Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Teeter Tottering for Adults

"Teeter Tottering for Adults" as explained by Ashley Hupp

In this article, the author Tony Schwartz traveled to Austin, TX for a conference to discuss “fueling sustainable productivity by balancing periods of fully absorbed attention with intermittent renewal”. He says that, “we need a series of deliberate practices to counter the powerful forces so accelerating our lives”. I found his choice of words to be very powerful and they immediately caught my attention.
We all struggle daily trying to balance out work and our personal life. Time. There never seems to be enough of it. So, my intentions for writing this post are to provide some insight into turning the dream of balance into reality. Perfect balance, I do not believe, is an achievable goal. But working to find a balance that fits your life and work is attainable.
One way is to say “no” Learn to prioritize and say “no.” Most of us are already on overload between work, school, family, etc. Most often,  we bite off more than we can chew, but  there is a solution for that. Are there ways to delegate responsibilities? Are there things we are doing that we can move to the bottom of the list to make room for what is most important? Say no to taking on new. There is already enough on our life to-do list, piling up more responsibility is just going to exhaust you.
Write it down! Writing out ideas or thoughts throughout the day will help to keep our minds from being on overload and will make focusing more easily. Creating more space in our days allows us to take a step back and refocus. You may be wondering how that could be possible with your busy schedule, but try fitting in small breaks to absorb everything. Studies show that human beings are not meant to multi-task. We do far better finishing one task and moving on to the next. The quality of work is far superior and we are more likely to retain what we learn.
Another topic the author brings up is, Revisit and Reevaluate. He talks about keeping journals and occasionally going back to revisit some of his ideas. Revisiting ideas allows you to look them over with a fresh point of view. Sometimes allowing you to weed out what will work and what will not. Never a bad idea to reevaluate your approach to a task or idea. And the author’s final piece of advice is to take regular breaks from technology. Disconnect. While trying to manage your time and your schedule, try to fit in breaks from your phone, laptop, etc. We are an era that relies heavily on digital devices. Getting away from those for even small amounts of time, allows us to accomplish other tasks. Such as, spending time with your spouse and/or children, finally fixing that leaky faucet, or finishing up the last few chapters in the book you have been reading for a month.

I do not accept that there is a reason work and/or school should overshadow other aspects of your life. With a little work, or in some cases a lot of work, I believe that everyone can eventually find their balance.

How to Ensure Strong Customer Service

Blog post; would include header and title page, but removed for blog.
Tracy Meyer
How to Ensure Strong Customer Service and Customer Satisfaction
By Barb Lyon from Management Help.org.
Everyone is a consumer and everyone experiences customer service on a daily basis. As a manager or an employee that works with the public it is very important  to ensure strong customer service and customer satisfaction. Lyon’s article is written to train managers on the basics of how to handle mistakes and customer complaints, customer service metrics and how to know if your customers are satisfied.
According to Lyon, if a customer is complaining about a mistake that’s been made it is important to act fast to contact the customer whether face to face, a phone call or an email. Let the customer know that you are aware of the mistake and that you are working on a solution to fix the mistake. Even if you do not have an answer yet, the customer will be happy that you contacted them right away and will respect you for doing that.
Keeping in contact with your customers after their purchase to show you appreciate their business will help build customer return and retention. A lot of retail stores will send you mailers with coupons or upcoming sales or will ask for your email at the time of purchase to email discounts and promotions, this will keep them coming back and know that they are appreciated as a customer.
Customer satisfaction is another factor in the customer service experience. You have to ask your customers if they are satisfied. If you are not asking them you are missing an opportunity to improve or to grow your business. If you are losing customers, you need to find out why. You ask your customers to fill out surveys about their experience, or even just ask them face to face. This can be as simple as asking when they are checking out if they have any questions or if there is anything else you can help them with.
Most of these suggestions in the article are common sense but it is amazing how many businesses do not practice any of this. It is surprising with competition being so tough, that they would not want to go above and beyond for their customers. I agree with everything in the article and I really like all of the links to go deeper into the suggestions and elaborate. Customer service and satisfaction are the biggest part to any purchase or service and should be a top priority for every business.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

How to Talk to Your Children About Terrorism by Abby Price

How to Talk to Your Children About Terrorism
     As adults, when we hear about terrorism we have to sort through all of the sadness, anger, anxiety, fear or anything else that we may feel. As adults, most are able to pick through the biases of different news coverage and understand that some coverage is made to heighten fear and anxiety. Children, on the other hand, are not developed enough to do that on their own. The article, "The Orlando Nightclub Shooting: How to Talk to Your Child about Terrorism" written by Mary L. Pulido, Ph.D and can be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-l-pulido-phd/the-orlando-nightclub-sho_b_10428582.html, has great suggestions to help parents learn healthy ways to address terrorism, specifically the attacks on the Orlando Nightclub Pulse.
     Pulido gives several suggestions and scenarios to help parents be more comfortable talking about these kinds of situations. One example of those suggestions is to frame it in a way that is not producing unnecessary fear and anxiety.  Keep the conversation age-appropriate.  Pulido explains that news coverage on terrorist attacks can worsen that fear and anxiety, which makes monitoring what your child watches very important. A child that may be following the coverage of the Orlando Nightclub could be getting several different versions of the story and could be exposed to very graphic, disturbing images. Pulido states that, "A person cannot "unsee" something." Seeing those kinds of images can cause a lot of emotions for a child who is unable to process it. Pulido gives an example of research study, which can be found at: http://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/cyf/disaster.aspx  that shows more children who watched continuous new coverage had more PTSD symptoms.
     When a child hears about terrorist attacks, she may want to talk about how it makes her feel or not. Either reaction is okay. Whether she wants to talk or not, let her know that you are there to listen to what she has to say about the situation, their fears, and to answer any questions. It is important to praise them for showing their emotions and to validate what children are saying. For example, if they express that they are sad to hear about all the people who were hurt, one appropriate response would be, "Yes, what happened makes a lot of people very sad too. It's okay to feel sad." Pulido thinks that it is beneficial to ask about what their fears are and address it. Don't try to correct them, any fear or feelings that they may have are important and valid, even if it isn't what you think is a "normal" reaction. Remind them about the first responders, the firefighters, the police officers and the medical staff helping those who were hurt and helping keep the rest of us safe.
     Because children will be hearing so many different versions of the story from so many different sources, it is important to stick to facts when explaining scary situations. After discussing all of the not-so-fun things, ask them what will make them feel better, and try to accommodate. Overall, I agree with Pulido's suggestions. I have seen how doing things this way is more beneficial and help in the long run than avoiding these difficult, touchy subjects. I think it is important to keep the race/religion of the attacker out of the conversation. Break down the word "Terrorist" for them. Explain that it is someone who wants to hurt and scare people. The fact that that person was white, Jewish, Muslim, or a person of color is not relevant to helping the child. That will just give unnecessary fear or dislike towards a certain group of people. The issues that this article is trying to address is the lack of knowledge parents may have on dealing with questions about scary, real subjects in a healthy way.
      Children are very impressionable.  It is so vital that we, as parents, keep a tab on ourselves and not influence any of our own feeling of anger or hatred onto the child.  As children,  parents intentionally and unintentionally influence their children's fears, thoughts, opinions, wants, desires, tastes, and actions. I grew up with my grandparents. My grandfather loved the Chicago Bulls basketball team and the Miami Dolphins NFL team. As a child, I also was a big fan of those teams. My grandmother loves to cook and take care of people, both traits I picked up and kept with me my whole life. My grandmother is also very emotional. She cries very easily, she is very sensitive, and very submissive. I also learned these from her. Both grandparents, because of other influences they had, were very prejudice towards any person from the Middle East. Unfortunately, I was influenced by this tremendously. I do not think it was intentional at all, but I was consistently hearing scary conversations about Muslims and the Middle East and we were not aloud to buy anything made in the Middle East. I learned in my early adulthood that there were several good things that I was taught and some very bad things. I kept the good things and I actively try to build on them. I have taken the bad things and replaced them with love for people from all over the world. I am now a huge advocate and protester for the oppressed.
     It is important to realize the influences your parents had on you so you can understand the kind of influence you will have on your children. Many people do not like to admit that we are so impressionable as children or adults. So many feel that if they accept that, then they are no longer unique or an individual. We are influenced by everyone around us. Social media, trends, religious groups, politicians, news channels, friends, teachers, and family. What religion are you? Is that the same religion of your parents? The decision to be that particular religion was probably very influenced by what religion your parents are. What is your favorite sports teams? Are they similar to your father's or uncle's? Do you automatically say "Thank you" when someone does something nice for you?  Is your home messy or very tidy? Do you do exactly what you are told at work or always try to go above and beyond? How do you react to confrontation? Every answer was a result of your environment growing up. 

