No Experience Necessary

What if I told you that you could have your dream job- all you have to do is work for free, full-time, for 1 year. Would you do it?

Before you decide that you’ll do anything to get your dream job, even work for free, think about what that really means. Unless you have zero expenses, or someone is paying your expenses for you, working for free means you’ll most likely need to get a second job just to afford your living expenses. Having two jobs means you’ll have to kiss your social life goodbye, as you’ll have no time, and likely no extra money, to do anything fun. Would you still do it?

What if you only had to work for free part-time? Does that sound more appealing? What if you also had a full 20 credits worth of college classes to attend, plus the equivalent amount of homework, a work study job on campus and maybe an additional paying part-time job? Does that still sound appealing?

This is the dilemma that most of today’s college students are faced with. Unpaid internships have become a prerequisite for many entry level positions, and the sad fact is that they hardly ever lead directly to your “dream” job (or even the entry-level equivalent).

So it should come as no surprise that a large percentage of Millenials object to unpaid internships.

My views are a little more complicated than that. I generally don’t have a problem with unpaid internships as long as the intern is doing tasks that are helping them gain real world experience in their chosen field. I start to have a problem with unpaid internships when the intern is not learning anything or doing what I like to call “personal assistant” tasks (i.e. coffee runs, dry cleaning pick up, etc.). On that same note, it seems like a lot of companies overlook the fact that interns need to make money, attend classes, have a life or all of the above. “Life experience” is not adequate compensation when you’re asking someone to work full time. No matter how great the job is, it’s unreasonable to expect someone to work full time for no pay. Companies should understand that and structure their internships accordingly.

Internships are everywhere these days, and they, much to the dismay of many recent graduates, seem to be taking the place of entry-level positions. Nowadays, it seems like companies want you to have at least a year of experience in the exact position they’re offering before they will consider you for the exact (entry-level) position they’re offering! How, may I ask, are you supposed to get a year of experience if no one will hire you WITHOUT A YEAR OF EXPERIENCE?! Isn’t the whole point of an entry level position to give you experience since you don’t have any, or have very little, to begin with? This is all fine and good if you went to college knowing exactly what you wanted to do and had internships that corresponded with that, but what if you didn’t know what you wanted to do until you left college, or you did a bunch of internships that helped you figure out what you don’t want to do and now you want to get a job doing what you do want to do? What about people who switch careers? Do all of the people in these situations just get left behind?

Unpaid internships can be a very good thing, but unless we can figure out their place in the business world, and bring back true entry-level positions, the system will never work the way it’s supposed to.

Did you have any unpaid internships when you were in college? Share your experiences in the comments!

Broke Girls Love Philly

Everything great about Philadelphia! (According to me.)

Broke Girls Go Out

How long have you lived in the city? I moved to Philly in Fall of 2008 to attend Drexel and have lived here ever since. What is that, almost 6 years now?!

Where in the city have you lived? I pretty much stayed near Drexel’s campus in West Philly for my entire college career (shout out to my apartment on Lancaster, right across the street from Lemongrass!), but have since moved to Fairmount, which I am obsessed with.

What made you fall in love with Philly? Walking through Society Hill when my mom and I came down on a college visit trip during my Junior year of high school. It was beautiful weather, we had just picked up cheesesteaks at Jim’s (where we met the coolest lady from DC in line) and were wandering to this “little park” that we had sat in the day before. We really had…

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What I’m Adding In For Lent

I am a bad Catholic. So bad, in fact, that I didn’t even realize yesterday was Ash Wednesday until I saw someone post about it on Twitter. Yeesh. Sorry, Jesus.

I rarely, if ever, talk about religion on the blog, so let me give you a little background on my religious beliefs. My parents are both Catholic and I went to CCD for so many years I can’t even count. I was never interested in it, but it was just something that I had to do. So when it came time to get confirmed, it didn’t seem like I was making a choice to become a member of the church, it was just kind of a given. After I got confirmed, I was allowed to choose when and how I practiced, and so I simply chose not to. I stopped going to mass and I can’t remember the last time I went to confession (never voluntarily, I can tell you that much).

I’ve avoided going to church for a lot of reasons that I’m not even sure of anymore. My main reason for staying away is that I don’t agree with the Catholic view on today’s popular and controversial issues, i.e. gay people and abortion. But a very wise woman, let’s just call her “mom,” told me that those issues are a very small fraction of what the Catholic church teaches and only seem so big because of how they’re portrayed in the media, and that’s something that has really stuck with me.

