HAPPY LABOR DAY!

#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.
Peter

ONLINE LEARNING CREATES COTTAGE INDUSTRY

#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.
Peter

SETTLING GRUDGES AMID PANDEMIC

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #SettlingGrudges #ReachOutToSomeone
Few of us are going much of anywhere these days.
In these weird times, some of us are reaching out to people with whom we have become estranged.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article June 21, 2020, telling the stories of how some people are reaching out to family members, friends and others to whom they haven’t spoken in, perhaps, years.
Talia Frolkis, 32, of Madison, Wisc., couldn’t remember why she hadn’t spoken to her older sister, Liza, in nine months, the article says.
“Who can remember the specifics? There’s always some dramatic thing happening with family,” Talia says.
So, Talia called. Both sisters apologized, according to the article.
“I think it’s a very good thing if the virus is prompting people to repair old relationships,” the article quotes Margaret Moore, founder of Wellcoaches, a company that trains professional health care coaches.
Let’s delve deeper into this. First, the coronavirus and its effect on our lives is prompting loneliness, or other mental maladies.
If you are lonely, others are, too.
It’s allowing us lots of time to think – about everything. It allows us to think of our own mortality.
To whom do you want to deliver a message before something happens to you?
Still, this, too shall pass. But, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t “clean things up,” as Moore put it in the article, with someone.
Who knows? That person may have something you need to know about.
Speaking of something you ned to know about, if your job security is less than stellar – that goes for most everyone – know that there are many ways out there to make money without having a traditional job, or depending on government aid. To learn about one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Remember, if you reach out to someone with whom you’ve been estranged for a while, don’t think about settling scores, or rehashing whatever it is that split you apart.
Think only about repairing the relationship. You can’t repair a relationship without talking to the other person. Someone has to make the first overture.
Remember, too, during this time, we don’t always know who is ill, who is really suffering etc.
We don’t always know who needs comfort, even if you can’t physically visit them.
If you know someone you really need to talk to, make a call. More than likely, they’ll be home, or not very far away.
You could make help that person deal with everything we are all dealing with. You could turn into that person’s hero.
Peter

KIDS MOVING TO THE CITY FINDING EDUCATION IMPORTANT

#salaries #CollegeDegrees #urban #rural #coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve
Workers in Georgia with a four-year degree earn 66 percent more on average than those with associate degrees, and 101 percent more than those with only a high school diploma.
Maureen Downey, education columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, pulled that statistic from a study titled “College Earning Across States and Metropolitan Areas.” She discussed the topic in a June 16, 2020, column.
“I don’t want to say everyone should go to college, but the returns to higher education are pretty considerable in Georgia,” Downey quotes John Winters, an Iowa State University economist who authored the study.
“One takeaway from the study is that job market opportunities for those without a lot of education are not very robust in Georgia,” Downey quotes Winters.
In Winters’ study, those with a bachelor’s degree strongly out-earn workers with associate degrees, with more than 25 percent earnings advantage in all but three states: North Dakota, Alaska and Vermont, Downey writes.
If a young person wants to live in the metro area, it’s clear from the study that getting some higher education would be a really good idea,” Downey quotes Winters.
“Whether to go to college always has to be the kid’s decision,” Downey quotes Amber Northern, senior vice president for research at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which sponsored Winters’ study.
There are two things at play here. First, kids who go to high school in a small town or county, and want to move to a city, where they believe the action is, are advised to get a college degree.
The second thing is that the kids have to make the decision whether college is right for them.
Suppose a kid has a rough home life in rural America, and has planned to move out of Mom and Dad’s house as soon as possible after graduation.
What if that kid learns that college is either unaffordable, or doesn’t believe college would be a great move for him or her – at least not worth going into debt to make happen?
Such a child should know that there are many options out there that can allow him or her to earn a good income, regardless of education, background or experience.
Here’s the rub: the child has to be open to looking at the many alternatives to college, or even a traditional “job.” Here’s the bonus: if the child IS open, and likes what he or she sees, he or she can live anywhere he or she wants. It not only requires openness to looking, but also the ambition to pursue, even if he or she needs to take a traditional job at the beginning to earn a living.
To learn about one of the best such vehicles, message me.
A college degree is certainly desirable to have. Some degrees can be parlayed into a decent career. Others give you knowledge that has a narrow focus in the overall job market, and may not convert to a lucrative income.
Also, who knows how the college experience is going to change in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic?
Regardless, no education is wasted. But, the practical consideration to going to college may supersede the desire for a degree.
As Northern says, it’s the kid’s decision.
But, a child’s ambition to get a degree may not be enough. He or she could be saddled with a huge debt for many years after graduation. If he or she doesn’t get a job from which he or she can live, AND pay down the debt promptly, AND save for the future, the decision is easier.
If he or she believes a good job is ahead with a degree, the decision is harder. That’s where an open mind and a lot of ambition could synergize into something really special.
Peter

