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Work Life

The Morrill Act and What It Means for You

Don’t go scrambling for the newspapers – the Morrill Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 1862, establishing the land-grant colleges. Morrill Act (more…)

More FANAFI: Find a Need and Fill It

Everyone has their favorite event or story from the recent Winter Olympics. Mine is the tale of the Norwegian Curling Team’s very colorful pants. Now, how they came to find the pants is not the topic here. The pants, however, attracted a huge amount of attention worldwide, not only for the Norwegian team (which finally lost in the end to the Canadians), but also for the sport itself. A fan from Rochester started a Facebook page, The Norwegian Curling Team Pants which has 600,000 fans (including 200,000 from Norway itself).
CNBC was running curling coverage after the close of business on Wall Street, so there the traders were, ogling the Norwegians’ red, white and blue diamond pants, while the teams were playing what has been heretofore considered a sport about as exciting as watching corn grow. (more…)

My Christmas Story

There are, as we all know, people in this world who do not get the day off at Christmas (and if any of Aunt Toby’s readers have beliefs that make them wish that they would get accommodation for Kwanzaa, the High Holidays, Passover, or Ramadan, I’m with you there. No one should have to ask for the day off for their most holy of days and have the supervisor give them this look as if they had two heads..). Police and firefighters, the staff at newspapers and other daily media, hospital staff, public safety, ambulance crews, emergency services and so on. (more…)

Basic Entrepreneurial Rules Still Apply: Find a Need and Fill It

“Demetri Leontaris sometimes calls himself the “iPod Doctor” and the license plate on his van that says exactly that. But the first thing you notice is how many people come up to his van and ask him for a business card. Leontaris repairs cell phones, laptops and digital music players, and he says his business got started by chance. He loved the iPod when it came out; he bought a broken one, but he found Apple’s repair prices too steep. So he bought another broken iPod for the parts, took them both apart, and fixed one of them. Before he knew it, he “kept on finding people with broken iPods, who wanted to get them fixed.” In fact he says that most people are amazed. They had no idea they could get their Blackberries, or iPods fixed.”

Mobile Electronics Repair

The DH heard this story on NPR this week and told me about it – he was fascinated by the major aspect of the story: A guy turning a personal need into a business that is growing like crazy – a mobile ‘small personal electronics repair’ business. (more…)

Information: The Tool You Have In Your Hands to Help Others in this Economy

One of the reasons that I started this blog is that last year, I started to see that the economy was going into the tank and was very concerned that for a lot of people, certain basic ‘activities of living’ were going to become harder and harder to accomplish.

And that has not changed.

I don’t care what the economics pundits and MSNBC bozos wave around. “It’s over.” “It’s NOT over.” “Green shoots” “Turned a corner.”

I could not care less what some of these know-nothing self-interested gasbags say, actually, because I know that there are a lot of people in a world of hurt right now and a lot of them have been that way, frankly, for years. (more…)

Taking Personal Responsibility for Breaking the Recession

Aunt Toby was not always the Philosopher Queen on the kitchen counter; once upon a year quite a few years ago, she was the marketing and sales rep for a family-owned employment agency. I covered three counties and was in and out of every commercial office, manufacturing plant, and machine shop. On the one hand, it was an amazing education in what made our metropolitan area economically tick – who supplied whom, who depended on whom, where people were going and so on and so forth. Your dear Auntie had many adventures during that period, including being pushed through a door by an malicious office manager(and almost falling down two flights of stairs), watching two months worth of cold calling go rapidly down the tubes as my boss’s brother monopolized the sales presentation, creeping up a rickety staircase of a dark back room of a warehouse to speak to a director of human resources (that meeting did NOT end well).

The best part of the job, (more…)

Loose Ends and Housekeeping

If you are (ahem) old enough to recall the Ed Sullivan Show, then if I mention the words “Italian acrobats with spinning plates”, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. For the less ‘elderly’ among Aunt Toby’s readers, suffice it to say that this family group had a hilarious act whereby they set up poles with plates spinning at the tops and they ran about the stage, back and forth, making sure the plates were spinning and not falling to smash on the floor. The big finale was their all picking up the poles and catching the plates. Voila!!

Well, sometimes, Aunt Toby feels that way about KCE. I have to make sure to keep some of the ongoing things up in the air and revisiting them from time to time before they..well, they won’t go smash on the floor, but the story may not be fresh or interesting any longer and all of my little buggers might lose interest.

So, this post is a bit of a catch up. (more…)

Time: It’s All We’ve Got

I was reading a blog the other day (Aunt Toby reads far, far too many blogs) and the writer was discussing the fact that her hours at work had been cut back to 4 days a week. She did not discuss what that was going to mean to her family in terms of the change in income, but what else she might do with the time.

And it reminded me that there are certain truths to life and one of them is the old saw about ‘Time is the currency of our lives’. All we have is time. All we sell, no matter what our skills are, is time. We only have 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. And we only have a certain amount of that during which we not only want to work, but can physically work. So, therefore, time IS money. (more…)

Everything I know about fashion I learned in the barn

Gone with the windScarlet O’Hara might have said, “I’ll think about that tomorrow,” but Aunt Toby’s readers may also recall the ‘make me a dress out of the green curtains’ scene where she also said, “I’m going to Atlanta for that three hundred dollars, and I’ve got to go looking like a queen.”

Such is the power of appearance; li’l Miz Scarlet understood that if she wanted to ask for what amounted to a huge chunk of change, she’d better look as if she did not need it. And logic means nothing under these circumstances, either – we’re talking right after the end of the ‘War between the states’ – and another one of her famous lines was ‘I’ll never be hungry again.” It’s not as if she felt she had a choice.

Hard times make for hard choices, and at times, that means making the decision to ‘keep up appearances’ can be really really important. (more…)

It takes a village – to get a job

I realize this sounds like a version of “Take out your handkerchiefs”, but again, Aunt Toby is going to tell you to make a list. This is going to seem a little bit…weird, but bear with me here. You’ll need paper and at least two colors of pens or markers or highlighters™.

Write down, in no particular order, your friends. They don’t have to be close friends, just all the people who you interact with on a regular basis: clubs, organizations, church, work, your kids’ school, etc. Get ‘em all down.

Then take out a different a marker or highlighter™ or a different color pen and somehow designate the people on that list that you currently work with or who perhaps you used to work with but who still work in the same company or organization that you do. Then take out a different marker and put a check mark next to all the people on that list who you do ‘other stuff’ with (go for coffee, movies, drinks, clubs, etc. ).

How many people on your list are people you work with AND also socialize or do ‘other stuff’ with? If more than half of them are, then you’ve got work to do….hard work…adult work…work you probably have not had to do in decades.

You’ve got to make some friends. (more…)

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