Well, hello there…

I’m baaaaaaack. 12809623_10156677851315381_1337201891346616907_n

It’s been over 2 years since I last posted. Where have I been? Busy, that’s where. You might be familiar with it. It’s on the same block as exhausted.

Anyway, I’ve been busy working and living life to the fullest.

When I first started my job at the Alzheimer’s Association St. Louis Chapter in February 2014, I was trying to do too much at once. Working a full-time job and finishing grad school was draining me mentally and physically.

Once grad school was over, I was so accustomed to staying busy that I felt it necessary to fill that gap so I got a second job. It didn’t last long, and I was soon in a place of exhaustion again. So I quit and filled my time with my regular job and Netflix.

But, alas, I soon grew tired of wasting away my nights with Netflix and chips and salsa.

So, here I am two years later and I have a second job…again. This time it’s different. I have the job because it is enjoyable and flexible. And, now I know when to say no, when to say I need a break and how to balance myself.

That’s the moral of the story. Work but balance it. Be social but balance it. Take time to be by yourself but balance it.

I see a lot of people these days that work themselves to exhaustion and don’t go out and enjoy themselves. I also see a lot of people who socialize too much and, in return, it throws off their work.

You can have the best of both worlds. Just know how to balance it.

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When student loans are due…

I’ve been in that situation. You know the one…

When you’ve graduated college and you’re having trouble finding a job and then your student loans hit. Now you REALLY need to find a job.

I’ve spoke to some friends that are dealing with this, and I understand their frustration. This is when they are at the point of desperation. So for those of you who don’t have a ton of bills (maybe you only have your loan to pay each month… lucky you) then go for that internship. Paid or unpaid, part-time or full-time… It doesn’t sound fun, but take the internship and then find a job in retail, food service, or whatever that you can do alongside it.

Get that little bit of experience while you can.  Image

Have a few more bills? Get a job in customer service… that can translate into almost any career. And while your working this job, I have three words for you… volunteer, Volunteer, VOLUNTEER! Put that on your resume… and build it!

Every little bit helps, and when your desperate… ya gotta do what ya gotta do. 😉

And when all else fails… go to grad school. Get an assistantship to have it paid for and get some more experience. That will help you when entering the job market again in 2 years.

Recognition is sweet

Sorry for falling off the grid for a while. Work + Grad School + Comprehensive Exams = One tired PR professional.

In other news…

I’m so happy to announce that I nominated my place of employment, Challenge Unlimited, Inc., for an award. And… we won! This is a first for me. The award was from the St. Louis Regional Chamber. They held their Arcus Awards ceremony on November 26.

Our Executive Office of Business and Finance accepted the award.

Our Executive Office of Business and Finance accepted the award.

Out of hundreds of nominations and six other finalists, Challenge Unlimited was selected by a panel of distinguished business scholars and business executives as the winner of the inaugural Arcus Award for Achievement in Economic Inclusion for demonstrating an exceptional commitment to promoting a diverse and global workforce within the St. Louis region.

Also, we recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of our President, Tom Moehn. If there was ever a sign of employee dedication, this is it. There are a number of employees who have been with the company for landmark anniversaries. This shows an organization full of support and people who believe in what they are doing. For the full story of Tom’s anniversary, click here.

I’m so excited and proud to be a part of this organization and make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Kids these days…

Most of you may laugh because I make it seem like I’m an old fuddy dud, but I’m serious… what is it about today’s youth?

I have my hang ups, but I know a thing or two about perception. And it really erks me when most of my generation just doesn’t get it.

What is this “it” I am speaking of? Well “it” consists of several things. So here goes my soap box.

1. RESPECT– This goes a long way.

  • Respect your teachers. Why? They make great references. Who you are as a student reflects who you are as an employee. Do you show up to class on time? If not, you probably won’t show up to work on time. Do you put in effort in your homework assignments? If so, your professors will notice and be able to confidently recommend your work. Do you speak in a proper manner? Using proper vocabulary when speaking to your professor shows competence.
  • Respect your classmates. How does this help? Your classmates are your peers, network, and potential colleagues. Everything mentioned above creates a perception about you, and if all you ever provide me with as a classmate is that your late and unprofessional, I’ll be the first to recommend your resume gets dropped in the trash. Sorry, but true.
  • Respect yourself and your friends. Don’t go around the campus calling each other “hoes” and “b*tches” even if they are your friends. Why would I want to work with someone who thinks it’s appropriate to call someone such a derogatory name?

