Sunday, November 29, 2009


I have a friend who has been struggling to find a job after graduating. Three years ago, his degree would have made it easy to find a good job. Instead, he's had many interviews, but no offers. Finally, though, he was able to get an internship. Internships, if they pay at all, don't usually pay well. They can make a resume really stand out however.

I do a few hours of recruiting and interviewing candidates each month at my job (most of us at the company do). Speaking with our full-time recruiters, they identified internships as one of the top three things they look for when interviewing recent college graduates. There can be quite the difference between the new college graduates who have done internships, and those who have not. For this reason, I congratulated my friend on finding a worthwhile internship where he'll get to work with some of the important people in his industry while continuing to look for a full-time position.

For anyone else out there having difficulty finding a job, an internship may be just the thing to do while continuing to look for something permanent. According to the New York Times, internships are one position where hiring is increasing: Hiring is Rising in One Area

Also, consider an internship an extended interview. According to one survey, most interns are later offered full-time positions by the same company. (NACE Survey)

More internship information:

Internships (

Friday, November 27, 2009


I was reading a post in a blog on saving money, where the author discusses "the issue of when you cross the line from being financially savvy to being unethical." As an example, she describes a trip to a restaurant where she and her group were undercharged.

Though I think she and her group at the restaurant came to the wrong conclusion, Jennifer Schultz does at least address this point - which is often ignored by other similar publications.
A Holiday Dilemma

You'll notice that the commenters on the blog were all very solidly in the "be as ethical as possible" camp - and were surprised at her group's decision. I don't judge her that harshly, and just think that they were a bit foolish.

This reminds me of two of the common responses when people find a wallet on the ground:

  • Some will thank God for their good fortune, because they really needed the money.
  • Some will hope that they will be able to find the owner of the wallet, who might really need it.
But just like at the restaurant that undercharged, it isn't their money.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Season! Even better than getting presents at Christmas, now is the time to remember what we have and appreciate the simplest of things.

Here is a fun thanksgiving video from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Monday, November 16, 2009

Slow and Steady

For those of you who don't already read "Get Rich Slowly", I highly recommend it.

Here's a great article about not trying to get all the good things in life too soon:

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Need a bigger place?

People are always talking about needing more space. We start to feel cramped with our kids and our stuff and the messes we make. But how much will we gain with the new square footage? These photographs might change your perspective a little bit.

These photos from a series taken by Michael Wolf in a Hong Kong apartment complex. All of the rooms in the complex were 100 square feet.

The article accompanying a few of the photos in the New York Times photography blog ends with these thoughts:

Mr. Wolf finds the most interesting way to display the photographs is in a 10-by-10-foot room.

"If you’re standing inside a room which is exactly the same size as the room you’re looking at, then you realize how small that space actually is," he said. "And then you realize that people have been living there for 40 years. And then you realize that they are happy! That something like that can be, I think that’s the amazing thing. That people can be happy that they have 100 square feet to live in and nice neighbors. That’s basically all you need."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Taking without giving value in return

What does gambling do to its participants? The attitude of taking something from someone else in order to enhance our own position—the essence of gambling—leads us away from the giving path of Christ and toward the taking path of the adversary. The act of taking or trying to take something from someone else without giving value in return is destructive of spiritual sensitivities.  Dallin H. Oaks, Gambling, Morally Wrong and Politically Unwise

In California, 1/3 of lottery funds are given to schools, with most of the remainder being given out as prizes. A substantial percentage is used to advertise the lottery. The lottery covers 1.5% of the education budget for the state. This is based on the information on the official site for the California Lottery.

So, as I see it, we have a large statewide program to randomly distribute wealth, with those with lower salaries giving a higher percentage of their earnings in. We then advertise it heavily, in order to convince everyone that gambling is good. In return, we get a supposed 1.5% increase in education funding. Worth it?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Step-Down Method: Is living within your means enough?

I have a friend who always lives within his means. However much money he has, he spends just a little bit less than that. He's certainly doing better than those who drown themselves in debt.

It is almost funny to see how quickly he adapts his lifestyle to his current income. He's single, and incredibly talented. When he's employed, he usually makes quite a bit of money. When this happens, he buys all sorts of nice things for himself and eats out a lot. When he's unemployed, he still, somehow, manages to survive (I assume he does some good food storage).

This reminds me of what happened when I got my first full-time, professional position. We immediately bought a bunch of nice things - because we had money. It took us a few months to realize how little money we were actually saving, even though we were making far more money than we had before. Decreasing our spending by a mere 10% resulted in a substantial surplus that we could put into savings.

Though the step-down method is usually targeted at those with debt, it can be especially useful for those who are just barely living within their means. The seven years of plenty are often followed by seven years of famine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Waste Not!

Waste not is one of the most important principles in saving money. It is also one of the hardest for me to follow. Sometimes I forget about a container of leftovers until it is too late. Sometimes half of the food I give my toddler at mealtime ends up on the floor, and sometimes I buy food without a good plan for using it.

It's something I'm working on.

The article Study Analyzes Food Waste in Britain, is a wake-up call. It is amazing how much food we throw away, and the damage goes far beyond our food budget.