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25 things young professionals must know before 25

10 Oct

Last month, I turned 24, but since 25 sounds better, we will stick to that number. Since becoming gainfully employed, I’ve made a lot of professional mistakes—and learned a few things, along the way. Here are 25 of them. Let me know if you agree, or what you would add to this list.

By 25, you should know how to:

1. Take rejection with poise.

By now you should’ve faced some sort of professional rejection. My favorite was having my résumé handed back to me after a job interview.

2. Do your own bitch work.

Empathy is an important trait for all managers. Knowing what it’s like to do the grunt work makes you appreciate those who have to do it after you. Assuming that you are not above anything will help you soar in your career.

3. Craft an appropriate LinkedIn connection invite request.

I don’t mind getting LinkedIn connection requests from random people, but it irritates me when they don’t have a tailored message and instead use the standard LinkedIn invite line. Here’s an idea for something that could work: “Hi Jenny, I noticed we both work in the Austin Real Estate scene and wanted to connect with you. Maybe I could buy you a cup of coffee/tea in the near future to learn more about what you do?”

4. Ask for a raise. 

When you’re worth more than you earn, you need to know how to ask for more. After being out of school for three years, learn how to broach the topic.

5. Delegate work.

Delegating responsibility is underrated. By 25, you should know when it’s appropriate to delegate and how to do it. For example, if someone asks me to perform a task that is within my power, but I don’t have the time for it, I look for the colleague it makes most sense to perform that task regularly, and ask him or her to do it.

6. Pick your battles.

Not every battle is worth fighting; you should know which are worth your time and energy. Getting upset with the way someone sends incessant emails takes a backseat to someone who fails to communicate important pieces of information.

7. Unplug.

Once you answer that work email at 11 p.m., you set a precedent that you’re available 24/7. Unless it’s an emergency, try not to check your work email (or mark it unread and deal with it when you get to the office).

8. Put in your two-weeks’ notice.

If you’re lucky enough to have loved your first job out of college and are still there by 25, bravo! But you should know how to tactfully put in your two weeks’ notice, if you make a career move. This requires a written resignation.

9. Tactfully give your business card at a networking event.

No one likes the business card ninja who swoops in, throws his or her card at you, and leaves you stunned. First, have a conversation with someone. Find out stuff you have in common. Then offer your card as a way to stay in touch.

10. Avoid getting sloppy at a networking event.

An open bar doesn’t give you permission to act like you did at college frat parties. Have a few drinks to loosen up, but keep it professional.

11. Prioritize your time.

For example, tackle your bigger work issues toward the beginning of the day and save your smaller, less important tasks for the end of the day when you’re winding down. Remember: There’s always tomorrow.

12. Set professional goals.

You want accomplishments on your résumé, not just finished tasks. Setting annual professional goals will set you on track to advance your career. Meeting mentors in your industry through networking events and LinkedIn will help you realize what goals you need to prioritize.

13. Send an SOS.

Chances are you’ve felt overwhelmed by your workload at least once in your career. Knowing when and how to send a help signal to your manager and or co-workers is essential to preventing burnout.

14. Conduct an interview.

Knowing how to interview someone is an important skill. Not only does it teach you how to ask the right questions, but also it teaches you what skill set and personality you value in yourself and your potential co-workers.

15. Communicate.

Communication, when done well, sets you apart from other young professionals. Good communication is a strong asset, so learn it while you’re in the beginning stages of your career. For example, when emailing project specs, I copy as many people I think will benefit from the discussion. Bringing someone in during the later stages of development could mean painful—and unnecessary—back-peddling.

16. Handle being caught venting about co-workers.

It happens to the best of us. Your co-worker commits a major faux pas, and you need to vent about it to another co-worker. Then you get caught. Knowing how to turn it into a dialogue with constructive criticism—or knowing how to avoid it all together—is important.

17. Not sweat the small stuff (you’re not curing cancer).

Unless, of course, you are curing cancer. Then disregard. Ask yourself, “Will this matter a year from now?” If not, don’t sweat it. Acknowledge your mistake and learn from it.

18. Invest in your 401(k)—or at least think about it.

The numbers don’t lie. Someone who starts saving before the age of 25 accrues more interest than someone who starts saving at 30. Not sure how much to invest?

19. Be a team player.

No one likes a selfish co-worker. Learn this healthy habit early in your career to get ahead of those who didn’t. You can operate under the “CYA” (cover your ass) mentality, just make sure it doesn’t turn into a “TUB” (throw under the bus) one.

