Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Will Work for Anything

I haven't talk about my job or have I? I can't remember, but with the state of the economy and the job loss I thought it would be fitting to make a post or two of how to look for a job. But who made me boss of Job Hunting. Well, no one. However, for the past 10 years I have been working as a career counselor helping students in the journalism field finding internships &/or jobs. Plus, it seems I have been doing something right because our stats are high for placements and I get lots of thank you notes (I love those). ANYWAY, I have been thinking that with how shitty the job market is right now that I could give some tips or rather ramblings in my blog. I don't know if anyone gives a crap, but if it could help someone then it is worth a shot. Feel free to take it or skip it.

Times have changed. People can no longer rely on applying to the classifieds (since there are no newspapers any longer!) or online postings. The horde of people applying to online sites is astronomical. Now, I am not saying to not apply. By all means apply. But this is a PASSIVE job hunting method. Don't solely rely on this method, but gear yourself up for a aggressive, proactive job hunting! Applying to the vortex of online jobs should be a teeny tiny bit of your job hunting habit.

Okay, lets be real (did I just sound like Dr. Phil?). Looking for work is a job in itself. A person must approach it as a full-time job by putting the time and effort into the search. Once you have decided to commit the time, effort and energy you can get started. Ready to start? Good!

What is aggressive, proactive job search? Well it is a four step process. And you can't skip steps or do one step before the other!!!!!!! YOU MUST START AT THE BEGINNING. Get my point with all the caps and exclamation points. If you do not start working on the foundation. All will crumble.

Step One: FOCUS - This is the foundation of your house. It is what all is built upon. If you cannot get this down you will go back to relying on those passive job hunting methods (applying online, sending unsolicited resumes, etc.). The purpose of this exercise is to narrow down your options. I know, I know, why narrow down options! You have to be focused on what your interests, strengths and preferences are in the job world. In other words, you need to identify specific skills you most want to use on the job AND this helps when you are talking to people about what you want and can do. We call it the 30 second pitch. If you were on the spot right now, could you market yourself and your skills set?

The trick to focusing on your skills and being specific as possible. Think about the things you love to do and what you hate to do. The, 'what I hate' is almost as important as the what I love to do. Think back on past jobs, school, classes, volunteer activities, etc. What were some of the things you enjoyed doing? Think of examples from your experiences to demonstrate those skills.

Okay, lets get down to it. The following are the eight things you need to answer. Find a friend, co-worker, spouse, etc. to help you.

1. PEOPLE - All jobs require contact with people. How do you like to interact with people? Teach? Inform? Motivate? Think about your interactions with people? What are your strengths and weakness?

2. ORGANIZATION - All jobs require organization of some type. Some people are better at it than other. What do you like to organize (if anything)? Things? Events? Ideas? People? How do you go about organizing these things/people, etc.

3. WRITING - All jobs require some form of writing. It may or may not be a main focus of a job. What do you like to write? Opinions? Research? BE SPECIFIC

4. RESEARCH - Do you like digging for information or figuring out where to look for information? What do you like about research? What do you hate about research?

5. TECHNOLOGY - Do you like to work with equipment like lighting, editing, cameras? Or are computers simply a means to get the job done? Do you have any particular technology savvy that would be a marketable skill, such as using social networking sites?

6. CREATIVITY - In what ways do you like to be creative? Visually? With words?

7. ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS - How do you feel about deadlines? What types do you work best with? Do you like a corporate or more casual work atmosphere? Do you prefer a structured office with clearly defined roles or a looser set-up? Do you prefer to know what each day will bring or do you prefer interruptions and constant change? Something in between the two? How much control do you need over your day-to-day responsibilities? Do you like to travel? Do you like to get out of the office? etc., etc., etc.,

8. OTHER FACTORS: Do you have any additional interests or skills that would further narrow down your list of possibilities? For example, an interest in the music or entertainment industry? Sports? A cause or belief you believe strongly in like women's issues, health care, animals or the environment? A language or cultural knowledge you wish to utilize?

Again, take time to sit down and really THINK about these things. This exercise will give you the framework of the skills you have and can bring to the table. It will also help you identify types of employers you never would have thought of before that can use these skills! It is a liberating experience.

If you or someone you know found this helpful let me know and I will continue with the steps in later posts.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Sign on the door reads: Closed for Lunch. We will open at 1:30 p.m. See you then.

**Knock Knock**

I stupidly look up and make eye contact.

Open door.

Student stands there and says: "I see the sign, but ...."

Wish I had it in me to say: THEN WHY DID YOU KNOCK! But I didn't.

Ah, the joys of working at a university.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home Improvement Angst

I went ahead and took the plunge. I hired a...glup...interior designer. Her name is Joyce. Joyce has her work cut out for her. I like Joyce a lot. She didn't laugh in my face when I gave her a budget that was clearly from watching too much Design on a Dime. She calmly looked at me and said, you will need to double that number. When I picked myself up off the floor and listened I understood why. This isn't HGTV. Bastards.

We talked for almost 2 hours. She measured and asked a lot of questions. Yesterday I went to her studio to see the plans. I almost cried because it was so beautiful. It was like she crawled into my head and designed something that was warm, inviting and DOG friendly all the way. The colors and textures are warm shades of brown, red, greens, etc. The whole feel is 'earthy' I love it.

As things start coming in I will post before and after pictures. Hee, hee. SO excited.

First race of the season

Well ladies and gents this past weekend was the first race of the season. It was the Tipperary Hill Shamrock Run. A 4-miler, kick your butt, holy hell hills, run. The weather was fairly decent! A nice change from last year, which was freezing rain and lots of snow.

About 2000 runners turned out and I am happy to report that not only did I get a PR at this race, but Ms. I Don't Blog Anymore RunsWithDog Tracy had a PR as well. Trac not got a PR, but she kicked her old time in the balls...hard. Like cut FIFTEEN MINUTES off her last Tipp Hill time. Yes. Holy Shit.

We lined up and decided we weren't going to race. Just go out and run. Yeah right. Next thing I know we are bobbing and weaving, passing people left and right and plain hauling ass. Trac was on fire. All I was doing was trying to keep up with her. At one point I looked at my Garmin and sobbed because we were running a 9 minute pace. We crossed the finish line at 38:15. Woot! Woot! You heard me. That's right. Under 40 minutes. Kiss me because we kicked that Irish ass.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Say Hello To My Little Friend!

Oh yeah baby! A Dyson Animal! This is the big purchase I was eluding to in my last post. If you can be in love with an inanimate object then I am totally in love with my Dyson.

When I walked in the door from work, there it was waiting for me. I felt like a little kid on Christmas I was so excited. I ripped the box open and promptly started putting it together. It was fairly easy, but there was a few times when we were scratching our heads a bit. See, the instructions are in picture illustrations, no words.

After we snapped on all the pieces I started vacuuming and let me tell you the freakin' HAIR! OMG!!! My husband called it the WOW factor of the Dyson. It didn't take me long to fill the little canister to the 'max' line, but there was a noticeable difference with the carpet. What surprised me is that it didn't feel like it had a lot of suction. I was expecting something that would be hard to push because of the powerful suction. Nope. It went across the carpet smooth and easy.

The other part I love is the BALL!!! Holy crap it is like driving a NASCAR of vacuum cleaners. Turning corners on a dime and showing off in all its snazzy purple glory. The price is hefty, but I find that it is an investment and this vacuum will pay off many years and greyhounds down the road.

Oh, and there was something else that we purchased that I have ALWAYS wanted.

A Kitchen Aid Mixer and the ice cream maker attachment. It may be 17 degrees outside, but damn it I wanted to make some ice cream!

It is my first attempt and I don't think I let it go long enough. One thing I have learned in this first attempt is making ice cream takes time. This isn't something you can just do willy nilly. You have to actually plan for it. And be patient. Not my strongest suit. It is chocolate ice cream with hunks and chunks of walnuts, white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and chocolate covered pecans. It won't be ready to eat until tomorrow. WAH!

This version is regular ice cream, but I am planning on my vegan ice cream too. To my vegan friends (and you know who you are) watch out because summer is going to be here soon!