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.

 

Um, Public Speaking?

A powerful speech can inspire people to change their minds or change their actions. On the other hand, a poor speech can cause symptoms of boredom and involuntary public sleeping. In both cases, the responsibility can be too much to bare. Unless, I suppose, you are speaking to a room full of insomniacs.

I was scheduled to speak to my Leadership Pulaski County class. I was elected Class President of the 2014-2015 class, a program hosted by the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce to develop, cultivate, and engage community leaders. As the Class President, I was expected to present a few words to the class, their guests, and many other successful community leaders at the graduation banquet. I was also voted the Queen of Questions! Wonder how that happened?

I was immensely excited and proud to have the opportunity to speak to a room full of attentive adults. I spent the last year working in youth programs so it was a nice change.

Like most events of personal growth requiring extensive preparation, this event came at the busiest time of my life. I was ending a year of service with AmeriCorps VISTA and transferring my projects to a new team, preparing for a big vacation to Ireland, and putting my house up for sale.

Needless to say, I was in a mental state of disarray. I reached out on twitter for some advice from the beautifully poised, Marie Forleo.

Marie sent me a link to How to Overcome Fear of Public Speaking w/Josh Pais. The tweet of support was more than enough to feel like I had someone in my corner, but I recommend you watch the amazing interview with Josh for tips on pushing through public speaking anxiety.

I prepared my speech on note cards, rehearsed it to the mirror multiple times, and got up extra early to enjoy some coffee and a sunrise on the big day.

Although, I still have a ways to go before becoming the world’s most inspirational speaker, I am happy my main points were delivered…and, I didn’t puke ;)

But, you will find an abundance of um’s

Applications for the 2015-2016 class of Leadership Pulaski County are due June 5, 2015. You can find out more about this amazing program at Leadership Pulaski County website.

Interested in this program but live out the Pulaski County area? Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they participate in a similar leadership program and get involved in your community today!

Target using online games helping Data Engineers get noticed and HIRED

In an effort to recruit Data Engineers, Target has rolled out an interesting concept to drawn in talent while they sift through the traditional application process.

https://www.codewithtarget.com/
https://www.codewithtarget.com/

An interactive online “game” used to test different programming skills allows potential hires, and just curious web searchers, the opportunity to highlight their knowledge to get noticed and hopefully hired.

The game offers five categories including Andriod, Backend/API, IOS, JAVA, and Web UI. If you are already confused, you are not alone. The Tech industry at large believes the U.S. is lacking qualified candidates to meet the demand. This has spurred some leading companies to create coding boot camps, offering education to the under-served such as women and minorities.

From https://www.codewithtarget.com/
From https://www.codewithtarget.com/

Target’s approach to recruitment is unique and could be a glimmer into the future of competitive job searches. Below find amazing resources directly from Target’s recruitment site.

Interested in an Internship at Target?

Want an opportunity to gain relevant business experience while working with an innovative and industry-leading retailer? We offer Store Executive, Distribution, Pharmacy and Headquarters internship opportunities. You’ll gain valuable on-the-job experience, career development and leadership opportunities while getting an introduction to our collaborative, fun and engaging culture.

Here are some other great opportunities from Target for MBAs and Graduate degree holders:

  • Finance Leadership Development Program (FLDP)

    • Be part of two different Finance teams and get intense exposure to various business units. Act as a lead financial analyst and business partner for internal clients such as Merchandising, Capital Investment, Target.com, Property Development and Senior Management. Receive exclusive FLDP leadership development training.
  • Organizational Performance Improvement

    • Drive top initiatives of the company through project execution from definition to implementation. Gain broad exposure by partnering with senior leadership to identify and prioritize projects that align directly with Target´s strategic initiatives. Focus on leading high profile cross functional projects impacting the financials, guest experience and team member processes. Coach and mentor Team Members within a business pyramid using Target tools and resources.
  • Strategy

    • Work on a variety of top-priority corporate initiatives, such as exploring new business opportunities and growing existing businesses. The Strategy team works closely with key organizations across Target, including the Executive committee. Quickly establish rapport, credibility and trust with both peers and senior executives. Ideal candidates possess a consulting background and strong problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills. Quickly size up a problem, collaborate with Target team members to create a solution and make changes happen—all with the support of leadership.

 

Praising others creates a positive life

Throughout the last year, my professional life has been a struggle. Although sprinkled with gems shedding light on possibly amazing things to come, I think we can all relate to slumps in our motivation to keep forging ahead. Its becomes painfully obvious as your role as a leader becomes more apparent. We are all leaders, or at least all harness the power to become a leader.

The alarming thing is, many leaders don’t even know they are leaders. The unawareness of your leadership power, I believe, is where things often go array in a team. If we aren’t aware of our leadership role, how can we be aware of our power to influence? Influence is the most powerful tool. It can setup a team up for success or unrepairable failure.

Leaders are not always designated by a title. Often they are just people who have the right personality, network, experience, or some magical combination of these ingredients to magnify their vision among the team.

I encourage you to really reflect on your team dynamic. You’ll find you have a team full of leaders who may just need a little something extra to get the positive fuels flowing. And praising other may be the perfect addition.

Be sure to check out Marie’s video on the power of appreciation and subscribe to her channel at MarieTV for more amazing professional inspirations.

Creative goals should not be governed by the quest for notoriety

Creative goals should not be governed by the quest for notoriety. It is for this reason, I have been creating for the purpose of self-improvement and growth.

