Strong Job Sectors During a Weak Economy

Pay cuts nd layoffs have become common stories these days. However, there are some sectors where job openings are growing and the pay is still rising. According to the recent study conducted by researchers,  job openings topped the list.


Growing healthcare job openings should not come as a surprise, since health care is essential in any community. People won’t stop getting sick when the economy is poor. In fact, the added stress levels during a recession can increase the likelihood of people getting sick. In addition, the aging population also means that more people will be demanding healthcare services in the coming years.


Many healthcare job openings require very specific education. Thankfully, not all healthcare job openings require education programs that take ages to finish. For example, there are accelerated programs for nursing to help you make a career switch sooner rather than later. For people with administrative or IT skills, transferring to the healthcare industry is easier since there are many new openings that require those skills.


Engineering job openings and even other science job openings provide growing opportunities thanks to the stimulus package that allocated $90 billion for public infrastructure, private energy and utility projects. Civil engineering and project engineering jobs are the most likely to benefit from stimulus funding.


Here are the top five “recession-proof” jobs, and their median annual salaries:

  • Pharmacist ($110,000)
  • Research scientist, biotechnology ($85,500)
  • Project engineer ($85,500)
  • Nurse practitioner ($82,600)
  • Civil engineer ($81,400)


Job Hunting


Although there are signs of economic recovery, the job market outlook is expected to be dense and competitive. Many people will have to rethink their job-hunting strategies. Here are some useful tips for job hunting:


Seek out all possibilities – Everyone has their own “dream job.” However, during a recession, there are times when limiting your options to your dream job can be unproductive. If you want to increase your chances for employment, you must exhaust all possibilities. This means that you must consider your transferable skills, and assess which career options you qualify for. Consider updating your skills by attending seminars or enrolling in relevant courses to boost your credentials and marketability.


Consider job openings that closely match your skills – Exhausting all possibilities doesn’t mean just submitting your resume to all the companies you come across. You must still be sure that your skills closely match the job description. With a very dense job-hunting market, lacking skills in some areas could be enough to disqualify you from the running. It follows that you must tailor your resume specifically for every job opening.


Do your research – Research on the companies you’re considering. Know their products, mission and vision, marketing strategies, their latest developments and organizational strategies. In the event that you’re granted an interview, your knowledge will help you give answers that are more informed.


Work your network – Recent surveys show that networking is the most effective tool for finding employment, especially for jobs above entry-level positions.

Online Courses Are Helpful For Getting Additional Degrees

The arena of competitive studies is becoming increasingly tougher and tougher. Today the chances of getting a suitable position in a person’s own career are becoming more competitive. That is why it has become more important for the people to acquire more academic degrees to support their candidature for a certain place or position. It is also possible that there are many people who wish to acquire more degrees while working at a certain position. For these people, the online courses are of more importance for them. These courses are reasonably suitable for anybody who wishes to get such an academic degree. The following reasons are responsible for this:

Flexible timing: These courses are not bound with strict timings. That is certainly an advantage for the people who are also working professionals. As these working professionals remain engaged in their own place of work, it is virtually impossible for them to get any opportunity to get them involved in the course. The flexible time schedule of these courses certainly suit to these working professionals. They are free to join their courses according to their own time schedule. It is highly beneficial for them as it does not harm their natural way of life where their existing profession or engagement is certainly given top priority by them.

Wider range of options: Most of the online universities or learning institutions offer a wider range of courses that are very suitable for different working professionals. They are free to select their own course according to their own preferences. It is a remarkable thing to know and note that these online universities also offer various facilities to the working professionals who are equally serious towards their new career options. There are enough reasons for these Internet based universities to support such working people who are striving for better tomorrow.

No need of maintaining regularity in the class: It is another great feature of these online courses that certainly makes them more suitable for the working professionals. There are many courses where attendance plays a major role in the final evaluation of the candidates. However, these working professionals who are undergoing these online courses are not required to maintain any regularity of attendance in the class as it is not an important criterion for them. However, these people are allowed to maintain a certain percentage of attendance during a certain semester. It is highly beneficial for the people in the long run.

