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Tuesday / Mar 19, 2019 /

Rebel Missionary

admin / Kayrin's Mission, LDS / 0 Comments

I was not suppose to hear from my sweet missionary but I did!!!! Well kind of… When I spoke to her when she first arrived she did not know much and she also did not cover much in the email I got her.

First Rebel Offense

After church on Sunday I noticed that my Google Hangouts had a message waiting, usually I only use Hangouts during the week when texting husband during work hours (he is not allowed to have his phone out at work)… So I thought it was odd that there was a message waiting.

Kayrin and I did set up Hangouts on her phone before she left so that she could video call me through there because we did not think Skype would be allowed. Even after she “missionaried” her phone she was still able to download and use the app so we thought all was well…

The message was from MY MISSIONARY!!! Of course, otherwise why would I be writing this right? She sent the following at 1:44 my time:

“Hey mom, just texting you to say you should get Skype because I’m not allowed to be on Hangouts at the MTC.

PDay is Thursday btw

Love you”

I responded anyway telling her that I have Skype.

Thinking that maybe I could help her out I logged into Skype.

Second Rebel Offense

I thought it was funny that she sent me a text on Hangouts when she was not suppose to use it. I log into Skype and THERE IS MORE!!! She already found me! I was so excited that she found me so I sent her a text (rebel mommy too!).

Her Reply!

Sister von Mayer replied to my text!! With a button pusher thumbs up! I asked if she knew when she could call and it was much longer!! She explained that she would be able to call while she was exercing. If she has breath to call while exercising I’m sure she is burning serious calories, but I don’t care I will take it!

Why Call When Exercising

Kayrin will be busy on her PDay as they are planning on attending the temple after working out and still has class in the afternoon. I told her I didn’t care what time she needed to call, I would drop everything just to hear from her and we could worry about getting the whole family on the line at a later time.

Kayrin then replies, “Okay, love you. I’m breaking the rules just to tell you my schedule, gtg love u.”

And she was gone just like that.

My Testimony

I truly believe that this time while Kayrin is absent is only going to be as big of a blessing as I allow it. I can choose to focus on the hard stuff or I can be in awe over the how we over come the hard stuff. The Lord can only bless us to the level that we allow, we must remain humble, keep our eyes open, and seek after the things that are of God. As we strive to service our fellow man. I love the Lord and I am thankful for the gospel in my life.

Friday / Mar 15, 2019 /

First Day at the MTC

admin / Kayrin's Mission, LDS / 0 Comments

Kayrin was finally able to send me an email from the MTC. I have been on social media and everyone said that they had received an email the first day, but I had not. I was a little jealous so yesterday I called to verify she had actually made it to the MTC. She checked in at 1:48.

Her Flight

In Kayrin’s email she had mentioned that the flight was more stressful than she anticipated. There was a lot more turbulence on the plane than she was use to. She felt like it was necessary to pray that they would arrive in Salt Lake safely and was satisfied after she said a prayer.


When arriving in Salt Lake Kayrin called me. I still cannot figure out how she called since she did not have her phone. I will be sure to ask her about it. However, during the call she explained that she could not really see much from the airport window but just wanted me to know she had landed safely.

Shuttle to the MTC

Kayrin’s email was very well written. When she was finally able to get into the shuttle she noticed it was snowing but stated that it was no big deal, it was Utah after all. It already sounds like she has been there forever! Upon arriving at the MTC she seen the Provo temple and is so excited that it is right across the street. I hope she gets to go in!

Getting Started

As soon as the car pulled up and Kayrin got out of the car it was game on. The pulled her right to get her badge and schedule for training. She has been training since she got there.

Kayrin’s spirits are high and she is excited to be at the MTC and interacting with new people, probably people in general. Sister Monson (not sure what the relation is to President Thomas S. Monson) volunteers at the MTC so Kayrin is close to VIPs in the church.

My Testimony

I am a little said that I did not receive a picture like other have but I am so thankful that Kayrin sent an email last night. I have a testimony that her dedication to her mission will strengthen her for the challenges she will face in life. I know that with the long hours she will be working she will be greatly blessed.

