Office girl #2, confused and horrified: Um...
Monday, March 31, 2008
Office girl #2, confused and horrified: Um...
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
'A Working Girl in the ...' is a post written by a contributing writer that appears on Working Girl twice a month. This week's post was written by a Working Girl from Chicago, Illinois about her career as a junior copywriter.
My days are filled with working on farming equipment, fighting with super-heroes, and searching for just the right words to explain how Facebook on your Blackberry is like having peanut butter with your jelly. I'm a junior copywriter and I get paid to be creative (in other words, I write copy for ads - not copyrights as my uncles still seem to think).
I’m a Midwest Working Girl born and raised, and now I'm working in my Sweet Home Chicago, where the winters are never-ending, the Cubs are the talk of the town (this is our year!) and where you can strike up friendly conversations with anyone on a bus, in an elevator or even on the street. Though just a word of warning, be careful of the creeps...especially on the bus (a story for another time).
Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer but when I went to college in the land of cheese and obese Packer fans (don’t even get me started), I discovered and fell in love with the wonderful world of advertising. When I declared my double major in advertising and public relations, it was a no-brainer to me to choose copywriting as my career path since it is defined as a profession that takes publicity, advertising, and writing and uses them to promote an idea, a brand, or a website among many other things.
I completed two internships during my senior year of college. The first was at a regional branch of an amazing Boston-based advertising agency. There, I worked on the McDonald’s account for almost 8 months. After sitting next to giant posters of McFlurrys and Snack Wraps all day, I began to crave them all the time…and I still do. For my second internship, my copywriting professor hired me as his intern and I spent a semester writing copy for industrial heaters, air conditioning units, and eyeglass cutting machinery. Absolutely riveting stuff, I know.
When it came to finding my first real Working Girl job, I didn’t have to look far. In fact, I only sent out my resume to one person (after he contacted me for it), had one interview and voila! I was hired. I was really, really lucky. My current boss had given a presentation in one of my classes in October of senior year. Before he even spoke, I handed him my resume and cover letter. In the beginning of July, he emailed me out of the blue asking me if I would be interested in an interview. Ten days and one short interview later, I was a Working Girl.
My boss later told me (after a rowdy client holiday party) that I stood out to him because never before had someone given him their resume, in front of the whole class, before he even started talking. He said he couldn’t believe I had the guts to do that. Me? A gutsy girl? I didn’t think I was at the time, but it just goes to show how putting yourself out there and meeting the right people can really pay off. I think networking with people throughout all facets of the industry in which you want to work is the key to success and landing your “dream job”.
So where would I like to go with my job? Well eventually I’d like to lose the “junior” on my title. It makes me sound like a girl-scout-in-training. Despite that I feel lucky because I ended up with the job I truly wanted and hopefully I’ll get to stick with it and grow from here.
For now, I’ll just enjoy working on The Magnificent Mile and living in the thriving metropolis that is my home. Though the first few months were a tough adjustment for me (only 10 vacation days?!), I’m beginning to realize that I actually can handle the Working Girl lifestyle.
But before you think I don't still have a little college in me, I'd like to just say “everybody’s workin’ for the weekend” has become my midweek battle cry even though I love my creatively quirky job.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
The shiny brand-new American Express card with my name on it arrived via interoffice mail. I activated my card online and put it in a safe spot in my wallet, right next to a Forever 21 gift card.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I know, I know. I hear you girls, paper bag lunches are so middle school. I was even one of those girls in high school who bought lunch everyday, so trust me when I say this is hard even for me to do. Bringing lunch for me is always difficult because I'm very forgetful (so I end up leaving my soup and pretzels in the cupboard and then remember two hours later that I have no lunch) and I'm a sucker for fast food, pizza, etc. My trick is to purchase my food for the week early Monday morning. I wake up early, go to the grocery store near work, buy exactly five meals (healthy, nutritious and usually Lean Cuisine), and that way I have no excuse to 'just run downstairs and grab a slice' when I could just run to our kitchen and heat up a frozen meal. And I end up saving big bucks.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
And now as I sit at my teeny-tiny cubicle in gloves and a scarf because my office lacks any kind of heat in the winter, I would give my left arm to be just getting off that airplane and skipping and clicking my heels back to school. It's such a difficult change - going from getting the odd Monday off here and there for national holidays, a month for winter break, and three glorious months for summer - to working five days a week, maybe getting off one or two national holidays and having to sit sweating at your desk during the summer. But I think the one break I miss the most has to be Spring Break - a week where you can go and be anyone else in a tropical locale with all your best friends during the cold winter months.
