Job Interviews: Why They Can Be Awkward, Stressful and Disappointing

Interviews typically happen in different stages; phone, in person and follow-up. In some cases, the company may just require a one time meet and greet, others can be more extensive. I’ve been through them all multiple times and can say with full confidence that every one is different. And to be even more direct, some are just really fuckin’ weird.

I’ve heard horror stories, and also witnessed some, so I wanted to talk about some of my experiences on here and reiterate that I didn’t let these rare occurrences discourage me from continuing my job search.

Over the summer, I had applied to what seemed like a really modern and upcoming marketing firm, and was super excited to get a call back that they wanted to conduct a phone interview.

Now, in the past, the phone interviews I’ve been selected for basically consisted of the representative of the company providing more information about the company and position, as well as some general questions such as, “Where have you been working since graduation?”, “What provoked you to apply for this position?”, “Do you have experience?”, etc. The conversation is generally short and they do most of the talking.

So, when I picked up the phone for this interview, I was a little thrown off when there were three other people on the other end.

It began quite normal for the first few minutes until they threw curve ball at me asking for my criticism in regards to their Instagram page. Luckily, I had checked their page out prior to the interview, but how are you supposed to respond to a potential employer when they ask for your honest feedback on their work?

To be honest, I thought maybe it was a trick question so I tried responding with a double-sided answer subtly, but they didn’t like my response. I don’t even remember how I worded it but basically I told them that they had good content but too many posts with just quotes and words.

Don’t ask for criticism if you can’t accept it.

Then they continued to ask what brands I followed on Instagram. I was stumped. I mostly follow friends, families and select celebrities and maybe one or two clothing stores that post frequently about sales.

At this point I couldn’t wait to get off of this call and luckily, it didn’t go much further.

About a month later I received another call for an in-person interview at a different company for the position of a Marketing Assistant. The only thing on my mind after leaving was: pyramid scheme.

Walking into their lobby, something immediately felt off as they were blasting techno music at 9 AM on a Monday and the first thing you see walking in is a ping pong table.

The interviewer came out, greeted me and escorted me to a room with nothing inside with the exception a table and two chairs. I felt like I was in an interrogation room.

The interview lasted maybe under 10 minutes and he didn’t once ask me anything about myself or my background, yet thought I was a “great candidate for the role” and asked me to come back again tomorrow for a second round of interviewing.

After he basically sugar coated that this was a door to door sales role and began talking about some irrelevant YouTube video, I knew I was never coming back. There were red flags everywhere.

Although I was desperate for a job, I wasn’t this desperate.

The third one I want to talk about was when I interviewed for an Administrative Assistant position in a corporate headquarters for a bank. I didn’t even remember I had applied because at this point in my job search I was just shooting out resumes everywhere, I couldn’t keep track of who I was sending them to anymore.

The woman who called me basically hyped me up primarily only talking about the pay and benefits, which were extremely enticing. And although she thought I was great candidate for this position, the two women I interviewed with 2 weeks later in person, did not.

It was an extremely awkward interview followed by two written tests which I was not forewarned about. Definitely bombed the one.

There were a few more interviews that followed that last one which were all relatively normal but required more experience than I had, but it’s okay because I persevered and found the position I’m currently in now and I’m very appreciative.

Lesson learned that you’re not going to land every job you interview for and sometimes, you probably luck out by not getting the job. If there are obvious red flags from the start, don’t take it and get yourself into something not worth your time, there’s always going to be something better down the road.

In addition, there are some really useful tips and advice for interviewing on the internet and my best advice is to just be prepared, research the company you’re applying to, print your resume prior to the interview, over dress, and most importantly, be yourself.

Good luck to anyone going through this frustrating process, it will be worth it in the end!

 

 

 

 

 

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College Life to Mom Life

I remember being so jealous of Maureen’s life in Los Angeles, it was the definition of living vicariously through someone.

She was studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (where LC went for any Hills fans), living in an apartment building with a roof top pool, meeting celebrities like Mariah Carey, partying at high end clubs, and working in fashion day in and day out. She was living out my sixteen year old dreams that were based off of Lauren Conrad, and as her best friend, I couldn’t have been more happy.

 

During college, as well as after she moved home too, Maureen was presented with various experiences, tribulations and opportunities. Although our undergrad years were drastically different, post grad life hit us like a brick wall.

‘What now?’

That haunting question that keeps you up at night, the one that is impossible to silence, struck Maureen upon moving home to Philly.

While reflecting back on what her initial expectations were for life after college, she notes that she thought it consisted of “freedom, partying and doing whatever you want, which does happen during a short window of time, but reality hits when you’re back living with your parents, loans kick in and you’re basically forced to find a full-time job. You have to grow up really quick.”

Stress is something that is inevitable for all of us, and Maureen often finds herself stressing over is being too hard on herself even when she realizes she shouldn’t be. On a more professional level, she stresses about not being in complete control which is why she hopes to one day be her own boss.

And speaking of stress, she advises all soon-to-be grads, to NOT stress and cherish the last moments of college life and have fun. “Whatever you’re stressing about will eventually be over with sooner or later. Don’t worry about getting your dream job right away. Do what works for the time being and the right job will come at the right time.”

So now three years out of college, Maureen has not only found the right job, she found her dream job: becoming a mom, which she comments is both the toughest and most rewarding job in the world.

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When talking about parenthood, I asked Maureen if she felt that others view her only as a mom now and no other role, and she responded by saying, “Yes and no. I think more so yes for those who don’t know me very well. I think people innocently assume that moms are just moms because they might not know any better. They assume that your life only consists of your child, which is pretty accurate because your child will always be your whole life, but they have no idea what you do outside of your kids. Some are so quick to assume that moms do nothing but be moms. I think being a young mom makes it harder for people not to judge me. Age is just a number, your actions show the kind of mother you are. I defy this stereotype by just being myself. I still do the things I want to when I can and it works. My boyfriend and I are truly an amazing team. Without someone by your side who truly loves you, parenting would be a completely different ball game.”

I admire and respect Maureen for balancing everything she does. While living in New York she had the opportunity to work for Armani, now she works at a high-end bridal boutique in Philadelphia which she comments on and says, “it’s a different side of the industry that I never saw myself falling into but I enjoy being able to be a part of a girls big day and helping them feel their best, it’s a rewarding job.”

On top of working and being a mom, I don’t know how she balances it all but she does and hats off to her for it. I can barely balance my life and I have significantly less responsibilities! Addmittedly, Maureen finds herself frustrated sometimes that she isn’t able to work out as much she would like to and not always being able to follow through on personal goals.But I know that when the weather is nice, she loves walking as much a possible with her daughter, Ava!

As I said in the beginning of this post, I was so obsessed with Maureen’s life while she was living in L.A. and I can confidently say I’m obsessed with her life now too. She has found something some people never find: true love. Not just with her boyfriend but in her daughter, too.

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The future is never clear, and sometimes it presents obstacles, but it can also present opportunities.

Post grad life for Maureen is going pretty well, I’d say. She has a job she’s passionate about, a supporting family, and the most beautiful daughter who is so full of life and love, it’s hard not to be jealous.

I want to finish by including some words of advice from Maureen that seem to be a similar response for those doing these posts. Every response I’ve gotten holds the central theme I’ve created for this blog.

“Be yourself and never doubt it. If you are still figuring yourself out that is okay too. Embrace it, it is okay to not always know the answers to everything or how you feel about everything. Whatever you do, do not let others mold you. You will get lost. Stop caring about what other people think.  People are always going to talk no matter what, thinking about it solves nothing. Do you and don’t look back!! You’ll be happy when your older and can say I didn’t give a shit what people thought of me!  Lastly, as cliche as it sounds, follow your heart. So many people our age feel obligated to get that big job or buy a car or even a house. Do what feels right. You might find a job you love that has absolutely nothing to do with what you went to school for. Does it make you happy? If it does, then that’s all that matters. Life really is simple if you take a step back sometimes. Don’t get caught up in the drama of what you think you should do, do what you WANT to do!’
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Side Hustles: Why You Should Have One

I first heard the term ‘side hustle’ while reading Ann Shoket’s millennial guiding book, The Big Life  , and it’s a term that has stuck with me since then. Typically, a side hustle is a way of earning extra cash outside of your primary income, which I think is great and incredibly smart and responsible especially for those of us in our early stages of adulthood without the responsibility of kids or running a household. However, Shoket has her own terms and conditions surrounding this term that seems to be on the rise.

Get a Side-Hustle. The idea that one job can be your everything feels so dated, doesn’t it? Sometimes you need a day job that pays the bills or gives you security, even if it doesn’t feed your soul. That’s when you need a side-hustle—a project you work on to put yourself in charge or build new skills in your career. This is how you pay yourself in self-respect.”

I think the idea of this is incredibly inspiring, especially in today’s society, and urge all of you to give this some serious consideration.

I, myself, do have an actual side hustle in it’s truest form, a second job at a local restaurant and brewery, that provides me extra cash outside of my bi-weekly paycheck from my 9-5. Which is awesome considering the loans that need to be paid off, the monthly bills, attempting to lease a car, and all other expenses life has to drown us in.

Even though that side hustle was intended for its primary purpose, it’s turned into much more than that because I genuinely like what I do when I go there and I’ve also made so many new friendships.

So, if you’re contemplating finding your side hustle but hesitant because you might just feel like it will make you more miserable than your existing job while also taking time away from leisure activities, find something that works for you; try different roles out, or, best case scenario, find a way to make money off of something you already love doing.

This recommendation brings me to my next point of my other side hustle, the one not entirely intended for extra cash.

I started this blog about 18 months ago and I’ve watched it progressively grow which has been super rewarding in regards to many aspects. In contrast to my side hustle that compensates my bank account, maintaining this website compensates areas of my life that lack substance. It helps me improve my writing skills, enhances my time management and organization, provides insights into social media and sharing, and pays me in self-respect. This website is minimally profitable, but with more views I get, the more money I potentially earn. 

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I’ve read that other people’s side hustles often include playing music in clubs, dog walking, organizing book clubs, life coaching, and blogging, among other things.

Sometimes our jobs, especially early on in our career can leave us feeling undervalued, bored and passionless. Finding a side hustle can help with all of that.

We all have hobbies, so why not find a way to turn the things you’re passionate about into profit or productivity? And even if that’s not possible, it’s nice to work at things that make you feel good, inspire you and reward you in different ways.

If you do have an existing side hustle, comment below, I’m interested to hear different answers! Cheers!

 

An Almost Post Grad Life: Grad School

A huge part of why I originally started this blog was for the intended purpose of others to be able to share their thoughts and experiences associated with post-grad life, not just my own.

I’ve recently been collecting statements, anecdotes and opinions of other 20somethings floating around adulthood to showcase how even though we all live different lives, the similarities we face as millennials are startlingly similar.

I selected people based on different demographics including age, sex, employment, fields of study, line of work and geographical region. This post will be the first of many in a mini series and I’m excited to share with all of you my findings as well as my thoughts! Enjoy.


Jill is currently a Speech Pathology Graduate student at The University of Pittsburgh with only three short months until graduation. When reflecting on her time in grad school, as well as undergrad, she came to a bizarre realization that once she completes this degree, she’ll have spent a total of twenty years as a student. She says, “it’s exciting but also very daunting to think about finally entering the real world.”

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A question I posed to all of my participants surrounds the idea of identifying what continually stresses them out, both personally and professionally. For Jill, she thinks that “there is always still a part of me that feels I need to prove that I deserve to be in the same place as my classmates, and that I am smart and good at what we are all there to do.” She continues to land on a point that I think is an important for anyone, not only students, which is that of “it’s hard to keep reminding myself that as a student, I can and will make mistakes.” No one is perfect, though we often try to be, it’s impossible.

Another thing, that I can very much relate to, that stresses her out is the dating life. As you may have read in my previous post, being in single has its ups and downs. Jill comments, “Dating  can and should be fun and exciting, but anyone who’s been where I have knows that’s not always the case.”

A common theme in most adults lives, primarily those in early adulthood, is the mundane routines we face Monday through Friday. I asked Jill if there are any frustrations she feels are recurring and she plainly states that it’s the repetition of it all; “I go to clinic, go to class, go home, go to bed, and do it all again the next day.” She attributes going out on the weekends with friends as a break from it all and why it’s crucial to do so.

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Although undergrad was only a few short years ago, we often reflect and realize how our thoughts and opinions have changed drastically in that tight time frame. There are definitely things I regret doing and not doing in college, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, and unfortunately since we cannot change the past, maybe we can help those in the future through advice. Jill remarks that her regret is not studying abroad while having the opportunity to, and her reasoning behind it was “I didn’t want to miss a whole semester at college with all my friends” and admittedly adds, “and looking back that was a really young and dumb idea.”

In addition to dishing out advice, Jill also adds “not to stress about getting a job right away. You have your whole life to work and rushing it will just stress you out and you’ll probably end up at a job you don’t even like. If you decide to live at home and don’t get that dream job right away, do not let yourself or other people make you feel like you are any less because of it. We all know how annoying that question of ‘what are you doing now?‘ gets from the insignificant talk that is unfortunately unavoidable.” And I couldn’t agree more.

Finally, I asked Jill to provide quotes that inspire or motivate her and among them, as it fits well with the central theme of my blog, I chose this one to leave here. “Life is 10% what happens to you…and 90% is how you react to it.

Jill concludes by saying, “Do what makes you happy and feel good abut where you are in your life, and not what you feel like you have to do or should be doing compared to or based off of other people’s standards.”

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The Pros and Cons of Being Single in your 20s

With some people, being single sometimes has a negative connotation, and in some situations? Sure, that’s fair. Like when you go home with that creepy/not so hot/desperate guy from the bar because, let’s face it, you’ve been on a dry spell and you’re 4 shots deep. Or you consistently have to RSVP for one to every wedding you’re invited to with a plus one because you’re still not in a serious enough relationship to commit to bring a guest, and the person you’ve been non-exclusive with  has also been non-exclusive with several other people.

BUT, aside from the drawbacks of being single, there are a lot of positive aspects as well. Here’s my list:

PROS:

  • Being more independent
    • Not that you can’t be independent with a significant other, it’s just more probable that you have to be independent while single. Actually, it’s kind of forced upon you. Sometimes your friends and family aren’t always around to do certain things and you conform to a lifestyle of only relying on yourself for company or a good time, which can be fundamental for various situations in life. Independence is good.
  • Time with friends
    • Let’s be honest, you’re going to have more time for your friends when you’re single. You’re more than likely more inclined to go out and get drunk with your friends on the weekends, there’s no decision making between his or her group of friends, and when you wake up hungover in the morning, you go get drunk again with your friends. In contrast, when you’re in a relationship, things can be a bit different; the decision to stay in on the weekends is definitely easier because you have someone to stay in with, which is fair, but you also now have two different friend groups and two families to divide free time with, which ultimately decreases the time you would usually dedicate to friends. I’m just gonna say it- I think people have more of an appreciation for their friends when you’re single.
  • Your focus is sharpened
    • Your focus on things in general, but also your focus on you and only you, is sharpened to the clearest point. You have yourself to look out for, so your discovery of self-love reaches its highest point, which is daunting. You have more time to focus on being a better version of yourself, more focus on your career and goals, and more focus on anything, really. Relationships can sometimes be distracting between jealousies and disagreements, and being single allows you to be more selfish which I think is more than acceptable in your 20s.
  • Meeting and experiencing new or different people
    • Of course you can meet new people while in a relationship, but you have to admit it’s more difficult. There are boundaries and lines you have to be conscious of, certain plans you can’t commit to, and there’s an awareness of which conversations are acceptable or not. It’s much easier to meet new people when single. Also, being able to experience new people, not just  strictly in a sexual way, but in a friendly manner, is definitely rewarding and beneficial in early adulthood.
  • No bullshit
    • There’s no perfect relationship, that’s common knowledge. But sometimes while listening to my friends bitch about the dumb things their boyfriends did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say, all I can think is “wow, I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with this bullshit.”

