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


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.


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.