Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bouncing Back

This weekend I went to my first Cirque Du Soleil show - Kooza - in Santa Monica. It was the very last show of the tour, on the very last day, at the very last show time, 5pm. I had a great time with my date and ran through the whole gamut of emotions. The most exciting parts were the tight rope walk and the cylinder performers.

For each of those stunts, as practiced and polished the performers were, the highlights of each act were when the tight rope walker lost his balance and almost fell, but caught himself, or when the cylinder runner almost tripped on his own feet and could've fallen from two stories up without any safety precautions to save him. My date and I were talking about how each mistake made the feat more impressive because they almost did fall or perhaps die, but each time, they shook it off and righted themself and tried again. Such pressure for the Cirque performers on their very last show... We had more respect and were in awe of watching them recover and do it perfect the second time, then if they were to do it perfectly the first time.

And that to me is what life is all about. As adults and non-perfect beings, what matters is bouncing back. That's what counts. Everyone makes mistakes. How do you recover? How do you learn? How do you move on? How do you forgive/forget? How do you prevent the same thing from happening again? That is what matters. That is what makes us human. That is what redeems us.

As I go through life and sometimes stumble or wonder what I could do differently, I already know I did the best I could, at that time, with the information and knowledge I had then. No regrets. Should I make another similar mistake, my goal is to analyze what was slightly different, what didn't I catch, and how can I think it through and act differently this time?

All too often as I commiserate with my friends over life's dilemmas, I rejoice in how well I know myself, what I want, and how proactive I try to be in getting myself to where I want to be. All too often, not knowing is the first dilemma. Without that foundation, one is muddling through life.

I'm bouncing back and things are great. I only hope -------l is also. I wish you great things, great lessons, and great happiness for the holiday season and new year. Life is too short to be lost.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Faith is Half.com (Why Half.com is my Best Friend)

I just ordered the book HOW TO STOP WORRYING AND START LIVING by Dale Carnegie. A good friend of mine just finished it and spoke highly of it. The great news is, I have one of the main concepts down - imagine the worst-case outcome of an ordeal and figure out how you can move on from there. I've been doing that all my life, unknowingly. After reading books by Donald Trump, I realized he does the same too, especially when making business decisions. However, this doesn't mean I don't ever worry. I've cut down a lot since a teenager. I now try to severely limit wasting any emotional energy on things I can't control.

I bought the book today because it made me think of a concept I've read about recently. I can't remember which book since I read 3-4 at a time. Anyway, the concept mentioned bad times won't last forever and good times won't either; life is always in a state of change and flux. So then it dawned on me that while I've learned to stop worrying about scenario A, B, or C - the very slight annoyance I get with my private life now comes down to how do I reframe an inkling of a worry when I don't know what's going on due to a lack information from the person/event I'm worried about.

I'll give you a real life example. I live in Los Angeles and the running joke is everyone is flaky. Of course being the person I am, I'm usually 15 minutes early to meet friends. So when people are late, I've actually been sitting there a really long time. And when someone is 5 minutes late, I wonder where they are. When they are 10 minutes late I want to call them. But I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and I wonder why they haven't called me. And when they are 15 minutes late I wonder if they are even going to show because who doesn't call when they are running late?! They probably forgot our dinner for all I know. (I will call after 15 min though.)

I also worry if they got in a car accident or are tied down/super stressed at work and totally lost track of time or if an emergency arose. However, while sitting there for 30 minutes I always debate with myself HOW should I feel - annoyed, worried, angry, calm, or happy to have extra time for myself?

I've trained myself to not think anything until my friend shows up or calls because I want to have the "fair/justified" reaction. What ends up happening is I text friends and kill time while refraining very hard from having any reaction because everyone's allowed to be late on occasion even though I try never to be.

One time me and a group of friends were expecting 2-3 others and they never showed up. We called and left a message and kept calling because their behavior was highly unusual. We finally heard back a couple days later and while their reasoning was understandable they didn't show, I thought it was incredibly rude to fall off the face of the earth for that long. At least send a text! "I can't come. Something came up. Can't explain now. Touch base with you on Tuesday."

From the time I realize a situation is "out of place" to when I know why and what caused it is the conundrum. When people semi-disappear I worry a little because I don't know what is what. I want to give people space, breathing room, and don't want to add any more stress to their life; I get the world doesn't revolve around me. I also wonder how I can help. Then I wonder if I need to think about implementing those strategies I devised when I decided NOT to worry and envisioned THE WORST THING POSSIBLE happening. If the other party can't or won't communicate with me, when do I know it's time to put my strategy to use and move on with my life?

