Young Professional Advice from Friends – Your Twenties: The Ultimate Experience

This is a  Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Ashley Sapp at Chaos and WordsYPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting off and being twenty.
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Your Twenties: The Ultimate Experience

When one begins their twenties, s/he may be in college, searching for a job, working multiple positions, still living at home, finding his/her own place, moving somewhere new, beginning his/her career, perhaps even getting married and having children, or many other examples. The choices are seemingly endless, and that is, in part, of why being a twenty-something is probably even more daunting and confusing than being a teenager. There is still so much to learn, and yet, we are considered adults.

Being uncertain on what you want out of life can be unsettling. Personally, I ran through a multitude of ideas of what I wanted my career to be, and though the industry and job title varied, there was one thing I remained passionate about at all times: writing. What I slowly figured out was that there are ways to put my skills and passions to cohesive use if I did not limit myself on what my possibilities could be. That is perhaps the biggest piece of advice I have to offer other twenty-somethings: allow your potential to expand continuously. There is no need to cut yourself short before you even start.

I had trouble with this notion, believing that because I had little “real world” experience, no employer would want to give me a chance. However, if I had continued that line of thinking, I would never have been offered the position I have now, where I get to proofread and edit manuscripts, articles, and reviews for a heart failure research physician. We will always be in varying learning stages throughout life, as it is part of growth and knowledge, but it is especially true during our twenties. We maintain aspects of nativity, leaving ourselves open to interpretation. One thing some of my own mentors have told me is that they forget how to be naïve as an adult. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but being a bit green around the edges allows us to soak up experiences and information like a sponge and truly appreciate it.

Acknowledging naivety but striving for excellence also creates an atmosphere of strengthening talents and passions.  The continued desire to learn, grow, and then utilize all of the above is one way to align our passions with our skills. Despite inevitable rejection, I was able to rekindle the drive to do something I enjoyed. It may be corny, but keeping ourselves rejuvenated when it comes to our careers is important since opportunities can be found in a multitude of places. Rejection is difficult to face, but it is not necessarily the end. It’s imperative to keep in mind that we will always be learning, and at times, rejection enables us to find an opportunity we otherwise would not have thought of (I experienced this exact phenomenon after many dead-end interviews).

Something I’ve been learning along the way is that our twenties are not about figuring it all out, as it may seem. We will always be on that path, so don’t stress yourself out if you’re going at a different pace than others. This is YOUR life, and no one else’s. Embrace the ups and downs, the confusion, the innocence, the fun, and the ultimate experience of being in your twenties while you’re in them. There is a reason this particular decade of age is written about so often: bend with it and enjoy it.

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AshleyAshley Sapp is a twenty-something southerner with a love of all things bookish and wordy. Her ultimate dream would be to sit out on the beach with a pen and paper, writing out her novels to the music of ocean waves. In the meantime, she’s an editor and writer with a passion for human rights and publishing.

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Tips for Creating and Remembering Work Outfits

Ever wake up not knowing what to wear to work? It can be frustrating and cause you to be late to work or worse… not leave enough time for breakfast!

My friend, Hannah, recently told me her trick to think up outfits quickly. While there are apps that help you organize your closet and create outfits, it seems to require a lot of initial set up time. To use these apps you have to first take an individual picture of every single item you own before using the app. Hannah has found a different solution…

Hannah has created a photo album on her phone of all her favorite outfits. Each time she wore a new outfit to work she took a picture of herself then saved it to the album. Before she knew it she had 60 outfits ready to go!

I thought this idea was a very simple and helpful solution. You can come up with multiple outfits or quickly recall an outfit you haven’t worn in a while. We all have that outfit or item sitting in the back of our closet that we forgot about. We also don’t realize how many different outfits we can make with the same pieces of clothing. Three outfits can quickly turn into 10 outfits by rotating what pieces we pair together. Having an album of outfits reminds us we don’t always have to wear the same top and bottom together, a quick mix up can provide you with multiple outfits. With this outfit album you can minimize your worries of how you look at work and getting ready in the morning. 

Try it for yourself! Can you come up with more than Hannah’s 60 outfits?

Young Professional Advice From Friends: Lindsay Shoemake

This is a Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Lindsay Shoemake at That Working GirlYPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting off and being twenty.

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Young Professional Advice From Friends – Lindsay Shoemake

Your  twenties. The movies depict them as that magical time in your life when you’re walking down Madison Avenue to your own theme song, your hair looks perfect, you’ve nailed your dream job, and when it comes to dating? The men just can’t get enough of you. However, life honestly doesn’t work that way for us twenties-somethings.

As I sat at company happy hour yesterday afternoon, my boss mentioned something that stuck with me. She said, “Your twenties are the best-worst time of your life. You’re figuring yourself out and you’re growing, but nothing feels quite permanent.” And that, ladies and gentleman, hits the nail on the head.

Although I’m greatly leaning toward loving my twenties rather than loathing them, each and every day still consists of a lesson to be learned.

