Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm a Big Girl Now

Now that I'm the Special Projects Manager, I feel like I need to mature three to five years. Changing from coordinator to manager is a huge step at my magazine. Typically, they'd give someone with two years of working experience an Associate Manager title.

I feel that because I'm a full-on manager I need to act older. Turning 24 helped my mentality a bit. But now, I can't just be a young working girl finding her way. I need to know my way.

While I have a lot of great experience for the position, I know that people who have held the position before more have had more. I know some things and am learning others. I've never worked on a hotel contract before and I've never been in charge of an event budget. But I need to act like I know what I'm doing.

And, is it weird that I feel like I need to improve my appearance? I look pretty put together everyday at work but all of a sudden I want to cut my long hair into a more stylish, easy to manage haircut. I want a better wardrobe. I feel like my nails should be polished everyday.

Too bad I don't have the budget for a great haircut, new wardrobe and weekly manicures.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Working Girl Reads Supergirls Speak Out

This past week Working Girl had the privilege of sitting down with Liz Funk, author of Supergirls Speak Out: Inside the Secret Crisis of Overachieving Girls. Liz's book centers around the idea of a "Supergirl" - someone who she describes as being under the impression that to be happy you have to be a size two, excel at your job, wear the coolest clothes, have the perfect boyfriend, and have gotten straight A's (in high school and college). The book delves into the world of the Supergirl and how the most dangerous effect of being a Supergirl is not only competing against other Supergirls, but competing against themselves which is a destructive habit that Liz found can often lead to depression and other emotional disorders.

Before I get to our Q&A portion, I just have to give you a breakdown of how amazing Liz is. If we're talking Supergirl, she is the definition. Liz Funk was born in 1988 (yes, that makes her 20 years old), and she is not only the author of Supergirls Speak Out, but has also has written articles for USA Today, Newsday, CosmoGIRL!, and recently appeared on the Today Show. She serves on numerous advisory boards, has great fashion sense, and loves Arrested Development. And she hasn't even graduated from college yet! Safe to say, she is a Supergirl.

WG: First off, for those of our readers who haven't read your book, how would you describe a SuperGirl?

A Supergirl is a young woman who wants to be a perfect 10 at everything she attempts. She wants to have a degree from a great college, to have a great job, to do great work and quickly ascend the corporate ladder, to be pretty, to have great friends, to have a boyfriend or a steady stream of hook-ups, and more broadly, to be charming. And on top of it all, the Supergirls want to make doing everything appear as though it comes naturally to them. And that’s where things get tricky. Often, Supergirls seek to achieve for the wrong reasons—they’re trying to find their value in being perfect, when they intellectually know that they’re demanding way too much from themselves and it’s impossible to be on top of things all the time.

WG: In your book, you call yourself a Supergirl - how do you think you became one personally? Do you think you had any particular influences on your Supergirlness? And do you ever wish you weren't a Supergirl?

When I started high school—I went to a 7th-12th grade high school, so 7th grade—I noticed that there were a lot of structures to reward high-achieving kids, like honor roll, student of the month, and annual award ceremonies, and even more implicit structures within the community where kids, particularly girls, who were high-achieving and beautiful and charming got the most attention. This really spurred my desire to want to do well in school, get my career started, and win others over. Also, to be perfectly honest, I have hair that is naturally dishwater-brown, but when I started having my hair bleached blonde when I was 17, I got so much more attention, and it made me work a lot more on my appearance and see my appearance as a really integral part of my identity as a Supergirl. I was also briefly anorexic in high school, and that totally sucked and was really intertwined with my achievement issues.

I often wish I wasn’t a Supergirl! I often have a hard time relaxing, I let work stress pollute my relaxation time, and I very rarely get drunk because I don’t want to devote the day after a fun night out to vegging on the couch with a hangover. I’m a work-in-progress, though: I’m really actively working to remedy my Supergirl drive and find a healthy balance between motivation and work, and relaxation and play.

WG: One person you interviewed in your chapter on working, Yolanda, talked about the concept of not apologizing at work because it makes you appear weak. Can you elaborate on this point and do you agree with her?

I do agree with Yolanda, to an extent. While I think that if you did in fact screw up and something bad happened because of your mistake, you probably should apologize, especially if you’re not the only one affected by the problem. However, young women are frequently the lowest on the totem pole in the office, and frequently they can be scapegoated by their superiors and expected to take the blame for things they played no role in. That’s a point where young women need to assert themselves, stand behind their work, and not apologize. I once had a boss make me apologize to her for a problem we were dealing with, and by apologizing, the problem became my fault, even though it really wasn’t in the first place! It’s situations like those where girls need to overcome their need to please others and charm authority figures, and put their reputations first. Personally, I’m a big apologizer and it’s one thing that I really don’t like about myself and that I’m working on.

WG: You discuss feminity in the workplace a lot in your book, in your research did you find that there is room for feminity or do you think women need to appear more masculine to succeed?

Femininity is an extremely powerful tool; sex is not. I think that young women can absolutely be feminine in the office and can use their femininity to help them: I think women are natural negotiators, they work well with others in intimate settings and often easily meet people where they’re at, and I think that they are very perceptive and intuitive… all because of femininity! I invite women to embrace their gender as they approach work! When it comes to clothes, things can get tricky. You don’t need to dress like Miranda Hobbes for work, but you shouldn’t dress like Carrie Bradshaw, either. Yolanda, the banker who I followed for my book, had great work clothes; she would wear nice black pants that looked sleek and fit her well, nice heels, designer glasses, a snug blazer, and a shirt that maybe had a bit more pizzazz than the rest of her outfit. Also, she usually had one—just one—designer piece on her person, like a nice bag or a simple piece of jewelry. But Yolanda was also in a majorly male-dominated corporation. I think girls who work at non-profits and in the media have a lot more flexibility, simply because the throngs of women who proceeded them have already done that negotiating for them.

WG: Do you believe women have to adapt more to leaving college and entering the working world than men do?

That’s a great question. I hesitate to say yes, because there’s all these silly movies like Knocked Up and You, Me, and Dupree (not that I don’t love these silly movies!) that posit that when women overachieve, guys in turn become lazy bums who play video games and smoke weed all day. But I do think that girls make the transition a little better, simply because I think that girls are itching to enter the grown-up world and prove themselves to the industries they want to work in when they graduate, whereas guys seem to get jobs because it’s time.

WG: How important would you say fashion/looking good is to a career?

I wish it mattered less, but I think it does. I’m a big fan of the web-site Ed2010.com, a community for aspiring magazine and newspaper editors, and I remember a few years ago, we had a big discussion on the message boards about how being pretty and well-groomed plays a big role in landing an internship, and ultimately, most agreed that being pretty and fun to chat with over the cubicle dividers is a big part of getting hired. I think that there is much more to being charming and personable than being good looking, however, and I challenge Working Girls everywhere to put down the mascara wand and instead be as authentic and energetic as possible on the job.

WG: What is your advice to Supergirls out there who after reading your book still want to do it all but without the side effects - how can we still achieve this status without having a mental breakdown?

Supergirls need to admit that there is a problem before they can remedy the problem! Girls need to admit to themselves that they’re living inauthetnically and that they’re achieving for the wrong reasons. They need to admit to themselves that they’re trying to be perfect and that it’s not working. Girls need to let themselves be imperfect, and they need to figure out why they matter outside of what they accomplish, what they look like, and how others perceive them. Girls neeed to spend more time alone with their thoughts and they need to develop a relationship with themselves! Here’s a baby step: I encourage working girls everywhere, for one week, to not listen to music, read, or play with their phones during their commute to work. I predict that they’ll find that they think about a ton of interesting things, and perhaps stumble upon some thoughts that really make them think about how they’re living their lives and what they could do differently to be happier and healthier. Seriously, I hate to say it, but ditch the iPod, and you’ll find that you’re such a pensive person!

WG: You expressed a sense of disappointment in yourself - or really a feeling of 'this still isn't good enough' even though you are very successful. Do you still feel this way even after writing this book and doing the research?

Yes. Wah. This has really been the ride of my life and I’m so grateful to have achieved the goal of writing a book (and finally meeting Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera on the TODAY Show!), but I’m always going to expect more from myself. I’m a Supergirl, after all!

WG: Why do you think it is so hard for Supergirls to adapt to corporate world?

Great question! Part of the problem is that the corporate world doesn’t exactly reward high-achievers the way college does. There is less return on the time and energy investment than there is in college. It’s like, in school, if you study and you do extra credit, you’re very likely to get an A. But there’s no guarantee for success in the corporate world, and success comes about much more slowly! Also, on some level, the corporate world is at odds with our humanity: sometimes, you have to hide your emotions, pretend to like people you don’t, and put in 100% on days when you’re just not feeling it. When you’re younger, you can be more in tune with your needs and desires, but when you’re a grown-up, you have to go to work!

It’s not all gloom-and-doom, though, and I think that the twenties are a great time for young women to figure out who they are and why they matter and why they’re special, and once that happens, they’ll experience 300% more happiness in almost every area of their lives. As a recovering Supergirl, I’m inclined to guarantee it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

And I'm Dreaming of Work Tonight...

