January 4, 2011

It’s Been a Good Run!

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:30 pm by Jennifer

It’s a general life rule I have that when the original reasons you started doing something don’t quite hold anymore or when something outlives its purpose you need to take a step back and look at why you’re still doing it. If you have to push too hard to keep doing something that you used to get excited about maybe it’s time to stop. That’s where I am today with this blog.

I’m incredibly lucky to work in a career where the things I read (a mix of traditional media and great blogs) as well as the things I get to do day in and day out genuinely reflect what my interests are. But I’m not really sure what the focus or purpose of this blog space is anymore, and so I’m going to take a step back. Knowing me I’ll be back online with a new blog in the not-too-distant future but it will be something new, and something very different.

So to all of you who read and enjoyed my blog – thank you.

And to all of you who not only read but contributed through feedback, links to your own blogs and thoughtful comments – an even bigger thank you. You’re the reason I love blogging and have kept it up for as long as I have.

Happy New Year

Jennifer

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November 4, 2010

What will it take for us to unfriend Facebook?

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:50 pm by Jennifer

I’m honest about my love-hate relationship with Facebook. It isn’t even a guilty pleasure at this point; it’s an annoying necessity for me to keep in touch with a number of people. My “network” goes from Toronto to Sudbury, Ottawa, BC, Chicago, Rochester, Florida, the UK and then back again. I think there are a few more internationals on there currently in Korea, but you get the point. That’s a lot of emails and letter writing, and no one really has time for the number of update phone calls it would take to stay well connected with people who’ve moved far away. (Can you imagine the phone bill?!) Being able to peek in on how someone is doing, send them a message or let them know you’re thinking of them instantly is so much easier. This is why I consider Mark Zuckerberg an evil genius. The man is one lab accident from evil supervillain bent on world domination. (Okay, maybe not. But he’s a bit too powerful for my liking.)

Why the rant? In case you haven’t yet heard the news Facebook is launching a new application in their long line of recent tools that slap the face of privacy right across the cheek. The disarmingly named “Facebook Friendship Pages” creeps me out. Basically, they show how you are connected to mutual friends, displaying photos, attended events and public conversations you have had with eachother on one summary page that’s supposed to represent the online face of you friendship. Don’t like the idea of this? Too bad. You can’t opt out of it.

Yes, this information is already technically “public” but what is the added value of being able to snoop on the history between two people? Unless you like to cyber stalk members of the opposite sex on your current partner’s profile I don’t see the point. I know why I’m friends with the people I am friends with, I don’t need it laid out on a separate page for a third party to review. I don’t even remember what I’ve posted on a friend’s page a month ago let along a year ago. I hope it was clever.

Does anyone else feel put off by this, or do you think this application is a step forward in social networking?

Oh Facebook… I wish I knew how to quit you.

In other blog related stuff, I’ve recently updated my Flickr account. Feel free to take a peek and let me know what you think!

August 11, 2010

How to Say “I Quit” with Style

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:46 am by Jennifer

Sometimes leaving your job is a difficult decision, sometimes it’s just a big relief and a chance to find something better suited to you. I’ve left positions that were very hard to leave and big changes for me, and I’ve left when things just did not feel right anymore. But I have never left a job in any of the creative ways making headlines this week.

My personal favorite? A girl so clever she could only be called Jenny (We Jennifers are a special bunch.) The details of her leaving a position where she was demoralized and objectified have made my week – no, my month. Brilliant! Dearest Jenny, you are my new hero.

Also topping the news this week is the JetBlue flight attendant who was mistreated by one rude passenger too many, and slid his way to precious freedom after helping himself to a few beers from the mini-bar.

These particular situations are funny, but the stories point to a rise in workplace frustrations and dissatisfaction. We’ve all seen the news stories of people who were let go only to return to their offices with intentions of hurting their former coworkers.

So then what should you do if you are just not happy anymore? If you feel you were mistreated or if you think that you were taken for granted, by all means seek out a new employer who will treat you with the respect and acknowledgement you deserve. If where you find yourself now is not where you imagined you would be, take a risk and look elsewhere. But a few things to keep in mind;

  1. The internet is public and searchable, keep your venting to long talks with friends over a martini and off of the web.
  2. Reputation. Protect yours – be yourself and treat others how you want to be treated.
  3. Word of mouth accounts for a lot in this world. If you had good relationships with colleagues there is no reason not to maintain them if at all possible.
  4. Give your employer adequate notice so that they can find a suitable replacement. And no, an hour is not adequate notice.
  5. Do not slack off after your have made the decision to leave – if you’ve done a lot of hard work that’s what you want to leave behind. Take the time to wrap up loose ends, update remaining staff on what you have been doing and make the transition easier when they take over.
  6. Be honest and transparent about why you are making the decision to leave. Obviously be tactful, but I think that employers have the right to know why you’ve made the decision.

Even if you don’t think your efforts will be appreciated at the time you will be able to smile, hold your head high and know that you’ve done the right thing. I really do believe that we should all treat others the way we want to be treated and what goes around does come around. (But if that’s just not your style, feel free to send your boss a whiteboard message of your very own. And please send me the photos.)

– BB

(In other news as a part of my ongoing “to do list” of hobbies, I’ve been baking up a storm. Like these rainbow cupcakes – a big hit with my neighbors and coworkers!)

Now with 50% more Unicorn!

June 2, 2010

You spin me right round

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:15 am by Jennifer

At the beginning of May, I left my position as Account Coordinator with Thornley Fallis Communications to contemplate my career and explore other opportunities I felt may be a better fit. While doing this bit of “soul searching” (a.k.a unemployment) I wanted to get back into blogging. Instead I “got into” time with friends, apartment cleaning, baking and all of the things I hadn’t had time for before.

