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Monday, September 29, 2008

#6: AstroGuy

Gifts that'll grab him

For this action-packed leader, get him glam sunglasses, cool car accessories, tickets to a match, or a chance to check out some mad sport like skydiving.

He loves the good life and luxury; so go for the best cigars or cognac, a mohair sweater or silk shirt, monogrammed writing set, a leather armchair or hand-made tools for his birthday.

For this Peter Pan gor for games, puzzles, gadgets, anything hi-tech for the home or office. He enjoys fun clothes and accessories too, so don't try and turn him into a grown-up yet!

For this homeody, go for excellent beer or wine glasses, a family portrait, luxury bathrobe or PJs, or saws, hammers and drills and as many cuddles as you can fit in!

The king loves to be pampered, so go for a VIP box at his favorite sporting event, the best food and wine. Anything in gold, flashy designer clothes, or a glitzy night out on the town.

As he's a nest freak, what about a tool box or a personal organiser? His body is his temple so go for a gym membership. Perhaps stylish neutral accessories for his home.

This romancer would love a CD, a luxurious shirt and some pampering bath goodies. Though you - in a tiny lacy thing on Christmas morning - would also be great!

Go for a wine course or beer-making kit, vineyard membership or a fine decanter. As he loves mystery, a good spy novel would work; but so would a few naughty bedroom toys...

As he loves to explore, unusual artefacts or something to do with travel (books, tickets...) would thrill! Or tickle his funnybone with a joke book or a comic film.

This traditionalist likes the best in life but will rarely treat himself! So what about a vintage brandy, antiques, a good wallet or pen, gardening things, or a stylish silver tie-pin and cufflinks?

He's a mad eccentric and likes anything different. Try inventive gadgets, a donation to his favorite charity or name a star after him. Book gifts should feature great activists in history.

As this dreamer loves to lose himself go for music, a camera, photography course, dance lessons or a set of his favorite old movies; but he's also a sucker for aftershave.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Do You Work For A Jerk?

They lie, cheat and steal, howl and scream, ansd suck you dry before tossing you aside. Bad bosses: you can't live with them and you can't run them over, so here's how to cope with their problems personalities.

Bad Boss Type: The Burglar

How To Spot Them:
This person happily adapts other people's ideas to advance his own career. You thought of a way to reduce office stationery overheads? Your boss is with the accountant right now, mouthing off about his cost-cutting plan. You have a great campaign idea for a client? Your boss is on the phone, telling them all about it. How will you ever get anywhere if your contributions aren't recognised?

Coping Strategy:
If you're a member of the support staff, it can be very difficult. Try to document your ideas, keep them in a file and, when your appraisal comes around, point out that this is what you contributed and why you deserve a promotion or a raise. Another suggestion is to only put your ideas forward at staff meetings, when more than one person will hear them. If you're higher up the career ladder, put your suggestions in a memo or e-mail to your boss that you "cc" to other colleagues or supervisors. You can add a note saying, "This is an idea I had that I'd like input on from other people," to cover your reason for cc-ing it.

Bad Boss Type: The Swinger

How To Spot Them:

Easily confused with The Terrorist, but the difference is that this boss has moments of total approachability mixed with tantrums. Mandy, a 25-year-old architect, used to gauge her boss's mood by monitoring his coffees. Two double lattes and the door closed meant troule; a cappucino and leisurely browsing through the newspaper signalled his mood was sweet. He was tolerant and open to ideas; in the next instant, he screamed about even the simplest things. "You never really know what sort of day you were going to have," Mandy says. "I was constantly on edge."

Coping Strategy:
Career advisers say the sanity-saving move here is to determine some kind of pattern to their behaviour. Then, when you've worked out when the bad moods are most likely to hit, the best thing you can do is to stay away. When you think the boss is in a good mood, that's the time to approach.

Bad Boss Type: The Vampire

How To Spot Them:

He feels it's his prerogative to call you at home at night or on weekends. And if he needs you to work late, or on Saturday, you'd better count yourself in. And if you have the bad luck to be his secretary, he'll want you to run his personal life, do his errands and lie to his partner too.

Coping Strategy:
Before you take a job, you should find out if you'll be required to work weekends, or perform personal errands. If the answer is "sometimes", that means "yes". If you're managerial staff, you will probably want to come in on Saturdays or work late if required, to show that you are professional. However, this shouldn't be the case all the time. If you're support staff, ask if some of your work could be delegated elsewhere, or if there's anything you can start earlier in the day or week, to eliminate last minute panic. With personal errands, either make a game of it or look for another job. Some people like the chance to get out of the office, while others find such chores humiliating. If it's the latter, tell the boss you have work you need to finish, and that doing those errands will mean it doesn't happen.

