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The High Cost of Low Trust
Category: GENERAL
Tags: trust covey emotional bank account conversation relations
This message was viewed at the blog page of
Stephen R. Covey
Most organizations have no clue of the enormous cost of low trust, and because most executives have no means of measuring its bottom-line impact, they have little motivation to seriously address it. To compound the problem, many employees feel like helpless victims of the problems in their organizations and see no clear way to influence their leaders. Learn specific, powerful things you can do that will profoundly impact the level of trust in your relationships, your team, your family, and your organization.

Q: Is trust really necessary in business today? Can you do business without it?

A: You absolutely cannot do business without trust. It is not only important, it is absolutely vital. For instance, even transacting with somebody when you are buying gasoline, you trust that you are getting quality fuel; you trust that the prices are within the market; and you trust that your money will be accepted by that person. There are just so many elements to the simplest transaction that require trust. But we are like fish that discover water last and are sometimes unaware of those implicit elements. Trust is the lifeblood of all relationships, of all transactions, and is so foundational and fundamental to everything in life.

Q: What are evidences of a low-trust environment?

A: Low-trust environments are filled with hidden agendas, a lot of political games, interpersonal conflict, interdepartmental rivalries, and people bad-mouthing each other behind their backs while sweet-talking them to their faces. With low trust, you get a lot of rules and regulations that take the place of human judgment and creativity; you also see profound disempowerment. People will not be on the same page about what’s important. Ultimately, the culture will become driven by urgency rather than importance because everyone is in it for themselves and for their own agenda.

Q: What is low trust costing us?

A: Low trust has a huge tax associated with it. It creates a culture of toxicity, just like you have toxins in your body. Imagine what it costs a body to be full of poison. And that is what a low-trust culture is-it is full of poison. You see people embracing and promulgating what I call the six metastasizing emotional cancers. Metastasize means they send their cancer cells through the body, mind, heart, and spirit of a person. They can also spread through relationships.

The six metastasizing cancers are criticizing, complaining, comparing, competing, contending, and cynicism.

By competing, I don’t mean the healthy competition you find in the marketplace or in the basketball arena, but the kind of competition where you are competing for your own internal sense of worth.

These emotional cancers are the forces that literally undermine and eventually destroy relationships. However, trust makes all things possible.

Q: It seems like a lot of work to build and maintain trust. Is it worth the effort?

A: Absolutely it is worth it. It’s the most supremely important thing you can do to get the confidence of another person by being true to your commitments, by clarifying expectations, by treating people with kindness and respect, and by learning to be transparent about the information you have so that people trust it and you can almost speak to them in verbal shorthand. You hardly even have to finish sentences when there’s high trust. The speed of trust is an amazing thing. Without it, everything gets bogged down, slows down; people protect themselves, they think defensively, and they gather other people around them to form cliques. These cliques then judge other cliques, which only compounds the low-trust situation, slows down everything, and levies a huge tax on all human interaction and transaction.

Q: Help us understand the behaviors that reduce trust.

A: The metaphor I’ve used that I have found very helpful to people is an Emotional Bank Account. It’s like a financial bank account into which you can make deposits and take withdrawals. And if you get into a situation where you are constantly making withdrawals-the kinds that I have just been speaking about-you get an overdrawn Emotional Bank Account. And we all know what happens with a bank relationship when you have an overdrawn account. It kills your freedom, your flexibility, and your credit capacity.

Q: What behaviors increase trust? Is it a skill I can learn?

A: Absolutely. It is not just a skill you can learn, it is a character trait that you have to develop. It is not a technique you can just pick up. You have to be trustworthy in your heart and sincere about what your real intentions are so that you can be transparent. You’re not fearful of being “found out” doing something in the dark when you’re proclaiming something else in the light. The most important of all deposits into the Emotional Bank Account of trust is empathy, because empathy, or listening to another within his or her frame of reference, tells you what the important deposits are to that person. Every person is different. So you have to figure out what is important to them-how do they interpret kindness, consideration, and respect? How do they interpret making and keeping promises? How do they interpret any other positive deposit in the Emotional Bank Account? This is all a function of empathy, and it is the same with customers, with your associates in the business, and with your business partners. The key is to always develop a relationship that produces Win/Win Agreements, so the feeling is that everyone wins. But to do that, you have to deeply listen to other people to find out what the win is for them.

Q: Is it possible to regain someone’s trust? How?

A: It is absolutely possible to regain their trust, but to do so, you have to right the wrongs you’ve done; you have to apologize; you have to seek forgiveness; you have to try to make reconciliation in every way you can. But if you are in a state of denial and don’t have the humility to admit that you’ve made a mistake, then you’ve just taken another withdrawal and people will come to not trust your apologies and your asking for forgiveness.


Income-Based Repayment (IBR) lower your student loan repayment
Category: GENERAL
Tags: college finances repayment education loans scholaships

Cheaper Student Loans. Who Knew?

By Elizabeth Dwoskin | BusinessWeek – Mon, Sep 17, 2012 12:17 PM ED
Associated Press/

The number of borrowers defaulting on …more  federal student loans has jumped sharply, the latest indication that rising college tuition costs, low graduation rates and poor job prospects are getting more and more students over their heads in debt. The national two-year cohort default rate rose to 8.8 percent in 2009, from 7 percent in fiscal 2008, according to figures released Monday, Sept. 12, 2011 by the Department of Education. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)  less


In his speech at the Democratic convention, former President Bill Clinton heaped praise upon a program that the Obama administration started to help people repay their student loans. Known as “income-based repayment,” it lets borrowers adjust monthly payments down to 15 percent of their income and wipe out the debt after 15 years. “No one will ever have to drop out of college again for fear they can’t repay their debt,” Clinton said. “If someone wants to take a job with a modest income—a teacher, a police officer, if they want to be a small-town doctor in a little rural area—they won’t have to turn those jobs down because they don’t pay enough to repay the debt. Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary. This will change the future for young Americans.”

It’s notable that Clinton talked about how many people the program would help in the future. It’s actually been around since 2009. So far it hasn’t worked as well as policy makers had hoped.

Right now only 972,000 graduates—about 2.6 percent of all borrowers—are using income-based repayment. Two to three million further borrowers could qualify for the program, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of, who crunched U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Census data to devise his estimate.

Why would so many graduates with the option of paying less every month not take it?

For one thing, a lot of borrowers don’t know they qualify. To get into the program, you have to apply through the bank that services your loan, but many banks don’t tell borrowers about the program. They aren’t required to do so, and because they make more money if monthly payments are higher, they have little incentive to spread the word. Also, while companies that service direct federal loans—those in which the government is the lender—must offer income-based repayment, servicers of federally guaranteed loans issued by private lenders don’t have to offer the program.

It also didn’t help that in the program’s first six months, there were so many filing glitches that many borrowers were turned off, Kantrowitz says.

The Obama administration is now trying harder to get people into income-based repayment. By the end of this year, officials plan to move the income threshold down from 15 percent to 10 percent for some borrowers, which will make the program available to more people. (If you make $60,000 a year and your loan payments are $600 a month—or about 12 percent—you’ll be eligible and could then decrease your payments to $500 a month.) Banks will be required to describe the program to borrowers who call up and say they’re having trouble paying. The idea is to get people enrolled before they become delinquent.

There’s a further, psychological reason why students might not be taking advantage of the program, Kantrowitz says. Those already in default may have accrued fees and other penalties they feel are unfair. Enrolling in income-based repayment means accepting all the debt, even if borrowers don’t think they owe every last cent. In other words, the program’s existence may be contributing to the very situation the government is trying to avoid—borrowers simply brushing off payments altogether.



Student Loans: Debt for Life

This much we know: College pays. You can lose your house to foreclosure, but never your education. Four-year college graduates’ pay advantage over high school grads has doubled over the past 30 years. If money for tuition is tight, the advice goes, borrow what you need. Students have been listening. In 2010 student debt exceeded credit-card debt for the first time. In 2011 it surpassed auto loans. In March, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that student debt had passed $1 trillion. It grew by $300 billion from the third quarter of 2008 even as other forms of debt shrank by $1.6 trillion, according to a separate tabulation by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In a press briefing at the White House in April, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “Obviously if you have no debt that’s maybe the best situation, but this is not bad debt to have. In fact, it’s very good debt to have.”

If student loans are good debt, how do you account for the reaction of Christina Mills, 30, of Minneapolis, when she found out her payment on college and law school loans would be $1,400 a month? “I just went into the car and started sobbing,” says Mills, who works for a nonprofit. “It was more than my paycheck at the time.” Medical student Thomas Smith, 25, of Hamilton, N.J., is $310,000 in debt and is struggling to make ends meet even before beginning to repay his loans. “I don’t even know what I eat,” he says. “I just go to the supermarket and buy the cheapest thing I can and buy as much of it as I can.” Then there’s Michael DiPietro, 25, of Brooklyn, who accumulated about $100,000 in debt while getting a bachelor’s degree in fashion, sculpture, and performance, and spent the next two years waiting tables. He has since landed a fundraising job in the arts but still has no idea how he will pay back all that money. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s an obsolete idea that a college education is like your golden ticket,” DiPietro says. “It’s an idea that an older generation holds on to.”

Even if you buy into the notion that education debt is good debt, at what point does it become too much of a good thing? Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of, which researches financial aid, estimates that student debt, compounded by rising enrollments, is growing by nearly $3,000 a second.

“The question isn’t the debt per se. It’s what the students are getting in return,” says Richard Arum, a New York University sociologist who specializes in education. Many students are incurring heavy debts for an education (ethnomusicology, theater arts) that just isn’t worth it from a strictly financial viewpoint. (Money isn’t everything, but try telling that to the collection agency.) Education benefits society by creating a workforce that creates wealth, pays taxes, and stays off welfare. But state governments—whose schools educate 7 in 10 students—have raised tuition abruptly because of their own financial problems. So far the federal government has offset the state cutbacks by boosting financial aid, but Education Under Secretary Martha Kanter testified to Congress earlier this year that “this path is not fiscally sustainable.”

There’s a lot of speculation that college debt is the next bubble after housing, the latest sector in which prices leap above real value. American colleges may not be turning out the kind of graduates that employers want. In Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, NYU’s Arum and sociologist Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia write that employers are being forced to turn to foreigners or graduate and professional schools to fill jobs that they once filled with homegrown college graduates.

That’s the value side. The cost side is ugly, too. The economic slump that began in 2007 has forced people to pay more for college even as it has driven more of them into it as a refuge from an unfriendly job market. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that college attendance this fall will be up 19 percent from the fall of 2007. Meanwhile, state and local support for higher education last year was the lowest in 25 years of measurement, in inflation-adjusted dollars per student, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. Two-thirds of college seniors graduated with loans in 2010, and those who did had an average of about $25,000, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.




Over the past several years, the Obama Administration has worked to improve repayment options available to responsible student loan borrowers. Since 2009, former students have been able to enroll in an “Income Based Repayment” (IBR) plan to cap their student loan payments at 15 percent of their current discretionary income if they make their payments on time.

In 2010, President Obama signed into law an improved income-based repayment plan that would lower this cap to 10 percent of discretionary income for students who take out loans after July 1, 2014. Then, last October, the President announced an executive action to make that lower cap available to more borrowers by the end of 2012, rather than 2014. The latest change will likely reduce monthly student loan payments for more than 1.6 million responsible student borrowers.

Despite these opportunities and policy improvements to help graduates make their monthly payments, too few responsible borrowers are aware of their repayment options.  Even among borrowers who understand their options, many have difficulties navigating and completing the application process.

Today, President Obama is introducing a Presidential Memorandum that will help educate more students about their loan repayment options and streamline the IBR application process. Read through the questions below to learn more about income based repayment and how these changes might affect you.

1. What is income-based loan repayment?

Income-Based Repayment (IBR) is a repayment plan that caps your required monthly payments on the major types of federal student loans at an amount intended to be affordable based on income and family size. All Stafford, Grad PLUS, and Consolidation Loans made under either the Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan programs are eligible to be included in the program. Non-federal loans, loans currently in default, and Parent PLUS Loans are not eligible for the income-based repayment plan.

The program lowers monthly payments for borrowers who have high loan debt and modest incomes, but it may increase the length of the loan repayment period, accruing more interest over the life of the loan.

2. Who qualifies for IBR?

IBR helps people whose federal student loan debt is high relative to income and family size. Currently, your loan servicer (the company you make your loan payments to) determines your eligibility, but starting in September 2012, students won’t have to contact their loan servicer to apply—they will be able to apply directly through the Department of Education’s website, thanks to a new directive from President Obama.

You can use the U.S. Department of Education’s IBR calculator to estimate whether you are likely to qualify for the plan. The calculator looks at your income, family size, and state of residence to calculate your IBR monthly payment amount. If that amount is lower than the monthly payment you are paying on your eligible loans under a 10-year standard repayment plan, then you are eligible to repay your loans under IBR.

3. Will my eligibility change if I'm married? What if my spouse also has loans?

If you are married and file a joint federal tax return with your spouse, both your income and your spouse’s income are used to calculate your IBR monthly payment amount.

If you are married and you and your spouse file a joint federal tax return, and if your spouse also has IBR-eligible loans, your spouse’s eligible loan debt is combined with yours when determining whether you are eligible for IBR. If the combined monthly amount you and your spouse would pay under IBR is lower than the combined monthly amount you and your spouse are paying under a 10-year standard repayment plan, you and your spouse are eligible for IBR.