I'm very good at closure and being proactive in life. I'm less great at waiting, being kept in the dark, and wondering. How long is too long to wait for an explanation that may never come because someone is busy, depressed, or being evasive? And to make myself feel better and not fear the worst, I buy books like Dale Carnegie's and write posts like this. :) See - I feel better already. I just hope *******L is fine.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Google Voice: Wave of the Future & Love at First Sight

I love Google. I FINALLY got my new Google Voice number. It's invite only and low and behold, I got home late last night and saw in my Google mail box that I was granted to pick my own phone number! After searching for a really long time (an hour), I finally picked the perfect number. I'm very pleased as it has meaning and is easy for me to remember, and should be for those that know me well! ;)

I played with my Google Voice account for a couple of hours. Testing it, seeing how it worked, reading online about all the cool features. I am just blown away by the speed, reliability, innovation, and endless possibilities. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT!

For those of you unfamiliar with Google Voice, it's a free service where you can pick your own phone number that will ring any of your other phones - cell, home, work, etc... so that people don't have to try calling you at all your different numbers or keep updating their address books any time you move. All voicemails are transcribed to emails and you can keep them forever!


They also have a widget feature online so people can call you directly without you having to reveal your phone number. Just embed the widget on your business website, blog, or personal home page. People can call you directly without your privacy or safety being in danger. (You can pick an area code anywhere in the USA even if you don't live there.)

There are so many features that I haven't even explored yet - conference calls, switching phones in the middle of call, and perhaps even doing your laundry! ;)

Get your Google Voice number now! You don't want to have to buy one off eBay for $1000, now do you?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Pitfalls of Working in the Entertainment Industry

I think most people within the industry and outside of it can be blinded by the glitz and the glamour of what we do at work each day. There's horror stories, drama, and no shortage of problems that give us pride when we are able to solve them and overcome insurmountable obstacles. The industry isn't for the faint of heart and it takes a particular personality to survive it. The pitfall is revealed once a person leaves their oyster or tries to explore life outside of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. I'll give you three examples.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Writer's Block

It's already 425pm and I couldn't really think of anything to write. I'm looking forward to Monday. I have something after work. One of my newest recruiters called some of my references and was really pleased. I am pretty happy he's my recruiter; he's very good at personalized attention and tailoring comments to me specifically. I have a busy week ahead of me as usual. Sometimes, despite a busy day, there's not much to share, or knowledge to impart, or a lesson to be learned. I won't fret my blog today will be very short. But I did want to write to make the effort. Instead, I'll end with a quote...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Indoor Rock Climbing Helps My Career

Anyone who knows me well knows I hate taking risks, unless they are very very calculated. I also am not very daring when it comes to sports and hobbies. Oddly, I've always wanted to try indoor rock climbing and finally did last December. It was such a thrill and quite cerebral too.

I didn't really know what to expect and figured I'd either totally love it or totally hate it. I don't have a great fear of heights so I wasn't too concerned about that. I'm pretty petite so I was more concerned about the strength I may not have for it. I think more than anything was any embarrassment I might have in not doing well since it was a group of six and I knew one person only slightly. For those of you that have never done indoor rock climbing, the surprising element to me was how strategic and emotionally, psychologically, and physically challenging it was.

Monday, September 14, 2009

3 Signs of Good Corporate Culture

I've been extremely fortunate in all of my jobs in my career. I have worked for the most down-to-earth, egoless, kind people. In my industry, this seems like an exception to the rule, although good business sense dictates this is how supervisors and colleagues should be for the best work environment and professional relationships.

It's very hard to read the corporate culture of a company unless you're already working there and have been there for awhile. I always believed one year at a company will give you a full picture since you're able to observe when the company experiences down time in the summer or has insane deadlines during periods of peak productivity. Only time will tell is the correct adage in this case.

I have noticed three criteria of a good company during my years as a staff member and freelancer/contractor before getting hire, while working there, and upon finishing a contract job.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Reflections of 9/11

The year 9/11 happened, I was actually living in New York for the summer. I won a prestigious fellowship with the International Radio & Television Society. I say won because it really was like winning the lottery. Every year 35 college students are picked from across the nation. Hundreds apply for a chance at living rent-free in New York, getting an entertainment internship, a paycheck, access to network with all the big wigs in the city, expenses-paid dinners, concerts, and activities, and the chance to be groomed through what I call entertainment boot camp. The process was long and arduous. You had to apply a year in advance, fill out a 20-page questionnaire, write a personal essay, and pass 2 phone interviews. I later found out the year I applied over 1000 people applied. I was one of the lucky few to be chosen and only the 2nd or 3rd to attend from my university since its inception.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Insights From A Recruiting Perspective

I've held a handful of positions relating to recruiting applicants, talent acquisition, or interacting with HR personnel and senior HR executives. I thought I'd share some insights from my various experiences about working from the inside.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Answering Reader Mail: Finding Temp Agencies in Los Angeles

JH recently wrote me and asked the following question, "With so many temp agencies out there, I don't know which is/isn't good. I was wondering if you could give me the name of the temp agency you worked with. Thanks so much in advance!"

