An Armed Society is a Polite Society II Tuesday, May 25 2010 

or at least a more law abiding one if Mr. Twain is a bit optimistic:

  • FIREARM SALES SOAR, CRIME FALLS . . . Since the surge in firearms purchases began in October 2008, if one believes the oft-repeated mantra that “most crime guns are rapidly diverted from retailers to the street via straw purchasers,” then there should have been a surge in homicides and other violent crime. There was not. In fact, preliminary figures released by the FBI today show that all forms of violent crime were down in 2009 from 2008, with homicides showing the greatest percentage decline (7.2 percent). These declines in crime came during a year when firearm sales were at historic highs.

Perhaps the straw purchasers are finding the propogation of illegal guns domestically too easy and instead are risking their lives and freedom to smuggle them into Mexico?  Or maybe Mexico actually has enterprising criminals, just like in the US, able to get already illegal guns on their own?


Blueberries: A Magical Memory Booster Monday, May 24 2010 

   by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

 Blueberries — in pies, pancakes and muffins — take me right back to my childhood summer vacations at the beach. Or, based on the latest research I’ve seen on this super-food, it may actually be that eating all those blueberries sharpened my cognitive abilities, making their deliciousness all the more memorable!

 Perhaps the connection is not quite so direct, but I just read a study reporting that blueberries have a profound effect on human brain function. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center asked nine older adults (mean age 76 years) who were experiencing early-stage memory decline to drink blueberry juice three times a day for 12 weeks. The amount they drank was adjusted for their weight and ranged from about 15 to 20 ounces per day. Results (based on tests performed at the beginning and end of the study) showed that participants’ memory function significantly improved, and there was also a slight trend toward reduced depressive symptoms and better blood sugar control.

 Antidote to Poor Dietary Habits

 When I spoke with study author Robert Krikorian, PhD, he told me that the polyphenols in blueberries may somehow correct abnormalities in our brains that result from our nutritionally weak Western diet. His guess is that if we ate more whole, nutritious food and less artificial and processed food, we might not need the brain boost that blueberries give — but, since few people eat so well, almost everyone, including older adults with good cognitive functioning, would benefit from eating blueberries regularly.

 An all-natural juice with no additives (the expensive kind you find in quality health-food stores) was used in the study, but Dr. Krikorian told me that you get the same benefits by eating somewhere between a half cup and a cup of whole blueberries each day. Though fresh ones are easy to find at farmer’s markets at this time of year, the most nutritious blueberries are actually to be found in the freezer section of your supermarket, Dr. Krikorian told me. Regular readers probably already know this is because nutrients get locked in when the berries are frozen at the very height of ripeness.

 Dr. Krikorian said that blueberries aren’t the only fruit with memory-boosting polyphenols — they’re also in other berries and grapes and even fruits (such as cranberries) and vegetables (including artichokes, parsley and Brussels sprouts) that do not have the distinctive blue/purple color. But I love the thought that all those mornings spent making blueberry-everything with mom not only built memories but actually made me smarter, too — so you can guess what I’ll be baking with my own daughters come Saturday morning.


Robert Krikorian, PhD, associate professor of clinical psychology, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, Ohio.

Are You a Good Listener? Friday, May 21 2010 

by Geoff Beckstrom

The world has a shortage of listeners.

I had a meeting last week with a recruiter for a real estate agency. I have no intent at all of becoming a real estate agent but this recruiter was a relative of a friend and he was very persistent. He called me on a regular basis, without being annoying or ever rude, for 6 weeks until I relented and created a 45 minute block in my week to sit down and meet with him.

He had a very persuasive presentation – a $100,000 first year salary with a written guarantee, a robust training and marketing program and I found his passion and energy to be infectious. As he continued I could envision myself working as an agent, even if just for the next year to help ease some of my current financial tightness with the economy.

But I will not be taking the job. The first thing I told him was that he only had 20 minutes (I gave him a 45 minute block and he began the meeting 25 minutes late) he either didn’t listen to me say that or he didn’t respect it because he spoke for 15 minutes non-stop giving me no opportunity to ask a question or make a single statement.

Then with only 5 minutes left he asked if I had any questions – I did, but I wasn’t able to ask them. Before I was able to finish a single sentence he interrupted me and went off on a tangent that had little to do with the point I wanted to make. He did this 3 times, asking me a question and then interrupting before I could finish a single sentence. I left his office frustrated from a meeting that started 20 minutes late, went 15 long causing me to be late for my next appointment and in which I literally didn’t get in more than 3 full sentences.

