Archive for November, 2008

Getting Older and the End of Family Traditions

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008
Adriane's wedding My sister got married in the summer of 2007, the same summer I moved to Chicago. I'm fairly certain that with a sibling's marriage comes the inevitable transformation of family holiday traditions. Besides the marriage, my extended family is huge, and growing. My dad comes from a family of eight kids—my mom, six. I lost count of my cousins somewhere around 50 or 60. They're getting married and reproducing at such a steady rate that it's hard to get everyone in one place anymore. Part of me wants to keep old family traditions going—the part of me that hates change and losing touch. But the other part of me knows that it's time to move on and accept that many of us will go our separate ways. It's logistically impossible for all of my cousins to get together for Thanksgiving forever. My family is definitely going through the transformation phase right now, and it will probably take a while. My sister is having a baby in June, which, I suppose is the beginning of new traditions for our family.

Going Against Mainstream Ideas of Success

Monday, November 24th, 2008
[display_podcast] Working Barbie We've all heard that money doesn't buy happiness, and with recent downturns in the economy, the generally accepted ideas of success—driven by consumption money—may be shifting more toward personal fulfillment and making a difference. For about 25 percent of the population, known as "cultural creatives," success has always been defined by personal fulfillment rather than money. Tara Joyce realized she fell into this category soon after beginning her life in the corporate world, which led her to found her company, Elastic Mind. Links Tara's Blog: Rise of the Innerpreneur Cultural Creatives: Cultural Creatives have also been labeled as the "Integral Culture": The Global Spiral The Rise of the Integral Culture Recommended Books Karma Queens, Geek Gods, and Innerpreneurs Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties What Color Is Your Parachute? Photo Source: BigBlue under Creative Commons

Personal Budget Breakdown

Thursday, November 20th, 2008
With all the news lately about people (specifically Americans) living beyond their means, I thought I might discuss a topic that is typically considered somewhat taboo—my personal budget from the past month. Budget Graph Kitten looking up at camera I've been entering my spending into Expensr religiously for about a year now to figure out my budget breakdown. I've covered Expensr once before here on the blog—you can anonymously enter your information and then break it out for evaluation and compare yourself to others who have defined themselves through various tags. For example, I've tagged myself with 23, young professional, woman, renting, Chicago, employed full time, etc. I spent $1,789.11 during the last month—which was actually inflated by the fact that I adopted Romulus, and he needed a fair number of shots for his kittenhood. As it turns out, my spending is well below average. So here's what surprised me... Check out the average amount spent per month for the following age groups, according to Expensr (I should point out that this sample size is fairly small, but this is interesting nonetheless): Age: Average Dollars Spent Per Month
  • 18: $952.08
  • 19: $1,022.27
  • 20: $1,599.37
  • 21: $1,454.17
  • 22: $1,938.54
  • 23: $4,175.99
  • 24: $3,664.86
  • 25: $3,011.25
  • 26: $4,942.25
  • 27: $3,648.50
  • 28: $3,860.44
  • 29: $5,275.85
  • 30: $4,931.99
To put this into perspective, at this rate, these 23 year olds would need to be earning well over $200,000 (This should be $50,000—my mistake, I multipled by weeks in the year, not months, thanks Amanda) per year in order to deter massive debt. I'm not sure how representative this actually is of typical 18-20 year olds, but if it is, I'm worried. Please restore my faith and tell me that you're not spending this much per month. Please tell me Expensr is flawed.

There Are No New Ideas

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
"There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt." -Audre Lorde mini cooper drives on violin As much as we would all love to believe that we, as creative professionals are continually coming up with completely original ideas and work, the truth is that creativity in communications is often the result of applying new insights to familiar ideas. We work with a finate number of basic media types—it's similar to the idea that all literature derives from only seven basic plots—but from this somewhat limited pool, the possibilities for new stories are endless. I recently came across an exercise from a class I took as an undergrad, Creative Processes in Advertising. For the assignment, we had to draw two random items out of a hat and find a way to weave the attributes of both items together into an ad (I drew violin and Mini Cooper). As it turns out, this same type of thinking can be applied to the work I do today. Although I'm not creating ads, I'm often working on new ways to approach communications situations—playing with new combinations of media and messages. In order to keep innovating, it's important that we keep up on current events, rising trends, new forms of media and media outlets. The more you know, the greater the opportunity you have to find the perfect creative fit for the problem that you're trying to solve.

Classmate’s Tragic Death Puts Things in Perspective

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008
I logged into facebook last night to find my highschool friends coming out en masse to mourn the loss of a highschool classmate who died in an accident on Sunday night. I don't know if you've ever seen a funeral as an event in your facebook feed—I hope you never do. It's hard to get your mind around something like this. It's a startling reminder of how fragile life really is—that ultimately, life's too short to carry on doing something you're not passionate about.

Jamie Ridler, Creative Self Development Coach, Shares a New Approach to Networking

Monday, November 17th, 2008
[display_podcast] Jamie Ridler Jamie Ridler helps people create the lives they love based on who they are, rather than who they think they "should" be. She has some helpful advice for students as they approach their careers and networking Learn Not to Take Things Too Personally This one can be especially hard for students and young professionals—it can be very challenging when we put out our creative work out there and people don't like it, but sometimes the work just isn't the right fit for the particular project or person. It's like an actor going to an audition. Sometimes they are looking for a very particular style, and it's not yours—but your style may be perfect somewhere else. Traditional Networking Doesn't Work For Everyone Networking doesn't have to be a chore. Try to reach out to interesting people. If you appreciate someone's work, tell them, or take it a step further and ask them to go out for coffee or lunch. You may be able to learn from or help each other, and this will often lead to more genuine relationships. Don't Limit Yourself Don't start with what you think you can get—you're already limiting yourself. Think about where you really want to be, and make it happen. Book Recommendations Clear, useful, practical and inspiring books: Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life Find Jamie Ridler online

Blue Man Group, Sir Ken Robinson Team Up to Start School That Doesn’t Kill Creativity

Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Blue Man Group Sign Sir Ken Robinson, of my all-time favorite TED Talk, Do schools kill creativity? (if you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend you do) has teamed up with the original Blue Men of Blue Man Group to create a new kind of school—one that embraces creativity by letting students explore and select their own interests while learning through music, movement, drama, visual arts, drama, media arts, technology and field trips to explore New York City culture. The catch—the school is currently only taking applications for first grade and younger, due today in order to get in next fall (looks like I'm too old for this one). As for tuition, that's going to set you back $27,300. But imagine what these kids will be creating when they get older. Read more about the Blue School in the Time Magazine story, Postcard from New York City . Photo Source: Robert Goodwin under Creative Commons

Relocating Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Friday, November 14th, 2008
Cardboard Box In a recent study, 85% of students surveys said they were interested in relocating after college—and today's economic climate may force more to move in order to find work. When I moved to Chicago in July of 2007, I knew next to no one. I only wish that I'd had (or known about) some of the great resources for connecting with other young people at the time. Sure, there are plenty of ways to do it on your own, but thanks to the wonderful power of the Internet, new resources are making it easier than ever. In fact, you could even start seeking out and connecting with others via Twitter before you move—try searching Twellow by location and interest (thanks to Jessica for that one). Here are a few of the resources I've been introduced to in the Chicago area (I realize the first two skew a bit female...I happen to be one myself, which has swayed my interests slightly). If you're not living in or planning to move to Chicago, I hope you'll take some time to check out similar resources in your own city.
  • Monthly Meet-ups for young women: After the success of the "It's Chic to Be Geek" event on November 6, this groups is gearing up to meet every month to connect, teach and inspire young women in Chicago.
  • Cheeky Chicago: I met the founders of Cheeky Chicago last week—they just launched, and they're aiming to give females a resource to get to know the city and connect with each other. Sign up for the newsletter to find out about future events.
  • Windy City Social: I met Hope Bertram, founder of Windy City Social, at the "It's Chic to Be Geek" event. She's connecting people on four levels: social, professional, intellectual and physical. Check out the site for upcoming events.
  • Jelly: If you plan to work for yourself, Jelly is a group of freelancers who gather together in one location a few times a week—these groups popping up all over the world.
Photo Source: Mpopp under Creative Commons

Calling Millennial Bloggers (Cool Opportunity)

Thursday, November 13th, 2008
I want to call to attention a pretty neat opportunity through a client I am working with at Edelman. Pepsi is looking for a few millennial bloggers to head out their headquarters in Purchase, NY to participate in a panel discussion with the Pepsi team around December 16-17. It sounds like it could be a great chance to have a voice within a large organization, and to tell Pepsi what people our age are really thinking. I'll try to get more information for you, but in the meantime, leave me a comment or email me and let me know if you might be interested.

Unpaid Internship – Yay or Neigh?

Thursday, November 13th, 2008
Intern! Get me some coffee! After following a lively discussion about unpaid internships over at 20 Something Bloggers, I think it's time that I weigh in with my own thoughts. I used to be adamantly against unpaid internships—and I still am in certain cases. The relationship should be mutually beneficial—if you are working as an unpaid intern and all you're doing is answering phones, that's an abuse of the relationship. There are two factors that must be accounted for before accepting an unpaid internship.
  1. You should be receiving college credit for the experience.
  2. The role should provide you with real and valuable experience—not just look good on paper.
That said, paid versus unpaid internships often depend on the market you're in. From what I've seen, if you intern in a big city for a big agency, you're more likely to get paid, and you'll have a better guarantee of hands-on experience. This is not to say that some smaller markets and agencies can't offer the same, but as you plan your path through college and on into your career, it may be worth exploring a summer in another city, if that's where you'll find the experience that's right for you. Resources What do you think? Have you, or would you, accept an unpaid internship? Photo Source: David Boyle