Tuesday, November 22, 2011


     It's hard to believe that your image conscious, eye rolling, mono-syllabic teen will one day make his or her way into the work force.  Though they may act like they don't need you anymore, preparing for a job interview will be one of those times when your advice and previous experience will come in handy.
     A good stepping-stone for any teen ready to enter the work force is to become active in extra curricular activities in school or around their community.  This will help build their confidence, and get them used to the idea of selling themselves to authority figures.
     Your teen's first impression on the interviewer, whether they are applying for a job working weekends or a few hours after school, counts for 55% of their decision on whether your teen gets a call congratulating them on their new position within that company.
     Once your teen has settled on a business that they are interested in working for, have them do some research on the position they are applying for.  The more knowledge he or she is equipped with, the better their chances of getting hired.
     Next you will want to set aside time to practice what will happen in the interview, such as what will be asked, what they should ask, etc.  Playing the role of the interviewer, prepare some questions to ask that the real interviewer might.  Your rehearsals should cover real scenarios that might arise, including working through situations that may be positive, negative or even embarrassing.  Also, help them work through answering those questions that they may have difficulty answering.
       Teach your teen to answer the questions precisely, without sounding unsure of themselves.  They should begin to learn to believe in themselves, and therefore exude confidence in the interview.
  During this time, feedback is essential for your teen.  Whether it is praise or constructive criticism, your teen will benefit from learning from their mistakes, and thereby gaining confidence in themselves.
     Now that you feel like your teen has mastered the Q&A part of the interview process, it is now time for them to make an appointment with their future employer, and gather the necessary paperwork together.  This includes a completed job application, working papers (if your teen is under the legal hiring age), and a resume'.
     Since your teen will have had no previous job experience to pad their resume' with, they will need to list those traits, outside experiences or interests that will make them stick out when the interviewer begins looking over their paperwork.
     With an interview date looming in the distance, there are some points to go over with your teen to ready them for the actual day.  Though one of the things you may admire about your teen is their sense of an individual, free thinking self, you need to help them realize what is appropriate attire and attitude to present themselves with in front of the man or woman interviewing them.
    Whether your teen is of driving age or not, it is best to let them go into the interview room by themselves.  If you have to drive them, either wait in the car or come back to pick them up.  Without you in the room, your teen has only themselves to rely on, and doing something on their own builds their confidence and gives them a sense of independence.  It is important that they speak for themselves, without you in the room. 
       If your teen is of driving age, have them map out a direct route to the place of business, taking into consideration how long it will take to get there.  Also, have them arrive 10-15 minutes early.  This will give them time to get their bearings and become familiar with their surroundings.
     How your teen presents themselves is important, so have them dress conservatively, yet casually, so they are not completely untrue to their identity.  But have them remove any piercings, wash out the hair dye, and cover any visible tattoos, as these might make the wrong impression.
     Regardless of how your teen acts around you, it is essential they are polite and well mannered during their interview.  Some basic rule of good behavior to keep in mind are, offer your hand first, don't sit unless you are asked to, sit up straight, listen, stay focused and don't mumble when speaking.  Tell them to introduce themselves by stating their full name, age, and the school they attend, and also by giving a brief description of who they are, and why they want to be apart of the company.
    Tell your teen to keep in mind the fact that their future employer will take into consideration their personality, team spirit and willingness to work.

 Listed below are some standard questions that will be asked by the interviewer:

1. Why are you interested in working for our company?

2. Why should I hire you?

3. How would you describe your ability to work as a team player?

4. What do you think it takes to be successful in this position?

5. Why are you looking for a job?

     Thanks to your rehearsal time, your teen should feel comfortable answering these questions and more.  They should have some questions of their own prepared.  It is okay at this point for your teen to talk long-term with the interviewer about things such as the pay scale, bonus and advancement opportunities within the company.  This shows that they are interested in a long-term relationship with the employer and are eager to be apart of the team.   Though your teen may be eager to get the job, it is necessary for them to state what days of the week and hours in which they are available.  The last thing you want for them to do is excitedly accept a job, and then struggle with not being able to fulfill their end of the bargain by having to miss a lot of work, thereby compromising their employment. Now that the interview is over, your teen will need to ask when they can expect a decision to be made.
     Once your teen receives a call back with a date in which they can start, there are some ground rules you will need to set in order to maintain some balance between school and work.  They should know that their schoolwork is their number one priority, and that their new job must not interfere with or compromise that.
     Whether he or she may know it or not, your teen is gaining valuable experiences that will guide them later on in life.  They will learn responsibility and the importance of hard work, what it is like to be depended on, and what it is like to be apart of a team.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Ins and Outs Of Copyright Law

Seeing your name in print for the first time can be a life affirming experience.  You've accomplished what many in your field dream of - you are now a published writer.  Setting out to make a living as a freelance writer and/or author, you will want to learn all you can about copyright laws and how they pertain to your writing.
     When you submit your writing to magazines, newspapers and even websites, you automatically hold the copyright, until you are able to reach an agreement to share the copyright under specific terms with the publisher or editor to which you have sold your work to.

5 Ways Copyright Law Protects Writers:

1. Prevents others from illegally using your copyrighted materials.
2. Keeps your writing safe against theft.
3. Recognizes the writer of the written material and no one else.
4. Provides legal help for both corporate and individual copyright infringement.
5. Prevents plagiarism, or any unauthorized use of written material, including public display or distribution.

     Once an understanding has been reached over who owns the copyright, you will next need to know the "usage terms" of the agreement of the conditions agree upon between you and the publisher.   These terms may list either an exclusivity or non-exclusivity clause, in which the publisher may request that your writing not be published elsewhere (exclusivity), or you may be granted permission to publish your writing in another venue (non-exclusivity).
     Publishers of magazines, newspapers or websites relies on certain rights in order to be able to publish, reproduce and distribute your writing, so therefore, requires your permission before they can proceed any further.  It is important for writers to fully know the meaning of “usage terms” before submitting their writing for publication, so that they will be fully aware of any transfer of rights, compensation or changes to the writing.

Six Ways Usage Terms Help Writers:

1. Provides provisions during publication.
2. Helps writers choose the duration of their content.
3. Come to an agreement in terms of compensation for published articles or stories.
4. Release from clear-cut legal responsibility.
5. Rules of commitment.
6. The transfer of copyright between writer and publisher.

     While you already know that copyright is your right to claim ownership of your writing, thus protecting your writing from theft, or illegal distribution.  You as the writer also have the choice to grant authorization through "use rights."  Doing so does not affect your ownership of the copyrighted work itself, unless you sign away "all rights" or "work-for-hire."
     Some publishers may be under the assumption that if no rights are bought, then they aren't using any of them.  So, here is a list of rights that publishers can acquire from writers:

1. First North American Serial Rights - You as the writer are giving permission to a publication the right to publish your work for the first time only in North America and Canada.

2. First Rights - You are giving the publisher the right to exclusively print your work as "first use."  Electronic and non-traditional publications usually are the ones to buy these rights.

3. One-Time Rights - Gives publishers the non-exclusive right to use your writing only once.  You have the ability to sell this right to more than one publication at a time.

4. Reprint Rights – You can only sell reprint rights to other publications once you have sold First North American Serial Rights.  A downside to selling reprint rights is that it will most likely bring a lower price, and the original publisher will ask to be credited alongside the second publication of the material.

5. Electronic Rights - Encompasses all types of electronic publication from CD-ROM to websites.  If you were to sell electronic rights to one type of publisher, you could possibly lose the rights to sell to another non-electronic type of publication.

6. Subsidiary Rights - When your writing has been published in the form of a book, the publisher holds the right to sell your material in other formats such as film, audio and electronic rights.

7. Worldwide Rights - Gives the publisher the right to sell your book as a translation of languages in all countries.

      Understanding the importance of copyright, you will next want to register your work.          
Registration is inexpensive – only $20 per work registered.
     Registering your writing is inexpensive - only $20 per work registered.  In order to register, you will need to fill out the copyright application and mail it off to the United States Copyright Office, along with a check and a copy of your work.  If your work has already been published, you will want to make sure you register within the next three months of publication.  Registration of your copyrighted work goes into effect the day the Copyright Office receives your application and payment.
     Once you have registered your copyrighted work, you are now able to sue for copyright infringement.  Registering your writing within 90 days of publication, you are eligible for statutory damages of up to $100,000, even if copyright infringements have occurred either before or after registration.  Registration of your copyrighted work goes into effect the day the Copyright Office receives your application and payment. 

    An author really owns a bundle of rights, which can be sold or assigned separately to a third party:

Authors Own Rights In The Following Ways:

1. The right to reproduce their work in a fixed form

2. The right to derivative works.  Meaning they can take their short story and adapt it into a novel, or take their novel or short story and turn it into a screenplay.

3. The right to sell their work, rent it or lend it out

4. The right to publicly display their work such as on their website, Facebook or MySpace pages

Exceptions To The Infringement Rules:
     These rules allow someone to reproduce someone else's work without obtaining the proper licenses or rights to that work.

1. Fair use - states that someone may use the work for a limited time either as a teaching aid or for review and/or critique purposes.

2. Public domain - when copyright law no longer protects a piece of writing.

3. Noncopyrightable Works - includes things such things as facts or ideas, which do not add up to a piece of writing as a whole.

    The awareness of copyright and how it works can literally mean the difference between you making a living as a writer, or losing the ability to sell and distribute your writing.