5 Signs You’re About to Get Fired

worried at desk jobWouldn’t it be great if there were some way to know ahead of time when bad news was coming our way? When it comes to our job security, there definitely are some telltale signs of trouble.

If you catch the signs early enough, it may not be too late to save yourself. Other times, such as a company-wide layoff, the decision will be entirely out of your control.

Here are a few of the ways you might be able to tell your job is in jeopardy.

You haven’t been given new projects in a while

If your boss has overlooked you for recent assignments, you might tell yourself it’s just a slow time for the business. But pay attention. If everyone else around you is still busy with deadlines and meetings, it might be time to start questioning why you aren’t. Here’s an even bigger red flag: Your boss has been delegating tasks that you typically handled to other employees.

What you should do: If your boss has decreased your duties, look for ways to regain her trust. Brainstorm a few ideas to improve efficiency in your department or drive revenue and send your boss a project proposal that includes the names of people you would like on your team to help accomplish these goals, suggests Roleta Fowler Vasquez, a professional resume writer and resume expert for CareerBuilder.com. Showing initiative like that could help your boss see you in a new light and make co-workers eager to work with you again, says Vasquez.

You’ve noticed a change in your co-workers

It’s not likely that your colleagues would know about you being fired before you would (at least they shouldn’t). But if you sense a colder-than-normal vibe from your workmates, it could signal that they’ve lost confidence in your work or have stopped considering you as a part of the team. Some companies rely heavily on peer reviews, whether formal or informal. When your coworkers aren’t on your side, it could spell trouble for your future.

What you should do: Be as much a team player as possible. Let your colleagues know that you notice what a good job they are doing, and that you are always there to help. If the vibe doesn’t change, take one of your colleagues aside and ask them candidly if there’s anything you should know about your performance. He or she might be willing to open up about issues other workers have mentioned about your work.

Your boss is avoiding you

If you’ve been trying to schedule a meeting with your boss for weeks to no avail, they could be avoiding you purposefully. Apart from ignoring meeting requests, your boss might stop assigning you the same types of tasks that she always has in the past, simply to avoid the uncomfortable feeling that comes with conflict, which she might know is coming.

What you should do: Make every effort to continue to greet your boss with a smile and pleasantries. If you do finally get your meeting, Vasquez suggests using it as an opportunity to reestablish how committed you are to your job. Talk about the different career paths you would like to pursue within the company, even if it means making a transfer to another department or office.  “More directly, you could say that you have heard your job worthiness is being questioned, and that you are seeking advice on how to either improve your stance — always making sure to add ideas of your own, like an independent study or classes — or on how to exit with their good graces and a solid recommendation,” Vasquez says.

Your job description seems to have changed

It’s not unusual for the needs of employees to change frequently with an ever-changing professional landscape. But if it seems that all your important responsibilities have been whittled down to nothing and you’re left with menial tasks or responsibilities, it may be a sign your job is being phased out.

What you should do: Go into survival mode. If your specific job duties are quite narrow, show your team that you have skills in other areas they may need. Your manager should be transparent if your job responsibilities have changed, so you’re within your rights to go to your supervisor or Human Resources and ask for an official copy of your new description. “Normally, you are asked to discuss this with a supervisor or HR, sign it and you’re given a signed copy,” Vasquez says. “This legally protects both of you. If the wording indicates a new lateral assignment or worse — a demotion — you need to ask why it happened, and what you can do to avoid it.”

You’ve been asked to justify your job

The truth is, sometimes positions that once were valuable simply fall out of use (especially when a company is looking for ways to scale back and there are quite a few people on staff who have the same role as you do). If you’ve been asked by a superior to put together a note detailing your value to the company or what you do on a daily basis, it may mean that they’re trying to decide where they can afford to cut what they deem to be superfluous roles in the business.

What you should do: When large corporations are planning a significant round of layoffs, they often have consultants come in to audit the office and suss out any personnel “redundancies.” They’re on the look out for workers whose jobs overlap. “It’s not always because of something you did or did not do, but your job will be in jeopardy if you fail to justify your position,” she says. If possible, ask your boss why this is happening. If layoffs are unavoidable, be sure to show your team why your services are essential to the company’s mission and organization — explain your job tasks and how you perform them, and show the auditor how you go beyond the call of duty to get your job done.