So far, I’ve tasted a lot of success, and I have to be grateful for it! For starters, I run a successful blog, That Working Girl, along with my two stellar interns, Catia and Stephanie. As a three-person team, we do a heck of a lot, and we have fun doing it. Running a blog is a ton of work, but it’s gratifying seeing how readers relate and respond – and when companies want to send you free samples! I also intern for one of the best PR firms in Atlanta (and I’d argue on the East Coast), Caren West PR. I’m living the life I dreamed of since I was a little girl, ogling the Atlanta skyline when my parents decided to take me into the city. I would always turn to my little sister in the car and say, “Look, we’re in ‘magic town,’” and now I’m living in it. Now that is truly magical.

However, it wouldn’t be your twenties without a little hardship and disappointment. After applying to 40+ internships in New York City and not landing a single interview, I’ve dealt with feelings of rejection from the one place I can’t get enough of. I had a blueprint for my life that I’ve had to completely scrap – I’m working from the ground up again, but I know there’s a rhyme and reason behind it. I’ve learned to turn criticism and disappointment into opportunities for growth with a lot of practice. I still get sad when I think of New York, but I remind myself that it will always be there waiting for me, if I just work hard enough and make the key connections.

So, a little advice for all of you fellow hard-working twenty-somethings out there? When opportunities don’t work out, don’t get down on yourself – we’re too young not to come across a second chance, or something even better. I’m a firm believer that doors are closed only for new ones to open, because I’ve experienced it time and time again.
Also, don’t expect your first job to be your dream job and where you truly flourish. Sure, it may happen for a few lucky ones, but look at job switches as stepping-stones when they happen. As you grow, your taste in work will change.

Most of all, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously! When you quit smiling, you quit growing and enjoying all that life has to offer. When you feel the seriousness coming on, go grab yourself an iced coffee and watch re-runs of “Seinfeld.” I assure you, it works every time.

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LindsayShoemakeLindsay Shoemake is a creative visionary, blogger and “PR girl” living in Atlanta. When she isn’t blogging at That Working Girl or interning at Caren West PR, you can find her perusing new coffee shops, cuddling her Pekingese, Lily, or living full-out at a Fall Out Boy show (no shame). Catch more of Lindsay on Twitter, @VivaLaLindsay or Instagram.

Any Requests?

It’s not called Ask the Young Professional for nothing!

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I’m here to answer your questions on work, money, and life in your twenties.

Leave a comment below or email me directly at asktheyoungprofessional (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Let’s get talking!

Personality and Interviewing

I know I’ve stuck by my girl Dr. Meg Jay saying that identity capital can be the reason someone gets the job over you, but what about personality? Sometimes your personality is the reason why you don’t get the job.

Maybe you just don’t fit into the culture of the company. I know Zappos has a very specific atmosphere they want to maintain in their office. I personally think that’s smart. It is a good way to keep moral up at the office and give good service. Take South West for example, they have such great service! They hire people for a positive personality that can work in some of the hardest areas of hospitality.

You also might not get the job if the interviewer just “doesn’t see it”. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true. I can’t say I blame the interviewer either. This can happen a lot when you’re working very closely with one other person. If your personalities don’t mesh, but instead mix like oil and vinegar then there’s a chance it could affect your work.

So what do you do? The way I see it is you have two choices:

1) Find a company that has a culture you fit into.

It is perfectly acceptable to say you do not want to change. You are who you are. Then fine a job that suites you. Are you really quiet and shy? Maybe a salesperson isn’t the best choice for you. Do you have a lot of expendable energy? Maybe you can focus that in a job that involves more physical activity. You might need to think outside the box or maybe you need to come back into the box and reach for something that’s not as extreme. You want to find a place where people are like you. They might not think the same or have the same talents, but they have similar personalities.

2) Be aware of your “unfavorable” qualities.

Are you a very talkative person? I think of Daisy Wick from Bones… I don’t know if you watch the show but Daisy Wick is an intern who is a very fast paste talker. Her boss, Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan, is a very serious person who likes her facts. Needless to say Dr. Brennan let Daisy go because they did not work together very well. Long story short Daisy realized her “unfavorable” quality and how to restrain it. She staid true to herself but also made herself easy to work with for anyone.

Which is better? I honestly don’t know. I’m going to assume it depends. It depends on how you feel. Obviously there are cases where not getting the job outside of the job description is not professional or acceptable. There are the obvious discrimination of sex and race, but we’re talking about personality. These two examples I would have to say are legitimate.  I think they’re legitimate because they directly affect work atmosphere and potential.

What do you feel about this? And what would you do if you were in this position? 

 

Related Posts:

Dr. Meg Jay from The Defining Decade – 30 Is Not The New 20

Check out my girl, Dr. Meg Jay! She’s on TED talking about her lessons for twentysomethings.

I did a post series on her book, The Defining Decade, where we learned about the importance of using our twenties to build of future in work, family and personal life. Listen to this talk, read some of my posts, and take the time to read The Defining Decade. If you learn and act, you will be better prepared than most of your peers.

“Thirty is not the new twenty, so claim your adulthood, get some identity capital, use your weak ties, pick your family. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do. You’re deciding your life right now.” ~Dr. Meg Jay

Related Articles:

Where Have I Been!?!?

Oh my goodness it feels like years since I’ve written a new post! I apologize to all of you readers and I thank you for the continued support of comments and views while I was away. And a very merry welcome to new followers!

As you may know, I am a production assistant for Sesame Workshop, meaning I work at Sesame Street helping with a variety of tasks to make creating the show possible. The last few weeks have been crazy busy! We’ve been at the studio creating new pieces for the show. Although I can’t give you any clues as to what we did, I can tell you that I am surrounded by so many creative and talented professionals. The team never seizes to amaze me, the writers especially. The writers are so talented in creating content that is educational and entertaining for children, but also have content for the parents, guardians, babysitters, nannies, teachers or whoever is watching the children.

Since I’ve been away so long, I thought I would share with you the type of work I have been doing while I was away…

Studio

Our studio is at Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. The studio has been there from the very beginning! When we are shooting at the studio I have a variety of tasks to complete so everyone else can do their job smoothly. Let me give you a generally run through of my day…

The day before I will usually receive the running order. The running order is basically our shooting schedule for the day. I print and distribute copies to everyone the day before so they know if there have been any changes and what to have ready first. Some people receive timed running orders, which are the same thing but someone has written the actual times of when we should be doing what and how long it should take. This is how the producers, stage manager, director and a few others can see if we’re on time or not.

In the morning I come in and immediately check my email. Even though I handed out the running orders the night before anything can change in a matter of hours… minutes really. Sometimes there are no changes and sometimes I have to start all over again. Either way, in the morning I hand out any running orders to people who weren’t there the day before and put up two extra large printed copies on the studio doors and talent doors. During the day the production stage manager will cross out what we’ve completed so everyone knows where we are. And it’s a real motivator to see how much we’ve done!

In addition to my running around with running orders (see what I did there 😉 ) I set up snacks and waters in the control room, hand out walkie talkies, refill water coolers and make sure the stage manager has waters on set for the talent. You may have seen my quality snack presentation on my Instagram. These tasks are small but I take pride in them. The little things need to get done so the big project can be fully functioning.

At a break before lunch I check in to see who needs lunch orders. There might be a vocal recording or meeting during lunch, these people will need personal lunches ready for them. These people could be talent, producers, directors, clients, international partners… basically there’s a potential I’m getting lunch for someone who is important. I need to coordinate my time to make sure I can get all the lunch orders at a time that is not interrupting their work schedule, order the food with enough time for it to arrive on time, and set it up before the lunch break. Taking these lunch orders gives me an opportunity to meet some pretty amazing people. Taking lunch orders and going on coffee runs is how I first met a lot of people at Sesame who are the reason why I work here.

The rest of the day is a little less planned out. I can get a random phone call to go on a run to pick something up for the director or an email saying we’re making changes that I need to notify people of. Sometimes I have time to observe on set. I learn so much from just observing. It’s also a great time for people to learn more about me by coming over chatting when they have a break.

Studio time can be a little hectic. I can wake up at 5am and not be back in my precious bed until after midnight. Normal call time for me is 7:30am at the studio, but depending on the work load I might come in earlier to set up. A normal wrap time can be from 6pm – 9pm. On long days we work more than twelve hours. I’ve learned how to get into a routine to keep me going for an entire week. You learn to adapt your lifestyle to what work asks of you. There are weeks when I’ll wake up, go to work, go home, have dinner, shower, go to bed and never see my roommates. It can be tiring but studio time is my absolute favorite! I would rather be on set than anywhere else!

Gala

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I was asked to help the stage manager for our Gala. You may have seen my pictures on Instagram for this as well. I was an assistant stage manager for the Sesame Workshop benefit dinner where we honor people for the extraordinary achievements and raise money for Sesame productions. The Gala is basically a dinner and a show. We have celebrity hosts, Muppet bits and a musical act. This year we had George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth as our hosts and the PS22 Chorus for the musical act. A stage manager’s job is to make sure the show runs smoothly and talent has their cues. This was a one day project so we arrived early for a meeting with the director. When I say “we”, I mean the 3 camera men, the teleprompter, the other assistant stage manager, the stage manager, the assistant director, the director and myself. The director went over the script with all of us to share his vision of when shots and entrances would take place. I was out in charge of all the Muppeteer entrances. I marked up my script to see who had to be where, when and with what.

I loved working the Gala because I had never done it before. It was kind of similar to my theater experience in high school, but I was never actually a stage manager. It gave me new exposure to something that I think I could do one day.

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks but I love the chaos. The constant need of things getting done gets my adrenaline pumping so I can keep going throughout the day. What I’ve learned from my time at Sesame Workshop is to do everything that is asked of you to your best potential and do it with a smile.

If you have a job that at first glance might not look too important, look again. You’ll be surprise how much you would be needed if you weren’t there. Make an impression by taking yourself and your job seriously. Go above and beyond the normal. It’s a great opportunity to show your potential, but most importantly you will be happier at your job.