Fee structure: The fee structure of these online courses for the working professionals is also very much manageable for them. It is quite practical that the courses can be slightly more expensive for the working professionals. However, these people get more options to make the payments according to their conveniences. It is relatively beneficial for these people.

Stress-free and easy schedule: Since these working professionals are unable to get these courses in the normal way, they are provided with easier and stress-free schedule. They are allowed to complete their courses according to their own conveniences.

In this way, it can easily be concluded that these courses are highly beneficial for the people who wish to get additional degrees to improve their exposure to higher placement opportunities.

The Judeo-Christian prophetic tradition

The Judeo-Christian prophetic tradition continues through the figure of Muhammad in Islam

Ishmael, son of Abraham and Hagar as the traditional ancestor of Muslims Muhammad as the agent through whom Allah communicated with the community

Quran as the revelation and the central miracle in Islam

The Islamic creed or SHAHDA : Foundation of the faith The Quran as the key theological document: The First Chapter begins by encapsulating the essential principles of Islam.  The Fatiha (Quran 1: 1-7): In the name of God, the Merciful, and the Compassionate. Praise belongs to God, the Lord of all Being, the All-merciful, the All-compassionate, and Master of the Day of Doom. Thee only we serve; to Thee alone we pray for succor. Guide us in the straight path, the path of those whom Thou hast blessed, not of those against whom Thou art wrathful, nor of those who are astray. (Tr. from Ruthven. M. Islam)

Few details known about Muhammad’s early life:

Orphaned in childhood and brought up by Abd-al-Muttalib, and Abu Talib Possibly influenced by the meditative practices of the Hanifs First revelatory experience in 610 C.E. : Vision of angel Gabriel and the divine command to “recite” in God’s name (Sura 96:1- 5, Text I, pg.359) Public preaching preceded by initial reluctance

Meccan ministry emphasized:

  •  Unity of God and His final judgment
  •  Importance of individual repentance

Demand for social justice implicit in Muhammad’s position, problematic for the Meccan elite Denunciation of idol worship also threatened the economic health of the ruling class Resentment against Muhammad reflected in the restrictions placed on his immediate family and followers : Possible threats on his life Emigration (HIJRA) to Yathrib as a mediator between two tribes, the Aws and the Khazraj in 622 C.E. : Beginning of the Islamic era Readier acceptance of Muhammad’s prophetic role and the authenticity of his revelatory experience in the new city: Yathrib renamed Medinat an nabi or the City of the Prophet From one man’s personal experience to the beginnings of a community of believers: The Covenant of Medina (Text I, pg. 337) Religious and civil law from the same divine source at the foundation of the Islamic community : Islam both a religion as well as a community Initiation of weekly community services on Friday, taking up of alms for the poor etc. enhanced the social identity of Muhammad’s followers Gradual conversion of Mecca through wars and diplomatic maneuvers : Initiation of monotheistic practices in Kaba and the destruction of the idols within it Foundation of a community united by the faith in the unity of Allah and the brotherhood of all believers : Umma or the community of the faithful governed by the dictates of Divine law.

Muhammad’s death in 632 C.E. Muhammad’s words and personal example as the basis of faith (IMAN) and duty (DIN) of Islam

Islam based on

  1. IMAN (faith)
  2. IHSAN (right conduct)
  3. IBADAT (religious duty)

IMAN based on the SHAHDA: la illaha illa Allah

God as self-subsistent, omnipotent, and omniscient

Creator of the world and the sole arbiter of human souls on the Day of Judgment

Differences in interpretation on the question of predestination and free will

God’s guidance through the Quran, and through his messenger, Muhammad, and through the angels

Muhammad as the last of the prophet’s: Authority derived from God, but essentially human in nature Qu’ran as the central miracle in Islam: Faith in the undistorted and final word of Allah to humankind Allah’s guidance through angels : Resemblance with Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian apocalyptic ideals

IHSAN : Moral conduct flows from Divine guidance

IBADAT : Five Pillars of Islam

  1. Creed or Shahda
  2. Prayer or Salat
  3. Almsgiving or Zakat
  4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
  5. Pilgrimage or Hajj

IHSAN : Moral conduct flows from Divine guidance..

Moral structure of Islam derived from the Qur’an (Text II, pg. 310/312)

Standards of morality based upon the relationship:

  1. Between God and humans
  2. Amongst the believers themselves Spirituality and social responsibility inseparable from the perspective of the believers.

IBADAT : Religious Duty or the “Five Pillars of Islam”

  1. Creed or Shahda
  2. Prayer or Salat
  3. Almsgiving or Zakat
  4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan
  5. Pilgrimage or Hajj
  6. Shahda is the central creed of Islam. It is the primary responsibility of the believer to accept the Shahda and repeat it faithfully
  7. Salat : Five acts of devotion and prayer each day to help one to align one’s life with the Quar’anic standards : Repetition of the Fatihah or the first sura from the Quar’an (Text I, pg. 385)

Prayers at dawn, midday, midafternoon, sunset, and at night Worship is strictly non-iconic; worshippers face Mecca while praying Friday as the special day for public prayer.

  1. Zakat: Voluntary offering of the community to those in need (debtors, slaves, wayfarers, beggars etc.) Universally obligatory in Muslim societies in the past. Often levied as a tax on two and half percent of one’s accumulated wealth in many contemporary Muslim countries In non-Muslim countries, collection and distribution of Zakat undertaken by the Islamic community itself.
  2. Fasting during the month of Ramadan as a religious duty except for travelers and the sick Fast lasts from dawn to dusk.
  3. Hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca is an adaptation of the pre-Islamic pilgrimage tradition during the sacred month of Dhu-al-Hijja

Duties required of the pilgrim:

Seven counterclockwise circumambulation of the Ka’ba, and walking back and forth between two hills Safa and Marwa in memory of Hagar as she searched the valley for water to quench the thirst of her son Ishmael Wearing of a white seamless garment and practicing of abstinence of food or drink during the day Prayer and meditation from noon to sunset at the Arafat plain where Muhammad is believed to have delivered his farewell sermon.

Islamic Communities after Muhammad

Muhammad’s death in 632 C.E. Political power struggle within the Islamic community Unity maintained under the first four leaders Abu Bakr as the first Caliph or successor to Muhammad (632-634C.E.) Expansion of the Islamic caliphate beyond Arabia during the reign of Umar/Omar (634-644C.E.) Umar/Omar succeeded by Uthman/Othman (644-656 C.E.) and Ali (656-661C.E.) Uthman/Othman murdered by a group of mutineers from the Arab army in Egypt and Ali finally became the Caliph Ali assassinated by a lone man from a radical religious sect in 661C.E. Caliphate moved to Damascus under the Umayyads in 661C.E. Massacre of Alis son Husayn and his army by the Umayyad forces in 680C.E. at Karbala led to the final division between the Shiahs and the Sunnis: Commemorated by the Muharram Question of succession led to the division between the Shiah or the adherents of Ali and the majority Sunnis

Historically, the Shiahs has been the minority sect

Sunni orthodox Islamic theory maintains that the Caliphate is an elective office while the Shiahs contend that the Caliph as a spiritual guide has broader authority and should be a descendant of Ali, Muhammad’s son in law. It is the religious culture rather than political authority that has brought the Islamic community together through history.

