During our attempt to overcome the ever-daunting conquest of job-searching, we are always striving to showcase our workplace abilities, such as the valuable skills we acquired during our time in school or perhaps in previous positions. We often forget to display some of the most important personality traits that can make all the difference in helping us land our dream job, or make us truly stand out in the workplace. While the economy may change significantly over time, these skills are almost guaranteed to never become outdated, regularly being the most important part that job seekers look for. As technology and communication continue to adapt with time, recruiters are increasingly looking for employees willing to adapt along with it.
These aforementioned skills range from a wide variety of interpersonal skills that showcase one’s ability to work with team members, communicate, as well as their willingness to try new things. These personality traits remain the most important part of transferable skills that employers are looking for in new employees. So, want to land your dream job? Be sure to keep these valuable skills in mind and at their best during your next job search!
Communication: Regardless of the role or industry of your career path, effective communication is essential. The ability to communicate strategies or plans with other employees, customers, or managers, is perhaps the most important skill to help ensure one’s success in the workforce. Fortunately, there have been many tools to help employees effectively communicate with one another. For example, some great softwares include Google or Slack (a team communication software.) However, the most important part to this is remembering to communicate and to not be lazy!
Ability to Work in a Team: Like communication, the ability to work with large groups on a collaborative project is an important skill set to improve upon. It is likely that most positions will require you to communicate and collaborate with the other employees that make up your department. Your ability to work in a team will greatly depend on your willingness to listen to feedback/criticism, support the ideas and the work of others, as well as your ability to take initiative in your role. Teamwork requires great communication and positive encouragement, regardless of your role, and that includes sharing the success of your work with your team. Being a key team player is essential to being an integral part of the workplace.
Willingness to Continue Learning: This may not sound valuable, but it’s important for prospective employees to show their willingness to learn and try new things, showing that despite any change that may come to your role or the corporation, you are always willing to adapt to change and new challenges. Technology may change, your management leadership may be restructured, or perhaps your position will be altered, but employers want to see that they can have someone to rely on to advance their skills and adapt to new challenges.Show That You’re Flexible: With the change in the way that we work and communicate, employers are also looking for employees that are flexible in their time, their adaptability, and their ability to take feedback. It’s important to be able to provide your flexibility when it comes to taking evaluation from peers and managers and allowing yourself to be flexible to the needs of your organization. This includes your ability to work with a team and work with feedback, and your flexibility and willingness to try new ideas will be the most important part of mastering these skills.
Always Be Positive: Negativity in the workplace is never a good idea. Show that you’re positive about new ideas, projects, and change, and also always be positive about your previous work experiences and employers, as negativity will always shine through and create a disadvantage for you in your job search. Plus, no one wants to work with Mr. or Mrs. Negative Nelly.
Searching for jobs can be challenging, but when the time comes to showcase your personality, don’t forget to prominently showcase yourself through these traits. Most importantly, be transparent and allow yourself to shine through your work!
I was recently talking with a friend about my graphic design work and after the ten-to-fifteen-minute conversation we had, he then stated “I’m not even really sure what graphic design is.” I of course laughed at the fact that he respectfully endured my lecture about a topic he was completely oblivious to. Nonetheless, this humorous situation laid the foundation for the topic of this article: What actually is graphic design?
Graphic design is one of those things that we all sort of have an idea of, or a general concept of what it is, however, for the majority of the time, no one can truly describe what it is. It is like Einstein’s E=MC2 equation, or how a computer operates: We know the general idea of these things, however, ask us to explain or elaborate on them and our brains become “blank screens.” However, have no fear, I am here – to explain what this mysterious, daunting, abstract term means and also, how you could easily apply some of its basic principles to your life.
The easiest way to explain what graphic design is-is to use the four general principles first coined by writer Robin Williams (not the actor): CRAP. C.R.A.P. is the acronym for contrast, repetition, alignment and proximity. Much can be said about each of the principles, however, as this is a short and sweet introduction, only the larger, more significant ideas will be presented. It should also be noted that this is a paraphrased version of the original author’s work.
C – Contrast is extremely important for aesthetic and mental comprehension. When two or more colors compliment each other, we call this having ”good contrast.” For example, the colors dark grey and yellow go well together, or white and black. However, the most common mistake that many people make when presenting information is the lack of attention to the contrast principle. You would be surprised at just how quickly bad contrast can throw off your eyes and by extension your mind. The inability to read text because, for example, the font color is purple and the background is red, creates a major visual inconvenience for your audience. Bad contrast and color choice is seen time and time again in school or work presentations, websites, even company logos! However, it is a small, yet very powerful added touch that can bring the information you are presenting to a step just above the rest. If you would like more information or additional examples of contrast, I invite you to visit this link: https://blog.slideshare.net/2014/03/17/how-to-use-colors-in-presentations
R – The principle for repetition in the most basic of explanations is: If you do something in one place, this must be repeated throughout. In other words, if you use Arial font for the title on a page, you should use Arial font for all of the titles and subtitles on the page. However there is an exception to this font principle, which is: Complimentary fonts. If you use a modern font for the title, you may use a classical font for the content, or vice versa. In general, this principle should apply to all aspects of whatever you are creating: Images, fonts, colors, and style. When a medium has a defined style, it is significantly easier to retrieve information from it because the medium has repeated aspects. However, if the medium were to constantly change, your brain is in a constant state of flux trying to process the differences. To elaborate, a concise example may be of assistance: If you are creating a ten page proposal and you use an orange background with a photo on the first page, and Helvetica font, in the subsequent pages, all of these aspects should be repeated to establish coherence.
