Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Dear Ladies of The Steps,
There were several moments in the last four months when I felt sure that things would never turn around for the better. Finally, the universe has pleasantly surprised me. I am headed back to the grind, back to work, back to reality.
Ironically, my new job has more to do with the ideals I founded myself on in college than any of the other jobs I've had. And I've had a few. I spent the last 2 years after school searching for the job that would jump start my career, only to settle for the jobs that offered instant gratification, instead of a lasting sense of accomplishment. I realized that was the case more often with my friends and colleagues than any of us would like to admit. A bittersweet truth that reiterates this year's theme: money trumps all.
The entire reason I veered from jobs related to my college major (journalism) after graduation was because I quickly learned that the pay scale was less than desirable. I felt I could use what I'd learned and what I was willing to learn to break out into marketing and advertising. As it turns out, I was able to, but only at the small price of completely losing sight of my goals. I forgot about the girl I was in college, the girl who actually loved school because I learned to be passionate about something. All this time I've known that the passion was still there, just buried under layers of disappointment over where I'd led myself.
While my new job is all thanks to a friend (as it turns out it IS all about WHO you know), I brought a part of myself to those interviews I hadn't seem come out of me in a long time. I see now that it was because this opportunity embodies everything I've been looking for. I will be able to use the skills I've developed in the last 2 years of working as well as feel personally invested in the job on a daily basis. And let's be honest, we're not always connected to our work the way we wish we were. What's funny is I was always trying to convince myself before that I loved my job, that it was exactly what I wanted even though I always woke up dreading the day ahead.
Now, I am almost relieved that I lost my job, and spent the last 4 months confused, concerned, and lost. If for nothing else, because I can't wait to go to my first day of work and start over with a new attitude.
Blake, "The Steps" Contributor
Monday, July 20, 2009
It’s been over a decade since the Internet exploded onto everyone’s PC’s and it hasn’t really slowed down since. With the efforts of MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter the Internet, and I’m stating the obvious here, has become the marketing tool of the millennium. With the simplest click of a mouse and a few taps on the keyboard, a social media marketing world is opened up to you, and it’s your playground to enjoy. So why are some of us afraid to come clean? Why do we hesitate to take off our disguises and take credit where credit should be due?
I too was anonymous on the Internet with one moniker for both my blog posts and Tweets, which only a few people close to me knew. Granted I’m not a super sleuth private investigator, nor were my blogs and tweets of great controversy, I just felt more comfortable behind a disguise.
However that did nothing for my social media presence - unable to market or brand myself. In truth, there was no future without “me.”
By having an alias, or even just being anonymous, is actually doing a disservice to your potential leads and authenticity. It closes the door on opportunities you could act on as yourself and shuts out possible future employers. Being yourself on the Internet allows your work and your connections to prove your viability as a social media guru and create a name for yourself AS yourself.
Granted, all posts shouldn’t be one-sided. There are arguments for opting to use an alias or being anonymous. A safety concern is high up there, as well as your personal content. Depending on what you write about, tweet or share on your Facebook wall may or may not be what a potential employer wants to read. There has been many a firing because of an employees leaked Facebook profile and also for posting offending material on a social media outlet.
The possible solution, create a professional and personal account for the social media networks – giving you the ability to be yourself on both counts—your professional self and your behind-closed-doors self. The proverbial doors can still open and you don’t have to worry about not putting “yourself” out there.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Continued from a previous post...
There isn’t a job out there that isn’t worth interviewing for, there isn’t any opportunity that isn’t worth investigating. Maybe I’ll wind up with a job in a completely new industry. Maybe I’ll wind up in the same industry, in a position I never thought I’d be interested in. The point is, if someone posted it on job search engine then someone is going to get hired for it. You don’t know that it can’t be you until you apply and interview to the best of your ability.
Tips I’ve learned along the way:
1. Know the company your interviewing for. Anything can be googled or wiki-ed. Know SOMETHING before you agree to a phone or in-person interview.
2. Practice answers to commonly asked questions. You should always have answers prepared for the following:
a. 5/10 year career goals
b. best and worst personal attributes (in the workplace NOT your personal life)
c. best and worst work experience (sometimes leads to question about the ideal boss, work environment, schedule)
d. always prepare examples of problems you solved in the work place, obstacles you’ve overcome, or poor experiences you’ve learned from
i. if you’re interviewing within an industry you’ve previously worked in, make these examples specific to that industry—be relatable to the interviewer
e. what can you bring to the company your interviewing with—special personal qualities such as work ethic, ability to multi-task, detail orientation, and make sure ONE quality you mention is specific to you. Generic answers are exactly that—employers have heard them all hundreds of times
3. Dress the part. Researching the company should give insight on how to dress for your interview. Although business and professional dress is ALWAYS a must, changing it up to suit the type of business your interviewing with can make an impression (adding personal style, skirt vs. pants, keeping it very conservative—all varies with the company).
4. FOLLOW UP. Make sure you have the contact info of at least one person interviewing you per company. You should ALWAYS follow-up an interview with a thank-you email, and relate back to the employer something you discussed in the interview that makes you perfect for the job.
It may be ironic for now how much I’ve learned about interviewing, researching, and applying for jobs since I still haven’t actually been offered one. But, when I am; it will all be worth the wait. That’s the second life lesson I’ve endured. When the time is right it will come. When it is meant to happen it will happen. Just the same way life goes on, whether you’re ready for it to or not; YOUR life will pick back up. Somehow.
