My Career Advice from years ago

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I wrote this 3 years ago for a friend of a friend. Even though I was only 2 years out of college, surprisingly most of the advice still holds true. I just copied and pasted it, so some stuff might be immature, but I still agree with mostly everything I wrote.

Here is the unadulterated version of what I wrote:

Kimesha: I just got this to open, and it is getting late. I will do my best to answer your questions. If you have any other questions, please call me XXXX, or drop me an email at Jeff@XXX.com. I want to get this to you asap, so I will burn the proverbial midnight oil.

1. There is a story behind every successful person. How did you get your foot in the door? How did you start?
I answered a classified ad in the newspaper in December ’03. I was very persistent with getting the results while they were making their decision. I didn’t get the job, but a month later, the person they hired didn’t work out and I got the call back. I’ve been at WLNY TV for almost 2 years.

2. Some people have a Master’s Degree in Anthropology, and has a career in Accounting. What was your educational preparation for your career?
I have a BS in computer science from Binghamton University. I did learn some programs that have helped me, but mostly I gained the ability to understand how a computer works and how programs operate. I can quickly pick up most programs put in front of me, which has been very valuable for me at our station because we have been upgrading our equipment to a more computerized newsroom since I came here.
Most of my education in the television station came from extracurriculars and an internship. I noticed you mentioned internships later in the questionnaire so I will hold off with that info.

3. I’ve been told that the end result of most successful careers start with an excellent internship. Where did you work before this job? What is your professional background?
I interned at Binghamton University for a local news station, the NBC/ABC affiliate. They took themselves very seriously, but were small enough so that I could play a part in the show. I had a very comprehensive internship, one day a week I went out with reporters and filmed and helped write and edit for the show. The other day I was in the control work making graphics, and helping in any way I could. I never had to do any of the classic production assistant things like get people coffee or donuts. I know they did have other interns that basically did nothing the whole time they were there. We have a lot of interns at our station, and I can see how some make a success out of the internship and some don’t accomplish much at all. If you show interest and want to learn for a purpose, you will succeed in the internship. This is the most important thing you can do at university. Many people get jobs right after the internship at that station. Two people just became writers at my station after interning.
I also worked as a control room operator in Binghamton University at a distance learning facility. This was great professional experience, and I was given a lot of responsibility there. It definitely showed me the finest example of how a working environment should be.
During one summer I worked as a lab technician in the research and development department of a company which made pot (potentiometers). This gave me some technical background, and showed me a very successful business. I was 19 or 20 when I worked there, not quite mature enough to fully grasp how to get the most out of these opportunities. I feel this did show my technical abilities on résumé’s, so that was good.

4. It’s very important to enjoy what you do. What do you like most about your job? Or least?
I like most being creative. About half the time, we have a lot of discretion as to editing or creating graphics. I like to be able to make my own vision come true.
What I like least is the commercial influence and the control over what we air on television. When I think of it as a business, I understand more and feel better about it. Unfortunately, the business end of the news is more discreet to the viewers, so I sometimes feel they are the innocent victims.

5. After a 12, or 13 hour shift working in a restaurant, I’ve seen it all. What’s a typical day like in your career? Describe yesterday?
My work comes in gradually throughout the day. I type in the words that go on the bottom of the screen that usually tell the location or the name of the person talking. I also share duties making graphics such as over-the-shoulder boxes (you usually see them on a top corner when the anchor is speaking) and full-screen graphics. Also, I make the maps that you see on a newscast, where they zoom into a location. Sometimes I do some editing for the show. If there is any digital editing to be done, it is usually done by myself or my supervisor (together, we are the graphics department). During the show, I either operate the teleprompter, camera, tape decks, or graphics station. Yesterday I operated the teleprompter.

6. During your experiences throughout your career, what are some of the most exciting, surprising, challenging, and/or rewarding events you’ve faced?
It is very exciting seeing the heads of the company operate and make decisions. These people are here for a reason. Most are extremely dedicated and consistently make the most prudent decisions. Others are born into it. There are characteristics that all of these most successful individuals hold, one of them is to think of solutions, not problems. This is such an excellent way to think, it will always get you places. There is still a lot to learn.
Something challenging has been office politics. There is always such a dynamic with how everyone gets along and their issues with eachother. It’s a game. I would compare it to monopoly, its fun when you’re winning, but when you stop playing you realize you just wasted all your time playing a stupid game.

7. Things and time changes, as they do, how are you prepared to stay on top?
Always say yes. If any opportunity presents itself, say yes. You will go nowhere being reluctant. There are a bunch of proverbs on this subject, you can pick one. I regret only what I have not…

8. What are some of the challenges facing the industry today, whether it affects you personally or not?
An issue recently has been with the FCC mandating that we broadcast to new standards. Starting in January, all news programs (maybe all programs) must have closed captioning. We had to update our system to a computerized system. This is good for me now actually, they are more dependent on me as we are moving to a more computerized newsroom. I am usually the first person they turn to to learn the new programs, and then I can teach other people on the crew. For my current situation, it works to my advantage.

9. It’s important to know how to handle a give situation, in any line of work. What are the most important skills to develop, and master to succeed in the media biz?
Networking is extremely important. In almost any business. Don’t think of it as ‘networking’, that is an awful word because monster.com and all of these articles and shows hound us to network. It is so much better just to think of it as meeting people. That’s all. Meeting people, letting them know what you are interested in, and knowing what they are interested in.
There are so many jobs in media. Not only on air, but everything in the business end of it.
The most important thing is knowing how to talk to anyone. And also how to dress well.

10. If given the opportunity to do it all again, what would you change? Or would you change anything?
I don’t want to change anything.
There are advantages and disadvantages to every decision. If you want to be more successful in a career faster, I would suggest getting a more specialized degree than computer science. I could have been more specialized though, there were opportunities, I was more focused on my extracurricular media activities when I went to school.

11. For someone who is very interested in your field of work, and in the media in general, what advise can you offer.
The past 10 questions have been advice!
Okay, to go over it quick:
Say YES. Meet people, and be interested. Dress how you want to be seen.
The people who brought you up gave you your blueprint for financial and career success. They instilled on you what you are capable of and your comfort zone. You were trained how much you should be hoping to make, and what goals you are to accomplish. Destroy it.

12. I feel as if I’ve benefited greatly from your time and information however, is there a question that I didn’t ask?

It’s almost 3am, I wanted to get this out as quick as possible, I probably sacrificed some clarity for timeliness. I would love to elaborate on these answers more. I saw the date was October 1, it is probably due soon. If you would like to talk about these things more, don’t hesitate to give me a call or email at any time. I love to talk about life after college, and what opportunities are available.

Oh, I don’t know where this would go, but I have learned that people don’t change. Most people are the same person they were when they were 20, no matter what age they are now. Beneath a couple of layers they are the same. When we are 40, we will be the same basic person, with the same eccentricities, the same mannerisms. When we are 60, 80, the same. Its there. And a point to this paragraph is there somewhere, too late to figure out where.
Theres so much more to say about this industry and about careers. If I was to fill this out tomorrow morning, the answers would be completely different, still true, but different.

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Phishing Real Estate Message – starting at CL

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I had a run-in with a phishing scam recently, I think people should know about it…
First they had a listing on Craigslist for an apartment in Jackson Heights for $550 (what a steal right??). Well, me being naive, I wasted 10 minutes of my life explaining how I would be a great tenant to “Melanie Becker” of melanie.becker11@gmail.com

