Tag Archives: jobs

Finding Time

Today I applied for jobs. I wrote cover letters, updated my resume, stalked employers. 

And you know what that means I didn’t do?

Study.

Vaguely I realize I need to read The Prince for class (and discussion groups!) Monday, finish giving feedback on the law review article I was assigned, track down my group-mates for the project we have Tuesday, actually do the readings for the project we have Tuesday, read for Crim Pro, and…oh yeah, I made a pact with myself at the beginnign of the semester to review my notes from each class at the end of the week so I am not re-learning everything come finals. And hey, if I had a few extra hours to put in at work this weekend, they could use it. 

And don’t I have a blog post to write…? Preferably before 11 pm? (Too late.)

But instead today I applied to jobs. And I took my sister grocery shopping. And I didn’t do laundry so at some point tomorrow I am going to need to figure that out. 

My schedule always looks so good on paper. I think to myself ‘why don’t you have more time?’ 

This is why

I forget important things like “oh yeah, I need to figure out post-grad employment.” (For the record, I’m way more calm about this than the professor I TA for, who asked me on Wednesday if I still had hope of finding a job. Eek. I hope so.) 


Past Employment

Since I am graduating from a Wisconsin law school, I do not need to take the Wisconsin Bar Exam. I do, however, need to fill out a Wisconsin Bar Application. This includes an exhaustive list of every employer (with attached contact for said employer) I have had since turning 18. 

You would think the hardest employer to find contact for would be, say, Media Trackers, which as far as I can find, no longer exists. Or the family-owned pizza place I worked one summer where the owner died a year later. 

But no. 

Hands down, Sam’s Club wins as the hardest former employer to find contact information for. They’re putting me through the ringer! 

First, I scour the webs for some sort of HR e-mail. For a company that big, you would think they would need to occasionally verify employment. I eventually give in and try try SamsClub.com, go through the little auto-chat guy who is no help, and then wait 20 minutes to talk to a “real person.” He says I have to call the store where I worked. 

Well, probably I should have started there but it has been so long since I worked there (7 years!) I figure any record of me will have long since gone into storage. I call the store. I learn:

They do not have an HR person. 

They have one person who sort of does the job part time.

She is not available.

She does not have an e-mail.

The store does not have an e-mail.

She does not have a direct line. 

I can call the store back when she is working. 

She next works at 6 am on Sunday. Store opens at 8:30.

Haveaniceday

I did expect some challenge but even this supersedes my expectations. 

 


Remembering I’m an Extrovet

Yesterday, my Mom kindly consented to join me at an AFP event and we headed into Milwaukee. I almost didn’t go. But I RSVPed and felt somewhat obliged to attend and there would be food.

I walked through the doors at the event, looked around the room, and saw people I knew. Moreover, people I liked. Former co-workers, bosses, and mentors. People I spent years fighting alongside. People I only know from Facebook. People I met once years ago. People I wanted to know. The AFP, grassroots world. In the flesh. 

I guess I just didn’t realize how much I missed that world. 

It was like a light flickered on in my head. ‘I know this situation. I am trained for this situation. I can go work the room. I can catch up on all the changes. Network.’

I often feel displaced in law school, to say nothing of the five months I spent in Thailand. But this was the opposite feeling of displacement. It was belonging. 

And I also realized, while I miss the people, I don’t necessarily miss the job. That is, given the chance to go back to my old position, I probably wouldn’t. I like the law. I like the extra layer of understanding I possess when I talk about policies impacting our state. 

I’m not sure where that leaves me, except with a strong reminder that I’m still becoming. No matter how stressful this past year, no matter how stressful the coming one, it is not the last chapter. I’ve got people rooting for me. People who trained me, mentored me, and pushed me forward. And right now a new batch of people train, mentor, and push me. But that doesn’t mean the last bunch forgot about me. They’re still my people. I’m just also getting more people. 

More than anything, the evening reminded me that I’m an extrovert and need to spend more time with people who fill me up. 

Which leads me to a major thank you to my introverted mother for sticking around much later than she wanted while I caught up with people. She also had to deal with my giddy rambling on the drive back. My Mom is the real MVP.


My Mom

The adjective I would apply to my Mom this Mother’s Day? Sacrificial. A Mom’s job is one of the most sacrificial roles out there. I can’t imagine how my Mom does it. Day after day, year after year, she has sacrificed her time, attention, and energy to turn me into the woman I am today. Even though I’m graduated and theoretically adulting, I still rely on her every day. Thank you, Mom, for everything you do for me and my siblings. Thank you for your sacrifices and your strength. Thank you for being my teacher and editor and fashion consultant and constant soundboard. I am grateful to be your daughter! ❤

 


The Unavoidable Internship: Suggestions From A Senior

Intern

I remember looking at internships freshman year and thinking… ‘wow, that’s impossible.’ The requirements included having previous internship experience, junior or senior status, and moving halfway across the country — all for an unpaid job. If all internships were that difficult to get, where did students find their initial intern experience? Who wanted to wait till junior or senior year? How could anyone afford to return to school in the fall if they weren’t getting paid? Yet everyone said, especially for my field of interest, internships were a must.

Over the past four years, I have worked around 11 different jobs, 3 of them specifically “internships.” While I am by no means an expert, I have picked up a thing or two so here are 9 general tips I have about internships:

  1.  If it is unpaid, tread with care.

This is one of my favorite pieces of advice from Charles Murray, author of A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead (a book you should buy if you haven’t already.) If a company really considers the position vital, they will pay someone to do it. Unpaid internships often imply unnecessary jobs because the market doesn’t necessitate their existence. Chance are, the job will not be worth your time because it isn’t worth the company’s investment. A real job earning real money offers many more advantages for challenge and character growth, even if the title reflects a less glamorous position.