A – Alignment is simply ensuring that all of the contents of the presented information follow repeated spacing. In other words, if you align the title of a paragraph to the left, but you align the paragraph itself to the right, this would immediately throw off your audience or reader. Also, alignment could establish certain connotations to the contents. For example, in English writing, centered alignment establishes emphasis, left alignment establishes structure and normality, and right alignment establishes obscurity and abnormality. These could be manipulated depending on the feeling you want to convey with the information.
P – Proximity is the space between content. An easy example to visualize this is the margins in a document. If you were set the margins of a document to “0”, not only would it print incorrectly, but again, your eyes would be immediately thrown off. Proximity is arguably the most difficult to manipulate as it doesn’t always come naturally. Also, proximity is often what graphic designers “play with” the most when designing concepts. Many minor aspects fall under the category of proximity from the space between the characters of text, to the space between a paragraph and a related image.
I’m not sure if you noticed, but one of the most redundant sentences I used in this article is “throws off your eyes” because this is exactly what graphic designers work with and manipulate. Graphic design is simply taking information and displaying it in an intelligent and aesthetically pleasing manner as to allow for faster and more efficient comprehension. You have graphic designers to thank for massive amounts of visually comprehensive phenomena around you at almost every moment and most people aren’t even aware of this. However, in following the basic principles outlined in this article, you should now be able to act as a graphic designer and drastically change the presentation of information should this ever be demanded of you. Nonetheless, you now have a basic understanding of this rather unfamiliar term “graphic design.”
It’s funny how our world works. If you’re not careful, you become dispensable, so we all desperately try to work towards over achieving and constantly presenting our “best selves”. Social media has made this true, ten fold. We cast a shadow of the person we want the world to perceive us as. But then you say, “I don’t use social media”. However, do you not get up each day and try to be the best version of yourself? At least, that’s what most self-help books tell you to do. Do you not purchase new clothing because it makes you feel good? For some, they truly believe that the purchasing of new attire will raise their social status and tell the world that they can not only afford this new attire, but they possess the newest fashion trend.
It was in a college English classroom where I was first asked the question and then introduced to the short story; The question and story revolved around the same idea. The question our teacher asked us was, “Who here just wants to be average?” Inevitably, in a classroom, with such a provocative question raised, we all scanned the room to observe who was daring enough to raise their hand and send a signal to their peers that they did not have the motivation to overachieve, to “make something of themself”. In the moment, we all froze and pondered the question. Many of us had either never been asked that before and therefore never invested any true thought into the matter, or we simply couldn’t comprehend what the question was truly asking. Nevertheless, I never forgot about the question, much like the protagonist in the short story “I Just Wanna Be Average” that we read immediately after this baffling question was asked.
The reason the question was so shocking was because it is something that completely goes against everything many of us are taught almost from birth. We are unwillingly born into an atmosphere of competition; An arena for the survival of the fittest. We idolize the successful and pity the poor. We are hardwired to believe that if you have not spent countless, sleepless nights bashing your head against a table trying to produce “scholarly” content, you are just trying to be average. If you have not worked towards something so hard you make yourself physically ill, you are not trying hard enough. We want to make our parents and our grandparents and our children proud. However, most importantly, we want to ensure that when we no longer walk the Earth, our names are still said aloud; we fantasize about it being said by many. But, is being average really so bad?
When Mike Rose wrote “I Just Wanna Be Average,” he was onto something. However, the short story was published in 1989 and with that being said, a lot has changed, my fear is that it has not changed for the better. With the rise of social medias, new medias and the job market diminishing, it’s a wonder how any adolescent breathes, let alone fights to be on top. Those who do not attempt to push themselves beyond their very own boundaries are labeled. The thought of an unsuccessful life is imagined as an unhappy one. Some travel the world not to put their curiosities at rest, but to demonstrate just how unaverage they are.
But who then will be content with life’s purposes that aren’t classified as “above average” purposes? What is the key? What is the secret to being content with being “just average”? What if we all realized that we are just average. The argument would be that they build monuments for those who denied the label of “average” and for those individuals who are content with the label, are forgotten. Well to paraphrase what I believe Mike Rose was attempting to propose as a conclusion: Some of us may never be more than average to the world. However, this should be the most insignificant aspect of your life. Be above average in your own mind.
