5 Year Anniversary of Minimum Wage Increase

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Yesterday marked five years since the date of the last raise to the federal minimum wage. On July 23, 2009, Congress raised the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. Since that date, the minimum wage has remained flat, while the cost of living has steadily increased.

Since the increase, the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index has increased by nearly 9 percent, excluding volatile food and energy prices. In some circumstances, food and energy prices have jumped even more than that. For example, beef and gasoline are up 40 and 45 percent, respectively, since July of 2009.

During that time, the average hourly earnings of private-sector employees have risen by roughly 10 percent, barely keeping up with inflation. However, many low-wage Americans have not received that same modest raise, with roughly 1.5 million Americans earning the federal minimum wage in 2013, according to the Labor Department, and many made only slightly more.

Over the years the expense of various, common items has risen while the wage has stayed stagnant. For example, a gallon of milk now costs 21.2% more than it did in July of 2009, and one dozen eggs is up 30.3%.

Presently, a full-time, minimum wage employee will only earn about $15,080 per year. Placing that number into perspective, the current federal poverty line for a family of four is considered $23,850, causing labor advocates referring to the wages as “poverty wages.”

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The 6 Types of Interview Styles

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As a job seeker, you never know the type of interview setting that you may walk in to. Because there are many different types of interview styles, it is important to be aware of each before you put yourself out there. Prior to attending the interview, try your best to gather information about the interview itself from the interview scheduler. Ask who you will be interviewing with and if you will be meeting them separately or as a group. Also, determine if you will be expected to take and tests, or prepare any presentations. Taking the necessary steps to determine what the interview may be like can allow you to mentally prepare for whatever scenario you may encounter.

Depending on the industry that you are applying in, interview methods can vary greatly. Some interviewers will focus on just one style, and others will engage you in a combination of several different interview types. In order to successfully prepare for an interview, understand each type of interview setting and the intention from the interviewer’s perspective:

Standard:
During the standard interview, an interviewer will likely ask you to tell him or her about yourself. They will ask common questions such as, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “Why are you here today?” For this type of interview, come up with well-thought-out, specific and truthful answers for common interview questions, prior to going to the interview. Doing so will allow you to have a strong, concise response ready to go.

Behavioral:
The behavioral interview will focus on the past so that employers can attempt to predict future work behaviors. In this setting, interviewers will ask you to describe specific scenarios, such as a time when you didn’t get along with a colleague, and give personal anecdotes about past failures or successes. To answer these types of questions effectively, choose on example, briefly describe the situation, how you handled it and what you learned from it.

Situational:
Situational interviews are often confused with behavioral interviews because many of the questions seem similar, however there are some differences. Typically, situational questions concentrate on future performance rather than past performance. In a situational interview, the interviewer will give you a dilemma and ask how you would go about dealing with it. Employers are looking to see how you would solve a problem and are attempting to measure your expertise. Be honest, specific and directly address the problem by describing your solution for the scenario and the actions that you would take.

Case:
Case interviews tend to be reserved primarily for the consulting industry and aim to focus on how you would solve specific business issues. Interviewers often use quantitative questions that allow you to show the interviewer how you think. The interviewer will be looking for insight into your thought process, so talk aloud as you consider your answer and create an interactive conversation.

Presentation:
In a presentation interview, employers will challenge you with a business issue and ask you to present solutions to one or more employees. Typically you will receive a certain amount to prepare, and a certain amount of time to actually present. The best thing to do in this scenario is to put pen to paper immediately and to begin establishing a solution quickly. The logic and contents of your thought process will be what is most important in this setting, so don’t worry about being fancy.

Panel:
A panel interview is when you are interviewed by multiple people at once. To effectively answer questions during this process, use the techniques mentioned for behavioral, situational and case interviews. Anticipate questions from all of the different interviewers and don’t be surprised if the questions cover several different interview styles.

Regardless of the type of interview you have, always remember the basics of interviewing such as maintaining eye contact and demonstrating that you are engaged in the conversation. Although there are many different types of interview situations, there are ways to prepare yourself for each scenario in order to effectively demonstrate your qualifications. In every case, sell yourself to the employer and be yourself in order to show the interviewer that you are the best job candidate.

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9 Steps to Better Social Media

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According to a recent survey conducted by Career Builder, 51 percent of employers that research job candidates on social media networks have come across content that caused them to reject a potential candidate. Like it or not, when you are in the market for a job,  your “professional” image on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media networks can actually trump your “private” image. Lynn Sarikas, director of the MBA Career Center at Northeastern University’s D’Amore McKim School of Business says, “It is critical that all your online activities are consistent with your professional brand. They have become part of your professional presence, and need to be consistent, positive and professional.” Just as you carefully edit and proof your resume and cover letter, you should avoid overlooking the social media component of your brand. In order to ensure your social media activity doesn’t ruin your chances of getting a job, complete these nine steps:

1. Edit your pictures
When it comes to social media photos, “If you wouldn’t want your mother seeing it, don’t put it up there,” says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at career website TheLadders.com. Avoid posting photos of excessive drinking or outrageous parties and remove any photos that may put you in a bad light. Additionally, check your settings so that you are able to control who can tag you in photos.

2. Boost your privacy
According to NextAdvisor, 30 percent of Facebook users don’t have their profiles set to “private” status. Changing your profile to private, allows you to tighten the security settings on your accounts that aren’t connected to you career. Another way to keep potential employers at bay is to come up with a creative user name for Facebook and other social media accounts. You might consider using a nickname or your first and middle names instead of your professional name.

3. Think before you post
Augustine says, “Once you publish a comment, status update, photo or video, it’s there forever- even if you delete it later.” She suggests only using social media to “enrich your career, rather than derail it.”

4. Keep everything in context
As a job seeker, know where to post content that fits a particular situation. For example, Facebook is a great venue for sharing day-to-day details about your life, while LinkedIn should be reserved solely for your professional life. Avoid divulging too much personal information on your LinkedIn because it may cause concern for an employer.

5. Accentuate the positive
According to Geoff Webb, the global digital talent manager at HR consulting giant Aon Hewitt, your social media profiles should play up the positive facts of your professional and personal lives. Consider which elements of your life are more engaging and what people find more endearing about you when you begin to generate content.

6. Maintain your cool.
A 2014 survey by Jobvite found that 65 percent of recruiters frowned upon job seekers who sprinkled their posts with profanity. Avoid posting comments or status updates that bash former or current colleagues, bosses or other individuals that you have encountered professionally.

7. Watch your words
Just as you should avoid profanity, you should also pay close attention to your grammar and spelling. In fact, the Jobvite survey also found that recruiters were more turned off by grammar and punctuation errors on job candidates’ social media profiles (61 percent) than by references to alcohol use (47 percent).

8. Search yourself
Go to Google and type in your own name. What are the results? What you see is what hiring professionals see, so if you notice something that is unflattering, attempt to delete it. Andrea Eldridge, co-founder and CEO of computer repair service Nerds on Calls, suggests creating a Google alert so that you will be informed whenever a new mention of your name occurs on the web.

9. Avoid controversy
A final rule of thumb to follow on social media is to avoid any hot-button topics such as politics or religion. However, don’t shy away from engaging in conversation and posting content altogether. Instead, share content or news that an employer posts on social media or ask thoughtful questions on a company’s social media site in order to put yourself on the radar.

Monitor your social media use in order to ensure that you demonstrate a professional demeanor on and offline. Follow the nine steps above in order to clean up your pages and to avoid losing a job offer over silly, social media content.

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Gigats Employer Review of Orbitz Worldwide

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Gigats’ job hunting tool box allows job seekers to learn about relevant companies, positions, benefits and perks. We provide detailed information regarding the companies that top the charts as the best of the best and allow you to determine if they have the right job match for you. Take a look at the Gigats Employer Review of Orbitz Worldwide to see the various opportunities and benefits available and if they are the right fit for you.

Rated as one of Glassdoor’s 25 Best Companies for a Work-Life Balance, Orbitz Worldwide lands on the list at number 5, boasting flexible working hours, cutting edge technologies, challenging assignments and constant learning. Orbitz Worldwide is a leading global online travel company that uses innovative technology that allows users to search for a broad range of travel products and services. Orbitz receives an overall Glassdoor rating of a 4.0 and 86% of employees would recommend the company to a friend. In addition to providing one of the best work-life balances in the nation, Orbitz provides a variety of excellent benefits, including medical, dental and vision coverage, a 401k retirement program,a travel discount program, a reward and recognition program and more. Orbitz offers a variety of great employment opportunities, including positions related to customer service, management, finance, marketing and more.

Orbitz rewards its employees with excellent benefits, an impressive work-life balance, and great opportunities that stretch across a spectrum of industries.  View Orbitz Worldwide employment opportunities at Gigats.com along with hundreds of other top companies and begin your customizable search for the perfect job match.

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10 Ways to Lose the Job Offer

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Recently, Business Insider asked hiring managers and career experts to explain what behaviors could potentially sway them against a candidate during a job interview. Without realizing it, there are small, subconscious things that you may be doing that could ultimately cost you the job offer:

1. Being ill-prepared
A job candidate who arrives to the interview late, frequently checks their phone throughout the interview or fails to ask questions demonstrates disinterest in the position. If you fail to put effort into preparation for the interview it will be quickly noticed by the interviewer, jeopardizing your hiring chances.

2. Neglecting the details
Martin Yate, author of “Knock ‘em Dead Social Networking: For Job Search and Professional Success” said, “I always want to see the heels of a candidate’s shoes- most people drive and have scuffed right heels- not polishing shoes shows a lack of attention to detail and self-respect.” Though not every interviewer is going to pay close attention to the scuffs on your shoe, many will notice if you arrive to the interview clean and well put tougher. Additionally, your job search materials should be well tailored and serve as an accurate demonstration of your written communication skills.

3. Focusing on job security and not job duties
Job candidates who site job security as their reasoning for wanting a job turn an interview off to the prospect of hiring them. “I don’t have that [job security] to give- you’re secure when you do the job well and clients or metrics are happy,” says Sean Tucker, managing editor of the American Academy of Actuaries in the District of Columbia. Instead of focusing on the prospect of job security, address the specific job duties and demonstrate how you will meet the needs of the employer.

4. Asking the wrong questions at the wrong time
A spokeswoman for the Cambridge, Massachusetts- based marketing platform HubSpot said, “Asking too many questions about money or title too early,” is a sure fire way to lose the employment opportunity. Hold off on asking specific questions about salary, benefits or similar details until you have already received the job offer.

5. Displaying limited emotional intelligence
Hiring managers will look for an indication that you have “good kindergarten skills” according to Rich Sheridan, CEO and chief storyteller of Menlo Innovations. In other words, interviewers want to know if you play well with others? Do you share? Can you think out loud? Do you smile and make eye contact? Master the simple, emotional intelligence skills that demonstrate your ability to fit in with a particular company culture.

6. Being elitist
If a job candidate is rude or abrupt to administrative staff or junior-level staff that they encounter while on site for an interview, hiring managers will find out. Acting unkindly towards individuals other than the interviewer will be a sign for the hiring manager what your true character is.

7. Failing to clean up after yourself
If you are offered a glass of water during the interview, then be sure to ask where you can put it or what you should do with it as you get up to leave. Chances are the interviewer will tell you to leave it, but by asking you demonstrate thoughtfulness and good manners.

8. Being a negative Nancy
Jaime Klein, founder of Inspire Human Resources points out, “We spend more time at work than at home with family and friends. Therefore, we need to enjoy our time at the office. We screen out negative candidates who speak disparagingly about former organizations, colleagues or leaders.” Negativity can be contagious and many hiring managers will avoid hiring an individual if they pick up on a pessimistic attitude during the interview.

9. Showcasing all-around rudeness
In a regular interview setting, avoid interrupting the hiring manager or speaking rudely in any way. In more unique settings, such as an interview over lunch, be sure to eat politely, conscientiously order and thank the individual who treated for lunch. Candidates who are rude will very quickly lose the interviewers interest and scrap their chances of being hired.

10. Forgetting to send thank-you notes
Many hiring managers find it unacceptable for a candidate to fail to send a thank-you note following the interview. Following up after the interview allows candidates to stay at the forefront of the hiring managers mind and to demonstrate their gratitude for the opportunity to interview.

Avoid committing the small, simple mistakes above during your interview process in order to ensure that you demonstrate your value as a job candidate to the employer. Eliminating the errors from the process will allow you to position yourself as the most ideal job applicant and receive the job offer.

 

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Jobless Claims Fall Unexpectedly

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Last week’s jobless claims report presents evidence that the labor market recovery is gaining traction. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, with the initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropping 3,000. The number now sits at a seasonally adjusted 302,000 for the week ended July 12, according to the Labor Department.

Claims tend to be unpredictable around the period after the July 4 holiday, when automakers normally shut down plants for retooling. However, there were no special factors influencing state level data according to a Labor Department analyst.

In the last five months, employment has grown by more than 200,000 jobs, a stretch that hasn’t been seen since the late 1990s. The news of the continued growth lead Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to caution that the Fed could raise interest rates sooner and more rapidly than currently envisioned if the labor market continues to improve faster than anticipated by policymakers. Currently, economists do not expect the U.S. central bank to start raising interest rates before the second half of 2015.

Last week’s claims report showed that the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 79,000 to 2.51 million in the week ended July 5, the lowest level since June 2007. Additionally, the unemployment rate for people receiving jobless benefits fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 1.9 percent during the same period.

 

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10 Common Job Search Errors

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Recently, Mike Volpe, the CMO of HubSpot,  wrote an article as part of DBA, a new series on Mashable about running a business that features insights from leaders in entrepreneurship, venture capital and management. For his article, Volpe outlined the common mistakes that he as seen after a decade of screening, interviewing and onboarding marketers. Read below for a list of some mistakes that you should avoid as a job seeker:

1. You use a Hotmail or AOL email address
Marketers are required to stay on top of current trends. Volpe recommends that unless you are applying for a job as a historian in 1999, then you should update your email address. Job seekers can earn bonus points by using an email address associated with their own custom domain because it demonstrates that you have knowledge of using the web and technology.

2. Unable to be found on Google
You should have a developed an online presence so that a hiring manager can easily find your LinkedIn profile, content you have created, your Twitter account, or your personal web page by typing your name in Google.

3. Your last tweet is from 2011
Avoid putting on your resume that you are a social media guru if you haven’t tweeted in 3 years. It isn’t necessary that you have a ton of followers, but demonstrating that you are actively engaged on a social media site will show that you are staying current. Volpe points out that he would rather see a candidate use one network well and not have accounts on others, than have accounts everywhere and use none effectively.

4. Inappropriate Facebook Photos
Your public-facing profile on any network should be professional and shouldn’t have any inappropriate content on it. With that being said, remove the keg stand, drinking, shirtless or bikini pics ASAP.

5. Your LinkedIn photo is a selfie
LinkedIn is a professional network, so your photo should be professional-looking too. No need to get a glamour shot, but be sure you are looking straight at the camera, show your entire face and keep it appropriately sized for the site.

6. The only number on your resume is your phone number
In order to succeed in marketing and other industries like it, you must be measurable and efficient. Your resume should include quantifiable metrics to demonstrate your accomplishments.

7. You speak exclusively in business babble
Limit the use of business jargon on your social media sites. Instead, say what you have to say in a clear, concise manner.

8. You haven’t written anything since college
If the writing sample that you provide is a college term paper, don’t expect to impress any hiring managers. With the countless channels available to publish your work, it is necessary to provide a current work sample that doesn’t date back to your college years.

9. You applied for 15 positions on the team
It is a good thing to be eager to join a company, however being desperate is not. Be sure to invest your time in drafting a cover letter and resume that is tailored to the job you truly want rather than applying to several different positions.

10. Errors in your cover letter
Spelling errors are unacceptable, but so is addressing the cover letter to the wrong people or referencing another company. You should create tailored cover letters and resumes for the types of positions you are applying for and invest the time and energy to make sure that the right company name, hiring manager and position are all spelled correctly.

Job hunting isn’t an easy task, so don’t make it harder on yourself by making the errors above. Make sure that you don’t give a company a reason not to hire you before you even get the interview by editing your materials and controlling your online presence.

 

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Becoming the Standout Job Candidate

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A recent Careerbuilder and Harris Interactive survey from 2013, involving more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals, asked which factors would make them more likely to favor one candidate over another. The survey revealed that 27 percent of respondents would favor the candidate with the better sense of humor, 26 percent would consider the candidate who is involved in his or her community, 22 percent would favor the better-dressed candidate and 21 percent would like the candidate with whole they had more in common. As you can see there are several different factors that can make an individual the standout job candidate. Here is a list of some additional ways to be a standout candidate and to land the job:

Use mutual professional and personal interests
During your interview, it is important that you build rapport by asking questions about his or her professional interests. Pay attention to the body language of your interviewer in order to gauge their level of interest in your responses. If you notice that the conversation and body language is positive, then be sure to reference that topic in your follow-up with him or her.

Follow up
Following up after an interview allows you to stay in front of the hiring decision-makers as they interview and consider more candidates. It is likely that the hiring process may take longer than you expect. If that is the case, then plan to follow up for a second time about two weeks after your initial thank you.

Connect on LinkedIn
Some recruiters believe that after you interview, you should ask your interviewer if he or she would be willing to accept an invitiation to connect on LinkedIn. Explain that you would like to build a relationship and stay connected as your reasoning for making the rquest. The worst thing that they could say is no, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Build your 30/60/90 plan
A 30/60/90 plan is a written document explaining how you will transition and excel and provide value to your future employer within those periods. Sharing your plan during a second or third interview is a great way to differentiate yourself and demonstrate interest in the company and job.

Take risks to stand out
Sometimes, standing out requires that you take calculated risks. Use your best judgment and keep in mind that if you play by the same rules as everyone else applying for the job, you risk blending into the sea of potential candidates.

Follow the steps above to demonstrate to a potential employer that you are the most ideal candidate. Carefully answer questions, relate to the interviewer and demonstrate your interest in the job in order to be the most standout candidate and the obvious choice in the employers’ eyes.

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Job Searching While Already Employed

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Searching for a new job while you are currently employed can be time consuming, overwhelming and difficult to conduct. Job seekers who attempt to “stealthily” seek new employment run the risk of ruining their reputation due to a sloppy and obvious attempt to find new work. In order to successfully conduct your new search, follow the do’s and don’ts for finding a new job when you are still working at your current job:

Don’t take advantage of company resources
Using your time on the clock or any of your current job’s resources to look for new work is a bad idea. Instead, carve out personal time to job hunt. Avoid sending job materials from your work email or searching online for job openings from your work computer. Companies have ways of tracking personal equipment, and if your employer determines you are using it for a job search they may not take too kindly to it.

Do devote yourself to your current job
Martin Yate, author of the Knock ‘em Dead book series, points out “When we make the decision to move, we mentally and emotionally quit the job we’re doing.” However, you should aim to do the opposite. Work hard to meet and exceed expectations, while continuing to be an outstanding employee. Acting professionally reinforces your current job security. Don’t stop working hard simply because you have decided to try and move on.

Don’t show your hand on social media
In order to successfully conduct a job search, job seekers must learn to network. Using sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook are essential for finding a job, however your current boss may become suspicious if you have a sudden spike in activity. If you plan to do a major revision of your LinkedIn profile, chose a lower traffic time, like late at night on a weekend. Also, modify your settings so that your connections aren’t alerted of every update that you make.

Do make smart connections early
You begin building your network long before you are desperate to flee your current job. Before you even begin to consider leaving, begin your efforts to build your list of references and referrals. Yate recommends joining LinkedIn groups with people on the same professional level as you or people who are one or two stations higher. When interacting with your network, don’t broadcast the you are looking for a job, instead seek to increase your visibility. Nurture a relationship with your network over time and maintain your connections.

Don’t tell your boss that you’re job searching
For most people, informing a boss that you are looking for new work tends to end badly. Telling your employer that you plan to leave will get you nothing, and will result in them potentially viewing you as disloyal and a short-timer, blocking future promotions or opportunities with the company.

Do practice a poker face
Until you are comfortable discussing your plans with an employer, evade the subject altogether. Wait to tell your employer until you have a new job offer in writing in your hand. After securing a new role, pick a good time to approach your boss and inform them of your decision to move on.

Navigating a job search while you are still employed can be complicated and overwhelming. Follow the do’s and don’ts provided above to discreetly find new employment and to smoothly transition from your current role into a brand new one.

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Raising Wages for Tipped Workers

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Over the past several months the national debate over raising the minimum wage has been heating up. Although minimum wage increases will certainly help a large portion of American workers, there are more than a million professionals that are making ends meet on the tipped minimum wage, which starts as low as $2.13 an hour. Currently the law requires that employers make up the difference if bad tippers keep workers from earning the regular minimum wage, however in reality that isn’t happening. Many economists and workers believe that the tipped minimum wage should be done away with altogether, and replaced with the regular standard.

The median hourly wage, including tips, for tipped workers nationally is currently $10.22, according to the Economic Policy Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. The rate is even lower at $9.80 an hour in the 19 states where the $2.13 tipped minimum rate is allowed. Other states in the nation either have a higher tipped minimum wage or only use a regular minimum wage. The EPI report estimated that 1.4 million people are getting the $2.13 tipped minimum wage plus tips and that an additional 2.1 million are getting between $2.13 and $7.25 plus tips.

One of the report’s co-authors, Sylvia Alegretto, who is also the co-director of the Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics at the University of California, Berkeley, believes that replacing the tipped minimum wage with a regular minimum wage would mean a raise for some workers, in addition to the stability of knowing what they will get paid week-to-week.

There is currently a push to raise the federal minimum wage focused on a plan by Sen. Tom Harkin, and Rep. George Miller, which would increase the regular minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour by 2016. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the change would translate into raises for an estimated 16.5 million workers, while also hurting businesses and resulting in 500,000 job losses. The proposed plan would also gradually raise the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, instead of the current 29 percent.

According to the EPI report, workers who currently rely mainly on tips are more likely to need government assistance. The report indicated that 46 percent of tipped workers and their families rely on public benefits, while only 35.5 percent of non-tipped workers and their families need the same programs.

While many businesses and economists are backing the initiative to adjust wages for tipped workers, The National Restaurant Association disputed many of the report’s findings on Thursday. Scott Defife, the National Restaurant Association’s executive vice president of policy and government affairs made a statement to CNBC disputing the claims and stating that the claim that “there is a ‘subminimum wage’ is categorically untrue.”

Do you believe that wages for tipped workers should be increased along with the regular minimum wage?

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