Archive for New York City
Today’s post is by Peppercomm’s co-founder, Steve Cody, and originally ran on RepMan.
A just released Accountemps survey of 420 workers showed that nearly one-third said the greatest challenge when starting a new job was getting to know a new boss, co-workers and fitting into the culture. Learning new processes and procedures was also a big obstacle.
Even at my advanced age, I can relate to the abject fear of starting a new job and wondering how my boss and peers would take to me (and vice versa).
But, I was different from my peers. I was already a battle-tested veteran thanks to the tremendous competitive advantage my Northeastern University Co-Op experiences had provided. By the time I graduated, I’d not only worked in the newsrooms of The New York Times, WGCH Radio in Greenwich and CBS Newsradio in Boston, I’d also rubbed elbows with of some of journalism’s best and brightest (and meanest and nastiest).
So, when I interviewed at Hill & Knowlton as a newly-minted college grad, my real-world experience ran rings around my competitors from Yale, Harvard and Princeton (FYI, the H&K of those days was as white-shoed as a firm could possibly be. Biff’s and Buffy’s were absolutely everywhere).
And, trust me, I needed every bit of the N.U. Co-Op experience I’d absorbed up until then. Because, at the time I was hired (note: William Howard Taft had just been elected president), I was 12 years younger than the other account executives in my group! So, I not only had to score placements for such clients as Uniroyal and The American Trucking Association, I had to deal with very intense, frat house/Mad Men-type hazing from my older cohorts.
The men AND women teased me mercilessly. The men called me Gerber. The female executives called me The Kid. But, while others may have wilted under the pressure of what would undoubtedly qualify as a hostile workplace today, I thrived. Why? Because I’d already been yelled at, patronized and ignored by world weary, deadline-driven journalists.
And, that’s the point of today’s blog. Most of the interns we hire (and those that I see at other organizations) tend to run in packs. They I.M. one another all day long, chill together after work and share dating and helicopter parent stories throughout the day. What they do very, very little of, however, is networking with, and building bonds, with their workplace elders.
Which is why so many young people fear the prospects of fitting into a new workplace when they finally enter the real job market. Sure, they can rock social media. Sure, they know all about the hottest YouTube video. But, when it comes to dealing with older, more experienced workers on a peer-to-peer level, I’d say most are completely lost at sea.
And, that’s why colleges and universities (as well as we employers) need to better prepare students for the cultural/workplace dynamics they’ll be encountering. Most interns are hired, assigned accounts and then left to fend for themselves. They learn the ropes in media relations, press release writing and pleasing the client. But, what employer takes the time to explain internal politicking, reporting parameters, professional conduct, personal brand building and networking? Precious few.
The kid (that’s me) was ready for the slings and arrows of yesteryear’s workplace. But, Northeastern students aside, I’ve seen precious few Millennials who possess the natural skills necessary to leverage their youthful enthusiasm, overcome their fear of the workplace and use both as an advantage to foster strong relationships with their busy, distracted elders during an oh-so-brief, 90-day internship.
I invite my Millennial readers to weigh in, but doubt many will. I’ve found that most are either afraid to interact with ‘someone of my stature’ or simply unsure what is, and isn’t, appropriate to post on a business blog. Give them an iPhone and a BFF to text, though, and stand back.
We clearly need to build a better bridge between those two worlds.
Today’s post originally ran on Steve Cody’s RepMan.
The new date is “hanging out,” according to a recent article in The New York Times on why courtship is dying (or is already dead, depending on who you talk to.) Being an unattached, millennial female living in New York City myself, Alex Williams’ “The End of Courtship” certainly struck a chord with me—though perhaps not the one intended.
Technology is named in this particular blame game for how the modern male is able to hide behind vague and non-committal electronic messages, rather than just by directly asking a girl out. The result, the article posits, is that traditional ideas on dating are being replaced by a much more casual hookup culture. In short, men of this generation have traded in the traditional dinner and a movie date with hanging out, text messages and social media correspondences.
