Archive | May, 2008

Carpe Diem, Seize the Day Already!

30 May

 

Last Weekend I was lucky enough to see Jenny’s little sister graduate.  After a night of partying in San Diego, we were very tired, but this was quickly replaced by the excitement of the proud parents, and family members eagerly awaiting their graduate’s big walk. 

The actual ceremony went as predicted: The family members piled in to the auditorium while the soon-to be graduates filed into their seats nervously laughing with friends, and waving to their friends and family in the stands who quickly snapped the perfect picture. We sang the national anthem, stood for the silent procession of flags, and awkwardly sang their school song. The speeches were surprisingly short and sweet with splashes of humor and seriousness. 

The part of graduations I look most forward to is the main speaker, who, because of their expertise and success, makes their best attempt to impart their life lessons to the thirsty graduates. Despite the exhausting long ceremony, I was somewhat disappointed when she said she would only be speaking for 3 minutes to move the ceremony along. At the end of her short speech she told them the lesson she wished to leave them with was “Carpe diem, seize the day!” Okay, first I get  3 minutes of what is supposed to be the most important speech of the ceremony, and now I get the most cliche line of all time? I immediately envisioned graduates all over the world, hearing the exact same line. How drab!! Where was the creativity and uniqueness? 

But then I started thinking: I don’t remember any other part of her 3 minute speech. In fact, I don’t even remember ANY part of my own 30 minute speech at my own graduation a year ago. Maybe she was on to something here. She took an important line that most of us (including myself) needed to be reminded of. How often do we forget to really “seize the day?” And by that I mean, going through our everyday routines, as if we have many left. I may have heard this line before, but I needed to be reminded of it. I need to seize the day more.. take advantage of every opportunity, go on a random trip I’ve always wanted to take, help someone in need, catch up with an old friend, do something that scares me, learn something new. 

Maybe this was a lesson, that sometimes we need to be reminded of life lessons that we have become numb to.  How many of us live everyday by the Golden Rule? Take the Road less Traveled by? Dance as though no one is watching? 

I’m glad her speech was short, otherwise I would have forgotten something that my teachers and parents preached throughout my life, as did Robyn Williams in my favorite movie, The Dead Poets Society:

Carpe Diem! Sieze the day already! Life’s a tickin…

 

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“It’s only when they no longer care that you will not be pushed.” -Randy Pausch

21 May

As I anxiously awaited my performance review at work today, I was reminded of a story that really stood out to me in Randy Pausch’ “Last Lecture.” For those of you who haven’t read our previous blogs, Randy was a professor at Carnegie Mellon, who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in 2006.  His “Last Lecture” which he gave in September 2007 and has since turned into a book, has since become quite famous as its filled with wisdom, humor and life lessons. (I would definitely recommend watching the Lecture on YouTube or reading the transcript)

In the Lecture, he tells about an important life lesson he learned at the age of nine, playing Football for a pretty tough Football coach.  One particular practice he was being constantly drilled and yelled at the whole game. His Assistant Coach came up to him after and noted how hard he was being treated and said, “That’s a good thing. When your screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore, that’s when they gave up.” 

I have thought about this a lot since then, and found it to be a very important thing to remember as you work or go to school. If your colleagues, friends or boss’ see potential in you, they will give you constructive criticism and encourage you to do better. Sometimes you might have a day like Randy’s where you are constantly drilled, and feel pretty defeated.  The key is that you quickly pick yourself up and listen to their criticism, so you can make improvements to your work. 

I went into my review hoping for criticism (not too harsh of course) and thankfully was given a lot of things to work on in the next months. If I had gone in and my boss had said, “There really is nothing to improve.” I would have been worried. No matter how educated, intelligent, or driven you are there is ALWAYS room for improvement. 

Finding the Meaningful in the Menial

13 May

Today’s Dilbert cartoon hit a little too close to home for me. It brought me back to my days as a Case Assistant in a Law Firm (those long 4 months ago) where I spent most of my days lined up at the copy machine, panicking over minute details. Had I stapled the correct pages? Did I skip a page? Were they in order?

It definitely was a good ego-check, as every time I was feeling kind of important, an attorney would plop a stack of papers on my desk to be stapled ASAP, and I would put my head down and race to the copy machine. What I didn’t realize at the time, is that all of the stapling, binder-creating, and copying, was worth it. The experience working in a Law Firm enabled many of my colleagues to receive excellent recommendation letters, and have some great experience to put on their Law School Applications. The Attorneys recognized the Case Assistants that worked hard on these “menial tasks” and rewarded them with more responsibilities such as attending court or a deposition. 

