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Episode 5: Learning & Earning – Networking with Nyck

Learning & Earning episode five features, Nyck Weaver, an alumni from IUPUI and the quality control supervisor at Adidas. We all know that networking is important, but it can be a little daunting at first! In this episode, we discuss the importance of networking for your professional development. Nyck provides tips and advice on how to network effectively and how to build confidence for those who are nervous to make new connections.

Video version

Description of the video:

Lacey Smith:
Hi everyone. It's Lacey, I'm your host of the Learning and Earning podcast. And today I am joined with my guests, Nyckolas. So Nyckolas could, first of all we're very excited to have you here, but could you give us a little background about yourself and your experience in college?

Nyck Weaver:
So, like you said, thank you, Lacey. My name is Nyckolas Weaver. I am a supervisor at Adidas. I started at Ivy Tech. I did my two years there, graduated with associates degree. And once I completed my associates degree, I transferred to IUPUI while I did another two years and got my bachelor degree in public affairs. Once I graduated, that's when I entered to work deals, start working for Adidas, and I worked my way up. Started in 2018, got I moved up to a DC coordinator by 2019, and then by March, 2020, I was a supervisor in the quality department and that's what I'm currently doing.

Lacey Smith:
Wow, that's incredible. That's awesome. I always love hearing about IUPUI alumni and their experiences because I find it very motivating for my future. And I feel like our listeners as well are going to find that very motivating and inspiring. So thank you. And I'm so glad that you're doing well. When would you say that you started learning how to network in college?

Nyck Weaver:
Probably when I attended to IUPUI. I think that's when I realized the importance of networking. Working for the office of student employment, working for Lauren and Jenny, they really showed me how to get out there and put yourself out there and to navigate and the importance of meeting, talking to the right people 'cause you don't know where that next handshake could lead to. So I think that's where I realized the importance of networking. And I also brought that into my classrooms when we would have to do the group projects. And that's when you start interacting with people. Then you start to learn their backgrounds and their experience, then they have connections. So you never know where that could lead to. Those always important just to continue to communicate with different people around you.

Lacey Smith:
For sure. And I think networking is very helpful in the future, especially during college because you want those connections to where you can reach out to people and reaching out to people is going to help you possibly find, you know your way to a career or to an opportunity that can help you build a career which is amazing.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And it's super helpful. And it's definitely, I think one of the most important things you can do for yourself when you're in college

Nyck Weaver:
You know, and another one was I took a course, and I do not want to butcher the young lady's name, but I believe her name was professor Hampton. And I forgot the name of the course, but in the course you had to do informational interviews. And, an informational interview is when you go out and you find somebody in the field that you're interested in you just ask them a series of questions. So you asked them, you know, "What was your path, your journey? What are some qualities you think you need to be successful in this role?" And just questions along those lines. And that right there is how you start to build a rapport with people in a field that you want to enter. And then from there, you just keep going. So for example, I have a upcoming informational interview with this young lady named Melanie Lagrande, and she had the corporate social responsibility executive for the MLB. So I plan to utilize that as soon as I introduced myself let her know where I want to go, and hopefully we can keep that rapport going so she can look out in case any opportunities arise not only the MLB, but in other sectors.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. I think also with that is when you take those chances and you shadow someone, for example, I think it definitely helps you with your career interests because a lot of times you might think a career is something you're really interested in and then figure out, "Oh, I'm not that interested in this." Or you might also figure out, "Hey I actually really enjoy doing this." And in college it can be a little confusing with deciding what exactly you want to do. So when you take those opportunities and you meet people and ask them questions about their jobs, I think it's really helpful for your future.

Nyck Weaver:
And I agree, an I think what you just brought up is also a good point. That job shadowing, you get to see hand and experience whether it's maybe like four hours or you actually have the opportunity to do a full day. And that might like tilt your decision. Like, "Well, do I really want to enter to this field?" Or, "You know what, I can see myself cut out for this. This is what I want to do."

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. It's definitely a good way to look into the future and see if something's good for you, or if it's something that you really could see yourself doing and put yourself in those person's shoes for a day. But I think also when you're meeting people it can kind of be scary because a lot of times you aren't sure what exactly to say and you're not sure what questions to ask. So one of my questions for you is when you're trying to network, what's a good way to start up a conversation with someone?

Nyck Weaver:
Are you're talking to on the spot or just somebody that you research that you're knowing that you're going to meet? I guess will be my kind of followup question to that.

Lacey Smith:
I would say someone that you've researched and you're meeting.

Nyck Weaver:
So how I like to do it is I like to get online, and I'll just type in "questions to ask during an informational interview." And kind of like what you brought up earlier before we started saying how, you know you just got a couple of questions to ask and then the conversation just flows. And that's literally how mine, my informational interviews go. Like, I'll ask a couple of questions. The next thing you know, the conversations just smooth, it's flowing, and as they're talking, then I'll just come up with a question right there because they said something that I resonated to. Because, okay, let me ask about this. Let me ask about that. Now it was, I what I thought was gonna be a 30 minute conversation turned into an hour. So now I got them reeled in. Now they're reeled in to me. They want to know what's my interest? Why am I interested in this field? What they can do to help me get to that next level of my career. So just always just pay attention to detail, listen to what they're saying. You may have a question in between, and more than likely they'll be willing to answer that question because what I noticed about information interviews is people love to talk about themselves, good or bad but people love to talk about themselves.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Nyck Weaver:
So utilize that opportunity and take the fullest advantage of it because a lot of people kind of stare off. They only want to, Hmm. I don't think I have that confidence to do it, but no, step out your comfort zone. Go network. Because the more people you know, the more access you have.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think also it's important that when you're having those conversations to really listen to what they're saying, rather than as they're speaking trying to figure out what to ask them next. I think it's important to really stay in tune with the conversation and really be present in the moment. Another question that I have though is you brought up confidence and I know a lot of people can struggle with that, especially when they're meeting new people. And I think no matter how extroverted someone can be they can still be, they can still work on confidence when they're meeting new people and asking questions. So I also was curious if you had any tips for confidence when you're engaging in new conversations with new people.

Nyck Weaver:
Hmm. So I what I like to do it just ask basic questions. Hey, how you doing? How long have you been working here? What's your interest? Where would you like to go in five years? That's as far as work-related. Now, as far as on a personal note, you just ask them basic questions that's similar to those. Usually when I'm meeting new people whether it's at work or through family members or friends, I was in the position where my mom always put me in the forefront to meet new people. So my mom is like the hub when it comes to the family. She always wanted to do family reunions. She always wants to get the family together. And when that happened, she always forced me in the front to speak in front of everybody. So I think I took a different path compared to other people. So I kind of got comfortable at an early age to speak in front of people or just go up and talk to people and have conversations. And like in the position that I'm in right now, I have to do start up meetings before we break out and do our work. And I'll be honest at first, I didn't know these guys, I just got into this role. So my confidence was a little shaky at the beginning because all eyes are on me. They're like, "Who's this guy? We don't know who he is." So, but as time goes on, and I start to talk to them one-on-one, I make sure I go one-to-one to get to know my people. That's when my confidence got higher and higher. And I got more comfortable in my role speaking in front of my people. And I think that's one of the challenges that I have with my workers right now, or my colleagues rather, is giving them the confidence to where they can speak in front of other people or just take that initiative and go speak to other people rather then waiting for the opportunity to come to you. Because there's one thing I want to tell my people is that if you wait for opportunities to come to you, you're going to be waiting forever.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And I think it's also helpful too with them seeing you being so I guess, outgoing and really comfortable with building new relationships because I think it's really inspiring when you see someone else doing that. And it really encourages you to put yourself out there and to try something new and take new opportunities. So that's definitely really inspiring for them, for sure.

Nyck Weaver:
You cannot be scared to fail when you're reaching out there, as far as struggling with your confidence. You're going to mess up, I mess up. It's going to happen, but you just continue to work on it. And then you build on that. And that's when you're gonna start seeing that confidence coming in. Before even knowing it you're just going to be up there, just talking to people that you thought you would never do maybe two or three years ago because you just gained that confidence and just continue to do it over and over. It starts to become a repetition.

Lacey Smith:
Hm. And I think too, the more that you put yourself out there and the more you just say, "I'm going to do this I'm going to try it out and see what happens." I think that just builds confidence too. The more you do it, the more you get used to it. And the more you see, "Oh, this worked out. This wasn't as scary as I thought." And then you start to see yourself getting more comfortable with those situations.

Nyck Weaver:
It's interesting because I remember one of my friends was telling me that he was in a situation at work and he said, the first thing I thought of was me and how I would handle that. So another thing is that you never know, who's watching you, so always just move with confidence, whether you're unsure of your decision or whatever the case may be, always move with confidence. The consequences you can go back and you can see what you did wrong later, but always moving with confidence. Never try to second guess.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And it's, I think it's really important just to remember that at least you tried and at least you put yourself out there.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. You always want to put yourself in different positions where you're not really sure about the outcome because it could actually lead to a great deal of good. Once you put yourself in different areas or different a capacity that you're unsure of.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And I think it's also better to put yourself out there and to have an answer rather than, rather than to think about, "Oh, I wish I would have done this. I wish I would have said this." Because those, wondering "what if?" is just way harder than actually putting yourself out there. But another question that I have is obviously 2020 was crazy, especially with the Coronavirus, and in a way I think that made it very difficult for some people because they weren't sure how to go about networking. And so, is there any recommendations that you have for trying to network virtually in this time?

Nyck Weaver:
So my best friend is LinkedIn. That is what I've been using to network. Like I brought up earlier about being from MLB, just sent her a text od DM through LinkedIn and she responded. I was surprised. And I said, "Okay, well let me see if I can follow up on this." And next thing you know, we set up a date to conduct the informational interview. So I do that. I also try to use people at work to see, like, who they know as far as the networking, but you also just, just talk to people around you. You know, the separation of degrees is only so much. I think that I learned that from Lauren actually. But yeah, just definitely utilize the people that you talk to on a daily basis, who they know. Definitely use LinkedIn. I think that's a great platform. I think you can reach out to people that you never had a chance to reach as far as on a daily basis or in your circle or at school work related, whatever the case may be. LinkedIn, you can reach out to people in different states, different countries. So definitely use that as a resource to network.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I actually learned about LinkedIn when I was in my first year seminar class, and I wasn't sure if I would actually use it that much, but as school went on and as the years go by you use it a lot. Even on job applications they'll ask you if you want to put in your LinkedIn which, if you have your profile built really well and you have those different connections, it looks really good, especially on a resume.

Nyck Weaver:
That'd be also my age too because I started to see that as I was getting older because I know that at the beginning, I was seeing that we would asked to LinkedIn, as I started getting older you have the option if you want to put in your LinkedIn link for those who interested in looking at it. So, I think that's also a good source compared to your resume because you can add a lot more to your LinkedIn profile. Do you want to add to your resume? Cause we want to keep your resume at that one page limit obviously. And you can add a lot more to it in LinkedIn where they can go in great detail, see what you done.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And you can also add in like little links to, whether it's a video that you made, or if you wrote an article, you can add in those links and it helps them see your skills more as well.

Nyck Weaver:
That version, that portfolio. Absolutely.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. So I really liked LinkedIn though. I didn't realize I would use it that much. And now I'm, every time something new happens, I'm like, "Oh I got to update my LinkedIn."

Nyck Weaver:
I'm on the same page with you because you never know who's looking at that page and somebody might get in your DM or texts. Like, "Hey, I got this great opportunity for you that I think you'll get a great fit."

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And when you make those connections with other people, whether it's just your friends or your coworkers, then that can connect you to someone else who might have a new opportunity for you.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. Exactly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Nyck Weaver:
I was looking at LinkedIn recently, matter of fact, and you know they just made the announcement for the March Madness being here, so I've been looking in LinkedIn to see who has different volunteer opportunities. 'Cause I like to participate in that. So, I'm either on LinkedIn or actually on the website. I will definitely want to get involved when it starts here.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. So when you're networking, do you think there's any questions that really stand out and are there any questions that you should avoid?

Nyck Weaver:
Hmm. Any question that stands out. I think one of my questions that stands out that I get a lot of positive feedback is, "What are like the three strongest qualities that one should possess to be successful in this role?" That question alone, I get a lot of positive feedback. Another one is, you know "What is the biggest challenge in your role or the biggest success, your day-to-day responsibilities?" Those are some common questions that I like to ask because I know I can get a lot of information out of them when I ask those questions. As far as questions to avoid, me personally I like to avoid the salary question. I've never brought that up when I've done an informational interview. Granted like, I guess some could ask it because it's an information interview, but I just never thought of asking that. I think that's probably like the only question I try to avoid, but I think everything else is probably in ball game, fair game.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that when you ask those questions too, it's really important to go beyond surface level because I think that also it's beneficial for you to find out that information, but it also shows your interest more

Nyck Weaver:
Right.

- in what they're discussing.

Nyck Weaver:
'Cause you really want to get like in there, not just beating around the bush questions, but actually want to gain insight because you're utilizing not only your time but they're time as well. So you want to take full advantage of it by asking deep thought-provoking questions. Open-ended questions where they actually have to answer them and not just think, yes or no question.

