Thursday, April 24, 2014

Welcome to the Real World

When graduation finally rolled around (for me it seemed so fast and so slow at the same time!), I thought I would be relieved. Finally. No school, no exams, no group projects. Instead, I was stressed about finding the "perfect" job and freaked out over being thrown into the Real World. Even with a bit of a head start starting my blog while still in school, my safety net was absolutely ripped out from under me. Well, us. Most of my friends felt like they were in the same position. Even with the best internships under their belts, they felt nervous about starting a first real job.

Lauren Berger, also known as "The Intern Queen," has shared her tips for internships on TCP before... Now she's back with a new book about nailing your first job. To celebrate the release of her book, she offered to share some extra tips for TCP readers. I could not agree more with her advice!

Top 5 Ways to Stand Out at Work

First jobs aren’t easy and figuring out how to get promoted also isn’t easy. My first job was tough. My first boss was tough. But I learned so much from the experience. In my new book, Welcome to the Real World, I talk about ways to be successful in that first, second, or third job after graduation. Here are some tips on how to get promoted at work.

1. Assume that No One Does Their Job. I know, this sounds incredibly negative – but hear me out. In order to make sure that you are constantly double checking everything that you schedule and coordinate and to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, assume that the people you are working with aren’t doing their jobs. This will make sure triple confirm things and go out of your way to make sure you stay in control at all times.

2. Be Armed with Information. You want to be fully loaded with information at all times. If your boss asks you about a project or why a meeting got cancelled you always want to have an answer ready. Your boss shouldn’t be able to stump you or ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to. Be in the loop and have as much information as possible at all times.

3. Take Perfect Notes. Write everything down clearly and have a system in place to organize your notes. If your boss feels like you aren’t in control of your workload and you aren’t organized, they aren’t going to want to promote you. They need to feel like you are in control of the ship at all times. Never assume that you will “just remember.” Always write everything down and have a system to review your notes and insert them onto your to-do list.

4. Network Internally. Everyone is great at networking when they are looking for jobs but they stop as soon as they land the job. Networking should never stop. Make sure that when you land that first job you are doing everything you can to networking internally and externally. Give yourself a goal and introduce yourself to at least 1-2 new people at the company every week. It’s important to get “face time” with different executives in the office. They need to know your name just in case it comes up in conversations.

5. Communicate Your Goals. Your boss isn’t a mind reader. They don’t know exactly what you want to do at the company until you tell them. During your next evaluation, ask your boss for advice on whatever your ideal next step within the company might be. Make sure you leave the conversation confident that your boss knows your goals.

Say Hello

In-Flight Entertainment

I'm heading to Dallas today for a blogger conference... which is really just a great excuse to see friends from around the country ;-)

I went last year too and I was totally unprepared for how long the flight was. I still was working at my old job and I basically forgot I was even going when the week started. It was a scramble and a half to get ready. The last thing on my mind was how long the flight was. When we had been in the air for three hours, I finally asked, Wait, how long is this flight?! It's almost five hours from NYC to Dallas!!!

I'm kind of like a four year old when it comes to flights. Nervous about taking off and landing, big enough (duh) to sit on my own, but unless I'm completely occupied or entertained, I get bored and cranky. I've done a video post about packing a carry-on and now I'll share some of things I like to do while in the air. (Or at least having the option of doing. Seriously, I need to be entertained. Partly so I'm distracted from the fact that we're in the air and partly because I just get so impatient and I'm not good about being disconnected and stuck in one seat.)

When we were little going on trips, I used to be the same way. Shoving crayons and toys and everything I could imagine into the one backpack my mom let me carry-on. It would be insanely heavy, but I wanted to be prepared!!! Nowadays, I try to keep things a bit lighter... but still just as much entertainment.

A Funny Show to Re-Watch or Binge-Watch // This is one of my "last resort" tactics. I have the first two seasons of GIRLS on my iPad and I love to pull up an episode or two (lol, jk... I watch like seven...). The trick here, in my opinion, is watching something you already know and love. One time I made the mistake of downloading a movie that was such a snooze-fest. Not fun.

Sudoku App // This is my favorite thing to do. I put the app on the hardest level and it takes about twenty minutes to play a game. I get super sucked into Sudoku (it helped me survive AP Chem back in high school...). Three games = one hour! And I hardly notice time passing because I'm trying to beat my previous score without making a mistake. Kind of nerdy, but I swear by Sudoku!

Inspiring Magazines // Leave the easy-to-read magazines for a pedicure. I love to buy a couple of inspiring magazines (Fast Company is my favorite) before the flight. The longer the articles, the better. I tend to take a pen and jot down notes and favorite quotations to review later.

A Long Page-Turner // No boring books allowed on the plane! (Unless you want something to make you fall asleep right away.) Getting sucked into a good book is the best way to make the time literally fly right on by!

All the Candy // When in doubt, snack on some favorites. I'll eat Swedish Fish until my stomach hurts. Not sure if this counts as entertainment, but when I'm starting to feel crabby/restless or just plain stressed from turbulence, bring on the candy. At the very least, it's a mood booster. (It also makes me drink more water during the flight!)

What's your strategy for in-flight entertainment? Any favorite apps or magazines?

Say Hello

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Best Graduation Present I Received...

Earlier today I shared my suggestions for graduation gifts, but I wanted to also share this idea. Again. I know I've already blogged about it quite a few times, however, it's such a meaningful and thoughtful gift, I just can't help but share it over and over again. (I think every graduate should receive this!)

That little bundle of letters up there? On the night of my high school graduation, I went to my bedroom after dinner to find a giant envelope filled with letters. My mom had been working for months to collect notes from people who have known me throughout my life. People who had really impacted my life in a meaningful way. Favorite babysitters, teachers and principals, friends...

Opening those letters that night was so special. (I cried a lot.) It made me reflect that I was not a singular person on my own, but instead a person who had been built and shaped by amazing people in my life. I am who I am because of those people and I carry a little fingerprint of theirs wherever I go.

Graduation night, the letters meant a lot... but it wasn't until I was at school (and seriously struggling) that the letters took on a whole new, deeper meaning. Rereading the letters– or simply seeing the bound stack on my desk– reminded me that I was never truly alone, that I had people "in my corner" rooting for my success.

To pull off the thoughtful surprise, my mom did some serious planning. She wrote a list of the special people and sent each of them an envelope. Inside the envelope was a note explaining what she was up to (ha) and stationery with a pre-addressed + stamped envelope. (The real trick was collecting the letters in the mail before I got to them!)

I received letters from:
The owner of my favorite store
Babysitters from Atlanta (age 0-4) & Boston (age 4-8)
Family friends
High school coaches
Parents of close friends
Middle school SADD mentor
Best friend's mom
My best friend in the entire world
6th grade math teacher
The person who interviewed me for Georgetown
My doctor
Elementary school principal
Super close friends
AP Physics teacher
Painting teacher
9th grade English teacher
Ex-boyfriend (... but actually.)

The letters were long, short, poems, old photographs, drawings I had given the person when I was a kid, newspaper clippings they kept. It ended up being kind of like a mini time capsule of sorts.

One of the letters:
"Carly, I've never quite met a girl like you. Yes, that is a good thing. Despite only knowing you since my senior year it feels like so much longer. I've seen you turn into a truly wonderful young lady and a real bitch of a coxswain. And, yes, that also is a good thing. Remember in college to keep your fists up, stick to your guns, and don't let anybody change you. You're already perfect to me. Take care in the year ahead, I know you'll do great. If you ever need anything my phone is always on. I will always pick up....”

My babysitter kept all of our drawings and she sent me one. 1996?!

What's the most thoughtful gift you've ever received?

Say Hello

Graduation Gifts

The number one sign when you know you're legit getting old? Yea the wrinkles (ugh) and the grey hair (double ugh) would be signs... but I think I've actually stopped thinking about the years in terms of semesters. I was on the phone with my mom and it was brought to my attention that my sister was graduating in a few weeks. Of course I knew she was graduating (baby sister is growing up!!!), but I totally forgot it was so soon.

