A quick bit on professionalism…

The transition from student to “worker” can be a clunky and confusing one, even for the most prepared among us. During those years of preparation in high school and college, you might have received all sorts of good and bad advice for what it means to be a responsible adult. Give a firm handshake. Look people in the eye. Be on time. No religion or politics at the workplace. “Be professional.”

Providing advice on professionalism and decorum has always been a bit of a challenge for me. At best, prescriptive instructions on “how to act” provided minimal assistance to me as I gained work experiences. Sometimes, the advice of others has even had a counterproductive effect, increasing my anxiety as I’ve wondered which unwritten rules I was breaking.

Each experience brings an array of unknown variables regarding workplace expectations. There are many situations in life that cannot be prepared for, and an understanding about your new environment and culture is seldom achieved without experiencing how things are for yourself. No matter how many job descriptions you read, informational interviews you go on, and personality tests you take (although they can be helpful! Try Journey here), nothing can completely prepare you like your first day on a job.

And that’s terrifying! Well, it was for me (and still can be). Without getting into a prescription of my own, I’ve often kept the following in mind when in a professional environment:

1.     Be yourself, but know the boundaries: How much more cliché can I get? But there is a lot of value to this. Oftentimes when people give advice for professional decorum, I got the sense that I was being told I had to play a role and repress my personality. I would never advise someone to do that! However, it only takes a few job experiences for most to realize that it is important to pay attention to interpersonal dynamics, which will then give you a sense of what is and isn’t cool to talk about. At the very least, it’s wait until you’re going for drinks on a Friday before you start letting it all out! Environment plays a key role for what’s ok to divulge.

2.     It is easy to feel like we’re constantly under the spotlight, but people are often far more concerned about their own issues, pressures, and insecurities than whatever is going on with you. After a period of getting acclimated to what your workplace culture is like, you’ll find yourself worrying less and less about whether or not you’re doing things the “right way”.

3.     Being genuine and caring about your work, those you work with, and yourself is a quality that’s important for any professional. How you communicate this can vary! Don’t believe that if you don’t constantly speak in an authoritative voice or give a bone-crushing handshake that you don’t care about your work. Being present and staying invested in your responsibilities will shine through if you mean it.

4.     A bit of kindness and sensitivity goes a long way: If I ever WERE to have a “rule”, it would be to be gentle and considerate to everyone you come in contact with. Everyone has a life outside of work, and it can be stressful to manage those responsibilities and stressors while trying to stay on top of things on the job. Patience is a key virtue and everyone will be impressed if you can master it!

General tips are great, but they can sometimes only take you so far! If you have a particular situation or circumstance and you’re struggling in how to handle it as a professional, be on the lookout for our new advice column starting soon on our Tumblr page.

All the best,


Marketing Students! This is a great (& free) video series offered by the BMA of Chicago!!

Integrated marketing campaigns are a complete alignment of marketing, communications and sales with your business goals in order to drive long term enterprise value. The New Integrated Marketing: Video Series, brought to you by BMA Chicago, will share examples and insight for creating a successful integrated marketing campaign in our always-on digital world.

friednonsense asked:

Being that you're an industry expert, I was hoping if there were any tips or advice you can give to an aspiring Animation Series creator. Any lessons you've learned from working in the industry from so many years. What advice would you give yourself if you were starting out trying to get you're animation picked up by a major network?

ianjq answered:

Yeah I have a big piece of advice! Stop “aspiring”!!!!! Your aspirations end now!!!!

YES YOU! DON’T WAIT! START NOW! (passionate rambling incoming…)

The freaking coolest thing about living in the year 20XX is that you don’t have to have anyone’s permission to be an Animated Series creator. Grab a trial copy of Flash, or make flipbooks, or your own GIFs, or make some stop motion with your phone. Just start making whatever you want! Don’t save your good ideas for some big-wig executives or networks. Just do them right now! Don’t be precious with your ideas, just put them out there. 

Content that’s on TV or in movies is not “more official” than stuff you make in your home on your spare time to share with friends on the internet. It’s all the same!!!!! As long as you enjoy it, who cares!! And if other people happen to like it also, then BONUS!! 

The experience you get from trying to make something good on your own is so much more important than any future dream of being a big shot. Upload what you do to the internet and get feedback, show it to as many people as you can and listen to critiques. Learn to do stuff all by yourself, and only for your own pleasure.

From what I’ve seen, the people who end up creating a good animated series are the same people who have been creating their own stories, cartoons, comics and music on their own just for fun long before they ever got the shot at the big-time. Read about how your favorite cartoons are made, and try to do the process on your own. You’ll learn what your strengths are and what you’re interested in exploring.

(If you don’t have the facilities to create animation on your own, make something smaller scale- like a script, a comic, or a storyboard!)

