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Post-Grad

Upon reading, speaking with others and experience- I think this is a necessary post. However with the saturation of information and media, it’s unlikely that this will make it to the eyes who need it the most-newbie Millennials who are about to graduate. Actually, this can apply to some people who have already graduated too.

Now, I’m going to go on with a disclaimer: I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, never have and arguably never will. But I’ve done a lot of shit (good and bad) and maybe my mistakes and victories can help you out.

A new dream of mine is to be one of those people who stand behind/next to their agency’s table and share the good word. A recruiter, but one who only goes to career fairs. Those daunting, awkward career fairs. Everyone’s muttering to themselves, timing when they should hand our their business cards…or when it’s okay to ask for the recruiter’s card. It’s more awkward than when you attended your 7th grade formal with your crush. Much anxiety. …am I hitting the right chord?

its-gonna-be-okay

If I were a recruiter, this is what I would say to the youths of the world. Some of these things are industry-specific. Some of these are University-of-Texas-specific. Nonetheless, I think you’ll be able to relate.

15 Important Things I Would Tell You at Career Fair:

  1. Whatever Murph tells you is probably true.
  2. Don’t send a resume with paragraphs of copy. Don’t send one that is more than 1 page. PLEASE check your dates and verb tenses.
  3. If you’re on social- be active or delete it. Ask yourself, “What’s the point?” Someone *will* look at it. Private Profiles are a thing though.
  4. Regarding Work-Life Balance: Successful ladies wake up hella early to exercise- so this should answer several of your questions (about me).
  5. You might work a shitty job (or 12)- but think of it as “market research…”
  6. Re: Shitty Jobs- get the hell out of there, ASAP.
  7. You will probably drink the same amount that you drank in college- but spread out. There’s a reason why Happy-Hour’s exist.
  8. Don’t get on your phone unless it’s for work, or unless it’s Tweet-worthy (this is mostly industry-specific).
  9. Always look at someone when he or she is speaking with you (don’t do #8 when this happens).
  10. Be kind, always professional but unapologetic about who you are and what you want. 
  11. NEVER be afraid to ask for more. More index cards, more work, more responsibility or more money. Make sure that the former two is followed by the last bit. Make damn sure.
  12. Re: #10- Never be embarrassed or weirded out by wanting to express your desire/geek-out for the job you want. People like that. …Anddd you should also like the job you’re applying for.
  13. SHIT AIN’T EASY. But that’s why you’re still in school. Relish in that.
  14. You will not get anywhere alone, but believe in yourself. These, I think, go hand in hand.
  15. This is super important- BE PUNCTUAL. Being late is like you’re screaming to your future employer, “PLEASE. DON’T HIRE ME. PLEASE.”

BONUS TIP: Always say, “thank you,” whether that is in email or card, after an interview, or any time really. Saying thank you goes a long way.

So fellow youths, if you see me at a table in the distant future- pretend like you’ve never read this, you’ll get your resume to the top of the stack (I kid, but also, am I? FIGURE IT OUT).

When in doubt…be like April, and believe that you are a beautiful, brilliant musk ox.

XO,

$thu$

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I have a little fiddle-leaf fig plant that resides in my room. His name is Fig.

ANYHOW. This is the kind of fig tree that we have, and this is Fig:

vsco cam fiddle leaf fig tree

As of late, it’s been about feeding Fig (yeah yeah yeah, I’m a 62 year old woman, I know). It’s about making sure he gets enough sunlight and looking at the weather to see if he can go outside (they like temperate weather, but they also have moving trauma). If you’re a plant owner, you know it’s not easy. And if you’re like me, you’ve named and personalized your plant. This post isn’t about how to be a plant owner or taking care of a Fig- it’s about being a friend. A true friend.

Some of mine have left and gone overseas, some are not, but are still sufficiently distant. I consider myself lucky to have a few close to me. And I know who they are. I speak to them. And when I don’t, I still know what’s going on in their life. I know they’re invested in me and I am invested in them. There’s a mutual, intangible feeling that you’re on the same page. But recently, I’ve taken a look at who I surround myself with, and it doesn’t look too pretty. A part of me feels as though I’ve found community, and a part of me feels like I’m still grasping at straws. My friendship garden looks a little weedy, a little toxic and in need of care. Like Fig needs care. I believe that we should weed our weeds, people who are not beneficial toward our lives. People who do not add to our lives, just as someone would tell you to quit something that doesn’t add to your life (i.e. smoking, a fallen career, a significant other, eating too many chips, etc.). Just like a fig, or any plant, we have to weed in order to grow.

You’re allowed to do that. I think that’s something that people overlook, or something they let hang over them while the foster fake relationships. But friendships flow in and out. There are people who are no longer in my life, but I will always remember that 1 story or 1 lesson or 1 memory they’ve taught me.

I’ve never taken friendships lightly. I want to be able to really know my friends, support them and face hardship and dumb with them. That takes a lot of time, and we don’t have time for everyone. That’s why I take People Notes (but this is a topic for another time). The fact that we don’t have time for everyone saddens the crowd-pleaser, ideal person in me. But again, life is far too short to try and invest in everyone. Especially to enjoy and relish a relationship like a friendship. It’s sacred. Like gold-paint-feather-headdress-dance-around-a-bonfire-at-the-beach sacred.

If you have a good one: someone you feel comfortable with telling your poop stories to, someone you can rely on, someone who is on the same wavelength as you (despite differences), someone you have a good feeling about- and that’s not everyone- hang on to them. Feed them with your light and comfort and craughs (that’s crying + laughing, together).

desk thutexas vscocamThis is my desk. This is where I work. Yes, I work from home. (Yes, that’s Hootsuite and Fall Creek Falls TN State Park. Breaks are allowed.)

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the gold accent and graph paper pretty frequently. And if you read my last post about work, you know that I’m still in Houston…or so I thought. I’m writing this quick FAQ, because well…these questions have been asked frequently regarding me, my job and some miscellaneous things. Let’s do this:

  1. Are you still in Houston?
    Yes. 
  2. I thought you were moving to Austin?
    That is correct.
  3. When?
    I’m not sure, but I’ll let you know. I’m not a person to just leave you in the wind…but apparently that’s what people assume about me. I plan on having a Golden ‘Going-Away’ Gala, don’t you worry. Me leaving Houston is something I would like to celebrate. *party emojis*
  4. So, you don’t have a guesstimate?
    Yes…and no. Even though I shouldn’t fall into superstition, I do. And I feel like if I say it out there, it might not come true. You feel me? 
  5. So you work from home?
    Yes. And I jam to Tay Tay Swift and Nelly Furtado, unapologetically.
  6. Do you work in PJs?
    Sometimes, but I try not to because it’s true what they say: you should dress up as if you’re going into the office. Otherwise, you set yourself up for a pretty unfocused day of working from home.
  7. *said awkwardly* So…what…do…you…do?
    A few different things. Drink beer and sit on my computer? Just kidding…sort of. In a grand scheme of things, I manage social media and assist in strategy. On a micro scale, there are a lot of little things: remembering User tags, Instagram stalking, researching influential users, actual posting, etc. The great thing is: I’m all about the details. 
  8. Fact: I work at Manes & Co. 
  9. Do you still barista?
    Currently, yes. Come by sometime. I’m still working on my latte art. Nonfat milk is not my friend.
    [Updated]: I will a barista for two more weeks from this Friday, September 11th. 
  10. When do you barista?
    When I’m scheduled. *shrug*
    [Updated]: …and for two more weeks. 
  11. Anything else?
    Nope, I think I covered everything.

If I’ve answered your burning questions, huzzah. If I haven’t, strike a conversation with me, I’m still here in HOU, hi.

You know when you’ve had almost 200g 400g of coffee and it’s finally kicking in, so you feel compelled to write a blog post about life?

This is most definitely a stream of [coffee-induced] consciousness, inspired by the hilarious Grace Helbig.