Lacey Smith:
And when you ask questions like that, where they're more deep and have more substance to them it can lead to other questions that you can ask as well.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. You definitely want those detail oriented answers because like you just said, you can go and find another question within that answer.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly. And I think that helps you stand out more to them.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. Exactly. You just want it because like at the end, when I ask them, where I'll say, "Thank you for your time. Thank you for taking time out your day to conduct an informational interview. Do you have any questions for me?" Next thing you know, they're asking me questions, and they haven't seen the question they had asked me. I'm pretty sure they didn't have once the interview started, they thought it's probably just going to be over within 15 minutes. But I drew so much detail out of them, now they're interested in me as well. "Well, okay. This person asks some good questions. Let me see. We'll pass this young man along. Let me see if I can do anything to help him." So that's usually the rapport I like to build when I'm doing information interviews, and I love to keep in contact. So just send them a message every three months. "Hey, how you doing? Is everything alright?" Then sometimes we will do another interview. It's not even necessarily interview at this point. We're just talking. They just want to see where I'm at, how I'm doing. Is there anything that they can do to help me to accelerate my career and help me get to that next level.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And then I'm also curious if you feel like it's important to heavily prepare for when you're trying to network with researched people or if you think it's better to go into it with some prepared questions, but kind of just let it flow.

Nyck Weaver:
So this is completely off topic, I guess, or maybe similar but I went to a wedding, my cousin's wedding back in October and you know, they did their vows. So my cousin, she went first she did her vows. Then he went, he said, I'm sorry this pop-up just came up on the screen. So he went and he said, "I didn't write anything down. I'm gonna speak from the heart. So my mind went, "Okay, this is going to be good." He gives the talk, and I think he got lost where he was at in the conversation. And I said, "Ooh, okay. Maybe he should have wrote something down." Maybe you should have, maybe jot a few words before he decided to freestyle these vows. So I bring that up to say, you should have maybe at least three questions down when you're researching people that you want to interview. Probably just don't want to go in there just free styling questions, just thinking about the first thing that comes to mind because now you're going to be just pulling from anywhere, just thinking of a good question. And now that person is on the other side of the computer, or the other side of you think to himself, "Well, why I'm wasting my time? He didn't come prepared."

Lacey Smith:
You definitely want to have a good series of questions on your paper, or whatever the case might be, and then after that, as the conversation goes then you can start coming up with questions on the spot right then and there because now you've got something to build that rapport. You started getting more comfortable, and you start to draw more questions that offer detailed answers.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. For sure. Even if it's just bullet points, at least you have those prepared.

Lacey Smith:
Right.

Nyck Weaver:
And you're not going into it blindly.

Lacey Smith:
I couldn't picture myself going into an informational interview, knowing that I'm trying to get answers out this person, and have no questions prepared. And just thinking about questions out of thin air. I don't think I can get away with that. Maybe some people can, they can pull it off, but I know for me personally, I couldn't do it.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. I feel like even if you're very extroverted or very confident, it would still be very hard and difficult to go into a conversation without having a little preparation.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly preparation is the key to success.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. I think obviously there's some things in life that you can wing and it can go okay, but when you're trying to build a relationship and form new connections and possibly take new opportunities, probably not the best decision to go into it not really knowing what to say.

Lacey Smith:
I definitely agree 'cause first impressions are everything. And if you drop the ball on that first impression, you might as well keep it going because more than likely you lost their personal interests.

Nyck Weaver:
For sure. I think you don't realize how important first impressions are until you're trying to build a career.

Lacey Smith:
Right. And that's definitely still working at Adidas. You know, I think I had a lot of great great impressions and that played a vital role into me getting this current role right now. You know, when I got hired for it not only did they interview me, but they went around asking different people about me. They did their due diligence. So they found out that I was a good worker. I interacted with people. And that pretty much kind of put me ahead of the group.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah.

Lacey Smith:
First impressions are very important.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. They really do stick. And if you think about it, it makes sense because a lot of people say that first impressions don't matter that much, but even personally, when you think about it, they do. And they impact your opinion on someone. Or if you want to engage with that person again, the first impression is going to come back to you.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly, exactly. 'Cause I'm pretty sure that you went and did your due diligence and asked about me to Lauren, you know and she gave you good insight about what I was about. So first impressions definitely very important.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah, exactly. But thank you for giving us some networking tips, but to end off every podcast episode, we like to kind of bring it back to our podcast title. And so I'm going to ask you the question what have you been learning and earning this week? Now this can be anything, whether it's something you've achieved or something you've learned, but what have you been learning and earning this week?

Lacey Smith:
Learning and earning. So I guess two separate categories right now. I have been learning real estate and I've been learning stock market.

Nyck Weaver:
Okay. Those are two things I have been trying to learn. Trying to learn more about ETF, index funds, stock options. As far as real estate, just selling houses, how to get people under contract, collecting assignment fees, title companies. So I've been going back and forth just trying to learn more about those two industries.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome.

Nyck Weaver:
That's a good question. I'm glad you asked it.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, but thank you so much for being on our podcast. We were so excited to have you, and you gave me a lot of good tips as well for networking, and I'm definitely going to use those in the future. So I appreciate it. And thank you so much for being here.

Nyck Weaver:
Thank you Lacey, for having me. I definitely appreciate my time being here.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, of course. But thank you for tuning into the Learning and Earning podcast and until next time.
Audio version

Lacey Smith:
Hi everyone. It's Lacey, I'm your host of the Learning and Earning podcast. And today I am joined with my guests, Nyckolas. So Nyckolas could, first of all we're very excited to have you here, but could you give us a little background about yourself and your experience in college?

Nyck Weaver:
So, like you said, thank you, Lacey. My name is Nyckolas Weaver. I am a supervisor at Adidas. I started at Ivy Tech. I did my two years there, graduated with associates degree. And once I completed my associates degree, I transferred to IUPUI while I did another two years and got my bachelor degree in public affairs. Once I graduated, that's when I entered to work deals, start working for Adidas, and I worked my way up. Started in 2018, got I moved up to a DC coordinator by 2019, and then by March, 2020, I was a supervisor in the quality department and that's what I'm currently doing.

Lacey Smith:
Wow, that's incredible. That's awesome. I always love hearing about IUPUI alumni and their experiences because I find it very motivating for my future. And I feel like our listeners as well are going to find that very motivating and inspiring. So thank you. And I'm so glad that you're doing well. When would you say that you started learning how to network in college?

Nyck Weaver:
Probably when I attended to IUPUI. I think that's when I realized the importance of networking. Working for the office of student employment, working for Lauren and Jenny, they really showed me how to get out there and put yourself out there and to navigate and the importance of meeting, talking to the right people 'cause you don't know where that next handshake could lead to. So I think that's where I realized the importance of networking. And I also brought that into my classrooms when we would have to do the group projects. And that's when you start interacting with people. Then you start to learn their backgrounds and their experience, then they have connections. So you never know where that could lead to. Those always important just to continue to communicate with different people around you.

Lacey Smith:
For sure. And I think networking is very helpful in the future, especially during college because you want those connections to where you can reach out to people and reaching out to people is going to help you possibly find, you know your way to a career or to an opportunity that can help you build a career which is amazing.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And it's super helpful. And it's definitely, I think one of the most important things you can do for yourself when you're in college

Nyck Weaver:
You know, and another one was I took a course, and I do not want to butcher the young lady's name, but I believe her name was professor Hampton. And I forgot the name of the course, but in the course you had to do informational interviews. And, an informational interview is when you go out and you find somebody in the field that you're interested in you just ask them a series of questions. So you asked them, you know, "What was your path, your journey? What are some qualities you think you need to be successful in this role?" And just questions along those lines. And that right there is how you start to build a rapport with people in a field that you want to enter. And then from there, you just keep going. So for example, I have a upcoming informational interview with this young lady named Melanie Lagrande, and she had the corporate social responsibility executive for the MLB. So I plan to utilize that as soon as I introduced myself let her know where I want to go, and hopefully we can keep that rapport going so she can look out in case any opportunities arise not only the MLB, but in other sectors.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. I think also with that is when you take those chances and you shadow someone, for example, I think it definitely helps you with your career interests because a lot of times you might think a career is something you're really interested in and then figure out, "Oh, I'm not that interested in this." Or you might also figure out, "Hey I actually really enjoy doing this." And in college it can be a little confusing with deciding what exactly you want to do. So when you take those opportunities and you meet people and ask them questions about their jobs, I think it's really helpful for your future.

Nyck Weaver:
And I agree, an I think what you just brought up is also a good point. That job shadowing, you get to see hand and experience whether it's maybe like four hours or you actually have the opportunity to do a full day. And that might like tilt your decision. Like, "Well, do I really want to enter to this field?" Or, "You know what, I can see myself cut out for this. This is what I want to do."

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. It's definitely a good way to look into the future and see if something's good for you, or if it's something that you really could see yourself doing and put yourself in those person's shoes for a day. But I think also when you're meeting people it can kind of be scary because a lot of times you aren't sure what exactly to say and you're not sure what questions to ask. So one of my questions for you is when you're trying to network, what's a good way to start up a conversation with someone?

Nyck Weaver:
Are you're talking to on the spot or just somebody that you research that you're knowing that you're going to meet? I guess will be my kind of followup question to that.

Lacey Smith:
I would say someone that you've researched and you're meeting.

Nyck Weaver:
So how I like to do it is I like to get online, and I'll just type in "questions to ask during an informational interview." And kind of like what you brought up earlier before we started saying how, you know you just got a couple of questions to ask and then the conversation just flows. And that's literally how mine, my informational interviews go. Like, I'll ask a couple of questions. The next thing you know, the conversations just smooth, it's flowing, and as they're talking, then I'll just come up with a question right there because they said something that I resonated to. Because, okay, let me ask about this. Let me ask about that. Now it was, I what I thought was gonna be a 30 minute conversation turned into an hour. So now I got them reeled in. Now they're reeled in to me. They want to know what's my interest? Why am I interested in this field? What they can do to help me get to that next level of my career. So just always just pay attention to detail, listen to what they're saying. You may have a question in between, and more than likely they'll be willing to answer that question because what I noticed about information interviews is people love to talk about themselves, good or bad but people love to talk about themselves.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Nyck Weaver:
So utilize that opportunity and take the fullest advantage of it because a lot of people kind of stare off. They only want to, Hmm. I don't think I have that confidence to do it, but no, step out your comfort zone. Go network. Because the more people you know, the more access you have.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think also it's important that when you're having those conversations to really listen to what they're saying, rather than as they're speaking trying to figure out what to ask them next. I think it's important to really stay in tune with the conversation and really be present in the moment. Another question that I have though is you brought up confidence and I know a lot of people can struggle with that, especially when they're meeting new people. And I think no matter how extroverted someone can be they can still be, they can still work on confidence when they're meeting new people and asking questions. So I also was curious if you had any tips for confidence when you're engaging in new conversations with new people.

Nyck Weaver:
Hmm. So I what I like to do it just ask basic questions. Hey, how you doing? How long have you been working here? What's your interest? Where would you like to go in five years? That's as far as work-related. Now, as far as on a personal note, you just ask them basic questions that's similar to those. Usually when I'm meeting new people whether it's at work or through family members or friends, I was in the position where my mom always put me in the forefront to meet new people. So my mom is like the hub when it comes to the family. She always wanted to do family reunions. She always wants to get the family together. And when that happened, she always forced me in the front to speak in front of everybody. So I think I took a different path compared to other people. So I kind of got comfortable at an early age to speak in front of people or just go up and talk to people and have conversations. And like in the position that I'm in right now, I have to do start up meetings before we break out and do our work. And I'll be honest at first, I didn't know these guys, I just got into this role. So my confidence was a little shaky at the beginning because all eyes are on me. They're like, "Who's this guy? We don't know who he is." So, but as time goes on, and I start to talk to them one-on-one, I make sure I go one-to-one to get to know my people. That's when my confidence got higher and higher. And I got more comfortable in my role speaking in front of my people. And I think that's one of the challenges that I have with my workers right now, or my colleagues rather, is giving them the confidence to where they can speak in front of other people or just take that initiative and go speak to other people rather then waiting for the opportunity to come to you. Because there's one thing I want to tell my people is that if you wait for opportunities to come to you, you're going to be waiting forever.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And I think it's also helpful too with them seeing you being so I guess, outgoing and really comfortable with building new relationships because I think it's really inspiring when you see someone else doing that. And it really encourages you to put yourself out there and to try something new and take new opportunities. So that's definitely really inspiring for them, for sure.

Nyck Weaver:
You cannot be scared to fail when you're reaching out there, as far as struggling with your confidence. You're going to mess up, I mess up. It's going to happen, but you just continue to work on it. And then you build on that. And that's when you're gonna start seeing that confidence coming in. Before even knowing it you're just going to be up there, just talking to people that you thought you would never do maybe two or three years ago because you just gained that confidence and just continue to do it over and over. It starts to become a repetition.

