Make your desk impress

Appearance matters — and in the corporate his-productive-work-deskworld, that applies to your desktop as much as your dress attire.

“Your space speaks to your work mentality, creativity, and organizational skills,” says Sam Gosling, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You.

And with 70% of American employees now working in open-plan offices, as the International Facility Management Association reports, desktops are more in the public eye than ever. Ensure that yours sends the right message.

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Money: Talk Your Way to a Better Raise

Another year, another piddling pay raise? For some, sure. The average increase is expected to be just 3% in 2012, up a hair from last year’s 2.9%, according to human resources consulting firm Mercer. Still, managers are concerned about retaining top talent, which explains why the best performers will see a brighter 4.6% (while the weakest links will get 0.4%).

For a Money magazine story, I talked with career coaches, management professors, and psychology experts to determine several strategies for talking your way to a raise. For starters, you’ll want to avoid beginning the conversation with money talk. Instead, emphasize your level of worth by writing on the left side of a piece of paper the things you were hired to do, and on the right, what you’re doing — then provide this as evidence of your growing role at the company. Learn more about these negotiation tactics in this month’s issue of Money.