I had always hoped that my first quote in a renowned news publication would be my expert feedback on public relations, social media, Boston dining, being sarcastic . . . something like that. No such luck, though. Instead, I'm an anecdotal source for Leanne Italie's story on a fun lifestyle topic: Rabbits, the honorees of this Chinese New Year.
That said, beggars can't be choosy. Ms. Italie wrote a great article, and I need to start my rise to fame from somewhere, right? Check out my foray into the public eye:
Boston's Brittany Falconer, 23, is a rabbit. Is she more Bugs than Jessica?
"I can't make a rabbit face like Jessica," she said, "but I guess I'm somewhat rabbit-like: quiet, observant and capable of sneakiness!"
Much of last year wasn't fueled by rabbit luck for Falconer. She graduated from college in 2009 and couldn't land a full-time job until September.
"I do think I've been very lucky in enjoying an uptick in complimentary drinks," she said.
In case you'd like to read the full article, it is entitled "Rabbits, Time to Shine for Chinese New Year,"
I'm going to start this off with a disclaimer: Vladimyr Derisier is a friend of mine, and we both performed on the RLJ Formation Team back in days of dance yore. That said, I still think this is a pretty good deal.
It all started when a friend of mine sent me a link to the latest CBS Boston Deal, saying "These names looked familiar, thought you may know them." It was a coupon for three private ballroom dance lessons for $90.00. Sure enough, I did recognise the names, and quite well. I knew Lilia through the dance realm, and I was so close with Vlad that I dragged him to a holiday party as my date once (Thanks, Vlad!). Giddy about the deal simply because I knew the people associated with it, I messaged Vlad to call him a coupon. Once we established that I did not have Turrets Syndrome and briefly caught up, he asked me a small favour to "wag my tongue" about a new deal at his studio. Commence shameless plug!
In addition to their CBS deal, Ballroom in Boston is trying out a new package deal: unlimited group classes and a social pass for $40.00 a month. For those of you who aren't familiar with the financial requirements of taking ballroom classes, allow me to crunch some numbers for you:
Group classes typically cost between $10 and $15 each (they are $10 at Ballroom in Boston). Socials cost about the same.
If you want to be conservative and only take one class a week and two socials a month, you're spending at least $60 a month already.
Let's be realistic, though: dance is awesome, and you get sucked into taking three classes a week and four socials a month. Now one week costs you $40, and at the end of the month you're out $160. Where did you find that money tree, and was there another one??
Okay, so now let's go above and beyond: Ballroom in Boston offers 16 classes a week (give or take), and you love them ALL, and of course you have to show off your moves every week at the social. That's $170 per week, and $680 per month. Perhaps I should have looked into a career in brain surgery.
But wait! What do you mean you can save $660 and still take all those classes!? Now go ahead and tell me a $40.00 unlimited pass isn't an excellent purchase decision.
"Careful Where You Stand," Coldplay
"Lover Lay Down," Dave Matthews Band
"King of Pain," Alanis Morissette
This totally goes against what I said last night to someone about making quantifiable, easily measurable resolutions (for instance, I also plan on squeezing back into my college jeans this year). I'm also not much of a "New Years Resolutions" gal, so it looks like 2011 is going to be a wild and wacky one for me. Moving on . . .
WordPress Emailed me my "2010 Year in Blogging," and considering that at the height of my blogging I was posting at least four times a week, it was pretty disappointing to have not even blogged once per week this year. In my defense, 2010 was pretty hectic for me, but I still should have been able to make time to at least get 52 posts taking up space on the Interwebs. I'll target doing that this year (Hey, wait: that's easily measurable! Hypocrisy averted!).
While I'm thinking about it, let's back-track a smidgen. I think I promised an update on my progress at Racepoint a few posts ago, and of course, that never happened. It's been just over three months - I'm up for my quarterly review this month . . . already? - and I'm still honeymooning. This is a particularly good thing because otherwise I would be much crankier when my alarm starts harassing me at 5.00 AM every day.
