Tag Archives: career

How’s your job hunt going?

Not to self promote (except that’s absolutely what I’m doing…) but check out my guest post on PR Breakfast Club: An Agency Perspective: Five Tips to Keep in Mind When Job Hunting

From tube tops to tunics

This was us then.

Then we were 19-year-old college sophomores who wore sparkly tube tops and stocked up on dining hall cereal. We bonded over our small-town roots and older sibling syndrome and instantly labeled ourselves girlfriends (as it was clearly cooler than the middle school BFF title).

We went through everything together. From bad breakups (lady gaga and a bottle of wine (each) does the trick!) to bad grades (yes we were nerds and yes a B is something to bitch about).

After mastering the AP style book and kicking ass as partners for any and every class project, we made it to our undergrad graduation.  We shed the proper tears at the idea of not spending every day together and then cut the tears short as we realized that despite taking separate professional paths (her in agency public relations, me in corporate) we were geographically only an hour away from one another.

This is us now.

Now we are 24ish professionals who traded in sparkly tube tops for earth-toned tunics and dining hall cereal for happy hour specials. After swapping stories via e-mail and gchat for a good two years, she dropped the [awesome] bomb that her agency had an opening at their NYC office. Fast forward a few interviews and apartment hunting later and it’s like we’re back in college again.

Instead of partners for class projects, we’re partners for work projects. And how awesome is it to work with your best friend, I’m sorry, girlfriend, professionally?  We’re set up to kick ass on a whole new level.

Here’s to the future!

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Mixing the black and white.

When you’re little you think the answers will come easily. You’ll go to college [knowing what you want to do], fall in love [forever], get married [forever], have babies [two girls one boy] and live happily ever after. But you don’t consider that in between these life-altering milestones are gray areas. What if you go to college undeclared? What if your first love is still a love but not who you marry? What if you don’t want to get married right away? What if you don’t know where you want to live, let alone where to settle down? What if you find out you have a difficult time having children?

Too many what-ifs. Too many gray areas.

 For someone as indecisive as me, those gray areas create a lot of nights of tossing and turning. We know the goal is to be happy, but how do you decide what makes you happy? And why is it that when you find one thing that makes you happy, the other pieces in your life don’t measure up?

For a long time I was happy in my romantic and social life, but unhappy in my career. Now I feel happy in my career, but question the durability of my relationships.

Why the gray area? Why can’t they come together, black and white, together?

You read books and blogs, see movies and tv shows – all of which you can scream at with an overwhelmingly sense of wrong and right for the character. You know when they should be doing X and not Y.

But real life isn’t written like a book or a movie. There’s no script to edit and no plot to amplify. You take it as it comes.. including the gray areas. How do you handle the mix of black and white?

In an Empire State of Mind

Guess what bloggies? I’m moving to NYC! In what’s been a crazy two weeks, I’ve accepted a position at a PR firm in Manhattan… and I couldn’t be more excited. So in a fitting manner to the changes in my life, I’ve changed my blog look too.

I’ll keep you posted about the journey (good and bad!) but for now, it’s time to tackle my growing to-do list.

City-bound in three weeks!

Do Not Covet Your Ideas

I have this hanging up at my desk at work. I think it’s great advice. Try to adapt it.

Screwing up and facing the music..

In my last post I wrote about my lack of motivation. Apparently that applies to my blogging too since I’ve been MIA for a while. But I’m back and hoping I’ll stick to a steadier schedule.

Here’s what’s on my mind today: screw ups.

I hate screwing up. Hate it. Especially at work. If my boss gives me an impossible research task I’ll spend hours scouring the web and other resources trying to find something that can at least qualify as some form of response – all because I don’t want to “screw up” and fail.

Well, today I screwed up. Actually, the U.S. postal service screwed up first.. but then I screwed up. Here’s how it went down:

A few weeks ago I had the finance department issue a check for the DJ service we were using at an office event. I put the check in an official work envelope and sent it out through the post office. A week went by and the DJ service was starting to get antsy that their check never showed up (the event was the next day, eek!)

Still maintaining composure (but swearing silently at the post office) I told myself “okay no big deal, I can handle this, have finance void the check and issue another. Problem – finance could void the check but they’d have to handwrite a new one. After some begging, they agreed and hand-wrote me another check to deliver to the DJ.

Sweet, problem solved, the music will go on!

The music did go on. We rocked out to the tunes of The Orleans, Billy Joel and REO Speedwagon (heard it from a friend whoooo…..). But then…

Dun dun dunnnnn…

I COULDN’T FIND THE NEWLY-ISSUED-HAND-WRITTEN CHECK!

It has to be somewhere, I kept reassuring myself. I searched my black work purse, my special event folder, my car, EVERYWHERE! Finally, I realized the moment of truth: I was not going to find this check.

My stomach churned at the thought of screwing up. “They’ll never trust me with company money again!! How could I lose TWO checks in two weeks??”

Not to mention the fact that I had promised the DJ I would hand deliver the check, TODAY.

I spent a good three hours agonizing over the fact that I lost the check when my boyfriend said to me: “Look, you messed up, you’re right. But worse things could happen. Go to finance, have them void a check and reissue another. Yes, you’re embarrassed but it could be a lot worse – you could’ve lost cash. Suck it up and prove that you can fix your own mistakes”

He’s right. As much as I hate messing up at something, the true reflection of your character is in how you handle it. We’re not robots and we never will be. So while I know finance probably wants to take my head off, the fact is the problem can get fixed – so do it.

Finance is in the process of issuing me another check. Now I just have to find a way to tell them I need it by today…..

Queen Bees and Chameleons

In college I had a professor who did all of her doctorate research on Queen Bees. It’s a pretty interesting theory that describes how females with power in the workplace strive to keep other females at bay so that their own power and position isn’t threatened.

