Alyssa J Freitas

September 20, 2017

Public Transportation Etiquette

Since graduating and starting work full time in the city a good amount of my time is spent in transit. From bobbing and weaving as I navigate my daily walks through midtown, to the bus, to the subway, I am constantly surrounded by other people. I am a self proclaimed city lover and adore being where the action is, but when you spend 3+ hours a day commuting (my claim to fame as I live at home in Jersey with my parents to save money. Those student loans aren't going to pay themselves, ya know. Check out how to make the most of your commute if you're in the same boat as me), you just want everyone to abide by the rules of etiquette. I doubt that the worst offenders will find their way to my blog, but for those of you who want to make everyone else's commute enjoyable, or at least more bearable, here are my top etiquette tips for public transportation!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here are the top etiquette tips you need to know when embarking in to the crazy land of public transportation

Please, my goodness, do not play your music out loud

I was on the subway, early on a Sunday morning, and there was a man playing loud trap music through speakers. He wasn't performing, he wasn't taking song requests, he was just behaving obnoxiously. I mean, there were children around and he's there casually playing music where the f-bomb was continually dropped. I wasn't the only one bothered by this; once he got off the subway a woman made two new friends right in front of me as they all complained about this rude man. Soooo don't play your music out loud, please and thank you. 

Take up as little space as possible

There is nothing quite like the subway at rush hour when everyone and their mother are trying to get home. That means that you are required to take up as little space as possible, no excuses. Hold you bag close to your body, file into the subway completely (no lurking at the door), and make as little noise as possible.

When it comes to stairs and escalators, leave the left side open to the power walkers

Being in the city makes me want to walk as fast as possible and find every short cut and weave through people like someone is chasing me. I know not everyone feels this way, but to make space for those who do, please stay to your right if you are going to go slowly and leave the left open to the speed demons.

Let people get off before you push your way in

It seems simple enough to understand that when you let people out there will be more room for you inside, but for whatever reason, this continually seems to escape the most stubborn of subway riders.

Don't stop moving, or if you have to step toward the wall

People moving through a subway, bus, or train station is a carefully orchestrated dance and you destroy it when you stop in the middle to consult directions and signs or who knows what. Simply step to the side and get out of the main flow of traffic.

Use common sense

When it comes down to it, just use your common sense and our golden rule of etiquette: always strive to put others at ease.

What are your etiquette rules for public transportation? Do people do anything that drives you mad?


September 13, 2017

IBM Summit Program Weeks: 11&12

Check out weeks 1&2, 3&4, 5&67&8, and 9&10 here!

On Monday I made my way back to Armonk for the second Global Sales School training as part of the Summit program. The experience was remarkably different from the first time I went to Armonk for orientation; instead of an uneasy feeling, wondering who I would meet and what the week would hold, I instead felt only excitement. Seeing my fellow Summits from across the country is always fun and learning about what they have been working on since we last saw one another.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Find out about the second round of sales role plays and visiting more offices in Manhattan in the IBM Summit program!
This week of training was focused on prospecting (sound familiar…?) and how to conduct an initial meeting with customers in the grocery industry. Just like how I felt different coming back to Armonk, I also felt significantly different going into this round of role plays. Rather than entering with a mindset of needing to score the highest, I maintained a perspective of continuous improvement and had a much more relaxed week.

The first day we conducted two calls and were all wiped out afterwards; clearly, we need to build up our stamina as we get ready to go out into the field. During those calls we were expected to incorporate a financial analysis to learn the value of financial selling. This is not something I have worked with extensively, so it was certainly a challenge and by the end of the week I was far more comfortable making it part of my conversations.

It was also fun to learn more about how to tailor the conversation depending on who you’re talking to. From professionals in merchandising, to the CFO, we got to engage with a variety of roles. I am continually impressed with the level of training we receive and how dedicated our advisors are to our success.

