Resources guide for stress

first_imgFeatures list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a… Personnel Today offers a list of resources and references which can help youbetter manage work-related stress in your organisation.Websiteswww.isma.org.uk International StressManagement Association. Charity with a multidisciplinary professionalmembership which promotes sound knowledge and best practice in the preventionand reduction of human stress. National Stress Awareness Day organiserwww.workstress.net aims to educateand raise awareness of work stress and to improve legislation on health, safetyand employment rights in UK and Europewww.stress-ip.co.uk Stress inPerspective. Ethical and professional consultancy providing advice and trainingto help reduce stress in the workplacewww.cipd.co.uk Professional body forthe personnel/human resources sector. Useful links to information on stress atwork, how to tackle it, legal implications and morewww.employment-studies.co.ukConductsresearch into workplace and employment issues, including stress and stressrelated problemswww.theworkfoundation.comGives advice and training on work-life and stress-related issueswww.statistics.gov.uk Officialstatistics, reflecting Britain’s economy, population and society at nationaland local levelwww.hse.gov.uk Health and SafetyExecutivewww.hsebooks.co.uk Good forsearching HSE publications. Some can be downloaded free in pdf formatwww.eoc.org.uk Equal OpportunitiesCommissionwww.acas.org.uk Arbitration andconciliation servicewww.tuc.org.uk Trades Union Congresswww.ilo.org International Labour Office.Provides statistics on working hours conditions etc. See also www.eurofound.ie – the European Foundationfor the Improvement of Living and Working Conditionswww.cbi.org.uk Employers’ organisationwhich offers advice on all aspects of employmentUseful organisations Health and Safety Commission (HSC)Tel: +44 (0) 207 717 6630Fax: +44 (0) 207 717 6644Stress at WorkTel: +44 (0) 1604 259 770Stress Education ServicesTel/Fax: +44 (0) 1560 486888E-mail: [email protected] Andrea Adams TrustTel/Fax: +44 (0) 1273 704900E-mail: [email protected] and Safety ConsultingTel: 07742 633129Email: [email protected] of Occupational Medicine (IOM)Tel: +44 (0) 131 667 5131Fax: +44 (0) 131 667 0136Email: [email protected] of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)Tel: +44 (0) 116 257 3100Fax: +44 (0) 116 257 3101E-mail: Consultants’ Register [email protected] Labour Office (ILO)Tel: +44 (0) 20 7828 6401Fax: +44 (0) 20 7233 5925E-mail: [email protected]/londonPublic Concern at WorkTel: +44 (0) 20 7404 6609Fax: +44 (0) 20 7404 6576E-mail: [email protected] of work, Health and Organisationswww.nottingham.ac.uk/iwhoPublicationswww.stress-management-nl.org/journal2.htmlOfficial publication of the ISMAOccupational HealthLeading monthly for OH professionalsFor subscriptions, phone: 01444 445566Employers’ LawThe monthly insight into the law at workFor subscriptions, phone: 01444 445566Stress in the UK workplaceA comprehensive report on the findings of the October 2003 stress survey bythe Health and Safety Executive and Personnel Today is available now. Price£25. Tel 01371 810433 for more information or e-mail [email protected] Today One Stop Guide to Managing IncapacityTo order a copy go to www.personneltoday.com/goto/18843Personnel Today survey: UK line managers – are they good enough?To order a copy go to www.personneltoday.com/goto/18844Stress and employer liabilityJill Earnshaw and Cary Cooper.CIPD. London. 2001Tackling work related stress: A manager’s guide to improving andmaintaining employee health and well beingSudbury. HSE Books. 2001Organisational interventions for work stressTom Cox, Amanda Griffiths and Claire Barlowe Sudbury. HSE Books. 2001Help on work related stress: a short guideSudbury. HSE Books. 2000Occupational StressIndustrial Society. London. 2001Creating a stress free officeSimon Priest and Jim Welch. Aldershot, Gower. 1998Managing organisational stressNoreen Tehrani. CIPD. London 2002.Available from www.cipd.co.uk/infosource/guidesArticlesTackling the drivers of stress go toHow the NHS is managing stress go to www.doh.gov.uk/iwl/index.htmStress managementFind out what local government workers are doing about stress at www.lg-employers.gov.ukFor a list of stress management consultancies go to www.personneltoday.com/directory Resources guide for stressOn 21 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. center_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:last_img read more

