The Happy, Sad Tale of Tom The Turkey
The Happy, Sad Tale Of Tom The Turkey
I recently visited the Atlanta offices of Microsoft to check-in with my employment cousins. I found happy, smiling faces on almost all I met. The receptionist greeted me with a Dentyne smile, Sponge Bob winked at me from a couple of cubicles and my fellow recruiters were all worker bees. Inside the conference rooms (each named after an Atlanta landmark) business was being handled and not too far from the Finance group was an advertising of after hours drinking in salute of the pending weekend. It felt like a Norman Rockwell painting of productivity and I wondered, how could such a perfect work environment exist? And then I heard the rumors... Someone half-heartedly laughed about the lurker on the grounds and another person gruffed at being a prisoner in their own car; I thought it all strange. I inquired deeper and discovered an issue that was polarizing my co-workers. It seemed that "Tom" was a popular character who frequented the Atlanta Microsoft office. Tom was a curious sort of fellow to learn about because he was hated by some, loved by others and misunderstood by all. Fascinated by the disparity, I took it upon myself to learn all I could about Tom. I wanted to demistify him, locate his soul and share with you a tragic figure worthy of Shakesphere.Dear reader, I would like to introduce to you - Tom The Turkey.
Tom, I hate you!
That is what I expected to hear from "C," my employment cousin who was recently attacked by Tom. To understand the attack is to understand a few things about Tom that all are in agreement on. Tom lives in the nearby woods surrounding the Microsoft Atlanta office. Tom also claims several sections of the parking area and is often seen blocking parking spaces and even entry into the complex itself. On more than one occassion, Tom has been known to present his dissatisfaction of tresspassers with a fierce "gobble" and sprint towards an opening car door. Blowing your car horn will not dissuade fearless Tom from protecting what he believes is his home and neither will a vigorous "shoo, get away." All who work in the Microsft Atlanta office know that they park and enter the building at the whim of a less than benevolent bird. Unfortunately for "C," she suffered the misfortune of confronting Tom on one of his "bad days."
To recap the story, "C" had just parked her car and was exiting her car when she met Tom at his most terrible. His wings were outstretched, his beak uplifted and his throat blowing in the majestic wind. This was the Tom of legend, a wild turkey of strength who had decided at that moment to exert his ferocious turkiness to all who would witness it. Who could withstand such a display? Realizing an emminent threat, "C" lunges for the complex entrance with the speed of an Olympic champion. Sanctuary was within reach until fate intervened and "C" slipped and fell to the ground. Seizing the moment, Tom stretched his wings wider and pecked at the open air. His statement? "I am Tom! I am a Turkey! Fear me!" And (perhaps) fear him she did, with the reflexes of a cat "C" initiates evasive manuevers and manages to elude Tom as she enters the building from a side entrance. A rip of stocking and minor abrasion accompany her testimony of her ordeal.
"Do you hate Tom The Turkey?" I ask her during our interview.
"I don't hate the turkey," C says bravely, "but I don't want to be near it. As a vegetarian, I would not eat it but may very well kill it."
Tom, I am going to get you!
That is what I heard in conspiratorial dialogues that I managed to overhear. Some said that they would kidnap Tom if they were assured of ransom; whereas others wanted to capture Tom so he could be released to the wild. It was also commented that someone would bring their German Sheppard to say "hello" to Tom in a most heinous way. When I asked why animal control had not dealt with Tom already, I was informed that due to some loophole that Tom was granted immunity from their intervention. (Does Tom have influence in quiet, dark places of power?) Be that as it may, Tom seems untouchable and all speculation of his capture has so far been the fodder of watercooler chats.
Tom, I think I love you!
That is what I heard from the pro-Tom-The-Turkey side of the office. This faction regards Tom not as a menace, but as a loving protector of Microsoft employees. He has been billed by some as a "Security Turkey," a tireless defender of the loading dock from unwelcome characters and smokers who choose the loading dock as their haunt. (Tom is most assuredly anti-smoking.) Tom is a goodwill ambassador to the pizza delivery guys and caterers who frequent the Microsoft Atlanta office, insuring them safe passage from truck to door. Furthermore, he is considered a mascot of the Microsoft Atlanta office. "L" mentioned to me how she has introduced Tom to her 3 year old son and watched them exchange gobbles from the car to each other. (Tom loves the kids.)
