Archive for the ‘weird stuff’ Category

Take A Break From Job Hunting

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Fact:  People do their best work with relaxed and happy.

Fact:  Job hunting requires your best work.

So take a break.  Have a cup of coffee or tea or water, and a snack.  Ahh.  Doesn’t that feel better?

If you’re having trouble thinking of a good snack, and if you’re in Seattle, note that you can get a croissant (world-renowned “snack of champions”) at one of the bakeries mentioned in this lovely article on Seattle’s best croissants

(Full disclosure: Working Girl was one of the tasters.  Yeah, it was a tough job.  But WG stepped up.)

For PNWers & Lovers Of Writing

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Working Girl will be one of the writers holding forth on all things literary at this weekend’s “Readon Writeon Vashon“– A Celebration of Books, Readers & Writers.

If you’re in the neighborhood of Vashon Island (west of Seattle) this weekend, stop by. 

In addition to yours truly, there’s an opportunity to meet thriller writer Robert Dugoni, religion writer Lesley Hazleton, romance writer (actually, he writes a lot more than romance and is also the conference organizer) Will North, and many others.

If you are an avid reader, aspiring writer, or just like to talk about books and meet authors, this is a fun way to spend an afternoon.  Also,Vashon Island is lovely this time of year.

Best Surprise Of The Week

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Top 50 Career Advocate Award - Online Colleges
New entry for the Department of Good News: Working Girl was just chosen as one of eCollegeFinder‘s top 50 Career Advocates.

Now there’s something that doesn’t happen every day.

Apparently, WG’s “dedication to fostering career building and professional advancement deserves to be recognized.”

How very very cool.  Thanks, eCollegeFinder.  You put a smile on WG’s face, and that is not easy.

7 Things Teachers Should Not Say

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Okay, here is the second of Teresa Wall’s two “parody” posts (first one was yesterday):

7 Things Your Teacher Should Never Say to You

1.  “I am your teacher. You have to do what I say.”  Have you not heard? It’s the 21st century. Even big business managers are learning that threats and power plays just do not cut it anymore (and they were always a terrible way to manage).  You are the leader of the students.  Leaders lead by inspiring, teaching, encouraging and often serving their students.  Good leaders never need to threaten.  So keep your word, set a good example, praise in public, criticize in private, respect your students’ capabilities, give credit where credit is due, learn to delegate, when you ask for feedback don’t forget to respond to it, and avoid that sentence, “Do what I say, not what I do”.

2.  “I don’t want to listen to your complaints.”  Yes, you do! That’s part of your job.  Teachers need to actively seek feedback, even negative feedback.  You get paid to listen. It may be annoying, even painful, but it’s a great way to learn.  Complaints point to where your processes and practices need improvement.  And even if a problem can’t be helped, allowing your students to vent can go a long way toward restoring morale and building loyalty.

3.  “I was here working on Saturday afternoon.  What were you doing?”  Kids are kids.  They see Saturday’s (and afterschool time) as play time.  You may choose to work seven days a week. That’s your call, but students won’t always feel reading everyday, etc. is that important.  If students aren’t turning in homework or home assignements, look for the causes. Did they have the parental support to help them manage their time? Did they have the supplies they needed? Look for ways to set them up for success prior to assigning out of class work.

4.  “Report cards are coming up soon.”  Maybe you are trying to motivate a student to do a better job.  Maybe this is just a scare tactic.  Who knows. Either way, a statement like this is not only tacky and passive-aggressive, it’s ineffective.  It will rarely ever scare a student into doing better work or learning more efficiently.  Show the student you value him/her. Let them know what they have to gain by doing their best work. Consider presenting them with alternate forms of instruction.  The results may surprise you.

5.  “We’ve always done it this way.”  Want to crush a student’s initiative? This is a good way.  News flash: your students may actually be able to come up with a cool way of teaching a concept.  Maybe it will even be better than the way you’ve always taught it.  Your job as the teacher is to encourage them to have the energy and motivation to be creative and innovative.  In fact, students who come up with a fun way to learn the concept, a unique idea, etc should be celebrated and rewarded (no homework coupons are always a hit!).

6.  “We need to cut costs” (at the same time you are, say, giving tons of workbook pages that were copied on a copier).  Budget costs are a great time to teach the three R’s (reduce, recycle, reuse) by example.  To get a new computer while telling students there isn’t money for a science experiment supplies looks hypocritical and is even demoralizing.  Leading by example is the best way to lead.

7.  “You should work better.”  Teachers need to communicate expectations clearly, give students the tools they need to do a good job, set resonable deadlines, and offer help if needed.  When giving instructions, ask if they understand your instructions.  Don’t assume.  You may not be the stellar communicator you think you are.  If a student makes a mistake, or is not performing up to par, consider that maybe it’s because your giving them vague instructions like “you sh ould work better.”

The bottom line is that in the classroom respect, a little tact, and a good attitude go both ways.

How Not 2 Talk 2 Your Teacher

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Did you see WG’s recent U.S. News & World Report posts about “7 Things Never to Say to Your Boss” and “7 Things Your Boss Should Never Say to You“?

Both articles got a lot of attention, some of it good.  The good included a pair of clever rewrites by Cloverdale Elementary School teacher Teresa Wall.

Teresa found enough similarities between the workplace and the classroom to put together this fun post on “7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Teacher.”  Ms. Wall, you must be a very good teacher indeed!

Here it is (tomorrow we’ll post her “7 Things Your Teacher Should Never Say to You”):


7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Teacher

Everyone in school has a teacher.

A big part of maintaining the teacher-student relationship is to never allow a teacher to think you dislike the class, are incapable of doing the work, or—worse—consider it beneath you.

These sound like no-brainers, but many statements heard commonly around schools often violate these basic rules. Looking for an example? Here are seven heard in schools all the time. They may seem ordinary, even harmless. But try reading these from your teacher’s point of view. You’ll see right away why it’s smart to never allow these seven sentences to pass your lips:

“That’s not my job.” You know what? A lot of teachers are simple souls who think your job is to do what’s asked of you in class. So even if you’re assigned a task that is, indeed, not your job, seems simple or repetitive, refrain from saying so. Instead, try to find out why your teacher is assigning you this task—there may be a valid reason.

“It’s not my problem.” When people say something is not their problem it makes them look like they don’t care. This does not endear them to anybody, especially the teacher. If a problem is brewing and you have nothing constructive to say, it’s better to say nothing at all. Even better is to pitch in and try to help. Because, ultimately, a problem in the classroom is everyone’s problem. We’re all in it together.

“It’s not my fault.” Yet another four words to be avoided. Human nature is weird. Claiming that something is not our fault often has the result of making people suspect it is. Besides, what’s the real issue here? It’s that something went wrong and needs to be fixed. That’s what people should be thinking about—not who is to blame.

“I can only do one thing at a time.” News flash: Complaining you are overworked will not make your teacher feel sorry for you or go easier on you. Instead, a teacher will think: (1) you have a poor attitude, and/or (2) you aren’t up to the job. Teachers often assign multiple tasks because they are preparing you for the real world.  Everybody, especially nowadays, feels pressured and overworked. Being able to multi-task will be a good skill to possess later in life.  If you’re complaining just to be funny, please note that some sarcasm is funny and lightens the mood. Some just ticks people off. 

“I already know how to do all of this stuff.” Hey, maybe so. But the fact is, this is what has been assigned.  Complaining that it’s too easy only makes you look bad. Plus, other students already doing the work may resent and dislike you. And guess what? Teachers will not think, “Oh, this is a superior person whom I need to promote.” Nope, they’ll think, “What a jerk.”  Instead, ask for a conference with the teacher.  At the conference, explain that you think you are ready for more advanced classwork or would like to take on an extra assignment.

“This work is easy! Anyone could do it!” Maybe what you’re trying to convey here is that you’re so brilliant your work is easy. Unfortunately, it comes off sounding more like, “This assignment is stupid.” Teachers don’t like hearing that any work is stupid. Nor do they really like hearing that an assignment is easy peasy. It belittles the whole enterprise. If a task is simple, be glad and do it as quickly as you can. Even “stupid” work needs to get done.

“It can’t be done.” Saying something can’t be done is like waving a red flag in a teacher’s eyes. Even if the thing being suggested truly is impossible, saying it is can make you look ineffectual or incapable. Better to play detective. Why is the teacher asking you to do whatever it is? What’s the problem that needs to be solved? What’s the goal? Search for doable ways of solving that problem or reaching that goal. That’s what teachers really want. Most of them do not expect the impossible.

Last words: When in doubt, remember that silence really is golden.

Vote For Oddest Book Title

Friday, February 26th, 2010

It’s that time of year again.  Scoot on over to The Bookseller to vote for The Oddest Book Title of the Year (scroll down, the voting thingie is in a box on the left).  The contenders:

  1. The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  2. Collectible Spoons of the 3rd Reich
  3. Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes
  4. Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Robots
  5. What Kind of Bean is This Chihuaha?
  6. Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter

Yes, it is a big decision.  According to The Guardian, Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter is an early favorite.  But who could resist cracking open a tome entitled The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Sorry.  The winner will be announced March 25th. Vote now!

30 Best Creative Writing Blogs

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

Working Girl just got word that this little blog was named one of the “30 Finest Creative Writing Blogs of 2009” by Online Colleges and Universities.  Thanks, guys!

It’s kinda cool to be included on the same list with Neil Gaiman (author of “Coraline”).

Also worth checking out are “Apostrophe Abuse” (name speaks for itself), “Blue Pencil Editing” (you can never be reminded too often about the difference between “continuous” and “continual”), and “The Urban Muse” (check out the recent thread about “should writers date other writers?”–WG has always thought no but then maybe that’s just her).

Not-New Rules For Behavior

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Working Girl was reorganizing her bookcase the other day (doesn’t happen often) and ran across a small, thin, blue hardback that had been a gift from a friend years ago.  The title is “The School of Manners.”  Originally published in 1701, it’s a handbook advising children how to behave and was apparently widely distributed at the time.

It covers behavior at church, home, school, at the table, and “in discourse.”  There’s also a neat little chapter called “Rules for Behavior in Company.”  Read it and you may be amazed at how little our idea of polite behavior has changed in the last 308 years.  That and the reverse–what strikes us as rude in 2009 we also found rude in 1701.  It’s quite comforting, really.

Anyway, since this is a season of heightened socializing for many of us, WG decided to copy it here, as a sort of public service.  It all pretty much applies to office Christmas parties, except maybe the bits about bowing.  And spitting.

1.  Enter not into the Company of Superiors without command or calling, nor without a bow.

2.  Sit not down in presence of Superiors without bidding. 

3.  Put not thy hand in the presence of others to any part of thy body not ordinarily discovered.

4.  Sing not nor hum in thy mouth while thou art in company.

5.  Play not wantonly like a Mimick with thy Fingers or Feet.

6.  Stand not wriggling with thy body hither and thither, but steady and upright.

7.  In coughing or sneezing make as little noise as possible.

8.  If thou cannot avoid yawning, shut thy Mouth with thine Hand or Handkerchief before it, turning thy Face aside.

9.  When thou blowest thy Nose, let thy Handkerchief be used, and make not a noise in so doing.

10. Gnaw not thy Nails, pick them not, nor bite them with thy Teeth.

11. Spit not in the Room, but in a corner, and rub it out with thy Foot, or rather go out and do it abroad.

12. Lean not upon the Chair of a Superior, standing behind him.

13. Spit not upon the fire, nor sit too wide with thy Knees at it.

14. Sit not with thy legs crossed, but keep them firm and settled, and thy Feet even.

15. Turn not thy back to any, but place thy self conveniently, that none be behind thee.

16. Read not Letters, Books, nor other Writings in Company, unless there be necessity, and thou ask leave.

17. Touch not nor look upon the Books or Writing of any one, unless the Owner invite or desire thee.

18. Come not near when another Reads a Letter or Paper.

19. Let thy Countenance be moderately cheerful, neither laughing nor frowning.

20. Laugh not aloud, but silently Smile upon occasion.

21. Walking with thy Superior in the house or Garden, give him the upper or right hand, and walk not just even with him cheek by jowl, but a little behind him, yet not so distant as that it shall be troublesome to him to speak to thee, or hard for thee to hear.

22. Look not boldly or wishfully in the Face of thy Superior.

23. To look upon one in company and immediately whisper to another is unmannerly.

24. Stand not before Superiors with thine hands in thy pockets, scratch not thy Head, wink not with thine Eyes, but thine Eyes modestly looking straight before thee, and thine Hands behind thee.

25. Be not among Equals froward and fretful, but gentle and affable.

26. Whisper not in company.

May you have a gentle and affable holiday season, and may you even silently smile upon occasion.  And if you ever master #21, let WG know.

Contest Winners Announced

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Check out Melissa’s The Job Quest blog to find out if you won the book giveaway. 

Even if you didn’t win, it’s fun to read about other people’s weird jobs……

Your Weirdest Job

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

What was your most unusual job?  Tell us on this post over at The Job Quest and win a copy of the book.  It’s easy.  It’s fun!  You have two chances to win. 

Enter fast; contest ends tomorrow at 9 p.m. PST.  (You can also win just by retweeting the original post.  Ultra easy.  But then we won’t know about your weirdest job…..)

Thanks to Melissa for thinking to do this contest.  Much appreciated.