How To Deal with the Fact that your Parents Aren’t Perfect

My parents have flaws. They are far from perfect; they are humans. My mother, who I admire for raising me as a single mom and whom I respect and love has shown me a glimpse of a crazy, deep, anxious, black hole that stirs inside of her. We all have our boiling points, but I have been scared at witnessing hers. Although a rarity to catch, it is depressing, heart-breaking, and enraging at once.

My father, who I spent much of my life repairing my relationship with, grew once again to be an angel in my eyes. But again, this picture was stained. Disappointed, angry that we fight in cycle, I realized he too is imperfect, as am I.

I am lucky to have them both, but it is truly crushing to realize that parents have flaws. Even with divorced parents and “family issues,” I had a vision of them being super heroes, role models, and people I aspired to be one day. Yet, I am coming to terms with this new reality and working to be less of a judgmental daughter.

My parents cheer me on at my UCSB graduation. I wouldn't be anything without them both.
My parents cheer me on at my UCSB graduation. I wouldn’t be anything without them both.

Points To Consider:

Our parents “style” may be a product of the environment they were raised in– My father came from an abusive and broken home. My dad has been nothing but loving towards me when I see him, but I better understand why giving me money and presents may have been the only way he knew how to show his love for me. I have been angry for a long time that he chose sending gifts over talking with me on the phone, but he has shared his story with me and is making an effort to know me better.

Our parents may be suffering from anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues– Parents are susceptible to these issues too, and as an adult I would like to be there for both of them, available with support, comfort, a laugh, a hug, or a listening ear.

Our parents may be stressed– Both my mother and father are dealing with economic woes, layoffs, and relationship troubles. I have stressed out, freaked out, and scared parents. I know they have laid back, loving, and light-hearted spirits inside of them too. I hope I can help keep these circumstantial issues from getting the best of them, and the best of me.

Reflections on my first 1/4 century on earth

This post is a couple of months belated. I turned twenty-five late March and celebrated by going on a dinner cruise on the Horn Blower with my lovely mama and boyfriend. It was a nice little outing that gave us an awesome view of both the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. It was a refreshing detour from the past few years of clubbing, drinks, and repeat. I felt all grown up with the fancy buffet and snazzy faux fur coat.

 

Lately I have been thinking of where I am today versus where preteen-me thought I would at this age. I used to think “old” was early twenties and that you were supposed to be successful, with your own house, family, and steady job. Now that just seems laughable; really though, that’s nearly unheard of in San Francisco. Each year, my threshold of “old” gets older and older, and in my book, being married with kids at this age is doing it all wrong (it’s just not for me.) I have so much of the world left to see…and they say 70 is the new 60.

At twenty-five, I am as big of a dreamer as ever and luckily, do not have anything tying me down. This year, I hope to grow a little happier and prouder of myself each day (in body, spirit, and soul), explore more countries, have fun, and take it step-by-step. Gone are the days when had a goal-age for growing up. Now I am just trying to put that on hold until the day I change my mind, if ever.

That time I got fired and hopped on a plane to Turkey, solo

It has been over six months since my old job broke up with me. That once dreamy gig I thought would make my life spectacular kicked me to the curb. I’ve played the scene in my head over and over and over again; it’s like a reoccurring bad dream. The one where my boss asks to schedule a quick meeting “to talk.” As soon as he asked I had a bad feeling pour over me. Anxiety started to creep in and I messaged my then best friend that I thought I was about to be fired. She thought I must have been over-analyzing.

“We’ve decided to let you go,” he said, or some version thereof. While I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, it’s strange how it still feels like a complete surprise. “You are?,” I replied. I still wish I would have said something different. Asking that question just seems silly now, but of course I always come up with great responses after the fact…

When I walked out that door, I headed to my regularly scheduled Thursday kickball game and tried my best to stay positive and sane. I was sad, mad, shocked, worried about paying rent, and fighting off the vision of me moving back in with my aunt. I don’t have the luxury of moving back in with my mom or dad, but I do have a wonderful, caring, and controlling aunt that would take me in. The down side is she would also mold my life into exactly how she would like it to be, in exchange for room and board.

