Back to the Nest

I have always been proud of my independence and ambition. I never thought for one minute that I’d ever consider moving home. Senior year of high school was the last time I lived with my parents for more than a few days at a time – recently, however, I’ve made a guest appearance.

There is a nasty stigma surrounding the notion of grown children living with parents, or at least there used to be.  After college, it seemed most of my friends flew right back to that comfy, cheap nest when the job field didn’t extend an offer with the exact firm in the exact field with the exact salary that they wanted.  I, on the other less frugal hand, took an internship that didn’t pay me nearly enough to afford my studio apartment in West Philadelphia (or life, in general).  I was technically living under the poverty line, but I saw stars -both literally and figuratively- during my stint with the Philadelphia Eagles and the brand recognition was too impressive to pass up.

After the honeymoon phase wore off, I realized that student loans were steadily pouring in and I was making less than a cashier at Burger King. Something didn’t add up. I started the stressful and totally disheartening task of finding a new job. Finally, as if the stars had aligned perfectly, a contact I had met through Twitter had an opening with an agency – bada bing, bada boom – new job.

Unfortunately, after three unpaid internships throughout college and countless loans, the damage was done. Even with my new salary and benefits, there wasn’t a way for me to save and continue with my lifestyle, which was already less than extravagant.  Calling my parents for help was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. As I said, my independence has long been what drove my ambition. Fortunately, they both recognized my struggle with poverty-ridden pride and offered for me to move home temporarily – I added “temporarily.”

I have given myself a hard deadline of June 1, 2012. I will have a little nest egg saved and I will be back on my own. Giving myself a timeline is the only way I can mentally prepare myself for my independence being taken from me. I wanted to do it all on my own, but as GenYers, we need to realize when a battle is lost. With the economy in distress, our debt, the country’s debt, our parents’ debt – all forces are pushing back on us.

My advice is not to become discouraged if you must move home for a few months. Of course, the hardest thing for me is taking my own advice.


Weiners, Boehners and Johnsons — OH MY!

Hey — hey you! Yeah, you — in your tighty-whiteys holding your Blackberry, about to snag a pic of your Great Googly Moogly. Don’t do it! For the love of all things holy, please do not take a photo of your man parts.

I’m not too sure what is in the water nowadays, but it seems that every man has gone coo coo for Coco Puffs. Penises, to be frank (no pun intended) are not attractive parts of the human body. I know you men have been fascinated with “it” for as long as you can remember — heck, it was even cooler than a new box of LEGOs — but if we haven’t uttered a single vow to you, we don’t want to see what you’re packing. Period.

And for Pete’s sake, if you do insist on taking a picture and sending it to a woman half your age, do NOT deny. We will find out, you will be embarrassed, your wife will kick you in the face, and you’ll cry on national television. It is painful for everyone involved.

Finally — if your name carries a funny meaning, then you are at an exceptionally high risk. All of you Weiners, Boehners, Woodcoxes, and Dicks, PLEASE refrain from snapping a pic. It will only make me want to spoon my eyes out.

Thanks in advance.

“…it doesn’t love you anymore.”

While scanning through my Facebook friends, a quote stood out and struck me as pure brilliance. Maybe it is because I’ve seen so many women give up their aspirations for men or maybe it is because this quote accurately sums up my life and my fear of relationships, but I had to read it twice.

Some women choose to follow men and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore. – Lady Gaga

I am certainly not converting into a “monster,” or whatever she calls her fans, but this quote is simply too Marilyn Monroe-esque to pass up.

New Play to Expose Truths of Layoffs

The beautiful Act II Playhouse in Ambler will open its doors to Leslie Mayer and Howard Rice’s world-premiere, poignant stage creation, JOBBED, with a private performance on June 25 and a free matinee, open to the public, on June 26.

Audiences will experience the raw emotion of a man, his family, and his friends as they find not only their jobs but their very identities at risk. A transition counselor, whose job is to assist recently laid- off individuals, helps management understand that, while common feelings arise when people lose their jobs, each one has a personal story.   She is deeply moved by the honesty, profound courage and resiliency of those directly and indirectly affected.

