The Future is Now!

How about the Terrafugia Transition?  This vehicle, newly approved by the Federal Avaiation Administration brings to life the fantastic dreams of the “flying car” we all entertained as kids.  With traffic growing ever more problematic in large cities, this new vehicle promises to rise above the gridlock – literally.  Now all I need is $194,000 so I can buy one and soar to the grocery store. Flying Car Video – Terrafugia @ Yahoo! Video

How To Explain “Holes” in Your Work History

Beach ComberWe’ve all had periods of unemployment.  We’ve all had to take time away from career pursuits, whether it was to tend an ailing loved one, return to school/training, deal with personal problems, support a family member’s struggling business or become a quasi-homeless beachcomber in an exotic tropical locale.  Whatever the reasons, inevitably, we end up with a gap in our history which can be a glaring weakness on your resume.  In interviews, it can be awkward trying to call attention away from the gaps.  How should you explain where you were when you weren’t working for 11 months? Take a look at this excellent article from The Savvy Networker wherein it is explained exactly how to address these holes in the resume.

Disregard the Naysayers

Anyone who has tried to do something outside of the expectations of those around them knows how dispiriting it can be to be told, “you’ll never succeed”.  Take it from the US national soccer team who has been categorically panned by the international sports community as having “no chance to achieve” in the World Cup.  Well, again, our US team is proving the naysayers wrong.  Today, in a storybook, last minute ending fit for a Hollywood movie script, the US team pulled it out against a heavily favored Algerian squad to advance in World Cup tournament play.  So remember this team of underdogs when folks tell you that you cannot start a new career in a new field midway through life.

How Job Loss Can Lead to Untold Riches

Clearly, it won’t happen this way to everyone.  But there is a lesson to take from the story of Bob Croak, the man responsible for making “Silly Bands” a household name.  You see, Croak was a bar owner/operator who ran afoul of the law.  As a stipulation of the judgment against him, he was ordered to refrain from being in the alcohol sales business.  In effect, he was pushed out of his career.  Did this sink him?  Did he end up destitute and living beneath an overpass?  No.  Quite the contrary, he struck off in a new direction and ultimately discovered what would become 2010’s hottest kiddie craze, the ubiquitous “Silly Bands”.  If you haven’t seen the colorful silicone bands in different shapes that adorn the wrists of nearly every American kid from ages 4-14, you should get your eyes checked.  Croak is sitting atop a toy empire and is making far more money than he ever could as a bar owner.  The moral of this story — especially for those who decided to enter the field of medical billing and coding after losing their jobs in other fields — is that the loss of a job is not always a negative occurrence.  Sometimes, unscheduled changes on the career path are just what a person needs to give them the time and space to explore entirely new horizons.  Sometimes, those horizons are at the edge of successes beyond their wildest dreams.

Do What You Love and Success Will Follow

Okay.  I know we usually keep the content on this blog toward the highbrow end of the spectrum.  But I felt like being a little silly today.  View this awesome video of a two year old Brazilian boy who Sambas better than I ever will.  Beyond the cuteness factor and the giddiness of propagating a viral video sensation, it occured to me that this kid’ll probably grow up to be a professional dancer.  And if he doesn’t, it’ll be a shame because he could make a fortune doing something he so obviously enjoys.  So let that be the lesson from today’s blog post.  Continue to study hard and develop your skills in this area you’ve chosen.  If you truly love the work, you will most definitely succeed.

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, 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 Ideas Email address:–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.

Summer Travel Season is Here – Run Away!

With Memorial Day behind us, the summer travel season is officially in full swing.  But before you decide to go “all in” on a big trip this summer, view the following video from website, which chronicles the worst of the worst in travel.  It may lead you to decide on planning an epic “staycation” instead.

Remembering How to be American

Our American society has been growing increasingly arrogant and ugly lately in this blogger’s opinion.  One need look no further than our politics, especially on the right, to see levels of disrespect ratcheting up to excruciatingly high levels.  But it goes beyond politics to infect other areas of our society as well.  From the wanton disregard we exhibit for our environment (see: BP oil-pocolypse) to the nasty stories about public figures captured by an insatiable papparazzi and a host of gossip TV programs and publications, our very American-ness seems to be coming somewhat unwound.  Leave it to baseball, the great American pastime to remind us all what grace, sportsmanship and aplomb looks like as many of us have seemingly forgotten.  The other day, Detroit Tiger’s pitcher Armando Galaragga – an immigrant to the US – pitched what should have been only the 21st perfect game in the history of major league ball.  In the last innings, the first base umpire blew a call, saying the runner was safe when replay clearly showed him to be out.  As a result, Galarraga’s perfect game was snatched from him.  Did this humble pitcher curse and spit and fume at the umpire for erroneously stealing his glory away from him?  Not at all.  A true asset to the great American pastime, Galarraga smiled and shrugged it off, maintaining a philosophical coolness about it that clearly demonstrates to baseball’s youngest fans (and really could serve to instruct many adults too) just what good sportsmanship looks like – American style.  Perhaps our leaders, both political and societal, could take a step back from their mendacity, rhetoric and invective to remember that we’re better than the pettiness and arrogance we’ve been exhibiting in the 21st century.  Perhaps this act of good grace can serve as a model for us to find our way back to the country and society we used to be – one that placed people before personalities and the welfare of the group above the enrichment of the individual.  Click here to read the entire uplifting story.

The Speed of Progress

I came across this fascinating article in WIRED magazine that made me feel like a dinosaur.  Sure, I am a “hip” blogger, using the latest technical application to produce my every-other-daily musings here at the Allen School Online Blog.  But I am old enough to remember life as it was before the personal computer and the grueling nature of writing without the incredible convenience of the word processor.  Before we could “process” words, we used to have to physically imprint them onto wood-pulp based sheets of something called “paper”.  To accomplish this task, we used a mechanized, manual, non-laser driven machine known as a typewriter.  There have been two generations now born into a world without knowledge of this ancient writing machine.  I suppose they would view the typewriter through the same purely historical lens as I might view the telegraph machine or the steam engine.  Yet there are still some people for whom the clacking, white out fumes and ink stains of the typewriter era holds a special place in their hearts.  This article in WIRED shines a light on the few remaining typewriter repairmen – the last of a nearly dead breed.  Have a read of this fascinating article and then count your lucky stars that you don’t have to run out and buy some more white out have the all the modern technology at your disposal when it’s time to write your essays.