Taking Advice from Richard Branson

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One of the hardest skills for me to learn and practice has been learning how to listen. Ask anyone I know and they’ll tell you instantly that I’m the type of the person who’ll tell you their life story as soon as you meet me and then I’ll keep on talking.

However, as Richard Branson says, “listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.” It’s definitely advice that you can apply in and out of the workplace. One of my current goals has been trying to play the game that Sheryl Sandberg recommended in her book, “Lean In”. If you are a talker, try to listen during the entire meeting. If you are a listener, try to voice your opinions and thoughts during the meeting. As I’m a talker, I’ve been attempting to try and listen more and resist the impulse to voice my opinion all the time. It’s definitely a life-long skill that I struggle with and will always need to work on.

“You never know what you might learn from simply listening to the people around you.” When I first interned at a tech company, my manager and other supervisors taught me that I should always bring a notebook wherever I go. It’s advice that is reiterated to me on a daily basis working in the Big 4 and I try to apply it as there is so much that I can learn from everyone around me.

So try it. Listen and write it down. I can’t wait to see what I learn tomorrow by listening!

What to Wear?

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One of my biggest challenges when I first started working was trying to figure out what’s work appropriate versus just another college kid look. You want a look that’s classy and fits nicely. At the same time, you want to look nice and in style and not like you’re borrowing your mom’s work wear unless your mom has some terrific classic work clothes.

One of the biggest investments you can make at the beginning of your corporate career is getting 2-3 suits, some nice dress tops, and 2-3 pairs of heels or flats. Please make sure that your suits fit properly and appropriately. If it’s too tight that you’re starting to show panty lines, you might want to consider moving a size up or trying a different style of pants.

Your look reflects your personal brand and in corporate America, having that confident clean look will help aid in your future success.

Keep in mind that your look will vary depending on the geographic location and industry that you work in. If you’re on the West Coast, it might be ok to just go with dress pants and a nice dress top whereas if you’re on the East Coast, you might need to go with the full suit.

In terms of skirts and dresses, no plunging necklines and make sure that the hem of your skirt/dress falls below your hands otherwise, you might want to consider wearing a longer skirt/dress.

As a female auditor of tech companies, my usual look includes a pair of nice black dress pants, some cute flats, and a nice dress top. However, if I were to work at a tech company or a startup, I would probably be wearing jeans instead.

For some great ideas of how to dress for the workplace, I recommend looking at these blogs. 

All of these bloggers have a great sense of style for the workplace and provide that much needed inspiration when I feel like I’m in a fashion rut and want to expand my work wardrobe.

Hope this helps!

Creators, Builders, Teamwork

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Growing up my family and I have always been amused by the information junkie antics of my father. He loves reading up on electronics, electronic deals, electronic reviews, electronic you name it.

I never thought that I’d be like my dad, but this past week, I found the blog of a prominent venture capitalist and I can’t stop reading. Everything that Ben Horowitz has to say about business is exciting! Everything that I’ve read so far is food for thought, something to tuck in your mind and think about further.

One thing that caught my eye in particular was

“Building a company isn’t about business models and inflection points; it’s about doing something larger than yourself. It’s about working for each other. It’s about being part of a team trying to make possible the impossible. It’s about doing it in a way that no matter the outcome, everyone was glad they were there.”

It made me think about working in teams and the purpose of business. We go do our jobs each day, but at the end of the day, the most rewarding experiences are those where you’re providing this experience of giving and inspiration to one another. Pushing each other to think further about whatever you all are trying to accomplish. Having those insightful conversations where you come away with a different perspective than one you originally had. Trying to figure out how to make the impossible the possible.

Hall of Fame

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Found inspiration on Pandora today.

Inspiration on a Daily Basis

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Inspiration on a Daily Basis

4th grade hacker? What!?! 

One of the reasons why the tech industry is so exciting to me is that I find inspiration in tech pretty much on a daily basis. 

Just read an inspirational article in Techcrunch about a 4th grader who built an app and after reading the article she wrote, it just reminded me of how every now and then we have these fantastic ideas and even though we don’t realize it, we have the power to turn these ideas into life. 

Also loved how she thought and how all her big ideas are driven by her interests. Her love of animals translates into a desire to make technology for veterinarians. Her love for her autistic younger brothers becomes an idea for a social filter for Youtube, so that his Youtube searches generate less inappropriate videos. 

Wonder what my life changing 4th grade ideas were…


Boba Shortage in SF

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Today, as I was taking a break from studying BEC, I discovered something hilariously entertaining. Well, at least super entertaining to me, and goodness knows, my sense of humor may but probably does not reflect the average individual’s sense of humor.

On a sidenote, for you future CPAs, lots and lots of study breaks are necessary while studying for the CPA exam. There’s only so many hours of webcasts you can watch and hw problems you can solve before you’re like I need a break. (Actually, it’s more like after 10 minutes of webcasts, it’s “Break time!”)

Back to the funny part… There’s a boba shortage.

I originally thought it was just limited to TPumps, a popular SF milk tea shop, but this boba shortage is everywhere! It’s at Purple Kow* too! What!?! Apparently, boba or tapioca balls are just like any other food group – regulated by the government and a bunch of folks at the FDA equivalent in Taiwan found an unapproved chemical in tapioca balls.

*Purple Kow is another popular SF milk tea shop, where you’ll see a bunch of Asian teenagers waiting for hours to get their milk tea. Ridiculous! What ever happened to going to the movies?

What are these teenagers going to do now?

Hint – business opportunity! (Sorry, I blame the corny accounting jokes on BEC/Business Environment & Concepts for you, non-accountants.)

Making Studying Fun?

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While studying for the CPA exam, I came across this amazing study tool online called Quizlet.com! It was like Christmas, I kid you not.

This study tool allows you to find or create what you need to learn. In terms of my own skill sets, memorization is not one of them. I’m good at recalling details about people, where I met or know them from, but ask me a question about stuff that I’m trying to memorize, say the differences in accounting changes and error corrections and how to report them and my mind goes blank. *Crossing my fingers that that actually doesn’t happen when I take the FAR section of the CPA exam.

My inability to memorize stuff that I want to memorize is only slightly funny given that one of my brothers has a photographic memory. Sigh. Somehow that gene or learned behavior never quite transferred over.

Quizlet.com has been super helpful and useful because

1) allows me to create flashcards or view flashcards that others have created

Quizlet Find It Create It

2) presents my flashcards in different formats aka matching games, multiple choice, just to name a few meaning that even if I get bored of looking at flashcards, there are other memorization games that I can do to spice things up and make memorizing more fun

Quizlet FAR 1 pic

3) easily accessed anywhere there is internet meaning that I don’t have to carry a big box of flashcards with me everywhere or worry about losing them. Plus, since they have it in mobile format, it actually loads onto my phone really fast and I don’t have to wait long to look at my flashcards and can do so anywhere I want to…on the bus, at the gym, you get the idea.

4) lets me share my flashcards with others – if you’re interested in seeing what I’ve created in terms of flashcards to study for the CPA exams, click here.

For all the iPhone users out there, you’ll be happy to note that there’s an app in the Apple store for this study tool. Sadly, for the Android users, they’re still working on creating an app, but on the bright side, you can access a mobile version by visiting quizlet.com on your phone.

For anyone out there still studying for finals or the CPA exam, good luck studying!

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