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Want to boost your career and income? Pick a hobby and run with it

Here's why you should always be looking for new income streams—even if you already have a full-time job.

Dorie Clark: Even if you don’t work for yourself, even if you have a job inside a company and you love it, that’s what you want to keep doing, I would actually encourage everyone to think about how they can develop multiple income streams in their own life and in their own business.
When I started my professional career I was a journalist and I had been doing it for about a year, and one day I got called into the HR office and I got laid off without warning. And they gave me a week’s severance pay. Technically I had actually already worked Monday so it was four days severance pay. And I somehow had to figure out what to do with myself. And that, at age 22, was my first realization that the things that we take for granted, the things that we think are stable, are not always.

If you take the initiative to develop multiple income streams in your business, if you even just spend a couple of hours a week developing some kind of a side project for yourself, there are a host of benefits. First of all, heaven forbid something happens with your day job, but if it does, you’ve been cultivating something that, over time, you’ve hopefully been able to create to bring in additional revenue which creates a cushion and gives you something else that you might be able to pivot toward. That’s great.

But let me make another case. Even if you feel 100 percent sure that things are good with your employer and are going to stay that way, when you do entrepreneurial experimentation on your own time you are making yourself more valuable to your company.

In my book, 'Entrepreneurial You', I actually tell the story of a guy named Lenny Achan. Now Lenny was somebody that I got to know because I was consulting for his employer. At the time he used to work for Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. And I kept hearing about him. People were sort of whispering about him because he had risen so rapidly in the organization. And so when I met him I was curious. I said, "Lenny, what’s your story? Tell me."

And it turns out he had started his career as a nurse at the hospital, and by the time I met him he was running communications for the hospital. That is not a traditional career path. The vast majority of nurses are not doing that. But the way he was able to dramatically transform his career and his income was that he had become interested, on the side, on his own time, with apps. And so he learned what he need to learn in order to create a couple of apps on the side. His boss found out about it, called him into the office one day. Lenny was worried because he thought maybe he had violated some policy he wasn’t aware of. But instead of firing him or punishing him his boss said, Lenny, I hear you’ve made some apps. And Lenny said, well yes, it’s true. I did. And the boss said, we need someone to run social media for the hospital. I think it should be you.

And so he got that promotion and he did so well with it, ultimately they gave him the entire communications portfolio. When you are learning and experimenting on your own time, you are able to pursue your interests, deepen your passions, gain more skills and then bring all of that back to work for your employer. When they see that you’ve taken the initiative to do that, it sets you apart. The vast majority of people are not doing that and it ultimately is likely to lead to you being rewarded even more in your current job and making you that much more secure.

Some of the most innovative ideas and products in the world come from interdisciplinary collaborations. So what if you could become a one-stop interdisciplinary shop for bright, outside-the-box ideas? According to marketing expert Dorie Clark, that's what happens naturally when you start to build a side project or immerse yourself in a new hobby—even if it's just a few hours per week. Devoting yourself to learning how to build an app, run an e-commerce site, sell to clients, or create an artisan product expands your skills portfolio and makes you more valuable to your employer—plus the additional revenue streams will afford you some income cushioning should something happen to your full-time job (touch wood). Not only does your gusto show initiative, but it could allow you to solve problems from a perspective that is unique among your colleagues. Beefing up your skills is an entrepreneurial tactic that can transform your career and income potential. Case in point, Clark shares the story of how one nurse rose up the ranks like lightning to become the communications director at a major New York City hospital. Make your hobbies pay off and become professionally independent. Dorie Clark's new book is Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive.

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A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

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  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
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Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.

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