Last night I had a really bizarre dream that centered completely around work.

Let me set the scene for you: it was like I literally woke up in an alternate universe and it was like I knew this was my job, but I had no idea how anything worked. All of my co-workers were faceless and I didn't know any of them. It was like I had started a whole new job and everyone knew me, but I had amnesia about what I did on a daily basis.

Enter panic. I am told by one of my faceless co-workers that it's time for the event to start...right now. I can't remember what event it is that I have planned and apparently I have done nothing for it. I was supposed to order Mediterranean style food, but I didn't. I was supposed to get a curator to come and speak about Egyptian art, but I didn't. Apparently, all I had accomplished was getting a meeting space. (I know, elaborate dream, but I kid you not I woke up thinking, I should have just called Roti - this Mediterranean place I've been to eat a few times).

I was literally panicking in my dream - I made numerous phone calls but couldn't get through to people. And you know when in dreams you are doing things to make the situation better but it's like you make no progress. That's what this was like.

So I woke up in a panic thinking about cous cous and kebabs.

Of course, as soon as I got to work, I googled interpreting dreams and came up with this explanation:

To dream that you are at work, indicates that you are experiencing some anxiety about a current project or task. The dream may also be telling you that you need to "get back to work".? Perhaps you have been slacking and need to pick up the pace." -Dream Moods

Which womp womp just confirmed that I have been a severe slacker for the past two weeks. So thank you subconscious for making me feel even more guilty that I haven't been working on that project I was assigned a few days ago.

I promise, I will work on it today...as long as you promise not to haunt my dreams again tonight.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Promotion!

Last Wednesday, Mom Boss called me into her office.

"Events Promo Manager is leaving," she said.

I was shocked. I had had a feeling that Mom Boss wasn't happy with Events Promo Manager for a while. And I thought that maybe she wouldn't be around for much longer. But I was thinking months from now. Not right now.

What did this mean, I thought. Do I have her job? Was she fired? Do I have to ask for her job (again)? Would I get a raise? Did she want to leave? Would they interview other people? A hundred things were running through my head. The only answer I got on Thursday was "I have a plan. Just sit tight."

I didn't have to sit tight for long. On Thursday morning, I was called into her office again. "I'm assuming you want this job," she said. I did want the Events Promo Manager job. I wanted it for a while. Now, I finally have it.

Well, I will in a week or so. Until then I'm working as the Marketing Coordinator and on our upcoming events. So I'm beyond busy but I'm also beyond thrilled. Thrilled mixed with nervousness and impatience. I wont know until later this week what my exact title is (associate or not) or my salary. Whatever the outcome, I'm excited to work more heavily on projects I'm truly interested in.

So that's how I started my birthday weekend, with a promotion. Not a bad way to start of being 24.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Make New Friends But Keep the Old

This past weekend I jetted off to NYC to celebrate WG1 and our friend Catherine's birthdays. But before I got outrageously drunk off large margaritas at Maracas Bar & Grill and sang along to Bon Jovi's "Bed of Roses" at Iggy's Karaoke Bar, I had a lunch date with some old co-workers at our favorite sushi joint. 

A few faces weren't able to make it (including Red and Small Fry), but I did get to hang out with most of my old friends while munching on chicken teriyaki. We gossiped, told stories, talked about the recent lay-offs, and the more recent hires. And after lunch I followed everyone back to my old office and chatted with The Boss, visited with The President, and even joked around with The CEO. 

I think I spent a total of two hours catching up with everyone (which seriously cut into my shopping time). And while I know I don't miss my old job, I do miss the people. Sitting around making fun of each other - I miss those moments.

At my new job, I am pretty much friendless. The cast of characters is slim and include a former New Yorker def. over 50 HR manager who sits behind me and makes me laugh constantly, the executive assistant to the CEO who is in her 40's and loves The Bachelor, the IT guy with millions of tats who loves country music, and a married 30-year-old girl who was definitely the cool girl in high school and intimidates me even though I know she wants to be my friend. 

At my old job, the cast of characters was much more vast and there were different people to talk to with all my different issues (work-related and non work-related). 

I miss the camraderie and the longer than an hour lunches and throwing paper planes at each other over our cubicles. I have always had a teeny tiny fear that I won't get to that place with my new co-workers, and seeing my old co-workers this weekend made that fear a little bit wider. 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Meeting Notes

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

  • I know most of us aren't going to be resigning from our jobs any time soon, but keep this one on the back burner just in case. This employee resigned from his job at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard by writing his resignation letter on a cake. Yum!

