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时间:2019年02月17日 23:32:05

Last week, I sent an e-mail to a friend who had just lost his job. “I’m so sorry,” I wrote. “Your bosses are morons to have got rid of such a genius as you. I can only suppose a queue will shortly stretch round the block as less brain-dead employers clamour to take you on. Hope you are OK.”The e-mail was heartfelt except for one word, and that was “shortly”. I don’t expect a queue to form for my friend shortly. Even geniuses are not getting snapped up quickly – unless they happen to be security guards, social workers, accountants or teachers.In a trice, I had a message back. He said he had had a brief panic about the mortgage and school fees but otherwise was really rather cheerful. Indeed, he was in such high spirits that he even sent me a funny anecdote*.I could not help comparing the tone of his message with one that I got the very same afternoon from another friend who works for a company that has also been celebrating Christmas with some savage job cuts. Never, she said, had her morale been as bad. The weight of work was crippling as she was now doing the jobs of three people. There was talk of pay cuts. The office was spookily quiet, too; since most of her friends had been sacked, there wasn’t even anyone around to moan to. Worst of all was the fear that her job would be next.It is tempting to conclude from these two messages that, if there is one thing worse for hitherto successful, well-paid people than being fired, it is not being fired. Those who have been axed don’t need to take the sacking personally, and not working in the days before Christmas can be rather jolly. Whereas for those who have not been fired, the not-so-festive season this year is an orgy of fear and drudgery.There might be some truth in this now but it is not going to stay true for long. The grimness of the unemployed will get worse as no queues form to take them on, while the grimness of those in work will, in time, start to recede. This is not because the economy will improve – it is because the grimness itself will bring on a sounder and altogether more realistic approach to work.Over the past decade, the rich, professional classes have developed an increasingly unhealthy attitude to their jobs. We took our jobs and our fat salaries for granted and felt aggrieved if our bonuses were not even bigger than the year before. We demanded that the work be interesting in itself and, even more dangerously and preposterously, that it should have meaning.The result of all these demands was, of course, dissatisfaction. We had climbed to the very top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and discovered that, at the top of the pyramid, the air was very thin indeed. As an agony aunt, I found that by far the most common problem ers submitted came from rich and senior professionals who had all their basic needs more than catered for, leaving their souls in torment. Help me, I’m bored, they cried. Or, worse: what does my work mean?In the past few months, anguish of this sort has vanished. When one’s job is at risk and one’s savings are a shadow of their former selves, the search for meaning at work is meaningless. The point of a job becomes rather more basic: to feed and house (and, at a pinch, to educate) one’s family and oneself. If we can do this, then anything we manage over and above this is a bonus. Once expectations have fully adjusted to this new reality and we see earning money as the main reason for work, greater satisfaction will follow.Low expectations have an awful lot to be said for them. In surveys women turn out to be more satisfied at work than men, in spite of earning less for the same jobs and doing most of the work at home too. The reason is simple: women’s expectations of working life are lower. Similarly, Denmark is the happiest country in the world in spite of having a cold, dark climate and a top tax rate of 68 per cent. The stoical Danes do not expect so much of life and, expecting less, find what little they have rather nice.Climbing down Maslow’s pyramid is painful and progress is slow. However, there is something that managers can do to make the descent a little less grim. The easiest and cheapest way of cheering up demoralised workers is to tell them that they are doing a great job. It is one of the great mysteries of office life why most managers are so resistant to this when it does not cost one penny. Here is all they have to do: pick people off one by one (to do it in groups is lazy and quite spoils the impact) and say thank you and well done, and look as if they mean it.* For anyone who needs further cheering, here is the anecdote of my sacked friend, who heard it from someone who works at the school that Paul McCartney’s child attends. At a recent parents’ evening, Heather Mills was told that her daughter was rather good at the recorder. Ms Mills apparently replied: “She gets that from me.” /200901/60602

Informal Language 美语中的非正式用语 Ever go jogging in a business suit? What about going to a job interview in pajamas? Dressing appropriately is a lot like using a foreign language in the right way. It all depends on the situation. People in America use formal English for making speeches and writing business letters. But they prefer informal language when they talk to friends. Americans are fairly laid-back, both in styles of dress and in language. So to understand their culture, it pays to know something about informal language-in other words, English in blue jeans and a T-shirt. 你曾经穿著办公的西装慢跑吗?或者穿著睡衣去应征工作?得体的穿著很像正确地使用外国语言,都得视情境而变化。美国人使用正式的英文作演说和写商务信件;但是当他们和朋友谈话的时候,则较喜欢使用非正式的语言。美国人不论是在穿著的风格或是语言上,都是非常轻松自在的。所以要了解他们的文化,就得认识他们的非正式用语,换句话说,就像穿著牛仔裤和T恤的英文。 English, like every language, is always changing. New slang terms are created all the time. Often they're here today, gone tomorrow. For instance, if you wanted to call something exciting in the 1960s, you would say it was groovy or far out. Today you might describe it as cool or even bad. Each sub-group of American society-from teenagers to soldiers to thieves to ethnic groups-has its own slang. People who aren't a part of the "in-group" can't understand the meaning, even though the words are "English." So it's not easy for outsiders to use slang correctly. 英语就像每一种语言一样是一直在变。新的俚语不断地出现,常常今天还在使用的,明天就被淘汰了。例如,在一九六O年代你若要形容一件很兴奋的事,你会说很「groovy」美好的,或是「far out」走在时代尖端的。而今天会形容为「cool」很酷,甚至「bad」好菜喔。从青少年、军人、小偷、到少数民族,美国社会中每一种附属团体都有自己的俚语。即使它们确实是英语,但是不属于那个团体的人就不会明白它的意思。因此局外人要正确地使用俚语实在不容易。 Like many languages, American English has numerous idioms that paint word pictures. These colorful expressions come from everyday life and add spice to language. When Americans want to make a good first impression on someone, they try to put their best foot forward. That way, they won't get off on the wrong foot in their relationship. Learning about idioms in a language and culture can be difficult, but don't get cold feet. Just be careful when using these expressions. Otherwise, you might put your foot in your mouth. 就像许多的语言一样,美语中也有许多的成语,刻画出文字的图像。这些多样化的表达方式来自于每天的生活,并为语言增添了许多风味。当美国人想要给某人良好的第一印象时,他们会先「伸出最好的那一只脚」(表现较好的一面);如此,在他们的关系上就不会「下错脚」(搞砸)了。学习一个语言和文化中的成语可能相当困难,但是也不要「让脚发寒了」(恐惧、受挫),只要在用的时候小心一点就是了。否则你可能会「把脚放进嘴巴里去了」(说错话)。 Americans enjoy making things easy on themselves. Even their pronunciation is relaxed. Sounds or syllables that are not stressed are shortened or combined with other sounds. As a result, "What do you want to do?" becomes "Whaddaya wanna do?" And "I don't know" sounds like "I dunno." See if you can understand the following conversation: Gene: Jeet yet? Tim: No, ju? Gene: Skoeet! Now let's translate it into regular English: Gene: Did you eat yet? Tim: No, did you? Gene: Let's go eat! School teachers probably cringe at this kind of pronunciation. But the fact is, that's how Americans often talk in real-life situations. /200803/32555

【中英对照】If there's one thing Johanna Rothman knows, it's the corrosiveeffects of jealousy. At 30, the author of "Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management" was incensedwhen a coworker got a job she wanted. Later, when she took a job managing former peers, she felt their jealousy in curt, backhanded compliments.有一件事情是Johanna Rothman非常清楚的,那就是嫉妒所产生的危害性。Johanna Rothman 是“关起门来:成功管理的秘密”一书的作者,在其30岁的时候,一个同事得到了她梦寐以求的职位,她很愤怒。稍后,当她升职,开始管理以前的同行时,她感到了他们讥讽的恭维中所包含的嫉妒。"If you can admit you're jealous, you can start dealing with it," says Rothman. "If you don't, jealousy can poison your relationships."Rothman说:“如果你肯承认自己是在嫉妒,那么你就可以处理好自己的嫉妒。若你没有及时处理好你的嫉妒情绪,它会毒害你的人际关系。”Jealousy can also poison your career by distracting you from your job and forcing you into constant comparisons that leave you demoralized, she says. 她还说:“嫉妒也会让你无心工作,只专注于和别人攀比,最后在自卑中一蹶不振,毁了你的职业生涯。”Want to curbyour or others' jealousy while keeping your eye on your goals? Consider these tips:想要在专注于自己的人生目标的同时,化解掉自己的或别人的嫉妒,参考下面的小贴士吧: /200907/76918

A(Ambition)雄心壮志:女人也许担心这个词将使她们失去女性的温柔。然而,一项进行了15年的调查发现,74%的职业女性一直都在积极寻求获得提升的机会。B(Belief)信仰:无论如何,在生活中,女人至少得坚信一件事情,这样,才会让你的人生不至于迷失。 /200911/90369

Men are spending more and more time in the kitchen encouraged by celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, according to a report from Oxford University.The effect of the celebrity role models, who have given cookery a more macho image, has combined with a more general drive towards sexual equality, to mean men now spend more than twice the amount of time preparing meals than they did in 1961.According to research by Prof Jonatahn Gershuny, who runs the Centre for Time Research at Oxford, men now spend more than half an hour a day cooking, up from just 12 minutes a day in 1961.Prof Gershuny said: "The man in the kitchen is part of a much wider social trend. There has been 40 years of gender equality, but there is another 40 years probably to come."Women, who a generation ago spent a fraction under two hours a day cooking, now spend just one hour and seven minutes – a dramatic fall, but they still spend far more time at the hob than men.Some commentators have dubbed the emergence of men in aprons as "Gastrosexuals", who have been inspired to pick up a spatula by the success of Ramsay, Oliver as well as other male celebrity chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Marco Pierre White and Keith Floyd."I was married in 1974. When my father came to visit me a few weeks later I was wearing an apron when I opened the door. He laughed," said Prof Gershuny"That would never happen now."The report, commissioned by frozen food company Birds Eye, also makes clear that the family meal is limping on in far better health than some have suggested, thanks in part to a resurgence in cooking from scratch by some consumers.Two-thirds of adults claim that they come together to share at least three times a week, even if it is not necessarily around a kitchen or dining room table.Anne Murphy, general manager at Birds Eye, said: "The evening meal is still clearly central to family life and with some saying family time is on the increase and the appearance of a more frugal consumer, we think the return to traditionalism will continue as a trend.”However, Prof Gershuny pointed out that the family meal was now rarely eaten by all of its members around a table – with many "family meals" in fact taken on the sofa in the sitting room, and shared by disparate members of the family."The family meal has changed very substantially, and few of us eat – as I did when I was a child – at least two meals a day together as a family. But it has survived in a different format." /200908/82032


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