Dear First Gen,
Starting a new job can bring anxiety and excitement. You may be anxious because you want to perform your absolute best and do not want to mess up. You may feel excitement because you went on countless interviews, submitted hundreds of resumes, reached out to your contacts to have them put in a good word, and maybe had the church and your parents praying for you––I know I did!
But at long last, after all the “no”s, you heard a “yes”! After the final interview, you received a phone call where you were offered the position and you knew you probably shouldn’t scream, but you kind of wanted to.
In November 2017, I started a new job as a policy director and said a bittersweet farewell to my chief of staff role with a state senator. I was with the senator for 4 years and I will definitely miss it. But it was time for me to make a transition—I needed to rise to new challenges and experiences.
In my new role, I have learned three things that are important for a new hire. Not only do you have your own goals to reach but also you have all eyes on you until you’ve proven yourself. In my case, my orientation was around the holidays so there were fewer meetings and tasks to complete, but I knew peak season was approaching.
I wish I were told about these three suggestions before I started, but I am glad I picked them up during my first 30 days. People are watching you even when you think they are not. Your actions, decisions, and methods are under observation because they chose you and it's up to you now to prove that they made the right decision. But don't forget to have fun and start building relationships in your new role. You worked hard for it and have waited to get the perfect offer. Embrace this new opportunity!
Dear First Gen,
Happy New Year! #NewYearNewMe
What worked well for you in 2017? Are you continuing with it in 2018? In the video, I share three character traits I believe helped to elevate me last year and one #weakness I plan to eliminate because it limited my rise.
Tell me: What three characteristics helped you to shine? What characteristic held you back from progress?
Dear First Gen,
When I think about my journey, I am reminded that I did not arrive where I am today on my own. There were a few amazing advisors and mentors that guided me along the way. They offered me good advice that I share with my interns and others I believe would benefit from the information.
But it wasn't always easy to find a good mentor, either. There were instances when I sought someone to be my advisor/mentor and it yielded great results. Other times, I had to kindly distance myself from people because I no longer saw a benefit to our relationship.
When I was a student, my assigned career advisors served me well. I remain connected with a couple of them to this day. But there were several times I decided to venture out and speak to the head advisor.
In college, I attempted to meet with different advisors because they rotated in and out of the positions. I needed to meet with several of them so they would know my needs and be able to assist me when someone else was not available. In this case, I couldn't have a “regular” advisor.
I made it a point to meet with the Dean of the Career Development Office in undergrad because this individual was consistent and possessed invaluable information, like access to off-campus positions I needed for my field placement courses.
In law school, I scheduled advising appointments with the Dean of the Career Development Office as well. He had expertise about positions I was seeking and told me about the school’s reciprocity policy, which I used even after I graduated. My meetings with him were always helpful and I usually went to him even after I had met with the other advisors if they were unable to help me in the way I was looking for.
Whether I wanted to know how to work in a judge’s chamber or for a non-profit, locally or in my home state, my initial meeting with an advisor often clued me in how our working relationship would work. I became a good judge of not only who would be accepting of my numerous questions, but also who would give me a thorough explanation. I was looking for specific and actionable advice on the process or strategies to improve my chances of getting an internship or securing a job.
The common thread among each advisor I encountered was their willingness to help upon seeing that I was eager to be guided. They understood that I would not stop seeking their help until I obtained the results I was looking for. I sometimes learned after the fact that they talked with one another to find a different approach for helping me reach my goal.
Over the past 10 years, I have identified a key characteristic I look for in an effective mentor: their openness to serve as a mentor.
Dear First Gen,
When you decide to go to #lawschool, there are a lot of expectations. You’re obviously expected to excel in law school, but you are also expected to obtain internships and, ultimately, a job.
Securing an #internship is vital to your professional success, and of course so is getting that job after graduation. To make the most of your meetings with your #careercounselor, you should have your list of questions ready in advance.
The following set of questions is a good starting point.
My hope for you is that your career counselor will provide you all the details you need to help you find the internships and job opportunities that are the best fits for you. If a career counselor seems unsure of what you're asking or doesn't seem to be a good fit, don't be afraid to make an appointment to speak to another career counselor or the head of the career office. Good luck!