20. Talk to the CEO of your company.

Get sweaty palms talking to authority figures? Nix those nerves now.

21. Lead a meeting.

You’ll need to learn how eventually, why not get it out of the way before you turn 25? Have a meeting agenda, and make sure you open it for discussion as often as you can so you’re not the only one talking. Also, you can take it one step further by following up with action items and decisions made during the meeting.

22. Ask for time off without feeling guilty.

You earn your time off, so it’s important to take it with a clean conscience. If you’re planning on having a “Treat yo self” day, look into local brewery tours, daytime trapeze classes, or some simple retail therapy.

23. Put together a visual report.

Putting information into a strong visual report speaks volumes more than just throwing the numbers onto a spreadsheet and clicking send. About 60 percent of people are visual learners, so it’s important to make your information pop with charts and graphs.

24. Give your elevator pitch.

Since I work for a small company, the question I get asked the most is, “What’s Quest?” It took some practice, but I finally got my company’s elevator pitch down a few months after joining the team. Not sure what yours is? Listen to what your co-workers say.

25. Be a mentor.

By the time you’re three years out of college, you will have had at least one younger person ask you for career advice. Understanding the impact you have as a mentor is powerful, and the relationships you have with mentees can be some of the most rewarding ones you’ll have in your mid-20s.



29 Apr

Where to start with the three day weekend? Let me start with what the REI expo is and why we attend. REI expo is one of my all time favorite trade shows to attend. They were started by Tim Herriage as a way to connect the Real Estate community in Dallas. Their first event was in January 2012 and was so successful they continued to do them in Texas and now Baltimore. The first one we went to we had a great team that was able to maneuver and handle everything that came our way.
They are two days (three if you include the happy hour the night before it starts) filled with tons and tons of really good information from the different areas of RE, as well as a fun trade show with a vendors offering different services. My favorite vendor this year was probably REI matcher. They have created a website that allows investors to meet each other in a cyber world and expand their network. Check them out at
The events are usually in Texas which is where we are based out of. This was my first event attending in a competitors backyard. As I watched all the other competitors I wondered if this is what it has felt like for this specific competitor -who is always in our turf- intrusive and uncomfortable but not enough to stop you from going.

Most companies in our industry are very friendly, we all have the same goal: educate people on what they can do with their retirement account. We all offer the same type of services but with different strengths.

Another reason I really like these events is because there is an INSANE amount of networking done. I met so many people that I am excited to follow up with and see where it takes us.

The second day is like the hangover day: crowd is a little less excited and we are all tired from the late nights of business meals and the early mornings of business breakfasts. We skipped out a little early and ran to DC to be tourists. While we were probably only on DC for thirty minutes, I got to see the Capitol and several other memorials.

I did break my iPhone this weekend so the pictures are limited. See below for the pictures from the weekend:

Downtown Baltimore




Now we are 30 minutes away from starting IRA school in Kansas, wish me luck!!!



Suja Juice Cleanse

19 Mar

So this has nothing to do with IRAs but I thought I would share this experience with yall! I started a cleanse yesterday which has been arguably one of the most difficult “diet” I’ve ever tried. It’s a juice cleanse that consist of drinking six different juices every day for five days.

Suja Juice 1-Day Cleanse

Those are the juices, I’ll describe them each with that came across my mind as i drank them:

1. Glow: taste like you are drinking a salad…. for breakfast

2. Fuel: not bad, the carrot taste is REALLY prominent.. not bad once you get past the taste of carrots

3. Purify: Also very “carroty” but a lot easier and tastier to drink

4. Fiji: The apple and cucumber together make for a good taste

5. Green Supreme: I really liked this one but if you dont like KALE, you wont like it!

6. Vanilla Cloud: cloud indeed- this is the last one of the day- your dessert juice and it is good! It kind of taste like oatmeal- with coconut.


Yesterday was day one, I survived!

Wish me luck with the next five days!

The Big Guns are coming to Austin: Phill Grove, Dyches Boddiford, and H. Quincy Long!

5 Mar


As many of you already know, Quest IRA throws the biggest and best networking events this side of the Mississippi.  We are now bringing our events to Austin Texas! This is an amazing opportunity for anyone looking for FREE Real Estate Investment and Self-Directed IRA Education. As well as a great opportunity to network with likeminded investors. For this first major event in Austin we are holding nothing back. We are bringing the BIG GUNS: Phill Grove, Dyches Boddiford, H. Quincy Long!   

Phill Grove

Phill Grove is a serial entrepreneur that has made millions in three different industries: technology, real estate, and internet marketing.

Since 2003, he has negotiated over 1,200 real estate deals involving approximately $200,000,000 in real estate. Since 2008, he has sold over $10,000,000 worth of products online.

Phill uses “every trick in the book” to do real estate deals including: mortgage payment assignment, wraps, options, auctions, swaps, shorts, flips, buy and hold, and more to make money from every deal he finds. He uses the internet and 60 other marketing strategies to find a massive number of deals.

Dyches Boddiford

Even though he has added additional courses over the years and is a national speaker, Dyches has remained a full-time real estate investor. That is his main business and feels that only by being active in real estate investing can he bring real world experience to his classes and materials.

Dyches has written books and teaches seminars on Financial Freedom, Asset Protection, The Corporate Fortress, The Nevada Corporation, Limited Liability Companies & Partnerships, Real Estate Investment Using Self-Directed IRAs, Advanced Strategies, Business Tax Strategies, Estate Planning with Asset Protection, Guerrilla Bankruptcy Tactics for Creditors, The Mobile Home Money Machine, Deals in Dirt, Discount Notes & Mortgages, Private Money Lending as well as other topics.

**Country Western Attire is recommended, but not required.  Prizes will be awarded for the best outfits!! **


Tips for Quitting Your Job Gracefully

26 Feb

Reblogged from Etiquette for Quitting Your Job Gracefully.


Over the years as I’ve worked for various companies it’s been interesting to watch as certain individuals make their exit from a company and how they handle themselves.
As I find myself in this very situation at the moment of moving onto greener pastures (and it’s one that most of us will deal with at one time or another) I wanted to share the proper etiquette of leaving a company with style and grace.

1. Giving Notice- I don’t know of a single employer that wouldn’t be thankful that you gave the appropriate amount of notice. Two weeks is the standard however other jobs do require more time to fill your position. Be sure to review your company’s handbook if you are unsure and give as much notice as you possibly can. It’s also appropriate to provide a letter of resignation, which leaves things on a positive note as you thank the company for the opportunity and share how you’ve grown career-wise.

No matter how stressful or horrific your working environment might have become for you, it’s not okay to just stop showing up or arrive in the morning announcing on the spot that you are quitting. Usually such declarations are emotional ones that aren’t always thought through. Sleep on it if you feel this way (I’ve been there a couple times myself where I’ve felt like walking out but I pressed on and found myself there weeks/months later making a much more dignified exit when the time came).

Sometimes in life we have the best intentions but a wonderful opportunity presents itself with time limits. Do your best to gain as much time as you can before jumping ship, letting the new employer know that you pride yourself in being respectful and professional. Given that they’d probably prefer the same level of respect, they should be able to work with you. If not, (depending on your role and degree of responsibility) you may wish to put together a small reference book or manual to make it easier for the company and the new employee who will fill your shoes. At the end of the day it’s your future, so don’t let a great opportunity pass you by if a current employer is giving your grief over not quite providing the full notice. Nothing is perfect in life, know that you did all that you could.

2. Keep Quiet About Quitting- It’s hard not to share great news when you land the job of your dreams but it’s best to keep things hush hush around other employees until you tell your boss. Should word get out and it is not from you firsthand, it will create uncomfortable interaction with your boss and it is not at all professional. Plan in advance how you’ll share your news, rehearse if you have to and create talking points so you don’t end up rambling or saying something that you might be unhappy with later. Your message should be consistent across the board. In other words, don’t tell your colleagues one thing and your boss another.

3. Business as Usual- One of the most disappointing things I’ve witnessed is colleagues that have given notice and even though they are still on company time, they choose to slack off; act as if the company’s rules don’t still apply to them, wear overly casual or inappropriate work attire, rack up expenses or steal office supplies. I’ve also noticed that some show up late and call in sick multiple times when they are not to take time off before their new job and generally take on a ‘do as little as possible’ attitude, particularly if they grew tired of the company or their role.

Being a professional, elegant woman means ending your time with the same work ethic that you came in with. The classy woman is hardworking, she represents the company and herself well at all times and doesn’t draw too much attention to herself after making he intentions to leave known. She avoids spending hours of precious work time gossiping and discussing her transition with colleagues. There is nothing wrong with sharing some details about the new job with a very close co-worker that one lunches with daily, but it must kept outside of the office and only if it is someone that can be trusted to be discrete.

4. Exit Gracefully- Within many companies it’s not uncommon to have a boss want to sit down with you for an exit interview.  They may be curious why you are leaving, some may even ask what they can do to change your mind so you’ll stay and may offer you a salary increase, etc. (I’ve experienced this a few times in the past, which is always a nice compliment). It’s best to keep things on a high note. Even if you and your peers or management did not see eye-to-eye, this is not the time to tell your boss how you really feel. Your final impressions are everything and linger on long after you’re gone, so keep it short and sweet and to the point. In the age of LinkedIn and other career building and social networking sites, it may be to your advantage to keep them in your corner for future related opportunities. 

5. Focus on the Positives- In most job transition scenarios there isn’t much time other than perhaps a weekend between your old job and your shiny new opportunity. Be careful not to carry baggage or negative energy to the new company if things didn’t end the way you had hoped. Take everything wonderful that you’ve learned and use it to your advantage. Perhaps the company was often unprofessional or disorganized but offered great sales training. Be thankful for what you received and what that previous opportunity offered. Perhaps it was a job that pushed you to the limits in every conceivable way, however it likely prepared you in a greater way for the one you’ll be moving onto next or something else further in time. There are so many areas of personal development and growth from time management, networking, customer relationships, business relationships to communication skills, and the list goes on. Make a list of what you learned and are grateful for. Even if you did not feel challenged and disliked the position, be thankful for the paycheck it provided.

Be sure to thank anyone that you’ve worked with who helped you along the way, made your life easier (ie: your assistant) and those that made your working environment a positive or happy place to go into work (if it was).  In my remaining time at my current job I can think of several individuals who made me laugh regularly and those that made the not-so-great days at work so much better. One lady in particular who calls me her ‘work BFF’ will be getting a big hug on my last day. It’s so lovely to have met someone that in the past 7.5 months I can call a sweet friend.

I’d love to hear how you gracefully transitioned to a new position, company or how you may have made it easier for the person filling your shoes upon your departure.


29 Jan

My picture from last weeks Throwback Thursday!
Baby Diva enjoying luscious watermelon circa 1994.


The most delectable meal I have ever had

4 Jan

Wagyu hot rock “sear it your­self” wagyu beef, ponzu, japanese river rock

Walu Walu oak-grilled Escolar, candied citrus, yuzupon, myoga

I can’t remember lol

Biendo tempura shrimp spring roll, nuoc mam, grapes

Biendo Roll as seen above and a Spicy Tuna Roll!

Buenos Aires Cafe

9 Dec

Saturday morning I woke up on a mission to find a “chilena”. Chilenas (also known as Alfajores) are a type of cookie that is composed of two shortbread cookies sandwiched together with dulce de leche and covered in powdered sugar. They are absolutely decadent and go great with a hot cup of coffee and a good book.

Alfajores is what brought me to stumble upon this little place on East Sixth.


Buenos Aires Cafe


I came with the intention of just getting cookies and coffee. After taking a look at their menu…. we had to have a feast!


As an appetizer we went with the aceitunas (olives) and the picante empanada


Picante Empanada: Spicy ground beef, green onions, raisins, green olives, herbs and spices.


The aceituna dish included four different types of olives with an herb seasoning


Michael went with the churrasco: deliciously prepared steak with secret chimmichurri sauce and a side salad—

I kept eye-balling his meal!


I went with the choripan: Bratwurst with chimmichurri sauce on a toasted french baguette


Lunch was paired with a very fitting Pinot Noir from Argentina- La posta

Now on to the real treat: DESSERT!!!!


Mil Hojas: Traditional Argentine puff pastry cake layered with dulce de leche


And over here we have the golden ticket that lead us to this amazing place.

Alfajor de chocolate: Two chocolate cookies filled with dulce de leche dipped in chocolate.

Although I wasn’t able to find the infamous chilena cookie, I was able to add Buenos Aires Cafe to my list of favorite restaurants in Austin!

It is very intimate restaurant with great wait staff- I would recommend it for a date night 😉

Greetings from Austin

7 Dec



2 Dec

Tegucigalpa is a BEAUTIFUL city in Honduras. The city is located in a valley, surrounded by mountains.
The airport in Tegus is notorious around the word for its extremely short runway for an international airport and the unusual (and sometimes scary) mane ours pilots must take in order to land and take off to avoid the mountains. Every flight I have ever been in totally scares me (when landing) and everyone claps once we have sadly reached our terminal.

Tegucigalpa is my home.