Sunday, January 25, 2009

I've moved to WordPress!

View my new blog:
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Go Red for Women Benefit in NYC Feb 6th

Hosts: Rupa & Neha
Type: Party - Benefit
Date: Friday, February 6, 2009
Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street (corner of 7th Ave)
New York, NY

It's National Go Red for Women Day!

Come out and support stronger and healthier hearts for women and what better time to do it than just in time for Valentine's Day?

PLEASE WEAR RED in some form or the other to show YOUR SUPPORT and YES that means THE GENTLEMEN, too....

By wearing red and making a small donation, you'll help the American Heart Association support ongoing research and education about women and heart disease.

Looking forward to seeing you there! If you have any questions, please e-mail me at

Thanks in advance for your support of this worthwhile cause.
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Friday, January 23, 2009

Those god-awful ads for TheLadders

Just in case, you're one of the fortunate few who haven't yet seen TheLadders' latest ad, here it is for the sake of discussion:

Isn't it the most off-putting, juvenile ad you've ever seen? How could a supposedly premium professional, executive job search site conceive of, or more likely approve of, something so crass and decidedly unprofessional? In the not so distant past they used a slightly different approach ("When you let everyone play...nobody wins."). The tennis ad still wasn't a work of genius but it communicated their unique value proposition none too subtly - a smaller playing field greatly improves your odds as a job seeker unlike what you'll encounter on the free for all sites, Monster, Careerbuilder, etc.

Whereas the latest ad encourages the 6 figure+ crowd to thump their chests and applaud themselves for being "big talent." I admit, I was probably the last of my circle of peers to join the 6 figure club (much to my chagrin) and if I saw this ad while still making under $99,999, I would be too put off to join once I crossed the threshold. Is anyone naive enough to equate big money with big talent anymore? Furthermore, is 6 figures really an appropriate demarcation by today's standards, particularly in the large urban centers that are most likely the target market? It's barely enough to eat in the NYC area; in fact it's embarrassingly reminiscent of Dr. Evil's misguided notion that $1,000,000 was still worth a lot of money in 1997.

They have a slightly less off putting ad out right now, "Chairs" which features game hunters bypassing those wobbly, wholesale swivel chairs in favor of a plump, leather executive chair. Never mind their ineffective advertising strategy, I started to question the value of their service altogether. Thus far, I've found employment a variety of ways:

•1st job at an international freight carrier - NY Times ad
•2nd job at an international freight consolidator - hired by a customer of company #1
•3rd job at a dotcom startup - Career Fair advertised in the NY Times
•4th job at a respectable textbook publisher - NY Times ad
•5th job at an equally respectable publisher - hired by the company that bought out company #4
•6th job at a Big 4 consultancy - ad
•7th job at a Pharmaceutical ad agency - Industry specific recruiter
•8th job at a large, North American retailer - ad
•9th job at an international ERP company - Recruiter's ad on the DMA website

Notice that most of them were free, save for the Sunday Times which I would've bought regardless of whether I was job hunting or not. Now I've been a paying member of TheLadders since April 2008 at $30/month which brings my total investment (tongue planted firmly in cheek) to $300. To date, I've only gone a grand total of 1 (one) interview through the site. It was for a VP position where the interview lasted all of 30 minutes. I invite you to draw your own conclusions as to the caliber of companies using that site.

Now excuse me while I go unsubscribe, unless anyone out there can provide a single compelling reason to continue?

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Thursday, January 22, 2009 Freelancer Party in New York

Cost free

Dress casual

Details Please join for our Freelancer Party!

What: Drinks + conversation

Who: Freelance professionals

Why: To bring about greater community among freelance professionals and to have a chance to win our raffle for a one-year Freelance Marketplace membership!

When: Tuesday, January 27, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Bar 13
35 East 13th Street
at University Place
New York, NY 10003

Food/Drink: 2 for 1 drink specials + complimentary appetizers

Hosted by: membership director Greg Horowitz

The story
Over 10 years ago, began with a series of events for New York media professionals. Today, the website has spread internationally and is one of the best resources for media and content professionals to better their education, find jobs, get daily media news, and connect with each other. Over 1.9 million unique media and content professionals visit more than 7.5 million times every month.

This event is for full-time media professionals. If you'd like to invite your colleagues, please ask them to RSVP separately.
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123Print redeems themselves, sort of...

"Free-wheeling bloggers can boost your product - or destroy it. Either way, they've become a force business can't afford to ignore."

David Kirkpatrick, Fortune

I recently placed a business card order with 123Print which was less than satisfactorily fulfilled. Luckily, the vendor seemed to be aware of the principles outlined in the Fortune article, "Why There's No Escaping the Blog." Their customer service instant chat feature couldn't be easier to use and I was able to secure a free replacement order within seconds.

Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Amanda'

Amanda: How may I help you today?
NM: Hello Amanda
NM: I recently placed an order for Business Cards
NM: but the quality did not match the PDF proof online
Amanda: May I have your order # please so that I can better assist you? If you do not have it available I can also use your email address to locate your order.
NM: please use my e-mail address, I can't find the order confirmation email
Amanda: I found it, what seems to be the problem?
NM: The proof was blue
NM: but the actual cards are teal and the printing is streaky and spotty
Amanda: we do apologize for the inconvenience. We will send you a replacement order at our expense by UPS. It should arrive no later than Tues. 1-27
Amanda: you can throw away the cards you received from us
NM: thank you for your help
Amanda: you are very welcome..have a great day!
NM: you too
Amanda: thank you
Chat session has been terminated by the site operator.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Interview Crash and Burn

I recently went on the interview of a lifetime for a VP of Marketing position. While I was once offered an AVP role (and subsequently had the offer rescinded due to ill timed budget cuts), an actual VP role without training wheels has always eluded me. As such, I invested 2 weeks of my life prepping for the interview with the president after making it past 2 rounds of HR screenings. All of this should have served me well but I felt like the interviewer made up his mind the minute he saw me and dismissed me the rest of the all too brief brief interview.

I went so far as to create a very impressive 15 page PPT with my 30/60/90 day objectives and he casually tossed it aside without reading one single word. I did so much in depth research into their industry and all the legislative changes that will affect it because of the new administration and yet the interviewer said I had no background in their industry (duh, didn’t they know that when I sent my resume in 3 weeks ago?).

I reluctantly confess that in the far recesses of my mind I entertain conspiracy theories on why that may have happened (my race, my gender, my overall physical appearance, etc.) but I’m trying not to get worked up about it. We are now entering a new age of enlightenment so let's just give him the benefit of the doubt and call him an equal opportunity meanie. Besides, the SVP of HR loved me when she met me in person otherwise I would not have made it to a 2nd round. He was one of those arrogant dotcom era types, you could tell because he was the president of the company yet sloppily attired in faded old jeans. I wasn't sure whether I should shake his hand or spare him some change. Speaking of handshakes, he gave me quite the dead fish handshake which I found so completely disrespectful and unprofessional! Believe me, it’s not a fly by night operation and he was even featured in interviews in Inc and other respectable publications.

He intimated that I didn’t have enough experience to run a department of 3 people. I politely disagreed saying that getting cooperation from 20-50 global colleagues at different levels across multiple LOBs in a large matrixed organization like Deloitte was far more challenging than getting the cooperation you need from 3 direct reports that sit in the same building. He said “you have a point” but I think that just put him off even more.

In retrospect, I’m embarrassed at how must time the infinitely patient and well intentioned recruiter and I spent discussing strategies. We actually debated the use of "well poised" vs "well positioned" on Slide 3! I'm more embarrassed still at how little I had prepared for previous jobs but the economy didn't dictate it in the recent past. All is not lost since I now have a wonderful PPT template which I can co-opt for future interviews. I also realize that I’m better off working for another established corporate monster like Deloitte where everyone is a professional cookie cutter drone rather than one of these fast growing 90s throwback outfits where everyone has too much personality and attitude for their own good.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change in the workplace and beyond

Photo from

Yesterday afternoon, I went on a 2nd interview for a marketing position with a rapidly growing, private company in Manhattan. As I sat down with the extremely personable interviewer and got reacquainted over the usual small talk, he remarked that on Tuesday his staff would not be working. Instead there would be a group field trip to an Inauguration viewing party. Since I did not want to veer into an overtly political discussion (in my opinion, an absolute taboo during an interview no matter what the interviewer's beliefs are), I simply remarked "how nice" and steered the conversation back to the open position.

Since losing my job at a large public, multinational corporation last April, I've been fortunate enough to go on more interviews than most of my peers. However, most of the interviews were with smaller, growing companies which strike one as a complete throwback to the 90s dotcom era. The company I visited yesterday was no different but one can't help but believe that the opportunity to collectively view a historic event with your colleagues is a more meaningful perk than a foosball table in the breakroom (a frivolous diversion for a frivolous era).

Such a perk is not guaranteed across corporations, public or private, so I actually considerate myself fortunate to be unemployed today so I can afford the opportunity to watch the festivities on my own time. Tomorrow, the search resumes!
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

US Airways did NOT Sully their reputation

I live a mere mile or two where the Miracle on the Hudson went down, literally, and can vividly recall what it felt like to commute on the NY Waterway ferries on sub-zero mornings with my bulky, wheeled laptop bag in tow on route to the World Financial Center via the crunchy, icy river. So I can only imagine what the experience was like for those poor souls balanced on the wing for dear life.

Apparently 1549 is now widely believed to be a lucky combo for those playing Win 4 Lotto. Well my friends, luck had nothing to do with it. What struck me most during the first few news reports was that Captain "Sully" Sullenberger had been flying with US Airways since 1980! 28 years with the same carrier is impressive enough but he actually has 40 years experience in total.

Aside from the obvious feel good factor of this story, I related those figures to my job search where experience increasingly feels like a liability and not an asset. With corporate org charts trending flatter, anyone who can spell manager qualifies for the title which I once coveted in the 90s - to wit, a recent interview:

The Good: After nearly 6 months of getting no hits on my resume, I went on an interview for a director-level job in a desirable neighborhood in the city.
The Bad: I would no longer be able to work from home.
The Ugly: A practically pubescent, young man with an uncanny resemblance to teen idol, Cody Linley was one of the interviewers.

Fine, I get it. I'm no longer 25 and I will have to get used to frequently interacting with those who are younger and more successful than me. However, I am growing weary of members of the under-30 set running around with bloated titles; in this case, it was Head of Marketing! During the course of the interview, he feverishly wrote down everything I said which made him seem more like an admin lackey than an executive. I was tempted to ask, "so would you be reporting to me?" but I resisted and played the game. In fact, my game face deserved an Oscar when I confessed I was no expert on SEO (Search Engine Optimization, oh wait, does my blog experience count?), and he replied, "Oh when I was fresh out of college and started at this place, I didn't know much about it either but I like, totally learned here and stuff..."

The other interviewer was probably around 40 and I liked his professional tone and overall demeanor until he pompously declared, "I ran my first million dollar company from my dorm room!" Great, some kind of dotcom poser who's probably 32 and not aging very favorably!

So I say all that to say, it was refreshing to see experience applauded on such a grand scale. While I've never flown with US Airways before, I certainly would be more inclined to do so now knowing they value experience in their employees. Now excuse me while I join one of Sully's myriad, rabid Facebook fan groups...
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BOSSdev Social Media Marketing Breakfast

BOSSdev Social Media Marketing Breakfast
“Social Media Strategy: Achieving Real Results in a Virtual World”

Date: Jan. 29th, 2009
Time: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: Parsippany Hilton
One Hilton Court
Parsippany, NJ 07054

Social media is here to stay, and it has an enormous effect on the depth and speed that information is disseminated. There’s no denying the powerful influence this has on how companies need to approach communication, collaboration, multimedia, and entertainment.

Social media is the building block of the online world - and the content generated by casual users is expanding faster than any other kind. Those who truly want to succeed need to understand how it all works.

Regarding analytics, it makes sense to want data that proves and validates the impact of social programs. This helps to justify your investment by providing data for ongoing modification to maximize effectiveness.

Now, you can discover advantageous new insights on social media channels through real world case studies along with metrics of results. The next BOSSdev seminar will address these relevant issues - and more - to keep you ahead of the curve when it comes to this potent and expanding force.

Speakers include:
Tac Anderson, Social Media Marketing Manager, Hewlett Packard
Dave Evans, Author of “Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day”
Cosmin Ghiurau, Social Media Analyst, BOSSdev
Korye Logan, Digital Marketing Strategist, BOSSdev
Andy McDonnell, Business Development Director, BOSSdev
Sam Swenson, Social Media Analyst, BOSSdev
Justin Wyman, Director, Collective Intellect (Social Media Analytics)
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

123... Soon to be extinct?

One of the first administrative tasks I take care of when I join a new organization is ordering business cards. With the proliferation of virtual jobs, this practice may seem increasingly retro but nothing screams official to me like business cards. That's why I don't let a minor setback like being unemployed (funemployed?) deny me the pleasure of handing out a card while interviewing or networking. So when my latest contract ended on December 31st, I set about to order a new set that would coordinate with my blue resume logo, something similar to what I had during my last job hunting stint:

Astute readers may notice that my blog name is actually, as personal branding maven extraordinaire, Rachael Ray would say a "wink and a nudge" to my last name. While it does not feature a watermark or even braised lettering a la the American Psycho* scene, it was a tasteful, attractive option at an affordable price from our friends at VistaPrint.

This time around, I had the brainchild to try a different vendor since I associated Vista with their ubiquitous free business card offer where they'd print their own logo on the back. Never mind that there is an option to remove their logo for a nominal fee, they just struck me as the Wal-mart of the print world. So I decided to take a chance on 123Print since it was the second choice to pop up in my google search for business cards. This simple design on their site appealed to me because it afforded me the space to list my specialties and who wouldn't want to turn on an interviewer, metaphorically speaking?

Alas, what actually arrived in the mail 3 business days later was a complete turn off. What was touted as a member of the blue family above (and also on the PDF proof mind you) was actually a streaky, blotchy teal mess which wouldn't coordinate with a tiki bar much less my resume! Never mind watermarks, the cards appeared to be marred by water stains. Did I mention the semi-gloss finish gave them the appearance of being fully shellacked in nail hardener?

This sad state of affairs has left me no alternative but to place another order with our trusty friends at VistaPrint, unless of course, anyone out there can offer a better suggestion?

*PS - Was it just me or did anyone else instinctively read BATMAN when Christian Bale's Patrick BATEMAN character presented his business card?
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