About pbilodeau01

Born in Berlin, N.H.; bachelor of arts, major in journalism, Northeastern University; master's degree in urban studies, Southern Connecticut State University; was an editor and reporter at New Haven Register, an editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a reporter at The Meriden Record-Journal. Now a freelance writer and editor.


#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #routines #RoutinesThatPayOff
Much has been made about the loss of routine during the pandemic.
Many articles feature tips on how to get one’s routine back, once COVID-19 disappears.
Sure, we want our kids back in school. We want to be able to go to weddings and other gatherings. We may want to go to parties and other friendly assemblies.
But did we have a job we really want to go back to? Certainly, we want income back that may have been missing during the coronavirus spread, but is that job the best way for us to get it?
Routine is a word that has two edges. The first edge gives us a sense of normalcy. We get used to doing things in a certain way, in a certain order to give us a sense of contentment.
The second edge gives us a sense of doing the same thing over and over – year after year, day after day. No changes. We feel obligated to do things that way, perhaps because we were taught to do it a certain way.
That first edge – normalcy – may be something we all want.
The second edge –obligation – may be something we don’t want.
If we have to accept the second edge to gain the first, is that really OK?
What if your routine never fulfills your dreams? Sure, contentment may mean pleasant survival, but, as the Peggy Lee song says, “Is That All There Is?”
Maybe you’re a person who wants something more from life. Maybe, pleasant survival will not get you what you want. Maybe, there is something out there that will help you get everything you want.
Indeed, there are many programs out there that allow anyone, regardless of education, experience or background, to have the chance to get what he or she wants.
Such a person needs to be open-minded, willing to look at something he or she may never have thought they would do. And, if he or she sees those dreams stand in front of them and takes the plunge he or she then has to be coachable. Yes, there may be a routine they have to follow. But, the payoff will be so worth it.
If you are such a person, and are willing to check out one of the best such programs, message me.
Military, law enforcement and other professions not only thrive on, but require routine. These routines have been proved to get the desired results. You may have had – or still have – a job that requires routine. Such routines may be dreaded. Others may be comfortable, even fun. Others may be completely necessary.
The question you have to ask is whether the routine you are in, or seem to want to go back to, gives you the payoff you really want? Some will. Some won’t.
If your previous routine isn’t giving you the payoff you want, why would you want to go back to itr?
Certainly, employers shake up routines for no good reason. Job descriptions often change from what you were allegedly hired to do. They may have a reason for these shakeups, but you don’t see it. And, just as you get used to the new routine, it gets shaken up again.
It may be time to find a routine that not only works for you, but also gets you closer to your dreams. You may have been discouraged from dreaming as a child, because those dreams were deemed unattainable for you. Those same discouragers may have, at the same time, encouraged you to find the security of routine.
Since then, you may have learned that those routines disappear before you want them to, regardless of a pandemic.
In short, dream. And, know that those dreams can come true if you find the routine that pays off for you.


#luck #leaders #leadership #success
You need luck to be a leader.
Though many people might quarrel with that statement, David Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group private equity firm, told that to Fareed Zakaria on Zakaria’s GPS program on CNN Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020.
Rubenstein has interviewed many leaders of all styles in his research.
But let’s break this down a little more. Many would dispute that people who are leaders, who do well in life, are lucky. They also would dispute the opposite – that those that do not do as well are unlucky?
Rubenstein also believes leadership is a skill that can be learned.
If that’s the case, those willing to learn to be leaders just need to work at it. Luck really would have nothing to do with it.
You’ve heard others say that they would rather be lucky than good. If you are an amateur golfer, for instance, and you sink a long putt, you might consider yourself lucky.
But good luck is more than just carrying four-leaf clovers, a rabbit’s foot or some other charm.
Good luck is acquired, in general, by those willing to put themselves in position to get it.
How does one do that? It requires an open mind. It requires a person to look at things that may seem out of their comfort zone, and take a shot at them. You take enough shots at good things, and you will probably get lucky more often than not. Also, you can take multiple shots at ONE good thing and probably get lucky enough to keep you in the game.
Regular gamblers get lucky often enough to keep them coming back to the table. They also have the mind-set that losing – even losing often – goes with the territory. You might look at that as a failing forward strategy, though gambling might not be the best vehicle to do that.
That brings us to the topic of risk vs. luck. It would be difficult to find a real leader, or successful person, who didn’t take risks. One never gets to the top of the mountain by playing it completely safe, just as one doesn’t get rich with simply a savings account in a bank. He or she may start off with a savings account, but, eventually, for wealth to grow at a reasonable pace, he or she has to invest in things that may carry more risk.
It’s the person who takes calculated risks as opportunities arise that becomes successful. It’s the successful person who helps others succeed that becomes a leader.
Rubenstein points out that leaders come in various styles. In general, though, real leaders will, as the saying goes, know the way, go the way and show the way.
Do you consider yourself a leader? Are you willing to learn to be a leader? If so, do you have a vehicle that can propel you to the leadership you want to provide?
If what you are doing now doesn’t suit that scenario, there are many programs out there that can allow you to become a leader, regardless of your education, experience or background. As stated earlier, you may have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone to check out these programs.
If you are, and want to check out one of the best such programs, message me.
In short, luck doesn’t just always just happen. More often, people put themselves in position to become lucky. To win, you have to be willing to play.
Successful people don’t just settle for contentment. Instead, they go for what they really want.
It’s also been said that good things come to those who wait. But, more than likely, if you are waiting and doing nothing to change things, good things will not come as quickly.
But if you are consistently doing things that put you in a position for good things to come to you, they likely will come more rapidly, and more often.


