February 12, 2009

Changing My View – from empty to full

Posted in Life at 9:47 pm by Katelyn

Glass Half Empty or Half FullI know and have known that I tend to be a pessimistic person. I have trouble being bubbly and happy all the time and I’m not good at faking something when I don’t feel it. But up until last night, I always assumed that I was just predisposed to this way of thinking and that I should blame the genes I was given. I want to put a disclaimer on that – I don’t know that I truly believed I was hard-wired this way, but rather that I accepted it as who I am rather than thinking about change. But after a couple weeks, months of not being excited about much at all, and those feelings just feeding the thoughts about my so-called boring life, I have decided to take a stand and make a change.

This is not going to be easy. I am changing the way my mind has been trained to think for years. So, where to start?

First of all, I’m making my commitment public, which is what I’m doing now. I’ve also let those who are closest to me know about my new goal and I’ve asked them to make me aware of when I am not being positive. I definitely won’t be able to catch all of the slip-ups on my own!

Second, I am going to return to my lost habit of journaling. I used to journal almost everyday as a way to calm my over-active mind, but this has gotten pushed to the side as other things fill my day. So I will write every day, or every other day and include 1-2 positive things that happened or that I accomplished that day.

Third, I am going to pick up some reading materials at the library. My mom actually suggested “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which is a book I have often thought of reading. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Bear with me on this! I’ll keep you updated as to how it’s going.

February 3, 2009

Finding What You’ve Lost

Posted in Life, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 8:07 pm by Katelyn

It’s obvious that as we grow and mature we change and with the changes we often lose bits and pieces of ourselves. Of course we gain so much with change, but I’m going to talk about finding something I had forgotten I lost.

When I was in college and then recently graduated, I considered myself a somewhat trendy dresser. I enjoyed the adventure of putting together an outfit and

Carrie Bradshaw pushing the envelope

Carrie Bradshaw pushing the envelope

pushing the envelope if it was appropriate. But all that seemed to slowly disappear when I started working full time and a year ago took a job in marketing on a Fortune 500 account. In came the black slacks, dress shirts, and jackets, but not because that was the customer’s standard dress code, but because I had this preconceived notion of how a full-time working adult dressed.

Then a few weeks ago I ran across a local blogger documenting her everyday attire. When I saw the way she put pieces together and took chances, it triggered my memory and had me thinking of myself a couple years ago. I realized that I had lost something that I enjoyed, something that made me feel good about myself. And it was not a necessary loss, because despite the corporate clients, the atmosphere is still a creative one and open to some pizazz.

I know to some, fashion, trends, and accessories are trivial things, and I say, that’s true – they are. But the point is that while growth causes the shedding of the old for the new, sometimes we shed something we didn’t need to and finding it (no matter how small or trivial) can be just what we need.

November 24, 2008

Finding Motivation to Write Again

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:53 pm by Katelyn

I want to write a post about my lack of motivation for writing these past few months.  As you can see, a post on Save the Lobsters is a rarity these days.  For the past week or so I have been trying to pin point the reasons so that I can work on changing it, and I have come up with 2 explanations so far…explanations mind you, not excuses.

1.)  I’m sure I am not the only one who has days where you leave the office at 5 and can’t put your finger on exactly what you did all day.  I sat at a computer, in a cubicle, in an office, and that’s about all I know.  I find days like these (especially when they are not isolated incidents) even more draining than days where I’ve been busy or felt that I made a contribution to something.   By the time I’m home at 5:30, if nothing is planned, I make an easy dinner, do a little picking up around the apartment, and then my motivation is completely gone.  I turn on the tv and knit or do a little reading for a few hours and then I’m ready for bed – dreading the routine that I’ll start all over again the next day.  How do I find motivation and stimulation in the evenings to drive me to write?

Questions: What do you do when you get home from work that gives you the motivation to accomplish something like writing a blog post?  Do you set aside certain nights of the week where you promise yourself you’ll write?  Is there a routine that you do to stimulate your mind after 8+ hours of an idle brain?  I’m willing to try suggestions to pull my mind out of this post-5 funk.

2.)  The second explanation I have come up with is in terms of content.  With a pretty routine schedule both at work and personally, I often feel that my stories or insight are simply not interesting enough for anyone to want to read.  I’ll think of a vague topic idea during the day, but by the time I am home and pulling out the laptop I have talked myself out of the idea and I end up not posting at all!

Questions:  Do you ever have these thoughts that your ideas are too mundane or routine to blog about?  If so, what pushes you to post anyway?  How do you spin your routines so that others are interested to read?  Or is it simply by being different from their routines that makes blogging compelling?

