5 Things I hate about Chicago A.K.A. #Chicagoproblems

5 Jan

I am a city girl- in my heart and in reality. And most of the time, I am grateful I live in the big city, but there are some days where I absolutely just need to rant about it. Today is one of those days.  So come along with me on my rant that I call –

“5 Things I hate about Chicago A.K.A #Chicagoproblems.”

1. THE CTA. (or the Chicago Transit Authority) Yesterday, my CTA pass which I had put money on the day before, decided that it was going to be “invalid” while boarding the bus.  (Did I mention that I waited for the bus for nearly 25 minutes?) Sure it was a beautiful day so I took it in my stride and walked to a line stop where I got some help but that’s not the point.  No city transportation system is perfect but the CTA needs to get their act together. Late buses and trains, unpredictable delays and more importantly the state of some of their lines (a.k.a. the Red Line) are just not up to scratch. Now, conversely one of the reasons I love Chicago is that it is a commuter city and being without a car is possible, even favorable at times. Oh well, as Jen Lancaster writes in Bitter is the new Black, “the problem with mass transportation is that it transports the masses.”

2. PRICES. Being that I just lived  in Des Moines, Iowa for four years while at Drake University this is a given. While I love the fact that I have access to big city things, Chicago prices have me shaking my head as I pay for things. I mean, this is still the Midwest! Why does everything cost so much? (p.s. this is  a rhetorical question, I happen to be quite familiar with the economics of the city)

3. WINTER. To be fair, winter has been kind so far so I really should not be complaining this year. But the ridiculousness of the weather changes never ceases to work on my nerves. A couple of days ago, it went from a really nice and pleasant Christmas and New Year to “I CANNOT FEEL MY FINGERS IN THIS BLOODY WIND!” I mean be cold, be really cold (okay, please don’t) but be consistent. I know what you’re thinking, if I don’t like it, I should move and you’re probably right, I should. But if you’re in Chicago, you know all too well that complaining about the weather is just what we do here.

4. PEOPLE. Everyone in Chicago thinks they’re so cool because they live in Chicago (myself included). Well, everyone needs to take a chill pill. This is still not New York and as much as we’d like to think we’re mini-New York, we’re still not New Yorkers. No, we’re not that busy and we are most certainly not that rude. Like I said earlier, this is the Midwest. Conversely, there is nothing more obnoxious than people from the burbs thinking that they’re still in the burbs when they come to the city. If you’re a Chicagoan you know what I mean and if you’re not, well too bad. (Oops, there goes that Chicago attitude 😉 )

5. CONSTRUCTION. Chicago is FOREVER Under Construction. And I’m starting to think that if they construct things RIGHT the first time, maybe, just maybe, we won’t have to forever be taking this detour or that detour or trying to figure out where we are. Take the road to O’Hare for example, when is that thing going to be complete? I’m just saying.

Wow. I feel much better. I definitely contemplated not posting this because I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t complain about things that you can’t change and most of the above are things I can’t change. But, I thought why not? If nothing else, it might make someone laugh, as I did while writing it. Do you live in Chicago? What are your favorite Chicago problems? If you don’t live in Chicago, can you identify with any of the above? Tell me about your city problems!

At the end of the day, Chicago is now my city and I will defend it against all outsiders but once in a while, in true Chicago fashion, I just have to rant about #Chicagoproblems.



New Year Resolutions

3 Jan

Now that we have 2011 in review, (and have hopefully learned a thing or two), we look to 2012 where many of us will be thinking about what our resolutions should be, if we haven’t already. The reality about New Year resolutions is that like any other goals (that we set at any time of the year,) it takes a lot of will and patience to achieve them.

Some people think that too much is made of goal-setting around this time of year. They have a point. Every new year we watch people around us commit to things and fail. Perhaps, we watch ourselves do it as well. So what’s all the fuss? Why do people even bother to make goals? Should we even make New Year resolutions?

Firstly, I think the fuss is that the psychological effect of a new year has a tendency to bring hope for most people. The “fresh start” that can sometimes be difficult to find or define at “any old date” is found in the spirit of a new year. Secondly, we bother to make goals because no matter where we all are in our lives, how successful or unsuccessful, how happy or unhappy, etc, we all think that there is room for improvement. And the truth is, as long as we’re human, there is. It’s not that one should not be happy or grateful for what one has, it’s that as long as we are breathing, we should want to be more than what we are. Or maybe not more, but different; better. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, it’s something good. Thirdly, we ought to continue to make resolutions to improve because we owe it to ourselves, our loved ones, humanity, and the one life we have, to give it all we have; to be the best versions of ourselves we can be.