Tom, I understand you!
This is what I heard from Tom's most ardent admirers. They were the ones that explained to me how misunderstood Tom was.
"Tom was here before Microsoft moved in," they said. "He has a history with this area. Some time ago, Tom met and fell in love with a goose that has since migrated away. Since that breakup, Tom has lost weight and become embittered."
I asked, "Is this why he patrols the parking deck, loading docks and other areas around here?"
"I believe so," was the reply. "Perhaps in his own way, he is looking for the goose that flew away."
Tom The Anti-Hero
And there you have it dear reader, Tom is not a menace and not wholly a love figurine. He is (at heart) a creature wounded after love's embrace. He seeks solace wandering on the very grounds that he and his lost love shared and when he does not find his goose, he gobbles in the angst of unrequited love. This is why (perhaps) he confronted "C." It was not to assert dominance, but rather Tom was crying out for his beloved goose. Quite possibly, there was something in "C" that drove Tom to painful recollection and the reaction was... what it was. A hurting Turkey starving for affection.
"Don't hurt the turkey!" is a slogan adopted by the fringe group of Tom supporters. Perhaps in recognizing the hurt experienced by this fowl, it would be better to chant in Tom's defense, "Haven't you been hurt by love? Save Tom"
P.S. Click here to buy your "SAVE TOM" tee-shirt. (Available while supplies last.)
FREE PDF: Using Google to find a job
Using Google to find a job
For David Perry “Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters”
By Shally Steckerl http://www.jobmachine.net
(Used by permission)
Google is a very powerful search engine. When this article was published Google had indexed or catalogued over 8 billion web pages. Although that’s nowhere near the size of the World Wide Web, it does represent a vast part of the “public Internet.” Most employers these days list their job openings on public pages inside their website, making it easy to quickly search through them using Google and identify employers in your area with job openings that may fit your background.
Lets start with the basics. Say you were looking for a job as a Financial Analyst in Atlanta, Georgia. Go to Google’s main search page located at http://www.google.com
From there, enter the following into the box and click the Google Search button:
The first part of this search tells Google to find you any web pages that contain employment words, or words related to “jobs” or “careers.” By enclosing them in a parenthesis you are ensuring that Google understands that you want pages with any of those words.
The second part of the search is the title of the job you want to find. By enclosing “Financial Analyst” in quotations you are telling Google that you want pages where those two words appear together separated by a space. If you don’t use the quotation marks Google may find pages where the word Financial is in one part of the page, say for example the beginning, while the word Analyst is elsewhere on the page. Because the two words are separated, that page would very likely not be relevant.
As it is this search may be rather expansive and include too many results for you to realistically be able to read through. You could be more specific and append additional job related keywords like (“Excel Modeling” OR Forecasting) to your search.
Want more? Click here to download this EXCELLENT resource.
Do you need CPR for your career?
You go to work as you have a thousand times before. You sit down at your desk at the start of yet another workday. But wait... what's that awful noise coming from your cube? It's the sound of your career gasping for breath! Quick! Save it before it goes completely under!
Signs Your Career Is Not Going Well
# Consistently passed over for promotions?
# Not invited to key meetings?
# Unhappy with minuscule or non-existent salary increases?
If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, then it's time to perform career CPR and breathe new life into your flagging employment situation. Two remedies for an ailing career include seeking out new opportunities with your current employer or getting a new job elsewhere.
Where ya' at girlfriend?
The percentage of women in information technology has dropped sharply since 1996, according to a report being released today.
Women held 32.4 percent of IT jobs in 2004, down from 41 percent eight years earlier, despite holding steady in the overall workforce. And the percentages of Latinos and African-Americans in IT jobs still lag far behind their representation in the workforce, according to the report by the Information Technology Association of America.
