How to rock your first 30 days at a new job

pr, Uncategorized, work

I have this theory…

That time flies when you’re having fun…working your butt off.

I got a calendar invite this week for a “30-day check-in” meeting and I thought, oh, which client is this for? And then I saw that it was just me on the invite. And then I realized that I am the 30-day check-in. Which means that I have officially been working at my new job for a whole month. What. the. eff. 

Slam on the brakes, because a few days ago at a 4th of July barbecue I was literally walking around telling people I started my job two weeks ago. Whoops. Guess my sense of time got lost somewhere between my first day when I was finding the coffeemaker to today when I was taking the lead on a new project without a second thought.

How to absolutely kill it in your first month on the job:

1. Do extra research on your own time to get a better sense of what you’re doing.

I work in PR, and a lot of my clients are technology clients, which means I’m promoting companies that do things like hyperconverged cloud infrastructure and endpoint cybersecurity. I am not a software engineer or an IT professional and had no idea what these things were. This was not like beauty PR, when I was promoting things like mascara, which I wear every day of my life. This was serious deep tech stuff. So to get over the learning curve, I got Googly and did as much as I could to get up to speed on my clients.

If you feel behind, don’t wait for your coworkers to catch you up. Get a head start by understanding as much as you can before you even walk into your first meeting.

2. Don’t be afraid to start contributing.

In the past, at my internships, I was terrified of looking stupid. I didn’t think I knew enough to be able to raise my hand, so I always stayed silent during meetings. But the real stupidity is in never speaking up, because you don’t learn anything if you don’t try. So volunteer to take a whack at that writing project. Pitch an idea at the brainstorm. It will definitely be appreciated and you’ll start learning faster.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? You volunteer an idea and someone tells you why it wouldn’t work? Great, then you’ve learned why it wouldn’t work, and you have more knowledge for next time, and you at least look engaged and thoughtful. If you don’t make mistakes now, you’ll just make them later on. Put yourself out there and speak up!

3. Notice the ways you can make everyone’s lives easier.

Stay in tune with what’s on everyone’s plate. If they look like they’re swamped and you have extra time, offer to handle something for them. It’s the nice thing to do and the best way to support your team. Plus, sometimes it’s a good chance to jump in on responsibilities that you wouldn’t normally have gotten.

4. Do allllll the things.

By things, I mean happy hour, volunteer days, parties, client events, networking, conferences, book club, game night, everything. The more face time you get with everyone in the office, the more it will start to feel like home. This is why I think I was so surprised that 30 days had already gone by– my work fam already feels like my work fam, and that wouldn’t have happened without the time I’ve already spent with them. Embrace the office kitchen! Take a teammate out to coffee! Do all the things!

5. Be patient.

This is probably the hardest one, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to hit the ground running and be Superwoman the second you start. And it’s definitely important to communicate with your manager about what the expectations are for your progress in the role. But know that it’s okay to not know what you’re doing. It will take time to get settled and get going on the meatier projects, so just relax, do your best at everything you’re given, and you’ll be celebrating a successful first month before you know it!


planner coffee stock photo

Do the thing that scares you: Why I moved from the Midwest to San Francisco to start my career

Uncategorized

I have this theory…

That the decision that scares the crap out of you is usually the best decision.

The drive from Columbia, Missouri to San Diego is about 23 hours long.

That’s roughly how much time I had to sit and think about what I had done, and it finally sank in: No more Missouri. No more college. No more 75-cent drinks, no more sorority house, no more wearing Nike shorts and oversized T-shirts to class every day. No more hot summer nights at the lake, fall football game days, or snow days in the winter. It was time to be a Real Person now with a Real Job, and I was moving out of the Midwest to do it.

For someone who was on her way to start an exciting new job in an exciting new city, I was feeling pretty…unexcited. Unexcited is the less embarrassing word for what I was really feeling: Nervous. No, not nervous. Scared. I was scared out of my wits.

But this is my first blog post so I should back up and start from the beginning.

I had chosen the University of Missouri for two reasons: The world-famous journalism school, and the phenomenal Midwest college experience. It was phenomenal indeed. So phenomenal that I stuck around for five years, one extra year to grab my master’s degree while I was at it.

As amazing as the Midwest was, though, I knew it wasn’t going to be the best place to start my career. Something told me I needed a challenge. Something was pulling me back in the other direction, and it wasn’t just the better weather.

(Side note: It may have partly been the weather. I think my final decision was made on one fateful day when I walked outside wearing my backpack, on my way to class, and I stepped on black ice, slipped, failed to recover my balance– I blame the backpack– and fell flat on my face, sprawling on the sidewalk still wearing my backpack. That was the last straw.)

So I decided to move back to California. But not back back. After growing up in San Diego, I still wanted to try something different, so I went with northern California. In my mind, San Francisco was the place to be. It checked all the boxes on my imaginary dream city list:

  • Good Chinese takeout and decent Mexican restaurants
  • Ocean views
  • Outdoor activities
  • NO ICE
  • Smart, open-minded, ambitious people
  • Job opportunities in tech PR
  • At least one In-N-Out location
  • Walkable (as in, I can walk to work AND to In-N-Out. Told you this was a dream city)
  • Affordable (Note that I said AFFORDable, key word being afford. I did not say “inexpensive” or “reasonable.” However, I can afford it so therefore it is affordable. Fight me.)

So I really had no excuse to feel sorry for myself when college was over, because I was damn lucky to be starting a job at an amazing company in the exact career path I wanted in the exact industry I wanted in the exact city I wanted. I was set.

Set, yes, and also scared. More than I want to admit, but I’ll admit it: I was scared shitless. And it’s hard not to be when everyone else seems scared for you: “Isn’t it expensive? Aren’t you worried about learning the tech industry? Are you SURE about this?” No, I’m not sure. I am 22.

Which brings us to the moment in the car on the drive away from Missouri. I was questioning everything. Why had I even made the choice to leave? Why was I going to a city where I didn’t know anyone or have friends? How did I think I could afford an apartment or find roommates? What did I think I was doing, entering the tech industry, when I barely knew anything about tech? Was this the right decision?

Looking back now, a month later in my new city, I know the answer: It was absolutely right, because it was the decision that was absolutely terrifying. And you only grow by doing things that scare you. When you feel pulled in a direction that scares you, run like hell…in that direction.

Do the hard thing, the scary thing. Take the risk and you’ll get the reward.

You’ll thank yourself one day when you’re walking distance from In-N-Out.