#WorkFromHome #coronavirus #COVID-19 #commuting
Technology is allowing more people to work remotely.
That’s changing the way people think about where to live.
In and around big cities may not be the only option for those able to carve out office space at home.
Lisa Prevost took on this subject in an article for The New York Times. It was also published Sept. 25, 2019, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of last year, 24 percent of employed persons worked at least part of the time at home, the article says. That percentage has undoubtedly increased as coronavirus (COVID-19) fears and precautions have set in.
Among those with advanced degrees, it was 42 percent, the article quotes the figures.
In a survey last year of 23,000 new home shoppers, John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a firm with offices nationwide, 30 percent worked at home between one and four days a week. Some 13 percent worked at home full time, the article says.
States like Vermont are offering incentives for people to move there and work from home, the article says.
Is this a trend? Let’s look at it from all sides.
In past decades, employers frowned on people working from home for lack of supervision. They didn’t trust that employees could give full attention to their work, or give a full day’s work, from home.
It’s not that people would necessarily cheat their employers , though there are certainly those who might try. It’s more that home provides distractions – kids, TV, personal phone calls etc. – that would prevent an employee’s 100 percent concentration on his or her job.
But longer commutes, or even short commutes in heavy traffic are forcing people to spend more time getting to and from work, adding stress that could interfere with their ability to do their jobs.
Commuting and traffic add to the general societal problem of overcrowding and gridlock in cities, pollution from vehicles and portions of life wasted commuting.
So, the attitude about working at home may be changing, and technology is enabling people to do their jobs from anywhere.
Be careful what you wish for. You pay for the freedom to work from home with the electronic leash from work that never gets removed.
Certainly, technological advancement is a blessing and curse. But it is here, and people must adapt.
But what if you could work from home at a job you enjoyed, and could work when you wanted? There are many vehicles out there that allow people to work independently, yet have a network of colleagues they can call for help. These programs are designed for people who want to be their own bosses. They certainly require work, but, with no one watching you, are aimed at people who are self-motivated.
If you believe you are that self-motivated person, regardless of your education and skills, and want to learn about one of the best such programs, message me.
The bonus with these programs is you can live and work from anywhere.
Business and society are certainly warming up to the idea of having people work from home. They have to evaluate people more on tasks than hours worked.
Is it right for you? Remember, there are benefits and costs – freedom, but loss of interactions and gain of distractions. You have to evaluate your own situation to determine whether such an arrangement would suit you.


#EmergencyCash #MoneyInTheBank #breakdowns #PaycheckToPaycheck
Your (pick one: car, refrigerator, washing machine) breaks down.
To repair it would cost $400.
Do you have the cash, or could you get a loan that you could pay back quickly, to cover it?
Four in 10 Americans don’t, according to a Federal Reserve survey.
Jeanna Smialek discussed this in a New York Times article that was also published May 24, 2019, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
But the economy is good, you say. Still, a lot of folks not only live paycheck to paycheck, their paychecks have shrunk since they lost their job, presuming they’ve gotten another one since. Some have not.
It creates a chicken-and-egg issue. If your car is broken down, you have to bum rides, or just plain not get to work. In fact, the Atlanta newspaper published more recently an article about the number of working people living in extended-stay motels because rents have risen so much. For some of those, car troubles have been the cause.
Yes, people are selling things to pay for emergencies, the Times article says.
Since the Fed took the survey, the article says, household finances have improved. That’s the good news. Three-quarters of adults said they were “doing OK” or “living comfortably,” up from 63 percent in 2013, the Times article says.
So YOU are not in dire straits. But, you may not be living the life you want. You may not have the job, or income you want. You see others with the things you would want, and wonder: why them, and not you?
Sure, you may be able to pay your bills, or deal with an emergency repair. But you may want something more out of life, and are not really sure what to do to get it.
The good news is that you CAN get it, if you are willing to look at things that you may not have ever thought you would do. There are many vehicles out there that can allow people to live their dreams, even with a part-time, off-work effort. To check out one of the best, message me.
