Monday, March 1, 2010


Hey everyone... if you've come here looking for something new or even an old post, this blog has moved to Wordpress.

You can find it here:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thanks For The Advice, But I'm Not Deleting Any Facebook Photos

A young woman in college raised a topic of much debate on NPR this afternoon. She explained that her advisor told her she needed to take down all her pictures on Facebook that she wouldn't want an employer to see. She then complained about how she really didn't want to delete them. The consensus on the show seemed to be that no, you don't have to delete all your pictures, but employers don't have to hire you either.

Why are we still talking about whether potential employers are going to Google you or check out your Facebook profile? Why are we still talking about deleting Facebook photos at all? Whether they're going to check you out or not, you should protect your online identity as if they are. Which is why I'm not deleting all my "incriminating" Facebook photos or censoring my comments. I'm reading the privacy policies and protecting my account to make sure that only my friends can see my photos and details of my account.

Facebook is personal. It's the one social network where I keep in touch with family and friends across space and time. It's the one place I can talk about a messy family drama divorce; learn about my sister's engagement in Italy; commiserate with hungover friends; share and laugh at pictures of our recent beach trip. If I want to know about the intimate details of your life and want you to know about mine, then I'm gonna let you know: with a friend request. If not, don't worry, I might just connect with you somewhere else (email? LinkedIn? Twitter?).

Point being, it's personal. Why would you even let a casual observer such as a potential employer peruse your personal Facebook profile? That's like letting someone you barely know walk around your house uninvited. Put a lock on your front door (a.k.a. go set your profile information & search privacy settings)! Then you silly little college students don't have to get mad because you had to delete all your SBY2K10 photos.

Take what others advise with a grain of salt. Be your own advocate. Do your own research. BE SMART.

Sidenote: Facebook privacy aside, if you're an employer that won't hire a normal 20-something who goes out for drinks with their friends on the weekends or has pictures of themselves at a party, I probably don't want to work for you anyways. No hard feelings :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sex Week at The Next Great Generation

I write for a website called The Next Great Generation where Millenials write about everything and anything related to their generation. This past week (February 15th - February 21st) has been "Sex Week", which means all featured articles relate back to Gen Y sex somehow. Although all 21 articles are worth reading, I thought I would share some of my favorites (read: does not mean I agree with all of the authors) and the ones with the most interesting debate in the comments in case you don't have time to read all of them!

For Guys, The First Date Is All About Sex by Armando Samuels

Bisexuality: The Punching Bag Orientation by Lauren Schumacher

Sex, Stigma and STDs by Carlee Mallard - Hey, that's me!(But I really did think it was pretty good)

My Decision To Take A Lover by Alex Pearlman

The Perils of The Perpetually Single Gen Y Female by Valeria Villarroel

And some of the articles that gave me a good chuckle:
The Interview: Elle Magazine's E. Jean Carroll by Gillian Maffeo

Rated Y-17: Gen Y's Top 10 Erotic Gems in Film and Television by David Ricaud

Requirements for a Sex Life Worthy of a Major Motion Picture by Lindsay King

I hope you all enjoy reading them as much as I have this week!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Is "interesting" Anyways? College Was.

I'm three years out of college now. I find myself looking back at my life and the former college-lives of others around me and can't help but feel like most of us were much more interesting people in college.

I look back at pictures from college:
I look back at my resume and notice a laundry list of activities, accomplishments, projects, research interests, and course completions. Tutoring. Mentoring. Ushering. Photographing. Editing. Traveling. Dissecting (pigs). Personal Assisting. Reading. Researching. Writing (like, a lot). Crushing. Loving. Organizing. Leading. Perfecting. Exploring. Freaking (out).

Yea, we do a lot of freaking out in college. We don't know what life is going to look like post-college or how we'll support ourselves (if you haven't been already). So when I got a permanent full-time job I stopped freaking out. I got immediately comfortable with my (relatively) stress-free life. But I look at my life since starting this job 1 year and 7 months ago and life just doesn't seem as interesting. Of course it's mostly all my own fault. I mean, it's my life and it's up to me to make the most of it. But it seems to me that the general population with permanent full-time jobs were much more interesting in college. We get so content just collecting the paycheck every month that we spend our free time going to bars, restaurants, watching TV, and going on the occasional vacation. Is that interesting? Is there more to it?

