Welcome again to Courtney Psak’s 30 days to 30 blog. Based off of my book Thirty Days to Thirty, a fiction novel that is a fun light hearted or vacation/beach read about a girl accomplishing her bucket list before her 30th birthday.
Although it’s a chick lit, it’s also about self discovery and personal development that is meant to inspire people like me who are almost 30 and want to accomplish those bucket list items that they have been meaning to get to, but tend to let fall to the wayside.
This blog is about my bucket list items that I am accomplishing before I turn 30. I hope they inspire you to do the same!
So backing up a bit from studying abroad, I was a communications major and wanted nothing more than to write for Cosmopolitan Magazine. I had a 3.98 GPA for my major, but I wasn’t exactly at Northwestern. Even my mentor/professor who was the editor-in-chief for House Beautiful thought that I was reaching for the stars when I said that I wanted to apply for an internship at Cosmopolitan.
I had a lot of clippings from interning at the local magazine and freelance articles from some national magazines. I told my professor, what’s the worst that could happen? They say no and then I’m right back where I started. With her recommendation letter, I sent my application along.
Then to mine and most people’s surprise, I got an interview. I went in and spoke with a woman named Jo Ann and her and I hit it off really well. The goal is to always try to make the interview come off more as a conversation. At the end of the interview, she told me that I had the internship!
I was so excited I couldn’t breath. This was the first step towards my goal! Soon enough I’d get a job as an editor at Cosmopolitan and write bestselling novels on the side.
When I was over in London, I was heartbroken when I had gotten an email saying that I did not get the internship from Cosmopolitan. I was completely devastated. After sulking for a day, I decided to take a walk around Regent’s park and I realized something. I should follow up with them and ask them what went wrong?
One thing I learned early on was anytime you interview with someone, if you don’t get the job, thank them for their time and ask them if they have any advice on what you could improve on. I have not only gotten constructive criticism, but one was because they already knew they were going to hire internally. So the interviewer gave me a direct contact in their HR department and told me to reach out to them personally if I saw an opening in the company I liked. Not sure if I can say, but this was a big company! So this was a great opportunity.
So like I had said before, if I reached back out to Cosmopolitan and asked them what happened, the worst thing that could happen is I would be in the same position I was in now.
Sure enough, it turned out there were some complications. The person I interviewed with Jo Ann, was no longer at the company and so there was no record of my interview, only that I had had one. I explained to them I interviewed early, because I was studying abroad and Jo Ann had told me I had the job.
I offered to do a second interview and sure enough they hired me! I was ecstatic that I was back on track.
When I started on my first day, I have to say I definitely tried too hard. I was overdressed, where as everyone else was dressed very casually. I had come in with pages of article ideas not realizing that was not what I was going to be doing at all.
My job was going to be a researcher in the books department. Basically to put it delicately, if someone was writing an article about men not being able to “rise to the occasion,” they would ask me to go through the books we had gotten from publishers to find facts they could use. So when you see a button on an article that says 8 out of 10 men have this. That was me.
So there is a section in Cosmopolitan called Men’s Confessions. I remember thinking to myself what men are not only reading Cosmopolitan, but are voluntarily sending their embarrassing sexual stories to the magazine?
I learned very quickly that was what us interns were there for. They would send us out once a week to solicit men on the street. Then if we got them to tell us a story, we had to take down all of the information and take a picture of them! I hate soliciting in general, but can you imagine having to go up to random strangers and asking them THAT?!
So a couple things I learned a Cosmo. First thing, was that it wasn’t as glamorous as I had initially hoped.
I also learned that no matter how amazing you are at what you do, if there are no job openings then there are no jobs. A magazine isn’t going to create a position for you, so really it’s all about timing.
The best I could do was keep in touch with everyone the best I could. So when I graduated college in 2008, I knew a job in publishing would be impossible, so I decided to go for my masters.
I took the opportunity to reach out to my contacts again and ask them what was better. A high end school with a major in something like gender studies, or a smaller school with a major in your exact field.
Believe it or not, it’s the school they read more.
Thank you for reading this entry of Courtney Psak’s 30 days to 30 blog. I hope this inspires you with your own bucket list to accomplish as much as you can before your 30th or even before your next birthday!
Remember be sure to check out Thirty Days to Thirty if you are looking for a fiction chick lit novel that is a fun, light, vacation or beach read.
Buy Thirty Days to Thirty Here