Job

Internship, New York—The First Month

Internships are like the awkward preteen years of your career. You’re underdeveloped (in skills), you’re new to the office, you’re not making any money. Nobody understands you.

I’m in the first two weeks of a new internship, and I’m struck, again, by how uncomfortable the whole situation is. I have three months—like a year condensed—then it’s all over.

For most, three months is what it takes to acclimate to a new job. It’s that magical time: anything is possible and coworkers are friendly; supervisors are forgivable and amiable. But when three months pass, the boss says, “Charlie, hurry up already with those projections, huh? Time is burning. And what’s with that tie?” For me, time has already burnt. There were expectations when I walked through the door. I am to make the most of my time, to launch, refine or develop new or current projects. No dilly dallying, procrastinating. No strolling in late with a latte.

But I’ve been here before. This is my third internship, hopefully my last, and I know the drill.

I need to be on the ball. I need to be completely aware of my surroundings. I need to impress and smile and network and work hard. Truth be told, I thrive in this environment. I love the high stakes nature of it all. I love finding an unmet niche in an overworked department and solving problems they didn’t know could be solved. Still, if my tone reads as exhausted, it’s because I am. I’m ready for something permanent, a place where my accomplishments can truly disrupt the system and change it for the better. I’m tired of joining a team, and leaving still. (more…)

Advertisements

Job Interview Horror Stories: AT&T Ret(hell)

“I’m a customer,” she says. “Approach me.”

I hate role playing.

“I just walked in,” she says. “I’m looking at phones. Okay. Come over.”

If I had to choose between job interview role playing and polishing a trumpet while the trumpet player is trumpeting, I would choose the trumpet. Every time.

“Hi,” I smile, but oddly, like someone is holding a shiv to my side, “can I help you?”

“I’m looking for a phone,” she says. Her name is Sally. “Something new. Something really cool.”

“Do you like iPhones?”

“Okay. Stop right there. Ask what she currently has.” This is Sandra. She’s watching from the side, a few feet over at the table we were all just interviewing me at. “Meet them where they’re at.”

It’s always wise to learn from mistakes.

“What phone do you currently use?”

“The Dell Aero.”

“Oh.”

Some mistakes I’m happy to leave behind.

“But I don’t want the Dell Aero anymore.”

“Right,” I say. “Do you like iPhones?”

ikea-job-interview

My job hunting and interview history has left me with many regrets. Like, for instance, the time I applied to AT&T as a retail representative, somewhere in Washington state, circa 2010.

It didn’t start off very well either. (more…)

Dear Job Market, or, Ode to the Digital Reinvention Revolution

It doesn’t matter how cool you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. When hunting for a job, you are a person in need of something that someone else has. That will never change. And until you get there you are a candidate on the sidelines, uncool and waiting. You hold your resume in your hand. You second guess every word, every bullet point, every comma.

The Internet comes along. It teaches us that nothing will ever be the same. For better, for worse.

The power shifts, just slightly.

Now: social media, infographic resumes, personal blogs, online portfolios, LinkedIN groups. A digital revolution to broadcast your personal brand, to make a splash, to recruit them to you!

The power shift! Good lord, I have so much power!

In the end, does any of it really matter? I wonder if anything has changed. Active networking and personal contacts, certainly, are as important as ever. And isn’t fate? A properly timed print-resume, or running into an old friend who works at a new company, or a chance encounter with a CEO in line while buying Dippin’ Dots.

Who knows, really, what it will all come down to. You certainly don’t. Either do I.

Hello, Dear Internet, Dear Job Market, and friend. 

My name is Kevin. If you’re new here, let me introduce myself:

I’m a lifestyle blogger, five years running now, and I’ve had some (albeit limited) success. During this time, I’ve also been pursuing college. The official term is “nontraditional student,” but really, that just means I’m old. 28, I know, isn’t ancient, but at a private university, when I’m first into a classroom, I’m often asked for the syllabus.

In May, I graduate. We, my wife and I, are hoping to move back to the West Coast. Currently, we’re in sunny Rochester, New York. You know, sunny as in Sonny. As in, the mob boss from A Bronx Tale. As in dead. It’s 5 degrees outside with a negative windchill of 15. (more…)

How To Be a Debt-Free College Samurai (5 Musts)

Or, “Debtxer: How I Serial Killed My School Debt”

It is a social norm to borrow money; students carry loans like backpacks. They’re everywhere. Weighing us down with a guiding hand. With loans, students study without having jobs or attend class without worrying of bills or can afford their outrageous price-gauging textbooks. Students think nothing of it because their loans are wrapped in pretty packages, bundled with the free financial aid; they wave, smile. The numbers show us their boobs. “LOOK AT ME,” she says.

