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You know you’re a real estate agent if… top 40 ways

Industry humor is always fun, and this classic satirical look at the stereotypical real estate agent is a knee slapper.



sales guy

sales guy

You know you are a Real Estate Agent if …


  1. Your car (or mode of transportation) has as many filing cabinets (or places that files can be stuffed) as your office
  2. Your monthly cell phone minutes are almost in the 6 figure mark.
  3. You can effectively answer the phone, reply to an email, send a fax, eat your lunch, review title work, send a text message, (throw a sheep), and set a showing at one time.
  4. The only time that you can be social (outside of work) is at 2am – online with the other real estate agents.
  5. You politely sit at the closing table across from the other agent who was so useless and incompetent through the entire process that you had to do BOTH sides of the transaction, yet he still gets his x% commission PLUS his $300 transaction fee, and you want desperately to throw those complimentary title company cookies at him, but his lawyer is sitting next to him, and you can’t afford a trip to jail … again.
  6. You are on your way to one of 50 appointments in a day when your buyer client calls and says, “I HAVE to see THIS house RIGHT AWAY! This is the one! This is the one!” about a house that you are quite certain they won’t like, but after politely telling them why it won’t meet their criteria, you make the illegal U-turn anyway and meet them at the property, where they hate the home, hate the neighborhood, the bedrooms are too small, there aren’t enough bedrooms and then are disappointed that you showed them something like that.
  7. You are an alcoholic.
  8. You have seven favorite restaurants where they all know your name, your profession, your client base, your title company, your lenders and that you’re an alcoholic.
  9. Starbucks is three of your seven favorite restaurants.
  10. Your Realtor® Radar goes off when anyone in a 3 mile radius starts talking about real estate.
  11. You’ve read the Code of Ethics, you follow the Code of Ethics, but cannot understand why 90% of the agents that you do a deal with act as if the Code was written in Vulcan.
  12. You have created different files for your investor “clients”: File A: Investors who know what they are looking for and know what they are doing. File B: Investors who kind of know what they are looking for and kind of know what they are doing. File T (for trash): “Investors” who tell you to call them when you find a good deal, from their apartment/Mom’s basement.
  13. You wish you were as popular and important as those lead-selling emailers/spammers/telemarketers would like you to believe.
  14. You are also a psychiatrist, divorce counselor, marriage counselor, babysitter, mind-reader, job consultant, teacher, mentor, creative genius … and an alcoholic.
  15. You sell a home to a couple, only to get a call 2 months later that they are getting a divorce; they thought the stress-free process of buying a house together would heal their broken marriage, but now they need to sell because one person can’t live with “that A$$h01e” anymore. (See #14)
  16. No matter how hard you work, one client will think you are overpaid.
  17. That one client who thinks you were overpaid goes out and gets their license because it is soooo easy to do real estate, and after one miserably failed year they go back to their previous job and you can’t help but smirk as you put them back on your newsletter list.
  18. You tell your seller from day one that the asking price needs to be lower and you keep telling them this throughout the listing period. After a few months of it not selling, they get mad at you, hire another agent, lower their price to what you told them in the first place and it sells in 2 days.
  19. You plan for a small vacation and all the business that you could ever want comes out of the woodwork 3 days before you leave.
  20. You come back from your small vacation to find 2,381 messages in your inbox and a “full” voicemail box.
  21. Your competitions hair is larger than your overnight bag.
  22. You’re still and alcoholic.
  23. You hold open houses just for the opportunity to check all of your emails and post blogs about how ineffective open houses are.
  24. You yell at your computer when the internet is down.
  25. You yell at your computer when there are no pictures in an MLS listing.
  26. You yell at your computer when your 8th cup of coffee spills on the keyboard.
  27. You actively show a couple of buyers over 200 homes over a course of a year in a price range that they demand to stay at. You find out that they have a champagne taste on a beer budget and suggest that they bump up their purchase price to closer to their actual qualification mark, as that will afford them more of the luxuries that they are looking for, but they refuse time and time again. Then you wake up one morning to a phone call from their lender congratulating you for finally finding a home for them (WTF?!?), and that is when you realize that they called on a sign in a yard on a home that was right at their qualification mark and went under contract with that agent. (Sorry. Personal Rant … but you get the drift …)
  28. You are a master at figuring out how to make almost everything in your life a “business expense” .
  29. You always get that slight knot in your stomach when you drive by a FSBO.
  30. Your own sister decides to sell FSBO.
  31. Pre-packaged and microwavable foods are your best friends – even better when they can be eaten while driving.
  32. You reconfigure your whole day to show a home and your “potential buyer” stands you up .
  33. You go to show a home to a buyer client and …
    1. There’s no key in the lockbox
    2. The key in the lockbox does not open the door
    3. There’s no lockbox
    4. You unknowingly set off the house alarm and don’t know how to turn it off
    5. There is a dead/drunk/sleeping person in one of the rooms
    6. The seller is there and manages to lengthen your showing time to 1 ½ hours with all of the stories that they have to share (see #14)
    7. The neighbor manages to lengthen your showing time to 1 ½ hours with all of the stories that they have to share about how much they love/hate the Sellers (see #14)
    8. You lock your car keys, the house key and your cell phone in the vacant house
  34. You attend any “Broker Open” that offers food.
  35. You attend every “Broker Open” that offers alcohol (see #7 and #22).
  36. You hesitate to have anything printed on the back of your business card, because they make such great note pads.
  37. You have been on the way to a closing when you get a call that the buyer went out and financed $15k in new furniture for a home that they can no longer qualify for because of their new furniture loan.
  38. After one year in real estate your spouse either leaves you (out of frustration) or joins you (out of
  39. Your children want to become long haul truck drivers while working part time as full time doctors when they grow up because they don’t want to work as much as you do.
  40. You are still an alcoholic.

