Starting a New Job? 8 Ways to Prepare

Starting a new career is so exciting. We apply to countless job postings in effort to move forward, we finally land an interview which could lead to second or even third interviews and then, if we’re lucky, get the call that we have been selected! Awesome, right? While it is a truly awesome thing, it can be very scary to move on.

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Shake up your style at your new gig

For me, I had been working at my first Public Relations job for a little over four years. This company was the first in the industry to give me a chance. I am grateful for them. The perks were superb; my co-workers were awesome, I was close to my manager, I got free garage parking in downtown Cleveland, the culture was great, we got free soda, I had nearly 30 days in PTO and the holiday parties were raging! I could probably go on and on about what I left behind but I had learned all I could from the position and capped out at a senior title. I also wanted to go into the nonprofit sector and have a career with more purpose. It was time to go. I luckily landed a Donor Relations position at a local nonprofit that helps people in the community get access to physical and mental healthcare, career coaching and much more. This is the direction I wanted my career to go.

With all that being said, transitioning is hard and I want to give a few tips, speaking from experience, on starting a new job:

Your last paycheck at your previous job will be mailed

This is severely inconvenient but it is standard. Your last paycheck is mailed and could take up to seven days to arrive. This means that you will receive your pay later than usual and will need to either save up money to cover any bills due within that time or just to have money in your pocket. Also keep in mind that there may be a delay in your paycheck at your new job, depending on what point in the pay period you were hired. Having a little cushion in this time will be crucial to your financial well-being.

“In case of doubt, overdress…” until you learn the dress code

My previous job sent me information with my offer letter about the dress code so I was well informed. My current job sent over a handbook and I searched the large document for the dress code policy and found nothing. I dressed business casual on my first day based on what I observed at my interview, to be safe. I learned that day, in orientation, that there wasn’t an official dress code. We were to dress according to department. My department never wears jeans but they don’t wear suits either so, my observation was correct. Pay attention to the people around you and always remember to dress for the position you want. Clothes aren’t everything but they do represent you. You may look a little overdressed at times but that’s not a bad thing. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”- Oscar Wilde

Come prepared

Bring pens, notebooks, highlighters, a coffee mug, eating utensils and a water cup. Unless told, you don’t know what supplies are available for you. My current job has disposable coffee cups and actually provided us with a company logo water tumbler but I was at least prepared. I also don’t want to be wasteful by using the disposable cups. Having your own mug is eco friendly, y’all! You’ll definitely need to take notes so always have a notebook and pen. I’m a highlighter junkie so I always make sure I have those as well. Being prepared takes away a lot of the first day jitters. Trust me, you’ll feel much more organized.

Arrive ready to learn

Whether you’re entering a new career, like myself, or staying in the same realm, there’s always something to learn. Don’t cut corners on the note taking and take in as much as possible without overwhelming yourself. Remember that it’s okay to ask questions.

Get a lot of rest

With all that learning, you’re going to need your rest. At least for the first couple weeks, turn in early. Tell your friends you have to skip happy hour because you need sleep and can’t afford the hangover! You may become overwhelmed and will need this rest to recharge. Celebrate your first couple weeks at your new job in a couple of Fridays once you have your duties down packed!

Bring your lunch or research restaurants nearby in advance

I like to pack my lunch. If you go this route, pack your lunch in a bag with an ice pack. You don’t know the refrigerator situation until you get there. If this is a new area you’re working in and want to go out for lunch, google some lunch spots in advance so you’re not wasting your lunch hour hunting for something you like.

Observe and/or ask about the rules

If you’re sent a handbook by Human Resources, read it and learn it. Most of your questions about pay periods, rules, regulations and standard operating procedures will be in there. This will avoid you asking the questions and looking like you didn’t read what they gave you. Ask your co-workers or observe what they’re doing when it comes to  having your cellphone out, eating at your desk, internet browsing and all of those other little things I’m sure you’re all wondering that may not be listed in the handbook. I’m always afraid to ask those questions so I tend to observe and follow the veterans’ lead on these things.

Look at this as a fresh start

Remember when a new semester would start and we’d say to ourselves, “I’m going to be awesome this semester?” We’d make promises to ourselves, no procrastinating, all A’s, Dean’s List, no partying,” and then we’d eventually fall off the wagon? Go into your new job with this exact attitude and actually execute! This isn’t school, it’s your well-being. It’s how you’ll continue your career, make a name for yourself in the industry and how you’ll take care of your household. Do everything to the best of your ability and use this to accelerate your career.

Good luck!

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Borrow from the boys

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-D.O. ❤

 

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Why You Should Stop Seeking Validation Through Social Media

This isn’t about social media etiquette because I’m an advocate of free speech and support individuals expressing themselves in ways they see fit. This is about more effective ways to feel whole again and seek validation within.

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Photo via We Heart It
Likes and follows do not define your self-worth. Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms as I love to express myself with visuals and enjoy seeing others do the same. In a world of Instagram models and accounts with paid followers and likes, I can see how one would feel the need to measure up. In the grand scheme of things, unless you’re utilizing social media to promote your craft or business, your likes and follows have no real impact on your life, achievements, success, education or happiness. It may feel important at the time but Instagram is one very small fraction of your entire, amazing life. If you like it, that’s all that matters 🙂

Below is a video by Filmmaker Shea Glover posted by HuffPost in December 2015. It’s a two minute message about Shea’s #BreatheBeautiful campaign. Check it out!

Airing your dirty laundry will not resolve issues. In our generation, it can be hard to fight the urge to overshare the details of negative situations in our lives. In the moment, it may feel like venting will make things better but in the end, it could actually make things worse. Remember that not everyone you’re connected to on social media is your friend. There are, sadly, people rooting for you to fail, people who will gossip about you and people who just enjoy seeing others not doing so well. Don’t invite these bad vibes into your life. Take other avenues to improve your situation and mood. Which leads me to my next point.

Cries for help should be directed to someone close to you or a therapist. “Subtweeting” a friend, significant other or ex rarely results in the reaction you are seeking. You can be ignored or create even more conflict. Furthermore, if you’re legitimately crying, having an anxiety attack or going through a rough patch, rather than announcing this to your followers, reach out to a friend, family member or therapist and have a private conversation. They will offer the support you need to talk yourself down. What you might get is attention, which is not the same as support. You may also want to confront that individual head on. Speak to them directly about what’s been bothering you. This method has a better chance of producing good results and you get opportunity to get things off your chest.

The realization that this isn’t the route to go will come with age. I was discussing this subject with a group of  my college friends and one of them stated, “When you’re younger, you’re thinking about the one person want to read it. When you’re older, you’re thinking of thousands you don’t.” This statement definitely rang true for me as I just told my husband that my subliminal messages on social media are the past times I wish I could take back from my twenties. #Embarrassed

Attention is a drug. Like most drugs, being under the influence of it feels great at the time but this high will not last. If you’re feeling down or feeling badly about yourself or a certain situation, getting your ego stroked by your followers is a temporary fix. Responses flooding your notifications in reply to a sad status you put up won’t solve the issue, it will only distract you for a brief moment.

This also applies to sharing provocative or nude photos on social media and using the attention to somehow validate yourself. If your body is your art to share with the world, do it! It’s more about motive. Your body and sexuality is sacred and you’ll want to share them with a healthy mindset. If your intention is purely to receive attention because you’re feeling down and want a confidence boost from the social media world, refrain. It can make you feel worse or you may end up regretting it.

Your posts can follow you around forever. We all post things we regret but be mindful that it’s tough to run away from something that’s on the internet. Ask any public figure. Someone can dig this all up. Your photos and posts can be seen by hiring managers when applying for jobs, family members or even the admissions offices when applying for college. You don’t have to be a saint on social media but keep in mind that even if your pages aren’t public, it’s the internet and can be seen regardless. I actually personally know someone who was fired from their job due to Instagram posts.

Social media just doesn’t give you the support you deserve. When seeking validation, you’ll want to work on this within yourself and with people close to you who genuinely want to help you achieve this. Face-to-face communication, social media detoxes and refraining from comparing yourself to others through social media will be the keys to living a more comfortable, happy and confident life. ❤

-D.O. ❤

Life Is Hectic! Get Organized!

If your life is anything like mine, you have a TON of things to pencil into your weekly calendar. This can get super stressful and exhausting, resulting in a total meltdown. My best advice is to stop stressing and complaining, be optimistic and add more organization into your life. Here’s my new method of balancing all of my many responsibilities and obligations.


Work

This one is easy because I have a set schedule and there’s no room for negotiation. I work 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday through Friday. My position does not require me to take work home or be connected through email or company cell phone so no organization of my schedule is needed, I just need to stay on top of my workload during the day.

Economics Class

As some of my readers may know, I recently started a Microeconomics course which is needed as a prerequisite for the Master’s program I’ll be applying to soon. Now, because my work schedule is non-negotiable, I opted to take this course online as there were no classes available after my work shift or on weekends. Because I am taking the class online, I have to schedule time myself for studying and watching the course videos. This, in my opinion, is more difficult than attending a scheduled class because there’s a higher level of autonomy. I time out how many weeks I have until the next exam and divide that by the amount of chapters covered in that exam. That is how much I’ll read each week and I watch the videos whenever I have a moment. I even listen to them on my headphones at work as opposed to listening to music. I have to watch them again at home but the lessons sound familiar to me because I’ve heard them before. This method clearly works for me since I got nearly a perfect score on my first Econ exam *dusts shoulders off* 🙂 You don’t have to use my method but any organized schedule should work.

Family Time

I have a husband and child at home so I have to make sure I spend quality time with them. My husband is not my son’s biological father so my son spends a couple of days a week with his father. While, of course, I miss my little man, this actually helps me fit in time for studying, chores and working out. This also frees up some time to have date nights with my very busy husband. On the flip side, since I don’t have my son everyday, I make sure that we do something fun together every other weekend when he’s with me and in the evenings, I set aside time to look over his homework and make sure he’s organized for school, bathed and fed. We live in a bungalow so almost all of the rooms are on one floor so we are always in close proximity with one another and I love it for the sole purpose that I have my loves close to me at all times ❤


Working Out

I just started a gym schedule this week because summer is sneaking up on me pretty quickly. I’m really trying to live in a crop top all summer so gym time is essential :-p So this week, I woke up at 5:45am and hit the gym before work on Monday. My gym has classes so Tuesday, I went to Zumba in the evening. I took Wednesday off and went back to the gym on Thursday evening. I’m taking Friday off and going back for a class on Saturday. My schedule wont always look like this as I have to accommodate when I have someone to babysit for me. My plan is to know by Sunday what days I’ll be working out that week and actually writing it down in my planner. I luckily have my husband who will cook dinner for me when I go to the gym in the evenings so that is a HUGE help.

Housework

This has to be my least favorite because I hate cleaning!! But, I make sure that I thoroughly clean the house and do laundry either every Saturday or Sunday.Since I’m off work on those days, I have hours to dedicate to this project. Throughout the week, my husband and I alternate doing the dishes and straightening up. Nothing makes me happier than coming home from work and seeing that my husband already did this! I literally want to hug him immediately and worship him at his feet. This means I only have to shower and then go straight to studying! Score! It pays to have a partner.

Paying Bills

I swear all my bills are due on all random days. It’s so frustrating and hard to keep up with so I only pay bills on pay days. I pay whatever bill is due closest to each pay day. I even write the hard to remember ones in my planner. Bills are my least favorite part of pay days because I can’t get too excited about it when I know I’m also using that money to pay bills. Such a downer! Then I go to Target and cheer myself up with at least one thing! 🙂

Grocery Shopping

I try to shop on Sundays but I get a case of the lazies on Sundays so often times shop after work on Mondays. We don’t eat frozen foods, really, so we do have to shop weekly since fresher foods expire quickly. I need to push myself to shop on Sundays more so I can go straight home from work during the week but that’s easier said than done. 😦

Social Life

I don’t schedule social events because I think it’s fun when social outings are more spontaneous and plans don’t tend to work out the way you plan them for some reason anyway. I really only schedule birthday outings and weekly TGIT viewing parties with two of my best friends. If someone asks me to go somewhere or I have the urge to hit the town, I gauge what I have going on at the time, measure my level of tiredness and just make a decision to go or not. Whatever you do, make sure you pencil some fun into your weekly schedule or you’ll go nuts! I love date nights and girls nights!

It’s good to be busy but without organization, there’s room for error and a cause for going insane. Don’t be afraid to pick up extra hobbies, don’t talk yourself out of that degree you want to earn and don’t set aside family time for work. Simply come up with a plan and try your best to stick with it. Life is entirely too short to be stressed all the time! Happy scheduling, loves!

-D.O. ❤

15 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Turn Your Back On The Media

There’s a few reasons why you may be questioning if you should trust the media or not. It’s possible that you’ve read few misleading articles. Maybe the news, in general, stresses you out and I certainly can’t fault you on those feelings. I get a little overwhelmed myself. Our president has even gone as far as saying that the media is the enemy of the American people. I, respectfully, disagree and not only because I have always been obsessed with magazines and have looked up to journalists my entire life. I respect the craft of journalism and I appreciate and understand their purpose in society.

If you’re thinking about calling it quits with the media, I urge you to reconsider your breakup. Here’s 15 reasons to work it out!

  1. They have inside sources that give them information we could never find ourselves.
  2. It’s their job to investigate questions a majority of us have and they’ll do it a heck of a lot better than regular civilians would.
  3. They have a press pass that gives them access to events, speaking engagements, press conferences and even crime investigations. Without them, we’d have no idea what’s going on in the White House, award shows, red carpets, protests, sporting events, etc.
  4. They get you up-to-speed in the political world so you’ll know who your votes will go to every two and four years.
  5. Even competitors band together like family when their character, profession and craft are attacked.
  6. When networking and interviewing for jobs, it’s always a good idea to be informed on a few current events just in case the subject comes up.
  7. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the fate of the country, safety issues in your neighborhood or even something like product recalls. The media makes it a point to learn about these issues and pass that knowledge onto their readers.
  8. Not all journalists are scummy. While you may have the stereotype that journalists will do anything to get the story out first, regardless of truth, or can be a little pushy and heartless, a lot of them really seem to care about their audience.
  9. The news never sleeps so journalists are literally busting their asses sometimes all night to get the information to the people. Last week, I was up late studying economics and just so happened to open twitter. I caught Ezra Klein, Editor-in-Chief of Vox, tweeting around 12:30am about Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor. I see Ezra posting on social media all hours of the day and night. That kind of dedication is common in the journalism world and it’s very admirable.
  10. The media bases their material on what their target audience wants to read about. With this in mind, you can find a media outlet that talks about things you want to know. There’s outlets for every demographic. Teen Vogue is my favorite example because they talk fashion, sex, relationships, celebrities, music and even politics in a way that teenagers can understand. There’s always going to be an publication that fits your needs and interests.
  11. The media’s work ethic and perfectionism is unmatched. Journalist go through each story with a fine tooth comb. Articles need to have sources and the fact checks need to be fact checked. It’s serious business!
  12.  Who else is going to correct the lies told to us by public figures and politicians?
  13. Guess who doesn’t have tickets to Fashion Week? Us! Guess who does? THE MEDIA! Without them, we don’t get to see any of it! 😦
  14. Did anyone else wonder what lipstick shades Dakota Johnson was wearing in Fifty Shades Darker? I was dying to know and guess who had our backs? The media! 🙂ana
  15. They have more secrets than Gretchen Wieners and they crack faster that she does. Yes, they do it to make money and a name for themselves, but they also do it so that we’re in on the secrets and not left in the dark.gretchen

I am begging you to please give the media a chance. Without them, we wouldn’t know a large percentage of the information we have. After all, hearsay isn’t trustworthy and textbooks are selective and outdated. Facts are facts and a majority of these facts were first told to us by a journalist, in one way or another. Find a publication that speaks to you, take the time to fact check and put your trust in the media. Don’t let a few bad bloggers and salty politicians deter you from getting informed 🙂

-D.O. ❤

 

Carbs, I Do Adore

I’m pretty sure that when you’re looking to slim down, limiting carbs is essential. Easy peasy, right? In the words of our new president, “WRONG”! It’s hard because they’re SO delicious!

I LOVE Texas Roadhouse solely because of their unlimited rolls and cinnamon butter. Literally heaven in a basket! Olive Garden also has endless bread, bread sticks, to be exact, and they are garlic-y and addicting AF. I can’t even go there anymore because I’ll eat too many of those and then eat all of my pasta. Carb overload!

When someone walks into the office with donuts for everyone, I get an overwhelming feeling of joy. I’m not sure if America actually runs on Dunkin but I know I do! Donuts are life and have you heard of donuts’ tastier distant relatives, beingets? They’re deep-fried dough in the shape of a fluffy pillow, covered in powdered sugar. I ate beignets every day of my trip to New Orleans. EVERY DAY! If we had a Cafe Du Monde here in Cleveland, I would be done for.

Mexican food is another weakness of mine and what’s a Mexican meal without nacho chips and tortilla shells? That’s basically a salad! 😦 And let’s  not even go into too much detail about PIZZA. Pizza is both convenient and yummy! You cannot do a carb-less pizza! That’s just not even right.

So, how can we cut back on the carbs? I can only offer a few tips because I’m struggling with my own carb demons but hopefully these will help;

  1. Burgers without buns are still delicious.
  2.  Mixed vegetables are a great replacement side dish for french fries.
  3. Whole grain bread, noodles and tortillas are a little healthier than the regular stuff.
  4. Chipotle has brown rice…and it’s not bad!
  5. Just don’t even go to Texas Roadhouse or Olive Garden. Pretend they don’t even exist because you will not pass up the bread. It’s physically impossible.
  6. Eat pizza in moderation (Maybe throw some veggies on it so at least feel healthy. 😉 )
  7. Don’t visit New Orleans 😉
  8. And if someone walks into the office with donuts….I’m not sure what to tell you. I’d love to tell you to just say no but I’d be a total hypocrite. I have yet to resist the urge to eat at least one.

If you guys have any other tips or tasty carb replacements, PLEASE leave them in the comments. (preferably a donut replacement because I’d love to kick that habit 😉 )

-D.O. ❤

 

 

“Why you call it Late Registration? Cause we takin these muh’f*ckers back to school”

Kudos to those who get my Kanye reference! ❤

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Me in Clark Kent Mode

Anyway, I’m going back to school! Attaining a Master’s Degree is something that has always been a goal of mine but I was never sure of what my concentration would be. I thought about Journalism or English. I definitely have a passion for writing but didn’t really see the value as my undergrad is enough to pursue a career in those areas. An MBA has much value but my heart isn’t in the subject of just strictly Business. I knew I wouldn’t perform well. I hit a road block. Without knowing what my concentration would be, there was no way to move forward.

It finally hit me after this very confusing election, Political Science!

Now, this does not mean that I’m knowledgeable in the subject but I find myself wanting to know and understand more. We had a huge problem this election year with propaganda which led to misinformation and ignorance in American voters. As awful and confusing as this was, it inspired me. I want to be a resource to people who are looking for facts.

I want to do that in a couple of different ways;

  • Freelance Writing. I never thought Political Journalism would be something I’d want to do. I always thought I’d focus on fashion, beauty and entertainment. I’ll still write about these subjects on my personal blog, of course, but I’m definitely striving to also be a contributor for a political publication.
  • Teach Poli Sci courses. I’d like to teach students while they’re young, high school age to freshmen/sophomores in college. They’re either about to hit voting age or between 18 and 19. I want to influence young voters to think for themselves and research facts prior to casting their votes. I’ll need my PhD to become a professor and a teaching license to teach a high school class so, more and more school is on the road ahead.

Now that I’ve decided on a concentration and possible career paths, a few things need to happen before I even start;

  1. I have to take both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics as they’re prerequisites for the Master of Arts in Global Interactions (MAGI) program at my college of choice. MAGI is their version of Political Science. (I took both economics courses in my undergrad but we’re not even going to talk about what grades I received lol. I was more of a Communications course type of gal!) So, this will be round two for me. I just enrolled in Micro and will start January 17th!
  2. Cross reference the classes I took in my undergrad to make sure I have all other prerequisites. Literally crossing my fingers that I do or else I’ll have more classes to take before I start.
  3. Take the GRE and score in 50th percentile or above. I just got my Kaplan study guide and will be cracking that puppy open very shortly. It’s huge and overwhelming but I’m ready for the challenge.

I’m so excited to get going on this very big goal. I’m nervous as well but I know all of the hard work and stress will be worth it. There are quite a few female politicians right now along with Hillary Clinton, of course, that are so inspiring to me. Politics is male dominated and not to mention, lacking diversity. As a minority woman, I’m excited to add to that diversity. You might not see me running for any political office but hopefully you’ll see my words published and my name on a class schedule 🙂

My experience in deciding to go back to school is proof that it’s never too late. I graduated college in 2009 and here I am stepping back into the classroom setting. If you’ve been wanting to go back to school and aren’t so sure or may feel discouraged, please do not hold yourself back or stand in your own way. You can definitely do it! “Better late than never, it’s orien-tation!” (More Kanye 🙂 )

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me (My customer service attitude is showing there 😉 ) Or, If you want to share your back-to-school story and/or any advice, I’d love to hear from you.

-D.O. ❤

 

 

11 Pictures That Prove Hillary Clinton Is Cool AF

The election didn’t go the way that I, along with 59,814,017 other Americans, had hoped but I still admire Hillary Clinton tremendously. She worked hard, ran a tough campaign that was free of hate and her intelligence is inspiring. Hell, she won the popular vote! You go girl!

She makes me want to know more…to do more. Hillary proved that women can do anything they want to do as long as they put their minds to it and make the effort. #GirlPower

As a Life + Style blogger, I typically try to not speak politics but many who know me are aware of my feelings as I am an open book. Regardless of the outcome, #ImStillWithHer.

Now let’s look at some cool ass flicks of Nasty-Woman-in-Chief, HRC!

Dats Bae

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To The Windows! To The Wall!

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Oh, put your freakum dress on!

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Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of.

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New Phone. Who Dis?

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Ladies Is Pimps Too, Gon’ Brush Your Shoulders Off!

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Girl, Bye.

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Hey, Girl, Hey!

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Ponytail on Fleek

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Big Baller, Shot Caller…

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Uh-oh, running out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina ❤

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“Don’t give up, I won’t give up.”-Sia

-D.O. ❤