The article points to three big items that I have trouble digesting:
1. Young people now live in a culture where traditional dating has been largely replaced with casual and vague hook ups
2. There is a serious lack of real communication and/or too much technology involved in communication of young people
3. Young men are getting lazy with their date ideas
However, looking around at my fellow millenials, and men in particular, I find the article to be unfair. I know plenty of men who still take the traditional spin on dating. Sure, communication has become a bit more confusing with emails and texting, but I know of more men who still directly ask people out on dates than I do men who just subscribe to an all-hook-up-all-the-time mentality. My guess is that it’s the sheer number of ways we now have to connect cause confusion, but this doesn’t mean chivalry is dead. Chivalry just texts now, too.
And for the still fair amount of men who prefer the casual hookup – is this actually new? I know plenty of women who prefer that, too. And, correct me if I’m wrong, but if a woman prefers someone who will wine and dine her…can’t she just not engage with someone asking to do otherwise?
Case in point, the article quotes a woman who says she began a series of hookups with someone she liked. Was someone stopping her from just ending the relationship if she did not like what was happening? Instead, let’s call it like it is – both people choose to engage in the behavior. If you don’t like the behavior or the direction the relationship is taking, you can stop it and find someone more on your page. This is not new. These have been the rules of dating, well, for forever.
If courtship is ending, it is because we are all allowing it to do so. Not just men. And not just women. If one doesn’t want to just hook up, don’t.
The one item I definitely agree with? “Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret.” Maybe Siri will be able to help with this sometime in the future? (For all you history nerds: Maybe she’ll crack the code faster than the Brits did with Enigma). So decode this for the tech savvy women, Siri: If you want to be courted, act like it.
We probably hooked you with that title, right?
Everyone wants to find THE best place to work. Well, Kristin, Lin and I were asked to give some tips on what to look for and how to get to that perfect company for New York Women in Communications’ NEXT Blog.
Check out the post for all of our tips.
‘Tis the season for lots of cheer, fun, gifts and . . . company holiday parties. The latter is almost always fun, as long as you remember a few key points, the basis of that being to remember that despite how much alcohol is served, it is still a work function.
You can still have fun and let loose with your coworkers, but remember, what happens at the holiday party definitely stays in everyone’s memories throughout the year (or who knows, maybe even longer depending on the legacy you leave).
It’s never bad to carry yourself a bit more formally and remember that how you want to be perceived in your work life, is also how you should carry yourself at work events. But there are a few rules to remember. Check out The Wall Street Journal’s 23 Rules of the Office Holiday Party for a full (and funny) list of tips and tricks.
The amount of sick days one takes regardless of the level within a company, is something all employers take notice of. As an intern or entry-level professional, it can sometimes be a little nerve wracking to make that call. You want to show your dedication to your job, company and clients and prove that you can work through anything, but you also should be mindful of your own health and those around you you could potentially infect.
Check out Sue Shellenbarger’s article “The Art of Calling In Sick—Or Not” in The Wall Street Journal which discusses this very issue (and, yours truly is quoted in her article). Are you guilty of some of the items in her piece? When do you think one should call in sick?
We love “day in the life” stories. It’s a great way to gain good insight into a company and see what you could potentially be doing in a position with your dream organization.
One of our summer interns with our Business Outcomes division did just that and reflected on some of his tasks while on the team. Read his post on the Washington and Lee University website and learn a bit more about our Business Outcomes team.
There are many things in life that annoy me and other people who hire for his or her respective companies, including, but certainly not limited to:
- Spelling errors on a resume/cover letter
- Using a different company name when mentioning the place you’re applying to
- A resume that’s on two pages—especially when you’re entry/mid-level, there is no need for a resume that long and if you do, make it two FULL pages; not a page and a half . . . or a page and a quarter
While these are pretty big errors, sometimes they can be saved by a follow-up note apologizing, etc. However, one faux pas that you can never save yourself from (without having a very legitimate excuse) is having a set interview time and not showing up/picking up the phone when you are called by the person who has set that time aside.
There is nothing more disrespectful to an interviewee and someone who coordinated a meeting time than to simply not show up. Of course, things happen and some people take different positions at other companies, but you should alert the person you’re meeting with to withdraw your application.
Many may think this is just common sense and the first rule of interviewing etiquette, but you would be surprised. It’s one action that will make me remember someone in a negative light. Cue Stephanie Tanner’s catchphrase.
What are your thoughts on this behavior? Do you think this is the kiss of death with a potential employer? Or is there something worse?
In today’s post, meet Ed Page, current Peppercom intern, future PR pro and visitor from across the pond.
I am one of the many Ed’s at Peppercom, but the only British one! I am from London, England but live in Henley-On-Thames, a small town by the river Thames in Oxfordshire; famously known for its annual Royal Regatta and cameo in The Social Network. I am a student at the University of Nottingham majoring in American Studies, but a year ago I crossed the pond to go to college in the middle of a corn field, the University of Illinois in Champaign, on an exchange program for 10 months. There I studied a variety of modules such as marketing, journalism, advertising and even got involved with a weekly painting class. During my 10 months at the University of Illinois, I was fortunate enough to join the Illinois branch of the American Advertising Federation (AAF).
While there, I was fortunate enough to gain insight into the world of public relations, marketing and advertising. The membership included placement days, visits to various agencies in Chicago and weekly talks from various notables in the industry. It was these placements and visits to the agencies in Chicago that ultimately ignited my interest and curiosity into the world of Public Relations. It was not however until a family ski trip to Utah with one of Peppercom’s clients in February that I discovered and learned more about the company. Within three weeks I was on a plane to New York for what I thought would be a 20 minute interview, it turned into an hour long conversation with Mr. Ed Moed, Peppercom’s co-founder and the rest is history as they say. It also didn’t hurt that I was wearing a pair of trousers covered in tiny skulls which I think the Peppercom Intern Committee enjoyed quite a lot.
2. What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?
I am particularly fond of event planning and that is where a lot of my past experience lies. Coming from an artistic background I am also greatly drawn to the marketing and creative side of PR. I have enjoyed working on a variety of projects thus far from brainstorming and discussing marketing initiatives to gaining insight through H20–Peppercom’s in-house creative department.
3. Any surprises or revelations about the industry?
Prior to working at Peppercom, I would have always said I wanted to focus my efforts on entertainment PR. However, since working at Peppercom, I have realized the extent of how public relations dominates the world in so many different sectors and markets. One of the best things about working at Peppercom and the industry so far has been the interaction with a plethora of clients from all different spheres. I particularly enjoy working with our clients in the financial sector which I never would have thought I would. I have also come to learn that no day is the same in the PR world which is very exciting; the industry is extremely fast paced and you never know what might occur on any given day. From a crisis popping up to your pitching efforts resulting in a published story, the PR world is a multi-faceted and diverse arena.
4. Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship program so far.
My proudest moment so far definitely has to be the third day of my internship, the saying “being thrown in at the deep end” is an understatement to say the least. It was a Friday night and one of our clients had a major event the following week and there was still a lot to get organized, myself along with my fellow intern Nicole, stayed until 1 AM putting together various documents that were crucial to the event running smoothly. My initial reaction when the clock struck midnight was “Is every night going to be like this? What am I doing? Have I made a mistake getting into the PR industry” (please note that this is not the norm for this agency)? As the night came to a close and reflecting on that evening, I not only bonded with my team and got to know them, but there was a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when the job was done. The client was happy, we were happy (if not rather tired), the event ran smoothly and the client was very impressed.
