Archives for the month of: January, 2012

While on my flight back to the States, I sat by a friendly lady who happened to be a PR Consultant. She worked for 15 years in the public relations industry, beginning with a salary of $19,000 and ending at $70,000 before she left work due to her want to start a family. Surprisingly, that led into a wonderful discussion as we discussed life, job hunting, and how to find the PR job for which you are looking. I wanted to share it with you since I found it helpful. I have also added some things I have learned while job searching. Even if you are not interested in PR, the advice here is applicable to other career searches.

1.)    Before you begin your job search, know what kind of career you want. Where do you see yourself? What lifestyle you wish to live?  For example, if you want to work in public relations, do you want to work in-house at an agency or out-house for a specific company? What kind of public relations do you want to do: fashion, government, business to business, consumer, etc.?  What is your favorite aspect about public relations—press releases, event planning, media research, etc.?  You should have some answers to these questions because it will help you narrow down your job search. Each company will have its own definition of public relations, and particularly when you work in-house for an organization, their meaning of  public relations could be slightly to largely different from your perspective, so understand what you are looking for before you begin your job search. Not saying that you need to know EVERYTHING, but you should have a general gist of the type of public relations you want to do and the type of environment in which you thrive.

2.)    When searching for a job, look at the company than just the position. Many times, it pays to take a lesser position in a company that you want to work for. This is because the hardest part may be getting your feet in the door. It may be easier to begin as a secretary in the office, even though you really want to do public relations. This is because you will already be privy to information about how the organization works and you already have an advantage if a position does become available. With hard work and dedication and patience, it is relatively easy to work your way up in an organization.

3.)    When being offered a job, look at the package holistically. They may not offer you your dream salary, but what other monetary benefits are you getting: Relocation assistance? Medical coverage? Stock options? Pensions? For example, medical coverage is costly, so if your company is offering you that, then that could be worth about ¼ of your actual salary, depending on your plan and how good the coverage is.

4.)    Match 401K immediately when entering a job. (Put the max in) This helps to secure your financial future especially when we do not know if our generation will receive social security benefits. According to the Wall Street Journal, “A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It lets workers save and invest a piece of their paycheck before taxes are taken out.”  For those who do not know what a 401k plan is, I suggest you read this article by the Wall Street Journal. http://guides.wsj.com/personal-finance/retirement/what-is-a-401k/

5.)    Network, Network, Network. Many people find jobs through networking as it sometimes is easier to get a position in a company, when a reputable person in the company can vouch for you. Need I say more? Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal to help you with networking. http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/01/13/career-journal-how-to-make-networking-work-for-you/?KEYWORDS=public+relations

6.)    Send “thank you” emails after your interview and take their business card. Even if you do not get the job, you never know when having their contact information will come in handy.

Did this help you? Do you have any suggestions you would like to share? Feel free to tweet this or like this on twitter.

With love,

M.S.

 

For a while, I had been asking God to give me some sort of guidance and direction in my life. I had been praying about it and seeking the advice of family and friends all to no avail. Each person seemed to have a different opinion about what I should do with my life. Each person gave me their honest opinion, but that still was not enough. Each conversation with one person led me in a different direction than the previous conversation with another and I was done with asking others about my life. After all, it’s my life so whatever decision I do or don’t make should be based on me since I’m the one who has to deal with the repercussions, good or bad.

I had watched enough on-line sermons, read enough passages out the Bible, and  prayed enough, etc.  to satisfy my desire to hear about what the Lord was going to do and I was tired of not having an answer to my question.

So, I had gotten to the place where I decided to just let the chips fall where they may and not really focus on my life after graduation. I was living with the mentality “what will be, will be.”

I heard nothing back from the Lord and figured there was no need to ask anymore because I had already asked for a while. I mean, I seriously asked, dang near pleaded to know what was in store for me. Still I heard nothing, not even a whisper.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting God to come down from Heaven to sit in my living room and have a heart to heart session with me. I just figured in some way, shape or form, He would have let me know by now. I mean, time’s ticking. I need to make plans and preparation for my future. I didn’t know what more was expected of me, especially since I had tried the whole “seeking His (God’s) face” part of the scripture so I was waiting on the “all other things should be added” part.  I no longer prayed about it. I no longer asked God for direction. I just was done with the uncertainty and figured I wasn’t about to continue to ask the same question and continue to not get an answer. So maybe I was supposed to not know.

Before I returned to school, I decided to go to a different church with my Dad. As we sat in the back of a small church with only about twenty people there, I wished I would have just gone to my regular church.

But, as I sat and the youth choir (which was actually five kids) sang the song, “Turn Around,” and “Emmanuel,” I couldn’t help but get a little emotional. I don’t know, I guess the lyrics got to me.

Despite my initial reaction, the church had a good guest speaker. She was a lady I had never seen before. She preached on the topic “In his presence” and the sermon was taken from (I have to find my Bible in my bags that I packed but I will fill it in later).

Near the end of her sermon, she points in my direction and asks me to come to the front of the church because she wanted to speak to me.Hesitant, I went up front as this stranger told me things about myself that no one else in that building would have known but God and my Dad. She talked to me about my fears and my uncertainties and my hopes and my desires. She talked to me about questionable friends and career paths and my finances.

What she told me made me cry. Not because she told me anything bad, but because she identified the specific things I had been dealing with in my life and the answers to specific questions I wanted to know.

As I returned to my seat, I noticed that my Dad was also a little teary eyed.

We left church and road home in silence.

When we made it home, he came into my room and said, “Missy, did you know her?”

“No, I’ve never seen her before.”

“Oh, that’s crazy how she knew all that stuff.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I mean, Missy, we were just talking about those things she mentioned a few days ago.”

“I know.”

“I don’t know how she knew about that.”

“Must be God.”

As our conversation ended and he left my room, I knew that I had received an answer to some of  my questions and I was filled with a serenity I cannot explain. God is real. Believe what you want, but as for me, “Yes, God is real for I can feel Him in my soul.”

 

Tuesdays with Morrie

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As I was sorting through files and slips of paper from abroad, I found a quote from a friend of mine. She has posted it on facebook and I  wrote it down because I felt that it was the perfect way to explain how I felt leaving England.

She wrote, “Now that my journey comes to an end..I feel so much that all this was just a dream-like illusion and I’m about to return to the real world.. to bid farewell to people I loved, to places whose beauty my imagination could never create. This was such a fast-paced, frenzy, creative way of living… Adrie, Katerina, Marina, Lorena, Kamal, I can’t think of England, or of a home, without you. “-Dikaia

Looking back as I returned to the fast-paced living of the states, I realize that I will miss the slower, at times,  boring days of no transportation, no television, no cell phone. I have not been back in the United States a month and I already have felt the stress of living—the hustle and bustle that becomes a passenger to success. I have pressing deadlines that won’t wait, bills that I must pay, jobs that I must work, things that I must do.  Back to just doing the hackneyed routine. However, what’s different is…ME.

I’ve learned that deadlines will always be there, bills will always be there, a job will always be there…but I won’t always be here. I won’t always be alive. And because of that, a restructuring of my priorities is much-needed. I will miss living in the moment or better yet, creating the moment in which I want to live while abroad. So, although, I have left England, I have brought the life lessons I have learned the 7,000 plus miles back with me.

In the book, Tuesdays with Morrie, the author notes how Morrie, a dying professor, stated “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in” (pg.52).Although I am unsure if that is the most important thing in life, I do believe it is an important thing. We all need love, in some shape, form or fashion. 2012 will be my year to do just that, love, not just in words, but in actions.

When I left, my Grandmother was in better health and, at times, spirits than she is now. To think, a few days ago she turned 77 and had to be reminded that it was her birthday. That’s scary. My Grandmother’s memory hardly ever fails her, but with old age, I am seeing how things change. She needs help doing things that once were easy for her. Walking, in itself, has become a challenge. Cooking, one of her favorite things to do in the world, has also slowed down tremendously. So with that being said, I am learning how to invest in people and invest in memories. Why?

Because at the end of the day, deadlines, papers, jobs, etc. Will always be here, but those who supported me and encouraged me to meet the deadline, write the paper, or apply for the job may not….A sobering thought. No matter the age, gender, race, demographic, etc. We all are destined to leave this world at sometime. But when I do (hopefully, when I’m well over 100 years old) I’ll be able to say that I invested in people and reaped the reward of joy, happiness, and love…a fulfilling life.

I urge you to do the same.

With love,

M.S.