5 Red Flags That You Might Actually Not Want That Job

Getting into the interview phase is often such a struggle that you may feel like you need to take any job offer that comes your way. In practice, though, a bad job can prove even more disastrous than waiting a little longer for another option.

Keep reading to learn some red flags to watch for when interviewing.

Your Duties Are Vague

You need clear information about a job and the expectations attached to it before you can make a good decision. If the interviewer can’t give you a clear set of duties, it means they haven’t thought the job through. It may also mean they haven’t thought through how you’ll be evaluated in the job. That’s a recipe for an unhappy work life.

Terrible Reviews

No employer will get stellar reviews from every former employee. That being said, most ex-employees won’t take the time and effort involved to craft a negative employer review unless their experience was truly awful. Multiple negative employer reviews are a clear sign of a toxic workplace. Steer clear.

They Dodge Your Questions

Every candidate should have at least two or three questions to ask during the interview. If nothing else, ask about where you’ll be working specifically or who you report to day to day. These kinds of basic questions should get answered immediately. If not, it could be a sign of trouble.

Expect You to Take the Job on the Spot

Unless you’re interviewing with a dream company for a dream position and a dream salary, no employer should expect you to take a job on the spot. This is especially true if the job includes relocating. An employer should be willing to give you a little time to think it over and discuss things with your spouse or partner.

They Actively Lie

It’s one thing for a hiring manager to overlook telling you something. It happens. It’s almost always an innocent mistake. It’s something else entirely if they tell you something that proves false.

You Might Not Want That Job

Getting an interview is a big step, but it’s not the only thing you should consider. You can run into situations where getting a job offer isn’t a good thing. Keep your eyes open for the red flags listed above. You could save yourself some serious frustration and a bad work situation.

5 Social Media Red Flags That Could Cost You the Job

Businesses and recruiters don’t just use social media as a way to find applicants. Around 43% also use it as a screening tool to weed out candidates. That begs the question: What are the social media red flags I should avoid? Keep reading and we’ll give some of the biggest red flags to avoid.

Illicit Drugs

While pictures of you drinking a beer with friends won’t kill your interview chances anymore, almost anything related to illicit drugs will hurt you a lot. Like or not, your after-work behaviors can impact your company’s brand image. No business wants an association with illicit drugs. That goes for liking posts about drugs as well.
Takeaway: You can like or support whatever you want, privately, but public announcements on social media make it fair game to disqualify you.

Complaining About Work

The occasional post about having a bad day at work probably won’t raise any eyebrows. If you posted complaints about your old job or employer on a regular basis, though, it can make potential employers nervous. Constant negative posts can make other potential candidates not apply for jobs at a company.

Charged Political Posts

As a general rule, most companies avoid associating themselves with any political position or party. Businesses can’t and won’t tell employees not to be involved in politics. That being said, they don’t want employees creating a hostile work environment with any brand of political speech.
Takeaway: Confine political posts to general comments, such as encouraging others to vote. Avoid bashing any specific politician or even bashing a political party.

Vulgarity

Off-color jokes and cursing might be fine at the local bar, but it doesn’t belong on your social media profiles. Recruiters view the overall tone of your posts as a sign of what to expect once you’re on the job site. Most employers and staffing agencies aren’t interested in hiring someone who curses constantly or uses crude humor.

Misspellings and Bad Grammar

It might seem trivial, but it’s not. Lots of typos and bad grammar send a clear message to businesses, staffing agencies and recruiters that you don’t value clear communication. Good communication skills are one of the top soft skills every employer looks for in a candidate. It’s a particularly avoidable problem, given that most computers and phones come with spellcheck features.
Takeaway: If spelling and grammar aren’t your strong suit, use spellcheck and look for a free grammar checker like Grammarly that will help you clean up those posts.

Make Sure You Use Social Media Correctly

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you land a job if you use it the right way. Avoid common mistakes like drug references and charged political speech. Instead, focus on subjects like training programs, volunteer efforts or your kids’ sporting events.

