Payday Loans – Are They Really Worth It?

There is no denying it; we are living during some rough economic times. Unfortunately it appears there is no relief in the immediate future and for some people things will get worse before they get better. When you factor in the skyrocketing cost of living, rising number of newly unemployed and lenders bracing for record losses you have the perfect recipe for crippling financial situations for many families. What happens when the paycheck that once lasted until the next no longer makes the stretch? With limited resources and no safety net many people are turning to payday loans to help them in an emergency. Do these loans really provide relief or just get you further in debt?Payday loans (sometimes referred as cash advance loans) are a small, short-term loan that is intended to cover a borrower’s expenses until his or her next payday. The length of the loan is generally no longer than two weeks with the borrower making arrangement by either writing a post dated check or authorizing an automatic withdrawal from their bank account on their next payday. Up until this point everything seems on the up and up regarding this type of loan, right? There are some things to consider before you accept this type of cash assistance:* Consider the fees. Payday loans can get you out of a tight spot in the event of an emergency, but you will not get this assistance for free. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10-$40 per every hundred dollars you borrow. All payday lenders have different contract terms so the payday loan length and dollar amount can vary widely, however it is agreed that payday loan APRs are very, very high when compared to other APRs. Some lenders “allow” you to rollover the repayment essentially extending the loan and you can get caught in a cycle of fees and increasing debt.* Consider your credit. This type of loan will appear on your credit report. Even if you borrow the money and pay it back without extensions or being past due, any future lenders who see that you have been in such dire situations to need to use this type of loan will consider you a higher risk for repaying their money.* Consider the source. To find a payday loan, you can physically go to a business offering this type of loan or apply online. If you are applying online be sure to research the company you are dealing with to ensure it is legitimate as you will be required to send them sensitive information such as your checking account numbers, social security number and other information that in the wrong hands can cause you much more trouble than a seemingly simple loan.Let’s face it. If you are contemplating a payday loan due to a financial emergency you are likely already between a rock and a hard place. This type of loan is beneficial as it requires none of the formalities of a traditional loan and you will have access to the funds within 24 hours. The problem does not come from borrowing the money rather can you pay it back? If you had something come up- your car broke down or some other unexpected expense that put you off track financially and you just need the money until you get paid, you might make out getting a payday loan. Regrettably many people that simply don’t have enough money and WON’T have enough money will get these loans and end up deeper in debt than they were to begin with. Proceed with extreme caution before you borrow money you may not be able to pay back.

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Pre-Employment Screening and Lies

