How Facebook Posts Affect Your Job Hunt (image)

Survey question:  Have you ever rejected a candidate because of what you saw about them on a social networking site?


(survey below)


Below is part of an article published on TheAtlantic.Com

What are your thoughts?






Wharton comments on "Masculine Norms" and how they affect women’s career trajectories…


I don’t understand why professional norms are classified as either “masculine” or “feminine”. Perhaps a professional norm is sufficient without the hyper-focus on gender issues which mostly create unnecessary inflammation around examples.


‘Masculine Norms’: Why Working Women Find It Hard to Reach the Top – Knowledge@Wharton

LinkedIn Discussion: Mentors, Sponsorships, and Obsessing about the Glass Ceiling (.pdf; links)


I’m spending a lot of my time volunteering and connecting with people on LinkedIn and other websites.  I find this a rewarding use of my recent free-time (despite the extra weight I’ve gained).  Below is a recent discussion with a fellow Dress For Success volunteer on the DFS LinkedIn Group about women and mentorship.  If you have any insight, please do share.  


Thank you for visiting our blog.


3P



DFS Group-member’s response to Forbes.com article:


Corporate America only “pays” for those that have positions that are at a higher level, which to me, seems terribly unfair. We all contribute to the company’s success and since we are the right hand to the Sr. Executive that is creating the decisions, we should absolutely be mentored and have that person guide us in either how we can help them in a better way and ourselves for the future in that company. 

I CAN say I have had one or two wonderful bosses that have taken the time to mentor me the best they can, in the time small period alloted and I have asked them to. But it was not a initiative. So, I ask anyone and everyone that I work with, “What is it that I can do better, what have they done in their careers to get them where they are, etc.”

So, I would like to know how different a sponsor would be , as these people also advocated for me? Thanks so much! 



Our response to fellow DFS member:


Hi –
  I’ll look for the recent study published regarding the effects of sponsorships vs. mentorships in a professional woman’s trajectory and send it to you (or post it).**
  Unfortunately, whether anyone “pays” to facilitate these relationships or not, it’s really up to ourselves to create opportunities and become visible to the organization in which we belong.
  I, personally, have had professional mentors in my industry which happened “organically”, as well as limited experience in a mentorship formally arranged by my previous firm.  
  Obviously, there are many factors and variables that would affect the outcome of each relationship.  To me, a professional “mentor” or confidante or even an inspiring leader to observe is better than none at all.  My experience suggests that genuine bonds easily form when there is natural curiosity by the mentee, natural leadership abilities in the mentor and some common ground and chemistry between the two.  Surprisingly, some inspiration have come from those in leadership positions with whom I had very limited interaction – they led via behavior and motivation.  And, their work and character are obvious when observing their behavior and interactions with others over a long span of time.  I’ve gotten close to a few senior level professionals my industry by virtue of having worked in the same field and city for ten years.  These are informal “mentors” on whom I can rely to serve as ‘soundingboards’ for myself when I have specific questions, and they have consistently provided me with honest and good advice.  
  As with any relationship, a lot of it is trial and error.  I’ve been disappointed, betrayed and let down by professionals I’ve trusted.  No one goes to work to make ‘friends’.  
  The key is to cultivate and care for these relationships as they are precious [I still struggle with effectively demonstrating this].  It’s quite generous for others to take time to provide you with insight it has taken them years of experience to acquire.  Their time shouldn’t be taken lightly.  Furthermore, it helps when you’re naturally inquisitive about the person as opposed to framing the question as a request for specific steps to take to reach the top.  I find there is no answer to the question, “how can I reach the stars?”.  To each their own.  However, regular conversations with a trust professional in your field (not working in your office, preferably) can provide you with an extra set of eyes to your specific situation, thus allowing you to have a wider perspective before making big career decisions.
  I’m naturally curious about people.  I love reading biographies.  And, I’m the same when I meet people who I find fascinating – whether their “higher up the chain” or nowhere near a chain.


I read an excellent quote yesterday paraphrasing Cornell West’s comment.  I like it because it reminds me not to lose sight of the bigger things in life and who besides ourselves to consider:


Stop obsessing over only the glass ceiling & remember people in the basement & on the seventh floor.
(- Cornell West)

Catalyst Study Shows Sponsorship is Key to Women’s Success

NEW YORK (August 17, 2011)—For women especially, it takes more than meeting expectations to get noticed in today’s workplace. Female employees who work hard and play by the rules are often overlooked when it comes to plum assignments and big promotions. According to Sponsoring Women to Success, the latest in Catalyst’s groundbreaking series of reports on women and sponsorship, effective sponsorship is critical to accelerating a woman’s career—from getting her noticed by senior-level executives to being considered for her company’s top jobs.
Key findings of this report include:
Sponsorship matters, especially to women. “Good sponsors can supercharge a woman’s career by providing her with access to essential networks, bringing her achievements to the attention of senior-level executives, and recommending her for key assignments,” said Ilene H. Lang, President & CEO of Catalyst. “Effective sponsors also provide career coaching and guidance that enable protégés to make broader and more strategic contributions to their organizations.”
Previous research shows that women can be penalized for exhibiting self-promoting behavior considered acceptable in men but unappealing in women. Because good sponsors recognize and reward talented employees by speaking up on their behalf, sponsorship can help high-performing female employees subvert this double bind.
Sponsorship benefits sponsors, protégés and organizations. A protégé’s career is clearly enhanced by a good relationship with a sponsor. But sponsors benefit too—by establishing reputations as discerning leaders invested in talent sustainability, as powerful contributors to their organization’s success, by learning from employees at every level, and gaining leadership skills that can further enhance their own careers. Sponsors also reported a sense of satisfaction from actively supporting the careers of their most promising employees. Sponsorship benefits companies by creating more effective and committed teams and fostering a “pay it forward” mentality that makes employees feel valued and supported.
Senior-level executives must recognize sponsorship as a necessary component of good leadership. Executives should understand what good sponsorship entails and how to use their influence to advance high-performing employees’ careers, be vocal advocates for their protégés, and build a foundation of support that will ensure their protégés’ continued success in the organization. Executives can become sponsors by paying attention to high-performing employees at all levels of an organization, including those who may often go unnoticed.
There is no “silver bullet” for attracting the attention of a high-level sponsor. Sponsoring Women to Success reveals that sponsorship is earned. To attract sponsors, employees need to make their skills, strengths, and work known to colleagues as well as senior leaders. They must build reputations as flexible, collegial professionals who are consistently committed to their own career development.
Smart companies create environments where sponsorship thrives. Companies must explicitly and transparently communicate an expectation of sponsorship to their executives. “At Catalyst, we believe that sponsorship is something good leaders do,” noted Ms. Lang. “Companies that educate their employees about sponsorship, link it to talent management systems, and make it a hallmark of organizational strategy will reap tremendous rewards.”
Successful sponsorship is a win/win/win. Everyone wins when employees make their talents visible to executives, when executives truly invest in high-performing talent, and when companies foster an expectation and an environment in which sponsorship can flourish:
  • High-performing employees, particularly women, gain critical, career-accelerating experiences and advancement opportunities.
  • Sponsors receive valuable feedback from protégés and build reputational capital as leaders committed to building a robust pipeline of talent.
  • Organizations increase employee engagement, retention, talent development and the strength of the talent pipeline.
A companion tool to this report, Fostering Sponsorship Success Among High Performers and Leaders, offers additional information on how high-performing employees can attract sponsorship, and how senior leaders can become effective sponsors.
American Express Company and Deloitte LLP were the Executive Circle Sponsors of Sponsoring Women to Success.
ABOUT CATALYST
Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading nonprofit membership organization expanding opportunities for women and business. With offices in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and more than 400 preeminent corporations as members, Catalyst is the trusted resource for research, information, and advice about women at work. Catalyst annually honors exemplary organizational initiatives that promote women’s advancement with the Catalyst Award.”

Additional References & Resources:
Link to:  Do You Have A Mentor/Sponsor? discussion on Linked In.
Link to:  Forbes article
Link to:  Catalyst published study:  effects of mentorship vs. sponsorship **
Link to:  Resources for Leadership article
Link to:  Center for Creative Leadership 


source:  http://www.catalyst.org/press-release/190/catalyst-study-shows-sponsorship-is-key-to-womens-success

‘Masculine Norms’: Why Working Women Find It Hard to Reach the Top – Knowledge@Wharton

I don’t understand why professional norms are classified as either “masculine” or “feminine”. Perhaps a professional norm is sufficient without the hyper-focus on gender issues which mostly create unnecessary inflammation around examples.


‘Masculine Norms’: Why Working Women Find It Hard to Reach the Top – Knowledge@Wharton

Professional Wardrobe: Creative vs. Traditional fields (images)

This post hopes to de-mystify dress codes in Creative Industries vs. Traditionally-run organizations by providing very broad and simplistic descriptions of each.  Obviously, while professionalism is tantamount in all organizations, there are differences in acceptable office wear depending on the organization.**


image 1





What defines a “creative industry”
Generally, “creative” companies in various sectors create ‘widgets’ that are unique and based on intellectual inspiration.  Creative fields include: advertising, architecture, publishing, software, art, design, fashion, film, music, games, TV, video games, etc….

“Judging from her fashion, I would imagine that Kelly sees design as the proper combination of key pieces. Take a look at these more casual ensembles, for example. Each is a much simpler silhouette with a more every day aesthetic, but there is an eye catching quality to each.” 


Since innovation is key, creative workplaces value and reward individuals who can think “outside-the-box” and create inspiration.  Usually, employees work within small teams on specific projects.  The teams are focused on successfully finishing projects in a profitable and timely fashion. 

Have you seen anything like this on the market?
Where one might find status symbols of wealth and success in traditional corporations expressed in styles that boast of heritage and a craftsmanship, (i.e. Mont Blanc pens, heirloom jewelry, Rolex watches, cuff links, boarding school affiliated insignia, Hermes scarves, Louis Vuitton luggage, etc…), in fields where human intellect and originality affect products and profit, the more esoteric the referenced aesthetic, the more value the individual is deemed to add.  Professionals dress in ways that differentiate themselves to signify their individual brand of creativity.

Interaction among team members and the exchange of ideas are encouraged. As a result, professional dress in these fields often serve as opportunities by which to display creativity, intellect and imagination (image 1).  Having a well-defined personal aesthetic becomes shorthand for brilliance and originality.  What new idea can this person bring to the group?  


The creative individual’s personal “brand” is the value they add to their organization, thus, they wear their brand proudly on their sleeve.


Uzo of Nars Cosmetics dictating her own brand of professional-wear.  She is a recognized for the originality she contributes to her field.  She is paid to think outside the box.  Her individuality and creative discoveries inspire others in her field.

Established business models:
Traditional corporate environments emphasize the organization’s vision, and each employee’s objective is to execute orders given from the top of the chain.  There is less importance placed on a person’s uniqueness. If you’re not in position to command orders, you’re not being paid to come up with ideas.  Ideas and best practices are provided to you. 

In other words, each group or functional division operates as one unit (read: everyone dresses alike) carrying out tasks outlined by the head of their departments.  A blueprint for how things are done most effectively is in place and provides guidelines for the most efficient way tasks should be carried out.

The focus is on the organization as a whole and the objective is to carry-out processes vital for the organization’s life.  Innovative ideas are provided by the organization’s leaders whose experience and expertise provide the group with the best direction to take.  Leadership in these organizations are paid to figure things out and make decisions;
others are paid to carry them out.  


“Separately, we are organized, results-driven and efficient.  Together, we are a well-functioning machine that will ensure your day-to-day operations are run effectively.”
These environments function well when individuals are consistent, predictable and view themselves as part of the whole. In other words, bold and “outside-the-box” thinking and clothing distract and disrupt the efficiency of a functioning streamlined process.  Imagine how disruptive it would be if we introduced a blood cell with fabulously glittered fuschia hotpants and the latest chloe jacket to a group of uniformly efficient red blood cells delivering blood to an organism’s heart.  In other words, shocking your team with your originality may debilitate the team’s ability to function and affect the livelihood of the organization as a whole.

“Our business unit has a process in place that can produce those widgets in half the time.  We, as a unit, are important to the organization’s bottom line.”
Each individual piece must fit well and operate under the same cadence to make the machine run smoothly.


“Hi, everyone.  I look just like my teammates in my collared, button-up shirt, and neutral-colored palette.  Also, this practical handbag carries useful tools making me a productive member of the organization.”


The corporate palette is simple:  grays, black and navy suits.  From topical view, groups are seen as one.  Again, the culture emphasizes efficiency, order and respect for an established blueprint.  There is a defined uniform.


“Give me an assignment, and you can consider it done.  I have a Navy Seals background and my goal is to help carry our team forward.”

While I make broad generalizations to illustrate my points, each office has its own culture and a smart job candidate will observe his/her surroundings to gain an understanding of culture.  Until then, prevent being a distraction by erring on the traditional side and observe people to understand what is generally acceptable in your new office environment.

Any healthy and productive organization will incorporate elements of each “type” in varying degrees depending on short-term and long-term goals.


CONCLUSION:

Whether and how individuality is expressed will depend on your field, company and immediate team.  Some professional environments invite individual taste to encourage exchange of ideas between team-members.  More established companies with operations in place will demand new employees to work according to their guidelines.  In both cases, the goal is to be professional, respectful and appropriately dressed.  Observation of one’s surroundings is the best way to tell what is considered acceptable in your new environment.

image 1

(**note: representations of “styles” in the above images are in sterile and generic form to illustrate points more clearly.  We understand this is not necessarily an accurate representation of groups as wholes.  Again, images are for demonstrative purposes only. Thanks.)

Source(s):
Imaginization:  The Art of Creative Management (business models)
Kelly Wearstler article by the NY Post

Harper Bazaar’s How to Dress for Success article

 

 

 

Pretty Pink Professional: Interview w. Prime-time TV Makeup Artist (images)



Have you ever thought about being a beauty consultant in the entertainment industry?  We interviewed the Dept. Head of Make-up for some of the biggest shows on television to gain insight on how to reach the stars in Hollywood.



3P: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

My first film [project as a make-up artist] out of Joe Blasco Make up school was “Galaxina”:  a very low budget feature that reaped great rewards especially professional experience.


3P: What is one thing you now know that you wish you knew about your industry when you first started?
Never date Actors.
3P: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
The late Dixie Carter (actor) was an influential person to me.  It was an honor to be in her presence.  She provided me with knowledge and tools that were useful beyond my career….
   
She demanded excellence and I was committed to producing consistently excellent results for her as I am now.
3P: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
Keep personal life personal. Work is work.
3P: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
Not getting my cosmetology licenses sooner.  Education is important if you want to continue to stay relevant and competitive. 
Although I learned a lot through experience and hands-on application, I eventually got my Esthetician’s licenses (after working on “Will & Grace” for eight seasons!), and it has provided my professional practice with even greater rewards.

3P: What is the best part of your job?
Aside from working alongside the most beautiful and talented people in the world, the best part of my job is getting paid to do something I’m passionate about. 
All work should be done with passion.  Passion produces consistently excellent results!

3P: What do you look for when hiring someone? 
I love those with excellent work ethic and who take initiative.
It’s helpful when a teammate does what is needed on his or her own accord without waiting for direction. 
I appreciate working around creative people because of their intuition to help when help is needed.


3P: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
     
1.  Before putting all your investment in a career in entertainment do your research!  


Learn about the industry as a whole (producers, actors, culture, etc…).
2.  Get your degrees and licenses as soon as possible.  
3.    Be realistic about how much you’ll make.  There are very few people in creative fields in highly competitive and oversaturated fields who can make a living from their craft alone. 
 Be prepared for the ups and downs, lack of job security, long hiatuses, strikes, etc…
4.  Educate yourself on personal finance, budgeting and saving for retirement.  
5.  Continue learning.  When you think you’re the best, it usually means you have a lot to go.

farah@myprettypinkponies.com

Patty is also the founder of APB Networking.  Patty and her team are award winning and Emmy-nominated hair and make-up artists dedicated to providing a solid network to others.  They promote ethics, collaboration and the highest professional standards.

Thanks, Patty and APB!

3P

Do you make a great first impression?


(Note:  If you are not interested in being likeable, please stop reading)

Forget about eye-contact and firm handshakes, here are three ways to make a lasting impression…

related articles:
10 ways to make more time for yourself” by chronicbabe.com
“Nice girl = Bad Networker” (Thanks to Connected Life)

Youth In The Office: Fed-Up! (Forbes article)

Forbes   Called-Out Comment Alert

The article:


“I’m 24. I live in New York City. I hate my job. Of course, I’m not supposed to say that. I’m supposed to feel accomplished to be young and employed and have benefits in this economic environment.