After coronavirus, we must ‘build back better’ on workplace health

first_img No comments yet. Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website Previous Article Next Article Could ‘long Covid’ become the biggest return-to-work challenge yet for OH?Covid-19 is not just a discussion about those who recover from the virus and those, sadly, who do not. A… Photo: Shutterstock As we rebuild our economy post pandemic, employers must not leave behind their renewed focus on employee health and wellbeing, writes Simon Hodgson.It’s now roughly a year since the general election, at which one political party pledged to nationalise the railways, expand the size of the state, and immediately enact reforms to make the welfare system more generous. That party didn’t win the election, but all those things happened anyway.About the authorSimon Hodgson is chair of GRiD’s Public Policy Committee. GRiD (Group Risk Development) is the industry body for the group risk protection sectorWe’ve all been glued to our screens and watched a global pandemic disease ensnare both our economy and the political sphere. Watching leaders across the world attempt to grapple with this gigantic challenge on our behalf has been both terrifying as well as farcical at times – a bit like accidentally taping Contagion over a repeat of Yes, Minister.Despite the difficulties we face now, it makes sense that most aspects of our working lives will return to relative normality in time: meeting clients over coffee, swapping stories at the watercooler, and, unfortunately, catching a crowded train home. But there are some things that shouldn’t go back to how they were.Much of the political debate now centres on how the country will ever deal with the cost of the emergency support package put in place to soften the economic impact of the pandemic – the cost of which had already topped £100bn as quickly as 30 April 2020.Eye-watering cost of ill healthYou might be surprised to learn that ill health that prevents us from working was already such a big problem that in normal times it cost our economy that much every single year – around the same as the total bill for HS2 or over three times the lifetime cost of the UK’s new fleet of Dreadnought-class ballistic missile submarines.Most of this eye-watering annual drain on the economy is lost output, along with around £7bn of unnecessary expenditure in the NHS. It should go without saying that if we hope to not just recover our previous economic position, but to improve growth and productivity, then major reforms will be needed. And they’re long overdue.Take statutory sick pay, for example, which many have been shocked to discover offers workers payments of just £95.85 a week. It’s a system that was introduced while ships were returning from the Falklands War and Morrissey was forming The Smiths, so perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s plenty wrong with the scheme besides the fact it’s not enough to live on: it’s far more complicated than it needs to be, doesn’t account for part-time or flexible working, and leaves out two million workers the TUC calls “too low paid to fall ill”. There must be a way to give British workers better protection than this.Leaving aside financial security, many workers in the UK lack access to the right support they need to stay in work after becoming disabled or adjusting to the impact of a long-term health condition on their job. The government estimates only around half of employees can get even basic occupational health support through their workplace.Lack of access to vocational rehabilitationThe proportion with access to vocational rehabilitation and return-to-work support such as that available with a group income protection policy is sadly smaller still. It can be hard for smaller firms to find impartial information about the services that are out there, not to mention find the funding to give their staff the support they’d like.Government is working hard to resolve these issues and, of course, the occupational health, insurance, and vocational rehabilitation community will do all it can to help.Crucially, what the international evidence shows is the key to tackling sickness absence and keeping disabled people and those with health conditions in sustained employment is the active participation of engaged employers. The good news is that, despite the challenges of the pandemic and its impact on business finances, more employers than ever before are now becoming interested in good work that supports good health.The bad news? Many businesses, having turned to government-backed credit or become reliant on state support for furloughed staff, may be in dire straits and simply not have the bandwidth to continue to prioritise this vitally important issue over the coming years.Facing the government will be a difficult balancing act. On the one hand, demands to limit business distractions and get the economy moving. On the other, a growing consensus behind ensuring people aren’t forced to face hardship in the future if they are unfortunate enough to fall ill, whether from a resurgent coronavirus or otherwise.As business tightens its collective belt, achieving the step change needed is not going to be easy – but, as occupational health practitioners know, there are plenty of things businesses can do to improve workplace health that don’t cost the earth.Value of ‘good’ work in supporting good healthWhat is crucial in the short-term is to sound a clarion call to businesses not to lose focus on the value of ‘good’ work in supporting good health, and early intervention in helping those with a mental or physical health condition to stay in work where they can.We can now come together – as occupational health and vocational rehabilitation experts, policymakers, clinicians, employers, and business organisations – to develop a consensus statement on the importance of creating healthy and inclusive workplaces which allow everyone to reach their full potential and remain in work, recognising the vital role played by employers in supporting the nation’s mental and physical healthPrevious work on a consensus statement for healthcare professionals set the backdrop for a range of successful interventions to deliver “work as a health outcome” – from more training for GPs and undergraduate medical students to the rollout of ‘health and work champions’ across NHS trusts. A PHE evaluation commended it as “symbolic evidence of the importance of the programme across clinical disciplines and government”.We can now come together – as occupational health and vocational rehabilitation experts, policymakers, clinicians, employers, and business organisations – to develop a consensus statement on the importance of creating healthy and inclusive workplaces which allow everyone to reach their full potential and remain in work, recognising the vital role played by employers in supporting the nation’s mental and physical health.Only by working across sectors and in partnership with business and employer organisations can we turn today’s good intentions into tomorrow’s effective action. The pandemic has shown us just how important it is to look after our employees well. We can’t lose sight of that as we build our workplaces back better after the virus.References“UK Covid-19 business bailouts have already cost more than £100bn”, The Guardian, April 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/30/uk-coronavirus-business-bailouts-have-already-cost-more-than-100bn“Work, health and disability green paper data pack”, Department for Work and Pensions, October 2016, pp.15, available online at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/644090/work-health-and-disability-green-paper-data-pack.pdf“High Speed 2 (HS2) costs”, Institute for Government, https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/high-speed-2-costs“Dreadnought submarine programme: factsheet”, Ministry of Defence, February 2018, available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/successor-submarine-programme-factsheet/successor-submarine-programme-factsheet#future-costs“Statutory sick pay”, Department for Work and Pensions, https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay“Millions of low-paid workers don’t qualify for sick pay – and women are worst affected”, TUC, October 2019, https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/millions-low-paid-workers-dont-qualify-sick-pay-and-women-are-worst-affected“Health is everyone’s business Proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss”, Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, July 2019, pp.14. Available online at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/815944/health-is-everyones-business-proposals-to-reduce-ill-health-related-job-loss.pdf“Work as a Health Outcome: a qualitative assessment of the influence of the Health and Work Champions pilot programme and the clinical consensus statement”, Public Health England, October 2020, pp.6. Available online at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/923531/PHE__HWMC_Evaluation__2_.pdf Related posts: After coronavirus, we must ‘build back better’ on workplace healthOn 20 Nov 2020 in Coronavirus, OH service delivery, Return to work and rehabilitation, Sickness absence management, Occupational Health, Personnel Today Returning to work after brain injury: unpicking five myths and challengesThree experts in this field debunk some common myths around returning to work following a brain injury or stroke. It…last_img read more

Risk exposure trade-offs in the ontogeny of sexual segregation in Antarctic fur seal pups

first_imgSexual segregation has important ecological implications, but its initial development in early life stages is poorly understood. We investigated the roles of size dimorphism, social behavior, and predation risk on the ontogeny of sexual segregation in Antarctic fur seal, Arctocephalus gazella, pups at South Georgia. Beaches and water provide opportunities for pup social interaction and learning (through play and swimming) but increased risk of injury and death (from other seals, predatory birds, and harsh weather), whereas tussock grass provides shelter from these risks but less developmental opportunities. One hundred pups were sexed and weighed, 50 on the beach and 50 in tussock grass, in January, February, and March annually from 1989 to 2018. Additionally, 19 male and 16 female pups were GPS-tracked during lactation from December 2012. Analysis of pup counts and habitat use of GPS-tracked pups suggested that females had a slightly higher association with tussock grass habitats and males with beach habitats. GPS-tracked pups traveled progressively further at sea as they developed, and males traveled further than females toward the end of lactation. These sex differences may reflect contrasting drivers of pup behavior: males being more risk prone to gain social skills and lean muscle mass and females being more risk averse to improve chances of survival, ultimately driven by their different reproductive roles. We conclude that sex differences in habitat use can develop in a highly polygynous species prior to the onset of major sexual size dimorphism, which hints that these sex differences will increasingly diverge in later life.last_img read more

Hong Kong Jockey Wins On First U.S. Mount At Ellis Park;

