Spring Thaw

I’ve been busy being depressed, watching Netflix, and procrastinating everything in my life. It reminds me a lot of when I was graduating from Macalester, and I’m mad at myself for falling into the same habits. I haven’t written, partially because of all of this, and also because I’m not always sure if I want to continue having a public blog. I started this blog, and have maintained it, because I think other people go through the same things I do, and it could be helpful for them. Yet, I wonder if it will ever hurt my chances at finding a job. Or worse, hurt someone I care about. It is a delicate balance that I am always very mindful of, but sometimes I make the wrong decisions. A friend of mine recently shared her own story though, and it reminded me of the reasons I will continue to share my own.

One example of fear related to a job… I recently went to Utah for an interview. The highlights were endless: the company is a small, fun technology firm; I would be a manager to 10+ high potential recent grads; they allow puppies in the office; culturally, I loved everyone I met. On the other hand though, it is in Utah, which is far from the NYC in which I envision myself living. Both geographically and culturally. I was really concerned about how me having a public life could influence my ability to lead a strong team. Would they have doubts in my leadership abilities because I have publicly stated I’ve dealt with depression? Would I be less effective with my subordinates knowing details of my personal life? I’ve never pretended to be religious, but I would also be nervous that my openness could be frightening to some of the more religious and conservative people that are in the majority in this small town in Utah.

In the 6 weeks since this interview, I’ve come to realize a few things about myself. First off, I’m just a candidly open person, both online and in person. I don’t say anything on the internet that I wouldn’t say in real life, and whenever I do have the opportunity to manage a team, I will carry this strength with me. I believe it makes me both relatable and inspiring, and is something I would value in a manger of my own.

Next, Utah isn’t for me. It is beautiful, absolutely, and I would love to vacation there sometime. Yet, I need to live in a big city. I love being able to walk everywhere and not have to worry about a car. I love being able to run down stairs and across the street to get my Starbucks coffee. I need to have a neighborhood bar when Joe and I can go after work for a drink or two, and not have to worry about driving home. I also feel that there is just more going on in NYC. My Macalester community, Girls in Tech, book clubs, etc., will all be available in New York. Sure, they could be in Utah too, but there would be fewer options and a longer commute to any of them.

Learning these things about me, that I want to be in NYC and that I’m really excited about managing a team (and believe I’ll be really great at it), took a while. I had been applying to a ton of data analytics positions, both because that’s what I know and because it is what I’m good at. Yet, it isn’t what completely excites me. So, today I still don’t have a job, but I know a lot more about what I’m looking for and can be more fierce in tracking that down. For now, I’m pushing down the fears that I’m a fraud and can’t actually positively contribute to a company. I’m happy it is finally spring.

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Hoops

The process of finding a job is very strange. I’m not sure if any company is “straight-forward” in this anymore. One job I recently applied for required two 1,000 word essays, along with a resume and generic application. Thankfully I like to write, and I’m also hopeful that the essays weeded out a few people who weren’t really interested in the position. One friend of mine actually confessed she didn’t apply when she saw that requirement.

Turns out, I made it to the next phase in that application process. Instead of it being a live interview though, whether via Skype or in person, it was a recorded video interview. Specifically, the HR representatives pre-recorded the interview questions and then I had 2 minutes to respond for each. At first, I was excited about the process. I was able to do it on my terms, where and when I wanted, with only a deadline to guide me. I spoke to people who have gone through similar interviews and got some insights, which was really helpful.

But then there is the strategy of the interview, which is where my nerves kicked in. In 6 total minutes (3 questions with 2 minutes each), what is more important: conveying the best answers or showing one’s true self and personality? Obviously it is a combination of the two and probably some other components, but I felt like a lot of my experiences were shared with the essays. I tried to view the video interview as an opportunity to show that I can present myself well and be an engaging speaker. I’ll let you know soon if that was the correct approach.

Yay recruiting

Before I get into it, please let me acknowledge what a great privilege it is to be graduating with my MBA from one of the top 5 institutions in the world. In the grand scheme of things, I’m highly employable and don’t need to worry about employment in the long term. I’m extremely fortunate to be where I am.

That being said, business school has been hard work and the perfect job has not been just handed to me at the end of it. Recruiting is a trying process that is emotionally stressful and very deflating. I often leave a rejection feeling “unemployable…” but I do have a tendency to be dramatic.

During the last week in October I had 7 interviews and received rejections from all. The level of competition for these roles is crazy. The first rejection came for a rotational program that I was extremely excited about and thought I was perfect for. I didn’t have quite as many years of experience as they were looking for, but I felt I had a compelling story for why that was okay. I got the rejection letter without the opportunity to interview.

One job that I did interview for was one I was a little less excited about, but sometimes the best opportunities come out of those circumstances. I made it through four interviews before getting the rejection. This situation was more frustrating because even after all those interviews, they were unable to provide specific feedback. I thought the interviews went very well so it is hard to determine what I can do better next time.