So, with a full list of things I have been thinking about, reading and exploring I’m happy to say I plan to be posting weekly blogs– likely every Tuesday or Wednesday.

Today was supposed to be a different topic altogether but while taking a look at the National Post online an interesting article by David Akin caught my eye “When bloggers and journalists collide”. I read it with curiosity on the subject, but there was something that struck a chord with me.

I work with both journalists and bloggers. In fact, without close and respectful relationships with the media my job would be impossible if not irrelevant. But I was irked to see in Mr. Akin’s interesting and thought provoking article use of the term that makes every PR professional cringe – “spin doctors”.

Now, I don’t have a medical degree so I can’t be classified as a doctor. And I have a really bad sense of balance, so I don’t spend much of my time spinning.

I honestly do get offended when I hear that term. The reason is you can’t manufacture truth, and it’s such an awful stereotype. I’ll admit there are professionals in every industry who do not uphold the standards the rest do, but for myself and others I have been fortunate to encounter in my professional career I think the best of my field act in a way that is respectful, open, honest and with integrity.

Now that I have that out of the way I’d like to say that the journalist-blogger dynamic is very interesting to me and shifting the way people share and gather information online. As a PR professional, I have respect for both journalists and a large number of bloggers. I share information with them when I think they would be interested and always welcome their feedback. Thank you Mr. Akin for exploring this topic.

So -what do you think about the divide between journalists and bloggers? Is the gap narrowing? Should bloggers be seen in the same professional light as journalists?

– BB

March 24, 2010

The Ultimate Balancing Act

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 7:45 pm by Jennifer

When I first started in PR, I knew this was not your average 9-5 job (do those even exist anymore?). And as all ambitious career girls do, I want it all.

We can try to find that ideal work-life balance but eventually need to accept that it just won’t be perfect. Sometimes, I have to change plans with friends or cancel going out of town because there is a big project that just came up or work has piled up (again). That’s just life. But what has helped is the advice of some incredible mentors and PR women who have given me tips on how they balance it all. This post is for them.

Stationary

A few months into my career I really started missing my friends and family and was feeling a bit disconnected from them. Facebook and email just aren’t the same and can lack a certain personal feel. A colleague told me that it helps to pick up the phone once in a while or send a card when you can’t manage face time. It lets people know they are never far from your mind. I went over to The Paper Place on Queen and stocked up on cards – I now have a stack of pre-stamped envelopes on standby. Everyone loves getting mail when it’s not bills, and it’s a trend I’m loving.

Get organized

One of the best things I bought recently is the “Wonder Hanger”. Yes, that thing from the TV infomercials – don’t laugh! They collapse and drastically reduce closet space, but what I then did (fabulous advice from stylist extraordinaire Megane-Ann Wilson) is hang complete outfits together – accessories and all. It makes running late in the morning or changing after work that much easier. Especially if you are like me and have a packed closet yet amazingly – “nothing to wear!” 😉

Don’t skip meals

It’s so easy to miss lunch or breakfast, and not to sound like my mother but it’s really not good for you. I now keep a granola bar or meal replacement at all times in my purse and desk – you never know when you’ll need it. I’m also a new convert to Kashi bars. Apparently, they’re healthy and stuff!

Take time for yourself

Life will always be hectic; we all end up fitting in as much as we can to our days and weeks to try to get the most out of it. But for the sake of sanity, find a few things you absolutely love doing and take some “personal time” once in a while. For me, this involves a glass of red wine and a bath with LUSH goodies – my weekly indulgence. Taking time out to catch up with friends over drinks and dinner  is also a great for easing any stressful, hair pulling days you may have.

What are some of your tips?

-BB

March 10, 2010

Easy Reading is Damn Hard Writing*

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 9:46 pm by Jennifer

I have been procrastinating leaving my old PublicRelationsMusings blog on Blogger for quite some time now, and bit by bit I made the transition. But instead of importing my old posts, I would rather just start fresh since I want to take a bit of a new direction.

A bit about me, I’m a young female blogger who works in Public Relations. Currently I’m an Account Coordinator with Thornley Fallis, and love the work I do. I also contribute on our company’s blog PR Girlz. I have a pug named Rambo, who is a rescue from a shelter in Quebec. I love to cook when I find the time, music, photography, wine, fashion and socializing.

I really wanted to start this blog to share tips, opinions and industry news that catches my attention but I also wanted to explore how I fit working in PR (a demanding job to anyone who is in the field) into my everyday life.

I find that being a female working in this industry (or any industry really) comes with its own set of challenges. How do you maintain a balance with work/life – making time for friends, or a relationship? How do you find time to cook and eat healthy/sometimes eat at all? What lessons can we learn from PR and apply to our own lives, as well as our careers?

I originally wanted to start my re-launched blog URL under my name, but then thought – why not be creative? I really want to embrace the spirit of working in a professional field, but also being a Generation Y girl who is plugged into social media and loves to blog.

So, what do I do?

I get asked what public relations is all the time by family and friends. I don’t really know if there is one perfect definition (feel free to correct me if you have one) but I work for a PR agency, which means we have a number of clients in various areas. I do and have worked on accounts in healthcare, consumer, not for profit, travel, lifestyle, food and beverage, insurance and many things in between. That’s what I love about working in an agency; every day is a little bit different than the last! It’s exciting, it’s hectic, it’s challenging – it keeps me on my toes every day.

I get to attend some pretty fun networking and client events, but really, we spend a lot of time in the office doing hours upon hours of research, writing, liaising with media and getting all the pieces in order before any event or information is released. Although Sex and the City is one of my favorite shows, this is definitely not Samantha Jones territory!

I suppose that’s a good enough start! Feel free to send me mail, leave comments, questions and link to your blog.

– BB

* Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote The Scarlet Letter and is a generally quotable guy.