Everybody Has a Story! What's Yours?
I would love to hear your story, positive, negative, and yes funny stories too!

Save Money With Prime!

Your Best Five Qualities--Safeguard Your Self-Esteem

Unfortunately, we would like to say everyone is employed and working happily ever after. However, it just isn't so.  Unemployment is rampant across the world.  If you are in the ranks of the unemployed, what are you doing to keep your self-esteem and spirits up?  Have you recently taken inventory of your top five best qualities? 

One of the first things to go down when you lose a job, especially through no fault of your own, is your self-esteem.  Most companies have made cuts as across-the-board layoffs.  As such, the quality of work along with your great character no doubt were not taken into consideration.  If they did consider your top-notch work and still added you to the ranks of the unemployed, then "shame on them."

If you have been feeling down, now is time for you to look at your top five best qualities.  Why is this so important?  Worldwide there has been an increase in suicides.  Many experts believe this is a reflection of the economic downturn.  See my article, Recession and Depression--Coping Skills You May Need.  Although many other factors have contributed to the suicide rates, negative feelings certainly do not help the equation.  Everyone faces negative situations on a daily basis.  When you start to feel your problems are overwhelming, it is time to stop and take inventory of the positives.  So let's get started...

Since some people may not know where to begin, let me suggest some qualities you may not have considered about yourself (I am sure you can list many more)...

  • Are you a kind person?  Do you try and help someone less advantaged than you?
  • Are you loyal?  Loyalty is greatly lacking today; at all levels.  This is a wonderful asset.
  • Are you a good listener?  Listening is an art.  If you already possess this great skill, then be happy.
  • Do you love to smile?  Smiling is contagious, warm, and inviting. 
  • Are you patient?  Patient people actually are healthier and at times less stressed than other people. 
  • Are you punctual?  Other people like it when you are on time. It shows your courteous and respectful side.
  • Are you industrious?  An industrious person completes the job and is dependable. 
  • Are you a good cleaner?  This is important.  Having a clean home or environment is a welcome mat for visitors and a comforting place for members of your household.
  • Are you a moral person? Today, morality of any kind is disregarded too quickly.  It is refreshing to find a person with strong morals.
These are some qualities I came up with that you may be wonderfully endowed with.  Don't take for granted your good qualities.  We live in an age when character is tossed aside too easily.  You may lose your job and money but nobody can take your character, made up of all your lovely qualities,  away from you.  Keep your self-esteem. 


Insurance While Unemployed--Are There Any Options?

Insurance while unemployed is a real concern for the millions of unemployed workers who have not only lost their job--but have also lost their health insurance benefits.  Whether you are currently looking for work or have accepted a temporary job without any benefits, there are optional short-term health care plans with numerous providers that may fit your need.  Who may need short-term insurance coverage?  Also, what are some main points to consider before purchasing short-term health care coverage?

Who needs short-term insurance coverage or coverage that lasts between 6-12 months?  Actually, everybody needs some type of medical coverage--even if it is short-term.  Why?  A family with low-cost health care needs can get hit at any time with a sudden illness, accident or catastrophe creating a financial dilemma.  Then, there goes without saying the families with higher cost prescriptions and those in their family suffering from a chronic illness that must have medical care.  Short-term insurance can bridge that gap between your old coverage and a new plan you are waiting to go on.  The downside of short-term though is that you would have to renew the policy at the end of the term; thus screening of your eligibility requirements again are necessary.

What are some other points you may want to consider when and if you decide to purchase short-term health insurance:

