Three New Skills You Should Learn in 2014

learning new skill, welding, woman weldingA new year means new experiences, and what better way to start off the year than by learning some new skills. Something about the beginning of a new year makes us motivated to learn new things and enter a new phase of life. If you’ve been thinking about learning a new skill, now is the time. Not quite sure what it is you want to do? Here are some ideas to get you started.


You may think it’s simple, but there is a whole lot more to gardening that just planting things in the ground. Not all plants are the same, and they need different conditions and levels of care. By researching the different families and varieties of plants, you can help yourself become more acquainted with the needs of the different species. Start off by purchasing some easy to care for plants, if you don’t know what these are, your local nursery will be more than happy to help.

Over time you will realize the differences between plants. You can start growing vegetables, herbs and fruit. If you’ve got a creative side you may even want to landscape your garden. Get down and dirty and dig up some flower beds. Separate them with a simple plank of timber, and use spare bricks to build pathways through your garden.


Perhaps you promised your kids you would build them a cubbyhouse? It’s time you learned how to build. This isn’t an easy thing to learn, but the more practise you have, the better you will be. Talk to somebody who’s in the know, and start on small, easier projects. Build yourself a box and get acquainted with the tools you will need before you start on bigger projects. Over time you will become more and more confident. Only when you know you’re capable should you try the harder jobs.


Similarly, if you’re looking to learn to build, you should probably learn how to weld. Building isn’t all about wood, and you will need to learn how to work with different kinds of metal. Unfortunately, welding is one of the much harder things to learn. It’s important that you do as much research as you can. You should never assume that you can figure it out, as welding can be dangerous. Get some lessons from a professional before you try anything too soon. It’s important to be cautious and aware. At the same time, if you’re going to weld you need to make sure that you have the right safety equipment. You will need a mask, goggles, solid work boots and clothes that cover you from top to bottom.

It’s always a great idea to learn something new, especially when you can put those skills to use on something creative. But make sure you take your time, learn all that you can and have the appropriate safety equipment before you begin. 2014 is your year, so invest yourself in a new project. For more information about learning DIY skills visit .

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Going to University – Advantages and Disadvantages

Going To University, university,

For a lot of young people, going to university can seem like the only logical step forward after finishing college or sixth form. Although the majority of people who go to university because they want to, some people feel pressured into it by their family or teachers, and still others may feel like they have no other options.With so many university graduates around these days, it can be hard to stand out. And as the fees have recently risen (to an extortionately high £9000 a year), many young people are finding themselves “priced out” of attendance. So is university really all it’s cracked up to be? Here are some advantages and disadvantages.

Pro – It Opens up New Avenues of Employment

One of the main reasons people go to uni is to better their chances at employment. A number of jobs are simply “graduate jobs” – ones in which you need a degree (sometimes any degree) just to get past the CV application stage.

And it almost goes without saying, but if you’re looking to get a career in medicine, architecture, accountancy (the list goes on…) you’ll need a degree suited to the path. A study revealed graduates tend to earn significantly more than non-graduates, but this is offset somewhat by…

Con – Student Loans

The bane of any graduate’s life, student loans cost more than you might think. At £9000 a year, you’re looking at almost thirty grand of debt for a typical three-year course, and that’s not including the maintenance loans for rent and food and so on!

There is interest there, too, so the longer you take to pay it back, the more it’ll be. Also, it’s based on income – the more you earn, the more you pay back. This can sometimes feel like you’re being punished for getting a well-paid position.

Pro – New Life Experiences

“Student life”, a phrase often spoken of in hushed, awe-filled tones, like it’s some kind of booze-fuelled Nirvana. Although you might forsake the alcohol (there will be a lot going around, just to confirm) you will definitely meet a lot of new people and have a lot of new experiences.

You will gain a large amount of independence and make friendships (and memories) that will last a lifetime, so enjoy it!

Con – Lack of Experience

Unfortunately, spending your time getting educated means you won’t have much practical experience. Depending on the career, some employers will prefer action-learning to book-learning, and you won’t have much of a CV to show them.

Pro – Self-improvement

You’re living away from home for the first time. You’re cooking and cleaning yourself, you’re managing your own schedules, and you’re balancing your bank accounts (hopefully!). You will become wiser, more independent, and more reliable.

You will come out of university with a wealth of life experience, and will be all the better for it. No matter what the cost is, you will have improved as a person.

Your time might have also given you more direction – maybe you decided that you’re not suited to physiotherapy after all, and instead choose a different path, perhaps in laboratory refurbishment or as a dance teacher! Who knows?

Con – Time Cost

Apart from the money, the other big cost of university is time. Three years for a standard undergraduate degree, and up to seven for some medical ones – it’s a long time. Some people simply decide that, instead of racking up a huge debt, they’ll get straight into the world of employment.

A degree isn’t entirely necessary – you can work your way up through a company by hard work alone. The important thing to do before deciding to go to university is weigh up the pros and cons, and make up your own mind.

About the author:

Post by ex university student Tom Rokins.

Tips for Getting Your New Job Off to a Great Start!

Starting a new job is never easy, no matter how confident you are in your new role. Even if you know exactly what will be expected of you, the nerves associated with beginning an entirely new project are often considerable. By following some basic steps and using a little planning and preparation, however, you can soon absorb the shock and get ready for success.

Assess the Situation from Afar

In order to make the transition from your old job to your new position more comfortable, you can do some research into what your new place of employment will be like. Its corporate culture and ethos can be assessed by carrying out a little online research. Examine marketing materials and the company’s own website. This should give you a great idea as to what working there will be like in terms of the kind of expectations placed on you and what is acceptable (e.g., dress and workplace conduct).

Ask Key Questions

Asking questions is crucial in any new job. It is vital that you understand what the requirements and demands of the job are before you begin. One way of ensuring that you understand many of the concepts and ideas that will underpin the more routine aspects is to have a conversation with your boss before you start. That way, any issues can be cleared up quickly and you will have a clear picture in your mind to help you through those first few weeks.

Also make sure that you ask questions of your line manager and more experienced colleagues. Never let an issue drift along due to shyness or some kind of worry that you will irritate someone. If a colleague is irritated by your asking questions, it is he who is in the wrong. Asking questions shows that you care and want to learn and can also help you get to know your colleagues better, improving your awareness of the issues that they have to deal with every day.

The Right Impression

It is also crucial to create the right impression at your new place of work. Be positive, upbeat and optimistic in your assessment of how you think you are going to cope. Smiling is key at this stage, even if you are feeling overwhelmed. New colleagues will be more prepared to help someone who is polite and friendly than someone who transmits his anxieties by being obviously bad tempered or hostile to new faces. This is especially important in public service roles or very stressful occupations such as hospital jobs.

If anyone helps you or offers advice, make sure that you thank them politely. Showing enthusiasm for your new tasks also helps to create the right impression. If you look like you are enjoying your new tasks, however mundane or boring they may be at first, you are more likely to impress those above you in the management pyramid and create that important positive first impression.

With a little research beforehand and by showing the right attitude when you start, you should find that the transition is smooth and soon you will be feeling right at home in your new job.

About the author:This article was contributed by Lloyd, a freelance writer and blogger, on behalf of Nuffield Health Careers. 
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Analytic Tools for Web-Based Business’ Progress

As a mother who is bent on securing a comfortable future for her family, I dream of having my own business one day. I have my eyes set on setting up an Internet-based business since almost everyone is highly dependent on the Web these days.

However, I do know that if I were to start a marketing campaign for my business, keeping track of its results is very crucial. This is especially true if I wanted to launch a full-scale Internet marketing campaign for my “business.” For that, I would need the right set of tools so I can continually monitor the progress of my business and ensure that the strategies I am utilizing are really working.

I plan to try out InetSoft for analytic tools, should I finally decide to put the business up. I heard that it doesn’t only keep track of algorithms that matter to Internet entrepreneurs but it also provides important reports to help business owners keep track of how well a business is doing. These reports include production reports and interactive reports, which are very important for web-based businesses. This can provide convenience for me since aside from handling the business I still have to take care of my kids and perform my duties as a mom and wife.

Well, it looks like I wouldn’t have a hard time setting up the business I have in mind. Surely, not with such helpful tools available.

Looking for Best Annuities

Sometimes I can’t help myself to look at interest rates displayed on windows of banks here.
Being a former banker and exposed to various investment instruments, I’m always on the look out for possible investment products where we could place our money. I know it’s not possible at this time since we don’t have that much but who knows, we might win the jackpot prize in lotto. Hehe..

