American Manners : Informal, Not Absent

Mike Tigas/The Maneater Officers and members of the Missouri International Student Council eat together at the Council's inaugural dinner, Saturday night.  New officers were announced and founding officers were recognized at the event.

image via Mike Tigas

Some of the biggest educational moments for our interns do not happen in class or during work. They happen in cultural exchanges during lunch, after work, outside the classroom, or between work assignments. In other words, in daily life.

We’ve already covered some of these educational differences – like the shock of the two-week summer vacation, or the difference between vacations, a holiday, and “the holidays.” But there are many cultural things that do not appear or get fully explained in guide or text books. And they are worth pointing out to newcomers, because they truly make a huge difference in how our interns enjoy their stay in the US. Two of them are about the perceived informality in the US. [Read more…]

What We Wish We’d Known Before The First Job

Are you one of the millions of new grads heading off to your first full-time job this summer? Then this post is for you. Because the millions who have been where you are have many things to share about what they wish they’d known when they were in your shoes. So here goes, starting first with basics before you even step foot into the office:

Figure out what you owe, so you the things you have don't own you.

Figure out what you owe, so you the things you have don’t own you. (image by steadfastfinances)

Budget And Save
If you haven’t actually made a budget, now’s the time to do so. Find out what your take home salary is going to be. And by that we mean, figure out the final dollar amount on your paycheck after taxes and deductions.  [Read more…]

What Are Your Resolutions For 2014?

30 March 2007

What’s next? (image via ccarlstead)

The year is now two weeks old, but it’s never too late to make resolutions, and set some goals. And if you are a senior (either college or high school), you should definitely make the following your goals for the next three months: [Read more…]

What’s For Lunch?

Lunch. One word. Fairly universal. But how the American workplace treats the mid-day meal is always eye-opening to Advanse’s students. Here are some of the things our students notice and struggle with right away:

When Is Lunch?!

Lunch break + Calligrapomorphic

A lot of people in the US eat at their desks – either because of work load or because it’s quicker! (Image by Mo Riza)

Ah yes, the American predilection to simply barrel through the day, not stop, and just work work work because time is money. Americans are some of the hardest working people on the planet, and many will argue that the direct result is one of the largest, most robust economies in the world – despite the current economic riptides. We don’t disagree. But we’ll be the first to say that although efficiency is a good thing, we are not robots. [Read more…]

If College Is The New High School….

Little known JOBS PROGRAM provides plenty of work for everyone

What do you want to do with your life? (Image courtesy woodleywonderworks)

It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk

That’s a deeply depressing headline, if ever we saw one. Wasn’t the point of going to college to get in the door higher than entry-level? Or at least get past entry-level low-wage positions faster? Except as the article in the New York Times makes clear, the college degree has now become what the high school diploma used to be. [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:

Cherry Blossom Season – We’ve Been Out To Lunch

Washington DC’s Tidal Basin in Full Cherry Blossom Bloom (image from Wikipedia)

We could blog about a lot of things, and you might have noticed that we slacked off a bit. But we have an excuse – the weather!

Yesterday was technically the first day of spring. But anyone who lives in the DC metro region has enjoyed the most wonderful spring-like weather for days. And not for nothing does the expression “spring fever” exist. After months of scurrying to and from places to avoid a head freeze, nothing makes you slow down and take a few extra minutes than welcome sunshine and warm weather.

This year in particular, it’s been hard to concentrate. Because everything bloomed ahead of time. Forsythias were beginning to show their yellow flowers as early as the beginning of February – nothing short of absurd. And the cherry blossoms – an international tourist attraction and one of the most iconic images in DC, now celebrating their 100th year – began their peak bloom ahead of the official start of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Typical hanami scene in Japan.

What does this all have to do with work and the business world? Not a darn thing. Except that it is one of those things that makes Advanse’s stomping grounds such a great place to work and learn.

Impromptu outdoors work session followed by lunch al fresco, anyone?

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…]

The Phenomenon Of “Time Is Money”

Third in a series of guest posts from Maura Brennan: 

Time is money. How many times have you heard that phrase? Too many, probably. But the phrase sums up a major part of American business culture, as well as the “American psyche.”

Think about it. Everything we do as Americans revolves around being effective and efficient workers. What is the primary way to produce quality results? To utilize all time with the utmost care.

[Read more…]