Adventures in PR Land

Hello Everyone!!

Happy Monday ( despite writing this on Sunday), I hope all of you have a great and productive week before Halloween.

I want to dedicate this blog to all the gig- employed people, adjuncts, and multiple part-time workers. For five years I worked at two different departments as a writing tutor and now I am a writing consultant at another college.

During these two months, I have grown to like my varied work week.  Plus, I discovered the benefits and disadvantages of maintaining two jobs.

Let’s look at the pros ( in no particular order):

1) Boredom:  Once we get settled at a job, we get used to the same environment and people.  If the job does not allow for more advancement, day-to day routines can get stale. With gigs, there is a variation in one’s schedule. I don’t stay in one place long enough to get bored and I look forward to working at my other job.

2) Exposure to different office/corporate cultures: With more than one job, it makes a person flexible to different expectations, bosses, co-workers, and office environments.  For example, one boss may be more time-oriented and be a more hands-on supervisor or another boss can offer more independence and be more laid back.  Adjusting to these opposing environments each week can make one more flexible when a full-time opportunity arrives; then, a person is exposed to all types of managerial styles and can act accordingly.

3) Opportunity to learn different skill sets:  With multiple jobs, a person can be exposed to various skills because no two jobs are exactly alike ( even if they are closely related).  For example, as a writing consultant, I am responsible for facilitating weekly writing workshops. This enables me to develop my public speaking and lesson planning skills.  Also, as a lab tutor, I have to answer basic computer troubleshooting questions in addition to writing questions.  These experiences have taught me to seek transferable skills in every job duty.

Now… the cons…

1) Lack of security… sort of:  With working more than one job, this means I have to work all of them to make ends meet. This can be good or bad. If I loose one of the jobs I won’t be destitute, but I will loose a considerable amount of income.  This makes balancing duties and supervisor expectations extremely important ( but this is also a transferable skill).

2) Lack of insurance: As many gig employees know, these jobs do not offer health insurance. The catch 22 is that I am working all of these hours to make a living, but can’t afford health insurance if I get sick. My advice is to stay healthy because if you get terribly ill, then you are out of a job. This is one of the worst aspects of gigging!

3)  Wanting to settle down, but is unable to:   I want to start my career, period. However, this economy is stalling a lot of people’s career goals. Am I saying that I am settling when I work multiple jobs?  No!  I am grateful for obtaining an additional job because the financial stain was overwhelming at times.  Plus, I get to explore new career options and gain new skills. However, adult milestones such as owning a home, climbing up the corporate ladder, having a baby, getting married, etc., are virtually impossible  with gig work.

Overall, gaining skills, varying environments, and larger professional networks are the major perks of multiple part-time employment. Yet, the financial uncertainty, lack of health insurance, and yearning to begin a career can prove to be a challenge.

To all of my gig employed brothers and sisters, keep your head up.  Keep on taking the internships, and maybe it will lead to a full-time job. Continue to balance all those (sometimes conflicting) responsibilities and become a more flexible worker. Finally, be grateful for the opportunity to  work because there are millions of people out there who are willing to take your place!

Thanks again for reading and enjoy your work week.

Ms. Roberts signing off!!

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  Happy Monday Everyone!

Today Netflix announced that it will not divide the DVD and Streaming services. As a former Netflix user ( yes I am  one of those people who kicked Netflix to the curb when it increased its prices by 60%)  I  Hope that the company continues to  listen to customers.

It is just another example of the money talks philosophy.   According to a Yahoo! article, the stock prices increased with the news.  Netflix was known for being a customer-centered, progressive, and quality-centered company.

 

As a fan and former customer, I hope the company is able to find its way back to its roots.

Here is the article from Yahoo! : http://news.yahoo.com/netflix-kills-plan-split-off-dvd-rentals-122346041.html

Thanks for reading and see you soon.

Signing out,

The Roberts Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image from RF Blogger website.

What should I do?

Hello everyone!

The Roberts Report is coming back with new stories and new reflection in my job search journey.

The good news:

1) I got a new job as a writing consultant in addition to my writing tutor. I juggle two jobs, at two different colleges, in two separate counties.

