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Achieving Work-Life Balance #4: Finding a Career with an Employer that Values the Work-Life Balance

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Achieving Work-Life Balance #4: Finding a Career with an Employer that Values the Work-Life Balance

Right now in this very moment, are you satisfied with your job? Work-life balance is a theory that is sweeping across the world, yet there are millions of businesses that have yet to adopt it. If you are unsatisfied with your current job due to the negative impact it is having on your life, you should consider seeking a job where work-life balance is used and appreciated.

When seeking a career with an organization that values the work-life balance there are a number of things that you should take into consideration. There are a number of ways to go about determining whether or not the company you are interested in working for values the work-life balance. The two most common ways to gather information on a particular organization is before you being the application process or during the interview.

There are many individuals who make the decision to outright ask an employer if they believe in the balance between work and life. This is a great way to get an answer to your questions, but it could also work to your disadvantage. Some employers, especially those who have not adopted the popular work-life balance theory, are likely to feel that you will not be a good job candidate. Many of these employers are still looking for employees who are willing to commit all of their work time to work and only work. If you are only interested in working for a work-life balance employer then asking the question should not have an impact on your employment.

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If you plan on directly asking an employer their feelings on the balance between work and life you will want to do so in the middle or the end of the interview. This will make it appear as if that is not the only reason why you are seeking employment with them. In addition to sharing the same values, many companies want to hear that you have faith in their products being sold or services being offered. If you feel uncomfortable outright inquiring about work-life balance in the workplace then there are a number of other ways that you can go about asking.

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Since the work-life balance promotes working while still being able to enjoy life there are many businesses that make it easier for their employees to take time off from work. To determine if a company you are interested in applying to shares this concept you can ask about job sharing, family medical leave, alternative work arrangements, and onsite childcare. All of these features are typically found in a workplace that values life and family just as much as it does work.

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Whether you are a parent who is interested in spending more time with your family or you are an avid skier who is unable to hit the slopes because of your busy work schedule, there are ways to find a career with employers that values the fact that you do have a life aside from work. At the current time it may take research and time to find those employers, but as the popularity of work-life balance continues to expand across the globe it is likely that your search will get easier in time.

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— Jennifer Foote.
We will continue to discuss work & life balance in the series of Achieving Work-Life Balance. Stay tuned.

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Last Updated on November 25, 2021

Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

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Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords

With all of the recent online services and companies falling under attack to hackers in the past few months, it seems only fitting to talk about password creation and management. There are a lot of resources out there discussing this, but it never hurts to revisit this topic time and again because of its importance.

Password management isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to do, yet it does seem like a bit of an annoyance to most people. When it comes to password management, you will hear the famous line, “I don’t really care about changing my passwords regularly. I have nothing important online anyways.” Let’s see if you have nothing important online when your PayPal account gets taken over because you thought the password “password” was good enough.

In my opinion, it is an “internet user’s” responsibility to make sure that they keep secure passwords and update them on a regular basis. In this article we will discuss how to make your online presence more secure and keep it secure.

The easy fundamentals

First thing is first; creating a strong password.

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A strong password is a mixture of alpha-numeric characters and symbols, has a good length (hopefully 15 characters or longer), and doesn’t necessarily represent some word or phrase. If the service you are signing up for doesn’t allow passwords over a certain length, like 8 characters, always use the maximum length.

Here are some examples of strong passwords:
* i1?,2,2\1′(:-%Y
* ZQ5t0466VC44PmJ
* mp]K{ dCFKVplGe]PBm1mKdinLSOoa (30 characters)

And not so good examples
* sammy1234
* password123
* christopher

You can check out PC Tools Password Generator here. This is a great way to make up some very strong passwords. Of course the more random passwords are harder to remember, but that is where password management comes into play.

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Managing your passwords

I know some people that keep their passwords in an unencrypted text file. That’s not a good idea. I suppose that if you aren’t doing much online and are decent at avoiding viruses and such, it could be OK, but I would never recommend it.

So, where do you keep your strong passwords for all the services that you visit on a daily basis?

There are a ton of password safes out there including KeePass, RoboForm, Passpack, Password Safe, LastPass, and 1Password. If and when I recommend any of these I always count on LastPass and 1Password.

Both LastPass and 1Password offer different entry types for online services logins (PayPal, Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, etc.), credit cards and bank accounts, online identities, and other types of sensitive information. Both have excellent reviews and only differ in a few subtle ways. One of the ways that is more notable is that LastPass keeps your encrypted password Vault online where 1Password allows you to keep it locally or shared through Dropbox. Either way, you are the holder of the encryption keys and both ways are very secure.

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LastPass and 1Password both offer cross-platform support as well as support for Android and iOS (LastPass even has BlackBerry support). 1Password is a little pricey ($39.99 for either Windows or Mac) where LastPass has free options as well as premium upgrades that allow for mobile syncing.

Upkeep

You should probably change your passwords for your “important” accounts at least every 6 weeks. When I say “important” accounts I am referring to ones that you just couldn’t imagine losing access to. For me that would be Gmail, PayPal, eBay, Amazon, all my FTP accounts and hosting accounts, Namecheap, etc. Basically these include any account where financial information could be lost or accessed as well as accounts that could be totally screwed up (like my webserver).

There is no hard and fast rule to how often you should change your passwords, but 6 to 8 weeks should be pretty good.

Alternatives

You may think that all of this is just too much to manage on a daily basis. I will admit it is kind of annoying to have to change your passwords and use a password manager on a daily basis. For those people out there that don’t want to go through all of the hub-bub of super-secure, encrypted, password management, here are a few tips to keep you safe:

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  1. Create a unique and hard to guess “base password” and then a pattern to use for each site you logon onto. For instance a base password could be “Ih2BaSwAa” (this stands for “I have two brothers and sisters who are annoying”). Then you would add something “site specific” to the end of it. For Twitter Ih2BaSwAaTWTTR, Facebook Ih2BaSwAaFCBK, etc. This is sort of unsecure, but probably more secure than 99% of the passwords out there.
  2. Don’t write your passwords down in public places. If you want to keep track of passwords on something written, keep it on you at least. The problem is that if you get your wallet stolen you are still out of luck.
  3. Don’t use the same passwords for every service. I’m not even going to explain this; just don’t do it.

These are just a few things that can be done rather than keeping your passwords in a management system. Personally, with over 100 entries in my password management system, I couldn’t even dream of doing any other way. But those out there with only a few passwords, having a simpler system may be beneficial.

So, if you want to be a “responsible internet citizen” or you just don’t want to lose your precious account data, then creating and maintaining strong passwords for your online accounts is a must.

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