Make a decision even if it means being terrible

You’re sleepy with little motivation to do anything other than press play on Netflix when it ask, “Are you still watching?” Whether your exhaustion is a result of the infinite amount of decisions you make throughout the day or just laziness, the effort spent toiling over a decision is often futile.

Should I apply?  Should I quit? Should I go to college? Should I go out tonight? Do I need better insurance coverage?

We love the will they/won’t they scenario. It’s the reason RomCom’s will live on forever. Just like a RomCom, the question usually has only two outcomes. You will. Or you will not.

My advice- when you realize all the best parts of the movie were in the trailer or you’re too lost to make a decision, just dive in head first! But, beware. If you make a decision you have to commit wholeheartedly.

If you are going to apply, pull out all your best material for that application. If you decide not to go out tonight with friends, don’t mope around in guilt.

The hurdle isn’t the problem but rather the hesitation before the jump.

Don’t waste your energy on the decision process. Be deliberate and economical with your efforts and have faith in your abilities.

 

Trust me, cloning yourself will NOT make you more productive (pt 2)

This story is one of technological advancements far beyond the capabilities I once thought possible. It involves computer science experiments gone terribly wrong. This is part two in a series. You can read part one here but fear not. You can enjoy my failures, and triumphant success, by joining us here and now.

We have established the job hunt is a difficult one to bear for most. Many within my generation feel the pangs of a nontraditional application process in a fairly traditional career progression. If that observation has your head spinning, let me explain.

Hiring processes generally consist of a resume, cover letter, and possibly recommendations or a portfolio of your work. You submit your documents to a hiring manager who combs through your application to determine if you will fit their needs. If so, you are called into an interview, possibly a subsequent interview with the supervisor of your potential department, and you then determine if you both felt the flutter of a blissful employment match.

With the addition of the wonderful world of online applications, hiring entities are inundate with more submissions than anyone could possible comb through. The piles of submissions include applicants with internship experience with federal agencies, national volunteer experience, community leadership roles, and awards (you can find out more about this awesome applicant here).

Critics say online job applications encourage job seekers to submit numerous applications because the process is too simple. The same critics say many job seekers submit excessive applications without thoroughly reading the job announcement, thereby flooding hiring offices with irrelevant applicants.

I venture to say job descriptions are loosing their legitimacy, making the process impractical and unproductive for both sides.

Job announcements ask for “go-getters” who can work in a “fast-paced environment.” For the job seeker, “go-getter” and “fast-paced” are about as cliche as the applicant’s use of “hard-working” and “detail-oriented.”

These are merely buzz words that all of us would use to describe ourselves.

Companies want applicants who can go far beyond the job description but point to the “it factor” when looking for this mystery person. I dare say, companies need applicants who can do more than a singular job descriptions. Nearly every single career field requires some form of technology usage and at least a basic understanding of database systems. Hiring processes haven’t caught up with demand for human capital and often water down the job description.

On the other hand, my generation is expected to provide better service, stay better connected, continue to advance their technology skills, and continue to evolve at the speed of technology advancements. All the while, we continue to be labeled too dependent on technology. It’s all a catch-22.

My virtual internship serves as my creative approach to overcoming this hiring hurdle by spending my free time learning new, marketable skills.

This week in part two of my self-designed internship, I tackled a new editing technique in iMovie. After many failed filming attempts, I worried I would not make my Wednesday deadline.

blurredAfter fifteen minutes of filming, I realized this shot was way too blurry.

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 8.59.49 PM

 

My second attempt produced a much better frame and lighting, especially considering the low quality equipment.

Screen Shot 2015-05-24 at 9.06.31 PMMy third attempt seemed to work until I tried to split them together to create the illusion of a conversation between two intern characters.

I learned a lot about camera placement, lighting, and working fast if you have a window in the frame (day light changes). After a last ditch attempt to film some new scenes and 8 hours spent editing, the result finally came together in a rather believable split.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 4.38.49 PMWhile you can still see a color variation on the black table, I think the shadow of the plant really sells the image. The editing of the conversation proved extremely difficult, but I am proud of this first attempt at a self-designed project.

Times of unemployment can be used productively. Not only am I learning new film making skills, I am also working on building a network of creators and learning from their content and suggestions.

I am also developing and executing social media marketing plans to build an audience, a marketable skill I also hope to use in the future.

The goal of this self assigned project is to broaden my skills, experience, and stay connected with the changing market. Its uncertain if my project will produce anything more than a bunch of videos posted online, but I don’t believe in passive job hunting. While I continue to look for the perfect career with an amazing organization, I will continue to improve my value in hopes it will pay off in the end.

Please feel free to check out my tongue-in-cheek video on the pains of the application process.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new videos on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Feelings Transcend Time: Virtual Internship Series (pt 1)

Welcome to my self-assigned and designed internship project: part serious self discovery, part ridiculous proof of failure. In any case, I am glad your here to witness history unfold. Side note: I didn’t promise you’d learn important historical facts to wow your friends at the pub’s trivia night, just that history is happening. And it is happening now.

Unemployment affects people in a multitude of ways. To prevent cycles of internalized self-pity, I am choosing to think outwardly by mastering new skills through creative and productive new endeavors.

The word choosing is very important to the former sentence because it empowers all of us to remember – what we do with our time is our choice.

My focus for this project includes filming, video, and audio editing projects while each week mastering a new skillset within this realm.

This is quite a huge undertaking because I hold no previous experience in any of these areas. I am learning only through trail-and-error and free tutorials found online.

Sunday, May 1oth marked the first day I executed a creative plan. I wrote a script, filmed a project, and edited the piece- and subsequently posted the project to YouTube.

Many of those close to me are quite confused. They don’t understand why I’m working on these projects. Many believe I am trying to become famous on YouTube.

This pursuit is more of a personal story of triumph than a goal to become famous.

I was held back from these interests only by the fear of judgement. So, no excuses. I’m doing it and you will care, or at least be mildly amused.

In my first week, I created and posted three projects: a tongue-in-cheek piece on the Life of an Intern, the first installment of an on-going series providing my perspective and tips on improving your professional life, and a deleted scenes reel.

In all three pieces, I aimed to master basic editing such as timing and audio. I learned a lot about the importance of writing the script and sticking to it but also the value of just spitting out comments on camera.

Speaking unabashedly provides your content great little nuggets to create depth and personality, most importantly, your personality.

Next, I am incorporating split screen and/or green screen editing into my project. Expect new videos on Wednesdays and consider subscribing to my channel for new content.

This week’s biggest success was posting my content publicly. Its a struggle I have grappled with for years, but its a personal victory I am so proud of.

Creating content in which you are the subject puts you in an extremely vulnerable place.

But, its quite an empowering feeling to overcome your self-created barriers. So many other parts of your life seem more attainable and manageable when you can overcome one thing, even if its small or seemingly unimportant. That’s the thing though, what gives life value?

We have a tendency to focus our attention to titles and measurable accomplishments, but when life ends our loved ones left behind aren’t focused on those things. We forget the details. We remember how we felt in a moment and how others made us feel. I wholeheartedly believe that feelings are our consciousness trying to imprint the moment on our mind, to hold onto this moment.

Feelings transcend time because they take us back to the moments that were the most pivotal.

This is why its important to focus on the moments that enrich our lives: helping others, pursuing real interests, and staying focused on the things that truly matter in life. This is why my internship project is important to me. It gives me the opportunity to be proud of something I created, something I overcame, and to share that with my friends even if they are a little confused.

Follow this page for new posts every Monday.

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for content every Wednesday.

Internships: Not always the golden ticket to employment

Internships are marketed to college students as the golden ticket to a successful career. In many career fields, this seems to hold true. In my experience, internship don’t always live up to your expectations. In my third year at university, I applied for a federal internship.

I was skeptical I would be selected and applied mostly to confirm my insecurities about life after college.

When I received the first call to schedule an interview, I was elated. Before even pressing the wrinkles out of my favorite blazer (or being officially selected), I developed a detailed image of walking the streets of Washington D.C., striking up an intelligent conversation with someone who worked on The Hill, and the imaged flashed forward to a life with the power to end poverty with my words.

At this point, it was decided. I needed this internship in order to be successful, and of course, end poverty.

I researched everything I could find online about phone interviews, scoured forums discussing common questioned asked for this particular internship, and developed interesting talking points based on current events of the department. I was ready, terrified, and experiencing high blood pressure.

During the interview, it became painfully clear the person on the other end of the line was reading from a prompt. Usually, interviews are your chance to stand out and make an impression, but a person reading from a script will miss anything that isn’t on the here-is-exactly-what-we-are-looking-for checklist.

So, I provided cookie-cutter answers and hung up the phone. returning to my non-Washington D.C. life with my expectations at a reasonable, realistic level. I felt a wash of dread when I realized it would be expensive to stay in D.C. for three months.

A few weeks later, I receive an extensively detailed email describing the process to complete my internship “hiring” paperwork. Imagine my surprise! It was a long, invasive list of questions, and yet filled my heart with hope.

Ultimately, my internship with the federal agency didn’t live up to my expectations.

I did live in Washington D.C. for three months. I met many people who worked on the hill (mostly overworked interns and entry level college grads). I learned a lot about how government offices operate and how to progress in that career field. Mostly, my internship was a recruiting tool for a very specific soul sucking federal job. Oddly enough, many interns were interested in that career field.

My boss, and more specifically the department to which I was assigned, was not prepared to have an intern that spring. This is a department that usually takes on an intern three semesters a year and still did not have a plan in place to take full advantage of an intern.

Eventually, I befriended an employee from the IT department who was previously an intern in the department I was interning. Before you start to believe the title of this post has mislead you, know he is the exception, not the rule.

His advice was to  volunteer for anything, help anyone in the office, and always look busy.

What I’ve learned to be true in any work environment is “looking busy” means your time is perceived as more valuable. Think about this economically. If you have tons of time on your hands, it means demand for your time is low and ultimately worth very little. If your time seems to be in high demand, you will often be perceived as more valuable and competent. There is, of course, a balance at play here but the advice did help my intern experience become more valuable.

As an intern for an office processing document changes (aka paper pusher), I ended up assisting IT with multiple data system updates and testing of software changes. Despite the repetition involved in such work, it was an amazing opportunity, an experience that has fueled many projects I’ve worked on since.

After working with multiple people in the office on their unwanted tasks, I was tasked by the boss to develop and manage intern professional development opportunities. A big responsibility giving me excellent experience to discuss during future interviews.

All of this sounds great on paper, but I want to drive home the fact that I didn’t score a full-time job from the experience.

I don’t have companies or organizations pounding on my door with job offers. I still interview, and get rejected, a lot.Sometimes when I interview, I receive excellent feed back on my experience and qualifications. Sometimes I even am called “impressive.”

Still, the job hunt typically boils down to two major factors.

  1. Competition
  2. Location

In my case, both factors directly correlate to my current employment status. My family obligations currently prevent me from moving to where the jobs are located. Also, it seems my persuasive argument to hire me for telecommute work isn’t effective (as of yet). And with the fierce competition, who wouldn’t hire the person who can offer an in-person commitment.

Still, internships are not worthless.

If you look at the experience as an investment wherein you may have some unexpected expenses (metaphorically and physically), you are more likely to reap the most from the experience.

However, organizations should also view their internship programs  like a valuable resource that must continually evolve.

Human Resource departments and department heads continue to point to a lack of qualified talent in their applicant pools citing college grads are not ready for new workforce needs. And yet, many internship programs are still designed for an outdated workforce they will not hire. Instead, interns are being utilized as a temp agency with little intention to hire.

While not always the golden ticket, internships vary in value. Consider your time valuable not matter how in demand (or unemployed) your time is.

Your time is monumentally valuable. Spend it wisely.


 

And spend two minutes of your valuable time watching my tongue-in-check video below on the life of an intern.