I remember when I was still learning the basics of investment I realized that investing is not easy. You don’t just look at how much or how high you could earn. Every investor must know the risks involved. Learn how these instruments work and choose what’s best depending on his investment profile. With these, he needs expert advice from people who could present to him financial products which have the best annuities. They could be fixed-income securities like bonds, government or corporate securities and more.

Given that opportunity, I will invest in securities which has the best annuities. It’s okay if it yields not too high, but just enough. What’s important is it is secured and with lesser risk involved.

A Dream Fulfilled

I’ve been seeing posts from friends and relatives on their Facebook walls lately sending their wishes and congratulating someone on his graduation. Then I realized, oh yeah it is graduation season once again in my homeland.

I suddenly remembered my own 15 years ago. Actually we just had a small celebration that day. I knew we could not afford a party that time so we had a family dinner in a simple restaurant. But to my surprise my parents gave me a personalized graduation gift. It was a wooden photo frame with my name engraved on it. They told me to put my photo taken when I was receiving my diploma at the stage. I was really happy for the gift because it will hold something that I know was my greatest gift to my parents. Finishing studies was of great importance to us, especially to them. Since we are not rich, I remember clearly how our dad tells me and big bro to finish our studies because education is the only thing they could pass on to us .

I am thankful for my parents for instilling in us the value of education. I have seen their hardships just for us to graduate and I know they are happy that we have fulfilled their dreams for us. And this I will also impart to my kids because knowledge is something that you could be proud of and no one can ever take it away from you.

Recognition Act: A Gateway for Opportunities in Germany

The Recognition Act came as a very good news for me. Recognition Act, which took effect in the beginning of this month, provides a legal procedure to recognize foreign professional qualifications. Meaning, professions gained outside Germany can be compared with those obtained here through an assessment. It is a standardized system which is easier to comprehend by applicants as well as the employers and businesses. Good thing is offices are available to handle such assessment and recommend you on what and where you can apply to and you are sure of decisions three months after your submission of your required documents. This will be very beneficial to professionals, like me because in reality many immigrants here have jobs that are not related with their previous careers in their homeland and receive salaries that are not commensurate.

When I received my new electronic residence permit, I was surprised that a work permit came with it. The thought of having that working permit excites me. Now I can apply for a job where I think would suit my credentials and be ready for a criminal background check. Although I know I have not done any criminal offense it is understandable that any company has to do a background check on the people applying to be a part of their workforce. And now with the Recognition Act, I’m seeing a possibility that I can work here with my past experience as a bank employee. I have already browsed in their portal regarding the professions available in a bank and by just reading gave me hope that in years to come I could gain back my career. But of course before I apply I will have to be armed with the most important weapon , the proficiency in the German language. Although I’m still opting to suit up in an international department. 🙂

Performance Evaluation as Management Tool for Greater Output

Last week, we bought a printer. We thought we’ll be needing one to print some documents for the filing of hubby’s annual income tax return. I was so happy with it I suddenly missed working. I miss the environment, the sight of papers all over my table, the documents for checking, the checks for signing, the fast-paced life and most importantly the people I worked with especially my subordinates. Actually, I don’t like calling them “subordinates” or “staff” because I have always regarded them as my friends. They knew how thankful I was to them for their valuable effort in helping me run the Trust Operations of our bank. I knew I couldn’t have  done it without them. I remembered how easy it was for us to talk if there’s a problem and open up to me and tell me their grievances or talk just about anything. Our Section received praises from our Boss because of our teamwork and camaraderie. That’s why during annual performance evaluation I see to it that I take note of their improvements and in every year I see these on them. I also emphasize their strengths and praise them. And I point out their weaknesses and motivate them to overcome these. I have always liked the part where I talk to them and say these things out. Making a performance evaluation on each of your staff could be tedious. With all the paper works, answering every factor objectively and justifying them. But these are nothing compared to their hardwork and dedication to their job so I see to it that they get noticed and rewarded for it. Other colleagues observed how fast promotion was in my Section and I always say that nobody could question it because it is seen in their output and they really deserved it.

Performance evaluation is really a great management tool to help employees achieve their career goals. In this way, we superiors give them hopes, help them grow and attain their dreams. And with this, management also benefits from motivated employees to produce desired output and likewise reach the company’s targets.


Disclaimer: I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog for contractor
management and was compensated. However, the views and opinions are my