20 Ways to Not be #ThatIntern: Part IV of IV

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20 Ways to NOT be #ThatIntern

Part IV of IV

asleep at desk

Two months ago I began this four part series, 20 Ways to NOT to be #ThatIntern, in hopes to save #JournoInterns from making some of the damaging mistakes that i’ve seen over the years.  I also hoped to provide a little advice for achieving success along the way and please remember this advice is in no particular order – each number is as important as the others.  Before I delve into the final 4 ways in which you can make sure that you are not #ThatIntern, let’s quickly review what we’ve covered so far – numbers 20 through 1514 through 10, and 9 through 5:

20.  Don’t Be Cocky

19.  Listen, Listen, Listen & then . . . listen some more

18.  Don’t be a Know It All

17.  Show Up

16.  Keep it to Yourself

15.  Don’t Play Politics 

14.  You’ve Got Time to Lean, You’ve Got Time to . .Clean

13.  Life Isn’t All Rainbows and Roses

12.  Ingenuity Goes A Long Way

11.  OMG – What Are You Wearing?

10.  Put It Away!

9.  Get Involved . . . But Don’t Get Wasted

8.  Know Your Grammar.  You’re In College, Aren’t You?

7.  You’re Only as Professional as Your Email.

6.  Prove Yourself.

5.  Smile & Be Nice!


Now, onto the final four….

4.  In the Words of Billy Idol . . . Do “More, More, More”

Your internship might not make you rich, but it can bring many rewards to your career.  Make the most of your experience and start out right on your career path.  In order to do so, you want to be sure you that you leave your internship with new skills, a better understanding of your field, and tangible accomplishments.

mad skills

Don’t cite the job description as your limits – use it as a starting point, but contribute and participate beyond that.  Your contribution could be using your intellect and creativity to make an existing project better, or compose something totally outside of your job description.

Remember, future directors and CEOs of the world:  Doing what is expected of you will get you a pat on the back and a decent recommendation.  Being kick-ass, on the other hand, will get you a network of mentors and friends, a vast array of experience, a great leg-up on your future career path . . . and maybe even a job!

missing an opportunity change life

Be on the lookout for opportunities to further your education and develop additional responsibilities.  Interns who identify office needs and ask to take on new challenges demonstrate the initiative and motivation for which companies are looking.  If there is a project that interests you, ask your supervisor if you can help out.  You can’t expect anyone to read your mind. 

i'm not a mind reader

Are you enjoying the work you’re doing?  Tell your boss.  Want to learn something new?  Politely ask someone — the worst they can say is “no.”  Just make sure that you pay attention to your manager’s schedule when you ask.  You don’t want to interrupt your boss when he or she is working frantically to meet a deadline.

i want to be a gladiator in a suit

Soak up as much as you can from your internship by looking for more assignments and projects if you are free.  Down time is perfect for chatting with co-workers and letting them know that you are there to help.  And by helping I don’t mean giving them fashion advice or filling them in on what happened last week on Grey’s Anatomy.

what? grey's anatomy

Consider yourself an integral part of the team, and with everything you contribute, remember that your involvement is playing a critical role in helping the team as a whole achieve their objectives.  Celebrate your team’s successes, but also allow your fair share of the blame if things don’t go as planned.  What goes around comes around.  Know or seek out what needs to be done on your end to make your teammates’ jobs easier.  There is a good chance that at this internship, or later in your career, they’ll give you support, too.

Motivated interns will want to do more than the minimum tasks assigned to them.  When you see some additional tasks that can highlight your skills, or that would be a good learning experience for you, suggest that you might be able to do them.

work work work work

But don’t propose additional tasks that would be appropriate only for a senior partner or department manager and don’t overstep any boundaries.  Keep in mind that you’re an intern and your ultimate goal is to learn and provide as much value as possible–you’re a low person on the totem pole.

what like its hard?

Interns are brought into companies of course to help accomplish goals, but also to bring in fresh ideas and fresh perspectives.   If you want to be a fearless intern, you must be willing to try new things and even share your ideas.  If you have an idea for a project your employer hasn’t thought of, make sure you speak up.   Never hold back on brainstorming with the team or offering something new to the table.  Interns often think they don’t have the ability to make a difference.  But, the reality is, employers want their interns to express their ideas and contribute to the overall success of their organization.  Your coworkers will notice your engagement and care for the company’s overall success. 

great idea

However, interns coming into a company often think that if they were running the zoo, they could do it a whole lot better.  And, in many cases, they’re right: New eyes often see things more clearly.  However, companies do not want to hear how all their practices and procedures are inefficient and ill-conceived—least of all, from you.  Even if asked, moderate your responses and do not be too critical of established practices.

where to start

Do get as much exposure in the organization as possible.  Find your role and claim ownership of your projects.  This will bring recognition to your value, as well as your work ethic.  Have that one project, which you completely own. 

own it

It can be big or small, but it should be fully yours and add value to the team.  Do the work, and if given the opportunity, get up in front of your manager and team members to present it.  This is your chance to make your mark, especially if you’re only at the company for a short-term position like an internship.  BONUS:  more stuff to add to your resume and to discuss in those horrific future job interviews.

Approaching your work with enthusiasm is a good way to convince supervisors to give you bigger responsibilities.

Take advantage of every learning opportunity.  Pay attention in meetings, ask questions, volunteer, or attend a lecture on something you’re interested in.  Although your internship is an enormous learning opportunity, it’s a good idea to look for ways to learn new skills.  For example, ask your manager if they’re involved with any professional organizations or if they can help you learn a new skill you’ve always wanted to learn.  This is a great way to show your enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.

challenge accepted jenna marbles

Remember, not every assignment that you’re given will be pulled off flawlessly.  You have to realize there will be hiccups that might cause you to become discouraged.  However, if you want to show you’re a strong intern, take on every challenge as an opportunity. This will show your boss your dedication to improvement and your desire to gain valuable life experience.

 

3.  Father Time Can be a Pain in the A**

Employers want to work with interns who they are confident will follow through with tasks and projects.  Show your employer you’re dependable by arriving to work on time, having the willingness to volunteer for new projects, and helping others.  This doesn’t mean you have to say “yes” to everything, but make sure your actions show how committed you are to your position.

late-gif-jenna-marbles

Displaying passion does not mean you spend hours in doing a job perfectly which you should have completed in an hour or which did not require perfection. You won’t get any brownie points for the extra sauce.  If you have been asked to analyze something fast and present your findings, ask the purpose of the analysis.  If the findings would be used to present to a client, then you can spend time and create a professional powerpoint presentation.  However, if the project is just for internal progress discussions, you can create a simple presentation and use the remaining time for other assignments. 

Not finishing an assignment shows your employer a lack of commitment and that you’re not a hardtime's up girl, byeworker.  Always finish your work before the deadline to show you have good time management skills and you’re committed to the job.  Many interns, employees, and even professionals, underestimate how time-consuming projects may be.  As a rule, people underestimate how long a task is going to take, so when you’re working out the timeline of a project, be generous in your time estimates.  Making an impact is what’s important.  So, be time-wise and don’t take on more than you can handle or spend too much time on simple tasks.

Take initiatives but don’t overdo it and typing_gif_2 all nighterdon’t be afraid to say no.  Sometimes, you’ll be asked to contribute on a lot of projects, but you need to decide realistically if you’ll have the time to focus on them and do what is already on your plate.  Be forthright with managers and co-workers about your workload, talk to them about what you’re working on, and create self-imposed deadlines to stay on track.  Taking on too many assignments and not being able to complete them, even with the objective of showing your boss how good of an employee you are, displays an intern’s immaturity and lack of of time management skills.  Take initiatives, but be realistic in terms of the time that would be required to be spent on each assignment.

Do try to come in early and stay (a bit) late.  If your boss says you’re done for the day, by all means, scoot out of the office and enjoy as much daylight as possible, but if you’re working on something important, it wouldn’t hurt to stay at work until you finish it.  It’s always important to hand your boss your best work, and sometimes that means missing a few minutes of girls’ night.  Putting in an extra hour here and there can go a long way to getting a good reference so that you can land your dream job, one day in the hopefully not so distant future.

is what it is not always fair

At some point during your internship, your supervisor will ask what you would like to get out of the it and quite frankly, you’ll come off unprepared if you don’t have an answer.  Know what you want, say it, and be honest about your goals.  For example, one could say that they would like more writing experience and more “____” experience.  This blank could vary between pitching, media relations, social media, spreadsheet development, feature writing, news coverage, sports coverage, or event planning experience. 

On another note, setting up check-in meetings with your supervisor is always a good idea. This gives your supervisor an opportunity to tell you some things that you have been doing well and share some things that you could improve upon. Don’t be afraid to ask what you can do better, it shows that you’re invested in the internship and care about the quality of your work.

 

2.  It’s Who You Know, Not Necessarily What You Know

Capitalize on the opportunity to meet as many new people as you can and pretend that every great person you meet will increase your net worth by $100,000.  You will be surprised how many of these people you will someday work with, start a company with — or who will otherwise support you.  In this day and age, your net worth is impacted significantly by your network.  It’s not just the size, but also the quality of that network.  Get to know your mentor, manager, and team members. It’s important to build relationships with your co-workers to help understand how they work and form a better working environment. 

not interested in caring about people

You can also gain valuable career advice as well as establish networks for future employment.  Schedule one-on-one meetings, invite them to have a meal with you, add them on LinkedIn, have them look over your resume, and tell them about your interests.  You never know where a little afternoon advice could lead.

Learn from your coworkers.  Ask them about their own careers.  How they got into the field? What they like about it?  What they find challenging?  What advice they have for you?  Most people love to talk about themselves and will be flattered that you’re asking about their experiences.  Best of all, it’s likely to make them want to help you.

you're weird we'll be friends suits

You could even talk to your co-workers about your career plans, and let them know you’re open to advice, both now and in the future. They can be helpful by sharing job leads, recommending you for a job, and suggesting various career choices.  Most people are happy to help, but they might not offer if you don’t ask.

And be sure to befriend fellow interns at the company if there are any.  You’d be amazed at how many of your fellow schlubs will go on to distinguished positions in the industry in which you are going into.

very unbalanced individuals

Next, people at your internship or that you meet through your internship could be well connected and you definitely want to take advantage of that.  You never know who you’re going to meet or where and when you’ll meet them, so it’s a good practice to always carry a business card with you.  If you don’t have your own, make them at VistaPrint (which is super cheap and there is always a promo code available for it somewhere online).   Make a serious and conscious effort to remember people’s names and collect the business cards of others.  It can make or break you when networking. 

i tried

Make sure you ‘mingle” at work social events (if you’re not supposed to be working.  If you’re supposed to be working – then you better work). 

and girl, you better work it

Initially, networking and making connections with professionals may be overwhelming — but this is one of the simple first steps to get someone to know and like you.  Even if taking the edge off with a few cocktails sounds tempting – refrain and re-read number 9

algorithm for making friends

As an intern you need to realize that the success of your career is largely dependent on who you know and the connections and relationships you form.  The older I get, the more I realize that most people land jobs simply because of who they know (and trust me – many aren’t the least bit qualified.  It isn’t fair but then again, life isn’t fair).

what is happening to the world

Never take lunches alone.  Always try to take your lunches with your colleagues or bosses.  It gives the picture that you are integrating with the team.  Plus, lunch conversations will help you to understand what’s going on in the company, what opportunities may be available, and who are the influential people. 

eating lunch alone

However, never ever only talk shop during lunch.  Make sure that you also talk about hobbies, movies, news, etc.   Begin by seeing which topics your colleagues are discussing and then try to participate.  Lunches are excellent platforms to showcase your general intelligence (without being boastful), interests and likability.  Remember – take in more than you give or listen more than you talk. 

you don't get to talk ever again

Finally, use the experience to find a mentor.  Is there someone in the organization who you’ve got along with and who you can ask for some career support?  Don’t be shy to request it; my experience is that most successful people want to feel needed and to help others succeed.  Most will be flattered.

 

1.  Don’t Forget Your Internship Doggie Bag 

Walking away empty-handed does nothing for your career.  Even if your internship experience seems unforgettable or was one you’d rather forget, you may need to refresh your memory later on and keeping a record can help.

memories and experience

Write down all of your accomplishments and the projects you work on.  Describe the purpose and guidelines of each project and your particular contribution.  Ask your supervisor if you can keep a copy of any projects you work on – brochures, reports, etc.  Remember, pictures are worth a thousand words, so allow your portfolio to do the talking for you by making sure to get a copy of anything you created or helped to create.  Worse comes to worse, snap a picture of it with your smartphone.  I always backed up anything that I worked on to my personal jump drive which guaranteed that I would have a copy for my portfolio. 

take a picture

Log in with a daily journal. Create a list of your daily tasks and chart your feelings about your work.  Which tasks did you like the most?  Which seemed the least interesting?  Reviewing the list later can help you make future career decisions. 

write it down

Lastly, definitely ask for recommendations and references at the end of the internship.  It shows a lot of maturity and professionalism to go to a boss or coworker and ask them in person, too! Just make sure you ask people with whom you’ve built strong professional relationships that will speak well of you.  And don’t give them a specific employer or person to write to; general recommendations will help you down the road when you’re applying for internships or jobs in the future.  Don’t forget to ask for copies of any performance reviews if the company is the type to do that sort of thing – these can serve as great additions to your portfolio and resume.

this is bad

If you have the moment where you ask for a reference or recommendation in your mind from the word ‘go’, it can shape how you approach the whole interning experience.  What would you want to see written about you at the end?  Depending on where you intern, that reference might be the only positive thing to come from your time.

So your internship didn’t end in a job offer.  That’s OK.  Don’t peace out on your last day and disappear into oblivion. 

deuces baby

Stay in touch with everyone with whom you developed a good relationship.  Send them an email periodically – don’t bombard them with emails, of course!  But it can’t hurt to let them know what you’re up to a few months down the line – or meet for lunch when time permits. Keep them updated on your progress and career progression.  Just because there’s no job today doesn’t mean one won’t be available tomorrow.  People hire people they know.  If they can’t hire you, they may know someone who can.

not coolAnd sure, these people may be able to help you out with a reference or a letter of recommendation — but don’t let that be the only reason you keep in touch.  These people spent weeks training you and teaching you valuable things and even if that matters nothing to you – they will see your ulterior motives and that is hurtful – to their feelings and to your job prospects. 