It’s tough to live for any length of time without your car, or key appliances. It’s hard to deal with increasing rents when your paycheck is not increasing, or even declining.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of people making the choice between food and necessary medicine. In America, no one should have to make that choice.
Instead, you should have the choice of doing something that will better your life, regardless of what your employer wants you to do.
You don’t need special skills, education or background. You just need to be open to looking at something different.
America is, and has always been, a great country. Opportunities abound for those willing to check them out.
If you are unhappy with your situation, and think there is nothing you can do about it, think again.
Then, ask yourself this: am I seeing all my options, or am I afraid to look for, and at, them?
The next big thing may not fall into your lap, but there are definitely options that will make anyone’s life better.


#StockMarket #investing #BullMarket #MarketPredictions
Of late, the stock market has been, shall we say, volatile.
A decade ago was a big-time bust. The years hence have seen a boon.
Will that boon, soon, become a swoon?
The predictors have started to come out.
In an article for The New York Times, Alex Williams sites five popular doom-and-gloom scenarios, or situations, including the student debt problem, the situation with China, the end of easy money, Italy’s possible exit from the European Union and an anti-billionaire uprising across America.
Williams’ article was also published in the Dec. 23, 2018, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Meanwhile Dr. Steve Sjuggerud, who says he’s had an extensive Wall Street career, says, “We are in the final stages of a massive bull market. And the biggest gains lie ahead.” His predictions were published by The Tennessean in Nashville Jan. 27, 2019.
His theory is that just before bull markets end, there’s a big run-up in stocks because people who listen to other doom-and-gloom predictions get out too early, leaving enough cash floating around to find bargains and profit.
Warning: investors should not panic over the impending end of the bull market. Markets go up and go down. Prices go up and come back down. A prudent investor has a strong plan, and stays with it.
What is a strong plan? It’s investing prudent amounts of money in a variety of vehicles. Some of those vehicles are designed for growth – in other words, you buy them at a fairly low price anticipating their value to become apparent to the market, and they rise in price.
Then, as the price goes up, you see a good number and sell enough shares to get your cost back, and let the rest continue to grow. That’s called playing with the house’s money.
But, a good plan also has vehicles that produce income, in the form of dividends, interest etc. Even if the share price of these vehicles drops suddenly, the dividends and interest keep coming. So, you have the comfort of letting their value ride out the downturn as your income keeps coming in. Of course, you need to watch whether the dividends and interest stay constant, or start to drop. If they drop, it may be time to cut your losses.
The point here is that a good plan can weather the ups and downs of the market. Sure, if the market drops, the overall value of one’s portfolio will drop with it. But that should not deter your strategy.
There are also scenarios in which you may decide that a stock, or other investment, isn’t doing what you thought it would. So you sell it to raise cash to use to find bargains in a down market.
If all this seems complicated, find a trusted adviser who can guide you through market ups and downs, and let him or her give you advice.
Don’t really have enough income to invest in stocks? There are many ways out there to pick up extra money by devoting a few part-time hours a week that doesn’t involve what you might see as a “second job,” and aren’t dependent on the markets. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
Recessions, market downturns etc. hurt. They don’t have to devastate you financially. Prudence and balance in your investments, and staying with your plan regardless of market gyrations, is the key. Markets may not go up in a straight line, but, over time, they most always go up.


#OverstatingProblems #optimists #pessimists #poverty
“Can’t overstating problem energize us in terms of solving them?”
So asked Philip Galanes, during lunch with Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of 10 books.
Galanes wrote about his conversation with the two for The New York Times. The article was also published in the Feb. 11, 2018, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“There’s a paradox in letting yourself be very, very upset about what remains to be done (for the common good),” Gates said. “There are still parts of the world that are still like 40 years ago. But to read (Pinker’s) book and think it says, ‘don’t worry, be happy’ (borrowing from a Bobby McFerrin title), is to misread it. Because seeing the world through the eyes of that poor kid ideally wants to make you give some money, even though there are many fewer such kids than 50 years ago,” Gates said.
