Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Open 5 Days A Week

by Lawyer Working Girl

I hope all of you Working Girls had a great holiday break. I had 5 wonderful days off from work (including the weekend) and I enjoyed every second of it. However, all day Monday all I could think of was, "I sure don't want to go back to work tomorrow" (but in the same breath, I did give thanks for having a job to go to). Do you guys do that too? Usually, it's Sunday evening when it hits me that the weekend is almost over. Since I was off Monday, I just knew that I would have the post-holiday blues this morning. Well, imagine my surprise when I walked into the office today and I was in a very cheerful mood. It's funny that I thought that having 5 days off would put me in a bad mood upon my return to work, when in actuality, it was the exact opposite.

This made me think about how much we work in the U.S. I think we work WAY too much and I think that more days off would do wonders for productivity and moral (I personally found myself a lot more productive today than I'd been the last couple of weeks). On average, Americans get 17 vacation days a year. 17. The French get the most vacations days a year, averaging about 37.5. Wow! At first I thought, "we should be given more vacation days." But then, I remembered always hearing how many people don't use all of their vacations days because they are too busy at work or because they feel like things will fall apart without them. (Let's be clear. This will never be an issue for me. I'm taking every day that they give me.) So, giving more vacation days doesn't really help if people aren't going to take them.

So, what's my solution, you ask? I say we should have 4 day work weeks. 4 days to work, 3 days to rest. Think about our current weekends. We get off Friday evenings and have that evening and night to rest and unwind. I tend to find that I'm exhausted when Friday comes and enjoy an evening at home. Saturday comes and you try to cram a lot in that one day (errands, cleaning, etc.), because it's the only true full weekend day that you have (Sunday night you have to get in bed at a decent hour for work the next day). When Sunday comes you're already thinking about work on Monday. Am I right or is this just me? I think the 3 day weekend would allow workers to truly rest, relax and stay mentally sharp for the work week. Working Girls, what do you think? And who do I talk to about implementing this idea?

You've Lost That Christmas Feeling!

I started listening to holiday music immediately after Thanksgiving. Okay, fine. I started a few days before Thanksgiving. I had a tree in my apartment and decorated by the first weekend in December. But somehow, Christmas really snuck up on me this year.

It's always fun to receive gifts but I truly love to give them. This year, due to my unemployed status, I knew the giving part would be a little difficult. Thankfully, I landed a temporary freelance gig and started right before the holiday. Sure, it's only temporary but I'm thrilled.

After my first day, what did I do? Shop you say? No, I went home and cried to my mom on the phone. I was exhausted after working a full day. It had been months since I'd gotten up at 7am and worked all day. I was overwhelmed by the work. I knew I could handle it but I forgot how overwhelming is to learn a whole new set of processes.

And then I realized Christmas was just days away. At my old job, I always took a few days before Christmas off. My favorite days are the ones leading up to the holiday. (In fact, I had asked for a few of those days and they weren't immediately approved. It was the first thing that tipped me off that I might get laid off.) I was thrilled to be working again but a little part of me wished for a few more days of unemployment. After all this downtime, I was back at work during my favorite time of year.

I was worried that working would take away from the feeling of Christmas. The office was closed Christmas Eve and I was able to get out a bit early the day before and head to my Mom's house. As soon as I my sister picked me up, it started to feel like Christmas because we headed to the mall, of course! Had to get that Christmas shopping done!

Hope you all had a happy and safe holiday!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Editorial Resolutions

By: Editing Working Girl

It has been one heck of a year - both personally and career-wise - and if 2010 treated me this well, I can't wait for 2011.

This year I not only got a new full-time job, I was also able to kick butt in the freelancing world (by entering it). All of this change and success I have found has me ready to keep it all going full force in 2011, and with that, comes some resolutions.

Embrace the unknown - This year I was given more than one writing assignment that I wasn't too sure of, whether it be a topic I didn't know much about or needing to learn a new blogging software or even learning new style guides. That being said, I managed to pull it off in the end and have learned so much more than I would have imagined (especially at the software company I work for). Successfully writing about a new or foreign topic gives me a huge confidence boost. I want that all year long in 2011 - and just think of all the new things I will learn!

Focus on social media, really focus - At my full-time job I am in charge of social media and blogging initiatives and I want to kick it up next year! We have been working on a lot of brainstorming on ways to maximize our social media efforts to reach customers and I am ready to implement them all in the New Year!

Decorate my office - One of my tasks in 2011 will be to transform my office into a cozy place I am excited to go to everyday (though I love coming to work, my office is a bit lacking in color and playfulness). I want pictures! Posters! Frills and pink everywhere!

Blog, more - In 2010 my personal blogging kind of went kaput and took the back burner to all of my freelance writing and contributing. Not only am I ready to start my blog back up - I am currently applying for even more contributing!

Most importantly:
Don't think of work as a job - I've been inspired by workisnotajob. I hope you get inspired too.

What are your Working Girl Resolutions? Did you keep your 2010 resolutions - and are there any that will carry over to 2011?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011: The Year of Change

by Social Media Working Girl

Just as Lawyer Working Girl posted about her New Year's resolutions here, I'd like to take the opportunity this week to share some of my wishes for 2011.

To be completely honest, I hope 2011 includes a lot of change for me--both personally and professionally.

Let's dive right in and start with the personal stuff.

I'm currently in a long-distance relationship. While my man is only a 3-hour drive away, this can certainly get in the way of living the life we want to live. A lot of our free time is spent driving to see one another or cramming a thousand things into a short period of time. I'm praying that something changes here... and soon.

Of course as a working girl who has a career, I have a few prerequisites that must be fulfilled in order for that long distance to shorten (aka, one of us moves to be with the other). Note: My man is currently in graduate school for the next 3+ years and thus, he won't be the one moving.

Which brings me to the next bit--professional change.

While I have been "mostly" happy with my current job, I would love the chance to further my horizons, explore my skills, challenge myself, have more opportunities for growth and learning, and most importantly--love what I do day in and day out.

Several years ago when I began this job I was ecstatic. I saw room for upward growth and the potential to truly challenge myself professionally was easy to see. But lately things have been, well, stagnant (to say the least) and--probably like most of you out there--I'm overworked, underpaid and completely undervalued.

All of this coupled with the fact that the love of my life lives 150+ miles away makes my life as a 20-something working girl pretty unhappy. So what do I hope for in 2011? Lots (and lots) of exciting new changes.

Fingers crossed.

What are some of your hopes, wishes, dreams and goals for the New Year?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Get Introduced" to LinkedIn

Last week Social Media Working Girl wrote about how to use social networking to find a job. Read her post here. It was full of great information and having just attended a professional coaching session where there was a section on LinkedIn, I thought I would expand on why its so great when trying to find a new job. Prior to this coaching session, I thought I understood LinkedIn, but its functionality is beyond that of just looking people up and viewing their profile.

Here is my version of getting introduced to LinkedIn:

When networking there are really three different levels of people you know and are trying to network with:
  • Inner circle: those you already know

  • Middle circle: the people those people know

  • Outer circle: the people the middle people know

So when looking on LinkedIn they conveniently have a system that mirrors a network with letting you know who is your 1st connection (inner circle), 2nd connection (middle circle), and 3rd connection/everyone else (outer circle).

Now that you can see through the networking system on LinkedIn, its time show you how to virtually network.

  1. Search for someone you are looking for specifically or look at one of your 1st connection contacts who has contacts you are interested in meeting

  2. If you are doing a search for a person, notice what level of connection you are with the person. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd? If you are looking at a 1st connections page and connections, notice if the person you are looking at knows any additional contacts.

  3. Now on to the important part, on the right, there will be a "Get introduced to a connection" button. Click this and it will bring up the connections you have in common. Select a contact.

  4. Here is the important part, the introduction. There will be two sections for you to write in, one for the person you are hoping to meet and the other for the person you already know. Ask the person you already know if it would be okay if he/she introduced you. Once both sections are filled out with messages to both, it will email your contact asking for the introduction. All that person does is accept and then the email you wrote to the connection you are hoping to make will be sent to them. Easy as that!