Keep in touch because otherwise you’ll be just another intern who did their thing or a few months and put in their time . . . and that was it.  Even if the whole experience was not the best by any means, keep in contact with people who played a major role in your internship.  They will become part of your professional network that may be helpful in the future of your career.

i've worked too hard


 There you have it, the top 20 Ways to NOT be #ThatIntern!

Thanks for joining me on this journey and if you missed any part of this series, you can always read it from the beginning by clicking here.

Feel free to pass this along to anyone that you know embarking on an internship adventure, thinking about it, or starting a new job.  These tips can even be helpful and serve as reminders to those of us who’ve been doing this longer than they would like to admit.


Parting Words of Wisdom:

If you’re an intern chances are that you’ve spent (or are going to spend) tons of time and money on an education.  Even if you’re not getting paid, it’s important to realize that actual work experience goes a long way to preparing you for your career.  Think of your internship as an investment in yourself, just like your education.  Even if you’re not getting the coolest work to do, try to make the best of it and offer insight where you can.  If you’re working a summer internship it’s easy to throw in the towel when things get tough.  But I’ll let you in on a secret to being happy in life:  Doing almost anything to relieve short-term stress is a sure way to lead an unhappy life.

stressville population me

A little work will go a long way in terms of furthering your experience. Summer internships are about gaining learning experiences that will help you to better define your career goals. When you feel like you’re going to fall asleep on a pile of Excel spreadsheets, remember, you get to put this on your résumé!  Make the most of it!  No internship is a waste of time, even if it feels like one. If you spend three months slaving away in a banking position before realizing that finance isn’t for you, that’s OK.

i wanna run a country one day for all i knowIn fact, that’s awesome, because it’s way better to try something as an intern and realize you hate it than to start a job in a field you don’t even know you hate yet.  And you never know, a small idea you pitch to your boss could end up making your summer a whole lot more exciting!

Every internship, no matter the industry, teaches you important life skills — teamwork, networking, how to operate a coffee machine — that will help you be that much better at whatever field you ultimately pursue.  It’s definitely great to know what you want to do with your life — but in many ways, it’s just as important to know what you DON’T want to do.

that's just excessiveFinally, remember, it’s a strategic error to do every activity with an eye to parlaying it into a permanent position.  And it’s an even worse error to keep asking the managing or hiring partner how likely it is that you will get a job at the end of the internship.  It’s true that many internships can lead to a permanent position, either at this firm or at a neighboring one.  However, that position usually doesn’t go to the candidate who has been mounting a summer-long campaign to get it (he or she is usually seen as overbearing and just downright annoying).



20 Ways to Not be #ThatIntern: Part III of IV

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20 Ways to NOT be #ThatIntern

Part III of IV

asleep at desk

Two months ago I began this four part series, 20 Ways to NOT to be #ThatIntern, in hopes to save #JournoInterns from making some of the damaging mistakes that i’ve seen over the years.  I also hoped to provide a little advice for achieving success along the way and please remember this advice is in no particular order – each number is as important as the others.  Before I delve into numbers 9 through 5, let’s have a quick review of what we’ve covered so far – numbers 20 through 15 and 14 through 10:

20.  Don’t Be Cocky

19.  Listen, Listen, Listen & then . . . listen some more

18.  Don’t be a Know It All

17.  Show Up

16.  Keep it to Yourself

15.  Don’t Play Politics 

14.  You’ve Got Time to Lean, You’ve Got Time to . .Clean

13.  Life Isn’t All Rainbows and Roses

12.  Ingenuity Goes A Long Way

11.  OMG – What Are You Wearing?

10.  Put It Away!


Now, onto Number. . . 

9.  Get Involved . . . But Don’t Get Wasted!

The best tip for interns is: get involved.  Join the office softball team, attend receptions, or join like-minded groups such as Society Professional Journalists, Student AdFed, Memphis AdFed, Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), Memphis Chapter of the Public Relation Society of America (PRSA), Association for Women in Communications, or attend Undercurrent events around town.

Many interns also get invited to various “outside-of-work” company activities. These events could be training sessions, lectures, company picnics, or, if you’re really lucky, company dinners and parties. By all means, go to these events!  Attending will not only give you a chance to learn more about the field within which you’re interning, but you will also make social contacts within the company and from the community.  Moving forward, these contacts could prove invaluable.  But don’t forget it’s also a professional environment.

At work get-togethers, socials, receptions, conventions, and/or conferences as well as at community events, please remember this key rule:

Don’t get drunk, just because the drinks are free!

who can say no to an open bar

I shouldn’t have to add anything to this, but it seems that I do.  Why?  Because at almost every event that I’ve attended in the past two years, I’ve seen at least two guests become #thatgirl, #thatwoman, or #thatguy and I was horrified each time.

Here’s a personal story to help put things into perspective:  

My best friend tagged along to a weeklong convention I was hosting in NYC and after one too many drink tickets were consumed, said best friend decided to tell the husband of a member on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit with which I was working at the time (no – I didn’t get fired and my leaving had nothing to do with this incident) that she hoped he ended up in a nursing home and that he was a war loving hate monger.  Did I mention he was a veteran?  This was in addition to some other choice words and phrases that I can’t bring myself to mention for fear of remembering the horror that I felt when I just happened to overhear their exchange on that fateful evening in March of 2009.  To this day, my best friend can’t remember exactly what she said but I do quite clearly.  I also know that she was my responsibility.  Thus, her actions reflected poorly on me and I was judged for them.  So . . . even though I was not the one who got drunk because the drinks were free, I learned a valuable lesson.

I chose this story because I felt that it would make the biggest impact, but I too have made the mistake of having one too many and speaking too loudly or gossiping when I should not have been.  However, nothing I have ever said was as extreme as the words of my BFF.

The lesson?  Do not be that person. Happily, the transgression did not kill my career or make it dead on arrival – but it could have done so easily.

drinking&crying-under-desk

A good rule of thumb is this:  If you are of legal drinking age, have one drink (one glass of wine, one beer, or one mixed drink).  Sip on it as you mingle with guests and co-workers.  Take your time.  This one drink should last you at least an hour and preferably, two.  If you absolutely must finish that drink before “time is called,” then have a soft drink or a sparkling water as your next beverage. 

Then, once you’ve finished that, and if the “party” is still going, allow yourself a second glass of wine or beer and make it last as long as possible.  Do not allow yourself more than 3 drinks during any single event, evening, reception, picnic, etc.

Mark my words and if you remember nothing else, please remember this:

You do not want to be that person as an intern, an employee, or a friend.  Be classy.  You can go get drunk another time or when the work function is over.  It won’t kill you to pay for your drinks, but it may kill your career not to! 

i'm a little drunk

As an aside:  Meet new friends and network, but don’t be the intern who shows up late or hungover for work the next day!

Also, be sensitive to cultural differences and religious beliefs that preclude some people from drinking.  If anyone says they would like sparkling water or a soft drink, respect them rather than teasing, cajoling or telling them they’re ‘no fun’. (For all you know, they’re in AA).

And as for handling the sight of your boss in shorts at a summer work event? Just get over it and be grateful for that glimpse of their humanity.

 

8.  Know Your Grammar.  You’re In College, Aren’t You?

friends grammar youre your

Details, details, details . . . The only people that need to pay attention to details are accountants, lawyers and physicians, right?  Wrong.  If you are looking to land a job at ANY company or organization, being detail oriented is not only an asset, it’s a necessity. 

First and foremost, clients and companies demand high-quality services, about 80 percent of which involve some type of writing or presentation creation.  If you hand over a PowerPoint presentation with grammatical errors, informal tone or worse yet, incorrect information, not only will you not get high marks for performance, but the company’s reputation will suffer as well.  Not cool.  After all, if a organization can’t trust you to spell, why should they trust you with their business?

grammar oistnb

It may seem obvious, but check your work, check your work, and then, check your work again.  Don’t forget to use the spell-check and the grammar check!  These may seem basic, but they are classic intern mistakes.  Many members of the Millennial generation are used to updating statuses and creating online postings, where they believe that grammar isn’t critical.  However, it is essential that all of your work is extremely professional!  And honestly, it’s critical that your statuses and online posts contain correct grammar and are spelled correctly, as well!

“Quite frankly, there is no excuse for misspelled words, even in BlackBerry messages. It’s just lazy,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.

“Spell check is available to everyone. Words that are incorrectly spelled or abbreviations often are difficult to decipher [and] can slow down the reading rather than speed it up. It may be more efficient for the sender, but it presents bigger challenges for the individual who has to translate the cryptic language for meaning.”

justin beiber if i was:were

Secondly, perception is everything. It may sound trite and old-fashioned, but it really is true. Providing work that is spelled correctly, formatted consistently, and addresses the audience accurately will enable you to stand out from the competition and position yourself as a professional that can be counted on for quality work.

Businesses have high standards and if you have a grammatical error in your resume, cover letter, or work assignment or have misspelled something in an e-mail, your name will likely get pushed to the bottom of the pile to never be thought about again!  Plain and simple:  paying attention to details makes you look good and one little mistake in spelling or grammar can ruin an entire resume, cover letter, or presentation.

taystee you'reIn this competitive job market making the right first impression is crucial for students, graduates, and interns.  “If the job you’re applying for doesn’t require that you have killer writing skills, it doesn’t mean spelling errors will fly in your résumé or cover letter,” says Barbara Roche, lecturer at The Wharton School.

“Job candidates do themselves no favors when they claim to have an attention to detail and then spell it ‘atention to detail,'” she says. “Most hiring authorities see typos and spelling errors as an indication of a candidate’s performance on the job: low quality and not caring about the impression they make on others.”

A 2011 survey conducted by Learndirect showed that 40% of jobseekers say poor spelling is the area they have been criticized for the most in previous jobs, whilst 56% of employers rate proficiency in English as a top priority when recruiting.

Interns can help their job-hunting efforts by focusing on their spelling and grammar in applications.  At a time when one in every 11 young people (aged 18-24) is currently out of work, good spelling and grammar have never been more important in improving job prospects.

Sheldon comma part 1sheldon comma part 2

Graduate Advantage (UK) has identified the top mistakes being made by British graduates on CVs and application forms (and American graduates are no different):

  • Lower case i instead of I, when describing yourself
  • There and their are interchanged
  • Commonly misspelled words which include: internship, receive, university, and business
  • Misuse of commas, colons, and semi-colons
  • Text talk and definitely no LOL as well as emoticons

It’s easy for an intern to quickly do a task to get it done, But it’s imperative that you double-check your work before submitting it to the boss, since even small errors will make you seem sloppy.

misspelling

Interns often get tasked with editing copy or other documents and it’s really a straightforward task.  Find whatever is in red, fix the existing document, highlight what you did it, and move on to the next mark-up.  Although this process is super simple, it’s often seen as menial and interns tend to zip through red marks at light speed only to return the documents with errors that were already supposed to have been fixed.  As an intern, you should make sure that you’re acing what you may consider to be menial tasks.  You need to build trust with your employer and you do that by being consistent and accurate.

yep all fine proofread

“Everyone’s entitled to an occasional mistake once you’re on the job. Not that anyone among us is perfect,” Cohen reminds. “The goal is to demonstrate that at least for the purposes of job search that we care enough about the job and our candidacy to pay attention to the details. Although a typo is inevitable even for the most diligent among us, sloppiness at the start usually means the potential for carelessness later on. That’s not an acceptable standard for anyone in job search in a highly competitive market.”

Don’t forget that saving your work is obviously important too!  You won’t believe how many times interns have lost documents in the ethers of the internet computer-web.

 

7.  You’re Only as Professional as Your Email. 

Many people who use email for business communications fail to realize there is a big difference between using it in that context and to communicate with friends and family.  Correspondence of this type should be professional in nature, yet it is often impolite, too casual, and filled with errors.  This leaves a bad impression on recipients which may include your boss, colleagues, clients, or prospective employers.

zoe hart computer-gif

“A work email shouldn’t be written like you are texting your best friend, but many interns tend to forget that,” says Morris Rishty, CEO of REAL Underwear. As an intern, it’s especially important that you always proofread your emails at least three times before hitting send. “A poorly written email can show the boss that you have little interest in the position and aren’t taking the job seriously.”

Make sure your spelling is correct and use your spell checker, but be careful to not rely on it too heavily as it cannot think for you and differentiate between Its and it’s, two, too, and too, or you’re and your.  If you know that grammar and spelling are not your strong suits, then maybe it would be advantageous of you to copy the email text and paste it into Word (or Pages) in order to use the grammar checker.  The grammar and spell check when used together can catch more than either one used alone.  Once you are satisfied with your email, paste it back into the email program and read it again– just to be sure that nothing “messed up” during the exchange.   

If you don’t know how to spell a word, please don’t just guess.  You don’t even have to use a dictionary these days, although knowing how to do that quickly would be helpful.

05-default-dashboard-widgets

Apple dashboard Dictionary search for the term “widget”

On a Mac, you simply press the “fn” key located in the bottom left of your keyboard and the “F12” button, located on the top row, second from the right.  This brings up your dashboard where Apple has conveniently placed a Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Encyclopedia combo app called a “widget.”  Simply type the word into the search box and choose where you would like to search in the left-hand drop down menu.  It’s as easy as that.

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 4.07.36 PM

Google search for “prefesionalizm” returns with the correct spelling of the term “professionalism”

If you’re not using a Mac or it using the internet is easier for you, simply type the word into the Google search bar and hit enter.  Google will bring up a webpage where it will ask you if you meant _______.  There, Google will provide you with the correct spelling of the word.

I hope that by now that I don’t have to explain why you shouldn’t write your message in all caps or in all lower cases letters.  Use “Title Case” as if you were writing a term paper.  Although, I’ve seen several papers from students who didn’t use Title Case when writing those, either.

Seriously?!?  C’mon people – I can’t help you if you don’t help yourself!  Be smart.  For heaven sakes, you’re in in college, aren’t you?  How did you make it this far without basic knowledge of do’s and don’ts?

Next, watch your tone, mind your manners, and be concise. How many times did your parent’s remind you to say please and thank you?  Or to not “use that tone of voice” when addressing them? Or to “get to the point”?  Communication in the professional world is no different. 

In order to mind your manners, remember that many people are offended if strangers address them by their first names.  When in doubt, use Mr., Mrs., or Dr. (if appropriate).  When you are replying to an email and the sender of the original message has used his or her first name only, then you could safely assume that’s it’s okay to use that person’s first name as well. 

