corporate culture http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7448/all en-US Stupid Reasons Why People Make More Money http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-reasons-why-people-make-more-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stupid-reasons-why-people-make-more-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bigstock_Rich_Man_3579631-2.jpg" alt="Rich man" title="Rich man" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life just isn&rsquo;t fair. That&rsquo;s not just my opinion; you just have to look around you to see who&rsquo;s doing well and who isn&rsquo;t. Sometimes you scratch your head and wonder &ldquo;how is that guy running this place?&rdquo; or &ldquo;why isn&rsquo;t she in charge of this project, she&rsquo;s awesome?&rdquo;</p> <p>The fact is, it&rsquo;s not just our education and work experience that defines our ability to make money. There are lots of other factors at play, some of which we have absolutely no control over. Now, I have avoided stupid WAYS people make money; that list would be too long (Pet Rock, frivolous law suits, inheriting it). This is more about the reasons why people around you, at work, are on a bigger salary. Some of these might surprise you, others may make you really angry. All I can say is, don&rsquo;t shoot the messenger. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-everyone-can-make-more-money">5 Ways Everyone Can Make More Money</a>)</p> <h3>1. Being Mean, Less Agreeable or Just Plain Rude</h3> <p>This one hit the headlines recently, and it blew me away. A <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904823804576502763895892974.html">new study</a> has revealed that men who measure below average on &ldquo;agreeableness&rdquo; earn roughly 18% more ($9,772 more annually based on the sample) than guys who are considered &ldquo;nice.&rdquo;</p> <p>The study also found that mean women earn more than their nicer counterparts as well, although not to the same degree. It equates to 5% more per year, or $1,828.</p> <p>So, why the extra cash for the bad temper?</p> <p>For men, it&rsquo;s actually considered more masculine to be a bad guy. In other words, the nicer you are, the less &ldquo;manly&rdquo; and therefore not as fitting to the expectations of your role. Men should be aggressive go-getters, the hunters who bring home the bacon. It also implies that men who are mean are better at negotiations, especially concerning salary.</p> <p>On the other hand, women who show the same conduct are stepping out of their traditional or expected behavior models, and that is reflected in the lower figures. Mean women are considered bossy, bitchy, over-compensating for something, and all of those other rotten stereotypes. But meaner women still earn more, which could again be explained by abilities to negotiate and push for promotions and more money.</p> <p>This really does prove that nice guys, and girls, finish last. But hey, at least they have friends and a conscience.&nbsp;</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/mean.jpg" /> &nbsp;</p> <h3>2. Being Blessed With Good Looks</h3> <p>No surprises here. For as long as I can remember, beautiful people have been treated way better by our society. Scientists say that the main reason is genetics. We are driven to want to reproduce with people who we believe will give us healthy children, and beauty is directly associated with health. Real beauty is also rare, and we covet it. And beauty is also related to trust, which makes absolutely no sense to me. Perhaps the old fairy stories of wicked witches and beautiful princesses, coupled with ugly trolls and handsome princes, has something to do with that complete pile of hogwash.</p> <p>But all of that&rsquo;s neither here not there when it comes to actual job performance, intelligence, or skill. What&rsquo;s on the outside is no reflection of what&rsquo;s going on inside, and to hire people based on looks (unless it&rsquo;s modeling or something else that demands it) is plain silly.</p> <p>What&rsquo;s even sillier, though, is giving these same beautiful people more money, more promotions, and more opportunities. And yet it happens, year after year.</p> <p><a href="http://www.firstcoastnews.com/video/1148294866001/0/Author-Says-Beautiful-People-Make-More-Money">Author Daniel Hamermesh</a> from Yale University has been researching the issue. His study &ldquo;Beauty in the Labor Market&rdquo; concludes that beautiful people will make $230,000 more in their lifetimes than average-looking people.</p> <p>Daniel found that attractive men earn 9% more than unattractive men, and attractive women earn 4% more than unattractive women. And all because they were fortunate to be born with genes that make them appear more pleasing to people in our society.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m under 6 ft, I&rsquo;m bald, and I&rsquo;m a bit overweight. Someone with my skill set, but the rugged good looks and physique of Superman, is going to be a far more attractive prospect in every sense of the word, and that equates to more money. Is that fair? Nope. But life isn&rsquo;t fair.