All posts by kaycipierce

Upgrade the Interview

Many of us these days are applying to jobs. Hopeful that we will stand out enough on a resume or cover letter that we secure a precious interview. Knowing full well that even though the interview isn’t a guarantee, we want to receive word that we have come across well enough on paper that we will be given a chance at a face-to-face. Giving all this thought into the hiring process has led me to believe that we could be doing this so much better.  

Then I stumbled across this video, where a psychologist and organizational consultant is breaking down the ways in which the interview system is not designed to operate its best. He highlights a few general failings, especially as they relate to entry-level jobs. I, however, would add a couple very important others that apply for any position. 

Why our Interview System Sucks 

First, there is the obvious stress element. In the video he highlights that this can be an especial burden on those with disabilities, are very shy, or who suffer from anxiety. I would add that even traditionally not anxious people can have more heightened levels with this kind of induced pressure. And while some jobs may need to monitor for how one handles stress, he is correct that this isn’t true for many entry-level jobs. 

You perform better when you are comfortable. As he says in the video “If you want to assess a candidate’s true potential, see how they function at their best, not their worst.”  

Traditionally the environment isn’t designed to be friendly. Anecdotally I know of several stories where interviews have been incredibly friendly and hiring managers have been welcoming and conversational. Nonetheless, if many individuals view interviews as interrogations or tests, we may have an opportunity to improve this expectation. 

The process of interview is not representative of a prospective employee’s actual work. The qualities a person possesses that allows them to excel in an interview space is not necessarily indicative of their actual work ethic, ability, or responsibility.  

I would add… 

Unless this is a position in which you provide a portfolio of your work, interviews are not structured in a way to allow you to showcase your talents.  

They are inauthentic. People rehearse their answers and are keen to respond in ways they expect they should. I always think of how ineffectual the questions regarding strengths and weaknesses are, as if all of us haven’t pondered which response to give to that question for the majority of our adult lives.  

I think if more companies took the initiative and hired an organizational consultant they could find ways to creatively restructure their hiring process and therefore attract better talent. I also believe that more entry-level jobs should be carefully adjusted to better accommodate folks with disabilities, anxiety disorders, or anyone else capable of performing better by simply adjusting the environment.  

image credit: @vincentdnl

Buycotting on a Small, but Everyday Scale

On the topic of buycotts, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we as a culture do not seem consumed with the idea of consuming carefully. I see people using Amazon near daily and I wonder how we’ve gotten into the habit with our products of a) needing immediately b) needing only brand new and c) justifying sending 1 item across the country for us to have in days. I’m not here to bash the use of Amazon, or any similar services, but just to encourage thinking about each purchase with intent. If each of us consumed just a little more carefully, it would make a difference. 

Just as how Phaedra Pezzullo (2011) pointed out “There is a distinction between promoting ‘anti-consumption (consuming less) and anti-consumerism (consuming differently)’” (p.138). The reason I’ve spent so much time pondering consumerism is largely due to the pandemic. During this time, we likely all have gotten the opportunity to examine our finances. Some of us have paid off credit card debt in large numbers (source here), while some of us have lost jobs and had to examine what spending can be cut back on. Regardless of your current financial status, you’ve probably spent some of the last year reassessing your purchases and investments. 

With Buycotts in mind, I encourage everyone to spend carefully this holiday season. The internet is your greatest friend here. Search for organizations that have responded well to the COVID-19 crisis and support them (just one example here).   Unsure of local small businesses around you that need your help? Use my favorite, Etsy! Want to support small businesses that are Black-owned? Search here!

It takes a little work, but in the spirit of Carrotmob, try to shop with intent, and specifically reward stores for doing good. 

References:
Pezzullo, P. C. (2011). Contextualizing Boycotts and Buycotts: The Impure Politics of Consumer-Based Advocacy in an Age of Global Ecological Crises. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 8(2), 124-145. doi:10.1080/14791420.2011.566276 

A “Second-Hand” Convert, and Why You Should be Too!

I love buying used items. The feeling of finding something that is completely original, allows me to express myself, and can be creatively integrated with other items in my home brings me SO much joy. Plus, searching for the hidden gems is half the fun!  

Even if I didn’t personally benefit from thrifting, (monetarily, creatively, or as a hobby) I’d be heavily persuaded by the impact our shopping as on the environment. As many of us try to be more conscious about our waste, I encourage you to be thinking about your textile waste as well, because according to this source on the matter,  

The volume of clothing Americans throw away each year has doubled in the last 20 years, from 7 million to 14 million tons. 

This is why I firmly believe in purchasing 90% of my wardrobe and home goods through second-hand sources. Through vintage stores, thrift-shops, consignments, or even Buy Nothing groups, the options are endless to get new-to-you items as well as guarantee your retired items have a better shot of a continued life than wasting away for 200+ years in a landfill.  

