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Fri 4 October 2019
If you are a college student, the process of applying for jobs is relatively simple. You go to your university’s career service website, see what employers have job postings, click apply to any jobs that seem interesting and wait to see if you get a response from any of the employers for an interview. You could also test your luck at career fairs where hundreds of students pour into a venue to have really intimidating, forced, and, for the most part, the same 1-3 minute conversation with recruiters at companies you think you might be interested. Performing both of these actions is relatively simple, and if you are lucky and have a good elevator pitch, you may land an interview.


During this time period of “oh, I should probably apply for jobs” to “Alright! I have 3 interviews”, how much have you learned about any of the opportunities you have applied for? Sure, you may have read a brief 100-200 word description of the employers on a career service website, along with employers’ location, and possibly jobs’ starting salaries. You also probably have a perception of the prestige of the companies and how good having a company’s name on your resume may look.


Are there other factors that you may not know about that might have a huge impact on whether or not you like your job? Factors like how much work is done in groups vs. individually, will you have creative freedom, are there leadership opportunities, will you learn new skills, is there direct access to senior leadership, how varied is the work, how diverse is the workplace, is there a lot of travelling, do you have your own workspace, along with even more factors that you may have no clue about before accepting a job.


As a college student, you have to decide how important these factors are to you and how much of an impact they will have on your career choice.


The difficulty in this task is that this work is purely self-motivated. There is no boss, there is no deadline. You are the only person who will derive the benefit, and have to be able to put in the effort to obtain this information. This is made even more difficult by the fact that the answer to each of these points of research is unique to each department of each company. The accounting department may have an entirely different environment than the marketing department, who are likely completely different from the HR department.


If you consider merely getting a job offer your pinnacle of success, then there is no point to put in the effort to learn whether or not companies possess these factors and how much you value them. But if your definition of success is having a fulfilling career, it might require some additional effort.


The toughest part about this additional effort is that it has to be motivated by you. To your parents and friends, just getting a job offer is wonderful news. The security of having a job offer feels awesome. However, having no clue whether or not you will like the job you have been offered is an issue you have to deal with. You can suppress it and tell yourself that you’ll find another job if you don’t enjoy it or you can embrace it and put in the time to fully understand what opportunities are available to you and which opportunities fit you best.


In high school, it was very clear of what to do to get to college. You get good grades. In college, it was very clear of what to do to get a job offer. You get good grades, internships, and leadership positions in extracurricular activities.


But what about pursuing a career that is fulfilling? This path is much more vague, yet extremely important to achieving happiness in your career.


Ultimately, the more effort you put in to understanding a career before entering it, the more realistic your perception will be of the work. If you do this, you won’t be surprised at the work culture and will be much more satisfied with the work you are doing. Because you knew what to expect, you will likely be happier, more productive, and more engaged in the work you are doing.


Wonderful things can occur when perception meets reality.

Fri 27 September 2019
When I was younger and thought of the Ivy League, I had visions of grandeur and prosperity. I believed that it was the melting pot for the cream of the crop. Books such as Ugly Americans convinced me that students attending Ivy League schools could get a job anywhere. As far as I was concerned, students that graduated from Ivy League schools were leaps and bounds more prepared for their careers than students who graduated from second-tier schools.


This point was reinforced even further by an interview I had a few months ago with a 29 year old professional who was working for an investment banking firm.


Me: “What college did you go to and is that a college your company recruits students out of?”


I-banker: “I went to Indiana University, but my company only recruits students from the Ivy League. I was just extremely lucky to get into this company because my girlfriend’s dad had a connection to the company.”


Me: “Why wouldn’t your company recruit students outside of the Ivy League? I mean, it seems like you are thriving at this company, so why would that be any different from other students that graduate from Indiana University, or any other school for that matter?”


I-banker: “We are looking for students with analytical skills. Plainly, students that graduate from second-tier schools don’t have the analytical skills to properly do the job at our bank.”


Me: “But what about you?”


I-banker: “I like to think of myself as an outlier. I first got lucky that I had an in through my girlfriend’s dad. I then realized that after working with colleagues from Ivy League schools that I always strived for greatness and should have set my sights higher when selecting a college to attend.”


Me: “But by that same logic, could you also make the point that there are other “outliers” just like you at second-tier universities that could achieve similar successes as you have?”


I-banker: “Personally, there are so few students at second-tier schools with the analytical skills to succeed at a company like ours that it is not worth the opportunity cost to recruit at those schools to find the ‘diamond in the rough’.”


After completing the interview, I wanted to get to the facts about this investment banker’s notion. Is finding students with the proper analytical skills at a non-Ivy League university truly like finding a “diamond in the rough”?


Fortunately, Bloomberg has already done much of this research. Interestingly enough, Ivy League students are not far and away more prepared in terms of analytical thinking. In fact, Ivy League schools rank average or just above average for most categories that Bloomberg studied (i.e. ability to work collaboratively, adaptability, communication skills, creative problem solving, decision making, leadership skills, motivation/drive, quantitative skills, and strategic thinking).


After looking at the research and reviewing the responses from the investment banker I learned that there is clearly a disconnect.


Is it fair to students who are getting systematically denied from job opportunities because they aren’t attending Ivy League universities?


Is it fair to companies who are neglecting potentially great student hires because they possess the assumption that hiring Ivy League students will net them better and more prepared employees?


Are there other factors that might weigh more important to successful employment beyond technical skills? For example, leadership and organizational development professors Peter Lok and John Crawford have found an interesting correlation between the work environment of an employer and the strengths/goals of an employee. Employees have higher commitment (productivity, retention, engagement) when the correlation between these factors is high.


If there was a way for students to know which companies had opportunities that matched their desired career goals and strengths and a way for employers to inform students of their work environment, would there be higher levels of successful employment (i.e. both employers and employees happy with their relationship)?


I am not saying that there is not a benefit to attending an Ivy League school, but being an Ivy League student does not necessarily mean you have elite technical skills. In addition, having technical skills is not the only factor that leads to successful employment. Furthermore, employers that possess these ill-informed assumptions may be hindering their hiring decisions.


There is no pure solution to these questions I propose, but they are important things to consider if successful employment is the desired outcome for both college students and employers.

Fri 20 September 2019
A couple of years ago when I was interviewing companies, I would ask a similar question in all of my interviews.


Me (in an interview): “So tell me a little about your company’s culture?”


Recruiter: “Great question. We have a very youthful and innovative culture here at                company. We have casual Fridays and an annual philanthropic event that many of our employees participate in called                        .”


Me: (not trying to pry or insult) “ahh, thanks for letting me know.”


What I really wanted to ask was ‘what the heck does that even mean?’ In defense of the recruiter, that is a very difficult question to answer.


To understand why that is a difficult question to answer, let’s dive into what organizational culture is. According to study.com:


“Organizational culture is a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave in organizations. These shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization and dictate how they dress, act, and perform their jobs.”


So, according to the recruiter that I interviewed, she kind of answered the question. Although, it didn’t really help me as a college student who at the time had no preconceived notion of what organizational culture was. The recruiter telling me about her youthful and innovative culture tells me that the company is trying to adapt to the changing future. Her telling me about casual Fridays tells me how the employees dress on Fridays and the philanthropic event tells me how some of the employees act during that once a year period when the event is going on.


But what about the shared values, beliefs and assumptions? How am I supposed to create a picture of what a company’s culture is like without this information?


To play devil’s advocate, if people know about casual Fridays, but think that it is a joke or would rather not change their dress routine for one day of the week, how pertinent to the culture of the company are casual Fridays? If there seems to be a trend that the people who participate in this annual philanthropic event get higher bonuses (maybe because the owner, president, or board started this organization or is heavily invested in this organization), is it really optional and (if it is perceived as not optional because those who don’t participate in the philanthropic event tend to not get bonuses) does it really contribute to the culture of the company? If the only reason the recruiter described her company’s culture as youthful and innovative because she recently hired a bunch of recent college graduates and the term “innovative” tends to attract young people, is the culture really energetic and willing to try new things that shape how business is done in the future? These are hypothetical questions, but questions nonetheless that I am still left wondering as a student interviewing a company (that I don’t feel comfortable asking for fear of insulting).


