The Quitting Quiz

What are the telltale signs that the time has come to leave your job? Take this Men’s Life Today test for a definitive answer to an age-old question: Should you stay or should you go?

1) Every Monday morning, as you ponder the workweek ahead, you pull out your iPod and put one particular track on repeat. Its title is:
a) “The Lazy Song” (Bruno Mars)

b) “Just Can’t Get Enough” (Black Eyed Peas)

c) “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” (Katy Perry)

d) “Forget You” -- and not the clean version (Cee Lo Green)

2) When you get in late, your boss:

a) Doesn’t notice, because he never strolls in before noon anyway.

b) Asks if everything’s OK, since you’re usually the first one in the office.

c) Pulls you aside and tells you not to let it happen again.

d) Screams that the next time you’re tardy with his dry cleaning, there will be hell to pay.

3) Your workplace attire consists of:
a) Bed head, baggy shorts and a pair of turquoise flip flops.

b) A three-piece suit, wing tips and a freshly sharpened pencil on the ready, tucked behind your ear.

c) An Oxford shirt, khakis, and -- for rare occasions -- a Kevlar vest.

d) An airport gift that reads: “My Boss Went to Sheboygan and All He Got Me Was this Lousy T-shirt.”

4) At lunchtime, you:
a) Drive home for a nap, followed by a little Angry Birds action, followed by another nap.

b) Eat at your desk to save time. Gotta love multitasking!

c) Bring your PB&J into the conference room and complain to your work buds about the idiots in accounting.

d) Fashion voodoo dolls of the CEO using paper clips and a bubble mailer.

5) On Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, you:
a) Teach the boss’s kids how to make faces on the photocopier and fax the laugh-out-loud results to their teachers.

b) Put together a gripping PowerPoint presentation on how working hard in school truly gets you places!

c) Advise every youngster you see to put off the real world by getting an MBA.

d) Call in sick. Having to be nice to your colleagues is bad enough; being nice to their kids is beyond your pay grade.

6) A typical day’s assignment is:

a) Assignment? I’m not sure I’m following you.

b) There is no typical. Every project that lands on your desk is more refreshing and interesting than the last.

c) Not anything to write home about, but at least you’ve got good dental.

d) So ludicrous and incomprehensible you wonder whether a lobotomized monkey thought it up.

7) When it comes time for the annual company picnic, you:

a) Remind me again of the difference between my job and an actual picnic?

b) Whip up some of your Aunt Sassy’s ambrosia for everyone to savor.

c) Bribe your significant other to join you and promise you won’t make her stay for the whole thing.

d) You mean that was yesterday? Darn! Now why did I write it down for next week?

8) Upon returning to the office after a week away, you …

a) Fire up your computer so you can surf do some research using your favorite websites: Facebook, YouTube and, of course, Men’s Life Today .

b) Run to your cube, eager to rifle through the contents of your inbox.

c) Linger by the water cooler, sharing -- with anyone who will listen -- the tales of the traveler’s checks you lost in Colonial Williamsburg.

d) Have 17,543 emails to answer. Of those, you count 16,876 marked “URGENT.”

SCORING
Calculate your answers according to the values assigned to each:

a = 1 point

b = 2 points

c = 3 points

d = 4 points

If you scored a total of…

8 to 12: Are you seriously getting paid to do what you do? Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, dude. Ride this one all the way to retirement!

13 to 19: Congratulations you worker bee, you! Sounds like you’re in a job that you were born to inhabit!

20 to 26: Your current means of earning a living might not be as exhilarating as driving racecars, but it sure ain’t ditch-digging, either. Since you never can be too sure, though, might as well dust off the old resume … just in case.

27 to 32: Get thee to a recruiter without delay. This job is making you miserable.

Love Lessons From Teen Movies of the ’80s

In the golden age of teen flicks, it seemed like everybody got lucky on the big screen. Turns out these classic movies offer some real life lessons -- especially when it comes to dealing with the ladies. Here, five films that are entertaining and educational.



The art of love is a delicate thing. That’s why we take our cues from the experts. We’re talking about the classic big-screen, teen-steam machines … like Anthony Michael Hall, Jon Cryer, and the Pepé Le Pew of the pubescent scene, Kevin Bacon!

Yes, these high school anti-studs, who somehow bumbled their way into the hearts of some of the finest teen babes from The Breakfast Club to the Joel Goodson bordello, offer a fine road map to finding romance -- even if you’ve already made that wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Here, some of the key lessons you need to study to score an “A” in Love 101 … or just to score.

