A post-grad problem turned blessing.

Phew. I’ve been slacking.

I believe I mentioned in passing in a previous post that I had a great post-grad blog coming up. And here it is…I know so many readers have been anxiously awaiting. But it really is a story I want to share, but one that I couldn’t share right away.

Brief summary of the past year-ish of my life: I graduated from Oklahoma State University (go Pokes!) in December of 2012 with a degree in strategic communications. Although it wasn’t a full-time job, I was lucky enough to have an internship lined up for January – May of 2013. The internship was with Schnake Turnbo Frank, a PR and management consulting firm with offices in downtown Tulsa and Oklahoma City. I was super excited as I was pretty interested in working for an agency. I like variety and a fast-paced environment and from what I’d heard, that is what PR agencies had to offer. Unfortunately, at the close of my internship in May, the firm wasn’t hiring. I’d heard so many “my internship turned into a job!” stories that I couldn’t help be disappointed. From there, the job hunt began.

While I was looking, I waited tables at a restaurant I’d worked at on and off since high school. Finally, in September, I was offered a marketing coordinator job with a company that produced a liquid nutritional supplement. I wasn’t familiar with the product, but I’m into exercise and trying to eat somewhat healthy (I don’t always succeed), so it was interesting to me. I decided to stay on at the restaurant working Friday nights only for some extra cash, and because if I’m being honest, I was pretty attached to my management team and co-workers there. It was a tough goodbye.

Not two days after I accepted the marketing job, I got a call from…you guessed it, the PR firm. “We’re hiring an account coordinator!” Sigh. I had such mixed feelings. My initial thought was, Wow, that would have been great, but I found a job that I think I’ll like. I’ll pass. But as the days went on, the agency job stuck in the back of my mind. I started with the nutritional company and I liked it, but I didn’t love it. From the moment I accepted it, I accepted it with the stance of, “This is my first full-time job out of school. It might not be exactly what I want, but it’s a job.” The thing was, what I did want was a very likely possibility. I hated the thought of skipping out on a job within weeks of starting, but after consulting with friends, family, old classmates and other young professionals, I applied for the account coordinator position. I think a great piece of my advice my mom gave me was assuring me that throughout the entire application process, I’d have multiple opportunities to turn the job down if I wanted to stay where I was, so why not at least put my name in the hat?

Long story short, I got the job and it’s the position I’m at now. I love it, and I’m so glad I put my potential guilt aside and went for what I wanted. I am definitely a people-pleaser, and I was terrified to put my notice in at my previous job. I had every worst case scenario in my head. Would they tell me to leave right then and there? Would my boss freak out on me? None of the above happened. As everyone had assured me, my boss was completely understanding.

So today’s inevitable and obvious life lesson is: You have to do what’s best for you. I knew that from the beginning, but as usual, going through with it was the hard part. I’m a people-pleaser, and I hate upsetting people. Having said that, I am so happy at my current job, and I know if I had stayed at my previous job, I’d be going in every day wondering, What if I’d applied for that job like I wanted to? I’m so glad I did. I get the opportunity to meet all kinds of people in the hometown that I love, I learn every single day, and I know I’ll foster connections that will last a life time.

Do what YOU want, not what you think others will want. The chick flick-loving girl in me can’t help but leave you with, from The Notebook, “What do YOU want? What do you WANT?!” *crying* Here’s a video if you’d like to witness the beauty of Ryan Gosling (and who doesn’t?):



Portfolio websites

It’s no secret that the Internet is the new way of communicating, and that includes when it comes to looking for jobs and sending out resumes.  Many people have made websites for their portfolios, and I found a few that I really liked.

Krishna Chatianya's "Velagapati"

The first portfolio website I came across that caught my eye was one for Krishna Chaitanya’s web design business, Velagapati.  I love the simplicity of her website; even though she only uses black, white and grey as the base colors for her website, it still looks beautiful.  The neutral tones also help her colorful work to stand out in the actual portfolio section of her website.  She only has three categories to navigate through, but still has a lot of information on herself and her work.

Jason Walker's "Two 24 Studios"

Another portfolio website I liked was for Jason Walker’s web design and development company, Two 24 Studios.  I absolutely love his layout.  The black city background with blue, pink, green and a few yellow accents looks so sleek and stylish in my opinion.  Walker has lots of information on his website, yet it’s still easy to navigate through and see and read everything.

Darek Nyckowiak's "The Toke"

The Toke is another web design portfolio website I really liked.  No surprise, as it also has a black background with bright accents, but what I really love about this site is the way the actual portfolio is set up.  It’s very interactive and almost three-dimensional.  You can choose which layout you would like to view the artist, Darek Nyckowiak’s, work in, and I think they’re all pretty cool.  Nyckowiak’s navigation is very easy to use and operate; like Chaitanya’s, it contains a lot of information in what seems like a small space.

I think all of these are great examples of portfolio sites, especially considering they’re all for web/graphic designers.  If you were looking for someone to design your personal website, you wouldn’t think twice about contacting someone whose own website looked like crap, would you?  I know I wouldn’t!

While my portfolio website mock-up will probably not even come close to the fabulous designs on the ones I mentioned, I’m hoping to use the black-with-colorful-accents theme because I love the sleekness of black, but I also love a lot of color.  Hopefully mine will turn out looking decent!

Net neutrality

In class on Monday, we discussed an issue that I was unaware of: net neutrality.  Net neutrality is basically the idea of a free Internet.  We visit whatever websites we want to whenever we want to.  Unfortunately, there are people trying to change that.  I found this video on a website called Save the Internet and I think it sums it up pretty well.

I agree with many of the points in this article from the same website.  Charging customers more money for more websites and making it so that bigger, more popular websites run faster than smaller, newer websites is very unfair in my opinion.  I think the biggest issue is that this makes it very hard for entrepreneurs to do anything online.  The websites with the most money will be the ones continually being visited the most, and I find that to be really unfair.  People will have very small chances of being able to create online businesses, blogs or websites of any kind that have the potential to become popular.  One of my favorite websites, PostSecret, started out as a small blog.  Many people know about it and the owner, Frank Warren, has events all across the country and has even published five books full of the postcards.  If net neutrality was taken away from us, people like Frank would never be able to start a small website and turn it into what PostSecret has become.  I check Frank’s secrets weekly and I know many others do the same.  I find his website to be very important in letting people know that everyone has problems that they don’t always show on the surface.  This is just one of many examples why net neutrality is so essential for us to have.

The iPad: It’s so great because…why?

There it is. The infamous iPad… after reading an article about the release of the iPad 2 coming out soon, I once again started thinking about my feelings on the tablet.  And honestly, I still don’t get it.  I didn’t get it when it was first released, and I don’t get it now.

Yes, it’s cool.  Yes, the resolution of the screen looks beautiful.  But to me, the iPad is simply a sort of combination of a Mac computer and the iPhone, of which I have both, so why would I want an iPad?  I admit, Fruit Ninja looks much cooler on that big iPad screen than on my comparitively tiny iPhone screen, but I just don’t understand shelling out hundreds of dollars when you could purchase a full computer for a few hundred more.

I will say I like the new design in white, though.  Only because I’m a sucker for the way Apple makes white appliances; I think it looks clean and beautiful and I’m still wondering if the iPhone 4 will ever be released… anywho, maybe it’s just me.  My aunt and uncle each have an iPad, my roommate’s 14-year-old cousin has an iPad…but I still don’t get it.  I’ll just stick with my iPhone and MacBook!

America’s latest addiction

I admit I am one who has fallen victim to a drug that has taken over our country. Whether we need a pick-me-up, need to stay up to study hard or just have a craving we can’t ignore, many of our lives would not be complete without this drug: caffeine.

There it is.  We’ve all seen it: the famous Starbucks cup.  Not only has coffee taken over everyone’s life it seems, but Starbucks has also transformed the idea of a coffeehouse into what it is today.  Because Seattle’s Best Coffee is sold on the college campus where I live, that’s probably the brand of coffee I see around the most.  But back at home in Oklahoma City, Starbucks cups are pretty much all I see.  I occasionally see a coffee from 7-11 or McDonald’s, but Starbucks is by far the most popular.  It seems like there’s one on every corner.  It’s crazy to think that it was once a single neighborhood coffee shop in Seattle, and now I can think of four shops off the top of my head within 10 minutes of my parents’ house.

The original Starbucks store in Seattle

Even back when I didn’t like coffee, I was a sucker for Starbucks’ cream-based frappacinos, hot chocolate and caramel apple cider.  Coffee drinks aren’t just for the businessmen and women and cramming college students anymore, and I think Starbucks has had a great deal to do with that.  Throughout middle school and high school, it was “cool” to have a Starbucks cup in class.  It was “cool” to go to Starbucks after the football games.  In fact, it was more about the status of the logo on the cup than the drink inside of it.  Starbucks has always longed to bring a feeling of connection and community with its products, and it has done just that.  A coffee shop is now not only thought of as a place to stop in quickly for a cup of coffee, but also as a hangout to study and socialize.

While many complain about Starbucks’ prices (ahem, my dad), not many complain about the coffee itself (that I know of).  Despite those high prices, Starbucks has stayed a very popular and successful company now complete with its own instant coffee, mobile apps and even e-gift cards.  It’s quite apparent that Starbucks isn’t going anywhere and has changed our idea of coffee and coffeehouses for years to come.