“Extreme global poverty has been reduced from 90 percent 200 years ago to 10 percent today. That’s great! Or you can say: more than 700 million people in the world live in extreme poverty today. They’re the same fact, and you have to be able to describe them to yourself in both ways,” Pinker says.
This snippet of a long conversation illustrates that there is more than one way to look at the world.
Some of the information we hear would lead us to believe that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, and perhaps we need to straighten it out. Or, others would have us believe that past efforts to solve problems have had a great effect, and that, though the problems are not completely solved, the situation is much better than it was years ago.
It’s perhaps the classic difference between an optimist and a pessimist. The old adage talks about viewing a glass of water as either half empty or half full. But it is more than that.
It starts with how you feel about yourself each time you wake up in the morning, or later in the day if you work at night. Is every day you do so a good day? Or, is it just another day?
Do you long for weekends, and dread the weekdays? Do you feel as if you are on a treadmill during the week, and finally get a break from it on weekends (or whatever your regular days off might be)?
Experts say you can change how you think. You can take stock of what’s good in your life, and be thankful, rather than think of what’s not so good and be resentful, or sad, or feel doomed.
You can think about what you really want in life, or you can presume you’ll never get what you really want, and settle for something OK, or tolerable.
You can see retirement as a goal to allow you to do what you want, or you can do what you want sooner, rather than later. Or, worse yet, you can see yourself as working at a job you hate until you die.
So, are you thankful, or dreadful (meaning full of dread, as opposed to an awful person)? Give yourself a break. Always – and you can pull this off – look at yourself as blessed and grateful.
If you need a vehicle to help you turn your life around, there are several such vehicles out there for those willing to look for them. To check out one of the best, message me.
Meanwhile, if you are on that treadmill of dread, stay on it only as long as you need to. Start looking for things that will help get you off it.
Your thoughts have the power to improve your life. Be an optimist, for there are very few, if any, successful pessimists. Take stock of the good in your life and build on it. It could start you on a path that will allow you to achieve your dreams sooner rather than later.


#WageDisparity #MiddleClass #WageGapBetweenWealthiestAndRest #IncomeGrowth
A Pew Research study says middle-income Americans have fared worse in many ways than their counterparts in Western Europe in recent decades.
Meanwhile, business writer Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune says the wage gap between the richest and the poorest is jaw-dropping, and that CEOs are going to have to deal with the problem sooner or later.
Nelson D. Schwartz wrote about the Pew Research study on the middle class for The New York Times. His article was published May 29, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Huppke’s article about wage disparity was published May 28, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Schwartz’s article talks about a man in Gillespie, Ill., whom his neighbors consider lucky. After a year out of work, he found another job making cardboard boxes that pays him $19.60 an hour. The steel-mill job he lost paid $28 an hour.
“The middle class is struggling for sure, and almost anybody in my position will tell you that,” Schwartz quotes Gillespie.
The reporter points out that although the U.S. has a higher median income than Europe’s, the Europeans are catching up. Median incomes in the middle tier grew 9 percent between 1991 and 2010, compared with a 25 percent growth in Denmark and 35 percent in Great Britain, Schwartz writes.
That kind of U.S. growth only widens the wage gap between the wealthiest and the rest.
Data collected by the AFL-CIO show the average pay for an S&P 500 CEO last year was $13.1 million. That’s 347 times the average American worker’s pay, Huppke quotes the labor union’s study. Meanwhile, online jobs review site Glass-door says the CEOs only made 205 times more than average workers at their companies, Huppke writes.
In other words, pay for the honchos growing and pay for the working stiffs is shrinking.
Why should the CEOs care?
“Ignoring this disparity is as short-sighted as it is counterproductive for the future health of an organization,” Huppke writes. “They’ll (CEOs) will hear a lot less complaining about their giant paychecks if they find a way to grow everyone else’s as well,” Huppke writes.
Believe it or not, the news is not all bad for the working stiffs. There are plenty of ways for any person, from any background or education, to raise his income – perhaps not at the job he is working at now.
