Mindfulness: Take Time to Think Amid the Rush

I had a teacher once who taught me the value and rewards of mindfulness.  Mindfulness is a concept from eastern religion that simply involves the act of living in the moment and maintaining the clarity of though that so often is hard to achieve.  As we live our frenetic modern lives, with work, family, online study and 24/7 connectivity through ever improving social and communication technologies, it is hard to ever take a moment to fully focus on the task at hand.  When the task at hand is something important like driving safely on the freeway or something really important like interacting with the ones you love, mindfulness is key to avoiding unpleasant consequences.  It also has the positive benefit of helping one achieve positive goals with less strife and effort.This teacher of mine wasn’t a school teacher or spiritual figure.  Rather this teacher was someone I encountered in my personal struggle to change my relationship to my own body.  Learning to be mindful about my thoughts, words and actions (especially about eating and exercise) helped me to become significantly healthier than I had been.  Lately, I had fallen out of the practice of mindfulness in my affairs and have seen the predictable return of some unhealthy results.  But today, I have made the decision to again focus on being mindful in all aspects of life and I feel good about what this refocus will mean for me.  I thought it would be valuable for me to share some basic info on mindfulness to readers of this blog, as much for their own benefit as for my own. Read this excellent, brief description of what mindfulness means and how it benefits mind and body, written by Soren Gordhamer; an author who counsels individuals and groups on ways to live with less stress and more effectiveness in our technology-rich lives. He has been featured in various media, including GQ Magazine and Newsweek.com, and has taught classes on stress reduction to such diverse populations as youth in New York City juvenile halls, trauma workers in Rwanda, and to staff at Google.

More Resumé No-no’s

Every so often, I post on ways to enhance your resumé or to at least avoid some common job-hunting mistakes. These posts always generate alot of interest. So here’s another installment in the “how not to botch your resumé” category. Below are some comical errors culled from hiring managers in diverse fields in an article by Maria Hanson at LiveCareer. Needless to say, none of these people were called back for an interview.Avoid Careless Mistakes like these:“Speak, read, and wright English/Spanish.”–seen by Angie Beauchamp, Charm Factory manager.A candidate actually misspelled her own first name, writing “Barbara” as “Barabara.”–Mark Gollihur, who managed a video store when he received that application.Bad IdeasEmail address: Bostoncutiee22@example.com.–seen by Stacey Schmidt, a recruiter at Vistaprint.A job-seeker used a free return-address sticker from an endangered-wildlife nonprofit on his resume instead of typing his contact information out.–seen by Philip Farina.For the whole article and a longer list of resumé gaffes, click here.

Its Never Too Late to Learn

The Great Recession of 2008-2010 has destroyed alot of formerly good-paying jobs.  Many reports indicate that even once employment begins to pick up again, many of the lost jobs are not likely to return.  Either rendered obsolete by automation technology or outsourced to lower cost labor markets overseas, some gigs are gone the way of the Dodo.This may be for some of our readers, the very reason they took the prescient step of seeking retraining in a new field; one that will not meet with the same fate.  For those who may be considering striking out in this bold direction, the task may seem frightening.  “Am I too old to learn a new career skill?”  “How can I choose a new career when my whole adult life I have always been a <insert your lost job title here>?”Well, buck up.  Consider the story of Hazel Soares of San Leandro, CA who just graduated from Mills College at the ripe old age of 93!  Read her story here and then gather up the courage that surely resides in every member of the human race and get going on your new career in medical billing and coding!

Good Resource for Job Seekers

While we’re still in a deep hole in terms of the huge numbers of jobs lost during the recession that began in 2008, we are definitely seeing unmistakable signs that the job losses have ceased.  In fact, for the last two months, the US economy has added jobs.  But we still have lots of lost ground to cover if we’re to simply return to pre-recessionary levels of employment.  For students of the Allen School Online who may be nearing the end of their course of study, thoughts are turning to where the jobs are in this very difficult environment.  To help, I have uncovered a very useful resource that I want to share with our users.  It’s called the Occupational Outlook Handbook for 2010-2011.  It is a website maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.For hundreds of different types of jobs—such as teacher, lawyer, and nurse—the Occupational Outlook Handbook tells you:
  • the training and education needed
  • earnings
  • expected job prospects
  • what workers do on the job
  • working conditions
In addition, the Handbook gives you job search tips, links to information about the job market in each State, and more. You can also view frequently asked questions about the Handbook.Have a look around this useful site for good, up-to-date info on ways you can supercharge your job search.

