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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Finding a purpose

So I wrote this post over a week ago, but was sitting on it because it felt so unresolved. Now it might be resolved and I’m relieved. 

I’m at a fork in the road. An impasse. Basically I’m stuck. I’ve always had a purpose and right now I feel like I don’t. None other than to graduate from MIT, but that’s nearly done.

In high school, I wanted to do well in class and stay busy so that I wasn’t around home. Between my parents splitting up and my mom starting to drink, I liked to stay away as much as possible. I volunteered and took college classes and did all the National Honor Society stuff that a good student does.

In college, all my focus went towards Program Board and Student Government. I loved having an impact on the student body and contributing to the overall experience of my classmates. Student Government in particular gave me a great glimpse into the bureaucracy of business and I loved it.

After graduating, I remember going through a struggle similar to the one I am now. It was the first time I was embarking on a time of my life that wasn’t pre-determined. What I did after college was a blank canvas and I was nervous about that. It wasn’t a terribly long struggle though, because I had my job lined up before I graduated and started my corporate gig that summer.

Even then I found more ways to be involved. First, I started this blog. Second, I joined Girls in Tech and started giving a lot of my time to volunteering. It was a great experience and something I miss dearly. I tried getting involved with similar organizations while in Boston, but nothing has been the right fit.

Starting at MIT was a tad overwhelming. The classes were a lot of work and I got involved with a few groups, but I never felt like I was making an impact. Even when I was all in on the Its on Us campaign, the Women’s Advisory Group, and the Title IX Working Group, I didn’t feel like my efforts mattered. I’ve come to the realization that I have no idea where I’ll be living in a few months or what I’ll be doing and that’s hard. It’s also difficult to get out of bed every day when I’m not actively contributing to something I’m crazy excited about. I’m excited to find that next thing again soon. 

The next day though, I made a trip to NYC to meet with people in the entertainment industry. I ended up landing an opportunity to work with a small entertainment advisory firm. I’m going to be doing some really neat analytics work for identifying successful content before it airs. If it ends up being a perfect fit and I like the company and the company likes me, maybe it turns into a job. Even if it just working on extremely awesome analytics that focuses on content featuring strong females and meetings some really great people in the industry, that sounds just awesome too.

Things turned around!

It’s really too bad that I am so often rewarded for my ranting; it only encourages me. The day after my post about my internship frustrations, I received two internship offers for the summer. More specifically, I received an offer from a TV Network in NYC and they wanted a response within 1 business day so I applied pressure on the other company I had been speaking with to also make a decision. The pressure worked and they came to me with an offer the same day.

I went into the weekend with so much worry about the decision ahead of me. Both options were fantastic. In NYC I would be working on distribution analytics, something I’m incredibly interested in and passionate about. In LA, my job would be to manage a brand/franchise for the summer, something I have less experience in, but knew would be a great learning opportunity.

In truth, I knew my decision right away. My gut told me the LA position was the one I should take. Yet, I spent hours try to convince myself my gut was wrong, and then why it was right. I also had a lot of concern about turning a company down. I was so extremely interested in both roles though, and unfortunately I cannot be on both coasts at once. After two nights of very little sleep, I made the phone calls early Monday morning. There was that awkward time where I had declined with the East Coast but couldn’t yet reach the West Coast and was sorta concerned it would all turn to flames so I just went to workout.

But it is official! I passed the background check, reserved an airbnb room near the campus and bought my plane ticket. Wowza.

Day 1 with Google Glass

Today was my first day of using Google Glass. I actually picked it up last night but was having this weird eye thing (gross, I know) and couldn’t wear contacts. So, this morning I popped in my contacts and finally got to explore through the world of glass.

I stayed with one of Joe’s friends last night – he turned out to be a pretty nice guy. He was walking me to the subway this afternoon and asked me what the over/under was on how long until someone asked me about them. I thought that within the hour someone would definitely ask, and if not, right away at my hotel. He bet on someone asking on the subway.

