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.

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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?

April 22, 2008

In a World with Google – No Excuse

Posted in Careers, Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:13 pm by Katelyn

Read With The Lobsters! – Every weekend, Katelyn and Lindsay discuss the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi in an effort to sharpen networking skills.

Never Eat Alone was really my saving grace last week. In an effort to put into practice what I’ve been learning from Ferrazzi, I scheduled a lunch with someone my former boss recommended I meet. I received his contact information from my boss and knew nothing about him other than that he had also interned for her some 10 years earlier. The night before we were scheduled to have lunch, I opened Never Eat Alone to read the next chapter titled “Do Your Homework.” Coincidence? I think not. The opening quote sums it up:

“Spectacular achievement is always preceded by spectacular preparation” – Robert H. Schuler (p. 67)

Ferrazzi continued on to contradict my entire thought process on researching someone. Normally I would assume you would research future acquaintances to have the upper hand, the inside scoop, the dirt, but Ferrazzi learns personal details so he can uncover a similarity that might exist. Similarities lead to interesting conversation which can lead to genuine connections and friendships, which is what we are learning networking is all about. Besides, he is also correct in that people are flattered when you show you’ve taken the time to do your homework on them.

Needless to say, I immediately googled and researched as much as I could about my lunch partner for the following day. It turned out that we had a lot more in common than a previous boss and our lunch was so much fun as a result!

April 1, 2008

Around the World on a Budget

Posted in Life, Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:20 pm by Katelyn

I have talked with many different people in my life thus far who stress the importance of travel. There is nothing that brings about self-awareness like experiencing new places and seeing how other people live.

If having a family is in your future, it makes sense that the most convenient times in life to travel are either when you are young and single (or in a relationship), or when you are retired. I, for one, would like to travel while I am young so I can carry my learnings and experiences with me for the remainder of my life. So what does traveling when you’re young mean? It means traveling within a STRICT budget. It means making the majority of your travels domestic rather than international, visiting cities where you have friends who will provide you a place to stay, and flying on over-crowded, low-customer-service airlines. Even still, on a typical young professional’s income travel can be costly.

Here are some tips I am slowly, but surely, leaning in my small (but growing) traveling experience:

1.) Take advantage of holiday weekends for travel so you can use fewer vacation days.  If you already get Friday as a holiday, take Monday as vacation and you magically have 4 days for a trip!

2.) Don’t rule out driving unless you absolutely don’t have the time or you’re planning a cross-country trip. Sometimes, when you add in time for getting through security and transferring flights, driving could take the same length of time and could save you money.

3.) You’re young — take the overnight or super-early flights for less cost.

4.) If you frequent a certain airline, sign up for frequent flyer miles or that airline’s equivalent. It’s free and could eventually score you a free flight.

5.) Research local entertainment that would be cheaper than touristy attractions.  Just being in a new city is plenty.  There is no need to break the bank while you’re there.

What do you think…Should traveling be a priority even though we are on tight budgets? Do you have any travel tips for cutting costs?

March 27, 2008

Honoring Hen: Betty Friedan

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 5:49 pm by Katelyn

I picked up the book The Feminine Mystique a few years ago as I was trying to expand my women’s history knowledge, and was amazed by its complexity and boldness, especially having been published in 1963 – not long after the 50s house-wife movement. The author, Betty Friedan, is who I am honoring today. I would say she is known best for this book and for her work as the founder and first president of the National Organization for Women.

Friedan lived from 1921 – 2006 and was born to immigrant Jews living in Peoria, Illinois. She graduated from Smith College and went on to complete her masters degree at UC Berkeley.

The Feminine Mystique challenged the lives of women who had to find fulfillment in their lives through their husbands and children and it triggered a definite period of change in American culture.

I’ll leave you with some of Friedan’s personal beliefs:

When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman.”

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.

March 24, 2008

Honoring Hen: Louisa May Alcott

Posted in Literature, Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:02 pm by Katelyn

Louisa May Alcott, known best as the author of Little Women, was a popular femaleLittle Women author of the late 1800s. Long before her literary career, Alcott was an army nurse in the Civil War where she broke the ban on admitting single women. After the war and a trip to Europe, Alcott returned to America to find her family once again in debt. She resolved to change that with the publication of Little Women. This book has never been out of print and has been published in some 50 different languages. Some say that Alcott felt she sacrificed her artistic and personal wishes for her family’s monetary needs with Little Women. Whether or not that is true, she continued to try to make change in the world by petitioning for women’s suffrage, funded a home for orphaned boys, and visited the State Reformatory to tell stories to the prisoners.

So not only did she give us great literature like Little Women, Jo’s Boys, Eight Cousins, and many others, but she contributed to making her world a little better.

March 20, 2008

Honoring Hen: Maggie L. Walker

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 11:27 pm by Lindsay

Maggie L. Walker was the first woman in United States history to charter and serve as president of a bank.  In 1903, she chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia.  Her goal in organizing the bank was to enable community members to help each other by pooling their money together.  When the Depression hit, Maggie orchestrated the merger of several banks and again took the reins to restore the bank to success. 

In addition to her historic role as bank president, she also worked tirelessly as an activist for education and racial equality.  Even after her health began to deteriorate, Maggie pressed on, serving on numerous boards and committees devoted to her causes. 

“Have hope, have faith, have courage, and carry on.” — Maggie L. Walker

March 18, 2008

Organizing your networking

Posted in Careers, Life, Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:01 pm by Katelyn

Whether it’s an old-fashioned Rolodex, a nifty binder of business cards, an extensiveRolodex Outlook address book, or a self-made spreadsheet, keeping a running list of contacts is essential for any career-oriented person, especially Millenials who are just starting out and will change jobs frequently.  Networking, in my opinion, is the best and most successful way to find a job.  Most employers would rather hire someone who comes with a recommendation from one of their contacts than someone they don’t know.  That means, every business card or person you meet should be entered into some sort of database.

Right now my personal contact database is in a variety of locations.  I have a personal address book, an old-fashioned Rolodex, and my Outlook address book for work.  I’m looking to stream-line my office space and am undecided as to the best way to organize all the contact information I’ve gathered.  I am leaning toward keeping my Rolodex as a place to store the business cards I collect and creating a spreadsheet where I can easily search for information.  It should include how I met each contact, their field of work, and the date at which I last spoke or met with them.

Do you have a set system for keeping track of all your contacts?

March 14, 2008

Honoring Hen: Miriam Leslie

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 1:33 pm by Lindsay

Miriam Leslie played a significant and somewhat unorthodox part in the fight for women’s suffrage.  After her husband, Frank Leslie, passed away leaving her a publishing business several hundred thousand dollars in debt, Miriam legally changed her name to Frank Leslie and used her business skills to put the company back on track. 

By the time Miriam passed away, she had amassed a fortune of two million dollars, which she willed to Carrie Chapman Catt for the purpose of advancing the fight for women’s right to vote.  That money became instrumental in employing 200 workers to organize and orchestrate for suffrage, giving means and a new energy to the movement. 

Miriam Leslie defied convention and lived her life her way, by her own rules and standards.  For that, the women of America are eternally grateful.

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