I made it to a third interview for probably what I would describe as my favorite job. At some point in the process there must have been a communication error though because halfway through the interview, my interviewer realized I wasn’t graduating until the spring and they needed someone to fill the role immediately. This was frustrating because it was just a timing issue; I’m hopeful a similar role will become available closer to graduation though.

A lot of my current frustration is my own fault too. Many of my peers have offers already in the bag. The entertainment industry is just different though. Hires are made just in time and its probably crazy for me to think I’m close to closing the deal. So, it’s probably just time for me to take a deep breath, enjoy the holidays, and resume the effort in the new year. Easier said than done, but I’m going to try.

How far we come

When I was looking through old emails for my Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen fan site, I stumbled upon something I wrote in 2003. I was emo at the time to say the least, and suicidal if we prefer a more blunt approach. Here is the un-edited version of my thoughts on a lonely night in January, eleven years ago. It is complete with spelling errors for your amusement (WARNING: you will need the laugh).

I’m so scared right now. i am shaking.  I am grasping for air.  i dont want to die. but sometimes i think i do, and i am scared that if i think i do, i might try, when deep down i really dont want to. what happens when i do try, and then i change my mind? what happens when my mind desides to change, when it is already to late? is 10:58 right now, but what if i dont live till tomarrow? what if my mind desides to over come what i really feel deep down? what if i go down to the kitchen and get the knife? my life could end in an instant.. but yet i know i dont want it too. i think, how could i be so selfish, to want to take my own life? when all day i try to stop other people from making the same mistake. Then i start to think about what happens after. Who crys? who forgets me? Who moves on? Who doesnt?  Whats wrong with being different? we go through life with people teaching us we can be who ever we want, when really we have to be who everyone else wants us to be.

Besides the obvious desire to give my middle-school self some screen time, I’ve posted this for a reason. I’ve posted it because it is important to know and understand where we all come from. Earlier this week I was accepted to Yale with nearly a full scholarship. I wonder what that girl, the one who was so, so sad, would say about who I am today.

I find this thought comforting for a few reasons. First, it reminds me that nothing is forever; everything changes. It means I can’t get too held up in the moment because soon it will be over and I’ll have moved on. Second, it’s okay that sometimes I’m a sad-cat, and even that I used to be an extremely sad-cat. I’m still super strong and can accomplish a lot. Or so Yale thinks ;) Lastly, it means it gets better. Highs and lows evolve. This week I’m stressed out about all the other decisions coming in… but this time next year I’ll be somewhere else… and that somewhere is still a mystery. My “low” today is a hellofa lot better than it was then, for which I am thankful :)

One rejection does not mean defeat.

So last week I heard back from Stanford and it was a rejection notice. I’m obviously disappointed, but also acknowledge that this whole b-school this will work out as it shall. I gave a lot of consideration to the schools I was applying to and would be happy at any one of them. One rejection does not mean defeat.

The next 20 days are going to be trying though. I’m going to keep myself busy as much as possible so that I don’t sit and think endlessly about all the decisions that will be rolling in. By December 20th, I’ll hear back from 5 more schools. Leaving only 2 still up in the air. Pins and needles folks, pins and needles.

Back on track

I’m out of my funk from last week. Other people on the internets (so it must be true) have called similar reactions to application season PTSD… maybe that’s what it was. Either way, with two schools inviting me to interview last week, I’m feeling better. It shows me that I’m at least a competitive candidate and gives me an opportunity to woo them. I’m a good wooer.

This upcoming week I have a Skype interview with Georgetown. I would have preferred to do it in person, but they only have one day available for on-site interviews and it was a Saturday. Spending time in class and seeing the campus during the week is important, so if I can’t do that, I might as well just Skype it. Plus, I’ll go über-broke flying everywhere if all 8 schools come calling…

After the first interview request, I did something terrible and discovered Beat The GMAT, which is a website where people post if they’ve been invited to interview yet. It kind of allows me to go crazy as if I didn’t have that ability already. I learned though, that MIT was beginning to send out their interview requests the following day (Friday). I hate knowing stuff like this because then I can get my hopes up and down and all around within the normal response period. In reality though, I shouldn’t be worried until I don’t hear back at all.

Anyway, I got an email Friday morning from MIT and nearly had a heart-attack. Except it was just a newsletter mentioning things going on around campus and was in no way an invite to interview. Then they emailed me later in the morning and I was like “god dammit MIT quit emailing me heart-attacks” except this time it actually was an invite to interview so the excitement was warranted.

I signed up for a good time and will be able to do a class visit and information session. It will be an awesome little trip. I also reached out to all the current MIT MBA students who are also Macalester grads – I’ll be meeting up with them when I am out there to gain insight into their experiences.

Now it’s time to practice like crazy for my interviews and remember that I don’t suck. I also need to stop analyzing the admissions process because now I think every school sends invitations out alphabetically so when Stanford starts on Monday I’ll get my invite then too… but I could totally be jumping to conclusions and getting me hopes up for naught.