Wednesday / Mar 13, 2019 /

Flying Away

admin / Kayrin's Mission, LDS / 0 Comments
See Later Kayrin!

We woke up at 4:45 AM to get Kayrin to airport in time. I cannot say it was a flawless drop off but I would say it was uneventful for the most part.


Husband and I drove separately so that he could go to work and I would bring back the kids. We took different routes which gave me a little anxiety, but not too much. I arrived with the girls about five minutes before Bill. However, I loaded Kayrin’s luggage into Bill’s car trusting him to bring in the luggage. Of course, when Bill and Derek came in they only had two of the THREE suitcases…sigh. Interestingly, this also did not spike my anxiety; probably because I made us leave about 15 – 30 minutes earlier than we really needed to.

Checking In

Checking in her luggage was a little of hassle. The first bag was 48 lbs, good job Kayrin, the second bag was six lbs over. The attendant allowed us to take out six lbs of luggage and shove it into her carry-on. We got lucky because Kayrin actually packed an empty bag into the bag that was overweight; all we needed to do was put the overage poundage in the empty bag she had packed and shoved her purse in there and it was a done deal! Did you know a pair of jeans weighs one pound?!?


It was so fast…the line was short and ran pretty smoothly. I was the one to get in trouble. I missed the red line on the floor that said do not pass! LOL The security guard made me go back so I could barely see her going through the process. I stood there as long as I could before she disappeared into the crowd.


I was not leaving the airport until I knew her plane had taken off. Derek, Jo Jo, and I went to sit in front of the screens that had departures listed and I downloaded a flight tracker app. As soon as we sat down I received a message from Kayrin from google hangout just saying “Love you Mom <3,” made me smile.

Flight Tracker


Of course I followed the flight track! What momma wouldn’t? The plane did not crash and I got notification that her plane landed in Salt Lake. I did not receive a message when she landed, as I was hoping for. I am guessing I will get notification when she arrives at the MTC. I am sure she is super excited and anxious at the same time.

My Testimony

Yes, at the end of every post I am planning on writing a piece of my testimony. When we were saying out good-byes there were no tears. I believe this is because this is what Kayrin has been called to do. I know there will be many challenges during this time but I also know that as we, as a family push forward together and stick close to the gospel everything will be fantastic!

Kayrin is going to be GREAT!

Tuesday / Mar 12, 2019 /

Officially A Missionary

admin / Kayrin's Mission, LDS / 1 Comment

Yesterday was a difficult day and emotions were running high. I left work early swimming in my emotions thinking about Kayrin leaving and how sad she seemed to be on Sunday. I knew she needed something to lift her spirit or a down right cry fest so…we cried, a lot.

The Cry

We cried over everything. Kayrin was stressed so much that I felt like she was ignoring me when I got home. I finally made her stop in her tracks and talk to me. I asked her to pick up the main floor for when the Stake President came to the house to set her apart. She was also consumed in her fears. I reassured her that she is doing the right thing and that I am extremely proud of her decision to go on a mission.

Stake President’s Arrival

I feel like I failed at the president’s arrival. I was able to get through the gate but he came to the door through the garage and knocked. The dogs did not bark, fortunately, Johanna heard the knock and let him. He was able to navigate through the plantation and arrived with no major challenges.

Before Setting Apart

Before Kayrin was set apart President asked us about our family, how we like the new schedule, and then proceeded to ask each of us what we wanted to say to Kayrin or if we had forgotten anything.

Dad’s Words

Bill told Kayrin how proud he is that she has chosen to go on a mission. He noted how even though he was pushing for her to go into the military he believes that she made the right choice.

Derek’s Words

Derek noted that he believes that Kayrin is making the right choice to go. He understands that it is going to be hard at times but at no point does he believe that it will not be worth it.

Johanna’s Words

Little Jo Jo did not really know what to say. She is sad that Kayrin is leaving but super excited for her.