Back when I went to church on a regular basis and actually celebrated Lent, my mom also used to say that Lent didn’t have to be about giving something up, it could be about adding something in, something to make your life richer or to benefit you in some way. So instead of not eating sweets for 40 days, you could decide to exercise once a day for 40 days. You get the idea.

So for Lent, I am going back to church. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and yesterday seemed like the perfect time to decide to act on those thoughts. While I don’t necessarily believe you have to go to church to be a good Catholic, it just feels right for me right now. I can’t say whether it will change my whole thinking of the church, hopefully it will open my eyes to all of the good things Catholicism offers. I’m excited to finally be doing things on my own terms, and happy that I event want to do this in the first place. The best part? Tall Guy is going to come with me. He is not religious in any traditional way, but knows a lot about a lot of different religions. We both believe in a “higher power” of some sort, but are open to the idea that it might not be exactly what the Catholic church says. Nonetheless, I’m really looking forward to being able to share this experience with him.

If you celebrate, what will you give up, or “add in,” for Lent this year?

I Don’t Want To See You Breast Feeding Your Baby

Apparently Delta has gotten itself in a bit of trouble due to some recent tweets the @DeltaAssist account sent to a mother who asked about breast feeding her 10 week old on a 6 hour flight. Before I even dive into the breast feeding in public debate, I have a question for the mom…

Why are you taking a 10 week old baby, who apparently refuses to feed from a bottle or under a cover, on a SIX HOUR FLIGHT?!

Really though, does that sound like a recipe for disaster to anyone else?

I’m not afraid of boobs, obviously, since I have 2 of my very own. And no, I don’t have a problem with breast feeding- I know it’s what they’re there for in the first place. I just don’t really want to see you doing it. Is that so wrong?

I also don’t want to see a couple making out in public. Does that mean I hate all couples who make out? Obviously not. And I don’t have anything against moms or babies or the fact that babies need to eat and that means sucking on their mother’s breast. But do you have to do that in front of my face? Just like everything, there is a time and a place for breast feeding and it is not in the middle of the food court at the mall, or on a park bench in Rittenhouse Square.

I’m not saying that there aren’t times when you’ll have to do it, but that’s why covers were invented in the first place, isn’t it? I have NO problem with a woman breast feeding a baby in public as long as she’s covering up appropriately. It’s when she refuses to cover up and just expects other people to “deal with it” that I have an issue. I’m not saying that I’m not capable of looking away from her open shirt, because of course I am, but I think that if you insist on feeding your child without a cover, you should make arrangements to do that in a private place. And I don’t really see an issue with that. Yeah, I understand that your tiny human needs to eat every so often or all hell will break loose (literally), but you know that, too. And you knew that before you decided to go out for the day, so you, just like everyone else who is away from their home for an extended period of time, should have planned ahead.

I’m not trying to discriminate here. I don’t want to see ANY breasts in public, period. Really the only exception I have to that is topless or nude beaches. Not that I’ve ever been to one, but it would be pretty crazy to go to a nude beach and be angry at the sight of a naked person, right?

I don’t know, maybe I’m being naive about this situation. I can’t really understand the plight of the breast feeding mom since, you know, I’ve never been one (thank God for that), but I just don’t see why expecting a mom to cover up her boobs when she’s breast feeding is bad. Honestly, wouldn’t you want to cover up when you’re breast feeding? I know I would…

I promise I’m not trying to hate on this mom for having to be in a public place for 6 hours with a basically newborn baby. I know that there are some situations that require you to travel under any and all circumstances because you have to get where you’re going, but was that the case here? And if she knew the law was on her side (which she mentioned in her tweets) and that she wasn’t able to breast feed any other way besides uncovered, why would she even bother asking the airline about their policy in the first place?

Mothers, please, enlighten me if you can…

Think Before You Post

Get it in writing. Heard that before? Let me add to it: Get it in writing, but never ever EVER put it on the internet. Why? Because things on the internet, or even just on a computer in general, are forever. Just like diamonds!

Once something is on the internet or in an email or saved in a word document, it can be found, no matter how many times you deleted it or how many privacy settings you put on it.