Because I have such a strange obsession with this theory, I was doing some Google searches and came across another female-in-the-workplace-theory: The Chameleon. Chameleons are much sneakier than Queen Bees who blatantly express their need for control and power. Chameleons pretend to be on your level, then shift roles and throw you under the bus (or whatever metaphor is relevant in chameleon world) to others.

Chameleons smile to your face and compliment you on your shoes, only to use whatever you say against you behind your back (think Mean Girls…)

Regina: Oh my God! I love your skirt, where did you get it?

Girl: It was my mom’s in the ’80s

Regina: Vintage, so adorable.

Girl: Thanks! [walks away]

Regina: That is the ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen.

Chameleons pretend to do you favors but there always seems to be a hidden motivation. Why do they get away with this? Because they’re awesome at flattering and putting on a show for upper management. The article that introduced me to this phenomenon puts it nicely:

“What she is doing is working for now because she is a good actress and she has probably ingratiated herself with people in power. In any case they are the recipients of her flattery and probably don’t see the two faced, sabotaging behavior. There are people who can effectively deceive like this. In fact some of them can fool lie detector tests. Like the old adage says, “Sincerity is the key to success. If you can fake that you have it made”.

It’s a pretty interesting theory and while not everyone has a Queen Bee or Chameleon in their office, I’m sure it’s something we’ll all come across at some point.

Do you have one in your office or life now? How do you cope?

Do what you love, love what you do

The other day, my mom blogged about the importance of doing what you love and finding someone to pay you to do it. Easier said than done.

Lately, my friend T.I.* and I have been talking about how it is you find what you love, and get a job doing it. T.I. and I went to college together. We both got a job soon after graduation and were both incredibly excited and grateful (post-grad job hunt was terrible in 2009). He hit NYC and I stayed in Syracuse, NY near our alma mater.

Turns out, finding what you love involves more than just getting a job in your “major”. T.I. moved back home a few weeks ago (although he’s from Chicago, if it was my home I’d go back too) and left his job in the city. I’m still at my job but have some of the same concerns as him.

We’re both worried about choosing a path and getting so far down it only to realize one day it’s not what you even wanted. Or what if you take a job in a field you love but the people are terrible? Even now, I do great work with my company but I’m interested in working in PR one day (right now I do more marketing than PR). How do I get into PR if I have no agency experience… what if I get trapped in marketing?

It’s not as black and white as it seemed in college. How do you find the best fit for you without straying too far off course?

*name chosen due to his tendency to rap to T.I. during late-night karaoke sessions.

6. Question The Voice That Says, “I’m Not Ready Yet.”

“I know, I know. Because you are so brilliant and have such high standards, you see every way that you could be more qualified. You notice every part of your idea that is not perfected yet. While you are waiting to be ready, gathering more experience, sitting on your ideas, our friends referenced in rule five are being anointed industry visionaries, getting raises, and seeing their ideas come to life in the world. They are no more ready than you, and perhaps less. Jump in the sandbox now, and start playing full out. Find out just how ready you are.”

The other day, Meghan linked to this list of 10 Rules for Brilliant Women. The above was number six. All of the rules are inspiring, but this stood out the most. I have a real issue with self doubt and this rule hits the nail on the head.

In high school I got straight As and was accepted to the top school for public relations in the country. I told myself I only got accepted because my parents were divorced and we didn’t have a lot of money… they had to fill the minority quota right?

In college my GPA was never below a 3.7 including a couple 4.0s.  I told myself I must’ve had really easy classes and lenient professors. When the company I was interning with offered me a full-time position after graduation, I figured it was because it was convenient for them and I’d work cheap.

But when my friends graduated summa cum laude and landed sweet jobs after graduation, I credited it to their hard-work and skill. Why can’t I do the same for myself?

I think know we’re always harder on ourselves than we are on others. But this can have some pretty bad side effects on both our personal and professional lives! One of my coworkers asked for a raise and got it. Me? I’ve been with the company for two years but I still feel like I don’t deserve a raise yet and there are a lot of things I need to do before I’d be qualified.

You never reach your full potential if you’re always putting yourself down.

How I should be thinking about all these things?

In highschool I was a hard-working nerd student who did her homework and earned a spot in a top college. In undergrad I put in the time and dedication to produce great work and make big strides forward. I was hired from an intern to full time because I do some pretty awesome work and my company wanted to keep me on the team. And now? Now I’m working my ass off and am learning to do not only what’s in my job description, but other things too.

Sometimes we need to look at things from another angle. Imagine it’s your friends life and you’re assessing her accomplishments. Seems a bit more impressive doesn’t it?

I’m going to try to step away from the self doubt and follow rule number six by jumping feet first into that sandbox and playing full out!

What about you?

How do you find the right words?

We all have internal conflicts. Sometimes they’re easier to work through than others. Sometimes you can’t stop thinking about something and it just consumes your thoughts until you don’t even remember why you got so worked up in the first place.

Right now I’m struggling because one of my coworkers was let go last week. I realize this is a fairly common occurrence (especially in this economy) but she was also one of my really good friends. It’s weird not having her here. And it’s strange knowing how to act – both to her and at work.

I’m not here to dispute whether she should’ve been fired, I’m just trying to figure out how you console someone who lost their job when you still have yours. She’s a smart, outgoing and hard-working person. She went to one of the top 10 schools for communications and advertising. She also just found out she’s pregnant with her first child. How is she supposed to find a new job now? Who hires someone who says they’re 3 months pregnant?

I know that in the end she’ll be fine. And I’m sure she knows that too. She and her husband will have a gorgeous baby and will be happy and none of this stuff will matter. But what about the right now? How do you help a friend feel better about something that you have no control over?