Presentations and Public Speaking

For my job I regularly have to talk to large groups of people, give presentations, and guide discussions. You probably couldn’t tell that public speaking is one of the things that I never want to do. I did not seek out a position that required this, but as positions grow and change more and more is expected of you. When I first started doing any kind of public speaking was not successful. My voice got really high pitched. I overcorrected and spoke so slow it wasn’t clear when a thought was ending.

To be clear, I still do not like public speaking. Often my face gets more red than I want to. I say “uh” or “umm” or “so…” throughout. . It is not my main skill though I have learned a couple things along the way. What is your biggest tip for speaking to a crowd?

  1. Don’t practice too much. If you practice ’til word perfect and then get mixed up during, it is incredibly hard to recover naturally.
  2. Keep 1-2 examples for what you are presenting in your back pocket (memorized) and out of your formal presentation. You can either use them as examples if you get questions or if not throw them out as extra examples at the end of the section. This will make you look like a content expert and like you can think on your feet.
  3. Look above eyeline. For virtual presentations for me this is the top edge of my computer. For in person, it may be a back door, the clock on the wall or a window.
  4. Talk at a speed where you can hear what you are stay. Use punctuation to take pauses and breathes. After each major ideas take a break, either to ask for questions or move on.
  5. This is the one I struggle most with: Stop talking once your point is made. Say what you mean to say and nothing more. Answer just the question that was asked. Give a chance for questions or requests for clarifications, but over-explaining can lead to rambling and more confusion than just letting the audience receive the initial point.

Do we need extra challenges?

I know the answer is probably yes but I want to vent so here it goes. Why does everything have to push us? So many things are hard so why do we seek out additional challenges. It seems masochistic at best to push ourselves beyond the limits we have found. There are so many aspects of life that are already challenging: family, relationships, health, etc. So why should my job be hard?

So I like my job. In fact I like it a lot I make good money, I like the people I work with, and I feel good about the work I do. However,  it is not always the most mentally taxing work. Sometimes I am working hard all day long and some days it seems that if I only work sometimes or and off through out the day I will never have enough work to do. Not that I don’t ask for work or let my boss and co-workers know I have the capacity to take on more. I do. It just seems as though there is not enough to take on, like the department is too big.

Since telling this to my boyfriend he keeps sending me new job openings to apply for. But I am not ready to move on yet. I like my job and I like my work, but I understand the pitfalls of getting too comfortable. There are so many other things in my life that are uncertain and I don’t want to make this part any harder.

Anyway, what do you all think? Do we always have to be seeking for challenges to push us or is it sometimes to let some things lie…?

Mid-year Goal Check-in

So it is about midyear which means the year is about half way over. This to me is just bizarre but maybe it’s because I wasn’t working and mostly just home for 3 months before I was employed. I thought I would check in with the goals I made through out the year and see what I have accomplished, what is still feasible, and what to adjust.

Life Goals:

  • I went to my friends wedding which you can learn about here.
  • Have not gotten a credit card yet but it is harder than I expected to choose a bank
  • Cooking is going well but it is hard to practice as much as I want cause my partner is such a good cook and makes a lot of our dinners.
    • For the second half of the year I’m going to focus on cooking more often and learning a new recipe once a month, not twice.

Career Goals:

  • GOT A JOB! Just had my three month review and feel confident in the job for a while.
  • I have had 2 public speaking engagements and hope to have more this year
  • I attended no networking events… I am very afraid to meet new people and make these new connections event though I should

Health Goals:

  • I have stuck very well to not buying pre-made desserts though sometimes my partner buys me a treat which is nice. Still trying to stick to this goal, but need to purchase more baking gear.
  • One meatless meal a week has proven to be much less of a problem than I had anticipated.
  • I really sucked at my water goal but two weeks ago I bought a waterbottle (honestly this was shocking)
    • The new goal is to finish one everyday (32 oz.)

