Eat. Write. Repeat. Maddie Teren’s Guest Post.

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I am currently accepting submissions for The Young Professional Project, a collective dive into different perspectives on the transition from college to life after college.  The following is a submission from Maddie Teren, a recent graduate of the University of Miami, an aspiring author and blogger and authority on all things food, and currently, well, I’ll let her tell you about that.


Name: Maddie Teren

College Class: Miami University, May 2012

Major or Concentration of Study: Communications and Spanish

Aspiration: I want to write about food: I want to be the next notable food critic, or the next Giada De Laurentiis, or write the next best selling cook book. I just want to eat food and cook food and then write about food. And make a little money doing it.

Commitment: I’m committed to being open. With writing in particular, it is essential to be willing to explore and try new things in order to find something to write about. But I also want to be open in every other aspect of my life: open to new people, different cultures, novel activities, whatever!


I’m a recent college graduate. I bid my university a fond farewell on May 5th 2012, equipped with a boatload of knowledge, a 3.7 GPA, and degrees in Communication and Spanish. Look out real world; I’ve arrived.

I’m now three months out. And what, pray tell, is the high-paying, dream job that I’ve managed to secure? I’m a server. A server in a restaurant. Now, don’t be fooled: I’m not a waitress. No, I don’t wait on you, or wait for you, or wait around until you’re ready to place your order or pay your bill. I serve you. I serve you the keenest knowledge about our menu, both wine and food; I serve you your tacos without avocado—for reasons completely lost on me…who the hell doesn’t like avocado?; and I serve you your meal with a steak knife if it so requires, a winning smile, and most of all, the burning desire that it could be me sitting in your seat.

Because I want to be the one sinking my teeth into that juicy bleu cheese-crusted filet, prepared medium-rare and accompanied by a glass of full-bodied, spicy, and smooth Shiraz, with dark fruit notes and hints of mocha. I want to be the one ordering an extra side of bubbly, gooey, sinful mac-n-cheese in addition to the creamy, yet crunchy coleslaw that accompanies my Sole Française. Instead of serving food to my guests, I want to serve food to my readers. I want to serve them the knowledge of where to get the best bang for your buck; the best Mexican food in town; the best drinks; the best dessert; the freshest seafood; and the friendliest, most expert service. I want to eat food. And then I want to write about it.

For my entire senior year of college I sought future employment as a PR professional. Because I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I mean, that’s what my friend Michael wanted to do, and we graduated with the same major. And I mean, PR involves plenty of communication, and I sure do love to communicate. And plus, PR is a challenging, yet creative profession! So I poured over job websites, composed countless e-mails, expanded my professional network, sought advice from anyone and everyone, and applied, applied, applied. To no real avail.

But then one day, about a month after graduation, I had an epiphany: a “yogepiphany” as I call it. There I was, lying on my bright-pink, $13 yoga mat in the 100° hot room at my yoga studio here in Nashville. While trying to get used to the blistering heat (but in reality glaring at the vent, viciously pumping out misery just 10 feet above my face) my mind turned to one familiar question that I had often found floating through my head: What do I want to do? And it hit me like a heat wave.

I want to write.

A) I really like writing.

B) I already have a blog and post regularly.

C) I’m pretty good at writing—not to toot my own horn or anything; my dad actually told me I was good one time.

So I went home from yoga and timidly told my parents about my plan, my dream, my new “creative” career choice. And they were excited. Thrilled. Apparently even relieved. I sure am lucky.

Instead of pushing me into a career path that might make me a bundle of money but unfortunately also make me clinically insane, my parents are dream-believers.

Just like me. I’m a dream-believer and a dream-pursuer. So I’m going to keep on eating and cooking and writing [and exercising] until one day it finally happens. In the meantime, I’ll just keep serving my guests, and drooling over their food, and dreaming it was me: just eating, and then writing, and then repeating.

– Maddie Teren, A Young Professional, University of Miami, 2012

Like what you read? You should keep up with Maddie Too! 

Blog –
Twitter – @maddielite
Instagram – maddielite
Facebook –
LinkedIn –

Johnathan Jones’ Guest Blog: Stop At Yellow Line

Johnathan Jones

I am currently accepting submissions for The Young Professional Project, a collective dive into different perspectives on the transition from college to life after college.  The following is a submission from Johnathan Jones, a rising college senior at High Point University, an aspiring photographer, and only one year away from release from academia and into the “real” world.  You can follow Johnathan on twitter @thephotojones, his photography on facebook at  johnathanjonesphotography, and you can connect with Johnathan on LinkedIn

To submit your own guest blog, and a have a chance at getting published in the upcoming book from The Young Professional, email

Sometimes, I wonder where I will be in one year, but the only thing I can see in my head is a big black wall. What is on the other side?

“Stop Vehicle at Yellow Line.”

The yellow line is graduation for me. I feel like I am waiting for “access to the dock.” The biggest issue is that I don’t know what the dock (job market) looks like, but I just know that it probably won’t be pretty.

Some of my friends aren’t concerned about life after graduation. “Why should I think about the future? I can’t control it,” said one of my laid back friends. I can’t take this approach. Why do I feel like the yellow brick road is about to take a detour to the dark forest? It isn’t the unknown that scares me, it’s the possibilities.

