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Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Archive for November, 2008

Nov 29, 2008

The seven stages of being laid off

If until about two weeks ago I was interested mostly in politics, since I have lost my job, my focus switched dramatically towards different fields. Namely looking for another job.
Maybe reading about recession is just a passing scary thought. Living it without a job it’s a completely different issue.
Like any traumatic event, it’s got a few stages, and you must walk all of them before being able to function normally again.

First stage
It’s the moment you hear the dreadful words ‘the company is in bad shape and unfortunately we decided to let you go’
Your mind is trying to bloc the panic that menace to make you start crying or vomiting. Or both. You keep a straight face and articulate words like you are just an observer. In the mean time your stomach is tied up in knots and there is uncomfortable cold sweat running down your spine. Suddenly you feel very, very tired. But you can’t afford to be tired because you are given an hour to clean up your office. What are you going to do with all your projects? Or your in-progress files? And so you move to the second stage.

Second stage
Now that you are back in your office, your hands start shaking. You make phone calls to inform the loved ones that you are out of job. Sure, you feel bad for breaking the bad news, but what really is in your soul can’t be compared to anything. Now you get some boxes and start gathering the pictures or your family, the artwork made by your kid, the flowers that brought up warm feeling to your working environment.

Third stage
Now that the thought is sinking even more in your brain, you have a few moments of being rational. Let’s see what documents you could take with you. And by that I don’t want to recommend stealing confidential information, just take what’s yours. Maybe some contact names along with their phone numbers. Then it’s time to move your boxes to the car and return the Black Berry and the office keys.

Forth stage
Now you are in your car, driving home, praying that there is a God of laid off people, because definitely you are not paying attention to what you are doing. You do what you routinely do, only that your mind is still blocked and your mind eye is seeing only one thought ‘I got laid off’. You can cry, now is the best moment, because you cry in the silence of your car, you don’t upset your family. Trust me. They are going to be scared for your sanity and you don’t want to put extra pressure on their emotions.
They are going to comfort you, but you are still going to be crushed and full of guilt.

Fifth stage
After a restless night, the future looks bleak. Now you feel even more the impact of not having a job. You feel lost and depleted of energy. You start thinking how to do damage control. The kid must stay in the day care because he needs structured activity, and what sort of activity can you offer when you are just in panic mode, stressed and really down? So, it’s no way to cut living expenses here. Let’s see what is to be done?
Clean up the freezer. For sure there is lots of stuff that can be used for cooking home made meals. Here you are, a way of saving your grocery bill.
Moving on… recycling bottles. Yes, plenty of them sitting in the basement. Not much money, but still around $40 more in your wallet.
Then you apply on-line for employment benefits and for the care card, because you are not covered anymore by the company’s medical plan.
Finally, you start browsing the net looking for another job.

Sixth stage
After a few days you have found some jobs listed by various companies untouched by the economic crisis. You fine tuned your resume and sent it along with nice cover letters. It’s time to think positive and ignore the nagging thought that maybe there are lots of guys around freshly out of jobs, with the same qualifications as yours. No, you have to think that you are unique and that you are going to get the job you want.

Seventh stage
Now that you passed the shaking, crying, guilty phases, what about some revenge? Because it’s not fair that your company outsourced to India and China, keeping that guys in job, while you and your family suffer. I mean, when you reach the point of being worried about your mortgage and your family’s well being, trust me, you don’t give a rat’s ass on ‘poor Chinese or Indians, they need jobs’ propaganda.
If you have access to information you can use against the company, it’s time to do it. Out of revenge it comes hope.
And you need hope.

Nov 14, 2008

What to do if you are a victim of a DNS Hijack

Yesterday I did something what I am not normally doing.
Because I missed one episode from the series The Mentalist and one from NCIS, I looked for them on the net. I know, bad idea. I found and downloaded them from two sites: The Mentalist came from XTVi and NCIS from other site.
XTVi came with a Trojan.
When I tried to watch The Mentalist, I was prompted to upgrade Windows Media Player in order to do that. I made a big mistake and chose to run the ‘upgrade’ via a program that was a malware.
Next morning- as in today- when I tried to open Firefox I was prompted that the server tried to redirect the link. I could not use Firefox.
WTF??!!! I could feel my blood freezing. Oh my God! I suddenly understood that something really bad happened.
On a verge of panicking I scanned my computer with SmitfraudFix and sure enough I got this message
“Your computer may be victim of a DNS Hijack: 85.255.x.x detected !”
OK, now I was in full panic mode.
I opened Explorer- because Firefox did not want to collaborate with me- and looked for a fix.
I found it and cleaned my computer (or so I hope)

