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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

Great Sources for Free Games on the Internet The Internet is a great source for games, especially of course computer games. Computer games are the biggest hit since they are invented and every year thousands of PC games flood the market. Some of the computer games actually are so expensive that many parents cannot afford them for their children and are looking for alternatives that their children can play. There are actually a vast number of games that are available for free through the Internet and in some cases even as a CD. Freeware, shareware, trial products and even full version of prototypes are available on the Internet. Many pages on the Internet actually specialize in offering freeware or shareware programs. Hobbyist programmers usually write shareware and freeware programs and other programmers, who want to give something back to the community. These programs are not always working one hundred percent and most often there is also no real support for all the programs, but they are free. Freeware in general is a free program that has a copyright. The program is made available free for use, but it cannot be changed or used for development by other developers. Shareware programs are often only free for certain periods of time. After that period the user has to pay for using the software. Shareware programs are a marketing method of big computer firms. It is the try before you buy strategy that is used here. Some companies will offer the full version of the program for 30 days for trial, while others offer a version of the program with reduced functions to give the user a taste and to lure the user to buy the product if he wants to use the rest of the functions. Even thougfh both freeware and shareware are often callled free software, free software is something completely different. Free osftware are programs that are available for free, but generally are also avialble for others to study the code, change and modify or even use the code as a base for their development. In any way, these three major types of free game software can be found on the Internet along with such things as online games. Some of the games can be plauyed online. Evne though the userm ight not own the software, the games can be played for free anytime. The only thing that most of those free onlin game pages require is to sign up to their page for free. For younger hcildren, many of the educational sites offer free preschool and early childhood computer games, that teach children, the shapes, colors, vocabulary, counting and much more. With parental sucpervision such activities are safe for children and can enhance the learning process. Other pages offer free games for older chidlren and adults. While many parents do not constantly check on their chidlren while they are on the itnernet, it is important to keep up to date on their youngsters Internet activites. Many pages are completely safe, but sometimes advertisement to found the free software can be dangerous for young, innocent eyes. For adults, there are even more choices in free games. There are whole communities of gamers, that are connected throughout the world for vieosgaming sessions. Anything form cardgames to wargames can be played for free in some of those communities. All one needs might be a free membership sign up to the web page or the community. All of these sources for games can be found easily by typing the words freeware, shareware, online games into any of the major search engines. But as always, do it with cuation, conisdering the many viruses and spyware programs that aare out there in cyberspace.

Job Hunt Challenges for the Over 50 Crowd If you have just recently lost a job or maybe are not happy with the job you are currently holding, you are going to be on the hunt for a new job. Hunting for new job is never easy, whether it is your first or your tenth job. You know that it takes a good amount of preparation till you might hold another permanent job. But for the older crowd, especially the crowd over fifty, the challenge of finding a new job is even greater. Explore some of the facts why it is more challenging to find a job after 50. Starting out by the age factor, many companies want young and dynamic employees that are open to new and challenging tasks. Many employers believe that a person over 50 is set in his or her ways and therefore not able to tackle the same great tasks that might open up as a young, fresh out of college open minded person. A person over 50 is closer to retirement and might not want to take any risks as a young career fresh from school employee. Risks are sometimes what a company needs to get forward, new ideas, new thinking. Another reason is the salary competition. If you are over 50 and looking for another job, you most likely have a lot of experience in you sector. Experience usually is measured in money and the salary for an experienced person is generally higher than a starter salary. While experience is desired, some companies can just not afford to hire somebody for 10-20 thousand dollars more than they can get the fresh from college employee. If you lost your job, you might accept one of the lower salaries, but while you are in the application process, the human resource person reading your résumé does not have that information about you. Some of the bigger companies get scared by the fact that you are really close to retirement and if there are certain retirement plans and structure in place at a company, they might not want to hire you. You could retire within 10-15 years or less and then the company is stuck with paying you retirement payments. Hiring a younger person instead guarantees them no retirement payments or plans for retirement in general for the next 20-30 years. From the employer?s side, these are great savings for their pocket. Another reason often seen from employers as a reason not to hire a person over 50 is that the person they are hiring might be more prone to sickness and take more sick days than a young person. Why would they think that? Statistics have shown them that the tendency for time off due to sickness is greater for people crossing the age threshold of 50 years versus younger people. Be honest, being over 50 means for most people more aches and pains all over the body. You are more tired and get exhausted quicker. So if you do get a chance to go to an interview when looking for a new job, you need to make the best out of it. Besides all the factors mentioned above, a person that is over 50 and is looking for a job can be a great addition to any company and you need to make sure that you let your interviewer know that. An interview is a great challenge and can be mastered quite well if keeping these thoughts that employers have in mind. Emphasize the fact that you do bring experience and connections. Let them know that if they hire you, they get a person that at least is settled in life. You have had all your children, or did not want any, but at least you will not be missing because of pregnancy, birth of a child, and sickness of a young child or similar events.

Filling Out Surveys Could Equal Free Stuff! Did you know that you could get great freebies simply by filling out surveys? It's true?while you may not be able to get rich off of filling out surveys, you will certainly be able to get your fill of great freebies. Here are some tips for filling out freebies so you too can get great free stuff. One of the Web's Best Sites for Filling Out Surveys for Free Stuff There are many fine websites that offer freebies. One of the best websites for finding free stuff is known as MyPoints BonusMail. This website operates as a shopper's reward program. It is fast, easy and totally free to join MyPoints BonusMail. What can this shopping rewards program do for you? It is easy, and did we mention free? All you have to do is to fill out the registration form. After signing up with MyPoints BonusMail, you will begin to receive offers in your email inbox. You set your own personal preferences when you sign up about the number of emails you wish to receive on a weekly basis. In order to complete the registration process, you will be asked to take a short survey about your shopping preferences and general interests. You will only receive emails in your in box regarding the preferences you have indicated. The programs works through point accumulation. When you have accumulated a certain number of points, you will qualify for gift cards to some of your favorite retail centers and merchants, including big names like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart and many others. How do you accumulate points? You get points by making purchases directly through the MyPoints website. You also accumulate points by reading emails and clicking on the promotional links. Finally, you can also gain points by filling out surveys. MyPoints BonusMail is a long-established website that has helped shoppers get something back every time that they make a purchase. Finding the Best in Freebie Surveys Why does filling out surveys often result in free stuff? Filling out surveys is an easy, efficient and relatively accurate way for companies to find out what is on the mind of the general consuming public. Many companies will often offer free samples or products to consumers who are willing to take the time to fill out a full survey. Thus, filling out surveys can be a great way for companies to get some relatively cheap market research done. Don't expect to get rich off filling out surveys, but do expect some kind of compensation, even if it is only a free sample of a popular product. Freebie Sites Are Often a Good Place to Find Freebie Surveys There are many well-regarded websites that specialize in web freebies. If you already have a good spate of freebie websites bookmarked, these sites are wonderful resources for finding legitimate freebie surveys. Many of these sites offer a compendium of the latest surveys and companies offering freebies and product samples. Word to the Wise ? Be Wary if It Seems Too Good to Be True If it seems to good to be true, it probably is. This is the rule in life, and it rings true when it comes to the practice of filling out surveys for freebies. Here are some short and easy guidelines for avoiding non-legit surveys. Never fill out a survey that requires you to divulge too much information. You should especially avoid surveys that ask for personal contact information, as the survey may be just a front to gain sales contact information. Is that free sample of detergent really worth getting on telemarketers to-call lists? Be careful to whom you hand over your information.