While I didn’t have any formal requests for shout outs this week, I wanted to say a big thank you to the guys in the cover photo with me! These are my teammates who make each challenge a blast and I always know that we’ll have fun.

After having Labor Day off, I was back in the office spending my time connecting with other IBMers in the financial industry, working on a new sales play with a manager I met a while back, and getting ready for some upcoming projects with my team.

One of the most exciting meetings was about regulatory compliance at a major bank. Hearing the client team discuss what we could do to help the organization and how to strategically approach it was awesome. What made the entire experience was the location. We were sitting in a corner office on the 43rd floor of a building in the financial district where I could see the Statute of Liberty and helicopters zooming by. I felt like it was straight out of a movie.

On Wednesday I visited the 590 Madison office for the first time this summer for a session on how the software development life cycle works, how to leverage our CRM system, and how IBM is involved in a variety of community service. I also had the chance to visit the Promontory (an IBM company for financial regulatory compliance) office and meet with a seller for a career advice conversation. I can’t express how willing nearly every IBMer I’ve reached out to has been about talking to me and sharing advice. I am constantly learning.

Yesterday my fellow Summit, Max, invited me to a session about IBM’s partnership with Skytap. Skytap is a company that provides cloud environments for developers to use in testing and running their enterprise applications. Much of the discussion was technical and it was enlightening to hear about all of the intricacies.

Next week I am off with over one hundred fellow Summits for a “Top Gun” class where we will learn more about the products that IBM has and engage in more technical discussions. Have a great weekend and I look forward to letting you know how these next weeks go!


September 6, 2017

How To Revisit Your Goals For Fall

It's back to school time, which automatically makes me want to set semester goals and pull out a clean notebook and reset my mind for a new chapter of learning (check out this post on the guaranteed way to achieve your goals). Now that I am a college graduate, however, I've realized that I am going to have to make my own version of a back to school refresh and wanted to share how we can reevaluate where we are dedicating our time and our goals.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Now that fall is rolling around, it is a great time to revisit your yearly goals and refresh your mindset. Here's how
As you may remember, I shared how to create a mantra for your year back in December. My 2017 mantra is "growth comes from discomfort" (and I also incorporated my enduring principles of "be disciplined, be gracious, be kind," as well as the goal of reading 45 books). I use this to inform the decisions I make and how I prioritize my time. Or, at least, that's what I do in theory. In reality, we know it is all too easy to overcommit, burn the candle at both ends, and more often than not throw our hands in the air and end up going down a YouTube rabbit hole and ignoring all of the great goals we set out to achieve. *That's what I did the morning I told myself I was going to write this blog post and ended up far behind schedule*

So how do we actually address this and make sure we are structuring our time in the best way to maximize growth and enjoyment? Here's what I am doing to reset for fall and some suggestions for how you can do the same.


Each year since 2014 I have increased my reading goal by 5 books. The amount of awesome pages that I have read is a source of pride and development for me that I had every intention of continuing with, making 2017 the year I would read 45 books. Goodreads is the site I use to track my goal (let's be friends!) and when I updated my status after reading a particularly long book, I realized that I was quite far behind on my goal and that it would no longer be reasonable to expect to complete it. 

At first I was disappointed and was trying to figure out what short books I could read to catch up. But then I realized that readjusting my course and lowering my reading goal was not the end of the world. In fact, it would take the pressure off and allow me to actually enjoy reading without such a strong competitive feeling associated with it. 

Moral of the story? I lowered my reading goal by 10 books. The goal is still a challenge, but achievable. This same principle applies for anything that you are working on. If you want to blog 3 times a week, but have to readjust to twice a week, that's ok. And if you want to visit a new place every weekend, but have to spend a day resting, that's ok too. As we pursue different goals we get a better sense of what will be best for us, and have to put aside our pride to make choices that align. Don't be ashamed to readjust.


