A neutral month | Stephanie's April 2021


Happy May! As we move forward to May, I wanted to take a step to savor and reflect all that went on in April. I’m happy to share that my April went much better than March.

-- Stephanie

 

Lifestyle:

Sleep. A lot more sleep. Something I noticed in April is that I’ve been falling asleep much earlier and easier. I can (literally) fall asleep while sitting up straight on a couch. I’m not sure if its a good thing that I fall asleep so easily nowadays lol, but I am glad to be sleeping earlier.


Work-wise, my load was much more manageable this month which was great on a work-life balance aspect. While I’m no longer super new to my role anymore, I did launch a new campaign this month and while I try not to get too attached to a single campaign’s results, this one performed significantly well which was a big highlight. Additionally, I also (finally) started looking externally for new roles. I’ll write more about that in my lessons portion.


Social-wise, April was a month of a number of my friends’ birthdays. I was able to reconnect with a couple of friends on their birthdays and it was gratifying to see how many years have passed since the start of our friendship, and also become excited for the future and upcoming things to do together once covid and everything is beyond us. I still hung out with Ashley a lot as well, though to be honest we did walk further distances less and went to more nearby places.


Other random tidbits, I continued to volunteer and actually partially joined a new org. I’m almost too excited and joining a number of nonprofits, sometimes so excited that my commitments in these nonprofits become an almost full time role.


I wouldn’t say April was on the top amazing, but much better than March. In a way I think of April as just neutral, with a lot of room for growth and improvement.


The things I did good this month:

  • Become more open-minded at work with thicker skin

  • Launch a high performing campaign with a group of people I can rely on

  • Speaking and Showing up more in all aspects of my life

  • Continue volunteering, and joining new ones!

  • Started exploring new opportunities and putting time aside to attend career growth events


The things I could improve on:

  • Eat earlier in general

  • Finish books I started

  • Set clear boundaries

  • Saying ‘no’ more, and ‘sorry’ less

  • Bring back the long walks!

 

Lows:

There definitely were lows this month as that’s how life is, but honestly now that I’m reflecting back I can’t seem to think of something in particular that really upset me to the core? I think that’s a good thing. However if there are a couple, it would be:


1. Lack of recognition

  1. As I mentioned in Lifestyles, I had a pretty successful campaign launch and performance this month which I was happy about. However a couple people higher up kind of took credit in a way. I know I shouldn’t expect shout outs but I did feel kind of disregarded when X person would share great things about this campaign in large all hands meetings but not mention who was in charge of leading it from ideation to execution. I don’t know maybe I’m overthinking it but it kind of felt like I had done all the work in the shadows but in the eyes of higher ups, X person who made the announcement took credit. Regardless, I am really happy that the campaign performed well, not just good so I can meet my work demands, but truly feels good to work on things that show value and impact.


2. Feeling stuck

  1. I’ve had a much better relationship with work this month which I’m grateful for. However it was also during this month that I felt kind of stuck? Not sure if this is exactly a low point. However lately I feel like there’s so much more I have yet to learn, so much more impact I want to continue to do -- however I’m not sure if this team has the capability for me to do both. Do you ever feel like you know you have so much more to do and learn in life, yet your current place/situation may not have the platform for it? I wonder if I’m making sense here.


3. Feeling Lazy

  1. From the slower pace in work to my shorter walking distances to a lot of sleep -- this month in general made me feel more lazy. Not sure if this is society’s need to ‘always be productive’ kicking in to me. However I really am not a fan of feeling like I’m in a slump and I’m happy to share that May has been starting in the right way!

 

Lessons:

Lots of lessons this month. Love it when lessons overpower lows.


  1. Knowing my worth, but also being honest about gaps where I’m lacking

  2. After the mess of March, I did start job hunting on the side a bit this month and a couple lessons came out of it. A company I had interviewed for back in October, the manager had actually called me back and asked if I was interested in joining their team. This happened at the beginning of April, when I was still pretty upset about work-life in March and was feeling very strongly about switching roles. However I remember out of all the companies I interviewed with back in 2020, this specific one had the worst vibe. As desperate as I was to switch roles due to March, I ended up turning down his offer. This was a big lesson for me. In the past I would’ve just taken a role at a reputable company, especially if I wasn’t happy with my current situation. I was turning down an offer at a ‘good’ place … However I learned that I deserve to be treated with respect, not just jump for a role. And after I turned him down with a long thoughtful email, his response proved my intuition.

  3. Additionally, I actually interviewed for a different company at the later of this month as well. I haven’t interviewed since I accepted my current role in Nov 2020. And man was it eye opening! 1) I’m super rough and scratchy. 2) I have skill gaps and I feel like a fraud. Honestly me acknowledging #2 may be pessimistic to some people, but to me, it is the only way I can grow, improve, and push myself to be better than I am today. This role that I interviewed for is actually a step down in title, but in the field I’m very interested in. After answering the interview questions, I learned how much I have yet to do. How much I do not know. How much I didn’t learn in my current role and am not sure if I’d have the platform to do so in my current team. And most importantly, I felt excitement amongst acknowledging my gaps. I found myself curious and extremely excited to learn about this field again, I was getting reminded of my past self in previous internships. This short 45 min interview with the hiring manager, was truly refreshing. I actually got word that I made it to the next round today. I won’t have my hopes too high up, but will just enjoy the process.

  4. Being active in my community, fuels me

  5. I’ve already mentioned this in previous blog posts, but truly volunteering is my jam. I think it’s so empowering to be able to help people, would totally volunteer every day as a 9-5 if I didn’t need to live off money.

  6. The mentee I took on back in September 2020 …. Ended up getting an internship offer at Autodesk! I am so so proud of her hard work and resiliency. While it will only show on her profile/resume that she’s interning at Autodesk, I still remember the months of Sept-March and all the interview rejection experiences she shared with me. I’m so proud of her for not giving up for all these months. It’s an honor and privilege to be able to help people and then to see them succeed. I wonder if this is how my mentors felt when they took me on. Because of this mentee, I ended up taking another new one this month as well and am excited to see how our relationship goes.

  7. Additionally, I attended my first ever rally! This actually happened on May 1st not April. But wanted to write about how empowering it was as well. My high school friend had founded a non profit and I am amazed at what he was able to put together and organize in only a 2 month timeframe. While it wasn’t the biggest crowd, it was empowering to see so many people come out to support the API community and I look forward to continuing my volunteering journey.

  8. Being comfortable in my own skin

  9. Literally and figuratively on this one. I broke out like crazy this month with maskne, not cute. Though I learned to live with it and I’m happy to see it’s improving. On the figurative note, at the end of the API march, there were speakers nad speeches. One really stuck to me. This woman had shared that she is the child of ____ and she is proud.

  10. For the longest time, I was never that comfortable in my figurative skin/socio-economic identity. For some reason, there was a stigma in being Vietnamese-Chinese, a stigma in being a first-generation student, and a stigma in being an outlier in everything else I’ve been involved in (only X person in the workplace, child of boat people, child of war refugees, etc). None of that made me openly comfortable growing up, and then I heard that woman speak about how proud she is to be ___, ____, and more. And then I realized that I am in a peace of mind at this point in life where I am proud. Idgaf about the stigmas for each of what makes me, me. Back then I used to be embarrassed or less than. Later on in life, I felt bad to share these aspects of my life because I didn’t want to make others feel bad. I didn’t want to share that I self-funded my way through college or that I started internship/job hunting at 14 because of my first-gen identity. You know what going to this API march and hearing her speak made me realize, I should be just as proud as she is. I’m proud to be the child of my parents, who taught me grit and resiliency to make the seemingly impossible, happen. The first-gen, war-refugee, and many more not so attractive traits is what taught me to work hard and I should not feel ashamed nor feel afraid and not proud to share it because it will make others feel bad. I came across this quote and found it so applicable in both my professional, social, and personal life:

  1. I wish I could have recorded her speech and share it with you all here, it gave me the chills. I hope you all reading this, will also feel proud about your identity and to own it. Never make yourself smaller because of someone else.

 

My pick of the month: Product marketing podcasts


Okay my real pick is volunteering, but i mention that in almost every blog. It really do be my jam though.


But to stop repeating the topic of volunteering, my second pick is Product marketing podcasts. If you know me, I always feel imposter syndrome no matter where I’m at in life. I have done courses online (linkedin, trailhead, etc), however I honestly get bored clicking through things and will forget the material after getting the online certificate because I don’t use it on a day to day basis. If you feel the same as I do, I recommend listening to podcasts about the career topic of your dreams instead! Okay so you won’t get a certificate or a LinkedIn learning badge to add to your profile … but honestly I’ve found listening to career-specific podcasts much much helpful in continuing to learn instead of clicking through course modules.


While there is still much room for growth and improvement, I am glad to share that April was neutral. Nothing extremely bad happened and I am glad. Sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy the calm, because who knows when the next storm will come. Will be optimistic for an even better May though!


Until next June,

--Stephanie

 

Songs I’ve been listening to this month:

  • Crazy for your love -- Olive Amun

  • Fool for you -- Snoh Aalegra

  • Between us -- dvsn, Snoh Aalegra

  • Bleach -- Brockhampton