Footloose (1984)
Sex education: You may not be in the cool clique, but if you dance (like a man), baby, and stay true to thyself, you’ll step right into her heart forever!
Big-city Kevin Bacon might as well be ET when he crash-lands in a one-plow town where American civil liberties apparently don’t apply. No music! No parties! No dancing! Hell, no freakin’ Flock of Seagulls! So when the moussed-up, future Mr. Sedgwick shows up in shrink-wrapped jeans and a ripped-up sweatshirt, he executes a foolproof plan to dance his way into the heart of the hottest girl in town (Lori Singer), defeat her fire-and-brimstone-preaching pop (a dance denouncer) and bring joy to the masses in the process. But once Bacon kicks off his Sunday shoes, the town loses its oppressive laws, Pop loses his religion and Lori Singer chucks her virtue into the bargain. The lesson here: You gotta be you … unless you happen to be Kevin Bacon -- he’s stuck with being him. If you have confidence to let your freak flag fly, women will know you’re the real deal.

Weird Science (1985)
Sex education: You can manufacture confidence, and when you do, it’ll bring you action.
It would take a miraculous scientific breakthrough for super nerds Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Illan Mitchell-Smith) to get a girl to notice them … so they plug a program into their SUV-sized computer and … Oingo Boingo! Say hello to the hottest digital development until the iPod: virtual vixen Lisa (Kelly LeBrock). Her mere presence alongside Gary and Wyatt makes these guys the coolest kids in school and the high schoolers with the hottest chicks. But it was more than just the virtual girl that got them action; it was the real confidence she gave them to prove that geeks can get freaky with the best of them. So remember: You don’t have to be cool to draw some heat … just gotta act it.

Pretty in Pink (1986)
Sex education: If you’re a good friend, you’ll get a girl -- it just might not be the girl.
Money-challenged Andie (Molly Ringwald) is in love with richie-rich Blaine (Andrew McCarthy). But Blaine’s snobby buddy, Steff (James Spader), wants him to dump her for someone more appropriate to his social set. But even more tragic is that Andie’s Salvation Army-styled best friend, Ducky (Jon Cryer), who’s hopelessly in love with her, has to convince Blaine that she’s worth more than all his friends combined. Sadly, he’s successful and Blaine blows off the snobs for Ducky’s dream doll. But wait! Ducky then gets plucked from the prom crowd by smokin’ hot, future vampire slayer Kristy Swanson … who admires his character! The lesson here? Friendship and loyalty lead to love -- at least for Jon Cryer, who gets action that’s way over his head. So be nice, kids -- clearly it pays off!

Risky Business (1983)
Sex education: Put yourself at risk for a chick, and you can melt her heart.
Joel is a good kid with hydrogen-fueled hormones. He’s working to get on Princeton’s short list, but he’s no genius with the ladies (which is kinda weird since he looks suspiciously like Tom freakin’ Cruise). So when his friends dial up a not-quite-lady of the evening, who directs him to a sweetie with more up top and less between the legs … it’s unlikely love at first credit card swipe with superhot Lana (Rebecca De Mornay). And while Joel looks like an easy mark, his selfless efforts to save her from her somewhat menacing pimp (we actually think L. Ron Hubbard is scarier than Joe Pantoliano) cause her to fall head over hooker heels for him. Also? He gets into Princeton! Remember, though: Paying for sex never pays off … unless, you know, you’re Tom Cruise and you’re in a movie that says it does.

The Breakfast Club (1985)
Sex education: Clichés can date outside their own species.
Wondering what happens when you gather a jock, a geek, a thug, a princess and a freak in the same room for detention? To find out, you must first find some actors who are at least eight years out of high school to play them. (Hello, Judd Nelson! How’s the AARP treating you?) Then, despite the fact that they all hate everything the others stand for … they’ll just open up to each other like they never have to even their closest friends or parish priests. Once they discover they’re all just struggling, decent kids underneath their choreographed exteriors, they’ll mate like bunnies in a breeding farm -- except for the geek (Anthony Michael Hall), of course -- he’s got a girlfriend in Canada! So don’t despair! Remember there’s someone out there for anybody -- as long as you’re willing to ditch your own adorable, antisocial persona … and you’re into the ‘80s band Tears for Fears.


Photo: @iStockphoto.com/domin_domin

The 2011 Summer Movie Preview

2010 was a season of remakes, sequels and superheroes. So what’s in store for 2011? You got it: more remakes, sequels and superheroes. We run through the summer movie lineup and tell you which films look worthy of a trip to the theater.

