Posts filed under ‘Life as an intern’

Calling all DR. WHAW fans!

So I’ve come to a decision:

I cannot keep up with DR. WHAW? all by myself.

I haven’t thoroughly planned this out just yet, but I have realized that in order for DR. WHAW to be consistent (and daily), I need some help. Since there were many of you who were glad to see this daily feature return, albeit briefly, I am hoping that there are some out there willing to help me keep DR. WHAW a nightly staple.

Ideally, I’d like to have one or two regular contributors who are willing to help me out a couple nights a week to make sure that DR. WHAW doesn’t fall by the wayside. You don’t necessarily have to love measurement, you just have to be willing to share what you Didn’t Read While Hard At Work. I prefer that you pick one general topic or passion and highlight it, but hey! I’m flexible!

If you would like to help me out in this venture, please send me the following information to denison.rebecca[at]gmail[dot]com:

1. Your Name

2. Previous blogging or writing experience (Twitter handle is OK, too!)

3. Why you want to write for DR. WHAW?

Also feel free to reach out if you have any questions! I hope to hear back from at least a few of you soon! 🙂


January 26, 2010 at 1:42 AM Leave a comment

Expectations: are they really so completely overwhelming or all in your head?

I expect it won’t take more than an hour.  I expected to have a job by the time I graduated.  How do you expect me to read your mind?

No matter where you are in life or where you want to go, at times we are all haunted and overwhelmed by expectations.  Whether they’re our own, those of our peers or those of our superiors, expectations have an uncanny way of being unrealized.

I grew up with certain expectations for myself, which included being gainfully employed upon graduating from college this May.  With the drastic change in the economy and high-speed evolution of communications, I have found many of my expectations have gone unfulfilled.  Some days it’s easy to feel like this mean I’ve failed.

After talking with just about any one who would listen, I’ve realized that I am definitely not alone and that I need to change my expectations in this economic climate.

This made me think: what other expectations do I have for myself (as a person, a professional, etc.) are completely off-base and unreachable? Am I setting myself up to fail?

Recently I had to fill out one of those personality indices which asks that you first select all of the adjectives that you feel you are expected to be and then to fill out all of the adjectives that you think you really are.

I realized that I believe that the world expects me to be, well, perfect.  I am expected to be patient in my job search but tenacious when applying for opportunities.  I am expected to be respectful of my superiors but confident enough to disagree.  I am expected to be completely dedicated to my job but well-balanced in life.

Am I alone?  Am I pulling these expectations out of thin air?  Is it even possible to meet all of these criteria?

When I ask people what they do expect of me, I feel as though I often get very vague answers, which only makes me feel more nervous that I am utterly failing to be what is expected of me.

As a young professional seeking first-time employment in an ever-changing industry, what is expected of me?  What do you feel is expected of you?

December 16, 2009 at 9:37 AM 2 comments

A letter to oneself one year later — lessons from a year-long job search

Last week, Kate Ottavio wrote a letter to herself for the PR Breakfast Club blog.  She wrote to her former self about all the lessons she has learned after working for one year in PR.  This inspired me to write a letter of my own:

Dear Rebecca,

Hey lady!  Take a deep breath.  You will have your dream job in one short year, and trust me, time will absolutely fly by when you relax.  This next year will cause you some stress and frustration, but I promise you it will be worth it.

I know that you won’t believe any one else’s experience completely because they aren’t just like you, so instead I’ll tell you what I would have wanted to know when I was just starting my job search:

  1. Don’t take it personally. Seriously.  I cannot stress this one enough!  It’s the roughest job climate in decades, and it will take you time to find the right job.  You should know that less than 20 percent of all graduates will have jobs this year.  Being an overachiever, I know it’s hard to accept, but you’re not alone and no one will think of less of you.
  2. Compromise but know your deal-breakers. You’re going to be offered internships and part-time positions that are not ideal.  You’re going to be offered positions that are downright insulting to your intelligence.  Know the difference, and don’t be afraid to say no.  A job may not be perfect, but you should still be happy.  When you’re instincts tell you it’s a bad idea, for Lord’s sake, listen!
  3. Get out more. I know, I know, you’re not a big party girl.  That’s OK.  But get out there!  Go to those networking events you think you’re too tired to go to.  Go to the ones where you don’t think you’d fit in.  Trust me, you’re bound to meet someone who will have good advice even if you don’t meet your future boss.
  4. Ask everyone for advice, but don’t follow it blindly. One thing that will frustrate you the most is when your parents, professors and peers all give you different advice.  Who is right?  And will you disappoint someone by not doing what they suggested?  (This is where the relaxing part comes in again.)  Take any and all advice that feels right and you think will help, and don’t for a second worry about feelings.  You will not hurt someone by working hard for your goal.
  5. Keep your expectations realistic. Always. There will be a few times when you think that you have a great job in the bag!  Just a few more details to be worked out.  And then just a few more, and then a few more weeks go by and still you’re unemployed.  Don’t stop your search until you have that offer in your hand!  If you stop because you think it’s about to happen, you’ll only feel more pressure and stress when you start back up again.
  6. Make yourself happy and make friends. You’re going to find yourself in a new city far away from where you went to college.  You will feel alone and lost at times, but if you make an effort to have friends, you’ll feel much, much better in the long run.  Eat lunch and go out after work with other interns in your building or nearby.  Know your limits, but try to always say yes.  You’re a social person, and you need to have friends to be happy.
  7. Be true to your passion. You know what you want to do, and you have been working hard to gain the best skills and experiences to get there.  Shouldn’t that be enough?  Unfortunately not.  But don’t lose hope.  Your passion and drive will eventually show the right person that you are the perfect fit for a job.  Trust me, and let your passion be your guide.  Oh, and don’t ever think sharing you passion is too nerdy!

I know that there is probably a lot more that you want to know about what to expect, but by not knowing, you will learn a lot in the next year.  You won’t love it, but looking back you’ll appreciate it.  Keep your head up, I know you’re destined to get where you want to go!


Future Rebecca 🙂

December 6, 2009 at 9:02 PM 3 comments

Look Ma, I’m employed!

I must first inform you that I am writing this post from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and I am lucky enough to be sitting next to my love after five long months apart.  We have both been planning this trip for what felt like forever, but when I found him just outside customs, I don’t think it mattered to me one bit where we were.  I was just happy to have my best friend back.  I spent most of the day fighting jet lag, but tomorrow there are big plans!  The infamous Opera House and maybe the beach!  It’s almost summer here, and thank goodness for that.  Chicago winter is creeping up on me, and this will be a great change.

Friday was the last day of my six-month internship with StrategyOne, the research arm for Edelman.  I learned a great deal from my work at StrategyOne, but I was ready to move on to something different.  I had been asked to continue to work with the company as an independent contractor, and I was happy to have the opportunity to do some freelance work.  I met with someone from Edelman Digital about a month ago, and we talked about the possibility of me doing some freelance work with the Digital team as well.  Unfortunately, it seemed as though this would not be possible since I had not been an intern for Digital before my freelance work.

I have to say I was pretty bummed.  I understand that with a big company this is often “just how it works,” but I had become really excited about working with the Digital team.  My hopes were reignited Thursday morning when I was asked to come in my very last day for an interview.  A position on the Digital team had opened up, and they had thought of me first!  Eeek!

After three interviews on Friday, I had an offer in hand before the end of the day, and I stayed up late to fill out all of the necessary paperwork before leaving the country for two weeks.  Luckily my mom is amazing and offered to fax everything for me the next day.

So now it’s official: I’m the newest associate account executive for Edelman Digital!

And I could not be more thrilled for this new challenge.  I will be taking ownership of some new projects involving measurement, and even more exciting, I get to take on some pretty heavy-duty analysis, too!  I must admit I am a bit nervous, but I’m so ready to take on this role!

Wish me luck!

November 11, 2009 at 7:31 AM 14 comments

There’s no do-over in social media! There’s no make-up in social media!

A League of Their Own?  Anyone?

I had to take a full week off from my blog last month because my internship was consuming most of my waking hours.  I vowed never to take off so much time again partly because I was absolutely exhilarated when I was able to blog again.

This week brought more complications that kept me from blogging.  The end of the quarter meant our quarterly analysis report at work was due and there was plenty to do to make sure it would be completed by deadline.  In case that weren’t enough, I have managed to come down with the flu or something like it.

There is something you must know about me for any of this to make sense: I am a stickler for routine.  I have realized that it can sometimes be my biggest fault, but I like to schedule my days ahead of time so I have a general idea of what I will be doing when.  Don’t get me wrong, if my morning report takes 15 minutes longer than expected, I don’t lose it.  I just like to have a general idea of what my day will hold.

When I am unable to complete all of the tasks I wanted to get done in a day, I feel as though I’ve let myself down in a way.  I know.  That’s silly, which is why it’s such a big fault at times.

