Emily Post would be so pissed…
“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”
― Emily Post
Over the last two years, I have had the pleasure of teaching students at the Minneapolis location of Miami Ad School. In total, I have had about 50 students that have entered as learners and left as creative professionals on the hunt for work.
I was incredibly lucky when I was in that position. I interned at FCB Chicago, formally DraftFCB, while I was in portfolio school and received a job offer before I graduated. I never had to do the agency rounds with a portfolio in hand or interview over and over or reach out to recruiters. I am extremely grateful for that.
However, it left me pretty inept when my ex-students would come to me for advice about how to handle following up or how to feel when a recruiter or agency didn’t call back. It is the latter that has continuously been brought to my attention and is bothersome. I think Emily Post would agree.
Over the last two years I have heard a variety of stories from a variety of people about the lack of creative recruiter follow-up. Let’s be real here. Interviewing is one of the more vulnerable things we do as adults, especially in the creative field. You put your thinking out there for everyone to see, critique, praise or criticize and it can be rewarding but more often than not it is gut-wrenching, frustrating, embarrassing and awful.
And yet, when radio silence follows, it makes the self-exposing interview itself feel like a piece of cake. I have read articles to try and help students answer their questions. I have done research on my own. I have interviewed for jobs in the last few years and have received the same treatment. I understand what it is like to be figuratively waiting by the phone, counting the hours.
I know that sometimes it is a budget issue which can take time. It can be a result of your references not doing you any favors. I understand that a poorly timed tweet can be the difference between you and someone else. There are many reasons why jobs don’t go the way we want them to. I think we as adults understand this. Still, it seems like poor manners.
What is the harm in calling the candidate back to say, sorry we went another way, or a few other people were better qualified? And why is it necessary to make the candidates follow up? And why don’t they understand it is a reflection of the company? I have never worked in an HR department, nor have a I been a recruiter so there are probably things at play that I am not privy to.
But what I do know is that the number of my students over the past few years that have gone on interviews and haven’t gotten any follow up at one time or another is around 60%. That is too high.
How are people supposed to understand their real strengths and weaknesses or learn how to interview better? More importantly, how are people supposed to keep their dignity in tact to give it another go when they don’t receive a courtesy call to let them know they didn’t get the job, time and time again? It is unfortunate and it makes people feel desperate, talentless and foolish.
I am sure some people would say that candidates aren’t entitled to a follow up. But I don’t think this is about entitlement, i think it is about etiquette. I would say the same thing to a candidate who doesn’t follow up with a Thank You card. Where have the manners and decorum gone people? Professional settings are where they are required most.
Like I said, I think Emily Post would be pissed.
This is why vacations are so important. Even if it is just for a day or two. Completely shut off. Turn off. Shut down. It’s okay. It will be okay.
The final half of the seventh and final season of Mad Men won’t premiere until next spring (although filming has wrapped—and according to Elizabeth Moss, there was a lot of crying going on as the cast shot the finale).
Sexism isn’t defined be the worst case scenarios…
I was walking into a Walgreens last night on my way home from work. I hadn’t gotten a chance to change out of my work clothes due to a bridesmaid committment. I was wearing a black dress, professional length, with heels and some jewelry. I parked my car and as I walked into the store I was being watched by two men who were hanging out by a car with a young woman. I walked by and I received what has become an almost obligatory response.
They said hello, one in English and the other in Spanish. But not like “hey, how ya doing?” or “hi, hope you are having a nice day”. It wasn’t even the ”hey, you are pretty.” If words could have a look to them, these guys used hello as a way to leer at me.
Here is the thing. I am not being oversensitive and I am not a militant feminist but I did feel like I needed to paint the picture of what I was wearing to you all because if I didn’t that might be the first question you asked.
Well, what were you wearing?
To which I would respond, why does that matter?
It is in these moments of everyday sexism that I find myself getting angrier than I did when I was a younger woman. It is disgusting to me. It is the opposite of flattery and I think the pervasiveness of men feeling entitled to say whatever they want to whomever they want is getting worse.
I was recently sitting outside of a burger joint in St. Paul having dinner with my parents when a group of young attractive girls sat down at a table next to us. Again they were in their early 20’s and they were not dressed provocatively. A mini van drove up to the corner, stopped at a stop sign, and a young man proceeded to open the sliding door, hang his head out and yell to the girls, “how much to lick one of your tits, five dollars?” His friends in the car hooted and hollered as they drove off.
I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to find out who his parents were and call them. I wanted punch him in the face. Why is that okay? Who said that was okay? And knowing full well that it isn’t in fact okay, why did it happen? Why does it keep happening?
This is not a rant about the #notallmen, #yesallwomen argument - however if you don’t understand it here is a pretty good synopsis.
It is about all the little things that seem to add to this behavior. These are facts that have been verified by more than one source.
• Researchers who have taken into account factors that may contribute to that gap, including industry, education, college major and location, still find men’s pay 7% higher than women’s. The gap widens over the course of a woman’s career, especially if she has a higher education degree.
• Gender pricing for insurance resulted in women paying up to 31% more for apples-to-apples coverage, until recently.
• When you think about neighborhood streets, commutes and parking strategies women spend money to stay safe. There is a 10 point gap between women and men worldwide who feel unsafe being alone and in those types of situations.
• The United States is one of a handful of developed countries without a national law guaranteeing paid leave for new mothers, much less paid leave for new fathers.
• Researchers at the University of Colorado found that women who push for women a to be hired and promoted suffer a 10% decrease in performance reviews.
• 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted on a college campus.
I know you can spin facts, find opposing research, simply disagree or make an argument that there are just as many issues with misandry. I work in advertising and I would concede the point that we seem to enjoy making men look like idiotic oafs, especially when it comes to parenting. I get it. The world isn’t perfect and some things we cannot change, but I would like to think we can do better.
I want a hello to feel like a hello.
I don’t want to leave money on the table or have to pay more simply because I can produce children.
I want that kid who thought a woman’s body is only worth 5$ to be ashamed.
I want to not have to look over my shoulder when I am walking home from the train, alone.
But even more than that, I want to not hear that if I am that worried or bothered about any of these things that the only solution is for me to accept my circumstances or change my behavior.
There’s a lot of money to be made by taking women seriously.”
southern style two generations removed…
I had the pleasure of attending the Polaris Industries sales meeting over the past two days. It was a lot of techs and specs talk and reveals of amazing new vehicles, but what I couldn’t help but notice was the Southern women walking around the Minneapolis Convention Center.
From the hair to the accessories and the dresses to the bling, women who are born, grow up or assimilate in the South sure know how to put themselves together. It isn’t about perfect but it is about proper. You don’t wear open toed shoes unless your toes are in the condition to be seen. If you can carry a bag, why not carry one that grabs some attention. If you a dress with stripes, your shoes shoe have stripes too. Diamonds and dresses mixed with perfectly executed dye jobs and I am sure a few diets - these women were a thing to behold.
I remember my first trip “down south” to Atlanta, Georgia and you know, even back then I was smitten. There is something so unapologetically feminine about them. I am not sure if they rail agains the glass ceiling, gender pay gap, feminist ideology that fills my news feeds, but my impression is that even if they do, they don’t give up their girliness to do it. Of course that accent doesn’t hurt either. I know we talk about the charm of a Southern gentleman and his slow, dripping drawl, but on the ladies it is just as disarming. It sounds innocent but with a cracking whip.
My grandmother grew up in Virginia and while we can argue the semantics of whether or not she is “Southern”, I think her upbringing had a distinct and lasting effect on how I dress. Not to toot my own horn here, but a lot of people ask me where I shop or how I choose to put myself together? With a robot-like response I have given credit to my mother for instilling certain values about dress, style and general presentation. Not that she doesn’t deserve credit, because God knows there are outfits I tried to get away with wearing and she wasn’t having it under her roof.
But, I feel as though I owe a lot to my mother’s mother. Marie, with her cork boards filled with 3,000 earrings ranging from golf clubs and balls to costume jewelry that would have made Marilyn blush. Her collection of rings, and shoes in every possible shade. The way she wore her prematurely white hair to accentuate her petite frame against skin always kissed by the sun. Her mannerisms. Her hint of a drawl and of course those great colloquialisms. Her unapologetic nature that is always followed with a “bless his/her heart.” Her style goes beyond fabrics and fashion, it is the very way she carries herself. I don’t think I have ever seen my grandmother look like she is letting herself go, frumpy or any of the other words often associated with women in their golden years. Heck, she even made us call her grandmother because grandma seemed too matronly and “old”.
So here is to you, Marie Potterton. I owe my matching belt and shoes requirement, my accessories are a must mantra, my don’t be afraid of a bright shade of lipstick attitude and my “if you can wear shoes, why wouldn’t you wear heels?” ideals to you. Oh, and who can forget the sass and spitfire. I got a little bit of that from you too.
So thanks for giving me a little bit of Southern style. It made me happy yesterday and this morning I put on red lipstick and red heels because that is how we roll.
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