Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Word of Wisdom

So I'll offer a few words of wisdom to next semester's students in Angela Rogers' Business Writing class. At first things may seem a little overwhelming,writing the blog every Sunday, completing the daily assignments, learning the daily lessons and looking to the future at the multiple presentations and portfolio creations, but the key is to plan your work schedule for the current weeks assignments. Here are my suggestions:
  • Print out the PowerPoint slides and taking quality notes
  • Write the weekly blogs, they are a small 10 points that add up to a lot in the end.
  • Take good notes during the 5 Minute Review for the grammar quiz
  • Attend class-I know this might sound crazy but it's really interesting and you learn a lot about business writing
You will create a resume, a cover letter, conduct a mock interview, learn the difference between direct and indirect organizational styles and when to apply each and how to conduct quality presentation. If you are taking this class, you're in luck!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Unethical Practices in the Workplace

There are many unethical practices that occur in large, big-name corporations every year. Some are bigger than others and easily identifiable. For example, Martha Stewart sold her shares of stock before disclosing the information to all shareholders the day before the stock plummeted. In 2004, Dick Grasso, former CEO of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), resigned due to unethical practices and replaced by "Mr. Fix-It," John Thain. Recently, former CEO of Merrill Lynch, Stanley O'Neal resigned after unethical procedures and risky investment. At the end of that year (2007) Merrill Lynch posted a recored high $8 billion loss. And who did they call on to fix the problem? You guessed it-John Thain. After stabilizing the NYSE, John Thain was hired by Merrill Lynch as CEO. Other unethical practices, such as pocketing money and sexual and race discrimination happen everyday and may never be reported by employers. Many of these incidents go unreported because employers feel uneasy about reporting it to upper-level management or a anonymous, formal reporting procedure is not offered. Although it is morally correct to report these issues, employees may feel that their confidential reports may end up in the wrong hands and this could lead to an uncomfortable work environment. The best solution is to create an anonymous, formal reporting procedure to address unethical issues in the workplace. By doing this, upper-level management will pay closer attention to possible unethical claims.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Modern Doesn't Always Mean Better

Writing on the Web can prove to be much different than writing on paper. There are many reasons that cause this difference. They include: format, tone, speech and font. While writing on paper has a standard format: sender's address, recipient's address, date, salutation, body, closing and signature, the Web offers a more open-ended structure when it comes to format. Often the sender's address never appears in an email. A second reason is tone. Usually a formal tone is taken when writing on paper, while a more casual tone usually appears on the Web. When writing emails to colleagues, many people fail to capitalize their letters. A third reason is speech. By speech I mean Web lingo, like that which appears in all the Cingular commercials. One in particular has a grandmother stating, "Idk my bff Rose," which translates to I don't know my best friend Rose. It almost as if we have created a Neo-English language. I know we are trying to "go green" but does everything have to become hybrid? Something of this nature would never appear in a letter or memo. Finally, you need to be careful of the type of font used in a Web document. The best fonts to use on the Web are Arial and Verdana because they are more readable on a Web page. So, if you are transferring a Word document that is typed in Times New Roman to the Web be sure to change the font style.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Use Some Logic Snyder