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare HENDERSON, Ky. (Sunday, July 30, 2017) — You couldn’t hardly find a more juxtaposed racetrack from the two in skyscaper-crammed Hong Kong (population 7.3 million and with the world’s largest betting pools) than Ellis Park, with its soybeans and now also corn and pumpkins in its infield.But the track affectionately called the Pea Patch is where Hong Kong-based jockey Keith Yeung had his first American mount — and win — Sunday, guiding favored Flying Tipat to neck victory amid a swarm to the wire of the $42,000 turf allowance feature. Young, 29, also finished third in his second mount, aboard Iconic in a maiden race. Both horses are trained by Dale Romans.Yeung has won races in Hong Kong, Macau and Australia but had never even visited the United States until he flew into Louisville via Chicago a week after the Hong Kong season ended July 16. He’s scheduled to be here two more weeks, working horses at Churchill Downs for Romans and riding some at Ellis Park.“It was exciting,” he said, adding in reference to Romans’ partner Tammy Fox, “I said to Tammy in the parade ring, it feels like the first time I was on a racehorse in Australia. I was so excited, my heart was pumping. I was really excited for this trip and getting on a horse in the race. Fortunately I won the race — and nothing better than this.”Yeung’s tie to America is Fox’s brother Billy, who as a jockey rode in Hong Kong, including for one of the trainers for which Yeung now works. Yeung said he tried to visit America a couple of years ago but couldn’t get the proper visa in time.The jockey said you can’t compare Ellis Park to Hong Kong’s two racecourses: the urban Happy Valley and Sha Tin, where all the horses are stabled in multiple-story barns — a necessity with land at such a premium. That’s quite the contrast to Ellis Park, with its surrounding farmland.“Tammy told me this is a really country track,” Yeung said. “I like it here. I enjoy the atmosphere. It’s relaxing. Back home it’s more like a betting place; we enjoy racing but we’re more into the betting. But here they come with their family and children. Perfect!”“He’s a world-class jockey — showing up at Ellis Park,” Romans, who visited Hong Kong in 2013, said by phone from Saratoga. “The takeaway is that Ellis Park is getting bigger and bigger on the world stage. Everything about Ellis is on a major upswing.… Happy Valley is right in the center of downtown, like being in Times Square. And Ellis Park is in the center of a cornfield. It just goes to show that horse racing is popular no matter where you go.”Flying Tipat, the 2-1 favorite owned by Louisville businessman Frank Jones, covered 1 1/16 miles on turf in 1:43.09, the 5-year-old Tapit mare’s final sixteenth clipping six seconds to edge Pour Girl and jockey Sophie Doyle by a neck, with Deedeezee and Assembly losing by a total of a half-length.“She always shows speed and she’s an honest horse, giving it her best,” Yeung said of Flying Tipat. “We’re happy she won this race. At the 800 meters when the leaders stopped, I got a beautiful run behind them and was lucky enough to get there at the finish line.”It was Flying Tipat’s third win in 25 starts, with three seconds and four thirds. “She’s not an easy horse to ride,” Romans said. “I thought he did a good job.”Yeung is scheduled to ride at Ellis Friday and Saturday for Romans.“I think I’ve been staying home too long,” he said. “I decided it was time for me to go and look around the world and see if I can improve myself.”Yeung won the $42,000 allowance feature before a large and festive crowd that included many children enjoyed a sun-kissed day with low humidity.“It’s beautiful,” the jockey told Ellis Park owner Ron Geary. “Like before when I was riding in Australia, I was riding at track in Melbourne. They don’t have a crowd like this. Here, there was more fun, more joy than I was expecting. I was really surprised to see this.” Hong Kong Jockey Wins On first U.S. Mount At Ellis Park;last_img read more