I find myself wanting to talk to people about my past or my future instead of my present. But am I still that person from college that I think was so interesting? Was I really ever that interesting to begin with? Am I still interesting and I don't know it? What is interesting anyways: popular, exciting, creative, foreign?

Note: After posing this question Sunday night, @ElleLaMode responded with some ideas of her own. You should check out her perspective over here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's a Free Market For Spreading Ideas

There are four major idea-sharing events taking place between March 3, 2010 and March 23, 2010 in the Raleigh-Durham (Triangle) area. They're all free. They're all aimed at engaging the local community thought leaders with the rest of the community through presentations. They're all one-night events coordinated by a local (unpaid) team.

But they each have their own origin and consequently a different path for achieving essentially the same goal: sharing great ideas. You may not be familiar with any of these events (in which case you need to start finding a local event in your own community right now) or you may already know about all three (and heck, there's probably even more events I don't know about yet). Either way, each event has a unique brand, so it's inevitable that they're likely more popular in certain circles than others.

My point in creating this terribly geeky venn diagram (well, honestly I just wanted a reason to make another venn diagram) is to bring all the options to the table, point out their quirks, have other people expand on their unique value (fill in the missing pieces of the venn diagram in the comments people!), and help people discover their niche - where they fit - in the idea sharing event market.

Because if anything, this proves that there's really a free market out there for idea sharing events. There's probably even more popping up out there every day. We're in the information age, and it shows. People want to get together, connect, and share ideas and there's definitely not a monopoly on that.

But this also shouldn't be a competition. The leaders for all events should be supporting each other this month, throughout the year, and for years to come. Don't forget that we're all working towards the same goal.

Have you been to any of these events? What did you like or dislike about each one? If you've helped to organize an event, how have you worked together with other similar events? Do you think it's better to have multiple (smaller) events for the same purpose to should they all combine into one really GREAT BIG event?

To learn more about these events and/or to find an event near you:

And to register for the events in Raleigh this March:

Monday, February 8, 2010

February 2010 Monthly Goal Meetup

I learned something about goal-making and goal-keeping this month. People don’t keep their New Year’s resolutions because they aren’t items that you can easily check off your list. They are too broad and too ambitious. Making long-term goals still have their place, but they don’t belong on a monthly goal list.

Therefore, I’m scratching January’s goals for now and starting fresh with February. This doesn’t mean that my January goals don’t apply anymore or that I’m going to forget about them, but I’m just going to move them to some storage area in my head where I can check up on them from time to time.

This goal meet-up is most useful for me when making goals that I think there’s some chance of achieving in a month’s time frame. This is real life practice for making goals and achieving results.

February onwards:
  1. Do my taxes! I stole this one from a fellow "goal-meetup-er", but I haven't done it yet and this is definitely something I should get off my plate before making any life changes...
  2. Arrange my first tweetup in the Raleigh-Durham area. I'm doing this with Brianne (@bevilliano) and we're both really excited to start meeting our first tweeps.
  3. Up the blog frequency. I've already written my first article for The Next Great Generation that should be up around the middle of the month, but I'm aiming for at least 2 posts there per month and about 6 per month over here. I've never really cared about post frequency before, but I have a feeling it could only benefit me to write more frequently (duh)!
  4. Take on a part-time job. This will probably be the most difficult one to take on considering the full-time job I already have and everything else going on in my life. But I think this will be really good for me to get out and about with people more often. To learn more about what I love and hate. And to get my mind thinking in another direction.
  5. Keep having fun. And by this I'm referring to having fun despite the horrifically cold and snowy winter this southern region has been experiencing. A few things in particular I want to do:
    • Watch every episode of LOST. I can only watch it for the first time once!
    • Looking forward to the fondue Valentine's day dinner with my girlfriends (we're all single at the same time for the first time ever really. Crazy!!!)
    • So excited about "The Art and Culture of the DJ" by DJ Radar performing at UNC-Chapel Hill's Gerrard Hall. My sister works there and she says I'm going to loooove it :)

