Helene Kremer’s Weblog

Helene’s Weblog – Observations on Social and New Media, Musings of a Career Changer

The Challenges of a Twenty-First Century Woman

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It’s Sunday night, and I just got my two-year-old son down for the night. I have been fighting a cold for a few days, and today was the worst. Naturally, my son wasn’t interested in taking a nap on the day I vitally need one.

Homework was finished last night for the past week’s assignments, but tomorrow’s Monday and there are many more due by the end of next weekend. How will I find the time to complete everything?

My job has become more challenging than ever, and has been so since last fall, around the time the media caught wind of the beginning of many loans going into default. Even though the current area of law I work in is commercial, we are awfully busy. Since it took years in the works for this current economy, I’m confident it will stay bad for the next couple years to come. And, despite being terribly busy at work, that’s not really what’s troubling me.

I have had high expectations for myself since I put myself through school in my 20’s; nothing short of an A was acceptable, and while I took it in stride when it was in a course I wasn’t adept at, I still wasn’t happy. Now with a 3.74 GPA, I still wish it were higher. I only have six classes to complete after this semester, and two of the classes are going to be unbearable: Intermediate Algebra and Statistics.

I figure I’ll graduate sometime around the same time I’ll be selecting a school for Nathan’s kindergarten session, but hopefully I’m being pessimistic and will finish sooner. In any event, the economy’s not on my side. Even the $25,000 annual entry-level jobs I have been pondering over the last few years are going to be scarce.

My glasses are always half-full, and rose-tinted too. Despite taking more years than I want to mention to finish my under graduate degree, and the challenges of work and a young child, I am planning to do even more. I want to pursue the HTML programming route I’ve been contemplating and, on a personal level, when I do finish school, I even plan to take tennis lessons.

Written by hkremer

March 30, 2009 at 4:20 AM

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Social Networking and Business

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This is a blog post I’ve created for our class!

While I have started many blogs in the past, I never seem to be able to find the time to continue to contribute to it. I’m very comfortable reading blogs though. I used to read a great deal of blogs, but again find it difficult to make time to read the blogs I want to.

This is my last elective for my degree, and I only need to complete six more classes!

I’m thrilled to take this class, and I hope I can absorb as much as possible.

See you online!

Written by hkremer

March 14, 2009 at 5:43 AM

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My AdGabber Post from 1/24/08 (same as it ever was)

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I’m taking a social networking class in a couple months, so want to “pad” my blog up a bit.  Bear with me!

Remake, Remodel, I wish! More like same $?@#, different year…….

So after two months of interviewing at the local independent television station, and after having made it through 3 of the 4 interviews, I realized I wasn’t going to get the “dream” position. However, the sales manager called to say there was an entry level position, and I was the first one he thought of for filling the position! Great!

The interview was a smash, and I was prepared to confirm I was interested in the second interview for the new position when I was told two things: 1. The hours, and 2. The salary. The salary wasn’t too much of a surprise, and I had already been lectured by Supreme God of All Things in Media Sales, aka Charles Warner (media curmudgeon) that I would have to start at the bottom bottom. Okay, so no big deal.

The hours, on the other hand, was a HUGE problem. The new position hours were 8:30 to 5:30 and the commute is 30+ miles away from home. 30 miles take over an hour on an average day and closer to two on a very bad day. Gilligan’s just started pre- preschool, and must be picked up at 6:00 nightly or be charged $1.00 per minute past 6:00 p.m.!!! Needless to say, I was chagrined to tell the sales manager that I would be unable to take the position.

The salary would have been a huge thing also, considering the start was $13.50 per hour. My dad, CPA extraordinare, figured I need to gross $34-37k per year to survive, and in the Bay Area at that!

Today I went on an interview with a small all-service advertising agency (aren’t they all going in that direction?). The sales manager was more interested in asking me who I’d like to have lunch with, dead or living, who my heroes are, and who I admire most…… What the ??

Here’s the best part: I sent an online resume for an entry-level position with an interactive company in the city earlier this week. I get a call from human resources last night. Great, right? Wrong. She had mixed up my resume with another job title, and wanted to speak with me regarding an entry level position in Los Angeles. Oops!

Enough, back to baby-sitting in the law office…….

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Written by hkremer

December 15, 2008 at 7:33 PM

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The Conversation

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I’ve been listening to the conversation for years.  In mid 2003 I worked for a law firm that was just about to shut its doors, and knew it.  There was virtually no work being done, and the firm hadn’t gotten around to laying off people yet. I would peruse the Rants & Raves of the local area Craigslist and found interesting things (this was before the site allowed people to post nude photos of themselves).  Many people who posted wanted advice either in the romantic or professional department.  While there will always be trolls in such forums, many intelligent people also participated.  I didn’t know any of these people except perhaps by a “handle” and yet I felt compassion for some.

After the birth of my son, I had very few resources for parenting information and thus found myself once again at the craigslist parent forum for this area.  While some women would respond to the post topic with the snarky response of, “Google!”, I again was struck by the friendliness and cooperation of many others.

When I was introduced to Twitter in early 2008, I knew this would be a terrific opportunity for me to obtain information regarding public relations and other areas of marketing.  I also wanted it to be a friendly vehicle, not just for professional pursuits. I had never even heard the term “social media” before I joined Twitter and was curious about it.  I went to a Bar Camp in San Francisco in July, and felt I got a good introduction.

While many feel that Twitter is a time drain, I find it very useful for many reasons that I can articulate.  I’m still interested in possibly obtaining an internship when I graduate in traditional media, but I believe that interactive PR is where my heart lies.

Written by hkremer

December 15, 2008 at 7:23 PM

Well, as long as I’m here…

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I began my current job in 2003, and was still interested in doing what I had been doing for a profession.  However, after my prophetic dream in January 2005, I realized that only I could make any semblance of the dream come true, and it wouldn’t be by sitting still.  So, I enrolled in a private university that offered comprehensive night classes and online courses that were rumored to be just shy of brutal.  This was the same university my father had finished his degree in the 50’s while he was working full time after his parents had died, and could no longer afford to go to school during the day in typical college student fashion.  Needless to say, my father was uncharacteristically enthusiastic about my attending Golden Gate.

 
I began in August 2005 by taking a humanities class and an entry level marketing class.  My running partner at the time said everyone he knew that was in marketing was “weird,” but I enjoyed the class immensely and decided what I initially felt was right:  marketing was definitely the path I was going to pursue. 

 

I was able to do a good deal of schoolwork while working because my employer was not always busy but wanted me to stay to, at minimum, answer the telephones.  Remembering the boredom I had sometimes experienced in the preceding two years’ of his employment, schoolwork during the day seemed a welcome distraction. 

 

Therefore, it went this way for over two years.  I would go to work, do schoolwork when possible, and began searching for an entry-level job that would enable me the fastest path to mid-level as possible. 

 

The practice my employer specializes in, however, began to see changes.  Since the 1970’s, he specialized in commercial real estate, and represented individuals negotiating lease terms, and other tenant issues, and, in recent decades, began representing banks on commercial matters.  We discussed at length macroeconomic issues, specifically relating to interest rates climbing, as it would clearly effect his practice.  When the meltdown of the residential mortgage business began earlier this year, however, it was unanticipated as to how it would effect him.  However, since his largest client was a bank, whose stock had plummeted 85% since last fall, who was the holder of many small commercial loans that were going into default, my time for schoolwork on the job disappeared.  But that was okay!

 

When I made up my mind that I was going to find a new job, and begin a new career, I also consciously made up my mind that I was not going to allow myself to become complacent again in any position in which I worked, as I know I had become in the legal industry.  Despite having gained broad experience in almost all practices of law, office management, billing, etc., I had become content to continue in the same vein I had traveled for years.  I also decided that I owe it to any employer, regardless of the industry, to be the best asset I could possible be, an ideal that I have carried into my personal life as well.

 

So, as the real estate market continues its upheaval, our office is busy, sometimes frantic, but never bored and, as a result, has become an exciting place to be. 

 

My challenge now, once I go back to school in the fall (after nearly 3 years, I took the summer off to spend some personal time with some aging family members), I will have to work relentlessly to maintain a work/life balance.  After all, I’m not in my 20’s anymore! *wink*

Written by hkremer

July 4, 2008 at 3:20 PM

Drive and Ambition

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In 2005, a year of a significant birthday, I decided that I would fulfill as many personal goals as possible. One was that I would go back to school to finish my degree. The other was to buy a home. I only was able to do the former, and am still in school albeit half or part time at most. I have no regrets for pushing myself back to school, but it becomes increasingly hard to maintain my drive and ambition.

Another goal I started in January 2005 after literally waking up from a prophetic dream was to find a new career path. Since then I have sent out literally thousands of resumes, and cover letters for entry-level positions best suited for 21-year old newbies recently graduated from college, with a pay rate reflecting same. These positions that I had applied and interviewed for were not for a degree-less 30-something with legal administrative experience. While I had just paid off my car, and had no mortgage, the wages offered at many of these positions were clearly for very young people that either lived at home with their parents still or split rent with two or more roommates.

I was fortunate enough to find a blog written by Charles Warner, Media Curmudgeon, and author of many books on interactive advertising sales, one of my strong interests. He warned me repeatedly during a telephone call that an entry-level job was necessary for me, despite my business experience, and that $25,000 per year would be the norm, not the exception, for the salary.

Undeterred, I went on many interviews for these entry-level positions, and even some mid-level positions. I interviewed with an advertising sales unit at AOL, within months of its purchase of Tacoda. I interviewed at Scripps Networks, the online division of the old media workhorse from the South. I interviewed with a national radio rep company and was told that I would be bored with the position in weeks as I was “clearly intelligent, and experienced enough” to obtain at minimum an Assistant Account Executive or Junior Account Executive position with any number of media companies in the San Francisco Bay Area.

During this entire time, I continued with my studies at the University towards my goal of finally finishing my Bachelor of Arts in Management, sometimes taking two classes a semester, while working full time, and, briefly, having a second part time job.

Earlier this year, I gave up the search of a new job, and decided to concentrate on other ways to find the dream job I know exists. I volunteered at the San Francisco Chapter of the American Marketing Association; I joined SF BIG, the Bay Area Interactive Group, and began making a concerted effort to locate other networking opportunities. My contact list had grown, and I frequently keep in touch with people I barely know on a personal level in order to keep my visibility up.

Recently, while twittering and following on Twitter, I found a couple of organizations that I am going to look into to see if I can volunteer for and bring something to the table.

I’ve taken the summer off from school. I was becoming tired and even a little jaded with my education. I feel I’ve benefited from all the classes that I have taken to date and yet I don’t feel that much closer to my goal when I realize I still have two years of part time work to finish.

My mother’s coming for a visit tomorrow for a month, and since she and my father are in their 70’s, I’ve begun to realize I need to reconcile their mortality, a fact they do not fail to share with me regularly.

The job search has stopped, but I’m still looking and wanting, and hoping, and learning everything I can about companies, industries and people in professions I hope to be able to obtain one day. I am also devoted to providing my current employer the best benefit I can every single day, as his impeccable reference of me will be necessary in order to propel me into the new position I will procure one day.

Written by hkremer

July 2, 2008 at 5:28 PM

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