The post 5 Signs You’re About to Get Fired appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

The 25 Best Employers If You Want to Work From Home


Looking for a more work-at-home friendly job? You’re not alone. But while telecommuting has long been promised as a cure to many ills — poor work-life balance, expensive child care and congested roadways, to name a few — U.S. firms have remained stubbornly lukewarm to the idea.

Yahoo famously banned teleworking in 2013, and the firm was hardly alone. A Gallup poll found last year that while four times more workers telecommute today than in 1995, growth has slowed to a trickle.

The average worker told Gallup they telecommute only two days per month, and only 9% work from home more than an office. Not surprisingly, few blue-collar workers or those without college degrees have ever worked from home.

“Telecommuting remains much more the exception than the rule,” Gallup said.

There are some small signs of change, however. Until recently, “working from home” meant putting in extra hours on nights and weekends. But Gallup’s poll found that working from home during business hours is starting to replace working at the office. “This represents a significant shift in the nature of telecommuting, from its use as a supplement to the normal workday to its use as a replacement for being in the office,” Gallup said.

Still, this slow conversion to flexible workplaces flies in the face of worker preferences, says FlexJobs, a site with job listings for professionals eyeing remote-friendly jobs. According to them, 80% to 90% of the workforce would like to telework at least part-time.

“Job seekers consistently report that telecommuting is the most desired form of flexible work, with many willing to take a pay cut, forfeit vacation time or give up matching retirement savings plans for a telecommuting work arrangement,” Sara Sutton Fell, the founder and CEO of FlexJobs, said in a press release. “In fact, millennials, who now comprise the largest generation in the workforce, placed flexible working ahead of other priorities such as professional development training, reputation of the companies’ leaders and a sense of purpose when evaluating a job prospect.”

Here are the top industries for remote-friendly jobs, according to FlexJobs.

  1. Medical & Health
  2. Customer Service
  3. Administrative
  4. Computer & IT
  5. Sales
  6. Education & Training

And here are the employers who appeared most often in FlexJob’s listings between March 1 and May 31.

  1. UnitedHealth Group
  2. Aetna
  3. Dell
  4. K12
  5. Kaplan
  6. Humana
  7. Xerox
  8. Salesforce
  9. Connections Education
  10. SAP
  12. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  13. Haynes & Company
  14. Anthem, Inc.
  15. University of Maryland University College
  16. Worldpay
  17. Western Governor’s University
  18. Thermo Fisher Scientific
  19. Covance
  20. Achieve Test Prep
  21. Wells Fargo
  22. Nielsen
  23. VMWare
  24. LanguageLine Solutions
  25. Red Hat

Job listings from these firms include anything from full-time, work-at-home positions to occasional telework. (Note: This list doesn’t include firms which offer telework positions not listed on FlexJobs.)

Fell argues that companies who don’t advertise remote-friendly jobs are probably missing out on good workers. “Companies can attract and retain the best young talent by offering flexible work opportunities, and it benefits them as well, with studies showing teleworkers are more productive and less likely to take time off work than their office counterparts,” Fell said.

Remember, some employers check a version of your credit report as part of their application process, so if you plan on hunting for jobs in the near future, you may want to see where you stand. You can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view your free credit report summary each month on Credit.com.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: Geber86

The post The 25 Best Employers If You Want to Work From Home appeared first on Credit.com.

5 Important Things Companies Do For You That Freelancers Have to Do for Themselves

Pretty Young Multiethnic Woman Holding Phone and Credit Card Using Laptop.

There’s a whole lot to love about being a freelance employee. From the flexible schedule to working in your PJs, being a contract worker is not only more cozy, but studies have actually shown that performance is higher in people who work from home, with home-workers clocking in more productivity per minute than those who work in an office environment.

So that’s the positive. The downside, of course, is that there are oh-so-many benefits that companies tend to set up on behalf of their employees — meaning that when you’re all on your own, toiling away on your home office computer, you have to think about these things all by yourself.

Here are five common ones that any would-be freelance or contract worker should consider before cutting the corporate cord.