I returned to college when all my high-school friends were graduating with degrees. I’m now 27 and am finishing my junior year as an undergrad. It feels like it’s taking forever because it is. Still, I’m excited because—although I’m tired of school and feel too old all the time—I’m studying exactly what I want to study, and I’ve remained debtless throughout my academic journey.

I’m no Dave Ramsey diehard freak, nor do I only carry cash, nor do I have a clean credit card; regardless, when it comes to student loans, I believe you should borrow as little of it as possible or, if you can avoid it, none at all. Don’t be a dumb college student. Be an awesome samurai. Samurais earn their way. Samurais serve with nobility and never borrow. Samurais think ahead.

But Kevvvinnnn, howwwww??? I need my mocchhhaaaaaazz (dumb college girl voice). (more…)

The Hunt for Red Jobtober 3: White & Nerdy & Inner City Youth

I watched Mary Poppins for the first time. It was a prerequisite of sorts. See, my wife and I we’re going to see Saving Mr. Banks at the cheap theatre, and though I grew up watching TV with a cupboard full of VHS tapes, Mary Poppins never once stopped by my house. “A spoonful of sugar” is a lot of sugar. That’s all I’m going to say.

Okay, I’ll say a little more. While watching Poppins, I realized that I am a Bert of sorts. In the film, Bert (Dick Van Dyke) never seems to be doing the same thing twice. He has four different jobs: one-man band, chalk-artists, chimney sweep, kite salesmen. He’s an unpredictable cockney, and I couldn’t help but love him.

SIDE NOTE: Saving Mr. Banks was a wonderful picture. You see it?

As the blog title suggests, I’ve had another “vocational realignment.” I’ve pulled a Bert (awkward), working where I never have before: the inner-city.

White Boys Can’t Hump

Last semester, I had a job at Wegmans (a New York grocery store chain) making coffee in their “Buzz” cafes. Wegmans is a great place to work and shop. There’s a strong sense of local pride that permeates off the walls, and it makes you feel like you’re apart of something special. While the coffee itself was not very good (Northwest coffee snob, ova-heer!), the job was a good one.

A new job opened up in a social program that works with inner-city youth, encouraging them to graduate high school and go to college. Yes, coffee can be a worthwhile vocation, but bad coffee is bad coffee, and I needed something a little more meaningful. So I learned about the program. I realized it would be like mentoring, like working in a youth group again (which I loved!), minus the cheesy Christian songs and dealing with “visionary” pastors and elders. Sounded absolutely wonderful to me. (more…)

The Conundrum of Location Shenanigans (or, A Decade Under the Influence)

The Good News for me: I got a job! The Bad News for leisure: I got a job…

Good news indeed! Yes, very much so—especially when considering my recent exploits of turning down Mr. Ponytail without another viable option. The pay is decent enough, I get to learn something new, and the establishment is conveniently close to my living quarters. It’s a store, but I wont mention the name since my employment is still technically in process. The process, you see, has become a bit of a conundrum.

The wonderful people at my (supposed) new job require a full-background check upon employment. This is fine as I have nothing to hide (my secret-agent/ninja experience was wiped clean from official transcripts). The bummer part? They want ten years of addresses.

Ten years?

I don’t know even know where I live now! Is it Rochester?

My first thought was this: Okay. I can do this. Just track back, right? Rochester, Idaho, California, Idaho… That takes care of this year… Oh Lord. I can’t do this!

I’ve definitely moved around more than the average bear; unless, of course, we’re talking carnival bears. But nevertheless, it’s been a wild ride since high-school ended. My lovely wife pointed out that, stability speaking, I’m in probably the worst ten years of my life: the first ten-years after high-school.

NOTE TO SELF: Next year is my ten-year graduation reunion. Don’t go.

My Ninja Plan of Attack

I have two weeks to complete this background thingamajoo. ASAP would be best. So here’s my plan: Calling on all friends, relatives, and enemies, if you’ve seen me, at all, in the last ten years—any where—let me know where that place* was. *Please include the zip-code. Thank you.

“Kevin, that is not a good plan—at all.”

First of all, who named you Mr. Plandsome? Secondly, yes, I know. It’s a terrible plan. So, three cheers for a new plan! I’ve ordered a credit report, hoping my many addresses will be on it. I’m also open to other suggestions*.

*I accept credit for all good ideas.

Until then, I must keep racking my brain: where the hell have I been these last ten years?

Wish me luck as I go forward.

Thanks for your support, kind readers. You’re the best. Here’s a salute to my (and possibly your) decade under the influence: