Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Guys, even if you are disappointed with the results of the election, you now know that our generation has a voice, a very LOUD voice, and that our opinions and votes are important. If your candidate did not win the presidency, it's okay. You have four years to create a party that better represents you, your ideas, your vision for the future. We, as millennials, as the eco-boom, must not become a lost generation. We must continue to vote, continue to participate, and continue to educate ourselves, then we will all be a part of change.
But seriously, I am proud of every single one of you. This election, this entire campaign season, has made us all feel something. It has ignited passion on both sides. It has pinpointed the issues that mean the most to every single one of us as twenty-somethings finding our way in the world. It has sparked an intense need for change, but more than that, a willingness to change the the things we thought we could not. A passion for the political process, a passion for the leaders of a country we all love and respect.
We learned that our vote matters, that we are the demographic that every party needs. It's up to us to sculpt the future of America.
Look at the specific ballot items that passed last night: We legalized marijuana in Colorado. We gave equal rights to all couples in Maryland and Minnesota. We elected new members of the House and the Senate.
We voted and we changed the way America works. We voted to move our country forward, no matter which side of the fence our vote was cast on. We live in a country that allows us to participate, to dialogue and engage with each other and our leaders. That is greatness. That is love.
We have a chance to change history, to make our lives what we want them to be, to restructure political lines and parties to fit who we are, to reflect what we believe. We have, if nothing else, learned how to care for something more than just OUR needs and ourselves.
So, even if you feel that your vote didn't matter, that it didn't do anything, that it was a waste, and you are feeling frustrated and want to give up and move out of the country for the next four years, know that your vote made it exciting, made it a race, made it a debate, that it made you feel something other than the materialistic narcism we so often catch ourselves caught up in; this election made you feel.
These candidates made you feel. They made you have hope in a time where our country seems to be falling apart at the seams. They were challenged by the questions you posed, they were forced to think outside of the box, to try and reach across the aisle separating political ideals, they did it all to gain your vote and your trust.
Guys, you believed. You worked hard, you spoke out, you found your voice. Nothing else matters in the end except for that. So, let's not lose the momentum. Let us continue to vote in every election, to mobilize and take our plans and truths to elected officials, to campaign for a greener future, a sustainable future, a more stable future.
I am proud of each and every one of you. Thank you for voting, thank you for debating with me on twitter, for posting your ideas in a non-combative way, for presenting things intelligently, for finding a passion and a cause and most of all for believing in something other than yourselves and a higher power. Thank you for voting.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I put my big girl pants on and got this job myself…but now I wish I just worked for Daddy.
Last week, I talked about how I procured my first real, big-girl job post-undergrad (Thanks again, Dad). Well, my current job situation is very different—I found it all on my own and got my job all on my own. Basically, I put my big girl pants on (which is actually a black Theory dress + blazer = fabulous suit—so Ally McBeal, so modern, so chic) and got myself into the totally adult workforce and I am the youngest person in my department by a year. I love what I’m doing, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I wish I’d gotten a business degree and just gone and worked for my parents’ company because then I could wear my favorite jeggings to work every day (unless I had a meeting) and work from my kitchen island if Daddy said it was okay. Sometimes I wish I was just filling out paperwork. I mean, the endless supply of Diet Coke in the adjacent fridge and abundance of larabars is, like, the definition of living the office dream (i.e., what working from my kitchen island would provide in infinite quantities).
We all have those days—call it a mental health day/personal day/sick day/excused absence, whatever, it’s all basically the same thing—when you just cannot put on a suit/dress/skirt/heels/flats and drag yourself to an office environment. It happens and it will always happen if you are unable to somehow work out a remote access dealio with your employer.
So, how do you deal with these days? Lots of Diet Coke and larabars. Also, a wardrobe filled with Carmen Marc Valvo’s spring line which includes comfortable, yet professional, knits (dresses and tops) that will make you feel like you’re rocking your fave loungewear.
But, if you’re not at the point of investing in an entire new work wardrobe or have to wear a uniform/adhere to a certain dress code, the best secret weapon? Sassy flats or a 2” – 3” heel. They’re relatively easy to find and investing in a few great pairs that will stay in your closet for years to come means that you’ll always have a friend to take to the office with you. Don’t be afraid of Marshall’s (a Marshall’s just for shoes does exist) or TJ Maxx (make sure they have a Runway department) because their shoe departments can be totally awesome. Sure, you’ll probably have to do some digging, but you’ll be sure to find a unique, fun, and professional pair of flats that won’t break the bank. The same can be said for finding a smaller pump, but they’re not as frequently seen on the racks as a flat—for those, trek to a Saks or Barney’s outlet. They always have great sales on shoes and relatively current styles (about 3 weeks behind the regular stores). Got some time? Check out the sales on sites like The Outnet, Gilt, Ruelala, Shopbob, and Bluefly. You can also find some great deals on eBay fashion (they host the Niemen Marcus outlet on occasion).
If you still feel the urge to wear those jeggings to work, pair them with booties, a longer blouse (cover those bums!) and a nice blazer for a relaxed professional vibe that will really mesh well with your Starbucks, oversized shades, and the ever-present speedy we all seem to own.
Outlook is my boyfriend.
Outlook manages my entire life. I have it synced with my iCal so that my personal engagements don’t interfere with work meetings. I taught my parents how to send appointments in Outlook so that I actually knew what was going on outside of work and my own head. Unlike a conventional planner, you can color code your appointments in a less messy way and share your calendar with anyone you want without having to type out all of your appointments in an email or have a 30+ minute conversation going over appointments for the next month.
I spend more time with Outlook than with actual humans. I know, pathetic, but when my weeks get very busy, I schedule EVERYTHING in Outlook. I actually mean EVERYTHING. Yes, I mean meals, showers, gym, social times—every. thing. goes in Outlook.
I actually used to do this in college too. While I still prefer to keep my to-do list in my physical planner, I have always relied on Outlook and iCal to remind me of due dates, that it’s time to switch tasks, or that I have a meeting.
Outlook saves my sanity on a daily basis. If I didn’t have Outlook, I don’t know what I’d do. Well, probably rely solely on my iCal; but that isn’t the point. The point is, if you really aren’t sure how to manage everything life is throwing your way, use Outlook (or iCal or Google Calendar, which ever you prefer) to plan things out in time increments you feel comfortable with, and, yes, my little workaholic friends, this includes sleep too!
Even if you don’t follow your schedule exactly, it’s a lot easier to move appointments around in your online calendar than in a physical planner.
Happy Hour with my friends who don’t have to be at work by 7:30 tomorrow morning… #winning?
Still don’t have time for friends or to meet with your group for an important in class presentation despite your online and physical planners?
Try doodle. It’s free and you and your friends/family/classmates/coworkers can put in the times that you’re available on a calendar and Doodle will tell you the best meeting times so you don’t have to figure it out.
If you’re not using a digital calendar, it’s worth a try, and if you hate it, you don’t need to keep it. The best thing you can do is try a variety of scheduling tools to take some stress away from you so that you can enjoy yourself.
#WhiteGirlProblems in Business will continue next week with more tips on how to turn your seemingly mundane twenty-something issues into powerful tools in the workplace and on the job hunt. In the meantime, you can follow me on twitter @HilarieGW or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Today, I left Saks without closure, graduated, and still don’t have a job; the Mayans were right--the world is ending before my eyes.
For a twenty-something recent graduate with a liberal arts degree, the employment opportunities are few and far between for most of us in the geographic area we prefer. Oftentimes, to console ourselves, we turn to our favorite dive bar’s happy hour and to social media outlets (twitter, mostly) to voice our exasperation with the current job market and/or hating the fact that we are basically made the glorified leader of the interns with a base salary just slightly above a transportation stipend.
These problems slightly resemble (to a much lesser degree) the “problems” tweeted by Babe Walker. We all have them to some extent, be it the quest to find the perfect lipstick for your interview ensemble (exhausting!) to expressing your frustration with the job market (Like, seriously? How did they not hire me?) or even just lamenting your lack of social life because even though you have a job, your contract clearly states that you are exempt from earning any sort of overtime pay, but you work about 50+ hours a week instead of the 37.5 your time sheet locks in each week (My social life has turned into an online shopping addiction and all my friends exist solely on some sort of social network because I don’t have time to see them in real life).
Nepotism is the New Black: My parents set me up with my future employer.
I was one of the lucky few—I knew by the end of my spring break senior year of college that I had gained full-time employment, even if it meant moving back in with my parents and 500+ miles away from the place I grew up and called home for most of my formative years and the four years I spent as an undergraduate. I could ramble on about what made me want to come “home” but it comes down to a combination of two things
- My resume was stacked, and I mean stacked, with a combination of non-profit and corporate experiences that set me apart in a job market that is very much either-or. This isn’t always a good thing, but for me, it worked. I was interviewing for a job where most of the account executives had very strong sales backgrounds and almost zero non-profit work experience; since I had both, the position I was hired for made it possible for me to build upon my “sales” (read: fundraising) experience and hone my event management, social media, marketing, and other assorted non-profit and design skills.
- My parents knew someone and scheduled a time for me to meet them (read: initial interview).
The latter point is the one that holds more weight; I mean, I spent all of college avoiding a business degree so that I wouldn’t get a job because of my Dad’s, my Father’s, or because of my Mom’s connections, or because of my family name, and here I was, interviewing for a job that, essentially, my parents had lined up for me. I worked for a very well known non-profit and when my contract was up, moved on to my current position, but more on that later.
Yes, I was the one who aced the interviews, not my parents, but the fact that they knew someone that was hiring, made the introduction, and that I could apply for the position and interview before other applicants was a major plus. I was the first person they saw, the person they had the most time to interview before event planning and before campaign began, and the person that they remembered. My resume was now the benchmark for all other applicants and I was pretty much the youngest person they hired.
I have a really obscure, specialized, interdisciplinary liberal arts degree from a private university that has no connection to what I’m actually doing professionally.
What exactly did I study? I majored in Urban Studies with a concentration on Urban Ecology and Design with a strong focus on Urban Environmental Policy and North American Environmental History.
Right… so… this means what? Basically, I could be an architect, do something with non-profits, or go to law school. My first job post-grad was for a non-profit having nothing to do with the environment or environmental things.
Even at my place of employment, I have people for that.
I am now on my second job a year after graduating and I’m in digital advertising. In short, I evaluate a company’s needs and visibility on the interwebs and then develop a set of comprehensive (I’m really type-A and detail oriented) advertising and marketing plans for their business from a basic website to pay per click ads, to formatting their foursquare profile to reflect their products and services.
No, I don’t build the websites or anything like that, I have a team of IT people for that; I merely build the strategic plan. It’s not anything like The Pitch, or Mad Men, and it most certainly does not have ANYTHING to do with what I studied.
I am on a team, and our team has a team of people who help us do stuff and process all of our paperwork, etc. You know, the basics, but most entry-level positions require you to be doing the processing, not handing it off to be processed. I really lucked out there because I hate processing paperwork but love filling things out especially when they are interactive PDFs.
Whenever I logon to LinkedIn, I ask myself, “What Would Ders Do?”
I found my current job on LinkedIn. Which, I mean, if you don’t love it the way that Ders does on “Workaholics”, we can’t be friends. If LinkedIn was a human being, I would date them, simple as that.
If you’ve seen the first season of “Workaholics” then you know the episode I am referencing, but if you haven’t, it involves Anders Holmvek (Ders) getting really pumped for a networking event. At the previous year’s event, he left with a bunch of new LinkedIn connections and 12 or so business cards; he proclaimed, while standing at the paper cutter slicing up new business cards, that he would not leave the event without meeting or exceeding last year’s total number of new connections.
LinkedIn has about four times the business-to-business connection rate of twitter and facebook and this is because it is a professional social network, but also because it allows you to keep in touch with former work friends. InMail, or LinkedIn’s version of email sends the messages directly to the email address associated with your account, so even if your personal work environment/mega desk bestie leaves the company where you still work, you don’t have to ask for a personal email address. Or, this even works when asking for a recommendation from a former professor, colleague/peer or superior. The coolest thing about this function, besides it pushing to your email, is that your recommendations post directly to your profile so future employers scoping you out don’t have to make a bunch of calls on your reference list—it’s all right there for them.
LinkedIn is great because I’m connected with my parents and I can connect with their friends who will remember that I recently graduated, they already know and love me, and with a simple click, they can see my past employment history and how awesome I am. Also, when I’m on the hunt for a job, my parents know, and can tell me if so-and-so is looking for someone to fill a position they haven’t posted on a job site (including LinkedIn) or sent out an internal email about an exciting new career opportunity. Again, because of my fundamental #WhiteGirlProblem (my parents connect me with every single job I’ve ever had in some strange way if they didn’t set me up for the interview in the first place), I am one of the first, if not the first, person to get in front of the company and I can used LinkedIn to move the process forward from there.
If you find a job under the LinkedIn jobs section, you are able to see how many people have already applied for the job which is a huge help; it lets you know your competition rate and gives you a chance to tweak your resume and cover letter to reflect your strongest skill sets and focus on having your passion and conviction shine through a piece of mundane paperwork.
Pseudo Networking Event: The Graduation Party Circuit
You can replace “graduation party” in the above #WhiteGirlProblem with any kind of party, event, or activity that does not qualify as some sort of professional event. Because of the fundamental #WhiteGirlProblem, these are more effective than running around an actual networking event attempting to make a lasting impression on people that may not even remember where they got your card the next morning when cleaning out their clutch/wallet/pants or jacket pockets.
Sure, you can connect on LinkedIn if you both have the app right there, but paying attention to your Smartphone during a networking event is not the best idea. It’s much better to engage in casual conversation and making a real connection rather than a superficial professional connection.
Being at a pseudo networking event takes the pressure off to have your charm turned on 100% in front of future coworkers, employers, or competition. If you’re not feeling the pressure to impress, you become your true self (obviously fabulous and still well dressed because it’s a party so you would never look like a schlub and you totally went to Saks the other night and bought this casual Tahari dress for the occasion) and you won’t be so concentrated on explaining what you do in a short amount of time.
Recently, I was at a graduation party for family friend’s exchange student completing his MBA and even in obnoxious sailboat shorts, I was able to set up a few calls for future meetings based on what I do at my current job. Being in a more relaxed environment, you’re able to be yourself and let your true personality shine while having the conversations with future clients/employers that build the all important connection needed to make you and your experience shine above the rest of applicants or in my case, other people doing what it is that I do.
I’ve also conducted business transactions during Shabbat services, which I know is a total no-no according to Jewish law (you’re not supposed to work on Shabbat), but collecting paper work that’s already been signed after services is convenient for both you and the other party—you know that you’re both going to be there because you attend the same service every week. It’s also a great place to network. My synagogue has an entire group dedicated to young Jewish professionals in my area and hosts fun events like a pot-luck style Seder or drinks after services, so don’t rule out mixing your faith in business relations entirely.
Also, don’t be afraid to let your friends from school know via twitter/facebook, etc that you’re going to be back in the area where you graduated from, in my case, whenever I’m back in the city or Westchester, I try and connect with some of my friends, or attend at least one kind of pseudo networking event.
Connecting with your friends who have jobs in a similar field allows you to know if their company is hiring since an inter-office email is usually sent out about 3 weeks before jobs are posted to any kind of job site and they can give you the contact information for the person sending out the post—again, this gets you in front of the key influencer before other applicants. This is great because if you’re not happy where you are geographically, but like your current job, you can transition over to another company so long as you haven’t signed an air tight non-compete.
Pseudo networking events also give you an opportunity to have your LinkedIn app at the ready since most people have their phones at the ready during parties or group outings to communicate with family members not present, take down phone numbers, or field calls and texts from people who may need directions.
Friday, May 4, 2012
If you've seen my twitter feed recently, you may have already read this article; however, you may not have realized the impact the new NoteBookCase for iPad2 could have on the education world.
Steve Jobs, before he passed away, had been steering Apple towards education with iTunesU, iBooks, and even just the beginnings of the AppStore, and this new case could solidify Apple's presence as the dominant machine on campuses everywhere.
The case, which was originally reported by Japanese blog Macotakara and then made waves on Mashable, transforms the iPad into a mini-macBook Pro. It boasts a full size bluetooth keyboard, lithium battery for extended use, a USB and a mini USB port.
This only leaves a single question: could this case be compatible with the newest iPad? The miniscule size difference gives me pause; but, it is possible it could work, even if there is a disclaimer on the purchasing sites stating that it is not, in fact, compatible with the newest iPad.
With the 64GB iPad being the largest, and most expensive when you add all accessories to the price, a $75 (USD) case that both protects your iPad and gives it a new life as a mini-macBook, presents a more cost-effective option for students everywhere. With App Developers having made it possible for us to purchase the same product suites for $10 (USD) or less that we have with our laptops, it makes sense for students to use the iPad instead of a laptop, if purely from a fiscal perspective.
The case is available for purchase on Amazon and Japanese retailer Rakuten.
I know I'm curious to see how this does in the American market.