Life has been going swimmingly. Sort of, I really just wanted to type the word. I mean, what does that word even mean by definition? The connotation suggests that life has been going great, which is sort of true. I really can’t complain. After having a conversation with a friend who teaches inner city kids, bilingually– I feel like I can’t/shouldn’t complain for the rest of my life. So Christina, if you read this- it’s actually inspired by you and your class.

We take life for granted, everyday. Every. damn. day. And it’s really hard not to do so. Because we get tunnel vision, and we only see what we want…and it’s never enough. We’re hungry, we’re selfish and above all, we’re greedy. We don’t have enough of X, we need to get rid of X or we don’t have X. In reality, we have so much. In reality, it’s arguable that we have too much. I’m sitting on my chair, typing on my computer. I get to work from home. I have a job and I have a home. I have two chalkboards that are pretty freaking cool to write on. What is there to complain about? What more is there for me to “need?” It’s easy to come up with things. It’s difficult to take solace with what we have, which at most times is more than enough.

So what’s the point of this post? There should always be a point, I’m told. Life has been going swimmingly, although sometimes shitty, but I’m going to keep telling myself, “swimmingly, swimmingly, not shitty.”

Life is going swimmingly.

Where to begin?

It still feels unreal, and here’s my forewarning to you: it might get sappy. 

TL;DR: I got offered a pretty perfect position, and I’M STOKED. And I will be returning to Austin, TX…sometime.

LONG READ: Fall 2014. I’m feeling a little mopey, but I’m searching for jobs on full blast. I have an extensive Excel sheet to prove it (thank you Jaime for inspiring that). My Excel sheet had everything: company name, contact info, what industry, when I’ve contacted them, links and status. Down the list, you would see a company called Manes & Co. I found them through ACL. Yes, that’s right, Austin City Limits Music Festival. I had been Twitter stalking, and found the agency because I discovered that one of their clients was one of my favorite brands: Cuvée Coffee.

An email was sent out of curiosity, and I wasn’t expecting anything back…but I received a response from the Mane guy himself. Pro Tip: People will tell you that submitting emails to “info@companyname.com” or submitting a form is futile, but let me tell you- I’ve gotten a job offer/agency tour/contacts from submitting a form. Not all hope should be lost. 

Anyhoo, emails were exchanged, questions were answered, but unfortunately they were not hiring at the time. I was bummed, but the overarching theme: not all hope should be lost. He let me know that 2-3 months down the road, I would have a shot. Excited for the possibility, but continued on my search. If you’ve been keeping up, I’ve experienced a few jobs since then and now.

*Fast forward to July 2015*

Scrolling through my Twitter Feed, as I do, a job posting caught my eye. It was from Manes & Co. Here it was, that shot. It was a long shot, but it was a shot nonetheless. And I kid you not, as I was drafting my email to Manes, the Mane man emailed me. A few revisions to my resume and several drafts of emails later- *airplane e-mail noise.* A phone interview was scheduled and a talk later- I was offered a job.

I was offered THE job.  

I would get the opportunity to represent one of my favorite brands, be a part of building another one and be a Mane team member. (I am already obsessed with making this my Mane pun. Now, I finally understand why people make puns out of my name.) What a feeling. To not only be offered a [pretty perfect job], with an ideal situation, and for your soon-to-be-but-now-is boss to be so confident in you and your abilities.

It’s nice.

For a couple of weeks, I was feeling static, professionally. I love what I do, but I didn’t know where I was going…and I was wondering if I was going anywhere at all. A part of it was feeling directionless, but a part of it was the lack of motivation to pick up a map. You know? But I was 100% aware that no one was going to give me that map, I had to go and direct myself. Hope is not lost, but it’s if you keep that door open, if you keep going toward it, if you still want it. (Whatever “it” is.)

And while some people may believe that this job fell into my lap, I assure you it did not. Feels like it, sometimes…but no job ever does. Nothing ever falls into your lap, but maybe if you knock something over while sitting. *knee slap* (No one? Ok.) So, yes, I will be making my way back to the city of music, the city of breakfast tacos, the city of every festival, the city of ESK, Pieous, ABW and of course, Cuvée Coffee (and Tecovas Boots!). Sooner than I expected, but not too soon! I’m still slinging coffee, so come visit me sometime Houston friends.

