Category Archives: Career

Dealing with jerks and getting ahead in life

Life Code: The New Rules For Winning in the Real World by Dr. Phil McGraw

Click here to purchase Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World

I admit I am a rather naive person. I believe what people tell me and I trust them. This has led to my being used as a door mat more than once.  Every time it happens, I’m shocked and a bit depressed to learn that there are so many predatory people out there. In my gullible little mind, I expect that people all want to do the right thing. It’s quite the life lesson to learn that not everyone is a good person or wants to be! I also admit, I’m a bit leery of Dr. Phil. I mean, he’s on TV…is he really a serious psychologist? Well, I’ve read a few of his books now and I realize he has smart things to say that are beneficial to my life. Maybe some of these things are common sense to some people, but some of us are slow learners 🙂 That said, the “real world” does work in a certain way–whether it matches your ideal or not. Can we change it? Do we learn to work with it? There are bad people out there and we can’t change that–so we need to learn how to deal with them. There is also the reality that if you want to get ahead, you can’t just wait for people to notice you. (I’ve tried that…it doesn’t work!) I read this book all in one afternoon and had several light bulb moments. I also underlined so many things that I needed to remember. I think this is an especially good book for those of us who wonder why we make such good doormats, but also for anyone who wants to learn how to cope better and be more assertive.

Here are the chapter titles:
Part 1
1. Life is a Game: Be a Player or Be Played
2. Who Are These People?
3. The “Bad Guys”/”BAITER” Secret Playbook
A Personal Note from Dr. Phil to the BAITERS Among Us

Part 2
4. Stop Being a Target
5. Your New “Life Code” Playbook
6. Taking the Mystery Out of Negotiation–and Negotiating the Non-negotiable
7. Parenting in the Real World
8. Conclusion

This book is divided into two parts. The first is basically about recognizing and dealing with people who will hurt you and the second is using the rules of the game to help yourself. Dr. Phil labels the “bad guys” as BAITERs. It’s an acronym, but it’s pretty clear that he’s describing people such as narcissists or those with anti-social personality disorder. These types of people will run right over your life and crush you without a thought. (BTDT–that’s why I bought the book!) He points out that certain types of people are highly likely to be exploited because they are too trusting and not cautious enough. If you are one of these people, GET THIS BOOK! If you are like me, you will find yourself nodding in agreement and finding your experiences validated. Some of the things he wrote about were exactly what had happened to me. It’s classic. Dr. Phil even gives his own example of being seriously manipulated and conned by a person with no conscience. It happens to us all, but some people are more likely to have it happen again. Read this book and find out how NOT to have it happen again! He reminds us that users are likely to come across as charming, fun and kind, but there are certain characteristics that will help you figure out who is too good to be true.

The second half of the book is about getting ahead and being successful. He doesn’t necessarily tell you to put on act or be a different person, but he does emphasize that you have to sell yourself in an honest way that plays up your best features. You have to look out for yourself and be confident–don’t give your secrets away! One thing to remember is he says “…I’m not telling you how the world should work, I am telling you how the world does work.” I think this is an important thing to remember. It is true that certain types of people succeed in life and they aren’t necessarily the smartest, prettiest or hardest working. They are the people who know how to use the unspoken rules of society. Dr. Phil gives a list of things to remember and includes tips on negotiating and setting boundaries. If you feel like you get walked on and/or aren’t getting your due recognition at work, give this book a read. There is some good life advice here.

Money and investment skills for building credit and savings

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman

I admit, I am not as young as the young people Orman is targeting. Fabulous is iffy–I spend most of my day with two toddlers! I am definitely broke, though, so I still look to this book for guidance on digging out of a financial hole. Some financial goals are common sense, (at least I hope!) You shouldn’t spend more than you make, you want to pay your bills on time, etc…. But other areas are a bit more confusing. For example, if you have credit card debt and student loan debt, should you still contribute to a 401k? Or if you have no emergency fund, do you build one before trying to pay off your debt? Which debts do you pay off first? The format of the book is very user-friendly and easy to read. The advice is set up as questions and answers and the answers are basic enough for someone without a finance background. The information is enough to help you without overwhelming you. Orman gives her expert opinions on these issues and explains her reasoning.  Of all the famous financial advisers out there, she’s my favorite.

Here are the chapter titles:
1. Know the Score
2. Career Moves
3. Give Yourself Credit
4. Making the Grade On Student Debt
5. Save Up
6. Retirement Rules
7. Investing Made Easy
8. Big-Ticket Purchase: Car
9. Big-Ticket Purchase: Home
10. Love & Money

To start, Orman explains credit scores and how they are determined as well as what your score should be for your best credit offers and how to raise your score. She gives practical career advice and tips on how to get your best salary. She tackles the idea of student loan debt–and advises that it is “good debt,” (with an explanation, of course.) She gives ideas on how to prioritize your money, your saving and your investing, (as well as how to get by if you don’t earn enough.) And she gives a good overview of the various retirement and savings plans available, along with their benefits and tax advantages as well as their guidelines. As a beginner who is overwhelmed by IRAs, HSA, FSA and 401ks, I enjoyed her easy-to-understand descriptions. I think this book makes a good overview for someone who is looking to build a healthy financial future.

Lasting Lessons:
If your student loans have low interest rates, it’s not necessarily best to pay them off quickly. 
Avoid non-conventional mortgages–especially variable rates and interest-only loans.
Avoiding leasing a car–when your lease is over, you still don’t own a car!

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