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Is That Free Offer Legit? Tips that Can Help Everyone loves the chance to cash in some great free stuff, but navigating the world of freebie offers, especially online, can be like navigating a minefield. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there use the love others have of taking advantage of free deals to scam them out of money or personal details that can be used in identity theft scams. All of this gloom and doom doesn?t mean that you have to give up on free things altogether, however. The good news is that there are some simple, common sense steps you can take protect yourself from online freebie scammers. These tips will help give you the confidence that you can enjoy taking advantage of free offers without the fear of ending up facing some negative consequences. First and foremost, when you are checking out a free offer on the Internet, take a closer look at the website, beyond just reading the words and figuring out what you have to do get the free goods. Does the website look like it was made by a professional, with some consideration, or does it look like a five minute amateur job? Are typos and clip art the order of the day, or does it look like a website any business would be proud to call its own? What about the web address ? is a domain name that matches the business the website claims to represent, or is a ?free? domain address that includes the name of the domain company in the address? All of these factors can be red flags that determine the difference between a scam and a legitimate free offer. If the website looks half hearted or doesn?t seem to exactly ?match? the company it purports to represent, then don?t even think about trying to get anything from it. When you?re reasonably sure that the website is actually the front of a legitimate business, it?s time to turn your attention to the privacy policy of the website. The best privacy policies guarantee you that the email address you use to sign up for this offer will not be shared with any other companies ? but when it comes to free stuff, those kinds of privacy policies are few and far between. Many companies cover the costs of the free things you get by selling your email address to other companies that may have offers you they think you might be interested in. If you can?t find a privacy policy that lets you opt out of getting unwanted solicitations, at least make sure the site is secure and that any personal information can?t be obtained by hackers. Other things to look out for when you?re looking for freebies is products that are free but that require you to pay a shipping charge that seems beyond the pale for what it should cost to ship and freebie offers that seem to ask for way more information than needed for what the product actually is. Twenty pages of personal information for a travel size bottle of shampoo? That doesn?t make sense, and it should set off warning bells in your head. All of these red flags aside, giving out some amount of personal information comes part and parcel with freebie offers. There are a few things you can do to make life easier on yourself. Set up an email account that you will use specifically for freebie offers so all of the inevitable spam doesn?t clog up your main account. Use a phony phone number (preferably one that can?t be anyone else?s, like one that starts with 555). Last but not least, if you?re unsure about an offer, keep on moving. Better safe than sorry.

Writers Block: What Causes it and How to Overcome it (writers block) If you are a writer then you know what I am talking about. You have everything ready, a drink, a snack, the topic, and even reference material. You sit down ready to start typing or writing, which ever you prefer, and it happens. You are stuck, your mind is blank and you have no idea how to fill that blank canvas in front of you. It is a writer?s worse nightmare come true. You have writers block. First you need to figure out what is causing it. There are a multitude of things that can be causing it. Stress is one of the biggest factors that cause writers block. Whether it is stress caused by personal matters, deadline dates, or fearing your article won?t be good enough it can block the words from flowing as easily as the should. Sleep deprivation doesn?t let your mind function to its full potential. Getting a good night?s sleep is imperative to having a clear mind and being able to focus. The project itself could be causing the writers block. A topic you are not interested in can easily turn your normally resourceful mind into jelly. The research on that topic turns into a grueling task. Then trying to put the words on paper that make sense and will peak someone?s interest seem impossible. If a topic has personal meaning to you it can be hard to write objectively about it. A simple informative topic can easily become a personal rant session. Writing because you have to, not because you want to makes it hard to concentrate and focus. Now that the basic causes have been covered, you need to know how to fix it. Writers block is not permanent. Identifying the reason is the hard part. Relax. The world is not going to end if the article isn?t as perfect as you feel it should be. Just because you don?t think it is perfect doesn?t mean someone else won?t. Go and read some of your previous writings. Even if what you read has nothing to do with your current topic, it can be inspirational to you. Don?t burn yourself out on a topic. Try to split up the writing process. Research and brainstorm one day and write the next. This will give you time to think about your topic and figure out the angle you want to write. Talk your way through it. Call a friend or colleague and chat. Tell them the topic you are working on and get their opinions or ideas. They may be able to offer fresh insight and ideas. Work on multiple projects at one time if you can. Bouncing back and forth between a few topics can keep your mind hopping and will keep boredom at bay. Take a break from you current project and write about something that motivates you. Chances are once you get those creative juices flowing they will continue into your next project. Make yourself a schedule and stick to it. If your schedule says 500 words by noon, write your 500 words and stop. Even if you don?t have a project going, by writing daily you will stick to your schedule and keeps your imagination going. If you write from home, which most of freelance writers do, make a quiet time and treat it like a real job. If you have young children at home, write while they nap. Let your answering machine be your secretary. If it is important they will leave a message. Most importantly remember why you started writing in the first place. Even the best of the best have gotten writers block at one time or another.

Helpful Hints on Getting Better Respect in the Workplace Sometimes, an inhospitable work atmosphere can ruin the best job in the world. If you work in an office where people don?t respect each other and you feel undervalued and taken advantage of, then you are likely to give up and move on--no matter how much you love the work. When people work closely together, disagreements and problems are bound to arise from time to time. There are, however, ways you can get more respect in the workplace, so you don?t have to dread heading to the office every morning. As the old adage goes, you have to give respect to get respect. Are you doing everything you can to treat your co-workers with dignity and respect? Put another way, are you doing everything you can to avoid annoying everyone in the office? There are a lots of little ways you can make the day more pleasant for everyone, including showing up on time for work and for in-house meetings, not talking too loudly on the phone, keeping your personal cell phone ringtone on silent or vibrate, and cleaning up when you use the common break rooms and kitchen area. Things like spamming everyone in the office with incessant ?funny? emails, sending political or religious emails (or challenging everyone on political or religious issues), or invading privacy by looking at someone else?s emails, phone messages, or mail are also not a good idea in the office setting. Then there are the big ones ? you should never take credit for someone else?s work, talk behind people?s backs, lie, steal from other?s desks (even if it is just a post-it note or white-out), or have a general bad argumentative attitude. If you are doing anything of these things, trying to correct your own behavior is the first step to earning a little more respect in the workplace. What happens if you are doing everything you can and you still aren?t getting the respect you feel you deserve in the office? How you handle things may partly depend on who is showing you the disrespect. Are your subordinates treating you like you?re not the boss? In this case, having a little one on one conversation might do the trick. It doesn?t have to confrontational. You can simply point out that you are getting the impression that they may be having a little trouble with your leadership style and offer them a chance to raise any problems. If they bring up a legitimate problem, then there is something you can work on to make things go smoother in the future. If they can?t point to any one thing, let them know politely, but firmly, what you will need from them going forward in terms of respect. And then, stick to it and hold them accountable for their behavior. If your boss is not respecting you, things can get a little trickier. If your boss has a bad attitude, being pulled up on it by his subordinates is probably not going to do much to improve it. Your company may have a grievance policy in place to deal with issues like this, and it is best to go down this path when dealing with a boss with a respect issue. There are some respect issues in the work place that can?t be resolved with the softly, softly approach. If you are being persecuted on the basis of your gender, your race, your disability, or your sexual preference, you have a right to demand a stop to that at once. If the abuse is coming from your co-workers, go straight to your boss. If your boss is unresponsive, or if your boss is the offender, go right over their head, and keep going until you get some satisfaction.