Work-Life Balance

Tough choices

Does it have to be an either/or? (via Mat)

Marketplace aired a really interesting segment last week about the effects of the Chinese New Year on American businesses. The festivities for Chinese New Year last a couple of weeks on the mainland. But the fallout for American businesses, who outsource a lot of production and manufacturing to China, can last months. Supply pipelines get backed up for up to two months and employee turnover is high, with some employees simply never coming back. The segment – which we highly encourage you to listen to – ends with Marketplace’s Lizzie O’Leary and American CEO Scott Ellyson of East West Manufacturing wondering if the situation will:

  • remain unchanged, with American companies working with Chinese tradition even though it makes a significant financial dent in bottom lines
  • going the American way where we may go slow or work through the holidays but certainly never shut down completely
  • or some combination in between.

Happy medium? (via Dan4th Nicholas)

Ellyson seems to think the answer is a combination in between. And we support that. Here’s why. [Read more…]

Take A Flying Leap – You Still Can When You’re An Intern

outside-comfort-zoneThere are a couple of great sayings that are worth printing out and putting up on your memo board – you’ll find them often on posters, mugs, and refrigerator magnets. One is “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” The other is “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And at Advanse, we couldn’t agree more.

Those words of wisdom are true at any age. But we especially encourage interns and beginning professionals to take both sentiments to heart. Because when you are starting out, you have several things on your side:

[Read more…]

Entrepreneurship 101, via Chef Geoff

One of the important components of Advanse’s training programs is business visits. And our departing Summer 2013 SPRINTers had a unique and really enjoyable business visit experience. They got to visit with Chef Geoff Tracy, the very successful founder of the Chef Geoff restaurant empire. (And yes, you didn’t read that wrong, they got to “visit with” him. To visit with someone, to say you “visited” is an American expression for spending time with someone.)


Summer 2013 SPRINTers visit with Geoff Tracy (far right) of Chef Geoff.

Chef Geoff took time out of his busy schedule to talk to our SPRINTers and share his thoughts on entrepreneurship. And we’re not kidding about the busy part. He runs six restaurants, splits his time between New York city (where his family currently lives) and Washington DC, is married to a high profile journalist with an equally demanding schedule, and has three young children including twins. Did we mention that he had no background in the industry, and in fact, graduated college with a degree in theology?

So how did he get this far and how does he hold it all together? Simple: Tracy epitomizes the saying that if you do what you love, it’ll never feel like work.


Geoff Tracy answers SPRINTers’ questions on entrepreneurship.

Here are some of the other big themes that came out of the SPRINTers’ conversation with Tracy:  [Read more…]

The Post, Bezos, And “Genius”

There's a lot to learn from Jeff Bezos' purchase of a storied but declining paper - risk, patience, long term strategy, and details.

There’s a lot to learn from Jeff Bezos’ purchase of a storied but declining paper – risk, patience, long term strategy, and details.

For those of us who are DC-region residents, one story overshadowed the rest of the news this week – the sale of The Washington Post to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

For newspaper readers – whether it’s the dead-tree edition at the breakfast table or online on the go – this is big news. Because the Post is arguably one of the few important American papers left with any kind of global standing (the others being the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and …. that’s probably it). Let’s put it this way, when you get on an international flight going, there are only a few American papers the airlines and lounges will still stock. And the Post is among them.*

But we digress. Back to Bezos and the papers… [Read more…]

Why Aren’t You On LinkedIn?

Linkedin Chocolates

photo by nan palmero

A recent @YouTern #internpro tweetchat started off with this question: Why aren’t you on LinkedIn? And it’s a very good question. Not just because you should be, but because a recent report found that a whopping 93 percent of job recruiters look at LinkedIn to find qualified candidates. And that’s up from 87 percent last year, and 78 percent the year before. LinkedIn is now to the working world, what email is to your basic communication. If you’re not using it, it’s …. odd. Like you’re with a secretive industry. Or perhaps from another planet.

But a lot of college students hesitate from getting on LinkedIn for several reasons. And we’re here to debunk and address them: [Read more…]

Why Skipping College Can Work – For Some

There’s a great article in last week’s Washington Post about Noor Siddiqui, a talented Afghan-American teenager who is skipping college to become a Thiel Fellow. It took her parents some time to get used to the idea – because as they make quite clear, and like many parents before them, they came to the US to give their kids a better education. Except that higher education, defined as anything past high school, is now becoming prohibitively expensive for far too many people. Parents start 529 college funds the second they confirm a pregnancy, fully expecting that their savings won’t be enough at the rate college tuition seems to rise and rise…

Indeed, a phrase you hear a lot in the US these days is that “higher education in the next big bubble.” [Read more…]

Clothes Make The Man, Unless You’re The Boss

Mark Zuckerberg. You might have heard a bit about him over the weekend. The facebook honcho took a hit from GM, took his company public, and oh yeah, quietly took the plunge with his long-time girlfriend. And the first thing everyone noticed about the famously hoodied entrepreneur is that he suited up for his wedding.

facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his bride, Priscilla Chan

Well, yes.

Because even Zuckerberg, one of the most influential people on the planet, dresses appropriately for the occasion. [Read more…]

Failing Upwards

Failure. Two syllables, and a dreaded word that seems to carry a stench all of its own. But failure is necessary to succeed.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But if you talk to successful people, particularly entrepreneurs and international business professionals, they’ll tell you that their failures helped them succeed.

Why? Very simple – when you fail, you learn what not to do. You learn what doesn’t work. And you take those lessons forward to either do a better job or change course. It’s called failing upward. 

But in order to fail upward, you have to take chances. You have to be willing to fail. And if you do fall flat on your face, you have to simply get back up, dust yourself off and try again.

You’re probably thinking, “That’s easier said than done!” And it does take courage to go into something thinking, “This is going to be a disaster!”

But the key is to tell yourself that if you fail, your lessons will better prepare you for the future. It also makes sense to play the “What if?” game. What’s the worst that can happen? How can you anticipate a worst case scenario, prepare for it, and then possibly sidestep the minefields you’re now aware of? Last but not least, ask yourself this important question – If you don’t take a chance, what are you losing?

What success looks like.

There’s a great inspirational quote. No one really knows who came up with it, it’s been around forever – students and captains of industry alike have printed it out and posted it up on their walls.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot.

R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on.

English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books.

Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs.

Don’t worry about failure.

Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.

More Reading:

Love What You Do (Part 2 of 2)

In our last post we said, love what you do. But this post is about the practicality that you need so you can continue loving what you do.

Will sauteeing successfully pay for food truck bills? What’s Plan B if no one buys? (Image courtesy of College Girl Cooks)

Love what you do, but be able to pay your bills. This may seem true more often than not for artists, creative professionals, writers, and thinkers. But it is also true for businesspeople. You may love the idea of starting your own business or selling a particular product. But think long term and ask yourself if there is a future in it. And if there isn’t, what is your plan B? [Read more…]

Love What You Do (1 of 2)


No doubt you’ve heard the saying “do what you love.” There is good reason why you’ll hear that over and over as you job hunt. Particularly if you’re starting out at that juncture of life where you realize that you have an education that hasn’t yet translated into skills or a ready career path – because you don’t yet have any real work experience. [Read more…]