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Most people would say that, from time to time, they feel frustrated with their jobs. This is totally natural and is just a normal part of everyday life. After all, if a job were always easy, then it wouldn’t be called work. However, there are times when that shifts towards something a little more significant and potentially problematic. If you start to feel as though your time at work is very unpleasant every single day, then that could well be a symptom of a much larger and more serious problem. This is especially true if you start to feel as though the negativity in your job is coming directly from your employer. Dealing with colleagues who are unpleasant is never fun, but at least it’s direct. The feeling that your employer is perhaps taking advantage of you or is having a direct hand in making your time at work unpleasant is often one that most people don’t want to confront since it can feel as though it’s a problem that’s so big that you couldn’t possibly deal with it yourself. However, your wellbeing when you’re at work, and the happiness you feel in your career are too important to let them fall to one side. With that in mind, here is a simple guide to help you deal with an employer who seems to be trying to take advantage of you.

How can you tell?

One of the toughest things about being taken advantage of by an employer is that it can often be incredibly difficult to be aware that it’s even happening. A lot of the time the methods that employers use are so subtle that a lot of employees don’t even notice, outside of a vague feeling that they are unhappy with their job. But being able to recognize the signs is incredibly important. Here are a few questions that you should ask yourself in order to figure out if your employer is taking advantage of you.

Are you being forced to work overtime?

Every so often, a business will get to the point where things are so busy that people are required to start working some extra hours. This is a pretty standard practice, and it’s hardly a human rights violation. The important thing is that overtime is rare, compensated, and, most crucially of all, voluntary. You should never have to work beyond your contracted hours if you don’t want to or your personal life makes it impossible. However, there are employers who will try to make their employees take on overtime against their will. Sure they can’t explicitly say that they will fire you if you don’t take on overtime, but that just means that they methods that they use are generally more subtle than that. They will do things like denying you overtime when you do ask for it. Or offering benefits to those who take overtime and not offering them to you. These things are subtle, but they send a very clear message to anyone who doesn’t take on extra work. “If you don’t tow the line, then you’re not part of the team.” Employers also make a point to encourage peer pressure among colleagues. They will say that you not taking on overtime makes everyone else’s lives harder, setting up an unpleasant dynamic in the workplace.

Are other people getting paid more than you?

People are often incredibly reticent to discuss money with each other in modern society. The problem is that employers can often take advantage of this to get away with paying people unfairly. Despite the fact that it is against the law, there are plenty of occasions where there’s a pretty significant wage gap between different employees. Get into the habit of discussing your wages openly with one another. Instead of getting angry at each other for getting paid more or less, get angry at your employer for attempting to underpay certain people for doing the exact same work as everyone else. By being open with each other, it makes it that much harder for your employer to pull the wool over your eyes.

What can you do?

Even if you are aware that your employer isn’t treating you fairly, that doesn’t mean that your problems are automatically solved. A lot of people really struggle to figure out what they can do about it. This is often because employers like this tend to bank on the fact that you feel like you have no power while they have all of the power and control. The most important thing for you to understand is that this isn’t true. As an employee, you have rights that need to be respected. If your employer isn’t respecting those rights, then you are definitely in a position to push back against them and confront them about it. It can be scary to stand up to your employer, especially when you’ve spent so long being treated so poorly, but it’s important to stand your ground. Here are some of the things that you can do in order to deal with being mistreated by your employer.

Confrontation

The first thing that you should do if you feel as though you’re treated unfairly is to try and deal with it in-house. Speak to the HR department at your workplace and discuss what you feel is happening and they ways in which you feel like your rights are being violated. They will be able to guide you in the right direction and help you understand if there is anything happening that it in violation of your contract. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should storm into your boss’s office and demand better treatment. Being aggressive is only going to put your employer in a position where they can frame the whole situation as your fault. The important thing is to express the facts calmly and rationally and to go through all of the relevant channels so that you are as fully protected by the law as possible.

Legal recourse

Of course, there are always going to be situations where you simply can’t deal with these things within the workplace. This could be because the issue is so severe that you need to go straight to legal proceedings, or it could be that the HR department of your business is refusing to acknowledge a legitimate grievance. Either way, taking things to court can be an incredibly intimidating and complex process for a lot of people. It’s a good idea to hire an attorney as early on in the process as possible. This is because trying to wade through pages upon pages of legal jargon by yourself can be incredibly difficult and confusing. Of course, not everyone can afford to pay legal fees. If you’re in that position, then you should check out this guide from Thrivest that can help you understand lawsuit funding, something that can help you afford many of the fees involved in a case against your employer. Once again, the most important thing is to be as rational as possible. Remember, the law is on your side.

Moving on

One of the hardest things for a lot of people is the fact that they might never get the justice that they need. Sure, you can go through all of the right channels but even then there’s a small chance that your employer will be able to get away with treating you, and anyone else, very poorly. A lot of the time the only real way to deal with this is to walk away. If you leave the company, then you’re going to be in a position to take back control of the situation and to go and find somewhere that will treat you better and value you more highly as both an employee and as a person. Even if you do manage to get justice against your employer, there’s a pretty good chance that the entire situation left such an awful taste in your mouth that you’re not going to want to deal with your employer anymore no matter what. When that happens, then you can simply walk away, safe in the knowledge that you’ve potentially created a safer and more supportive environment for anyone who comes in to replace you. You’ve let your employer know that they can’t get away with treating their employees badly or taken advantage of anyone ever again.

Even when you’re fully equipped to face them, dealing with an employer who isn’t treating you fairly can be an extremely daunting experience. The most important thing to remember is that, as long as you’ve done your research, there’s a good chance that the law is on your side. As long as you stay calm and express yourself openly and clearly, you’ll be able to fight against your treatment and, whether you stay with that company or not, you’ll be able to come out of it being treated much better overall. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter how big the company that you work for is, each and every individual within that company has rights, and those rights need to be respected no matter what.

Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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Turn Your Passion into a Career: How to Make Money Doing What You Love

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Many dreams of turning their hobby, passion, or creative outlet into a career. It’s a beautiful idea, but it can take time to figure out where to start. Here’s a guide on successfully turning your hobby into a career. 

Do Your Research 

Before you turn your hobby into a business, please research and find out what the industry looks like, your potential customers and their needs. Next, consider your strengths, skills, and knowledge and decide how to use them in this new venture. Finally, consider what makes you unique in the industry and how you can market yourself. 

Take A Strong Career Test

A Strong Career Test can help you identify your ideal job and the type of environment you would flourish in. In addition, knowing this information can give you an idea of what kind of business to start and whether it’s something you’d be passionate about.

Think About Finances and Legalities 

Once you have an idea of what you want to do, consider the financial aspect – are there any costs associated with getting started? What sort of budget will you need? Will there be any tax implications? It’s also essential to think about the legal side of things – if necessary, consult with a lawyer specializing in business law so that you understand all the regulations associated with starting up and protecting your intellectual property rights. 

Create a Business Plan 

Now that you have researched and considered the legalities and finances involved, create a business plan that outlines all this information. Make sure it includes short-term and long-term objectives to keep track of your progress over time. Be realistic when setting targets for yourself – don’t aim too high at first because this could set you up for failure if it doesn’t pan out. Also, consider whether or not there is potential for growth or expansion once your business gets off the ground. This may include marketing strategies such as social media campaigns or investing in advertising materials such as brochures or flyers. 

Start Networking 

Networking is essential when launching any new business; it’s about building relationships with people who may be interested in your offer. Start by reaching out to family, friends, and acquaintances who may already know about your business or service offering; they may even be willing to share it with others! Additionally, join online groups related to your area of expertise – these are great places for exchanging ideas with like-minded people and potentially finding potential customers/collaborators/mentors/partners, etc. Finally, attend events such as trade shows or conferences where relevant topics are discussed – these are ideal opportunities for making connections within the industry that could prove beneficial down the line! 

Turning your hobby into a career is no small task, but it can be approached thoughtfully and strategically! Please research the industry thoroughly before beginning to understand its nuances; familiarize yourself with the legalities of running a business; create a viable yet ambitious business plan; network extensively (both online & offline). And never give up! With dedication & hard work, anything is possible.

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Top Tips for Moving Your Business to an Office

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Office chairs and tables
via Wikimedia Commons

Every business starts somewhere, and every successful business will eventually reach certain points in its growth journey that require the next step to be taken. For a lot of businesses, one of these steps is transitioning from a home or temporary work area into an office space. Moving into an office, although bringing a new set of costs and challenges also brings a new set of positives and opportunities. Not to mention upgrading to an office space can have the added benefit of improving the culture and productivity of your business.

This step should be seen as an exciting new investment and not something to be afraid of so if you are considering taking the next step or wondering what you should think about when looking at moving your business into an office space then the following tips may be of use to you.

Choosing the right location for your office

Whatever your reasons are for taking the next steps and moving your business into an office, you must choose the right location for it. You will not only need to be aware of its location for your staff but also depending on the type of business you own you may need to consider its location for your customers as well. You might find “the perfect workspace” internally, or one that fits or is much less than your budget, but it may not be in a suitable location for your business’s requirements, ultimately leading to a negative investment in the future.

Buying or hiring adequate equipment

Your office needs to be equipped adequately so as to enable your staff to do their job properly, and although budgets can be tough it is important to at least get the basics. An option you could look into would be something like mac studio rental equipment which can be sourced as a cost-effective way to enhance your short-term, and even long-term projects with high-end, and portable equipment that you may not be able to afford to start with. Whether you are working on a video production, hosting a conference, or heading to a marketing event, investing in the right equipment is a must.

Create a positive working environment

When moving into a new workspace, (just like when moving into a new home) you will be given an empty husk or a blank canvas that you can over time put your own flare into. Creating a positive working environment is not only based on your company’s work ethics, such as inclusivity, events, incentives, and how you treat your staff in general, but also on how you present, decorate, equip, and maintain your business’s workspace. No one will want to come to work or do their best if the office space you provide them is not a nice place to be in, so be sure to implement the best working environment possible for you and your team.