Lacey Smith:
Hm. And I think too, the more that you put yourself out there and the more you just say, "I'm going to do this I'm going to try it out and see what happens." I think that just builds confidence too. The more you do it, the more you get used to it. And the more you see, "Oh, this worked out. This wasn't as scary as I thought." And then you start to see yourself getting more comfortable with those situations.

Nyck Weaver:
It's interesting because I remember one of my friends was telling me that he was in a situation at work and he said, the first thing I thought of was me and how I would handle that. So another thing is that you never know, who's watching you, so always just move with confidence, whether you're unsure of your decision or whatever the case may be, always move with confidence. The consequences you can go back and you can see what you did wrong later, but always moving with confidence. Never try to second guess.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And it's, I think it's really important just to remember that at least you tried and at least you put yourself out there.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. You always want to put yourself in different positions where you're not really sure about the outcome because it could actually lead to a great deal of good. Once you put yourself in different areas or different a capacity that you're unsure of.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And I think it's also better to put yourself out there and to have an answer rather than, rather than to think about, "Oh, I wish I would have done this. I wish I would have said this." Because those, wondering "what if?" is just way harder than actually putting yourself out there. But another question that I have is obviously 2020 was crazy, especially with the Coronavirus, and in a way I think that made it very difficult for some people because they weren't sure how to go about networking. And so, is there any recommendations that you have for trying to network virtually in this time?

Nyck Weaver:
So my best friend is LinkedIn. That is what I've been using to network. Like I brought up earlier about being from MLB, just sent her a text od DM through LinkedIn and she responded. I was surprised. And I said, "Okay, well let me see if I can follow up on this." And next thing you know, we set up a date to conduct the informational interview. So I do that. I also try to use people at work to see, like, who they know as far as the networking, but you also just, just talk to people around you. You know, the separation of degrees is only so much. I think that I learned that from Lauren actually. But yeah, just definitely utilize the people that you talk to on a daily basis, who they know. Definitely use LinkedIn. I think that's a great platform. I think you can reach out to people that you never had a chance to reach as far as on a daily basis or in your circle or at school work related, whatever the case may be. LinkedIn, you can reach out to people in different states, different countries. So definitely use that as a resource to network.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I actually learned about LinkedIn when I was in my first year seminar class, and I wasn't sure if I would actually use it that much, but as school went on and as the years go by you use it a lot. Even on job applications they'll ask you if you want to put in your LinkedIn which, if you have your profile built really well and you have those different connections, it looks really good, especially on a resume.

Nyck Weaver:
That'd be also my age too because I started to see that as I was getting older because I know that at the beginning, I was seeing that we would asked to LinkedIn, as I started getting older you have the option if you want to put in your LinkedIn link for those who interested in looking at it. So, I think that's also a good source compared to your resume because you can add a lot more to your LinkedIn profile. Do you want to add to your resume? Cause we want to keep your resume at that one page limit obviously. And you can add a lot more to it in LinkedIn where they can go in great detail, see what you done.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And you can also add in like little links to, whether it's a video that you made, or if you wrote an article, you can add in those links and it helps them see your skills more as well.

Nyck Weaver:
That version, that portfolio. Absolutely.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. So I really liked LinkedIn though. I didn't realize I would use it that much. And now I'm, every time something new happens, I'm like, "Oh I got to update my LinkedIn."

Nyck Weaver:
I'm on the same page with you because you never know who's looking at that page and somebody might get in your DM or texts. Like, "Hey, I got this great opportunity for you that I think you'll get a great fit."

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And when you make those connections with other people, whether it's just your friends or your coworkers, then that can connect you to someone else who might have a new opportunity for you.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. Exactly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Nyck Weaver:
I was looking at LinkedIn recently, matter of fact, and you know they just made the announcement for the March Madness being here, so I've been looking in LinkedIn to see who has different volunteer opportunities. 'Cause I like to participate in that. So, I'm either on LinkedIn or actually on the website. I will definitely want to get involved when it starts here.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. So when you're networking, do you think there's any questions that really stand out and are there any questions that you should avoid?

Nyck Weaver:
Hmm. Any question that stands out. I think one of my questions that stands out that I get a lot of positive feedback is, "What are like the three strongest qualities that one should possess to be successful in this role?" That question alone, I get a lot of positive feedback. Another one is, you know "What is the biggest challenge in your role or the biggest success, your day-to-day responsibilities?" Those are some common questions that I like to ask because I know I can get a lot of information out of them when I ask those questions. As far as questions to avoid, me personally I like to avoid the salary question. I've never brought that up when I've done an informational interview. Granted like, I guess some could ask it because it's an information interview, but I just never thought of asking that. I think that's probably like the only question I try to avoid, but I think everything else is probably in ball game, fair game.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that when you ask those questions too, it's really important to go beyond surface level because I think that also it's beneficial for you to find out that information, but it also shows your interest more

Nyck Weaver:
Right.

- in what they're discussing.

Nyck Weaver:
'Cause you really want to get like in there, not just beating around the bush questions, but actually want to gain insight because you're utilizing not only your time but they're time as well. So you want to take full advantage of it by asking deep thought-provoking questions. Open-ended questions where they actually have to answer them and not just think, yes or no question.

Lacey Smith:
And when you ask questions like that, where they're more deep and have more substance to them it can lead to other questions that you can ask as well.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. You definitely want those detail oriented answers because like you just said, you can go and find another question within that answer.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly. And I think that helps you stand out more to them.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. Exactly. You just want it because like at the end, when I ask them, where I'll say, "Thank you for your time. Thank you for taking time out your day to conduct an informational interview. Do you have any questions for me?" Next thing you know, they're asking me questions, and they haven't seen the question they had asked me. I'm pretty sure they didn't have once the interview started, they thought it's probably just going to be over within 15 minutes. But I drew so much detail out of them, now they're interested in me as well. "Well, okay. This person asks some good questions. Let me see. We'll pass this young man along. Let me see if I can do anything to help him." So that's usually the rapport I like to build when I'm doing information interviews, and I love to keep in contact. So just send them a message every three months. "Hey, how you doing? Is everything alright?" Then sometimes we will do another interview. It's not even necessarily interview at this point. We're just talking. They just want to see where I'm at, how I'm doing. Is there anything that they can do to help me to accelerate my career and help me get to that next level.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And then I'm also curious if you feel like it's important to heavily prepare for when you're trying to network with researched people or if you think it's better to go into it with some prepared questions, but kind of just let it flow.

Nyck Weaver:
So this is completely off topic, I guess, or maybe similar but I went to a wedding, my cousin's wedding back in October and you know, they did their vows. So my cousin, she went first she did her vows. Then he went, he said, I'm sorry this pop-up just came up on the screen. So he went and he said, "I didn't write anything down. I'm gonna speak from the heart. So my mind went, "Okay, this is going to be good." He gives the talk, and I think he got lost where he was at in the conversation. And I said, "Ooh, okay. Maybe he should have wrote something down." Maybe you should have, maybe jot a few words before he decided to freestyle these vows. So I bring that up to say, you should have maybe at least three questions down when you're researching people that you want to interview. Probably just don't want to go in there just free styling questions, just thinking about the first thing that comes to mind because now you're going to be just pulling from anywhere, just thinking of a good question. And now that person is on the other side of the computer, or the other side of you think to himself, "Well, why I'm wasting my time? He didn't come prepared."

Lacey Smith:
You definitely want to have a good series of questions on your paper, or whatever the case might be, and then after that, as the conversation goes then you can start coming up with questions on the spot right then and there because now you've got something to build that rapport. You started getting more comfortable, and you start to draw more questions that offer detailed answers.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. For sure. Even if it's just bullet points, at least you have those prepared.

Lacey Smith:
Right.

Nyck Weaver:
And you're not going into it blindly.

Lacey Smith:
I couldn't picture myself going into an informational interview, knowing that I'm trying to get answers out this person, and have no questions prepared. And just thinking about questions out of thin air. I don't think I can get away with that. Maybe some people can, they can pull it off, but I know for me personally, I couldn't do it.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. I feel like even if you're very extroverted or very confident, it would still be very hard and difficult to go into a conversation without having a little preparation.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly preparation is the key to success.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. I think obviously there's some things in life that you can wing and it can go okay, but when you're trying to build a relationship and form new connections and possibly take new opportunities, probably not the best decision to go into it not really knowing what to say.

Lacey Smith:
I definitely agree 'cause first impressions are everything. And if you drop the ball on that first impression, you might as well keep it going because more than likely you lost their personal interests.

Nyck Weaver:
For sure. I think you don't realize how important first impressions are until you're trying to build a career.

Lacey Smith:
Right. And that's definitely still working at Adidas. You know, I think I had a lot of great great impressions and that played a vital role into me getting this current role right now. You know, when I got hired for it not only did they interview me, but they went around asking different people about me. They did their due diligence. So they found out that I was a good worker. I interacted with people. And that pretty much kind of put me ahead of the group.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah.

Lacey Smith:
First impressions are very important.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. They really do stick. And if you think about it, it makes sense because a lot of people say that first impressions don't matter that much, but even personally, when you think about it, they do. And they impact your opinion on someone. Or if you want to engage with that person again, the first impression is going to come back to you.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly, exactly. 'Cause I'm pretty sure that you went and did your due diligence and asked about me to Lauren, you know and she gave you good insight about what I was about. So first impressions definitely very important.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah, exactly. But thank you for giving us some networking tips, but to end off every podcast episode, we like to kind of bring it back to our podcast title. And so I'm going to ask you the question what have you been learning and earning this week? Now this can be anything, whether it's something you've achieved or something you've learned, but what have you been learning and earning this week?

Lacey Smith:
Learning and earning. So I guess two separate categories right now. I have been learning real estate and I've been learning stock market.

Nyck Weaver:
Okay. Those are two things I have been trying to learn. Trying to learn more about ETF, index funds, stock options. As far as real estate, just selling houses, how to get people under contract, collecting assignment fees, title companies. So I've been going back and forth just trying to learn more about those two industries.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome.

Nyck Weaver:
That's a good question. I'm glad you asked it.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, but thank you so much for being on our podcast. We were so excited to have you, and you gave me a lot of good tips as well for networking, and I'm definitely going to use those in the future. So I appreciate it. And thank you so much for being here.

Nyck Weaver:
Thank you Lacey, for having me. I definitely appreciate my time being here.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, of course. But thank you for tuning into the Learning and Earning podcast and until next time.

Check out our past episodes

Looking for a previous episode of the Learning & Earning Podcast? Check below to find the video or audio version of a past podcast!

Learning & Earning episode four features, Laura Ryle, The Communication Network president. In this episode, she provides an overview of how she got involved with The Communication Network, and also offers advice on how to get engaged in clubs and groups on campus during the pandemic.

Video version

 

Audio version

Transcript

Lacey Smith:
Hi everyone. I'm Lacey Smith and welcome back to Learning and Earning. I'm your host. And I am here today with Laura Ryle, who is a communication major and a poli psy major at IUPUI. So Laura, first of all, thank you for being here with us and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Laura:
Yeah. So hi, my name is Laura Ryle. I'm a current sophomore at IUPY, double majoring in political science and communications studies. And I might be minoring in legal studies. I'm not quite sure yet. And I am currently based at Avon, Indiana. That's where I live and I usually just commute to and from IUPUI. It's about a half hour drive or so.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome. Can you tell us what you've been involved in at IUPUI?

Laura:
Yeah. So when I first started going to IUPUI last year, I knew that I wanted to get involved with some kind of organization based around my interests and just some of the skills that I have just because I wanted to be able to put something on my resume and take it with me to career interviews, job interviews, whatever, as well as internship opportunities that might've come my way and just have like some kind of portfolio or resume of things I could offer and show that I had experienced.

Laura:
And I was so actively involved in high school with all things radio and television. I loved doing morning announcements through the school. I wrote for the school newspaper and I loved it so much. And I knew that I wanted to kind of do something again with that in college and take it to the next level.

Laura:
And so I found out through my communication studies program that there was this organization called TCN that stands for The Communications Network. And basically they were kind of brand new and their focus was to start a radio station program with IUPUI and just kind of have a bunch of people contribute with different podcasts and have some school affiliated podcasts.

Laura:
And I thought, "Wow, that sounds like a really cool idea." I wasn't as familiar with the podcasting stuff as I am now, but I knew that I wanted to try it out, see what it was all about and stuff. And it was new territory for all of us. And I quickly was promoted to the social media chair that fall. And it was a lot of fun just posting different things promoting the club and stuff through our Instagram, Twitter pages and Facebook.

Laura:
So jump forward to this past fall semester, I'm going into my sophomore year and I have a couple communication classes with my professor, Trevor Potts, and I go into his classroom and he was the advisor for this organization TCN. And he comes up to me after our first class and says, "Laura, all the officers dropped out. The other member dropped out. You are my only hope will you please kind of revitalize this organization, bring it back to life?"

