Tag Archives: career

Business Card Giveaway!

29 Mar

There’s many ways to stay connected in our digital age- LinkedIn, Facebook, phone applications like Bump. However, when it comes to networking, nothing replaces a good ol’ business card. I feel like this is something every young person starting out in their career should have. Whether you’re interviewing, at an event or dating, having your contact info easily accessible is very useful.

The kind folks at Uprinting are giving away two sets of their awesome Die Cut business cards to two lucky readers. For a chance to win, leave a comment below with how you plan to use them. Two winners will be chosen at random Friday, April 1st. Details Below:

1.  2 readers will be getting a set (250pcs each) of Die Cut business cards (Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded Single-Corner, Half-Circle Side, Circle); 14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated on a 6 Business Days Turnaround; Front Only or Front and Back printing

2. Restriction: Limited to US residents 18 years old and above only.

Don’t forget to  Like UPrinting on Facebook and share the love with your friends! (http://www.facebook.com/uprinting)

[This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given. For more information about business cards, please visit http://www.uprinting.com/business-cards.html.]

Good luck!


Commencement Speech by Jeff Bezos

3 Aug

I came across this Graduation Speeh today on TED, by Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon. The whole speech is wonderful, but the end (pasted below) really struck me.  I think these are important questions to ask yourself at any point of your life.

How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?

Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?

Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?

Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?

Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?

Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?

Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?

Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?

Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.

MTV’s hired- A great show for recent grads (or anyone!)

27 Jul

Ok, so I think we can all agree that MTV isn’t known for having the most educational shows. (Jersey shore anyone?) While the history channel is the peas (depending on your nerd level), MTV is definitely the dessert, the guilty pleasure.

That’s why I was surprised to find “hired”, a show where they follow recent college graduates on interviews. They have a variety of fields- salons, makeup company, pr studios, ect. I found it really interesting to watch the people on their interviews, and listen to the interviewers critiques on their resumes and answers. It’s funny bc from an outside perspective it’s completely obvious who is right for it and who isn’t.

I wasn’t able to embed the video to this post, so follow this link to watch the episodes available online. It’s a great chance to see what hiring managers are looking for and talking about, behind the scenes.

PS- I love the question the tv company asked, “What tv character do you most identify with?” I’d love to ask this as a question for any interview!

Got Stress?

20 Apr

We all have them in our office- the people stressed out to the max- their desks looking like the remains of a natural disaster and their hair- well also looking like the remains of a natural disaster. The people who you when you ask how is your day?” you immediately regret it and want to take it back faster than asking an overweight girl how many months along she is. The response usually goes something like this how’s my day? HOW”S MY DAY?! well I haven’t even had a chance to eat yet, go to the bathroom, I have 500 projects to get to by tomorrow, and my inbox just keeps filling up! This is the busiest day of my life!” To which I hold back from replying, ” Really? that’s funny because yesterday was also the busiest day of your life!”

We all know people like that, but to prevent from falling into the “frazzled-out” trap ourselves, here’s three of my favorite tips:
1. Change your mindset: You just got to work, and you are so stressed out you don’t know what to do. Okay, first thing is break down what you actually are doing. Unless you can say “I am treating emergency patients in the hospital right now, many of whom I have 30 seconds to save their lives,” or “I’m figuring out how many troops to send to war” or “I’m in combat right now in enemy territory” take a step back, and realize you really do not have anything to be stressed about. Is that spreadsheet, meeting, coding, sales pitch so dire that it is worth gaining weight over and taking away years of your life? You want to of course respond to things with a sense of urgency- do the best possible job on everything, but realize your boundaries and capacity. Stress is sort of like fog- when it clears, you can see things a lot better and get to your destination quicker. Sometimes you just need to change your mindset to clear this stress.  As my favorite saying goes, “Life is a lot less serious than my mind makes it out to be.”
2. Listen to something funny: my new obsession or born again obsession is Chelsea Handler. I have had a combined sleep of 2 hours in the past two nights since I bought all three of her books from Borders and can’t stop reading them. Her books are like pringles once you pop them open you can’t stop until you are at the very last sentence. So yesterday, when I was starting to get really stressed out, I listened to one of her standups on Youtube and felt better in 10 seconds. Another thing that helps is listening to a mediation channel on Pandora or whatever your music weapon of choice is. There is no day I feel less stressed than “Funk Fridays” where I turn on the Funk channel on pandora and jam through my work until it’s time for happy hour.
3. Stay Organized: If you clear your inbox (get it down to at least 10), file all of your papers and get caught up on all of your work, there is no greater feeling in the world. So if you try to stay like that all the time, you will always feel happy and calm, and light (seriously, inbox clearing is the new Jenny Craig). I know we all have things come up that can cause us to get behind, but if you let yourself fall too far along, it’s really hard to turn back. I mean honestly, have you ever seen a frazzled coworker with a clean desk? Or a coworker with a clean desk frazzled? Possible- but it’s about as rare as a hairless bear.
So next time you are stressed out to the max, take a step back, turn on some jams or talk to a funny coworker who makes you laugh, and be the Martha Stewart of Organization. It will lead to a much happier you and even happier workplace.

