Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Festive Food and Drinks

Corned Beef and Cabbage

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up this Tuesday, it’s time to start planning how you and you’re friends will celebrate the big day. Depending on where you live, there will be parades and activities everywhere. If you don’t live in one of the major U.S. cities that goes all out on March 17th, you can still throw your own amazing party at home. Of course the decorations have to be green, but what about food and drinks? Fear not! Here’s some recipes you can serve on St. Patrick’s Day.

Corned beef and cabbage

Turns out corned beef and cabbage isn’t part of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal in Ireland. According to Ireland for Visitors, the Irish serve “succulent, pink bacon or a savory roast chicken” on March 17th. Here in America, however, we celebrate St. Patrick with corned beef and cabbage.

There are several different ways to prepare corned beef and cabbage, so do a quick Google search to find a recipe that works for you. If you don’t have time to cook, see if any restaurants in your area are having a special on the traditional dish order a few carry out orders.

Irish Beer

I know I said there’s more to St. Patrick’s Day than beer, but let’s be honest, most people plan to have at least one beer on this day. Several bars and restaurants will be serving green beer for the day, but if you want something more authentic try an Irish beer. Everyone knows about Guinness, but Harp Lager, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, and Smithwick’s Irish Ale are also pretty common across America.

Shamrock Floats

If your St. Patrick’s Day includes children, you’re going to need something besides beer for them to drink. I haven’t tried this recipe for Shamrock Floats from Simply Kierstie yet, but I like how it’s simple and quick to make. Plus it apparently tastes like a Shamrock Shake with chocolate so how bad can it be?

Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies

At this point it’s obvious I like making things in muffin tins. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the mini versions are always easier to make than the real thing. Shepherd’s Pie is a traditional Irish dish, but these Mini Shepherd’s Pot Pies from Tablespoon only take an hour and look so much prettier to serve. Just like corned beef and cabbage, there’s plenty of different recipes for Shepherd’s Pie so search online for one that fits your cooking time and skills better.

Find a restaurant

Don’t want to bother cooking? Don’t worry about it! There will be plenty of bars and restaurants having St. Patrick’s Day specials and celebrations. If you want a more traditional Irish experience I would give Irish pubs a try, but since everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day even your favorite Mexican restaurant might have a St. Patrick’s Day event.

Be prepared, the more activities they have, like traditional Irish music or green beer (I’ve already heard one bar in my area brag about it on the radio), the more likely you’ll be to pay a cover charge.

jeffreyw. Mmm… corned beef and cabbage. 26 May. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 13 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/nN1gcH

Pi Day Is Upon Us!


March 14th, is celebrated in math classes across America for being numerically similar to the infamous numerical constant pi. For those who have forgotten, pi is an infinite decimal that is rounded up to 3.14 or 3.14159. While every March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day, this year is special because March 14, 2015 (3.1415) will bring us closer to than we’ve been to pi since 1915. So let’s celebrate!

I say you’re never too old to celebrate anything. Most of us live pretty average, mundane lives. Any excuse to make things more interesting or bring people together is wonderful in my opinion. Obviously, you can celebrate with the classic pie of any or every flavor, but if you want to make a meal to celebrate pi or keep the party going all day, what else can you make? Here’s some more interesting food options to try next Saturday to celebrate 3.14159

Pizza Pie

A pizza is great for parties and even better for Pi Day. I recommend Chicago Style since it’s more pie-like, but traditional pizza is still great. If you’re feeling festive with your traditional pizza, use your toppings to spell out why you’ve all gathered on this night: 3.14159, or simplify it with ∏.

Zucchini Pies

Trying to stay healthy? You can still eat your pizza pie without dealing with greasy pizza dough. Zucchini Pies can be serves as either appetizers or the main course, so it’s perfect for any size party. Find the recipe here.

Chicken Pot Pie

Another wonderful entree idea is the chicken pot pie. While it doesn’t have same ability to feed a party like pizza does, it does have the word pie in the name, so points for that. If you want to feed a crowd with them, try the mini version. Get the recipe here.