For me some goals, like reading, are a constant and will always make an appearance on any list that I write for myself. However, there are some goals that you think will be a good idea, but don't end up serving the purpose you thought. Whether that's an exercise regime that you didn't jive with, or a project that didn't end up fulfilling you like you thought it would, reassessing your goals and eliminating those that don't quite fit anymore will free you to focus on what is actually going to make an impact on your life.


Now that you have readjusted where appropriate and reassessed what you're working on, it's time to recommit. We can get bored by goals we were originally jazzed about and end up allowing ourselves to slack off. When this happens, it's time to recommit! It's time to get excited about those goals and remind yourself why you set them in the first place.

An exercise that I did to help me get back into the swing of my personal development was to make a list of my concrete goals and write down why I was doing it. For example:
  • Write in my journal daily: This allows me to organize my thoughts, be more mindful of how I respond in certain situation, and gives me a dedicated time to reflect on how I can address challenges moving forward. 
  • Read 45 35 books: Reading makes me feel energized, accomplished, allows me to think, provides an escape, and develops my mind.
  • Block out one full morning or afternoon per weekend with no plans: This gives me the time to work on my blog, read, and exercise (in addition to the two other exercise sessions I aim for during the week). This is my time to recharge and reset so I don't feel rushed and overwhelmed at the start of my week. *I have been horrible at actually doing this and it is the goal that I most need to work on*
Once you can directly see the benefits of your goals it makes it much easier to recommit and be excited to engage in the activities to get you there. 

The type of aims I discussed here are mostly short term and tactical, rather than long term ones like "be CEO of a Fortune 500 company." These are daily activities, not future developments, so the methods I've gone over are not quite as applicable. If you want me to do a post on long term goals, I'd be happy to write one! Just let me know in the comments. 

How do you revisit your goals in the fall? What do you do to keep yourself on track?


August 30, 2017

IBM Summit Program: Weeks 9&10

Check out weeks 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, and 7&8 here!

A lot of big things happened over the past two weeks. There was a solar eclipse. Taylor Swift released her first song in an eternity. And I spent more time talking on the phone than 92.6% of millennials will in an entire year (statistics based on a nonscientific guess). Since I last wrote, the majority of my time has been spent connecting with other IBMers, getting involved with a variety of projects, and prepping for the upcoming sales role play extravaganza next week.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! The past two weeks were spent diving deeper into financial services, spotting ubiquitous men's fashion trends, and getting ready for the next global sales school challenge

As I’ve expressed before, I have a particular interest in the financial services market due to my experience last summer and my business education. I’ve been learning as much as I can about IBM’s presence in the industry by having conversations with sellers from a variety of teams. They all have diverse backgrounds, from lifelong IBMers to sellers who came from a multitude of roles in the financial industry, I have been able to gain insights from all of them. Some of my favorite advice includes always choosing to listen rather than talk, to take the lead with whatever is given to you and don’t be afraid to make things happen, to always speak up for yourself, and to not take things too personally.

Aside from learning from others, I have also been engaging in projects to develop through a hands on approach. This spans from prospecting projects (sound familiar from last summer…?) to territory planning, and reading documents pertaining to financial services clients. The beauty of the Summit program is that we are empowered and given the autonomy to structure our time and seek out high value experiences. Nothing beats talking to someone, being referred to someone else, and then somehow ending up in meetings and getting an inside look into what you will soon be doing. I’ve learned that nothing happens until you ask, and I make it my mission to continually offer my help and ask to shadow so I can get as much as exposure as possible before my training comes to an end.

One of my highlights from the past two weeks was spending the day with a Software Client Leader (who you may remember her from last summer), Kristin, and getting engaged with her client. Getting to move around and talk to others is one of my favorite parts of sales (I can’t sit at a desk all day, every day) so I jump on every chance to venture out. My fellow summits and I went down to Astor place and made an important discovery on the way. Apparently, if you are a young male professional you absolutely must wear brown dress shoes. It’s also a good idea to wear a blue shirt, tan pants, plus your favorite brown shoes like Lawrence and Max (shout out to these two for taking my picture by the "Think" wall for this weeks’ blog as well!).

