Tag Archives: generation y

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!

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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.

The Power of a Technology Driven Generation

27 Jan

On January 12, 2010 a massive catastrophe hit the poverty-stricken country of Haiti.  Over the past two weeks there has been an enormous amount of people around the world rallying together to get behind the cause by donating money and time. Different from any other disaster of our time this one has benefited most from modern technology and specifically social media.

Moments after the earthquake people were tweeting about their missing loved ones, facebooking the masses and creating websites where individuals all over the world could post alerts for missing and found people. Due to the lack of cell service communicating online was crucial. Also, because of technology people instantly sent money faster than ever before.

Some of the most successful instruments for doing this were through text messages and  through itunes accounts where your money was automatically added to your existing bills. One particularly heartwarming story was from the UK where a little 7 year old boy was so moved by the images on the news that he pledged to bike around a local park and asked people to donate via an online fundraising page and has already raised $240,000 from people who got word of his efforts.

Thanks to real-time communication platforms online hundreds of people were found and thousands of people were able to receive up to the minute updates. Through this process we  witnessed the true power of social media via technology to not only allow people across the world to come together, but to actually save lives when sudden devastation strikes.

Through this heartbreaking tragedy a beautiful thing happened- the world came together instantaneously to give whatever they could and technology helped facilitate this process. This was a great lesson of the profound strength of both technology and social media being used for good. Since Generation Y is the most active and familiar with technology of this sort I think it is our responsibility to use this as an example and create new ways to use these tools for social good. Instead of waiting for another natural disaster to occur let us join forces and brainstorm new ways to cause positive change via technology and through the onslaught of available communication platforms online.

As for Haiti it is going to take a lot of time and money to rebuild their country so please continue to do what you can to help.

Action is the real measure of intelligence. – Napoleon Hill

How To Relieve Stress At Work

29 Jan

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I was on a meeting with my co-worker the other day, when he said to me ” Believe it or not, as the project manager  you should be more stressed out than anyone- stress is a good thing!” To which I replied in my head- “What? Since when is stress a good thing? If I am stressed out, doesn’t that mean I don’t have all the projects under control?”

I’ve always been a calm, quiet person, and when I’m stressed, I don’t typically run around flailing my arms, yelling obscenities and sweating from head to toe. My stress episodes usually involve getting even quieter, until I feel the tears coming and retreat to my car to scream and vent to my mom for an hour. Now that I think of it- sort of reminds me of my first day of Kindergarten. Anyways, because of this I’m pretty sure my Boss thinks he needs to do anything it takes to make me more visibly “stressed out,” but I refuse to give in. Here’s some tactics I’ve been using lately that have kept me from pulling a Scarface in Half Baked:

1. Take a break: whether it’s walk outside or reading the news online, taking your mind off of the stressful situation helps. I prefer walking outside and getting some fresh air- it’s an instant relief.

2. Think before you say anything: Under stress it can be easy to blurt out whatever is on your mind. Ten minutes later, telling your boss ” I did not get a degree in picking up sandwiches!” will not seem like the best idea.

3. Delegate: don’t be afraid to ask for help- trying to juggle all of the tasks yourself will make you more stressed and less productive.

4. Exercise: Honestly this is the best stress-reliever. Whether it’s going to the gym or taking a walk or run outside, it will clear your mind and blow off steam.

5. Clear your desk and desktop: As the saying goes, ” A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind.” When your desk and computer are in disarray and you’re constantly searching for lost papers and files, it can be even more stressful. Make a folder that says ” to file” on your desktop and put all of the scattered files in there for later organizing. And even if it takes sacrificing a lunch break, file all of your papers.

6. Only focus on one thing at once: Even if you have ten projects to do in an hour, take a breath and devote a little time to only thinking and working on one project. Be honest, and if you cannot accomplish everything let your boss and clients know ahead of time.

7. Get a little Rowdy after work: No I don’t mean have ten beers and punch in windows. Watch a sports game with friends, join a community sports league, go to a concert, even watch the Bachelor (guilty)- any situation where it’s sociably acceptable to scream and yell in public or at your tv.