My life is a series of boxes on an assembly line. Today is just another box on my calendar. Every day I shuffle between a city apartment and an office cube, typing into rectangles, sending papers, signing papers, filing papers. What I do is not important. That’s the problem….”



Our response:

 Dear youth in the office: I, too, belong in this group. And, I, too, have felt your frustration. I’ve held various occupations since I was 16, and I’ve pushed paper in Dilbert’s office. I struggle between not feeling on track to achieve my full potential and a reality check. If I may make a suggestion that would provide you with a fresh set of eyes, it would be this: …
Sit in a “real” diner. One that Jonathan Gold would never been interested in visiting. Perhaps one in a struggling small town. Take a seat, look into the kitchen and observe the hourly workers prepare your meal.
Breathing in fumes and lard day after day in hairnets covered in grease…Then observe them when they clean up at the end of the day. Rinsing the kitchen mats, rinsing other people’s food off dishes, mopping the floor (I used to whine about this). Then reflect on your perspective again. Passion about one’s work often comes from being proud of the job you’ve done no matter what type of work you do. Pride in one’s work brings the “joy” you described. Enjoyment in one’s work comes with the sense of ownership you get when you give even the smallest paper-pushing task your absolute best effort while biting your tongue. It comes from feeling like you’ve grown and have crossed a rite of passage. All those people at the top whom I admire and strive to emulate have had to “do the dishes” at some point in their lives. It’s a prerequisite and a rite of passage for anyone on the path to achievement. Best of luck to you. Onward!


You received this email because you chose to receive alerts on Called-Out comments. 


Your comment was called out!


On this post: Youth In The Office: Confessions Of A Fed-Up Employee


Are you settling for ‘good enough’? (links, images, videos)

misery isn’t happiness’s foe; ‘good enough’ is – in your personal and professional life! 

You’ve heard the comparison before:  a job search is like looking for a mate.

If this analogy is anywhere near accurate, then I’m currently reading the job seeker’s version of Neil Strauss’ “Rules of the Game”.
.
His name is Harper.  And according to the story’s main character, he’s “big in the right places and small in the right places”.  The book’s title is “Harper’s Rules”, and the story is an entertaining account of the relationship between a superstar recruit and her superstar recruiter.

I don’t have an opinion on whether or not I see job-seeking as completely akin to mate-seeking, however, I agree there are at least a few similarities.  More importantly for myself, however, are the witty Harper-isms that make me laugh out loud and take notes.

Some examples of what we call “Harper-isms”:

“You’re riding Secretariat, love.  You don’t need to get on the merry-go-round.”
.
“BOTTOM LINE:  If you’re acting like you’re leaving your job, you’re leaving your job.  It’s just a matter of timing and opportunity.  Sometimes we do the right things before we’ve figured out why they’re right.”
.
“Are you staying because they “need you right now” and you “can’t do that to your colleagues?”  Are you disillusioned  but held hostage by guilt?”
.
and my personal favorite…
.
“misery isn’t happiness’s foe; ‘good enough’ is.” !!!



Some of “Harper’s Rules” on finding the best path to your dream job:

  1. Put your personal network on notice.
  2. Use direct, simple language.
  3. Network with two headhunters that specialize in your niche.
  4. Do your homework.
  5. Your resume is a highlight film; it’s SportsCenter, not the unedited game footage.
  6. Your resume is an advertisement; it is not an affidavit.
  7. Don’t accept a counteroffer after terminating your relationship with your employer.
  8. Cultures don’t change.  You assimilate or you leave.
  9. If you’ve stopped laughing, quit immediately.
  10. If none of the original reasons why you took the job are still valid, or you settled for less than what you were meant to do, your dream will haunt you till you leave.

Yup.   He’s a sexy recruiter alright.  And, I like his style (Apologies in advance for the plethora of Harper-isms you’ll be seeing in our tweets as I finish reading the book).

Have a great day!!!

xo,
Meg@myprettypinkponies.com

.

Go, Secretariat!  Go!!!





More on this topic:
blog post by “The Regular Joe” that speaks to the same point.
More on the book, “Harper’s Rules” by Danny Cahill

Ideas to help you plan during challenging times…

Below is an article written by fellow 85Broads member, Christina McEntee.



The post provides a list of the dos and don’ts of Strategic Planning for organizations.  Christina’s suggestions help organizations remain effective during a challenging economy and operating with less resources.


I think these pointers are just as relevant for the individual facing challenges.  Would you apply ‘strategic planning’ to achieve your personal goals?


Strategic Planning In Challenging Times

September 15 2011





STRATEGIC PLANNING: Some Dos and Don’ts to Consider When Charting a Course to a Successful Future
Many organizations today understand that with the challenges faced in today’s economy, it is essential that they take a hard look at who they are, what’s important to them, and how they are going to move forward successfully with smaller staffs, fewer resources. They know they need to make some changes, but the task seems daunting. A well-mapped out Strategic Planning engagement can be enormously productive in helping an organization adapt and move forward.  
Considering a Strategic Planning meeting? The following are some insights into the process, which I hope you will find useful. 

1. DO Engage in Regular Strategic Planning. The world is changing so fast that strategies for success that made sense even a year ago may no longer hold true. Re-visiting and clarifying the organization’s mission, values, goals, and strategies on a regular basis helps to create a strong framework that will allow the organization to be flexible and effective in dealing with change.  (create a plan!)
2. DO Hire Professional Help.  Without an outside coach or facilitator, most groups get sidetracked or bogged down, and waste a lot of time. An outside professional has the ability to stimulate the group to get out of their usual ways of doing things, seeing things, and interacting with each other. And they will push the group to stay focused and complete its agenda. (ask for help or find resources to help you)

3. DON’T Expect To Coast Through It. An effective Strategic Planning meeting takes commitment and hard work. It will likely include pre-work, and often some carefully chosen reading assignments. The meeting itself may span several hours — or days. And once all this is done, the real work begins: holding oneself and others accountable to move forward with the actions committed to.  (be realistic with results and the amount of work…)

4. DO Expect That Sparks Will Fly. Tempers may flair, tears may be shed. Again, a skilled facilitator or coach will help the group navigate through the heated emotions and channel that passion into breakthrough creative thinking and action.   (prepare for heated disagreements and focus on your goals)

5. DON’T Be Surprised When Resistance Appears. As much as people clamor for things to change, most of the time we hope that the results can be different butwithout us having to be different. An important step in the process of redefining strategy and goals may be gaining awareness of our own resistance to changing how we do things.  

6. DO Notice How the Cream Rises to the Top. It becomes clear very quickly that there are those who just like to hear themselves talk — and those who are willing to take action. The structure and clarity of this kind of work empowers individual performers, which benefits the entire organization.  

7. DO Include Everyone. While the leadership of an organization may be most involved in determining the Strategic Plan, for this plan to actually work all levels of the organization must be engaged and included. People support what they help to create. 

8. DON’T Neglect to Celebrate. Planning and execution are hard work — especially if your goal is to take the organization down a new path. Take time out to celebrate your early wins!   (Acknowledge your small accomplishments – they are important)

9. DO create goals that you can measure. How long will it take? What resources are needed? What is the desired outcome?  What gets measured gets done. (Quantify)

10. DON’T Stop Now. Become a Culture of Constant Improvement. Strategic Planning allows us to respond actively to the question: How can we be better at what we do? As innovation is stimulated, the organization becomes more attractive to all its constituents — staff, members, clients, shareholders. (Kaizen)


Thank you, Christina!!!

Christina McEntee has worked with individuals and companies in the U.S., Europe, and the Far East. She has a background in leadership, sales management, and strategic planning, and has held the position of President and CEO, and VP of Sales of a NASDAQ-traded company. Today, Christina advises individual professionals as well as businesses and non-profit organizations on issues of strategy, sales, and individual performance.


How to be unemployed…


Being in-between jobs is no reason to sit around and take a metaphorical vacation from being a professional.

I see this downtime as opportunity to create a plan that will prepare me for upcoming interviews and other opportunities.



Being in the workforce (vs. school) puts us at a disadvantage against the young ‘uns looking for jobs.  They’ve been learning and absorbing like sponges in a sea of university resources and a nurturing environment.

The workforce fills a lot of our time with games of politicking, gossiping, birthday cake celebrations, and other daily motions of demonstrating we “fit in” with our colleagues (aka “small talk”). Not to be minimized, these are essential in any organization to assist in building rapport between individuals.  Not doing so only makes one seem aloof and, eventually, not part of the “team”.

However, this leaves little time stay up-to-minute with technological updates, intellectual stimulation and challenges, current events, personal growth, introspection, et cetera…

That said, when your only team is “Team ‘I'”, you can choose to develop the aspects of yourself you deem important and valuable (as opposed to developing aspects of yourself valuable to someone else).

For me, I’ll use my “mandatory vacation” to develop parts of my brain that suffered from atrophy the last couple of years.

SHORT-TERM GOALS:

1. Learn fundamentals of UX (User Experience)

I’m continuing to learn more and more about developing my blog and web page out of necessity. “User Experience” (in the context I find relevant to my professional goals) is what the 70’s referred to as “customer service” (aka CX “customer experience). 

That is the consideration of what a client (customer/user/visitor/audience) experiences during the purchase of goods and/or services. This will be a fundamental ingredient in sales spanning across all industries. If UX is akin to “customer service”, then it is vital for every business person to understand the magnitude of its value. Or, at the very least, its role in business.


(Customer Experience Awards brief)


2.  Recover and reflect

All ego aside, when no one’s watching, I think it’s important to reflect on our experiences when we’re no longer viewing the situation “from inside of the box”.

I’m always looking for opportunities to learn about myself and develop, and one of the best ways to understand “blindspots” or areas of growth is by taking note of others’ feedback.

It isn’t always comfortable to hear people’s criticism, especially when the critic isn’t someone you respect or if the delivery seems more insulting than constructive.

But this is one of those things in life that truly helps with personal development. Reflecting on others’ negative feedback (especially feedback and conflicts that continue to come up) can be viewed like free coaching sessions.  Feedback helps identify where there’s a disconnect between your intentions and how those intentions are being perceived by others.

It takes a lot of humility and maturity to be able to accept that others may be on to something especially when it isn’t the most flattering opinion of you.  However, if you can accept the less flattering parts of yourself – even before committing to any steps to improve — you’re already a lot further along than where you were before you became aware of that which you were too afraid to admit about yourself.

3. Add some poetry (or fiction) in my life

I’ve been reading so many business-related and reference books, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to get lost in a good story (novels). I have a stack of good books waiting to be read and critical thinking waiting to be had. Finally finishing Neal Stephenson’s “Diamond Age” and/or any of the William Gibson novels will hopefully inspire thought that has nothing to do numbers and statistics.

4. Physical exercise (and yoga!)

(Hopefully, this doesn’t need to be justified)

5. Identify the “color of my parachute” 

In other words, reassess my life goals and values and determine whether or not they’re consistent with my professional trajectory. In an ideal world, I’d evaluate and re-evaluate my goals at least monthly to keep myself on track. However, during stressful and busy weeks of full-time work, this important goal gets brushed aside and seems more insignificant than it truly is.


Aligning one’s work with one’s values (aka “not losing one’s soul”) is more important than maximizing one’s 401(k) contributions.  I hope to get and keep some perspective.

6. Real quality time with family and friends

I’m sorry to admit that I’m not the best at this. Being obsessed with efficiency and networking and other career mumbo-jumbo caused me to lose sight of what’s truly valuable to me – people. I hope to connect and catch up with my friends and spend quality time with every one of them the real way: face-to-face and with undivided attention.

I suppose this list will continue to evolve once I have a better understanding of what my options are and how long I’ll be on “vacation”.
If you have any experience with how you used your in-between-jobs time to enhance your life and increase your competitive advantage, please do share.
Write soon.  Thanks for reading.

Staying relevant…

I think it’s important to continue to develop oneself to remain relevant.

Blogging and keeping up-to-date with the evolution of technology is one place I focus continued learning and development.
I’ve created another blog that highlights the knowledge I gather about how to create an online presence through the creation of sites, blogs, and exchanging helpful resources and ideas with your online community.

Here are examples of topics I highlight in my blog:

If this is information you also find relevant, please feel free to read the links I’ve highlighted in my blog.
Hope this helps.
Meg@myprettypinkponies.com

Are you "web savvy"?

to our gen-x readers:  you follow blogs…you have a facebook page…heck, you even text instead of making phone calls…so, do you consider yourself “web-savvy”?

With the increasing popularity of generating buzz about oneself on the web, many web users and marketing-zealous individuals have posted all sorts of personal information, thoughts and other information that they wouldn’t necessarily want the universe to see.

I get goosebumps thinking about how mortifying it was to be the last to hear that I had sent an accidental social-media invitation to my bosses and their bosses’ bosses by being “trigger-happy” with the ‘send’ button…This is one of many many accidents that can occur when registering on sites.  And, while it has taken me a while to learn that everything written online is not only “written in ink”, but “etched in stone and stored forever”, I’m now more careful (perhaps not prudent enough) with what I post and what information I send on the web.

While we don’t have time to do extensive online researches of our names, companies and brands, one quick way to manage your reputation online is by signing up to get notifications when your name(s) – and any permutations thereof – are published online.

Google offers this service for free, and it takes less than 5 minutes to set up alerts if you already have a Google account.  


Here’s how:

  1. visit https://www.google.com/dashboard/
  2. Scroll down to the “Me on the Web” section
  3. Select “Set up search alerts for your data.”
  4. Select relevant boxes
  5. Add variations of your name(s) (i.e. “prettypinkponies”; “myprettypinkponies”; “pink ponies blog”; etc…


    xo,


    meg@myprettypinkponies.com

    Antique buttons…(images)

                                                         
    Add character to your suits by adding antique buttons…


    …search for buttons on etsy.com or ebay to find good deals…

    Wishing for a new suit, but too smart to spend hundreds of dollars?  Ideas:

    1.  add beautiful one-of-a-kind buttons to your existing suits.  (i.e. these antique brass buttons are beautiful agains a simple navy jacket)
    2.  No time to hunt for vintage buttons?  Got bad taste?  We can help…info@myprettypinkponies.com

    Project Management (link)

    It’s Fall, and if you’re a student, this week is about meeting recruiters on campus to receive free pens and passively listen to them pitch their company.

     Those of you entering Project Management, below is a link to by Donna Fitzgerald’s recent article with some pointers.

    Article:  Advice for women entering project management

    Best of luck on your connections and interviews.

    3P

    Maxim for Mavericks

    The Maverick – A poem by Kent Healy

    Beyond the constraints of a monotonous environment
    Emerges a free mind choosing empowerment
    Remaining free in spirit and in mind
    The Maverick breaks through the tiresome conventional bind
    Without regard to the status quo
    There is much more out there, that they know
    Always searching and thinking too
    Never taking “no” for an answer, only “yes” will do
    They inspire, create, invent, and explore
    Allowing those around them to grow, know, and experience more
    Their insatiable curiosity and compassion for life
    Drives them to seek ways to eradicate strife
    With a passion to serve
    They help others create the life they deserve
    And although nothing is certain, they will take a chance
    The Maverick never ceases to ask the hand of opportunity for a dance
    They blaze their own path pushing aside the imitations
    Helping themselves and others exceed their own expectations
    “You can’t do that,” they are told
    But they always step forward, acting bold
    They break the conformist mold and risk looking like a fool
    But in the process they become the exception to the rule
    The Maverick will not stop
    Refusing to give up until they’re at the top
    They define success and what it means to live
    By accepting nothing less than the best they can give
    They step up to the challenge and never abandon the cause
    Helping humanity advance past its flaws
    Because they think they can, the Maverick always will
    They understand and use the power of free will

    By Kent Healy

    © Copyright 2011

    Stop. Read this post before shopping… (images)

    Is that new dress worth the splurge?  Let’s see how much cheaper it would cost to try and re-create the same designer look:


    We can certainly appreciate the craftsmanship of a well-made designer dress.  However, sometimes, it makes very little difference in presentation whether or not what you’re wearing costs over 3x as much as much as a similar ensemble.

    The few times high-cost in designer clothing can be worth the price you’re paying:

    1)  The quality of fabric – cashmere, silk, leather, etc…
    2)  Service – does the store offer great service (alterations?  selection?  appointment with qualified and informed stylists?  extensive knowledge on what makes the product unique?  etc…)?
    3)  Shoes – Poorly made shoes are just plain bad for you.  They’re uncomfortable, they need to be replaced more often than well-made shoes, and they affect the “spring in your step”.
    The key thing to remember is that THE WOMAN MAKES THE CLOTHES.  In the end, it’s YOU who dictates your presentation, not the garment – irrespective of its price or craftsmanship.
    Cheers!
    3P
    (Sources:  experience shopping and buying too many clothes, experience working in clothing stores, pageant-training, conversations with salespeople, etc…)

    Dressing for Fall (When "Fall" is actually still Summer) (images)

    In other parts of the country, Autumn is the time
    of year when you pull light sweaters out of storage anticipating a drop in
    temperature.

    It’s already mid-September, and it’s still pretty
    warm out in SoCal.
     What does a girl do to prepare for the frigid a/c
    indoors while keeping cool and fresh outdoors?
    Layer a soft blouse underneath a light sweater.

    Keeping a light cardigan at the office at all times
    is always a smart move.
     It’s a great “band-aid” for unexpected
    cold weather or if you drop lunch on your blouse.
    That said, when it’s warm out, a light blouse
    that’ll keep your body cool and comfortable works well underneath a light
    sweater.
     Below are a couple of good examples of light bouses for your professional wardrobe to take you through the change in temperature without missing a beat.

    The burn oranges and warm browns are still light
    enough to wear with your warm-weather palettes.
     The cognac, light brown and butterscotch leather will keep you looking polished as you introduce deeper fall colors with your suits.

    Employees Can’t Be Fired for Facebook Complaints, Judge Says – Forbes

    "Fallen Princesses" by Dina Goldstein

    Amazing work by Dina Goldstein, “Fallen Princesses” examines the untold story of princesses lives after the happily ever-after.

    These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The ‘…happily ever after’ is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues… Disney’s perfect Princesses [are] juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.

    Famous photographer, Annie Leibovitz, is also credited for her beautiful work photographing celebrities as Disney Princesses.  Let’s examine the different messages their images convey:

    Snow White courtesy of Dina Goldstein (Fallen Princesses)

    by Annie Leibovitz (Rachel Weisz)

    Ariel by Dina Goldstein (Fallen Princesses)

    by Annie Leibovitz 

    Cinderella by Dina Goldstein (Fallen Princesses)

    What an impactful way to reveal the “other side” of the sought-after-fairy-tale-lives we imagined as girls.   I am a girly-girl, however, it’s important to have a reality check once-in-a-while.

    Dina Goldstein’s photographs serve just that purpose – and well.  What a force to counteract the ever-so-influential princess cartoons children are exposed to.

    Belle by Dina Goldstein (Fallen Princesses)
    by Annie Leibovitz (Penelope Cruz as Belle)

    Pocahontas by Dina Goldstein (Fallen Princesses)

    by Annie Leibovitz (Jessica Biel as Pocahontas)
    The Disney Princesses

    Do well in school, young ladies!!!

    3P

    Need help? Ask your network!

    I just listened to a podcast about how to ask for help.  If you’re like me, it sometimes makes me feel weird to ask friends for help.  Especially when I need it.

    The podcast below provides the following tips on how to ask your professional network for help when you’re job-hunting.

    1.  Email is ok* (*not mass/spam email!) – not ideal, but ‘okay’.
    2.  Reconnect first
    3.  Give them an idea of what you want.
    4.  Follow up!  Follow up!  Follow up!


    PODCAST:  How to ask your network for help.
    (Michael Auzenne and Mark Horstman)

    The Bias against "Creativity" (Forbes)

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


    From: Forbes
    Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2011 08:05:36 -0400
    To: prettypinkponies
    ReplyTo: Forbes
    Subject: Your comment was called out

    Forbes   Called-Out Comment Alert


    Your comment was called out!

    On this post: Managing The Psychological Bias Against Creativity

    If the major deterrent to accepting “creative thinking” in the workplace is low tolerance for uncertainty, I would surmise that highly-regulated and high-risk industries have don’t evolve as quickly as others due to lack of innovation (“creativity”). Do you have any thoughts about the relationship between  regulation and innovation? Thank you for posting this article. Much appreciated. 3P


    You received this email because you chose to receive alerts on Called-Out comments.

    Careerwear: pre-Fall ’11 (slideshow)

    If you’ve been following our blog since birth (April), you probably understand that our main audience is the “profession-elle” if you will (read:  girls who work Full-time jobs for a living).  Hence, a lot of the “fashion” on our sight serves the girl in the workforce.

    We have nothing against trendy, teenage styles, however, there are too many blogs on the web that cater to the “trendy”.  Classic-styled girls can be “bloggers”, too!

    Secondly, the corporate woman might be as stylish as the trend-setting teen, but her style needs to be a bit more restrained and professionally-appropriate.

    One way of expressing individuality in a professional environment is with color.  Greys, Navies and Beiges aren’t the only colors welcome in Corporate America.  However, these neutrals are necessary “anchors” for brighter pops of color (which, left on their own would be too loud and distracting).

    Corporate-Cathy you are not!  Differentiate yourself.

    This fall, we see a lot of color-blocking.  Reds and oranges grounded by black, stone, and gray is a popular palette (below).

    Michael Kors

    A solid deep fuschia dress (a la Zac Posen) conveys power and femininity in a polished way (below):

    Or, what about a bright orange sheath to take you from bright summer months to autumn (below)?

    Don’t like sleeveless?  How about a shift dress in pumpkin (below)?

    PRE-FALL/TRANSITIONAL PIECES
    COLORS: ORANGE, RED
    ANCHOR COLORS: STONE, GRAY, BLACK
    ESSENCE: AUTHENTIC, SOPHISTICATED, INTELLIGENT, CHARISMATIC, CONFIDENT, CHIC, PROFESSIONAL, SELF-ASSURED, FEMININE, SUCCESSFUL, GO-GETTER, RELEVANT…ETC…



    Cliff’s Notes:

    Linked In? (podcast)

    Are you “linked in” with your professional network?

    Listen to this podcast by Mignon Fogarty, Inc.’s “Money Girl” for basic tips on how to best utilize LinkedIn (free) as a professional resource.

    Related posts:

    “Nice girl = Bad Networker”

    2 ways to deal with job-loss

    There are a few ways young women might deal with recent job-loss.  Two of those ways are expressed in the links below:

    A)  This articles discusses productive steps to take to make yourself relevant and competitive in the job market.

    B)  This insightful article discusses the links between young women, job-loss and depression.

    There’s no right or wrong way to feel about losing your job.  However, if your depression persists and debilitates your ability to find employment opportunities, please find some support and seek guidance from a counselor, therapist or other professionally-trained person who can provide you with helpful solutions.

    3P

    Another link you might like:  “There are no such things as good or bad days.”

    What’s on your desk? (images)

    ” “

    I was “escorted out” of the building without given time to collect my belongings.  The opportunity didn’t allow for a dramatic Jerry Maguire-style exit.  It was a non-eventful and unemotional scene that would’ve been cut out of the movie Office Space had it mistakenly been allowed to waste ten minutes of the audience’s time…

    Although no one really misses work, I actually do miss my office work-space.  I took care to create an efficient system that made it easy for me to reach for files, writing tools and other items relevant during the day.

    I took care to make sure the items on my desk absolutely needed:  Cordless keypad, mouse, notebook, phone and lamp.  I also had one ceramic bud vase for the occasional flower I’d bring to the office with me to remind me of my balcony garden.

    I also kept one of several piggy [mouse] banks on my desk for loose change.  A “savings account” for daily treats to the vending machine.

    The space was efficient and allowed for quick storage, shredding completed tasks, quick-access to relevant information and sufficient lighting.
    I kept a nice, firm flannel pillow on an ergonomic chair to support my lower back…
    Overall, my work-space was devoid of my outside-of-work personality – which is quite different from my office at home. 
    OFFICE AT HOME:
    Although I tote around my macbook and work anywhere and in every coffeeshop in the city, my office at home is mainly for thoughtful hand-written notes and a space to read…
    golds, ambers, warm colors…

    a beautiful and comfortable chair is essential.  
    antique pencils, modern lighting, notebook, mirror (of course)…
    …piggy bank, make up brush, pens, postage, clock…

    box of stationery, golden ginko-leaf letter opener, Graphic Image notebook…

    sentimental items of significance

    …cuban cigar box filled with drawing supplies (charcoal pencils, erasers, leather notebook)…

    …colored pens for highlighting…

    Rebecca Minkoff leather kindle case…


    moleskin-like dodocase (for kindle)…

    I’m curious about your workspace…What do you keep on your desk at the office?  What does it say about you?  Is it similar to your office space at work?

    – Meg  (“meg dot email”)

    Rock them boots, gurrrl! (slideshow)

    Darlings, Below are fantastic ways to wear tall boots without looking like a walking parody of a dominatrix.

    Tall boots need not be synonymous with “night life”…Observe the refreshing take on the tall boot below.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

    Taste.  Make yours good.

    Careerwear: pre-Fall ’11 (images)

    If you’ve been following our blog since birth (April), you probably understand that our main audience is the “profession-elle” if you will (read:  girls who work Full-time jobs for a living).  Hence, a lot of the “fashion” on our sight serves the girl in the workforce.

    We have nothing against trendy, teenage styles, however, there are too many blogs on the web that cater to the “trendy”.  Classic-styled girls can be “bloggers”, too!

    Secondly, the corporate woman might be as stylish as the trend-setting teen, but her style needs to be a bit more restrained and professionally-appropriate.

    One way of expressing individuality in a professional environment is with color.  Greys, Navies and Beiges aren’t the only colors welcome in Corporate America.  However, these neutrals are necessary “anchors” for brighter pops of color (which, left on their own would be too loud and distracting).

    Corporate-Cathy you are not!  Differentiate yourself.

    This fall, we see a lot of color-blocking.  Reds and oranges grounded by black, stone, and gray is a popular palette (below).

    Michael Kors

    A solid deep fuschia dress (a la Zac Posen) conveys power and femininity in a polished way (below):

    Or, what about a bright orange sheath to take you from bright summer months to autumn (below)?

    Don’t like sleeveless?  How about a shift dress in pumpkin (below)?

    PRE-FALL/TRANSITIONAL PIECES
    COLORS: ORANGE, RED
    ANCHOR COLORS: STONE, GRAY, BLACK
    ESSENCE: AUTHENTIC, SOPHISTICATED, INTELLIGENT, CHARISMATIC, CONFIDENT, CHIC, PROFESSIONAL, SELF-ASSURED, FEMININE, SUCCESSFUL, GO-GETTER, RELEVANT…ETC…



    Cliff’s Notes:

    Lunch meeting? Watch those portions. (video)

    SIX WAYS TO STAY THE HEALTHY COURSE WHILE EATING AT RESTAURANTS:

    1. Eat every 3-4 hours
    2. Learn your portion sizes
    3. Skip the bread
    4. Hold the butter
    5. Know what to eat first
    6. Choose restaurants wisely

    courtesy of Advanced Athletics, Inc.

    3 gestures that foster friendship

    (Note:  If you are not interested in being likeable, please stop reading)

    Forget about eye-contact and firm handshakes, here are three ways to make a lasting impression…

    related articles:
    10 ways to make more time for yourself” by chronicbabe.com
    “Nice girl = Bad Networker” (Thanks to Connected Life)

    %d bloggers like this: