Why Write?

A Must Read

I finished Stephen King‘s book on Writing a few days ago. I thought it was going to be on our final exam and isn’t, but it is still filled with a lot of great information, well worth finishing. I expect the majority of those reading this post now and in the future won’t be writing for a living and may think that this book won’t help them much with the rest of their college education. In fact, Stephen himself states that a writer doesn’t  need to study any book on writing to learn to write better. He says we (I’m a beginning writer) need to do as much reading and writing as we can, and that will improve our writing in the long run.

If you haven’t seen the exam questions yet, you will find out that our Professor for this course believes that writing plays a large part of any job in any field we plan on working. (I’m not discounting this idea, just letting you know it didn’t originate with me).With this in mind it would behoove each and every one of us to do whatever we can to improve our writing. This might entail finishing the textbook for this class, or keeping a dictionary on your desk not only for definitions but also for finding the correct spelling, or continuing your blog as has been suggested.

If you want to be a writer like I do, it would be pretty obvious that you’d want your writing to improve.  On the other hand, even though I hadn’t thought about it before this week,you don’t want to find a great job and find out too late that they expect you to do more writing than you anticipated. Most of us want to be taken seriously, if we can’t spell or utilize English correctly, then will our superior listen to us?

For those of you that would like to read a lot more so that your writing will improve, I’m a part of a writing web site that has loads of things to read. From novels in the making to long stories and short stories, poetry and about anything you would be interested in. You can even post things you’ve written, you can get assignments critiqued if needed to improve your own writing. You can have a free life-time membership, or if you later decide you want something more from the site, you can upgrade your account in a variety of ways.  If you want to check it out, look here: http://www.writing.com\authors\sha4852. (It looks like this doesn’t utilize a direct link, I’ll have to find out how to do that-so you’ll need to copy and paste it). That will take you to my page where you can sign up if you’d like. I’ve been a part of this site for four years and it has helped me immensely in my writing.

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For any that would like an e-book on Grammar, this link has one free, which can be downloaded to your computer, or possibly Kindle app if you have one. I don’t know about the latter, as I don’t have one. 🙂 She also has daily writing tips which could be set up on your Google reader for ease of use. For this location you only have to click on the highlighted area in this paragraph and it takes you directly to the web site.

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From Sam Burton’s blog

via Economy Up. Economy Down. The Debt Free Never Worry..

Improving One’s Lot

How does a person go about improving their lot in life? For some it might be attending college to get a degree or certificate in a course of study. The majority of people probably think it is related to finding the perfect job with the best pay possible (if there is such a thing). In this post I’m going to continue along the lines of my original opinion that jobs are available if people are willing to take what’s there and work their way up to something better.

I still firmly believe that if a person wants to work, there are jobs available for them. They may need to take the job that is available while looking for their ‘perfect job’. Michigan is supposed to be one of the worst states for unemployment, yet as I travel around cleaning windows for people, it’s common to see signs in windows that businesses are hiring.

One of our window customers told me a few years ago that her grandson graduated with a marketing degree, but it had already been six months and he hadn’t found anything he could do with his degree. He made a decision that if he didn’t find something within a certain amount of time that he would go back to a McDonald’s he had worked at before and possibly get his manager position back. He would then continue to look for something related to his degree, but he’d at least be earning a living while doing so.

I mentioned in my opinion paper that other than a couple of times, I never went more than a couple of weeks without work. This included travels to several different states in the course of an eight year period. In the late seventies I went to New Hampshire with my church to do a type of missionary program for one year. While there we were expected to work a morning shift and work about 20-30 hours per week. My shift began at seven am on the days that I worked, and I never worked past one in the afternoon.

I went from Ohio with several other individuals to share housing and expenses for the year. Our first priority when we arrived was to find housing. Once that was taken care of we all began the hunt for a job. Only one person had problems working consistently all year and to my remembrance that was because they were never happy with the work they were doing.

Then one of the girls I met in New Hampshire asked if I wanted to move to her home state which was North Carolina. Once I settled in with a group of girls I got a job at a 7-11. I worked there for two years, one and one half years as an employee and the other half as a manager.

During that last year there I knew that I wanted to attend my church’s leadership training program, which is a four year program, two years in a work/study program and the other two years on staff at one of the locations or on the field. I chose to stay ‘on the field’ by doing another missionary type program. I went to Connecticut with three other women who I had never met before to work part time and start a church in the home while there.

It took a little longer to find a house this time, so because of that it took longer to be able to begin job hunting, which was taken care of within a short amount of time after we found a place to live.

One thing that really helped during these years was living without debt. When you don’t have stress from debt weighing you down, any job will do for the short term.

I know someone that lives in the Detroit area. Within the past year or so his company downsized and without warning his job was no longer available. He was some kind of mechanical designer without a college degree, although he did attend some type of a trade school under his dad’s tutelage. (His dad was in a similar line of work). When this person first lost his job of about twenty-five years, he was in a bit of a funk, as anyone would be. Within several days or so, he came to himself knowing that wouldn’t help him find another job. He got his name and qualifications out in the proper places and continued to pray about it, expecting God to work it out.

Within one month, he had a  new job, better than the one he’d had before. He didn’t let fear get to him and continued to expect the best.

