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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Want to keep your job? Be happy.

john kehe - staff

Study shows that a bright disposition helps workers navigate darker times.

Does the recession with its rampant layoffs and cutbacks make your job look better all the time? Believe it or not, donning a pair of "recession goggles" can be good for your career and your mental health. Research shows that an attitude of gratitude in trying times can not only help you keep your job, but get you the job you want.

It's a counterintuitive concept, for sure. In today's economic maelstrom, the most common responses are panic, fear, anger, distrust, and even hostility. But a Harvard Business Review article "How to Protect Your Job in a Recession" studied the characteristics of recession survivors and found that those who avoided being cut were cheerful, likable, generous contributors, and not necessarily the most skilled and proficient.

"Just don't be the guy who's always in a bad mood, reminding colleagues how vulnerable everyone is. Who wants to be in the trenches with him?" caution authors Janet Banks and Diane Coutu.

Workplace relationship expert Courtney Anderson agrees, and observes that tolerance for bad actors – particularly those higher up the food chain – is shrinking.

"The handwriting is on the wall for them in a lot of organizations," says Ms. Anderson, founder of Courtney Anderson & Associates, a human resources firm in Austin, Texas. "When times are good, companies will tolerate a lot. But in this economy, every single decision is double- and triple-checked. It will be tough for the really poor managers to make it through,"

This could explain why the ax is falling higher up the management chain.

Companies are looking to save more money, and bigger salaries yield larger savings. Today's unemployment rate for college-educated workers, 4.1 percent, is the highest it's been since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the data in 1992. It is more than twice its prerecession level, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, putting the risk of being unemployed proportionately higher for college-educated workers than for less-educated ones.

When productivity is in decline, Anderson says, other factors gain more value in the decisionmaking process about who stays and who goes.

"I used to go to organizations," Anderson says, "and they would describe a horrible situation: 'Felicia curses people out, she yells and is mean, but she delivers.' They would want me to figure out how to keep the person and be flexible because the person delivered. Now, with the current macroeconomic picture, they won't put up with it. There is a financial opportunity to get rid of the people who create problems."

Anderson says corporate leaders are now placing more value on workers who add positive energy to the atmosphere beyond increasing sales and visibility. She says that includes placing those who are grouchy and unpleasant on the layoff list, but also the person who never says anything, the colleague who is invisible and flies under the radar.

"All variations of not contributing and making it a positive, efficient workplace are being considered," Anderson says.

If striking a cheerful pose in tough times doesn't come naturally, consider that it does require conscious effort. And even the act of trying to be happy can make a difference.

"If you stay positive, you'll have more influence on how things play out," advise Ms. Banks and Ms. Coutu.

Banks is a veteran of at least a dozen corporate downsizings, and Coutu has studied resilience in many settings. They say survivors and those who leverage layoffs to their advantage focus on anticipating the needs of customers and those above and below them inside the office.

During periods of numerous layoffs, vacuums occur at all levels, leaving many opportunities to help your boss and the company get more accomplished.

"Prove your value to the firm by showing your relevance to the work at hand," Banks and Coutu note, "which may have shifted since the economy softened."

The key to donning recession goggles is to make decisions you won't regret when the recession fades and more prosperous times return.

"We should affirm to ourselves each day why we are doing what we do," Anderson says. "If you are truly, truly miserable, even in a bad economy, you may be better off doing something else: taking a break, going back to school, or working part time. It's valid to ask ourselves: 'Do I enjoy this? Why am I here?' Reevaluate."

She reminds us that if you find you are in a job exclusively for the paycheck – that is, uh, OK. It is a superb reason to go to work and be satisfied in this economy.

"You can still go to work and have a good day," Anderson says. Especially pay day. "Bad times remind us all of the basics.... We shouldn't take things for granted."

