Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
- Be Punctual - There is nothing that says don't hire me like showing up late for an interview. Even if you are in a major car crash on the way to the interview, make sure you call and try to reschedule. If anything, get there early.
- Dress the Part - Don't show up to an interview in wrinkled jeans and sandals.
- Clammy Hands - If your hands get clammy when you are nervous, run your inner fore arms under cold water before the interview. This will contract your skin pores, constricting your blood flow, and ultimately help keep your hands from sweating.
- Act the Part - Maintain professional mannerisms at all times, shake the hand of the interviewer upon greeting and exiting the interview. Avoid using slang or literary contractions like y'all.
- Do Your Research - Nothing says join the club like already knowing the secret hand shake. Google the company, get to know their products and services. Have a good grasp of what the position actually entails.
- Bring Stuff - Bring a copy of your resume, a pad of paper, a pen, and any letters of recommendation at the very least. If possible leave copies of your supporting documentation with the interviewer.
- Go Alone - I was debating on whether to include this on the list, but you would be surprised how many people think it is ok to have their kids, or a friend, wait in lobby during an interview.
- Sit Up - I am as guilty as anyone of not watching my posture. Make sure to sit up straight and show attentiveness.
- Poker Tell Signs - When people are nervous they do all sorts of weird things. Don't Cross your arms, crack you knuckles, run your fingers through your hair, itch your nose, cough excessively, tap you finger, stretch or yawn.
- Show Some Character - Talk about how your skills can help the company. Provide examples and avoid using lame non-descriptive lines, like I'm a good worker. Instead state that you regularly receive acknowledgment from you co-workers for your performance.
- Eye Contact - Don't look around the room with wondering eyes when the interviewer is talking to you.
- Be Assertive - Confidence sells, let the interviewer feel the passion you have to achieve.
- Display Strengths and Divert Weakness - Try to talk about your strengths. If asked about a weakness, address the concern, and redirect back to a strength.
- Stay Calm - Always try to remain calm and collected. Relax.
- Listen - The interviewer doesn't want to hear your rehearsed monologue ramble on for twenty minutes. Listen to the questions think about the response, and then answer clearly and concisely.
Interviews are a sensitive situation for many. Some people are very adamant about their own rules and tips. Please feel free to comment with your suggestions of things I forgot.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
With everyone's busy schedule most people go out to dinner fairly frequently. According to Katie Bogue a registered dietitian at the University of San Diego "Americans eat out an average of 4-5 times a week." It amazes me with this frequency, people still scratch there head in puzzlement when trying to figure out how much money to leave as a tip. I might be unfairly judgmental, having spent many years as a waiter myself, but tipping your waiter can be easily calculated in your head.
In the United States it is customary to tip between 15%-20% of the total bill. I tend to tip 20% because I know what it's like to work for tips. If someone does a horrible job, I will leave them 15%, and in extreme catastrophic situations I have been known to leave even less. By using the method below you should be able to accurately calculate the waiters tip in a few seconds:
1. Round to whole dollars
If your bill is $56.13, just think of it as $56. If if your bill is $56.63, think of it as $57.
2. Find 10%
Finding 10% of any number is as simple as moving the decimal place one digit to the left. 10% of $42 is $4.20. 10% of $127 is $12.70.
3A. Double for 20%,
If 10% of your bill is $4.20 than 20% is $8.40. If your total bill is $33, than 20% would be $6.60. I try to encourage a people to tip 20% when the service is good, and because it's easy to calculate. Tips can also be rounded up to the nearest dollar if you don't want to deal with change.
3.b Add Half for 15%
If the service was bad, and 15% is more suitable. Find 10% and add an additional half. If 10% of the bill is $4.20, than add $2.10 to equal $6.30. $6.30 is equal to 15% of the bill. Here is an example to further clarify:
The bill is $122.13.
$122 x 10% = $12.20
$122 x 20% = $12.20 + $12.20 = $24.40
$122 x 15% = $12.20 + $6.10 = $18.30
If you want to get more complicated you can split the difference. Suppose a 20% tip is $12 and the a 15% tip is $9 you depending on the service you could leave $10 or $11 to more accurately depict their performance. Comment on how much you tend to tip or other methods you may use.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
When the sun is nearing the horizon, stretch your arm as far out in front of you as possible, with your fingers extended. Your thumb should be pointing upward. The distance between each fingers is roughly 15 minutes of time until the sun sets.