The reason why asking the recruiter what her company’s culture is like is a difficult question is because it is her opinion.


Organizational cultures are not universally good or universally bad for every person. Just because two organizations have the exact same activities (i.e. casual Fridays and philanthropic events) doesn’t mean that those activities are received the same way at each company by the employees. Some employees may hate those types of activities while other employees may love them and an employee’s love or hatred for doing an activity may depend on who they are doing that activity with (i.e. their colleagues).


Just because a company writes on its website their values and beliefs, doesn’t necessarily mean that the employees share them.


When hired, every person enters the hiring company with a set of values and beliefs. That individual has an influence on the overall culture, but will ultimately have to adapt their values and beliefs to that of what already exists at the company. The individual can either fight those values and beliefs by not seeing how their values and beliefs can be fulfilled through the company or they can buy into the culture of the company.


Many employees for a company fall in between these two choices because they have not taken the time to think about their own values and beliefs and how they pertain to the company in which they are working. Many employees accept their job for what it is without acknowledging or appreciating the little things their company may be trying to do to make their work more enjoyable.


Ultimately, it is up to the individual applying for the job or as an employee within the company to decide what the company’s culture is like. It is up to this individual to understand their own values and beliefs and see how those values and beliefs are being fulfilled by the company. If this understanding can be developed by all or at least a majority of the employees within a company, organizational culture can thrive.

Fri 13 September 2019
Me: “Why are you in college today?”


Charles (college student): “To get a degree that will hopefully help me get a job.”


Me: “How do you know that getting a job is what you want if you have never experienced it before?”


Charles: “Because that is what you are supposed to do after you graduate. I mean I want to make money and not have to move back in with my parents and I have a lot of debt to pay back, so I kind of need a job.”


Me: “Ah, that makes sense. Well, considering that you could make money at any job and could therefore likely not have to move back in with your parents and be able to begin paying off your student debt, are there any other factors that play into your job search?”


Charles: “Well, I will probably get a job that pertains to my major because that is what companies hire for, so my major plays a factor in my career decision.”


Me: “How did you choose your major originally and do you like the classes that you are taking for your major?”


Charles: “I chose my major because people with my major have one of the highest job placement rates of all majors. However, I don’t really like the classes that I am taking, but I only have 1 more semester to go before I graduate so I figure that I can muster through it.”


Me: “Through your logic of applying for jobs that hire for people with your major, is there a chance that the work you would be doing in your career could be very similar to the work that you are doing in your classes?”


Charles: “That is very possible, but I figure that with the money that I will be making and having a prestigious company on my resume, that I wouldn’t mind working through it for a year or two. Once I quit, I will probably be able to easily find another job because I have that prestigious company on my resume.”


Me: “So you are going into your job with the anticipation of quitting?”


Charles: “Well, ya, I mean a lot of people do that.”


Me: “Similar to how the company that will hire you out of college will hire you because of your major, have you ever considered that the company that hires you after you quit your first job might be hiring you to do the same exact or similar job as what you did with your original company because of your experience doing that work?”


Charles: “I don’t know, I guess maybe, but if I really didn’t like the job I do after college then I won’t look for jobs that are in that field.”


Me: “If that is the case, then what is the value of having a prestigious company on your resume if you plan on quitting and if you don’t like it you will look for jobs outside of that industry that won’t value your experience at that company on your resume?”


Charles: “I have no clue, I haven’t really thought that deep into why I want to work this type of job outside of the money and the resume building.”


The career outlook that Charles has is very similar to many students that I have interviewed over the past 2 years. College students believe that the reason why they go to college is to have a degree that gives them the credibility to get a job. The issue with this mindset is that college students go to college to get a job but get a job because they went to college. All along the way, college students are pursuing careers that they have no clue why they are pursuing (except for the fact that it pays them money).


