Jennifer Wallis | FreshGigs.ca
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Author Archives: Jennifer Wallis

How To Stay Creative

Creativity-Shots

Creativity is an elusive beast at times. It can be difficult to capture and it can be even more difficult to not let it slip through your fingers.

So what happens when your creativity goes missing?

Creativity needs to be nurtured. It needs to be fed a steady diet of inspiration and outside influence

Staring blankly at your screen, waiting for the moment of brilliance to hit you is extremely frustrating. So how do you shake it off? How do you get over that wall?

Creativity needs to be nurtured. It needs to be fed a steady diet of inspiration and outside influence – be that art, film, conversations with intelligent people, or even just getting lost for a few hours in a good book.

HOW TO NURTURE CREATIVITY OUTSIDE THE OFFICE

I created a quick survey and asked some of my colleagues what they did outside of work to keep their creative motor running. Continue reading

What You Need to Know Before Dating a Coworker

Love-at-Work

Considering how much time we spend in the office, it’s no wonder occasional hook-ups or office romances take place. Especially at the end of the night, after those rare open-bar agency theme parties.

Hooking-up, getting it on, grown-up serious relationships, going steady, booty calls: whatever you call it, whatever you’re having – it’s becoming more and more prevalent, and in some circles, accepted in the workplace.

What if you have to attend the same meeting? Ride the elevator together? End up microwaving your Lean Cuisines at the same time in the lunchroom?

Did you know Michelle and Barak Obama met on the job? Back in 1989, he was a summer associate at a law firm and she was his supervisor.

Office Romance by the Numbers

Vault.com did a survey in 2011 on people’s perspective of office romance, and the results were quite interesting.

  • 59% of respondents admitted to having an office romance.
  • 23.3% of men report having short-term flings vs. 15.4% of women.
  • 22.2% of women report having more long-term, serious relationships vs. 14.7% of men.

In our own FreshGigs.ca job survey, 20% of respondents said they had dated someone at work and 29% said they would.

When asked what makes an office romance unacceptable, respondents said it would not be cool if the relationship were between a superior and subordinate (um, Mrs. Obama.), if the two parties were in the same department, or if they are working on projects together.  Continue reading

Career Change: When Is the Time Right?

Career-Change-Photo

How do you know when it’s time to change careers?

Have you ever had a job that you hated? One that made you despise the sound of your alarm clock every morning? One that made you realize your commute on a crowded train with your face buried in some stranger’s armpit was going to probably the best part of your day?

There are some sucky jobs out there. And if you’re like me, you may have come across one so totally sucky, that it made you think about changing careers.

After one particularly soul-destroying experience at a local ad agency, which shall remain nameless, I decided to go meet with an advisor for the Nurses Program at Vancouver Community College. After reviewing the material, programs, and time commitment, I decided that nursing was not the job for me. So I gathered up what self-confidence I had left and got back on the advertising horse.

It’s important to first identify why you want to change careers. Having a bad experience in one job is not a good enough reason. The follow list can help shed some light on whether or not it’s time to make the change.  Continue reading

Where to Find a Mentor and Why to Have One

Mentoring-Canada

Advertising professional seeks brilliant, fun-loving, casual mentor to meet once a month for in-depth chats about life, work, goals, and accomplishments. Must be an excellent listener and provide insights and council. Knowledge of – and a taste for scotch is a bonus.

What exactly is a mentor? It can be a coworker, a boss, a friend or even a family member. A mentor is someone who listens to you, and advises you on work, life, relationships, or anything else for which you might need direction.

Mentors are there when you need them, to help direct you in situations that you may not have faced in your career.

Mentors teach, encourage, and support you. They can guide you along a path to success. They’re like your own personal Yoda.

For me it was all about guidance and sharing invaluable experience in the same industry.” Says Bogdan Grygorenko, cofounder of Ticket Creative in Toronto, about his mentor. Continue reading

How To Stay Energized At Your Job Throughout The Day

Energy-at-Work

I suppose you could say that I’m consistently inconsistent when it comes to my energy levels. I have not got it down to a science… yet. Some days I’d rather skip the gym, go home and eat a box of Kraft dinner and watch ‘My Strange Addiction’. Other days, I’m on fire, methodically crossing tasks off my list, making it to the gym, calling my parents, dinner with friends and then knocking out a few blog posts in between, all with a bounce in my step.

