Peace On Earth, Good Will To Men

As the holidays are coming to an end and a new year approaches, I’m realizing how I have so much to be thankful for between friends and family, even if I still haven’t found that full time job yet and am drowning in a sea of debt! (On a bittersweet note, to touch on my last post about hiring managers, a few companies did finally reach out to me, letting me know I will not be moving up in the hiring process. If you read my last post, you’ll know why I feel that’s bittersweet).

Driving home from babysitting the night before Christmas Eve, I found myself realizing how different the holidays are as we get older- Perhaps how much more appreciative we are as we get older- and how my reasons for loving Christmas has changed.

When I was younger, even in high school, and if I’m being completely honest, most of college, I used to look so forward to what I was opening on Christmas morning, how much money I would have after the holiday, and what the plans were for Christmas Eve and Day shenanigans.  And I think that when we’re young it’s okay to have our main concern aimed at what we’re getting for Christmas, it’s almost as if it’s our unwritten right to be selfish as kids this time of year. However, this year was different; I didn’t give much thought to what was going to be underneath the tree Christmas morning, but more so how the time would be spent leading up to December 25th.

Reflecting on this, I also realize that there aren’t many materialistic things I want or even concrete things that my parents could wrap up and put under the tree. Unrealistically, I would like my student loans to disappear, to be anxiety free, and a JOB. Santa??

Anyway, my sister who’s been in England since August returned home to celebrate the holidays with us which was a priceless gift for everyone in our family, one in which I know we’re all happy about. Knowing that we’re all in good health is also a gift to be appreciative of, as well as having a nice roof over our heads. Cliché and a bit cheesy, but you all know it’s true. These are things I know I should be unconditionally grateful for year round, but the holidays really highlight how special certain things can be, even the simplest factors of very day life.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a poet from Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote a very thoughtful and meaningful poem in 1863 during the Civil War, which is now composed into many renditions of one of my favorite Christmas songs, Christmas Bells. Specifically the rendition done by John Gorka. It’s beautiful, meaningful, and instils in you the true meaning of Christmas- a time to be joyous, thankful, and selfless.

Recently I read an article written in 1990 titled, Why I Hate Christmas, and as scrooge sounding as it was, everything the man wrote was true! Although I agree with some of the things he talked about were true, he did not sway my opinion to hate Christmas. Think about how strongly the holidays effect our economy between the extravagant gifts, abundant amount of gifts, money spent on holiday parties-both food and alcohol costs- decorations, lights, cards, wrapping paper, travel costs, etc. It’s scary to think about most department stores make two fifths of their profit in the few short weeks of the Christmas season. And although this results positively for our country’s economy,  all of that excess spending could be put to better use, especially around the holidays, for the kids who get nothing instead of buying another gift for someone who had everything- for example, donating to charities. Furthermore, instead of spending in a charitable way, we could even donate time to volunteer services.

Maybe if we thought less about the materialistic aspects of the holiday, more people would appreciate the Christmas season itself, resulting in less stress and pressure on parents, loved ones, and friends to find the “perfect” gift, and everyone’s gift to each other could just be the time spent together.

Spending time with my family and friends this past week has been great, but I still have the post-grad scaries that creep up on me in the quiet of the crowd. Being aware of the fact that my student loans most definitely kick in in two months from now is enough to make my heart stop, so the job search is in full force as I enter 2017. Although there are many things happening that stress me out and make me sick, the things I do have to be grateful for and enjoy, definitely outweigh them! So, for now I’m going to relax, enjoy myself, and pray that this will actually be the best year yet.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New  Year!

 

 

 

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A Very Open Letter to Hiring Managers

To Whom This May Concern,

As a recent college grad, I’m slowly and surely learning that the four years we spend actually working towards graduation and our degrees is only half the battle. No one ever told us how much work we would still have to put in after the fun was over and the real world kicked in (before getting that full-time job).

This letter is mainly a complaint to anyone anywhere working for a company within Human Resources. Those people’s whose only job it is to read resumes and cover letters, determine if the credentials and qualifications fit, and then either place them in the yes or no pile, and send them to the next person in charge.