(Of course, if you are a Renegade Realtor® then there are about 35 more things to add to this list.)

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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  1. ines

    November 28, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    have to go change my underwear….be right back!

  2. Greg Swann

    November 28, 2007 at 9:55 pm

    Bravo! Excellent! Utterly priceless! My hat is off to you.

  3. Wade Young

    November 28, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    Funny, but also important. Your post highlights the reasons that real estate agents are worthy of standard (or even premium) commissions. Real estate agents should include something humorous like this in the information they give to their clients so that their clients can appreciate the value that a real estate agent brings to the table. I have been guilty of bemoaning real estate commissions when listing my own home in the past. Sellers need to be more aware of what agents do on their behalf.

  4. Benn Rosales

    November 28, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Outstanding, I felt my hand rising as if to say, “hi, my name is Benn, and I’m an agent…”

  5. Lani Anglin

    November 28, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    OMG this has to be the best article of the year!!! Sheer brilliance- when does your national “Realtard Comedienne” tour kick off?

  6. Mariana

    November 28, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Ines – Have fun with that …
    Greg – Thank you!

  7. Mariana

    November 28, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Wade – That would be an interesting facet to the listing presentation, now wouldn’t it? LOL!

    Hi Benn. We accept you.

    Lani – RealTard Comedienne Tour ?!?!? … Oh Em Gee! I’m dying here …

  8. Todd Carpenter

    November 28, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    I was a child of a real estate agent. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me.

  9. Mariana

    November 28, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    There are support groups for you, Todd.

  10. Benn Rosales

    November 28, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Todd, PHDs will study you for generations…

  11. Ron Ares

    November 28, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    That about sums it up. Is being an alcoholic a good or bad thing these days? Just wondering…

  12. ines

    November 28, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    I think my literal translation does not quite sound right (thanks to Lani for making me think in Spanish). Now I’m embarrased (yes that’s possible Mariana)

  13. Mariana

    November 28, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    … no. I don’t believe it!

  14. Mariana

    November 28, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    Ron – Yeah, I have no idea anymore.

  15. April Groves

    November 29, 2007 at 3:49 am

    OMG! This is getting printed out and posted at the office!

  16. Maggie Dokic

    November 29, 2007 at 5:30 am

    Mariana, this has got to be my favorite piece of yours and you have some excellent ones! Bravo.

  17. Missy Caulk

    November 29, 2007 at 6:35 am

    How about you have a hissy fit when AR is down for maintenance EST.

  18. Jeremy Hart

    November 29, 2007 at 6:58 am

    Absolutely brilliant! Kept nodding my head … “yep, yep” … as the caffeine IV went “drip, drip”.

  19. Mariana

    November 29, 2007 at 8:44 am

    April – Nice! I can imagine that it will be funny to some people and some will just “not get it…”

    Maggie – Thank you!

    Missy – #24A: You yell at your computer when AR is down for 45 minutes, forcing you to keep hitting the refresh button until your index finger goes numb…

    Jeremy – Thanks! Coffee … Mmmm …

  20. joe peffer

    November 29, 2007 at 10:40 am

    Uncanny, have you been following me around with a video camera all year? Nice Post Mariana

  21. Jennifer Klaussen

    November 29, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Mariana – you crack me up!!! Thanks for the chuckle! Jennifer

  22. Mariana

    November 29, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Joe – Yes. Yes I was.
    Jennifer – Thanks!

