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Why Recent Graduates Don't Negotiate

Graduation season—replete with lengthy ceremonies and their (sleep-inducing) commencement speakers—is in full swing. Across the country, recent grads have traded in their anxiety about getting their diplomas on time for new kind of stress: finding employment. And for the lucky ones who actually land a good job, new data suggests they’ll probably settle for far less money than they’re worth.  

A recent study by the online financial resource NerdWallet, in conjunction withLooksharp, a job-search tool, shows that fresh-out-of-college students tend to become quite shy when negotiating their first salaries. The survey—which reflects responses from 8,000 recent grads and 700 employers—was conducted over a three-year period starting in 2012. It found that 62 percent of recent graduates didn’t negotiate their salary at all even though 75 percent of employers said they had room to bump of their original offer—and even though “most of them” expected to do so. The data also showed disparities based on gender and college major.

Salary negotiation is tough for anyone, regardless of age. (The Atlantic even recently ran a Q&A with a hostage negotiator  for advice on navigating salary deliberations.) But these fears are particularly ...

What Are Your Odds of Getting a Security Clearance?

Is it easy to get a security clearance? It depends on who you ask. Among the uncleared population there sometimes is a misperception that anyone can get a clearance, based on the millions of clearance-holders out there. In 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper criticized the size of the cleared workforce in a memo that called for reducing the number of individuals with access to intelligence. Recently released figures show a 12 percent decline in the size of the cleared workforce.

Those who have gone through the security clearance process understand the significant headaches involved in both the initial background investigation as well as periodic reinvestigations. Obtaining a security clearance is no easy task, and not everyone who applies will be granted access.

The same ODNI report that outlined reductions in the cleared workforce provided insight into the rate of denials within the intelligence community, as well as the reasons behind significant delays in security clearance processing time.

The National Security Agency denied the most applicants–9.2 percent. The National Reconnaissance Office and the Central Intelligence Agency had the next greatest number of denials, at 7.4 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively. These numbers might seem relatively ...

4 Tips for Better One-on-One Meetings With Your Manager

Are you getting the most out of your one-on-one meetings with your boss? According to a recent study, about 73 percent of employees meet with their team leader at least once a month. That’s not a lot of face time, so be sure you make the most of this important interaction with the following tips:

Show Initiative

If you are thinking, “What one-on-one meeting? I’m lucky to see my boss at lunch in the cafeteria once a month,” then you have your work cut out for you. But just because there isn’t a consistent meeting time set up with your team leader doesn’t mean there can’t be. You’ll need to take the initiative and request that a meeting schedule be set. Most likely you’ll need to “sell” this a bit—be ready with reasons why it benefits your boss, such as quicker decision-making on his or her part, your improved productivity or heading off problems at the pass. You might think, “Why should I have to sell this? Isn’t it my boss’s job to stay in contact with me?” Yep, it sure is. But remember: Communication is a two-way street. If ...

What If Government Operated More Like Disney?

Should the federal government be more like Walt Disney World when shaping its customer service experiences?  Greg Godbout, the chief technology officer at the Environmental Protection Agency, suggested as much when he keynoted an AFCEA roundtable in Bethesda a couple weeks ago.

According to Federal Times, Godbout told the audience Disney delivers a seamless experience: “Visitors to the theme park who are staying at a connected hotel can get a Magic Band, a wrist band that unlocks the hotel room, grants admission to the park, reserves access to certain attractions and allows the guest to buy items at shops and charge them to the room . . . one seamless organic organization, really one service-oriented architecture. That's how we should be able to work in government, yet we are so far away from that experience."

But a recent article by Austin Carr for Fast Company chronicles in rich detail the exceedingly difficult modernization efforts Disney underwent to get to this point—and that it has a long way to go before it is fully implemented.

Could the federal government possibly undertake the same degree of transformation?

It has. It has undertaken successful transformations in the past—just look at how the Internal ...

How to Protect Yourself From Unethical Persuasion

Have you ever agreed to do or buy something you really didn’t want or need, and later wondered, “Why did I say yes?” You’re not alone. Whether you ended up doing a colleague’s job, buying nutritional supplements you had little use for, or donating time and/or money to a cause you weren’t passionate about, chances are you said yes due to some finely honed persuasion.

Of course, only some of these people had dishonorable motives. The others—representatives of certain charitable agencies, for instance—had the best of intentions, even if you didn’t really want to give in, but did so anyway. Regardless, you may often find yourself in possession of unwanted goods or doing tasks you dislike simply because you feel compelled to say yes.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If you ever find yourself the recipient of an unwanted or unethical persuasion attempt, there are steps you can take to recognize and disarm it so you have the confidence to walk away unscathed. Here are some suggestions.

You don’t always have to reciprocate.

When someone gives you something or does something for you, it’s natural to want ...