Something that employees and American citizenry in general should strive to do rather than searching for the ‘elusive’ higher wages trying to match their cost of living would be to get their spending habits under control. One place to start would be to eliminate all credit card debt. Once debt is eliminated another thing to work towards is living within a budget which would be the same as living within one’s means.

There would be several benefits to living this way. The major one would be that much of the stress most of us have become accustomed to would be eliminated. Another benefit would be that it would be easier to work on a savings plan and set money aside towards retirement. Finally, if any catastrophe hits, it would be easier to work through without dealing with debt.

If all age groups would strive towards living debt free and have several months worth of pay set aside in a savings account ( I think the suggested amount is six months worth), then if something major did happen like a job loss or medical situation, then the money would already be set aside to pay for those things and having the time to work out the necessary details without getting stressed out.

So, the best way to improve your lot in life is remain debt free or if you’ve already started to build up debt, then work towards paying it off. There are ways to build credit without getting into debt.

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The Unemployment Rate

In October of this year I decided to write an Opinion paper, for an assignment,  about my view on the unemployment rate. I have believed for over ten years that the government and the media has propounded their idea that the unemployment rate is higher than I believe that it really is.

The next assignment I had was to write an annotated bibliography looking for material to support my opinion. What I found was a wide range of articles from government statistics to the reports of economists, to blogs on the topic. The majority of the research I found showed how the unemployment rate is decided and what statistics are taken into account.

The government survey is performed monthly and looks at tens of thousands of households to find out their job situation, whether any are unemployed and for how long. A similar survey is done with even more companies and “government agencies who employ American citizens”. This appears to be a great picture of how well the economy is doing as it’s related to jobs, employment and whether any that are unemployed are discouraged enough to quit looking.(ycharts)

One of the sources showed that once in the past when the unemployment rate fell to zero percent it caused inflation to skyrocket, therefore economists and others prefer that the rate doesn’t drop below 4-5% (Summers). Another source showed the opposite, that inflation is one of the many factors that causes unemployment to climb. This is because as inflation increases, employers have to decide how high they are willing to raise wages. Do they want to cut employees so they can afford to raise the wages of the rest, or do they want to leave the wages as they are and hope their employees will stay. (Duerr).

Many employees leave their employment voluntarily because they are looking for higher wages. It would be better for them to continue working where they are while looking for something better. This is something many don’t learn until it’s too late. Some may even decide they need to take some college courses to be able to get the wages they prefer or need to sustain their families. Whether a person is looking for higher wages, a job they might enjoy more, or planning on some college courses, it’s always better if possible to continue to work where they are rather than having the possibility of gaping holes in their employment history.

The President is trying to pass a law that will ban employers from not choosing a prospective employee based on their work history, or lack thereof. It is the concern of the authors of The Economist that if that law is passed then certain employers may chose to limit their hiring for fear of reprisals.

One of the sources discussed how individuals furthering their education will probably affect future unemployment rates. As employees have better skills by way of college degrees it could force prospective employers to have to raise their wages to hire the more qualified people.(DePrince and Morris)

The Wall Street Journal has shown that it is believed that the American economy will take another twelve years, if that, before the unemployment rate is back towards 5%. (qtd. in Finfact of Ireland)

A phrase that has been coined in the past several years by the younger generation is ‘funemployment’. This is when those that have been laid off choose to continue as a non-worker for an undetermined amount of time as their funds last. Some of them head to the beaches while other might do things they haven’t been able to do for a while for lack of time. (Yekits)

Personally, I don’t believe wages will ever catch up to the cost of living. The cost of living will continue to go up and one of the factors that affects it more than anything else is the price of gas. Unfortunately in the rare times when gas prices do drop, the majority of companies do not follow suit by dropping their prices on their products, although some might offer more sales than would otherwise be possible.

In summary once I learned what factors are taken into consideration in determining the unemployment rate, I have to say my opinion is incorrect. In fact certain business people that I have talked to in the area believe the statistics provided by the government and media are even lower than stipulated. Only those who are actively looking for employment or those who have been unemployed for only a short time are considered in the reports.

Therefore I will have to adjust my opinion. I know there are plenty of jobs available, although I also know that many of those eligible to work may not want those jobs. I’m talking about restaurants, fast food eateries, gas stations, and retail stores. Even those offering benefits are shunned by some.

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Works Cited

DePrince, Albert E., Morris, Pamela D. The Effects of Education on the Natural Rate of Unemployment. Springer Boston, Pub. Business Economics. Web. 2008

Duerr, Michael G.  Unemployment, Causes and Cures.  New York: The Conference Board, Inc.  May 1978. Print.

The Economist”. The long term unemployed. The Ravages of Time. An intractable problem is getting worse. Web. October 1, 2011.

Finfacts Team. “It Could Take Until 2024 for U.S. Unemployment Rate to Fall to 5%.” News: US Economy. 25 July 2011.

Summers, Lawrence H.  The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. “Unemployment.” Web. 2008.

YCharts. “Unemployment Situation Report Definition” and “Unemployment Rate.” A Stocks and Bonds Website. 4 December 2011

Yekits, Funemploymentblog. Blogger. Web. 27 July 2009.

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I owe my training on html formatting for utilizing hanging indents for these citations to this site:http://www.tnellen.com/school/basic.html#indent