Some of the other tips that this coach gave were to make sure your profile is at least 90% complete and be sure to add a summary. It won't look very good it its only half filled out!

I hope this helps some of you in your job serach as we get ready to enter the new year. Hope you all are having a Happy Holiday season!

In Transition Working Girl

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New Year, New Me?

by Lawyer Working Girl

I don't normally do New Year's Resolutions. I mean, let's be real. I figure that if I wasn't doing something on December 31, the calendar now saying January 1 isn't going to make me start doing it. You know what I mean? But I completely understand why people do them. It's not only a new day, but it's a new year! It's a fresh start! It's a great starting place to make necessary changes in your life. I just believe that you have to come to the conclusion within yourself that it's time to make those changes and not just say you're going to do it because it's January 1.

Well, with all of that being said, I know that there are some things that I need to commit myself to doing, so I'm starting now mentally preparing myself so that hopefully but January 1, I will be ready to implement these changes. So I guess, what I'm really saying is that I am doing some New Year's Resolutions this year. Go figure.

So, what are my resolutions? I will spare you any personal resolutions and go straight to career resolutions (after all, this is the Working Girl blog).

First, I plan to utilize my evenings and weekends a lot better so that I can work on my passion projects. In a previous post I shared with you all that I also blog outside of Working Girl and I am engaged in other social media. Blogging and social media have given me an outlet to pursue my passions. I don't intend to be somebody's employee for the rest of my life, so I need to dedicate myself to working on my passions so I can build my own empire (insert evil laughter...ha. Just kidding.) How am I going to do this? Well, if I want it to one day be my full-time job, then I must treat it like it is a job. I must set aside "work" hours in the evening and on weekends, specifically setting aside 1 hour each evening and 3 hours each day of the weekend where I focus on my passions. That means, shutting off the TV, putting down and phone, and carrying my laptop to my desk to work (not that kind of working, mostly watching TV stuff I do now).

The second one involves the bread and butter job. You know. The one keeping the lights on and a roof over my head. We have specific targets and goals given by the boss that we should aim for each year, but I want to set my own personal goals. This upcoming year I want to...(silence). Hmm. Well. I'm kind of at a loss for a resolution related to my job. There are some things that I want to do, but they aren't really resolutions (and I don't want to share those prematurely, but hopefully, I will be able to share them with you soon!). Honestly, I can't really think of any resolutions. There are things that I should probably do like cut down on personal stuff/Internet usage during work hours, but that's a HARD one to stick to. Ok, ok. I know. Resolutions aren't supposed to be easy. If they were, we'd already be doing them, right? Ok. That will be my resolution, and hopefully, I will truly stick to it.

I guess that's about it career-wise. Anything else I want to do is more personal, but I must say, that if I can do the personal things, I'm quite sure that I will be a better person in general, which will carry over into my work life.

Working Girls, do you do New Year's Resolutions, and if so, what are they?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa to all you Working Girls and safe travels during the holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is 'Title' Everything?

By: Editing Working Girl

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about titles and how they affect us. Not only do they delineate your position with the company, but also your responsibility. And ultimately, title can affect your future positions and opportunities.

In the editorial world, Editor-in-Chief is a title I have been striving for, and it looks like I am thisclose to getting my dream and dream title at a small, local newspaper. At the same time, it looks as if my Regional Editor title with another publication I work for may be changing into a regional contributor position, as the magazine is re-working their editorial priorities and structures. The writing world is an unpredictable one, and I have always been leery of transitioning into the world of newspapers. But to have the title of Editor-in-Chief, I would immediately make that transition and eagerly.

It is funny what titles do to us. Now that I have been Regional Editor, I have been wondering if there will be future implications if and when I have to change my resume to say Regional Contributor. What if I don't have a chance to explain the magazine's transition and it looks like I was demoted? What if they think I couldn't handle the responsibilities of Regional Editor? Then I move on to thinking about the future Editor-in-Chief role. What if I don't get to play as much of a role in shaping the news as I would like? Are people automatically going to come my way if they don't agree with an Opinion piece, or the writer?

Most importantly: will all of these title changes affect how I work or my writing style?

I have always prided myself on my ability to take on any writing assignment, put in the research necessary and have the finished product on time for deadline. I don't want titles to change how I write or why I write or where I am headed.

Do you have a dream "title"? Do you feel the title you hold now will affect you in the future? Have you met someone who has judged you or placed you in a certain category based on that title? And most importantly - is title everything?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In Transition No More

Guess what working girls? I am no longer in transition!

I can hardly believe it. Just last week I was writing about my frustrations and this week I received a formal job offer, accepted and resigned. My new position is exactly what I have been looking for and meets my goals and objectives and then some. The position is at a marketing agency and I couldn't be more thrilled. Plus my new company is woman owned-how cool is that!?!

Being in transition has been a long process and I want to give others hope that even in this economy there are jobs out there and they pop up when you least expect it. I started this process about a year ago when I realized I wasn't happy. Then spent most of the spring time telling others I was going to start looking, then summer rolled around and I finally told myself I was ready and then this fall I actually put the wheels in motion.

As I have mentioned I am a huge fan of networking so began the process of reaching out to others, asking to meet them and get introduced to their friends. And it worked! This is actually the second job offer I received as I turned the first one down and both were contacts of a contact of mine.

I look forward to sharing more about my current job and my new one!

So working girls, I am going to leave you with this: network, network, network.

Have a wonderful Thursday!
"No Longer" In Transition Working Girl

Social Media and the Job Hunt

by Social Media Working Girl

When I was a senior in college, I sent my resume everywhere. The last thing I wanted was to graduate and be jobless--and the idea of living at home was not an option. Thankfully, I had some PR contacts from my interning days and was able to use them to network and connect with others in the industry. But my personal experience was much different than today's job search.

In fact, with the advent of so many exciting social media tools, there are a variety of resources available online to take advantage of and using these sites throughout your job search can help you tremendously along the way. Two sites that I find particularly helpful are LinkedIn and Twitter. And here's why.

LinkedIn

We've all heard the spiel. LinkedIn is the "professional" social media outlet. Consider it your "online resume," if you will. And believe it or not, this is absolutely true.

By posting your resume on LinkedIn, prospective employers and contacts can search your qualifications, background, skill sets and knowledge base, and garner a basic understanding of who you are as a professional working woman. You can join discussion groups, network with professional associations and view job listings. It's a great resource for your career--before and after the job hunt.

Twitter

In addition to LinkedIn group discussions, there are a number of chats that occur regularly on Twitter. These are hosted by various moderators and are open for anyone to join. By participating in these online chats, you begin to engage a niche audience that will quickly recognize who you are and become familiar with what it is you are looking for and interested in. Check out the many great Twitter chats available.

Additionally, by actively participating on Twitter by posting relevant and interesting content--via chats or simply by tweeting regularly--you will most likely gain a following of some sort. Continue the conversation further and use these followers as potential resources on your job search.

A couple notes...

Maintaining professionalism while also staying personal is what makes for an effective social media experience. Sure, these tools are entertaining and can oftentimes be an outlet from our working girl lives, but it's important to think carefully about how you market yourself.

What kind of personal brand are you creating? How do you want to be perceived? What do you want people to know (or not know) about you? Remember to be mindful of how you want to be heard.

Lastly, I advise you to embrace these tools on your job search. The career world and business arena as we know it have drastically changed. And this is only the beginning.

Have you used social media tools to land a job? What was your experience?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Office

by Lawyer Working Girl

As this year starts to wind down, I have to take a moment to reflect on all of the great opportunities that have come my way career-wise this year. One of those, which is the biggest, is the promotion that I received a couple of months ago that I've already shared with you all. I believe that this promotion is really just the start of more great things to come with my company and I am excited about the possibilities. (Another truly awesome thing is receiving my first bonus with the company! WOOHOO!)

Another thing that happened for my company this year was our move to our new office space. For about a year and a half my company was in a smaller building and smaller office space. Then we began to hear talks about moving to a bigger office space, which was the first sign that the company was growing, and that got everyone excited. Now that we've been in our new space for a few months, I look back at our old space, and I'm telling you, it's like going from a Pinto to a Mercedes. Our new space is so much bigger and better than the old office and has new technology integrated in that helps us to stay connected to the outside world (hey, we spend a lot of time at the office) as well as connected with our colleagues in the various offices. I think the new office has even had an effect on everyone's disposition. After all, when you spend a majority of your day at a place, don't you want it to be nice and one that you enjoy?

That got me to thinking about the pros and cons of working in an office. I often think that I would LOVE to be able to work from home where I could stay in my pajamas and post up in front of the TV while I work (especially on COLD days like today). How great would it be to just walk to my kitchen for lunch rather than the breakroom to heat up the lunch that I brought or running out and spending money on food? Although that sounds nice, there are things that I would miss about working in an office.

I read this interview with the co-founder and President of a web application company, whose main issue with the modern office place is also high up in my "pros" column: that it is structured for interruptions. Well, what he calls interruptions, I refer to as the social aspect of working in an office. I love socializing with my colleagues. That's one of the things that makes going to work fun. And the camaraderie, which goes hand in hand with socializing. We build these relationships that are unique in that if we had not worked together, we probably never would have met and would ordinarily probably never be friends (and here I use the word loosely as I do not consider my "friendships" with all of my colleagues to be equal). Also, for some, but not for me, a pro of working in an office means "the office hookup." That's all I will say about that one.

Aside from those two things another pro of working in an office is that you have people to bounce ideas off of. I wonder how many multimillion dollar ideas came from two people sitting around brainstorming? Also, having to go to an office gives me set working hours. If I'm at home it seems that it would be a lot harder to separate time for work and time for personal. Another personal pro is that I get my daily exercise in by walking to the office and back home everyday. Maybe if I worked from home I would carve out gym time, but at least this way, I'm guaranteed to get in some form of exercise everyday.

So, aside from the con in the interview that I flipped into a pro, what are the other cons of working in an office? Ok, maybe he is right that there are a lot of interruptions throughout the day. And there are always meetings. Also, there are the colleagues whose personalities clash with yours, which is really only a problem if you have to work closely with them. There's also gas money/public transportation fare/parking fees involved with commuting to work.

I really can't think of anymore legitimate cons to working in an office. Now, that's not to say that if I were offered the option of working from home that I wouldn't take it, but I guess coming to an office really isn't that bad. So tell me, Working Girls, what are your pros and cons of working in your office?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Work Relationships and 'Real Life'

by Editing Working Girl

At my last job, most of the staff was either a daughter of our boss or close friends of either those daughters or of our boss. This led to drama galore. With everyone seeing each other constantly in and out of the workplace, non-work and personal issues were constantly being brought into the office, as did the gossip that goes with it. As soon as I got my new full-time job and put in my two weeks, I vowed to personally never let that happen to me in a future work setting.

I do have one close friend at work, and she is actually the one who helped me get my job. She has the office next to mine, and it is nice to have a familiar face around and someone to grab coffee with from the second floor break room, get lunch with or just sit and talk with when things are a bit slow. Though her boyfriend works at our company also, along with most of the staff hanging out constantly and being close, there is very little drama brought into work. This may be because we are all divided between the three floors, or into different departments, or everyone is just able to separate work from their personal lives. That or I am too out of the loop to notice the drama, because my coworker is really the only one I have allowed myself to get close to, mostly because of the vow I made at my previous job.

I do wonder, am I missing out? Is keeping myself at a distance hurting me? I have plenty of friends outside of work to hang out with. I live with my boyfriend and I consider him to be my best friend. I have a running group I meet with twice a week. Almost all of my best friends from high school and college are still some of my best friends today and I set aside time to call them and catch up (as they are over 1,300 miles away from me in California). With all of these groups of people I get to interact with daily, am I missing out because I don't want to let my work friends into my personal life?

Though we are all Facebook friends and they can see my Facebook status updates and photos and many can see my Twitter, I still feel like it is a nice barrier to have as they aren't directly able to have actually seen the whole night of dancing Downtown last month or my whole visit home with friends - they are getting to see the person I want to present myself as through that medium.

Do any of you Working Girls have this issue? Are you able to take the break room talk further and turn it into Happy Hours or Girl's Nights? Have taking work friendships outside of work caused professional drama? Have you ever mixed personal and work relationships and hung out with a big mixed-up group? I want to hear from all of you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Taking a Step Back to Breathe

Like every working girl out there, I desperately need a break and am anxiously awaiting the holidays like there's no tomorrow. All I need is just a few days off to wind down, refuel, take some much-needed R&R and enjoy a little "me" time.

Thankfully ladies, I'm this close to taking time off and couldn't be more thrilled about spending it at the beach. Yep, that's right--bring on the sunny vacay complete with an endless supply of frothy beverages, beautiful sand, reading, lounging, sleeping in, staying up late, and lots and lots of fresh towels.

While I'm away, I fully intend on weaning myself away from technology. For those who know me, this is quite a feat. In fact, I always promise that travel is not the time to tweet, check e-mail, blog and surf the Web... but it never actually happens.

And I know I'm not the only working girl with this terrible problem. Why don't we take the time we need to relax? We are constantly working our little tails off without taking a step back and breathing.

So this time, I'm going to focus on me and my vacation. No phone, e-mail, blogging, tweeting, Foursquare-ing, etc. And although the holidays are about spending quality time with family and friends, we working girls also must concentrate on ourselves.

This holiday, I am making the promise to keep my promise. No technology. Just the beach and me.

What are you going to do to rewind and relax during the last few weeks of 2010?

Put yourself first. You deserve it.

Why am I In Transition Working Girl?

I know to this point I have been rather vague as to why I am in transition. I apologize about this as I mentioned when I first started blogging, I felt until I moved on it was best to keep these details on the DL for obvious reasons. I am looking forward to the day when I can share all the amazing stories (being sarcastic) regarding my current position as I think many of you will be able to relate to me.

However, this week has been especially challenging for me professionally and I wanted to share with you more of the "why" I am in transition. There are many events that have lead me to where I am. It's been roughly a years worth of frustrations that have lead me to being in transition. Mainly there are two things that when I pinpoint my unhappiness seem to be common themes. Are you ready for them. Lack of direction and poor leadership.

How many of you working girls have the same frustrations?

In terms of lack of direction, I feel there is no vision for where the company I work for is headed. It seems to have all these ideas, but no idea how to accomplish them, thus the wheels are spinning and no movement forward occurs. It's as though the company I work for is in the same spot it was when I joined, perhaps even going backwards. We have nothing that we can say we have done or accomplished. Since I am a goal oriented person, this has been eating away at me. I feel I express my thoughts on goal setting only to get shut down.

The second item, poor leadership, is a tough nut for me to swallow. This is because my boss is actually a really nice person, but does not posses the knowledge for the position they are in. Integrity is very questionable and, last but not least, motivation to focus on company items is minimal.

As you can see I am frustrated. At first I thought maybe I was the only one seeing this, but recently a door opened and someone else let me in that they are feeling the same way. I feel very lucky to have the position I do right now, but the more frustrated I get, the more it motivates me to work on the next opportunity, which I hope happens sooner than later.

So what are some of the reasons that have lead you to be in transition either now or in the past?

New Normal

by Working Girl One

A while back, I wrote about my boyfriend's crazy work schedule. Back then, I dreamed of him having a "normal" schedule - working nine to five(ish), Monday through Friday.

This week, he started a new job and some of my dreams came true. He now works Monday through Friday but there is a catch.

He was approached by contacts of his at another newspaper to be a morning news editor for a handful of local newspaper websites. It was an offer he couldn't refuse.

So in the time since I was laid off, he found and a started a new job and he wasn't even looking. That sure made this unemployed Working Girl feel awesome. But that isn't what this post is about and I'm honestly so thrilled for him. He has deserved this for a long time.

As an unemployed Working Girl, my schedule has changed drastically. Back in my working days, I was almost always in bed by 10:30pm and up at 7:30am. I really like to sleep. These days, I haven't even looked at the clock in the morning until 9:00am, let alone get out of bed, and I stay up until at least 1:00am. Before you get jealous, remember that I'm unemployed and it's really not as glamorous as it sounds to not have to work. I take that back, it is glamorous to not have to work but I do have to work.

Before his new job, my boyfriend would sometimes get home to our apartment in the city at 3:30am and sleep until 1:00pm. Now being the morning editor, he's up at 4:00am to be at work by 6:00am (he has to commute an hour outside of the city) and his shift is over at 2:00pm. This is much closer to a normal schedule because I get to see him everyday when he gets home from work now and also whenever I start working again.

I'm looking forward to this new "normal" schedule for us but I must admit it's going to take some getting used to. As I draft this post, it's almost 1:00am and I'd love nothing more than to snuggle myself in bed and read a book for half an hour. But he's asleep and has been since 9:00pm. Reading on the sofa just isn't the same.

Now instead of him coming home and waking me up in the middle of the night, I'm going to bed late and in the middle of his night waking him as I get into bed. I feel bad but I make up for it. I've set the coffee machine, poured a bowl of cheerios, ironed his shirt and made him a sandwich for his lunch. I'm fully aware that I've turned myself into a 1950's housewife. I'm really bored, okay!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Help Us Out!

Hey Working Girls!

Working Girl Two and I are working to make the blog better and we could use your help. We've put together a little survey to get your feedback. Tell us what you'd like to see more of (or less of), what you like and don't like, etc. Just click the link below to take the survey! It's only 10 short questions!


Thanks!

- WG1 & WG2

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One In A Million

The legal industry has had a problem long before the recession. Yes, we've been hurt by the recession too, but long before that our industry was saturated with lawyers. For years, law schools have been herding students into their classrooms. That's great for students who aren't quite ready to enter the working world and for those who really want to practice law, but maybe wouldn't have the credentials to get in if the classes were smaller. But the problem lies when all of these students graduate. Now what? You've got a JD. Congrats. Now it's time to study for and take the bar exam. Good luck. If you don't pass, I hope you have a bachelor's degree that you can fall back on while you study and retake the exam. Or maybe you were one of the lucky few to secure employment and even luckier that your employer is going to stick by you while you take it a second time. When you pass, CONGRATS!! I know what a relief that is (I passed two different state bar exams on the first try each time *patting myself on the back*. Hey. Sometimes, it's ok to toot your own horn. *Toot toot*). If you don't have employment lined up then what?



Unfortunately, the sad reality for so many graduates is that there are no jobs available for them. This is frightening when you've just racked up thousands in student loan debt to attend law school. When I graduated from law school, I didn't yet know where I would be working. Luckily, just before I took the bar exam, I got word that I landed a clerkship. Whew! But I know several attorneys who graduated the same year as me who never landed full-time, permanent legal positions. And I'm talking, we are some years past graduation. Instead, several have gone on to pursue non-legal careers, while others have gone back to get Masters in other areas of study or are preparing to go back to school. I wonder if they wish they had skipped law school and gone to grad school instead. And underemployment is real for lawyers. No one enters law school thinking that they will graduate only to find themselves struggling to make ends meet. It makes people wonder, "Was going to law school the wise thing to do?"



Working Girls, how's the market in your industry? Do you find that there are just too many people in your industry vying for the same jobs? Have you had any experience with this in your industry?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Home Offices in Little Spaces

This past weekend, PR Working Girl showed us her GREAT office - which just served to remind me of my lack thereof.

I used to have an amazing 'cloffice' (closet+office=cloffice - it really is more fun to say), which I have abandoned because I am in the process of moving in with my boyfriend. It is a great change and a much needed move, but it brings up the issue of office space.

We have a bedroom that we have designated as the office, but with a recliner and his large desktop computer/desk/bookcase (which we needed badly once we combined our libraries), I am in a bit of a limbo. The other two bedrooms are pretty full with our bedroom furniture and with my old bedroom set completing the guest room. So just where do I choose to sit and write my freelance articles or perfect my editor letter?

I guess the real question - is a personal desk in the home office necessary? We both have full-time jobs (and I have my own office I retreat to there), so why shouldn't I be able to write at his desk or at the kitchen table?

I don't know if it is just the fact that I am worried about not having a consistent space to write in, or if it is really that I just want a bit of space in the house to make my own and keep separate from the whirlwind that is combining our things.

Have any of you gone through this same thing - trying to find office space in a house that is already complete? What did you do? I have been slowly gathering ideas from Tiny Ass Apartment (a GREAT resource for decorating and developing small spaces) and want input of other editors out there!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Space

Here I sit in my brand spankin' new home office. Oh, how I love it. My husband built it for me utilizing some leftover closet space upstairs. How nice of him. I'm going to thank him with his favorite dessert this weekend, a banana cream pie made from scratch. This recipe looks amazing.

So you may remember my complaining over the summer about how being a new Work-from-Home Working Girl was super tough and how I was losing my mojo because I didn't have a dedicated work space? Oh my gosh, what a difference this little office makes. I feel like a real Working Girl again, not a pj's girl pretending to be a Working Girl. In fact, I can't seem to tear myself away, I love this little nook so much!

One of my girlfriends made the cute "cheerful" banner to help me decorate the new space, since cheerful is an attribute she knows I love to (try to) incorporate into both my work and everyday situations. Because a little cheer isn't just for the holidays, you know.

And don't laugh ... but yes, I may have a mild obsession with The Plain White T's. Well, more like with their lead singer Tom. I know, I'm twelve.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...

As working girls, we are forced to make decisions all the time--from what shoes to wear with an outfit to how we effectively communicate and collaborate with others in the workplace. No matter what kind of working girl you are, these decisions happen constantly, whether we realize it or not.

Think about the last time you booked a flight or looked into buying a gift for a friend. You probably wanted to do a little research or compare prices before making this kind of decision. And chances are--you turned to the Web for a little guidance.

But as we all know, being a working girl leaves little room for hours of Web browsing. We hardly have time to go to the grocery store, let alone make a cost comparison chart complete with graphs and statistics to help us make the "right" or "best" decision on which computer is the better deal.

There are a number of online sites that help make our lives easier, and as Internet users and working women, we depend on these tools to help us compare and contrast without the hassle of spending tons of time perusing the Internet.

Earlier today, Mashable featured an article about a brand new Web tool that claims to make our decision-making much easier.

FindtheBest.com is a comparison engine that helps users make faster and better-informed decisions when looking for products and services--no matter what the topic.

So instead of worrying about which cookie you should make for the holiday bake-off, which e-Reader gives you the most bang for your buck, or where you and the hubby should travel for a little New Year's getaway, consider using this site (or others like it) as a way to simplify and ease your decision-making stresses this holiday season.

Happy December, working girls!

Office Parties

The holidays are just around the corner, and you know what that means working girls...office parties! This is always one of those times of year when people at work come out of their shell and let loose.

I have worked at companies big and small-and they have held parties to that matter as well. My most memorable holiday party though is from my first job out of college. Its not a story of someone hooking up with someone else or dancing on the table, no a superior got a freshly cooked platter of fish (juices and all) spilled on him from an Italian place. He was one of those people that just took it in stride and laughed it off with the rest of us. The rest of the night he smelled pretty fishy though! Guess you had to be there to think it was funny. Poor guy! :)

What is your funniest office holiday story?

Here is a little "how to" guide on how to not embarrass yourself at this years company party. Click the picture to see it larger.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Working Girl Holiday Gift Guide

Happy December Working Girls! It's officially holiday season so we thought we'd put together a little Working Girl Holiday Gift Guide. Really, it's little. But hopefully it will help you with some of your shopping or maybe even your own wish lists.


