Posted in Debatable, inspirational

We cannot walk alone.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best, We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.” No more than ever, we must remember remain united.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

Posted in Debatable, inspirational

Social Media and Marketing from a business perspective

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ~ Winston Churchill

In today’s world, the importance of social media marketing has never been greater. It’s quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, providing tremendous benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. Social media and its related tools offer a variety of advertising options when communicating with a customer. The possibilities and advantages are numerous, as it’s about much more than just launching your content for the world to see. If you’re not implementing this potentially highly profitable source, then you’re missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity, as it makes it extremely easy to spread the word about your business, products, and mission. It’s one of the most stress-free and profitable digital marketing platforms that can be used to increase your business visibility. Undoubtedly, having a social media page for your brand will benefit your business and with a regular use, it can also produce a wide audience in no time.

Throughout the course of the semester, I’ve learned a variety of new things when it comes to business. Every business with strategic, measurable goals and a commitment to quality content can travel down the social media marketing road effectively. It’s important to remember that leveraging social media and business growth requires an equal mix of creativity, data crunching, and attention to detail. To get the most out of your social media marketing activity, it’s important to align business objectives with social media goals. I now understand that there is a particular time of the day to post and not to post, so that you may gain the most benefits and spectators out of a post. This is particularly important when it comes to the analytics of a post, which can carefully be measured via Google Analytics.

 It’s important to remember that all social media and marketing efforts are traffic opportunities, take blogging, for example. Before I had to start blogging for class, I didn’t truly understand the benefits or effects it could have relating to business. Now, I ask myself, “Why didn’t I do it sooner.” I absolutely love it! It’s one of the most advantageous ways to interact with an audience. It’s imperative to post on a daily basis and interact with your audience. Engagement is perhaps the most relevant of all the branding-based social media goals. Every post you make and every ad you place reaches someone, so the more consistently you post, the more users you reach. The same goes for ads; the more relevant ads tend to be, the higher the reach. Though it may seem slightly redundant when you create them, you’ll see that the metrics vary widely by platform, as they are all different from one another. When it comes to making your business more powerful, brand loyalty and customer satisfaction both play a major role, but it all comes down to communication. When customers see your company posting on social media, especially replying to their queries and posting original content, it helps them build a positive image in their minds. Regularly interacting with your customers proves that you and your business care about them.

As a small business owner, I use almost every platform available to me. Businesses sharing their content on social media are sending out a brand signal to search engine that speaks to your brand validity, integrity, and constancy. When you have a social media presence, you make it easier for your customers to find you and connect with you. By connecting with your customers through social media, you are more probable to upsurge customer retention and customer loyalty. Since developing a loyal customer base is one of the main goals of almost any business. Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty typically go hand in hand. It is essential to often engage with your customers and start developing a bond with them. Social media is not just limited to introducing your product, it is also a leading platform for promotional campaigns. A customer sees these platforms as service channels where they can directly communicate with the business.

There is no denying that Social media marketing has many advantages for startups and established brands. By regular updating the right social media marketing strategy, it will lead to increased traffic, better SEO, improved brand loyalty, healthier customer satisfaction and much more. Your competition is already increasing on social media day by day, so don’t let your competitors take your probable customers. The earlier you start, the faster you see the growth in your business.

If your goal is to be in touch with your users, social media is the place you want to be. There’s plenty of pros for going social, as well as a few cons. Comparing them involves making for a calculated decision, as social media needs to be run efficiently and with goals in mind. Planning your strategy is a vital part of social media marketing, as is choosing the right platform!

Picking the right social platform to promote your business can be tricky, as not all hold the same values or have the same approach. Moreover, it’s even harder to keep track of multiple social channels and all the user messages incoming. That’s why there’s a variety of help desk tools that can help you manage all your messages in one place, allowing a simple management of all your social channels. In conclusion, social media marketing is a gateway to the digital world that provides a great way to connect with your customers.

If you are not crushing it and focusing on the content that you put out on the most important social platforms, you’re going to become mute and obsolete in the modern day of doing business. – Gary Vaynerchuk, chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company, and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients across the company’s 4 locations.

Posted in Debatable, inspirational

Men and Paternity Leave

A cultural shift is happening! What it means to be a father has changed a lot over the years. Some say that the E.R.A., also known as the Equal Rights Amendment, shouldn’t be part of the U.S. Constitution and that most Americans disfavor it, or that men are conditioned to be breadwinners. Others have said that most employers can’t afford an additional financial burden, especially following the recent adoption of the health care reform or that the U.S. can’t afford paid parental leave for both parents. But through my research, I found this information to be misleading. Now that the male gender roles are dramatically changing, there are countless benefits of paternity leave, not just for the parental bond between dad and baby, but for the whole family.

Childbirth is a grueling process and it can really take a lot out of a new mother. Women are naturally, emotionally and physically drained after giving birth; they simply want to rest. Research shows that more support from the father can increase the mother’s well-being, therefore mothers are less likely to experience depression after childbirth. It’s important for men to receive paternity leave so that they can help with the rigorous routine that is now their new norm. With paternity leave, the men are given the privilege of being able to share in on the first stages of the child’s life. They also get the opportunity of simply just being there, to get to know them and learn their needs.

I believe that men should receive up to 2 weeks of paid paternity leave from work. When actress Anne Hathaway spoke before the United Nations on International Women’s Day last year, she stated that “1 in 4 American women go back to work after two weeks of giving birth, because they can’t afford to take any more time off.” By allowing fathers to take up to two weeks of parental leave, it would allow the mother to take the complete six weeks given under the law.

As a future HR leader, I have put a ton of time into researching this topic. Paternity leave, as opposed to maternity leave, is the time a father gets off work to bond with his infant or newly adopted child, and it’s still a highly controversial topic today. It’s good for everyone when both men and women take parental leave for having a child. It should be mandatory by employers with more than 50 employees, to each of the 50 states in the U.S.

Gender equality is still a work in progress in most countries around the world and it’s not just a female issue, it’s a business and economic issue as well. According to Benefits Magazine, “Many countries offer statutory parental leave to working parents. The most progressive countries offering more than a year of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child include Estonia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Japan. Parental leave policies should reduce gender discrimination in the workplace if both men and women are equally likely to take leave, thereby removing employers’ reluctance to hire women. Governments also have recognized that flexibility in the workplace can be an important tool to further enhance gender equality.”

By only giving leave to women, we are maintaining the ancient belief that women should be the homemakers and men should be the wage earner, therefore promoting sexism. Mandated equal parental leave will help transform the perception that caregiving is a female responsibility. A survey held in 2016, Beyond Your Father’s Briefcase, by Scott Behson, Ph.D., professor of management at Fairleigh Dickinson University and author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide, states, “Fathers today view their role and priorities differently than how they viewed their father’s priorities when they were growing up. Interestingly, 1 in 3 working fathers spend more than 16 hours during the workweek with their children, more than half, 57%, don’t feel they spend enough time with them.”

Molly Mayer and Le B. Céline, Population Research and Policy Review (2019) state, “As fathers, with the help of paternity leave, increasingly occupy a presence in the home, it becomes easier for mothers to re-enter the labor market after childbirth. It is also believed that when men take the same length of parental leave as women, it will help make the labor market more gender-equal in terms of opportunities, as the “cost” of childbirth is distributed more equally among men and women.”

Working dads shouldn’t have to choose between their children and a paycheck. A newborn baby is a challenge, but when both parents share the responsibility, their partnership becomes even stronger and there’s less room for resentment in the future. According to Mathew C. Klein, Barron’s (Online, 2019), “Pushing men to spend more time with their children would, therefore, help both men and women. This is a collective action problem that requires a collective solution. If everyone takes time off, the career penalty for any individual worker disappears. Companies initially resisted giving workers eight-hour days, weekends, and holidays, but they eventually adapted. There is no reason they can’t also accommodate the needs of men and women having families. If mothers disproportionately take time off to raise children, women will continue to be permanently disadvantaged for spending long stretches out of the office while men get promoted and move up the ladder. This is obviously bad for women, but it is also bad for men—and business.”

Marie-Claude Lavoie, a doctoral student in epidemiology in the department of public health and epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, says, “Some states, such as California and New Jersey, have addressed this concern and demonstrated leadership in tackling the financial sustainability of paid parental leave. In California, the legislation for paid family leave offers employees a maximum of six weeks of partial pay, to care for a newborn. Under the State Disability Insurance program, the benefits are covered through payroll taxes. In discussing costs, we must remember that there is also a cost associated with not providing paid maternity leave. For example, the cost of daycare might overshadow the mother’s salary, potentially leading a woman to leave her employment. Families may then have to seek government aid to help them recover from the loss of income. For companies, there are also economic burdens associated with failure to provide paid maternal leave, as it may affect staff retention and lead to lower productivity.”

To conclude whether men should be given paid paternity leave or not, still, and will continue to remain controversial. The more that men see other men taking parental leave, the more it will become the norm.  In Ernst & Young’s global generational survey, 83% of American millennials said they would be more likely to join a company offering such benefits. Therefore, offering equal parental leave can help attract and retain top talent. A company’s parental leave policy should be inclusive for all and allow everyone to thrive in the workplace. Equality starts at home!

It’s clear that the call for paternity leave in the United States is growing. As more men have the courage to choose and become “Dadvocates,” businesses will reap the benefits of a more loyal, happier, and balanced workforce. Take advantage of the time off given to you. Show how well it works and be a pioneer in the workplace, and don’t’ give up. By making decisions that are best for family needs, it helps to build a coalition of like-minded individuals who share the same goal of making family leave happen at the workplace.

Posted in Debatable

Are We Headed for a Recession?

The Coronavirus epidemic has come with a remarkable and intense uncertainty. Government officials are uncertain of how deadly the virus is, and countless businesses and households are uncertain of how long the danger will last, as well as what actions governments are going to take to neutralize this threat. People are visibly afraid, as the market panic proves, and it may take several months for that fear to subside. As I’m typing this, there is literally a hand sanitizer, toilet paper, household disinfecting product, dry food supply deficiency occurring worldwide. This pandemic is a public-health emergency but it’s also transforming into an economic crisis.

See the source image

Global markets are unstable and unpredictable, supply-chain disruptions are piling up, economists are slashing forecasts, and investors are fleeing to the safety of bonds. Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has not only shocked demand by triggering travel restrictions, social distancing. and widespread uncertainty. It has also shocked supply as factories in China close, which interfere with complicated trade networks, upsetting global trade and causing shortages of drugs, medical equipment and consumer goods.

Over the past week, the Federal Reserve took aggressive steps to try to contain the damage, announcing that it would slash interest rates by half a percentage point. “The benefits of lower interest rates at this stage are questionable with a substantial part of the economic shock due to supply-chain disruptions and official restrictions on economic activity,” argues Brian Coulton, the chief economist at Fitch Ratings. Furthermore, “the Fed and other central banks have already pushed interest rates to historic lows; they are running out of their strongest ammunition.”

Economists say a pandemic could clearly cause a recession in the United States. But for that to happen, the effects would have to spread beyond manufacturing, travel and other sectors directly affected by the disease. “The real sign of trouble will be when companies with no direct connection to the virus start reporting a slump in business” said Tara Sinclair, an economist at George Washington University.

A recession is a period in the business cycle when economic activities are in a general decline, typically accompanied by elevated unemployment, falling income and consumer spending, rising business failures, and falling stock markets. Scary and unpleasant as they are, recessions are a normal occurrence in the modern economy, although the U.S. economy hasn’t suffered a recession since 2009.The length of a recession could range from a few months to several years before economic growth picks up again.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the longest recession since the 1850s lasted for more than five years, from October 1873 to March 1879. The shortest was only six months ranging from January to July 1980. Since the Great Depression in the 1930s, a recession hasn’t been more than 20 months, with the latest one, an 18-month stretch from December 2007 to June 2009, being the longest. The global economy faces the “greatest threat” since the Great Recession, according to The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. They also stated that global growth could fall to 1.5% in 2020, should the outbreak spread further.  

Unemployed in line for rations during the Great Depression.

Many recessions, including the Great Recession and the 2001 downturn, intensify when demand evaporates from the economy. Struggling businesses lay off workers, consumers stop buying houses and cars, and frightened hesitant investors stop injecting money into the risky growing enterprises that stimulate the economy in the long term. To resolute the damage and turn the business cycle around, central banks lower interest rates and soak up safe assets, encouraging investors to take on more risk; congresses and parliaments cut taxes and disburse money to towns, states, and households, also spending on things like bridges, schools, and environmental projects.

Human labor is in short supply too, with people forced to socially distance themselves and stay home whenever possible. The virus is “no longer mainly a supply-chain issue,” a team of Standard & Poor’s analysts wrote in an alarmed note. “Both supply and demand effects are in play, and both are being amplified by tightening financial conditions.” But the question remains: How serious will the coronavirus outbreak become in the coming months? And will people risk their lives to continue working and spending money as usual precisely because of the economic stimulus? The economic stimulus package ended the Great Recession by spurring consumer spending. Most importantly, it instilled the confidence needed to boost economic growth. It also aimed to restore trust in the financial services industry. Maybe it will again?

Posted in Debatable, Uncategorized

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME – TO BE, OR NOT TO BE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

Who else isn’t a big fan of losing an hour of your life and having your routine completely rocked? I thoroughly enjoy the daylight and take great pleasure in knowing that it won’t be pitch black at 8am anymore. If there’s one thing I dread, it’s Daylight Saving Time (DST), because in all reality, it defies reason. We aren’t “saving” daylight; the earth’s rotation doesn’t speed up or slow down. It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon and today science says that there are eleven hours and thirty-five minutes of sunlight and tomorrow we’ll gain another three minutes.

Daylight Saving Time “maximizes sunlight hours during the longer days of the year by taking an hour of morning sun when many are sleeping, and adding it to the end of the day,” according to National Geographic. The most popular explanation and common myth for DST, is that it’s meant for to help farmers. Many believe that the extra hour allows for farmers to properly tend to their crops and livestock during the summer months because they get more daylight. But the original idea behind this theory was to conserve energy and reduce artificial light.

Regardless of what DST does to the actual time of sunrise and sunset, I certainly feel that it’s not needed anymore. It’s no longer helping us to conserve energy due to the overwhelming amount and the many forms of technology people use every day. In addition to the lack of energy reduction, the springing forward and falling back of the clocks may be putting people at a greater risk by taking a toll on our overall health. Being tired can decrease productivity, concentration, and general well-being. Losing an hour of afternoon daylight, after setting the clocks back to standard time, can trigger mental illness, including bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder, also known as winter depression. Just like losing an hour of sleep can have a negative effect, gaining an hour can do the opposite, as heart attack rates normally decrease after the fall transition.

Today, there are many proposals to eliminate DST entirely and there are also proposals to keep it year-round. I concur with the year-round possibility a lot more because it would mean keeping that extra hour of daylight during traditional “awake hours.” Reportedly, evening light has some extremely positive health benefits with more time for physical exercise and other external activities. The United States has one of the highest obesity rates in the world and continues to increase, so I truly think this would do our nation some good. But one common concern is that once individual states start toying with time change, the zoning could become exceedingly complicated. Where do you stand on daylight saving time?

Posted in Debatable, inspirational

Microblading vs Ombre Brows

  Beauty trends change quite rapidly, but thanks to social networking it’s easy to stay up to date with the latest trends. Currently, the natural-looking, dense, and thick eyebrows are a big thing right now. The most popular treatment to achieve that look is microblading. It is already a very well-known term in the beauty industry. However, besides microblading, there are other techniques, such as ombre brows, which give a slightly different brow result.

  I have been using the microblading technique for the last two years and I absolutely love it. It’s so nice to not have to worry about my eyebrows or trying to make them evenly perfect. Eyebrows are a super important facial feature because of the numerous tasks they perform. They aid in the framing of the eyes, shaping of the face, and play a powerful role in communication. Not everyone is born with perfectly manicured brows, so to achieve an aesthetically appealing look, your eyebrows should be routinely trimmed, shaped, and filled. Try not to go overboard like I did, because once they’re gone, it’s very difficult for them to grow back. I can’t stress enough to not overpluck your brows, but if you do and you need someone to help fix them, choose an artist who’s certified in the field and very experienced. You want somebody who takes pride in their business and boasts a lot of happy clients, as well as someone who comes highly recommended and displays plenty of website photos exhibiting their work.

  This is the before and after photo of the first time I tried the microblading technique. My eyebrows were extremely thin and did not fit my face one bit. The treatment cost me $500 at Lusting Expressions in Sioux Falls, which has a much larger clientele.  It was certainly a different feeling, since it’s on your face, but truly an amazing experience. She made me feel very comfortable and kept me informed on what she was doing and why she was doing it throughout the whole procedure. Callie is a very professional aesthetician and I highly recommend her.

Before & After – 2nd microblading session

  My last treatment was done here in Watertown, by an equally incredible and skilled aesthetician, at Brows by Allison. My expense was $250 and I was every bit as pleased with my results. She too made me feel at ease and kept me in the loop throughout the entire process. I wasn’t worried about the money, but I do love a great deal. So, getting them done for half the price and without having to travel was an added benefit.

I get my eyebrows touched up yearly and typically around the same time. But this year I was thinking about switching it up and trying the ombre look, since my brows now have a good shape to them from the last couple years of microblading. Both ombre brows and microblading are semi-permanent treatments, meaning that after some time they will fade away. So, I could always return to microblading if the ombre look isn’t my thing.

The techniques are done differently and give different results. Microblading means manually creating micro incisions on the surface of the skin and filling them with colored pigment. Every hair is created separately, resulting in natural-looking brows. The process is perfect for people with dry skin, while those who have oily skin should opt for the ombre look. It’s also ideal for those who want more solid brows or want an entirely new look. The ombre powder technique resembles brow tattooing, since it involves the application of thousands of tiny dots of pigment inserted into the skin. However, unlike traditional tattooing, this procedure is done on the epidermis layer of the skin, therefore making it less permanent. Result is solid looking brows that look fuller and powdered, yet still very defined.  It is called ombre because the tail of the brow is always darker than the head. Also, if you choose this procedure, your eyebrows will always look as if you are wearing makeup.

Whatever treatment I choose, I’m sure I’ll be happy with it, since they both result in natural looking brows. I hope you have gotten some useful information out of this blog, especially if you’ve thought about trying either one of them. In the end, it’s worth every single dollar and the time you’ll save from not filling them in every day. Good luck!

Posted in Debatable, inspirational

Why Tattoos Should Be Allowed in The Workplace

  This is an extremely personal topic for me as I have a full arm sleeve, amongst many other tattoos. Granted they’re all beautiful images and nothing offensive, there are still people who don’t look at them like they should, as an artform. While tattoos have become more and more prevalent in today’s society, it’s no secret that they’re still not deemed as “socially acceptable,” especially in the workplace. It’s an incredibly frustrating and confusing concept that the most qualified person may be turned down from a job, due to the simple fact that they have one or more visible tattoos on their body. Don’t get me wrong; I fully understand that some tattoos can be inappropriate or unacceptable for specific professional settings, but tattoos are not an indicator of talents or abilities an individual has, to perform his or her job. Back in the day, body modifications, such as tattoos, were largely associated with tribes, gangs, prisons, and the military. It wasn’t the typical social norm a few decades ago, but today tattoos cross every socioeconomic status and have destroyed previous stereotypes. From doctors, to lawyers ,to cops, and so on, you never know who you’re judging when they’re not in uniform.

  Tattoos are also a fundamental part of some religions and cultures, which legally intermixes personal discrimination lines with religious discrimination lines. It is a well-known fact that discrimination against gender, disabilities, sexuality, and race is not tolerated in the workplace today, as there are a variety of laws that protect individuals against such types of prejudice. I find it hard to believe, especially in today’s society, that it’s illegal to turn someone away from a job because of their skin color, but perfectly legal to turn someone down because of a tattoo. Discriminating against an individual with tattoos should be treated no differently than discriminating against an individual who identifies as gay or bisexual, who has a different color of skin, or someone who has a disability. How you act towards someone with a tattoo makes a huge difference in your character and how others perceive you. A vast majority of people have come to the realization that there is no difference between someone with different colored skin than themselves, so the fact that people still view individuals with tattoos as lesser than those without, is utterly ridiculous.

  Tattoos are undeniably a form of art. A painting on a canvas is art, drawing is art, coloring in any form is art, and putting ink in your skin is art, just the same. And to some people, like myself, this art holds a great amount of personal meaning and significance.  People shouldn’t feel like they can’t put “their own version” of art onto their body because it will not be accepted in a professional setting, nor should they have to choose a different career because of their decisions.  I repeatedly contemplated on if I should even continue with my degree in Business Administration and Human Resources, for this same reasoning. I opted to push forward; I will not be forced away from something that means so much to me. While there is allegedly no room in the workplace for discrimination, it still occurs, and unfortunately, tattoo discrimination is a large part of that. In my heart, I know there are businesses out there willing to accept my incredible skillset and equally incredible personality, together with my depiction of art. If a product or service is of quality, then it doesn’t so much matter if a tattooed or non-tattooed hand delivers it.

My aspirations for the future workforce are optimistic, but we must keep fighting for what we consider to be fair across all platforms. Everyone needs to feel accepted and safe in a working environment, communication is essentially the key here. When colleagues can agree to disagree on personal opinions, but still work together without judgement- then that is a positive working environment. We are workers and we also have our personal lives and identities outside of work. The focus should be on the ability and the willingness of the employee, and not the ink they choose to wear.