Graduated to what?

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Wallowing about just days after completing yet another degree program I find myself in a stagnant void of “NOT HAVING ANYTHING TO DO”.  With the realization that the “job” that I toiled about on recently ended, just as my final grades were pouring in, alas I am within a vacuum of idleness.  Chuck full of glimpses and blurbs from recent reading assignments and the many xeroxed copies “job aids” hanging like placards around my cubical walls, today I have no use for all this information I am preserving as my mind constantly races with detail after detail.

In the past a thorough job search consisted of picking up the Sunday New York Times and spreading the bed sheet sized leafs across a table. Contending with the small print and identifying interesting posts with a circle, an x, or some other earmark to remind yourself to call the number, or mail your cover letter and resume to it.

Today, however I spend countless hours applying to positions during my sleepless nights.  Laptop resting on abdomen (that is curiously becoming more flab, and less ab these days) as I apply for job after job utilizing the many job search sites we all are familiar with if you’ve sought a job change within the last decade.

I likened the search to fishing.  Or even attracting a mate.  However both the lures for these task are physical.  How do wave your peacock feathers virtually to attract suitors??  I’m told “you can get rid of all this white space”, by a Department of Labor rep assigned to “monitor” my job search progress.  However, how accurate was this conjecture, if it were said directly after “your resume looks great?”.  Needless to say, I did send a respectful email to the Rep asking that my case be assigned to one of her counterparts.  One with “more of an understanding that not every client requires the incessant prodding to seek viable work, and each case should be approached on the merits of the job seeker, not simply approached as a person unemployed.”  Not harsh or disrespectful at all, my conscience is clear.

Another point of contention for me in this interaction with the Rep from the Department of Labor was her inability to embrace change.  Her stance seemed to be along the lines of “since you know how to mop a floor, you should look for job mopping floors.”  Now this is a dramatic paraphrase, however it is a poignant illustration of the ESTABLISHMENT not recognizing talent.  Nor acknowledging the progression one may aspire to during their professional lives.  Yes I have experience dealing with customers.  Yes I have Office Administration experience.  Does this experience amount to the sum of my parts?  I adamantly reject the notion that while seeking work, I should only apply to jobs that I’ve already mastered.  Their goal is to get me “back to work”, mine is the same.  However earning educational credentials I believed afforded me the right to pursue career level positions, not just jobs.

Generation to Generation

 

102

 

I’m scribing some ramblings as I recently encountered yet another dramatic illustration one of the many faults within urban society.  As you know reading this “urban” is the term used to describe the poor or disenfranchised who seem to toil through life until their deaths seemingly unaccounted for.

I digress.  Arriving to a local store to full up my tank, I noticed as I was pulling into the space there seemed to be a small gathering immediately at the store’s entrance.  Putting the car’s gear in park It was clear that I would soon be in the midst of those persons awkwardly looming about in front of the store’s entrance.  While some would likely assess the situation prior to exiting their car, admittedly I’ve become so callous in this regard and my age likely has played a part in not allowing “anyone” to intrude on my liberties.

Moving toward the door it was very clear what was occurring.  While I could see three “urban” teens with their backs facing me, the only teen I could see the face of seemed disturbed and in total fright in his expression as I moved toward the door passing the group.  The teen who was outnumbered, and surrounded was asked to leave the store, where he likely retreated to for refuge.  The employee of the store was preoccupied with the sight of the four young men blocking the foot traffic as several other patrons had also walked passed the group to and from the store.

Dialing 911 the employee of the store continued to attend to steady flow of customers, while cradling the phone head set between his ear and left shoulder. The fearful teen was larger in build than the other three, and as I passed the group returning to my car it was clear the fearful teen was engaged in a negotiation of sorts, with the booty being his own physical safety.

Growing up in the South Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn steadfast adage was learned early on. “mind your business!”  New Yorker’s are known for our coldness, or disconnected dispositions regarding those around us.  I myself have witnessed occasions in New York that in other regions would cause a public out pour in the defense of the one accosted.  Although in these instances, the entire melee was almost invisible to the passerby.

