Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Summer Isn't Over Yet!

Ciao Bellas! I am writing this post as I pack for my 2 week Italian Adventure that leaves tomorrow. I apologize for being M.I.A., I was away at camp in the wilderness (aka no internet!) and have been busy with family events, searching for jobs, and trying to figure out my life!

I should be writing this recipe-post about some wonderful Italian delicassy, but to tell yout he truth, when I come home from work in the summer, I don't really feel like peeling garlic and dicing tomatoes. So try this easy recipe that I created which I make on Sundays in the summer so that it can rest for at least 24 hours and I can enjoy it Monday evening after work when the last thing I feel like doing is turning on the stove..

Orzo Summer Fiesta Salad

(serves 6 as an entree, 8-10 as a side) Feel free to cut the recipe in half or in quarters to make if you are the only one eating it that week.


*1 box orzo (found in the pasta aisle)

*1 zuchinni, diced

*1 yellow squash, diced

*1 bunch of scallions, finely chopped

*1 orange bell pepper, diced

*1 red bell pepper, diced

*1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles (optional)

*1/2 pound cocktail shrimp, diced (optional)


*Combine olive oil and any type of vinegar you have in the house with salt and pepper, dress to your liking, OR

*Use any store bought dressing.


*Cook orzo in boiling water until al dente. Combine all ingredients. Dress to your liking. Refrigerate over night. Toss the next day and enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Twenties are the New Teens?

The folks over at Lemondrop published the findings of an exclusive survey that reveals some interesting trends related to "twenty-somethings" and introduces the new phase, "emerging adult." I call it AdulthoodLite.

Fewer and fewer women in their twenties are getting married, starting families and buying homes. These pivotal events are being delayed more and more to make room for extended education, living with a significant other or moving back home with the parents. We're taking longer to reach these milestones than any generation before us. Thus, our twenties is the decade where we spend most of our time trying to figure out what we want out of life and thereby "emerging" in our thirties as the carefully crafted adults we want to be.

This makes so much sense in a world where technology has evolved more rapidly than society itself. We hesitate to move decisively in one direction or another because things are changing so rapidly. We want to wait, watch and then choose, based on our desires and hopes rather than out of necessity or tradition.

On the other side of the coin, this "failure to launch" is fueled instead by angst and fear:

"Being in my mid-20s feels bizarre," says Christina, 25. "It feels like I'm doing everything right and everything wrong at the same time. I'm single, I live with my parents, I don't have a permanent job (although I do have a very impressive internship). But at the same time, I'm in grad school, fairly successful at my program, and have a healthy social life, generally all the things I need to build a successful future."
And speaking of a successful future, apparently, by the time we hit 30, we've already had six jobs! Gone are the days of working 20 and 30 years with the same company. We are truly a new breed. Check out the article for a complete rundown of "emerging adults" and what you find just might surprise you!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes is a weekly feature. Here we will dish on tidbits, news, and important things we thinking Working Girls should know. So scroll down to hear what we think you should glean from this work week.
  • A former Prada Japan employee, Rina Bovrisee, recently sued the company for firing her after an executive of the company called her "ugly" and told her she didn't have "the Prada look". Turns out Prada is now countersuing Bovrisse for $390,000 for harming their image. [NY Mag]
  • According to studies conducted by instituions UCLA and Univ. of Wisconsin, women are more likely to get married when they are well-educated, and couples in which each party achieved at their jobs have more satisifying sex. So it seems that data proves that smart ladies with great careers aren't doomed to be lonely cat ladies. Yay! [Tango]
  • In the September issue of Glamour, a poll revealed that a majority of their readers who prefer to have Liz Lemon of 30 Rock as their boss over Dr. Miranda Bailey from Grey's Anatomy. Pam from The Office was chosen as the TV character most people would want to share their cubicle with. [Save the Assistants]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Working the Network

I'm currently transitioning into what could very well be my dream role with my current company but, just prior to that, I was actually hunting around for another job entirely! Having been off the market for almost seven years, the whole of my search efforts consisted of signing up for daily alerts from a well known job site tailored to match a listing of requirements that I entered upon registration. I also posted a resume but decided to take it down a few days later after being seized by a sudden fear that someone from my current company might find it. Good thing I didn't actually NEED a job since I already had one because I didn't stand a chance!

