Single Adulthood-It’s a Thing.

My first encountering with a working woman wasn’t until I was older. I was a lucky kid, my parents had it worked out so that my mom could stay at home and raise the six hellions. She was with us constantly, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Growing up, I thought that I would be in a similar situation to my mother’s. I would be married young,I would have lots and lots of babies, and I would enjoy spending time with my family. I wouldn’t be working. It’s not that working was a bad thing, but it was the only thing I had seen at this point in my life.

Single.When I graduated from college I realized that was not going to be the plan for me. I wasn’t married, I wasn’t even close, I mean I had Tinder but it was getting me nowhere. I couldn’t be a stay at home mom with no kids, that’s just creepy. I was in shock, reality had finally seeped into my life and I realized I was going to become a “working girl” (not a street corner one, but a business one). My first thoughts of becoming a working girl where ones of anxiety and worry, but all of these fears have now been shattered. I left college and I got a job. At first I felt disappointed in myself, because I had wanted to become a mom, that is in no way a secret, and thought that my singleness was my fault (it probably was). I forged a new path, I have become a business woman- I wear work pants. I work 8-5. I have PTO. I have a desk. I have clients. I have a 401(k). I just finished my first book launch, it was an adventure and I loved every minute of it. I am working with a new client and am setting up a social media scope of work for them. If you would have set this scenario up for me 10 years ago I would have laughed, it was something that I couldn’t even imagine at the time. I would have thought, it sounds great but it’s not in my plan!

Plans change. It’s a thing.

In the culture I live in, getting married and having children signifies actual adulthood. I am 24, not married (yet…), and am rarely recognized as an adult. It can be frustrating and limiting if you focus on it. Since graduating college I have tried my best to not let my ringless hand limit me. Marriage is something of worth and should be sought after at the right time for you. Until you reach that time in life don’t limit yourself, live a life that you can be proud of, that when you do get married you can look back and have no regrets. There might be some who don’t ever have the chance to be married. don’t let that hold you back either, there are so many great things to be done that can impact many.

Okay perhaps it was a ranting post, but you get the point 🙂

 

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Being an Aunt.

I am a true millennial. You all know that. I live in my parents house and I don’t even get to live in the basement. In the past few weeks I have been trying to focus some of my time with my niece and nephews. I have realized how LUCKY I am to live with them. Even though they can keep me on my toes at 6 years old with their witty comebacks, I do enjoy their company.

best aunt everI thought without a doubt that my next roommate would be a husband. Boy was I wrong. On Sunday my newest roommate Madison moved in to the room right next to me. We share a Jack and Jill bathroom (she insists on calling me her roommate). She recently turned nine and is turning into a beautiful girl. It was so cute to see her move her things. I have never seen someone her age so organized, she definitely did not inherit her aunt’s messiness. She informed me that she would give me reminders about cleaning my room and will remind me to keep the bathroom up to her expectations. I was just hoping that she would leave me a passive aggressive note and then it would be just like college (that was passive aggressive)! I remember being her age and all I wanted was to be like my older sisters. She gives me a chance to feel like an older sister, something I never experienced. I can say she is one of my favorite roommates… She cleans, is quite, and calls me her aunt 🙂 Madison is wise beyond her years, I can unfortunately say that right now she would make a better housewife than I would. I love that she is always willing to serve those around her, even when she doesn’t want to.

hayes birthdayHayes…. It is hard to describe this boy. He is one of a kind. He is the smartest and most witty child I have ever met. He is full of good one liners and is protective of his siblings. Madison was his roommate before she moved upstairs. They spent every waking moment together. They are best friends. This morning I went down stairs to get my pop tarts before jetting off to work when I found Hayes. He was ready for school and hour early and looked kind of sad. I asked him how he was doing and he replied with okay… I asked him if he was excited for school, and he said kind of, and then it hit me… So I asked do you miss Madison? My seven year old nephew replied with yes, I do. Even though they live a floor away, they both miss each other. If that doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what will… Hayes has shown me so many things, but his pure love and passion is what inspires me most.

piercePierce, he is my little guy. When I say little, I in no way mean little. He is the size of a new born buffalo I am sure, his laugh and smile are more contagious than the plague.  There is nothing that makes me happier than when he comes and sits on my lap. Not only is it a good leg work out, but he is just so cute. He is a feisty little bugger with a tender heart. Some of his favorite things to do are to smell things and feel soft blankets. The other night I came home around 9:45 ready to go to bed. Pierce was still up and I decided it would be pathetic if I was in bed before my 1.5 year old nephew. He was wired and I was starving. It was the perfect storm. He followed me around and we enjoyed some mint Oreos. I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched chocolate cover his face. This kid can always eat no matter on a train, a plane, or in the rain. Pierce has taught me patience (in a good way) and has also shown me how innocent and precious God’s little children are.