I stumbled on this article yesterday, which was an interesting read even though I’m not a high school student trying to court college acceptance letters. My brother is, though, so naturally I felt compelled to pass it along to my entire family.

I can tell you that in high school, I was unbelievably stubborn when it came to things I posted on the internet. Yes, I posted pictures of my friends and I drinking and partying, and the most I ever did to hide that was blur out the beer cans and alcohol bottles (in case my high school ever found my Facebook page). I did keep my account private and my pictures even more protected, or so I thought (can anyone figure out Facebook’s privacy settings?), but I think I got very lucky that the wrong people didn’t ever see them. Facebook was just becoming a thing when I was a senior in high school, however, and clearly times have changed.

To be perfectly honest, I’m still pretty stubborn about what I post, even though I’m semi on the job hunt. I don’t really worry about content, mostly because I’m old enough to drink legally and I don’t have a penchant for law-breaking, although sometimes I do still wonder if someone is looking at my old high school partying pictures and judging me for them… Creepy. But take this blog, for example. I’m not going to limit what I post here just because someone important might see it. Life isn’t all sunshine and daisies and if I want to post about sex, drugs and Rock & Roll, I will do as I damn well please.

With that said, should any potential employer find their way here, or to any of my other social media accounts, I’d hope that they recognize that this is a completely personal endeavor. You won’t find Business Martine on this blog, and that should be pretty clear to anyone who comes across it.  I take the time to distinguish between my personal accounts (this blog, Twitter, Instagram) and my professional accounts (Linkedin, any account I manage for my boss), is it so wrong for me to want employers and educators to do the same?

Just because someone likes to party, drink, stay out late or all of the above, doesn’t mean that they won’t be a good employee or a great student. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and, please, don’t judge a person by their social media accounts.

When in doubt, delete that post/picture/tweet you’re not sure about. In the end, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

10 Things You Should’ve Learned in College

Earlier today, I came across this list of things teens should have learned in high school, and all I can really say is yes. I wholeheartedly agree with all of the points the author makes, although I do admit that I’ll still need to phone home if I end up needing to patch a hole in my wall anytime soon…

The article reminded me of a math class that my college required all film majors to take. I ended up switching majors and thus didn’t take the class, but I specifically remember talking to my friends about it one day and they told me that the class was “so easy,” all they were doing was learning how to write checks. Yes, you read that right. They were learning how to WRITE CHECKS in a college math class. Seriously?! I’m pretty sure everyone should know how to write a check when they’re in college, but that made me think- what other (actually useful) life skills should people be learning in college? I mean, calculus is great and all, but when will I need that in the real world? So that prompted me to make my own list…

10 Things You Should’ve Learned in College

– Email Etiquette is a Thing. No, you don’t always need to sign your name at the end of emails, but you definitely do when they’re work related! You should be able to distinguish when it’s appropriate to use things like “LOL” and when you need to spell out numbers…

– How to Not Be Broke All the Time. AKA budget planning! If you’re like most recent grads I know, you don’t have a million dollars lying around. So, please, for the love of all that is holy, make a budget and figure out how to stick to it so you don’t go into (more) debt, ok?

– Loans: You Probably Have Them. You should know how much you borrowed, how much you’ll owe back, how to pay them back, the different payment options… They require you to complete an online crash course of sorts before you graduate, but I can’t remember a single thing they went over. That’s not to say the information they provided wasn’t useful, it definitely was… Or, would have been, if I could remember any of it. A lot of people, myself included, are surprised by their loan amount when they finally have to deal with paying it back 6 months after they graduate. Don’t let that be you! Get intimately acquainted with the loan system, because you’ll most likely be tied to it for a very long time.

– Time Management. Running around like a chicken with your head cut off because you’re so crazy busy is pretty much the college norm, but once you get into the real world, you need to make sure you have enough down time to have a life, or at least a spare hour or two for yourself every now and then. No one wants a friend who always has to reschedule because they double booked!

– What “Business Attire” Is, or Why You Shouldn’t Wear Hooker Heels to Work. Note: Does not apply to actual hookers. Bar hopping attire ≠ office attire. Unless, of course, you work in a bar. If you want to be taken seriously at your awesome new real world job, you have to dress the part. Or at the very least, not show up looking like you’re ready to hit the club.

– Once You Graduate, It’s Called Alcoholism. In college we pre-gamed everything. Pretty much any gathering of people was an excuse to drink and it was half-expected that people would show up to events drunk, even though it definitely was not allowed in some circumstances. But now that you’re in the “real world,” no one thinks it’s funny that you show up to that late afternoon meeting reeking of alcohol. Sure, there are definitely some situations where pre-gaming is perfectly acceptable (hello, professional sports games), but you’re an adult, you shouldn’t need alcohol to have a good time. At least not all the time.

– That Toilet Isn’t Going to Clean Itself. Sure, your college apartment was about as clean as a frat house, hell it might have actually been a frat house, but now there will be people judging you for having a stained toilet bowl, or a stove top that looks like it hasn’t been cleaned since 1971. And have you ever heard of a Swiffer?! Your floors will thank me later.

– Leggings Are Not Pants. Ah, leggings. Super comfy and effortless, perfect for running to an early morning class, right? Sure! But please please please do not make the mistake of thinking leggings can replace all the pants in your wardrobe. They’re leggings. If they were pants, they would call them pants, ok people? And let’s not even get started with jeggings…

– You Can Only Survive on Ramen For So Long. Ramen dinners are a way of life in college. But you’re not in college anymore, and believe it or not, you’re getting older. Hasn’t your mother ever told you that you’re not eating for you now, you’re eating for you in 10 years? Well, she’s right. What you put into your body now effects your health and what you look like down the road. Do yourself a favor and start giving it something nutritious.

– No One Has Life Figured Out in Their Early Twenties. No one. Including you. But you know what? That’s ok.

Would you add anything to this list?

A Case for All Cat Owners

Today, I stumbled upon these two Cosmo opinion pieces about men who own cats. Or rather, I stumbled upon what I thought was going to be a case against A Case Against Cat Men, but was actually just an opinion piece confirming all the stereotypes the author of A Case Against Cat Men brought up. Still with me?

In A Case For Cat Men, despite what the title suggests, author Anna Breslaw does an excellent job at pinpointing the exact stereotypes that cat owners everywhere find cringe-worthy. While the article claims to be about why you “absolutely must” date a guy who owns a cat, it really is about why the author herself wants to date a man who owns a cat: because she’s lazy and she wants a lazy man who has a lazy cat. Seriously.

Clearly, I have some issues with her view of cat owners… and maybe even cats in general…

1. All cats sleep a lot, but that doesn’t mean they’re lazy. My cat frequently chases mice, house flies, giant cockroaches, my feet under the covers… She pretty much chases anything that moves. She also plays fetch. And yes, that does mean she brings the toy back so you can throw it again.

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2. I appreciate that she recognizes that cat owners are not sad, lonely and/or crazy, but we’re also not lazy. Right now, I have two jobs, write for two blogs and make it a point to fill whatever free time I may have with lots of fun activities. In fact, I decided to get a cat because I’m so busy. I wanted to get a pet, but knew I didn’t have enough time to train and properly take care of a dog, so I got a cat instead. Part of the reason I think cats are great pets is because you can leave them to their own devices so much. Make sure they have food and water and clean litter and you’re pretty much done.

3. That’s not to say that they aren’t sometimes a handful. I can’t tell you how many mornings I’ve woken up to hairballs or throw up in the hallway, or been pounced on at 4 am because the food dish was empty and the water was low. And then there was that time when I first gave her tuna fish… Let’s just say it didn’t sit well with her and resulted in a brand new comforter purchase for me!

4. I also don’t appreciate her “guy with a dog = outdoorsy man” stereotype. All sorts of people have dogs. Having a dog definitely doesn’t mean you want to go roll in the hay Pocahontas-style all the time.

5. This wasn’t really in her “counterpoint” piece, but I think it’s important to note that cats definitely do bond with their owners. My cat is usually waiting for me at the door when I get home from work and then immediately runs into my room and jumps on the bed because she knows that’s where I’ll go once I take my jacket off. Yeah, most of the time she’s a bitch to other people, but we definitely have a bond that she doesn’t have with anyone else. My roommate can vouch for this!

6. And finally, this has nothing to do with cats, but if a guy I was dating ever smelled like Velveeta cheese, I would probably ask him to leave my apartment immediately.

Calling all cat owners! Tell me how you feel about pet owner stereotypes in the comments.