Real Life 101

6 Feb


I came across this link today that I couldn’t resist sharing. Now let’s just hope this link somehow lands on the desk of college administrators and inspires them to have courses that are applicable to the real world. (Although memorizing 200 notecards while munching on Cheetos, downing a coke and dreaming about the weekend DID teach me how to multi-task)

[Come across Links you think our readers would enjoy? Send them over to themadgrad@gmail.com]

Some Links I’m Mad About…

19 Jan

While you’re busy dreaming about the amazingness of your day off yesterday, you might want to check out these links:

1. Untemplater- Incredibly talented bloggers who give you the tools to breakout of your template lifestyle, and live the life you’ve always imagined. (Be sure to download their manifesto).

2. Nicole is better I discovered this blog 2 nights ago and like a good book, I can’t put it down. She’s open, honest, funny, witty and you’re guaranteed to find an experience you connect with. *Major* blog crush.

3. Comedian Nick Swardson– I saw his special last night on comedy central, and I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile. Check out one of my favorite clips here.

4. Waterproof Notepad: If you’re like me, and your best thinking is done in the shower- here is your godsend.

5. Neighborhood guides from Daily Candy- discover restaurants and shops in your very own backyard that you didn’t even know about.

6. Avatar: Call me a nerd, but this is one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen. The special effects were incredible- and don’t even think about not seeing it in imax. Check out the Trailer here.

7. Help Haitian Earthquake Victims: One of the easiest ways to help is by Texting “HAITI” to “90999″ to donate $10 to the American Red Cross.

8. Courtesy of glassdoor.com check out “Top Oddball Interview Questions” from last year. I have to admit, I can’t stop thinking about “what my best McGuyver moment was.”

9. Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge: Each year, nearly 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 are killed  because drivers are talking, texting and e-mailing behind the wheel. Sign the pledge now to make a difference.

10. Great article from CareerAlley on “Job Search Ideas to Fast Track Your Job Search

Some Lessons I’ve Learned Along The Way..

29 Dec

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about what I’ve learned since Graduating in 2007. As I’m turning 25 next week (eek!) and in a new job, I’ve realized how much I’ve learned about myself and my career in just a few years. I’ve been a Case Assistant at a law Firm, a project manager at an online design company, an executive Assistant for a Virtual world company, and am now doing Recruiting for a large search engine company. I know what you’re thinking- this girl has Major job ADD. But honestly, I wouldn’t trade any of these jobs for the world (as miserable as some of them were). I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the mistakes, successes and lessons I’ve learned along the way.

If a new graduate asked me what I know now that I didn’t then, here’s what I’d tell them:

You will never be good at a job you hate. Maybe it pays well, you get overtime, a new car and a bonus but if you don’t like it, you aren’t going to do well. Of course, you should always give your all to any job you have, but you aren’t going to perform as well as someone who really loves it. If the passion and drive isn’t there, it will show in your work no matter how much you try to hide it.

It’s okay to leave if you aren’t happy. My first job after college, I worked in a supply closet with files literally barricading my desk, and attorneys screaming in my face if something wasn’t done in 15 seconds. After 6 months of being there, I knew I wanted to leave, but was torn because everyone told me to stay at a job at least a year. If you give yourself adequate time to make sure it isn’t for you, can explain to future employers the reason behind you leaving, and make sure to leave on good terms with your boss no matter what, there’s no reason to stay at a job you are miserable with. It’s better to get back on track to a field you are interested in, and leave while you are on good terms before your unhappiness interferes with your work performance.

Don’t be taken advantage of. Even if you have the same position as another coworker, if you don’t set your boundaries immediately, your best friend will be the copy machine and your work will falter as you struggle to manage your work and that of others. You want to be there for coworkers when they need help, because that’s what makes great companies, and there’s a 150 percent chance you’ll need their help in the future. But be sure to be on the lookout for people taking advantage of your lack of experience, and don’t be afraid to say no. This also applies to situations where your boss is taking advantage of you. Are you working incredibly long hours, and running errands not in your job description, when you are getting paid way under market? If so, be honest with them and stick up for yourself or this pattern will repeat itself for your entire time there.

Don’t make money your only incentive. At the job I have now, I took a huge pay cut.  The reason? I knew that while I’m making a lot less at this job, it will lead to more money in the long-run as it’s the field I want to be in, an incredible company and I’m learning a lot. The high pay was the biggest incentive for me to take the assistant job, but this was not worth it as I wasn’t happy or had passion for what I was doing.  Don’t get me wrong, you should not settle for lower pay than you deserve, but money should not be the primary factor in taking a job. In fact, I’ve spoken with a lot of people who have taken a job strictly for pay and regretted it, but haven’t talked to anyone who took lower pay for a job they really loved and regretted it.

First impressions matter: At my last job, one of the recent grads who started would always respond to the exec’s requests within 2 seconds to beat everyone, and stay 5 hours longer to ensure she scheduled more meetings than her coworkers. She ended up making mistakes because she took on more than she could handle, and although these mistakes were small it was hard to gain the respect back from the execs and coworkers. You want to show up to work on time, push yourself and give the job your all, without being the annoying eager beaver and biting off more than you can chew. It’s better to do less work with no mistakes while you learn the ropes, then to take on too much and mess up.

Don’t act your age. I know I know, you are 21, your favorite night to go out is Thursdays, and you can’t sleep before 4am. But chances are your older coworkers will not be sympathetic to the one too many beers you had. Also remember that it’s always important to ask questions if you do not know what you are doing, but make sure to phrase it in the best way possible. Instead of saying ” hey how the heck do I use the fax machine? The person at the school library did it for me.” Say “I haven’t used this particular fax machine before, would you mind showing me how when you have the chance today so I will know in the future?” Even if you work in a relaxed environment, it never hurts to dress up in a way that makes you look mature and put together.

Always leave on good terms: No matter how much you dislike your boss, your coworkers or company, make sure to leave on good terms. Always check in every now and then with them- send an email, a text a Christmas card just make sure to keep in touch. Even if you live in China and they live in the US, employers do rigorous background checks these days and it’s very important to be on good terms with everyone you encounter. Think you are off the hook despite treating your lab partner poorly Freshman year? Lots of companies check with other coworkers that attended the same school as you for their opinion before hiring, so be careful not to burn your bridges.

Must Read Book of the Week…

27 Aug


Close your eyes and think about the most successful people you know. Got em? Now, estimate how many books they read per week. Chances are it’s at least 2- and that doesn’t include the many articles and blogs they are reading regularly.  So time to start reading! Each week,  we’ll be reporting back on a new book or article we’ve read.

A book came in for my boss yesterday afternoon called “Mindset” by Carol S. Dweck.  I snuck it home last night and read it until the wee hours of the morning, and can say with conviction that my life won’t be the same after reading it. It’s a quick read (about 250 pages), and discusses the “growth mindset” vs the “fixed mindset.” Basically I realized that I had been living my life in the fixed mindset.  I was brought up thinking that your intelligence is fixed- you either have it or you don’t. I’d say things like, “I just wasn’t born with the art gene” or “I’m not very athletic.”  People with the growth mindset, look at themselves more as clay that can be molded and change shape. If they can’t do something, it’s not because they “just aren’t intelligent enough” but because they haven’t developed the necessary skills yet or put enough effort into learning.

To illustrate this further, Imagine playing a game on your phone with different levels.  Do you prefer to stay at the same level you are good at so you feel great about yourself? Or do you like to challenge yourself and take it to the next level even if you might not pass it? Growth Mindsets will do the latter- they thrive on challenges and learn from their mistakes so that they can constantly grow.

I won’t give away too much of the book, but this really is a great book to read as it discusses something that applies to every aspect of your life- relationships, work, parenting- pretty much everything.

Even today I saw my mindset change. When given a difficult task by my boss, instead of thinking ” I don’t know how to do this, I’m going to need to ask for help.” I looked at it and said, “Awesome, this is a challenge that I will learn from!”

You can buy this book here on amazon.

Keeping your Eye On The Ball…

25 Aug


When I was younger nothing drove me crazier than my softball coach telling me to “keep your eye on the ball!” Okay coach, I think after 11 times I get it. But the truth was, I needed that reminder because a lot of times I’d get distracted. I’d look at the pitcher, or stands, or my mind would wonder to the capri suns after the game- and sure enough I’d miss it. When I did keep my eye on the ball the entire time, I’d get a great hit. Who would have thought that this lesson would apply many years down the road at work?

When we first start off in our jobs, (if we are truthful in the hiring process) we are amped with enthusiasm for our product/services. We network, try to learn as much as possible and can’t wait to use or sell the product ourselves. However, sometimes we get so wrapped up in our daily tasks, that we lose site of the company goal/product.

I know this happened to me recently, at my job. When I took a step back and thought about why I had lost that passion,  I realized it was because I was doing my daily tasks- scheduling, organizing, project managing, but I wasn’t really using the product. I wasn’t reading up on the latest news in the industry, networking, trying to further my education on the subject, and knowing the ins and outs of the product. Instead of this improving my performance, it hindered it because I lost my passion. I took my eye off the ball, and sure enough was missing it. Spending more time trying to increase my knowledge of the product,  sparked back up that energy I needed to run around the bases and get those grand slams.

Of course sometimes, when you come to that point that you realize you are empty of passion, you realize it’s time to move on. The company/product just isn’t motivating you to want to devote your time to it. Other times though (as in my case) it takes finding the balance between doing your daily tasks, and spending extra time gaining insight into your product. “Keep your eye on the ball, and your head in the game”

Taking Initiative

8 Jul


It’s strange that at 24 years old, I finally found the genius behind Nike’s slogan, ” Just do it.” It never seemed much more to me than a slogan that got a few snickers on the elementary school playground and was just plain obvious.  Recently, however, this slogan has taken on a whole other meaning to me- one of taking initiative and making decisions yourself.

At my job, I assist the Founder of my company who is understandably very busy. When I first started my job a couple months ago I would ask permission for everything. “Would you like me to send this email?” Where should I make reservations?” I didn’t want to go ahead and do something and get in trouble if I made a mistake. That’s when I realized- it’s better to go ahead and do it instead of asking permission and waiting around for his answer. After all, if he had time to answer all of my questions- would he really need an assistant in the first place?

Being young in a big company is hard. We are hired with the expectation that we have a lot to learn and will be asking lots of questions- which don’t get my wrong is good to an extent! But to prove our maturity and ambition, we need to learn when to ask questions and when to go ahead and take initiative for ourselves.

I heard a quote recently by Grace Hopper that said, “Its easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.” If I heard this quote 3 months ago, I’d probably disagree- but now, I could not agree more. There’s going to be times when you go ahead and do something, and end up making a mistake and getting in trouble.  However, a mistake here or there, from someone who takes initiative and makes decisions for themselves, is going to be forgiven a lot faster, than someone sitting around and waiting for someone to make decisions for them.

So next time you’re in a situation where you aren’t sure if you should take a risk and go with your gut, go ahead and “Just do it!”