Time to wait

A week ago yesterday I submitted the last of my business school applications. I applied to eight which both gives me the best chances of benefiting from the Consortium and still time to apply round 2 or 3 if needed. It’s actually really good that I made it through them all before this feeling captured me though. I thought that after all the applications were in I would just be able to sit back, forget the process was happening, and magically get accepted to schools come December.

But, it’s not like that at all. Every day I think about how foolish I’ve been to think I’m good enough to get into the schools I want to; that I’m psyching myself out by thinking I can live up to the reputation I’ve imagined for myself. I understand the statistics, and therefore my chances. I recognize what a difficult year it could be for business school applicants. I accept that maybe I’m too young to be taken seriously but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m really just failing at life in every way.

Last week though, I was feeling a lot better. After literally months of preparing and writing essays and rewriting essays and stressing out, I was happy with the way I presented myself. I was confident in my ability to tell my story and that my story was a compelling one to tell. I’ve worked hard but also had really good opportunities offered to me that I’ve taken advantage of. I do all the things people say you’re supposed to do, so maybe I’m at least on par with my competition. Except it doesn’t feel that way now. It feels like a joke. Hopefully this is just the normal post-submission-blues and I’m not really letting down every single person in my life.

Last minute jitters

Stanford is due tomorrow which means I’m pretty much freaking out and nearly hyperventilating. I needed to take a little cry break on Joe’s shoulder even. Crying is fine, because I haven’t cried in a while. It wasn’t even a good cry though, just a little mopeyness.

I didn’t know what this one would feel like, but it is really nerve wracking. Last week when I submitted MIT, I wasn’t stressed. I put my best foot forward and am happy with how it turned out. But with Stanford, I want to have it just perfect which is impossible because I don’t know what perfection is even if it exists. I’ve just got to put all I can into it and hope for the best, but it also feels like I should be able to do more. It’s an overwhelming feeling of just not being good enough, which is lame.

I briefly considered listing one of my old Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen fan site awards on the “Awards and Honors” section, because I really don’t have anything else. And, while I am legitimately proud of them because I was young and taught myself how to code HTML, I don’t want them to think I’m making light of the application. It’s also kind of pathetic if my only award is from 2001 so I left it off.

I’m going to go to sleep, get a great night of rest, and wake up early tomorrow to put together all the final touches. My essays are done (except one for a fellowship), 90% of the application itself is done, I just need to read through everything 10 more times probably. But, mmmrrrahhhhhhhhh

Application time!

I’m in Berkeley. I’m here visiting the business school. Mainly because Chris Kluwe lives nearby and I miss having him close, but also because it’s a pretty good program. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never experienced it. I’m not a good reference.

I submitted my MIT application on Monday. It was the earliest deadline and a good starter. The application was average in terms of essays/prompts, amount of information, etc. I haven’t visited yet, but really like a lot about what the program has to offer. I also think the location would be great. One down… 7 to go?

Next Wednesday is the infamous Stanford deadline. I went and tried to psych myself out today by looking at application stats and stuff. Only 7k people apply for the less than 400 spots, so, it’s not like it’s impossible… My essays are in “okay” shape. Questions like “what is your favorite place” and “what is your favorite thing to read” give me not only the opportunity to let my personality shine but also make an ass out of myself in less than 300 characters. If I had to guess, I’d say 23% of applicants get an interview. If I’m not in that bunch, I’ll be a sad cat who failed. If I’m in that bunch but then don’t get in, that’s okay. At least I tried.

I’ve also been maybe over-doing it lately. Work has been pretty busy, Girls in Tech stuff is in full force, and I’ve been getting up every morning at 5am to work on my essays. Yesterday I just wanted to come home and sleep but I had already volunteered to help out Tix for Tots at the Lynx Game, they kicked ass, by the way. And now today I whisked off to Berkeley, delayed flight and all.

I’m just going to be so relieved when it is all done and I can impatiently wait for months on end.

Another year

I’m sitting at Buffalo Wild Wings right now, just a hop from Macalester. I originally set out to go to the one by the University of Minnesota; it is the closest and I was just looking for a quick lunch while working on essays. Then I saw hoards of teenagers and remembered it’s move-in weekend. First, hundreds of teenagers is scary on its own, but being near the U on this weekend meant they were all “finally free” and a little more rambunctious than usual.

I decided to come to Macalester’s BWW because if I’m going to be surrounded by any brand new college freshman, I’d rather them be of the higher quality. Kind of kidding, I just feel safer here… in the, omg teenagers are scary type of way. I wonder how much homework I would have done here had this place existed when I was in school…

It’s crazy that it has been another year. So much has changed since I graduated from Macalester two years ago… I lived on my own, met Joe, found a job that I love that I am advancing in, bought a condo, spent lots of money but only have velvet furniture to show for it, got involved with Girls in Tech, discovered technology was a passion… and am now preparing for the next phase: business school. I might even argue that I’ve changed more these two years than I did in the last two at Mac…

I like who I am, I like who I am turning out to be. I know I’m not perfect, but sometimes I pretend to be and others sort of believe it, which is neat. Other times I find myself in a deep dark hole not knowing how to dig myself out… here’s to always hoping I do :)