What They Don’t Tell You About Life After College

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, College, Happiness, Olivia

~ by Olivia Humphreys

“College will be the best years of your life!”

It’s a common phrase anyone who has spent one day in college has heard before. As graduation and the threat of becoming a true adult stares you in the face, you begin to worry that this statement is true. The days of sleeping in, taking random naps in the middle of the day and spending afternoons celebrating Thirsty Thursday are quickly waning.

All that you have to look forward to now is working for the rest of your life and trying to climb the corporate ladder. Gross.

Or is it?

As a person who has successfully survived, and thrived, in my first year post-college, I can honestly say that being in the workforce is a 1000 times better than being in college.

For starters, there’s no homework or tests. I still have several friends finishing up their college careers, and do not envy them even a little when they complain about studying or writing papers.

You also get your evenings back. I’m fortunate that my current position allows me to leave work at work. This means I’m able to disconnect and enjoy my evenings how I want; something I rarely had the luxury of doing in college since I was always worried about my next assignment.

Terrible group projects are a thing of the past (if you’re lucky). This isn’t to say I don’t have group projects at work — I most certainly do! But my boss has done an amazing job of hiring fun motivated people that prove to me not all group work is derived from the devil. In fact, my job is super fun.

It’s hard not to have fun at work when you have such great coworkers and get to attend cool events.

Another perk is that you get to become a “real person.” This is how my best friend, who is still an undergrad, refers to me now. But it actually makes a lot of sense. Obviously, I have adult responsibilities like paying for food, rent, utilities, etc., but this also means I’m viewed as an expert in my field by students and my boss.

At CCPE, there are only three of us and I’m the only one with a marketing and PR background. This means, even though my job title is only outreach coordinator, I’m treated as an outreach director because I’m literally the only person who has marketing training. I’m the point person for all things regarding outreach and communication; something I never would have expected in my first year post-grad.

Post-college life has also been great because I’ve been able to read for fun again. In college, I was assigned a ridiculous amount of reading. This actually led me to despise it, so I very rarely read for fun while in school. Now that I’m not required to read 80 pages every night, I’ve been able to rediscover my passion for reading and try to read a little in the evenings.

There are also a million things you can do when you graduate from college that you never would have had time for before. These are some of my biggest accomplishments in the last year, in no particular order:

  • Became a writer for Thrivers!
  • Adopted an adorable dog, Flora!
  • Took a road trip to Texas, where I got engaged!
  • Officially launched my freelance wedding videography business, LivFree Videography.
  • Grown professionally in more ways than I can even count!

While there are a number of truly fantastic pros to being a “real adult,” there is one con. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with money.

Honestly, it’s how other people sometimes view you because of your age. I’m fortunate/cursed in that I look younger than I am. At almost every event I’ve been to since graduating, I’ve been asked if I’m a student. In some people’s defense, I do work on campus quite a bit.

This normally isn’t an issue, but there can be times when it gets frustrating. For example, as my team walked into a luncheon this winter, an elderly gentlemen greeted my entire team with an enthusiastic and somewhat condescending, “Hey kids!” Granted, we are all under 30, but two of my coworkers have a Master’s and one even has a child!

In another instance, I overheard two ladies we share an office space with, talking about me one day. “She’s just too cute,” they said as I was leaving the room.

While these aren’t the most disparaging comments ever, they remind me that people sometimes view young professionals as, well, young and cute and not necessarily mature competent adults.

The best thing to do with comments like these is to just smile and move on. Don’t let them discourage you. Instead, let it serve as a gentle reminder that respect is often earned with experience.

At the end of the day, college was great. But being a real adult is the best.

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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Don’t Let The Big Dogs Scare You

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communications, Interview, Olivia, Public Relations, Skills, Uncategorized

by Olivia Humphreys ~

A Tale about Communication, Adoption and The NFL

My boyfriend and I recently adopted the world’s sweetest dog, Flora, from the Clay County Humane Society. According to the shelter, she is a lab/terrier mix, almost two years old, and was brought in as a stray by the police.

She’s actually as sweet as she looks!
She’s actually as sweet as she looks!

Now that we’ve had Flora for a few months, we know what she likes and what she doesn’t like.

What she likes: snuggling, terrorizing the cat, chewing on bones and sticks, Puggles (her best friend at the dog park is a Puggle named Roxy), and playing chase and wrestling with small dogs.

You don’t even have to be sitting down for her to want to snuggle.
You don’t even have to be sitting down for her to want to snuggle.

What she doesn’t like: being left at home, retrieving balls, being introduced to new people, when new people try to pet her, and big dogs.

