Know Yourself. Know Your Worth. (Tips for NEW Professionals)

FullSizeRenderGraduate school prepared me for many things clinical but this past year my job prepared me for lessons that can’t be taught in the classroom. Life lessons. Namely: contracts, work environment, and overall satisfaction.

Back in July of 2014, I promptly accepted my first job offer as a clinical fellow in speech language pathology. At that point, I had been out of school for one month and ready to begin working. I moved out of my first over-priced apartment in DC, was sleeping on my mentor’s daughter’s bunk bed, and was so ready to begin the road to supporting myself on my own income! I now consider all the factors and pressure I put on myself at that time, and wish I would have taken my time before signing my name. Simply put, I rushed in and made mistakes.

I decided to write this post to offer some tips on what to do AFTER you rock the interview and receive an offer letter/contract. I made mistakes so you don’t have to!

1. Listen to that little voice! I cannot stress the importance of TRUSTING yourself. That voice rises up when something doesn’t sit well, sound right and cannot be explained to your satisfaction. Heed to your intuition. It normally doesn’t steer you wrong.
2. Let a seasoned professional/mentor read your contract. Find someone who has no ties to the company (unbiased), and has more experience with contracts than you. They can draw you to red flags, and explain language that may elude you so that you understand exactly what you are getting into. Contracts are generally hard for lay people to read, unless you’re versed in lawyer talk. Don’t feel bad asking for translation. If you still don’t understand, ask the hiring manager for clarification until it makes sense to you.
3. If you need time to decide, don’t be pressured into deadlines. Employers use this tactic to try and get you to commit to something before you’re really sold or have had enough time to thoroughly understand the contract. Be wary of any company that gives you a tight deadline (i.e., 2 days) to make a decision on something so very important. Kindly request more time to make a decision, if they seem antsy to lock you in, this should be a red flag. Clearly this is also very important when it comes to waiting on other offers and when you’re trying to consider the pro’s and con’s to particular positions.
4. Speak up for what you want/Develop a Back Bone. Contract negotiations can be a bit intimidating, but in the field of speech language pathology, therapists have an advantage. Currently, there’s a higher demand than licensed and qualified professionals and when there’s an offer in your hand remember that THEY NEED YOU. You, however, have the advantage to choose from plenty of jobs that are available. This mindset helps develop the confidence you need to get exactly what you want.

Other Great resources can be found online:

18 things every SLP Must Know to Choose the Best Job

Interview Tips/Questions (School SLP)

General Pediatric Questions

Preparing for the Job Search (CF)

Here’s to hoping you learn from my lessons!

Happy job hunting!

-She

Post about my CF:

Open Letter to Future CF’s

Contracts and Cupcakes

Limbo: Post Grad Thoughts

Untitled, Or, Nothing Seems to Fit

plane

Photo credit: Weheartit.com

Airports hold a lot of emotion for me. I’ll never forget the opening of the movie Love Actually where the filmmakers capture what looks like real footage of the heartbeat of airports. The flow of “comings” and “goings.” People greeting their families, the infamous run and jump embrace between significant others, tearful goodbye’s or “see ya later’s” to service men and women. The thought of someone being “there” when you land is so comforting. The thought of someone seeing you off at the airport is personal. For a couple of hours while you’re in the air, it’s almost like being suspended in reality. You’re in a new reality entrusted to the hands of qualified pilots.

Mid-air is perfect for reflection. To be disconnected from social media and to be mindful. To let my emotions wander.

To pray that I land safely at a 3 digit airport code. To desire to get in a good amount of reading in but in actuality only read a couple of pages. To think about the awkward closeness and “excuse me” moments I may share with the person sitting next to me. To be empathetic towards the mother with the hollering 2 year old who can’t deal with the pain of the pressure in his ears.

I mediate on my own life. I consider the flights I haven’t taken yet. I think about the people I currently hold close in my life. I think about impermanence. I wonder if those people know how much they mean to me, if I express it enough. While suspended in reality, I tell myself everything is going to work out. I will land, as I’ve done in the past, and I’ll continue to conquer both astounding and agonizing giants in my world.

I will still hope, however, that when I walk outside someone is there sitting in a familiar car, anticipating my coming.

-She

Book Journey through 2015

Book Journey through 2015

I’m very happy to say that in 2015 I’ve been successfully starting books and finishing them. Back around 3 years ago when I first decided to go back to school, I wanted earnestly to keep  my book reading hobby. I found out that wish wasn’t in the stars after my first semester of an accelerated pre-req program in Speech Language Pathology. I could barely keep my room clean, let alone be distracted enough to start and keep reading non-assigned material. I’ve been done with school now for 15 months. Finally got my swagger back. :)

Here’s my list of 2015 including my rating scale and comments as necessary.

COMPLETED BOOKS

  1. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson- 4/5 stars (via Audible). Non-fiction book about an African-American attorney who defends the indigent children and adults who’ve been damned to death row. Highly recommended.
  2. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer- 2.5/5 stars (via Audible). I was trying something new with this book (sci-fi), an assignment from the Twitter book club (Ninjas Be Reading BC). It’s a new-age Cinderella story about a girl who’s half cyborg and half human. The premise drew me in, but after about Chapter 12 I just got bored. The action was too slow and I wasn’t invested in the characters anymore. I don’t know how I survived the 26 chapters that followed, but I live to write about it
  3. 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter- 3/5 stars (via Audible). This fiction book came recommended by a friend. It is the recount of a young woman’s life through her eyes. Her early childhood stories really drew me in, however somewhere in her young-adult retelling, things became too hard to believe. I had a hard time finishing the book, and the ending didn’t redeem itself.
  4. South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami- 3/5 stars (via Audible). Yet another recommendation from a friend, who boasts this is his favorite author. It’s hard to describe what exactly this book is about. There is a protagonist, a man…there is an internal struggle he has about his life. I could connect with many thoughts, much of the angst, and I felt the “realness” of the character. I wished there was more complexity to some of the other characters, but overall I thought it was a solid book. Murakami is claimed to be the master of metaphors and realism. I would recommend looking into his repertoire.

IN PROGRESS

  • The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman (Audible) I’m all those things and I’m trying to get my money right. Not trying, getting it.
  • All About Love (New Visions) by bell hooks. This book has been like the Bible to me this year; hard to get through because I have to stop and process what I’ve read. I have “Amen” moments after every 2 pages and I read the book equipped with a pen or highlighter. Working it chunk by chunk.
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (iBooks). This book came recommended by one of the hosts of Books on the Nightstand, one of the podcasts I occasionally listen to. It came with the promise that my life would be changed when I finished, so I’ll keep you updated when I finish reading.
  • Getting Rid of It by Betsey & Warren Talbot (Audible). I purchased this on a sale and it has pushed me to de-clutter my paperwork and even consider downsizing my books. It is the “To-Do” project for the month and I’ve been taking baby steps (more like crawling, actually). I like this book because it’s a straight-forward read and they give you homework at the end (i.e., “weekend projects” and the like). If you want to learn how to make your space more enjoyable, if you’re on the verge of a move and don’t want to lug stuff to your next place, this is a great investment.

UNFINISHED MEMORIES

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green- I think I’m about halfway through this book. I pick it up every now and again and admire the art on the cover, just not pressed to finish it.

Shout-out to Audible for helping me get through books this year! I realized I was spending so much time traveling between sites (at least 45 minutes) and getting 45 minutes of “listening” time 3-4 times a week adds up! Reading A Little Life on my iPad is probably the hardest thing to do, and I mostly pick that book up when I travel. I’m okay with that; having a “travel on a plane book, while I’m in the car book, and bedside book.” I didn’t have a goal this year for a magic number of books to read, but I would definitely like to add at least 2 more fiction titles to the list. I’m also becoming more adventurous and trying to read titles/authors I normally wouldn’t. That is truly one of the joys of book clubs, something that I miss dearly.

For the book readers, how do you stay connected to book communities? Do you have the need read with others or what others are reading?

She

What’s Rockin’ My World: Second Day of Summer

What’s Rockin’ My World: Second Day of Summer

Jamaica seems like sooooooooo long ago! It was only 2 weeks ago. Why do vacations take so long to come yet their memories leave us so fast? Less than 2 weeks left in the month of June and so many changes have taken place. I’d like to make a Bucket List this summer now that I’m a working adult…but to be honest I’ll be adding things like “Keep $600 in my Savings account” and “Go to the gym 3x a week” because those are really pertinent things in my life right now.

Let’s dig right in:

  • The latest in roommate chronicles…She’s moving out come July 15th! At least that’s what she told me verbally, I’ve yet to receive the official 30 day written notice. I am considering down-sizing and getting myself a studio or 1-bedroom. Will miss my balcony view for sure.
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica was my first American passport stamp! Full post to follow.
IMG_1613
Jewel Resort- Runaway Bay
  • My 30th birthday is around the corner (a little over 2 weeks away)! No plans. No birthday dress.
  • Los Angeles is 11 days away! I’m looking forward to spending time with family I haven’t seen since about 2009. Gonna road-trip over to Orange County, too!
  • I’d like to plan another domestic trip for October. I’ve been wanting to visit Houston, Texas… Then, Costa Rica in December.
  • Summer’s graduation from kindergarten is tomorrow! I’ll be sneaking into New York to cheer on my favorite girl.
  • Officially done with  my Clinical Fellowship! Once my paperwork is sent to ASHA (governing body for SLP’s), I’ll be receiving my Full Licensure by mail.
  • Completed my school site assignment, it went well. I’m a little jealous of my school-based colleagues, they get allllll summer off.
  • We are 4-1 (with one cancelled game) so far in the Kickball league. I’m on a team full of Purdue Alumni (and Shari, a fellow Howard Alum and my friend). We lost last week to UCF only because they recruited players for their team when they were short a few players. The only time the roster is enforced is during playoffs. Smh… I’ll be missing tomorrow’s game, but will be ready for the Playoffs the following week! #BoilerUp Kickball
  • I’m looking forward to the Summer…welcoming all things new and exciting. Focusing on self-care (I joined a gym on Friday) and looking to have a healthy balance between work and play (more play, though).

What’s currently rockin’ your world?

She’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Day

She’s Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Day

stress-zebrastripes

Today started as a typical morning except that a headache woke me up. I proceed to take some Aleve as I usually do for headaches or cramps. I’d woken up earlier than usual and I decided to start getting ready so as to be “paperwork” productive with the remainder of the time I had left. I usually do not wake up early to do work but I am always thinking about “time” to steal out of the busy day to dedicate to paperwork. This has been the case for a couple of months now.

An hour later, I realized the headache had not gone away and I was feeling nauseated. Had it been what I had to drink last night? I didn’t drink anything out of the usual. Food poisoning from dinner I made? No, that takes 24 hours to set in. I could not put my finger on it. I decided to drive to my group therapy and pray that I felt better before the morning was over. I had an observation set for today at my school site and still had evening clinic. The nausea got worse with the heat and bumpiness of the ride. I really hate throwing up, but I’m aware it’s the doorway to feeling better sometimes. I wasn’t going to force it though. When I arrived to therapy, I decided to stop at the pharmacy and pick up some Peptobismol and water. I don’t drink enough water, which I’m sure does not help. I would only take the Pepto after I let my body try to figure out what it was going to do. If I needed to expel, I figured I shouldn’t take Pepto to stop that from happening. 2 hours later, nothing happened but I still felt horrible.

I drove myself to my school site, and decided I would call out of evening clinic. I could not imagine driving for another hour in that miserable state. I somehow managed to see the three students I had to do make-up for, was observed by my supervisor, got her written feedback, finished my documentation and called it a day.

The drive home was still uncomfortable and the traffic didn’t help. The headache felt really strong and the nausea made me feel like any sharp turn would cause me to react. When I made it home, I had never been happier walking through my door. I took off all my clothes, turned the AC up and laid in bed. 2 hours and a thunderstorm later, I am here typing how I survived my terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day.

It wasn’t all bad, however. During therapy I got to do some releasing which had been overdue. I wish I could continue my therapy once a week every week, but unfortunately work gets in the way. I started to think how stressful life has been to the point and that I am burned out. I’ve heard this term used before when it comes to my field, I just have never been able to identify the symptoms. I am sure the today’s extended discomfort was in part due to exhaustion, work overload and extended stress. I’ve always been able to manage a sense of having a lot on my plate but today my body said “Nah….chill out.” And I’m glad I listened.