If I were the parent of a boy bullying a 68 year old bus monitor…

Firstly, I would be so embarrassed for myself and for my family. The Dad of one of the bullies was interviewed on AC 360 (I couldn’t find the link for this segment of the interview), but he said that he was sending his son to therapy. I say, screw therapy – the little buggers needs to be sent to boot camp.

We all know what is important in a teenage boys life: computers, video games, cell phones, going out with friends. He would have to say goodbye to them for the summer, and no, I wouldn’t care how bored he is.

Another great way to deal with this horrendous situation: community service! I’m talking disgusting types of community service, like picking up trash at the side of the road. If I could, I would love to see him volunteering in a kitchen, scraping food off plates. I’ve done it before for two weeks, and it’s pretty gross. Gross enough to make my son start to realize the damage his mistake has caused. Basically anything that isn’t fun would do the trick.

Then, if he has time, which he should,  he should read a self-help book, or take a class. On ethics, perhaps.

Yeah, it all sounds really harsh, but that’s the only way children learn – through deprivation.     Plus, if it was legal, a couple spanks wouldn’t hurt either.

All this being said, having over $500,000 raised for Karen is amazing. For a while, I had lost my faith in human compassion, but now it’s clear that there is compassion out there. It’s interesting how complete strangers can be more compassionate than people who are supposed to be close to you.

Watch the video if you haven’t already:

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To put some light into unemployment

Perhaps your company has given you the summer off, and suddenly, your days are going by a thousand times slower than normal. True it’s a sad situation, but when’s the last time you were free to do whatever you wanted? If there is anytime to believe that the world is your oyster, it is now!

Learn something. It is so easy to sit around and mope, but the best way to get rid of your misery is to distract yourself. Take a class, learn a sport, even take a trip if you can afford to.

Get in shape! Yes, this even goes for you lucky people who are naturally in shape. Exercise is not only a way to lose weight, it an be a hobby as well. Not a fan of treadmills? Try Yoga, Pilates, or the new and trendy exercise methods like Tabata.

Read an entire book series.

Watch all the seasons of any TV show that everyone else raves about, but you just never got around to watching. I did that with Modern Family, and I’ve never gone back.

Look for other opportunities. Getting the summer off could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Spend time with the people you love.

Then, before you know it, you will be back to work with less time to do any of the above. Enjoy the time off 🙂

 

 

Women are from Venus, some university students are from Mars

There was a time when a university degree was a one way ticket to a great job and a fulfilling life. Now, thanks to the state of America’s economy, university graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to find well paying jobs. The article I read in the Globe & Mail not only sums up how tough the job market is, but how misled students in certain majors are.

We all know those people who believe that the world will be a better place without corporate greed. Apparently, they exist more in Quebec than anywhere else in Canada, sending the Quebec university students to an entirely different planet. While corporate greed effects the middle class, and governments are taxing heavily, and doctors are charging high amounts for private healthcare, these three sectors provide high paying jobs!  By encouraging students to take classes such as philosophy and ancient roman history, professors are actually disabling them because degrees in these subjects don’t have as much value as science or finance degrees. (I admit, considering the financial crisis, a science degree might be more promising right now)

I am all for doing whatever you are passionate about, but it’s still crucial to think of the future. Philosophy gives you some valuable life lessons, and art history is fascinating but when will you be able to use that knowledge for a successful living? I understand that success has a different meaning to everyone, but I think making enough money to pay for a comfortable living is a common goal for society. Professors can preach their ideas on how students can change the world by learning about “life” and “history”, but it’s also up to the students to think about their future. Is the purpose of university not to get a higher education, broaden your prospects, and eventually find a better life? This article made me think twice.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/quebecs-university-students-are-in-for-a-shock/article2418431/

Siri, the iPhone lady, will kill our brain cells

Before they said video games made you dumb, then it was teenage drinking, and now, I can say with full confidence that Siri the iPhone lady will kill our brain cells, with vengeance.

Take a look at the commercial above. Is it really so difficult for Zooey Deschanel to make her way to the window to see if it’s raining for herself? Unfortunately, this is very representative of the direction in which technology is taking us. It is also extremely contradictory to what we are taught in elementary school, which is to think and take your best guess before asking for the answer.

I know I’m making it sound like technology is all bad, and that we need to go back to using old fashioned ink and pen, but that is honestly not the case! Of course technology such as computers and cell phones were invented to make life easier, and they do exactly that. Remember the days when you had to look up a restaurants phone number in the Yellow Pages to make a reservation? The internet makes that task so much easier because sometimes you can make a reservation online, or you can find their phone number faster. Now, Siri can help us do that too! Except she makes it too easy, and soon we will lose the will to use our hands to type a question into Google. Next thing we know, she will be making the reservation for us!

Now, imagine this: Siri gets so stressed out from demanding people constantly asking her questions, and decides to take a holiday. We would actually have to Google the nearest gas station while on a road trip, because Siri would not be there to find one for us like one of the iPhone commercials suggest. It’s a tad scary to think how long this might take, considering by now, our efficiency would have gone to hell. What’s worse is that Zooey Deschanel would have to find a place that delivers tomato soup on her own. Alternatively, she could learn to make it herself. Oh wait, I forgot! Googling and reading has become too difficult now. I guess we can only hope that Siri doesn’t get too comfortable on the beach…

10 Things Not To Do In An Interview

We’ve all had those interviews that have gone embarrassingly wrong. You might have stumbled while talking, laughed a little too loud, or let it slip that you hated your previous boss. Here is a list of small errors to avoid during an interview. I have learned many of these through personal experience, and hearing the experiences of others.

1. If the interviewer offers you a drink, take water NOT coffee. The last thing you need is for a huge coffee stain to join in on the interview. Plus, if they give you a cookie with the coffee, the crumbs will spill everywhere, and next thing you know, you can’t answer the questions correctly because you are distracted by the mess on your clothes.

2. DO NOT ever try to make small talk in your second language. It is awfully humiliating to have your interviewer correct your grammar when you are commenting on the beautiful view. Best option when choosing which language to speak: take the cue from your interviewer. Chances are, they will test you on the second language listed on your CV anyway.

3. DO NOT look out the window when talking to the interview, no matter how therapeutic it seems when you are nervous.

4. ALWAYS know the name of your interviewer. That way you can avoid saying to the person at the reception “Oh I forgot, it’s something like….”

5. ALWAYS dress appropriately for the type of job you are applying for. Do not wear Converses to an interview at a five star hotel. I know it sounds obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the stuff people think they can get away with.

6. Your first question for your interviewer should NOT be “Where can I park my car?” I once met a girl who did this, and she only got interviewed for 10 minutes before getting rejected a week later.

7. DO find a healthy balance between professional and friendly. If your interviewer is taking you for a tour of the building, feel free to ask them as many questions as you want about the company. Wait, here’s the catch: you want to avoid questions that you would only need to know if you worked there. This makes you come off as cocky because you think you already have the job. Honestly, if you run out of general questions about the company, ask the interviewer how long they have worked there for. It might start up an interesting conversation, but don’t get to engrossed in it. Remember, they are not your friend now, and most certainly won’t be if they become your boss.

8. Ladies: DO NOT cross your legs if you are wearing a skirt! If it rides up, you will be put in an awkward position of needing to pull it down in front of your interviewer. There are some details they don’t need to know.

9. DO NOT make a joke, no matter how funny it sounds in your head. Once you actually work there, you will be given a chance to display your brilliant sense of humour. But during the interview? Not really the right time.

10. ALWAYS try to tell the interviewer what they want to hear. There is a big difference between this and lying. Telling them what they want to hear is like, if they ask you if you are free on the weekends to work, your answer should be yes. They don’t want to hear that Saturday night is movie night for you and your significant other, they want to know that you care about the job. The only exception is if you are applying for a part time job, and they know prior to your interview that you can only work a certain amount of days because you have previous commitments.

Sir Ken Robinson on Creativity vs. the System

Video

I was introduced to TED two years ago in my Organizational Behaviour class, and since then, I have watched the videos on YouTube occasionally when the mood strikes. I realize that I might be a little behind on the program considering this video is a few years old, but I was glad that someone else shares similar views on a subject that I spent many years thinking about.

“Smart” is a word that is thrown around quite freely, and tends to have different connotations depending on which stage of your life you are in. In school, one is considered “smart” if they get a high scores on tests. In the work field (aka real life), one is labelled “smart” if they can meet or exceed the expectations of their job. This is only a general statement of course, opinions on being “smart” vary depending on fields of work, and cultural upbringing.

Often times, people think that smart equals creative, and visa versa. I think that one has absolutely nothing to do with the other. They both depend on each individual’s strengths, their inspirations, and their personal goals. Sir Ken Robinson is questioning if the education system realizes this. I appreciate his example of how subjects such as math and science are at the top of the curriculum, while arts and music are at the bottom. I have come to think of this as the “subject hierarchy.” Perhaps the educators feel like career paths such as medicine are more promising than art, which is why they lay so much emphasis on math and science. Why though? Not everyone has an aptitude for math and science. Is the point of education to push students in the direction which society considers “the right path”? Coming from a private school, we were given quite a lot of liberty with our subjects, but I always felt that there was a hidden expectation to go in a “certain path” Mind you, this may have been more from a social aspect, but still…it was there.

Take Sir Robinson’s example of the girl who became a dancer, and is now a multi-millionaire who works with Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Studying math, science, and other subjects that are mandatory would have done her no good, and although her case may be rare, I think it is so representative of millions of students who are not in need of these subjects. It works the same way if a student who wanted to study sciences said they were not interested in art. Their school would not force them to take art, but a student who says they don’t want to take math will be forced to. When we are younger, teachers encourage us to use our imaginations, yet when we grow older they are not so open to our creativity. It is almost to say “play time is over” – but for some people using their creativity and imaginations is not “play time”, it is real life to them. They want to go on and use their creativity to build a life that is fulfilling to them. Once enrolling in university, many students may develop interests in subjects that never crossed their minds before. This is normal in university, but somehow not in primary and secondary education. Were students not given more liberty before to find their passions? Or is the education system focusing more personal development and being “well rounded”?

There are two sides to every story, and it’s not that one is more correct than the other,I think Sir Robinson’s main point is that the purpose that education serves is to steer students in a direction that they want to go in. Not one that is generally considered correct.