I decided to reach out to some of my busiest, most high-energy friends to ask them how they deal with careers, social lives, and school, all while maintaining their energy levels.

Every hour or so I stand up and walk around, even if it is just around the university campus, just so that I can keep myself energized.

Raul Pacheco (you may know him as @Hummingbird604) professor, researcher, educator and consultant in environmental politics and policy, shared his top five ways of staying energized:

  1. Coffee: you can’t imagine how much I rely on caffeine! The first thing I do is I wake up, I start brewing a pot of coffee and I begin writing. As an academic I have to write research articles, slides for lectures, etc. So I keep myself caffeinated.
  2. Short walks: Every hour or so I stand up and walk around, even if it is just around the university campus, just so that I can keep myself energized.
  3. Healthy snacks: I bring fruit, yogurt and vegetables with me to campus so that I can keep a good enough content of sugar in my blood. I eat every 2-3 hours, small portions!
  4. Pre-planning: what makes me stay on top of things is that I pre-plan what I am doing. I live by my Google Calendar!
  5. Scheduling breaks: complete breaks from my work are also included in my schedule, and this includes hanging out with friends, my parents, eating healthy lunches and dinners, and the odd martini! (I personally prefer an even martini, like two, four, six…)

My friend John Tino works in the emergency room at Vancouver General Hospital and in his spare time is going to school to become a lawyer specializing in biomedical ethics and health. (No biggie, right?) So how does John manage to juggle one of the most stressful careers and law school? Here are his secret weapons: Continue reading

How to Climb the Corporate Ladder Without Sucking Up

Climb-Corporate-Ladder

Sucking up. Kissing ass. Brown-nosing. Wearing the corporate knee pads. Is it mandatory to get ahead in the workplace?

“How to Climb the Corporate Ladder Without Sucking Up” Click to ReTweet

Some say that flattery will get you everywhere – while others vehemently warn against such a practice. The definition of sucking up is not black and white. Little compliments here, a few extra unpaid hours there. Where does one draw the line between flattery and blatant ass kissing?

But there are a few things you can do to get ahead that wont make you feel like a dirty brownnoser.

Wherever that line sits, brown-nosing actually does work in some instances. It’s been scientifically proven.

Why? Because it’s human nature. We’re attracted to people who have similar views. And when someone agrees with us, we feel more inclined to interact with them.

The problem presents itself when the agreeing, the compliments, and the flattery become insincere. And the recipient is unable to differentiate. Continue reading

HELP! My Co-Worker Sucks! What To Do About It

Co-Worker-Sucks

—>> “Help! My Co-Worker Sucks! What to do about it? Click to ReTweet Article

Mr. J biked to work every day. It was a far ride – and he decided early on, for some unknown reason, that he didn’t need to utilize the showers at his office. Instead he would shower himself in drug store cologne and head up to his desk to begin a long day of work.

His desk. Right beside mine.

Mr. J was my co-worker. My stinky coworker. To make matters worse, he had no idea what he was doing on the job. He was always making extra work for me. Mr. J sucked.

As long as your coworker is not abusive (emotionally, verbally, physically, etc) to you, chances are you can cope without making it a huge deal.

Unless you work alone all your life, you will – at some point – have coworkers who suck. From vaguely annoying to downright despicable, the range of suckery can vary.

Here are some common traits of the sucky coworker:

  • They love the sound of their own voice and they’re always talking.
  • They like to listen to music at work without any regard for others within earshot. Even worse, they listen to country music.
  • They’re always taking personal phone calls or texting during the workday.
  • They have terrible body odor.
  • They have terrible body odor and cover it up with drug store cologne.
  • They eat microwave popcorn in the office (that stuff reeks).
  • They whistle at their desk.
  • They’re lazy and do only just enough to get by.
  • They’re the office cheerleader. C’mon. Nobody gets that excited about a new photocopier.
  • They clip their fingernails at their desk. And God forbid, their toenails.
  • They’re never on time to meetings.
  • They ask simple questions when they could easily find the answers in Google.
  • They’re always miserable. They only open their mouth is to complain.
  • They’re always talking about other people during the day – and taking up your time with stories that you really don’t care about.
  • They talk over people.
  •  They book unnecessary meetings.

