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5 Signs It's Time to Look for a New Job

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How do you know if you need to jump ship or just take a vacation? Read on for five tell-tale signs you should head for the hills—or at least the job postings.

1. YOU AREN’T USING YOUR SKILLS.

They’re called career paths for a reason—they’re all about the journey. When you’re not applying your unique talents and not being challenged, you’re not growing. And when you’re not growing, you’re falling behind. You're sacrificing your personal happiness, too: A 2007 analysis by Gallup found that employees who feel like they use their particular talents and strengths at work are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life.

If you’re bored or frustrated with the work in front of you, if you feel your ideas are being ignored, or if you see no opportunity for advancement, talk to your boss. Often, bosses may not realize when an employee who wants to be challenged isn’t being challenged. But if the response amounts to “tough luck,” start looking for a place and a mentor that will appreciate your talents and invest in you.

2. YOU HAVE ZERO WORK/LIFE BALANCE.

Yes, good jobs can be demanding. And in the best-case scenario, you’re always challenged. But when a job takes over your life, it can cease to be worth it. Studies have found that employees who have greater control over their schedules are happier, sleep better, have lower stress levels, and better mental and physical health. If you’re feeling dissatisfied with work spilling over into the rest of your life, that’s a hint that you’re probably ready to go—employee retention is higher at companies where workers have greater flexibility and feel like supervisors support their personal lives.

If you’re spending less and less time with friends or family, or if that time is compromised because you’re expected to work extra hours at home or jump at your boss’s demands whenever she emails, that’s a pretty good indication your balance is off. And if you literally can’t get enough sleep because you’re working too many hours—or are too stressed or anxious to sleep well—listen to your body! Same goes if you’re jumpier or moodier than usual. Try to assess how your health—both physical and mental—may have changed since you joined your company. A job should help you grow, not change who you are.

3. YOU WORK IN A TOXIC ENVIRONMENT.

Your boss is overly critical of you—or others. Your co-workers like to gossip. You’re expected to perform at all costs and are frequently under duress. These are just a few ways an office can be toxic. The environment you work in can deeply affect you, so just like with a toxic relationship, the best thing to do is get out. Research has found that people who complain about their job and stew over the negative aspects of their office life have lower moods not just at work, but into the next morning—meaning, your bad office vibes bleed over into your personal life long after you clock out. That said, no matter the circumstances, don’t burn bridges when you leave. Even if your boss seems difficult, he may be well respected in the wider industry, and word travels. Take the high road.

4. YOUR COMPANY (OR INDUSTRY) IS STRUGGLING.

You can see the signs: layoffs, budget cuts, and lowering profits. Don’t go down with the ship! It’s easier to find a job when you have a job. And if things do go south, you don’t want to be around for the layoffs, even if your job remains intact. A decade-long study of Boeing workers found that those who survived layoffs had higher stress levels (measured through factors like rates of alcohol abuse) and double the depression rates of employees who lost their jobs.

So leave before your company crashes or gets sold, and you’ll be one step ahead. If it’s your industry that seems to be taking a hit, start figuring out how your skills translate to other fields. The world changes, keep up with it! As long as you have a career narrative—that is, an intentional path and solid reasoning behind your moves—acing future interviews will be a breeze.

5. YOU FEEL BLUE EVERY SUNDAY NIGHT.

Finally, if you dread Monday mornings (or all weekday mornings), or if you just feel in your bones that you lack passion for what you’re doing, you need a change. These may seem like such simple signs, but they indicate your job either isn’t the right fit or you’ve outgrown it. A 2012 survey from Gallup found that employees who are disengaged at work experience a significant downturn in their moods come Sunday night, while engaged workers feel as good during the week as they do on their days off. When it comes to your career, you should like what you’re doing, at least on some level. So listen to what your body is telling you—and start looking to move on before your apathy affects your performance.

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The Most (and Least) Expensive States for Staying Warm This Winter
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It’s that time of year again: Temperatures outside have plummeted, while your monthly heating bill is on the rise. If you want an idea of how much heat will cost you this winter (perhaps you blocked out last year’s damage to your bank account), one reliable indicator is location.

Average energy expenses vary from state to state due to factors like weather, house size, and local gas prices. Using data from sources including the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, WalletHub calculated the average monthly utility bill totals for all 50 states plus Washington D.C. in 2017.

Source: WalletHub

The personal finance website looked at four energy costs: electricity, natural gas, car fuel, and home heating oil. After putting these components together, Connecticut was found to be the state with the highest energy costs in 2017, with an average of $380 in monthly bills, followed by Alaska with $332 and Rhode Island with $329.

That includes data from the summer and winter months. For a better picture of which state’s residents spend the most on heat, we have to look at the individual energy costs. Michigan, which ranks 33rd overall, outdoes every other state in the natural gas department with an average bill of $60 a month. Alaska is close behind with $59, followed by Rhode Island With $58.

People living in Maine prefer oil to heat their homes, spending $84 a month on the fuel source. All six New England states—Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts—occupy the top six spots in this category.

So which state should you move to if you want to see your heating bill disappear? In Florida, the average household spends just $3 a month on natural gas and $0 on heating oil. In Hawaii, on average, the oil bill is $0 as well, and slightly higher for gas at $4. Of course, they make up for it when it comes time to crank up the AC: Both states break the top 10 in highest electricity costs.


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Don't Pour Alcohol on Your Bed Bugs—Try These Tips Instead
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Getting bed bugs is a nightmare experience, one that’s sure to cost you oodles of time, money, and emotional distress. The bugs are painfully hard to purge from your household, and it’s getting even harder as they become more resistant to common insecticides. Unfortunately, home remedies are often no match for these parasitic insects. Dousing them with rubbing alcohol (a tip you'll often hear) won’t kill them; in fact, it might just burn your house down, as a woman trying to rid her Cincinnati apartment of bed bugs found out recently. As The Washington Post reported, the alcohol in that case was too close to the flame of a candle or some type of incense, and ignited. It wasn't an isolated incident.

In the last 10 years or so, people trying to kill bed bugs with alcohol have started several house fires across the U.S., including a different incident in Cincinnati just two weeks ago. So short of burning down your entire house and starting over, how do you get rid of them?

The short answer is: Give up on the idea of saving money and call an exterminator. According to 2014 research, plenty of DIY bed bug-killing remedies are woefully ineffective. Rubbing alcohol, in fact, only killed half of the insects sprayed by the Rutgers University researchers in that study. Researchers have found that other recommended home remedies, like moth balls, foggers, or ultrasonic bug repellers, are even less effective. And don’t even think about using “natural” type products that use essential oils as the main ingredient. They might smell nice, but they won’t help your bug problem.

But before you call in the big guns, there are a few effective, concrete steps you can take to reduce your infestation. As Rutgers bedbug specialists Changlu Wang and Richard Cooper wrote in their bed bug fact sheet, putting your belongings in plastic storage bins or garbage bags is a good place to start. Since the bugs don’t like to climb on smooth plastic, this can help contain the infestation. Just make sure to treat whatever you’re putting inside the bags or bins first by putting them through the hot laundry, steaming, heating, or freezing them.

You’ll need a mattress encasement, too. This will keep the bugs that have already infested your mattress from escaping, meaning they won’t be able to feast on you anymore and will die of starvation. Nor will any new bugs be able to get inside to nest. You’ll want to make sure it’s a scientifically tested brand, though, since not all mattress encasements are bite-proof or escape-proof for bed bugs. (Most experts recommend the Protect-a-Bed BugLock encasement, which costs about $81 for the queen-sized version.)

Next, pick up some bed bug traps. Set them up under the legs of your furniture and around the perimeter of rooms to help detect new infestations and reduce existing ones. According to Wang and Cooper, a one-bedroom apartment might need eight to 12 of these traps, while bigger apartments will require more.

You’ll want to expose all your belongings to extreme temperatures before you even think about touching them again. Putting them through the washer/dryer on its hottest setting will do the trick to kill both bugs and their eggs, but if you need to eradicate bugs lurking in items you can’t wash, you can freeze them in plastic bags (as long as your freezer gets down to 0°F). You can also kill them with a steam cleaner, especially if you need to purge them from your couch or other upholstered furniture.

If you’ve still got a large number of bugs lurking in your house, you can tackle them with a vacuum cleaner, sucking them out of seams, zippers, trim, and other furniture crevices. But you’ll want to use a stocking or some other method of protecting your vacuum from being infested itself. (See Figure 6 here.)

Some research has also found that desiccant dusts that dehydrate bugs to death, like diatomaceous earth and silica gel, can be effective at controlling bed bug infestations (silica gel in particular) when spread around the perimeters of rooms, on bed frames and couches, and on furniture legs.

As we mentioned before, you’ll probably want to consult a professional even if you do all of the above, because if you miss even one bug or egg, you'll be back to where you started. The cost of an exterminator pales in comparison to the cost of throwing out everything you own, moving homes, and then realizing you’ve brought the bed bugs with you anyway.

The bad news for anyone who’s already infested is that prevention really is key when it comes to bed bugs. So brush up on what the pests look like, make sure to check your hotel room for them when you travel, and if you spot them in your apartment, make sure to warn your neighbors.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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