For the most part, she gets along just fine with bigger dogs. But about once a month, typically when she’s chasing a Puggle, a few big dogs will start to join in the fun and Flora’s reaction is to become incredibly submissive, roll over and cower.

When this happens, the other dogs will pick up on her energy, begin nipping at her and refuse to let her run away. There’s typically a lot of barking, yelping, teeth baring, and people trying to corral their dogs when this happens.

So far, she’s come out of each attack unscathed physically. Mentally, she’s set back a few weeks and it takes a lot of coaxing and interactions with nice big dogs to get her comfortable with them again.

So at this point, you’re probably like, this is a nice story, but what does this have to do with me?

If you’re a person who can go through life completely confident in every social situation you’re ever in, then absolutely nothing. You can stop reading now because you probably won’t learn anything else.

But if you’re like the rest of the world, chances are there are situations that make you wish you could cower and run away to your happy place.

For a lot of people, this situation occurs when you do something Flora doesn’t like to do either: meet new people for the first time.

Going up and talking to someone is incredibly terrifying. Trust me, I know. But if you’re a person working in the communication industry, you have to learn how to overcome it in order to start networking.

There’s one experience that helped me overcome my fear of talking to people, and it didn’t happen in college. It happened at Super Bowl Media Day in 2012, when I was a senior in high school.

Me with the other contest winners.
Me with the other contest winners.

I won a competition for high school sports journalists that enabled me to go to Super Bowl Media Day. I assumed it would be set up like a regular press conference and I would sit there and watch all of these professional journalists interview Tom Brady and Eli Manning and a few of the other players and coaches.

Man, was I wrong.

Basically, the event takes place on the entire field. There are booths set up for the star players to sit in and everyone else on the team wanders around the field with all of the journalists.

Andre Brown from the NY Giants
Andre Brown from the NY Giants.

So, picture this in your head. I’m an 18-year-old tiny girl surrounded by these giant football players, a lot of them stars, and I can just walk right up to any of them and start talking to them.

 

Brian Waters from the NE Patriots in one of the special booths
Brian Waters from the NE Patriots in one of the special booths.

Much like Flora is now, I was a terrier in a pen full of German Shepherds, Great Danes and Rottweilers.

It was positively terrifying.

Until I realized one extremely important detail: they were people, just like me.

They were all just as excited to be there as I was and were so happy to talk to me. You can see how excited and friendly they were in the video I made for my internship at D3TV at DePauw University.*

Danny Woodhead may have been the only player on the field who was my size
Danny Woodhead may have been the only player on the field who was my size.

Although I made a fool of myself by asking absurd questions the lesson learned that day is the one that has been the most valuable to me in my career as a public relations professional. I understand that not everyone can go to Super Bowl Media Day and interview football players to get over their fear of talking to people. But for anyone in the communications industry, it is so incredibly vital to be able to talk to anyone about anything at anytime.

And when you start to see people as actual people and not their titles, it makes it substantially easier to do that.

Yes, I still get butterflies in my stomach sometimes when I talk to “important” people, but it doesn’t ever stop me from actually talking to them. It definitely takes a while to get comfortable just walking up to people and talking to them, but don’t be like Flora and let bad experiences discourage you or set you back.

So you have a choice, continue to be the terrier that cowers and only ever plays with Puggles, or be the terrier that learns to run with all of the dogs at the dog park.

*You can also read about my experience at Super Bowl Media Day here.

 

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by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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Surrounding Ourselves With Thrivers

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Uncategorized

by Maria Katrien Heslin ~

We clearly live in troubling, volatile times, where stress, depression and anger are ubiquitous; personal safety is precarious; incivility is commonplace; bitterness is booming; and uncertainty and unhappiness are rampant.

For many, it’s easy to get caught up in this whirlwind of negativity. We see it all over social media, in the news, and we may hear it and feel it from our friends, family and coworkers. Some of the feelings may be easy to understand and justifiable, others less so.

One of the dangers of getting stuck in the misery swirl is that too often we allow one adverse reality to impact how we perceive other aspects of life, such as our work, health, relationships or humanity in general.

It almost seems like negativity is catching. Actually, might this naysaying vortex be socially contagious? If a condition such as obesity is, then it’s likely a social trait such as negativity is too!

In fact, studies show that when one person became obese, their friends were 57% more likely than the average person to become obese; friends of friends were 20% more likely to become obese, and their friends were 10% more likely to become obese. Other behaviors such as smoking, happiness, creativity and drinking saw similar results.