These Soft Skills Will Get You Hired

Your hard skills play a role in getting you the interview, but they won’t get you the job by themselves. These days, employers look for candidates who already have good soft skills. Why? Soft skills make people more effective on the job, for one. They’re also very hard to teach and all but impossible to teach quickly. So, which soft skills are most likely to get you hired?

Teamwork

Businesses don’t really employ individuals. They employ teams. Businesses expect the people on these teams to work together to achieve their goals. People who routinely show up late, for example, don’t make good team players. Showing up late inconveniences everyone on their team. People who make useful suggestions often make excellent team players.
Takeaway: Think of examples of times when you were a good team player that you can discuss in interviews.

Communication

Good communication doesn’t mean tossing out $10 words all the time or talking at length. Most people have worked with someone who talked a lot but never made a clear point. Good communication means you can explain your thoughts or the steps in a process clearly. Businesses place a premium on good communication skills because they make the work run smoother.

Problem Solving

No matter how well-run a business is, problems still happen. Equipment breaks down or people call out at the last second. All too often, work slows or even stops in these situations. If you can think your way around these kinds of issues, businesses want you.
Takeaway: Not confident about your problem-solving skills? Take up a hobby like playing an instrument or learning a second language to boost those skills.

Accepting Feedback

Getting feedback can prove a trying experience for you and your supervisor. Poorly delivered feedback can feel like open criticism and put people on the defensive. Even when poorly delivered, the whole point of feedback is improvement. Businesses want employees who can take feedback in the spirit of improving performance. Learn that skill and you move right up the list of preferred candidates.

Conflict Management

You can’t avoid workplace conflict. If you’re aiming for a supervisory or leadership role, however, start honing your conflict management skills. Businesses shell out more than $350 billion a year dealing with conflict in the workplace. If you can help reduce those costs even a little by preventing problems from escalating, you become an invaluable resource.
Takeaway: If you don’t already know conflict management techniques, start learning and practicing them.

Practice Your Soft Skills

Businesses know they probably can’t teach you soft skills fast enough to make a real difference. That means you must work on them yourself ahead of time. Look for hobbies or volunteering opportunities that let you practice soft skills in a low-stakes situation.

The Smartest Managers Hire People Who Are Smarter Than Them

The Smartest Managers Hire People Who Are Smarter Than Them

 

Nobody’s an expert at EVERYTHING — business is simply too complex and fast changing! Whether you engage them for an assignment or hire them full time, here’s how to effectively manage people with more experience or knowledge than youT– and make yourself, your team and your company even more successful:

Leading a team full of smart people is important for your personal success. However, it can be intimidating to manage people who have learned and achieved more than you. The key is to take the right approach so everyone pulls in the same direction.

Don’t Let Them See You Sweat

It is normal to feel nervous about hiring and managing people who might be smarter or more experienced than you. You can feel the fear, but take care not to let it show. You must project confidence at all times if you want others to feel comfortable with your abilities as a leader. When it comes to confidence, however, you must walk a fine line. If you aren’t careful, confidence can come across as arrogance.

Address Issues Swiftly

If you catch buzz that a member of your team is unhappy working for someone with less experience or knowledge, don’t let that buzz get out of hand. Even one openly hostile employee can quickly destroy morale, spreading ill will through the group.

Sit down with that employee for an open and honest conversation as soon as you’re made aware of the situation. Take care not to be hostile or defensive. Open by saying, “I know that you have X more years of experience than I do, and I understand that you’ve got some concerns about that.” Let the employee know you are there to support them, and find out what they want from you and do your best to provide that support.

Honesty Is the Best Policy

When your reports ask you a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t avoid the question and by all means, don’t lie. Offering poor direction or giving an answer that is just plain wrong can put you in a bad position, it could put the employee in a bad position, and it could lead to loss of respect among your team.

When someone has a question you can’t answer, do the same thing you’d want your employees to do in that scenario. Tell them you aren’t positive of the answer, but you’ll track down the correct answer ASAP — and then get to work finding it.

Solicit Input, Ideas and Feedback

Employees who have been with the company for a decade or more have been on the front lines of change. They’ve witnessed the evolution of processes and management, and they have seen what works and what doesn’t work for the department and the organization.

