Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Queen of the Interns

On The Hills, Kelly Cutrone scared the crap out of me. Then, on The City, I decided I loved her because she was hardcore and hilarious.

In the clip below, I'm not sure how I feel about her. Kelly says, in the clip, that she's the patron saint of interns, that she made interning famous and that no one in the outside world knew what interning was before she was on MTV. I can't tell if she was joking or not. Either way, that's false.

I do agree with one thing though. She discusses that interns start working for her and believe their internships are going to be glamorous and then they become disgruntled when they learn they have to pick up heavy boxes or run errands. While I've experienced this with some interns, it's got to particularity true in the fashion industry where everything the public sees is oozing with glamor.

Kelly says that she always hires the "village girl," which she defines as the one who "stays late and helps clean up."

Interns don't necessarily have to stay in the office until 10 PM or empty the garbage cans but the ones who put in a lot of effort and go above and beyond at the ones who get noticed. Might be a good idea to listen to Kelly even if she is a little crazy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scared Workless

Like most people who sit in front of a computer all day, we at WG have been following the murder case of Yale graduate student Annie Le closely (pictured on the right). How could someone stuff her into a wall and not expect to be caught? Who was the murderer? And the question that has really been bothering us, what was the motive?

According to New Haven Police Chief, James Lewis, the grad student's death was one that resulted from workplace violence. "It is important to note that this is not about urban crime, university crime, domestic crime but an issue of workplace violence, which is becoming a growing concern around the country," Lewis said during a news conference today.

The suspect in the case is a lab technician named Raymond Clark III that worked in the same building as Le on campus. Numerous news reports say he served in a custodial role at the university campus overseeing the lab mice that Le worked with while pursuing her doctoral degree.

Just in case you don't know the details - Clark has been charged in the death of the 24-year-old Annie Le, who disappeared on September 8th. Her body was discovered five days later (on what was supposed to be her wedding day!). The body was found stuffed into a utility compartment behind a wall in the basement of the research building where she and Clark both worked.

Various news reports are now painting a portrait of Clark that depicts an angry employee who gave workers a hard time for not handling the lab mice or lab tools correctly. In fact, ABC News reported that Clark sent a text message to Le the day she disappeared requesting that they meet to discuss the cleanliness of the mouse cages she had been using. [ABC News]

As details still emerge, the talk of workplace violence has begun circulating. An American human resources firm stated that office suicides jumped 28% in 2008 from the previous year, which many attribute to the recession. [National Post]

According to the United States Department of Labor, violence in the workplace is "a serious safety and health issue" that in its most extreme form leads to homicide. Homicide is the 4th leading cause of fatal occupational injury and in 2005, there were 564 workplace homicides out a total of 5,702 workplace injuries.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes is a weekly feature. Here we will dish on tidbits, news, and important things we think Working Girls should know. So scroll down to hear what we think you should glean from this work week.
  • Men love powerful women according to a new poll by Date.com. When asked how they feel about being in a relationship with a woman who is more financially successful than than you, a whopping 100% said they were all for it. [via Reuters]
  • Dread the "Do you have any questions for me?" part of interviews. Savvy Sugar has a few tips.
  • Only 25% of behind the scenes jobs are held by women at the five major TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CW). [Women and Hollywood via Jezebel]

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

That's Sick!

It's beginning to feel like autumn in New York. The days are getting shorter and I need a sweater or light jacket when I walk out the door in the morning. The onset of autumn only means winter is around the corner and I'm getting closer and closer to having a horrible cold or worse, the flu.

Every year, I seem to get at least one awful cold. Last winter, my sinuses were a mess. The winter before, I had strep. I dealt with a rotten case of the flu senior year of college. My poor grandmother, who lived about 30 minutes from my campus, had to pick me up and take care for me for four days. Ever since then, I've gotten a flu shot from the nurse at work and I sure plan on getting on this year.

There are few things I hate more than not feeling well (my mom calls me the dying swan every time I'm sick because she says I'm such a drama queen...this may or may not be true). So the moment I notice someone around at the office is coughing or sneezing or sniffling I start chugging water, popping vitamin C and washing my hands like it's my job.

This year, with all of the swine flu drama, I'm even more worried about getting sick. My office has been proactive and recently added signs in the bathroom with instructions on washing hands and antibacterial hand soap has been added to the pantry. Hopefully that's a good enough start to keep us employees well and at work.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Overloaded with Stress

On my calendar this week are the following: a charity board meeting, a doctor's appointment, dinner at my dad's, evening out at the ballet, mani/pedi, and a going away party for a co-worker. And those are events just Monday through Friday.

If it isn't apparent, I have a tendency to overdo it. I feel as though I work better when I have a lot going on. So in addition to my full-time job, I also serve on two charity boards, co-write this blog, and try to have a social life on the weekdays and the weekends. (Not to mention I have a very full schedule of TV to watch and I like getting at least seven hours of sleep a night).