Laura:
And I just was very just caught off guard with that deer in the headlights type thing. And I was just like, "Oh my goodness." What if I say yes? I don't know anything about this kind of stuff. I don't know what the officers had on their agendas. And I said yes. I was just like, 'You know what? Bring it on. Bring on the challenge."

Laura:
So I became president of the organization. It was literally just me at the beginning of this past fall semester. And I was just like, what am I going to do? So I started off by reaching out to a bunch of communication classes that my professor taught and I had a few people grab interest in the organization. And I was really happy because I literally had nothing to offer to them.

Laura:
I was straightforward and I said, "This is just me in this organization. I have nothing to show. I can only promise that if you help me out with this, you will love the experience." And I had about, I'd say about 10 people interested, a bunch of different comm studies majors. And we instantly started off by just like, okay, we're going to start podcasting. And we all kind of wanted our own individualized podcast. A few people partnered up, but for the most part, we all wanted to do our own thing.

Laura:
And so we have some people doing sports podcasting. We have some people just talking about their daily lives. Some people just talking about different political issues. And we very quickly started the process of planning all of this and recording. And now we have several people posting podcasts on different podcast platforms, including Spotify.

Laura:
I'm not sure of the other ones. I forget. Yeah. Maybe Apple. I'm not quite sure, but it ended up getting big for some of them. Some of them have like a few thousand viewers, which is really cool because we just started this this fall semester. They've only been at it for a little while and I was really, really excited to see the turnout with this. And so I'm really looking forward to next semester. So yeah.

Lacey Smith:
Wow. That is awesome. First of all, it's very impressive the amount of viewers that you guys have received. That's amazing. And also I think building up the network during COVID is extremely impressive. So that's amazing. I think it really shows you too that once you put yourself out there and you just willingly take a chance, you can really build something.

Lacey Smith:
So that's amazing. That's awesome that you did that. And I think one of my questions is how would you tell others to put themselves out there, especially with new stuff like that and taking new roles?

Laura:
Yeah. So you just have to find that knick. Something that like you are really interested in. And for a lot of the people who started off in TCN, they didn't know what they were going to do. They were very confused. They were just like, "What is this podcast going to be about?" At first, some people were thinking like, "Oh I'm going to talk about this and that." And I was just like, "Just narrow it down to one topic."

Laura:
And then I had other people just like, I have no idea what I want to talk about. And I feel like I was one of those people as well. Because I would just kind of like, what am I going to talk about? What am I going to say? I'm an awkward person and just finding something you're really passionate about.

Laura:
I know one of the people doing the podcast she's really big when it comes to I guess just advocating about sex trafficking and just women's rights and everything. She's very, very passionate about that. And she has a lot of personal experiences with that as well. And so that's where her passion for the podcast came from.

Laura:
It was through those topics and she's had, I forgot how many viewers that she's had, but she's had a wide amount of viewers and it's gotten a lot of attention just through her topic and everything and it's very inspiring. So I would just say just anything you can find to talk about. Just something that you are passionate in and then it just becomes natural to you.

Lacey Smith:
Absolutely. I think too, that when you find something that you really enjoy talking about or something you enjoy doing, it makes it so much more worth it when you actually accomplish putting yourself out there and trying something new. It kind of makes you more driven to do those things as well. And you enjoy yourself so much more. And then when it pays off, you feel really good about yourself and what you're doing.

Lacey Smith:
And I think that can also help insecurities and build confidence because the more you put yourself out there and the more it pays off, the more you're going to be proud of yourself and kind of learn to appreciate yourself a little bit more because it can be challenging, especially in college when there's so many new things, so many new opportunities and you really have to take new chances and take risks because that's the only way you're going to really accomplish anything and set yourself aside from other people and kind of have something that other people don't.

Laura:
Exactly and it's so easy in college because, high school it's just like you got to follow the curriculum, but college, you can do whatever you want. And this is really the best time where people are figuring out who they are, who they truly are, what their interests are, what their passions are.

Lacey Smith:
It definitely is. And also freshman year especially, it's important to really put yourself out there because that helps you figure out more about not only who you are, but what you could do in the future. Yeah.

Laura:
Exactly. Yeah. And I think a lot of people make the mistake when they enter college, it's overwhelming. And everyone's just trying to figure out how college works, how the system works and everything. They're trying to figure out their schedules. They're getting used to the amount of homework that they have to do. And how long the essays are and everything, how quick of turnarounds you have to do things. And so many people forget, they have to put themselves out there.

Laura:
Especially when you're trying to get a good career, because you want like good recommendations from professors. You want the cool internship opportunities. And if you're so fixated on just trying to figure out everything, all of the chaos, you're going to miss those golden opportunities to really start building yourself. And I'm just really lucky that I knew going in I had to balance both just getting used to college, but also building myself up in order to get cool opportunities.

Lacey Smith:
And you also have a job outside of school, correct?

Laura:
I do. Yes. So I have a job. It's just a Kroger. I do work 40 hours a week, or it's more 36, but it's pretty much 40. It's considered full-time hours. And so at first I was working just as a personal shopper for people online and I got promoted to work a full-time job there as their cake decorator. So it's a lot of fun doing that. It's very demanding the hours. I'm on vacation right now. And they're already asking me to come in tomorrow. Yeah. But it just made me realize I love working with these people. I love just this company.

Laura:
And I started gaining interest in possibly one day taking my majors and working for corporate with Kroger just because I've been with them for so long. And I really just do love ... I've gotten to know managers on sometimes on a personal level and I really do love getting to know them and just getting to know my bosses and just all of my coworkers there. And I really do want to make it a better place.

Laura:
And so I think that experience of being there for so long has developed into me wanting to maybe work for them one day as an actual career in a better position of course, but something where I'm actually using like my degrees and just some of my interests and things like that.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. And I think having that nice work environment outside of school is great too. And it makes you, when you're stressed with school, at least you can go to work and have nice people to talk to and decorate cakes. That's awesome. That's so much fun, but you do work a lot of hours. So how have you learned to balance not only school and work, but also the communication network on top of that?

Laura:
Oh goodness. So it's still a learning experience for me just because this is my first semester actually working full-time hours because last year I was working part time. I was able to only work the weekends and just I had all week to work on school stuff and the communications network, and then the weekends were dedicated for work. And this is a learning experience for now just because I'm working 40 hours, I'm a full time student at IUPUI and I'm a president of an organization and I have a personal life outside of all of that.

Laura:
And I want to be able to balance time with family, with friends and just also for myself, for my sanity and the way I've managed it. And I think it's just so much easier because of COVID just because even though I'm a full time student, most of my classes are online and The Communications Network, all of our meetings were online.

Laura:
The podcasting we could do on our own time. And everyone has their own podcast. So they're in charge of editing and planning when they want to post their podcasts. They don't have to seek approval from anyone, especially since their podcast isn't IUPUI affiliated, it's their own personal one. Even though they're using IUPUI resources to record their podcasts, IUPUI's name is on it.

Laura:
So they don't have to seek approval so they can basically do whatever they want. And I don't have to worry so much about kind of babysitting them, kind of showing them the ranks and everything. Everyone, we had one tutorial day where like, we all did end up meeting on campus together. And we went to the podcast recording studio in the liberal arts building. And we just had one tutorial day of this is how everything works.

Laura:
And then everyone just kind of went from there, kind of did their own thing. And it was so nice that everyone picked it up so easy. So it's not that hard to manage with everything else. With work, I work the weekends still. I work a couple of weekdays and then I go home. I do some schoolwork, I have a couple days during the week where I can focus on school and those days that I'm off work, I'm focusing a lot on TCN stuff.

Laura:
So I do have a couple of full days where I can just okay, plan a meeting, a virtual meeting and just see where everyone's at, share some new announcements and everything, plan some cool opportunities that we can offer to IUPUI campus next semester.

Laura:
And then also just focusing on my own podcasting and video stuff as well. So it's not super hard. I think what I'm most worried about is what is it going to look like when all classes do go back in person? Because I love in-person classes. I hate the online stuff. I'm so bad with technology for one, when it comes to computers. You put an editing software in front of me, that's one thing, but you put just anything else, I'm so dumb.

Laura:
And I just don't retain information as well as I do in person because online it's just, it's very different. And then not to mention the fact I'm doing a lot of my stuff in my room and I see so many things. I have a TV in my room, I have books and I have a door out to where my family usually is at a little living room in the kitchen.

Laura:
And I just am so distracted and I want to go pick up a book or watch The Office or go see what my family's up to. It's really hard to not get so distracted when you're online. And so I do want to go back in person, but what I'm afraid of is when I do go online, what is my work schedule going to look like and school and managing The Communications Network and managing my personal life? Because I'm going to be doing a lot of driving.

Laura:
And because it takes me 10 minutes to get to work, but it's now going to take me almost an hour to get to campus going from work to school. And what is that going to look like in the future? So I can't say that I have it under control yet just because we're in a very special situation. And I won't really know until we do go back in person and then I will be able to see okay, how am I going to manage my schedule with all of this now?

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think it's definitely an interesting time. And with COVID it definitely having online classes can have its perks because like you've said, you can do it online. You don't have to worry about the drive to campus or anything, but also there's this barrier between fully comprehending something and then not understanding it that well, because you're learning it online and sometimes you do have Zoom, but other classes it's completely online.

Lacey Smith:
It's up to you to learn the information they give you the resources and that's it. So it's definitely hard with COVID and like you said, you're not even really sure how you're going to balance it when we are back to in-person classes. So I think a lot of people might be worried about joining clubs or going to events due to that. So do you have any tips for anyone who might be worried about that?

Laura:
It's kind of hard to give advice for people when it comes down to going to in-person things with COVID still lingering in our society, because so many people are scared of what if I get it and then they also want to keep their family members safe. We have those people who are still a little bit worried and who still believe that social distancing is going to be in effect for a long time and wearing masks and everything and for those people who are just so worried about their schedule, just get back into the gist of things.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. For sure. And also I think that the campus, especially IUPUI, other campuses as well, they've done really well with handling COVID and social distancing, wearing masks. It's very rare to not see students wearing their masks and some clubs meet through Zoom and other online sources. So I think that you definitely shouldn't hold back from joining different clubs or going to certain events just because of it.

Lacey Smith:
I think if anything, these can be online so it can still work out and you can still join those different clubs. And I also think that in this time that we're in where everything can be really sad and you can isolate yourself as well, clubs can be a good outlet for happiness and you can really find different things that you enjoy.

Lacey Smith:
And so it's important to not isolate yourself and just stay in your room and do online classes. I think it's really important to continue to put yourself out there despite the circumstances and obviously stay safe. And as long as you're taking precautions, I think you can really find some positive energy with joining a club or whatever it might be. You can really find something great and something you enjoy. And that's something that we all need right now during this time.

Laura:
Exactly. Just surrounding yourself with good people and that's, I guess another perk of everything being online is that organizations are getting used to the fact that we're going to be virtual for a while. So they're creating virtual opportunities with their organizations, where people can just Zoom in one day. Location doesn't matter, you just hop on a Zoom call and you're in a club meeting.

Laura:
And I think that it's good to surround ourselves with good, positive people, positive energies, especially in this time period that we're living in because everyone's going insane with everything. And people are, our mental health is through the roof. It's bad and I think that joining organizations, but more specifically surrounding yourself with the people who are part of the organization with passions and things that you love, things that are around your interests and people with similar interests and passions, I think that's such a good thing.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. For sure. I think another great thing about joining clubs and just making sure you're still putting yourself out there is that gives you a sense of structure when you have those club meetings you have to attend or when you have a new job and you have new hours or something, you know you have a sense of structure in such a uncertain time. And it's really helpful.

Lacey Smith:
And I think for me personally, one of the biggest struggles during COVID was I didn't have everything didn't seem normal. There was no sense of normalcy. And so going back in the fall and then having a new job and different things that I had to look forward to, it gave me a sense of structure to where, despite my classes being online and not having social interaction that much, at least I had a sense of structure. And I had something every day where I would be like, "Okay, I work this day. I'm going to do this."

Lacey Smith:
And then I also made sure I had time to spend with other people because when COVID is making everything really hard and like you said, with mental health, especially it can drag. And when you kind of bring a sense of normalcy into this time, it's very helpful. And it goes a long way to help you out, especially with mental health.

Laura:
Yeah, exactly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. But this has been a great conversation. One question we like to ask at the end of each podcast episode is what have you been learning and earning this week? If you don't have anything for this week, you can say something during the semester or the past month, it can be anything. We're just curious. What have you been learning and earning, Laura?

Laura:
One thing that I've learned is just no one is letting COVID control this Christmas. Everyone is just more focused on trying to be happy and being merry and just show they're giving and loving selves this Christmas. And I just really love that. And I think that it's just made me really happy to see that.

Laura:
And then I've felt better that so many people aren't as depressed because I think that was a worry that I've heard some people say, "Oh, how's Christmas going to look? Everyone's just going to be really sad. They won't be able to see their families," which yeah, some of it's true. It's going to be hard to go see family and everything, but everyone's just trying to find happiness.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And I think 2020 with COVID, it's just really shown us that life is very precious and you really need to be thankful for the people in your life and what you have because people are losing family, are losing jobs and it's just a really hard time. So definitely enjoy the Christmas season and be very thankful for what you have.

Lacey Smith:
And it's going to be a new year soon. And I'm very hopeful. I think all of America and the rest of the world is very hopeful that 2021 is going to be a new start and a new beginning. A true new beginning. Yes, it's a new year, but ...

Laura:
I've already heard people on Facebook say that when the ball drops on New Year's, instead of shouting Happy New Year's, they're going to be screaming, "Jumanji," because of everything going on. So I don't blame them. I might do that myself, but yeah.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. I'm so excited for 2021. And I think hopefully it's a great new start and that next semester there will be more excitement and just better energy overall. So we'll be out of 2020. It will be great.

Laura:
Yeah.

Lacey Smith:
So, yeah, but of course-

Laura:
We're in this together. Yes.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Got to stay safe though. So we got to continue wearing our masks and make sure that everyone's safe and socially distancing, but here's to hoping 2021 will be a very pleasant surprise. Yes, but Laura, we appreciate having you on the podcast. Thank you so much for talking to us and kind of giving us tips on clubs and sharing your own personal story and you have accomplished a lot in The Communication Network, so definitely be proud of yourself. We can't wait to see what else you guys do, but thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Laura:
Thank you so much for having me. I'm really glad to be a part of this.

Lacey Smith:
Yes. So thank you for tuning into the OSE Learning and Earning podcast. And until next time. Bye.

Laura:
Bye.

Learning & Earning episode three features Lacey Smith, the Office of Student Employment's new Media Production & Marketing assistant and the podcast's new host! In this episode, we discuss the importance of taking advantage of opportunities as they become available and embracing new beginnings.

Video version

Audio version

Transcript

Rut Patel:
Welcome back to Learning and Earning with the Office of Student Employment. This is now episode three and we are with Lacey Smith. So with that, take it away. Tell me about yourself.

Lacey Smith:
I am a communication major here at IUPUI. I'm a sophomore and I plan to minor in business hopefully, but yeah, so basically my interest with the communication major is that I want to do something that works with people, but also working with social media and possibly marketing. That's pretty much kind of what I want to do with that. I'm open for any opportunity that comes my way.

Rut Patel:
Yeah, she's not kidding with that. We talked for about five minutes and I just about offered her my job, so I'm also trying to convince her to switch over to marketing. But now that you've kind of seen what I've done, and she's also shadowed me on a few different things, so how do you feel about being the new Media Production and Marketing Assistant with the Office?

Lacey Smith:
I'm really excited for it. I have always really enjoyed social media, videography, photography, that type of stuff, anything I can be pretty creative with, so as soon as you mentioned the job position, I was like, yes, this is definitely something I'm interested in. I'm really excited. I hope to bring something new to the table and get the social media looking pretty good. So I'm really excited.

Rut Patel:
Likewise. I can't wait to see what all she does with the position. But something I just wanted to say with that is that I really had no intention of offering her my job just out of the blue. We had a conversation after she mentioned to Lauren about her interest on our headshots project. I just wanted to say how influential and how impactful that can be, just to talk to someone and say, "Hey, I'm kind of interested in going in this direction." You never know what opportunities arise. So with that, what are some things that you've noticed just in work, school, or even life that have just been random opportunities that have been coming your way just from being semi spontaneous even?

Lacey Smith:
Well, when I first started here, one of my coworkers I knew last year, and I remember when she got her position in the front desk, and this year she switched to being the communications intern, so figuring that out and then finding that out about her and her telling me about getting that position. I didn't think that I would get a new position going from the front desk to doing something with the media production, so I think this was one of those random opportunities that I came upon.

Rut Patel:
That's always good. [inaudible 00:03:00] there is talk to people, get to know the people, get to know your colleagues, get to know the people in your offices, that's helped me. I can't even keep track of how many times that's been impactful in my life.

Lacey Smith:
I think it's really important to express your interest no matter what position you're in, because someone you're working with might think you're perfect for some other position and you might get a new opportunity.

Rut Patel:
That's how she got mine.

Lacey Smith:
It worked out.

Rut Patel:
Like she said, it's always important to talk to people and mention your interests. One of the things that really impacted me and that was really random was that I was in our honors college lounge in the library and I just had stock charts pulled up and I was looking at different things and reading about stocks, and then an alumni brother in Delta Sigma PI came up to me and just asked me what I was doing and what I was up to, and we've become pretty close friends since then. And that came upon just because I had stocks up on my computer and he sparked up a conversation.

Rut Patel:
Since then, he's introduced me to professors that have led to different scholarship opportunities. And even now the buy, sell, hold challenge with the Chartered Financial Analyst Society, hopefully that can leave massive impacts on my career. And as it turns out, it actually might. Lacey did the same thing and we just kind of started talking, she mentioned her interest with photography and now this is a next career step for her.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think too, that it can be scary when you get a new opportunity coming your way. Because when I first got the offer for the position, I was definitely nervous and scared because it would be something that's going to take a lot of effort. But if you can do something that's career oriented and a stepping stone, you definitely should take it because it opens so many new opportunities for you in the future.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. I do want to say, be careful about the opportunities that you do take on. I'm very glad that Lacey took a moment to kind of step back and evaluate what she wanted to do before just saying yes and jumping forward. I just kind of say yes to far too many things, and I jump in, and I've now been working hundred hour weeks for the last six months and I'm tired. So definitely just take into account what you want out of your opportunities and take into account what you want to see and where that wants to get you. Not every opportunity is worth pursuing, but every opportunity is definitely worth looking into.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, definitely have to be careful with yourself too, and how much you put on your plate, because it can be very overwhelming if you take up so much that you just don't really have time for yourself. So you have to find the balance between work, school, [crosstalk 00:05:50].

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. So I really like that you mentioned schoolwork and just life overall. Everyone says, hey, life is short, live it up, just enjoy as much as you can. But more importantly, college just absolutely flies by. Your four years in your undergraduate education will just pass by so, so quickly. So really take some time to consider your opportunities and see where that's going to get you in your career and how fulfilling that's going to be for you personally.

Lacey Smith:
And I think too, that the different opportunities that you do take help show you what you do like and what you don't like and what may interest you in the future.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. Man, I can't even begin to think about what senior year of high school me would think of me now. Senior high school, I was binge watching Grey's Anatomy thinking I wanted to go to med school. And then I came into college, I was like, I'll just follow the business track, fulfilling the pre-med prerequisites, and then become a doctor.

Rut Patel:
I fell off that train very, very quickly. I don't think I even went to my first biology class. I dropped it the first day. And then wanted to pursue marketing, really, really enjoyed that, did a lot of different things in the marketing realm. Now I'm the Director of Marketing for Jagathon. I guess had this position now that was very heavily in-depth with marketing and then a lot of other things that were just building rapport and working with a lot of people overall. So with that, just really consider what you want to do. Now, I have a very heavy marketing resume and I'm choosing to go into finance.

Lacey Smith:
It's a learning experience for sure. I think you learn a lot about yourself, not only just career wise, but personally, too. I think you learn a lot about yourself. Even in the span of my freshman year, I learned a lot about who I was and what I wanted to do. So it's just important to do a lot of self-reflection and just stay in tune with what you like and just keep going.

Rut Patel:
It's kind of crazy. I'm a completely different person than where I was senior year of high school. And I guess even freshman year of college. You learn a lot, a lot of things change. Your perspectives change quite a bit in college.

Lacey Smith:
Me right now compared to me last year, is a different person. I don't know her. I don't know her. I feel very different, but in the best way too. I think a lot can change in a year. So that's why you just got to hang in there. Especially in college, it can be really hard, but over time you just learn more, basically.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. Everyone always says college will be the best four years of your life, and to some extent that's true, and then to other extents, you will kind of have your biggest difficulties and your biggest adversities in those four years as well. So I think it's always important, whether that be for work or just life in general, really take your opportunities and your experiences and try to gain some light out of them. Take the most positive impacts you can and come out a better person at the end of it.

Lacey Smith:
I agree.

Rut Patel:
But yeah, on every job interview I've had so far, everyone's like, "Hey, can you name a time and explain when you were in a group and an experience went poorly, or when a project went poorly, and how did you handle it?" Those are definitely times when you want to explain that in a very, very positive manner. No one interviewing you wants to hear you complain necessarily about the entire situation, they want to see how you overcame it and how that made you a better person, a better employee, and a better teammate overall. So that's just kind of my experience. I don't know what you've had in that regard, I guess.

Lacey Smith:
I have been asked that question so much. At the beginning of one of my classes, professional writing, she asked us that question because the whole class is pretty much group based and, yeah, I've had an answer to that question a lot. But I think you can look at a college the same way [crosstalk 00:10:15].

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. We mentioned that in our podcast with Justin Hyde. I remember he said something like, "It's your degree that will land you the job interview, but it'll ultimately be your experiences that land you the job." And I can't agree with that more.

Lacey Smith:
I also think too that, even with your major, if you know it's the major that you want, there's so much you can do with it. I think that's something I didn't realize before college, is that you can do a lot with different majors. I actually got to interview a comm major alumni, IUPUI alumni, and I asked her for one piece of advice and she said, "Don't narrow down one way to be successful."

Lacey Smith:
I think that's important to think about, because, for me, since I wasn't interested in being a doctor, or a dental hygienist, or whichever, a lawyer, or something, going into college, that I was kind of nervous because I thought you had to have one set idea of what you wanted to do, but you really don't. I think that's something important I learned.

Rut Patel:
You just have to put yourself out there. There are plenty of opportunities available. Even while we're in a pandemic, there are opportunities out there if you seek them out. Take whatever opportunities you can to really realize and find out what you want to do and the person that you are. And then on top of that, find out what's the most fulfilling to you.

Rut Patel:
I know Lauren's helped me through that quite a bit with our smart goals. Just absolutely find out why you're doing what you're doing and how that's going to impact you in your career, but also impact you as a person. I think that's very, very important just to life in general, as well as building a resume.

Lacey Smith:
You have to put yourself out there because you can't just expect things to come to you, because that's not how life works with anything. So the more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities you get. And I think it's also very rewarding because if you put yourself out there, you're going to be proud when you do accomplish something because you know you did it.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. Absolutely. So with that, and building a resume, what have been some challenges in college that you've faced?

Lacey Smith:
I think the biggest thing for me last year, even though I didn't admit it at the time, I was extremely homesick. I did not like living in the dorms and I just wanted to go home. But the good thing was just by me being homesick, I did put a lot of work into my classes, so that was one good outcome. But I would say that was a big challenge for me just personally, because since I was homesick and it affected me personally, and then I wasn't really happy here [crosstalk 00:13:19].

Rut Patel:
It certainly takes a toll. It absolutely takes a toll. I remember my first day of college, I think I ate lunch in my car. I was so scared to be alone. It's just the little things you learn about. But everyone's busy. I didn't really know anyone. I wasn't living on campus, so I didn't have that dorm to go back into. And I remember the few people I knew were kind of busy, and I was so scared to eat alone in the campus center. Which now we've learned people do that all the time.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, that's what you do.

Rut Patel:
That's just, welcome to college. Everyone's busy. You run at your own pace. It's relaxing now, just to kind of sit down and eat.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, it is.

Rut Patel:
But freshman year I was just terrified of those little things. Everything takes its toll. There's a lot to be learned. You have to make your own friend group again.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, you do. I think that was one of my biggest things, is I felt really alone because I didn't have the closeness of friends that I did when I was in high school, so that was a big struggle, being here, feeling kind of alone. And I loved my roommate too, but I just did not want to stay in the dorms. I didn't like it. Even though I had a nice room, I just didn't want to be there.

Lacey Smith:
When you feel that way, you just kind of want college to be over, but you got to enjoy the moment because it does go by fast, like you mentioned earlier. So I think after [crosstalk 00:14:46]. No, you're good.

Lacey Smith:
I did find a really good group of friends though. And a lot of that came from putting myself out there and just talking to them and making conversation with them, and now they're two of my closest friends, so it worked out and now I live with them and I'm doing great this year. And I think having those friendships is one of the reasons why I'm doing so well.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. I had an interesting story about how I made my friend groups in college. I had one really, really good friend that I came to IUPUI with. I think I met her in like kindergarten. We go way, way back. And then we got here, I became friends with her roommate, and through her roommate I became friends with their neighbor, and they were on the honors part of the tower and everyone kept their doors open and they were talking. So I managed to, just from one friend, meet and become friends with her entire floor of people in the tower. And then through that we started meeting more people in the honors college and different organizations on campus.

Rut Patel:
But I remember they're all bio and STEM students, so they always made fun of me for being a business major. I enjoy my [inaudible 00:15:55] and polos, that is the person I am. I live and breathe [inaudible 00:15:58] and polos, and they always made fun of me for that.

Rut Patel:
Then I went off, I joined a fraternity. Best decision I made in college. I love all the people in Delta Sigma PI. Very, very rewarding experience. Just by putting yourself out there and really networking. They'd make so much fun of me for saying networking in this situation, but you really have to. There's no pressure. Everyone's in that same boat.

Lacey Smith:
And that's the thing too, is when you make one friend it's more than likely they know someone else and then you'll become friends with them and then their friends. You just meet a lot of new people. Which I think too, it's important that when you move in your freshmen year, don't just seclude yourself to you and your roommate and expect that to be the greatest friendship ever. Branch out, go out and make new friends. Because I loved my roommate last year, but I mean, we're not super close friends, but that's okay.

Rut Patel:
And of course, obviously easier said than done, but take some pressure off yourself. Like I said, everyone is in that same boat. Everyone's stressed about making new friends in college, making new connections, gaining new experiences. I think throughout your four years of college, you'll always be nervous about new experiences and meeting new people and pursuing new opportunities. But once you take that pressure off yourself, you become much better at sitting in interviews and talking to people.

Rut Patel:
You just came along with me to our featured student video. We filmed it. Originally when I started this position, I would just call off questions and you would just answer them. It was much less of a conversation. Now, I set up my camera, I'll ask some of the questions, and then we have our side conversations between those questions and I float into another one. Just made it as much a conversation as possible instead of a interview. And that takes all the pressure off of it, and everyone wants speak and give much better answers just because it actually comes from what they're passionate about.

Lacey Smith:
For sure. I think the more comfortable you are with yourself, the more comfortable people feel around you.

Rut Patel:
She put that a lot better way than I could have ever said that. Wow.

Lacey Smith:
Just an easy sentence and you were like paragraphs. But I think that's the truth though. The more comfortable you are, the more others will feel around you. Because, I don't know, I just think it's one of those things, confidence makes you... I don't know how to word that.

Rut Patel:
It inspires others, confidence. It definitely rubs off on others. There you go.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, for sure it does.

Rut Patel:
With that, what do you want to bring to this position? I'm so excited to see what you do with it.

Lacey Smith:
There's so much. I just want it to feel new and also feel different, but not in a bad way, not that it's bad right now, but I just want [crosstalk 00:19:04].

Rut Patel:
Ouch. Just go after me. I'm just kidding.

Lacey Smith:
I want more engagement on the page. I love social media. I really do. I think it's great. I know people hate on it sometimes, but I think it can be a really great tool for everyone. So I really want to make the social media look nice and just have a good feel to it. I want the videos to be well. I just hope to bring a new perspective. I think we are pretty different people, so I think I can bring stuff to the table that you didn't. Not that you don't do anything well, but just different perspectives.

Rut Patel:
I'm so excited to see what you bring. Honestly. I took a look at what she's done with our color palette and our brand guide, and I'm very, very, very excited to see what you do with the the position overall and our more public facing platforms.

Lacey Smith:
Thank you. I think too, the more excited you are about it, the better it will be, and I'm so excited for it. Even just making the color palette for the branding, I was having so much fun with it. I spent probably an hour on it. But, it was good.

Rut Patel:
This is our new Media Production and Marketing Assistant, and now new host of Learning and Earning.

Lacey Smith:
I'm so excited. [crosstalk 00:20:23]. I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be very nice. A new transition.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. It's been a great time. Definitely enjoyed my year and a half with the Office of Student Employment, and I can say with full confidence, I'm very, very glad that Lacey has taken over my position. She will do an absolutely phenomenal job at it, definitely.

Lacey Smith:
Thank you.

Rut Patel:
Find the things you're passionate about and absolutely go pursue them. It's been great. Thank you for listening. It's been great hosting this podcast and also turning that over to Lacey. So I don't know how to leave off. It's not until next time anymore. I hope you enjoy the new podcast with Lacey and thank you so much for listening to mine in the past.

Lacey Smith:
Until next time.

Learning and Earning episode two features our guest, Justin Heidorn, a sales associate at Meijer. In this episode, we explore how your experiences as an undergraduate are all pieces of the overall puzzle that make up your future career and identity as a professional.

Video version

Audio version

Transcript

Rut Patel:
Welcome back to Learning and Earning presented by the Office of Student Employment at IUPUI. If you've forgotten my name from episode one, I am Rut Patel, the Media Production and Marketing Assistant there. And today I have in front of me for episode two, Mr. Justin Heidorn. And with that, take it away. Tell me about yourself.

Justin Heidorn:
Okay, cool. My name's Justin, as you just heard, I'm 20, I'm a college student. My current major is Business Administration. I started out in Media Production and Video Production, but I determined that I was going to pursue that route, I was going to do it independently through freelance. So I wanted to use my time in college to do something a little more reliable, a little more to expand my knowledge business-wise because I'm kind of a nerd too. I mean me and Rut sit here and analyze stock ETFs and stuff just like every day. It's just the best. So then I decided that if I wanted to learn stuff about video production, I would literally just produce my own content independently. So right now I work at Meyer on the West side as a General Merchandise Sales Associate. So my specialization is in electronics and then I'm a grocery pickup coordinator whenever there's not much to do over there. So where do you want to go next? It's totally up to you.

Rut Patel:
All right, so what do you think looking back is going to be the most important decision you've made or the most influential and what you think currently will be the best decision you've made so far in your career?

Justin Heidorn:
So, I think it's definitely going to be my major change, but I don't know. See, I don't know. So I started working at Meyer when I was 17 is when I got that job. And for the first like year, year and a half, I was there. It was very much, it felt like it felt like just another job. But then as slowly as you kind of build into the hidden culture, you start understanding the hidden culture of how the business functions. It's kind of an addictive, it's an addictive substance in a way, as soon as you get that one day and you start analyzing P&L's with your Store Director, it's just that the competitive nature in me. I played football and soccer in high school, by the way. So I dropped my competitive stuff.

Rut Patel:
Justin Heidorn, we go way back. We were friends in high school. He was our state's number one kicker. He is absolutely understating that he's among the most competitive people I know. And he absolutely was phenomenal in his sport.

Justin Heidorn:
Oh, okay. Whatever. I mean, I'll accept it. You're not wrong I guess, but it's just so intriguing to just learn the backend of how retail works. People are like, "Oh, it's a retail job. It must suck," but you really have to have some skin in the game. If you will, as a true Mid-Western phrase. You have to really care about it. You have to show some sort of emphasis in order for it not to be just another hourly job. So what I'm going to do with this Business Admin degree, depending on which path I choose to take, I may go into the corporate side of retail. Maybe it will be at Meyer or maybe it'll be somewhere else. I don't know. But I'm just trying to build enough retail experience to where I understand general business function so that I can jump straight into a management role somewhere if it is outside of Meyer.

Justin Heidorn:
But they're like, "Oh, it's just a retail store. You sell groceries." But it's like, no. There're shrink numbers P&L's labor costs versus... It's just super intriguing. I don't know. It gets me excited to go to work, which is a super nerdy thing to say. Right now I work 32 hours a week. I'm a part-time employee, but I think I'm the only employee that really goes through with our Store Director and goes through the different departments and determine a loss versus a profit per department and which places need to improve and everything. And so in a way, I guess I am kind of a nerd like that, but I don't know. It's just super, it's super cool.

Justin Heidorn:
Business admin is a wide enough range to where I can jump into a little bit of finance or a little bit of HR or a little bit of something. Obviously it's not as good. It's not as stable as a degree as those independents, Finance degrees or Human Resources or whatever. But I don't know, it's the place I want to be. And I think that that was the best decision that I'll make, hopefully. I don't know. We all are kind of just going by what we think we should do. There's no set path, right?

Rut Patel:
Oh, absolutely. That's kind of how I live my life, really. You figure it out as you go.

Justin Heidorn:
That's what you have to do. I don't know. I think I'm going in the right direction. I don't know what direction that is, but I think I'm going to the right one.

Rut Patel:
Oh, absolutely. You just have to get started. You have to find some place to start. It doesn't even matter where you start, but you find a passion. So for you, it was working at Meyer. Originally your path was going into video production and something with advertising, it's specifically automotive advertising. And then you started working a part-time job at Meyer, you started learning about all these soft skills and Business Admin. It seems like you truly found a passion for this. So to anyone that's in college right now looking for a job, what is your best advice to them? Because obviously when you don't have very much experience, some of these jobs that are available to you are often these retail jobs. So what's your best advice to someone applying right now?

Justin Heidorn:
My best advice is you do kind of have to look at it as this is just a job that I'm going to keep for a couple of years and then drop it. But at the same time, you have to go in wanting to have a winning attitude, right? If you go to write a paper and you're not even done with the first page, and you're like, "Oh, this is seven pages. How am I going to hit 4,000 words?" That doesn't work. Obviously it's going to suck. It's all about the attitude you develop. You have to go in with a winning mentality and that you have to justify that you have a purpose. I don't care if you're pushing carts for JC Penny, you still have to go in as you have a purpose, you have a function in the business, if you were not there, they would be struggling.

Justin Heidorn:
So whether it be, one of my friends works at a Jimmy John's right now. He's in video production still, but he works at a Jimmy John's his turnover numbers and his customer time, his in to out on to-go orders is phenomenal. He's a nerd too. We go over this stuff and it's like the worst. It's like we're 35 and talking about like our son's jobs. I don't know. It's weird, but it's all about... I literally almost got a tattoo. I had the tattoo planned to go on my wrist right here. It was going to say, "Mentality Matters." Right? And that's truly where you get your true success in life, to me, at least is not going to be hard numbers always. It's going to be about how you, react to those numbers and how you react to your current situation.

Justin Heidorn:
So I'm not saying get complacent and just stay where you are. I'm not saying just get a job and can turn it into a career and never move up or push for what you want to do. But I'm just saying that it's a puzzle piece to your puzzle. And so you better make sure that the puzzle piece fits in correctly and that you'd liked putting the puzzle pieces there or else it's not worth your time.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. I cannot agree with you more. Not only did you just make my day talking about numbers and finance, because that's not major and like something I love to do, but like the way you phrase it as being a puzzle piece, that's just absolutely phenomenal because a lot of what your career is, the connections you develop. And for you it's like your manager going into all these different fields. I know we're good friends, we talked about it once. You met the Sales Manager at Andy Moore and that could possibly into a job for you and like a whole other career subset. And for me, that was also, I want to go into finance, I want to end up in investments at some point doing something along those lines. And the craziest things will lead you there.

Rut Patel:
For you as a manager, and some of the customers you meet. For me I was sitting in the Honors College one day, looking at a stock chart and I met David Goldberg. And then he referred me to not only a scholarship, but he also referred me to like the CFA Challenge. And then from there I met Jonah who also happened to work at the Office of Student Employment. So just as crazy circle, right? And he has essentially, he has my dream job. So what I do right now, doesn't apply for me here whatsoever. But like you said, it's that puzzle piece that gets you one step closer. It's whatever you do again, you just have to get started, find a way. And then your mentality matters. I could absolutely just completely blow off this job because it's not, according to my major, doesn't really help me with those finance goals, but the things I learned doing this job, all the soft skills, what we're doing right now, the podcasts just talking will benefit me so, so much in the same way they've benefited you.

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely 100%. So the way that, I don't know, I'm rephrasing here a little bit.

Rut Patel:
Go for it.

Justin Heidorn:
So we said it was a puzzle, okay, but me and you as 20 and you're still 20, right?

Rut Patel:
I'm still at 20, got a few more months.

Justin Heidorn:
We don't know where the puzzles going to finish, right? It's like you're building it from the middle outward. You're starting in the center. You're saying, okay, I went to high school, but then as you add these puzzle pieces, you can say, "Oh, you worked for Jagathon you worked for OSC. You worked for Office of Student Employment. You can build these puzzle pieces and it doesn't matter if you end up somewhere else in the puzzle because the whole puzzle is still important to how you got to the end goal. I was coordinating one of the grocery pickups for when a guy in Plainfield, he had put in an order, we picked it, we got it out. We got like an 82% pick rate or whatever, which is below standard, but it was okay. And I started talking to the guy because he was wearing Andy Moore mask. And I was like, "Hey, what's up?" You have to drive communication. If anybody that has... This is going to be the worst thing and the cheesiest thing ever.

Rut Patel:
Oh I live for that. Go for it.

Justin Heidorn:
If anybody has any rough connection at all, to anything that you do, you have to build a connection with them. I literally stay strapped with like 42 business cards in my wallet, because I'm like, you know what I try to develop a positive connection with almost every single person I encounter, because you never know. You never know what will come back. You'll never know what connection you'll develop that'll get you there. He offered me a job at Andy Moore on the spot because he uses it. He was one of the Sales Managers. He was like, "Yeah, I'll just forward your application. And you'll get started ASAP whenever you want." Just because I was out there and I was delivering groceries to a guy's truck.

Justin Heidorn:
You have to develop a positive connection with as many people as possible, because a lot of people will tend to be antisocial or not want to just go out there and meet people. But that's the best thing ever is going out and meeting people. Because the more times you get to introduce yourself, the more times, you get to tell what you do, you're going to get better at telling what you do. And not bragging about yourself, but you're going to get better at showing what you're good at. Wow. Rude, way to be professional and receive a phone call during a podcast. Unbelievable. No, you're okay. Now I'm being unprofessional. My dog wants to be in the podcast. Hello.