</p> <p>Read more about the subject from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/08/15/beauty-pays-is-out-bring-your-questions-for-dan-hamermesh/">Freakonomics</a> or <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/ways-your-appearance-affects-your-paycheck-535945.html?tickers=^dji,^gspc,spy,dia">Yahoo! Finance</a>.<a href="http://www.adinnerguest.com/tricks-of-the-mind/do-beautiful-people-really-earn-more-money/"><br /> </a></p> <h3>3. Being Part of the Family</h3> <p>Ahh, nepotism. It exists in almost every place I&rsquo;ve ever worked, and it can&rsquo;t be escaped. It&rsquo;s just natural human behavior to want to give more to people who you care about. It&rsquo;s also the reason so many people in the entertainment, political, and corporate worlds rise to the top. How many famous actors would be around if their mom or dad hadn&rsquo;t been in the business? How many musicians would not have been given that big break? How many CEOs owe their current status to family members with power? And how many politicians got their position through family ties? It&rsquo;s amazing to think that in a country that&rsquo;s home to over 307 million people, we ended up with Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. in the White House.</p> <p>Even if your family can&rsquo;t give you a great job, they can often give you a way in. The 80s movie <em>The Secret of My Success</em> tells the story of a young guy who gets a job in the mailroom and ends up becoming the president. Sure, it&rsquo;s fiction, but when no one&rsquo;s hiring, having that all-important &ldquo;in&rdquo; is essential.</p> <p>Is nepotism legal? Yep. There&rsquo;s nothing to say you can&rsquo;t <a href="http://thegrindstone.com/strategy/is-hiring-a-family-member-worth-the-risk-and-judgement/">hire family members</a>. Giving those family members preferential treatment is illegal. But there has to be substantial evidence that the CEO's son did not deserve the pay raise and promotion he got, and that&rsquo;s a battle most people don&rsquo;t want to fight.</p> <h3>4. Talking a Lot and Saying Nothing</h3> <p>I hate this one, because I&rsquo;m not good at it. I wish I was. It&rsquo;s a skill that can be used to climb the ladders in corporations, where sticking your neck out is often punished, but being seen to be making a contribution, however pointless, is rewarded.</p> <p>If you work in a corporate environment, you can easily pick these people out. For a start, they walk with the kind of confident strut that makes you think they&rsquo;re invincible. They&rsquo;re often seen laughing and chatting in the corridors of power, spending inordinate amounts of time with the important people in the company. And in meetings, they have something to say about everything, but they have absolutely no point of view.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a prime example. You&rsquo;re in a meeting and a business proposal has just been presented. There&rsquo;s quiet. Dead quiet. That&rsquo;s because everyone is waiting for the person with real power to give his or her opinion, and that gives everyone else their cue to either jump on board, or reject it.</p> <p>The CEO looks at Brad, our strutting office weasel, and asks for his opinion. That&rsquo;s when he says, &ldquo;Yeah, interesting proposal. I&rsquo;d definitely like to take the time to explore it further. There&rsquo;s a lot to think about, some avenues I&rsquo;ve been pondering myself, and all in all I think it deserves some debate.&rdquo;</p> <p>The CEO says, &ldquo;I hated it!&rdquo;</p> <p>Brad says, &ldquo;Absolutely, as I was saying, interesting, but for all the wrong reasons. We need to explore why he went down this path, I&rsquo;ve been thinking about this and need to talk to you later about shutting some of these avenues down.&rdquo;</p> <p>Or the CEO says, &ldquo;I loved it!&rdquo;</p> <p>Brad says, &ldquo;Oh yeah, me too. Some really interesting ideas in there, a few of them I&rsquo;ve already been contemplating myself and I&rsquo;d like to talk to you more about these ideas later.&rdquo;</p> <p>Brad (and you know what your own version of Brad is called), can talk in circles for days and never really say anything. But in corporate America, being seen to say a lot is great for your career, as long as you don&rsquo;t actually commit to anything. It will get you raises, promotions, and a shiny bonus. Meanwhile, the guy who just got fired because one of his last five ideas didn&rsquo;t work out, well, he&rsquo;s kicking himself that he didn&rsquo;t keep his mouth shut. As one beautiful demotivational poster once said, &ldquo;the tallest blade of grass gets cut first.