In the past I haven't viewed my busy schedule as an issue, but recently I've started noticing a pattern of me sleeping in later on the weekends and doing less on my days off as well. In hindsight, it's probably not the worst thing in the world, I mean I could be falling asleep in meetings (ssh, we all know I practically do that already). But for some reason it bothers me that I'm not more productive on the weekends because while I like to think watching a movie marathon on Lifetime is a good idea for a Saturday, it's probably not. And I think I've realized why I do this - it's because I don't deal with my stress levels during the week.

See, I realized that all the things I do outside of work are a mechanism to make me forget work. After a long day at the office the last thing I should be allowed to do is go home and mull it over (while eating Ben & Jerry's). Because then I think about work (or worse do work) which makes me more stressed which leads me to sleeping less. So when I'm busy after work I have less time to think about my job, which in turn makes me less stressed and a better sleeper.

My dilemma is this. I need a stress buster. Obviously what I'm doing right now isn't working. I'm not sleeping very well these days and the stress of my new responsibilities at work are catching up with me so I've started doing more after work which leads me to my vicious cycle of using my weekends for sleeping 11 hours and watching My Nanny's Secret starring Haylie Duff on a Saturday night (yes, that may have been what I did this weekend).

I've thought about taking a meditation class, but me being zen is almost laughable. Massages always relax me but I doubt I will ever in my lifetime just have an extra $200 laying around. Give me wine on a weekday night and watch me complain the entire next day. Watching TV sometimes does the trick until the show stresses me out which leads me to think about my stress and then I'm back to the vicious cycle.

I need your help Working Girls! What do you do to unwind? What keeps the stress at bay? How do I break my vicious cycle?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Girls Night Out Winners!

Since I've had a very strong shopping bug for the past few weeks, I'm so looking forward to Shecky's Girls Night Out. As WG2 mentioned, I purchased my favorite black clutch at GNO back in 2006. This year, I plan on purchasing a new wallet. I've been using the same one for two years. Time to splurge on a new one. And maybe some jewelery. And clothes. And...I should stop.

Enough of my shopping wish list. Last Thursday, we announced our first giveaway: Two tickets to Girls Night Out in Chicago for one winner and two tickets to Girls Night Out in New York for one winner.

I wont keep you waiting. Our winners:

Chrissy in New York!

CC in Chicago!

Ladies, please email me at workinggirlone@gmail.com to claim your prize! We picked our winners at random using Random.org (which I discovered is really fun to play with, am I weird?).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes is a weekly feature. Here we will dish on tidbits, news, and important things we think Working Girls should know. So scroll down to hear what we think you should glean from this work week.
  • According to a survey conducted by the Equality and Human Rights Commissions survey of 44 of the leading companies in the United Kingdom, men working in the finance field in the UK receive up to five times more in bonus payments per year than women. On average, women only receive £2,875 compared to the £14,554 men receive. [via BBC News]
  • Married to a corporate executive? Now there are classes for spouses to learn how to make their executive mates successful in their business and be supportive. Collette Young, wife of 20 years to a corporate exec at Dr Pepper Snapple Group, began a company last year called ExecuMate with the the belief that an "engaged spouse can contribute greatly to that success and ultimately to the overall success of the company". [via Associated Press]
  • Shoplifting incidents and reports of employees stealing merchandise has rose at retail story by 7.3 percent in 2008. The rise has been contributed to the recent economic problems. [via WWD]
  • According to a new study out at the University of South Australia, women between the ages of 18-26 are less likely to buy from a salesgirl they think is more attractive than them. [via Stylelist]

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Pope is Holding Me Back

When WG1 and I started this blog, I set up my Google account so that I would get emails in my inbox when any news story mentioned the words 'career' and 'women'. And over the past year (or so), I've gotten a lot of random stories in my inbox (mainly because I chose very broad search words). But I think the most random was when this headline greeted me first thing in the morning: "Church harms career women".

Last week Cherie Blair, barrister and wife of the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, said that one of the reasons women have come so far is because of the ability to control their fertility and "would prefer it if the Catholic Church took a more positive attitude towards contraception".

Blair went on to say that she doesn't think there is anything wrong with birth control and that without it she probably wouldn't have been able to achieve the things that she has.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said contraception is known to cause four major problems, such as a lowering of moral standards, a rise in infidelity, lesser respect for women, and coercive reproductive techniques by the government, which is why the church takes a stand against it.

Obviously this subject is a hard one to approach. Religion is always a touchy subject. I grew up in a Catholic home, went to Catholic schools, and went to church on Sundays and I came to know the rules of the church very quickly. And while I might agree with some, their stance on birth control is not one of them.

In a way I think Cherie's statement came out sounding selfish, and I don't think she intended it to be so. I like to think she was trying to say that a life is precious whether it is planned or unplanned, however, I also believe in being able to control my body. And that birth control helps women who are in loving and committed relationships and those who are single control a 'ready factor'.

