Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Grad, New Job, 20 Pieces of Good Advice

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
A couple of times in recent weeks I’ve been asked for advice by new grads who have been fortunate enough to land a job. Just as they were very nervous about finding a job, now that they’ve actually landed a job, they’re nervous about what to do; fitting in and making the most of the opportunity. I put the question out to my tweeps and fellow Facebookers and got some great responses – which are credited below and combined with some of my thoughts.

So what’s a new grad with a new job to do?

1. Be prepared to work in the trenches and earn your stripes. (Jim Reck).

2. Be on time or be early. Buy a watch and pay attention to it.

3. Be flexible both with your time and ideas. Great futures are always being redefined. (Linda Hansen)

4. Say good morning when you arrive and hello when you see people in the halls. Don’t wait for someone to address you first.

5. Be nice to everyone; support staff, maintenance, temp help. It will pay off one day. (Kathy Andreska Scaffidi)

6. Volunteer to help with company social activities and events. You’ll meet new people and learn new things.

7. Seek out a person who has been in the business for twenty or thirty years and pick their brain! Ask them, "How did you get to where you are?" "What did you do right?" "What did you do wrong?" "What would you do over again?" "What would you do if you knew then what you know now?" Cut the time it will take to climb the ladder of success by talking to someone who has already done it. Learn from their successes as well as their mistakes. (Tom Zalaski)

8. Be enthusiastic. Stay excited! (Bob Borger)

9. Show great respect for senior workers and elders who may not be fresh out of school, may not be technologically savvy, but know life. (Molly Miller).

10. Be open to new experiences and opportunities at work.

11. Continue learning. There is never a day that I don’t learn something from someone that I find interesting, valuable or trivia worthy. (Mary Andreska Dess)

12. Like what you do because you’ll never make as much money as you think you will. (Joe Smrekar)

13. Dress appropriately. Better to dress up than down. How does your boss dress? How does management dress? Take your cues from them.

14. Always have a goal ahead of you, even if it’s going to take years to achieve. (Patti Ritchay)

15. Give credit where credit is due. Don’t take the credit for something you didn’t do.

16. Listen and learn, but don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions and add your opinion; but do so with respect.

17. Keep confidences. Don’t gossip. Know what business activities are confidential.

18. Ask an experienced person to critique you honestly. Am I dressing properly? Am I communicating with co-workers properly? Do you see areas I could improve my performance? The experienced person will be flattered that you think highly enough of them to seek their advice. (Tom Zalaski)

19. Be able to work on your own, but also learn to work as part of a team.
20. In addition to making a living, leave bandwidth for making a life (Maggie O’Hara Swanke)

And here’s one more bonus piece of advice: Four words you should never say: “It’s not my job.”

What strikes me about all of these pieces of advice is that they really are common sense – at least to those of us who have been in the working world for a while. We need to remember that these things aren’t so obvious to the new grad. Take the time to talk with and mentor new workers at your place of business. You will help them and probably learn a few new things in the process!

So what advice do you have for a new grad with a new job?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

At What Point is Public Curiosity too Much?

By Cole Buergi, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Several “breaking news” stories of late have me asking how much is too much information? Coupled with that question is, “When is enough, enough?”

I’m specifically referring to the killing of Osama bin Laden by United States Navy Seals and the revelation that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child with his housekeeper while married to Maria Shriver.

Although completely unrelated in both scale of importance and impact to humanity, both have one thing in common, curiosity seekers wanting to know every last detail and to see photos. Whether it’s a photo of bin Laden’s body or the most recent clamoring by many in the public wanting to see a picture of Schwarzenegger’s child, people are becoming very demanding for wanting every last detail. Equally troubling is the demand for the information immediately and what seems to be a preference for “as it happens.”

There are some strong arguments on both sides of the coin for releasing or keeping private the photos of bin Laden, but now many in the public eagerly want to see Schwarzenegger’s child. Why? He’s a minor that has a right to his privacy and not be hounded by curiosity seekers.

I’m left wondering - is the information frenzy the result of the Internet and social media? Have today’s technologies created a global society that is unsettled unless they get instant and complete gratification for their every desire? Has social media provided too strong a voice for small, fringe groups that are curiosity seekers?

Yes, curiosity seekers have been around since the dawn of time, but has social media allowed them to band together to create a strong enough voice that people are listening?

It’s important to note that I’m a huge fan and active user of social media. It offers useful tools for business as well as staying in touch with friends and family. But like almost every technology, there can be a downside.

Do you agree or disagree? I’m “curious” to know your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Could Your Cell Phone Save Your Life?

By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I’m sure we’ve all seen emergency alerts on TV or heard one on the radio. But with the recent string of devastating weather, including tornadoes and flooding, it’s not surprising that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is expanding its emergency alert notification system to reach more people faster.

The system, developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will allow government officials to pass along alerts concerning emergencies via cell phone. The new system, called PLAN, or Personal Localized Alerting Network, is a free service that allows customers with enabled cell phones to receive local text messages about threats in their area. Officials at PLAN verify the alerts and relay the messages to wireless providers, who will then push the information as text messages to cell phone users in the affected area.The service will initially launch in New York and Washington, D.C. by the end of this year and is expected to roll out nationwide in 2012. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile are all on board to assist and help push the information to their cell phone users when a threat exists.

When I first heard about this, I thought it makes perfect sense. With the number of people who rely on mobile devices for just about everything, having a cell phone warning system that sends an alert to cell phone users in advance of a disaster could potentially prevent casualties and save lives.

This is a step in the right direction of getting pertinent information out quickly about natural disasters. While I think it makes perfect sense, some questions do come to mind: will consumers take advantage of the free information or will they opt out to decrease the amount of information that is sent to their cell phones? Or what about cell phone customers of wireless carriers who aren’t part of the system? I’m sure there will be some bugs to work out, but with time this should be a useful system. Thoughts, comments or other questions that come to mind?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The New World of Breaking News

By: Scott Stein, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

What was your first reaction when you heard the President was going to make a major announcement Sunday night? If you’re like me – and I’m guessing a lot of you are – you immediately turned to Twitter and Facebook to see if you could learn more. And when the first reports came of the demise of Osama bin Laden, the new news world fired up.

With today’s social media tools we want it fast, we want it from several sources and we want it interactive. Reports are that Twitter hit 4,000 TWEETS PER SECOND after President Obama’s speech on Sunday night.

Stacey Higginbotham posted an interesting take on GigaOM late Sunday night discussing the “Seven Stages of News in a Twitter and Facebook Era.” The seven stages – Excitement; Uncertainty; Searching for Validation; Confirmation; Jokes, Profits and Platitudes; Action; and Real Analysis.

No longer do we just sit back and wait for the news to come into our living rooms. We seek it out and it comes at rapid pace from traditional and not-so-traditional sources. Even now, several days after the news broke; we still witness activity in several of the above categories as the story continues to unfold.

On Sunday night, as I watched TV and monitored social media, one of the newspeople made the comment that this is one of the news events that people would remember where they were when the first reports came across. I’m not so sure that I buy that. But I think it’s certainly an event that many American’s will look back on and think about the new world of breaking news and how they learned details of this major story and maybe even added their two cents to the dialogue on Facebook or Twitter.

How did you first learn of bin Laden’s death? What do you think of the way the story unfolded through traditional and social media?