Busy Online Student/Worker/Parent? You Need a Meal Library!

Regular readers of the Allen School Online Blog know that we have some blogging topics that we tend to return to frequently.  One of the regular subjects covered here is “ways to make life easier for the busy online student”.  Another favorite topic here at ASOB is “healthy eats” or in some cases (see posts on KFC’s Double Down sandwich) “unhealthy eats to avoid”.  Well today’s post rests at the intersection of these two favorite topics.Let me tell you about this fantastic idea I came across recently, courtesy of the Simple Dollar website.  In a recent post, the bloggers at Simple Dollar discussed a problem many of us share.  As busy students, parents, workers and spouses, we often have little time to prepare healthy, home cooked meals.  As a result, we often default to packaged, processed or prepared foods which are often not the healthiest options.  But there are only so many hours in the day right?  Well the solution to this challenging problem lies in what is referred to as a “Meal Library”.The idea is to develop a list of satisfying, healthy – and most importantly – easy to prepare, 30-minute meals that everyone in the household agrees are scrum-diddly-rumpcious!   The post which I highly recommend reading is available here and goes into a bit of detail on how to develop such a library and the benefits of building it.  Key benefits include saving on groceries, minimized impact on your time, healthier dietary habits and overall familial satisfaction.

BillGuard Protects From Unwanted Credit Card Charges

If you’re like me (and since you’re an online student, chances are that you are), online the better part of the day every day, you probably use the internet to manage your credit card accounts.   Ever come across a charge that you’re sure you didn’t incur?  Maybe it is some annoying fee charged by the bank.  Maybe it is something more sinister, like a fraudulent charge made to your account.  In either case, it can be difficult to determine.  You could spend hours navigating automated call centers or clicking around confusing websites.  Or, if you’d like to avoid the $300 the average American pays every year in bogus or otherwise unwanted credit charges, you could join BillGuard.  BillGuard monitors all your credit accounts for erroneous charges and cross checks suspect items against known scams and chatter from the Better Business Bureau and other online sites dedicated to tracking fraud.  If you’re online as much as I am, this service is great because it alerts you to suspicious transactions very early, before real damage can be done to your accounts.  Read more about how it works at Credit.com.

Interesting Intersection Between Medicine and Gaming

Raw Story has an article out today recounting the story of how an AIDS enzyme which had puzzled scientists for decades has been unraveled by computer gamers.  Trying to figure out the structure of certain proteins in the molecular makeup of pathogens is a difficult task.  Scientists cannot determine which pieces of the enzyme may be vulnerable to medical compounds until they understand the three dimensional shape of the enzyme itself.  Computers analyzing the two dimensional images of the proteins as viewed through a microscope were not up to the task.  But a group of video game mavens, using a specialized software tool, applied their well-honed (and likely Cheetos stained) gaming abilities to unlock the shape of the enzyme in the AIDS virus.  Click here to read the details of this stunning story.

Top 10 Most Hated Jobs – Not One In Healthcare!

So, CNBC recently published a report listing the top ten most hated jobs based on a survey they took of workers in many fields.  You’ll be happy to learn that not a single one of these odious employment opportunities was in the healthcare field.  The top 10 worst jobs are:1.  Director, Information Technology2.  Director, Sales and Marketing3.  Product Manager4.  Senior Web Developer5.  Tech Specialist6.  Electronics Technician7.  Law Clerk8.  Tech Support Analyst9.  CNC Machinist10.  Marketing ManagerSo, this blogger is happy for all you Allen School Online students who will NOT be entering a hated field.  Please feel sorry for me though.  I am a marketing director/manager, web developer and product manager for a living.  Maybe it is my cheerful natural disposition that keeps me from hating my job.

Negotiating Tips for New Employment Opportunities

So you thought you’d get all the information you needed in your Allen School Online studies to land a killer job with a great salary in Medical Billing and Coding?  Well, that’s mostly true.  But there are some very important, non-verbal negotiation strategies that can mean the difference between decent compensation and extraordinary compensation.  And these tips are not something you’ll learn in class.  These are tips that come from the hard won experiences of the job seekers who came before you.  Instead of learning them the hard way in this tough economic climate, read up on them here so you can prepare yourself to negotiate like a seasoned worker.Click here to read a piece from Yahoo! HotJobs written by consultant, Pat Mayfield about how to communicate using non-verbal cues such as “the power of body language”, “the power of the eyes” and “internal and external power”.  Then go out there and get the best compensation you can for the value you bring to a new employer.

No Nigerian Prince – New Phishing Scam!

OK, so as heavy users of online resources (being online students and overall Internet junkies), we’ve grown pretty savvy regarding the scams used by scammers to scam us out of our hard earned money.  For a while, we were susceptible to these “too good to be true” appeals to our greed.  “Nigerian banker fleeing oppressive regime needs compassionate foreigners to help him move his family business and significant cash holdings out of the country.  Let me deposit $4,000,000 into your account and when I transfer out the balance upon arriving in the US, I will leave $50,000 in your account as payment.”  I’m sure you’ve seen that one.  What about, “You’ve been selected to receive a $500 gift card from Walmart”?OK, so we have grown to recognize these as scams.  But scammers in Nigeria and elsewhere never sleep it would seem.  Latching on to the fact that we’ve grown hip to their schemes, they have gone the other way in an attempt to confuse us.  The new scams prey on the “too BAD to be true” response.For example, you receive a very official looking email from your bank.  It has all the colors and logos from your bank.  It may even come from an email address with your bank’s name somehow included.  It says something like, “Your account has been overdrawn by a debit in the amount of $7500.00.  The large dollar amount has alerted our fraud detection department.  Please log in immediately to verify the debit or to log a fraud claim.”  Provided is a link to a mocked up website that again “borrows” your bank’s website appearance.  In a panic, and wishing to quickly straighten out your account, you enter in your username and password and voila!  The scammer has access to your accounts.  Pizza and beer for all the scammer’s friends is on him tonight.There are lots of new Phishing scams popping up every day.  Click here for more information on the latest scams and how to detect them before you get taken for a ride.  Share any scams you have uncovered in the comments below.

Sample Resumé

Writing a resumé can be a task that is quite difficult to begin.  Especially if you don’t have a point of reference from which to begin .  Do you ever wish you could take a peek at what other people have done with their resumés so that you could at least get an idea of how to structure/format your own?There’s no shame in cribbing from the work of others when it comes to writing resumés.  In fact, there are lots of resumé sample sites out there (here, here and here) where you can review the CV’s of people in the exact same field as you.Or, click “read more” to see a particularly good example of a medical billing CV I found online. Continue reading…

Perseverance

We all have days when we feel like life’s challenges are just more than we can overcome.  If you’re feeling stretched thin, perhaps as you’re trying to train for a job in a new career field.  Or maybe you simply struggle to keep studies, work and family responsibilities from falling by the wayside.  Whatever your personal struggles, remember that the secret to success is to never give up.  Never give in.  PERSEVERE!Consider the story of Brandon Mulnix of Michigan.  Mulnix’s jaw was wired shut after injuries he sustained in a car wreck.  Yet he was scheduled to run a marathon.  A person with less perseverance might have opted to skip the 26 mile run.  But not Brandon.  He stuck to the task, no matter how large the obstacle in his path and completed the run in spite of his inability to consume solid foods for nutrition and energy.Kind of puts your struggles into perspective no?  Excelsior!

Job Hunting Blogs – A Link to Real World Experiences

Getting your certification is a wonderful thing, but now it is time to turn your attention and efforts to finding a new position with your newly minted qualifications.  With the economy in turmoil and the effects of this volatility on the labor market, the rules of job hunting are changing day to day.  What may have been conventional wisdom about how to write a resume, how to handle interviews or how to negotiate compensation is potentially no longer relevant.  In many cases, what used to be a strategy for success has become a recipe for failure.The best way to know what is working (and what is not) in real time is to read the shared experiences of other job seekers who are also currently out there dealing with resumes, human resources, hiring managers, etc.  The best job hunting blogs have shared experiences posted daily and that fresh input can be of immense value to the job hunter.  I recommend Jobhuntingblogs.org which is a wonderful compilation of the best job hunting blogs out there.I also like guerrillajobhunting Get a fresh look at what is working for others and you can get ahead in the hunt! Also, share your experiences in the comments below to help fellow Allen School Online students in their search.