Then, comes the hard part – working towards those goals. We’ve all heard what we ought to do – make your yearly goals; make your monthly goals from there; make your goals specific; limit them; write them down, and read them over and over. As much as I love lists and as much as I am a goal-setter, it feels like I have one list after another…

This year, I’m doing mine a little different and “compartmentalizing” my goals, like I do with my vision board. Here’s my example:

1. Financial Goal: Save 15% of my earnings this year. Have $0 credit card balance by mid-year. (Hopefully this will be possible but I might have to adjust when I incur my own costs of living). p.s. Here is a great article about setting financial goals – “Answer this before setting your financial goals.”

2. Personal Goal: Listen more and be more patient with people (no matter how intellectually-challenged I think they are). Refrain from immediately retorting to one comment or question (that I find annoying) at least twice a day.

3. Career Goal: Work 75-85 hours per week on MCG Media Inc, Ms Career Girl Events as well as other “regularly scheduled” job (that I am still deciding on/hoping for, I’ll keep you posted 😉 ) Make sure all timelines on events are followed.

4. Writing Goal: Continue writing twice a week on this blog. Conduct a bi-weekly posting schedule on MsCareerGirl blog.  Finish 1 of my “heavy” writing projects by November.

5. Health Goal: Continue eating healthy and a 4-5 day weekly workout schedule. Participate in three 5ks and two 10ks. (By April, CONSIDER participating in a half-marathon because let’s face it, once a sprinter…seldom a long-distance runner.) Get certified in Zumba by September!

I have a couple more additions to make in each category but I figured this is a good place to start. The thing about goals is that you have to make them for yourself, and how best you can work toward them! I am simply one of those people whose life is either in “sync” or it’s not. Thus, I prefer to work on one or two things in each area of my life. I do what works for me and if you want to try something different, this year, I highly recommend this format.  What works for you? What do you think about New Year’s resolutions? And do you have any tips for me or my goal-setting? Whatever your goals are, I suggest that you keep the following  famous Emerson quote in mind. Why? Because in it summarizes the kind of success all of our goals should ultimately lead us to:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded….” -Ralph Waldo Emerson



My #Rewind2011

30 Dec

Have you been reflecting this week? I know I have, and boys and girls do I have much to tell!  Rather than give you one thought after another about what I have learned (and not learned) this year, I’m stealing  Nicole Crimaldi‘s 2011 reflection format on Ms. Career Girl. Mine’s a little long but I think you’ll enjoy it.

Here it goes:

January:  On New Year’s Day, I’m leaving Nigeria after celebrating my parents 30th anniversary. I have two things on my mind: El Salvador and law school. I make a 2-day stop in Des Moines before jetting off to El Salvador with my college’s Catholic Student Center. The funny thing about the trip is that it’s an “immersion” trip – a little bit of service and a little bit of education. What I learned most from the people of El Salvador is a lot of love.

February: Most of my law school applications had been sent in now. Let the waiting begin. I’m also exhausted with having to plan “African Renaissance Night” for the African Student Association, of which I am president. (LOL-I used to think this stuff was stressful) I’m sure this month I learned or rather, decided, that African women should probably be running African countries. I don’t want to get into it.

March: Spring Break in Dallas!  It’s hot, and wonderful, and much needed. I make a spontaneous decision to apply to Notre Dame law school at the beginning of the month too (or maybe on the last day of last month; it’s all such a haze.) I figure this is where I will probably end up. After all, I literally had the same spontaneous feelings that led me to apply to Drake 4 years ago. I come back from Spring Break and get my first rejection. At least it’s not Notre Dame or Georgetown. Still, the first cut is the deepest.  (This is really snotty, but I hadn’t really experienced much failure with regard to schooling up until this point. I was crushed.)

April: I’m in the Honors program at Drake and we have to do a final research project or paper with a faculty member as our adviser. We were supposed to work on this all semester. I have one of Drake’s most prominent faculty so you would think I would be more diligent about my research throughout the semester. Luckily, he’s not just brilliant and cool, I get the sense that he gets the sense that I will do brilliant research and work all in this month and have it turned it on time. (He was right.) Also, at Drake, the month of April is defined by “Relays.” To some, “America’s Athletic Classic,” to others a week (and I mean an ENTIRE week) of partying.  You can judge me. Still, it’s my senior year and my last semester! And I have a few more rejections. But alas, a wait list…there is much to celebrate. I learned a lot about 21st century American political participation (my research project). I also re-learned something from the last 4 years – a week of partying followed by a week of final classes and then a week of “finals” is no easy feat. (Call me cocky but I am grateful for my parents intelligence genes)

May: Yippee! “Look at me now, I graduated.” (I often sang to the tune of Chris Brown’s Look at Me Now) Woohoo….the world is at my feet. Sort of. Oh wait, am I still going to law school?  Where is my bloody official admission?  Also, what am I doing this summer? It suddenly occurs to me that throughout the year when I was preparing for the LSAT, and then law school, I forgot there was thing called, “summer.” I learned that my parents intelligence genes are no use this month. (Just kidding…sort of.) I really actually learned that I’m moving to Chicago.

June: I move to Chicago. Why? Because staying in Des Moines this summer is not an option.  Sorry, but I do not want to be “that” senior grad who stuck around. Furthermore, I didn’t go to school in Des Moines anymore and for me that was enough. Also, I was hoping for Loyola law (Notre Dame and Georgetown had other ideas apparently).  Besides that, one of my brothers lives in Chicago and he has a perfectly warm couch. Of course, this means I actually have to live with my brother. Well, at least it’s in Lincoln Park. I learned a lot about anxiety this month or rather experienced it. This is when all the thoughts about what I wanted out of life started. Law school…still…maybe?

July: Well, I guess I am not going to law school. Life is an adventure, right? Okay, I have a Marketing and Politics degree (and a Concentration in Law and Business) but we all know that Politics major is shot to hell now. Fine, job market, here I come. I have a good GPA, I have more than enough internships/work experience, I speak a few languages, and I’m all sorts of awesomeness. I think you should be looking for me…Right? Wrong.  I learned that there were millions of  people in America looking for jobs.

August: I have a legitimate interview. (Legitimate because I actually want to work at this place. Till this day, they haven’t given me an official decision. But I was once a potential future law student-if there is no offer, there is no acceptance. Pun intended.) I meet Nicole Crimaldi after boldly emailing her for a coffee meeting. Also, I start this blog! I learned that twitter is a great networking tool and remembered how much I loved writing.

September: So my bills aren’t going to pay themselves? Weird. I need a job. Yesterday. I am grateful that I have at least two siblings (with established careers) and parents who are supportive. Still, did I mention I need a job… yesterday? Well, I’ll console myself with keeping busy with Ms. Career Girl. I earn my “Events Coordinator” stripes after the first event…but no, I’m still not earning any money. Every day, I learned that I needed a job…yesterday.

October: MORE APPLICATIONS. MORE INTERVIEWS. AWESOME. Oh wait, I have this revelation where I realize that I have no idea what I really want. (Nicole and I are all the while making plans to launch the digital marketing firm, now MCG Media Inc.) I do know what I don’t want is half the applications and interviews coming my way. I want to do something I will actually not go home contemplating ways to “end it all” (Please, nobody take this seriously). Speaking of home…maybe I should just go back home, as in “home home?” My mother, “since when do you quit?” Me: since I can’t pay my own bills mum (Since I don’t know what to do with my life!)” My mother: “God is in control. I am praying on my knees for you every day. But you can never ever give up. I don’t want to hear it again. You’re there for a reason. You’re going through this for a reason. You will succeed. I will place my life on it.”  I learned I can cry…a lot.

November: 2nd Ms Career Girl event. MCG Media is launched. I am having fun doing these. I get a check. (Thank God.) I also participate in a fun event called Dance Out Loud and meet the founder; it made me remember “what’s important.” Oh and it’s Thanksgiving and one of my birthday presents from October, is heading off to Atlanta.  I’m  thankful to be where I am in my life and to be doing something “different” in my post-grad career and all of my endeavors. I’m thankful I’m learning a lot and working on a new business and working with the best mentor ever. I learned (finally) that I was exactly where I needed to be.

December: I’ve  learned that the Holidays still stress me out. I’ve  learned that this has been one heck of a year. I’ve learned that I have grown up a lot. I’ve learned that I have changed…to who and what, the jury is still out on. Most importantly, I’m learning that I’m on a mission to be where I am destined to be.

When it’s all said and done, I am grateful for this year. I have learned more in 8 months of uncertainty, than in a life time of knowing what to do next. I am grateful for my family’s love and support, especially, my mother, who literally dedicates her days to praying. (I am sure I took up a lot of her novenas this year.) I am grateful that my brother whom I still live with tolerates me despite us not always seeing eye to eye. When I move out, I might actually be a little sad. I am grateful to all my true friends (college-aged and otherwise) who put up with my ups and downs in one way or the other. (I have to say, I have some darn good friend.) I am grateful to Nicole because without her, this year and my life as I know it, would simply not be. She is not just my boss and mentor, she is a true friend and a rare person. I have to say too that I am grateful to the priests at my parish, St Clement, who through their inspiring homilies and therapeutic confessions, kept me going. Sometimes, remembering one of their stories would be the only reason I got out of bed (especially in October).  Above all, I am grateful to God, who ALWAYS seems to make a way, as the song goes. Through it all, on many days, I still found a reason to smile, laugh and dance…. and I can’t thank Him enough for that.

I wish you a Happy and Hopeful New Year!



Let us Reflect.

27 Dec

The buzz word this week is reflection and it ought to be. The year is coming to a close and for some reason the new year always brings a sense of relief; a sense of a fresh-start. At least for me it does. If we’re really honest, “New Year’s” day is just another day. Still, if perception is anything and I believe it is, then the new year tends to feel “new,” and for a lot us, that’s a good thing.

For some people this past year has brought a great deal of joy, of love, of happiness, and 2011 would have been a year to remember. They’ll be hoping the good times keep rolling in 2012. For others, this might have been a year of pain, of distress, of confusion, and a year they would be glad to erase from memory. For others, 2012 cannot come fast enough. For most of us, however, I suspect that this year has been a little bit of everything as any year tends to be. Or perhaps if we are really positive, we can consider that we are alive and breathing, and  if have our health and believe happiness is a choice,  we can say this year, like most years, has been good…for the most part.

At Christmas mass, the priest urged the congregation to reflect on our year (as if I needed any encouragement). But I have to that add he did it in a sublime manner and challenged us to be really objective with ourselves.  To call the good, good, and the bad, bad and the mundane, mundane. So this entire week, I shall ponder. This year was a graduation/post-graduation period and with that came the joy of accomplishment and the excitement of the “transition.” In my case, it also ended up being a period of uncertainty and confusion.

Anyway, I challenge you use this week to really soul search and to be honest with yourself. What did you learn this year? When you remember this year,  what will you remember? What is your 2011 reflection? I’ll ponder, you’ll ponder, we’ll ponder together, and by Friday,  maybe the eventmarketingrookie will get a little deep with you. 😉



Last Minute Holiday Gifts!

23 Dec

When I was in college, (all 8 months ago) I would complete a lot of my Politics papers (Politics was my second major), the night before or the early morning of the day that they were due. In my head, I’m a planner and so I was never quite sure how it happened. But between two majors, a concentration, several activities, a part-time job, (sometimes two), and a belief that I do my best work under pressure and between the hours of 10p.m. and 3a.m., it never really bothered me. Besides, other than a one page assignment that I still to this day do not know how I blanked on, I have NEVER submitted any late assignment. Still, just like my papers, I tend to leave my gift-buying till the last minute!  Do you? Well, read on.

Having family abroad, last-minute shopping doesn’t always work. So I leave it to the last possible minute. (Kidding…sort of.) This year I have been really good and actually got almost all my gifts last week. However, I have one or two last minute items to get, and I thought I would share some potential gift ideas with you. Why? Because I know I’m not the only last-minute buyer; I do work in event planning remember? Also, as all last-minute shoppers know, there are some great deals that you can snag that early-birds never know about. I guess sometimes the early bird doesn’t choose the choicest worm. Anyway, here you go:

Kovie’s Top 5 Last Minute Holiday Gifts

5. Winter accessories. Firstly, if you live in L.A. or down south, just think “accessories.” Believe it or not, most people will appreciate wearable items that matches their “style,” and if you want to be on the “safe side” of wearable items, accessories are a good choice. You have to be attentive to what their “style” is, so these kind of gifts will probably be for people you know well. One rule of thumb: Simple is better. Who is going to throw out a well-knitted white or black scarf? Nobody. That’s the point. For these, I say shop Express, Urban Outfitters or World Market for some great Holiday deals and styles. If you happen to be in Chicago, Akira always has great finds too!

4. Gift Cards. Gift cards have become a popular item, especially as a stocking stuffer. The key to giving a good gift card is that it is to a place the person will actually use it at. For example-and I do not advocate illegal downloading of music; I use Spotify remember?-but there are people who do it, and if you know the person does, they might not appreciate an iTunes gift card as someone who always purchases on iTunes. If someone is addicted to Starbucks, then yes, a Starbucks gift card is a good gift! Again, you have to know the person’s interests and then decide. I say shop at your closest Walgreens for a wide selection of gift cards. Or you can always go directly to the store, restaurant, coffe shop, etc.

3. Drinks anyone? For the drinker among you, (and there is always one) get them their favorite bottle or maybe one they’ve never tried before. Or perhaps a case of “Holiday”or specialty beer. While some drinkers tend to be all about “their drink,” most will be a little adventurous. I think getting a drink is really good when you add something to it. (This is of course, if you didn’t purchase the most expensive bottle of Brandy or French wine.) A book, especially one that they can enjoy while sipping their drink is always good. Or maybe a box of chocolate or assorted nuts. For drinks, chocolate, nuts and books, I say shop your neighborhood specialty store.

2. An experience…What do I mean here? Well it’s closely related to getting a gift card but this time it’s for something they will “experience.” This is easy to find because of all the daily deals sites where you can save money and also get them a good gift. Some ideas include a mani-pedi certificate, a massage, some cool fitness classes or maybe even a sky-diving experience, for the thrill-seeker you are shopping for. So if you aren’t signed up for Groupon, Living Social, Gilt City or your local daily deal site…do it. Now!

1. Cash. Contrary to popular belief, cash is a great gift. Perhaps this is just the recent graduate in me but if all my gifts were cash, I would not have a single complaint. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved just about every gift I have ever received. But I think I speak for a lot of young people when I say CASH IS KING. Why? Because when I receive cash, I have the freedom to buy whatever I want and when I want it. If giving flat out cash still bothers you, well, that’s why they created those Visa gift certificates/cards, right? Or if you think you’re not putting enough thought when you give cash, put a lot of thought into the card and the envelope that you put the cash in. Besides, after seeing  all those credits on your bank account because of all your Holiday gift purchases, receiving cash tends to be a blessing. My point? Don’t be deceived, people are seldom ever disappointed with Holiday cash. Period.

I hope this list benefits my fellow last-minute Holiday shoppers and anyone out there who still has a few items to pick up. I want to wish all of you a very Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas!



Do you suffer from the Holiday Blues?

20 Dec

I will begin with a disclaimer: I celebrate Christmas therefore I refer to the Holidays as Christmas for the most part. I know that everyone is so concerned with being PC these days but this is my blog, and I’ll cry if I want to…or at least say Christmas.

Now that we have that disclaimer out the way, let it be known that I do like Christmas, as far as the “true” meaning of Christmas is concerned anyway. As someone who is active in my faith, it goes without saying that it is a significant celebration.  However, all throughout college and for most of high school, I just wanted the Christmas season to come fast and leave faster. Every time I would tell people that I didn’t care for Christmas, you would think I had told them that I just killed a puppy. Anyway, as I have found out, I am not the only one who gets the Holiday Blues. This year, I have been especially conscientious and have taken care to avoid these blues…sort of. If you already have them, well, I’m no expert but it’s never too late to turn that frown upside down, or at least keep a straight face. (At this point, I want to give another disclaimer that if you do suffer from Depression during this period, and not just “the Blues,” then you might want to see an expert.)

The following are 5 things that have worked for me in what I call “How to Avoid the Holiday Blues.”

1. REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES. One of the reasons why some people get the blues around this time of year is that they associate the period with a lot of stress and sometimes even unhappy memories. However, unless every single one of your Holidays has just been a complete disaster, I suggest making a conscious effort to remember any good memories you have of Christmas. It’s a lot easier to remember the bad than it is the good. If we supposedly become our thoughts, however, then we better keep those thoughts positive!

