Gen Wise Perspective

Gen Y's perspective (pun intended) on our journey through work, life, and everything in between.

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How has Steve Jobs changed your life?

Three hundred and seventeen.

That’s the amount of patents that Steven Jobs has been listed on as an inventor for Apple products. As everyone knows, the man who truly changed the way we live our lives lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday.

As I sat on my morning train today, I glanced around to see that over half the passengers had ipods in. One guy was reading an article on his iPad. Numerous Mac Books were on and in use. It made me think about life. About how precious it truly is. And how one man pioneered a company to greatness and every single person on my train was affected by his work.

There are plenty of people out there who inspire me, make me think, challenge me, and keep me questioning things for the better. He is one of them.

Steve Jobs makes me want to do better. To try harder. To not give up because I think something is a dumb idea. To constantly be curious.  He defined innovation for me. He taught me that you can do anything you set your mind to.

The reason I am writing this post is to remind you of that. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in your work. To just keep going through the days doing the same routine. Same process, same results. I urge you to be a little bit more like Steve Jobs. Don’t just do your job to do it. Do work that makes you want to change the world.

Three hundred and seventeen patents. What will you invent?

image via unmarketing

Are you constantly building your skill set?

A couple of weeks ago, I started writing down things that I wanted to achieve in the next coming years. As part of my job at Walker Sands, I work pretty closely with our development team. They know HTML like it’s their first language, and it’s something I have always wanted to know how to do on my own. After some hunting down, I found a class for Basic HTML/CSS taught by Chicago Women Developers. The class is great and I am so glad I took it. I’m now looking into taking advanced classes.

In your career, professional growth and development is essential. The continuous quest to learn more and keep pushing yourself farther than you have in the past will help you to stand out from the crowd. Having the desire to strive to learn more and do better every day has taught me that I’m definitely in the right career for me.

It’s hard to tell what specifically each person needs to do to build their own skill set – you are on your own with that one, friends. But what I can do is tell you what I do to keep learning and growing daily in my professional career:

  • Read what people who inspire you are writing. I am a firm believer in the fact that you learn best when surrounded by people who push you to do better. Jackie and I compiled a list earlier this year of sites we love that teach us and help us in our professional careers. It’s still a go to source for us. Check out the full list here.
  • Take breaks when you need to. Just like Jackie and I did on here, sometimes you need to take breaks to refresh and learn what you really want. It’s okay not study/work on something related to your field every single day. Sometimes you learn more by building a skill outside of your industry. You’ll be surprised by what learning guitar can teach you about patience (this is very true for me right now).
  • Try it yourself before you ask for help. The best way to learn something new is to try it on your own. With the HTML classes I am in, I have visited sites like w3schools and Online HTML Editor to find answers to my questions before asking someone who knows. You’ll learn it much faster if you are the one hunting for the answers.

Can You Help Us Change the Laws on Stalking?

When Jackie and I read Gini Dietrich’s blog post sharing her personal story about stalking, we were both shocked and sickened by the terrifying situations that stalking victims endure. The worst (and probably scariest) part is that, in almost every instance, the police told these victims there is nothing they can do until an attack happens.

The other hard truth we learned is how often stalking occurs. As Gini’s post states, “In the U.S. alone, 14 in every 1,000 women of 18 and older are victims of stalking.”

Jackie and I both knew instantly we wanted to get involved and help change the laws on stalking.

This month, Danny Brown’s 12for12K highlights Jodi’s Voice, an organization started in honor of Jodi Sanderholm, a victim of stalking.

Watch this video to learn more about the issue.

Here are a few other ways you can get involved with the cause:

A very special thank you to Gini Dietrich for sharing her story and her post.

What does your personality type say about your work ethic?

Last week, a coworker gave out a personality test in the office. The test involved a series of four different words, and you would rank the words from “most like you” to “least like you.” After we went through about 20 sequences of words, we added the numbers to see what type of leadership personality we had. What came as a shock to no one, Jackie and I both ended up with the Socializer leadership style.

Among others, the Socializer style was defined by these statements:

  • the communicator promoting style
  • loves to talk
  • visually oriented
  • gets others involved
  • loves to be around people
So what does this say about my work ethic?
From a business perspective, these traits are spot on. Rarely do I ever like to work on projects on my own, and always welcome anyone’s opinion on the project I have at hand. I also love to talk to others as I work, and listen to music while working.