The report suggests that corporate outreach, government initiatives and other diversity efforts have not made a long-lasting impact. The results come as U.S. companies face increasing competition abroad and an impending talent shortage at home -- with baby boomers edging closer to retirement and student interest in IT continuing to lapse.
``We're certainly concerned that after several years of noting this trend, we see no improvement,'' said Bob Cohen, senior vice president for ITAA. ``If we don't draw from the full talent pool . . . we're really competing with one hand tied behind our back.''
The data is drawn from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, and includes IT jobs in industries ranging from banking to retail.
What's wrong with equal pay for women?
The trouble starts early on. From the sandbox to the playing field to the classroom, boys encounter far more power and control over their environment than girls do. Boys are often rewarded more often for taking a stand and admonished less frequently for making aggressive demands. It's no wonder they grow up more eager to negotiate than women.
Though women hold nearly half of the management level jobs in the U.S. work force, on average, white women earn 78 cents for every dollar a male earns. Minority women earn even less, with African-American women making 67 cents and Latina women being paid 56 cents on the dollar.
Experts disagree about how and why the difference persists, despite the gains made by working women and the laws that protect women from salary discrimination. Statistics from the Department of Labor point to one partial explanation: men and women enter different professions. Another recent study, conducted in the United Kingdom, suggests women are more likely to hold nonprofit sector jobs and positions in smaller private firms that simply pay less.
READ: Negotiating to Win
Life with Bill... (Vacation message)
Here is an out-of-office vacation message I received from a Microsoft co-worker. I thought it was cute enough to share.
I’ll be out tomorrow through Friday June 27th for vacation. I won’t be on email, but will be reachable by cell in an EMERGENCY (XXX-XXX-XXXX).
For me, general vacation emergencies are:
1) Bartender, I need more ice in my rum swizzle!
2) Should I go to the beach or the pool today?
3) What time should I schedule my tee time for?
4) Oh Pool Boy- I need some fresh towels and a light misting!
However, these would not be considered emergencies warranting a phone call to me. If you just want to talk and find out how the weather is in Bermuda, give me a ring!
EVENT: Meet me at TAG - June 21st @ 6:00pm
"Trends in Blogging and Online Social Networking"
The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)
Recruiting Special Interest Group (SIG)
When: Tuesday, June 21st, 2005
6:00 - 6:30 PM
Networking and Registration
6:30 - 7:45PM
Speakers + Question and Answer Period
Where: 1000 Abernathy Road, Northpark Bldg 400,
3rd Floor GeorgiaRoom, Atlanta, Georgia 30328
Cost: TAG Members: No Charge
Non-TAG Members: $20.00
How my wife lost her job at Cabot
I recently wrote about my positive experiences as a Microsoft employee. When I receive letters like the one posted below, I am reminded of the impact one recruiter can make on a company and on an individual's impression of a company as a whole. Please read the following open letter to Jobseeker's Revenge and my comments that follow.
|Dear Job Seeker's Revenge:
Cabot Corporation, a 1.9 million dollar multinational manufacturing company operating 36 manufacturing facilities in 21 countries and employing 4,400 people, doesn’t know how to treat their employees even though on their corporate webpage they clearly state their values, including Integrity and Respect.
|As Cabot employees...
They value integrity, demanding personal integrity, but I am especially fond of the second paragraph where they use words like honest, straightforward and trustworthy to state they value respect. Let me tell you why.
My wife has a Masters degree in Computer Information Systems. Her recent experience with SQL Server prompted a call from a recruiter at Resultz staffing, a Duluth, GA based staffing company. The job opportunity at Cabot sounded intriguing, but like many job openings in the Tech industry today, it was a contact position, yet she agreed to interview for the role.
During her interview she was told that she would be learning JD Edwards, and applying her SQL experience to help administer the JD Edwards system for the entire company. Its was a very compelling position since JD Edwards is a skill in high demand. After learning that JD Edwards experience was not requisite and that thorough training would be provided she accepted the offer and began working at Cabot in Duluth, GA as a CNC Administrator.