The key is to be open to looking at such ways openly, and be willing to do something you may not have ever done. As a bonus, you’ll have a way to help others prosper, too. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
As another aside, many CEOs are going to scratch their heads in wonder why fewer folks are buying their products. Perhaps your customers have been forced to spend less because their pay keeps shrinking. People work for you, but can’t afford to buy what they help make. Certainly, some of that is inevitable, but if a company makes an affordable, everyday product, the folks that make it should be able to afford to buy it.
It will take work to fix the problems of income disparity and the shrinking middle class. Perhaps the powers that be will get the message and fix it, but it would be more prudent for each person to take matters into his own hands. It can be done, if you have the desire to change and better yourself.


#BreakTheRules #employers #GoodWorks
Sometimes, one makes progress by following a set of rules.
Sometimes, one really gets ahead by breaking the rules.
At the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, if one breaks the rules or otherwise shakes up the status quo, he can win $250,000.
Tamara Best discussed this program in a New York Times article, which was published in the March 20, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“There are people doing really important things, breaking either the rules or sticking to their principles with knowledge that they will be hurt or punished in some way,” Best quotes Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab.
“In a lot of large institutions, there’s really two ways you can make progress,” Best quotes Ethan Zuckerman, director of MIT’s Center for Civic Media. “You can make progress when people follow the rules and work their way through the processes, and then sometimes you can make very radical progress by someone who essentially says, ‘Look, these processes don’t work anymore, and I need to have a radical shift in what I’m doing,” Zuckerman’s quote continues.
If you work for someone else, you should follow your employer’s rules. Some employers don’t handle radical thinkers well.
But let’s talk about “rules” that your parents perhaps handed down to you. They may go something like: Get a job with good benefits and decent pay. Keep your head down at work. Do what you are told. Your job security is the best thing you have. (I would use the word “own,” but no one owns a job. One may take ownership of his work, but the job belongs to the employer).
We’ve come to learn that these rules are obsolete. You can do great work, show up every day, stay out of trouble and even put in lots of extra effort that may or may not be in your job description. That may not keep you in a job for as long as you want to be.
Your good works may not get you into heaven, and they may not guarantee you job security anymore.
What to do?
Think radical. Upset the apple cart. Do something – perhaps not at work or on the job – that others might not do for fear of breaking the “rules.”
Some might say that I can think radical as well as anyone, but it may not get me anywhere, except in trouble.
There is a way you can think, if not radical, at least outside the rule box.
You can look at one of many ways you can earn an income without a traditional job. You can work for yourself. You can help others along the way. All you have to do is be open enough to check it out. If you’d like to check out one of the best vehicles to accomplish this, message me.
In some settings, it’s OK to break the rules, especially if the rules don’t help you get what you want. Sometimes, the rules are enticing you to break them. That can be good – or bad – depending on the setting.
The best rule for breaking the rules is to do it in a setting where it is encouraged. That can be at a place like MIT’s Media Lab, or in your own home.
Some rules are meant to be broken. Others break themselves. So examine your situation and determine whether it’s time to break the rules – or not.


#FlyingTaxis #DriverlessVehicles #drones #drivers
If you are old enough to remember, there was a cartoon series in the 1960s called “The Jetsons,” a tale of what the future may look like.
“Cars” flew through space.
In Dubai, commuters in The United Arab Emirates may soon climb aboard automated, driverless taxis, soaring over busy streets and past the desert city’s gleaming skyscrapers at the push of a button, writes Russell Goldman in The New York Times.
The article was published in the Feb. 20, 2017, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
USA Today has also written about tests for driverless big-rig trucks.
The flying taxis will be capable of carrying a single rider and a small suitcase, Goldman writes. So, that probably means a group cannot pool resources for a taxi fare.
The taxi is an eight-rotor drone made by the Chinese firm Ehang, writes Goldman. It has flown test runs past the Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s iconic, sail-shaped skyscraper.
It can fly up to 31 miles, or about 30 minutes, on a single battery charge. Passengers can weigh up to 220 pounds, Goldman writes.
