My Two Cents: Russian in Latvia

Just this past week I read about Latvians in Latvia putting a stop to making Russian a national language.  There were two points that were made that I’ll give the Latvian, and Latvian American, voters.

1. There is only one country in which Latvian is spoken and it would be a shame to dilute the language and not make it the main language of the country.

2. Latvians want all non citizens to pass a Latvian speaking and writing exam, even if they used to be citizens…of the former U.S.S.R.

Here is what I have a problem with, the stigma of “the Russians are coming!”  I am part Russian and yes, grew up in the U.S.S.R. and I am damn proud of it.  I am beyond lucky to have been brought up, and continue to, speaking Latvian and Russian with my parents.  I think it’s a huge shame that kids who grow up in Riga, about 2-3 hours by car from the border of Russia, and don’t know how to speak the language…because it’s not a requirement anymore and isn’t spoken as often.

I think what bugs me beyond anything, is the animosity towards Russians.  When my family and I first moved to the states, my parents found a great Latvian community/church for us to be a part of.  It had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with making the transition easier.  Well, during this transition, my dad had to pretend to speak Latvian fluently so that the Latvian Americans didn’t think we were Russian, god forbid.  This has been the story of our lives in all three Latvian churches we’ve attended.

As a sidebar, this was also the story at a Russian Orthodox church school my brother and I attended in California.  There were no Latvian communities around us so we stuck to the Russians.  In this situation I pretended to be Russian Orthodox and picked out a Russian Orthodox name for myself in addition to my real name. When in Rome…

To get back to the Latvians.  It’s not to say that we weren’t welcomed but I do have to say that since moving to Boston, as wonderful as all events have been, there have been some instances that really make you think twice about Latvian Americans who look down on us “LL’s” or “Latvian Latvians” as some call us.

When I tried to get into the last grade in the Latvian church school here I was told that I didn’t know how to write in Latvian, which is simply fascinating to me.  Later, at a summer gathering I heard that the “high class” American Latvians had no desire to hang out with the LL’s because they have no issues with Russians and actually speak the language.

I just don’t get it.  Us, LL’s, are who you “AL’s” want so desperately to be.  You have never truly lived in Latvia.  You may have spent a summer or semester but you don’t get it.  And that’s not just American Latvians.  Some true Latvians have this hatred for the Soviets.

Latvia HAD to side with someone during World War Two.  So we could have either sided with the Germans or the Russians.  Guess who we picked, the Russians. They didn’t occupy us, we chose to be under the Soviet flag.  Lastly, if the Latvian’s are so worried about Latvian dying out with its people…perhaps they shouldn’t force those who were citizens give up their citizenship.

So yes, I am a Latvian from Latvia who is damn glad to speak Russian and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  And those, are my two cents.

What did you do today?

On Location – Gaylord Opryland, Nashville, TN

This week I spent some time in Nashville.  No, it wasn’t to fulfill my dream of seeing some country crooners perform live but rather for an offsite meeting.  We happened to stay at the Gaylord Opryland.  All I have to say is wow!  As the back of a post card states, this place has 2,881 rooms and over 6,600sq.ft. of convention and banquet halls.

Below you’ll see a few photos from my stay.  The food was amazing the whole time that we were there, the staff was completely accommodating and the grounds could not have been more stellar.  And, did I mention the fitness center, which was part of the Relache Salon & Spa?  I mean, the place must have had over 15 tread mills plus other equipment.  Not a runner?  No problem!  Take a dip in one of three pools!

Quite honestly, I wish I could go back and just spend some time relaxing, eating, and this time going to see some country crooners!

Two tips, all of the rooms are very nice but if you can, stay in one of the garden rooms.  They overlook the garden and have private terraces.

One knock against the whole stay, which was a totally minor knock against it and one I may not have even known about but…my fridge looked like it may not have been cleaned out before I checked in.  Anyone in for leftovers? :)

I highly recommend this place! What did you do today?

Pinterest for B2B

Now, I know…I have discussed the Pinterest topic at length.  But, Hubspot just came out with an amazing blog article about Pinterest for business 2 business that naturally I just HAD to share with you.  As a graduate of Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University, I am a huge pusher of Hubspot articles and white papers.  I couldn’t have written a better piece on why Pinterest is a social media site to be reckoned with, ESPECIALLY for B2B.  How, you might ask?  Use these five easy steps!

1. Identify your most visual content: consisting of white paper photos, brochure photos, installations, manufacturing, user photots…the list goes on…
2. Send Traffic with Specific Links in Each Pin
3. Optimize Pinterest for Lead Generation
4. Build Your Pinterest Follower Base to Grow Company Reach: like and comment on other people’s pins, promote your Pinterest account, create the best boards for a specific industry/market
5. Measure Your Traffic and Leads

Personally, I began using Pinterest to get a better idea of what my wedding might look like, pin images of clothes I’ll never own, create diy projects for myself that I’ll never complete, and decorate (perfectly) the home that I have yet to own.  But why not dream big?!?

As I noticed a lack of a purely visual platform for our sales force to use during their calls and sales meetings I decided to turn to Pinterest.  I figured if it generated some buzz from the Pinterest community, then great.  But first and foremost, I wanted to help our guys out, and help our customers understand exactly what the company I work for is all about, in a purely visual way.

