Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm Too Fat to get Hired

It is not illegal to discriminate against someone who is fat; unfair maybe, but not against the law.  It happens all the time.

Put yourself in an employer's place.  Two candidates  interview for a job and they are equal in every qualification except one candidate is fifty pounds overweight.  The choice is clear for the employer.  Forget all the stigma attached to overweight people, an employer is probably looking at long term health problems and a loss in productivity.

So, what do you do if you are overweight?  Give up?

You must realize that every job candidate has their good points and their bad points.  If you are like me and have a face that only a mother could love, then you better be great in other areas because you have one strike against you to start with.

So, what are these other areas?

Are you dressed well?  First impressions rule and an expensive well fitting outfit can help a lot with how you are initially perceived.

Do you have the right qualifications?  If not, then how do you develop these qualifications?  Maybe you need to enroll in a course or seminar to bolster your resume in a specific area or maybe you can do some self study?

Is your resume and cover letter perfect?  I actually see candidates with resumes that have  misspelled words.  I should say that I see the resumes, not the candidates.  If you are not great at English, get some help.

Do you speak well and will that show up in your interview?   Speaking well is only a matter of practice.  Have someone ask you interview questions every night.  If you really want to get better, join a speaking organization like Toastmasters International.

Are you overweight?  Don't despair - there is a job out there for you!

Make sure your other areas are top notch.  Start eating healthier.  You would be surprised at how a 5-10 pound loss will take that puffiness from your face and make you look and feel better.

Professor Tom Laurie

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kicking and Screaming into Old Age

In "Terms of Endearment" Shirley MacLaine mentioned to her daughter something about being middle-aged.  Debra Winger then said, "Mother, you're not middle-aged.  How many 120 year women do you see walking around?"

At age thirty, I thought that was really funny; as I approach sixty, not so much!

Maybe I'm a young 59er?  I am a college professor and I'm surrounded by nineteen and twenty year-olds.  I consider grads of 4 years ago as colleagues; ripe old age of 24 or 25.

So, you can imagine how hard it is for me to get old!

This past weekend my wife and I and some friends went on weekend getaway to a hundred year-old resort in the middle of Maine.  I should have realized something was wrong as I was slugging my suitcase and a couple of other bags up the stairs to my room when I looked up and saw a little old man grabbing the hand rail for life on the other side of the stairs.  He literally had fear in his eyes that I might knock him down!

Later on the first night, my wife and I went to the main house to see what the nightly music was like.  I must admit, I was thinking Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing".  When we entered the room I heard my wife gasp.  Every member of the band was ten to twenty years older than we were.  All the couples on the dance floor were older than the band.

We got out of there as fast as we could!

I wonder what this band was like when the resort opened?

I hate the idea of having to make sure I will have enough income at retirement.  I absolutely hate the idea of having to plan for long-term care giving.  I hate having to discuss the different scenarios of who dies first.

I just hate getting old!

Anyone else out there have the same feelings?

Professor Tom Laurie

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Can't Fix the Roof when it's Raining

The corollary to this, of course is, "Don't need to fix the roof when the sun is shining."  In what areas of our lives do we conveniently forget to work on when things are going well?  Do we choose not to work on our health, our relationships, our professional development, or our finances?

As we get older our bodies change and the things we took for granted all our lives aren't  there anymore.  I was starting to feel sluggish and my cousin who is a pharmacist suggested I have my  testosterone levels checked; sure enough, they were low.  I started taking 50 mg of Zinc each day and did I not only start feeling better, but the dry skin that had been plaguing me for that last few years went away; hot tub, here I come!

This is not the first time I had great side effects from a supplement.  My cholesterol doctor suggested I start taking 2000 IU of vitamin D3 every day.  Immediately, the migraines I have been having at a rate of 8-9 a month were reduced to almost nothing.

I can't wait for my next supplement; maybe if I start taking Calcium my hair will stop turning gray?

