Monday, November 1, 2010
Bouncing Back From a Negative Performance Review,
Participate in Orion's Transition Corner,
Sneaky Credit Card Fees,
Congratulations to This Month's Winner,
Why More People Are Living Mortgage Free,
Connect With Orion
Bouncing Back From a Negative Performance Review
A negative performance review can blindside any employee, especially if your supervisor isn’t good with feedback and setting goals or objectives. Add in the newer “360-degree” performance review process, and there is bound to be some negative feedback. The 360-degree process involves a comprehensive review including managers, direct reports, and in some cases, clients. With the right mind-set you can overcome any negatives encountered during a performance review, including a 360.
First of all, going into the process with a positive mindset is key for success. Remember that even top CEOs have room for improvement, and they are likely to hear it from the supervisor or board of directors. There isn’t a single person in any organization that doesn’t have areas that need to be improved. There is no “perfect” employee.
Next, remember that when you receive negative feedback and are able to turn things around, that shows you are open to listen and learn. Employees who receive negative feedback and do nothing to improve are positioning themselves for failure, including possible termination. Commit to making changes and set goals for yourself along the way. Some behavioral traits might not be able to be turned around completely, but even a small amount of effort can result in a huge payoff.
It is important to remember that how you receive the information is also key to your reputation in the company. If you disagree in a confrontational way during your performance review process, it is likely that will only influence future negative feedback. If you are open and think prior to responding, you are likely to avoid what could be a disaster.
After the process is over, be sure to think about the review. Was there some truth to what was said? Have you heard it before? Perhaps a discussion with a trusted colleague would be help sort out your feelings and/or thoughts about the process. Most importantly, set up periodic meetings with your supervisor to encourage an open dialogue and get feedback on how you are improving. This will help prevent being blindsided during future reviews.
Participate in Orion's Transition Corner
Sneaky Credit Card Fees
The Credit CARD Act officially went into practice on August 22, 2010. The Act was designed to help consumers by ending unfair practices of credit issuing companies. The new laws include: reasonable penalty fees, additional fee protections, explanations of rate increases, and re-evaluation of recent rate increases. Unfortunately, this has led to a flux of new, sneaky fees that card holders are likely not aware.
Many cards are now adding an annual fee for cardholders who don’t use their cards. Previously, these fees were called “inactivity fees” and charged cardholders $50-$100 for not using their cards. Now that inactivity fees have been banned by the Act, credit issuing companies are calling them “annual fees”. Annual fees were popular some time ago, and then went out of popularity. Now they are back.
A promotion might look like this: “Make a minimum of 30 annual purchases using your XYZ card, and we will waive the annual fee.” Be sure to read the fine print on any credit card policy you have or wish to have to ensure there are no annual fees regarding use.
A fee that dramatically impacts world travelers is a foreign transaction fee. This fee can be added to any purchase made overseas, even if the purchase is in US dollars. They average around 2%-3%. Another new fee is the paper statement fee that charges card holders upwards of $10 to receive a statement in the mail. Fortunately, a holder can “opt out” of this fee by paying their bill online.
Also, set-up fees for secured credit cards are making a comeback. These fees require new cardholders to put down money out of their own pocket to set up the card. Finally, reward redemption fees have been put in place at many card companies. If a cardholder redeems points for airline miles or other “rewards”, an administrative fee can be added.
Overall, cardholders need to be wary and be sure to review any changes to their credit card policies. Credit issuing companies are like any other business and trying to make money. So, as consumers, vigilance is best when dealing with credit card issuing companies.
Congratulations to This Month's Winner
Why More People Are Living Mortgage Free
The housing market crash, along with a new found perspective on money management garnered during the recession, has changed the way people view renting. Even people who did not face foreclosure during the crisis, who have successful careers and have the ability to own a home, are turning to renting. Renters often find that friends and family don’t understand their choice and have to constantly defend their decision to rent. Some financial advisors are now recommending renting to their clients. Here are some of the top reasons to rent:
1. No Maintenance Cost – When you own a home, you are responsible for replacing something should it break. When you rent, as long as the item was broken under usual wear and tear, the owner/property manager is responsible for replacing the item. This can include hot water heaters, washing machines, refrigerators, structural fixtures, and more.
2. No Property Taxes – Many homebuyers don’t think about property tax when purchasing. When it comes time to pay, they find themselves in a panic. This is especially true in more affluent areas. In most cases, renters don’t pay property tax.
3. Easy Come and Go – Many retirees, ex-pats, and young couples appreciate the flexibility of being able to move at ease. When you rent and choose to move to a new location, you don’t have to worry about selling the home and the process that goes with it.
4. Free or Lower Utilities – Many rental properties offer free utilities or at least lower utilities. This can include heat, central air, electric, water, cable, and trash.
5. Lawn Maintenance/Snow Removal – This is a huge positive for busy executives and even families who are always on the go. Mowing the lawn, landscaping, and snow removal can be enormous time commitments.
6. Building Perks – Today’s apartment and town home communities boast amenities like tennis courts, swimming pools, health clubs, juice/coffee bars, laundry service, DVD libraries, free WI-FI, walking trails, and ponds.
7. Less Risk – While renters don’t build equity in their homes, they also don’t run the risk of losing equity if the market tanks. In addition, they don’t need to supply a huge down payment or worry about foreclosure.
8. Lower Insurance Rates – typically renters only pay for the inside contents and not the actual dwelling. This results in lower premiums for renters.
There are online calculators that can help you decide if renting or owing is best for your situation. Yahoo Real Estate has a calculator that can be found at http://realestate.yahoo.com/calculators/rent_vs_own.html. The New York Times also has an online calculator at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/business/buy-rent-calculator.html.
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