In protest to the ways of the working world, I am going to pretend I'm still in college and participate in Spring Break 2008. On Thursday night I will be taking a plane to Las Vegas, Nevada with my Fabulous Project Manager and our friend Lisa. Vegas, baby! I can't tell you how excited I am. In the city of sin, I will get to gamble away my money, throw away my money, and drink away my money at glamourous night clubs, exotic restaurants, and maybe even the Chapel o' Love (just kidding Dad!).
My working friends all had different reactions - The Boss told me I deserved a nice break off (but I could tell she was peeved she wouldn't have anyone to make sure her office lights were on in the morning, the younger crowd all seemed jealous that I had this glorious idea to save this great tradition, and some of my older friends teased me for being young, naive and immature for wanting to splurge on such a decadent five-day vacation.
While I agree, I might not have the funds to support myself and this trip, I do think I deserve a break. Long hours, overtime, even working weekends - eek, I get tired just thinking about my last two months in my new position at work.
I'm looking forward to some sun to cure my Working Girl woes and I might just take my top off - at the pool, with a bathing suit on - so I can get a tan (or more freckles).
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I have greeted all the interviewees as they walk through the door. I have to admit, I've looked most of them up and down and judged them based on their appearance and demeanor when I first meet them. Some have thought that I was interviewing them (wouldn't that be nice, some days I really could use my own assistant), others were somewhat rude. It's probably a good idea to be nice to the assistant greeting you, they will most likely tell their boss(es) if you aren't nice.
It's odd watching candidates come in and interview for your job. It reminded me that, at this point in my career, I'm somewhat dispensable. Almost anyone can do my job, I'm just hoping whoever they hire doesn't show me up.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
It has been almost exactly one month since WG1, our Fabulous Project Manager (why yes, we do have a manager), and I saw The Spice Girls reunion tour and I still can’t stop thinking about all the glitter, sequins, Union Jacks, and ‘Girl Power’ chants, which is why I have chosen to nominate The Spice Girls as my most recent Working Girl idols.
I’m have been a fan of The Spice Girls for quite a while and having been in seventh grade when their single “Wannabe” first aired on the air waves, I think that’s respectable to admit. When they announced their ‘Reunion Tour’ dates, WG1 and I had just started doing the 9 to 5 thing and couldn’t afford even the nosebleed seats without having to resort to having WG1 beg her father to buy them so we could totally pay him back later or whatever. We felt like we were in seventh grade again, which was fitting since almost everyone in the crowd had just bought training bras (we literally were three of the oldest people at the concert – except the teenybopper’s mothers).
But the Spice Girls aren’t just a pre-teen obsession of mine (even though I could still listen to ‘2 Become 1’ on repeat for days at a time). The girl group is an icon for Working Girls everywhere. They are five working women who took feminism and being a strong woman and made it into part of their Spice brand helping adolescents and grown women alike have the power to stand tall while being independent.
The Spice Girls are a five-person girl group that formed in London in the mid-1990s. They released three studio albums, thirteen singles, and sold 55 million records in their long career making them one of the most successful girl groups of all time. After taking a hiatus to pursue other projects, the Spice Girls recently reunited for a reunion tour around the world (and more specifically the beautiful Garden State where I almost lost my voice belting out their songs).
Of course what made them stand out to women around the world was their feminist empowerment – that they promoted sexuality, strong-mindedness, and the ability to have lasting friendships all in one package. You didn’t have to choose one part or the other – you could be sexy and smart. Although their message was not a new one (we’re pretty sure Madonna and other women of the ‘80s made being strong look pretty cool), the Spice Girl’s ‘girl power’ mantra made their feminist approach to life such a cultural phenomenon that the phrase itself even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary.