I already have a few tricks up my sleeve how to increase the viewership and interaction with our Pinterest page but I cannot wait to implement Hubspot’s 5 key points to Pinterest success for B2B businesses!

What did you do today?

Nail Color and Interviews

Last week, nancyd68, a woman I follow on twitter asked her followers what nail color she should go with for a first interview.  She said she’d be wearing a navy skirt and blouse.  What seemed like a basic question turned into quite the topic. 

I knew dkny PR girl would chime in so in my reply I @ mentioned her.  My take was that this woman should go for a nude or pale pink color.  dkny pr girl’s take was that she should go for a nice rich red.  I suggested to my twitter acquaintance that if she chooses to go with red, it will indeed make her stand out, or she could go with the basic nail color and go with a nice statement necklace. 

Well, dkny pr girl’s comment spurred TheLADauphine to chime in and say that red may not work if this is an interview for something finance or business related.  This comment did not go unnoticed either, as TheLADauphine’s response caused a fellow Latvian to chime in with her thoughts, along with dkny pr girl.  Their take was that if you’re not allowed to wear red nail polish, which is classic, do you really want to work for that kind of company? 

After much thought…I hate to say it, but sometimes you have to tread lightly at first.  I’m sure once you’ve figured out the landscape and pecking order, feel free to wear that red polish, if appropriate!  But I would go for something safer, as a first impression, especially if it is indeed a finance, business, or maybe even legal type of job.

What are your thoughts?

Which of the below colors would you choose for a first interview?

What did you do today?

P.S. Curious about dkny pr girl’s take on the topic?  Read her blog entry title, The Phantom of the Interview.

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”

We are right in the middle of those dreaded months of winter. It’s the middle of February, spring is right around the corner but the mornings and nights are still dark and cold.  It’s no surprise that just as we are unmotivated and not optimistic in our daily lives during the winter months, unless you have a winter home in the mountains and are a millionaire, we may hit a few slumps at work.

Well, never fear!  I came across an article that gives tips for how one can be more optimistic at work!

Now, before reading the article and knowing what it’s really about here are a few things that have helped me:

1.      Putting up a fun and cheery photo somewhere by your desk
2.      Playing some tunes towards the end of the day
3.      Keeping a to do list
4.      Starting your day by easting something summery, such as yogurt and fruit
5.      Not counting how many days are left until the weekend but instead focusing and how you will optimize your time and inevitably make those days go by quicker

And now for the tips from the article titled, Positive Attitude: 6 Ways to Become More Optimistic.

1.      Stop Using Negative Phrases
2.      When asked “How Are You?” respond with a positive answer rather than “Ok”
3.      Stop complaining
4.      Stop griping
5.      Substitute neutral words…“rather than saying ‘I’m enraged!’ say ‘I’m a bit annoyed’”
6.      Expunge profanity and obscenity

So now that you have a total of 11 ways to be more positive in your day to day and work life, what did you do today?  I hope you weren’t negative!

On Location – Boston, You’re My Home.

Yes, this is one of those feel good posts, at least I hope so.

It’s been a while since I took a walk through Boston.  This week I met up with some girls from a girls night out networking group that I am a part of through LinkedIn.  We’ve all been meeting up for a few years now and it feels like seeing good friends.  The bonus was that we were meeting at Met Bar & Grill, where I had the onion soup which was delicious.  Meeting in the heart of Boston meant I would get a chance to enjoy Boston at night.  No crowds, just the lights and the street.

Here is what I took away from that night, I hope you enjoy Boston as much as I do!  Happy Friday and…what did you do today?

Rejection…It’s not Personal, It’s Business!

A friend recently got a rejection after a job interview she thought she did well in.  Rejections suck, no matter what form they come in or what the context.  I still remember one rejection letter which I received in letter form, in my mailbox, over a month after my initial interview.  What can you do?

But you can’t take rejection personally.  You can make sure to ask what you did wrong or why you didn’t fit the perfect fit but you have to dust off and carry on.  Trust me, after getting quite a few rejections sent my way…you have to remember that I was at this fun game for 16 months and applied to close to 500 jobs…I eventually got numb to rejections.  It was just what I expected.  I would still follow up and figure out what I could do differently next time but I made sure to keep going.

So what are my two cents?  Got an interview? Awesome! Congrats! Keep looking while you prep for the interview.  Keep looking for the perfect one and when you least expect it, the perfect job will find you!

What did you do today?

The New Age Interview

So an acquaintance’s Facebook post got me thinking.  What if you are interviewing for a job in another state, or country, and the only way to interview is through Skype?  This acquaintance asked a simple question, should he wear a full suit, which feels silly while you are sitting at home, or can he do the newscaster thing and only wear the top part of the suit and essentially be business on top and party on the bottom?

This immediately made me think of this scenario, what if the interviewers ask you to go get something else and you get up and you are either in your underpants or pajamas?  Awkward!  So here is what I think, at the end of the day, this is an interview.  If it is suggested that you dress up, sit at a desk and give your full attention to a phone interview, then I say you do that and more for a Skype interview where people can actually see you.

What are your thoughts?

What did you do today?

P.S. This is what I am talking about: