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Are you cycling, too?

29 Jul

This is a cross-post (edited) from a private blog I keep with my boyfriend. Majority of our relationship is long distance so I write to him via blog posts, he writes back via comments, and it’s much more immediate and convenient for us than letters. Sign of the times, eh. Regardless, please excuse me crossing the professional/personal lines… but I digress…

I think that internships are bad for relationships.

Let me explain.

My generation is growing up in a world that is CONSISTENTLY ending and beginning in a vicious cycle labeled, ironically, ‘growing’. Each year, we start a new grade level, and then it ends. We get to college, and we start new classes: those too end. Finally, when we reach a point where professional learning begins to take place, our internships begin, and just like everything else up to that point in our lives, they end. Therefore, when our first real job comes along, we keep waiting for that moment for the shoe to drop. The one where everyone thanks you for your wonderful work and wishes you the best. But really, that never comes. So our generation is growing up with a mentality of infinite cycles. When the honeymoon phase of a job ends, WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH OURSELVES.

About a year and a half ago, I started my first job out of college. I was overjoyed with this step in my career but then slowly I found myself wanting something more. A new way to grow, a new cycle to start, a new huge, different, project to fall into my lap. But it never came. So I grew complacent, then eventually annoyed, and finally indifferent.

To circle (cycle) back to how this works into our personal relationships, growing up my generation learned that life will always spark some new adventure. A new learning phase. A new flame deep inside of us. Because of that, we never LEARN how to be content. We’re always searching for the NEXT, the NEW, the FUTURE. And that plays out in our relationships. Always looking to keep that spark alive by consistently creating the NEW. Whether that be a new adventure, or a new fight, we honestly do not know how to just BE.

I don’t know if this makes any sense but it’s a mindset that I’ve found myself stuck in. Recognizing it however, I plan to take this nugget of truth with me to my next career step and hopefully learn to just live in the moment I’m given and not actively search for the next best things. I’ll be beginning at the Michigan Department of Community Health in just a few short weeks and I’m, once again, eager to grow. Hopefully this time however, I’ll know how to grow and maintain.

Lastly, and on a more personal note, I also want to apply this to my relationships. From romantic, to friends, coworkers, and family, I want to make more of an effort to reconnect and appreciate the wonderful people I have in my life rather than focusing on making only NEW connections. Of course, I’ll always welcome the opportunity, but it’s time I start focusing on what I already have in front of me.

Or maybe, I’m just getting old.



Do you Educate… or Perpetuate?

7 Feb

This afternoon I received a slightly disheartening, mildly pathetic, and seriously troubling email through the contact form for my employer’s website. The message was simple:

I go to school full time and work part time. I need help paying off student loans and would like to intern and/or work for you.

The. End. No greeting, no sign off, no signature. Nadda.

Now, at first glance, my initial reaction was astonishment. Did this person honestly expect that my organization would be willing to hire them just because they needed us to? Lest we not forget, they clearly displayed no attempt to understand what we do, let alone look into whether or not we were even currently hiring.

I let the email linger in my inbox and went on with actual pressing matters.

Then I got home and started to think about where I came from. There was once a point in time when I didn’t know the value of a resume or the proper steps to take in order to land a good job. However, I was fortunate enough to have tools and a network at my disposal to educate me… but not everyone’s that lucky.

Partly inspired by PR pro Becky John’s recent post, Stop Whining and Start Teaching, I decided to take the extra five minutes to write a hopefully-helpful response. I politely thanked them for their interest and explained that we were not currently hiring at this time. From there, I decided to take it a step further and suggest that they circulate their resume on career search sites, or visit the local Capital Area Michigan Works for employment assistance.

There’s no guarantee that they will even read past my first sentence explaining our lack of ability to help them pay for their tuition, however, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Helpful? Possibly.
Necessary? Debateable.
Good? No doubt.

I may have just helped a college student find the correct steps to take in order to land a part time gig. Or, I may have just wasted my time. Bottom line is, those few minutes that I took to write that email certainly didn’t ruin my day.

Maybe it’s the recent grad in me, but I’d rather help educate a student on proper etiquette than perpetuate a bad habit (and stereotype of my generation).  I’m not saying that employers should pull out all stops to make a stranger’s life easier, but maybe they just don’t know any better, and in that instance, as professionals, we can help.

When Will I Be “Old Enough”?

31 Aug

Isn’t that a perpetual question in life?

“When will I be old enough to see a PG-13 movie?”

“When will I be old enough to drive?”

“When will I be old enough to vote?”

“When will I be old enough to drink?”

Well, I’m at another ‘when will I be old enough’ point, only this time there is no definite number that can answer that question. This is where you come in.

I’ve been at my job for almost six months now, and I’ve earned the respect of my co-workers, and slowly, the respect of others in my industry. I know I’m still a young professional, and I would never deny that I still have much to learn, but when I’m asked something and find a definite flaw, when will my suggestion be considered valid? When will I be old enough for my opinion to count?

I’m going to try to be as nondescript as possible about this scenario, but I need you to understand. I was asked to proof a PR piece today that was not written by me. According to what I was taught just a couple short years ago in college, there were more mistakes than I cared to count.  I mean.. if I had submitted that to a professor, it would have come back to me looking like this:

I know that this PR piece was written by an older professional, and I know that if I were to mark the hell out of it, my opinion would be snubbed. So what’s a girl to do?

When will I be old, or maybe, experienced enough, before my opinion counts?

How Personal is Personal?

4 Jun

One question that constantly needs addressing in the social media world is the question of personal versus professional interaction.

Especially lately with all the uproar over Facebook’s privacy policies, I’ve always been one to blend my personal and professional lives on my social media accounts. Even now with my current position, when commissioners request to friend me on Facebook, usually I tell them that I don’t have anything to hide and I don’t mind accepting their requests. Because in all honesty, I really don’t. I don’t party hard, I don’t engage in embarrassing activities after work hours, and I have found that my friends are all people I really am proud to say I know.


Last Friday, something happened in my life that I could not bring myself to share with everyone. I wanted to tell close friends, but I could not do so without alerting everyone in my social networks. I chose my words carefully, and I posted very little to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. All I wanted to do though, was break down and tell a few close friends and family what was really going on and how much I genuinely needed support.

My 20 year old cousin very unexpectedly passed away and my entire life was put on hold. I don’t exaggerate when I say my family is my rock and when something such as death breaks our strength, my whole world came to a stop even as life went on.


This past weekend has propelled me to question just how ‘personal’ I am on these social networks. Yes, I accept both professional and personal friend requests and yes, I do post content that relates to my job as well as my life as a recent college grad, but really… I’m not sure if I’m genuinely close with 90% these people.

In a time where I needed love and support from just a few select close contacts, I found that my networks were TOO big and TOO impersonal. In other words, while I use social media for personal as well as professional interactions, these networks are not my real personal connection to people.

* Thanks to those who gave their love and support over this past week. I truly appreciate it.