5 ways millennials need math post-college

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Caitlin Mooney

Andy Cohen said it best in his new book, Most Talkative: “my brain has a tendency to go blank when I see an Excel spreadsheet.”

I’ll never forget the horrified look on my math teacher’s face when I jumped up and down in his classroom after he told me I got a 66 on the Math B NYS Regents exam. To him, that was a terrible grade. But to me, I was done. I passed. I earned my advanced regents diploma. Check.

It’s not that I can’t do math. It’s just that I have no interest in it. Numbers don’t speak to me like words do. My senior year of high school I opted to forgo all free periods and lunch because my guidance counselor insisted I take pre calc, but I wasn’t willing to give up journalism, creative writing, contemporary lit, or advertising and design.

Needless to say, I am an excellent example of the stereotype that your brain is either wired for math and sciences, or language and arts. I only had to take one math class to fulfill my bachelor’s degree and upon graduation I thought I’d never have to solve math problems again.

If the foreshadowing in this post isn’t obvious enough, I’ll come out and say it now: as a communications professional, I have not escaped the grips of math.

In entry-level positions, especially at small agencies, you’re somewhat of a glorified intern in the sense that you’re expected to be a doer of all things, a jack of all trades. As a result, you end up learning the ins and outs of the agency and a sampling of everyone’s job (i.e. invaluable experience). While you may be done with the Pythagorean Theorem and graphing calculators, here are five ways math may creep into your life again:

1.  Grad school

If you decide to go to grad school, chances are you’ll have to take the GRE. It’s like taking the SAT all over again except you can’t use a calculator on the math section (at least you couldn’t in 2009). I actually had to reteach myself how to do long division.

2.  Accounting

It’s important to review client budgets and estimates to keep the agency on track for all projects and campaigns. I’ve also learned how to complete payables and general ledgers.

3.  Media buying

Remember that fun equation GRP = reach x frequency? Learn to love it. Also learn how to solve for the CPM, CPP, CPC, CTR, and analyze all of those numbers in an excel spreadsheet. (Are your eyes glazed over yet?)

4.  Living on a budget

If you’re in an entry level position in the communications field, chances are you’ll be living on a budget. To keep yourself organized, you may want to create a spreadsheet to help you solve for x in x = paycheck – (rent + groceries + student loans + car payment + health insurance + happy hour).

5.  Timesheets

OK, so this isn’t too tough, but it’s an adjustment to think about your day numerically and keep track of what you’re doing down to the .25 of an hour.

Do you fit into this stereotype too? What advice do you have for new grads?

Follow Caitlin Mooney on Twitter @caitlinmooney.

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Why Cosmo is scarier than Muammar Qaddafi

By Jessica Levco

Confession: I’m pretty lousy at writing headlines.

So, in an effort to improve my skills, our CEO suggested I get a subscription to Cosmopolitan and write a story about what I learned.

At first, I didn’t know if I could handle it.

Me?! Read Cosmo? My mother would be outraged!

I grew up sheltered with city magazines, news magazines, gardening magazines, and my Dad’s Sports Illustrated.

Cosmo in Levco household was banned—along with MTV, Dawson’s Creek, and getting your ears pierced before you turned 18.

But now that I’m adult, I can do whatever I want. That means I can eat Cool Ranch Doritos for breakfast, tattoo my body with dragons and watch marathon re-runs of “16 and Pregnant.” I’ve earned it.

A subscription to Cosmo would be my first step toward adulthood. When the first issue came to my mailbox, I jumped up and down with excitement. Now, I could finally un-lock all the world’s mysteries about men and makeup in just one sitting.

Well, 140 pages later—I was scared. Shitless.

Cosmo told me that everything I was doing with my life was wrong. I wasn’t wearing the right clothes. I wasn’t bringing out my “inner sexy beast.” I wasn’t even washing my face correctly.

The magazine does a brilliant job of preying on the inner-fears of a millennial woman’s 13-year-old self: Do I look fat in these jeans? Why is my hair always so frizzy? I can’t believe she wore that! Why can’t I look like her? Why doesn’t he like me? How can I get him to like me more? I should buy new lip gloss!

Don’t even get me started on the tips and tricks.

So, ladies, why do we keep reading this trash? Aren’t we old enough to know better? And if you do know better, please tell us—what do you enjoy reading?

And no, just for the record, I really don’t think Cosmo is more threatening than M. Qaddafi. I just thought it would be a good headline.

At least Cosmo taught me something.

Networking 101: 5 tips for millennials

By Jessica Levco

Networking can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. But don’t fear—the Millennial Mafia is here to help!

Recently, Ragan Communications and The Playground Theatre joined together for a night of networking, improv and booze. We thought we’d share a few tips from what we learned.

Don’t mingle with other millennials. Save your conversations about Rebecca Black and your iPad 2 for a Friday night with your old college buddies. Now is the time to branch out of your generational comfort zone and talk to people who’ve been in the biz longer than you have. Hey, you might just learn something.

Have a drink, but don’t turn into a Lindsay Lohan. It’s perfectly acceptable to introduce yourself to people with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. But save your hard-core drinking for the after-after party. Nobody likes a sloppy networker.

Start a conversation. Avoid this opening line: “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work for ABC company and do XYZ.” That’s a rookie move. Allow the conversation to develop naturally. For starters, why not ask, “How did you hear about tonight’s event?”

Know what you do. When someone asks you what you do, be prepared. Say at least two to three sentences about your job responsibilities. Give the listener the highlights—nobody really likes talking about work, anyway.

Follow up. Assuming you followed rule No. 2, you should be sober enough to compose a quick email or a DM to the people you met. Everybody likes to be remembered.

Ragan and The Playground will be teaming up again for another night like this in the near future. We hope you’ll join us—and remember, bring your business card.

PS: Have you seen Episode 2 from the Millennial Mafia? In this one, we teach Boomer Bill an Internet safety lesson. Some describe it as “homo-erotic.” We describe it as “funny.”