Nick Cooney, in his book Change of Heart, What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change, shares that researchers suggest that such behaviors spread in part through subconscious social signals about what is normal. If the person sitting next to you is eating more, chances are you will, too. If several of your friends are Debbie Downers, you’ll begin to see that as a socially acceptable condition, and you’ll take on that behavior yourself.

The good news is, that hanging out with positive, hard working, fun, spunky and ambitious people can rub off on you too! The Jim Rohn adage that we are the average of the people with whom we most surround ourselves, is far more than lore.

And that’s such a huge part of why I’ve launched this blog “Thrivers.” Yeah, like the world needs another blog! Well, actually in these turbulent times, I think the world does need a vibrant voice of optimism, energy, hard work, positivity, fun, passion and accomplishment.

For Thrivers, I’ve handpicked a handful of writers of various ages and professions, who approach life with optimism, curiosity, energy, humor and a quest to learn, always. What’s not to like about that?!

These are individuals who love what they do professionally, or who are in the active pursuit of that work-centric joy, and who, to the best of my knowledge, don’t wallow, worry or whine excessively while they find their way.

Now this doesn’t mean they necessarily thrive 100% of the time in all parts of their lives or that they always have thrived — but they get what thriving is all about and are on a quest to grow, be happy and inspire others to do the same. On top of that, they’re all people who can write well and produce compelling articles that inform, entertain and engage the reader.

People of this ilk are true thrivers, and they are rare. I’m so fortunate to know them and to have their work gracing our blog waves. Yes, I am surrounding myself with fellow thrivers, which helps me keep thriving, and you can too. Here is a little bit about each of our contributing writers:


Hannah Goodwin graduated from Indiana University in May and this week started a full-time job in the office of Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor. I met Hannah a couple years of ago when she took my class Public Relations for Nonprofits. I liked Hannah right away. She’s sweet, incredibly sarcastic, self-deprecating, bright, inventive and determined. In her last semester, Hannah took my PR Career Success Preparation class, and she may not admit it, but given the plum job she’s just landed, apparently she learned a lot. 😉 Her first piece with Thrivers is called “It’s A Numbers Game,” which clearly demonstrates the qualities I’ve just ascribed her.


After 30+ years in fitness, Mary Yoke is pursuing her Ph.D. She is warm, lively, fit, pretty, interested and downright sparkly. She knows more than almost anyone about fitness and is writing her dissertation on people’s attitudes toward physical activity. Mary’s also a fantastic yoga teacher, who loves music and plays the piano daily while overlooking a large, lush lake. Enjoy Mary’s articles A Doctoral Candidate’s Meeting and The Motivation to Move.


Kate Halliwell is an excellent writer who just enjoyed a most enviable internship in LA at IndieWire, an online entertainment publication. She didn’t exactly sit around, filing or going on coffee runs there; she garnered more than 65 bylines! Kate also is lively and witty, and she has just started her senior year at Indiana University. Kate’s prolific on Thrivers too! Check out her articles:


I’m also thrilled to have the lovely Kelly Bush on our team. Kelly is a 30-something enjoying a new, fabulous career in the New York art world after taking a less fitting path. I met Kelly years ago, when she worked as a Teaching Assistant for my father Tom Heslin, who was an IU Kelley School of Business professor. Kelly is brainy, clever, wise, sharp, tenacious and cultured. Enjoy her first Thrivers piece.

For the moment, our sole male contributing writer is Tibet Spencer. Like the others, he is incredibly likable, funny, focused, astute and positive. He is outdoorsy and athletic, and has a natural charm about him. Tibet graduated from IU in May and has just converted his summer internship into a full-time job with an advertising firm in Indianapolis. His two Thrivers posts have been particularly popular:


Next up is Olivia Humphreys, who was chosen by her classmates to be the one they’d most like to hire, given the opportunity. She’s awesome. Like Hannah, Olivia took both my PR for Nonprofits class and the Career class, and she’s such a positive force. She characterizes herself as a relaxed Type A personality and is really bright, creative, organized and well prepared. Olivia graduated in May and almost immediately began working for a nonprofit called Centerstone. She absolutely loves her job, and in The Better of Two Goods, you can see why. Also enjoy her writing about The Importance of Craft Time at Work and Embracing My Ruby Slipper Syndrome.

 

stephanie copy
Brand new to the Thrivers team is Stephanie Harbison; her first post comes out next week. Stephanie is impossible not to like, despite the fact she’s so smart, sweet, funny and pretty! 🙂 She is also a great writer, who is passionate about her day job and her volunteer work. She and I met a few years ago and served as leaders of a local group, the Women’s Success Network. Watch for her upcoming piece and many more.