My clients are pretty nifty: I've two in tech and one in healthcare, and while your eyes may begin to glaze over if I begin to discuss them in detail, I love learning about their industries and working with them, especially having known absolutely nothing about any of their products prior to starting at RPG. Try asking me about personalised knee replacements, now! Wait, where are you going?
"Blankest Year," Nada Surf
"Consolation Prizes," Phoenix
"Lake Michigan," Rogue Wave
Happy Thanksgiving! On to something much more important: my hit-and-miss sense of humour.
While I'm home for the holiday, Mom was great enough to save some Starbucks coffee for me. What I didn't realise was that this actually an accomplishment for her: the Colombian coffee, a medium roast, was too strong for her. For her to palate the stuff, she had to cut it with Maxwell House. I know, I shed a tear when I heard it, too. My response?
"Mom, be happy you didn't get Kenya [a bold coffee]: that stuff so strong it can wake up the elephant on the bag!"
Per usual, I thought it was a hit, but everyone else seemed to miss it.
Life at Racepoint is going well. So well, in fact, that I'm going to use it as an excuse for not blogging in over three weeks. Are you buying it?
. . . Eh, I tried. More updates on The Life of Brittany soon!
At this point I would like to point out that Jacob Wirth features a stunning beer selection, tasty rosemary chicken burgers and a nifty interior. And that is every nice thing I have to say about it. Too bad my one negative thing - in my opinion - far outweighs those three nice things:
The service sucks. So much.
As a former Starbucks barista, I know that everyone in customer service has their bad days, and as a result, it takes a lot to irritate me as a customer. That said, Jacob Wirth has succeeded not once, but thrice in getting under my skin, and not in that enjoyable Frank Sinatra way.
A friend and fellow beer-drinker didn't have to try very hard to convince me to check out a German beer house boasting countless brews that I couldn't pronounce properly if you held a gun to my head. We got there and at first glance, I thought I had found my metaphorical Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory, only better because, well, beer.
After sitting down at a bar table, it took a solid 15 minutes for a server to show up. If only we had a menu to figure out what we wanted to drink first while we were waiting for her: once our server left to "give us a minute" to decide, we had another 10 minutes to pore over our options, and it really only took us two. This process of our server being MIA for unreasonably extended periods of time repeated itself over the course of the evening. My buddy was visibly irritated, but I withheld judgment. As I mentioned earlier, I'm all for second chances.
But the service didn't improve the second time. Or even the third time. In fact, I'm pretty sure the quality deteriorated with each visit. Even when we got the "good" server - or so I was told (my fellow beer enthusiast has spent more time there than I) - I was amazed by not only the poor service, but how unapologetic it was. The only time we saw our server more than once in a ten-minute window was when they were rushing us away from the table to another party could suffer.
It's a shame because Jacob Wirth does have one of the most impressive beer lists I've ever seen in my short lifetime, but for me, it's just not worth the frustration. If you have loads of time and patience, do stop in for a weisbier. Otherwise, venture elsewhere.
Okay, that may be a poor choice of words: no interview (for a job you really want, at least) is easy, I think. But there may be a way to make it significantly less painful, and it's advice I've actually been hearing since Kindergarten: be yourself.
I know, cheesiest, most cliché piece of advice, ever, right? But - wait! No! Don't you dare navigate away to Facebook before finishing my post! It's relevant! I promise! Anyhoo, advice like that wouldn't be cliché if it didn't work, right? For my evidence, I would like to present to you a brief case study: me.
A little over a week ago, I went in for an interview with Racepoint Group, a "global public relations agency defining the new model of communications through our unrivalled understanding of the evolution of traditional and social media" (shamelessly ripped from their About Us page). To be accurate, though, the story doesn't really begin there. Let's rewind a few months. Six, to be more specific.