The rest of my time was dedicated to preparing the deliverables associated with the next global sales school challenge that has to do with feeding our pipeline with my team. Sellers always need to be prospecting and in this challenge we learned how to prepare for initial client conversations, and next week we’re off to headquarters to practice these types of calls through role plays. I was the team leader for this challenge and it was a good way to learn how to collaborate and make decisions for the group. I am excited to see everyone from my stream back together where we all first met at our initial training! Have a great weekend and remember that if you are unsure of what to wear on your night out on the town, take a page from Lawrence’s and Max’s book.


August 23, 2017

Let's Talk About Chronic Illness

People always talk about how if you have your health, you have everything. I've always acknowledged that statement, but never fully realized how the way you physically feel can impact every single aspect of your life. Without going in to too much detail, I'm currently trying to figure out a tricky health situation myself and although thank goodness I have found some relief in recent days, I can't quite describe the fear and sadness and yes, physical pain, that can distract you from your life. When every call from the doctor raises another issue and possibility, it is hard to maintain a sunny disposition and positive outlook.
Click to read now or pin to save for later! In this post, I talk about the best chronic illness content creators to follow, whether or not you suffer yourself. For some real deal perspective and honesty be sure to check out these writers and Instagrammers
I usually schedule my posts pretty far in advance, but I'm writing this one only a few days before publishing because I have been uninspired. It seems as though every topic I come up with is trivial and unimportant as I have been researching and learning more about people who live with chronic pain and incurable illnesses. I've written about perspective before when I was first faced with someone close to me dying and when I was experiencing heartbreak, but now I am viewing the concept through a whole new lens and appreciate the value of perspective far more. 

Today, I'm going to highlight some people who are spreading awareness for chronic pain and illness, who can all teach us a thing or two about gratitude, support, and appreciating what we have, even if you are not dealing with the same situation. 

Ruthie Lindsey

Guys. This girl is such an inspiration. Instead of attempting to explain her story, take a few minutes to watch this powerful video. Then go to her Instagram and take in the positivity and joy and kindness she shares.


Jenni's introduction to her site is: Are you a ChronicBabe? Yes. Oh, wait—too fast? You have some doubts? Let’s see: Are you a chick? Check. Do you have a chronic illness? (You know, something that’s stickin’ with you, like fibromyalgia or depression or HIV?) Check check. Are you ready to kick ass in spite of it? Are you grinning as you read that? Triple check. Yes! I proclaim you a ChronicBabe. What a perfect way to kick off a blog that is positive, upbeat, real, challenging, and empowering. Definitely take a look at her YouTube series #AWAPwednesday (as well as possible wednesday) for inspiration on a variety of topics. It's been a while since she's uploaded, but the archives are worth checking out.

Britt Johnson

Britt aka Hurt Blogger waited years to be properly diagnosed with Behcet’s Disease, a rare form of vascular autoimmune arthritis. What I love about Britt is the way that she embraces physical activity, and faces every associated pain in a truthful and awesome way. Her Instagram is the hub of her story, with some blog posts when more detail is needed. One Instagram post to point to in particular includes this chain of comments all about how we think of "exercise."

Lara Parker 

This is the blog to read when you want to understand and empathize and hear an unfiltered voice. Lara is a damn good writer, who has endometriosis, and her work can be appreciated by anyone. Really, not much more needs to be said. Just go read it.  


This is a site with multiple contributors that share information about chronic illnesses and how to "cope, move, eat, live, and share" in an accessible and helpful way. From dating, to how to afford medical care, to using writing to cope (amen) there is something to help everyone.

One note I want to make is how I didn't come across many male chronic illness writers/Instagrammers. My theory is that women are more inclined to seek community as a way of healing and coping, but I also don't know if perhaps I was biased in my search. If you know of any chronic illness male content creators, let me know!