Depending on the filling, quiche is wonderful for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you’re Pi Day party is more of a brunch than dinner event, make a quiche.

Frito Pie

If you would like something a little more spicy, make a Frito pie. While I don’t have a recipe to point you to, there are literally dozens of Frito pie options with different spices and flavors.

Mini Shepherd’s Pie

Okay, I have a slight obsession with making things in muffin tins. It’s so much easier than making the actual thing though! Mini Shepherd’s Pie is another item that can either be a snack or the main course. Find the recipe here.

Rice Cake Pie

Are your guests vegan? Gluten-free? Trying to eat healthy? Serve these Rice cake pies. While they aren’t technically pies, they’re the perfect option for your health-conscious friends. Get the recipe here.

Pie Fries & Jam

Did you make a pie for your Pi Day dessert? Do you have leftover pie crust? Don’t throw it away! Use it to make Pie Fries! They’re cute, only take 15 minutes to make, and with only 3 ingredients you probably already have everything you’ll need in your kitchen. Like dipping your French fries in ketchup? Dip your Pie Fries in jam, pie filling, or fruity frosting. Find the recipe here.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

The best part about this recipe is that you make the filling in the microwave. The second best part about this recipe is that the tarts are store bought. Perfect if you don’t have time for all that baking or you’re just too lazy for the oven. You can even make this in your dorm room. Find the filling recipe here, and the lemon meringue pie recipe here.

It doesn’t matter if you’re having a big blowout bash next weekend or a small get together, you should never miss an opportunity to make things fun. Do you have any other recipes that celebrate 3.14159? Share them in the comments!

Stephanie. Cherry pie. 26 May. 2014. Online image. Flickr. 6 Mar. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/nL82TY

4 Tips to Find the Fun in a New City


This was my first New Year’s Eve in Indianapolis with all my friends being over the age of 21. It was also my first New Year’s Eve living in Indy. Naturally, a fun evening had to be planned to commemorate so many firsts.

We ended up going to the New Year’s Eve party on Georgia St. It was a first for the city, and it showed in some ways. While I wasn’t surprised with how many people were packed in the bars, I was surprised with how much of an area was blocked off for the actual event. Georgia St. is only 3 blocks long, but for some reason only 1 block was reserved for the event. Even if it was the city’s first major New Year’s Eve party, 1 block for the entire city’s all age event seems ridiculous.

That being said, the concert was really fun. I’m glad to hear that Indy is planning on doing this next year, so hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes.

This is the kind of event that mainly locals hear about. While there were a few articles and news stories about it, they were short pieces at best and easy to miss. Most of the people seemed to have heard about it through the grapevine. This is easy if you’ve been in the area for a while, but those who recently relocated might have a harder time.

Remember in August when I quoted a Forbes.com article that the average worker stays at their job about 4 years before moving on and majority of Millennials expect to stay less than that? That hasn’t changed much in the last 5 months. Many people move to completely new cities every year. So how do you find fun events in your new home when you haven’t established yourself enough to be part of “The Grapevine?” Here’s how.

1. Google it

I know it sounds obvious, but a simple Google search will bring up some interesting results if you know where to look, especially for holiday events. I found the Georgia St. event by simply looking up “Indianapolis New Year’s Eve.” When you find an event that sounds interesting, change your Google search to that specific event to get even more details. After reading an article mentioning Georgia St., I began searching “Georgia St. New Year’s Eve Indianapolis.” That brought up more detailed articles that gave me enough information to decide to check it out.

2. Use Meetup

Meetup.com is a great website for both personal and professional use. I’ve mainly used it to find business conferences to attend, but I know people who have also had great success using it to find events and activities to do during their free time. Several clubs also use Meetup so the site is a great place to find regular events that can help you make new friends in your new city.

3. Just look for the signs

It’s another obvious answer, but staying on the lookout for signs about upcoming events is another great way to find things to do. I’ve read about concerts on marquees and found great trivia nights will out at local bars all by reading signs. Next time you’re out, especially at a place you want to visit again, scan the room for signs about upcoming events. They’re often posted at the front door, by registers, or behind the bar, but they could be anywhere so always look out for them.

