Archive for April, 2012

Lessons from another birthday lady

April 27, 2012

Miss Harper Lee was born on April 28, 1926.  And yes, you know her as the author of To Kill a Mockingbird.  On high school reading lists or a beloved movie with Gregory Peck, her characters of Atticus Finch, Scout, Boo Radley and others of the small southern town live on.  So does her portrayal of Jim Crow justice.

Thank you, Miss Lee, for telling it like you saw it.  You still raise sensibilities today.  I believe you have changed the world.


Dorothea Lange: we’re still seeing her story

April 25, 2012

Do you ever look at a prized photograph from your vacation and say this really tells the story?  If so, you’ll admire the works of Dorothea Lange, born April 26, 1895.

She was a photographer, who supported herself during the Great Depression with money from the WPA, documenting the life of migrant farmers.  Her iconic photo of a mother and her two children became the face of poverty and softened the hearts of landowners.

Yes, your photos tell a story.  But check out Lange’s.  Her story is told in the recent book, Dorothea Lange: a Life Beyond Limits. Author Linda Gordon provides a detailed chronicle of Lange’s career.  You will recognize those classic photographs of ordinary people standing in bread lines.

You can also learn more at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

Happy 117th, Ms. Lange.  Your works still speak to us.

Elisabeth Vigee-Le Brun, Birthday Greetings!

April 16, 2012

Did you ever have your work interrupted by a revolution?  Maybe someone out there can say yes, but most of us would admit that our career challenges are a bit less dramatic.

Elisabeth Vigee-Le Brun, born on April 16, 1755 was an artist who was popular and successful in pre-revolutionary Paris, especially in salons and with the royal family. She even held one of the coveted memberships in the French Academie of Painters and Sculptors, an honor reserved for only four women out of 67 total members.

During and after the tumultuous revolution of 1789, Vigee-Le Brun saw colleagues executed for the offense of having painted royals and saw many of her royal portraits destroyed.  She fled Paris for a number of years.  Success followed her as she established herself in Russia as a favorite of Catherine the Great.

Career message?  You, too, may have suffered a job loss because of having associated with the wrong crowd at work.  You, too, may have been a victim of “reorganization”, which you may find a nice word for modern-day bloodbaths.

Bonne anniversaire, Mme Vigee-Le Brun. Perhaps knowing that your surviving works hang in such places as the Louvre in Paris and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, is a comfort to you.

The Runaway Interviewer: what would you do?

April 12, 2012

A friend just posted an unusual happening on LinkedIn.  She said she had been stood up for an interview, and wondered what to do.

Several of us have weighed in, and in general, the responses look like this:

  • what kind of organization is that?
  • there may have been a misunderstanding.
  • Do you want to work at a place like that?

I guess I have lived and worked and made mistakes too often to write someone off without more information.

I’m for “wait for the explanation”, but not everyone feels that way.  My friend posted that she left him several messages and was awaiting a response.

What do you think?  Has this happened to you?  What would you do? How would you interpret this incident?

I’m smiling…

April 2, 2012

because of a phone call I got today from a client.

In our one and only appointment several days ago, we went over her story, revised her resume, and came up with ideas for meeting a few new people in her chosen field.

Here is what was different and unique:  this young woman, a recent college graduate, had prepared a portfolio on her IPad, which she calmly set up and proceeded to share with me.  I hadn’t asked for it or even thought to ask in a first session.

The portfolio, the bit that I saw, was impressive.  Her passion, skills, and accomplishments were evident and compelling.  It took my breath away.  23 years old!

She’s a talented graphic artist, determined (maybe I should say Determined) to get work in this field.

Today’s call was cause for rejoicing. She had been called in the day after our session to interview for a position for which she had applied some time ago.   Today she landed the job at a decent salary.  Yes, she showed her portfolio at the interview.  Yes, they all really liked each other.  Yes, she had polished up her resume by adding specific skills and hyperlinks. She had sent it before their meeting.

And yes, she remembered to say thank you to me.  This means so much.  We agreed to stay in touch.  I fully expect to be referring other unemployed graphic artists to learn from her.

Way to go, Joanne.  And you are welcome.