4. How will enrolling in IBR affect my monthly payments compared to the standard repayment plan?

It depends on your income. But, take for example a nurse who is earning $45,000 and has $60,000 in federal student loans. Under the standard repayment plan, her monthly repayment amount is $690. The currently available IBR plan would reduce her payment by $332, to $358.  President Obama’s improved “Pay As You Earn” plan -- reducing the cap from 15 percent to 10 percent -- will reduce her payment by an additional $119, to a more manageable $239 -- a total reduction of $451 a month.

6. How will enrolling in IBR affect my payments over the life of the loan compared to the standard repayment plan?

In general, your payments will increase as your income does, but they will never be more than they would have been under the standard 10-year repayment plan. Although lower monthly payments may be better for some borrowers, lower payments may also mean you make payments for longer and the longer it takes to pay your loans, the more interest you pay compared to the standard repayment plan.

7. Is it possible my payments will be higher under IBR than they would under the standard repayment plan?

IBR will never cause your payments to increase more than they would have been under the standard repayment plan. It is possible, however, that your income and the size of your outstanding loan balance may mean that IBR is not beneficial to you. If your payments would be higher in IBR than they would be in the standard repayment plan, the IBR option will not be available to you.

Also, because a reduced monthly payment in IBR generally extends your repayment period, you may pay more total interest over the life of the loan than you would under other repayment plans.

8. How do I opt in to IBR?

To sign up for IBR, call your loan servicer. The loan servicer is the company that sends you your monthly student loan bills.  If you don’t know who your servicer is or would like more information about your loans, such as the balance and interest rates, you can look it up on To see a list of and contact information for common servicers of student loans held by the US Department of Education, you may visit the Loan Servicer page.

9) What does today’s Presidential Memorandum mean for IBR?

The PM will do three things:

Streamline the IBR application process: The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, will create a streamlined online application process for IBR that allows student loan borrowers with federally held loans to import their IRS tax return income data directly into the IBR application. This process will allow income information to be seamlessly transmitted so that borrowers can complete the application at one sitting.  Federal direct student loan borrowers will no longer be required to contact their loan servicer as the first step to apply.

Enhance online and mobile resources for loan repayment options and debt management: The Department of Education will create integrated online and mobile resources for students and former students to use in learning about Federal student aid, including an explanation of the various options to cap monthly payments based on income. The Department will also develop and make available to borrowers an online tool to help students make better financial decisions, including understanding their loan debt and its impact on their everyday lives. This tool would incorporate key elements of best practices in financial literacy and link to students’ actual Federal loan data to help them understand their individual circumstances and options for repayment.

Increase awareness of IBR: The Department of Education will instruct Federal direct student loan servicers to make borrowers aware of the option to participate in IBR before a student leaves school and upon entering repayment. The Department of Education will make available for institutions of higher education a model exit counseling module that will enable students to understand their repayment options before leaving school and to choose a repayment plan for their student loans that best meets their needs.

10. How can I find out more?

Visit or call 1-800-4-FED-AID. You can also learn more about other student loan repayment options and find advice on paying loans off more quickly using the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau's Student Debt Repayment Assistant.

To find out about other changes to student loan programs, including President Obama's plan to allow borrowers to consolidate Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loans, click here


Lets Thank the Chinese Worker for the IPhone
Category: GENERAL
Tags: iphone chinese diversity glolbal employment apple

This is a great article. It definitely shows way the multi cultural market will be around.

People in the US of A have a hard time with some of the economic realities of today. However, the Chinese really have a challenge, since this work environment is considered "normal".  US of A workers would not accept this work environment. There is the obvious reason many corporations go to outsourcing  their work.


Ok, enjoy this article as it should give you more insight to the magnitude of the multi cultural market. How this market is international.



Editor's note: This post originally appeared on

Apple reported on Monday that it sold 5 million iPhone 5

devices in just 3 days since the product's launch -- a new

record for the tech giant but also 3 million short of most

Wall Street estimates. A good percentage of those phones are made by Chinese workers at Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group's plants.


Millions of these phones are now in the hands of rich

consumers in the 7 lucky countries that got the iPhones


And, for the most part, these customers love them.

As well they should!

Because, relative to what we all carried around as recently as 6 years ago, the iPhone 5 is nothing short of a miracle.

So, it's time to send a thank-you note to the folks who made our iPhones.

Apple and its shareholders have been thanked already,

billions of times over, and they'll get thanked even more in

the months ahead. The iPhone is the most profitable product in history. And it has made Apple the most valuable company in the world.