2. MAKE IT YOUR CHRISTMAS. As I said, one of the reasons I continue to endure Christmas is because for me it has religious meaning and therefore I try to keep the focus on that as well. Another way that I make it “my Christmas” is, funny enough, trying to focus on other people during this time of year. For me, this means making an extra effort to give time or donations to people who cannot return the favor. Just like the rest of the year, being kind to others makes me feel better. Try it, if you aren’t already!

3. KEEP UP WITH YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE. I will admit that sticking to an exercise regime during this time of year takes twice the effort. But you know what they say, exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy!

4. JUST SAY NO. Yes, even during the Holidays be sure to stay away from illegal substances. But that’s not what I’m referring to here. If having to go to  many events during this time of year causes you stress, I suggest making adjustments and cutting back. Sometimes it’s the stress of having to do so much, whether it’s a lot of cooking or a lot of shopping, etc, that can really bring some people down. Some events and tasks are unavoidable but if you need the help: ask!

5. MUSIC HELPS. This year, I finally came up with my own personal Christmas playlist. At this point, I have to thank Spotify; it is the best thing that has happened to my music life this year and the reason why I have my Christmas playlist. (Check them out!) I chose Christmas songs that I remember and adored from my childhood as well as some new hits including  Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe”, “Pray” and “Drummer Boy.” Go ahead, judge me but how can you hate JB after those songs? I also highly recommend Michael Buble’s Christmas CD. By the way, his version of “All I want for Christmas” is so much better than Mariah’s. I’ve been wanting to put this in writing since I heard it. If you can attend a live concert or musical, even better!

Have you got any tips to avoid the Holiday Blues? Please share!  At the end of the day, remember that the best Christmas gift you can give your loved ones is a healthy and happy you!



Memo to Gen Y:

16 Dec

Yesterday, a good friend and I were talking about the characteristics of “Generation Y,” our generation. If you could have listened in on the conversation, you would have probably thought we were from our grandparents generation, complaining about “kids today.”

To give you the context that my friend and I are coming from, I thought I would share a few details from our backgrounds that probably affect why we think the way we think. We tend to share the same fundamental views, although you wouldn’t know it because all we ever do is debate 90% of the time! More importantly, we are both west Africans who had parents who came from nothing to be where they are today. With that in mind, we look at our generation and especially the society that we live in, with a little concern. So, here is my memo to my generation, Generation Y:

1. Dream and DO. I don’t want to confuse the message I had in my previous post. I believe it is very important to have goals but I believe it is just as  important, if not more so, to realize that in order to achieve those goals, you have to work hard. In my eyes, our generation has become too good for some jobs. It’s one thing if you can’t see yourself doing something and that’s fine but if on the path to your great dream, you have to be little for a time, that’s what you have to do. People admire celebrities-actors, singers, etc  for their looks or their wealth and to each his or her own. However, what I have always admired about many celebrities is their work ethic and their stories to get to where they wanted to be. So if you’re sitting around waiting for your dreams to chase you, I suggest you  wake up, because that is a pipe dream. Get up and get to work.

2. Entitled much? It’s been said over and over again and it seems that it just can’t get through to many Gen Y brains that we are an entitled group, and we need to change that. Everything from thinking we “deserve” straight A’s for merely completing work to “deserving” a job because we have a degree, Gen Y is unbelievably entitled and to be quite frank, a little full of it. And we take this attitude from the classroom out to the real world. Let me be clear: IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT. “A” work reflects going above and beyond what is needed in an excellent fashion. If you were one of those students who took the “easy” professors and classes and didn’t learn anything-how’s the real world working out for you? Moreover, the reality for most of us is that a lot of what we have right now, has been given to us. It is NOT from our own sweat. My point? Show some gratitude.

3. Let’s Learn From Our Parents Mistakes. (Especially, their financial ones.) It goes without saying that all the blame cannot be placed on Gen Y. Remember who raised us, right? Now, my friend and I tend to be outliers of this next point because we come from a very cash-based society and for the most part, if you can’t buy it, you can’t buy it. I think a lot of people in Gen Y grew up with very financially irresponsible examples. Too much “keeping up with the Joneses (or Kardashians)” goes on. They were taught that if you can’t afford it, “put it on the credit card.” Look where our economy is and finances are as a society; we are in shambles and have the wrong mind-set about money. The best thing that I think that can happen to Gen Y from these tough economic times, is that we’ll learn the same lessons that the generation before our parents practiced: “if you can’t afford it, you probably don’t need it.” (For the record, this obviously doesn’t apply to all groups in society but we all know too well who it does apply to.)