During one-on-one meetings with your team members, actively solicit feedback and input from experienced employees. When you are faced with a challenge, crowdsource ideas and input from the group, especially those who have been there the longest.

Don’t Micromanage

Micromanaging can be tempting, but great managers give their teams the space to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Delegate strategically, assigning tasks that align with each employee’s strengths — then trust them with that responsibility.

You must also remember that you were hired to lead the team. Just because you’ve got direct reports with more experience does not mean they should run the show. You’re still in charge of keeping the ship righted, so give them room to do the job, but don’t let them run roughshod over you as a leader.

When In Doubt, Ask for Advice

Hopefully, you have a mentor or close members of your professional network with whom you can share ideas, vent frustrations and celebrate successes. These people are incredibly important on your leadership journey and they can be a terrific sounding board. Don’t be afraid to tap this network when you need to. Schedule a weekly breakfast, coffee date or lunch with your mentor(s) to stay connected to your network and receive objective advice when you need it.

Be a Development Advocate

If you hire and manage people who are smarter and more experienced than you are, take an active interest in helping them grow their careers as well. During one-on-one meetings, familiarize yourself with each team member’s career goals. Identify people who want to take the next step, and help them map out a plan to get there.

Smart leaders hire smart employees. Pull from their experience and use them strategically to set yourself and your team on the path to success.

Give Thanks!

30 Days of Giving Thanks!

Give Thanks! November is 30 Days of Giving Thanks at Gallman Consulting!  As the holidays approach with much hustle and bustle, we would like to encourage you to thoughtfully commit acts of kindness in your workplace, home and community.

We wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!

#givethanks #30daysofgivingthanks

 

Random Acts of Kindness!

When you commit a random act of kindness, you not only touch the life of the recipient, but you inspire others to be kind, too.

Baudville has put together the list below of no and low-cost ideas to inspire kindness.

 

“NO COST ACTS OF KINDNESS

These random acts of kindness only require your presence and a smile!

 

1. Hold the door open for the person behind you.

2. Brush snow off someone else’s car in the parking lot.

3. Shovel your neighbor’s sidewalk.

4. Pick up litter.

5. Babysit for free.

6. Leave baked goods in the mailbox for your mailman.

7. Donate a used book to your local library.

8. Send an ePraise to someone.

9. Return shopping carts to the store.

10. Run an errand for a neighbor.

11. Send a card to someone serving in the military overseas.

12. Help someone pick up items they dropped.

13. Donate clothes to Goodwill or Salvation Army.

14. Bake cookies for your coworkers.

15. Volunteer at a local charity.

16. Write and mail a thank you card.

17. Donate blood.

18. Collect canned goods for a food pantry.

19. Bring in your neighbor’s garbage can.

20. Let someone cut in front of you in line.

21. Give your leftovers from dining out to someone on the street.

22. Smile at strangers!

23. Say hello to the person next to you.

24. Give a compliment.

25. Help someone who is stranded on the side of the road.

26. Organize a group of friends to do yard work for a neighbor who is unable to do it themselves.

27. Clean up after yourself and someone else.

28. Invite someone who may be alone over for dinner.

29. Give someone a hug.

30. Encourage a child.

31. Praise your boss.

32. Write an inspirational quote on a post-it and put it on the bathroom mirror in your office.

33. Help someone before they ask.

34. Hold the elevator for someone running behind.

35. Introduce yourself to someone new.

36. Mow your neighbor’s yard.

37. Visit a local nursing home. Give handmade cards to all the residents.

38. Surprise a coworker with a free Baudville Print and Post with a handwritten note on the back.

39. Donate your time and skills to a local organization.

40. Take a box of hats, gloves, and scarves to a school for kids who need something warm.

41. Share your umbrella with someone who doesn’t have one.

42. Read to a child, or let the child read to you!

 

LOW COST ACTS OF KINDNESS

These random acts of kindness require a little funding but will make big change!

 

43. Add change to random parking meters.

44. Pay past due library fees for another person.

45. Buy the coffee for the person behind you in line.

46. Put change in a vending machine or tape a quarter to the machine for the next person.

47. Buy a pack of gum or mints for the grocery store checkout clerk.

48. Tape scratch-off lottery tickets to a gas pump.

49. Pay for the car behind you at a toll booth.

50. Buy a gift card for groceries and give it to the person behind you in line.

51. Drop off handwritten thank you notes and doughnuts to the police station.

52. Give balloons to children shopping with their parents.

53. Buy movie tickets for the person behind you in line.

54. Anonymously buy new sports equipment for a local child in need.

55. Pay for someone’s layaway items.

56. Deliver a goodie basket of treats and activities to a nursing home.

57. Hand out bottles of water on a hot day.

58. Send a care package to military men and women overseas.

59. Present a trophy to someone – just because!

60. Hide dollar bills in the toy section at a dollar store.

61. Hand out packages of treats at a local college student center during exam week.

62. Buy a copy of your favorite children’s book for the local hospital.

63. Give a coffee shop gift card to a parking attendant – it can get cold in those booths!

64. Pay for someone else’s dinner in a restaurant.

65. Bring your coworker a coffee in the morning as a surprise.

66. Anonymously send a gift card to a friend or community member.

67. Tape suckers and with a positive note to ATMs.

68. Buy cookies or muffins from a local bakery and take them to your local librarians.

69. Pay for lunch for the person behind you in the lunch line.

70. Leave diapers and wipes on a public changing table.

71. Pay for someone’s bus fare.

72. Anonymously send flowers to brighten someone’s day.

73. Buy doughnuts for a different department or office.

74. Plant a tree in your neighborhood.

75. Get to work early and leave a piece of candy at each person’s desk.”

 

Now that you have Random Acts of Kindness ideas, use them!

Practice acts of kindness year round and make a difference!

PINK Out with Gallman Consulting!

PINK Out with Gallman Consulting in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Take Action!

By Jeanne Croteau via Forbes.com

“Every October, a sea of pink surrounds us in the form of ribbons, hoodies emblazoned with inspirational quotes and even on the uniforms of professional athletes. Unless you’ve been personally affected by breast cancer, though, does the significance of this month really register? Are you using the opportunity to learn more and do more?

If the answer is no, you’re probably not alone. Good health is a luxury that many people take for granted so it’s not surprising that so many walk past the displays without even pausing — but we should. We all should.

Sobering Statistics

Did you know that about 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime? This year alone, it’s estimated that 266,120 will be diagnosed along with 63,960 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Tragically, more than 40,000 will lose their battle in 2018.

It’s not just women, either. Approximately 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be
diagnosed in men this year, also — this is something we should all care about.”

 

To read more of this article, click here.

Hot Tips for Summer Safety

Hot Tips for Summer Safety

Summer is well under way in North America, and with the sun and fun comes a number of safety concerns to keep in mind.

By Jessica Davis   Jul 03, 2018  via Occupational Health & Safety

Summer is well under way in North America, and with the sun and fun comes a number of safety concerns to keep in mind. Many safety-related agencies and organizations have issued safety warnings and tips for a variety of summer celebration hazards and activities. We’ve collected them here for you, organized under the categories of heat/fire safety, bug-related safety, water safety, and safety on amusement park rides.

 

Heat and Fire Safety

Sun Exposure (via CDC NIOSH)

  • Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15.
  • Follow the application directions on the sunscreen bottle.
  • Apply sunscreen liberally (a minimum of 1 oz.) at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Make sure to cover the ears, lips, neck, tops of feet, and backs of hands.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and each time you get out of the water or sweat heavily.
  • Throw away old sunscreen, as sunscreens lose their potency after 1-2 years.
  • Some sunscreens may not work as well when used with insect repellent, requiring more frequent reapplication when the two are used together.
  • Wearing protective clothing can also help prevent sunscreen, particularly high-SPF clothing.
  • Workers should wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and side panels are recommended.