It's time to say thank you to the people who actually made

the iPhones--as in, put them together.



In other words, the millions of Chinese workers who have

worked feverishly to assemble millions of iPhones

part-by-part over the past few months.

Assembling iPhones isn't exactly a high-glamour job. In fact, it's an exhausting, backbreaking, and mind-numbingly tedious job.


And, unfortunately, making iPhones is not a job that

pays enough to enable the folks who make the iPhones to

actually buy an iPhone. (Even a crappy old iPhone 4 would be way out of reach for the people who make them, because it's~$400 without a contract).

Monday morning Foxconn was forced to close its Taiyuan plant in China after a riot broke out at one of its worker

dormitories according to news reports. Foxconn employees make Apple devices in addition to other products by Microsoft and

Hewlett-Packard. At least 2,000 workers were involved in the brawl that supposedly broke windows at the factory and forced paramilitary policy trucks to patrol the area.

So, on behalf of the millions of us who just got our new

iPhones, here's a big 'thank you' to the millions of people

who made them.



By the way, if you don't believe that making iPhones is a

tough, thankless job, read the description below, from

someone who briefly helped make your iPhone.

A reporter for a Shanghai newspaper spent a week working in a Foxconn factory helping to build iPhone 5s.



He described the working and living conditions as a

"nightmare," and he couldn't quit soon enough.

The reporter's story was translated by MicGadget, and you can read the whole thing here. We've also written a summary here.

The report doesn't reveal anything horrific or shocking, but unlike many Foxconn stories, it really makes you understand how godawfully boring, difficult, tedious, and physically strenuous the work is, especially when you remember that it pays only $2 an hour.



Yes, hundreds of thousands of people line up for Foxconn

jobs. And, yes, these jobs are said to be better than working in rice paddies.

But here's a taste of what it's like:

We have reached the entrance of the production floor with a warning sign that says: "TOP SECURITY AREA". We are told that if anyone enter or exit the metal detector door and found carrying any metallic stuff on your body such as belt buckle, ear rings, cameras, handset, mp3 players, the alarm will sound and you will be fired on the spot.


One of my room mate told me that his friend has been fired because he carried an USB charging cable. When I walked into the production floor after passing through the metal detector door, I heard loud sounds of machinery engines and a very dense of plastic smell.


Our supervisor warned us: "Once you sit down, you only

do what you are told". The supervisor finally present us the back of the iPhone 5 and shows it to all of us and said:

"This is the new unleashed iPhone 5 back plate, you should be honored having the chance to produce it"

Our line is being assigned to use masking tapes and plastic stoppers to cover up the earphone jack and the connector ports of the back plate in order to prevent the paint from being sprayed onto it on the next process. Our supervisor asked us to put on our mask and gloves and see how the seniors work on it.


At 11 p.m, we went for a supper and after

midnight, we started work again. I'm being assigned to mark placement points on the iPhone 5 back-plate using an oil-based paint pen. I'm being scolded many times for

spilling too much oil on the markings. My roommate has being assigned to paste the masking tapes of not more than 5mm wide on the right spots that I have marked. And he has bein  scolded many times for pasting them too slow.


Our supervisor

said that these works were actually being assigned to females workers with nimber fingers, but due to too many workers have resigned lately they have no choice but to assign these jobs  to male workers.

An iPhone 5 back-plate run through in front of me almost

every 3 seconds. I have to pickup the back-plate and marked 4 position points using the oil-based paint pen and put it back on the running belt swiftly within 3 seconds with no errors.

After such repeat action for several hours, I have terrible

neckache and muscle pain on my arm. A new worker who sat opposite of me gone exhausted and laid down for a short while. The supervisor has noticed him and punished him by asking him to stand at one corner for 10 minutes like the old school days. We worked non-stop from midnight to the next morning 6 a.m but were still asked to keep on working as the production line is based on running belt and no one is allowed to stop.


I'm so starving and fully exhausted.

By my own calculations, I have to mark five iPhone plates

every minute, at least. For every 10 hours, I have to

accomplish 3,000 iPhone 5 back plates. There are total 4

production lines in charge of this process, 12 workers in

every line. Each line can produce 36,000 iPhone 5 back plates in half a day, this is scary … I finally stopped working at 7 a.m. We were asked to gather again after work. The supervisor shout out loud in front of us: "Who wants to rest early at 5 a.m !?


We are all here to earn money ! Let's work harder !" I

was thinking who on earth wants to work two extra hours

overtime for only mere 27 yuan (USD$4) !?



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