Depending on where the sun lines up with your fingers, you should be able to gauge how much daylight is left. Although I have not yet tried it, you could probably use two hands to gauge up to an hour and a half before the sun sets. Try this out, or at least file it in the back of your brain under the just in case scenario.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Have you ever wanted to be as a secret agent living under a false identity or code name. Now you can. There are many companies like Safeway/Vons that request your personal information for club card incentive programs. They do this to for demographical information to be used for marketing research. The information is just compiled in a database somewhere and doesn't really amount to anything. When you fill out the application you can put down what ever you like with little to no repercussions. Many years ago I filled out an club card application for Safeway as James bond, so every time I shop there they say "Thank you Mr. Bond." You probably get away with almost anything, I bet. All the tellers just laugh, or seriously think James Bond is my name. I try to keep a straight face during check out. It just making my shopping experience that much more fun. I considered posting my club card number in this article so everyone could be "James Bond". I would get the reward points, but I feel awkward posting my current phone number and it might come back to bite me. So go out, try it, and comment.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I wanted to thank all you readers for showing your support, and to wish you Merry Christmas. I hope you are celebrating the holidays with your friends and family. Best wishes to all. Here is a picture of my wife Corin and I cutting down our first Christmas tree.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Long Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Regular sleep apnea can also have long term affects as mention in the New York Times: "sleep scientists at the University of Chicago found that those who suffer from an accumulated sleep debt may develop serious health problems, including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure." Also mentioned in the New York Times article was Dr. Van Cauter quote "We found that an accumulated sleep debt is potentially as detrimental to health as poor nutrition or a sedentary lifestyle. It may be as bad as smoking."
Short Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
There are also severe dangers of the short term effects of sleep deprivation. The Franklin Institute published an article stating "One complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood-alcohol level."
When you are living on auto pilot, it is more difficult for your brain to retain information. It can be hard to remember sequential digits like a phone number, address, or dollar amounts. It can also be tricky to remember names, directions, or auditory commands. This state of futility will last until the deprived sleep is regained, and is cumulative in nature.
Getting a good night sleep is an important aspect of efficient living. It will allow you to think clearly, live healthy, and maintain higher levels of energy. It is important to try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. If you only get 7 hours one night, try going to bed the next night an hour earlier to catch up. It is amazing how much better you feel when you get 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis.
I can already hear my readers saying "it must be nice to get 8 hours of sleep a night, but I'm to busy. I can't afford to sleep that much." The truth is that you can't afford not to sleep that much. Try an experiment and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night for one week. See how much more productive you are, and I promise you will wonder how you ever survived on less.
Feel free to comment how your experiment goes and the results.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
As a Christmas present, my wife got me a professional massage from a local clinic. It has been years since my last professional massage. I forgot how it makes everyday stress melt away. I can now see why she goes to a chiropractor and massage therapist regularly. Here are a few reasons why you should treat yourself to a massage:
According to holisticonline.com, "Massage improves circulation, which increases blood flow, bringing fresh oxygen to body tissues. This can assist the elimination of waste products, speed healing after injury, and enhance recovery from disease." It is easy to forget that your body is your most import possession, and should be treated with care.
Most of us can't afford to shell out cash for a regular massage, so check with your health insurance. My wife only pays $15.00 for each hour session, up to 45 times a year. That is almost one a week for the same price as your weekly coffee addiction.
A single hour can easily fit into even the busiest of schedules, and many places schedule outside of standard work week hours.
Even though, the dull pain from working out my prehistoric knots made it difficult to talk, there is really nothing better than the feeling relaxation after a nice long massage. It allows you to float through the rest of your day, impervious to life nuisances.
I really appreciate my wife's gift, and will try to go get a massage more frequently, because they really do improve the quality of life and are good for the soul.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Today in Seattle we are receiving an abnormal amount of snow. We can barely drive in the heavy amount of rain we get, so when it snows — look out!
I took this picture outside my office window this morning. Even with chains, this sectional bus jack-knifed into a street light. Below is my best attempt to help all you courageous travelers from causing more accidents:
1. Drive Slow - You would think that this is plain common sense, but most people still travel much faster than they should.
2. Snow Tires/ 4 Wheel Drive - You may think your vehicle is invincible because it has snow tires or 4 wheel drive, I promise you it is not.
3. Hills - If you are about to go down a hill, and see others cars sliding sideways in front of you, it might not be the best route to continue.
4. Turn Into a Slide - If your vehicle starts to loose traction around a turn, make sure that you turn into the slide to regain traction.
5. Don't slam on the brakes - If you are trying to stop and your wheels lock up, lightly let off the brake until the wheels catch again.
After watching all the Cars, one after another, slide down the hill and crash outside my office window, I can only imagine how many millions of dollars in body damage this one day of snow will bring.
What are some tips that you have? Did you already crash today? Feel free to comment on this post.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
1. Student or Friend Photographer- Photographers are not cheap get some one you trust to take the pictures for you. If a college in the area ofters an advanced photography class you might want to contact the teacher to try recruiting a student. Also, Try putting disposable cameras on the tables for your guest to take picture and leave on the table. Some of our favorite pictures were candid pics taken by our guests.