Your feelings come across by the way you say something and this defines the “tone” of your communication.  It’s often easier to change your tone when you’re speaking.  Although, I personally find it much more difficult.  It seems that I am constantly making “that face on the outside” or finding that my tone shows exactly how I am feeling even when I am trying to hide it.  However, this is uncommon for most people and they tend to struggle with “watching their tone” when writing. 

The problem is that the tone of text is largely dependent on the person reading it.  However, it doesn’t always have to be.  The way you craft your sentences guides people on how to read what you’re trying to say.  If your sentences are sharp and frank then people will assume you’re communicating in a gruff and blunt manner. Take a bit of extra time to write full, descriptive sentences so people won’t think you’re being a jerk.

check ya email

Whenever I write an email, I read my message several times before I hit send.  I want to make sure that I come across as respectful, friendly, and approachable, yet professional.  I certainly don’t want to sound curt or demanding and I have found that sometimes, simply rearranging paragraphs will help.

Email writers often use emoticons or emoji to convey a certain feeling such as happy, sad, confused, or excited.  Use good judgement here. You may think it’s cute and helps denote the tone of your words, but 44% of people believe it’s wildly unprofessional to put smiley faces in business emails.  If you write to someone frequently and you have a less formal relationship, them emoticons may be okay.  However, if you’re writing to a prospective employer or to someone with whom you’ve never spoken, stick to words only!

Since nearly 50% disapprove of the use of emoticons, that means you essentially have a 50/50 shot at sending a smiley to someone who won’t appreciate it.  I’d say that unless you have a former relationship with someone at your internship, you should stay away from emoticons, period.  This goes for anyone within your work environment, unless you’re replying to an email in which they have used a smiley face first.

modern family emoticon

When composing an email, you should be as brief as possible while still making sure to include all the pertinent information.  Most employers receive a substantial amount of emails each day and don’t have a lot of time to spend on each one.  If you want your recipient to pay attention to your message, make sure to get to the point as quickly as possible.

keep on keepin on Veronica mars

In fact, I’ve found that some like for the “point” of the message to be clearly stated in the subject line, repeated in the body, and followed by the supporting information in a (professionally written) bullet point format.

While we are on the topic of conciseness, let’s address abbreviations.  Just. Don’t. Use. Them!  Period.  End. of. Story!

anderson cooper shakes head no

I know that many members of the Millennial generation find it acceptable to use abbreviations for any word two or more letters in length.  Some examples are: UR, instead of your, 2 instead of to, or too, and plz and thx instead of please and thanks.  Truth be told, it actually caused me great pain to type that list.  I cannot stand abbreviated text messages and if I were to receive an email from an intern that contained anything similar to the above examples, I would be furious.  Not to mention the fact that I would instantly lose respect for that intern and begin to question their competence.  I’m serious, you guys (and no, i’m not old and yes, I text quite often).

barney-texting-gif-confused-name-forgot

Some experts agree that spelling has gotten worse with each new generation of job seekers, especially with the increased amount of texting and abbreviations younger folks tend to use. While running an internship program at Penn State, Roche ran into this problem often.

“It’s a real problem. College juniors and seniors simply have no awareness that they write in slang and shorthand in all instances until it is pointed out to them. They seem to split into two groups: those that are grateful to receive the feedback and remedy the situation. And those that give you the ‘thousand-yard stare’ as if to say, ‘So?'” Roche says. “This is how stark the difference can be: ‘Please accept the enclosed résumé for the entry-level administrator position’ and ‘Dude, hook me up.'”

speak english

The advents of social media and forums where you only have 140 characters to express yourself aren’t doing spelling-challenged job seekers any favors either, says Cohen.

“Social media has given a lot of people carte blanche to abuse spelling and grammar. In a world of tweets and texts, there’s no room for padding,” he says. “Words and sentences shrink to symbols and acronyms and have almost become a new language. Think: BFF or LOL.”

Finally, use a professional email address for crying out loud.  Your email address actually says a lot about who you are.  Are you a sexytridelt@isp.com, a kegpartykappa@isp.com, a catlady13@isp.com, a discgolfpro@isp.com, a milfmaster@isp.com, or an anarchistatheart@isp.com? Maybe.  But do you really want a prospective employer or boss to think so? 

really?!

Also, many interns won’t be given a company email (sometimes, yes but sometimes, no) and it wouldn’t hurt to have a dedicated email account for work correspondence.  This way you can keep all of your work, school, and personal emails separate from one another and lessen the likelihood of missing something important.  Nowadays, you can easily get a free account with a more formal address for this purpose.  Consider using your first Initial and last name (with only the day of your birth added on to the end, if you have a common name), your full first and last name separated by a period, or your initials and day of birth.  These are much more professional options and are also easier for people to remember.

A Few Tips: 

  • Always remember to return calls, emails, and texts within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Don’t hit “reply-all” to a company-wide email if you’re responding to one person. That’s a sure-fire way to annoy people right off the bat.
  • Definitely don’t ‘accidentally’ publish a funny dog video to your company’s YouTube account or accidentally get sexy with the entire office.

What you say?  Yes, all Melanie Anderson wanted to do was alert her co-workers that the lunch truck had arrived. Instead, she ended up forwarding intimate emails with her fiancé (who also worked at the Scotland-based oil services firm) to 89 of their co-workers.

fargo gettin sexy

This bit of unintended intra-office exhibitionism occurred due to the most innocent of errors. When Ms. Anderson alerted her co-workers to the fact that the “Sandwich van is here,” she pasted it over an email response to her fiancé and CC’d the rest of the office.  Unfortunately, she had forgotten that during the email conversation with her fiancé there was some intimate talk such as “I loved our s****** last night…it was ace.” (Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what that seven-letter “s-word” is, but apparently it’s something in Scottish slang that the Daily Mail felt the need to give the asterisk treatment to).

As I’m sure you can predict, the email found its way outside of the company and became a viral sensation with its own associated hashtag: #sandwichvan.  Ms. Anderson and her fiancé both later resigned from their positions out of complete and utter embarrassment.

Do remember that you are in a professional setting, and you will be treated as a professional. It is expected that you behave professionally at all times throughout your internship, even when it comes to email.

Overall moral of the email story?  Don’t be the guy that send his professor an email in the video below.  Ever.

 

6.  Prove Yourself.

When you come in as an intern, you’ll have to prove yourself in the work world.  To show that you pay attention to detail, follow instructions, and care about quality, do a great job even when you’re handed boring tasks.  There are several simple ways in which you can show your employer that you’re to be trusted and then eventually, someone may let you try something more interesting.

let's do this

First, cling to a Pen and a Notebook and make sure you write things down.  Seriously, write down everything.  It not only avoids annoying your boss by going to him/her again for the points you missed or forgot, but will help a lot when you start working.  An intern who carries a pen and a notebook with them is way more trustworthy than one who comes alone.

When your supervisor is explaining something they want you to work on, it’s easy to get caught up in just nodding your head and saying you understand.  But then, when you get back to your desk, you have no idea what you’re supposed to be doing and you realize that you were totally wondering if you set your DVR for Scandal while your boss was explaining your task.

nodding

That’s why writing everything down is the way to go.  Instead of mindlessly nodding your head, you’re writing down every word, that way when they ask if you understand, you can either say “Yes, I do,” or “No, I have this one question about this (pointing to your notes).”  I’ve had supervisors comment on how much they like that I write things down because it shows them that I care about what I’m doing.  Truth be told, it’s usually on an array of sticky notes that will soon cover my desk but the fact that I write it down at all, puts people at ease.  

i wasn't listening lego

It gives your employer the same feeling you get when you go out to eat and your server actually writes down your complicated order filled with substitutions.  He or she may be able to memorize it with no problem but you are more comfortable that it will arrive just the way you ordered it because they wrote it down.

Secondly, demonstrate your desire to learn new things and show that you are mentally present.  One of the best ways to make yourself liked at your internship is to always show enthusiasm and commitment to the job.  Sure, you’ll see colleagues who are bummed out and who, after many years at their jobs, don’t seem to be enjoying the work.  However, you’re not one of them! 

rise to new heights as high as the next supreme

Presumably, you’ve picked your internship because you are interested in the field and eager to move ahead in it.  Communicate while on the job.  You can do this by displaying passion in your work and even if it is just a data-entry assignment, you can still be creative in structuring the data in a way that helps the management.  Your work will not go unnoticed.  It may seem that way at the time but trust me, people notice even if they say nothing.

The golden rule for interns is to always ask: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”  Whenever you see an opportunity to help others, don’t hesitate to lend a helping hand. Research shows that workers who help others are actually happier with their jobs and not only that, but it also boosts morale in the work-place.

i volunteer

It puts forth a good image in the office when you seem eager to work and take on new challenges.  Don’t be shy.  Going to work and going home isn’t the way to be memorable.  If you have something to contribute to a discussion, chime in during a meeting (but don’t interrupt and don’t be pushy).  The best interns are individuals who are go-getters and don’t wait around for their boss to give them more assignments.  Valuable interns ask for new projects and volunteer to help others.  Showing initiative is also the good way to show your manager and coworkers your value.  You’re not expected to know everything, but surely you have something of value to offer the company.

headphone work

Even if you are quietly working on an independent project, don’t put headphones on at work. It is pretty unprofessional and as an intern, you don’t want to seem closed off to the environment and conversations around you.  Plus, do you ever see the CEO wearing headphones?  I didn’t think so.

Also, don’t ever do your homework while at your internship! I don’t care how much homework you have to do when you get home, do not do your homework at work and especially don’t do it on a company computer.  Why bother with an internship if you’re just going to do schoolwork?  This is a learning opportunity.  So be present and learn!

There have been plenty of times that I got up in the morning, went straight to work, then straight to class, and then worked on various projects, homework, and household duties until 6am.

fresh hell

I’m not saying that you should expect to have my schedule, but it’s not your company’s fault that you’re swamped with homework and you shouldn’t waste company time by doing homework on the clock.

You made it this far, didn’t you? If you can brand yourself as a contributor and a problem-solver, you’ll become a go-to member of the team.

 

5.  Smile & Be Nice!

That seems simple enough, right?  Apparently, wrong.  You’d be surprised how many times i’ve seen the grumpy, frumpy, annoyed, pissy, scowling, disinterested, and down-right unfriendly intern and/or employee.  It’s quite shocking. 

waitertypes_hate

I’ve always found that the best way to make time at work go more quickly, is to enjoy yourself while you are there.  This advice works for almost anything actually. 

I used it just the other day at the grocery store and trust me, the grocery stores in Memphis try my patience every single time I go.  But, I just smile and say hello to those with whom I happen to make eye contact or offer a polite excuse me while moving past the mother and her 5 kids standing right in the middle of an aisle. When I employ these tactics, I feel much less like hibernating or embarking on a killing spree.  So…

cat machine gun

Be the person who smiles, says hello, and introduces him/herself to everybody at work.  Don’t be the person who detonates his/her lunch in the microwave and doesn’t clean it up because that is a sure fire way to make it harder on other employees to employ the smile and be nice tactic. 

jennifer lawrence microwave

Most times, you make your reputation on first impressions, especially if you’re only at the internship for a short time, such as one semester or during the summer months.  So make sure that everyone’s associations with you are positive.  It makes a big difference if you leave a general impression around the office that you are a good person to work with.

screaming internally

Be polite to everyone you encounter especially those who are there to help you. Make friends with the receptionists, drivers, and custodial staff you meet.  They are some of the nicest people!  Get along with others.  Be pleasant and courteous to everyone and try to get along with the other interns.  Ask people how they’re doing.  Make smalltalk.  Don’t be a robot.  Don’t leave the printer jammed.  If you jam up the printer at work, use all the ink, and leave it without any paper, people in the office are not going to like you very much.  Either fix it yourself or find someone who can help. You don’t want to make a bad impression with your lack-luster printer etiquette.  This isn’t rocket science, guys.

paper jam

Be flexible.  This is one of the strongest characteristics that an intern can have.  Everyone likes to work with someone who is nice, flexible, and easy to work with.  It’s one of those traits that can get the internship turned into a job, but It’s not a substitute for good performance though. You must perform well and be nice at the same time.

Be at ease.  I know it is easier said than done, but when you are tensed, out of place, or under-confident–your work, and your relationships at the work-place, suffers.  You have to gather yourself and portray a picture of the happy + confident you.  If the work-place makes you uncomfortable for some reason, try to get over it and start with the basics of smiling, and saying hello. 

calm down

Be positive.  Your attitude is everything during your internship.  Even if you’re under stress, do your best to have a positive attitude.  You will encounter challenges during your internship, but if you approach them in a positive way, it’ll be easier to conquer those roadblocks.

During your internship, allow your manager and coworkers to see the real you.  Let your character shine through and don’t be so focused on being perfect all the time.  In fact, you should allow your character and personality to blend into the work you do.  A big part of your internship is based on the relationships you make, so don’t be afraid to be yourself.  Unless you’re a serial killer, a sociopath, an obnoxious and rude person, or anything similar–then you should probably hide those qualities away while at work.  I’m just sayin’.

dexter creepy smileWhich brings me to how you should learn to . . . Distinguish between polite- friendly, hey-I’m-your-buddy-friendly, and I’ll-lick-your-feet-friendly.  Once you are at ease with yourself, remember to not go overboard.  Don’t entertain the idea of sucking up to someone, you might think that by being extra sweet, you will earn points but in actuality, you’ll earn an impression of being a total cling-on case.

he wanted to lick my face

At the same time, don’t let the idea of being bestest pals take over.  Just because you don’t need to be a neurotic edgy intern, you are not going to treat your boss like your best friend.

The idea is that you don’t need to make your boss the next superman or your total BFF.  Be polite and friendly but remember that they are your boss.  There is a very thin line between all three attitudes you might exude in your behavior, and you should learn to distinguish.  And don’t try a poker face.  Expressionless faces are simply annoying and kind of creepy.  Also don’t try the lost puppy face–nobody is interested in knowing the story behind your longing.  Just Smile. Be positive.  There is nothing more to it.

thank you very much sirLastly, talk to your manager about what you’re getting out of your internship, and thank them for giving you the opportunity to work there.  We all love hearing the occasional expression of appreciation, so don’t be shy about offering it.  A simple expression of gratitude may even put you ahead of the pack and no matter what type of setting you’re working in, everyone loves a happy, enthusiastic, young college intern. If they like you as a person, they’re more likely to ask you back or recommend you!


