Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Advice to future students

I have a few pieces of advice to give to future students:

1. Keep a positive attitude - My class had a really good relationship with the teacher. Class was always more interesting when students would give input or engage in class discussions.

2. Do your friggin' homework - Whether its homework that's due for class or work that is due for your group project, just DO IT. The writing assignments were usually ONE PAGE at the most, which is such an easy A to get. If you can't write one page, you shouldn't be in business. If you are in a group, DO YOUR WORK for the group. I had someone in my group who didn't do anything that he was supposed to do, so we had to do it for him, and that really sucked. So do your work ;o)

3. Come to class. While we didn't take attendance every day, attendance is obviously important because we did a lot of in-class assignments. I really enjoyed going to class, I honestly don't think that I missed a single one. So there is no reason to miss class if it's a fun class to go to and you will lose points if you miss.

4. I feel like this post has been kind of negative and preachy. So don't be negative and preachy! This class is full of really important information if you plan on joining the business world after graduation. Come to class with an open mind (and a notebook and pencil) and the time will pass really quickly.

I hope you enjoy your semester in business writing with Mrs. Rogers. I enjoyed mine!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ethics Research

I found an article about a man who was killed by the British Royal Airforce in 1953. The article was about the verdict of a court case held 20 years after the soldier's death. The soldier was killed during a series of nerve agent gas tests by the British government during the Cold War.

I found a few instances in the article where the scientists conducting the tests had used de-humanizing language. The first of which was a statement by one of the doctors at the research facility where the man was killed. The doctor stated that he believed the researchers had been acting in "reasonably good faith" while conducting the tests. This seems like a very odd statement from a person who was on trial for killing someone.

Another instance in the article where de-humanizing language was used was in reference to the names of the various human trials. These trials were unrelated to the death of the soldier. These were wide area tests designed to test the effects of small amounts of a nerve agent on a large amount of people. The first of these wide area tests were the "Fluorescent Particle Tests." The second were the "Large Area Coverage Tests." The last series were called "The Sabotage Trials." Only the last of these sounds even the least big suspicious. The first two sound like any other scientific experiment.

I had quite a hard time finding any original documents from recorded ethical lapses. It was an interesting search though, through the lists of ethical lapses in history. Most of the accounts that I found were about chemical tests like in the article I read. Humans can do some terrible things to other humans, it really is crazy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Business ethics article

While this article had several numerical statistics, I found it to be a little vague and very repetitive. Some of the statistics I found to be kind of surprising. I think that the statistic about only one third of people who encounter ethical dilemmas at work report it to management was the most surprising. I believe that the stat is pretty accurate but a little sad. If the other two thirds of people who face ethical encounters don't report it to management, then who do they report it to? The article states that on average, those who do not report the incident to management usually tell eight other people at work. If each of these eight people tell eight other people then the incident has spread throughout the workplace, and has now become a much larger issue than when it originated.

I believe that in order for this to be less of an issue, companies need to take the necessary steps to make employees feel comfortable reporting ethical dilemmas that they may encounter. If this means talking to each employee individually, then it must be done. Perhaps a more effective approach would be to create a program or workshop that all employees must attend once a month or once a quarter to learn techniques to deal with ethical dilemmas or discuss any issues that have surfaced during that time period.

There will always be ethical dilemmas in the work place, and the only way to decrease the frequency is to make employees feel comfortable to report the problems when they arise. If all employees in the company are aware that ethical issues will be addressed, then they will probably be less likely to commit ethical wrongs.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Web vs Paper Writing

I don't think that there are that many differences between writing on paper and writing on the web.

Writing on paper is obviously more traditional than writing on the web. Writing on paper is also much more personal and time consuming than web writing. More time is spent perfecting format and grammar. When writing a paper memo, the formatting of the header, salutation, closing, etc. need to be correct. When writing an email memo, very little time is spent on a header and salutation. Much more effort is spent making the message concise and direct when writing over the internet.

When transferring a paper document to the web you need to make sure that the font has not changed. Some fonts look good on paper but may not transfer to the web. When writing our proposal for class I signed the cover letter using one of the script fonts. When I sent it through an email to one of my group members the scripted font would not show up on their computer. This could have been because they were using a Mac rather than a Dell. To be sure, I think that you should always use a standard font such as arial, times new roman, or courier new when writing on the web or sending documents over the web.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

SpRiNg BrEaK

I'll bet you didn't think it was possible to fly head first over the front or your skis, land face down in the snow, and keep your skis on... well it is! I found this out twice over Spring Break during my trip to Montana!

I went to Big Sky and Bridger Bowl mountains in Montana with my boyfriend Kevin, my roommate Annita, and our two other friends PJ and Exley for Spring Break. We had a GREAT time. I've been skiing a few times before on the east coast, but never on the west coast. If you've never been skiing out west, I would definitely reccommend it. It snowed every day that we were out there, so there was fresh powder on the slopes every morning.

We skiied for 4 days straight on two of the biggest mountains I've ever been on. The first day was a little rough for me since I'm not accustomed to skiing in so much heavy powder. I actually wiped out on our very first run on our first day. It was funny really funny. Kev yelled "WHAT DID YOU FORGET HOW TO SKI?" (It's okay, I'm not embarrassed when I fall. I've been skiing for a while and it happens.)

Ooo this is a good seg-way...

Kev is an AWESOME snowboarder, I'm kind of jealous. When he was in High School he raced competitively, and almost qualified for the x-games time-trials. So needless to say, he can ski literally anything. Any slope. Any condition. He's pretty cool (and quite attractive) to watch, and he gives me tips about skiing.

My skiing got a LOT better on this trip. By the last day I was skiing all black diamonds. I'm still not skilled or confident enough to ski double blacks, but I'll get there. I learned how to plant my poles when I turn; put skis back on if I've fallen on a steep hill (put the uphill ski on first); and ski in deep, fresh powder. I'm actually really proud of how much I learned and improved.

So enough about me :o) I'll see you in class tomorrow!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Reflection on Presentations

My favorite presentation was Andrew Owens' on fertilization. He had a great balance between use of humor and of highly technical terms. Usually discussions about fertilization and reproduction are difficult to give, but Andrew did a really good job. He also told the class that he chose to do the presentation because he was enrolled in a reproduction class. I think it's safe to say that he has mastered the material.

I also really enjoyed Amber Meisenheimers presentation on all-inclusive vacations. I've already chosen my spring break destination this year (Montana) but if I hadn't then this presentation would have been very helpful. I enjoyed when Amber showed a picture of Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, which is probably my dream vacation spot.

I really enjoyed doing this project because I got to know my classmates better. No one seemed especially nervous which was particularly impressive.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mock Interview

I had my mock interview this past Monday and found that I was much more nervous than I needed to be. Once I sat down in the office I became less nervous, which I think helped with the interview process. A few things that I realized were that my resume needs work and I need to incorporate past work experience into my interview answers. My resume needs to be more informative, describing my past work experience in greater detail. I have business experience at a Bridal store and I need to incorporate that as much as possible into my interviews. This interview was also much shorter than a traditional interview, which I should be prepared for. Had this been a real interview, I would have researched the company more that I did in preparation for this mock interview. I realized that I need to be prepared with more questions at the end of the interview to make me seem more interested in the company. Overall I would say that this was a good learning experience and now I feel more prepared for an actual interview.