What I really wanted to ask was “what else do you Charles (or any other college student) value beyond the money?” It is not that making money is wrong, but you can make money at ANY JOB. Why doesn’t college work towards helping college students understand why they want to pursue the career they are pursuing? Helping students understand their values, beliefs, feelings, and aspirations cannot be measured with a test score but are vital to understanding why an individual does what they do.


College teaches students many valuable skills and much knowledge, but if the only reason why students are in college is to get a job offer, what motivation do students have to learn about topics that they want to learn about (not topics they are forced to regurgitate on an exam for their major and then forget about shortly thereafter)?


Colleges are beginning to implement soft skill development with their students because companies have complained that many recent college graduates lack those skills entering the workforce. These soft skill development classes are required courses for one’s major in which students are told to perform actions like goal setting, time management, networking, etc. These skills are vital skills to learn but are only valuable if the person developing these skills understands why they are valuable beyond that passing the course will get them closer to getting a job.


The “why” is lost in college today and its effect is obvious. With over 70% of Americans either not engaged or actively disengaged (a majority of which are recent college graduates) in their careers (Gallup), 80% of Americans unsatisfied with their jobs (Deloitte), and the fact that the average American changes vocation over 15 times in their life (Bureau of Labor Statistics) it is blatantly clear that something wrong is occurring with Americans and their mentality on their careers.


Socrates believed that “you don’t know what you don’t know” and Warren Buffett once said that “getting a job so then you can have it on your resume is like saving up sex for old age.”


As a college student, it is easy to fall in love with the security of having a job offer. Spending 4 years of one’s life living up for that day that a college student gets a job offer is a lot of built-up anticipation and energy for something one has never experienced before. And if the college student is only getting the job to boost his resume and move on to something later, there is no intrinsic motivation for improving his career.


College is one of the most pivotal times in a person’s life as it is the time when a majority of the habits we hold for the rest of our lives are formed (for better or for worse).


Understanding “why” one does what one does (i.e. one’s values, beliefs, feelings, aspirations) will allow an individual to begin the building blocks of the change he wants to make in his life and the world.

Fri 6 September 2019
What you think of yourself vs what others think of you could be like the difference between a horse and a seahorse. Why does it matter how well we know ourselves? What can we do to get a greater understanding of what others think about us? How do misperceptions of oneself even originate?


Self-Awareness is at the heart of emotional intelligence. The better you know how others perceive your actions, the easier it is for you to cater your communication in the way you want to be perceived. How others interpret you can be based on what you say to what you do to how you look. For example, Jay Cutler (the quarterback for the Chicago Bears) gives the impression that he doesn’t care when he plays football and many would care to argue that this is because of his face. Jay Cutler has a bad case of RBF (Resting Bitch Face) which turns people off and causes people to not like him, regardless of whether he is a likeable guy. If Jay Cutler made more of an effort to smile more, people would probably like him more. The point of this example is to convey that how self-aware you are can directly impact how well others like you.


Impressions are created in seconds, whether that is what you heard about somebody, saw in or on somebody, or what you perceive about somebody. Self-Awareness is the ability to understand what people think about you and emotional intelligence is the ability to cater your communication through language, body, and perception to the message you would like to embody.


It matters how well we know ourselves because the more self-aware we are, the happier we will be. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses and learning where your place is based on those strengths and weaknesses is paramount to finding the place where your perceptions meet reality. If you have an unrealistic perspective of yourself, you will consistently be disappointed because you will expect to be treated in a certain way and consistently not receive that response.


We gain a greater understanding of ourselves by listening to the feedback of others. The biggest difficulty people have with this sentence is the word “listening”. Humans possess an inherent drive to not admit our flaws. It is natural for people to get defensive when a flaw is pointed out because to us, flaws are a sign of vulnerability. What most humans don’t understand is that other humans like when people can admit their own flaws. For example, many comedians are extremely successful because they can make fun of themselves. Kevin Hart is hilarious because he fully understands how short he is and all of the downfalls (and silly upsides) to being short. People see this vulnerability in another person and it makes them comfortable to be vulnerable themselves.


Misperceptions of oneself build when we see an idealized version of what we think we can mold ourselves into. For example, many university business schools inform their students that employers are looking for students who have strong work ethic, listening skills, and communication skills. Many students, with the desire to eventually get a job from such an employer, tell themselves that they are strong in all of those skills (whether or not they have worked to develop those skills). When those “aspirational” strengths become so encoded into one’s mental view of ourselves, we build an unrealistic idea of how people perceive who we are.


Ambition In Motion is a company that helps young professionals develop key soft skills, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness. Ambition In Motion helps young professionals gain a realistic idea of what it means to be in the working world and helps unite a company’s business goals with a young professional’s personal goals. These skills directly correlate to higher job satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

Fri 30 August 2019
Elevator pitch


Very concise presentation of an idea covering all of its critical aspects, and delivered within a few seconds (the approximate duration of an elevator ride).
(businessdictionary.com)


The elevator pitch: a term mired in mystery in which outcomes lead to one extreme or the other: despair or greatness. But how can someone possibly fit all the critical aspects of an idea into just a few seconds yet still be captivating? Is this a skill one is born with or is it something developed over time?


If you are still reading, then you are experiencing the importance of the elevator pitch. What you read in the first few lines of this post was interesting enough for you to read more! People have short attention spans and people care about things that are relevant to them. The more relevant you are to a person, the longer they will give you their attention. The trick is quickly convincing someone that you are worth more of their time. When approaching a boss, CEO, HR Manager, or anyone else you would like to get a word in edgewise, the more of a stranger you are to them, the less time you have to capture their attention…so capture it fast.


Marketing yourself is one of the most difficult things to do because there is so much that you think is great about you. Think about it – when you are writing your resume it typically takes a while to cater it to the specific job you are applying for because you are trying to decipher which experiences you have are the most relevant to the person reading the resume. Its natural, everyone thinks that what they are doing is really important. Why else would they be doing it?


Put yourself in the shoes of the listener. What does he/she want to hear from you? What do they value? Those are your “critical aspects”. If you have an idea that could increase the productivity of you and your coworkers without adding any work hours, but your boss only values cutting costs, you shouldn’t lead with “I have a plan to increase the productivity of coworkers.” Rather, you should lead with “I can help you cut costs by 22% through this plan to increase productivity of myself and my coworkers.” You have caught your boss’s attention by stating a specific percentage of reduced cost which made him/her want to listen to the rest of what you are saying.


The point is that people only want to listen to things or to people that appeal to them. The less a person is interested in you, the more you have to speak in terms of what they want to hear. The more a person is interested you, the more likely they are to listen if even if they don’t care about what you are saying.


There are tactics to knowing what a person wants to hear or what they care about. There are also tactics to applying your experiences to those things a person cares about. Sometimes it requires building rapport with a person first on a completely irrelevant topic to what you would like to speak about (but something that the other person highly cares about) and then bringing up your ideal conversation to that person.


Even if your first few attempts at marketing yourself to others doesn’t turn out as you would like, keep pivoting and working on new ways to improve your pitch.


Pivoting is not failure, but failure to pivot is. 

Fri 23 August 2019
The concept of networking is kind of like the concept of riding the biggest, scariest roller coaster at an amusement park. Engaging a stranger in initial conversation is kind of like the part of the roller coaster where you are being carried up and all you hear is the “clunk clink clunk clink clunk clink” of the belt carrying the roller coaster to the climax. It is similar because you are nervous for what will happen next. You have no clue how that person will react from you approaching them just like you have no clue how you will feel once hitting that huge drop on the roller coaster. For the most part, you will end up satisfied and happy that you reached out to that stranger because you not only proved something to yourself that you could do it, but you learned something new or made a new connection from doing so. Occasionally you will end up with a headache at the end (similar to a rusty old wooden roller coaster) because the stranger you reached out to is annoying and won’t stop talking about something you are not interested in. But never will you end up with a negative outcome from networking.