Avoid the fast fashion brain wash 

Through my experience shopping second hand, I’ve learned that a lot of us are brainwashed by the fast fashion market, told that it’s normal to be consuming at such a high rate. It’s not. Told that because the individual items are “cheap” that spending over $100 to get free shipping is a great deal. It’s not. We’re being sold this lie because it’s both beneficial to these brands and fits into our existing image-conscious culture, but no longer can we continue to ignore the negative effects happening as a result of us acting on this lie. 

At this point, I’m such a second-hand convert that I have been largely turned off from shopping online or at retail stores. How someone can continue to shop at Boohoo (owner of brands like Pretty Little Thing and Nasty gal) while they are riddled with controversies of modern slavery or operating through Coronavirus outbreaks and lockdown is beyond me. 

The Benefits Roll in 

Let’s face it, we are likely all already conscious of the fact that as a culture, we spend too much on too many things. So, I’ll leave you with more benefits of thrifting for the most important person in your life, you! 

  • $$$– Brands have begun to donate their excess items to avoid waste, which means you can actually find many new items with tags still on, for a quarter of the price. We’ve spent most of our life justifying these excess purchases but don’t worry, you’ll find ways to spend all that saved money. 
  • Adapting the Trends– Clothing always comes in cycles, meaning the resurgence we are currently seeing of the 90’s or the 70’s have been, and will continue to be, found in thrift stores! We tend to think we need to keep up with the latest style (thanks to the fast fashion brainwashing), and the good news is that you can recreate these styles from quality items that have already shown they are lasting.  
  • No more Matchy-Matchy – Literally never again will you show up to an event with the same purse, jacket, shoes, dress, as anyone else. If you take pride in being a unique individual, this is for you! 
  • Evolution– You will truly see your creativity and style evolve. When you buy the things that fast fashion is telling you to, you’re accepting a given narrative and style being actively sold to you. When you search second hand, you force yourself to think consciously about your style and your body. 

All of the Authority, None of the Credibility

Understandably, being media literate is important. By now, most understand that the news we watch, the blogs we read, and even the personal social networks that we interact with all come from sources that have their own intentions and agendas.  

However, what I don’t think we as a people can either expect or accept is that officials from our health departments run disinformation campaigns. Health communication is not political, it is not biased, and its only intent or agenda should be to do the least damage to the greatest amount of people. Frankly, any failure to tell nothing but the 100% truth about health-related matters to the entirety of the American people should be punishable. Yet as of now, the best we have is here, where Twitter is being praised for having removed a tweet containing a completely false statement from the coronavirus task force advisor to the president, Scott Atlas. Are twitter guidelines our new checks and balances?  

The first issue here is that factually, the tweet was incorrect. 

Unfortunately, a careless tweet like this doesn’t need to be proven correct before it gets sent out for the whole world to read. These false claims not only get likes and retweets, but they spread into many smaller communities that push the same message to their members. The original tweet will go on to have snowball affects that we won’t even know the dangers of yet. Confirmation bias will cause the people of this country to go on continuing to believe false information everywhere they look. 

Secondly, the gaslighting is real. It’s one danger to tweet a lie regarding American’s health, but it’s ludicrous to lie to the American people that steps are being taken while simultaneously denouncing them. 

In addition to the removed tweet, many others from Atlas contradicted themselves as well as overall messages from health experts. First, towards the end of March, he put out a tweet comparing the US’s yearly deaths of the flu (roughly 40,000) to the current COVID-19 deaths (201) in a way to “prove” its lack of severity. Over here in reality, where we don’t claim omnipotent knowledge of diseases we personally haven’t studied, just over half a year has gone by and the death toll has surpassed 1 million worldwide. As of today, the tune has obviously changed – significantly, but not in any way that can admit fault. Today Atlas wrote “POTUS and I have always stressed all appropriate mitigation measures to save lives—incl social distancing, extra hygiene, and mask wearing when one cannot social distance.” This comes just days after saying masks do not work. 

 
Words cannot express how weird it feels to be told appropriate measures have been taken just 2 days after tweeting “Masks work? NO,” to his over 60,000 followers. 

Lastly, a health communication expert would never imply partial solutions without examining consequence. In a tweet today, Atlas pushed the administration’s “strategy” of protecting seniors and opening all school and work. Saying you’ll protect seniors (how noble), regardless of how aggressively you aim to do so is an empty promise considering there are 1) many other populations whom are seriously vulnerable, 2) the elderly and other vulnerable populations often live with others that would then be going out to work and school and unable to avoid bringing the virus home, and 3) these populations need money to survive. Are we paying them to stay home? If not, your promises are as baseless as having a job consulting on a global pandemic when you’re a neuroradiologist. 

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Irreparable damage.

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Before You Say You’re Not an “Art Person”

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💗 is everywhere

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Art is a fantastic way to destress while at the same time putting your efforts into a productive and healthy pursuit that ends with a beautiful tangible product. The only problem? Art turns people off before they even get started because they dismiss themselves as not one of the creatives.  

I understand the uphill battle you’re facing. For probably your whole life you’ve likely told yourself that you are not an artistic person, disqualifying yourself from the entire recreation.  

But, if you eliminate judgements on yourself, forget about trying to create something comparable to what others create, and get up the nerve to put brush to canvas (or whatever it is you’re endeavoring) you will be capable of making art, I promsie. If you need real life examples about how anyone is entitled to art-making, check this link out.  

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” 
― Andy Warhol 

My Tips: 

First and foremost, stop comparing yourself! 
 
Comparison is the thief of joy. I’m an okay drawer, but if I spend my day searching images of the greatest artists of the 1800’s, I’m going to get bogged down wondering how mine don’t look as good with far more tools at my disposal.  

You WILL keep getting better. 

I often think of my favorite quote about art making by Andy Warhol. When I get scared to start out of fear it won’t turn out, I think about how the next time I make something, I will have knowledge from the first time. 

“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

Lastly, think outside the box! Brainstorm unconventional art forms. 

  1. Abstract or splatter painting. Hello, Jackson Pollock anyone? 
  1. Buy a used denim jacket, trace something simple on the back with chalk, and paint it! No skill, only a fabric painting medium required! 
  1. Refurbish an old piece of furniture with a fresh layer of paint. 
  1. Go outside and take pictures of the changing leaves. I for one, do not have the mathematical gift that photography lends itself to. 
  1. Fabric Dye! Tie Dye your white clothes with used avocado pits or onion skins. (This is a fun one!) 
  2. Make a flower arrangement. Artistic AND a mood booster.

Find more ideas for you unconventional artists here.

Food Service During a Health Crisis: What we can Learn from Restaurants During Covid-19

My answer to most requests these days is, “in a pandemic?” The phrase, although I’m using it lightheartedly, emphasizes the uncertainty and severity of the struggles that Covid-19 has brought us. Normal tasks seem either unimportant compared to other problems or simply impossible to meet while living in this unsettled period.  

When I eventually went back to work at my restaurant in June I thought, how are we going to retain and attract customers during an ongoing health pandemic? 

Here I found expert tips from a restaurant franchise president on how a restaurant can not only make it through the pandemic but use it to their benefit. This was written just two months after the Covid-19 pandemic really began hitting the US. 

https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/expert-tips-grow-restaurant-sales-during-pandemic

Nearing six months later, over 50 Twin Cities restaurants have now permanently shut their doors due to the pandemic.  

I serve and bartend at a restaurant (which is still alive…barely), and we sat at home beginning in mid-March with absolutely no idea if or to what extent we would remain open. If us employees were hardly communicated with, I imagine our customers outright forgot we existed. It took two whole months of sitting and waiting before we were told that we would be re-opening for takeout only. During this period of planning (or lack of) we made minor adjustments to our existing menu, added one family take-out promotion that was overpriced and underutilized, and advertised even less than normally online. In short, when I look at the list of restaurants that haven’t made it, I see no reason we shouldn’t be up there with them. 

So, who will survive and why?

Some restaurants are handling the pandemic surprisingly well. My personal favorite is Pig Ate My Pizza in Robbinsdale, MN. Within the very first week that my own restaurant had shut down, PAMP was operating a socially distant takeout window with a line wrapped around the building. Their social media is consistently drool-worthy with innovative weekly specials and limited run items. As each restriction came and went, PAMP has been adaptive and creative with their branding. If you go to their website now, not only will you find takeout cocktail kits and unique items from their crazy inventive kitchen, but also purchases you can make that help the community by sending food to frontline healthcare workers and donating to a North Minneapolis food bank. 

 It will be only imaginative restaurants like these that manage to survive and even thrive. The ones finding themselves successful mid-pandemic were the ones that grappled with the unfolding news quickly and pivoted their plans to selling only the most economical items, as well as assessed their customer’s developing needs: transparency with safety precautions, comfort, and ease of pick-up or delivery. Those that understood what problems their perspective customers would be facing met those customers exactly where they were…their homes. Through new social media campaigns for take-out options, additional communication to existing customers keeping them in the loop, and even programs that gave back to frontline workers, some restaurants saw the future enough to know where they needed to get to retain and even reach new customers. 

Did you lose any of your favorite restaurants? 

 
What are some restaurants near you doing creatively to stay alive? 

https://mspmag.com/eat-and-drink/foodie/a-list-of-restaurant-closings/