That’s all for this month’s edition and the end is near!

Stay tuned for #4 through #1.

Come back next month to learn the final 4 Ways to NOT be #ThatIntern.


20 Ways to Not be #ThatIntern: Part II of IV

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20 Ways to NOT be #ThatIntern

Part II of IV

asleep at desk

Last month I began this four part series, 20 Ways to NOT to be #ThatIntern, in hopes to save #JournoInterns from making some of the damaging mistakes that i’ve seen over the years.  I also hoped to provide a little advice for achieving success along the way.  Before I delve into numbers 14 through 10, let’s have a quick review of where this all began – numbers 20 through 15:

20.  Don’t Be Cocky

19.  Listen, Listen, Listen & then….listen some more

18.  Don’t be a Know It All

17.  Show Up

16.  Keep it to Yourself

15.  Don’t Play Politics   


Now, onto Number….

14.  You’ve Got Time to Lean, You’ve Got Time to….Clean

Most internships start slow and build up.  Not all companies have a structured training program or welcome receptions for new interns — so be ready to roll up your sleeves and find opportunities to contribute.

Also don’t say NO to mundane tasks.  You weren’t provided the opportunity to learn to be able to say “no.”  Staff have to do these tasks with or without you. Think having a bachelor’s in journalism, international affairs, marketing, public administration, or business qualifies you to lick envelopes?  No, but having a tongue does.

cat lickin envelope

Your main objective should be to make yourself invaluable or at least make your co-workers’ work lives a little better.  You might be overqualified for most things you do, but do it like your job depends on it.  Once you’ve proven yourself worthy on the crap tasks, offer to do some other things that your co-workers might not want to do or have the time to do, such as cover a court case, write a letter, or research new membership software.  They’ll be grateful and you will endear yourself to them.  Many times the invaluable intern gets offered a job.

Whatever your work is — filing papers, making copies, picking up Starbucks or something (hopefully) more substantial — do it efficiently and do it well. Your work, no matter how trivial it may seem to you, is important and much-needed.

One of the biggest mistakes I see interns make is that they sometimes don’t take advantage of the opportunities sitting right in front of them.  If you sit back and wait for something to happen, nothing will.  You need to be proactive, by making the most of your internship to get the most out of it.

I know how hard it is to wake up (trust me – I’m not a morning person), commute, and jump right into doing something as boring as filing, making copies, or whatever diminutive task your boss might ask you to do, but it’s better than your boss realizing that you’re sitting at your desk twiddling your thumbs or hiding in the bathroom using your phone.  Don’t worry, we will get to the phone in a minute.

If you have one of those internships that doesn’t have anything for you to do, then make work for yourself.  Read up on industry trends, organize the office supply room, or familiarize yourself with the company’s current projects.  Volunteer to do something you think is needed, help a coworker, or ask for more responsibilities.  There’s always something to do, I promise. 

You could even volunteer yourself to do something that doesn’t look all that enticing, like cleaning the kitchen or fixing-up that messy closet — so that when an assignment finally does come along, you’re fully prepared to tackle it.  Also – everyone will be super excited if they can now locate a pen with ease in the supply room!

Your supervisor is likely busy and won’t be able to give you tasks for every second of the day.  Sitting around and waiting for them to give you something to do isn’t a good habit to get into.

Still at a loss for something to do?  Show that you’re taking initiative by coming up with an idea and pitching it to your boss, if he/she hasn’t given you an assignment!  Always show your willingness to put in the extra work.

 

13.  Life Isn’t all Rainbows & Roses!

Wahh wahh wahh.  Whining is not an acceptable response to any request, no matter how annoying it may be.  Complete all your work with a smile, even if you’re screaming on the inside.  Remember, it’s an opportunity — not a chore. 

Cleaning out a supply closet, creating an endless stream of spreadsheets, following directions from an impolite superior, designing a brochure in a way you feel isn’t the best, or answering phones isn’t always fun.  We know that.  We get it. 

Unfortunately, this is the way the real world works.  Most of the time it isn’t fun.  We don’t all get to work at Disney World and even then, I bet those employees still face the same issues that you have.  Life isn’t fair.  It isn’t full of rainbows and roses and you are not a special little snowflake. 

You are there to learn about a certain industry and you can decide after the internship if that particular environment is right for you but while there, you work.  You make a good impression.  You smile.  You do your job.  You do not complain or whine.  You certainly, do not complain audibly, while at work!

One thing you’ll need to learn quickly when you start working with other professionals is to not take things personally.  Just because there was a mistake on something you did doesn’t mean the person who’s calling it out hates you.

Constructive criticism is all part of the learning process, and not everyone will be polite about it.  Don’t tolerate bullying or disrespect, but do grow a thick skin — that way you’ll learn from your mistakes instead of repeating them.

You’ll get better at this over time as you develop a tougher skin.  If someone tells you something that upsets you, do your best to hold it together until you’re alone.  Crying in front of your coworkers is a sure way to show you can’t handle stressful situations.  Never let them see you cry.  Repeat this with me:  Never let them see you cry!

 

12.  Ingenuity Goes a Long Way! 

It’s a given you’ll have questions in your new role, but instead of bombarding your boss every 15 minutes, first take a moment to think about whether there’s any way you can find the answers on your own.  Many employers are massive fans of throwing interns in at the deep end in order to see if they sink or swim on their own.  This doesn’t mean they are rooting against you.  They are merely testing your ingenuity and fortitude.

Google was created for a reason!  It has almost all the answers to all the questions and the how toe that will save you from feeling and looking like an idiot in front of your boss, if you were to ask him/her. 

If Google doesn’t have the answer, turn to a friend or call your parents.  I’m telling you, one of these three valuable sources will have an answer that will make you look like you’ve got yourself together.

Try to figure it out for yourself and I mean, really try.  Spend more than five minutes.  Use those investigative skills you developed stalking your ex or figuring out how much a trip to the beach on spring break would cost per person, per room,per day if you left at X time instead of Y time.  You get my point.

Put a little effort into this and you’ll be glad you did.  It not only makes you look good when you find the answer but it makes you feel good knowing that you did it on your own.  At least it should.  If it doesn’t, then you may want to think about asking yourself if you’ve taken too many of the easy way outs in your life. 

After researching on your own, if there are still some questions you simply couldn’t get answers for, create a list to bring in to your boss.  This will show your ability to problem solve and that you’re sensitive of their time.

If the requirements of a task or project aren’t clear, ask for more details at the time the project is given to you. 

If the task is deliberately open-ended in order to give you a chance to learn and show initiative, make sure you have all the information and resources you need before starting, and don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice, if it is truly needed.  Don’t pretend you know something you don’t when an important task is on the line. 

Generally, when you are assigned any task- you are working under a time constraint.  You can’t afford to mess up the work by assuming things or misinterpreting the instructions given.  If you don’t understand the task you’re being assigned, ask for clarity rather than blunder on and risk disaster.

Accept that you may make mistakes and own up to them.  It’s ok.  We all do things wrong sometimes. But red marks are dispensed when you discover that an intern didn’t ask for help and tried to cover their tracks after screwing up.  Don’t lie.  Own it.  Trust me – honesty goes a long way too.

i messed upJust remember:  Ask for clarification of the project in the beginning if you don’t understand the instructions completely.  However, if you run into something that you think could be answered by using your old friend Señor Google – try it before asking for help.

 

11.  OMG – What Are You Wearing?

Many times, interns are sent home because of what they’re wearing.  Be cautious of what you’re wearing.  You’ve heard it before — dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Dressing like you’re going to the nightclub in the morning is a no-no. Would you wear that outfit to church? Didn’t think so… leave it for Saturday night out.

While some offices celebrate Casual Summer or Casual Friday, interns still need to dress professionally, especially if they’re going to be interacting with clients and high-level staff.

The way that you dress is a reflection of how you perceive the company you’re working for.  Even if the place you work at is really laid back, showing up in tattered jeans and slippers isn’t acceptable.

And please… watch how much skin you show (men or women). 

Guys:

  • Wear an solid white shirt underneath your dress shirt.  The entire office doesn’t want to see the logo from your last frat party or those “Must be this tall to ride” type slogans that your peers might find funny. 
  • Make sure you wear socks with your loafers or boat shoes.  I know that the sock-less look is fashionable these days.  In fact, I recently instructed my significant other to leave off the socks. However, he was not going to work nor was he an intern.  Just put on socks!  And Hipsters, those socks better not have pictures on them!
  • Don’t forget the razor. No-Shave November?  Not for you!  If you had a beard or goatee when you were hired, then by all means keep it.  Just keep it under control.  No one wants the intern who reminds them of the Unabomber or Grizzly Adams!  If you were hired with a clean-shaven look – maintain it throughout your internship.
  • Invest in an iron or budget for a weekly visit to the dry cleaners.  You do not want to show up in a wrinkled shirt or khakis.  Period.
  • No hats of any kind.  That includes ball caps, fedoras, sombreros, stocking caps, bandanas, and the like.  You would think this would be a given.  Unfortunately, it isn’t. 
  • Everyday is a shower day!  Everyday is a day for deodorant.  Use a brush, every day.  Again – unfortunately this is not a given.  You wouldn’t believe the stories I could tell.  Don’t be one of those stories.  #smellyintern, #lazyintern, #hungoverintern are not hashtags of admiration. 

Ladies:

  • Check the length of your skirt before you leave the house by bending over and petting your napping pup or touching your toes.  If you don’t think your father would approve of the “behind” view, then either put on a pair of leggings or change outfits. 
  • A good rule of thumb is to make sure that when your arms are held at your side, the skirt is at least in inch longer than your fingertips.  In most cases, this is accurate and acceptable.  However, some people have long legs and short arms.  If you are one of them and still aren’t sure about the length of your skirt – change it. 
  • You are going to want to learn the art of wearing a tank top underneath your shirt if you are used to wearing low cut blouses or button-up shirts that don’t quite button around the chest area.  This is a problem many of us have.  Those all-important third and fourth buttons strain to break free and sometimes we can get away with just leaving them unbuttoned.  Don’t try this at your internship.  Put a tank under it and voila – tacky to work-trendy. 
  • No skin tight clothes.  I don’t care how cute it is or if its the latest fashion.  Save it.  This goes for jeans, pants, skirts, and shirts!
  • Invest in cute cardigans.  These are lifesavers for fashionable women, especially during the summer.  Take those cute summer dresses – you know, the ones with the spaghetti straps – and put a cardigan over it.  This instantly gives you twice the number of potential work appropriate outfits without spending a ton of money AND you can easily lose the cardigan on the hot drive home or when you meet your friends for happy hour!
  • Keep the makeup and accessories to a minimum or at least keep them modest.  Don’t rock the full-on glam eyeshadow at work and save the 3inch dangle earrings for going out with your friends.  Remember – keep it professional.  Unless of course, you are interning in the fashion world.  Then – throw out everything I have said and glam it up!
  • Wear a bra.  No – the shelf bra in that tank top doesn’t count nor does scotch tapes on your tatas!  Enough said and I really shouldn’t have had to say that much!

Many companies – especially in the south – are still run by older generations of men who think certain ways about clothing and styles.  You may disagree but as long as you need a paycheck, or in this case an internship, and they are offering you one, dress the way they would want you to dress.

That said, don’t rock a full-on suit and tie if everyone in your office is wearing jeans. On your first day of work, dress on the conservative side. Then check out what your coworkers are wearing and use that standard to judge the rest of your outfits.

You don’t have to wear your Sunday’s best if that’s not the culture of your workplace, but you should be mirroring the best dressed employees in the company.

If your closet is filled with tank tops, low cut shirts, flip flops, micro-minis, frat/sorority tees, hipster jeans, distressed jeans, 4 inch heels, yoga pants, sweatshirts, and a whole lot of “i’m in my 20s” clothing then tell mom to send you money, and visit one of the many clothing stores around town or raid a friend’s closet until you can make enough money to purchase some key pieces for your internship.

No shorts, no flip-flips. Pretend it’s a real job, even if it isn’t. Yet.

 

10.  Put It Away

In last month’s edition of 20 Ways to Not be #ThatIntern, Number 16, Keep it to Yourself – Online and Off, talked about the importance of Social Media and how it is certainly used in everyday life.  How a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn account will help you build your online presence, but that it could hurt you in the real world.  We advised you to remember that what you put online will be exposed to everyone, so be sure to ask yourself if it would be a good idea to put whatever it may be online and for the love of kittens – how you should under no circumstances post any potentially questionable pictures.

What we didn’t mention is this: 

STAY OFF YOUR SMARTPHONE AT WORK! 

These days everyone is glued to their smartphones.  There’s nothing more annoying than a smartphone that’s always going off in the workplace.  Make sure your phone is on silent (that means vibrate is off too).  Keep your phone in your pocket until there’s an acceptable time to check it.  Try to limit yourself to a few times a day.

Yes, occasionally checking your Facebook feed is fine – ONLY if you have taken care of everything you were tasked to do or if your superior is in the bathroom.  However, if they are in your office – Don’t even think about touching that phone to answer a text, check your news feed or send a SnapChat. 

Your employer doesn’t care that everyone is doing it.  Even I, an avid face-booker, text-er, and all-around social media maniac, gets perturbed when someone is always looking at their phone.  Especially when they have work they could be doing.  See Number 14 if you think there isn’t anything for you to do.

Don’t make personal calls. Don’t text. Don’t surf the web. In fact, you should just put your phone away during the workday so you’re not tempted to use it if you have problems with limitations.

Also, don’t let your co-workers catch you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The only exception here is if you’re doing it for work and trust me – your co-workers and your boss can usually tell the difference between personal and work related social media. You don’t want to look like a slacker.  Which brings me to my next point… which you can read in next month’s edition of 20 Ways to NOT Be #ThatIntern


That’s all for this month’s edition.

Stay tuned for #9 through #5.

Come back next month to learn 5 more ways to NOT be #ThatIntern.


20 Ways to Not be #ThatIntern: Part I of IV

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by Four-Time Former #JournoIntern

– Robin Spielberger

I know you all are wondering why I, Robin Spielberger, member of the Fall 2014 #JournoIntern class and current University of Memphis Graduate student, feel qualified to share copious amounts of advice with you about how to not be “that Intern.”  So let me give you a little bit of insight into my background.

