Dow Movers: MSFT, V | 01/30/2015
In early trading on Friday, shares of Visa (V) topped the list of the day’s best performing Dow Jones Industrial Average components, trading up 6.0%. Year to date, Visa registers a 0.2% gain.
And the worst performing Dow component thus far on the day is Microsoft (MSFT), trading down 1.8%. Microsoft is lower by about 11.2% looking at the year to date performance.
Two other components making moves today are Boeing (BA), trading down 1.6%, and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), trading up 0.2% on the day.
How 'The Rock' Became America's Unlikely Life Coach | 01/30/2015
When The Rock made a cameo in the final minutes of last week’s WWE Royal Rumble, it was an exciting if unsurprising turn of events. Seeing him sprint to the ring is a familiar sight, even if, in recent years, we’re more likely to find him on the big screen than in the squared circle. Seeing The Rock pull up outside an aging Fort Lauderdale pizzeria and march into the kitchen to confront the owner about his out-of-control temper is a stranger sight, but it’s one you’ll see if you tune into TNT’s Wake Up Call, which has its season finale tonight.
The premise is simple if a little hard to believe. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson travels around the country helping struggling Americans fix the problems that are keeping them from living happy, productive lives. He challenges them to take responsibility for their mistakes and shortcomings and offers them assistance to course correct. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does. [tweet_quote display="The Rock has cast himself as America’s life coach and it might be his best role yet"]The Rock has cast himself as America’s life coach and it might be his best role yet[/tweet_quote] .
The Rock occupies a unique cultural niche. He has tough-guy cred earned in the wrestling ring. He has movie star cred earned in blockbusters like the Fast and Furious franchise. He’s also a father and a man of color and a guy who isn’t shy about sharing the story of his family being evicted from his apartment when he was 14 or his multiple arrests during his younger years. All of this is overlaid with a patina of genuine charm, so it never feels cloying or as if The Rock is making someone else’s pain about himself. He positions himself as both aspirational and relatable. When he takes one participant – Kevin, a middle-aged man whose depression kept him living, quite literally in his parent’s basement – speed-dating and cheerfully plays wingman, it doesn’t seem disingenuous so much as one bro helping out another. The Rock doesn’t pretend to be an expert in weight loss or mental health or family dynamics. He simply shows up as a friend. A hulking friend in an expensive truck, with a bounty of tattoos and a megawatt smile, but also a guy you could imagine calling “Dwayne” and grabbing a beer with. His performance in this role is so masterful that his stardom recedes into the background until he needs to call on a famous friend (producer Juicy J, celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, chef Rocco DiSpirito) to help one of the show’s participants right their life.
Each episode features The Rock exhorting individuals to “meet [him] halfway.” He’ll help participants, but only if they’re willing to help themselves. The show focuses on relatively modest goals and uses equally modest means to achieve them, an oft-lauded strategy for building new habits or making lifestyle changes. Participants must ‘prove’ their commitment to change by completing a task that is designed to help The Rock assess their character, but is more about breaking the individuals out of their comfort zone and giving them an easy win to celebrate. In Kevin’s case, it was loading piles of gravel into The Rock’s pickup truck.
Fittingly, the last segment in each episode features one final challenge that the newly-reformed participants are ostensibly tasked with facing alone, a nod to the show’s very American premise that no amount of external support can replace personal character and effort. In the case of teen dropout and aspiring MMA fighter Terrell, not only does he have to commit to pursuing his GED before The Rock will give him access to a training facility, he ultimately has to impress the coaches of an elite MMA development program, via fighting its current members, to earn a spot in the program. The prize is there, but it requires stretching your own limits to claim it. The Rock (or any good mentor) won’t fight your battles for you is the message.
Wake Up Call is ultimately an exercise in pragmatism. There are no dramatic 20 lbs in a single week weight losses or new McMansions built in a month for deserving families, no largesse for its own sake in the form of free cars and makeovers. A recent episode centered on Gary, a fortysomething father of three whose family was living in a motel because he couldn’t hold down a job and whose wife and kids were heartbroken at how he put his rap career aspirations ahead of spending time with them. It’s easy to imagine another type of show in which this man is given the opportunity to perform before industry bigwigs, gets mentoring from famed producers and is finally gifted with the chance to open for Jay Z. That’s not how it goes down on Wake Up Call. Instead, after producer Juicy J acknowledges that Gary does have talent, The Rock sits him down for the hard truth.
“I don’t give a f*** about your rap career right now,” The Rock states calmly, telling Gary that he’s free to pursue his musical aspirations only after he’s repaired the damage done to his family and committed to providing a better life for them.
It’s a refreshing reminder of reality that, [tweet_quote display="for most of us, responsibilities come before dreams"]for most of us, responsibilities come before dreams[/tweet_quote] and that [tweet_quote display="a big part of being a good person is about honoring commitments and not looking for an escape hatch from your own life"]a big part of being a good person is about honoring commitments and not looking for an escape hatch from your own life[/tweet_quote] when it fails to provide what you feel it owes you.
Tough love delivered by a tough guy is what Wake Up Call delivers. [tweet_quote display="Your past doesn’t define your future if you’re willing to break from it"]Your past doesn’t define your future if you’re willing to break from it[/tweet_quote] . [tweet_quote display="Second chances do happen, but they often come disguised as hard work"]Second chances do happen, but they often come disguised as hard work[/tweet_quote] and occasionally presented by a pro wrestler in a pick up truck.
Learn more about my work and connect with me on Twitter.
IBM Smarter PlanetVoice: Data Analytics Gives Fans A Front Row Seat At 2015 Australian Open | 01/30/2015
By Noah Syken, Vice President of Global Sponsorships, IBM
The Australian Open Grand Slam is one of the most popular annual sporting events in the world. Tennis Australia has been hosting more than 640,000 of tennis fans at Melbourne Olympic Park for the Australian Open for the past two weeks through Sunday, when action concludes with the Men’s Final.
Who will host the trophies this weekend? Will Novak Djokovic defeat Andy Murray in the final to become the first man of the modern era to win five Australian Open singles titles? Who will win the women’s final? Serena Williams or Maria Sharapova? A win for Williams would end a five-year drought in Melbourne and make her the second-most successful women’s singles player with 19 majors and move her closer to Steffi Graf’s record 22 slams. We’ll find out over the next few days.
Here in Australia, it’s summer and people are on vacation for their national holiday, Australia Day earlier this week. I’m not only enjoying he excitement of the Australian Open, but also witnessing the rich, multicultural flavor of the country. Australians are very proud of this event and the chance to share their country with the world.
However, if you can’t be here like me, there are digital alternatives. Tennis fans around the world can experience all of the action, live, via tablets, smartphones or desktop computers. During the tournament, millions of fans visit ausopen.com to catch up on the latest scores, match stats, player insights and breaking news — all powered by IBM data technologies.
IBM CrowdTracker, new this year on the website and mobile apps, enhances the fan experience by displaying relevant information on a map of Melbourne Park. By using the GPS on their mobile devices, CrowdTracker allows fans to see where the most popular places are on the grounds, and by clicking on individual courts, fans can see the latest scores, stats, player details and insights. CrowdTracker helps fans follow the tournament, as well as the on-site social buzz, providing fans with the latest Twitter stats, most popular Instagram spots and what is trending on social media. By taking real-time data from the crowds, Tennis Australia can also use CrowdTracker to understand how traffic is flowing around the grounds.
IBM SlamTracker has been redesigned for 2015 to enhance match and player statistics with point-by-point and robust data visualizations. SlamTracker analyzes more than eight years of Grand Slam data, or more than 41 million data points, to identify patterns in players and their styles. Before each match, SlamTracker analyzes historical matches between the players, (or for first-time matches, players with similar styles) to identify players’ key performance indicators, or “Keys to the March,” which are the strategies most likely to help them do well in a particular match.
Fans, media, players and coaches can access “Keys to the Match” on a computer or an iPad. SlamTracker is an ideal “second screen” experience, featuring point-by-point visual analysis that adds context to the on-court action. Data points include, among others, shot types, serve types, percentages and speeds, rally duration and winners. This year, we’re tracking new data, such as ball and player movement, analyzing how far a player runs per point or for the whole match.
For two weeks every January, demand for information from Australian Open fans is at its highest. So much so that during the tournament, Tennis Australia’s IT infrastructure must expand drastically. The Australian Open uses IBM cloud and Watson technology. The cloud, like the digital platforms it supports, combines analytics, mobile and social technologies to create and manage the most engaging and reliable experience for fans.
That same cloud is shared by other organizations, including the US Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open golf tournament, the Masters, and the Tony Awards, which have similar demand spikes at different times of the year. Just as these organizations share the cloud used at the Australian Open, business in many industries can use the same cloud, mobile, social and analytics technology to manage their operations and improve their performance.
