Surviving My First Post-Grad Job: A Year in Reflection

“There is no substitute for hard work” – Thomas Edison

I’ve been at my first post-grad job for about a year and a half now, and thus far it has been a whirlwind of learning experiences. If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’ll know that I did a brief reflection after my first week on the job. Needless to say, after only a week on the job, I had no idea what lay ahead for me in my position.

A Brief HistoryInitially, I was hired on to take over our Social Media Strategist’s position while she was on maternity leave. She’d been at the company for about five years at the time, and is  beyond fantastic at her job. Daunting was an understatement. As turbulent as it seemed at the time, I found that I really enjoyed the position, namely because I was gaining more global experience than I ever thought I would. Upon her return in January, I was handed over some of the same responsibilities I was doing in her position, such as branding/merchandising, writing press releases, and managing local trade shows and conferences. These items, as well as a few others, are what I’m currently responsible for in my position.

Here are a few lessons I’ve taken away from my first year in corporate America:

  • You will make mistakes. Accept them. Learn from them. Early on, I was terrified of making any mistakes, but it turned out that I was preventing myself from learning. After a series of events and some self reflection, I finally acknowledged that it is all part of being human, and the learning process.
  • Be hungry to learn. Take on every learning opportunity you are given even if it scares you; something truly great could come out of the experience. If an opportunity is not directly presented to you, it does not hurt to ask! In fact, it will make you an exemplary employee.
  • Ask questions unapologetically. I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to figure out that my co-workers are not going to get mad at me or annoyed with me if I have a question. It’s always better to ask a question, rather than assuming and doing something wrong. You are not expected to know everything when you first start out. Be sure not to ask the SAME question over and over again – this is where you’ll piss people off.
  • Find yourself a mentor. Being one of the youngest people in the company is a challenge in itself. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with an awesome team that genuinely wants me to succeed.
  • Don’t take things too personally. This is something that I’m still struggling with, and – quite frankly – I think it takes a while to learn.
  • Leave work at work. I CANNOT emphasize this enough! You will have a much healthier work-life balance if you leave anxieties and stress pertaining to work at the door on your way out. You work to live, you don’t live to work.
  • Take care of yourself outside of work. If you’re not at your best outside of work, there’s absolutely no way you can bring your best foot forward at work. Take at least an hour out of your day to relax and “treat yo’self”.

Not too shabby for YEAR 1! It was no easy feat, yet I’ve learned a lot about myself and grown immensely throughout the process. Obviously there is still much more to learn throughout my career, and I’m beyond excited to see what the future holds!

-K.

Closet Staples for Every Professional Woman

Transitioning into corporate America from college life is no easy feat, especially in the wardrobe department. Luckily for me, I had my sorority Sundays and numerous internships to help me build my professional wardrobe and keep me on the right track to know what is and is not professional. However, my current workplace has everything from casual jeans to full business attire depending on what team you’re on, so it took me a bit to get in the groove of what is and is not acceptable.

I’ve found that having a business capsule wardrobe helps make my outfit planning for work a lot easier. Here are a few primary closet staples every boss babe needs in her wardrobe!

Classic White Oxford // Ralph Lauren never fails in the Oxford department. An Oxford can be paired with most everything, and is perfect for layering in the cooler months.

Feminine Blouse // While an Oxford is extremely versatile, a feminine blouse can make an outfit. Add a little extra embroidery like this Zara high-collar blouse, and you’ll instantly make a statement.

Blazer // I love love love a good blazer! I believe that a well-tailored blazer can instantly dress up any outfit. My personal favorite is the J. Crew Factory Schoolboy Blazer in Navy, as seen on Instagram.

Pencil Skirt // Pretty sure it goes without saying, but every boss babe has AT LEAST one power pencil skirt in their closet. J. Crew Factory has a ton of pencil skirts in varying colors and great for all seasons. Some of my favorite pencil skirts also come from New York and Company; they have everything from a classic black pencil skirt to a fun, flirty patterned skirt.

Sensible Pumps // I used to be that horrible person that buys shoes because they’re cute without really thinking about their comfort level. Don’t be that person! I promise your work conferences are so much more enjoyable when your feet aren’t killing you. Some of the most comfortable (and fashionable) pumps were nearly identical to these black leather pumps from Nine West.

Loafers/Chic Flats // Lately I’ve been obsessed with loafers and pointed-toe flats such as these Sam Endelman Loafers and these pointed-toe ballet flats from Target. Bonus points if you have them in fun colors!

Here are a couple ways to style these classic pieces:

Professional Staples 1
Professional Staples 2

Professional Staples 2 by kerogus featuring a j crew jacket

What are some of your favorite staples for the office?
-K.

 

One Year Later…

img_1387A year ago today I closed an amazing chapter of my life and opened a new one to adulthood and the “real world”! This year has brought loads of changes, life lessons, and adventures. Following graduation, I moved back home to my parents’ house which is a huge adjustment in itself. I also had to give up dance and became distant from my sorority; both things that I ate, slept, and breathed throughout my college career. I accepted my first corporate desk job which has been a whirlwind, and has taken a toll on my body — when they say your metabolism decreases after a certain age, they aren’t kidding.

Long story short, adjusting to post-grad life can be difficult. So, in true Kourtney form, here is some advice for those graduating this year and moving on to bigger, better things:

1. People will walk out of your life after graduation. Sometimes it’s because you live too far away, or minimal effort put in by both parties. If you thought having a social life in college was hard, just wait until you move away from all of your college friends and you all have 9-5 jobs. This was one of the HARDEST lessons that I learned this year after being around my close friends nearly 24/7. Just know that your closest friends will still make an effort to be in your life.

2. Don’t be afraid to take risks in the job market. I won’t sugarcoat it — finding a job post-grad is difficult. Luckily, I found my current job just a couple months after graduation, but I never in a million years thought I would end up where I currently am.

3. Take the time to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. It’s easy to forget to take care of your body once you’re no longer walking miles across campus and don’t have a free gym right at your fingertips (well, at least we did at OU). As aforementioned, I didn’t realize just how much having a desk job would take a toll on my body. Between regular desk snacking, and sitting all day, I discovered the importance of getting in some sort of workout on a daily basis and eat healthy. Also, mental health days are definitely necessary; make sure you relax outside of work, and try not to let it run your life.

4. Do not stress about student loans. This is one thing that I cannot stress enough! The same day I graduated, I had a total mental breakdown about not having a job right out of college and seeing the amount of zeros following how much I owed back in loan payments. Something that I’ve learned since is that coming out of college with debt is absolutely normal. Educate yourself on the various options you have to pay back your loans and choose the one that works best for your situation.

5. Don’t forget to have fun. Yes, being a “full-on” adult sucks. Remember that although you may be working your ass off in the office, you NEED to take time to enjoy time with your friends and loved ones. Eat cake, drink champagne, and celebrate your hard work; life is too short to be miserable!

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017!

-K.