&rdquo;</p> <h3>5. Being a Man</h3> <p>Sadly, having that XY chromosome is all you need in modern society to make more money. We&rsquo;re in the year 2011, and yet men are still earning more than their female counterparts in almost every field. It equates to around 77 cents for each dollar earned by a man. That&rsquo;s clearly unacceptable, but it&rsquo;s unlikely to change by any big degree over the next decade, if past performance is anything to go by. This is from an <a href="http://www.nwlc.org/our-blog/wage-gap-women-still-make-less-men">article published earlier this month</a> by the National Women&rsquo;s Law Center:</p> <blockquote><p>Data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau show that, on average, a female worker still makes only 77 cents for each dollar earned by a comparable male worker. Indeed, we've seen virtually no progress in closing the gap in the last three years, and the gap has remained stagnant over the last decade. The numbers indicate an even more distressing reality for many American women when race is taken into account: Compared to each dollar earned by the average white male, a white woman makes 77.6 cents, a black woman makes 62.3 cents, and a Hispanic woman makes 54 cents.</p> </blockquote> <p>Why are we still seeing such a gap? Clearly, it&rsquo;s still a man&rsquo;s world. Actually, it&rsquo;s still a white man&rsquo;s world if you look at the bigger picture. And a few HR people I talked to explained that women will always have to struggle because they&rsquo;re the ones who are prone to take more time off for health issues and family. Maybe one day, it will all even out. I know I work with many women who are absolutely fantastic at the jobs they do, and to think they <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-women-dont-negotiate">aren&rsquo;t getting paid as much as the men</a> who they&rsquo;re equal to, well, that&rsquo;s just not acceptable.</p> <p><img width="605" height="404" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u921/walking_man.jpg" /></p> <h3>6. Sucking Up</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve saved the worst for last. It seems implausible that managers and higher-ups would fall for the butt-kissing routines as often as they do, but I&rsquo;ve seen it in every company I&rsquo;ve ever worked for. Sometimes it&rsquo;s subtle, like complimenting hair, clothes, or shoes, or laughing at a flat joke. Sometimes it&rsquo;s a little more obvious, like asking a few questions in presentations that are clearly designed to flatter the presenter.</p> <p>And then, there&rsquo;s the creepy, blatant, all-out sucking up. The kind of smooching that makes everyone else physically sick. But it works. These sycophants have made a career out of it, and they&rsquo;re climbing the ladder by brown-nosing. It&rsquo;s so dumb, because it has absolutely nothing at all to do with performance or ability. But human beings, most of them anyway, like to surround themselves with things that make them feel good. These &ldquo;things&rdquo; just so happen to be people who are leap-frogging over you and get paid for it.</p> <p>Well, that&rsquo;s my big list of stupid reasons. What dumb reasons have you encountered that ensure people get more cash in their paychecks?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-reasons-why-people-make-more-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-questions-to-ask-before-you-take-a-job-offer">12 Questions to Ask Before You Take a Job Offer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-being-passive-kills-your-job-prospects">4 Ways Being Passive Kills Your Job Prospects</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/day-job-or-freelance-which-is-right-for-you">Day Job or Freelance: Which Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-psychology-of-salaries-do-you-want-to-know-how-much-your-coworkers-make">The Psychology of Salaries: Do You Want to Know How Much Your Coworkers Make?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-steps-to-discovering-your-true-salary-potential">6 Simple Steps to Discovering Your True Salary Potential</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income corporate culture how to make more money women and money Mon, 26 Sep 2011 10:24:38 +0000 Paul Michael 713708 at http://www.wisebread.com Corporate Rules to Unlearn http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/corporate-rules-to-unlearn <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/corporate-rules-to-unlearn-julie-rains" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/corporate-rules-to-unl...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/corporate-rules-to-unlearn" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009924612Small.jpg" alt="Cubicles" title="Cubicles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Those who worked in the corporate arena before launching a business may revel in the freedom of operating without layers of bureaucracy, fixed hours, and processes that benefit efficiency but fail to delight customers. Unlearning irrelevant corporate rules may <em>seem</em> simple, but delineating those that are useful and those that may damage your business and its reputation isn&rsquo;t necessarily easy or intuitive.</p> <p>Here are some rules that owners quickly unlearn and replace with new rules:</p> <p><strong>Showing up earns a paycheck.</strong></p> <p>Showing up is essential to <em>getting started</em> in earning money. Showing up by itself means nothing and may cost you if you have to pay for office or production space, inventory, staff, etc.</p> <p><strong>A title elicits respect.