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Category Archives: Young Professional


My posts complaining about school and my non-existent life will no longer dominate my blog.

I have finally completed the MBA program from the University of Nevada!!

This last semester was incredibly difficult as I had to juggle a FT job and 4 classes/week.  At the beginning of the semester my friends laughed at my schedule.  Halfway into the semester my friends asked, “How are you holding up?”

Surprisingly well!

And now the semester is over and it could not feel better!


Grad Student Dilemma Triangle

I have an exam on Wednesday, so naturally I have decided to do ANYTHING except study.  This includes posting a new blog 🙂

I was fortunate enough to skype with my boyfriend the other night.  In the midst of complaining about studying and not having a life, the boyfriend decided to draw me a little diagram (and narrate it in a Russian accent).

Based on his diagram, you can choose 2 (AND ONLY 2) of the following:

  1. Social Life
  2. Sleep
  3. Good Grades

You can have a social life and sleep, but then your grades will suffer.

You can have a social life and good grades, but you’ll need to sacrifice sleep (heck no).

Or you can have sleep and good grades, which results in ZERO social life.

I apparently have chosen the ZERO social life route.

My Big Kid Advice

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When I started college, I eased into the process.  I lived at home for the first year, then moved out starting my second year.  I thought I was prepared, and even if I didn’t feel prepared I didn’t know what I should or could do to make life easier.  It was my  first time moving out and being “responsible” on my own.  My bills were minimal and although I thought I was a big kid – I realize now that it was only the beginning of big-kid-responsibility time.

Truth is, when I was moving out I wish I had been given advice on what good habits to develop and what things to stay away from.  There is one thing I wish I would have done the day I moved out.  There is one thing that would have made my nomadic life incredibly easier.  So to every new college-child – my #1 recommendation would be to:


I’m not kidding.

Here are the reasons I feel this is incredibly important:

1.  Permanent Address.  When you’re a college Freshman (or even Sophomore, in my case) you tend to live in several different places.  The dorm > a sorority/fraternity > an apartment > then a hosue > possibly back home > back to a house/apartment.  This nomadic lifestyle needs a stable mailing address.

2.  Parents.  Parents read your mail.  They open it up and decide whether or not it is important/relevant and thus decide whether or not you should see this piece of mail.  DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN.  Trust me.  It sucks.

3.  Anonymity.  Data theft is prevalent now more than ever.  Providing a P.O. Box Number instead of a physical home address number makes me feel slightly more safe knowing that if someone stole my information, tracking me down would be more difficult than if I posted:

Ashley Cray

555 RobMeNow Rd.

Reno, NV

If it were me, I would have gotten a PO Box immediately after moving out of my parents house.  Just my opinion!

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Leaders – Born or Bred?

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In my summer school class, my group has been assigned a group project of researching whether leadership traits and behaviors are instilled in someone at birth, or if the traits and behaviors are something that can be taught in class/training sessions.

I have always been fascinated by Nature vs. Nurture – I have my personal opinions but I am always amazed at how typical scenarios in life play out.  For example, I have similar behaviors as my parents, but I personally believe that on a larger scale I am much different than both my mom and dad.

I am very analytical and love puzzle problems.

I can be emotional at times.

I am easily stressed, but I am stress-powered (give me stress, I’ll get sh*t done).

My mom is an easy-going, earth loving, always happy hippie.

My dad is a total Type-A-can-never-be-bored social butterfly.

I am neither of these!  Keep in mind – I was adopted.  I like to believe my personality traits can be found somewhere between my biological mother and biological father – somewhere out there (beneath the pale moonlight, of course).

However, what I did receive from both of my parents are my values which drive my attitude.  I believe in working hard to earn success.  I believe in returning something borrowed in better condition than you received it (ie:  don’t return a car on an empty tank of gas).  I think money management is vital.  Smile as often as you can.  And be a great friend/family member.

With all of that being said, at the end of this summer session I hope to have developed a more thorough and researched opinion of whether leadership qualities are something we can learn and study and develop, or if these qualities are genetic.

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Young Professionals – Ambitious vs. Entitled

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Ambition - Aspire to climb as high as you can dream

I previously blogged about Twitter Chats and the many benefits that can arise from participating in these networking events.  One chat that I particularly enjoy is the U30Pro (under 30 professionals) chat.  Although I haven’t been able to participate recently, I always review the chat transcripts and read the digest which is communicated via email.

The last digest that was emailed with the #u30pro chat highlights was for the discussion of “Ambitious vs. Entitled.”  My attention was INSTANTLY diverted toward the digest.  I love this topic, so I thought it would be fun to give my opinions to the prompts since I was not able to participate in the chat.  Below are the given prompts and my responses:

So, which is it? Is Gen Y entitled or ambitious?

Gen Y – according to my opinion – is entitled.  In my parents generation, college wasn’t the norm.  College was truly exceptional and it was only for those who were incredibly serious about their education and their future.  For example, it was more valued for my dad to work in the family business than to get a quality education.  It was HIS choice to further his education.  College for my generation is not exceptional – it’s expected.  I knew classmates who barely graduated high school, however their parents forced them to apply to the University or TMCC while paying for them to get C and D grades.  At this point – it is no longer an opportunity.

This is entitlement.  We no longer view college as being for the elite, however we view it as the new High School Diploma.  The graduate degree is the new college degree.

In addition, we are being told by our parents “If you get this degree, you will be making 6 figures.”  We feel entitled to a hefty salary right out of college based on our parents advice.  Yes we are entitled – but it is the direct result of how we have been raised.

Why do older generations consider Geny Y entitled?

I feel as though this could be answered several ways, however the first thing that would come to mind is technology.  My step-dad always mentions how he couldn’t “Google” the definition to something – he had to look it up in the dictionary.  To older generations, we don’t understand and value the wealth of information we have at our fingertips from internet technology.

How can you stay ambitious and confident without being looked at as entitled?

Those who feel entitled do not go above and beyond.  They wait for opportunities to come to them as opposed to seeking out and researching new opportunities.  They don’t put in the extra effort because they’re entitled to their salary/wages – they shouldn’t have to “earn” them.  To stand out as being ambitious and confident we need to continue being hard workers and producing valuable effort.  We need to start our professions as early as we can while our entitled counterparts spend the evenings partying and sleeping in late.  Our actions will portray our work ethic.  Those we work with will know we are not “entitled” but rather ambitious and confident.

What will you tell someone that calls GenY entitled?

I’d tell someone that our actions and behaviors are direct results of the way we are raised.  It is our opportunity to change our entitled behavior to show others that we are appreciative of the opportunities we have worked hard for.

Your turn!  If you’re a young professional or GenX with a blog, I’d love if you could answer these 4 questions in a blog post or as a comment.  Send me your blog and I’d love to read your answers!

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I have my big girl pants on – but am I a “real” adult?

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The other day I stumbled upon a blog post from All Groan Up called “I’ll feel like an Adult When…

This realllllly  got me thinking about being a “real” adult.  I don’t look like an adult.  I don’t act like an adult.  But my age deems me as being a “Young Adult.”

  • I pay my bills.
  • I have a mortgage.
  • I have a car payment.
  • I vote.
  • I go to the Doctor’s office alone.
  • My insurance is in my name.
  • I do my own grocery shopping.
  • I have a career-type job.

So when will I feel like I’m an adult?  What dictates that “step” from college-teen to entering adulthood to full-blown-actual adult?  Is it maturity?  Responsibility?  Family?  Either way – I’m not certain I’ll be an adult any time soon.  I have my big girl pants on with responsibilities, work, and bills…

but as long as I still look 18

I will still feel 18

When did you feel like a real adult?

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A little goes a long way

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For the past couple of weeks I have been reading a lovely little book called The Power of Small by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval.

I am constantly dwelling on “the small things” possibly a little too much, so I chose to purchase this book to support my dwelling-on-little-things mentality.  I also was hoping that the book would provide some subtle communication tips (either verbal or nonverbal).

I LOVED this book and already have a list of people to lend it to.  It really gave me a different perspective on how a small gesture/random act of kindness can really go a long way.  What I really liked about this book was the surplus of examples provided to depict the picture the author is trying to paint.  I am an examples kind of person, so it helped to understand exactly what the author was trying to explain.  LOVE examples!

The tone of the book is almost informal – the point is simply to explain the idea and supplement that idea with a corresponding example or two.  Mission accomplished.  From small concepts such as simply writing a Thank You note to how a new hair cut could potentially affect the future of your career, there are mini-stories galore to inspire anyone.  I can’t wait for my friends and family to read this book – I think anyone and everyone could benefit from the advice provided to improve our work quality and attitude toward others.

Thursday Thoughts from a Young Professional

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It is almost the end of the work week and I finally feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  This past week I have learned:

  • I am extremely thankful for professors that let the class out early.
  • You can do more than you think during a small 1-hour lunch break.  I successfully drove to school, searched desperately for parking, turned in an add-slip for a summer class, drove to Walmart to buy lunch, called my mom, and ate lunch with 10 minutes to spare!
  • I still love the blue-bagged Doritos.
  • The “=+” in an excel formula means NOTHING but people still continue to use it.
  • I have a lot more “inappropriate” Facebook photos than I thought.  The purging has been a long drawn out process.
  • I think I’m incredibly busy with school and work full time, but I can’t even imagine tacking on children to the mix.  There are people I have class with that work, go to school, AND have kids at home.  I learned that I am thankful to not have kids.
  • The beautiful weather outside really does make you happier in a I-don’t-mind-working-until-6-because-it’s-still-light-at-8pm kind of way.
  • Crossfit really will be the death of me one day.

Happy Thursday, everyone!  I am SO THANKFUL tomorrow is Friday.  It sure has been a long week, hasn’t it?