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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.

Copyright Law Act The Copyright Law Act of 1976 The Copyright Law Act of 1976 is the basis of the United States copyright laws. The Copyright Law Act states the rights of copyright owners, the doctrine of the fair use copyright laws and it changed the term life of copyrights. Before the Copyright Law Act the law had not been revised since 1909. It was necessary that the copyright laws be revised to take into account technological strides that were being made in radio, sound recordings, motions pictures and more. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 preempted all previous laws that were on the books in the United States, including the Copyright Act of 1909. The Copyright Law Act of 1976 defines “works of authorship” to include all of the following: * Musical works * Literary works * Dramatic works * Pictorial, sculptural and graphics * Motion Pictures and Audiovisuals * Sound Recordings * Choreographic Works and Pantomimes * An eighth work which falls under “architectural works” was later added in 1990. What is unique about the United States copyright law is that it is automatic. Once someone has an idea and produces it in tangible form, the creator is the copyright holder and has the authority to enforce his exclusivity to it. In other words, the person is the owner of the creation. It is not necessary that a person register their work. However, it is recommended and it can serve as evidence if someone ever violates a copyright. It is interesting to note that when an employer hires an employee to produce a work that the copyright is given to the employer. Violations of US Copyright Law are generally enforced in a civil court setting. However, there could also be criminal sanctions brought against someone who violates US copyright law. Someone that is in serious violation of US Copyright Law such as counterfeiting can find themselves on the inside of prison looking out. People need to understand that the copyright symbol is not a requirement. Someone may have a copyright, yet their work may not have a copyright notice or symbol. US Copyright Law covers a wide range of things that are derived from artistic expression, intellectual or creative work. This includes things such as literary works, music, drawings, photographs, software, movies, choreographic works such as ballets and plays, poems, paintings and more. The law covers the form of expression, not the concept, facts or the actual idea of the work. This means that someone can use another person’s idea or concept and produce their own take on it. However, copying another person’s work is a violation. It should be noted that some things may not be copyrighted but they may be protected by a patent or trademark. Individuals who have a copyright on a particular piece of work can do with it what they will. They may choose to copy it and sell it. They may display their work or perform it in public and charge admission, or they can assign or sell the work to someone else. Individuals who have a copyright can also choose to do nothing with their work, if that is their desire. However, if someone comes along and takes the work and tries to use it in some way, that person is still in violation of the owner’s copyright. The Copyright Law Act covers published and unpublished work.

Got an Offer? How to Evaluate the Company to Ensure It’s the Right Move Being offered a new job is always a great feeling. No matter what type of job it is, the fact that the employer wants you is very satisfying. The inclination to put in your two-week notice and start packing up your desk can be exhilarating. However, be sure that you know what you are getting into before you plunge into a new job. The terms of a job offer should be written out in black and white, literally. Whenever a company offers a job to someone, there should be literature about the position to read. When the offer is made, be sure to spend some time reading over the literature and finding out exactly what the terms and conditions of the job are. Salary, benefits and the terms of employment should all be very clear before you accept the offer. Be sure that you read the fine print. This is especially true from sales jobs. That advertised rate of pay might be what you make with commission. Without the commission you may not have a salary at all. This could be a major issue if your sales do not go well. Salary is one of the most important things to find out about before you take a job. Make sure that what they are offering as base pay is enough for you to live comfortably on. Bonuses can sound really great when employers discuss them with you. However, what you have to do to earn the bonuses may be very difficult. Thus making the bonuses obsolete the majority of the time. Restaurant management is a career path where many times your bonuses are based on the success of your particular restaurant. Not you yourself. That means that when the restaurant is not doing well, there will be no bonuses. The hours you will be working is another issue you will want to tackle before you take the job. Find out exactly what you are expected to work. This could be tricky with salaried positions. Find out what the average amount of hours is that employees spend on the job. Will there be travel? Many jobs post this in their advertisements but others are not so forthcoming with this information. Living out of a suitcase can be ideal for some but if you are not looking forward to having a relationship with your spouse strictly through cell phones and e-mails, you better inquire. If you are not open to travel be sure to find out if travel could be included in your position. The environment at the office could be hard to gauge. However, if you go to an interview and are not greeted in the lobby or see a few scowling employees, chances are, the office environment is a bit hostile. This is a major thing to consider when taking a job. Is the management hiring new personnel in order to replace the existing personnel? If they are, why does the existing personnel need to be replaced? Try to feel out the environment of the office when you are waiting for your interviews to take place. What will your job entail? Will there be times that you are expected to do things that go against your better judgment? Will you be surrounded by a corporate mentality that is concerned only with numbers? Are you going to be able to put your reservations aside and carry out the job that needs to be done? If a job offer is made immediately, you may want to be leery of this position. Try to find out about the turnover rate of this position. There may be a reason why the employer is so ready to offer you the job.

Achieving a Better Family and Work Balance Makes for Better Job Performance Are you constantly working after hours and weekends at the office? Are beginning to forget what your family even looks like? Many people find themselves in this predicament. Work seems to get more and more demanding with every passing day, and to stay on top of your game at work, you feel like you need to put in long hours. The flipside to this is that of course when you are at the office, you are away from home – away from family dinners, play time and your kids’ sporting events or school plays. You may feel like your hands are tied – that no matter how much you want to be more involved with your family life, you have to keep working as hard as ever to make sure your family is provided for in the long run. The truth is, however, that you may be doing yourself a disservice on both fronts. Studies have shown time and again that well rested workers with well balanced lives are more productive in the time they do spend working. In the end, the best way to be a stand out worker at the office is to be fully involved and present in your family live. But wait, you say, “I’m working practically around the clock now, and everything still isn’t getting done.” However, maybe the problem isn’t that you aren’t working hard enough. Maybe the problem instead is that you aren’t working smart enough. Think about the way you spend you working day. Are you taking on more responsibility than you need to, instead of delegating tasks to others? Are you spending a lot of time chatting in the break room when you run for a cup of coffee? Are you procrastinating so that big projects require you to work all-nighters instead of spreading out the work? Keep a journal of all of your activities at work for a few days. You might be surprised to see how you are really spending your time and in what areas you could make improvements. Simply staying on task and delegating effectively could get you home in time for dinner. When you have done everything you can to make your work habits as productive as possible, it is time to turn to other ways to balance your work life and your family life. Rule number one is the hardest one for most people to follow you – draw clear lines of distinction between work time and family time. Family time isn’t really family time if you are constantly on your cell phone making and receiving work calls or if you are on your laptop for the entire family vacation. When you’re working – work. When you’re with your family – concentrate on them. The time you spend actually taking a breather from work will recharge your batteries and make you a better worker when work time rolls around again. Next, you have to evaluate your priorities. Maybe working around the clock will help you make partner faster, but at what cost? Decide if seeing your daughter’s soccer game every week is more important to you than moving up the corporate ladder quickly, and make adjustments in your schedule appropriately. There is no right or wrong answer, but deciding where you priorities lie will make scheduling easier for you. With your priorities in mind, see what work options are available to you to help you meet them. If you want more time with the kids, see if your office offers flex time or part time hours to help you meet your family commitments. Last but not least, don’t feel guilty about taking time with your family. Not only is this time important to your family, you can rest assured that the time out from the office stress will make you more productive when you return to work.