Now I am not a good listener. If someone is not interesting to me – I don’t interrupt but I don’t really listen, my mind drifts off to sports, what I want to eat for my next meal, etc. When I do meet with someone I find interesting I am a terrible interrupter – to my defense I interrupt with questions usually but I don’t allow for a finished answer.

Further I have a bad habit of making assumptions and not clarifying when I am “listening”.

I am giving myself a challenge this week and issue the same to you – lets become better listeners.

Challenge –

1. Do not speak until there is that “uncomfortable” silence to assure the person you are speaking with is finished. Trust me – this is much harder than it sounds – particularly if your not good at it.
2. Ask clarifying questions “when you said ________ did you mean ________?” then go back to challenge 1 regarding the answer.

Thursday, May 20 2010 

 James Joyce Photo

“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.”- James Joyce

Tim Roth isn’t the Only One Who Reads Your Body Language Thursday, May 20 2010 

The popular TV show, “Lie to Me”, embellishes the acuity with which we can guage intent or truth by observing the body language of others but there are certainly elements of truth that can reinforce or refute what you say, by the way your body moves and your face changes in a conversation.

In one of your most important conversations, a job interview, you should be aware of what story your body language tells.  The folks at Technology Ladder have this helpful guide to download here.

You need to register with Technology Ladder but the site is chock full of information like this to help you find, win and keep a new great job. .

You’ve Accepted the Offer — Now What? Thursday, May 20 2010 

by Dean Tracy

Time and time again I see the top candidate accept an offer and arrive on their first day with the drive and passion to change the company. Yet, in many cases, this gets them off to a very rocky start.

The six guidelines below will help you identify a strategic approach for your first 30 days of employment. This will help you define how to demonstrate your value and build effective alliances.

Be prepared
Remember that you were not hired to warm a chair. You are being hired to address and correct certain pain points that the company may be experiencing, and you will likely be stepping into a situation that needs to be fixed. Don’t be shocked by the reality of the challenges that you face. Embrace every challenge as an opportunity to succeed. They need you.

Develop a strategic plan
Be a self-starter who takes initiative by making introductions. Meet the company’s team leaders to gather their perspective on the company, the products and their services. If done properly, this will allow you an opportunity to create long-term value and stability in the company. Take this initiative internally and externally. If necessary, travel to meet existing clientele to facilitate and manage any transition or knowledge transfer that may be necessary. With this, you’ll become a leading and respected authority who helps drive the goals and aspirations of the company.

Establish trust with your peers, colleagues and clients
Understand the executive team’s vision for the future and embrace their immediate expectations to create synergy in goal setting and objective management. This includes even basic financial goals. Investigate and fully understand the revenue goals as determined by the executive leadership team.

To meet these goals, develop best practices and understand the current customer needs, expectations and service level agreements. Identify existing client relationships within the management team to create a plan for maximizing ongoing, trusted referrals. Examine the existing opportunities within the company and its client base and uncover the client’s expectations for the future.

Keep your mouth closed and your ears open
Spend time with your new boss, but don’t camp out in his/her office! It’s critical that you use this person as a resource, not a crutch. Use the transitory time to stay informed, but as a rule never get involved in petty corporate politics. If you have a respectable title, you will suddenly become everyone’s best friend and people will want to talk to you.

Further, consider some sort of effective networking or continuing education in order to remain on the front lines as a valuable resource to the company and your market discipline. Always be mindful of how your learnings can affect the direction of the company and its product line.

Don’t swing for the fences on your first day
Partner with the management team to create attainable goals and targets for success. This will create buy-in and set priorities. Start at a high level by memorizing and fully understanding the company’s mission. Embrace this to create a shared vision and focus for the future. Take the next step of filtering these goals down by prioritizing existing projects and activity based on profitability and resources. Be transparent with your team about these shared goals and reiterate management’s vision for the future to create solid partnerships within the organization.

Keep it simple — get it done
Be yourself and don’t try to over-impress anyone. Engage with clients naturally and develop a philosophy and expectation of being their premier cost-effective solution provider. Ensure that your team also embraces the vision and translates this to their clients and vendors.

Remember that you were hired because you are the right person to help drive the company towards success in revenues and market share. Being able to “do the job” is easiest if you are the right person to fit within their corporate culture and professional environment. Enjoy your job, embrace change and remember that a challenge is nothing more than an opportunity to succee


Dean Tracy is a professional recruiter, public speaker and career coach based in Northern California with an emphasis on placing and coaching IT professionals at a national level. He also serves on the Leadership Team for Job Connections, which is recognized as one of Northern California’s largest and most reputable professional networking groups.

