Saturday, May 30, 2009

Go West, my friend!

China is only 2 days away. Two days. I can't wrap my mind around it and yet, I've managed to get my packing done. Of course, I had to go out and buy a new bag and the entire thing may weigh that of a small child, but who really cares about that?

...other than my parents, that is.

As I'll be in China very soon, I'm sending anyone who reads along with me to our group's official China Mojo blog:

You'll get to follow our entire journey through our writings, photos, and videos. I know it'll a pretty fabulous/overwhelming/exciting experience, so come along with least, through our blog!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Self Promotion Graduation Style

Self promotion is never comfortable. And why should it be? The act itself goes against our most basic family-taught values: Humility, selflessness, community. To truly embody these qualities when trying to get a job, promotion, or merely make a business connection is to forfeit to the other guy - the guy that steps up and says, "I think I'm rather spectacular and here's why."

The truth is that self promotion is absolutely necessary and yet most of us hate to do it. My solution to this dreaded necessity: humor.

My example: Graduation

I graduated* from college yesterday. I did this dressed in a black gown and mortar board among 438 graduates of the same attire. My parents were never going to find me in that crowd and I was never going to be able to spot myself in pictures in the future. So, I decided to become a billboard.

With yellow electrical tape and a whole lot of glee, I crafted a message on my hat for the world to read:


In these two little words I showed three things about myself:

1. I'd like a job.
2. I utilize the resources I have and know how to use media (see image, courtesy of the the Burlington Free Press).
3. I have a sense of humor and don't take myself too seriously.

This was my 4-hour attempt at self promotion and it paid off in my networking. I spoke to people I never knew, got business cards, and managed to get enough pictures taken of me to make my eyes go wonky. This was my style of self promotion: Short, sweet, and to the point.

Yes, self promotion is not comfortable. But as long as you can find places where you can bring a bit of yourself into the process, it can be bearable. And even a little fun, but don't tell anyone I said that.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Business Casual: Don't dress like a pirate


It keeps up warm, fashionable, and, well, clothed. I would go as far as to say that it's one of those bare necessities of life (Oh, the puns), but I feel like food, water, and shelter are more deserving of the title.

And yet, there are days when clothing is just a pain to figure out. Say, for example, on first dates. Or holidays. Or 5AM yoga. For this budding fashionista with a Sesame Street color pallet, nowhere does this pain flare more vehemently than when trying to find a little thing called "business casual."

According to, a business causal dress code "needs to be suitable for the workplace. It should be clean, unwrinkled, and look professional. Also, business casual clothing should not be too revealing."

That's all fine and dandy, but let's get down to the truth of the matter: Business casual is about contradictory conjunctions. It's fancy, but not. It's comfortable, and yet not really. It's beige, though not too beige. In fact, you may even be able to wear a decorative pin shaped like an eccentric version of the Eiffel Tower - however, not too eccentric, mind you.

I'm just waiting for someone to say, "Be yourself...but better/less/without electric blue nylons."

The marriage of business casual and the many versions of "but" makes sense in the workplace. Employees need to feel mobile and professional. Clients need to see happy and qualified employees. The right outfit makes both of these constraints a reality.

Therefore, as I endeavor to find the perfect closet of business casual ensembles (without doubling over with shopping pain), I will keep one wise, credit-oriented jingle in mind:

"They say a man should always dress for the job he wants
so why am I dressed up like a pirate in this restaurant."

Pirate apparel is not business casual. If I can remember this, all will be okay.

I hope.