There’s a good chance that, while you’re reading this, you’re "under the influence of a drug." And "it’s completely legal, it’s completely socially acceptable, most Americans take this drug daily, even most adolescents take the drug daily, in smaller doses," says Murray Carpenter, author of “Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts, and Hooks us.”
The drug is, of course, caffeine. It’s most often associated with coffee, but you can find caffeine in tea, soda pop, chocolate, and, of course, energy drinks.
From the coffee counter in back, to walls lined with coolers full of sodas, to the five-hour energy shots crammed near the cash register, "Corner stores are monuments to our lust for caffeine," says Carpenter.
The soft drink industry is a $70 billion industry and Carpenter estimates that coffee is another $30 billion.
“It’s a huge business,” he says.
And that’s because the effect caffeine has on us isn’t too different from nicotine. We reach for a daily cup of coffee or can of soda because we’re addicted.
“I think that they consistently downplay the importance of caffeine in their products, in terms of how appealing it makes the products to the consumer.”
While the Food and Drug Administration is investigating the effects of caffeine -- and the trend of adding caffeine to foods not normally associated with caffeine (like gum) -- even Carpenter says he still reaches for a daily up of caffeinated coffee: “I’m not crazy about decaf.”
A federal judge said Devyani Khobragade enjoys diplomatic immunity. Her case sparked a diplomatic row between India and the U.S.
The economy might not be firing on all cylinders, but it is adding jobs. So what’s the best strategy for people who are employed and looking for something better in their own company? Internal candidates often have an advantage, but being an insider can sometimes prove a double-edged sword: You know the terrain, but everyone else knows your baggage.
Here are a few pieces of advice from Beth Kelly, managing partner of HR Collaborative in Michigan, and Thomas Kochan of MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Think about projects or assignments you’ve had in the past that would be good predictors for the new job you want. Beth Kelly says internal candidates are sometimes typecast as the accounting clerk or the receptionist. It can be hard to break out of those roles and convince the hiring manager you can also be a marketing specialist. Having concrete examples of your potential can help.
If your only route into a company is as temporary employee, treat that temp job like it’s the most important job you’ve had. In some fields, like manufacturing, temporary work has increasingly become the path to employment. Beth Kelly calls it a 90-day interview. Contingent hiring may be unsettling, but Kelly advises you to seize the opportunity and show what a team player you are.
If you trust your current boss, tell them you’re thinking about a job switch right away. If there’s not a trusting relationship, it’s different. Ask the manager to whom you’re applying for a job to tell you before speaking to your current supervisor. Having an open conversation with a trusted boss can open up opportunities. Thomas Kochan also encourages internal candidates who don’t get the new job to seek honest feedback on how to prepare for the next opening.
Apply for the job. Yes, it might be uncomfortable. But Thomas Kochan says many potential internal candidates who talk themselves out of applying for jobs later regret it.
If you haven't signed up for health insurance by March 31, you'll likely face a penalty.
The thing is, a lot of the uninsured don’t seem to know that the deadline is March 31. Kantar Media says insurance companies are now devoting almost half of all their ad spending to commercials with a health reform theme.
Insurers are also giving financial support to some grassroots groups, like Enroll America. It's organizing 3,000 enrollment events just in March aimed at getting people to sign up on one of the healthcare exchanges. The Service Employees International Union is also spreading the word, going door to door and making phone calls. "So far we’ve had 274,000 direct conversations but we want to pump that number up,” says SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry.
Both groups are focusing on states like Texas and Florida, which aren’t too keen on the Affordable Care Act but have lots of uninsured residents.