Going to work every day to face an unpleasant or unjustifiably harsh boss or coworker can make even a job you love distressing. There's often no clear or simple way out of a situation like this, but with some helpful tips you'll be able to face the problem with confidence and move steadily toward a solution. Learn how to handle a tough boss or coworker and begin to like your job again.
Dealing with a Difficult Boss
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The first step towards a solution is to examine your boss's perspective. Put yourself in their position and see if you can feel the reasons they behave the way they do. It's extremely difficult to do this if you feel like the victim of unfair treatment, but it might help you find the best path toward fixing the problem.
If your boss stresses you out daily about each small task, confronting them about the habit probably won't stop their micromanaging. The best defense against this behavior might simply be to accomplish the tasks you know they'll expect you to do before they ask. Consistent self-management is a good way to demonstrate that you don't need constant supervision from others.
Every solution begins with communication. This doesn't mean directly addressing the problem every time you talk to your boss. Instead, it means nurturing the relationship between worker and manager and hoping that this naturally calms the tension and more closely aligns the goals and expectations of both parties.
If there's simply no way forward and your life at work and at home is suffering because of the stress, it might be necessary to try to transfer to a different team, department, branch or—if the situation is irreparable—company.
Handling a Difficult Coworker
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Workplace relationships between coworkers are even more important than those with bosses. Unfortunately, not every situation is ideal. You might have trouble focusing on your work when you're surrounded by talkative, distracting partners. Or, you might feel like you can't break through with a coworker to form a real friendship.
Dealing with negative effects on your work is difficult and delicate. Like handling a tough boss, addressing problems with a coworker starts with consideration and communication. Standing in their shoes, can you see a reason for their actions? Is there anything you can do to help them that would stem the cause of the problems? Is the situation mild enough that meeting about it and discussing your feelings with the other person would help?
If a coworker's negativity is bringing you down, it's probably best to spend time in another circle of employees or another area of the building. If an employee is overly competitive and uses rudeness or insults to hamper your work, it's important to keep the focus of meetings and presentations on the success of the company and away from personal success. Their selfishness will stand out unattractively next to your teamwork.
A serious problem at work is a colleague who bullies. This is an issue that requires courage and patience to address. Always stand up for yourself but don't fall for bait or lose your temper: calmness and firmness on your part will win this confrontation. However, there are many, many battles in the long war against bullies and constantly spending energy on it will take away from your work. At this point, it's best to take the problem calmly to a superior. HR departments and administrators are trained to deal with this type of problem, so don't be afraid to ask for their help. After all, your happiness at work will only benefit the team and the whole company.
Working in a healthy environment sometimes means having difficult conversations about difficult relationships with bosses and coworkers. These moments are important because you worked hard to earn the position you have and you don't deserve to have it ruined by rude or inconsiderate people. Plus, mending these relationships could make the job even better in the future. Have confidence, use your patience, and act firmly to make your workplace a comfortable, productive space that you'll enjoy going to every day.
Dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, parakeets, horses—the world loves pets.
They're our best friends and our better halves. But while they come with a lot of love, they also come with a surprisingly high price tag. Upfront fees plus the annual costs of caring for an animal add up to more than you might expect. What are some of the expenses you can expect to pay for popular pets and how high can the costs be?
What's not to love?Photo: Paul Hanaoka
You can purchase dogs and cats from breeders and pet stores or you can adopt or rescue from shelters. Adoption fees range from $75 to $200 for cats and dogs, but buying from a breeder will likely be much more expensive. Countless stores sell fish for $2 or, for more exotic species, upwards of $50. Hamsters can cost as little as $10 from a store, while birds can range from $20 to $400.
For dogs and cats, add to these fees the cost of spaying or neutering. It might be included in the fees for a rescue pet, but a purchased pet's procedure could cost up to $200. Another upfront cost for dog owners is licensing—most states require dogs over the age of one year to be licensed. A lifetime license for a spayed or neutered dog costs around $35.
Bringing a new pet home also requires equipment. Dogs and cats will need crates, beds, litter boxes and more. Small pets, like birds and hamsters, will need cages, bedding, and food. Of course, there are plenty of extras that are just as important: your puppy or kitten will look for toys, treats and comfort objects like blankets. You'll need hygiene equipment too, such as brushes, shampoo, toothpaste, and toothbrushes.
While small pets don't necessarily need it, larger pets, like dogs and cats, should go to the veterinarian for an initial exam. The vet might administer vaccinations and recommend medicine to keep your pet healthy and safe. Common medicines include gels for flea and tick protection, supplements to prevent heartworms and, sometimes, vitamins. All of these will become ongoing expenses.
Depending on your living situation, you might face new deposits required by a landlord or an increase in rent. Pet deposits can be refundable or nonrefundable and as little as $200 or as much as $1,000. "Pet rent," as its called, usually replaces some or all of the deposit with a monthly fee ($35, perhaps) that basically acts as your pet's rent payment. One is not necessarily worse than the other—it depends on the costs and situation.
Caring for a pet can be costly Photo: Autri Taheri
All of those upfront costs might stack up to a sizable sum but the price continues to increase in the form of ongoing expenses. You want your pet to have the happiest, most comfortable life possible, so of course, you're going to buy the best quality food and most entertaining toys. Shampoo, toothpaste, cat litter, and other hygiene products will add a bit to your regular grocery bill. Flea and tick, allergy, and heartworm medicines might add up to about $20 per month.
Regular vet visits can become expensive, especially if anything more than a checkup is needed. You can expect a bill anywhere between $50 and $500 for various shots and procedures. Dental cleanings tend to be expensive as well, and any prescriptions will be close to what you'd expect to pay for your own medicine. A pet owner can purchase pet insurance for their four-legged family member as a precaution against emergency medical treatments that might otherwise hit hard, financially.
The price is worth every penny Photo: Avi Richards
One more consideration is travel. It's obviously more difficult to travel with a pet but it's also difficult to arrange for pet care while you're away from them. A dog walker might charge $20 per walk, a cat sitter who's not family will charge for feeding and changing litter. A pet boarding house has its own costs associated with it. On the other hand, pet-friendly hotels sometimes charge large fees to let your pet stay with you. Others, though, are letting pets in for free.
There are many costs—high and low, short-term and long-term—of owning a pet. While that soft-hearted voice inside you might think, anything's worth that cuddly companion, it's important to consider and plan for the expenses before jumping into a relationship. You owe it to that future pet to be prepared to give them the best life possible.
The credit card market is, basically, a rewards market. With the exception of beginner cards for building or rebuilding credit, each card tries to knock the others off of the podium with its best rewards program. These rewards come in various forms—cash back, points and miles—but they all do the same thing: give something back for spending money with that credit card. Though they're similar in effect, they're very different in whom they benefit. Choosing the right card means understanding your own spending habits and what rewards will benefit you the most.
It's difficult to resist the cash back offers and sign up bonuses advertised in every bank and on dozens of TV channels every day. $100 back on $500 of spending sounds like a great discount and, in many cases, it is. The right applicant under the right circumstances can take advantage of card companies' latest offers to save money on groceries, travel, restaurants, and large upcoming purchases. But it's important to be careful when applying for and opening new credit cards because doing it in the wrong way can damage a person's credit score and lower their chances of being approved in the future.
A tricky but weighty question is: how often is it okay to apply for a new card? A general suggestion is about six months between applications but, like everything that has to do with credit cards, this varies based on your credit score. Applicants with lower credit scores are required to wait a little longer between applications, to show companies that they're not a risk. Better credit scores allow applicants to apply sooner, though doing so too frequently will still hurt their score. You should also wait slightly longer if you've just been rejected by another company. Hard inquiries will almost always knock a few points off of your score. Spreading them out will avoid damaging it too much.
Be especially careful when:
- You're rebuilding poor credit.
- You've recently been rejected by another card or company.
- You're about to apply for a mortgage or large car loan.
Those few points that fall off of your score after an application might cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars more on a mortgage. Time your applications to avoid impacting upcoming loans.
On the other hand, the best times to apply for a credit card depend on your preferences and spending habits. If you're r building credit, consider secured cards that require a deposit but make it easier for someone without a credit history to begin one. If you already have good credit, you have the privilege of shopping around for the newest and best deals offered by credit companies.
Credit Score Range
Your smart credit habits give you options that include low interest rates, cash back rewards, sign up bonuses and more. To make the most of your new card, try to time any sign up bonuses with large, planned purchases. Often, sign up bonuses come with spending requirements, such as $500 in 60 days. If you're about to purchase a new computer, for example, you can use the new card to fulfill its spending requirement all at once and save $100 on the computer.
If you haven't changed credit cards in five or ten years, it's time to look for lower interest rates and better perks. Card companies always change what they offer to compete with each other, and it's probably better than what you signed up for a decade ago. If you're still paying an annual fee, check out the no-fee offerings, too.
Analyze your spending and shop for cards whose perks best match your habits. Travel miles aren't valuable for everyone. If you eat at restaurants several times a week, look for a card that will reward you for that. Others offer cash back bonuses on gas, groceries or categories that vary month-to-month. Shopping for cash bonuses and rewards is the fun part of having good credit.
A last word on opening a new line of credit: don't close your old card. Unless it charges an annual fee (in which case, definitely do close it), leaving that old, in-good-standing credit line open can only help your score. Credit bureaus account for the age of your credit history and credit utilization when calculating your score. Your utilization is the ratio of credit use to credit limit. Closing an old card will shorten your credit history and, simultaneously, increase your utilization by lowering your total available credit. Both of these negatives are unnecessary: if that old card doesn't cost anything, leave it open.
Your credit card might have become such a regular part of your habit that you stopped thinking about it over the years. But if you've paid it in full and on time to build that credit score into the 700s or even higher, you owe it to yourself to take another look at the card market and shop for lower rates and better deals. It's like shopping for free money—it's the least you can do to reward yourself for your smart financial habits.
Tom Twardzik is a writer covering personal finance, productivity and investing for Paypath. He also contributes pop culture pieces to Popdust, travel writing to The Journiest, product reviews to Topdust and essays to The Liberty Project. Read more on his website and follow him on Twitter.