Importance of History in a Community’s Self-Understanding

Bible as a record of the interaction between the Hebrew people and their God

History, according to the Biblical understanding, provides a learning experience The Divine Covenant and Human Responsibility: It is up to the humans to apprehend and abide by the transcendental order Divine expectation of fundamental moral conduct from everyone: Humans do not excel at governing themselves when left to follow their own conscience? Repeated renewal of the covenant through Noah, Abraham, and Moses: Genesis and Exodus Covenant relationship implies a binding relationship between two groups: Ideals of choice and acceptance Abraham as an example.

Function of Revelation and Prophecy: Instances of communication between the Transcendental power and humans Revelation as an divinely directed event which has a special significance for those who share a particular worldview Tension between the way things are and the way they ought to be: Biblical view of history incorporates a hope for change for the better Exodus: Metaphor of emergence from slavery to a people with a destiny and purpose Questions of Justice: Prophets, Kings, and Social Reform : Emergence of political identity of the Hebrew people and the associated social problems.

Gradual settlement of the freed slaves from Egypt in Canaan:
From a loose tribal confederation ruled by informal chieftains (Shophetim or Judges) : Samson, Shamgar, Ehud, Deborah etc. To a centralized monarchy: Saul, David, Solomon Construction of the Temple: Priestly and Legal authority.

Emergence of Monotheism focused on the worship of Yahweh. Secession of the northern tribes (Israel), centered around Samaria, in 922 B.C.E. and their dispersal in 722 B.C.E. by the Assyrian invasion Southern tribes(Judah), centered around Jerusalem, continued until the Babylonian invasion in 586 B.C.E.

The Prophetic Tradition:

Based upon intensely personal, ecstatic experience of individuals: Voice of social conscience. Worked from both inside as well as outside the social, and political institutions of the community Prophets proclaim for God against all unrighteousness and disloyalty against Yahweh.

3 stages of the Prophetic tradition:

1. Guild Prophets.

2. Pre-Writing Prophets (Nathan’s prophecy to David in Samuels II, ch 12 ) : Prophetic experience underscores God’s demand for justice; against individual acts of corruption?

3. Writing Prophets (Amos, Isaiah etc,): Challenged the corruption implicit in the social order and institutions.

So, You Have Decided To Go Pro

Years ago there was a commercial on television sponsored by Dunkin Donuts.  In it a man was shown getting up at 4 A.M. and you heard him saying “time to make the donuts.”  He would of course then head down to his Dunkin Donut store and begin making the product for the day.

The commercial was great and it pointed out clearly that if you’re dedicated to your chosen profession it doesn’t matter how early you get up it is worth the effort. Such is the case in becoming a professional photographer.  Many times you will find yourself crawling out of bed at 4 A.M. so you can be at a location you’ve chosen for its majestic beauty so you can then capture the perfect lighting, the perfect sense of timelessness etc.  It is worth the effort.

It creates in you a sense of fulfillment as you gently press the shutter release and know for certain that time has stopped for you and the moment belongs to you.

However… if you’re getting up early and traveling to your location only to hope that you’ll get the perfect shot it is time to rethink your process. Ask yourself this. Have I done everything in my power to ensure that my time is well spent? Do I know exactly how to capture the image as I imagined it and what more could I do to be the consummate professional in the field of photography? It would be great if I could believe that you have asked and answered those simple questions.

But, I doubt that you have and because of that I’m going to suggest just a couple of things here that you should consider.  First, how have you prepared yourself for your new career?  Photography is an exciting field in which to work but know this:  If you’re going pro and you are no good, people will know it immediately and your income potential will be less than you had hoped.

All of the new technology available helps in your quest for perfection.  Use it and develop your own style in your work.  Use filters, special effects, quality equipment and good business sense in your new business.  Without it, there is a good chance you will be classed as a person that has a good hobby but not one that is a professional.

Second on my list of suggestions would be this.  Get out and shoot, shoot and shoot some more.  Nothing is a better teacher than experience.  You must shoot thousands and thousands of frames to perfect your working knowledge.