Boardwalks Under Water?

A few weeks ago, we had a freakishly hot, early Spring day.  Maybe you recall.  It was close to 90 degrees and had been predicted by the TV weatherman.  So we decided to play hooky for a day and hit the Jersey Shore for a day of early beachery.  I know many of our NY based student body probably considered doing the same.  Let me tell you, it was sublime!  Uncrowded (due to it being the 1st week in April) and gloriously warm.  But I couldn’t help noticing how much of the beach had been eroded over the Winter due to heavy storms and surf. It was as if half the beach was gone.  The municipality of the little coastal town had a huge bucket loader on the beach, building up artificial dunes to stop the encroaching seas from inundating the town.   Today, I read an article that quoted EPA expert Jim Titus explaining what will become of the Eastern Seaboard beaches.  Read the fateful predictions here.

To Land the Interview/Job: Think Inside the Box?

Standing out from the competition is always a challenge in a job search.  And, although it is said that “there is nothing new under the sun,” there are those individuals who come up with novel ideas for breaking through in terms of getting noticed by a hiring manager.  Follow me over the jump for some truly innovative strategies for getting noticed in the sea of resumes. Continue reading…

KFC’s Double Down – C’mon Now!

In case you haven’t seen it, Kentucky Fried Chicken has launched its new “sandwich” called the Double Down.  It is essentially two fried chicken breast fillets masquerading as bread.  In between is bacon, cheese and special sauce.  I imagine the name Double Down refers to the bet you make with yourself about whether or not you will suffer a myocardial infarction from eating this mother of all gut bombs.  I cannot imagine who was responsible for the market research that supported the roll out of such a disgustingly over indulgent piece of processed junk food.  Now don’t get me wrong, my culinary sensibilities aside, I can enjoy some good ole fried chicken as much as the next guy.  But this “sandwich” seems to revel in being obstinately opposed to being even the slightest bit health conscious when it comes to diet.  What do you think?  At the very least, it will certainly contribute to the volume of people who need to seek medical care.  And that’s good for people pursuing a career in medical assistance.  Here’s another, more scathing review of this monstrosity from the SF Gate newspaper in Frisco!  Enjoy.

Update: Non-Manufacturing Jobs Up

April 5 (Bloomberg) — Service industries expanded in March at the fastest pace since in more than three years, a sign the U.S. recovery is extending beyond manufacturing and starting to create jobs. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of non- manufacturing businesses, which make up almost 90 percent of the economy, rose to 55.4, the highest level since May 2006, from 53 in the prior month. Today’s figure exceeded all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Readings above 50 signal expansion.This is good news.  Read the whole article here.

Jobs: Turning the Corner

They say employment figures are a “lagging indicator” which is stock market speak for measurements that we look back on for perspective.  That is, economic growth happens first, then employment picks up.  This makes logical sense because obviously, companies don’t start hiring before new business picks up.  But once new orders come rolling in for all manners of products and services, companies scramble to hire in order to accommodate the increasing demand.  This is why it is so heartening to see the following chart showing the employment figures over the last two years.  Follow me over the jump for analysis. Continue reading…

10 Immediate Effects of Health Reform Bill Passed Last Night

The following was posted by Congressman John B. Larson, Democrat from Connecticut after last night’s historic passage of health insurance reform.As soon as health care passes, the American people will see immediate benefits. The legislation will:
  • Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
  • Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
  • Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
  • Lower seniors’ prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
  • Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
  • Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
  • Require plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;
  • Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
  • Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
  • Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.
By enacting these provisions right away, and others over time, we will be able to lower costs for everyone and give all Americans and small businesses more control over their health care choices.Crossposted on the House Democrat’s blogAre you satisfied or mortified by the bill’s passage?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.