Late last week I needed to work many hours overtime to ensure for my internship, and I had to let my blog fall to wayside.  As each day has passed, I have felt more and more like I’m letting myself down for failing to keep up with it.

My initial solution: make it all up in due time.

As soon as I found time, as soon as work calmed down, I could go back and write all those missed blog posts, right?  Uhh, no.  Not exactly.

You know what I’ve realized about social media and the blogosphere?  There are no do-overs and there are no make-ups.  You just have to take what you’ve got and move forward.

This hasn’t been a personal crisis, but for brands and companies faced with such incidents, it’s often the best move to address what has happened and move forward.  There’s no use trying to take back or erase a mistake made in the social media space.

And where time means everything, where a story becomes “old news” in hours, what will me going back to make-up posts from last week do?  Make me feel a little more at ease, I suppose.  But I’m learning to accept that which I cannot change, and I am proud of myself for putting my internship first.

I’ll take what I’ve got and move forward.

October 14, 2009 at 9:12 PM 2 comments

“You’re right on track.”

The economy sucks. Majorly.

Growing up I had certain expectations for myself. I expected to graduate from high school, go on to college, graduate and get a job. Until the past year, all of these expectations were both reasonable and well, expected.

As economic outlook plummeted, so too did my expectation of having a full-time job upon graduation with an undergraduate degree. Last fall when I began my job search in earnest, I had to completely rethink post-graduation plans. And, to be honest, it felt like settling.

I’ve always done all the “right things.” I studied, I went to class, I had internships in the summers and got to know my professors. So why am I only an intern? I went to a good school (a great school!) , took all the right courses and have great experience. Why doesn’t anyone want to hire me for a full-time, permanent position?

Does this sound familiar to anyone else? I’ve struggled not to take this personally. Perhaps I’m too sensitive, but after having expectations of employment for 21 years, it has been a hard transition to accept that I am still just an intern. A former professor and great mentor turned my mindset upside down with these four simple words:

“You’re right on track.”

We’re all right on track. This economy changes everything, and we all need to realize that our expectations have to change, too. Maybe all I needed was some reassurance. Maybe I needed a reality check. Maybe I needed to learn to be patient.

Since hearing those four words, I’ve tried to talk about my situation with as many people as will listen, and you know what I’ve discovered? My professor was right. In today’s world, I am right on track. As are you.  That track may have taken a sharp left since the economy hit rock bottom, but that track can still take us where we want to go.

I hope I’m preaching to the choir, but in case you couldn’t help but take this whole thing personally:

You’re right on track. And don’t ever forget it.

September 27, 2009 at 12:03 PM 1 comment

“Grown up” (and influence) is what you make it

This week I have been feeling old.  I know, I know.  Twenty-two is not old, but I couldn’t help but wonder how I’d gotten to a point where a friend I’ve known since fifth grade is having her first baby.  Today at her baby shower, surrounded by my oldest (and dearest) friends, I realized something: grown up is what you make it.

Growing up it seemed as though adults had their lives together.  They had a stable job, a house and a family.  So when do I get to be a grown-up?  I’m a college graduate still trying to find my place and settle down. When will I be a bona fide adult?

The answer came to me as I was jumping on a trampoline with my best friend.  Of all the places in the world to be!

I have many friends who are getting married and a few starting their families.  I have plenty of friends who are starting their careers in brand-new cities and places.  I also have many a friend who are still unsure where to go next.  Are any of us more adult than the next?

The conversation between bounces turned to those friends we know who are gainfully employed, but want to spend all of their free time going out, hittin’ the bars and just having fun.  We both ended up admitting we wanted to stay at our friend’s baby shower all night but could not.  She needed to return to Madison for pharmacy school, and I needed to drive back to Chicago for work.

So maybe, we decided, we’re grown up because we have to make those decisions.  We may not have all the responsibilities just yet, but our mindset is still the same.

A post written on Friday by a fellow UNC grad came to mind.  Katie Wall wondered how the online greats seem to come up with content that sparks conversation and gets them noticed.  Why can’t I have great influence online?

I think influence, much like “grown up,” is what you make it.  Twice already I have been asked to provide insight and suggestions related to public relations measurement, about which I’m very passionate.  I may not have 10,000 followers on Twitter, but those that do follow me know me for my passion.

I am influential because I have shown my passion for measurement and continue to contribute to the conversation.   It’s important to remember that there is not set number or metric to determine influence (or “grown up”).  Influence is what you make it.

Think about it. How are you influential?

September 13, 2009 at 3:48 PM 4 comments

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