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Archive for the ‘Something to Think About’ Category

Happy New Year!

Lovely Galley readers, I missed you while I was away, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed not being plugged in constantly. I needed a break from searching and reading and though I feel guilty about it, I’m trying not to.

Many folks say they don’t make New Year’s resolutions because they don’t keep them. Well, I’m making some that I can keep. Don’t make resolutions so outlandish you could never reach them, but at the same time, there is nothing wrong with shooting for the moon. As the poster in my sixth grade classroom said, “even if you miss, you will land among the stars.”

New Year’s Resolutions for those looking for a job and freelancers (I’m doing these too!):

1) Be happy and stop feeling guilty. Be yourself, even if you were laid off. Smile, watch your favorite shows, make your favorite dinner; don’t think every waking moment needs to be devoted to your job search. All work and no play is no good, even if your work is not bringing a paycheck home every two weeks. Do not feel guilty about enjoying yourself, this will not only make you miserable, but it can hinder your job search as you become more and more resentful of your situation.

2) Stay motivated. The position you applied for has been cut, and three of your clients can’t afford you right now. It’s rough and it’s not pleasant, but you can’t let it keep you down. Wallowing and pitying yourself will get you no where. Fall and get back up as many times as it takes. Talk to those around you, visit message boards and vent in your journal when you need to get all that disappointment out. It is normal to be upset, but you still can’t let it get the best of you.

3) Do more for your search. Sending out a pitch letter every two weeks and occasionally leaving your house to go to a networking event is only putting in 50% effort. If you want to see real results, you need to get out there. Tweet 10 times a day on Twitter, attend every free webinar in your field, go to networking events and events that could be networking events (like a reading from a book that was just published about your field—the author and the participants are all potential connections).

4) Use social networks to their fullest. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can bring you new fans and friends, but they can also land you new assignments and score you full-time gigs. Take the time to learn what makes these platforms tick. Get started here:

8 Ways Twitter Can Build Your Freelance Business

10 Traits of Highly Effective Twitter Users

10 Ways to Use LinkedIn

This wont be the last time we talk about these resolutions. I’m going to keep you posted on how I am doing with them every few months, or if something comes up (like me falling off the wagon or reaching a new audience, whatever comes first). I want you to do the same. You don’t have to broadcast it to the world, but every month, revisit your resolutions and give yourself your own progress report.

Here’s to a fabulous 2009! (It can’t be worse than 2008, right??)

Till tomorrow,
C

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Thank you!Over the past few months, I’ve had to rely a bit on others. I emailed contacts for job leads, asked to have my resume sent out, asked for people’s time and understanding, and for recommendations. During all these favors, the majority of people have been beyond willing to help. Sure, you get a few here and there who can’t be bothered, but by and large, people want to help.

One of the jobs I am waiting to hear back from was never posted online. I only knew about it from person A, who put me in touch with an old co-worker, person B (the job). Person A has never met me and only knows me through a mutual connection. When I was first laid off, I contacted everyone I knew for help. A got back to me and said A’s ears would be open. Two weeks later, A had a job lead for me, and I had an interview and new prospect. Even people you’ve never met before can answer your questions and offer advice and connections.

You should never, ever be shy about asking for help, but you shouldn’t just keep taking it without paying it back, or forward. I might never be able to help person A (or maybe one day I will), but whenever you wonderful readers ask me questions or students get in touch with me for advice, I take the time to help them. It makes the world go round, it’s good karma and it really brightens that person’s day.

This holiday season, make sure you carve out time to help others and thank those who helped you. The holidays are a great excuse to network, too. Be sure to send cheerful notes to your contacts and wish them a happy and healthy New Year. A little note like that can go a long way.

Till tomorrow,
C

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junk_food_junkieYou are sending out resumes, making contacts and taking on new freelance work, but what about your health? Often we find it hard to put all our concentration towards one thing and be successful at something else at the same time. The same is true of eating right and exercising during a transition period like losing your job.

Here’s a list of what I do to keep myself in check. None of these are amazing revelations, yet we still don’t do any of them and they all can help tremendously.

1- Write it down.
I spend my day writing—cover letters, blog posts, articles—so I write down what I eat, too. Did you have a bagel for breakfast? Don’t have a sandwich for lunch; try soup instead. If you had pizza last night for dinner, have some eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast instead of a toaster strudel. Being able to see what you’ve been eating (don’t forget to include the little things too—like that Hershey’s kiss every time you pass the candy jar), will help prevent you from binging or treating yourself a little too often.

2- Close your laptop and get your butt off that chair. Take 30 minutes to an hour at noon or so for a physical break. I understand that the computer has power over you and you can’t bare to tear yourself away from it, but you must. I have a treadmill and elliptical machine in my basement, so I utilize those during my physical break. But you don’t need that kind of equipment. And just because its somewhat cold out, doesn’t mean your legs can’t move. Take a brisk 20 minute walk around your neighborhood and maybe pick up your laundry while you’re at it—double the efficiency.

3- Sleep at least 7 hours. I’ve talked about this before, but keeping yourself on a good sleep schedule is super critical to successfully taking care of yourself. You can’t pass out to infomercials every night and wake up after 11 a.m. everyday, and expect yourself to get a bunch of productive work done. Try to get up at 8:30 (or 9 at  the latest) and hit the sack by midnight. You will have more energy, get more work done and be doing your body a big service, all at the same time.

Till tomorrow,
C

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chart-downEveryday we here of more layoffs, but the last couple of days I’ve been hearing of them pretty close to home. I want to jump through the phone and console the crazy and unpredictable emotions on the other end of the line, but I know no matter what I say, everyone has to go through their own mourning time. You do actually mourn—you mourn the loss of your job and to some, your identity.

If someone you know is worried about getting laid off or does lose their job, don’t attack them with how you’re handling it. They came to you because they know you are going through it too, but instead of giving into the temptation to advise, I would just let them know you are there for them. It sounds corny, but just knowing you are not alone is a key part to managing the situation. You can hear about 30,000 jobs being cut or 100,000 here and there, but you still feel as if you are the only one going through it.

Helping your pals out the right way may not exactly land you in the corner office next week, but it will make you feel better—especially if you’ve been even the slightest bit discouraged lately.

I found this article on helping out a friend who lost their job: http://www.kensavage.com/ It touches on some good points, too.

Till tomorrow,
C

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ear
(Ok, failed attempt on posting twice in one day. But I was so close…)

Yesterday, while blogging to you about what job articles you should check out, I was hanging in Montclair State University‘s Audiology Department with my ear-loving pal, Raia. She needed some extra observation hours, I’ve got some free time and before you know it, people were prodding my little ears with foreign tools (the good news is I actually woke up on time, so there was no need for Raia to throw pennies at my window).

According to trusty source Wikipedia, an audiologist is “a healthcare professional specializing in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system portions of the ear.” That means (most simply speaking) that they deal with inner ear balances issues (think vertigo), deafness, hearing loss, aids and implants.

A second year audiology student was playing with my ears and testing my hearing for about 40 minutes while Raia observed the whole shebang. Since I’m as curious as a cat (a fine characteristic of a good journalist if I do say so myself), I asked a whole bunch of questions from “What is this in my ears? It really itches” to “Explain why you used this specific pattern of words for me to repeat—what do these particular sounds indicate?” My intense curiosity prompted the actual audiologist in the room to suggest to Raia that I apply to the program.

Although this was quite a nice compliment and I love the cochlea as much as the next guy, I can’t help but think such a drastic career change six short months after graduating college is not a good idea. Sure, I went to college thinking I was going to be an M.D., studied pre-med (and cried myself to sleep three weeks into Bio 101) and have dealt with medicine and science in my real life, my whole life (I have a parent with a chronic disease), but does that mean I’m to abandon my editorial dreams and give it all up for the ear? Yes, it would fulfill my desire to help others but what about media?

I shrugged off the audiologist’s and Raia’s compliments on my research abilities and intelligence. Then earlier tonight I was doing my nightly tweets, when I stumbled upon U.S. News & World Report’s Best Careers 2009. There it was—audiology—in slightly large, bold print. Was this a sign?

It’s scary to see the media world morphing and collapsing faster than any of us can comprehend, but as silly as it may sound to others, I know I’m not going anywhere. I’m riding this crazy storm out. People still need the news. People still want information. As long as there is that need, the media will stick around in some form or another, and I truly believe that.

No matter where you are in your career, have you been thinking/fantasizing about doing something else in this economy? How are you handling it?

Till tomorrow,
C

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With my friend Alana at the Statue of Liberty

With my friend Alana at the Statue of Liberty

I was watching the Hulk tonight with my family, and instead of just enjoying the sound of the green man himself running through my living room (thanks to our crazy subwoofer), I was thinking about New York City. How many films have been made about New York, or take place in New York or completely destruct and demolish the twice-named town?

The Hulk was no exception (though there was destruction in Brazil and Virgina as well). As good green guy Edward Norton fought the evil green guy—the one that looked like the Hulk swallowed a stegosaurus and some fish skeletons—on the streets of Harlem, I thought about a New York that wasn’t featured in the movies. With all the problems of the “global economic meltdown” and job losses affecting this city, will we still be the star of flicks and the “capital of the world” (as one nice Italian street merchant once told me while painting my face for Carnivale, in Venice)? Would he still think that 50 years from now?

If you work in NYC or anywhere for that matter, you may find yourself trying to find work just for health benefits, living in fear of the pink slip, job searching after being laid off or contemplating a buyout offer. Though I usually concentrate on life after lay off (hmm I should copyright that phrase), some of you have written to me asking about buyout offers. If you are looking for some sound advice, check out Jenny Cromie’s (the voice behind The Golden Pencil) article on Evaluating a Buyout Offer, which appeared on Mediabistro.com this week. She talks to others about what they have done, tells you the 13 questions to ask yourself if you are considering a buyout offer and gives clear and detailed wisdom on how to handle making the decision.

Till tomorrow,
C

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sickI know this is a cop out post, but I’m sick and looking at this screen is not making it better :(. I can tell you though, that if you have freelance work to do and you are sick, it is not fun. I have to play catch-up all day tomorrow to make up for the rest today.

What do you do to stay on top of your work when you are feeling under the weather? I obviously need to be schooled in this topic.

As to not have this post completely useless, I read two articles in the WSJ this morning that not only reiterated how many people are walking unemployment stats like myself, but really made me think about how many people are being affected and are suffering.
1- The Human Toll of the Credit Crunch
2- Job Losses Worst Since ’74

In addition to my vow to post once a day, I vow to be a useful source to this community. Stay awhile, take your coat off and take a look around the site. Many, many more helpful posts to come.

Till tomorrow,
C

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