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.

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.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

Ch-ch-ch-changes

In a recent post, I briefly stated that I was making a number of changes in my life. My goal is to live a more positive, healthy, happy life by making small changes now to help me achieve bigger goals and chase bigger dreams.

Working a desk job, I don’t have much ability to be active throughout the day. After being able to be active while at school (walking across campus to class, dance practices, free gym access, etc), I realized I could not maintain my old habits. With the help of my boyfriend Ryan, I’ve devised a plan consisting of a few lifestyle changes in order to help me stay in shape and, ultimately live a more positive and happy life.

  • My FitBit is my new best friend. For my birthday a few weeks ago, Ryan bought me a FitBit Alta per my request.  While I have yet to reach my daily goal of 10,000 steps, it has motivated me to get up and get moving. At work I tend to take the long route when walking to the water fountain, bathroom and my colleagues offices in order to get the most out of my steps. It also helps a lot with tracking my calorie intake on the app; it’s free and downloads to your phone while activating your FitBit after purchase.
  • Absolutely no fast food. Ryan and I decided to use the buddy system with this one. By cutting out all fast food, we are cutting out the option of taking the easy way out when it comes to lunch breaks. While I tend crave McDonald’s fries and tacos from Taco Bell, I’m breaking the habit by choosing healthier snack options such as Skinny Pop and baked chips. I also allow myself the occasional bit of Dove dark chocolate and chocolate milk when my sweet tooth is acting up.
  • Limit caffeine/drinking your calories. We also came up with the idea of limiting my caffeine intake to 2-3 times a week since I have a serious coffee and Coca~Cola addiction. Something that’s really helping me drink more water is the ability to track your water intake daily on the FitBit app. I’ve also been turning to sparkling water to help get the carbonation I often crave from pop.
  • Thinking positive thoughts. In a previous post I discussed my desire to live an overall more positive life and discussed the various ways I was doing so. You can check out that post here.
  • Make a daily routine. Right now I’m still trying to get the hang of my new sleeping schedule, but I have a sort-of routine that I’ve been sticking to as of late. The whole point of it for me, personally is to make sure I achieved all I needed to in the day.

What do you do to make sure you stick to your goals? Also, anyone with tips to quit biting your nail pleaseeee comment because that is my next goal.

-K

Surviving My First Post-Grad Job: Week 1

Surviving My First Post-Grad Job: Week 1

Hi everyone!

Last week was my first full week at my first post-grad job. It was exciting, it was overwhelming, it was fun, and it was work. I got lucky because I’m working in a brand new marketing position at the company my dad has been working at for the past 20+ years. While I have the opportunity to help mold the position, it’s still intimidating being my first job and having a lot of expectations to live up to (i.e. daddio).

Sneakpeek of my desk

Before I started, I found myself reading articles with titles along the lines of “How to succeed at your first post-grad job” and “10 things to know before starting a job.” They all had fairly the same lessons in all of them: dress appropriately, be prepared, get enough sleep, be organized, etc.Most of them seem like common sense, but you don’t realize just how much the smallest details help in the corporate world.

Here are a few tips that really helped me get through my first week on the job:

  • Prioritize your work.
  • Get to know your colleagues even if they aren’t in your department.
  • Take notes.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Plan your outfit and pack your lunch the night before so you aren’t scrambling in the morning.
  • If you’re having computer problems, it really helps to have a friend in IT.
  • Also, get those computer problems taken care of ASAP or you’ll fall behind in your work and piss off your boss.
  • Know how to clock in and out properly so you don’t have a minor heart attack when all of your hours aren’t on your time card. Not that I know from experience or anything…
  • To-do lists are your best friend.

What are some tips that helped or are helping you through your first job? Feel free to share your tips with me; I’m always looking for advice!

-K

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Classic Summer Fashion Staples

Classic Summer Fashion Staples

Happy Friday!

With summer being (unfortunately) half-over, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my summer wardrobe. While, I admit, I do miss my sweaters, I’m not ready to pack away my sandals and sundresses. A lot of the clothing I own can be mixed and matched and worn during all four seasons; As a Michigander, this is pretty important as  so we need to be prepared to experience all four in the same week. So, without further ado, these are some of my summer fashion staples:

Sunhat (I prefer mine with a monogram) such as this one from Marley Lilly. I love my freckles, but I’m fully aware of the damage the sun can do. A big sunhat (or baseball cap like this) helps keep your face out of the sun no matter what the outdoor occasion!

My obsession with over-sized sunglasses like these by Kate Spade from Nordstrom began with the dawn of The Hills. Lauren Conrad immediately became, and still is today, my favorite fashion icon. Luckily for me, these fit my face shape perfectly enough that I do not look like a bug when I wear them.

Wedges/cute sandals that go with just about every outfit are a huge staple in my closet. My personal favorite are my gold Jack Rogers; they aren’t the comfiest shoes, but they definitely go with just about everything I own.

Sundresses, sundresses, sundresses! I can’t get enough of them. They can be super casual such as a tee-shirt dress or they could be a day-to-night dress by adding the right shoes and accessories.

Maxi-dresses/Skirts are perfect for the exact same reason as stated above. One of my favorites are the versatile ones that can be a dress or a skirt.

These are just a few of the twice-as-long list of some of my necessities for a stylish summer. What are some of yours?

-K

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New Product Alert: Erin Condren Life Planner 2017

Hey everyone, I have some exciting news this week!

I’ve made the life-changing decision to buy an Erin Condren Life Planner and I will never be the same. Okay, so maybe I’m being a little overdramatic with the whole “life-changing” thing, but, in all reality, the planning aspect of my life is forever changed. This is my first purchase from Miss Condren, but I’m sure it will not be my last.

