Sunday, July 31, 2011

How to spot a bogus diet, beauty products to save your money on and having it all

This week as I continue to recuperate from my bought with bronchitis I am directing you to a few articles/blog posts worth a read:

In today’s USA Weekend: 5 Way's To Spot a Bogus Diet.  A list of guidelines that if followed surely will rule out most of the current diet trends. Bottom line if you want to lose weight you need follow a diet that works towards a sustainable lifestyle and includes healthy eating and exercise.

I’ve wanted to reference: Val's Guide to Buying the Right Beauty Products from the August 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine for some time. Val provides products worth a few extra bucks along with those we should save our money on. I was especially intrigued that she included facials as an item to save money on. She writes:
A facial can be terrifically relaxing and give you a temporary glow. But you don't need one to have gorgeous skin. Better to invest in a daily skincare system (with sunscreen) that exfoliates, moisturizes, and provides antioxidant benefits (like smoother, brighter skin) from vitamins A, C, or E, says Susan Evans, MD, chief of dermatology at Cosmetic Physicians of Beverly Hills. And, says Evans, if you have acne, rosacea, eczema, or hyperpigmentation, the extractions and peels sometimes performed during a facial can actually worsen your condition.
Nicole and Maggie of Grumpy Rumbling’s of the Untenured sick of blog posts talking about how women can have everything, just not at the same time have posted the unapologetic post: Why do I have everything?  And she does have everything. Sometimes all we need is to change our mindset and recognize what we have. I enjoyed how her “everything” included values, internal qualities and people as opposed to material possessions, salary and fancy titles.

'til I'm feeling better...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is it okay to attend a social event when you are sick?

The weekend before last, I attended a formal sit-down bridal shower. We had assigned seats. One of the gals, I will call her Mary, was seated between me and a gal who was nine months pregnant. She turned her chair towards me saying I have a terrible cough and would hate to have the pregnant gal catch it. She proceeded to cough in my direction throughout the meal and the shower.

Needless to say, I now have a terrible cough. This morning as my husband tried to convince me to go to urgent care I said, "Why didn't Mary just stay home? I know I caught this from her." DH said, "Now you don't know that, if you were sick you probably still would have attended."

In this instance most likely because I am the bride's Aunt, but that is not always the case. I missed my neighborhood cookie exchange last winter cuz I felt my neighbors wouldn't appreciate my germs right before the holidays. I am not going to my professional association board meeting tonight and am considering not attending a family party next weekend if I am not feeling better.

What do you do in these instances? Attend feeling miserable and spend the event coughing into your Kleenex because you don't want to miss out? Or stay home send a note saying you were ill?

All I can say is from the guests’ perspective; I wish Mary would have stayed home. I don't ever remember being sick in summer before. Not to mention the time I have had to take off from work.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Body Project

Motivation for reading
I decided to read Joan Jacobs Brumberg's book The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girlsafter reading this review posted on Ava’s blog A Striped Armchair.

What is it about?
Brumberg provides an historical look at adolescent girls’ perception of body image from the Victorian era to the early 90’s (the book was published in 1997). The book’s premise is that increasingly since the early 1900s middle-class adolescent girls and women went from developing their inner beauty to working on their body; so much so that their bodies have became a project.
In the Victorian era, beauty was thought to derive primarily from internal qualities such as moral character, spirituality, and health. (Pg.70)

Compare that to this 1982 New Year’s resolution:
I will try to make myself better in any way I possibly can...I will lose weight, get new lenses, already got new haircut, good makeup, new clothes, and accessories. (Pg. xxi)
Brumberg points out girls are maturing faster and menstruating sooner than they did in the past and that our society currently does not provide a protective support system for them as the mother-daughter bond did in the past.
Although middle-class parents are invested more than ever before in the health and education of their adolescent girls, one of the most intimate aspects of the mother-daughter relationship- menarche and menstruation- had been relegated to medicine and to the marketplace by the time of World War II. (Pg 198)

My Thoughts:
The Body Projectis a quick read that brought back my own body project. In my teens and early twenties I spent almost all of my free time shopping for the perfect outfit, styling my hair, applying Clearasil to my pimples and trying to tan my porcelain white skin. Looking back I regret not spending this time doing something more worth while. Reading the book I realized how subtle things like standard-sized clothing and bra sizes had a big impact on how I felt about my appearance. I was a flat-chested, petite skinny teenager who had to shop in the children’s section long after my class-mates had graduated to junior sizes. Brumberg mentions how when the movie “10” with Bo Derek’s perfect “10” body came out boys began rating girl’s bodies on a scale from 1-10. I remember the boys in my high-school doing this. I never learned my score, but was convinced I was a 2 or a 3.

I was also reminded of “the body projects” of the girls I knew; the worst being a college class-mate who water-skied professionally during summer breaks. After one winter, her manager told the 116 pound 5’ 6” girl she was fat and needed to lose ten pounds if she wanted to ski in his shows. This statement ruined her life. She headed down a path of bulimia that she still suffers from today not to mention all of the dental bills she incurred (bulimia wears away the enamel of your teeth).

I have to point out marketing gimmick discoveries. Brumberg informs us:
By 1995, American women and girls were spending more than $100 million on “cellulite Busters,” many of which needed to be applied liberally, at least once or twice a day, at a cost of $60 a tube. Although scientific studies have never supported their effectiveness, thigh creams are major business; and liposuction, a procedure that vacuums fat from the thighs and buttocks has become the most popular kind of cosmetic surgery in the United States. (Pg. 127)
Overall, I enjoyed reading the historical information and the development of marketing trends, but the book was a little dated. There was an entire chapter on body piercing. And I am not sure if I needed to read about the diminishing importance of the hymen. Current topics that I’d like to see included are botox and the effects of social media on girls and young women. I agree with Ava this book would make a great read for a women’s book club. The book brings up so many topics for discussion several of which I already talk about amongst my family and friends. How to talk to our daughters? How much to tell them and when? How to change the focus from a perfect body to a healthy body?

This would be a good book for a mother, teacher or any women/teenager/girl trying to understand how her body became a “body project.”

Friday, July 22, 2011

Employee shocked she was escorted out the door after giving notice

Robin writes:
I resigned from my sales associate job last week. The pressure to continuously meet increasing sales goals got the best of me. My husband, tired of seeing me so stressed, talked me into resigning. I told my manager I had decided to take the rest of the summer off then look for a less stressful position in the fall. An hour after submitting my resignation, my manager approached my desk, advised me he was accepting my resignation, informed me the company would still pay me for the next two weeks, but effective immediately I had to leave the premises. He then asked for my key and escorted me out the door.

I am shocked, hurt and humiliated by this experience. I worked for this company for ten years and was the top salesperson in my department every month during this ten year period. I cannot believe I was booted out so easily and that they did not even try to fight to keep me. Why would they do this? Didn’t they value me as an employee?

First, when you submit your resignation you need to realize you are resigning; the days of using a resignation to negotiate a higher salary or to air your gripes no longer exists. A wage and salary freeze means just that. Think about it if you resign and your company counters with a less stressful job, more pay or both all of your co-workers will resign looking for the same deal. If you want to air your gripes it is best to schedule a meeting and discuss them with your manager not to resign. Also, companies are not required to give you an exit interview.

Why did your manager so easily accept your resignation?
Perhaps your company is struggling financially (many still are) and need to continue to cut costs. You may have conveniently helped your manager balance his budget. Also, you resigned instead of being let go – in the state of Wisconsin your company’s unemployment account will not be affected.

Why were you escorted out the door?
Escorting salespeople out the door may be your company’s policy. They may be afraid you will use the next two weeks to
1. Steal contacts
2. Sabotage the system (the IT Manager at my company continuously blames former employees for our company's computer system problems)
3. Rile up your customers and co-workers by telling them all the reasons why you no longer want to work for the company.
4. Goof off - they may feel you aren’t going to accomplish anything anyway.

In the past, when I have left companies or have had employees leave there are two reasons why employers want them to work during the two week resignation period:
1. They need the employee to train someone else to do their job
2. They want the employee to finish their current projects

My advice is not to sweat this too much. You choose to quit because you weren’t happy.  Stick with your original plan to relax, take a couple months off then figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Stop giving away your time and expertise

At a recent networking event for accountants, two women business owners were lamenting about potential clients looking for free tax and accounting advice. One was telling the other:

I had another potential client waste my time last week. After spending 2 1/5 hours answering questions and providing free tax and accounting advice for his five newly created LLC’s, he left saying he’d have to think it over. I am sure I will never hear from him again. Why does this keep happening to me? What can I do to distinguish deadbeat clients looking for free advice from actual paying customers?
Mary, who has been providing tax and accounting services to clients for 20 years, offered the following advice:

Stop giving free advice:
I started charging a $25 consultation fee to new clients several years ago. Charging a nominal fee adds a legitimacy factor to the first meeting.

Limit consultations to one hour:
Real clients understand accountants charge by the hour. A potential client that stays longer than one hour is seeking free advice and won’t be back. After one hour state, “That is all the time I have for you today. Let me share the services I offer.” Detail your services; provide your fee structure and a contract. If they request a second meeting schedule one at your normal billing rate.

Stop talking:
I learned this tip years ago. Once you have outlined your services and provided your contract hand them a pen stop talking. In the early days of my business, my nerves would keep talking long after I had asked for the deal and I’d end up talking my new client out of my services.

What if they forgot their checkbook?
If they are not interested in future services I ask for the $25 fee. If they’ve forgotten their checkbook, I inform them I am set up to accept ACH payments and provide them with an ACH authorization form to fill out.

Five LLC’s?
This is a bad sign. Anyone who has created five LLC’s in one year doesn’t know what he wants to do and isn’t going to be a good client. (An LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation)

What practices have you implemented to stop giving away your time and expertise?

"When you undervalue who you are, the world will undervalue what you do and vice versa" Suze Orman

Monday, July 04, 2011

50 Best Books for the Unemployed

Phrases such as “Books to read when laid off” and “Books to help with my job search” are common searches that appear in my blog stats.  Fortunately, I now have a resource for those who are out of work or looking to make a job or career change Bachelors Degree Online has compiled a list of The 50 Best Books for the Unemployed.

The list is divided into the following categories:

Just for the Unemployed
Networking and Business
Job Hunting

Years ago when my entire department was laid-off we were all given a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute? hen my husband lost his job in 2003 he was given Spencer Johnson's Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. Both books are included in the list as well as Tom Rath's StrengthsFinder 2.0one of my favorite reads for self-discovery. There is even a book to help cope with the cost of health insurance The Healthcare Survival Guide, Cost-Saving Options for The Suddenly Unemployed and Anyone Else Who Wants to Save Moneyby Martin B. Rosen and M.D. Abbie Leibowitz

I want to add every book in the “Just for the unemployed” category to my TBR list, but for now am adding Unemployment: The Shocking Truth of Its Causes, Its Outrageous Consequences And What Can Be Done About It by Jack Stone and Joe McCraw to my summer reading list.

What are your thoughts of the books on the list?  Do you have any additional recommendations?

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
Can reading a book transform you or your business?
Discovering my Strengths
50 Books Every Young Woman Should Read