A fun fact you likely don't know about this blog: at it's very inception, it was themed around makeup because for a couple of months a half a decade ago, I dappled in selling Mary Kay. I wanted the skin product and for the same price, you got a the whole set AND a starter kit to start selling makeup. I was like, "Well, I'm broke AF, so mine as well," and that's how I spiraled into a little foray into selling skincare and makeup.Read More
“So, how’d you get into tools?” he always asks.
“They recruited me! I actually hadn’t ever used a drill before getting this job, isn’t that funny?” I say insensitively. Here is a guy who has worked in the trade for his whole entire life and who never got the opportunity to drink his fake stress away at college. Then I redirect the conversation back to the sale and pray he doesn’t hit on me. He probably smells like cigarettes.
I get the “How did I get into tools?” question several times a day. Being a marginally attractive female in a hardware store, it’s unavoidable. I don’t mind answering, and I do so honestly. In sales, though, it’s always better to be the question asker than the askee. The asker has the power, the asker controls the situation, and the asker typically gets what they want.Read More
I was given a free sample because I'm a Klout influencer. I am under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.
I recently got a free sample of Benefit's Roller Lash mascara in the mail, and was pretty excited from the moment I opened it. They sent along two small free samples (for friends) and one big tube of mascara (for me), plus a photo frame that I will not be using. The packaging was pretty trendy, mixing light green and pink with a cute puppy getting its hair done. Overall, the entire package set me up to believe this was going to be a successful free sampling.Read More
By Cazey Williams In my life outside blogging, I happen to be events chair for my local alumni chapter. That job entails planning football viewings, happy hours and promoting friend making.
So my event idea was to coerce people who regularly attend our meetings to meet people different than the ones they already know and/or came with. I originally called it “speed dating,” but then decided we weren't trying to market to lusty singles, so let’s go with “speed networking” – because that’s what we’re doing. Except not in the professional sense; or at least that wasn't the primary goal. When I wrote up the event blurb, I put, “Emphasis on social.”
Okay, in hindsight, every name for the event was doomed. Social networking conjures notions of Facebooking and tweeting. Speed dating…well, this isn’t for hapless Valentines. And speed networking – please, keep your business cards in your pocket.
To keep the event lite (misspelled on purpose), I made a bingo sheet for an ice breaker. Each square had something related to our alma mater. I printed out a list of questions stolen from websites meant for both speed dating and networking.
The first person to arrive for the event was in a tan suit and had silver hair. Me internally: Crap. Like, I’m wearing moccasins. I almost wore shorts. We shake hands.
“This is my first event in several years,” Mr. Businessman says.
“What brought you out?”
“The speed networking. I love networking. I’ve been in sales for 16 years.”
“Well,” I think fast, “we’re expecting a mixed crowd, so it’s gonna be a little social, a little professional (not at all, I’m in moccasins). Hopefully you’ll get something out of it.”
“Can’t wait to find out.”
Oh, I can.
People trickle in. The assortment is mixed only by contrast: Me and my moccasins, 23 and in grad school, and everyone else years older and employed – or formerly employed. Gosh, I invited you here to make friends, not get you a job. One of my worst self-critiques is underperforming, and I would say a list of questions that includes “Star Wars or Star Trek?” is underperforming for this crowd.
Of course, the pizza comes out late (yes, we’re hosting this at a pizza parlor; why were you expecting business networking?!). Some people mingle. Others wait for me to prompt this networking. Me: I only have it to make it through an hour before I can drink away this humiliation.
I narrate how this will work, mention “we were expecting a mixed crowd, so I prepared for social and professional networking (so I won’t ask ‘If you were an animal in the wild, what would you be?’),” and try to explain the bingo ice breaker – but some of the older men just don’t get it. Forget it; it’s an ice breaker. I need a megaphone. I’m sweating. No one can hear me. No one knows which way to rotate. People are repeating the opposite of what I said.
The first person I network with is Mr. Businessman. He says he’s been to many networking events. In fact, he specifies: “I teach group networking.” Great. Judge this failed spectacle.
“Well, I’d love to hear what advice you have,” I say. Should I be biting into this pizza while listening? Is that professional? Well, darn it, I’m hungry. “Like, what prompts I should use.” (Because I was going to ask “Who was your favorite superhero when you were little – and how does that relate to your profession?”)
Once I collected comment cards at the end, I assessed that the event was not as disastrous as I painted it. In fact, my biggest criticism was not starting on time (sorry, we waited until 7:05 PM; I guess there are no stragglers in the business world). However, I would not have worn moccasins.
The past two days have been fraught with a dull pain in the back left side of my mouth, right around the location I would expect a wisdom tooth to be. While I was eating lunch fajitas with some co-workers, I mentioned that I think that I might be getting a wisdom tooth in. "Aweee, you're teething," says one of my co-workers. I bust out laughing. It's a running joke that I'm a baby at my work, as most of my co-workers are much further along in their lives than I am. Some might argue that the usual jabbing at my youth is undermining my authority, as I've read that's a technique for older people to assert dominance. Here's an opinion piece about age discrimination in the work place, just in case you didn't know what I am talking about.
I can't say that I agree. When it comes to my work, I am the authority. No one knows social media better than me at work. I grew up on it. I took classes on it in college- classes I am sure most wouldn't have even been able to take when they were in school, as social media wasn't even a thing at the time. People respect me and ask how I think they could work with them to benefit from social media.
Then we collaborate and come up with a way that their needs are met, as well as best using social media. We're a team. They share their ideas, and mine count just as much. Yes, I report to people and their say can override mine, but that's how it should be. They're in a position of power not because of their age, but because of their wisdom.
I am still relatively new to this whole full time employment thing, so you're damn right there's times that the older people have to reel me in. There are constraints that I often can't see. They've been around the block a few times and can forecast better than I can how things will turn out. That's where wisdom trumps youth. It's not because I drink coffee and get overly excited about plans, which apparently stops once you've matured a bit and have felt similar success before.
So what if they poke fun at me because I have no idea who Donny Osmand is? Or ask if I'm even allowed to go to the company happy hour? I'm young. I have a ton of energy and enthusiasm for my job because I haven't been jaded by years of work. Let people remind me of my youth. I hope at least one person does everyday. Because one day I'm not going to be young, so I mine as well revel in the traits it presents me with now.
On a whim awhile back, I became a makeup saleswoman. And I suck at it. I make petty sales to family and friends, but do nothing more to expand my network. And now I don't want to do it anymore. So, what does a twenty-something do when they no longer want something? Sell it on eBay! It was brilliant in the beginning. I was listing quite a few products and moving them at low prices while still making a bit of money. Then I got cocky. I decided people would get more into it at auction and end up paying more from bidding wars, so I dropped the price and opened it up to bidding.
My notions were totally incorrect. I lost money on the first one. But I didn't want to give up that easily, so I tried again. And lost even more money on the second. I was done with trying to auction off my product.
Or apparently not, as one more got sold at an even lower price. Fanfreakingtastic.
I literally am practically paying some lady for taking it off my hands. And on top of that, eBay randomly charged me $6 for listing fees or something ridiculous. It basically took all the money I made from that last sale. I am apparently in the giving mood with how low I charged for some really good products. So now I am really really done auctioning off my product.
But for the record, in the future you can buy something from me at full price on my website: www.marykay.com/sara.woznicki
There's something to be said for working in a small office and wearing a lot of hats, but there's even more to be said about being a gopher in a cubicle. I always thought small office work was more for me. Everyone would know me, I'd have more responsibility, and would have an opportunity to do more. To some extent, some of that was true, but there are more reasons to love a large office than I expected. I originally thought that I would be "just a number" at a large company, but I've never felt like that. Since day one, which admittedly was only a week and a day ago, everyone in my department either knew who I was, or at least was aware of my presence. My team makes the large office seem small. We work together and make the cubicle laden place seem like a little community. Coming from a small office, it is actually nice to be surrounded by so many people that are willing to help and bounce ideas off of. I have felt more creative and inspired with all of the talent that surrounds me daily.