While I was away on my European vacation, I received a Twitter DM on my phone. It was from someone with RPG (I won't out you on my blog unless you want me to, but you know who you are, and I am so very thankful and insist that you let me buy you an adult beverage.):
Hi Brittany -- hope all is well! I checked out your blog & thought it was great. R u still looking for something in PR?
If you think the job market is bad now, I'm pretty sure it was even worse, then. Outrageous overseas internet fees be damned! I sprinted to the ship's library to respond immediately. It was something to the tune of "Name your god and I will bow to him/ her if you can get me in to Racepoint," only a little less desperate and crazed. One vacation, many E-mails and a networking event later (read: three months), I finally had an interview scheduled with HR. While they didn't have any Account Coordinator (AC) positions open at the time, it was probably for the best.
As it turned out, my RPG appointment was less than a week after my Porter Novelli internship interview took place. You may or may not recall that I got that internship, and looking back, I am so glad that I did. Granted, I was glad then, but not as glad as I thought I would have been about a full-time job. However, I've realised now that my experiences with PN could only have helped me get to where I am now. Speaking of which . . .
After two wonderful months with PN, I learned that while everybody was happy with Brittany, there was no opportunity for Brittany to join the team full-time. As devastated as I was, I knew I had to bust my derrieré if I didn't want to go back to Starbucks at the end of September. It was time to put the job search into overdrive. I DMed, Facebook messaged, called and smoke signaled everyone I could imagine who might be able to put me in touch with someone of a hiring authority. Eventually, through a series of grapevines, I found out that Racepoint was looking for an AC. And now we're back to last week.
This was my second interview at RPG (and my 8,000th interview overall), but something was very, very different this time: I wasn't stressed. That's not to say I wasn't nervous - I was probably about five seconds from passing out throughout the entire process - but my brain space wasn't preoccupied with trying to remember every piece of agency trivia that my interviewers might hurl at me. Instead, I remembered something my mentor had advised me to do before every interview, but I had never seriously considered: "Just be yourself. Let your personality show." Each time he said it, I thought, "Thanks, not like I could have found that at Hallmark or anything," but the guy had a solid point.
I've had enough experience with agencies to know what's expected of me as an AC and that I can deliver on those expectations. HR wouldn't have invited me in more than once if I was a total ignoramus during my last visit. What was more important was probably if I gelled with the rest of the office (or at least the other two people interviewing me). Commence Operation Yes I'm Awesome And I'm Not Afraid To Show It.
What followed was one of only a few interviews that I've actually enjoyed (yep, I'm going to link to yet another old blog post). I met with a director and VP, both of whom I focused on getting to know, versus asking the "right" questions and discussing "relevant" news. I figured if I had to try so hard to get those other things right, maybe I wasn't in the right agency in the first place. That said, whenever posed with a question, I like to think I did an okay job of responding coherently and perhaps even intelligently, but my mentor had it right: anyone can have the skill-set for a job, but if somebody meets with an account team and nothing clicks, then perhaps that person, in spite of all qualifying experience, isn't the right fit. Skills can be taught. Personality is an entity unto itself, and is much more difficult to tweak.
Eight days ago, HR called to share RPG's verdict: yes, please join us. My response? A series of "Omigod!"s and generic, ecstatic blather, being the composed professional I am. I think she got the idea, though. My start date is fast approaching, and I'm still on cloud nine. To think that all I had to do was listen to my Kindergarten teacher! And more recently, my mentor (okay, and maybe have a pretty substantial résumé).
"Let Her Cry," Hootie & The Blowfish
"One Week," Barenaked Ladies
"Foreplay / Long Time," Boston
"Hold My Hand," Hootie & The Blowfish
Oh! And I'm moved in. By that I mean, "All of my crap is in one apartment." Tomorrow I get some new furniture delivered (yippee!!), and then perhaps the most agonizing process of all begins: unpacking. Wish me luck.
On the bright side, the new place is lovely, as seem the roommates. The four flights of stairs, however, leave much to be desired.