7 Strategies for Women Who Want to be the Boss at Work

Even today, there are some unspoken double standards for women and men in the workplace. Sure, we’ve (hopefully) moved on from the worst of the Mad Men style of blatant sexism in the office, and these days you can find women working alongside men at all levels of an industry. Still, stereotypes and differences linger in every field, every industry, every job. So what can you do, as a professional woman, to help get through this minefield of professional issues and excel at work?

1. Dress the part.

This is definitely one of those double standard gray areas. Do you let yourself dress casually (or even on the slouchy side) like some of your male colleagues might do, to show that you’re their equal? Or do you lean into the idea that women should be dressing more nicely at work? It’s a valid debate, but whenever a work dress code is up for discussion, always err on the side of dressing up a notch or two. But unfairly or not, women are often held to a higher standard—and the more professionally you dress, the more professional you seem.

If you work in an office where jeans and sneakers are the unofficial uniform, you don’t need to bust out your fanciest pantsuit. A jacket or blazer over your jeans can bump up the professional factor in a super-cazh office, or that same blazer over crisp, tailored pants in a business-casual environment works as well. Always on the “don’t even think about it” list: low-cut anything, tops that show more skin than they cover, short skirts, and flamboyant jewelry or accessories. Wearing these things can distract attention from how well you’re doing your job, and give people a reason to take you less-than-seriously.

2. Don’t let others undercut your authority.

If you have direct reports or are in a position of authority, make sure people treat you accordingly. I’ve been in situations where clients would automatically start talking past me to my boss or to male colleagues in the room, when I was actually the one responsible for making day-to-day decisions and getting things done on the client’s behalf. If you can feel someone eroding your authority (and they may not even realize they’re doing it), firmly remind them of your role. Make sure that people understand what you’re bringing to the table: “As Chip’s supervisor, I’ll be the one making sure our team reports the sales.” “In my experience as a ________, I can see what the challenges will be here.”

You’ve worked hard to get to your role, and you deserve to be acknowledged for it.

3. Be assertive (but not overly aggressive).

In a perfect world, my advice would be “go for it, lady! Show them what’s what, in no uncertain terms!” In this imperfect world, however, women perceived as aggressive bosses or colleagues can quickly find themselves tagged as “witches” (or the similar word we all know), “ballbusters,” and the like. This can be just as damaging to workplace respect and progress than being a pushover. It’s totally unfair, because everyone has their own personal style, and some people are just aggressive—but these perceptions are a fact of professional life, at least for now. So how does one find that place where one is upfront about what one wants but isn’t perceived as some kind of monster? Where is that sweet spot of straightforward respect and authority?

Essentially, the best way to get there is saying what you want, but being careful about how it’s phrased. Making blunt demands, or giving feedback like “that’s wrong” is likely to turn off your audience, male or female. This is where stellar communication skills come in handy. Use a tone that’s non-confrontational, so that the other person isn’t automatically feeling defensive and ready to mutiny. And even when you disagree, try to find some common element that you can use as an olive branch before explaining what you want to do differently: “I see what you’re saying, and although I do agree that we need to raise revenue, I see it a little differently.”

One strategy is to ask questions instead of diving in with statements. That way, you can be part of starting a dialogue instead of something that can be perceived as an “attack.” Asking clarification questions like “where do you see this going?” or “how does this impact our goals?” opens up a communication line with the other speaker, and will give you an opportunity to say what you want to express as part of the back-and-forth.

4. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

When I was younger, I was told things like “never disagree with your boss in public.” And now that I’ve been around longer, I think that’s true—to an extent. I’d modify it to, “if you disagree, do it respectfully—and pick your moments.” One of the biggest challenges facing many professional women (especially younger ones) is the idea that they should hang back and let more senior people hash things out. And while I don’t recommend inserting yourself into every single debate in every single meeting just for the sake of being heard, remember that you’re in the room for a reason. If you disagree with something being discussed, don’t be afraid to say so—but again, always phrase it as respectfully and diplomatically as possible.

And again, pick your moment. If your boss is giving a presentation in front of bigwigs, and you see that she’s wrong about something, don’t throw her under the bus in front of everyone, or give a loud and long dissent in the meeting. If you’re directly asked about your opinion, give it carefully. Or talk about it offline with your boss later. Your opinion is valuable, and your insights can earn you respect and acknowledgment if they’re expressed well.

5. Don’t let people talk over you.

We’ve all been there: you’re talking about something work-related, and a colleague (often older and male) breaks in and, in a dismissive tone, gives an opinion about why you’re wrong, without letting you finish the thought. Unless you’ve been filibustering the floor with a long monologue, this is poor form on the interruptor’s part. And no one likes this kind of bullying tactic. So how do you handle in the moment? Politely interrupt them back, and ask to finish your point, or try to turn it into a dialogue instead of a lecture.