***Disclaimer: 2017. All rights reserved. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. No reproduction of any content on the website without the express permission of the author. The text, pictures and videos are the sole property of FirstGenRise.
Dear First Gen,
(This is a chapter from the book, "The Rise of a First Gen".)
For many years, I could not forgive them. I was too upset with them for what they did.
It began in 3rd grade when I was introduced to the violin. I had violin classes during my math class and I loved it.
I learned how to play the strings and reveled at the music I was playing. I was given my own violin to take home and practice when I had free time.
My enjoyment turned to sadness when my math teacher told my parents that my grades were slipping. They told me we did not come to America for a low academic performance.
My parents did not have a conversation with me or give me a chance to improve. I was simply removed from violin class and my violin was returned to the music store.
No longer could I learn the melodies that brought a smile to my face. No longer could I develop the skills to play a musical instrument.
Jordan Thompson is a first-generation attorney and is in the beginning phase of living up to the phrase, "If you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere." She traveled to NYC for school and has built an impeccable resume since her move to the Big City!
Her story of triumph and accomplishment is for First Gens looking to enter corporate America. You may be growing impatient or wondering when your time will arrive. HOLD ON!
I also invite first gens interested in learning an approximate timeline for job interviews to watch the video.
CHALLENGE COMING BACK NEXT YEAR!
Dear First Gens,
Join me in living your dreams! CHALLENGE COMING BACK NEXT YEAR!
I am offering a free email challenge titled UBelong. This challenge will help you face and conquer your fears of feeling out of place at an event that you view as an ideal place to meet and connect with people that could propel you to higher levels. I was inspired to create this challenge after I almost allowed my doubts to deny me the opportunity to attend the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA - today marks two months since that #onceinalifetime moment.
Have you done the same thing I almost did? Have you passed on a lot of events simply because you were afraid? Have you disregarded the value you would bring by being in the room? Have you felt like you do not belong? It’s time to put those thoughts to bed.
Where have you longed to go? Forbes Women's Summit? Sundance Film Festival? The Olympics? Industry Conference or Gala? What has been on your list since the beginning of your student or professional journey? I am certain you thought of making an appearance at a few events, but then dismissed the idea. This mentality stops today!
Sign up now for my free 5-Day UBelong Challenge and learn how to show up with confidence and leave proud. The challenge begins in October! CHALLENGE COMING BACK NEXT YEAR!
***Disclaimer: 2016. All rights reserved. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. No reproduction of any content on the website without the express permission of the author. The text, pictures and videos are the sole property of FirstGenRise.
Dear First Gen,
People often talk about their organization skills when they're on job interviews. But this becomes important well before that pivotal first opportunity for income. Because of that, we’ll be discussing organization in two parts. Part 1 will detail the reasons and methods for staying organized, and Part 2 will detail some of the tools and products you can use to do so.
The motto at my college was “Educating Women to Transform the World.” Really?! Me?! Tall order for someone starting out at a new place, and I certainly wanted to meet that challenge and move mountains.
Dear First Gen,
Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow first gen and we were sharing our opinions on the proper dress code for work. Depending on the home you were raised in, you may not have grown up with parents who wore “professional” attire. For example, my mom is a Registered Nurse so her uniform was scrubs, a stethoscope and comfortable footwear; my father works in IT so he is expected to wear a dress shirt or polo shirt and dress pants. They dressed me well before I went to school or church growing up, but when I was grown and getting dressed for a business office, where did I learn?
Dear First Gen,
This past week, my family and I have been coping with the loss of my "great-uncle" (my mother's uncle) and planning his funeral. He planted the seeds for my family’s American Dream by legally bringing my mom's family to the U.S. His actions were the catalyst that gave me an opportunity for a good education and unlimited professional opportunities.
As a child, I often heard the stories of his dream of wanting a lawyer in the family before he left this earth. I never imagined it would be me since my sights were set on being a doctor—Dr. Irnande Altema had a nice ring to it! Although I went to law school in the state where he lived, he was unable to attend my graduation because of his illness but I knew he was proud of me that day.
I often wondered how my mother had so much optimism and faith in a world where I felt the odds were stacked against us. It was her uncle who instilled great values and resilience in my mother; but I did not appreciate (or tap into) that until I was faced with a very tough decision.