Review of “Escape from Corporate America”

Friday, May 27, 2011 at 5:20pm by Site Administrator

Pamela Skillings has produced the “how-to” book for anyone who dreads going to their miserable job. Escape from Corporate America outlines what the downtrodden toiler needs to do to actually get up out of his or her cubicle and chase down his or her dreams. Everyone has been there before; you hate your job but you feel like you’ll stuck there forever. Skillings has verbalized our collective feelings in her easy-to-read guide.

Outlining the reasons that we feel helpless and powerless when we toil away in cubicle land, Skillings has provided the kick in the pants many of us need to regain control over our work life. She doesn’t leave you feeling worse about yourself, which is what many of these types of books wind up doing. On the contrary, she addresses our feelings and then makes us realize that we have the capability to actually make the life changing move.

Immediately, Skillings connects with her readers as she says, “I wrote this book because I know exactly how you feel.” We learn that she was a high-powered mover and shaker in the corporate world but felt that her creativity was being sapped on a daily basis. Tired of just thinking about changing careers and idly threatening to do so, she talked to the right people that could help her go through with it. She is not trying to act like she’s better than us because she actually did the make the big move, rather she keeps her humility in tact as she continually sympathizes with our situation. Over and over, she asks why else would we be reading this book if we weren’t ready to grab hold of our lives and leave Corporate America behind us?

Escape from Corporate America is not a rant about what’s wrong with big business. She doesn’t trash capitalism or anything like that. She even cites some great companies to work for. The essence of her message is that as individuals we have to make changes to better suit ourselves. The message is clear that Corporate America isn’t going to look out for the little guy and take care of us through all our travails. Only we can provide the sense of fulfillment that we crave. Beautifully juxtaposing the corporate world and the salvation that awaits us when we do leave adds the extra incentive we need to make our move.

 

Skillings would be better suited make a more stark contrast between the two worlds presented in her offering. Sometimes, the reader feels unsure about how bad Corporate America really is. Nobody wants to sit and read outright bashing of establishment, but sometimes it helps to keep the blood flowing if there are two sides. It also helps when one side is so atrocious that we loathe their existence. Skillings lacks this clarity at times.

Escape from Corporate America is a must-read if you’re considering changing careers and working for yourself. At times, this book can be your best friend when everyone else is telling you that you’re crazy for going down this road. Skillings has come up with a homerun.

To buy the book and read more words of wisdom from Skillings, check out her motivational blog.

 

 

50+ Google Reader Productivity Hacks

Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 6:33pm by Site Administrator

Google Reader is already a tool that can be used to boost your productivity throughout the day by letting you view your favorite blog’s feeds and posts in one spot: through your Google account. But for those of us who tend to get bogged down in a lot of useless subscriptions and really need to cut down on the minutes (or hours) we spend procrastinating each day, there are a lot of little hacks to make Google Reader more productive. We’ve compiled a list of over 50 of our favorites here.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Use these basic but necessary keyboard shortcuts to make searching, organizing, sharing and reading your feeds more efficient.

  1. /: Use the forward slash to move your cursor to the search box and start looking for new stuff or saved items.
  2. g then u: Type g then u to go to your subscriptions.
  3. g then d: This shortcut will take you to the recommended page. If there are no recommendations, typing g then d will take you to the browse page.
  4. 2: Press 2 to see your subscriptions in a list view or headline view.
  5. ?: Find more keyboard shortcuts just for Google Reader by pressing the question mark.
  6. Shift-s: Pressing Shift-S will share or un-share the selected item.
  7. s: Star and un-star your highlighted items simply by pressing s.
  8. Shift-o: Open up the highlighted subscription or folder with this shortcut.
  9. g then h: Press g then h to go back to the Google Reader homepage.
  10. g then shift-s: This shortcut will take you to the "Your Shared Items" page.
  11. shift-n/p: n/p stands for Next/Previous, and using this combination will select the Next/Previous selection or folder.
  12. v: Open up the original page of the selected item in Google Reader.
  13. e: Quickly e-mail a page or other selection by pressing e when you’re in Google Reader.
  14. r: Check to see if anymore unread updates have been added when you hit the r button in the navigation.

For Firefox

Firefox users like their browser’s speed and ability to add on new scripts or buttons. Check out several Google Reader-specific hacks for Firefox here.