To participate in the meet-up:
1. Post a list of your career/life related goals for February, along with your checked off January goals if you’d like, on your own blog.
2. Go back to Brazen Careerist and leave a link to your post (*If you don’t have your own blog, feel free to share your list in the comments to join in!)
3. Then, check out everyone else’s lists as they leave comments - click their links, visit their blogs, say hello, meet, greet and support each other because that’s what it’s all about!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Employers & Applicants: Both Sides

There's something I need to get off my chest because I'm not sure what or how to think about it. The issue is weeding out potential employees in not-so-nice ways. Example:
You are hiring 60 temporary employees for an upcoming project. The staffing agency recruits and hires a little more than that (we'll say 70) just in case some people don't accept the position or quit in the middle of the project. Then the training sessions are scheduled. New employees are informed that if they want this job, they will need to come to an 8-hour training session on either Superbowl Sunday or Valentine's Day (both of which are on Sundays). On top of that, if there's inclement weather that day and employees cannot leave their home that day, the training session will not be rescheduled. If they cannot attend the session for any reason, their employment is terminated.
Part of me feels that this is completely justified from a business standpoint. After all is said and done, we only want employees that really want to work for us and have shown us that nothing can stop them from getting this job. We only want the best of the best and since there's such a large applicant pool we can do that.

But I overheard a coworker say something to the effect of "Well, they're all so desperate for a job that they'll come anyways" in regards to new employees coming to a training session during/after a snow storm. It hit me as terribly insensitive. These are real people too. I pride myself in being able to see both sides of a situation and when I looked at it from each side I didn't like what I saw. From the employee's perspective I saw a hard-ass employer who doesn't care about its employees' lives outside of the job (there's no rule stating employers can't be considerate). From the employer's perspective I saw selecting for only the most desperate individuals looking for work.

I really don't think that it's good hiring practice to select only the most desperate applicants. Desperate does not equal the best. Some of my best staff have not been good because they were desperate; they were good because they were interested and they showed me they were interested. There are better ways of selecting the best of the best who really want this job. We should be giving every applicant a fair chance at showing us their stuff. We should be weeding out based on lack of results during or after a training period, not leaving it to circumstance.

What do you all think? Any Hiring Managers out there who deal with these issues? Can we be nice or considerate to applicants and still test their dedication to the job? Would you rather hire someone who is so desperate for the job they'll show up no matter what or someone who you know you'll get results from when they do show up?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Future of High Speed Rail for Selfish Cities

my train to Milano stopped in BolognaThe Raleigh Department of City Planning hosts a lecture series called "Designing a 21st Century City" every few months. I went to my second lecture presentation last week where John Robert Smith (former Mayor of Meridian, MS and member of Amtrak's board) and James Corless (Director of Transportation for America) spoke about the future of high speed rail in the US and how it will affect our own growing city.

There was a typical talk about how the national transportation policy hasn't changed in over 50 years, how we could have raised enough money for rail transportation just by stockpiling the increase in gas prices or by taxing gas a few extra cents, how Americans are choosing to take public transportation more than ever because of the fuel hike, how the environment and political climate are suffering from the continued use of automobiles. Most people in the field already know all this. None of this is news. But we have a chance to really make high speed rail and light rail in our region a reality with the availability of new federal funds... but there's a catch. OH there is always a catch! They're only awarding transit funds to those states/regions that have their shit together. That means Raleigh will never get transit funds unless the rest of the region has a plan and only if each city in the region works together to create a unified plan.

My biggest fear is that we won't let go of our stubborn inability to compromise and will be left in the dust without any prize money to take home. The Triangle region is known for a lot of things including long-standing university rivalries between NC State (Raleigh), UNC-Chapel Hill, and Duke (Durham), but loving one another is not one of them. Raleigh thinks they're better than Durham and Chapel Hill thinks they're better than Durham & Raleigh and Durham just ignores the rest of the region hoping they don't slip away. I just want to tell all of our fair cities to stop the rivalries and start working together. And then when Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill start working together we can start collaborating with the rest of our region from Greensboro to Charlotte and back to Richmond.

The dream of taking a 110mph high speed rail train from Raleigh to DC is really just too exciting NOT to stop fighting. Don't worry Raleigh, we can still be unique and play nice.

UPDATE(01/28/2010!!): The feds awarded $545 Million to North Carolina today for high speed rail between Charlotte, Raleigh and Richmond. Keep it up! Story here: 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm A Human Being, Not A Human Doing

I've been meeting a lot of new people recently. Online. At parties. At networking events. On planes. Friends introduce me to their friends. Let's not forget it's high school reunion time, so: reconnecting with people I haven't talked to since high school (and that's like meeting a whole new person!).

