The New World of Work: Why I’m Finally Embracing More Of It







In the middle of a test project for a potential client, I found myself taking a few breaks to do a bit of job searching for ‘regular’ jobs to help supplement my income. I was recently fired from Safeway for not being a fan of unions and the fact that while I was being payed minimum wage, which barely covered my own personal expenses (Have you ever tried to pay rent, utilities, and and child support on less than $200 a week in Washington State?)

My problem was that the purpose of being a member of the union was that along with the benefits (which compared with Obama care, weren’t all that great) unions guaranteed live able wages. In my thinking, I would have rather suffered not being a member of the union than to struggle with an unnecessary expense coming out of a very small paycheck.

The end result was that the store manager took me off the schedule, leaving me back to square one to look for work. Never mind, the hard work I put into providing the quality customer service shoppers expected, or the timely unloading, stocking and facing of product to the store shelves that made every aisle look neat and clean for customers. The random running back and forth to find items customers couldn’t ( or wouldn’t ) find on their own. In the end, my only sin was that I didn’t want to be a part of something that any sane person (even those who have never worked a union job before) can rationally understand… being a union member is not obligatory to keeping your job.

Now I’m leaning ever more closer to embracing freelancing more. At the moment it hasn’t made me much money, to be honest, but it’s work I love doing. I don’t have to worry about the bureaucracy of any upper management taking my work for granted. I can make my own schedule, and dive away at my work. When is my shift over? When is lunch time? No reason to ask the boss… I am the boss. Pay union dues for a minimum wage job? Why? I don’t have to deal with rude, yelling co workers, or inconvenient ‘at the last minute’ requests to stay later. In a way I can breath easier, knowing my work can be as creative as I want it to be, I can balance my livelihood and life better, rather than live just to work. It’s the ultimate expression of freedom, and I’m embracing it more. :)



Art of Love: the Art of Arguments.

Even the best of couples have arguments, it’s almost as natural as being human. Even with all the differences in people’s personalities there’s a way couples can resolve conflicts and enhance the value of their relationship.










“You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry words.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage


It would be an understatement to say arguments are no fun, especially with a partner, or spouse. Arguments are something we all try to avoid with our significant other, however they are bound to occur; it’s only natural.

It happens to the best of couples, and every couple has their own unique way of dealing with them. We’d like to take a new look, though. One couples may not have thought of before. As an art, not to win an argument; but rather to help them overcome it.

The Art of Hearing







Emotions are a crazy thing. One minute you are basking in the feeling of being next to the one you love, the next frustrated at a minor disagreement gone down hill.

The solution seems a lot simpler than we think, as simple as taking a moment to get our thoughts in order, and look at the disagreement with fresh thinking.

My favorite scene from the movie ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ is where there is an argument over the skill of listening as opposed to hearing.



Hearing our partners, like ‘hearing Jimi’ is an art form that if take the time to learn, it can help us not only handle disagreements better; but also enhance the love we experience with our spouse. Relationships don’t exist in a vacuum, rather they exist between two emotional human beings that bring their own past experiences and different levels of communication skills.

  1. Allow your partner the opportunity to be heard – Sometimes in the heat of any argument the need to be heard ourselves gets in the way of hearing the other persons’ side.

… so to ‘Stop and Listen’ is the first step in mastering hearing and coming to better solutions.

2. Force yourself to hear – It’s another great method to overcome barriers to truly communicating with your partner. Using ‘I’ statements (sparingly and without sarcasm), such as, ‘I understand how you feel…’ or ‘I’m hearing you say that…’; can bring back to mind your partners side and take the focus off of yourself.

3. Be honest and open.


4. Pay attention and learn read your spouse’s non verbal language – a wealth of emotion underneath what we say is locked away in it – something as simple as your tone, a particular look, or tilt of the head.


5. Sometimes they aren’t trying to argue, but just want you to listen; yes, it can be as simple as that sometimes :)




The Art of Love

Love is often times a misused emotion, mistaken for a variety of intentions. However, True love is an art, and for those brave enough to study it; there are limitless rewards.

Love is often times a misused emotion, mistaken for a variety of intentions. However, True love is an art, and for those brave enough to study it; there are limitless rewards.

I remember when I first met her at my sister in law’s (at that my brother and her weren’t married) birthday party. I fell for her the moment I saw her. For most of us love happens in that way, it can strike without warning, and if nurtured last a lifetime.


“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision.”
Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving

How true that is, in a Pew Research survey conducted in 2013 cited 88% of Americans as listing ‘love’ as the most important reason to marry.

The next question, which is pretty obvious, is how do we develop the art of love? Sometimes the concept of love is misunderstood and used for the wrong reason. It can be a blurry line between lust and what it’s actually intended to be.



From my own experience, I would have to say a person will never truly learn the art unless they are willing to sacrifice. People have the innate need to establish close personal relationships. However, this isn’t always easy. It’s harder to stay in a relationship than to start one. This is where looking at love as an art form rather than just a feeling comes in.

Not to mention that men and women communicate in almost polar opposite ways to have a truly loving relationship requires a more serious approach .

Some basics on the Art of Love

While I’m in no way trying to make myself out to be a relationship expert, personal experience can always be a helpful thing. In doing a little research I found some very interesting facts on how all of us can have happy and enjoyable relationships, marriages and even friendships.


1. It takes two… 

In my own path to learning the art of love I to learn to be more communicative about my emotions. Sometimes men can seem rather cold to the women in our lives, and this can translate (unfortunately) to being distant.

  • Do little things, like writing letters; poetry; loving texts, and other things that let him/ her know you are thinking about them.
  • Saying I love you never goes out of style, and giving reasons why enhances the meaning :).

2. Redefine intimacy.

It’s unfortunate that intimacy has come to be equated with just sex sometimes. Intimacy is so much more than just the physical side. In my experience the complaint, ‘that all men want is sex’ while not always true can be a serious blow to a relationship.

  • There’s nothing better than basking in silence cuddled up with that special someone.
  • Hold his/her hand absent-mindlessly, don’t worry he/she won’t mind.

3. Be willing to learn from each other.

There is so much spouses can learn from each other, and it’s important to see each other as if you are looking into a mirror. Learn from the reflection how you can be a better person. When you feel upset, rather than blame your partner and point fingers, remain awake to what has yet to be healed in yourself.

I’m sure all of you have some good ideas to share, and we would love to hear them.


Rethinking our purpose on Writing Elite

It’s been awhile since the last post, and I hope all my readers haven’t given up on us. This blog was created for not only for creating great, well researched web content and articles, but also pass on the beauty of great literature for both other writers as well as fans of reading.

Freelancing although is a very competitive field, not something that you can just start and expect to be successful at over night. So, I decided to raise the bar on myself, and this blog. While I’ve always had a passion for writing, and consider myself a fairly decent writer — I have several fans amongst my family and friends– I have noticed where my writing hasn’t been of the superior quality editors and readers crave.

The next level for Writing Elite.

So you may be wondering what I’m talking about. I’ve recently been attending college to start on a rewarding journey in education; along with that I get the opportunity to refine the craft of writing which we all are fans of.

Not that being a writer requires a degree, unless a person is aspiring to work in a more technical field. I’ve also managed to secure other employment (it’s as a stock clerk, but I have fun coworkers :) ) What I’ve been able to take away from these past 2 academic quarters of college has helped me to not only find a passion worth writing about, but also write better.

With that said, the focus and frequency of posts here at Writing Elite is going to change a little, get a little more organized and refined. With my busy schedule I undoubtedly have to get more organized, but would also like to give other prospective writers the opportunity to get ahead on their freelance writing efforts. In a way it’s my way of giving back for all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had pursuing my dream of being a writer.

Submission guidelines

So for all those aspiring writers out there looking to build your portfolio here’s your opportunity. While at the moment this is a voluntary writing opportunity, you also get to have your voice heard and further develop your writing skills. There will be paid  opportunities as the blog develops.

So here is what I’m looking for:

  • Writers that have a good command of written English communication, you have to be able to write decently and willing to grow.
  • Enjoy looking researching topics (reputable sources, please don’t tell me Google is your only place to look things up).
  • Be able to pitch story ideas as well as work alongside other writers in teams to develop story ideas.
  • No degree required, but if you have one great!
  • Show initiative in helping me create the best platform for aspiring writers, businesses looking for great writers, and of course our fans, gotta ‘please the mob that is Rome.’.


Now with all that said, if your interested send an email to Ahmad Jenkins:

Tell me a little bit about yourself, your background as a writer, and what you expect to bring to this site, as well as what you can do to improve it (Feel free to look around the site, and tell me what can be done differently).

I look forward to hearing from you


From Absentee Father To Super Dad

Father and Son Playing Video Games

A non custodial father has a lot going against him when it concerns his children. Depending on his situation, the fact that he isn’t always present in the home as his children, is one that has the potential to take it’s toll on him; as well as his children. Another factor against us is that some fathers may not live in the same state as their children. Even in the best of circumstances many fathers struggle to be actively involved with their children. The important thing for non custodial fathers (and those that have custody) is that we do matter in the lives of our children, and that striving to be more active in their lives is more than just a matter of getting child support payed on time.

The Missing Role of the Super Dad

Dr. Ken Canfield, Founder and President for the National Center for Fathering said something that I think is very important for fathers to remember, “Kids spell love T-I-M-E.” . I remember the first fishing trip I took my sons on, while they weren’t too interested in the finer points of fishing; such as baiting the hook, or even how best to cast a line.

What was important was that their dad took them somewhere — did something with them — and interacted with them in a way that was specifically there own. It could be something as small as giving advice to my teenage son about young ladies, or his two younger brothers on friends and peer pressures they may face.

The same with my daughters, as well, taking them shopping (not that I’m big on shopping), or for a tea party. Even learning to braid hair can be a worthwhile skill to learn in connecting with you child. The role of father is much more than a paycheck, or means of financial stability.  There has been an increasing amount of research done on the roles fathers play in the lives of their children (links to relevant sources are included at the end of this article).

3 Simple Steps to becoming a Super Dad.

I have always had a lot of respect for my father. Looking back I understand he wasn’t perfect, however, what I respected about him most was that he was the hardest working man I’ve ever met. He was never out of work, and as hard as he worked he always took out the necessary time with me and my siblings. He helped me get my very first job, went to my karate matches, and even helped me keep my Gi clean and freshly pressed (along with my other clothes). Fathers are a child’s link to how they should respond to, and engage the world around them; giving them the tools to deal with their emotions, and develop the tools necessary to be more independent and ready for the world that awaits them as they grow older. There has been an increasing amount of research done on the roles fathers play in the lives of their children:

1. Communication is key – Yet it’s a need that should be stressed, a useful booklet I’ve found from National Fatherhood Initiative, “The Ultimate Guide To Connecting With Your Child” includes questions that dads can ask their child (children) to start conversations with them when fathers aren’t living in the home. Along with regular phone calls and actual physical visits this booklet can help fathers address the negative feelings children may have as a result of their dads living separate from them.

2. Stay consistent in what you say and do – I make it constant reminder myself to never make promises I can’t keep. While our lives are already stressful enough in this fast paced world of ours, filled with deadlines, schedules, and other things that we are rushing to get done; we tend to forget it may not be that way for our children. No matter how small the promise, the fact that you did what you said you were going to do out weighs anything that may come up. A promise to call at a particular time, or a gift that child wanted. The wisest course would be to remember, if your not sure you can deliver don’t promise it to them. It’s better to say no, or that you will keep the request in mind.

3. No small deed goes unnoticed – I remember an argument my ex wife and I got into, I had allowed my life to become too busy in my search to get out of unemployment. She was well aware of my situation and how stressful it was, yet I was unaware at the time how my infrequent phone calls due to my stressful busy life schedule was having a negative impact on our children. “Being there for children is about more than just money, it’s about being a part of their lives, and participating in it no matter how small it may seem.” she reminded me. For fathers who live far away from their children a simple phone call, a letter, email, even a picture of them you make into a card via photo shop. Children don’t look at the size or expense of what you do, rather what’s important to them is that you did it.

As was stated earlier there is a multitude of ways fathers can establish a better relationship with their children, but it takes effort, and the willingness to stay consistent even when things get rough.

The Case For The Beard

beard net blog pic

Every once in a while it comes up, and it irritates me. It’s the myth that a clean shave face is a must in an interview if you want to make an impression. You have heard that right?

Of course beards are making a come back among men, and the clean-cut (or shaven) look is starting to take a back seat. However, this may not always be the case. I’ve personally found that some jobs still require its employees to shave, making it uniform among male employees. This makes it a hindrance in a job seekers search due to having beard whether for religious reasons, or other wise; since it still carries the stigma of giving the person a lazy and unclean appearance.

In Defense of the Beard


While companies reserve the right to hire people, and deny employment to whom they choose. It still smacks of unfairness in some cases, for example, in most fast food chains and other restaurants male employees are required to shave due to health standards of working around cooked food. However employees of Beef, and other raw food processing plants that have higher sanitation standards do not, and are even accommodated with hair and beard nets. What’s the point you may be wondering? Let’s say, God forbid, someone happens to eat a burger with a stray hair in it his/ her chances of getting sick (really sick ) aren’t that great. However, if a stray hair happens to fall on a piece of beef carcass during processing and left to be contaminated it can spread to other product causing pustules in the product and if eaten cause greater harm. Besides, people have done worst things to food being served to rude customers than a stray hair or two.

I remember one particular instance where I went to an interview for a local Jack in the Box. As a Muslim, it goes against my faith to shave my beard, with this in mind, I figured I’d be smart and prepared; and along with a well crafted resume I had a letter from the Mosque (Masjid) typed and signed. The letter stated that not only was it a religious requirement for me to keep my beard, but also that I was willing to provide and wear a beard net, along with a number where a representative could be reached for further information. While the interview went well, in my opinion, I wasn’t hired. Persistent, I went to an open interview a couple of weeks later for the same store and the results were the same. In the competitive job market where hiring managers are still being swamped with applicants for jobs it can be just one thing against a job seeker. No hiring manager wants to have hanging over their head the hiring of someone who may potentially sue the company due to a misunderstanding leading to violation of their civil rights.

It has happened, the news has testified to companies that have had to shell out thousands of dollars over the misunderstanding between an employee, and manager over company standards vs. religious/personal freedoms. For example, McDonald’s in a December 2013 suit ended up paying 50,000 to a Muslim employee who was fired due to not shaving. This gave Mcdonald’s good reason to refine some of it’s policies regarding grooming. In my own personal job searches, where I didn’t get the job despite performing well at an interview I’ve been tempted to name the beard as the culprit between not being selected. While not always the case, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who have found and maintained employment, for many still this comes up as an issue. The question being, why? Does the way a person look, especially the wearing of a beard really matter? Why is it so hard for employers to recommend accommodations for individuals who have a valid excuse, such as religious belief, for example. While Employers and hiring managers aren’t always willing to come forward on the answers to these questions. There are some things job seekers that have religious exceptions can due to ensure they aren’t discriminated against:

1. Know your rights – As I’ve stated before, companies have the right to hire, or deny employment to who they will, and the reasons are many. However there are a few reasons that are actually illegal, and while we know them they can at times be done subtly.

Religious affiliation and  practice: This includes grooming, clothing, religious days of worship. So long as the aren’t an undue hardship (and few are) employers are encouraged to give accommodations to such employees, and job seekers.

Gender: This includes pregnancy based discrimination, which is illegal; and employers are expected to treat these cases as temporary illness or other temporary condition necessitating special consideration.

Age: Age discrimination is a practice specifically protected by law. With a few rare exceptions, companies are forbidden from specifying an age preference is job advertisements. Employees must receive the same benefits regardless of age, the only exception being when the cost of providing supplemented benefits to young workers is the same as providing reduced benefits to older workers.

2. Groom to impress – Whether you keep a beard for religious reasons or personal ones, grooming it will help to take attention away from it. Obviously the Grizzly Adams look will be an automatic disqualification at any job interview. While every man’s style of grooming his beard will vary, the best tip I can give is keep it tailored to the shape of your face. Also, wash and condition it there is a large market for beard products out there that help with the look and feel of facial hair. Here is my personal favorite:

This spray helps to not only condition, but also gives the beard a pleasant smell. Made with Made with Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, and your choice of natural fragrances.!products/cjg9

This spray helps to not only condition, but also gives the beard a pleasant smell. Made with Virgin Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, and your choice of natural fragrances.!products/cjg9

3. Go to every interview well prepared. – It goes without saying, the best way to get your foot in the door with any job interview is to go well prepared. Actually, you should have been preparing in between filling out the application and waiting for the interview. Taking the time out to craft a winning resume to present, research the company you’re applying for, and preparing answers (and questions of your own) to questions the interviewer will ask about you and your interest in the position you’re seeking.

The Comeback of Reading Rainbow.

As a long time fan of the Reading Rainbow television program, I can honestly say I’m elated that is starting to make a comeback in a new area, the classroom. Currently the Reading Rainbow team has raised a considerable amount of money to bring  what made the show popular to classrooms.  the fostering of a love of reading, and its importance.
Through rallying support from fan conventions, art contests, as well as pledging, over 6 million dollars has been raised.

The Age of Digital Reading


Reading and writing has changed so quickly! With so many different ways to access literature online, the digital screen has replaced paper books.

In a 2010 biannual report from Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL), the global children’s publishing, education and media company, and the Harrison Group, a leading marketing and strategic research consulting firm, reports that children who have read an ebook has almost doubled since 2010 (25% vs. 46%). Also, half of children age 9-17 say they would read more books for fun if they had greater access to ebooks – a 50% increase since 2010.
Overall, about half of parents (49%) feel their children do not spend enough time reading books for fun – an increase from 2010 when 36% of parents were dissatisfied with time their child spent reading.

For Reading Rainbow fans young and old this means that there will be more ways for parents as well as children to access to the love of reading that made the show popular. What are some of your thoughts? In what ways will the comeback of Reading Rainbow bring to children’s reading habits?