Saturday, July 28, 2018

From Joy to Nightmare: The Truth About Finding A Job After Graduation

It’s funny how things have a way of happening. Back in August of 2012, I decided to go back to college. My degree was in Nursing at the time but when it came time to take the entrance exam I missed getting into the program by 1 point. You have to wait an entire year to take the test again but I didn’t want to wait that long so I made an appointment with my advisor and she suggested taking classes in Human Resource Management. Me, a business major? Okay. I like to think of myself as a Science nerd and have always leaned toward a career in the healthcare industry.

There I was, sitting in the advisors office changing my major to Human Resources. I knew little about the profession but put my heart and soul into my classes, internship and any article I could find regarding HR, Recruiting, and employment laws. I was determined to graduate with honors as I wasn’t able to do that in High School. I probably could have but I didn’t really take High School that serious.

Classes were tough at times but I enjoyed every second of it. Were there times when I wanted to quit, sure but I didn’t. I was in too deep and I found the courses interesting. I was nearing the end of my college life and needed to find an internship. Luckily I found one that I could complete from home. The internship I had was for a magazine based in New York. It was my responsibility to screen, schedule interviews, and interview candidates for open positions. I also helped on-board and work on special projects. My team was amazing and I learned a lot from not only them but the Editor-in-Chief.



Graduation, time to find a job that I can make my career. Here I was well trained, well-educated and ready to tackle the world. Oh the naivete! Like many, I thought it would be easy to just apply, interview and be hired. The hours spent filling out applications, searching the internet for open positions for which you are qualified for, and the endless phone screen interviews are enough to drive you mad. They see the long gap in my work history or the lack of experience in HR and that’s it, interview done, no more phone calls.

Then the self-doubt starts to seep into your head. Am I good enough? Why can’t they just take a chance on the underdog? How can someone just exiting college have 5-10 years’ experience working in HR?  Am I un-trainable? Am I too old? Am I not the right look for the job? Why can I graduate with honors but can’t even get past the phone interview? I get that they are looking for rock star people but, just like some are not good at taking a test there are those that are horrible at interviewing. That doesn’t reflect on their ability to do the job it just means they need to have more coaching in that area. Why pass someone up that doesn’t interview good? They could end up being your best asset.



The truth is, sometimes it will take months to find the job you are looking for. Not because you aren't prepared but because recruiters usually received hundreds of resumes. Some are qualified, some are not and some may just be what they are looking for. You may have saw the ad late or may have just missed out due to a lack of particular skill they are looking for that you lacked. Don't forget to be personable during the interview. They aren't just looking at your resume but at how well you will fit in with the culture of the company. Ask questions and make sure to know about the company before you interview. Tell a story on why you would be the right choice for the job and how you can help the company achieve their goals. In other words, make them remember you. Stand out and you will be the one they call back.  

I will admit, I am currently at the lowest point right now in my search. I feel like my greatest accomplishment in life, graduating college, has become my worst nightmare. The amount of stress that it creates is unbearable at times. I just want to throw my hands up and give up but I know I can’t. I can’t let the job search break me. I need to keep fighting for what I want. Keep pounding the pavement. Keep networking with people from companies I am interested in working for. Keep practicing my interviewing. Keep researching the latest in Recruiting and HR. Just keep moving forward. I know my efforts will pay off eventually. Until then, I need to be proud that I set a goal for myself and achieved it. 

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Knowing When It's Time to Get A New Puppy After the Loss of A Pet

In 2003, we brought home a white little ball of fur that we named Daisy. She was an American Eskimo and fit into our family of three perfectly. I can remember her running through our yard and she was so tiny that the blades of grass nearly made it impossible to see her. 