Networking leads to careers, business partnerships, and friendships. These seem like outcomes people would seek in their lives, but why do most young professionals and college students employ networking only during times of desperation? To prove my point, think about the first two weeks of college. For the most part, every other freshman you met was super nice and friendly to you. Why? Because they (and you) were desperate for friends in a new and unusual environment. In a professional setting, attending alumni networking events and professional development seminars did not seem very attractive when you were happy in your job, but once the job started to become monotonous and you didn’t see yourself in a future at that company, those networking and development events became more attractive to attend. When you are less desperate to change, you are less likely to network.


This is not to say that all young professionals and college students only network in times of desperation, but a large quantity of us do.


The trick is to look at networking like this: networking is not a transaction. There is no clear outcome of what will occur from taking the time to speak with somebody. Just because a person’s expertise or insight does not interest you now, does not mean that their knowledge is worthless to you. Young professionals and college students know that some of the outcomes from networking include landing careers, business partnerships, and friendships, but those don’t typically stem from the first meeting one has with a stranger. More likely than not, it is a person recommending you to meet someone else that they know. Therefore, as opposed to trying to attempt the home run of landing a job from a stranger you met at a cocktail party, a better tactic could be to just build a positive working relationship where they know about you and what you are looking for and potentially recommending somebody for you to connect with. Recommendations are one of the leading ways people land careers. You can’t receive any recommendations if you don’t go out and network.


In the end, networking is something that should be done all of the time by everyone (especially young professionals and college students). Keeping a keen track of those you are connected with is important because although you may not value a person’s expertise now, you may value it later. Plus, if you are only networking when you are desperate, it is very likely evident to the other person you are speaking with that you are desperate. Those that want to work with desperate people want to work with desperate people because they are likely desperate themselves to work with anyone. It is ironic how desperate people attract other desperate people because desperate people are the last types of people a desperate person is trying to attract.

Fri 16 August 2019
A goal without a plan is a wish. Is this common sentiment true? Is it impossible for us to achieve a goal that we never planned for?


The ability to set goals equates to an ability to possess control of the outcomes of your situation.


If you are in a job and think to yourself “I hate this job and would be more than willing to accept an offer from another company” but don’t do anything to get an offer from another company, how do you really expect to get another job? Your complaint falls on deaf ears. I have interviewed roughly 100 recent graduates in the past year that are seeking new jobs and about half of them aren’t doing anything to actually “seek” a job. In fact, the closest they got to “seeking” a job was telling me in that interview that they were probably seeking for a new job. I then follow up to ask them “how long have you felt this way?” and the response is typically at least a month to sometimes at least a year.


Why? Your career is typically one of the most prominent sources of professional aspirations. Why are young professionals so complacent in being unsatisfied? Rather, once they realize they are unsatisfied, why is there not a process of setting and achieving goals to get out of that unsatisfaction?


Actually seeking a new career is hard, takes time, and typically isn’t fun. The irony of getting out of a bad job situation is that you have to work even harder outside of that job to find a new one. The issue is that most people enable themselves to not work as hard outside of their job because of the stress they receive from their job. Then, through some random job opportunity (a friend mentioning it, a random email, etc.), you jump on it like it’s the gold rush without thinking “is this job in fact better than my old job?”


Part of goal setting, especially in a professional environment, requires self-awareness. Working to better understand yourself should be the first plan to achieving any professional goal. Taking the time to write down what you like and don’t like (in this example, in your job) is vital to understanding what your next move will be. This takes time and may even require the help of your peers, close friends, and family to inform you of what you like to do and what your strengths are. This is because sometimes you are so deep into what you are doing (and what you think you should be doing) that you can’t see the forest from the trees. From there you can analyze what jobs you think you might like and then reach out to people actually doing those jobs (LinkedIn is great for this) to get better insight on what the job is like. When reaching out to those people, don’t ask whether or not they like the job because that depends on their personality and work style and how that meshes with their work opportunities. Their work style is completely different from yours so their feelings about the job should be irrelevant to you. Questions like “is the work autonomous or structured?” are better because they are not as subjective.


This is just an example of setting a plan to achieving a goal, but the point is that it pays off to plan and not let things come at you as random happenstance.