Apparently, the job search game has changed and for good reason! In 2008, there were 1.2 million job losses,
unemployment is currently at 6.5%, and the largest companies are shedding as much as 10% of their workforces. There will be 1.5 million college graduates this year, yet the job growth rate is at a six year low, at 1.3%! The amount of jobs posted online is decreasing at over 13%, which has all led to the ratio of 3.3 job seekers per each job. With those staggering percentages, it's becoming imperative to utilize non-traditional methods to not only find a job opening, but to connect with key members of the companies and stand out from the pack.

Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. These are all relatively new avenues for job seekers that can open up possibilities that would never have existed in the pre-social networking era. I dug up an article that reveals the seven secrets to getting your next job using these tools and while some of these "secrets" seems totally doable, like conducting a people search instead of a job search and subscribing to blogs that have job listings, some seem kinda out there, even for me. I really cannot see myself creating a video resume and uploading it to YouTube!

I think, hands down, LinkedIn is one of the most useful job search vehicles of the social networking buffet and that's simply because the whole premise of the site is to connect to past and current colleagues, clients, classmates etc. in a very professional format with the entire framework being to network from a career focus. Unlike Facebook, which mashes vacation photos, Farmville updates and a career profile all together, LinkedIn is purely professional and offers all sorts of great ways to connect with people, research companies and put yourself squarely on the market.

What's the wildest job hunt you've heard involving social media? Did one tool work better than the other for your search? What are some absolute NO-NOs when it comes to using social media to look for a job?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes is a weekly feature. Here we will dish on tidbits, news, and important things we thinking Working Girls should know. So scroll down to hear what we think you should glean from this work week.
  • Don't know what to do with your life now that you've hit your quarter-life crisis? Enter a website apporpriately called "What the Fuck Should I Do With My Life?" is a site that randomly picks a profession and then gives you the opportunity to learn more about the job/industry. Warning: the jobs are all pretty unconventional. [Doobybrain.com]

  • A recent study revealed that it's easier to find out when your CEO is lying to you than you think. The study was conducted at Stanford by going through old company transcripts, found that CEO's who didn't refer to themselves in the first person and replaced thes terms with words like "team" and "company" were more deceitful. Executives who used gushing adjectives were also more likely to be lying. Accuracy rate of finding lies this way is about 50% but it's still an interesting tibit. [An MBA is Forever]
  • Jessica Franqui, a clerk from Staten Island, is suing her boss for stepping on her boob. Her boss, Marcus Bolton, is the CEO of the Wall Street division of British company Tullett Prebon. Franqui is accusing Bolton of drunkenly coming up to her and inviting her to drinks. When she refused, he attempted to dance with her at which point he dropped her on her back on the floor. He then stepped on her breast and when she complained, he allegedly said, "Oh, come on now, it's alright. They are big and you probably didn't even feel it." [Jezebel]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The long and short of it: shorts in the workplace

Yesterday morning, I had one of those I-have-no-clue-what-to-wear-to-work days. You know, the ones where you stand in front of your closet for a good 10 minutes, mentally dressing yourself in every single outfit you own, and then mentally throwing them in a heap on the floor when you realize you don’t want to wear any of them. I hate those mornings.

In the midst of my mental dressing session, I actually did pluck a pair of cute white Bermuda shorts from a hanger and try them on. As I was pondering which shirt would work best with them, I stopped. Wait. Could I even wear shorts to work? And if so, how the heck could I make it look like I wasn’t about to stroll down to the beach to spend the day in the sun? (I wish…)

Hm. Lately my company has been cracking down on the dress code policy, and numerous emails have been flying around regarding appropriate summer wear. I recalled something about shorts and length above the knee, but I wasn’t about to kneel on the ground with a tape measure to make sure they weren’t too scandalous. After my crazy homeroom advisor made us do that all the time in high school with our uniform skirts, the thought makes me shudder.

So I deferred to this post on TheWorkingWardrobe.com about how to incorporate shorts into your working wardrobe. It includes some good rules of thumb and even includes a cute example of wear-to-work Bermuda-short style. The key? Closed-toed flats, a tailored top and cute accessories to elevate the look of the shorts. (Be sure to check out the rest of the site while you're at it—it's so helpful!)

To throw in my two cents on the matter, I personally like to live by the good old Balance Rule. As in, if you’re showing off some leg, then maybe show a little less arm. A tank top paired with Bermuda shorts might be a bit too beachy, but a ¾-length top would be the perfect complement to some bright Bermudas.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to decide. My shorts were a bit too wrinkled and stretched out to wear to the office. No saggy bottom for me, thankyouverymuch.

So what do you Working Girls think? Are shorts appropriate for the workplace? And do you have any good rules of thumb for wearing them? Or any general wardrobe rules you like to follow? Let’s hear them!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cancer Schmancer!

(I have to give Fran Drescher props for the name of this post..)

I am writing this post a little early because by the time my posting day (Monday) comes along I will be in the Pocono mountains where I am a counselor at a week long sleep-away camp for children who have or have had cancer. Coincidentally cancer was going to be the topic of my post this week. Not in a morbid sense, but in a more informational and inspirational sense.

While many of you may think I am at camp in the woods with hundreds of bald children (yes, some of them are bald..and SO darn cute) who sit around all day and be depressed together, I am actually having the time of my life, and so are they! I feel honored to be able to spend a week with these children. They really seem to have life figured out. Sure they go through the usual "he's not sharing" and "I like him but he doesn't like me" and "why wont she stop copying me", they are children and young adults after all, but I am overwhelmed by their sense of living for the day and living each of those days to the fullest. I have seem so many amazing things at camp: a blind boy lasso a horse, a girl with one leg climb a rock wall, and so much more. I try to keep my complaining about dirt, bugs, gross showers, and awful cafeteria food to a minimum at camp since these children have gone through more in like than I probably ever will.

Cancer is (sadly) something I grew up knowing way too much about. My mother's best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and spent 10 years battling the disease until she eventually lost. I can remember the day she showed us her bald head and also remember the times I was at her house after her chemo treatments and watched her get sick and be in pain.

I know the C-word is difficult for a lot of people to discuss but considering the past few weeks I've had I just have to get it out!

Last week a dear friend of the family (literally, I call her my sister) was diagnosed with breast cancer. This friend is the daughter of the woman I was speaking about above in this post. I think she, along with her family and friends, have experienced every emotion possible that comes with The Big C in the past week and a half. Although she is not a child anymore, but rather a woman in her late 20s, she has big decisions to make that will affect the rest of her life. How will this affect her relationships? How will she feel about herself and her body after this? Will she be treated differently by coworkers?

She hasn't been able to go to work for the past two weeks due to various appointments and testing schedules she has to attend all over the tri state area. She has had numerous conference calls with the hr department in her office and although they offer her 6 weeks paid disability (or whatever the actual deal is) it still doesn't help the way her coworkers and managers will treat her. I was googling stuff about cancer in the workplace and came upon this website that's sole purpose is to teach managers how to deal with their employees who have been diagnosed. There was also an interesting post on the CancerCare website about a employer looking to have educational workshops about cancer since many of his employees were recently diagnosed.

The more friends and family I told about my friend's recent diagnosis the more people told me "oh, so and so was just diagnosed" or "she should talk to so and so, she just went through treatment for breast cancer". I always knew cancer was everywhere, but not until it hit home did I really see how many people so close to me are affected.

Truth is, we can exercise, eat right, quit smoking, and drink less but we really never know what cancer is capable of. All we can do is the best we can and get regular check ups and tests to maintain our health. So I'd like to offer my best thoughts, wishes, and prayers for all of the working girls out there who have been affected, or who know someone who has been affected by cancer. And my condolences and sympathies to those who know someone who has lost the difficult and strenuous battle.

If you or someone close to you has been affected with breast cancer, or any type of that cancer for that matter, and you want to share a story please feel free to do so..

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good Ol' Networking Tips

Building strong working relationships is key to success in any job. But what happens when you leave a job, is it just as important to maintain those relationships? Most definitely.

Sometimes, though, it's easy to say good-bye and good riddance to old co-workers, bosses, etc. and move on to greener pastures without any intention or desire of looking back. "So long, witch-boss, I hope I never have to see your face again!" Hah. Other times, maybe you wish you could keep in touch, but don't really know how to go about doing it in a way that is friendly, yet still professional. Yes, now that's better.

While LinkedIn is generally a good start, you've really gotta go the extra mile and send out a personalized "Hello, what's new my friend?" to make a true investment in maintaining what could be, what most likely is, a valuable relationship. LinkedIn has options to send messages directly to your contacts, making it easy if you didn't happen to grab an email address on your way out. A personal note will show that 1) you're still alive, 2) you're actively moving up and on in your career (assuming you're keeping your LinkedIn profile updated, always a good move), and 3) you care about maintaining the relationship. That last bit makes people feel special. You never know, an old contact may be the door to new opportunities, and your note's warm fuzzy effect could inspire a positive refferral.

In other words, this is what you call good old networking! Another way to keep in touch professionally is to set up a lunch or coffee chat if you and your former co-worker/boss still happen to work in the same city. This is not only a great way to casually keep in touch, but oftentimes can lead to building an actual friendship. And offer to pay for the meal/drink, it shows you value the other person's time and insight. Remember, good karma goes a long way in networking.

(OK, can I just vent for a sec? I love the lunch thing. Except why is it so dang hard to schedule a lunch with more than two people at a time?? I always end up being the "planner" who plans all the lunch outings and get-togethers with old co-workers. When we finally meet up after the world's longest email chain, everyone's always like, "Oh, this was so great, we should do this more often. Why don't we do this more often?" I KNOW, right?? So why don't you plan something one of these days then? OK, thanks guys, I feel better now.)

Facebook is a little trickier. I typically don't friend anyone I work with unless we're really close or until after one of us doesn't work at the same company anymore. And my rule of thumb for friending your boss? Don't do it. If your boss friends you, then that's OK -- but only if you're comfortable. Otherwise, keep Facebook a strictly non-work environment. It's good to keep certain things separate ... work and personal life, definitely one of those things. If you do have a mix, Facebook has some great new privacy settings where you can tailor what your work peeps see (like your basic info and work/education info, no wall and no photo albums, for example) vs. what your friends see (everything).

I still keep in touch with co-workers and bosses from my very first job out of college. I'm not saying I'm awesome at it, I most certainly could do better. But it's something I try to keep up at because work relationships are like friends, but with possible career benefits down the road, be it new job opportunities or simply a sounding board of advice/mentorship.

I'm going to end this post with a challenge. Shoot a note to one of your old co-workers or bosses this week. See what happens. I promise, only good things can come out of this, and at the very least your thoughtfulness will make someone's day :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meeting Notes

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

  • This is an unfortunate story, but is worth reading. A Massachusetts court just recently ruled that women who take more than eight weeks of maternity leave can be fired by their employers if they wish to do so. [Jezebel]

  • Yesterday, The Chive posted photos that they had received from an employee who sent photos of herself quitting her job via dry erase board to all her employees. It has since been confirmed it was a hoax. But click through anyway - the photos are hilarious (and I wish they were true haha). [The Chive]

  • UKJobs.net has just released a survey where they asked men and women which gender they prefer in a boss. 63% of women and 75% of men prefer male bosses saying women are "loose cannons" and their hormones are all over the place. [Daily Mail]

Monday, August 9, 2010

Call me Dr. Mom

Ok, some might call me a little old school since I look forward to the day when I can stop working and stay at home with the kids. Although, in today's society, especially in this financial climate, my early 'retirement' is probably not reality. Growing up my best friend's mom was a teacher at our elementary school so it was very convenient for her to keep tabs on the kids during the day while also making a living. In younger grades this is very common. Young mothers as teachers. As the grades progress, however, women become less scarce in the education field.

Here is an article about a college professor who was grateful for her flexible 'teacher' schedule, but couldn't figure out why only 14% of doctoral-granting universities are headed by women. This hard working academic professional and mother of three wanted to look deeper into why her colleagues were mostly men.

According to her article, she wasn't surprised by her findings. Most women who were on their way to becoming tenure (the gate to academic leadership, awarded after 7 years, aka job security) but the demands of having children (pregnancy, nursing, care taking, etc) required too much energy and time to continue working.

Maternity leaves left these professionals in the dust and behind in the latest and greatest technologies and teaching methods. These women interviewed did not blame the workplace or their children, they simply admitted that both jobs require too much energy to give 100% to each.

Lesson to be learned ladies? Yes teaching can be a good career choice for the wanna-be stay at home mom. The schedule works and like everyone says, summers off don't hurt either! However, having children and raising a family requires a lot of work. compromises need to be made, no matter the career, so make sure you are willing to sacrifice and multi-task like you've never multi-tasked before!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sometimes Goodbye . . . is a Second Chance

"I'm not angry, I'm just saying
Sometimes goodbye is a second chance"
- Shinedown

I was listening to this song today and thinking about how close I almost came to actually saying goodbye to my current employer, the relationships I'd forged there, and the years of hard won respect and how, out of nowhere, a second chance (so to speak) presents itself. In an instant, my life has shifted gears and I'm moving in a whole new direction. New boss. New office. New set of responsibilities. Funny how, one minute, I'm feeling like running out of there like that commercial where are the adults are running out of their offices like it's the last day of school, except with a grimace instead of a smile, and the next minute, my entire outlook on the company, my job and even my coworkers jumps from one end of the spectrum to the next. I'm still trying to figure that one out. Has that every happened to you?

Regardless, I'm enjoying this new sense of relevance in my professional life. The interview process for an assistant to fill the role I'm vacating has been an awesome experience. Seven years ago, I was just like these optimistic women, laying my credentials and my ego on the line in hopes that a new job with better pay would catapult me into the next phase of my life. The resumes are polished and their power suits are crisp. Such enthusiasm is rarely seen in an office like mine and its like a breath of fresh air! Hopefully, they'll decide on a new me fairly quickly so that I can transition out of there and on to the future and the new challenges it holds.

Since this is technically a promotion after all, I'm somewhat concerned about how everyone, my fellow assistants and even the hire-ups, will respond once I make the move 100%. I'm interested to hear about your inter-office staffing changes. Was it a seamless shift met with fanfare and support. Were your team mates eye-rolling and whispering about you in the break room? What should I expect?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes is a weekly feature. Here we will dish on tidbits, news, and important things we thinking Working Girls should know. So scroll down to hear what we think you should glean from this work week.
  • We all know that men still make more than their female counterparts in most fields, but according to stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics June 2010 report there are 4 careers where women make more than men and those include: teacher assistants, bakers, cafeteria workers, and life, physical, and social technicians. [San Francisco Chronicle]
  • A prop worker who was dismissed from his job on the set of the medical drama "House" has sued his former employer with claims that he was fired because he wouldn't participate in unsuitable conduct with his bosses. This conduct includes going to strip clubs, getting drunk and high, as well as engaged in sexual conduct in trailers. [Female First]
  • International non-profit, Dress for Success Worldwide, plans to open a central headquarters in Chicago in November. Dress for Success is an organization that outfits unemployed women with clothes and career skills to help them land jobs. Wal-Mart has donated $100,000 to get the office up and running. [Chicago Tribune]

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sex and the City & My Career

This post is a little behind in the times since the Sex and the City 2 movie came out...what 3 months ago? But I think I was still reeling from the horror that I witnessed in the movie theaters and up until now have been too scarred to speak about it. I think you can guess that I hated the sequel, and while I would love to tell you all the reasons I think that movie should be banned from ever being released on DVD, that isn't what my post is intended to be about.

So let's pretend that SATC 2 was never made and go back to the good old days of SATC where everyone sat around with their girlfriends playing the game of, "Are you a Carrie, Miranda, Samantha, or a Charlotte?"

I recently came upon this blog post on Forbes Woman that analyzed each character and their working personalities and then gave some key takeaways that all business women can learn from their different business personalities.

Let me break down the blog post real quick for you:
  • Carrie is neurotic and self-involved (read: crazy into herself). She stresses out frequently, but uses her humor and her girlfriends to keep her grounded.

  • Samantha, while promiscious, has an open mind and a take-the-bull-by-the-horns outlook on life which lends itself well to her ballsy PR job. Samantha shows us to have fun while still having a go-getter attitude about our professional lives.

  • Miranda is the workaholic. She is smart and ambitious, but feels that to be successful in her career as a lawyer she has to act more masculine.

  • Charlotte has a tendency to be more traditional and conservative in her mind-set (fun sidenote: after Samantha, she had the most sexual partners on the show!). And while she quits her job to take on motherhood, we have to remember that Charlotte is someone who goes above and beyond for anything - a good takeaway for our professional lives.

  • To get the full gist, I suggest reading the blog post. The author makes some good points and some that I don't fully agree with.

    So here comes the million dollar question: am I a Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda? Based on the above, I would hope that I was Samantha with a twinge of Miranda. But my friends might say I have a few splashes of Carrie's self-involvement in me (don't judge!).

    Are you a Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte or Miranda in your professional life?