If you work in an office, chances are you use the instant messaging program, Slack. Slack is an excellent work tool, as it allows you to make necessary communications without having to hear your colleagues actual human voices. Have a question about a meeting but don't want to take your earbuds out to ask the person sitting 3 feet away? Slack it! Can't believe that asshole Jerry drank the last of the coffee again and want to complain to the only coworker you can tolerate? Slack it! Want to give your boss a quick heads up that you'll be late because "your train was delayed" (you stared out the window and contemplated moving to the mountains of Peru for a full 25 minutes before getting dressed)? Slack it!

Whatever you use it for, Slack can streamline office communications and help a workplace run more smoothly. But are you sure you're using it to the full extent of its abilities? We've compiled a list of our top Slack hacks to help you get the most out of your closest friend at work: Slack.

Command: /remind

Slack can be a great place to keep a to do list. Just enter /remind into any text box, and you'll be able to build a list of reminders only you'll be able to see.

Command: /gif

While this isn't exactly a tool geared towards productivity, it is an extremely important feature. If you type /gif into the textbox, and then any series of words, Slack will generate a related gif. Warning: it might be an unexpected result, so probably think twice before using this command with your boss.

Text Format Commands:

Surround a word or phrase with *asterisks.* to create bold text.

Place _underscores_ around a word or phrase to italicize.

To strike out certain words, use ~tilde~ around the text you wish to cross out.

Use select "Shift" + "Enter" to add a new line to your message to create lists. To add bullet points, select Opt+8 (Mac) or Alt+0149 (PC).

Blockquotes: To add angle brackets at the start of your message for indents and quotes, type ">" to indent a single lines or ">>>" to indent multiple paragraphs.

Code blocks: To display a section as inline fixed-width text, use single `backticks` around the selected area. To create a block of pre-formatted, fixed-width text, use triple ```backticks.```


Command: /msg @user [your message].

A lot of slack communications happen in channels that contain multiple people, but sometimes you need to ask something that doesn't pertain to the whole group, or you want to gossip about the other people in the Slack group. When these occasions arise, simply type /msg and then the name of the person you want to message with an @ sign in front of it, and then place your message in brackets.


Automatic Commands:

Click on your name in the top left corner of the window and select "Customize Slack." Select "Slackbot" and then insert one or multiple input phrases with commas, and then add a Slackbot response or responses by adding each one to its own line ("Shift" + "Enter").


Command: /collapse and /expand

Use the /collapse command to collapse videos and other files you've enlarged in the Slack window. To expand again, enter /expand to view the images up close again.

Command: /dnd

By typing /dnd in any Slack channel, you can snooze your notifications for as long as you want. Just enter the amount of time you want to be notification free by typing something like: /dnd for two hours.

With these slack hacks, you'll make the most out of one of the best office tools!

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Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.

Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.

But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.

Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.

More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.

Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.

Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

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