#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #FoodWaste #food
In the early day of the conornavirus pandemic, many of us were outraged at farmers throwing away crops, milk and other food just as many lost jobs and would eventually need help feeding their families.
But, as restaurants closed and distribution was disrupted, farmers could neither sell nor store their crops.
In normal times, however, most food waste is generated from households. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that consumers might throw away 30 to 40 percent of the food they buy. So says an article by Rachael Jackson for the Washington Post. It was also published Sept. 2, 2020, in The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
But, as the article says, the pandemic is causing us to change our cooking habits.
“Perhaps, hesitant to risk virus exposure at the store, you have improvised more meals from whatever the fridge offered,” Jackson writes. “Or, (you) started doing inventories of your pantry and shopping with targeted lists. And, amid tightening finances, you may have eaten something past its ‘best by date, or frozen vegetables before they turned to mush,” she continues.
If enough of those habits stay with you, we may cut into the amount of food we waste, the article says.
So, the pandemic has us doing things differently. In addition to wasting less food, we are saving more money. Those two behaviors blend together well.
Therefore, we would like those behaviors to continue, wouldn’t we?
Staying at home has given us time to think. Among the thoughts undoubtedly is how best to improve our lives even when the pandemic goes away – which probably won’t be anytime soon.
Staying home gives us time to take stock of what was good about our lives, and what was not so good. Even if we are able to go back to the old way, do we really want to?
Was the job that perhaps the pandemic took away worth getting back? If so, will it come back? If not, what to do next?
Fortunately, there are many programs out there that enable a person to earn an income without the benefit, or headaches, of a W-2 job. And, technology allows many of these programs to be done from home, should another pandemic – or other disaster – return.
Anyone, regardless of education, background or experience can do these things. You just have to be coachable, and, more importantly, open to checking them out in the first place.
If you are, and want to learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Meanwhile, as you continue to contemplate your life, don’t just look at the bad things the pandemic has wrought. Look at the good things you have done to live with, and through, it.
A successful vaccine may be the only solution to this crisis. Hopefully, one will be found as soon as it is scientifically possible. Let’s hope we don’t offer a vaccine before it is thoroughly tested.
The lessons from Jackson’s article are many. Buy only what you will eat within the time it is edible. Congruently, eat what you buy within that time.
If you have to throw food away, think before you throw. Think of your friends who may have lost their jobs and are struggling to eat. Think of how else you might use that food.
It may mean more trips to the store. If the pandemic is still on, don’t forget to mask up.
Often, things happen for a reason, though we may not know the reason immediately. The pandemic has taught us some better habits. Let us continue them.


#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #LaborDay #EssentialWorkers
“The metro (Atlanta) area alone has about 300,000 workers in retail and sales jobs, 250,000 people doing food-related work, 16,000 police officers and 8,000 emergency medical technicians and dispatchers,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And, we take them for granted.
That was the main point in the Labor Day article by Michael E. Kanell, business and economics reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It was published Sept. 7, 2020.
“They have no choice. If your employer says, ‘Go back to work,’ you have to do it,” the article quotes Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, who has studied the labor market.
During the beginning of the pandemic, some of these workers were getting hazard pay. Much of that has ended, the article says.
Basically, these necessary workers who have to be out there regardless of the susceptibility to disease are overworked, underpaid and undervalued, the article points out. We might put school bus drivers in that category as well. They have lots of responsibility, but generally get paid very little.
Yes, as Kanell writes, Labor Day is a celebration of blue-collar labor. But as necessary as these folks are, many of the higher-paid white-collar workers got to work from home, protected from the pandemic.
And, these lower-paid, necessary workers also enjoy fewer benefits and protections in many places, Kanell writes.
“Each and every day going into work, you feel at risk,” Kanell quotes longtime supermarket worker Mary, who didn’t want to give her full name out of fear of retribution. “They make the schedule. And if you are on the schedule, you work,” the article quotes her.
Many of us can relate to hard work. Many of us can relate to having to go to work regardless of weather, job hazards etc. The pandemic adds a colossal risk to the workplace.
You could not only catch it yourself, but also spread it to anyone who lives with you or near you. Though you may not get noticeably sick, someone close to you, particularly if they have other underlying health problems, could catch the virus from you and get terribly ill – or die.
The pandemic gives new meaning to at-risk employee.
Still, many of those employees love their jobs. They want to help people, regardless of the conditions.
And, some employers, who may want to pay them more, simply cannot afford to. The traditional job market can be very unfair. Still, many of us have to work – period.
But what if there were something out there you could do that wouldn’t have to put you at risk, and paid you potentially a lot more than a risky job would? What if you didn’t need any significant education, experience or background to do it? What if you could do it around your current job, until it came time that you didn’t need your current job?
There are many such programs out there. To learn about one of the best, message me.
We are thankful that our essential workers are doing what they are doing for us, regardless of what may – or may not — be in it for them. All we can do is thank them, be nice to them – regardless of the encounter – and respect them.
They help us get the necessities of life, and some of them do not have the pandemic protections they should have. Many, like meat packers, HAVE to work shoulder-to-shoulder, and are at great risk of spreading disease.
Our lives depend on their labor. Happy Labor Day.


#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #spending #money
Americans are holding on to their money, even as the country gradually reopens, despite the pandemic.
A survey of 2,200 adults shows how COVID-19 has dramatically changed behavior among Americans, potentially for a long time.
So writes Tiffany Kary, in an article for Bloomberg News. It was also published July 5, 2020, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Americans have become more frugal, after many unexpectedly lost jobs as businesses shut down, the article says. That can be a good thing for individuals, many of whose saving habits have been less than stellar.
In fact, in a later article, the Atlanta newspaper reported that some people’s financial health has actually improved during the pandemic. That likely doesn’t apply to those who’ve been out of work for a time, but for those who have been working from home, they are not going to theaters, they are not going on vacation etc., in large numbers. Yes, entertaining yourself at home can have its rewards.
But if you are a small business owner whose profit comes with gathering, socializing in large groups, you are probably hurting. Even if you are allowed to open, there are only so many people you can have. Over time, that may not be profitable.
So, here are some raw numbers from Morning Consult in Kary’s article:
• 29 percent of Gen Z consumers, ages 18 to 24, are looking forward to returning to restaurants, with about one in four getting excited about concerts and movies. The younger folks are the most eager to get out and spend.
• In the past three months, 23 percent purchased more generic items.
• In the same period, 28 percent increased bulk purchases.
• 41 percent chose to save money more often by forgoing a purchase.
So, let’s break it down. People were stuck at home. That means they didn’t spend as much
as they normally would. If they were still earning money while at home, that put more in their pockets and allowed them to save more. That could hasten their purchase of a much-needed big-ticket item, or could jump-start their retirement savings.
If they lost their jobs, not spending became a necessity. If they are getting their jobs back, or getting new work as restrictions ease, they have some catching up to do. If their employer closed for good, these employees, after getting over the initial shock that their jobs are gone, now have a chance to try something new, should they be open enough to looking for it. .
Fortunately, there are many programs out there that allow people to do that. And, should they have to work from home, they can. But, they require a willingness to consider something they may never have thought they would do.
As a bonus, a person can take advantage of these programs AND still hold a traditional job, should he or she choose.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
So, have your new routines created newer habits for you? Has the confinement encouraged you to re-examine your life and change a few things?
For many it has. The “new” normal could be different for many. That may not be a bad thing.


It is with great pride that I announce the publication – due out in September 2020 – of the book “Coach of a Different Color,” by Ray Greene.
I was Ray’s writing partner for the book.
Ray was one of the first black men to coach in big-time college football back in the 1960s and 70s.
If you are not a sports fan, you will admire Ray’s story of tenacity, courage and challenge of the status quo. He fought discrimination in general, as well as in the coaching fraternity.
If you are a sports fan, you’ll recognize the names of many of the coaches he’s worked with, and the players he has coached. Legendary head coaches Johnny Majors, who died recently, and Jimmy Johnson have endorsed the book and contributed to the book’s forward. Ray worked with both of them at Iowa State University.
It was published by Ray’s hometown University of Akron, where Ray played and coached.
Advanced orders for the book can be placed by going to this link.


#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #OnlineLearning #creativity
Many students will start the new school year studying online at home.
They ended the last school year that way, as most schools were locked down because of the coronavirus.
Now, many school districts are giving parents and students the option of virtual learning or coming into the classroom live, with some restrictions.
Reporter Vanessa McCray discussed this in an August 17, 2020, article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Now that they’ve had time to work it out, many teachers are setting up their own personal avatars to enhance the experience of learning online, the article says.
Tiffany Lester, who teaches science at DeKalb PATH Academy outside Atlanta set up her own personal online classroom, complete with desks, bookshelves and personalized avatars, McCray writes. There’s a cartoon version of Lester, complete with purple hair. Gary Fishlegs, her therapy dog, gets his own room, the article says.
Jennifer Hall, an educational technology specialist for Atlanta Public Schools, has helped teachers create these virtual fantasylands, the article says.
“It’s fun and creative in a space where teacher feel like they don’t have a lot of control. At least I can control what’s happening in my virtual classroom,” McCray quotes Hall.
So what’s the point of the story? Even during times when things are far from normal, people can get creative to make the most of them.
Some folks quarantine at home, waiting out the virus. Others don’t stop moving. They find ways to function within the guidelines to stay safe. Others pretend the virus doesn’t exist and conduct normal activities without restrictions – and hope for the best.
So how have you behaved during the pandemic? Are you waiting for things to get back to normal? Remember, in this case, good things don’t necessarily come to those who wait – and do nothing. More often, good things come to those who find workarounds, and create new normals.
Those who wait and do nothing will end up with new normals being created for them, and they may not like them.
Another question to consider: if you didn’t really like your “old” normal, why are you doing nothing while waiting for it to come back – if it comes back? Remember, some jobs that the pandemic took away won’t come back – ever. So, you may be forced to find a new normal.
So, what if your new normal could be so much better than your old normal? There are many vehicles out there that allow people to earn money – potentially more money than they earned before. These programs can be done from home, if the pandemic lingers. Anyone, regardless of education, experience or background, can do them. You just have to be open to looking at them to see whether they might be for you. Yes, you may not have ever thought you would do anything like them, so out-of-the-box thinking is required.
To learn about one of the best such vehicles, message me.
What was normal will change. How it will change no one knows. However, you can actively participate in the change by creating your own new normal.
Or, if your old normal never returns, you can create a new and even better normal. It’s entirely up to you.


#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #businesses #ClosingBusinesses
Nearly 66,000 businesses have folded since March 1, 2020.
So says a headline over a story about small businesses forcing to close because of the coronavirus.
Emily Flitter wrote the story for The New York Times, and it was also published July 19, 2020, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
It tells the story of Mick Larkin, who owns a karaoke bar in Wichita Falls, Texas, who, despite doing “everything we were supposed to do,” had to close when Texas shut down all its bars, the article says.
Yelp has been keeping track of the businesses’ fate, the article says.
Small businesses account for 44 percent of all U.S. economic activity, the article quotes the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Restaurants, bars and other entertainment, dining and social venues are particularly hard hit. Even in places where they are allowed to open, they can’t have full houses. They must be at a certain percentage of capacity, depending on the state and city they are in. Many cannot survive only partially full – despite any government assistance they may get.
If these venues do not survive, it will mean countless numbers of people out of work – never mind the pleasure of which they may be depriving their former customers.
With those folks out of work, how will they eat? How will they pay rent? How will they maintain their cars so they can look for other work?
Small business in general survives on a shoestring. Even if they have a thriving business, it takes very little to turn things completely bleak. With this pandemic lingering, at least in the United States, those small businesses that are still surviving will have lots of thinking to do. More of them, sadly, will fold.
Even when things get “back to normal,” no one knows what “normal” will look like. If someone wanted to step in to revive a closed business, would that person dare take a chance?
Will a business have to learn to live at 25 percent of 50 percent capacity? Will they have to buy or lease extra space to spread out their clientele? How much would that cost, and how much would they have to raise their prices?
As a diner, or patron, of a business, one may like the idea of being separated from other patrons. Still, there are some venues whose attraction is the ability to meet patrons they may not yet know.
There is good news in all of this. If you work at, or own, a place that is vulnerable in this environment, or has already closed, there are other ways you can make money – potentially more than you would have made in your job or business. They require an open mind, the willingness to be coached and the desire to get more from life than you ever thought you could.
To check out one of the best such programs, message me.
In short, you may have liked the job you had, or the business you owned. Or, it may have owned you, or not paid you enough to get what you wanted from life.
If you have to start your life anew, perhaps doing something completely different may be in order.
It may be best to presume the new “normal” may not suit you as well as the “old” normal. The good news is: you can do something about it if you are open to give it a shot.