2) I am on the path to applying to grad school, which wouldn’t be possible without this new job… let me explain this logic.

My first position as a writing tutor has a cap at 20 hours per week. With this new position I can work upwards to 36 hours a week with a higher pay rate. I can afford my living expenses if I work 30 hours a week and may apply for a writing tutor position at my future university’s writing center.

Long story short: I am at a cross-road.

It has been my dream to get a master’s degree, but I am very passionate about the public relations industry. During these two years of attending workshops, gaining new skills, taking on more internships, and talking to mentors, it seems as if my professional life has stalled.

I have thought of giving up, but my ambition won’t let me.  I would be miserable if I didn’t start my career but I would be miserable if I am still at the same place two years from now.

With this new job, it opened an option that I didn’t know was possible.  I am applying for an integrated marketing communications master’s program.

I am interested in communications/ media research and how to apply it to the public relations field.  I hope getting this degree will get me closer to me goal of establishing a career.  The good thing is that my new educational goal has given me new hope of a future, which was something I didn’t have a few months ago.

I took a month-long break from job searching to regroup and came to this decision. Who knows , I may be able to find a career, but it looks grim.

During the next few months I will attend conferences and apply for freelance writing internships to keep my skills sharp. I also manage a start-up business’s social media websites.

Overall, I am still trying to get established. This is pretty much what has been going on with me.

This post has a bit of optimism with a hint of pessimism, but hey, that is the reality of job searching. The pessimistic side of us brings to reality and gives us something to strive for while the optimism gives us dreams to dream and the strength to carry on.

I will keep all of you updated!  Thanks for reading and enjoy your workweek!

– Signing out…. Ms. R.

First of all, congratulations class of 2011! It is time to celebrate becoming educated adults who will embark on a journey to promising careers.

What does the future hold for you? Jobs are coming back slowly but young people have been hardest hit in this recession. Although landing that first full-time gig seems daunting, with some effort, a combination of skills, some networking and personal-branding tactics, recent graduates can stand-out from the competition.

One good resource to gauge one’s skills against what is needed in the industry is the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Career paths such as market researchers and marketing managers are featured on the website.

Next, new graduates should get involved in career building activities such as working as interns. A college degree by itself is not the golden ticket to a dream job anymore. It only gives you the basic credentials to compete for a job, but perseverance helps to win the race.

Job search should not be a solo endeavor as networking is essential to finding a good job. Creating a LinkedInprofile can help organize your professional and academic accomplishments while networking with other people and groups to jump-start opportunities. In major cities, events such as Network After Work, allows grads to mingle with marketing, communications, and other professionals in a more relaxed setting.

Since marketers are the masters of branding, students should consider their skills, experiences, and personality as the parts of a full package and brand themselves accordingly.  University of Miami alumnus and Landor Associates CMO, Hayes Roth, embodies this philosophy when he says, “We all have personal brands…Like all brands, they change over time.  Think about what you love doing and what you’re good at and find skills that compliment this and promote these skills to companies.”


It’s a new year and many students are gearing up for graduation and anticipating their start in the real world. However, because of the recession, some may wonder, “What would the future hold for these graduates?” And why should seasoned career professionals care? Well, we all remember that we were once rookies and how we hungered for success during those entry-level years. No one becomes successful in an isolated bubble. Many senior employees invest their time and bestow knowledge on others because they received the same treatment when starting out. There are good perks in it for the mentor as well. A mentor can be the link between the company and new talent. A mentor’s network can be expanded by linking up with other mentors. If there is no mentorship program at the company, one can set a precedent for others to get involved. This can display the mentor’s willingness to go the extra mile, and create a positive image for the company at the same time. When mentors share their expertise, they are forced to evaluate their own skills as a byproduct of the relationship. Since the mentee may be more tuned to new technology and current industry theories, there can be an exchange of ideas.

According to the Los Angeles Times, many people who graduate during a recession won’t find an entry-level position which hinders their earnings potential and career choices decades later. To get started, professionals can contact their local college career centers or academic departments to offer their time. There is also a need for people in the industry to give classroom presentations and become the “face of the company”.  Also, the company may want to establish a mentorship program. This can create a direct link to new talent and make it easier for other employees to get involved. No matter what route one chooses, a professional’s guidance will make a great impact on a young person’s life. Eventually, the mentee will become a mentor and the cycle will continue to everyone’s benefit.

As recent college graduates enter the workforce, well established employees remain in the company, and older workers delay retirement, having multiple generations work together is crucial. According to an AARP report, Managing a Multigenerational Workforce, “For the first time in modern history, workplace demographics now span four generations.” Those groups are: the WWII Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millennial Generation. With their different values and sometimes competing interest, management may wonder how to effectively meet the needs of multigenerational employees. Having an open dialog can help dispel age-related myths. Also, management can focus on each age group’s strengths rather than stereotypes. A company should form intergenerational teams to work on projects. This method can bring multiple perspectives, information, and experience to create a better project.

Let us understand who these different groups are. The WWII Generation, born between 1925-1945, tends to value hard work, personal sacrifice, and hierarchy. Growing up during the Great Depression and WWII, these workers also have a strong sense of community and family. These sentiments translate to company loyalty. However, they may have some difficulty adapting to technology. The Baby Boomers, born between 1946-1964, make up the largest percentage of the workforce. Optimistic and ready to create change, these workers also had a strong work ethic when entering the workforce; they wanted to carve out a new work identity by devoting themselves to their careers while changing the rules in the process. However, they still hold traditionalist views that may conflict with the more informal work values of Gen X and Gen Y. Generation X, born between 1965-1980, are advancing and becoming more influential in companies. Their independence, tendency to ask questions, and risk taking can be great assets to an organization. However, Gen X’ers may be hesitant to commit to one company and was the first generation to insist on a greater work/life balance. Millennials (or Gen Y), born between 1980-2000, are beginning to enter and change the workforce. Their comfort with technology, which earned them the title “digital natives”, has become their main strength. Despite the challenges of establishing themselves amidst a recession and limited entry-level work, these workers remain optimistic that their time will come. They prefer more informal and egalitarian work environments, which may cause tension with their older supervisors.

Overall, management should remember that employees want to contribute and be acknowledged for their contributions. By identifying each generation’s assets and using those strengths to counteract another generation’s weaknesses, the organization can optimize its greatest advantage…. a multigenerational team.

In the age of instant feedback and a constant need for companies to stay “cutting edge”, it is no surprise that recent logo changes have been met with criticism.  Recent changes to Starbucks and the GAP have stirred a debate about how consumers connect to a brand and its logo.

Starbucks has recently changed its logo by removing the “Starbucks Coffee” text with stars and enlarging the “Starbucks Siren” green mermaid image. According to Yahoo!, the company’s evolution beyond its coffee selection is the major reason for the logo change. Since Starbucks also offers food, pastries, and other beverages, the company wants to reflect this expansion in its logo. Also Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schultz, says “There is some symmetry to be able to do this [Starbucks redesign]. This new evolution does two things… it embraces and respects our heritage and at the same time, evolves us to a point where it’s more suitable for the future.”

While we wait and see if the new Starbucks logo will stay, the Gap logo change backlash still remains in recent memory. After a week of passionate outcry from Facebook (and other forums), the company decided to switch back to its original logo.

What these two examples show is the importance of brand identity and consumer sentiment. With companies looking to Facebook and other social media forums to gauge public opinion, a logo change will not be met with silence. So, in what situations could a change in image be appropriate? According to one article “It’s almost never a good idea to change a company’s logo”, there are three main reasons for a company to re-design the logo:

  • First, if the company’s reputation is damaged, then a logo change may be a good idea.
  • Next, if the logo is too hard to reproduce then changing it is necessary. For instance, Apple was forced to make this change when printing the rainbow colors became too difficult, so a solid black or silver apple icon was used.
  • Finally, when the focus and purpose of the company changes completely, it makes sense to change the logo. For example, Nokia had to change its image when it transformed from a paper mill to a technology company.

Overall, a logo change can be jarring to consumers if they have developed an emotional or mental attachment to it. However, changes may be necessary in several cases and people tend to adapt anyway. No matter what reason, remember that re-designing a logo can jeopardize the brand identity it helped create; therefore plan carefully and do it only for the right reasons.


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Sabrina Roberts