Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Big News: I'm a published writer!

Image courtesy of Simon and Schuster

As an aspiring writer, (of some kind or another) I can officially say my first piece of work has been published! Yes, I wrote a non-fiction story (although it’s been fairly fictionalized) for the Chicken Soup Books, submitted the story and they actually accepted it! I have been overjoyed that I will see my name in print, but have been so busy the last few months that I have actually forgotten for a while. I didn’t have a clue what the big box from Simon and Schuster was when I got home yesterday, but upon opening I saw the 10 free copies of the book they said I’d receive. Happy early birthday to me! It was exciting and now I’m giving out my free copies to friends and family. If you would like to read my lovely story about the times and trials of adolescents purchase Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teen’s Talk Middle School edition now! (see pic)This is a big accomplishment for me and I hope it opens new doors in the world of writing.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Job rejection blues

Sometimes you’ll wait just a few days after an interview to find out if you got the job. Sometimes you’ll have to wait weeks. Either way, that period of anxiety where you just want an answer can be a grueling one. I have several friends on the job hunt right now, and I hear many stories about their wonderful or not so wonderful interviews. I know how these interviews can leave you feeling excited or totally bummed. However, if you get turned down your day can go from bad to worse, fast. It’s easy for your confidence to plummet and you to agonize over what you did wrong. Truth is, much of the time it has nothing to do with you. I realized this as I talked through a rejection with a friend of mine. Office politics or bad timing can turn into a rejection. I think it’s important to remember this and not put yourself down. After all, you should be judging them just as much as they’re judging you. A new position should be a good match for both parties involved. A rejection can even be a blessing in disguise, and I think that everything always happens for a reason!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The lure of Graduate School

While dining with friends the other night, the topic of the current state of the economy came up. (Whoa big surprise) We rambled how it’s a tough time for anyone looking for a job right at the moment or in the near future. One of the women at the table interjected
"Well, this is probably a good time to go back to school then".
This does have some merit. But is it always the best idea to use Graduate School as an easy out? What if we don’t know what we want to go to graduate school for? Would spending between $50,000 and $100,000 make sense unless we knew for certain what we would do with the extra degree? Many careers don’t even need an extra degree. It’s important to do your research. Winding up with a whole bunch of debt you can’t pay off, because no company cares if you have this degree, will be a sad situation.
The idea of Graduate School has been pretty appealing to me at times. The thoughts of leaving my work responsibilities and office politics behind for a while to bask in intellectual stimulation sound great. Who doesn’t love being a student? It can be a lot more fun than working.
It also seems like it could be an easy out for many people who don’t know what their next step is. I’m surprised to meet so many people these days who are in graduate school that don’t actually know what they want to do afterward. My initial inclination is
“Um, why did you start a program if you still don’t know what you want to do?”
When I ask that question a lot more diplomatically, their answer is usually something along the lines of
“I’m just avoiding the real world for now.”
Well, good luck with that.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Am I a good mentee candidate?

My local vocational services organization has a great mentoring program. You speak with the Mentor Coordinator about your interests and she matches you up with a mentor who works in your field of interest. The point is to meet with your mentor monthly, to discuss career goals and how to obtain those goals. When I heard about the program, I immediately signed up with enthusiasm.

I was matched with a woman who has worked in the marketing industry for over 30 years. We had a very nice dinner and talked about many different things related to my current and hopeful career. She gave me some good advice and pointers. When dinner was over, I didn’t feel like she had anything more to tell me, and didn’t see a point in meeting again. I thought to myself, “What more could she tell me that she hasn’t already?” Maybe it wasn’t the greatest match. So I got re matched and met with a woman who is the Public Relations Director for a local non-profit organization. She was great. She had many interesting things to tell me about the industry. I told her about my interests, my goals and what I’m doing to obtain them. She seemed to think I had everything planned out well. Perhaps so well that she couldn’t tell me anything else that I didn’t know already?