Donald Trump is too interesting to be the president

first_imgDear Editor:As dean of the newly established University of Hope (partly fictional, and partly real: at least as a concept), I’d like to award Mike Tyson an honorary doctorate in philosophy.  For his prescient statement during the presidential campaign, which bears revisiting now with a deeper analysis: “Barack Obama was America’s first black president.  Donald Trump will be our first interesting president.”The only problem is, boring presidents tend to be much better.  Consider how honest Abe Lincoln would’ve played on TV.  “Four score and seven years ago…”  Snooze.  A national lunge for the channel changer.  Isn’t anything else on?  Big ratings drop.  Overnights: really bad.Dwight Eisenhower, one of America’s most reassuringly boring presidents, guided America to peace and prosperity in the fabulous fifties.  He was a rock of grandfatherly stability.  Nobody ever accused Ike of being overly charismatic.  Neither Jimmy Carter, with his Mr. Rogers cardigan sweaters, who confessed the “sin” of a mere lustful thought, and whose idea of a good time in his post-presidency was to build houses for the poor and teach Sunday school at his local church.  Not exactly “Dancing with the Stars” material.I have a theory about Donald Trump.  Like all of us, he hungers for basic human love and recognition—two things that, according to the great 20th century intellectual Erich Fromm (truly great, not dumbed down, trumped up, Madison ave. “great”), are harder to come by in an alienated capitalistic society.  So even though Trump became famous, as a celebrity businessman and reality show star, it wasn’t enough.  He hungered for more.  It’s even quite possible that, somewhere deep in his heart, Trump really does want what’s best for our country.  Though that’s harder to believe given the Republican health care plan, which he supported, that will result in poor people dying so the rich can get richer.My main point in this essay, though, is to suggest that the presidency is best suited to a more gray, plodding, bureaucratic personality than Trump.  I see Trump as more of an actor.  What if, instead of going to military school and a business college, he had fallen in with theater people instead?  As strange as it seems, somewhere, trapped deep within the crusty external “tough guy businessman,” there may be a magical artist trying to get out.  An experimental performer, still destined for Hollywood and Broadway, pioneering a new genre in spontaneous oratory married to a political sensibility. So I’d like to suggest an even more interesting career change for Trump.  Not just for our sake, but for his.  He’s already starting to look older, due to the overwhelming job stress of the presidency.  I think he’d be happier running a TV network, turning Trump University into a political think tank, and starring in movies and in “Trump on Broadway.”  Look, he’d even be closer to home; and to much better restaurants.  It would also prevent this essentially bureaucratic job from making him boring.John Bredinlast_img read more

Sister Spotlight: Sister Veronique Wiedower reflects on order’s mission and impact

first_imgEditor’s Note: Sister Spotlight is an effort by the Saint Mary’s News Department to shed light on the shared experience of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s College students. We will be sharing the mission and stories of the sisters in an on-going series.Sister M. Veronique Wiedower, president of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, reflected on the history and mission of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and how this applied to her own vocation. “Four sisters came here from Le Mans, France, in 1843 and began to work with Fr. Sorin. Their dream was always to start a school for girls, as well as boys,” she said. “In 1844, they founded Saint Mary’s College.” The Holy Cross mission has always tried to meet the needs of the community and address the issues of the times, Wiedower said. “We don’t have a specific apostolic ministry. But, in general, the Holy Cross mission believes that as a congregation we need to be attentive to the signs of the times and what is going on in the places we are,” Wiedower said. “Then we can meet the needs of the people as much as we can.”Now, the sisters work in a variety of different fields, helping to improve the lives of those in need. “Today, the sisters are doing education, healthcare, social ministries, parish ministries and are helping anybody who has a need,” she said. “So we work with immigration law and women who have been trafficked because those are the issues of today.”The Sisters of the Holy Cross work on four different continents and provide care and benefits to the people they work with. “We are in Asia, in the countries of Bangladesh and Northeast India. In Africa, we work in Ghana and Uganda,” she said. “In South America, we’re in Brazil and Peru, and in the United States and Mexico.” The mission of the Holy Cross resonated early on with Wiedower, and she decided that she wanted to be part of this community.“When I began to think about my own vocation and in life and decided that religious life might be something that God was calling me to, I looked at religious congregations that had similar values to what I thought was important,” she said. “One of those values was family, and being able to help people and in situations where they were. That’s who I wanted to be, engaged in helping others and doing something that made me happy.” Wiedower attended Saint Mary’s College and graduated with a degree in music before getting her masters in Theology and teaching religion. “After I graduated from college, I started out teaching music in high schools, teaching glee club, band [and] pep band for basketball and football games. … Then I was asked to work with seminarians who needed help with music for liturgy,” she said. “So I attended the University of Notre Dame and got my masters in Liturgical Studies and Theology. I got into liturgy planning and religious formation work. That is what I have spent the second part of my career and religious vocation doing.”Five years ago, Wiedower was elected president of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. She said this has helped her continue to live out her vocation and mission. “The role of the president is to assist in providing the resources that are needed for our sisters to have spiritual and apostolate vitality to be rooted in their religious life,” she said. “As president, I get to help people to see what are the resources that they need in order to be happy, holy, religious and able to serve God’s people where they find themselves in whatever situations that might be.” Wiedower believes her education at Saint Mary’s helped prepare her for her vocation in many different ways, and that this applies to all students in this community. “Saint Mary’s College also prepares you for life. I think it prepares you to look at situations to think critically, to make good decisions, to take risks in terms of looking at something new in your life,” she said. “When I was elected into leadership, it wasn’t something that I had done before. But I think that life in the congregation, the mentoring and support I received throughout my life and my education prepared me to say ‘I think I can do this.’”Wiedower hopes giving the sisters a platform to connect with the students will allow both groups of the community to grow with each other.“The hardest thing is that students don’t always see the sisters as people like [them],” she said. “I hope that this series can help students learn more about the sisters and what we’re doing around the world, things that they’re involved in. I hope that they can learn to see us as women who can inspire them, but also know that we too are inspired by the students. I hope both groups can see this relationship as a mutual accompaniment of each other on this journey of life.”Tags: Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, sister spotlight,Sister M. Veronique Wiedower, president of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, reflected on the history and mission of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross and how this applied to her own vocation.last_img read more

