April 11, 2008

Kant Philosophize Enough

Posted in Life tagged , at 1:01 am by Lindsay

Sorry for the title.  I couldn’t help it.

I was fortunate enough to have room in my schedule for a philosophy course during my sophomore year of college.  Philosophy was much more interesting, and more relevant than I had expected.  Sure, it can be somewhat passive and abstract at times, but I think the more you know about philosophy, the more you see it in your daily life.  I guess that’s true with most studies. 

In my class, we watched films like “The Matrix” and “American Beauty” and discussed how elements of Plato and Descartes were present in the stories.  The end of semester project was the most interesting – we had to write a paper outlining our own personal philosophies.  It can be really difficult to try to define yourself in five pages, but I found it to be a poignant exercise.  It’s as close to a life plan as I think you can get.  I wish I still had mine that I prepared for that class (it was lost forever when my hard drive decided to implode a few years ago – and no, I still don’t backup even though that was one of the most annoying and inconvenient things ever).  I wonder if my personal philosophy has changed since then. 

I know you’re saying that if it was really my life philosophy, I certainly should remember what it was.  Well that’s kind of my point.  Unless you occasionally step back and take the time to flesh out what your personal philosophy really is, how can you tell if you’re following it?  Most likely, all of us have a discrepancy between the philosophy that we want to have and the philosophy that we practice on a daily basis.  Think of yourself as a “seize the day”-type person?  Tell me when was the last time you practiced carpe diem.  Are you still thinking?  Maybe that’s not really your philosophy.  Or maybe that is your philosophy and you just need to be more conscious about it. 

I realize that the laws of human nature mean that there’ll always be a difference between what we are and what we want to become.  That’s life.  But here’s my challenge to you: take some time – take 15 minutes and put together a rough outline of what your personal philosophy might be.  Don’t try to be all-encompassing.  This is a huge question and probably a never-ending one at that.  I’m not asking you the meaning of life.  The easiest way to get started is to think about someone you admire.  What attitudes and traits do they have that helped earn your admiration?  Then you can take it back to you.  How do you approach situations?  What strategies do you use to deal with things?  What things or concepts do you value? 

Or, if this is getting a little too abstract for you, think about your favorite quotes.  You know, the ones you put on your facebook page or have on a poster in your room.  Chances are, these quotes sum up part of your personal philsophy.  That’s why you like them.  So use those as a starting point and try to expand on them a little.

When you try this, let me know how it goes.  As I write, I’m reaching for my collected Oscar Wilde to fish for some quotes to get me started… 


April 8, 2008

Never Eat Alone

Posted in Careers, Literature at 9:15 pm by Katelyn

I wanted to let everyone know that over the next few weeks Lindsay and I will be reading and discussing the book Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  Our conversations will take place in our weekend posts.  So if you’d like to grab a copy and join in the reading and/or discussion we’ll be making our first post this weekend.

Happy Reading and Happy Networking!

The Popularity of Philosophy

Posted in Life tagged , at 9:09 pm by Katelyn

An article in the NY Times today explored and tried to explain the growing popularity of the philosophy major.  I, for one, never took a philosophy course in college.  I took an ethics course, which is similar, but not philosophy.  So I did some pondering on my own as to the value and benefits of a philosophy degree.

Philosophy (noun) – The rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics.

Philosophy is derived from the Greek “love of wisdom.”

What a great thing – the “love of wisdom”.  Who wouldn’t want to major in that?  When I was in college, however, I think I would have agreed with the mother in this article who asks, “what are you going to do with that?”  Before I had experienced much of the world, I wanted a practical degree – one that would get me a job post-college.  Would I make the same choice now?  Not necessarily.  Now I think I would agree that preparing your mind in how to think for yourself is the best education.  Not only will it help you look at situations and ideas objectively, but it will teach you to question and never settle.

Of course there are going to be certain fields, like medicine, that require a specific major in order to get a job, but for most other fields, the majority of the training and learning are done on the job and not in school.  In that case, why not spend college looking at and analyzing the world in which we live?  I think this is something that far too few of us actually do.  So to all the philosophy majors out there, I say – we need you.

April 3, 2008

Traveling on a Small Scale: Explore Your State

Posted in Life tagged , , at 2:33 pm by Lindsay

I too see the value of travel, especially as a twenty-something with as much independence as I’ll ever have.  Yesterday, Katelyn gave some great ideas for traveling on a budget.  While you’re saving funds and accumulating time off work for those trips, here’s an idea to hold you over: day-long road trips within your state or surrounding area.

It doesn’t matter where you live – there are bound to be tons of possibilities for day trips.  It’ll get you away from the craziness of daily life and provide you with an interesting experience, be it adventurous or educational.

The cost can be minimal.  Gas is getting expensive, but compared to the cost of a hotel or airfare, it looks dirt cheap.  Take a friend along and split the fuel costs.  To save even more money, pack a picnic lunch with food from home.  That way you’ll only pay for gas, dinner, and possibly the attraction you visit – unless you’re super savvy and pick a free (!) attraction.

I’m planning on visiting some of California’s missions, like this one in San Juan Capistrano.  Cool old buildings + California history + beach town = great day trip.

So why not see something new, maybe learn a thing or two, and get the feeling of a mini-vacation all for a minimal expense?

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 19, 2008

Making A Big City Feel Like A Small Town

Posted in Life tagged , , at 7:20 pm by Lindsay

Living in Los Angeles, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of 16 million people that live in the metro area.  While I’m thrilled with the opportunities a big city like LA has to offer, it’s also nice to cultivate the feelings of comfort and security found in a smaller town.  Here are some ways to make the 16 million seem like only, you know, 6 million:

Bypass The Big Chains For The Locally Owned – Every Saturday morning my roommates and I walk down to the corner coffee shop for our weekly java.  We know the owner and her family by name and are starting to recognize the other regulars that frequent the shop.  Not only is it nice to see a friendly face who notices when you miss a week, but the relationship has paid off in other ways.  When my roommate went to buy a new car, the owner of the coffeeshop hooked her up with a friend at a dealership, and as a result, my roommate got a much better deal than offers from other dealerships where she didn’t know anyone. 

Attend Town Festivals And Events – Nothing will make you feel more like a part of the community than, you know, actually being in the community.  Art festivals, holiday parades, summer celebrations, concerts – they’re all fun, usually free, and you’ll see a different side of your community.  You might even meet some new people or at least begin to recognize fellow citizens.  Come for the delicious fair food, stay for the community. 

Join A Group – Whether it’s the local softball team, the church choir, a YMCA membership, or a service club, join some sort of community club or council.  You’ll be an active member in the community and meet people you never would have otherwise. 

Hit The Books – Your local library branch is probably the best place to find out what’s going on in the community.  Most community organizations and services use the library as a posting place for announcements, informative flyers, and brochures.  While you’re there, check out some books or DVDs – for free!

The more you feel like part of your community, the more you’ll like where you live, making a big city feel like home sweet home.

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?

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