Dating Advice as Told by Batman

Author: Tony Iliakostas, The Dating Game

Batman, who has been dubbed the world’s greatest detective, has it all.

He’s a successful businessman by day, he’s got fancy tech, he takes down crime, and of course, he’s a heartthrob to most women who encounter him. Whether you’ve read the comics, watched the animated series, or even watched old and new cinematic renditions of Batman, the Dark Knight teaches us lessons about dating that may be useful to those looking for love.

 

Be yourself
Many would probably think that Bruce Wayne suffers from some type of identity crisis. He’s a playboy billionaire by day, and a masked vigilante by night. Yet, if you know anything about the Batman story arch, Bruce Wayne isn’t some person who doesn’t know who he is. He has embraced the Batman moniker to rid Gotham of crime, which he himself was a victim of when his parents were mercilessly killed before his eyes as a young boy. The same outlook should be applied to dating. Don’t put on a proverbial mask to hide your true colors. Dating is about being yourself. You want your date to know who you are, and what you stand for. Adopting this mindset will make the dating experience a lot easier.

Moral support is vital
Batman has sought the help of many accomplices and sidekicks throughout the history of this comic book. His most noteworthy is Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce’s guardian and right hand man. It’s Alfred who serves as the voice of reason, and a beacon of wisdom when Bruce dealt with inner personal or moral conflict. The same goes for dating. If you’re in a relationship where you’re uncertain of the direction it’s going, it’s totally natural to go to close friends and family who you confide in, and seek their guidance. Likewise, if your dating relationship is going really well, share the praise report with them too. Just remember that not everyone has your best interests in heart. Make sure that whoever you talk to is someone who you genuinely trust.

Teamwork makes the dream work
Batman didn’t fight Gotham’s foes on his own. Whether it was the Boy Wonder Dick Grayson, Jason Todd’s rendition of Robin, or Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, Batman knew that the help of others would ease the burden of fighting the worst of the worst villains. And of course, Batman’s embrace of teamwork expanded beyond Gotham when he became a founding member of the Justice League, DC’s version of the Avengers. Dating is very similar. The success of every dating relationship relies heavily on the contribution that each person in the relationship makes. Whether it’s paying for a night out every once in a while, or lending an ear during a meaningful conversation, there should be equilibrium in the relationship. Every happy and thriving married couple will tell you that their marriage has lasted because each spouse worked in tandem as a team.

Relationships can be complicated
If there’s one thing Bruce Wayne and I have in common, it’s that we have dated our fair share of women. Whether it was Vicki Vale, Dr. Chase Meridian, Rachel Dawes, or even Selina Kyle (yes, the Catwoman), Bruce consistently fell in and out of love. Perhaps his lack of commitment to women was superseded by his obligation to protect Gotham City. Nevertheless, if you’re one of those people who has dated many guys or girls, and you haven’t found “the one” yet, rest on the laurels that neither has Bruce Wayne. Don’t consider yourself an outsider simply because you’ve spent so many years in unsuccessful dating relationships. This is a normal feeling, and the time will come sooner or later when you meet that one person who will take your breath away.

More experience makes you better and smarter
Batman became a better and stronger superhero as he encountered more villains, upgraded his technology, and acquired more experience as a crime fighter. Dating is very similar in this regard. The more people you date, the more you’ll understand your wants and needs in life. You’ll meet people who are good for just a coffee date. You’ll meet others who you hope to foster a long-lasting permanent relationship with. But this will only happen as you grow older and continue dating people.

 

If you’re single and itching to get back in the dating scene, my hope is that the advice above will inspire and motivate you to do so. And if The Penguin dares to interrupt your dinner date, you know what to do.

Keys to a Winning Resume: A 101 for Millennials

Author: Tony Iliakostas, Career Advice

One of the toughest obstacles any millennial will encounter is stepping foot into the job market. It’s petrifying. Here you are with a bunch of skills and a wealth of knowledge that you hope will lead to a job that pays decently and includes benefits. But, you’re competing with tons of other freshly-minted higher education graduates or those with a few years under their belt. How can you stand apart from the rest? By having a solid, well-drafted resume.

How am I so sure about this? Because mine set me apart. And trust me, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re doing at least one of the following. Here’s how to get a winning resume…

Every great resume starts with a great template
Whether you’ve never drafted a resume in your life or you have a working model, it’s always good to check out what others look like. Maybe yours looks archaic with an older font and you want to modernize it a bit. It’s totally kosher to look at what formatting other sample resumes use — those could be the basis for your great resume. A quick Google search will render millions of results.

Your resume should tell your story
Before you draft a single word on your Word document, take a moment and ask yourself, “who am I?” You want your resume to achieve one goal: to tell your story in an effective manner. Remember that human resources departments and job recruiters will be reading your resume, so you want to tell them, in a succinct fashion, what your career aspirations are, where you went to school, where you interned or previously worked at, and all your other accomplishments. Yes, your resume is the one opportunity to boast about yourself. And remember that you have to achieve this goal within one page in most cases.

Including your social media profile could add some personality, but keep it professional
Social media profiles are very telling of who you are. Your online persona often mimics your offline persona and you may want a prospective employer to see that side of you. Now, this doesn’t give you license to share every link to every social media account you have on your resume. Stick to the basics — include your LinkedIn URL in the header of your resume. And, if you don’t have a LinkedIn page, create one ASAP. As for other sites like Facebook or Twitter, if they’re professional enough, it’s at your discretion to share those links too, but make sure that they’re clean first.

Draft, then revise. Then take a break. Then revise. Then take a break. Then revise again
As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” That means that things take time before they take full form, and that is especially true for your resume. Draft as much as you can and then take a break. The next day, take another look at your resume, make any necessary revisions, and then take another break. Repeat this process until you are comfortable with the way your resume reads. Any level-headed person will tell you that this approach to resume review is important. Taking a break and reviewing your resume each day helps you view your work product with clear eyes each time.

Do you know someone older than you who’s working? Have them review your resume
Peer review is tremendously beneficial. If you already have a resume, find at least three people to review your resume. See what they say. If they all like it, great. If they provide feedback on ways to improve it, take their advice into serious consideration. Getting the perspective of others and getting an unbiased review of your resume, is very important.

Hire a career consultant
Does it feel as though all of this seems like a lot? Look into hiring a career consultant to help you draft your resume. This can be a lower-stress option in the end if you’re worried about feeling overwhelmed. Plus, they’re pros who know what they’re doing!

Millennials and the Coalition Against Fake News

Author: Tony Iliakostas, Current Events/Politics

I don’t think anyone has heard the term “fake news” thrown around more than during the 2016 Presidential election. And frankly, I think the closest any of us have come to fake news prior to the 2016 U.S. presidential election was when our octogenarian relatives posted statuses that Facebook was going to start charging money to use the social network, which was of course a hoax. And who could forget all those “Jackie Chan is dead” rumors that floated around the internet. Poor Jackie Chan.

But the issue of misreporting information or “fake news” has had some history, going as far back as 1799 in the case of U.S. v. Fries, dealing with the issue of the press publishing falsehoods to a large mass of readers. And over time in the legal landscape, there have been tens of hundreds of defamation cases against members of the press corps in which the key issue was whether the press reported a specific story with malice, and without verifying the story’s legitimacy in such a way that it tarnished one’s reputation.

And of course, I think Katie Couric said it best in a video essay in 2010 when she talked about the proliferation of false reporting on the Internet. What Katie Couric speaks of is exactly what fake news is.

Fast forward to this past election cycle

President Trump has thrown out the term “fake news” and “VERY fake news” to address stories that he didn’t like about his personal life, his business practices, and all things relating to his campaign. His lashing out at the news media has carried over into his Presidency with stories about his campaign’s ties to Russian oligarchs, the Kremlin, and Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 Presidential election.

The funny thing is that much of the information the media has reported has been confirmed by multiple media organizations, so really, the news can’t be that fake. Yet, the proliferation of non-reputable, virtually unknown political blogs and websites has truly led the “fake news” frontier and created a rift in the media landscape unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

So, reports of a “rigged election” as suggested by no-name blogs and by our own President have been all but confirmed by every major news outlet, newspaper, print publisher and news media agency in America

I have worked for two news organizations in my lifetime: CBS News and ABC News. I can assure readers that any information that is reported on major news outlets such as the two aforementioned ones will share genuine, legitimate, accurate, and credible information to the general public.

Now, the manner in which the information is reported is a whole different ball game; that speaks to the semantics of news reporting. But as for the substance of the report, I can confidently say that news agencies that have had a history of reporting credible information since the dawn of news television are still in the business of accurate reporting.

And sadly, news reporters today are being victimized and are leading the fight against uncorroborated false reporting that constantly floats around.

As millennials, I think we play as much of a role as mass media in the fight against “fake news.” I think our contribution will make all the difference in supporting free press and preventing the epidemic of uncorroborated reporting that has, unfortunately, made a place for itself in today’s society.

Fact-checking matters
When people see a story online, they are quick to believe it’s true. Millennials are just as guilty of this. After all, we grew up in a time when the internet became the cornerstone of how we consumed content. A general rule of thumb: don’t believe everything you see on the internet, especially if it seems too good to be true. It doesn’t hurt checking a second, third, or even fourth source to verify the legitimacy of a story. So, the next time you see a “Jackie Chan is dead” story floating online, check out AP, Reuters and other newswires to verify the story’s truthfulness.

Be informed
A great way to stay informed is to subscribe to newsletters for news websites, especially ones that tend to keep news reporting as neutral as possible. My personal recommendation is NPR’s daily newsletter. It gives me a great snapshot on current events. Taking an initiative to stay informed goes a long way. And for what it’s worth, it doesn’t hurt to watch Fox News and MSNBC to see how right and left wing media are reporting on current events issues — it makes you more well-rounded.

Avoid far right and far left media outlets
In the same vein as my previous suggestion, whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, solely relying on news from far right and far left news outlets will be of no benefit to you. They tend to over-amplify and over-hype news unnecessarily, to the point that their own stories fall in the “fake news” spectrum. So whether you’re all about InfoWars and Breitbart or Daily Kos and The Young Turks, my suggestion is take a step back and read up on current events from more moderate left and right news-oriented publications and news entities.

Keep an honest dialogue with your peers, especially those who think mainstream media is legitimately “fake news”
Many friends of mine think CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, the New York Times, WaPo, and other news entities in the mainstream media report illegitimately to gain some type of edge against the Trump administration. I personally disagree with that, and that’s okay. I think it’s important for everyone on the left and right to have an open and candid conversation about current events. Isn’t that the essence of a free democracy and debate? That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything our counterpart says. And it’s okay to speak up against any inaccuracies that we see or hear from our peers — or give stories that could potentially be viewed as hypocritical. The reporter who broke the story on Hillary’s emails was the same reporter who broke the story on the recent memo from James Comey — and if those aren’t contradicting stories, I don’t know what are.

I’d be kidding if I said that the war against “fake news” was over. It’s not, and it won’t be for some time. But I feel that if we play an active role in the fight against misreporting, we will have done our part in some small measurable but meaningful way.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

What it’s Like When a School Says You’re Not “Good Enough”

Author: Tony Iliakostas, Real Life Stories

There are people who live and breathe off school. In fact, there are people that love school so much that they would rather be life-long students than work a normal day job with pay and benefits.

I went to school for 21 straight years, from kindergarten through law school, and I didn’t miss a beat, working my way through long careers while in school and doing my dutiful job as a student. And while the schoolwork itself was challenging, I think my greatest ordeal as a millennial in school came when I was applying to law schools.

The story
I was enrolled at my dream college, Fordham University. I adhered to the Jesuits’ instruction of satisfying their core curriculum requirements with ease and ultimately honing my studies in communications and media studies. Thankfully, my perpetual hard work earned me Dean’s List honors all four years at Fordham and I graduated Magna cum Laude.