4. Ask around

Ask your coworkers! You have to talk to them anyway, and they all know you just moved, so why not ask them for some great places? They might even know some hidden gems you can’t find online. This works better for restaurants, bars, or concert venues than individual activities, but it’s still nice to have a few locations to suggest when meeting up with friends. Who knows, your coworkers could even invite you to these places so you can check it out right away!

If you’re anything like me, you like staying busy. Moving to a new place can be hard on your social life, but relocating doesn’t mean you’re life is over. Whether you’re looking for something to do for the next holiday or just a regular weekend, these tips will help you plan the perfect outing. So go forth, my fellow New In Towns, and become a social butterfly in your new city!

Solana, Jesus. Party time ! in Istanbul / Fiesta! en Estambul. 7 Jun. 2007. Online image. Flickr. 2 Jan. 2015. https://flic.kr/p/QRTMV

3 Tips On How to Shop This Black Friday


Black Friday is only one week away. For those of you lucky enough to not work that day, you might decide to take advantage of the multitude of sales taking place across the country. If you’re lucky enough to have never worked in retail before, you might not know how to conduct yourself while shopping for loved ones on this infamous day. Here’s 3 tips on how to shop on Black Friday without becoming That Customer retail employees talk about for years to come.

1. Great deals don’t excuse bad manners

Yes, we know that thing you really want is 75% off. That doesn’t mean you can punch and shove your way to get it. I don’t care if other people are doing it. They shouldn’t act that way and neither should you. While it’s nice to exchange gifts with loved ones during the holidays, the season is more about spending time with those people and being kind to all. Don’t ruin someone else’s day because you just really want to buy something.

2. Don’t be upset that you missed the deals

Stores are given only a certain amount of items to sell. Don’t get me wrong, they’re sent an insanely large number of these items, but no matter what it’s still a set number. There’s no guarantee that an extra shipment can be delivered quickly just because one product is running low. And those specialty gifts that are only available to “the first 100 customers” or whatever other rule corporate comes up with? They’re sent even less of those, and once they’re gone they’re gone.

Some people line up for Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving. There are even some stores that stay open on Thanksgiving just to get those extremely early Black Friday shoppers. If you aren’t one of those people, don’t be surprised that some items have already sold out. Even if you do participate in those extreme practices of Black Friday, there are hundreds of other shoppers there with you. Don’t be surprised that your favorite retail store sold out of the thing you wanted at 3 am, especially those specialty items.

If you think that this scenario is the appropriate time to flip out and storm out of the store, it isn’t. You are allowed one “Bummer,” or “Darn it!” before moving on with your shopping. Yes, it stinks that you put in a lot of effort into trying to get an item that you can’t purchase, but remember what I said about the meaning of this season. You aren’t going to ruin someone’s Christmas by not giving them a specific present, but you will ruin their Christmas by making it seem like an item can replace you being a kind friend.

3. Don’t blame employees

Seriously, don’t do this. You should hardly ever blame retail employees, but especially not on Black Friday. More than 90% of the issues I had with customers while working in retail, during the holiday season and the rest of the year, came from two sources: 1) insanely high expectations (No, I can’t make the designer create this sweater in red just for you. It comes in blue or green and that’s it.) 2) issues with corporate policy.

The people you’re interacting with on Black Friday are powerless to change the rules Corporate has laid out for them. Has the store put a limit on how many of one item people can purchase? Too bad. Did the store run out of nothing except the one thing you wanted? Tough. Corporate has set out specific rules for stores to follow. These can detail everything from how often shipments can happen to strict sales rules to keep items on the shelf for a larger number of shoppers to purchase. Keep this in mind when a store employee tells you that they are unable to give in to your demands.

Black Friday has turned from a major US shopping day to basically a three-ringed circus. Every retail employee has a Black Friday story they can tell you about a Customer From Hell. I know it’s tempting to be a complete jerk in order to snag all the deals this year. And trust me, you will see people doing just that. But you’re better than that. Be a great shopper and enjoy the sales you get if you choose to go out on Black Friday this year. And no matter what you do next week, happy holidays!

