Company Culture: The Right Fit

Me Smile 2

My first post on the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) New Pros blog was published yesterday. It’s all about company culture and the importance of finding the right fit during the job search.

The topic came to me after a friend recently shared a horror story about her current workplace. Her experience made me realize how we young professionals so often focus on getting hired by a company when it’s equally important to discern if we’re the right fit for that workplace.

My parents always told my siblings and I to not only love what you do every day, but to love who you’re working for and the people you’re working with as well. During my short time in the real world, I’ve come to see just how right they were.

If you’d like to read the post, which you obviously should, check it out at prnewpros.prsa.org.

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One Down, Eight to Go

99 Problems Running

I can now officially say that I survived my first week of half marathon training. Okay, so survived may be a bit melodramatic, as I’ve quickly come to learn that this process is far less about survival than it is about simply enjoying the process.

I won’t lie that I used to be daunted by the prospect of running a half, and by distance running altogether for that matter. But, now that I’ve embraced running and taken it more seriously in terms of consistency and competing in a few races, it’s become a mainstay; a required yet welcome part of my routine.

A friend once told me how he starts feeling like some kind of “grouchy fucking bum” after a couple days of not running, and I can totally sympathize. Another friend recently remarked that “Running is a lifestyle.” Again, holla. I view it as not only a means of fitness, but a way to be more in touch with your body and better aware of how you treat it. I guess it goes back to the whole “Your body is a temple.” mantra, which correlates nicely with the vegan thing.

And moreover, why be intimidated by a half? I mean, let’s face it, we all know someone who’s done one that you’d in no manner refer to as a “runner,” a notion that has allowed me to adopt an “If they can do it, then hell anybody can.” mentality.

When it comes down to it, I think the single most important factor involving running is motivation (one’s playlist being a close second). Running gets me out of bed in the morning or feeling inspired to hit the gym over the occasional lunch break, either leaving me feeling hella good the rest of the day.

For much of this, I’ve gotta thank my girl, TL, who lent me her training schedule (below) and who’s become one helluva guru. Between her explanations (I took one look at Wednesday’s training and gave her a call.) and insightful stories, the wise and often inspirational words from others in my life, along with what I’ve found online (pic above), I think I’ll be golden.

With that said, bring on week two!

Half Training Schedule Screen Shot

Hey Vine, Meet Instagram Video

Instagram vs Vine

It’s my first Free Friday from work and I’m up early at Starbucks researching (i.e. nerding out to) the latest battle in the social media landscape between Vine and the new Instagram Video. In my eyes, these kind of digital duels are like boxing or pro wrestling, but only better – quite a statement given my affinity for WWE.

Yes, Instagram has introduced a 15-second video feature to complement its trademark filtered-photo sharing service, news my broworker Bobby rushed down to share with me at the office yesterday (see, I’m not the only one who’s amped about this development). I suppose this should come as no surprise to the world’s 130 million Instagram users and the 13 million of us on Vine; it was only a matter of time until Instagram introduced video.

Let’s not lose sight of the overarching significance here, though, because while this is seemingly a battle between Instagram Video and Vine, in all actuality it’s a larger war between Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, and Twitter, owner of Vine. Furthermore, in no way is this simply a competition for users, but a play for advertising dollars – two concepts that go hand in hand in the digital world nowadays.

When it comes to the advertising aspect, it’s no coincidence that Instagram went with 15 seconds given that it’s an increasingly popular length for TV and online ad spots. Companies can do a great deal in 15 seconds – and much more than in six seconds on Vine – as evidenced by Lululemon in this sweet Instagram Video. Here are a few other brands also wasting no time taking advantage of Instagram’s new video offerings.

Facebook was undoubtedly smart to embrace the bite-sized video-sharing side of the industry, thus stealing a key element of Twitter’s business model following the latter’s immense success with Vine. As an early adopter, it seems like Vine’s been around forever, but it’s important to note what many have called “video Instagram” was only just introduced in late January 2013.

Instagram CEO/co-founder Kevin Systrom billed his app’s new 15-second video feature as “everything we know and love about Instagram, but it moves.” In my quick research online and limited experience with the feature itself, here are a few notable comparisons between Instagram Video and Vine:

  • Both offer stop-motion video (thus allowing you to take clips within the full video clip itself), but Instagram Video allows you to actually delete any undesired clips.
  • Instagram carried its classic filtering feature over to video as well, giving users the ability to edit individual clips. Vine doesn’t offer this capability… yet.
  • Two big advantages of Vine, however, are looping and embedding, which Instagram did not implement as part of its initial video launch.
  • And longer is always better, right? I’d imagine that Instagram 15-second videos are preferred to the six seconds granted by Vine. I do wonder if 15 seconds is too long, though, in the sense that we’re so used to six-second videos, 140 characters and the general notion of concision in our digital world… I mean, I know it’s hard for me to even bear the five seconds before I can skip ads on YouTube. Nevertheless, I think 15 seconds will soon become the perceived norm.
  • Creativity is king when it comes to digital, so users will undoubtedly learn to be even more innovative with their increased time allotment. Just look at these people who are already doing unbelievable things with six-second videos… and they’re getting paid for it.
  • Interested in additional comparisons? Jordan Crook of Tech Crunch (great site) compiled this breakdown of the two dueling apps.

Some folks are already predicting the early extinction of Vine (hence the #RIPVine hashtag) after yesterday’s announcement, but this guy’s not so convinced. With Twitter behind it, I have little doubt that Vine will fight back – some of its most faithful users (hilariously) are already firing back.

and up its proven game. And let’s face it, a little healthy competition never hurt anyone and should only serve to benefit us users.

Lastly, if you want some extra help before taking a stab at your first Instagram Video, how about a little seven-step tutorial care of the great folks at Mashable?

My White Sister Has Got Me Thinking…

Family Bombeck Quote

My fav middle (and white) sister, Elizabeth, Instagrammed this quote from journalist Erma Bombeck on my birthday this week. Perhaps because of all the birthday wishes or the fact that it’s now Father’s Day weekend, but the quote she shared has increasingly resonated with me these past few days.

I’ve mentioned this to people on and off over the years – and yes, I know it sounds hella cliché – but my family are my best friends. We’re indeed a strange cast of characters who may look nothing alike but share so very much in common – from our winsome smiles and inane senses of humor to our core values and many little quirks. We’re a bunch who’ve each become fiercely independent while still learning to grow together through our individual and common experiences.

No doubt there’s been lots of loving and laughter over the years -two qualities that go hand in hand in our family. We’ve also had our fair share of sharing illnesses (really, the ‘rents are saints for taking care of our sick selves, especially with Mare’s hypochondriac ways), hiding (and breaking) toys, borrowing (and at times stealing) money, among many other challenges, which I view as having only served to further unite us over the years.

As important as loving and laughter are to any functional fam, I’ve also come to find the “defending” component as equally essential to the mix. We’re all quick to call each other out on our shit, but even quicker to defend one another. We may not be fighters (well, except for maybe Annie after that hockey stick incident), but I would caution anyone to mess with the Burri.

Sure, with the six of us (seven if you count our token black sheep or good ol’ Grandma across the street) occasionally comes the selfish diva, moody bitch, annoying vegan, inconsiderate ass, unsought counselor and insufferable know-it-all (often as a result of the blond – ahem, Elizabeth). We’ve seen each other at our best and at our absolute worst – I know I’ve resigned myself to never living down Annie’s wedding reception…

After some solid reflection on that moment and so many others these past few days, I keep coming back to something my dad told us time and again growing up: “You’ve all got to stick together.”

Well, Dad, stick together we certainly have. I believe it’s this that has become the common thread that’s bound us all together.

A Truly ‘Strangers’ Inspired Pic

Pitchfork Teepee

My girl Di texted me this pic of a teepee yesterday along with the words “Pitchfork on its side with the handle broken off,” which I’ve since captioned on the photo itself. Her text absolutely made my day (well, that and talking to my mom on Mother’s Day, of course).

The pic probably means nothing if you’re not a fellow (and refined) fan of “Strangers With Candy” – hands down one of the greatest cult classic series of all time, and one that has served as a foundation for a number of my friendships. The latter may appall you if you’re one of those uber-politically correct types, but it actually makes me quite proud.

The context of the quote along with the premise of the episode in which it appears can be found on some guy’s ridiculously involved series companion site. And I thought I was a Strangers superfan…

This pic is a keeper though. There are often times I send friends photos that remind me of them, but I haven’t gone as far as those tumblr types who caption funny phrases or inspirational quotes on his pics. This one may just have inspired me to start doing more of that.

Do It For Christina!

Christina

Those who know me know I’m not one to get emotional or to ask for money (okay, well at least not often, Mom and Dad), but I’m going to do a little of both here.

Before I ask you to donate, though, let me first ask if you recall your response when people ask you about your role models growing up. Our first response is typically a parent or adult relative or sometimes a sports star or other celebrity.

But how often was one of your greatest role models another peer? This was the case for me with my cousin Christina (pictured above – weren’t we precious?), who has long suffered from cystic fibrosis. I have vivid memories of her having to cart around an oxygen tank in middle school and of her experiencing serious shortness of breath during our trips to the mall.

I think back to the hospital visits, and to the night in college when I learned that a match was found and Christina would soon be undergoing a double lung transplant. I remember my mom calling the match a Christmas miracle, which of course it was. Nevertheless, I was used to miracles bringing joy and not precipitating apprehension. Thankfully Christina made it through the surgery and ensuing several months of recovery – almost literally living in a bubble cut off from most family members and friends – as well as anyone could have hoped.

Through it all, Christina has been both a trooper and a fighter. I’ve never met someone who’s been through so much yet remained so implacably positive; more so than anyone else I’ve ever known. She’s always appeared undaunted by her condition; unfazed by her outward differences. I mean, she was a cheerleader and basketball player growing up – to hell with the oxygen tank!

Christina embodies every bit of what a role model should be. And I’m proud to say she continues to impact the lives of others and to live her own life to the fullest as a pharmacist, wife and proud wiener dog owner. Oh, and as one helluva cousin and friend.

I’ve learned many lessons from her, including courage, perseverance, living each and every day to the fullest and always doing your best not to complain because you can always have it worse. Another equally important lesson I’ve learned is the need to fight for those people who have so greatly impacted our lives.

This is why I’m writing this post and why I’ll again be volunteering at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Great Strides Walk next Saturday, May 18. As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of asking for money, but I’m going to do so here.

Please support Team Do It For Christina! with whatever amount you’re willing and able to give. Seriously, every extra dollar helps to find a cure.

If I meet my goal of $300, which I set in honor of Christina turning 30 this past year, I plan to finally take the plunge and sign up for a half marathon – the Patrick Henry Half Marathon here outside of Richmond in August. Meeting my goal, then, would not only help me cross another item off my bucket list, but to raise money to help give kids with CF more years to complete their own bucket lists as well.

You can find my team page here and learn more about CF here. Thank you in advance if you choose to donate. Thanks also for taking the time to read today’s post.

Embracing My Late Twenties

liz lemon

A wise individual once said, “You’re only as old as you feel.” In that case, then, I  feel like a total 28 year old – caught in between those crazy college years and an extended stay at a senior home.

There are times I genuinely feel like I’m 28 going on born in 1928, with not a day passing at this point that I’m reminded of no longer being twenty-twoooooo (thanks Taylor Swift). I mean, I run and can drive at night, but it’s probably not a good sign that I’ve found myself using phrases like “kids these days,” right?

These geriatric moments and sensations (and frustrations) are a recurring subject and source of humor in conversations with friends. Thankfully we’re not alone, though, as apparently our feelings of old ballness is a “thing,” perfectly encapsulated in a recent BuzzFeed article comparing one’s early twenties to their late twenties.

Scrolling through the gifs (knowing what a gif is… score!), I found myself not only laughing but also finding a lot of truth in (too) many of the examples. The one that rang all too true involves where you’re likely to find me at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning…

20s

The article also made me realize that I’m now at the point where I could give two shits about gossip and clubbing, have hella more confidence than I did five or six years ago (yeah life experiences!) and feel so much older than college kids – the exact same feeling I used to get around high schoolers as an undergrad.

Okay, time to get ready for bed. It’s already past 9 p.m…