Archive for the ‘Career’ category

Business Travel – A Guide to Easy Life on the Open Road

August 24, 2009


I am a traveling professional… or professional traveler depending on which way you want to look at it.  For the last two years my career has required me to travel nationwide at the drop of a hat. With this experience in mind, I wanted to share some tidbits of knowledge and advice to those who are beginning the joys of business travel.

Let’s start at the beginning and work our way through each stage of the travel process.

Hopefully you gained something from my experiences.

Overall, the main thing to focus on is that traveling for business can be a fun and enlightening experience.  It allows you to meet new people, see new places, and experience new things.  Once you get the basics of travel down it becomes easier and easier, until  you get to the point where every time you go is an adventure.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my past two years as a nomad and wish you the same success on your trips as well!

1st Month in Albany Retrospective

November 20, 2008

The Good:

JOB – Vicarious Visions (Activision) is awesome: my bosses, co-workers, colleagues, environment, products, you name it. This has far exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m definitely in this for the long haul!

WEATHER – I’ve never lived in a state with 4 seasons and I moved here in the fall (which is like a Texas winter). The scenery is so beautiful. I love running in the many parks the Capital Region has to offer. For the first time, I get to live in the snow!!!! However, everyone is telling me that the snow’s euphoric effects will wear off in 2 weeks.

HISTORY – I’m a history buff so I eat this stuff up and fully enjoy it.

LOCATION – Even though this city is small, it’s conveniently located in between the slopes and NYC so I can get my fix any weekend I start to get the itch! Plus, I can drive to Boston or Montreal in a matter of hours!

The Bad:

LOCATION – If I wasn’t such a nature-loving outdoor girl, I would go nuts because “the city” is like a northeastern La Grange. I can see why people call this place SMALLbany. I still don’t think it’s all that bad though. I was ready to get out of a heavily polluted and super hot city.

FRIENDS & FAMILY – I miss all my loved ones ❤

The Ugly:

LOCALS – Although I feel that generalizing is bad, I must confess that 99.9% of the encounters I’ve had with the locals have been exceedingly unsavory.

SHOPPING – This place only has 1 decent mall. Crossgates Mall is about the same size as the smallest mall in Houston. Ugh… I am missing the Galleria, Katy Mills, and Memorial City Malls. Looks like I’ll be buying a lot of stuff online.

FOOD – Everything here is way underseasoned and bland. I’ll be carrying hotsauce with me everywhere I go!

Ari Gold and Networking Advice for the Real World

November 1, 2008

Did anyone catch last week’s episode of Entourage? If you did not yet but intend to, STOP reading. Spoilers below.

Entourage Spoiler Warning

In this episode Ari Gold wrestles with the decision of whether to take a lucrative job offer to become the head of a major studio. Long story short, he decides NOT to take the offer. But instead of rejecting it outright, he goes to the Board and recommends Dana Gordon, a colleague and personal friend of Ari’s who wanted the job the most anyway. Dana takes the job, offers Ari a nice rub-n-tug and also promises Vince a movie to land him back on top, which is what Ari wanted all along. Perfect. “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”

The episode shows some great insight on the almost-nepotistic rule of law in Hollywood.

Now let me offer some insight of my own. For both the movie business AND real life for us common folks, the same saying holds true. “Its not just what you, but who you know.” hence it’s crucially important to know how to network and maintain a good reputation.

Top Five Pieces of Advice for Networking and Reputation Management

1. Follow the Golden Rule – do unto other as you would have done to you. What I mean is that we must pay special attention to the bridges we build and the bridges we burn. Life has a funny way of coming full circle. Even if your decisions don’t bite you directly in the ass immediately, they will still residual impact on your reputation.

2. Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day – But it could potentially be destroyed in one – like natural disaster, demerits on your stature and reputation with others hang on a very tenuous thread. Reputations take a long time of steady recognition and social proofing to build. Yet they can be wrecked by isolated incidents. Hence it’s crucially important to consider the implications of your actions. Step back and weigh everything from a vantage point other than your own as much as possible.

3. You are who your Friends are – My father said this so often in my adolescence that I never forgot it, despite the fact that I didn’t fully comprehend his advice at the time. Looking back, what he meant is that everything in this world is not about you and only you. People will associate who you are based on the circles you are in. Relationships with the right people have a way of pulling your own stature up while others have a way of dragging you down. If you hang out with nothing but drunks, chances are good that you may be one too. If you spend time talking business with friends, chances are that you’re probably entrepreneurial yourself. Or you could all be drunken business owners. I don’t know.

4. Cultivate the Habit of Proper Etiquette – Common courtesies, even with yourself, matter a great deal. These are not acts but habits. Knowing good table manners, how to be appropriate on a golf course, and maintaining consideration matter in this world. It’s synonymous with “having class.” And thus it separates you from the rest of the uncultured masses. For more info, look up the definition of the world “gentleman” in the dictionary.

5. Get Good at Remembering Faces and Names – it only takes one introduction to ‘know’ somebody. And yet if you forget these interactions, the people you once met will go back into the unidentified populous. That is such a waste. To get really good at networking you have to pay attention to this type of stuff. Someone saying “I’m bad with names” is really saying they didn’t take the time and consideration to remember the person. Make it a point to say someone’s name a few times when you first meet then. That will go a long way in not only improving your memory but also your network of friends and business acquaintances.