I’m treating this like a mini-therapy session.  Your thoughts, suggestions, and stories are more than welcome!

October 12, 2008

Is Now the Time to Sacrifice?

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:30 pm by Katelyn

The economy is failing and it’s the only thing we see on the news these days. While you may or may not have felt the effects of this crisis, we are told that we soon will, and it worries me. I have always thought of our twenties as the time to go after our dreams, to make mistakes, but to take chances so that we can learn about ourselves and what we want from our lives. Do these rules still apply to twenty-somethings spending this “prime” in an economic crisis?

For me personally, a graduate education is a must at some point, and I would like that point to be in my twenties. But how can I justify giving up a salary to become a full-time student again, when who knows what the job market will look like in two years! Do I just make the promise to myself that I WILL go back to school, but that I will wait until things are more stable and promising? Or is now the time to do it and have faith that things will turn around and I will graduate into a more prosperous time?

I know there are others who are still searching for their dream job. They are in a position that is not ideal and they know they could be so much more if they were just doing something else! Should they just be grateful that they have a salary when so many don’t and use this time to tweak their skills and network so that when the job market bounces back they will be first in line for that dream job? Or do they take their chances in job searching or quitting and have faith that when you are going for what you want, things can work out?

I am certainly feeling the stress of the situation – not necessarily in my check book, but in my thoughts. Some days I blame my anxiousness on the media that continuously feeds us gray story after gray story. But then there are other days when I look around at my mid-western city and see that times are hard for people.

Am I wanting too much that I am forgetting to stop and remember that I have so much? I am sure that generations before us have been in similar situations where they have had to make tough and risky decisions sacrificing dreams or security. And I am willing to sacrifice as well and change my thinking to always count my blessings. But for how long?

September 22, 2008

My City – Los Angeles

Posted in Life tagged at 9:20 pm by Lindsay

To most people, L.A. is a joke.  An overly-tanned, smog-filled, traffic-jammed superficial joke.  For me, it’s been the most exciting adventure of my life. 

When I enthusiastically respond to the question “how are you liking L.A.?” I get the feeling that most of the time, people think I’m exaggerating.  That I’m justifying my choice to move here.  That I have to keep convincing myself that I made the right decision.  Really, who loves L.A.? 

I do. 

I’ve had experiences here I couldn’t have had anywhere else.  I got to work as an artist escort on the Grammy red carpet where I literally ran into the biggest names in music (sorry, Tony Bennett).  I listened to Kirk Douglas reminisce about his experiences making the epic Spartacus.  I worked on a studio lot where everyday, I walked by movies and television shows in production.  I’ve watched friends play a show at the Roxy on Sunset.  I’ve gone to tapings of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Deal or No Deal” on a whim.  I watched Kid Rock open a bottle of beer in his mouth backstage at a Kenny Chesney concert.  I’ve listened to the producer of Roman Holiday tell stories about Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, and the Golden Age of Hollywood.  For someone working in the entertainment industry, Los Angeles is it.  

In L.A. I feel like I’m on vacation 11 months out of the year.  It’s not unusual to make a trip to the beach in January.  I can’t remember the last time I wore real shoes instead of flip-flops.  When I wear a scarf, it’s because the air conditioning in my office is too cold.   

I’ve noticed that L.A. gets a bad rap for lack of culture.  What signifies culture? Museums?  Visit the J. Paul Getty Museum and see for yourself the brushstrokes of Van Gogh’s “Irises” and various works by Monet, Manet, and Renoir – for FREE.  Educational institutions?  ULCA and USC (among others) infiltrate the city with their academic pursuits.  History?  The abundance of historic missions give insight into California’s development.  Or go a little farther into the past by perusing Ice Age fossils at the La Brea Tar Pits.   Architecture?  Go admire the many buildings designed by Frank Gehry or Frank Lloyd Wright.   Artistic communities?  North Hollywood is a creative conglomerate of Bohemian locals pursuing acting, art, and writing.  For the performing arts, catch the L.A. Philharmonic at the world-renown Walt Disney Concert Hall, or be part of an act’s live album recording at the Greek Amphitheater in Griffith Park – one of the largest urban parks in the country.     

One of the best things about Los Angeles is that living in the city is about as urban as you can get, but at the same time you don’t have to go far to get away from it all.  There are numerous canyons to hike, state parks to camp in, and trails to bike.  Take a short drive north on the Pacific Coast Highway and suddenly it’s just you and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.   

