Doing a Career U-Turn

If you’re considering ditching your old career in favor of a new one in an exciting field like medical billing and coding, you may be wondering if it is the right thing to do.  With the employment picture being difficult to say the least, it can seem like a daunting challenge and one that you might consider holding off on.  However, there is never a better time than the present to make a life change and change can be fraught with challenges in any environment.  At the Geek Mom blog, Julia Sherred discusses her thoughts on mid-course career corrections.  Read her post and then share your thoughts and feelings on this topic in the comments below.

Spring Rebirth?

The Federal Reserve announced that the US economy improved in every region this Spring.  Despite the continued rise in fuel prices, the growth is a welcome event.  For those still seeking employment, the hiring numbers, while still grim, are showing modest improvements as well.  According to the Fed report, ” Consumer spending picked up modestly in most of the Fed’s 12 regions, despite the higher gasoline prices. Shoppers, however, focused on necessities and lower-priced goods. Auto sales rose and tourism also strengthened in most areas. Factories boosted production across most of the Fed’s regions, and many manufacturers increased hiring.”For those in the healthcare field, the news is even better with healthcare continuing to be among the fields least effected by economic fluctuations.  Hiring is expected to remain strong in healthcare relative to the rest of the market.

Top 10 Spingtime Superfoods

One of the best parts about Springtime is anticipating the return of greater varieties of fresh produce in the Northeast.  All winter long, we survive on produce either in cold storage since Fall or fruits and veggies weeks old and flown in from more southern latitudes.Here’s a great list of the top 10 superfoods for Springtime:1. Artichokes 2. Asparagus 3. Avocado 4. Blueberries 5. Fava Beans 6. Fresh Figs 7. Leeks 8. Oregano (and other fresh herbs) 9. Spinach 10. StrawberriesTo read more on why each of these are considered superfoods, click here for the Yahoo! article.

A Better Web Browsing Experience

I am not in the practice of making product endorsements, but this information is just too useful to those of us who spend a lot of time on the web.  For online students, it is of particular importance.  I would like to share with the readers of this blog, my experience with a web browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer.  Most people buy computers that come with Microsoft Windows operating systems already installed.  Part of the package included in the Windows OS is the latest version of Internet Explorer or “IE”.  Let me tell you, if that is the only program you’ve ever used to surf the ‘net, you have been missing out on a more satisfying experience.  I recently downloaded (for FREE) and installed a different browser called Firefox which is produced by a development company called Mozilla.  It took very little time and effort to install.  I can say with confidence that the Firefox browser is superior in every way to the IE.  It crashes/freezes way less, it is faster to load pages and is overall a better product.  In fact, Firefox has been downloaded more than a BILLION times so you can rest assured it isn’t a bad item.  If you are interested, click here to visit the trusted CNET site where you can safely download the Firefox browser.  It’s definitely worth the time.  And if you’re not happy with it, you’ll still have IE to fall back on.

New Jobless Claims Falling

Lucky for you you’ve decided to work in a field that promises uninterrupted growth.  And the nature of medical billing and coding is such that it seems unlikely that the work could ever be outsourced to a foreign country.  Despite that good news, the economic picture still has an impact on overall hiring and it continues to look dicey out there.  However, very recently there seems to be a modest drop in the number of new claims for unemployment assistance.  This may be an indicator of slow growth in hiring.The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people seeking benefits dipped by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 for the week that ended March 26. That’s the second decline in three weeks.Applications near 375,000 or below are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring. Applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.Click here for more details.

Don’t be a Member of the Procrasti-Nation

We all succumb at one time or another to the pitfalls of procrastination.  Whether it is putting off studies, yard work, dieting or something else requiring effort, none of us is immune to the powerful desire to simply say, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.  In a post written by Sadhguru, founder of the non-religious Isha Foundation, he offers the following Indian parable.
“There is a popular superstition in some villages in India. As soon as the sun sets, the villagers fear that ghosts and demons will come to their homes. So in order to save themselves, they have a sign painted in red at the door that reads “Naale Baa,” meaning “Come Tomorrow.” The idea is that, on seeing the message, the ghosts and demons will know that they are supposed to visit this house the next day. But as tomorrow never comes, neither do the demons! Isn’t that wonderful?”
Click here to read his entire post on how to avoid the powerful pull of procrastination in your daily life.