Join the conversation at #IBMSports or #AusOpen
The Inevitable Rebooting Of Indiana Jones | 01/30/2015
All signs point to Indiana Jones being the next Lucasfilm intellectual property to get the Disney treatment. This week saw a report from Deadline claiming that Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, the upcoming Jurassic World) is being eyed as the replacement Harrison Ford. Although Pratt’s name is a new addition, the reality of a Indiana Jones film with a new Indiana Jones have been a long time coming.
The original trilogy was an adventurous romp engineered by the trio of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford. Lucas and Spielberg were vacationing in Hawaii to escape the nerves that came from the opening of Star Wars in 1977. Spielberg told Lucas he wanted to make a globe-trotting adventure film like the James Bond movies. Lucas brought up the idea of the adventurous archaeologist that had the flavor of old film serials from the late 1930s to the late 1940s from companies like Columbia, Universal and Republic. After the success of Star Wars, Spielberg and Lucas became more serious about the idea and developed the core concept of what would make an “Indiana Jones” story. Lucas described these elements in an interview appearing on the Raiders of the Lost Ark DVD: “The basic of the idea was action adventure, cliffhanger, looking for a supernatural artifact, [and] the character of Indiana Jones, the fallen archeologist that is always [in] over his head.” The two directors plucked Harrison Ford to play Indiana Jones during the actor’s prime and his portrayal powered the trilogy through two installments before combining chemistries with Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.
The original trilogy of films were the product of two successful blockbuster directors making the kinds of movies they’d want to see and – even with some dark moments in The Temple of Doom – they succeeded. Then, in the early 21th Century, the original power trio reconvened on the suggestion of Harrison Ford. Spielberg told Empire Magazine: “Harrison called me and said, ‘Why don’t we make another one of these pictures? There’s a fanbase out there that wants it.’ He was tenacious. He called George and George got to thinking about it, and then George called me and said, ‘Well Steve, what do you want to do? It could be fun to make another movie.’”
After several script drafts were rejected, George Lucas eventually pitched the mythical Crystal Skulls and the magical item that a significantly older Indiana Jones would seek. After Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opened in May 2008 to a critical panning, Spielberg would blame the failure of the fourth series entry on those skulls: “I sympathize with people who didn’t like the MacGuffin because I never liked the MacGuffin. George and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin. I didn’t want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. But I am loyal to my best friend. When he writes a story he believes in — even if I don’t believe in it — I’m going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it. I’ll add my own touches, I’ll bring my own cast in, I’ll shoot the way I want to shoot it, but I will always defer to George as the storyteller of the Indy series.” When Indiana Jones was conceptualized, Star Wars had George Lucas excited to be a filmmaker, when the final Indiana Jones arrived three years after Lucas’ Revenge of the Sith and 19 years after The Last Crusade, it looked like Star Wars had crushed Lucas’ desire to create.
In October 2012, Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the 68-year old Lucas received $40 million in Disney shares as part of an overall $4 billion dollar purchase. This gave Disney the rights to future Star Wars films, but Indiana Jones was still stuck over at Paramount, who had produced the previous four Indiana Jones movies and had the rights to distribute future Indiana Jones movies. This didn’t mean that Disney wouldn’t be developing an Indiana Jones 5, as some Marvel properties, like Iron Man, were Paramount-credited pictures under a previous agreement during the formation of Marvel Studios. It would take over year for such an agreement to be reached, but in early December of 2013, Disney and Paramount announced they had reached an agreement. Disney got to add marketing and distribution rights to it’s Lucasfilm ownership rights and Paramount gets to distribute the previous four movies and receive financial participation for any future Indiana Jones movies.
The December 2013 deal is ultimately the one that forecast a new series of Jones movies without Harrison Ford. Disney wasn’t going to spend money, or give up potential future money, on a movie star that can only produce a handful of franchise installments. Like the character’s inspiration, James Bond, Indiana Jones would have to be re-cast. Because of the serialized nature of the story and the definition provided by Lucas of only needing a few building blocks to make an Indiana Jones movie, removing the original trio of creative minds from the project effectively dissociates any new installment without Spielberg, Lucas and Ford from the previous four movies.
A completely new Indiana Jones was inevitable, but swapping out one magical ingredient in a formula that seems to require George Lucas and Steven Spielberg circa the 1980s might not be enough to make Indiana Jones recognizable.
Why Paternity Leave Is Just For The Rich | 01/30/2015
The U.S. does not measure up well against other countries in terms of paid leave for new parents. America is the only high-income country, and one of only eight countries in the world, that doesn’t mandate paid leave for new mothers. With 0 weeks of paid maternity leave, the U.S. scores worse on this measure than Bangladesh, China, Iran and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The situation for new dads is bad, too. A 2013 study found that 81 out of 186 countries extend some kind of paid leave to fathers, often through paternal leave that can be taken by either parent. The United States is not one of them.
Paid leave delivers numerous benefits to new families. Research by the Human Rights Watch in 2011 found that the lack of paid family leave contributed to delayed immunizations for babies, postpartum depression and other health problems, and caused mothers to give up breastfeeding early. Some parents who chose to take unpaid leave went into debt or were forced to seek public assistance. By encouraging closer family connections and psychological health, paid family leave benefits society in many ways that are harder to quantify.
With the situation so bad for American moms, it might be tempting to overlook the needs of new American dads. Of course, new mothers need time for recovery after giving birth and breastfeeding. But encouraging paternal leave is in a woman’s long-term interest, a force for women’s equality.
As well as letting men bond with their kids, it allows fathers to take on an equal share of childcare. Giving a woman more leave than a man in the first year of a child’s life tends to establish her as the primary caregiver, trends that are hard to reverse later. There’s evidence that paternal leave may even provide a boost to the economy by keeping more women in the workforce.
Attitudes about paternal leave are changing a lot, partly due to evolving ideas about the roles of men and women, and partly due to economics. Two-income households are increasingly the norm in the U.S.: For roughly half of all married couples, both partners were employed in 2013.
What Do Falling Oil Prices Mean For Real Estate Markets? | 01/30/2015
Just five years ago, Williston, North Dakota, was a smallish town of 15,000 on the plains of western North Dakota. Then the oil boom came to town. Newly drilled shale oil wells brought a new influx of workers that pushed the town’s population up by more than a third. Tent cities sprang up overnight, and shipping containers were used as housing. By July 2014, Williston had the highest average wages in the US and was the most expensive to rent new housing — even more extreme than San Francisco or Manhattan.
Now, that gold rush is drying up. On Thursday, the price of oil dropped below $44 a barrel in intraday trading, the first time the price dipped that low since 2009. The roughly 60 percent price drop within six months has provided a much-needed boost to U.S. consumption, but it spells bad news for both the economy and real estate markets in places like Williston.
What cities will be most affected by this change? According to a recent report from real estate data service Trulia, the major U.S. cities with the highest employment share in oil-related industries are Bakersfield, Baton Rouge, Houston, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, New Orleans and Fort Worth. All of these cities derive more than 2 percent of their jobs from oil-related industries.
The oil boom of the past few years did spark an increase in house prices in those areas. According to Trulia, home prices rose 10.5 percent year-over-year in those seven major cities, compared with a 7.7 percent increase for the country’s 100 largest cities overall.
So can we expect a corresponding housing burst in those major markets? In the 1980s, plummeting oil prices led to falling employment and home prices in Houston, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, New Orleans and other markets.
Trulia says that home prices do tend to follow oil prices in major cities, but with a significant lag — roughly two years, historically. In other areas of the country, falling oil prices tend to encourage home ownership, since the cost of driving, heating a home and other activities will fall. In short, the oil price drop shouldn’t have much of an immediate impact on major cities with oil industries, like Houston, Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
For Williston, North Dakota, however, the boom may have turned to bust. In Williston, oil-related industries account for about a third of local jobs, according to Trulia, meaning falling prices have as much potential to transform the town as the boom did.
Ex-Dividend Reminder: Golar LNG Partners, Apogee Enterprises and Natural Resources Partners | 01/30/2015
Looking at the universe of stocks we cover at Dividend Channel, on 2/3/15, Golar LNG Partners LP (NASD: GMLP), Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASD: APOG), and Natural Resources Partners L.P. (NYSE: NRP) will all trade ex-dividend for their respective upcoming dividends. Golar LNG Partners LP will pay its quarterly dividend of $0.5625 on 2/13/15, Apogee Enterprises, Inc. will pay its quarterly dividend of $0.11 on 2/19/15, and Natural Resources Partners L.P. will pay its quarterly dividend of $0.35 on 2/13/15.
