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You need a job title for a pick-up line?

Follow up to the last post...

If you're so worried that your job title doesn't double as a pick-up line, just make up a new job title already.

If anyone at work makes a fuss, just tell them Tom Peters told you to do it. (Check his book The Brand You 50. Read his bit about job titles by searching for "cefrns" in Amazon.com's 'SearchInside' function.)

Funny story about job titles...

When I took my job, I asked my boss, "What should my job title be? Maybe I should start with a true entry-level title so we could purposely improve it incrementally over time--you know, to show my professional progression." (Don't know how I pulled that out of my butt. You'd think I was thinking "strategically" about applying to business school or something.)

My boss set me straight. "Be whatever you want. You can be Master of the Universe for all I care."

Now laughing, I said, "Man, you should make your title Master of the Universe. That would be cool!"

"No, thanks. CEO is good."

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 24 October 2005 Permalink

Do it before your deathbed

Why does it take people until they almost die to realize "that it is important to do what makes you happy"?

Here, the closing of a recent WSJ column about how people are insecure about their job titles.

Sometimes a particularly harrowing experience can also help us to put concerns with status in a better perspective.

Huong Do had such an experience. The 28-year-old research assistant works in public health in New York City. Ms. Do, who has a master's degree in statistics, really enjoys her work, but knows that to really rise in her field, she should return to school for a Ph.D. But she's not in a hurry.

Nor is she worried that many of her friends are medical students and residents who, a few years down the line, will be full-fledged doctors, earning a lot more money than she does and treated with all the respect that our society affords physicians.

"I used to be the overachiever who wanted to go off in a blaze of glory and discover the cure for cancer," she says.

But when she was 23, she herself was diagnosed with cancer.

"That shifted my whole perspective," says Ms. Do, who is in remission. "I saw people who didn't make it, and I learned that it is important to do what makes you happy."

It's a key life lesson. After all, we spend a lot more time at our desks than we do making small talk at parties.

Link: Wall Street Journal: How Cool Is Your Job? Does It Even Matter?

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 23 October 2005 Permalink

Late night reading


Dov Charney, CEO and Founder of CEO and Founder of American Apparel is certainly crazy, but I have to agree with him here.

Give me the chance of going to Harvard or being there when Google started and I want to be there making $3 an hour sweeping their floors.

From "Dov Charney, Like It or Not," in the September issue of Inc. magazine, by Josh Dean, who just reminded me why I sometimes want to be a journalist.

And to think that I planned to just read the magazine and go to bed. Now I'm wide awake, itching to make something happen.

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 15 October 2005 Permalink

How could you know at 18?

How could we know at age 18 what we want to do with our working lives? The odds are stacked high against us.

There are thousands and thousands of professions and jobs in so many different locations and industries...and at 18, it's unlikely that we really know anything about more than five or ten.

When I was 18, here are the jobs I had actually seen performed. (And even for these, there was lots of behind-the-scenes stuff I hadn't seen.)

1. Professional athlete or other live performing artist - from watching TV

2. Teacher - from going to school and b/c my dad was an English teacher

3. Coach - from playing sports and b/c my dad was a coach

4. Pastor - from going to church

5. Garbage Collector - from taking trash cans to the road on Tuesday mornings

6. Mail delivery person - from seeing mail delivered but not in my hometown

7. Lawn mower - from mowing lawns with my dad and brothers

8. Waiter - from dining in a restaurant

And to think that most people haven't actually seen their parents perform their jobs! When you think of it this way, it almost seems hopeless that we'll find the work we love. And it is, if we don't proactively search for it.

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 14 October 2005 Permalink

Nothing wrong with not knowing what you want to do...

...but everything wrong with not doing anything about it!

Took him hella-California-take-your-time long to get to it, but Ramit scored with this point at the end of a recent post.

Look, at our age, there's nothing wrong with not knowing what we want to ultimately end up doing. Let me say that again: Stop feeling guilty that you don't know exactly what you want to do! But I think there's something entirely wrong with not actively trying to find out exactly what we do want.

from the end of
IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com: The Myth Of The Great Idea

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 14 October 2005 Permalink

Why you should have an opinion and say what you think with conviction

Because if you don't, some "expert" will and you'll be kicking yourself for not saying it when you first thought of it.

A while back I was ranting to some friends about how some people use facebook.com in such ridiculous ways that it's not only bothersome (as I wrote in Facebooking IS NOT Networking), but it could also become dangerous for their own lives and careers. For example, if thefacebook had been around when George W. Bush was a college student, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't be President now because so much stuff that's been "covered up" would be archived and made public for all to see. My friends said I was the one being ridiculous.

A couple days later, my friend Ramit sent me this.

Boston Globe: "When Students Open Up A Little Too Much"

Two passages to note...

Meanwhile, Brandeis held an hour-long seminar last week on Facebook savvy -- recommending safety tips, but also telling students to consider future employers, professors, or family members who might read Facebook entries. Indeed, some Brandeis administrators said at the meeting -- to open-mouthed reactions of students attending -- that they have begun reading Facebook entries before hiring a student for campus positions.

"I would put money on a political candidate -- probably 20 years from now -- getting in hot water on account of something posted on Facebook," said Steve Jones, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In another case, I fared much better.

Last May I wrote this.

IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com: Hybrid Cars Don't Save You Money. Do The Math

And four months later, the major news outlets are catching up.
NPR: Do Hybrid Cars Save Money?

CNN.com: Hybrids: Don't Buy The Hype

The lesson: If you have a good idea, if you know you're right, have the guts to tell people before CNN validates your belief. You'll save yourself regret when they do, and it's great for your personal brand.

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 14 October 2005 Permalink

My hero for today


I've never bought anything made by Paul Frank Industries, but I might now that I know some of the story behind the business...which was founded upon (you'll never guess!) a guy just doing what he loves.

My favorite bits from my friend Lora Kolodny's interview with Paul Frank in the August issue of Inc. magazine, on how he built a $100 million design business...

One time, I wanted orange vinyl stripes on my sneakers. You couldn't find that in stores yet. I could only find it at this boating supply store. So I had a huge quantity on my hands. Instead of using it for little stripes on my shoes I started making wallets, sewing them up in my room at home. I gave a few to friends, and then everyone wanted one.

I realized I could start selling this stuff. Ryan said, Why don't you? His dad discouraged us -- that was okay. Ryan went and borrowed money from his stepmom, $5,000. That's all we started with.

Our success as a company has a lot to do with two things: being flexible, and being okay with where we are at the time. I lived at home until I was 31. And I have always felt successful. If I was selling a few wallets to people I knew, or selling just 300 T-shirts to a Japanese store, or selling to just one catalog, Delia's -- I always said: Whoa, all right! We did it!

Link: Read the full interview -- "How I Did It: Paul Frank"
Link: Check out Paul Frank Industries

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 4 October 2005 Permalink