Let’s think about this for a minute. If you live in a populated area, with lots of traffic, you may someday be able to fly over that traffic, if this concept proves sustainable.
Air travel will be redefined. Would car travel become obsolete?
There is much else to ponder. What happens to the many folks who now drive for a living? Will ALL transportation become driverless?
When one is disabled, or too old to drive, will he or she own a driverless vehicle and not miss a transportation beat?
What about those who fly, sail and otherwise transport for a living?
Will all transportation be changed?
Perhaps those who make their living moving people and things about would be wise to find a Plan B to make money. The technology, therefore the trend, won’t be halted. The good news here is that if you fit that description, there’s time to plan. The technology won’t be commonplace tomorrow.
There are many good, Plan B options available. To check out one of the best, message me.
Technology alters life in good and bad ways. Competing rental car companies at Logan Airport in Boston decided to set up a common shuttle service to and from the terminals, stopping at each rental car base, instead of each company having its own drivers. The move saved money, and lessened traffic jams around the airport, but a lot of good drivers lost their jobs.
Now, imagine every airport doing the same thing, with driverless buses, cabs etc. Even Uber and Lyft are talking about driverless vehicles.
So what will flying taxis, driverless vehicles of all types, do for your life? That might depend on how you make your living now.
It might make sense to visualize that eventuality, and plan accordingly.


It may not have been as devastating as the Great Depression, but the recession of 2008 changed a lot of lives, in many cases, not for the better.
As New York Times columnist David Brooks writes, after such a change, “a certain number of people are dispossessed. They lose identity, self-respect and hope.
“They begin to base their sense of self-worth on their tribe, not their behavior,” he continues.
“They become mired in their resentments, spiraling deeper into the addiction of their own victimology,” he adds.
Brooks discussed this in relation to national politics in a column published July 15, 2016, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
If you were dealt a blow sometime around 2008, or since, you probably can relate.
Perhaps you lost a job, and haven’t been able to find one that pays you anywhere close to the job you lost. Perhaps you lost your house.
You keep hearing that things are getting better. The economy is picking up, say the experts. Yet, you don’t feel it.
You tend to blame people, or things, that really are not to blame. Even the employer who canned you, if that happened to you, probably was forced to.
Bear this in mind: blaming takes valuable energy away from solving the problem at hand.
Blaming is also easy. Solving the problem may be more difficult.
You may also hear that employers WANT to hire more people now. Yet, you are not among those they are looking for.
An example might be that police forces and the military are looking for new recruits. But you might not be the best candidate for that because, for example, you are too old. Even if you are the right age, perhaps you are not in the kind of physical shape to deal with the rigors of the job.
Perhaps you’ve just graduated college, with a good bit of debt, but employers want something more than just your raw brain to train. They want built-in expertise that you don’t have.
Therefore, you feel you have nowhere to turn. The natural instinct is to blame.
However, there are many ways out there to take your problem into your own hands, and help others do the same. For one of the best, visit
The economy is going through a transition to the information age. As Brooks points out, it went through something similar in the 1880s, when it transitioned from an agriculture base to an industrial base.
“America still has great resources at the local and social level,” Brooks writes. He believes local is more powerful.
When a natural disaster befalls us, we must decide to rebuild or move. The choice is clearly in our hands. In this era, we have choices. The choice to be a victim is not healthy. The choice to take matters into our own hands, perhaps with the help of great local resources, is preferable.
Doing so may mean changing what you did, and how you did it, or getting used to something new, different and, at least at first, uncomfortable. But it can be done if you just look for the right vehicle for you.
If you have the urge to blame, remember this: You can’t embrace what is gone forever. But it can help you embrace what comes next.


#cloning #HumanGenome #BuildingAPersonFromScratch
A couple decades ago, there was talk of cloning, or making an exact copy of an animal, person etc. Dolly, the cloned sheep, became a household name.
Now, scientists are beginning a 10-year program that will re-create the human genome which, if successful, could lead to creating people without the help of parents.