Super 8
Release Date:
June 10
You don’t expect a train wreck when J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg collaborate, but that’s how Super 8 opens: Some local kids shooting a movie next to a railroad cause an almighty crash. And then things turn strange. Dogs go missing. The military moves in. Apparently the train was on its way from Area 51, and Elle Fanning and Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights) are caught in the thick of it. Abrams knows his way around a crash (“Lost”) and an alien invasion (Cloverfield). This will be a wreck worth watching.

Green Lantern
Release Date:
June 17
In a strong field of superhero movies, Green Lantern does its best to shine. Ryan Reynolds receives a mysterious green ring and finds himself embroiled in an intergalactic struggle to preserve peace in the universe. Equipped with tight pants, a breakneck script and a zillion dollars’ worth of special effects, he jets off into a world of elaborate aliens and extremely high stakes. Warner Bros. threw everything at the wall for this one, and it appears that most of it stuck.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Release Date:
July 1
Reviewers hated Transformers 2, and yet it made more than $800 million worldwide. If you listen really carefully, you can still hear director Michael Bay having the last laugh. In part three of the trilogy, he dares to tamper with his winning formula. Not only has Megan Fox been replaced by Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, but Dark of the Moon incorporates something that Transformers 2 did perfectly well without: a proper story.

Horrible Bosses
Release Date:
July 8
Audiences were roaring at the screenings of this one -- a hard R comedy caper, in which three friends decide to get together and murder their bosses. Cue much bungling, hilarity and (if you liked The Hangover), a great night out. It’s seemingly one of those rare times that a stellar cast lives up to its billing. Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis (“SNL”), and Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) are the hapless killers. Look out for a degenerate Colin Farrell as one of the bosses.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Release Date:
July 22
America could use a hero about now, and if the buzz is to be believed, The First Avenger will not disappoint. For years, Marvel junkies have debated the choice of director Joe Johnston (The Wolfman) and the casting of Chris Evans (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) in the title role. But then they saw the trailer in the Super Bowl commercial break, and all doubts were set aside. Evans plays a weakling -- too puny for the army in World War II -- who is transformed into a muscle-bound, Nazi-bashing superhero. Tommy Lee Jones plays the drill sergeant.

Cowboys and Aliens
Release Date:
July 29
Fresh from Iron Man II, director Jon Favreau had a question: What if aliens landed in the Wild West? It’s the sort of question that writers mull over in coffee shops instead of working. Like: What if zombies took over Nazi Germany? Or: Who would win in a fight -- vampires or the Mafia? Except this time, Favreau actually made the movie. And with a cast that includes Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford and Olivia Wilde, Cowboys and Aliens may just have “blockbuster” written all over it.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Release Date:
August 5
Between earning his Ph.D., debuting his art installations and sawing his own arm off with a tiny knife, James Franco has somehow found time to play the lead scientist in the prequel that explains how Planet of the Apes came about in the first place. A drug test on chimpanzees leads to a dramatic increase in their intelligence until they escape their laboratories and vie against humans for supremacy. Forget the Charlton Heston movie of 1968 -- this time, the apes look like apes.

Conan the Barbarian
Release Date:
August 19
For years, the story of Conan has been inextricably linked to another myth -- that of a young Austrian muscleman who became governor of California. It was Conan that launched Arnie more than any other movie. So Jason Momoa, the former “Baywatch” star, has his work cut out for him. But he has the muscles, he wields a good sword, and his lines are juicy: “I live, I love, I slay, and I am content.” Worth a look, if only because Momoa may be headed for bigger things.

Photos: DreamWorks Pictures & Warner Bros. Pictures/ Wikimedia Commons

Olympic Hopefuls: A Roundtable Discussion (Part 2)

Last week, we talked to three U.S. Olympic hopefuls, all affiliated with the New York Athletic Club, about their training regimens. This week, we talk to them about the challenges of being Olympic-caliber athletes; what their individual sports demand of them; and how they motivate themselves to compete at such a high level.

Our athletes:

Jake Herbert, wrestler, age 26, from Naperville, Ill.; 2009 World Freestyle, silver medalist

Seth Kelsey, fencer, age 29, from Colorado Springs, Colo.; 2010 World Championships, silver medalist

Jarrod Shoemaker, triathlete, age 28, from Maynard, Mass.; 2008 Olympian, USA Triathlon 2010 Elite National Champion

 

MLT: What’s your biggest challenge as an Olympic athlete?

Kelsey: “It’s always a struggle to balance everything. I’m in the [Air Force] Reserves and work one weekend a month. I’m really fortunate in that my unit has been supportive of my Olympic dreams and working around my travel and training schedule.”

Shoemaker: “The biggest challenge is definitely balance. Training can’t become everything in your life.”

MLT: Name one thing about your sport that most people probably don’t know.