Three hours later, as I’m riding down the elevator from the rooftop bar, I’m finally asked about them for the first time. “What kind of glasses are those?” was the question. He was an old man and I had to explain the concept of it being mostly like a computer.

Next, I went to stalk the filming of Tracers starting Taylor Lautner because that’s the kind of thing I do. And now here is a whole semi-discrete camera on my face for filming said famous people – score.

I sadly couldn’t track him down, but someone quickly approached me “oh my god, can I take your picture? You’re the first I’ve seen!!” Never being one to turn down a photo op, I obliged. Next, I used it to flirt with the crew on set to try and get some word on when Taylor would be around… no dice.

My favorite part so far? I walked into a home store and the associate was like “Can I help you find…. omg, are those Google Glass? Kari, Sam, get over here!” And quickly it was like I was on display.

From a functionality stand point… still getting used to it. I mistakenly tried to “hangout” with my OKC circle when I was at the Google Glass Basecamp… what is an OKC circle you ask? It is a circle I used to hold all the men I met from OkCupid, which has since been deleted. Note: “edit undo” is not a Google Glass command.

Overall review of my experience at Booth

This post answers your “well, how was it?” question. My three weeks in the Summer Business Scholars Program were inspiring. It was great to be surrounded by so many smart, driven people. I learned so much crammed into those three weeks… some of it academic, a lot of it personal.

  • I can be intimidated by large groups of people. My roommate, towards the end of the program, said that she thought I was very introverted/independent when she first met me. I’ve always known this about myself, but I still believe I am a people person, and these two attributes seem contradictory. I’m also not convinced it is something that needs to be resolved… only understood.
  • I’d much rather sit down and get to know someone 1:1. I like truly getting to understand someone rather than get the basic filler information. How will I remember this person? What is it about them that will encourage me to pass their name along to someone else? How can I help this person advance, and is this someone I want to work with?
  • Life, business, and entrepreneurship are all about relationships. As I’m meeting people I need to put my best food forward and nurture relationships with those I have a great connection with. There is the theory that you should surround yourself with people smarter than yourself and I want to make sure I have those people rooting for me too.

There are other components of my experience that I didn’t like as much, and either way those things are very helpful to understand.

  • I’d like Booth a lot more if it were downtown Chicago. We were in a dorm in the most perfect area (i.e., 1 block from a Maserati dealer!), but had to bus down to Hyde Park every day for class. This is not the ideal situation for me. I like fully immersing myself in my education and community and if I have to live outside of a big city area in order to be close to school, I’d need a really compelling reason to do so (read: Stanford).
  • This epiphany makes re-evaluate NYC schools. I loved my experience in NYC so much (I did a 5 month study away program there in 2010). The downsite? I remember feeling that it was so big. It would take a lot of work to be the big fish in that pond, but not impossible.. Intimidating nonetheless.
  • The upside? I totally love creeping on people, and NYC is the place to do it. OnLocationVactions (@olv) is my most favorite resource in life.
  • An article I recently read highlights the advantages of starting your business within your own community. This makes sense. You have the support of friends and it isn’t like starting fresh. For me, that community is Macalester. The neat thing about that though is that the Macalester community is everywhere. I treasure my education there more and more each day.

In general, marketing was a difficult class to take as I feel like “it” tries to take all the credit of a successful firm. Is it necessary? Yes. Are other departments just as important? Yes.

Finance was awesome and it is exciting to know that this program has helped me identify a core competency (see what I just did there? That’s a term I learned in Marketing).

As far as the program goes, it is definitely something I would do again. Or, rather, would do over given the opportunity to go back in time.

For Business school… I see many benefits in holding off a bit. It is still something I definitely want to do, but waiting another year will only make me a better candidate. Unless I become a crazed crack addict, in which case I don’t think business school would be relevant anymore.

