Posted in Adulting, General Info

Leaving the Nest, Part 4: The Pre-Game Warm-Up

During my post-graduation job search, I often lamented that the hardest part of finding a job was landing the interview. Whether it’s a phone screening, a “coffee chat”, or a panel, actually getting to speak to someone who actually works for the company you want to work for is no small feat. Depending on the job you’re seeking—and any insider leverage you might have from someone you know who knows someone—your sparkling résumé probably battled its way past dozens to hundreds of other applicants to reach the direct attention of someone who can make hiring decisions.

The first line of defense may have been an algorithm that ranked résumés by how many matching keywords they contained. The next barrier could have been a Human Resources staffer with no knowledge of what the specific job role entails, but a general sense of what the hiring manager wants in a candidate. After that, the résumé will finally find its way to someone adjacent to the vacancy who can make recommendations—if not decisions—about who to plug into that hopefully-you-shaped hole. This person may then decide to immediately call you for an interview, or they might see that you claimed to have “ecxellent attention to detail” and judge you harder than Gordon Ramsay during the dinner rush.

Chef Ramsay doesn't fool around, yo.Source:
Chef Ramsay doesn’t fool around, yo.

(In my current role, I’ve been responsible for screening and interviewing student interns who I’ll then mentor and supervise for a semester. Believe me: errors do get noticed, and they will count against you. Some may say that that’s an old-fashioned, elitist attitude for the modern multicultural world, but since the ultimate goal of my job is to facilitate communication, you’d better believe think it’s important.)

Continue reading “Leaving the Nest, Part 4: The Pre-Game Warm-Up”

Posted in Adulting, General Info

Leaving the Nest, Part 3: The Search Continues

While I certainly understand the instinct to jump on the first offer that comes your way, unless your circumstances are dire (and if you’re still in the nest, they probably aren’t that dire), a little discretion is advised. The “right” employer may also be looking for the “right” candidate, and they may not be in a hurry to fill the position. Plus, you don’t want to commit to a job in another city, pack up your belongings, sign a lease, and start work… only to end up hating what you do and/or where you live.

Let’s face it: there’s always a chance that could happen anyway. However, if you take your time and do a little homework (you thought that stopped after graduation?), you can lessen your risks a little. With each new job listing that comes your way, try to find out what you can about the employer, the position, and if it’s even worth your time to apply.

And you thought you finished doing research when the last term paper was submitted. Ha!

Continue reading “Leaving the Nest, Part 3: The Search Continues”

Posted in Adulting, General Info

Leaving the Nest, Part 2: Preparing for the Job Search

Volumes have been written on job searches, all of them no doubt more thorough and nuanced than my approach could possibly be. As with almost any topic I’ll share with you, my darling fledglings, I’m no expert. But for the last two years of radio silence, I’ve been happily employed at a job I enjoy, so perhaps my views aren’t without merit.

Job hunting today is both easier and more difficult than at any time in history, and that’s ignoring whatever state the economy finds itself in at the particular moment you start your search. The internet has, of course, made finding jobs considerably easier, but by the same token, has made getting jobs much more difficult. If you can find the job posting with a simple Google search, so can hundreds—if not thousands—of other applicants.

Obviously, before you begin your search, a little legwork is required. Figuring out how much you need to make is one step, but you also need to get YOU ready.

Well, yes, owning good interview clothes is part of getting you ready. Shush, now. Source:
Well, yes, owning good interview clothes is part of getting you ready. Shush, now.

Continue reading “Leaving the Nest, Part 2: Preparing for the Job Search”

Posted in Adulting, General Info

Leaving the Nest, Part 1: The Preliminary Budget

Hello again, fledglings! The looooooooong delay since my last post owes itself primarily to the insanity that was my final semester of college; an exciting time, to be sure, but a very exhausting one. Now that I finally have a little spare time to start posting again, I thought I would share some of my experiences with setting budgets, applying for jobs, and searching for housing. These three important tasks are truly the first steps in leaving the nest for good.

I’m hardly an expert in any of these things, but let’s start with the budget, as it influences all else. Continue reading “Leaving the Nest, Part 1: The Preliminary Budget”

Posted in Do-It-Yourself Projects

Clip Art

Every now and then, I’ll post easy projects that can be used to make useful items for around the new nest. Consider it part Lifehacker, part Martha Stewart!

I have two roommates, and we occasionally have to leave checks for one another to pay our share of utilities or rent. Three girls also means three people receiving mail, so letters tend to get left on the dining room table and forgotten or slipped under the bedroom door and trampled. I could’ve bought us all little baskets for our doors or a mail divider for the entryway, but instead I decided to go cheap.

Project materials:

1 package of wooden clothespins ($1 from a dollar store)
1 package of medium Command strips by 3M ($3 from most mass-market retailers)
1 roll of adhesive magnet strips ($4 from a craft store, such as Michael’s)
Acrylic craft paint and paint brushes, if desired
Coloring pencil or thin marker, if desired

You’ll also need scissors and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, which you should already have. (We’ll talk about must-have household supplies in later articles.)

Continue reading “Clip Art”

Posted in Cleaning

The Dish Fairy Doesn’t Live Here

Washing dishes is easy, right? Just shove ’em in the dishwasher or leave them in the sink for the Dish Fairy, amiright? Alas, my little fledglings, there is no magical Dish Fairy once you’ve left the nest. Hint: there never was one. (Crazy, I know.)

There’s an old joke about a young bachelor who, upon learning his mother was coming to visit, filled the bathtub with his dirty dishes so she wouldn’t see them piled on his kitchen counter. Dishes are one of those things best done early and often, as the task may seem overwhelming once they’ve piled up a bit. Always scrape any excess food particles into a trash can or in-sink garbage disposal. Next, figure out whether the dish in question can be put in the dishwasher (if you have one), or if it has to be hand-washed. For me, it seems obvious which dishes have to be hand-washed, but my fledgling roommates needed some help, so I created a decision tree to help them figure it out on their own. While it doesn’t cover everything (yes, my Corelle platter is technically larger than a dinner plate; no it doesn’t HAVE to be hand-washed), it’s a good start for making smart choices.

Continue reading “The Dish Fairy Doesn’t Live Here”

Posted in Cleaning, Cooking, Decorating, Smart Buys

Ware to Start

You could eat off paper plates, but you’d be tossing money in the trash can. You can get by with a cheap set of plastic or melamine, but probably shouldn’t put them in the microwave. Stoneware looks good and grown-up, but it weighs a ton and chips easily. Porcelain is fragile and laughably expensive for a fledgling.

You need something that is inexpensive, lightweight, durable, dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, good-looking, and versatile. Seems impossible, doesn’t it?

Continue reading “Ware to Start”

Posted in General Info

Beyond the Nest

Your first time living away from home is probably going to be full of adjustments. At home, you may have had a maternal figure who did all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry, and maybe a paternal figure who took care of the maintenance, repairs, and yard-mowing. You might have never hung a curtain rod, set up a wireless network, checked your own tire pressure, mended a torn hem, or cooked an entire meal from scratch.

Welcome to the world beyond the nest… you’re on your own.

In this blog, I hope to share my experience and know-how. I want to demystify cooking, simplify cleaning, reduce clutter, lower expenses, and generally just try to help you live on your own without having to call home every night for help and advice. I don’t know everything, but I do know a lot, and what I don’t know, I’m willing to learn. I hope you’ll appreciate learning along with me.