How does it compare to the traits of my coworkers?

From taking the test, I also learned that some of the team members that work on projects with me had completely different personality types. They would rather work on things in quiet, private space, and not have the entire team discussing something. Some also preferred to not collaborate on tasks.

How can you make different personality types work together?
After learning about my coworkers personality types as well as my own, I discovered that having a collection of types is what is best for a team. You don’t want everyone on the team directing and leading, and you also don’t want your entire team to be made up of serious schedule-oriented members. The key is to have an even amount of all types. You can then learn the way they work, as well as see how your personality adds to the flavor of your team as an entirety.

Although it didn’t come as a surprise to me what style I fell under, the test made me think about what a big difference leadership types can make on your workforce. Knowing what type you are as well where your coworkers fall can lead to a better understanding of ideas on projects. It can also teach you why people think about things the way they do. I encourage you to try them in your office. You can find tests online here and here.

Image source.

Are you real world ready?

The quote to the right of this was one that I kept with me throughout college. I printed it out, and had it in my planner every year of my college duration. It taught me to never look back at my mistakes and to keep looking forward.

At this time last year, I was a senior at Loyola University. Currently in a state of panic, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life once graduation came. Fast forward to a year from then, and I am seeing friends of mine deal with the same situation. The feeling that you have no idea where your life will be in a month is one of the most terrifying feelings in the world. So how do you deal with it?

If I could give current college students any advice for the next month of their life, it would be these four things:

Look everywhere for opportunities.

When you are searching for a job, don’t stick to job boards. Look for jobs anywhere and everywhere you can. I found my job at Walker Sands from an email blast that a Loyola professor sent out about the opportunity (who received the job posting from Jackie, and the rest is history 🙂 ) Having said that, you never know where you can find a job. Always keep your eye out. Twitter will be your BFF in the job hunt. People post jobs constantly on Twitter, so talk to them when you see opportunities that fit. Most old-school college teachers will tell you that is crazy, but those are usually the ones who do not even understand what social media is. Sites like Media Bistro and Career Builder are great as well. Also, check with your University career center. They may have resources that are sent directly to your school.

Don’t freak out if you don’t have a master plan set up.

Let’s say all of your friends are landing great gigs, and you are still searching. Don’t panic or give up hope. Keeping a positive attitude and talking to positive people is essential. Don’t let your mind talk you out of it. Take it one day at a time. It will fall into place when it needs to. If you need some inspiring words of wisdom, go here.

Find mentors, and talk to them.

If you don’t have a mentor, now is the time to connect to one. Mentorships come naturally, so talking to people with similar interests and values will help you to build mutually beneficial mentorships. Having someone that you can share and vent to about the frustrations of a job search is vital. If you ever want advice from me, shoot me an email, tweet, or comment here. I am happy to give advice, and I know Jackie is as well. We were both in your shoes this time last year. We understand. No question is silly. Ask away.

Enjoy the ride.

Even though you will be stressed out, overwhelmed, and not knowing what to do – enjoy every minute of it. Stay out late with your friends. Do everything you want to do as a student before the time is up. Have no regrets. Why? You worked your ass off for 4 years, and you will spend the rest of your life proving your degree was worth it. So rock on.

Here are a few other resources for students/soon-to-be grads:

There are thousands of blogs and sites out there that will keep you inspired and positive. Let me know what your favorites are. I’m always looking for new reads.

How well are you interacting?

“Our job is to make change. Our job is to connect to people, to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them, more able to get where they’d like to go. Every time we waste that opportunity, every page or sentence that doesn’t do enough to advance the cause is waste.” – Seth Godin

If you didn’t know already, I absolutely adore Seth Godin. This quote instantly grabbed my attention with the line, “to interact with them in a way that leaves them better than we found them” – and lead me to ask myself, how well am I interacting?

Throughout my first three years of college, I didn’t really have an active presence on the internet. I made a Facebook my junior year as a means of keeping up with friends and family, but other than that I didn’t do much besides schoolwork and the occasional search YouTube for funny videos. My senior year was when I knew I needed to start interacting with people on the internet and getting to know others in the industry outside of my inner circle of connections.