Justin Heidorn:
Okay. We're being unprofessional because you got to be unprofessional. That means I do too. We'll talk about that. We'll talk about the hidden culture of business and how that can lead you to huge success.

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely. So hidden culture of business is massively important. I mean, hugely important. If you are ever going to apply for a job somewhere or let's see get an internship somewhere, you cannot go in there expecting to know what you're talking about. My number one advice, anytime you start somewhere new is keep your head down for a little bit. Show that you're engaged genuinely, that you truly have interest in whatever the field is, but you have to learn what is expected of your peers before you can go and try to act like, you know what you're doing. You can't go in there. You have to go in with confidence always, but you have to be ready to learn first. Because if you don't learn what is expected from your superior in any position, you're not going to last. You're not going to go well. You have to develop connections with your peers first.

Justin Heidorn:
I'm just holding a tripod mount. You have to develop connection with your peers first, learn what is expected, and then proceed from there. It's good to stand out. And if you're in a team process of any sort but starting somewhere, you have to try to blend in first if you're me and then try to excel to the top of the team when you learn what values are most important.

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely. It's a super stupid thing to say in theory. It's like blend in? What do you mean blend in? No, but you have to not want to be the star of the team when you just joined the team.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. I completely agree. We have so much, I think we're realizing it now more than ever, we have so much like toxic positivity going on and there's so much advice. If you have a passion just absolutely follow it. Quit everything you're doing and just follow that. And I disagree with all of it. Like you said, you have to understand what's going on before you try to get to the top, because otherwise you're just going to follow, unknowingly you're going to follow a path that's not leading you to your ultimate goal.

Rut Patel:
So with any kind of passion, you need to be able to fund it. Of course, it all comes back to the money. Here's my finance major, whatever you choose to do, if you end up on this path towards like Media Production and Design, that's very fruitful. And it's very expensive to go into. So for you, you're not only excelling and Meyer and excelling with these connections to all these things that can lead you to the world of like corporate life and corporate business, but also lead you to this world of media production, media arts. So I applaud you in everything that you've done and all that you're doing to excel in your career path. But for you, what was your biggest moment I guess, at Meyer that for you to be where you are now and all these opportunities are given to you?

Justin Heidorn:
My biggest moment that definitely turned the trigger to where I was okay with what I was doing. Right, we all go through peaks and falls and then there's points where you're like, "Okay, we're okay," is that the first time that my manager, not my Store Director, but my manager went through and was like, "Hey, you reduce our shrink by 23% corporate recognized us for that and I just want to tell you, thank you. And we're giving you a little points bonus." They, were on a recognition system where you can get gift cards. And I was like, "Wait, wait a minute. You're telling me if I actually do something and do it well, I'll actually feel I'll get rewarded for that?" That was the moment where I was like, wait, I have to actually do it and good things will happen. Like I can't go in there with a garbage mentality, just trying to get through the day, waiting for my time to punch the clock out.

Justin Heidorn:
But I actually tried to do it correctly. And I was like, "There's monetary outcome? What is this?" It was this light bulb moment where I was like, "They keep track of everything." Every corporate, every retail store keeps track of everything. And when there is something where there was an outlier that is better than it normally is, and you can be responsible for that. That's huge. I got a recognition from one of our Regional Vice Presidents once because I implemented the program where we take out dog treats to our customer's cars whenever we take out their groceries. And they were like, "Hey, Justin, great job for doing that, for implementing that." And that's huge, again, understand that hidden culture. I just got a shout out from the Regional Vice President.

Justin Heidorn:
I'm just going off on a tangent because that's how it functions. The more times that you can get recognized for doing the right thing, creating positive change. Not even by your direct superior, but just by even their superiors. There's always going to be a chain, no matter if you're in corporate, the only place there's not going to be chain is if you're a Freelance Consulting Business, which is incredibly hard to start up in the first place. But there's always going to be someone who is monitoring your success. For the first, I would say easily, the first five to 10 years of your career in anything you do, there's always going to be someone that is monitoring to make sure that you are doing what you're supposed to be doing. So anything you can do again, not standing out necessarily, but doing your job so well to where you receive recognition.

Justin Heidorn:
It was just the best feeling ever. I was like, "We reduced fish tank throwaways by 23%." I don't give a rat's bottom about our fish, ever. I don't like fish. I'm not going to lie. I will never have a pet fish, but because I was fulfilling the job's needs and I was doing actually what was expected and then beyond, I actually received recognition. And that was at the moment where I was like, I just got to take this head on. To where if I can do that in every single department that I get assigned to, that'll be a huge trend. My trend showings will say, when I was in X department and X's results went upward, their P&Ls were better. Then obviously it's not just going to be a coincidence.

Rut Patel:
I like your puzzle piece analogy. They just start fitting in immediately. It's like you said, when you realize how these business models work, it doesn't really matter what you're doing. Now you are an invaluable assets to Meyer and that grinds up in business, right? Like with you, they make more money. They're more profitable. They are better because of you, right? You are now like one of their star employees, and now corporate sees that. So now you've had all these opportunities that are laid out in front of you for your future, right? Your possibilities are just starting to align now. You've got media arts and production, you've got the grind something landscaping business, and you have Meyer. So now you have another piece of the puzzle. You don't know what it's going to make yet, but you're one step closer to finishing this puzzle.

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely.

Rut Patel:
Amazing.

Justin Heidorn:
It's all you got to do is just work towards another puzzle piece. That's all I got to say. That's my ending analogy is work towards another puzzle piece and do whatever work it takes to make the puzzle piece fit correctly. Because the more time you spend in prep, the better the puzzle piece is going to fit. So do everything like it matters, because it does. That was a great time. That was fantastic.

Rut Patel:
That's incredible. I do have another question for you though.

Justin Heidorn:
Sure. Hit me.

Rut Patel:
Now that we are in the age of a global pandemic, that doesn't seem like it's going to stop. It feels like that, we've got to have some hope, right?

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely.

Rut Patel:
How has that affected your work? You do a lot of things of course, so how has that affected you? What have you learned? What are some of the things you take with you the rest of your life?

Justin Heidorn:
So, Meyer Corporate, it is a essential business by definition. It is groceries. You cannot survive without a grocery store. So I learned that, obviously there's always going to be people who will still complain. Any clientele base, there's going to be people that will still complain always, no matter what. And that's just how it is, unfortunately. But learning, the whole adaptability of a business function, no matter what it is, in something retail, food-wise, like a Meyer, obviously we can't just close. It's impossible. You can't just do that to a community. You will get demolished. Truly you will build a reputation for the rest of your company's existence because you decided to close during a global pandemic.

Justin Heidorn:
So since it is a food business like that is that we're going to have to adapt in some way. The ability for you to be able to change what you're doing and still make it work as efficiently as possible, that's going to be your number one key always, because there's always going to be adapting. You have to adapt to something no matter if it be COVID or if it be there's a different law in place where you can't sell liquor between these times a day, you have to make it as smooth as a transition, as possible in order for it to work correctly.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. What's beautiful about that is it applies to every aspect of your life. One of our hashtags at the Office of Student Employment is learning and earning. So of course, while you're at school, everyone's like, "Well, I don't want to be in school." A lot of people don't enjoy class and enjoy everything that they're learning. They want that real world hands on experience. And I can tell you right now, Justin, you are absolutely on top of it. You have applied what you are going to be learning and what you will be learning to exactly what you're doing in your workplace. So although even though you're just in retail, you have learned all of the backend things. So it's just an invaluable asset to you. For you in school, you can't be in a better possible situation. To go into Business Admins and go into business to have all this backend experience of what it's actually like.

Rut Patel:
Of course the book can say anything. Anyone can write anything they want in a book but you have to be able to apply it. Everything Justin said so far, he has applied to work everything. He's just not the other way around. So what many of us will do, many of us who will learn everything first and then apply book knowledge to real life and try to adapt. Like you said, it's all about these soft skills that you learn. I can't reiterate that enough. You have to have the soft skills to make any career work and you have to be able to be adaptable. Whether that be in a work setting, in an essential business, whether it be in school, if you can just adapt and keep going, keep putting these puzzle pieces together, you will make a picture. You will meet your goals. You will be somewhere. It doesn't matter what you're doing today. It could be literally anything, but these soft skills will get you so, so far.

Justin Heidorn:
Right. It's all about transferable skills, whatever you do, you will develop a transferable skill of some sort. Easiest one that is that I still lack, my communication skills are not great. I'm not going to lie. I'm trying to improve as always, but you can develop communication skills in literally anything, any job out there you can develop communication skills. I don't care if you decide to become a trash worker, a dumpster when people pick up the trash, put another thing go to the next one. You can still develop communication skills. Those little interactions, even if you meet one or two people a day that happened to be outside or whatever. It's all about having that positive interaction, right? If you can develop to where you can X number of positive interactions and no negative interactions, you're moving in the right direction. Always.

Rut Patel:
And that would take you so, so far because again, people notice. I'm cynical about the world, so anything that's kind that happens at this point, just absolutely melts my heart. But people notice and like the world of social media and the age of technology that we are, if you do something kind that is out of your way, it will get posted somewhere. And people will notice. These small little kind things that people do, in their work, whatever work they're doing, it gets noticed. And it takes them so, so far. That immediately just takes them so far ahead in their career. It's all about getting noticed and meeting and having these connections.

Rut Patel:
One of the things we've done in the past is referring to resumes as, "All right, so now you've learned everything. You have the degree in college, but not yet to prove it." Anyone can say, "Oh, I'm great at communicating." Anyone can say," I'm great at being adaptable." And then your next question at a job interview is, "All right, now tell me a time of..." Right. That's every job interview I've ever been at. "Tell me about yourself, tell me a time when you have done this and demonstrate this ability." So again, it's literally any position you can do, you just have to get out there. You have to get out there as students, as we are right now, we have to be able to prove the things we're saying, right? Because someone else will be able to.

Justin Heidorn:
Right. Even if you're not financially willed to have to work in order to support yourself, because some people that's their situation and that's their life, and that's fine. I still believe that you will benefit from having any sort of job experience, whether it be just 12, 16 hours a week, because you're taking, you know, 19 credit hours. I think that you'll still have an upside to it. I don't think there's any sort of downside because it'll prove that you can have time management skills. If your interviewer looks at your thing and they see an overlap where you said, "Okay, you managed having a job as well as going to school at the same time?" That in itself will be immensely impressive because time management is huge in any sort of any sort of business experience and any career at all, time management is always a part of making an efficient machine if you will.

Justin Heidorn:
I think you always have to keep input. You always have to keep your work, your ethic, you as a person, you always have to stay committed to the input of your system in order to get the output. I think if you just say, "Man, I'm not going to get a job and I'm going to graduate with my degree in Psychology." I think your chance of finding success in the field is going to be lower than the person that got that same exact degree, but has five years of job experience at the time.

Rut Patel:
And to add to that whatever job experience it is, it's like you said, the med school sucks, you could view it as throwing away your twenties, but like really, you're going to do a lot of things you don't enjoy and it doesn't matter. You have to get through it. It's all about bigger picture. It's all about the puzzle at the end. It's just another piece that you put into it. So like, regardless of what you do again, you see these gorgeous cars in the driveway, when they're dirty, great, of course, they put a lot of work into getting there. They didn't enjoy everything they did, but they found a way to get through it. They knew what their end goal was, did everything they could to get there. So whatever it is, wherever you work, do it, do it to the best of your capacity and then find a way to swing your experience in a way that matches a job description in your future.

Rut Patel:
So whatever it is now, look into the dream career that you have, look into some job experiences that there are, and look into the requirements and the job descriptions that are of that field and career, and then apply whatever you're doing to that. Regardless of what your job is right now, you can swing your experiences to benefit you in that interview. Because at the end of the day, it is that interview that's going to land you that job, and it's going to be everything you've done right now. That's going to be spoken about in the interview.

Justin Heidorn:
Right? It's the degree that lands you the interview, but it's the interview that lands you the job.

Justin Heidorn:
Yeah. The more job experience you have, the more experience you have in life as a whole will help you land that job.

Justin Heidorn:
It's all about these experiences. It is definitely life experience has definitely runs off an exponential curve.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely.

Justin Heidorn:
It is not just like a slow, okay, I've learned this much by 10, so when I'm 20, it's going to be two times as much. Not, I think it is definitely an exponential curve where the more you put yourself out there, the longer you try to develop communication and put time into what you want to do. I think it's, it's an immense amount of information because there's no way you're going to consume it all by the time you land your first job, or your first career job, even once you've graduated, you still won't have all that information.

Justin Heidorn:
The scale for understanding is... We'll go into a video game, like Rocket League, the skill cap is through the roof. And I think that it's the same thing with any career you do, is that there's a reason why people that are still 60 plus, and they are the best in the business. There's a reason for that. If you go into any school corporation in America, your superintendent is not going to be some 22 year old, fresh graduate. There's no way. Your, your superintendent is going to have the, not only the Bachelor's Degree necessary, but they're going to have immense amounts of experience in the career field.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. So find your passion and run with it. Absolutely. And if worst case, it's not what you want to do, that's one step closer to what you do want to do. You're just crossing one thing off your list.