If you give a monkey a typewriter, and leave it for a million years, will it eventually bang out a word-for-word copy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth? From a purely mathematical point of view, the answer is yes, given either an infinite amount of time or an infinite amount of monkeys. Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentinean writer, was inspired by this idea. He wrote a short story called “The Library of Babel”, where he imagined a vast library that would contain every possible permutation of the alphabet and some punctuation marks. In addition to almost endless amounts of unintelligible gibberish, it would have everything ever written- from Shakespeare to scientific articles- as well as everything that can possibly be written. Nothing is new; anything you come up with, no matter how random, already exists somewhere and has been there all along. Intrigued by this concept, computer programmer and author Jonathan Basile set out to create a digital version of the library. I spoke to him for the chance to find out a little more.
Q: I think the concept of the Library is a really fascinating one, but it can be a little hard to grasp. Can you explain what the Library of Babel is?
A: Sure. I first encountered the idea in a short story by Jorge Louis Borges, an Argentinean writer. The idea, as it occurs in his story, is that you have a library that would have every possible permutation of a basic character set. He described 22 letters, in addition to the space, comma and period, as being enough to express all the things that it is possible to express. With every possible 410-page book, you would have a library that contained everything that had been written and everything that could be written, ranging from things we consider masterpieces, like Shakespeare, to things that we haven’t discovered yet, like the cure for diseases. Everything like that would be there, but it would be impossible for us to find because it would be drowned out by endless amounts of texts that are completely unintelligible.
Q: You’ve created a website based on the short story. How does it differ from the library described in the short story?
A: My goal was more or less to recreate the short story in the form of a website. I had to make some concessions to the form of the internet. The website, as it stands right now, has every possible permutation of the twenty-six lowercase letters of the English alphabet, as well as the space, comma, and period. It has every single possible page, not every single possible combination of those pages in the form of a book. I used the same proportions as Borges did, so one page of text in the library has 3200 characters, 40 lines, and 80 characters per line. So it’s just a matter of making the computation happen quickly enough.
Q: How does that work, exactly?
A: The number of pages that are possible to encounter on the website is greater than the number of atoms in the universe! So it would be impossible to store those on disc. The website actually uses a relatively simple algorithm to generate pages. Every page of text has a locating number, which is essentially the URL of that page. The locating number is the input of a random number generator that produces the page of text that you’re looking for. So every time you go to a URL you’ll find the same page of text there. Rig1ht now, there’s a discreet URL for every possible page of text.
Q: So the website doesn’t contain every possible book, but it contains every possible page, correct?
Q: How many pages would that be?
A: About 104680.
Q: How many books would you have if you chose to compute every possible combination of those pages?
A: Well, it depends on how many pages there are in a book. If you gave the proportions that Borges imagined for his library, which was 410-page books, the number of books is around 101000000.
Q: How long did it take you to create the website?
A: About six months altogether. I made an early version that took about three months and the current version took about three more months.
Q: What were some challenges you faced when working on the website?
A: Well, I didn’t expect that it would end up working at all! I didn’t know much about programming when I started out, and most of the advice I got from people who knew more about programming were things like “Why would you do that”, “That’s impossible” and “You’ll never be able to do it”. So I was operating without a lot of guidance. With a combination of sticking to it and just asking for more help when I needed it, I managed to ultimately get something that worked.
Q: Did you learn anything new while you were at it?
A: I definitely got a more accurate sense of the magnitude of what Borges is imagining. When I started the project I thought that you would, if you went through the pages every now and then, maybe find a couple of words on it, but that’s a very unrealistic expectation.
Q: Are there no limits to language? Can you find anything in any language, as long as you know how to interpret the way it’s written?
A: There are a lot of different ways of looking at that. Borges writes that it contains everything possible to express in all languages. So it is possible to translate or transliterate any text in any language, or even treat it as a cryptographical puzzle in order to convert it into the alphabet that the Library uses.
Q: Has anything changed now that we have access to the things contained in the Library?
A: I don’t think that the Library gives access to any more or less of the things that we had access to before. It’s not a functional compendium of all possible knowledge, because you find even less typically than you would in a normal library.
Q: What do you think the importance of the Library of Babel is?
A: I think it’s more of an opportunity to reflect on the nature of language than it is a way to compile existing data. It’s not a very practical way to try to do things, like finding the cure to diseases, but I think it’s a way to think differently about the nature of language and our relationship to it. We tend to think of language- of all the things that we say, and the things that people say- as spontaneous ideas that we are generating out of our free will. But one of the things this story reminds us of is that in order for ideas to be communicable at all, they have to be able to fit a communicable form of language. So, in a certain sense, they have always existed wherever we imagine that spontaneity and that spark of free will. What appears in our frame of reference to be a form of invention and self-creation is actually a discovery of things that are pre-formed and ready-made.
Q: So anything that people say, or write, including this interview, are rearrangements of things that already exist?