Consider your budget and growth

A big part of running a successful business is to make sure you are acquiring more wealth than you are spending so that your business can continue to grow. When you are looking at moving into an office with your business you need to consider all the expenses that this will bring with it. Rent, bills, insurance, etc. You might have to make a decision and choose a smaller office to start with before investing in your dream office space, as running before you can walk may hinder your business’s progression.

Ensure that your office space is fit for purpose

All businesses have different workspace requirements depending on what they specialize in, for example, if your business primarily works with clients overseas or on the phone then the office space needs to only really accommodate your employees, their desks, and equipment. Whereas if your business requires customer-facing meetings then you will also need to consider whether the office space you are planning to move into has conference room spaces available. Maybe your business is more “hands on” for example a computer diagnostics and repair shop and may require a workshop space too. So be sure to consider what your office space needs to be used for and whether it is fit for purpose.

So, whether your business is already at the stage where you are looking to find your perfect office space and take the next step, or if you are just starting out as a new business, acquiring and building the right office space is vital. 

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Are You Leaving Your Business Open To These Common Security Pitfalls?

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Security is a critical concern for business owners operating on the market today. If there is a security breach in your company, then it can end up costing you a fortune. As well as this, it can also end up damaging your business reputation and this will lead to you losing more and more customers and clients. Aside from losses of sales and damage to your business reputation, there’s another problem that you can have here too. That’s the legal factor. Businesses these days are required to reach certain security standards. If you don’t do this, then you are going to be leaving your company open to a potential lawsuit. So, let’s look at some of the ways that you might be leaving your business open to security pitfalls and the best ways to correct these troubles. 

Failing To Secure Tech

First, you need to make sure that you are taking steps to secure your tech. There are lots of ways that you can do this. For instance, you might be getting rid of old tech. If so, then it’s essential that you wipe all the data. You should start by clearing out the Google search history. If you don’t do this, then there’s a chance that there will be remnants of passwords and encryptions that a criminal could use to access your company’s sensitive data. If you’re wondering how to delete Google search history, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s relatively simple. By that’s just the beginning, once you have cleared the history, you’ll need to complete a more comprehensive clean up of the tech. Some businesses will even decide to hire a professional service to ensure that this work is completed the right way and that absolutely no data is left. 

Forgetting About The Cloud 

Are you wondering the best way to keep your business data secure? The answer is simple. It’s the cloud. Experts agree that by using the cloud, you will always have a greater chance of avoiding a hack or potential theft of data in your business model. It really is that simple. The benefit of a cloud server is that it keeps your data offsite and restricts the access. 

You might assume that it’s going to be difficult to access a cloud solution that will suit your business. However, we’re pleased to say that’s not the case. Instead, cloud solutions are completely scalable and thus can be accessed by any type or size of company you can imagine. 

Failing To Vet New Team Members

It’s also important that you remember to vet new team members before you allow them any kind of access to your business. While it might not seem like a massive concern, it should be because of the security risk that it poses. Before you allow anyone to join your team, you need to have run extensive background searches on them, spoken to all of the referees that they have listed, and checked for anything that is untoward about them. If you don’t find anything, then this is great and you can go ahead with hiring them.

However, if there is any doubt about them, then you need to be caerful. Run the checks again if you need to, but make sure that you’ve got the information that you need. Even then, you need to have them sign a non-disclosure agreement before they are allowed to join your team, just to be on the safe side. 

Forgetting About Physical Security 

We may live in the age of technology, but this does not mean that you should not be focusong on physical security as well. Your business building is still important, and the people who work for you still need to be protected. You can’t just try to cut corners and save money by leaving your actual business location vulnerable, and yet this is exactly what some companies try to do.

There should be physical security on the doors at the entrance of your building at the very least. As well as this, you’re going to need extras such as CCTV to keep an eye on the areas of the business that are not supervised. We recommend having these in any area that holds important information or money.

Failing To Stay Up To Date 

If you are using out of date technology and software then this may not be running the maximum security that your business needs. The reason it is recommended to keep up to date with tech is so that you are getting the very best services within your company. If you don’t update tech when required you may be missing out on vital security updates that will keep any and all unwanted activity away from your business. Make sure that you keep on top of all of these things and your business will be thriving and successful. 

Using The Wrong Services 

Finally, if you are using the wrong services then you are leaving your business extremely vulnerable to attacks and hacks. Without the right level of support from the correct services then you could be saying bye bye to your business before you are ready. Make sure you know which services to use and research these before you sign up for them. You don’t want to use something you don’t actually need as this will just take your hard earned cash for nothing. 

You should certainly be using IT support services when it comes to the cybersecurity aspect of your business. They will keep a close watch on your business and alert you to any hacks, no matter how small. 

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now see some of the things that you need to do in order to avoid leaving your business open to some of the common security pitfalls. It’s more important than ever that you are taking the right precautions, and doing everything in your power to keep your business safe. Tech is more powerful than ever in business, so you can’t afford to fall down on this hurdle. We wish you the very best of luck.

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