In conclusion, I’d like to give a big ‘holler’ to Posh, Scary, Sporty, Baby and especially Ginger for giving the girls of my generation and ones to come a positive message to stand behind.
And I’m not-so-secretly hoping that the Spice Girls decide to do another reunion tour in another five years.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I was completely under the assumption that today was going to suck. Just the thought of having to go to work on a Monday makes me nauseous, but having to go to work on a Monday when it's your birthday – wow, talk about a double edged sword. So if you haven't guessed, today is my birthday and it's a Monday and I was not only dreading today because it's the start of the work week, but also because my birthday won't be on a weekend until I'm 28 or 29. I know, I know I'm whining (something I'm really great at by the way). Surprisingly, today has unexpectedly been a great birthday and I would like to give you a replay of one of the most random, awkward and terrific birthdays I have ever had.
7:00 a.m. I am awake after Timbaland serenades/scares the shit out of me as "The Way I Are" blares from my cell phone. My eyes feel like they are sewn shut because I woke up on the hour every hour since I fell asleep at one a.m. because Mondays make me an insomniac.
7:15 a.m. I get out of the shower shivering because our building is devoid of hot water in the mornings.
7:45 a.m. I put on my "birthday outfit" – a sweater dress that my Dad (a.k.a Jim) bought for me. Thanks Dad! I love this little number.
8:15 a.m. I leave the apartment for my 10 block walk to the PATH. I'm late because I just had to curl my hair today.
8:45 a.m. I got on the late PATH train into the city. But I snagged a seat after jumping over a pregnant lady. Hey, it's my birthday. Cut me some slack.
9:05 a.m. I arrive at work and there is already a line for the elevators (yes, a line). I wait ten minutes for an elevator and then ride Elevator 4, which I have named the 'Other Tower of Terror'.
9:06 a.m. Everyone on the elevator screams when the elevator drops between floor 3 and 4.
9:07 a.m. I arrive safely on floor 10.
9:17 a.m. The Boss arrives at work and greets me at my cubicle and sings "Happy Birthday" to me in a falsetto voice. And she doesn't just sing one verse, she sings the whole thing while I awkwardly sit there saying 'thank you' over and over. Then she hands over the booty. Oh yes, she has bought me a gift. A bracelet and earrings from Banana. And they are awesome. I wear them all day.
9:44 a.m. I get serenaded by another co-worker. The "Happy Birthday" count is now at 2.
11:55 a.m. The Biggest Loser voting results are announced. I am safe for another week. I'm pretty sure it's only because it's my birthday.
1:06 p.m. My best work friend, who is gay, pushing 45, and Cuban, announces that he and three of my other co-workers are taking me to lunch. Tater tots for all.
2:45 p.m. A guy I hooked up with once (I repeat, once) during my sophomore year of college at a music festival in Wisconsin writes on my Facebook wall. It reads, "Happy Birthday. *grin". I didn't know I had made such an impression...on such a creep.
3:22 p.m. The entire office brings over a platter of mini-cupcakes to serenade me for the third time today. Again, I sit awkwardly in my cubicle and say 'thank you, thank you' over and over. Then I eat two cupcakes and kiss my weight loss this week goodbye.
4:00 p.m. I have a meeting with The Boss. She gives me about five new projects. All that need to be done before 6 p.m. Awesome.
6:07 p.m. My gay, Cuban and pushing 45-year-old best friend escorts me to the PATH station. On the walk, he asks me if I would consider marrying his new boyfriend Jose because he needs a green card. And he's serious. He offers me to let me move in so it can be like 'Three's Company' - "only gayer". I think it would make a good reality show - "Two Latinos and a Irish Girl."
8:03 p.m. WG1 surprises me with pretty cupcakes! And I have what every Birthday Working Girl needs at the end of a long day - a glass of pink champagne.