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The 6 Most Important Factors when Choosing a Power Supply |

Learn about how much power you need, single vs multiple rails along with the multiple rails marketing hype and much more.

read more | digg story

30+ NEW Adobe Illustrator Tutorials & Neat Tips

Adobe Illustrator is a powerful tool for illustrating various elements one can use for web pages and print design. However, it’s important to know what to do in order to powerfully use its tools and achieve certain effects. Let’s take a look at some of the best and Fresh Adobe Illustrator tutorials we’ve found in the Web so far.

read more | digg story

Whale-Sized Marshmallows Deployed to Thwart Japanese Whalers

Written by Jerry James Stone

Just Born — the makers of Marshmallow Peeps — says they’ll be producing whale-shaped, and whale-sized, Marshmallow Peeps in an effort to end Japanese whaling.

The Peep-maker said the joint effort is between Darryl Hannah, The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Greenpeace, and that they are uniting under the moniker PEEP: People for Everything and Everyone on the Planet.

PEEP will be using the marshmallow whale Peeps as decoys, hopefully tricking Japanese whalers into harpooning those instead of cute and cuddly whales. If successful, PEEP will look into other decoy opportunities. Baby seal Peeps are under strong consideration, especially with Canada’s seal hunt underway.

PEEP is Darryl Hannah’s brainchild.

Each Easter, Hannah and fellow gal-pal Drew Barrymore get together for a ritual Spring Cleaning. The tradition involves naming and nuking [microwaving] Marshmallow Peeps until they explode. The Peeps usually don names of prominent conservatives and members of the GOP. Last year when the Rush Limbaugh Peep kept getting bigger and fatter, and just wouldn’t die…Hannah had an idea.

The former mermaid had this to say, “Last Easter, after the Rush Limbaugh Peep broke Drew’s microwave, we joked…what if we covertly replaced prominent members of the GOP with Marshmallow Peeps. Like a McCain McPeep? So we actually tried making a few, but it just didn’t work out.”

“At first we tried making a Karl Rove Peep, but the mold kept turning out like that Emperor guy from Star Wars [the originals, not those crappy sequels],” she laughed. “The GOPeeps just weren’t working, it was really hard to get them right, and someone kept eating the Sarah Palin one!”

She said it was her work on Splash that gave her the idea of whale Peeps.

One obstacle, and the reason it took a year to develop the whale-sized Peeps, is that Peeps aren’t veggie friendly. “We wanted Greenpeace on our side.” Hannah said. “The last thing you wanna do is piss off a bunch of vegans from Greenpeace,” she warned.

Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, said, “We will start deploying the whale Peeps when the ship leaves port next.” This is expected to happen sometime in June.

The whale Peeps will come in three flavors: pink, yellow and krill.

Source: Just Born, Inc.

Hellingly Asylum -- Urban Nightmare

Opened 1903. Closed 1994.Designed by prominent asylum architect, George Thomas Hine, Hellingly was to be one of the most advanced county asylum designs at the time of its construction.This place is HUGE! It even had it's own railway station. Now fallen into dereliction it is an urban explorers dream.... or nightmare. [HDR Flickr set]

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Drawing Inspiration From Creative Logos

By Matt Cronin

Dear friends, we try hard to meet your expectations with our posts. If you enjoyed this one, please don't forget to digg it. Thank you.

As designers, we are always in constant need of inpiration. Whether it be web or graphic design, other work to fuel our creativity is essential. Logo design requires the most amount of inspiration however.

Below we present a showcase of 50 beautiful, clever and creative logo designs that will hopefully inspire you. If you take a closer look at the showcase below, you will notice many trends. Some of these include use simple shapes to create something complex, origami shapes, coloring and transparency trends, and many more.

Why are these logos so excellent? All of these logos use very creative methods to represent the brand through color, shapes, and shape typography. Look at how each of these logos can tell you something about the company. Also note the brilliant color palletes and unique patterns used in many of these. Finally, pay attention to the typography, especially font selection and coloring.

Showcase Of Creative Logo Designs

Creative logo design

Further Resources

Area for further articles and related resources.

About the author

Matt Cronin is a freelance web and graphic designer as well as developer. He is the author and owner of Spoonfed Design, a design blog with great tips, how-to, inspiration, tutorials, and more. Spoonfed Design is part of the VAEOU Creative Network, a new startup in progress with new services coming soon.