Mom’s Words

I remember what I said the most, of course; mostly because I said things I have not been thinking about. I told her that I am extremely proud of her and that she will be awesome. I told her that she will learn a lot including what a worth young man looks like that would be marriage material. I explained that she is worthy and deserves to have great things, including a great husband; she just has to believe that she deserves a great husband. Weird, right?

Setting Apart

This was more comforting than I could have ever imagined. The Stake President set her apart and gave her a blessing. President asked her full name and the exact name of mission she has been called to.

Promised Blessings

During the blessing Kayrin was promised a lot when she goes out. There were two things that comforted me the most: to be healthy and safe during the duration of her mission. For a mother to hear those words in a blessing calms the soul more than I could ever describe.

My Excitement

I am so proud that Kayrin has decided to serve a full-time mission. She is going to be an AWESOME missionary. Tomorrow her flight departs early in the morning and she will be arriving at the MTC by 3pm. I am excited to see how she will grow and change and what will become most important to her.

My Testimony

I know that the Lord answers our prayers, leads us, and guides us everyday that we will allow. I love the Lord and his Son. I know that they work in my life everyday. I know that we have a purpose on the earth and I believe as we continually study gospel principles we are able to better see the Lord’s work.

Tomorrow will mark Day 1 of Kayrin’s mission to serve the Lord as a full-time missionary. She is going to be GREAT.

Monday / Mar 11, 2019 /

Two Days From Kayrin’s Departure

admin / Kayrin's Mission / 0 Comments
Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center

First Thoughts

Two days from Kayrin’s Departure and I am feeling it. Last night Kayrin and I were in her bedroom; she was trying to finalize her suitcase. I can see the stress on her face but she won’t admit it. I have to admit, I had no idea what this would feel like. She is my oldest leaving home. I have no idea how to comfort her, I have no idea what is going through her mind. It is driving me crazy; so much so that I did not sleep well last night.

The Adversary

It is pretty impressive how the adversary can get to you, even in the best of times. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that Kayrin will learn and grow during this 18 months that she will be away from home. Yet the adversary makes me think of things even past that, things that should be positive get turned to heartbreak. No matter how manipulating the adversary is, I know Kayrin and I are both stronger.

Spirit of Comfort

With the extra work I have been doing to improve my relationship with Heavenly Father I believe it is easier to feel the presence of the Spirit even when things are difficult. This weekend as we went to visit family so Kayrin could have her final “see-ya-laters” there were several opportunities for me to feel the Spirit.

The Cash Escape

My favorite time from this weekend was when I left my little dog with my grandmother so we could go to the mall. His name is Cash, and he escaped. Since I was no where to be found and he was in a panic; as soon as that door opened Cash darted out the door and started running…FAR FAR away. My grandmother calls me to tell me he escaped, she sounded so worried.

I reassured my grandmother that it would be fine and that this was not the first time Cash had run away from being scared. Once we arrived back at grandma’s house we started walking the streets and I felt like I needed to go get into the car. My youngest daughter, Jo Jo, and I jumped in and drove a block when I was prompted to pray. After saying a short humble prayer we turned the corner and seen Cash running full speed towards us down the road. It took him a minute to realize that it was me but once he did he wiggled and cried, jumped back in the car and we went back to the house. The search lasted all of 10 minutes before the little dog was found and all was good.


I realize that some may not connect the dots but this incident was the adversary trying to find something to make us upset and make this time more difficult. I know that my faith in my Heavenly Father is why we did not have to endure more challenges than what we are currently facing in telling Kayrin see-you-later for 18 months.

No Matter What

In my efforts to comfort myself I looked up where Kayrin would be staying for training (the picture at the top). I have to say…I think this picture gave me a little more anxiety, it is so big! I know Kayrin is going to have the time of her life and I cannot wait to see what is in store for her.

Tuesday / Feb 12, 2019 /

Kayrin Received Her Call!

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Kayrin received her call! She submitted her papers on December 1, for her birthday and after waiting two and half months, it is finally here!

The text

On the way to work this morning I was listening to my scriptures and after I said my daily prayer while driving. We have been waiting so long that I finally verbally prayed that we would receive the call today and that Kayrin would be excited about where she is going.

Once I got to work everything was going as normal and I was getting a little slow needing a little boost. At 10:44 I received a text message from the bishop stating that Karyin had been assigned to a mission and that she should be receiving her call in the next day or two. At 10:50…Kayrin CALLS me to tell me she received a text message that links to the letter she is to open!

The phone conversation was short but emotional. Kayrin told me she received the text and that the message was in Spanish! So we are very hopeful that she is going foreign. I told her that we would open her call at 6pm so that Bill could get home. At the same time, we both were holding back tears of excitement.

After I hung up the phone my heart was/still is racing and I told everyone in my cubicle area at work that Kayrin received her call but still too excited to work I walked downstairs to the rest of my team and told them that Kayrin received her call. Standing there like a goofball I decided I should leave and told them thanks for listening. All of my coworkers are excited to find out where Kayrin will go but completely amazed of how a mission works.

I called to tell Bill and realized that he gets home early on Tuesdays so we actually get to open her letter at 4:30. I will be leaving work at 3:30 so that I can get home and find out where my daughter will be serving a mission for a year and half.

I am so proud that Kayrin has chosen to serve the Lord for a year and half. I know she will grow spiritually and emotionally. I cannot wait for what is in store for her. I will make another post this evening after she opens the letter to record my thoughts.

Monday / Jan 21, 2019 /

20 Days of Service

admin / LDS, Service, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

The first 20 days of service in 2019 has not played out as I planned but I have been able to dip my hand in much.

Current Projects

Dad & Stepmother’s Christmas Gift

We have decided to make 2019 Christmas a “homemade” Christmas so I have already started thinking and working on some of the gifts I would like to give. I just hope that I have not bitten off more than I can chew.

My dad probably will never figure out what I am talking about. Several years ago I attempted to make my Dad and his wife something for Christmas but I never finished it. I don’t know that I will be able to finish the gift this time either but I am going to give it my best shot. I would say that the project is about 1/4 complete. If I keep pushing I may be able to finish.

Daughter’s Birthday Gift

I have decided to take the homemade Christmas to homemade birthday. My husband picked up a used fish tank and the stand was not in good condition so I decided to do mosaic over the ugly. However, I am so afraid to do the grout. It looks great without the grout but, I believe the grout will really finish the look. Here is a picture of what it looked like while I was applying the ceramic pieces:

Jo Jo’s Fish Tank Stand

I looked online to try to find some ideas on how to do this and ultimately decided to come up with my own idea. It would have cost me over $200 to use mosaic tiles or flooring tiles. I ended up purchasing $30 worth of ceramic plates from the dollar tree and taking a hammer to them. I do have to admit that breaking the plates was very time consuming. I also used eight tubes of caulking at $3 each. I bought an abundance of grout to ensure I have enough spending $28. A brand new hexagon 55 gallon fish tank would have cost north of $450. I paid $80 for the used tank, and about $80 in material to resurface the stand; my cost, $160 saving almost $300. Jo Jo LOVES the mosaic on the tank. I just hope I can deliver with the grout.

Painting With Diamonds for CoWorker

I have a coworker who is very impressed with the painting with diamonds so I decided to make her one. I asked her the kind of things she likes and I finally had tell her what I was up to in order to get a good idea of what should be in the picture.

I ended up choosing a pattern with huge red flowers. This project is about 1/10 of the way done. I have more projects going than I thought I would, so the process is proving to be slow.

Daughter’s First Mission Box

I want to be able to send my daughter’s first mission box as soon as she leaves so I am working of what goes in it. Sharing experiences is difficult when you want to be able to say the right things but you know you are not going to be there to talk your missionary through each challenge that will come.

Kayrin and I have been close since she was little. She is wise beyond her years and I believe she is going to make such a great missionary. I just never thought it would be so hard to let my little girl grow up. Words cannot express how I feel and no one has shared their story of allowing their children to grow up in ways that I could understand. I know she will make me proud.

First 20 Days of Service

I have had more opportunities to help or do good things than I could have imagined and it makes life a little easier. Not focusing on myself has really helped me to more easily see the Lord’s work in my life.

The Snow Storm

Last week we had a horrible snow storm; I wanted to go to the temple so my husband and I traded cars for the day. The snow came hard and fast. It ended up extending my hour commute home to 3.5 hours; it took husband eight hours get home in my little Fiat.

On my way home I counted over a dozen cars in the ditch or in an accident. In my last 20 miles of highway a man spun out in his little pickup and was stranded on the side of the road. I seen him walking on the icy shoulder and decided that I needed to give him a ride.

Once he got in my car he told me that he called 9-1-1 and told them that he was going to leave his truck on the side of the road and walk home. After he told me he had done that he continued to explain that within the 500 foot that he had walk he was already having a hard time breathing because he has COPD.

This man thought his house was only a couple miles from where he left his truck but the journey was 8 to 10 miles. If I would not have picked up that man and offered him a ride home, who knows what would have happened to him. He takes care of his 82 year old mother; if something would have happened to him, I am sure something would have happened to his mother.

The Temple

I have been reading the scriptures on a regular basis. I am currently reading the Old Testament; I can’t say it has been the easiest reading but I can say that I have been prompted to do some things. Most recently, I have been promoted to go to the temple. This prompting to go to the temple was different from others. I felt such as strong push from the Spirit to go and I was devastated that I could not attend because of the snow storm. I finally made it to the temple almost a week after starting to prompted.

I prayed about attending often before I actually got there. I looked up every option of who I could take through the temple and I did not get any feeling outside the ordinary. I was in a good place in my mind and heart. It didn’t make any sense to me why I felt so “pushed” to the temple.

When I got there, everything felt the way it always had. I was able to go through the entire session with nothing out of the ordinary happening. When I finally made it into the celestial room, I sat there very content in myself. I dug through my thoughts to understand why I was there. It took me 30 minutes before it finally revealed itself. Oddly enough…as soon as it came to my mind I was being “pushed” out of the Celestial room.

My Take Aways

When you open your heart and mind, you see things that you have missed many times before. I am confident that as I continue through this year I will continue to have opportunities that are not my simple list that I have composed. I am thankful I have had the opportunities I have and can’t wait to see what is next. I have not mentioned every opportunity of service that I have taken advantage of these first few weeks but have mentioned the ones that have touched me the most.

Wednesday / Jan 02, 2019 /

My First 2019 Service Opportunity

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I made a list of the service I plan to complete in 2019 and have already went off the list. I think that as long as I keep my eyes open to identify new opportunities they will come more easily than I expected.

The Opportunity

My family was given the opportunity to service a family by helping them move into a new house. They have been blessed to move their household of six (I think) from a two bedroom apartment to a house that has enough room for them and and a new pet.

I don’t think the service opportunity was moving the family. I think having the opportunity to listen was both a service opportunity and a learning opportunity. Sometimes you get a glimpse into how Heavenly Father works in other people’s lives and you truly get to see the love love the Lord.


As we moved Lisa’s family I was reminded how much Heavenly Father does for children. Lisa has been through a lot in her life. She shared how she has tried to get out of an apartment for years but has only been able to recently access the resources to move into a clean environment large enough for her entire family.

Lisa has a heart of gold and gives all that she has to ensure the well being of her nephews. The boys are so happy to have a new place to say with one of the boys saying “the new house is AWESOME!”

To see how excited Lisa’s nephew is just reminded me how thankful I should be for the blessings that Heavenly Father has given my family and me. I know what it is like to want the world for my children and how it feels to struggle. I am so excited for Lisa and the new adventure she will experience as her relationship with Heavenly Father grows.

Lady at the Front Desk

I gave Christmas gifts to several individuals at my work and many of those who I gifted to has opened up a little to share a little more of their life stories. The lady at the front desk, I don’t remember her name so we will call her Debra, was one of those people. Her heart is also full and unmeasurable.

Debra took on a lot of responsibility when she lost her best friend in her twenties. Her friend had a 14 year old daughter, we will call her Karen, who had no place to go. The family was going to let the daughter go into the foster care system so that they would not have to care for her.

If you know anything about the foster care system it is often difficult for older children and they age out of the system when they are 16. Once a child ages out they may be put into an independent living facility for youth, similar to a half-way house, and are taught how to be independent.

To save Karen from the fate foster care would bring her, Debra adopted her at the age of 28. Debra raised her as best as she knew how, married, had children of her own; and put Karen and her children through college. Karen is now married and on her way to having children of her own.

Impact on Me

Both of these women have touched my heart in unexplainable ways. I truly believe that it takes special people to do grand, selfless, things. I would like to think that I too would be able to take on these types of challenges without question but I don’t truly know the answer. I hope that by focusing more on service in 2019 I will be able to come close to being the person that I want to be.

Saturday / Dec 29, 2018 /

A Year of Service

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This is year has not been anything for the record and I fear that I may have forgotten some of the most important things. In effort to change the fate of 2019 I am dedicating as much of it as possible to service. I don’t want to to overwhelm myself so I have identified 52 “simple service” opportunities so that I may complete one project for each week; in no particular order:

  1. Write letters to soldiers.
  2. Write letters to missionaries.
  3. Write the mail carrier a thank you card.
  4. Give birthday cards and gifts to people I barely know.
  5. Do something nice for a family member.
  6. Make birthday cards for foster kids.
  7. Adopt a grandfriend.
  8. Deliver meals to homebound individuals.
  9. Buy a stranger’s drink.
  10. Do something off someone else’s to-do list.
  11. Donate blood.
  12. Donate bone marrow.
  13. Complete a 5k for a good cause.
  14. Take treats to the fire station.
  15. Drop off a candy gram at the police station.
  16. Leave a gift for a neighbor.
  17. Place flowers on random cars.
  18. Hide eggs with affirmation notes around Easter time.
  19. Let someone go in front of me.
  20. Send flowers to someone.
  21. Make kind over matter Lolliflowers
  22. Take flowers to a nursing home.
  23. Make quilts or blankets to donate
  24. Make purses or jewelry from recycled material.
  25. Volunteer at the local pantry.
  26. Host a free resume workshop.
  27. Find a nonprofit to volunteer with. (not the same as pantry.
  28. Take photos at an event and donate them.
  29. Organize a community service project.
  30. Recognize veterans in the community.
  31. Make get well cards.
  32. Contact local rescue and sponsor an animal.
  33. Leave bottles of bubbles in random places.
  34. Pay for the order behind me.
  35. Scatter wildflower seeds.
  36. Write inspiring notes and leave them in random places.
  37. Tape microwave popcorn to media box.
  38. Tape money to a vending machine.
  39. Place coloring books and crayons in hospital waiting room.
  40. Make kindness rocks and leave in random places.
  41. Tape quarters to gum ball machine.
  42. Assemble homeless bags and distribute to those standing on corners.
  43. Play “Ding Dong Ditch” with DING DONGS!
  44. Take Get Well Balloons to the local hospital.
  45. Buy a gift card and give it to the person behind me.
  46. Leave husband love notes in random places around the house.
  47. Send out thinking of you cards.
  48. Put something on Craigslist for FREE!
  49. Buy two of something I love and give one away.
  50. Give someone a “heart attack.”
  51. Place flowers on an empty grave.
  52. Figure out one without a list!

I reserve the choice to change any of these and I will make my best effort to post my efforts. 🙂

Wednesday / Dec 26, 2018 /

Overcome Career Challenges

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I have recently moved to a new place and am finding it difficult to find my place and figure out what comes next for me. I know everyone’s journey is different and it seems like every time I turn around my journey changes. Some people look at my resume and see unorganized chaos but that is not the case at all. Everything I do is in an effort to find where I fit. Some run off to college knowing exactly what they want to do with their life, others know what they want or will be doing by the time they graduate; and then there are people like me, who thought they knew exactly what they would doing and be able to find the perfect job that they would be at forever! So why does it look like I am in a river of chaos?


School First

I thought that by gaining my education first I would be able to step into a good starting point but that was not the right approach. If I had an opportunity to do it again I would have made more of an effort to gain experience while I was pursuing my education. By taking the small steps while studying I could have “burned the candle from both ends.”

What Employers Look For

When an employer is looking for new candidates they are looking for someone with both education and experience. The reality is that nothing can replace experience but education also shows your dedication to learning and seeking new skill building opportunities. Recruiters and employers look for individuals who have real world knowledge of the vacancies they have. In some cases a candidate with little education may gain favor over a candidate with an extensive education because the candidate has “real world experience.”

How to Gain Experience

To gain real world experience while pursuing an education does not require an individual to be a full-time student and hold a full-time job. Use those intern and part-time opportunities and work in your field in any way possible; even distantly. For example, I studied nonprofit management and leadership; if I would have worked in a nonprofit, even as a secretary, I would have been able to more successfully entered the market because I would have had “some” nonprofit WORK experience under my belt. If you are a student, consider part-time work; you will never regret it.

Overcome Career Challenge: No “Real World Experience”

The chances that you really do not have experience in an area that your are passionate about are probably slim. Many students graduate and end up working in a field outside their studies, like me! I got where I am because I was creative in my approach. I studied nonprofit management and leadership and earned a Ph.D. <–looks good on paper right? You would not believe the number of people who recommended that I delete the Ph.D. title from resume so that I could gain access into A work environment. I kept my head up and my title in place! Look at every option and get creative.

Get to Work


I struggled to find work because I was “over-qualified” and “under-qualified” at the same time so I turned to freelancing. In the beginning I took every assignment that I could to build my experience in the platform I was using. Once I built up my quality score I started concentrating on projects that were more specific to my desired career field. I took on grant writing projects, business plan development, and anything that had to do with the nonprofit sector.

Contract Work

After more than three years of working freelance I was able to gain a contract position (like freelance) for a marketing agency doing market research. How did that happen right? WELL a Ph.D. requires you to learn and do research and every job really requires research. Grant writers must research the market to understand what competition is out there, what those competitors are doing, if those efforts are better than organization the grant writer works for, and how to showcase the organization’s efforts; some serious research efforts. A similar process is used in business plan development; before a business plan can be written the writer has to have a clear understanding of the existing market. Starting any job, the employee has to research the job requirements, get to know the organization, and gain a clear understanding of what his or her responsibilities are.

New Work

I was able to work as a market researcher for two years but when we relocated to St. Louis I had to start over. It felt like I tried EVERYTHING I applied for little jobs, big job, went back to freelancing, and FINALLY after three months of applying I found work as a business analyst. My current position is a small portion of what I did as a market researcher but still allows me to continue to build my research/analysis skills so that I can continue down a solid career path. My hope is to gain full-time permanent employment within a year; it might be here…or not. The key is to stay positive and keep your eyes open.

Career Challenges to Overcome

I felt like I could have gotten where I am a lot faster if I would have avoided a few things:

1. Research what you want to do.

I loved the volunteer work that I was doing so much that I forgot to really research and discover the level of difficulty to gain access to employment within the nonprofit sector. Many corporate employees in the nonprofit sector were first successful in the for-profit sector. Those individuals took their talents they learned in the for-profit sector and applied them in the nonprofit world.

2. Getting frustrated over not getting what I wanted.

I was so concentrated on gaining access to the nonprofit sector I did not consider the for-profit sector in the beginning. If I would have taken a position in the for-profit world utilizing my skills I had gained in my educational journey I may have been able to gain access to the nonprofit sector in a more timely manner.

3. Never get comfortable.

Every job or project that I have taken on I loved because I wanted to contribute. I never took on a job that I had no desire to take on and I stayed away from position that I felt would clash on my resume. The problem was that I always got comfortable in my projects and thought I would be able to figure out a way to stay…so, when time was up or the project was done I fell back into the rut of NOW WHAT…

I am optimistic of what my future holds and I hope that some of these tips can help others. What comes next for me may be unknown but I hope you find what comes next for you!

Dr. S.