Click here to learn which 25 S.A.F.E. dividend stocks should be on your radar screen, at DividendChannel.com »
As a percentage of GMLP’s recent stock price of $26.38, this dividend works out to approximately 2.13%, so look for shares of Golar LNG Partners LP to trade 2.13% lower — all else being equal — when GMLP shares open for trading on 2/3/15. Similarly, investors should look for APOG to open 0.25% lower in price and for NRP to open 3.80% lower, all else being equal.
Below are dividend history charts for GMLP, APOG, and NRP, showing historical dividends prior to the most recent ones declared.
Golar LNG Partners LP (NASD: GMLP):
Apogee Enterprises, Inc. (NASD: APOG):
Natural Resources Partners L.P. (NYSE: NRP):
In general, dividends are not always predictable, following the ups and downs of company profits over time. Therefore, a good first due diligence step in forming an expectation of annual yield going forward, is looking at the history above, for a sense of stability over time. This can help in judging whether the most recent dividends from these companies are likely to continue. If they do continue, the current estimated yields on annualized basis would be 8.53% for Golar LNG Partners LP, 1.00% for Apogee Enterprises, Inc., and 15.18% for Natural Resources Partners L.P..
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In Friday trading, Golar LNG Partners LP shares are currently down about 1.5%, Apogee Enterprises, Inc. shares are off about 0.8%, and Natural Resources Partners L.P. shares are down about 0.9% on the day.
Nutmeg's Founder On Banks, Investing And Building Trust | 01/30/2015
Five year ago I wrote regularly about personal finance for a London daily paper. Whenever I spoke with financial advisers, executives of banks and fund managers, I always asked them why they didn’t offer a low-cost online investment platform affordable for the average man or woman on the street. They would either blame the financial regulator or the inability to scale such a business – I was never convinced.
With the launch of Nutmeg in 2012, a low-cost online investment management company, my scepticism of their excuses was justified. I caught up with its assured founder, Nick Hungerford, to find out more about Nutmeg’s place in the financial services landscape.
Philip Salter: In what ways do you think banking and financial services will change in the next decade?
Nick Hungerford: Financial services will become increasingly transparent and attuned to customer needs. Big data projects will enable companies to become far more predictive and banks will realise that a key value driver is their storage of customer identity.
Salter: How are you trying to overcome the public’s apathy towards managing their finances?
Hungerford: Misconceptions of needing a large lump sum to open an investment portfolio can put many people off investing; instead they head straight to the bank and save in cash. Others feel excluded by the industry’s technical jargon and complexity. Let’s face it, the industry hasn’t done a great job of making personal finance fun.
We break down the barriers that have traditionally existed between providers and customers by offering intuitive and easy to use online tools. We strive to give customers service in their language and engage in areas they feel comfortable. A classic example of how we do this is our goals based investing system. Not many people wake up saying “I want to invest in German government bonds”. Lots of people wake up wanting to save for a new house, retirement or their children’s education.
Salter: Are you attracting people new to investing or converting people from banks and stockbrokers?
Burger Heaven: Investors Gorge On Shake Shack's IPO | 01/30/2015
Shake Shack’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange was greeted with a feeding frenzy, as shares rocketed 130% higher Friday morning.
Shares opened at $47, a 124% pop, climbed above $52 in opening trading before dipping back to $48.77 for a 132% advance.
The New York-based burger chain raised $105 million in its initial public offering Thursday evening, selling 5 million shares at $21 apiece. That price easily topped the most-recently planned $17-$19 range, itself an increase from the $14-$16 range in the company’s initial filing, but given the opening double it’s clear the restaurant chain could have been even more aggressive on pricing. With underwriters holding an option to buy another 750,000 shares, the total deal proceeds are likely to rise above $120 million. At its IPO price, Shake Shack carried a $745 million valuation.
Friday morning’s impressive debut boosted the fortune of founder and Chairman Danny Meyer. The restaurateur, who owns 21% of the company, or about 7.4 million shares, saw his stake, worth $156 million at the offering price, swell to $350 million. Other shareholders reaping the benefits Friday: private equity firm Leonard Green, Select Equity Group, Alliance Consumer Growth, Jeff Flug – a Shake Shack board member who serves as president of Union Square Hospitality Group, the parent company of Meyer’s other restaurant ventures — and CEO Randy Garutti.
Shake Shack’s offering is the latest from a small, fast-growing restaurant chain aiming to grab market share in a crowded industry, and its opening surge should come as little surprise.
According to data provider Ipreo, each of the 11 restaurant operators to come public since the start of 2012 has ended its first day in positive territory. In fact, only one of those chains – Ignite Restaurant Group, which operates Joe’s Crab Shack and Romano’s Macaroni Grill — currently trades below its offer price.
