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Friday Professional Group Blog

The Foot in the Door is Your Resume

Emily, our superstar Client and Candidate Engagement Coordinator, and I were lucky enough to attend Session One of the first-ever Social Summit YYC this week. There was about a hundred other Calgarians there – everyone from a consignment boutique owner to members of a rock band to PR professionals – all coming together to learn more about marketing and social media.

There are a million things I could talk about that we learned from the summit, but one thing mentioned by the media panel really stuck with me. The panel, made up of some of the biggest influencers and hardest workers in Calgary’s print, radio and TV, answered some very interesting questions including the usefulness of sending ‘swag’ to producers and editors. The panel agreed that sending something smart and related to your pitch or story could be very useful to get yourself noticed, as long as you understand that sending a product or gift does not guarantee you coverage from the outlet you’re approaching.

This was great for me to hear and learn as someone involved in communications, but the first thing that popped into my head – and that I immediately leaned over to whisper to Emily – was “but never do this to a hiring manager!” Emily nodded in agreement.

We’ve all heard about the job seeker who sent their resume attached to a shoe “to get a foot in the door”, and one of the media professionals on the panel even shared a story about sending his application materials with socks and then, in a follow-up call, telling the hiring manager he’d sent something “in case I knocked your socks off.” While this is a great story, and worked for him (maybe because he was applying in a creative industry), it’s not something we could in good conscience recommend for any job seeker.As Alison Green, author of my favourite career website Ask a Manager, says: “If you ever find yourself thinking that you’ll try XYZ to help you “stand out” when applying for a job, XYZ had better be one of the following: being highly qualified for the job, writing a great cover letter, having a resume that shows that you’d excel at what the job involves, or being friendly, responsive, thoughtful, and enthusiastic.” Those are, by far, what interviewers look for when you’re applying for a role, and by extension, should be the things you’re most focused on when you’re looking for a new job.

Alison Green has a whole section on her website called “gimmicks won’t get you a job,” and it makes for hilarious and thought-provoking reading. It’s easy to laugh at the jobseeker who sent a framed glamour shot of themselves to an interviewer, but it’s also worth examining why one could think this is a good idea – and using the reminder as a good opportunity, if you’re a job seeker, to reexamine your resume and cover letter to make sure you’re highlighting the things that really land you a job. We have a career tools section on our website that I encourage you to look at; additionally, we are always happy to have a recruiter answer your questions at Ask a Recruiter.

Emily and I are going back to the Social Summit next week, and I can’t wait to share more about it. You can see a photo from the event, held at the gorgeous Parlour Room in The Commons, on our Instagram!

-Rae Sprung
Communications and Engagement Coordinator

#TheFridayFive

What is #TheFridayFive?

It is officially the holiday season!

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas and wrap up another year, it is easy to get over-involved in a whirlwind of decorating, holiday parties, and finding the perfect gifts for family and friends.

At Friday Professional Group, we are taking a step back and enjoying the moment. From December 1 – Christmas Day we will be posting photos that reflect our appreciation for our staff and our city.

Why #TheFridayFive?

It's simple! If you have been following our #TeamFriday posts, you will know that we refer to our staff collectively as Team Friday. We will also be posting our photos 5 days a week. The result? #TheFridayFive.

What can you do to get involved?

Follow Friday Professional Group on Twitter and Instagram.

We will be updating you every weekday with our pictures. Join us this month and post pictures of people, places and things you are thankful for with the hashtag #TheFridayFive!

We will be retweeting and reposting some of your pictures.

 

Happy Holidays!

Tips For Sending Your Resume Via E-mail

Working at a staffing agency, we see our fair share of e-mails from people applying for jobs. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the e-mail you send is a crucial part of the job application process. The way you draft your e-mail will either make sure your resume ends up in the hands of the hiring manager or ends up in the trash.

Below, I have outlined the three do’s and don’ts of applying for jobs through e-mail. Follow these tips for better success in your job application process!

