Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Actively Passive

As I learn format and language for writing press releases and broadcast news stories, I regress to an earlier stage in professional development. I'm not talking about the first business venture I ran out of my parent's basement (sharpening skis for neighbors), I'm talking about my Peace Corps service in Togo, West Africa.

Leaving the English language for French not only made me more aware of sentence structure, but also with how I use structure. For what seemed like the first time, I met the conditional tense, future imperative, and the present perfect, to name a few. Breaking down how I had been speaking years prior revealed my individual choices for communicating.

I found an overabundance of the conditional tense (expressing desire for something without knowledge of receipt). The conditional tense makes use of "would", "would like", "perhaps" and "can."

For speaking simplicity cultural appropriateness, I adopted the present tense. I went from vague politeness of "would like" to the more direct "want". Togolese also spoke predominantly in the present tense. French was not their first language, so the breadth of the vocabulary was not exercised. I remember feeling uncomfortable and even offended at times from present tense speech in my host country.

As time passed, I grew to appreciate the present tense more. It engaged me.

Back in America, I find myself sliding back into the conditional tense. I have to work a bit harder here and there to employ the present tense. And when I do, I carefully gauge if a request or expression comes across as strong.

It is amazing how culture influences expression. Writing in the present tense for news stories or press releases is part of the broadcast culture. Learning, cultivating, and employing active language not only aids the communication process, but creates synergy with recipients.

- Jared

Monday, November 24, 2008

Opiate Of The Masses

Stufessionals crave knowledge for the self and society. In this relentless pursuit, they make sacrifices. Sacrifices most commonly tally in the personal life. Something has to give in order to stave from near mental breakdown.

Perhaps I'm exaggerating. In this state of mind, I most likely am. See, I'm drinking a Coca-Cola. I've already had two cups of coffee with plenty of sugar.

My mind feels like it's spinning in washing machine (with energy efficiency), my bowels feel like their on vacation (figure that one out), and my gut feels as hollow as a dead poplar.

Caffeine is most certainly the opiate of the masses. It's cheap, attractive, fun, and - thanks to caramel color - black like the pits of hell.

I find myself reaching for the white wave classic far too often. I know what it does to me, yet I still chose to put the devil inside me. My lack of will power underlines my frailty. I ration that I am only a human being bound by original sin.

Why then, with Biblical complications of my actions, do I choose to imbibe caffeine? The answer is simple. I don't want to sacrifice. Gosh, that makes me sound like a dictator of a small, isolated country.

While this issue is undoubtedly tied to the complex psychology of yours truly, it does underline how some stufessionals (and there are others who does this beside myself) push themselves to keep going when they should surrender once in a while. I'm not saying wave the white flag and lie down. I'm thinking more along the lines of how U2 waved the white flag at a concert in Red Rocks in 1983.

I'm drinking water now. And I will get more. Some times I fall down in judgment, but I have to pick myself up again and keep going. There are greater tragedies than having a Coke. To maintain effectiveness and be healthy, a stufessional should address their needs rather than turn to quick fixes.

- Jared

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Journey's End?

Technically speaking, the journey is at an end for the stufessional blog. Academically speaking, however, the journey continues through various permutations of PR bliss. To stop writing is antithetical to the saga. What would the Lord of the Rings be if Frodo took a vacation?

I have decided to place an entry today as a demonstration of that continuation. I will travel all the way to Mordor.

As a stufessional, I am preoccupied with efforts to improve myself. When I receive graded work from a professor, I rewrite it and resubmit it. Perhaps my efforts are not reread, nevertheless I have completed the act for myself. I do not accept the graded document as a completion to a contract.

To illustrate my point - of not giving up and continuing despite an end - I'm going to reference you to a gallery of photographs: CLICK HERE.

- Jared