I love being an aunt. There is no greater thing than being part of these little lives and seeing them grow up. I am one lucky aunt, not many people get to see their niece and nephews as the grow and learn every day. I have been very blessed to have them in my life!all three

Retirement for the Millenial Generation

Millennials Jam Workshop: Youth and ICTs beyond 2015I am a millennial, I was born between 1980-2000, I am part of the last generation of the 20th century, and don’t really remember a time without the internet. After graduating college, I quickly was introduced to an 8-5 job providing me with benefits. As a millennial, I am part of a generation who lacks financial independence, and literacy.  One of the areas I lacked knowledge about prior to working for a financial company was retirement planning. In a recent article written by Roy Maurer, he discussed the importance of teaching millennials worldwide about planning for retirement.  A research study done by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies in collaboration with asset management company Aegon, found that 59% of workers between the ages of 20 and 29  located in 12 North American, European, and Asian countries are expecting to be worse off  financially in their retirement than their parents’ generation. Across the board employers are seeing millennials who desire to save money and are committed to save for a retirement, but are finding that millennials have a lack of education in finance. A solution stated by the report included “improving young employee’s financial literacy about retirement planning and create easier access to professional financial advice.” As one of Echelon Group’s newest employees, fresh out of college, working as a Social Media Consultant, I have benefited from working in a financial atmosphere. Prior to working with Echelon Group, I had little knowledge on what a 401(k) was and how a millennial, like me, would obtain one. Retirement was not something that had ever crossed my mind; it was focused more on graduating college and finding a suitable job/career to provide for myself now. “For twentysomethings, retirement is decades away,” Cathleen Collinson, president of the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, pointed out. “However, by making saving a priority today, their long-term savings horizon will help their savings grow with the compounding of investments over time. Getting into the habit of saving is not easy at any age, but the longer one waits, the harder it will be, especially with the need to make up for lost time.” Echelon Group encourages employers to continuously educate their employees on their retirement plans. It’s better to save now, than wait until it’s too late. “Twentysomethings have the ability to create their retirement destinies-They just need the opportunity and know-how to get started down the right path (Cathleen Collinson).”

This blog was also featured on www.echelongroup.com

A Letter to the True Millennial: What I Wish I Would Have Learned Before College

Clare Vaterlaus A True Millenial during Freshman Year

Dear True Millennial,

First of all I must say congratulations for graduating from High School. There were many people who probably did not think that would happen, and if it did it was because you were entitled to that diploma. Well even if you got it out of sheer luck or a teachers admiration for you, that is all about to change. You are now headed to college (I hope). Growing up, constantly being feed information through the media, the true millennial’s know college to be three things: Party, Opposite Sex,and Party, maybe with some acapella groups intermixed. Those are things I know will interest you, but must not consume you. I was told many times prior to my entrance of the university that do what you want during your freshman year, and use the next few to make up for it. I did this, and I did it well. In consequence my GPA was a 2.5, I was on academic probation about to lose my scholarship,failed math 1050 (real shocker I know), and had seen friends hurt to what seemed to be the point of no repair. I spent the next three years making up for my freshman year, and I wish I hadn’t.

Freshman year is a year of firsts. Most of you leave home, move to a new place, have roommates, cook for yourself, work, and have complete control of your time use. This is where I faltered. During my first semester I spent a lot of time hanging out with people, dating, and even more time on the internet and watching television…because I could (and PINTEREST wasn’t even big yet). I saw that my roommates didn’t always go to class, and that meant I didn’t have to…right? I never once thought about the consequences of skipping class, until I had to retake Math 1050. I treated school as if it was an ongoing vacation.

That is when I decided I needed to take my education into my own hands and be responsible for my life. I set up study schedules, I met with advisors, and even got a job to make myself more productive. I can tell you the year’s I worked in college were the ones I received better grades. I spent every day in the free math tutoring room and finished every assignment. I learned that in college you could not just talk your way out of an assignment, and the consequence of not completing it would be an F. These things became a reality.

Everyone says you will always be best friends with your freshman roommates and you will never lose contact. This is false. I would still consider myself friends with the girls I lived with but haven’t talked to most of them in years. We would see each other occasionally on campus after freshman year, and even then it was a few brief words, we had all found our niches elsewhere. Out of the 6 girls I lived with there is one that I still talk to on a regular basis. The memories are important and I will never forget them. I would advise you to hit up the school events, sneak into the fountains to swim, and stay out late some times…but don’t let that take over the main focus, your education.

It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I started to figure out college. I had declared a major and realized that upper division classes required a lot of time and energy. I learned that not all teachers do want you to succeed, they wanted to weed the weak out. I learned that you must fight for your education. Finally during my final semester during my senior year that I felt like I had mastered college ( at least a little bit). I was taking 19 upper division credits my final semester and was doing an internship. I had to dedicate almost all of my time and effort so I could graduate in four years. The final outcome was straight A’s and I had made it on the Dean’s list with a Bachelors Degree.

I never would have thought I would make the Dean’s list. After freshman year I honestly thought I would never really graduate college, but I did. Use your college years to seek out networking opportunities, learn from your professors who will turn into mentors, and use the time to explore many different classes. I would have never found my passion for computers unless I had taken Cyber Security, which started off as a joke. Join honor societies, clubs, and volunteer. Build yourself up so when you do graduate there is a reason to hire you. My education has prepared me, and now I am working full time in a great job that has everything a fresh college grad could ask for, and more. Now the reality of having a “grown up” job, that’s a whole different letter….

Love,

A True Millennial, BS

Clare Vaterlaus A True Millenial Graduate

Mormon Culture: I’ve Got a Feeling…

looking down the tunnelAs a #TrueMillennial sometimes it is hard to feel like a real adult. Perhaps we would act more adult like if we were treated that way. Last night I attended a Young SINGLE Adult ward activity. Don’t get me wrong, the activity was well planned and the people in attendance were all pleasant. I just am usually not too big on these, the forced interaction until you find someone of the opposite sex to shove that eternal cake into their face on your wedding day, it just doesn’t get me fired up. I am even dating someone currently and was not boy-hunting at the event and felt uncomfortable. The “chaperones” of the night were constantly walking through the gym, not talking to us, but monitoring us, doing hand checks. I mean honestly, if I was going to get frisky with a boy, do you think I would come to a church event to do it, let alone come to the event at all? I completely understand that my choices affect my future. To be fair, not all of our “chaperones” did this, but I feel that many activities are like this and seem to be the common theme. I remember reading a blog post a year ago on this very topic (I can’t remember which one) that went on to describe this concept: How can we be expected to do adult things like choose to get married and have a family, when we are not treated in a way that can facilitate it. I had mentioned this to my boyfriend and he brought up the point, it won’t change it’s Mormon Culture.This is not meant to be a rant against the Mormon culture. There are many who have adapted to it and enjoy it. If there is anyone out there like me, it is hard to be treated like a teen or child just because you are not married. Sometimes I wonder if our current culture hinders us rather than helps us. While serving a mission in Palmyra, all of the site sister met in the temple. The temple president said to us, many of you might not marry, prepare for that, prepare to provide for yourself. This is something that not only shocked me, but many other sisters. As I graduated college, ring-less might I add, I realized that the life of a spinster might be in my future. I started to prepare to provide for myself. I have a college degree, served an LDS mission, have a full-time job with benefits, and own a 39” smart television and Kitchen Aid… I am an adult, what else do you need? I want to date like an adult. So that if marriage becomes an option I am prepared to handle it like an adult. When you go through the ups and downs of marriage, making blanket forts and going to chaperoned dances will not be the answer, still a fun activity to do, but will not help with the trials that come your way. If we can’t be trusted to handle ourselves without stepping over a boundary at a church event, how are we expected to have a successful and faithful marriage? Am I the only one who feels this way? Just some thoughts….

 

(Read it lightly, I did use some sarcasm, (C)LV2013)

“Women Should…”

Women ShouldMy friend Rica sent me this article and said I should write a blog on it. I was thoroughly disappointed with my results upon my experimentation of using Google Auto-complete. I don’t know what upset me more the picture included in the article or what I found when I went to Google and started to type in “Women Should…” The results matched just what the article had said:

“Women should not speak in church”

“Women should be seen and not heard”

“Women should not work”

The article even went on to say that the algorithm is constantly being tweaked but the results are not better:

“Women need to shut up”

“Women shouldn’t go to college”

The question now is, is this Google driven, or are they really the most popular search items? All I can say is, “Women Should…” do what they want! We are strong and powerful. We have things to do in this world. We must continue to voice our opinions and live our lives. Don’t let the biases dictate your outcomes. What are your thoughts on this? 

p.s Google “Men Should…”

 

 

