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Archive for October, 2008

Bear market by azrainman

Nobody likes a layoff.  They’re stressful, upsetting, and often unpredictable, leaving you reeling from an unexpected job change.  With an unstable economy as well, this can be a time of great fear and worry for many job seekers.

But take hope. Since you cannot make your company rehire you, it’s time to look at the positives.  Now is your chance to:

  • Use time off  to slow down and rest
  • Evaluate job likes and dislikes
  • Try a new occupation
  • Look for work closer to home
  • Limit TV and news
  • Plan fun distractions and breaks

First, take a few deep breaths. When you’ve calmed your nerves, start by taking stock of your options.  Did you receive a severance package?  Do you have a few months savings to get you by for a while?  If so, take a few days of rest for your own mental and physical health.  Sleep in, take a walk in the park, watch the sunset or rent some of your favorite movies.

Next, take stock of your last job. What were the pros and cons for you?  Two people can hold the same job and feel entirely different about it.  By discovering the job traits you enjoy – working with numbers versus working with people, or working with your hands rather than your mind, you can set yourself up for success in your next job.

Perhaps now is the time to try a new occupation. Rarely are most people completely happy and overjoyed with their current job.  Many long for a chance to try a new position, industry or duties.  If there’s a possibility you may enjoy another line of work, or perhaps you have a hobby that could be a lucrative skill, think about testing new waters.  Too many of us stay locked in unfulfilling careers because the benefits are good, or we’re afraid to leave a secure situation.

Make sure to limit your exposure to cable and newspapers. Listening to the never-ending reports of job loss and financial problems will only make you more fearful and nervous.  To succeed you need to be focused and prepared. Be proactive and use your time to refine your job skills, update and improve your resume, and prepare a list of your strengths and accomplishments so you can answer those tough interview questions.

Plan some fun into everyday. Pleasure and fun is not something you do only when you’re feeling good.  When you are frightened, sad, or anxious it is important to have something to distract you, so your worry doesn’t turn into obsession.  Looking at the positive results of layoffs is hard, but the rewards are worth it.  Your problems won’t leave if you focus on solutions, but you will be better equipped to handle them.

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Jack-o-lantern by Paul Keleher

Do you love the thrill that courses through you as you sit in the dark with your popcorn mesmerized by the drama on the screen, listening the to rumbling music escalating to warn of some impending threat about to happen at any moment?

Horror movies let us experience the elevated heart rate and adrenaline rush normally associated with daring sports like mountain climbing, hang gliding or bungee jumping without any danger to ourselves. We get the excitement without the pain.  The adventure without the work.  It’s a win-win deal.

Scary films also have another bonus – they let us escape our problems for a short time. They also put difficulties like annoying coworkers, higher food prices, or misbehaving kids into clearer perspective.  After all, none of those things will kill us right?  Sort of takes the pressure off the issues which can otherwise overwhelm our lives at times.

The thrill of unknown draws our curiosity and fascination. It’s a chance to experience the strange and bizarre – from aliens and zombies to ghosts and demons, the unusual and odd abound in horror movies.  Suddenly ordinary life seems much simpler and sane.  Not to mention that thrillers are just plain fun.  Who doesn’t love shouting “Don’t open that door,” to the naïve victim about to step into the killer’s lair?

So what are the Halloween films you can’t live without? Which ones do you need to watch every year?  Who is your favorite creepy character and why?  As you think it over take a look at some of my favorites to spark your memory.  Then get out the popcorn and pick some flicks and have a fearfully good time.

The Frighteners (1996) –   A creepy, ghost-filled horror story with a sense of humor.  Michael J. Fox gives a great performance as a confused and man with the ability to see ghosts.  With a can’t miss FBI agent with a bizarre twist.  Sure to give you chills and have you staring at people’s foreheads.

An American Haunting (2005) – A loving family is caught in a supernatural trap in this menacing tale.  When John Bell is cursed by his neighbor, a rumored witch, strange things begin happening in the family home.  Who is what is causing the haunting and abusing their innocent young daughter Betsy?  The truth is truly horrifying.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)  A riveting tale based on a real life story; delve into the life and mind of Emily as she faces horrible pain and suffering.  You decide as the case is laid before you – is it demon possession or abuse by her caretakers that torments this gentle soul?  With a mesmerizing performance by actress Jennifer Carpenter unlike anything you’ve seen before, you’ll be glued to your seat until the end.

Interview with a Vampire (1994)  A captivating story played superbly by Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and a young Kirsten Dunst.  High society living cannot distract from the loneliness, pain and suffering that the vampires live with daily.  Horrifying and heartbreaking at the same time.  A must-see movie.

Other favorites:

  • Alien (1979)
  • Ghostbusters (1984)
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! (1966)
  • Slither (2006)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999)
  • The Thing (1982)

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A little slice of heaven, a little bit of you by notsogoodphotography

Everybody knows that when you feel good it shows. We will smile, laugh and generally reflect a positive demeanor.  When things are going well, that’s easy to do.  But when times are tough, or problems abound, that smile is a bit harder to come by.

Happiness is more than just the absence of pain.  It’s your overall satisfaction of life. Many of us have sacrificed something to have a more meaningful life.  Sometimes we might drive an older car so we have money for charity.  Or we might work at a job we dislike in order to have a good health plan.  We may skimp on every day luxuries like a bigger TV or a new game system in order to save for our yearly vacation.

Though in the short term doing these things may make us unhappy, sad or even resentful, we do them because of the long-term reward.  Though we may be stressed, overworked and tired while taking care of ailing mother or father, we do so because it brings them peace and brings us pleasure in giving.  The act of caring for a loved one outweighs the pain and hardship that comes with the job.

Happiness is about learning, growing, improving and celebrating our joys day after day. It is about finding meaning in the things we do.  And that doesn’t necessarily our work.  It could be our coaching job for little league, our volunteer work with shelter animals, or even our weekly donations to the church.

Many of us define ourselves not by our jobs or even our careers, but by our actions.  Are we kind?  Do we donate our time, attention, skills and money to those who need our help?  Do we forgive easily or laugh often?  Do we encourage, lead, or inspire others to stay motivated to accomplish their dreams?

Peace comes from knowing ourselves and being proud of the person we are. Joy comes from delighting in all the moments of fun, laughter, pleasure and accomplishment, no matter how small.  Serenity comes from knowing that we are doing our best, each day, and that even if we stumble or falter along the way, we are dedicated to staying the path to happiness and love.

Here are just a few of examples of everyday happiness:

  • Hugging your spouse, child or pet.
  • Completing a project such as cleaning your closets, a report for work, or our yearly check-up.
  • Going through the day without a single complaint.  (Well, we can dream, can’t we?)
  • Making someone smile.
  • Listening to soothing, relaxing music.
  • Giving someone a shoulder to cry on or a friendly ear.
  • Sharing a compliment.
  • Making amends for a wrong.
  • Speaking with love.
  • Surprising someone with brownies.
  • Letting go of anger.
  • Being the first to forgive.
  • Listening to the wind.
  • Watching the stars.
  • Secret kindness.  (Isn’t this the best kind?)
  • A steaming hot shower on a cold morning.
  • The acrobatic tumbling of autumn leaves.

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Relaxing in Maldives by nattu

These days it almost seems like the world will end.  Will your candidate get chosen and save our country?  Can the financial mess on Wall Street be straightened out or will I lose everything?  What new train wreck, catastrophe or problem is lurking around the corner?

Time for a news break. Whether you turn off the TV, change the channel, or read something uplifting, now is the moment to add some balance to all that negativity you’re listening to.  Otherwise you may just take up a sign proclaiming that the Armageddon has come and it’s time to put on your clean underwear!

So take a minute and change the channel. Click over to Animal Planet and watch a mother dog nurse a cute baby squirrel or a hyperactive Jack Russell Terrier run through a sprinkler.  Watch HGTV and see thrifty woman do amazing room makeovers for less than $500.  Check out Food Network and learn how to make a decadent triple chocolate cake – just to indulge your sweet tooth.

Read something inspirational. Whether it’s a fun-filled children’s tale, or the Dalia Lama’s Art of Happiness, there are fascinating and stimulating books for every taste.  If time is short, try a blog article or two.  You can recover the wonder and innocence of a child, or you want to find a way to be more relaxed, there are educational and motivational reads all over the place.

Of course the old stand-by works just as well.  Take a walk, play with your cat, or watch the sun rise before you leave for work. Find 5 or 10 minutes in your day when you do something special just for yourself.  Listen to classic music, take a dip in the hot tub, or just close your eyes and imagine your favorite person or place.  Remind yourself of the beauty and joy that lives all around us.

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