If your coworker does any of the above, they suck.

So how do you deal?  As long as your coworker is not abusive (emotionally, verbally, physically, etc) to you, chances are you can cope without making it a huge deal. If your coworker is abusive, you should start documenting your interactions and get Human Resources involved.  Abuse goes beyond ‘sucky co-worker’ and it should not be tolerated.

But here are some tips on how to deal with mild – to moderately sucky coworkers. Continue reading

How to Deal with a Bad Boss

How-to-deal-bad-boss

Bad Bosses. They’re unavoidable. But knowing how to identify and deal with them will make your life a little bit easier. There are different types of bad bosses. They usually fall into one of the following categories;

1. THE BULLY BOSS

They lead by fear. These bosses yell. They verbally abuse their employees and belittle them in front of their coworkers. Bully bosses can even go so far as trying to sabotage workers. They can hold back information necessary to do a job. They don’t communicate. And they create such a miserable work environment that many employees have no other choice than to pack up and leave.

 You can always spot a micromanager by their lack of ability to delegate tasks

But how do you identify between a bully boss and a tough boss?

Jennifer V. Miller, a former HR generalist and training manager addresses this very topic on her blog, and says “A tough boss has employees’ best interests in mind. The tough boss challenges employees to think beyond their current capabilities, to go beyond what they thought they could do. Tough bosses have difficult conversations. They don’t shy away from poor performance; they address it immediately. The tough boss might not be “warm and fuzzy” but they are compassionate. The one thing a tough boss will never do is belittle their employees in any way.”

HOW TO DEAL WITH THE BULLY

As difficult as it is, try to maintain a positive attitude and don’t take the boss’s comments personally. Prepare yourself by anticipating your boss’s negative remarks or comments. Come up with, and practice delivering constructive replies, such as “when you do that, it isn’t very motivating.” Continue reading

Inside Jobs: The Job of an Online Marketing Specialist

Internet-Marketing-Working

What is an online marketing specialist? That is a very loaded question.

In broad strokes, an online marketing specialist could be defined as someone who helps bring more leads to a business through online marketing. The term “inbound marketing” is often used to describe the idea of making yourself easy to find online and drawing people to your website through things like blogs, videos, e-newsletters, SEO, social media and whitepapers.

On the other side is “outbound marketing”. Outbound marketing will usually refer to what I like to call ‘analogue practices’, such as cold-calling, direct (hard-copy) mail, TV ads, flyers, and plain old traditional print advertising. (Yawn)

Meanwhile, behind the curtain, someone is analyzing your every move. Which emails did you open? Did you click on any of the links? Which one?

It’s been widely discussed that traditional advertising is no longer as effective as it used to be. Now companies must ‘earn their way in’ by providing meaningful content to consumers and allowing themselves to be found quickly and easily online. Continue reading

How to Get the Most Out of Your Internship

Interning is no easy job. So we compiled a list of some simple rules to help you get the most out of your internship.

1. Be Sure You Can Afford It:
Taking an unpaid internship can be a difficult decision, especially if you don’t have the financial backing of a family, spouse or a big, fat savings account. You need to be sure you can afford to intern. Yes, there are some paid internships, but those are very often few and far between, especially in a competitive market like advertising.

An internship provides exposure to the work and the field; you are not being called in to run the business.

2. Find the Right Internship For You:
Figure out where you want to work and what you want to get out of an internship. Be prepared. Compile a list of questions to ask in the interview, like what sort of hours you’re going to be expected to work, what a typical day would be, and what responsibilities you will have. Go in having done research on the company, their work, and their clients.

3. Set Goals Early On:
Forbes recently did an article on interning, and their first piece of advice was to voice your expectations and goals in the interview. Once you’ve accepted a position with the company, write down your goals. What do you want to learn? What do you want to accomplish? Some internships are very structured. Others, not so much. Having set goals, even personal ones, can help you stay focused.

4. Aim for Tangible Accomplishments:
Keep track of your tasks and experiences. You’ll want to be sure to list your accomplishments from an internship on your resume and LinkedIn page. Continue reading