Camp Nanowrimo

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place in November. Camp NaNoWriMo is a summer version that began in 2011. These events take place online. A community of writers cheer each other on as they strive to reach their personal word counts.

I am ambitious ,so I set my goal as 50,000 words. I plan to write a few short stories. I then plan to revise my favorite and submit it for publication. Regardless of whether I succeed in publishing something or not, I will feel great completing my word count goal.

I enjoy writing. It’s a creative outlet that allows me to become a more effective communicator. Maybe I will never be published, but I have definitely utilized my skills on the job. Whether I am creating a work document or delivering a presentation, I know I am aided by all the time I spend plunking away on my keyboard.

During the camp in July, I’m going to be writing a series of mysteries whose protagonist is a socially awkward techie. When Ben Evens finds he no longer has a job, he quickly finds himself thrust into a new career as a amateur private detective. It doesn’t come naturally to him at first, but he has a keen eye for detail and limitless trivia knowledge from hours on Wikipedia.

Are participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? If so tell me about what you plan to write about in the comments below. Need to hire an effective communicator or writer? Reach out on the contact page or connect with me on LinkedIn. 

Employment Seeking Ad Campaign Update

This post is an update from the plan outlined in this post.

After five days days, my Facebook ad campaign generated 71 clicks and cost 30.00. No recruiters reached out to me. My LinkedIn Profile received around seven additional views.

I have two thoughts. The ad didn’t clearly market me for one role. I feel if I had perhaps chosen a specific role, it might have been more successful. The other thought is that perhaps Facebook ads are not the greatest way to reach recruiters.

I was trying to think outside the box. I think, nowadays you have to be creative if you want to land a really desirable position. I want to turn the job hunting process on its head. It’s better to be job hunted. I don’t really feel like some algorithm that finds keywords in modern online application software is going to properly score my experience.

All this might make me seem desperate. I am underemployed but not unemployed. The truth is I can wait quite a while before I would be in a position where I would have to take anything. I want to be in a position where I can choose the best possible position. I don’t want to be one of those people who goes to work everyday hating their job. What’s the point? We spend so much of our time working. Why not try to do work that is personally fulfilling?

Could your company use a creative problem solver? Reach out to me on the contact page.

My Flight Attendant Years

In 2008 I accepted a job working as a flight attendant for Colgan Air. I had been trying to get an airline job for a couple of years. I had previously been applying exclusively to legacy carriers based out of my local airport. I had just attended an airline trade school as a last resort to make this dream become a reality. Once I commit to a goal, I will achieve it eventually.

I attended flight attendant training in Albany, New York. I had to study my flight attendant manual, emergency procedures, federal aviation regulations, and airline operations. After several weeks of classes and successfully completing emergency drills, I got my wings.

I ended up being based out of Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) .  I had actually made EWR my first choice, as it was a hub and I figured it would be easier to travel on my days off from a hub than from an out station. Prior to relocating to New Jersey, I had been living in Athens, Georgia. I had moved up from Florida before that. I’m always up to relocating for the right opportunity. That being said, the largest city I had ever lived near before moving to Newark was Columbus, Ohio. It was a certainly a new experience living in such a crowded city. I adjusted over time. Eventually I felt at home enough to start taking the train in to NYC and wander around.

During my time as a flight attendant, I had several challenging work days. I had several medical emergencies. I had to deal with maintenance and weather delays. I had to handle passenger complaints and utilize diplomacy when flight crew members didn’t always get along. The days were long, but it’s still one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had.