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How I Broke The #1 Rule As A Temp & Lived To Tell It

A great way to get your foot in the door with a company is to be a temporary assistant. You fill in for people if they are sick, on vacation, or on maternity leave. The assignments can last for a day or two to even a couple of months. The best part is, there are a ton of temp agencies and anyone can apply. I had zero connections in Hollywood, so this is how I got my start.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Difficulties of Blogging Daily & Networking

As you know, I'm new to the blogging world. Penelope wasn't lying when she said the biggest challenge is to have something great to write every single day. I've only been doing this for 2 weeks and I'm fast running out of ideas on what to write about.

Although I love my life, I don't think something special happens every day. Mix in the fact that I'm slightly annoyed at life that I don't want to write about anything I'm annoyed about cause I'll completely forget why I was annoyed in about 3 days! LOL So why record inconsequential details? What's surprising is nothing ever annoys me and for the past week little things have been getting on my nerves. It will be some minute incident in the day and the very next day something else will happen that I've realized I've never been this annoyed in I can't remember when!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Only 3 Things Are Needed To Be Happy / DJ AM

Whenever you are in a funk and aren't sure what to do to pull yourself out of it, focus on three specific areas that will truly make a difference in your life. Gordon Livingston, M.D., speaks from lot of experience - both personally and professionally. He's one of my favorite authors.

Gordon says you only need three things to be happy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The True Meaning Of Being In Control

I assume most people on the Brazen Careerist network are go-getters, initiators, and passionate about their career and going after what they want much like myself. From a young age, I've been working and have sought out opportunities to learn and grow. It was always instilled in me that through hard work and sheer persistence, I could get what I wanted. It's what I was told and it's what I was rewarded out in the real world time and time again.

The difficulty arises when what you've been doing all your life no longer starts working through no fault of your own. For example, getting laid off due to a world wide economic crisis. You beat out all the other candidates to get your job, you work hard with rave reviews, and your position is eliminated in the end. The formula has always been motivated action equals great results equals having control of my life and destiny. Until it just no longer is...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Often The Why Of Something Is Irrelevant

Since the economy crashed and thousands have become unemployed, many might have questioned, "why me?!" even though they were dedicated, hard workers. The fact that job stability doesn't exist and lay offs seem inevitable or random can be very disconcerting. Most become mired in the whys and how could this have happened to me cycle.

Fortunately or unfortunately, almost every single company that I've ever worked at has either been bought out or merged. Luckily, I was unaffected most of the time, but the sense of doom and low morale in the company always prevailed. Before I even graduated college, the idea of zero job stability was already on my horizon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Why People Don't Change

During a three-hour conversation not too long ago, a friend and I briefly discussed what it means to truly be an adult. He remarked, for him, there was nothing definitive about adulthood and it was more of a gradual process. For me, it was hitting a milestone birthday and realizing the world didn't see me as a kid anymore and any mistakes I would make could no longer be blamed on youth or naivete.

One of the more difficult realizations as an adult for me was learning a great majority of the population hates change. Even when you think whatever really bad situation they are in now couldn't be any worse than death, hell, or what have you, most people refuse to take action and instead stay in the same horrible circumstance day in and day out.

I could never relate to this way of thinking or living life as I'm very much about learning, growing, and being the best person I can be. Granted, I may take some time to figure out a strategy or think things through to best conquer a situation, but that mental thinking through process is still action, awareness, and productivity. I want to live the best life I can, while I can, as I understand life is very short. So to sit back and do nothing, and waste each day away is one of the biggest insults of mankind to humanity.

I researched this, trying to understand why some people act and others don't. It took me a couple of books to find the most concise answer and reasoning behind why people refuse change. And here is the truth:

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Worst Mistake Women Can Make

Slowly a lot of my friends are getting married and bearing children. One of the most neglected areas of discussion and thought are finances and looking at the big picture amid the excitement of wedding planning and greeting the joys of parenthood.

Among my group of friends who are mothers, some work and some don't. My sister is also hoping to have children soon and we had a passionate debate about why it's very important to keep working, at least part-time, even if you have young children. She didn't think it was a big deal or necessary if the husband made enough so the wife didn't have to work. I took the other stance.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interview Attire For Hollywood & Other Non-Traditional Jobs

For my entire career I've been dressing up the same way for a job interview in Hollywood. I wear what I call the "publicist's outfit." What is the publicist outfit? An all black suit, black purse, black portfolio, black pointy-toe heels, flats or boots, and a non-black collared shirt with at least the first button undone so it creates a V-neck shape for my necklace to show through.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How & Where Do I Find More Job Leads?

I'd like to think of myself as having a lot of initiative, creating my own luck, and being pretty good at networking. Often, my hard work, optimism, and drive pays off in job leads, but since I'm looking for the RIGHT job, it's been a long journey. I'm curious what else I could be doing.

Despite never having any background or experience in recruiting, I was offered a four-month contract job as a senior coordinator which I happily took. The great thing about the job is I learned what it's like to be on the other side. I loved being a cheerleader for the company and helping people get hired. One of the unexpected surprises was that once my contract ended all the recruiters that I worked with said I did well and offered to help me with my job hunt too! They are all extremely gracious and kind! Herein also lies my difficulty in what else I could be doing - when I have several recruiters/HR people who are keeping their ears open for me half my work is done. The entertainment industry is so small that these people also know everyone else in recruiting or HR too. I check in with them periodically to see if they've seen the latest movie we both helped staff or how my job hunt is going or if they'll be in LA soon so we can go to lunch, etc. So I'm covered at the central hub.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is My Career Specialty TOO Specific?

I've been reading a lot that having a specialty or a niche is very important. The idea is to be an expert or the top candidate in your field so you become the "go to" person. The last thing you should want is to be good at everything because then you aren't really good at any one thing.

My first job after college was working for a Chairman/CEO. And then I got laid off in a merger. However, even after the first CEO I was pegged as "the assistant to CEOs." So be warned - often unfairly, the first job you take out of college becomes your specialty.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How A Thank You Card Launched My Career

I've been very lucky my entire career with having wonderful bosses and co-workers and being consistently groomed in the same way by all my superiors. It has allowed me to be in the entertainment industry for almost 9 years now.

While on a job interview not too long ago, I was asked how I ended up working for everyone I have and how I got started in the industry. My first answer was, "No nepotism here!" but the more serious answer is I did A LOT of internships, I started on my career early, and I did it through hard work because I had ZERO connections in Hollywood. Yes, ZERO. I've found every single one of my jobs through a temping agency. But in reality - the most useful skill that opened a lot of doors for me were my soft skills.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Noteworthy Lesson on Movie Distribution Anyone Can Use & How It Affects Your Haircut

As a high-level executive assistant in the entertainment industry, most of my friends are in the biz. And most of my career being at film studios, it's obvious I love watching movies. I think this weekend was an extreme example. And it's the first time I've done such a thing. Here's an edited snapshot of my weekend.

Fri - dinner & Inglourious Basterds (loved it)
Sat - dinner & Post Grad (eh...)
Sun - dinner & Cold Souls (eh...)

Now, the lesson here is that before you go watch a movie, pay attention to which theatre # it's in and how long the movie has been out. Why? Because if the movie is in theatre #10 on opening weekend that's a bad sign.

Is there a profession that DOESN'T need a blog?

I started my blog because I love Penelope's posts. I agree almost 100% of the time with her. However, I'm wondering if I need a blog. I'm a high-level executive assistant, in the entertainment industry, and I've been lucky enough to be headhunted by Fortune 75 companies through word of mouth or finding my LinkedIn profile.

The question I'm really asking is, "Do I need to blog?" because I'm at a loss of what to write. And is there a point in expending so much energy in a life-long project that may not have any positive benefit? I feel like I may not fit the typical demographic of bloggers. I like being a career executive assistant, I like working from nine to six, I even enjoy overtime as long as it doesn't top 55 hrs a week. And I feel as though most people who have a blog want to be freelancers or their own boss, which I don't.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success by Claire Shipman & Katty Kay

This book is not just for women! - 5/5 stars

I just finished reading this book the other day and I strongly encourage everyone to read it whether you are a young professional, an HR manager, or even just a regular employee. This book sheds a lot of light on the struggles many working professionals have. How does one balance work and life?

Book Review: Good In A Room by Stephanie Palmer


Before I explain why this is an excellent book, I'll give you some relevant background information.

I spent 6 years working directly for three well-known, high-profile, respected Chairman/CEO billionaires within the business and entertainment industries. What Stephanie writes is EXACTLY what I observed day in and day out, firsthand and up close, every single day. Her book provides the insight, rationale, and step-by-step business etiquette that most people don't have the opportunity to learn, practice, or get exposed to. I was extremely grateful and lucky in that regard. Stephanie's book closes the gap of the age old catch-22. To get invited into the room, one needs to have a lot of experience, to get experience one needs to constantly have successful meetings.