Tuesday, 8 September 2015

My first full-time job

I can't believe it's been three months since I last blogged! Since I graduated in May, life has been rather hectic. I was working part-time as a digital analyst at Pierpont, but I knew I had to start looking for a full-time job after I got my green card in July. Also, a part of me really wanted to see how quickly I could find a job. (The "kiasu" part, yes, haha.)

In August I went to a total of three in-person job interviews (there were some phone interviews where I quickly realized the job wasn't what I wanted, like sales jobs) -- didn't get the first job because they thought I was a flight risk for the entry-level position, didn't want the second job because they told me it was commission-based, aaaand I nailed the third interview!

You're lookin' at the new Registrar and Administrator of Texas Health and Science University. :D

In case you're wondering "why are you working in a university and not in corporate?" you probably didn't know that I loved being a teacher in college. Helping students is my jam, and organizing stuff is something that comes so naturally to me that I love my job!

Don't get me wrong, working in public relations agencies gave me a wealth of precious experience that I can apply to any daily situations in any work I do. But I think I've found that I'm meant to work in higher education. :)

Saying goodbye to Pierpont was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my career so far. First off, Pierpont is the first and only company I've ever worked at in Texas. They hired me as an intern last summer even though I didn't have any connections in the agency and just applied the old-fashioned way: from emailing in a resume and cover letter, doing a Skype interview (since I was in LA at the time) and a writing test. I have a lot of respect for companies that give "strangers" a chance without having a connection inside it, and also the intern coordinator Sylvester Palacios Jr. is one of the most humble people I've ever met in my life.

Second, Pierpont wanted me to come back to work for them when they found out I was graduating from USC in May. I still remember meeting up with Michael Miller for lunch in April this year: I had planned to get career advice from him, but he ended up offering me a part-time job to be his digital apprentice. I don't think I could ever stop being grateful to him for having so much faith in me.

I had hoped, of course, that I could end up working for Pierpont full-time, but as time passed I realized that I couldn't wait forever. In PR agencies around here, you usually don't get hired full-time until after you've interned for about a year. Living paycheck to paycheck on a part-time job for five months was proving to be increasingly stressful. It definitely gave me a new level of appreciation for money and how hard it is when there isn't enough money to have any savings. And I feel very, very uncomfortable when I don't have rainy day funds.

Telling Michael and other Pierponters that I was leaving, though, kinda broke my heart a little bit. I felt like I was leaving my second home. However, they were so supportive and encouraging -- even though everyone said they would be sad to see me go, they said that I should pursue my dreams and career. I made them thank you cards and hired a cartoonist to draw caricatures of their faces as my farewell present. :) I also drew and colored their favorite childhood cartoons on to the cards.

So after spending a total of nine months with Pierpont (last summer and this summer), I bid them a final farewell. I've learned an insane amount of knowledge from being a digital analyst: now I can analyze online advertisements and monitor the performance of any digital assets -- on top of all the PR things I already learned in school and through internships. And I also learned that people can be amazing, that people like Sylvester can be fair and humble, and people like Michael can have more confidence in me than I do in myself.

I hope that someday I will be in a hiring position and I can pay it forward, all the kindness that I've had the privilege of experiencing in the working world.