I am still trying to figure out the tone of this blog.
A lot of people at my school write, and they’re great at it. They practice. They freelance. They get published. Practice makes perfect. And a blog is a good way to practice.
But there is no consensus on what the tone should be. Am I building my “brand?” Probably. I have to monitor my online presence. Should I write personal posts about my life? I find it cathartic, but is it really appropriate when I’m looking to possibly work with media? What if a future potential employer finds something I’ve written while caught in a moment of frustration/sadness/hurt, and doesn’t want to hire me?
Should I post about politics? What if my views change one day and something comes back to bite me?
Should I write about school? Again, that could be very personal.
Sometimes I’ve thought about having an anonymous blog – something that could be more personal. I told my father that once, and he countered, “What’s the address of your personal blog?” I don’t have time for an overt blog, let alone a covert one.
No matter what I write, I’ll be putting myself out there. That’s probably part of the reason why I’ve shied away. Whatever I write can, and will, be used against me in a job interview. It doesn’t matter. I need to write. I feel better when I do, and I don’t know how to do it without being personal to some extent.
I’ve returned to New York, and it’s been beautiful. My housing troubles aside, it’s been pretty good to be back. I’ve gotten some work done, and today I came down to the southern tip of Manhattan and walked around. I write this from the Battery Park area. The sun is setting over the Hudson, and fake icicles drip from a nearby tree. It was about 60 degrees outside today. Lovely.
One thing I’ve been enjoying about New York is the recreational space. For such a metropolitan monstrosity, New York City has amazing parks. The architecture and creative use of space is brilliant, in my opinion. Land is a hot commodity – especially in Manhattan – and New Yorkers know how to make the best of space.
Last semester was pretty brutal. I was taking five classes and trying to fit in 20 hours of work a week. One of those classes was a language course – which met four days a week. I would sometimes stay at the school ‘til 1 am. During finals, I pulled a few all-nighters. I would hide in one of the institutes at school because it was quiet – and I had a key. One night, I came out of the office around 3 a.m. to surprise some guys who had spent multiple hours cleaning the women’s bathroom on that floor. I just couldn’t hold it anymore. They suggested I use one on another floor.
This semester will be even worse. I’ll have five classes again. The language course is still on. Plus, I have a capstone project and a thesis to write. Oh, and I’ll still be working 20 hours a week. Hence, I’m here in New York trying to get a jump start. I’m not as far along as I’d like to be.
The housing drama from October never quite ended. Our lights were shut off for a day at the beginning of December because the bill had been delinquent since July – when someone apparently had the air conditioner on all day every day. Maybe it was August. Either way, our portion was miniscule compared to the overall amount. It wasn’t our issue – even though the tenant tried to imply it was somehow our fault.
I don’t want to get on the topic of the apartment right now. Maybe that will be reserved for another post.
I am going to a career conference next week in D.C., and I’ve been setting up informational interviews with some organizations I’m excited about. There’s just one problem: data mining etiquette.
Let’s say you’re going out on a first date. It could be blind. It could be someone you just met. Point is, you don’t know them very well. You just know their name, and you’ve at least seen a picture if you haven’t actually met them. Let’s say it’s a pretty unique name, so you’re able to find this person’s online presence pretty quick. You check out anything that isn’t completely private. Maybe it’s a Facebook profile. Twitter. LinkedIn. You name it. You show up for your first date to get to know someone, and you say, “I notice from Twitter that you went fishing last week in Montana. How was that?”
Or how about the other person says to you, “I took piano lessons in Calimesa from age five to ten.” And you say, “I know. Facebook Timeline told me. Also, I see you are a big fan of pinot, so I took the liberty of bringing you a bottle.” Eerie, right? Your date might think you’re a little too forward. He or she may get freaked out and never call you again. I probably wouldn’t call you.
But the question is, how personal should you get in an interview? Should you look up where people have worked before on LinkedIn and bring it up if it sounds really interesting? “So, I notice you worked in the Secret Service from ’95 to 2000. How was that? Ever have to diffuse a tense situation?” What if you’re generally interested in a previous position? “Hey, it’s great to talk to you about Company Y, but I’m really interested in Company X, and I see you worked there. How was it?” I think you have to tread lightly here.
Honestly, I think it’s appropriate to bring up LinkedIn – ‘cause that’s what it’s for. But you have to be choosy about which topics you bring up. Twitter is borderline. Anything you’ve found on Facebook should probably be off limits. You just don’t know how much to stalk people online without seeming like, well, an actual stalker. Oh, social networking. How you’ve turned us all into voyeurs.
I’m off to stalk a few of my upcoming contacts now.