The missing link…

I finally finished–well almost finished–putting up my profile on Linked In, the networking website for professionals. I first created the profile in mid February as part of a school project.

Since then, it kind of fell off my things-to-do list, mainly due to a healthy amount of procrastination. The fact is, I was never sure what I wanted to put up on my profile. As a student, I couldn’t see the value of using the site to network, since I felt that most of my contacts would be other fellow students. As a communicator, I still felt like too much of a novice–even with all of the contacts I had developed through various projects–to start randomly adding everyone I knew.

What finally prompted me to complete my profile was realizing how important it is to maintain the ties I have developed in the field of communications, especially with my former classmates.

As I found out during a recent get-together with some of them, most of them are beginning to build their own career paths as communicators. By keeping in contact with them, I am able to learn from their experiences and improve my own knowledge, especially in social media and Web 2.0 which have become so vitally important to our industry.

So, six months, 10 days and 14 hours later (give or take a couple of weeks) Joe Chawla has finally made it onto Linked In. For those of you who have been waiting for me to accept your invitations to join and become your contact, my apologies. For those of you who I have recently sent invites to, hopefully it won’t take you six months to respond back to me.

But in case it does, don’t worry … my profile will still be waiting.

Welcome to the (PR) jungle…

Whoo hoo! I have found a job! Actually, in all honesty, I have had the job since about the start of August, but between my sister-in-law’s wedding and waiting for my contracts to come in the mail, I kind of held off writing about my newfound employment.

Now that I have crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s on my contract, I can tell you that I am now one of the new Public Relations Coordinators, handling Media Relations, for Markham Stouffville Hospital. I went for an interview with the organization in mid-July, did a follow-up in late July and was offered the job near the end of the month.

I start on August 25th and will be working with two other people in handling PR for the Hospital. For me, its a great job for several reasons:

1). Markham Stouffville Hospital is a fantastic organization that serves more than 300 thousand people who reside in the communities of Markham, Stouffville and Uxbridge, as well as some residents from the Scarborough and Durham regions.

2.) As an organization MSH’s vision is to “care for its communities through partnerships and the pursuit of excellence”  and its mission is “to make every experience with them great!” These are great values because they signify the committment the organization has to its communities, not to itself. Its easy to do media relations for an organization you respect.

3). Third, in handling media relations I can make use of my broadcasting background, which I hope will give me an edge in delivering great stories about the Hospital.

4). As a PR job its a great opportunity because it’s a full-time, permanent position which means I don’t have to worry in a year or two about finding a new job.

5). Finally, it’s ten minutes away from my home, which means I don’t have to get up an hour and a half in advance to ensure I have time to get to work!

So, I am looking forward to getting started with MSH and helping to spread the word about the organization, its vision and mission, and its work within its surrounding communities.

(P.S. I will still keep writing about some of my job hunting experiences and my time at Newmarket, however, as I am sure they can still provide some value to people who are still looking for a job or internship or getting started on the job hunt.)

My big phat Indian wedding…

My sister-in-law got married this past weekend. It was a pretty lavish affair with close to 500 people coming out to celebrate her marriage.

Prior to the big day however, there was tons of things going on in preparation for her nuptials. For the past week, my wife and I have helped setup and attend numerous traditional and religious ceremonies called pujas, celebratory dinners or get-togethers and various other events with family and friends. All in all, we’re pretty exhausted.

Most Indian weddings are like this. For my own wedding, the events began a week before our marriage with my wife having to go it alone at most of the religious and traditional ceremonies (I was still in Alberta until about 3 days before my wedding day.)

Then on the day of our wedding, I was up at the crack of dawn to start getting ready. My wife, on the other hand, had been up since 3:00 a.m. She had had to get her hair and makeup done and then get dressed in her traditional Indian wedding outfit, called a langa.

Our marriage alone took over 1.5 hours, with about 300 people packing our church to see us get married. Right after that we were whisked away to perform a few more traditional ceremonies (one called a doli which symbolizes my wife leaving her parents house for mine) before finally hitting our hotel.

Then my wife had her hair and makeup lady arrive at about 4:00 p.m. to get her ready for the reception. This also included changing into another langa, different from the morning one. From the hotel we went to take pictures and then arrived at the hall at about 7:30p.m. where close to 600 people had come out to help us celebrate.

But our day didn’t end there. We had booked our honeymoon flight for 6:00 a.m. the next morning, so we had to leave our reception, check out of our hotel and then hit the airport where we took a 14 hour flight to Aruba.

Altogether it was over 24 hours before we finally managed to get some sleep.

Though this likely wasn’t the same schedule my sister-in-law went through, I have no doubt that the various events, ceremonies and get-togethers that made it such an exhausting week for us, probably tired them out even more.

But it was all worth it. The wedding went off without a hitch, my sister-in-law looked beautiful and we partied hard enough to justify all the time, expense and exhaustion the wedding cost us. If any of you have any Indian friends who are getting married and you get an invite, I encourage you to attend. You won’t be disappointed.

Now I am going to go take another nap.

To Wii or not to Wii…

About two weeks ago, my wife and I bought a Nintendo Wii. Since then we’ve wavered back and forth on whether we should keep it or return it.

For me, I’m not much of a Nintendo fan. I haven’t been for a long time. Their policy of consistently introducing brand new console systems that were completely incompatible with older systems turned me off of them.

For example, I bought the NES–with my own money, I might add–when I was about 13. Five years later, I was again spending my hard earned dollars buying the SNES and its games when they suddenly introduced the N64.

As a teenager who didn’t have a lot of money, it angered me that each time I had finally earned enough to buy one system and some of its overpriced games, Nintendo introduced another system which rendered the one I had just bought obsolete. So, I haven’t put any more dollars into Nintendo since the SNES.

For my wife, though, she’s just not much of a video game person.

She first played the Wii at her sister’s place and loved it. She liked the exercise aspect of the system (Play a round of Wii boxing with her and you’ll know what I mean.)

But she’s also happy just playing the game which comes with the Wii and not buying another one … ever. That means I either go crazy playing just Wii Sports, or I buy some new games and forget about playing them with her (which kind of renders my reasons for buying the Wii–spending time with her–useless.)

The other major issue I have with the Wii is that it just doesn’t stack up to the other console systems on the market when it comes to game quality or performance. I have played games like Medal of Honor and quite honestly, the control scheme and graphics suck.

At the same time though, the Wii does offer a pretty wide group appeal to almost everyone who plays it, which is something that most console systems can’t replicate.

So, now I’m trying to figure out, metaphorically speaking, if I should Wii or not Wii. Should I keep the system … or send it back. What do you guys think?  Give me your thoughts. (Rick, I totally expect to hear from you on this.)

(Update – I know I just posted this blog today, but it’s amazing what kind of information can come up through wordpress related to the topic you just wrote on. This article, Nintendo Gamers Were Bored Before Wii, is a perfect example of when a console maker gets a little to big for its britches.

For those of you not interested in reading the article, the gist is that Nintendo basically believes their Wii revitalized the gaming industry and helped gamers shed their “boredom” with standard consoles. Now here is what I have to say to Nintendo:

First, absolutely, sales of the Wii did very well compared to Microsoft’s XBOX and completely shattered the PS3, but at the end of the day, that was due more to the innovative gameplay and unique Wiimote controls. Once the interest in those die down–and trust me, they will–then what?

Second, its pretty common knowledge that no matter who you are and no matter what system you buy, you will eventually get bored of it. People in general have short attention spans, and gaming is no different than anything else in keeping us entertained for a short time.

Third, Nintendo needs to take a good hard look at the harsh realities of its system. Yes, the system is unique for its game style and control method, but

1. the games suck for the most part. The majority of them are dedicated to family style gaming and not to real gamers;

2. the graphics suck completely, no matter what game you play. I’m sorry, but pixellated, cartoony graphics died out with Dragon’s Lair.With the quality of the games coming out nowadays, Nintendo’s “Wii-eak” console power just doesn’t compare;

3. the controls suck if you are trying to play any game that works better with a gamepad or mouse and keyboard (the aforementioned Medal of Honor comes to mind); and finally

4. Consoles like the XBOX and PS3 may offer up standard fare for gamers, but they add to their value by providing add-ons like DVD players, Blue Ray, WIFI, etc. Nintendo’s console gives gamers no additional bang for their buck, so when the novelty of the Wii wears off then what?

I know I’m not a fan of Nintendo, so my criticism likely comes off biased, but in the end, Nintendo shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking their system is the Holy Grail for gamers. Rather, its just one more toy to play with until the next best thing comes out. At least with the PS3 and XBOX, they give gamers other features to keep them coming back, even if its not to play a game. Anyways, thanks Nintendo, you helped me make up my mind. I’m going to go get my $400 back.)