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Business Card Giveaway!

29 Mar

There’s many ways to stay connected in our digital age- LinkedIn, Facebook, phone applications like Bump. However, when it comes to networking, nothing replaces a good ol’ business card. I feel like this is something every young person starting out in their career should have. Whether you’re interviewing, at an event or dating, having your contact info easily accessible is very useful.

The kind folks at Uprinting are giving away two sets of their awesome Die Cut business cards to two lucky readers. For a chance to win, leave a comment below with how you plan to use them. Two winners will be chosen at random Friday, April 1st. Details Below:

1.  2 readers will be getting a set (250pcs each) of Die Cut business cards (Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded Single-Corner, Half-Circle Side, Circle); 14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated on a 6 Business Days Turnaround; Front Only or Front and Back printing

2. Restriction: Limited to US residents 18 years old and above only.

Don’t forget to  Like UPrinting on Facebook and share the love with your friends! (http://www.facebook.com/uprinting)

[This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given. For more information about business cards, please visit http://www.uprinting.com/business-cards.html.]

Good luck!

Laptop Lunches and Desktop Collages

25 Jan

Hello lovely readers!  I have two obsessions lately that I just have to share.  I’m always getting bored with my desktop wallpaper, so I like to change it up.  I found a site called Photovisi where you can make free collages online (and don’t even have to sign up). I made the collage above with a few of my favorite photos to use as wallpaper. I also did one of these with photos of my New years resolutions.

I was browsing Whole Foods this past weekend and saw they sold to-go bento boxes from Laptop Lunches. I’ve been spending far too much money lately (and calories) buying lunch at work. These are great not only for saving money but portion control. You can check out my first bento meal attempt above.

We promise more posts to come! Jen has moved to NYC and will have lots of exciting stories to share!

Inspiring Words from Goethe

4 Nov

I found this excerpt from Miereille Guiliano’s (Author of Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire) recommended reading list and just had to share:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans; that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would have come their way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I couldn’t love this quote more. Happy early Friday everyone! Hope your weekends are full of bold, powerful steps toward your dreams!

 

 

If You’re Bored At Work, This May Be Why…

19 Oct

This is a guest post from fabulous writer Liz O’Neill who writes college and career-related articles for several websites and higher education blogs, including eLearners.com, GradSchools.com and the Huffington Post’s College page. She’s also the Boston Examiner for online learning. You can follow her on Twitter @SomethingKnew

Why You’re Bored at Work

Your first job after college should feel like a major accomplishment – especially if you landed it in this tough economy.  But for many professionals – young and old alike – work is not the rewarding experience they envisioned.  Instead, they count the unbearable minutes until day’s end.  They fight the urge to unplug the alarm clock every weekday morning.  They brave their commutes like a recurring death march.

And all because: they are bored by their jobs.

Sitcoms and films like The Office and Office Space garner such devoted followings because the stories they depict are so bitterly familiar.  Nonsensical protocol.  Inept superiors.  Petty status wars.  Unnerving minutiae.  In the abstract, these annoyances are comical.  In reality, they threaten workers’ productivity, morale, and overall quality of life.

Being bored at work is very different from the benign frustration of a kid on a rainy day.  Your career is a major part of your life; it’s both how you define yourself and how you support yourself.  If your professional goals and responsibilities aren’t progressing, or at least stimulating at their current level, you’re more likely to burn out, underperform, or just plain quit.  Identifying why you’re bored will help you isolate the best solution and rehabilitate your daily grind.

The Work Is Too Easy for You

This sounds like a fact you would promptly recognize on your own – and perhaps you already have.  But a surprising number of employees don’t recognize that they’re bored because they’re simply not being challenged.  One reason people fail to notice is that every new job entails a fair amount of stress and adjustment.  At first, you might feel mentally taxed without realizing that very little of that effort corresponds with your actual work duties.

We’re also conditioned to believe that less work or an “easy” job is appealing.  We might think that we envy the receptionist, who fields a few phone calls but spends most of the day filing her nails.  Or we might compare our choices with those of similarly-paid, but less pressured workers.  Toll booth attendants earn a higher hourly wage than teachers’ aides.  Should we too have opted for something simpler?

No, say career counselors.  Time and again job satisfaction surveys indicate that people would rather be overworked and engaged than underworked and detached.  Over-extended employees at least enjoy the confidence that they are needed and trusted with multiple assignments.  Under-occupied employees are left wondering how employers perceive their worth, perhaps even second-guessing their own abilities.

Very few jobs are inflexible to some form of review and expansion.  Ask your boss if you can be included on a new initiative, or take charge of an independent assignment.  No one will fault you for wanting more responsibility.  And if you do well, you’ll be promoted that much quicker.

Your Contribution Is Unclear

If you work in a hospital or a social services environment, you’re lucky enough to see the results of your labor every day.  (These working environments, of course, also come with many downsides and up-close perspectives on life’s saddest injustices.)   But a great many people work for companies and organizations that pen employees behind a wall of facelessness.  The higher ups don’t know the underlings names or what they do.  Worse, the employees themselves aren’t aware of how their efforts impact the bottom line.  How do such workers derive any sense of contribution?

They waste time on Facebook.

NielsenWire recently featured a post that showed Americans’ online activity preferences are overwhelmingly interactive.  Despite our love of leisure, we don’t primarily use the Net to watch videos or shop for shoes.  In actuality, Americans are far more interested in online activities that allow them to contribute.  Most notably, we participate in social networks.  Reading, responding to, and updating profiles is nearly tantamount to a part-time job; it’s certainly more taxing than surfing eBay.  Yet Americans would rather do the work, and feel socially involved, than zone out, and feel isolated.

What’s the takeaway?  Managers shouldn’t be surprised when you ask to get looped in on status updates or company reports.  Make it clear that you’re not looking for praise, but a clearer way to understand and improve upon your performance.  If your company doesn’t require it already, ask for a list of your personal business objectives.  Sit down with your supervisor at regular intervals, to weigh how thoroughly you’re meeting those objectives.

There’s No Room for Individuality

Many experts submit that “boredom is not a consequence of lack of things to do, but is due to an inability to connect with a specific activity.”  How you connect with your job is surprisingly similar to how you connect with friendships or even romantic relationships.  That is, you inject your distinctive personality, your strengths, your creativity, your unique way of thinking.

If you can’t connect, the relationship is bound to fail.  But “creativity,” despite how we often think of it, doesn’t have to mean wildly artsy projects.  On the job creativity can be as simple (and as effective) as suggesting a new approach to a client concern.  It might also mean planning an office picnic, or some other event aimed at employee welfare.

Anything that creates an interesting foothold for you can be the start of newfound enthusiasm for your work.  Research suggests that an employee’s level of pride in his or her company directly correlates to his or her productivity, and eventually to consumer satisfaction with the brand.  In other words, find a way to make work “yours.”

If you work on an assembly line, you’re probably doubting that there’s any way to add your creativity to 8 hours of repetitive tasks.  And you’re probably right.  Some roles are inherently cut and dry.  Employers who have to staff such roles view high turnover rates as the cost of doing business. But you don’t have to view yourself that way.

In the short-term, many of us rely on less than ideal jobs to feed our families and stay afloat.  In the meantime, it’s still important to recognize that the job is less than ideal, so you can begin to plan an exit strategy and a more satisfying career path, along with whatever training that entails.

Thanks Liz! As we venture out into our daily routine these are great and important factors to take into consideration, after all if you are going to spend eight hours a day working you should feel challenged, stimulated and happy.

Navigating Through The Stress Of College Life

1 Oct

We think college is hands-down the best four years of your life. From the people you meet, the experiences you have, to the lessons you learn, you make memories that will truly last a lifetime. Yet, when you’re in the middle of a semester and juggling a heavy load of classes, working a part-time job, gaining experience at an internship, participating in sports and academic clubs, being part of a fraternity or sorority, and oh, having some time to enjoy yourself – it may feel like you’ll never get out alive! College can be very stressful, but learning to combat that stress can greatly assist you in preparing for the stress of life after college. Here’s some tips for getting you through it!

Get Yourself Organized!
Some people have more of a knack for it than others, but committing to being more organized is an important first step. Create a Google Calendar or use the calendar on your cell phone to schedule yourself – put in when you have sports practice, when clubs meet, and any other meetings or regular activities you need to attend to. Then, create an ongoing to-do list for yourself using a whiteboard or a simple word document, and list out all the things you need to do, and organize them according to their priority levels. Jotting all of your meetings, events, and to-do’s down goes a long way in easing your stress – just having to remember all of that can cause stress! Plus, the feeling of crossing items off your to-do list is so satisfying, isn’t it?

Schedule In Some Me-Time.
We know it might seem a little odd to add “me-time” to your calendar, but trust us, you’ll need the reminder to take a breather and focus on yourself. We recommend scheduling at least an hour of leisure time each day, where you can spend time doing whatever you’d like – relaxing in front of the tv, hitting the gym, spending time with friends – this time is all about YOU, so spend time enjoying yourself!

Gravitate Towards Happiness!
When we’re stressed, we tend to naturally gravitate towards people and things we find unpleasant. Instead, train yourself to focus on the positives in your life, and spend time with the people who make you happy. We can’t avoid everything we find unpleasant, but you don’t have to wallow in it. If you
find yourself succumbing to the stress doldrums, think of three places, events, and people you enjoy. Surround yourself with photos and reminders of them. Include quotes that inspire you, on your desk, on your notebooks, and even on your cell phone.

You can beat stress, and committing yourself to getting through the stress and loving all the great things in your life will put you a mile ahead of the pack when you graduate from college and face the stress of the “real world” head on. Take it from us – owning GreekForMe.com and being able to connect Greek members with the Sorority Apparel, Fraternity Apparel, and Greek Merchandise perfect for them is our dream job, but we’re quite the busy bees! Life is short, so learn to enjoy it, no matter how busy your life is!

This is a guest post that was written by Alicia of Greek for Me you can check out their own insightful blog here.
Thanks to Alicia and Greek for Me for giving our readers a fresh perspective!

Statecraft – An Idea Brought to Life

30 Sep

Below is an interview I conducted with the CMO of a company that he and a dear friend of my family created.

What gave you the idea for your company?

Joe, my business partner, and I went on a study abroad program called Semester at Sea where we traveled around the world on a ship and spent a week in 13 different countries. We would learn about a countries government, culture, and economy through reading and lectures and then spending a week in that country where we were able to experience what we had learned in class. This really illuminated political science theories and concepts. This interactive approach to learning really hit home with us and made us wonder why colleges back home weren’t utilizing this style of teaching. We knew we had to try and replicate the learning experience we had had on that ship to share with everyone

What were the first steps you took to bring your idea to life?

The first step to bring our idea to life was determining how to replicate the style of learning we had experienced on semester at sea. We decided the best way to do this was through educational simulations because of the immersive qualities that go along with them. Once we decided on a simulation we realized some pretty important details like: we had no money, no programming skills, and no idea how to build a simulation. These barriers were huge but we continued on with our goal and with time everything began to come together.

We met Dr. Jonathan Keller from James Madison University who had developed an in class simulation called Statecraft, which was designed to replicate core dynamics of world politics so students will face the same tradeoffs, opportunities and challenges real world leaders face each day. In doing so students will gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of world politics and gain insight into a host of critical concepts, theories, and real world cases. The biggest problem Dr. Keller had with Statecraft was the enormous amount of time it took him to orchestrate the program since it was not automated. This is where we stepped in and took Statecraft to the next level, turning it into a completely automated web based program. Statecraft incorporates the exact style of learning we wanted to replicate from semester at sea.

What was the biggest road block you faced trying to build your company?

The biggest roadblock we have faced has defiantly been the lack of a programming background for anyone in our company. We have had to outsource our programming work to a third party which has not always gone as smoothly as we would have liked. We look at everything as a learning experience though, so we do nothing but learn from bumps in the road.

What is the goal of Statecraft?

Statecraft was designed with 2 main goals in mind. First, it had to be an effective teaching tool. We wanted to take abstract concepts and theories that students often find difficult to grasp, and make them vivid and clearly understandable. We want students to personally experience the challenges and complexities of world politics. The second goal was to make the simulation as fun and addictive as possible. We wanted students to have an intense, emotional investment in their countries’ fate and to care deeply about what happens in this virtual environment. Students have the freedom to explore their world, conceive and implement whatever plans and schemes they think might solve global problems or advance their country’s interests.

Who is your target audience?
Our intended audience is college students taking entry level International Relations classes or ones similar. We are however in a strange market, where we do not go directly after students rather, we need to gain the attention of their professors to sign off on Statecraft and add it as part of their curriculum.

How is Statecraft going to change the course of education?
Statecraft is going to show students that you can learn without knowing you are learning. And show professors how much more engaged and retentive students are to the theories presented to them in class. We think that grades are great motivators to learn, however, some of the most average or uninterested students happen to be some of the best players in Statecraft.

Now that you are in beta what is the next move?
Now that we have a finished product we are beginning to reach out to professors all over the country to try and get Statecraft in their classroom for the Spring of 2011 and beyond._

To find out more check out their site: Statecraft or if you have questions head here

College in America – Infographic

27 Aug

Currently regretting not going to Frostburg State University and taking The Science of Harry Potter Class…

Commencement Speech by Jeff Bezos

3 Aug

I came across this Graduation Speeh today on TED, by Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon. The whole speech is wonderful, but the end (pasted below) really struck me.  I think these are important questions to ask yourself at any point of your life.

How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?

Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?

Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?

Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?

Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?

Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?

Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?

Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?

Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.

MTV’s hired- A great show for recent grads (or anyone!)

27 Jul

Ok, so I think we can all agree that MTV isn’t known for having the most educational shows. (Jersey shore anyone?) While the history channel is the peas (depending on your nerd level), MTV is definitely the dessert, the guilty pleasure.

That’s why I was surprised to find “hired”, a show where they follow recent college graduates on interviews. They have a variety of fields- salons, makeup company, pr studios, ect. I found it really interesting to watch the people on their interviews, and listen to the interviewers critiques on their resumes and answers. It’s funny bc from an outside perspective it’s completely obvious who is right for it and who isn’t.

I wasn’t able to embed the video to this post, so follow this link to watch the episodes available online. It’s a great chance to see what hiring managers are looking for and talking about, behind the scenes.

PS- I love the question the tv company asked, “What tv character do you most identify with?” I’d love to ask this as a question for any interview!

Oh college!

23 Jul

Only in college…

Happy Friday Mad Graders!