Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

First week of work

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

Happy Friday the 13th. 😉

Woo hoo! My very first weekend since starting work is upon me and boy am I pooped! Between adjusting to a new schedule, learning A TON, and trying to get the hang of things, I have been worn out at the end of each day this week. When I got home, I barely had enough energy to blog and crash. I think I forgot to have dinner one night, but it’s all fuzzy now. As always, I think I’m picking things up ok but gosh I wish I could be a natural at it and rock it like none other. I get a little impatient with myself sometimes when I feel like I’m “at par” because it just doesn’t feel good enough. I’ll be glad to recharge over the weekend and pick up again on Monday with a fresh approach. Let me share some random moments from this week!


cup of dunkin donuts iced tea drink with box of three chick-fil-a chick-n-minis breakfast sandwiches

I started my first day off right with a free breakfast!!

panera bread you pick two combination meal with chicken noodle soup and soba noodle salad topped with shrimp and spinach plus french bread on the side

I spent all day training with my manager and then we got lunch together. I tried the new soba noodle salad at Panera and I’ve found a new fav!

view outside office window of street filled with cars and buildings in background with sun obscured by clouds

Looking outside our office you can see parts of the Reston Town Center.

light wood desk with laptop, wooden framed picture, purple purse, black bag, and chococat mug

I’m trying to keep my desk space simple with just my bag, purse, mug, laptop, and framed picture. I’ve since added some snacks and acquired a phone headset.

first day of work care package items with picture in frame, bottle of coke, bag of chocolates, tube of lotion, twenty dollar bill, pen, note, insurance info, band-aids, and bag of chips

Panda was so sweet to pack me a care package. I knew there were snacks but throughout the day I discovered the note and money, then later on the picture frame, and finally the band-aids right before I left for the day!

bright colorful sunset with clouds in sky and trees to side

At the end of the day, I drove off into a beautiful sunset.


yellow and black slow down geese crossing sign stuck in grass by side of road

My second day, I took a different route and came across this sign warning us drivers of a geese crossing. Please disregard my dusty windshield.

giant hangover turkey burger from be right burger

One of the few girls in the office invited me to lunch and I had this fabulous turkey burger with fried egg and bacon, among other things. It lasted me two other meals as well!

I spent much of the morning training again and learning more about what I’ll need to do. By the afternoon, they let me loose on some of the research so I began digging away. We took a break as a company at one point so the CEO could share some awesome news with us – that we’d landed a very large and important account!


noodles and co pasta rosa with penne, spinach, mushrooms, and cheese in spicy tomato sauce

On Wednesday, I asked the trio in the room next to mine to come out to lunch and my manager made it too. I got the pasta rosa at Noodles & Co and I’ve definitely found a winner for future visits.

I had training with another manager for a couple of hours and continued to do research as I touched base with my manager to learn the ins and outs of my role. I got a company t-shirt just in time for the picture we took to thank the new account we celebrated yesterday. Fun times!

building being contructed lit up at night

When I left that night, I was surprised that the building next door had so many lights on.


Gosh, I spent nearly the entire day working on getting my first batch of research compiled so I completely forgot to take any pictures. It was 2:30 before I realized I wasn’t really feeling hungry but boy was I getting tired. I spoke to Panda briefly, wondering if I should even bother to get lunch at that point and he encouraged me to do so. I checked in with the folks next door again and the two who were there were such sports that they happily accompanied me out. I decided to repeat my Panera meal and I gobbled it up without realizing I was hungry. I guess tired and hungry are hard to tell apart sometimes. A few times I thought it was Friday already, yikes!

Good news came again as another fantastic account closed a deal with us, so the CEO pulled us all together to share the details and congratulate the efforts of the lead and team.


The day started off with free bagels the CEO brought in! I helped myself to one, but felt kind of bad when I didn’t see others coming too. Apparently I’m the only one who doesn’t eat breakfast.

bowl of wonton soup at busara thai restaurant

Today I had a wonderful bowl of wonton soup at Busara Thai while chatting with our marketing guy.

green curry chicken dish with bowl of jasmine rice at busara thai restaurant

I tried something different and got green curry chicken, yum.

My morning kicked off slowly when we got me set up with a phone number and headset. Since they’re transitioning to a new system, and I’m one of the first, it took some time to figure out what we needed to do. Lunch ran a bit long so I came back in the afternoon to a ton of work I wanted to do. I hope I did alright performance-wise. I stayed late to make sure I delivered decent results, but was it great? I’m learning what types of lunches are long so I know when to refuse them in the future so I can work through busier times.

teavana perfectea perfect tea maker sitting on chococat mug

To be featured on today’s 365great, this contraption has been amazing for my tea brewing needs.

string of emails announcing shipment and tracking of subscription boxes

All afternoon I got notifications that boxes were shipping! Wow, what’s up with Friday the 13th being so good for me? 🙂

driving on freeway at night with lights dotting road and clouds darkening sky

I enjoy my drives home, relaxing to music and appreciating the features of my car. 🙂

365great Day 179: Canvas

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 179: canvasIn honor of my first day of work, I had to mention Canvas. The moment I started interviewing for this company, I knew it was what I wanted. I loved the product and service, I connected with the company philosophy and culture, and I enjoyed speaking with everyone I met. I even stopped applying for other jobs and threw myself wholeheartedly into the interview process because I wanted it so much. Luckily, I got the job and now I’m thrilled to join the Canvas team. So what is Canvas and what do we do? Well, we help businesses revamp the way they do business to be more efficient, more accurate, and more green. We do that by providing a mobile app that people use to collect information from their mobile devices. Gone is the need for paperwork like invoices, work orders, checklists, and time sheets. By turning all of that digital, you can update information in our database in real time for access on any internet-connected computer. It eliminates the challenges of paperwork like when they get lost, are illegible, or are incomplete. We can even prevent inaccuracies by providing timestamps, GPS locations, and pictures! I mean, it really is a fabulous solution that brings paperwork to the digital age and I’m so proud to be a part of this company. I love the green and tech components, which are two of my passions, AND I love the start-up culture that I thrive in. I’m pretty stoked about my role too. 🙂 So hey, if you think you know a business that could use Canvas, be sure to let them know! It’s very empowering through its robust solutions. You know what I say: great!

6 tips for landing a job in one month

laelene Posted in how to guides,Tags: , , , ,

I’ve had a pretty good track record when it comes to finding work. Whenever I’ve wanted to find something, I’ve been able to land a job within a month of initiating my job search. I hear of a lot of stories about people searching for months though, so I thought I’d put together some tips for how I optimize my efforts. Perhaps I’m just more flexible in my search, but I’m probably doing some things right too!

six tips for landing a job in one month at

Tip #1: network!

An important thing to do while you’re job hunting is make sure you mention it to people. You never know when an off-hand remark about your job hunt can lead to a promising opening. Strike up a conversation with that stranger in line and you can usually insert the topic since it’s common to discuss what you’re up to. Don’t be spammy and talk about nothing but how hard it is or what your dream job would be, but don’t be shy about bringing it up. They might have great suggestions for where to look or you might just get a referral!

Tip #2: use your social groups.

You should definitely try to make an effort to meet more people and expand your network, but also tap into your existing networks: family, friends, classmates, previous coworkers, etc. If you’re meeting up with friends, they’ll probably want to know what’s going on – what a perfect time to share your job hunting status! Also, a couple of posts on your social media accounts could bring in opportunities as well. Just be careful not to let it take over or people will just tune you out.

Tip #3: don’t be afraid of Craigslist.

The first time I looked for a “real” job (aka full-time with benefits) I shied away from Craigslist at first. I figured the best leads would be on job listing sites – I mean, that’s what they’re set up for, right? While there were plenty of listings there, I actually found it to be quite challenging to navigate. The CEO of the company I was interning for at the time asked if I had tried Craigslist and I kind of cringed… “Craigslist? Isn’t that kind of shady?” But she assured me that she knew plenty of people who got great jobs out of it. Thank goodness I listened to her! I found a great job not long after and once again it was Craigslist that came through for me this time around.

Tip#4: scour job listings like a pro.

It’s always hard browsing job descriptions trying to figure out what is a good fit for you. I always choose one or two features that I really want to focus on and center my searches around that. With my most recent search, I wanted a company with a entrepreneurial vibe, so I searched terms like “startup” (and I believe that’s how I ultimately found the Craigslist post that led me to my job). When I was first starting out a few years ago, I wanted something related to “associate/assistant manager” so that’s what I searched for (and I came across the affiliate manager listing for the job I got). Hone in on what matters the most to you for your search and find terms related to that – don’t just think about job title or responsibilities, but consider the work environment and even things like travel opportunities.

Tip #5: evaluate what you already use and love.