With all that being said, I’m sure there are a lot of people thinking I have it all wrong, especially those in relationships, but let me stop you there. There are also a lot of cons to this lifestyles as well.

Cons:

  • Not having plans
    • When you’re only other single friend has plans without you, you may as well just stay on your couch all night, find something to watch on Netflix, and order a pizza because more than likely, you won’t have any other plans. All your other friends are either staying in with their boyfriends or going out with their friends or families. Buzz kill.
  • Constantly dodging questions regarding your relationship status
    • “So, are you dating anyone?” No, mom, and the answer hasn’t changed since you last asked me just a few short weeks ago. Maybe it’s a generational thing since most of our parents were probably married, or at least dating each other at our age, that they find it so abnormal when we’re not on the verge of marriage and babies. But yeah, the question get very old, very quick.
  • Dry spells
    • As nice as it is to have the ability to spontaneously make out with different people, the opportunity doesn’t always occur and there are periods of time when you almost convince yourself you’re a virgin because it’s been so long since you’ve had sex. Inappropriate? Sure. False? Hell no.
  • Wanting to go out but also wanting to stay in
    • It’s so hard to force yourself to sit in on a Friday or Saturday night if you’re not working or have no one else to spend the night with. Sometimes, there’s nothing I want more than to just stay in and watch TV or read, but then the creeping voice inside my head that calls me a loser speaks up and I force myself to go out because society makes me feel pressured to do so. But, when you have a significant other, you can silence these pressures and have someone to cuddle up on the couch with.
  • ‘Ms. Megan Keough accepts with pleasure.. and I’ll take the chicken’
    • As I touched on briefly in my opening, it does become a tad depressing when you have no one to bring as your date to a wedding when you’re invited with a guest. I don’t want to bring just anyone and I won’t, but I guess it would be nice to be able to invite someone so I could get both the fish and the chicken. And also not be the reason there’s an odd number of people at the table…

So, there’s a lot of ifs and buts, pros and cons, and probably a lot of arguments surrounding these points. But either way, cheers to all you single people and cheers to all of you in relationships!

It’s Always Darkest Before The Dawn

The best kind of happiness is the kind that comes into your life when you least expect it. Between toxic relationships, endlessly job searching for months, anxiety, 2017 wasn’t the easiest year. But just like everything else, pros and cons go hand in hand. Although I struggled from time to time this past year, I also had a lot of great opportunities to experience and I’m so grateful to reflect on the better times because good always outweighs the bad.

I had the chance to visit a few new cities, spend a lot of time on the beach, read new books, focus on myself, start a new job and develop new friendships. I’m happy about everything good that has come my way, but I’m not entirely sad to see 2017 come to a close and I’m more than happy to embark on 2018.

As many of you know, I’ve had a difficult and defeating time seeking full-time employment this past year, which I know some people can relate to and I wish you all the best of luck in your process! However, I do not have to continue my search as I accepted a full-time offer right before the holiday. When accepting the offer over the phone, I literally said to the woman, “This is the greatest Christmas gift I’ve ever received”, and there is so much truth behind that.

The past few weeks, knowing that this is the last of my excessive free time, have been so stress- free and relaxing. The weight I feel has been lifted from my shoulders, from both external and internal pressures to find a full-time job, is indescribable.

As the saying goes, good things take time, and I guess time is what I needed. The past year and a half as post-grad have definitely been unconventional from the outside looking in, but I feel I’m right where I’m meant to be. I’m learning that as you get older, people’s opinions of your choices become more and more irrelevant, and I think that’s something everyone should keep in the back of their minds. I think my biggest regret of 2017 was caring so much about what everyone else thought and ignoring what I actually cared about. Maybe it’s easier said than done, but it’s an empowering feeling when you finally conquer this tactic.