Fri 9 August 2019
As humans, we have an inherent drive to be accepted and liked by others. Why? Where does this drive come from and how do humans go about achieving this acceptance? If you don’t believe or aren’t certain humans have an inherent drive to be accepted or liked by others, think about your first day at work. Were you nervous? Did you try to not screw up or ask dumb questions? Did you try to do extra tasks to convey your work ethic? If so, a primary reason you did one, some, or all of those things is because you have an inherent drive to be accepted and liked by others (in this example, your colleagues). The ability to build acceptance with those around you is the ability to build rapport.


Up until about the mid-1990’s, the only way to gain this acceptance was through your actions with others and how you communicated with others verbally. But in the 1990’s, amazing technological advancements allowed us to communicate and build acceptance from others nonverbally. How convenient? Why attend conferences and meet others in person to convey a message you are trying to get across to many people when you can just as easily write a blog? Why thank somebody in person when you can send them a thank you text just as easily? Technology has allowed us to communicate in ways we never thought possible 30 years ago.


I have interviewed over 1,000 professionals this past year and asked them what skills they think recent college graduates lack after graduation. Far and away the most common answer was recent graduates lack the ability to communicate. But why? With all of the technological know-how and all of the additional forms of communication, how can recent college graduates lack communication skills?


Has technology discouraged us to communicate face to face?


From these responses, yes! Today, you are considered weird and deemed socially awkward if you start a conversation with a stranger without some sort of goal or objective from the conversation. It is almost as if the efficiency that has been provided in technological communication has permeated into social communication. It feels as if physical conversations are a transaction and if the transaction is not apparent to both parties then nothing positive can be gleaned from that conversation.


Is this right? Can society function with purely technological communication and only communicate face to face “when needed”? I don’t think so.

Fri 2 August 2019
What is time management? Is it jotting down notes and writing out what your plans are? Or is it getting that burrito from Chipotle because you are already out and know that you will be hungry in an hour? Or is it separating your work into different topics to help you concentrate?


Technically, all of these are examples of time management. The key with all of these examples, and time management in general, is that it forces you to think of how you will spend your time in the future and what is the best way to allocate that time.


The funny thing about time management is that it takes time. It is like moving one step backward to eventually move four steps forward. This concept of time management has been so elusive to young professionals and recent graduates today because we are very motivated by the short term. We see the “one step backward” and instantly think “screw that! I’ll just go at it head-on.”


Let’s detail an example of this.


You get on your computer and you start checking emails. The first is from your boss in which you respond right away about how you will come into the office an hour early to get started with work because your company is entering the busy season. The next email is spam from JDate/Match.com/Christian Mingle because your dumb friend thought it would be funny to put your email on their subscription list and no matter how many times you try to unsubscribe and mark as spam, their stupid emails still seem to manage to get through. The next email is a LinkedIn update and you decide to check out the feed on LinkedIn, see how your profile views are doing, and maybe update your profile to “I am technically in a job, but am definitely open to hearing any offers because my job sucks!” and then you chuckle to yourself and quickly delete it. You then check your next email and find it is an accepted friend request from an old friend from high school. You scope their Facebook profile hard now that you are friends because before you were “friends” he had more privacy settings than your parents did on their “R rated” channels when you were growing up. You then think “Oh shoot! I can’t believe it has been an hour, I need to get to the office.” You commute the 30 minutes it takes to get to work to find that nobody is there. It turns out that in that hour it took you to check 4 emails, the 5th email was from your boss informing you that there was a fire in the office and he was canceling work for the day and wanted everyone to work remotely from their house.


This is a very elaborate example, but it is real! The person in this example very likely complains how they can never get their work done on time. Their audience will typically suggest “why don’t utilize some time management tactics.” The individual whines back “I don’t have time for time management!”


Hmm…This seems like an ironic statement. If the individual in this example would have planned to check all work emails first and then the rest of his emails, he would have not wasted the hour back and forth from work, he would have had a specific time allocated to checking LinkedIn and Facebook, and he would not be complaining how he can never get his work done.


The key caveat to not utilizing time management tactics is that it takes time to think about how to best utilize your time. The short term benefit of not expending 10 minutes now, for some odd reason, trumps the long term angst of losing 2 hours of productivity later.