Cake, right? Doesn’t seem like rocket science to me, but hey, I was a Marketing major, so what do I know, right?

Applying for a job today is more than just sending your resume; sometimes it can be, but nine times out of ten it isn’t, unfortunately. Most companies want more than just your resume; they want you to write a cover letter, basically just your resume in paragraph form with lots of embellishments and sucking up about why you’re the “right” candidate for the position.

 

This can be time consuming; trying to make all of your experiences and skills somehow fit the job description into a way you think the person reading it will see fit. It can be frustrating because an HR manager may just read your resume and already know you’re not qualified for the position and never take the time to read that well-written, thought out cover letter. Finally,  it can be tiring after you do it so many times. Luckily for similar positions, sometimes all you have to do is change a line or two and the company name and address. It’s the little things…

My complaint isn’t really so much about having to do this, because then I would be that person that thinks everything should just come easy to us and we shouldn’t have to put in the work to achieve success. That’s not it. My problem is that only a small number of firms ever even respond letting you know you successfully submitted your materials, while 90% of the time you never hear a peep.

Even that is not completely my problem. My number one complaint and frustration about job searching is when companies, especially ones you’re interested in, just decide to never reach out to you and let you know that you’re not fit for the position. And not getting an interview-Rude, rude, rude.

I understand companies look for very specific things like 70 years of experience and doctorates for what is allegedly an entry-level position, but come on! I am taking the time to make sure I sound competent and professional and more than interested when applying for a job and writing that cover letter, and I patiently wait for a response for weeks at a time for just some sort of communication on their end. The least you can do is send an automated, generic message along the lines of ‘Thank you for your interest in Company XYZ, however after reviewing your resume, we do not think you have enough experience for what we’re looking for right now. Please keep checking for other opening positions, and apply again later. Thank you again for your time.’

Seriously, is that too much to ask?

I can’t say this is true for all companies because there have been those rare occasions where I have gotten a response along those lines, so thank you to the 1% of companies in the Philadelphia area that have common courtesy.

More often than not, no news is bad news. So after a few weeks of silence I’m smart enough to know I’m not getting an interview, but I would rather just have that in writing than having that little ounce of hope I’ll open my email one morning to some good news.

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You were once in my position when you were fresh out of college, think about those times and how you would hate to be me and show me some mercy. Or take pity on me, whichever you prefer. Probably the latter.

I am fully aware that most companies get hundreds of applications and it can be time consuming, but the yes and no piles are usually very different in height if you know what I mean. So after sending the yes pile over to the next person in the hiring chain, have the decency to send that automated, generic email to the suckers who aren’t getting an interview. We would all appreciate it very much.

Sincerely,

Colle grads everywhere

P.S. Don’t write in your job posting descriptions that you want a candidate who is recently graduated with 5 + years of work experience in your related field, it’s just not ideal and a little naïve. Thanks.

 

 

 

Back To The Drawing Board

“So, what are you up to now?” – Every family member, neighbor, peer, basically the whole population. I hate nothing more than that question. Mostly because the majority of the people who approach me with it already know the answer, or know that nothing exciting is happening right now in my life, but continue to make me focus on the fact that I’m a college graduate who’s only income comes from hanging out with 2 year olds. Post-grad life, man.

I could find a job, pretty easily, not to toot my own horn. But it’s not the most competitive field, marketing, it’s a lot of remedial tasks that anyone with a brain could do. Sorry to any fellow marketing majors reading this, but you know you picked it for a reason over something a little more challenging like accounting.

But the thing is, I don’t want a job like that. I don’t want a 9-5 desk job where I stare at my computer screen to pass time. I don’t want to settle for a boring job just because I should do that or because I have to do that. I want to do something that I love and am excited for when I wake up everyday. Obviously I’m not going to find a job that I love every single aspect of, that’s too good to be true, but I would rather be able to make a list with more pros than cons when thinking about my job. Unfortunately, I don’t think I will ever find this within marketing, or even just business in general.

I’ve recently decided/discovered that I want to work within book publishing, not write a book, but be part of the process that releases the finished book. I’ve always love reading and writing, and I think I might actually be good at something like this, more importantly, I think I could love something like this.

Obviously it would have been more ideal if I would have known all of this four years ago, but it’s okay, I’m young and still learning. It’s life.

So, for right now, I might not have a career, or a new car, or even a paycheck, but I know what I don’t want to do and I know what I want my future not to look like, which is more than most people have. It’s a start.

I hope to pursue a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing & Publishing within the next two years, and until than I may have to work some boring office job to support myself, and that’s okay, because I know it’s not permanent, it’s just temporary.

So, what am I up to now? I’m enjoying this little grace period I’ve been lucky enough to have where I can just breathe for a little while I put my plans into action. I get to enjoy Sunday Funday with my friends, I can still sleep in on random Mondays, I have time for me and I’m soaking up every second of it! I’m back to the drawing board. So, for anyone reading this that’s in the same boat as me, at least we’re not alone.

Goal: find a job by January that provides me a salary and co-workers over the age of 8.

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F is for Friends That Do Stuff Together

Being a friend is one of the greatest and most rewarding title we’ll ever receive and experience in our lives. And I don’t mean the kind of friend that you talk to occasionally or just catch up when you randomly run into them or someone you only know every detail of their life because of social media accounts. I’m talking about the friends that you call to vent about your nagging and persistent parents, pick up and walk aimlessly around target to kill time and chat, share the excitement of a new crush, and the ones that you ask ‘what are we doing tonight?’ not ‘what are you doing tonight?’.

In grade school, and even high school sometimes, everyone is your ‘friend’. And although I think it’s possible to have several acquaintances and close allies, a friend is more than just someone you drink with on the weekends, swap gossip stories with, and only catch up with them when it’s convenient for one or the other. This of course happens in college too, but towards the end of your four year journey, you slowly begin to realize who’s always been there for you and always will. Sometime it’s a gut feeling, sometimes it’s an incident of trust, and sometimes it’s just as clear as day.

I would rather have a few good friends that I can count on one hand than a bunch of fake friends who would drop me faster than a hot potato. I want someone that’s going to bail my ass out of jail if I ever get that reckless, call me a cab when I’m too drunk, will let me tell them the same story over and over again because it makes me feel better, and will be there for me through all the good and the bad.

Some people judge how popular a person is or how many friends they have based on how many likes they get, or how many birthday wishes they receive, but in my eyes what really matters is who is in the pictures next to someone, sharing in their lives, and who was there to celebrate their birthday.

Unfortunately throughout our lives we’re going to lose friends who we thought were lifers, and sometimes it may be our fault, and other times it’ll be theirs, or it may just be because two people grew apart and went separate ways. And that’s okay. It’s upsetting to lose a friend, but if they’re not in your life anymore, I’m sure there’s a good reason why. It’s hard to accept this sometimes, but the reality is that you might be better off without them. Some people aren’t always meant to be in your life forever, and if they are, they’ll come back one day.

Don’t abuse a friendship or take it for granted or only appreciate it at your convenience, because it’s too important to treat in such a selfish way. And if you abuse it too many times or ask for too many second chances, the door to that person will close and when you may need it the most, it won’t be there anymore.

Maybe the best things in life really are free. I know money can sure as hell bring a lot of happiness, but so can friendship, family, and love. And when times are tough, you need friends to help get you by. Having someone to share in your happiness, successes, failures, stresses, and everything in between is a gift and I am blessed to welcome this gift everyday.

So who makes you laugh the most? Who’s company do you genuinely enjoy? Who’s someone you trust with every ounce of your being? Who’s been there for you time and time again? If you have people that come to mind when thinking about this, don’t ever let them go, you just won the jackpot.

Thank you to my good friends reading this, you know who you are!