The proposal was published June 2, 2016, in the journal Science, and was the subject of an article by New York Times reporter Andrew Pollack. Pollack’s article was republished in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The idea of building people in a lab is fraught with moral considerations. The potential for huge advancements in medical science is intriguing. Still, Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health — the main funder of medical research in the United States – said that while the NIH is interested in encouraging advances in DNA synthesis, it “has not considered the time to be right for funding a large-scale, production-oriented” project like this one, according to Pollack’s article.
Collins also said such a project immediately raises “numerous ethical and philosophical red flags,” according to Pollack’s article.
The nonprofit Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology, which will run the project, intends to get funding from several public and private sources, according to Pollack’s article.
It’s fairly easy to see the medical advancement potential here. “It might be possible to make organisms resistant to all viruses, for instance, or make pig organs suitable for transplant into people,” Pollack writes.
But to make a whole person, piece by piece, in a lab? That’s delving into areas that will challenge ethics, potentially alter population mix and a host of other things that could change mankind as we know it.
We live in a diverse world. We celebrate that diversity. We work with, and live with, nature, while allowing it to be natural. We certainly like to manufacture things that will benefit us, but manufacturing people may be beyond what we should be doing.
Instead, if we don’t like our situation, or we don’t like whom we’ve become, let’s remake ourselves without making a new person from scratch. We all have the ability to change, to become better people, without changing our DNA, or becoming artificial.
One of the ways we can change is to help others more. To check out one of the best ways to do that, visit You can see how people helping people potentially can help make all involved prosperous.
There are many things we, as smart humans, can do to make the world a better place. There are diseases to fight, physical, economic and other challenges to overcome.
But creating people in labs potentially will dehumanize us as a whole. Imagine a person created in a lab being asked where he or she came from, what his or her family background is etc. Those are all things that make us who we are. How does adding to an already overpopulated world from a lab enhance the world experience?
If this project remains limited in scope, much good could come from it. The danger lies in carrying it out to its fullest potential.
Let’s hope the researchers, presuming they get the funding to do this, will be mindful of all ramifications of their research as they conduct it. Just because something CAN be done, doesn’t mean it SHOULD be done.


#grit #innovate #GradePointAverage
Creative people are good at asking new questions, but the grade-point average rewards those who can answer other people’s questions.
So writes New York Times columnist David Brooks, in a column published in the May 13, 2016, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Brooks calls the grade-point average “one of the more destructive elements in American education.”
“In life, we want independent thinking and risk-taking, but the GPA system encourages students to be deferential and risk-averse, giving their teachers what they want,” Brooks writes.
In other words, the education system highly rewards students who are good at a lot of things, rather than those who are very good at one or two things.
Even if you are not good at something, the education system wants students to use their grit, and do things they don’t like, to grind out a good GPA.
There is certainly nothing wrong with grit. It helps people overcome obstacles and gets people through difficult times.
But the education system is designed for students to learn things, and they are evaluated by how well they can spit those things back.
“Schools across America are busy teaching their students to be gritty and to have ‘character’ – by which they mean skills like self-discipline and resilience that contribute to career success,” Brooks writes.
In other words, they teach kids to be good employees, rather than innovators.
In today’s world, innovators are handsomely rewarded, providing they solve a problem that needs solving.
In one adage, the “A” students end up working for the “C” students.
How does one deal with this?
There are a couple of ways. First, be a rebel.
Take the grit that you learned to develop in school, and use it to innovate.
Thomas Edison tried many times before he successfully invented the light bulb, so he had enough grit to know to stay with his idea.
If you are not an innovator, or if you have resigned yourself that you will work for someone else forever, there are many alternative ways to make money outside of a traditional job. For one of the best, visit Sometimes duplication, rather than innovation, can create potential fortunes.
As for the education system, it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Learning is difficult to quantify, and the GPA system is, up to now, the best way educators have found to quantify learning.
In recent times, an array of competency tests has come into vogue. These tests have been used to evaluate teachers, much to the chagrin of the educators.
A good teacher should not be penalized, since students’ performance on competency tests can be attributed to many things.
So use the education system to cultivate grit, but use that grit to go out and do great things for others.