Secret Signs of a Great Dentist Thursday, May 20 2010 

  by Carole Jackson, Bottom Line Health

                As she asked around for the name of a really good dentist, a colleague recently commented that it’s easier to find a great auto mechanic these days! Lots of dentists advertise via direct mail and on the radio, but they’re not necessarily the best ones — and the old-school ones with 10-year-old tools and techniques may not be such a great choice either. While I like my dentist just fine, the remark led me to wonder what I would do if I had to find someone to replace her. Asking for recommendations is a good start, but what would I be looking to learn?

                I called Michael Apa, DDS, who practices with the Rosenthal Apa Group in New York City and teaches at the New York University College of Dentistry for Aesthetic Advantage, to ask how he would choose a dentist. Beyond the obvious — someone who comes highly recommended, has good academic credentials, is convenient, personable and, of course, covered by your insurance plan (if you are lucky enough to have dental coverage) — he gave me some great insider secrets to evaluate whether a dentist really is as good as people say …

                Clue Number One: What modern tools and toys are on display? Dental techniques and the equipment they require change so rapidly that few offices have everything out there. So you shouldn’t expect the moon and the stars — this is expensive equipment and few dentists can afford all of it. However, the dentists who are most likely to provide high-quality care will have at least some standard equipment available, says Dr. Apa…

  • Many dental offices now use digital X-rays, which are easier to read and therefore more accurate and — importantly — require less radiation than those of old.
  • For 21st-century teeth cleaning, ultrasonic cleaning instruments use sound waves to break up and remove plaque and tartar, including that which has accumulated under the gums. This makes cleaning teeth faster, more efficient and, for most people, more comfortable.
  •  Lasers are now used to trim soft tissue such as gums and other areas around the mouth, with benefits that include less bleeding than traditional procedures, often no stitches or discomfort, and faster healing. Some offices even have laser equipment to cut hard tissue — i.e., your teeth. With laser “drilling” you no longer have to hear that high-pitched whine, and since it doesn’t hurt, you don’t need anesthesia either.
  • Many offices now have a Cerec machine, which Dr. Apa calls a “miracle tool.” It uses a technique called CAD-CAM (computer-assisted design-computer-assisted manufacture) to create fillings, crowns, veneers and so on in just one patient visit. The Cerec scans a tooth, takes measurements and then precisely carves the needed item from a ceramic block. Since it creates digital “impressions” of the tooth, there’s no need to create putty impressions either.

                               Clue Number Two: He/she examines your mouth for clues about your overall health. Dr. Apa says that today’s best dentists consider it their job to monitor your mouth for other problems beyond cavities and receding gums. More and more studies reveal dentists to be the new health-care generalists, on alert for many health problems that may reveal themselves in the mouth — among them TMJ, circulatory problems, inflammatory disease, sleep apnea, precancerous lesions and oral cancers. All dentists should routinely perform visual examinations of the mouth, and many now do this with a special light that changes color if it lands on suspicious tissue.

                 Clue Number Three: Who’s in the “in crowd”? When an unusual oral problem presents itself, you need an expert in treating that particular issue — this comes down to who your dentist knows. As Dr. Apa says, not everyone can be good at everything, and to become really excellent requires lots of experience and specialized training. Ask dentists for their lists of patient-referral specialists, and expect to find names of endodontists (for root canals and tooth implants)… periodontists (for gum disease)… TMJ specialists (for headache and jaw pain)… and dental surgeons (for tooth implants). Yet another area where it is best to work with an expert is cosmetic dentistry — today it has turned into a sophisticated practice that few general dentists are trained to do.

                 Clue Number Four: Lab work is done locally, not off-shore. Many dentists now outsource lab work for such things as veneers, crowns and bridges to China, Mexico or other foreign countries. While this may not be a terrible practice, it’s not optimal, says Dr. Apa. He explained that offshore labs typically do “good enough” work, but when dentists have a personal relationship with lab owners, they are more likely to get a level of excellence that helps assure the best product, and this is more likely with US labs.