At Fordham, I knew that my studies and interests would lead me to a career in the law, so I began the process of studying for the LSAT. The LSAT is the SAT equivalent for law schools; it also happens to be the first ring of of purgatory. The test comprises of reading comprehension, logical reasoning and logic games. Basically, if you are a book smart person, you could ace the LSAT. But if you are more analytical, scoring a decent grade on the LSAT could be burdensome.

I fell into this latter category and what was normally my virtue was my vice in the realm of law school standardized testing. I’ll never forget having one-on-one tutors train me on the LSAT. The pain and struggle was real and by December 2010, I only had a 149 out of 180 LSAT score to show for.

In spite of the pain and suffering of studying and prepping for the LSAT, that didn’t discourage me; I still had every intention of applying to law schools. The only problem was (and still is) that law schools are always (negligently) fixated on what your LSAT score is. Yet, law schools also require that your GPA is superb, that you have a strong personal statement, and your letters of recommendation are the next best thing to sliced Wonder Bread.

In my eyes, I met all the marks that law schools wanted except for the LSAT score. But I still applied to all the major law schools in New York City.

The hope
Most schools got back to me with flat-out rejections just based on my LSAT score. Talk about a “LOL” moment. But this millennial still had hope, and a true test of my endurance came when one law school finally contacted me asking for an interview.  I was excited about the opportunity to interview at a law school that was a stone’s throw away from where I lived.

So I went in, dressed to the nines, and sat with one of the admissions officers. She introduced herself, sat me down, and asked me a whole host of questions about Fordham, my career aspirations, my brief job stints and internships while I was in undergrad, and why I feel like I am qualified to be a student at their school. The response that followed from this admissions officer was… well, distasteful to say the least, and fixated on my LSAT score once again. I got up and walked out of the interview.

The reality and the heartbreak
It was at that moment that I truly grasped the grim reality of academic rejection. Here I was, working my tail off in every way imaginable academically. Yet, they didn’t see the fruits of my labor and recklessly labeled me as a potentially poor law student without giving me a fair chance. They were solely deriving a conclusion on my potential performance in law school because of a number that they were so fixated on.

Admittedly, law schools, and all schools for that matter, are wrong to abide by a formula or statistics. Schools should be in the business of admitting students not just on their academic performance but their ability to be savvy when necessary, to communicate effectively and to convey real-world qualities that will be essential to their career and life.

Thankfully, it all worked out because my alma mater, New York Law School, welcomed me with open arms, I had a tremendously successful law school career, and my whole ordeal with law school admissions made me an advocate to those who felt like outliers, just like I was.

The lesson
If you’re a millennial reading this and you’re also in this predicament of being rejected by academic programs, fret not. Never lose hope. It’s important to remember that as a millennial, nothing will be served to you on a silver platter. At the same time, if you are a hard worker and you feel like you should be recognized for your diligence and effort, make it known to schools you apply to.

Be your own salesperson and tell schools why they should take a chance on you.  You never know if they’ll bite that bait, but it’s worth a shot. In the long run, a single standardized test will not define your character or your ability to do your job effectively; in fact, those standardized tests are meaningless. What matters is your ability to show that your individual brand makes you who you are. And in this digital age that we live in with blogs and social media coming at us left and right, there is no better time for millennials to effectively sell their brand than now.

It’s been three years since I graduated law school and finished my academic career and I don’t miss it for one bit. Yup, that’s how much I love my job. But looking back and reflecting on all the rejection letters I received while applying to law school, I’m thankful for that chapter in my life. It made me cognizant of my abilities and only reinforced my ability to try harder and remain persistent.

If you are experiencing what I once experienced, I hope my story inspires you to move forward, not pause.

Swinging for the Fences: How I Started My Own Sports Law Video Blog and Succeeded

Author: Tony Iliakostas, Career Advice

The year was 2011. It was my first year at New York Law School and just prior to starting law school, I had a vision of being a sports agent. This only happened after I watched Jerry Maguire. But once I started law school, read/watched commentary about the sports agent business and even talked to some sports agents, I realized that this wasn’t an industry cut out for me.