“This production is based on the real stories of hundreds of people who have lost their jobs,” said Leslie Mayer, President of Mayer Leadership Group and songwriter/ lyricist/producer of JOBBED. “My hope is that audiences will see themselves in these characters and become more aware of the psychological and human toll that is exacted when individuals find their very identities at risk.”

JOBBED is under the direction of Ben Smallen, who holds a Masters in Theatre from Villanova University.  Melissa Zimmerman, General Manager of Act II Playhouse, is acting as co-producer with Mayer.

With a cast of eight local performers and a score directed by Barrymore-winning musical director Eric Ebbenga, JOBBED not only produces an uncommon emotional reaction from audiences, but presents an original, rare musical experience written by Mayer, Philadelphia’s own talent.  .

“We are thrilled to have found such a gifted cast and crew from the Philadelphia region,” said Howard Rice, Temple University professor, former partner of Kalish & Rice Advertising and scriptwriter of JOBBED. “Having hometown talent makes this experience all the more extraordinary.”

Mayer and Rice also “hope to stimulate interest in this wonderful community theatre residing in the heart of Ambler.”

JOBBED premieres to a private audience at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 25. The final performance will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 26 and is open to the public, free of charge. Seating is limited and by reservation only.  For more information, please visit

The Generation of Debt

I'm a Hustler, Homie

Those who have followed my posts from the beginning have seen quite the roller coaster ride of emotion — from sheer excitement after my college graduation to terrifying depression when I didn’t secure a job immediately — since May of 2010, my life has been anything but stable.

In just under one year, I interviewed for my “Dream Job,” landed my “Dream Job,” grew to strongly dislike my “Dream Job,” interviewed with and got hired by a great agency, quit my “Dream Job,” and found myself in $50,000 of debt from student loans. How did everything spiral out of control so quickly? Commuting to NYC two times a week for eight months during my senior year  and managing 4 part time positions to fund that commute certainly added stress to the situation (you can read more about my opinions on unpaid internships here), but without that experience, would I be where I am now? And by that, I mean living paycheck to paycheck.

According to everyone and their mothers, I am one of the “lucky ones” who landed a full-time gig doing what I went to school for — but what makes me lucky? Most of my graduating class, so I’ve heard, have been living with parents, thereby avoiding rent, utilities, and groceries. That is quite a hefty portion of an entry-level salary — more than 50% by my calculations (and I live in a studio). So am I being “rewarded” for my hard work and dedication by living in pseudo-poverty? Something isn’t right here. Student loans are devouring my soul, Philadelphia rent and taxes are robbing me — how am I supposed to be surviving when 90% of my paycheck is gone before I even get it? Everyone tells me I am overreacting and that this is normal, but how am I the only one who is literally losing sleep over this?

Someone please enlighten me.

Has Hov Inspired You Recently? Didn’t Think So.

His name is Hov. H to the O, V – and I bet you would never believe that a lyric of his has become my personal pep talk and professional slogan. Yes, Jigga – the man, the myth, the legend – has successfully crafted a sentence which is coherent and clever enough that it has altered the way I plan to approach the future of my career.

For those of you who know me (and for those who don’t), I make it brutality obvious that I will do everything in my power to fight the stereotypical duties of a woman – marrying rich, counting down the days to the birth of one’s child, delivering several more children, and having a “career” which is flexible enough so one can leave work in enough time to take little Johnny-Jo to soccer. I last thought this sort of life was appealing when I played with dolls — I made Ken drive the pink convertible to work while Barbie and Kelly stayed home to cook. I loved babies and a fun Friday night was sitting for my neighbors. Things quickly changed.

I cannot tell you when this changed happened or what caused the transformation, but I can tell you one thing – “I’m different. I can’t base what I’m going to be off of what everybody isn’t.” While it is society’s norm for women to have an innate urgency to marry and reproduce at a surprising rate, I think I’ll focus on my career – instead of driving three kids to ballet and Boy Scouts, I’ll enjoy a casual glass of wine while watching reruns of Desperate Housewives to unwind after a fast-paced and game changing day. While most of my acquaintances from high school are engaged, married or onto their second child (not necessarily in that order), I am wonderfully content with my life and where it is going.

For the majority of my life, trying to “fit in” was the bane of my existence. Now, at the tender age of 22, the last thing I want to do is conform. Hova, your poetic words have moved me so, and for that, I am eternally grateful. I will be what everybody isn’t.

I'm So Ambitious.

Mom Knows Best – Son Knows More? Who is a Better Hire?

The status of our economy has certainly had its hits, both big and small. Even the tiniest hit hurts – it tightens wallets, wreaks havoc on budgets, but more often than not, obliterates pride. Accountants with 15 years of experience are taking ad spaces out in the classifieds – women with a bachelor or master are babysitting for spoiled brats whose parents have yet to feel the economic blow. The economic condition is affecting spending habits, but more importantly, is responsible for a waning sense of worth.

Professionals with 10 years of experience are competing with entry-levelers for positions – this should not be happening.  It is not fair to either party. Recent grads are bringing to the ring vast knowledge of emerging media, new tactics and fresh lessons; seasoned pros are representing traditional knowledge and present impressive track records. Both are capable, in their own sense, of completing the job adequately.

So what ends up happening? The seasoned pro gets the job over the fresh-faced graduate, but will quickly grow unhappy with the reduced pay and revoked responsibility.  For a person who has spent the past 10 years closing deals and launching campaigns, the thought of merely monitoring placements and analyzing coverage may induce a slight gag reflex.  A position like this could provide key training to an up-and-coming young professional; instead, it is being given to an overqualified individual who will undoubtedly leave the position after a whirlwind tenure.

I am not criticizing organizations for choosing the candidate with several more years of experience, but perhaps quizzing candidates on innovative trends may produce surprising results. In this new economy with fewer positions, I firmly believe that the hiring process should undergo a makeover.

Who Is Best?


After the mockery that was the snowstorm yesterday, I flipped on my television to see the latest news about the accumulation. Luckily, my power had just come back on or else I wouldn’t have been able to do my makeup OR hear about the funniest thing I’ve heard in days.

Good Morning America had quickly and cleverly come up with a hilarious catchphrase for this season’s constant barrage of snow: Snoverkill.

PURE BRILLIANCE. I literally found myself laughing loudly in my apartment. It sure beats “Snowpocalypse” or “Snowmageddon.” Both of those titles have outstayed their welcome, but Snowverkill is too clever and hilarious.

My sincere applause to whoever crafted that little gem.

A Slip Of The Tongue

As far as celebrity Twitters go, I embrace the idea of fans digitally “connecting” to a favorite singer or sports star. I even believe, in some situations, that a celebrity may have the emotional stability, poise and professionalism to manage their own brand. Some stars have been in the game long enough to realize what you type may be misread and what you mean may be misinterpreted. Social Media is tricky in its quickness; one slip of the tongue (or finger, in this case) may result in a media firestorm — a nightmare for agents, labels, publicists, and managers all over the world.

This is where we run into a problem.

The managers, publicists and agents are, more often than not, self-admittedly “too old” to know or care about Twitter accounts. They choose not to monitor tweets; some are still more concerned about what is being said above the fold on the front page of Sports or in a Gossip column on page D6. Wake up! Communication has changed…your clients have changed…times have changed…Public Relations has changed. The only thing left that needs to change is your attitude. If you refuse to monitor your clients’ social media empires, or at least prep accordingly, you are inevitably setting yourself, your firm, your label and your client up for an embarrassing and sloppy ordeal.

And with that, I transition into the Best and Worst Celebrity Tweeter for 2010. My opinions are based solely on the value of tweets, the ability to avoid conflict and the sincerity of the message.

WORST: Oh Chris, Chris, Chris (@ChrisBrown)…we can’t take you anywhere, can we? Why do you insist on being baited time and time again through Social Media altercations and “beefs?”  More importantly, why does your management insist on allowing you to maintain personal supervision of your social media domain? You’ve proven multiple times that you do not possess the maturity, let alone aptitude, to handle such a large brand image. As most of you probably know, Brown was baited yet again during a Twitter battle with former B2K singer, Raz B, last night. Raz B’s initial tweet said:

“Im just sittin here Thinking how can ni**as like @ebenet & @ChrisBrown disrespect women as Intelligent as @HalleBerry11@Rihanna