 


I round out the Thrivers team, and I’m a Mindful Career Coach, who helps people reach their professional mountaintop. I also teach at IU and love laughing, writing, traveling, animals and yoga. I’ll cover topics ranging from hot resume trends to mindful leadership, career success and workplace ins and outs.

So far, Thrivers is off to a flourishing start, with more than 1500 visitors in its first two weeks. We hope you’ll check it out, be inspired, learn from our experiences and share your own. Most of all, we hope you’ll catch the bug and thrive with us!

 

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The Better Of Two Goods

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Communication, Experience, Internship, Interview, Job, Nonprofit, Olivia, Public Relations, Success

It was the last semester of my college career, and I found myself in an interesting predicament. I had to decide, quickly, between two dream jobs. But first, let’s back up and figure out how I got to that point.

I started my college career wanting to be a sports broadcaster. I had an extensive background in theater, was an avid sports fan and a great writer. I even created a sports broadcasting club in my high school, the Future Broadcaster’s Initiative, or FBI for short (yes, that was intentional).

After spending the first two years of college getting my feet wet at internships with USA Track & Field and Run-Fast in London, England, I realized the sports life was not for me. My realization of this came after talking with several women in the field who told me, “You give up your weekends, holidays, family, friends and basically life. But I promise it’s all worth it!”

Or not.

I am a relationship-focused person. I learned at an early age that relationships are some of our most valuable assets in life, and I wasn’t about to ruin those just to cover some sweaty guys who chase a ball around a field.

So, I changed my course of action my junior year. Instead of a journalism degree with a specialization in sports and broadcasting, I picked up a specialization in public relations. This switch, amazingly, didn’t force me to graduate any later than I had planned, and I actually could have graduated a semester early if I wanted. But I didn’t, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

By the spring semester of my senior year, I had all but one of my required courses completed, and I was free to take a number of electives that greatly enhanced my skill sets and made me a more competent public relations practitioner.

With only three months left in school, I needed a job. I decided to stay in Bloomington for two reasons. The first is because my boyfriend of two and half years was graduating with a degree in biology, and he decided to stay in Bloomington and take a gap year before grad school and work in a lab on campus. The second is because I love Bloomington as a town and had absolutely no desire to move to a huge city where all of the PR agency jobs are. I’m a country girl, remember? I like clean air and nature.

Me and my boyfriend Seth.
Me and my boyfriend Seth.

So, I began my job search using LinkedIn and a number of other websites, which actually worked surprisingly well. I applied to approximately 10 jobs, heard back a solid no from about five of them, interviewed with three, never heard back from one*, and politely declined another interview because the company’s Glassdoor ratings were absolutely abysmal.**

My first interview went okay, but I definitely didn’t leave feeling super confident about it, and I never heard back from the company. My second and third interviews were much better, which led me to my predicament.

One job was with Centerstone working on a grant. I’ll honestly admit that the night before the interview, I was looking over the job description again and turned to my boyfriend and told him I had made a terrible mistake and didn’t think I was right for the job because it didn’t sound like anything I wanted to do. In retrospect this is really funny. But I’ll save that whole story for another blog post.

The interview turned out to be fantastic, it was just the job description that was bad, and I was told I would hear back in about a week. I interviewed on a Friday and was called back on Tuesday with an offer.

Which was great, except it also wasn’t.

You see, I had interviewed with another nonprofit organization on Monday that I knew would be a great opportunity, but I was still waiting to hear back from them. I asked the guy at Centerstone for a week to think about things, and then panicked and emailed my Career Success in PR professor, Maria Heslin, for advice on what to do. I was still waiting to hear back from the other organization, and didn’t expect an answer for a few days.

To make a long story short, the other organization finally emailed me on Thursday asking for a second interview, but by then I had made up my mind thanks to my handy pros and cons list. I decided to work for Centerstone on the Community Capacity for Prevention and Education (CCPE) Grant, because the only con I could come up with was that I may not have a window in my office. Obviously, as the picture below points out, I was so very wrong.

: I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!
I have four full length windows in my office! Just look at all that natural light!

In a situation where there was no wrong choice, I know I made the better one for me personally because I absolutely love coming to work. Every single day.

My first day of work photo I took for my mom.
My first day of work photo I took for my mom.

* If you are a hiring manager, at least have the decency to email those you interview and tell them if you want them or not. It’s the polite thing to do. Also, kudos to Cook and Oliver Winery for doing that already.