Fisherman’s Parable

July 29, 2008

Frequently I become obsessed with thinking about making more money and falling victim to the traditional American school of thought that working hard for your boss is the way to get rich. For me working harder means putting in more time at the office, which in turns means sacrificing the things that are important to me: mainly training and hanging with friends. The following is a parable that I read whenever I get stuck in these work consumed phases that allow me to re-focus:

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the hope of catching a fish.

About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working hard to make a living for himself and his family.

“You’re not going to catch many fish that way,” said the businessman, “You should be working harder rather than lying on the beach!”

The fisherman looked up, smiled and replied, “And what will my reward be?”

“Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!” was the businessman’s answer.

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman, still smiling.

The businessman replied, “You will make money and you’ll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!”

“And then what will my reward be?” asked the fisherman again.

The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman’s questions. “You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!” he said.

“And then what will my reward be?”

The businessman was getting angry. “Don’t you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let your employees catch fish for you!”

Once again the fisherman asked, “And then what will my reward be?”

The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, “Don’t you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won’t have a care in the world!”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “And what do you think I’m doing right now?”

This got me thinking about my ideal world. In my ideal world, I would work 20hrs/week and be allowed to do it remotely so I can travel whenever I want. I would spend the majority of my time training, and goofing off with friends…basically living the college life as an adult.

A couple questions for you guys/gals:

1) What is your ideal world like??

2) How do we go about obtaining it in the near term??

Winter Park, CO Trip

July 17, 2008

Saturday Morning

Jimmy & Silver at the airport in Houston prior to departure.

We got to Denver at about 10pm on Friday night. We picked up two  h3 hummers to drive up the mountain to Winter Park. It was snowing on the way up and we saw the temperature drop to 7 degrees in the mountains from about 38 degrees in Denver. It was a long, windy, and snowy trek up the mountain but we finally made it to our lodge by around 12:30am.

The lodge we stayed at, along with our twin rental trucks.

Riding in this was an adventure.

We ran around the huge place and discovered ten bedrooms and  a hot tub amongst other things. The rustic design was so fitting and the place was huge! Shortly after dropping our bags off and getting to know our accomodations, Craig, Silver, Kin, Gabe, and I left to enjoy the last 30 minutes at the bar with the local ski bums.

Audra and I getting ready for the mountain.

Husband and wife on the lift.

Winter Park!

Some of us made a few friends really quickly at Freestyles, which was the only bar in town open until 2am… Kim and her adorable dog Pearl were 2 in particular that I gravitated to immediately. They were adorable! Pearl kept following me around. It was cute. Meanwhile, Silver ordered like 15 jaeger shots for us. Keep in mind that we had already polished off a bottle of Crowne Royale on the way up the mountain. Needless to say, the locals did not take kindly to a bunch of rowdy Texan drunks barging into their bar at the end of the night and making friends with their women. We avoided a barfight and headed back to the fritz lodge trashed and laughed it up with the whole group until almost morning. We eventually found ourselves scattered and passed out in assorted rooms at about 4am.

I had a hell of a time trying to get up.

Exhausted at the bottom of the mountain.

Ouch. Laying like this for 15 minutes at a time was pretty much a regular thing up there.

Chillin’ with Silver in the infirmary.

We got up at 8am today and left for the Winter Park Ski Resort for early snowboarding lessons. I listened to the Brit instructor girl for less than five minutes (enough time to learn toe/heel edge) before leaving on my own accord to figure it out on my own. It only took two runs to get to the point of having fun just going down the mountain but this stuff is tiring! Silver ended up in the infirmary bed with altitude sickness and I wasn’t too far behind. Meanwhile, Kin & Gabe took turns falling down the mountain and taking shots before going back up. Crazy stuff.

At the Derailer taking a break with Gabe.

The 2 Black Diamond skiers of the group.

Gottamn, I look like a shadow demon!

Taking a shot of myself.

Jimmy was awesome for cooking us breakfast on both days.

Saturday Evening

We were going to go tubing after the resort but we went home instead after drinking it up at Derailer with the whole group. As I type, I can hear the glorious sound of the jacuzzi warming up in the sauna room nearby. That will surely help with the sore muscles that are becoming more and more prevalent as time goes by… have 2 hrs to rest before we hit the pubs.

Anti-Bruise Therapy.

Sunday Morning

I just got out of the jacuzzi, where I spent the last 45 minutes contemplating some things. We didn’t do much of anything last night. Kin, Silver, and I skipped dinner at Hernando’s and watched Lucky Number Slevin at the cabin instead. We were so spent from the day that all three of us ended up sleeping the whole night through. We plan on going snow-mobiling around the mountain today. Resort until about five and then Houston by midnight.

Old miner’s house.

Sunday Afternoon

I’ve become enamored with local culture around here. It seems like every local owns a dog and a Subaru. They dance weird and are extremely laid back. The girls are athletic but wear no makeup and are generally not pretentious. Hanging out at this mountain all day, I’ve quickly discovered that skiing and boarding into ice cold water is a lot of fun! I’ve got some sweet pictures of that. Silver and I also bought a bunch of stuff at the shops while we were exploring! Last weekend of the season so 50% of everything. Sweet! I got a new backpack, etc.

Spring Blast Jumper 1

Spring Blast Jumper 2

Spring Blast Jumper 3

Spring Blast Jumper 4


We got in at about midnight last. We barely made it on the plane in Denver. And by barely, I mean Gene and I sprinted onto the plane as they were shutting the doors! We didn’t take off from Winter Park until about 5pm and caught traffic down the mountain. In short, we got the the airport for our 8:40pm flight at about 8:10pm. I finally got home around 1:30am and talked with Omar and Kris until about 2:30. I’m exhausted. The end.