The Evolution of Medical Science

The World's First X-ray Device

The medical industry evolves quickly and new advancements seem to occur almost weekly.  It is always instructive to look back 50 or a hundred years for real perspective on how far along the industry has come.  The work you will do upon enterring this field as a medical biller/coder will surely look very different 50 years from today.  We can only wonder what it may look like.  We know that electronic records keeping is a growing trend that will change the face of the medical office.  Dutch medical inventors H J Hoffmans and Lambertus Theodorus van Kleef couldn’t have imagined the modern MRI or CAT scanner when they developed the world’s first x-ray scanner in the late 1800s.  Read about their breakthrough in this fascinating article.

Top Ten Job Interview Fashion Blunders

Carole Martin writes for Monster.com an excellent article about how to “dress for success” at the job interview.  Click here to read the entire piece.  But the top 10 list of common sartorial mistakes are shown below.Wild Nail Polish: This tip is for women or men. Extremely long or uncut nails are a real turnoff, too. Your nails should be groomed and neat.   Jangly Jewelry: Don’t wear more than two rings per hand or one earring per ear. And no face jewelry or ankle bracelets allowed.  Open-Toed or Backless Shoes: And mules are a definite no-no. Out-of-date shoes should be thrown out or kept for other occasions.  Bare Legs: Wear stockings, even in humid summer weather. Stockings can be in neutral colors or a fashion color to match your shoes.  Out-of-Date Suits: These have lapels that are too wide (three inches or more) or too narrow (one inch or less). A good tailor can alter lapels. The style for men’s jackets is full-body and looser rather than fitted or tight.  Short Skirts: Hemlines should not be more than three inches above the knee. Don’t wear capri pants or leggings to the interview.  Leather Jackets for Men or Women: Even leather blazers are not good for interviewing purposes. They look like outerwear.  Turtlenecks for Men: A tie is preferable, at least in the first go-round. At the very least, wear a collared shirt.  Printed or Trendy Handbags: Purses should be conservative and inconspicuous.  Red Briefcases: Briefcases, purses and shoes should all be conservative in color and in good condition.

Online Students, Take Care of Your Computer

Online students reap enormous benefits from studying in a virtual environment.  Better time management, schedule flexibility, improved mobility and avoiding a commute to campus are among some of the greatest perqs of online education.  All that convenience is unlocked through technology.  Specifically, through your personal computer.  Whether it is a desktop in your home, the laptop you use while stationed in your favorite coffee shop or the tablet you use while sitting in the park, these machines are essentially your golden tether.  Without them, you’d either have to take classes on campus or spend a big chunk of dough to replace them.  So it makes sense to take good care of your machine.  But many don’t really know what is required to properly maintain their computer and keep it running as well as it did when they first bought it.  Many even spend good money to pay for “nerd squads” or other tech support outfits whose business model relies on peoples’ aversion to doing their own system maintenance.  But why pay for this preventative maintenance when you can do it for yourself for free?  Read this article from Wired magazine’s how-to wiki on easy computer maintenance practices that can keep your machine humming along nicely and save you a bundle.

Food & Wine’s Best Burgers in the US

In-N-Out Burger, "Animal Style"

This blog periodically covers the topic of fast food and its impact on culture, wellness and society.  I have also written several times about my personal favorite, In-N-Out Burger, the west coast chain that haunts my dreams as an east coast denizen.  Well, Food & Wine magazine publushed its annual list of the best burgers in the US and In-N-Out was at the top of the list!  For us here in the NYC area, the list includes several contenders from the Big Apple.  Minella’s Tavern, the Spotted Pig and Shake Shak all made the list.  As did Peter Luger’s, the legendary steakhouse in Williamsburg.  But if I am going to Luger’s I am eating steak, not burgers.  Where is your favorite burger place?