Friday, June 24, 2016

Career Advice

As I’m sitting here, eyes burning from lack of sleep and brain a fuzzy mess (I guess I’m finally too old to be pulling all-nighters anymore, even if they occurred four days ago), I think about what a great opportunity I’ve been given and am grateful for it and all of the amazing people who stop by and freely share their knowledge with me.

Today at work, I was given a lot of great advice by three different people that I want to share with you, because I think that you should also benefit from their wisdom as well. Their advice all ranged from management to interviews to networking, which is all very useful for upcoming interns and graduates.

Rich, my supervisor, stopped by my and Cole’s cubicles this morning and just started talking to us about management. He told me that he really liked millennials because like us because we didn’t need our hands held; he could just tell me he wanted this project done and wouldn’t need to check on me every hour compared to some of his older employees who have Master degrees and still need to know every little detail before starting a project.

He eventually asked the two of us if we thought about holding managerial positions, and we both thought so. It wasn’t really a question I had thought about before, but the more I pondered over it, the more I realized that I actually would like the position. This is because I usually am the one organizing and making sure projects and deadlines are met in group settings anyway, and because I like knowing my teammates and giving them opportunities to do thrive in what they do best.

In response to that, Rich gave us some tips about the darker side of management that most people don’t talk about. The first is to be aware of the generational gap, as mentioned earlier. Some workers, who have worked in AT&T for decades and have their Master’s still need someone to tell exactly what they need to do, which is counterintuitive, especially when you could be the one just working on the project by the time you finish telling someone else what exactly to do.

His second tip is to always be unbiased, especially when it comes to giving employees opportunities for exposure and promotion. You want to give the employee that did the lion’s share of the work to receive the most credit and be able to stand firm and tell that to all of the other employees why you chose that one particular employee, and that’s hard to do sometimes.

His third tip, which was the most important in my opinion, was that you need to make people want to work for you and that if you focus on bettering the person instead of meeting ends, then you’ll receive a better product overall. 

His fourth tip is that not only do you have your own problems to solve, you also have to shoulder your whole team’s burden, which is also tough. You have to learn to get to the problem, discuss it with them to resolve it, and repeat it again for the next person.

Rich made a great statement about managers: to be a manager, you need to want to help people. It’s very true. At the heart of it, you need to be able to help the people under you in order to have a good team who can tackle any problem that comes along the way.

Aaron, an Assistant Director who actually got AT&T to look into our college for instructional design interns, took us out to lunch at this Greek place. He told us about how he got to where he was and gave us a lot of advice as well about figuring out what we want to do after college and how to ace interviews.

He made a great point about choosing jobs. Don’t ever get a job for the money, because you’ll never be satisfied. Instead, if you’re debating on two different job offers, think about 3-5 years in the future and consider which job will still make you happy.

I told him how during the upcoming school year, I was hoping to apply for jobs and figuring out what I want to do and get job interviews to help practice for when I actually apply for a company that I like. In response to that, he gave us some advice on how to do better in job hunting and how to maintain your career success at work.

He told us that we have to make our resumes stand out, to invest in fancy resume templates and change them to fit you better, and it’ll make a difference, especially to the recruiters. If they see that your resume looks the same as everyone else along with having the same background and education as everyone else, then you won’t stand a chance. He offered to let us look at his resume and look over our resumes as well, which I will definitely take him up on his offer once I edit mine again.

Regarding interviews, it’s good to already know the answers to the basic questions like your strengths and weaknesses, but it’s also good to know about the STAR approach when they start asking behavior interview questions. Behavior-based questions are something along the lines of “Tell me about a time when you failed at something and overcame the challenge.” To answer that, you have to hit upon the Situation that you were in, the Tasks that you had to accomplish, the Actions you took, and the results you achieved. Being able to answer those questions easily will really impress the interviewers.

He also said that he likes to ask this question when he’s interviewing people: Who is the best in your field? This question reveals a lot about you. For instance, if you don’t even know who is the best in your field, then you’re not as passionate about it than you think. If you know who is the best in your field, that means that you know them and their style, which can translate into how you work since you already have in-depth knowledge about it.

He then told us that you also have to maintain your career success based on three key elements: Performance, Image, and Exposure (PIE). You need to be able to Perform well or else you won’t keep your job for long, maintain your Image and personal brand so that people will remember you to include you in important jobs, and Expose yourself and your work so that people know who you are and what you’re good at.

He stated that it’s good to maintain a 40-30-30 balance between the elements, because at the end of the day, your performance is important since it’s your actual job to accomplish these tasks. In addition, it’s good to maintain a balance because if you have too much exposure, people will come to you with stuff that is over your head and be disappointed and will lower your image when you can’t deliver in the end.

Then, later in the day, Matt, my old mentor from last summer, stopped by to ask how things were going. I told him how I was still debating if continuing grad school was the best option for me. He told me that even if I didn’t use my Master’s at work, it still looks really good on my resume, because it tells others that I went beyond just college education to want to improve and gain more knowledge in a field. Since most of today’s job requires a Bachelor’s degree, they’re now becoming like high school diplomas: a regular occurrence. That is why a Master’s lets you stand out more. And it might suck taking classes that you aren’t interested in, but it usually helps in the long run.

So yeah, today was the day of advice, lol. I got a lot of information from a lot of wise people who have worked their way up in the company and have a ton of knowledge and experience to share, and I wanted to write it down to remember it for later. That, and like how they willingly shared their knowledge with me, I wanted to share it with you as well, because I want to help everyone floundering after college and in jobs who still don’t know what to do, because I will soon be one of you guys as well.

Friday, June 17, 2016

8k, reunion, homework, & procrastination

It just started raining out of nowhere an hour ago, and I knew that I wouldn't be able to focus on my homework well today, lol. I took today off of work so that I'd be able to have more time to work on my paper and midterm this weekend, since they're due Sunday and Monday, but I still haven't found the motivation to start researching my topic, and my teacher still hasn't uploaded the link to the midterm yet. 

I've realized that I'm pretty much screwed until summer school is over. My classes are only six weeks long, so everything's condensed, which means that I've got to read at least 3-4 chapters a week and have homework due every week and a couple papers to write. I can't bring myself to write anything; I think I'm still burnt out from fall semester, lol.

It sucks because I spend the first half of the week procrastinating, and then the rest of the week trying to study and do my homework in between everything else. Last weekend was definitely a testament to that. My friends and bf were coming up Friday night to spend the weekend because we were going to run an 8k the next day and had friends from out of state come visit, so it was a very busy weekend.

Don't get me wrong, it was great. I got to hangout with a lot of friends and met a lot of cool people because of Kenny and Carl's homecoming, and I got to try a lot of new Asian restaurants as well. Plus, the 8k was an experience in itself, lol.

First, we had to wake up at 4:30 to be able to leave by 5. The drive to Savannah was three hours long, which was actually pretty fun, because we were all actually wide awake and joking around the whole time. Then came parking and registering, which was pretty hilarious. We all drank a lot of water on the way there, so we all really, really needed to pee when we finally got there and parked somewhere.

Our start time was 9:28, so we had enough time to stretch before we set off. (I just wanted to let you know that, all of us thought that this Jail Break Mud Challenge was a 5k until the night before when Harrison was looking at their Facebook page to see what type of obstacles there would be and found out that it was 5 miles long, so this 8k took a lot longer than I thought it would.) There were a total of 52 obstacles that we had to go through. You always had the option to skip them if you didn't want to do them, which was good, because there was a part where you basically had to go across a part of the lake by holding onto a rope that stretched the whole distance a few feet above the water or just swim the whole length. David and I definitely skipped that part since neither of us could swim. 

I should also mention that I almost drowned because another obstacle at the lake was to jump off of these floating wooden parts of a bridge that we had to jump onto to each part of to get across the lake. At the end of the bridge pieces, there was a meter of just the lake that you had to jump into to get to land. The group in front of us told us that the water went up to 5 feet, so we didn't worry about it that much. Regardless, Harrison and Alec jumped into the water first to make sure. Since they were fine, David and I jumped in afterwards, and I found that I was definitely not tall enough to stand in the water like the rest of the guys, so I had to jump up as quickly as I could to grab onto the wooden bridge so that I wouldn't drown. David ended up carrying me in a princess hold until we got to the shallower parts of the water. 

Another memorable obstacle was one near the end of the race. You had to go down a porta potty (they took out the bottom part, so you just literally fall through the bottom) and land in the extra squishy, thick, muddy water underneath. This obstacle led you to the next obstacle, which was definitely one of the hardest ones there. You had to walk through an ice bath, which was filled with bags of ice that also slowed you down. Lol, all of the guys really needed a minute afterwards to recuperate because their balls were frozen. 

Man, I don't even know if my shoes will ever be the same. I still haven't properly cleaned them since the 8k. We had to walk through so many muddy areas, probably for at least two or three miles, so I'm not sure if they're salvageable. 

What I really liked about this 8k was that you could sign up in teams of two or four to do the race tied together. They give you ropes that you can hook onto, so that made everything even more interesting and challenging.

We finished the race in around 2.5 hours and then spent a long time trying to wash all of the mud off of us in the giant outdoor shower that they provided. We ate a Cuban restaurant afterwards, and then went to Harrison's apartment to wash off, since it was closer than my apartment. We pretty much slept throughout the 2 hour whole trip to Harrison's--even Harrison fell asleep at the wheel for a moment, lol. Then we went back to my apartment to wait for Carina to come and to catch a late dinner with the rest of the crew who came up to visit. Everyone but Carina and the 8k crew wanted to go drinking afterwards, but we were wiped, so we went back to my place, waited until Carina's parents picked her up, and went to sleep, lol.

I thought that I would be able to sleep in for once the next day since the day before was exhausting, but nope. I woke up at 8 and couldn't go back to sleep. We all kind of woke up around 9:30, and found out that Alec actually ended up sleeping under my bed. He had somehow managed to slide off of his air mattress, which was next to the bed, and wound up curled up around the pole in the middle of my bed. It was hilarious.

We got breakfast at Ikea, since it's right across the street, and then Alec and Harrison left to go do a ninja course with Kenny and Shena while David and I stayed at my apartment to do homework, since they were due later that night. We met up to eat lunch with them and got boba tea afterwards at Kung Fu Tea, which is apparently Alec and Carina's favorite place for boba, and now I can see why. Their mango slush was amazing. I definitely have to go back, lol.

Afterwards, the guys all left, and I spent the rest of the night doing my homework and turning it in 2 minutes before the deadline, lol.

It was definitely an eventful weekend, lol. This weekend is busy as well. I'm going to try to do my homework soon because I'm going over to Kyle and Shelle's house tonight for dinner. I'm spending the night there because I'm gonna help her with wedding stuff tomorrow, and then the three of us are going home that night since it's Father's Day on Sunday. 

I just wished that I had better time management skills, because it's hard juggling my internship, my social life, and my grades, especially when it's during the summer, which is practically programmed into my brain to equate itself to just slacking off. 

My internship ends on July 29th, so that means that I have a few weeks to relax before school starts again, so that's my main goal right now, lol: survive until summer classes are over or until my internship ends. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Temporarily Adulting This Summer

This is my second week interning at AT&T again this summer, and it’s been busy for sure. I moved into my apartment the weekend before work started up and then spent the rest of the weekend with David helping Kyle and Shelle move into their new house. It was a long and tiring weekend, lol.

The same day I started work was the same day my two online classes started. Luckily (or unluckily, I’m still debating), my online classes aren’t a hybrid of any sort like how they were during the school year. We don’t meet up online at all; there’s just quizzes and exercises due every week or two along with some papers that need to be turned in. These classes are only five weeks long, so they’re pretty packed, and I’m already dreading having to write so many papers around the same time. D:

It’s really hard finding the motivation to study every night after having to cook dinner and clean and just be lazy, lol. I still haven’t found the time or motivation to workout either, which also sucks because I’m running a 5k with my friends next Saturday. Definitely need to work on it this upcoming week.

I’m trying to come up with a routine to make sticking to a healthy schedule easier, but we’ll see, lol. I’ve been addicted to watching The Flash since last weekend, so we’ll see how well I am at sticking to a schedule.

Last weekend was Memorial weekend, so I had Monday off. Even though my parents and bro went on a six-day trip to the Dominican Republic that weekend, I still went home to get some stuff and to visit the bae. It didn’t start off that great, since I ended up getting mad at him right before I was about to get off the interstate to go home, but we worked it out. It ended up being a good weekend. We went to the movies and watched the new X-Men: Apocalypse movie, which was awesome. Then we spent the rest of the weekend goofing off and doing errands.

I’m going home again this weekend, since my family’s back home now. I’ll probably have to leave early Sunday morning since it’s forecasted to thunderstorm this weekend. :( We’ll see. Still slightly unsure about going since people drive ridiculously slow and there are so many accidents, so getting back would take forever. :/

But yeah, I’m temporarily adulting this summer, which is different. I was kind of doing the same last summer, but I was with Kyle and Shelle, so it wasn’t like I was living by myself. This summer, I’m living in an apartment with another girl, who is actually pretty cool; I’m glad that we get along. We’re going to have two more girls move in with us soon, so I hope that they’ll be cool as well and not steal my food or anything, lol. I’ve never lived in a dorm or in an apartment with strangers before, so this is my first experience.

I’ve been cooking almost everyday, and I can tell how lazy I’ve been, lol. Sometimes, it’s just easier to make tortellini’s or mashed potatoes, okay? Especially if you forgot to thaw your chicken beforehand. I also realized that I don’t really enjoy eating that much? Or at least I don’t enjoy eating my own cooking half of the time? It mainly happens at lunch, so I think it’s just because my food gets cold before I’m done eating it, and I’m too lazy to go back to reheat it, so it’s just not as appetizing, lol. But yeah, I think making my own food is making me lose interest in eating or something? It’s really weird.

Oh man, how could I forget to tell you my most recent event until now? I locked myself out of my room last night. I was rushing to leave to meet up with my family for dinner since they just landed last night, and Shelle and Kyle had gone to pick them up since I was busy doing homework until the last minute, lol. Because of that, I was quickly grabbing all of my stuff and forgot to grab my apartment keys before I locked my door from the inside and closed it. Luckily, I grabbed my roomie, who was also going out, and she gave me the front door key since she wasn’t coming back until late.

I went to dinner anyway, and then went back to my apartment and tried to figure out how to drive inside the gate since I didn’t have my remote either. Fortunately, a couple of people came out to let their friends inside the gate as well, so they did the same for me after I asked them. Turned out that they were on my floor, so they let me in the parking lot door as well, which also required the remote, thus saving me time waiting for someone else to leave or arrive to ask to open the door from me.

I tried to open the door to my room using an old credit card, but it didn’t work, so I gave up and made mash potatoes for lunch for the next day and cut up the watermelon that my parents gave me last week before they left the country. I did a couple of stuff in the kitchen and then gave up.

While I was waiting on David to call me back, I checked my email and saw that someone had posted on the apartment community forum on what to do if you get locked out of your apartment. Hallelujah! Management had already answered her question, so I found out that I didn’t have to wait until the morning when the Leasing Office opened at 9, which would have made me late to work, and I just had to call their Courtesy Patrol and tell them my issue, so I did that. The guy called me back within a couple of minutes, and I was able to get into my room around midnight, lol.

Lesson learned: always have a duplicate key somewhere, and put all of my keys together so I don’t forget any of them, and always check every possible means of getting help.

So those have been my temporarily adulting adventures so far, lol. Can’t wait to find out what happens next. :D

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Books I Want to Read This Month

I read three books last month! Let's see if I can read three more this month. :) Although, to be honest, I'm not sure if I'll be able to since school and work take up a lot of my time. That, and I've become addicted to watching The Flash now, lol.
  1. Homeland by Cory Doctorow
  2. Never Fade by Alexandria Bracken
  3. Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga
  4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  5. Angelfall by Susan Ee
  6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  7. Shuriken Pleats vol.1 by Matsuri Hino
  8. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
  9. Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter
  10. Insignia by S.J. Kincaid
  11. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  12. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  13. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  14. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  15. Sadie Walker is Stranded by Madeleine Roux

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May in Retrospect

I finally finished reading the last of the Richelle Mead books that I own. However, I'm still not sure if I want to read the last book in the Vampire Academy series or not; the cliffhanger was extremely tantalizing, but because it's already been a few weeks, the urgency has left me, lol. Also, I definitely watched a lot of stuff this month during my free time, lol. 

I read:
  • Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
  • Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I watched:
  • Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  • The Messengers (2015)
  • Young & Hungry Season 2 (2015)
  • Elementary Season 4 (2015)
  • Hush (2015)
  • Zootopia (2016)
  • Log Horizon Season 1 (2013)
  • Log Horizon Season 2 (2014)
  • Overlord (2015)
  • AJIN: Demi-Human (2016)
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)