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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?

Grocery Check ? Visit your Neighborhood Grocery Website for a Free Deal Page Are you looking for the best in grocery freebies? If so, get ready to reap the rewards of becoming a dedicated freebies hunter. It is said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but if you are an avid freebie hunter, you will find that there is such a thing. Getting free groceries is one of the sweetest plumbs. Here are some hints and tips on how to get free groceries. Wouldn't it Be Great to Get Free Groceries? Yes! Of course, wouldn't we all want to get free groceries? Believe it or not, it is totally possible with a bit of creativity, ingenuity and planning. First, you must learn the art of creative couponing. What is creative couponing? It is exactly what it sounds like?you can use coupons to get some sweet grocery freebies. All you have to learn is how and where to use your grocery coupons. Here are some tips on using coupons to get free groceries. Watch Out for New Product Coupons New products are often heavily marketed with free or deeply discounted offers. Sign up for your grocery store's promotional newsletter or discount card program. This way, you will automatically receive discount coupons and freebie offers through the mail. Watch out for new products?these often come paired with new product coupons. You can often use new product coupons in order to match the sale price and get the time for free. You can use new product coupons to purchase food items, but they are often available for hygiene and beauty care products. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo and deodorant?all of these types of personal care products are constantly being revamped and marketed. Check the Clearance Aisle or Table at Your Local Grocery Store If you are an avid coupon clipper, there is a good chance that you already have a coupon stowed away for an item on the clearance aisle. Believe it or not, deeply discounted or marked down items are still eligible for coupons. Check out the clearance aisle in order to match your coupons with discounted items. There is a chance that you can get an item at a deeply discounted price, or yes, even for free. Seek Out Loss Leaders at Your Local Grocery Store What are loss leaders, and why can they be such good deals? Loss leaders are those items at your local grocery store that are currently selling at a loss. Loss leaders may vary from store to store, even when you are shopping at a chain store. Stores are often ready and willing to get rid of loss leaders. These items are often sold at a deeply discounted price. Be prepared to match these loss leaders with coupons in order to turn these products from cheap loss leaders to freebies. Don't Forget the Double Coupons Double coupons are the bread and butter of any motivated freebie hunter. Most grocery stores still honor double coupons, and some grocery stores even have promotional double coupons days. Search your store's ad circular and items for items that you can possible get for free by using double coupons. You will be amazed at how many grocery items you can get for free, or near-free, simply by taking advantage of double coupons. Don't Forget the Rebate! Rebate offers are another bread and butter strategy that you should employ if you are serious about finding free grocery items. Although you may not get an item for free right away, be patient and follow all the instructions offered by the manufacturer. After a few weeks, you should receive your rebate check in the mail. This is an easy way to make sure that you can get free grocery items.

Important Networking Follow-Ups: How to Get Those Job Leads Calling When you leave a networking event, you may be buzzing at the prospects offered by all of those new contacts you made, but soon, the cold reality sets in. How will you be able to convert those contacts you made over a glass of wine into valuable business opportunities for you? Successful networking is all in the follow-up. If you?re looking for a job, following up is all the more crucial. Without touching base after a networking event, you become just another face in the crowd of job hunting hopefuls. The first important rule for following-up with networking contacts is to lay the foundations for the follow-up during the initial meeting. At networking events, there can be a lot of empty promises thrown around. Use that first meeting to convey the message that you haven?t gotten caught up in ?networking fever? but instead that you are very serious about exploring the job opportunity that you?re discussing with your new contact. Ask the contact when would be a good time to follow-up with them, and then reiterate the information back to them at the end of your conversation: ?I look forward to speaking with you Friday at 2 p.m.? If they don?t give you a specific time, then suggest one to them. This rule holds true even if your contact is giving you a lead on a job not with them but with another contact of their own. Let them know you appreciate the information by saying, ?Thanks. I will plan on calling Mary on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.? Not only will this convey your seriousness about the opportunity presented to you, but it may also get you some handy inside information, as the contact may reply, ?Oh, no, Mary will be out of town until Thursday ? call her then.? The next important rule to networking follow-ups is to follow up with EVERY lead a contact gives you. If a contact suggests that you call someone whom you know won?t really be able to help you in your job search, call him or her anyway. Otherwise, when your contact finds out you aren?t taking their advice, they may just decide not to give you any more the future and any business person can tell you that you never know from whom the most valuable lead will come some day. Keep the lines of communication open by giving any and all suggestions a whirl. Last but not least, do the actual following-up. Follow up with your contact exactly when you said you would, and in the exact manner you said you would (phone, email, letter, etc). If for some reason you can?t make contact at the arranged time, keep trying. If you haven?t made arrangements for a follow-up with a contact, then the rule of thumb is to follow-up with them as soon as possible after meeting them. Try to at least send an email or letter the next day saying what a pleasure it was to meet and that you look forward to talking more in the future, and then say in that note when you plan to follow-up with your contact by phone. Then, of course, stick to that new follow-up obligation. Even if the promises made by a contact while networking don?t pan out for you on the job front, don?t cross them off of your contact list. Keep them in the loop about your job search and your career goals. While they may not have been able to make if happen for you this time, you never know what they might be able to do for you in the future. Your most promising business contact may be someone you already know.

