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Posts Tagged ‘communication’

A response to Rory McEntyre’s guest opinion column in this morning’s Oregonian, complaining that he can’t get hired because of his facial piercings and tattoos (see   www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/05/portlands_tolerance_is_otheverrat.html#incart_river):

Mr. McEntyre, what you are not recognizing is that your appearance is more important to you than anything else – such as finding a good job.  You don’t want to change your appearance in any way for any reason, yet you berate others who judge you on it.  Well – you can’t have it both ways.  Women the world over can tell you what it’s like to be judged on appearance.  People with physical challenges and deformities can tell you what it’s like to be judged on appearance.  As a very general rule, I think it’s safe to say that most of us try to present an appearance suitable to our jobs and our circumstances, and most of us do not define ourselves solely by our appearance.

You seem to identify yourself solely by your appearance.  It is so important to you, that it doesn’t matter to you that it prevents people from seeing who you might be underneath; yet now you rant about it.  You have it within your control to change it, but you’d rather complain. Those piercings are more important to you than a job.  Believe me, if people born with physical deformities, or people who have gone through horrific life experiences such as a fire which disfigured them, or a war which caused the amputation of a couple of limbs, could look “whole” again, I’ve no doubt they would love it.

But do you realize what a lot of those folks do?  They work super hard to make use of what they cannot change; they work super hard to maintain a good attitude, to have a sense of humor, to develop other skills to compensate for what they lack – and they often outshine the rest of us.  But you?  You have an appearance totally within your control, and you blame others for not accepting you.  Look in your inward mirror; it isn’t other people causing your problem, it’s you.  As someone said in the comments below your article, it’s time to grow up.

Try to look inside yourself and understand why your piercings are more important to you than putting a roof over your head; why your appearance is so extremely important to you that it’s become how you define yourself, instead of any interior qualities or education you may actually have.  I’m so sorry for you; you may be a very gifted man, but you seem to have a compulsion to hide those things and put your appearance first – everything, absolutely everything, revolves around your appearance.  That is the message people are getting when you show up to apply for a job, and that is why they don’t hire you.  You actually don’t want them to see past your appearance – and they can’t.  Their fault?  Don’t think so; the fault, dear Brutus, lies within yourself.

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I’m about to start teaching my two seminars in social media and public relations again for Marylhurst University, and although I’m always really excited about these classes, they also take the most amount of research and preparation for just about any class that I teach.  The social media world changes so quickly that I’m generally in a small panic just before the first day of class, hoping that what I present is both timely and relevant.  Then I remember that in these particular seminars, we’ll all be teaching each other; my job is simply to present the road map for how to get where we’re going.

Nevertheless, here I am on New Year’s Day researching again, and grateful to fall back on some of the best social media minds out there.  For example, just before Christmas Deidre Breakenridge posted some tips on engaging with Twitter and Facebook: http://www.deirdrebreakenridge.com/2010/12/how-to-engage-on-facebook-and-twitter/.

And Brian Solis, who is not just brilliant but a lot of fun in his presentations, has written a post titled “Once More, with Feeling: Making Sense of Social Media:

http://www.briansolis.com/2010/07/once-more-with-feeling-making-sense-of-social-media/

I start to relax a little when I realize how many sources are out there, and how many more sources my students will no doubt contribute to the class.  Online learning becomes a team effort, and we all move forward together: that’s one of the best things about it.  Rather than serve as some kind of authoritarian instructor, which puts almost unbearable pressure on me, I can simply open a few doors for my students and encourage them to walk through; they get it almost immediately.  Empowered, they go beyond what I realized what possible in any given class.

I’m also re-doing a client’s web site, have plans to re-do my own web sites – one for my private consulting, one for my particular service to our troops and veterans – and I swear, this year, I’ll be more consistent about blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo.  I do find, as some of my colleagues do, that after and eight- or 10-hour stint on the computer each day, I’m not always amenable to chat time or computer games.

Meantime, I’m preparing to teach another Marylhurst seminar on the law and ethics of public relations and a class in public relations writing for the University of Montana.  My students range from traditional college-aged students (up to their early 30s or so) in Montana to mostly older working adults at Marylhurst, with a few younger exceptions.  Without fail, these students really want to learn – but they also have vastly different learning styles across the generations.   One of my over-arching goals is to help equip all of my students with some of the skills they’ll need to compete in today’s difficult economic climate.  That’s not an easy task, for any of us; I research and write, they read and write, we talk and discuss and collaborate and dig in.   But by the end of each term, there are those students whom you know are going to zoom for the stars.

And that keeps people like me chugging right along… so here’s to 2011 and the adventures that I know lie ahead!

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The Mission Mountains and Flathead River in northwestern MontanaWhat do people see when they look at a scene like this?  Wilderness?  Those mountains are Montana’s Mission Mountains, are are indeed a protected wilderness area.  But the word “wilderness” can be a scary word to some people living in major metropolitan areas, along the lines of “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”  Well, there aren’t tigers up there, but lions and bears – you bet. 

Sportsmen might see prime areas for hunting and fishing; after all, Montana has famed blue-ribbon trout streams and really big game.  Tourism is a very big part of Montana’s economy.  Yet people living in nearby towns might see a lack of jobs and a close-to-defunct economy, one that sees fewer and fewer people able to make it on one job alone.  They may resent the wealth of the tourists and hunters, and of newcomers to the state, while they struggle with what the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana calls “The Montana Discount” – substantially lower wages. 

Enviromentalists might see something pristine to be protected forever … whether or not they are aware of any mines in the area, or over-fishing, or real estate development without stream setbacks, or plans to drill for oil or gas somewhere within reach …. You get the idea.  All that you see in this photo is withing the boundaries of the Flathead Indian Reservation, home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; do we hear their voices?

I wrote about this topic of communicating about land-use and natural resource issues in the American West for my final paper at Syracuse University.  It’s a topic I’m passionate about when it comes to public relations.  There is absolutely no one solution to these varied and complex problems; they cannot be reduced to sound bites.  I’ll be writing about them here from time to time, outlining some suggested steps and ideas for improvement.

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