Bartoszek, Brandon. Mall Interior. 8 Jun. 2006. Online image. Flickr. 21 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/4yf71S

Dating in the Modern Age


There are countless articles on the internet about dating in the 21st century. Whether they’re entertaining Buzzfeed lists or more serious pieces from Huffington Post, they all point out the same thing: dating is hard. It makes sense, people are complex individuals so finding one individual to connect with on multiple levels and topics can’t be the easiest thing in the world. However, dating seems to be getting stranger the older I get.

I recently started dating someone. In 2014, part of having a new relationship means you change your Facebook relationship status. Now, I know what you’re thinking, you don’t have to put your relationship status online. It’s something I like to do though. Not only is Facebook my way of keeping in touch with a wide range of friends all over the world (high school friends, college friends, study abroad friends, etc.), it also just feels weird to leave my relationship status as Single. Not changing it feels like I’m hiding the relationship from people in my life.

My boyfriend, on the other hand, does not feel this way. His relationship status has changed, but he hates how Facebook allows people to easily stalk strangers. So instead of being in a relationship with each other on Facebook, both of our pages just show that we’re no longer single. That way no one’s distant cousin can browse our old high school pictures, view all our life events, or anything like that. I’m fine with this scenario, but it has made for some interesting conversations with my friends.

A few days ago one of my coworkers pointed out how odd it was that people kept liking my relationship status on Facebook. “Don’t get me wrong,” he said, “I’m happy for you, but I don’t know who this guy is.” Basically, why are people liking something that for all they know could be an awful situation?

There is an argument that my friends know me well enough to know I wouldn’t settle for a bad relationship. Ever since that conversation though, I can’t stop thinking about how we view being in a relationship. Women no longer need to be married to support themselves, so why has being in a relationship remained a status symbol? Why are we willingly participating in a system that promotes unhappy or even abusive relationships all for the sake of saying we aren’t “alone?”

I put the word “alone” in quotes because being single doesn’t mean you’re alone. You can still have friends and family even though you’re single. However, being in a romantic relationship with the wrong person can put you in danger. According to The National Domestic Violence Hotline‘s website, “on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year.”

Don’t get me wrong, there are people who have wonderful, happy relationships that other people see and think “I would like that.” There’s nothing wrong with wanting a happy relationship. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to settle down with someone and have a family. There is something wrong with wanting a relationship without bothering to worry about the actual human being you’ll be romantically linked. At the very least, putting so much emphasis on having a relationship rather than being happy with someone you care about puts you at risk for an unhappy union. Don’t be that person. You can do so much better with your life.

The Royal Library, Denmark. Romantik. 27 Jun. 2011. Online image. Flickr. 14 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/9XitUg

Here’s How To Enjoy Your 1st Rocky Horror Experience


Last Friday was Halloween and I missed my regular Friday post. I was so busy getting ready for the big night that I completely forgot to schedule anything. What could possibly be so important that every aspect of it took up all my attention? It was my first Rocky Horror Picture Show.

A friend, E, invited me to a live theater performance of the world’s “longest theatrical release in film history” late on Halloween night way back in September. E had moved a few hours away to be closer to a new job she took up this summer, so any chance we get to hang out is a big event, but Rocky Horror was going to be a little more special than usual because it would be the first time seeing the show as a play for both of us.

All of my friends and coworkers knew our Halloween plans, and everyone gave advice or shared stories from their own Rocky Horror experiences. If you’ve always wanted to go to a show, here’s some tips I picked up to make it amazing.

1. Don’t wait until Halloween

Like I said, Rocky Horror Picture Show has the longest theatrical release in film history. This means that the film originally came to theaters in 1975 and it is still being played in cinemas across the country. From what I’ve heard, both live and film versions are great as long as you get a good crowd. So don’t wait and wait around like I did. Do some research and see when the next showing near you is!