VIRUS MAY INTERRUPT COLLEGE PLANS

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #CollegeDreams #SummerMelt
They call it “summer melt.”
It’s the period between high school graduation and the beginning of college.
This year, the coronavirus complicates “summer melt.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article about the virus and “summer melt” in its June 8, 2020, issue.
Some experts are predicting big drops in college enrollment this fall, the article says.
Colleges are unsure when they will open in the fall.
“There is a risk that a wide swath of kids get knocked off their college track. And it gets infinitely harder to get back on,” the article quotes Taylor Ramsey, executive director of OneGoal Metro Atlanta, a non-profit that works to improve college access.
People are really afraid for their health. To compound the problem, many parents of upcoming college students have lost their jobs because of the virus, making it more financially difficult to send their kids to college, the article says.
OneGoal works with about 320 Atlanta and DeKalb County students, including high schoolers, recent graduates and first-year college students, the article says.
When schools abruptly closed this spring, seniors were working on financial aid applications. Some started to get acceptance letters. Others were still applying to college, the article says.
Ramsey told the newspaper that she has asked students what they were going to do if school didn’t open in the fall. The answer was “I have no idea,” the article quotes Ramsey.
So what happens to these students now? It’s really hard to know. But, many can take comfort in knowing that if their college dreams are delayed, they can embark on one of the many programs out there that allow people to earn money by investing a few part-time hours a week. These programs are not like a traditional job, and they can help set up a future for them, regardless of what else they pursue, or when they pursue it.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
Pandemic aside, one does not have to go to college to find success.
Some students are not suited for college. Others may have to assume loads to debt to get through college.
Others, still, may go to college, pursue a field of study that will not automatically convert to a good job. Add a big debt on top of a job that pays relatively little, and you have a situation that makes it difficult to save for the future.
If you were headed down such a path, the effects of the pandemic may force you to rethink your options.
As you rethink your options, know that there may be more options available to you than you may have considered.
Consider this thought: what if I could pursue my passion and not necessarily have to worry about money? It seems farfetched, but if you have an open mind, and are willing to look at things you may have never thought you would do, the possibilities are endless.
Peter

SOME EMPLOYERS OPTING FOR PAY CUTS VS. LAYOFFS

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #layoffs #PayCuts #jobs
Martin A. Kits van Heyningen opted to cut his employees’ salaries instead of laying off some of them.
The workers at his company, KVH Industries, didn’t just take the move well. They applauded him for it.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve done, but it turned out to be the best day of my life at work” Kits van Heyningen was quoted as saying in a May 31, 2020 article in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He was trying to keep their morale up. Instead, his workers kept his morale up, the article quotes the company owner.
The ranks of those forgoing job cuts and furloughs include major companies like HCA Healthcare, a hospital chain, and Aon, a London-based global professional services firm with a headquarters in Chicago, the article says.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on employers of all stripes. When people are forced to stay home, very little live commerce gets done.
Because this pandemic is seen as temporary, and because some companies do not want to lose their workers when things come back, they are getting creative about how to keep them.
“Companies learned the hard way that once you lay off a bunch of people, it’s expensive and time-consuming to hire them back. Employees are not interchangeable,” the article quotes Donald Deives, a compensation expert with Willis Tower Watson.
“What we’re seeing this time around (vs. during the last recession) is more of a sense of shared sacrifice and shared pain,” the article quotes Deives.
So how is your work situation during this pandemic? Though nothing is “normal,” some are faring better than others.
It might be a great time to take stock in what you do for a living. Are you able to work from home? Or, can you never work from home?
Is your company losing money because it can’t produce what it normally produces? Undoubtedly, no one saw this coming in time, so there was no way to prepare for it.
But in a crisis, there is always an opportunity to evaluate one’s life, one’s work or one’s well-being.
If you are looking to do something different with your life, or you’ve been laid off or taken a pay cut, there are many programs out there that can enable anyone to make money without having a traditional job. These programs involve work, but can be done part-time a few hours a week – from home when necessary.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
No one wants to be out of work, or take a pay cut. Also, no one wants to get seriously ill, and, perhaps, die.
After the pandemic is considered over, things will probably never be the way they were. Companies are learning to not just adapt to an emergency, but they are finding new, safer ways to do things. That will mean some jobs will not come back..
But you can be the master, or mistress, of your own destiny, if you are open to looking at doing something you may never have thought about doing.
Peter

PERMANENT LAYOFFS? WOMEN HIT HARDEST

#coronavirus #COVD19 #FlattenTheCurve #JobLosses #women
During the recession of 2008, men were hit harder than women.
Most of the job losses were in manufacturing and construction.
Samantha Schmidt tackled this subject in an article for the Washington Post. It was also published May 17, 2020, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
That same edition of the Atlanta paper also carried a story that said many of the so-called temporary layoffs could become permanent.
Schmidt writes that 70 percent of those laid off in the 2008 recession were men.
This pandemic has forced the layoffs mainly of restaurant servers, day-care workers, hairstylists, hotel housekeepers and dental hygienists – professions dominated by women, she writes.
“Women have never experienced an unemployment rate in the double digits since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting data by gender in 1948, until now. At 16.2 percent, women’s unemployment in April was nearly three points higher than men’s,” Schmidt writes.
Her article also points out that women held some of the lowest-paying jobs – cashiers, hotel clerks, office receptionists, hospital technicians and teachers’ aides.
The pandemic wiped out job gains women had made over the past decade, just months after women reached the majority of the paid U.S. workforce for only the second time in American history, her article says.
Meanwhile, employers who early on expected to rehire all their workers once the pandemic crisis abated now would be lucky to hire back 75 percent, the other article says.
It tells the story of Britney Ruby Miller, co-owner of a small chain of steakhouse restaurants. Her quote: “I’m being realistic. Bringing back 75 percent of our staff would be incredible.”
Some large companies won’t have enough customers to justify bringing back all their employees. And, despite federal aid, some small businesses won’t survive at all, the second article says.
If you’re a laid-off employee, you’ve probably been looking for work in the companies that have continued to hire, like pizza delivery companies.
Indeed, job fairs are starting to be scheduled for companies looking to hire.
Other employees may have been looking at other ways to make a living. Actually, there are many vehicles out there that allow anyone, regardless of skills, experience or background, to supplement or even replace their working income. As a bonus, when necessary, the work can be done remotely from home.
Want to hear about one of the best such vehicles? Message me.
The main take-away from the two articles is that the pandemic may inflict permanent economic damage, particularly in the service sector.
If you can escape unscathed, or have only a temporary setback, consider yourself lucky. Remember, despite phased-in economic reopening, not everyone will feel comfortable venturing out. Many who do will do so in a restricted fashion.
The days of safe, large gatherings are still a long way away.
So this might be a great time to take stock of your future. How do you see it? Is the job you had even worth going back to? If not, the time to look at other options may be upon you.
Peter

WHAT IS NORMAL? WHAT WILL NORMAL BECOME?

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #TheNewNormal #normal
We all want to get back to normal.
But what IS normal, and what will it look like months from now, after adjustments to mitigate the coronavirus?
Gracie Bonds Staples, in her “This Life” column for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tackled the subject in the May 7, 2020, edition.
“Indeed,” she writes, “a lot of us will return to what we were doing before the pandemic struck. Work.”
Yet, for others, she continues, “life will never be the same.” Some businesses will reopen, others will never reopen, she adds.
“Normal” differs by culture, nation, age and era, Staples quotes Usha Haley, the W. Frank Barton Distinguished Chair in International Business and a social scientist at Wichita State University in Kansas.
“There was a time when slavery was normal in the South,” Staples quotes Haley. “Our first president had slaves; but it’s rightfully considered abhorrent now, and we see it as our original sin,” she quotes Haley. “There was a time when women couldn’t vote, and, in several societies, they still can’t,” she adds.
Technology and immigration, among other factors, have accelerated change in our society, Staples writes.
“The idea of normalization never has meant much,” Staples quotes Haley. “ It’s much better to ask who is affected, who benefits, and who doesn’t. Everybody is not affected the same way. Normal isn’t what we should strive for. We should strive for a better society,” Staples quotes the professor.
No matter when it happens, “normal” will be different for most of us. Businesses and individuals have had to innovate during this time to find ways to do things while minimizing physical contact among people.
Undoubtedly, that will have corporate and other thinkers looking for ways to do things differently. Usually, that means analyzing how work got done during the paramedic, and determining whether it can get done the same way, or better, in the future.
When people stay home en masse, it means less traffic, less spending on necessities like gasoline etc., and those can be good things. But physical interaction with others cannot be eliminated entirely. How do two people have a date – a successful, pleasure-filled date – without getting near each other? Also, we all long to have group gatherings, parties, weddings etc., without worrying about keeping physical distance.
So what will your “normal” look like, presuming it won’t look the same as it did before. If you are concerned how you are going to make a living, know that there are many ways out there to do so without having a traditional job.
Though these programs involve work, and physical closeness might be preferred, they can be done remotely if necessary.
If you believe your economic future may be in peril, or you just don’t want to go back to what you were doing before, and have an open mind, you can check out one of the best of these vehicles by messaging me.
Meanwhile, “normal” WILL change, at least in the short term. Perhaps, in some cases, it will change forever. Instead of wishing for what was, embrace what will be – whatever that becomes. For the only thing certain in life, besides death and taxes, is change.
So, don’t just wish change away. Work for a better life, regardless of the new “normal” circumstances.
Peter

