Business Digest - Oct/Nov. 2010

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Job Searching While Employed   Bringing Thanksgiving to Your Senior Parents   Green Living Tip  Theo's Corner

Making Your Home Safe for Visiting Ghouls and Goblins

Halloween is a fun time for adults and kids alike. If you are planning on welcoming trick-or-treaters to your home this year, be sure to make the experience as safe as possible.

  • Remove tripping hazards from your front porch, yard, and sidewalk. This includes hoses, toys, flowerpots, and lawn furniture.

  • Rake up any leaves and remove them from the walkways to your home. Wet leaves can be very slippery and pose a falling hazard.

  • Make sure the front of your house is well-lit. If you have several outdoor lights, make sure the bulbs are working in all of them.

  • Your pets should be restrained or put in a quiet back room or the back yard. This is not only safer for your young visitors, but also can help prevent your pet from escaping.

  • Instead of open flames in your jack-o-lanterns, consider using flameless candles. Check any outdoor decorative lighting to ensure that the cords and sockets are not broken, frayed, or are exposing bare wire.

  • If you are not going to be home, remember to lock all your doors and windows. Turn off your porch light, so trick-or-treaters will know you are not giving out candy.

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Job Searching While Employed

If you are interested in seeking new employment when you already have a job, you will find that the process is somewhat different than looking for work while unemployed. One of the main differences will be a lack of time to devote to your job hunt. A rule of thumb is that it takes about a month of job searching for every $10,000 you expect to make. If you are looking while working a day job, you can expect to add four to six months on top of that. You simply will not have the same time and energy you have when you are free during the day.

That is not to say that is it an impossible task. In fact, the security of knowing you have a current job allows you to be more selective in evaluating the opportunities available to you. To help make this process easier, be sure to keep these tips in mind.

1.  Give yourself enough time. Patience is a virtue in this case, keeping you from jumping from one unsatisfying job to another. Realize that your current situation is temporary and be realistic about your time frame.

2.  Make sure the change is right for you. Consider whether you would be willing to move to another city or if you would rather stay in the same city. Work out the financial details if you are changing careers and expect to receive a different salary. This is especially important if you are switching to a career that might pay less, but would be more satisfying to you.

3.  If it has been a while since your last job search, you may need to revise your resume to reflect your current position. Also consider getting advice from a career coach to brush up on your interviewing skills.

4.  Rework your schedule to include time for your job search. Remember to include time for networking, internet searching, and interviewing. You may find that early mornings or lunch breaks work well for you.

5.  Talk about your job search with close family, friends, and associates. Networking is still the best way to land a new job. However, it is a good idea to keep your job search from your current employer. It is best if you have no correspondence or phone calls come to your office. Also ask potential employers not to contact your present employer if at all possible. You will also need to plan vacation days for interviews. On the other hand, if you work in a closely-networked profession and are looking for a job in the same line of work, be realistic about whether your current boss will find out about your job hunting. If it is highly likely that word will get back to him or her, be upfront about your intentions.

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Bringing Thanksgiving to Your Senior Parents

If your elderly parents are in a nursing home, there are some simple things you can do to make the time around Thanksgiving more festive. Bring some pumpkins from your visit to a pumpkin patch to use as decorations in his or her room. Carving or painting a funny face on the pumpkin can be an activity that grandparents can share with their grandchildren.

If your elderly parent is unable to leave the facility, you can join him or her for a Thanksgiving meal. You can go early to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade together in the morning. Bring some of your family's holiday china and table linens to use for the meal and pack some favorite holiday foods that might not be served by the nursing facility. Bring some old photo albums to relive some Thanksgivings past and take lots of pictures of this year's festivities to add to them for next year.

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Green Living Tip

As you contemplate cleaning up your yard this fall, be sure to do it in the greenest way possible. Instead of using a leaf blower, consider getting out your rake instead. Not only is a rake effective, it is environmentally sound, and will give you a great work-out. If you must use a leaf blower, switch to an electric one rather than a gasoline-powered one. If the job seems too daunting without the use of power tools, support the local economy by hiring a few neighborhood kids to get the job done. It can be very affordable and much more ecological.

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Theo's Corner

Feeding Your Senior Dog

As a dog ages, he usually begins to put on extra weight. This is due to a slower metabolism and a reduction in exercise. Older dogs often suffer from pain and creakiness in the joints. Added weight can aggravate these symptoms, making this a vicious cycle. More pain means less exercise; less exercise can lead to weight gain; and the extra pounds can cause his joints to hurt even more.

There are diet dog foods available, but in order to reduce the calorie count, weight-reducing foods often skimp on the high-quality meats your dog needs.  It is usually better to just reduce the amount of food your dog is eating every day. Give your pet slightly smaller portions of his regular food. If he seems still hungry, supplement with fresh vegetables.

If your older dog is packing on the pounds, table scraps may also be to blame. These types of food can lead to weight gain and are harder on an older dog's stomach than they were in his younger years. You can upset his changing metabolism by feeding him people food.

If you find that you have the opposite problem, and your pet is not eating as well as he used to, talk to your vet about his loss of appetite. This can be an early sign of illness in dogs. But if your pet checks out healthy, it may be that his sense of smell is diminishing. This is a common symptom of old age in animals. To remedy this, add some food to his regular diet that is stronger smelling. Fish products are particularly good for this. A bit of tuna oil or clam juice may be all he needs to get his appetite back. You can also warm up his food at mealtimes in the microwave. Add some heated canned food to his regular dry food to liven things up.

Cold Weather Tips for Pet Owners

You aren't the only one who feels cold when the temperature drops. Your pet also needs protection from the elements this winter. Read through these cold weather tips as you prepare yourself and your pet for winter.

  • Any short haired animal should not be left outside for long periods during cold weather. If you must leave your dog outdoors, provide a dry, draft-free doghouse. Place it so that it faces away from the wind and make sure that it is large enough for your dog to sit or lie down comfortably. It should not be so large, however, that it cannot hold in your dog's body heat. The floor should be covered with dry bedding, and the doorway should be protected from drafts with a covering of heavy cloth.

  • Any animal with an outdoor water bowl should have fresh water available at all times. Make sure that water left outside has not frozen. Pets need more water in the winter, as they are using extra energy keeping warm. They also may need more food during colder weather.

  • Keep antifreeze away from your pets, as it can be fatal. It is attractive to animals because it has a sweet smell. Wipe up spills immediately and watch for leaks underneath your car. Also keep rock salt and snow melting chemicals away from areas where your pet may play.

  • Your pet will still need exercise in the cold weather, but only short walks are recommended for dogs. Watch for icy conditions and don't let your dog run off leash, as cars may not be able to stop in time if your dog runs into traffic. Clean off your dog's feet when you return home to remove any ice or snow melting chemicals that you might have picked up on the way.

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