Another myth I had in my head about large offices was that you only do one thing over and over again. Again, I am only in my second week, but there is much more content coming in, so while my role might be more narrow, there is actually much more variety now. Also, because I am doing a more narrow job, there is more potential for me to become really, really good at something, rather than workable across a variety of tasks.
I was also nervous about a large office because I thought there would be less trust in me. I could not be further from reality. Because they did intense background checks, several panel interviews, and a skills assessment, they were aware of my capabilities coming in, and therefore trusted me almost instantly. With a vetting process, I was posting tweets on my second day. By my second week, I have been granted full access to all social media accounts, given a phone and an ipad, and encouraged to offer my input at meetings.
My last major concern about a big office was I figured I would have less potential to make things happened. I pictured working at a big office being essentially like having my hands tied, in that there would be so many standard operating procedures that I would have no opportunity to be a change agent. However, being in a big company gives you opportunities to use all of these resources that are simply not available in a smaller office. If I think a Facebook post should be boosted, there is a budget for it. If I need color coded stickies, there is a whole office supplies closet to raid.
Beyond just overturning every notion I had about working in a large office, there has even been additional perks that I never expect. The obvious perks are tangibles like a new computer, a huge monitor, ipad, and iPhone with less flashy perks such as retirement plans, benefit packages, and life insurance also adding to the list. But beyond all of those work perks, there's something to be said for being surrounded by people constantly. While sometimes human interaction takes away from work, it drives me to work harder. When you are constantly seeing other people work passionately towards the same cause as you, there is no way you can slack off. While I can only see one way to get something done, there are constantly other ideas always improving my work.
So while I may be a small fish in a big pond these days, I'm a highly important little guppy making the ecosystem healthier.
I've been through lots of interviews where people have been asking me questions. From trying to get scholarships for school to getting jobs, I would say I've been interviewed at least 20 times. But I've never interviewed someone else before today. Never before have I been in the drivers seat with someone else's livelihood in my hands. And let me tell you, being the interviewer probably made me more nervous than the person I was interviewing. I wanted to ask good questions that allowed her to explain herself, yet difficult enough questions to reveal something about her.
It's a challenge finding a happy mix of tough and informative. Also, I don't want to be THAT person that you leave the interview room cursing under your breath because they were so tough. I can't tell you what she thought of me when she left, but she did end up getting the job, so apparently I did a good enough job interviewing her for my boss to learn about her and make a judgement call. So far she's been an asset to our projects and I've enjoyed her in the office.
Here is my favorite question I asked, why I asked it, and what I gleaned from it:
Have you encountered a time that you had a creative difference with a client or coworker, and how did you handle it? This question is essential for the field I am in, as well as the job she was applying for. We have creative differences all the time in my office, which is never a bad thing. We just are all creative people with unique ideas on how to solve the problem. I wanted someone that would say they would vocalize their ideas and work towards a way to use all of our creative ideas for the betterment of the project.
She didn't seem like one of those people that were rigid in their thinking and do not listen to creative solutions, so I liked her more.
I also think my interview was successful because I avoiding stupid cliche interview questions such as "What's your biggest weakness?" which guarantees that you'll get some bullshit answer that doesn't allow you to gain any insight into their character.
Here's hoping she's a good fit and I can pat myself on the back for interviewing and selecting a winner!
Networking is one of those things that you HAVE to do if you want to get new clients, retain clients, meet new companies to work for, recruit people, and basically every other business essential. So, I go to networking events. And it never ends with me congratulating myself for a job well done in the car on my way home. Nope. It's always me shaking my head, wondering how this can possibly be helping my company. Here are three summaries of the networking events I have been to thus far in Richmond:
The first networking event I went to was after work in an area I did not know. I left work, only to realize that I had left too late to make it on time, so the entire time I was driving there I was having bad anxiety for being late. I show up late, only to realize that the start time was pretty lenient. So now I was that awkward person stress sweating in the corner over nothing. I spent the first few minutes mingling and making small talk. Then the speaker said it was time to start, but feel free to grab some appetizers since it was a casual event. So, I take that to mean that I should grab food.
I'm piling up my plate full of cheese, and then decide I want some grapes. Rather than walking around the table to grab the grapes, I just reach over, and BAM: knock over my full plate of cheese. So then I proceed to clean up all the cheese cubes off the floor, while the speaker is speaking. Once I am done, I decide to try again, since I am still hungry.
I get my cheese to my seat safely and devour it quickly to make the whole eating debacle end. The speaker ends and I am ready to get out. I've hit my limit on networking, so I make a B-line to the door. Naturally, I run into the speaker, who thanks me for coming and asks me if I had any questions. I froze on the spot. My mind was blank. Literally nothing was happening up in the barren wasteland of where my brain supposedly was.
"Thank you for the presentation! I was very interested in it," was all I managed as I stumbled back out onto the street. I kicked myself the whole way home for that one.
The second event I went to was a lot less traumatic. I went with a co-worker, so we stuck by each other and I created a lot less of a scene. I can't say this was a successful event since the only person I "networked" with was the woman I already worked with, but at least all the cheese stayed on the table this time.
The third event I went to gave me more social anxiety, as I knew I was going alone again. I literally had a nightmare the night before about what might go wrong. Regardless, I showed up, signed in, and went straight to the bathroom. It seemed like the place to go where being alone wasn't awkward. When I reemerged, I saw a friendly looking lady sitting in a corner alone. Naturally, that is where I wanted to go.
We chatted it up and exchanged business cards. It felt like I was actually networking properly this time. Then we go inside and I have some awkward dialogue with a few older men, and end up with a guy that decides to sit way too close to me. Beside the discomfort of someone within my personal bubble for the entire luncheon, there were only two awkward incidents at this event, which I will count as a victory.
My two awkward moments stem from asking these questions:
1. "What did you study to get a job like that?" On its face, it seems like a normal question, but I made an assumption that they went to school to study something, so there was a long awkward pause when it was admitted that she did not go to college. I tried playing it off, so hopefully it was only a little awkward.
2. "How long have you been in direct sales?" Again, I thought this seemed safe, but nay. This question went over like a lead balloon. The man cut his eyes to me and told me not to ask that. Apparently, men too have a complex when you ask them something that might indicate their age.
So maybe networking isn't my thing right now, but hopefully with a few more experience, I will walk away with more business contacts and less embarrassing stories to tell people.
So my friend and I were trying to move a tv and accidentally dropped it on my foot. I ran to my nurse roommate who dumped hydrogen peroxide into the wound and we called it a night. When I woke up the next morning, I freaked at how bruised and nasty it was, so me and nurse roommate took a field trip to a mediquick. The point of this blog post is not to talk about my doctors visit, but let's just say it could have gone way better with a lot less judgement.
Fast forward a few hours.
I'm sending a picture of my war wound to everyone, even my Mary Kay director (she asked for it).
Then she shows her doctor husband, who offers to help. It's 1045 at night and I have never met him before. Obviously I want to put my toe in the best possible environment to recover, so I go. He cleans it up, gives me a few tips, butterflies it up, and sends me on my way.
I sell (well try to) Mary Kay under the direction of his wife for less than two months and he is putting my foot back together on his off time. If that kindness and generosity does not perfectly explain how everyone wants to be treated, I don't know what will. To know that there are people out there like that gives me a lot of hope for the world. It's also why I'm falling for Mary Kay.
I definitely didn't join Mary Kay for the medical benefits (there typically arnt any) but it's one of the reasons I am re energized to stay. Not the fact that it connects me with doctors, but that the network it creates takes care of one another. Not successfully selling makeup in a makeup industry is pretty demotivating, but to know that the people I'm surrounding myself with are actually fantastic humans keeps me going.
Selling makeup might seem trite, but being immersed in a culture of giving and genuinely helpful people is not. Having people that care about you beyond just numbers is what sets Mary Kay apart from other multilevel marketing companies. Despite being an independent contractor and basically only having minimal responsibility for me, my director went out of her way to help me and demonstrated an unparalleled level of compassion outside of the job related requirements. That's why I'm proudly staying with Mary Kay.