Jan 152014
 

The Canada Pension Plan is a retirement plan that all working Canadians must pay into. It’s similar to Social Security in the U.S.

Right now roughly 5% of my gross salary up to ~$50K goes to pay for my CPP premium, and my employer matches this amount. If I work all the way to 65 years old and retire then I would receive about $12,000 a year of CPP benefits in today’s dollars because the payout is indexed to inflation. CPP benefits are not income tested, so how much income I make in retirement from other sources does not affect my CPP payments :) This is different than Old Age Security (OAS)

With an aging population in Canada, many are concerned about poverty in the senior community. A few provinces are starting to talk about expanding the CPP. They want current workers to pay more into the CPP system so when they retire they will receive more benefits. I think a lot of Canadians can benefit by increasing their pension plan. But I’m not sure expanding the CPP is the right way to do it.

For example, if I want to retire at age 45 then I have to wait another 15 years before I can apply for CPP benefits. The earliest someone can receive CPP payments is at age 60 so it’s not up to the individual when they want to retire. The other issue is since employers have to match their worker’s contributions, higher CPP premiums will mean a higher payroll tax for businesses.

Perhaps the best solution is a voluntary government pension system on top of the current system without increasing CPP. I suppose we shall see what happens in time.

Nov 182013
 

We have come a long way in society to narrow the wage gap between men and women. We are also seeing more women in executive level positions in large companies :D But females are still disproportionately represented in corporate leadership roles :-| For example, compare the Senior Management team to the other staff members of the company below. Click image to enlarge.

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Coincidence or sexism?

I read an article recently that suggests part of the reason it’s still more difficult for women to climb the corporate ladder than men, is because of women themselves 8-O  A recent Gallup poll in the U.S. shows that 41% of Americans don’t have a preference which gender their boss is. However 35% preferred a male boss, and only 23% prefer a female boss. What’s surprising to me is that more women in the poll (40%) than men (29%) said they would prefer a male boss. I thought girls would want to stick together, but the research says otherwise ( ・_・)

There appears to be some kind of conflict of emotions when women witness other women get into positions of power and authority. On the one hand everyone celebrates the accomplishments of hard working women as they achieve success in the corporate world, much of which is still dominated by men. Yeah! girl power! :D But on the other hand, it’s often women who perpetuate the worst stereotypes about working for other women. As one editorial director puts it “Everyone applauds when they shatter that glass ceiling. Then they pick up the shards, and start cutting away.” Yikes :-?

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But why do female bosses get such a bad reputation? According to Doctor Robi Ludwig, a woman, bad female bosses may have Queen Bee Syndrome, which describes the “actions of the alpha female in the workplace who tries to preserve power at all costs.” She explains how this is a very real and common thing.

Instead of promoting her younger counterparts, she feels threatened by them, judges them, talks about them and, in many cases, ends up obstructing their attempts to climb the corporate ladder…. According to one group of German researchers, women who reported to female supervisors had higher cases of depression, headaches, heartburn and insomnia than if their bosses were men. ~Dr. Robi Ludwig

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Oct 022013
 

Today’s article is a guest post about how to improve one’s customer service skills which is important in many fields of work.

What does it take to work in customer relations?

Working in customer relations is one of the toughest roles in any business, but can be an incredibly rewarding career path. Dealing with a business’ client base requires a certain type of employee that most companies struggle to find among applicants for customer relations positions. This is largely due to the way in which such positions necessitate an employee to possess a unique and demanding set of key skills. Here we take a look at exactly what those essential skills are.

Good communication

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Image source: Renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Those working in customer relations have to direct a great deal of their focus towards customers; ensuring their complaints, inquiries and needs are dealt with quickly and efficiently. This means that good communication skills are essential to the position, and that the ability to discuss matters confidently and succinctly with fellow workers and customers alike will be highly valued.

This is particularly true if you are looking at call centre jobs with firms like DLG Careers, or want to hold a position that involves communicating directly with customers in this way.

Practical problem solving

Customer relations jobs don’t always involve direct communication with customers. There are also a number of positions that deal with enhancing the customer experience and establishing just why people may be complaining or feeling unsatisfied with their interactions with a business. This aspect of customer relations will demand a better grasp of figures than other positions, an ability to understand cause and effect and isolate problematic practices, and the capacity to draft and institute remedial measures. In this sense, such positions are very different from the traditional call centre jobs.

Approachability

The field of customer relations is actually incredibly diverse, incorporating a number of different positions. Your role will naturally be customer-facing but there are also colleagues and clients who you’ll need to talk to, and being approachable is a key part of that. Remember that in a professional capacity you’ll need to liaise with those both above and below you in the pecking order while clients and customers will be from a range of backgrounds and positions too. Being approachable and non-discriminating to all these groups is therefore essential but you can also take inspiration from these top 15 customer service skills which are beneficial to all employees.

Sep 272013
 

A new study by BMO found that almost half of us are working at our dream jobs :D My immediate reaction was “Poppycock! Who did they ask? Celebrities and CEOs?”  The poll was conducted with a sample of 1005 Canadians and is considered accurate +/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

47% of respondents say they have already found their dream jobs. And 70% feel they are valued at work. In terms of what determines job satisfaction it seems gender and income are noticeable factors. 51% of men say they’re employed in their dream jobs :) but only 43% of women can say the same :( For households with an annual income of $50,000 or more, 69% say they look forward to going to work each day :), but only 58% of those making below $50,000 said the same :-?

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Being a little skeptical of these numbers I decided to conduct my own survey and put the scientific method to the test! I asked a friend who works at a local engineering firm. She replied no, she’s not working the dream job. Then I asked myself the same question. The answer is of course YES :D I get paid to sit in front of a computer in an air conditioned building and design logos and backgrounds in Photoshop all day. How can anyone not like my job? :mrgreen:  So let’s see… That means 50% of the respondents I surveyed said yes, they are working at their dream jobs. Wow, my own results matches that of BMO’s survey, especially if we factor in the margin of error. Hmm, so maybe it is true then 8-O

Tip of the Day: To increase your job satisfaction be a man, and to make more than $50,000 in household income ;)

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Jun 162013
 

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I’m not a Lululemon shareholder, but I was as surprised as any $LLL investor when Christine Day abruptly announced she would be stepping down after 5 years as CEO with the Vancouver based, athletic apparel company. During her last year with Lululemon, Christine was paid about $4,280,000 in compensation. Wow, that’s no small change :) The company is now frantically looking for a replacement to fill the role of CEO. I just thought I’d let everyone know about the opportunity in case anyone believes they’re qualified and wants to apply.

Judging by the job posting on their website, the CEO should have a good sense of humor :) Here is how the company describes the role.
You report to no one, you are the CEO (duh). You are passionate about doing chief executive officer type stuff like making decisions, having a vision and being the head boss person.

Furthermore, here are some other qualities the ad says you should have as the next CEO of Lululemon.
-You are disciplined, focused and can hold headstand for at least 10 minutes
-You break all the rules like getting your OM-on (loudly) whenever the urge arises
-Your go-to party trick is your dead-on impression of the yogi in “Sh*T Yogis Say”
-You use your third eye to channel innovation

I probably don’t have what it takes to run a multi-billion dollar company but I live in Vancouver and I like the idea of yoga wear. So I thought why not give it a shot. I know it’s kind of a stretch :P for me to get this job but some people play the lottery with arguably similar probability of success. So I applied for the position and received a confirmation email saying they will review my experience and qualifications. And now I wait :D

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Random Useless Fact: Leporiphobia means the abnormal fear of rabbitsrabbit_on_toilet