Clearing my mind

In a way it sounds serendipitous, in another, it sounds just ludicrous, but I actually had my first vacation in a year booked just a couple days after my firing. One part of me knew I had to save every penny in hopes of maybe getting by for a month in San Francisco by wracking up charges on my credit card and using unemployment (looking back that bit about unemployment was overly naive. That check takes ages to get; I think it took two months or more but that is another story). The other side knew that I had already booked my flight to Bulgaria and Turkey and that I could not pass up this European journey.

I am very anxiety-prone and I really believe leaving the country helped me escape all my negative thoughts. Getting out of my routine and not allowing myself the option to mope, cry, and eat Ben N Jerry’s at home, allowed me to explore new sights, apply to jobs online, and I even got some Skype and phone interviews in. Spending time in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque in particular is a moment I really treasure. My mind is usually analyzing, contemplating, and firing non-stop, and I got to enjoy a rare moment of peace and something close to “emptiness,” but not in the sad way. It was a sense of ridding myself of the bad vibes and choosing to re-build.

A shot from the bus
Instanbul sunset
Istanbul sunset from the Galata Bridge
Spice market teas Istanbul
Teas from the Spice Market
Spice Market Instanbul
A festival of color at the Grand Bazaar & Spice Market, Istanbul
Bosphorus Bridge
The Bosphorus Bridge, connecting Europe and Asia
Taksim Square, Turkey
Taksim Square, Turkey. My home base in Istanbul.
Hagia Sophia roof
The roof of the Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia selfie
Hagia Sophia inside
Finding peace

 

Feeling local with the daily çay #tea #tourist #Turkey #Istanbul #Europe #eurotrip A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

That day I got fired was my first time being told, “we don’t want you,” in a work environment (at a job I already had). It hurts but that adventurous, relentless spirit got me through it. I learned that dream jobs, aren’t always your dreams after all, and if you fight and prepare, a better opportunity will come your way. And just like a “person that I used to know,” I am over that old fling, ready for the next move, ready to grow and mold into a better version of me with some more lessons learnt under my belt.

When in Turkey, save enough time for Istanbul. It’s overwhelmingly big and filled with tons to do. I had to extend my stay from 3 to 7 days! I balanced out the big city hustle and bustle with a trip to Cappadocia. It’s known for it’s magical landscape and hot air balloon rides, but alas, being unemployed I decided to just wake up early and snap photos of the lucky folks up above. Then I ended my fun but job-hunting filled vacation with a 2 day beach trip to Fethiye on the Mediterranean coast. If you get the chance, go to Butterfly Valley & Olu Deniz.

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey
Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey
 

The most beautiful solitary hike #Turkey #Cappadoccia #hiking #Europe #eurotrip

A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

The fairy chimneys in Gorëme. #Turkey #Cappadoccia #Europe #eurotrip A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

The best beach I’ve ever swam in, Butterfly Valley #Mediterranean #Turkey #eurotrip

A photo posted by Juliet Kellogg (@whereartjuliet) on

 

Now that I am back from this remarkable journey, I am ready to tackle interviews with a clear mind, having a better vision of what I want, where I can improve, and what to watch out for!

When it Comes to Hiring a Social Media Manager, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number

I am surprised by the amount of ageism going on when it comes to hiring a Social Media Manager. Between Cathryn Sloan’s, Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25, and Hollis Thomas’ 11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media, I am left asking myself, “What does age have to do with it?” Since when did age become solely indicative of professional skills? Sure, some companies want and require 5 + years of professional experience, but for those that cannot afford a more senior social media manager, you would be wrong to dismiss all recent graduates, just as you would be wrong to dismiss someone who is 50+ years old. As a twenty-three year old social media manager I suggest we stop talking about how old a social media associate should or should not be, and start exploring, defining, and re-defining traits of successful social media managers so we can identify and hire individuals who will get the job done right.

The Five Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Managers


 

 

Habit 1: Be knowledgeable of social media platforms.