Don’ts

  1. Do not send an e-mail with your cover letter and resume attached, but with no message. This is the worst crime you could possibly commit in your job application process. It shows recruiters that you don’t care enough about the position to state who you are and why you are applying for the job.
  2. Do not write out your whole life story in your e-mail. That is why there are cover letters. Actually, your cover letter is meant to really explain why you are the best candidate for the role. You do not have to repeat yourself in the body of your e-mail.
  3. Do not send an e-mail without attaching your cover letter and resume. Some applicants copy and paste their cover letter and resume into the body of their e-mail. This either makes recruiters immediately delete your e-mail or it makes extra work for them as they copy, paste and format what you wrote into a word doc.

Do’s

  1. Keep your e-mail message short and sweet. Recruiters look for the following:
    1. Introduce yourself – Who are you? Why are you applying?
    2. How did you find out about the job?
    3. Explain that you have attached your cover letter and resume to the e-mail
    4. How can we get a hold of you (phone number and e-mail address)?
  2. Send a separate cover letter and resume in an attachment. Microsoft Word documents and .PDFs are the easiest to open. Also make sure to save them as “First Name Last Name Cover Letter” and “First Name Last Name Resume”.
  3. Make the subject line clear and concise. You want the most important information in the subject line – the job you are applying for and your name. Ex. “Job Title / Number – First Name Last Name Application”. 

- Emily, Client & Candidate Engagement Coordinator

Happy Halloween!

With Halloween just around the corner, we wanted to thank everyone for their business and support this year.
We also wanted to share with you some spooky Halloween ideas for the whole family.

Best Neighbourhoods to Trick or Treat in Calgary
Website: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/data-centre/trick-or-treat/index.html

Freaky Fridays at Cobb’s Corn Maze
When: FridayOctober 24 (10:00 am - 10:00 pm), Saturday October 25 (10:00 am - 5:00pm) and Sunday October 26 (10:00 am - 5:00 pm)
Where: Cobb’s Corn Maze
Price: Adult $12.50 + GST, Child (3-17) $11.50 + GST
Website: http://cobbscornmaze.com/events.html

Heritage Park Ghouls Night Out
When: October 23 – October 26
Where: Heritage Park
Price: Old Spirits (13+): $10.25 + GST
Little Ghouls (3-12): $6.15 + GST
Children 2 and Under are free
Website: https://www.heritagepark.ca/plan-your-visit/event-calendar/ghouls-night-out.html

Monster Mash-Up at Telus Spark
When: October 25 & 26
Where: Telus Spark
Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Saturday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm Sunday
Price: Included with regular admission or membership (Adults $19.95, Child 3-12 $12.95)
Website: http://www.sparkscience.ca/events/special-events-2/monster-mash-up-2014/

Screamfest Haunted House & Freak Show (not for families)
When: Fridays and Saturdays in October
Where: Stampede Park
Time: 7:00 pm – Midnight
Tickets: $20-40
Website: http://www.screamfest.ca/

Happy Halloween!

Objective: Write a Resume Objective

One of the fun parts of my job is cruising around the Internet finding information that might help our job seekers in their employment search. As I was sniffing around Pinterest today, reading up on ways to write a resume that stands out, I noticed in the comments of this article by Josh Steele a bluntly phrased remark: “The objective is obsolete. Why would you tell someone to put this on a resume?”

Wow – obsolete? Could that be putting things a touch strongly? On our Pinterest page, I keep a board of resume tips – while not all the articles I’ve collected there outright recommend an objective, the ones that do strongly emphasize the same things both a comment moderator on Josh Steele’s article and one of our Professional Recruiters Caitlin Hall-Sharp stated: the objective must be concise and articulate exactly what you are looking for in a job. It needs to add value.

As Arnie Fertig puts it in this article, any resume reader now assumes that the objective of a candidate submitting their resume is to be hired for the job offered. There are other ways, as Susan Ireland says on her comprehensive list of resume objectives, of making clear your career goals; these include letting your job history speak for itself or putting a title at the top of your resume with your name (like “Administrative Assistant”). All sources I’ve found which are in favour of using an objective statement make it clear that it needs to be tailored, specific, and support exactly what you are looking for in your new role. Ireland specifies that an objective may be especially useful when you are making a career change or your work history “lacks focus because you have held many types of jobs” – situations where you want to make explicitly clear what you are looking for. Also, as stated by Amna Masood, the comments moderator on the Josh Steele article, sometimes your resume will be going to someone who may have more than one job opportunity available. There, it is your responsibility to convey exactly what you’re looking for in a job as well as what you’re bringing to the table.

So – do you need an objective? You may not need a section of your resume explicitly titled objective, but there does need to be a clear and unambiguous statement of what you are looking for in your next position and what your contributions will be to your new role. Another of our Professional Recruiters, Jenna Nakamura, recommends this Monster.ca article by Kim Isaacs for interesting tidbits about writing resumes. Visit our Pinterest board for more!

As always, if you have questions for our recruiters, you can submit them at www.askarecruiter.ca and one of our Professional Recruiters will reply. Happy resume-writing!

Rae, First Impressions Coordinator 

What To Expect When You're Walking In on Wednesday

One of our weekly events is our Walk-in Wednesday, a two-hour block of time where our Professional Recruiters speak with all comers about registering with Friday. After watching a year of WIW, I wanted to set the record straight on exactly what you’ll see if you join us for Walk-In.

Come in at 11:00 or afterwards, but at 12:55 at the latest – coming too early or late doesn’t leave a good first impression. We rarely have a wait, so you won’t be crushed in a horde of people, and our recruiters often are busy right up until 11:00 so won’t be able to see you early.

When you come in, you’ll see me first at the front desk – you need to bring a hard copy of your resume, and that’s the first thing for which I’ll ask you. I’m not able to print a copy of your resume for you; please make sure you print it beforehand and bring it with you! The recruiters look through your resume and discuss it with you, so without it, we’ll have to ask you to come back next week. I’ll ask you a few questions, including the type of work you’re looking for, where in the city you’d rather work, if you have access to a car and the minimum salary or wage expectation you have. The more specific that you can be with me, the better – it allows the recruiter to have a better idea off the bat of what you’re looking for. Instead of saying you’ll “take anything”, give me a few ideas of what your experience is in and where you’re looking to go from here.

First impressions and professionalism are very important. If you are coming to Walk-In, come alone; or if you’re in a group, make sure that all of you are coming to speak to a recruiter. It looks unprofessional to come in with friends or family members who are not here to see a recruiter, so leave parents, spouses and other hangers-on outside. If at all possible, leave children at home – while the meet-and-greet on Wednesday will be short; recruiters are looking for you to make the most professional impression that you can, without distractions. Also, dress the part - this is the time to bring out the business casual rather than jeans and a t-shirt.

Your meeting with a recruiter will be a short meet-and-greet – a time where he or she will review your resume and let you know if they feel we’re a good match to help you with your job search. They’ll want to know how your job search is going, what other avenues and tools you are using in your job search, what exactly you’re looking for in a job and what your experience is. One recruiter here also gave the excellent advice of checking out our job postings before you come and writing down any job numbers in which you’re interested. If our recruiter feels that we’re a good match to help you with your job search, they’ll talk to you about taking some assessments to get an idea of your skills before setting up a full professional interview.

Because we’re a client-driven business, sometimes we simply don’t have the roles to match with well-qualified candidates. We are happy to give you ideas of other resources to consult in your job search, and always encourage everyone to keep an eye on our job board and apply directly to roles for which you believe you’re well suited.

Walk-In happens every Wednesday between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM.  If you’re looking for a job; get your resume in shape, put on your office clothes and come down to see us. We look forward to meeting every Calgary job seeker who walks in on Wednesday!

-Rae Sprung, First Impressions Coordinator 

Seasons May Change, Winter to Spring...

As I’m sitting here writing this, the temperature in Calgary is still -17, and it’s hard to believe winter is ever going to be over. Happily, however, I have access to a long-range weather forecast and know that as early as this weekend, we could be getting right into spring.

The cliché about spring is that it’s a time for new beginnings and it’s a cliché for a reason – both in the world and for you personally, as the days get longer and warmer and the hibernation mindset of winter moves aside to make way for the energy and focus on the “clean sweep” mentality of spring. We here in Calgary know better than almost anyone that the transition period between the two can be interesting, however, as the temperature fluctuates and the snow squalls roll in. I thought today would be a good day to talk about both winter – spring food and winter – spring workwear as we all prepare to get through what promises to be a tumultuous March and April and into real, sustained spring.

According to this article from February 2012, now is a good time to be eating citrus, cauliflower and sweet shrimp – all lighter-tasting alternatives to the root vegetables and stews that pop to mind when one thinks about ‘winter’ food. I love the look of this Dijon yogurt cauliflower recipe as a side dish – it’s healthier than smothering the cauliflower in cheese and still is tasty and hearty enough to feel like an appropriate side dish on a cold almost-spring day. EatingWell.com suggests strawberries, mushrooms, eggs and mixed greens as foods which help to promote natural weight loss, which may be beneficial if you’ve picked up a few extra pounds to keep warm over the winter! (Sounds like the ingredients to a pretty good make-ahead salad!) According to About.com, we in Alberta are now on the tail end of the availability of locally-grown produce until May, but with the use of greenhouses by local farmers it is possible to get all kinds of locally-grown vegetables and fruits all year round.

As we move into spring eating, we’re also moving into spring clothing, and it can be so hard to know how to dress for the Calgary weather in these early spring months. (I, for one, still have my fleece-lined tights in heavy rotation). Winter clothes are getting boring and tired, but it’s nowhere near warm enough to move into a full-on spring wardrobe. This is where layering comes into heavy play – instead of a black blazer, consider one like this beauty. Bright colours and florals help to enliven your spring look as you phase out the winter clothes, but can still be worn underneath cardigans and blazers as necessary to keep warm and professional. I think scarves have a big place in layering, as well as wearing long-sleeved shirts under dresses (like in this slideshow, which also has some other interesting ideas! It is for “transitioning into winter”, but the points work just as well in reverse). A lot of the articles I read while researching this post also recommended booties, cropped pants and adding lots of colour and prints as we move into spring.

 I would love to hear some male opinions on changing the wardrobe from winter to spring. Is this as big of a concern as it is for women, or do you find that weather-wise, your wardrobes hold up pan-seasonally? Email me at friday@friday.ca or visit our Facebook or Twitter accounts to weigh in! I also am still always looking for recipes and breakfast or lunch ideas to share with our followers, if you have a particular favourite. I hope everyone is staying warm and toasty as we get through this one (hopefully last!) cold week! (I see that it’s supposed to warm up on Monday – maybe I’ll get to retire the fleece-lined tights!)

 

            -Rae, First Impressions Coordinator

Photo Credit:  http://hikingwithbarry.com/2011/05/05/bowness-park-calgary-hiking-alberta/

This is Your Brain on Lunch

Shabana, our social media expert, passed along some interesting articles to me last week as I was writing about finishing up my Meals Challenge and starting to look at other ways food impacts workers and the workplace – so today, referring to Brain Food: The Ultimate Lunch for a Productivity Boost by Abigail Tracy and Seven Foods That Reduce Stress & Seven Foods That Boost Your Brainpower, both by Barbara Mendez, let’s talk about clear heads and workplace productivity!

In last week’s blog, I talked about  how eating breakfast and lunch on a more regular basis had helped me feel happier and more focused throughout the day – and this week, where I’m regrettably back on the two-cups-of-coffee-and-no-protein-for-breakfast bandwagon, it’s interesting to read these thoughts about why that is.

I am a big egg fan and relied on them near-exclusively to complete my Meals Challenge breakfasts – eggs, it turns out, provide a ‘necessary building block’ to one of the neurotransmitters in the brain which allows for increased concentration and better recall of information. Even when we’re going off the admittedly limited evidentiary proof of my Meals Challenge – especially when compared to today, as I’m having more trouble staying completely focused on just writing this piece – I would feel confident in saying that breakfast in general and eggs in particular helped me keep sharp and focused last week without near as much of the caffeine that’s been a mainstay for this one. I did grab a gluten-free oatmeal cereal for Tuesday, which is said to contain elements which aid in boosting serotonin production and calming anxiety, but I hadn’t had a lot of sleep Monday night and didn’t notice much help brain-wise. I don’t feel like my work has suffered by not eating breakfast, or that eating breakfast made me Super-Employee, but the level of mental effort I am expending helped along by caffeine is definitely higher this week. (I will be getting back on the eggs as of tomorrow, with a firm dedication to the Egg Cause).

One thing I have remained on top of this week has been bringing a lunch for every day except Monday! Even with skipping breakfast, having a well-balanced lunch has made a noticeable difference in my brain in the afternoons. I’ve been bringing leftovers from dinner the night before, which means lean meat, vegetables, and fruit; and I find it really nice to get through an afternoon without being hungry or feeling unsatisfied or greasy (like one can feel after, say, Mexi-Fries and a small Jugo Juice…) That being said, I like the ‘seven’ lists above for reducing stress and increasing brainpower – turkey in a dark-green salad with chickpeas, blueberries and orange segments? That sounds delicious, and easy to throw together the night before so that I can grab it as ‘leftovers’ in the morning and go. I said in my blog last week that I was hoping to spend some time putting together lunches that were easy to grab in the morning, and I am still holding to that – I think salads are really the perfect idea for this if there aren’t leftovers ready to grab. I have a great little Tupperware container that is the perfect size for holding a lunch-size salad’s worth of dressing and fits perfectly in my lunchbox, too!

I feel like the best part about all the pieces we’ve looked at today is that they give you solid reasons to make these healthy choices and tell you why they work. There is no ‘superfood’ to help reduce stress or improve brainpower, but there are lots of little 'great foods' you can eat to give your brain what it needs. I like all the suggestions on both lists of foods to help with brainpower/reduce stress, and I find the idea of the 10-minute lunch to boost productivity intriguing even though I don’t care for green tea. (Our service team, however, drinks it like it’s going out of style – maybe that’s how they’re so amazing!)

Check out this delicious-looking (and adorable!) turkey and orange salad recipe from the BBC if you, too, are planning to bring some brain food for lunch next week; and as always, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like to chat about recipes, food or anything else!

-Rae, First Impressions Coordinator 

Photo: Sara Asnaghi, "What have you got in your head?"

Rae Made Meals - Challenge Update

When I survey the landscape of last week’s Meals Challenge, I actually think I maybe came out ahead. Let’s have a look at what I said I was going to do, and what actually ended up happening….

 

For breakfasts, I said I was going to a) make some truly ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast items and b) actually grab them on the way out of the house. I linked to some sites with great ideas – you can see them if you look at last week’s blog – and while I still think all those ideas were great…I ended up making none of them. For me, it turned out, it was enough of a challenge to eat two boiled eggs with a glass of water on the way out of the house and then follow up with tea or coffee at work. I’m counting this as a win, because I did eat breakfast all five days last week – also, one morning was a Kind Plus cranberry-almond bar. That’s not homemade, but it is different than eggs! I discovered this article, as well, which at least validates my breakfast choice for busy mornings. (I also discovered, much to my delight, that I am far from the only person in the world that eats her boiled eggs with a touch of buffalo wing sauce. Thanks, Twitter!)

In terms of what I could learn from this, I think I’m going to try and make space on my weekends to put together a few more options for breakfasts. I definitely noticed that starting the day with something in my stomach made it easier to make it to lunch without getting crabby. The Kind Plus bar day was a good one, and since I know myself, I know that stocking up on those will be a more likely happening than me making granola bars for myself. The best part about having breakfast every day was that I really did notice a different in my mood and work – I had gotten used to being achingly hungry by 10:30 AM. I liked just being “normal hungry” by the time my lunch rolled around at 11:30.

 

I was hoping to get out of the “using-up-the-expensive-gluten-free-bread” trap for lunches, and I did…not bad. I loved reading the links I provided in last week’s blog, especially the “16 non-sandwich options”…but again, my planning skills and time got away from me and I didn’t end up making any of them. I actually did utilize the bounty of my fridge – leftovers from dinners made frequent appearances (turkey and feta burgers were a particular highlight), as well as lots of apples, oranges and yogurt. I did bring a sandwich on two of the five days, but was happy to have a) managed to bring a lunch and b) gone a bit easier on the pricey bread. Again, I feel like having a day on the weekend to do a bit of supplementary grocery shopping and meal planning would be a good idea for me. In the near future, I think I’m going to whip up this and the tomato and almond salad here, and bring those as “leftovers” like I did this week with whatever we had had for supper the night before. Continuing on from what I realized about breakfast, by lunchtime I was hungry, but “normal hungry” – and eating my healthier lunches was very satisfying. I had noticed that on days when I didn’t eat breakfast, I was more tempted to make unhealthy lunchtime choices. (Mexi-Fries, anyone?) I found my leftovers or sandwiches and fruit very tasty and filling, and combined with my Coke Zero (a vice, I know, but a caffeine addiction is not kicked in a week), a huge help to get me through the afternoon happy and focused.

 

Speaking of suppers, this is the one I was most proud of! I challenged myself to make one supper for my family (for this particular Thursday night, that meant my parents, my fiancé, and my brother and his girlfriend), which needed to be healthy, gluten-free, and delicious; and also ready in time for my dad and me to leave for choir at 6:45. My very patient father stood behind me and directed me through making a stir-fry of chicken thighs, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and onions with rice vermicelli and a Korean-inspired sauce. I noticed my cooking skills have deteriorated steadily since I’ve been living somewhere where I don’t have to cook every day (or really at all). The vegetable prep took the longest – the cutting board looked like I’d had a fight with the cauliflower – but by the end of the cooking process it was like my brain had gotten back into the rhythm. I get the feeling stir-fries for six people don’t usually take more experienced cooks an hour and fifteen minutes to finish, but it did turn out deliciously and gave me a little bump of self-confidence. I struck a deal with my dad that I’m going to hang out in the kitchen with him one night a week so he can help me gain more assuredness in the kitchen and help me try out some of the recipes I’ve been reading! (That buffalo chicken salad is still looking really appealing, I’ll be honest). It also made a great lunch on Friday!

 

So, I’m going to give myself a 6/10 for the meals challenge. I did expend effort in making sure I lived up to the letter of the challenge – I ate breakfast and brought lunch all five days, plus made a family dinner – but I think I can do better on the spirit of the challenge – finding ways to make breakfast and lunch easier, healthier and more interesting. I think I’ll see how I can do on these ideas on my own and maybe run the challenge again in March or April once I’ve had an opportunity to make some of these thoughts habits. In the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be talking more about snacks, food and food’s role in the workplace – if you have any thoughts, send me an email!

 

-Rae, First Impressions Coordinator

 

Do you have any secrets to good meal planning or some good tips or gluten-free recipes for me? Send me an email at friday@friday.ca!

Photo: My mise-en-place for Thursday’s dinner. Not pictured: chicken thighs – they were still in the sink defrosting.

The Rae Makes Meals Challenge (plus Rae Organizes Her Desk update!)

Besides some very dedicated, healthy individuals, I’m sure we all have days where we don’t have time for breakfast, pick the wrong choices for lunch, and are so tired when we get home that dinner just falls by the wayside into the takeout menu. With the advent of resources like Pinterest and lifestyle blogs it seems like a no-brainer to make healthier – and, often, easier - choices (oftentimes the recipes look delectable and uncomplicated, AND are pleasingly illustrated with pictures of them adorably presented in mason jars! Who could resist, I ask you?). And yet – sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Actually, for me, it rarely works out that way.

One of the things our fantastic Employment Solutions Specialist and all-around social media expert Shabana does, as you’ll know if you frequent our Facebook or Twitter accounts, is round up and share awesome tips and information on everything from resumes to interview attire to make-ahead dinners. As I looked through some of the ideas on the meal spectrum we’re going to be sharing with you in the upcoming weeks and months, I had a thought – why don’t I take a look at the week I just had, meal-wise, and see if I can do better this week using some of these ideas?

Last week, I actually did better at breakfast than I usually do – I almost never eat breakfast, as I am a devotee of my alarm’s snooze button. I had a cold glass of water, two boiled eggs with a little bit of buffalo wing hot sauce, and tea on Wednesday and Friday. (Friday, though, I also ate three sour soothers. Breakfast of champions!) The other days, I had a cold glass of water and a cup of tea or coffee. So, my goal for this week is to make some truly grab-and-go ideas for breakfast. I started this week with my good old two boiled eggs and hot sauce option, followed by a cold glass of water and some coffee when I got to work this morning. This slideshow has some great ideas for breakfast options – because of a medical condition, though, I can’t eat anything containing gluten, so I’ll be modifying recipes from there and using this site for more ideas and reference for the rest of the week.

As for lunch, last week was also a good week for me. I’ve picked, apparently, one of my best food weeks ever to start this experiment - I brought my lunch (usually a small sandwich and a piece of fruit) every day except for Friday! Usually I run across the street for a salad or a Jugo Juice with protein powder. This probably sounds healthier than it is – it’s sometimes too easy to choose creamy dressings or too much cheese on a salad, and I’ll admit to being honestly unsure how much better a choice a fruit smoothie with protein powder really is for lunch than some of the ideas I want to be trying this week. I’m lucky enough to live right now with my parents and my fiancé, who usually packs my lunch for me while I am racing around in the morning trying to get ready in time to leave, so this week: I’ll be making my lunches the night before! I didn’t manage to get my lunch packed last night, but I did pack some turkey, feta and cranberry burgers, an apple, an orange and a Coke Zero for today’s lunch this morning. Since gluten-free sandwich bread is reaaallly expensive, I was thrilled to come across this website which suggests sixteen sandwich-free lunch ideas, which is perfect for me! I’m also looking at ideas to use or modify from places like this and this.

Dinners? Well, I humbly admit that for dinners, I’m usually off the hook – as I mentioned, my fiancé and I live with my family, and my father is a wonderful and enthusiastic cook. Since two of my other family members are also celiac, that means we’re privileged enough to have safe and delicious dinners usually prepared for us. However! In the spirit of this challenge, I’ll be perusing this to make one dinner (at least – I might aim for two) for me and my family next week. I found, for example, this good-looking delight – that’s probably not the healthiest salad ever concocted, but boy, is it ever up my alley.

I’m actually really excited to take this on! It will involve a good deal of list-making, which is my specialty, and as I look over the plan I’ve got going for the week, I can see exactly where and how this is going to save me lots of time and money in the long run. It gets expensive to eat out for four or five lunches a week! Plus, eating breakfast (my number-one most skipped meal) has been shown to have major benefits. I’ll be back in this space on Friday or Monday to share with you what I made and how the week went in general. Cross your fingers for me! Bon appétit!

-Rae, First Impressions Coordinator

PS: Shabana suggested I share how my desk organization was coming along! She also graciously told me I had been doing a pretty good job. In my opinion, desk organization is still a work in progress. I am doing really well at keeping the pen caddy cleaned out and having only what I need to hand; I am still working on tidying up at the end of the day and not having too much paper everywhere! 

 

Photo: My unpopular lunchbox in our work fridge. 

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