Cue the graduation present scramble! I actually scrambled. I've talked about graduation presents before, but it was always on the high school/receiving end... when push came to shove, it was a challenge to think of something specific for my someone who a) I love SO much and b) has a completely different style than I do.

My guess is that she doesn't read my blog every day... I've debated whether or not to share what I got her... Do you think she reads this?! If you do Stace, stop reading! She recently was hired (you go girl!) and I wanted to do a stylish professional something. Perfect for a trendy girl making her debut in an office. (I got her this!)

For a More Grownup Look: Bobbi Brown Basic Brush Set

For Taking a Gap Year: Tory Burch Passport Holder

For Late Night Studying: Warby Parker Eyeglasses (or gift card!)

For Living In a Dorm Room: J. Crew Scalloped Pajama Set (add a monogram for a personal touch!)

For the First Day of Work: GiGi New York Personalized Teddie Tote

For Going Out of State: Maya Brenner State Necklace

For One More Job Interview: J. Crew Pearl Cluster Necklace

For First Apartments: IMPACT Coffee Table Book

For the Morning Commute: J. Crew Travel Mug

For Dorm Room Storage: Monogrammed Hanger Organizer

Does anyone else have a relative or friend graduating? What's your top pick for gifts?

Say Hello

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#TurnToCold with Tide for Earth Day

I'm partnering with Tide for Earth Day (today!). My mom has always used Tide and it's the only detergent I use (like mother like daughter).

There are so many big ways you can help the environment, but switching to cold water when you do your laundry is so simple and easy... and has a big impact. You end up saving a ton of energy. (Which, bonus! is great for your electricity bill too.)

Switch to washing with cold water for a year and you can save enough energy to...

charge your smartphone for a lifetime.
power your television for four months.

And if everyone in the US switched to cold for a year? We could collectively save enough energy to power the Empire State Building for up to 86 years.

Starting today for seven days, Tide is challenging Americans to switch to washing in cold water. Today I'm taking the #TurnToCold pledge with Tide to switch to washing with cold water only. Tide even makes detergent specifically made for cold water washing, Tide Coldwater Clean, provides outstanding stain removal and color protection while still delivering the clean you expect from Tide while saving energy!

And... if you pledge with Tide to switch to cold water washing, you could be one of five people selected (at random) to have your electric bill paid for month!!! To take the pledge, simply visit Tide on Twitter (@Tide) and retweet Tide’s tweet to take the pledge, which is: I’m switching to coldwater washing to help save energy #TurntoCold.

Join me tonight for a Twitter party from 8:30-9:30pm ET and use #TurnToCold to follow along. Five people who join will win a bottle of Tide Coldwater Clean... and one lucky winner will win a year's supply of Tide Coldwater.

Follow Tide throughout the week on Twitter for more energy saving facts when you switch to washing in cold water with Tide Coldwater Clean. Click here to learn more about Tide Coldwater Clean.

This post is sponsored by Tide.
Say Hello

Derby Time with Vineyard Vines

Vineyard Vines invited a few of my blogger friends and me to a little Derby party. (You can never start too early with these things.)

I'm all for a lunch break with my friends in a fun location with cute clothes. Check, check.... andddd check.

Vineyard Vines is the official style of the Kentucky Derby and we had so much fun planning our outfits for the day. 

I'm wearing:

I'm obsessed with the painting and think it's quite charming. The detailing at the shoulder is perfect for the Derby– little horse bits! (Oh, and it comes in a dress version too.)

Traditional Mint Juleps to kick off the lunch. 

All the girls! We met for lunch in the Waldorf Astoria. It was really such a perfect break for all of us; we left our work stress at the door and had a great time! Be sure to check out everyone's blogs because they'll be sharing their outfit details there! (Um, and how amazing are Hallie and Jess' hats?!)

Essie "Bikini So Teeny" (a recent favorite) matches the shirt perfectly! 

Ladies who lunch? ... More like bloggers who Instagram

Don't need a full Derby outfit? The baseball hats are TOO CUTE.

Has anyone ever gone to the Kentucky Derby? Now I'm kind of dying to go!!!

Say Hello

© 2013 The College Prepster