                 Clue Number Five: According to Dr. Apa, graduating from even the finest dental school is just the start of a dentist’s education. He suggests asking “so, how’s school these days” to see what your dentist has to say — paying attention not only to what he/she says, but also to the comfort level in discussing it. The only way for dentists to stay on top of their profession is to regularly attend conferences and workshops offering continuing education (CE) credits. Nearly all states require CE credit hours, but the range is wide — from 15 to 100 hours, depending on the state. And Dr. Apa told me that good dentists take many more credits than that each year. The best dentists commit themselves to a lifetime of learning to stay current and keep their skills sharp, he said — and that sounds like the kind of dentist we all want to find.


               Michael Apa, DDS, practices aesthetic and restorative dentistry in the Rosenthal Apa Group in New York City and is an instructor at the New York University College of Dentistry for Aesthetic Advantage.

Team Building Thursday, May 20 2010 

by Mark Sturgell

Everybody wants to do “team building” when people aren’t “getting along” and having relationship problems. When I ask people why they want to buy “team building”, they typically say something like, “I just want people to focus on the work that needs to be done instead of focusing on each other.” This is a very telling statement. Very seldom is the root cause the relationships themselves. The place to begin is with team/organizational goals – confirm that the leaders first are clearly focused on the same mission. In other words, get people focused on “the work that we exist to get done.”

Once the mission is clear and shared across the board, then help them clarify roles: What roles do we need to be successful? Who will play those roles?…or Are the right people in the right roles for the right reasons? Do I understand my role and am I equipped for success? Do I have goals within my role that support the mission? Do team leaders share a mutual understanding of one another’s roles and their relationship to the team mission? (The true measure of a leader is when other role players, even in their discretionary behaviors, pursue the mission of the leader.)

So we have a clear, shared mission. We know our roles. Now, are team members playing by the same rules consistently? This includes written policies, SOPs, regulatory issues, etc. It also includes, and these are typically much more critical, the unwritten rules of team. These are the rules that drive behavior, attitudes and results. This is a tough area for most groups to address (consider how difficult, and sometimes superficial, discussions of organizational values can be; well those are another form of rules), and there is no easy route to getting them clarified. It must be an ongoing process. I like using team meetings as a starting point with questions about what’s working and what’s not working with their meetings now. Rules are critical if this group of people are going to play fair in the same sandbox.

Ideally, when goals, roles and rules are clarified and signed off on by the entire team (leaders first), the relationship often begin to take care of themselves. Where there used to be “I’m Right therefore You must be Wrong” and “Win-Lose” arguments, there are now “What is the best Right answer among all our right answers” discussions. Conflict still exists (I Hope!), but instead of a destructive conflict that creates a toxic environment culture, the team is producing energizing and innovative conflict that creates a responsibility culture.

Where relationship issues still exist, you have things in your toolbox to address. Any “holdouts” on the team will soon be isolated by the rest of the people on the team until they either “get in or get out”.

Dealing with a Lost Job Wednesday, May 19 2010 

By Pat Meehan

Being downsized from a job is listed in the top ten most stressful things a person experiences in a lifetime. Dealing and coping with this situation is a big adjustment. It will take a little time to get acclimated to the loss, and the absence of your daily routine, but you will make the adjustment successfully. One of the most important things to realize is that you are going through a grieving cycle. Realizing this allows you to move naturally through it in a healthy way.

Grieving is a natural process that helps us work through the impact felt by a loss. We grieve at the death of a spouse, child, friend, relative, or a pet. Grieving comes with a loss, a death, a divorce, a bankruptcy, an illness, and the loss of a job.

In 1963 the nation mourned the loss of a young president, John F. Kennedy. An entire country and most of the world experienced the grieving cycle as a result of this tragic event.

When we lose a job due to a downsizing it is a painful experience. The grieving cycle allows us to work through the pain and into new positive visions of the future. These new visions are called hope. Although the grieving cycle is a built in defense mechanism to help us through hard times, it is very important to fully understand how it works. Without this understanding we can get trapped in the grieving process. Relax now, as we move through the four stages of grieving.

When we lose a job due to a downsizing it is a painful experience. The grieving cycle allows us to work through the pain and into new positive visions of the future. These new visions are called hope. Although the grieving cycle is a built in defense mechanism to help us through hard times, it is very important to fully understand how it works. Without this understanding we can get trapped in the grieving process. Relax now, as we move through the four stages of grieving.

Stage One: Denial

Denial is a built in pain reliever or tranquilizer that comes to us very quickly following a trauma. It is a form of temporary amnesia that allows us to be numb or temporarily pain free from the trauma or shock we have experienced. After a loss a person will go into the denial stage. Let’s use the example of a lost job and look at the frame of mind of a person in denial. Here are some symptoms of denial.