Cathryn Sloan suggests that us twenty-somethings should run social media programs because we have lived through the Facebook and Twitter era. While it is true that most of us young adults know Facebook like the back of our hands, I would venture to say that older people were quicker to adopt Twitter. In fact, just this week I explained to both my 23-year old roommate and my 24-year old boyfriend what Twitter was. I myself did not get active on Twitter until this year because it is hard to get into a social network that none of my peers are using.

Fighting over which age group runs which platform is missing the point. All that matters as a social media manager is that you have a thorough understanding of the online communities where your audience is hanging out. If you do not already have a strong social media presence then at least have the ability to learn the platforms quickly.

This is the age of the Internet, people. Just because a candidate does not have their own YouTube channel or Quora account does not mean they cannot pick up on it quickly. Look for knowledge of the basics, enthusiasm, and resourcefulness. The right individual should be proactive enough to research and understand the dos and don’ts of each respective social media platform.

Habit 2: Be Curious

There are an insane amount of communities, white papers, bloggers, and other resources for social media marketers. Go find them! A successful social media manager should find genuine joy in reading publications like MashableTechCrunchReadWriteWeb, and SocialMediaToday. Be eager to hear about awesome campaigns other companies are doing dig around for up-and-coming social media platforms and tools. Social media is evolving and you must possess the curiosity to stay ahead of the curve or risk getting left behind.

Habit 3: Be Efficient

Social media can be distracting. However, when on company time, it is important to stay focused on furthering business goals instead of your own social media agenda. So let’s say you are already good about not updating your personal Tumblr on the job or pinning your favorite cupcakes to Pinterest, how can you possibly engage with everyone?

Sometimes it is not possible to respond to every single comment regarding your brand. However, there are many social tools out there like HootSuiteTweetDeckFollowerWonkBuffer,Google Alerts, and IFTTT which can help you work smarter. With the right tools you will be well equipped as a social listener, curator of content, community advocate, and brand evangelist. For more information regarding social media tools, check out this article by John Paul, 12 Best Social Media Tools You Should Be Using. And don’t stop there; there are new tools developing each day, from paid premium products to awesome free hacks made my tech savvy social media marketers.

Habit 4: Be Empathetic

Social media is a two-way street. It is no longer about advertising at people but listening, engaging, and building relationships with your community. An effective social media manager should be tuned in to customer experiences and should be the biggest advocate for what users are saying about the brand.

Take this example of a Twitter engagement I had with a user:

stupid_signup
While I must confess that I do not always respond to every single negative brand mention, I do make it a point to engage whenever some progress or learnings are within reach. In this case, the user is complaining about our free edition sign up, a form vital to our marketing goals. This man seems angry, but maybe something good can come of this. Although the tone is hostile, this tweet tells me that the individual was interested enough in our product to try to sign up. I perceive frustration but I also see that this man was on the verge of completing an important marketing milestone.

I took it upon myself to email the man behind the tweet and asked for feedback regarding our form. Take a look at the actual email I sent below:

actual_email

By managing my emotions effectively I was able to respond with empathy rather than hostility. The result was very long, detailed feedback with actionable tips for improving our sign-up flow (free market research from a real-life user) and a consolation tweet:

result_of_followup

A social media manager is both a marketer and a customer service representative. You must possess the social skills to grow, expand, and connect with your online community.

Habit 5: Be Sensitive to Business Goals

Even if you have mastered Social Media 101, that does not mean you have the technical and quantitative skills required to track social media ROI. Company executives don’t care about your followers or the number of views on SlideShare. They care about how social media is performing as part of the overall marketing strategy. An effective social media manager knows how to track everything from clicks, to leads, to revenue.

When hiring, don’t just look for a “creative type,” look for an individual that is an analytical, data-driven marketer. He or she should be well-versed in Google Analytics, Excel, or other tracking and measurement tools. Knowing how to tweet just doesn’t cut it; one must be able to share and articulate the overall business story.

While I agree that companies should not place their brand in the hands of just anyone, I don’t like these blanket statements regarding social media management and age. I am fortunate to work at an organization that does not make social media an afterthought and I am lucky that they are willing to trust me to manage our voice.  I urge you all to look at skill set, because when it comes to hiring a social media manager, age ain’t nothing but a number.

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