And then I fell in love with using my writing to empower women. (Ironically, a few weeks after my first boyfriend fell out of love with me). I kept working with Entity my last semester of college...and, now, as a college graduate, I'm still part of the Entity team.
What has three months of working full-time taught me so far? Here are six gluten free lessons from this celiac's first "real" job!
1. When you write what you're passionate about, people will notice.
Thanks to my work with Entity, my computer history would confuse any FBI analyst. I've written about financial planning, instant happiness fixes, why all women should do a mud run and, most recently, what a mom who worked with the FBI wants parents to know about child abductions. You could say that my hands are often in ten cookie jars at the same time.
However, my most successful article to date is also my most personal: an essay on living with celiac disease during the age of the gluten free fad. I shared it with y'all, my Facebook groups and my Instagram...and thanks to you amazing people, it went semi-viral.
As a writing major, I've been trained to write about anything. And, not to brag, but I think I can write about most topics pretty well. But something magical happens when you write completely from the heart. I've seen this at this blog - with posts like this one or this one - and now I've seen it in my professional life as well.
|Throwing it back to prom of '13!|
Write what you really mean - and it'll mean that much more to others.
2. Food prep is prepping for success.
I still remember walking into the office on the first day of my internship and having our first meeting: a bagel breakfast. Although my boss was kind enough to grab me some fruit (now that is A+ celiac inclusion), I'd brought my own breakfast and lunch...and I kept doing that every workday that summer.
Now that I'm working at home, meals are definitely a lot easier - and I'm 100% grateful for it everyday. However, food prep is still a must. You know the feeling: you're finally hitting the "flow" of your work when your stomach starts rumbling and the last thing you want to do is break for food.
To make sure I can eat in a flash, I make a huge batch of smoothies over the weekend. Then, all I have to do is pop it in the microwave to defrost for 7 minutes and dig in as a I work! Check out this post for more ideas for make-ahead breakfasts and this one for packed lunches. There's nothing like having a delicious jar (or lunchbox) of inspiration waiting for you whenever you need it!
|Like my favorite overnight oatless zoats...|
3. Blogging is a resume-worthy skill. Period.
Sometimes, it's easy to downplay your blogging skills - especially if you're a woman. Studies have found that women are less likely to consider themselves "very qualified" and are more likely to give themselves lower self-evaluation scores. And while I know that I'm a bad ass 90% of the time, I'll still have moments when I think, "It's just a blog" or "I only have so-and-so many unique visitors a month, nothing compared to the real bloggers." My advice? STOP IT!
I never imagined that my blog could help snag me a job - but it did. This blog has taught me how to market my writing through social media. It has tutored me on the basics of online publishing, targeting and reaching an audience, moving people through the patter of my fingers on a keyboard and building a network of connections online.
|Like Taylor at GlutenAway!|
I've always known that blogging isn't a waste of time emotionally. It's my therapy, my scrapbook and my lifeline to people going through similar struggles as I am. But these last three months have shown me that blogging can also be career training. What's more awesome than that?
4. If you're not a little afraid, you're not stretching yourself enough.
I'm not going to lie. When January first rolled around and I started working with Entity full-time, I was petrified. How would working from home, well, work? Would I be able to keep up with the high article turnaround? Could I adapt to the new demands of being a Senior Editor?
And, in the first month, there were plenty of bumps and detours. But, looking back. I couldn't feel more proud. I've bonded with the other Entity team members, even while states away. I've learned how to balance my own writing with interviewing experts, helping edit articles and undergoing more training.
|I couldn't have imagined landing this interview months ago!|
And, as these three months have passed, Entity has grown stronger more every week. For instance, last week, we just broke our first big story about President Trump meeting with TMZ's Harvey Levin. Being a part of Entity from the embryo stage has definitely been a journey. But the work has been worth seeing how far the magazine has come - and hints of where we're going to go!
5. I may not be a "normal" worker. But my health quirks don't detract from my skill.
If this job has given me one thing, it's a reminder that my body isn't normal. I can't work 12 days straight and not have a physical and emotional breakdown. I can't do 40-hour-plus weeks and come back the next Monday ready to do it all over again. Is that frustrating? Heck yes. But is it the end of the world? No.
I've been so grateful for the flexibility I've found with Entity. Our main goal is to empower women in every aspect of their daily lives - and I've seen this with the accommodations they've made for me. At the same time, though, I've also realized that I'm worth the extra "baggage" of celiac disease and fibromyalgia.
I am not my diseases - but my diseases have made me stronger. They've made me too stubborn and dedicated to turn away from a challenge. They've made me empathetic and interested to hear and share others' stories. They've made me strong. And all of those qualities make me a good writer and a good employee, regardless of my health issues.
6. A job is as great as you make it.
Maybe you presently have a job that you absolutely love. Maybe you're struggling through every workday, dreaming of quitting. There will always be factors about your work that you can't easily change, like where your job is located or who you work with. However, you are also responsible for part of your own career happiness.
Speak up if you're struggling and offer suggestions on how your job could change so you can do even better. Embrace the opportunities you're given, no matter how terrifying. I was
shaking sweating in my boots when I traveled to Los Angeles to teach a class to other Entity interns, but, looking back, it's one of my favorite moments with Entity so far.
Finding the "perfect" job is probably impossible. However, you can find moments of happiness in most jobs, even if it's just by befriending one co-worker or finding an awesome Thai place to get lunch at on Fridays. Advocate for yourself, follow your passions and dare to try something new - and who knows what will happen?
It amazes me how much life depends on domino-like connections. My boyfriend and I broke up, giving me extra time (and motivation) to look for an internship. I found Entity and, now, I find myself still working with them almost a year later.
All I have to say? I'm grateful for everything I've learned so far, and I'm excited to see what skills I'll discover next. And if these tips help just one of my readers, well, that makes my own career bumps worth it!
And if you ever find yourself bored on your lunch break...you can always see what I'm up to at my work by reading my articles at Entity here! 😉
What did your first "real" job teach you? Any gluten free lessons? Tell me below!