Now that school is winding down, a lot of students are looking for summer jobs. You want to find the best job possible – one in your field of interest, that pays well, and gives you a ton of relevant experience…. but how? Continue reading
Apologies for the radio silence! Been much busier than expected with conferences, gigs and flying back home for a few weeks, and I have to admit I did forget to write last week. I am ashamed.
So while I was busy finishing assignments and then fulfilling the rock’n’roll part of my personal blurb on this blog (actually ran into one of the speakers from the Unconventional Women conference in a rock bar in London!), I also went to another conference. This time it was Business 2012, and I have to say it was quite an experience. And not all good.
Getting past the absolutely and unforgivably poor organisation of the event – we didn’t get to see Sir Richard Branson speak because they “couldn’t disclose the information” about which speakers were on & when! Srsly, what the eff? – the seminars and workshops we attended were quite surprising. In fact, my friend and I came to the conclusion that, with the exception of the seminars on trademarks and mobile internet, we could’ve gotten up on the spot and taught the seminars better than the speakers.
Now you might be thinking I’m crawling up my own rear end here, but it was very shocking how unprepared and unprofessional some of the speakers were. I did not come to sit through a seminar on the commercial use of twitter being taught by some middle aged guy who gets up and starts off with “Well I’m actually really bad with social media and some kid I have working for me actually does it all.” Why are you here giving your “advice” then?
This conference was really an example of making it too broad and in turn making a big mess of an event. To top it off the seminars were overbooked so we had to sit on the floor, and The O2, where the conference was being held, was freezing cold.
But perhaps most notably,
The best and most informative seminar was the one given by one of the youngest speakers there.
Just something to think about. And comment on below.
P.S. The saving grace for the last day was the British Music Experience museum of popular music which is in the same building, and which I HIGHLY recommend you visit if you can!
As some of you may have noticed if you saw last week’s post, I took a litttle trip to Manchester last weekend. The following Monday I wrote a post about it which covered the gender-related conclusions, this week I want to talk more about why it’s important to go to these things whenever you can.
When I went to this conference, I didn’t really know what to expect or even how formal or informal it’s going to be. I went there with the expectation to learn something about the state of the music and media industries from the women that are actually in the thick of it, and at the same time see what they’re like and if I ever enter any of these arenas, what are the people I would likely be working for like. And I went to see if I could gather any information that would be useful for my dissertation on live music and heavy metal.
Turns out the conference was so relaxed you could easily approach the speakers after each panel, a golden opportunity for anyone who, like me, was looking to build contacts. It took some courage and the best opening lines I could muster to do it, but I went up to them. I introduced myself, I commented on the points made in the panel, I took and interest in their work. And I walked away with not one, but two interview arrangements for my dissertation research. We are now also connected through various social media, therefore I am on their radar for future opportunities and have a huge edge against most of the competition if I do apply for a job with any of them, simply because they’ve met me before.
Competitions are good, you get prizes and pretty CV material. But conferences give you the chance to make your presence known among the industry community, which WILL give you an edge and might even bring the job to you.
It’s time to put that natural charm to good use!
P.S.: Next weekend I’ll be attending another conference in London which lasts until Tuesday so the post should be out later the following week, but the delay should be well worth it.
So yesterday I attended Un-Convention’s Un-conventional Women event in Manchester’s awe-inspiring Victorian neo-gothic town hall (I have a wee bit of a soft spot for anything gothic). A fairly last minute decision since I was only told of the event a couple of days prior, and Manchester isn’t exactly in my general area. Nevertheless I grabbed a friend and off we went, almost unacceptably early on a Sunday morning.
It was awesome.
The main reason I decided to go to this convention/conference wasn’t to indulge some kind of feminist man-hate that these events have an unfortunate tendency to turn to. I was interested in learning about what the “state of the art” in the music and media industries is today, how do these influential figures in the music industry understand the age of digital music, and how can I work the situation to my advantage in what is very much a male-dominated industry. Another reason was a chance to network with the speakers and others in the industry to further my base of contacts.
It was very eye-opening just how little understanding of the relationship between music and the internet was demonstrated by some of the speakers. And what a fantastic opportunity this is for our generation to become the next great innovators in the music industry.
But mainly, I have to say, I was incredibly pleasantly surprised by the sheer presence of the speakers. Most of these were charismatic, no nonsense women. They have every bit the confidence to play with the boys, and they elegantly shot down all the characters that show up in these crowds to cry and whine about how “the boys make mean jokes” and are “insensitive”. Have you ever seen a bunch of guys hanging out together? They’re not exactly having a tea party and complementing each other’s hair. If you’re having to work with a bunch of guys, you need to learn how be one of them. I’m not talking visually, or about renouncing your femininity. But you can’t expect to walk in a room and everyone adapting to you just because you’re a girl, because let me tell you something, sweetie:
That is not equal treatment. That’s preferential treatment. And you’re nothing more and nothing less than every guy in the room.
Besides, from my experience, most of the time a girl’s biggest enemy in a male-dominated place is the other girl. Just something to think about.
I’ve still got a thing or two to say, so stay tuned for Part 2!
Here’s a question:
How many times have you looked at listings for jobs or internships or competitions or whatever else from the “I’m doing something with my life” basket that has stated being “creative” as a requirement, and actually understood what that meant?
If you actually tried to answer the question I’m betting about 99% of you choked on your own mental monologue at least once in the first few minutes. Many of you will go somewhere along the route of “it depends on the situation”.
And you’re right: it does depend on the situation/field/employer. But even more importantly:
Most of the time, employers don’t even know themselves.
Creativity has become one of business’ favourite buzz words. It takes the mind away from a dry, old-fashioned perception of something into a hip, fun, “anything is possible” world of both unprecedented achievement and caring. It implies personal development and an almost romantic view of what lies ahead. And it is directly linked to feelings of bitter disillusionment.
It is without much doubt one of the most devalued words in our dictionaries but nevertheless, it still represents something crucial to all of us – it represents pushing yourself to think and act beyond your own limits. Creativity, originality, and ingenuity. It reminds us to not become complacent in our routine, but to “think outside the box”.
And that’s really what employers in any situation are looking for when they say they are looking for someone “creative”. They are looking for the individuals who are open-minded and motivated enough not to become complacent in their work routine, and see and take advantage of the opportunities that can lead to great things.
And I think that’s a little something we all can write on a post-it and stick on our desks.
Have a great week!
P.S. Follow me on Twitter @Martholio for more musings, event info and general silliness!
Having faced what has probably been the busiest December of my life to date, I can’t help but admit that I’m a teensy weensy bit tired. Actually, I lie, I’m exhausted. So as I was finishing things up for this year and planning some well deserved days off I got to thinking about just how important taking the time to sit back and recharge is.
Listening to lecturers, colleagues, career gurus and whatnots inadvertently makes me a little nervous. Somehow many of us are being pushed to think we should have finished 10 internships, entered 30 competitions and climbed mount Kilimanjaro with orphans strapped to our backs in the past month, all the while doing our coursework well and on time. If we don’t we’ll never get a job. Ever.
Well, let me tell you something. Taking time for yourself is important. Continue reading
Once upon a time, there were four summer interns, curious as can be. They each had their strengths: one loved to call people, one loved to email, one loved to write and one loved to do all kinds of little jobs.
It was the beginning of the summer, on one fine morning, when the one who loved to write found herself in a pickle. “I have way, way, WAY too much work!” she said. “Oh fellow intern, you don’t have as much as me. Won’t you help me please?”
But the one who liked to call said “No. I have too much of my own work. I can’t help YOU.”
So the one who loved to write asked another intern, “Oh intern who likes to email, I have way, way, WAY too much work. You don’t have as much as me. Won’t you help me please?”
Just like the caller, the one who liked to email said, “No. I am too busy with my work. I don’t have time to help you.”
Poor, poor intern. Who will help you do all this work? Are the other interns being selfish? They couldn’t possibly have as much to do just.calling or emailing…
…Or could they?
Finally, the writer asked the one who liked to do all kinds of things. And he replied, “yes I will help you. As long as you divide your tasks into manageable to-do’s, there’s nothing you can’t do all by yourself!”
So the writer and the organizer made a plan that allowed the writer to clearly see what she had to do.
“Wow, I guess I’m not that busy after all. I even still have time to help the other interns!” said the writer.
“Yes,” said the organized one, “But don’t forget to do your tasks first. Being busy doesn’t always mean being productive.”
The writer nodded, “I guess you’re right. It’s like I was under the busy curse and thought that having way, way, WAY too much to do meant that I was being productive. Thanks kind intern.”
“Anytime young one,” said the wise organizer. “Break the busy curse and get more done! Off with you now, writer, I have work to do!”
Moral of the story: busy work does not equal productive work.