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Yes, There Really is a Freebie Santa Claus
If you are a cynic when it comes to offers of free stuff, you are not alone. Everyone has had notions like ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? and ?if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is? drilled into their heads, and for good reason ? these things often hold water. On the flip side, there ARE actually lots of places you can score some decent free stuff, if you know where to look and are willing to devote some time to hunting them down. The key to getting the best free stuff with the least amount of hassle is to stick with that healthy cynicism but to also dipping your toe in the freebie pool little by little.
But why would anyone give stuff away for free? It is certainly an obvious question, but if you stop to consider it for a moment, you can see that companies actually have a lot of motivation to give away free stuff. After all, if they give you something for free, you are bound to have a little soft spot for their company, and when you are ready to part with some cash, their product may near the top of your list. Also, by giving away free things, companies can convince people to try new products. You might not want to try a new kind of shampoo if you have to pay for it, but you?d certainly be willing to give a free sample a try. You may end up loving it and switching to that shampoo for good, turning you into a paying customer.
Another reason a company might give you free stuff is to complete market research. This is where getting free things can get a little complicated for some people because the products may not cost you money, but the offer may cost you a little time. A company might ask you to take a survey of your buying habits before they give you a free offer, or they may ask you to provide feedback on a regular basis as you try their product for free. Some people balk at the time commitment required here, but for other people, filling out some paperwork is a small price to pay for some free stuff.
Of course, to convert you into a customer or to communicate with you about market research, a company will have to contact you, which is complicated area number two for freebie lovers. You will almost always be forced to hand over your email address in order to cash in on a free offer, and that is a recipe for opening your inbox up to a barrage of spam (many companies sell your email address to offset the costs of their free promotions, which means the number of people soliciting you can go through the roof very quickly). If you want to avoid this downside of freebie hunting, set up a special email address specifically for your freebie deals. That way all of your spam goes to this one address and your regular email you use with family and friends remains free and clear.
One final note of caution about free stuff online: a lot of scammers have hit on the idea of using pretend freebie offers to solicit personal information about people or to convince people to send them money. Don?t send money, even for postage, to a company you don?t know and never, ever give out personal information online. No reputable company is going to ask for your social security number or bank account details for a freebie offer, so don?t hand them out to anyone. When in doubt, skip it and move to the next freebie.
Can Facebook or MySpace Help You Land a Job? The Internet is quickly becoming the vehicle of choice for people looking for a job and for employers looking for people to hire. There are many job sites on the Internet dedicated to matching up employees and employers, and most people turn to the Internet today when they are hunting for a job instead of turning to the classified ads in the local paper. Job hunting websites may all be well and good when you are looking for a job, but what about social networking sites. Everyone knows how popular sites like Facebook and MySpace are online, but can they help you get a job? If you are in the job market, can these sites be your foot in the door, or a one way ticket to the unemployment line? The answer is that there is no easy answer. To know if you can find a job using Facebook or MySpace, you have to know how employers feel about these sites, and employers have mixed feeling about them. Some companies are actively using social networking sites to track down employees that meet their company?s employee profile and have had great success finding workers via social networking sites. Other companies wouldn?t touch these sites as a hiring tool with a ten-foot poll ? in fact, many companies don?t even want you to access these websites from their company computers. The real answer to this question has more to do with exactly what kind of job you are looking for. Are you looking for an executive position at a company? Then stay off of the social networking sites, at least for job hunting (and maybe all together). No company is going to look for its top brass on a social networking site, and you will be wasting your time. However, if you are looking for entry level or hourly wage work, the social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook may be the answer for you. Many hourly wage employers in particular, like fast food restaurant chains and mall stores, use MySpace and Facebook to look for potential employees in their area. If a potential employer sees your profile and thinks you may be a good fit for their company, they will send you an email or an instant message and get the ball rolling. You should also, however, carefully consider the downsides of using social networking sites as a job tool ? and you should carefully consider how and if you use these sites at all if you are in the market for a new job. Most people wouldn?t want their parents to see their social networking site profile, let alone potential employers. If you have rude and off color material, political or religious material, and inappropriate photos of yourself on your profile, a potential employer will be turned off, and you might lose your chance at that job. Most people give up way too much of their privacy when they use these kinds of sites, and your social networking site profile may offer a window into a side of you an employer might not be overly impressed with. Further, you can open yourself up to danger by using these sites to job hunt. If someone approached you in the street and offered you a job, would you accept? Then why would you accept a face value an approach by someone on social networking site? If you do get approached for an interview, never meet anyone in a private place, and do your homework to make sure the facts check out before you go for the interview. One last reality check ? there are over 60 million users on MySpace alone. How will an employer find you in the crowd? MySpace and Facebook may help you in your job hunt, but don?t count on them as your sole avenue into the job market.