  • Last week, Sec. of State Hilary Clinton and First Lady Michelle Obama honored eight international working women who are making a change for gender equality in our world today. Included in the line-up were Suaad Allami, a prominent lawyer from Iraq, who defends women's rights as well as Norma Cruz, director of the NGO Survivors Foundation, who combats violence against women. To read about all the receipients, click here.

  • Did you know that for every 71 cents a woman makes in the state of Illinois, a man earns a dollar? This NY Times article's theory is that discrimination and personal choices within the occupation are the factors of why women are earning less. Another factor? Men log more hours.

  • Two weeks ago, the ultimate career woman turned 50...yep, Barbie! Yes, I know she's a doll, but she has also been the ultimate Working Girl. On Barbie's resume, astronaut, surgeon, even President of the United Sates. Below is a little skit that SNL did on Barbie's birthday - and since it involves Kirsten Weig and the words "working", I thought this might be a nice Friday treat. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

WG2 Is Back

About 6 months ago was when WG2 told me that she was moving home to Chicago my biggest concern was "oh no, our Working Girl readers are going to be so upset." I eventually realized that I'd too be very upset and miss her terribly. We all survived her move and I've gotten used to her being so far away.

But I couldn't be more excited that she's here in New York RIGHT NOW for my birthday weekend!

I have so much to post and share with you all but I'll have to save it for next week. Enjoy your weekends and have an extra drink in honor of my birthday on Saturday (sorry, I'm kind of self-absorbed on my birthday!).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who Would You Fire?

I was not a avid The Office fan until my senior year of college when watching repeats became a normal hung-over routine between me and my roommates (hell yes we sprung for DVR). But I quickly became addicted to Michael's comments that made you wince, Pam & Jim's glances of lust, and Dwight's quirks.

So the past few years, I would DVR Grey's and dutifully watch The Office because I couldn't not watch it as it first aired. But these days my love of The Office has faded. And now I turn on Grey's (even though Izzy is dying - wait what?!?) and watch The Office on Hulu.com when I get bored.

In a recent article in the LA Times, writer Jon Caramanica argues that The Office is slowly fading and the reason is Michael Scott. His solution: fire someone. And if we're getting specific here, he says fire Michael Scott.

Caramanica writes, "Early on, taking after Ricky Gervais' David Brent on the original British version of the show, Michael was a catalyst for misbehavior and ill will. He was difficult, verging on unlovable; you almost had to shield your eyes watching him, so great was his capacity for awkwardness." He argues that Steve Carrell isn't playing the character like he used to - and he even physically looks better. He has better hair, better posture, and we almost feel sympathetic towards Michael Scott. Which should not be the case.

And I have to say that I whole-heartedly agree. Something is off (come on, I would rather watch Grey's obviously something is off).

The article goes on to say that Steve Carrell isn't the only problem - Jim & Pam are even annoying...Jim especially. The article describes Jim as being "smug and self-satisfied"...again, I agree. Before, Jim used to deliver one-liners that weren't blatantly stings, but now it's like he's not even trying. His one-liners are borderline cruel.

So who is keeping the show afloat? Sidekick storylines - plain and simple. The Accounting corner is probably one of the only reasons I tune in any longer. Oscar, Kevin, and Angela are a great combination that always ellicit laughs.

And my favorite character who doesn't get nearly enough lines? Kelly Kapoor. She is hilarious! I love her pop culture comments, her need to stay thin by eating tapeworms she buys from Creed, and she (like me) loves her birthday. So let's give her some new story lines please.

If it were up to me, I would fire Stanley. Ever since he blew up last season, he has become my most hated character on the show. He's sarcastic yes and sure sometimes he makes me grin, but his bad attitude is killing me slowly. Quit already! And give us some new Office blood.

P.S. Where the hell did Ryan disappear to?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Money, Money, Money

I never thought I was good at managing my money. In college, my bank account was nearly $0.00 ninety percent of the time. If it wasn't at $0.00, it was negative. Ok, I might be exaggerating a little, I only over withdrew twice. I had enough to buy my books, my groceries and (most importantly) alcohol. What else do you need in college? I was set.

Entering the "real world" was a bit of an adjustment. There were several more things that had to be paid for: rent, cell phone, cable, gas/electric, transportation, work clothes, even more groceries and (of course) alcohol. I meant to make a budget for myself, several times, and never did. But I managed. I learned to live on what I made and never over withdrew my account.

Lately, despite the recession, I feel like I've been spending more. Maybe I've been spending the same amount but it just feels like more because of the recession. How am I supposed to know? It's not like I balance my checkbook or keep track of my spending. I don't have time for that. And if you asked me how, I'd have no idea how to balance a checkbook.

Recently, I noticed Mint.com mentioned on a few blogs that I read. It's a money management site that makes it easy for you to track your debit and credit card transactions and set a monthly budget for all of your expenses. You can also have emails or texts sent to you when you are close to hitting your monthly budget on, say, shopping or taxis.

I only joined Mint yesterday and have only used it for creating a budget. But I've read that it can help in paying off student loans and lowering credit card interest rates.

In times like these, it's a good to have an idea of your spending habits and a budget (even if you go over it once or twice). So if you're like me and need a little help managing and keeping track of your spending, I'd check it out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

He Said, She Said

This past Thursday I woke up with a crick in my neck so horrific that every time I lifted my arms, it sent a very intense, very painful shooting sensation up my neck. Apparently I am 24 going on 85. I tried getting in the shower and fighting through the pain, but I couldn't even wash my hair (or put it up so it was just a limp gross mess around my face). So I made the executive decision to take the day off and lay in bed groaning and watching Tyra's special on babies in beauty pageants. 

And the next day I didn't feel much better, so I took that day off as well. And even though I was legitimately in pain and definitely wouldn't have been able to sit at a computer all day much less get on a bus to get all the way downtown, I still felt guilty for taking those days off. (I guess that means WG1 and I are just really great Catholics because we write about feeling guilty a lot.) Since I felt so guilty, I had a panic attack on Sunday about how I was so sure I was going to walk into work today and get fired. 

See, when I felt like I was going to die from my neck pains I sent an e-mail to my boss saying I felt ill and all I got in return was a "Feel better". That's it. After I spilled out my guts about how I went white in the face when I moved my arms and how walking across a room was a small triumph. That's it. And when I sent an e-mail the next morning talking about my progress, I got zero response. So you can see why my heart started a thumping.

At my job back in New York, The Boss would have probably sent me a care package, told me to go get a massage, and fed me vitamins the day I came back from work. Because she was a 'she' and would often refer to me as her third daughter. She heard sick and her maternal instincts went into overdrive. I think a lot of women hear the word sick and immediately google the symptoms and send all the research they found on how to kick that flu in the ass to their friend/mother/sister/co-worker. I even googled shooting neck pains to make sure I wasn't dying from something other than inflamed joints. 

In my short career, I have only had female bosses and it's taking me a while to get used to a male boss. I'm used to getting lots of compassion when I'm sick or talking about my shopping purchases at lunch. 

My new boss is a 'he'. And his response was, "Feel better". He meant well. But his main concern wasn't my health because he doesn't think of me as a fourth daughter. He was probably thinking more along the lines of 'who is going to put together my weekly reports for Friday's meeting'. And for that, I couldn't be happier. He sees me as an employee. I already have parents thankyouverymuch.

Oh and just in case you couldn't guess, I did not get fired today. 

Have any of you experienced the difference between male and female bosses in your careers?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Made the Same Mistake Twice

I'm one of those people who is very into their birthdays. I've been known to celebrate not just on March 10th (yes, my bday was yesterday!), but for the whole month of March. For example, this year I managed to snag a dinner date with my dad, a birthday soiree party last weekend, and tomorrow some friends are taking me out bowling. And my birthday present this year was a flight to NYC so next week I will be celebrating my birthday (oh, and WG1's too). 

Point being, I love my birthday. Usually about a month before my fated day, I begin announcing it to anyone who will listen. Last year I publicized my birthday enough at my old workplace that some people bought me cupcakes, sang happy birthday to me, and bought me presents. But this year was a much different situation. I've only been at my new job for 4 months so putting my birthday on people's Outlook calendars didn't seem kosher (just kidding, I definitely did NOT do that last year). 

This year only a few people knew of my birthday - one of these people was Bill. Bill is our new IT guy who replaced Jay (the IT dude I thought had a crush on me). He and I started around the same time so he stops by desk at least once a day and mostly he tells me stories about his wife and crazy stories from his after work bar-tending gig. 

So one day, I of course let it slip that it was my birthday the following week and that I was turning 24. To which Bill responded, "Aw man, I'm 24 too! We must be the youngest people in the company!"

Insert dropped jaw here. 

To understand my shock, I guess you have to realize that Bill first of all looks much older than 24. He has facial hair, which always throws me off. And he's married. So when I see rings on fingers, I automatically assume that I'm talking with someone in their late 20's. I can't help it. 

And I didn't make this mistake just once. A few months earlier when I was in Atlanta for our conference, a co-worker of mine, Carlos, and I were eating dinner together when he got a call from his wife. He disappeared from our table and was gone so long his food got cold. When I asked another co-worker if they had seen him they laughed and said this happened all the time since his wife is so young that she often picks fights with him. Of course, I then inquired how old she in fact was. Apparently, she is the ripe young age of 22. 

Insert dropped jaw here.

Color me surprised when I found out he was actually in his mid-twenties and not over 30 like I had previously thought. Again, I had assumed Carlos was older not only because he was married, but also he had facial hair.

Moral of this working girl awkward moment, don't assume someone is over 25 just because they can grow facial hair. Oh, and also if they have a ring on their left finger. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Running In Heels: Homework

Joanna, Nina and Zanna are heading to Fashion week in Europe. But before the leave, Joanna wants to sit down with the interns and get their opinion of recent issues of the magazine.

The girls are excited and nervous to have the opportunity but Talita isn’t thrilled at the idea of have “homework” after a 12-hour workday. Samantha is Patty Positive about it and Talita mocks her. Ashley sulks and rolls her eyes. Per usual.

“Do you ever think about anything realistically?” – Talita to Samantha.

“I don’t see what’s wrong with being positive. We got an assignment, I’m gonna work hard at it, not just complain like Talita.” – Samantha

I’m going to have to go with Samantha on this one.

Abby, a fashion assistant, is preparing for European fashion week. She’ll be going with the editors but instead of attending the shows, she’ll be running a satellite office from her hotel room.

That night, Ashley and Talita are back their apartment and Samantha is still at the office preparing for their meeting with Joanna. As they eat dinner, Talita and Ashley talk shit about Samantha.

The next morning, Samantha is still reading back issues while the other two get dressed.

“Does it even take that long to read?” – Ashley

At the office, the Meeting begins with Samantha saying “I love this issue, I’m not trying to suck up or anything.” Talita rolls her eyes and Ashley sulks.

Joanna responds with “you can suck up, sucking up is good.” Well, if the Editor In Chief says so, I’m going to say it’s fine.

Talita and Ashley both give positive feedback about the issue they are discussing but then Joanna asks them to share what did they didn’t like. Dun dun dun!

“I have a lot of those.” – Ashley.

Don’t think that was your best move, Ash. But then she gives fair constructive criticism of a fashion piece and Joanna agrees with her that the spread did not have variety in the clothes and diversity in the women. This becomes their next task. In 5 days, the interns have to create a page featuring a current trend and a real woman.

“We keep on getting harder and harder assignments and more and more work to do, this internship is harder than I thought it would be.” – Talita

“ I’m not going to admit it to the other girls but, I’m actually pretty glad we got this assignment. Its’ my chance to finally show j what I’ve got.” – Ashley

Samantha may be smarter than Talita and Ashley are giving her credit for. She gets samples from the fashion closet for their assignment and has a fashion assistant model the clothes. Things get a little emotional when she tries on an outfit and it doesn’t fit. Jeremy, a fashion editor, reminds her that sample sizes are 2 and 4 and that she shouldn’t be upset.

Later, Ashley asks Zoe for advice on their assignment. Good move seeing as Zoe is the editor for that page. Ashley truly seems nervous and admits that she’s a huge procrastinator and that she probably wont do anything until the last minute. How very college of her.

Talita hits the streets of Manhattan to hut down women in vests. Talita asks the art interns to help her layout her page.

They meet with editor Lucy to update her on the status of each of their pages and Ashley is late. Her excuse: she gave her last dollar to a homeless man and that dollar was her dollar for the subway. Uh, really Ashley? First of all the subway is $2.00 and, second, I thought you ladies rolled in cabs.

Ashley finds out that Talita had the art interns to design the page and she plans to call her out on it. I think this was fair. It’s not like the editors design each page in the magazine, the art department does.

Two days before the project is due, Ashley still hasn’t done anything and instead of working she talks to Zoe about how Talita “cheated.” Zoe doesn’t think what Talita did was out of line but she does say that Ashley will look better if she does her entire assignment herself.

Joanna and the crew are back and it’s time for the girls to present.

Samantha had a poorly cropped photo on her layout.
Ashley’s page was unfocused.
Talita had spelling mistakes in her copy. When is this girl going to learn?

“I don’t think any of you have spent any time really looking at magazines.” – Joanna

“I thought that Samantha’s trend was awful, Talita’s, she cheated on her project and Joanna still didn’t like it. – Ashley

“I hope that Ashley and Samantha have learned their lesson and that next time they worry less about me and focus more on their own projects. – Talita

“I don’t think it can get any worse” – Ashley

Monday, March 9, 2009

No Shots For You

Last week, I jetted down to Key West for a long weekend of working, coordinating, and being an all-around travel agent to a hoard of salespeople. 