On this day however, I felt the need to at least let the teens know the police were on their way, and more than likely they all would have to spend some unpleasant time explaining their trivial points of view to an officer who neither empathized or would rather the group disperse than to cuff them all and forcibly remove them from the store.

“Yo you guys need to bounce”, I said.  The three potential assailants all turned to me, then back toward the larger teen who had his back to the door of the store’s entrance.  The shortest of the three, his pants resting below his buttocks revealing his underwear print grabbed the arm of the teen to his right and as if to pull him away.  “C’mon yo!” they barked at the last teen still standing in the face of the teen in front of door.  Running past me to catch up to his two counterparts as they left the area of the store, the last teen said “good looking out” in my direction as he trotted by.

Hanging up the pump and tightening the gas cap on my car the fearful teen was still standing in front of the store, but now moved slightly out of the door’s frame.  I looked at his facial expression which was now less frightened, and more enraged.  I closed my car door and rolled down the passenger window to make sure the teen understood that the police should be arriving any moment.  Without looking in my direction the once fearful teen who had scarcely averted a physical beating (or worst) said “F*** You, mind your bizness old head!”  “WOW” is all I could muster in response.

Information Design – Public Design

On a recent visit to the local mall I encountered a scenario that is likely occurring more frequently these days, and I’m certain all can relate.  Without any “hoopla” or farewell wishes, a local department store closed its doors, and went out of business seemingly quietly and discreetly.  BonTon (http://www.bonton.com/) a steadfast staple of the three local malls in the area, maintained a niche location in each, and catered to a niche patron who was interested in a “middle of the road” product priced at a discounted price point. 

Similar to Target’ (pronounced tar-zjay), BonTon carried most name brand products, and provided an exemplary customer service experience, while at the same time wallowing in the challenges of maintaining an “everything store” within a medium of shopping specific stores that exists in a local mall setting.  Think in terms of the stores within your local mall, a department store will simply maintain in this format, while product specific stores seemingly flourish.  The times of JC Penny, Kmart and the like able to coexists with product specific stores has waned and will continue to diminish in the wake of the Wal-Mart explosion.  So in this instance not only have the “mom and pop” small business owners been inundated with an inevitable overthrowing by mega giant (Wal-Mart), larger stores as well have found it to be an insurmountable endeavor to compete.

            Consider your last visit to the local mall; were there intentional purchases or impulse buys?  More likely than not, these purchases were made impulsively and most may not have intended to shop initially.  In the case of BonTon or other department stores visits most visited these stores under clear, intentional requirements.  “I need socks”, “I’m running low on my favorite scented lotion”, “I need laundry detergent”, are all likely viable scenarios for your department store visit.

            When considering information design, one can presume at some point there was signage or notice of some sort, pertaining to BonTon’s pending closure; however in this instance just a small posted printout taped to a window pane could be seen.  The large BonTon moniker was removed from the outside of the building, leaving the remnant  of a weathered outline against the building brick.  The BonTon logo was not removed from the “you are here” map near the now closed BonTon entrance, so as it pertains to information design this map was incredibly flawed in its delivery.  Considering the Wayfinding factor, without prior knowledge of BonTon’s existence one would presume the dark empty space, may have been vacant for many years.  While in actuality BonTon’s commercials in 2011 were a part of the onslaught of early December advertising inviting the public to visit the store to Christmas shop.

            Why the air of secrecy?  Visiting the corporate website there is no mention of the closing.  In fact the store hours are still shown:

Bon-Ton Greece Ridge

Greece Ridge
98 Greece Ridge Center
Rochester, NY  14626
585-227-1040

 Sun: 11am  – 6pm
Mon: 10am  – 9:30pm
Tue: 10am  – 9:30pm
Wed: 10am  – 9:30pm
Thu: 10am  – 9:30pm
Fri: 10am  – 10pm
Sat: 10am  – 10pm

Information Design – Interaction Design

When considering Information Design and specifically honing in on the interaction component, one may automatically and innately look inward to those designs that impact us on the most familiar levels.  It is known that Information “Interaction” Design is composed of three different variables, which are all working toward the overall successful Sensorial Design.  Sensorial implores our most cognitive “senses”, which for the intent of this post will focus on the communications medium of music.

What innate feelings does music stimulate?  Depending on the receiver some music may evoke feelings of joy or sadness, or when considering physicality some may enfluence movement or being simply stationary.  When we interact, by design music is meant to persuade in some form or manner.  Standing in a quiet pub, sipping on your favorite beverage with your closest friend evokes a pleasurable feeling for some.  Now add the caveat of hearing either the best or worst music you’ve ever heard loudly.  What emotions would derive?  Would the atmosphere of comfort change?  By design Sensorial Design is intended to make that distinction.

Below are some music choices that I find enjoyable.  There are also some examples of less enjoyable Sensorial Design examples that are notable for me personally.  Can you presume which are my enjoyable examples, and which are not based on my blog page, or rhetoric?  What clues has the design my blog offered toward this presentation?  Feel free to supply additional thoughts, and or music.

MI

live at the barbecue

Only the Sultry Songstress Survives

Is physical beauty a true attributing factor to a successful musical career?  Arguably the playing field is not equal for both genders.  Male musicians can have successful careers devoid of sexual innuendo.  We can sing, rhyme, and play an instrument in the safe comfort of our own skins.  While there are varying levels of success.  For example a Justin Bieber, Maxwell or Neyo, fellow musicians such as Anthony Hamilton, Sean Kingston, or even artist of the past such as Jodeci are considered as prominent artist world renown.

The physical look of a male performer may not be as important as that of their female counterparts.  While there is a market for the sexually sensationalized male performer, the industry does allow artist with less sexual allure to sing their songs, say their rhymes, or play their instruments fully clothed and void of any sexual connotation. 

 

Sadly, the “lane” for female performers isn’t so freeing.  Female artist are expected to be in good physical shape, and their wardrobes are expected to compliment their bodily enhancement even before a single note is sung.  Further, while there are some male performers who incorporate vigorous dance routines into their act, many do not.  While conversely 100% of females are expected to move in sexually stimulated ways, to project the connotation and believability that these performers actually are exactly as their sexually charged lyrics suggest.  While there are many female performers who have a strict following of fans, and have garnered some critical acclaim; the truly influential artist are the most attractive, the least dressed, and in some cases the least talented singers or song writers.

Whitley Gilbert and Duane Wayne

Discussing our respective futures with a female platonic friend in her 30s, I concluded that she was overly concerned, almost to the point of obsession about being married. Seemingly this female after some frank discussion contended that the media perpetuated being married as an attainable goal, and anything less seemed to be a failure. We discussed Whitley and Duane from It’s a different world (1990s), and she reminisced the evening the episode was shown were the couple finally wed. In some dramatic display Duane who had left the relationship prior, interrupted the wedding of Whitley who was in the process of marrying another character. Duane interrupted the proceedings professing his undying love for Whitney and she subsequently married him.

This friend was so committed to the idea of being married, she says from the airing of this episode. I explained to this woman that pursuing this dream of being married is an unsafe endeavor as not all involved may feel as strongly as she. The relationshipS she’s been involved in have been somewhat frivolous, yet she discusses and insists to mull over the topic of marriage with these unwilling participants. Has the media truly given my friend an unrealistic expectations regarding relationships, and or marriage? I believe wholeheartedly that Whitley and Duane or no more to blame for her eschewed perception than the men in these failed relationships. It’s more about her choices than the choices of the producers of a 1990s television sitcom.

Very Late! Whew! I think I finally set this up correctly

All,

sorry about delay.  Ok, so the “Resolve” disposable mop commercial.   Anyone seen it?  I can’t seem to find a decent link for it.  basically the premise is women are overjoyed that they no longer “have to scrub floors on their knees”.  Seriously? The tag line is “women are in agreement”.   The commercial actually uses the term women describing these lucky consumers of a new household cleaning product.   Talk about a flash back to “Lucy and Ricky, Fred and Ethel”.

Malik