It is true, I am graduating this December with my Master’s in Political Public Relations and worked part-time for the Tennessee Firearms Association over the summer under the self-inflicted title of #intern.  However, this isn’t my first time entering the job market or even holding an advanced titled position.

I returned to graduate school after 10 years of working my way “up the ladder” and holding positions such as Assistant Executive Director, Director of Special Events and Public Relations, Co-General Manager, Director of Marketing and Communications, Assistant Director of the Hank Aaron Celebrity Sports Weekend, Assistant Director of Production, Campaign Manager, 2012 TN and MS Field Representative, and Youth Leadership Director.

Early in my professional career and before ever obtaining my undergraduate degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising from the University of Memphis, I was lucky enough to have received paid internships at Thompson & Co. Ad Agency (acquired by CS2 Advertising in 2011 after Michael Thompson Sr. retired – read news story here), Southern Stores, Inc. (was once one of the largest Blockbuster Video franchise groups), and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill – Memphis.

Currently, I am a consultant for several liberty organizations and am working full-time for the Tennessee Firearms Association, with a few interns of my own.

That being said, let me potentially save you #JournoInterns from making some of the damaging mistakes that i’ve seen over the years and hopefully, provide a little advice for success along the way.  You ready?  Here we go.


 

20 Ways to NOT be #ThatIntern

Part I of IV

asleep at desk


20.  Don’t Be Cocky

You’re not too good for administrative tasks and you’re there to learn about many aspects of the company or organization. I’ve spoken to many managers who say that their interns seem too proud to do what is asked of them.  Entitled

The students who seem to think they are too good to do menial type work don’t get ahead.  Sure, there are CEOs who don’t have a clue how to use Excel or how to Tweet but they probably started out building their career before there was such a thing as Microsoft Word or Twitter.

Know that some tasks may be a test and even if your first task doesn’t seem to be worthy of your talent or potential, jump right in and show enthusiasm.

i don't work for free gif

Many times a task will build upon a previous one, so if you do a mediocre job on the simple things, then there is no way your boss will help you step up to the big projects.  You’ll have to walk a bit before they let you run.

Also, remember, that some tasks just need to be taken care of and as troubling as it may be to hear, your manager’s time is probably better spent doing something else and your time is less expensive to the client.

No, you didn’t go to college in order to learn to make coffee or get a discount at Starbucks, but it’s a fact of office life, which often falls to the newbie.

Get over it.  Do you know the ridiculous number of “Brownie” points you might get for actually offering to do this?  It’s seen as a beacon of willingness and nobody wants to employ someone who thinks they’re too good to roll up their sleeves and take care of the humdrum tasks.  Although by the same token, I think employers are beholden to mix up an intern’s tasks and provide some real world job experience.

Show your employer that you not only know traditional office procedures but that you are up to date on innovative techniques that make you a valuable addition to the team.  More and more organizations are moving away from paper and those interns who show their knowledge of digital solutions will gain the advantage. 

 

19.  Listen, Listen, Listen & then….Listen Some More

Be all ears.  Listen to every word that is being spoken to you and around you.  People who are assigning jobs to you are busy themselves and they don’t want to waste their time by repeating what they are saying because you are not paying attention.

I don't remember anything anyone says

If you miss something important they told you, you are surely going to screw up the work that you were given. The person who assigned you the work will hate you and this may be your direct supervisor, their supervisor, an administrative assistant or the CEO.  Make sure you are alert and listening – carefully.

 

18.  Don’t Be a Know it All

Even if you think your boss and colleagues are in the wrong, it’s important to respect that they’ve been doing the job a lot longer and may know things you don’t.  This doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of being wrong, but if you believe that to be the case, by all means, handle it diplomatically.

This also means that if any of your employers misuse millennial generation terminology such as saying “twitter that message” instead of “tweet that message”, do NOT correct them on the spot or maybe not at all.

They know what they are talking about as they used the proper context for the statement.  They simply used incorrect lingo.  You know what they meant and they know what they said.  Follow their instructions and “twitter the message” without further adieu. Help them to learn the lingo by simply using the correct terminology when speaking about Twitter in the future.

Remember, your facial expressions are just that….expressive. So if you roll your eyes, they will know you that you did and please, don’t make the “annoyed face” on the “outside”.

 

17.  Show Up

Go to work every day and be on time, barring an extreme emergency or illness.  If you have a cold, take some DayQuil and check Pinterest for a “professional in a pinch” hairstyle so that you can get out the door and on your way to the office.  You won’t like it and you may feel like you’ve been hit by a Mack truck all day long but I promise you this – you will live AND your boss will be impressed by your dedication.

Don’t call in sick when you have a hangover because you made the choice to go out and party with your friends last night but better yet – don’t go out and party with your friends and risk putting yourself in the situation where you must make the decision.

You have your entire life to go out and party all night.  I know it seems as if THAT band will never be in town again or your best friend’s broken heart is the most important thing ever BUT trust me – it isn’t.  I’ve been there.  I remember thinking that I was going to miss out on everything.  Looking back, I honestly wish that I had paid a bit more attention to gaining the respect of co-workers and employers than whatever the name of that band was that played on that particular Wednesday night or whatever that name of that guy was who broke my friend’s heart.

Even as I write this, I know that this one is something that each person must learn for themselves.  Some people have to learn the hard way and I was one of them.

Just remember this – you may be able to get away with calling in “sick” once or possibly even twice but your employer notices this behavior and everyone notices if you come into the office looking like a hot mess.

Another no-no is requesting too much time off during your internship period. Every company has its own policy — but the experts say interns should refrain from taking too much time off for vacations, especially if the internship is only eight weeks long (or less).  This gives the appearance to your employer that you aren’t serious about your future at this point in your life.

 

16.  Keep it to Yourself – Online and Off

Online:

Social media is important and certainly used in everyday life. Using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or other resources like Tumblr,  WordPress, or even SnapChat will help you build your online presence, but it can hurt you in the real world.  What you put online will be exposed to everyone, so be sure to ask yourself if it would be a good idea to put online.

Keep your shenanigans and comments off the internet and for the love of kittens – do not post any potentially questionable pictures. You may not find your statement, comment, or pictures questionable but ask yourself this: would my mom find it questionable?  how about my grandma or my father?  If the answer could be yes in the slightest – DON’T POST IT!  This also goes for making sure that the comments that your friends make are appropriate as well.  We are no better than the company we keep.

CuPesfwBjRFSWK0j3TrfF2DXEbFizcbJPpY4rM0wgXr-iJj5d9r0-PdGoBhUJK28or8-NNdGKSyJ8UIziLZe1_AbpGqZyj-aLcXXIcuZe_5srTx-gMsLarsenTweetD01 fHzdlRr39nmm7ChKK2Pagk2Hvd8Sze3ZMLUqFaL0m9QxJerfVZ8qAKRfvk1J8L71X8DAyKTxlLTj-UBMAsJkcRd_pDwv5Onh-PPkx8vp4XaBeS0MZow

Don’t spam coworkers’ emails. Don’t post inappropriate things on your social media profiles. Don’t make comments that contain cuss words or sexual innuendoes.  Don’t post #buffies, #nudies, #half-nudies, or #drunkies. Need I really say more?

Offline: 

Don’t trash talk anyone at work and don’t entertain the idea of kissing up to someone,

You might think that by being extra sticky sweet, you will earn some brownie points. The truth is – you won’t.  It makes you appear as if you have something to hide, that you aren’t serious, or that you’re a walking doormat.

so nice
At the same time, don’t let the idea of being best pals with your co-workers or employers take over.  You don’t need to be a neurotically shy intern, but you don’t need to treat your boss like your best friend, either.

Be polite and friendly but remember that he/she is your boss. There is a very thin line that you must walk – learn to distinguish where it is and how to follow the right path.  Understand where the boundaries are, and remember to never say anything that you wouldn’t repeated a thousand times over or repeated to the person about which you were speaking.

Be the person who smiles, says hello, and introduces him/herself to everybody.  Don’t be the person who causes their lunch to explode in the microwave and doesn’t clean it up.  Usually, you make your reputation on first impressions, even if you’re only at the internship for a short period of time.

like everyone ad trust no one

So make sure that everyone’s associations with you are positive because it truly makes a huge difference.  Make sure that you are known as a good person to work with and around.

 

15.  Don’t Play Politics

Don’t get sucked into office politics. Just don’t. You won’t do yourself any favors (or enhance your employability) by instantly becoming part of the problem.

i don't care

Make sure you’re miles away before you go off about your office nemesis.  Better yet, just avoid going off about anyone and take up yoga or something to boil off some steam.

I’ll keep this short and sweet by just echoing what you’ve heard a thousand times: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.

gossipAnd as for office romances? Don’t even think about going there.  You are there to learn and to advance your career.  Don’t be the girl (or guy) who is only interested in #love or #lust.  Be more!

Make ALL the Friends:

Whether you’re spending one month or three working with this organization, it’s important to not only network professionally, but also to network personally and socially!  Get to know everyone from the custodial team to the CEO, if you can without making it awkward. No matter what type of setting you’re working in, everyone loves a happy, enthusiastic, intern.  If they like you as a person, they’re more likely to ask you back or recommend you after your internship is over!

be nice to the secretariesBy being nice to everyone in the organization, it shows people who you are inside and what type of person you are.  Plus, the administrative assistants and the “secretaries” can be the most beneficial relationship you make during your internship.  These people who are often overlooked sometimes have the most control over your experience.  Trust me!  Be nice and don’t be a snob.

 


 That’s all for this month’s edition.

Stay tuned for #14 through #10.

Come back next month to learn 5 ways to NOT be #ThatIntern.



 

I Bid Adieu #SocialJ7330

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The time has come to say goodbye…to #socialj7330.  

But first….

LET ME TAKE A SELFIE

selfie


I’ve decided to spend a couple of extra minutes and tell you some of my key takeaways from this class.  Of course, I’m going to do them in my own way.  How else would you have me be?

READY?

I Learned:

1.  …that there is never enough time in life to accomplish all the things that I want to accomplish in the manner in which I want to accomplish them.  Sometimes, somethings got to give.

timefortha

 

2.  …that making a blog look exactly the way you want it to look is harder than you think.  Posting something online adds over 30 minutes to the writing and layout process.  Font sizes change without telling you, picture sizes grow once the post has been published, and you always find a typo once you hit PUBLISH.

oh crap

 

3.  …that some days I am a much better writer than other days.  My brain starts writing the post before I am able to get it on the page.  However, it’s similar to drawing…it never looks the same as it did in my head.  It’s hard for a picky person to get used to.

 

4.  …that other people’s friends are more willing to like, comment, and share than mine are

isn;t fair

 

5.  ….that I usually get inspiration for what I am going to say in my blog posts from the weirdest things and it is never when I am sitting in front of the computer trying to think of something to say

barney-blog

 

6.  …that all the important people I know don’t live in Memphis

tradegy

 

7.  …that I actually love to nerd out over data and map-making.  It’s so much fun!

nerding out

 

8.  …that It’s really hard to remember to “check-in” when you go to different places.  Sometimes, you just don’t think about it but then you realized OMG I really want to be Mayor of Kroger!

yeah you failed

 

9.  …that I’m constantly having to say the same phrase over and over and over and over in order to keep up with two WordPress blogs, a Facebook profile, a Facebook page, a Pinterest account, a Twitter account, a personal Tumblr, a Photo365 Tumblr, a LinkedIn account, a Foursquare account, a Yelp account, an Instagram account, a Snapchat account, a Nextdoor account – am I missing one????  Gah….I’m on auto repeat!!  Social Media maintenance is hard!

i'm working

 

10.  …that everyone else seems to knock out blog posts much more quickly than I do.

crazy pills

 

11.  …that sometimes I sit down to make an intelligent post but I can’t think of anything to write

stupid brain

 

12. …that usually all I feel about what I’ve read is…that’s cool!

cool story bro

 

13.  …that when I talk about my “topic blog,” TN Liberty, everyone stares at me as if i just said:

statue of liberty

 

14.  …that I start second guessing every thing I write

awesome

 

15.  …that you can no longer pretend to be a ninja and hide in your coat….people see you.  There are no blanket forts for adults

hide in your coat

 

and finally…

 

15.  ….that naps are wasted on the young

nap

 

16.  ….that there is never enough coffee

 

I hope you all have enjoyed the past 3 months of my blogging life.  I do plan to continue updating this blog and TN Liberty as the days go on but the content will certainly be different!

 

With that being said….

I bid you adieu #socialj7330

May you bring sleepless nights to someone ELSE from this point forward!!

sleep

Why I Do the Things I Do

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Personality Type

&

What it Means for ALL the Things in Life

Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.42.58

Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.39.30







Screenshot 2014-03-31 12.37.04________________________________________

My Personality Type


 Diplomats (INFJs, INFPs, ENFJs and ENFPs):

Intuitive and Feeling types – they are cooperative, empathic and imaginative, focusing on empathy, morality and cooperation.


Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.49.31Overall Characteristics: 

Forming around 7% of the population, people with the ENFP personality type tend to be curious, idealistic, and often mystical. They seek meaning and are very interested in other people’s motives, seeing life as a big, complex puzzle where everything is connected. Not surprisingly, ENFPs tend to be very insightful and empathic individuals. This, plus their charm and social skills, often makes them very popular and influential.

On the other hand, this can also be a disadvantage as the ENFP is likely to worry about not being sufficiently original or spontaneous. If they are not careful, this personality trait can lower their self-esteem.

ENFP personalities are usually characterized by high levels of enthusiasm, especially when it comes to things that spark their imagination. In such cases, ENFPs can be very energetic and convincing; they are able to easily persuade other people to join their cause. Ironically, this trait can also turn against the ENFP , when they suddenly find themselves center stage, being seen as leaders and inspiring gurus by other people. ENFPs strive to be independent, so they do not always welcome such attention.

ENFP personalities are very emotional and sensitive, believing feelings are something everyone should take time to understand and express. However, this trait can also cause a lot of stress for them as ENFPs may often focus too much on other people’s motives and the possible meanings behind their actions. People with this personality type are sharp-eyed and intuitive, but they can make serious mistakes when they try to use their interpretation of other people’s emotions as a basis for their decisions.

Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.36.56ENFPs are also likely to have difficulties dealing with routine, administrative matters. They are more interested in freedom and inspiration than security and stability, and this attitude is usually clearly visible: an ENFP would rather try to come up with an interesting solution or an idea, no matter how difficult that is, than deal with simple yet boring tasks.

People with the ENFP personality type know how to relax, drawing on their imagination, enthusiasm, and people skills. For instance, they can be very serious and passionate about work during the day and then later let off steam at a wild party in a nightclub. This switch between the two modes can often be instantaneous, surprising even their closest friends.

Finally, ENFPs are non-conformists, following their own path and trusting their intuition. Their talents are numerous, but they all depend on the ENFP being given enough freedom. People with this personality type can quickly become impatient and dejected if they get stuck in a boring role where they are unable to freely express themselves. But when the ENFP finally finds their place in the world, their imagination, empathy, and courage are likely to produce incredible results.


Career Paths:

Screenshot 2014-03-31 12.33.28There are so many potential ENFP careers that it is difficult to list everything in one short article. However, we hope that the details that follow will help some ENFPs in their search for the ideal job. This is one of the most universal personality types, jack-of-all-trades and master-of-many . As long as the ENFP does not get into a career path that is definitely unsuitable for them, they are likely to do well in any role.

To begin with, ENFPs have excellent social skills and are astonishingly perceptive. This personality type is unsurpassed when it comes to networking and finding out what makes people tick, which is a great skill in any career. Furthermore, ENFPs have a unique ability to communicate with others on their own level, which allows them to create strong and lasting relationships. Due to these traits, typical ENFP careers involve a lot of personal interaction and require good people skills. For instance, ENFPs can be excellent psychologists, teachers, counselors, diplomats, or politicians .

Next, ENFPs tend to be very talented, energetic, and future-oriented. They can easily compete with Analysts (NT) in the career field when it comes to seeing the bigger picture or finding the underlying principle. Furthermore, despite being a Feeling (F) type, ENFPs excel at using their logic, forming a very potent combination of intuition and rationality. They can focus on the main goal and then put together the plan to achieve that goal. There are many potential careers that make good use of these ENFP traits: people with this personality type tend to be brilliant system analysts, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs . This is where ENFPs can truly shine. For instance, scientists and engineers with great networking and people skills are extraordinarily rare. The same can be said about other ENFP careers, but this is an excellent example of how effective ENFPs can be in certain jobs.

Screenshot 2014-03-31 12.34.21Finally, people with this personality type have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. ENFPs can also be truly inspiring leaders in many careers, but they do not try to control or enjoy controlling other people. However, there are several weak spots in their armor. First, ENFPs need to feel appreciated by their colleagues and superiors; lacking this can threaten their emotional stability in certain cases or careers. Second, ENFPs get bored quite quickly and consequently tend to jump from project to project looking for some new and exciting ideas.  Third, ENFPs dislike dealing with monotonous tasks and are likely to do everything they can to avoid them. These traits may hinder their progress in certain careers; however, some ENFPs turn them into strengths. For instance, ENFPs do very well in careers such as writing, journalism, acting, or TV reporting ; such jobs can ensure that the ENFP never runs out of interesting ideas, and they have a big audience to keep them going for a long time.


Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.52.44Workplace Habits:

If you are working for a large company, you probably already know an ENFP colleague, manager, or subordinate. People with the ENFP personality type seem to be everywhere, even though they make up only around 5 percent of the population. Furthermore, they can easily get along with nearly all other personality types, which makes them ideal coworkers. So what are ENFPs like in the workplace?

ENFP colleagues:

*Warm, tolerant, and genuine
*Very good at sensing their colleagues’ motives
*Sensitive and supportive
*Able to relax and have fun, cheering up their colleagues without much effort
*Sincerely interested in other people
*Strive for win-win situations at all times

ENFP managers:

*Instinctively know what motivates their subordinates
*Very observant
*Excellent listeners
*May have difficulties punishing misbehaving subordinates
*Able to inspire and motivate other people
*Open-minded, dislike bureaucracy and restrictive rules

ENFP subordinates:

*Highly analytical, especially when it comes to understanding another person’s perspective
*Creative and original
*May get stressed easily
*Loyal and devoted
*Enjoy exploring new areas and learning new things
*Very independent, loathe being micromanaged
*May have difficulties focusing on one particular project

Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.54.27


Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.48.38Strengths & Weaknesses:

ENFP strengths:

*Observant. ENFP personalities believe that there are no irrelevant details or actions. They try to notice everything, seeing all events as part of a big, mysterious puzzle called life.

*Very popular and friendly. ENFP are altruistic and cooperative, doing their best to be empathic and friendly in every situation. They can get along with nearly everyone and usually have a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

*Energetic and enthusiastic. ENFP are always eager to share their ideas with other people and get their opinions in return. Their enthusiasm is contagious and very inspiring at the same time.

*Know how to relax. People with this personality type know how to switch off and have fun, simply experiencing life and everything it has to offer. Their wild bursts of enthusiastic energy can often surprise even their closest friends.

*Excellent communicators. ENFPs tend to have great people skills, and they instantly know how to present their ideas in a convincing way. They can handle both small talk and deep, meaningful conversations, although the ENFP’s definition of small talk may be somewhat unusual—they will steer the conversation toward ideas rather than weather, gossip, etc.

*Curious. ENFPs are very imaginative and open-minded. They enjoy trying out new things and do not hesitate to go outside their comfort zone if necessary.

Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.37.20ENFP weaknesses:

*Highly emotional. ENFP personalities tend to have very intense emotions, seeing them as an inseparable part of their identity. This may often cause the ENFP to react strongly to criticism, conflicts, or tension.

*May have poor practical skills. ENFPs are brilliant when it comes to solving problems, creating processes, or initiating projects (especially if they involve other people). However, they are likely to find it difficult to follow through and deal with the practical, administrative side of things.

*Overthink things. ENFPs always look for hidden motives and tend to overthink even the simplest things, constantly asking themselves why someone did what they did and what that might mean.

*Get stressed easily. ENFPs are very sensitive and care deeply about other people’s feelings. This can cause them a lot of stress sometimes: people often look to them for guidance and encouragement, and the ENFP cannot always say “yes.”

*Find it difficult to focus. People with the ENFP personality type lose interest quickly if their project shifts toward routine, administrative matters. They may not be able to stop their mind from wandering off.

*Very independent. ENFPs loathe being micromanaged or restrained by rules and guidelines. They want to be seen as highly independent individuals, masters of their own fates.

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Screenshot 2014-03-31 11.50.57Friendships

ENFP personalities are likely to be cheerful, sincere, and open-minded friends. They rarely have any difficulties understanding other personality types and interacting with them in their “language.” This is a very rare and valuable trait. Even though some of the ENFP’s friends may be unable to reciprocate, they will certainly recognize and appreciate the ENFP’s efforts. People with this personality type are usually able to draw even the most reserved friend out of their shell.

Because ENFPs are so intuitive, they rarely have any difficulties finding out what drives and inspires their friends. ENFPs’ ’ enthusiasm and warmth can be very infectious as they stem from the pure idealism this personality type is known for. However, ENFPs should make sure that their attention does not get tiring—not every friend can cope with the never-ending stream of ideas and topics that an ENFP’s mind can generate.

ENFP friends tend to be very caring and supportive, but they also need to make sure that their own needs are being met. People with this personality type may sometimes get too deeply involved in the lives of their friends, forgetting to pay enough attention to themselves. Furthermore, ENFPs also tend to harbor unrealistic expectations when it comes to friendships. This can potentially lead to stress and disappointment once the ENFP realizes that their friends are not as flawless or dedicated as they would like them to be.

Generally, ENFP friends are likely to be quite idealistic and sensitive. This sensitivity enables them to connect with their friends and acquaintances very easily, but it also makes the ENFP very vulnerable to criticism. This is why ENFPs tend to avoid people with strongly expressed Thinking (T) or Judging (J) traits. Those personality types are likely to have strong opinions about a variety of topics, and the ENFP is likely to feel quite uncomfortable arguing with them.

That being said, ENFPs are fascinated by mysteries and will do their best to understand the other person if they sense that there is some substance beneath the surface. This is one of the reasons why ENFPs tend to form extremely strong friendships with Diplomat (NF) and Analyst (NT) types.


 Click the Link below to

FIND OUT YOUR PERSONALITY & WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR LIFE

16 Personalities


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Journal #8: Reflections of a Picture Taker & a Movie Maker

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Reflections of  a Picture Taker & Movie Maker

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Personal reflection on your experiences creating and sharing the video should include thoughts on: How can you continue to use video to enhance your blog?  How do you think professionals in your future desired career – journalism, public relations, advertising, or any other could best utilize these sites? 

In reflecting on the blog on your experiences this week, consider: What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of the sites you’ve used for your topic area? How can you use photos going forward as semester continues to enhance your blog or website?  How do you think professionals in your future desired career – journalism, public relations, advertising, or any other –  could utilize these sites productively? 

 

Due to how these two assignments are related, I decided to combine them and share my experiences on both in one nifty neat little blog post.

Creating a video for “tn liberty” was an interesting undertaking, to say the least.  In the beginning, I wasn’t sure exactly which route to go.  If I had been creating a video for this blog, I would have gone the funny route or the “a day in the life of” route – something that shows my personality.  However, I was creating a video for “tn liberty,” a topic that is rather hard to define and even harder to show when put on the spot.  It’s not like I can head out the front door and take a few photos or shoot some footage of “tn liberty.”  It’s not a bird, a plane, a particular event, or even something easily defined.  It’s a movement. It’s a cause.  It’s a passion.  So how do you visually represent a movement, cause, or a passion.  My first thought was an event but seeing as it isn’t campaign season and I’m a busy little bee I didn’t have many options, here in Memphis, from which to choose.  Then I realized that most indoor events are in a room at Jason’s Deli with beige walls and many people who attend those events are not all that excited about having their picture taken.  Libertarians can be a bit odd and most aren’t exactly the #selfie taking type. Apparently, I’m an odd duck every where I go.

For the video, I finally decided on asking members of the Liberty Movement and contacts that I have made to explain in a short sentence or phrase What Liberty Means to them.  For those who were not located in the Memphis area, I asked that they use their computers or phones to record themselves and email me the footage.  It took a bit of begging but in the end, I had numerous clips from which to work.  I realized that I also had footage from various events such as campaign rallies, protests, and other types of activism that I had taken in the past couple of years during my extensive travels across the state of Tennessee and that I could document the Tennessee Liberty Movement in a short movie.

As I began to edit the clips and footage, I realized I had embarked on a HUGE project and once I was in the middle of it, there was no turning back.  I had to make the mini-documentary as awesome as possible no matter how many hours it took.  And by hours – I mean days and days.  Next, came the technical difficulties.  My MacBook Pro is a very full Mac and even with a 3T external hard drive for all my files, the programs and necessities stores on the computer leave very little room for any temp files created by iMovie.  As I was nearing the end of a 30+ hour editing session and could see the light at the end of the tunnel, my computer told me it was full.  I moved a few things to the hard drive and added another transition to the movie.  Again, my Mac was full.  This process of moving, trashing, and adding went on for another hour or so and I finally closed iMovie and decided to rid my computer of all secondary and tertiary files of old emails (WHY does the computer keep multiple copies of emails from days of yore?) and duplicates of all my music (again, WHY does the computer and iTunes make copies of every file you add?).  Finally, I had 30Gb of space available and that was enough to complete the video.  Thank God!!

I completed the video, uploaded it to YouTube, embedded in to my topic blog, “tn liberty,” and then immediately began sharing it on every Facebook page of which I am an admin, in every Facebook group of which I am a member, by tweeting it on Twitter, and by begging everyone I knew to share it.  Within one day of posting the video and sharing like a mad woman, I realized that I had gained hundreds of new followers on my Facebook page “Tennessee and Mississippi Leadership” and on “tn liberty,” as well as almost 200 views on YouTube.  I had even gained a few new followers on this blog.  As it stands today, the video has approximately 230 views on YouTube.

Next, I had to figure out what I was going to do about the pictures assignment.  Capturing “tn liberty” was hard enough with video – how the heck was I going to capture its essence in a still???  So, I actually decided that I would go 2 routes.

First, I was going to take the end of the video I had just made (What Liberty Means) and turn the final section entitled “Faces of Liberty” into a series.  I would cut “picture” portion of the video (I put a ton of pictures of people in the movement holding up campaign signs, at events, protesting, and the like at the end of the video in a slideshow-esque montage.)  Most of these pictures were ones I had taken during the past two years and some were pictures that other liberty movement friends had given me.  I now had several 30 second slideshow montages of “tn liberty” and added the first one to my topic blog.  Due to the lack of time, I didn’t promote it all that well.  It only has like 10 views on YouTube.  However, there is always time to promote it later and I’m sure it’ll gain a great response.

Next, I realized that throughout my travels I had taken an extraordinary amount of tn landscape pictures.  I have always said that nothing shows liberty quite like a beautiful mountaintop or bubbling brook in Tennessee.  I created another series – this time just stills – called “Landscapes of Liberty” and placed it on “tn liberty” with a call for followers to send me pictures they had taken of TN landscapes.  I also created a TN Liberty Flickr account and posted them there, with the hopes of adding to that as time goes on.  Fingers crossed that I can get another job traveling the state of TN and organizing groups in the Liberty Movement!!

To conclude, I feel that moving forward, including pictures and videos in posts on this blog and on my topic blog is extremely important.  People like pictures and people like movies.  It’s a given.  It also adds relevance to your topic and can show a “behind the scenes” look at events that I may be privy to and others aren’t.  In addition, it can show the non-liberty movement people that we are human and normal – it gives your site a personal touch.  I can say that the next video will be much shorter and less complicated.  What Liberty Means is a once every couple of years type project!!  In the future, I will also start to share the “Faces of Liberty” and “Landscapes of Liberty” series in hopes of gaining new followers and gathering new pictures from others.

Weekly Reading Ramblings – Week 4 (Part I)

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Robin Rambling on Week 4 Readings (Part I)

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This week’s readings were about community engagement, collective action, and participating in Twitter Chats – a form of community engagement, in my opinion.  If you don’t know what I mean by that, you’ll have to read through my ramblings.  And, even if you feel me – hopefully, you’ll keep reading as well.  You can even leave a comment at the bottom there.  Yes – see, right there at the bottom where it says to “leave a reply” – feel free to share your insights with me!


Chapters 6 & 7 of Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody

clayshirkyIn Chapter 6, Shirky focuses on collective action and institutional challenges using the  1992 and 2002 priest/molestation scandals involving the Catholic Church to show how social tools have helped shape the power of groups when acting together.  The difference in the two time periods is obviously the spread of internet usage and the creation of social tools, such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and the like.  In 1992, the Catholic Church was able to keep the scandal and actions of Reverend Porter relatively under wraps because parishioners couldn’t easily share information about the scandal with one another or readily coordinate an group action.  On the other hand, in 2002, these obstacles of geography and shared information were no longer obstacles.  The Boston Globe series detailing the history of Father Geoghan, the priest who worked at various parishes in the Boston archdiocese since the 1960s and during that time had molested over a hundred boys, was able to be shared with ease through social networks and e-mail.

Shirky noted that “the impulse to share important information is a basic one, it’s manifestations have often been clunky,” and he is right.  I immediately remembered the newspaper clippings haphazardly Screenshot 2014-03-15 21.04.37held by magnet to my grandmother’s refrigerator.  She would clip any article that she thought my mother needed to read and each week a large portion of the time that my mother spent with her was taken over by the forced “share of information.”  My mother would have rather read these clippings later in the evening when she had arrived home and spent the few hours that she had to spend with my grandmother, having a conversation.  I think the part that my mother missed was that my grandmother wanted her to read the articles right then because she was not only interested in sharing this “important” information but then having an intellectual discourse about that topic.  To be fair, I think another reason was that she didn’t trust my mother to actually read the clipping from Ann Landers that she found so important.  Shirky’s point was that the exchange of information prior to the social tools of today was time consuming and the seemingly minor difficulties of clipping and saving or clipping and mailing a newspaper article were significant enough to limit the frequency.  I don’t think everyone was determined as my grandmother and I will discuss those determined people and their impact more when we get to Chapter 7 and later in Chapter 10.

Going back to the Catholic Church scandal, it wasn’t just the fact that “easier and wider dissemination of information changes group awareness,” but that in order to have a large effect, there would need to be a change in collective action as well.  Shirky uses the group Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), started in 2002 by Boston physician James Muller–only a few weeks after the Boston Globe series appeared–to show how the use of social tools not only made it easier to share information across geographical boundaries but to grow an organization’s membership exponentially in a previously unheard of period of time.  Thirty people showed up in the basement of a church in January of 2002 for the first VOTF meeting. By March, more than 500 people overflowed their small meeting room and by the summer of 2002, VOTF hosted their first convention boasting over 25K members.  The rate of growth was almost a thousandfold increase and until social tools came into play, this was inconceivable.  In many ways, it still is. I have helped increase membership for many organizations and although, I’m good, I have never increased membership by that many, especially in that amount of time–nor have I seen it done.  Nonetheless, one of the differences between pre-social tools and 2002 was the ease in group discovery and joining.  With social networks, email, and websites it is much easier to locate groups that hold the same interests or passions that you do and once you locate them, it is easier to get information about their mission and goals. Plus, when you are ready to actually join the group, a simple online registration form and PayPal widget for dues saves each person a ton of time. Social tools then save the organization or group money because printed materials and mailing costs are no longer a factor.  The growth of VOTF, along with the growth of several other groups with similar missions, helped effect change in the Catholic Church due to the power of collective action.  Shirky notes that before social tools, the Catholic Church was not “inimical to improvised global organization of its parishioners because it simply wasn’t an option.”

Finally, in the last two paragraphs of Chapter 6 Shirky explains that “social tools don’t create collective action–they merely remove the obstacles to it.”  A point that I believe is often forgotten or overlooked by many.  People have protested organizations and governments forever – anyone remember the Conflict in Vietnam?  Imagine what could have been different if the protesters of the 1960s to early 1970s had been able to use the social tools of today?  I will end this discussion the way that Shirky ended Chapter 6–with a quote that spoke volumes to me:

“Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technologies–it happens when society adopts new behaviors.”

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Screenshot 2014-03-15 20.26.23In Chapter 7 Shirky explains the difference between the power of individual action and collective action using the 1989 protests of the German Democratic Republic in Leipzig in comparison to the use of Flash Mobs and other socially coordinated tools of today as an example of how collective action can bring social change.  I found the history of Flash Mobs quite interesting as I have a weird fascination with them– I always wanted to be a part of one or randomly be surrounded by one.  Ironically enough, Flash Mobs began as a way to mock hipster culture (and you just have to love that) but over time they have become a useful tool of government protesters in places such as St. Petersburg, Russia and Belarus.

Never seen a Flash Mob?  Check out this video:

And here is one for political action:


Being who I am and believing in liberty and freedom, I found this chapter especially interesting due to its political content.  I actually LOLed when Shirky explained one particular Flash Mob protest of the Lukashenko government in Belarus.  People were instructed to show up in Oktyabrskaya Square to eat ice cream and were subsequently arrested by the tyrannical socialist regime.  The catch?  As police were hauling away the ice cream eaters, bystanders were snapping digital photographs and video to upload to Flickr and Livejournal to show the world the Lukashenko oppression.  Shirky states “Nothing says ‘police state’ like detaining kids for eating ice cream.”

Wow!  Doesn’t that just sum it all up?  Before social tools, governments were able to get away with a lot more.  Shirky explains that “political action has changed when a group of  previously uncoordinated actors can create a public protest that the government can neither interdict in advance nor supress without triggering public documentation.”  Today, tyrannical governments get away with far too much in my opinion but when they are really naughty–they have to be better at hiding their secrets because the internet seems to tell all, just like it did with the NSA.

Remember when I mentioned those “determined” people in the discussion of Chapter 6?  Shirky brings up an incredibly important point about the motivation of groups and the determined people behind them.  Many people believe that a group of hundreds is run by hundreds when in actuality it is the determination and driving force of a handful that keeps the group running.  He states “many people care a little about the treatment they get from airlines or banks, but not many care enough to do anything about it on their own, both because that kind of effort is hard and because individual actions have so little effect on big corporations.”  This also applies to political change and is something that a person in my line of work deals with every day.  For example, during the 2012 Ron Paul Campaign in Shelby County (I was the Chair for the Official Ron Paul Campaign), each of my team members couldn’t wait to participate when it was something they perceived as “fun,” such as a protest or a sign wave.  However, when it came to the actual “work” of the campaign such as the door-to-door activities, phone banking, Get Out the Vote, and poll standing –the activities that actually WIN election–they weren’t as interested.  In fact, some wouldn’t even participate.  It was left to the handful of highly determined and motivated team members to carry the weight of the group.

Shirky reminds us that the “old model for coordinating group action required convincing people who care a little to care more, so that they would be roused to act” but now “the highly motivated people can create a context more easily in which the barely motivated people can be effective without having to become activists themselves.”  This may be true for some groups and somewhat so for political action, but isn’t the case when it comes to political campaigns.  Yes, the Facebook groups and meme sharing are needed and those who aren’t as motivated can certainly help with certain tasks–the spreading of the message, the education of others, and the sign waving.  However, when it comes to the actual actions that WIN the election the motivated “people who were on fire” still wonder “why the general population didn’t care more, and the general population” still wonders “why those obsessed people didn’t just shut up!”

Click Here for Part II – Twitter Chats


Weekly Reading Ramblings – Week 4 (Part II)

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Robin Rambling on Week 4 Readings (Part II)

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Screenshot 2014-03-15 21.10.4410 Tips for Participating in Dizzying Twitter Chats                                                  by Kenna Griffin                                                           

Journalist and media veteran, Kenna Griffin supplies Twitter Chat n00bs with some helpful hints to overcome the first time jitters.

Griffin explains that feeling overwhelmed during one’s first handful of Twitter Chats is extremely normal and that the fast pace of the posts can cause a dizzying effect in most people.  However, she believes that the information and connections that one gains from the experience is worth taking a deep breath and not giving up.

Griffin spells out some simple reminders and guidelines for the Tweet Chat beginner, ranging from the importance of the Chat subject matter to understanding the chat’s rules.  She also gives the basic instructions for tweeting a formal introduction and reminds readers that it’s okay to miss things during the chat – not all tweets are meant for everyone.

Personally, I found her 10 Tips to be quite helpful as I am just now learning the ins and outs of the Tweet Chat.  For example, I wasn’t aware that each chat had specific rules and those rules were typically given out approximately one hour to 30 minutes before the scheduled start time.  I was also relieved to know that it was in fact correct to use the TweetChat hashtag EVERY time you posted, even when speaking to a person from the chat through a direct message and that following people with whom you spoke during the TweetChat was appropriate and encouraged.

If you are new to Twitter or just new to Tweet Chats (or Twitter Chats, depending on who you are talking to), I highly suggest you check out Kenna Griffin’s 10 Tips for Participating in Dizzying Twitter Chats and some of the other articles located at the bottom of this post.


Other Articles of Interest for this Week:


Need More Information about Twitter Chats?

Check out these articles which provide helpful hints, tips, and tricks:

(VIDEO) How To Twitter Chat

(VIDEO) How to Participate in a Live Twitter Chat

Find Your Perfect Twitter Chat Match:

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Weekly Reading Ramblings – Week 3

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Robin Rambling on Week 3 Readings

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This week the readings, an article and several chapters of a book, written by two of the most well-known journalism and social media influencers in the county, Jay Rosen and Clay Shirky.

Before we begin, I want to take a few moments to introduce these influencers.

jay rosenJay Rosen has been on the journalism faculty at New York University since 1986 and served as chair of the Department from 1999 to 2005.  He has been one of the earliest advocates and supporters of citizen journalism, encouraging the press to take a more active interest in citizenship, improving public debate, and enhancing life. His book about the subject, What Are Journalists For? was published in 1999. Rosen is often described in the media as an intellectual leader of the movement of public journalism.

what are journalists forRosen writes frequently about issues in journalism and developments in the media. Media criticism and other articles by Rosen have appeared in The New York TimesThe Los Angeles TimesSalon.comHarper’s Magazine, and The Nation.  He is also a semi-regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

He runs his own weblog called PressThink, which concentrates on what’s happening to journalism in the age of the internet and his writing for the weblog won the Reporters Without Borders Freedom Blog award in 2005.

ClayShirky (1)Clay Shirky, a writer, consultant and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies, has a joint appointment at New York University as a Distinguished Writer in Residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and Assistant Arts Professor in the New Media focused graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).  His courses address, among other things, the interrelated effects of the topology of social networks and technological networks, how our networks shape culture and vice-versa.

He has written and been interviewed about the Internet since 1996, with columns and writings that have appeared in Business 2.0, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and Wired.

His consulting practice is focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peerweb services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client–server infrastructure that characterizes the World Wide Web. He is also a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Advisory Board.

shirky-here-comes-everybodyIn his book Here Comes Everybody, Shirky explains his favoring cognitive surplusof crowdsourcing and collaborative efforts online and uses the phrase “the Internet runs on love” to describe the nature of such collaborations.

In 2010 Shirky published Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age which expands on themes introduced in Here Comes Everybody.  The book follows concepts he introduced in a Web 2. 0 conference presentation April 23, 2008 called “Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.”

Shirky introduces Cognitive Surplus as a continuation of his work in Here Comes Everybody.  “This book picks up where that one left off, starting with the observation that the wiring of humanity lets us treat free time as a shared global resource, and lets us design new kinds of participation and sharing that take advantage of that resource.”

Most recently, Shirky was featured in Journalism Degrees and Program’s article Best in #Journalism: 151 Twitters Worth a Follow  by .  Beginning the section entitled “Professors,” at number 111, Shirky is considered to be one of the 18 Journalism Professors Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 5.27.09 AMworth following.

As an aside, my social media and entrepreneurial journalism professor Carrie Brown-Smith is featured at number 117,  hanging in among the top heavy hitters in this new “business” of journalism.  Check our her blog, The Changing Newsroom, to learn about cutting edge and entrepreneurial journalism.


here-comesFirst, we will revisit the writings of Clay Shirky, this time commenting of Chapters 3-5 of Here Comes Everybody.

Shirky discusses the birthday speech given to Strom Thurmond in 2002 by long-time Mississippi Senator and former Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott.  In this section, he explains yet another example of how the internet has affected journalism. No longer do the journalists of major networks and newspapers single handedly decide what makes news, news.  Today, due to the millions of bloggers and social media enthusiasts, any topic that a group of people find important enough, to discuss for long enough, can become mainstream news.

In the case of Trent Lott’s infamous speech, the majority of mainstream media failed to cover the speech because it was filed away under “not breaking news” due to the event being a simple birthday party.  However, after the speech promoted Strom Thurmond’s 1948 overtly segregationist Presidential campaign and insulted the citizens of Mississippi by lumping them into the category of Strom supporters, bloggers took to their blogs, facebookers to their news feeds, and twitterers to their tweets in order to speak out against Lott’s actions and to, hopefully, distance themselves from such discriminatory implications.

For days, the “story” broke on the internet and the mainstream media took notice.  I’m sure a bunch of “shoulda woulda couldas” were roaming the halls of every major newspaper and television station in the country, especially in the beltway.  Unfortunately, at this point these traditional news outlets would’ve had to swallow their pride and make apologies for dismissing Lott’s speech and the birthday party when it happened, if they wanted to speak out against his chosen message.

Luckily, for the mainstream media, no one knows how to beat a dead horse like my fellow libertarians and libertarian republicans. My politically like-minded brethren are like dogs with bones when it comes to letting go of subjects they feel should be publicized.  Trent Lott‘s speech happened to be one of these “bones” and according to Shirky, “because the weblogs kept the story alive, especially among libertarian Republicans, Lott eventually decided to react.”

Now, five days after the speech, the mainstream media wouldn’t have to swallow any pride or make amends.  They could simply cover Lott‘s “halfhearted apology” for his statement and run footage of the original speech right next to it.  This would open the subject up as “breaking news,” and allow for reporters and journalists to editorialize.  No longer was defining “the news” as simple as Shirky said, “events that are newsworthy, and events that are covered by the press.”

Trent Lott’s Statement and Public Apology

Many have grumbled about this definition for years, complaining that some stories covered by the mainstream media are not newsworthy and that some newsworthy stories are not covered enough.  Libertarians, and any other third party or even obscure issue groups, have been complaining about this “practice” for years.  Why did so many serious topics go uncovered and so much “fluff” make it onto the front page?  As Shirky pointed out, using the example of Trent Lott, this “link is now broken.”  Shirky states, “From now on news cans break into public consciousness without the traditional  press weighing in.  Indeed, the news media can end up covering the story because something has broken into public consciousness via other means.”

