Titles & all of that ” ” … (introspection)

I’m often cut off mid-sentence and asked, “But..what do you wanna do?”.

Fair enough question.

(SPOILER: There are no images in this post)

I suppose operating from the gut can make sense to one’s self but not necessarily to others.

It isn’t as if I responsibly mapped out my professional trajectory like I was taught to do…Instead, I followed my heart (whatever that means) and learned important lessons along the way. But, that doesn’t help clarify things, does it?

Unfortunately, passion can lack the efficient jargon demanded by those who wish to make a quick assessment of another’s perceived added value.

How silly was I to add “passion” to the bulletpoints on my resume? The entire Dalek population would explode attempting to grasp this concept.

Passion is tough to quantify. Just ask any successful entrepreneur.

That said, using a wordcloud tool has failed to capture the essence of the value I can add to any organization – instinct, experience, heart, loyalty, intuition, perserverance, empathy, connection, et al…These terms are not trending on LinkedIn — Google alerts would’ve informed me, and I just checked.

So, since my unorthodox list of accomplishments are invisible to search engines (and, incomprehensible to Daleks), I decided to explicity define “success” for myself as a courtesy to my new friends and acquaintances.

Here is what my point B looks like:

*You’re having your A.M. coffee while reading about the biggest networking event of the year on a page in the WSJ.

(Blurb for one of many well-known international events)

The text reads:

Notable Speakers include:

Abby Joseph Cohen one of the most respected figures in investing circles and is the chief US investment strategist for Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief, Vogue

Carrie Fisher, Actress best known as Princess Leia

Meg Gomez, Makes handmade stationery & sells them on Etsy

Sarah Blakely, CEO & Founder, Spanx

Genevieve Bos, Founding Publisher, Pink Magazine

Sheila Kahanek, former Accountant, Enron.

*end scene

I hope that helped clarify some things for you.

Have a great weekend!!!

Best,

Meg

*end scene

 ;P
(SPOILER: To be continued…)

Young and Underemployed: Called-Out Comment (Forbes.com) repost…

Forbes   Called-Out Comment Alert


Your comment was called out!

On this post: Young And Underemployed: The Lasting Effects Of The Lost Generation

 Undergraduate education is not technical school. Some of us attend school because we value a well-rounded education, not to secure employment after graduation. Educational background (undergraduate) are less relevant than internships, volunteer experience and on-campus activities. There’s a distinction between going to a trade school and attending a university.

Link to article 

Ten years in "corporate America"…

…and, I didn’t even get a lousy shirt!

Next Steps… (image)

Here’s the plan…

Develop your own plan.

What I did to stay on point for today’s interview…

You know how champion athletes train extensively to
prepare for a competition?  Well,
that’s sorta how I prep for an interview. 
I
try to get in my “flow”.
Why do I think I’m qualified to provide you with
interview pointers?  Here’s some background:


I’ve been working since I was 15 ½ (Gold’s Gym was my
first gig), and I’ve experienced answering controversial questions confidently
with a big smile wearing a bikini and five-inch pumps on stage with girls who
are prettier, taller more “dazzling” than me, et cetera…and I’ve scored better
than they did in interviews. I landed my internship with a cold call. Between
my part-time jobs, volunteer jobs, and full-time work, I’ve probably been
interviewed and sized up by at least 25 hiring managers (and actual judges).
I
can honestly say I’m comfortable during interviews.
While the interview isn’t my weak spot, I’m aware I’ll
be speaking with big-boys (and big-girls) in first-rate companies.  These
companies are not “Mickey-Mouse” organizations; they demand a certain level of
professionalism and respect. If the person you’re interviewing with also
screens executive candidates, then they’re probably pretty good at judging
character. So, don’t B.S. them. A hiring manager isn’t going to be forgiving if
I’m less than par because I said “sorry” in a sweet voice.  These are
professionals with a job to do and my job is to make their job easier by being
prepared, honest and cooperative (unless I don’t want the job).
So,
I bring it.
If you’re a true pro, you understand what’s expected.
At the bare minimum, you must do your homework.
There’s
no such thing as being too prepared – only un
prepared.
Besides, I owe it to myself to behave like a high-level
professional and not like a rookie because that’s who I am. Also, recruiters
and managers are less forgiving about my small mistakes because I have years of
experience and they expect me to know better. And, they’re right!  Step up
or get off the plate!
How:
What’s your homework? An understanding of the
organization, its history, values and culture. And, more importantly, an
understanding of the job you’re being considered for. You might think this is
inconsequential because you’ll be learning about the company from the
recruiter, but trust me, they notice and they appreciate someone who takes
initiative. Not only that, but jumping into an organization without
understanding what the culture is like is just plain silly. 
If
your values don’t align with the people you work with, you’ll never advance in
the long run at that place.
I do my research on the person with whom I’m
interviewing as well as the company itself. I also have a checklist that I
complete before the actual interview. Within this checklist is a rating system
to gauge how much I truly want the job with the company.
This
is a two-way street afterall, and I’m interviewing companies just as much as
they’re interviewing me.
I have tons of experience and a lot of talent to offer,
and I’m not willing to settle for a something that is not a good fit. Also,
there’s no way I can single-handedly change the culture of an organization to
suit my style no matter how much passion or tenacity or drive I possess. 
I
know my weaknesses.
Knowing that a good fit is vital to my career
trajectory in the long-run, I have to first understand what I want from an
employer then be honest about whether they are willing to and have the ability
to provide these things for me. 
Keep
in mind: this is a negotiation.
If I accept the job, I’m making a commitment to do my
absolute best to provide the company with as much value as I can in the manner
by which I’m able and within the context of my formal role. By accepting a job
offer,
I’m
obligated to do what’s expected.
Not the very minimum.  Not what I can get away
with. I’m in it all the way. It’s a big deal and a formal commitment. And,
because I take what they asked of me seriously, I expect their investment in me
as well. I call this, “healthy relationship”. This reminds me of what my friend
tells his three-year old when she doesn’t want to do something she’s supposed
to,
“You
wanna be a big girl?  Then, act like a big girl.”
Mind you, I’m not always a big girl. Sometimes I get
lazy. Other times I’m tired, or immature. I find it tough to be on point 24/7. 
I like being goofy at times. And, I appreciate the different roles I have in
life. However, when the situation calls for it, I come through. I have to. Not
behaving like a ‘big girl’ during situations that call for maturity and
commitment cause major problems.  Stay on point.

