Career Outfits: Mock Interview

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One of my classes this semester is designed specifically to prepare us for our careers, by polishing resumes, writing cover letters, and especially killing an interview (uh, successfully). Certainly practice makes perfect on these accounts, so yesterday I took part in a mock interview for school. Of course, my first thought when preparing for this interview was not about my resume or references, or even how I would answer that dreaded phrase: “Tell me about yourself.” You guessed right, my first thought was reserved for my outfit.

I have plenty of career style clothing: black pencil skirts, modest blouses, classic cardigans, and black shoes, but I hesitated to wear one of my typical outfits to an interview. Finally, I called my younger sister into my room and we analyzed my wardrobe. The photos will show you the final product of our labors.

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We chose a black pencil skirt that hits just below the knee– very modest and classic, with just a slight vintage feel; a black polka dot top with soft ruffles that add a touch of femininity; a dear wide black leather belt that drew it all together; and a black cardigan that is a staple in my wardrobe. Oh, and of course! My shoes were my favorite pointed toe heels– super comfortable and classic. I will point out that my heels were three inches tall, but most employers prefer one inch or lower.

I wore my hair half up to keep it out of my face. Most of the feedback I received said that wearing long hair down is absolutely fine. Depending on how formal the interview will be, I would also consider wearing my hair up to make me look more serious and determined.

In closing, I will just note that the interview committee said they would hire me! Of course, there was no real job involved, but it was very encouraging to hear that.

Photo credits to my sweet sister Elisabeth. (The darkness/blurriness is all thanks to winter, ugh.)

Miss Accountant

How to Become More Assertive (A Guide to Not Being a Pushover)

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I don’t know where to begin telling this story.

Do you know what it is like to start a new job, maybe it’s your first job ever, and you are so desperate to make a good impression that you act like a perfect angel, with a sweet voice, flawless graciousness, and a never-ending willingness to do all the tasks that no one else wants to do, all so that people will like you? Ugh.

That has been me. So many times. I realize that part of this is just “laying low, new girl style.” Still, at what point is it possible to leave the New Girl Style behind and become an actual, realistic part of the workplace? And what happens when the people with whom you work are not willing to let you grow out of that stage?

When I started working in the bakery (where I still work) awhile back, I was that perfect, gentle, shy “angel.” I was obedient to the letter, and scarcely spoke except to ask for directions. Then gradually, over the next several months, I began to open up more; I started to take a stand when I saw something that wasn’t right, and I spoke up when I had a suggestion.

In short, I was learning that it isn’t always healthy to keep all of my thoughts and feelings hidden inside. I was learning that it is perfectly fine to express those things, and to be confident in taking a stand.

 

However, there are people who consider this growth to be a rebellion. When you stand up for yourself, you are putting yourself forward and showing that you are your own person. Now here is the problem. Those people won’t like it. They might try to condescend to you, and embarrass you, and do everything they can to make you run back to your corner and hide, because they feel threatened.

Please don’t let them stop you from growing.

I promise that after awhile you will feel increasingly comfortable with being more assertive, and the people around you will come to respect that and admire your strength. I am not suggesting that we all become bossy and bold, but that we should listen to the voice inside our hearts and follow what it says.

Ultimately, trust your gut. You got this.

Miss Accountant

 

A Million Beautiful Changes

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I have terrible news:

There have been a million changes in my life in the past two months!

I have wonderful news:

There have been a million changes in my life in the past two months!

I have conducted an analysis of said changes, and I have found that despite minor setbacks, this girl has experienced a profit. She’s grown. In ways that she never imagined.

I won’t go into the little details of my life, but it is sufficient to say that I am happier today than I was two months ago. My life is focused, my goals are in place and on track, and my favorite color is still pink. (Some things will never change, okay?)

So when life throws a million changes in your direction, just weigh them and see if it’s really so bad. As soon as I sketched up an income statement for my life, I realized that I really have a good life.

My thought process was this:

Good changes – Sad changes = Growth or Loss

And amazingly, when we are considering a human life and character, there is never a loss. We can always grow.

I am so happy to be focusing on the growth part of the equation now. The changes in my life have happened, and they are in the past. However, the changes in my character are never ending. There is so much room for improvement.

To everyone facing a million changes in your life, keep your chin up! You are so strong, and you got this.

Miss Accountant

 

Surviving When You Cannot Find Your Goal

 

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I didn’t always want to go to school for accounting. Does any little kid actually dream of being an accountant? That seems a little less common than wanting to be a marine biologist or astronaut.. or geologist.

Actually, immediately after I finished my junior year of high school about two years ago, I began to feel pressured to know what I wanted to major in during college.

