Samara O'Shea

Archive for March, 2012

Resisting Temptation

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Aside from a little temptation the first week of Lent, I am pleased to say I haven’t felt an overwhelming desire to log on to Facebook. Until, that is, last weekend. My friend Bruce and I were having brunch and he told me that a mutual acquaintance of ours posted a story on FB about how he had remained celibate through his twenties. I have no idea if he’s boasting that he was celibate or ashamed. I know nothing of the context. In either case, why make a public proclamation?

Bruce defriended this person a while ago and he heard about the post through the grapevine. I am still friends (on FB) with this person, so I technically had access to the post. Alas, I resisted temptation. Perhaps the celibate confession will still be there when I return. Perhaps it won’t. When I told my cousin Kate about it, she said, “I really think Jesus would understand if you went in and read it.” Still, I stayed away. Twenty-four days to go.

The Science of Celebrity Divorce

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

I haven’t mentioned it here much, but one of my guilty pleasures is playing celebrity divorce watch. In January I posted on Facebook my predictions for the 2012 divorces. They include:

– Josh Duhamel & Fergie
– Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin
– Josh Brolin & Diane Lane
– Heidi Klum & Seal
– Kendra & Hank

A friend of mine said, “Why Heidi & Seal?” I knew they were a wild card but something about the way they go on and on about how great their marriage is made me think they were trying to convince themselves. Sure enough they were the first big divorce of 2012.

In any case, there’s an article in the Times today that makes a science out of celebrity divorce watch. Refining the Formula That Predicts Celebrity Marriages’ Doom is amusing. If you don’t care to read the whole thing I’ve listed my favorite passages. Or! You could skim this: an equation for the likelihood of celebrity couples lasting to the 15 year mark.

From the article:

“In the fine tradition of Occam’s razor, the new equation has fewer variables than the old one. Besides the wife’s tabloid fame, the crucial ones are the spouses’ combined age (younger couples divorce sooner), the length of the courtship (quicker to wed, quicker to split), and the sex-symbol factor (defined formally as the number of Google hits showing the wife “in clothing designed to elicit libidinous intent”).”

“Women initiate 70 percent of breakups, so perhaps that’s why their personality and image are more predictive.”

“Sexual infidelity is also an excellent strategy for a narcissistic celebrity to get attention from the tabloids. And while the tabloids are happy to go after cheaters of either sex, Dr. Buss says that that research into marriage longevity shows there’s still a double standard: ‘Sexual infidelity by women is statistically more likely to lead to marital breakup than sexual infidelity by men.'”

“The good news is that, aided by long courtships, a few couples have a better-than-even chance of lasting at least 15 years: Kate and Prince William, Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford, Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky, and Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z.”

I’ve Learned

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

~ Maya Angelou


Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Happy International Women’s Day! Let’s take a moment and appreciate how far we’ve come—first, with a series of letters by Susan B. Anthony. She writes about voting illegally in the 1872 federal election and encourages other women to do the same. There is also an extraordinary letter on Letters of Note today, in which Abigail Adams warns to her husband John of rebellion unless women are given more power.

Surprise Guest

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

On Monday JoAnna Haugen stopped by and left both a kind comment and a link to her delightful blog The 52 Letters Project. Discovering new blogs that celebrate the written-word never gets old for me. I really like the idea of a letter-per-week blog. It sounds much more manageable than a letter-per-day. It’s not that I don’t think the 365-letter blogs are awesome, I just know I don’t have time to do that right now. The idea exhausts me. Thank you for gracing us with your presence JoAnna. Please come again!

Missives with a Mission

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Do you have tissues nearby? You might need them. . .

Following my interview on WPR , I received an e-mail from Brian in Michigan introducing me to Paperworks Studio. Paperworks is a card company with not one but two incredible missions.

Mission 1. The gorgeous cards are made from recycled materials including coffee (yes coffee), denim, flowers, and wool. The cards are also acid free.