SPC Course.

first_imgPoultry plants already use Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point plans to ensure the safety of their products. Now, they can use Statistical Process Control to make their HACCP plans even better. A three-day University of Georgia course April 12-14 will show how processors can use SPC tools to make their food products safer and their profits higher. The short course will be at the UGA Center for Continuing Education in Athens, Ga. A $595 fee covers all materials and supplies, refreshment breaks and three lunches. To learn more about the course, or to sign up, contact the county Extension Service office. Or call Bill Hurst at (706) 542-2574. Or e-mail [email protected]last_img read more

Stalking the Apple Harvest Along 550 Miles of Virginia’s Appalachian Trail, Part 1

first_imgbrom.3 (1)A week or so back Annie started getting this craving for salads—breakfast, lunch, dinner, in between. It was compulsory. Fringing on the neurotic. After a few days of this, it occurred to me her subconscious was likely instigating the salad binge, a reaction to the fact that, for the next give-or-take 12 weeks, as she section-hikes over 550 miles of Virginia’s Appalachian Trail, she will be living predominantly off tofu jerky, ramen noodles, homemade trail-mix, protein shakes, bags of tuna fish, dehydrated fruits and meals of the just-add-water variety.Thus, up until Friday, August 16 when, after years of consideration and umpteen overnight, weekend, and week-long getaways, she trucked it down to the southwestern-most tip of the state, setting out from Damascus on her trek to cover every mile of the Virginia quarter of the Appalachian Trail, she was milking the veggie bender for all it was worth.Hiking the AT, it’s one of those things lots of people talk about doing—that is, if it wasn’t for the kids, job, mortgage, automobiles, in short, the so-called myriad responsibilities binding them to the concrete geographical realities of hearth and home. Similarly, having saved the money, gotten herself mentally fortified, arranged her business obligations in such a way as to enable her to make the trip, still Laura was wavering. However, upon paying a visit to her 92 year old grandmother, waxing into a somewhat worried explanation of what it was she (Annie) was considering, with a curt and dismissive wave, Grandmother responded: “You should go. It would likely be the best thing you could do in your life.”brom.1 (1)Matriarch and homemaker for almost three-quarters of a century, Grandmother—Minerva Torrence—had devoted her life to serving as a pillar of domestic stability. Confronted by this unexpected blessing, a deep calm fell over Laura.“As I face my 34th birthday,” she told me, “I’m trying to accept and come to terms with my infertility. That moment, sitting at the kitchen table with my grandmother, something clicked. Section-hiking the Appalachian Trail felt like the best thing I could possibly do for myself.”“As with many a walk in the woods,” she went on, “I see this trip as a spiritual journey. A cleansing journey to rid myself of toxins—”after years of being a smoker, with the help of the abundant fresh air, Laura plans on quitting cold-turkey. “And it’s professional as well. On the one hand, I’ve committed myself to carrying my camera and working with you on this weekly column for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, and will have a photo essay featured in AT Journeys Magazine. On the other, artistically speaking, I’ll be taking numerous self-portraits, and meeting with models along the way, hopefully having that culminate in a gallery event sometime in January or February of 2015.”But back to logistics:For the first week, she will be traveling without a tent, “Thereby lightening my load, enabling me to build a tolerance, and ease into the strain of walking with my photography gear.”What she means is: Rather than a traditional backpacking setup, inspired by the Blue Ridge’s ripening apples, the solitude of the season (this time of year thru-hiker traffic will have slowed to a trickle), historic sights, and iconic summits, she’ll be tucking her Canon DSLR Mark II (affectionately known as ‘Mark’) inside her Lowepro Dry Zone—a high-end, waterproof camera bag designed for brief and intensive excursions—composing photos all along the way. In order to pull this off, she will basically be repurposing the bag—storing her water bladder in the pack’s laptop compartment; instead of additional lenses, carrying a homemade aluminum burner, denatured alcohol, quick-dry towel, and a change of clothes; rather than a tripod, when her tent arrives (at the end of week one), it will be strapped to the face of her pack.“For the next twelve weeks,” she explains, her eyes reflecting the shimmering blues of the Damascus horizon, “my only job is to walk, stay dry, hydrated, and sane. To take pictures. To carry a journal. Each step will be rooted and stabilized in the simple act of breathing. I’m looking forward to waking to the misty sunrises, to fellowship with the trees and the wind, to scaling the ancient peaks, to staring down into valleys, to hiking in the moonlight.”From Damascus to Harperʼs Ferry, she’s purchased her ticket. Now comes The Ride.–Eric J. Wallace is a freelance writer and journalist roaming the state of Virginia. For more info, email him at [email protected]–To follow Annie’s adventure more closely, visit www.instagram.com/621_studios where, each morning, she will be posting a photo, documenting her progress, and offering behind the scenes shots of the self-portrait project she will be undertaking along the way. For additional info., bookings, print-sales, upcoming projects, newsletters, or just to say hello, visit 621studios.com.brom.2 (1)last_img read more

What if “ABSURD!” was a good thing?

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Sean McDonaldBeing good at your business isn’t enough. There, I’ve said it. In order to compete, you need to go way way way beyond good. You need to go way way way beyond great. You need to go way way way beyond excellent. In fact, you need to reach the realm of the ABSURD! But doesn’t ABSURD! mean crazy or insane? Sure, if you only use it in negative contexts. But ABSURD! has another meaning and we’re going to redefine it.How so? Well, for one, consumers simply don’t accept mediocre (that is, good) anymore. They want fabulous, ground-breaking, and out-of-this-world. If you don’t believe me, listen to the consumers themselves. They’re telling us exactly what they expect – they’re talking to the press, they’re talking to your competitors, and they’re even telling you. But are you listening? If you are, you know that they want absurd!Here are 4 things that should be ABSURD! at your organization.Commitment – Absurdly committed professionals are top of the line, hard to get, and even harder to keep. They have a definite outcome in mind when they start out. The very act of committing to a task or initiative is sacred to them. They treat commitments very seriously and they are at their best when teamed with like-minded colleagues. continue reading »last_img read more

Battle lines are drawn in fiduciary regulations fight

first_imgby: Todd BerghuisLong ago, in distant elementary and junior high school days, some of the most galvanizing words on the playground or in the neighborhood were heard in the battle cry “Fight…fight..”  Brawls major or minor have always had the power to stir the blood and draw a crowd.  Back then, the motivation was likely to be nothing more serious than someone’s wounded pride, pecking order conflicts, or the mistaken belief that the opposite sex was impressed by such macho behavior.  Times change, and we hopefully outgrow the need for those juvenile tests of strength and will.  But that doesn’t mean that the appetite for combativeness goes completely away.  It’s a part of everyday life, from the competitiveness of business to the sparring of politics and policy making.  We’ve been treated to a classic demonstration of this combativeness in the aftermath of the Department of Labor’s April release of proposed regulations on – how apropos – “conflicted investment advice,” much better-known as fiduciary definition regulations.The avowed intent of these regulations is to assure that those saving for retirement receive investment advice that is in their best interest, not advice biased in some manner that favors the advisor over the saver.  Proponents believe some version of these regulations will do this.  Opponents believe the rules as proposed will result in such advisor anxiety over possible fiduciary liability that smaller investors – particularly IRA investors – will be left without the investment advice they need. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more