During her first two weeks she worked side by side with the Senior Administrator, learning the ropes, understanding the intricacies of the JD Edwards customizations they employed. Her first few weeks were going very well, everything apparently on track. Things were going so well, in fact, that her boss took her to lunch one day and told her they wanted this to be a long term position, and that he wanted her to be there for many years. He said he would do the best he can to set the foundation for open communication.
My wife was feeling very good about the position, and when contacted by other recruiters she was telling them she was happy in her current role, and that this was a long term opportunity. After all, that’s what her boss said. Then she got a call from that recruiter from Resultz Staffing, asking her out to lunch.
During that lunch, on a Thursday, the recruiter proceeded to tell her that Cabot was ending her contract at the end of the week. When asked why this is so abrupt, he responded it was because she lacked JD Edwards experience. This confused my wife because she had been very clear with Cabot that she didn’t have any JD Edwards experience, to which they responded that it was not required. Still confused, she went to talk with her boss to find out what the real story was and he said: “Honestly what it comes down to is that you lack the excitement we were looking for.”
The excitement, he said, that he saw in the current Senior Administrator when he trained her initially. He went on to say that my wife had done everything that was required, but things “weren’t working out.” According to him this was not a professional or personal decision, its just they didn’t see the “spark” that the Senior Administrator had on her first days at the job. To close the conversation he said people either love the job or hate it, and she apparently didn’t love the job. Or at least that was his opinion. What does that mean? According to that logic, if she doesn’t love it that must means she hates it. How would he know that? Did he ever talk with her about it? Well, he did, and when asked if she liked the job my wife clearly said she did, and she was excited to be learning all about Cabot’s JD Edwards’s implementation. So then why was she fired because she was “not enthusiastic?”
Now, something you need to understand about my wife is that she doesn’t bubble with phony enthusiasm everywhere she goes. She’s a very quiet and private person who is used to dealing with things modestly. At home after work she would tell me how excited she was about this job and all the things she was learning about JD Edwards. So, when she came home and told me this story, I smelled a rat. As a professional recruiter working with some of the largest HR organizations inside Fortune 500 companies for the last ten years, I’ve never heard of someone being terminated because they lacked enthusiasm. In my opinion, unless the job description is something like that of a circus clown or a sports announcer, enthusiasm is just not a job requirement. And another thing, people have many ways to express their enthusiasm. Personalities vary quite a bit. To some people, enthusiasm can be defined as “yelling and screaming with joy” while to others a quiet fireside chat can still be passionate and exciting.
Personalities being what they may, what bothers me about this whole situation is the way my wife was mistreated and approached with deceit and dishonesty. She was told that JD Edwards was not required yet she was terminated because they felt she didn’t have sufficient JD Edwards experience. Upon further inquiry, she found out that the “real” reason she was let go was that she was being tested. Her boss and the Senior Administrator had apparently lead her to believe everything was going well, only so they could “test her enthusiasm” during her first few weeks to make a value judgment.
The reason I’m so fond of that second paragraph in Cabot Corporation’s declaration about their company values is that these Cabot employees, her boss and the Senior Administrator, believe they were behaving in what they thought was an open, honest straightforward and trustworthy manner when they conspired to deceive my wife into thinking everything was going well so they could test her enthusiasm. I guess that also means they were acting with personal integrity when they told her she was being let go because she didn’t know enough JD Edwards, then changed that to say that it was because she didn’t show enough enthusiasm during a test period which she was never told existed. Or maybe they acted with integrity while they were telling her this was a long term position when indeed it was a “short term test.”
So, in the spirit of Cabot Corporation’s values, I am sharing this with the world so that we may all “learn from each other, our customers and the outside world, and share our learnings generously” – I couldn’t say it better myself.
How many times have you been treated so unfairly by large companies that see you as a number (if that much) rather than a potential employee (at the least) and a potential customer of their services (further more) and as a possible evangelist (most important) for a large company? When treated unfairly by recruiters, remind someone at the company they recruit for of these facts.
How often do you monitor your recruiters and how they are interfacing with job seekers? Is there a mechanism in place whereby job seekers can email/call in a complaint about a recruiter who has been less than professional? If not, could the reason be that you do not see the value in treating potential customers well. People I may add, who are networked with other potential customers who are connected to even more potential customers. Ask yourself this, what do people who interview with your company, say about your company? If you do not know the answer, I would encourage you to find out.
Beware of dogs named "Steve"
Way out on one of the backroads of our delivery area was this house way back in a field. These people ordered from us quite a bit, and whoever got the order knew ahead of time that they’d be doing some damage to their car off-roading to these people’s house. Why they never paved anything to their house, i’ll never know. The family was nice… kids were a bit unruly though. You could tell by the bike hanging from the tree or the barrage of balls and sporting equipment up on the roof… not to mention the entire insides of some kid’s playroom or toy box strewn all over the yard. Kinda like those kids in “raising arizona"….
The kids left you alone when you walked up, they were just excited to be eating greasy pizza again, so they’d run inside and grab their parents to get the food so they could eat. So, as you walked up to this house, with a chest-high chainlink fence, the kids beating each other and throwing all their Steve wasn’t that big. Little guy. But all of the toys in the yard gave him places to hide… and then spring on you when you were close to the front door. Steve had very sharp teeth for his size, and a taste for pizza smelling denim. Steve was a pomeranium-chihuahua-toy-mutt-something from hell mix. His eyes glowed, and he HATED delivery guys. READ: A Terror Named Steve
Steve wasn’t that big. Little guy. But all of the toys in the yard gave him places to hide… and then spring on you when you were close to the front door. Steve had very sharp teeth for his size, and a taste for pizza smelling denim. Steve was a pomeranium-chihuahua-toy-mutt-something from hell mix. His eyes glowed, and he HATED delivery guys.
READ: A Terror Named Steve
Dude! Switch to decaf... (and hurry!)
(This one is for every worker with a Starbucks fix.)
I'll admit it, I love Starbucks. In fact, I love any coffee shop that offers a plethora of caffeine choices. In the winter I enjoy Grande Skim Lattes, during warmer weather I'll order Iced Grande Skim Lattes. When I'm feeling really crazy, I'll dive into a Frappacino. And, if I'm feeling hungry, I'll gnaw on some chocolate covered coffee beans.
Yes, I'm an "Xtreme" coffee consumer. (notice the big "X")
The problem is, there are too many elements to a coffee order these days. Do I want it iced or not iced? Regular milk or skim? How much froth? What are the words for the different sizes?
This is particularly difficult when you're high.
READ: Order the perfect cup of joe.
Bad day at the office...
Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not So bad after all. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job.
As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wetsuit.
Read: if you had a jellyfish
I see the light at the end of the tunnel and...
I see the light at the end of the tunnel and its not a train! Check out the latest set of a numbers from the DOL.
The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 21,000 last week, the biggest decline in seven weeks, the government reported Thursday.
The Labor Department said 330,000 newly laid-off workers filed benefit claims last week after a surge of 27,000 new claims the previous week, which had been the biggest one-week jump since early 2004.
Labor Department analysts attributed the improvement to fewer layoffs in the auto industry and a shortened workweek because of the Memorial Day holiday, which gave unemployed workers one less day to file claims.
The four-week moving average for claims, which smooths out weekly volatility, also showed improvement last week, falling to 331,750, down from 334,500 the previous week.
Economists believe that solid economic growth will continue to support increased hiring this year, a prediction that the Bush administration hopes will come true. The administration released a revised economic forecast on Wednesday, projecting that the economy will create 2.1 million jobs this year.
Where the money at?