And then came my senior capstone. I knew I wanted to find out more about the advertising world, but had no idea where to start looking for people to talk to. So I turned to Twitter. It took one day for me to search through hundreds of different users, and I made an instant connection with Sheri Strykowski and Lisa Hickey. Both did interviews with me, and gave me some of the best insights into the industry I have ever been given.

So how did I do it?

I did my homework.

Before I even approached them, I knew I had to do my research. The last thing you want to do is reach out to someone without taking the time to see who the person is. Don’t let your first impression to them be a negative one. Take the extra time and do your homework. See what they do for a living. Look at projects they have worked on. Research. Create Space even made guidelines to searching for Twitter users.

I followed up, but I didn’t stalk them.

There is a huge difference between being persistent and being a stalker. You want to follow up with people, but you also don’t want to reach out to them every day if you don’t hear anything. Remember that people are busy. They aren’t constantly tied to their Twitter account, or any account for that matter. Give them a few days.

I thanked them for their time.

Sounds crazy, but I have come across countless people that forget the power of those two words. If someone gives you insight, knowledge, or a new way of thinking – let them know. You would be surprised at the impact those two words will make. The basic idea of showing gratitude for someone’s time is essential in any industry. Take a look at these thank you note tips for writing.

This simple example is one of hundreds I have experienced. Each day, I am inspired and influenced by so many people that I interact with. Showing the person you are talking to respect and keeping the relationship informative and positive between both parties is key.

Where would we be without you, Twitter?

In case you didn’t know, today is Twitter’s 5th Birthday. Since Jackie and I are such avid fans of the site, it only made sense that we give it a shout-out today.

Via freshtutorial.comAlthough there are millions on the site, I still come across Twitter haters (or “non-believers” as I call them). If you still don’t see the value of Twitter, check out this infographic from ViralBlog:

A co-worker at Walker Sands is currently testing the waters herself in a 30-Day Twitter challenge. Read all about it here. If you are looking to start a Twitter and have no idea where to start, give myself or Jackie a shout-out on there. We’d be happy to introduce you to the site.

Happy Birthday Twitter!

What blogs can’t you live without?

Like most others in our field, Jackie and I spend a lot of time reading blogs. We are constantly looking for ways to learn more, engage more, and share more, and the blog realm is the perfect place for that.

Whether it be a blog about the industry or a blog about fashion, Jackie and I decided to make a list that shows the blogs that keep us coming back. The ones that we learn from the most, and make us hit the subscribe button. Here is our list:

Gini DietrichSpin Sucks

Gini, aside from being a sweetheart and having immaculate taste in shoes, is one of the smartest PR pros you’ll encounter. Why? Because she understands where the industry is headed and discusses t how we can get there. Her blog counters the stereotypes of PR, she will never refer to herself as an “expert” and she always has good advice. Gini is also one of the most engaging people in the social world–talk to her, ask her questions…she will answer you every time.

Recommended read – PR Pros: Stop Treating Bloggers Like Second-Class Media

Twitter – @ginidietrich

Jason MollicaOne Guy’s Journey

Not only is Jason one of the nicest and most approachable people in the business, he also has the writing capabilities to back it up. Jason’s blog goes through industry topics, personal stories, and everything else in between. The wide range of topics discussed keep Jackie and I interested, and you should definitely check it out if you haven’t.

Recommended read – The Power Inside

Twitter – @JasMollica

Lauren Fernandez LAF

Lauren, co-founder of #U30Pro on Twitter and PR professional, is one of the best in the PR world and her writing speaks for itself. Her blog covers topics that young pros want to read about, and gives her perspective on how things are looked at from Gen Y’s eyes.

Recommended read – The Art of Being Simple and the Bicameral Mind

Twitter – @cubanalaf

Keith StoeckelerAll that inspires me

If you have a creative mind and are constantly looking to draw inspiration, this blog is for you. From quotes to photographs, each post will make you stop and think about what the image is really trying to convey – and how you perceive it can be completely different from the next person.

Recommended read – Listen More

Twitter – @KeithStoeckeler

Danny BrownThe Human Side of Social Media and the Social Side of Marketing

Danny’s blog title will tell you pretty much everything it’s about, but why we absolutely love reading it is because it provides a refreshing point of view on the topics we discuss over and over…and over. He’s very witty and there’s always something in the post that will make you chuckle. The best part about Danny is that he has great ideas but doesn’t take himself too seriously. You can learn a lot from him–this is definitely a blog you won’t regret subscribing to.