There's a lot of people to introduce myself to. No matter what setting you meet someone in, you know the one question that will always come up is, "What do you do (for a living)?" And that's when I start wondering what I should tell them about myself.

For some people the answer comes naturally and simply. They may feel defined by their occupation and quickly answer, "I'm a computer programmer for IBM." They may be passionate and focused on their new venture and say, "Well I just founded a new social marketing measurement company," and continue to talk about it for the next 10 minutes.

There are still others of us out there who don't have such a simple answer. A friend of mine was laid-off from her first job less than a year into it and has since felt uncomfortable having to explain that she's coasting along on unemployment until another job comes along. What about all of the recent and soon-to-be college graduates that are working 2-5 part-time retail/food industry gigs because they can't get a full-time job and to be honest aren't really sure what they would want a full-time job to look like anyways. Then there are people like me: Full-time job that I refuse to let define who I am, a completely unrelated part-time position with my family's small business, a multitude of barely financially-rewarding hobbies, and with career goals in a realm of its own.

While answering, "What do you do?" can be daunting in any of the above cases, I think that it's actually easier to brand yourself one-on-one than in an online realm. In a one-one-one situation you can at least choose what you want to share with that person about yourself. Online though, anyone can Google you to follow you on Twitter, find you on Facebook, read your blog, check out your LinkedIn profile, and see every comment you've ever posted. It's sort of an information overload. It may be a more multi-faceted and multi-talented "you", but sharing all of that with someone one-on-one at once would just confuse them or leave them wondering where your real focus is.

So when I meet someone these days I try to keep some questions in the back of my mind to decide how I should answer the question; whether I should focus on my current endeavors or my aspiring goals; what takes up the majority of my time or what I wish would take up more of my time; my major source of income or my "hobbies"?
  1. What do they already know about me?
  2. Can I build on that or tell them something they might not already know about me?
  3. What do I already know about them?
  4. Is there something they should know about me that may be able to help them?
  5. What is relevant to the conversation?
  6. What is my purpose/environment? Am I networking for my side business?
  7. Am I trying to impress someone or try to sound as interesting as possible?
I usually end up focusing on one major aspect of "what I do" for simplicity's sake, but when the conversation is all said and done I can't help but feel so inauthentic. It feels like a cop-out to say "I work at [this company] and that's what I do" and at the same time feels like a sham to say "I'm a [writer/engineer/entrepreneur/photographer]" if I'm not employed or earning a living as that person. Such a dilemma.

If I had to sum myself up in one phrase? I guess I'm still working on that!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Getting Your Dream Job... And Taking A Job Away

One of my best friends just got his dream job as the Program Assistant for Communications and New Media at the Morehead Foundation, working back on the same college campus where he spent his undergrad years writing for The Daily Tar Heel as if it were his full-time job. He really is perfect for the position and he's incredibly happy being back in an academic atmosphere. As happy as he is though, he's incredibly modest and one of those do-gooder givers more so than a receiver.

For nearly two years prior to this dream job he was working at a generic 9-5 law firm. While he obviously left the position there for one which better suited his skills and passions, it was still a perfectly good paying job that many others would have been extremely happy to take. Except nobody had the opportunity to take the job that he left because the company decided not to replace him.

For my friend this was unsettling. He went to pursue a dream job and in the process took another job out of the economy. In his words, "That's one less family to put food on the table."

Now I would predict that this is happening fairly often these days. Employers have employees that they may not want to lay off necessarily, but if the employee leaves on their own accord, the employer feels financial pressure not to refill the position. So every time someone leaves for another position or leaves to freelance, they are ultimately taking jobs out of the economy.

Now I'm not an economist by any means, but it would seem that if employers would just start replacing those who leave, things would start to look up again.

Have you left a position that your employer didn't end up refilling? Do you think your employer would need to replace your position if you left (hypothetically)? Knowing that young entry-level Gen-Y's are so unsatisfied with their current jobs and having heard that many Gen-Y's left their jobs recently, do you think Gen-Y is partly responsible for the lack of entry-level positions?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Your Mailing List is Not a Place to Grieve

Because only CNN gets away with breaking the news about death. And even then it makes me want to sensor them so that I'm not constantly flooded with depressing news. It was my decision to sign up for CNN breaking news alerts to my phone or via twitter, though. I knew that they were a breaking news source-- and heck, that might include death. I was aware of what I was getting myself into.

Let's take another example of something that we all sign up for on the internet: newsletters with "valuable information" right to your inbox. We stumble upon a website, like what we see, or want that "free book chapter" (or something of the sort) and go ahead and sign up for the newsletter. Now we don't always know what we're getting ourselves into but we hope that the content we just signed up to receive will provide some semblance of value similar to what we already know about this website, business or individual.

Imagine you met someone in person working for an internet marketing company. You thought they might have some valuable content to share with you and they asked you for your email to add you to the mailing list. Sure, she seems genuine enough and you already got some great advice from her. So you sign up expecting to get e-newsletters related to internet marketing in some way. Over the course of two months you get a total of two emails completely unrelated to internet marketing: the first is a Happy Thanksgiving email; the second is subject: "he passed away :-("

What? Yes your internet marketing newsletter has sent you an email with an obituary of a close friend of hers that has died. Full with links to legacy pages and repeating text urging you to watch a video of said friend. You don't know this person.

What now? You find the unsubscribe link. Because only CNN gets away with breaking the news about the death of someone you don't know.

Just because you gather bundles of email addresses does not give you the right to write about whatever you please unless that's what your readers are expecting. Let this be a lesson in content you should not write about in your e-newsletter. Write about what you promise to deliver. Otherwise your subscribers will disappear.

Have you ever been surprised (in a bad way) by the content  you subscribed to? How often do you unsubscribe because the content you're sent doesn't match the content you were promised? Did you feel taken advantage of, naive, or just appalled?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 2010 Monthly Goal Meetup

Shakespeare & Company, reading bed

I did much better in November with 3 weeks than in December with 4 weeks. December is one of those months that just falls into a black hole. Family comes in to town and somehow you're mind is warped into believing that a regular routine and goals are so passé. Let's give the review a whirl anyways:

1. Do all the "easy" stuff that I just never seem to make time for. Finally got my car checked out. Made a dentist appointment, went to original appointment, and knocked out 3 additional appointments all before December 29th (although these were not fun appointments, sadly). I'd say most of December was about doing the easy stuff; after all, I didn't do a whole lot of thinking the last half of the month :)

2. Do something I've never done before. ...yea, CHECK.

3. Read a fiction novel. Yes I did. It was horrible though, so I joined this site, that's giving me much better book recommendations and I'm going to read a bunch more this month!

4. Include more of my photos on the blog. Seeing as how I didn't really blog much this month, I can't really check this off at all. I should have made this more of a 6-month long goal. That's what I'll do now.

5. Go to a free yoga class on campus at least 2 times. For the most part I did as much as I could. I went to this restorative yoga class during lunch one day and nearly fell asleep-- it was that good. Unfortunately I had forgotten that all the fitness classes were canceled for the last 2 weeks of December... so I went for a nice relaxing & stretching type of walk around the lake instead.

6. Work & work hard. Mini-goal A: create a database of client case studies. Mini-goal B: Send out the e-newsletter by December 16th. Not sure why I thought I would work hard during the holidays since I never do. I did send out our newsletter & created my first web survey. I did make headway on the website and brainstormed on the framework for the content. I did not however get anywhere near to launching the site by January 1. In fact, there is still lots of work to be done. Ah, FAIL. Complete letdown.

For January, to start off the new year:
  • Take more photos with the Nikon SLR. (Just got the replacement lens in, so it's back in action!)
  • Read a book I like gosh darn-it!
  • Pay attention to me: sleep cycle, mental alertness, mood, physical shape
  • Make a 6-month work goal plan.
To participate in the meet-up:
1. Post a list of your career/life related goals for January, along with your checked off December goals if you’d like, on your own blog.
2. Go back to Brazen Careerist and leave a link to your post (*If you don’t have your own blog, feel free to share your list in the comments to join in!)
3. Then, check out everyone else’s lists as they leave comments - click their links, visit their blogs, say hello, meet, greet and support each other because that’s what it’s all about!