July 2017 archive

How to Ask for a Raise

There are certain aspects of having a job that are very straightforward: you need to show up at a certain time, you have certain deadlines to meet, you must be respectful to your colleagues, etc.

Then there are other aspects that are not so cut and dried. One of these is how to ask for a raise. It can be a nerve-wracking decision because you don’t always know what is going on with the company’s finances or just how favorable your supervisors view you.

If you think the time has come to ask for a raise, here are some tips on how to go about it:

Is It Time to Ask for a Raise?

In general, you really only expect to get a raise once per year. If you just had one six months ago, you really should wait awhile before seeking another.

What Kind of Person is Your Boss?

Is your supervisor the type of person who always believes in getting to the point? Or is he or she someone that you need to approach in a gradual, thoughtful way that allows you to reinforce your value to the company in their mind? Knowing how to initiate the topic increases both your confidence and chances for success.

Have a Figure in Mind

You probably have an idea regarding how much more you would like to be making, but is it realistic? Your company may be doing well enough, but is it doing so well that you think it’s reasonable to ask for another $5 an hour? Choose a figure that is between the top end of what you would like to make and the minimum you would need to continue working there.

These are the basic steps. Try to ask for a raise before your next review as it will likely be too late for that calendar year if you wait until after. Good luck!

Four Things You Should Do First Thing in the Morning

Getting out of bed in the morning can be a real chore for some people…and I’m really not in a position to criticize anyone in that camp. As I get up in years, and a night’s sleep becomes less and less satisfying, mornings are more likely to elicit a groan than a smile.

It’s always good to have a steady routine as they helps to keep you on track. That routine needs to consist of positive and productive things, of course. Have trouble getting motivated in the morning? Here are some things you should start doing:

Get Up Early and Always at the Same Time

I can feel some of you wanting to check out already, but there is really some good thinking in this approach. It’s simple: the more time you have in the morning, the more productive you can be. Getting up at the same time everyday helps your body adjust to that inevitability and can improve the quality of your sleep.

Leave the Coffee and Go for Water

Yes, caffeine gives you that boost, but we all know it’s addictive. Try to ween yourself off of coffee and other caffeinated beverages in exchange for good old fashioned water. H2O re-hydrates you and that helps your body function at its peak; coffee actually does the opposite.

Exercise Before Work

This is another great way to clear your head and energize your body before the rigors of the day. And doing it before work ensures that it gets done.

Make Your Bed

As a child, this always seemed especially pointless to me: who other than me will see my messy bed? The point is that it actually helps to make you more organized. Also, at the end of a long and busy day, it’s more appealing to climb into a fresh and tidy bed than some sloppy mess.


Canada’s Ocean Playground

It’s time to re-discover Canada in honour of our nations 150th birthday. If you’re looking for sun and sand there’s never been a better time to visit Canada’s Ocean Playground: Nova Scotia. Located in eastern Canada, the province of Nova Scotia is almost completely surrounded by sea. There is something for everyone in Nova Scotia, so while you’re daydreaming of the clean salty air and falling into rhythm with the sea – we’ve curated a list of some of the best attractions.

Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk – No trip to Halifax is complete without  a stroll down the Waterfront Boardwalk where you will find adorable little shops, plenty of seafood options and an incredible view!

Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse – The Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is located in the small rural community of Peggy’s Cove located on the eastern shore of St. Margaret’s Bay. Enjoy great seafood, beautiful gifts and an incredible view of waves crashing at the foot of the lighthouse.

The Cabot Trail – Located on Cape Breton Island the Cabot Trail is considered one of the world’s most scenic destinations with stunning ocean vistas, old-growth forests, prehistoric rock scarred by glaciers, and the mysterious Cape Breton Highlands.

Town of Lunenburg – Old Town Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for it’s waterfront, colourful buildings and rum running past. Lunenburg is also home port of Nova Scotia’s sailing ambassador, the Bluenose II.

Halifax Public Gardens – Stop and smell the roses at Halifax Public Gardens, one of the finest surviving examples of Victorian gardening. These historic gardens were established in 1867, the year of the Canadian Confederation.

Citadel Hill – Located in Halifax, Citadel Hill is an important part of Nova Scotia’s history. On your visit you can explore the history of the fortress and the soldiers who were stationed there.


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Next Time, Leave the Plane and Take the Train

Airplanes are the preferred mode of transportation these days, but I use the word “preferred” in the sense that flying is the fastest way to get somewhere. There are so many downsides to flying, from the cost to the hassle to the cramped conditions to the terrible behaviour of other passengers.

I want my next trip to be the one that finally introduces me to parts of Canada I have never seen. To do that, I’m going to give VIA Rail a call.

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider a train instead for your next holiday:

  • Scenery. Plane trips are too short to enjoy the view and the view is usually just a lot of clouds that look the same anyway.
  • Price. Rail fare is much cheaper and that leaves you with more money to spend on fun things on your trip (or you could just leave more in the bank).
  • No airport security. I’m sure there have been instances of train hijackings, but I can’t think of any offhand. No one misses going through airport security. No one.
  • Bring your own food and beverages. Train station prices are usually nowhere near as bad as stores at airports. You can also just bring along your own food and drink (within reason – don’t show up with an XL pizza).
  • More room and more comfort. While trains can vary, chances are your seat provides more leg room and overall comfort that you will likely get from your plane seat.
  • Get up and move. Unless the train is packed, you can always get up and change seats to avoid annoying pests. Rarely can you do that in the air.
  • Your luggage will almost certainly arrive with you. Wouldn’t that be nice? How often do you hear about bags getting lost during train travel?