I’ve talked about how important it is to find a mentor, in fact, it happens to be one of my favorite topics. Without the handful of people that are invested in my success, I’m not entirely sure that I’d be where I am today.
I can tell you that without Penelope Trunk, my resume would be boring and plain. Actually, without Penelope, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am right now, because I wouldn’t have gone to SXSW, I wouldn’t have met the people that I met, and I wouldn’t have seemingly stumbled into the amazing opportunities I’ve had since SXSW. So thank you, Penelope.
Without Aaron Strout, I might not understand the business world nearly as much, and I might have fallen down a couple times if he hadn’t been right there with an answer when I needed it. I remember when I met Aaron – we were at the Mashable party at SXSW and I dragged him away from his group to do an interview with me for my blog. Shortly thereafter, he became one of my favorites, responding quickly, concisely and always having great advice.
Without Bryan LeMonds, I would have only had Penelope’s version of my resume, and I’d still think that the point of PR is what I was taught in school, not the very simple answer of “making people realize why they matter”. Meeting him shaped my trip at SXSW, and he gave me a new outlook on the industry.
Without Adam Keats, I’d still be in Florida, probably still bartending and content with half-assing the job search (okay we know that isn’t true, but I’d still be in Florida, for sure). Adam is a man of his word, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to be working with him in my time at Weber Shandwick. I remember when I met Adam, I was rambling like an idiot about what I wanted to do when I graduated, why I love social media and PR, blah blah blah, and he said “funny, that’s what we do everyday where I work”. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So, to be approached by not just one, but three students in PR in the past couple weeks is really exciting, and definitely a change of pace. This time around, I’m the one deciding when and how to respond. I’m the one with answers, and if I don’t have the answer, I have a bunch of people I can call on to get it.
I’m taking all of my mentor-mentee experiences and rolling them into one so I can do a bang-up job at mentoring these up-and-comers. This makes me want to call my mentors and ask them a million questions. While I know there are a lot of PR students out there, there are very few that actually seek out advice, let alone students that follow up. Of course I’m happy to help because I was there not even a year ago, hungry for knowledge and guidance. And I still am. It’s interesting, being the one answering the same questions that I had a year ago. That’s how I know these students are going to do big things. They have the same drive that I did, and I turned out okay.
::note to self, thank mentors and hug them::
It’s amazing how fast my world has turned around from when I started out on this journey. But that’s another post on its own.
Do you have mentors? Are you a mentor? Have you learned qualities from your mentors that you pass down to the people you are mentoring? What is your biggest piece of advice for mentors? For those seeking a mentor?
On the front page of the RedEye, there is a delightful little sneak peak into the lives of Millenials. The secret is out- we’re happy.
According to a study that is somehow affiliated with MTV (not sure about this one), 73% of people 18-24 are generally happy with life.
I would venture to guess that number is close to being accurate. I also am proud to announce, in case you didn’t already know, that I am part of that 73%.
The article goes on to quote locals about why they think we’re happy. Some assume it’s because we have no responsibilities. Um, I beg to differ. All of my bills are in my name. I pay every. single. one. by myself. Am I struggling? Sure. I just moved to a new city and I’m not bartending anymore. Of course I’m struggling, I can’t just go to the agency and pick up a shift to cover that last half of my car payment that was due 8 days ago.
But I love what I’m doing. More than the money, my job is rewarding and I’m learning and that’s really what Millenials are all about (I’m using my life as a generalization here). We like to give our time in exchange for mentoring. We want someone to be invested in our success. And when we have that – we’re happy.
I’m fortunate in that I have a lot of people invested in my success somehow. I have a tight list of mentors and they all serve to enhance my life in their own specific way.
Feedback, no matter if it’s good or bad, is something I thrive on. If I’m screwing up, help me get through it. If I’m doing a great job, let me know. The only way that I can better contribute to your company’s mission is if you help me grow. And in my current position – this is one of my favorite parts of where I work. They have nailed this, perfected it, and it’s part of the culture that is so important to me.
I’m also fortunate to be in a position that challenges me every. single. day. A wise man told me as I packed up for NYC last week to do something totally scary. Something that I don’t already know how to do. And I did like four scary things. And coming out of there alive, having taught myself something new, I feel like a million bucks.
If you look at the facts, on paper, I probably shouldn’t be as happy as I am. I have tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, I’m making 1/3 of what I was making behind the bar in Tampa and it takes me 3 hours to find a parking spot for a car that I am upside-down in and rarely drive. All of those things, without knowing me and how I look at life, would put a frown on anyone’s face.
But, I wake up every morning eager to catch the bus and get to work. I dive head first into whatever the day brings and then I go home, unwind, and spend money on sushi that I probably shouldn’t be eating, given my financial situation.
I’m happy. At the end of the day, that is what matters.
Assuming you can, try living like a Millenial for a weekend. Spend money that you should be saving (then yell at yourself about it later), make new friends (no matter how awkward it might be) and do something that challenges you. Chances are, you’ll wake up Monday with a fresh look on life. And if not, then at least you can say you tried it.
Are you part of the 73%? How do you measure happiness?
July 1, 2009 | Posted in Uncategorized | By Sydney
That’s my new response for nearly anything regarding my personality traits. Starting now. Well, I don’t know that I’ll say it out loud, but I’ll definitely think it.
I very rarely take personality tests, and when I do, I very rarely take them seriously. But the profile for ENTJ is so eerily accurate, I can’t help but prescribe to the Myers-Briggs school of thought.
For those of you that don’t know, ENTJ is a series of letters that makeup my personality traits. There are a lot of different combinations, for more information on what makes up your “dynamic”, click here.
Some things in the analysis that struck me as true (compliments of this page):
1. ENTJ’s are tireless in their efforts on the job, and driven to visualize where an organization is headed. I’ve always given 110% to anything I care about, be it where I’m working, maintaining relationships with friends and family, or anything else that matters to me. Professionally, I think largely of the big picture, where life is going, etc.
2. There’s nothing more enjoyable and satisfying to the ENTJ than having a lively, challenging conversation. Not to say I’m always down for a great debate – but having a lively conversation, especially on a topic I am passionate about, is always a good time. I didn’t realize how much I need to be around brilliant individuals until I went to SXSW and spent a good amount of time with people like Elysa, Ryan, Ben and Nisha.
3. A strength of ENTJ: they are able to take constructive criticism well. Something that I’ve learned about ENTJ’s in general and about myself is that there is a strong desire to learn. ENTJ’s have no tolerance for inefficiency, so it comes as no surprise to me that I can take constructive criticism well. If it’s being critiqued, it can be made more efficient, which makes me happy. And life is one big learning opportunity, so if for no other reason, I love constructive criticism because it gives me a chance to learn about myself a little bit more!
For more information on the Myers-Briggs test, check this out.
Have you taken the MBTI? What is your type, according to the test? Do you agree? Disagree?
Today I experienced a phenomenon that I didn’t really anticipate. Today I felt like a rookie.
For so long, I’ve kind of been the go-to gal for various things. At school, I was the go-to gal on my team for my capstone course because I was the account exec for our client. So everyone came to me. At work, servers would come to me if they didn’t know how to ring up a drink, or they couldn’t think of what high-end scotches we had, etc. They came to me, because I knew. And I was nice about it. My first week at the internship, there was a lot of learning going on, and I felt pretty awesome at the end of every day.
Today I felt like a rookie.
Today, I was asked to pitch various social media outlets. That was the task at hand. No real direction, which left it totally open to my interpretation. So my first inclination was to reach out to my Twitter network and see if my big-players would send out a tweet or two next week on my behalf. That didn’t go over well. My approach was to ask them casually if they would reach out to their network. Five out of seven didn’t respond, and the two that did, one told me it was an odd request. So I backed off that approach as fast as I started it.
That’s the thing, it’s all about learning. Do I have a solid network? Yes (still growing, but solid). Is it appropriate to ask them casually if they’ll reach out? No. If (and the key word in this sentence is “if”) it is appropriate, then I need to do it like I would anyone else. Formally. But not too formal. These people don’t have to write anything. They’re in social because they want to be. A wise man told me I need to add value.
So I did. Well, I tried. We’ll see how it goes.
This whole experience is new. Yes. As far as the social media stuff goes, I’m honored that people in the office are asking for my point of view, let alone listening to it. It’s awesome. So I guess when I had my little “oh my god this is not the way to do this” moment, I felt like a rookie. But it woke me up.
So that’s the new balance I’m trying to find. I know I’m not a know-it-all. That being said, I appreciate people coming to me with questions about social. I just hope that when I don’t know an answer, they remember that this is my first agency rodeo, and I’m still learning too. I just really don’t want to let anyone down.
I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Until then, I’ll keep on keepin’ on.
Let me preface this post with this. In order to maximize your success, you need a mentor. Read up on how to get one and then actually put in the leg-work. Part one of this series talked about building your network. Use those principles when finding a mentor as well.
Part Two – You have to want it.
This is where the fun begins. Now, keep in mind, you aren’t going to build a network overnight. It’s going to take some time. I’ve been working on my network since November and I haven’t even scratched the surface. But it’s getting there. Make time to bring meaning to the lives of people in your network. It comes full circle.
Before I went to SXSW, I made a list of people I wanted to see speak and people I wanted to meet. I followed them on Twitter, friended them on Facebook and asked if they would have time to grab a drink in between sessions. Out of all the people I contacted, I actually met up with a good deal of them, probably half.
Connections lead to conversations which lead to opportunities for employment. It all comes down to this: you have to want it. I could tell you my story and go through the exact details but I think that knowing what you want will lead you to success.
First, you have to know what you want before you can want it.
1. Make a list. Everything you’re good at. Everything you suck at. Things you are working on. Things that cannot be fixed. Be honest with yourself. Make it like a pros and cons list. Pros and cons of why someone should hire you. If you lie about your talents, this exercise is null and void and won’t help you. But if you sit down and think about it, I mean, really get critical, you will learn something about yourself. And learning about yourself is always a great thing.
2. Write up a job description. I took my list of everything I was good at and wrote a job description based on my qualities. It really helped me visualize my dream position. It also helped me realize what areas I need to work on developing while I get ready to be hire-able. Example: I want to know more about Photoshop, so I took on an internship with my friend who is a photographer and I help him do his post-production work.
3. Don’t settle. So many of us (graduates, or soon-to-be) are scrambling to find a job for after graduation. That means we settle for whatever we can get to escape the panic attacks that come with the thought of being unemployed. As long as you have a way to keep a roof over your head, don’t settle. If you’re in an industry like PR, oftentimes it’s an internship that opens doors to full-time employment. If you can swing an internship and still keep yourself fed, do it. Just because you aren’t paid a lot (or at all) doesn’t mean you aren’t working. I even hesitate to call internships by that because the intern part should only refer to the pay scale, not what you can do. Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Example: I’m going up to Chicago next weekend in search of a bar that will hire me so I can supplement my intern income.
4. Earmuffs around the negative people. Don’t succumb to their doubts. If you are given an opportunity that you know can do wonders for you professionally, take it, prepare for it, and then run with it. And don’t you dare stop and turn around. Be confident in yourself enough to know that you make good decisions.
5. Decide on something and own it. Because you have to believe it. If you want to make it happen you have to just do it. Is it scary? You betcha. But you can’t let the fear squash your opportunities for success. I know I’ll be employed as an intern until December 4th. My parents think I should sublet in case it doesn’t work out. It’s going to work out. Whether or not it’s with the company I’m interning at, who knows, but I am committed to my career and am committed to making something of myself. If I went up there and half-assed it, I wouldn’t get hired, guaranteed. But because I’m doing this, really doing this, I am confident that someone will want me on board full-time by December.
With all of that in mind, once you know what you want and you decide to go find it, a mentor can help you reach out to people. Having a professional in the industry who knows your work and knows you personally puts you at a great advantage, and the reasons why are pretty obvious.
Do you know what you want? Does it change? Did you settle for the position you’re in now or is it your dream job?