(BTW, I got a second call back and booked a second
interview immediately after the first interview today.  The proof is in
the pudding. =) 

The Next Great Generation (Twitter chat)

Below is a recap of a recent Twitter Chat with TheNextGreatGeneration.com (@NextGreatGen).

Thanks, TNGG for hosting this chat regarding Gen Y and what we think about the current job market.  Below are our feedback and suggestions and the link to the original article on the TNGG’s site.

Thanks, TNGG!

3P

Link to article on TNGG

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?






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

Closet Essentials – what do you wear when you work from home? (images)


I.  BEING PUT-TOGETHER AT HOME


I miss writing about office-wear.  


I miss wearing office-wear.


If this is your first visit to 3P, I’ll prepare you for what some have called my “vain” side.  I’m into wardrobe, shopping and trying to look my best (call me a “girl”).  That said, even when I’m at home, I’m somehow more productive when I’ve taken the time to “put myself together.  Continuing to “dress for the day” helps keep my priorities in a professional context.  Being dressed for business tasks makes sure the television, web, and phone calls don’t distract me from what I need to do that day.


 Since my current priorities mostly involve conversations between recruiters and HR people online and by phone, I have to feel comfortable and at ease, without feeling so relaxed I lose my professional sensibility.  In other words, bunny slippers are not part of my working-from-home wardrobe.  Do you feel like a superstar right when you roll out of bed?


II.  STAYING INDOORS

If truly staying indoors, I love wearing soft cotton shirts and pants with that fit well (not just your ol’ one-size-fits all sweatshirt).  Monrow brand makes fabulous vintage sweatpants and soft cotton tees that are tailored to fit a young woman’s frame properly.  J.Crew is another good place to buy basics (during sales, of course).  Although the silhouettes I describe are loose-fitting or relaxed-fitting, they are lounge-wear and not sleep-wear.  Pajamas all day are not allowed off-campus past sophomore year.

Soft, light cotton henleys, tees, tanks are definite ‘musts’.  The weather in L.A. quickly changes from scorching hot, to rain, to fog in a matter of minutes.  Lighter pieces are ideal here because they can be layered easily without adding bulk to your figure.
Dresses are also great for their ease of wear.  Dresses allow for efficient ‘wardrobe-styling’.  If you have a comfy jersey dress, it cuts your outfit-hunting time in half!
III.  RUNNING ERRANDS
When I have to run errands, I like to dress comfortably but, slightly more dressed up than what I consider lounge-wear.  I prefer the casual version (or “weekend version“) of office-wear (you never know if you’ll run into your future boss).  What I mean is, I wear less tailored versions of button-up dress shirts, or loose-fitting cardigans with denim.  I still wear loafers (mocs) and not flip-flops if I can help it.
What I described is a good balance between being put-together, comfortable, and mature (professional).  If I run into potential employers, former colleagues or anyone in my professional network, I’d feel confident that I have represented myself in good form even outside of a business setting.  At the same time, if I run into my friends, I could join them for lunch without having to change out of the  khaki/polo combo or any other outfits that are not appropriate for my age and personality…
CONCLUSION:  PREPARATION IS KEY!
It’s important to be put-together if you want to be productive.  There’s something about looking mature that makes one behave more responsibly (for most people).  If your goal isn’t to sit around like a vegetable on the couch and if you’d like to prevent yourself from falling into a lazy unproductive lull, mentally prepare yourself by dressing, then behaving like the energetic and responsible go-getter that you are!!!  Even Kobe has to warm up before games…
What do you wear on the weekends?  Do you present yourself as a mature and capable individual?

