Desk Must Haves, Tips & More!

I’m 20 years old, have no kids, and yet my roommates all call me “Mom.” Seriously, sometimes I answer better to Mom than my own name. One of those reasons is that I’m always the one to have a random Band-Aid or tissue in my purse. So why should my desk at work be any different? Check out my list below of the top 12 things to keep at your desk. Most of these can be found in mini versions in the travel section of Target or Meijer! And don’t forget to decorate your desk a little too, you may only be there for a few months but you won’t feel as temporary with a desk that feels like your own!

  1. Sweater: When the AC is on full blast the marketing department turns into the tundra. Bring a neutral color cardigan/sweater/jacket to work and always keep it at your desk for those extra chilly days!
  2. Cough drops & tissues: To avoid death glares from your coworkers when you are sick or have allergies, always have cough drops, tissues & hands sanitizer with you. Slide5
  3. Ibuprofen: This isn’t middle school anymore and you can’t go to the nurse’s office for your headache. You also probably shouldn’t go home unless you are actually sick. Keep some medicine in your desk just in case.

    More than once other interns have asked our GroupMe for help. It always feels great to be able to help them out!

    More than once other interns have asked our GroupMe for help. It always feels great to be able to help them out!

  4. Lotion: Lots of lotion. I’m obsessed with lotion. That’s all.
  5. Gum/Listerine strips/mints/toothbrush: You should have at least one of the mentioned in easy reach so when you decide to get the garlic potatoes for lunch everyone at your 1:00 meeting isn’t backing away from the conference table.

    Here is the little travel kit that I keep in a drawer at my desk with all my necessities!

    Here is the little travel kit that I keep in a drawer at my desk with all my necessities!

  6. Lint roller: If you have a pet or lint just seems to like you, make sure you keep a lint roller handy to keep you from looking like a mess. You can buy mini ones in the travel section of Target!
  7. Band-Aids: My shoe obsession has its consequences and besides eating my paycheck, sometimes it means blisters. Keep a few Band-Aids in your desk for the heels you know are a bad idea but look so cute with your outfit. Beauty over pain, right?
  8. Water bottle/travel mug: Don’t kill the environment with your 3 Styrofoam cups a day. Also, these have lids so you won’t spill. Or is it just me who still can’t be trusted with a cup without a lid?
  9. Plant: I don’t have a window near me and also am not great at keeping things alive so I opted for a bamboo stalk! Just pick something green to brighten up your desk!

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    Check out my bamboo stalk in the corner! I think its probably only grown about 1/2′ in the past 2 months. Am I doing something wrong?!

  10. Pictures: So you can remember that one of the reasons you are working is to afford fun things with all your friends and family.
  11. Deodorant: I won’t go into detail but a few weeks ago I unpacked 18 boxes of super heavy promotional items, so….
  12. Food: This last item shouldn’t need an explanation, but I’ll give it one anyway. I love food. Food passes time and is delicious. Food makes me happy. Good enough?

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    Not going to lie, this is one of the most delicious cookies I’ve ever had.

 

Share in the comments section what other “must haves” are at your desk!

 

* Fact: No matter your position, there is no greater feeling than clearing a printer jam that no one else can figure out.

**Tip of the day: Introduce yourself! Even if you still don’t know the name of the person who sits at the desk next to you, it’s not too late! You never know when you will meet someone who is from your hometown, college or who is just plain awesome!

***Embarrassing (long) moment:

As I’ve said before, I mail out shoe samples to editors of magazines. The mail is normally picked up from our building at 3:30 and taken to our mailroom to be labeled and shipped out. However, I had a last minute shipment that needed to be overnighted and I missed the pick up. So I called the mailroom and they said I could still drop it off, I said I would be there in 5 minutes.

After standing in the empty mailroom for 10 minutes, I suddenly realized that I wasn’t actually in the mailroom. Sadly, most people had left work since it was pretty late on a Friday. I finally found someone who told me that the mailroom was in the Distribution Center (building next to mine).

This is the DC!

This is the DC!

So I walked into the DC aimlessly for a good 5 minutes until I found a security guard. He told me to go outside and click the buzzer to the mailroom doors. So naturally I walked around the corner of the building, looked for another 10 minutes for the buzzer and came back in to tell the security guard that no button existed. Long story short, the security guard then escorts me to the mailroom and there definitely is a buzzer. Apparently I’m just oblivious.

The man who works in the mailroom that I called, now 30 minutes ago, saw me coming and told me he figured I was lost! Whelp, at least I’ll never do that again

Midsummer Internship Check-in

I thought it would be a piece of cake to fit in plenty of these posts, but I’m in week 8/12 in my internship and this is just my second! I’m sure you’ve been on the edge of your seat waiting, so don’t worry! Post 2 is here.

The internship experience here has been great here at Fidelity. Not much coding, mostly finding people(the right ones) to talk to so that I can create a useful final deliverable (a presentation for senior management on the project I’ve been working on). It’s been a ton of me finding out what I should be doing, the whole project has been directly in my hands really. This has been good and bad. Good because I have learned a ton and enjoyed the investigative process and freedom to choose my research resources myself, bad because it can be overwhelming at times when you hit a dead end. But I think that is similar to nearly all open ended internship projects where you either sink or swim entirely based on the effort you put in. I didn’t anticipate how much work my project would be at the start of the internship, which has lead me to playing some catch up currently, but that’s just one of the many lessons I have learned in this internship.

The biggest tips I can give are be ready for a large workload and stay focused (what I’ve struggled with the most) and use people as resources as much as possible (been a little better at this). I struggled to focus because let’s be real, it’s summer, and I’ve never spent a summer inside at a desk before. The first 6 weeks or so I didn’t do a good enough job seeking out work for myself, and coasted a lot of the time which put me in a bad spot now with four weeks to go. If I’d paced myself and asked my boss better questions in regard to how I could stay involved, I wouldn’t have to be working with a sense of urgency at this point in the summer. On the other hand, I’ve been very good at meeting people and going out of my way to ask questions and talk to higher level workers. I met with a SVP the other day and he gave me a lot of his time and advice that had helped him, mostly because I was the first intern to go out of the way to talk to him this summer. He saw that I am motivated and willing to learn, and gave me extremely helpful advice and face time. That’s really all it takes at the end of the day, not being afraid to meet someone new and asking as many questions as possible when you are with that person.

That’s all for now. If you want to contact me I put some contact info in the previous email. I’ll do one or two more posts this summer, feel free to give me feedback on how you think my writing was, and whether you enjoyed it or not. Until next time!

My First Week of Work in the Pacific Northwest

Seven strangers, three guys, four girls. One unfurnished apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Chaos. Absolute chaos, but I am loving every second of it.

Back in January I accepted a summer internship with a financial firm called “Fisher Investments” which is located right north of Portland. I didn’t really know much about what I would be doing, how I would be living, or how my day to day work would look. All I knew is that the recruiters were incredibly smart and genuine people, and I really appreciated Fisher’s vision to change the financial world by truly putting their clients first. So as time drew near to me flying out to Portland for the summer, I was getting more and more anxious on what to expect. Luckily, if my first week of work says anything about my next seven weeks, then this is going to be one hell of a summer!

Before I get into the details of my internship and work, I want to say that due to client confidentially, I will not be able to get too in depth with any of my projects or different tasks. That said, I still plan to give a detailed overview of what a day in the life of a Fisher Investments intern looks like.

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I flew into the Portland airport on Friday afternoon, and got into a cab that took me about 30 minutes north into a town in Washington called “Vancouver.” The cab pulled into my apartment complex which at first glance any normal person would assume was a retirement community. My knack for knowing elderly communities proved pretty accurate when I got my bags out of the taxi only to be greeted by an 80 year old woman. After a nice conversation with her, I got my apartment keys and walked into my apartment. I was greeted by one of my roommates who seemed really nice and totally normal, both great qualities in a roommate. We talked for awhile as we waited for some of our other roommates to arrive then we went shopping to buy air mattresses, an inflatable couch and our other household necessities. When we got back we met our neighbors which happened to be four more Fisher Investments Interns, or “FInterns” as we so affectionately call ourselves. By the end of the night about 10 of the 18 FInterns had arrived in town and we spent the night talking and getting to know each other.

On Saturday two of my good friends from Ohio State who are working in Seattle for the summer came down to Portland to visit me. The three of us broke off from the other FInterns for the afternoon as we explored downtown Portland. What an experience… When people say the slogan for Portland is, “Keep Portland Weird,” they aren’t kidding. I’m convinced that the majority of people in Portland decide to go against every social norm possible just to make a statement. Maybe it was because there were so many festivals in Portland that weekend, but I can’t say for sure yet. The culture shock I experienced was almost as strong as when I first explored Hong Kong last summer for my internship. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed exploring downtown on Saturday and Sunday with my friends from OSU and the other FInterns.

After a great first weekend getting to know the other FInterns, Monday morning came and it was time to get to work. Luckily two of our roommates brought cars for the summer, so we split up and drove to the office. As we pulled through the gate to Fisher Investments, we laid our eyes on 170+ acres of tall pine trees and two huge buildings right in the middle. Wow, this office is wayyyy nicer than I was expecting. Two five story buildings made of almost entirely glass stood mirroring each other (literally). We walked into the building right before 7:00 am to see the golden letters spelling “Fisher Investments” placed on the wood paneled reception area. All the FInterns and new hires proceeded to a large classroom style room where we were greeted with breakfast and a handful of members on the HR team. We were given the itinerary for the first three days of training. Day one was about 5 or 6 hour-long classes on things like basic investing, how to keep our computers’ data safe, Fisher’s Culture, etc.

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There’s not much worth noting about these classes, except for the overwhelming sense of culture. Every single person I met and talked with was just as nice, intelligent, and genuine as the recruiters that brought me to Fisher. It was clear that Fisher truly meant it when they said they set out to change the messed up world of finance. Fisher is set up as a Fiduciary which means that it has a duty to act in the best interests of its clients. Fisher is unique in how they operate, and I think it really shows in how caring every single employee is about “doing the right thing.” I absolutely love that about Fisher’s culture.

Fast forwarding through two more days of training, Thursday rolled around and it was the first day of actual work for the FInterns. Another FIntern and I were placed in the “Annuity Conversions” team. At Fisher we believe that the vast majority of annuities are bad investments because they are overly complicated and often aren’t the best use of money for investors. They have a team to evaluate annuities, and where appropriate, will reimburse some or all of the cancellation fees. This is just one more example of how Fisher really tries to put their clients first, even if it means Fisher taking a small loss in paying off fees.

So during these two days at work, the other FIntern and I pretty much just read different materials on what annuities are, and the different policies for how Fisher handles annuities. We sat in on a phone call to a client about annuities, we had a classroom style presentation on different kinds of annuities, and we shadowed different people in our team of 10 to see what kinds of things they do throughout their typical days. Not much of this I am allowed to explain in the blog, but hopefully next week I’ll have more experiences that I can write about.

Outside of work, the FInterns and I all enjoyed a few beautiful hikes, I tried to learn how to drive a manual car with two of my roommates, and I called a few friends from back home to hear how their summers were going. All in all, I’ve loved getting to know everyone out here, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this summer turns out! I’ll hopefully have another blog out next week that will touch more on my actual day to day work. Thanks for reading!

John

DCIM100GOPRO

 

What TO Wear

Let me preface this blog post right away, this definitely isn’t what to wear to an interview and probably not even what to wear to your internship. DSW has a very casual environment, which I love. So here are a few of my favorite outfits I’ve worn to work!

Also, I’m not a fashion blogger or a model, this is just to show how DSW’s culture is reflected by what people wear to work!

  1. Yes, people at DSW wear jeans and not just on Friday! However, there is a difference between the jeans you’ve had for 4 years with fading and giant holes in them and jeans for the workplace. When in doubt, go for very dark denim!Slide2
  2. Dresses or skirt lengths should be longer than your fingertips. I pack and ship boxes a few times a day to various magazines and you don’t want any incidents when bending down to pick something up!IMG_8576
  3. When it’s extra hot outside, it’s extra cold inside. I keep a cardigan in my desk drawer for those over air-conditioned days! Pick something in a neutral color that can go with whatever outfit you have that day. Mine is grey!
  4. Some places have a strict closed toed shoe rule; luckily DSW is not one of them.Slide1
  5. DSW loves their athleisure shoes and so do I! A lot of places of work would probably frown upon you wearing your Converse, Keds or Vans to work but tons of people here do. It’s wonderful (especially since I have a standing desk), no stilettos for me please!

Remember that it is always best to overdress. It might be worth asking what employees typically wear before you start your internship, even a distinction from “business professional” to “business casual” can lead you in the right direction. Dress up for the first day and then take it from there! Each company has it’s own unique culture!

Fun Fact:

Each printer at DSW is named after a different shoe. I normally print to “Platform Pumps!”

Tip of the day:

Don’t sign an email “xoxo.” Apparently this has to be taught? I have indeed received this from a person who has been in the business world a lot longer than myself (don’t worry, they didn’t work at DSW). Seriously, I just met you through email and you sign your name with hugs and kisses?

Embarrassing moment:

I normally don’t listen to music at my desk but I had been working on a project in Excel for over an hour and needed to wake up. So, I plug my headphones in and click to Pandora (“90s, 2000s, Today’s Hits Radio” of course). The song goes on for about 10 seconds until I realize that I plugged my earphones into my computer and not my phone (see what Excel does to me?) and everyone heard me jamming to “Dirty Little Secret” by the All-American Rejects.