#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #BounceBack #BounceForward
We don’t just help you bounce back. We help you bounce forward.
That paraphrases a tagline in the recent Comcast Business TV ads.
The pandemic has devastated many people to the point that JUST bouncing back to where they were would seem like a dream come true.
JUST bouncing back could take years for some businesses and people.
Others, however, may see things differently.
They want to turn a catastrophe into a triumph.
They want to go from lockdown to looking up.
The pandemic, social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing are just necessary, temporary steps to something much greater on the other end.
The quarantine has not stopped the dream.
So which type of person are you? Perhaps you had a good life before all this. Getting it back the way it was would be just grand for you.
But if your life was not where you wanted it to be before the coronavirus, then now is the time to really ponder what’s next. Perhaps, for you, going back to life as it was will not be possible anyway. The job you had before may be gone, and not coming back. Bouncing BACK to that reality is not an option.
So now what? Do you throw in the towel and hope that someone, or something, will ultimately take care of you?
If you think that way, remember that mooching off friends and relatives can only last so long, though some young adults were finding it difficult to move out of their parents’ house even before the pandemic started.
Perhaps you DO want more from life. Perhaps what you were doing before was eating you alive, or not allowing you to eat properly.
For you, there is great news. There are many programs out there that allow you to earn money – perhaps a good bit more than you were earning when things were ”normal.” What is great about such programs is that it doesn’t matter what education, experience or background you have.
They require work, but they are not like going to a traditional, W-2 job. They give you control of your own destiny, something a traditional job may not do.
As a bonus, no matter how long the pandemic lasts, you can still work one of these programs from home., if you need to.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
So, are you looking to bounce back, or bounce forward? Regardless, have a ball doing it, if you can.
If you are looking to bounce forward, perhaps you need to be open to looking at something you may have never thought you would do.
You need an open mind, you need to be teachable and you may need to get out of your comfort zone.
Remember, to bounce forward, you have to look forward. And, you CAN have a ball doing it.


#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #happiness
Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.
So says a conclusion from the COVID Response Tracking Study conducted by the University of Chicago, and reported by the Associated Press. The AP article was published June 17, 2020, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Just 14 percent of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31 percent who said the same in 2018, the article quotes the study, conducted in late May 2020.
The survey encompasses nearly a half-century of research from the General Social Survey, which has data on American attitudes and behaviors gathered every other year since 1972, No fewer than 29 percent of Americans have ever called themselves very happy in that survey, the article says.
The survey was conducted before the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis touched off nationwide protests of police brutality and the status of Black Americans in society.
Louise Hawkley, a senior research scientist at the University of Chicago, said she was surprised more people didn’t say they were lonely, given stay-at-home orders, lost jobs, lost schooling etc., the article says.
“People have figured out a way to connect with others. It’s not satisfactory, but people are managing to some extent,” the article quotes Hawkley.
As you watch TV and read the news, you can see that people are trying to get out more.
Some recklessly think that there’s no problem being normal, as if nothing is happening.
Some others think the pandemic is all a hoax, despite more than 150,000 deaths and millions of positive tests.
It’s OK to try to find as much normalcy as possible, but you must do it as safely as possible.
If everyone took the advised precautions, not only could you bring some normalcy back into your life, and potentially save others’ lives, but you also could help the world get a handle on this virus.
The precautions, though somewhat inconvenient, are simple:
• Wear a face covering or mask whenever you interact with people, either indoors or in larger crowds outdoors.
• Keep a safe distance from others not living with you, Six feet of distance is the minimum. More is even safer.
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If that isn’t available, carry hand sanitizer.
• Try not to gather in large crowds anywhere.
• Stay home if you feel sick.
You can still go to the store, do other errands and even gather with a few friends using these precautions.
Trips, vacations, weddings, funerals and other gatherings may have to wait, unless they can happen with those precautions.
If you are among those truly unhappy, perhaps you’d like to find something that could change your life for the better – economically and otherwise. Fortunately, there are several vehicles out there that can help you do that. And, you can check them out usually without leaving your house. To learn about one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Remember that circumstances do not define you. These are indeed difficult, unprecedented circumstances. Even though it will take time, it will pass. It may be a great time to take stock in your life. What had you been doing that you can’t do now, but shouldn’t have done in the first place? What economies, and efficiencies, have you created, and should keep?
Most importantly, we all have to learn to see the good in what seems bad, and learn to promote that goodness forever.