Archive for August, 2011

Aug
31

Come On, Irene

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This post has nothing to do with the heavy damage—or in some cases, lack thereof—the recent hurricane to hit the east coast imposed. But I do have some issues.

One: I am mad about the hurricane being named “Irene” rather than “Eileen,” because the title of this post would have been both topical and an 80’s dream.

The other issue I have with Irene is the Twitter account started by yet another “mystery user.”

So what’s the difference between @Hurricane_Irene and Twitter accounts such as @BronxZooCobra? These types of accounts can be hysterical if done properly.

This, in my opinion, was not.

Started on August 19, the account’s first tweet reads: I am 60% going to be named within 48 hours. #tropics

I see what you’re trying to do, mystery tweeter, but the jokes fall flat and there are WAY too many @replies to the gang of The Jersey Shore—though I do appreciate the persistence despite the lack of responses on their part.

So after 99 Tweets, 8,897 followers and being among 97 lists, @Hurricane_Irene didn’t do too badly in terms of gaining followers. Below is a random sampling of some of the Hurricane’s tweets. Does the voice fit the “user” (i.e. if Hurricane Irene could talk, is that how it would sound?), and would you want to be behind the Twitter of a storm that has done so much damage and claimed lives?

  • Just heard they are installing this on Times Square upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/comm… #Hurricane #Irene #Flooding #NYC
  • If Chuck Norris and @MTVRonnie were on Cape Hatteras, I would probably make a hard turn east and go out to sea. #Hurricane #Irene
  • So, is @JimCantore taking me out to breakfast Sunday morning or not? If so, where are we going Jim? #Hurricane #Irene
  • I am using my winds to filter all the hair spray you have sprayed this month. RT @Sn00ki Ahh I need to get to LA! Wahhhh fricken Irene
  • Waves are here! In @DJPaulyD ‘s voice. #Jersday #Hurricane #Irene
  • I am getting stronger as we speak. Just did chest and triceps. Protein shake. Hoping to get to a category 4 by early tomorrow morning.

As @Hurricane_Irene’s Tweets continued tweeting it clearly loses its gusto (please note that I desperately wanted to make a pun about “wind gusts”), and tries to gain the success of @BronxZooCobra by desperately tweeting at any and all celebrities. Come on, Irene, I thought you were better than that.

With all of these Twitter accounts popping up shortly after some new event, how do you draw the line between offensive and comical?

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Aug
19

Totally Out to Lunch

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It’s standard practice for most work environments to give their workers an hour or so for a lunch break.

For better or for worse, a majority of people I’ve seen at most offices (at least in NYC) tend to order-in, take-out, or go have a sit down lunch at a restaurant. I’m starting to wonder if I am the lone wolf who’s brown bagging it.

I try to eat on the healthier side and as a result, am pretty picky. Making my own dishes is just much easier for me than having to be annoying when going out—or eating something I don’t want to eat. Oh, and it’s cheaper to make your own.

No matter how you slice it (pun intended), bringing your lunch is almost always less expensive than going out—excluding being taken out for lunch by someone or when there are random freebies around the city.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still go out for lunch sometimes, just not every day. But let’s say you do want to go out everyday, I have a few key sites I always love checking for deals and even awesome cheap/free events:

These sites are definitely worth checking out whether you brown bag your lunch or not. Who doesn’t love a good deal?

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Aug
15

The Long and Whining Road

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Guest post by Nick Light, Peppercom Junior Account Executive and Intern Committee member.

Don’t let this guy make your worklife become overwhelming and unbearable . . . just learn to say “no” in the right way.

Today, I’d like to talk about something with which pretty much all interns and entry-level professionals have to contend. I’m speaking, of course, about being the low man or woman on the totem pole. Now don’t get too excited. Those of you hoping to read a diatribe against those who’ve wronged me or tried to veil obnoxious tasks as learning experiences will be disappointed. I’m not saying it didn’t happen occasionally, but that’s not my point. I want to focus on walking that fine line between always available to help and pawn without dignity, between wanting to be accommodating and (let’s face it) establishing unhealthy precedents.

I began at Peppercom as an intern in early December, 2010, and was hired as a Junior Account Executive in April, 2011. So, if my calculations are correct (carry the two, divided by…), I’ve now been here at Peppercom for about nine months. The time has really flown and all that, but I really do believe I’ve learned a lot, not just about the skills required to do this job well, but also about understanding my role in this organization.

When I began last December, I jumped at every opportunity to help out anybody or any account that needed an extra hand. Having worked at a United Nations organization and successfully completed a Master’s Degree at a pretty tough university, I generally feel confident about my abilities to contribute to a project or account. I loaded on the work, did it all, and felt like I was doing a good job. And, for the most part, I think I was.

