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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

Education Copyright Law The Nuts and Bolts of Education Copyright Law It is a wonderful thing that Education Copyright Law is available for educators. It isn?t only teachers that can take advantage of education copyright law. Students are also covered under education copyright law -- to a degree. Teachers are able to use copyrighted materials in their classroom and make copies of them. Students are also able to use copyrighted materials in school projects. The key to education copyright law is how often a teacher or student uses copyrighted material, in what way they are using it and how many copies they have of it. It is important that teachers and students do not cross the line of education copyright law or they could be in for some stiff penalties. It helps many students and teachers to learn what exactly is not copyrighted. Any work that is in the public domain is not copyrighted and can be used in school and for school projects. Work that is not in the public domain is copyrighted and if you use it you should make sure you fall within the fair use or education copyright law regulations. Many people do not know what exactly fair use copyright regulations are. When you are trying to see if you can use another?s words, you should keep a few things in mind. The answer to the following questions will help you gage whether you would be violating a copyright. First, are you transforming someone else?s work or are you copying it directly? If you are using another person?s work directly, for what purpose and how much of the original author?s work are you using? Many publishing companies have set rules on how much material they will allow to be quoted in other sources. Some of these ranges start at 100 words or less. However, there are truly no standards to go by, so be careful. You can not assume that keeping your copying fewer than 50 words will allow you to pass under the radar ? especially if the original piece is hovering around 125 words itself! There is a greater amount of room to maneuver when it comes to technical writing. For instance, if you are writing a report on something that involves a lot of reporting from an expert, you would probably need to quote more of their work than you would a fiction novelist?s work. The fair use copyright law enables people to use portions of material that is copyrighted for the purposes of criticism or as commentary. Individuals who are involved in the distance education field should take a look at the TEACH Act that was made into law in 2002. This Act clearly outlines the requirements that a university or school must be in compliance with when it comes to transmitting copyrighted works via the Internet. The TEACH Act allows students and teachers to transmit copyrighted works, but they must be within certain guidelines. If the school or university cannot meet these guidelines, the material that is being transmitted via the Internet needs to fall within the fair use copyright act ? or the individuals involved need to have permission from the copyright owner. If you are an educator and you are using copyrighted material make sure it falls within the education copyright law.

Sync your Technology with Free Organizers Found on the Net Are you looking to simplify your online presence? Do you want an easy way to keep social and business contacts organized accordingly? Do you wish you had an easy way to keep track of your different online passwords, your favorite websites and manage your life away for the computer? There are now many options for those seeking to sync their technology with their Internet life. Here are some fast and easy resources that allow you to sync your technology with your online presence. Many of these organizers make it possible for you to keep track of your web activity with your life away from the computer. Here is a quick run-down of just some of the free organizers and resources that are available on the net that can help make your life easier. Using Planner.Excite.com to Organize Your Technology There are so many organization tools these days?personal digital assistants, outlook email, smart phones, mp3 players and several others coming out every season. Many of us use several different disparate electronic planners to organize work, school, business and home. Work email, calendars and planners often overlap with personal business, school and home calendars. Wouldn't it be nice to have all of your meetings, dates, appointments and contact numbers organized in a single area? This is where Planner.Excite.com comes in. This service allows you to sync all the information on your palm pilot, pda, outlook and smart phone so that you don't have to enter the same information more than once. Moreover, it allows you to sync different schedules?work, home, business, family and school?into one master schedule that is easy to follow. Other organizational tools include email and pager reminders so that you never miss another event, date or appointment again. Organize Your Online Discussions with Delphi Do you like to hold web-based discussions or send messages for business or social purposes? If so, delphi.com is an advanced web-based messaging service that allows you easy access to threaded discussions. You can choose to keep your threaded discussions public, or protect them with a password. It's up to you. This is a great and secure way to organize your online conversations and discussions. For Easy Event Planning, Choose Evite.com Are you looking for an easy way to use the World Wide Web to organize your events? If so, turn to Evite.com, the place for electronic events and event planning. Evite.com is an easy and free service that allows you to organize all kinds of events, from baby and wedding showers to surprise birthday parties. This is an easy way to keep in touch with all your online friends and family. It is simple to use?simply create your own attractive electronic invitation and email it to everyone on your invite list. The site allows you to create and personalize your own electronic invitations using their templates. Palm.net Allows You to Sync Your Whole Life Ever wish your personal digital assistant allowed you to sync up your whole life? Palm.net allows you to do just this. This online organizer works with your handheld organizer in order to help you organize and schedule your whole life, including what's playing on television, your local movie theater, local sporting events and other activities. Organize Your Files with Visto.com What is Visto.com? This website is a calendar and task manager that allows you to organize all of your disparate files. This is a great way to organize files, especially if you work from different computers or simply need a new and easy way to store files. Choose from online file storage and organize and sync your work and home Visto files.

Job Hunt Challenges for the Over 50 Crowd If you have just recently lost a job or maybe are not happy with the job you are currently holding, you are going to be on the hunt for a new job. Hunting for new job is never easy, whether it is your first or your tenth job. You know that it takes a good amount of preparation till you might hold another permanent job. But for the older crowd, especially the crowd over fifty, the challenge of finding a new job is even greater. Explore some of the facts why it is more challenging to find a job after 50. Starting out by the age factor, many companies want young and dynamic employees that are open to new and challenging tasks. Many employers believe that a person over 50 is set in his or her ways and therefore not able to tackle the same great tasks that might open up as a young, fresh out of college open minded person. A person over 50 is closer to retirement and might not want to take any risks as a young career fresh from school employee. Risks are sometimes what a company needs to get forward, new ideas, new thinking. Another reason is the salary competition. If you are over 50 and looking for another job, you most likely have a lot of experience in you sector. Experience usually is measured in money and the salary for an experienced person is generally higher than a starter salary. While experience is desired, some companies can just not afford to hire somebody for 10-20 thousand dollars more than they can get the fresh from college employee. If you lost your job, you might accept one of the lower salaries, but while you are in the application process, the human resource person reading your résumé does not have that information about you. Some of the bigger companies get scared by the fact that you are really close to retirement and if there are certain retirement plans and structure in place at a company, they might not want to hire you. You could retire within 10-15 years or less and then the company is stuck with paying you retirement payments. Hiring a younger person instead guarantees them no retirement payments or plans for retirement in general for the next 20-30 years. From the employer?s side, these are great savings for their pocket. Another reason often seen from employers as a reason not to hire a person over 50 is that the person they are hiring might be more prone to sickness and take more sick days than a young person. Why would they think that? Statistics have shown them that the tendency for time off due to sickness is greater for people crossing the age threshold of 50 years versus younger people. Be honest, being over 50 means for most people more aches and pains all over the body. You are more tired and get exhausted quicker. So if you do get a chance to go to an interview when looking for a new job, you need to make the best out of it. Besides all the factors mentioned above, a person that is over 50 and is looking for a job can be a great addition to any company and you need to make sure that you let your interviewer know that. An interview is a great challenge and can be mastered quite well if keeping these thoughts that employers have in mind. Emphasize the fact that you do bring experience and connections. Let them know that if they hire you, they get a person that at least is settled in life. You have had all your children, or did not want any, but at least you will not be missing because of pregnancy, birth of a child, and sickness of a young child or similar events.