2. Professionalism– Yes, you need to act as a professional in college.

  • Attire is important. I’m not saying you have to start wearing a dress shirt and slacks to school, but there are clothes in categories called “No one wants to see that,” and “Night out at the club,” or even “I just rolled out of bed.”  These are things that say you don’t care about school or how much effort you have to put in, as long as you get your degree. This translates to, “I don’t care how much effort I put in, as long as I get a paycheck.”
  • Language is often overlooked. Cussing happens. I do it, I’ll be the first to admit. BUT, I know when, where, appropriateness. Dropping the F-bomb in between every other word as  you are in class or walk down the hallway sends out a very poor image to those around you. When I hear this, I desperately want to hand you a dictionary and tell you to learn a new word, or two.
  • Writing isn’t as easy as a-b-c. Learn how to write…properly. When e-mailing anyone in any academic situation, avoid texting jargon. I don’t want to open your email and see “thx,” or “lol,” or even “omg.” Also, spell check. Use it, love it, and embrace it. Again, if I read something from you and you have clearly written something incorrectly I will think to myself, “Wow. They didn’t even take the time to read over this or use spell check. They must not really care.”

3. Get involved. — It’s about more than making friends.

  • Join a club or a sport. Those fellow members, teammates, advisors, and coaches also make great references. How you work in a group says a lot about you as an employee.
  • Get an internship. Regardless of whether the internship is paid or unpaid, it gets you the experience you need. When you graduate, you often see in an entry-level job description “1-3 years of experience” as a requirement. And, you might think to yourself, “How am I supposed to have experience for an entry-level job?!” Well, that’s the benefit of an internship.
  • Attend campus events. Just because there’s no alcohol involved, doesn’t mean you won’t have a good time. You can meet some influential people at events such as career fairs, networking events, student organization activities, etc. This will give you a chance to try your professional skills and “work a room.”

I’ve heard many students over my 5 1/2 years of college say that these things don’t matter, they are a waste of time, or they’ll worry about it when they graduate. Well, by then, it could be too late. The damage is done.

Take my advice, and maybe I’ll be able to tolerate you as I pass you on campus.

And… Done.

So this is what it’s like…

…to be a big kid…

It’s been awhile since my last post. Allow me to apologize.

The thing is, I’ve been busy. For awhile there, I was working three (yes, three) jobs and taking my summer graduate classes. This was exhausting and overwhelming, and not the least bit exciting.

BUT…

At the end of July, I was fortunate enough to be offered a part-time position in my field. Most of you might be saying, “It’s part-time… whoopty-doo.” What you don’t realize is that this part-time position is the perfect set up for me.

I’m a graduate student seeking my Master’s in Public Administration. With my bachelor’s degree in public relations, I am focusing on non-profit administration. To pay for grad school, I’m a communication/PR grad assistant and that requires me to work 20 hours a week.  While this waives my tuition, it also give me a small (I mean small!) stipend.  So when a friend and classmate of mine told me about this part-time job, I was ecstatic.

So what’s the job? I’m the new Communication Specialist at Challenge Unlimited, Inc. CU is a non-profit organization based out of Alton, Ill. They help people with disabilities find employment and give them skill training and development. It is my job to promote the organization within the community, manage social media, and develop both internal and external communication for the organization. PhotoGrid_1376063382642

IMG_20130812_121204They only need someone part-time at the moment, but the position has potential to grow into full-time. This is why the position is ideal.  Come May  of 2014, I will be needing a full-time job once I complete my degree.  This position allows me to put to work both of my degrees and gives me room to grow. How perfect is that?

After spending a couple of weeks in the position, I’m pretty happy. I have an office, name plate, and business cards (official big kid!).  So far, I have been able to learn so much about the organization, and I look forward to seeing where this position takes me.

P.S. Now I only have two jobs… 🙂

Social Media-Scoop.it.

Happy Summer Everyone!!

This post is going to be short and sweet (just like me) because I know that you all don’t want to be at your computer reading a post. Instead, you want to be outside swimming (while wearing sunscreen) or having a barbecue (vegetarian, of course).

So…I’m excited to share that I’m taking a class this summer about using social media in public relations. While I already use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WordPress, I’m excited to learn how to use them more professionally and embark on other social media platforms.

One new platform that I’ve started using and find to be absolutely amazing is Scoop.it! It provides you with tons of news stories that relate to the topic of your choosing. For the purpose of my class, I have chosen PR and Nonprofits as my topic. I can comment my thoughts on the topic and share the story with several other platforms. I’ve already found a few stories that I think are worth sharing. No matter what field you’re in, I highly recommend Scoop.it for finding articles related to your interests. To see my profile and scooped articles, click here.

Also, I share the articles I find on my twitter so be sure to follow me @lindannoel

Branding… Myself.

I’m not talking about body modification people!

People think I’m joking when I say that it is important to make a brand out of yourself. This isn’t limited to marketing, advertising, or PR professionals. This is for EVERYONE!

Regardless of your field, you need to be memorable. By memorable, I don’t mean to wear a tutu to work everyday. While that would be memorable, it’s also not that professional. You don’t want to be remembered in a bad way.

What I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to be different. In today’s society, it is easy to fall in line and do as everyone else does. While this may work for some, it doesn’t work for all. I’ve been raised by four (yes, four) awesome parents who have encouraged me to do my own thing and thus far it has paid off.

What is my brand?  Simple. Outgoing. Me.

I change my hair color on a regular basis (In my last post, my hair was almost black. Now its blonde.), I have my own clothing style, and I’m not afraid to show off my tattoo. Since each of these is a questionable action, I will address them all and explain why I do what I do.Image

First, my hair is mine. Not society’s, not my job’s, not my coworker’s. If I want to change my hair, it shouldn’t matter how drastic of a change it is. Those who know me, know that I get bored easily. Changing my hair is a sense of control (I’m a little controlling-only a little). Also, its the shock factor. When I see people after I change my hair, I get a double take. What does this have to do with my job? At work, people remember me and praise me for being so brave with my hair. Brave = compliment. I’ll take it. I want to be known as the girl who is brave, not afraid to take chances, and just goes for it.

Now let’s talk about clothes. I hate “business attire.” Hate is a strong word, but it fits so appropriately here. I hate the way my body looks in most dress pants. I hate the idea that women need to wear heels to have a professional look. And, I hate button down dress shirts because they look awful on my figure. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t wear them because I am still a professional, and I will do it. However, I will wear things that are more my style if I know that I won’t be interacting with anyone outside of the office that day or if I’m only going to be in the office for three hours. So if I want to wear plaid, I’ll wear plaid! Deal with it.

But, Lindy doesn’t that give a negative impression at work? My answer: why should it? It’s not everyday, and its not like I’m wearing ripped jeans, shorts, or a skimpy skirt. I’m still presentable. It allows my coworkers and supervisors to see who I am. Clothing is a form of nonverbal communication and it reflects my personality. If they know my personality, my work won’t care.

Image

Location: On the inside of my left forearm under my elbow.

Moving on to tattoos. This is all dependent on where you work. My tattoo may be visible, but my tattoo is also PR related, so I feel that any coworker or supervisor would have somewhat of an appreciation for my tattoo. Therefore, I’m not afraid to show it. On the other hand, I will cover it up if I’m meeting with a client. Regardless of whether or not they know what it means, the stigma that is attached to tattoos is still out there. With tattoos (and piercings) in the workplace, you need to be aware of your environment and surroundings before you go all out and show everyone. Also, you need to be aware of “appropriate” tattoos. Use your best judgement and some common sense.

So how is this a form of branding myself to others? My tattoo, since it is work related, reflects my passion for my job and field. I had a coworker call me a PR nerd when she saw it the other day. I’ve also had a supervisor tell me she thought it was a cool idea for a tattoo. I love the idea that people can see my passion. And, when someone doesn’t know what my tattoo means, they are always intrigued and ask me. I get to educate people about what I do!

Best form of promotion: word of mouth. 🙂

Many Hats

public relations-
(Dictionary.com)
noun

1. the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
2. the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.
 
While this is the definition of public relations, it is not all encompassing. (Notice the word art? PR is an art. Better believe it.)
 
In the past week alone, I have done so many different elements of PR. Event planning & management, outreach, social media, writing, etc.Image
 
Many people would assume that public relations consists of only these things, but as a PR professional, one must wear many hats.
 
Today, not only did I write three press releases, but I also was a photographer, photo editor, director, and videographer. (Hollywood, here I come!)
 
You see, depending on the size and budget of your organization, you may have to take on multiple roles in the PR world. In my case, it was very beneficial for me to do these extra jobs because it is giving me the extra experience I need.
 
I look forward to seeing what hat I will wear next. 🙂
 
 
 
 
 

Writing…Growing… Press Releases

Today I was a “Gatekeeper” for a former instructor of mine. She invites former students and PR professionals to her class to review the each students’ work.

First, and foremost, I am always honored when she asks me to participate. It means a lot that she thinks I know what I’m doing. 😉

Also, I enjoyed today because it allowed me to see that I have grown as a writer and PR professional. Just three years ago, I was in that class having someone critique my work. While I don’t remember it vividly, I’m sure they attacked my writing with an ugly red pen. I mean if the me three years ago put a press release in front of the me now, I’d tear it to shreds.

So as I sat in the desk and read over each students press release or media advisory, I realized that I know my stuff! I was making changes to their work without even thinking about it. I didn’t have to analyze the work and decide what changes needed to be made, it just came naturally. I believe that to be a sign that I may actually be getting the hang of this.

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Cancer Doesn’t Discriminate

Everyone has that organization or cause that they support wholeheartedly. For me, that is the American Cancer Society. Most don’t realize how much they do for cancer patients, their caregivers and research.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. This deadly disease can happen to anyone. Most likely you know someone who has battled cancer. That’s why I support ACS by raising money for Relay for Life.

Help me reach my goal of $150 towards my team’s overall goal. If you can spare $5, you can help. Below you will find the link to my fundraising page.

Let’s make more birthdays! 🙂

Thank you. Gracias. Hvala. Grazie. Dank. (Those are the only ones I know)

http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?px=19473466&pg=personal&fr_id=48494&fl=en_US&et=PS1FJWx4QwvTOeA5PoIQ2w