Acquiring blog readers is hard. Simple as that. At times, the vast technological universe that many of us partake in can make it difficult to attract those that are the target audience you are searching for. However, that involves you actively trying to attract an audience. When I started this blog back in January of 2011 it was for me to share experiences that were taking place at work, at home and within my day-to-day structure. I’ve blogged about my divorce, my job changes, working with other managers, fashion, sewing, dating, dancing, running and living with Fibromyalgia just to name a few of the most popular topics.
I started the blog as a way for me to get things off my chest that I wasn’t able to openly talk about until people started mentioning my blog. Placing links to my blog on my personal Facebook was a way for me to share with my friends and family what I was going though. During my marriage I lost touch with many people and have been trying to rebuild those relationships ever since. I thought that maybe if people had an opportunity to see all the pandemonium that was going on in my brain they would understand what had been going on when we lost touch.
Outside of my circle of friends it never occurred to me that there might be others out there that are interested in hearing about my sewing projects or management techniques. Who knew that my stories of being a 21st Century Gal would be that interesting to others? Oh yes, that’s right…my mother! Even at 29 it is still hard to admit that my mother is almost always right. See what I did there with the “almost” part? I’m sure there is something out there she might not be right about; such as biomechanical engineering or space travel.
It was my mother who started blogging before me and has shared her tips and tricks, so I guess I haven’t acquired these readers all on my own. I might make management sound amusing, but you should see what my mom can do with the topic of cancer. Never thought I could be laughing about cancer, but that’s how things work under her roof. Anything and everything has the potential of being funny. I’ll tell you what, it is rough knowing that as a teenager but quite amusing when you finally grow up and realize your parents aren’t as uncool as you once thought.
Thanks mom for sharing yet another life lesson with me. Check out her blog, The World According to Alexandra, if you’re looking for a good laugh. She even makes bodily functions funny instead of shamefully disgusting. Thank you to my readers who stop back regularly. For those of you who are just lurkers I invite you to subscribe to my blog and stick around for a bit. There are some big changes on the horizon and I can be you won’t want to miss out on them.
Back in the day I posted about the “Coffee Compatibility” I have with my boyfriend. Over the last two and a half years I’ve learned there is much more that we share then just our coffee and ice cream preference. What I most treasure is our shared love for the performing arts. Although we’ve only once done a show together in our teenage years, I’ve had the pleasure of being able to watch him continue his love for being on the stage.
In the last handful of years I have kind of navigated away from performing myself and turned towards the behind the scenes production side of things and it has been fun to see him taking on more projects in that regard as well. Although he does still grace the stage every once in a while, his skills in show production seem to grow more and more every year and it has been exciting to watch his journey. Since I switched jobs last June I haven’t taken on that many side projects myself so it has been exciting to start putting myself out there again in the last few weeks.
In formatting my resumes, and yes most performers have two, I’ve come to find that I really do have a crazy background that has come together to get me to the point I am at today. Now I’m looking towards the future with the excitement that we might actually get to work on a project together in the coming year. Last time we were both a part of a show it was on stage, so it will be exciting to now be working together behind the scenes.
It’s been a massive transition as I moved away from someone who had no involvement in my passion for the arts to someone who shares it with me in every way possible. We can talk shop without worrying about having to explain everything. We can go see productions together and evaluate them as not just patrons, but those who have been on the other side as well. It is a pleasure to respectfully bump heads with another person’s creative vision because I’m just happy that he has one! I think our strengths and weaknesses really compliment each other and that is why I hope we continue teaming together in the future on projects since we’re already teaming together in life.
Moving into the new house in a few months will be stressful with all the projects we’re looking at tackling within the performing arts, but I’m so thankful we’ll have more floor space to rehearse in. Coda will finally be safe when we are staging numbers without having to hide on the couch to stay out from under our feet. It seems like each day I learn more and more about our compatibility and it makes me happy that he so persistently stuck it out with me. He always seemed to know that this would work, but I’m elated that I’ve had the opportunity to now see it myself on so many levels.
Filed under Dance, Dating
SkillCloud? No, I didn’t just slam my head on my keyboard and have auto-correct decide my opening line. I meant to write exactly that. I thought iCloud was awesome until I heard about SkillCloud. For those of us who wish there was a platform for companies to appreciate us beyond our resumes, our ramblings have been heard by a team who competed in a two-day “hackathon.” I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but thank goodness there is as it has produced this awesome creation.
SkillCloud is similar to a social network platform, but it’s reason for existence is so that employees can broadcast their talents to their employer. I’ll use my last job in the theme park world as an example. I was hired as a Stage Manager. Three months after I began with the theme park a perfect storm occurred and we were without a performer for the show that I had been managing each day. The problem in this situation was that the show could not be performed without someone in this role. Immediately I stepped up and said I would do it as I could be replaced as the manager, but no one else who was available knew the role that was empty that day. My suggestion was faced by three of my senior managers staring at me like I had three heads.
