How a Part Time Job Can Help Your Future

Since the age of 15 I have held a part-time job working in the food industry. That’s 7 years! Why the food industry? I love food of course! Okay, that isn’t exactly why I have always worked in the food industry. I mainly just wanted a job while I was in high school to pay for extra things, like going out with friends to the movies, that I hated borrowing money from my family for. I never imagined how beneficial the part-time positions I held would actually turn out to be. Below are a few things I have taken away from various part time positions I have held.

  • Work Ethic. Having a part time job while you are in high school and/or college really helps boost your work ethic. I come from a very hardworking family anyways, but getting a job at the age of 15 really taught me about work ethic. I have worked in several different restaurant settings, and each one has shown me different types of work ethic from coworkers. It has helped to mold me into a very hardworking and motivated individual.
  • Leadership. While I have been in school here at Western Carolina University, I have held a part-time job at Subway. Throughout these past few years I have gained the trust from upper management to help train new employees, and as of last week was promoted to Store Manager. While I have no plans of furthering my career at Subway once I graduate with my PR degree (unless corporate is in need of a PR pro of course), working my way up the career ladder at Subway has shown me how hard work and dedication in the future will pay off.
  • Time Management. This is so important to have throughout life. Learning to be on time to work is a skill you will need to possess outside of college and a part time job. Something I learned in high school marching band has carried over into the work side of my life. Early is on time, on time is late, and late… well if you’re late, you’re screwed. Always be at least five minutes early! It shows you care. Along with being on time, when you are at work you need to make sure you set aside enough time to fulfill each task you have that day. Let’s face it, in the PR industry we have to be pretty awesome at managing our time, along with multi-tasking, hence why we are attached to our smart phones!
  • Balance. My senior year in high school I took on two jobs, marching band, and was a full-time student. Yes, this was tough. However, it taught me very early on how important balance really is. Thinking back on it now I have no idea how I managed to have a life outside of all of these things, but I did! While working two jobs didn’t last very long (I enjoy my social life), it did teach me that taking on too many things can be bad. Like I said before, I enjoy my social life, and I also enjoy family time. Working in the PR industry is time consuming, we students are aware of this. Therefore we have to find a good, healthy balance between work, social life, and family time. Too much work is not always a good thing! Sometimes your mind needs a break.
  • Communication Skills. One thing I wish my high school offered was a communications class. I feel like every high school should, because communication is so important out in the real world. Having a part time job has taught me how to effectively communicate with co-workers. For instance, I work morning and night shifts at four different Subway’s (they are all owned by the same guy). Doing this requires extreme communication with coworkers. All four stores operate a little differently, so I cannot be afraid to ask questions and find out answers to be able to work to my full potential. In the real world you have to be able to possess this skill! Communication really is key in the work world, and life in general.
  • Customer Service. We all know the customer is always right, right? If I have taken anything away from working in the food industry (I’m sure this goes for any retail industry… I know it does for Mary Kay as well, because I sold their products for a year) it’s that customer service skills are so important to have. Working in PR we will be faced with circumstances where we will have to deal with the consumers/customers of our clients. It is so important to understand how you should approach situations, and I must say, dealing with very hungry people at Subway, or when I was a waitress, is a great way to build those customer service skills. Hungry customers are not a force to be reckoned with!

Have you ever had a part time job? If so, how has it helped prepare you for the real world? If no, do you feel well prepared for the real world anyways? 

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Spelling: Get it Right!

Let’s face it… every now and then you have to think about the correct form of “your” and “you’re,” or any of the other typically misspelled, or misused, words out there. What’s an easy way to remember commonly misspelled/misused words? Why none other than these spelling lessons by The Oatmeal! Enjoy. 🙂

Click here for the original image on The Oatmeal.

What are some ways you remember all of these spelling rules? 

See my post about National Grammar Day 2011 here.

Why I Almost Considered Divorcing My Droid

It is no joke that I am completely in love with my Droid Incredible. I have had it since last July (I waited a whole month to get it!) and it is the first smartphone I have ever owned.

The Android version of me!

When I first started looking at smartphones, I took the time to research all of them. I originally wanted a Blackberry Curve, but after speaking with several Verizon Wireless customer service representatives I decided the Droid Incredible was the phone for me, and not because it had just been released, but because it was what would work best for me. I absolutely loved all of the features the phone had and realized it would do everything I needed a smartphone for.