Am I a bad mentee candidate? Or am I just not meeting the correct mentor? Perhaps I simply don’t know what I want out of a mentor, and therefore not finding a good match. I’m hesitant to ask for a 3rd match for fear the match maker will confirm my thoughts that I’m not a good mentee candidate. Or maybe she’ll just think I’m extremely picky.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I don't wear my political heart on my sleeve, especially at work.

We all know the hot topics at the water cooler these days: Politics this, politics that, John “Maverick” McCain, Obama, Palin Schmalin. I’ve found the continual conversation at work and home very stimulating the last few months, but at work I don’t show my cards very often. I’m a twenty something living in Massachusetts, so it would be extremely fitting for me to jump on the liberal bandwagon with my Obama flag in hand. On the job, I don’t feel it’s appropriate or professional. Sure, it’s fun to take a break and gather round to watch Tina Fey’s latest installment of the Sarah Palin chronicles, but keep it professional. You never know who you could be offending and then you may be writing your judgment ticket. What if it’s your boss that you offend? It’s a sensitive topic that I feel should be left at home. If you do decide to run the risk, be prepared to back yourself up. I see far too many people who are more than willing to stick a political sticker on themselves, without actually knowing why they believe in their candidate. This is another reason I don’t always voice my opinion. If I’m going to voice it, I better know what I’m talking about. In the end, I think everyone will value your even-keeled, professional manner.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I survived my first networking event

On Thursday evening I nervously wandered my way into M.J. O’Connor’s Bar for my first networking event. I couldn’t find a friend to accompany me, so I went solo. I’d say this was for the better in the end, as I didn’t have anyone to hide behind.

I wouldn’t say that my jitters and I were off to a fantastic start when I arrived. Now to some, my whimpering may sound silly and juvenile, but I was nervous! The first gathering of people I saw included 4 or 5 tall men who would probably have nothing to do with me, except perhaps mistake me for their intern. Yet here I was. There was no turning back now and I took a deep breath and smiled.

After I shook hands with the men, I stood there feeling like I was shrinking and hoped I would make it 5 minutes before fading into the background. They spoke of mergers and CEO’s and I thought to myself “oh boy”. Yet after a few minutes and some women joined the group, I was at ease. These older business suits were actually interested in hearing what I do and were able to give me valuable feedback on my questions regarding careers. We talked about the difference between marketing departments in companies and agencies, the era of the blog and the rise of social media. By the end of the evening, I had met interesting people, exchanged business cards and set up a possible informational interview. Sweet! My work here is done. Until the next event…which I am rather excited about now.

Roaring Twenties

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Just believe in yourself: More than a saying?

We all know that attitude is everything. If we have a bad attitude and believe we won’t get the job we want or the raise we asked for, we certainly won’t. Our sour mindset will somehow seethe out, onto the object of our affection. It always does, right?

I’ve been doing some reading the last few days, on the power of our subconscious minds. (Powerful stuff!)According to my research our subconscious minds, better known as our ships of which our conscious minds are the captains, stores all of our behaviors and experiences. These behaviors, experiences and emotions are apparently directly responsible for every course we take in life and the outcome. Our subconscious is under direct orders from our conscious minds. Even though we do not realize it, our conscious attitudes truly do matter in what the outcomes of our hopes and dreams are. If we think that we won’t make the next round of interviews, our subconscious minds listen and we do not make it. So, with this knowledge of the power of our subconscious, evidently we can become masters of our own universe.

Now this makes a lot of sense. A book by Dr. Joseph Murphy, entitled The power of your subconscious mind says “When your mind thinks correctly, when you understand the truth, when the thoughts deposited in your subconscious mind are constructive, harmonious and peaceful, the magic working of your subconscious will respond and bring about harmonious conditions, agreeable surroundings and the best of everything.” This author and others I’ve researched have continually suggested that we all consciously convince ourselves of what we want, and poof there it will be. Now I don’t know if it will really be that simple, but I’m sure going to try. Maybe we can all try consciously convincing ourselves of one little thing this week that we want to change in our lives and careers and see what happens. It will be a great experiment!