Hot Cars (via Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs)

  • Always check the vehicle for passengers and pets after parking.
  • Remember that the inside of a parked car can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit within minutes on a 78-degree day, and 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes on a 90-degree day.
  • If you see a person or animal trapped in a hot car, have the driver paged in the nearby store and/or call 911 immediately.

Grilling

According to NFPA statistics, July is the peak month for grilling fires. In addition to the fire hazards posed by grills, they can also release carbon monoxide, a deadly, odorless, colorless gas. Follow these tips from Michigan LARA to help prevent accidents.

  • Check for leaks or breaks with gas grills.
  • Clean the grill before use to eliminate fire hazards posed by heavy grease buildup.
  • Always grill outdoors. Never grill indoors, on a balcony, or in the garage.
  • Grill on a level surface at least 10 feet away from the house, garage, deck, or any flammable material.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grilling area.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.
  • Don’t overload the grill with food. Excessive fat and grease dripping on flames can ignite large flare ups.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close by and know how to use it. Keep a spray bottle or bucket of water handy for minor flare ups.

Bug Safety

Ticks (via CDC NIOSH)

  • Wear a hat and light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into boots or socks.
  • Use insect repellents that provide protection for the amount of time you will be outdoors:
  • Use repellents such as Permethrin for greater protection.
  • Check your skin and clothes for ticks every day. The immature forms of these ticks are very small and may be hard to see.
  • Wash and dry work clothes in a hot dryer to kill any ticks present.
  • Learn the symptoms of tick-borne diseases.
  • If you develop symptoms of a tick-borne disease seek medical attention promptly. Be sure to tell your health care provider that you work outdoors in an area where ticks may be present.

Mosquitoes (via National Safety Council)

  • To prevent mosquito bites, use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellant with DEET and wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants
  • Read product labels when using insect repellant and apply as directed
  • Do not leave doors or windows propped open
  • Once a week, scrub or empty planters, birdbaths, vases and flowerpot saucers; mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water
  • Use EPA-approved indoor and outdoor flying insect spray or foggers
  • Turn on air conditioning; mosquitoes prefer warm, damp and dark spaces

Water Safety

There are many electrical hazards in swimming pools, hot tubs and spas, on board boats, and in the waters surrounding boats, marinas, and launch ramps. One such danger is electric shock drowning (ESD), when marina or onboard electrical systems leak electrical current into the surrounding water. The current then passes through the body, causing paralysis that results in drowning. In addition, drowning is the leading injury-related cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the third leading cause of injury-related death among children age 19 and under.

Michigan LARA offers the following safety tips for summer water-related activities:

Swimming

  • Never swim near a marina, dock, or boatyard, or near a boat while it’s running.
  • Never leave children unattended near any body of water or pool.
  • If you are around water and your child is missing, always check the water first. Seconds count.
  • Always check the depth of the water before diving in.
  • Never dive in the shallow end of a pool or into above-ground pools.
  • Wear Coast Guard-approved life jackets while on a boat or around an open body of water or while playing water sports.

Boating

Nearly 71 percent of all boating fatalities are caused by drowning, and 85 percent are a result of not wearing a life jacket, according to Michigan LARA.

  • Equip you and your passengers with Coast Guard approved life jackets.
  • Complete a boater’s safety course to know and understand your boat’s full operation.
  • Know boating laws and be courteous to other boaters.
  • Always check water and weather conditions before taking the boat out.
  • Don’t overload the boat with passengers and cargo.

Amusement Park Rides Safety

The New York Department of Labor recommends the following to make amusement park rides as safe and fun as possible:

  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Keep hands and feet inside the ride while it is moving.
  • Don’t reach toward fences or barriers.
  • Secure loose clothing and long hair.
  • Don’t drink and ride; you put yourself and others at risk.
  • Don’t stand or attempt to leave a ride until it comes to a complete stop.
  • Check restraining devices to make sure they are properly latched. If the equipment does not work, exit the ride.
  • Avoid horseplay; it’s dangerous.
  • Never attempt to unlock or loosen a restraining device until instructed by the operator.

How to Make Potential Employees Feel Welcome

How to Make Potential Employees Feel Welcome

One of the biggest mistakes that employers and recruiters make is by simply putting off potential candidates by making them feel like an intruder. An uncomfortable interviewing or hiring process is a sure way to lose the best talent to competitors. If you’re part of the recruitment process for a company, you are likely to make the first impression they will have of what it will be like to work there. Here are some tips for putting candidates at ease during the interviewing process.

Don’t waste anyone’s time

The initial screening process for candidates should include not only questions about what they can bring to the company, but what the company has to offer them as well. While final salary negotiations are usually done towards the end of the whole process, asking an experienced professional to go through an interview process and candidacy, only to learn at the end that it’s an entry-level salary, is insulting. Make sure that the candidate knows whether it is a contract or full-time position, a general idea of what the position pays, and any benefits that they may be eligible for before scheduling any serious interviews.

Communicate clearly

Once you’ve screened a potential applicant and they’ve accepted an interview, be sure to explain the process in detail. Give clear directions and instructions for locating your office and who to ask for when they arrive. Just saying “be here Thursday at 2:00” is simply not enough info. They need to know the location of the building, if there are other suites they will need to navigate past, and what to expect when they arrive.

Help them prepare

If an applicant thinks they’re coming in to meet with you to go over their resume, and you march them to a conference room where they’re met by the department head and three other team members for a technical interview, you’ve just set them up for failure. Not only will this intimidate your candidate, but they won’t be able to adequately demonstrate their skills if they aren’t prepared. Let them know who they will be meeting with, the purpose of the interview, and what kinds of things they will need to be ready to discuss.

Greet them and treat them as guests

Leaving candidates waiting in the lobby for an extended period of time is never a good idea. Interviews are stressful situations, even when they go well. Being blatantly rude and leaving applicants alone or unattended will build anxiety, which can lead to a negative performance during the interview. Invite them in, thank them for coming, and if you are running behind schedule, find someone who can take a few moments and give them a tour of the facility. If you’ve gone through the trouble of setting up an interview, there must be something in them that you desire. Don’t throw it away by being inattentive and distant.

Try to show them the real face of the business

Remember that an interview is a meeting between two parties, to see how well the arrangement will work. If your office is normally a chaotic and high-energy collaborative environment, don’t stifle your other employees for an hour because you’re trying to make a good impression. On the other hand, if your office is quiet and compartmentalized, don’t try to make it appear to be a fast-paced and fun atmosphere. Trying to be something you’re not will create a tension in the workspace that candidates will be able to feel when walking around.

Let them also interview you

Whether a candidate will fit into a position well has implications for both sides. While they are selling themselves to you, you’re also selling a company to them. Leave space at the end of the interview for the candidate to ask any potential questions, or discuss possible deal-breakers. Both sides need to be comfortable with the relationship if you’re going to avoid turnover.

Interviewing candidates for a position shouldn’t be a question of seeing who will jump through the most hoops. Welcoming potential employees and putting them at ease will help to ensure the best fit, not just for them, but also for your company.

Are you ready for Eclipse 2017? We are!

Are you ready for Eclipse 2017?  We are!

Some of our GPS Corporate staff are ready for the Solar Eclipse 2017!

GPS gave out FREE solar eclipse glasses to our staff and associates.  Thank you Experience Columbia SC for making it so easy to order our NASA approved eclipse glasses early in the year!  Please refer to our Facebook pages (Gallman Personnel Services, Inc. and Gallman Consulting) for viewing locations, viewing tips, etc.

GPS Branch Closures

GPS Branches in South Carolina will be closing at 12pm on Monday, August 21 to ensure our staff members can make arrangements with their families to view the Eclipse safely as possible.

 

Pictured above from left to right is Terri Stone (Accounting), Sue Ellison (Accounting), Barbara Greene (Safety), Georgette Sandifer (Gallman Consulting), Karen Smith (Human Resources).  And these ladies are all ready for the Eclipse. Are you?

GPS branches in South Carolina will close at 12:00pm on Monday, August 21, 2017.

Please reference below information to ensure the safety of your Eclipse experience.

 

DON’T GO BLIND AUGUST 21, 2017!

Total Solar Eclipse:

Newberry, SC approximate time 1:11pm–4:05pm (max view 2:41pm)
Columbia, SC approximate time 1:13pm–4:06pm (max view 2:43pm)
Orangeburg, SC approximate time 1:14pm–4:07pm (max view 2:44pm)
Charleston, SC approximate time 1:16pm–4:09pm (max view 2:47pm)

It should go without saying that it’s dangerous to stare into the sun. But so long as you trust NASA, the American Optometric Association, and many other experts who’ve dedicated their lives to understanding how the sun and your peepers work: You can look directly at the total phase of a solar eclipse (and only the “total” phase where the sun is completely covered by the moon) with the naked eye without causing eye damage. Problem is, the total phase only lasts a couple of minutes, but people likely will want to watch from the partial phase which lasts much longer. From start to finish on all phases, an eclipse lasts about three hours — so more than two and half of those hours spent watching could pose a serious risk to unprotected eyes.

You’re going to need something more powerful than a pair of polarized sunglasses if you want to safely block out those harmful rays.

Aug. 21, 2017, may be one of the worst traffic days in national history, some NASA representatives predict. Although about 12 million people live within the narrow band of totality, approximately 25 million reside within a day’s drive of it, and the agency has estimated that the population inside the path of totality may double on the day of the eclipse.

With that in mind, make sure you plan for extra travel time, especially on the day of the eclipse. Most hotel rooms inside the path of totality have been booked for months or years, so you may not be able to stay inside the path the night before.  Traveling even short distances could be difficult in some areas, and midday in the middle of August can mean punishing heat in many parts of the country.

 

 

** DISCLAIMER: This pair of eclipse viewing glasses is provided as is without any guarantees or warranty. In association with the product, GPS makes no warranties of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of merchantability, fitness for a viewing purposes, of title, or of noninfringement of third party rights. Use of the product by a user is at the user’s risk. GPS is not responsible for any injuries suffered by viewing of any eclipse. **

8 Habits That Make Millennials Stressed, Anxious and Unproductive

8 Habits That Make Millennials Stressed, Anxious And Unproductive

Despite our youth, chronic anxiety is not sustainable.

A version of this article was originally published on Forbes. Sign up for Caroline’s newsletter to get her writing sent straight to your inbox.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), millennials experience more stress and are less able to manage it than any other generation. More than half of us admit to having lain awake at night during the past month from stress.

Not surprisingly, millennials are also more anxious than older Americans. The APA reports that 12 percent of millennials have a diagnosed anxiety disorder—almost twice the percentage of Boomers. On a non-clinical scale, a BDA Morneau Shepell white paper discovered that 30 percent of working millennials have general anxiety, while a 2014 American College Health Association (ACHA) assessment found that anxiety regularly afflicts 61 percent of college students.

Anxiety not only harms our wellbeing but also sabotages our productivity. The ACHA assessment found that the top two tolls on students’ academic performance were stress and anxiety. Two-thirds of millennials interviewed by BDA  attribute declining work performance to anxiety.

Sources of millennial anxiety may include a tough job market and student debt as well as psychological causes I’ve covered previously such as ambition addiction, career crises and choice-overload. But even our day-to-day behaviors can incite anxiety. Here are eight common habits that instigate stress and compromise our potential:

1. Bad sleep habits

Perhaps the most prevalent contributor to anxiety is poor sleep. A study by the University of California at Berkeley found that lack of sleep “may play a key role in ramping up the brain regions that contribute to excessive worrying.” Common causes of insufficient sleep include going to bed at different times, not making sleep a priority and spending time on phones or laptops right before bed.

Instead:

Calm Clinic, an online magazine dedicated to anxiety management, suggests forming a long, boring nighttime routine free from technology, keeping a journal by your bed to write down thoughts that keep you awake, and exercising during the day to wear out your body.

2. Skipping sustenance

Eating consistently regulates not only our metabolism and insulin levels but also our mental stability.

“Waiting too long to eat or missing out on breakfast may lead to unsteady blood sugar levels, which can cause anxiety-like sensations, including shakiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty speaking,” writes Body and Health. Dehydration has a similar effect. Because food and water are biological needs, anxiety naturally follows hunger and thirst.

Instead:

Eat meals regularly. Keep granola bars or nuts at your desk or in your purse. Bring a water bottle to work and sip it throughout the day. Have a glass of water right when you wake up and before you go to sleep.

3. Drinking coffee

Drinking coffee makes us more alert and, in many cases, helps us perform better on short-term tasks. But it can also make people jittery, irritable and nervous, especially if they’re already predisposed to anxiety. Sensitivity to caffeine is, in fact, heightened in people with panic disorder and social phobia, and caffeine can provoke panic attacks in some individuals. Caffeine is also diuretic, which can cause dehydration—an anxiety trigger established above.

Instead:

Try weaning off coffee by switching to just one cup a day, decaf or black tea. If you feel calmer and more in control after a couple weeks without it, commit to quitting and pull out all the stops.

4. Sitting

America’s surge of anxiety symptoms parallels our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. But, until a recent review by BMC Public Health, it was unclear whether the two were actually linked. After lengthy analysis, researchers found that the risk of anxiety risk increases as sedentary behavior increases—and, specifically, sitting time spikes one’s likelihood of experiencing anxiety.

Instead:

If you work at a desk all day, you’re not doomed. Get up and walk around every ninety minutes. Offset your sitting time with regular exercise, which halves your risk of anxiety and depression.

5. Your phone 

A 2014 study by Baylor University found that American students spend an average of nine hours a day on their phone. Of course, technology vastly improves our lives in innumerable ways. But too much of it makes us anxious. Screen-based entertainment increases central nervous system arousal, which can amplify anxiety. Social media is similarly associated with low moods and depression.

Instead:

Next time you’re waiting or have nothing to do, leave your phone in your pocket or purse. Relinquish it as a means of alleviating boredom and instead use it consciously as needed for its useful functions.

6. Not “clocking out”

According to data from FORBES@Work State of Mind Project, millennials become anxious and irritated when work intrudes on our personal lives. But our bad work-life balance is our own choosing. BDA’s assessment explains, “Millennials do not believe that productivity should be measured by the number of hours worked at the office, but by the output of the work performed. They view work as a ‘thing’ and not a ‘place.’” Even after we leave the office, we’re still at work.

Instead:

We can still be ambitious, work long hours and impress our bosses without sacrificing psychological health and personal boundaries. So clock out: In your calendar, schedule a defined, consistent time at night to stop working. When time’s up, mark that task complete and go take care of yourself.

7. Netflix and hanging out

You may think snuggling up on the couch and watching a movie will help you unwind, but research disproves this trend.

In one study, participants felt more depressed and anxious after watching just two hours of TV than those who didn’t. Another study found that those with anxiety and depression spend significantly more time on the computer and watching television. While resting reduces anxiety short-term, research reveals that its effect is short lived, particularly compared with exercise.

Instead:

Do anything but watch TV when you’re done with work. Go on a walk, grab drinks, knit, work, draw, write, sit in your room and look at the wall, call your mom, actually cook dinner, build something, play badminton.

8. Hanging out with anxious people

You might feel like you’ve found someone you can vent to who understands you, but studies show that ruminating on anxiety often makes it worse. Furthermore, participating in “intergroup anxiety” increases one’s anxious behaviors.

Instead:

Seek out people who level your mood. After you hang out with someone, ask yourself if you feel stable and well—or if you’re hyped up and on edge. It’s easy to spend less time with certain people once you’ve decided they’re bad for your health.

If the annoyance, pain and performance impairment of day-to-day anxiety isn’t enough to quit these bad habits, perhaps this is: According to Harvard Medical School, anxiety is implicated in heart disease, migraines, chronic respiratory disorders and gastrointestinal conditions.

Despite our youth, chronic anxiety is not sustainable.  By swapping out these daily practices, we can improve our moods and our lives one habit a time.

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