** If you’re a hiring manager and not checking your company’s Glassdoor rating, you’re making a huge mistake, because people take those reviews seriously.

 

by Olivia Humphreys | oliviahumphreys4@gmail.com | LinkedIn | @ohumphreys4

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To The Recent College Grad Or Rising Senior: Go Get Some Skin In The Game!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Advertising, Communication, Experience, Internship, Interview, Job, Public Relations, Skills, Tibet

Nothing, and I mean absolutely no-thing, can prepare you for what happens after college.

If you have your act at least somewhat together (which kudos to you, friend — you can stop reading now) hopefully you have some sort of income lined up for your post grad situation. If you REALLY have your act together, then you’ve scored that stellar first job or internship and you are charging hard right out of the blocks, and you can also stop reading this post right here (major kudos).

But if perchance you’re like most of us, which I’m thinking you are because you haven’t stopped reading, you probably don’t have that dream position lined up. Heck you might not have any employment lined up at all.

Well I’m here to tell you it’s going to be okay. Take a deep breath and recite after me, “I’m 20-something years old and I have a college degree—I’m going to be okay.” There. Feel better?

So if that worked, great. You also can stop reading here.

Ah so you’re still with me. Okay, I can tell you are going to need a little more convincing.

I want to talk about a little thing that I believe holds far more value and potential than any paycheck will offer you, and right now you are at the perfect time in your life to dive head first into this great thing called, wait for it, experience.

That last little word carries a lot of baggage. It comes in all shapes and sizes, big and small, bad and good.

It peaks its head out of your suitcase as it rolls up the conveyor belt into the belly of a 747 heading to Australia while you board a plane to Ireland, forced to spend the next two weeks of your Eurotrip wearing the same two T-shirts and few pair of undies you stuffed in your carry-on.

And oh does experience show itself in that post-grad job the first time you speak up in a staff meeting and immediately insert your own foot directly into your mouth. Yeah, that’s experience alright.

But experience isn’t just fumbling around and making mistakes waiting for the smoke to clear and then proclaiming, “Ah! I’ve learned something.”

No, it’s a little more complex than that. Experience is this wonderful little thing that allows you to take chances and risks while investing in yourself. It allows you to validate what might seem to others like a foolhardy decision, but to you it is a step toward fulfilling your dreams and accomplishing your goals.

Experience is ever changing — that’s what makes it so glorious. It’s not confined or restricted by any set parameters, but rather delicately tied together by a single, bonding, golden thread. Good or bad, grand or modest, that thread — the commonality of all experience — is the notion that it holds value only if you choose to extract the marrow from it, find the benefit or lesson learned, and then tuck it away in your memory bank so that later you can recall it and put it to work. In plain speak: learning from experience is about your perspective, and every situation has a silver lining if you look hard enough.

Take for instance my own circumstances. I decided I wanted to work for a specific ad agency in Indianapolis, so I worked furiously to prepare myself for the interview and hopefully for the offer.

The interviews came and went and I felt that I did well. After the final round I parted ways on good terms, reassured that I had made a solid final impression.

A week or so passed, and the agency got in touch with me.

They regretted to inform me that they had filled the position. I didn’t have enough experience.

But they had another offer for me. They had an internship opening up for the summer, and they thought I would be a perfect candidate for the role.

Well, at first I was pretty put off. In my eyes I was the perfect candidate for the full-time position for which I applied. Plus an internship meant I would be paid hourly, which wouldn’t be enough to pay rent on an apartment in Indy. I would have to commute two hours every day in my old beat up Jeep Wrangler.

My first thought was there’s no way I could say yes to that offer. There had to be other jobs out there for me.

I took a day and thought about it.

I came to the conclusion that hey, this agency is willing to take a chance on me and give me the opportunity not only to prove myself, but also to gain priceless experience in the process. Plus I had wanted so badly to work at this agency, to say no to any offer would be ludicrous at this point.

So I said yes.

Within the week I traded my Wrangler — which just so happened to be my dream car — for a Prius, and began to prepare myself mentally for the early morning drives, long days of work and late evening commutes home.

I am just over four weeks into my 10-week internship, and to tell you the truth, I couldn’t be happier. Every day is something new — whether it’s a fresh podcast on the drive up in the morning or a new task at work — nothing is ever stagnant.

Of course there are limits to what you can say yes to and what you must turn down, but I offer you this: those limits are not as restrictive as you might think. There is always a way to get what you want, and trust me, the experiences will be worth it.

by Tibet Spencer | tibetspencer14@gmail.com

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