Archives for category: work

I’ve been waiting to write this post for over a year it feels. Despite the fact that I do enjoy living in Dallas – I have an awesome job and have made some great friendships that will last a lifetime – I’ve always had an overwhelming itch to move back to Minneapolis. This shouldn’t be news to you if you’ve been a reader of my sporadically (and as of late, rarely) updated blog. For the past few months I’ve been casually doing some job searching and networking with various agencies and people in the Twin Cities. I’m a firm believer in the power of networking and despite the fact that it can be a pain in the ass sometimes, it pays off in the end. And it did.

I’m happy to finally be able to share with you that the time has finally come for me to move home. With an awesome new job at an advertising agency. The past week has been very bittersweet for me in terms of being overwhelmingly excited to move home and start a new job combined with sadness and goodbyes to people who have helped make Dallas home for me over the past 2 years.

I can’t believe it will almost be exactly 2 years ago that I arrived in Dallas. Those 2 years flew by. Despite the fact that there were some rough patches during the past 2 years I think the highs outweigh the lows. I really am sad to be leaving Dallas (and believe me, no one is more shocked to hear that then me). I guess that makes sense since it was my first independent, adult home out of college. This city helped me grow and shaped who I am today.

But I know the next best thing lies ahead for me in Minneapolis.

I had my yearly review today. Considering I’ve been working my little behind off lately since taking on another role – I was anticipating a relatively positive review.

As expected, praises were sung. Along with recommendations on improving my presentation skills (I HATE HATE HATE power point and I’m pretty sure my inability to use the damn program shows whenever I try to present something) and starting to focus on encouraging others to go the extra mile. Things like that.

My lovely review was accompanied by a few things even more lovely than spoken praise. A nice little raise and a hefty bonus.

New Year’s resolution of paying off the credit card? Check.

Desire to own a Marc Jacobs purse since I first laid eyes on the bags? Check.

I’m thinking this hot little number will be my treat to myself.

And the rest will sit safely in the savings account. That’s my attempt at taking baby steps towards being more like an adult and saving. Ba hum bug.

Yes, I’ve been MIA for quiet some time. For legit reasons, as I will explain.

The first, lighter reason is because the IT department at work decided once again to block 98% of all websites – including wordpress and any website with “blog” in the URL. Thanks a lot, a-holes (pardon my French). I’ve taken the matter into my own hands and they’ve heard from me multiple times via phone calls, emails and threats since Monday morning. Hopefully this issue will be resolved sooner than later. But, in the meantime, I haven’t been able to keep up with the blogging world – my own blog included.

Which leads me to the second excuse I’m going to give for neglecting my blog the past few days. I’ve been dealing with a lot of changes since last Thursday – professionally. Both good and bad, as I’m beginning to accept. I could go on and on forever about all the details – but to keep the story on the shorter side I’ll just say that after returning to the office after lunch on Thursday I found out that the Corporate Marketing group was being cut from the company. And with that cut came a few job losses (fortunately, not mine) of co-workers who have become like family to me and an entire restructuring of those who were able to keep a job at the company. Many tears were shed, many glasses of wine were drank to help sulk (after we left the office) and many questions were left unanswered.

As luck would have it, I’m sort of seen as an essential asset since I’m technically a part of the web team and have a solid knowledge of our content management system. It also helps that I’m a “writer”, which I hate using to describe myself because it seems so vague, and can really adjust to any position that involves writing.

After a few days of uncertainty over the weekend as to where I would really land within the company (all in the midst of a birthday celebration – which sort of took on a sort of depressing feel) someone was finally able to confirm to me that I would be joining the Internal Communications team.

Dream job? No, not really. I’ve never really had much of a desire for “internal” communications – I went to school for advertising. But, I was able to persuade my new boss to continue to let me write for the external website and “own” the company’s social media presence – as long as I can still do some internal projects. Give and take people.

Corporate America. Corporate America Politics. So great. But now I at least know what it’s like to watch co-workers lose their jobs on a whim. We went out to lunch laughing and having a good time only to return to an entire group being cut from the company. How things can truly change in the blink of an eye.

So, needless to say, somethings are changing at work. I have a new boss. I have new responsibilities. I have new projects. I’m trying to focus on this as a positive thing – learn new things, broaden my skill set, meet new people. But it’s been hard – knowing that some of the people who welcomed me to a strange state and a new adventure a little over a year ago when I took on my first Corporate job -aren’t down the hall from me anymore.

I guess this is part of growing up and having a job. There’s never been anything like this experience to make me feel so fortunate to have a job. At the same time, it’s made me realize that anyone can be cut – at any time. I guess we never really can feel 100% safe. Scary thought.

I don’t do well with changes, if you haven’t figured that out yet. I don’t like them – especially when I’m completely happy with where I am. This will take some getting used to. But after only focusing on the negative parts all weekend I’m forcing myself to remain positive. If I don’t, I fear it’ll impact my work. And my head may be next on the cutting board. Plus, maybe this change will be for the better. One door closes, another opens. Fingers crossed.

This week is declared “Tacky Christmas Sweaters” for the team. Or, should I say for those fun people on the team. We decided to turn this into an annual tradition. We’ll be documenting the growth of our tacky Christmas sweaters over the years (as long as we’re all still around).

Let’s be honest – who is doing “real” work this week? I’d much rather be playing.

Happy Tacky Christmas Sweater week!

This weekend, something ultra bratty escaped from my mouth. It was Saturday night (post Cyclone vs Hawkeye football game, where I admittedly had consumed a few alcoholic beverages). I was at home, taking a quick cat-nap before heading back out on the town for a friends birthday celebration.

When a group of my girlfriends awoke me from my slumber to call and tell me they were on their way to pick me up, I went into panic mode. My intended cat-nap had turned into an all evening cat-nap. I jumped out of bed and threw open the doors to my closet. And starred at the largest closest I’ve ever lived with. Just simply starred.

A few minutes later my friend called to tell me they were downstairs waiting. My response:

I have nothing to wear.”

I’m embarrassed for myself. I was embarrassed the moment I said it. But it was true – nothing in my closet looked mildly appealing.

My wardrobe has reached an awkward stage. My shopping trips are making the transition from “That will be super cute for Friday night!” to “That would be great for the meeting with the CMO next week.”

How boring. The number of cute little dresses I own are slowly dwindling, being replaced by more professional pencil skirts and black pants (BTW, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new black pants from Gap).

When I was in Minneapolis last weekend I went shopping with my sisters – one of which is still in high school, the other in college. It was so refreshing to see the types of clothes they were picking out and trying on. Fun frilly shirts. Classy skinny jeans. Young clothes. It’s sad that I’ve arrived at a point in my life where I no longer can make such impulse clothing purchases. Typically I try to make sure everything I buy serves both my professional life, and my personal life.

But, I think I may change that in the future to avoid such snatchy comments from escaping my lips. Ever again.

Since graduating from college, I’ve become a firm believer in the power of networking. In college and after college, I didn’t understand how important it would be in shaping my career. And frankly, I was too naive to understand that simply talking to others about what they’re passionate about and their life philosophy can be the first step in opening new doors for yourself.

When I first graduated from college, my dad was always preaching to me about reaching out to various individuals in the advertising/marketing industry  (maybe someone we knew from church, or someone he knew from college, etc) just to talk to him. Talk to see what they had to say. Nothing in particular. He was always throwing me names and contact information. I didn’t get it – why would I want to talk to someone unless they had a job to offer to me was what I always thought. Oh Sara, how stupid you were.

I remember the first time I took some of my dads bait – he had a college buddy who knew someone with design connections in Des Moines. So, I took a leap of faith and contacted him and we and set up a time to talk on the phone. He was more than eager to help and have a chat. But that didn’t make my nerves any more at ease when the time came for me to pick up his phone and dial his number.

But he was great – so friendly and willing to help in any way he could to get my career going. We talked for over an hour and I hung up with a huge wave of relief. My first blind networking call was a success. Such a success that I even set up a few more with others.

Since then, I’ve realized how important it is to utilize every connection you have. Maybe that’s your hair stylist. Or the guy who lives across the hall/street depending on your living situation. My connection in Des Moines was never able to hook me up with a job, but he did give me more names to contact and awesome life advice.

The reason I’ve been reflecting on the power of a great networking experience is because I had an awesome chat a girl who works at Meredith today. Through various other connections I was given her name and reached out to her. Even though she isn’t in a hiring position and I knew she wouldn’t be able to offer me my dream job, I still wanted to get the inside scoop about being an editor at Meredith and ask her for career advice. Our conversation left me with a smile on my face and one more contact in my phone book. You never know when those will come in handy.

What I love even more about networking with people is finding small, random things you have in common with each other. The guy I chatted with from Des Moines – ironically, and very randomly, I met him at a BBQ I went to when I first moved to Dallas last year. Long story – but it really is a small world. Believe me. My new Meredith friend – we both grew up in the Twin Cities. It was fun to reminisce with her about the Cities (granted, she’s only 4 hours away. I’m over 300 miles away).

Networking really does help build relationships – both professionally and personally. And yes, I completely understand that picking up the phone to blindly call someone you’ve never met can be a very intimidating thing. But I always tell myself that on the other end of the line is just another person.  And people (usually – I still have faith in mankind) are more than willing to help others. And if they shoot you down, so what. You’ll live. You’ll get over it. But you’ll never know unless you try.

Remember the days of group projects in high school & college? I had a love/hate relationship with them. I absolutely love collaborating and working with other people – I think bouncing ideas off of others are how some of the best things come to be. But I hate working with crappy, lazy people who slack off. And it’s pretty much inevitable that you’ll NEVER experience that one lazy group member who contributes nothing more than their physical presence.

One of the biggest challenges of working on group projects is getting everyone to agree. Not necessarily to THINK the same way, but to understand & support the same idea. Because without the advocation of the whole group, you’ve really got nothing.

And man, as much as I sometimes hated meeting to work on group projects after a long day of classes, I am so thankful for everything they taught me. My experience as a web editor for “Corporate America” has sort of thrown me back into group project mode. Or should I say team member mode.

I’ve learned to appreciate that everyone has their own style of writing and expressing their ideas. Hence… “You say tomato, I say tomahto.” At times it can be frustrating trying to appease everyone’s suggestions on how to make a story better. Which often leads to me sitting at my desk pulling my hair out, moderating two different opinions, trying to get everyone to see eye-to-eye. I’m constantly reminding myself that although I am the one with the publishing powers and I could hypothetically publish whatever I damn well please (and probably lose my job), we work as a team. I’m part of a team. Not a group – which seems way less official & important – but a team. I may consider my writing style & ideas the best (although I’m nowhere near perfection), but when I work with my team members to write & edit stories they help me articulate ideas in a way I may not have thought of on my own. Plus catch the occasional grammar error.

In college they were called group projects, but in “Corporate America” it’s called team work. And collaboration. I like the sound of that better.

I loved & hated them then. And it’s still the same today.