8. Be realistic: If you have 5 arms and 2 brains skip this one, but if not realize that you are only one person and can do so much. Don’t stress yourself out by over-promising. Break things into smaller, reasonable tasks that can be accomplished.

9: Try relaxation techniques: Breath deeply and count to ten (or 100 depending on how stressful you are) and Transport yourself to a happier place where there are no 10 hour work days or micro-managing bosses. Try drinking a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea.

10.  My favorite mantra which I say over and over to myself when I’m stressed is a quote I heard from The Secret: “Life isn’t nearly as serious as my mind makes it out to be.” Realistically the world isn’t going to end if I send an email ten minutes late, or forget to send something to a client (once not 500 times mind you). Yes, it will have repercussions and both parties will be mad but my life and theirs will not be over over one slip up. We will persevere…

Now back to my cup of tea and happy place.

Young People Who Rock

24 Nov

I just discovered this great new series on CNN, where every week, anchor Nicole Lapin, highlights people under 30 doing remarkable things. The best part is that she writes an intro on her blog ahead of time, so you can comment with any questions you’d like her to ask in the interview Friday. It’s a great way to learn and interact with a variety of young stars- from athletes, entertainers and political leaders, to community activists and entrepreneurs. 

Check out the interview above with Aaron Arnold, the 29 year old CEO of the company Music is My Business. After graduating from college, and working in PR, he decided to change his career path and find his true passion which was music. I love how he asked himself, “If money didn’t matter, what would I do?” His story, along with the others, encourages you to choose a career you are really passionate about.

What Do Cupcakes and Millennials Have in Common?

19 Nov

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, chances are you’ve noticed the recent cupcake craze. I didn’t really understand it, until about a week ago when my Boss brought in cupcakes from Sprinkles in Palo Alto.  As soon as I bit into the chocolaty gooey amazingness, I knew it was worth every one of the 500 plus calories that were in it. This was no ordinary dessert. Yes, this cupcake offered something that a chocolate chip cookie, double fudge brownie, and piece of funfetti cake could not. This new wave of decatent desserts, reminded me of something else: Millennials. I know what you are thinking, and despite waking up at 6am today, I am not sleep deprived. Here’s what I think we have in common:

They Influence Each other: Is it just me, or did 1 cupcake shop open, and then 500 others like it open as well? This is similar to how Millennials influence each other (with the recent election being the best example). Growing up on Facebook, Myspace and Linked-in, Millennials are heavily influenced by their peers, and always connected with one another. 

They’re Multi-Taskers: One single cupcake can do many things, from cheering someone up to satisfying a sweet tooth and making the perfect wedding dessert. Millennials, who have a difficult time remembering what life was like before Email on cell phones, have also mastered the art of doing multiple things at once. They’re often spotted checking their emails, while talking on the phone, Facebooking and updating their twitter status.

They Find a Bigger Purpose: Millennials are always looking for ways to help others and impact the world around them. Take the recent popularity of green jobs, for example, which recent graduates are fighting to obtain after college. They use social media to their advantage, drawing awareness to many social and political issues. With a few exceptions of course, people rarely make cupcakes just for fun. They’re used for bigger things such as celebrating a wedding or friends birthday, or bringing a smile to someones face. 

They’re Nurtured and very protected: You don’t just plop some dough on a pan, let it cool and its done.  You have to add just the right ingredients, give them a perfect swirl of icing and then add a little design at the top. And the work isn’t done after they are baked- you have to take special care to make sure they’re not smudged, toppled or smeared. This is similar to Millennials, who are known for being overly nurtured and protected by their parents. Millennial Parents, are very involved in their childrens’ lives giving them a strong sense of self-worth and entitlement. 

They work best in groups: Honestly, have you ever given someone just 1 cupcake? Chances are you give them a bunch of cupcakes (or at least 3). Millennials also work best together, attending schools that encourage group work and collaboration. Their connection to one another through technology, gives them a preference for group decision making and social networking. 

They are often seen as a threat to older generations: Cupcakes, like Generation Y, pose a definite threat to their [cookie] predecessors. They enter the market with high expectations, changing the rules and with an apt for the latest technologies.  Businesses have been forced to re-vamp their ways to better embrace and understand this new generation. [Mrs Fields]

They have high hopes: Armed with college degrees and the self-entitlement given by their parents, Millennials graduate ready to take on the world (and their CEO). Umm, have you ever seen a flat cupcake? I didn’t think so. The higher the frosting, the better! (Just not when it’s so high that it topples over and makes you sick). 

They’re Pricier: When I was younger, my friend and I had a cupcake stand, selling them for 25 cents each. I may have to start one now, seeing as they’re going for up to 5 dollars a cupcake. Similarly, Millennials are entering the market expecting a higher base salary directly out of college. They’ve certainly taken pay cuts with the current economy, but high expectations remain the same.

They celebrate diversity: If you think you can open a successful cupcake shop serving only vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, think again. Cupcake shops now offer a variety of flavors from Lemon Ginger to Chai Latte. Millennials, (for the most part)  have been raised to celebrate diversity and be tolerant of all races and cultures. If you attended any of the recent Prop 8 Rallies, I’m sure you noticed the large amount of young protesters speaking out against discrimination. Coupled with their passion for politics, this is making great changes that will be witnessed for generations to come.

10 Rules for Email Etiquette

30 Oct

 

Photo Courtesy of Simon Davidson
Photo Courtesy of Simon Davidson

I was going to make this entire post a rant about how much the caps lock button bothers me, but instead I decided to write about email etiquette in general, or as I read elsewhere, “Netiquette.” Email has become so commonplace that we have grown lazy when we write it, throwing all grammar rules, spelling and and formality to the wind. How much does it make you cringe when you read an email that has tons of exclamation points, misspellings and misplaced apostrophes? (I myself am guilty). Here’s what I think are the top ten rules of Email writing that should always be followed:
1.DO NOT USE THE CAPS LOCK: I’m not entirely sure why this terrible button was placed on our keyboards in the first place. Okay, maybe it makes it easier to type a title, but how often do you really do that? I think all keyboard companies should get on the bandwagon that One Laptop Per Child keyboards are on, and get rid of this button entirely. Some people use the caps lock key to emphasize words, however to most, the use of caps implies yelling and is very offensive. And two points extra offensive if you capitalize an acronym. Honestly, try to read an email from your boss that says I need this ASAP or FYI and not feel like your head is going to explode with rage. 
2. Careful using Acronyms: Never assume that the reader knows what you are talking about when you say “lol” or “BTW” or “NP.” Not everyone is a Generation Y avid texter. Spelling out the entire word will not only avoid confusion but make you seem more professional. Even universal ones such as ASAP can be confusing- to some this means 10 minutes, and to others this means a day (as we’ve all learned the hard way).  Always be specific PLZ.
3. Be specific in the subject: Your boss wants you to print a report that was forwarded to you from a colleague ‘ASAP” but you can’t find it anywhere in your email. Ten hour later, you find it under the subject, “Is it time for lunch yet?” This may have been funny at the time, but when you search for the email later, it will be very hard to find. Always be as specific as possible in your subject lines, titling it with exactly what is in the body of the email, for easy retrieval. 
4. Spell-check: For those of us that didn’t win the spelling bee in elementary school, word processing systems and most email servers have created spell checkers to do the job for us. No matter how fast you need to send the email, always spell check. A simple spelling slip up can change the email message completely and make you/your company look sloppy and careless. 
5. Easy on the Emoticons: Because the recipient can’t see your smiling face when you send the email, it may be tempting to put one in there with a little colon and parenthesis. However, these are often seen as informal and childish, so leave them out unless you are emailing your best friend or close coworker.
6. Double Check before you send: No one likes to be the joke of the Christmas party- the person who accidentally hit “reply to all” and sent out a rant to the entire company that was meant for one person. After you spell check, double check that you are sending to the appropriate person. And if you are applying to a thread, make sure that any new recipients have seen the previous emails within it. Lets say you email your coworker, ” Can you send me the excel sheet? My boss is driving me crazy for it!” Who then replies to you and cc’s your boss with the excel sheet. They may have not realized it, but your boss now knows that you think he’s crazy!  Also, make sure you have the appropriate email address. If you have 50 Ashley’s in your address book, it can be easy to send it to the wrong one, so make sure to double check. 
7. Resist sending office forwards. If you don’t send to 10 people in the next ten minutes like it says, and have a bad sex life for the next twenty years, it’s probably because of the mullet you’re still rocking, or insisting your Great Dane sleeps on the bed every night. The chain letter holds no power except to annoy people and clutter your inbox.
8. Use appropriate punctuation: Proper punctuation helps the reader understand the content of your message. If you are like me, and forget everything you learned in grammar school, take a crash course from the book, “The Elements of Style.”  I personally believe exclamation points should be left out of work emails entirely. Unless you are writing to Oprah or Bono, you should not be starting an email with “Hi…!” Even if a client has sent your deposit early, a simple comma after the “Thank you” should suffice. 
9. Write back promptly: Nothing is worse than getting a reply to an email you sent 3 weeks ago. Not only does it show you don’t care, but it is confusing to the original sender who has since forgotten why they emailed you in the first place. 
10. Be careful what you write: Unfortunately, emails don’t allow Indian givers- you can’t send an email and then take it back. Sending an email to your coworker about your boss, other coworker, or company may be used against you down the road. Most companies have access to your email and can check your email history if you are up for review. Even if you are sending a personal email, be careful what you write. Once you hit send it, it’s too late to take it back. 