I have many aspirations in a variety of interest fields but one goal in particular continues to remain stagnant. Its a goal held back by insecurity and fear of putting myself out there despite the fact I have found a strong voice in other areas of my life.

I am interested in video editing. Interestingly enough, I am the subject matter of my videos. I don’t believe it is because of vanity but rather because I want to delve into topis that I have first hand knowledge, using video as a medium to grow personally and professionally.

Below is proof you can start a new skill from scratch with the resources found online. I will continue to advance this new found skill while improving the video content and visual quality.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Feeling Lost? How service can help you find your way (#GivingTuesday Exclusive)

In honor of #GivingTuesday, I am going to share the powerful impact of volunteering and how it helped me find a place in a new state.

Life as a military spouse comes with a unique set of challenges- of which is the feeling career aspirations will remain unfulfilled. Receiving orders to move was initially devastating. I had to leave my clerical job for a job-deprived rural community in the mid-west. I started my job search long before I arrived, but it wasn’t long until I realized I was only one of hundreds scrambling for any job available. To fill what I thought would only be two years in this new community, I set out to finish my bachelors degree.

It wasn’t long until I realized I was only one of hundreds scrambling for any job available.

During most of this time, I stayed rather unattached from the local community. I served with my spouse’s unit Family Readiness Group- organized events, helped with nonprofit and military affiliated fundraisers, and gathered resources to advocate for other spouses to expand their education. Still, I felt unfulfilled. I missed my home state dearly and was convinced this place would never feel like home. At the time, I didn’t see the struggle to find my place in the world as a shared experience. I saw it as an exclusively military spouse experience which kept me isolated.

 

Then in August 2013, after nearly a year and a half, a devastating flash flood swept through the area. We saw nearly ten inches of rainfall in a matter of hours with no signs of slowing. In a state of emergency and mandatory evacuations, the unexpected event caused people to be stranded in their homes or cars with rescue missions all over the county, not to mention the horrible damage to property.

The response of the community, both local and military, was inspiring. Military units gathered vehicles to pull people from unsafe roadways, strangers helped people reach higher ground, search parties were organized to find missing family members, donations poured in, and volunteers for every need were secured. Not knowing where to start, I gathered cleaning supplies and clothes and headed to the temporary Red Cross station. I expected to be one of few when I arrived but people were everywhere- some needing help but many there to volunteer. I have never experienced such an out pour of giving, especially giving of time. I was amazing. People, local and military, were coming together to serve the community, the shared community.

 

That day, I helped sort supplies and helped the needy get the things they most direly needed. It was there I heard people organizing cleanups around the town to help citizens and businesses recover while we waited for the rain to stop. Over the following week, I helped a local and longstanding automotive company recover salvageable inventory and muck out offices. I met some local people and learned what they valued most about their home. They shared their love of their small town even in the wake of disaster, so much of what they said sounded like home.

 

It was in this moment I realized, I didn’t feel at home here because I hadn’t invested in the community. Instead, I had merely expected to receive without service. I was a part of the problem, not the solution, and I realized I had the power to create change. It was in this moment I realized, I didn’t feel at home here because I hadn’t invested in the community.

It was in this moment I realized, I didn’t feel at home here because I hadn’t invested in the community.

Soon, I was looking for ways to contribute to the community more continuously. It wasn’t long until I discovered the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program. In my area, we “fight poverty with passion,” specifically targeting ways to alleviate poverty through education programs and end the cycle of poverty. Eagerly, I committed to a full-time, 12-month term to serve as a VISTA, dedicating my new education and perspective to serving community needs as a whole. Half-way through my term I assumed a VISTA Leader role mentoring other VISTA members in their community projects and working to build sustainability.

 

I have been privileged to serve my new community in many capacities since my start with VISTA but none are as satisfying as my work with the Snack in a Pack program. Building on the work of a previous volunteer, the hunger relief program serves youth in our school district- both military and local alike- with supplemental food packs on weekends who experience food scarcity.

 

Hunger, surprisingly, is a real, tangible issue even in our society.

 

By building and strengthening community partnerships, I spearheaded the increase of funding resources- a necessary venture as our program saw a 13% increase in need within 6 months. My efforts, with the support of many volunteers and community partners, led to our ability to send meal packs home for over 315 students during both thanksgiving and winter extended breaks- the most the program has ever served.

 

In recognition for my VISTA service, I was selected to participate as part of a 2014-2015 leadership academy-  a selective community-based leadership program with the Chamber of Commerce designed to identify, educate, and develop leaders. I was also elected Class President and influenced a class service project supporting Snack in a Pack. I designed the service project to build awareness for the issue of hunger in our area in the presence of some of the community’s most committed members while inspiring career-minded individuals to give of their time in service.

Everyone has a valuable currency, its really a matter of finding the appropriate way to spend that currency. If you are unsure of what you have to offer the world, start with your time. Time is an invaluable commodity when offered to others and is always accepted- worldwide (with no pesky exchange fees).

Time is an invaluable commodity when offered to others and is always accepted- worldwide (with no pesky exchange fees).

Since beginning my service journey, I learned community service is not just giving of your time but rather an investment in our future. Understanding change does not, as they say, just happen with time but rather occurs when people come together to put change into action. The inspiration from my new community led me to service, and I only hope I can be that catalyst for others.

Are you interested in serving your community, building new skills, and experiencing memories to last a lifetime? Answer the call at the Corporation for National & Community Service website.

Disclaimer: All statements made above are only a reflection of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of organizations mentioned within the article.