2. Dress up

E and I were dead set and fulling taking part in the Rocky Horror festivities on Halloween. Some people dress up as characters from the film, while others, like E and myself, just don some crazy clothes and blend in with the crowd. There’s no wrong way to look at one of these shows. However, dressing up makes you feel like you’re really part of the group and less self conscious about acting out the rest of the show. Trust me, it’s more fun when you just let go and dive in head first. If you’re really hesitant about going all out on your first show, opt for a glittery bow tie, feathered boa, or any other little accessory you can easily put on or take off as you feel.

3. Bring props (if you can)

The best part of the Rocky Horror shows is the audience participation. For those who don’t know, the Official Rocky Horror Picture Show Fan Site has a list of props that audience members can use in various ways when certain lines are said in the show. Some shows ask guests to bring their own props, some provide them for audience members, while other theaters prohibit all props. The show E and I went to didn’t allow any props, most likely because it was a live performance and throwing things on stage could result in hurting a real human being. Check your tickets or the theater’s website before you bring a bag full of rice or toilet paper.

4. Learn the lines

The audience often participates by quoting lines, singing along to the music, and even dancing like the actors on stage or screen. Watching the movie a few times at home before your first show will help you learn some of the lines so that you can easily participate. You’ll have to go to a few shows to learn the extra lines though.

5. Learn the extra lines

Just like the props, the audience also participates with their own lines throughout the show. Depending on where you go, the audience lines can create a running commentary throughout the entire show. Every region has different lines, but the Official Fan Site states that there is one audience line that is almost universally accepted: “Whenever you hear the name ‘Brad Majors,’ yell ‘ASSHOLE,’ okay?

6. Be open minded

Whenever I told people, especially coworkers, about my Halloween plans they always told me one of two things: how their first Rocky Horror experience went or how they’ve always wanted to go to one. For those who shared their first experiences, I began to notice a pattern. Those who didn’t enjoy the show started off the night not know what they were getting into and not being open to the experience.

So let me tell you, these things can get pretty wild. Even the show E and I went to had several people dressed in BDSM attire shouting vulgar lines. According to the veteran Rocky Horror audience members we shared a table with, our show was extremely calm compared to other performances they’d seen. If that doesn’t sound like you’re cup of tea, don’t bother. While you’ll never really know if you like something until you try it, you need to at least be open to the idea of a wild, vulgar, sex-driven musical performance as a fun way to spend your evening in order to like Rocky Horror.

Long story short, my first Rocky Horror show was amazing! I can’t wait to go to my next show and use all the lines I picked up on Halloween. I’ve never been to anything so interactive or with such an interesting history and I honestly don’t think I could pass up another chance to join a bunch of strangers in glittery clothes yelling and throwing things at a performance from the 1970s. I mean, really, who could?

Fisch, Martin. the audience is shaking (CC). 24 Aug. 2012. Online image. Flickr. 7 Nov. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/d9bYtm

I’m the Proud Aunt of a 4-year-old Ginger


This isn’t my furry niece, though. This is apparently a cat named Ed. My niece is Baroness Louise Von Meow Meow and she doesn’t sit well for pictures. Take my word for it though, she is adorable.

The Baroness is my roommates/best friends’ cat. They’ve been dating for 3 or 4 years now and adopted her after we moved to our new apartment this summer. They coo over the cat like a baby and when the Baroness recently got an ear infection they reacted like typical new parents.

This behavior isn’t new. People have been treating the animals in their lives like children for years. According to an article in Psychology Today, more than half of the Americans interviewed see their dogs as part of their family and refer to themselves as “pet parents” instead of “pet owners.” While this study refers to strictly dog owners, it isn’t hard to see how this ideology can easily translate to cat people.

I’m not saying it’s weird that people view their pets as part of the family. However, it was odd to watch that sudden transformation in my own apartment. Human children, whether adopted or biological, take time. You can’t just randomly go to a foster home and pick one out to take home that day like you can with animals. You have to prepare for human children for weeks, months, even years. With animals you simply buy a few items, pick one out, and there you go! You have a pet.

Even though I knew my roommates were getting a cat, I was a bit surprised with how quickly they became parents. I’ve heard them mention that since adopting the Baroness they’ve realized how serious their relationship is. Becoming parents to a furry child is a major milestone in their courtship that they happily conquered. As an outsider, it’s strange to watch two people realize how strong their relationship is and how bright a future they have together. While we all know people in their early 20s who are married or have kids, it is crazy to see first hand people become adults and accept more responsibility.

Ten years ago I was in 8th grade counting down the months to move on to high school. It’s hard to believe sometimes that some of the biggest decisions a person can make in their lives are the next milestones on my horizon. For now though, I’m very content playing with my niece and sending her mom funny pictures and videos while she’s out. Just don’t ask me to do the dirty work like give the Baroness her daily ear drops. I’m a strictly fun aunt.

Cope, Wendy. The Naming of Cats. 17 June. 2012. Online image. Flickr. 24 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/cg27Lw


The 21st Century Young Professional


My mother has been on a crusade for months about me finding a permanent career. The wording differs every few weeks, sometimes she just wants me to find a full time job, sometimes she wants me to find steady work in writing, but the message is always the same: where I’m at now is not good enough.

I graduated from Ball State University in May 2013 with a degree in creative writing and a minor in telecommunications. Since then I’ve had unpaid internships with 70+ hours of work, part time retail jobs, was a glorified Sample Lady at grocery stores, and have now moved on to working part time in customer service. After a few set backs right after graduation I’m finally getting back to writing and doing freelance new media work. Things aren’t perfect, but I’m only 23 and things are getting back on track. I just wish I could make my mother understand.

I know she means well, but my mother’s expectations seem a bit dated to me. When she was my age in the 80s the economy was different and Yuppies (young upwardly-mobile professionals) ruled the world. Today most of my college graduate friends are freelancing and doing well. If they do have full time careers many got them through freelancing, several internships, or through connections.

More importantly, I know my current resume isn’t impressive enough to land my dream career yet. Since graduation I’ve moved from jobs so often that it could be seen as a liability. Changing jobs has become a fine balancing act over the years. Many people have to change jobs in order to move up the career ladder because remaining at the same company for too long will keep them at the same place. However, changing jobs too often makes people look flaky. Each career move must be made carefully, weighing both positives and negatives before deciding.

Rather than following previous generations’ views on careers, current college grads are picking and choosing from their predecessors. While today’s 20somethings want a profitable career, we’re also borrowing the freedom of this 60s.

It seems that for the hippie generation simply picking up and moving to follow their dreams was so common it has become a predictable part of every great story. Countless bands have such a line in their history, and the notorious Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco would be completely different without that cliche. Today’s 20somethings move across the country for an opportunity and take countless freelance jobs to create enough connections for a career. We are the hippies and Yuppies combined.

Just don’t call us yippies. Or huppies. Please don’t turn this into a cute cultural nickname.

Foy, Dan. A-levels (concept) (notes). 21 May. 2008. Online image. Flickr. 17 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/4PXXYp

The Best Advice I Ever Heard


When I was in high school, either my junior or senior year, I had an AP English teacher we’ll call Ms. S. Ms. S was fresh out of college and we were her first teaching job. To say she was in over her head as an AP teacher at a college prep is a bit of an understatement. But Ms. S was still amazingly kind and full of excitement for both literature and her students. She would sometimes start class with reminding us to stay passionate and do things just because we were young. One of those things was to protest.

One day, I don’t know how we got on the topic, but Ms. S told us the story of how her and her fiancee were almost arrested at a protest. The way Ms. S told it, it was dozens of college students versus some company who was polluting the world. She was often excited and enthusiastic, but it sounded odd in a story about almost having a criminal record. That’s when Ms. S gave us one piece of advice that has stuck with me after all these years: just because you are young doesn’t mean you can’t change the world.

I had always thought that the world was run by generations older than mine. True, in a democracy there is voting that everyone can participate in, but as an observant child I noticed that everyone in power, everyone able to make a difference, seemed to be a lot older than me. But that’s far from true. There are plenty of 20somethings, or even people younger, who have changed the world.