Writing on the Fly (freelance writing jobs) Writing is a fascinating way to explore the world. You can write in your free time about anything you wish to know more about. You may write fiction in order to delve into abstract topics of your world. You may also choose to write poetry to take that concept further. Non-fiction writing will help you understand more objective topics in order to have a clearer picture of the natural and created world. Writing is enjoyable and aids in learning, so what if you could enjoy yourself and get paid for it? This is not to suggest that you quit your job and become a writer, though you could do that as well. The possibilities in freelance writing jobs can give you the flexibility you need to write for money in your spare time. Defining Freelance Writing Freelance writing is writing that happens for an employer without any long term contract. Freelance writing jobs are very different from your typical day job because the trade off for labor and pay does not function in the same way. Freelance jobs are accepted one at a time. There are many different employers that seek out freelance workers. The writer will have the ability to produce a quality product in a desirable amount of time. The employer usually pays based on production rather than hours or weeks. Freelance paychecks come in irregularly, based on the work available. The great benefit to being able to freelance is that you basically get to work for yourself. You can work as much or as little as you wish, only being limited by the freelance writing jobs being offered. As you continue to write, your qualifications will continue to be more impressive. Where are the Jobs? So, maybe you?re interested in finding some freelance writing jobs. The potential to work on your own time, doing something you enjoy and getting paid for it is an appealing one. Where do the jobs exist? There are a few places that you can start looking. A great place to start, to find out what the job market looks like, is the internet. Many employers advertise freelance positions online. They are looking for people all over the country, and potentially all over the world that can work from a distance. Another great benefit to freelance work is that it can happen anywhere. No matter where the hiring company is, the freelance writer can participate in the production of the needed product. Magazines and newspapers both hire freelance writers. In order to find those jobs, it is often appropriate to query the publication in question. First you need to find out about submission guidelines and then send in an article idea. If it is accepted, you are on your way to even more freelance writing jobs. What Does It Take to Be Good? What it takes to be a good writer is not in question. You all know about grammar, style, voice and coherency. What does it take to be successful in the freelance writing category though? There are a few things to consider. First, you will need to be able to be flexible. You may not always be able to write on subjects that you are necessarily interested in. In order to build your resume though, and be able to pick and choose your work, you will have to start out doing whatever needs to be done. Second, to be a great freelance writer, you need to be able to work quickly without sacrificing quality. Oftentimes freelance assignments will go out last minute. You will have a better chance of success if you can honestly take assignments and get them turned in again by deadlines. Finally, a good freelance writer is able to market his talents. The most effective way to prove your writing talents is to introduce yourself in your resume and cover letter in a way that impresses prospective employers. No one will believe you are a writer if you cannot write an engaging cover letter. Freelance writing is a fun way to add a little income to your current pay. It is possible to make a career out of freelancing, but it is not for everyone. If you are interested in writing and want to try your hand at a few different kinds of projects, consider freelancing for awhile.