But do I believe the Catholic Church's stance on birth control is holding back career women? Eh, jury is still out on that one.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Better at Being a Grown-Up

Back in December, I blogged about how horrible I was at being a grown-up. I hadn't been to the doctor (regular and lady doctor) or the dentist in about two years. After learning that I needed a root canal due to my lack of regular check-ups, I shaped up.

I shaped up and I learned a few things.

If I could go back and do it all over again I would have made doctor's appointments the same day I got new insurance at my job. One of the reasons I never made doctor's or dentist's appointments in the first place was because it was so overwhelming. How many doctors are in Manhattan? How do you find a good one? One that takes your insurance? That's close to your office so you can go at lunch? You ask your coworkers, that's how you find the right one. When I finally told one of my coworkers how bad I was at being a grown up, she hooked me up with all of her doctor's names and contact information.

My root canal involved several visits to the dentist. Therefore it included paying the dentist's office each time and then receiving several bills later. But wait, they weren't bills. They were explanation of benefits (EOB) notices. This is when I had to call my mother. She explained to me that an EOB outlines how much your insurance pays for a procedure or visit and how much you, the patient, are required to pay.

"Mom," I said. "It says here that I only had to pay $250 for the root canal but I paid $380."

My mom further explained how important it is to review every EOB. She told me that doctors and dentists will often overcharge patients because so many do not review their EOB and the amount of money they receive from insurance companies is not as much as one would think. I was furious. I felt taken advantage of. I was a sweet, little 20-something who hadn't been to the dentist in ages and they knew I had no idea what I was doing.

All I had to do, she said, was call the dentist and tell them I was overcharged. I called and the immediately said it was a "mistake" and the amount would be credited to my next visit.

This is one of them many things I wish they would teach you in college.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Every Working Girl Needs a Girls Night Out

Every Working Girl knows that after a really stressful day at the office, you need a de-stress plan. One of our favorite ways to wind down is time with good friends and a glass of wine (yes, I admit, stole that one from LeAn Rimes).

And we have a giveaway for our Chicago & New York City readers that just might help you and a girlfriend unwind after a long day!

Shecky's, an online destination to find what is new and undiscovered in beauty, fashion and fun, has put together an event for you and your girlfriends that will make that bad day just melt away. Shecky's Girls Night Out where women can congregate to sample delish cocktails, try new beauty products and shop till you drop.

WG1 and I went to Shecky's Girls Night Out the summer we both interned in NYC (and lived in Chinatown...ick) and we both walked away with tons of goodies. WG1 still uses this adorable black clutch she picked up at the event (obviously, I am jealous I didn't buy it). Not only does the event have tons of shopping from cool indie designers and hot new boutiques across the US, but you also walk away with a goodie bag stuffed with fab products worth $100!

Enough with the chatter, here's the giveaway deets!

We will be giving out 2 tickets for one winner in Chicago and one winner in New York City to go to the Shecky's Girls Night Out event in their respective cities! The winners will be able to choose which day they would like to attend - Chicago's event runs from Sept. 15th - 17th and New York's event runs from Oct. 19th - 23rd.

To enter, you can leave a comment on this post by Thursday, September 10th at noon eastern time. To gain an additional entry, just tweet about our giveaway on Twitter by mentioning either @workinggirlone or @workinggirltwo and our Shecky's Girls Night Out Giveaway! And in your first entry make sure it tell us which city you would need a pass from!

And if you just can't wait to see if you won, tickets (with a goodie bag) are only $15. So click here to purchase your own tickets today.

Get commenting Working Girls!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes is a weekly feature. Here we will dish on tidbits, news, and important things we think Working Girls should know. So scroll down to hear what we think you should glean from this work week.

  • According to a new study, testosterone levels in women may have an affect on their choice of career. Researchers examined the testosterone levels in 500 MBA students at the Univ. of Chicago by measuring their financial risk aversion by using a computer game. Among the women studied, there was a large correlation between higher testoerone and lower risk aversion. [via WebMd.com]
  • In light of the recent unruly and unpredictable economy, the Examiner.com recently compiled a list of 100 career coaching blogs to help people find new jobs in this unsteady market. I really like how they have categorized them as well with such sections as "Recently Graduated", "Blogs for Women" and "Transition". [via TheExaminer.com]
  • According to the Randstad 2009 World of Work survey despite scale backs and bankruptcy stories flooding the news, U.S. workers are ready to push beyond "survival mode" at work and be more innovative. 90% of those survey said it's nice for companies to focus on the future and 83% said they'd like to expand their roles and responsibilities. [via Reuters]
  • According to NY Mag, a homeless girl named Bri recently snagged an internship at Elle magazine under advice columnist E. Jean. Apparently she entered an advice columnist competition while taking up residence in a Wal-Mart parking lot, which in turn led to an audition for a reality TV show (which she bombed). When she bombed, she decided to take matters into her own hands and email E. Jean herself, who offered her an internship! [via NY Mag]