A Wise Book Indeed

23 Oct

I always thought the word “obsessed” was overused. Well, I can confidently say this time that I am obsessed with Andrew Zuckerman’s book Wisdom . As in- it’s “preoccupying the state of my mind excessively” (thank you Webster). Andrew Zuckerman, one of the greatest photographers and filmmakers of all time, interviewed, photographed and filmed 50 of the greatest actors, writers, designers and business leaders all over the age of 65 for the Wisdom Project. I absolutely love the concept which was, “Inspired by the idea that one of the greatest gifts one generation can pass to another is the wisdom it has gained from experience.” 

This really got me thinking: Have we as Generation Y, failed to take advantage of the wisdom and experience that older generations have to share? Are we so eager to advance in our careers and make our own voice heard that we don’t listen to anyone else’s? 

Check out the film and book on his site here, and share your thoughts.

How to Look Like A million Bucks at Work Without Spending it. (For guys and gals)

22 Oct

I’m a firm believer in Sarah Jessica Parker’s Manifesto for her affordable clothing line, Bitten:

“It is every woman’s [and Man’s] inalienable right to have a pulled-together stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live.”

There is nothing worse than the feeling you get after you happily receive your first pay check only to find out you need to spend all of it on a new wardrobe for work appropriate clothes. We asked around for the best places to get fashionable work clothes for men and women without breaking the bank. Here’s what we found:

Kohls– They have some great deals, my favorite being Elle’s contemporary collection (yes as in Elle magazine!) and Vera Wang’s well-designed simply collection. For men, they have Ralph Lauren’s ever so classy Chaps line, as well as other nice brands with dress shirts and pants for as little as 25 dollars.  

H&M: This is the best store for finding fashionable work clothes for men and women. My roommate went here the other day to get clothes for a work conference and came out with a new wardrobe for less than 200 dollars. Where else can you get a cute, fashionable woman’s sweater for 12.50? And their men’s line is classy and fashionable without looking too feminine.

Forever21: This one’s not for guys, although they have come up with a pretty cool Heritage collection for casual wear. Although I’ve been to the three story store by my house over twenty times, it never ceases to amaze me when I first walk in the store and stare at the racks of wonderful, inexpensive clothes that surround me. But yes Virginia, there is a clause- you have to take the time to look through the racks of clothing to find the winners, and may have to brave an our or so line for the dressing room and checkout line. But for nice jackets, dresses and skirts to wear to work at a great price- its worth it.