  • Deductible -- The deductibles can run pretty high on short-term insurance.  Some of the deductibles that I looked at were several thousand dollars.  However, once the deductible is met (depending on the policy you pick) their can be a significant drop in the amounts you may be paying in co-pay and prescriptions.
  • In or Out of Network -- If you choose a physician within most networks, the cost is usually less out-of-pocket.  However, if you choose a physician outside the network it is generally a higher cost. Also, you need to know if your physician is covered under said policy.
  • Capping of Costs -- Check the capping of the overall amount of costs the policy will cover for your benefit period.  This is important if you anticipate incurring higher than usual medical costs for that period.
  • Preventative Care -- Does the policy include yearly physical, breast-care exams, etc. at no cost?  If not, you might want to reconsider the policy.
In my estimation, your medical needs should warrant the higher cost of short-term health care insurance. For many of the unemployed purchasing of any insurance is just not an option.  For many unemployed the lower budget they now have will not stretch that far.  However, should you be in a  position to pay for a health care plan, you should review and compare the various plans available by getting online quotes.  There are representatives always ready and wanting to help you find the right plan to fit your personal needs. Yes, insurance while unemployed is possible for you.  With plans changing every day you may find one to fit your temporary needs if it is within your current budget.  Good health to you.

Temp Jobs May Be Your Next Option

If you are reading this blog, you may be one of the millions of people that have found themselves unemployed over the last few years.  While a portion of people are still collecting unemployment others have fallen off the unemployment ranks and just stopped looking for work.  Please do not be downhearted. There may be another option for you.  Have you considered temping?

By "temping" we are referring to taking a job on a temporary basis either through an agency or directly from the company. In the past, you may have put a "thumbs down" to such an idea.  However, more and more companies are hiring employees on a temporary basis. Here are a some benefits you might receive if choosing a temporary position:
  • You can spruce up your skills.  We all get rusty if our skills are not being fully utilized. Temping is a perfect opportunity to get your groove back.
  • Learn a new skill.  At times, your assignment or job may have need of some skills you
    may not have.  Many employers that hire "temps" are willing to teach you a new method, skill, or procedure. The newly mastered skill can then be added onto your resume.
  • Being employed as a "temp" looks good on your resume when sending to potential
    employers.  Prospective employers like to see that you have an industrious spirit.
  • Networking.  Whenever you are a temporary worker you will have the opportunity to
    network with other employees and at times depending on the business--prospective
  • If you are a good worker, and the timing is right, you might transition into the same
    job as a permanent worker or springboard into another position that opens up with the
  • As long as you complete your temp job and continue to look for work once the job is
    finished, you might be able to accumulate earned weeks toward future unemployment.  Of course, that will depend upon your benefit year eligibility and the state's legal requirements.
  • Earning a paycheck throughout the year may qualify you  for the "earned income tax credit" with regard to your dependent children.  Check with your tax preparer to make sure what the tax law requires and your tax status.
  • Pays bills.  This is helpful!
  • Restores your self-worth.  Unfortunately, losing a job has a way of stripping  your
    positive spirit. Having a routine again may put zip back into your step.
Temping may not necessarily get you your dream job; but there are opportunities to find.
Look into the temporary jobs in your area, check with temp agencies, and check online too.  Temping may be the right option for you at this time with some unique benefits.

Any Work Is Better Than No Work--Not Always

If you are unemployed currently or have been unemployed, you no doubt have heard or even said to
yourself that "any work is better than no work." In other words--at least your working and paying some of the bills.  I have worked in all kinds of jobs throughout the years that were mentally and physically demanding.  However, not all jobs are equal in the toll they take on you.   In the past, there was one such job for me.  I would never want to do it again--call center work!  Call center work may be defined for our purposes as working in a center (or large room) that makes continuous calls through an automatic dialer to new or existing customers regarding an existing product or service.  Here are some of the pitfalls I found in call center work...
  • You may find yourself working in a room of 50-60 people all talking at the same time to their customers.  The room can get very noisy with the inability to hear your customer. At times, your customer may not be able to hear you.
  • Calls are put through to you by a random dialer of which you have no control over. You barely get a breather between calls.  As soon as you are disconnected from your customer, a fresh call comes through your earpiece immediately.  Little or no time to mentally prepare for the next call.
  • You are expected to talk for eight hours, less your breaks and lunch.  Very little downtime is allowed away from the phones.  After two hours or less of straight talking you may begin to lose your voice.
  • Since the job requires sitting most of the hours you are there, you get very little physical exercise.  Also, we won't talk about the eyestrain you also get from constantly looking at the computer screen.
  • The dialing system used may repetitively call the customer at work or at home. Many customers do not like being called at work and may get irate; or do not like getting called so frequently.  Consequently, many times you will be the brunt of their frustration. Not fun...
  • Depending on the company, many companies have a pay rate based on a tier system.  Low sales, despite your best efforts, will not mean much in your paycheck.
  • Most call centers have intense monitoring by supervisors that critique the quality of your calls.
    New employees may already be nervous, this only adds to their nervousness. 
  • A call center can be sales-driven or customer-service-driven.  Make sure your personality is a good fit for the particular center.  A wrong fit can be as disastrous as a heavy-duty construction worker wearing white dress gloves to do his job.  It just doesn't work.
I listed a few reasons why call center work is so difficult and for some people will go against their grain. Of course, different strokes for different folks would mean there are some people that actually enjoy call center work.  That's great for them.  In my estimation though it is just a tough job. 

So what should you do if you find yourself in such a job?  Move on.  It is always best to have another job though before quitting your present one. The conclusion is to remember not all work is equal.  Find out as much about the job before you take it.  Know your physical and mental likes and dislikes as well as your limits.  Yes, you just might want to pass this job up.

What is your "nightmare" job?  Most people have worked one some time in their career.  I would love to hear from you on this. 

Do You Really Know More Than Your Boss?

So you think you know more than your boss; maybe you do.  As a result of any downturn in an economy, many seasoned workers and professionals have found themselves in entry level jobs. Taking instructions from a supervisor that is both younger and less experienced than you are can be a humbling and upsetting experience.  Do you find yourself in this situation?  If so, how will you react to your supervisor's instructions and at times even criticism?  Here are a few things to weigh out that may help you to remain calm and still find joy in your job:

  1. You don't know everything.   Despite the fact that you have years of experience, it is likely that your supervisor has kept up-to-date on the current facets of the particular job you are in.  Yes they may not have the experience you have, but they may be up-to-date with the current procedures and fresher techniques involved in your job. 
  2. Let your work, not your mouth, display your abilities and skills.  Nobody likes a know-it-all, including your boss and co-workers.  In time, your abilities will shine without offending those above and around you. 
  3. Volunteer for special projects.  From time to time, situations may arise that will create an opportunity for you to volunteer to take on projects you are experienced to do.  This also shows you are willing to help when the need arises.  That would be an opportunity to show what your experience is about.
  4. When the pill is too hard to swallow.  Obviously, there will be situations where you find it extremely difficult to adjust to ineptness and the lack of knowledge your supervisor or boss have about the product or procedure you are working with.  However, when faced with glaring safety or legal issues  it is a different ballgame.  Management needs to know the particulars of such issues.  If they do not respond to the factors involved, then think about moving on to another position elsewhere.  To cover yourself, make sure you document the dates and conversations that you relay the safety or legal issues to management. 
Yes, it is not easy for the thousands of workers that find themselves now, through no fault of their own, in positions they held many years ago when they left college or finished high school.  As the job market continues to rise, you may be able to find more suitable work that will utilize those awsome skills you possess.  Until then, you may know more than the boss.  That's okay.  You don't need to prove anything to anybody.  Continue to allow your skills and experience to speak for themselves.  Look at your current job as floating devices that are keeping your head out of water (financially).  Be happy, you will swim again...

It May Be Time to Scrap Your Job

Yes, in an economy where everyone is holding on to their job for dear life, why would anyone quit or scrap their job?  It would be nice to think that there isn't any job too hard for you to tackle.  That just isn't the case.  The real truth is that not everyone can physically, mentally, or emotionally handle any job.  So how do you know when it is time to let go of your current job and move on?  For those of you who have recently joined the ranks of the employed again, would you recognize that the new job just isn't right for you?

When is it time to look for another job?
  • Physically Challenging - Obviously, each job has particular physical requirements specific to the job. However, whatever those requirements, no job is worth damaging your physical body.  Whether you suffer short-term or long-term damage, the price you pay is too high.  While some injuries are temporary--others may cause permanent damage along with chronic pain. Lifting heavy objects, standing in one spot for hours, repetitive motion without a break, and exposure to hazardous chemicals may be more than your body can adjust to.  If you have already taken ergonomically-corrective measures in your job and are still having problems, then you may want to seriously reconsider moving to a a job that has less of an impact on your body.  Always check with your personal physician if you are having physical problems that are either caused by or aggravated by your current job.  In some instances, the problems you are having could be covered under workers' compensation such as repetitive motion in your job.  Check with your doctor first before filing a claim.
  • Mentally or Emotionally Challenging - If you are absolutely exhausted every day as a result of the mental or emotional strain of your job, then you should reconsider another line of work.  You may have a bad day once and a while dealing with customers or clients.  However, if you find yourself mindlessly staring at the television set night after night feeling drained, then you too may want to consider moving on to a job that is less demanding mentally and emotionally.  Are you suffering depression as a result of your current job?  Again, is it every day or just now and then?  Some jobs such as nursing, sales, working with ones that are mentally-challenged can be very taxing.  People that love these types of jobs just glide through them with ease day after day.  Others may struggle through each day. Every job is not a perfect fit for every person.
Yes, changing jobs in itself can be stressful.  The good part about this situation is that once you are employed, you become much more employable to other employers.  I know, that is a mouthful.  Never quit a job until you have another one, especially in this economy.  If you just went back to work, after being on the unemployed ranks for a while, it may be jolting to even consider changing your job.  However, just because you haven't worked for a while doesn't mean you should subject yourself to the strain and drain of a job that is not right for you.  With dignity and a little smarts you will be able to find work conducive to your physical, mental, and emotional makeup.  Knowing what you don't need or like in seeking a job is just as important as what you do like or need; in some cases it may be more important! 

Don't Be a Part of Workplace Gossip

Unfortunately no matter how nice the job is, you may still encounter workplace gossip. What exactly is gossip? Although by definition gossip can refer to chatty talk, it most often refers to habitually revealing personal or sensational facts about someone or rumor or report of an intimate nature.  For those of you that have been unemployed for some time, you may have forgotten how harmful workplace gossip can be.  Yes, I said "harmful."  Why is workplace gossip harmful?  How can you avoid being a part of it?

Why is workplace gossip harmful?  Here are a few reasons why you should avoid gossip:
  • Factual or not, revealing and spreading personal information about someone can result in distorted or outright untruths about an individual.  A person's character and name could be orally slandered which could lead to defamation of character.
  • Even if the gossip is true, is it something you want to spread?  Would you want someone spreading information around about your personal life?  Put the shoe on the other foot.
  • Defamation of character, by reason of slander, can lead to a lawsuit you don't want!
  • Gossip could actually cause a person to lose their job--your job and the person you are slandering.
  • Gossip can create tension and uneasiness in the workplace between co-workers.
  • You could be known as a gossiper. Nobody wants to be known as a gossiper. Once you are labeled, it may take a long time for people to trust in you again.
  • Gossiping can lead into bullying.  Bullying of any kind is hurtful to those being abused, and is also illegal in certain states with legal penalties.
  • You are paid to work for your employer; not get involved in gossip.
How can you avoid workplace gossip?

  • Go to work to WORK! The busier you are the least likely you are to get involved in workplace gossip.
  • If others try to pull you into a conversation that may be heading toward gossiping, try and change the subject or walk away.  
  • If current employees try to persuade you to think badly of a co-worker, as a new employee, give everyone a fair shake.  Just because someone else had a bad experience with someone doesn't mean you will.  In other words, give everyone you work with the "benefit of the doubt."
  • Do not be part of a click. 
  • If you are privy to personal information, keep it to yourself.
  • Practice the "golden rule." If you wouldn't say it or reveal it about yourself, then don't reveal it about others.
  • If it isn't positive or kind, then don't repeat it.  That's pretty easy!
These are some common-sense suggestions that should be reminders to all of us in the workplace to avoid gossip.  For those re-entering the job market, you may have forgotten how easy it is to get sucked into the gossiping trap.  However, with a little wisdom and self-control, you don't have to fall into the twisting vortex called gossip.