Justin Heidorn:
Yep.

Rut Patel:
Another piece of the puzzle.

Justin Heidorn:
Another piece of the puzzle, baby. That's right.

Rut Patel:
All right, well right there, episode two, is now in the books of Learning and Earning sent by the Office of Student Employment. Thank you so much to Mr. Justin Heidorn.

Justin Heidorn:
No problem. Y'all have a fantastic day. And thanks for watching episode two.

Rut Patel:
Episode two. Again, I'm Rut Patel. I am the Media Production and Marketing Assistant at the Office of Student Employment. If you are an undergraduate student at IUPUI, reach out to us for anything you may need regarding your employment here. And we are happy to help you. And I hope you found something beneficial from this podcast that you can take with you your entire life, because I think we've said a lot. This is truly like some of the best advice I think we could ever give any student that is in college right now.

Justin Heidorn:
I think so, too. I don't think we covered anything that was unnecessary. I feel like if I would've seen myself a year ago, I feel like this information would be useful. So that's good.

Rut Patel:
This is definitely the advice I would give someone that doesn't know what they want to do yet. And this is the advice I would give myself my freshman year of high school, I think.

Justin Heidorn:
For sure.

Rut Patel:
Find your passions, run for it, run with it.

Justin Heidorn:
Find your passions, run with it. Don't be afraid to take a side step or two. That's all right. We'll be good.

Rut Patel:
All right. Any last words?

Justin Heidorn:
Alrighty. We're good. Have a fantastic rest of your day.

Rut Patel:
Have a fantastic rest of the day. I will see you in episode three.

Justin Heidorn:
Yep. See ya.

 

We meet with IUPUI alumni, Suketu Patel, to discuss what he learned during his college experience to help set him up for success for work after graduation.

Video version

Audio version

Transcript

Ru:
Welcome to our first episode of Learning and Earning and we are with the Suketu Patel. He is now an alumni member of IUPUI and without further ado, I will actually let him take it away. So please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Suketu Patel:
Hi Ru, my name is Suketu Patel. I graduated from IUPUI, this May 2020 with a computer engineering degree, and now I am currently working at Roche in a accelerated development program where you kind of go through different rotations and get to try a few different positions on Roche's campus to get a feel of what you really want to do. And right now my first rotation is inside sales.

Ru:
Oh, that sounds so exciting. So we're actually friends. I've talked to you about this a bunch, but for the people that don't know, Roche is like one of my dream companies to go into. And I'm super glad you mentioned that you're going to try out a bunch of different programs. What is something that helped you while you were in college decide what you wanted to do and what were some of the things that were most impactful to your career path actually?

Suketu Patel:
It would be the internships that I got to experience even the on-campus jobs. They kind of helped me figure out what my strengths were. So a lot of the internships that I got to be a part of where even the on-campus cyber lab at IUPUI, I got to experience a little bit of programming and realized I'm not the strongest at it. I'm good at it, but it's not my strength. So I kind of had that in the back of my head. And then I started doing a lot of marketing positions on campus and I was like, wow, this is something that I enjoy. This is something that I'm actually really good at. Even though it's not related to my major per se, it's something that I was really good at. So I kept that on the back of my mind.

Suketu Patel:
And then I also got the opportunity to do internships at different companies. And one of them was Roche. So I got to go inside the company and be like, wow, this is where I want to work, but not in engineering per se, which was my internship. So I got to talk to different people like during my time at IUPUI. And they kind of helped me go towards the direction of get the degree that you are working towards. But that doesn't mean that that's exactly what you're going to do in the future. So I kind of got the degree that I wanted. And then I went into this program to help me decide, okay, this is what I'm good at. This is what I'm not good at. I'm going to go towards my strengths. So that's where I am right now.

Ru:
So I know you touched on this a little bit, but what would you say is your biggest piece of advice you would give to any current student at IUPUI or really any university that knows that they want a job that's different from their intended major and something that they would find that career to want to pursue?

Suketu Patel:
First of all, if you want a job that has to do with your major, just do your major, get internships that have to do with that major. But let's say you're two years into a degree or three years into a degree, I think there's an option to switch, but there's also an option to continue what you're doing and get that degree and then kind of have internships that have to do with what you really want to do. And that's why internships exist. So you get to try out different things. And I guess that's the biggest advice is just going out, finding opportunities. There's so many out there. There's like at least a thousand things you can do to do with what you want to do.

Suketu Patel:
I know that marketing and sales weren't things that I really wanted to do, but I just wanted to try out and it ended up being something that I really enjoyed. So I tried it out and then built my resume to kind of target that. And even though I had a computer engineering degree, the people who were interviewing me kind of looked at my experience and say, hey, even though he has this experience, the marketing experience is really there. And these two things combined actually develop him to be even a better candidate.

Ru:
So I'm glad you mentioned your experiences. Again Suketu and I are pretty good friends or at least I like to think so. When I said Suketu puts out, I absolutely meant that this man is the absolute Jack of all trades throughout his high school career and his college career. He's touched on many, many different things, including computer science, marketing, and even some video work. So I will let him explain what he wants to on that. But what specifically do you think are the most important soft skills to convey in your resume and some things that you think recruiters would look for?

Suketu Patel:
So in your resume, the biggest thing for me is that you have the ability to do multiple things. That you have the ability to communicate well with everyone. So let's say you have something on your resume that you managed meetings, and you were able to conduct different organizations where they helped helped others get to a certain point. And that takes a while to develop. And once you start getting into other internships and other, not just internships, but like on campus opportunities, different organizations like SAP SAPB, is that what it is and then there's also Jagathon and all those things, getting into those management positions, like the vice president of something or something like that, where you show that initiative. I think on a resume, that's huge.

Suketu Patel:
For me when I go back and ask the people who interviewed me, what stood out on my resume, they saw the initiative to start a business. I have my own videography thing. So they saw that and they were like, no one told you to go out and create this videography business. So that showed initiative. And then they saw all this marketing experience. Why did you do all these marketing internships when you're a computer engineer? And they saw that, okay, this kid, isn't just going out to do one thing he is going after his passions. And that's one of the biggest thing is going after your passion, what you are good at. I think that's one of the biggest things to go for.

Ru:
Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that. I'll actually touch on this too. So I actually got a new job as a banker. We'll leave the bank unspecified, but in my interview process, I wasn't really asked about my experience handling money necessarily or doing computer inputs that we do behind the teller line. But talk more about my experience with Jagathon and more of my experience with community work and leadership and working in teams, which really stood out to me because my main job is counting money and inputting data into computers and I spent an hour and a half essentially talking about my experience working in teams. So going forward, I know you've worked a lot with teams. What's a really funny story that you've had at any point in your career, just working in a team?

Suketu Patel:
Oh, wow. That's a good question. I mean, there's some bad experiences and good experiences of course. I would say like the funniest experience I had was that I'm more of a leader myself. So when I get put into a group with a bunch of leaders, there's a lot of conflict. And I think those kinds of situations really do develop you in a way. And I guess there's this one time where we had a project that me and my group, we had a project and all of us were people who'd like to lead. And I had a different idea and somebody else had a different idea and we were all coming up with ideas on how to solve this issue. And we were all coming up with different ideas. So it was like a matrix of just different ideas and all these leaders trying to fix the problem when all we really needed was somebody to listen and somebody to moderate what was happening. And I guess what ended up happening was that we kind of created our own little polling democracy type system where we all voted on each other's items, but you couldn't vote for yourself. So it was definitely a funny experience where when you put a group of people who like to lead and see what happens and it was definitely different.

Ru:
Oh man., the stories I could tell. Kelly Indy likes to do that. We take personality tests and they put you in groups of people who are essentially the same and the opposite of you. So it's really about that conflict resolution. And I've actually been asked about how I've handled conflict in pretty much every interview I've ever taken and been a part of. So how would you answer that? What's your advice to anyone that's in that interview position and being asked how do you solve and how do you work around big issues while working in a team and handle that in a positive light, especially?

Suketu Patel:
Yeah. Well, number one is, first of all, if there is a situation like where you think you're supposed to be leading and there's another leader in the group, just take a step back and just listen. I think that's the biggest advice.

Suketu Patel:
If there is something that you have an idea about speak up. I'm not saying not to speak up, but I'm just saying if there is a situation where if you create the conflict, you're kind of there too. There are situations where you're kind of holding everyone back if you do create too much conflict in a group. And I'm not saying you, but like if another person has an idea, be open to it and work along with them. You never know what's going to happen. And I think that's one of the biggest things I've learned. Sometimes I just have to step back and be quiet for a little bit and kind of let everything play out. And if it is a mistake, if they were wrong, at least then we know that that was a wrong decision. Rather than holding everything up and be like, hey, this is a wrong idea. I don't like this idea at all. It would take the same amount of time than just going through with the process.

Suketu Patel:
So I think just taking a step back, listening and being open to other's ideas,

Ru:
I absolutely cannot agree with you more. I'm not going to go into my specific group difficulties, but that's essentially a big thing of what I've learned. You just want to move forward. Whatever issue it is you want to learn from it and you want to move forward. So with that, what's your most important experience or thing you've learned during college and how you were able to explain that to any recruiter to set you apart?

Suketu Patel:
The most important thing I learned in college was working with others and also figuring out what's important in that in the moment. Let's say you're studying for an exam and the teacher says to study for everything. Obviously everything's not going to be on the exam. Right? So picking those little topics and picking those little things that are actually important, that actually translates into the real world pretty well. I have thousands of tasks that I have to do within the year that I am given for work. And I have to pick and choose which ones are the most important. Which goes back to time management. I mean, everything has to do with what do you prioritize and how do you get the job that's most important done. Even though that's a hard decision to make. If I know that on an exam, let's say that this one question is going to be 30 points. I'm okay with missing five points and studying for that 30 point question, more so than worrying about the five points and that translates exactly into the real world.

Suketu Patel:
Whereas there might be a million dollar customer and you have to prioritize them versus a new customer that you haven't gotten a chance to talk to yet. They are always going to be there. They're there for you to go talk to, but you have to make sure that your customer that you have currently is taken care of. Like there's a lot of different tasks that you have to manage. Even though that's a hard decision to make. That's a new customer, they could be a $15 million customer, right, but you don't want to lose your main customer. That's just the things that you don't really connect the dots to that do have a big impact. And I think that's one of the biggest things I learned in college is to prioritize the most important things.

Ru:
To move along with that point, you guys might recognize the Seek Discomfort flag behind me. I believe Suketu is still a fan of Yes Theory. A big thing of theirs is to just seek discomfort. Put yourself out there. Say yes to as many opportunities as you can because until you're in shoes, similar to ours, where you have too many tasks where you can't balance them all out and where you have to pick a priority, you aren't really getting that experience of what to pursue and what to necessarily hold yourself back on a little bit. But aside from time management, what's the best piece of advice you can give to someone in college right now?

Suketu Patel:
Best piece of advice, be open to change. Don't be afraid of an opportunity. I think I wouldn't be here if I hadn't accepted an offer to me. Especially when I was given the offer for this accelerated development. I just got a four-year degree in computer engineering and I'm not going into computer engineering. That's a huge decision. But if I hadn't taken that offer, I wouldn't have been working for this amazing company and I wouldn't have the opportunity to do these different things. And it's just one of those things, don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Like the flag says in the back seek discomfort. And I promise you that it will pay off if you go for the uncomfortable situations.

Ru:
Yeah. So I'll actually touch on that a little bit more. I'm also a first year seminar mentor and I met with some of my students one-on-one. And someone asked me what my best piece of advice for them for going into a speech was. I just said, pretend like you're having a conversation. Her topic was dogs. It was a simple speech, something preliminary. And she said, my topic is about dogs. The thing I told her was, if you're talking to me about dogs, we could go all day back and forth and you would have no trouble with it.

Ru:
But the moment you put yourself in a position of pressure where you feel like 30 people in a room are judging you, you're going to start to feel that pressure it's going to affect you. So walk into that, walk into any relationship you can with just the idea, like I'm going to have another conversation. I'm going to meet a new person. I'm going to make a new connection. I'm going to make a new contact. And like Suketu said, prioritize who you're going for.

Ru:
So if you have a $15 million client versus a $1 million client, obviously there's a lot of pressure there. Can't let that show through in your negotiation. Otherwise, they're going to realize like, for $15 million commission check there. So do you have anything to adjust to that?

Suketu Patel:
Great. Yeah.

Ru:
I believe that was Mr. Mike, mutual friend. I know you're very busy. So any last things on your mind that you want to say to everyone in college or anyone else watching? I don't know where this is going to be posted yet.

Suketu Patel:
Good luck. Have fun. Do what you are passionate about. That's about it.

Ru:
All right. Well, thank you so much. Again, that is Suketu Patel an IUPUI alum now at Roche diagnostics. I'm Ru Patel. I am the media production and marketing assistant at the Office of Student Employment. Hopefully you enjoyed our very first podcast in a continuing series. And until next time.