It’s good to be the boss. People in charge of an organization not only make more money, but they also have happier family lives, are more satisfied with their work, and worry less about their financial futures, according to a 2014 Pew Research report. Those in the top levels consider their employment a “career,” not just a job that pays the bills.
So what can you do to get a promotion to those top levels? There are a number of steps you can take to improve your chances of advancing your career, whether with your existing employer or a new one. Your long-term success depends on having as many options as possible and being prepared when an opportunity arises.
11 Ways to Advance in Your Career
Getting to the top of the corporate food chain becomes increasingly more difficult in the higher tiers of management. In many organizations, average performers in the lower ranks can expect some promotions by merely being competent and building tenure. Attaining more senior positions or advancing at a faster rate, however, requires the following strategies, at the very least.
Taking an annual vacation is important. Excessive work hours and days lead to burnout, reduced employee engagement, higher absenteeism, lower production, and higher costs. A 2016 Harvard Business Review article notes that employees who took more than 10 vacation days per year were almost twice as likely to receive a raise or bonus within three years.
Yet despite the benefits, nearly one-half of Americans did not take a vacation in 2017, often citing the high cost of travel as the primary reason. Recognizing the need for an affordable vacation, managers of many destination resorts have added an “all-inclusive” option to their offerings, allowing visitors to pay a single price for a room, meals, and other amenities while at the resort.
Are these packages really a good deal? Here’s a closer look.
The Rise of the All-Inclusive Resort
Cruise ships have long offered all-inclusive options. Cruise travelers can choose the size and location of their cabin and meal options to fit their budgets and pay a single fare for accommodations, meals, and access to the ship’s physical, cultural, and entertainment offerings. It’s no doubt one of the reasons cruise ship vacations are“the fastest growing part of the vacation industry,” according to PR Newswire. Resorts are following suit, increasingly using an all-inclusive price strategy, hoping that its simplicity and convenience will boost their sales.
For years, resorts predominately offered a-la-carte pricing — what many call a “European Plan” — in which rooms, meals, and recreation activities were separately available at the option of the guests. The first step to a single basic rate for everything was the introduction of the “American Plan,” which combined room and meals but did not include recreational activities or entertainment.
Club Med pioneered one flat price for everything in 1950 with the opening of its first resort at Palinuro, Salerno Italy. Designed to appeal to young people, guests stayed in straw huts on the beach, sharing communal meals and showers. In the 1990s, the company upgraded their offerings in meals and recreational activities, especially for families. For example, children could attend a circus school run by Cirque de Soleil or take snow skiing lessons from a professional ski instructor while their parents relaxed in a luxurious spa. The company continues to offer all-inclusive prices, albeit at significantly higher rates.
The success of Club Med and similar resorts encouraged the use of all-inclusive pricing by other vacation properties. By the mid-2000s, most luxury resorts had embraced a single-price option for guests. For one price, guests could stay in high-end facilities that included state-of-the-art spas, award-winning food, alcohol, and luxurious rooms with ocean views. At the end of 2016, U.S. News & World Reports estimates, there were at least 300 all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico with facilities ranging from modest to high-end. Some (such as Sandals) cater to an adult crowd, while others (such as Viva Wyndham) focus on families.
The growth of automobile ownership in America has provided a mix of blessings and harm to the country and the world. Cars have spurred economic growth, population mobility, and geographic freedom. However, fossil-fueled automobiles are the leading causes of pollution, urban sprawl, and massive traffic delays — in addition to deaths, injuries, and property damage due to accidents.
One solution to these problems is the development of electric, self-driving cars. Some analysts project that these vehicles will eliminate traffic accidents, reduce pollution, and decrease the number of vehicles on the road.
Is an electric or self-driving car in your future? Here’s a look at what they are, what they offer, and how to determine whether one is right for you.
What Is an Electric or Self-Driving Vehicle?
Technology is on track to transform the relationship between humans, their vehicles, and the environment over the next two decades. Peter O’Connor of the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that electric vehicles (or EVs) could constitute 20% of U.S. automobile sales by 2025. As sales increase, the cost of EVs will go down. At the same time, the cost of internal combustion engine vehicles will rise as manufacturers face stringent, costly emission regulations.