Are you living beyond your means? Is your paycheck not stretching far enough? Perhaps you're even having trouble finding a job. Maybe it's time to jump a plane to one of the cities at the top of Salary.com's "Salary Value" index. We found the top (and bottom) US metros for building personal net worth (taking into account local salaries, cost of living, and unemployment relative to the national average). Median base pay was correlated across more than 2,500 different benchmark jobs in our calculations. Housing costs, living costs, and metro unemployment/job growth figures were also used to rank the metro areas. The results may surprise you.
READ: Salary.com Advice
Never give up!
The further you advance in your business career, the more pitches, proposals, and recommendations you'll serve to your bosses for acceptance or rejection. And unless you're prematurely content with the status quo and/or uncommonly risk-averse, it's enevitable: From time to time, you'll stake some brownie points on a winner-take-all plan, a strategic direction, or a bid for a key job.
Sometimes, you'll prevail. Other times, you won't -- whereupon you'll face one of your most emotionally trying career experiences. At such times, it's normal to feel like a fool. Your failure is exposed for all to see. And you can't help wondering what that means for you, long-term. It's an awful sensation.
You'll probably be angry with those who shot you down and jealous of whoever trumped you. You'll vow to short the company's stock and go work for its nearest competitor, or at least think bad thoughts about the organization forever. Perhaps you'll feel so terrible that you'll consider quitting on the spot.
Well, don't do any of this, at least not abruptly and in a huff. You'll be amazed at how quickly these feelings pass. Your career isn't over, probably not even stalled. Faster than you imagine, you can again become a Golden Boy or Gal -- if you display maturity and poise. In fact, your ability to play (and truly be) a gracious loser will speak volumes about your suitability as a future team member and leader.
READ: You Lost -- Now What?
When should recruiting stop?
Working remotely is great! In terms of work-life balance, evading traffic jams and actually getting things done without someone interrupting you, telecommuting can not be beat. Still, there are some things you give up: water-cooler talk, chance encounters and face-time with your clients. Sometimes it can get lonely and there is the occassional concern that your co-workers will forget about you once the weekly meeting is over. (Insert violin music and a sad puppy-dog face here.) So glad that is not my experience working at Microsoft!
Today is my birthday! (yay!)
And since I am a remote worker, far away from my staffing comrades, I did not expect anything beyond a birthday card and (maybe) a conference call sing-a-long of "Happy Birthday." Well, I got something better.
My staffing buds shipped me a "Birthday-in-a-box," to include: Cake mix, Candles, Party Favors, Decorations, a cool t-shirt and (wow!) little sausages to munch on. It was like getting a care package from home while at Summer Camp.
(Sniff-sniff) And I told myself I wouldn't cry...
I was so very touched by the gesture and was on my third piece of tissue when a thought occurred to me.
"When should recruiting stop?"
Recruiters, after a person has been hired, what does your company do to continue "recruiting" the person that was just hired? How important are team outings? Birthday Cakes? Flowers when a co-worker's family member passes? Office pranks? Free Coffee? Just because Gift Certificates? And a Friday@5 Beer Bash?
Employees, while you can certainly leave a job whenever you want to, how hard is it to break away from a supportive manager? To give less than your all when working with a close knit group? To not give your loyalty to a company who wants you to progress in your career as far as you can?
I think recruiting should never stop. New hires should feel as valued on their three thousandth day as they did on their first. Some companies give only lip service to those little things that produce intangible, but incredibly valuable returns: happy, productive and dedicated employees. Fortunately for me, Microsoft is not the type of company to ignore the people that make it great.
Staffing buds, thanks again for the card.
Life with Bill: Why is OOF an OOF and not an OOO?
Oh... now I get it. (Check out this inside Microsoft joke)
Inside Microsoft, ‘OOF’ means not just the message which says you’re Out of Office, but it has grown to mean the act of being Out of the Office too - so you’ll get people putting sticky notes on their door saying ‘OOF Thurs & Fri’ or even people verbally saying things like, "Oh, Kevin’s OOF on vacation for the rest of the week’. I suppose that sounds better than "Oh, Kevin’s OOO on vacation ..."
Frustrated with your job search? Do something different! Read: The Job Search Strategist
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