?To-may-to? ?To-mah-to? Does it Matter How You Say it? (second language writing articles) Is it possible for anyone to be a writer? In the United States, it?s easy to believe that anyone can to anything until you start looking more closely at the issues. Not everyone is equipped to be successful. There may be some individuals without any personal wealth that can get scholarships for higher education and therefore enter into better paying jobs. Some might not make it though. When it comes to language, it becomes a big deal sometimes how you talk based on where you live. Writing is the same way. If there is a standard language, it can be very difficult to break into the writing world with less than perfect abilities in that language. If English is your second language, writing articles is still a possibility. The Changing Population and Standardized Language In the United States, the vast majority of the population speaks what is called Standard English. That means that they speak in an agreed upon system of rules and acceptable words. There are many native English speakers that may speak a dialect other than Standard English, but they are able to switch into the most acceptable dialect when the situation calls for it. There are increasing numbers of non-native English speakers in the country though. While there are occasional battles about making some other language acceptable, Standard English continues to win out. The desire is for continuity and a united nation. What that means for non-native speakers is that many job opportunities may not be opportunities. If English is your second language, writing articles may not seem like an option for you. There are some possibilities out there though. Hiring an Editor It is definitely possible for English as a second language writing articles to become acceptable for Standard English publications. Individuals may be able to learn well enough to be able to write well for standard publications. If not, and if the writing is still engaging and good, you may want to hire an editor. You can hire one locally or freelance to help you with your wording so that it fits into a publication?s style and tone. In all reality, even first language English speakers can use the help of an editor in this way. As a second language learner, you will just require different talents from an editor. By employing an expert, you can get your second language writing articles published anywhere that publications are printing. First Language Article Options Standard English publications are not the only ones printing in the United States. Even though there is a push to unify the language all over the country, there is a definite need for publications in other languages. As mentioned earlier, the population is changing. There are increasing numbers of non-native English speakers that live in this country. Many of the people may not speak any English at all. Those people create a market for printed material in their own language. A talented writer who is a native speaker can do a great job in writing articles in their own language. Many publications are also translated which is another interesting job opportunity. If English is your second language, writing articles for various publications is still an option. You can learn to write Standard English, but you don?t necessarily have to. A good editor can turn your writing into something that would be appreciated all over the country. You can also find opportunities writing for those who speak your native language. Language does not have to be a barrier. If anything, communication is getting better and better all the time. You can be a part of the process by writing articles in English or otherwise. In addition to your language skills, you have extensive cultural knowledge that others need to know.
Helpful Hints on Getting Better Respect in the Workplace Sometimes, an inhospitable work atmosphere can ruin the best job in the world. If you work in an office where people don?t respect each other and you feel undervalued and taken advantage of, then you are likely to give up and move on--no matter how much you love the work. When people work closely together, disagreements and problems are bound to arise from time to time. There are, however, ways you can get more respect in the workplace, so you don?t have to dread heading to the office every morning. As the old adage goes, you have to give respect to get respect. Are you doing everything you can to treat your co-workers with dignity and respect? Put another way, are you doing everything you can to avoid annoying everyone in the office? There are a lots of little ways you can make the day more pleasant for everyone, including showing up on time for work and for in-house meetings, not talking too loudly on the phone, keeping your personal cell phone ringtone on silent or vibrate, and cleaning up when you use the common break rooms and kitchen area. Things like spamming everyone in the office with incessant ?funny? emails, sending political or religious emails (or challenging everyone on political or religious issues), or invading privacy by looking at someone else?s emails, phone messages, or mail are also not a good idea in the office setting. Then there are the big ones ? you should never take credit for someone else?s work, talk behind people?s backs, lie, steal from other?s desks (even if it is just a post-it note or white-out), or have a general bad argumentative attitude. If you are doing anything of these things, trying to correct your own behavior is the first step to earning a little more respect in the workplace. What happens if you are doing everything you can and you still aren?t getting the respect you feel you deserve in the office? How you handle things may partly depend on who is showing you the disrespect. Are your subordinates treating you like you?re not the boss? In this case, having a little one on one conversation might do the trick. It doesn?t have to confrontational. You can simply point out that you are getting the impression that they may be having a little trouble with your leadership style and offer them a chance to raise any problems. If they bring up a legitimate problem, then there is something you can work on to make things go smoother in the future. If they can?t point to any one thing, let them know politely, but firmly, what you will need from them going forward in terms of respect. And then, stick to it and hold them accountable for their behavior. If your boss is not respecting you, things can get a little trickier. If your boss has a bad attitude, being pulled up on it by his subordinates is probably not going to do much to improve it. Your company may have a grievance policy in place to deal with issues like this, and it is best to go down this path when dealing with a boss with a respect issue. There are some respect issues in the work place that can?t be resolved with the softly, softly approach. If you are being persecuted on the basis of your gender, your race, your disability, or your sexual preference, you have a right to demand a stop to that at once. If the abuse is coming from your co-workers, go straight to your boss. If your boss is unresponsive, or if your boss is the offender, go right over their head, and keep going until you get some satisfaction.