Writing Goals:

  • So I have been doing a lot of work writing but my person writing has definitely fallen by the wayside.
    • Goal for the rest of the year is to edit two short stories and finish a rough draft of my novel that I have been planning for years
  • Blogging has not been going as well as I wanted (most of the time I don’t hit three). I didn’t do a review for May’s book club as it was ender’s game and I didn’t have anything new to say. My goal is to re-up in the new year.

Reading Goals:

  • I have read 67 books so far this year.
    • One DNF
    • My favorites so far this year:
      • Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
      • The Forgotten Sisters by Shannon Hale
      • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • I was really well on my way to reducing unread book I owned by then of course I bought more.
  • I have only read two 2019 releases but I am intending to read more in the back half of the year. They are more accessible in the library.
  • I finished 4 (ish!) series but to be fair two were duologies. I am going to attempt now to finish 9 series.

Wish me luck in the back half of the year meeting all my goals!

Learning the Remote Work

So my new job is awesome. However, because it covers a wide region I have the ability through company computer and phone to work completely remotely. It is pretty simple as it is a salaried job so it is mostly task and event oriented. I do end up working often a little more than 40 hours a week but those 40 weeks aren’t standard.

Problem 1: Early morning motivation is really hard because I can sleep longer and do my first couple hours from home instead of having to get ready immediately.

Problem 2: When I work from home I feel really guilty when I don’t get home work/chores done even though I am doing career work.

Problem 3: Meals. Should I eat breakfast when working? Should I eat lunch or go home from there? It ends with me being too indecisive to regularly eat.

Problem 4: Making friends or at least acquaintances at work. I want to go into the office and meet the people I’m working with. I don’t really know anyone in the area. However, I don’t work as well with lots of people to distract me. But I need to get to know people to get help with work and partner on projects.

I am so lucky to have this job and I understand that these are the first world or first world problems. However, as a growing adult this what I am working through.

I’m sure it would all work out but wish me luck anyways.

2019 Resolutions

As always resolutions are hard to keep. Here are some of the goals that I am working towards this year. Some I am trying (and occasionally failing) every day, week, month and not just one overall theme for the year.

Reading Goals:

  • Read 100 books in the calendar year
    • My goal is to read more historical fiction but even reading 5 would be more for me
  • Reduce the books I own that I haven’t read by half (either read or get rid of)
  • Read 10 books that come out this year. Thank you new library system!
  • Complete 6 book series

Writing Goals:

  • Write 20 minutes a day
  • More public writing, either sharing this blog more or entering writing competitions
  • Minimum three blog posts a month
    • One of these will be a book review for the my family book club

Health Goals:

  • 5 glasses of water or tea everyday
  • One meatless day a week (you don’t know me like that but for me this is a huge deal)
  • No buys pre-desserts from the grocery store except special occasions ie holidays, anniversaries, etc.

Career Goals:

  • Get a job!
  • Start attending networking events in my new location
  • One public speaking event/engagement

Life Goals:

  • Build credit score
  • Visit three new places
  • Support my best friend at her wedding this spring
  • Learn two new recipes a month

Reflection on 2018

This year I have met hundreds of people, traveled across the United States, and read more than I have ever in a year. It was a full and crazy 365 days.

I started 2018 as a recent college graduate with no job whose boyfriend was visiting for the holidays. I end the year as a professional adult with no job who just moved in with her boyfriend. I did work over the course of the year. I actually had three jobs, one working a labor job in a used book warehouse, and two in my field, political organizing.

My family went to Alaska! We plateaued into an ongoing state of existence that we will hopefully we steady in. My sister started high school. I moved out. My brother moved from his jail cell to a mental institution where hopefully he can get the help he needs. We lost our elderly dog just a couple weeks ago, she was just in too much pain. It was a big year of evening out the rocky results of 2017.

I grew so much as a professional. I got up everyday and went to the same place. I learned how to manage other people. I learned how to manage myself! (Much more impressive. Trust.)

I joined groups and made friends, discovered mentors. Reconnected with old pals from high school and before. I was more social and free and open than I had been in years. Being in therapy for the whole year definitely helped with that. I got closure I didn’t know I needed from friends I didn’t know I still had.

