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July 08, 1991|By Julius Westheimer

As I travel, with 100,000 other eclipse-chasers, to the Baha Peninsula, Mexico, to see on Thursday what astronomer Joe Rao calls "the finest total eclipse of the sun for North Americans between the years 1806 and 2510," I leave behind a few hopefully helpful workplace ideas.

(Speaking of the eclipse, if you view the solar event here on Thursday -- maximum will be seven percent total at 3:34 p.m. -- be sure to look through layers of exposed black-and-white film. Sunglasses will not protect your eyes.)

WORKPLACE WISDOM: "If you're networking and sending out job resumes, be ready for surprise job calls. When someone calls, stay calm, thank the person for calling and ask him/her to hold while you close the door. Then put down the phone, take three deep breaths, take out your resume and dossier on the person's company, smile, pick up the phone -- and talk. Take notes during the conversation to prepare for the face-to-face meeting. Don't ask about money, benefits or vacation time." ("Knock 'em Dead With Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions," by Martin Yate)

WORKPLACE WARNING: "Peering at a computer terminal day in and day out will tire your eyes. To get relief: (1) Reduce room lighting; for proper contrast your monitor should be at least three times as bright as your surrounding lighting. (2) Get a regular checkup from an eye practitioner well-versed in computer environments. (3) Buy a screen filter; it can reduce glare, a main culprit of visual stress. (4) Take a 10-minute break every hour." (Success, June)

WORKPLACE WAMPUM I: "Recognize your right to negotiate your salary," says Daniel Paulk, employment consultant. "Agree to the pay you deserve before beginning a new job . . . Don't ever feel that you don't deserve a higher starting salary or raise because you're not worthy . . . Your bargaining position is much stronger before you accept the position . . . Before raising the salary issue, communicate your value to the company. If your interview preparation and performance are weak, you'll have TC tough time justifying your price tag . . . A company will offer additional compensation only if you've established that you offer exceptional value . . . Some job candidates mistakenly believe that they can make up for a below-par beginning salary by asking for a raise after they've "proven" themselves. Instead, get the salary you're worth now, not later."

WORKPLACE WAMPUM II: A Procter & Gamble recent retiree told me that when he happily drew his lump sum retirement pay after 37 years of working at the Nicholson St. plant, his check -- over $400,000 -- amounted to more than all his working years' paychecks put together. His first year's pay was about $2,200.

WORKPLACE WINDUP: "Government agencies actively recruiting computer specialists include Social Security, Department of Defense, FBI and National Cancer Institute." (Computerworld) . . . "Leadership is the ability to get people to do what they don't want to do and like it." (Harry Truman) . . . Did you know that Avon Products started as California Perfume Co. in 1886? . . . My dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Schein, figured on his computer that if your income does not grow with five percent annual inflation, a $60,000 salary today will equal only $37,000 in purchasing power in 2000 . . . "A hard beginning maketh a good ending." (Proverbs)

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