AIR POLLUTION MAKES THE CORONAVIRUS WORSE

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #AirPollution
Air pollution makes the novel coronavirus more lethal.
So says a study by Harvard University.
Long-term exposure to polluted air makes the virus more deadly because pollution worsens complications of respiratory illness, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes the study. The newspaper published an explainer on this April 18, 2020.
But here’s the irony: because the virus has kept many people in their homes, thereby minimizing human activity, many cities around the world are reporting cleaner air, the article says. By not driving much, and with businesses not churning as much pollution into the air, one can actually see mountains in the distance from some cityscapes that were clouded with smog prior to the outbreak.
U.S. Environmental Protection chief Andrew R. Wheeler said the agency would not tighten controls on particle pollution, known as PM2.5, because of insufficient scientific evidence, the article says. The PM2.5 standards were enacted in 2012.
In fact, the article says, PM2.5 – small lung-damaging particles generated by power plants, cars, airplanes and burning – levels have dropped by 39 percent between 2000 and 2018. However, data has shown an uptick in some regions since 2016, according to the article.
Americans now see less pollution and have gained 1.5 years of life expectancy since 1970, the article says.
This information puts our lives into perspective. We need economic activity to live. But economic activity means pollution. It’s up to us as humans to try to maximize – we can’t really eliminate all pollution – our air quality.
This viral outbreak has taught us a lot about how to do things differently. Something as simple as minimizing trips to the grocery store can put savings back in our pocket, and minimize the particles we put into the air.
Though it would be impractical over time to live lives secluded at home, perhaps this stay-at-home life can teach us to value things we had put little value on before.
Meanwhile, stay-at-home orders also mean no income coming in for many people. What if you could make money by staying home? There are many vehicles out there that allow you to use technology to help you generate income while you, and everyone else, is staying home. To learn about one of the best such vehicles, message me.
As progress is made on alternative energy sources, we will see less pollution over time.
Decades ago, the hum of engines and factory machines meant industrial progress. They were the sounds of money being made.
As we continued to make progress, we, in turn, made our air quality worse. As we look forward to a cleaner, perhaps quieter, world, it will mean some jobs could disappear.
If you are among those for whom the sound of internal combustion engines or factory machinery means money, you may eventually have to rethink how you earn a living.
Peter

THINK BEFORE TAPPING 401K

#coronavirus #COVID19 #FlattenTheCurve #retirement #savings #401ks
You’ve been laid off or furloughed.
You have no income, at least for the moment.
Federal stimulus, unemployment insurance etc. will help, but it may not bail you out entirely.
You haven’t got much, if anything, in savings, except, perhaps your 401(k).
You’d like to save it until retirement, but things are desperate now.
Carla Fried, from Rate.com, suggests you consider four things before you tap that retirement nest egg.
Her article was published April 16, 2020, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Fried’s first suggestion: try reducing your monthly bills. Some people have subscriptions, or belong to things, they don’t use much. If that’s the case with you, cut some of those expenses.
Fried points out that the stimulus bill allows you to stop payments on student loans until Sept. 30. Most landlords will work with you on rent. Remember, many landlords have mortgages on the place you live in, and they are hurting, too.
Fried’s second suggestion is to understand the taxes you will owe if you tape that 401(k) early. Congress has allowed those tax payments to be made over three years, but you should not tap that money unless absolutely necessary.
If you have a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k), withdraw that first, she suggests, since you can do so without a tax penalty.
Thirdly, Fried suggests taking a few minutes to think about the future. “Before you tap retirement savings, try to slow down your racing brain. Imagine yourself at 65. At 70. At 90. That’s why you save,” the article says.
Finally, Fried suggests not rushing to make that, or any, decisions because you are laid off. Know that this crisis is temporary, and if you can weather it without drastically impairing your financial future, you’ll be better off for it.
Also, take a moment to think outside the box. There are many vehicles out there that allow you to spend a few, part-time hours a week to generate an income that could ultimately dwarf whatever you would make at a job.
They can allow you to rebuild your retirement savings over time, if you desperately need to tap into it now.
To learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
In summary, take a breath. Consider everything now and in the future before making decisions. These times will test our patience, but steel yourself to be up to the test.
Remember, too, that this situation is temporary, albeit indefinite. Some states are looking to open up certain businesses at the end of April or early May. Remember, too, that “normal” may not look like the normal you remember. Some jobs may not come back. Employers will learn from this experience, and find ways to do things that may save them money, and, perhaps, cost jobs.
For you, it’s best to wait before tapping your retirement savings, if you can, and look for other ways to generate income, if you need to.
Peter