The TOPMOM Program: Single Mothers Can Make The Best Employees

The TOP MOM Program The following is a guest post by freelance illustrator, designer, and writer Colleen Kong-Savage. There’s nobody more adept at getting things done like a single mother and I’m very pleased to read her point of view.

American society doesn’t think very highly of mothers. Only five nations in the whole big fat world do not have a national law mandating paid maternity: Liberia, Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and the United States.

After seven months of tossing my cover letters and résumé into a black void, my boyfriend took a look at my cover letters. “Why do you mention that you’re a mother?!” he commented, wondering at my naiveté. I have been freelancing here and there as a graphic artist, and my sentence had been, “Now that my eight-year-old is in school, I am ready to take on more work.” I wanted to let prospective employers know what I’ve been up to the past eight years since I can’t list “parenting” under work experience. Another friend said, “You don’t want to say you’re a mother because employers wonder how often they will have to accommodate your child care situation.”

Are you kidding me?? What is up with this bias against mothers? Don’t American employers realize that all those required skills that they list in their help-wanted postings on Craigslist and LinkedIn have been honed to a lethally fine point as the primary caregiver of a new human being? It’s the TOPMOM program: Training Of Professionals, Multidisciplined Officials, & Managers.


The First Million Might Be The Easiest: How To Become A Millionaire By Age 30

Balandra Bay, Mexico VacationGrowing up in a middle class household made me strong. My parents always drove beaters and frowned upon ordering anything other than water when we went out to eat. I knew my parents were not rich because their incomes were in the public domain as foreign service officers. As a result, I made a conscience choice in high school not to attend one of the two private colleges that had accepted me in order to save us money.

We were by no means poor. We just pulled up to parties in a paintless 1976 Nissan Datsun alongside Audis, Mercedes, and BMWs for the four years we lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 1986-1990. I was quite mortified as a kid I’ve got to admit. I knew nothing of expensive shoes because I had none except for my wealthier friend’s hand-me-down Jordans that were two sizes too large. I couldn’t even afford a camera or a Nintendo game system. We led comfortable lives, but didn’t have more than we needed.

I was always curious about my wealthier friends. Many of their parents were business owners so one day I told my father, I too wanted to be a businessman. By the time I was 13 I was hooked on every single episode of “The Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous,” narrated by Robin Leech. A million dollar house and a $40,000 sports car. What a life! I thought to myself in the 8th grade. Might as well give it a go. That’s when I started really hitting the books.

How Do Hedge Funds Make So Much Money? An Inside Look At The Best Business Model In The World

888 Park Ave - Hedge Fund HQElephant hedge fund managers make $100 million a year CEOs look like mendicants. Guys like David Tepper from Appaloosa, George Soros from Soros, Ray Dalio from Bridgewaters Associates, and James Simons from Renaissance Technologies have all pulled in $1 billion+ paydays for one year’s worth of work before. Is there any wonder why some of the brightest minds want to rush into the hedge fund industry after getting their MBAs or PhDs in mathematics? Saving the world will just have to wait.

The reality of the hedge fund industry is that performance has been piss poor for a while now. Just take a look at the Hedge Fund ETF, HDG as one financial benchmark to gauge performance. The index is up a paltry 2% as of July 2013 while the S&P500 is up over 17%. To pay a 2% management fee and 20% of profits to underperform the broader index by 15% is a travesty. Investors need to demand better.

We only hear about the great hedge fund success stories and the spectacular failures like Long Term Capital Management and nothing in between. Much like in the startup business, most hedge funds fail because they are unable to outperform the markets over a three year period to raise enough capital to make a worthwhile profit. The industry is seeing fee compression given returns have been so poor. That said, all it takes is one or two years of hitting it out of the ballpark to make your mega-millions and retire.

I firmly believe the hedge fund industry has the best business model in finance, if not the world today. Those in the software industry might argue otherwise!


A List Of Career Limiting Moves To Blow Up Your Future

Sleeping on the job.You career is probably your number one money maker. If you blow up your career, you will likely blow up your finances. If you blow up your finances, you will become a bitter person who decides to hate other people for their success. If you hate other people for their success, you’ll happily vote to raise taxes on people who already pay the most taxes without having to pay more yourself. If you become a hypocrite, sooner or later everybody will become like you because nobody will bother working hard anymore. Once we’re all living the good life, then maybe we can conquer new countries to make their citizens do our bidding. Great job!

The first time I heard of CLM (Career Limiting Moves) was during my first year of work out of college. I went down to the basement level to get some coffee for my senior co-workers. Given I had to get eight orders, I figured I might as well get a haircut next door while I waited. Unfortunately, the barber cut my sides a little too tight and my luscious locks turned into military buzz cut spikes. When I got back to my desk, everybody started making fun of me.

“You trying out for the military Sam?”

“How was your vacation?” (Given I was gone for about 25 minutes)

“Sonic boom!” (In reference to Guile from Street Fighter)

“Where’s Sam and what did you do with my grande mocha?”

It’s customary to get ribbings on the trading floor of a major investment bank so I took it like a man. Then out of nowhere, I thought of the best comeback lines when a senior VP started giving me more shit.

“I hope you like your coffee. I figure if it grows on company time, might as well cut it on company time!” BOOM! The senior VP wasn’t too amused. Welcome to my first Career Limiting Move! Luckily I escaped to San Francisco the following year for a new opportunity.

Now that you understand the importance of doing well in your career, let me share with you a list of career limiting moves you should not make.


The Main Reasons Why People Want To Quit Their Jobs

reasons why employees quit their jobs“Thank you.” “You’re doing great work.” “Way to go!” Such simple words of encouragement cost nothing, but go a long way towards motivating employees.

I firmly believe managers don’t do enough to express gratitude towards their employees. If they did, there would be much less turnover, much higher worker satisfaction, and ultimately higher profits for the firm.

Sometimes business is just bad and there’s no room for a pay raise or promotion. No problem. Take your employees out to lunch to show them your gratitude for coming in early or going above and beyond for a client. A lack of recognition by their managers is consistently one of the top complaints I hear from people who want to engineer their layoff. Some want to take it a step further and “stick it to their employers” for all the years of mistreatment.

Firms need to do more in the ways of managerial training. Often times, the best producer gets promoted to become manager instead of the best person with managerial abilities. This trend causes all sorts of problems down the road. Training classes need to focus on teaching managers how to motivate employees by understanding their sincerest desires. My research shows that recognition is at the top of the list. Let’s look at more reasons why employees are so disengaged.


Yes, I Got Laid Off! Thank Goodness For Severance Packages

fireworksThe following is a post by community regular JayCeezy who was able to successfully retire from his job with a healthy severance package. The post highlights the bitter sweet peculiarities of leaving one’s job of so many years. A large part of you will scream to hold on to what you know. But deep down it’s clear there’s nothing promising left and it’s time to go. I’m currently in Switzerland for the week so comments might be stuck in the hyper sensitive spam filter longer than usual. Hope you enjoy the post!

My worklife has come to an end. I am relieved, and happy. For a number of reasons discussed below, I preferred to be laid off instead of quitting. The difference between quitting and ‘getting laid’ was six months of living expenses. Nice~! This is not a book review. Plenty of experienced and high-traffic bloggers have already done so. And there are no *SPOILERS*. Buy the book, if the subject interests you. It is good to be frugal, but also good to support your satisfactions. Buy it.

It is hard to be patient. Readers of Yakezie blogs are self-selecting, and skew to those with a bias toward action and results. Financial Samurai’s book, “How To Engineer Your Layoff”, was a big help in making this happen. My biggest takeaways from the book involved guidance on persistence and relationships. Very useful in seeking any goal.

To be clear, this outcome was not my first choice. But it was the first choice of my available choices. My worklife had a shelf life; every worklife does, but often we don’t recognize it until we are past the expiration date. I hung on for a long time, keeping my skills and network current. But a growing realization that I had topped out in pay and responsibility, combined with shrinking opportunities everywhere, made acceptance easier.

I was hoping for a turnaround in the economy or that my employer would be bought by a larger firm, which would have opened up new possibilities for me. It just wasn’t happening. With my financial assets in place, it seemed like a good time to make an exit.