Dreams can come true

So last night I could not get to sleep. I did a GMAT practice test after work and pretty much nailed it. Getting a score so high caused me to think of all the things that could happen if I actually scored that high on the real GMAT. And just when I had finally begun considering Carlson…

Which business school to attend has been an internal debate for a while. Say I get into somewhere like Booth, I have the option to either leave my job and leave the state for a few years to get my MBA, or remain in MN, go to Carlson and keep my job. There are pros/cons to each, which I have talked about extensively in all my MBA posts, but the gist is this: if I plan on settling down in Minnesota anyway, it would be a lot more beneficial for me to stay in MN, continue to expand my network and get my MBA from Carlson. Therefore, the only reason to go to another school is if 1) it is really awesome and 2) I want to live somewhere else for a while. As of Sunday, I had mostly decided that MN would be a better option.

Then a high score happened. As I was lying in bed last night I remembered back to a car ride when I was 13. I was sitting in the back seat, my mom and her friend Susan were in the front. We had just left my house and were crossing the bridge near the end of my driveway, on the way to meet a “client.” My mom and Susan were discussing whether they should begin selling pictures of me online to men that pay me to dress up in different outfits. Their logic concluded that because I would always be dressed, there was nothing perverted about it. The idea was ultimately vetoed, but I remember sitting in the back seat thinking that it wouldn’t be a smart venture for me to be involved with if I were going to get my MBA from Harvard and be a CEO.

I’m not saying this thought has prevailed my every decision (sadly), but it is one of those things that I have always said. You know, the sure things that you just know (feel in your gut) and never consider not to be a possibility, until they don’t happen but then it is still okay. (Self fulfilling prophecies?)

My list of sure things:

  1. I was reincarnated from a woman who was killed in the Great Chicago Fire. I think I had been claiming this before I even realized what, when, or where that happened.
  2. I’d go to Macalester.
  3. I would live in an awesome apartment downtown while working my awesome corporate job right after college (I even knew I’d have a dog named Chrome!).
  4. I’ll never get married and I’ll be a spinster without cats.
  5. I’ll go to Harvard for my MBA.
  6. I’ll be CEO of some company and give tons of money to tons of people/orgs after buying my penthouse apt.
  7. I’ll write a memoir.
  8. I’ll die too young from breast cancer.

True or not, those are just random things about me. You can imagine how, after nearly taking Harvard off my list of possibilities, it was exciting to revisit the idea of what that would do to my life. Life on the east coast? Meet some of the most fascinating and influential people ever? My resume stating: Education: Harvard Business School, MBA.

Mih, this girl’s gotta dream… eventually I took a Benedryl and went to sleep.

Elevator rides

So I got into the elevator today all the way up on the 30th floor. There were already people in the elevator, and they continued on with their same conversation. One woman was telling a story about a woman in New York who was killed in an elevator yesterday. This is what I over heard:

Lady1: Yeah, so her leg got caught and she couldn’t get it out and the elevator moved
Guy: People under estimate how strong those doors are!
Lady2: I know! And everyone just assumes it will open…
Lady1: People were in the elevator too! Can you imagine watching a person right in front of you getting ripped apart and bleeding to death like that?
Guy: Oh god, how painful it must have been. It must have been a slow, agonizing death

I then stopped focusing on the exact details of what they were saying as I was plotting where in the elevator I would aim my projectile vomit. Eventually I had to turn to them and say “Really? That’s what you guys decided to talk about in an elevator?”

Then once I got back to my desk I obviously had to search online…. It actually appears to be a really tragic accident. I feel really bad for her friends and family, but at the end of the day, please wait to tell the story until after you have left the elevator….

Scatter brained

So I’m considering canceling my gym membership. It costs me $62 a month, which is kind of silly because I haven’t used it in two months. Because the gym is in my building, if I use it 8 times/month, I get half off my membership costs. However, even this doesn’t get me to go. Why do I continue paying for it then you ask? Because I like to have the option to work out. Yet, I’m beginning to think that it could just be a source of guilt for me- I’m paying for it, I should be using it… but I’m not, so I suck.

