Die or Come Out?

Hi to whoever is reading this, I’m alive. I’m lucky. Hi, my name is Clayton. I’m 22 years old, an IUPUC student, and I’m an openly gay man. And I am still alive somehow. So, what exactly is coming out? It’s the “The process of establishing a personal self-identity and communicating it to others” (Sexuality Now Embracing Diversity). Coming out is the most terrifying moment in any LGBTQ individual’s life. To be gay or bisexual or trans or queer is considered abnormal even today in a universal hetero-normative society. Our society in the U.S. is more tolerable but has not established itself as accepting. Coming out is still needed today to communicate with others in order to have support, acceptance, and safety. Several studies conducted from 1998-2011 have shown family rejection of LGBTQ teens are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide. The risk of homelessness, drug use, and unprotected sex is much higher as well with rejection.

“Just stay in the closet or just be straight.” This does more than put us down, it terrifies us to come out. When people say this, it is ridiculous. First, sexual orientation is not a choice. Second, suicide and depression occurs with being in the closet, lying to families, friends, co-workers, and creates internalized homophobia and transphobia. Finally, this is caused by how our society dehumanizes homosexuality and non-binary genders. “Fuck you faggot! Oh, you’d like that wouldn’t you?” This is bullying. This is unacceptable. This is something no one cares about and people are DYING! Coming out is not flaunting one’s sexuality. It’s one the bravest things anyone could ever do. When someone comes out, they are facing death in the eye. Telling someone who you think loves you and might actually not after coming out is the scariest situation to be in. But times are changing they say and I almost want to believe that. But, is it? Is it really changing? Or are we just not talking about it anymore because we want to make ourselves believe 2017 means everyone is equal? No, no one is equal right now. If you don’t believe me, go watch a coming out video and the crying and terror people feel.

I am Clayton, I am openly gay, I am alive; and ANYONE who is reading this who is scared, please know that you are not alone. You can reach me through my YouTube video. Don’t ever feel pressure to come. You come out on your turf and when you WANT to come out, trust me, it will get better. Because even with all this hatred in the world, there is love out there too. I came out at 17 years old and I had friends there for me. Now, if you come out, you’ll have me and I’ll make sure we don’t die.

My video for the It Gets Better Project in 2014.

Communication with Foreign Co-Workers on Overseas Assignments

There is no doubt that we are globalizing ourselves and that we are more diverse than before. The United States has become a land of many cultures. Communication has become better through technology and the socialization of the human species. Yet, how can we prepare employees for an overseas assignment? This is something that can be seen in two ways, a structured plan for the assignment itself and the in-depth cultural communication factor.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Andy Molinsky and Melissa Hahn write that there are five ways one can succeed on an overseas assignment in a structured way.

  • Have a purpose and a person who can promote that purpose. Having the right person to make this assignment work is quite important, especially in cultural understanding and understanding of the project.
  • Having a close connection to home works well, that way the person overseas doesn’t lose touch with what he or she is doing for the company. A good mentor would work.
  • Communication between the worker and employer needs to be constant for best results.
  • Before leaving, it is ideal to start on talks of how the assignment was beneficial and what was learned.
  • The company can distribute what it learned from that experience.

We often forget that to have a successful assignment overseas, the communication between the employee and the foreign team is crucial. We need to consider cultural, social, and language barriers amongst diversity and work. There is no denying that “…English is now the global language of business.” as mentioned by Tsedel Neeley in her article Global Business Speaks English. But this doesn’t really help many. My interview with Dr. Joann Jones, Executive Director – Leadership Development for Cummins, led to these tips.

  • Prepare the assignment ahead of time so that everyone working on the assignment can understand the assignment.
  • Know that there will be a need for clarification as language and cultural barriers are present.
  • If possible, know the language and culture of where one may stay can improve results.
  • An ending follow-up on the assignment will be helpful, especially a written documentation of the progress and results. This may help clarify any miscommunications.

Making sure an overseas assignment is completely worked out is the main goal, but knowing the cultural factor and having a structured plan can lead to a successful assignment.

 

By Alvaro Garcia, Business Major – IUPUC

The Baby Boomers vs. The Millenials

If you are a young person sitting at a family event and happen to be texting your best friend about the next time you want to hang out, you may have been told by your grandmother to get off your phone and that you are becoming antisocial. It may not have happened to you, but it sure has happened to me.

What I do not think the generations before us understand is that communication is evolving with society. They see our ways of communicating with each other as unnecessary or inefficient. However, I feel that our generations have similar ways of communicating. Past generations would write letters to friends that lived farther away because they had no way of communicating with them otherwise. Heck, they would even use telephones to call them. The combination of these sound fairly familiar to me. I see the combination as a cell phone. The letters are the equivalent to texts, and the calls are pretty obvious. A major difference between the two generations would be having a landline vs. having a cell phone. I know my grandmother has a landline, but I do not.

Also, each generation has their own lingo. With each generation comes new words. For our generation words like “swag” and “twerk” have formed, but the older generations look down on us for them. I am not saying I myself am proud of these words, but they also formed words like “hickey” and “fuzz”, which means police. These words are also not the most intelligent, and I bet the generation before the baby boomers found this lingo unnecessary. It is like a never ending cycle.

Seth Sharpe

 

I’m not Lion, Animals ComMEWnicate!

Whether you are a cat person, a dog person, or anything in between, there most likely has been a moment we looked at our pets and thought “Man, I wish you could talk.” Well, what if I told you they can! Animals DO communicate, and if we pay attention there is a lot we can learn to “talk” with them! Animals and humans are more similar than you might think using chemical signals, vibrations and sounds, and even movement that can be witnessed in human interactions, too.

Most of us are familiar with the chemical signals animals unleash, but what do they mean? Those of us who have cats, or have been around them, have most likely experienced them rubbing against an object or the not-so-pleasant spraying from male cats. That is a cat letting you and other animals know it has claimed that object as its own.  Skunks are famous for their chemical signals, using their very pungent spray as a threat to anything that gets in their way!

Chemical signals are not the only form of communication, just ask animals such as elephants, jumping spiders, and Caribbean white-lipped frogs which communicate primarily through vibrations. Elephants use low-frequency calls that travel through the ground in the form of seismic waves to communicate with other elephants miles away. On the other hand, jumping spiders vibrate their bodies and special organs to find a mate…and reduce the chances of his suitor eating him. Caribbean white-lipped frogs also communicate through vibrations, burying their heads into the mud and expanding their vocal sacs to send out vibrations to potential mates.

Vibration-based communication may be fairly common in the animal world, but the most well understood nonverbal communication takes the form of body language.  Generally, we learn the most about animals from how they act during different situations. For example, when cats are happy their bodies are relaxed, their whiskers are to the side, and their ears are pointing forward. When cats are mad they keep their bodies and tails low to the ground and their whiskers and ears down to let you know not to mess with them. Animals constantly give signals to tell us what they are thinking, and they are similar to some that we as humans express.

There are awe inspiring interactions happening all around us that sometimes we fail to appreciate. Dogs, for example, are man’s best friend and they teach us every day to love unconditionally by expressing never-ending loyalty and respect. Ants teach us the importance of working together as a team to collaborate rather than compete. And all animals can teach us to not take ourselves so seriously and to let go of our attachment of being right or wrong. If we do, we will begin to fully embrace times we enjoy and align ourselves with what we value most. Animals teach us all valuable life lessons, and it is our job to listen.

By: Carrie Caldwell,  Biology major at IUPUC

Murderer, Widower, or Both?

“He’s cute,” said Penny. “Doesn’t that teardrop tattoo mean he murdered someone?” asked Bernadette. Canned laughter ensued. I was watching The Big Bang Theory, and that one statement was all I knew about teardrop tattoos. I have since researched teardrop tattoos and learned that, while the tattoo can have many criminal connotations, it may also simply signify the death of a loved one or some other tragedy the wearer has experienced. At the time, however, based on the information I had, teardrop tattoo equated to murderer; and this was further supported by my past experience of having a coworker with a teardrop tattoo, who, rumor had it, had been convicted of attempted murder.

Clearly, how we present ourselves matters, and in the workforce, it matters based not on what we mean to portray, but based on how we are viewed by those we are portraying ourselves to. Tattoos are an example of nonverbal communication, something that gives people an impression of us based on their own interpretations of how we look. A first impression is made in a matter of seconds, and, later, is very hard to overturn, which means that how we present ourselves can be our biggest weapon or our greatest downfall. Navigating the world of nonverbal communication is especially difficult when dealing with a workforce comprised of multiple generations.

A Harris research poll found that nearly half of millennials and a little over a third of Gen Xers have tattoos, while barely over 10% of Baby Boomers sport tattoos. In a workforce composed of at least these three generations, a tattoo will mean different things depending on the viewer. The fact that first impressions are made within the first few seconds of meeting someone means that, in an interview, a decision to NOT hire a candidate may be based on the nonverbal communication that occurs before a job applicant even has a chance to open his/her mouth.

As a millennial myself, I am not arguing that people should not express themselves via tattoos. I am simply urging readers to know their audience. An interview at a start-up begun by millennials like ourselves and an interview at a long established company with Baby Boomers in the positions of authority should be approached differently in regards to physical appearance. The same goes for actually working at these different establishments; being taken seriously at one may require a different appearance than being taking seriously at another. We can argue about the ‘injustice’ of the subconscious discrimination occurring or we can take control of the only aspect of it we are truly in charge of: ourselves. As Oscar Wilde says, “It’s the spectator, and not life, that art truly mirrors.” In other words, that teardrop tattoo can signify your heartache for your late wife all you want, but if the viewer thinks it means you murdered her…chances are…you won’t be hired.
By: Stephanie Baumgartner, Biology major at IUPUC

How Animals Communicate and What We Can Learn from Them

I chose this topic because it was one that really speaks to me.  I’m not one for politicians or even pop culture, but one thing I do know and love is animals.  Having three dogs of our own can be a handful at times, but there isn’t a day that goes by where they don’t do something to surprise us or make us laugh.  One of the key problems that can occur between any human and animal is the lack of communication and understanding due to the language barrier.  Yes, we can teach a dog some key words through training, but for the most part they have their own natural train of thought and instincts that they get from the moment that they are born.

There are really three main types of communication in the animal world.  These are: visual, auditory, and chemical/electrical signals.  Visual signals are obviously ones that can be seen, which limits the proximity in which they are effective.  Typical types of visual signals among animals might be where it will change its color, stance, or its general appearance in a way that allows it to communicate a certain message to the other person or animal.

Dogs use visual signals in a variety of ways.  They will lay down to show submission or tense up to show aggression.  They perk their ears up, which indicates that they hear something or are nervous.  One of the most common examples, however, would be that they wag their tails to show that they are happy or excited.

Auditory signals are ones that can be heard, which is a much more effective form of communication if you are further away or if the person or animal they are trying to communicate with is not near them.  Auditory signals are most commonly used in the animal world for mating purposes, to scare away a threat, or to seek help.  Birds will combine visual and auditory signals during mating dances.  Wolves are known to howl when they are separated from their pack, to tell other individuals that they occupy a certain territory, or when they are showing a little love.

Dogs use auditory signals for a wide variety of reasons, much to the dismay of many of their owners.  I know there have been many times when I haven’t been happy because our dogs are yelping while we’re trying to sleep or watch a movie.  Dogs will bark because they want to play, to warn of potential threats or threaten intruders, to discipline their young, or they will bark just because they are curious or want your attention.

The key to determining why your dog is barking or what it means lies in the context.  For example, we recently got a new dog named Odin who is almost two years old.  Vada, who is 6 years old, is the pack leader and barks at home quite often as a means of discipline due to the fact that he is very hyper and curious all of the time.  Odin, on the other hand, will bark more often due to the fact that he wants to play.  Darth will bark or growl to threaten other dogs if they are trying to take his food or toy that he is fond of.

Chemical communication is primarily used as an indirect form of communication.  This is most easily explained by when a dog uses the bathroom on an object or area to mark their territory.  The dog isn’t directly informing anyone in most cases, but rather once another dog comes near it, the communication has been made.  Electrical signals are commonly used by some different types of fish to navigate and to find food.

In all of these instances, you have a sender and a receiver of information.  Over the years, the animal world has learned to identify what these different signals mean and how to interpret and use them.  For some animals, it takes time to learn how to produce a proper, effective signal.  Some animals, for example, will learn what smells or sounds are associated with a particular species.  They can learn to determine that a low pitched audible cue may be from a larger foe, while a high pitched sound is likely from something much smaller.

Using these instincts and this knowledge to their advantage is key to survival.  It’s something that we can learn to become more accustomed to in order to get along with them, understand them, and to appreciate them for who they are.  Becoming keener with our senses rather than relying on language alone can also help us to live better lives and adapt to various situations.  Being able to identify our fellow human’s body language, tones, and other signals will only make things better for us in the long run.  Especially for those of us who are married.

Ad Web Audience Targeting

Defining and targeting an audience are vital steps in great communication.  In publications, the ads are an excellent representation of who the targeted audience is.  Websites of these publications also target an audience but with an added dimension, the ability to individually target the viewer (audience.)  The ads vary by the choices selected within the publication website thus, redefining the audience.

Forbes website was the chosen publication to illustrate this changing targeted audience.  On the homepage of Forbes, the ads are geared toward a well-defined target group.  The initial ads were for Wall Street Journal; government tax programs; CD bank rates; oil dividends; filmmaking courses; and senior cell phone plans.  Together, these ads are for older wealthy businessmen. These are representative of the homepage initial ads.  The target audience is towards one who is interested in financial issues of taxes, CD notes, dividends, and business news from the WSJ…a businessman of diverse monetary concerns.  Definitely, the “senior plan” refers to an older generation.  The filmmaking courses also reinforce the older target group with an advertisement for a new hobby or starting a new business.  This is an extremely focused target audience.

Having the advantage of real-time viewing, websites can narrow the target audience.  When a viewer chooses a selection, a story or an article, the site chooses ads focusing on the audience’s interests.  If the chosen article deals with businesses with negative issues then the ads may change to customer service aids for businesses, insurance ads, or company improvement ads.  Relating the ads to the different types of articles narrows the targeted audience.

Another audience-targeting dimension of websites is third party advertising, directly targeting the individual viewer.  Third party advertising is advertisers which monitor viewers’ web surfing on their computers.  Directing ads of the real-time viewer’s interests allows the publication to broaden its audience.  These viewer-interest ads frame the articles with familiar and personal target ads.  Even though these ads may not have any connection with the article or the publication, the audience is familiar with these ads.  This frame may keep them reading the articles.  This allows for various changes so the targeted audience is the viewer even if the viewers do not fit the original targeted audience.  A young want-to-be businesswoman planning to start her own business would now be a targeted audience.  This real-time changing redefines the target audience as the current viewer to keep them interested in the publication even if they may not initially seem to be the audience targeted.

Concluding, this publication’s ads were aimed at a senior population of wealthy businessmen.  In general, this is the overall targeted audience but with websites drawing in different audiences with a specific article, the website uses ads to include the new audience in real-time viewing.  This advantage allows websites to reframe the site to include the viewer.  This is the magic of website ads – framing articles with advertising content this viewer is interested in seeing.

By Kentrina Freeman, Liberal Arts Major – IUPUC

Ad Web Audience Targeting

Defining and targeting an audience are vital steps in great communication.  In publications, the ads are an excellent representation of who the targeted audience is.  Websites of these publications also target an audience but with an added dimension, the ability to individually target the viewer (audience.)  The ads vary by the choices selected within the publication website thus, redefining the audience.

Forbes website was the chosen publication to illustrate this changing targeted audience.  On the homepage of Forbes, the ads are geared toward a well-defined target group.  The initial ads were for Wall Street Journal; government tax programs; CD bank rates; oil dividends; filmmaking courses; and senior cell phone plans.  Together, these ads are for older wealthy businessmen. These are representative of the homepage initial ads.  The target audience is towards one who is interested in financial issues of taxes, CD notes, dividends, and business news from the WSJ…a businessman of diverse monetary concerns.  Definitely, the “senior plan” refers to an older generation.  The filmmaking courses also reinforce the older target group with an advertisement for a new hobby or starting a new business.  This is an extremely focused target audience.

Having the advantage of real-time viewing, websites can narrow the target audience.  When a viewer chooses a selection, a story or an article, the site chooses ads focusing on the audience’s interests.  If the chosen article deals with businesses with negative issues then the ads may change to customer service aids for businesses, insurance ads, or company improvement ads.  Relating the ads to the different types of articles narrows the targeted audience.

Another audience-targeting dimension of websites is third party advertising, directly targeting the individual viewer.  Third party advertising is advertisers which monitor viewers’ web surfing on their computers.  Directing ads of the real-time viewer’s interests allows the publication to broaden its audience.  These viewer-interest ads frame the articles with familiar and personal target ads.  Even though these ads may not have any connection with the article or the publication, the audience is familiar with these ads.  This frame may keep them reading the articles.  This allows for various changes so the targeted audience is the viewer even if the viewers do not fit the original targeted audience.  A young want-to-be businesswoman planning to start her own business would now be a targeted audience.  This real-time changing redefines the target audience as the current viewer to keep them interested in the publication even if they may not initially seem to be the audience targeted.

Concluding, this publication’s ads were aimed at a senior population of wealthy businessmen.  In general, this is the overall targeted audience but with websites drawing in different audiences with a specific article, the website uses ads to include the new audience in real-time viewing.  This advantage allows websites to reframe the site to include the viewer.  This is the magic of website ads – framing articles with advertising content this viewer is interested in seeing.

By Kentrina Freeman, Liberal Arts Major – IUPUC

Promotional Publications

As I flip through various issues of the widely recognized publication, Sports Illustrated, certain components of the magazine stand out to me. Most prominent of course is the reasonably consistent pages that appeal to a reader. In today’s day and age, marketing and advertising is crucial to a company’s growth and development. That being said, businesses and publications alike are strategically placing ads that appeal to a reader in their magazines that will generate a response.

After I learned I would be writing this blog, I gathered all of the Sports Illustrated issues laying around my house and also made a trip to the local high school library at which I work on occasion. Between the two, I was able to accumulate a hefty stack of issues sufficient enough to satisfy a Doctor’s office for a few months. I began to dissect the magazines page by page and quickly saw my expectations were accurate: Sports Illustrated directs its ads to young adults and athletes.

After close scrutiny, a reader could generalize that the ads in Sports Illustrated are directed towards the younger generations of our society. Empirically speaking, the ads typically appeal to readers who want to be “hip, stylish and trendy” while also maintaining an athletic appearance. In terms of gender, the ads are most certainly geared towards young to middle aged men. With repeated occurrences of ads from companies like Viagra, Gatorade and Nike, I believe it is safe to say that our target market is quite apparent.

In conclusion, Sports Illustrated is able to provide an interesting publication while also providing applicable ads that a reader can relate to. That being said, it can be concluded that the ads in Sports Illustrated are directed towards, but not limited to, young to middle age males that have an interest in sports and also directed towards an athlete of any age.

By: Josh Davidson, Business Major, IUPUC

Oversea Conflict

Going overseas can be stressful for many people, especially if it is for a business assignment. Even though it may be stressful there are many ways to try to help make it less stressful. A good way to help with this stressful situation is to be prepared for talking with foreign co-workers. There are many ways to prepare for this like, knowing which country the assignment is in, the length of the assignment, and learn some about their culture.

Upon getting tasked to an assignment in a foreign country, first figure out which country it will be in. Knowing which country the assignment will be in will help to break the language barrier if there is one. The co-workers may speak the same language or they may speak the one common in their country. Knowing what language your co-workers speak will help to know if there will be a language barrier that could cause problems. If there is going to be a language barrier, then the best thing to do would be to learn more about their language. When learning another language some research is going to have to be done in order to efficiently learn the language. The amount of their language that would need to be learned would have to depend on the length of the assignment.

The length of the assignment can determine a lot about how prepared a person needs to be when going on an overseas assignment. If a person is only going to be there for about a week or two then some language should be learned. For this short amount of time, a person should be prepared enough that the language will not be a problem for them to speak and understand, but the person would not need to become fluent in the language. However, if the person is going to be on the assignment for a year or more, then the language should be more familiar to them before they leave.

The knowledge of the culture of the country is very important to know in order to be prepared for an overseas assignment. Knowing the culture is very important especially if the person has to do any public speaking. Some cultures can have different meanings to things than other countries. For instance, in the United States the cuss words are different from the cuss words of Great Britain. Therefore, something that would mean nothing in the U.S. can cause some conflict if unknowingly said in Great Britain. Another big example would be hand gestures, like the okay hand symbol. This is normal everyday behavior in the U.S. that means okay, but in other countries this symbol would be ‘flipping someone off’. To be prepared for speaking to foreign co-workers knowing the culture is a big one to ensure that there would not be any conflict or awkward situations.

Being unprepared for a business assignment overseas can be very stressful. The best way to reduce stress during this situation is to be prepared for everything that could make the assignment stressful, like a gesture that could ruin the speech that will land the company a new business in another country. Overall, an employee can best be prepared by knowing where, how long, and the culture of the business assignment.

By Heather Hehe, English Major-IUPUC

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