Herbert: “Olympic wrestling is different than high school or collegiate. In the Olympics, you could win -- or lose -- a match in 40 seconds.”

Shoemaker: “People hear triathlon, they think Iron Man. In that kind of really long-distance event, your goal is to stay under your anaerobic threshold -- basically to be as comfortable as possible for the time you have to be out there. In the Olympic triathlon, the distances are a little shorter, so our goal is to go hard. It’s all about power and speed.”

Kelsey: “Fencing is like a game of tag, except with sharp weapons.”

MLT: How do you perform your best when the pressure’s on?

Kelsey: “I’ll be a little nervous before competition, and that’s a good thing. It means I care. It’s when I’m not nervous that it’s time to worry. But I think one way to keep your poise during competition is by having a routine. Before each match, our warm-up is the same. Having a routine helps focus you.”

Shoemaker: “I know where I am, and I know there are still people better than me. So what motivates me is figuring out what I have to do to make myself that much better -- to achieve that small percentage of improvement I need to win that race.”

MLT: Do you have a quote that epitomizes your philosophy on training and competition, something that helps you stay motivated?

Kelsey: “I go with my favorite [paraphrased] quote from Teddy Roosevelt: ‘Ease in the present is due to great effort in the past.’ If you put in the hard work, you can make it look really easy.”

Herbert: “The one I like best I heard from Tom and Terry Brands, Olympic wrestlers and [University of] Iowa wrestling coaches: ‘You have to hate losing more than you love winning.’”

Shoemaker: “‘There is no such word as ‘can't’!’”

Photos: Courtesy of New York Athletic Club


Switching Jobs in Bad Times: Should You Make the Leap?

Have you lost that lovin’ feeling when it comes to your job? Do you daydream about your boss’s stunned expression as you triumphantly tender your letter of resignation? We’ve all been there. Just like staying in a long-term relationship that has run its course, showing up every day to an office when your heart is not in it can be a recipe for resentment. Yet with the Federal Reserve predicting that the unemployment rate will remain around 9 percent throughout 2011, upping and quitting seems like a dicey proposition. So what’s a guy to do?

Stay Close to Home
“I always counsel people to look within before looking outside,” says Stella Angelakos, a New York City­-based career adviser. “Before you leave, explore opportunities within your existing company.” To do so, she says, become friendly with people in the departments that are of most interest to you. Let co-workers whom you trust know you’re seeking a new position. If you have a good relationship with your boss, he can be your ally too. On the other hand, if you fear retribution once you admit you’re itching for a change, talk with a member of your company’s human resources department instead. If you’re a good worker, it’s in their best interest to try to retain you.

Look Before You Leap
But what if you’re at a small firm with little room for movement? Or perhaps you want to change industries entirely? Don’t be afraid to take those steps, but take them wisely. Do your research, says Angelakos. Plan to make your move at a time of year when your industry does most of its hiring. Talk to recruiters. And make sure you know where you’re headed: “You don’t want to take a job that’s worse than the one you left,” warns Angelakos.

To prepare for your jump, get your references in order and make sure your resume is ready to rock and roll. Put out feelers with your network of friends, family members and former colleagues, letting them know you’re exploring new options. Finally, says California-based recruiter Margo Morgenlader of Professional Recruitment Solutions, “Clean up your online brand.” This starts first and foremost with Facebook, which most employers will look at when researching your background. “You should have a spotless online presence -- even if your presence in life is not so spotless,” advises Morgenlander. Unlike Facebook, a website that can really shore up -- rather than sink -- your job prospects is LinkedIn. “It’s a great way to deepen your connections,” she says, pointing out that it can take a lot of the heavy lifting out of networking.

If You Have to, Leap Before You Look
What if you’re so overworked or in despair that you can’t get in the right head space for a job search? If you can afford the loss of paycheck -- potentially for six months or more -- then go for it. “I would never advocate people being so miserable in a job that they can’t go another day,” says Morgenlander. But when you start going on job interviews, she warns, “Don’t air dirty laundry about your old place of work.” Keep the tone positive. You don’t want to give prospective employers any reason to doubt your integrity or commitment.

The fact is you may actually find it a whole lot easier to remain positive if you cut your ties to your old job before looking anew. Many individuals, freed from the fear of losing the paycheck that kept them at a job well past its “sell-by” date, are surprised to discover they can get actually get by on less. “Once people get over the shock of not having money, as long as they’re doing something they really like, they tend to be happier,” says Angelakos.

In retrospect, whenever you determine the time has come to tender a resignation, the act should be a true declaration of independence -- a chance to reclaim your life, liberty and yes, your pursuit of happiness.

Photo: @iStockphoto.com/Viorika