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Apr 8, 2013

How to Write About Getting Freebies

One of the most useful notes I ever received in journalism (of the fashion/beauty writing variety mainly) was one that described how to write about receiving freebies at press events and functions where gift bags are handed out. This is trickier than it looks because you want to highlight the freebies in a positive light that give the brands involved some of the spotlight and also make the readers not want to quietly murder you in their minds if the swag was particularly good.

Talkin’ Bout Freebies Right: Write in a way that is down to earth and stays humble. Say something like “lucky me!” or “wow, how cool is this?” and spend as little time as possible discussing yourself. The reader is there to learn about the event and what the contents of the gift bag are like - do your best to give them a sneak peek into that kind of life without acting like you reside there permanently too.

Talkin’ Bout Freebies Wrong: Outright bragging of any kind or self-entitlement. “I got this because I’m awesome.” “They put this on my chair because I was in the front row and I’m always front row, baby.” No. Stop that now. Show some gratitude and cut the “I” from the equation. 9 times out of 10, these bags don’t have your name on them. If you didn’t show up to that event, they’d go to someone else. Simple as that.

And there you have the distinction in discussing freebies. You’ll notice the entire article’s tone will change for the better if you adhere to the rules given. Just sayin’.

Nov 6, 2012 / 3 notes

How to be a Boss Lady

For almost two years, I’ve been a manager of a social media department at the company I work for. I’ve had two interns for just as long and spend the vast majority of my day working alongside them, my boss (the company CEO), our director of operations, graphic designer, and PR account executive team. Every day coming into work is a big adventure but it’s not for the faint of heart - I’m usually busy nonstop until the end of the day, in which case I tend to take my work home with me or go to a cafe afterward to continue working if I’m not yet done with something.

When people ask me how I do it, I don’t know what to say. I’ve been working since I was 11 years old and throughout high school and college juggled two jobs simultaneously. I’ve always been ambitious and never one to settle either - my mentality to a lot of things in life is “how can I do more today?” I am my own toughest critic and often believe I can do more and strive for that constantly. More than that, I have a lot motivating me. I have a family I want to make proud, a workplace I want to keep pushing higher and higher, past dudes I was once interested in who will rue the day they did not decide to date me (though I personally like to think the right guy would not be intimidated by me), and me, the person for whom I’m doing this for. You have to work hard for yourself. It’s not a selfish thing either. It’s difficult and there’s a lot of responsibility and accountability at hand and some people don’t want a part of that. But others do and those people who do and do it well, they’re the boss ladies.

Want to become one yourself? Take some notes.

1) Be Respectful

This is the key to getting a lot of things you want out of life. The job doesn’t get done faster or better if you treat everyone like they’re your own private punching bags or go on a power trip or micromanage everything. If you’re the boss, don’t look at everyone with a lower level title like they’re less on the totem pole of life than you are (‘cause trust me, we all have to start from somewhere and usually it isn’t at the top). Teams are meant to rise together and as the leader, it’s up to you to keep that optimism, drive, and determination alive and well. Rest assured that the moment you start pulling some high and mighty shit will be the moment that karma will ensure you get yours. (Or your intern could very well pull a voodoo doll number on you… gave you something to think about, didn’t I?)

2) Laugh and Laugh Some More

I worry about workplaces that lack some funny bone action in their day to day routine. I worry even more about bosses who crack down on taking breaks throughout the day to be silly - seriously? I’d be lost without my daily memes, YouTube vids, and Onion article reads. There’s a fine line between being professional and falling into the professional box to the point where you’re a stiff in a suit who refuses to smile at anything. Laugh with your team and work to make being in the office somewhere they’d like to be.

3) COMMUNICATE

Why this one gets lost in the shuffle so often is a mystery to me. Encourage your team to come to you if they have questions, if they need help, and just because. (That last one extends to more than just commenting on the weekend or the weather, fyi.)

4) Use Good Grammar in Your Emails

I used to have an editor who emailed with me in the most haphazard, choppy fashion humanly possible - misspellings abounded and everything you could possibly abbreviate was abbreviated. Oh, the irony of it all. You don’t need to double check your spell check with every email you send but don’t abbreviate already short words like please to “pls” - it’s so fucking lazy.

5) Additional Golden Rules of Note

-breathe
-don’t overextend yourself
-understand that you might not get everything done in the span of 8 hours
-go into meetings prepared, ALWAYS
-leave your bad day at the door
-come in earlier than most and leave later than most
-make a daily to-do list and prioritize
-get excited
-take vacations when you need a break
-pace yourself when drinking at the company party

That’s all for now,
HT