Tag Archives: mentor

Day 353: Best Advice

I’m usually a pretty high-strung person – just ask anyone in my family. Lately,  the stress of some family issues compounded with our department’s reorg, I’ve been a ball of nerves. Luckily today I worked from home and was able to spend some time reflecting on some of the great advice I’ve been given so far in my professional career to help me start breathing again!

    • Assume everyone comes from a positive place. When I first heard this advice, it revolutionized how I look at every professional interaction. I have to admit: I was the most defensive co-worker ever. I was the youngest in my role by about ten years and I knew it. I felt every plan or suggestion I offer was immediately gunned down. It was frustrating, but after hearing this advice, I realized, everyone just wants to do a good job. They weren’t attacking my ideas, they were trying to make sure that our company was putting its best foot forward. I realized my team saw me as a non-collaborative millennial who didn’t respect other’s experience – in reality, I just didn’t want to get run over! Now, I’ve finally hit a happy balance.
    • When you feel like you can’t do anything else, take care of yourself. As I mentioned, these past few weeks have been tough. The other day, I met with a friend who works in HR to talk about how run-down I feel. She asked me if I’ve been getting 8 hours of sleep or working out? Have I been doing the things I love to do? When I realized I wasn’t, I made a serious effort to eat health and go back to barre every morning. It’s amazing how good self-care seeps into the rest of my life.
    • You have a lot going for you at the workplace, but you have even more going for you at home. I am so incredible determined to be the BEST at my job – I can survive off of pure determination. Sometimes I need to remind myself that the best part of my day is cooking with L or drinking with my friends on the porch. In times when my job life is not going as planned, at least I have the personal part running.
    • “You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. I’d hold you up to say to your mother, ‘This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.’ And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watchin’ you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started lookin’ for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’sabout how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself,you ain’t gonna have a life.” There was one day, I was having a super tough time at work. I reached out to one of my mentors and good friends to complain. In response, he sent me a video from Rocky. I still have the quote on display above my desk at home! It’s reminded me that I’M in control of my future, not my circumstances.

    Sound off: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

    Outfit Details
    Top: LeTote (THREE DOTS Bell Sleeve Top) retails for $60 (similar, similar)
    Shorts: J. Crew Factory purchased four years ago for $30 (similar, similar)
    Shoes: zulily (BCBG) purchased one month ago for $28 (similar, similar)

Day 284: Old Friends

Today was an amazing day –  I was able to catch up with two of my dearest friends! For lunch, I grabbed lunch with one of my mentors – who is one of the most confident, smart, and fun women I know! Usually when we meet up, we chat about our careers, issues we face moving up the corporate ladder, and our personal lives – today was no different! It’s so great to have a sounding board who’s not afraid to tell me when I’m being the difficult one in the situation. Plus she got married last year, so she has lots of great advice!

Then after work, one of my favorite friends from my old job in Jamaica was in town with his girlfriend fiance! After polishing off a bottle of red (just like old times) to celebrate their news, we headed out to dinner in Buckhead. After, we found our way to my favorite patio bar. Although, I’m a fan of most bars – indoor or outdoor.

I’ve mentioned it half a million times, but I am one of the world’s biggest fans of Casual Friday! Today I rocked one of my favorite shirts with a pair of boots that have quickly become a staple in my closet. I love when I can toss together two super simple pieces and still look put together.

Sound off: Where do you always bring out-of-town friends when they visit?

Outfit Details
Shirt: LeTote  (SUMMER & SAGE Lake Pullover) retails for $19 (similar, similar)
Jeans: Gap purchased two years ago for $60 (similar, similar)
Boots: Marshall’s purchased recently for $40 (similar, similar)

Day 275: How I Went from Waitressing to Manager

Okay, prep yourself for some unsolicited career advice… I want to kick this whole thing off by saying, I completely failed at finding a job directly out of college. When I graduated college (cum laude dual-major, triple-minor) I applied to about 30 jobs. I heard back from less than half. I landed none. Following graduation, I packed up my college stuff, threw my pride out the window and drove back to my parent’s house. I told people that my mom needed help with her horse farm after breaking her foot (half true) and settled into my childhood bedroom.

I started waitressing at a local pub, where I had the distinct pleasure of waiting on high school acquaintances’ snobby moms. They loved to tell me how their daughter lived ‘in the city’ working for some prestigious company. My only consolation was that I probably made more money than them by waiting tables. Still, I’m not going to lie, it completely sucked. A few months later, I finally found a job that would utilize my college degree. I shifted into a part-time position at an MIT start-up, which turned into a full-time gig about three months in.

One year later, L landed his dream job in Atlanta, so I started looking for a job down in the south. I prepared myself for a repeat of my first post-collegiate job search and applied to over 10 jobs in a week. To my surprise, I landed around six job interviews. I received job offers from every job I interviewed for. I remember grabbing a beer with my cousin – he hadn’t gotten into any of his target undergraduate schools and ended up starting out his collegiate career at a community college before transferring to a state school. Now one year after graduating, he was debating between some of the top law schools in the country. We figured it was better to fail earlier and were so excited for our next big adventures.

Today I work for a Fortune 50 company as a strategic manager of direct and digital marketing tactics. I manage a multi-million dollar budget and have contributed to year-over-year growth. So any seniors out there freaking out, I promise it will be okay. Not getting a conventional job right out of college challenged me and prepared me to be one of the youngest managers in my company currently. I learned to be scrappy and humble and it’s made all the difference.

Sound off: what was your biggest failure turned success?

Outfit Details
Top: J. Crew purchased second-hand three years ago for $20 (similar, similar)
Skirt: J. Crew Factory purchased two years ago for $30 (similar, similar)
Shoes: Nordstrom Rack (Sam Edelman) purchased three years ago for $90 (similar, similar)

Day 253: The Day before West Palm

Everyone was a bit discombobulated today at work. It didn’t help that my to-do list was four miles long and I’m leaving for West Palm Florida tomorrow. Actually that last part is pretty exciting but I just feel like I have so far until I finally get there! Plus as an added bonus, I grabbed a working lunch with a mentor. Learning and eating: two of my two favorite things.

Random topic of the day: I actually starting bullet journaling after falling in love on insta and Pinterest. It’s been a great way to keep track of my to-dos. Maybe if I’m feeling bold in the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my creations!

Today my poor floor ended up with half of my wardrobe on it. I started with a different skirt and then a different shirt and somehow ended up here. Even though the journey was a little bit messy, I love the end product. I’ve been trying to get more into layering: this outfit is a good start!

Sound off: where’s the best place you’ve ever traveled for work?

Outfit Details
Cardigan: J. Crew Factory purchased three years ago for $30 (similar, similar)
Shirt: J. Crew Factory purchased two years ago for $20 (similar, similar)
Skirt: ThredUp (J. Crew) purchased nine months ago for $20 (similar, similar)
Shoes: Nordstrom Rack (Franco Sarto) purchased ten years ago for $30 (similar, similar)

Day 198: Relationships + Intelligence

Today at work was an absolute blur – there were a couple of little fire drills, but mainly I was able to clear out a ton of administrative tasks that have been bugging me for the past month or so.

After work, I met up for coffee with a woman I met at a networking event. At the event, she was one of the guest speakers who spoke about the difficulties woman face in the workplace – especially working with other women. Like me, she is also in a high position considering her age. At coffee we discussed lots, but one of the most memorable things she told me was “Competence is not just intelligence. Competence is relationships + intelligence.” I’ve always thought that if I could do my work effectively and efficiently, that was all we needed to drive the business forward. However, in the business world, how you get there and who you work with is half the battle. Yes, there will be plenty of times that you want to rip your hair out. But, the most important thing is to take a deep breath and power through. If you’re thinking something negative, it’s surely going to show – whether in your words or your actions. I’m so grateful to have such an incredible community of smart, savvy woman in my circle.

Onto the outfit! Since it was the Wednesday before vacation and I knew no one would be at work, I kept it casual. I matched my favorite flannel and sneakers. Then I dressed them up a touch with a super stretchy pencil skirt. The stretchy part came in handy after my lunch – a casual half pound burger. I know I’m going to regret that tomorrow.

Sound off: what’s the best piece of advice a mentor has ever told you?

Outfit Details
Shirt: Gifted from J. Crew two Christmases ago (similar, similar)
Skirt: Nordstrom (Halogen) purchased six years ago for $50 (similar, similar)
Shoes: Sperry purchased three years ago for $60 (similar, similar)

Day 192: End of a Mentoring Era

Today was the closing ceremony of the mentorship program I’ve participated in over the past few months. As with the ending of anything, it’s bittersweet. I’ve met a lot of great people in different departments and I’ve gotten some great unfiltered advice for things I’m struggling with in my role. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with some of the friends and mentors I’ve made through the program. Plus, I’ll never complain hanging out with some awesome ladies for breakfast instead of responding to emails!

I wanted to dress up a little bit for the occasion, so I rocked this black dress. I knew I’d be cold in our freezer box of an office, so I paired it with this muted red cardigan.

Sound off: any amazing professional development programs you participate in that are worth it?

Outfit Details
Dress: LeTote (NOIR Side Gather Dress) retails for $68 (exact, similar)
Cardigan: LOFT purchased second-hand two years ago for $18 (similar, similar)
Shoes: Nordstrom Rack (Vince Camuto) purchased four months ago for $50 (similar, similar)

Day 127: Questions that Haunt Businesswomen

For the past few months, I have participated in a mentorship circle. We have two mentors who lead our group and then there’s about ten mentorees. It’s been my favorite meeting of the month (and it’s not just because they feed us!).

I’ve mentioned it before, but I am so incredibly determined to be successful. In our mentorship circle, we often tackle the questions that haunt business women:

You can’t be a good mom and a good business woman.

You are too aggressive.

You are too ambitious.

It’s completely crazy that in today’s day and age that this is even a discussion. In college, I remember going to a talk with a stay-at-home dad. He told us that even though he was responsible for the homestead, if the kids were running around naked in the yard, the neighbors would think poorly of their mother.

To change this culture, we have to be supportive of all employees. We need to accept that dad’s can take care of children just as well as women. Women can lead a board meeting with confidence (and not arrogance).

I love fit and flare dresses – they work for my body perfectly. Plus they’re comfortable. I paired the dress with my go-to nude pumps from J. Crew. These things match everything – I’m so glad that I got these back when I was in college.

So what business myth are you trying to bust?

Outfit Detail
Dress: LeTote retails for $86 (similar, similar)
Necklace: Etsy purchased two years ago for $25 (similar)
Heels: J. Crew Factory purchased 3 years ago for $50 (exact)