Monday, November 19, 2007

Going Out Of Town For A Job Interview....What To Expect

With the world getting smaller and smaller due to globalization, it is getting more and more frequent. Case in point. Just a few weeks ago, I traveled to Philadelphia to interview for a job. In doing so, there were a few things that must be taken care of before you leave.

You have to get there some how. If you are a highly sought after potential employee, you should have no qualms about asking for your suitor to pay for your travel expenses. At least least, a reimbursement clause.

On the other end, If you are the one who is pushing for the position, you are going to have to be prepared to flip the bill for travel.

More times than not, there will be some type of compromise, either your potential employer will furnish the lodging arrangements, but you will have to flip the bill for travel or vice versa.

During your interview, you should expect to have an escort to show you around and lead you from place to place. That is, if there are several different offices in which you must visit while you are in town. If there is only a one stop interview, than don't expect the guided tour.

Once the interview is complete, you should always make sure you have an established timeline as when you should hear a yea or nae on if you have been chosen for the position. There is nothing worse than waiting several months only to find out via snail mail that your potential employer had chosen a "more qualified" (i.e. a candidate who will do the job for less money) candidate to fill the position.

Happy hunting!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Men's Gym Fashion....An Observation

Most recently, I have taken up a re newed interest in my health. Along with changing my diet, cutting back on drinking and smoking, I have started to explore different ways to workout in the gym, such as playing basketball and lifting weights. In high-school I was not a stranger to the gym, but it has been over a decade since then. During a recent trip to Philadelphia, I visited the 12th Street Gym, located downtown and noticed some changing trends in men's gym fashion.

In the past several decades, men with steroid filled veins and paper-thin muscle tees have ruled the gym as though they were cocks in a hen house. Their over sized arms and elephantine legs made many of us lesser enabled guys slightly humbled every time we showed our face (or should I say our chicken legs) next to them, in fear of looking foolish in the wake of most of these behemoths.

Now-a-days, the tides are changing and in greater numbers. Men are gaining confidence in their appearance, and placing more emphasis on what they wear instead of what’s underneath. One does not have to look far past the evolution of college and pro basketball wear to find an example.

With this boom, the sale of clothing gear for the fitness industry has sky rocketed accordingly. This onslaught of men’s exercise fashion has given way to mistakes in buying the type of gear that will most effectively aid in your fitness endeavors and these miscalculations can be made at a price that will not cause you to lose weight where you do not want to, and that’s in your wallet.
As men, there is no need to transcend back to our school aged days. When heading to the gym, we should not be afraid to choose the kind of workout gear that will show off your best attributes without ‘showing them out’.

Under Armour workout gear offers great style that will accommodate you in the gym. When sportin’ Under Armor’s HeatGear Full Tee ($49.00) as a top and their Microshort ($24.99) for a bottom you will fill like the king of the roost without looking like a buzzard. The HeartGear Full Tee is re-engineered for action in the gym. It features ArmourGri technology and raglan sleeves with flat lock stitching to keep you mobile. HeatGear fabric collaborates with strategic ventilation zones to keep you cool and dry. This is necessary when working out in a musty gym so that your armpits do not look as though they had a small dark haired child in a head-lock. Under Armor’s made from stretch micro fiber to deliver HeatGear performance with a relaxed fit. It includes a 7-inch inseam and a 10-inch rise.

This being said, some men just cannot get past the insecurity of being in a gym and opt to
have their fitness training out doors, the way nature intended. Now that the winter season has bit us on the back of the leg, the same attire that you wear while pumping iron in an unventilated gym, is not the same prescription for attire when training outside with Dale and the other chipmunks. If you choose Hind men's Varsity Long Sleeve ($49.99) for a top and the Under Armour men's Side Pant ($54.99) for a bottom, you would be well on your way to a perfectly comfortable out door workout.

The Hind men’s Varsity Long Sleeve features a combination of smooth-face, moisture management fabric and mesh fabric that provides inherent stretch, wicking, and ventilation. dryLETE technology moves moisture away from your skin to keep you cool and dry, and front and back reflectivity increase your visibility in low light, great for those evening runs in the winter. Yes you still sweat when it’s cold outside.

Under Armour men’s Side Pant delivers comfort and performance from the first stretch to game time. With a 4-way stretch and an athletic cut, these features help you keep up with the action, and the strategic mesh works with AllSeasonGear moisture management to keep you dry and comfortable. This track pant features an elastic waistband with inside drawstring, ankle zips, and zippered side pockets. It does not matter if you are sweating to the oldies inside a world class fitness facility or trying to endure your training on a cool, windy winter morning, you are going to have to have protection on your feet that is conducive to blood circulation, give you the correct arch support and, most importantly, stop that special someone dead in their tracks when they see you dash by.

Nike’s Shox Explodine ($99.99) is the ultimate training shoe to prepare for the gridiron. Its synthetic upper with laser details, this unit has a stability bridge and with its aggressive non-marking traction pattern out sole and lateral outrigger, you will be running for miles with the ease of striding from your bark-a-lounger to the fridge.

Now get off the couch have fun, stay safe and work out hard!

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Elusive Quest for Growth

The Elusive Quest for growth, written by William Easterly is an economic text that chronicles some of the reasons that some countries are able to become prosperous and the reasons why other countries are not able to ‘cut the mustard, as some would say. In the prologue, the books tarts off with a definition of what is meant by the Elusive Dream. We find out that the ‘Elusive Dream’ is nothing more than trying to find the recipe of wealth that some small poor countries have found.

The book goes on in Chapter One to list some of the ramifications of living in a poor county. The author shoes us some examples where the poorer the country, usually, the higher infant mortality rate is, which means that the wealthier the country or individual is, healthier they are. The relationship to wealth and starvation rates is also presented. Here we see the correlation between hunger and wealth. We find out that the poorer the county the hungrier its citizens are. Also, poor countries are much more susceptible to being oppressed or taken advantage of by other, more powerful countries because of dept that may be owed to them. This fact leads us to say that poorer counties’ poverty rate grows more quickly than in other, wealthier countries.

The author leads us to the realization that economists had different theories of how smaller, less developed and poorer countries could catch up to the wealthier, more advanced ones in chapter two. Theories by Lewis, Rostow are presented and the fact that some economists stressed the ability to save and invest as one way to gain power is shown.

Chapter three sets the tone for the book and gives us a perspective of the stance that the author is trying to prove in this book. We find out that the author theorizes that the current formula for dispensing aid to poor countries is not effective or efficient. The correlation of aid to investment to GDP is almost non-existent. Also, we see that the investment in capital without investment on labor does not constitute success and we also see that advances in technology must be considered in the equation.

In the next chapter, the author tells us that education is one of the principle means to human development. He explains that in the years spanning 1960 to 1990 there was an explosion in schooling. This growth was favorable in Asia and the western countries but not so favorable in sub Saharan Africa with the exception of Botswana. Some said that education was the key to economic growth but from examples presented in this chapter, we find out that it is not the case. There are economists that argue that the correlation in the investment and saving in physical and human capital can explain 78% of per capita income differences among nations.

Chapter five brings another disputer issue as to what would help poor undeveloped counties in their quest for growth. Here we see how population factors in to this quest. Some economists theorize that the more people that are in the population of a country, the higher the GDP. There are holes in this theory. Lester Brown stated that population grows faster than the number of jobs in poorer countries. Also it is stated that world population growth does not vary enough to explain variation in per capita growth and that there is no real correlation between the two. The fact that population growth could cause a positive outcome is not discounted. Two positives for population growth were theorized to be “the genius principle” and the possibility of more technological innovations and advancements.

Moving on, chapter six brings yet another theory in the quest for growth. Over the yeas, the IMF and the World Bank have given loans and other types of aid to help in the growth of nations or to bail them out of trouble. Once aid is given, many economists thought that this would be the solution. The author shows us how this was not the case in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The exceptions were the countries of Ghana and Peru. With this aid, there were many stipulations that were imposed, so that the country that is receiving the aid did not fall into the same trap. In most cases where aid was given and there weren’t any stipulations of policy change imposed, the aid never accomplished what it was set forth to do. The author gives us an example of Russia and also gives several things that should be imposed by the government so that debt does not consume the country. The author points out that it is now the ‘trend’ for countries to change policies when aid is given. In concluding this chapter, the author suggests that aid be based on the past performance of governments and not their future promises.

In the following chapter, the author talks about some of the reasons that poor countries obtained high budgets deficits to be that it should have been stipulated that forgiveness of loans and dept should only be done once and recognizing that the debt burden of the poor countries came about because of lending by IMF, World Bank and donors in the face of withdrawal of private and other types of lenders.

Chapter eight also brings the beginning of the third section of the book. Here is where the author introduces to us the fact that knowledge does not remain with its original owner and the fact that some countries get involved in spending circles. Some are virtuous and some are not. Some of the reasons that countries are caught in a non-virtuous spending circle is because potential investors are not rewarded for social contributions.

The next chapter introduces that fact that luck can play a large part in some countries growth and went on to state that luck causes fluctuations around a long term trend determined by more fundamental factors. Chapter eleven went on so reiterated the fact that people and potential investors respond positively to incentives.

The last three chapters of the book gives instructions and strategies that need to be followed so that growth could be established, states that income distribution was the cause of some poor countries continuing to stay poor and concludes with the statement that there is not a magical formula to bring prosperity to the masses and that there are many different things that influences growth.