It is a well-known fact that people tell lies. Having accepted this fact it is reasonable to assume that applicants for employment positions will tell lies, or at least believe it to be acceptable to jazz up their CV’s by exaggeration.A recent survey conducted by an Internet recruitment site found that two thirds of the British workforce believes that it is acceptable to lie to obtain employment. Indeed most UK employers will no longer accept CVs and claimed qualifications at face value. Increasingly job seekers are facing a range of assessment tools such as psychometric profiling and ability tests. More and more employers are utilising the services of pre – employment screening or checking into the backgrounds of their prospective employees.Some employers now have the lawful right and duty to obtain conviction material about their employee’s via the Criminal Records Bureau. With effect from autumn 2008 those who wish to be employed with children and vulnerable adults will have to enter into the newly formed Vetting & Barring Scheme. From point of entry they will be subject to monitoring and employers will be made aware of matters that might affect their continued suitability to work with these groups. Existing employees working within these fields will also have to enter into the scheme ensuring that people working with those at risk are constantly monitored and subject to vetting to ensure continued suitability for the work.More and more employers are turning to pre-employment screening and background checking to give them the comfort of knowing that the applicant is who they say they are, can lawfully work in the United Kingdom and does not present a risk to themselves, their work colleagues and the company’s clients. Pre-employment screening when carried out thoroughly can reveal information that the applicant either deliberately or mistakenly omits to bring to the attention of the prospective employer. A quality based pre-employment screening process should check the authenticity and integrity of identity documents, claimed qualifications and employment and educational history.Robust background checking of an applicant’s claimed employment history can reveal a lot about the applicant and coupled with other pre-employment screening tools enables employers to select the best candidate for the position.GSL, via its Employment Screening & Validation Service (ESVS) offers a tried and trusted process of background checking and screening to clients, which is based on over 50 years experience. ESVS has to meet exacting pre- employment screening and vetting standards on applicants for employment within its business streams many of which offer employment opportunities to individuals who will ultimately work on sensitive government contracts.The GSL service can help organisations control their people risks by providing a comprehensive checking and validation solution to support recruitment and operational decisions. It will provide accurate information and impartial advice about people that companies need to be able to rely on including permanent or temporary employees, job applicants, agency or contract staff, sub contractors, suppliers and potential business partners.GSL offers a range of service level options according to the sensitivity, authority and responsibility of the position for which candidates are being screened. Alternatively, its consultants will work with clients to create a customised service to meet their individual company needs. At the most basic level is a check that the subject is who he or she claims to be, that they have the education and qualifications that they claim that they have the right to work in the UK and that their previous employment record is consistent with their CV.GSL is a leader in the UK and on an international scale in the provision of critical primary and support services for corporate organisations and public authorities. As such, the company has extensive experience in designing and implementing clearance procedures for positions in high security or sensitive environments.The GSL consultants include former senior police officers experienced in combating fraud and identity theft, alongside former special branch and intelligence staff together with human resources and information technology specialists.GSL ESVS is registered with the Criminal Records Bureau and Disclosure Scotland and authorised to act as an umbrella organisation to carry out criminal records checks and checks against people who have been barred from working with children or vulnerable adults. It is registered under the Data Protection Act and complies with standards set by the security industry and Financial Services Authority and the relevant requirements of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.GSL’s director of ESVS Paul Leadbeater said, “Effective checking minimises the cost of poor performance by candidates who have exaggerated their qualifications, abilities and experience. It could reduce turnover and associated costs of recruitment and training. It helps avoid industrial tribunals or involvement in situations that could damage the organisation’s reputation. It will significantly reduce an organisation’s exposure to risk of fraud or dishonesty that cost industry billions of pounds a year. Employers who fail to carry out appropriate pre -employment screening and background checks may be held accountable if an employee placed in a position of trust commits an offence while working.This includes illegal workers with falsified documentation or candidates who hide a criminal record that is subject to disclosure or the fact of having been banned from working with children or vulnerable adults.”

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The Zen of Yoga

What is Zen?Well, Zen is… Sorry, it’s not that easy. As anyone who has looked into Zen knows, attempting to define Zen is like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands. It immediately wriggles between your fingers and slips away. The more you seek it, the harder it is to find. To say Zen is freedom, fluidity or perfection is a start. But to say Zen is the reflection of the moon in a mountain stream, just leaves us scratching our heads. Zen is right here, right now. Zen is this moment of existence. It is action without thought. It is thought and action as one. It is action before reaction. Zen is Zen…though I know that’s not helpful.The roots of Zen are based in ancient Chinese philosophy. The Chinese word for Zen is ch’an. In Sanscrit, the ancient language of India, it is dhyana which can be roughly translated as pure human spirit. It can be imagined as the integration of the disparate aspects of the self into one complete and divine being. Zen was eventually brought to Japan where it was elaborated and “perfected” by the Japanese samurai. It is the foundation of the Bushido code, the way of the warrior. The samurai, who lived their lives at the edge of a sword and could die at any moment, were taught to concentrate on and immerse themselves in the here and now in order to connect with the fundamental core of their being. It helped them develop the powers of concentration, self-control, awareness and tranquility. If they approached each battle as if it were their last, they would be able to have every part of their being at their disposal.Zen itself has no theory. It is not meditation. It is not thinking. It is not not-thinking. It is not something you learn. It is simply something you are. To practice Zen is to live fully and completely, not in the past or the future, but right here and right now. Zen is, in fact, the reflection of the moon in a mountain stream. It does not move, only the water flows by. Zen implies a contemplative, mystical element to the process of self-discovery. Zen allows, and indeed encourages, a deeper exploration into the individual self.So let’s turn now to Yoga. What is Yoga?Yoga originated in India. The word “Yoga” is derived from the Sanskrit root yug meaning to join together and direct one’s attention. It is the union of the body and mind with our spiritual nature. It is also the union of the individual with the Universal Spirit. It is both the goal and the path to realize that goal. At its most basic, Yoga is any practice that can turn its practitioners inward to find and experience their spiritual essence. By doing this they are able to impact more than just themselves. When one is able to bring their own body, mind and spirit into health and harmony, then they can bring health and harmony to those around them and even to the world as a whole.In the West, Yoga is often considered to be a purely physical practice. But, in truth, it is much deeper than that. At times, in the study of yoga, the body has been likened to a temple. Yoga teaches the way to treat the body with reverence in order to give the spirit or soul a special place to reside and flourish. While this description is quite true, it is woefully inadequate. Yoga is a complete philosophy of living. It is mental as well as physical, psychological as well as spiritual. It teaches ethical discipline and the proper way of interacting within a society. It also teaches a way to turn inward and explore the inner core of being. There are many different methods of practicing Yoga. Some deal mainly with dynamic physical postures, while others concentrate primarily on breathing exercises. In still others, Yoga methods are devoted to chanting, reading or worshiping. Finally, there are some that focus on deep meditation to help bring a sense of peace and serenity to daily life.The underlying philosophy of Yoga is that of wholeness, wholeness within the individual and wholeness in the individual’s connection to the world. When there is coordination between the body, mind and spirit, wholeness becomes holy. Not “holy” in a conventional religious sense, but more of a connection to the divine part of us that exists within. The traditional Yoga greeting namas te literally means “the divine within me greets the divine within you.” Very simply, Yoga is about harnessing all the various aspects of individual existence and creating unity within. On a grander scale, any spiritual practice or discipline that helps individuals awaken and realize their connection to something larger and more profound than their individual existence can be considered a type of Yoga practice.So that brings us to Zen Yoga. Zen Yoga is a holistic system that unites all aspects of the human self by meeting the fundamental needs of physical health, mental clarity and spiritual peace. It is a spiritual discipline that is vast and profound.It is Zen and it is Yoga.The basis of Zen Yoga is peaceful stretching and breathing exercises of Indian Yogic traditions. It encourages going at your own pace and only doing what is right for you. Everyone is different. We come in all shapes and sizes. Learning how your own body functions is of the utmost importance. Zen Yoga is also based on the energized breathing and moving philosophy of Chinese Qigong (sometimes written Chi Kung) and Tai Chi. Qigong is the ancient Chinese practice of breathing exercises that fills the body with oxygen-rich blood and energy. Tai Chi can be described as moving meditation. Its graceful, flowing movements encourage the circulation of energy. Zen Yoga also incorporates the mental serenity achieved through Zen meditation. Learning to calm the myriad thoughts that are continuously vying for attention within the mind allows us to think more clearly and with greater insight. But, most assuredly, Zen Yoga is much more than a set of physical exercises. Through the integration of body, mind and spirit Zen Yoga creates flexibility, health, vitality and peace of mind.The pace of modern life is characterized by hectic social and economic activity. We generate stress in our daily lives as our concentration is fractured and our energy is sapped. Exercise is put on the back burner because we are so caught up in all of the other things that are demanding our attention. Zen Yoga seeks to reverse this flow.Its benefits include:
• Stress relief
• Increased will power
• Improved concentration
• Improved blood circulation and release of toxins and impurities from the body
• Toning and strengthening of muscles
• Mindfulness
• More restful sleepEven more important, by bringing into balance proper and effective breathing, movement, and deep relaxation practices, we can become aware of and learn to access the natural energy of the universe, called Chi or Prana.Practicing Zen Yoga is not meant to be an aggressive or rigorous physical workout. Instead, it seeks to challenge you to realize your own potential by stretching, moving and breathing at your own pace. There are no comparisons with how well other people can do the exercises. If you are doing your best, that is the best way of doing it. It is not a competition. It is not a contest. It is simply a way to feel better and better, to be happy and healthy, and to enjoy life to the fullest. Deep within each of us lies the potential for perfection. This potential is spiritual in nature and is often blocked or displaced by the difficulties we face in life. Zen Yoga offers the opportunity to become aware of that spiritual essence and give it the nourishment it needs to grow and flourish. Zen Yoga is not about what you can’t do. It has been designed to be accessible to anyone regardless of their level of fitness or spiritual development. The most important challenge comes from within. Most of us are seeking more from life. Unfortunately, life, itself, often gets in the way of our search. Zen Yoga offers an opportunity to get to know the self…to feel happy, healthy and alive.

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