Even though I failed almost half the resolutions I set myself this year I feel like I got more than I expected from 2018. After so many down years it was nice to have a positive one. I hope you all got through this year in one piece.

Wish 2019 luck, we are coming.

Making friends versus being professional

I and, I think many people, have a pathological need for people to like me. Partially, I think because my natural instinct is to assume that no one on earth likes me and it’s a miracle when people do. I try, really hard. However, I also am attempting to be a working professional. I really want to be productive and work with people to reach a common goal. However, when I work with others I often get distracted by wanting to become friends with who ever I was working with.

You know when you are working in a group project and often end up hating those who can’t hold their weight in a project. It’s so easy to let professional feelings mess with personal feelings and vice versa. Just because a person isn’t your favorite doesn’t mean they aren’t good at their job.

Sometimes I feel like I take that mindset with me into my work life. I take on more work than is fair so people will like me more. It’s hard to find a balance between effectively doing my job and befriending those in my new job. It is a lot harder than I had initially anticipated. I want to balance my life, but being liked in my job is important cause you know politics and stuff.

Wish me luck.

Dealing with Rejection

Right now, life is weird. As anyone who has become an adult in the last 3-5 years at least that I know has worked multiple jobs. Now I know that I am incredibly lucky to have an foot in the field I want to work in. However, I am not making money. Over the past several months I have been working very hard to try get a second part time job to build skills and make some cash or build a safety net. I have been rejected immediately from EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Now let me tell you, I can now recognize the rejection as it is happening or from the first line of an email. It’s crushing every time, mostly because I do think I have the skills to do these jobs or can learn them. I am a fast learner! I am also always free my political job is flexible other than some events that I can alternate with my candidate for. So it’s frustrating.

I want to be productive and useful and right now I do not feel this way. I also do not feel as though I can spend any money which sometimes I need to do, like for birthdays and family travel and even just paying for gas. Although, I could consider it an internship or fellowship a learning experience. I am living at home and I just do not like feeling like a burden.

To cope, I am considering myself lucky to be working in the field I actually want to work in a cultivating a network of professionals in that field. Hopefully I am opening doors for myself in the future versus sticking myself in a hole or in one job. I am worried about money but luckily I am becoming an adult where there are other ways besides a traditional job to make cash. Also at this moment in time a lot of large retailers re closing. I try not to take it personally. There are a lot of people looking for jobs and very few places that can offer them. It is not personal.

Staying positive is hard, but I try.

Wish me luck.

Starting to work

I’ve now spent two weeks at my internship here in Boston. While it’s not my first job it is my first foray into the field I want to be in. Though technically I did politically fund raise it was more just a call center and the client was a political organization.  The organization is a new GOTV or Get Out The Vote organization, by new I mean within the first two years. Honestly, I like it a lot more than I had expected.

First impressions: waking up at in the morning is easier than I expected, mostly because I really want to make a good impression and have a fear of being late. Secondly working a full day at an office makes me much tireder than a day running after kids at camp, which was surprising. Thirdly, I actually am really invested in this field of work. It’s a lot of research and calling and canvassing but I feel good about it.

So the biggest thing I like most is the people I work with. I have two bosses that are exceedingly kind and working to give us every opportunity they can. Both go out of their way to make sure we are comfortable and confident in our tasks, which in the end make us more efficient I think. I was very nervous about my fellow interns, I’m not great at making friends or trusting people (strangers make me nervous). Everyone has been super nice I’ve even gone out for lunch with them twice. I did get sun burnt both times. But they are cool people.

The biggest piece of advice I was given was to grab any chance I could when I started working. This internship has given me lots of chances to do that and I’ve tried my best. I jumped on a research project that seemed tedious to everyone else but I get to do research on local governments and learn how to better use political databases. Next week I’ll be volunteering for the fundraiser my organization is holding allowing me to meet people involved in the field.

Hopefully the rest of the summer stays productive and my internship stays good, but I’ve got a good feeling about it.