I am from Bethesda, MD and have been a long-time fan of the Washington Redskins, who have a historic past in Washington, D. C., dating back to 1937. I can’t understand the reasoning behind cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, who only came into existence in 1996. Raven fans didn’t just suddenly decide they liked football. However, most of them likely gave up on the dismal Redskins franchise and its inexperienced owner Dan Snyder. When Snyder came to the throne as owner of the Redskins in 1997, he brought his business attitude and idiotic ideal of instant gratification. Dan Snyder has hired and fired five coaches in 11 years as owner of the Redskins and overall has a losing record. In that time frame, the Redskins have made it to the playoffs three times and have only advanced past the first round once, just to lose the second round game. Compare this to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have had two coaches in the last 16 years. The most recent retiree, Bill Cowher, was with the team from 1992-2007 and their record speaks for itself. The Steelers have made it to the playoffs 11 times, making it to the Super Bowl twice and winning it once. Snyder has signed some of the biggest names including, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith and Laveranues Coles to haughty, one-year contracts, only to have them not work out. He has used the same strategy with coaches. He has hired Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Joe Gibbs and most recently, Jim Zorn to some of the highest-paid coaching salaries in the National Football League (NFL). Snyder’s inexperience as an owner and his dim-witted strategy have shown as he embarks on another year of free-agent spending and coaching that will most likely produce small results.
Snyder has invested so much time and money into the organization that he does not want to accept his failure as team owner. At this point Snyder will go to any means necessary to buy a championship. This includes obtaining the best coaching staff and players money can buy, even if the contract is only for one year.
Obviously Snyder’s goal is to win the Super Bowl, but he is building his team incorrectly. His lack of experience and poor front-office management skills are showing to be a greater weakness than he might have thought. First, Snyder needs to keep his nose out of the coaches day-to-day operations and coaching style. Second, he needs to hire a coach and stick with him for at least five years. How can you expect a coach to implement his coaching style and plays if his only with the organization for a year. Give me a break. I can’t think of one coach who has taken a team to the Super Bowl in his first year, let alone won the whole thing. Third, Snyder needs to sign these high-paying players to longer contracts. It takes time to learn a playbook that most likely contains over 300 plays. The Redskins current offensive coordinator, Al Saunders, has a playbook that contains over 1,000 plays. It’s not something you learn by the seat of your pants. It takes time learn that many plays, many which come with audibles. Snyder is comparable to Eddie Sutton, former Head Coach of Oklahoma State. In 2002, Coach Sutton went out and recruited a few junior college players to play their Junior and Senior years at Oklahoma State. They had two successful years, making it to the Final Four in 2004, but never winning the championship. From that point on, they have not returned to the NCAA tournament. Whereas, Oliver Purnell, Head Coach of Clemson, has quickly built a successful, sustainable team, that used to be the doormat of the ACC, but will most likely return to the NCAA tournament for years to come. If Snyder had used the “Purnell” philosophy he too might experience a little more success. If you look at the successful teams in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts, they have the same coaching staff and players year after year. I’m not an owner or personnel expert, but I think Snyder is the one that needs to be fired.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

My Favorite Presentation

I enjoyed the presentations by Jessica, "Clemson's Master Plan." I think it was extremely interesting to obtain an insight into Clemson plan over the next 50 years. Jessica presented the information very well through visual aid and architectural outlines. Its hard to imagine downtown Clemson looking any different than it does right now. I could never see an Old Navy or Target along the same street as Judge Keller's, which has been there since our grandparents were teenagers. I feel by adding these commercial stores the historic "feel" would be taken away. I enjoy the small shops that are dedicated to selling Clemson apparel and merchandise and the famous strip of bars such as Tiger Town Village and TD's. Planting an enormous commercial building would overpower the quaint downtown area that's busy with shoppers during the day and rowdy with students at night. Many relatives and friends that I know whom have come to Clemson always tell me how the campus is so beautiful and well-maintained. I am very interested in the development of Clemson and its future plans. I really love the rural, tightly-knit, small college town atmosphere the city of Clemson provides and hope that it will not change.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Mock Interview Reflection

Throughout my interview, I felt comfortable and relaxed. While job searching I think it will be best if I can interview as much as possible, even if I have no intentions of taking the job, in order to gain experience, self-confidence, and comfort with the process. I also think it is a good way to become acquainted with many of the questions interviewers will ask a prospective employee. The questions that I was asked during my mock interview were extremely realistic and made me think on my toes, but before I responded I listened to the questions, collected my thoughts, and gave intelligent answers. I have been told repeatedly that a well-written paper can be tarnished by a lousy presentation and a lousy paper can be resurrected by a strong presentation. I believe the same applies in an interview. You may have the necessary credentials, but if you are unable to communicate well and portray low self-confidence you most likely will be rejected. So, the optimal solution is to have the necessary credentials and present yourself well during the interview. I believe the mock interview conducted in English 304 is an extremely influential process of learning how to interview properly. Because of this experience I have a better overall understanding of what is to be expected during an interview, how to write a application letter, and how to compose an action-oriented resume.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Place I'd Like to Live

Iceland is a beautiful country that has rolling green plains and fresh, crisp air. Frequently, babies and young children are left outside the home to breathe in the clean, fresh air. Not only does it have a refreshing environment but it ranks as the fifth most productive country in the world based on GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). That's pretty impressive considering that Iceland's population is only a little over 300,000 people, which is smaller than the city of Charleston, SC. Iceland has undergone one of the fastest economic transformations in the world in recent years. From 2000-2004 it had the best performing Western stock market. Much of Iceland's economical success depends on the fishing industry and how well it performs year to year. The fishing industry provides nearly 40% of the export earnings and employs 8% of the workforce. In addition to its successful productivity, it has a literacy rating in the 99th percentile. It also boasts an extremely even wealth distribution, where the no individuals rank in the top or bottom 5% of yearly income. Lastly, it is an extremely safe place to live. Crime practically is non-existent. Iceland's only downfall may be its temperature but with all of its other positives throwing on a jacket really doesn't seem that bad.