"The Steps" Contributor
I started my new job a few weeks ago and I am loathing the adjustment period. It's easy to forget your first few weeks/months at a new job previous to the current one, simply because they are completely different. I'm a perfectionist and I strive on a routine. Throw a wrench in the mix and I'm discombobulated for days. So far, it's been several. I have been "emotionally" eating and constantly saying "yes" to the Bossman when he asks to take me to lunch or buy me lunch. I haven't found my balance with this job yet and it's starting to take its toll.
During my work day I contemplate many scenarios of my life and how they could turn out and which one will make me the happiest. And I got nothin'. I can think of a few possibilities but neither make me jump for joy. The realist in me sees the flaws in my potential plans, not letting the dreamer in me have any fun. Also during my work day, actual work is interspersed, I wonder if I am really cut out for my job...and if I actually like my job.
I hope once the dust settles and the smoke clears I will be able to make an informed decision on what to do next. Hopefully I will be granted with that choice. Until then I'm pretending I know what I'm doing. And I think I'm doing a damn good job.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
There is no shame in unemployment. The government set this up for emergencies, and believe me, there is no greater emergency than being short on your over-priced rent.
In March alone over 66,000 residents of NY filed claims for unemployment.
There is up to $11,000 in one calendar year that someone in my tax bracket; who’s been previously employed for at least 18 months can claim. While unemployment is only a percent of your earnings in the best quarter-year of your employment history, it’s enough to pay rent and it’s enough to ease some of the aching in the pit of your stomach when you’re down and out of a job.
"The Steps" Contributor
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
So, why am I sad? I'm sad to leave the people who I have grown close to here. My P.I.C, my "mom" at work and the other knuckleheads that aren't Bitchglob. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't have been looking, or even applied.
I always like to think that I stand up for myself when it's necessary, but with her it was immpossible because she was so secretive and sneaky. Although, I say I didn't learn as much on the job as I had hoped, I did learn a lot of life lessons. I've had to deal with Bitchglob, an a$$hole co-host, ridiculous demands from producers at a television station and even a perverted car wash attendant, but they all made me who I am today and I know what I want...or atleast what I DON'T want.
I'm hoping this opportunity will give me what my current job has not, which is...opportunity. The ability and support to spread my wings and climb the steps.
Only time will tell, I guess...
Monday, May 18, 2009
Dear Ladies of the Steps,
On March 3, 2009 I lost my job.
I lost more than my job that day. That day…I lost my job, my security, my financial comfort and slowly my mind. The proverbial rug was pulled out from under me; and no amount of sympathy or positive reinforcement from friends and family could have changed that.
In hindsight, maybe I could have prevented this. Maybe I shouldn’t have left a secure job for a company I knew nothing about just because the “career opportunity” was better. Maybe I shouldn’t have moved out of my parents’ house just 6 months after starting my first city job.
But that’s the kicker. There is no such thing as hindsight. Just because we can point out the mistakes we made after we’ve made them does not mean we will ever be able to change what has already happened.
Hindsight is, as far as my 8 weeks of unemployment can tell, just another mental tool for kicking yourself in the ass; being angry with yourself for something you never had control of anyway.
All is not lost. These 8 weeks have taught me a lot. Most of the lessons I wasn’t ready to learn. But the higher powers never seem to care if you’re ready, or mature, or emotionally stable enough when the time comes.
First, and the most painful of all, life goes on. The world isn’t going to stop because your shit hit the fan. I spent 3 days in bed unwilling to open the blinds, eat something with nutritional value, or face the music and tell my family and friends. But once I was able to come to terms with my reality, I knew facing the music was my first test, planning how I would handle the next few months of my life was the second.
To be continued...
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I had it somewhat easy last week when Bitchglob was on vacation (nice, right?). This week is in a whole other realm. I have nothing to do. I repeat: NOTHING. For the past few months I have created my own work to do. Some would think that's an accomplishment and admirable. It's actually, more like, REVENGE.
Referring to a previous post, apparently my job gets fought for EVERYDAY. Really? How so? If you don't give me work to do, how are you exactly fighting for my job, sweetie? I've been proving myself time and time again that I deserve a job here without her help and frankly I'm tired of being treated unfairly and with no respect. If I'm really not that valuable why not lay me off? At least then I can collect unemployment and search for a better job. Albeit the pickin's are slim.
It's the little things that have turned into big things that has led me to the end of my rope. The moving of my office space, the condescending remarks, the non-existent workload, the pettiness and the fact that someone can get away with murder (of a PR campaign).
Only a matter of time.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Avoiding reality? Possibly.
I find myself at a crossroads of sorts, both personally and professionally. I'm on a step where I can take one more and I can move on and work and focus on me, finally. I could also take one step back to revisit and perfect what was once familiar. I'm not sure which step, forward or backward, will make me happy. Perhaps neither. I guess that's the gamble I am going to have to take.
Life has a weird way of timing things. Right when you pick up your foot to take the step, the wind blows and throws you off balance, catching yourself you plant your foot back down on the same step to steady the world again.
My world is still a little wobbly. And I'm afraid to pick up my foot again.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Hey! What's up? I really wish we could sit down and chat real soon, because it seems like I am lacking you. I have been for quite some time, Time. You are very hard to manage and frankly...our relationship is starting to take a toll on my life. In essence, I wish I had more of you. Or maybe more of me to pass around. Between work, work # 2, yoga and my social life I don't have much of you left. But you know what I really think the problem is, Time, is that I have mismanaged you. I tend to be a people pleaser, and Time, well, you don't let me relish in my glory. Every minute of my days are controlled by you. Every action I take, I calculate you. Time, I think it's about time that we took a break. I think it's time for you to be a little more cooperative and help a woman out once in awhile. Maybe make the days longer, or help me say "no" to others when asked to do something or go somewhere. Time, I really need you to work with me here. Because, frankly, Time, you ain't no friend of mine.
Say "Hi" to your father for me.