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Why Did India’s Grand Old Party Suffer a Poll Rout

first_imgWhy did India’s Grand Old Party suffer a historic drubbing in the general elections Related Itemslast_img

The Dark Secret

first_imgHe would buy new clothes every day and throw them into the sea. Rohan Sharma, a civil engineer in Dubai, was slowly unraveling. He would invite people over and then not open the door to them. He heard voices talking to him all the time. He believed people were following him, trying to poison his food. He lost his job and was completely unable to function.“My mother and the other elders in our family thought that some kalian jihad has been done over him,” recalls his daughter Sheela, who was only 8 years old at that time.“So we left Dubai in a real crisis and came back to India. My father was taken to fakir babas and tantriks to remove the kala jaadu (black magic). We donated lots of money, gold and silver to temples for his recovery.”Schizophrenia was the terrible word that nobody was willing to acknowledge even as the family’s life became a living hell. Recalls Sheela, “As a person who witnessed all this, I really felt all the shame and embarrassment as a child, seeing my father’s symptoms. I felt why did God have to make my family like this and was always praying for some miracles.”Sunita Gupta is only 14, but she’s had enough of life.She has everything, the best education, a great family, and all the material things and is studying in one of the most prestigious high schools. Yet, she’s attempted suicide twice by cutting herself. Her family was too embarrassed to talk about it and could not understand how their daughter could be depressed and suicidal.Arif Khan, who is 7, was having serrious problems in school. He was unable to sit in one place and would distract other children. He would not complete his class work and had a hard time doing his homework. His parents were tired of the constant complaints from the school and would blame Arif. They would constantly push him to do more work, call him names and not allow him to play.Concerned parents, who would normally rush to the doctor if their child had a cough or a cold, stonewall when they suspect the need for a psychiatrist. And so they didn’t even come to know that the problem might be Attention Deficit Disorder, and that it is treatable.Though their names have been changed to protect their identities, Rohan, Sunita and Arif are all very real people, living in New York.Mental illness is the big, dark secret that nobody wants to examine in the sunlight. Feeling alone and isolated, families live on the cusp of sadness and despair, not knowing that help is out there for them.Life changes dramatically when the family faces the truth and seeks treatment. “Finally we decided to take my aunt’s suggestion and he was shown to a psychiatrist,” says Sheela, Rohan’s daughter. “He was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was reluctant to take medication, but eventually started doing so. His symptoms reduced drastically, and he was more functioning as an individual.”After years of turmoil, Rohan was employed again and able to participate in family life. Says Sheela, “Today at 62, he is a grandfather of six children, has three children of his own who are happily settled with their spouses. He works full time as civil engineer, travels, socializes and is happy. But he needs to take his medication every day. After my father started treatment and we saw the improvement I felt why did we wait so long to get him into treatment?” Mental health problems, along with alcoholism and substance abuse, are the secrets families keep hidden away, but all these are treatable. For those who are wary of venturing out into the mainstream, hospitals and clinics catering specifically to immigrants and physicians who are culturally sensitive and can speak their language are now available.“A lack of awareness about mental illness and the unwillingness to accept that a family member has a mental health problem prevents many people from accessing services,” says Reshma R. Shah, a social worker at the Asian Outreach Clinic of the Queens Child Guidance Center in Elmhurst, Queens. Mental hFree ,alth services are also provided once a week at the Indo-American Psychiatric Services at Flushing Hospital in Queens, established in 1999 by Dr. Seeth Vivek, Dr. Deenshaw Bamji and Dr. Vinod Dhar.The Asian Outreach Clinic, established in 1993, offers family therapy, mental health services and alcohol and substance abuse services. The trained staff speaks several South Asian languages including Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Bengali. While there are Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Latino clients, Shah says, “South Asian cases are just increasing every year. We have three full-time South Asian social workers, and each one of us must be having an average caseload of about 35, anytime.”According to Dr. Agnelo Diaz, a psychiatrist at the clinic, the patients include Chinese, Korean, Filipino and South Asians. “We deal with mental health and substance abuse and we serve both children and adults. We see a variety of problems, starting with behavior problems, truancy, and parent-child conflicts. The immigrant parents come with certain set mind as to how the child is to be raised, and the child struggles with the world at home and the world outside and it’s very hard to draw a balance.”There are often parental conflicts with children, primarily teenagers, who may sometimes run away from home or get into the wrong company and parents are not willing to compromise or understand the child’s needs.“We also see a lot of influx in terms of domestic violence, both the victims as well as the perpetuators,” says Diaz. “It’s a positive sign. It’s a step forward because in the past domestic abuse stayed in the closet. Now we are getting hreferrals from courts for the batterers and the victims. People are now coming into the open and somehow they now have the courage to take that first step of reporting.”Often alcohol or substance abuse is interlinked with depression and other mental problems. Young Gurmeet was always sad and depressed. He confided to the caseworkers that he had nightmares and flashbacks of scenes from the past, of his alcoholic father drinking and fighting with his mother. Although his father has an order of protection against him and was currently out of the house, he was never out of mind for Gurmeet who had visions of his father drinking, beating up his mother and also beating him. Counseling for him and his family have got them into the process of healing.The clinic serves clients with mental problems such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorders. The troubled Sunita and Arif were bothreferred to the Asian Outreach Clinic by their schools and were finally able to get treatment. Sunita was stabilized first with ongoing therapy and medication. She was seen twice a week for close monitoring. Eventually her suicidal tendencies declined and she started taking more interest in herself. She was started with home instruction and enrolled in a support group for girls. “The family still had a hard time accepting her mental illness and kept minimizing it,” says Shah.“We explained that they need not feel guilty about it and the more they verbalized their concerns it would be helpful in treating her. The parents started responding more, attended therapy with her, were compliant with medication and Sunita’s depression started getting better.”Now 17, Sunita is still in treatment, but has contact with friends and is no longer suicidal and is very much aware of her symptoms. She is currently facing new issues with her parents about adjustment to the mainstream culture and her South Asian culture, However she is able to deal with the conflicts better now and no longer thinks suicide as an option. As for Arif, things are looking up for him too.At the clinic, he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD. Says Shah, “We asked the parents to have him psychiatrically evaluated. They were hesitant about it and said that their child was not mad. We explained to them that ADD did not mean he was mad; he just had a problem focusing due to some functioning in the brain.”His parents were reluctant to put him on medication, thinking he would get addicted and that it would be harmful. But after the school continued to complain, so finally, the parents relented and got him to see the doctor and start medication.Says Shah, “The child responded beautifully. Also we used behavior modification techniques with him, and he was responsive to them. The complaints from the school stopped and the parents were relieved of the pressure at home and this child scored very well in school.”For families under stress, the first step to a solution is picking up the telephone  Related Itemslast_img read more

Indian Movie, American Money And The Producer Sings!

first_imgNow movie-making is being outsourced to India!Telebrands, a New Jersey based American company which deals in infomercials, has jumped into the Bollywood business, producing Aryan, a movie starring the hunk Sohail Khan and Aishwarya Rai look-alike, Sneha Ullal, in a rousing Rocky-like boxing saga. So now American money is getting into Bollywood and who knows how far this trend will go? Usually playback singing is done by the Bollywood biggies, but in this movie, the producer of the film, New Jersey based Poonam Khubani, has also sung the title song “Ek Look” – and the track is already no 5 on V, the leading music channel in Mumbai. So can there be a reverse trend of outsourcing playback singing to the US? Related Itemslast_img read more

An Indian Christmas In America

first_imgEver eaten this at Christmas?Duck Moile, Chicken Shakuti, Pork Innad, Beef Stew and colorful Wedding Rice bedecked with caramelized onions, raisins, nuts and sliced boiled eggs. All this topped with an array of sweets including Kul-Kul, Thali Sweets, Milk Cream and Rose-de-Coque.If you’re an Indian Christian, your traditional Christmas cuisine travels with you – no matter where you go in the world. Christopher and Beverly D’Souza, who came to America just five years ago via Bombay and Abu Dhabi, serve this eclectic feast at their holiday table, a menu which crisscrosses various Christian communities in India. Indian Americans at Christmas midnight Mass at the St. John Church of the Jersey City, N.J.Beverly,  who is Indian and was born and brought up in Abu Dhabi,  not only cooks the meals of her childhood but also those of Christopher’s, who is from Mangalore. On their festive holiday table you’ll find Chicken Khadi and Duck Moile, which are East Indian specialties as well as Chicken Shakuti which is a Goan dish. There’s also Pork Innad, a Mangalorean dish and the Anglo Indian Beef Stew.Christmas meals amongst the Indian Christians are elaborate, holiday worthy meals under whose weight a table can literally groan. The meal starts with appetizers like Ground Meat and Potato Croquettes or Fried Potato Chops filled with meat; this tradition has changed to also include the more healthy ground chicken, turkey or vegetables.There’s also the weird-sounding Salted Tongue, of which Beverly says: “This may seem quite strange to a lot of people, but is a delicacy for some. However this tradition is changing with modern families and is rarely eaten out of India. Also, since we did not celebrate Thanksgiving in India, many homes also had the Stuffed and Roasted Pig, Chicken, Turkey or Goose served on the table ready to be carved.  Some of these traditions continued when we migrated.” The annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting attracts millions around the world.She adds that besides the curries, Pork Sorpotal and Vindaloo are other traditional dishes served at Christmas and each of the Christian communities has their own recipes for these dishes. Breads served by East Indians include Fugias while Mangaloreans and Goans serve Sannas, which look like idlis, but taste very different.With the approach of Christmas, Indian Christians are celebrating the birth of Christ not only with their many different celebratory meals, but also raising their voices in prayer in many tongues including Malayalam, Telegu, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati, besides English. “The Indian Christian population in the US is quite diverse, both in its denominational and linguistic identification, with significant numbers of  Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestants, including Pentecostal,” says Raymond B. Williams, author of Christian Pluralism in the United States: the Indian Immigrant Experience (Cambridge University Press). He says there is a representative group of almost all the churches present in India, which are often organized in denominational or linguistic groups.According to Abraham Mammen, President of the Federation of Indian American Christians of North America (FIACONA), a US based umbrella organization, “Each denomination celebrates Christmas differently. Some don’t even celebrate it in a ceremonial way, because they feel that the birth of Christ is something to be remembered every day of their lives. It is a fact, though, that Christmas is the most important day of their lives, of God coming to earth as a man. For Indian Christians in America, I’ve seen that regardless of how long we’ve been here, our roots still go back to India.”  Mohina Josen goes all out at Christmas.Indian Christians participate in mainstream worship or at their own churches, which have been established across the U.S.  Visit the Long Island Mar Thoma Church in Merrick, Long Island, and you hear Christmas carols being sung in Malayalam, by the congregation, many of them bedecked in rich silk saris. A festive meal shared by Keralite Christians after the services at their church included many ethnic dishes, including chicken curry, pullao, appam or pancakes, and payasam or rice pudding.“We bring our own music, our own costumes and our own way of caroling at Christmas,” says Rev Jos Kandathikudy of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church. “The carolers dress up in Indian garb as Jesus, Mother Mary and the Three Kings from the East, and our musicians use Indian drums for their blend of Malayalam and English carols.”Celebrating Christmas in America can be quite a revelation for immigrants who have grown up in other countries. Beverly D’Souza, who grew up in the Middle East, had never seen snow and saw her first magical snowflakes on a White Christmas in New York. “It was the first time I encountered a winter wonderland Christmas. It was snowing all day and we went to see the tree at Rockefeller Plaza. I just love the streets and the lights and the shopping. In Abu Dhabi the streets were lit up for Ramadan, but never for Christmas. That’s why this is so special for me.” Luke D’Souza’s first Christmas at Macy’s.Christmas was, however, not a lonely time in Abu Dhabi, because Christian families still get together for parties, Christmas bazaars and concerts in schools and also organized dance parties at the five star hotels.One custom Indian Christian communities delight in is their holiday desserts, and although there are several Portuguese influences in the main dishes of several Christian communities, the Indian influences prevails in the spicing and in the sweets. There are the traditional sweets like Mixed Fruit Cake, Plum Cake and Date Cake, but the Indian mithai influence is found in Marzipan, Milk Cream, Cordials, which are all cashew nut or almond based. Do Dol is made of rice flour, jaggery, cashew nut and flour dough while Thalie Sweets are suji (cream of wheat) and egg based. Deep fried Kul Kuls and Nankhatais or cookies are also a must in the spread of holiday sweets.The D’Souzas make many of these sweets during the holiday season. She says, “Tradition has been carried across the oceans. Even here friends from Connecticut and upstate New York come with their homemade sweets to visit each other. When my mother is in town, all the sweets are made at home.” After midnight mass, the D’Souzas visit close friends for coffee and fruitcake, and on Christmas morning their three year old son Luke opens the presents that Santa has brought him. The Santa Claus tradition is strong with Indian Christians, be they in India, the Middle East or in America. Over the years Beverly has seen Santa arrive in Goa, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi by boat, chariot and even a helicopter – and now her son sees him arrive in the neon-lit glitz of Macy’s, probably by subway or cab! It is difficult not be infected by the shopping bug at Christmas.For Mike Lulla of Oklahoma City, Okla., Christmas has a very special meaning, because he discovered his Christian faith late in life. A Sindhi Hindu from Hong Kong, he was one of the hundreds of traveling mail order salesmen who came to the U.S. in the 1970s to book orders for their tailoring businesses back in Asia. According to Lulla, about a 100 of these traveling salesmen embraced Christianity, he among them. “Most of us are Evangelical Christians who were led to Lord by the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he says. “I’m the only Sindhi Christian here but there are also Malayalee, Telegu, Tamil, Punjabi and Gujarati Christians in Oklahoma City.”Lulla, who is originally from Pune, goes to a mainstream Baptist Church and is the only Indian in that church. He is one of the co-founders of India Association of Oklahoma and is deeply involved in the organization of Diwali celebrations, even though he is a deeply religious Christian. His house is dressed for Christmas and the mantelpiece is decorated with the Holy Cross and fresh flowers. He says, “Jesus is the focal point of Christmas, not Santa Claus.” His Christmas is very Christ-oriented and revolves around the church. On Christmas Eve the family attends midnight mass and the next day a full day program in church with a reading of the special Christmas message from the Bible. The family also goes caroling from door to door to the homes mainstream Christians in his neighborhood. At home, Lulla, his wife Kamlesh, children – Munesh, Jay, Julie and Justin – exchange gifts with family and guests who are invited home for the festivities.While Christmas is important to Indian Christians as a celebration of faith, many non-Christians enjoy it as a secular holiday in ways small and big. Indeed, Christmas is such a huge, high voltage commercialized event in America that its is difficult to escape its allure, Christians or not. For most Indians it’s hard not to get sucked into the whole holiday ambiance of shopping madness, carols in public places, and the barrage of Christmas shows and music on TV. According to U.S. census figures for 2006, retail sales by the nation’s department stores rung up during the Christmas season is a boggling $31.4 billion, of which $485 million is spent on Christmas trees alone; the value of Christmas tree ornaments from China is $605 million, and of stuffed toys $639 million! A whopping 20 billion letters and packages were delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. You’d have to be a Grinch to brush off the festive season surrounding you as magically and persistently as falling snowflakes.Non-Christians who grew up in India have experienced Christmas as a secular festival since Christmas is a national holiday throughout India, a shared celebration, a time for family get-togethers and celebrations at hotels and private homes.Sapna and Sunil Hassaram of Raleigh, N.C., who immigrated to the U.S. 13 years ago, have adopted Christmas festivities for the sake of their two daughters, Janesha and Valina, who were born here. “Christmas is such a big deal here,” says Sapna. “When they were in kindergarten, the teachers would help them to make Christmas ornaments and tell them to put them on the tree at home. So that’s how we started getting a tree, to have a place for them to hang the ornaments! They were also excited to get presents from their teachers.” The children heard all about Santa’s impending arrival and so the family played along on this new tradition, getting them little presents for Christmas, toys and new clothes they could show their friends the next day in school. Now that the girls are older, they still set up the tree, but are wiser about Santa Claus. For years, they kept out milk and cookies for Santa, and Sunil would have to hurriedly take a few sips of the milk and bites out of the cookie before they woke, to prove that Santa had visited. The girls still expect Christmas gifts, which have kept up with their age, such as Ipods, so the spirit of the season continues to be cherished. They go to the mall to see the beautiful decorations and look forward to the festive season. “We get together to do things as a family and for us it’s an occasion to bind as a family,” says Sapna. “One Christmas we went into a kiosk to try on wigs and see how we all looked with different hairdos. It was really a fun time.”Sapna treasures the memories and Christmas ornaments Janesha and Valina made as small children. Now that the girls are tweens, they look forward to the gifts, to the thrill of putting colored lights outside the house after Thanksgiving and setting up the tree. One person who takes Christmas very seriously is Mohina Josen, a second generation Indian American who grew up in New York.  She and her husband Ricky Tejpaul buy their most expensive, big ticket items at Christmas; the kids get elaborate gift wrapped packages. The family sets up not one, but two elaborate trees and hosts a rocking holiday party with Santa Claus, elves and all the trimmings – and even a pre-Christmas party to start up the festivities! The couple is open to every festival and besides celebrating their own Sikh and Hindu festivals, they also celebrate Christmas and American festivals like Thanksgiving, Halloween and Valentine’s Days. From a young age, she saw Christmas being celebrated by her friends. Mohina also remembers going to Christmas celebrations at the home of a Catholic family friend and the tradition just carried on.  The family has many relatives in Europe and travels there during the Christmas holidays to celebrate together.“When you’re a child and you’re going to school the next day, you’d always hear from others ‘What did you get from Santa?’ It was a thrill opening the gifts,” she recalls. “We did it for the whole commercial aspect of it, for the children to have fun, for Santa Claus and for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.”While her mother hosts Thanksgiving and her mother-in-law Diwali, Mohina, who now has two little daughters of her own, Zarina and Sabina, has appropriated Christmas. All the holidays are now taken care of! Mohina goes all the way with Christmas: decorating the house the Saturday before Christmas, putting up two live trees and smaller trees on another floor of the house. There’s a pre-holiday party where friends and family drop in to help with the decorations, sip hot chocolate with marshmallows and sing carols. Having grown up here, she has friends from many races and they have made a tradition of baking together for their children’s schools as well as for colleagues at work.“The children have made out their lists for Santa, and I tell them that whatever Santa can bring, he will,” she says. “They’ve already written letters to him, telling him how wonderful they’ve been and on Christmas they keep out cookies and milk for Santa, and something for Rudolph and the other reindeers.” The family also has a tradition of doing some Christmas activities in Manhattan such as going to the Radio City Music Hall or a holiday show like How the Grinch Stole Christmas. At her Christmas party, she hosts 20 to 40 family members and friends serving a huge, traditional American feast, from leg of lamb to all the trimmings and desserts. One year, she recalls, she actually created homemade chocolates encased in chocolate sleds for the guests as take-home party favors.For second generation Indian Americans who have grown up surrounded by Christmas and Christian friends, it’s a part of their American experience and as new parents they desire to pass it on to their children. “There’s a holiday spirit and the euphoria of the whole month and I think that’s what we are celebrating,” says Mohina. “We start with Diwali, Thanksgiving and Guru Nanakji’s birth, and so we just continue celebrating.”Indian- Americans also celebrate with many social and work-related holiday parties. It seems the perfect time to throw a bash since the whole country is in celebration mode. It’s a convenient time to get together with friends as the season has a light work schedule – a perfect opportunity to organize a get-together, which is not always possible on Diwali, which often falls on a weekday.As the Christmas season draws closer, Beverly D’souza is leaving with her husband and son for India to celebrate a real typical, down-home Indian Christmas with family and friends in Goa, while Mohina Josen is preparing for her big holiday party and making plans to take 7-year-old Zarina to a children’s cooking class to learn how to make and color sugar cookies for Christmas.It’s the season for traditions, preserving old ones and creating new ones.   Related Itemslast_img read more

SRK Turns Back On US

first_imgBollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan says he will avoid traveling to the U.S. after his humiliating ordeal at Newark’s Liberty International Airport during which he was grilled for an hour by security officials. Ironically, 44-year-old Khan was in the U.S. to promote his latest film, My Name is Khan, about racial profiling after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and some suspect he is using the incident as a publicity stunt to promote the movie. Khan said his treatment left him “angry and humiliated.”“Of course I will visit the U.S. if I have to go for my work. But I will go less often. If I have three things to do, I will club them together and go just once. And certainly, I wouldn’t like to travel with my family to the U.S.’’Another Bollywood star Salman Khan has also reportedly cancelled his upcoming U.S. tour, citing his discomfort over traveling to the United States. Related Itemslast_img read more

Bombay HC notice to newly-appointed Cabinet ministers

first_imgThe Bombay High Court on Monday issued notices to Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Jaydutt Kshrisagar and Avinash Mahtekar who are appointed ministers in the Maharashtra cabinet last week, in a plea challenging their appointment.A division bench of Justices S.C. Dharmadhikari and G.S. Patel was hearing a petition filed by Surinder Arora, Sanjay Kale, and Sandeep Kulkarni. The petition mentions that Mr. Patil was elected MLA from the Shirdi Assembly constituency in 2014 as an Indian National Congress Party candidate and was a leader of opposition. Mr. Kshirsagar too was elected as Congress MLA from Chousala Assembly constituency. They both resigned and joined the BJP/ Shiv Sena party respectively and thereby attracted disqualification on the grounds of defection within the meaning of Schedule X and Article 191(2) of the Indian Constitution. “Let the respondents (ministers) also get a chance to object or respond to the petition,” the court said while posting the matter for further hearing after four weeks.The petition says that on June 16, 2019, Mr. Patil and Mr. Kshirsagar were appointed ministers despite the fact that they are disqualified on the ground of defection as per a schedule of the Indian Constitution.The petitioners state that these ministers being non-legislators are disqualified under the Constitution from holding a position of Member of Legislative Assembly or Member of Legislative Council. The petition highlights that section 151 A of the Representation of People Act prohibits conduct of bye-elections if the remaining tenure is less than one year. As the tenure of the 13th Assembly shall expire on November 8, 2019, i.e. less than a period of five months, there can be no bye-election and subsequent opportunity for the three ministers to be elected.The petition seeks an interim injunction restraining them from acting as ministers including their participation in the meetings of the council of ministers and wants the court to issue a direction to Speaker to decide on the matter. The matter has been adjourned for four weeks.last_img read more

The future looks bleak for Ousmane Dembele at Barcelona

first_imgSo, it is seeming that the manager is losing his confidence on Ousmane Dembele and that is why the French winger is not starting. But the player will hope that he will start in the upcoming El Clasico. Otherwise a move towards a new club is seeming to be inevitable for Ousmane Dembele in the winter transfer window.  Advertisement AdvertisementThe future of Ousmane Dembele at Barcelona is not looking very bright under the management of Ernesto Valverde. It was seeming that Dembele would get more gametime after the injury of Lionel Messi as the Argentine superstar’s arm had been broken in the match against Sevilla in the La Liga. Messi is going to be out of action for minimum of three weeks. So, many would have thought that Ousmane Dembele might be the direct replacement of Lionel Messi in the meantime. But the thing has not gone in that way. Ernesto Valverde has preferred to start with Rafinha Alcantara in place of Lionel Messi in the match against Inter Milan in the Group Stage of the Champions League. Rafinha Alcantara has also scored the first goal for Barcelona in their 2-0 win over Inter Milan. Ousmane Dembele came into the field for only 25 minutes in the second half of the match. Ousmane Dembele was a regular starter for the Catalan Giants in the previous month. But in this month, the young French French footballer has only made two appearances so far and that too from the bench. last_img read more

Dallas’ Top 10 Jobs In Demand

first_imgNumber of Job Openings: 449Median Base Salary: $28,000 Number of Job Openings: 983Median Base Salary: $20,200 Number of Job Openings: 631Median Base Salary: $55,040 Cashier Number of Job Openings: 636Median Base Salary: $17,000 Number of Job Openings: 296Median Base Salary: $30,000 Number of Job Openings: 836Median Base Salary: $42,000 Teacher Number of Job Openings: 243Median Base Salary: $37,000Job Search Tip: Did you know that when you search for a job on Glassdoor, you can also research your expected salary? In the job search feed, when you see a position you’re interested in, click on the link that says “salaries”. This will show you a drop-down image and link to all of the salary data we have for that particular company.Want to Work in A Different City?: Check out Glassdoor’s recent report on Boston’s Top 10 Jobs In Demand and 25 Best Jobs in America for 2015.*Methodology: For a job title to be considered for Glassdoor’s report on Dallas’ Top 10 Jobs In Demand, job titles must have at least 200 job openings within the Dallas metro area. Job openings represent active job listings on Glassdoor as of 5/5/15.  Of job titles that meet this criteria, they must also have at least 30 salary reports shared by Dallas-based employees on Glassdoor between 5/6/14 and 5/5/15. This report takes into account job title normalization that groups similar job titles. Do you live in the Dallas area? Thinking about moving to Dallas and want to find a new job?From local companies like Southwest Airlines to AT&T to Texas Instruments, Dallas employers across a variety of industries are hiring.To help you find a job and get hired, Glassdoor has revealed its newest report identifying Dallas’ Top 10 Jobs In Demand*. In addition to ranking the jobs most in demand, we’ve included earning potential specific to the Dallas area to help you get a sense of fair market value for each job. Each salary estimate is according to salary reports shared by Dallas-based employees.Check out the complete results:Retail Sales Associate Retail Store Managercenter_img Customer Service Representative Number of Job Openings: 278Median Base Salary: $90,000 Registered Nurse Pharmacy Technician Number of Job Openings: 259Median Base Salary: $47,900 Administrative Assistant Number of Job Openings: 254Median Base Salary: $57,968 Accountant Systems Engineerlast_img read more

Here’s What a Mentor Can (And Can’t) Do For Your Career

first_imgContrary to popular opinion, a mentor is not a job recruiter. He or she is not tasked with helping you land your next gig. Nor is a mentor a life coach. It is not their job to help you overcome personal obstacles or to be your best self.But don’t feel embarrassed—many employees have a skewed perspective of what a mentor is nowadays.“A mentor is a great resource to have in your back pocket,” says millennial career expert and associate director of communications for WORKS Jill Jacinto. A mentor is someone who can do everything from “act as a sounding board, help you move up the ranks, navigate office politics, and help you make important career decisions.”[Related: What Is a Mentor & How Can You Become One?]In other words, they can do a lot for you and your career. But there are also some things—OK, several things—they simply can’t do for you. Simply put, “a mentor is not a career coach or sponsor,” Jacinto says. But what exactly does that mean? And how do you know the difference between what your work role model can and can’t do for you? Here’s a list to set you straight.They can help you define your career goals. We’ve all heard the question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” If you don’t have an answer, “a mentor will help you articulate that and define your career aspirations,” says Jacinto.[Related: 5 Steps to Finding a Mentor Who Isn’t Your Boss]They can’t decide for you. You’re faced with a tough choice—and instinctually, you turn to your mentor for the answer. “But a mentor will not make the hard decisions for you,” warns Jacinto. “They will offer their insight and expertise, but ultimately, you need to be the one who calls the shots in your own career.”They can keep you in check. Want to mess around? Not on your mentor’s watch. “It’s easy to lose sight of your career dreams by procrastinating,” says Jacinto, “but your mentor will push you to keep working hard and staying focused.”They can’t talk to your boss. It would be so nice if your mentor could fight your battles for you. But while your mentor will have your back, “it is unusual for him or her to chat up your boss about you,” says Jacinto. “If you’re looking for that, then you need a sponsor.”They can help you make connections. Your mentor knows people. And he or she “might be able to introduce you to key people in your field,” says Jacinto. “You might find a new client, intern, colleague, vendor, or boss through your relationship.”[Related: 5 Things To Do With Your Mentor That Don’t Include Coffee]They can’t be your BFF. You can have a work bestie—but it can’t be your mentor. “You need to keep boundaries during your mentorship,” explains Jacinto. “While you can be friendly, becoming friends might hurt their ability to be non-partial and offer the constructive criticism you might need.”They can give you constructive feedback. A mentor isn’t going to agree with all that you say and do. Rather, “their ‘job’ is to guide you,” says Jacinto. “And a big part of that guidance is helping you to see the bigger issue by providing you tangible feedback. It isn’t always easy to hear—or give—but it’s essential.”They can help you grow your skills. Think of your mentor as a continuing education teacher for your career. “He or she might be able to pass along both hard and soft skills for you to add to your resume and career repertoire,” says Jacinto.The key is to have realistic and professional expectations. “Your mentor is not your fairy godmother who is going to tell you would excel in your job or industry. They are not in your life to hand hold and placate you.” Rather, they’re there to “challenge you and offer their experiences as a tool for you to make beneficial career decisions,” she says.last_img read more

5 Signs You’re Too Aggressive On Email

first_img QUIZ: Is Your Company Toxic? Also on Glassdoor: We’ve all been there: Furrowed or exaggerated brows, staring at an email message that reads just a little too aggressively. A curt response to a group email, a dismissive reply to an important message, a string of capital phrases. Ah, email. It can stir up unnecessary workplace drama thanks to subliminal jabs and passive aggressive phrases that get in the way of real work.While we can all recall of the slights of others, could you actually be an unknowing email aggressor? For a gut-check, here’s a list of aggressive email behaviors and phrases that you may have used once or twice.1. Repeated Reply-AllsBeing cc’d on a chain of emails with 10 people attached can not only be annoying but it can also be a tale-tell sign of passive aggressiveness. Beware of doing this because it can come off as being, one, pretentious as though you’re trying to show the entire team your accomplishments; two, it can prolong a conversation that should really be handled off-line; and three, it can appear as though you’re insensitive to the workloads of others. Nip this behavior in the bud.2. “I don’t mean to bother you, but…”If you’ve typed this in emails, chances are you’ve already “bothered” the recipient of the email. Or, this cliché can be a pet peeve to the person on the other end. If you are sending this to a colleague, don’t. Whatever you’re asking is probably associated with their job, and in all likelihood, you’re not bothering them — you’re simply diminishing your own power or authority. Sorry to nag…but this language has to stop.3. CC’ing the Boss UnnecessarilyMuch like running to the teacher to tell on a kid during sixth-grade recess, unnecessarily cc’ing the boss on an email exchange between you and a colleague under the guise of “transparency” can be aggressive. Don’t be the office tattle-tale.4. Sending “Urgent” Emails that Are Not UrgentLike yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater or crying wolf, sending an email with ‘urgent’ in the subject line when it’s not an urgent matter is just downright wrong. Furthermore, it causes unnecessary panic for colleagues. Reserve this subject line for only the most urgent matters. Otherwise, like the boy who cried wolf, no one will believe you when there really is a crisis to respond to.5. Writing in ALL CAPSAre you yelling?! Because that’s what using all caps looks (or sounds) like to the person receiving your email. Use correct language protocols in emails, like capitalizing the first letter of the first word in a sentence. Turn your caps lock off, and while you’re at it, quit typing with no punctuation. Business emails are not text messages — it’s not an ‘anything goes’ situation. Oh, and before we forget, nix the ellipses, the series of exclamation points and the emojis — they’re sending the message that you’re not professional.last_img read more

The Surprising Reason You’re Not Hearing Back After Job Interviews

first_img 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h Pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist Pediplay Indianapolis, IN 4.4★ 4.2★ RN, Registered Nurse – ICU CHRISTUS Health Austin, TX 23 hours ago 23h 3.4★ 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h Restaurant Manager Red Lobster Clovis, NM 23 hours ago 23h Lube Technician Heiser Automotive Group Glendale, WI 3.8★ Maintenance Technician – 2nd and 3rd shift Ranir Grand Rapids, MI 2.6★ Nursing: Labor and Delivery MedPro Healthcare Staffing Valencia, CA Most job seekers are perceptive enough to know when an interview isn’t going well. So if you arrive late, can’t answer a question or totally botch a response, you’re not exactly surprised when you don’t receive an invite to move forward. But every once in a while, you’ll have an interview that you think went great only to get rejected (or worse, ghosted) by the recruiter.You might wonder if the interviewers deemed you unqualified, or if the position went to an internal candidate instead. But one common disqualifier you may not have considered is that you came off as too negative in your interview.“Negativity in any form automatically taints the interview,” says Wemi Opakunle, Recruiter at Netflix and author of the upcoming book Thank God It’s Monday: 52 Weekly Inspirational Messages to Blast Away Your Monday Blues. “The focus of the interview is to get to know you and see how you can contribute to and elevate the company. A candidate’s approach should be focused on presenting yourself as a solution. The moment you become a problem or present yourself as anything other than a solution, the interviewer puts up a mental red flag.”So how can you tell if you’re guilty of excessive negativity, and what can you do to fix it? We turned to the experts for answers.When Negativity StrikesTo be clear, you don’t have to be a negative person in general to come off the wrong way in a job interview. Even the most cheerful and optimistic among us fall victim to negativity from time to time, particularly in response to certain topics, such as why you want to leave your current position or company.Often, candidates “feel the best answer to this question is to cite the shortcomings of their previous employer,” which “can quickly lead to a tangential description of the faults [of] managers or a list of a company’s shortcomings,” explains Mollie Moric, Career Advisor and Hiring Manager at Resume Genius. “The main purpose of a job interview is to sell yourself, your ability to complete a role, fit in with a company and be a positive addition to a team. Your interviewer isn’t concerned with how much of a jerk your previous manager was or how poorly the company was run.”Besides wasting valuable time that could be used to highlight how great you are, these rants reflect poorly on your character. Career coach Lisa Lewis shares that those who complain about former employers “often come across as someone stuck in the past or feeling like a victim,” while Opakunle points out that “any employer who hears you speaking negatively about a past company in a first meeting will assume you’ll do the same about them.”It’s also easy to sound overly cynical and/or self-critical when you talk about weaknesses and mistakes, given that they are an inherently negative topic.“The appropriate answer to this question requires a candidate to provide a list of weaknesses accompanied by examples of how they’ve overcome each one. However, an unprepared candidate may opt to divulge a list of their greatest weaknesses and how they’ve affected their life instead of a more appropriate response,” Moric says.Talking about past employers and weaknesses or mistakes aren’t the only situations in which negativity can slip through, though. Other indications your conversation has taken a turn for the worse include  “sighing, breaking eye contact, seeing fewer smiles or head nods, noticing longer pauses in between their questions, ending an interview earlier than the scheduled time or getting the feeling that the tone of the conversation has taken on a slow, heavy energy,” Lewis says.Good Negative Qualities to Say During an InterviewHow to Change Your ToneExperts recommended several key strategies to avoid excess negativity. For example, don’t talk about why you want to leave your current job — instead, try “describing the traits of the work and workplace you’re seeking for your next move,” Lewis suggests. “When you focus on your own agency and the positive attributes you want, you can take a potentially very negative situation and turn it into a positive opportunity.”Similarly, if asked to bring up an example of a mistake you’ve made or a challenge you’ve encountered, “follow each negative comment with a way in which you were able to make the situation positive in the end,” Moric advises. “For example, if you experienced a significant period of unemployment, explain how you took online courses to update your skills or spent time volunteering to give back to the community.”You can also try “talking about the lessons you learned from a challenging situation and mentioning all the resources you now use to handle similar issues differently to find a better resolution,” Lewis adds.But perhaps the most important thing you can do is practice answering common interview questions aloud before your interview takes place.“If you know that you have residual negative feelings about a point in your career that might come up in your interview, prepare your answers for those topics beforehand. Instead of getting triggered by a negative feeling and botching an important interview question, you’ll be able to provide well-thought-out answers that offer a positive perspective on an otherwise difficult topic,” Moric says.5 Ways to Prove That You’re the Best Candidate for the JobOf course, life is always going to be full of both positives and negatives, so you don’t need to pretend that nothing bad has ever happened to you. But there’s a big difference between experiencing something negative and dwelling on it.“If you’ve had something negative happen, don’t ignore it completely or pretend it didn’t happen. Interviewers want transparency and authenticity from you in the interview to be able to feel like they can trust you,” Lewis says. “But ensure that as you reflect, you show signs of separation and growth from the situation rather than coming across as still entrenched in the thick of the emotional consequences.” View More Jobs 5.0★ Assistant Managers and Cashiers needed at Exxon Fuel & Convenience Store Porter’s Provo, UT 23 hours ago 23h 23 hours ago 23h 3.4★ Electronics/Production Assembly Operator Temp Soraa Inc. Valley View, OH 2.4★ Sr. Assistant Store Manager Palais Royal Brenham, TX 23 hours ago 23h Hot New Jobs For You Field Administrative Assistant Cupertino Electric, Inc. New Albany, OH 2.7★ 3.5★last_img read more

Man Utd boss Mourinho adds Everton target Brozovic to Perisic talks

first_imgManchester United boss Jose Mourinho is adding Marcelo Brozovic to his shopping list.Gazzetta Dello Sport says Mourinho is hoping to get Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic on-board before they begin their pre-season tour of the USA in mid-July.Inter have already rejected a £35.3m bid from Manchester United and are holding out for £44.1m before they’ll let him leave.Mourinho is also targeting Perisic’s countryman, Brozovic, who is free to head for the exit door.Everton are also in the hunt for Brozovic as they prepare for next season.Blues boss Ronald Koeman saw a £15.9m proposal for the Inter Milan man knocked back a few days ago.last_img read more

Bournemouth defender Steve Cook determined to build on last season

first_imgBournemouth defender Steve Cook is determined to build on last season’s form.A key performer as Cherries finished ninth in the table, Cook’s ability to remain available through the campaign was what pleased him most.He told the Daily Echo: “I went into the season and I wanted to play more games than last year and I managed to do that.”Now I have set my standards higher and I want to continue to do that for many years to come.”I managed to stay injury free and have been able to be selected, I think that’s the most important thing for me.”The manager picked me week in, week out. I’m just really pleased that I put myself in the position to be available.”last_img read more

Case Study: National Council of La Raza

first_imgNational Council of La Razahttp://www.nclr.org/The National Council of La Raza’s central goal is nothing less than to help shape a future of unprecedented opportunity and hope for millions of Hispanic Americans. Indeed, their mission is to ensure the collective voice of the Hispanic American population is heard “as never before among our nation’s policy-makers and opinion leaders.” With such a mission, it’s crucial the organization has the mechanisms in place to easily – and quickly – meet the needs of their community, whether through dissemination of information and resources, making it easy to join or donate, and render the highest level of services possible. Darcy Eischens, Director, Direct Mail and Membership Marketing, can attest to the importance of ease in this equation. As the largest constituency-based national Hispanic organization, NCLR serves Hispanic nationality groups in all regions of the country: NCLR has over 270 formal affiliates who together serve 40 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia – and a broader network of more than 30,000 groups and individuals nationwide. Their constituency reach is more than three and a half million Hispanics annually.All of this translates into the need for web tools that are both easy to use internally, and easy for the constituency to use. To help them meet these needs, National Council of La Raza partnered with Groundspring for both DonateNow and EmailNow.Prior to using DonateNow, the NCLR website required potential donors or members to click through five pages, whether renewing membership or joining one of their many programs. They knew this had to change, and when their provider gave them less than one month to find a replacement, their web team conducted a search for an online donation vendor.With the transition has come a more streamlined approach to online donating, joining, and receiving electronic newsletters. Now, with DonateNow, there is only one page people see to join, donate, or renew membership. According to Eischens, “That one change has increased our traffic dramatically; donations are double what they were last year. And that’s an increase with no special appeals, no campaigns. It’s because it’s now easy for people to do what they want to, quickly.”She continues, “The ease of Groundspring’s tools and the way the online donation is set up, provides an easy flow for the user. People signing onto our website get a pop-up window, and are then taken to one screen which allows them the flexibility to do a multitude of things.”There was also the classic issue of having control over one’s own website. Before working with Groundspring, Eischens had to call vendors to make any changes to content or functionality. She recalls, “I had no control of it; I was at the mercy of the vendors to do the work I needed done. There’s nothing like being the captain of your own ship, particularly when it’s your work that is being evaluated.”Today, when Eischens comes into her office, it’s not unusual for her to find a donation in her inbox. This would not have happened as often before. “What is wonderful about using DonateNow is that using one simple page, people can either join as a new member, renew their membership, or have the option to participate in our giving circles.” NCLR’s giving options include the “Leadership Circle,” “Ernesto Galarza Circle” and the “President’s Council.”The organization was so delighted with the ease of implementing DonateNow, they decided to move their messaging service to EmailNow. Eischens had been ready for a switch. “We had another messaging service which had caused us some serious problems,” Eischens recalls. One such problem was the inability to handle foreign language characters. For an organization that serves the Hispanic American population, this was a formidable issue. “The Hispanic language has all sorts of special characters and accents, and this other messaging could not handle them,” says Eischens.The National Council of La Raza uses EmailNow currently for their monthly e-boletín, which for Eischens means less hassle: “Knowing I don’t have to worry about the characters and the ease of inputting the HTML and sending it out, means it’s less time consuming.”In terms of speed in getting the new tools integrated into the website, Eischens put DonateNow and EmailNow through its paces. “I was up and running in a couple of days. Using another vendor would have required a much higher learning curve.”“Groundspring has these tools down to a fine art – they already know what I want. That’s a real asset,” Eischens acknowledges. “The best part is that someone else really thought it through – things I don’t think of when building my own system. They truly know what nonprofits want and need. The proof is in the pudding; we set it up in no time. When we had to leave our donation vendor, we had less than a month to get something up and running. This was no problem for Groundspring.”Eischens continues, “In terms of finding the right vendor, it’s a fine line between going with what you really need, and what is overkill. For us, Groundspring represents what we really need. Many vendors have so many options and choices, you don’t know what you’re supposed to be using: Maybe this way, or that way?”Says Eischens, “There is no question – Groundspring provided the greatest amount of service for the best price. Their services are just shy of what other competitive ASP’s could provide, and for a whole lot less. With some of the more expensive services, I felt like asking, ‘what part of non-for-profit do you not understand?”last_img read more

International Women’s Day: What Are You Doing to Honor the World’s Women Today?

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 8, 2010June 21, 2017By: Ann K. Blanc, Director, MHTFClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A message from Ann K. Blanc, Director of the Maternal Health Task Force, on International Women’s day:At the first International Women’s Day in 1911, the maternal mortality ratio in the United States was around 900 deaths per 100,000 births – approximately the same level as in sub-Saharan Africa today. While the figure has dropped to 11 deaths per 100,000 births in the US today, the ratio in Africa has barely budged in the last 20 years. I often wonder why this huge disparity exists and why the global health community doesn’t commit to the global eradication of preventable maternal deaths, a goal that I think is achievable if only sufficient political will could be mustered. After all, the number of maternal deaths every year is relatively few – “only” 500,000 – and the ways to prevent these deaths are known. In honor of the world’s women, the MHTF is using the occasion of International Women’s Day to renew our commitment to the global effort to improve maternal health through working with others in the maternal health field to identify and fill knowledge gaps, build consensus, encourage dialogue, and share lessons learned. What are you doing to honor the world’s women today?Share this:last_img read more

PMTCT in Zambia and Malawi by mothers2mothers

first_imgPosted on March 24, 2011November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The following is part of a series of project updates from mothers2mothers. MHTF is supporting their project, Using Cell Phones in PMTCT. More information MHTF supported projects can be found here.mothers2mothers (m2m) continues to explore integrating Active Client Follow-Up (ACFU) as part of its facility-based PMTCT education and psychosocial support program, with the aim of encouraging women to continue accessing health care for themselves and their children. MHTF is supporting m2m in the process of conducting pilot activities in Malawi and Zambia to inform m2m’s plans for scale up and integration of ACFU across all of m2m’s programs.Over the last couple of months at the pilot sites in both Malawi and Zambia, m2m has provided its Mentor Mothers and Site Coordinators with ACFU training and follow up of clients has begun. In this stage of translating ACFU from an idea to an operational intervention for quality improvement of services, teams in both Malawi and Zambia have been documenting successes, challenges, and the process of ACFU to inform scale-up across the organization. m2m management staff are conducting support visits to ACFU sites in order to monitor progress and have reported that staff are currently largely focused on obtaining consent from clients to conduct follow up activities, which varies depending on their access to a mobile phone, and comfort with staff contacting them either via phone or home visit.Ensuring confidentiality is a major component of ACFU. For example, in Zambia, clients have demonstrated a preference for home visits in several sites and bicycles are being used to reach clients who live far from facilities. They have expressed discomfort in receiving contact from m2m through cell phones, since these are often shared amongst family members. Some challenges to home visits have arisen with the onset of the rainy season, making the roads difficult to traverse in many areas. There is also a fear of encountering wild animals in the more rural areas. Different challenges to client follow up have been identified in Malawi, where the team is finding that some of the key PMTCT priorities for follow up that they have identified have extenuating circumstances that complicate ACFU. For example, in some sites, ensuring clients come back to the facility for CD4 test results is a key follow-up priority. But where the CD4 count machines intermittently break, this clearly impacts on the success of the ACFU intervention.After only a few weeks of conducting ACFU, it has become clear that many of the challenges and specifics of ACFU activities are country and, often, site-specific, demonstrating the importance of the local context of ACFU activities. Documentation of learning will not only help to inform ACFU activities at m2m, but will also speak to the role of telephonic and home visit interventions in global health programs on a broader scale. We look forward to learning more from Malawi and Zambia in the coming weeks.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Maternal and Neonatal Technology Briefs: The Right Tools for the Right Job

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on April 12, 2012June 23, 2017Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)MANDATE (Maternal and Neonatal Directed Assessment of Technology), a project of RTI International, has developed a series of technology briefs that provide extensive information about a number of technologies in use (and under development) to prevent, diagnose, and treat some of the major causes of maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity–including hemorrhage, infection, hypertensive diseases during pregnancy, birth asphyxia, diarrhea, prematurity, and more.According to the MANDATE website:Reducing the burden of maternal, fetal, and neonatal mortality around the world depends, in part, on having the right tools for the job. As part of the MANDATE project, RTI is assembling an inventory of technologies commonly used to save maternal, fetal, and neonatal lives in all settings around the world. While far from exhaustive, the inventory gives a sense what is used today, and where. In the process, the MANDATE team is identifying gaps in the toolkit, and resulting opportunities for innovation. The technologies profiled here constitute a starting point for discussion about technologies, both existing and yet to be invented, that have the greatest potential to save lives around the world. We invite you to review these technology briefs and email us any comments.Browse the technology briefs here.Learn more about the approach and goals of the MANDATE project here.For more on technology and innovation relating to maternal and newborn health take a look at WHO’s Compendium of New and Emerging Health Technologies and Maternova’s Innovation Index.Share this:last_img read more

How to Pay Your Taxes Four Times a Year—And Love It

first_imgHave you ever wondered why there’s no dedicated personal finance book for independent workers? Authors Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan did, so they wrote their own, entitled, “The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed” (Random House/Three Rivers Press, 2010. In stores now.) Most people know them from their hilarious book trailer. In this guest post, they share their secrets to a stress-free tax season. Have a story you’d like to tell to other freelancers? Email us at stories@freelancersunion.org. All our traditionally employed friends get bent out of shape at tax time, like it’s some big deal. Well, tax time comes four times a year for freelancers. The trouble is, most of us don’t know it. While traditionally employed workers have taxes taken out of their pay automatically, freelancers do not. To be successful, independent workers must look at their income in a whole new way and have to commit to doing it year ‘round. Here’s how we manage to make it work. 1. Mark Your Calendar Don’t wait until April. Independent workers are responsible for paying estimated taxes June 15, September 15, January 15 and of course, April 15. Remember: April 15 is a double whammy. You pay not only the annual taxes for the prior year, but the first installment of estimated taxes for the current year as well. ** 2. Get Organized** Organize your finances as any responsible business would. If you are not already, begin tracking income and expenses down to the penny. Receipts are your friends—never let them slip away. Financial software programs—such as Quicken or mint.com—can take some of the pain out of this chore. ** 3. Commit Yourself ** Employers take a percentage out of workers’ paychecks to send to Uncle Sam. You must do the same. Commit to taking a percentage out of each and every check and save it in what we call a Tax Savings Account. Not sure how much to take out? Look at your previous years’ tax returns (state, federal and city, if applicable). Take the tax you paid each year and divide it by that year’s gross income. Multiply that number by 100. This will give you a ballpark percentage that you can start taking out of each check. This number varies freelancer to freelancer, so mind your own business—not someone else’s. ** 4. Stay on Track** Making more this year than in years past? Less? Then the amount you’re setting aside for taxes will need to be adjusted. On a quarterly basis—when you pay your estimated taxes, for example—look at what you’ve earned so far and decide whether to adjust your percentage accordingly. The more regularly you do this, the better you will get at on-the-fly financial housekeeping. 5. Get Help Seeking the quarterly counsel of a tax pro is worth every penny, and not as expensive as you think. Shoot ‘em an email detailing your quarterly earnings, and they should be able to tell you about how much estimated tax to pay and how much to invest for retirement. What could be easier? 6. Divide and Conquer Don’t allow money destined for the Tax Man to mingle freely with money waiting to be taken out on the town. If you don’t want your tax bucks to end up spent on a beer tab, you must set them aside in what we call a dedicated Tax Savings Account. We recommend using an online bank with limited—or better yet, no—ATM access. That way the money goes in and stays in until it’s time to pay up. One of our mantras is “ABA”: Always be analyzing. Cultivate a quarterly habit of taking stock of where you are financially. If you do this, April will be a time to celebrate your financial savvy, not scramble to scrounge for what’s due. Don’t you owe it to yourself and your future? You can reach Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan, authors of “The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People With Not-So-Regular Jobs” (Crown/Three Rivers, 2010), at info AT feed-the-monkey DOT com. Follow them at http://www.facebook.com/TheMoneyBook.last_img read more

Why Am I Always Cold? 8 Reasons Your Body Temperature Is Out of Whack

first_imgThe average office is air conditioned to the approximate temperature of a walk-in freezer, so it’s not unusual to see people bundled up, even in the heat of summer. But if you can’t shake your chill even after you’ve stepped back outside, could mean something else is going on in your body. Before you invest in another few layers of coats, consider these possible culprits—and, perhaps, having a talk with your doctor.You’re a womanBack in the 19th century, a German doctor analyzed more than 25,000 men and women and determined that a healthy adult’s body temperature is 98.6° F. That assumption carries over to today—even though a 1992 study published in JAMA confirmed that women have slightly higher normal temperatures than men do. (And, for the record, they realized the actual average is only 98.2° F). Because women run a bit warmer than men do, cool temperatures can feel even cooler to them.You’re sleep deprivedWhen we’re getting the rest we need, our bodies are able to regulate fluctuations in our skin temperature. In a small 2012 study published in Sleep, researchers found that a single night of sleep deprivation wreaked havoc on those controls: Their subjects’ hands became significantly colder, while their feet got hotter. Other researchers have found that sleep deprivation interferes with our ability to handle heat loss at both cold and ostensibly comfortable temperatures—which can produce the miserable effect of a chill that no bundling up can banishYou’re underweightResearchers crunched the numbers on nearly 2,000 residents of Basel, Switzerland, and found that “thermal discomfort with cold extremities” was significantly more common in slimmer subjects than in those with higher body mass indices (BMIs). Some experts attribute that tendency to the insulating properties of body fat, but that doesn’t tell the whole story; having a very low BMI (18.5 or under) is also associated with poor circulation, or the heart’s inability to pump warming blood to the body’s extremities. Furthermore, calorie-burning muscle is also an excellent generator of body heat; as a research physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine put it, “We have a joke around here that the person who’s best-suited for cold is fit and fat.”You’re dehydratedWe all know that failing to take in enough water before working up a sweat can lead to hypohydration (the uncompensated loss of body water) and overheating; it can also lead to underheating, since the flow of blood to our skin plummets as our bodies grow parched. While it’s easier to remember to stay hydrated when the weather is warm, it’s just as important to keep sipping in colder temperatures. Feeling thirsty and chilly at the same time is no coincidence. You’re anemicAccording to Mayo Clinic experts, cold hands and feet are a common symptom of anemia, a condition that affects about 7% of the U.S. population and develops when the body can’t produce enough hemoglobin (the substance in red blood cells that allows them to carry oxygen). Since anemia can be either a mild, temporary condition or indicative of a long-term, serious health concern, it’s worth mentioning suddenly frigid digits—and any other symptoms that might accompany them—to your doctor.You’ve got nerve damageWhen our peripheral nerves are damaged, information from the central nervous system isn’t traveling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body, which can register as feelings of cold and numbness, especially in the extremities. Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy, particularly for diabetics with uncontrolled blood-sugar levels (low blood sugar among non-diabetics can also cause unseasonable chills); smoking, alcohol abuse, and rheumatoid arthritis can also put you at risk. You have a thyroid problemHormones produced by your thyroid (a small gland located at the base of your throat) are major players in regulating your metabolism, and an over- or underactive thyroid can impact your heart rate, how you process fats and carbohydrates, how you produce proteins, and—yup—how your body controls its temperature. Hypothyroidism, or the condition of having an underactive thyroid, is associated with increased sensitivity to cold, and occurs in about 4.6% of the U.S. population age 12 and older. Other thyroid symptoms include rough skin, weight changes, and mood swings.You have Raynaud’sRaynaud’s disease (and a secondary form known as Raynaud’s phenomenon) occurs when the arteries in areas of your body such as your fingers and toes go into vasospasm—that is, they narrow and limit blood to those places. Raynaud’s seems to be more common in people who live in cold climates, and both exposure to cold and, in some cases, emotional distress can cause an episode. Many people don’t seek treatment for mild cases of Raynaud’s, but severe forms can lead to sores or infections in affected body parts—which a doctor should see right away.Sourcelast_img read more

Why a Mechanism to Increase Countries’ Climate Ambition over Time Makes Good Economic Sense

first_imgIn advance of the historic climate meetings in Paris this month, more than 180 countries put forward their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) reflecting the climate targets they commit to reaching by 2025 or 2030. Many of these INDCs are ambitious, but we know that they are also not yet enough. Various assessments suggest that the INDCs collectively put us on a path to keep average global temperature rise to 2.7-3.7 degrees C (4.9-6.7 degrees F). This is better than the catastrophic 4-6 degree C (7.2-10.8 degrees F) pathway we were on a few years ago, but delivers only about a third of the cuts we need to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees C and limit the worst effects of climate change.Thus, INDCs should be seen as the “floor” rather than the “ceiling” to countries’ climate ambition. While the Paris Agreement needs to provide businesses and others with the clear signal that we are on a road to a decarbonized and climate-resilient economy, it also needs to provide space for individual countries to increase their commitments over time and mobilize the trillions of dollars needed to address climate change.Allowing for these increased levels of action in the agreement — known as a ratchet mechanism — also makes good economic sense. There is strong evidence that low carbon solutions will become increasingly affordable and accessible over time. Here are three reasons why:Innovation continues to surpass our expectations. Solar, wind and geo-thermal power are increasingly cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuel power. Costs of solar components fell by an incredible 80 percent between 2008 and 2013. We could never have predicted this five or 10 years ago. Had we locked ourselves into a specific emissions-reduction pathway then, we would have missed the opportunity these cost reductions represent. By seizing these opportunities, India has committed to have 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewables by 2022, and the Indian prime minister and the French president launched a $1 trillion international solar alliance with 121 solar-rich countries in the tropics. How much more might now be achieved with the unprecedented announcements last week of Mission Innovation (a new initiative by U.S. President Barack Obama, President Francois Hollande, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and 17 other countries and 27 private sector partners to spur rapid advances in clean energy research and development) and by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (by Bill Gates and 27 other private investors to put money to help clean energy technologies come to market)?We are witnessing a surge in climate policy experimentation, and gaining insights on what works and what doesn’t.Some of the policy instruments that economists have long espoused, but politicians feared – carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform – are being implemented successfully around the world. Around 40 countries, 23 states or cities, and about 450 major companies implement some form of carbon pricing, and almost 30 countries have launched or accelerated fossil fuel subsidy reforms in the last two to three years. In British Columbia, carbon pricing contributed to 10 percent emissions reductions between 2008 and 2013, while growing its GDP in line with the rest of Canada. California and Quebec have linked their cap-and-trade systems, and Ontario will join the market in 2016. The results have been very positive: 100 percent of permits were sold in their most recent auction, at higher prices than expected, and evidence suggests that the ambitious emission reductions have been compatible with economic growth and have ensuring affordable access to energy. In Ireland and Sweden, carbon taxes have brought in about $1 billion and $3.5 billion, respectively, to government budgets. In Ireland, this allowed the government to avoid some of the more stringent austerity measures after the financial crisis.We are not alone. We are now seeing ambitious action in policies and the INDCs in countries all over the world. Leading global businesses and investors have stepped up as well in recent years. Consumer goods companies such as Unilever, Cargill, General Mills and Nestlé that together represent about 90 percent of the palm oil trade have committed through the Tropical Forest Alliance to deforestation-free supply chains by 2020. They now have the tools to make good on this commitment – a unique partnership of World Resources Institute, Google, and more than 40 other partners have developed Global Forest Watch, an on-line platform providing near real-time mapping of forests around the world.It is because of opportunities like these that many heads of state at COP21 echoed the recommendation of the Global Commission on Economy and Climate — a group of 28 economic and finance leaders led by Felipe Calderón, the former president of Mexico — and called for a mechanism to regularly review and strengthen country ambition every five years. This means all countries would come back to their commitments in 2020 to build on what’s agreed to in Paris.The emissions reductions envisaged in the current INDCs are only a fraction of the economically beneficial options possible over the next 15 years. Now is the time to identify how the Paris agreement, together with multi-stakeholder action and international cooperation, can help governments not only implement the INDCs successfully, but also to identify the economically-beneficial options to go beyond them. Increasing ambition over time is imperative for securing the climate-safe world that we and future generations deserve.last_img read more