My Tiffany and Co. Necklace

During college, I had a liking towards necklaces made by Tiffany and Co..

One year, I was taking one of the hardest courses at Carnegie Mellon University – Decision Analysis and Decision Support System (DADSS). It was taught by Paul Fischbeck, an intelligent, somewhat handsome, 6’3” (estimate), slim, professor who received his Ph.D from Stanford University and went to the military. The class taught me how to use mathematical equations and/or formulas to quantify factors, analyze outcomes of all possible decisions, and recommend the most optimal option. The goal was to analyze the consequences of decisions in an economic fashion, often in complex scenarios. Zzz.

After graduating with this major, people usually worked in consulting, legal, government or just about anything social science related. I never thought that it would one day help me do what I do now, drug dealing. Kidding!

What was I saying again? Oh yes, Decision Analysis and Decision Support System (DADSS) class and Tiffany and Co..

For Christmas, these people who may or may not have the same blood type as me, who may or may not also have the same DNA as me, offered to buy me one (1) necklace from Tiffany and Co.. Only one. How cheap of them!

My DADSS class happened to assign this homework which was to present a decision that I must make, sort out the options, list three factors to quantify the options, quantify them, and recommend one option that was most mathematically optimal. So, I chose to analyze which Tiffany and Co., necklace I should ask for.

The factors I finalized on were:

  • Retail price, they ranged from 150 USD to 225 USD
  • The presence or vacancy of the Tiffany & Co. logo on the necklace
  • Aesthetics

After quantifying these factors, I applied blah blah blah (you probably don’t care), and concluded that I was to go with option B.

When I saw that the result was option B, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t want it. But, how was this possible when the math told me that the most optimal option was B? I added in the conclusion of my paper that although this option was the most rational one, I did not want it.

When I got my homework assignment back, my Teacher’s Assistant wrote a comment to my conclusion. I vaguely remember what it was and haven’t been able to locate that paper.

To Succeed, Should You Step Over Others or Help Them?

In 2013, at the end of my second job, I wrote that I didn’t believe you need to step over others to succeed. I supported that argument with a personal example, thinking that it must have persuaded millions to stop believing the statement, “nice guys finish last.”

The other millions of people around me though have challenged this philosophy. They believed that you cannot climb the success ladder without hurting others, intentionally. Sometimes, I struggled to hold on to this belief because the nicest people have objected it and explained that I was wrong. I also witnessed a colleague of mine changing her belief on being nice to people to that being nice gets you no where. I have tried to talk them out of having this outlook but I usually end up failing. So, I did what I did best, nothing.

Since writing that post, four years had passed and somehow I came across a book that agreed with my argument! What up haters! In Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, (published in 2014, and where was I in 2014, not reading his book?!), he argued that to sustain long-term success, we should help people, not take advantage of them.  Findings in his book were such a pleasure to read that I’d like to supplement what I wrote in 2013, that on the path to success, helping others is the key, not taking.

In Grant’s book, he classified people at the workplace into three categories: Givers, Takers and Matchers.

Givers help people without the expectation that the help will be returned.
Takers take, and take more than they give back.
Matchers take equally and give back equally.

Continue reading…

I Love Public Speaking…I Hate Public Speaking

At a Toastmaster event, I learned that one of the top fears for most Americans is public speaking. It ranked above fearing diseases and death. If you have different statistics, please go after Toastmaster, not me.

At one of my jobs, I was to read aloud, numbers and words, in front of 70 people, at a conference room, overlooking the middle of Time Square, with floor length windows, in a room that was always set to 15.5 degrees Celsius regardless of the natural temperature. My other responsibility was to convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius to throw off Americans. I hated it. Not the conversion, the public speaking part. It was my least favorite activity and I had to do it every Monday morning.

Every Monday morning, I would sit in a meeting, with 70 other people, which was my entire department, waiting to be cued to give the verbal report. I rarely knew when I would be cued because that’s how we rolled at work – at a dangerous and unpredictable rhythm. I would stare at the paper that contained my reading material which I had laid lay out on the icy conference table. I highlighted, circled and underlined the words and the numbers, just in case I forget where to find them. My entire “speech” usually lasted a minute.

I would read the information as quickly as possible, Continue reading…

Lessons I Learned from My Second Job

Interview will be at 8:30a SHARP, (he will be there closer to 9a, but please get there early, even closer to 8:15a, if possible) and have copies of your resume with you, Human Resources wrote.

I sat in the common area at the hotel. The seat was brown leather; the staircase was oak wood; there was a chandelier hanging on top of the ceiling. He placed his luggage next to him and pulled out a copy of my resume after he sat down.

“It’s going to be very hard,” he said.

“I like challenges.”

“You’ll have to verify your sources.”

I nodded.

“Mr. Levin, your car is ready for you,” a hotel staff announced.

Mr. Levin and I shook hands; I made sure it was a firm one. He walked down the oak wood staircase and proceeded to the hotel entrance. I looked at the time: the interview lasted four minutes.

A month later, I signed the paper work to work as a News Assistant at TMZ, Continue reading…

Meeting and Finding My Unofficial Mentor

“If there was one thing you could walk away with from this presentation, it is to get a mentor. If you’re a woman, I encourage you to get a female mentor because she will have a better understanding what you’d have to go through,” he said.

N. Holt stood 6 feet tall, about 160 pounds (I think) and probably in his early 50s or late 40s. He had dashes of grey hair and wore a pair of thinly framed eyeglasses. He wore a black suit with a white shirt and a tie. His voice was low pitched and he had no apparent accent.

We clapped. A lot of people raised their hands to ask questions. I wanted to ask one too so I could impress him.

“Are you single?”

No, I did not ask that. I asked another one which was probably the stupidest question I ever asked. There was that saying “There is no such thing as a stupid question,” and whoever said it needs to hear my question.

After N. Holt, one of the leaders of the Sales Department at Viacom ended his presentation, I skipped back to my Director’s office to tell him how amazing it was. I immediately took Mr. Holt advice and attempted to get a mentor. It was hard. I was 25 years old. I didn’t even think I really needed an official mentor. Don’t we just work hard at our job, be likeable, learn on the job, reflect on what we’ve learned, have a pool of relationships, apply to higher position or higher paid jobs and call it a life?

Later, I learned, through another Viacom hosted career presentation, that it is best Continue reading…

Update – Soft launch of TIFFYUN.COM

After several years of being content with tiffyun.wordpress.com, I finally re-purchased the domain of tiffyun.com. My excuse for not renewing the domain when it was expiring was that I couldn’t justify the payment without any revenue from my blog. Excuses, excuses.

This time, I set up Google Ad Sense, waiting to get approved.

I am committed to regularly writing posts and posting them on the World Wide Web. Hold on tight because you will experience a handful of bizarre, outrageous, entertaining and socially responsible posts.