Pimping your blog out to potential employers (?)

February 8, 2008 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Blogging, Career, privacy | 2 Comments
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I have only ONCE in my life included the URL of my blog as a reference in an application – and regretted it the moment I had hit the ‘SEND’ button. Negotiating ones need for privacy and ones needs for communication is difficult enough with any blog – I still avoid to put my full name anywhere on this blog as I do not want everybody who knows my name to be able to have a daily update on my life and whereabouts at his fingertips.

Also, I am a bit wary of the influence that using this blog as a job reference might have on my blogging habits: I don’t want to end up writing self-censored and streamlined posts that would be fit to endorse a CV, but wouldn’t make sense to my friends and family. One of the main purposes of this blog is to serve as a repository for the things and ideas that cross my mind in a day, and blogging is a good instrument to add that layer of reflection that draws the line between an idea and an opinion, or an idea and a plan. Also, it helps me keeping my English in shape:-)

Application business
photo by jenna77

What I DO mention occasionally is that I am a daily blogger – for instance when I applied for the editor training that I did in October/November. So far, however, nobody has ever asked for the URL – until today, that is, when I received an email from a consultancy who are looking for someone to take care of their Online PR (part-time!). I hesitated for a moment – then sent them link, also because I appreciated the fact that they had actually READ my application (is there anybody among you readers who has never been in a job interview where the people opposite you didn’t even know your CV?)

Nonetheless I added a little disclaimer: I am not a business blogger, and I am not using this blog as a PR or advertising tool. So whatever you may find here is a reflection of my personality, but it is not intended as a showcase of my PR skills;-)

And to finish the story of that other company, the first and last ones to have received my blog URL in an application: Well, they turned out to be one of those unreliable parties who don’t even bother to send you a either notification of receipt or at least a letter of rejection. I wonder why these things still happen – if marketing and advertising is all about establishing good relations with potential clients, shouldn’t an advertising agency know better?

Lent Logo 2008UPDATE: Lent is of course still on – it’s day three today, and I’m already having a craving for sugar. Looks like it’s going to be a bit tougher this year – but I will not waver, falter or compromise on this issue!

Speechless without writers

November 29, 2007 at 10:10 pm | Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment
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It’s too bad that one cannot embed videos Brightcove TV: That’s were the videos for the SPEECHLESS WITHOUT WRITERS campaign are hosted. EDIT: They’re also on Youtube – this one here is my favourite one

Other things that have been going on: I really, really, really like my new job:-) I like it so much that not even the 2 hour commute can get me down.

I got published!

November 15, 2007 at 7:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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And maybe all that print business is to blame for my dwindling interest in blogging. My traineeship is nearly over, and towards the end I finally got published – a double page is bearing my name (and that of the editor in charge of the science dept.)! But most of the writing doesn’t sound like me anymore – the inevitable editorial streamlining process took its toll. I know that this happens everywhere, yet still wonder whether this is really commendable. Take the word ‘stylish’ for instance – it is also used in German, although mostly spelled stylisch: Isn’t it one of the hollowest expression possible? Still it’s used all over the place in advertising and mass publishing.

No matter how exciting those six weeks in a tabloid magazine might have been – I am keen on moving on to my new job now, which has a whole array of interesting intellectual challenges in stall for me:-) And maybe, maybe I am going to be able to combine a bit of freelance writing with it. In theory, that should be possible.

Job search: It’s either feast or famine

November 9, 2007 at 10:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The one thing that I hoped would not happen has now occurred: I received two job offers this week, one on Tuesday, the other one on Thursday. They both have their advantages and their drawbacks. The biggest drawback of the one is a long commute of 170 km per day (85km back and forth), the drawback of the other is poor pay (about 400 Euro less after taxes, and no contribution to my pension for four months) and the prospect that the company might not be around for too long.

Oh dear, how I hate situations like these.

I’ve got a new job! (No re-post:-)

November 7, 2007 at 8:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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And it’s NOT in journalism, but it is going to be related to international theory celebs such as Lev Manovich. Manovich is coming to Vienna tomorrow, upon the invitation of my future boss. How frigging cool is that?

Enough beans spilled.

Practical part of training phase commences today

October 29, 2007 at 7:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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And I have got so many things on my to do list, it’s frightening. It doesn’t even include the professional chores yet! Urgh.

Your future – take that decision NOW!

October 23, 2007 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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I thoroughly HATE taking decisions. I am extremely good at exploring a problem and all its ramifications, but the moment when a decision needs to be taken is most dreadful to me.

Today we had to decide (rather: our instructor tried to decide for us) where we’d like to spend the next three weeks. He wanted to put me into the chronicle department – they do things like “Teenage Newborn Christians”, “Call Girl Circuits in Vienna” and a few political reports, provided the topic involves prostitution and abuse of office. Our instructor wanted me in there because he thinks I can write – while I do agree on that (meanwhile), I also know that it is not part of my constitution to hunt for breaking news in a brothel or try to squeeze the insides out of a confused young adult. That’s why I am going to tell him tomorrow that I won’t be available for this placement.

It’s odd: It was never a dream of mine to become a top-notch, investigative journalist – our instructor seems to be projecting that wish onto me and that is why I feel somehow bad for not accepting his choice of placement. And it’s worse, actually: It’s almost like I am afraid I might be missing out on an unexplored part of my personality if I don’t take this ‘chance’ (mind you: one that had never occurred to me before) now.

On other terms: I still remember how I occasionally HATED to have to take control of a classroom while I was still teaching – on days that I was more vulnerable, and felt that putting myself out front like that was something that I had to consciously force myself to. But what kind of a challenge is THAT in comparison to having to ring the door bells of complete strangers, trying to make them tell you your life story? Sure, there might be days that I am on an adrenaline high where it’ll work just like that – but what do I do on those vulnerable days?

Let’s not forget: When I was 19, I dropped out of my first semester at university because I was so scared of people then that leaving the house (a five-storey building, with the potential threat of the janitor hiding behind every corner) and mingling with my fellow students became a dreaded, seemingly unmanageable task. I’ve come a bloody long way since then!!! But do I really have to up the ante once more and now decide to become an investigative journalist?

So I arranged a brief meeting with the head of multimedia, and as of Monday, I am going to be an online editor in training. I guess I’ll be able to start work right away – considering that I already know my fair share of CMS and HTML and Photoshop. It’s definitely not a job that has the same glamour as that of the chronicle journalist, but it sounds like a place where I could feel at home, in a professional sense.

Three more days until disassembly of Hero Team

October 22, 2007 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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If you can put it that way. I CAN’T BELIEVE MY TRAINEESHIP THINGY ALREADY STARTED MORE THAN TWO WEEKS AGO! And is going to end in three days. Not the entire program, but the practical training part, after which me and my fellow contestants will be assigned to individual editorial offices and publications for another three weeks.

I doubt that there will be much occasion to bond and socialize with other trainees then – in the past two weeks, we barely had time to rush off and grab some food which we either ate on some street corner or at our desks. I didn’t even find out whether this place HAS a canteen! (I doubt it has one). So where and when would we meet?

I continued to receive favourable feedback from our instructor, although I think he is meanwhile a bit ‘biased’: My political commentary was obviously underinformed, but he still signed it off with a ‘very good’ (the downside of all this praise is of course that I was repeatedly singled out and potentially considered a threat to their own chances by some of my fellow trainees), but it’s also become quite clear that the skills for which I am being praised are probably not the ones that are really needed. Here.

The ability to write a witty portrait with just a hint of sardonicism is, as far as I know, neither required in TV guides, consumer electronics magazines, news tabloids or business mags. Or, if they ARE required, it is certainly not going to be the trainee who gets to use them.

I had a chat today with one of the editors in chief from a magazine where I potentially could spend the next three weeks. Right beforehand, I was cued by our instructor that they might be hiring. Well, hiring… I could do an internship for a year, earn 400€ before taxes – and there would also be some extra money coming from another budget which could boost my salary (boost by which proportion I do not know – yet can that extra money be more than the actual sum? Hardly).

The person who talked to me was a very sweet chap and he tried to explain the difficult situation of budget cuts they had experienced and of the workload that keeps increasing nonetheless… if I were still 26, I guess I would go for it in spite of the miserly pay – and 7 years ago, my mom would have still been willing and able to support me, but meanwhile the story is a different one. I am rather keen on supporting _her_, which is yet another reason to be reasonable, and also: I deserve better, with all the experience and skills that I have.

So fuck their reduced budget – if they cannot raise the money to hire the amount of staff they need, then they’ll have to live with the fact that they can’t have me:-) Seriously – how can anyone dare to offer a one year internship? After a mere three months, you know what a person is worth, and after half a year, if they’re worth it, they’ll be working like a regular. Anything beyond six months just means that they are making money off you, while you have to pinch pennies.

But even if this traineeship won’t get me a job THERE – it is still going to be worth it, for the experience, for the boost of self-confidence and for the nice bunch of people I got to know 🙂

Back on the application dreadmill

September 25, 2007 at 11:14 am | Posted in Blogging | 10 Comments
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As of today, I started out again on writing applications. I had stopped after my erroneous assumption that I had found me a job – which unfortunately led to my letting pass the application deadline for a job with the Fulbright Commission that sounded interesting. So that’s one lesson learned – don’t stop applying until you’ve really started work on a job. And if you’re really keen on carving out a career for yourself, then probably don’t even stop until the probation period is over.

Also, in the age of the blogging era, you need to prepare for the event that the recruiter is going to copy excerpts of your covering letter and publish them on the blogosphere: This is something that friend Lenina just did – I guess the applicants in question can be grateful that she decided not to publish their names. More to the point, she probably thinks they should be grateful anyway, because she is only teaching them a valuable lesson.

I have known her for more than ten years now (RL, that is) and have been reading her blog for a while, but her tendency to reiterate her superiority in virtually every post she publishes has since long started to annoy me. It’s probably more annoying for me than for the average reader because I have been knowing her for such a long time and am therefore not inclined to bow down before her super-brain (but rather simply appreciate it for what it is – there are tons of intelligent people out there and I wouldn’t know why to single one out especially), or because I know her boyfriend and am therefore pretty alienated by the way he gets slagged off by her frequently.

I generally believe in kindness, even though I know that there are demons in all of us, also in me, and that there is a certain tendency in the human animal to make him or herself bigger than others, and also that this is an effective means to boost your own ego. But those methods are unsound, I think, truly unsound.

All in all: This also raises another issue, or at least leads me to the observation that a blogosphere persona and a real life person do of course not have to be the same (it’s understood they’re not!), and that it can be quite challenging if you know the two of them. After all, back in the days of the paper diary, you wouldn’t have wanted to read all your friends’ diaries either, would you?*

*) Maybe you would have wanted to, but I doubt you would enjoyed all of it. You don’t have to hear everything people are saying about you behind your back, I don’t think…

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