As a blogger and social media user, with a journalism degree and a background in public relations, I am excited about this new frontier on which we are walking.  However, as a political activist and holder of libertarian ideals, I have mixed emotions.  Don’t get me wrong, the ability for the masses of people to publish information that the mainstream media either overlooks, dismisses, or hides is incredibly exciting and beneficial.  The problem lies with the audience.  Typical Americans of voting age, still receive most of their information from the mainstream media.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 1.35.47 AMAccording to Pew Research Center for People & the Press‘ 2012 report, In Changing News Landscape, Even Television is Vulnerable:  Trends in News Consumption: 1991-2012, despite a declining trend, “55% [of Americans] say they watched the news or a news program on television yesterday,” showing little change from recent years.  This report also shows that “the overall share of Americans saying they regularly watch local television news has slipped from 54% in 2006 to 48% today – and in that regard it remains one of the news sources with the broadest reach.”  Finally, Pew points out that 51% of those 65 and older say they regularly watch cable news and seven in ten (71%) say they watched television news, read a print newspaper or listened to radio news yesterday.

I find this highly disturbing. There are so many more sources of valuable information just sitting on the internet waiting for consumption.  As an activist who volunteered in 2008 and worked for the 2012 Ron Paul campaign, I know that an idea planted, can sprout and grow just like a seed.  In 2007, the word libertarian, much less the ideals of libertarianism, were not common knowledge.  As the liberty movement grew, much in part to the efforts of Ron Paul, the political ideals became more common.  This spread of ideals is owed in great part to the efforts on online bloggers and political activists.  Shirky stated, “the same idea published in dozens or hundreds of places, can have an amplifying effect that outweighs the verdict from the smaller number of professional outlets.”

The liberty movement couldn’t be a better example of this idea.  I noticed in early January of 2012, at the beginning of the Republican Presidential Primary, that the only candidate mentioning the issue of state’s rights, was none other than Ron Paul.  This issue was verbally echoed by millions of his supporters and blogged by thousands in the coming weeks.  By late February, on my 32nd birthday and during one of the Primary debates, every single candidate on stage mentioned the issue of state’s right in one form or another.  It was blatantly obvious.  Each candidate’s team had witnessed the growing support for state’s rights and in order to level the playing field, recommended that the candidate begin to show his support.  I have witnessed the noise, firsthand, and resulting difference that a thousand blogging voices can make.  However, it isn’t quick and it isn’t always eventually acknowledged.

With data showing a rise digital news consumption and a decline in traditional news consumption, the numbers of citizens who report blogs as their news source has maintained Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 1.36.42 AMa relatively low response rate.  According to the same Pew study mentioned earlier, “slightly more than one-in-ten (12%) of all Americans regularly read blogs about politics or current events and another 21% say they read them sometimes.  Just less than half (45%) never read blogs or do not use the internet. The numbers of those who read blogs regularly are little changed since 2008.”

The report also shows that “among age groups, regular blog reading is lowest among those 18 to 24 (6%), . . . highest among those 40 to 49 (17%),” and little difference among the age groups in between.  When readers are categorized by education level, “15% of college graduates and those who have had some college regularly read blogs, a number that falls to 7% for those with high school or less.”

I can’t help but wonder why so few people regularly receive news from blogs when so many citizens report that they trust all new sources similarly.  One answer could be the sheer amount of information lurking on the world wide web and that people are simply overwhelmed by the options.

In 7 Things About The Mainstream Media That They Do Not Want You To Know, an article on Alex Jones‘ Infowars, Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse states:  “We live at a time when it is absolutely imperative to think for ourselves, but most Americans are being absolutely overwhelmed with information and seem more than content to let others do their thinking for them.  Sadly, this is greatly contributing to the downfall of our society.”

Shirky’s theory of mass amateurization, the “result of the radical spread of expressive capabilities,” and the “comparisons between the neatness of traditional media and the Quotation-Clay-Shirky-communication-media-profession-internet-Meetville-Quotes-183557messiness of social media” is directly relevant to how Americans have become overwhelmed and symptomatically, uninterested.  Shirky also noted that when comparing traditional media and social media in terms of neatness versus messiness, the system of filtering is often overlooked.  In the process of traditional media publishing, there is a gatekeeper – an editor, or one who decides what should be printed and what stories to forgo.  In social media and blogging, the user is the writer, the creator, the editor, and the publisher.  No longer does the published word mean that someone else thought it was worth reading.  When searching for news on the internet, today’s citizens must be filtering gurus because as Shirky stated, “mass amateurization of publishing, makes mass amateurization of filtering a forced move.”  Filter-then-publish is a thing of the past.  We live in a publish-then-filter society.

He uses the notion of picking up a bookstore and shaking it onto a football field to describe the contents of information on the web.  Of course, you will see classics by such writers as Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, Chaucer, Hemingway, Tolstoy, and Plato.  You will also see outstanding works of fiction by authors such as John Grisham, Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, James Patterson, J.R.R. Tolkien, and J.K. Rowling, and works of insightful nonfiction by Winston Churchill, Ron Paul, Jeff Jarvis, Woodward and Bernstein, and Clarence Thomas. However, books with titles such as Cooking With Pooh (I assure you, it’s not about the lovable bear, Winnie), The Dork of Cork,Oral Sadism and the Vegetarian Personality,” orBander Snatch as listed on Huffington Post’s article “Twelve of the Worst Book Titles Ever,” by .  My point is this:  filter, filter, filter!

Everywhere you go today, you must filter.  At the grocery store, you must decide which of the 25 brands of peanut butter is truly all-natural and which is jam-packed with additives.  When shopping for clothes, you must choose which dress is made with lasting, quality materials worth the $200 and which one will simply fall apart after a few wears.  The internet is no different.

Hopefully, Americans will stop throwing their hands up at the overwhelming amount of information and learn to filter the good from the garbage when it comes to internet news consumption.  Social media and blogging are part of this incredible new digital frontier Quotation-Clay-Shirky-media-future-internet-Meetville-Quotes-173600where everyone’s voice can be heard and all ideas can be expressed.  These platforms give rise to information overlooked or dismissed by the traditional mainstream media and can alert citizens to wrongdoings such as Edward Snowden‘s exposure of the NSA spying Julian Assange‘s leak of the Iraq War Logs.  Social media and blogging can spread ideas that may otherwise not be heard such as the case with the Liberty movement and the Ron Paul Revolution. But they can also spread false information, reinforce bigoted and ignorant ideas, give guidance on bomb building, or how to best be bulimic.  The good is mixed with the garbage and we must learn to decipher between the two, ultimately tossing the garbage. We can not, however, toss the platforms in with the trash, nor dismiss the writers.

Check out Jon Stewart’s take on Trent Lott’s Birthday Wishes to Strom Thurmond by clicking the link below:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – Racists Have Birthdays Too! (December 11, 2002)


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As soon as I finished reading Jay Rosen’s, “The Twisted Psychology of Bloggers vs. Journalists:  My Talk at South by Southwest,” I immediately began to think of only one thing. I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  It played over and over like a song on repeat.

 

 

Bloggers are Journalists, Journalists are Bloggers.

Bloggers are Journalists, Journalists are Bloggers.

 

Say it with me, just one time.  You’ll instantly feel better.

Bloggers are Journalists, Journalists are Bloggers.

 

Now that we have gotten that out of the way,  I will discuss the finer points in Rosen’s talk on this neverending barrage of insults exchanged between bloggers and journalists, and the potential reasons for it.

He begins by reiterating that the “distinction is eroding” and “the war is absurd” and that everyone should just get over it – points Rosen made in 2005 in his essay “Bloggers vs. Journalists is Over.”  I happen to agree with these statements.  However, I do realize that it is easier said than done because there are some existing finite distinctions which are still applicable.

Screen Shot 2014-02-14 at 7.04.50 PMThen, he makes an excellent point by stating that “bloggers and journalists are each other’s ideal ‘other.'”  If you aren’t quite sure what he means by this, let me enlighten you:

Journalists are:
  • trained
  • reputable in the eyes of many
  • paid (although not always well)
  • allowed certain advantages by wielding their “easy to get” press pass and employer name dropping
  • given certain leeways in some situations.

 

Bloggers are:
  • mostly untrained (or at least traditionally – that is one of the areas changing in this new frontier)
  • often not considered as reputable as a “real journalist”
  • have a harder time getting a press pass to large public events
  • not given leeways in as many situations, such as with shield laws.

 

Now, on the other hand:

Journalists:
  • spend years going to a traditional (or even untraditional) J-school
  • are usually employed by some version of “the man”
  • underpaid and overworked (especially in today’s industry)
  • must remain “in the open” and are held accountable for their work, if by nothing else, their byline
  • worked for years or decades as an underling in order to earn their “column inches”
  • must abide by certain rules of the trade such as keeping their political views quiet or not cheering in the press box at the big game
  • must cover stories they find uninteresting
  • have work hours regulated, by not only the story but by their editor and editor’s editor
  • spend hours looking for an original story and then they must spend more time researching, getting interviews,  and editing and re-editing
  • held to high standard in regards to original content and wording
  • have to answer to a “higher being” (and no, I don’t mean God or Buddha or whomever).  By working for a reputable for profit company they must answer to their boss but also, their boss must answer to his boss, and on up the chain.  Then, it is more likely that a company will have to answer officially to the US Government if they publish information “not liked.”
Bloggers:
  • do not have to get training, attend school, or earn a degree in journalism (but some do)
  • are usually self-employed or blog in their leisure time (sometimes this is a considerable amount of time but still it is their time)
  • mostly unpaid
  • can choose to remain anonymous (although many don’t)
  • didn’t have to “earn” their place before receiving “column inches”
  • do NOT have abide by any rules of the trade such as keeping their political views quiet or not cheering in the press box at the big game
  • can choose to only cover stories they find interesting
  • work hours are unregulated in general
  • can choose to aggregate stories from other “sources” and mediums or to simply “re-post” a story on their blog or on various social media although some do spend hours writing original stories but do NOT have to answer to an editor before publishing
  • not held to the same standards in regards to plagiarism
  • do not have to answer to anyone and the US Government seems to pay them less attention

 

Each, has their own pros and cons that the other covets.  The Journalist is envy of the immediate publishing rights of the blogger and the lack of training.  The Blogger is envious of the respect received by the Journalist, and so on and so forth.

Journalists chose to say things disparaging bloggers, such as in an Editor’s Column in an Australian newspaper did when he said: “Bloggers…represent nothing.  They whinge, carp, and whine about our role in society, and yet they contribute nothing to it, other than satisfying their juvenile egos.”

Who’s being the child now, mister Editor?  Say what you mean – you’re jealous of some of the advantages that bloggers receive and some of the respect that they are receiving as well.

facts prop truth bloggers v journalistsBloggers choose to talk about the “lamestream media” but many of them re-post stories from these same outlets.  Bloggers, say what you mean – you’re upset at how they chose to write the article, you think they are playing lapdog to the government, and you’re also jealous at the recognition they receive for doing it.

If everyone would just say what they mean – then they all have valid points.  It’s when the blame game starts and the finger pointing turns to mud-slinging that society is losing.  Both mediums and both “professions” are valid and needed in our society.

It has come to the point where some journalists aren’t being objective (neither are the bloggers, but they aren’t typically supposed to and the ones that choose to, bully for them), aren’t acting as the watchdog for the government, have sold out or are refusing to open their eyes and study a situation from all angles.  So now, the bloggers are the watchdog of the journalists.  The journalists, with as much weight as their words carry and as far as their pens reach, should be held accountable by the people.  Bloggers are there to do that.

Don’t get me wrong – not all bloggers are worth the laptops they write on.  Their bogs are filled with grammatically incorrect, uninsightful, regurgitated, or ignorant garbage.  But as I said earlier in this post, when talking about Shirky’s theory of mass amateurization and thus, forced filtering – we must filter the good from the bad!  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!  Some journalists aren’t worth their press badges, either.  So let’s all stop pointing fingers and mud-slinging and get back to the issue at hand.

journalist-are-not-bloggers-400x244Blogging is not going to REPLACE the press!  Rosen said it differently by saying “blogging cannot replace the watchdog journalism that keeps a government accountable to its people,” but I don’t exactly agree with that statement – at this time.  I feel that all of the press isn’t doing the best job in that department these days.  A majority is blatantly ignoring candidates running for office and singing praises of government officials when no praise should be sung – among other things.  However, I believe that true journalism will last and it should last.  It should live on to overcome the disruption caused by the internet, social media, and blogging to its livelihood and perform the duties it was created to perform.

Journalists ARE trained and may know a few things bloggers don’t.  Lucky for me, I’m both a trained journalist and a blogger.  I choose to work as a blogger with the values and knowledge, of a journalist.

Rosen stated that “bloggers look more like the ancestors of today’s journalists,” and in many ways, I agree.  Thomas Jefferson was a huge proponent of the free press as hopefully, most of you know.  In his time, the newspapers were filled with biased viewpoints and writers, reporters, editors, and journalists who felt the need to answer to a “higher being” – usually the person, who paid the person, who paid the writer.

His idea of the First Amendment in bill-of-rights-7471-20111112-51our Bill of Rights, which keeps the government from taking away our inherent right to free speech and press, was one of complete and total freedom.  He felt that no longer should citizens remain quiet when they saw injustice.  He urged them to pick up the pen and publish their thoughts – and that, they did.  Today’s bloggers feel the need to pick up their pen and publish their thoughts just as our forefathers did.  The profession of Journalism remained intact then, although changed by the pressures of the people.  So as Journalists today, instead of playing the blame game and complaining about what bloggers are doing or the respect that they are receiving, ask yourselves this – Why do they feel so compelled to write and speak out?  Why are they receiving respect for what they do?  How could you learn from them or from what they are saying?  How could you be better?

 

I leave you with a few words of wisdom from Thomas Jefferson:

“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”

Thomas Jefferson to Dr. James Currie, January 28, 1786

“Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.  Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle.”

Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell, June 11, 1807

“Whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, January 8, 1789

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government, 1787

“Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe”

Thomas Jefferson on Politics and Government, 1816

“Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions”

Thomas Jefferson 1984, 1147

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