No matter what position you have, and no matter how “menial” you deem your work to be, if you take it seriously it will pay off in the long run. When employers are asked to review your work to future employers or schools, they probably won’t describe you as, ” A great stapler, binder-maker and note-taker,” but as ” A driven individual that did their best at even the smallest tasks.” So Instead of passing off that copy job to the closest victim for fear of looking ” unimportant”, put your head up and realize that it is only the stepping stone to many future possibilities.

 

Being a Part of the Millennial Generation Pt. 2

13 May

Yesterday’s Presentation was so meaningful to me, I decided to share some more of the wonderful advice they have for our generation:

Abandon apathy: I think this is the MOST important thing that needs to be reinforced in our generation. If we care enough to speak and blog about politics and the future of our world, we need to take action and vote. More women vote today than men, and there is a great organization WE tv that is encouraging 1 million more women to register to vote before the election this year.

Create something new: Our world today accepts and encourages new products and ideas. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and tap into your inner inventor. Write that book you’ve been thinking about, Create a new website, open a new store. The most successful companies and products were created because someone had an idea, and followed through with it. 

Use your power: As the largest generation in the U.S., we need to use our size to our advantage. Collaborate with your peers and do something that is going to make a positive change. Use the many resources available such as the Internet and youtube to raise awareness of the many important issues facing us today.

 

Being a part of the Millennial Generation Pt.1

12 May

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I am currently in Chicago for the Marketing to Women conference and feel it is only right to share some of the knowledge and information that I have absorbed being here. There are some well known brand advertisers here such as Kraft and Engauge and some well-known CEO’s of companies that are finally realizing the need on focusing marketing to women. Women are the #1 consumer in today’s world and another interesting fact that I will touch base on again is that today more women vote than men ( I suppose Cady Stanton would feel her work paid off).

One of the most fascinating parts of the conference was a presentation done on the “Millennial Generation” (Those of us born from about 1977-1995) The women from Publicis a PR firm who conducted this study deemed Millennials “The Choice Generation” because of the limitless possibilities in front of us. I felt fairly awkward being the only Millennial at the conference, but I couldn’t agree more with the descriptions of our generation: 

We are the most loved and protected generation: Our parents (the baby boomers) nurtured us and still do. A survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found more than 90% call their relationship with their mother close; 65% described a close relationship with their father. We are also finding a pattern, of moving home after college while searching for jobs to save money.

We are the most social: Play dates and social circles were formed as young as four years old. Social networks like facebook, myspace & twitter connect us to peers 24/7. 

We are the most indulgent: We spend a lot and put our credit cards through the gamit to have the objects and experiences we desire. We are not as concerned about the financial consequences.

We are the largest generation to date: This gives us the a wonderful opportunity to create change and do something meaningful.

We do what we want: The numerous media outlets in today’s society leave us with many opportunities to express ourselves.

We care more than any other generation about politics, health, organic living, the war & global warming and we pay attention to these topics.

After her presentation, I felt so proud to be a part of this Millennial Generation. Now is the time to take advantage of our many opportunities and make positive changes for our future. 

 

 

A Life Lesson from The Office

12 May

Last night while flipping the channels, I happened to stumble upon a re-run of The Office.  It’s hard to pick my favorite episode, but this one, “Dunder Mifflin Infinity” is definitely among my favorite episodes. As Ryan the old “temp” announces the merger of Dunder Mifflin and tries to implement a new website, Michael Scott does everything in his power to resist the change. His weapon of choice to defeat the big bad internet website?- . Gift Baskets.  As he explained to Phyliss, ” Gift baskets are… the essence of class and fanciness. They are the ultimate present a person can receive.”

While this is obviously a far-fetched idea, I saw some bravery and intelligence to it. Michael inevitably learns that he is unable to win over his old clients with cheese puffs and shortbread cookies, when their number one concern was being able to quickly order online. But Michael Scott was onto something- how depersonalized we have become as a result of the new technology processes that control our personal and professional lives. 

If you think about it,  how much easier is it to send a Facebook message, put up a twitter status, or text a friend than call them or see them in person? When you see a friend for the first time in many years, chances are you already are up to date on everything in their life thanks to Facebook and Myspace. As for companies, they barely even have contact numbers now, because everything is done through Paypal and responses are in email.  

Last week, I had sort of “gift basket” experience when I ordered perfume from a website. The order ended up not shipping, and when I called to tell them what happened, instead of brushing me off or shipping out a new one, they actually hand delivered it to my house. This gesture alone made me want to go back to purchase more items from the company, and tell all of my friends and family about it. Instead of treating me like another order number, I was a valued customer to them and their actions proved it.

Although Michael went overboard with the Gift Baskets, he reminded us of something very important. Yes we have to embrace new technology to be successful in our professional and personal lives. However, we can’t forget how valuable a phone call, a lunch date, an in-person meeting, a hand-delivery, or a surprise gift can be.

This is important to remember as you graduate, start a new job and move to a new city. You may be a whiz at Emailing, or the ultimate texter, but the best way to improve your relationships between clients and friends is through direct contact. The next time you have to email a client, give them a phone call or request an in-person meeting. Instead of writing on your old roommate’s Facebook wall, give them a phone call, or plan a trip to see them in person. 

As Michael Scott put it, “Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology. People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections.”  

Stayin’ Sane Weekend Guide

9 May


What: KFOG KaBoom! 2008

When/Where: Saturday, May 10th @ Piers 30/32 San Francisco

Why: Couldn’t afford Coachella? Well this may be the next best thing. Prince might not be making an appearance, but but Los Lobos, collective soul, and Matt Nathanson will be. There will also be plenty of delicious food from Salmon Tacos, to award wining BBQ, Cajun cookin’ and Asian/fusion. The day will be topped off by some spectacular fireworks

Cost: Just $15! Quite a steal if I may say so myself

 

What: Giants v. Phillie’s Game

When/Where: Sunday May 11, @ At&T Park

Why: Take your mom to a baseball game for Mothers Day! If you buy 3 tickets, mom gets in for free. AND in honor of Genetech’s Strike Out Cancer Day, the first 20,000 fans will be getting pink giants caps. It starts at 1, so you have time to take her to a nice brunch somewhere in the city. Can’t decide on a place? Go to OpenTable.com and view their Mother’s Day special menus and offers, and even make a reservation directly on the site.

*Tip: If you want to score some major points, stop on the way and grab a fresh boquet of flowers at a local flower shop. And don’t forget a card! Mom’s love those.. (10 extra points from myself if you find one that doesn’t have “special” in it) 

 


‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”-Edmund Burke

7 May

I overheard about the Tropical Cyclone that hit the Southeast Asian country of Miyanmar over the weekend, and immediately turned on the news this morning to hear about any updates. I shouldn’t have been surprised when the Newscasters introduced the main stories which included an update on Britney Spears, but not the women, men and children sorting through the rubble, and mourning over lost loved ones in the Aftermath of this terrible disaster. Instead I perused the internet and read through many articles and youtube videos to educate myself on this.

On May 2, 2008 Cyclone Nargis battered Myanmar being the worst storm to hit Asia Since 1991. As I write this blog, CNN has just informed me that the death toll has risen from the 22,000 claimed this morning to over 100,000. The delta region was the hardest hit, with nearly 95% of the homes being destroyed. Survivors have stormed the streets and reopened shops, waiting for relief that has been hard to provide, due to the military regime controlling Myanmar. 

The media has since provided us with a great deal of statistics to try to describe the devastation of this disaster. However we have to remember that these numbers and percentages are real people… fathers, sons mothers daughters, real people like you and me that are trying to cope. We can look back and blame people, point fingers, but the fact is that this happened and we need to take action. It may be hard for the relief organizations to enter now, however lets make sure that they have the needed supplies when they are given the opportunity to help. The next few days are critical for the vulnerable populations, and without the necessary supplies, the situation will only get worse. Below are some organizations that are helping the victims of this disaster and in need of donations. Even one dollar makes a difference:

 

Unicef: They are are focusing on water and hygeine, providing items such as oral rehydration salts, water purification tablets, essential medicines, first aid kits and shelter materials. 

DirectRelief International: This Santa Barbara based nonprofit is supporting medical teams heading to Myanmar.

Save the Children: They are addressing the needs of the hundreds of thousands of children and families now homeless in Myanmar. They are providing their immediate needs such as food and non food items such as water and shelter.

World Food Program: They have already sent four aircraft with critically needed food and to Myanmar. The need for food is growing everyday. A simple donation will save the lives of the thousands of people now unable to eat due to the devastating crop losses. 

