Categories
Getting Personal

Post-Graduation Feels: Lessons in Adulthood

Timehop has quickly entered the running for my favorite app. Every morning, I read the Skimm, check my inbox, and open up the yellow dinosaur to see what it was I did in the past 10 years on this same date. Most of the time, I’ll see a picture of my dog (obviously a great sign), some college shenanigans, and a Facebook status from the days of “Ashley Glatz is…”

This time of year, however, I see the constant reminder that I graduated from the University of Missouri’s award-winning Journalism school, a semester early, and with honors. The Missouri Method lives in newsrooms across the country, while I sit in my less-than-expected sales role. It’s a rude reminder that my hopes and dreams of becoming the next Erin Andrews or leading the charge for Disney’s global advertising remain just that, dreams.

From the moment I turned 13, I jumped at the opportunity to write for the school paper. In high school, I was promoted to Sports Editor, then Layout Editor. I didn’t even apply for another college – I knew I was going to be a Tiger, and thanks to my high ACT scores, I was placed into the program as a freshman. When I first stepped foot on campus in the summer of 2005 for journalism camp, I knew I found my home. Two summers later, I went to campus for Summer Welcome, where I first heard Profession Cyndi Frisby introduce the idea of “Strategic Communications” – a subsection of the program that taught students about the world of public relations and advertising. As someone who watched the Super Bowl for the ads only, I felt this was my best shot in the successful career I was imagining.

The next 3.5 years were some of my best. You can read that later.

After graduation, I took the first job I was offered – an associate media planner role at an agricultural agency in the city. My first day of work saw 2.5 inches of snow, along with my first “I can’t come in” email thanks to my beloved Mitsubishi Eclipse. Overall, I lasted 6 months. Sorry Professor Frisby – media planning was not for me.

The next three years saw a variety of industry-adjacent jobs, with a focus on social media. I landed a job at the top PR firm in St. Louis, a company that was proactively shoved down my throat during my last three semesters of my program, and gave me the best experience I could ask for over the last three years.

Here again, life happened, and we moved across the country. More on that at a later time. (Seriously. I need to write something about it. It was kind of a big deal).

Looking back now, I’m not sure I would have changed anything, but I would have enjoyed the following pieces of advice:

  1. Adulthood is hard. I don’t know if I thought it would be easy, but when I stepped off the stage at graduation I definitely didn’t think it’d be like this. There are amazing things and horrible things that merge together for a crazy intersection of tears, laughs and growth. Appreciate it, but don’t expect it to be simple.
  2. There is no perfect job. Someone once told me “your job will never fill you up,” and I wish they told me sooner. What matters most is your family, your health, your friends, your hobbies. Not your 9-to-5.
  3. Introduce yourself to alumni. Coming home from the grocery store the other night, I saw a car drive by with a familiar looking license plate cover. I got uncomfortably close to the car to realize it indeed said “Missouri Tigers,” before deciding against honking and screaming M-I-Z across the way. However, it brought me great joy to know that 1,315 miles away from Columbia, MO, there was another person who knew the words to Old Missouri. Plus, without it, I’m not sure I would have been hired at two of my previous jobs. The Mizzou Mafia runs strong.
  4. Lean on each other. I’m a firm believer in the quarter-life crisis, and I’m not the only one. This is why happy hours and brunches and text messages were invented – to be able to communicate with others living similar but different lives. Utilize them.
  5. Don’t stop dreaming big. Why do we stop asking “what do you want to be when you grow up?” At 28, I’m still not entirely sure I know the answer. I know what I’m passionate about – I’m just not sure what path will lead me there. Luckily, I’ve got another 37 years until retirement to figure it out.

Cheers to the class of 2017, and an extra *clink* for those who came before them.

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Uncategorized

Advertising Advice: What I Would Have Done Differently

If someone could tell me where the past year and a half went, that would be great. Yep, I’ve been in the industry for a whole 18 months! I’m definitely no expert, but I’ve learned a lot. When my good friend Chelsea (author of Creative Little Bird!) had a few questions for her internship class, I didn’t realize how eye opening it would really be.

1. What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
Nothing. JUST KIDDING! I get a huge kick out of seeing a promotion or post get legs and go. There’s just something satisfying about seeing something you created go from an idea to 50 likes.
2. What would you say is the most challenging part of your job? I think people overlook the challenge of working with the public. Representing your client means you really only see things from their point of view, but that doesn’t mean your audience feels the same way. It’s important to respond to complaints from an optimistic perspective and not out of anger.
3. Describe something that you encounter(ed) after entering into your professional career that you least expected to encounter. Being young, you face a lot of scrutiny entering the workforce. I’ve had clients nearly laugh in my face when they’ve been told I’m taking over their account. What they don’t realize is that even though I’m young, I have been in the social space since it existed.
4. What is your day-to-day like? What’s a day-to-day? No day is ever the same, but that’s what keeps it exciting.
5. Is there anything you wish you would’ve known about the industry or account service when you first started on the job hunt? Experience is everything. Don’t discount the little project you did for your brother’s friend’s mom. Showing that you can own a project from start to finish speaks volumes. Also, networking cannot be overlooked!
6. What is an important asset you think an account service person can contribute other than things that you can learn in school? Being a good listener. You’re in the middle of creatives, interactive people and clients. If you can take what everyone says and put it together in a comprehensive way that everyone can understand, you’ll go far.
7. Any words of wisdom for a newb to the industry? Wear comfy shoes – you never know what you might get into!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a newb? What questions do you have as a newb? 
Categories
Getting Personal

The Five Year Plan

If you could go back to 2007 and ask me where I’d be in five years, I’d be talking so fast you’d never fully understand, but you’d know I was excited about my future. I was going to be graduated from the best journalism school in the nation, writing copy for brands like Budweiser and the St. Louis Cardinals at a huge, beautiful office in St. Louis for big bucks. I’d be living the life in my loft apartment in Kirkwood, walking my dog every day and having an endless among of time to spend with my friends and family.

Now, here I am, five years later, nearly crying at how wrong my predictions were. Yes, I did graduate from Mizzou’s prestigious school of journalism. I have a job. I live in an apartment, and I do walk my dog a few times a week. But it’s not my dream loft or dream job, and i’m too wore out to see friends by nightfall. The friends that I’ve kept, that is. But is it really a disappointment, or just the reality of my generation?

Have I short changed myself? Have I let fear get in the way of my dreams? Or was I wishful thinking from the start?

Who knows. What I know, is that I’m not the person I set out to be. Not implying I’m a negative version of my once hopeful self, but I don’t see myself living up to the potential I set out for when I walked across the stage at my high school graduation. I feel as though I’ve become one of many – the dreary, post-grads just trying to get by, still relying on mom and dad and anyone else willing to lend a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on or a devoted ear to listen.

I look at my dad, who started as an installer at 18, and has worked his way up through a fortune 500 company with little to no college education, while I am struggling to show off my strengths and make my value known. Here I am, attempting to be “independent,” while my dad was responsible for himself and my mother at a younger age. Here I am, baffled by the thought that people my age are raising children and buying houses, while I’m struggling to find $10 to see the Hunger Games before pay day. These colleagues and friends are mature, responsible, and reliable. Where does that leave me?

Don’t be mistaken, I am extremely grateful for the life I live. My loved ones are healthy; I made it out of college without debt; I’m gainfully employed. I have friends and family who love me, a boyfriend always available for encouragement and a dog who curls up to me when I need it most, but I can’t help but think something is missing.

Who knows – maybe i’ll find my missing piece at the bottom of a glass of wine, the last bite of an ice cream cone, or even lying on a beach somewhere in the sun. but when I do, you’ll be the first to know.

Categories
Getting Personal

Grown Up, Year One

It’s incredibly hard to believe that a year ago tomorrow, I graduated college. Three and a half years of finals, papers and projects all cumulated to that very moment where I crossed the stage. That being said, I’ve complete year one of adulthood, if you will. I figured I’d document some things I’ve learned.

It’s not easy. How I long for the days of 11am classes, Thirsty Thursday’s at Harpos and afternoon naps. The 9-5 world is just that – business, 9-5. Or, like most advertisers, closer to 8-6. Sure, the whole paycheck thing is awesome, but the free time isn’t close to being comprable.

Work isn’t perfect. Like most proud J-School grads, I expected some $50,000 glam job doing social media for a powerhouse like Budweiser or Old Spice. That didn’t happen. My first job was not a good fit for me at all, but I learned a lot. Will I go back to media? No. Did I really need to know the inner workings of a cow’s digestive system? No. But it’s experience, and an interesting conversation piece.

Respect is earned. I can’t emphasize that enough. It probably doesn’t help that I have a baby face and look like a 16-year-old without the acne, but you have to work very, VERY hard to gain respect out of college. Just because you show up with a degree doesn’t mean you’ve earned your stripes.

Living on your own is not what you did in college. Sure, I had an apartment, I had roommates. I had to buy groceries and pay electric bills, but that was all highly supplemented by my parents. Being on my own now, I realize the importance of budgeting and free time. Laundry doesn’t do itself, trash does not get taken out automatically, and you have no idea how grateful you are for your parents until you’re no longer living with them and calling them up to install a shower head for you.

B-Averages no longer cut it. To give myself credit, I was an A-B honor roll student. However, in the real world, that missed  comma or misspelt word that would have gotten a few points off now can cause meetings with your boss, client, or worse – HR department. Practice makes perfect is no longer the motto – get everything right the first time by double and triple checking your work is.

Responsibility is nice. I wasn’t allowed to have a dog as a child, teen, or college student. Now, living on my own, I was able to get Yadi. Yes, he’s a damn handful, but I enjoy being responsible for him and myself. When you have to count on yourself, you quickly learn to appreciate what you do.

Life goes on. I had a breakdown or two that I wouldn’t ever see my friends after graduating early. That’s false. Keeping your relationships is just as important as landing a job. Are their things I miss about college life? OF COURSE. But all in all, I’m enjoying the grown-up life.