A 19-year-old manager of a chicken restaurant earning $50,000 a year told Insider what he’s learnt in his first seven months on the job.
Jason Cabrera, general manager of the Allen, Texas branch of Layne’s Chicken Fingers, started out buttering toast for $9.25-an-hour at the restaurant in late 2018, and now manages 22 people.
Garrett Reed, the CEO of Layne’s, told Insider in a separate interview that he would “usually have at least a handful of seasoned managers, people in their late 20s, early 30s.” However, he promoted three teenagers to general manager roles in recent months as the industry-wide labor shortage meant few experienced workers had applied.
Cabrera told Insider his four biggest takeaways from his first seven months:
He embraces his responsibility: “Anything that happens inside of that store is on me.”
When Cabrera accepted the job in January – one week after his 19th birthday – he said that he took on a raft of new responsibilities, including calculating labor costs, dealing with suppliers, and managing up to eight employees per shift.
“Just knowing that anything that happens inside of that store is on me. Anything that goes wrong, anything that goes right, it all comes back to me,” he said.
Cabrera said his role forced him to mature quickly.
“When I started working I was still a young kid that liked to have fun,” he said. “That was the problem. I had too much fun but I guess as I started getting into the role and whatnot, I matured so quickly without really noticing.”
Cabrera focuses on providing excellent customer service – and demands the same from his staff.
Cabrera said a big part of his job is devoted to keeping customers happy, and he looks forward to every Tuesday when Layne’s offers discounts, as he usually interacts with more guests.
“I really love seeing our parking lot filled with a bunch of cars,” he said.
And he demands the same attitude from his workers: “Every time I bring it up to someone I’m hiring, I let them know: ‘Hey, I care this much about guest service. You need to care this much as well if you’re coming into this job.'”
He prefers to hire people into their first jobs
Cabrera said that he was “huge on recruitment” and prefers to hire people for whom it’s their first job. This is because it is easier to train them in Laynes’ way of doing things.
“I think it’s a really good thing to get those people in because it’s their first job and you can kind of build them up to be great,” he said.
Indeed, all of his team are aged between 16 and 21 but their relative youth has not led to a drop in Cabrera’s standards, which include providing top-tier service and working with a sense of urgency.
“I make sure when I do my interviews and whatnot, people know that I have high standards,” he said.
Cabrera’s biggest problem is finding enough workers
Cabrera said that, so far, he hasn’t dealt with any major problems in the job, except one – finding enough workers.
“Interested candidates are encouraged to creatively and authentically showcase their skillsets and experiences, and use #TikTokResumes in their caption when publishing their video resume to TikTok,” the company said.
Looking for a career move that can boost cash flow? These professions and positions help add the good kind of zeros to your salary. Read these articles to help you combine a career you love with a paycheck you want – and for advice on how to get there.
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Arvind Malhotra, a professor at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, studies the future of work.
He says people want to control when they work, where they work, and what they’re working on.
The challenge for companies is to create jobs that reflect workers’ desire for autonomy.
This article is part of a series called “Future of Work,” which examines how business leaders are rethinking the workplace.
What makes a job meaningful? Does the five-day workweek make sense? And is work-life balance even possible? These questions have consumed Arvind Malhotra for nearly two decades – long before anyone had even heard of COVID-19.
Malhotra, a professor at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, said the pandemic has sharpened his focus. The coronavirus has upended so many people’s work lives, and there is no returning to the old ways of doing things.
“I just don’t think you can go back to what was called ‘normal,’ in terms of how work is designed, how work is conducted, or how employees feel about what they do,” he said.
The desire for autonomy is quickly becoming a dominant force in the workplace – a trend that has big implications for both employers and workers themselves. “People want to control when they work, where they work, and what they’re working on,” he said. “And the challenge for organizations will be to create jobs that not only reflect workers’ desire for autonomy but also match up with their interests.”
Insider recently spoke with Malhotra about how these trends may shape the employment landscape.
This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.
You say that worker autonomy will become an organizing principle of the workforce of the future. Explain.
I see three trends related to [people wanting more] autonomy. The first is work autonomy. Do you get to do things that are interesting to you? And can you choose what you pursue and what you work on? The second is locational autonomy. Where are you going to do your work? You could want to be in Boston because that’s where your family is, or you could choose to be in Colorado because of a personal interest in hiking and mountain climbing.
And third, which is related to that, is what I call time autonomy. This is about choosing your hours of work and getting away from that old notion of the 9-to-5, five-day workweek. To me, that is a vestige of the old age of work.
What does the next generation of workers want from their jobs? And how are people thinking about how their jobs and organizations complement their skills, interests, and intrinsic motivations?
Individuals are really looking for interesting work that capitalizes on their skill sets. The reason they lose organizational identification is that the work just stops being interesting to them. It’s just boring. So then it becomes purely transactional: They’re paid an annual salary, and they do the work – that’s it.
Organizations in the past were only focused on what work they need to get accomplished. And they said: “Hey, we hired you. Do the job, whether it matches your interests or not.”
Now, there is a greater need to match individuals with the right work rather than make them do work that might not interest them. People are increasingly saying: “Wouldn’t it be nice if you actually gave me work that interests me. Or at the very least, let me choose from a menu of options of work that I could do, rather than rigidly forcing me to do the same work all the time.”
Research suggests that younger workers increasingly want their jobs to reflect their values and serve a purpose beyond just a paycheck. What are you seeing?
The next generation is looking for meaning in their work. It could be work that’s meaningful to them personally – where they can use their skills or get to learn new ones. Or it could be that their work is socially meaningful and has an impact on society. If they can’t get it in their corporate identities, they are looking for freedom and capacity to do it elsewhere.
In my own industry, for instance, I see a lot of people working pro bono with organizations to do socially relevant things. This could mean going to a high school and teaching a weekend course, or it could be going to places that are economically depressed and working with entrepreneurs there. I see people demanding flextime to go do these very things.
This has been a hard year for workers in so many industries and occupations, and many people feel burned out. Are you hopeful that things will get better?
I’m super hopeful. I’m hopeful that leaders make a considered effort to reflect on the capacity they’ve built over this year. They’ve built a huge resiliency in their organizations, which is an asset that’s worth mining. They’ve learned what it means to work remotely. They’ve seen what they did wrong and what they did right. And then they can continue working in this mode, whether the pandemic is still raging or not. Moving forward, hopefully, they will give people more autonomy in terms of their work.
But I also think there’s got to be a more systematic introspection toward better work-life balance. Organizations need to prioritize the health and mental health of their employees. They need human-resources people who are very diligent and proactive in thinking through these issues. There has to be more balance.
Getting a top financial job with one of Wall Street’s big firms is something the well-off value immensely in China.
Talent consultant firms in the country have been recruiting finance professionals to assist rich students secure internships and full-time jobs with Wall Street titans, according to a recent Bloomberg report.
They price these services at $12,000 or more to offer an alternate route for students to get hired by companies like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, McKinsey, Citadel, or Citic Securities, the report said.
Students are guided by bankers who help them with an entire plan of action ranging from networking, to drafting cover letters, and obtaining in-house referrals. They’ve managed to land coveted jobs in global financial hubs from Shanghai to New York.
The companies either denied association with these consulting firms, or declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg.
A Shanghai-based agency called Wall Street Tequila is said to charge the highest fees. On its official WeChat account, the firm claims it has helped over 3,000 students secure high paid offers of 1 million yuan ($152,680) in the last seven years, Bloomberg reported.
Wall Street Tequila didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
It isn’t uncommon for bankers in China to tie up with talent agents, take up mentorship roles, and charge fees for internal referrals. But it leads to concern that these opportunities aren’t equally available to all socioeconomic classes.
Sean Wang, a senior banker and author, told Bloomberg: “If you pay to have someone else to write your cover letter, or get a first-round interview, is it fair to those job seekers who don’t have, or can’t afford, such packages?”
One consultant at Accenture told Bloomberg they were approached multiple times by agents, seeking payment in return for an internship referral.
The job market has become more competitive, as both global and regional banks are boosting hiring efforts to expand wealth management in the world’s second-largest economy. Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Credit Suisse are among banks looking to bump up their workforces in China.
For most YouTubers, their main source of revenue comes from the ads placed in their videos by Google.
“So, YouTube ads is the primary, fundamental way that YouTubers make money,” Brownlee said on the Verge podcast. “You upload a video, there’s ads somewhere on it or in it, and the YouTuber gets paid for the placement of those ads because they brought the eyeballs to the video.”
But YouTube ad rates fluctuate month to month, and at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, some YouTube creators saw a decline in their March earnings as advertisers pulled campaigns and lowered budgets. That is why most creators have several different streams of income that all connect back to their larger online business.
Here is a breakdown of the main ways Brownlee makes money as a creator:
Google’s AdSense program
Creators who are part of YouTube’s Partner Program are able to make money from their YouTube channels by placing ads within a video. These ads are filtered through Google’s AdSense program.
To be accepted into YouTube’s Partner Program, creators must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours, and once they are in, their videos are monetized with ads filtered by Google. How much money a creator earns (called AdSense) depends on the video’s watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics, among other factors. YouTube also keeps 45% of the ad revenue, with the creator keeping the rest.
“Generally, the fundamental building blocks of making money as a YouTuber, and for me, come from AdSense built into YouTube, sponsored integrations built into the videos and on the channel, and merch stuff, too,” Brownlee said on the Verge podcast.
Promoting brands through sponsorships
Brownlee said on the Verge podcast that he also earns money by promoting brands in his YouTube videos.
For mega YouTubers like Brownlee, brand deals are often negotiated with an agent or manager.
“I negotiate the rate,” Brownlee said on the Verge podcast. “The contract is usually built by my agent. I work with WME. And so, their lawyers will look over the contract and negotiate the terms, so I’m not literally reading the contracts. That’s an arm I chopped off. I used to do that, too. They take their cut, obviously, for also bringing some of those contracts and companies to my inbox. But at the end of the day, if you could see the amount of stuff we say no to – it’s just like a constant flow of, ‘We want to be on the channel. We want to be in a video’ – to find the stuff that really makes sense. And then, that’s just me going, ‘Let’s see how we can make this work best.'”
A few years ago, I was having what some call a quarter-life crisis, but, ironically, lacked all the trademark signs of chaos normally associated with a true catastrophe. I was in a stable job that paid me a perfectly livable salary. I generally liked what I did, got to work in NYC, and had college students email me from time to time asking how I got my exact position. It was all good, and I was wretchedly unhappy.
Simply leaving my job for a different company within the same industry (and lightly boosting my income) didn’t seem like it would help – there was a deeper issue beyond slight changes in compensation or company benefits. And fully switching fields or going to grad school felt scary, too – I knew I’d risk making an enormous commitment to start from scratch, with no guarantee it wouldn’t make me feel even more stuck in the end.
Little by little, I started to look up resources that could address this problem, which I learned is actually extremely common. Reading books like “Designing Your Life” or combing through Ask a Manager blog posts helped me slowly dissect my role to discover which parts I actually loved (and which ones I really didn’t), as well as reassess my job hunting process as a whole.
I started to dig beyond our society’s common (and tired) refrain of “dream jobs” and “following your passion,” which I realized led me further away from good, fulfilling work. Several years (plus more books, blogs, and online courses) later, I feel like I finally zigzagged my way into a job that makes all those pieces fit together, but I also wouldn’t have known where to look if I hadn’t taken the time to really understand what I want from my career in the long-term.
It can be extra hard to get unstuck in your career during a pandemic when many of us are at home and day-to-day life can feel repetitious. But it can also be a good time to gently explore the deeper aspects of what you want to do, beyond currently existing job titles or perk-filled companies. There is also the strong possibility of new, more flexible jobs in the future, one of which might be a great fit for you – if you know to look for it.
Here are 15 online courses, books, and free resources to help you figure out what you want to do, take actionable steps to break into a field, and/or make the best of your current work situation.
For figuring out what you want to do
One of the hardest parts of a job hunt is knowing where to even look. What if your current work feels fulfilling and worthwhile, but your hours or pay don’t feel sustainable? What if your ideal job requires a master’s degree or Ph.D., and you just can’t swing school right now? Or what if you’ve been hustling to get to a certain career milestone for years, and though you’re totally burned out, are reluctant to quit this late in the game?
Luckily, there are many classes and books that can help you unpack a job into digestible pieces, so that you can not only make a decision based on what you like to do, but what will also keep you financially afloat.
1. A course on figuring out your whole life — including your career
Based on the bestselling book of the same name, this course takes a design thinking approach to structuring your life (which, undoubtedly, will greatly tie into your career). In over four hours of video content, Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans walk you through how to balance your career with the rest of your life, as well as figure out discrepancies between your “work view” (what you want out of a job) and “life view” (what brings you fulfillment).
2. A self-paced, free class to brainstorm job ideas
A spinoff of “Designing Your Life,” this free Stanford course takes the same principles and focuses specifically on your career. Self-paced and non-linear, this is an easy class to hop around in and explore whenever you feel like it, with personal reflection exercises to help you brainstorm some ideas at your own speed.
3. A manageable video class addressing your biggest questions
In this three-hour video course, thought leader Chris Croft helps you answer some tough questions about your career by first acknowledging that it’s normal to have these thoughts in the first place. You’ll go over the pros and cons of freelancing or starting a business, figure out what work-life balance means for you, and find a middle ground between a boring (but stable) job and an exciting (but risky) one.
4. A course that’ll help you pick a lasting future job
If you’re worried your career aspirations may not realistically align with job prospects of the future, this University of Exeter class is designed to help you pick a path you feel confident in. By understanding new trends and developments like 3D printing, cryptocurrency, and globalization, you’ll not only narrow down your search: you can spot growing opportunities to invest your time in right now.
5. A free class on how to be adaptable and flexible in changing job markets
Meant to be a career-focused companion to Coursera’s popular “Learning How to Learn” course, this free McMaster University’s course teaches you how to embrace change (especially in the context of rapidly morphing job markets), make informed career choices, and adopt a learning mindset so that you remain flexible in a world that’s constantly shifting.
