Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sample Article #2

Managing The Effects of Self-Esteem


John Henri Allyn

Lets say you were marketing a business idea and you receive a phone call from David Letterman asking you to be on his show in and explain your idea to millions of people. Would you be excited or in shock?

Now lets say you show up backstage a week later and find out that the guest before you is Donald Trump and his feedback on your presentation will make or break your career. Are you still confident or would the situation terrify you?

How you answer questions like these reflect on your self-confidence and just how much you believe in the things you do. The difference between a self made millionaire and the homeless person living on the street often comes down to who believed in their self worth when the chips were down.

The smallest of compliments or achievements make me feel really good about myself,” Lacey Hotchkiss, a 24 year old college counselor in Dallas Texas told me, “I helped this mother on the phone and she asked for my name and then made a comment how she wanted to ask for me every time because I was really helpful. That made me feel good inside,”

Hotchkiss, like many others, take positives from comments and accomplishments. Reinforced with positive feedback, belief in the work they are doing will naturally receive greater effort. Just a moment taken to show appreciation here and there can not only bring someone happiness, it can also relief tension and other negative feelings. Most people fail to realize how much influnce family members, friends, co-workers, and even strangers have over how we feel about ourselves.

When I first started practicing meditation, I could feel energy very felt great,” Derek Sherwood,a 25 year old member of the U.S. Army reserves told me, “Encountering closed minded resistance from people who I respect slowly eroded at my confidence and sense of purpose. This effected the pursuit of these ideas, all of which were very personal to me, contributing to my own self doubt and lack of confidence in practice,”

Sherwood has recently turned to meditation and other concepts to combat years of depression. These concepts combined with research and good old fashion self-application have turned his life around. Where once his confidence in himself dwindled, it now brims to the point of overflow. This is a demonstration that self-esteem is the sum of a set of judgments about one's value, worthiness, and competence in various domains.

When asked for one thing she could change to feel better about herself, Hotchkiss couldn't stop with just one.

I wish I had a higher metabolism. I wish my hair wasn't so thin. I wish my father showed affection at all to anyone. I wish little things didn't upset me. I wish I wasn't so quick to anger. I wish I made a little more money to pay off my student loans faster. I wish I hadn't dated that guy my freshman year in college,” Hotchkiss said.

Her sentiments should feel familiar to many of you. A list of regrets starts to accumlate in the minds of most people once they enter their adult years. A physical feature here,an emotional confrontation there, and before you know it these thoughts are forcing themselves into your head demanding that you punish yourself with negativy for not being perfect.

Feeling down on myself after some negative feedback from a friend I decided to go and do my own research on my new philosophy,” Sherwood said, “Seeing a published report from Princeton mirror most of my personal conclusions inspired me to continue my pursuit of a new path,”

Sherwood took comfort in the fact that a reputable university such as Princeton helped him get back on track with his studies. Likewise you may find that doing research on your own thoughts and philosophies and finding published articles may inspire you to do the same.

Self-esteem issues are not all doom and gloom. Experts recommend that passing on positive feedback and congratulations for things not often recognized influence others to think positively around you resulting in a beneficial atmosphere. Next time you see a friend or co-worker complete a task or finally learn how to solve a nagging problem, congratulate them. Compliment the waitress or family member who performs a normal task for you. Odds are next time you're questioning your own self worth, they will cheer you up for doing something minor and pay you back with the same appreciation you first showed them.

Next up activities, yes physical action, Its not just positive thinking you know. Find the things you enjoy doing that you “lose” yourself in. Whether its hiking or writing, the time just flies by when you're doing what you love. Embrace that, find people with like interests, and enjoy companionship.

Lastly don't blame yourself. You know what I'm talking about. The family member or friend who won't stop that habit that you blame yourself for. The unforeseen obstacle that ruined a past event. It doesn't matter what happened in the past , do not blame yourself. Even if you were the only person at fault. At some point you have to decide to forgive yourself. Despite what popular media may tell you, no one is perfect. Don't beat yourself up over it. Its time to move on.

Jack Welch once said: “Confidence gives you courage and extends your reach. It lets you take greater risks and achieve far more than you ever thought possible.”

Take those words to heart. Find that dream you dropped long ago and dust it off. The only thing that stops you from living out your dreams in the end is yourself. Every successful person in life has one thing in common, they all learned to succeed by believing in themselves through every failure and success. Now its your turn.

Sample Article #1

Contract Workers Struggle to Make Ends Meet


John Henri Allyn

With more and more jobs being outsourced to foreign countries and constant downsizing within corporate America, many workers find themselves unable to maintain permanent employment. Some of these individuals find their way into the rapidly growing market of contractors for hire. These temporary contractors otherwise known as “temps” seek to fill jobs ranging from office work to manual labor. While staffing agencies across the country work long hours to find positions for this growing market, the consistently of a solid income and schedule is anything but guaranteed.

I'm just happy to be working,” Jayne Orolowski, a temporary contract worker of six years told me, “This year I've been very lucky and have only had three weeks without work,” Orolowski is a fifty-three year old single mother working at a pharmaceutical company in Irvine California.

Every weekday morning she leaves at 6 a.m. traveling two hours by bus from Laguna Hills to Irvine. After working eight hours she travels back another two hours in the evening arriving home at 7:30 p.m.. The same trip driven by car would normally take 40 minutes each way. Jayne however cannot afford a car. Like many others she has turned to mass transit due to the rising costs associated with owning a vehicle such as gas and insurance.

I lost my job six years ago,” Orolowski said, “I worked there for twenty-eight years. Then one day out of the blue I got a notice that our company was cutting jobs and mine was one of them,”

Orolowski's story is shared by many across the America. According to a study put out by Belous Research Institute less than 22% of U.S. workers in 1988 were non permanent positions. In 2003 that figure jumped to nearly 35% of U.S. workers. This is due in part to a demand for labor needed only once or twice a year. These projects can be assigned to a set number of workers with relatively little experience and completed within a set time frame ranging from a week to a few months. When regular company employees have tasks they need to focus on, employers put in a call to a local job agency to find appropriate labor for the necessary projects.

There are some drawbacks to those who choose this lifestyle. One drawback concerns the low end pay rates for common positions such as mail room assistant or other general office related work. Experience is not necessarily the primary consideration when competing for a position with an over saturated market of other contractors that often undercut each other.

Often times a client will tell us to find them people willing to work for the cheapest rate possible.” Johnny Lundy, a staffing specialist for a company in Costa Mesa California told me, “Most positions no matter the industry will train individuals on the job. Previous experience, while helpful, will not necessarily get you a better hourly rate.”

Other drawbacks include the lack of benefits including health care, retirement programs, and sick time. Contractors are forced to fend for themselves with regard to these essential benefits. A contractor who is sick won't be paid that day. Often contractors live from paycheck to paycheck which makes putting money aside for retirement and other considerations nearly impossible.

Me and my son's health care are paid for by my parents,” Orolowski said. “There is no question about it, I would be dead in the water if it weren't for my parents. There is no way I would be able to afford my own place to live and have the money to be able to properly care for my son. I just hope my parents live until my son gets out of high school,”

Another potential drawback is the lack of job security. Temporary positions often give a time frame of weeks or months the job is expected to last. This figure is often sketchy at best. Companies can terminate a temporary contractor anytime during the contract with little or no explanation regardless of the expected time period of work.

I can recall plenty questionable terminations,” Lundy said, “But per our rules we are not allowed to demand an explanation. Some of our workers have been promised nine month contracts only to be let go within weeks due to no fault of their own. I feel bad for them but all we can do is try to find them another position.”

Reentering the permanent job market is a daunting task in todays job world. This is especially true for older workers such as Orolowski where even decades of experience and a good job record doesn't seem to turn potential employer heads like it would have two or three decades ago.

Most permanent jobs would rather have a younger worker at a starting rate than consider a higher rate for an older experienced person such as myself,” Orolowski said.

More seniors are having to work past sixty-five due to the lack of long term jobs available in todays job market. According to the senior trends association the number of employers who were at least 55 increased to 35.7% in 2003, up from 34.5% in 2002. This was especially true for those above 65 which up until a generation ago was considered the average retirement age.

Despite the struggles and numerous hazards, more demand in the temporary work market has led to more employees eager to supply to that demand. Cautious planning and an ability to roll with the punches will be required should you decide to make a permanent lifestyle out of the temporary work scene.