Archive | April, 2008

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”- Martin Luther King Jr

28 Apr

 

Even though you may think that the hours you spent during college reading 500 pages a day, writing endless essays, and seeing the sun rise as you studied for your multiple choice exam the next day, may have qualified you for a career as a top-exec straight out of college, prepare to be surprised. Unfortunately “great last minute studier, can whip out an essay overnight, and able to study for 3 finals simultaneously are not qualifications for a position.  

After college you will probably become very familiar applying for jobs that include  “Assistant, Jr, Intern and entry-level” somewhere in the title. As you start your first job, it can be very frustrating working late hours, being on call weekends, running to the store to grab your boss a coffee, or becoming master of the stapler and copy-machine. However realize that nearly every top executive and successful person has started in a position such as yours, and climbed from the bottom up. Use positions such as these to prove yourself and show that you can remain positive even while performing seemingly pointless and annoying tasks.

I love this quote by Martin Luther King, because it reminds us that no matter what job we have we should perform it to the best of our abilities. Remember that the harder you work, the faster you will be moved up and the better review and reference you will get in the future. 

Advertisements

ad:tech, Web 2.0 and beyond

25 Apr

Even if you aren’t in the tech industry which most people in Silicon Valley/ San Fran either are or are somehow affiliated, there are a number of reasons why you should try to attend the after parties. These after parties are the best time to network and meet new people! Many people will fly out from all over just to come to these parties.

This is a good opportunity to sell yourself and just make connections for the future make sure to bring your business card and not have too many drinks. You can usually find a list of these parties through facebook, or on tech news sites like mashable and valleywag.

There are usually other perks as well such as free schwag and good appetizers. Whenever there are conferences like this in town it is just good to keep them on your radar because you never know the possibilities of marketing yourself and plus you get to go out have fun and meet other people in the industry and make a name for yourself!

“But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day.” – Benjamin Disraeli

24 Apr

 

I got this quote off of one of my favorite blogs zenhabits.net. This is a topic that sort of hits home to me, as a Project Manager. I am constantly updating Google calendars, appointments, making sure every task is completed on time, and updating schedules. This can be very tedious at times, but its needed so all of the projects and meetings run smoothly.

However, its outside of the office that the constant calendar and time checking can cause unnecessary stress and put strain on your relationships. Who wants to be friends with someone who has to pencil them into their Planner? When you get so wrapped up in planning your days and nights down to the very last minute, you often fail to really appreciate what you are doing and who you are with.

If you are a constant time-checker, I have a challenge for you: Find a day (probably a Saturday or Sunday) where you don’t have anything planned and do anything you want without looking at the clock, phone or calendar. It might seem weird at first without the comfort of knowing exactly what the time is or what your next plan is. However, you just might end up loving your stress-free day with only spur of the moment plans to excite you! And your sure to be a better friend and family member, without the blackberry and clock distracting you from important conversations.

“Travel Light, live light, spread the light, be the light”

23 Apr


One of the reasons I love drinking Yogi Tea, is because of the fun little quotes that decorate each tea bag. Today’s quote,  “Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light,” I simply could not go without sharing. In fact, if you go through life with one quote only this should be it, and it comes at a perfect time. Recently graduating, and finding yourself with little money and living in a small space, you come to realize how little you need. As you search for jobs, work late hours, and take on more responsibilities, don’t forget the importance of being positive, and a great friend and family member.. the light people can depend and turn to. While it may have been easier to fit community service into your schedule during college, don’t give up continuing your passion wherever you move to. Spreading the light, whether your time, support, knowledge or friendship, should always be a requirement. 

 

Are you a Tigger or an Eeyore?

23 Apr

Last night I was scrolling through my Tivo and came across a Primetime Special on a man named Randy Pausch. This professor at Carnegie Mellon University and father of three was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and given less than 6 months to live. He is well known for his “Last Lecture” which he presented to his students and subsequently has become very popular, downloaded over a million times over the Internet. In this lecture, he told stories about his own life, his children, childhood dreams and advice on how to live our own lives to the fullest. Something that really struck me during his lecture and interview was him saying, “Choose to be a Tigger.. all day everday.”  He sure has done this, the best example being how he has remained upbeat and energetic even through a grim cancer prognisis. 

If you watched or read Winnie the Pooh as a child, you can easily remember how different Eeyore and Tigger were. Tigger was always happy, bouncing around and reminding everyone of his uniqueness. This sometimes got him into trouble, but it was apparent he always had a zest for life. Eeyore, the old grey donkey was always very sad and down, not expecting anyone to notice him. Because of this he was often alone, even though the other characters really liked him. 

Maybe, as Randy Suggests, the differences between these two characters can give us some insight into our own personalities. Sure we may have some tough days and be down like Eerore, but why not go through life upbeat and happy, enjoying every minute and being as active as possible like Tigger?  Instead of saying “Oh Well” and “Thanks for Noticing Me” like Eeore, we should celebrate our uniqueness and live by his mantra that we (like Tiggers) “Are wonderful Things!.”


Save The Planet And Your Pocket Book

22 Apr


In celebration of Earth Day this past weekend, I thought I would write about a subject that is of huge concern to everyone, especially our age group. Being young and on a budget, I found myself feeling very overwhelmed by the eco-friendly suggestions put before me. I can’t afford to trade in my civic for a hybrid, buy solar panels, replace my fridge and appliances with more eco-friendly products, so where does that leave me? Is there any way I can reduce my carbon- bigfoot imprint without depleting my already limited bank account?. After doing some research I thought I’d share 10 simple tips that that not only help save the planet, but save you money as well.  (or at least allow you to upgrade your safeway brand spaghettios to the real version)

1. Turn Off the Lights: I myself am often guilty of this one, but forgetting to turn off lights can add unnecessary dollars to your electricity bill and waste energy. Write a note on the door as a reminder before everyone leaves the house in case they forget. 

2. Replace those Bulbs: While Compact Fluorescent light bulbs may cost a little more upfront, they will save you tons of money in the long run as they use 75 percent less electricity and last ten times as long!

3. Pull the plugs: Make a habit of unplugging all electronics such as cell phone chargers, computers, ipods, hair appliances and kitchen appliances when they are not in use. For your computer, avoid the standby option and instead plug it into a surge protector with any other appliances and hit the off switch after powering down.

4. Save Water: It might be hard to give up the 45 minute shower after a long day at work, but  you may think again when you find out that water heaters are responsible for nearly 25 percent of your home’s energy use. And while flushing toilets is very necessary, you use 5 to 7 gallons of water each time you do it. Even if you don’t pay for your water bill, think of how much electricity it takes the city to supply and clean the water after use. Showers and flushing are a must, so just shorten your shower by ten minutes, make it slightly cooler, and think before you flush. 

5. Stop buying Water bottles and get a filter: Waterbottles account for a huge amount of waste each year, and are very pricey. Instead, purchase a Brita filter (around 20 dollars), and purchase an eco friendly water bottle to take on the go ( go to http://www.sigg.ch/ for some stylish options)

6. Ditch the Car:  Using an alterative method of transportation such as riding a bike, walking or taking the bus can save money, and make your commute more fun. With gas destroying both the planet and your bank account, these alternatives are well worth it. If your work is far away, find a shuttle or bus that goes to your area or get some coworkers together and start a carpool

7. Use the Heater and Air Conditioner sparingly.  If you live in an extremely hot place such as Arizona, an air-conditioner may be a must, but avoid turning it to frigid conditions, and only use it as needed. If you live in a cold climate, it may be tempting to turn the heat on at night, but instead use space heaters as needed, and get cozy with some layers and hot drinks. 

8. Buy Less: If your upset about how you can’t afford all the fun decorations for your home, new clothes or new kitchen appliances, think of how much you are helping the environment! When you are done with these items, it only contributes to the waste and growing landfills. Instead only buy what you absolutely need, and purchase used items on Craigslist, Ebay and FreeSharing. 

9. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies:  Making your own cleaning supplies, is easy, saves money and is better for your health and the environment. Go to this site: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/make-your-own-non-toxic-cleaning-kit.html and get directions on how to make your own All Purpose Cleaner, Window cleaner, and stain remover with items probably lying around your house. 

10. Love your Local Library: You may have the notion that libraries are for nerds or children, but think again. Books are expensive, and chances are you only read them once. Going to your local library not only saves you money, but saves the many trees that are cut down to produce the millions of pages of paper required to make these books. 

Hopefully these tips make you realize that you don’t have to be wealthy to “go green”. In reality, being eco-conscious can save you money, and improve the planet for us and future generations. 

 

 

What does the Party you hosted in College and a late credit payment have in common?

18 Apr


Answer: They can both affect your ability to rent a house

Chances are you don’t remember every detail of the crazy party you hosted that Summer night during college. But you probably do remember the landlord’s surprise visit the next day, questioning the plethora of red cups on the lawn, the melted ice luge in the yard, and the guy passed out in the back with his navy college shirt on. If all goes well (and you send some nice flowers) the landlord will probably forgive you, however a good reference for your next home purchase is probably not in the cards. This may not seem like a big deal at the time.. until you graduate and begin your search for an apartment in a bigger town or city.

When I first set out on my apartment search out of college, I was amazed at how competitive the process was. I showed up in the morning to an open house, to find 10-15 others already lined up out the door with portfolios and checkbooks in hand. I politely surrendered and walked away, while vowing to come prepared to my next open house. With the many people also looking for apartments in large compacted cities such as San Francisco and New York, the apartment search can be very competitive. This is why it’s necessary to have all the needed documents, funds and credit in check. I never thought that the Victoria’s Secret Card I hastily agreed to, and subsequently forgot to pay in college, could lower my credit score and put me behind someone else on the pile of rental applications.  

When attending any open house or appointment, I would suggest to bring the following:

  • Credit Report– go to financial sites and talk to your parents and finance adviser for tips on improving your credit score. Even the slightest change can make a difference
  • References from previous landlords– if you have only lived in dorms include parents or roommates (basically anyone qualified to rant how clean and responsible you are)
  • Most recent pay stub(s)
  • Photo ID such as licence or passport
  • Checkbook for any necessary fees, and in case they offer you the house on the spot!
  • Rental Application Form- a standard one can be easily downloaded from the Internet. Most landlords have their own ready but some require you to print your own
  • Any letters of reference or a letter saying how interested you are in the house- this may sound corny but trust me it puts you ahead of the others
  • Letter of Employment– this should include your position and salary
  • A smile and great attitude– This is a home they have purchased and feel very close to, so of course they want to rent it to someone that they like and trust
The best way to find houses is Craigslist, in your local paper, word of mouth, or simply by walking around in neighborhoods you are interested in and noting any rental signs. This may seem like a great deal of effort for finding a house, but think of it like applying for a job. You should do whatever possible to put yourself on top of the stack of applications- and it can’t hurt to be over prepared. 

Save Money Grocery Shopping with Coupon Mom

16 Apr

The other day, I resisted pressing the snooze button the usual 5 times, and woke up in time to see an interesting segment on Good Morning America. Stephany Neilson, better known as the “Coupon Mom” is a grocery shopping and financial expert frequently seen on the show. In the segment I happened to watch, she saved over 200 dollars at the grocery store using coupons, and getting many items for free!

I checked out her site Couponmom.com to see for myself how this super-mom can help me save me some money on my weekly grocery sprees. While the site can look pretty overwhelming at first it offers many helpful tools that I have regularly used since then, from discount coupons, restaurant coupons, savings advice to her own personal blog with some helpful money saving tips. 

I personally am a fan of the grocery coupon database, which shows deals you can get from the Sunday paper or print directly from the Site.  For example, you can save 50 cents off a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or 75 cents on one of Emerils Rubs (which I highly recommend for grilling chicken). To get more information, sign up for the site (its’ free and takes 2 minutes) and check out the free Ebook or instruction page. Once you get the hang out of it, it’s a pretty simple process. 

It may seem like too much extra work to print out  coupons every week, but this site makes it a lot easier and shows you some great deals you wouldn’t know otherwise. Plus, with all of those college loans, expensive rent, and expensive drinks at the bars, every penny makes a difference!!

Check out Couponmom.com and start saving!

 

 

Have you ever Googled yourself?

15 Apr

This may be a silly question, but indeed I am sure that all of us out there at some point have googled our name to see what pops up in the search results. This is actually a smart move to make, you better believe that in this world where we are reliant on the internet 24-7 with any chance of getting a job your future employer is going to google, facebook or myspace you! I am sure you have heard this before but it is so true that one picture of you taking a beer bong could alter the course of getting a job you really want.Be sure that you change all of your settings to private on the social networking sites you belong to. You never know what could be floating around on the web about you that maybe you didn’t even know about there could be pictures up from friends websites or anything else that is public.  

On the other hand there is a new trend that is currently more in the design field but I think will expand and eventually become the norm. People are creating websites including their resumes, a professional picture, and any other exhibits or their work that they would like to show. It doesn’t have to be a comlicated website but rather just a interactive resume so that instead of having to open and print attachments companies can simply click on a link and discover more about you than maybe just a plain sheeted resume could offer.

The internet is the BEST resource for job searching, information, resume suggestions and a good outlet to let others know more about you just be very careful and particular about what information you put out there, the world is a big place…but the world wide web is even bigger!

Stay Connected, Stay Informed

15 Apr

You’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that matters.” And while being educated and intelligent is equally important, the benefit of forming and maintaining connections with classmates and coworkers is often overlooked. As jobs change, and people move it can be hard to stay in touch with only the use of email and cell phones. This is where LinkedIn, a professional networking site comes in.

 LinkedIn, an online network with over 20 million professionals, is a great way for finding jobs, that most  graduates don’t take full advantage of.  Joining LinkedIn is free, easy and makes managing your contacts simple. Once you create a profile, you can include your resume, accomplishments, interests and websites. You can then search for and be contacted by former friends, managers, clients and coworkers. Many companies post and distribute job listings through LinkedIn and will contact you if an opportunity arises that they feel you would be a great candidate for.

A friend of mine used this site to her advantage after graduating. She formed a connection with a coworker that she had worked with during college at a fashion magazine. This coworker saw her current location and contacted her about an office they were opening in her area with an open position. This certainly was a relief after many hours searching the internet and  temp agencies for a position similar to this one. 

As a recent graduate, you may not have as extensive a list of experience and connections as Steve Jobs does, but this is the perfect time to start. Even if your resume is limited, it’s a great way to get introduced to others and discover jobs through inside connections. I could go on about the many benefits, but I’d encourage you to create a profile and explore the site for yourself. If you already have one, expand your profile and really take advantage of this network. The earlier you start, the better.