Archive | June, 2010

Why a healthy pool is important to me

30 Jun

Ok, this could get gross, but stick with me! As a new Mom I am constantly bombarded with “do this”, “do that”, “use this product”, “buy this toy” sales pitches to the point that I’m starting to wonder which end of the baby is up.  And I have to admit, here and there I sometimes fall victim to the sexy ads, alarming wording and overall “must have” nature that surrounds parenthood. For the most part, I can pick and choose the advice and items which I feel fit best with my style of parenting, but when it comes to Baby R’s health, I want to know what’s flash and what’s actually important.

As a newborn she’s susceptible to more problems in her environment than older kids, and it’s my job to keep her safe. With summer coming up, it’s going to be a sun-protection adventure full of sunscreen, hats, bathing suits and that ever-so-wonderful afternoon by the pool.

As little as she is, she certainly won’t be lounging in the sun for long, but I do want to be sure to take her in the water. Not just to cool her off, but to get her used to the water, so that it’s familiar when it comes time for her to take swimming lessons.  And so she can have some fun splashing around!

And, as cute as she’ll be in her little bathing suit (I’m her mother, I’m biased!) it would not be cute for her to have an “explosion” and contaminate the water. Which means, not only will she wear a swim diaper, but I will also change her away from the pool area, and make sure both of us take care to wash up properly afterwards. The last thing I would want to do would be to put another person at risk just because Baby R was in the water!

I also don’t want to risk her breathing or getting used to that “chlorine smell”, which isn’t even chlorine at all. It’s CHLORAMINES – by-products of the interaction between chlorine and body oil, pee and/or bacteria. A truly clean pool – meaning the chemicals are balanced and it’s routinely vacuumed – doesn’t smell – at all. Controlling the chlorine level and the pH of a pool means it’s properly disinfected to kill germs, it doesn’t smell, there’s no grimy feel to the sides, the water doesn’t bother your skin or eyes and, is, overall – a healthy pool.

So not only can I protect my daughter from the sun, this summer, I can also protect her from unhealthy pools – just by doing what Moms do – being proactive. I can take my test strips (they’re free – order them here!) and test the water to be sure it’s safe for her to “swim” in. If the chemicals aren’t balanced properly, I can inform the lifeguard (or other pool caretaker) and I’ll know that I probably shouldn’t take her in the water.

I’m my daughter’s first line of defense against the world, and I want to her to be safe in the water — and FROM the water.

Cross posted from www.healthypools.org

Job hunting is the new black

29 Jun

Today’s job market is a challenge – perhaps more so now than any other time in recent memory. Old rules still apply, news ones are being made, and frankly, social media has changed the game – at least in the world of communications. 7 years ago when I graduated college – or is it 8– yikes – social media was in its infancy. AOL Instant Messenger was one of the hottest things on the planet, Blackberries were for powerbrokers, and Wi-Fi access was considered the golden egg. If you had Wi-Fi you were living large. 

In those past 8 years, I’ve been lucky enough (cursed?) to dive into the job market 3 times. Twice willingly, once not so willingly. One thing that has changed more than anything else is the process. The questions, the etiquette, attire, actions, etc. are the same but how I went looking for a job changed dramatically. In 2003 most of my applications were emailed, but some were printed out on –gasp – paper and either mailed or faxed – I know, I sound like I fart dust talking like this. But it’s true.

Last time around however, everything was different. There wasn’t one time where I mailed or faxed my resume to a company. But there were multiple tweets, an online CV, LinkedIn, emails and a strategy I had to find not only a job, but a job I loved. I did my research, found the companies/industries I liked and got into a rhythm. One thing that really helped me narrow down where I wanted to be was The Conversation Prism

Brian Solis & Jess3 created The Conversation Prism to graphically represent all that social media has to offer. Each “petal” defines tools to be used for a specific goal. I used the petals to ID the branches of social media that best fit my overall goal – finding a job. Below are the petals I focused on:

• Blog Platforms
• Social Networks
• Micromedia
• Twitter Ecosystems

Obviously, not all petals/websites are created equal – certain areas carry more weight with employers or industries than others. Most websites specialize in one aspect of social media – blogs can be an informative way to stay in touch with job trends, Twitter can provide real time employment opportunities, and still others allow you to network with peers.

I also used LinkedIn, VisualCV.com, and Twitter (I followed NMS for example!) to support my search efforts – I was looking for a job, and these sites helped promote ME to the world.

The more I used social media, the more social media used me – I had a blog, a Twitter feed, my resume on VisualCV and I reached out to my network on LinkedIn. By creating profiles on each of these sites, I knew exactly who I was connected to, and, more importantly, who they were connected with.

Note, that while I obviously went by my real name in my job search, I’ve branded myself as “sassing me”. Having a husband in the security business does make one think twice about safety, hence I created my brand around “sassing me” – a little play on words since I can sometimes (always?) be sassy, as well as a quote from a favorite movie of mine, The American President. So think of yourself as a “brand” and keep all of your profiles, usernames, and handles consistent. If you are not comfortable using your real name (like me) create an identity specific to you and use it as your brand.

Get into the habit of engaging your social media tactics every day. It was so much easier for me to set goals in my search because I knew what was happening with every tactic I used. Many of the sites I mentioned above have an RSS feeder that allows you to aggregate materials in one spot – much easier than searching 25 websites each day. This was my secret weapon for keeping all the research I was doing in one place, and making sure I remembered where I had been looking. Looking for a job can be like hunting for a needle in a haystack, and every little trick helps.

Finally, because social media is so versatile, it can easily be construed as informal. Your job search, however, is anything but informal. Make smart decisions about when to follow up. Joshua Wachs at internet strategy firm Echo Ditto believes this is five business days. Any sooner and I may have seemed desperate (a big no no – would you date a desperate person? Probably not, so why hire a desperate person) and any later I might have seemed lazy or uninterested – a very big no no. Follow up with a phone call and chase it with an email or vice versa. Be formal, polite, and above all make sure the employer knows you are serious about the position.

Good luck, and happy hunting!

Starting Up Again

29 Jun

I’m going to try and start blogging consistently again – we’ll see how it goes. Life is a constant blur of work, school, family and lots of diaper changes!

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