How many people got burned because their 401ks were riding high and they forgot to move their investments into safer areas as they neared retirement age.  Again, when your finances are doing well - pay attention!

As the Department Chair of Information Technology, I get to council many students or potential students every week.  Too many times, an out-of-work former IT professional has come into my office asking about one of our certificates.  The story is almost always the same; they worked for the same company for many years without ever increasing their skills into the newer technologies.  I tell my students to be always improving their skills, keep networking in their field, and always be looking for their next job as they never know when they will be out of work - I know, I worked for 3 companies that went belly-up while I was there.

You must work on your personal relationships every day.  I just heard a sad story about a couple who had lived together for 25 years and finally decided to get married; they were divorced within the year.  I don't know why this happened, but I suspect that one person in the relationship or maybe both felt secure and stopped working on the relationship.

I don't want you to go out "fixing your roof" when it's raining, but remember what is needed so you can fix it when the weather is better!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sometimes Older is Wiser

I no longer get upset if I have to wait when I go for a doctor or dentist appointment!

For me, the solution was easy.
Years ago I decided that I would do two things for any of these appointments:
·         I would never schedule anything immediately after the appointment – I usually block off 3-4 hours
·         I always bring a book or some work to do while I wait
I recently went for a podiatry appointment that in my younger years would have made me crazy; a one hour and twenty minute wait.  I was ready, I had my trusty smart phone with my Kindle application and while there were some pretty unhappy people in the office, I spent a relaxing time engrossed in “Pride and Prejudice.” 
Can you believe that I have never read the book?   Seen the movie a million times with my wife and daughter!
While I was waiting I noticed other people acting like I used to act.  Some sat there with disgruntled looks on their faces, some complained to anyone who would listen, and some stormed the front desk.
Nothing worked for them and they just keep getting angrier.  All the while, I was totally enjoying myself.  In fact, I almost missed it when my turn came and they called my name.
Over the past couple of years, I have had cataract surgery in both of my eyes.  When you have the surgery you get the choice of being able to see in the distance or near.  I chose distance for both my eyes, but I often wondered if I should have chosen one of each.
Of course, I have to use readers to read anything up close now.  This really bothers me when I have to make a call on my smart phone.  I just cannot read my contacts list without my glasses and many times it is inconvenient to pull them out.
Many people suggested that I use the voice dialing app.  The only problem with that app is that it always brings up a message box to confirm the person you want to call or to choose between two similar names.
You guessed it; without my glasses, I can’t read the message box.
Finally I decided to bite the bullet.  You see, I am an IT Professor by trade and a programmer by choice.  I spent the next year building my own app that allows me to create large icons on my phone with the pictures of the people I want to call.  Even I can see these pictures and just have to touch them to make a call.  I use this application many times a day and am a lot less frustrated with my phone.
Maybe getting older is wiser!
For those of you that aren’t programmers, you can download the “Baby Boomer Speed Dial” from the Android marketplace for just 99¢.

Professor Tom Laurie

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I just can't Dunk anymore!

Can you remember when you realized you weren't young anymore?

I can remember the incident distinctly.  I was watching the Boston Celtics beat up on a team as only they could do in the years of the Big Three: McHale, Parrish and Bird.  It was Robert Parrish's birthday and they were saying that he was the oldest player in the NBA at the time at 39 years old.

I had just turned 39 myself.  There goes my NBA chances - I was officially older than every player in the league!

Not that I had any chance of playing basketball for a living, but, the dream's of a young boy die hard!

Now that I'm approaching the big 60 I still play basketball a couple of times a week and I realized the other day that I just can't dunk the ball anymore.  Well, maybe the only time I ever really dunked the ball was on my daughter's Fisher Price basketball hoop.  At almost 60, I might have a hard time doing even that now.

 They say that 60 is the new 40.  Well, maybe I should resurrect my dreams of playing in the NBA!