The worst part about it, though, is that I love working out. I love waking up early and how energized I feel afterwards. I know I feel better emotionally and physically when I work out, which should naturally follow with “okay, then work out more” but it does not. Why is this? Does everyone ask themselves this everyday? Because I sure know I’m not the only one.

My chin is rashy from kissing my prickly boyfriend. It is annoying because I look silly and I find myself scratching the crap out of my face during meetings. This is not the ideal way to conduct one’s self in a corporate setting. Alas, hopefully he has shaved today.

The problem with following current events is that I actually expect the changes to take place. One of the latest topics that I have been following is the Viking’s stadium debate. In this, I’m also going to include the possibility of a Block E Casino. However, when I begin to think about how long we’ve (Minnesotans) been talking about a new Viking’s stadium, it nearly makes me laugh. Yet, not laugh, because I’m deeply vested in the issue and can’t image how anyone could think that Arden Hills is a viable option. Obviously I understand I have my own biases- I live downtown and would love for anything to bring more life to the area. The fact that I cannot find an open Caribou close to my apartment on the weekends is sad. Having lived in Manhattan for a short time, I came to love the ability to get a pedicure (complete with a glass of wine) at 2 in the morning. [On that note- does anyone know where I can get alcohol while getting a pedicure in this town?!] So, for me, Viking’s stadium=midnight pedis (especially if it means a 24-hour casino opening in the area too).

Today I had absolutely no drive while at work (in fact, the first draft of this post was written there). I didn’t have too many meetings, which meant I had a shit ton of time to get my work done. However, I think I was hungry or something or just not in the mood and therefore barely got anything done. I hate how I get this way sometimes, and I told my cubie I wish I had some focusin, but he didn’t get it (Simpson’s reference). The sad part though is that I’m already on medication for my ADHD, because this has been a consistent problem my entire life. While uninsured for a few months earlier this year, I was unable to refill my prescription, and the 3 months I went without it sure made me appreciate it once again. I’ve since started taking Strattera again (about 2 months ago) and have noticed a dramatic effect in my ability to work. However, there are still days where I am completely scatter brained (like today) and nothing gets done. Maybe that’s why I’m super productive other days, to compensate?

[As a side note, I’ve since left work (only about 30 minutes early), and am now at the bar because that’s just how today feels]

I am in need of advice
So, a little back story first. This summer, I went to a charity ball/auction. I was on a date, and severely pre-gamed the event as I thought there wouldn’t be an open bar. To my surprise, there was, and I took full advantage of the tequila luge and margarita bar. Being the generous person I am, I decided it was time to start bidding on the silent auction items. I don’t remember bidding on anything specifically, but I never bid more than the minimum, and basically I was just trying to encourage others to bid as well. Well, the night ended early and I puked in my date’s shoe… and didn’t hear anything about winning any auction items. A month ago I woke up to an email stating that this auctioneer had been trying to track me down since July and that I had won a private cooking lesson for two. In my response, I neglected to tell her that I didn’t even remember bidding on anything… let alone $250 for private cooking lessons… Alas, it was for charity so I paid my bill and told Joe of the delightful surprise.

Next week is the supposed cooking lesson. At first I tried to be really excited for it, but now I’m more nervous than anything. I just got the menu from the chef, and while it’s okay that I only know about half the words he used, I don’t even understand the technical aspects of it. I’m not supposed to bring the food- right? A cooking lesson implied that the food will be provided, no?

Well, now I am weighing my options. I can either just clarify with him what all I am expected to bring -OR- show up empty handed like a fool and have a funny story to tell. My typical self would lean towards the funny story, but Joe is rubbing off on me with all of his open-communication crap, and it might make more sense for everyone (including my sanity) if I just ask him earlier rather than later. I wish I was still in middle school and could have my best friend ask his best friend to ask him.

On another note, apparently I’m a really bad speller and have no grammatical sense. This is all fine and dandy for most people, but me being an aspiring writer and all complicates things. Joe was the one to point this out to me. This was quickly followed by a handy link to this blog. Thanks man, thanks a lot.