Being a sports agent meant being cutthroat and at times unethical — values that fundamentally went against who I was as a person. As a 22-year-old who had just graduated from Fordham University, I needed to get my foot in the door in the sports law industry. Otherwise, I’d be in a scenario that other millennials my age would be in: either unemployed or in a job that I’d be very unhappy in. And given what a niche industry sports law was, and still is, I needed to figure out a way to make my brand stick out from everyone else’s. It wasn’t until November 2011 that I had an epiphany that changed everything.

Being that I was a communications major from Fordham, I thought that the most prudent and effective way for me to break into the sports law industry was to talk about it.

My initial research showed that sports law blogging existed, so my idea wasn’t totally far-fetched. The problem was that there were so many sports law blogs out there and I easily became discouraged. And then it dawned on me. I had a Kodak Zi6 lying around, a Blue Snowball microphone, a Macbook Pro, a tripod and an iPad. I thought to myself, “what about a sports law video blog?” After all, no such thing existed. So with my Blue Microphone connected to my MacBook, my iPad used as a teleprompter for my script and my Kodak mounted on my tripod, my sports law video blog, “Law and Batting Order” was born.

The premise of Law and Batting Order, or LABO for short, was simple: to tell a story about a major or minor legal issue in sports that mainstream media, like ESPN or Fox Sports, may have touched on but not explained fully.

Since the start of LABO, I’ve covered an assortment of sports and a garden variety of legal issues, from what a jurisdiction’s rule is on rape to labor peace issues in major sports leagues to big name athletes involved in crimes like domestic violence or even murder. My goal is to speak to a legal and non-legal audience in a way that they would understand what the heck I’m talking about. I get rid of the legalese and explain the law as if I were talking to a five-year-old.

LABO has proven to be a valuable resource to many in the sports law community and abroad. It’s thanks to viewers’ support that LABO just turned five years old on December 23.

Starting and operating my very own sports law video blog was and still is an intensive process. I’m basically a one-man band. I write, film, edit and market all my own content. I don’t outsource my material to a third party. I also don’t have the money to help fund a team to help cut my workload to half. At the same time, creating and running LABO has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

As a millennial making his mark in the sports law world, LABO has allowed me to interview some prominent sports executives and sports law experts. I’ve had the privilege of attending events such as the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Florida and even chatting with a courtroom sketch artist who sketched during the Deflategate trial. LABO has also served as a great conversation starter at networking events I’ve attended. I should also add that my writing and orating skills have improved exponentially thanks to LABO.

I consider myself a citizen journalist in some way, and I have acquired a true appreciation of the trials, tribulations and valuable experiences that professional journalists experience today. Just like a professional journalist, it is my goal to tell a story in a clear manner, raise the important issues when needed, and tell the truth as it is without sugar-coating any details. I’m thankful that LABO has served as that vehicle for me.

I’ve talked to many college and law students who perpetually ask me: “what can I do to be like you?” I give the same advice over and over again: build your brand by doing something unique and creative.

Millennials get a bad reputation for being “entitled” and thinking that everything will be served to them on a silver platter. And while there are some who indeed have that mindset, I’m happy to report that not all millennials are like that. Many realize the value of hard work. Many understand that you have to earn your stripes to earn an ounce of respect in this world. I’ve learned that after having done many internships in college, law school and now as a working man in the real world.

Remember that you are your own salesperson, so it’s up to you to tell your future colleagues, future bosses and the world why you’re special and what you bring to the table that differentiates you from the bunch. I realized that “loving sports” wasn’t an effective way to sell my brand in the sports law world. But telling people I was a self-starter by creating my own sports law video blog made me, as a millennial, a unique person from other students in my position. I’m thankful that I was ambitious and not afraid to challenge myself in this regard.

To any millennial afraid to take a chance on something career-oriented, I implore you to take that leap of faith. Be bold. Be different. It sounds like a cliché, but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I did and it has paid off. I’m certain it will for you too, and I’ll be rooting from the sidelines for your success.

And if all this talk about sports law has you intrigued, please check out Law and Batting Order and follow LABO on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And feel free to connect with me individually on Twitter and LinkedIn.