This simple tweet started a blaze of drama thanks to members of #TeamBreezy, who should’ve been reading books instead. Brown reacted the way any insulted, self-conscious, overweight girl would have:

“@razb2k ni**a you want attention! Grow up ni**a!!! D**k in da booty a** lil boy”

In all reality, Raz B’s approach was far from bad-mannered. There was no mention of domestic violence, no trace of a low blow. As I watched the argument continue, I was shocked when no one from management intervened in the immature battle of wits (or lack thereof). Brown continued to battle Raz B with homosexual slurs and obscenities. Backed against a wall, Raz B responded with several low blows, citing Brown as a #womenbeater (I think he meant #womAnbeater).  As of today, I was further taken aback when all Tweets remained posted (although the damage was already done).

Brown has confirmed, for what I think should be the final time, that he needs immediate supervision when dealing with internet affairs. He is the definition of Social Media Nightmare.

BEST: From rags to riches to prison to rags to riches, Michael Vick is, what some consider, the best comeback story in sports history. While you don’t have to agree with his past actions, as a PR professional, you cannot overlook his tweets. Best Tweeter for 2010 (surprisingly to people who know me, I’m sure) has to go to Eagles Quarterback, #7, (@MikeVick).

There is nothing more respectable than a notorious football player who has learned how to speak with media and represent himself professionally. Once a player who proudly displayed his middle fingers to Atlanta Falcons fans after a loss, Vick has (not so quickly) learned how to approach media and keep fans happy. Continually tweeting to a new band of followers, Vick genuinely enjoys connecting with his supporters while he and his team march forward toward playoff competition.  Certainly not a stranger to controversy, he has yet to engage in an internet scuffle with rabid reporters or non-supporters.

Even after a tough loss, Vick maintained his composure and tweeted:

“Understanding failure helps you appreciate success !”

Short, simple, sweet. No angry messages, no sore loser status. He didn’t bash teammates or coaches – in all, it is the perfect message to send followers after a loss that left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans.

While I certainly cannot condone the past four years, I have to respect the guy for realizing what separates boys from men, minor leagues from major leagues and any other overused phrase you can imagine.

Respectability and responsibility – that is all it takes.

Top 3 Follies of Full-Time Life

I’m sorry I haven’t updated my blog since July (bad PR, for sure), but I have been trying to adjust to having a full-time job which is no easy feat.

By the time I get home, my brain is fried from countless press releases, media alerts and articles — just thinking about trying to formulate a thought gives me a headache. (Un)fortunately, I went out to dinner last night, something did not agree with me. I had to call off sick to ensure there is no christening of the office bathroom which would have been unpleasant for all parties involved.

So without further adieu, I present “Cristin’s Top 3 Full-Time Follies.”

  1. Not Eating Breakfast: Ah yes, the lesson your mother has been trying to teach you for years — always eat breakfast. Seeing as I was never a breakfast kind of gal growing up, I thought I’d be fine running on E until lunch. WRONG. Around 8:45am, my eyes start drooping; at 10:00am, sounds that mimic a rabid beast emerge from stomach; and by lunchtime, I am so hungry that my mouth turns into a black hole. Do not let this happen to you. I have learned my lesson and make time for a small breakfast every day.
  2. Hating Coffee: I hated coffee. Unless it was packed with caramel, lard and sugar, I wouldn’t go near a cup o’ Joe. After just one month of work, I probably feel the same love for coffee that I will feel for my first born. Luckily, a one-cup coffee machine is at my fingertips and I enjoy a delicious cup of French Vanilla coffee with organic half and half every morning and afternoon. It is clockwork.
  3. Forgoing a Cocktail: For four years, I had friends everywhere I turned. We could go to lunch, hang out between classes or grab a drink after class. Now, I moved off of campus into West Philadelphia. I have zero friends in this “part of town” and I get so lonely! I am a social butterfly — I need social interaction! For the first few weeks at work, I’d turn down a drink or dinner after work because I was sleepy. I have now learned to say yes to any offer than comes my way. I need a chance to unwind, relax and talk about things unrelated to the old pigskin.

Hopefully, by my two month anniversary, I will have this full-time gig down to a science. I’ll be able to juggle a social life and work. Maybe. Fingers crossed.