I actually looked at a bunch of positions at companies that are a part of my normal routine – everything from the technology I use to the things I buy. Take a look at brands you already love and see what openings they may have. Chances are that at least a handful of these companies appeal to you not just because of the product or service you use from them, but because of their company philosophy and culture. These would be great places to look to advance your career! I know I got pretty excited about some of them. I even thought of what I could do for that organization that they weren’t necessarily hiring for. If you enjoy the brand enough, it’s definitely worth a try reaching out to their HR department pitching a role that you’d be perfect for. They may not even know they need you until you show them what you can bring to the table!

Tip #6: apply like it’s your job!

Finally, and very importantly is to be very dedicated to your search. Job hunting could easily be a full-time gig and if you put forth that much effort, you will be rewarded that much faster. For my first job I applied to a good 10-15 listings every weekday. For this latest job hunt I was a lot pickier, but still forced myself to find half a dozen promising leads I would pursue each day, focusing on getting out an application to at least one of those. As long as you continually have a pipeline of leads, you are giving yourself your best shot at finding a fabulous job ASAP. Be sure to take the time to research the company and write a thoughtful and custom cover letter for each. That’s your chance to truly stand out! I was contacted about the job I got because my cover letter was one of the most detailed that they had come across. My qualifications weren’t super strong but I sure did make up for it in effort!

And of course, remember to keep your head up and keep plowing on even when things are looking grim. I pushed through that dark period of my search and found a job that I couldn’t be happier with. It’s always going to be challenging trying to find a great job with promising career prospects, the pay you want, near your home, and the company culture that fits your style. I hope that my tips help you think about different ways to approach your job search. Good luck!


Disclaimer: I don’t know your individual situations so of course I can’t guarantee these methods will work for you. They’ve worked for me but your success rate and time may vary.

Job history: college summers edition

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you missed the first two parts of this series, you can go read about the jobs I had in high school and the jobs I had during my college school terms.

I was one of the students who didn’t take summer school, but used that as a chance to land internships and try to figure out my career path. Even though I double majored, I carefully planned my classes from the very first quarter so I wouldn’t need summer school. I did end up taking an extra quarter, but that was because I didn’t realize that studying abroad limited how many classes I could take. Apparently they don’t take well to overly ambitious plans for education abroad programs, even if you are learning in your native language. But I digress. I certainly took advantage of those summers to try out some pretty diverse jobs!

As my first year of college was wrapping up, I had my eye on getting an internship. I tried a bunch of things, but everything was so competitive and very few companies would even look at a first year student. Ultimately, I was able to land an internship with a small film company about to film a low-budget movie. With all this entertainment industry influence around me in Los Angeles, I figured I should see if it was something I’d want to get into. I started off doing administrative work during pre-production. I looked through Craigslist to find housing for actors and I even found a dog to be in the movie. I helped book things and plan things and manage things. I also got to go out scouting a few times, driving around all parts of LA looking for that perfect spot for this and that scene.

filming messiah's castle scene of wristcutters with lots of extras

One of the scenes in the movie, in which I got pulled in to be an extra extra (har har).

Once we started filming, I took on even more, constantly managing the changing grips and electrics, getting second meals (a ton of fast food after a long day as we’re wrapping up for the day/night), wrangling extras, running lines with actors occasionally, and going around doing all that production assistants do. I enjoyed seeing all the behind-the-scenes stuff and running the operation was fitting for my skills. I learned a lot, met a lot of cool people, and even got to put my cat in the film – hence my credit as cat handler. I was probably in there somewhere as well, but only in scenes where you can’t even find me. Oh, and one time I found they’d used my car for a scene… we were very low budget. (The film’s title is Wristcutters: A Love Story, by the way – in case you want to watch it. :))

When it came time for my second summer internship, I wanted to explore a different industry. Since one of my majors was economics, I decided to see if I might want to pursue a career in finance. I landed an internship at Smith Barney with a duo who managed the financial portfolios of mostly aerospace employees. They’d carved out a niche for themselves so they could be one of the most knowledgeable in that area of expertise. Very smart! I spent my time there learning how to cold call, prepare financial portfolios, do financial research, and run a small portion of an office. They taught me how to read the financial portfolios, shared with me how they strategized, and being in that office space showed me what it was like to work in a big office high rise.

working at whole foods demoing food

The only picture I have from my food demoing days.