Please note that this pressure was not from any outside source; not my parents, nor my older siblings, nor anyone else in my life ever indicated that I needed to have my life all perfectly planned out at that point.

It was me. I thought I needed to have some unique dream or vision that would prompt me in a certain direction, or maybe I would experience a life-changing situation that would give me some clear-cut, obvious message. Ha.

Here is the secret: we will never have it all figured out.

Not at sixteen, or nineteen, or any age. But this is just part of the crazy, beautiful, messy adventure that we are all living. You see, at that point in my life when I was sixteen, my main concern was that I was missing something that every other kid I knew seemed to have. A plan, or at least some type of dream. The fault in this logic is that none of the other people really knew what they wanted either. In fact, most of them have already switched majors by now.

So if anyone out there is feeling overwhelmed with choices and a little bit lost, it’s okay. We have a whole lifetime to learn about ourselves and decide who and what we want to be. It’s not going to be as easy as it seemed when we were five. (Did anyone else want to be a welder? No? …dang.)

So don’t lose heart if you don’t have a goal yet. Take your time, go on adventures, and learn about what you really really enjoy doing! Chances are you can turn it into a career.

Until next time,

Miss Accountant

 

My Story: Setting Goals

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Over the past few weeks I have begun to think about goals, mostly where I want to be one year from now. And I think I have some fairly stable and realistic goals mapped out now!

I am so excited to think of graduating from the technical college and starting a full time accounting job using the associate’s degree that I will have a year from now, the Lord willing. If I keep earning the grades that I have been getting, my greatest hope is to graduate with highest honors! I’m holding my breath and praying that this part of my dream will come true. After graduation, I will have a full summer off school in order to work, save money, and rest up for the next step in my education.

At that point I will transfer to another college where I will finish my bachelor’s degree and consider pursuing my master’s in accounting as well.

Somewhere along the way, I plan to move out on my own and become more independent. In fact, I think that might happen about the time I graduate next spring, or shortly after. Of course, living with my parents for these first two years has allowed me to save a great deal of money for tuition and textbooks, which has definitely helped to keep me out of debt.

So there you have it, a quick glimpse of the things I want to accomplish within a couple years! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be making little steps toward those goals! Please stick with me as this amazing adventure unfolds over the next few years. ❤

Miss Accountant

5 Ways to Stay Motivated During Summer Break

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So we made it through a year of college, and in fact, a full month of summer break. But suddenly college doesn’t look like fun. Why would we even consider going back to school in the fall?!

We’ve all felt that loss of motivation that happens when we are partly through summer vacation. So how can we keep ourselves from losing interest in our majors and even dropping out of college? Instead of running away from all thoughts of college, I chose five little things to add to my life in order to stay inspired throughout the summer

  1. Work at a job or internship that gives you experience in your field. My office job is an excellent example. When I started there, my main duties were scanning and sorting documents, shredding papers, occasionally balancing some credit card statements. However, more recently I have begun working with the Accounts Receivable specialist, and suddenly I am realizing that accounting is the most amazing thing in the world. It’s my favorite, I think.
  2. Browse humorous memes about your vocation. I love Pinterest. And Instagram. All because they let me spend far too much time looking at ridiculous quotes about math geeks. (Come to the nerdy side, we have pi.) Oh gracious.
  3. Pick up a new hobby. For me this meant blogging about what I love– college, self-improvement, my life, how-to’s– it keeps me excited about things that might otherwise lose their appeal over the summer.
  4. Have a routine. Even if lying outside in the sun and tanning all day is your routine. That sounds heavenly. Oh– add an ice-cold Baja Blast Mountain Dew and you got me! Also, try to stay in the habit of getting up early. If you don’t have this habit yet, try to cultivate it. (That is a note to myself.)
  5. Read a book about your field, preferably written by a notable expert. Or a book about surviving college. Or a book about procrastination. Or a book about why cats hate people. Just read, because if you love numbers as much as I do, sometimes you might forget that normal people use letters and words to express ideas. This is why I have social problems, I swear.

Here’s to the most amazing, motivated, inspired, exciting, and nerdy summer we can possibly imagine!

Miss Accountant

My Story: Starting Summer Classes

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Last week I started my summer classes! This is my first summer since I started college, and I decided to use it to get ahead in my classes for the next two semesters. I am attending the local technical college in order to stay out of debt, so I only have one year left before receiving my associate’s degree in accounting.

One year. Two semesters. I’m half way to getting my associate’s!! (Aren’t my math skills impressive?)

My program adviser mentioned that the third semester is when many accounting students overwork themselves, lose motivation, and drop out of college. He suggested choosing a class from both the third and fourth semesters to take during the summer to lighten my credit load. My choices were Economics and Applying QuickBooks.

So far both classes are going well, although I sometimes struggle to stay on track with online classes. It all goes back to my deadly habit of procrastination. (Sigh.) I’m working on that.

In a few weeks I hope to have a list of suggestions for succeeding in online classes, so check back soon!

As ever,

Miss Accountant

 

11 Reasons To Defeat Procrastination

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I am the Princess of Procrastination. No, really, I am. And there is a Prince of Procrastination. We earned our titles by being the best Procrastinators at our college.

In fact, the Prince of Procrastination just looked over my shoulder to see what I am writing. He glanced at what I had typed so far and then said rather dubiously, “Are you writing about procrastinating in order to procrastinate on your accounting class?” And that is when the irony of it hit me.

I was originally going to write a list of methods to defeat procrastination, but I clearly am much more capable of writing about the many reasons to defeat it. After all, my life is filled with the consequences of it.

So here is my take on the major benefits of defeating procrastination:

  1. You will have more time. Period. When you stop running away from the task that you should be doing, you will find that it isn’t so formidable after all.
  2. It takes away the burden of an unfinished project. No one likes to live under the heavy cloud of an impending deadline.
  3. You are exchanging a bad habit for a good one. Whenever you choose to attack the project immediately rather than waiting, you are training yourself to embrace the work rather than to put it off.
  4. You get closer to your dreams every time you fight back the urge to procrastinate.
  5. You will have more control over the result of your work. Essentially, you are making things happen, instead of letting them happen to you.
  6. The quality of your work will improve. You will have more time to review, proofread, study, improve, polish — whatever it takes to see better results and rewards of your work.
  7. Everyone watching you will be impressed with your focus and determination. Professors, employers, coworkers, fellow students– they will all admire your hard work. It’s a big step in networking!
  8. You will get ahead of the average. Let’s be honest, everyone procrastinates. However, the people who are able to overcome procrastination show more initiative than others, and that stands out.
  9. Your stress level will decrease dramatically, because you are able to give more time and focus to every other aspect of your life. Procrastination makes us believe that we are not thinking about that dreaded project, but in reality, it just makes us think about it more.
  10. Your free time will be so much more enjoyable because there will be no nagging guilt to darken it. You can actually have fun on your day off because your thoughts won’t be constantly straying to the work that you should be doing.
  11. You will start looking forward to the challenge of a new project, because it is an opportunity to grow in your anti-procrastination skills. In short, you learn to be excited at the prospect of a new project!

So even though I remain Princess of Procrastination, I am still working on overcoming this weakness. Wish me luck!

Miss Accountant

The Least-Known Secret to Happiness

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I believe that one of the rarest secrets to happiness in life is to allow yourself to fall in love with everything around you.

I would also say every person, but that’s not a good idea. And it’s nearly impossible.

But to be able to fall in love with the things that we see over and over again, every day.. the things that are such a part of our routine that they become invisible– that is essential.

 Finding joy in the smallest details of life is like making each day into a surprise party for ourselves.

Sometimes this joy is something that we feel alone, because no one else can see life just exactly as we do. Best of all, though, is when we can share that little bit of brightness with another person, even through a smile.

Then as it becomes a habit to see ordinary things in an extraordinary way, these moments of joy turn into bright memories that make our thoughts cheerful, our smiles genuine, and our hearts full of warmth and love.

So I am on a mission to fill each day with joy. Not by surrounding myself with new, beautiful objects or by making my schedule any more full than it is now.. but by seeing the beauty in what I already have and being content.

Just another adventure that I am taking on this summer!

Miss Accountant

Miss Accountant

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Two weeks ago I finished my first full year of college. One year down, four to go! It was nothing less than amazing. I loved almost every moment of it, from getting lost on the campus the first few days to acing my first three accounting exams (because I actually studied during the first semester). So even though I am not Miss Accountant just yet, that is who I am becoming, hence the title of this blog. It’s going to be an exciting journey throughout the next four years until I get my masters degree, and I want to share it with you!

If you decide to check back often, you will discover that I fall in love with everything around me. Oh, silly, I don’t mean in LOVE in love; more like having a million favorite colors, or a dozen favorite songs. Mostly I am genuinely in love with life in general and with a thousand ordinary moments of everyday life. And I think that is the best-kept secret to a life of happiness.

I really hope that you will join me on this beautiful adventure! If you become a regular reader of my escapades, I might just fall in love with you, too.

So.. as Peter Pan said, “Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?”

Miss Accountant