And besides with the ability to simply delete the image that just isn’t perfect and the fact that you’ll not be printing garbage, it really costs you next to nothing to become the professional you dream of being. By using these two simple steps in your new professional career you will be on your way to fame and fortune.  At least that is your dream, right?  Mine too. See you in the studio.

Need Help? Ask all questions!

My Network Let Me Down. Now What Should I Do?

If you feel like your network has let you down, then you really don’t understand what a network is, how to develop it, or how to use it to help you in the job search.  Listen up, kids.  There WILL BE a test at the end of this post, and if you fail you will add several months (not weeks . . . MONTHS) to your job search.

What you must understand first and foremost is that networking is NOT about you. Ever.  It’s about connecting people to help them get what they want or need. Anything that comes your way out of networking is a bi-product of you connecting other people. Many job seekers don’t understand this, and thus, are frustrated when their network does not produce the results they think it should.  Many job seekers think the network is there to serve them, to pass along job leads, or to help them get a foot in the door. That is NOT what a network is for.  YOU exist to serve the network. The network is not there to serve you.

Here’s the tricky part. It is a proven fact that most people find their job because of a network connection.  They know somebody who knows somebody who needs what that particular job seeker has to offer. Your name gets passed along as a potential fit, and before you know it you are sitting in an interview.  Somehow that confusingly gets turned into, my network is there to help me find a job.  Look closer, because that’s not what is happening at all.  That scenario is not about YOU, it’s about the person or company that has a need for something.  Your name gets passed along because you have built up trust and respect within your network.  You are the connection that helps the other person fulfill their need.  Don’t ever get this confused, because that’s when people feel that their network has let them down. In fact the opposite is true YOU have let down YOUR NETWORK.  You haven’t shown yourself to be trustworthy, so nobody passed along your name as a potential solution to the other person’s problem. Bitter medicine, perhaps, but that’s the way it works!

In their book, Trust Agents, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith offer a mathematical formula for trust.  (Its not theirs originally, but that’s where I saw it, so they get the credit.) The formula goes like this:

(C x R x I) / S = T

That is, CREDIBILITY times RELIABILITY times INTIMACY, divided by SELF-ORIENTATION equals TRUST.  The key here, as I see it, is to understand that as SELF-ORIENTATION (or self-interest) increases, your TRUST factor decreases.  The more you are in it for yourself, the less trust you obtain. Networks are driven by trust.

So, the next time you feel like your network has let you down check your heart and clarify your motives.  Others can tell if you and they won’t tolerate it.

Sickness and Belief in Demons

Belief in demons is pretty unpopular today.  The belief that demons are responsible for illness both psychological and physical is even more unpopular.  It seems like a belief in demons is something from the bad old days when the whole western world was ruled by superstitious people who didn’t really know what they were talking about.  While I, of course, accept the findings of modern medicine, I think that there is something important about belief in demons which exists even in modern secular society.

We see a modern version of this belief in, for example, cancer patients.  These patients often speak of their cancer as the enemy that they are fighting.  That is, they personify the illness and imagine it as some sort of powerful foe that they need to fight against.  Personifying the illness in this way is really important and good.  Why?  Because it makes me the suffering sick person into a hero who is fighting a powerful force rather than a broken, weak, sick person.  The illness is not me.  The illness is something or someone else who is attacking me.  I am fighting this thing.  I am strong.

Similar reasoning works with mental illness, such as depression.  It is often helpful to think of depression as a demon who is clever and attacks us periodically.  This is helpful because then a depressed person is not sick or broken, a depressed person is a hero who is fighting a terrible and clever foe.

These ways of thinking have major psychological benefits whether demons are real and actually causing illnesses or not.  To live without adopting this way of thinking would be a mistake, I think.  But this basic thought pattern is just the medieval one of attributing bad things to malevolent forces that we have to fight against.  While this way of thinking may seem deeply ignorant to us, it may also be profoundly healthy.

Don’t let your sins eat you!