6. Advocate for yourself.

This is, hands-down, one of the best things you can do to get respect at work. Knowing what you want, and how to ask for it, is a skill that will serve every professional (male or female) well throughout a career. Being able to negotiate is a key leadership skill, and one every woman should have at the ready as a professional. Asking for what you want is a great first step, but you also need to know how to navigate what comes next: an offer, a counteroffer, and when to agree or walk away.

7. Know when to fold ‘em.

If you’re in a work situation where you try all these strategies and you’re still not getting the level of professional respect you deserve, then it could very well be time to walk away. You’re not obligated to stay in a role where you are defined and treated according to stale old perceptions about what women are and should be, so if you find that you’re spending more time counteracting stereotypes than actually doing your job, it could be time to get out. There’s no shame in wanting to find a better environment for your skills and personality. And with your brushed-up negotiation skills, your next opportunity could be right around the corner.

Every professional deserves respect: male, female, young, old, green, experienced. Stepping up to request and take that respect, however, can be a big challenge. We still have a long way to go before everyone in the workplace is completely equal (even in the most gender-balanced fields and the most supportive companies, decades-old perceptions tend to die hard), but in the meantime, we hope you never stop striving to get everything you can out of your career.

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Top Opportunities in the Online Retail Revolution

Working in the retail industry used to be pretty straightforward. Customers would shop in brick-and-mortar storefronts, helped by sales associates or customer service reps. Then, anything they couldn’t get in person was purchased from a printed catalog. Now, things have changed almost completely—virtually anything you need or want can be delivered right to your door, within a few days (or even hours) of making a purchase on your preferred device. You don’t even have to leave home if you don’t want to. We still have traditional stores, of course, but the economics and priorities behind retail have totally shifted.

And if you’re looking at a career in the retail field, your options have changed as well. Being an in-store associate used to be the stepping stone to a retail career path, but now that companies like Amazon and Walmart have moved so many of their resources toward online sales and offsite fulfillment, your retail career might start in a more behind-the-scenes role, with an entirely different set of skills and opportunities.

How the Retail Landscape is Changing

Right now, there are a few overarching trends that are changing how retail works—and therefore what a career in retail looks like as well.

Online Domination

According to Forbes, the retail industry is in a bit of a personality crisis right now. Companies are coming to an unavoidable point where they will either embrace the changes of the internet era or fall far behind. Online retailers like Amazon, along with traditional department stores like Kohl’s or Target, are building a more robust online shopping platform. These companies are at the forefront of these changes, emphasizing the ability to shop from anywhere. Stores and chains that are not adapting as quickly are at risk of falling behind in sales and growth.

Companies like Walmart are also looking to beef up their online game by acquiring existing retailers that can provide the sales infrastructure and merchandising know-how to bring the parent companies into the next phase of retail.

Traditional Stores Closing

Think about your local mall. Chances are, at least one of the big “anchor” stores has closed recently, or may be at risk of closing soon—chains like Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, and others have all recently announced that underperforming brick-and-mortar stores will be shuttered for streamlining.

Embracing the Tech

It’s impossible to underestimate how technology has changed the shopping experience—and therefore the strategies used by retailers. First came shopping via computers, then smartphones, then tablets, causing retailers to develop online retail plans and platforms to support these new ways of browsing and shopping. And now “virtual assistants” like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home have made it so that consumers don’t even need to go online to browse—they can merely ask the virtual assistant to search and buy for them, based on pre-set account and payment settings. According to RetailDive, Amazon customers spent 10% more in the months after buying the Amazon Echo device, suggesting that more retailers will get in on the voice-activated shopping train.

And it’s not just the usual devices you’d expect to do the shopping for you—smart appliances like LG’s “smart” refrigerator can tell you what you have inside, and what you might need to add to your shopping list. (No word on whether these fridges can judge us yet for those late-night pints of ice cream, or farmer’s market produce that goes untouched in favor of takeout containers.)

Many stores are also using tech to enhance the in-store shopping experience, using location functions on smartphones and push notifications to alert shoppers to sales and promotions in-store.

Summer Black Friday Sales

If you’ve ever been at a large chain store on Black Friday (or seen the endless news coverage of cringe-inducing behavior every year), you know it can be a bloodsport, with people literally pushing each other out of the way to get big-ticket products at a discount. And while Black Friday may not be the best trend in terms of humanity, for retail it can be a major asset—it brings in customers and boosts sales during the critical holiday period.

Online-only retailers like Amazon have started featuring similar sales around July, at a traditionally quiet retail period of the year, taking advantage of the idea that you don’t need to be present in a store to score a deal on a new TV. So while customers may be taking time away from the beach instead of the Thanksgiving table to shop, the idea is quickly catching on that a summer counterpart to Black Friday can help boost retail bottom lines during a traditionally dead time. As other retailers begin to incorporate these steep summer sales, it has the potential to change how retail stores and fulfillment centers are staffed, year-round.

“Need It Now” Shipping

If you’ve seen your mailman making the rounds on previously unheard-of Sundays, dropping Amazon-logo-stamped boxes on doorsteps, then you’ve seen how the increased demand for fast shipping has begun to take hold in the retail industry. Amazon Prime was one of the pioneers in this field, and other major retailers have followed suit, offering insta-shipping as part of their online shopping experience. Accommodating these shipping needs means having strategically located warehouses and fulfillment centers around the country, so products have a shorter way to go when customers want that video game in less than two days’ time.

Retail Warehouse Jobs

So what do these trends changes mean for a career in retail? For starters, it means that your starting point may not be working on a sales floor, handling direct transactions. Many of the best retail opportunities will be coming from warehouses and fulfillment centers, as retailers try to find the sweet spot between retail and logistics to meet customer needs.

Let’s look at some of the entry-level jobs and career paths that are growing due to the new retail economy. We’ve included some sample links for each that you can use as a starting point for your own search.

Sorting Associate

Sorting associates are responsible for (as you might have guessed) sorting outgoing packages by size, shape, destination, or other criteria. They’re responsible for making sure that shipments are organized and packed efficiently—kind of like box Tetris.

Skills needed: Attention to detail, ability to lift heavy packages, customer service focus, physical stamina, flexible work schedule

Pantry Associate

As online grocery delivery companies like Fresh Direct and Amazon Fresh expand and make quality and speed essential for shipping food products, pantry associates are responsible for sorting and packing shipments of groceries to make sure everything goes out quickly and as fresh as possible.

Skills needed: Attention to detail, ability to lift heavy packages, customer service focus, physical stamina, flexible work schedule

Warehouse/Fulfillment Associate

As more and more importance is placed on online shopping and order fulfillment, warehouse staff are essential. Warehouse associates are responsible for loading and unloading shipments, as well as tracking, scanning, and monitoring shipments. These associates may also operate heavy equipment to move products and shipments.

Skills needed: Attention to detail, ability to lift heavy packages, customer service focus, physical stamina, flexible work schedule

Seasonal Fulfillment Associates

Retail has its busy seasons and its not-so-busy seasons. During the busiest parts of the year, like back-to-school and the winter holidays, almost every retailer needs as many hands on deck as they can find. If you’re looking for seasonal employment in a warehouse, this is a flexible option for you that can build experience or help you fill a gap between jobs. Seasonal warehouse and fulfillment associates perform the same tasks as full-time warehouse associates, but during a set period of time (for example, November through December).

Skills needed: Attention to detail, ability to lift heavy packages, customer service focus, physical stamina, flexible work schedule

Operations Associate

Once orders are collected, assembled, and readied for shipping, operations professionals take over to make sure that everything goes where it’s supposed to go, and when it’s supposed to go out. The job may involve analyzing the best way to ship merchandise (shipping routes, timelines, costs, etc.) as well as coordinating with fulfillment and logistics teams to ensure smooth delivery and a good customer experience.

Skills needed: Attention to detail, great organization, data analysis, project management, customer service focus, ability to work as part of a team with many moving parts

Benefits of a Warehouse Career

These warehouse and shipping jobs typically don’t require a college degree to get started, and usually include on-the-job training once you’re in the door. They’re also geographically flexible: because retailers are setting up satellite warehouses and fulfillment centers around the country to make shipping faster and cheaper, you won’t necessarily need to concentrate your job search in a limited number of “hubs.”

As retail itself continues to evolve, so to do the opportunities to work in the field. And no matter how people are shopping these days (or how they’ll shop five years from now), companies will always need qualified professionals behind the scenes to make sure customers get what they want, and that they keep coming back. If you have a passion for logistics and customer service, the fulfillment path can be a great option for your retail career.

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Need a Job? These 10 Fields Are Hiring Like Crazy

When we’re desperate to be employed, any job will do. But sometimes it pays to be a bit more discerning. LinkedIn recently released a report on the most promising positions for next year—all with good pay and good upward mobility. If you qualify for any of these, you’re in great shape to get scooped up.

And if not, if you’re still deciding what you want to be when you grow up, consider getting trained in one of these fields ASAP. They’re on the rise, and don’t look like they’re going anywhere.

1. Hospitalist

This is a doctor who works exclusively in a hospital. The median salary is well over $200k per year, and there are currently more than 1,000 open positions for this role. That’s an 87% annual increase. And this job scores a 6 out of 10 for career advancement. Hospitalist is ranked #1 on LinkedIn’s report.

2. Pharmacist

Pharmacists make a median salary of about $123k, but there are something like 3,300 openings out there (a 45% increase over last year). With a 5 out of 10 career advancement score, this is pretty sweet. This career is ranked #3 on LinkedIn’s report.

3. Sales Engineer

No medical training? No problem! Sales engineers sell particularly complex products like machinery, and must be knowledgeable about the things they sell. The median salary is about $80k per year, with 3,000 openings—a whopping 159% increase from last year. This job also scores 6 out of 10 for career advancement. Ranked #3 on LinkedIn’s report.

4. Teacher

Teachers are in supreme demand—there simply aren’t enough of them to go around. While the salary isn’t the best on the block, if you can teach math or science, you’re likely to get scooped up in a second. The state of California alone reported 75% of their school districts in dire need of teachers. Hopefully demand will lead to better salary growth in years to come.

5. Dental Hygienist

Dental hygienists are a key part of the dental team. With over 68,000 open positions, this job is only going to grow—in both salary and in duties. You’ll see a lot of potential for growth of all kinds if you choose this career path, with positions available nationwide.

6. Market Analyst

If you have a head for numbers, you can examine trends and provide analysis and vital information to marketing teams for developing their strategies. And prospects look great: there are more than 100k analyst positions expected to open up in the coming years.

7. Translator

Global business continues to be more important than ever, and it’s very important to make sure nothing gets “lost in translation.” Expect there to be steady openings for translator positions in coming years.

8. Nurse Practitioner

APRNs and NPs are in high demand, with more patients seeing nurse practitioners, nurse anesthesiologists, and nurse midwives in place of doctors. This field has a lot of potential for growth, as nurses take over more and more duties traditionally ascribed to doctors. And salaries are already bursting through the $100k mark.

9. Physical Therapist and Therapist Assistant

These positions are set to enjoy massive growth, particularly with the equally massive spike in patients suffering from chronic pain. Demand is high and the scope of where you’re able to work is wide.

10. Statistician

It’s all about the numbers. If you’re a data whiz, you could work in government, business, health care, or engineering. Demand is high, and salaries are up near $80k per year—and that number was determined by… you guessed it: statisticians.

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7 Warning Signs Your Talent Is Being Wasted at Work

So you sought out a job, went through the interview process, and got hired. Whoo hoo, so exciting! What’s more, you even feel confident that you were the best out of the bunch of candidates. But all the same, maybe since you started you haven’t been quite sure that your talents and particular skills are being used to their full effect.

Take a look at the following warning signs that you are not reaching your full potential. If a few of these signs apply to you, you might want to consider seeking out a bigger pond, one where you can stretch your wings, challenge yourself, and reach the career goals you know you’re capable of reaching.

1. Your boss is threatened by your best ideas.

If all your ideas end up in the “Maybe Someday” file, and your manager seems to prefer bumping along with the status quo rather than pushing the envelope, you’re not going to get much traction. Maybe you’re hearing a lot of “but this is how it’s always been done” and not enough “that’s a great idea; we should try it,” or getting shut down (or outright ignored) by your boss for ideas you know to be good. If any of this is the case, then maybe it’s time to start to worry.

2. You work with automatons.

Instead of everyone pitching in to realize some long-term goal or vision, you find that all of your coworkers are merely on autopilot, doing task after task that doesn’t seem to generate any new sparks or momentum.

3. You never receive any sort of appreciation.

If you’re working hard and no one at work sees you for the superstar you are, then you A) haven’t shown them, or B) they’ve seen your talents and are choosing to ignore them. Your once bright future starts to grey.

4. You’re trapped.

Are you confined by your title? This could be your own fault or the fault of your workplace: you’re so hemmed in by your specific role and tasks that you don’t feel the freedom to be able to fluidly reach out to your team members and help with other projects and initiatives when necessary. Even if this kind of effort might require you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, it can be good for your growth.

5. Your boss is putting your light under a bushel.

Whether your boss is afraid of change or threatened by your rising star, perhaps he or she isn’t being the kind of mentor that lets you shine. Maybe they even call you in and tell you to hold back a little, or pipe down in meetings, instead of batting around your best ideas.

6. Your company values policy over passion.

You’re a rule-follower, and you’re feeling stifled. It’s possible that you’re very comfortable where you are, but still—biding your time and knowing real change and real challenge are too far around the corner to be feasible it a recipe for nothingness. Meanwhile, you keep on toeing the company line and following policies you don’t think are best practice. You’re going nowhere, and slowly.

7. You’re burnt out and bored.

After your first entry-level gigs, you should probably never be bored at work. If your job is boring you, it’s time to move on for sure. Watch for burn-out also; it’s not just for people in high powered careers that work too fast and too hard. It can strike anyone who’s been grappling with long-term demoralization and lack of inspiration. Remember, you’re a person, not a robot just completing tasks.

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The 5 Types of Interview Outfits That Will Get You Hired

No matter what stage you are in your career, you need to dress to impress whenever you’re granted an interview. That might mean something different depending on your career status and the field you’re interviewing in, but the overarching point you should keep in mind when you select your attire is this: look like you care. Look like you put some thought into how you present yourself, because after all, if you don’t care enough to look nice and together when you’re on your best behavior, then why should a company think you will care enough to do your best on any random Tuesday after a few months into the job?

Here are some tips for how to make sure you’re making the right first impression on the hiring manager. Show them through what you’re wearing how perfect you would be for the job, no matter what that job is.

1. Super-Casual

In the past, the basic rule was that if you had a job interview, you better either buy a suit or make sure yours was dry-cleaned and ready to go. But times have changed, and it’s really okay to match your attire to the personality of the company.

For example, you don’t want to show up to a casual workplace in a suit and tie—you’ll look like you don’t really understand the culture, and they won’t be able to picture you adequately within their company. Try instead to focus on making sure you look clean and professional, despite the more laid-back style. Dark, clean, and crisp denim always works, with tasteful (again, clean) sneakers or sandals or flats, and a tidy, well-fitting top. Don’t bust out a concert t-shirt or anything, but a wrinkle-free polo works.

2. Sort-of-Casual

You’re still not going to need a suit and tie, but you might have to trade your nice top in for one with buttons. Avoid jeans and go with a casual dress (one with sleeves, please), a skirt, corduroys, or other slacks instead. Keep your shoes relaxed, but elegant—nothing you would wear to the gym, say. Maybe add a bit of a heel.

3. Executive Casual

You still don’t absolutely need a tie in this situation (but certainly no one would think it out of place), but a jacket or blazer is often called for. Definitely no jeans. Keep the skirts or slacks on the dressier side, and go with the more elegant shoes—pumps for the ladies; something leather for the men. Add a pop of color or pattern in your shirt that will jazz up the monotony of your suit separates.

4. Serious Business

Okay. Here come the suits. Gents, here come the ties. You can wear your more colorful suits, darker ones, or subtle patterns— bright colors are fine here. Just because you need to look professional doesn’t mean you can’t have a personality. Keep the tops crisp and well-tailored, the heels closed-toe, and legs covered with hosiery or tights.

5. Boardroom Big Shot

In the highest stakes situations, it’s best to go for the gold. Grey or navy suits for the men, with ties and white dress shirts. The highest quality accessories are needed here—as neat and unobtrusive as possible. Ladies, keep your skirt lengths two-fingers above the knee or longer and stick with black tights and shoes.

Remember to make sure you’re comfortable. And don’t make it look like you’re dressing up from Mommy and Daddy’s closet. Keep it simple, not too flashy, and you’ll do just fine. And, as always, dress for the job you want, not the one you have.

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How to Criticize Your Boss Without Losing Your Job

Feedback, as any good professional understands, is critically important. There’s nothing like a little constructive criticism to put the fire under your tail feathers and help you to understand and grow past your own limitations. But it isn’t just a one-way street. From time to time, it will be important—even necessary—to give your boss a little feedback too. You should want the kind of employee/boss relationship where that is possible—and work to cultivate it.

Here are a few strategies for when you need to offer a little good-natured criticism to your boss without offending him or her or risking your good rapport.

1. Pick your moment.

If your boss is in the middle of a particularly stressful project or a bad week, you might want to wait until she’s not stomping around fuming with the shortest possible fuse. Let things die down a bit and pick a more peaceful, low-key moment to broach the subject. But do make sure to do it face-to-face. Meeting in person is a much better way to make the kind of connection you need for this to work.

2. Ask permission.

Particularly if you have a more formal relationship with your boss, or you’re nervous about how to broach the subject, it’s always a good idea to ask first. A simple, “Would you be willing to hear a different perspective on the situation?” or “Could I offer my two cents?” will work wonders and set the conversation up nicely.

3. Keep it light.

In this and all office interactions, stay positive. If humor is in your wheelhouse, try a humorous tone if appropriate. Avoid profanity and offensive jokes though; keep it professional. Be playful and as gracious and appreciative as possible. And try to limit your use of the word “but.” As in: “I really enjoy working with you but…

4. Back it up.

Don’t just assume your ideas are great and worth sharing—better than your boss’s. Support your ideas with facts about production or productivity. And then make sure that your feedback will genuinely help the person. The more you can make it valuable to your boss, the better.

5. Make it about you.

“You” statements tend to make people extra defensive. Try to frame everything through your point of view. “I notice this…” “It affected me when…” And try not to generalize with words like “always” or “never.” Think about how an improved relationship would make you a better worker, and explain this, point-by-point, to your boss. If you frame it as “for the good of the company,” you’re more likely to get a positive response.

6. Go in with a game plan.

Think through what you’re going to say in advance. The more you plan it out, the better. And find a friend or family member to rehearse it with beforehand. The cooler and more prepared you are going in, the better it will go. If you storm in right on the heels of an annoying email interaction, you’re bound to say something you will later regret.

7. Know when to stop.

Say what you have to say as quickly, gracefully, and succinctly as you can—then stop. It can be hard, once you get started, to turn the faucet off—particularly if this is the first time you’ve tried giving feedback to your boss. But you’ll need to make sure to quit while you’re ahead and give room for your boss to respond. And try to listen with an open mind! The communication lines, at last, are open.

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How to Become a Nursing Assistant

If you’re looking to start a career in the healthcare industry, you have lots of options. Patient care! Tech! Administration! The entire field is growing, and with it grows the demand for qualified health care professionals. But no matter how many new jobs open up in the trendiest areas, there will always be a huge demand for the “evergreen” medical jobs: for doctors, nurses, and medical staff who work on the front lines, helping patients. If you think you’d like to be one of these front-line healthcare staffers, working as part of a patient care team, then becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) just might be the right path for you.

What Does a Nursing Assistant Do?

CNAs work directly with patients under the direction of physicians and nurses, providing basic care. CNAs work virtually anywhere there are healthcare facilities, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and doctors’ offices. CNAs may work with a variety of patients during a shift, or they may have a more one-on-one relationship with a smaller group of patients. CNAs are often a liaison for the patient, making sure that they have everything they need or working with a team of other medical professionals to ensure that a patient is receiving a particular level of care.

A CNA’s tasks may include:

  • Assisting patients with everyday tasks like eating, bathing, and dressing
  • Taking vital signs
  • Helping to prepare patients for surgery
  • Checking and emptying catheters
  • Making beds and cleaning patient rooms
  • Setting up medical equipment
  • Administering prescribed medication
  • Assisting physicians and nurses with medical procedures
  • Observe and record patient status and changes

Nursing assistants are responsible for meeting the most basic needs of patients, and for providing a high level of personal care.

What Skills Do Nursing Assistants Have?

Because nursing assistants are one of the primary caregivers for their patients, they need to have very strong skills and bedside manner.

Patient Care Skills

In addition to the medical know-how necessary to do the job, nursing assistants also need to have strong customer care and service skills. The nursing assistant will be working with a range of patients, and potentially interacting with families as well, so it’s important to have a calm, caring, and understanding professional game face.

Attention to Detail

If things are missed, it can have serious consequences for a patient. Nursing assistants needs to have an eagle eye for detail, and a passion for making sure everything is done correctly and on time, whether it’s administering medication or feeding a patient her meals.

Communication Skills

Nursing assistants need to be able to communicate with a number of different people: patients, other staff members, and patient families. Being able to understand what’s going on, and communicate to others as necessary, is essential.

Teamwork Skills

Nursing assistants are key members of a patient care team. That means being a lone wolf just won’t work in this job. It also means a nursing assistant has to be able to work well (and take orders when necessary) from other members of the healthcare team, all in the interest of the patient.

Organizational Skills

Because nursing assistants often spend the most time directly with patients, keeping everything moving along on schedule is key. Many nursing assistants are juggling a number of patients at a time, so keeping patients and information organized is key so that there are no mistakes disruptions to care.

What Education Do Nursing Assistants Need?

At a minimum, nursing assistants typically need a high school diploma (or equivalent). Beyond that, they will need to complete a Nursing Assistant course from an accredited school, which typically lasts from 4 to 16 weeks.

Once you have your Nursing Assistant program diploma, you’ll need to be certified by your own state. Requirements vary by state, so be sure to see what’s required in your state if you’re interested in pursuing this path. Many states also require you to pass a certification exam before you can become a practicing CNA.

How Much Do Nursing Assistants Get Paid?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants make a median salary of $26,590 per year, or $12.78 per hour, depending on location and experience. Many nursing assistants also go on to other, more advanced nursing or patient care roles as they gain more experience.

What’s the Outlook for Nursing Assistants?

This is definitely a promising field! The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for nursing assistants will increase by 17% by 2024. That is much faster than average, compared to all other careers. Caring, compassionate professionals who can provide high-quality patient care will always be in high demand.

If you’re considering going into the healthcare field, and are ready for the challenges of providing hands-on care, then this could be the right choice for your career. Good luck!

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WARNING: 8 Signs Your Job Interview is Scam

Job interviews aren’t just a time for you to sit in the hot seat and be judged. They’re also an opportunity for you to vet the potential employer—to determine whether this company would be a good fit for you, and to make sure there aren’t any giant flapping red flags that should be telling you to run for the hills.

If you’re ever in an iffy situation in an interview and can’t quite tell whether your gut reaction is the right one, here are a few warning signs that this job might not be the one for you.

1. The vibe is… not so great.

Everyone looks miserable. It’s quiet, but it doesn’t look like that’s because everyone is concentrating so hard on their work. It just seems frosty and weird. If you’re a friendly collaborator by nature, this might not be the place for you. Things might be extra bad if you’re introduced to a few potential future coworkers and they don’t seem in any way enthused. If they can’t fake it to impress a potential new team member, they’re certainly not into the place.

2. It’s all over way too soon.

Interviews don’t have to be long and grueling, but they also shouldn’t be too short. If you feel like you’re being asked a handful of questions with very low stakes and you get offered the job in a hot second, take a step back and make sure this isn’t because they’re desperate—or incompetent. Are they overselling? What’s the catch?? Don’t just snap it up because you’re flattered or relieved to get an offer in the first place!

3. You find out there’s a high turnover rate.

Constant and consistent departure of employees might be another reason for a particularly hasty offer. If there’s a way to find out from current or former employees what the turnover rate seems to be and why it might be particularly high, that would be useful information. If that question seems to forward, simply asking some current employees how long they’ve been there might help. If everyone you’ve spoken to has only been with the company a short time, activate your spidey sense.

4. Everything is done super secretively.

You seem to be getting shuffled through the process on the DL. The interview doesn’t take place at their office location. You’ve not met the person holding the position you’re meant to replace. You don’t know why the position is open. You don’t get to meet anyone else on your team. Think about these things before accepting an offer, lest you show up for work on Monday morning and the entire team hates you for stealing their pal’s job seemingly overnight.

5. You’re ghosted.

You interviewed, you followed up, and the line went proverbially dead. Or, they’re making you wait an inordinately long time before letting you know when you might expect next steps or decisions to happen. Leaving a candidate hanging is disrespectful and unprofessional—both bad signs right out of the gate.

6. They ask you for money.

Run. Just run.

7. Everyone uses robot-like corporate-speak all the time.

Too many buzzwords or fancy jargon might be a big ruse to make the company or team sound successful and inspiring, when the reality could be anything but. If they seem like they’re trying really hard to impress you but there’s not much substance underneath, try to do a bit more sniffing around.

8. There’s no indication of company growth.

If the interviewer can’t give you a clear picture of career growth opportunities or provide you with a clear account of what your role would be—both immediately and in future—then watch out. Not having a clear sense of how you would develop your career there isn’t a particularly good sign at this stage—and it doesn’t bode very well for later stages either.

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The 10 Best Places For Dads to Work in 2017

The United States is pretty terrible when it comes to family leave—but it’s even worse for dads. Very few employers even provide paid parental leave for fathers. As Simon Isaacs, co-founder of Fatherly, told Business Insider, “This means a lot of new dads are not able to take time to bond with their babies and be at home with their families.” Isaacs is quick to add that paternity leave is not “time off.” “There is an increasing body of evidence,” he says, “behind the importance of father-child bonding beginning in the first few weeks… With more couples than ever sharing responsibilities at home, paternity leave is also important to support your wife or spouse.”

The conversation is happening, and hopefully, change is in the works. But in the meantime, Fatherly has compiled a sweet list of companies leading the charge. Here are some of the highlights, taking into account leave policies, flexible hours, and telecommuting options.

1. Netflix

Netflix wins all the praise from Fatherly. And should have our respect anyway given their “Unlimited Vacation” policy. Their parental leave policy is stellar; parents (mothers and fathers) can take up to a full year of paid leave. They can also change their hours around to work as much or as little as they need at different times. And they can come in and out, go full-time, part-time, etc. and keep receiving their salaries as normal. As long as you do your job at Netflix, the company trusts you and takes care of you.

2. Etsy

Second on Fatherly’s list is Etsy, giving its employees a gender-blind blanket 26 weeks of paid leave. You have to take the first six weeks consecutively (at the beginning, i.e. the first six months), but then you can spread the rest out over the course of two years (post birth or adoption) as needed. Their Brooklyn office also boasts dedicated parents’ rooms and a twice weekly communal meal called “Eatsy.”

3. AmEx

Go Platinum with AmEx’s parental leave policy. First of all, if you adopt, undergo fertility treatment, or use a surrogate, you’re eligible for $35k in medical assistance. Then, you get 20 weeks of paid paternity leave. Then an additional 20 days of subsidized backup dependent care per year. Plus, at some of their office locations, you can take advantage of “Summer Flex” and compress your work weeks to maximize weekend time off with the fam.

4. Spotify

You get 24 weeks of paid paternity leave with no restrictions on how to use it—until your kid’s third birthday. (You even get this retroactively as a new recruit if you come in with a child under three.) Their “Welcome Back” program lets your return gradually to full-time status with the added bonus of telecommuting options. And they have a Dad-centric “Focus on Fatherhood” group with activities, programming, and networking breakfasts with top execs giving advice about work/life balance.

5. Facebook

Facebook offers $20k in family planning benefits for fertility treatments, egg freezing, surrogacy, etc. Then 17 weeks paid leave, plus the standard 21 days of PTO and unlimited sick days, including an additional three days per year for “taking care of sick dependents.” If your kid gets the flu, take the day off, then log into [email protected] (the company’s online dad space) for advice.

6. Twitter

Twitter is more like Netflix than Facebook, in that there is no PTO policy. Do your job well and take all the time you need otherwise. They’ve just doubled their paid paternal leave to 20 weeks. And they have great company perks, including a prep class for Dads about to go on leave to help in the transition.

7. VMware, Inc.

This company offers $5k to help with adoption or surrogacy ($10k lifetime limit), a $250 “Welcome Baby” gift, and 18 weeks paid paternity leave. And they have a non-accrued vacation policy to let you shape your own time off—as long as you’re delivering good work.

8. Bank of America

Bank of America offers a lot of support to new parents: a Welcome Kit, free financial planning, Lifecare advice and assistance, and 16 weeks paid paternity leave. You also get a 25-day backup child care allotment and a 25-day adult care allotment for when a caregiver is not available.

9. Patagonia

Fathers at Patagonia get 12 weeks paid leave to be used at any time before the child’s first birthday. They have a great work-life balance reputation, and are very concerned with employees and their children thriving. There are lots of ways they help a new family get set up, including FSAs and stipends.

10. Deloitte

You’re eligible for paternity leave from day one of your employment, to the tune of 16 paid weeks. They offer child-care coverage and reimbursement, and employees get an average of 40 paid days off per year regardless. Managers here won’t track time off either. So do your work, and get your life in order without stress.

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How to Decline a Job Offer With Class

You’re job searching and you got an offer. Congratulations, that’s great—no matter how you slice it. Downside? You don’t really want that job. Either you’ve been offered something better, or you’re holding out for a more appropriate opportunity to your skill level and experience.

Whatever the reason, if you need to decline a job offer with politeness and class—and without burning any bridges—here are five steps to follow for a graceful exit:

1. Acknowledge.

Don’t just let the offer letter sit in your inbox—or the offer message in your voicemail. Promptly acknowledge your receipt of the offer, making sure to reiterate your gratitude and sincere appreciation for both the offer and their time and consideration, and confirming timetables. When do they need your decision? Or if they haven’t imposed a deadline, suggest that you’ll get back to them with your answer by a certain (in the very near future) date.

2. Stay in touch.

Keep a line of communication open with you and the recruiter or hiring manager during your deliberation. You never know when a company might be open to negotiate to sweeten the deal for you. Not to mention, ignoring a company that’s just made you a job offer is a great way to look seriously unprofessional and childish. Put on your big girl panties and let them know where you are at.

3. Dot your ‘i’s.

Before you decline offer A (if you’re doing so because you also got offer B), make sure that you’re all finished with the preliminary on-boarding obstacles at job B before declining offer A. And please don’t post on any social media (especially LinkedIn) that you are accepting any offers until you’ve notified all companies you mean to decline and you’re well on your way to bringing in your plants and pictures to the job you are taking.

4. Rip the Band-aid.

The best approach, once you’ve decided, is to get your decline over with as quickly and succinctly as possible. With an email or phone call, give a good brief reason, whatever that reason is. Either you’ve decided it’s not the best time to move/leave your current position/transition to a different role, etc. Or you’ve opted to pursue a position that allows you to be better challenged in one particular area of expertise. Or you’ve simply decided to accept an offer from another company—no further explanation needed unless asked. Elaborate only to the extent that it makes sense in the context of your prior conversations with this company. Remember that any intel you provide will help them in their hiring process and give them greater insight into their own process.

5. Don’t ghost.

Reiterate at this final stage how much you enjoyed meeting the team. You really enjoyed your conversations, yada yada. But why not stay in touch? Just because you declined an offer, provided you did so reasonably and with a certain degree of professionalism and class, there’s no reason at all to go burning any bridges. Connect on LinkedIn to stay abreast of future employment opportunities. Reference a conference you might be attending together as a point of future contact. If none of this makes sense, simply state that the process was a pleasure and you wish them all the best.

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