But (and this is the important part), as I’ve grown in my JAE position, I’ve come to understand what kind of work it is that I enjoy contributing that Peppercom also values. I’m not saying that my other work isn’t appreciated, because I think it is. What I am saying is that, when I am doing the kind of work that I like and Peppercom really values, I am doing the most I can to help Peppercom be as successful as it can be. If I’m taking on loads of extra work, my other work suffers. Plus, the aforementioned establishment of unhealthy precedents is a legitimate phenomenon to avoid.

However, as I’m sure you have guessed, it’s not that simple. There’s that ever-present complicating factor: you want coworkers to be able to depend on you to help out. What does all of this back-and-forth mean, you ask? It means that, sometimes, you have to say no. Yes, even you, interns.

Now that I am also a part of the intern selection and management process here at Peppercom, I can say that I notice a big difference in how some interns say no. There’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. In fact, there are many wrong ways. For example, not responding to emails asking for help, talking about how stressed you are, or throwing a coworker under the bus, just to name a few. These will not get you hired or promoted. The right way is to say when you CAN do the requested task. For example, “I would be happy to help out on this tomorrow afternoon.” That way, you can show your willingness to help, be mindful of other tasks, and do your best work on your current to-do list.

For a last piece of advice, and to avoid sounding like someone who’s worked at a place for nine months but pretends to know everything, I’d like to say that you should feel free to tackle this age-old predicament in any way that you can. Peppercommers are pretty invested in seeing their interns do well, and I am not naïve to the fact that, for some other organizations, interns are cheap labor. Forge ahead, brave interns and entry-levels employees of the world. Oh, and by the way, I’m going to need that coffee ASAP. One cream. No sugar. Thanks a bunch.

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Recently, I moved back to my childhood home in Central New Jersey where I face a daily commute on good ole’ NJ Transit. As a New Jersey native, I’ve grown up taking the train into the Big Apple and can recall the schedule like the back of my hand. I faced an even longer commute when I interned in college and all said and told, I’m accustomed to most forms of transportation going to and from New York City. I rely on this relative familiarity to help me cope with the sudden delays, track changes, construction and other issues that inevitably come up at one time or another during the daily commute.

But how does one cope in a new, strange city? And what about those issues we don’t see coming?

Sometimes even the most experienced commuters are so distracted with their belongings or adjusting their headphones that they forget to observe their surroundings. Very often we’re reminded that if we see something, say something. What do we do then when we see someone and they cross the line? 

Sexual harrassment or assualt is not limited to one form of transportation and unfortunately many commuters aren’t sure how to handle it when it happens to them. According to a study conducted in 2007 by the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, 63% of female mass transit riders in NYC reported having been sexually harassed in the subway. The same study found that 10% of female riders reported having been sexually assaulted in the NYC subway system. However, only 4% of sexual harassment and assault that occurs in NYC’s mass transit is reported to the MTA or NYPD.

So what can you do to protect yourself during your commute?

  • Be informed- take note of police or security checkpoints at train stations and transit hubs.
  • Research the route to and from your office before you begin a new job in a new city or neighborhood.
  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings and fellow passengers.
  • If you live in the same neighborhood as a coworker, take the commute together or offer to share a cab after a late night at the office.
  • Speak up and say something if you truly feel uncomfortable.

You can also view some additional transit safety tips here. We had trouble finding something similar for NJ Transit, but we encourage everyone to be aware of the policy when reporting sexual harrassment crimes for their own transportation system.

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Guest post by Ashleigh Green, Peppercom intern.

We have all heard of networking, but do we actually understand the importance behind it?

Right now as our economy continues to down spiral jobs are scarce, unemployment is high, and entry-level positions are even harder to come by. Most of us interns have one year left of college or may have just graduated. Those of us, who have taken an internship, have already taken a step in the right direction. But, is that enough?

No.

I’ve learned you need to take it a step further and start networking. It’s never too early to start setting yourself up for future job opportunities.

Below are a few tips I have for my fellow interns and recent grads:

  • Start by getting to know your colleagues at your internship and continue stay in touch with them after you leave.  These colleagues can be great resources for advice and even good friends. Who knows, maybe you will be helpful to them as well.
  • Research companies and people with careers you are interested in working at and pursuing. Set up informational meetings with these people and companies. It’s always a great idea to learn more about what people do on a daily basis and what their job responsibilities are. This will help you get a better understanding to see if the job or company is a right fit for you. It is also another good way to meet new contacts.
  • If you want others to help you, start by helping yourself. You’ll find that most people love to help others, especially those starting their careers, such as ourselves. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, for referrals, or for people’s contact info.
  • Use social media. Twitter/LinkedIn/Google+ are all good ways to connect and stay connected to people that you meet.

Remember: the way to getting the job you want in this economy is through networking and connections.  So, go out there and start networking!

Any other tips on the best places and ways to network?

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To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this YouTube video produced by former Peppercomm interns who share their experiences. Click Here