If  you happened to catch my post from two weeks ago (yea, I have been a major slacker, my apologies for zero posts last week), you might recall my mentioning my Spring Break-esque trip down to Florida to celebrate a few of our top salespeople's achievements this year. The trip went almost perfectly (there was one snag - the hotel lost one of my very, very important boxes and my boss was not pleased). 

I did have one fear going into the trip and that was consuming alcohol. The most drinking I have done around co-workers has been at going-away parties and cocktail parties. But I'm not exaggerating when I say I would abstain from drinking more than two glasses of wine/beer. Getting drunk and telling off my boss scared me sober. At my old company, it was easy to avoid drinking. Usually when I was working events, drinking a few glasses while on the job would be deemed tacky. And when I was in social settings, it was easy to nurse a glass of wine. 

My new job, however, has led me into a land of temptation where our sales team will moan and groan if they aren't given more than two drink tickets at a work happy hour function paid for by our company. This trip was especially tricky because it involved being "off" the job on a tiny island where it was highly probable that I would happen upon my co-workers and my boss at bars on Duval Street. And gasp I might be drunk.

And happen upon them drunk I did. I saw one co-worker unsuccessfully try to pick up girls by buying them Jell-O shots. One co-worker, when asked if he had had a good night responded with, "Yes, and a great morning" - yea ew. And another co-worker drunkenly followed me and my friend back to our room (stopping only to thrust his pelvis a few times while in front of our boss's hotel room) to only realize that he had gone two floors too high when he couldn't find room 235 on the fourth floor. Over-served is an understatement. 

The whole purpose of this trip of course was to relax. And when I say relax, I mean the salespeople who had won the trip were there to kick back. I was there to work. So I was naturally nervous to consume one too many beverages when I was off the clock. Which was confirmed, when as I was about to shove a Jell-O shot of my own down my throat, one of higher up salespeople told me I should veer away from any kind of shots. Apparently, my boss loathes them. Which he then followed up with, "Don't worry, I won't tell him I saw you take one." Which of course caused me to have a minor panic attack.

So I threw out that shot of raspberry Jell-O and vodka goodness, and ordered another beer. Any other shots that were bought for me by co-workers that night, I would pretend to take and then throw out. I was being overly cautious, but let's just say I was glad I didn't have to lay on the floor of my hotel bathroom the whole next day. 

While I can't say that I wasn't a teensy bit inebriated most nights of my work vacation, I can truthfully say that I didn't embarrass myself in front of my boss (though I have to admit I made one of my co-workers pretend to be my older brother to ward off a 40-something drunken tourist with a tongue ring who just would not leave me alone).

I was really proud of the way I was able to enjoy myself and not overdo it. I had a great vacation and I met some great people. Oh, and I got a little, itty bit of a tan.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dear Working Girls,

WG2 and I have completely and totally dropped the ball on posting this past week. Blame it on the winter blues or that WG2 just came back from a business trip or that I just really couldn't do anything but watch Lost on Wednesday and was too tired to post (you Losties know, it takes a lot of effort to watch and understand each episode).

We promise to be back in action next week. With daylighting saving time in full force and a week off from my favorite television show, we will have no excuses.


WG1 and WG2

Monday, March 2, 2009

"I'm Running in Stupid Heels"

Faulty internet, an annoying television and my beyond pathetic Monday night bedtime have prevented me from posting my The City recaps every week. For that, I apologize. I know many of you enjoyed those posts but they have officially been retired. But, I've decided to take up a new weekly television show: Running in Heels.

Running In Heels premiered Sunday night on the style network. The eight-week docuseries will follow three interns and the staff of Hearst's Marie Claire. I feel better about following people who actually work where they say they work. So, Working Girls, here we go.

The 3 Interns

Ashley from Washington, D.C.
"I'm always trying to be the stand out one of the interns"

Talita from L.A.
"I believe I have the talent of Fashion. I think I was just born with it."

Samantha from Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
"I'm a little nervous because I don't know much about fashion magazines and how they work."

According to Ashley, the magazine gave her the names of the two other interns, they decided to live together and Ashley found the apartment that the three girls are living in online. False and false. Granted, they only have one bedroom and there are bunk beds. But still, when I was an intern I paid $2,000 to live in an NYU dorm with five other girls.

Immediately after introductions, there is drama already boiling. Ashley doesn't like Talita because she's very L.A. and Talita thinks Ashley is standoffish. Samantha, in true Midwest form, likes them both. So far, Talita and Ashley have nothing bad to say about Samantha. I give it 10 minutes.

