Tag Archive for 'work'

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The Power of Little Hand-Written Notes

note-card.gifAl Franken, in his most recent book, Oh The Things I Know…, extols the val­ue Per­son­al Hand­writ­ten Notes, as a means of net­work­ing. He calls atten­tion to the fact that Pres­i­dent Bush (the Elder) made it a rou­tine in his life from the time he left Yale to write thou­sands of these notes to friends and sup­port­ers. And he became Direc­tor of the CIA, Ambas­sador to the UN, Vice Pres­i­dent, and Pres­i­dent. Let’s leave aside the notion that he might have actu­al­ly per­formed any of these duties sat­is­fac­to­ri­ly, and con­sid­er Mr. Franken’s point:

It is so easy to send Email these days—click, typey typey, click, SENT! This devel­op­ment has con­tributed pos­i­tive­ly to increased productivity—as any­one who had to fid­dle occa­sion­al­ly with a fax machine can attest. Yet, there are some very notice­able dis­con­nects even with this most ‘con­nect­ed’ of all recent inven­tions.

First, because it’s easy to send mes­sages elec­tron­i­cal­ly, it is just as easy to ignore them. How many peo­ple are as dili­gent with their Inbox count as they are with there check­book bal­ance? Ok, bad exam­ple in my case. But the point is sound—which brings me to…

Point two, Email affords very lit­tle per­son­al con­nec­tion, when com­pared with the writ­ten note. You can’t hold a piece of Email, nor appre­ci­ate the qual­i­ty of the paper or hand­writ­ing. Instead, typog­ra­phy is stan­dard­ized to Ari­al, indi­vid­ual flour­ish is restrict­ed to the oblig­a­tory ‘e-sig­na­ture’, and you get sev­er­al hun­dred junk mes­sages a week, try­ing to sell you pornog­ra­phy, mort­gage rates, and a fake uni­ver­si­ty diplo­ma.

Third, how many peo­ple actu­al­ly take the time to hand­write notes any­more? Mar­garet Shep­ard writes in her book
The Art of the Hand­writ­ten Note
, that it’s a mis­con­cep­tion that you don’t have the time. Ask your­self this: doesn’t it seem more sin­cere and extra­or­di­nary that some­one would take the time to send you a per­son­al hand­writ­ten note? That’s worth a few extra min­utes, and a walk to the post office.

Last­ly, how good do you feel last time you sent an Email note to some­one? Today, I bought these nice note-cards with a small lith­o­graphed image on the front, and I hand-wrote notes to two peo­ple that have recent­ly inter­viewed me for jobs. Now that they’re in the mail­box, I feel pos­i­tive­ly gid­dy about these nice peo­ple open­ing their notes. It’s some­thing spe­cial and mem­o­rable, in an oth­er­wise rou­tine day.

There was some­thing fun­ny about writ­ing these notes, how­ev­er, because it’s been so long since i’ve hand-writ­ten any­thing longer than a cheque. In recent years, I’ve got quite good at sign­ing my name at the bot­tom of typed cov­er-let­ters, sales inquiries and let­ters to the edi­tor. My hand­writ­ing, once some­what pass­able, was atro­cious! It took a lot of warm­ing up and prac­tic­ing until I felt com­fort­able with the result. Cur­sive was total­ly out of the ques­tion, so I affect­ed a kind of more styl­ized print­ing.

In a bad job-cli­mate, I think there is pow­er in the Lit­tle Hand-Writ­ten Note.

Dear Sir/Madam

Meg Houri­han said:

It’s no won­der we’re see­ing an increase in unem­ploy­ment, peo­ple seem to have no idea how to apply for a job these days.

Recent per­son­al expe­ri­ence has shown me that there are a lot of qual­i­fied, tal­ent­ed peo­ple in the Boston area– and believe it or not, I think that most know how to address their cov­er let­ters.

Though I agree with what Ms. Meg says, I do know how to write prop­er cov­er let­ters, and I also know how to mar­ket my work to stand out (my pro­fes­sion­al work is entire­ly seper­ate from Suck­ahs, and this site).

Still, I’ve been walk­ing into these inter­views for posi­tions that I con­sid­er beneath me, and they are telling me that I am only one of over 100+ resumes… I mean, 2–3 years ago, I would walk into an inter­view and get the job that day.

So all fun­ny stuff aside, the econ­o­my is not improv­ing.

More Work

Here’s a sto­ry, since I don’t have much to say today:

I applied to a job at a depart­ment at Tufts. Heard noth­ing.

A free­lance client of mine for­ward­ed me an email from a devel­op­er at the Tufts depart­ment that I applied to, in which he points out a secu­ri­ty hole in my client’s site. No won­der I nev­er heard… I guess they weren’t impressed.

There are two ways of deal­ing with this, learn­ing some new php cod­ing, like how to flat­ten dynam­ic pages… OR, con­vert the entire site to make use of MySQL, free of charge.

Days of work, or days of work. You choose.

Interviews with a Geek

Guess who got an inter­view with MIT for a job? Yours tru­ly.

I am still wait­ing for the per­fect job at Sim­mons Col­lege to call me back. They have OS X G4s and 22″ Cin­e­ma Dis­plays there, and, well, it’s a girls’ col­lege.

Sleep, Interrupted…

So the past week as been hor­ri­bly spent, in the form of all-nighters, work­ing on my new port­fo­lio site and resume. I real­ly need a job like I need a mon­ey tree.

The new iden­ti­ty, web­site and resume are pret­ty cool, I have to admit… espe­cial­ly the busi­ness cards and let­ter­head… I wish I could link it here, but I want to always keep work and play seper­ate. Those of you who know me, prob­a­bly know where to look… if you don’t know me and you’re inter­est­ed in hir­ing me, christ man! email me.

The cool thing about the resume is that I ditched the MS Word tem­plate, (Gara­mound type, sil­ly columns, hol­low bul­lets, tra­di­tion­al kind of shit), and craft­ed a mod­ern, clean ver­sion that uses some blue col­or and one of my favorite type­faces, Bliss.

I’m not much for fin-de-si?cle (that’s the 20th cen­tu­ry, folks), fonts– Fleet Bank uses Rotis, which is such a fuck­ing bad piece of type from the ear­ly 90s. I know this because I used it on a cor­po­rate iden­ti­ty in 2000… (of course the client was hap­py with it).

Any­one else have favorite fonts? Please don’t say Ari­al

Slag

Some­times I get the feel­ing that peo­ple just don’t read me right… or maybe I don’t read them. It seems to me that peo­ple feel okay say­ing incred­i­bly rude things to me– things that they don’t expect to come out as rude, how­ev­er when it hap­pens they seem com­plete­ly sur­prised by their choice of words. I don’t get it.

For exam­ple, when I was work­ing at an inter­net ser­vices firm last year, upon shak­ing a client’s hand, he remarked some­thing like “Jesus, what are you, still in col­lege? This looks like the B-team. You look 18.” To which his part­ner remarked, “more like 14, Jim”. Nice to meet you two, I’ll be the per­son you’ll be speak­ing with on a dai­ly basis for the next 4 months. I mean, I was wear­ing an expen­sive brand-name suit and I even part­ed my hair which is some­thing I nev­er ever do. I thought I looked the part.

Now, this week­end, I final­ly met Kate, some­one I’ve known online from time to time. She was vis­it­ing from dc with her sis­ter, so pres, dan­no and I met them for cof­fee. The whole thing was weird before we even got there for rea­sons that I real­ly don’t want to get into. And so we met, and sat and pro­ceed­ed to chat for about an hour. Now, admit­ted­ly I was a bit with­drawn most­ly due to my mood ear­li­er that day and to those unmen­tion­able fac­tors, so I was quite hap­py lis­ten­ing to the two of them car­ry on– they were very enter­tain­ing and I remem­ber think­ing that it felt good to final­ly put this inter­net friend into real time and space– it felt very good.

And then, some­where near the end when we were wrap­ping every­thing up, Kate summed me up with one word: pos­er. or poseur, as I’m sure she’d put it. I don’t remem­ber how it hap­pened– but I’m sure that I react­ed bad­ly. It hurt. It was one of those stu­pid things that I’m sure she wish­es she hadn’t let slip out.

And so anoth­er slag has been added to my psy­che. I think my girl­friend sees my reac­tion to inci­dents like this as para­noid and noth­ing more, but maybe that’s her job to be unre­lent­ing­ly sup­port­ive… I don’t think it would do much good if she agreed with me. Still, I’d be dead-sur­prised if some­one that she knew were to tell her unso­licit­ed that she’s a pos­er, or some­thing equal­ly as low. It just isn’t done. I’m the most judg­men­tal per­son on the plan­et, and I can’t imag­ine say­ing such a thing in a semi-seri­ous tone. Yet, I must give off some kind of vibe that screams “tell me what you real­ly think of me…”

What to make of it? The answer that always qui­ets my mind is to say fuck it. I can’t waste my time wor­ry­ing about it, whether it’s true or not. I’ll have to give peo­ple the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

Freelance Neddie

I got some good news today! I’ve been work­ing on a web­site for two women start­ing a new busi­ness, and it’s going well (near­ly com­plete). They are so great.

Any­way, they passed my name on to some­one at Accen­ture, and it looks like I’ll be doing a web­site for a small group over there. The details need to be worked out, but I’m excit­ed (cos it pays quite well!).

Is it bad to want to buy a cou­ple of $4 bot­tles of cham­pagne at the cor­ner and cel­e­brate? By myself?

Sometimes i feel undervalued.

Some­times i feel under­val­ued.

firmlist

my group direc­tor seona intro­duced me to the firm list… it is inter­est­ing to see what oth­er design­ers are up to. i’ve nev­er seen a bet­ter direc­to­ry of ‘firms’ out there, so buck­le-up grand­ma.

all work and no play

all work and no play makes ned­dy a dull boy .… just don’t start chop­ping up bath­room doors with axes while we’re in the mid­dle of nowhere new york…

God bless the dirty, rumor-filled

God bless the dirty, rumor-filled under­side of the dot-com rev­o­lu­tion.