The rest of the group has had varying degrees of success. Potbelly is up less than 2% from its offer price, but IPO buyers had their chance to exit with profits after the stock popped 120% on its first day of trading.
Better long-term bets thus far have included Outback Steakhouse parent Bloomin’ Brands (up 131% from its offer price), Zoe’s Kitchen (up 111%), Dave & Buster’s Entertainment (79%) and El Pollo Loco Holdings (79%). The group at large has gained 55%, to the 48% gain for IPOs across all industries since the start of 2012, according to Ipreo.
Perhaps most relevant to Shake Shack has been the strong after-market performance of fellow burger chain The Habit Restaurants. Habit raised a similar amount of money ($103.5 million) in November 2014 and doubled on day one. But even since retreating from that level the stock has held onto the bulk of its initial gains, posting an 83% after-market return over the last two and a half months.
There a number of reasons why fast-casual restaurant chains have been popular with investors. Tepid economic growth and the high unemployment rate of recent years have households strapped for cash to spend on more elaborate dining, while at the same time consumers are seeking healthier options than the old standbys like McDonald’s, Wendy’s or Yum! Brands’ KFC. But the bigger from the investment perspective encompasses all of those, and really amounts to “the chase for the next Chipotle.”
Chipotle Mexican Grill has made investors a mint since it was spun out of former parent McDonald’s in a 2006 IPO. The traders, fund managers and average investors clamoring for Shake Shack shares Friday no doubt have something like the same in mind. After all, returns like those below can make up for bad taste from a few other portfolio mistakes:
CMG data by YCharts
Quiz: Is Your Job Right for You? | 01/30/2015
Are you in the right job? For a resounding number of employees, the answer might be “no.” According to Gallup, 70% of Americans are not fully engaged at work. Are you one of them? And, if so, what can you do to improve your situation?
The obvious solution, of course, may be simply finding a new job at another company. However, as an employee at any level, you probably have more power than you might think in improving your current role — or even creating a dream job.
I’ve seen it happen. The key is ensuring that your company environment is one that facilitates your personal and professional development. If not, it may be time to move on.
So how can you tell if you’re in the right place and can take steps to improve your individual situation within the company? Answer “yes” or “no” to these 15 statements — honestly — and tally your results:
- Your company is growing and there is a sense that there is more to do than there are people to do it.
- The executive team has not only developed a set of values and behavioral norms, but live and breathe them on a daily basis.
- You respect and trust your leadership team and colleagues.
- You are often told to create your own opportunities.
- There is a culture of transparency regarding business performance.
- You have a personal connection to the mission of the organization.
- There is a clear passion for employee satisfaction and engagement, in addition to regular actions that are taken to address them.
- You know that if you were to be proactive, by requesting projects or work that aligns with your talent, that you would get a thoughtful response.
- There is little ego and zero tolerance for unprofessional behavior.
- You are proud to say you work for this organization.
- You feel like you can be your authentic self at work.
- You understand how and why decisions are made, regardless of your agreement with them.
- You believe in your company’s service and product and would use it yourself if you could.
- You love working with your colleagues and consider them family.
- There is a culture of recognition and you feel valued for what you do.
If you said “yes” to 10 or more of the above statements, then you are in a work environment that is ideal to create your dream job. No company is perfect, but with this kind of environment, you may be surprised at the opportunities that are available to you just by being proactive and seeking them out.
Make sure you are clear as to why. Meaning, your talent makes you the perfect fit, or your purpose is so aligned with the purpose of a particular project, that you will be unfailingly motivated to work on it. Be able to spell out these valid reasons and speak with authority about what the value you bring to the table is and why it’s a win win to have you on-board, regardless of the role.
Sometimes leaders don’t have the time to focus on work that needs to be done, but isn’t. It’s up to the individual to uncover these potential blind spots and fill them with work proposals that are both needed for the company’s success and also fulfilling for themselves.
So, if you responded mostly positively here, try pitching a project that you are dying to manage, with confidence that your talent and purpose makes you the perfect person for the role. At many companies, being proactive is valued, but often forgotten.
If, however, you said “yes” to five or fewer of the above statements, it may be a red flag. Review in depth what you said “yes” to. Is that enough of a positive to make up for all the “nos”? Read the 15 statements again — and remember that there are in fact places to work where employees say “yes” to all 15. If that is the case, then why not seek them out?