</strong></p> <p>The title of owner, principal, or president means that you are accountable for every action that the business takes, rather than naturally engendering compliance from those surrounding you. Others &mdash; including employees, customers, and vendors &mdash; will look to you for decisions and may approach you with proposals, requests, and demands for your consideration, response, and reaction.</p> <p><strong>Meetings solve problems (or provide a facade for real problem-solving).</strong></p> <p>Actions solve problems. Until you build a knowledgeable staff or a team of trusted advisors, you may need to skip meetings and go directly to handling problems swiftly and independently. Not only are you responsible for making decisions about complex matters, you are also accountable for communicating and carrying out these decisions.</p> <p><strong>Business decision-makers act rationally and consumers make predictable decisions.</strong></p> <p>Craft marketing, sales, and service messages to meet the analytical <i>and</i> emotional needs of your target customer. Rational thinking and predictability on the part of customers may play less of a role in successfully marketing and selling your products and services than business owners with strengths in finance, operations, manufacturing, etc. would have ever imagined.</p> <p>Going beyond the basics, I spoke with a veteran business owner about rules that may make sense for larger companies but are less relevant for small businesses. Bob Young works as president of <a href="http://www.computertree.com/">ComputerTree</a>, which has been an Apple reseller since the 1980s and provides systems integration, training, and professional services. Most of the company&rsquo;s focus has been on commercial accounts, though the company does serve the consumer segment.</p> <p>Here are insights from our conversation:</p> <p><strong>Established business processes dominate decision making.</strong></p> <p>Learn: Instituting work processes boosts efficiency, but customer needs should drive decision making.&nbsp;Bob tells me that &ldquo;Our advantage as a small business is that it&rsquo;s easy for us to break our own rules or process when it&rsquo;s going to be a great benefit to the customer. Being able to make a fast decision and react to a customer's needs is one of our biggest weapons in providing service to the customer.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Flexibility tends to increase the cost of doing business.</strong></p> <p>Demonstrating flexibility can lead to greater customer satisfaction <em>and</em> profitability. &ldquo;We can be flexible for anyone really. It can mean offering in-home installation on Sunday afternoon if that's what the customer really needs. There are more opportunities to be flexible with business because it normally means the client is willing to pay extra for it, and many times consumers aren't willing to pay more, they become flexible if it means saving some money.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Large marketing budgets spent on mass messaging can reach target audiences effectively.</strong></p> <p>Niche publications and custom advertising can deliver strong ROI. A &ldquo;small business can search out the smaller local publications and reach a different market on a local level.&nbsp;We can also target locally through Google AdWords and speak only to the local prospect, targeting our dollars to the local customer. Local media can be a better ROI. I feel it generally gets noticed more, you're not in the fray, customers tend to trust it a bit more,&rdquo; especially for publications that combine features of local businesses and personalities with advertising.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Adapting to different types of customers is difficult and ill-advised. </strong></p> <p>Tweaks to business operations can be made quickly in response to market demand and changing conditions. &ldquo;This past year we really made a focus on consumer as well [as business] with the iPad. We now have a full line of accessories for browsing in the store, upgraded demo area for consumers with all the equipment there to view, and classes every Wednesday evening for our users.&nbsp;This year we will maintain our consumer offerings, but will focus greatly on large business, as we see opportunities coming about for us that didn't used to be there.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Customers will respond positively to well-designed marketing offers.</strong></p> <p>Interact directly with customers to learn what they want, understand how they respond to your messages, and ensure that their needs are met by your business. &ldquo;Being small lets us get closer to our customer, directly finding out what they need, discovering what would really &lsquo;wow&rsquo; them, what's missing, and what's not meeting their needs. These discoveries should shape our businesses. It allows us to truly add value and fill the unfulfilled niche.