This is so cool! Barack Obama has added closed captioning to his videos. Read all about it from a deaf mom who advocated for rest of us with hearing disabilities! She Twittered and it worked. With Obama leading the way, we can hope that others making videos will follow suit. It would make a huge difference.
Archives for November 2008
Today I went to a group home across town where a dear family friend, Don Gabe, lives with six or so other people who need assisted living. Don is a former neighbor, and he and my husband, Jack, played cribbage once a week for years. Don is one of those hidden treasures you find now and again. A veteran of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, he was a colonel when he retired. Years ago he and his wife, Nita, retired in Country Meadows, where Jack and I lived. The two families had many things in common, and had many good times together. Then Nita was hit with Alzheimer's. Don cared for her as long as possible, but finally it was necessary for her to live in a group home where she had 24-hour care. And what wonderful care by Bili and John Feeley. Don went to see Nita every day, unless he was ill. For years. His heart began acting up, and after some thought, he decided to move into the home with Nita. He just couldn't trust his heart to behave. Nita faded away in a sweet sense...she was always sweet, even with this horrible illness...and she died this past summer. With Don at her side. I get over to chat with him every few weeks or so, and sometimes we go out for lunch. I have more fun learning about his history. He has a terrific memory. Born and raised in North Dakota, living in a house with no plumbing or central heating. The stories he tells about family night baths (Saturday, of course). And how he and Nita eloped. And the friends they made around the world as the Army moved them around. He was with the Corps of Engineers. And what a wonderful family he has. I said all that to say that it was a pleasure, the day before Thanksgiving, to join Don and a number of others at Thanksgiving Dinner. The thing that I've noticed every time I've been in this home is the strong love the owners and staff have for their residents. And respect. While I was there, he received a package of the most exquisite cookies from son Matt and daughter-in-law Debbie, who live in Hawaii. They sent a beautiful message, which Don read to us. It meant the world to me to see Don and the other residents just glowing in that wonderful atmosphere. Nothing trumps love and respect. I drove home feeling deeply blessed. Plus, I made several new friends.
By Anne Caldwell
With the holidays approaching, many business owners decide to acknowledge employees with a party of sorts, as a gesture of appreciation and an opportunity to socialize together. What liability might a business owner face by sponsoring an event of this sort?There are several aspects that need to be considered. From the standpoint of recognition, having a gathering is a nice idea. But if the balance of the year is vacant of expressions of appreciation, an annual event is not going to buy much in the way of loyalty. It should be a culmination of other ways in which you show your employees you value them. Another issue to think about is the notion of a “Christmas” party. There are many religions other than Christian, and if you are going to address anything religious, it is important that you address other expressions as well. This can be challenging, but the best approach is to announce that you’d like the party to represent the company as a whole and involve the employees in the planning. There’s nothing wrong with having a Christmas tree, but add some references to Chanukah or Kwanzaa, if you have employees who observe them. If they do not step forward with input for the party, they have relinquished their right to complain later. Finally, consider carefully if alcohol will be served. Aside from the expense and concern for safety, there are issues of liability and professionalism. If you choose not to serve liquor, make sure that employees know they are not to bring alcohol to the party. To fail to plan for the possibility that some participants may over-imbibe is remiss. Not only could their professional reputation suffer if they act foolish or obnoxious, but your company can be held liable of they leave the party and cause an accident. If you decide to serve alcohol, there is no sure way to avoid liability and to keep your employees safe. It is important that you have a workplace substance abuse policy that has been adequately communicated. Review it in the weeks prior to the party, via bulletin board listings, paycheck stuffers, or office e-mail. Make it clear that drunkenness is prohibited, and that professional and responsible behavior is not just expected, but required. Make sure there are lots of interesting non-alcoholic choices available, maybe an espresso bar, or a variety of juices. You can issue drink tickets to employees, thereby limiting their intake, but that doesn’t preclude people from giving their unused tickets to someone else. Whoever is serving should be vigilant and watch for signs of tipsiness or too frequent visitors to the bar. Remind managers that they have responsibility for maintaining the company’s drug and alcohol policy. They should be mingling anyway, and keeping an eye out for any potential problems. Make sure there is lots to eat, especially starchy or protein-based choices that slow the absorption of alcohol. Avoid greasy or salty foods that tend to make people thirsty. Stop serving alcohol an hour before the party ends, but leave some food and coffee out. Provide alternative transportation, whether that is a company van with a designated driver, or company-paid cab rides. Talk this up in advance, and emphasize that this is a responsible choice, not a silly one. Encourage anyone who may have had too much to drink to take advantage of these free – and safe – alternatives. Anne Caldwell is President and Founder of Outsourcing Solutions, a human resource strategy firm that works with small companies, start-ups and organizations in transition. Outsourcing Solutions can be reached at (602) 228-9191, www.azoutsource.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you and your spouse or partner are in business together, you gotta take time to read Hal Alpiar's blog on how to make the relationship work. And how not to. Example:
Bedtime in the bedroom is simply not the right time or the right place to talk about sales, distribution, taxes, accounts payable, collections, irate customers, business investments, R&D projects, bank loans, marketing programs, or employee performance."When you eat, sleep, and drink the business," he says, "it’s often difficult to separate personal issues and concerns, to live personal lives, to be preserving your relationships." Good stuff here, and hey, it's free. Click over to Alpiar's blog and read "Sleeping With The Boss?"