Now, it may come off like I’m being too hard on my generation. After all, we have so much to offer. We are still an inspiring group of people who believe in making change,  we’re good at multitasking, we are tech-savvy, we are team-oriented and we want to have a life of balance. Additionally, each Gen Y is an individual and in that respect, has to be taken on that basis. In the end, however, I love people and myself way too much to see what is going on and remain silent. What do you think about Gen Y? What are we doing right and where do we need help? Because to be honest, I do think while this generation has come great potential, we need some good guidance.



Dreams. What do I want from life?

13 Dec

Above is one of my favorite quotes for life…and death. Yesterday, I read an article about death (sort of) titled : “The top 5 regrets of those about to die.” It’s a good read and I highly recommend  you read it. (After you’re done here, of course.) Before reading it, I had started on making my vision board. I certainly believe in the power of positive thinking coupled with a belief that we all have a purpose on earth. Between these two activities-making my vision board and reading the article, it made me go into reflection mode. What do I, Kovie Biakolo, REALLY want out of life. Do you ever wonder and legitimately think about this too?

It’s so easy to get caught up in the mundane tasks of life that we forget we ought to have dreams and purposes in life. Well, at least I believe we do. As I made my vision board and tried to decide what I want out of life, professionally and personally (and especially professionally), I realized that what is harder than chasing a dream or living for a purpose is realizing that you don’t know exactly what dream to chase or purpose to fulfill. As in, I don’t know for sure what I want to be (when I grow up). I don’t know exactly what I want from my professional life. Or maybe it is that I have so many options, I am not so sure which one is “my calling.” You see, I don’t believe in just having a profession or job, I believe in having a vocation. I like marketing, I like events, I like media and social media. I also like education, writing and I like law (at least I like reading about it). I LIKE SO MANY THINGS!

The beauty of course is that I know that I don’t need to decide this in a certain period of time. That’s what life is all about, right? Figuring it out and making room for some adventures along the way. In fact, some of my best life decisions were made in an instant or “by chance” or I prefer, fate. Going to Drake, for example and dare I say, not going to law school this fall.

Going back to my vision board. For some reason, deciding on my personal goals  seemed a lot easier. I’m not really much of a personal lives “sharer,” but there’s a first time for everything I suppose. Here it goes: I know I want a big family like the one I grew up in. I know I want to live in London at some point. I know I want to travel to about 100 countries and I even know that I want to be a Zumba instructor for fun in the next year or two. The only certain professional goals that I secured is that I know I want to work with MsCareerGirl for a long time (wherever I am) and that I want to be a founder of a “cause” organization.

I am grateful that I have some goals and that I know some of what I do want personally. Work, after all, as they say, is a necessary evil. I guess I want whatever vocation I find myself doing as work in the long-term, to be a necessary good. The article confirmed for me that it’s good to have dreams, but not to just have dreams but to keep track of those dreams. Remember when you were a kid and you believed everything was possible? Did adulthood take that away from you? Well, don’t blame it on adulthood. You’re not supposed to lose your childish enthusiasm, remember? Adulthood should make those dreams more coherent despite growing up being difficult; it should make the path to those dreams clearer. If of course, we really want what we say we want badly enough.

I’ve heard (I believe from Grey’s Anatomy) that as tough as wanting something is, those who suffer the most are those who don’t know what they want. (I might be in this boat a little) But as I’ve also heard (from Grey’s too) life is not a spectator sport. So why is it that people go through their lives as if they are spectators? If you’re living, you’re in the game, not on the sidelines. Maybe those who suffer the most then, are those who go through their lives and don’t even bother to dream and those who have a dream but never even bother to chase it. I’m not saying stop everything you’re doing, quit your job or sell all your belongings and go for it (although if that’s what it takes, you might consider it) but for goodness sake, ask yourself: what do I want out of my life? Then write it down and go from there.

I don’t know everything I want. I might only know as I continue to go through life’s adventure and this year has certainly been one heck of an adventure for me. But as God is my witness, as I figure it out, I’m going for it. I’ve never been much of a spectator anyway. One of my greatest strengths is that I am competitor and I love to play the game.



What’s all the fuss about Klout? (And what’s with all the #Kloutbashing?) Part 2

8 Dec

If you haven’t read Part 1, you should!

I said last time that I would save my final thoughts for after I attended the #KloutChevySonic event (that was the # for the event on twitter). So here are 3 final conclusions about klout , the klout algorithm change and klout bashing.

1. People overreacted.  I found out at the event from another attendee that Google changes their search algorithm all the time. So just because Klout does not have the power that Google does, it does not mean they’re not allowed to do what is best for the tool. I’m yet to see a logical argument, and logical in the sense of using a system of reasoning to oppose Klout’s change. On that note, I am definitely open to learning about one. If there is one out there, please enlighten me.

2. All the bashing gives Klout more Klout. Tweeting, blogging, facebooking and online attacks on Klout are actually doing a good job of raising it’s profile. If Klout were insignificant, it wouldn’t be worth all the ranting and raving. If I were a betting person, I’d be willing to put money in on the idea that some people probably joined Klout as a result of all the complaining. Good job social media “experts,” I don’t think you meant to do that (Yes, sarcasm completely intended).

3. Klout does not define you or your online presence. I was relieved to find out that most people at the event did not think of Klout or their Klout score as the sum total of their virtual existence. Most people were pretty level-headed. They wanted a high Klout score but who doesn’t? Some may have even had a slightly “bruised ego” from it, but that’s about it. Like me, they like Klout and use it and are excited to see where it will go but getting all caught up in a Klout score? No thanks, we are Chicagoans after all, and we think we’re pretty important, Klout score or not.

So…what that’s the conclusion of my conclusion? The way I see it, you’re probably not being forced to use Klout so if you don’t like it, you can always hit the “virtual road.” And if you are being forced to use it, well, in the words of Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it. Change your attitude.”



What’s all the fuss about Klout? (And what’s with all the #Kloutbashing?) PART 1

6 Dec

Let me start this post with a couple of Disclaimers:

1. I am not a klout expert. I haven’t researched it in detail and I will not claim to fully understand it.

2. To follow up on point 1, I am not a social media expert either. (For that matter, I don’t believe it has been around long enough for people to claim to be experts but let’s not get off-topic here).

3. I do not intend to change anyone’s opinion (whatever, it is) about klout. This post is written out of curiosity and free will.

As you may or may not know (and if you have any interest in social media, you ought to know) that Klout recently changed it’s algorithm. Okay, I should cover the basics for anyone who is not a social media enthusiast. What is Klout? In it’s own words: “The standard measure of online influence.”  In a nutshell, and to the best of my understanding, it measures the impact of your presence through your online and social media activity; how your content is shared and how often it is shared, and ultimately how it impacts others. Yes, there’s a formula for it and yes, you get a score, a “Klout score.” For a more detailed explanation, here’s their website:

As I mentioned, Klout changed it’s algorithm recently and felt the dark side of tweeters, facebookers, bloggers and so-called social media “experts” who all saw their Klout Score go down. Many social media enthusiasts were not happy to put it mildly.  For some entertaining reactions, here are a few articles I suggest reading (after you’re done here) 🙂 : …a funny perspective on leading a mob against Klout …why Klout made a big mistake

-11-should-i-delete-my-klout-account-both-sides-of-the-a …both sides of the Klout argument

I think the idea behind Klout is really cool.  The opportunity to track and measure influence? Awesome; I am a marketer after all! Yes, it’s a bit of a popularity contest but I’ve never been afraid of a little competition. I also never took it as seriously as some people apparently did.  Klout was new to me and as much as I wanted to jump on the bandwagon of looking at my online presence through the lens of a score, I didn’t get caught up in it. Why? For the same reason I hadn’t read all the Harry Potter books when they came out. Because generally speaking “I don’t do hype.” Yes, I like to be on top of things and in the kn0w and even innovate but once I get a gut-reaction of “hype,” I prefer to look before I leap. After looking for some months now, I like Klout. (By the way, I like the Harry Potter books too!) And I admit it, my score only went down 2 points during the algorithm change. I have nothing to be angry about!

In conclusion…well, I am going to reserve that for a Part 2 of this post later this week. Why? Because Chevy and Klout happen to be having an event this week and there will be someone from Klout there. Hopefully I can get their perspective, and reactions from people at the event. Whatever I find, I’m pretty sure that as much as I like Klout, just like facebook or twitter or my blog, I won’t define my online existence solely by the “numbers.” But, that’s just me.