CNBC make it 2024-06-12 12:22:06

The No. 1 benefit that keeps people happy at work, says exec in Finland

Finland is the happiest country in the world, and at one Finnish company, worker happiness comes down to one major benefit: flexibility.

That’s the case at Framery, a manufacturing company that makes soundproof pods for office spaces. Every year, the company surveys its roughly 400 employees about the most important things that keep them happy and engaged at work.

The concept of work-life balance is always No. 1 or No. 2, says Anni Hallila, Framery’s head of people and culture.

And in order to provide that balance, she says company leaders actively support flexibility in their employees’ work schedules and break times.

“It’s completely normal that you can mix your personal life and work life” in how you structure your workday and workweek, Hallila says. “If you need to take your kids to day care in the morning, you can start your day earlier, or you can come later if you need to go home for them in the middle of the day.”

The Framery office doesn’t have set hours, she says, but people generally arrive between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and are gone by late afternoon. “It’s normal to leave work at 4 o’clock,” she says.

By law, Finland’s standard workweek is 37.5 hours, but as Framery leaders see it, employees can work with their managers to figure out how that breaks down each day.

On the rare occasion that someone’s schedule is negatively impacting their team’s work, Hallila says it becomes a conversation with their manager to make adjustments.

Otherwise, “you can do six hours today, eight hours tomorrow, and that’s completely fine,” Hallila says. “We give a lot of freedom for people to balance their overall work hours. We trust that they will do the work. That’s the most important thing, that they will get things done. It’s not about the hours — it’s about the results.”

Leaders also support regular breaks throughout the day. For example, Hallila says staffers are encouraged to take an hour-long break once a week for exercise, whether it’s for a walk or to use the company’s onsite gym.

“If someone goes out for a walk during the workday, we don’t think ‘oh they’re slacking off or being lazy,’” Hallila says. “It’s really that they’re taking care of their focus and being smart about how they balance their mental health.”

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92-year-old just became one of America’s richest self-made women—she’s worth $700 million

Joan Payden is one of America’s richest self-made women. At age 92, she’s also one of the oldest.

Payden is the CEO of Payden & Rygel, a Los Angeles-based money management firm she founded in 1983 after quitting her job and emptying her 401(k), according to Forbes. Today, the firm manages more than $161 billion in assets and nearly 240 employees across multiple offices, according to its website.

Payden’s assets have grown with the firm: As majority owner, she boasts an estimated net worth of roughly $700 million and is a “newcomer” on Forbes’ recently published 2024 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.

Payden’s path to success spanned multiple decades. After majoring in math and physics at Trinity College in Washington, D.C., Payden became one of just a handful of women engineers at a New Jersey-based company building oil refineries in the 1950s, only to fall victim to a mass layoff after three years, according to Forbes.

Disappointed, she regrouped — looking to the financial sector to put her math background to use, and landing a junior associate role at Merrill Lynch. “I was hired at a 25% discount because I didn’t know the difference between a bond and stock,” Payden told the Los Angeles Times in 1999.

Within a couple years, she moved to Los Angeles to join Scudder, Stevens & Clark, a prestigious money management firm. After multiple attempts at a promotion, she became the firm’s first-ever female partner. She failed at least one of those attempts because she “didn’t play golf” at an annual meeting on a men-only course, Payden told students at Notre Dame in 2011.

“They held their annual meetings at a very large, prestigious golf course and they, of course, wouldn’t let women in,” said Payden. “So, I sat on the porch.”

Perhaps due to experiences like that, Payden said she never wanted her gender to define her career: “I am either a good financial advisor or not. I am not ‘a good woman financial advisor,’” she told Trinity’s alumni magazine in 2013.

By 1983, she was wary of becoming stuck “in the same place” for another decade and decided to strike out on her own, she told the Notre Dame students. She recruited her colleague Sandra Rygel to join her, cashed out her 401(k) for an undisclosed amount of seed money and formed Payden & Rygel.

At the time, Payden wasn’t entirely convinced the move would pay off. “There are always worries. When I set up the company, I worried I wouldn’t get clients,” she told The Los Angeles Times. “But that was no problem.”

Since then, she’s built her firm into one of the largest private money management firms in the U.S. Her former employer Scudder, Stevens & Clark was acquired by Swiss insurer the Zurich Insurance Group for nearly $1.7 billion in 1997

Payden’s advice to would-be entrepreneurs who are unsure about taking a big leap: “When you jump in the lake, you can’t think about drowning,” she told Trinity’s alumni magazine, adding that she had no regrets. “At the time, and certainly it is clear now, the risk of ‘not doing’ outweighed the risk of ‘doing.’”

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Nvidia CEO never has one-on-one meetings—unless someone specifically asks: ‘Then I’ll drop everything’

Jensen Huang doesn’t schedule one-on-one meetings with the people who report to him — but that doesn’t mean he has no time for them.

The billionaire Nvidia CEO and co-founder revealed that aspect of his managerial style during a talk at Stanford University in March. Huang said he has a management team of 55 people, all directly reporting to him — in a structure “designed for agility, for information to flow as quickly as possible.”

That means no unnecessary meetings, including regular check-ins with direct reports. “Unless they need me,” he said. “Then I’ll drop everything for them.”

Plenty of CEOs have go-to tactics when it comes to meetings. Steve Jobs was a fan of walking meetings. Jeff Bezos has espoused many ideas over the years, from banning PowerPoints and always speaking last to encouraging “messy meetings,” where people can bounce ideas off each other without a set ending time.

“When I sit down [in] a meeting, I don’t know how long the meeting is going to take if we’re trying to solve a problem,” Bezos told the “Lex Fridman Podcast” last year. “The reality is, we may have to [let our minds] wander for a long time … I think there’s certainly nothing more fun than sitting at a whiteboard with a group of smart people and spit-balling and coming up with new ideas and objections to those ideas, and then solutions to the objections and going back and forth.”

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In Huang’s case, scheduling 55 recurring one-on-one meetings could fill up a calendar quickly. That might pose a logistical problem for the head of the world’s second-most valuable public company. On Wednesday, the chipmaker central to the rise of artificial intelligence eclipsed Apple in market cap, ranking behind only Microsoft.

Instead, he and his executives communicate enough throughout each workday to stay on the same page without needing meetings, he said. The approach even extends to performance reviews, he added: “I write no reviews for any of them. I give them constant reviews and they provide the same to me.”

A fully booked planner carries psychological ramifications, too, Yale University psychology professor Laurie Santos said at SXSW in March. The dread you experience when you feel like you’re too busy is called “time famine,” and it can lead to low productivity, poor work performance and burnout, she said.

To fend it off, Santos suggested going through your to-do list and figuring out which items don’t actually need to be scheduled. She also advised consciously celebrating your time savings, like the minutes you regain when a phone call ends early or the hour you get back when someone cancels a meeting.

“I think we feel strapped for time because we think working … as much as we work all the time is essential for achieving the things we want to achieve in life,” Santos said.

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Sick of ‘tip creep’? 5 times it’s OK not to tip, according to etiquette experts

Many Americans are fed up with tipping culture. About six in ten adults view tipping negatively, and 35% say things have gotten “out of control,” according to a recent survey from Bankrate.

It’s not hard to see why, especially as persistent inflation continues.

“People don’t like the pre-entered tip prompts at food trucks and coffee shops. I was even asked to tip once at a self-checkout machine at Newark Airport,” says Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate. “There’s been a lot of tip creep.”

But fatigue over tipping isn’t an excuse to cheap out in scenarios where professionals rely on your cash to make ends meet. Just 67% respondents in Bankrate’s survey said they always tip in sit-down restaurants, an 8 percentage-point decline from three years ago.

“The Federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 an hour,” notes Rossman. “So if you’re not tipping in those scenarios, you’re really taking money out of the server’s pocket.”

Still, etiquette experts say there are situations where you may feel pressured to tip but are by no means required to. Here are five interactions where they say leaving a tip is entirely up to you.

When a plumber or repair-person comes by

As a blanket rule, you don’t need to tip anyone who earns a salary or performs a trade. That means you don’t have to tip doctors, lawyers, teachers, plumbers or cable technicians.

“Not only would it not be expected, it would be highly unorthodox and very awkward,” says Thomas Farley, an etiquette expert and keynote speaker known as Mister Manners. Plus, in certain situations, “you could be seen as attempting to curry some sort of favor or that it might be some sort of a bribe.”

When you buy at a counter

Generally, anyone working at a counter is earning a wage, while those delivering food, either to your table or to your home, rely on tips as a major part of their income. For that reason, tipping a cashier, for example, is not a requirement as far as etiquette experts are concerned — even if the tablet they show you suggests otherwise.

“When they turn that device around, it’s this glaring thing, and people feel shamed into tipping, but you don’t have to,” says Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert and founder of the Swann School of Protocol.  

Service-industry workers view this advice as controversial, and many baristas say tips are an essential part of their income. To be clear, the etiquette experts aren’t saying to avoid tipping at the counter — merely that it’s at your discretion. A gratuity can reasonably be reserved for workers who provide a great experience.

“It’s a nice gesture to offer a tip to a worker who goes above and beyond the service,” Swann says. “For example, maybe you frequent the establishment regularly and they have your order memorized.”

When you’re at an open-bar event

If you go to an event with an open bar, the bar staff may or may not put out a tip jar. As a rule of thumb, “keep in mind that the host of that event has likely already taken care of the tip,” says Swann. “That tip would be included in what they’ve had to pay for the venue or to the bartending service.”

That means you’re not obligated to tip. Throwing in a couple extra bucks is, of course, appreciated says Farley, and may help get you better service throughout the night.

“If there is a busy bar, and there are multiple people to take orders from, the fact that you acknowledged them may get you a heavier pour. Maybe they gave you the cup of ice you were asking for,” he says. “A dollar here or there isn’t much to ask.”

When it seems like double-tipping or fees are built in

You don’t have to tip twice for the same service. Swann has recently heard feedback from women who have tipped the technician who worked on their nails at a salon and were then prompted to tip again when paying at the counter. “That is just the establishment trying to get more money out of you.”

The situation can get a little trickier in cities that have implemented minimum wage requirements for tipped workers, such as restaurant servers. Some restaurants in these cities will apply a 20% service charge to your bill before presenting you with the option to tip.

In those scenarios, it’s appropriate to discreetly ask your server where the fee goes. “If they tell you it goes to the servers and the bussers and so forth, your job of tipping is done,” says Swann.

If the money goes to the house, you’ll likely want to leave a tip for the server who took care of you, says Farley, who recently ended up tipping 20% on top of a 20% service charge at a restaurant in Denver.

“From an etiquette standpoint, we still tip the servers who are bringing us our food,” he says. “But I did leave that restaurant feeling like this was not a tenable situation.”

When the service is poor

You’re never obligated to tip someone when they’ve provided you poor service or if you’ve had a rude interaction with them. In the case of a one-on-one service, such as a haircut, this is pretty cut and dry. In fact, if a barber messed up your hair so badly that you felt they didn’t deserve a tip, you might not be out of line asking for a full refund, says Farley.

In the case of a restaurant, it gets a little trickier. Swann recommends a sliding scale for restaurant tipping, with 20% as the standard, and more if a server goes above and beyond. Even in the face of bad service, she wouldn’t go lower than 10% — and if that’s the case, you still have to ask yourself some questions. Namely, is the server at fault?

“If the food took too long to come out, that’s a kitchen issue. If it wasn’t prepared properly, that’s a kitchen issue. If the environment was not pleasurable, say because it was too loud, that has nothing to do with service.”

If you did have a nasty interaction with a server, you may be in the right to dock their tip, but be sure to bring it up with management as well, says Swann.

“If you address management and then leave a lower tip, they’ll know you weren’t just a jerk or uneducated when it comes to tipping,” she says. “Whether they agree with your complaint or not, they’ll have an understanding of why you left a lower tip.”

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35-year-old making $11,400/week in passive income: 3 questions I asked myself before quitting my day job

For two years, Ryan Hogue’s side hustles made enough money for him to quit his full-time jobs.

Hogue was a senior web developer at a nonprofit called CharityEngine and an adjunct web developer professor at George Mason University in northern Virginia. He made more than $117,000 per year from those jobs — but started developing passive income businesses on the side, hoping to earn money for travel, fun and his future family, he says.

In 2018, those businesses out-earned his full-time income: He made nearly $135,600. The same thing happened the following year.

Yet despite his growing success, he stayed employed — partially because quitting felt outside of his comfort zone. “My parents’ … understanding of money was kind of imposed on me,” says Hogue, 35. “They’re savers. They couldn’t fathom not having a 9-to-5 job.”

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Hogue finally left his web development role in 2020: CharityEngine asked him transition into a new role, and he saw it as a sign to take the leap, he says. He left his adjunct teaching role after finishing the fall 2021 semester.

In retrospect, he could’ve done both sooner, he adds: The more time you dedicate to building passive income streams, the more money you can make.

“Life was good, but I was directly trading my time for money, and I knew it wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be,” Hogue said during CNBC Make It’s SXSW panel in March. “By the time I left my day job, I was probably a year-plus overdue.”

Now, Hogue makes $11,400 per week in mostly passive income, according to documents reviewed by Make It. Here’s his advice on when to leave your full-time job in favor of a side hustle, and when it’s smarter to stay.

When to leave your 9-to-5 job

Hogue felt confident leaving his full-time jobs because he could answer “yes” to these three questions, he says:

  • Does your side hustle have multiple streams of income?
  • Does your side hustle make more dollars per day than your full-time job?
  • Is your full-time job preventing you from growing your side hustle?

“I think you should wait and hold onto your day job for as long as you can,” says Hogue. “You will know when it’s time to leave when attending your 9-to-5 job impedes further growth of your side hustles.”

Kathy Kristof, whose blog Sidehusl has reviewed more than 500 different side gigs, offers another important question to ask yourself: Do you have the desire and financial ability to withstand bumps in the road?

“This means you need to have a certain amount of savings or another form of economic cushion — like a spouse who has benefits and enough income to float you when times are tough — to survive an extended period,” Kristof says.

For Jamie Inlow, it was a simple analysis: Building a side hustle while working full-time was tiring, and she was more passionate about one than the other.

Inlow balanced her jobs as a higher education consultant and a part-time student program coordinator in Virginia with her side hustle, a property management company called Be Still Getaways, for two and a half years.

She knew it was time to leave her other jobs and run Be Still Getaways full-time when she noticed she was starting to behave differently, and realized she could afford to pay herself a salary — in her case, $72,000 per year.

“I knew I was ready to quit my job when the demands of working full-time and working for Be Still Getaways was starting to affect my mental health and my ability to be present for my family,” Inlow told Make It last year.

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