  23. Paula

    November 29, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    then you wake up and want to do it all over again… that a sickness or a career?

  24. Dena Stevens

    November 29, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    I don’t care what you say #36 is just functional!

  25. Robert D. Ashby

    November 30, 2007 at 6:34 am

    Great job. I think we need to do a mortgage version.

    (#36)I like napkins as business cards sometimes (more space to write on). Besides, I did it a few times, everyone asked why I did it that way (conversation starter), and I got several calls months later from people who never threw them away because I got there attention and wrote something pertinent to their business on them. I must admit that I loved seeing the looks on peoples faces when I did it too.

  26. Mariana

    November 30, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Paula – Um. Uh. Yeah. Both.

    Dena – Hello! Exactly …

    Robert – Well, I guess the challenge is on! Although I am sure that we share many of the same facets … other than the whole If-I-lie-on-my-loan-app-no-one-will-ever-know bit …

    (We worked with a guy who had his dog reposessed …TWICE! Bad borrower. No loan for you!)

  27. Joeann Fossland

    December 2, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Love it! This would be a good primer for an agent thinking about whether they want real estate as a career!

  28. Mariana

    December 2, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks Joeann. After reading this I bet we would see a large influx of “Ah, never mind”‘s in RE School…

  29. Brian Wilson

    December 3, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    This is great, Mariana! Good luck on the Odysseus!

    Brian Wilson,

  30. Mariana

    December 3, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Brian – Thanks. April just wrote about your Zolve Project. Once I figure out how many communities I already belong to, I may look into it … 😉 Until then, Good Luck!

  31. walidm

    December 10, 2007 at 1:00 pm

    Funny, 24 & 25 had me laughing out loud….and the picture of the pile of paper – Classic.
    Good stuff 🙂


  32. Mariana

    December 10, 2007 at 5:17 pm


  33. Ginger Wilcox

    January 29, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    LMAO. Check, check, check! I am a 3rd gen agent. Definitely been there. Absolutely classic. Give this to anyone thinking of getting into the biz!

  34. Mariana

    January 29, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Ginger! I work with a lot of new agents and this is now one of my standard hand outs … LOL!

  35. Molly Hadley

    February 6, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    I’m home-unemployed having given up my license to be a full time nanny for my grandchildren-your list reminds me why I so miss real estate -#36 full gloss, turquoise, and techy rainbow stripes on front with a pure white matte finish on back for the builder in his truck/buyer/postman/phone number/gate code/street address/listing agent phone number/lockbox code/parcel id #/brother in laws out of town address/mother’s maiden name/blackberry techsupport number.

  36. Mariana

    February 14, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    LOL @ Molly! So true!

  37. Jennifer Hart

    March 20, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    You just made my day! I hope you don’t mind that I am going to print this and have it handy for those much needed moments of laughter. This is a crazy career and no one understands unless they are in the biz.

    Love your sense of humor!

  38. Jeannette

    April 1, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I am LMAO right now. How true so many if not all that is!!

  39. Mariana

    April 2, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    Jennifer – Thanks! Laughter is so important – especially in our business.

    Jeannette – Thank you! 🙂

  40. Marc Rasmussen

    April 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    LMAO….I love this post!! So true.

  41. Sue

    April 25, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I am printing this out as well!! This is so funny and so true. I actually just had business cards printed with something on the back and I DO miss being able to jot down on note on them.

  42. Judy

    May 11, 2008 at 7:20 am

    One of my agents just sent this to me – I haven’t laughed so hard in so long!!!! Thank you!!

  43. Mariana

    May 14, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Marc, Sue and Judy – Thanks!

  44. Robin

    May 23, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Mariana, someone emailed this to me and would not tell me about it. They just told me it was a must read. He was right. Where did you come up with this? Brilliant!

  45. Vickie Nagy

    May 23, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Just too precious! Thanks for taking the time to let your creative genious flow!

  46. Rob Graham

    May 23, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    You had me at alcoholic, you had me at alcoholic. (sniff)

  47. Mott Kornicki

    May 23, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    I think I’ll have another Rum & Coke!

    It’s all true.

  48. Frank Bailey

    May 23, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Very good, and very true!!

  49. Maria

    May 23, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    I am a new agent, and you are scaaaring me! But this is truly funny. I am up for the challenge? I dont know, but I do love Mojitos 🙂

  50. Mariana

    May 23, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Robin – Thank you. This is my life … There HAS to be humor in it. I just put it in list form.

    Vickie – Thank you. I had fun putting it together, but I could very easily add to it every day…

    Rob – LOL! No tears, though …

    Matt – Make mine a diet!

    Frank – Oh yes … Very true.

    Maria – I didn’t mean to scare you! Mojitos … Mmmmm …

  51. Susan

    May 23, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    It is humorous actually when you put it on paper and very true. I had no idea at first as it takes a while to have the opportunity to enjoy all these experiences. And yes, a drink now and again and again provides a bit of relief. 🙂

  52. Holly White

    June 12, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    I almost pee’d my pants! My team and I were together when we read this. Big laughs! Every single line applied to us, and sometimes on multiple occasions. The line where the investor lived in an apartment was hysterical! Big T for Trash! 🙂

    And I’m like Norm from Cheers when it comes to Starbucks!

    Great writing Mariana! You should do stand up if the real estate thing falls through!!

  53. Mariana Wagner

    June 13, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Susan – The longer I am in the business … the more I can add to this list!

    Holly – No stand up for me .. but thanks!!

  54. Susan

    June 13, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Mariana, how about this one for your list…

    Your boyfriend of 7 years (Ivy League graduate) walks into a sales office for new construction without you, doesn’t even mention you and puts in an offer on a $1M townhome, then says he didn’t realize…..

  55. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Susan – oh … no … ouch.

  56. Susan

    June 24, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Yes, it was a big ouch for him!! I think I was in the state of shock at first. Classic example of how someone can be very smart in one way and…well…not as much in another. He cancelled the deal 😉 thank goodness, but it was close. It was in attorney review.

  57. Mariana Wagner

    July 13, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    Funny- I have recently had this post sent to me, telling me to read it, because it was so funny. LOL!!

  58. Sue

    July 14, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Thats funny, and quite a compliment. I bet whoever sent was surprised to hear that you WROTE IT!!! It is priceless, even when revisited a second an third time.

  59. Justin in Kauai

    July 22, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Absolutely hilarious!

  60. Proxy

    July 26, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Very funny, number 14 has to be my favorite! 🙂

  61. Nicole Boynton

    July 29, 2008 at 9:30 am

    My best one is when you sell a house in 2 days with multiple offers and a week before closing it burns down…True!

  62. Mariana Wagner

    July 29, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Justin – Thanks!

    Proxy – #14 is a definitely a winner.

  63. Mariana Wagner

    July 29, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Nicole – Oh no… I can’t even imagine how lovely THAT transaction was. Hope no one was hurt!

  64. Suzanne Gantner

    July 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    You have made my year, that is the truest depiction of my life I have ever seen. That is hilarious!! I showed a home today with a lady asleep in one of the bedrooms when we walked in, that was a first for me, especially since the home was supposed to be vacant… Loved it!!

  65. Sue

    July 30, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    I was showing a place and…lets just say, it needed “alot” of work. My client and I were discussing this very candidly while in the home. As we were standing in the living room, I went to put my hand on the end of the couch and found myself holding a foot! Turns out there was a person sleeping on the couch completely covered by a blanket. My eyes just got big as I looked at my client and quickly pulled my hand back. He got it right away. I didn’t even wake the sleeping seller…. 🙂

  66. Mariana Wagner

    July 31, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Suzanne and Sue – The last time I was in a house that was supposed to be vacant or empty and I accidentally stumbled upon a sleeping person, I screamed. They woke up and yelled at us for being in their house … later to find out that it wasn’t even their house.

  67. Chrissy Moock

    August 3, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    This is hilarious! But yet, a few true points- that is the scarey part!

  68. Linsey Planeta

    August 3, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks for some needed comic relief. I loved it!!!

  69. Sheila Bragg

    August 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    I love it! I’m sharing with everybody I know. 🙂

  70. Sue

    August 5, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    This could go on for who knows how long, I mean with each week that passes by we have new and exciting stories to share…..maybe it’ll become a book.

  71. Mariana Wagner

    August 13, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    Chrissy – For me it is ALL too true…

    Linsey- Thanks!

    Sheila – Cool!

    Sue – a book? … hmmmm … interesting.

  72. Mariana Wagner

    August 22, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    I must amend #2… Thanks to @ines

    Your monthly cell phone bill arrives in a BOX, delivered by UPS… LOL!

  73. Ruthie V

    August 28, 2008 at 9:46 am

    This is GREAT! Found it by mistake and LOVE it (so do the other agents in the class we are in right now!)
    Hope you’re having a great time at Mega Camp…

  74. Mariana

    August 31, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Ruth! Nice to see you here … You should check back here more often. Agent Genius is PACKED full of great articles.

  75. Chrissy Moock

    September 23, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    I had to come back and visit this…. I think everything on the list applies to my day today 🙂

  76. Lesley

    September 26, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Do you FOLLOW me? This was my life on parade, loved it!