Combating Hate with Love: Cyber Bullying

TJ Pratt Anti Cyber Bullying Two days ago I saw a post from one of my friends at Utah State on my Facebook feed and became interested about #TaylorVail. She had been cyber bullied. This is something that I am very passionate about. I am a firm believer of “think before you click.” I wasn’t able to find the original messages that were sent to Taylor Vail. At first I thought, I need to know what the bully said! After reading the article and watching the video, I realized that Taylor and her family did what was right. They focused only on the positive, a new trend in combating cyber bullying. Her father, an employee of my Alma Mater Utah State, took a stand against cyber bullying and encouraged people to #bepostive. Her twitter feed exploded with comments that would make anyone smile ear to ear. I wish that being positive and kind was the norm, and that it did not have to be encouraged. These reactions should be our natural instincts. Taylor’s story is a great example of turning a potentially negative situation into one with endless positive possibilities. Taylor is a hero because of this: she said she did not want to know who said those mean things, she wishes that the bully would receive the same over pouring of positivity that she has received. She truly was able to combat hate with love.

PART OF THE RISE OF MY GENERATION

 NYRM Missionary Clare VaterlausI can distinctly remember when my 7th grade teacher explained that when we grew up most of our careers would be jobs that didn’t exist today. It was mind boggling as I tried to wrap my head around the new concept, but all I could think was I want to be in one of those jobs. The rise of the social media profession has reached a new level and will continue to grow. In a recent study from LinkedIn it showed that there has been a 1,357 percent increase in social media positions posted on LinkedIn since 2010. I am part of the rise. I started my career as a blogger when I was in the LDS pilot mission for internet proselyting in Rochester, New York. We were encouraged to use both Facebook and blogs to reach those of our faith and of other beliefs. I used well known LDS bloggers as my inspiration: Al Fox, (who was baptized in my mission, known as the tattooed Mormon), NieNie (a brave plane crash survivor), and even the now abandoned Seriously So Blessed  blog. It was such an adventure as I continued to blog and see the number of views rise. It was a feeling that I anticipated more than opening presents on Christmas morning. I remember thinking to myself, if only this was a job…

When I returned from New York, I realized that this could be a job! I started Clare Vaterlaus Alaska Social Media Consultantto focus my time on learning the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram…the list goes on… so that I could turn this into something profitable. After a month, I received my first phone call to do some freelance blogging for a small company, and then another, and another. It was something I enjoyed. During the first month of my senior year of college I was approached by Don Reiman, a well-known business man in Boise, during one of my visits home. He had heard of my career goals and was interested in offering me an internship. I gladly accepted and started working for Echelon Group. I did about a 1 year internship (not on location) and then was hired on as a full time Social Media Consultant after graduating from Utah State. There were so many that helped me get here and believed in me, and I owe it to them. God works in mysterious ways, but He will use you and your talents in ways that fit you best. If I could go back and talk to my 7th grade teacher, I would have to tell her she was right, I found a career that once did not exist.

(Here is a cool infograph on the rise of the Social Profession)

rise-of-social-profession

A True Millennial

true mill I recently graduated from Utah State University with my Bachelors degree. I am a classic Millennial, definitely a narcissist, and not afraid of telling you that I am moving back into my parents house… At least it’s not the basement, it’s the top floor! Growing up, my dreams never included bunking it up with the rents again, but sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. I’m not necessarily lazy though. I do have my Netflix binges and Hulu hibernation’s, but when it comes to work all I can think of is the infamous Rosie The Riveter and her phrase “We can do it.” I have accepted a full time job, a REAL BIG GIRL JOB. I get to work the classic 9-5 life style and wear the classy clothes. The position I have accepted allows me to drown myself in this ME ME ME Generation. I am a Social Media Manager, and will spend most of my day on the hit social networking sites that are said to be so time consuming…I hope they consume all of my time, time’s money! How I will SAVE all of you, I have no idea, when I have it figured out I will let you know.

There is a God in this Darkness

usa_boston_bombing_mcx09_35250655 imagesThis past week many have questioned if there is a God. WHY do bad things happen!? It is never easy to see a life leave this earth, my heart goes out to all those who lost their lives and their families who are left behind to remain strong. What I have figured out for myself is that God gives each person agency. We come to earth and we can do whatever we want, that was the plan that was selected. It does not make peoples decisions good ones though. We may not ever fully understand the WHY but what we can rely on is that we will receive justice in Heaven for all of the wrongs done to us on earth. sonicAs I pondered those who lost their lives both in the marathon massacre as well as the unfortunate explosion in Texas I was reassured that there is a LOVING Heavenly Father that is meeting them and embracing them. His children are home. I was amazed at the stories of the GOOD PEOPLE who helped after these tragedies. Many kept running to give blood, held arteries to preserve life, offered their homes, and prayed. There are good people in the world. The good will always outweigh the bad if we look for it. Bad things are going to continue to happen there is nothing we can do to stop it, but what we can do is turn to God and rely on his love and his plan.