Even though it’s just a change in date on the calendar, a new year can be an opportunity for change, growth and fulfillment. Although I don’t have a resolution, and I don’t normally do, I’m definitely more committed than ever to focusing on me in every way, shape and form. Whitney Port posted an Instagram that resonated with where I am right now and I couldn’t love it more.

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She captions the quoted picture with “Loving yourself isn’t only the greatest revolution, but the greatest resolution.”

Wherever you’re at in your life, don’t forget to love yourself. If you’re in a tough place or confused or lost, just remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn, as Florence and The Machine says.

Happy New Year!

Life’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

It’s definitely been a year filled with a multitude of changes, highs and lows, and unexpected opportunities. I guess I haven’t been able to write in a few months because I was short of inspiration, or maybe I was just tired of talking about the same topics and sounding like a broken record. But I think it all really boils down to me beginning to care about how others viewed me; for reasons varying from not climbing the career ladder to living at home to even not having a boyfriend. However, the past few weeks have changed my perspective and silenced these external pressures because what I’ve realized is that no matter what I’m doing, or how much money I’m making, or where I’m living or living with, my family and real friends won’t judge me, they’ll support me, and that is a powerful feeling to embrace.

All of these external pressures of finding a full-time job, finding a boyfriend, moving out, having a plan, etc.– they’re always going to be there because life is constantly changing and that’s pretty exciting. As I talked about in a previous post, life is full of setbacks in which we cannot prepare for, it’s all about how we choose to handle them. I don’t necessarily want to know what the rest of my life holds right now, I just want to take it day by day. I’m not insinuating it’s wrong to have a plan, but it’s also okay not have one as well, but sometimes it’s hard to live in a society that constantly criticizes, instills ideas of conventional-ism and expects you to have your shit together the second you graduate college.

There have been plenty of things that have knocked me down since graduating, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has faced a plethora of obstacles, and maybe I take some comfort in knowing I’m not the only one, sorry if that makes me selfish but your 20s are all about being selfish apparently.

My resilience has been a great asset to me, particularly in recent months. Between unsuccessful job searching, relationships, frustrations of living at home, financial struggles, it felt like the skies were never going to clear and I was always going to be walking with a rain cloud above my head. Then I stopped feeling sorry for myself  and everything changed; the happiness I’ve found is something I can’t explain, but I found it through different things which I’ll explain in a future post.

Some questions that I really cannot stand and get farther under my skin than possible, are those of “So, what are you doing now?” and “Why aren’t you dating?”. First of all, do not ask me what I’m up to when there’s a 90% chance you follow me along social media and probably know the answer to your own question- just ask how I’m doing, and if I choose to elaborate further then great, but chances are if I don’t see you very often, you probably don’t care that much so stop using that as a filler for small talk.

The dating question primarily comes from family members and since I haven’t dated in a while, they probably all think I’m a secret lesbian, but that is in fact, NOT the case. I have different reasons for being single, but primarily I just haven’t met anyone worth the time yet and I’m content with that because right now is all about me and I want to love myself before I love anyone else.

I think what I’ve really learned this year, virtually through social media postings, is that everyone is on a different path, some are overcoming larger obstacles or taking more significant steps, but that’s just how it is. Half of my generation are getting engaged, married, starting families and buying houses, while the other half is getting blacked out every weekend and soaking up their 20s; I’m happy to say I fall into the second half of that sentence. Whatever your path is right now or how far along you are in this marathon of life, be proud of it because it’s your life and your life is something you should always take pride in.

I was asked in an interview a few weeks ago, ‘What do I define success as?’, and my answer was as simple as this: Being successful, for me, means being completely confident both personally and professionally. When I finally stop second-guessing myself or my work that is when I know I’ve been successful. In addition, the qualities I’ve found that are fundamental to possess in your 20s include, but are not limited to,  perseverance, resilience, strength, confidence, and ultimately, being true to yourself.

                 Remember that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so go at your own pace, you’ll arrive where you’re supposed to be when it’s time, so enjoy the run.

Stay tuned for next week when I discuss the books that have aided me through the frustrations of post-grad life!