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.

Friends: a value

At Sloan, we don’t have official classes during January. It is called the Independent Activities Period (IAP) and is time for students to travel, do externships, or participate in a short term class. I’m in a class for this week called: Conflict Management & Assertive Communication. It has actually been really interesting and has prompted a lot of self-reflection.

One activity I did was called “values.” We were given a handout with maybe 50 different values and we each had to self-select the 5 we individually valued most. I selected, in alphabetical order, Fame, Friends, Humor, Self-Acceptance and Wealth. I was a little hesitant to select this specific set because Fame + Wealth seems incompatible with Self-Acceptance. Yet, just because I love me for who I am doesn’t mean I don’t want others to do the same, right?

Next, the trainer asked “How do others know these are your values?” My eyes went straight to “Friends” and I realized: They probably don’t.

I’ve never had a plethora of friends. In fact, for a majority of my life I would say I had none. Growing up, I related better with adults. So, if I can count my adult friends then I am fine, but in all honesty it was difficult to be my true self around them too.

I had what I thought was my first “best friend’ in 6th grade. Then one day we got curious and kissed and she never spoke to me again. In 7th grade I had a close friend who ended up hating me by the end of the year because she thought I was a lesbian and by 8th grade I had a new bff. Then I switched schools because that’s what happens and in high school I got along better with guys. I had one good high school friend but even by senior year we spent less and less time together.

Once I got to Macalester I was like “holy shit, I finally found my people” and had 7 good friends that I would always hang out with. Over the years some of them drifted away (read: we didn’t click and things got awkward). And then there were just Devin, Drew, and Mollie, which would be all I ever needed if they all lived in the same state (or at least not California, Minnesota and North Carolina).

Post-college was hard. It’s also when I started this blog because I realized I needed some way to get what was inside of me out and a deep friendship wasn’t available necessarily. I think I rub people the wrong way. My humor can be hard to read, and I’m not good at making people feel overly welcome if I don’t like them. Maybe I’m too judgy, which I do try to work on.

I’m also an introvert and am very anxious in large group situations, which is what makes business school kind of funny. A recent article in the Huffington Post spelled me out to a T, and also made me feel a lot more comfortable with the fact that I’m not rolling in friends. tldr: I withdraw in large crowds, small talk stresses me while deeper conversations are great, phone conversations are hard and I basically shut down when I’ve had enough of people. I think it was actually secretly written about me.

So, now that I’ve uprooted my entire life to move across the country to go to a school that revolves around networking, how am I doing? I feel extremely alone. I miss people understanding me and I miss having a deep connection. But I also acknowledge that as an adult, best friends don’t just fall from trees and real relationships can take some time. I’ve got one thing going on right now but I don’t want to be overly eager and jinx it.

So even now, as I reflect on my current friendships and how bad I am at keeping up with people across the country, I still see these connections as being ever so important. It was just a lot easier when we lived together and it makes me want to be rich enough so I can buy a huge piece of land and have all my friends live next door. Wisteria Lane doesn’t look too bad right now.

Public Speaking my ass

The other weekend I spoke at a conference. It was actually a code camp, which is basically a tech conference. It was the first time I had actually submitted a talk for something like this. The other cases where I’ve spoken have been on panels where others reached out or by random happenstances. The coordinator for this conference though contacted me after us meeting at That Conference.

I usually get pretty nervous when speaking in front of others… Even though I understand the importance of public speaking, it still terrifies me. My face and ears get beet red, my mouth gets dry, and I have a tendency to rush through my speaking points. So, I’ve been signing up for more and more talks like these in an effort to combat this fear. If I want to be any kind of leader in the future I need to learn to speak in front of others…

My talk was about Google Glass. I didn’t put a crap-ton into this presentation beforehand because I had already given the same presentation 3-4 times and was pretty comfortable with how it would go. I don’t like to over-practice things because then I can come across as too rehearsed. Rather, I like to just have a really good understanding of what I’m speaking about.