  • The Hong Kong Protests demanding more democracy were manned mostly by college students
  • Malala Yousafzai shed light on women’s education worldwide after surviving a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012
  • The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 might not have been so successful if women had not been involved. Many believe that the high number of women among protestors can be attributed to there being more educated women in Egypt now than in previous generations.

There are so many more examples than the ones I listed of young people, people my age, changing the world. Ms. S’s advice has stuck with me for years, and has affected just about every act I make. Just because we are young, or we don’t have decades of life experience behind us, doesn’t mean we can’t make the world a better place. You can be one person in a crowd moving towards progress, or you can be an individual who simply does the right thing for another human being. Either way, never let your age stop you from achieving amazing things.

Solana, Jesus. Go Spanish revolution! / Indignados! 22 May. 2011. Online image. Flickr. 7 Oct. 2014. https://flic.kr/p/9KQ9p8

5 Tips on Working for Startup Companies


I had big dreams about using my creative writing degree to be Editor-In-Chief or New Media Guru for some Big Established Company straight out of college, but reality quickly set me straight. While I still have those big dreams, I know that those Big Established Companies require years, sometimes even decades, of experience for my dream position. So I started small and looked into the only demographic literally begging for my skills: startup companies.

Start up companies were my best friend after graduation. While they knew they needed someone with my skill set, they couldn’t afford the salary of even one person with the years of experience Big Established Companies were asking. It’s a win-win really, I boosted my experience while the startup company got an employee to do the job. But, like any job, working with startups has it’s downsides.

I’ve experienced 3 startup companies, which is apparently a bit more than the average 20-something. So let me share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned the hard way on what it’s like to work with a startup company.

1. You probably won’t get paid for a while

A lot of startup companies I’ve seen either ask for college students or push back when they hire or even have their employees start. College students can earn college credit instead of a paycheck. If a startup is looking for paid employees, they’ll either put off hiring a candidate or even have employees wait to begin working while they get their funding sorted out. Either way, be prepared for this fact. Look for startups that have been running for at least a few months if starting immediately or having a paycheck right away is important to you.

2. You might be doing a lot of work

If your startup company is growing faster than the founders expected they might not be able to hire extra help the second it’s needed. That means all the extra work that comes with company growth will be split among the few employees they started with. While this is great to put on your resume or talk about in an interview, you need to be prepared to put in more than regular 9-5 hours or meet needs that weren’t on your original job description.

3. You might be doing very little work

Just because a company knows they need someone with your skill set doesn’t always mean they know what to do with you. There might be another aspect of the company that they need to focus on and this distraction can either prevent them from helping you reach your company goals or lead them to delay any approval you need from them. While you should always stay on top of your own productivity and make sure you’re achieving your employee goals, you should also be prepared to explain to your boss what you are doing and why it is the best way to achieve those goals.

4. Things are always changing

That’s just the nature of the beast. Start ups are new and small but founders often have aspirations of competing with Big Established Companies. That means they will often change everything behind the scenes to meet company goals or make customers/clients happy. While it will often help the company, and therefore you, in the end, it’s still a stressful time for all employees. Always be willing to learn new things and keep your communication skills sharp so you can explain your new changes to customers/clients.

5. You will need to network

This is an important piece of advice whether or not you work for a startup company. Today’s job market is much easier to navigate when you have the right people to help you advice your career. Networking is especially important in startups because you represent a company that is still growing. Networking with the right people means you find people who can help your company grow while also giving them something beneficial in return. Being able to provide a win-win situation creates a “business friendship” that makes future career help easier to obtain.

While startup companies can be wonderful for all types of employees, especially those straight out of college, it might not be the right fit for everyone. Start ups require employees to be flexible and have great self-management skills. Each startup I’ve worked with has been different though, so never remove a startup from your job search just because they’re the new kids on the block. While starting out with a startup company might not be the job you’ve always wanted, getting in on the ground floor might give you the opportunity to build your own path to your dream job.

The Library of Virginia. City, crowded office space. 19 August 2008. Online image. Flickr. 31 August 2014. https://flic.kr/p/5qcR53