There may be exceptions to the rule, especially if you are trying to network in a specific company, or are padding a resume. But generally, go where they pay, because that means they need you.

  1. Internships provide unique learning opportunities. Use them!

An internship can give you an exclusive look at the inner workings of a company and offer a front row view of what does and doesn’t work. You can gain valuable experience using your “intern status” to meet people up and down the leadership ladder. When I interned for Human Resources, my first “office” was right next to the Vice President of the company! I had access to Lunch-n-Learns, where I met engineers, accountants, and project managers. I started at a branch office and got to know the men on the ground.

An intern comes to learn, so it is a great opportunity to ask questions: people expect it! Get to know the company even if it isn’t where you plan on staying long term. The attributes that make a company or a leader successful overlap in various occupations and fields. The idea works in reverse as well: poor leadership or a bad company policy shows, and you will notice what needs to be changed. You can take this is wisdom with you to other jobs. Identifying those attributes will benefit you wherever you go.

  1. It doesn’t have to be in your field of interest.

While interning with a company you want to work for when you graduate is a great opportunity, it isn’t always available. Though “internship experience, ANY internship experience” might not be the best plan, an openness to different fields provides some unique opportunities. My first two internships were with a company of electricians. Surrounded by fellow interns with degrees in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, my Politics and Government/Criminal Justice double major stood out like a sore thumb. How did pre-law transfer to the trades? A lot smoother than I expected. During my time there, I absorbed information on unions, safety classes, and light fixtures. I learned about biding a job, billing a company, and handling Affirmative Action paperwork. I gained practical, real-world knowledge that has given me a relationship with people in an area I would have known nothing about if I had stuck to my “field” of law/politics. If nothing else, the experience developed me as a person. It is worth looking off the beaten path, especially for your first few internships.

  1. Find where your connections work.

Internships, like job hunting, involves networking. It takes practice. Where do your friends and family members work?  Where do your friends’ parents work? Instead of starting with a company, it might help to start with your connections. I got the job in the trades because of my uncle. I gained my third internship through someone I volunteered with in high school. Every job I have had since working in the Sam’s Club bakery after my freshman year came from knowing someone. Use the people in your life!

  1. Be open to relocating, but don’t be stupid.

New places can be lots of fun. I moved to college in Tennessee without knowing anyone. The same happened during my experience studying abroad in England. If you can fight the homesickness, openness to adventure can lead to fabulous places. Use those connections. Do you have an aunt who could house you for a summer in a different city? Do you have a friend who has extra room in her off-campus living arrangements? Look for internships there. It could be fun and you will be doubly challenged.

However, remember that you are still in college. It may seem glamorous to move across the country for an internship somewhere, but first weigh the costs and benefits carefully. A less exciting but more practical internship could allow you to live at home and save money. There will be opportunities for new places once you graduate.

  1. Don’t think in terms of the unattainable.

A dream cannot become a reality unless you walk towards it. Practically, my semester abroad should never have happened. I could not afford it. Family, friends, and professors went out of their way to make it happen, but first I had to begin the process. I had to learn about the program, and apply. I had to explain what I needed and request financial support. In the end it worked out, but only after I took the first step.

A specific thing, like an internship or studying abroad, may seem impossible, but it can never become possible if you don’t work towards it. So dream crazy dreams! Set goals. Don’t limit yourself. Right now you might not be qualified, but discover what it would take to become qualified. Work with your connections. Don’t limit yourself because of external hindrances. With hard work and planning, they can be overcome.

  1. Develop a work ethic.

I know this seems rather self-evident, but how you approach a job makes a difference. There will tasks you really dislike doing, but you will have to do them anyway. If you can push through those tasks with a good attitude, it shows. It will show character to your bosses and co-workers, even if they never mention it. If nothing else, you will know what you can accomplish in less-than-favored circumstances.

Also, be willing to do what is needed of you. Take out the garbage, shred the papers, staple the documents. It isn’t glamorous, I know. As an intern, you probably won’t be doing anything that fabulous or ground breaking, but if you learn to work hard and do the little things well, it will transfer over to the big things. When I worked in HR, I handled a lot of paperwork. I am not a detail-person. I quickly grew bored with endless Affirmative Action forms. However, I learned to work quickly and persistently. I enjoyed my work as a Field Director with AFP last year, but there were days when I was exhausted. The attitude I had learned from working in HR kept me going. Stick with it when the work is hard. A job well done makes the effort worth it.

  1. Have fun!

You have the job for a summer. It isn’t a lifetime commitment. Use this season to explore! What do you like doing? What do you hate? Try something new. While this isn’t always possible if you need a consistent, well-paying job (because…. you know, college kid), there are still many ways to discover new things. Get to know your coworkers. Try different fields and companies. Learn what works for you. Do you like order, or prefer making your own rules? Do you want to stay behind the desk, or get your hands dirty? Do you want a specific job description, or to create the position as you go? An internship provides a taste of the professional world with comparatively short-term commitments.

  1. Take internships seriously, but not too seriously.

There are many factors to getting a job, and a positive internship experience can be one of them. However, it isn’t the only thing. Do not stress about getting the perfect internship with the perfect company. When you do get an internship, learn from it. Work hard. Focus on developing your character. Make connections and use them to your benefit. Enjoy it as an end as well as a means to an end. Be willing to try new things. Give your passions and talents a go and spend those summers developing the person you are becoming! That will stick with you for the rest of your life.