Daisy


In December of 2017 I took her to the vet because she had been coughing and it wasn't clearing up. I thought she just had an upper respiratory infection and was just expecting to come home with antibiotics to clear it up. I packed her into the car, went to my son's school and picked him up and then drove to the vets for our appointment. We took her out of the car and walked her the eight feet to the door when she collapsed at my feet. The receptionist yelled, "We have a dog down out here!" I went to my knees and tried to get her to respond but she wasn't responding. The vet ran outside, picked her up from the sidewalk and rushed her to the back. My kids and I were standing in the lobby in shock! I called my husband at work and told him to come to the vets right away because it didn't seem good. After about ten minutes the vet came out and said that Daisy was starting to come around but she suspected that her heart was giving out. She ordered x-rays and blood work to see what was going on. It wasn't good. Daisy was in heart failure at the age of 13. I wasn't ready to say goodbye just yet. I told the vet to do whatever it took to make her better. So she began an IV drug to remove the fluid from Daisy's heart. 

We were at the vets office for about an hour and a half. She finally recovered enough to go home but we had to give her medicine to remove the fluid around her heart and also a blood pressure medicine. The doctor said that Daisy would need to be on the medication for the rest of her life. That was fine with me as long as we had our Daisy. We went home and began Daisy's long road to recovery. The next day I called the vet because Daisy had the runs and I wanted to know if that was a normal effect of the medication. The vet called me back to discuss Daisy's blood work. She told me it wasn't good. Daisy not only was in heart failure but she also was in kidney failure. The medication to help her heart would potentially harm her kidney's. It was a double edge sword. It wasn't until day four that I realized that things were not good. She wasn't eating, she was shivering and just looked like she was ready to give up.  We talked it over as a family and decided the best thing to do was to let Daisy go in peace. It was the hardest decision I've had to make in my entire life. 

How do you say goodbye to a friend, a companion and something you consider as a part of the family? We all cried, pet her and told her we loved her and thank you for being such a good girl. I leaned down and told her I was sorry. Sorry because I couldn't save her and sorry because I felt guilty for deciding to end her life. I couldn't watch her suffer and I know it was the right decision but the guilt was horrible. How do you look at your children and tell them their friend has to leave us? Yes, my kids are 16 and 12 but it was their first long-term pet to pass away. I'll never forget her and miss her to this day. We buried her on our 10 acre property so we can see her and talk to her in the Summer time. She will always be in our hearts. Plus the vet gave us a memorial paw print of hers along with locks of her fur. It was a sweet gesture. 


At the end of March, my husband came to me and told me he was ready for a new puppy. How do you know when you are ready? I know I wasn't ready yet. I'm still grieving for my little fur baby. You can't just replace a companion you had for 13 years. Grief has different stages and everyone moves through those stages differently. While my husband worked through it, I was and still am moving through the stages. I was open to looking at puppies and even consider purchasing a puppy but it had to be the right puppy. I had to get over thinking that I was replacing Daisy because no dog could ever replace her. I had to think of getting the new puppy as adding to our family and Daisy being her angel sister. I don't have to forget Daisy and it is okay to make new memories with our new puppy. It's okay to enjoy the puppy and have fun. That is what Daisy would want for us. 

I began my search and found a German Shepherd puppy that was about an hour out from my home. I drove out with the kids to see and was told she was the last one left. I knew she was supposed to be with us when I looked at her face and held her. She began licking me and wagging her tail. We decided to purchase her and bring her home that day. We've had Lilly for 2 weeks now and I couldn't imagine our lives without her in it. In a way, she is helping me through my grief. She is helping me enjoy having the playfulness and spunk in our house again. Our 12 1/2 year old Australian Shepherd isn't too fond of her yet but she is slowly coming around. After all, dogs grieve too. 

Lilly 

My point is, you will know when it is time to add to your family. Talk it over with the entire family to  see where each member is in their grief and then respect that stage. Don't get a new puppy right away though. It's not fair to the new puppy and it's not fair to yourself or to your family. You have to give yourself and your family time to grieve.  

Have you ever lost a pet? How did you handle the grief and when did you know it was time to add to your family? How do you remember your lost pet? 


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Thursday, January 25, 2018

I Received My First Stitch Fix Box

Disclaimer: I have not been contacted by Stitch Fix for any mentions in my post. All of these thoughts are my own. You may have differing opinions.

A few days ago I made the leap to try Stitch Fix after seeing ads on Facebook. Today I received my first "fix." I'm so excited to try everything on and see how it fits. I'm not very fashionable so I more or less want to use the service to help me look professional and not frumpy.

The first thing that stands out to me is that the prices are not cheap. My entire box, should I choose to purchase everything, will cost me $226. It was nicely packaged and had suggestions on how I should style the different pieces. I only have 3 days to put what I decide not to purchase in the mail. There is a prepaid envelope in the box for me to send items back, which is nice. I guess I have to checkout online for the pieces I decide to keep.

I'll post pictures of what I received and what I decide to keep in a different post. I was so excited about receiving my box today that I had to share it with everyone. Have any of you tried Stitch Fix? What are your thoughts? Is it worth it to keep using the service or would you suggest a different service? Please share in the comment section below.



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Monday, January 22, 2018

Dressing For An Interview If You Are A Plus Size Petite Women

Disclosure: I have not been asked by any of the stores mentioned in this post to write about them. I am writing about my own personal experiences and have purchased all items with my own money. I have not been paid or sponsored in any way. Your experiences may be different than mine.


After being a stay-at-home mom for the past 12 years you kind of forget how to dress for a job interview. For the past week I’ve been busy trying to find something that looks good on me, is professional and doesn’t make me look like a ginormous blob. The first two outfits I put on, I thought, were okay but after taking my picture in them I realized that they both made me look HUGE! I mean, I know I’m a big girl but these outfits made me look terrible. You can see that they both have buttons that go across my midsection, which is where I carry my weight. I’m also short in the torso so I tend to look a little boxy.


Sweater from Kohl's
Blazer from Lane Bryant

As a 5’3” plus size women, I found that 98% of fashion out there is NOT made for us. I got really frustrated and began to have doubts about my job interview. Who is going to want to hire someone that doesn’t look and feel confident in their own skin or clothes?

So, I pulled up my big girl panties and let my fingers do the walking online. I searched: Old Navy, Kohl’s, H&M, Lane Bryant, Dress Barn, Avenue, Maurice’s, and Torrid. I didn’t think Torrid would have anything for me, a woman in her 40’s but I was wrong. I figured that it only catered to younger people but surprisingly they have several tops in their store that I love. I found this bright pink top and ruched sleeve blazer. Once I tried them on I fell in love. Not only do they fit me really well but I don’t feel like a giant sausage. I already had the black pants, from Kohl’s and my shoes from Famous Footwear. To top off my look, I purchased the heart necklace from Torrid.

Blazer and top from Torrid

What have I learned from my shopping experience? 1) Make sure to try everything on. There were items that I tried on where I needed a smaller size because of the cut or style. 2) You have to feel good in what you are wearing in order to look confident. People can tell when you are uncomfortable and that can cost you the job. 3) Play with colors you might not normally wear. I normally wouldn’t wear bright pink but it works on me. 4) If you aren’t sure, take a picture of yourself. It took me several pictures before I found the outfit where I felt I looked my best.

First impressions are really important in a job interview. You only have one shot at it so make sure you look the part and feel confident in what you are wearing. If you are unsure of how to dress, contact the interviewer and ask. I made sure to ask how I should prepare for my in-person interview and I’m glad I did. I know that I have to dress professionally, where to arrive and what to bring.
If you are looking for your first job or next employment opportunity, Good Luck!!


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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Social Media Is Making Us Angry

Hello readers! Earlier today I was catching up with some friends of mine on Facebook. One of my friends works at a local school and had made a post asking her followers to please say a prayer for a 7th grader in her school. There was no mention of the girl’s name, the school, or why the girl needed prayers.

Well, this created a HUGE debate on her personal Facebook page regarding the girl’s right to privacy. One of her followers wrote that if it was PERSONAL then my friend should not be writing about it on Facebook. Another said that she was violating HIPPA, which led to one person correcting that person and saying FERPA. All my friend was trying to do was ask for prayers and it ended up becoming this huge deal.


