What the [BLEEP] Did I Do This Year? 2011 Edition

December 31, 2011 at 5:29 PM (Musings) (, , , )

No, there are no editions for 2008-10 (holy crap, this thing spans four years?). I’m trying something new.

It’s that time of year when the majority of the world is either looking back and/or forward, and the rest are drinking themselves so stupid that they can’t remember which is which. I’m impressionable, so of course I eventually started to wonder what the heck I did this year.

Blog more. Yes, I think it’s safe to say I managed to do that in 2011, compared to the, what, five?, posts I wrote in 2010. Still not up to a post a week, but I’m working on it. Speaking of blogging, I began contributing to RaceTalk, my agency’s blog about media, communications and PR. It’s off to a slow start, but hey, it’s a work-in-progress. I’m still most proud of my Twitter-sourced interview with @BostonTweet (thanks again, Tom!), and would like to do at least one more similarly formatted interview in 2012 with another Tweeter (maybe two?). Other blogs that saw inaugural postings from yours, truly, include Health Care 3.0 (health care trends with a social media twist) and Girls Pint Out (women with a love for craft beer – my people, if you will).

I changed the name of my blog. The weblog formerly known as And Here, We Have My Musings is now what we all fondly refer to as bmfalc: Beyond 140. The goal of the name-change was to move away from some random college student’s blog and to tie it to my stronger online presence in the Twittersphere. Beyond 140 serves to cover the stuff I tweet about in, well, a few more than 140 characters. Like my tweets? Then there’s a chance you may find my blog amusing, or at least interesting.

Brittany Falconer, assistant account executive. Yup, celebrated my one-year anniversary at Racepoint Group and got promoted. It would appear that I’m doing something right over there. Weird, right?

Smartphone-equipped, at last. No longer dependent on a phone with special needs, I have joined the ranks of those who will never get lost again, have the potential to work 24/7 (I’m fighting it though), and lose hours of their lives to Angry Birds (I didn’t fight that so much). I did not, however, jump on the Apple bandwagon and purchase an iSomethingorother (Sorry, Siri). Instead I’m rocking the Samsung Infuse, which has a screen the size of my face. Its size is the perfect setup for a plethora of “That’s what she said” comments.

Joined the gym, quit the gym. There really isn’t more to that story.

Started running, wanted to quit running, ran 5K instead. After the failure at the gym, I knew I would eventually grow to the size of a small U-Haul if I didn’t do something to pace my beer and bacon calories. On a whim, I ran my first mile – slowly – late in the summer. Once the feeling of seemingly imminent death eventually passed, I very gradually worked my way up to running a mile and a half, two miles, two and a half miles, and, as of yesterday, just enough more than three miles to discover that I could survive a 5K. Given my distaste for running, this is a huge accomplishment for me, and I’m actually looking forward to registering for my first race in 2012 – mostly just to prove to myself that I can do it, but whatever.

Won the lottery, received an honorary degree from Harvard, cured cancer. Okay, maybe not, but there’s always next year, right?

Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy new year!


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If This Is Your Thank You Note, Don’t Bother Sending

December 29, 2011 at 6:49 PM (work) (, , , , )

I was digging through some old work Emails and found a thank you note from an entry-level candidate I interviewed a few months back. Give it a read and tell me the exact same note (with a few strategic substitutions, I imagine) has not gone to every other person who has ever interviewed her, ever:

Hi Brittany,

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. My interest in Racepoint Group is certainly solidified, and I am came away from our meeting knowing that the company would provide a great environment for me to utilize my skill sets while gaining a tremendous amount of experience. You provided me with a much better understanding about the agency, and I enjoyed learning more about the primary responsibilities of an account coordinator position. 

Best Regards,

[Named withheld out of pity]

Memorable? No. Cliché? Oh, yes. Terms I never want to see violating my inbox include “I came away” (or “I am came away,” whatever that means), “utilize” (ugh, it just sounds so dirty), and “best regards.”

At least my name was spelled properly, as was my company’s name, and I received the note within a reasonable amount of time following the interview (I received another thank-you for an unrelated interview more than a week after the fact, and it took me a while to pair a face with the name). However, neither spell check rectifies the fact that 1.) I have no idea what we talked about that may have been of interest, 2.) there wasn’t so much as a question or call to action that might encourage me to respond, and 3.) she actually sent the exact same Email to at least two more of my colleagues (we literally compared notes) – really?

We all know how lousy the job market is. Generic materials (résumé, cover letter, thank you note, et al.) aren’t going to catch anyone’s attention, and I think in PR, being genuine and memorable in your own unique – and workplace appropriate, I suppose – fashion is crucial in getting the vote of approval from your interviewers. I may be screening you for what I think is necessary to thrive in an agency environment, but more importantly, when I’m having a conversation with you, I’m deciding if you’re someone worthy of being called “my colleague.” Are you someone I can work with every day – not only professionally, but socially? Hint: a thank you note like the one posted above did not come from that someone.

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Follow-up: Savored (Formerly Known as VillageVines) Now in Boston!

December 21, 2011 at 2:17 AM (Food, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

In June 2010 (I know, it seems like forever ago), I blogged about a company that I described as “Gilt for Restaurants,” at the time known as VillageVines, closing with the hope that the New York start-up would eventually come to Boston. In June 2011 (goodness, I have to get with the program here), my wish came true.

Along with a little re-branding, the artist formerly known as VillageVines, now Savored, is in Boston at last, currently offering insider pricing at 16 area restaurants. As a refresher, in case you don’t feel like reading my original post, Savored partners with restaurants to give diners solid discounts during off-peak times. In most cities, the discount is 30 percent, but due to Boston’s laws against discounting liquor, the discount is 40 percent on food only. After paying a $10 fee to reserve your table, just show up, remind your server you booked through Savored and enjoy your budget-friendlier meal. Pretty rad, right? Oh, and if your discount doesn’t cover the reservation fee, Savored refunds it for you. Win!

Restaurants Currently on Savored
Blu Boston
Central Kitchen
Da Vinci Ristorante
Gran Gusto
Mumbai Chopstix
Skipjacks (Both Newton and Back Bay)
Temple Bar
Tomasso Trattoria & Entoteca

Check it out and sign up. Or if you’ve already signed up, let me know what you think in the comments!

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