5. Any favorite/inspiring case studies? (This does not have to be limited to Peppercom)
One of my favorite case studies has to be SPOUT: Connecting With Film Lovers. SPOUT is a unique online film community and it came to Peppercom as it needed to drive traffic to its Web site and encourage new members to join. Being a film-buff myself, I was fascinated to see the work Peppercom did in driving circulation, buzz and obtaining great media coverage surrounding SPOUT; over 5,000 New Yorkers and film enthusiasts subsequently got involved. I find it fascinating how buzz surrounding a company can snowball and traffic grow as a result.
In today’s post, meet Jonathan Salm, current Business Outcomes intern with Peppercom’s Business Intelligence Group.
1) Tell us about yourself—where did you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercom?
I am from Lakeland, Fla., and currently live in Lexington, Va., where I will be a senior at Washington and Lee University (W&L). I am majoring in English and am a philosophy minor, but I’ve been able to take a wide variety of classes as a part of W&L’s liberal arts curriculum. I’ve taken courses in Latin, formal logic, philosophy of law and even a miserable semester of calculus. I’ve also spent some time in W&L’s C-school (school of commerce, economics and politics), where I was in an awesome marketing class last year. In that class we worked on a full-fledged marketing campaign for the National Student Advertising Competition and were divided into teams based upon our skills and interests. I was on the media planning team and was personally in charge of feedback, measurement and evaluation. When my professor forwarded our class an email the Business Outcomes internship at Peppercom, it sounded like it would be a great fit for me. And so far, it has been!
2) Explain what Business Outcomes is.
Business Outcomes is a division of Peppercom’s Business Intelligence Group. In this industry, firms like Peppercom help companies to form and push out their respective messages. However, the amount of influence and the type of message is hard to quantify. That is where Business Outcomes comes in. By analyzing data and using a flexible algorithmic scoring system, the Business Outcomes team has created a verifiable way to measure success and identify “white space” areas of opportunity. To achieve this we measure the quality and quantity of share of voice and public responses using different analytic variables. With these results, the Business Outcomes team provides benchmarks for success and prescriptive strategies for the future.
3) How does your division and work fit in with the rest of the agency and clients?
Business Outcomes is an additional service that Peppercom offers on top of public relations work. Some companies want the extra service and analysis that Business Outcomes offers, while others may not be interested. Right now, the Business Outcomes team works with a number of Peppercom’s clients.
4) What attracted you to this type of work?
During my internship search, I applied for positions with companies in the marketing, advertising, and public relations fields. What really attracted me to the Peppercom Business Outcomes internship was the division’s focus on the “why” of PR. Why are certain messages successful? What kind of messages are more successful than others? And how do different media forms affect these messages? These questions are what Business Outcomes seeks to answer. As an English major and philosophy minor (which might seem at the opposite end of the analytical spectrum), I am continually asked to analyze stories, novels, essays, etc. While postmodern novels and PR messages are quite different, the methods for analyzing and understanding both are exactly the same. The more I thought about it, the more similar this job and my background seemed. Additionally, my strong computer skills (particularly in excel) helped me hit the ground running once I began.
5) Tell us about your proudest and/or favorite moment of your internship so far.
It was definitely finishing a special project for a Peppercom client. We were asked to analyze every single traditional media hit for a competitor over the course of an entire year. Our search gave us somewhere around 6,000 total hits that we had to read through, sort into buckets, and analyze under a deadline. Thanks to lots of hard work from the Business Outcomes team and the help of a few of my fellow interns, we were able to get it done accurately and on time. It was a great feeling to see the finished presentation after all of the work we put into it.
Other ways to connect with Jon:
How many times have we written about this? We cannot stress it enough–the importance of networking. At any stage in your career, whether you’re an intern, mid-level or SVP of a company, it’s always important to network with colleagues, employers, potential employers and potential new hires.
Tomorrow night marks the 2nd Annual Intern Queen Party in NYC, with a great internship panel. Kristin Davie and I will be attending. Will you?
What networking opportunities have you been able to go to so far?