That same summer is when I found a job to do on the side, since my internship only required 8 hours a week. I became a Product Demonstrator, going to various grocery stores in the LA area, setting up a little table, and giving out samples of food, drinks, and whatnot. My employer was a third party company that represented many brands, so I got to demonstrate everything from ice cream to health bars to tea. I mostly went to Whole Foods to share the products, but sometimes I got sent to other grocery stores as well. For one brand, we actually did our work in Costco! I was pretty good at this job since I love interacting with people and I always carefully read and memorized all the selling points of the product. I did this job on and off for about two years because it was so flexible and I enjoyed it a lot.

ucla live events wall collage of images from event pamplets

I didn’t think to take many pictures so this is all I have – the collage on the wall from programs for the various shows.

When I returned from my year abroad, I interned with UCLA Live! (apparently renamed the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA), which organized live performing arts events affiliated with the university. I was to help with their marketing, which I figured would be a good way to explore my other major, which was in psychology. I did a fair share of warm calls and emails to help promote the upcoming lineup of events for the season. I also had some cold calling to do to try to increase the database of potential attendees. While I didn’t help with the marketing strategy much, I did learn about it and did what I could to push it along.

Finally, when it came to my last summer – the one after my fourth year – I decided that I wanted to do something for myself. Every summer before, I’d gone out and done an internship. It was probably expected that I’d do one more since I was coming back for a final term in the fall and it wasn’t quite time to secure a job yet, but I wanted something else. I was suddenly reminded of my dream to be an Orientation Counselor. Back when I attended orientation, I had such a good time and saw the counselors having such a fantastic time that I told myself I wanted to become one someday. I then kind of forgot about it as the years went on and I learned so much. But then, somehow the idea crept back into my mind (or maybe it was in my subconscious the whole time) and it was now or never. If I was ever to be an OC, it had to be that summer, so I went for it. I was pretty nervous when I went to pick up the notification letter from the office. It was just a tiny letter so I couldn’t tell if it was good news or bad. I was pretty thrilled when I read “Congratulations!”

group of students standing on janss steps at ucla with counselors telling stories

Part of the job was giving tours of the UCLA campus, where we shared many urban legends.

All of spring quarter, the orientation staff met twice a week to train. It was basically like taking another class, since it had quite a bit of homework and a big test at the end. We learned so much about the academic requirements for incoming freshmen vs. transfers, all the cool resources available to students, tons of students groups for so many interests, and just about every aspect of life at UCLA. Don’t worry, we had fun too! I made some great friends and even met Panda there. Serendipity brought us together! (More on that another day.) Once the summer started, it was intense fun and hard work. Session after session of students came and went, we helped them choose majors and pick classes, we took them on tours of campus, and we even performed some pretty amazing skits. On our days off, counselors had various bonding activities planned including a trip to Vegas, hanging out in the middle of the night to watch the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, and just plain enjoying each others’ company. I had a fantastic time!

That wraps up everything I did while I was an undergrad at UCLA. Stay tuned for the “real world” job experience I’ve had so far!

What did you fill your college summers with?

Odd jobs

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

Have you ever tried to get a bunch of odd jobs?  I just joined Fiverr and posted some “gigs” on the site yesterday in an attempt to get more traction for my sales, but also to see if I can get some extra income from doing random tasks.  For now the only thing I’ve come up with that doesn’t involved selling a product is teaching people origami.  I’ll have to keep thinking of what else I could do that’s worth $5 but not too much effort on my part.  I was going to do a Chinese name translation, but there are a lot of those out there so I’m not sure if I should compete…

Awhile back, I became fascinated with community marketplaces.  I had considered trying to become a TaskRabbit and provide services like pet-sitting, but I don’t really have a strong skill in those sorts of things that I could really do well.  It’s always a challenge trying to pinpoint my expertise in things like that – a concrete skill that I can do better than most that people would want to have done for them.  Then I came across Vayable, which I thought was really cool with its community-powered tours.  I have considered doing a UCLA tour through that, but have yet to organize an awesome tour that I would be proud of.  Luckily, I have a head start since I’d led tours for summer orientation, but I also want to include more cool historical facts and some updates since the campus has changed so much.

Most recently, I learned about Lyft, which is a community-powered transportation service.  That’s something I think would be really cool to do, since I’ve often driven my friends around, but I live too far from the central areas of Los Angeles to be of much use right now.  Such a pity, since I enjoy getting out and driving around (and hate finding parking) so this would be a great way to earn some money.

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