  77. Gordon Baker

    September 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    The reason this is so funny is because it is so true!

  78. Mariana Wagner

    September 27, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Chrissy – SO much applies to my life EVERY day.

  79. Mariana Wagner

    September 27, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Lesley – LOL. no …

    Gordon – I swear! All of it is so true!

  80. Tina Merritt

    October 6, 2008 at 5:48 am

    I am lughing so hard rioght now I can barely type (see???). Thank you!!!

  81. Colorado Real Estate by Kathy Torline

    October 17, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    #86 — definitely made me chuckle. Maybe every new agent should read this before they get in the business.

  82. Mark Brian

    February 3, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Really worried about #38 since she has already said she would never get into real estate!

  83. Matt Stigliano

    February 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    You know you’re a real estate agent if…

    …you rushed over here to read this because @LaniAR mentioned it on Twitter and you just had to know what it said (I actually remember reading this one).

  84. Lani Rosales

    February 3, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    @rerockstar lol, Matt! That’s awesome. I’m ready for Mariana to do a 2009 version!

  85. Dan O'Halloran

    February 3, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    freaking hilarious and so so true! @LaniAR thanks for tweeting this…will be sending it to my whole office

  86. Mariana Wagner

    February 3, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    LANI! My ears were ringing … Did you tweet this? LOL! 2009 version … Hmmm…

  87. MIssy Caulk

    October 26, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    You too? 🙂

  88. Calgary Real Estate by Chris

    October 29, 2009 at 3:28 am

    Hilarious, and unfortunately… true.

  89. Jim Lambert

    October 30, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Why did you leave out the other 60 reasons? I would comment more but I have to go get a drink.

  90. Donna Clayton Lloyd

    November 15, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Here in Fayetteville/FT. Bragg NC— this is the life of a REALTOR in perfect detail — with more details to come. I am glad we can laugh and also very grateful for all the benefits this crazy life yields. Thanks for this one. It’s going in my FAVORITES box!

  91. Grant in Nashville

    February 11, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Your cell phone battery has to be replaced every 6 months!

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.



Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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Business Marketing

How Instagram’s latest redesign is more sinister than it seems

(MARKETING) Instagram’s latest updates have all but repurposed the app into an online mall – one that tracks everything you see, say, and buy on it.



Woman in hijab taking photo on her smartphone for Instagram, affected by the redesign.

Instagram started the new year off with a makeover in their latest redesign. The notifications button teleported to the top of the screen in the app’s new design, and now the “Shopping” button is in its place.

It’s a subtle yet insidious switch. You’re much more likely to select the marketplace out of habit, by accident, when searching your next dose of online validation.

The app has always been a vital tool for artists, craftspeople, and small businesses to promote their work — including myself. And the new redesign is intended to boost the visibility of those groups. At least, that’s Instagram’s argument.

In an article for The Conversation, Nazanin Andalibi of the University of Michigan School of Information provides a glimpse of what’s going on behind the scenes.

“By choosing to make the Shop tab central to its platform,” she writes, “Instagram is sending its users a message: This platform is a business, and interactions on this platform are going to be commodified.”

As an advertiser, Instagram’s popularity has exploded in the last decade. Even big pharma is in on the surge, with seventy pharmaceutical companies purchasing ads on the app in 2020. (That made it the fastest growing pharma advertiser of the year.)

As we know, Instagram not only runs ads, but also uses user information to filter who sees what advertisements. Now, shopping is explicitly a central function of the app. It sometimes feels like a digital mall… And that’s not really what people signed up for.

I’ve had my account for since I was a teenager, and the experience I have using the app today is totally different from what it once was. For one, it’s increasingly difficult to differentiate paid ads from regular user content on Instagram.

And second, I use Instagram to promote my work, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing personal details about myself anymore.

Because, to use Anadalibi’s words: “Sharing or seeking information about a difficult, personal experience on a social media platform and then having the platform capitalize on an algorithmic understanding of the experience–which might or might not be accurate–is problematic.”

That goes doubly so for youth, who may not be fully aware of that engineering.

For instance, a teenager searching for body positive posts might receive personalized ad results for weight loss programs. A human would probably realize that’s an inappropriate, even triggering suggestion. But algorithms don’t think that way.

Alongside the redesign update, Instagram has also faces recent criticism for their Community Guidelines, which prevent suggestive and explicit images and speech.

And whether you agree with the guidelines or not, don’t be fooled. Instagram isn’t concerned with uplifting its creators, or protecting its young users. Their only goal is protecting their new bottom line, and staying as ad-friendly as possible.

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Business Marketing

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?



Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

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