When I was hired my dance ability was never really discussed and my performance background wasn’t elaborated upon. As someone who had been present at every rehearsal since the show was created and then watched it every day for a living, I knew the show like the back of my hand. It was true I had never been on that stage and or even done the show, but I was confident that with a run through I could make it happen as that is what needed to happen so we didn’t have to cancel a whole day of shows. Three minutes into the on-stage run through my management realized I had more than just a loose knowledge of dance.
It was only three months after this that my Supervisor realized that we were going to have to re-mount the first show I worked on for a temporary two-week run. However, since the show was new we never had anyone else stage it except for the choreographer who created it. As I sat in a meeting watching people scratch their heads about how to pull things together so quickly I stepped up and said I would do it. You would have thought I grew those extra heads again as it hadn’t even been a consideration of the team that I would be able to do it. My background in choreography and show staging didn’t exactly come up in my interview, so I’m not surprised they didn’t know about it.
Once my secrets were out in the open my choreography and staging talents were put to use for our shows on a regular basis. It was the best way to combine my management and performance experience into one fun-filled position that I so passionately enjoyed day in and day out. However, my hidden talents were only put to use because I was bold enough to step forward and offer up my services. I know I tend to be more daring to do things like this than most are and that is where SkillCloud comes in handy. If your company utilized SkillCloud would you admit your hidden skills and talents? There is always the chance that you’re opening a door which makes you more valuable to your company.
A good friend of mine was just let go from his job this week and he’s one of many people I know going through this. The unfortunate part is that those who keep getting let go seem to be the best employees that any company would be happy to have on staff, so I’m going to take the time to focus on two of them in hopes that maybe someone will see that their past employer’s mistake can be their gain.
Alexandra is an amazingly articulate writer who can tackle even the most serious of subjects and somehow make you laugh so hard you’ll have tears streaming down your face. She frequently tackles the subject of cancer on her blog and I don’t know too many people who can get me laughing about something like that but her. She’s one of the most well-rounded workers an employer could ever hope for. He background runs the gamut from theatrical scenic work and professional stand-up comedian to detail oriented office manager and design consultant. To be honest, I’m convinced that she can do anything that comes her way. Alexandra’s amazing ability to adapt to change in an organization is only outdone by her stellar ability to turn customer service into an art form. If you need someone to re-write all your training material into an SOP booklet people will be fighting each other to get their hands on then she’s your gal. This wordsmith can make even the driest of materials insightful and humorous. Check out her blog, her LinkedIn, and scoop her up before someone else does.
Ken is the go-to guy you want on your team if you have a live event to coordinate or manage. His guest service skills were perfected over his many years of experience with Disney and have left him with the ability to make fast-paced decisions to keep your event running successfully. He has theme park and hotel experience that keeps him well rooted in the hospitality industry and will ensure he can work in any type of office atmosphere he would be needed in. Most recently he was responsible for the implementing the logistics for special events, coordinating donor relations activities, and evaluating budgets with a fine tooth comb. Ken is one of the most determined and passionate employees any company could hope for. Once on your staff his goal is to always look out for the best of the organization in all ways possible. Check out his LinkedIn profile and let him lead your next live event project towards the applause of your CEO or President.
Being let go from a job is hard enough, but in today’s economy it is definitely more difficult to turn around and find a new job when your experiences are so broad. Over the years I always thought it was good to stay well-rounded, until my resume became so versatile that no one could figure out exactly how I would best fit into their company. Now I understand that there is a very fine line between being well-rounded and an enigma that employers are confused by. I like to relate it to my performance days. Sometimes casting directors can’t see that the best performer to cast is the one right in front of them unless they are handed an opportunity to see them already fulfilling the role they are auditioning for. Obviously in performing arts, and even in the traditional job world, most people don’t get a chance to actual fill the role they are auditioning or applying for before being hired. Therefore, we’ve all got to get a bit creative to make sure the casting director or HR representative can see what is right in front of them.
During my years as a dancer and performer I spent more than my fair share of time in auditions. After all, that’s what you do if you want to get a gig. You prepare the best that you can and going into the room to battle your nerves, the views of the audition panel and the looks you’ll get from those auditioning with you. It’s a lot like interviewing but with more movement. In interviews you still have to battle your nerves, the views of the panel and the looks you’ll get from those who just interviewed as they pass you in the hall. Both situations spark memories of sweaty palms, extreme smiling and strategic clothing choices. Why on earth do we put ourselves through this torture? Oh yeah, to get a job.
Another similarity I have found over the years between auditions and interviews is that in both situations you rarely find out why you didn’t get the job. That makes it tough to work on weaknesses before you go out for another opportunity, but you can’t let it keep you from walking through the door and trying it all over again. In the last 5 years I have begun to see interviews as a positive challenge and it all came from an audition experience I had back in my teenage years.
As a teenager I was fixated on attending the Broadway Theater Project summer intensive if it killed me. The first time I auditioned I signed in, gave them my paperwork and received a number that put me all the way at the bottom of the list. I was there all day just waiting, listening to the other auditionees, and panicking about my turn. When my chance finally came I did the best that I could for a kid with desperation oozing out of every pore. To my amazement I didn’t get accepted that first year. I huffed and puffed and sobbed when the letter came announcing that I would spend another summer without BTP in my life.
A year later, and several more auditions under my belt, I went back to audition again. This time I was the first person to arrive at the audition and I actually waited for another attendee to arrive and sign in before me just so I wouldn’t be the very first. Before I even walked in the door I decided that the audition wasn’t going to be the end of my world. I auditioned the year before and my getting in was their loss. Although it was cocky at the time, my plan of attack was to go in there and show them what they missed out on. They laughed at my comedic monologue, smiled at my song and passed my resume along during the dance portion. In my mind I had decided that I wouldn’t have another audition where I left the smell of desperation behind me when I exited the room.
Years later I did the same thing when I interviewed for a job. I already had a job at the time, so in my mind I told myself it would be their loss if they went with a different candidate. I landed the job. Now I know many people who would walk into a room with this thought pattern and come off as a disrespectfully self-indulgent applicant. However for someone like me, who tends to be a bit more reserved and less confident in some situations, this is just the push I need. It is my own mental reminder that I am an amazing candidate that has so much to offer. If you’re oozing desperation at your next interview, feel free to pull this page right out of my book and see how it works for you. This tactic keeps me cool, calm and collected so my game face is on when I need it the most. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
Here’s a sneak peek at what dancers and other performers go through when we step into auditions:
It is so easy to find people online nowadays. With multiple search engines and many different social networks, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that everyone has some form of an online presence. Do you know what yours is?
In my past I have worked for organizations that allowed me to search online for information about people who were applying to work as a volunteer for us. The first thing I would do was Google their name and then I would check their social networking pages to see what I could find out. Were their profile pictures showing them doing things we wouldn’t want a representative of our business doing? If so then their application was put to the side. If their page was “clean,” or at least locked so I couldn’t see anything I shouldn’t, then they would move on to the next step in the process and still be considered.
When was the last time you stepped back and viewed the profile pages you have on the net as if you were a prospective employer? It might be time that you take a few minutes out of your hectic schedule and make sure that what you’re putting out there is an appropriate representative of you. One that a potential new employer would want to see. It never hurts to take anything down that might be questionable. If you don’t plan to change anything on your profiles, then at least consider making them private and putting them on lock down.
I have heard of more and more businesses taking the time to check people out on the net so they can get a better insight to them. We all clean up nicely and can provide proper answers in an interview, but companies want to know it isn’t just an act. Although they may have held you captive for 20-30 minutes in an interview, just how much can they really discover about you. By searching online they can sometimes obtain additional information that will help move you forward or bring your application to a screeching halt.
Go ahead, cyber stalk yourself for a day. The next time you take a moment to Google your blind date, consider that they might be doing the same to you and check yourself out for a change. Your online presence can be a powerful part of selling yourself to a new company, so make wise decisions about what you put online and take charge about what can be seen. After all, we all want to be seen as the perfect choice whether it is for a date or a new job so make sure your online “bios” match that image.
Tis the season for employment interviews. It seems like everyone around me has been taking the plunge and interviewing to move up on the career ladder before the summer season gets under way in the hospitality sector. Interview season can be a rough time for everyone. It is stressful for those actually going through the process to move forward, and just as hard for those who are being left behind to pick up the slack. In my opinion, the most difficult part of the process is the waiting that comes after the interview.
Although you may spend days trying to perfect your resume, figure out what to wear so you create the right first impression, and practicing your answers to the most common interview questions, in the end there will be a period of waiting. Sitting by your phone waiting for your answer of “yes” or “no” is enough to drive a person crazy. We all question if we said the right thing, asked too much for a potential salary, or even wore the wrong outfit and have now jeopardized our chances. It is difficult to stay calm and move forward when you are jumping up every time you phone makes any noise.
A friend of mine recently reported that he was answering his phone’s every call just so he didn’t miss the call from an HR department with his answer. Although he waited the whole week and still hasn’t heard back as he was promised, he has had the opportunity to talk to every telemarketer possessing his cell phone number. I’m sure that wasn’t his goal for the week, but it is amazing what you’ll suddenly endure when you are waiting for “the” phone call.
This one call lets you know if everything you went through for the interview was worth it. Will you move forward and hopefully up on the corporate ladder or will you still be left in your limbo. It is a tough call to stomach when the answer comes back as a negative one, but I will say that usually a night of reckless eating (or “fat kid night” as I like to call it) will make everything seems slightly better come morning. Usually by the end of the binge, people have realized that everything happens for a reason and there must be something else for which they are better suited out there on the horizon, some where.
Just know this is going to be like hurricane season. You’re going to prepare as much as you humanly can and then hunker down with the hope to make it through it in one piece. It takes a lot of nerves to survive it all, but it’s always good to know that once you get the ‘yes’, you won’t have to go through it all again for a while. For those of you going through this process right now, good luck. Remember, Aqua Net is still the best defense for your hair if you want it to hold up to hurricane strength winds and you would be amazed at it’s uses in an interview preparation situation as well.