Refusal to even talk about the loss
Will not admit to feelings of sorrow
May abuse alcohol or drugs
Will not relate other problems as being related to the loss
Will sometimes show a happy-go-lucky attitude

Stage Two: Resistance

When a person moves through the grieving cycle naturally, reality sets in and the person becomes consciously aware that there is a problem and pushes away from it in a variety of ways. When a person moves from denial to resistance here are some of the symptoms.

Blaming others, self, God, or their environment
Irritability, rigid personality, nausea, headaches, etc.
Tenseness, anxiety, depression
Embarrassment, shame, guilt, isolation.

Stage Three: Exploration

A person who moves through the grief cycle in a health way will eventually come to grips with the feelings experienced in resistance and move to exploration. In exploration a person is starting to turn the corner of the grieving cycle and will show the following signs.

Agreeable to sit with another person to discuss the loss
Willingness to get outside help
Learning to take one step at a time to move in a positive direction
Accepts the reality of the loss and shows willingness to let go of control
Starts to wonder out of the defense mechanism mode / starts to trust others
Willingness to follow direction to be self-starting

Stage Four: Closure

In the final stage of the grieving cycle the person has explored new ventures and opportunities and finds himself/herself seeing options and solution of which to choose a new way to continue living in a positive way. A person in closure will show the following signs.

Readiness to move forward again
Cheerfulness and energetic attitude
Self reliance and self assuredness
Decisiveness and good decision making ability
Replacing the loss

So take a deep breath, relax and don’t beat yourself up. Let yourself move through the grieving cycle. Utilize your network mentors, clergy, career coaches to help guide you along the way. You will be back on your feet again soon!

Surround yourself with Good Vibes Wednesday, May 19 2010 

by Mark A. Leon

As we kick start into the spring and start hearing Jimmy Buffett and laying on the hammock under the sun, I thought I would provide a little Recruiterpoet insight on the keys to personal happiness.

Surround yourself with good vibes!

Today I was on Sullivan’s Island Beach with an amazing view of Fort Sumter, sailboats and children playing in the water. That made me happy. Sunsets on the beach, really good conversations, being part of something successful, a cold glass of milk at night, my family, the view of being above the clouds and many many little things encompass my personal happiness. Find the people, places and things that truly give you a good vibe and surround yourself with that each and every day.

Put your life in perspective

The next time you get cut off and curse at the car
The next time a cashier is really slow
The next time someone smokes near you without asking
The next time you get upset or jealous because someone you know has more money, a better car or a better job…Think before you react.

Ask yourself some simple questions that will help put your sour mood in perspective
Do you have your health?
Are you surrounded by family and friends that care about you?
Do you have a career that gives you value?
Do you enjoy the first view of morning dew each day?
Do you enjoy long showers or baths?

These are common luxuries and gifts we are given in our lives. Embrace them.

Make Music an important part of your life

Music is such a critical part of our lives.
It affects mood, attitude and perceptions of love, grief, happiness and depression.
It is the lyrics and music that develops the memories that we carry with us year after year.
As you take a moment and reflect on your childhood and adult life, you find yourself focusing on the music that defined the time. It is that music that captures and stores your memories in a secure box.
Make the music your own and let it be a part of who you are.

Get to know your community

Today I drove by a community garden. For those that do not know, a community garden is a plot of land developed by communities throughout the United States and overseas to provide low cost solutions for plants, fruits and vegetables to help combat the recession. With community members banding together to work in unity to build long term healthy gardens in urban communities, it is a testament to the dedication and caring mentality of those that participate.

Go outside and meet your neighbors. Maybe you know them but haven’t been in touch recently or maybe you hide out to maintain that shy persona. Get to know them. Make them a safety net in keeping the area safe and share in the resources and company they can provide. You will be pleasantly surprised by how many incredible individuals live just a few footsteps away.

Laugh, Cry and Scream once a day!

I would like to paraphrase a legend not only in the world of college basketball but life.
Jimmy Valvano stood in front of millions at the ESPY awards just months before having his life taken from him due to cancer. He told the audience to always laugh, cry and hug once a day. There was not a dry eye in the audience.

My spin is simple: Don’t bottle up your emotions. Do not be afraid to express how you feel. Let it out. Whether it be in public or private express the full spectrum of emotions each day. You will feel refreshed, revitalized and brand new each day.

Think about that; the idea of a new YOU every day…Wow. I love it

I hope you walk away with one piece of advise to take away. Soon you will start seeing a difference in how you view life and more importantly, yourself.

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