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Communications Design Industry Discussion, Inspiration, & Tutorials

Jul 24, 2014

They Call it the Worldwide Web for a Reason...

By On 05:25
Complaining about work online is like picking your nose in the car..while it seems private, those outside can see you.
This morning I switched on my computer to find this at the top of my Facebook (Fb) Newsfeed:
My boss calls me while I shower, she calls while I brush my teeth and pack my lunch, then I am trying to drive and she calls me again, so I pull over and try to talk to her, but she screams at me and hangs up a few times without telling me why she is flipping out. "WHO DO YOU WORK FOR?!!!"…

Two more days of being bludgeoned before the weekend arrives...in my next life I would prefer to have more choices...

She's gotten into the habit of abusing me, but since she pays me I am not allowed to complain. I think I need to start going home and being unable to work when she treats me too badly, because this shit will kill me. Must take stand, to preserve so-called sanity...
This is just an excerpt from the status update from my friend, an—obviously disgruntled employee, Robin*. I posted in response to her tirade, “..are you sure you want to voice your disdain for your boss/job on the world wide web?” Right or wrong, I had to respond to her. This woman is my friend, and I’ve seen the worst case scenario play out twice in the last three years. Individuals, friends lost their jobs in their respective fields after badmouthing their direct supervisor or company on Facebook. One of these has not been able to get another position in his field.

A Little Perspective:

Of course, you should have the freedom to badmouth whomever you choose when speaking to your peer network. However, the internet is a complex arena; Facebook doubly so:

  • If your privacy settings are set to only share your content with your peer network, you have one layer of protection from the rest of the web. 
  • But, do your ‘friends’ protect their comments, shares, likes, and updates with the same settings? Maybe some do, but definitely not all of them.
  • Once your friend comments on your negative work-related update, or shares it, it belongs to them and can appear to everyone who follows them. If they have an 'open"profile then anyone who finds them on them internet can view their fb activity--without even logging in!

To gauge whether you may potentially face negative repercussions at work answer this question, are any of your Fb friends coworkers, or friends of your co-workers? If you’re not sure don’t risk your job by bitching on the internet!

Unforeseen Repercussions:

Back to Robin. She immediately responded to my note with this: “Guess who doesn’t care…Maybe I will get fired….If she's not gonna pretend she's nice and reasonable, I'm not either.”

I get it, she hates her job and plans to be fired. She’ll have the opportunity to find another job—and hopefully have a more fulfilling experience. Hopefully when she is back on the job market she won't be applying with or interviewing with anyone who has had to read these hyper-negative status updates about her current boss.

Back when I was an undergrad another student was going through a stressful time at work. In Fb status updates she told the world daily, that she hated her boss, her job, coworkers, and the company. On one occasion I even commented that she was being harsh. She didn't care, she had been interviewing and was about to accept an offer. Our paths crossed again three years later. I was in the position of finding a graphic designer for my company and this woman applied. The memory of her rants about that last job jumped immediately to mind; how long would it take her to become disenchanted with work conditions before status update mudslinging at my beloved organization started. She did not get an interview.

*Her name’s not Robin

Jul 14, 2014

More on the Invisible Job Market

By On 10:35
Back in 2012 I wrote an article called ‘Using the Invisible Job Market'. It outlined how to network your way to landing that all-important first interview. This piece neglected to take into account the longstanding disparities that exist in our society.

I bring this up because in my town it’s glaringly obvious that networking is less of an option for poor black job seekers—with or without a college degree. The Invisible Job Market is not freely available to everyone.

A colleague called my attention to an interesting article in the July/August 2014 Johns Hopkins Gazette that explains more fully why. It talks briefly about the soon to be published book of Dr. Karl Alexander. In his research he followed 800 Baltimore city youth—of varying socioeconomic backgrounds—for 25 years and discovered that, “where you start in life is where you end up in life…blacks don’t have the social networks whites do to help them…” even with the same educational, criminal, and economic roadblocks.

This is well illustrated in one of the research findings: white men of low income (backgrounds) with no college found the best-paying jobs in their group. 45% of them worked in the construction and industrial trades—as a result of their social networks—earning 28% more money than the other groups who ended up in this field.

The networking involved here includes familial ties (fathers, brothers, and close friends working in the field are able to refer their kin, etc). Here’s a quick example of this that I witnessed in our field:

I was tasked with vetting resumes for a graphic design position at my organization. In the 50 or so email applications I found a resume and samples from a former college friend. I noticed her resume but could not, in good conscience, recommend her to my director as a viable candidate. She lacked sufficient real-world experience and had spent the last two years working odd jobs outside of our field.

One day after her email, I learned that (get this) her fiancé’s mother put in a personal call to our events manager—someone who she knew socially—in order to get her application noticed. I was floored at the brazenness of it. However, I understood why she thought to use that tactic. 
To be clear, both white and black women, and black men in the low income strata of the study fared much worse than white men of the same economic standing.

What does one do about this distinct lack of networking opportunities?

My advice, make your own. When you’re in college:

  • be active in campus and professional organizations, 
  • get a mentor,
  •  keep in touch with professors who are influential/inspirational to you, 
  • and for god’s sake! Seek out internships. 
While these ties are not as strong as blood or marriage, these are people who will happily go to bat for you or just add your name to a list if you ask.

Read the Johns Hopkins Gazette: Study looks at how inner city childhood affects adult success In addition to the findings discussed here, Dr. Alexander found that only 33 subjects (of the 800 total) in the low income bracket moved into the high income bracket, and 19 subjects from high income moved to low income. 

**Photo Credit: chuckp via Compfight cc

Jul 11, 2014

Youth Unemployment is Double the National Rate!

By On 05:00
I caught this report on NPR a couple minutes ago and must share. This story puts the the problem of youth unemployment in perspective and really explains several of the insurmountable obstacles that young people face when entering the job market. You're out there competing with people who have  degrees, advanced degrees, and years of experience.

 Renee Montagne talks to Roberto Angulo of AfterCollege Inc. and Courtney Hawkins of the Federation Employment & Guidance Service Bronx Youth Center.

Jul 10, 2014

Just a bit of comic relief

By On 05:05
The truth about College and Getting a job. My bursts of laughter surprised my intern. This really is GENIUS!

This three part comic strip take you virtually through the entire ordeal (and beyond). Check it out

Jul 9, 2014

VIsualize it...

By On 05:25

There's book about positive visualization...I've never read it, nor do I remember the title, but it's about visualizing the outcomes that you want--thereby willing them into being.

This is what I've been working on for the past few weeks; seeing a future of my devising and picturing the steps with which to achieve them.

My early morning, weekend, bike ride takes me along a well-worn, familiar track. I pedal down the footpaths and walkways slowly--noting the way the sun comes up above the historic buildings, the way light shines through manicured foliage making the undersides of leaves glow lime green, the cool morning air that greets me even in this warm season. Once my route has circled the entire campus, I pause under Frederick Douglas' statue and I look back along my course…imagining walking between campus buildings, racing to a meeting, talking to students and soon-to-be-grads, hanging my motivational sharks up in my work space. I see myself as part of the community. I also imagine the routine of taking the secluded bike path from my home to this campus as my daily commute (it's a bear). Visualizing it as if it has already happened. Then I re-mount my two-wheeled transport and head back home.

It's a ritual that I undertake when the spirit moves me. Yes, I do more than imaging, and yes think this visualization exercise works. At the very least, it's an exercise in mindfulness; it calms my mind and gives me a positive start to the day on a weekend.

Image by Practical DINK: Frederick Douglas statue on the campus of Morgan State University in Maryland.

Jul 4, 2014

This Week: Mobile App Update

By On 11:27
Okay, I'm working in Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) to create the next great university technology mobile app. All is going quite well. This week I put the finishing touches on two more articles and am almost ready to create the campus technology maps--this will be a bear!!!

For now, take a quick look at one page of the faculty technology article that has a fun little folio overlay made of 3 object states. Enjoy:

Text: Looking for professional development featuring the latest technology tools? You Got IT"