Bad Boss Type: The Gal Pal

How To Spot Them:

No power trips or whip-cracking here - this boss just wants to be liked. It might start with a simple invitation to lunch. Next, it's dinner - soon you'll find it almost impossible to disagree with her over work issues. After all, you're friends. To her, that means unconditional support - something you may not always be willing to give.

Coping Strategy:
It's good to work in a friendly place, but you need to know where to draw the line. However reluctant your boss is to lay down the law, she does need to exercise authority - and that means not getting too personal. Find reasons to gently refuse her invitations. While you don't want to be too aloof at work, you may want to politely let your boss know that you prefer to keep your personal and business lives separate.

Bad Boss Type: The Conspiracy Theorist

How To Spot Them:

You're called into the boss office's. She wants to know why you were talking to the MD in the lift today. In fact, you said, "Hello, which floor?" Trouble is, this boss is convinced you're out to get her job. She will treat good ideas with fear and suspicion, and will eyeball the outfit you wear to work if it's more expensive than hers, or if you look better in it. Watch out! If she suspects you're dressing for success, or sucking up to senior management, you'll be out of there faster than she can say, "You're fired!"

Coping Strategy:
You have to give this boss positive feedback. Make sure she knows you admire and look up to her - reassure her that you're not after her job. Make sure she knows you're willing to be a part of her team, and you're not working hard just to outshine her.

Bad Boss Type: The Terrorist

How To Spot Them:

He yells. Screams. The office is a warzone. You leave the office with your head ringing and your hopes destroyed. Says Linda, a 27-year-old web designer. "it didn't seem to matter what I did, I couldn't please my boss. He'd argue about everything, even the most simple design points or ideas. And if I answered back, or in any way tried to defend myself, he'd go crazy."

Coping Strategy:
The terrorist boss may have a basic personality disorder that dates back to when your boss was the school bully. Unfortunately, often the only solution is to leave. If you want to stick it out, you'll have to ensure your performance is constantly up to scratch, so there are fewer reasons for tantrums. You must also resist the impulse to fight back, or the battle will intensify. It's important that you try not to escape the situation. Remain calm and, when your boss has settled down, apologise if their anger was caused by something you did. If it wasn't, tell yourself that your boss's anger is not personal and try not to take it that way. You could also try going for a quick 10 minutes walk, by then, you should have cooled off a little and won't say anything you'll regret. Or try deep breathing, as you chant to yourself: "I will not kill my boss, I will not kill my boss..."

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Office Workout

No time for the gym? Try these 21 ways to get fit without leaving your desk!

1. Get a Jennifer Lopez butt
Stand behind your chair: legs together, feet facing forward. Slowly raise your right leg behind you, tightening your buttocks as you do so. Go as high as you can without arching your back, then return to standing. Repeat 12 - 15 times, then change sides. It's much easier than most bum exercises. Just make sure no-one's standing behind you.

2. De-stress with cybercats
Keeping a cat is great for reducing blood pressure and de-stressing. Rather than trying to sneak Patch into the office, download a cyberkitty at www.catslikefelix.com - he'll keep you company sans furballs.

3. Bag yourself Gisele-like boobs
Sitting down, extend your arms in front of you. Bend your right arm and put your right hand in your left-elbow pit and position your left arm so your left hand cups your right elbow. Press your hands into arms, feeling your pectoral muscles tighten. Hold a couple of seconds then release. Repeat 10 times. It's the pectoral muscles behind your breasts that keep your breasts lifted. Do this exercise regularly and you'll be amazed at how much more toned they'll look."

4. Wave wobbly arms goodbye
Grab a stretchy jumper in your left hand and drop your left hand over your left shoulder and down your back. Bend your right arm up your back and grab the bottom of the jumper. Straighten your left arm so you stretch your jumper - feel the back of your arm tighten as you do so. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times, then change sides. Just don't try this with your workmate's new cashmere sweater!

5. Chill out
Forget about sweating it out on the treadmill - popping ice in your glass of mineral water is a great way to burn off the calories. Your body uses more calories when the water you're drinking is cold because it has to wotk harder to keep your body temperature.

6. Get mystic
Buy a piece of clear or rose quartz for your desk. Placing it near your computer will soak up the stress-causing electromagnetic emissions it gives out.

7. Select your calves
Sit down, take your shoes off and put your fleet flat on the ground, lift your toes and balls of your feet and drop back down as if you're pedalling a bike. Repeat 10 times. Then, keeping your toes on the ground, lift your heels 10 times.

8. Firm your chin
Place your hands behind your head. Stick your chin out and feel the muscles in the back of your neck tighten. Hold for a couple of seconds, return to start position, then repeat 10 times.

9. Bye bye to flabby thighs
Sit with your legs slightly apart, roll up your coat or a chunky jumper and put it between your thighs. Bring your knees together, squeezing your inner thighs as you do so. Hold for a couple of seconds and release. Repeat 12 - 15 times.

10. Daydream your way to happiness
Get that post-gym high by drifting off for a few minutes. Daydreaming increases immune-boosting chemicals and puts you in a better mood, according to UK scientists. Just make sure you don't get carried away and end up falling into a long, deep sleep!

11. Eat!
Not only will missing lunch mean you'll be reaching for a Kit-Kat come 3pm, it'll also make you more stressed. UK scientists discovered that people who skip lunch are more likely to make mistakes and have a shorter attention span. Avoid the three Ss - sugar, salt and stimulants (tea and coffee) - which will make you feel lethargic. Also avoid bread, which is really hard to digest. Instead, go for a chicken or hummus salad or sushi, which are all packed with nutrients. As tempting as it is to reach for the chocolate, try not to - your blood sugar level will peak and then drop so you'll feel really tired afterwards. Opt for fruit instead, such as strawberries, which contain more vitamin C than oranges.

12. Drink to your health
Drink fruits and vegetales the minute they're juiced and you'll get 9 percent of their nutrients compared to only 35 percent if you eat them raw. So pick some up on your way into work!

13. Waist away
Sitting up straight, put your hands on the back of your chair behind your bum. Gently pull your tummy in, and twist your body to your right so you're looking over your shoulder. Breathe in, breathe out and try to twist a little bit further. This is a great exercise for loosening up your lower-back, which can suffer when you've been slumped at your desk and for toning your oblique muscles, which give your waist definition.

14. Head off hand strain
If you've handled your keyboard more than your boyfriend lately, stand up and place your palms on your desk. Press firmly for five seconds, then release. Repeat four times.

15. Boost your orgasms
Sitting in your chair, squeeze your pelvic area as if you're trying to stop yourself peeing an you're sucking up water inside yourself. Hold for a couple of seconds, then release. Repeat 10 times. As well as improving the appeareance of your tummy, strengthening this deep layer of abdominal muscles gives you more control during sex and bigger orgasms.

16. Banish that eye-ache
Stop eyestrain (and subsequent headaches) by giving your eyes a mini-workout. Look as far as you can to the right, then to the left. Then look up, then down. Finally, close your eyes, place the palms of your hands over your eyes, resting your fingers on your forehead for a few minutes. This will give your eyes a break from the harsh office light and the heat of your hands will bring blood flow to your eyes, which alleviates tiredness.

17. Have some daily male
Don't grumble next time your boss makes you organise a parcel of courier - hand it over personally to the courier and you'll feel the troubles of the day drift away. Why? Men's sweat contains a pheromone that makes us less tense and nervous, according to research. (Of course, this probably only works if he looks like Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp.)

18. Beautify your biceps
Put your hands palm upwards on the underside of your desk, with your elbows bent at right angles. Push up firmly against the desk, feeling the muscles in your upper arms contract. Hold in this position for three seconds and then release. Repeat 15 times.

19. Energise yourself
Why tire yourself out on the rowing machine when sticking a Peace Lily on your desk can perk you up as well? Not only are they great for filtering and cleansing pollutants in the air, they also increase oxygen, which will make you feel more energetic.

20. Get a model midriff
Forget sit-ups, tone your abs by sucking your bellybutton in towards the base of your spine. Hold for a count of two, then release. Repeat 12 - 15 times. Sit up straight while you do this exercise and you'll be improving your posture at the same time.

21. R-E-L-A-X
If you're feeling under the weather, staring out of the window at trees will speed up your recovery, according to research in the US. If stress is the problem and the view from your desk is grey rather than green, draw a green circle on a piece of paper and stare at it. Focus on the dot, concentrate on your breathing and try to slow it down. Try to transport yourself away to a beautiful beach or the countryside. You'll be amazed at how much calmer and in control you'll feel afterwards.

Made by Grumpy Cow