the weekly circulars and combine them with sales.

By Catey Hill at Markey Watch

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-things-not-to-buy-at-costco-and-sams-club-2014-10-08