Mission 2. The cards are created by a team of artists with special needs and disadvantages. Paperwork Studio is their positive entrance into the working world. This experience helps build confidence and gives the artists a sense of independence and pride in their work. Take a look:

Brian was generous to send me a few of the cards, and they are all they promise to be–unique, charming, and very usable.

The one on the left is my favorite. It’s called Mocha and made with recycled (you guessed it) coffee grounds. I’m not certain of the material used to make the one on the right, but the package says “recycled” and the color is lovely. (The photo isn’t doing it justice).

The card on the left is made of wool (yes, it’s fuzzy) and the card on the right is made of denim. Excellent use of these materials I say. From the site, I also adore these Marbled and Groovy cards. They remind me of summer. Paperwork Studio – keep up the wonderful work!

A Friendly Counterargument

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Reader Masa from Baton Rouge sent me a link to this article: Should You Send A Handwritten Or Email Thank You Note After An Interview? The article was written by Jessica Liebman, Managing Editor of Business Insider. She is in charge of editorial hiring and suggests sending thank you notes via e-mail only–don’t waste your time with a hand-written gesture.

I was getting ready to offer my counterargument in the comments section and quickly realized I didn’t have to. The first comment, written by Mike Sprouse, summed it up perfectly. He said:

“Interesting topic, but I actually side the other way pretty vehemently in favor of hand-written notes. I’ve hired hundreds of people, and the hand-written notes always win out, and there’s not one exception. Most likely, I’m not looking to hire someone TOMORROW (just soon). If there’s a candidate I like, I always wait 3-5 days for the mail. Why? Handwritten notes stand out (b/c everyone takes the same tact as you mention – email). Handwritten notes take a whole lot more thought and effort. Plus, the thank you note is not meant to be a dialogue. The dialogue happens before the thank you note, so I’m not interested in having another conversation at that point necessarily. My $.02.”

Well said, Mike! Of course, I’d still like to offer my own thoughts on the matter. Below are Jessica’s points in bold followed by my counter.

“Dangers of the handwritten thank you:

There’s a delay. I’m a firm believer in following up with a thank you note less than 24 hours after the interview, while you’re still fresh in the interviewer’s mind.” – As Mike said, a same-day response isn’t necessary. If the candidate is a memorable one then the interviewer won’t forget about him/her quickly. Also, after reading that person’s resume and meeting with him/her, the hiring manager has thought about that candidate enough for one day. Receiving a letter a day or two later will be a welcome reminder of a promising new hire. Mail the thank you note shortly after you leave the interview and it will arrive in one or two days.

“The letter might never get to your interviewer. It could get lost in the mail, the secretary could throw it out, it could end up in a pile of envelopes that don’t get opened for months.” – A few years back, I e-mailed a cover letter and resume to Philadelphia Style for an editor position. The same day I sent the e-mail, I mailed a short follow-up letter and included my contact information. I figured I already sent one e-mail, why not try a different form of communication for the follow-up. Days later I received an e-mail saying they received my note but had never gotten the initial e-mail (went into the spam file maybe?). I never got a message telling me it was undelivered, so I would have been none the wiser. E-mail does not always get there either.

“It feels old. It’s 2012. Sending a handwritten note just feels ancient to me. Especially if you’re up for a job in the Internet industry. Be current.”– It is 2012, which means everyone opts for e-mail. A hand-written note can help you stand out.

“The chances of the interviewer writing back to you are less. The letter feels more final.” – After the thank you has been dispersed, the next communication should not be a message but rather (ideally) a phone call offering you the job. It is, however, a good idea to include your e-mail at the bottom of the note–in the event that the interviewer does want to write back.

These days, I’m sure there are some executives who might be annoyed with a hand-written thank you, but there are still plenty of people who will appreciate it. Try to assess your audience as best you can. If you were going to interview with Ms. Liebman then you should do your research and discover that she prefers to receive thank you notes via e-mail and accommodate her accordingly.