When did we become a world of heartless, uncaring ogres that we feel it is our duty to point out or call out people that do care? Can you imagine if you were in need of some prayers and you received nothing? No hope, no caring just angry, self-indulged ogres telling you that they don’t care enough about you to say a tiny little prayer? Now, I’m not a religious nut but I do believe in a higher power and really it doesn’t matter if you believe in God. The point is, someone needs you for strength and you should indulge them for their sake, not yours.

I apologize for my rant but it really bothered me that these people were bashing my friend for caring about this little girl and her family. 


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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Why Is Diversity Important?


Dictonary.com defines diversity as, “the inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic stratum, sexual orientation, etc. (Dictonary.com, n.d.).” We all know that it is best to work for a company that practices having a diverse workforce but what does it mean? Diversity can mean different things to different people. Here is my take on how to explain what diversity is.



Think of a box of crayons. There are several colors in the crayon box. Now think of a child drawing a picture. It doesn’t matter what the picture is, just that the child is drawing the picture with the crayons in the box. That child is going to use all the crayons to make their picture. He isn’t just going to use one crayon for the whole picture. Each crayon helps that child tell his story or draw his picture. Without one crayon the picture is not complete. It is dull, unfinished, missing something special.


How can we relate this to the workforce? The crayons represent our people, or Human Resources and the picture represents the project the workforce is working on. Each person working on the project, no matter their cultural background, education, religion, age, size, or gender has something to add to the project. It’s these different points-of- view that bring life to the project. If we only had one point-of-view the project wouldn’t be successful.

Diversity is about embracing our differences and finding a way to work together for the benefit of the project and for the company. Can you think of another analogy to explain what diversity means to you? Share your thoughts below!



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Monday, January 15, 2018

Avenue.com Ring Chain Necklace Blouse (Review)


Disclaimer: This review is of my own personal experience. I was not contacted by nor am I associated with Avenue.com. I purchased this product with my own funds and am just sharing my experiences as a consumer. Your experience may differ from mine.


As a recent college graduate looking to get back into the workforce, I’ve been looking for clothes that make me look like a professional rather than someone that looks like they just rolled out of bed. I have a couple things that work against me in the clothing department: 1) I’m short. I’m 5’3” and those of you that are around the same height understand my struggle. We might find pants that look really cute but are made for giants or we might find a shirt that looks really cute but it looks like a nightgown on us. Also, fashion designers think that everyone has big boobs! I can find a shirt that fits in the waist but the boob area is so big that I might as well not wear a shirt because you can see EVERYTHING!

My second struggle is that I’m a plus size woman. The clothes look like they are made for a 90 year old woman! I mean what person, under the age of 50 or even 60, wants to look like their grandmother? Have designers even looked around the United States? Can they see that there are ALL types of body shapes? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can lose the weight….for those of you that will comment that. Believe me, I’ve tried. Just look at my Instagram page where I posted photos of me doing 5k races. I was down a considerable amount of weight but life got in the way and I admit I let myself go. But for the meantime, I need clothes that fit me and make me look professional.


Image from: Avenue.com

If you’re still reading, let’s move on to the purpose of this post. I like to shop online, which is probably not a good thig, since you can’t try on your purchases before buying. I was browsing clothes on Avenue.com when I came across this really cute top. I made sure to read the sizing before I placed it in my shopping cart and checked out. I’m normally a size 22-24 or 3X. In reality I’m probably smaller but I don’t like shirts that cling to me so I purchase bigger than I should.




The top is a maroon color with a built in necklace. I purchased it for $30, normally $50. I figure the top could be worn under a blazer for work and the chain can be removed, which is nice. The color is slightly different than the photo online but not by much. It’s made out of 100% Polyester and is really thin but not see through. The only thing I don’t like is that you can see every lump and bump if you don’t wear Spanx. Also, I noticed that as I moved, the shirt got a lot of static, so I’ll probably have to find some static cling spray before I wear it. One last thing, I could have ordered a smaller shirt because this shirt tends to run big.



My overall experience is good and just keep in mind that the shirt runs a bit large. Also, because of the material, I'd wear Spanx to keep everything smooth.





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