(the other “closet essentials” post)…

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

Article: Young and Underemployed (Forbes.com)

Forbes   Called-Out Comment Alert


Your comment was called out!

On this post: Young And Underemployed: The Lasting Effects Of The Lost Generation

 Undergraduate education is not technical school. Some of us attend school because we value a well-rounded education, not to secure employment after graduation. Educational background (undergraduate) are less relevant than internships, volunteer experience and on-campus activities. There’s a distinction between going to a trade school and attending a university.

Link to article 

Top 5 Reasons Unemployment Stinks…(img)

If you’re anything like my beautiful and amazingly brilliant friends, you, too, might suspect I’m having a great time not having to go to work everyday.  But, alas, life is not all champagne, caviar and sleeping in for the unemployed.


Here are my top 5 gripes about being unemployed:



5.  I have no excuse not to return my friends’ phone calls (my “brilliant and beautiful” friends)

Isn’t “work” always such a convenient excuse to avoid life outside of work?  Let’s be honest.


4.  I simply have a tougher time staying slim when I’m not stressed out everyday losing sleep and forgetting to eat.

Being online all day submitting resumes and conducting interviews via Skype is bad for my behind.  Staying indoors is bad for my behind.  Can’t skype while on the treadmill, unfortunately.  And, when one’s in her PJs all day, there isn’t much motivation to go outside, drive through all that L.A. traffic just to use the treadmill for 30 measly minutes.


3.  Speaking of which, I have waaay toooo many suits and not enough pajamas!  I only have about three lounging “outfits” to wear!


2.  When something goes awry, I can’t call and yell at the I.T. guy!  I have to try and fix the computer myself!!!

…and last, but certainly not least….

#1.  It’s hot in L.A. and the air-conditioning in my apartment (if I can call it that) is about as effective as summoning Batman using a candle and shadow hand-puppets instead of a Kleig light!

You never know how important a cool office is until it’s gone.  So stop complaining that you have to go to work!

(#6 was…the absence of free pizza and cookies the office serves during staff meetings.  Almost made the cut.)

; P

3P

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.


Called-out comment re: "Erotic Capital" Debate (Forbes)

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On this post: More on the “Erotic Capital” Debate

 Interestingly, I often try and downplay my youth and femininity to prevent the common assumption that my “looks” (and not my intelligence, savvy and professionalism, etc…) helped me with my achievements. There’s nothing more irritating than having my intelligence and other valuable qualities overlooked or minimized because of my femininity.

(link to article)


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

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)

it starts in my toes…

“… makes me crinkle my nose…” (this is how I describe feeling amazing)
I feel absolutely amazing.  Why?  I’ve accomplished the objectives I set for myself for the week (and scheduled smaller tasks throughout the next few days), I had a delicious and healthy meal, read a couple chapters of a good book, reconnected with supportive and genuine friends, submitted my resume, attended to other responsibilities while getting an opportunity to “flex” some valuable attributes in myself that I haven’t been able to in some time…
Days that make me “crinkle my nose” are top priority, and I make sure to schedule them strategically following tough weeks.  
Seriously. 
I reserved a portion of today for less demanding chores like drycleaning, laundry, household chores, returning calls to friends, etc…  I do have stressful obligations on my plate, however, for the next three hours, I choose to “responsibly ignore” them as a proactive and conscious form of self-preservation.  The objective is to shut down stress by being around inspiring people..or intellectually stimulating ideas…or existing in an environment filled with “things I love” (i.e. the outdoors, the stationery store, indoors watching movies with gorgeous imagery, museums, gardens, etc…) to bring me back to center.  When time’s up, I’m back to focused work, appointments, stress, bills, etc…
Do you set aside time to do the things you enjoy and be around friends (not associated with your job and/or goal to “network”) who are supportive and trustworthy?  
Existing in a “non-threatening” space where you can have your guard down and be as carefree as a child (read:  without being judged) is healthy and promotes “good” behavior in adults.  A recent research by Sreedhari Desai and Francesca Gino published by the Harvard Business Review found that an environment reminiscent of childhood encouraged adults to behave more ethically (link to article:  Adults Behave Better When Teddy Bears are in the Room). 

Have a lovely week.

3P


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

Fortune Cookie says…(image)

Today’s fortune cookie says…



Had I known about this “enjoyable vacation”, I would not have kept it “awaiting” me.




Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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.”

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