Google: They have conveniently provided a link on their homepage to directly donate to funds supporting the cyclone such as Unicef and DirectRelief Internation. Just another one of the many reasons I love Google. 

 

A Few of my Favorite Facebook Apps..

7 May

When I first got Facebook in college, it was more of a way to connect with the people in my dorm room. I checked in once in awhile purely for friend requests and pokes. I never would have thought that 5 years later, it would become a huge social networking site, where I could check my friends’ status, play fun games, connect with friends and family members, or even find jobs and roommates. They have since developed thousands of applications for your desktop and the web. While Bumper-stickers and Scrabulous may be fun (and addicting) there are some other great Facebook applications that recent graduates and young professionals should take full advantage of. I have listed 5 of my favorites below:

 

LinkedIn Contacts: This app allows you to share and view your LinkedIn contacts. After typing in your LinkedIn account information, you can view all of your contacts and visit their Facebook profile or add them as a friend. This is a great way to take that connection a step further.

Jobs|Indeed: This website is one of my favorite sites for finding a job, and the facebook app is even better. It searches jobs based on your “resume” which is taken off of your job experience listed on your Facebook profile, and finds places similar to those positions at locations where your friends work. To test it out I typed in my profile and it immediately gave me an incredible amount of job listings for Project manager (my current position) at locations such as Kaiser and Microsoft where friends of mine work. Why is this is a great idea? You have an automatic inside connection at a company you are interested in. 

Gradzilla: This monster of an app from US News and Weekly Report, allows students to access the magazine’s rankings and info on graduate programs. You can search for schools by location, discipline or name, and add them to your list of favorites. You can even send polls to your friends asking them what graduate school they think you should go to. 

Causes: It can be hard to continue volunteering after college, without the many posters around campus reminding you of meetings, and continuous email feeds. Fortunately, this application allows you to stay connected by creating or joining a cause you love, which is linked to a registered non-profit organization. Once you join, you can donate, invite friends to raise awareness and be notified of upcoming events and fundraisers. It’s proof that facebook can really be a viable platform for social change.

Jobster: They had me at the tagline, ” There’s more to life than poking.” This app takes finding jobs to a new level, enabling you to join the “talent network” of your choice of company or field, and in turn receive personalized job alerts. You can also post your resume, and see if you have an inside connection at the company of your choice based on your friend network. If you don’t believe me, ask the 2, 720 daily active users. This applications is a must for anyone on facebook looking for a job. 

Daily Inspiration

6 May

“Everything in life is connected somehow. You may have to dig deep to find it but its there. Everything is the same even though it is different. Somehow everything connects back with your life. The faces in certain places may be different, but the situation is the same. Irony is a hidden factor that creeps around us in life, letting its presence felt only after it has left. Picture back to a year ago and the situation you were in. Look at how things are different yet somehow everything is still in someway cognate. Everything connects together to form the balance of life, to maintain structure. Change is and ways will be inevitable, but everything else is relative, and all the moments and times in your life will come back around again, you might just find yourself on the other side of the coin. things are always changing, as fast as everything stays the same.”– Anonymous

I saw this quote this morning and realized that it has almost been one year since I have graduated from college. Wow it is a little crazy to think about considering how much has changed in one year but also how fast it has passed  by. I feel that this quote has truth to it because when I think about how different my life is from last year when I was feeling crazy and finishing up finals and wondering what was next for my life,  I am still the same person and although my life is 180 degrees different from college it is still so much the same. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I still have all the relationships that are meaningful and important very much intact even if some of them are more distant than they used to be.

Graduating from  college and entering the “real world” is one of the biggest steps one takes in life and even though my every day life is so different what I am doing, where I live, who I spend my time with, what I spend my time doing; I don’t feel different I still feel like the same person I was this time last year. It is important to remember that although so much has changed already, it is going to continue to change. And although a whole year has gone by, I am still so young and still have so many choices and opportunities that lie in the future.

It is easy to get caught up in the daily grind when you start working because you don’t have classes at all different times or activities like you did in school. You go to work and then the gym and then home and watch TV ( if you are like me) its so easy to fall into this routine and just get stuck. This makes life boring and monotonous, its important to remember that work is work and you still need to get involved in the things that make you happy and that you were involved in at school. You can still do activities, go out, have side jobs or pursue something you enjoy even if it isn’t the job you currently have.

After being a college graduate for a whole year I have learned the most important thing to do when encountering change, is embrace it. The year after you graduate can be filled with struggles, challenges, hardships, accomplishments but will definitely be full of change.