Target: I was really suprised the other day when I walked into Target with my friend, and found she had never shopped there for clothes before. Apparently everyone has not gotten the memo of the improvements Target has made to its clothing department, with designers like Isaac Mizrahi, and Go International’s Jonathan Saunders. Also impressive is their men’s line which has polished blazers and suit jackets, sweaters, dress shirts and pants. (Hint* check out their “Wear to work” section online and never leave without checking the amazing shoe department)

Nordstrom Rack: Great place for finding designer shoes and work clothes up to half off. Check out their site for in-store events and locations. (And be sure to find out when their shipment comes in so you can get the good stuff before it’s taken.)

Banana Republic Sale: At 5’2 it can be pretty hard to find clothes that fit, especially blazers and nice pants that don’t have to be taken in. This is why I love the petite section at Banana Republic. The clothes can be pretty expensive on a tight budget, but they have the best sale section with cute tops and dresses for up to 50 percent off. Their guys line has a great sale section too with nice dress pants and suits for as little as 30 dollars.

Other Favs? Check out the sales sections of Express, The Limited and Macy’s.

Q&A With a Young Graphic Design Professional

22 Oct

I’m always intrigued with what recent grads like myself are doing- how long it took them to find a job, how they like their first job after college, tips for saving etc. Working at a design firm, I’m very impressed by the graphic designers that I work with and interested in how they became involved in graphic design (besides their innate creativity gene that I apparently was not born with). Their fantastic work is everywhere, from magazines, to advertisements, product packaging and web design. Eager to learn more, we sat down with our good friend Lindsay, who graduated in 2008 from Chico State University and is working as a graphic designer. 

Madgrad: What is your current position?

Lindsay: Junior Graphic designer at a large Design Company. It is my first job since graduation, and I’ve been there about 7 months. 

Madgrad: How did you find this job?

Lindsay:  I knew I wanted to work in the Bay area, so I looked up companies that I wanted to work for in this area and then contacted them directly. I think this was the best way, because I knew the company I was applying for and could tailor my resume, which often isn’t the case on Craigslist. I do know lots of people that have found jobs through Craigslist though, so I wouldn’t overlook it as a resource.

Madgrad: Why Graphic design?

Lindsay: As my fellow classmates voted me “most likely to be found in photography” I knew I had to do something with art, but I still wanted a BA. A teacher told me I’d like graphic design, so I thought I’d declare it as my major and try it out. I figured I’d change it a few times like everyone else does, but ended up loving it!

Madgrad:  Did you find a job right out of college? How long did it take? 

Lindsay: No, I did some freelance work while interviewing for permanent positions. It took me about a month and a half to find the right job.

Madgrad: Seems like you lucked out with the Job search! Did any former jobs, internships or classes prepare you for this position and help you get it?

Lindsay:  YES! I had two internships in college. One through the school and one I found on my own. I also took a really helpful class where you prepare your portfolio as well as run though practice interviews, presentations and critiques. 

Madgrad:  What do you most enjoy about being a graphic designer?

Lindsay: I get to be creative every day! Depending on the projects, I will usually get to do something new and different each day. 

Madgrad:  What’s the most challenging part of your work?

Lindsay:  Hands Down-the client. Normally a client will ask for something and you will provide them with options based on their visions. But I would say 9 out of 10 times they don’t choose the option you like the best. So sometimes you have to toss your best ideas to please a client. 

Madgrad: If you had one piece of advice to give to recent graduates looking to enter the design field, what would it be?

Lindsay:  Work on your portfolio! If you are able to get a version online always do that too. And once you have a job, always be updating your portfolio anyways. Eventually you will have to replace all your school projects with actual printed work. This is something I just realized I should be doing.

Madgrad: Living on an entry-level salary can be tough. Any advice you’d give to recent grads in similiar positions?

Lindsay: I lived at home for 6 months after college. This was the best thing I’ve done because I saved a lot of money and now actually have money to spend living in the city I recently moved to. Instead of spending money on rent every month, I was able to put that into savings. It definitely was hard at times, but it allowed me to focus on my work and now have money to spend going to dinner, shopping, and going out to meet new people. Oh, and I also recommend shopping at H&M and Forever 21 for work clothes- they’re cute without a hefty price tag. 

Thanks Lindsay! If you have any questions for her on how to start your career in graphic design, email us at themadgrad@gmail.com