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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

The Ins and Outs of Free Writing Contests (free writing contests) Free writing contests are available by the thousands. They are virtually a dime a dozen on the Internet. No matter what your niche is in the writing community there is a free writing contests out there for you. How do you know which ones to enter and which ones are legitimate? That?s simple. You do what you do best-- research. While providing the story for the free writing contest will probably be the easy part, researching the thousands of available contests will be a daunting task. If this is un-chartered water for you, you have the start at the beginning. Finding what free writing contests are available. Grab a notebook or start a word document and list the contests that are available. Beside each contest name you will want to put what kind of writing they are looking for and when it needs to be done by. By doing this first you will be able to eliminate any that do not coincide with your writing niche or with your schedule. Now the free writing contest research begins. Finding out if a contest is worthwhile and legitimate is comparable to running a background check on a person. First check the contest website. Do they have all contact information available? Do they tell you what company is hosting the contest? If they are not, you will have likely found warning number one that it is a scam. So scratch those off your list or at least move them to the bottom until you can find out more information on them. Start asking around to colleagues and writers groups. Search the writing forums and the Internet scam sites. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to look. Once you narrowed the free writing contests down to the legitimate ones, read the contest rules and regulations. Some contests require you signing over all rights to a story even if you don?t win. Are you willing to do this? Giving up rights to you writing is a lot easier to do when you are getting something in return. After you enter there is no going back, so make sure this is what you want to do. The final thing you need to look for is if the contest is just a cover up to get you to buy services or products. This does not necessarily mean they are a scam or don?t actually award winners. It simply means that they will try to entice you to use their critiquing services or offer you a book at a reduced fee that your work will be published in. Being published sounds like a great deal but is it a book that carries prestige that people are going to see? Many authors think that writing contests will launch their career into a successful endeavor. This is not the case, especially for free writing contests. Even winning the grand prize of a smaller known contest is not going to affect your literary journey. Even though they may not springboard your career, there are good reasons to join writing contests. You will get unbiased opinions and valuable feedback from the judges. If you make it into the higher rounds, editors could also see your writing. Ultimately whether you enter a free writing contest the choice is yours. Just ask you self if the time spent writing and researching the piece you choose to enter is worth writing for free in most cases. The critique and feedback may be the most worthwhile thing you receive from the contest. But then again the judges opinions are a dime a dozen just like the contests.

People caught of copyright infringement Why Are People Caught of Copyright Infringement? When you hear of people caught of copyright infringement, many different things can happen to them. First of all, copyright infringement is both a civil and criminal crime, so people caught of copyright infringement are likely to get both sued and tried in criminal court. Because of the nature of copyright laws, if and when people are caught of copyright infringement, it?s likely that they will get repercussions from far and wide. First of all, people are always looking for people violating copyright laws. Copyright owners and/or agents surf the internet, so they may find the violations themselves. Usually, is someone finds that people are violating their copyright rights, they?ll notify the person or entities involved and ask that they take the content down, if it?s available on the Internet. They do this by either asking the person directly to take it down, or demanding of the website server to take it down (which they will, immediately, and probably suspend the account) If the person or entity hosting the violation doesn?t take it down, more serious actions will be taken, such as a lawsuit or criminal charge. People caught for copyright infringement do not automatically go to jail, although some entities like major television, music, and movie publishers and distribution channels may lead you to believe otherwise. For the example of YouTube.com, there are many people caught for copyright infringement, but they only need to take down the material. In many cases, YouTube.com will take the material down before the poster (the person who put the copyrighted information on the site to begin with) has a chance to see the warning. Other times, a work will be present on a peer to peer file sharing service, such as Kazaa or Napster, and the host of said service will blame the end user (you!). So, even if you found a file on a file sharing service, such as Kazaa, doesn?t mean the copyright is open for you to take it. Many people caught of copyright infringement have been found through these peer to peer networks, and it has been found time and again that the user that downloads the material gets charged and not the file sharing service. Be careful, if you are ever to use a peer to peer service such as Kazaa (or bit torrent, which is the code/program for another type of peer to peer file distribution tool) that you?re only downloading, and sharing, items that aren?t copyrighted works ? or you could be punished severely. Sometimes, people are caught of file sharing from their IP addresses ? because they download something from a secure site, their servers can track your IP address (your unique location on the internet, four sets of numbers, separated by periods, with at most three numbers in each set ? i.e. 216.239.51.100 which is the IP address of Google.com). So even if you think you?ve bypassed the copyright law, you can still be found years later by tracing that IP address. There are many ways to find people caught of copyright infringement, you can search through Google.com or look through newspaper databases. One thing, however, remains the same in all these cases ? the people are downloading, sharing, or in some other way using copyrighted materials. The only problem is, especially in the internet age, is that even if you?re using something anonymously, you can still be tracked ? and prosecuted ? for the infringement. Be careful, in all you download or use, have the rights to use the item ? sometimes it?s as simple as asking permission that will keep you from getting sued or sent to jail.

Judging by Appearance ? It Happens in the Workplace This is one of the old sayings that really does come true, the clothes do make a person. What does it mean? For many people, it means that people judge by the clothes you wear. This is especially true in the workplace, but also for everyday life. Many companies nowadays have a dress policy in place to keep the appearances at work up. Reasons why companies have dress policies are of a great variety. Here is a review. One of the biggest reasons for companies to require nice appropriate clothing at least in their office area is visiting customers. If your employees need to be in contact with customers on daily or weekly bases or if customers do visit your offices in general, it is important that your employees make a good first impression. First impressions are very much guided by what you are wearing, your facial impressions and body posture. Therefore, if your customer see your employees working on their desks, it is important that the employees are dressed appropriately. For most workplaces this means a button down or polo shirt, dress pants or casual dress pants. In some instances, it is important for the employees to wear a tie and suit. For women, the codes are equivalent what the style of the clothing is referring to. Imagine what would happen if a customer comes into a company and the employee receiving the customer wears dirty, spotty, old and ripped clothes. In society that does not make a good impression, then the customer will most likely not want to do business with you. Another reason of why companies and employers would judge by your appearance is called professionalism. In the picture of professionalism at the workplace includes good appropriate clothing. It belongs to being a good employee as much as doing your job right and being polite and respectful to your boss and colleagues at your workplace. In society much is judged by the way you dress. If you have ever walked into one of the better department stores with a set of old, worn clothes, what kind of response do you get from the sales person? Often times they think you do not have enough money to buy here anyways and that is the way they treat you. They may not even give you the time of day, even if you have a lot of money. They judge you by what you have on and this is certainly the case in the workplace as well. If you want to project a good image, then take a good look at what you wear before you step out of your door in the morning. There are many places where a dress code is required or expected, such as the church, the opera, the theater, better restaurants and many other places. The workplace is just one of many and whether you like it or not, appropriate clothing is what can make or keep you get the job. Many Internet sites, books and people that offer advice on interviews and getting that job, will emphasize the importance of nice appropriate clothing and the impact it can have when you wear something that stands out from the crowd. Most people have been raised to think that proper dress attire is what you should wear at work, but for some it still is more a mystery to them than anything else.