 

I could be rich, or at least not broke if I wasn’t such a degenerate

Where is Ed McMahon when you need him? I could use a fat check in my name delivered to me right about now- student loans, car insurance, phone bill, credit card bills (my own fault), and just every day living expenses. Seriously, how does anyone afford to live if you weren’t already born into money?

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The system is ass backwards. It’s almost frowned upon if you don’t attend some sort of collegiate institution after high school, but for us that do, who think we’re doing the right thing for our parents and for ourselves in the long run, we’re the ones that are just frowning after the four years are up.

College: 4 of the most expensive years of your life where you generally take 120 credits of bullshit, except for the 5 or 6 classes that actually focus on your major, that usually don’t even happen until your fourth year. And all of the stress of tests and papers and finances, and of course all of the dreaded presentations, is all for one small piece of paper that basically says ” Hi, I’m the idiot who just cried every night for  four years, blacked out every weekend to forget all my weekday problems, which then turned into the weekday problems, gained weight, and went to 40 different classes to basically remember nothing from them, and guess what? I paid $60,000 for all of this.”  Keep in mind that this piece of paper is in a language that the average person can’t even read.

4 years and 1 expensive piece of paper later, and I still have no idea what I want to do. The worst part is that those four years of being a degenerate have just formed me into being a bigger degenerate, just with more debt.

See the problem?

It’s incredibly hard to save money right now. Between all the monthly payments I have to make that I mentioned before, I also mentioned the costs of everyday living aka my inner alcoholic, shopping addict, and food lover.

It’s honestly a vicious cycle. All week I can tell myself I’m going to stay in this weekend to save money and how nice it’ll be to take a weekend off and detox my body, catch up on some sleep, and just relax. Then Friday comes along… Around 4 o’clock I get ancy and realize how much I don’t want to sit in and how bored I’m going to be, with the occasional wave of FOMO that could be experienced. Then I take the plunge and start sending out the “What are you doing tonight?” texts to my friends and just like that, I’m spending $50.

Then on Sunday I’m hating myself for all the money I spent on drinks, ubers and hangover food, but on Monday I’m having the same attitude about not going out the following weekend then Friday comes..you get the point.

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I’ve always chose happiness over money, but I think soon I have to go with the money. I’ve accepted that I might have to work a job I don’t necessarily love for a year or two and then hopefully be able to afford to go back to school for something I’m more interested in, which will obviously just put me further into the hole, but it’s okay, I can defer my undergrad loans while in grad school haha. And if I really have to start going out less on the weekends to save, I think I can do it, I’m not a complete alcoholic.

 

 

 

I’m gonna go to the gym… The most common lie among college students

The dreaded thought of the gym.

But also, the dreaded sight of my body in the mirror after four years of binge drinking, binge watching, eating out, cafeteria food, etc.

College is over, time to actually follow through with what I said the first week of freshmen year, “I’m gonna go to the gym later today”, and actually fucking go.

Having to actually exert a lot of energy at one time, sweat and feel like you’re dying…. sounds fun. And while you’re dying, the feeling of  regret for ever getting up off your comfy couch and wishing you were back there snacking on your salt and vinegar chips. But then, you get to a certain point during your work out when the burn actually feels good, and by the time you’re done you pat yourself on the back for dragging your ass to that gym and each day from then on gets a little bit easier… Eventually…Hopefully.

In college, it was really hard to keep up a good habit of going to the gym between classes, meetings, work, homework and having a social life- at the end of the day, all I wanted was my bed and a good episode of Friends. It’s also impossible to avoid gaining weight or trying to lose weight when you fall into the peer pressure of your roommates and friends to “let’s just order pizza tonight” or “just skip your 8 am tomorrow and get drunk”. And although I’m still really tired at the end of every day now, I know that I need to convince myself to go.

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I’m not saying I gained so much weight in college that I’ve become unrecognizable, but I sure as hell was a lot tinier and fit four years ago, and honestly, more comfortable in my body. And I’m really good about eating right, with the exception of my cheat days that turn into cheat weekends, but the thought of consistently going to the gym is a dreaded one.

I’m 22, the time of my life where I should be in my prime, and I felt way hotter at 18 than I do now. Unfortunate to say the least.

I’m definitely (trying) drinking less, eating better, on a better sleeping schedule, and less lazy than I was the past four years, so the next habit I need to get into is going to the gym at least four times a week. Lose at least a couple pounds, so I can start feeling like myself again, in the physical aspect.

I know that I can force myself to do it, it’s just gonna take a lot of convincing and debating in my head. “You do not need to watch another episode, you don’t need to lay on your bed any longer, you’ll feel better once you’re done” Blah, Blah, Blah.

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Personally, I find it easier to go to the gym when you have someone else that’s in the same boat as you. It’s a little more motivation to go and more fun to work out with a buddy. And it’s easier when you have someone other than yourself forcing you to go.

So, to anyone reading this with similar thoughts and feelings, girl or guy, force yourself to go! I know I’m not the only one who thought they were going to be die hard gym freaks in college, and was never gonna be one of those girls who fell into the Freshmen 15- Don’t lie to yourself.  We’re as young as we’re ever going to be, and you know what they say, Look Good, Feel Good. As much as I hate that saying, it’s so damn true.

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Take A Breath and Hold It In

Trapped, alone, tired, breathless, stressed, confused, etc. All the adjectives describing my life at points when I feel like so much is happening at one time. Anxiety about day to day things on top of this doesn’t help either. Sometimes I just need a break from everything and everyone.

Anxiety is something that doesn’t seem to exist for people who have never experienced it. But I promise, it is very real and very frustrating. You’re scared of things that are irrational, you have changing thoughts at the speed of light, your heart races uncontrollably even if you’re sitting still, you think of a million other things you would rather do than what’s causing your anxiety. It’s frustrating because once it’s there and in your head, it’s hard to change how you feel about it. It’s also frustrating when people think you’re being irrational and dramatic about something you’re afraid of, but those people, have never experienced the full fledged wave of anxiety that can come and go at any given second. Usually it happens at very inconvenient times.

Anxiety is something I’ve struggled with for a while now and until recently, I never sought any help. That was foolish. I want nothing more than to be rid of anxiety and not have to be afraid of the silver coffin aka an elevator, or stop praying every time I’m on the Subway that it won’t break down in between stops, or not be afraid to be in a huge open space, and to stop talking about all the traveling I want to do and finally just do it and not let boarding a plane stop me. Overcoming my anxiety about all sorts of things is something I’m working on day by day but it isn’t easy. It comes in waves and sometimes they swallow me up.

I also worry about regular, rational things like any sane person- money, relationships, health, etc. But these things don’t consume me and control my thoughts and actions like my irrational fears do. Still, sometimes I just feel so stressed on so many different levels that I just need to step back and breathe.

Everyone has a happy place. A haven for when they’re seeking clarity, calmness, and serenity. Whether it’s their bed, a beach, running on a treadmill, sitting on a baseball field, in the arms of someone else, a lake house, a church, whatever. We all have that place where we can go and feel absolute safety. A place to catch our breath. A place to feel okay, even if just for a few minutes.

My happy place is a bench in Sea Isle. Nothing special to the outside eye, but to me it’s a different world. The bench overlooks the bay near the Inlet. I found this place when I was probably 9 or 10 on one of my many stays in Sea Isle. It’s quiet, beautiful, and unknown. It’s like it’s mine. I come here whenever I go to Sea Isle to watch the sunset, think, relax and unwind, listen to music, and breathe. I breathe in the sight and the air and I feel okay and feel comfort in my life that sometimes is harder to find everyday as you get older. That bench is my saving grace.

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(I don’t know who George Hutchinson Jr. is, but God Bless Him for having this bench dedicated to him).

So, as I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like they’re at their breaking point, or trapped, or scared and confused, go catch your breath. Go visit your happy place, take a step back, breathe it all in, and hold it for a little and then let go. We don’t deserve to constantly feel stressed, we all need some comfort and relief sometimes, so go get it.