Heres the message I received a couple of days later:
“Hello,
Thank you for your interest. I have available the apartment but now I’m in London, United Kingdom with my job , I will stay here for 3 years. So this is the reason that I want to rent the apartment. I can rent you the apt for max 3 years because I have a contract here for this period. I’m the owner of the apt and its like in the pics. The rent for 1 month is $550.00 including all utilities (water,electricity,internet,cable, parking). You can move in the apt in the same day when you receive the keys.I must inform you that the keys from my apartment are with me and hope that we will find a compromise.
Thanks.”
—————————————
I knew it was a phishing scam of course because
A) they use no names in the email
B) this person is out of town and of course it will lead to some wiring of some sort
C) unfortunately, $550 in JH is too good to be true ( I hate that phrase )
D) I googled the first line of the email and found another person who got this message, wrote back, and received another message from the phisher
SOOOO, I copied THAT message and wrote it back to the phisher….
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From: me To: the phisher
“Obviously we need a way to complete this deal that will allow us to make sure we receive what we are after. I have found a way for us to complete the deal safely and fast, and in this way you will receive the Keys in less than 2 days, if you move fast as well. The solution is provided by a company called TNT which is similar to Fedex, DHL orUPS, which will handle the payment and delivery of the Keys.I have found a procedure that will allow you to pay for the rent of the apt only after you will receive the keys it and through this way you will see it and decide if you will stay in the apt or not before I receive my payment.Please click on the link bellow to the TNTwebsite to see how we can complete the deal safely and fast directly from the website of the company where the procedure is explained:http://www.tnt.com/country/en_generic/services/special_services/timecritical.html Let me know if you are interested please because I really need to take care of this matter by the end of the next week.Regards, ”
——————————————–
Now, I thought this was a real smart alec thing to do. Maybe the person would find it funny or come clean. I hoped I would get some sort of human response.
I was naive again, Here is the next message:
———————————————-
From: “melanie becker” To: Me

“Like I said, I will pay for a 2 days delivery so you will receive the Keys and the contract signed by me right away.I will explain to you step by step how this will work .
1) First you will have to send me your full name and address. I will need them for the shipping.
2) I go to the TNT store and leave the Keys and the contract onto your name as the intended receiver.
3) TNT will check the envelope to see if everything is OK with it and also the legal papers that will come along with the Keys.
4) TNT will send you a delivery notification to let you know they have the Keys and the papers in their custody, in which you will be told that they have the Keys and that they checked it.
5) At this point you will have to go to a Western Union Agent
Location and make a money deposit on the TNT payment agent name for the amount we agreed .
6) After you make the deposit you will have to send the info about the money deposit to TNT (MTCN, sender’s name and address)
7) TNT will verify the payment informations and if everything is in order they will deliver the Keys and the contract to you .
8) After you receive the package , You will go and check the apt and in 2 days you must contact them and tell them if you keep the apt or not, if all is in order you will instruct TNT to send me the informations about the money deposit and I will be able to receive the funds . If you don`t like the apt they will send your money back to you and you will send them
the keys and the contract to them.
I will pay TNT for the shipping and you will pay Western Union for the Money Transfer fee .
Let me know if we can do this.
Thank you, ”
———————————————-
So this person didnt get the fact that I sent them their own spam message back to them, and just proceeded to send the next in the string of messages to me.

Soooo, what do I do now? I don’t think anyone has gone beyond this point in the scam. I am playing with my favorite email address now, and I don’t want to taint that.
ahh, the person probably doesnt even speak english, there’s no use in dealing with them.
END.

I said NO to smoking – oops, lesson learned

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I have been getting promotional items in the mail from cigarette companies since college. It’s worked out pretty well, I have this fireproof pouch, and zippo, and this cool key chain and other things.

Yesterday I got a letter telling me I can get a free beach towel if I filled out info on a website, custombeachtowel.com — Now, don’t go to the site just yet, you will need some information….

On the site, they ask for a few numbers that are supposed to be located on the mailer. One number I didnt see anywhere. So I called up customer service. They asked me my information, then Margaret from CS asked me if I am a smoker

“No.” I said in a ‘whatcha gonna do bout it’ fashion.
“Okay Mr. Orlick, because you said you are not a smoker, I will be taking your name off our promotional mailing list. Our promotional items are only available to people who ARE smokers”
“No wait! I was, off and on.”
“You are not a smoker.”
“Well, I can be convinced!”
“Sorry, Mr. O…” Click.

I cannot tell a lie. Maybe I should learn.

Links:
CustomBeachTowel.com
smokersignup.com