Today wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it was an overall entertaining birthday full of singing, cupcakes, tater tots and even a proposal (even if it was from a gay man). And I think I might even be looking forward to my birthday next year -- when I will be turning 24 on a Tuesday. Hey, at least it won't be on "Hump Day".
Friday, March 7, 2008
Recently, our current marketing assistant gave her two weeks notice and recommended me for the job. For some time, I'd been contemplating sales versus marketing. I think I was almost trying to convince myself to like sales because it's so lucrative, but marketing is just more fun (at least for me). I can plan events, create promotions and gift baskets, and I find that very enjoyable.
When Facebook Friend Boss left and I began doing her job, I started to look at what I was doing everyday more analytically. What I found out: my heart is not in sales. When the marketing assistant told me her news, I started jumping up and down (figuratively not literally). This told me something, told me that right now my heart is in marketing.
I spoke to the associate publisher of marketing, who I had interned for during the summer of '06, and she was thrilled that I was interested. I was basically told that if I want the job, it was mine.
It was hush hush for a while and I couldn't tell my current bosses (awkward!), but last week I was officially offered the job. This means I'm going to be an assistant for a little longer than I thought I'd be but the offered me some monetary incentive, the possibility of a promotion to coordinator after six months, and a sweet business trip to South Africa.
Chicken Soup Boss thinks I'll end up in sales, she thinks I have the personality for it. I think she's wrong.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
However, no matter how easy or hard the choice is, at some point it has to be done. As a sidenote, after graduating from college and receiving my first job, a professor gave me the following advice. He told me that if I didn't like my new job within the first few days, I had two weeks to find a new job or I had to commit to my company for at least a year. This is a word of wisdom from someone who has been in the writing industry forever and has interviewed some of the world's great musicians. In other words, I look up to him and trust his advice. But I also understand the urgency in wanting to leave a company the day after you find out that your main duty as an employee will be getting your boss lunch everyday from that salad place two blocks over (signature salad, dressing on the side, whole wheat bread, butter on the side, two knives...I am such a great assistant). So we at Working Girl say, forget the rules and do what your heart tells you to.
All right, so you want to get out and you want to do it now. The first step is of course sending out all those resumes and cover letters (I'm drained thinking about it). And then come the interviews. This is the tricky part and something we had hoped to help you with today. Here are some ideas/options/tricky ways to get out of work to interview for those greener pastures.
Save up those vacay days.
Someone older and wiser once told me that hoarding your vacation days, sick days, and personal days will only help you in the long run, especially if you want to get out of a job quickly. Take a week off work for a "Vegas vacation" and then run around town trying to find a new job. Devoting all your time to interviews, resume revising and rewriting cover letters will only help you score a new career.
Tell those sweet little lies.
One of my best friends in college was one of the greatest liars I had ever met (and I say that with immense pride). She got out of final papers, took her exams late without penalty and skipped class like Ferris Bueller with excuses like, "I had a pregnancy scare over the weekend" and "One of my best friends was in a car accident and I was with her at the hospital." As long as you don't go overboard, lying can only help you in this particular situation. My favorites include "I have to wait for the repairman" and "I have a fever". Apartment problems and sicknesses are my go-to get-out-of-work cards.
Good morning sunshine.
If you cannot get out of work, ask your interviewee if they are willing to meet you before work. Sometimes the higher-ups are willing to come in early to meet candidates (and not just if they are desperate for a new worker bee either).
Let's do lunch.
If mornings don't work, try asking if they will see you during the lunch time rush. Or try to get an interview around 11:30 and talk all morning about how hungry you are and then dash out by saying you were ravenous and just could not wait to eat. Just make sure to ask how long your interview will be since it's hard to excuse a three-hour lunch break.
Now roll on out to greener pasutres.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
The season premiere of "Dirt", FX Network's popular drama centered around the life of Lucy Spiller played by Courtney Cox Arquette the executive editor of the tabloid magazine, Dirt Now, opens with a warning: "The following is rated TV:MA. It contains strong language, violence and nudity. It is intended only for mature audiences. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED."