It’s the end of the economy as we know it, and I feel fine….

Well maybe not fine, but the doomsday headlines of this week are conveniently hiding some key pieces of information to make them salacious enough to scare everyone into reading them voraciously.  Here are the headlines of my Google News feed for “career or job or employ or job market”

Only ONE in five headlines tells the true story.  Continue reading “It’s the end of the economy as we know it, and I feel fine….”

The Handiness of Unitasking.

My husband laughs at me when I say I’m a multitasker.  “I hope it doesn’t say ‘multitasker’ on your resume” is a common household expression at our place.  And lately I feel like I’ve been multitasking like crazy but also feel that I’m getting much less done.  So I decided to try out unitasking and see if I fair any better.

First, I examined my typical workday:  Continue reading “The Handiness of Unitasking.”

Music at Work Relaxes and Motivates

I was sitting at my desk today when my computer suddenly started playing music.  A little Simon and Garfunkel, then some classical, and a dash of Vince Guaraldi (of Charlie Brown fame).  Funny enough, it was just what I needed at the end of a long, fast paced week (the first week back to school since winter break). 

Of course, I had pressed a random succession of keys that had accidentally opened my music player, but it got me thinking- what effect does music have on people at work, and how can we harness its powers for good?  Here’s what the pros have to say(from Elizabeth Scott, MS, of

Depending on the type of music you listen to, it can actually have a very positive mental AND physical effect on you:

  • Brain Waves: Research has shown that music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking, and a slower tempo promoting a calm, meditative state.
  • Breathing and Heart Rate: With alterations in brainwaves comes changes in other bodily functions. Those governed by the autonomic nervous system, such as breathing and heart rate can also be altered by the changes music can bring. This can mean slower breathing, slower heart rate, and an activation of the relaxation response, among other things.
  • State of Mind: Music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay. This can help prevent the stress response from wreaking havoc on the body, and can help keep creativity and optimism levels higher, bringing many other benefits.

How you can use music to relax and de-stress:

  • Music can promote relaxation of tense muscles, enabling you to easily release some of the tension you carry from a stressful day (or week).
  • Music, especially upbeat tunes, can take your mind off what stresses you, and help you feel more optimistic and positive.

And some recommendations for relaxing music?  I think this is too hard a question to answer for the masses, but these are on my playlist anytime I need to mellow out at work.  I find the fewer lyrics, the better while I’m at work, so I get less distracted. 

  • Simon & Garfunkel, 59th street bridge, or pretty much anything else they did
  • Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, or any other 1940’s era big band
  • Vince Guaraldi, A Charlie Brown Christmas Album (yes, anytime of year)
  • Miles Davis anything
  • Fleet Foxes (newish accoustic/harmonic band from Seattle)
  • Beach Boys, Pet Sounds album
  • Debussey for Daydreamers (classical)
  • Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
  • I Am Sam soundtrack
  • Paul Simon, Graceland

Ask handi!


Do you have a career related question?  Maybe you can’t find the information you need about resumes, cover letters, salaries?  Or you just haven’t found any good websites for your particular job search?  Or maybe you’re just wondering how to word something on your resume, cover letter, or Thank You note?

handiwork wants to help you find the best, most useful, and hopefully clever resources on the web to aid your quest.

How can you “Ask handi?”  Simply submit your question as a comment on this page and I will post answers daily.

**It should be mentioned, in the interest of full disclosure, that I rather enjoy a challenge- so even if you think your question is unanswerable or just plain silly, I’ll give it my best shot.

Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

In the video section of handiwork, you may have watched Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, in which this brilliant and eloquent professor actually gives the lecture he would if he knew it would be his last.  Though provoking, funny, and inspiring, I highly recommend you all watch it and take to heart some of Randy’s lessons.

Randy died today of pancreatic cancer at the age of 47, but as he says in his last lecture, he accomplished pretty much everything he’d ever wanted to do, professionally and personally.  From childhood dreams of being in zero gravity to becoming a college professor, Randy figured out something that so many people miss- how to recognize happiness in life, rather than constantly striving to “get” happiness.  Realize that happiness is not an end goal, it is what happens along the way to other goals. 

Create your own meaning and recognize your own happiness.  Those are lessons that we can all stand to hear regularly in our personal and professional lives.

The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch’s University Home Page