2. Ipod DJ- Most people have an ipod, or are capable of making a play list. there is no need to hire a cheese wedding DJ who can't even pronounce your names right.
3. Only supply Beer and Wine - cocktails can skyrocket a bill quickly, especially if your friends drink like ours. If you want a full bar, allow cocktails to be purchased in addition to the complimentary beer and wine.
4. Have a family member or friend become an ordained minister - It is surprisingly easy to become an ordained minister online. It is also more sentimental if it is someone you know can preform the ceremony.
5. Assortment of Cheese Cakes - Instead of spending tons of money on a wedding cake. We had a variety of exquisite cheese cakes and pies. Everyone can pick what kind they want.
6. Location - An outdoor park, beach or at a friend house is a way to save money.
Our friends still talk about how much fun they had at our wedding, and how the casual atmosphere really allowed everyone to have a good time. What other tips would you recommend? do you have similar stories to share? Feel free to post your comments below.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
There is something about celebrating the holidays that makes people feel good about themselves. At the same time the is nothing more frustrating than running into problems when decorating. Below are some tips to hanging Christmas lights:
- Plan out where you are going to hang the lights, and walk the perimeter to see how many feet of lights you will need. If possible start from your porch light and use a socket/outlet adapter so the lights can be controlled from inside.
- Hooks, go around with a ladder and screw in descent sized hooks inside the roof eve every 2-3 ft. These hooks can be left in year around for next time.
- Untangle the lights before testing them. Excessive movement can jar the bulbs breaking the filament
- Plug In the lights before you hang the strand to make sure all the bulbs work.
- Poles or broom handles with two pencils duct taped to the end, can make it much easier to reach the hooks, depending on the height of you roof line. Remember to start at the power source and work backwards. It is much easier to add strands, then to not reach the plug.
- Taunt Strands will look a lot cleaner than sagging wires draped over the hooks.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Deep down I think we are all tactical gadget James Bond gear nuts. There are pletty of times when most people wouldn't mind having a rotating license plate, or an Omega Seamaster laser wrist watch. Although we cannot all be secret agents, there are some simple everyday items that can be tactical and practical to keep with you:
- Flash Light - With todays technology, you can get a small keychain flash light or pen light to carry in your work bag for a few bucks. It beats trying to use your cell phone as a light source.
- Small Pocket Knife - A small Swiss Army knife can always come in handy, and weighs practically nothing.
- Lighter - Even if you don't smoke, its is good to have a working lighter.
- Refillable Water Bottle - not only is it Eco-friendly, but most people don't drink enough water.
- Mini First Aid Kit - It is ridiculous how small and cheap first aid kits are. Just throw one in your car, bag, or purse.
- Whistle - Whistles can be purchased for a few bucks and take up almost no space.
- Extra Cash - Keep some extra cash in small denomination accessible, but not in your wallet.
- Note Pad and Pens - Being able to write down important info without forgetting it, and being able to draw maps, and pictures to communicate can make things easier.
- Super glue - If it isn't broke don't fix it. If it is broke, you'll probably need super glue.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In life there will always be problems that arise. You can either address the issues, or sweep it under the carpet and hope it doesn't come back to bite you. I have found that it's much better to stomp out small fires immediately, rather than sit back and hope they extinguishes themselves.
Having spent many years in the restaurant industry, I know first hand how important it is to address your problems right away. If the food is taking a while in the kitchen, or you served someone the wrong dish, the last thing you want to do is avoid the table. You need to constantly refill water glasses and monitor the table to prevent anything else from going wrong. If you avoid the table and something else does go wrong the customer's anger level will increase exponentially, and they might complain to your boss in a catatonic rage.
Your check engine light has been on for months now, but the car drives fine. If I leave it alone maybe it will go away. The truth is whatever caused the light to go on could have cost you only a few hundreds dollars, but now it will cost you a few thousand.
Initiative at Work
Having the mentality to not take action because its not your responsibility, is worst than causing the problem in the first place. If you see a problem, regardless of who's fault it is, take action to solve it. If you don't take action, it may turn into a wildfire, and someone will probably find out that you didn't say anything.
What lessons have you learned, by not addressing the issue?
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Vistaprint.com is a good place to get business cards for cheap. They are advertised as free, but you still have to pay for shipping. I have used their services before, and had a very positive experience.
- They only have a small selection of free templates.
- The back of the cards have a small disclaimer that says printed at vista print .com.
- The Text fields have predetermined fonts, color, and size.
- The formatting is predetermined.
- Endless amount of upgrades, for a nominal cost. I usually pay extra for glossy and no disclaimer on the back.
- Pretty good quality.
- All kinds of other promotional stuff: hats, window decals, fridge magnets.
I recommend Vistaprint.com but be careful, your free order can get expensive quick.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
- Expect to Lose - The odds are never in your favor, expect to lose. Casinos stay in business by taking your money, and building a casino isn't cheap.
- Never Play on Credit - Never gamble money you don't have. Some casinos will take credit cards, but cash advancing a credit card could get you into serious trouble. At the very least it will cost you $14.99 in transaction fees. Only gamble with money that you can pull out of a bank account, and are willing to lose.
- One Trip to the ATM - Since we are already planning to lose, figure out how much you are willing to spend for one entertaining night of gambling. For me, that is about $100.00. If I lose it in ten minutes, then I will just have to watch my friends play for the rest of the night. If I can play cards the entire night on $100.00, even better. Either way I can only lose $100.00.
- Know the game- Don't sit at a game until you know exactly how to play. Don't let your friends try to teach you at the table. Watch others, learn for free, and then play when you are ready.
- Count Your Chips- People say it's bad luck to count your chips. I think this rumor was started by casinos, so people didn't know how much they where spending. You should roughly know how many chips you have at all times during the night.
- Understand the value of chips- When repetitively betting, chips begin to subconsciously lose there value. It is easy to forget that each chip in a stack is worth $10.00. Try to visualize each chip as its actual denomination. If you have a stack of $10.00 chips, picture a stack of ten dollar bills instead.
- Play your Winnings- You can be up $300.00 one minute, and broke the next. This the magic of gambling, and also how casinos lure people into playing. If by some miracle I make more than I started with and can continue to play solely on my winnings, I take the initial $100.00 in chips and put them in my left pocket. These chips in my left pocket will not be played for the rest of the night under any circumstances. If the rest I will still break even.
- Winning Streak Quota- Set pre-determined gain quotas. My quota is $50.00. I continue to play until reaching my quota. The first time I lose above my quota, I will take my $50.00 gained, and leave the table or at least sit out a few hands to reassess my chips. Depending on the time of night, I will begin to put the $50.00 quotas in my left pocket with the initial $100, and not play them for the rest of the night.
- The Pocket System - If it is still early, I will put earnings in my right pocket. These are chips that can still be played if necessary. As the night progresses, I will move increments of chips from my right to my left symbolizing that they will not be played for the rest of the evening.
- Don't catch the fever - Time will pass by quickly when gambling. Hours will disappear in the blink of an eye. Remember to regularly sit out hands, and get up from tables frequently. Maintain a grasp of reality, and realize how much you are spending.
Unless you are a professional card player. Gambling is for entertainment purposes only, and should never be used with hopes of making money.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
- Have someone you trust set your clocks forward, and not say by how much.
- Don't set the clocks forward by rounded numbers like 5 minutes or 10 minutes. These numbers can be easily computed to actual time. Try setting the clocks forward by 13 minutes or 18 minutes.
- Set all the clocks in you house to this new time.
- If possible, try setting your cell phone, car, and watch forward.
- Try to forget the clocks were set forward, by telling yourself that the time is correct.
I hope these ideas help, and enjoy time travel.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Whether it's a pack of cigarettes, coffee, a soda, a cocktail, dessert or candy; there are tons of everyday items that unnecessarily add to our cost of living . By learning to forgo these small purchases you can really save A lot of money, especially if you set the money aside for a rainy day.
Examples of Cost:
Cigarettes - According to MSN Money, "the cost of a pack of cigarettes averages around $4.50 to $5, including taxes, depending on where you live. Using the lower number, a pack-a-day smoker burns through about $31.50 per week, or $1,638 per year. That's a fat house payment or a nice vacation with the family. A 40-year-old who quits smoking and puts the savings into a 401(k) earning 9% a year would have nearly $250,000 by age 70."
Coffee - According to Coffeesearch.org, "the average coffee consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups of coffee per day(NCA)." The average price of a cup of coffee is $1.38 (NCA). That means the average person spends almost $30.00 dollars a month on coffee.
Soda - If you buy a soda out of the vending machine each day for $1.oo that is $30.00 an month right there.
Alcohol - on the cheap side, a twelve pack of beer is $14.00 and you only drink 1 beer a night. That equates to $35.00 a month, and that is drinking at home. If you were to go out once a week and have three drinks for $5.00 each, that would be $60.00 a month.
Deserts - If you went out to dinner 1 a week and bought dessert for $6.95, that is almost another $30 a month right there and that isn't including the meal.
Candy - If you buy 1 candy bar a day from the office vending machine, that is instantly another $20 a month.
Just by cutting out these things you could save around $200.00 each month. That is $2400 a year, or a 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise for 2. Pretty nice annual Vacation for going without that candy bar.