For creating an action plan
If you generally know what you like to do, it still doesn’t mean you know exactly how to get there, whether it’s advancing in your current role or switching careers. Unfortunately, a lot of popular career advice is outdated, and navigating the world of LinkedIn applications can feel like a full-time job on its own. Luckily, there are plenty of great classes to help get you up to speed with things like resume writing and interviewing, and just as many on how to set up a job-seeking action plan that actually works.
6. A classic bestseller on the current job market, updated annually
A bestselling book for over 50 years, “What Color Is Your Parachute?” is updated every year to provide the most up-to-date information about the current job market (here’s the one for 2020, for example). Inside, you’ll find the most relevant tips on putting together a sharp resume, using social media to your advantage, and investing time in fields that are actually growing.
7. A course on all the trending career skills that’ll help you stick out
Led by the UK’s Coventry University, this course teaches you how to spot the skills you’ll need for future work, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. From there, you’ll learn how to put your best foot forward in applications while also troubleshooting any areas you might need extra work on so that you can feel confident that your job-hunting approach will yield results.
8. A short class on developing clear career goals
Successful entrepreneur Sarah Prevette teaches this 27-minute video course on laying out a logical career plan. Using design thinking, you’ll evaluate which work you’re best suited for (and like to do), assess stakeholders (whether it’s your current boss or an ideal future employer), and put together a list of actionable steps you can take to reaching your career goals.
9. A robust course covering everything you need to know about applying to jobs and interviewing right now
With over 7,100 reviews and a 4.5 rating, this course is taught through Eazl, an online school used by teams at Tesla, Harvard, the World Bank, and more. You’ll learn how to use the right keywords to get your resume spotted, create an eye-catching LinkedIn profile, and create opportunities throughout your job search. If you already have a good idea of where you want to apply (but know you’ll be up against hundreds or thousands of applicants), this course can help.
10. A multi-course program to help you learn broader career skills no matter what field you’re in
If you have the time and want to gain an in-depth understanding of what career success means in today’s world, this 10-course specialization may be worth pursuing. Taught through the University of California, Irvine, it covers important areas such as teamwork, time management, communication, problem-solving, and negotiation (to name a few), and 61% of students say they started a new career after finishing this specialization. It’s free for seven days with a trial, then $39 a month to keep learning.
For improving your current job
Maybe you know exactly what you want to do in the future but simply can’t leave your job right now. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for a less-than-stellar work experience. There are plenty of resources that can help you improve your present situation, whether it’s inspiring your team, dealing with difficult coworkers, or changing your mindset.
11. An iconic blog for all your career-related queries
The Ask a Manager blog, led by IRL manager Alison Green (who also has a podcast and several books), is a phenomenal resource for pretty much any job question you may have, no matter how niche it may seem. Feel confused about how long cover letters should be? Not sure if what your boss did was fair or appropriate? There’s an answer for everything, and if there isn’t, you can always submit your question. It’s great for validating your experiences as an employee or job-seeker, and can help you find small solutions to make your current experience better.
12. A fun program to help you be a better remote manager through laughter
If you’re in any kind of management position (or just want to learn about what makes teams motivated and collaborative), this professional program teaches you comedy techniques to boost closeness even when you’re all working remotely. By unlocking your own sense of humor, you’ll learn how to bring levity to all kinds of work situations, which will make you a more effective, engaging, and empathetic boss — and lead to all kinds of opportunities in the future. While the full program is $186.30, you can individually audit each class for free.
13. A few Berkeley courses that teach you how to be happier at work
Led by Berkeley, this three-course program covers research-backed approaches to building a happier, less-stressed workplace. Whether you lead a team or want to improve your own work experience, you’ll learn how to foster more cooperative work relationships, curb burnout before it happens, and look at each conflict with empathy and emotional intelligence. It can all add up to making your job so much more manageable, and perhaps even more fun. This full certificate program is $537.30, but you can audit individual classes for free.
14. A popular podcast about career, business, and living a well-rounded life
On our list of e-learning resources we loved in 2020, this show is much more than a business and career podcast. Famed hedge-fund manager, entrepreneur, and author James Altucher interviews guests on a range of topics related to both personal and professional success, from negotiating a higher salary to practicing real self-love. It solidifies the point that our self-esteem and career success are tightly interlinked, and these talks are sure to leave you with some inspiration on how to enhance your life as a whole.
15. A series of super-short interviews with the most successful people out there
With a LinkedIn Learning subscription, you can watch these super-short episodes of LinkedIn Editor-in-Chief Daniel Roth asking successful people for quick, digestible career advice. Guests range from famous CEOs like Jamie Dimon and Indra Nooyi to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Priyanka Chopra, and Judd Apatow. Episodes rarely exceed five minutes but provide a great dose of career inspiration, whether you plan to stay put at your job or want to prepare for a new career.
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