As glamorous and surreal as some of my experiences have been, I’m also aware of the realities of living in Los Angeles.  It is expensive.  I pay three times in rent what I would at home in Seattle or at school in Nashville.  Gas is consistently 25 to 50 cents more per gallon than most parts of the country.  Traffic is bad, but it’s predictable.

Is L.A. superficial?  If you hang out in Beverly Hills or spend weekend nights in line outside the club du jour then sure, you’ll find people who buy into the L.A. “image”.  But I can honestly say that 95 percent of the people I’ve met here are intelligent, down-to-earth, interesting, and genuinely kind.

I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and the South and have great affection for the other cities I’ve spent time in.  But if you’re looking for adventure, nothing comes close to L.A.

September 3, 2008

It’s Not a Meritocracy

Posted in Careers, On the Job tagged , , at 8:56 pm by Katelyn

Hannah Seligson’s book “New Girl on the Job: Advice From the Trenches” has long been on my to-read list, but after reading her article in the New York Times on Sunday, it has moved to the top of the queue.   She very realistically presented her query into why females perform circles around their male counterparts in an academic environment, but can’t seem to do the same in the workplace.

Aside from the typical outside forces – men who can’t see past appearances, women who undermine other women instead of helping them, or women who continually take “assistant-like” positions – it is often women who are the ones getting in the way of our own successes.  Seligson realized that in order to match men in the workplace, she needed to “develop a thick skin, feel comfortable promoting [her]self, learn how to negotiate, stop being a perfectionist and create a professional network – abilities that men are just more likely to have already.”

I can relate to wanting improvement on 4 out of the 5 above.  Creating a professional network is something that I have been aware of and something that I try to think creatively about improving on.  Feeling comfortable promoting myself and learning how to negotiate are two traits that I have seen more now that I am in the business world and I would have to agree that males typically have these 2 down.  They love to talk about how well they are doing and they are not afraid to argue or stand up for a point of view and they are often recognized for it.  I definitely need to work on those in order to keep up and surpass.  But ‘stop being a perfectionist’ is not something that readily comes to mind when I think of skills needed to advance or do well at work.  I am somewhat of a perfectionist at work because my job requires me to be detail-oriented and juggle tons of balls at once.  When I actually think about it though, I am always saying that I feel like I am ready to move into a position where I can look at the bigger picture, make bigger decisions, and delegate work.  A person at that level does not have the time or energy to be a perfectionist…I think she has something here and it’s something that I want for my career.

Ultimately, the quote that really drove Seligson’s point home was:

“By and large women believe that the workplace is a meritocracy, and it isn’t,” said Myra Hart.

Meritocracy (noun):

1.) a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement.  2.) leadership selected on the basis of intellectual criteria.

If that isn’t reality, I don’t know what is.  For me, this article was motivating and a heavy dose of reality.  I am ready to bring that good old academic environment, where females succeeded above and beyond, to the workplace.

August 26, 2008

Slate at the DNC: Twitterific

Posted in Politics tagged , , at 11:14 pm by Lindsay

In celebration of both Slate Magazine and Twitter, I bring you the highlights of the Slate writers’ Twitter feed from tonight’s activities at the DNC:

Schweitzer would’ve brought in the crucial lariat tie vote.

If this race is all about the future, then why are they playing Huey Lewis?

Clinton on the 2008 campaign: I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats.

Outstanding shade of orange on Clinton’s pantsuit. What would you call that? Salmon sashimi?

After that video you sure you don’t want Hillary?

Petrol Dictators = great band name

Schweitzer is 08’s Obama.

“If you drill in all of John McCain’s backyards, even the ones he doesn’t know he has…” Line of the convention so far

SOMEONE TOLD WARNER TO TALK LOUDLY FOR EMPHASIS

What a great use of Twitter – brief, clever commentaries delivered to the audience instantaneously.  Slate will be continuing their tweets throughout the convention, and then at the RNC next week.  Follow Slate on Twitter here.

August 6, 2008

Avoiding Snap Judgments

Posted in Careers tagged , at 1:08 am by Lindsay

Some time ago, I was at an evening social gathering (read: house party) with my roommates.  We knew very few people there, but made a point to make the rounds and acquaint ourselves with those in attendance.  One such person, let’s call him Steve, was very receptive to our introduction and quickly began a conversation with us.  We were about forty five seconds into our exchange with Steve when the first snap judgment popped out of his mouth.  When one roommate told him she was from Kansas his immediate reply was, “Are you a farmer?”

She explained that she was actually from Kansas City, and that no, she was not nor had ever been a farmer.  With that he was off on his next topic.  He told us he’d guess where each of us had gone to college, knowing that we were recent graduates.  He turned to me and said “Florida State, right?  You were the girl passed out next to the keg.”  (Count along with me – snap judgment tally: two and three)  Ignoring my roommates who were trying to explain that I was perhaps the girl least likely to be in that position, he turned to my other roommate, squinted and said, “Harvard?”  Oh, Steve. 

Snap judgments shape our interactions with others.  When meeting a client or business associate for the first, second, or even third time, the conclusions we piece together will dictate how we treat them, what words to use, which subjects we bring up, and our general mood and approach.  Most importantly, others will be able to infer how we view them by the way we act towards them.  Even if Steve hadn’t been so forthcoming with his opinions, I would have known he viewed me as “the party girl”.  The intellectual girl-next-door in me wouldn’t have responded positively.

Realistically, we’re all guilty of making snap judgments, even though we’re usually smart enough not to blurt them out the second they enter our minds like our good friend Steve.  And to a point, they can be efficiency tools, used to make quick decisions when the situation does not warrant careful consideration.  Many decisions have to be made on the fly, and snap judgments may be the only information we have. 

But they can also be harmful, especially in the business world where it’s essential to build trust and create relationships.  A hasty judgment will put others on the defense.  They’ll perceive a lack of effort to get to know them and their needs.  It will make them resistant to everything you say and do, getting you nowhere.

Take time to get to know people.  Be hesitant to form an idea of a person with only a few details to work with.  And that ever popular adage, don’t assume.

I think a viewing of The Philadelphia Story, one of my favorite films, is in order for Steve.  I’d tell him to pay special attention when Katherine Hepburn declares,

“The time to make up your mind about people is never.”    

July 27, 2008

It Never Hurts to Ask

Posted in On the Job tagged at 10:30 am by Katelyn

I have been interested in the graphic design profession for awhile now, but I have never had the opportunity to study it until recently and I have my mother to thank.  She always used phrases like, “it never hurts to ask” and “what’s the worst that could happen?”.  Because I have continued to think of those phrases, I am learning about the life of a graphic designer and my company is reimbursing me. Here’s how it happened:

First I found a community education class at a local art college that fit the description of what I wanted to learn.  Because I thought my supervisor would probably turn me down, I created a budget and was ready to pay for the course myself if that should be the case.

Next I sat down and came up with my support for why these skills and knowledge would benefit me as an employee.  We recently acquired a design studio and while there is no intention (in the short term) of turning project managers into graphic designers, it would be beneficial for me to understand a graphic designer’s work processes and be able to speak their lingo. So I typed these thoughts into a 1 page summary and included the course description, cost, and duration of the class.

I had low-expectations after turning it in, but within a week my supervisor gave me the green light and told me I would just have to present my learnings to the team at the end of the class. I am over halfway through my class and loving it!  I am so glad I wasn’t afraid to ask.

So if you’re considering continuing education courses, try to look at the class from a different angle.  How could the skills you learn benefit the company?  Would it help you work better with a colleague or customer?  If the course you want to take doesn’t have anything to do with work, I say bite the bullet and take it.  You’ll always wonder what it would have been like.  Then continue to look for other courses that you find interesting and that tie in with work.  Put together a proposal and present it with enthusiasm.

Remember: What’s the worst that could happen?

July 7, 2008

Why Burn Bridges?

Posted in On the Job tagged , , at 10:00 pm by Katelyn

I have read several articles and overheard one conversation recently about companies that do not wish their employees well when they move on to bigger and better jobs/positions.  I am floored by this attitude!  The management at companies like these take a resignation very personally rather than understanding that it’s just business.  In many situations, I think employees have no choice but to move out in order to move up.

Perhaps I am naive, but I always thought that if you performed your job well, took a new job because it was a better fit or an advancement for your career, gave your employer ample notice, and resigned by thanking them for all they taught you, then an employer should be happy for you and happy to provide a great reference.  I guess the companies mentioned above must be the best places ever to work if they think that no one should ever want to leave.

Doesn’t this situation go against the very core of what business is?  I am always thinking to the future and therefore try to hold all contacts close and not burn bridges because you never know when that contact may have something you need.

Have you ever worked for a company like the ones mentioned – who are offended rather than supportive when an employee is ready to move on?  Or have you had a great experience with moving on to a new position?  I am curious to compare my own GREAT experiences with yours and see which is more common.

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