Tag: work

Improve Your Life and Conquer Your Monday

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Many people fear their Mondays. They suffer the week just to live it up on the weekend, and then dread the return of the workweek once it arrives. Of course, not everyone has the same “Monday,” as it pertains to being the beginning of their working days. In either case, many people still fear the start of the week as reality and duties hit each of us, seemingly all at once, like a slap in the face.

It is time for you to help change that mentality and conquer your Mondays!

 

 

I, too, used to live the life of the humdrum, mundane, workweek with the fears that come with the return of Monday and all the responsibilities it accompanied. Instead of getting through Monday with gloom and depression, by just pounding cups of coffee and surfing the web when I got home, I decided to make some changes to reward myself for successfully making it through the day.

This began a shift in my understanding of Monday, as before I had always complained, both sincerely and half-jokingly, about it being the beginning of the workweek. Once I began rewarding myself on this day, I quickly saw the day as being different, unique, and now special.

By rewarding myself on this day, I don’t mean splurging, or doing anything that would completely harm my Tuesday morning. Rather, I sought enjoyable personal hobbies to partake in on Monday, which is something I thoroughly enjoy doing.

(NERD ALERT!) I first started going to a weekly chess club, playing in official tournaments. I was making friends, winning some tournaments, and improving my chess-playing abilities. After a few months, some friends told me about some free dance lessons that took place every Monday. So, I began oscillating between chess and dance for a few months, and eventually just attended dance so that I could start my own chess club on Thursdays instead. At dance, I made more friends, learned so much about the art and my own body movement, and the amazing people there helped me advance in my skill while we each honed our craft.

Unfortunately, I had to move in pursuit of higher education and accomplishing my other goals in life. Amazingly, once I moved, I found out there was a free comedy show near my new place that happened every Monday and without a drink minimum. I really enjoy watching stand-up comedy and people progress over time. I made several friends at the comedy show, just from attending, and I believe comedy is also great for the brain. Who knows, I may find other great activities on Mondays besides just comedy shows eating pizza and drinking beer, but I can honestly say that I now love Mondays and I look forward to every Monday.

This shift in thinking has led me to now be grateful for every day of the week, even the days that I do nothing but work, study, read, write, etc. It has helped me to realize that if I am willing to put in 8 hours for someone else, I should also put some time in for myself, and helping me to grow and expand my network. As cliché as it is, we do only live once; so, why should I let a day of the week and my responsibilities get in the way of my happiness and growth?!

Take control of your “Monday.” Find things to do in your area that are both fun and helpful in your growth as a person. Don’t let your life pass you by. Don’t let the arbitrary days of the week be the stresses that hurt you and stunt your development.

Some ideas:

  • Search meetup.com for groups to join in dance, chess, comedy, improv, public speaking, martial arts, book clubs, learning a language, cooking classes, etc.
  • Search your social media for events such as SoFar Music, or ask your friends and family if they also feel the same about their Mondays and see if you can do something together.
  • Check to see if ToastMasters is in your area to better public speaking.
  • Have a family day every Monday, playing board games and eating fun foods, or watching movies, etc.
  • Search if there are music or comedy shows every Monday in your area.
  • Try a new restaurant every Monday.
  • Try learning to cook a new dish every Monday.
  • Go on a date on Mondays.
  • Attend your religious institution every Monday.
  • Start your own club or meeting every Monday if you see there is a desire and a need.

What are some ideas you have for conquering your Mondays and looking forward to them every week? Leave your comments in the comment section below.


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A Healthy Dose of Collectivism is in Our Individual Interest

Craig Axford | Canada

During the summer of the 2012 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama asserted that America was the product of a lot of collective hard work.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires. ~ President Obama, Roanoke, Virginia, July 2012

This lack of deference to the American myth of the rugged individual able to overcome virtually any obstacle through a combination of hard work and perseverance was duly noted by Obama’s 2012 opponent, Mitt Romney. The key phrase from Obama’s speech used by the GOP in their counterattack was “you didn’t build that.” Romney replied personally, arguing that “What he’s [Obama] saying is that if someone has succeeded, if they built something, he’s saying they didn’t really build it — no, it was the government, it was the government that takes responsibility.”

Well, of course, government research is responsible for a great many of the things that Americans currently enjoy, but that wasn’t really Obama’s point. His reference to government involvement in the creation of the Internet aside, his larger argument was that without a lot of collective effort on the part of countless fellow citizens, all the things we like to think of as our own individual accomplishments wouldn’t be possible.

Barack Obama was hardly the first president to recognize that civilization is a group endeavor for which no single person can take credit. Our individual successes are made possible by these collective exertions. Given Mitt Romney had made his fortune in finance rather than swinging a sledgehammer or on the assembly line, Abraham Lincoln might have reminded him that his wealth was largely the product of other people’s hard work:

Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and probably always will be, a relation between labor and capital producing mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole labor of community exists within that relation.~ Abraham Lincoln, First Annual Message to Congress [December 3, 1861]

The controversy surrounding Obama’s 2012 comments are reminiscent of the earlier attacks leveled against Hillary Clinton for her 1996 book It Takes A Village. In a stunning example of judging a book by its title, conservatives attacked then-First Lady Hillary Clinton for promoting the state as a substitute for parents and family.

Mrs. Clinton’s book title was derived from an African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” No doubt the former first lady thought it would be uncontroversial to suggest that communities, as well as families, play a critical role in a child’s wellbeing and happiness. She, like others before and since, underestimated American resistance to anything that challenges its cult of individuality.

A willingness to work hard is a valuable attribute for an individual to possess. Certainly, it increases their chances of reaching and maintaining at least some degree of comfort and status. But, as has been pointed out many times before, if hard work alone guaranteed success every poor mother who has to haul their family’s daily water supply in buckets from distant wells or watering holes would be a millionaire. Both social and physical infrastructure matter and nobody can build or maintain them on their own. That’s as true in the so-called “advanced” nations of the planet as it is in the least developed.

Americans are fond of thinking of the poor as lazy. Unfortunately, that the data shows most of them do work and work hard represents another assault to the myth that it’s their work ethic that makes the successful worthy of their relative wealth and status. “Today, 41.7 million laborers — nearly a third of the American workforce — earn less than $12 an hour,” according to one recent New York Times article, “and almost none of their employers offer health insurance.”

So if it wasn’t all their hard work that made the rich and famous rich and famous, or even made the middle-class, what was it? Showing up, punching the clock, putting in a solid eight hours or maybe a little overtime is, perhaps, arguably necessary but has proven over and over again to be far from sufficient.

If we live anywhere in the developed world we should count ourselves fortunate to have been born in or to have successfully immigrated to a country where hauling our drinking water in buckets is no longer required for our survival. For those of us born in such a nation, it’s pure luck that landed us in a place where we had access to things such as safe drinking water and a public education system. In the US, the only developed country without universal healthcare, being born into a family covered by health insurance provided us with another lucky break. To paraphrase Barack Obama, as children we certainly had nothing to do with building any of those advantages and the many more we inherited.

It should be obvious that being randomly selected by an indifferent universe to begin life in a place with well-paved roads, educational opportunities, healthcare, supermarkets and, more recently, the Internet, gives certain individuals a huge headstart from day one. If you happen to have been driven home from the hospital by a chauffeur and had a trust fund established for you before your first birthday, your odds of success rise much further still. If anyone thinks, upon graduating from Harvard or Yale, that this sort of headstart had nothing to do with their degree or the school they received it from it is, to be frank, an indication that their Ivy League education was probably wasted on them.

Try for a moment to imagine sustaining any of these benefits of civilization without the labor of the “nearly a third of the American workforce” currently scraping by on $12 an hour or less. Many of them are in the healthcare industry. Others clean the homes of far wealthier families so both parents can work without either having to worry much about housecleaning or the other basic chores that are daily routines for their poorer neighbors on the other side of town. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of these workers are in the construction trade busy building the homes, schools, and roads of tomorrow. Yes, some are fast-food workers, of which a rapidly shrinking minority are teenagers, but why should that matter? Work is work and even the president is rather fond of KFC.

By now some readers will no doubt be mumbling furiously to themselves about all the effort doctors, lawyers, scientists, and business executives put into their education. Doesn’t this effort deserve to be rewarded? If you’re one of them, you aren’t wrong; you’re just not looking at the big picture.

Picture yourself earning a diploma or degree under the following conditions: To begin with, you must hunt and gather all the food it takes to sustain yourself as you complete your studies. Then there’s the small matter of making the clothes you must wear each day. Before you can even begin to think about studying for your finals you will need to build yourself a shelter, dig a latrine (or invent indoor plumbing complete with a steady water supply and a reliable sewage system), dig a well, build a kiln to fire all your plates and cups in, mine the minerals you’ll need for your utensils (to say nothing of your laptop, which you’ll need to build from scratch). Of course, you’ll also need to cut down a few trees and convert them into paper so you can hand copy all your textbooks (or perhaps you can barter a copy from some earlier student who somehow made it this far).

Hopefully, you get the picture. An awful lot of people make their living taking care of all the necessities for us so we can focus on pursuing our aspirations. Pride is the wrong response given this reality. We didn’t single-handedly overcome the challenges life throws in our way to get where we are today. None of us “pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps.” We all stand upon the shoulders of millions of others, both living and dead, who sacrificed themselves to make it possible for us to pursue our dreams — dreams they believed would ultimately benefit them and their posterity as much or more as it would you or I. The proper attitude in this light is one of gratitude and humility.

When companies like Amazon and Walmart fail to pay the men and women that show up to work each day a living wage and when politicians stand before the cameras to defend their “right” to do so, they aren’t just being unjust; they’re actively undermining the very social contract that made our world possible. When people dismiss the working poor as lazy they aren’t merely wrong; they’re lying to themselves in order to justify their own privileged place in our social hierarchy.

Such narratives may be self-serving in the short-term but in the long run, they’re deadly myths that can undo entire nations. In light of current events, one is forced to wonder just how many more Americans need to be driven into poverty before the ideology of the self-made man (or woman) is finally recognized for the civil society killing cancer that it is.

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com

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How To Find The Best Career For Your Major

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Too many people pick college majors that they hope will give them the most out of their investment, while neither being good at nor enjoying their future career of choice.

There are many websites that can help you find careers relating to your major. Here are two:

1) Careers in Your Major

2) List of Careers and Jobs

However, many employers do not concern themselves with your particular major if that career does not require a specified area of study.

The best way to determine which career path you should take starts with self-assessment. Get out a piece of paper, or multiple pieces if necessary, and on one side or one sheet, write out a list of things you enjoy doing and could do on a daily basis. On the next list, write out a list of things you are good at doing. On each of these, do not concern yourself with career tasks you enjoy doing or are good at. Try to write as broad of a list as possible. It will also help you speak to your relatives and friends and ask them to give you a few things they believe you are good at.

Once you have a completed both lists, begin giving a hierarchical scale to each side. So, if you enjoy speaking the most, on your list, write a ‘1’ beside it. If, under the list of things you are good at, you see yourself as being the best at fixing things, write a ‘1’ beside that. Continue through the entire list, and if you have a few that share the same number, that is okay.

Next, take these now numbered lists and begin searching for careers that may or may not include your major. Once you begin finding career paths that encompass the things you love doing and what you are good at, find people in that field to speak to and pick their brain. They will most likely be happy to speak with you and tell you the pros and cons of their field while providing advice for a successful career. This may even spark a good relationship with someone who can act as your mentor to success. This could prompt you to make a change in your major, as it did for me.

If you are willing to go to college, as it is a great idea to help better your chances of landing your dream career, at least take the time to write out this list and find what best fits you as an individual rather than what your parents or others tell you to choose. You should be good at your work and also enjoy it. The most successful people are those that took their own path, not the path forced upon them.


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Working Teens Should Not be Forced Back to Public School

By T. Fair | United States

A recent article in The Daily Bell relates that truancy interventionists in Xenia, Ohio, are meeting with students. Regardless of where the kids are, the officers track them down to determine why they are missing classes. Jenny Adkins, the school’s supervisor of student services, even said: “She has gone to work sites before if she knows a kid is working.” 

Ironically, the name of the school is “Greene County Career Center”. That’s right, a so-called career center is prohibiting students from getting a jump start on their working lives. In other words, the school is training students for their jobs by not letting them have jobs.

Nothing says career preparation like “educators” not letting the students they advise actually work. This is a horrible idea. You know what prepares teens and young adults for their careers? Actually having job experience.

Denying young people the right to choose for themselves is not just hypocritical and foolish, because this is a career center, but it is a bad idea for all schools in general. Isn’t the claimed purpose of schools all around America, if not the world, to “prepare the next generation for the real world?” Well, participating in the real world will likely require you to work. A teenager getting a job before adulthood is a first big taste of that “real world.”

This protocol also treats young adults like small children. This, of course, is counter-productive, because part of the real world is also making decisions for yourself. Schools should be teaching students about individualism, that students should always think for themselves and take action accordingly. That personal morality should outweigh law. But, it’s not like society wants a generation of thinkers; they want a generation of workers. John D. Rockefeller said it himself, “I don’t want a nation of thinkers. I want a nation of workers.”

The public school system, in enforcing this policy, is largely focused on monetary gain. A school’s funding from the state is based on attendance, or student enrollment, also known as membership. An article from KPBS by Joanne Faryon reports on the cost of students missing school, using San Diego County as an example.

“The attendance-based funding formula puts a bounty on the heads of students, forcing schools to meticulously track their absences – placing dollar amounts next to their names. Number 114 is one of 358 students on a list of the chronically absent at Lincoln High. A student is considered chronically absent if he or she misses 10 percent or more of the 180-day school year.” Joanne writes, soon following up with, “On average, a student with perfect attendance is worth about $5,230 to a school district in San Diego County. Every day missed reduces that amount by about $29. It may not sound like much, but the multiplier effect can be financially staggering for some schools.”

According to the article, a total of 473 students total were chronically absent in Ramona Unified School district, which contains approximately 5,700 students.

School attendance should always be voluntary. It should be a parent’s decision to enroll their children in a school, and their responsibility to have them attend class. Schools claim to prepare kids for the real world, yet this is one of the ways they fail to do so.

In the real world, there will be no truancy interventionists to drag them back to work. It is not the role of the government to tell someone what will be a good choice for them. If a young person is happy to spend their time working, that should be their choice. Many people who spend their young lives studying still end up lonely, unhappy and worn out.

Who should decide if the path of public education is the right one? It’s not the government, but the individual. The opportunity to succeed, to fail, and anything in between, while learning from successes and failures, is the undeniable right of every individual.

Mandatory public education is, by definition, an infringement on individual liberty. This is not to mention other issues like imbecilic curricula or the state’s agenda seeping into the classroom. As stated previously, 473 out of 5,700 students in a San Diego school district were chronically absent, which is over eight percent of all students. Not all of them, of course, were at work. Students are still going to be missing from class, regardless of truancy laws and the people who enforce them.

Looking at comparative international test scores, fraudulent standardized testing, and the morality of the public sector, it is clear that mandatory public schooling is a joke. Perhaps it’s time for a change.


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Can we Survive a World Without Bees? Part 2

By Noah LaVie | United States

Noah Berlatsky, in his book “Are Mass Extinctions Inevitable?” interviews melittologists and when asked what happens if the bees go extinct they say, “checkmate” (Berlatsky 2012). The simple fact remains that bees are a keystone family of insects that now supports over half the population capacity of the Earth. They accomplished this through millions of years of evolutionary growth alongside the rebirth of plant-life after the K-T Extinction Event.

Our worlds’ ecology depends on these buzzing bodies for so much and truly humanity has never lived without their assistance. Now, for the first time perhaps ever, the bee is endangered. This danger may be beyond something they can come back from. To say that only our “dinners” will suffer from such an event is such an understatement as to be laughable (Palmer 2016).

If they go, the Earth will have exceeded its capacity for human life as that capacity drops from twelve to six billion people. The first signs a citizen may notice is the rising cost of multitudes of produce and other products that depend on bees. Then industries (ie. the almond industry, and honey industry) will begin to quarantine bees and seek to use them in greater amounts and in concentrated areas to allow the industry to solve their production cost issues.

Not long after, that overcrowding and concentration will result in greater die-offs and speed the death of the bee family ever onward (Bowers 2012). The bees’ greatest ally will become its worst enemy as corporate desires for their protection becomes self-serving and conservation efforts fail to see the whole picture and the source-sink dynamic of the wild bee will spread to the honeybee and its dwindling numbers will fall further (Franzén 2013). Based on the evidence hereto put forward, the bee population will then be likely to hit eighty percent population loss. Barring a successful cloning or an ecological miracle, the bee will go extinct in the wild at this point.

…The bee will go extinct in the wild at this point.

Without the wild bee, the general population will notice that certain products have permanently disappeared. Nationwide efforts will begin in nations with the capacity to effect change to save the bee, the bees population losses will only fall further. At their core bees are a hive species. If a colony loses too many bees the hive dies. “Population losses below [18.7%] are sustainable; lose any more, though, and the colony is heading toward zero,” (Palmer 2016).

A removal of bees from hives to study them will simply result in the death of more bees. Studying bees in colonies will result in them being cut off from the world outside and will cause their slow demise. Markus Franzén, the lead on a project to study wild bees in Sweeden, found only one population of bees that was able to persist out of “the sixty-one” surveyed when studied and isolated (Franzén 2013). That success rate is low enough to kill large swaths of populations in the study effort to prevent extinction alone.

After the bees are extinct, populations of humans in already food-challenged areas will collapse entirely. Unless wind-pollinated plants are at this point optimized enough, populations in advanced civilizations will suffer dramatically. Our dinners will certainly get a lot less interesting as people die from lack of nutrition and the diversity of plant life is reduced two-thirds (Palmer 2016). The world will at that point be able to only sustain six billion populace, the billion and a half that has grown over that amount will either starve or be killed. Rationing will be the least a government may do, population control and execution at the most.

The world gets ugly when resources get scarce…

The world gets ugly when resources get scarce and while this report does not seek to discuss the intersectionality of war, food scarcity, nuclear proliferation, climate change, human’s impact on species, the dependence of other animal species on bees, the diplomacy of the world without bees, ect., it does seek to answer the question of whether bees’ extinction will mean our own.

Bees operate as a lynchpin (Berlatsky 2012). While the direct effect of the extinction on the world may not result in our extinction, their extinction will indirectly result in tensions between nations, scared communities, and hungry people becoming irrational. Irrational people, leading scared communities, into a tense global world will not end well. The Doomsday Clock is only two minutes to midnight, and that is without the starvation that a bee extinction would cause.

Whether the extinction of the bee results in the extinction of man is not an easy question. It is true that bees are vital to the ecology of our planet. It is true that bees are going extinct. Humans have never existed in a world without bees. If the bees go extinct the world will be overpopulated by a billion and a half humans. Yet even then, our survival depends on so many human variables as to make it impossible to answer the question.

The only sure answer is that it will then be up to the human race on how to continue, to fight or coexist. If one were to look at our past history one might say there is no evidence that coexistence is achievable. If that is the case, then humanity is already on the way to extinction. Humanity is a big branch. It rest on a very big tree. If the trunk dies, so do all the branches. It takes “respect for the whole tree” to have anything but extinction (Boulter 2002).


Sources:

Berlatsky, Noah. Are Mass Extinctions Inevitable? Greenhaven Press, 2012.

Boulter, Michael Charles. Extinction : Evolution and the End of Man. Columbia University Press, 2002.

Bowers, Michael A. “Bumble Bee Colonization, Extinction, and Reproduction in Subalpine Meadows in Northeastern Utah : Ecological Archives E066-001.” Ecology, vol. 66, no. 3, 1985, pp. 914–927.

Colla, S. R, et al. “Documenting Persistence of Most Eastern North American Bee Species (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila) to 1990–2009.” Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, vol. 85, no. 1, 2012, pp. 14–22.

Franzén, Markus, and Nilsson, Sven G. “High Population Variability and Source-Sink Dynamics in a Solitary Bee Species.” Ecology, vol. 94, no. 6, 2013, pp. 1400–1408.

Meeus, Ivan, et al. “Effects of Invasive Parasites on Bumble Bee Declines.” Conservation Biology, vol. 25, no. 4, 2011, pp. 662–671.

Palmer, Brian. “Would a World Without Bees Be a World Without Us?” NRDC, National Resource Defense Council, 15 Dec. 2016, www.nrdc.org/onearth/would-world-without-bees-be-world-without-us.

Rehan, Sandra, et al. “First Evidence for a Massive Extinction Event Affecting Bees Close to the K-T Boundary.” Plos One, vol. 8, no. 10, 2013, p. 76683.

United States, Congress, National Agricultural Statistics Service. “Honey.” Honey, National Agricultural Statistical Service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, 2018.

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