I frequently worked on our flagship. One of the Dash-8 Q400 Aircrafts was named after  Senator Charles Colgan, the founder of Colgan Air. I referred to this particular aircraft as “Bad Luck Chuck”. According to galley gossip, the Aircraft had been struck by lighting more than any other Q400 in the fleet.  The nose cone of the aircraft had a number of chips from lightning strikes. I was present during two strikes. Believe it or not, a lightning strike is not a particularly dangerous occurrence during flight.  The aircraft has to be signed off on the ground by an aircraft mechanic, but generally the aircraft can continue flying on the same day. It can still be, understandably so, a little unsettling for the passengers. I was seated in the back of the aircraft when a loud strike to the nose caused the cabin lights to flicker. Turbulence shook the aircraft’s cabin and the overhead bins shuttered in protest. The plane went silent. I couldn’t hold it in. I chuckled, in an evil villain kind of way. The passengers looked back at me in disbelief and several of them laughed in return. I was relatively used to the summer storms. I always tried to make passengers feel safe and tried to ensure I never looked frightened.

One of the most memorable days occurred when we had an issue with the landing gear. I was on an aircraft where the the tires on the front landing gear popped during take off and we had to prep the cabin for an emergency landing. Initially the front gear wouldn’t come down. Luckily, it eventually did. The pilots did a great job of doing an easy landing. Although the aircraft’s nose gear was in no condition for us to taxi to the gate, we were not in any danger and a bus came to ferry the passengers to the terminal. During this situation and others I was able to keep a cool head. I’ve always been told I have a calm, serious demeanor. I found this quality was an asset to my duties as a flight attendant.

During the course of a person’s life it’s very likely they’ll have to step foot on an aircraft, whether they are afraid of flying or not. If a passenger didn’t tell me (frequently they did) I could always tell if they were afraid of flying. I would always kneel down to make eye contact and reassure them. I would tell them to not hesitate to press the flight attendant call button if they needed anything. I was comfortable in the air, but to those not used to it I could understand their fears. I still believe flying is the safest form of transportation.

I eventually became promoted to Check Flight Attendant. I conducted Initial Operating Experiences (IOE) for the new flight attendants. I ensured that they had properly learned everything they should of in ground school and signed them off if I was confident in their abilities after a number of flights. I also was responsible for ensuring that flight attendants were in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations and company policies. I took great pride in my work and enjoyed mentoring new flight attendants.

I enjoyed my time working for Colgan Air. The airline ultimately ceased operations due to poor financial planning and a tragic accident in 2012. I went on to work for another regional airline before leaving the friendly skies to focus on college. I improved my leadership abilities, my communication skills, and became much more self reliant. I often recommend that people who do not yet know what they wish to do for a living should consider becoming a flight attendant. It’s a really great transitional role. I had the opportunity to meet lots of different people and visit lots of new places. I even was able to travel on my days off. I once took a solo trip to Japan for a week. It was during my time as a flight attendant that I wrote my first business plan and decided to go to college.

Could your company benefit from hiring a travel expert ,who can remain calm while flying through thunderclouds? Contact me on the contact page and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Lessons I Learned at Starbucks

I worked at Starbucks for a relatively long time. What can I say? I need coffee to live and it was a great place to work while I was in school. During my time there, I experienced a lot of personal and professional growth. These are my biggest takeaways:

Anticipate your customer’s needs and then exceed them.

Just by doing small extra things for a customer, you can create a memorable experience. I found that customers became friends through small acts. This connection didn’t just create repeat customers. It created a sense of community.

Don’t ask anyone to do anything you would not be willing to do yourself.

I was familiar with the concept of servant leadership. However, working as a leader behind the line with my baristas really helped make this my favorite leadership style. I found that by saving at least one of the more laborious or detailed tasks for myself I was able to gain and keep the respect of those I supervised. I also began to immediately touch base with everyone on my shift. Whenever they leave I think of one accomplishment I can thank them for.I also had a far better idea of the challenges and opportunities for our business due to a better understanding of the roles of those I was responsible for.

Always continue to develop your knowledge beyond your initial training.

I became known as the coffee and company history expert. I achieved this feat by reading several related books and completing an optional training to become a Starbucks Coffee Master. I found that the outcome , my reputation at Starbucks, far exceeded my effort. A little bit of ambition goes a long way.

Never compromise your principals in the pursuit of profit.

Howard Schultz has said in the past that success is meaningless if you “arrive at the finish line alone.” It’s better to find yourself surrounded by winners at the finish line. At Starbucks the winners aren’t just the shareholders, but also coffee growers, partners (employees), and social/environmental causes.

I learned that it is important to not become shortsighted. Doing the right might not always lead to better quarterly earnings. However some business leadership understand that building a legacy leads to larger profits over time.

Do you think my experiences would make my a valuable asset to your team? Reach out to me on the contact page or through LinkedIn.

I Graduated, Now What?

I graduated on May 22nd. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. It was so unreal. After four years of hard work, I finally had completed this leg of my journey. I know I will never be done learning, but at least I have completed this important milestone.

The immediate reality that sunk in was that job hunting could be an exhausting experience. I also learned that applying online and waiting to hear back from an employer was not an efficient way to find work. After applying for countless jobs, I decided to create this site to allow prospective employers to find me.  Once I find work, I will continue to use it as a networking tool.

If you are hiring, check out my linkedIn. If you have any opportunity that would be well suited for me, feel free to reach out by using the contact page.

My Internship at the SEC

I had the privilege of being selected to participate in the Student Honors Program at the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office for both the fall and spring semester of my senior year. It was an incredible experience.

During my internship I assisted Security Compliance Examiners with two exams, as part of the National Exam Program. I learned a lot about the financial markets and regulation. I had the opportunity to review a company’s internal documents and document trends. I created work documents and shared the results of my work with staff. I did research to understand the company’s internal policies and procedures to ensure that the company was operating in compliance. I took notes at meetings and created a finalized version of official meeting minutes.

If you think this experience would make me an asset to your company, reach out to me by sending me a message on the contact page or LinkedIn. 

Self Promotion vs Job Hunting

For the last couple of months, I have been doing research on different job hunting techniques. I kept coming across the same claim. In dozens of different articles and videos people kept stating that most job openings are not posted online. So I realized  that I was going to really have to get creative to find my dream job. I remembered reading about a guy who pretended to be a delivery guy and dropped off donuts with his resume on the inside of the box to a hiring manager. I also heard about this animator who created a custom puzzle made of characters from the studio and herself. She dropped it off at the reception desk with a message stating that this is where she fit in and then ran off. Both of these creative people found employment shortly after their stunts.

Maybe I wouldn’t have to be so creative if I wasn’t selective about my career. I want to be excited to go to work. I want to have a job where people are constantly asking me how I got it, whenever they find out what I do for a living. I also live near NYC and the competition is fierce. My plan is a little less bold than the puzzle maker or the donuts delivery guy. However, I feel that it will allow me to get decision makers to find me and view my qualifications.  Although not a job hunting book per se, I learned about similar marketing strategies that I plan to implement in Tim Ferris’s The 4-Hour WorkweekThis is the plan.

  1. I registered a personal domain. (this one)
  2. I started a WordPress account and had my domain point to my WordPress site
  3. I wrote about my work experiences and other relevant personal info.
  4. I customized the WordPress theme and I hired a talented friend of mine to design a logo for the site. (Coming Soon!) I will also create business cards with this website and the same logo on them.
  5. I went to Facebook and set up an ad campaign. An ad with my graduation photo with the caption “Hey Recruiter! Recruit me!” would be visible to people in their Facebook and Instagram feeds who listed their profession as “recruiter”. I only had the ad visible in cities where I would like to live or where companies I want to work for are based. (NYC, Various Cities in California, Orlando, Tucson and the Pacific Northwest)
  6. In addition to the ad campaign, I intend to share my posts on social media and directly with recruiter accounts on Twitter. Lastly, I also will add the site and logo to my email signature.

Since recruiters can easily reach out to me via the contact page or social media accounts, It is my hope that several recruiters will want to speak with me. Beyond my qualifications they will see that I am a creative problem solver.

Do you think I’ll get any good job leads with this approach? Do you have any suggestions on how I can make my self promotion plan better? Leave your comment below.


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