I could go get an average job that would be fun for a year, I guess.  But I want to do more than average. I want to love what I do. So how do I turn this dream into reality?… Oh, I know! Don’t stop! I’m not going to wait to wait for graduation to “access the dock.” In fact, I’m not stopping at the yellow line (I am still going to graduate), I’ll just bust through this flimsy door. A few dents to the hood never hurt anyone.

What I am saying is don’t wait! Use your motivation and passion to find what you love and what you will do after college before you leave. You have access to great facilities and people at your institution. You aren’t facing homelessness yet, or worse (like moving back in with your parents). Plan NOW!

I love how a photo can motivate.

– Johnathan Jones, A Young Professional

Follow Johnathan on Twitter @thephotojones.  To submit your own guest blog, and a have a chance at getting published in the upcoming book from The Young Professional, email

Tell Your Story or Just Shut Up

The young professionals and college graduates who give the best interviews tell the best stories.

Stories teach us.  Stories engage us.  Stories move us.

We humans are constructed to love stories.  We’ve been telling them and listening to them since the early days of cave paintings.

Young professionals and college graduates who struggle in interviews normally address each question in an interview separately.  They try to succeed in each section of the interview.

Young professionals and college graduates who excel in interviews know the story they want to tell before the interview even starts, and they tie all of their answers in the interview back to the key themes of their personal story.

Those are the interviews that move interviewers to hire you.

Tell your story, or just shut up.


– John Murdock, The Young Professional

Make A Smart Investment and Take a Risk

Well… the job market sucks.  And as Kayla Cruz points out, employers are missing out on a huge opportunity by passing on young talent.

Of course, if no one will give you the job you want, you could go ahead and make it.  That’s what the young professionals at the Entrepreneur Center are doing.

Right now I’m in the middle of Jumpstart Foundry Speed Dating, where 30 entrepreneurs get blitzed with over 100 potential mentors and investors, one at a time, to explain why we should believe in their dreams.  For many, this is the beginning of a journey where they find out if their dreams will live or die.  What they are trying to do is almost impossibly difficult: successfully create a high potential business that someone will be willing to invest a million dollars in – in less than three months.

But they all know they will succeed, and in reality they already have.  They were bold enough to commit one hundred percent to their dreams.  They were smart enough to search for other people to help them.  And they might go on to make hundreds of millions of dollars.

But if they don’t, this time, there’s always next time.  And even if their businesses blow up, they will have gained more experience than decades spent climbing the corporate ladder, and employers know that.  Employers hire that.

So, win, lose, or draw tonight, all these entrepreneurs are winners in my book.

-John Murdock, The Young Professional

Life After College Doesn’t Have to Suck (but it will, unless you read this)

You Graduated... Now What?

Yes, the rumors are true.  I wrote another book.  I’d apologize for being periodically absent from the blog while I did it, but hey, I wrote it for YOU.  So, maybe you should cut me some slack and enjoy what I made you.  Still, I feel a teensy bit bad, especially for those wonderful people at Crisp 360 who decided to name this blog one of the top 25 blogs for college graduates, just before I walled myself off from the world while I made you your book.  So, to make it up to all of you, I’ll be releasing free excerpts from my book exclusively on this very awesome blog.  To get more, just purchase the book – it’s basically free, and it’s intensely awesome.  It will also help you make a life after college that is even more awesome than college.

The following is the preface to my book (but it can be your book), The Young Professional: Life After College Doesn’t Have to Suck 

A Letter to the Reader (That’s You)


Dear Snowflake (you perfect individual you),

Congratulations – you opened a book.  I realize, since you wound up with this book, that you are either about to or already have graduated college.  So I should probably repeat myself – this is a book.  If you mistook this book for a gossip and gore filled teen vampire novel, KEEP READING.  The vampires come and get everyone at the end.  I promise I would never try and lure readers in by gratuitously utilizing vampires and wizards.  Everyone knows that would require nearly an impossibly strong imperius curse anyways.

This must be a very exciting time for you!  You spent four years in a drunken, sleep-deprived stupor and somehow managed to wind up with a college diploma.  Awesome.  Now you get to figure out what to do with it.  You will never have this opportunity to make so much progress on your dreams so quickly ever again.  Don’t worry, you are only slightly less prepared than Kim Kardashian for marriage.  Be afraid.  Be very, very afraid.

I know this comes as a surprise.  It certainly did to me.  Four years ago I left college with all of the honors and accolades that were supposed to mean success.  But in reality, I entered into the real world about as prepared as a young salmon for his first trip upstream, excited to see the bears.  After seeing many of my peers get devoured, I realized the skills that were going to make me successful in the world after college were clearly not the same ones that had me successful in it.

So I exhausted myself studying everything and everyone I could to determine what those skills were.  It worked.  I was successful – more so than most.  I’ve spent the past four years teaching young professionals what I learned to help them build the successful lives they want.  I’m here to help, and you really, really need the help.

I know, you, like me, are horrified by the prospect of books that don’t have wizards or vampires in them (would it help if I told you I am a vampire?) It’s not your fault.  We learned in college that business books have to be boring.  We learned from the media that advice books have to be fluffy hand-holders that tell you stories of how a dog with three legs saved a girl from a burning barn.

Well screw that.

I do not have a three-legged dog, nor a barn.  If you want that, read another book.  And I’m not sure a peg-legged Lassie really knows crap about what it takes to succeed in the real world.  And maybe the girl shouldn’t have been sneaking out to the barn to sleep with the farmhand in the first place.  Maybe she shouldn’t have been being such a skank.  I have been told that antagonizing your audience is not a good way to get them to listen to you and buy your stuff.  Clearly the people who told me that didn’t know you.  I care too much about you not to get through any way I can.

If you want to live a life full of passion and success, read this book.  I promise, at the least, you’ll have a great time doing it.  If you are happy with a soulless life as a corporate drone waiting for the sweet embrace of death, or a permanent childhood hosting SOCOM parties from your parents’ basement, then you don’t need to read this book, but you would probably still want to.

Read this book, or the bears will eat you, my fellow salmon.


– John Murdock, Creator of The Young ProfessionalTM, Gryffindor House

To instantly get more, purchase the e-book.

The CIA Has Replaced Waterboarding with On-Campus Interviews

In a move being lauded by both the Right and the Left, the CIA officially replaced waterboarding, the aggressive interrogation technique used on suspected terrorists to simulate drowning, with on-campus college interviews. The CIA explains the move is a “win-win” as it actually inflicts more pain on the subject and requires less space. One anonymous CIA official told us at The Young Professional, “I can’t believe it took us longer to figure this out. On-campus interviews were actually created by the CIA back in the 60’s, and used to great effect on hordes of foreign A-holes. We only switched to waterboarding because on-campus interviewing frequently pushed the terrorists past the point of cooperation and into total physical shock too quickly. We hope we’ve fixed that.”*

On-campus interviews suck. Finding a job after college generally sucks too. I know that when I attended career fairs, I felt like I was speed dating a room full of Lorena Bobbits – uncomfortable at best. The reason this happens is that college doesn’t prepare us for life after college. It prepares us for more college. Attending college to prepare for life after it is like eating a thousand donuts to prepare for a swim meet.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It shouldn’t be that way. You deserve the life you dream of, and if you do a few things right, then you will make it.

What’s that you ask? If I told you here, I’d have to kill you.

But fortunately I have released all of those secrets, and more, in The Young Professional’s first book: Life After College Doesn’t Have to Suck. But it Will. (if you don’t read this). Want to make sure you are the first to know when it is released this month? Just drop in your email address to follow this blog. I’ll let you know before anybody else.

-The Young Professional

*The CIA would like me to state that none of the things I said about them are true, and they did not coerce me to get me to say that. Really, they didn’t…

Fortunately for Me, My Desk is a Damn Mess

Do people think you are disorderly? Do you fear commitments? Do you love multi-tasking? Do you enjoy surprises? or Do you run a tight ship, keep everything in order, follow a strict schedule, and follow tasks through one at a time?

The 4th, and final, personality spectrum on Myers Briggs categorizes personalities on is from Judging (J) to Perceiving (P).  It measures the way that people organize the information in the world around them.  Whichever way a person is wired, is the way that their personalities need to order their environments to avoid tension.  While a strict schedule makes a Judger happy, the very thought of being forced to stick to an exact schedule causes a Perceiver to feel sick.

You can evaluate your preference by addressing one simple question.  Are you more likely to find yourself saying:

1) How on earth is he able to even get through the day in such a mess?


2) How is she able to live in such a rigid structure?

Judgers usually answer #1.  They need an ordered environment.  They prefer structure, order, and timeliness.  They naturally feel tension and anxiety when these are absent.  Judgers make up about 70% of the North American population.

Perceivers usually answer #2.  The prefer fluidity, variability, and flexibility, and feel tension and anxiety as their environments become more rigid and inhibit that.  Perceivers make up about 30% of the North American population.

There is a natural tension between the two types, even when they don’t realize what is causing it.  By being aware of these natural differences (that you cannot change) and learning to work with them, you can be much more successful than your peers who dismiss it all as hogwash.

I am an extreme Perceiver.  I loathe scheduling.  I love spontaneity.  I thrive when I have a million things going on at the same time.  I enjoy the surprises that turn my day into something I didn’t plan.  My desk, no matter how hard I try, always looks like a tornado hit it.  If I just fed these desires without thinking, I would never get anything done.  However if I structured everything with a firm schedule, I would become utterly miserable and quit.  Instead, I’ve found a way to harness my desires but control the weaknesses.  Knowing that schedules terrify me, I work off of lists.  Each day has a list, that I can work on in any order I choose, in whatever spurts I choose.  If i get interrupted, I can run and chase whatever entertained me.  But before the day is over, I have to have checked off the things on my list.  Other people see my day and notice that I seem to be doing a million different things.  Other people see my desk and think there’s no way I could ever get anything done.  But somehow I manage to always develop the reputation in the office of the guy who gets things done.  How do I do that?

I harness my mess.

-The Young Professional