The Staff

Joanna Coles - Editor In Chief
"It is stressful but i love it."

Zoe Glassner - Senior Shopping Editor
"Positions in the industry are limited"

Lucy Kaylin - Executive Editor
"Nothing gets in the magazine without going through me first."

Zanna Roberts - Senior Fashion Editor
"It's definitely not all glamour but it's fun and I love what I do"

The First Day

Ashley, Talita and Samantha take a cab to work. Shouldn't interns be taking the subway or the bus?

Zoe greets the girls, gives them a quick tour and then offers them her advice.

Zoe's words of wisdom are:
1. Don't speak unless spoken to.
2. No gum.
3. No flip-flops.
4. Wear appropriate underwear
5. And don't forget "there are hundreds of girls who would kill to be you."

I think I've heard that last one somewhere before. I just can't put my finger on it...

She also gives them their first week assignments:
Talita - assist the beauty department at fashion week.
Samantha - tend to Joanna Coles and newly hired Nina Garcia.
Ashley - assist Zoe in the fashion department

Talita and Samantha are beyond excited by their assignments. Ashley is not and she should be. Zoe has worked at Marie Claire for eight years. I'd guess she knows the ins-and-outs of the magazine more than most. If Ashley were to preform well in assisting her it would be very helpful for her career. Throughout her assignment she's sulking.

We get our first real glimpse of Nina during a fashion department meeting. She is channeling Miranda Preistly. I like it.

Down in the studio Zoe is also hardcore and I like it. Ashley does not. She did not pack up items from a photo short correctly and Zoe is not having it.
Zoe says, in a voiceover, that internships are all about learning and that if you don't know how to do something, you need to ask. Ashley says, to the camera, that Zoe didn't tell her how to pack the times, so she shouldn't be mad. Who's side are you on?

Sergio, Joanne's assistant, gives Samantha her first assignment. To pick up designer outfits for Joanne. And before we know it she is literally running in her heels. On her way back to the office, she tries to hail a cab. "I don't know what the lights mean," she says about the cabs.

(A quick NYC cab lesson from WG1: if just the lights in the middle are on, the cab is available. If no lights are on, the cab is taken. If just the "off duty" lights are on, the cab is off duty. If the "off duty" and the middle lights are on, the cabbie might take you were you need to go if he feels like it.)

Talita's assignment is to go to the Rock & Republic fashion show and interview models backstage about their beauty secrets. When she arrives backstage she looks totally lost. I can't blame her, it looks beyond overwhelming. It's stressing me out just watching.
The following Monday, Talita meets with a beauty editor to discuss her assignment. According to the editor, Talita didn't get enough information and had several spelling mistakes in her draft. That's a huge no-no.

While Talita was doing a bad job backstage, Sergio called the intern apartment and gave Ashley tickets to the show and she did not invite Samantha. After the show and back at the apartment Samantha confronted Ashley. Ashley was not sorry for not inviting Samantha and this upset Samantha. Drama, drama, drama.

Later, Zoe is passing out assignments again. For the Nina Garcia party, Samantha gets to work the red carpet, the glamorous assignment, while Talita and Ashley are working on event planning (read: gift bag stuffing duty). And obviously Ashley is sulking about it. She thinks she should have the more glamorous assignment because she has more experience.

After the Party

"Never would I ever have the audacity to walk around a party, with Nina Garcia, during fashion week, barefoot, with a glass of champagne in my hand, as an intern." - Ashley.

"It was very clear tonight that Samantha doesn't know what shes doing." - Talita

"They were looking at me like I was the biggest idiot" - Samantha about Ashley and Talita.

Upon first meeting the girls, I thought I was going to hate Talita and that Samantha was slightly annoying. Ashley appeared to be the perfect intern. She was experienced, poised and polite. Those last two didn't last long. Perhaps she has the most experience but she needs to cut out the competitiveness and realize that each opportunity during her internship will be helpful. Even it is stuffing gift bags and packing up photo shoot items.

I began rooting for Samantha, the nice girl from the Midwest. But, I was right, she's annoying and "green" as Talita put it. As an intern or even as a full-time employee working the event, you should not be seen eating the food or drinking the drinks while the party is going on. Nor should you take of your heels.

Talita, while she made some mistakes with her first assignment is the most mature intern so far. She stayed out of the drama between Ashley and Samantha and only reacted to Samantha's actions at the party. We'll see how long she remains drama free.

(Editor's note: I apologize for the lack of photos. As previously mentioned, my internet has been faulty lately and pictures are just not going to happen for this post.)