Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2009 - Best Life

I was switching channels between, AC Milan vs Hamburg FC live on Dubai TV (my kids were at the stadium to cheer Ronaldinho, Beckham and the gangs) and Oprah.

In a much-anticipated return from winter hiatus, Oprah Winfrey tackled head on one of the biggest issues that's plagued her public life: weight.
Winfrey debuted her new "Best Life" week series today with an admission that last year she'd just about "given up" on herself and that her life had been out of balance.
While Winfrey herself didn't say she was suffering mild depression, adviser and fitness expert Bob Greene suggested she was.
"I looked in her eyes, and she wasn't there. She was very vacant and distracted. It was alarming to me," Greene recalled while walking with Winfrey one day last year at her California estate. "I think I felt she was losing her zest for life, and that was one of the saddest moments."
With a crazed schedule that balanced her talk show and several other arms of her empire, Winfrey began suffering sleep issues and heart palpitations over a year ago. Four doctors and several prescriptions later, the sleep Winfrey craved didn't come. But, the added pounds did.
"None of the doctors recognized it was a thyroid problem, but our viewers did," Winfrey said. "The moment I heard I had a thyroid problem, I thought I don't even know how to fight this."
"It's not about using food or abusing food. It's about balance. When I ask myself what I am hungry for, I am hungry for balance."
Winfrey admitted during the show and in this month's edition of "O" magazine that her entire body hadn't been featured on the cover last year because she was embarassed by her weight.
"This past year has been really difficult, because I didn't feel like a cover girl. I'd rather not be seen," Winfrey said. " All this year I've been hiding my body because I didn't want you to see it. Here I am one of the most visible people in the world, trying to hide my body."
Winfrey might have been down, but definitely not out. She pledged 2009 would be about having more joy and balance in her life.
"When you love yourself enough, you take care of yourself. You have to make yourself a priority."

2009 - re-examine our attitude at work

My recent annual (2008) Key Performance Assessment was done satisfactorily. We, as employees, assessed our own performance based on our own set of KPIs and goals which in turn based on the company's vision and missions.

I have a great boss (hopefully he reads my blog.. he he he) who is also very experience. There was nothing much to discuss as we have a very good working relationship and work environment. We are professionals...however, we cannot run away or hide from office politics.

Re-examine your attitude at work

Last week, I sent an e-mail to a friend who had just lost his job. "I'm so sorry," I wrote. "Your bosses are morons to have got rid of such a genius as you. I can only suppose a queue will shortly stretch round the block as less brain-dead employers clamour to take you on. Hope you are OK."
The e-mail was heartfelt except for one word, and that was "shortly". I don't expect a queue to form for my friend shortly.
Even geniuses are not getting snapped up quickly - unless they happen to be security guards, social workers, accountants or teachers.
In a trice, I had a message back. He said he had had a brief panic about the mortgage and school fees but otherwise was really rather cheerful. Indeed, he was in such high spirits that he even sent me a funny anecdote.

It is tempting to conclude from this message that, if there is one thing worse for hitherto successful, well-paid people than being fired, it is not being fired.
The grimness of the unemployed will get worse as no queues form to take them on, while the grimness of those in work will, in time, start to recede. This is not because the economy will improve - it is because the grimness itself will bring on a sounder and altogether more realistic approach to work.

Over the past decade, the rich, professional classes have developed an increasingly unhealthy attitude to their jobs. We took our jobs and our fat salaries for granted and felt aggrieved if our bonuses were not even bigger than the year before. We demanded that the work be interesting in itself and, even more dangerously and preposterously, that it should have meaning.

The result of all these demands was, of course, dissatisfaction. We had climbed to the very top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and discovered that, at the top of the pyramid, the air was very thin indeed. As an agony aunt, I found that by far the most common problem readers submitted came from rich and senior professionals who had all their basic needs more than catered for, leaving their souls in torment. Help me, I'm bored, they cried. Or, worse: what does my work mean?

In the past few months, anguish of this sort has vanished. When one's job is at risk and one's savings are a shadow of their former selves, the search for meaning at work is meaningless.

Low expectations
The point of a job becomes rather more basic: to feed and house one's family and oneself. If we can do this, then anything we manage over and above this is a bonus. Once expectations have fully adjusted to this new reality and we see earning money as the main reason for work, greater satisfaction will follow.

Low expectations have an awful lot to be said for them. In surveys, women turn out to be more satisfied at work than men, in spite of earning less for the same jobs and doing most of the work at home too. The reason is simple: women's expectations of working life are lower.

The easiest and cheapest way of cheering up demoralised workers is to tell them that they are doing a great job. It is one of the great mysteries of office life why most managers are so resistant to this when it does not cost one penny. Here is all they have to do: pick people off one by one (to do it in groups is lazy and quite spoils the impact) and say thank you and well done, and look as if they mean it.

By Lucy Kellaway, Financial Times

Condoleezza Rice Received Jewels From Arab Leaders

What do we expect from these Arab leaders on Palestinian issues? Do they really care?
In this Jan. 15, 2007, file photo released by Saudi News Agency, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, right, meets with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice after her arrival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah has presented Rice with gifts on various occasions like a ruby and diamond necklace with matching earrings, bracelet and ring worth an estimated $165,000 in July 2007, and a estimated $170,000 flower petal motif necklace the Saudi monarch gave to Rice in 2005, which the State Department says was not previously disclosed. (AP Photo/Saudi News Agency, File)

WASHINGTON—President George W. Bush's foreign policies may be unpopular in the Middle East, but Arab leaders showered his top diplomat with jewelry worth far more than a quarter of a million dollars last year. While Bush himself didn't fare nearly as well, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raked in at least $316,000 in gem-encrusted baubles from the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia alone, making her one of top recipients among U.S. officials of gifts from foreign heads of state and government and their aides in 2007.
In January, Jordan's King Abdullah II gave Rice an emerald and diamond necklace, ring, bracelet and earrings estimated to be worth $147,000, according to the State Department's annual inventory of such items released Monday just in time for Christmas.
The king and his wife, Queen Rania, also gave Rice a less expensive necklace and earrings along with a jewelry box valued at $4,630, the document shows.
Not to be outdone, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia presented Rice with a ruby and diamond necklace with matching earrings, bracelet and ring worth $165,000 in July. The inventory also includes a $170,000 flower petal motif necklace the Saudi monarch gave to Rice in 2005, which the department says was not previously disclosed.

From the same Arab leaders, Bush received just over $100,000 in gifts in 2007, the list shows.