This is what you should do if you are stupid like me and made the same mistake:

1. Reboot computer in Safe Mode (you know the gig: restart the computer, before the Windows icon appears tap the F8 key)
2. In Safe Mode, open SmitfraudFix- assuming that you do have SmitfraudFix… if you don’t, do yourself a favor and get it- folder and double-click smitfraudfix.cmd. Select option#2- Clean by typing 2 and then press ‘Enter’ to delete infected files
3. When prompted ‘Registry cleaning- Do you want to clean registry?’ answer Yes by typing y and press ‘Enter
4. The tool will check if wininet.dll is infected. If the file is found, you may be prompted to replace it. In my case it was not found
5. Restart the computer into normal Windows. You are going to get a text file with results from the cleaning process

Next: I went to http://www.besttechie.net/tools and looked for the file: mbam-setup.exe.
This is Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware.
1. Download the application
2. Make sure that checkmark is placed nest to Update and Launch Malwarebytes’s Anti-Malware, then click Finish
3. Once the program is loaded, select ‘Perform Quick Scan’ and then click on ‘Scan’
4. After the scan is complete click OK, then Show Results
5. Make sure that everything that shows on the list is checked and then click ‘Remove Selected’
6. When disinfection is completed, the report will show up in Notepad
7. Restart your computer

Now Firefox is running again and I have learnt my lesson. Beware of XTVi!!!

Nov 13, 2008

In times of big recession

Yes, it’s here. In full blast. Only recently officially admitted, but felt and recognized by us months ago.
The governments around the world tried to keep things under control infusing money to save their financial systems. Everything came crushing down thanks to Alan Greenspan and his friends.
One would question: how is it possible for a world renowned economist not to be able to foresee the disastrous effect of unregulated ‘hedge funds’ concept?
I guess there are conspiracy theory fans thinking that it must have been premeditated movement. Maybe to slow down the Chinese ascension.
I was reading abut the Great Depression that started in 1939 and last for almost 10 years.
I remember the recession Canada was in back in 1993. It took about 6-7 years to get out of it.
We are in 2008 now and if we are to believe some analysts, the current recession is worse than the one that happened 15 years ago. And the effects would be more drastic than the ones caused by the Great Depression.
Up until a year ago when you opened the paper, the Work/Career section was full with various jobs. Now you can hardly find ten jobs. And most of them are as sales managers. Back in 1993 I could not land a job as a dishwasher or as a cleaning lady. I was told that I was ‘overqualified’ when in fact the demand was more than the offer.

You know what the irony is? That the Emirates Airline- Dubai government owned airline- posted a profit of ‘only’ $6 billion, while complaining about the high cost of fuel??!!! Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said in a statement: “Emirates has worked hard to manage the impact of high fuel prices on our unit costs, while continuing to grow our business.”
Is it not Dubai one of the OPEC countries? I mean, are they not the guys establishing the cost of oil? If I remember correctly, some weeks ago OPEC had an emergency meeting to stop the oil cost from plummeting by cutting production.

Earth control to Dubai: SHUT THE FUCK UP!

We are worried about our jobs, about our mortgages, about what to offer our kids for the coming Christmas and could not care less about your growing business. Who the heck has the money to go to Dubai now? Maybe the Russian oligarchs. After they purchase athletic clubs and over evaluated and tacky modern art, they still have plenty of money to burn, figuratively and literally. For these guys credit crunch, recession and depression probably sound like science fiction.

In the mean time we wonder how to stretch our budget. Instead of Burj Al Arab, we offer our kids an exclusive experience: a tent in the backyard, marshmallows roasted over a bonfire and if it’s not raining, a dip in the jacuzzi.
Instead of City Center Deira Dubai we will trot to Wal-Mart and Value Village.

But we are happy and grateful for having loving families and friends around us.

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