What’s the title of this blog post again? Oh yes, not all hope should be lost.

thu texas flag

After I watched this video by Hank Green of the vlogbrothers, I felt compelled to write.

The video is about how we see people and their skill.

You’ve probably said something like this before: “My friend, X,  is really good at Y. It’s like they were born to do Y.”

There are two mindsets, according to Carol Dweck:

1) A person and her skill is a snapshot that stretches forward and backward, infinitely. This is the way we usually see it. You’ve probably said this:“X is born with it.” Innate skill, otherwise known as the fixed mindset.

2) There are innate traits that make the acquisition of skill easy, BUT it’s a continuum. Everyone starts out bad, but can work toward getting good at a skill. This is known as the growth mindset.

What’s the verdict? Growth mindset is the correct mindset!! And with the growth mindset, you have a better chance at acquiring more skill.

But the fixed mindset lingers within a lot of us. We think, “You never get good at stuff. People are good at stuff because they’re good at stuff; and people are bad at stuff is because they’re bad at stuff.”

Skill and talent are not innate.

I try to remind myself, everyday.

As I navigate through new waters, I often think things with a fixed mindset, and I know that it limits me. I KNOW THIS. I’m aware of it, but I still struggle with it everyday. You look left, you look right- and you feel inferior. That maybe you’re “not meant or born with Y skill.” This is how I see myself with the new waters I see ahead of me: latte art…and design. Two vastly different skills, but two new skills for me.

But I see proof of it, I’ve proven myself with the growth mindset. So, why is it so hard to keep that mindset? Habit? Societal reminders? Failures? In attempt for resolve, I try to take small victories. Even if it’s as small as learning an InDesign Keyboard Shortcut, discovering how to change the color swatch or steaming the milk close-to-perfect- I try to take it as a win. And I try to remind myself that through my failures and struggles- I’m on the right path as long as I keep navigating forward.

As my most memorable professor would sign off,

Blog1

So, I work two part-time jobs. I barista and I intern at a marketing agency. I’m your basic, typical “post-grad-20-something-year-old.” *waving hand emoji*

I’m lost, I’m broken and I don’t have direction. I’m standing at a fork in the road, and I have no idea which path to go down. I’ve talked to friends and family. At the end of the day, it’s up to me.

Damn it.

So, naturally I’m blogging about it (re: typical “post-grad-20-something-year-old”). I know I’m not the only one, I work with other baristas who struggle with similar to identical dilemmas. They are in transition, working and trying to figure out where they want to go after this. Recently, I’ve been gaining more responsibility in both respective jobs. I’ve been learning more about my performance and more about my own work ethic. How does this help me go down a career path? Strangely, it doesn’t. Or maybe I’m not paying attention. I’ve talked to one of my bosses about my concern. My concern that I’m familiar with a lot of skills, however, not an expert in one or two. Specialization, that’s what the Industrial Revolution was all about, wasn’t it?

Has the status quo changed? I shouldn’t even be concerned with the status quo. Yet here I am, thinking to myself, “What am I supposed to be doing?” I’m thinking to myself, “There must be an answer (and someone else knows it, if I don’t).” This is when the left side of my brain kicks in, the logic…however illogical it actually is. A question is proposed and there should be an answer. Should. Right?

A part of me knows the answer to that question: it’s a fat “no.” The answer is my own damn answer, whatever I choose. But there is so much weight that comes with it that I can’t bear to stick to one answer. I’m noncommittal. It’s something I’m trying to fix, and I’m not given the proper time…and unfortunately time stops nor pauses for no one.

So I come to this fork in the road, and I have these paths to choose from: Do I want to pursue more agency experience in content marketing? Do I want to go back and see if I want to do client services in another setting? Do I want to start at square -1 and pursue design? Or do put all of my time and heart into propelling the coffee shop that I work at (in addition to succeeding in latte art)? These are all real questions.
I’m not bullshitting and hiding behind vagueness, not today.

What do I do? I’m at a fork in this weird, weird road.