Not all electric cars are self-driving, and not all self-driving cars are electric. While electric vehicles are on the road today, self-driving cars are only in the testing phase, and no one can say for certain when consumers can expect to see them. Here’s a look at the differences between the two.
Electric vehicles are powered by electricity from batteries or fuel cells located within the body of the vehicle. The first EV was introduced in Scotland and enjoyed a brief popularity as a taxi in the late 19th century. The introduction of the internal combustion engine, coupled with the low cost of gasoline, led to EVs’ replacement by the 1920s.
Electric cars are extremely efficient — 95% compared to a traditional combustion engine’s 30% — since they deliver power directly to the wheels, eliminating the need for a clutch or gears. Manufacturers are currently exploring the possibility of an electric engine that would reside entirely within the wheel rim.
Concerns about the environment — electric engines produce 0% tailpipe emissions — and the volatility of fuel prices have also stimulated the development of modern electric vehicles. In 1997, Toyota produced the first mass-produced hybrid car, the Prius, which had a small gasoline engine to drive the electric motor between charges. Nissan, Honda, Ford, and Chevrolet followed with their own models within a few years.
GM produced the first all-electric vehicle, the EV1, in 1996, but it was never commercially viable. In 2008, Tesla Motors produced its electric Roadster, followed by the launch of the Nissan Leaf. According to EVRater, 65 all-electric vehicles and 63 hybrid vehicles from 27 manufacturers are available now or upcoming. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, almost 725,000 electric or hybrid vehicles were on the road in America in 2017, amounting to about 3% of total U.S. new car sales, according to Quartz.
I’ve never forgotten the details of my first purchase of an original oil painting, “Going Home” by cowboy artist Jimmy Cox in 1978. The scene is a panorama of a barren, West Texas prairie at dusk, the sky filled with a smattering of light cirrus clouds glowing purple from the setting sun. Three weary cowboys on their exhausted horses are in the forefront of the painting, the effects of their long workday evident in the slumped shoulders of the men and drooping heads of the horses.
While I’ve purchased other paintings and bronze sculptures over the intervening years, no piece of art has replaced my affection — even love — for that painting. It has occupied center stage in my offices for almost 40 years. The scene reminds me of my early childhood in Texas, the satisfaction of physical work, and the persistence required to build a future in any place. I recognize my father, grandfather, and uncles in the riders’ postures and expressions.
Art has always moved us and evoked memories and dreams of other times and places. British playwright George Bernard Shaw is alleged to have said, “You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.”
Unsurprisingly, some are eager to monetize our attraction to fine art, viewing it as a new investment class alongside stocks, bonds, and gold. Investment-grade art can deliver an annual return of 10% or more, according to its advocates. Some say its movement is counter-cyclical to the movement of equities and thus can stabilize a portfolio during periods of volatility. Laurence Fink, CEO of Blackrock Financial, one of the world’s largest fund managers, claimed in a Bloomberg interview that contemporary art is a “serious” asset class and “one of the top two greatest stores of values internationally.”
Is fine art an appropriate investment for everyone? Should you forego the purchase of a stock or bond to buy a painting or invest in an art fund? How does ownership of art differ from traditional investments like stocks, bonds, real estate, or gold? Let’s take a look.
Why Art Attracts Us
Jean-Luc Godard, French film director and father of the New Wave film movement, claims, “Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.” Art is the physical expression of thoughts and emotions. Creating artwork is intensely personal, with the artist expressing his unique perspective of the world — both real and imaginary — around him.
Research by neurobiologist Semi Zeki of the University College in London found that viewing art triggers a surge of dopamine — the chemical neurotransmitter that makes us feel good — in the brain. The feelings associated with art, Zeki found, were similar to those associated with romantic love.
Fine art — paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and prints — transcends time and space. The perfection of physical beauty captured by Michelangelo’s “David,” the angst of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” and the mystery behind the Mona Lisa’s smile have fascinated viewers for centuries. However, purchasing art to make money is a relatively modern development.
Fine Art as an Investment
For centuries, the ownership of fine art was limited to society’s elite. Only the wealthy — aristocracy, churches, governments, and very successful tradesmen — could afford to purchase or sponsor a piece of art. Displaying a painting or sculpture in a private setting was physical evidence of one’s status. Steven Pritchard, writing in Culture Matters, notes that as early as the Renaissance, ownership of art signified “status, influence, power, and wealth.”
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