A Like For A Like

We used to judge someone’s popularity based on how many Myspace friends they had, then that graduated to Facebook friends, and then to Instagram followers and likes. I can’t lie and say I’ve never fallen victim to silently linking unpopularity to a low number of Instagram followers, especially in college, but can now confidently say that your social media “friends” have nothing to do with your friends.

Now, it’s almost annoying to have to have an excessive amount of connections on social media because I constantly find myself wondering who some of the people are in my feed, and more importantly, why am I liking their posts? There are multiple times a day I find myself having to click and creep on someone’s Facebook page to figure out who the page actually belongs to, which basically admits I spend entirely way too much time on social media, but I know I’m not the only one guilty of this. Why am I liking pictures of your dog, your brother-in-law’s friends baby, your dinner or your new hair style? It has become second nature to like multiple Instagram posts in a row, most of the time without even really taking notice to what’s in the square frame. And the fact that the stigma associated with likes and popularity has increased so much in the last four years just makes me realize how much wasted time on social media has also increased. For example, when Instagram started becoming popular a few years ago, a lot of likes was considered 30 or more, now, people pray not to be cursed with receiving less than 100. But a good enough caption can go a long way.

The number 100 doesn’t seem large in the grand scheme of the things, but seriously who actually has 100 friends? If we were only connected on social media sites with just the people we’re friends with, I would have about 25 followers. I have almost 800 Instagram followers and over 1,000 Facebook friends, so you can see my issue with the ratio here; averaging at 150 likes, only about 17% of them I talk to on a regular basis.  Maybe my definition of a friend differs, but my standard includes anyone I would be comfortable hanging out with one on one. However, we live in a society obsessed with social media and constant communication, so we follow people we met once eight years ago and continue to be dedicated likers. Again, guilty.

It’s pretty sad that in college you may have been considered a bitch if you didn’t like someone’s post that continually liked yours. Either that, or the person thinks they wronged you in some way. Or, someone didn’t think you’re attractive. God, what an asshole. But putting it into perspective, half the time I don’t even like a picture, I just tap twice because I feel indirectly, morally obligated. It’s like an unwritten rule among millennials. But when do we draw the line? Will we forever be following and supporting  people’s life decisions, events, news, and announcements through a virtual thumbs up or heart? Will this continue on until we’re eventually liking pictures of their grandchildren’s first day of school? I honestly have no idea because the social media market is constantly growing and changing, I’m almost hoping Myspace makes a comeback one day.

I’m not saying it’s ridiculous or wrong in any way to ‘like’ our acquaintance’s posts, I’m just examining the reality behind it. Maybe one day I’ll dissect my list of friends on Facebook to those I’m close with, or sift through Instagram and delete people I met in high school who I haven’t seen or heard from since graduation, but until now I’ll continue to religiously like the pictures and posts in my news feed.

 

Why It’s Okay To Have An Unpaid Internship After College 

By: Shannon from You, Me & DC

You did it! You’re a college graduate. You finished your illustrious degree and you’re about to enter the real world. The only problem? The one place that wanted to hire you couldn’t bring you on as an employee and you’re stuck with an unpaid internship.

I get it. I’ve been there. I graduated with honors, was overly involved in college, had great work experience and yet nobody wanted me. I spent months applying and interviewing for jobs but would never hear back about full time paid work, instead I was offered an unpaid internship before I even finished the interview. I was flattered but that feeling didn’t last long. I felt snubbed, frustrated and frankly…really offended. I would struggle to fall asleep at night because I would constantly ask myself ‘What did someone else have that I didn’t?’ or ‘How could everyone else I know get a job, but I couldn’t?’ The world was against me but I had no other options. And maybe you don’t either. But that isn’t a bad thing.

An unpaid internship might put a bad taste in your mouth but grab a glass of water, rinse and spit because I am going to change your mind. An unpaid internship could be one of the best things you do with your post-graduate freedom.

A paying job that excites you and challenges you would be the goal but when that seems just out of reach, pivot and find what will help you get there the fastest. I’ve held salaried positions that left me bored and unsatisfied. Out of college, I took a job as an executive assistant at my dream organization thinking it would help me get my foot in the door. Instead, I was filing paperwork and running errands for higher ups while I watched unpaid interns doing real, substantial work. When I started graduate school, quit my full time job and entered the ~intern~ world once more, I found myself working on interesting projects almost immediately. It must be some unwritten rule but if you’re unpaid, the work you are assigned will likely be more meaningful.

Save for the internships that have you grabbing coffee exclusively (don’t do these), you will also be around the movers and shakers. You don’t need to be a salaried employee to become friendly with your coworkers. Unpaid internships are the best place to network. You are well placed to grab coffee with your director, chat up the technical advisors and pick the brains of the people who are in the job you day dream about. An unpaid internship is no one’s first choice but most people will understand if you’re using it as a stepping stone. You might not leave that internship with any money in your bank account, but you will be rich in connections. Connections can lead to job opportunities in the future and those opportunities come with a full salary and benefits.

If you’re trying to decide if an unpaid internship is worth it, ask yourself these two questions: Do I want to work here in the future? Does this organization align with my interests and values? If you answered yes to either of these questions, do it. When you take an internship at a company or organization that you identify with, you set yourself up for success. Maybe they are the foremost researcher in their field or you really connect with the company’s mission and values. These things matter and they are the things that will get you through the days when you’re working on something incredibly dull. It will also really help you keep a smile on your face when you have to head into Starbucks to work a second job to pay the bills.

The most important thing to remember is that it is temporary. If you hate it and it was a waste of time (been there), you can write it off as a learning experience and move on. If you loved it, maybe you find a way to stay until something paid opens up. In my experience, most organizations have more work than they have people. If you’re offering to stay as an unpaid intern, you’re not only going to earn brownie points, but also a strong network that will advocate for you when a salaried job opens up.

I am one of the most impatient people I know and when something isn’t working in my favor, I get frustrated. You probably do too. But put a smile on your face, volunteer for projects and keep looking forward because before you know it, you’ll have landed a really amazing job.

 

 

 

Your Setback Is The Platform For Your Comeback

It’s been one year since graduation, and I’m more unsure than ever of what my future holds. Crossing the stage, receiving my diploma I didn’t know what to look forward to, but after many setbacks this past year, it’s becoming more of a realization that life is just full of the unknown and it’s completely out of our control. Setbacks are a part of everyday life; whether they stem from anxiety, missed opportunity, hasty decisions, bad decisions, or the trials and tribulations of human life, they happen, and sometimes all we can do is embrace the mess and stay hopeful.

This year hasn’t exactly been easy, and at times I’ve truly doubted my abilities and worth. Anyone who has had to experience job searching post-grad can understand what I’m referring to. The time and energy we can spend applying for positions, the majority of them just being for the hell of it, usually lead us nowhere- not even a call back. So, maybe we thought finding a job would be easier, but we’ve come to know that even landing an interview can be an obstacle, or a setback.

Sometimes I’ve been presented opportunities that I’ve ran from or turned down because of my anxiety- anxiety regarding irrational things or petty fears, but if you’ve read the last two posts before this, you’ll know that anxiety is no joke and can sometimes cause self-inflicted restrictions that aren’t easy to settle. Although I’m dealing with these things day by day, it’s still caused setbacks.

Decision making can be tough, especially when it deals with life changing choices and not just deciding between which bars to go to this weekend. Making hasty decisions can lead to setbacks, because most of the time, it’ll be the wrong choice. It’s important to weight out the pros and cons of every choice before finalizing, but we’re only human and sometimes we trust our initial instincts more than we should.

Realizing you went to school for something completely uninteresting to you- setback; time to apply for grad school!

Having to live at home longer than you wished or thought you would have to- setback.

Still driving the car you drove in high school because your “adult job” salary can’t afford you to upgrade- setback.

Got laid off due to something completely out of your control- setback. 

Unfortunately, we are all just dealt a shit hand on occasion. We can work as hard as we can and still come up short. We’re put in situations that we’re forced to remove ourselves from, even when they just put us right back where we started.

It can often feel like we’re not progressing, achieving or experiencing, but that’s not true. Everyone has a different route to take, some may take longer to get to their destination, but we’ll all get to where we want to be. But guess what? I have no idea exactly where I’m going, and I’m okay with that. Life is constantly recalculating our plans with unexpected setbacks; whether it is you lose your job, the person you thought you would spend your life with ends the relationship, you get pregnant, you fail your program, someone gets sick, you get transferred out of state- the list goes on and on. But maybe that’s the point, right? Facing challenges, dealing with unexpectedness and tackling these problems every day is what we’re equipped for as humans. Nothing ever goes as planned, but that’s the exciting part of life, anything can happen- good or bad- and we just have to embrace it.

So don’t cry over spilled milk, just clean it up and pour another glass because something great is waiting to happen. But if we dwell on all of the annoyances in life, we’re just prolonging the destination.

Finding Your Identity

One thing that I think about often, is people who struggle with transition out of college and finding out who they really are. Let’s be honest, the four, sometimes more, years you spend in college do not shape you as an individual. They basically equip you with time management and social skills, if you’re lucky. So it can be eye opening to join the real world and not have any idea the type of person you want to be. Do you want to make as much money as possible? Do you want to help as many people as possible? Do you want to develop certain relationships with some more than others? Who do you want to be and what legacy do you want to leave?

Let’s slow down a little.

Just know that you don’t have to have the answers to any of these questions and most of us won’t know for quite some time. I still struggle with having sociopathic tendencies on a weekly basis. A lot of my free time is still spent wondering why I was such a dick in certain situations and why I have little to no filter. BUT I work at it every single day and compared to college where I was a full blown sociopath who didn’t care about anyone but me, I’ve come a long way. And that’s what it’s all about post-grad. Developing yourself little by little consistently every day until you look back, and after a year you’re able to think “Wow look how far I’ve come when I thought I was making no progress at all.”

It’s also important to understand that a lot of people will always see you as the person you were in college and their image of you may never change. It’s something that you have to accept and dismiss. If you live everyday with the drive to be better off today than you were yesterday, then there is nothing that can stop you because the only person you’re competing with is yourself. Don’t compare your jobs, don’t look down at others jobs and don’t put yourself down about your own job. Most people hate their first job right out of school and the “real world” is not like it’s made out to be where it all happens at once right after graduation. Some people will hit their stride out of the gates and others won’t hit it for a while. So live on the grind, compete against yourself and give positive enforcement to your friends. Some people will shit on your dream, or your job, or your decision to take a year off or whatever it is, but that’s because your vision isn’t theirs. You’re seeing everything through a different lens than everyone around you.

Just because you’re trying to find yourself and get control of the reigns doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Go out on the weekends- you can still even drink on Sundays, you’ll be surprised at how many people do. Go on trips- you have a steady income now and are able to do what you love. I love to write, so this is how I’m spending my Thirsty Thursday writing and watching the Yankees. Just have fun with it, whatever it is you do.

“Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what they can accomplish in 3.”

Substance Vs. Stability

As someone recently emerging from college, it can be hard to find a job you love, let alone a gig within your desired industry or field. There’s a constant, external pressure from society, or more specifically, your family and friends, to “get a job, any job”. And although this decision of settling for something will serve its primary purpose of paying the bills, it may not have substance, or any rewarding feeling for that matter.

It’s obviously far fetched to obtain a job within your desired field, or a “dream job” right out of college, but does that mean you should necessarily settle for something that will have you working 40+ hours/week with no substance in return? For some, this situation will be content for them, and kudos to them, truly. But for those of you who feel like they’re wasting away in front of a screen eight hours a day, performing jobs that hold no value to them, feel like they’re gaining no experience relating to where they wish to pursue their careers, and leave everyday feeling like their position holds no meaning, I understand. However, it’s hard to draw the line between when enough is enough since we do have hefty bills to pay and lifestyles to fulfill, but when do they paychecks become irrelevant in regards to your happiness?

It’s easy to keep a mindset that involves daily reminders to yourself that “it’s just my first job, this isn’t permanent, and I’m making good money”. And although I do think those are crucial prompts to keep in the back of our minds, the anxiety surrounding the mundane position you hold may still have the potential to effect your mood outside of work, take a toll on your own, personal happiness and leave you feeling empty and undervalued.  So, when do you decide to leave and find a role that fulfills you both financially and emotionally? That’s up to you to decide, because really, it’s all circumstantial to each individual’s life.

Some people want a conventional work life and are content with whatever 9-5 job pays them enough, and I appreciate those people for their determination and ability to subside with a role that they don’t necessarily have a passion for. But others may find that they’re not cut out for this lifestyle, and may have to turn to something more unconventional while waiting for something better to come along that will provide them with both substance and stability transpired in one.

Just because society has instilled this ideology of “getting a job, any job” for so may years, doesn’t mean we’re required to follow this road map that was laid out for us long before we were even born. We’re categorized as millennials and our role in society is to shake things up and change the precedent-ed way of thinking surrounding the working world.

I’m not saying quit your job if you hate it, that’s up for you to decide. But what I’m trying to convey is that there are other options aside from what you’re doing right now and it’s okay to be somewhat unconventional fresh out of college. If you relate tot his post in any way, think about what you’re passionate about, find a way to incorporate those interests into a profession and make a plan. We all have to start somewhere and we’re placed in a society where opportunity is all around us.

 

Shaking The Sunday Scaries: Near Impossible 

If you’ve ever spent a night out drinking, chances are you’ve encountered the Sunday Scaries and have spent hours wishing them away. I’ve recently found out that not everyone is familiar with this exact term, but do know the feeling once it’s been explained. So instead of trying to define it in my own words, I’ve included two definitions from Urban Dictionary’s perspective, because I don’t think I could have explained it any better myself.

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In a nutshell, the Sunday Scaries are virtually the worst feeling in the world; anxiety times a thousand, feeling deathly ill and continuously going over your actions from the weekend in your head. Deleting conversations that shouldn’t have existed, avoiding your parents because you know they think you’re a degenerate, and chugging endless bottles of water in the hopes you can shake this awful feeling has become so routine. And although I know this is my fate after a night of binge drinking and my average resting heart rate probably won’t be lower than 115, I still do it anyway, and I don’t think I’ll ever learn.

While not only feeling regretful or sick, the hatred for your job sets in too. Questioning why you do what you do, wondering if there’s something better out there, and asking yourself if maybe you should have a different plan. Then another hefty question asks, “Do I really need this job?”, and the answer is probably yes, but you try to justify reasons behind not needing it to the point where you convince yourself you might actually not need it, but still wake up on Monday and go regardless.

But wait, it gets worse. Not only do you question your entire being all day long on Sunday, sometimes it carries over to Monday, which in my opinion, is worse than having the scaries on a Sunday. At least then you can lay around, allow in yourself to wallow in self pity from the comfort of your bed and forget that the rest of the world and your responsibilities exist. But on Monday? Nope. You have to leave the house, put on a fake smile and pretend that you’re not still thinking about some of the questionable decisions you made Saturday night, your diminishing bank account and who you drunk texted. Paranoid about almost everyone and everything that surrounds you, your heart just can’t relax. Then, aside from the lingering anxiety of your weekend actions, you start to worry about what’s going on right in front of you, “Did I remember to send that email? Do I have a meeting today? Is there something else I’m supposed to be doing?”. The questions in our heads don’t stop, and continue to torture us until we’re finally clocking out.

So to calm yourself down, while indirectly praying to God, you tell (promise) yourself that you’re not going to go out this weekend to take it easy, save money and be productive. And for the better part of the week, your plan is still intact. However, for me personally, this usually diminishes sometime after lunch on Friday and I begin to rationalize in my head why I deserve to go out; I just worked all week, I had minimal human contact other than my parents since Sunday, and I just got paid. Why wouldn’t I go out?

Then the cycle begins again either Friday night or all day Saturday, and I return to Sunday with the worst possible drinkers remorse and dread the thought of it being Monday. Then, before I know it, I’m sitting in my desk chair once again telling myself I’m going to take it easy next weekend.

The 9-5 Sentence: The Truth Behind A Full-time Job

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Less than two months into my full-time job and I feel suffocated. Maybe suffocated isn’t the right word to use, but I feel trapped. There are only seven short days in a week and the average working person is expected to work for 8 or 9 hours during five of them. Which, in perspective may seem fair in regards to the paycheck, but when you think about how much can be done over the course of eight hours, or how much you can accomplish, you may begin to question why the standard work week has you grinding 9-5 Monday through Friday.

Regardless of the hours employees are expected to actually be at work, we can also factor in commute time to our respective workplaces. So now not only are we looking at 8-9 hours a day, we might be designating 9-11 hours to our work day. Maybe this a stretch, but it’s still something to think about considering the time you spend working per day is more time than you designate to yourself a day.

Furthermore, just thinking about how extensive eight hours actually is, we can begin to wonder what else we could be accomplishing during this time frame; laundry, cleaning, errands, working out, binge watching- an episode on Netflix is only 43 minutes…

An alternative way that the corporate world could employ could be by giving each employee a set of tasks that need to be completed in a given week, giving them 40 hours to complete the task and being able to finish before the 40 hours is up; rather than judging a full work week on how many hours an employee sits on their ass in front of a computer screen. Because let’s be honest, we all have times throughout the week we find ourselves just staring at the clock, waiting for that eighth hour to roll around enabling us to clock out.

And before you begin to think I’m naïve, just know I fully understand that this is just how the working world is, and I accept it. It’s just interesting to analyze the mundane, routineness that surrounds it. In a way, I appreciate it too since it pays the bills, but would I rather be working from my home? Yes, and I’m super jealous of those who have the opportunity to do just that. Which brings me to my next point, why can’t most people in the corporate setting work from home?

For those who sit behind two screens all day, you can probably agree that most of your work could be conducted from the comfort of your home since all you really need is the internet and a computer, and maybe a phone. I condone businesses that allow their employees the flexibility of this work style, and encourage others to do the same. But what really raises questions for me, is when businesses allow employees who are sick to work from home, or require their employees to work from home on snow days- this is a dead giveaway that working from home is possible and can be done.

To top this all off, after working ex amount of hours a day, by the time you get home there isn’t much energy left to get anything done. Then before you know it, you’re hitting the hay to recharge your batteries and start the same routine tomorrow. I now understand why everyone lives for Fridays; they are extremely crucial to the happiness and well being of us young, 20 something year olds.

I know that I’m doomed to the 9-5 sentence for life, but that’s just how the world works. And I knew that by choosing to go to school for something in the corporate field, I had already fallen victim to this life, but I’ll accept if for as long as the paychecks keep coming. Hopefully one day I can escape this mandated schedule and find a job where I make my own schedule, be the one who makes the schedule or even better, can work from the comfort of my own home, on my own time.