1.Research your retirement options

Once you become a freelance worker you can say buh-bye to that cushy employer-sponsored 401(k) with the match and hello to a whole new world of retirement options. Retirement can become slightly more intimidating when you’re forced to plan for it completely on your own — or it’s more exciting, depending on how you chose to look at it. When you are self-employed, the following are some of the more common retirement plan options that you should look into:

  • A Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement (or SEP-IRA): If your business includes you and you alone (and not employees), then a SEP may be your best bet. Sole proprietors, S and C Corporations, and partnerships and LLCs all qualify for this type of plan, which allows you to contribute 25% (up to $53,000 for 2016) of your net earnings, based on certain stipulations. These contributions are tax-deductible, and investment earnings grow tax-deferred.
  • Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (or SIMPLE IRA): Business owners may put all their net earnings from self-employment up to $12,500 into the plan, along with either a 2% fixed contribution or a 3% matching contribution option. Find out more about the SIMPLE IRA here.
  • Solo 401(k): With a Solo 401(k), the business owner has the option of contributing to their retirement plan as both an employee and an employer, optimizing the amount of money he or she can sock away each year. For example, as a self-employed 401(k) holder, for 2016 a person could contribute 100% of earned income compensation up to $18,000 ($24,000 for those 50 and over), as well as 25% of compensation as the employer non-elective contributions, up to a certain amount. Total contributions for 2016 to a Solo 401(k) cannot exceed $53,000. Click here for more on the Solo 401(k) plan.

Whichever plan you decide to go with, retirement doesn’t go away just because you’ve gone into business for yourself — if anything, planning for it may have just become a bit trickier.

2. Save for taxes

Remember how awful it was to get that paycheck at work and come face-to-face with how much money was being deducted for taxes? Well, when you’re self-employed, that whole “tax” issue becomes even harder. The amount of taxes that you’ll owe as a self-employed person will vary greatly by income (which means this could change each year as well, depending on the type of work you do) and state, and it’s one of the most important things you’ll need to consider — and plan for — as a freelance worker. It’s probably best to chat with an accountant ahead of time about what your expectations should be come tax time based on how much you plan to earn (plus the fact that you’ll most likely be expected to pay quarterly taxes, as opposed to yearly, if you don’t want to incur added fees) — that way, you can start setting money aside from that very first (well deserved!) freelance check.

3. Get a health care plan

Health care is, for some reason, the Great American Debate. No matter what side of the political coin you fall on, if you’re self-employed, finding a health care plan that works for your income and needs is entirely up to you. You can get started at healthcare.gov to shop around for affordable options based on where you live and your answers to certain lifestyle questions, and remember that if you can afford health care and decide not to get some, you’ll be charged what’s called the “individual shared responsibility payment” fee, which will be charged when you file your federal tax return for the year you didn’t have coverage. (Find out more about the fee here.) While open enrollment for 2016 closed on January 31, certain lifestyle factors (such as a change in employment) may qualify you to enroll outside of the normal period. Click here to find out more.

4. Determine whether you’ll need to set up a corporation or an LLC

Once you’ve decided to take the plunge into self-employment, you should consider yourself a full-fledged business entity, and with that comes some hard questions, such as whether to incorporate, what type of corporation to become, or whether to just leave well enough alone as the sole proprietor of your business. Incorporating can help your business in many ways, not the least of which is the appearance of legitimacy (you take your business seriously enough to actually file it as a true business with the government), and it may even help reduce certain personal liabilities or alleviate income taxes. Of course there are downsides (such as added fees) as well. For the ins and outs of each type of option, read this.

5. Figure out your system for tracking invoices and payments

Last but not least on our list, becoming a sole business owner means that it’ll be up to you to track the growth of your business from month to month and year to year, including things such as invoices and payments, due dates, and tax deadlines. Take some time at the beginning to do a little research on the different software and servicing options available to freelancers (such as Freshbooks to track time spent and invoicing, and Dropbox to keep files safe), and ask around to see what other self-employed gurus have used. Developing a successful freelance business will require more than just the creativity and ingenuity that drew you to the idea in the first place — the best freelancers are also wizards at keeping up with the mundane details of day-to-day business, such as tracking expenses and write-offs, and following up on missing or late payments.

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