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Sunday, November 18, 2012

How do I get my energy levels up?

At 61.5, I can’t keep pace with the kids, or that P90X fiend? Yes, around 2:30 in the afternoon I reach for an energy drink.  I've started to notice that what I eat seems to determine my energy levels. In fact a less-than-stellar diet actually drains me of energy reserves.  But what is a  well-balanced approach for a guy at my age? 

I'm a type two Diabetic and have eliminated sugar from my diet completely and have gone a long way towards dispensing with substitute sugars as well.  I've noticed two things lately about eating breads (carbs), a) they tend to make me sleepy after I've had too much or the wrong kind and b) they make me want to eat more carbs.  While I haven't notice any gluten issue, many of my friends have discovered they have extremely low gluten thresholds.  So do I cut carbs out of my diet altogether like I did sugar? 

I only miss a few sweets like a Nutty Buddy on a hot day or chugging a cold glass of chocolate milk.  Sometimes, I still hear warm brownies call my name, but really sweets were easy to give up once I experience the effect of high blood sugar.  Breads, bisquets, pizza are not so easy.  Whole Grains can help me over come that craving but only certain ones.  Substitutes really don't help the cravings.  My favorite whole grain bread can't be found anymore.  Pepridge Farm's Seven Grain bread was fantastic.  But now they have gone to nine and twelve grain breads and they just don't do it for me.  In any case, whole grains are energy standouts because they deliver slow release energy, keeping my blood sugar steady and lasting a relatively long time. It’s a good strategy at any age. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that older adults who ate diets rich in whole grains (along with other healthy foods) increased their body’s sensitivity to insulin. In other words, their insulin worked more effectively, carrying sugar from foods into cells rather than leaving it in the blood where it can accumulate in high levels, causing one to be lethargic.

What can fill that whole grain menu?  Keep in mind that the less processed the grain, the better. So steel cut oats instead of instant oatmeal, brown rice instead of white rice. Whole wheat Sourdough bread instead of well you know. There are even receipts for cooking with whole grains, but I'm not that into cooking.

I have given up all liquids but water for a while but found myself adding decaffeinated coffee and tea (both hot and cold) back into my diet.  A guy needs some taste, ya know.  One cup of coffee or one energy drink is considered safe for a guy my age but double that and you get problems.  I've ditched carbonation completely and force myself to get enough water down so I don't dehydrate yet don't over due it to the point of depleting needed stuff like potassium.  I can't depend on thirst as a indicator for more water.  I'm better off drinking water throughout the day to make sure my hydration needs are met.  I find that if I do rely on thirst, it can indicate too late and I suffer the effects of too little water.  I strive for about 100 oz a day.  Yes, I find myself looking for a restroom more than I care to but it's a small price to pay for all the other benefits.  I might add, if your urine is too golden then you probably need to be drinking more.  One reason I feel water is so important is its ability to act as a medium for most of the chemical reactions inside my body, particularly the production of energy. Water performs hundreds of critical functions in the body, from transporting oxygen to acting as a coolant to keeping tissues hydrated, But shortchange yourself on water and you cut back on the body’s ability to produce energy.

So its meat and veggies for me these days with veggies making up the bulk of that intake.  Some whole grains find there way in as well.  When I stick to this regiment, my energy levels are good all day and I don't need that energy drink in the afternoon.  But I still like a cup of coffee in the morning, especially at my favorite Coffee shop.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Government Stupidity or Lazy Management?

Below is a job anouncement for a federal job and yes you to can apply via USAjobs.gov.  Just click on the Job Announcement Number below.  I am posting this because the job description and the pay range and the experience comparision to a Master's Degree do not belong in the same job announcement.  If you look it over,I think you will agree that what is basicly a data entry job is far removed from anything like a $102K salary.  Nor is a years experience as a GS 7 (basicly a journyman entry level postion) is in any way  equal to a Master's Degree.



Job Title:Invitations Coordinator



Agency:Consumer Financial Protection Bureau



Sub Agency:CFPB - Consumer Financial Protection Bureau



Job Announcement Number:12-CFPB-145X



SALARY RANGE: $53,500.00 to $102,900.00 / Per Year

OPEN PERIOD: Tuesday, January 03, 2012 to Saturday, January 07, 2012

SERIES & GRADE: CN-0301-04

POSITION INFORMATION: Full-time - Excepted service time-limited Appointment NTE 12 months; may be extended up to July 20, 2015

PROMOTION POTENTIAL:04

DUTY LOCATIONS: 1 vacancy(s) - Washington DC Metro Area, DC
WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: Applications will be accepted from U.S. citizens.

JOB SUMMARY:

Do you want to be a leader in your field at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) - a groundbreaking organization solely devoted to the economic strength and vitality of American Families? Do you want to play an important role in making consumer financial markets work for all American families? Do you want to challenge yourself and others? If you answer "Yes", then we have a career for you! CFPB professionals have unparalleled opportunities to expand horizons for themselves and for the nation. Be one of the founding members of an agency that will make a difference in the lives of everyday American families!

This position is located in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office of External Affairs. The Office of External Affairs is responsible for coordination of all external communication, with a focus on raising awareness of consumer issues through activities, messages, and interactions with Public Relations, Media, Communities, Industries, and Stakeholders. You will support management of CFPB's participation in external events by developing and maintaining databases and event calendar and providing advice and guidance on consideration of invitations.

This position is being filled under CFPB's excepted service authority. This excepted service, time-limited position may be eligible for conversion to a permanent, excepted service appointment. Appointment under this authority does not convey competitive status.



KEY REQUIREMENTS

•Background investigation

•U.S. citizenship

•May be required to serve a one year trial period.
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DUTIES:

The major duties of this position include:

•Develop and maintain a database to manage all invitations for CFPB to be represented at external meetings, panels, roundtables, conferences and other external events.

•Research and provide background information so that the invitation can be appropriately considered by decision-makers.

•Monitor and track all invitations and to ensure that all invitations are considered by the appropriate stakeholder and that decisions regarding the acceptance of the invitation are forwarded to CFPB staff in accordance with established timelines and protocols.

•Develop and maintain the CFPB-wide calendar, ensuring that all accepted invitations are placed on the CFPB calendar, and that all appropriate CFPB staff are alerted and invited to the event/meeting.

•Serve as expert on calendar issues, providing advice and guidance to CFPB staff on use of the calendar and on protocols for consideration of invitations.
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QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED:

You must meet eligibility and qualification requirements within 30 days of the closing date.

You must answer all job-related questions in the job questionnaire.

Education may be substituted for experience as described in "Qualifications."
Specialized Experience for the CN-4 level: To qualify at the CN-4, you must have one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the CN-3C grade level in the Federal service. (For qualification purposes, the CN-3C level is roughly equivalent to the GS-07 level.) For this position specialized experience may be defined as: experience coordinating the policies and procedures of an organization; knowledge of and ability to use software programs to create databases; ability to plan, prioritize and organize work; ability to communicate orally and in writing; and interacting with high level officials in non-routine situations that require a high degree of tact and etiquette.

OR

A master's degree or equivalent, or two academic years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to such degree, or LL.B. or J.D., from an accredited college or university. To be qualifying, graduate education must be in a field directly related to the duties of this position and must have provided the knowledge, skills and abilities that would be acquired through one year of specialized experience as described above.

The experience may have been gained in either the public or private sector. One year of experience refers to full-time work; part-time work is considered on a prorated basis.



Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The New Boss in Town or The Right Knowledge is Power

As a precursor to my new path for the final push toward my eventual retirement (I'm not going down as a tired old relic) I offer some managerial advice or I should say I'm offering someone else's that I think has merit.



The New Boss in Town


By Elizabeth Newell

New managers are expected to implement changes and improvements. But there is a fine line between making clear that things will be different and setting fire to what is familiar to employees. A manager who successfully toes the line between a new regime and a scorched-earth policy can set the tone early without alienating subordinates.

The balancing act requires paying attention to the existing attitudes in the organization and determining how much change people can handle - and how quickly. Peter Fischer, author of The New Boss: How to Survive the First 100 Days (Kogan Page, 2007), identifies seven building blocks of successful leadership transition: managing expectations, building key relationships, analyzing the situation, clarifying objectives, creating a climate for change, initiating change, and using symbols and rituals.

According to Fischer, experienced managers know that even the best arguments in favor of change will fall on deaf ears if the proper climate does not exist among employees. And employees who view the new boss as the long-awaited hero of the organization can be as destructive in the long run as employees who resist change.

Before you can foster a climate for change, you must gather what Milo and Thuy Sindell, authors of Sink or Swim!: New Job. New Boss. 12 Weeks to Get It Right (Adams Media, 2006), call "company knowledge." This includes the organization's history, culture - why it does things a certain way - internal operations, strategy and financial situation. "It is important to understand the rules because it ensures that you operate within the limits and boundaries and do not step on any toes in your first weeks on the job," they write. "Unknowingly crossing boundaries doesn't usually leave a very good impression."

Once you have the lay of the land and made it clear that you respect the culture of the office, it's time to articulate your vision for the organization to your employees and help them understand and appreciate their roles. Morey Stettner, author of The New Manager's Handbook: 24 Lessons for Mastering Your New Role (McGraw-Hill, 2002), writes, "By defining a new direction to move forward, you reassure employees of the benefits of change."

One approach is to identify the advantages of the changes from your employees' point of view. "Appeal to their self-interest and specify what's to gain in both the short- and long-term perspective," Stettner notes.

And while you're leveling with employees about what is coming down the pike, skip the platitudes. Clich├ęs such as "We must change or die" or "Change is a constant around here" ring hollow with employees, he says.

Stettner writes that being accessible for informal, face-to-face chats with team members helps dispel rumors and foster trust about what is in store. And when you don't have all the answers, be honest. "Saying, 'I don't know, but I'll find out and get back to you' works better than barricading yourself in your office and becoming aloof," Stettner advises.

He quotes the late leadership consultant Peter Scholtes saying, "Employees don't resist change. They resist being changed." By showing respect and understanding for the culture of your new organization when you first arrive and by being honest and accessible in announcing and implementing your new direction, you make the changes a team effort, rather than an infliction.

Elizabeth Newell covered management, human resources and contracting at Government Executive for three years.