Let’s just say, this talk went hella-well. I didn’t feel nervous at all going into it. I knew I knew my content and I was excited to teach others about the functionality. I went into the day with a nice bowl of cereal (Lucky Charms!!) and then red bull and coffee too – so I was just a bit hopped up. My session was just after lunch too, so I went up with a full stomach rather than starving my nerves like I’ve done in the past.

When I did the evening presentation of Google Glass for Girls in Tech, I had a beer beforehand which I thought loosened me up and enabled the good presentation. With this one, I obviously didn’t and it was still just as good if not better. The feedback I got was encouraging too. Most liked the humor I brought to the presentation and my overall ability to engage. One person even suggested I consider stand up comedy. It’s really remarkable to put a lot of effort into something and then see my efforts pay off… 

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

My thoughts on a wedding…


Kates thoughts on a wedding

A really good friend of mine recently got married. When she first told me she was engaged, I thought to myself “holy crap, aren’t you too young?” but I was happy for her if that was what she really wanted.

It was a rather quick engagement, so shortly after their engagement, we had the Bachelorette party. It was awesome. Hanging out with girlfriends and getting to wear cute dresses while doing silly things as directed by truth or dare… what could be better? So, I said “aww… I want to get married.” She was a good friend though and told me it isn’t wise to get married just because you want to have a bachelorette party… 

After getting home from the BlogHer conference, I was super excited to see my friends. First, I was looking forward to being around females I actually like, but I hadn’t seen some people in years and I was really hyped to be reconnecting.

Then I realized that everyone was in the wedding party but me and I felt pretty alone. I think a lot of it was that I was already feeling alone from being at the conference and yearning for that connection. This was just another opportunity to be reminded that I don’t have a lot of close connections. At the end of the day, I definitely don’t blame my friend for not having me in her wedding… rather, I just wish I was close enough to someone to warrant the opportunity.. I think I’d be pretty good at it :)

So then came the actual wedding day. I was probably more nervous than the bride. It’s hard to explain why. I feel like maybe I was scared for her committing herself to one person for the rest of her life? Terrified for me for having someone my age and close to me get married? Worried that society would start telling me to get married? Maybe even a little nervous that I would cry at the wedding and show emotion to others? (I sure do hate that…)

I don’t know if I’ve just never paid attention during weddings or if nothing really sunk in because I was too young… but this one was different. The whole time they were saying their vows and stuff I was thinking “Holy shit, a wedding is forever and isn’t just about the big day…” Which again, was super scary and reminded me it’s probably something I’m not ready for. Yet, I couldn’t stop thinking how beautiful it was. I had never seen my friend happier and they both had this amazing glow that brightened the entire evening. I hope that one day, if I do get married, that people feel that from us. 

Girls in Tech

So I went to a networking thing tonight that I just heard word of two days ago. It was called Girls in Tech, and it was about as exciting as it sounds. (Which is a lot, for those of you who are misreading this/aren’t into tech).

First I got there and it was hella-awkward because I knew no one and… didn’t even know where the event was necessarily being held. It was at a bar, but I wasn’t sure if the party I was walking up to was the party I thought. Everyone had name tags on though, and they were all women, so, what’s the worst that could happen right?

Turns out, it was definitely the right group. Apparently there aren’t hoards of nerdy girls just roaming around, sadly. As I sat there twiddling my thumbs I was thinking of all the crafty tweets I could write about the irony of it being awkward. I’m glad I didn’t though because women shouldn’t be awkward around each other and I wouldn’t want to perpetuate that myth.

I eventually made some small talk with folks (after my beer arrived, of course). Soon, the hosts/the board did a little welcome/announcements type thing. That was the best part because A) Now I know about She’s Geeky; B) I heard from someone who is running for NSTIC Mayor, which is totally up Joe’s alley; and C) I got to have some nice opening lines for going up to people “oooh, you’re on the board? How fascinating!”

They also mentioned they are looking for a PR/Social Media person, so I said, sign me the shit up. Really though, I went up after things were clearing out and I asked how many people had approached them about the gig. This helped to finalize my game plan. Because their answer was “zero” I went in strong saying how interested in it I am and the fact that I need more awesome stuff to be involved with. I got business cards and will be shipping an email out shortly.

Yet, the two women I approached at the end? Absolutely awesome. They are video game people. And I’m like, omg! I went to a liberal arts school and no girls there liked video games. I walked away thinking I had just found my new bffs – but I won’t come on too strong, I promise.

Chicago: Day 1

I made it to Chicago! It was so beautiful rolling in, and I had a pretty nice cab driver. He listened to baseball the whole car ride so I felt right at home. He also explained to me that State St. is “zero” as far as addresses go, which has already come in handy more than once. I got checked in just in time to make it over to lunch and orientation. After I started meeting everyone, I got a little more nervous. I fricken suck with names. However, I have… 2 of my 3 roommates names down so far.. But maybe thats just because they both start with a “k”. The buildings are all really nice, which I found surprising. I love the location, just a block off of the Magnificent Mile. This could get dangerous if I’m not careful…

During the orientation, the program directors stressed many rules of conduct. I got the sense that they have had some bad experiences in the past, which is too bad. They stated, multiple times, the importance of being on time, being respectful to presenters (eye contact, paying attention and being engaged), and conducting ourselves in a professional manner. It has been a while since I have been treated like a student and it really made me question what they have experienced. One story I pulled was that after a company visit, a student followed an employee out to their car to press for a job or something. No crap you don’t stalk a potential employer!

However, a girl in my program was nice enough to point out that things are just different in different countries, and what I might take for the norm here is completely new to someone else. Point taken Kate, remember to keep an open mind!

Dinner was at Carmine’s and it was amazing. It was like a 16 course meal, complete with calamari and bruschetta, anti-pasta, salmon, chicken, broccoli, and 3 types of dessert. The salmon was the best I ever had. I really should have taken pictures… I’ll have to remember that more. I also liked how slow the service was (only due to the fact that we were a party of 50!!) because it really gave me the opportunity to enjoy each course. Definitely a place I would recommend!

Once I got home I felt über tired. I was all like “awww, I miss Joe so much!” and I really just wanted to talk to him and then go to bed. But, then I realized I need not be a lame face in Chicago, on my first Saturday in town. Hence, I went out with my 3 roommates to scope out the area. We ended up grabbing a drink at TWELVEWEST. It was a rando place we stumbled upon but it ended up being perfect. The mood was great for 4 girls just getting to know each other, and there was live music in the background (playing fun cover music!). I got my $4 bottle of 312 and thoroughly enjoyed talking business school with people who are in the exact same boat (even if one suggested I retake the GMAT).

To Chicago

I’m at the airport now waiting for my flight to O’Hare. I have a bit of a stomach ache this morning as I ate like a total fat kid at the park last night (and the bar after). It isn’t a hangover tummy ache though, because I didn’t drink a lot? I drank just like a normal person actually. I’m sipping a coffee now, that will help calm my nerves, right?

I’ve been promoted to first class for this flight. First, that means that I get to check both my bags for free (as opposed to only checking one for free). It also means that I get “priority” stamped on my bags and also on my ticket so I get all the cool people lines. Except, I’m a dipshit and went to the wrong security check point because they didn’t even have a priority line there.

My mom had a second surgery yesterday, still to correct things in her hand from her fall. She was very weird before going in, sending me cryptic text messages. She was convinced that she was dying. She doesn’t have surgery enough for me to really remember if she’s ben like this before, but she wanted to make sure she had all of her affairs in order. I’ve been instructed to pay off the loan she still has to her mom, and share the life insurance checks with Curt so he doesn’t have to work for the rest of his life.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my mom has a tendency to buy people off. Whether she feels guilty or just truly believes that personal relationships can be mended by money, I’ve always known the the more she wants to please, the more money slash gifts she gives. True to her nature then, I’ll probably be getting a stack of cash when she croaks. I’m of the philosophy that life insurance is to cover the costs of burial and help a family were there to be a decrease in income. What I mean to say is that I shouldn’t be counting the days till I get a sudden influx of money because she no longer supports me (which I’m not). Yet, I’m anticipating it happening, hopefully she doesn’t have a lot more debt than she alluded too.

I’m nervous for Booth. I think that is where a bit of my tummy ache is coming from too. It’s a pretty big deal, the school and all, and this will be an amazing three weeks of opportunity. I’ll meet tons of people and learn a lot- and that feels… intimidating maybe? I’m a little concerned that this dress I’m wearing for the flight is too low cut- it use to fit me differently when I was 50lbs heavier and now that I’ve lost a bit of my boobs, it shows a lot of chest. I was scrambling this morning though- I packed all my good stuff and forgot to leave something for me to wear today! Hopefully it doesn’t cause me to make a bad impression. Joe said I looked nice at least.

Note to self: Upset stomach + Coffee = bad idea. Yet, I continue to drink it. Even though I’m getting warm, from a combination of the nerves, the coffee, and having a warm computer on my lap.

Well, alright, I just heard there are three babies on the flight. Hopefully they are not in first class. Or, if they are, they are at least cute. Mresh, with me luck :)

My mom stresses me out

So I just got off the phone with my mom- we are meeting for dinner tomorrow night because she will be in town, and this will be the first time she meets Joe. Just speaking to her and realizing that I have to see her has totally riled me up and I’m in near tears just thinking about it. I get a stomach ache imagining how the night will play out, starting from the long car ride up to Coon Rapids to the hug I am sure to receive upon my departure. I don’t know what it is about seeing her that freaks me out so much, but I just don’t like the way she loves me so much (I recognize that this isn’t what normal people complain about). For example though, she stares at me across the table with these crazy-eyes, tells me how beautiful I am every few minutes, and always wants to hug me/touch me. It gives me the chills, and I feel uncomfortable the whole time.

There is also the fact that I have a hard time controlling myself around her. When the fact that just thinking about her makes me angry, actually being around her is that much worse. I am quick with her, very impatient, and I feel bad about how I treat her. I try to be open and welcoming to her, I try to make myself excited to see her, but when it comes down to it I’m a nervous wreck.

The last time I saw her was about a month ago when she was at my aunt and uncles house. She constantly whined yet complimented how skinny I had gotten and was upset that she was up 10lbs. I completely blame my body image issues on her (as well as nearly all my mental issues, I suppose). [We decided that tomorrow we can go out to eat because she managed to drop the 10lbs from last time]. At their house, she kept telling me how proud she is of me and all this other junk. What I’m sure many many others would appreciate, annoys the heck out of me. 

Later that evening, I got a call from my aunt (my mom was staying the night), saying she needed my help finding her cat- my mom had let him out. I had taken Tylenol PM to help me get to sleep and was in no condition to drive south and help find a cat in the rain (I’m surprised I even answered the call) so I had to let her down. When I woke up around 1am and checked my phone, I had two missed calls and one message from my mom. She had gotten kicked out of my aunt and uncles place, began driving and had gotten into a car accident. She had nowhere to go and needed my help. This message was about 2 hours old, yet I frantically called her to see what had happened. No answer. I called Curt (her boyfriend) and he had not heard from her- as far as he knew she was still at my aunt and uncles.

I called Joe because I was clearly freaked out and in a panic. He talked me down and explained that if I couldn’t get ahold of her, there was really nothing I could do. When I last saw her at 7pm, she had already started drinking, so all that I could assume is that she hadn’t sobered up and had gotten arrested (from drinking and driving, which would not be the first time). I managed to fall back asleep and didn’t hear anything until about 9am the next morning. It was a text message from Curt that just said “Everything is ok. Big mix up. Take care.”

To this day we have not discussed it and I don’t know what happened. I’ve spoken to my mom maybe twice over the phone since, and she has attempted to apologize. Not wanting to think about it or even talk about it, I was quick to changed the subject. All’s well that ends well, no?

Some people would probably say like, “well, no, not really, because Kate, you are going to see her tomorrow and you basically had a panic attack.” Urgle- I want to cancel on her, ignoring it will make it go away mostly :(

On a similar note, Joe and I are going to look at a condo tomorrow! Not in the “we are ready to take that step” type way, but rather we are going because I saw the listing and was like “omg, that place looks amazing I want to see it.” Besides the fact that it is a tad outside my price range, my lease goes through July and I’m not sure I’m ready to buy yet. However, I get really excited thinking about what will happen next and planning out my goals and future, so this will give me a nice vision to hold on to.

I’ve also been looking a crap ton into grad school options. Well, MBA options which are really St. Thomas and the U of M. Joe will be starting his masters program in July at the U, and I’m also throwing around the idea of shooting for next fall. Technically for MBA programs one is supposed to have two years of work experience, but I plan on taking it slow and I’m already missing school a lot, so I think it could be a good opportunity. Never know until I try at least.

90 Day Review

So apparently the trick is just to use the word vagina in my posts. It’s awesome(sauce) that my number of page views increased so much after that last one. I could get the hang of this blogging thing.

Anyway, my 90 day review was yesterday. I was nervous as shit for it. I actually took Ibuprofen beforehand because I thought that that would make the truth hurt less. It did not.

I got to the meeting room before my manager- I hate being late. Which just left me alone in a room to psych myself out even harder. I was flipping back and forth between “I’m getting fired” and “I’m getting a raise,” neither of which were really that rational. I even had time to write a little beforehand, which was the only thing that could really take me out of my own head.

Brr, it’s cold in here. They must try to distract me. At least now the dreams where I can’t tell time and I’m 45 minutes late are over. I thought I was being followed by an undercover security agent for when the fired me, so I made small talk with him so he would feel bad and be on my side. (He ended up walking away)

On the flip side, I’m only feet from a garbage for when I need to puke, which I feel very close to doing. I’m shaking and am probably an unnatural color- red or

I was probably going to say white, but my manager walked in. He tried to lighten things up by starting with his favorite probability problem- this just put pressure on me and didn’t really help lighten anything at all. Not the typical result from a math problem, but oh well, we can’t win them all.

He placed the report card just to my right. I tried not to look at it, too scared to see what it said. I tried to focus back to when I saw it without any check marks, so I would automatically know what I was receiving without having to read anything- just glance. This didn’t really work too well, and my manager just kept gesturing to it, so I knew I ultimately needed to look down and just read the damn thing.

There were three boxes next to each descriptor. “Meets Expectations,” “Does Not Meet Expectations,” and “Don’t Know/Did Not Observe.” I received a check mark in the first box for every category, except Manages Talent and Strategizes, which my manager marked “Don’t Know/Did Not Observe.” That’s fine. I don’t manage talent, and probably haven’t been given any projects where I can really show my ability to be strategic.

My opportunities are to improve my written communication by recognizing my audience, and to seek out more challenges. Both are probably true. So, I stayed late at work to get a ton of shit done- which was surprising to me for a couple reasons.

  1. I never take feedback well. I had assumed that I would need to leave work directly after the meeting and start drinking. I surprisingly didn’t even drink at all last night! (Either out of sorrow or celebration).
  2. I don’t remember the last time I was at work past 5 or worked on something for so long. I somehow was able to focus on what I needed to do and just got it done. Usually I sit and think about doing it, think about how much time I have, and if it is too little time, I fuck around because I don’t want to start something I cannot finish. If I have too much time I fuck around for a little bit because I would rather feel the pressure of having just enough time. But this opens myself up to the opportunity of becoming lost in whatever fuck-around-task I’ve found, and then at the end I don’t have enough time to do what I originally had too much time for. Urgle.

Afterwards I realized I clearly didn’t have too much to worry about, but actually still kind of appreciated the fear that I felt beforehand. I’m not in any position where I can be walking into a review meeting without that fear- maybe someday. Maybe someday when I own the company I won’t have reviews anymore, that will be nice. But, then I guess my reviews will just come in different mediums, such as from other CEOs or news people. Urgle burgle.