PayScale’s Weekly VIP Blog Roundup: Better Networks, Freedom From Email Slavery, and Early Retirement
Which stories shaped your career this week? The big headline is obviously the jobs reports. The ADP report, which is based on payroll data from private employers, showed gains of 208,000 jobs for November. The news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was even better: non-farm payrolls added 321,000 jobs last month. For workers, this is good news — but it’s not the whole conversation. To see what else is working Americans’ minds this week, we turn to some of the most popular career bloggers on the internet.
(Photo Credit: Death to the Stock Photo)
“The secret, or the magic of networks has never been about size,” writes career and organizational development specialist Dan Erwin. “Indeed, building mammoth Rolodexes or Facebook accounts can be harmful to your health and your performance.”
The people whose networks work the best, Erwin says, are those with connections to folks who are not connected to each other. In other words, if you build relationships with people with different ideas, you’re more likely to hear a lot of good ones.
Pedro De Bruyckere at The Economy of Meaning: Check Email Less Frequently, Reduce Psychological Stress
“Maybe you read this post via mail, and then it might sound all a bit ironic,” writes educational scientist Pedro De Bruyckere. “This new small but interesting study suggests that easing up on email checking can help reduce psychological stress.”
The study, which was conducted at the University of British Columbia, showed that participants who were told to check their email less often reported experiencing lower levels of stress — but changing behavior is tough.
“Most participants in our study found it quite difficult to check their email only a few times a day,” says lead author and Ph.D candidate Kostadin Kushlev. “This is what makes our obvious-in-hindsight findings so striking: People find it difficult to resist the temptation of checking email, and yet resisting this temptation reduces their stress.”
Terri Webster Schrandt: On Retiring at 55
If you’re not a fan of birthdays, particularly your own, you might start off reading Terri Webster Schrandt‘s post on her “magic-number” 55th birthday and wonder why she’s excited. The reason?
“If you follow my blog you know that I retire in less than three weeks,” she writes. “For public employees who have been working in the government and public service sector, in some public retirement systems, age 55 is the age where employees hit the magic number to retire and receive a decent pension. My magic number is 2% at 55. This means that, after 31 years at 2%, this equals to 62% of my current salary. Add that to my part-time lecturing and consulting, I can retire at 55 and be done with the full time rat race!”
Although not everyone can line things up to do the same, it’s still inspiring to see early retirement happen in this era of economic instability. Even if you would keep working after a lottery win, Webster Schrandt’s ability to combine her job, lecturing, and consulting work shows that it’s possible to forge new career paths in today’s world — and to do so because it’s satisfying, not (necessarily) because you’re making the best of a bad economic situation.
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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Jen Hubley Luckwaldt writes about work-life balance, stress management, and other topics relating to what makes us happy at work. A full-time freelancer, she deals with stress by blurring the lines between life and work to the point where the two spheres are barely separate. The happiest day of her career was when scientists proved that looking at pictures of cute animals makes us more productive.