&rdquo;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/corporate-rules-to-unlearn">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lessons-we-can-learn-from-blockbusters-demise">Lessons We Can Learn From Blockbuster&#039;s Demise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-business-travel-credit-cards">Best Business Travel Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center corporate culture small business work ethic Thu, 10 Feb 2011 20:55:51 +0000 Julie Rains 487890 at http://www.wisebread.com Book review: Life Inc. http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-life-inc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/life-inc-cover.jpg" alt="Cover of Life Inc" title="Cover of Life Inc" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="144" height="219" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400066891?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1400066891"><cite>Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back</cite></a> by Douglas Rushkoff.</p> <p>Corporations were invented a few hundred years ago--created to increase the wealth and power of favored businessmen (and the governments that favored them). They have become such a universal feature of our economy that few people give much thought to their origins--or how our economies are structured to suit them. But exactly that is the topic of Douglas Rushkoff's new book.</p> <p>Rushkoff beings the book with an anecdote: After being mugged outside his apartment, he posted to a local internet forum so that his neighbors would be aware of what had happened. His neighbor's reaction, though, surprised him--how dare he post about such a thing in public? Didn't he know such talk would lower property values?</p> <h2>Maximizing economic value</h2> <p>Property value, of course, is a pretty abstract concept. Unless you're planning to sell (or refinance) your property, its market value should be of little interest--certainly of less interest than the presence of muggers working the sidewalk in front of your home. And yet, Rushkoff's neighbors clearly felt otherwise. Rushkoff's analysis: They were thinking like corporations.</p> <p>Corporations are legally required to try to maximize their economic value. A board of directors that didn't do so would be failing in its fiduciary duty to the shareholders. People, of course, have no such legal obligation--and yet, as Rushkoff's anecdote shows, people often behave in that way as well. How come?</p> <p>That's the story that Life Inc. tries to tell, and a fascinating story it is. He talks about the earliest chartered corporations--monopolies licensed by the crown--and how they were designed to extract value from the periphery (India, Asia, Africa, the Americas) and bring it to the center. With a few exceptions, corporate charters no longer grant monopolies, but by now the whole structure of the economy is designed to favor corporate thinking and to facility its original purpose of drawing the value in to the center.</p> <h2>Local money versus centralized money</h2> <p>One of the most interesting pieces of the tale is the story of money.</p> <p>Over most of history, the things we think of as classical forms of money, such as gold and silver coins, were mostly used by governments and traders. They were used to finance long-distance trade, because they held their value--even when the trader was 1000 miles from home. Close to home, though, they didn't see much use.&nbsp; Peasants are largely self-sufficient, and most of what they can't produce for themselves they can trade for locally.</p> <p>Even locally, though, some form of money is very handy--it's easier than barter for all the reasons that people have always preferred money.&nbsp; Since gold and silver were largely monopolized for governments and international trade, throughout the middle ages local money (in various forms) was very important. Instead of being backed by gold or silver, local money was generally backed by agricultural products such as grain or tobacco.</p> <p>In practice, local money produces a very different result from centralized money. Since agricultural products deteriorate with age, there's no good reason to hoard money. The smart thing to do is to spend it on some productive asset--land, buildings, livestock, tools--or at least on something that can be made more valuable with labor. The result of people following that logic is thriving local businesses, producing goods with local materials, fully employing the local labor.</p> <p>In fact, according to Rushkoff, the period of the middle ages when local money circulated side-by-side with centralized money brought Europe to a peak of affluence it had not seen since the Roman empire, and would not see again until the industrial revolution. It was in this period that the great cathedrals were built--among other reasons as productive assets: as tourist attractions to bring in pilgrims.</p> <h2>Modern corporations</h2> <p>There are many good bits to the book. I particularly liked a couple of great examples of the same thing I was talking about in my article that described <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-modern-company-as-specialized-venture-capital-firm">modern corporations as specialized venture capital firms</a>. He talks about being hired as a consultant by a company that called itself a major American television manufacturer--except that the TVs were outsourced to Korean manufacturers, the design to a design firm in San Francisco, the marketing to a New York agency, and fulfillment and delivery to a major shipping company.</p> <p>I also liked this bit:</p> <blockquote><p>During the famous dog-food-poisoning crisis of 2007, worried consumers called their dog-food companies for information. Were the brands getting their chow from the plant in China responsible for the tainted food? Many of the companies couldn't answer the question. They had outsourced their outsourcing to another company in China that hadn't yet determined who had gotten which food. The American companies didn't even do their own outsourcing.</p> </blockquote> <p>The core of the book is this analysis: The economic structures that worked so well for extracting wealth from the colonies and bringing it to the capitals of Europe are still at the heart of modern corporate structure and modern economies. And, because they were designed to draw wealth from the center, they continue to have that effect. And, since the rules were designed to favor corporations over ordinary people, people come in second unless they act like corporations.</p> <p>The thing is, people <strong>aren't</strong> corporations. When they try to complete on those terms, they lose. The ones who do it better than others might come out ahead of their neighbors, but they still lose to the corporations.</p> <p>There are always two parts to a book like this. First, there's the analysis of the problem. Rushkoff has done well here. He lays out the case that there <strong>is</strong> a problem, and offers a compelling analysis that the economy is structured in such a way that only corporations can win. The second is to propose solutions.</p> <h2>Solutions</h2> <p>Many people have suggested that the solution is simply for people to out-corporate the corporations. After all, corporations are made up of people, and when you get to the bottom of it, people do all the work anyway. Rushkoff says this won't work--when we try, we will always end up competing with one another:</p> <blockquote><p>Instead of working with one another to create value for our communities, we work against one another to help corporations extract money <em>from</em> our communities.</p> </blockquote> <p>The solution, Rushkoff says, is to reconnect locally in our own communities. When we move local interactions <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/opting-out-of-the-money-economy">outside the realm of the money economy</a>--when we interact with one another as friends and neighbors--we deny the corporations the opportunity to extract value.</p> <p>That doesn't mean it's easy, though:</p> <blockquote><p>The psychological hurdle to cross is the inability to accept that ten thousand dollars of one's time spent making a local school better will create more value than thirty thousand dollars of one's money spent on a private school. The money guarantees a great education for our own kid, the time improves the school for everyone's kids. Still plagued by internalized competition and self-interest, most of us are not quite ready to chose the better path, or to convince our neighbors to join us in the effort.</p> </blockquote> <p>The best bits of the book are the stories about the history of corporations and the history of money--which is sad when it's a description of the problem but happy when it's examples of ways things can work better.</p> <p>The stories of present-day efforts to return to interacting with one another as people rather than as corporate-style economic entities are not quite as compelling--largely because their very nature is to be local to a specific time and place and circumstance. They can serve as examples--even as models--but unlike deciding to act as a purely self-interested individual (which an individual can just do), interacting like people requires that others do the same.</p> <p>As I say, the analysis is compelling--and the recommendations are compelling as well, even if it's a bit daunting to see a path to following them. The book is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to know how the economy got to be the way it is, and how we might do better: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400066891?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1400066891"><cite>Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back</cite></a> by Douglas Rushkoff.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-towers-of-gold">Book review: Towers of Gold</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-rich-like-them-by-ryan-dagostino">Book Review: Rich Like Them by Ryan D&#039;Agostino</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-happier">Book review: Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-george-w-bush-write-for-wisebread">Should George W. Bush write for Wisebread?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Financial News General Tips book review books corporate corporate culture douglas rushkoff economics Economy large corporations monetary history money review reviews rushkoff Tue, 07 Jul 2009 22:24:01 +0000 Philip Brewer 3359 at http://www.wisebread.com Is honesty always the best policy? http://www.wisebread.com/is-honesty-always-the-best-policy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-honesty-always-the-best-policy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/728071557_958f390c5d_m.jpg" alt="Is honesty always the best policy?" title="Honesty!" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I just got a new job! I'm really excited--by January, I should be in a position where my skills and abilities are utilized much more than they are right now. I've been biding my time, waiting for Jack Sparrow's proverbial opportune moment, and it finally came. I jumped on it, and I'm not looking back!</p> <p>However, figuring out how to handle this situation was hard. I work at a university, and the new position is in a different department at the same school. I've enjoyed working where I am, but the more time I've spent here, the more I've felt underutilized and, more and more, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-hate-my-job" title="&quot;I Hate My Job&quot; Guide">unhappy</a>. So, when I got a call from a former professor asking me if I was interested in applying for a position in her department, I was excited.</p> <p>But what do I tell my boss? And my co-workers? And the people I know from work but don't work with directly? And the people I know who work in the department I'm moving to? And the people who have been waiting for a perfect position to open for me because they want me to work for them? When the process started, I felt like I walked around for a day or so, my mind buzzing with, &quot;What in the world do I say?&quot;</p> <p>In the end, I chose a particular combination of transparency and discretion. I was open with my boss--he deserved to know, and he has been honorable and trustworthy enough in our interactions that it was safe. I knew he wasn't going to fire me for applying. I told a couple of my co-workers--one who needed to know before we moved on with a project, and one who I trust to keep his mouth shut. I didn't tell everyone else in my department until I knew I would be leaving because it wasn't necessary, I didn't feel like I needed to, and it didn't seem appropriate in our corporate culture. I told my friends from the department I was moving to, including another person interested in hiring me, though that was more a function of our personal relationships (friendships outside of work) than in a work context.</p> <p>Why do I share all of this? Because it struck me today that I successfully navigated an often difficult issue, one that required disernment regarding our corporate culture, which individuals were trustworthy, and the different contexts in which I know my colleagues. Getting a new position isn't the only time these skils are necessary--they also come in handy when you're negotiating a raise, have made a big mistake, when you're having problems with a colleague, and a myriad of other situations. Here are three questions that helped me make some of these decisions.</p> <p><strong>1. How would you feel if you were in the position of the other person?</strong></p> <p>I decided not to tell my co-workers until I knew for sure about the job because I realized that I would feel awkward if they told me the same thing. I decided to tell my boss because I realized that I would want to know if I were in his position in this particular department.</p> <p><strong>2. Does your workplace have any spoken or unspoken rules about these things? </strong></p> <p>The rules, both spoken and unspoken, in my workplace are that we're pretty open about these things. To have not told anyone would have been seen and felt as sneaky or &quot;under the table&quot;.</p> <p><strong>3. What do you want to do?</strong></p> <p>Seriously, what do you want? Does it matter to you that they might see you in a certain way, or that you might lose your job, or that someone might be extra-critical of you? Do you value your ironclad integrity more than anything else that might happen? These matter, sometimes more than anything else.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Good luck with the corporate navigational skills!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-honesty-always-the-best-policy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-new-ways-to-hack-your-boss-without-a-machete">5 Ways to Make Your Boss Love You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-inspire-corporate-confidence">How to inspire corporate confidence</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-being-a-terrible-employee">12 Ways You&#039;re Being a Terrible Employee</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-100k-jobs-you-can-do-online">8 $100k+ Jobs You Can Do Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building corporate culture corporate transparency honesty integrity transparent Tue, 11 Sep 2007 20:12:52 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1068 at http://www.wisebread.com How to inspire corporate confidence http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-inspire-corporate-confidence <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-inspire-corporate-confidence" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cubicle_2.jpg" alt="cubicles" title="cubicles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A recruiter friend once told me that working at one employer for more than 15 years was a red flag to his client companies. “A red flag for what?” you might wonder. At best, the long-standing employee is seen as <em>unwilling</em> to make a move; at worst, a loyal employee is seen as <em>unable</em> to make a move. You can build confidence in your capabilities if you understand that, from your senior manager&#39;s perspective, there are two kinds of people.</p> <p>There are: 1) those who pursue, embrace, and thrive on change (and deliver great value in the process) and 2) those who avoid and resist change (and prevent the company from adapting to new circumstances).</p> <p>The change-happy are often considered the winners of today’s corporate culture. They are wooed by employers, promoted as company saviors, and make alterations to strategic direction and day-to-day operations as quickly as possible.</p> <p>In the change-monger’s ideal world, </p> <ul> <li>Vendors finally understand quality standards and stick to delivery schedules;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>front-line staff are now knowledgeable and able to make independent decisions;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>communication channels receive timely input from all stakeholders and speed along, rather than slow down, decisions;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>information systems provide visibility with key information without weighing down decision-makers with unimportant details. </li> </ul> <p>And as a result, </p> <ul> <li>throughput times and inventory flow accelerate;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>sales and profits increase; and</li> </ul> <ul> <li>customers, employees, and shareholders are very happy.</li> </ul> <p>Then the change-master moves on to a different company, typically in a higher paid position.</p> <p>The left-behind employees (perhaps you, one of the loyal souls who keep things going and who may have recommended the improvements all along) often don’t command such respect. You, like those who thrive on constant movement, may have worthy career ambitions, incredible flexibility, and fresh ideas; however: </p> <ul> <li>you’ve recently experienced significant disruption in your life and, for right now, seek sameness (you may have just created a <a href="/create-a-personal-stability-plan" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/create-a-personal-stability-plan">stability plan</a> per Justin Ryan’s guidance);</li> </ul> <ul> <li>you grasp that too-frequent or ill-considered changes make a company seem more like a chameleon than a market leader;</li> </ul> <ul> <li>you don’t want to disturb your professional life, which will often disrupt your personal life. </li> </ul> <p>If you decide to stay put at least for now, you can still show that you are eager, willing, and highly capable of tackling new challenges and producing significant results -- without ever changing employers. </p> <p>Here are a few ways how:</p> <p><strong>Keep learning new information.</strong> Attend the seminars and workshops recommended on your professional development plan (if you don’t have one, make one yourself); take a class at your community college (traditional or online); read a book from the best-selling list.</p> <p><strong>Become an expert in your industry or discipline. </strong>Read trade periodicals, visit vendors or listen in on meetings when they visit the office; go to professional conferences; earn professional designations; make presentations to groups with an interest in your field.</p> <p><strong>Continually expand your skill base.</strong> Learn a new software package through self-study, help from a friend, or a class; offer your services for special projects (sponsored by your company, a non-profit group, or another organization) to strengthen your planning, organizational, networking, and/or leadership skills.</p> <p><strong>Try out new ideas.</strong> You may be able to make changes to your daily activities without any corporate approvals. Even small improvements, made consistently over time, can keep your habits up-to-date and work results stellar. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-inspire-corporate-confidence">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-improve-your-resume-today">Great Ways to Improve Your Resume Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill">Give Your Career a Boost With One Skill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-an-internship-as-an-adult">Finding an Internship as an Adult</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/must-have-qualities-to-ensure-long-term-job-security">Must-Have Qualities to Ensure Long-Term Job Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-honesty-always-the-best-policy">Is honesty always the best policy?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building changes changing jobs corporate culture higher pay recruiters Tue, 07 Aug 2007 21:25:16 +0000 Julie Rains 963 at http://www.wisebread.com