     In conclusion, as parents, we are responsible for helping our children through the scary subject of terrorism. There are many great ways to talk to your child about what terrorism is, what we are doing to keep each other safe, and what to do to help lesson the fear and anxiety. Children are very impressionable and it is also our job as parents to influence them with goodness and not negative biases. Difficult conversations will come up. Do not leave your child feeling alone or invalidated. Learn and find ways to help yourself be more confident and comfortable helping your children through these anxious and scary situations. 

Will there be enough teachers for future generations? By: Destinee Howard

Will there be enough teachers for future generations?
By: Destinee Howard

The number of future teachers has reached an all-time low. While I was looking to see the popularity of the education field, I came across an article by Mary Ellen Flannery. In this article, she gave not only statistics on the popularity of teaching, but she gave possible solutions to fix the problem. You can access this article at http://neatoday.org/2016/03/15/future-teachers-at-all-time-low/.
            Teaching is something you must have a passion for, but one of the solutions Mary talked about was raising their pay and revamping the program to where they can work with teachers faster and get into the field quicker. Even though money shouldn’t be what you are focused on when you are picking your career, I feel that’s what most people do when they are deciding what degree they would like to receive. In the article, Number of Future Teachers at all time low, the author Mary Ellen Flannery states, “In a 2016 national survey of college freshman, the number of students who say they will major in education has reached its lowest point in 45 years. Just 4.2 percent intend to major in education—a typical first step to becoming a teacher—compared to 11 percent in 2000; 10 percent in 1990; and 11 percent in 1971, according to data gathered by the UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program.” (http://neatoday.org/2016/03/15/future-teachers-at-all-time-low/) Imagine what is going to happen when your children grow up. Are they going to have enough teachers?

            In conclusion, I feel that if they raised the pay for teachers that more students would consider majoring in education. The population is constantly growing, so we need more people to think about choosing to go into the education field. Education is the most important thing to life because without any education we wouldn’t be anything. Everyone must learn how to do various things. It all starts with the ones who choose to educate. The people who realize that education is important are going to be the ones that understand how much we are in a desired need for educators. 

Companies Need to Keep Millennials by Kallie Esp

Companies Need to Keep Millennials
Lately companies have been looking down on Millennials. Companies need to learn to understand Millennials, and that they can be a great contribution to the company. I came across the article “To Understand Millennials, Think Lifecycle, Not Generation” and author Michael Winkleman makes some great points in the article that I can agree with. The article points out that young people don’t stay at one job long, and that younger generations are more tech savvy then older generations. You can find this article at http://chiefexecutive.net/to-understand-millennials-think-lifecycle-not-generation/
            As a Millennial I can completely agree with what Winkleman said about young workers being more prone to change jobs. I myself has change jobs on multiple occasions for many different reasons. Workplaces need to learn to adapt to keep young workers, and if they don’t do so,  they are missing out on some valuable resources that could someday greatly affect their companies. Millennials may not look the part that older generations want them to; yes, we tend to have crazy colored hair, multiple tattoos and big gauges in our ears, but that doesn’t define who we are as a worker. Companies need to look past how we look and realize that it is not hurting anyone and it doesn’t affect how well we work. Millennials may be a vital source to companies because we know more about new things then what older generations might.
            In this article Winkleman points out that workers of older generations are digital immigrants and workers of younger generations are digital natives. Millennials were born into technology so they have been around it their whole lives and they know how it works, while to the older generations technology has been a thing of learning for them. This fact may not affect work but it also helps point out that Millennials know more about what the world wants and what new trends there are and that can help a company flourish and adapt to today.
            If companies learn that Millennials could be a great attribute to them, we would not be leaping from job to job. Companies would learn to do everything it takes to keep us with them and help the company succeed and thrive in the world today.