OK THEN HERE’S STEP TWO: once you’ve learned to love your work on your own and figured out what you like to draw and what you’re passionate about, you may get a chance to pitch an idea. And thanks to the work you’ve done, you’ll be READY! Instead of some half-finished ideas, you’ll be able to point to all the amazing stuff you’ve created on your own and say “look, I already know what I like, AND I already know how to do it!” —-that’s WAY more impressive than an undeveloped idea with nothing to show for it. PLUS, the bonus of doing good work on your own is that you’ll attract attention and opportunity! I know so many people working in this industry who were discovered from their own silly personal work that was just randomly found online. 


Hey recent grad! You got your degree, built up a portfolio, and your resume is lookin’ fine! Don’t forget about perhaps the most important piece for getting jobs after college – the job interview. Polish your skills and get detailed feedback from us at the Portfolio Center by trying out our new, free mock interview tool, InterviewStream (ccc.interviewstream.com). Choose from hundreds of questions and different interviews that have been tailored towards each specific major we offer here at Columbia. Start by watching our brief walkthrough that will take you through the registration and navigation of InterviewStream, step-by-step. Give it a try today!

Why Can’t I Get a Job… Part 5

With the job search looming, the Portfolio Center hears a lot of the same questions and challenges from students. Each week, we will feature another FAQ, with pointers from our staff. 

Q: I know what I want, my resume looks great, I have relevant experiences, I’m finding opportunities, but no matter what I try I’m not having any luck. I have no idea what to do, help!

If all of what you said is actually true, then feel confident that you’ll be able to find a good fit in a matter of time. Consider broadening your approach to how you apply, a good breakdown of job-search strategies can be seen at the bottom of the page here. While we often consider online applications to be the only way to get a job, there are other avenues to explore while maintaining the volume of applications you submit online. The cliché of looking for a full-time job being a full-time job often rings true, so create something like a “work schedule” for informational interviews, networking events, and company research to ensure that you’re taking a well-rounded approach to finding the job you want and need.

As a recent college grad, there is bound to be some frustration as you move further down your career path. Rejection is inevitable, but that’s ok! Every cover letter you write, interview you go on, and networking event you attend is a learning experience, and if you stay in a positive mindset, failure is impossible! Keep in mind, every ‘no’ is one step closer to ‘yes’, and once your hard work has paid off, the journey will have just begun! Good luck out there, and remember that nobody succeeds alone. Keep yourself open to the input and assistance of others, and be willing to help guide newbies once your turn comes.

To keep up the momentum you’ve undoubtedly built during your Senior year at Columbia, consider attending our end-of-the-year LaunchPad workshop series, June 11 at the Portfolio Center! Receive tips and tricks on how to design your business card, negotiate freelance prices, and even more on your job search, resume, and more!

Why Can’t I Get a Job… Part 4

With graduation quickly approaching, the Portfolio Center hears a lot of the same questions and challenges from students. Twice a week, we will feature another FAQ, with pointers from our staff. 

Q: There are just no jobs out there for me! I went to school to do X, and now it looks like my four years here were a complete waste. Is that true?

A: Remember, the real world is not sorted by major. Just because you received a degree in something doesn’t mean that there will be a specifically designed occupation that will entail all (or even most) of the things you learned in class while a student. Take a moment to think about not what your job should be, but what jobs contain responsibilities and an environment that would be a good fit for your skills, experiences, and personality. Also, think about what you liked about your major beyond the actual content of what you studied. Did you enjoy creating? Communicating with others? The responsibility to come up with fresh ideas by a deadline? Once you’re able to recognize what you truly enjoy, your options for new careers will open further, and you might find positions or organizations who you never would have considered would interest you.

Stay tuned for more tips next Monday!

Why Can’t I Get a Job… Part 3

With graduation now behind us, the Portfolio Center hears a lot of the same questions and challenges from students. Twice a week, we will feature another FAQ, with pointers from our staff. 

Q: I’ve landed a lot of interviews, but none of them have resulted in me getting a job. Am I doing something wrong in the interview, or were they not even considering me the entire time?

A: If you were granted an interview, chances are that whatever the potential employer saw on your resume led them to believe that your experiences could be “good enough” to qualify you for their opening. However, it is important in the interview to both research the company and be prepared for specific questions pertaining to the open role, as well as connect your past experiences to the new opportunity. Oftentimes an employer will be undecided as to whether or not your experiences will have prepared you for the new role, so it will be up to you to express clearly and with evidence that your past responsibilities are relevant. Too often we get lost in worrying about whether or not the interviewer thought we were nervous, committing some etiquette faux pas, and so on when the most important aspect of interviewing remains your ability to talk about yourself and your experiences in a relatable, succinct manner.

Stay tuned for more tips on Wednesday!