Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What do resumes and tattoos have in common?

I recently got a new tattoo. It's a Doctor Who quote, in case you were wondering. On my arm. Where people can see it. Where interviewers and potential employers can see it. My mom expressed concern in that direction, with a mother's worry that I was compromising my ability to some day get a job with a company that frowned upon tattoos. But I'd already thought about that possibility, and it was a discussion in one of my marketing classes about resumes of all things that convinced me that I wouldn't fall off the job-market cliff if I got a tattoo where people could see it.
You see, we were talking about those really cool resumes. Infographics, flow charts, milk cartons, legos—you know, cool stuff. And someone asked, "What if an employer doesn't like those kind of resumes?" The answer was simple: if the company doesn't like your creativity, it might not be a good fit. If they don't like your personal brand, why would you want to work for them?
The same goes for tattoos. Unless you got it while drunk and really wished someone had stopped you, chances are a tattoo says something about your personality. It's just a part of your brand.
I came across this article on how to quit like a boss that summed it up pretty well:
"The people who don't get you don't deserve you."
The article goes on to elaborate how the old branding rules are just that—old and outdated. Welcome to the time where personal branding trumps company branding. So here's to milk carton resumes and tattoos.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Aten't Dead

Hello again. It's been a while, hasn't it? Remember that thing I wrote on posting regularly? Yeah, me neither. I'm still trying to figure out how it's June already. Another school year down. I start summer classes today, though, so I'm missing that nice definitive break that lends itself to the feeling that something has ended and something else is starting. Instead it just feels like more of the same (but the continuity is kind of nice).
But here are some updates anyway:
  • I'll be studying abroad in Lancaster (the one not in Pennsylvania) in the fall and I think I'll apply to be a vlogger for DU. Because vlogging sounds cool and new, and I like cool and new.
  • I'm still interning at the same place, so I guess that's more of a non-update.
  • I'm working on building my website, which is why you'll now find this blog at blog.jackimasson.com rather than just jackimasson.com, which doesn't lead to much of anything at this point.
  • My new favorite Pandora playlist is Calm Meditation Radio, because everyone could use a little more calm meditation in their lives.
  • Netflix show of the summer: Life. Because it's fantastic.
And that's pretty much it. Don't worry, though, I'm sure I'll be back soon with something a little more interesting, but I've noticed that if I wait for inspiration to strike I never feel quite inspirational enough to actually do anything. You know what they say: "Never do today what can be put off 'til tomorrow."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Excel Tip of the Day...?

Excel Tip of the Day Week Whenever
Quick tip of the day... I just found this out because I'm so used to using Excel on a PC, and it'll really help out everyone with Microsoft on a Mac.
To clear contents of a group of cells without having to go through that right click nonsense, select your cells, hold the fn key, and then hit delete.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Locus of Control and Cheerleading

Me and some of my teammates :)
I spent the weekend before last on stage covered in glitter. At my team's first cheerleading competition of the season. If you don't know anything about competitive cheerleading, the concept is really simple: you and your team spend two minutes and thirty seconds doing a whole bunch of tricks that have to be cooler than all of the other teams' tricks, and you have to look cool doing them (read: you can't fall on your face). Whoever has scored the highest (and messed up the least) wins. There is a lot of glitter involved.
That aside, it's a great place to see the theory of locus of control in action. A person's locus of control answers the question "whose fault is it if we lose?" A person with a high internal locus will place blame on themselves; they'll say that they should have practiced harder. Someone with a high external locus believes more in external forces; they might say that it was an off day or that the judges were being tough.
Cheerleaders can be a highly superstitious group, an indicator of a high external locus of control -- common rituals are having to eat the same thing both days of a two-day competition, wearing lucky socks, having to high-five the same person before walking onto the stage, or wearing large amounts of glitter spray. On the other side, some teams (mine included), have a policy that if you mess up on something, you have to do it a certain number of times the next practice so that it doesn't happen again, which caters to an internal locus of control. The girl who walks off the floor crying because her stunt fell out from under her probably is blaming herself -- even though it was a group effort. She probably has an internal locus of control.
So what does this have to do with anything? Simple -- when working with any kind of team, sports or business, it's important to know where your teammates (or employees) stand. The teammate with a high external locus might be less willing to put in extra practice hours for something they see as a fluke, while the teammate with an internal locus might feel defeated more quickly because they place all the blame on themselves. The best way to get along with people is to know where they're coming from and understand why they might act in certain ways.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Argument for Emoticons

Make Any Conversation Creepier!
Image found via Google :) 
I use a lot of smileys. All the time. Sure, I hold back when I'm writing to someone I don't know and want to make it sound official, but most of the time, it's emoticon central. And I think that it should be okay.
Around 90% of communication (ish) is nonverbal. We've created these tools to help compensate for the loss of facial expressions over text communication such as instant messaging, texts, and emails. Consider the difference when you read...

Yeah :)
Yeah ;)
Yeah :(
Yeah -_-

I don't know about you, but I read those all differently -- something is lost without emoticons.
It's also a matter of efficiency. Why should I have to say, "This looks like a fun project and I'll get started right away," when I could say, "I'll start on this right away :)". Same point, more efficient. And business (and Generation X in general) is all about efficiency.
As a writer, I'm not saying you should depend on emoticons. If you have the time to effectively and efficiently convey your emotions and your tone through words, you should. However, I know that I hate receiving novel-length emails, and I especially dislike overly lengthy texts when a point could have been made in a few sentences.
I think we all know enough to avoid these shenanigans: "send pix of ur car!! :) :)" My mom texts like that sometimes, no joke. So aim for the happy medium -- emoticons can add meaning to conversations just like smiling while you're talking can.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Posting Regularly

So, one of the biggest tips for bloggers is to post regularly (or not, depending on who you ask).

Posting regularly here is a bit harder than I thought it would be (although I'm not sure I really gave it a whole lot of thought), so I'm going to do a bit of an experiment to try and find the best way to get me to post once a week. I have 3 weeks of school left, so this part will have to be short term to account for variability in my busyness. I can repeat it after finals/Thanksgiving week with the attempt to make it more long term and a little more accurate.

Strategy #1: Have a set time to post
Monday and Wednesday nights after school/cheer practice, so around 5 and 8 respectively.

Strategy #2: Post whenever I feel like I have time/when inspiration hits.
(Or in between episodes of Torchwood, more likely).

Strategy #3: ...Yeah, I can't think of a 3rd strategy. I'll update when I think of one (or on Monday or Wednesday, depending).

In the mean time, here are some articles I found on the subject!

How to Post Regularly on your Blog…
How Often Should You Update Your Blog?
Why Should You Blog Regularly?

Strangely enough, so far Strategy #2 seems to work better for me, mainly because the week I tried #1, I seemed to be doing stuff during the scheduled time and then felt like I missed my opportunity to post... That being said, it was an inordinately busy week (week 10 at DU, the week before finals, the week everything is due, week of death, etc, etc). More than that though, I don't think I like having a scheduled time. Most of my day is very scheduled, so it's nice to have something that's not, and I think adhering to a strict schedule stifles my creativity (or maybe I'm just not all that inspired most of the time, so the chances of inspiration hitting at any given moment are kind of slim).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Stressed? Me too.

Ever have that feeling that you're trying to do six things at once and they all had to be done yesterday? Hint: that was a rhetorical question. Everyone's felt stressed because they were overloaded. Some advice I've gotten is to drop some things -- but I can't. Can't quit working, have to pay rent; can't quit school, it's school; can't quit cheering, I made a commitment to my teams. We've all been there, so here's some helpful advice I've found...

1. Take some time for yourself.

Make sure you're not giving up your "me time". If you're extroverted (you gain energy from being with people), hang out with some good friends or talk on the phone with someone (who won't add to your stress). If you're introverted, like me, and you have to recharge by being alone, take some time to step back from what you're doing and watch some TV or read a book (or some comics)... Take some time and relax. Find something that makes you laugh (laughing makes you healthier, right?).
You could also try these relaxation techniques from the Mayo Clinic. I'm terrible at meditating, so do what works for you.

2. Have a Game Plan

Prioritize which things need to get done when, and when you're going to have time to do them. I procrastinate like crazy, so at 2:00 in the morning when I'm trying to write three different papers I should have started ages ago, I'm really stressed (surprising, right?). Avoid that all together by spacing projects out as much as possible. Easier said than done, I know, but worth it in the end. And, since you have time because you didn't wait until the last minute, you can try the Pomodoro technique so you don't burnt out as fast. You could also check out this list of the top 50 apps for time management.

3. Get help

Professors can be pretty cool people. If you're overbooked and need an extension on something, most of the time it doesn't hurt to ask (as long as you ask reeeaaally nicely and ahead of time).
Because of the way my class schedule is this quarter, I'm supposed to take three finals on the same day. That just wouldn't work out super well, so I'm going to cut myself a break and get one of them moved.

Hope this helps! I'll try to post more tips as I find them.