What is Autism? By D. Cheatham

What is Autism? By D. Cheatham
                The audience for this article is anybody that is willing to learn about Autism. The purpose of the article is to connect people with Autism and information, tools, and resources to family, friend s or caregivers. A lot of people don’t understand Autism and really don’t even pay attention to people that have the disease. You must understand the disease to understand the person.
            Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network has come up with a system design to help parents work with kids’ applied behavior analysts. This system not only helps children and teens, but it also helps adults. Behavior analysis is an approach to understand behavior and how the environment affects it. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is used to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior.  People with Autism have different phases that they go through during their lives. Autism mostly to affect boys. I have read that Autistic people are neater than a normal human beings. ABA benefits people with Autism because principles and techniques can foster basic skills such as looking listening and imitating, as well as complex skills such as reading, conversing, and understanding another person’s perspective. Autism speaks has funded and still funding research on developing and validating ABA techniques.

            As I was reading and learning about Autism, I also learned a lot. There were a lot of things that I had no idea about, and I have learned them today well doing this paper. Now when I come across people with Autism, I understand what they are going through, or even what their caregivers must deal with on a regular basis. I also can identify anybody that has the symptoms of the disease. I just advise anybody that before you laugh, joke, or talk about people with the disease; do you understand what that person is going through. The author identifies all the things that deal with autism and the traits.   

IT is "It" by TJ Butler

Blog Post
Is IT still the “it” career path?
By: TJ Butler
It’s only natural for people to pursue a career in the IT industry today. This is a plan I happen to share with millions of people and there’s a large chance you’re in the same position. Curious about what the future holds in regards to a competitive work force, I stumbled upon an article by Burcin Tamer. This article was more of a statistical breakdown than an afternoon read. It did, however, deliver a great amount of helpful information. It was a breakdown of who stayed in the IT field, who didn’t, and possibly why. The writer even broke it down between men and women. It even showed what degree paths people switched to. You can source this article here : http://cra.org/crn/2016/11/leaving-computing-new-majors-tend-differ-gender/.
The author makes it clear that men and women do go different paths after changing their fields of study. In fact, most women drifted to social sciences while the men mostly went to engineering. This left me worried and curious until I discovered only 4% changed their major. 4% isn’t very high but I still wondered if they were jumping ship for good reason. The study was conducted with 4,061 students, 96% of students in this study remained in the IT field. I believe that the 4% that chose to go a different path did so due to lack of interest, career shifts,  and maybe even money.  Of the 4% who changed their majors, Men favored engineering, math / statistics and business. Women tended to lean towards social sciences, math/statistics, humanities / arts, and physical sciences. Majors varied and were even more diverse when broken down by gender. This may have been due to the natural roles that men and women play in society. With traditional gender roles fading away, I’m curious as to how it will affect the workforce in the future.

To conclude, I still believe that the IT field is still the “it” to be involved in. With the constant growth of technology, you’re always going to need the men and women who fix it when it breaks. Even though people are leaving the IT field for various reasons, it doesn’t mean it’s dying. IT is like anything else; it might take you to get your feet wet before you realize you’re not interested. I’m happy to say I feel secure in my choice to pursue a career in the technology field,  and I’m hoping for a heavier female presence as gender roles begin to fade away. Gender roles are effecting not just the IT field but all fields. The days of the cigar smoking,  whiskey drinking male banker in a pinstripe suit are over. As women make their climb into these top positions once ruled by men, I strongly believe that we will see positive change. In the next few generations it might not be so strange to see a stay at home dad getting his computer serviced by a female tech savvy IT genius.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Welcome CM 107, CM 220, and HU 250 Students

Welcome, 1605A and 1701C Classes!  Peace to all of you in 2017!  We'll talk more in class about our blog, but you and my previous classes are welcome to send me potential blog posts to publish here.  Original drawings and photos are also welcome, as are poetry, short fiction and song lyrics!  So, write away!!