  1. Enhance Google Reader Preview: This script adds a Preview button so that you don’t have to open up an article or post all the way to read it.
  2. BlogThis2Me: The BlogThis2Me script lets you "blog Google Reader’s "BlogThis!" to your own blog system, not to blogger.com," as long as you have Firefox and Greasemonkey.
  3. Smart Google Reader Subscribe Button: this script "adds an overlayed check icon when you’re subscribed to at least one of the feeds that the site advertises via auto-discovery."
  4. Gbutts 1.5.1: Gbutts is short for Google buttons, and you can add your Google Reader button, as well as any other Google buttons, to your Firefox address bar.
  5. Better GReader: Better GReader works with Firefox adds a menu with extra options and features like Smart Subscribe, Preview Inline, Optimized Skin and others.
  6. Google Reader Watcher: Google Reader Watcher is an add-on that makes Firefox check your Google Reader for unread fees. This download does not require Greasemonkey.
  7. Quick Hide Message: Shave off milliseconds with this script, which "quickly hides the message displayed in Google Reader after performing renames, folder changes," and other actions.
  8. Auto Add Feed: The Auto Add Feed script only adds feeds to Google Reader, instead of asking you where you want it to be saved.
  9. Title Unread Count: This hack moves the unread count in Google Reader to the front.
  10. Greasereader: Add even more hot keys to your Google Reader systems by reading this guide.
  11. Google Reader All Starred: Extract all of your starred items as links from Google Reader so that you don’t have to download each one.
  12. Google Reader Read by Mouse: Set up this script so that you can use a mouse-only system to read your feeds. It uses mouse buttons for the following actions: next item, previous item, and more.

Real Time Savers

If you’re serious about making your Google Reader visits more efficient, learn how to categorize by priority, use the "next" bookmarklet, and implement scripts that let you autoscroll, review your subscriptions and more.

  1. Categorize by priority: Stepcase Lifehack recommends categorizing your feeds by priority so that you don’t get bogged down in irrelevant articles.
  2. Google Reader Autoscroll: The autoscroll script lets you "view and mark items as read by means of a mouse wheel and keyboard shortcuts."
  3. Mark All as Read: If you only want to read one article from a feed, you can mark everything else as read to weed out your extra entries.
  4. Google Reader Scroll Reducer: With this script, you’re able to comment on and view the original site without having to scroll to the top of page to get to the URL.
  5. The "Next" Bookmarklet: The Google Reader Blog discusses this hack, which "allows you to use Google Reader through just one link — clicking on it takes your browser to the next unread item in your reading list."
  6. Review your subscriptions: Are you still getting subscriptions for some obscure hobby you were only interested in a year ago? Go through your subscriptions and delete any that you don’t really want emptied into your account regularly.
  7. Print Button v2.0: The Google Reader Print Button v2.0 allows users to print either the selected content or everything that’s displayed on the page in Google Reader.
  8. Gmail + Google Reader: Add Google Reader into your Gmail account so you don’t have to constantly switch back and forth.
  9. Google Reader Filter: Get rid of duplicate and unwanted content with this script.
  10. Tag your items: Take advantage of the tagging feature on Google Reader. It’s there to help you stay organized and more productive.

Social Media Hacks

How much time do you waste each day checking all of your social media accounts? These hacks let you sync up Google Reader with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google Chat and more.

  1. Google Reader + ma.gnolia: This basic script lets you add a Google Reader post to ma.gnolia.
  2. Google Reader Digg News: Add a Digg button to your Google Reader posts with this script.
  3. Tumblr: Sync up your Google Reader and Tumblr with this script. You can attach your reblog button or Share-on-Tumblr at the bottom of articles on Google Reader.
  4. Managing Your Shared Items: This post from the Google Reader Blog shows you how to add and remove friends from your Gmail or GChat account.
  5. Google Reader and Flickr: Now you embed Flickr videos into your Google Reader, so you don’t have to switch back and forth to share with extra friends or read their comments.
  6. Facebook Sharer + Google Reader: Share your favorite posts and articles with Google Reader friends and Facebook friends.
  7. Google Reader + del.icio.us: Use this script to define tags and links for a faster way of posting to del.icio.us.
  8. Google Reader + Twitter: Use this script to add reader posts to Twitter.

Add-Ons and Solutions

Try out these add-ons to customize your Google Reader experience and streamline your Google accounts.

  1. Google Reader Notifier: This extension keeps you updated by showing you how many unread items you have in your account.
  2. Add a Search: Add a search engine to your Google Reader account to make searching for items faster.
  3. Google Reader Optimized: Use this script to view Google Reader in a larger space. The last official update was in 2006, but Google Reader users have submitted updates.
  4. Google Reader Romeo Script: Check out this script to access Google Reader from your cell phone — if you don’t have an iPhone.
  5. Google Reader Button for Internet Explorer: IE users can add on a Google Reader to their browser using this tutorial.
  6. iPhone Skin: iPhone users can easily view Google Reader on their phones with this special skin from developer David Cann.
  7. Iris: View your Google Reader subscriptions in a Firefox sidebar.
  8. Go behind the scenes: If you want to know how many people have subscribed to a certain feed, you can use this tutorial to speed up your search times.