While I have only had my Droid for a little less than a year, I recently started to think about going back to a normal cell phone. Why, you may ask? I feel extremely too connected sometimes. Even when I try to take a break for a day, I feel as if I am constantly checking my phone. If I am not constantly checking my phone, I feel like I may miss something important, or I need to inform everyone I am taking a day off from my computer and phone, which I feel is completely impossible to do most of the time.

My smartphone is a great asset and I will not really get rid of it. However, I have decided I will stop checking my phone past a certain time each day. Yes, it is great to be connected, but there is a fine line between connected and too connected. The past few months I feel as if I have been too connected and I want to make a change so I do not feel like I have to constantly check my phone when I am away from my computer. There may be some exceptions, like if I am waiting for something important from someone and I know they will email, or contact me, late at night. However, like my mentor says, many things can wait until the morning!

What are your thoughts? Are we way too connected with our smartphones? Should we disconnect after a certain time each day? If so, what do you think is a good time to stop checking  your phone?

You can read the article that inspired this post, here.

Important Lessons from Grey’s Anatomy

It is no secret that I have a huge addiction to Grey’s Anatomy, and yes I realize it came out in 2005. While I recently discovered this show, I have quickly picked up on a few things that stand out that can apply to the work world.

  • Mixing professional and personal. Right off the bat, surgical interns Meredith, Izzie and George move in together because Meredith was looking for roommates. It is great to have roommates, but something I have noticed about these three is when they are having issues at home they tend to bring them to work. In a professional environment it is not acceptable. While people love the drama of the show, drama in the workplace is immature and unprofessional. It is always great to make friends with coworkers, but make sure you keep personal and professional separate. Do not let it impact the work you can do!
  • Communication is key! This phrase is said constantly, and for a great reason: it is true! If you want to have success within an organization or company, you need communication. This does not only apply to PR and the communications industry, but everything. The show is about surgeons, and to me it seems like the communication should be constant with them. However, since it is based mainly on the interns they are still learning and the audience sees many times how there is lack of communication between the interns and the resident surgeons. For there to be success, there needs to be communication.
  • Being an intern does help! Some universities do not require students to have internships prior to graduating, but some, like mine, do. Like I mentioned before this show is mainly about the interns. Before watching this show and other shows like it, I had no idea that surgeons had to intern for as long as they do. It makes sense though. While I have never had an operation in my life I do not think I would feel comfortable having someone fresh out of school that does not have a lot of experience operate on me. So how does this relate to PR? No we are not going to be making operations on anyone when we graduate, but we will have to deal with many other things that may occur, like a crisis situation for instance. By interning we have the opportunity to learn and be mentored by professionals before jumping into the fire.

While I may be a little late to the Grey’s Anatomy party, noticing these points in the episodes I have seen has shown me that students are all the same. We are constantly learning and growing. So what do you think… are there hidden messages like the ones I have mentioned above in other television shows? Do you think this is on purpose?

Time to Celebrate Grammar!

Happy National Grammar Day!

In honor of National Grammar Day, why not brush up on your grammar skills? As PR students, this is something we definitely need to enhance early on because writing will be a huge part of our future career. So pull out your AP Stylebook and write until you cannot write anymore!

Or just read some of the following articles about common mistakes and why writing skills in PR are vital.

AP Stylebook

5 Skills every PR professional needs

Common Grammar and Punctuation Mistakes

7 Grammar Mistakes that Make Editors Hyperventilate

Affect Versus Effect

There are definitely more blog posts and articles out there, but these can be a starting point for those of you who would like to brush up on your grammar skills today!

How are you celebrating National Grammar Day?

Motivation: You Can Do It!

Motivation. This is a term we are all very familiar with, am I correct? Yes, we all face days where it is hard to get anything done, but we have to find the motivation to do it somewhere and somehow. Just because you may be having an “off day” does not mean the world will stop spinning. It keeps moving and life goes on. So where do you find motivation when all you may want to do on a Monday is lay around on the couch catching up on Jersey Shore episodes you may have missed?

Here are the steps I take when I need to be motivated. I hope you find them helpful!

  1. Get out of the house. As a student you may call your house your dorm room, and you may have a desk to sit at, but get out of your house/room and go somewhere else to work! While I do love working from home when I can it can also cause me to not get anything completed. Personally, I find home to have to many distractions, so I have to go to my office (Catamount Communications has a student office on campus and I definitely take advantage of this!) or Starbucks on campus to get anything done. You can also go to your campus library or public library. I know that always, without doubt, motivates me to get things done! Find the place that is best suited for you and get some work done.
  2. Conferences. While you may not be able to attend every single conference that comes along, pick a few to go to. Being around other students and professionals that share the same passion as you will put you in the mindset to get things accomplished, and fast. I attended Real World PR 2011 this past Friday and I can definitely tell you I am way more motivated this week than I was last week. Conferences, in a way, are a friendly reminder that all of your hard work while in college will pay off. Networking with fellow students and PR professionals helps me become more motivated and stay motivated.
  3. Read. Google Reader is probably my top favorite thing in the world. I have every blog that I love to read on my Google Reader and I set aside a time at night to read all of the blogs I love. I read the news in the morning and while I am out in town I pick up a copy of the local newspaper. Reading other blogs and the news makes me more motivated. I have created a whole new plan for my blog this past weekend, because if other people can find time to write three or four blog posts a week, so can I! However, do not just stick to reading the news and blogs. Read books as well! I am currently reading Twitter Power by Joel Comm and I love it! Yes, as a student you are required to read your textbook(s) for class, but set time aside to read a book you want to read as well.
  4. Time management. Let’s face it. Time management is a difficult thing to balance, but when you find a good balance stick with it! I am currently reorganizing my priorities so I can get more things accomplished in a timely manner. I do not have classes on Monday, Wednesday or Friday each week, so I have plenty of time on these days to fill with meetings, office hours, homework, etc. At the beginning of this semester I made a schedule for myself just for these days so I can get things done. Trust me, it is tempting to lay in bed all day, but I choose not to do that. I wake up around 9 a.m. and read the news and plan out my day. This keeps me in a motivated mindset.
  5. Positive attitude is key. Last, but not least: stay positive! Do not think of your growing to-do list as a chore. Think of it as a reward. When you complete the things on your to-do list reward yourself to something you like: movie at Redbox, mani/pedi, dinner with friends at your favorite restaurant, etc. This helps to keep me motivated! Knowing that I am getting a reward (even if it is me rewarding myself) keeps me in a positive attitude! Also, set goals and have rewards for each goal that you accomplish. Just remember to stay positive and remind yourself that you can do it!

While I have many more things I could share with you on how I stay motivated, these are my top steps. Hopefully these steps will help you stay motivated when you need it. I know these things definitely help me to stay motivated!

What are ways that you stay motivated? Do you have a weekly/daily routine?

One Year Later

Exactly one year ago today I started this blog. At the time I had no idea if people would actually read any post I wrote or even how to promote it. Needless to say, I quickly discovered that Twitter is a powerful, and helpful, source to getting the word out about your blog. While my first couple of posts may not have been PR related at all, it was one way for me to start writing more and discover where exactly I wanted to go with my blog. Writing is something I am very passionate about. Growing up I used to keep journals to write about my day and of course I had a LiveJournal account at one point (which I forgot the password to or deleted… not really sure what happened to it).

Blogging, to me and I am sure a lot of other people, is a lot different than a personal journal. Over the past year I have grown my blog to be focused on different aspects of public relations that I love. I will be the first to admit that I am definitely growing and learning more and more about blogging all of the time. I feel like social media is something that everyone always has room to grow and improve on. For me, it is a new project I am going to start at some point this year (hopefully sooner than later!) with my blog. I did not have this idea until I was chatting with Kerry this past Friday when I decided to finally buy my domain name: fortheloveofpr.com. Be on the lookout in the next couple of weeks for the new project I am starting! I would give you a hint, but I am still in the planning process of where I would like to take this.

So here we are, 3,441 views on my blog later: another year of my blog. My promise to you for this coming year is that I will post at least once a week. I always have a lot to say and I like to share with everyone that follows my blog, but I slacked off this past year. I am also full of goals and new aspects of things I would like to blog about. Hope you are ready for this! I know I am. I am ready to bring it on this year, full force!

Thanks to all of you who take the time to read my blog! You guys inspire me to keep writing. You are all great!