Category Archives: Finances

How You’ll Earn More Using Scarcity & Urgency

3 minutes to read

You probably have a friend who’s highly skilled but can’t find a job. Or maybe you’re in this situation. It makes no sense. When we were kids we learned expertise commands a big salary. That’s why my mother (and grandmother) wanted me to be a doctor, lawyer, or accountant. But today ability alone may not buy you anything. As an example, for six years in a row the unemployment rate for law school graduates has increased, standing at 15.5% in 2015. What used to be a sure track to a six-figure income isn’t any longer.

How You'll Earn More Using Scarcity and Urgency (1)

Plenty vs. Scarcity

Doctors are in much better shape. The unemployment rate for physicians and surgeons is under 1%. While I couldn’t find statistics for medical school graduates, you can bet with such a low rate for the profession graduates aren’t struggling too much.

Doctors are scarce. Medical schools enroll 20,055 doctors a year. The number of spots is supposed to increase by 30% over the next few years but that’s only an extra 6,000 MDs. With our aging population, demand is increasing faster.

By contrast, the demand for lawyers has been decreasing since 2007. Law schools enrolled a record 52,000 students in 2010, though the number have declined since then to 40,000. Still there are plenty of attorneys.

Further, when you’re sick you want help. Generally legal needs are not urgent.

Making Scarcity and Urgency Work for You

Among elite professionals, scarcity and urgency lead to a higher income. On average a surgeon makes 62% more than a family doctor. Both require four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school. Surgeons train for another three to seven years. Family doctors go through a three-year residency. So education is not the factor leading to such a large income disparity.

Surgeons assume greater risk, right? As an indicator, malpractice insurance rates for a surgeon are four times higher than for a family doctor. Still they’re only around $20,000 a year. The extra $15,000 is about 10% of the $122,000 difference in their incomes. Surgeons are scarcer. And when you need surgery you can’t wait, even if you would put off your annual checkup.

You can make scarcity and urgency work in your favor. You don’t need to get more schooling.

Gain in depth knowledge of your industry to make yourself a rare commodity. Learn everything there is to know about the problems, challenges, changes, and players in your field. In this respect more certifications won’t help. They deal with such recognized issues there’s routine training to deal with them. You’ll have to be more forward thinking. When you command greater expertise than 90% of the people in your business, you’ll get a top salary.

Focus on the emergent issues. There are new challenges and urgent problems in your field. Be the one with solutions to the critical ones.

You don’t need to spend seven years in medical training to join the sparse ranks of doctors. You can create scarcity and urgency in any field you choose. By putting them to work, you’ll put yourself in demand and secure a high-paying job.

What prevents you from being the top person in your field? Please comment below.

How to Tell if Your Humility Is Self-Destructive

2-½ minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Tzav – Leviticus 6:1-8:36

People acknowledge the value of humility. In particular, veterans are humble. But too often such modesty impedes their ability to get a good job. When challenged, they say promoting themselves is wrong. Parshas Tzav has a different perspective:

This is the law of the burnt offering: (Vayikra/Leviticus 6:2)

How to Tell if You Humility Is Self-Destructive

This Sabbath’s parsha continues the discussion of the korbanos (the offerings brought on the Altar) and details the anointing of Aaron and his sons as the Kohanim or Priests who will serve in the Temple.

Connecting Sacrifices and Humility

Farther into Leviticus we read an animal that is blind or broken or has a split eyelid or wart cannot be used as a burnt offering. As was made clear back in Genesis in the trouble between Cain and Abel, G-d wants offerings to be of the finest we have.

This holds true even though we no longer bring animal or meal sacrifices.

Today prayer has replaced the sacrificial service. When you pray, G-d wants you to open your heart. This requires humbly recognizing all you have comes from the Almighty. In humility you should acknowledge the many mistakes you’ve made and your gratitude that nonetheless G-d loves you. You offer your love in return.

If you are arrogant G-d will still listen to your prayer, but like a damaged animal, may reject your petition.

Humility verses Self-Promotion

People often equate self-promotion with arrogance. But you’re not conceited simply because you let people know about your skills and strengths. To the contrary, if you can add value to someone’s life you have a responsibility to do so. You’ll have to explain to him why you are the best person to help.

There are times when humility looks like a lack of self-confidence. People don’t trust a meek person to handle their problems.

By not clearly expressing the value you bring to the table, you’re forcing someone to figure it out on his own. He won’t. Instead he’ll hire someone who makes his life easier by showing him he has what it takes. You and your family lose out. The Almighty does not want you to impoverish yourself with such false humility.

If you’re not used to marketing yourself, use these guidelines:

  1. Always tell the truth. Implying you have skills that you don’t is worse than conceit. You’ll be exposed in the end.
  2. Talk about them at appropriate times. People will tell you when they want to know more about you.
  3. Be brief. Long-winded descriptions smell of conceit.

When you follow these three criteria, and thank G-d for the gifts He has given you, you’ll keep your humility in balance.

What prevents you from promoting yourself effectively? Please comment below.


Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

You Should Never Go on a Job Interview

3-½ minutes to read

The most frequent complaint I hear from job seekers is they submit a lot of resumes and get few interviews. Countless people have told me, “I applied for this job that I fit perfectly and didn’t even get a call!” They seem to think if you submit a resume showing your skills you're entitled to an interview if not the job itself. This neglects the fact that a couple of hundred other people submitted resumes that show an equally ideal fit.

You Should Never Go on a Job Interview


The Funnel

If you think your resume will get you a job you’re kidding yourself. In today’s competitive market, if it does consider yourself as lucky as a lottery winner.  Don’t count on it happening again. Your resume has one purpose: To get you a meeting with the person who will decide who gets the job.

There are two paths to getting a job: the indirect and the direct. In the former, you submit a resume or application (sometimes both) through regular channels and hope for the best. You’re in a funnel designed to reduce around 200 applicants to five. Yes that’s right, on average 5.2 people are interviewed for a job. It’ll take more than the luck of the Irish to make the cut. (I’m writing this on St. Patrick’s Day don’t you know.)

The second path is how most if not all the people the company spoke with got their meetings. While they may have submitted a resume through the regular process, someone inside the company had it pulled and given consideration apart from the masses. Otherwise they sent it straight to the decision maker or someone in the company who passed it along to him. Your resume is your calling card. No more, no less.

You Want a Meeting Not a Job Interview

While in the 19th century interview and meeting were synonymous, today they’re not. An interview is an oral examination of an applicant for a job, college admissions, etc. In other words, you’re the supplicant. If you go in with a beggar’s mindset you’ll most likely come out empty handed.

How do you know you want, let alone will love a job, before you meet the people with whom you’ll be working? Why would a company hire you if you sit passively in an interview answering questions? Will this convince them you’ll be proactive in contributing to the company?

Stop wishing for a job interview. Get a meeting with the decision maker.

Attending a meeting is better because:

  1. Your mindset improves. You are not a supplicant. You’ll talk with the decision maker about how you and the company can benefit. This is what two competent professionals do.
  2. You can demonstrate leadership. You have 50% of the responsibility for making it work. Set your agenda. You should have researched the company and industry. What issues remain open? The better the questions you ask the more likely you are to get hired. A leader knows the ability to ask great questions is as important as having answers.
  3. You can showoff your expertise. No company is going to pay you a high salary so you can learn the business. You can discuss how receptive the organization is to your ideas for improvements that will grow the bottom line. Afraid your suggestions might be rejected and you won’t get the job as a result? Do you want to work in a situation where your initiative is stifled? Isn’t it better to know your perspective doesn’t mesh before you take the job?
  4. The final decision is mutual. Until you’ve heard what the company has to say you should be no more committed to taking the job than the company is to hiring you.  After the meeting you can follow up just like you would in any business situation. In the final analysis, the company should be as excited that you’ll accept an offer as you are about working at the company. If it’s not, you won’t have any leverage negotiating salary or anything else. Will you get any respect?

Until you give up begging for a job interview and starting setting up meetings you won’t find the job you want. In the end, you’ll hate going to work or end up starting another job hunt soon after getting hired.

Treat yourself like the professional you want a company to hire and pay well. If you don’t, nobody else will either.

How to you keep from feeling needy or desperate when you badly need work? Please comment below.

You’ll Win at Roulette Before You Get a Job

2-½ minutes to read

Gambling built Las Vegas. Blackjack and craps have their adherents but roulette epitomizes chance. Turn the wheel, send the little white ball spinning, and guess what number will come up. With 36 numbers plus 0 and 00 on an American roulette wheel, the odds the ball will land on your chosen number are 2.63%.   That’s the worse case. If you bet red or black your odds of winning increase to 47.37%. For most job hunters, that’s better odds than their finding the job they want.

You’ll Win at Roulette Before You Get a Job

The Post and Pray Method

The Internet has fundamentally changed how we get a job. In former years people scanned newspaper want ads, then spoke with someone at a potential employer’s office, sent their resume to an actual person, and interviewed face to face with him or someone else. They had a lot of human interaction throughout the process.

Today there is little if any person-to-person contact until an interview. Resumes are submitted through websites. Since 2008 between 118 and 250 people have applied for each position. An automated Applicant Tracking System screens resumes to eliminate up to 50% before a human will look at them. About 20% of applicants will get an interview. One will be chosen. At 1 in 118, your odds of landing the job are less than 1%.

Your odds shrink dramatically when you take into account only 20% of openings are advertised.

For most people, job-hunting means going online and posting their resume. Only 4% to 10% of people who use this method exclusively get a job that way. One expert says it’s closer to 0.4%.

Roulette odds look pretty good now don’t they?

How to Improve the Odds You'll Get a Job

When you’re unemployed looking for work is your full-time job. Consider the average job seeker looks for a job an hour a day and watches television three hours a day. This is not a formula for success.

Passive methods like posting your resume on job boards virtually guarantee failure.

You must create an action plan to get a job you want. These steps will guide you:

  1. Create your value proposition. What benefits do you bring to the table for a potential employer? What problems can you solve?
  2. Have a multi-pronged strategy. How will you know if you’ve found the job you want? What proactive steps can you take to get in front of someone who needs your expertise?
  3. Make a plan to find the 80% of jobs that aren’t advertised. Search out companies you want to work for. Who can give you the inside track? How can you get them to help you?

If you’re not actively marketing yourself you’re not really job hunting.

Life affords no sure things. But it needn’t be lived on Las Vegas odds. Using the above steps will push your odds of getting a job well beyond even the best that roulette can offer.

What proactive steps are you or have you taken to get the job you want? Please comment below.

Why Self-Promotion Should Make You Feel Good

2 minutes to read

Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Yayakhel – Exodus 35:1-38:20

Humility is a virtue, no doubt about it. But like many good things, in excess it becomes a vice. Veterans are particularly prone to think all self-promotion is bad. Parshas Vayakhel has a different view:

“Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood….” (Shemos/Exodus 37:12)

Why Self-Promotion Should Make You Feel Good

This Sabbath’s parsha reviews the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). It also relates perhaps the only time in Jewish history that a building campaign was so oversubscribed people actually had to be told to stop giving!

The Nature of Reward

Bezalel gets all the credit for building the ark. Scripture records his name. And he received his full reward in the World to Come. Bezalel gets all the glory even though others helped construct the ark.

G-d does not diminish Bezalel’s heavenly reward despite his receiving eternal publicity in the Bible. True, he devoted all of his talent and energy to building the ark and the Tabernacle. But you would think such a breach of humility as accepting sole credit would justify the Almighty’s reducing Bezalel’s portion in the World to Come.

The great sage Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet, better known as the Rashba, concludes that G-d wants the names of people who performed good deeds publicized and remembered. Others will be encouraged to carry out more good works.

When Self-Promotion is Virtuous

Other commentators, like R’ Yehudah HaChassid, castigate people who perform good deeds in order to get recognition. He focuses special contempt on someone who refuses to let others participate in a community project so he will get sole credit.

So which is it? Should we shun self-promotion or publicize our good deeds?

Motive makes all the difference. If you announce your actions to receive honor, the Almighty won’t be impressed. No one else should be either. As well, if your good deed helps an individual, out of respect for the recipient’s dignity keep the matter private.

If you seek publicity to better serve your family or community, the example of Bezalel shows the merit of such behavior. When, like the building of the Tabernacle, a project benefits the whole community you’re setting an example that G-d wants others to follow.

At first, you may find it uncomfortable to tell people about your good deeds. Consider which is more important: your own ease or spreading the idea that everyone should participate in bettering our communities. When others hear about what you’ve done and join in you’ll have reason to celebrate.

How do you promote yourself so as to benefit others? Please comment below.


Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.

What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask here and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!

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