What I learned in my first year of working

Today marks the one-year anniversary of me working at my company full-time (so weird!). This last year flew by and I learned A LOT. 

To give you the back-story, I started at Rising Realty Partners in May of 2013 as a Social Media Intern but left for a month to study abroad from mid-June to mid-July (shoutout to USC's ICS program!). When I came back in mid-July, all I could think about was the fact that I was only going to have one night class my second semester of senior year, meaning that I could get a full-time job by the time January rolled around. Considering my antsy and restless personality, I pushed myself to have a job secured before December and I'm happy to say that I got offered to work at RRP full-time as a Marketing Associate in January of 2014.

Rising Realty Partners started in 2011 but most would argue that they didn't really 'start' until their first acquisition, PacMutual, in April of 2012. So, working at this 'start-up' where processes weren't exactly a thing was interesting when taking into account my 'OCD' behavior for being organized and having structure. My experience at past internships was very straight to the point: you work on whatever your supervisor tells you to and when you complete it, they give you your next assignment. Most of the assignments were tedious work: making sure databases were updated, taking messages, creating endless media lists, researching, etc. My experience while working at RRP was entirely different. My main role (as the social media assistant) was to keep up the social media channels for both RRP and PacMutual but it quickly evolved into one that involved event planning, sponsorship planning, advertising, and branding - making my role what it is today. I took on these responsibilities as I saw there was a need for someone to do them and while I learned a lot doing them, I had fun too.

Maybe it was just my personal past internship experiences, but I feel like it's not every day that an intern gets to voice their ideas, let alone talk to, the CEO of the company, and have the autonomy that RRP gives their employees. If I had an idea or a project I wanted to start, my voice would be heard and there is nothing more liberating than working somewhere where you feel like your ideas really matter. 

Here are a few things I learned: 

  • Never Stop Learning 
    • A lot of the courses I took in school were forced to meet major requirements and there wasn't a whole lot of time to take other classes that I wanted to. As a young professional, new to the working-world, I wish I knew all the answers but I don't (and I know not many people actually do) so as Richard Branson said, "Say Yes, then learn how to do it later"
      [After graduating, I decided to take a Business Fundamentals & Tactics class at General Assembly, since I always wanted to take one at USC but never got around to it. This year, I'm taking a Brand Management Class at UCLA Extension, after being tasked with rebranding our company]. If your company has an education reimbursement policy, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. It's mutually beneficial, but you knew that! 
  • Work for a Company that Enriches You Every Day
    • I constantly feel like I'm bettering myself every day. Challenges come and go but that's the best part. I just keep reminding myself that it's only helping me become a better individual on a personal and professional level. 
  • Take Breaks and Be Patient
    • I'm a go-go-go person. I found it extremely hard to relax during the first 8 months of my job. I got a puppy immediately after I moved into my first post-grad apartment and decided to take a night class at General Assembly 2x a week for 10 weeks (which started the same week I got a puppy). While I don't regret either decision, I exhausted myself and I now realize it's okay to breathe and be more selfish with my time. 
  • There's Nothing Wrong with Going to Bed by 8pm
    • The older I get, the more excited I am to go to bed early on weeknights. No matter how much coffee I consume the next day, going to bed late on a weeknight is not worth feeling it the entire next day at work. Makes the weekend that much better! 
  • Establish Routines
    • My routine is the one thing that keeps me focused, especially in an environment where I'm establishing my own structure and processes. 
  • Being Excited to Go to Work Every Day is Awesome
    • Well, almost every day. Obviously there are days when I'm feeling 'meh' but going into the office and looking forward to the day makes the days go by [too] fast. I think I told my dad at least once a week, if not more, how excited I was for a project, an event, or just about a story that happened at work that made me happy. 
  • Which leads me to my last personal-lesson:
    Be Happy with Where You Are
    • I've established a personal goal that if I'm not happy with where I am working or where I am in life in general, it's my responsibility to change it.

I've learned so much more than the things on this list but for the sake of trying to keep the post short, I only listed a few.