A bit of background: Since a young age, I always thoroughly plan every aspect of my life utilizing an agenda. I have yet to find one that fully caters to my personal preferences; however, the Erin Condren Life Planner is completely customizable to fit your preferences. After witnessing the joy and excitement that these planners have given some of my sorority sisters, I was convinced that I NEEDED this agenda in my life.

So let’s get to the good stuff…

As I previously stated, EC planners are totally customizable for your personal preferences. This year’s planners allow you to change the covers, the color of the coil, the layout AND the color of your layout.


I chose to stick with the platinum coil (choosing another coil is a $10 up charge), but you can also choose from black, gold or rose gold. All of the covers are interchangeable (so I will definitely be buying more) and many allow you to put your own creative twist on them such as adding your name, monogram, personal photos or simply changing the background. Since I had such a difficult time picking just one for my initial purchase I had my mom pick the Own Kind of Beautiful cover for me. It originally comes in lavender, but since I’m not a huge purple fan, I changed the background to pool blue. They also have permanent covers this time around, but I wanted to have the option of changing my cover.

When you finally receive your Erin Condren, it comes this adorable box and includes a bonus postcard and sticker. I also received the extra ‘cheers’ gift labels since it was my first purchase from EC.

Both the front and back covers have these dry-erase boards for extra notes you need to keep throughout your day/week/month.

I chose to purchase the 18-month planner that begins July 2016 and goes through December 2017 just so I could get more bang for my buck (there is a 12-month planner option if that’s more your style). The body of the planner allows you to choose from two interior color themes: neutral or color, and three layout options: vertical, horizontal and hourly. I chose the neutral color theme and the horizontal layout simply because I’ve only ever used horizontal planners and the neutral theme allows me to decorate my weeks however I want with Washi tape without having to stick to a color scheme.

Even though I have the neutral color theme, there are still these little pops of color accompanied by inspiring messages at the beginning of each month.

Near the back of the book, EC provides stickers to use throughout your planner to mark important events, appointments, and even trips to the gym. There are a few plain colored sticker pages as well so that you may write whatever you wish on them. I plan on using them to plan my blog posts!

With each EC planner, you will also receive this small, transferable perpetual planner so that you will always have your important dates on you without having to carry your life planner around everywhere.

img_0566

Finally, the last little extra you receive with your planner is the plan for it pouch which can be attached to the planner using a coil clip or it can simply be stowed away in your purse or backpack. The clear plastic pouch comes with a large coil clip, two pay it forward cards so your friends can also shop EC, a sample sticker book (sticker book sold separately), and three compliment cards.

I am so ridiculously excited to start using my planner. If you are interested in purchasing from EC, feel free to shop here and receive 10% off of your first purchase!

-K

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It’s Time for {Yet Another} Face Lift!

It’s Time for {Yet Another} Face Lift!

Hello everyone!

As some of you may know, I’ve been going through quite a few changes in my life lately. I’ve graduated from OU with my B.A. in Communication, I went alum in my sorority, my dance career has come to an end, and I’m moving back home with my family, just to name a few of the many changes in my life. With all of these changes, I figured why not make some more starting with my blog.

Some history: I began With Love, Koko Beth my freshman year of college on a whim for my writing 160 class (a class mandatory for all freshmen). It started off strictly as a fashion blog on the first domain that I could figure out at the time, and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I wanted a name that portrayed my blog as something a little bit cooler than it actually was, and has time has gone on, I began questioning my name choice. I didn’t know if it was actually “me”; it most certainly was my nickname. but I knew I wouldn’t want to keep my nickname on here forever.

One of the coolest things about blogging is that your blog can grow and change as you do. While I still want to keep it fun and 100% me and things I enjoy and care about, I wanted my name to  be something a bit more sophisticated. I wish to continue to write about things I love, and to be able to connect with my readers on a personal level. Sometimes change is a good thing, and I’m looking forward to Keeping It Kourtney with you all!

-K

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My “Grown Up” Checklist

My “Grown Up” Checklist

Hi friends!

This week I was approached with the task of making a checklist of 5-10 things I would like to accomplish by the time I’m 30. The list could be comprised of bucket list ideas, financial goals, or other “grown-up” items. It really got me thinking of  what all I wanted to accomplish in the next eight years. So, without further ado, here is my checklist of what I would like to accomplish by the time I’m 30.

  1. Start building my career in Public Relations
  2. Start a 401k
  3. Travel to Europe (multiple times)
  4. Get married
  5. Buy a house
  6. Pay off the vast majority of my student loans, if not all of them
  7. Adopt a puppy
  8. Have 10% of my earnings go to my savings account
  9. Invest another 10% of my earnings
  10. Own a car

If you’re interested in managing your finances and planning for retirement like I am, check out Personal Capital’s wealth management tool. Schedule your consultation with an adviser today!

-K

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Good Will {Job} Hunting

Good Will {Job} Hunting

Happy Sunday Everyone!

As my senior year and college career draw to a close, the time has come for me to begin my search for my first, post-grad, full-time job. While the career services center at my University is absolutely phenomenal, I often like to check job sites in my free time to see what else is out there. So, for those of you in the same shoes as I’m in or those of you looking for internships I’ve decided to share with you some of my favorite job search sites to aid you in your search!

**Disclaimer: Not all job descriptions give light to what the job actually entails. I highly recommend going to Glassdoor or a similar site to review job/company reviews by past or current employees.

College Recruiter

Indeed

Monster

Link Up

LinkedIn

Simply Hired

Also remember that your college campus has excellent resources, make sure that you utilize them to their full potential. Check out your campus’s career services office, it will make a world of difference!

Happy {job} hunting!!

-K

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