Recommended read – 9 Points on Why I’m Not a Social Media Expert

Twitter – @DannyBrown

Grasie MercedesActing & Styling

If you love fashion advice, stylist inspiration, and fun video posts, definitely check out what Grasie is up to. The blog looks at both men’s and women’s fashion, and also shows you what’s coming next in the season. If that isn’t reason enough – Grasie recently landed a gig on the Style Network sharing her insight into the fashion world! How awesome is that? Definitely check out what she’s been up to.

Recommended read – Spring Preview

Twitter – @GrasieMercedes

Chris Stearns Pondering Pura Vida

Chris is a huge sports fan, and engages with tons of young pros on twitter. He is active in #SportsPRChat and #U30Pro chats almost every week, and always has great advice to bring to the table. His blog discusses his bucket list for life, key things he has learned from past experiences, and what is next to come.

Recommended read – My Big Question – What is next?

Twitter – @PuraVidaChris

What are your favorite blogs? Add them in our comments section.

What is your biggest phone “fail” moment?

While we are usually giving our perspective on industry hot topics, we decided for our Friday post that we would do something that most can relate to.

Gen-Y is known for their texting addiction. But have you ever texted someone or received a text that just didn’t sound right? Well you can thank auto correct for that one. The site Damn You Auto Correct is becoming an internet sensation for all of the awkward and hilarious situations that auto correct cell phones can put you in. Jackie and I turned to the Twitter stream to find some more funny moments.

Lauren Fernandez (@cubanalaf): Only “appropriate” one is when I texted Chris (my ex) to take the baby out of the fridge…… and meant bacon 😛 Hilarity ensued.

(@cubanalaf) Best one I ever received….. my friend Shaulty texted me “I have a bad case of the manboobs” and meant “Mondays”

Jason Mollica (@JasMollica): Honestly had my BB recommend F**K for function. I was writing “I’m heading to a function tonight.”

Jake Cripe (@JakeCripe) : mine has changed “coughing” to “coming”…#awkwardtexttomymother

Andrew Cross (@andrew_w_cross): Texting “Asian” to “Brian” (same 5 keys). Brian is Asian.

Seth Drury (@sethdrury): my phone used to always say “polio” when I meant “lol.” Also I use the word “uber” and it always extends it to “ubersexual.”

What is your awkward texting moment? Add it to our comments section. Happy Friday!

Is Gen Y using Twitter to their benefit?

If you didn’t realize already, I am a huge advocate for Twitter. I am on there every day pretty much, and I have met some truly amazing people from the site. However, I have so many friends that are looking for jobs/internships and give me the hardest time for telling them to make one. Granted you need to do other things besides be on Twitter, it’s a great place to start. Here are some quick Friday tips for using Twitter the right way (in my opinion of course):

Get involved in chats.

Every day, there are thousands of people that get involved in chats on Twitter. Using a #hashtag  and setting a specific time lets people all engage on the same topic, and share ideas. My personal favorite is #u30pro, a chat started by David Spinks, Lauren Fernandez, and Scott Hale. It’s a community and twitter chat that focuses on issues and trends surrounding young professionals. Not only can you gain knowledge from people that are in the same field as you, you can meet some awesome people too.

TALK to people.

Sounds crazy, right? Talking to people seems like something everyone would know to do. I have seen plenty of accounts that just RT articles (usually just their own) and don’t take the time to talk to anyone. Remember: Twitter is a conversation. If you are just RTing posts all day, people will get sick of you fast. Have as many @ replies as you do article posts. Keep the conversations going.

Show some personality.

It’s okay to tweet about things you are into that don’t relate to your job. I’m pretty sure that a good 50% of my tweets are about the Chicago Bulls. No matter what team you root for or what hobby you have, its good to let people see it every now and then. It shows you are on there to let people know more about you, and not just your job.

For most, these tips are a refresher. Do you have any quick Twitter tips? Let me know what they are.

And lastly, never, under any circumstance, should you send an Auto DM. Don’t even get me started on those….

Image source.

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