"Not only is the stationary cute but this is a no-brainer. Everyone loves stationary with their name on it (proving that we are all narcissists)." - Working Girl Two









"This is the perfect coworker gift and it helps
save our earth! It doesn't hurt that it's on sale at Amazon.com for $14.89" - Working Girl Two









For your male coworker. "Guys can't resist cookies, especially if it comes in a tin with their favorite college teams logo." - Lawyer Working Girl







"Typically calendars are quite boring, but Linda and Harriett's
calendars are beyond cute and I don't know any Working Girl that wouldn't want this hanging near her desk." - In Transition Working Girl








"Help a fellow Working Girl take her shoes from day to play with these adorable clip on pom poms by ban.do!" - Working Girl One

Monday, November 29, 2010

Headlines and College Sports

Having never worked in the newspaper world, I never have had the experience of creating the headlines, editing a story that is rushing to be printed or designing a layout. To be honest, I never truly thought about headline placement until moving to Texas.

The subject that brought up the topic? Football.

Don't get me wrong, I love football, or at least the NFL. But it wasn't until recently that I realized just how different growing up in California was from growing up in Texas (partly understood by a marathon viewing of Seasons 1-4 of 'Friday Night Lights'). I went to a High School where you had to play sports to fulfill your Physical Education credit and attended a UC that doesn't have a football team. This plays a role into my outlook on the obsession with college football in Texas.

But, when I have a hard time actually finding the news on a newspaper's website because the webpage is splattered with headlines about the latest loss or win of the college football team, I get a little frustrated.

Who decides that football is still important enough four days after the game to still be a headline? Why is the score of the game in bigger letters than information about the latest robbery or crime or even scandal within the police department? When did sports start to overshadow investigative journalism and reporting?

This can't be said of all newspapers, I realize, as I am an avid reader of the LA Times and rarely see news about USC or UCLA football, and if I do, it is in the Sports section, where it belongs. I understand the need to report about sports, but if it is going to be a headline, do we need to see the score of last Saturday's game the next Thursday? If everyone cares so much - don't they already know the outcome?

What do other Editing Working Girls feel about this issue? How do we decipher what is headline worthy and what isn't? Do you deal with college sports taking over the headlines of your local paper? Does it affect you positively or negatively?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

To Pay back or Not to Pay Back?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all are enjoying your day and have plans to eat lots of yummy food today. I can't believe it, but I am cooking my first thanksgiving meal EVER today. Wish me luck! Are any of you cooking your first one EVER too?

During this last week leading up to Thanksgiving, I have been giving a lot of thought about giving. Giving as it relates to many things but mainly when you are the beneficiary. Fellow working girls, I am talking about being on the receiving end in these tough times with so many unemployed or working paycheck to paycheck. It may be a loan from your parents or other financially well-off family members. The question I would like to pose is: How should we handle this: take it and be grateful OR pay it back?

I will start by letting you all know that I have borrowed money from my family before so this is something that I can relate to. My personal belief is that no matter how big or small the amount you should always pay it back, even if it is from the Bank of Mom and Dad or a wealthy Aunt.

Yes, I know that times are tough, and yes finding a job right now is even tougher. Our families are here to love and support us and have given us the tools to succeed. All too often I think people rely too much on these handouts. They don't understand that there is more to it than just paying back the money. It's about trust and showing those who we have borrowed from that we mean business, are motivated and understand this is their hard earned money, not ours for the taking.

An example of this is when my parents, who were young and in love, wanted to buy their first house. They borrowed a significant amount from my grandparents. At the time, my grandfather reluctantly said soemthing along the lines of "those kids will never pay us back". Well a few years later my parents paid back every penny they borrowed, much to the shock of my grandfather of course. But there was a trust built that if they ever needed to borrow money again my grandparents would be there to help out.

For me personally, I want to show my family that, yes I needed the money, but now I am ready to pay you back and show you I am a responsible hard working person. I know that if I am ever in a situation again where I need money, they will be more than willing to let me borrow it again because they know that I will pay them back. Again it's their money, not mine. It is simply a loan.

All too often I think young people rely on money flowing their way when times get tough. However, family members that continiously give money without ever expecting anything back are just enabling the situation. Sure we all go through hard times, but the more honest we can be with ourselves and pay back what we borrow, the less sticky everything gets.

So my advice is, borrow what you need and come up with a payment plan to pay back what you owe. Once you write that last payback check, walk away and hold your head high knowing that if you ever need to borrow money again, someone will have your back.

What is your take on this situation? To pay back or not to pay back?

Are you a thoughtful social media user?

As a social media working girl, I get pretty excited when a new social media tool or tech gadget hits the market. I've come to the realization that I want and need to experience these tools firsthand to discover how they function and what they can add to both my life and the business arena.

When I first heard about Foursquare, I immediately thought to myself, "Is this something I want to look into?"

Thanks to the wonderful world of apps, I was able to download Foursquare in a matter of seconds and get started. Since then, I've been hooked. I check in often (minus my home, office and other chosen places) and have turned my friends--and boyfriend--on to Foursquare.

Then not too long ago, Facebook introduced Places. And there are now a number of other location-based social networking sites that serve similar purposes.

But there's some skepticism about the safety of these sites. Why do you want to tell people where you are? What's the point? What if people rob your home when they see you check in elsewhere? Are you asking to be stalked?

The most important thing to remember is that discretion and thoughtfulness are key to being a successful social media user.

Not only will being careful and smart about your online presence help you in a professional scenario but it can also help prevent serious (and scary) situations that many skeptics stress over.

We'll talk more about self-censorship and good judgment as the social media conversation continues. In the meantime, I'd like to get your juices flowing on the subject.

Do you use these location-based social media tools? What's your stance on the issue?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

These Shoes Are Made For Walking

Working Girls, I need your help. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching I want to make sure that I have a list of things to keep an eye out for. I haven't decided yet what to get my family and friends so for this Friday and Monday the items at the top of my list are for yours truly. (Do you guys buy yourselves holiday gifts too?)

One thing that I don't think I've shared with you all is that I walk to and from work each day. (I love city living!) Well, with the days getting a little colder, I need to find a good pair of closed toe comfortable walking shoes. I know some of you are probably saying, "Just wear sneakers." Uh-uh. I want some cute walking shoes that would go with what I'm wearing. Maybe some flats, but nothing too expensive because these shoes will primarily be used for walking to and from work only.

Another thing that I'm looking for is a new work bag. I have a nice leather bag that I was carrying for a couple of years until the strap broke on my walk home from work one day recently. I think I could probably take it to be repaired, but I would really like a new work bag. My requirements for this bag are that it should be large enough to hold my shoes/boots that I will change into once I get to work and as well as hold my workday snacks (that might be a whole post for another day). My previous bag was a short strapped shoulder bag. I think I would like another bag like that; however, a small part of me is interested in looking at some cute messenger bags as well simply because having a bag that I can wear across my body seems so effortless for my walk to and from work.

That's it. Those are the 2 work related items that are on my list. (I'm not counting clothes because new clothes never really leave my shopping list.) If you run across something that you think is cute, let me know. Also, I would love to hear if you all have any work related items on your shopping list or your wish list for this holiday season (and if you plan to get up early Friday morning to grab a great deal on any of those items).

Monday, November 22, 2010

Print Journalism vs. Technology

Anyone who took any sort of writing class in college has heard it: "Print journalism is on its way out." Anyone who actually majored in Writing/Journalism definitely heard it: "Good luck finding a writing job; this is a bad time for you to be graduating."

The source of these quotes? My college professors. Yes. Plural. Multiple professors.

We all know that newspapers are definitely struggling and that many are trying desperately to revitalize their image. What I find interesting is the way most of them are doing so: their websites.

Can technology save newspapers? In their print form, probably not. But just because newspapers in their print form start to dissolve, doesn't mean there won't be the need for journalists and that the news is dead.

Mashable says it best: Newspapers Are Still Dying, But the News is Not Going Anywhere. They discuss how newspapers will always be of value to those communities without access to the Internet, but soon the cost of printing papers will outweigh the benefit. This means more papers moving solely online.

What will the move to the internet mean for us in the industry? Will there be a strict distinction between journalist and blogger if everything moves to the web world?

What about magazines? Many are creating iPad versions, but still remain in print. I hear very little about the magazine world being in the same boat as that of newspapers, and am grateful to work in that world. Once I started interning for magazines in college, working for newspapers immediately was eliminated from my mind. Does this make me one of the lucky ones, or will magazines someday reach the same fate as newspapers - even if it is years later?

Can we look at this in a more positive light - is technology help saving print publications - both newspapers and magazines? Is technology helping a broader audience find the news? If newspapers and magazines were to stop being printed tomorrow, would technology help them survive?

I don't have answers to a lot of these questions, though they are always on my mind. What do you think, Working Girls? Even if you aren't in the Publishing industry, do you think this affects you?



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fitness in the Work Place

I grew up doing every sport imaginable. You name it, I probably did it. When I got to high school it got worse because there were times when I was doubling up on sports along with going to school. Then college started and I was burnt out on fitness and the thought of setting foot in a gym to get my workouts seemed so foreign. So I took the proper measures and avoided the gym most of college. Then I got my first working girl job and became so focused on proving myself in the workplace, once again my fitness lacked big time. Sure there were short stints of working out, but they were short-lived and I returned to hitting the snooze button in exchange for an extra half hour of sleep before work. This continued until last year when I stepped on the scale and realized my weight was quickly creeping up and my stress levels at work were going through the roof. While I was still within a normal weight range, I was not satisfied that my clothes didn’t fit properly.

So I made the decision to do something about it and stop making excuses. It’s now been a year and I feel amazing. I can even slip into those skinny jeans from college that I am sad to admit I held on to that long. What worked for me may not work for you so I will spare you the details of my many hours at the gym and focus more on finding the balance between my overachieving working girl habits and fitness.

Looking back, I realized it was essentially a time management issue that was causing everything to seem unmanageable and daunting. Yes, there have been trade-offs but now I am more efficient at work and throughout my day. My body understands the importance of exercising and actual craves it.

I started with baby steps and found a hole here and there that worked for my schedule. Soon I was actually taking 30 minutes at lunch to go for a quick run rather than working through lunch. Now I am actually one that gets up prior to work to go to the gym just because I realize how much of a difference it really makes in my day. There are days that I take off from the gym, but I feel so lethargic at work and the day usually drags on.

The other aspect of my fitness was what I was consuming when I was at work. I am a stress eater so the less I worked out, the more stressed I was and as a result the more food I ate. I have read about logging your food and started doing this as well. My plan wasn’t to be obsessed with logging what I ate, but to become familiar with what I was eating. I was shocked to realize I was eating meals that a 200lb man should be consuming. As a result I started packing lunches and bringing snacks to keep me full throughout the day and avoiding the cookie shop down the street.

A year later with the fitness and nutrition goals being met, at work I feel more on top of my game and have that balance that I used to crave.

To further the discussion on how fitness really does lay a role at work, I was flipping through the November Women’s Health and came across this article and wanted to share it with you. The article gives some validity to what people have been saying for years, working out makes you better at work.

Professional Skill/Attitude Improvement Compared With A Day You Don't Exercise:

  • Motivation 32%
  • Time management 28%
  • Concentration 26%
  • Stress management 26%
  • Productivity 25%
  • Accuracy 15%

*Taken from Women’s Health Magazine

More than Just a Pretty Ballet Flat

When was asked as a little girl what I wanted to be when I grow up, I don't think I ever had the answer. I probably considered everything under the sun--teacher, basketball player, artist, mommy... you name it. And now at the ripe old age of 20-something, I can safely say that I've found my niche (for now) and feel pretty comfortable with where I am and who I've become.

Throughout my life and working-world journey thus far, I've admired a lot of women. From Katie Couric and Ann Curry to Julia Roberts and Rachel McAdams, I look up to quite a few leading ladies.

But if I had to choose one woman from the Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women who has influenced me the most at this point in my life and career, it would have to be Tory Burch.

I know, gasp. I chose a designer. Here's why.

I wouldn't call myself a fashionista. I'm more of a traditional gal with a little bit of spice. I shop at places like the Gap, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, Kate Spade, Ann Taylor Loft and Neiman Marcus. I wear classics like cashmere sweaters, black slacks, ballet flats and clean, easy-to-mix-and-match items. But I also own red patent leather pumps, trendy jewelry, knee-high boots, leggings, tunics, belted dresses and paint my nails purple.

And I love Tory Burch.

Tory Burch isn't just about providing women with chic clothing and fun-colored shoes. She believes in philanthropy, education, forward thinking, remembering your roots and the willpower to accomplish your dreams. She's an inspiring entrepreneur who cares deeply about the integrity of the product she produces.

Of course, it helps that her product is multi-generational. You'll see toddlers, teenagers, 20-somethings, 50-year-olds and grandmothers all wearing Tory Burch. Her look is timeless and sophisticated with pops of color and energy. The appeal is extraordinary.

But there's one other thing about this leading lady that makes me swoon. She's on Twitter. Now granted, she may or may not have a ghostwriter tweeting on her behalf, but she's there. Tory and her brand are connecting with stay-at-home moms, aspiring designers, nonprofits, the general public, charities and celebrities through the use of social media.

From tweets about her travels to Twitpics from the catwalk, Tory Burch makes both herself and her brand available, engaging the audiences and telling a true life story.

You see, Tory Burch isn't just a bright colored boutique in the middle of a crowded mall.

She's a woman who--like the rest of us--works hard day in and day out. She followed her heart and let her passions lead the way. But most importantly, she believed in herself and her dream. I'm tremendously inspired and greatly influenced by the beauty of Tory Burch as a working woman and as a brand.

Who inspires you in your career? Is there a woman you look up to and admire?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Working With The One You Love

So last week, I wrote about the different types of personalities in the office (feel free to revisit and add any personalities that you think I missed). Well, there is one group that I specifically left out, because I feel that they deserve a post all to themselves: the office couples.


Yes, ladies, in my office we have at least four confirmed, "it's all out in the open" couples. Let's take a look at these couples, shall we?


The Married Couple: The Husband has worked at the company for a good while and about 6 months ago, his Wife joined the team. Before his Wife came, he was constantly surrounded by other women in the office, one of whom my colleagues and I had labeled his Work Wife. Lucky for the Work Wife, she didn't have to suffer being dethroned because she left the company just before the Real Wife came to work with us. I rarely see the Husband and Wife together during the day, except maybe having lunch together. I think this is the way it should be. Most people who don't know them probably don't even know they are married.


The "We Met On The Job" Couple: We have two of these (possibly more that haven't been confirmed). As the label suggests, these couples met each other at work. They didn't know each other existed before walking through the doors of the company. They started working closely together and BAM! Next thing you know, they are sleeping over each other's houses, riding to work together, and listed as each other's emergency contact. I kid you not. To these couples I say, BEWARE. What happens when you break up? Will there be break-up drama? How will you keep from bringing that drama to work? Will you guys be able to continue working together after the breakup?

The "We Tried To Hide It But We Were So Obvious" Couple: This couple was "hooking up" long before they were an official couple. They thought that no one knew, but it was so obvious. Most never thought that they would actually make it to coupledom. Well, they fooled us all. They are now the office super couple - when you see one, you see the other. They are practically joined at the hip. We are all awaiting the day she comes in with a ring on her left hand.

So that made me wonder, "Could I work with my boyfriend or husband?" (This really isn't even something that I have to concern myself with since there is absolutely no eye candy at the office, in my opinion.) If we worked closely together, probably not. As I've said in previous posts, I like having my space and a life apart from the guy in my life. I wouldn't want to work alongside him all day and then go home and spend our evenings together as well. I think that's too much "us" time. On the other hand, I guess it could be comforting to know that you've got at least one person in your corner at work. You've got a permanent lunch buddy. And when it's time for those company events/outings/happy hours, you've got someone you actually enjoy talking to to keep you company.

But what happens if your significant other gets promoted to a position above you? This would obviously change your working relationship, but would it also change your romantic relationship? If this happened to me, I would be afraid that others would think that I'm receiving special treatment because of the romantic relationship and not on my own merits. Why would I think people would think that? Because I think that sometimes of one of our office couples.

Working Girls, what do you think about working with the one you love? Have you had a romantic relationship with someone you work with? Are there office couples where you work? (Better yet, are you lucky enough to have eye candy at your office?? Do tell!)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Counting Sheep

It is no secret that stress and worry can effect your sleeping habits. According to this article about sleep deprivation around the world, "Monday-morning anxiety prevents 78 percent of workers around the world from getting a decent sleep on a Sunday night." What are we all worrying about?
I know that it is rare that I don't wake up at least once during the night, but what factors is this tossing and turning attributed to? The noises in the new house we moved in to? My boyfriend occasionally snoring? How early I always fall asleep? Am I stressed?
I will admit that my sleep habits have gotten much better with the new mattress I get to sleep on every night, but I also will admit that I am the poster-child for the part of the population that finds ways to worry about everything. Did I lock the doors before bed? Is the stove off? Is the washing machine making weird noises in the garage? If I don't either make my boyfriend get up and check at least one of these things or get up myself to check (which happens at least twice a week), I definitely have a harder time getting myself to drift off into sleep.
So how do I manage stress? Nine months ago, I couldn't have told you. My first edit deadline was a mess. I was up until all hours of the night re-reading copy sentence by sentence making sure each word was perfect. I thought I could handle writing my first feature with complete ease until I realized that 1,400 words is a lot of words. I hadn't yet mastered the interview and realized there were still questions I had that I didn't have time for. I was a newbie.
Now, I'd like to think I handle edit deadlines with a bit more grace. I usually have my edit in a day early and have built an excellent list of freelancers to take care of that feature for me. I am more prepared going in to each month as I now know what each section requires and what I need to do to get it completed. But editorial isn't my only responsibility in life.
I met with a friend of mine about a month ago and she helped change my weekly routine in the best kind of way: she taught me how to plan more effectively. Now I carry around a little Moleskin notebook wherever I go and it not only has a calendar, but it has my ever important to-do list. This list is split up into categories - i.e. my full-time position, my magazine, freelance and personal - and then I make my list based on this structure. It not only helps me see what I need to accomplish based on what position I am fulfilling, but gives me an idea of just how much I have to accomplish each week. I find myself doing tasks more efficiently and quickly because I love the accomplishment of crossing them out once finished.
It is impossible to avoid stress and worry completely, but as I have learned, it is possible to deal with it. Dreading Monday morning? Treat yourself to a pedicure or massage Sunday afternoon to help relax. Take a bubble bath. Even more drastically, try disconnecting from the internet world sometime mid-Sunday and see if the break from the busy world of social media helps you focus on only what you personally interact with that day, allowing for more focus on the immediate. Even work on setting up your plan of attack for the week. Seeing what I need to accomplish on Sunday night vs. right when I get into work on Monday morning helps me go into the week a little more prepared.
Are you one of the 78 percent of the population with sleep issues Sunday night? How do you handle stress and deadlines and making sure that you are refreshed when your alarm goes off, instead of dreading the day?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Dating Game

I'll admit it, I have just about zero experienced dating. My boyfriend and I have been together for nearly four years. We are celebrating our anniversary next week and it's not the anniversary of our first date or when we officially became a couple, it's the anniversary of the first time we drunkenly made-out at a party. Oh, college.

However, if I have learned anything from my favorite chick flicks and friends who are out there in the dating world, it's that the interview process is strangely similar to dating.

I've been lucky that I haven't experience the heart-wrentching break-up. Sure, there was that time when I was about 13, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count. When I was laid off, I was terribly upset. I said to a friend "this is what it's like to have an awful break-up, isn't?" It's definitely similar. You are upset, you wallow around your apartment and eventually you get back in the game.

It's easy in the beginning because you are just writing cover letters and sending out your resume. But when the interview process starts, it's really game time.

You dress to impress. You get nervous before (what should I say?), during (omg, did what I just said make any sense at all?), and after (I hope I didn't say anything stupid).

After the interview, you spend a great deal of time writing and rewriting a follow-up and then reading and rereading before you finally press "send."

If you're lucky you get a second date, I mean interview, and you might be a little more comfortable and have a little more confidence because they must like you a little bit if they called you back, right? Then other follow-up, maybe a bit more creative this time to show them how much you want the job.

And then you wait and wait and wait for the call. Carrying your phone around with you every where you go.

Labeled

Being an In Transition Work Girl has provided some eye-opening moments for me. There have been several to date, but the biggest one seems to be how I am labeled. I am proud of who I am and what I have accomplished since I graduated college, but there is one little label that seems to be holding me back.

What is it? I am being labeled based on the industry I am in rather than my skill set/degree. I have to admit, I feel a bit stuck. My background is in marketing and I have held various positions within both agencies and industries. However, the one thing that seems to keep defining me is the industry I am currently in. I might add I have held this position for only two years and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

Am I the only working girl facing this problem?

Here is an example: A few weeks ago I contacted a friend who works at a big company in the city where I hope to relocate to see if she knew of any openings. Given that her company is one of the fastest growing in the world, she immediately sent me the postings for the area of the company that fits my current industry. I felt helpless because how am I supposed to say thank you for your help, but you have it all wrong.

When I accepted the position I am in currently, it was because the word “marketing” was attached to my role. I viewed the position based on what I would be marketing not because I loved the industry. There are many that would probably see the industry I am in as amazing, but I just don’t have the passion for it at this point in my life. I am young and crave more of a corporate environment.

So over the last several weeks, I have tried to put on my thinking cap and figure out how to market myself. I am trying to overcome this label that has me pigeonholed and I see as a major road block for the next step in my career.

What are some of the labels you are experiencing as a working girl that you would rather get rid of?

Let's Be Friends.

Hello readers! First and foremost, I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I'm now the new social media working girl around this part of the blogosphere and will be writing to you every Thursday from here on out.

To give you a little preview of how I got to where I am today... In 2007, I graduated with a journalism degree and got a job working in PR. After about a year, my job transitioned into a full-time magazine career in which I am now the senior associate editor of an international trade publication.

Shortly after, the company needed someone to "man the social media ship" and of course, I jumped at the opportunity. It's been a tremendous learning experience and one I'm truly grateful for. The vast amount of information available at the click of a button ceases to amaze me and my passion for technology and the Web continues to expand by the second.

From my grandmother on Facebook to my obsession with tweeting, you'll hear firsthand how social media influences my life--from both a personal and professional perspective.

Despite my 8-to-5 day job, I'm also a 20-something writer, blogger, AP style fan, friend, daughter, girlfriend, sister, shopper, mama to the cutest miniature schnauzer in town, wannabe foodie and OCD Post-it lover. I thrive on organization and list making, and my life wouldn't be complete without a good steak and cheap wine.

Oh, and I love all things Mac.

I'm uber excited to join the lovely ladies of this blog and hope that you find my content and ramblings both engaging and entertaining. After all, social media is honest and real, and I'll do my best to bring that to all of you--with of course the occasional hilarious story thrown in the mix for comic relief.

Thanks for welcoming me to this community. Let's be friends.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Type Are You?

I like to think that I'm a very pleasant person to work with. Although I try to always keep a good attitude, I will admit that occasionally I can be a bit moody. I mean, who doesn't have an off day every now and again? Once I realize that I'm in a certain mood I try to check myself and force myself to smile. After all, I'm a pretty positive person so I try to remind myself of reasons why I shouldn't be in a bad mood, but more importantly, I don't want to be labeled by my colleagues as Moody Working Girl.

This got me to thinking about how I look at my colleagues and I realized that there are so many personality types in our office. So here's my list of the Office Personalities where I work:

  • The Busy Body: This is the person who always wants to appear busy. Most people see right through the act and realize that she's just shuffling papers around and not doing any substantive work. Shuffling papers will not help you move up the corporate ladder.
  • Mr. Important: This is the person who not only thinks that he is super important, but wants everyone else to believe that he is super important. (insert eye roll) This person is probably in middle management and wants those not in any sort of management position to know that he is somebody. This person is closely related to The Busy Body.
  • Super Stressed: This is the person who lets every single thing stress her out. Bosses beware of putting this person on a project with Mr. Cool.
  • "S" On My Chest: This is the person who always wants to save the day. You know, the one who wants to be involved in everything and volunteers anytime the boss needs someone to do something, even if it's something that has absolutely no bearing on their performance evaluation, like picking up donuts for the office meeting.
  • The Check Collector: This person comes to work for one reason and one reason only--to collect a check. He isn't giving any extra. He's not staying late. He's not volunteering to do anything. In fact, he's doing the bare minimum to avoid being fired. He will not do any more than is required, so don't ask.
  • The Loner: This person is usually seen eating lunch alone. She rarely socializes with any of her coworkers. She is not part of any office clique and likely will not attend any office social function. She comes to work to work, not to make friends.
  • The Social Chair: This person is often planning the next after hours function. Birthday, Happy Hour, Monday Night Football? He's got it covered. But don't expect him to be the one to buy the birthday card for everyone to sign. He will let The Den Mother take care of that.
  • The Den Mother: This person is the one who handles all of the things your mother would do if she worked with you. Is there an office birthday? Not only will she bake the cake, but she will also slice it and hand it out to everyone. She will buy the card and make sure everyone in the office signs it. When the party is over, she's the one in the breakroom cleaning up the mess. This person is often known as The Busy Body as well.
  • Mr. Needy: This person is the one who acts helpless anytime they are given a task. He always come to you with a lot of questions when the answer is usually right in front of his face. He's always at your desk or in your office wanting you to help him with something. He needs you to hold his hand through everything. Bosses beware of putting Mr. Needy on a project with Ms. Independent.
  • Ms. Independent: This is the person who would rather work alone than in a group. She feels that if something is going to be done right, then it's best that she do it herself. If put on a team with people, please do not put Mr. Needy on her team. It will drive her insane.
  • The Office Gossip: This person knows everything that's going on around the office--who's having marital problems, who's dating who, and who's looking for a new job. If you don't want your business to become part of the conversation, stay far away from The Office Gossip.
  • Mr. Cool: This is the person in the office who is very laid back. Nothing seems to bother him and he's never stressed about anything. His motto is, "I will do what I can today and what doesn't get done today, I will do tomorrow." Deadline? Performance evaluation? Presentation? He won't break a sweat. Bosses often think that pairing this person with Super Stressed will have a calming effect on Super Stressed, but they are wrong. This will only make Mr. Cool lose his cool.

Which one am I? I'm probably a little Ms. Independent and a little Ms. Cool, but I would love to know how my coworkers would describe me. Well, now there is a way to find out what your coworkers think of you. At Honestly.com , you can give and get candid reviews of your boss, coworkers, or business partners. You can even take control of your business reputation by creating your own profile (although I personally think what others have to say about you is more telling than what you have to say about yourself). If someone asked for my personal opinion on my colleagues, would these labels be the main thing that stands out in my mind about them? It's very likely. If one of my colleagues had to give a personal reference on me, what would they say?

Working Girls, do you have any of these types on your office? Are there any that you would add to the list? Would you use a service like Honestly.com to rate your coworkers?

*Please note that these labels are not gender specific. He/she, him/her, and Mr./Ms. are interchangeable.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Truth About My Control Issues and Deadlines

I'll admit it: I like being in control. I first noticed this back in middle school when assigned partners for dreaded group assignments. I would often designate myself leader because I didn't trust my group mates to get their portion done well enough to ensure my good grade. This is a trait that continued throughout high school (even when I ended up writing a whole one act play by myself for my group) and is something I still see emerge every once in awhile.
Mostly? My controlling nature appears whenever deadline is approaching and I am waiting for quotes for an article.
I get anxious. I get eager. I send multiple follow-up e-mails and spend a lot of time searching the internet for any contact number I can find. Then I realize I need to be patient and remember my articles always get completed.
Working for the magazine as a regional editor has really helped me learn that I can't do things alone. I have a wonderful designer who takes my edit and photos I receive and, with very little direction from me, makes magazine spreads I am proud to have my name on. I have a Managing Editor who gives incredible feedback and helps me brainstorm whenever necessary. I have an Editor-in-Chief who is involved in all of our monthly edit meetings and always follows up with us to make sure we have everything we need. And I have a great Senior Copy Editor who taught me everything I needed to know to get this position in the first place. The staff I work with on a daily basis is incredible.
Most importantly, I have a great state of readers and runners who are at my disposal for information and features and I need to remember sometimes that though this magazine can easily become priority in my life, they have training and races and lives. They always come through and give me my interview and quote and actually take the time to pick up the magazine.
My controlling nature fights the urge to remember these things on a daily basis. This post will be bookmarked for future deadline havoc.
Keep me in line, readers. What trait(s) have you seen in yourself during your time as an editing or publishing Working Girl?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Grandpa as a Client

A couple weeks ago I landed a new PR client. As most of you know, I'm a Work-at-Home Working Girl as well as a PR Working Girl. So anyway, this is my most unusual client yet. For one thing, my point of contact for this new client, the CEO/Founder, is 72 years old. He's a sweet, old man. Can I add maybe a little crazy/cooky, too? Sigh.

Over the last couple weeks, I've been struggling to work with him. It's always hard to combine two personalities in a new work partnership so that things work smoothly. Sometimes there are clients who are easier to click with, but others, it takes going over a few bumps and humps, a misunderstanding here and there, to get to where you're like, "OK! I think we've got this figured out!"

I think the main reason for difficulty with this new client is the age difference. I'm 28 years old, he has a daughter who is 30. Yeah, so automatically, he thinks he's a little smarter than me because he can't help but think of being and acting fatherly when speaking with me. And with that age difference comes the hardest part, how we communicate. In our world of email, text messaging, IM, etc. I had no idea I was confusing this guy from the get-go. For example, I had sent him within an email a link to a video I wanted him to watch, and he didn't realize that that blue underlined text was something to click on. He didn't know what a link was! Oh, my. And then, he was annoying me with all his phone calls that seemed to drag on ... oh, his life stories, just what I need to hear. Should I bill him for this time? haha.

Before we made our work partnership official, there were several phone calls. Not a problem, this is normal, except each call lasted 45 mins. or so. OK, old man likes to talk. A lot. I made it a point to clearly spell out my preferred method of communication in my proposal to him: email. I hoped this would lessen the number of phone calls. Nope.

Anyways, sorry to ramble, but I've learned that instead of throwing in the towel like I had wanted to after the first three calls in the first 24 hours of him being my client, I needed to learn a few things. I can't always work with people who are like me. I need to work with people who are unlike me and learn from the experience. So my preferred work style is to communicate via email and his is via phone, why can't we compromise? Of course I could accomodate him, I mean, look at this guy. He's 72 and hiring a young PR girl to help him re-introduce his product to consumers. How cool of him. And this new business for me is coming from a referreal who is helping him build even further exposure through social media. Would your everyday 72 year old man even know what social media is? It's impressive and admirable.

Do you ladies ever struggle with communicating with someone you work with, someone who seems to be on a completely different planet from you? How did you overcome it? This has been such a huge learning experience for me, I can't wait to hear your stories.