Finding a Job on Handshake: FAQs

Get answers to the most common student questions about Handshake.

Do you have questions about how to find a job or internship on Handshake? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve compiled answers to the most common questions from college students.

Why should I make a Handshake account if I already use other job sites?

Handshake is the only place that connects you, your school, and employers together. All of the jobs on Handshake are meant for students—in fact, Handshake has the most opportunities for students and new college grads of any job platform. It’s also the only place where employers are recruiting specifically at your school.

Why do I need to fill out my Handshake profile?

Your profile is the key to finding a job or internship on Handshake. When you fill out your profile

  • Handshake gives you personalized job recommendations based on the information you provide on your profile—so you can find jobs and internships that are right for you.
  • You increase your chances of having a recruiter message you directly with job opportunities and event invitations. In fact, 80% of students who fill out their profile receive a message from a recruiter.

Which parts of my Handshake profile are most important to include?

In addition to your major, Handshake also uses your job interests to recommend opportunities to you. Your job interests include: 

  • Job type: select part-time job, full-time job, or internship. 
  • Job location: choose the cities that you’d like to live and work in. 
  • Job roles: select at least three positions that interest you. 
TIP: You can change and update your interests at any time.

What are the top things employers search for?

After job interests, these are the most popular fields that employers use to find students they’d like to message:

  • Work experience: Have you had a part-time job, internship, work study, research position or volunteered? Employers like to see that you’ve taken on responsibility, and that these experiences have helped you develop valuable skills. 
  • Skills: Add technical skills like SQL and soft skills like communication. The more skills you list, the better your chances are of showing up in an employer search. 
  • Clubs and organizations: These highlight your unique interests and involvement on campus.

Why should I make my profile public? 

Employers are able to find and view your profile only when you make it visible to them. So help employers find you! Make it public so you’ll show up when they’re searching for students to recruit for jobs and internships. You can also make your profile visible to other students, so you can connect with them for advice, or help them. 

Don’t worry—your profile will not be public to employers that have not been approved by your school, or to anyone without a Handshake account.

Can I use Handshake on my phone? 

Yes! Download the Handshake App from the App Store or Google Play, to search and apply to jobs right from your phone. You’ll also be notified when you receive a message from an employer, be first to see new job postings, and can apply to jobs in two clicks with Quick Apply. 

What is the best way to use keyword search and filters?

Keyword search and filters are a great way to narrow down and customize the jobs you see on Handshake. You can filter through jobs by criteria such as job type, location, work authorization, and industry. Keyword search helps you find jobs whose description includes a word that you’re looking for. For example, if you search for the keyword “accounting,” you will see jobs where the word accounting appears within the posting.

TIP: Save your searches to quickly access a set of filters you’ve used in the past.

Why should I contact other students on Handshake?

When you view a job or employer page, you can see other students who have worked there and reach out to them with your questions. You can get an inside look at company culture, interview tips, and more through company reviews. You can also find answers to common career questions (or ask your own!) in Q&A.

TIP: You can also search for students based on their major, work experiences, and more.

The Career Center is Here for You

As the Career Center continues to serve students and alumni remotely, we’ve repurposed our blog to keep you up to date on economic trends, businesses who are hiring during the economic downturn, a weekly “cool jobs” post to highlight some of the interesting opportunities in Handshake, stories of hope from previous recessions, and best practices for job searching right now (yes, you can still job search right now!). You can use the menu on the left to navigate to topics, or read the latest posts below. You will find old content on here; we’ve kept it because it’s still good content. Explore! And, as always, if you have questions, please be in touch. Right now, the best way to contact us is

As always, you can access all of the services the Career Center has to offer (including virtual appointments and online resume and cover letter reviews) through our website and on Handshake.  We are sharing additional articles and resources on our Twitter page @UNCACareer.

Podcast Transcript: Professional Actor

Professional Actor

Wed, 10/13 10:44AM • 36:25


actor, people, imagine, bit, audition, jason, job, opportunity, watch, big, folks, agent, peer group, gave, play, power rangers, acting, little bit, representation, unc asheville


Jason Faunt, David Earnhardt

David Earnhardt  00:00

Hi, I’m David, and I’m the host of The Cool Jobs Podcast, a conversation where we dive deep into some of the coolest jobs on the planet. This is the home for jobs you’ve never heard of, or ones you’ve never thought about before. This podcast is for students, learners, dreamers, or anyone who’s interested in finding out about the coolest jobs around. I’ll be speaking with experts across a wide spectrum of career possibilities with the hope that you’ll find inspiration for your own career. Thanks for joining in. Hi, I’m your host, David Earnhardt, and joining me today is Jason Faunt, Professional Actor. Jason, thanks so much for joining us today.

Jason Faunt  00:36

Thanks for having me.

David Earnhardt  00:37

This is such a cool thing. I have to say, I have the red Power Ranger with me today. In the podcast studio, thank you so much for joining us and just, just, have to, you know, kind of start off the questions with like, tell us a little bit about yourself. And a little bit about your background.

Jason Faunt  00:54

Well, you know, I went to college, I grew up outside of Chicago. And fortunately for me, I got a baseball scholarship to come down here to UNC Asheville, so I’d never been in the south. And I was very excited to get an offer to come down here because the weather’s better as a baseball player, right? You always want to be where the weather’s nicer. Although here, it’s 30 degrees today. So I don’t know what happened to that, but came down to Asheville, and really enjoyed my time down here enjoyed the beauty of this, this world. And it gave me a chance to live in the south, which was really cool coming from Chicago. And then two weeks after graduation, I got my business degree. And I had come to an epiphany, maybe a year or two earlier that I kind of hid from my parents, but I graduated, I came home and I said, Mom, I’m moving to LA to be an actor. And she said, Are you out of your mind? I said, Yep, I’m going. She said, No, you’re not, you’re not going to do it. And I packed up my stuff. And I left No kidding. Yeah, two weeks after college.

David Earnhardt  01:52

Oh, that’s, that’s amazing. I want to dig into that decision there for a minute. But I also want to say as a baseball player, I can imagine living in Chicago, if you have an out blowing wind that actually could probably help you a little bit.

Jason Faunt  02:04

That is true unless it’s cold. And of course then it kind of equals out but, but yeah. I mean yeah, you’re inside playing baseball in Chicago, you’re stuck indoors for so long. And as a guy from up there you always dream of this world where you can play baseball year round outside and, and that’s definitely what North Carolina is. It gave me more of an opportunity to do that. And it was, it was really fun.

David Earnhardt  02:27

I guess that there’s a reason why spring training is down in Florida and Texas and Southern California for exactly that reason. But some of these northern teams fall out a little bit. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That’s awesome. So Alright, so you were talking about coming down here and playing baseball and being a part of the Asheville community for a little while, and, and then you said Mom and, Dad, I’m moving to California. And I’m sure that it evokes this, this thought of the broke actor who is waiting tables and, you know, potentially having real financial struggles. So talk about that dynamic with your parents a little bit you might have, might have had to have a little convincing with them.

Jason Faunt  03:10

You know what, it’s funny because my parents were divorced since I was three. So I had my mom that thought it was just very impractical, you know. I had my best friend who went to USC. USC, the Southern Cal one, right? So I had a free place to live for three months in his fraternity house during the summertime. So he got me a job waiting tables. So the proverbial broke actor waiting tables was me. That was definitely me. My dad was all about it. He was like, you know, go for it. I mean, you know, at that point, there was no kids, you know, I had no real connections from a relationship standpoint. So I headed out there, and, and he was all about going for it. And it was every bit of a struggle. I mean, I was dead. I moved out there, I joke  with probably about $1500 to my name, I had a pickup truck with 200,000 miles with no air conditioning that I drove across the country. So I definitely was a part of that, that, group that did that and, and what a cool learning experience. And obviously, I look back now fondly, at those times, from where I am now. And it was definitely a character building moment.

David Earnhardt  04:16

Absolutely. And I can imagine too, like, there’s a little bit of a leap of faith. Like, you know what, I’m doing this, I have to know, for myself, if this is actually going to be something that works, that I can do, because if I don’t I’m going to be kicking myself the whole time.

Jason Faunt  04:30

Yeah. And that was in me, you know, baseball, was something I’d done my whole life. I was, you know, really, really good High School player, you know, great college player, but I kind of hit my end with it. You know, I knew that I was to the point where, okay, I’m gone as far as I could. I had to see that goal out. And then it was time to try something else and there was just, I was going for it. You know.

David Earnhardt  04:54

That’s awesome. And I could imagine being on on a team and having that kind of backing from a From teammates and things like that probably if some folks probably thought oh you’re crazy you’re going out there you’re never gonna make it and then there were other people who were, who had your back and were like look do it and you have this time in your life to do it. And so, but you’re probably used to being a little bit on stage anyway being you know, being on deck and also playing your position on the team, so talk about that a little bit, were you comfortable kind of being on stage as a result of your athletic career?

Jason Faunt  05:28

Yeah, I got to think there’s a certain amount because I, you know, I played football basketball and baseball through high school and we were a very successful football program so I guess yeah, it’s a good way to put it. I’ve never actually thought of that, but you are on stage, you are performing. There are nerves. There was a crowd. So I’m sure that definitely lent itself you know, from an athletic standpoint, where you’re taught especially when I came up, it was to never show emotion. You know, wipe it off, you’re fine. If it’s not broken, you’re good. Get back in the game,

David Earnhardt  05:56

Rub some dirt on it.

Rub some dirt on it, Yeah! So you know, that standpoint, you got to break those walls down a bit to have a little bit in terms of tapping into certain emotions with being an actor, because you’ve spent your whole life suppressing that, right? But being on stage, you’re right, it definitely helped. In terms of, you know, achieving goals, hard work, discipline, you know, athletics comes into all that stuff. Which you, you have to have as an actor, and I think it definitely lended itself to me today,

David Earnhardt  06:24

That’s awesome. So you’re in Southern California, it’s beach by day, and are going on calls by day or acting classes, working in the restaurant at night being the waiter. And so I think a lot of folks kind of have a misconception around being an actor and how you know, how people get found, you know. Because there are folks who are, you know, they were literally walking in a mall one day, and a scouting agent just happened to see them and bring them in. And then there are a hundred stories of folks who, who were in all of the right acting classes and had done all of the preparation work and went on 1000 auditions and never got a call. So kind of talk to us a little bit about that experience for you. Of how you got an agent, how you started going on auditions, like talk a little bit about that process?

Jason Faunt  07:21

Well, you know, the smartest thing I did when I went to Los Angeles, is I knew that I had no formal training as an actor. Um, and you know, what’s funny about Los Angeles is, they joke about every prom king and queen move out there because they think they’re good looking, and they’re gonna become stars. And it couldn’t be farther from the truth. So the smartest thing I did is I went out there and I got involved in the best acting classes I could afford. And I just pinned my ears back, I humbled myself, I kept my mouth shut, and I learned. I had no expectations early on, I wanted to just go in and learn, get on set, even as an extra. Find a way to be on set to watch the professionals. You know, even if I were here, you know, obviously, you’ve been doing this, you know, your way around. I could watch you know, if I was a beginner, I wouldn’t know where the mic goes, and I can’t yell in the mic. All those little things. So I just listened and learned and watched and waited until I felt I was comfortable enough to go in the room. So I didn’t just go out there and fail miserably. And then, you know, once I felt comfortable, the group of people, my acting class became my peer group, where together we were helping to get agents helping to get representation that can get us these auditions. And that’s kind of where it all started.

David Earnhardt  08:31

So tell us a little bit about that agent process. Because I mean, I think we’ve all seen maybe the poor representation of what an agent might look like. 

Jason Faunt  08:42

Sure. Sure

David Earnhardt  08:43

And then potentially there are I mean, the Britney Spears documentary came out and talked about how you know how poor representation really, really changed her life and so I’m just kind of curious for you like how did you get into that working relationship with someone that you could trust and build that rapport?

Jason Faunt  09:05

Well, it’s tough because there’s some pretty murky waters out there you know. And everybody, especially when I moved out there in 97 it was a different world. Before 911 reality shows didn’t exist so it was a whole different world for those four years and you know, you’re going around everybody’s trying to be a star .The agent has the power to get you in the rooms so everyone’s just trying to be the Yes man getting on there and so it’s hard .You just hope that I mean, the reason I got the manager I got is because my acting coach who I was paying money to every month right at certain point I said “hey, you know, how would I go? you know, who would be good representation that you know could help me out? And you know, he’s gonna put you in the hands of someone that’s good. That’s not seedy,  all those other things. And then that worked for me, you know, so it’s all about that referral process out there like it is in most of life. I was lucky to get out with a good Rep. And that got me opportunities, Power Rangers ultimate being one of them .And then over time you just start getting, like anything else you start gaining experience, you get more clout and you have a little bit more choice as you further your way out in the city

David Earnhardt  10:13

yeah because I can imagine there, every agent that you ever talk to is going to promise you the world right? they’re going to promise to make you a star and they’re going to promise that the world will be eating out of your hand, and I can imagine that you probably have to have a pretty strong BS-meter. And so tell us a little bit about that process a little bit of like determining how do you know if someone is being genuine?

Jason Faunt  10:39

Well, I guess ultimately, it just comes down to you know, you hear those things all the time. And it just comes down to experience of just kind of knowing and ultimately they’re gonna have to get you in the rooms. It still happens to me now you’ll get representation. Most of the jobs I get now are just through my relationships, ironically, where I don’t even need my agent .But you know, over time you kind of see like, Hey, you know, we’ve been together for six months, there’s only been two opportunities, what’s going on? you already know their excuses, let’s reshoot headshots. Let’s do this. And you just kind of eventually feel out based on their performance. If they can’t get you in the room to even audition then they’re not worth anything. And I’ve gone through many many representatives during the years of just guys who say they can do things and they don’t and you move on.

David Earnhardt  11:29

Right, now, and I would imagine you probably have to be pretty willing to walk away and have that kind of fortitude in yourself to say “you know this person isn’t working out and I need to I need to move forward”

Jason Faunt  11:40

Well, it’s scary because yeah, the agents are the ones that get you into the rooms, and especially as a younger actor you have to have the ability to say “you’re not getting the job opportunities”. And then I remember once early on in my career, I’m like “hey, what’s the opportunity what’s going on this week?” And they’re like “hey, you’re bugging us too much. We’re gonna let you go” and that really set me that really took me back for a bit because I’m like wow, you got a guy who’s like what’s next? What are we doing there’s been no opportunities so I need you to get me in these rooms and they let me go so you know it’s a give and take with that you’ve got to feel it out. But Hollywood like most things is a perseverance game .You gotta just keep doing the work you gotta stay involved you gotta be on time you gotta be a good person and hopefully the opportunities start to you know present themselves 

David Earnhardt  12:29

That’s awesome 

Jason Faunt  12:30


David Earnhardt  12:31

And I would imagine too, that as much glitz and kind of glamour as you see on television with around Hollywood there are there are these folks who have one have one face for it for television, for the for the camera, and then they have a different reputation behind the camera or after they’re not on screen. And so I can imagine that that wears thin pretty quickly. In an industry where it’s referral based and where folks need to like you.

Jason Faunt  13:01

It’s amazing and I can tell a zillion stories of like. I remember one time, here’s one good story I’ll tell, when we were, I’ll use Power Rangers because everybody knows that show because I’ve done other projects, but we were in the room and they wanted, there was down to like two of us there was two guys left that were going to be the Red Ranger to girls left that we’re going to be the pink and we all knew because we we were all in this waiting room. And they were letting people go and the audition for power rangers lasted like five months.

David Earnhardt  13:26


Jason Faunt  13:27

It was like they’d call you in and you’d read and then three four weeks later “Okay, callbacks” three four weeks later callbacks and I couldn’t, like it just went on for months got down to the end and you just knew that there was these two guys are the Red Ranger these two girls are the pink these two girls are the yellow and they were bringing us in in different groupings Like “Jason we want to see you with Deborah and Aaron” and guys get against the wall, like a police line!” But they want to see how tall we were compared to each other, how we would look on screen and “guys take your shoes off and stand against the wall” we just want to see the height differences .Like if I’m like 6’8’’ and she’s 5’2’’ well that maybe looks weird 

David Earnhardt  14:03


Jason Faunt  14:04

The girl who was reading for the Yellow Ranger goes “I’m not taking my shoes off in public” and they say well “we just want to see us that your real height you got some like kind of like heels on. If you can just get, you know, we’re in a carpeted room, it’s clean, it’s not, right, just take your shoes off. And we just wanna see the height”  “I don’t take my shoes off in public” and I’m thinking to myself sitting next to her “Girl what are you doing?” Take it, even there’s hot coals on the ground, this is an opportunity .And you see those, and of course she didn’t get it.

David Earnhardt  14:32

Yeah no kidding 

Jason Faunt  14:34

Yeah, so you hear, you see these stories you think “wow it’s amazing how people shoot themselves in the foot” I imagine, other jobs are the same. But yeah, you got to be likable you gotta be you know fun on set and people do notice

David Earnhardt  14:45

No kidding. Yeah, it’s hard to shoot yourself in the foot if you don’t take your shoes off. 

Jason Faunt  14:50

Yeah, yeah,

David Earnhardt  14:51

That’s kind of amazing, something small, right? I mean, like it’s something that was a personal choice for her and she wanted to represent herself in a specific way. And It was a very small thing, but that ended up being the determining factor.

Jason Faunt  15:03

Why not? You got two people who are equal level, equal Look, they were the same gender, same ethnicity. And one just like, “I’m not taking my shoes off”. They’re like, well, if she’s gonna be like that. What’s she gonna be like on set? 

David Earnhardt  15:16

Right, Absolutely.

Jason Faunt  15:18

And I wonder now I don’t remember who the girl was. But I wonder if she looks back because it was, you know, Power Rangers has grown immensely. I’ve gotten so many jobs from it. And I just wonder, if she ,whoever this girl is, if she remembers that moment still.

David Earnhardt  15:29

Huh? Well, that’s, that’s

Jason Faunt  15:31


David Earnhardt  15:32

Yeah, it’s crazy. Oh, alright, so you talked about a five month process of auditioning for Power Rangers. And I can imagine that because you’re an actor. And because you kind of have to access different emotional, different emotional points. And they’re going to ask you to, you know, to, to laugh a bunch of times, they’re going to ask you to cry a couple of times, and they’re going to ask you to be angry or excited. I can imagine that there is kind of an emotional exhaustion that hits almost every time you do an audition. Is there some kind of internal well that you dip into at the end of each day saying, yep, I still want to do this. This is still what I want to be doing.

Jason Faunt  16:18

Yeah, definitely is. I mean, the good thing now, well the last year, auditions aren’t the same because people aren’t in person. I did have an in person audition for the first time, because a lot of the last five or six projects have been just offers when they call and say “Hey, what’s your rate? We’d like to book you”. And it’s, it’s been lucky because you don’t have to actually, you know, compete for it. But I did have one the other day, and I don’t know, I’ve enjoyed the audition process. You know, you’re in a room like this. You’re there. You got the camera. I’m just here with a chair. And that’s it. Right? And I don’t know, somehow I think I’ve psyched myself into wanting that challenge. And I think you have to do that you have to enjoy the process of doing that. So on set. Yeah, emotional scenes, certain scenes, angry scenes. It definitely takes it out of you, right? Yeah, it definitely is, you know, but, uh, but I’ve always just seemingly enjoyed the process.

David Earnhardt  17:10

That’s cool. And I can imagine that there is, almost, when you actually get the part, there’s probably like a little bit of like, a, I don’t know, a joyous, like, pat on the shoulder. Like, alright, I did it, I was able to do the thing.

Jason Faunt  17:22

Yeah. Absolutely

David Earnhardt  17:24

That’s awesome. That’s excellent. So talk a little bit about your support structure, you know, because no one I don’t think anybody is, is good alone. And so, you know, especially in a world like Hollywood, so talk a little bit about like, you know, did you have mentors coming up through as an actor? Do you have a support system that you’re working with now? Like, talk a little bit about that process for you?

Jason Faunt  17:49

Well, it’s evolved, it’s naturally evolved .In the beginning. Yeah, you are very alone out there. You’re an acting class with a bunch of actors who are rooting for you, but not. You know.

David Earnhardt  17:57

Yeah, because you’re in competition a bit. Right?

Jason Faunt  18:01

You are but it’s weird. I’ve always been supportive of, I think you can harbor a little jealousy if a guy that kind of looks like you gets fame, not fame, success. That’s such a weird word. But um, I’ve always rooted for my fellow actors who are the girls or you know, not like me. but you do get a lot of weird jealousy there. So the peers in the beginning were my acting coach. You know, and then ultimately, over time, you start to create relationships with, especially as I became more successful with other celebrities, that kind of understand what you’ve gone through, who you are, you don’t really want anything from each other because you’ve been successful. So now my peer group, ironically, my peers are a group of people that I used to watch on TV, you know, some of these guys like Lou Ferrigno, you know, the Hulk and Flash Gordon who played you know, Sam Jones plays Flash Gordon. So it’s kind of cool traveling and being with some of these guys that I watched his kids. And now these guys are, you know, my peer group?

David Earnhardt  18:58

Yeah. So Alright, so I have to ask you the question, right? I mean, like you watched these folks on television growing up, did you have like a weird, like, fan geek moment where you’re like, it’s the Hulk! I, Ah, I have to go talk to him!

Jason Faunt  19:11

There. There was a couple. I mean, I’ve, I’ve, hung out and signed autographs with Jason momoa. Who’s Aqua man. I spent time with him, which is interesting, cuz he’s a big character,

David Earnhardt  19:23

And a big guy.

Jason Faunt  19:25

And a big guy. He’s a big, a big guy. He’s kind of refreshing. But he’s like a big lumberjack. He’s there drinking beer and a normal guy. Tom Holland, Spider Man. It’s kind of interesting. You do some of these Comic Cons and you’re with some people that are at this time really, really, really big celebrities. And it’s interesting still, from my standpoint, who’s not that guy to watch some of these guys .How they work and what they do, how they carry themselves. I’m always a student in the game. I’m breaking things down all the time. I watch the way people sit the way they act, the way they, you know, so it’s pretty cool to spend time with these people. And then again, That would be more of a peer group but who was big? Who was I really excited for? I can’t. It’ll come to me. It’ll come to me. Yeah, maybe Sam Jones. Okay. Because Flash Gordon, I grew up with, and that was a big thing watching that in the movie theaters. 

David Earnhardt  20:12

Absolutely. A lot of special effects in that movie too.

Jason Faunt  20:13

Yeah, and him and I talk all the time now.

David Earnhardt  20:15

That’s got to feel really cool to look up to someone and then also be able to be in the same peer group as them. Yeah. So you mentioned like Tom Holland, and Jason Momoa, and things, and I’m just curious, like, do you? Do you see them and and think, you know, I’m kind of happy at my, in my level of fame and, and celebrity? Or do you find yourself saying, You know what, I could take another step I could find, I would really be interested in finding a role that puts me at a similar level of of fame and notoriety as some of those folks.

Jason Faunt  20:58

For sure. Yeah, I’m always ready for that. 

David Earnhardt  21:02

Okay. Yeah

Jason Faunt  21:03

For me, what’s cool about it, though, is I’ve been very good at measuring my success, you know, and I always say to people, if I compare myself to Brad Pitt, I failed miserably. But if I compare myself to other actors that I’ve seen come and go over 20 years, I’ve been a vast success. So I choose to, to create my success, my happiness based on that metric of I’m able to work, I do well in life. You know, you could say all that fame causes so many problems. Sure. I mean, you know, I’m sure it can at their level. But for me, it’s like, I’m on this journey, I’m gonna try the best I can. And you just gotta let the universe take over. And I’ve been really good at accepting that. So if I’m there, I always think I can handle that no problem, right? But if I’m not, I’m like, Okay, then this is what the universe has in store for me, and I’m okay with that.

David Earnhardt  21:45

That’s awesome. And I can imagine it, it takes a lot of the pressure off to have, like, you know, looking for the perfect script and looking for the perfect, you know, opportunity to get you to a certain level like it, it kind of removes some of that pressure to have a little bit more of a grounded approach.

Jason Faunt  22:02

Yeah, and those guys, I mean, you know, with the mask on, I don’t get recognized, you know, as much as I used to, but um, with the mask off it’s like you do, you have to be aware you’ll go places and and, you know, I was just traveling back from Vegas the other day, and we stopped in Barstow for food, and, you know, fans recognize you and they want a picture. So you have to be ready for that. Their level is crazy. Because with cell phones now like oh, my gosh, I mean, you can’t do anything, say anything. And it’s got to be incredibly pressure to just every second just act a certain way. So I don’t know how those guys do it now. Because that would be very tough. But yeah, immense pressure. Yeah. But then you get guys like Jason Momoa, he just, I mean, he just doesn’t care. It’s kind of funny. He’s just like, it’s kind of surprising. You’re like, wow, you know?

David Earnhardt  22:54

Well, you know if you’re Khal Drogo nobody’s gonna really mess with you.

Jason Faunt  22:58

Yeah, we’ll be at Comic Cons and he’s just like drinking beers. And he’s like “Come on, get a beer”. And I’m like, you know, I’m not drinking here like I’m working. “Come on, get a Guinness, get one in ya!” you know, sorry, Jay. I can’t not not now, you know. So anyway, it’s, it’s, it’s cool, because it’s a lot of great stories. And I never thought that I would have all these experiences. And you know, and here I am. And it’s hard to explain how or why but here I am.

David Earnhardt  23:24

 That’s awesome. Well, I think you’ve kind of highlighted a couple of things, which is you know, the perseverance and willingness to work and study and be a student of the game I think was the word that you used. So I think it, you know, I can pull out several little threads that you’ve talked about having that helps you be successful. So um, so I always like to kind of ask in this in this context of, you know, what, if you were giving advice to someone who is who was at UNC Asheville, and you know, kind of interested in finding out, you know, how they maybe they’re in a drama course, or maybe they’re, you know, they’re a dance major, or, you know, there’s performance in them, they’re a musician? What advice would you give to someone who is, you know, just kind of looking at this as an option? And, and how would you suggest they go forward?

Jason Faunt  24:15

Well, it’s funny, I just spent an hour at the theater department talking to drama class over there. And we touched on a lot of this, which was really cool. And it and I always tell people that you know, obviously perseverance, hard work, being on time, all those things that should be Givens but sometimes aren’t. But it’s really a matter of again, like we touched on earlier. How do you define happiness? How do you set your metric for success? And I tell them all the time, get involved in that community. Don’t think because it’s regional theater, you’re too good for it. Don’t think because you’re an extra on set, you’re too good for it. If they’re filming something in Asheville, get on set, get on set, watch and learn, be involved. And I think that’s a big takeaway in the entertainment business is that the people think they’re too big for certain parts. I won’t do that. Not at all. I mean, you have to be willing to get in there, get dirty, start from the beginning, be involved. And that’s how you create your community. That’s how you meet a lot of people. Because I think a lot of people again, they lose opportunities by saying, Well, I’m not going to go be Indian number five in The Last of The Mohicans, right? I’m too good for that. You’re like, No, you’re not. You’re on set. You’re learning. You’re watching the main actors. And that’s just what I did. I mean, I just got on set anyway, I could so I could just sit there watch everything people did. I do. But to me, that’s a big thing in that world, because, again, if you’re like, Oh my god, I’m not Brad Pitt. Well, then I would have petered out, I would have flamed out, but I would have missed all these amazing opportunities I’ve had being me. So make sure that you just if you’re working, and you’re involved, you’re succeeding. That’s it, and you have to enjoy those wins.

David Earnhardt  25:51

And I can imagine if you can watch Daniel Day Lewis do his job, then I think you’ve probably won.

Jason Faunt  25:55

Exactly, there you go. I forgot. Yeah. He was in The Last of The Mohicans.

David Earnhardt  25:59

He was Yeah. So it was a masterclass I would imagine. That’s excellent. So as you know, as a graduate of UNC Asheville, we are the public Liberal Arts and Sciences University for the University of North Carolina system. And one of the things that I always like to talk to our guests about on the podcast is how you would say that you’ve used your degree, I mean, you mentioned having a business degree and and that being your your, one of your last touch points with UNC Asheville as a student and now as an alum. Coming back as an actor it’s a little bit of a shift but I’m just kind of curious how you’d say you’ve used your degree.

Jason Faunt  26:43

Well you know, the other thing that people don’t realize as an actor. you know, you’re your own Corporation, your own retirement plan, your own everything. So I think it gave me a practical sense of how to manage my life, my money that a lot of very straight up creative actors don’t have you know. They go out there without much college education, they’re just kind of flying and they’re extremely creative people but you can’t get them focused on what am I doing with my money? What does my retirement plan look like? Am I doing IRAs? Am I putting dollars away? So I think it gave me somewhat of a practical sense in a very creative world in terms of structuring my time. Just how I handle everything from time management to running my business, which is myself .So I think it helped me on that end which you have to have out there you know, people don’t realize they see this big stories of the the A-list actors which are few and far between and they just think we have all you know, millions and millions of dollars and in my experience, for the vast majority of us. That’s just not the case out there. It’s not the case

David Earnhardt  27:48


Jason Faunt  27:49

Social media will tell you that but it’s not the case. So it’s, I think it gave me a lot of ways to structure my time in my life besides the creative side.

David Earnhardt  27:55

Yeah, and I can imagine too, that, you know, having the ability to professionally kind of scratch the edge of being creative and having that focus, and then having some professional training on the things that will keep you afloat long term.

Jason Faunt  28:08

Yeah, absolutely.

David Earnhardt  28:10

Sounds, Sounds like it was super useful. That’s awesome. Yeah. So describe that being your own Corporation thing. That’s a neat phrase that I’m interested in kind of digging in a little bit on, because I think we you mentioned the A-list actors who you know are multimillionaires and the actors on friends all got a million dollars in episode and now just about everybody gets a million dollars an episode like but it was a big deal at the time

Jason Faunt  28:38


David Earnhardt  28:39

So you know kind of talk to me about like you’re maybe you’re working for scale, or you’re on a set for a limited window of time and so you know, you’re having to try to try to balance the financial piece, and also staying in the game staying in as an actor and keeping your your sag membership alive and those types of things for health insurance and that kind of stuff. Like talk to me about the balance of that and how do you decide what’s important?

Jason Faunt  29:07

Well, I think as a young actor you’ve got to keep your overhead low. You can’t get too into I booked a job, let me buy a nice car, let me do this .So you’ve got to keep your overhead low so you can still be creative. You know now you know I own a home in LA the car that I drive two kids, I have to make certain decisions because I can’t just do things the same as I could when I was 22 so i think is a young actor Yeah, you know keep your overhead low so you can just go be free and work. Because Yeah, once you have bills to pay and obligations, it changes your decision making. Right now I have a mix of doing Comic Cons and appearances where it’s really financially good for me where I can go do those, and I can have a little more freedom to do certain projects. But you do have to balance it out. I mean, you have to Make money and the crazy thing now with social media I mean you have to be equally on your toes with posting things right. I mean getting on set and you even when I walked in here the first thing you did was took a picture, right?  and as crazy as that seems it you know when you build up your brand it tells people what you’re doing “okay I’m here at my alma mater they’re having me speak about careers and they’re having me you know do this” and people start to go “wow he’s important” “he’s doing things” “he’s wanted” and all that in Hollywood works, you know, once they start seeing he’s doing this he doing that we want him now. So you have to be up on your social media as well. Which is another crazy you know, avenue of all this stuff.

David Earnhardt  30:40

And also it can blow up in your face, too. I mean, there’s plenty of examples of folks who have tweeted something or…

Jason Faunt  30:48

Yeah, stay away from that.

David Earnhardt  30:50

Posted something on Instagram. That’s like, yep, that was a mistake. Yeah, that moves me back a stage of space are two on the board. 

Jason Faunt  30:58

Yeah, absolutely.

That’s awesome. I would be so bad at social media. I’m so bad with social media anyway, that I would, if I was ever a professional actor, I would be in real trouble.

Jason Faunt  31:07

Well, it’s, what’s funny is that, you know, that’s the vision now, people have an insight into your world. So good or bad, right or wrong. You’re giving people insight into who you are. So yeah, I mean, you can almost create I mean, you’ve seen it now people have created fame off of nothing, right? It’s crazy. 

David Earnhardt  31:28


Jason Faunt  31:30

So yeah,it’s a whole new world and reality shows. You know, Hollywood is very different from what it was in 97.

David Earnhardt  31:36

Absolutely. Very different. Yeah. And I can imagine it probably felt a little bit like you drinking from the firehose, like you came in, and you’re expecting one thing, and then it’s totally different 20 years from now.

Jason Faunt  31:45

Yeah, that’s all. Absolutely.

David Earnhardt  31:48

Well, I always like to take this opportunity in the podcast to ask the guest a question where they can kind of pay it forward a little bit, kind of ask who you think has a cool job and why.

Jason Faunt  32:04

Who? out of the entertainment Industry? I assume

David Earnhardt  32:07

Or it can be someone who wants to walk on the moon. I mean, it could be anybody that you think that has a cool job?

Jason Faunt  32:13

Gosh, you know, I you know, I’ve kind of been on the Elon Musk train lately. Just because I think it’s pretty cool what he’s been doing. He’s trying to create these 700 mile high speed rail lines. And so I don’t know it seems pretty cool that he’s on the forefront of such technology. So I think he’s got a pretty cool job. I think that’s an easy answer. You know, someone that I really really love their career and their path is Jason Bateman. He was in Ozark recently. He’s done a lot of movies. He’s been out for a long time. Never Too big. Never too little. And it just allows him to keep working right? So you know I kind of think that his career model has been fantastic. And I enjoy watching him as a fellow actor a lot you know, Game Night if you haven’t seen it, Horrible Bosses, hilarious movies yeah but he and then he’s doing Ozark which is a more serious role so yeah, I think right now that that’s someone I really envy because he just he just methodically had probably four decades going in Hollywood and that’s the goal for me

David Earnhardt  33:14

That’s awesome. Yeah, yeah, he was, he played the fox in Zootopia and really did some voice acting and that kind of thing

Jason Faunt  33:23

He’s everywhere.

David Earnhardt  33:24

Yeah. Awesome. Well, thanks for that. I always like seeing, kind of in the world that you’re in, kind of  who do you think has a cool job? Yeah.

Jason Faunt  33:30

Tom Brady might be another one, right?

David Earnhardt  33:31

You know what seven Super Bowls. And I would. He is a year older than me! 

Jason Faunt  33:40

It’s crazy. 

David Earnhardt  33:41

How am I not? It’s really hard not to compare yourself

Jason Faunt  33:43

Yeah, it’s crazy. He’s an anomaly.

David Earnhardt  33:47

That’s it? Well, I want to thank you so much for your time and, you know sharing your space with us, and sharing a little bit about your history and about your job How can folks find out more about you, and about what you’re, what you’ve got going on?

Jason Faunt  34:02

Social media is the best way Instagram is jasonfaunt it’s just the one. There’s sometimes fakes that come up but the jasonfaunt with a little blue checkmark. Twitter is thejasonfaunt and Facebook is thejasonfauntfansite. And then also where we put up a lot of stuff, but Instagram is what I see, I actually will go on, and I try and respond back to fans. You know, comment back to people. I do look at those things. So Instagram is where I’ll announce every appearance, every new project. And that’s where I mostly am.

David Earnhardt  34:32

That’s awesome. Well, what’s uh, can you give us a little teaser about a project that you’re that you’ve got coming up that you’re really excited about that you want to talk about?

Jason Faunt  34:39

Yeah, yeah, there’s two of them. One is a mafia crime series called For Nothing based on the book For Nothing. That was a lot of fun. We filmed in Buffalo. I starred with Michael Madsen, Daniel Baldwin, and myself. Had a really great cast and they’re trying to create, I hate to say that we’re the new Sopranos, right, but it’s based on a Buffalo crime family and their relationship with the New York mafia. So I’m hoping that that goes to series. That’s a big thing For Nothing. And then I got a chance to play a bad guy on a new series they’re trying to get called Star Trek Ominara Renegade. So that goes to the prequel of Nichelle Nichols’ character. And so I got to, again, got to play a bad guy in that so those are two shows, the Star Trek one and for nothing that have recently been filmed that hopefully get picked up and then you know, and then we’re off and running. If not, I’m looking for the next job 

David Earnhardt  35:37

For the next one. 

Jason Faunt  35:38

Yeah, that’s awesome. 

Jason Faunt  35:40

Yeah, never ends.

David Earnhardt  35:42

Well, we’ll be looking forward to both of those, the Star Trek and also the For Nothing. Looking forward to seeing those and seeing you on the both small and big screen at some point here moving forward. Well, Jason, thanks so much for spending your time with us and sharing such a cool job. I really appreciate it.

Jason Faunt  35:55

I have, Thank you for having me. It’s been fun. Thanks so much. 

David Earnhardt  35:57

Thanks for listening to The Cool Jobs Podcast, a service of the Career Center at UNC Asheville. Like what you heard? Give us a like, share with your friends and subscribe. Next week we’ll be talking to Kimmy Hunter, Tiny Home Builder, so make sure to check it out. See you next time.

10/18/2021 Cool Jobs and Internships

Cool Jobs

Opportunity Culture Consultant (Levels I and II) at Public Impact
Community Engagement Specialist with the City of Seattle

Tech jobs fair for companies in Charleston SC on October 19

Project Coordinator at Louisiana State University – Human Resource Management
Life Science Research Professional 1 at Stanford School of Medicine
Development Coordinator for Foundations Relations at Woodwell Climate Research Center
Web Producer / Writer at TMZ
Human Resources Assistant at Oregon Tech
Courts, Law & Democracy Reporter- Policy Watch at The North Carolina Justice Center
Automation Controls Engineer at Atom Power

Cool Internships

Serviceability Engineering, Intern at Dell Technologies
Food Innovation Intern (Summer 2022) at RaceTrac

Cool Local Jobs
Senior Corporate Recruiter at AeroFlow Healthcare

Design Consultant at Atelier Maison 

Program directors/site coordinators, Pisgah Legal Services
Program director, Thrive Asheville
Business Coaching Specialist at Mountain Bizworks
Director of Sales at East Fork Pottery

Cool Local Internships
Check out The Internship Event this Thursday, we’ll have a BUNCH!

Cool On Campus Jobs

Programming Supervisor – ACE Director of Community at UNC Asheville – Highsmith Student Union

Cool extra:
Banksy’s painting that shred itself after it was sold, has just been sold again, for more than 25 million dollars

My thoughts for the week

This week is The Internship Event, an opportunity to hear from about 20 internship sites who pitch their opportunities to students in attendance.  After the pitches conclude, we’ll open the room for students to meet with sites they’re interested in.  We’ve got internships in big companies, mom and pops, and nonprofits. Internships run a wide spectrum from tax accounting internships to an opportunity to get a movie entered into film festivals!  See the full list of opportunities by clicking here.
The Internship Event will be from 12-1pm on Thursday, October 21, and we hope to see you there!


Internship Success led me to Tesla

This summer I worked as a Manufacturing Engineering Intern at NGK in Mooresville, NC (my hometown). I worked on a variety of unique projects designing new mechanisms and working with many other departments and engineers. I really enjoyed working as a Manufacturing Engineer; it’s a position I truly didn’t know existed until this summer, and it is something I’d like to pursue in the future.

I also was a part of the NASA Proposal Writing and Evaluation Experience (NPWEE), where I was on a team with 11 other students. Our challenge was to write a full research proposal on a new technology or innovation related to the space industry. Our project is a new type of solar panel, and an effective manufacturing process behind it. At the end of the program, one of the teams is selected to receive a $10,000 grant to pursue their research project. Out of the 40 teams this year, my team was fortunate enough to receive the grant! So, we will be pursuing the research project over the next couple of years.

A few months ago a recruiter from Tesla reached out to me about fall internship opportunities. So, I applied and was lucky enough to get an interview. After reviewing a lot of the information we talked about, and a lot of other preparation, the interview went really well and I got the job! So, this fall I am working in Fremont, CA as a Manufacturing Quality Engineering Intern. In this position we will be monitoring all of the quality issues with many manufacturing processes, and designing new ways to prevent those problems.

Why did you pursue an internship? I wanted to get a better understanding of the work and roles in an industry I am interested in.

How did the Career Center help you in finding/applying/preparing for the internship? The Career Center provides extremely helpful information about resume writing and interview preparation. I was able to utilize these resources over the past year. Their documentation and visiting hours were extremely helpful in refining my approach to job applications and interviews.

What would you tell other students that haven’t done an internship before? The purpose of an internship is to learn; it’s to give you an idea of whether or not you enjoy the company, industry, or role you are in. It’s important to find a mentor who can guide you through the process, and of course to have fun while doing something you are interested in. Something I like to keep in mind is that you can’t get the job if you don’t apply for it. Applying for jobs and internships is a skill, and the more time you spend interviewing and writing resumes, the better your chances will be of getting the job you want. So, it’s extremely important to expose yourself to as much experience as possible.

What skills do you think you have gained from your internship? My current internship is very project management focused. I’ve learned a lot about working in teams, communicating and working with people in other disciplines and departments, in addition to analysing complex problems and finding solutions. In my past internship over the summer I also strengthened my technical skills of CAD, designing, and machining in addition to a variety of soft skills.

What was most valuable about the experience? I think the most valuable part of an internship is getting an inside look at something you could be a part of later in your life. It gives you an opportunity to evaluate whether or not you enjoy what you are doing, and to ask valuable questions directly from the source. After an internship I am able to further evaluate whether or not the position, company, or industry is something that I am truly passionate about. Another extremely valuable part of an internship is the skills you learn. Real world experience is everything (especially for engineering and science!). All of the projects I have worked on during my internships ultimately translate into skills that apply to everything I do, and I will use them for the rest of my life. I’ve been fortunate enough to have very action packed internships where I learn something new every day. One of the most valuable skills is to be open minded and considerate when working on projects, and to collaborate well with others in order to achieve the goals of the team.

Matthew Taboada, UNCA 2025

10/11/2021 Cool Jobs & Internships

Cool Jobs

Associate, Food, Agriculture & Natural Resources at Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities
WETLANDS PROGRAM SPECIALIST (Environmentalist III) #21366 at New Hampshire Department of Transportation
Chewy Marketing Associate at Chewy
Research Assistant at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Cool Internships

Fundraising Intern – Spring 2022 at Nuclear Threat Initiative
Spring 2022 Intern- Performance Marketing (Remote) at ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Spring Internships 2022 at Bipartisan Policy Center
Resilience Consulting Intern (June 2022) at Arup

Cool Local Jobs

PR and Digital Marketing Account Coordinator at Darby Communications

Check out jobs in the outdoor industry with this new job board

Library Services Specialist II or Social Work Assistant  at Catawba County Government

Program Director at The Meditation Center

Health Justice Outreach and Enrollment Specialist at Pisgah Legal Services

Bookkeeper/Office Administrator at Mother Earth Foods

My thoughts for the week

Some positive news on the Covid front, the US is currently reporting a 40% drop in infections over the past month, with an 11% drop in the last 7 days.  While we’re certainly not out of the woods yet, it’s a positive step!  

In honor of Indigenous People’s day I thought it might be nice to share the job board for the Cherokee Nation and a listing of companies in the state owned by all people of color.  While we are reflecting on the role native peoples have played in history, I look forward to a future that honors the past while building toward a collective good.

I wish you all a great week.


Podcast Transcript: Financial Roadmap Specialist

Wed, 9/29 10:02AM • 48:16


work, clients, people, bank, talking, piece, bit, appointments, organization, job, position, conversation, person, financial, business, little bit, important, role, grew, find


David Earnhardt, Ryan Huston

David Earnhardt  00:00

Hi, I’m David and I’m the host of The Cool Jobs Podcast, a conversation where we dive deep into some of the coolest jobs on the planet. This is the home for jobs you’ve never heard of, or ones you never thought about before. This podcast is for students, learners, dreamers, or anyone who’s interested in finding out about the coolest jobs around. I’ll be speaking with experts across a wide spectrum of career possibilities with the hope that you’ll find inspiration for your own career. Thanks for joining in. I’m your host David Earnhardt, Associate Director for Employer Relations at UNC Asheville and joining me today is Ryan Huston, Financial Roadmap Specialist. Ryan, thanks so much for joining us for The Cool Jobs Podcast. We’re super excited you’re here. 

Ryan Huston

Thanks for having me, David. 

David Earnhardt

Well, first, you know, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to be where you are.

Ryan Huston  00:47

Yeah, so I’m 33 years old. I was born in New York, upstate New York near Albany. Moved down to North Carolina when I was very young. My father was transferred to work, so I spent the majority of my life here in North Carolina. Asheboro actually is where I grew up, home of the North Carolina Zoo Of course. I graduated high school in 2005, and then made my way through community college there in Randolph county and then eventually finishing up with my Associate of Science and Business Administration from Cape Fear Community College and then yeah, so while working in school works, I worked various odd jobs in a couple different industries food and beverage of course, is where it started as most most college students work in for flexibility.

David Earnhardt


Ryan Huston 

Transition into sales and then into into the banking and financial guidance.

David Earnhardt  01:44

Very good. Well, so tell me you know, we talked a little bit before this about a ….about… about your title and what it is that you what it is that you do so, you know, tell us a little bit about your role and what a financial roadmap specialist actually does.

Ryan Huston  02:05

Yeah, so I actually… I work inside of a bank, a financial center, and I see I mean various clients throughout the day so my book is great because it’s usually appointments only, so I can see what my day looks like when I walk in the door. I meet with small business clients, consumer clients, I meet with… I mean, I have… you know, high school kids opening up their first bank account so it’s a wide variety of people that they actually see on a daily basis. And then my job is to really sit down, take note of what the goals are for the clients that I see and then help structure a plan towards success and the beauty here is I get to… I really get to establish a lot of relationships with these clients on a regular basis so as we move through their needs and establish goals and accountability measures we set up follow up appointments and we you know, we… we really stay in touch. We can make sure that everyone’s on the same page working towards the same common goal. It’s a really… It’s a really rewarding experience.

David Earnhardt  03:11

So give me an example of something that… where somebody might come in and you know they’re… they’re new to the bank and they’re new to having a… having a bank account maybe and you know, just trying to figure out what… what they’re looking for long term and short term. What’s an example maybe that you can come up with is one that is a client maybe that came in recently that you that you really enjoyed working with

Ryan Huston  03:37

Yeah, so I actually had a…well speaking of new banking, I’ll kind of start there. I had a client recently who was I believe 17 so, first bank account without parents because you can be usually 17 depending on the bank to open that up. I mean, really didn’t know… I mean, it’s so bizarre for me to think at this age what it was like to have my first debit card, but that was a thing that we all had to go through at some point it was to learn how to use the card and how to budget and spend so this… this individual in particular, just had no… no real guidance on the home front as far as what to do and how to manage so, this was a lengthier interaction where we just talked about what it’s like to have this card, what the responsibility looks like and then what budgeting looks like. So really looking from starting at square one of how do we fund the account, what do we do with the account, what are we not allowed to do with the account and then going through basically… going through just how to kind of be an adult with bills and… and… and figure out what that what that looks like from this… from this landscape. It was in… so you know, this is about…it wasn’t recent, but it was in the past six months, and since then this person is turned 18 years old, we’ve gotten the first credit card under our belt, or we’re trying to learn how to build credit and establish that, because that’s a difficult task. That’s the… that’s the thing that most, and I will say this to most minors or even 18 year olds don’t know how to establish credit or maintain good positive credit. So that’s another piece of the position that I… I might implement it with… especially younger clients that just don’t know. But that’s a… it’s- it’s very exciting for me to get in on that ground level because I can implement truly the personal lessons that I’ve learned in life, some mistakes that I made along the way to be able to say, hey, by the way, don’t do this, don’t walk into the car dealership, and say, I want to see what I can get, because you’re going to leave with one of the most expensive cars on the lot and have an astronomical car payment for six years that you can’t get out from under. And I can implement that in my conversation and say, hey, maybe don’t… so.

David Earnhardt  06:04

Yeah, it’s not like, I’m gonna date myself a little bit here. But it’s not like Columbia house where, you know, you get the CDs, and then the account disappears, because the company is under you…you have to- you have to pay your bills. It’s it’s an expensive and daunting proposition there for sure. You said, you know, your- your person has come in and they’ve taken that, you know, they’ve understood a little bit about a debit card and a little bit about credit card, and then, you know, do you have an expectation, I mean, from your folks who are your superiors, to then encourage them to do more with the bank or to have… to bring in other, you know, 17 and 18 year olds.

Ryan Huston  06:59

So yeah, there is that aspect of it, of course, there is the part of the job is to, is to build business, right. So there’s a book of business that I have, and if you know, walk ins or appointments that weren’t generated by me only go so far. So it’s my job to A,maintain contact with the people that I’ve already seen. But B, leverage some referrals and maybe even some outreach to try and to drive people into the bank. And that outreach, for me, is one of the most interesting pieces. A lot of a lot of times you’ll hear the word cold calling this is not that, but it is reaching out to existing clients of the bank and just talking to them… some that we haven’t seen inside of a financial center, one of you know, the- the specialists like myself haven’t seen in a while. So it’s- it’s- it’s more so yes, bring them in being able to see where their goals are, especially now. You know, in the past year, so much has changed for a lot of people so just seeing like, where- where you were a year ago, compared to now and how can we help exacerbate maybe the news, like a problem that’s come up that you don’t know how to handle and maybe that that’s something that I can help you with? So that’s a lot of- a lot of the job is yes, driving new- new- newer clients into the bank as far- as their actual entry into the bank more so than just letting them sit at home with- with their- with their questions, potentially. But yeah, there is a- there is a sales-ish aspect to it, but it’s, it’s, it’s catered to the individual. So that’s what makes it fun. Now another position something to somebody who has not presented a need to me beforehand, and there’s no- there’s no- there’s no accountability piece within the organization that requires me to do something different than that. 

David Earnhardt  09:03

Sure. Was it… you were mentioning, you know, having kind of yearly- a yearly kind of check in with folks and it made me think about, you know, you get a yearly physical with your doctor to make sure that your physical health is okay. And I think, you know, there’s probably something to be said about a yearly physical for your financial health as well.

Ryan Huston  09:20

Yeah, I do have it- this is it, there’s a lot of differences as far as how I approach certain clients depending on their overall experience. So for instance, speaking back to this 17 now 18 year old, we actually have quarterly conversations just because there’s a lot coming in a lot going out and we just there’s a- there’s a lot of real… analytical things we have to go through, take a look at what we can, you know, save here and pinch there and just restructuring things. So quarterly is something that happens well in that area with- with a younger, more inexperienced person. Now, I do have clients still come to me, speaking of once a year, that are you know a little bit older a little more experienced have had bank accounts for you know X amount of years so their use they know how to- how it functions, how to use it, how to maybe budget, but they are looking for some ideas that are outside the box to help them structure. Like maybe we’re saving for a vacation so how within my same budget can I shift things around to be able to accommodate additional funds being set aside into maybe a separate savings account that’s not linked to everything else? So there’s definitely- there’s different ways to look at as far as that’s concerned but yeah I, at a minimum once a year, I would recommend meeting with somebody at your bank and saying hey, can we just go over my portfolio and take a look at like what- what I can do.

David Earnhardt  10:48

And I would imagine that there’s also a lot of… how’s the way to say this politely? Sometimes you have to do a little bit of- of tough love perhaps as far as you know, checking in on how many dollars are spent on things that may not necessarily need to be spent on or don’t help you meet your goals as a 18 year old.

Ryan Huston  11:14

Yeah. The interesting thing about that, now that you mentioned it is… I have learned especially in this environment– in finance– that people are more… let’s- let’s dig for the right word here… people are more open to you giving that type of advice or insight or saying like hey- I- you’re talking- you’re in here asking why your budgets not going well, but I see that you have it- you eight out six days last week so let’s talk about that real quick, and you know usually in other positions, other environments, other fields that I’ve been in you know- you never approach things that direct, but here it’s more so almost an expectation and it also depends on how what that relationship is that you have with them. I’m a very blunt person to begin with, so a lot of my clients are already used to that for me so they know that they can expect honest advice and for me to really just kind of pick things apart and it’s- it does I think help at least let’s just say that the feedback that I’ve gotten so I do have- I mean I have a lot of loyal clients that have been fantastic, but yeah there’s- there’s definitely a piece of it where you have to be comfortable with maybe a little bit of confrontation and confrontation is a horrible word sometimes because people only take that negatively, but there’s not all confrontation is negative. Sometimes it is just saying hey, when we met three months ago we had this plan in place and it’s been deviated from, tell me why.

David Earnhardt  12:55

So accountability maybe is a little bit less-  less about confrontation and more about just kind of feedback and accountability and encouraging- encouragement potentially as well about returning to those goals.

Ryan Huston  13:07

Oh very much so.

David Earnhardt  13:10

So are there you know, I guess in the bank or in the- in the financial services world, are there people that you kind of work really closely with versus folks that you may or may not see as often I mean, how do you- what’s the actual kind of process of the job.

Ryan Huston  13:32

In- as far as process is concerned, I mean there’s it’s like day to day structure for instance. Really it’s… as far as my process… I’ll kind of start from the moment I arrived. So you know we come into work an hour before the bank opens where we go in, look at our schedule for the day. You know, we’re able to see everybody else’s schedule within the bank so I do have- there are other- other bankers that work there as well. There’s some that are in different avenues like a mortgage loan officer, we have a financial solutions advisor that works with more like high risk investment structure. You know, there’s- there’s a bunch of different people that are within the same financial center, but we can see all appointments and then you know, I have directly… I think right now two other peers that have the same title as I do within the same financial center. So there are times where we will go into the morning, we’ll take a look at the appointments we have for the day. We’ll review. So, we spend a lot of time reviewing, you know, that client’s portfolio before they come in so we just like to get ahead of whatever conversations might be happening. A  lot of times we’ll have clients too that will book the appointment and they’ll give us details. Like here’s what we’re coming in for, here’s what we need. So it allows us to get some- some time ahead there. And then really, it’s just kind of… it is super structured. You know, you do see a lot of appointments that come in on occasion you’ll have a walk in that might fit in if someone doesn’t show up. And that happens. That happens fairly often. Everyone’s schedule gets you know… gets busy and sometimes you have a client that books an appointment a month out, and by the time it’s gotten to the appointment, they’ve sort of forgotten. So… but yeah, it’s- it’s- it’s very- it’s very evenly paced, I think- I think that’s one of the great things about it, too, is because the pacing of the job itself allows me to have quality time with each of the clients that I have coming in. But yeah… so truly, it’s just- it’s meeting with clients almost every hour on the hour, sometimes every half hour and then having quality conversations like I said, we do talk on the phone with some. We are- we do phone appointments with some as well. But as far as- it’s really structured from the moment the bank opens at nine o’clock till they close at four, I mean, you’re pretty much sitting with clients all day. There’s a couple things that are role specific. And there’s certain things… I know I had mentioned earlier that I was working on a communications division of an employee network, that- that is something that I do within certain days of the week, where I do have time outside of client facing that I work on other things within the actual organization, but mainly it is client focused, client driven. I’m on the phone with somebody in my office. 

David Earnhardt  16:27

Hmm. Well, that’s great. I think you mentioned when we were talking before the podcast started about some, you know, kind of extra curricular work that you were talking about, and you alluded to that just a little bit, but I’m curious if you would mind sharing a little bit more about- about that work? Because I think folks understand that a banker, the Royal banker is- is has- a kind of an archetype and society, and so I’m curious what, what might be something that you’re doing in addition to the work that you are doing for your clients?

Ryan Huston  16:57

Yeah, absolutely. So for the majority of my adult life I’ve been very involved within community or various organizations, and within the bank that I’m working at now, what I ended up finding was a need for sort of a, in my current position, what I’ve been able to find was a need for some, some, some involvement within the actual employee network, right. So we have internal networks that are support teams for various communities within the organizations, a very large organization so as you can imagine, there’s multiple subsets of individuals that sort of fit into some, some groups. So I was… I applied and I was asked and in then I am also within my role, the co chair of a communications division within an employee network that handles newsletters that are delivered to the LGBTQ employees and allies of course within the organization. So when I mentioned that in some spare time, at work outside of client facing I’m actually working on interviews with nonprofits that I- that I’m using for that newsletter, I’m talking with people locally about involvement as well within the community so there’s a lot of pieces there of course, you have some admin meetings where you have to go over timeframe and deadlines because everything of course deadlines, but yeah, there’s it’s it’s a lot- this is a very rewarding piece of my job as well. Now, I don’t want that to take away from the actual like, my job itself outside of this is very rewarding. For me, personally, I really enjoy being able to work with my clients. This just adds another piece to it that really is, is very personally fulfilling as well for me to be able to help gear and cater a message to a community that I’m a part of myself, and then really learn how both the company and the organizations the company works with support, you know, a multitude of communities within actually the world, let alone the country.

David Earnhardt  19:09

I think it might, it was probably pretty fulfilling to- to be able to kind of shape some of that messaging and some of the support that is- that you know, a giant company like the one you work for is… it can feel- it probably could feel very kinda like a big ship with a small runner, right? I mean, it can feel very, very tough to make big changes and- and at the same time to be a part of those be part of actually shaping some of the messaging and shaping some of the changes that- that you’d like to see in the organization probably has a- does have a lot of fulfilling intrinsic value in your work.

Ryan Huston  19:50

Yeah, it’s an interesting piece too, because this- this sort of… this passion that I have with the employee network and with this group is also given me a lot of exposure within the bank itself, you know there’s multiple calls that I have been on that have had higher ups you know that- that have been present and listening to the information I mean this- this- this newsletter in particular that I work on this goes out like I said globally so it’s not just here in America we have a presence globally so this is- this- this touches a lot of places and so it is personally rewarding but it’s also rewarding as far as the career is concerned because I mean it’s exposure as well so that’s another important piece of it when you look at the whole picture

David Earnhardt  20:35

Well that’s interesting because I’d like to dig into that just a little bit because there is a kind of a natural I think, nervousness that some people may have about you know, sticking their head… sticking their neck out a little bit and getting into a bigger potential role than they may be in- in the current bank and so or in their current position so what was it about this work that interested you to kind of… raise your hand a little bit in the organization and here have your voice heard what about what about you or what about the work itself was appealing?

Ryan Huston  21:18

Well, it mainly… I guess it kind of grew from… it grew from my own experience like in all– I’ll say this honestly and- and this may be again…I’m a very blunt person– I have worked for many organizations where I was not allowed to be personally present within the organization, I’ll put it that way, so you can be there you clock in and then you were there as what they want you to be. So this it kind of grew from a place where I wasn’t I wasn’t allowed to be embracing every aspect of who I was within my job and now I’m allowed to do that so once that was a welcome invitation, was to bring my whole self to work, then I wanted to get involved with other aspects of my life that might not be directly relative to the the title that I carry, for instance, so it also is a little bit of… I wish I would have been able to have something like this at a younger age a newsletter that comes out that that talks about me and people like me in the community like me and support systems that are catered for me it there’s a- there’s a value to it and I think that it does, you know it as I mentioned it reaches globally, but even if one person takes a look at an article that I’ve written and there’s something… a positive message or something that they’ve drawn from this that is in- that- that they find important to them but maybe personally or professionally I mean then I’ve done whatever I may have done not my job but I’ve done what I- what makes me happy.

David Earnhardt  23:06

Right you did what you came to do. Yeah, that’s awesome. So it sounds to me like the- the desire to kind of step out of your comfort zone a little bit and raise your hand and be a part of this bigger opportunity… it was professionally particularly… potentially professionally advantageous but also kind of spoke to an internal drive that you have to bring- to bring your whole self to work I thought that was really a beautiful way to say that. That’s it- that’s something I did that I wish that everyone had the opportunity to do

Ryan Huston  23:41

Yeah, it is very- it’s very interesting and you never pay attention to it… you never… you never… it’s never on the top of your mind because I think a lot of times I mean even growing up and again various jobs I had, it was just never something we talked about it was just like an implied… implied rule I guess at that point is like we have work self, we have… we have home self, and it’s very interesting and it’s a very speaking to like even just something as simple as job satisfaction when you welcome that other piece in the door. And you say hey, there’s no… there’s no shame in who you are and what you love. So bring that to work we don’t care when they enter into support and foster an environment that is very, you know, accepting in and just… in rewards you you know, whether it’s through praise or whatnot, you know, for who you are and being authentic is… it makes you happy to walk in the door every day. Truly, I walk in the door every day and I’m happy. I really do love what I do. So it’s… it’s because of all of these pieces that are compounding to make the whole picture. Just a really positive one for me.

David Earnhardt  24:55

Absolutely. Yeah, I can imagine that. You know, some… some times, you know, getting out of bed and go into work and putting the tie on is is, you know, kind of a drag, but there’s not this extra extra piece of, you know, not being able to be your authentic self there, which I think is, that’s really exciting to hear. So we talked a little bit about with this other activity that you’re doing, being a part of the employee network, being a way of kind of growing a little bit for yourself, in a… in the organization, you know, if someone was… if someone’s listening to this podcast, and they’re interested in doing what you do, you know, how does somebody get in and then get into the work? And then how do they grow as a professional, maybe in a way that you that, that you didn’t do, or that you want to do in, in your future career?

Ryan Huston  25:51

Yeah, so I would say first and foremost, as far as getting into the position, I mean, a college degree is very important. That is one thing I want to point out. Because if… that’s the case, you can always start at ground level, I mean, there’s other- there’s positions within the bank that you can- you can take to grow into, because this position is not kind of like an entry level position. But it can be if you have that degree component. So that’s the first step, I would say that’s very important. Secondly, it really is, it really is showing a passion for what you’re doing. I mean, you have to… in order to get the promotion, in order to get the, to have their trajectory that you want, you really need to make sure that you’re doing something that you can see yourself doing. And that will reflect in the work that you provide. So I would say that a lot of… if I were to be giving advice as to how to get into this position, I would say have a- have a clear understanding that you are going to be faced with people from different walks of life every single day. And that is- that is the biggest part of it, right? Because you’re having to work with- with the public, you’re having to work with people. And I would say that as long as you’re comfortable with working with people, and as long as you are, I guess I would say, a little less shy, because sometimes you have to have uncomfortable conversations. That happens and a lot of different, you know, avenues as far as careers are concerned with this one when you’re speaking with two people about their money. And money is, I mean, it’s what drives everything.

David Earnhardt  27:40

So there’s a lot of stigma around it, too. I mean, you don’t talk about finances, don’t talk about you know, don’t tell anybody about how much money you make. 

Ryan Huston  27:47

Well, don’t tell strangers, I’m going to go ahead and go ahead and say right now. Just don’t tell strangers. Now, if you could meet me day one, and we are strangers, and that’s fine. We’ll get there. But at the end of the day, yeah, I would just say there is stigma around it. There’s- there’s definitely cautionary steps you want to take. But, you know, I think that some people get into this mindset that because it is such a taboo subject, to talk about your finances, and people also want to avoid, you know, potential, I guess conversations that are- that are outside of their own comfort zone, just as a consumer, I mean, it’s a- it’s a lot of… we carry a lot of shame. And I think that there’s no shame in discussing something as- as crucial as this, especially getting a game plan together with how to better that future for like- your financial future. I mean, there’s nothing more important than making sure that that you are, I mean, that you’re surviving? I mean, that’s like that’s the whole point. Right?

David Earnhardt  28:52

Well, excellent. Well, thank you so much for you know, talking about the, you know, kind of how you get into the position and how you can grow, because I think it’s important for folks to kind of see themselves in positions, but also, at some point there, there is the next position. And if you really enjoy what you do, and you really are bringing that passion to work, like you were talking about, I think it will show and I think that you know, that will help- help you grow potentially through promotion or- or through additional responsibility in your- in your role. So thank you so much for that. 

Ryan Huston  29:26

Wonderful. I would be remiss to mention one more thing, too, that I left out and I apologize for that part. But when it comes to not just the job, and this is wherever you are, what a big recommendation that I have one of the most important things that and I wish I would have known this earlier, was that if you… if there’s something you’re personally passionate about, go to your immediate leader and say, Hey, this is something that’s important to me, what can I do within this organization that facilitates that and might- might help me and help me reach a few more people or help… might help me find the- find communities… organizations within the community to become involved with like what- what can- what can we do to help I guess improve this also at this aspect of my life that I have as well because you honestly would be surprised what you can find out if you just ask. I mean this, this other position this employee network that I worked with was actually not something that was advertised to anybody It was not something I found a posting for online, I just asked my leader and she steered me in the right direction she just said, Hey, take a look at this and see what you can find and then of course then it, you know, it… there is… it was a great conversation. I ended up, you know, picking up a different position than I thought that I would… I did not realize that I’d be developing newsletters. But hey, anything helps and I’m happy to you know, to give my assistance wherever I can, but if you’re passionate about something and you have you know, a direct leader that works with you, you know day to day, approach them and just say hey, what what can we do about this because this is something that’s important to me. And if you don’t ask you’re never gonna find the answer.

David Earnhardt  31:11

Absolutely. Yeah, it’s very rare that someone will come up to you and assign something to you that is an exact fit for something you want, right, I mean, I think if you… if you want something going out and seeking it i think is the- is the way to make sure you get it. I think that’s awesome so one of the things that I try to tease out with folks who have been in their role for a little while but also kind of worked in some other roles is the idea around kind of being resilient and- and working around you know, challenges and you know, things are going to come up that may not work out exactly the way that you- that you want and so you know I’m just kind of curious about an idea that you thought man, this is gonna be a total winner, it’s gonna be awesome. And maybe it didn’t work out. And then it gives you the option…the opportunity to talk about something as well that you thought, oh man, give it a try. We’ll just see what happens and it really worked out and really worked well so if you wouldn’t mind sharing a story of resilience that’d be awesome.

Ryan Huston  32:18

Yeah, so really, I mean, there’s a plenty of… there’s plenty of ideas that I’ve had in my adult life that had been just like, Oh, this is it and then they fizzled. Really the one that for me, was kind of a very humbling experience, I would put it that way, was January of last year, 2020, I decided to start a business and this was a passion project of mine, it was a side business that I had been sort of doing this for a while with the family and friends of family and it was a business where I was helping with smart home consultations and installations, I mean, it’s something that I love doing it that sounds so weird, but the whole point of it was I really enjoy adding a… kind of a tool to everyone’s life that can maybe automate something to alleviate… to leave it or open up the door for more time to be used elsewhere. And that’s-

David Earnhardt  33:22

Just from that you were talking to someone who was really excited about getting some robots to clean his floor. So I haven’t done it yet but I’m going to so… I’m all the time looking for automating vacuuming now that’s gonna happen very soon.

Ryan Huston  33:36

Yeah, if you have a dog… if you have a dog I would just caution you against maybe a Roomba, don’t- maybe borrow someone’s and see how your dog feels about it because I’ve- I made the mistake of buying one and that did not go well in my home, so I have a manual vacuum that I have to use every week so that happens. But besides that- so you know this this this business I started it was you know, the goal was to make it something more official because I was actually you know, booking clients and things like that this job of course this- this side job required a lot of in person, in client home consultations and work so obviously as we all know, two months later, once this whole COVID mess happened that really just took everything to the ground floor in it… every you know, every appointment that I had booked every- every install everything that I had that I had already closed, you know, you’re having to refund, reassess and kind of hit the pause button. And while the funny thing was.. is- what I realized in all of this was that maybe that wasn’t exactly the right avenue for me. Because while I’m helping maybe one person every week, every other week whatever that is, I realized that as I was getting into it I was still dedicated and committed to making this something that I do in my spare time anyways I mean might as well get paid for it right. So what I realized it was just it was I wasn’t getting the same satisfaction out of it that I had in my current position and I think maybe it’s- it’s for me personally I thrive with- with personal interaction and I guess that also translates into personal interaction with multiple people you know in- in a single day so getting to meet new people or touch base with people that I had seen before and a lot of what I was building in that business was structured about you know, within like a… small pockets in the not much after that. So there was a lot of… it was- it was very humbling in that I learned that I could definitely fail. But that was you know, also assisted by something different, an outside force, for sure. But it really helped me focus in on- on what I really wanted to do in the position that I was already in. And since then, I’ve you know, that- I’ve grown within the position that I’m tha-t I’m in right now. So it was it was one of those things where at the time seemed like a fantastic idea but then an implementation I was like oh maybe I don’t want to do this

David Earnhardt  36:26

Right, right and you had some outside intervening factors that that that hasten to that decision for you so it actually worked out pretty well actually it was a lucky-

Ryan Huston  36:35

Hastened, abrupt halt, you know, you can there’s- there’s many, many things we could say about what happened there.

David Earnhardt  36:45

Well, I like the I appreciate you talking a little bit about that kind of reflection that you did to kind of say, am I really liking this is this really you know, kind of feeding my interests and is it really feeding my soul because sometimes you can be so committed to an idea that it ends up kind of dominating your ability to- to see the senior see what’s actually happening and see yourself in that position and so the fact that you were kind of honest with yourself and had that reflection I think is… it shows a lot of- a lot of maturity and also a willingness to- to stop and say, wait, let’s let’s make sure that this is what I really want. So I think that’s awesome. So this podcast is kind of geared toward the students at UNC Asheville and you talked a little bit about your educational experience but you know we are the public Liberal Arts and Sciences University for the North Carolina system so I’m kind of curious you know, how you how you use your education and- and in what ways you’ve seen others use their education in- in the roles at Bank of America. 

Ryan Huston  37:58

Yeah, so speaking to myself personally– and I will say this- this is one of the things that I learned in college that is I consider it one of my like, greatest skills is time management. So there is something to be said… especially in a job where you’re faced with multiple situations that are completely different on a daily basis that require different levels of care it’s- it’s you have to be on top of your schedule. I have… my calendar is biblical to me, it’s… if it’s not on the calendar, it’s probably not going to be something that I actually attend or or do. So there’s, there’s a lot to be said. I’m sure- and I’m not sure if this is anything that’s been brought up before, but there’s this concept that you can find online this- it’s also taught in schools, but it’s the get things done kind of time management concept. It’s very much in that regard of making sure that you have like things on a schedule that are definite things that need to be done, but also managing a task list of other things that might not be time sensitive, but just need to get accomplished. I have- I am very much a organized person in that regard. The funny thing is, speaking organization, against my better judgment, because of this in my friends circle, friend circle, we- I managed actually two other people’s calendars, because they- they- they get a little bit distracted and behind what that happens to they’ll shoot me something and I have a calendar on my computer that is just theirs that I will, I’ll help manage but it’s, it’s interesting. So I would say a lot of a lot of college I mean… most of college forces you to really get in this groove of- of prioritization right, of making sure that you keep things at you know, at whatever priority level they are and your schoolwork is number one. So that was- that definitely carried outside of school and then into my professional career because if I wasn’t an organized person there’s a lot that I would miss on a daily basis. There- quite a bit actually. So mine’s mainly about time management and a little bit of psychology mixed in there and this is really about anybody who’s customer facing could use a psychology class just because you need to understand a lot of things that are being given to you via body language or maybe reading a little bit in between the lines because sometimes again, with- with the subject of money there are there are things people don’t feel comfortable with saying, so you’ve got to be able to understand that maybe I’ve had this response from client A and they… they maybe aren’t giving me a full picture here and understanding what questions I can ask to make them feel more comfortable with me, and with sharing whatever that need might be with me, that’s another piece that’s important also to be able to know how to approach the conversation to make it– I mean beneficial for them, you don’t want to waste anyone’s time so it’s really about just knowing knowing how to approach that conversation so I will say that time management and definitely a little, little piece of psychology help on a daily basis that’s it as far as other people my my peers that I work with I mean there’s- there’s- I- there’s lending specialists, small business specialists, some that have used their education to kind of like hone in on a certain demographic that come into the bank, so like you have like small business owners for instance as a different demographic than your normal consumer that come into the bank and we had the- there’s some people that work specifically with them and they use different educational pieces to help with that. A lot of that is like micro and macro economics and a lot of finance, you know, majors that might help them understand how those moves need to be made, and I work with small business clients as well, it’s not my specialty, but it is I work with them as well so there’s it’s a different… it’s a different beast you know the- the finances for this for the small business clients but…

David Earnhardt  42:12

Yeah, I can imagine that there’s probably a lot of compliance issues and legal things that- might that might be very different from- for client, for personal clients versus your small businesses and things like that. Cool Well, this is, you know, I’m always fascinated by what people do and how they are how they got to be where they are and where they got to be doing what they’re doing and and so I always like to give the guests on the on the podcast the opportunity to kind of pay it forward a little bit, and talk a little bit about people that they think might have a cool job and so just kind of curious who you think might have a cool job and why?

Ryan Huston  42:56

So the interesting thing is actually… I don’t know how this is gonna sound. My dad is- has– and I’m not actually even talking about his day job because he does have a day job right now– but he also has a large rental business outside or in- in Charlotte North Carolina in some little areas outside of Charlotte and that is very interesting to me. We talk all the time I get the day to day break down of you know what what’s happened because we don’t really talk about his day job that often because there’s not a lot of I will say there’s a lot of excitement in that, and he understands that too, but this piece is really interesting to me. But yeah, so he is- he’s definitely one person who I think is- is just a it’s very I really like listening to him talk because he’s also super passionate about what he does too. So it resonates when he’s discussing just different aspects of the job and you know in– to give you a tidbit of one thing we talked about this is- just last night and this is also feel free to cut this out. He had a tenant of his that actually passed away and it was very… in a- while that started off with like, of course a very dark conversation, at the end of this we actually were discussing how the neighbors kind of came together and they- in really- in support of this this family and it was just it’s it’s so interesting when you get to see you know how other people live their lives and then how other people can come together to support somebody that might be in, you know, a time of need and and that’s really what the a lot of his conversations we have are just how he learned something from this tenant or even you know, the kid of the attendant how- he’s he’s had some that have lived in properties for 13 years, you know, without moving out so you you get to learn these people almost become family basically. So he’s got a pretty interesting job. 

David Earnhardt  45:01

Yeah, that’s lovely. I like the idea of someone having a rental, you know, a rental business and it’s not, you know, just complaining about the damage all the time, the people that the tenants might be doing, and he’s actually yeah, has a- has some personal connection with the folks who were there. I think that’s, that’s really exciting. And probably much more fulfilling honestly, like these just want- if it’s just about, you know, having to fix holes in the wall, then that’s a that could get real old real fast.

Ryan Huston  45:32

Yeah, yeah, exactly. It is, he does find a person that- he wouldn’t be doing this if he wouldn’t. My father is very much a person who will not waste his time. So if it was something that was not fulfilling to him on some sort of- in some sort of capacity, he wouldn’t he wouldn’t be doing it at all.

David Earnhardt  45:48

That’s awesome. Well, thank you for that. I appreciate you sharing that with us. That’s awesome. Yeah, well, I just want to give you the opportunity to, to let our listeners learn a little bit more like how can they find out about you and about Bank of America?

Ryan Huston  46:06

Yeah, so I mean, Bank of America, everyone’s probably heard that name. They’re- they’re usually on every street corner in some capacity, either an ATM you’ve seen, or you’ve seen- one of the branches, especially here in the Asheville area. But you know, I work in the location in South Asheville, this is technically considered the skyline location, but it is in South Asheville on Hendersonville road. So that’s, that’s where I work. As far as learning more about the company, I mean, our website is very robust. But even a quick Google search of the company will- will tell you a lot about who the company is. I, I find it very rewarding that there’s also a solid public image behind the organization that I work for, because that would be -that would kind of negate everything, right? If you… if you got through all of this and said, Oh, this is the work that I’m passionate about that I love, but then you also work for potentially a company that’s not that’s not also doing great work themselves. And so for a company and organization that’s this large, there’s definitely so many positive things coming out of, of what the- what the bank does, and I really appreciate their own passion for community involvement, and really, social involvement as well. So I really, I enjoy working for the firm in that regard. So that’s- Yeah, that’s where you can find me. And that’s brief, of course, rundown of my thoughts on the company itself. So…

David Earnhardt  47:35

Very good. Very good. Well, I want to say thank you so much for spending your time and sharing your expertise and your really cool job with us. It’s really awesome. I appreciate your time. Thanks so much. Thanks for listening to The Cool Jobs Podcast, a service of the Career Center at UNC Asheville. Like what you heard? Give us a like, share with your friends and subscribe. Next week we’ll be talking to Jason Faunt, Red Power Ranger, so make sure to check it out. See you next time.

10/4/2021 Cool Jobs & Internships

Cool Jobs

Upward Bound Counselor – Gilmer High School at University of North Georgia
 AI Implementation Specialist (NO TECH BACKGROUND REQUIRED) at, Inc.
Career Design Consultant – Career Design Center at University at Buffalo Human Resources
Design Quality Engineer (Entry-Level) at Daimler Trucks North America, LLC.
Research Assistant, Workforce and Postsecondary Education at American Institutes for Research
Tutoring Coordinator at Fresno State University – Human Resources
Content Marketing Manager at Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau
Litigation Assistant, California Regional Office at Earthjustice
Western Bat Biologist-Field Coordinator at Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc.
Duke Forest Program Coordinator at Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment

Cool Internships
Digital Accelerator Program Participant at MWWPR
Energy Equity and University Partnerships Internship (Remote) at National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Southwest Airlines Internships Summer 2022 at Southwest Airlines
Junior Summer Institute (JSI) Fellowship at Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Program
Atlanta Braves Research & Development Analyst, Trainee at Atlanta Braves
QA Game Tester (Remote) at TwinRayj Studios

Cool Local Jobs

Commercial Property Manager at Biltmore Farms

Driver for Bounty and Soul

Growing Outdoors Communications & Brand Manager at Mountain BizWorks

Artwork Digitizer at Plum Print
Bilingual Victim Advocate at Safe Homes – Rape Crisis Coalition (Spartainburg SC)
Health Justice Program Navigator/Certified Application Counselor- Temp at Pisgah Legal Services
Medical Scribe Job: Asheville, NC at ScribeAmerica
Residential Support at Cooper Riis

Cool Local Internship

NC Office of Strategic Partnerships Philanthropy Intern (spring 2022) at North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management

Cool Year of Service

Urban Forestry and Outreach Specialist for 11-months at Our City Forest

My thoughts for the week:
Did you know the Career Center has a Podcast?  During each semester, we release new episodes of The Cool Jobs Podcast, a deep dive into some really interesting jobs people have!  We’ve interviewed Professional Ice Cream Tasters, Romance Novelists, and even Psychic Mediums!  This Fall we’ll be talking with a Tiny Home Builder, a Water Equity Manager and even The Red Power Ranger!  Check it out here or wherever you get your podcasts. Our social media is pretty great too, we’re on Twitter and Instagram @uncacareer, and we hope to see you there!

Here’s to a great week!


Thinking About Working on Campus?

Isabel’s Experience:

I have had some sort of job since I was 16, so coming to college, working wasn’t a new idea for me. However, I never thought about working on campus. I had a car and figured other jobs would be paying more, so finding something close by would be better suited for me. I chose to work at Spirit Halloween my first semester as a Freshman, which ended up being long eight hour shifts of walking around a store making sure people weren’t stealing until late hours at night. I worked tirelessly at this job for little compensation and honestly only stuck with it for my manager. My Spring semester I was told by my friend about Student Ambassadors. This was my first experience with an on-campus job, but I needed more hours (both for my sanity and for money), so I sought out a job at Panera. Again, I was working long hours with not enough compensation and quickly fell behind in school work.

This year, after having car difficulties, I found myself stranded at school. I still wanted to work, but I needed to do something here since I didn’t have transportation. I had quit my Student Ambassadors job and instead sought out two desk positions– one at the Highsmith Guest Services desk and the other at the Career Center. While I liked giving tours, I liked the hours more for these jobs and the experience I would get out of them. I could more easily balance school and work all from the same place. The jobs were easy to apply to, and the interview process while on Zoom, was fairly smooth. I work half of my hours at each job and don’t have to worry about being late due to driving or not being able to eat since I can easily grab food at Highsmith during both jobs. They provide me connections with both the students at UNCA and the facilities that I didn’t have my Freshman year. I felt very disconnected from student life since most of my time was spent off of campus. Now, I get to enjoy working from the comfort of someplace less than a five minute walk from my dormitory.

On campus jobs available right now:

All jobs listed below can be found on Handshake with more details about pay, responsibilities and how to apply!

Fall 2021 Operations Assistant:

Primary job responsibility

  • Setup and tear-down of rooms for events (incl. dance floor and stage)
  • Serve as support staff for events in Lipinsky Auditorium, Mullen James Lecture Hall, and Kimmel Arena (and other venues as needed)
  • Moving equipment and furniture within the rooms and between floors
  • Maintain an organized storage area
  • Cleaning of rooms before and in between events
  • Provide excellent customer service
  • Moving furniture, stage sections, and dance floor
  • Maintain a safe and clean environment for customers and staff (secure cables, electrical equipment)
  • Assist the Building Manager in counts, bulletin board maintenance, and breaks
  • Report damaged and/or non-functioning equipment
  • Attend all staff training, staff meetings, and professional development workshops/lectures (DEEP)
  • Operate and clean popcorn machine when use is requested
  • Create and maintain a safe and inclusive environment for all Highsmith patrons
  • May be required to drive University Vehicles to conduct University Business on behalf of Highsmith Student Union.
  • Perform other duties as assigned 

Fall 2021 Building Manager:

Job Summary:     

Building Managers are responsible for event setups, assisting building patrons, building security, and maintaining the day-to-day operations in Highsmith Student Union. Building Managers also act as supervisors for other areas of the building. Some tasks include lifting and set-up of event and technical equipment, handling money from the guest services desk and game room, opening and closing the building, answering questions, and accommodating Highsmith Student Union guests or event speakers. Shifts are usually 4 hours or more. Nights and Weekends may be required. 

Key Center Community Fellow:

Job Duties:

  • Leadership
  • Recruit volunteers for specific community partner events/opportunities (various days/times)
  • Recruit for partner service needs and connect them to other on-campus resources 
  • Manage/coordinate small scale community partner programs/initiatives or a small part of larger program (ie recruit and/or manage volunteers for an event)
  • Serve as point person for faculty working with community partners in service learning courses and for clubs and organizations seeking volunteer engagement opportunities
  • Assist with student volunteer training for service learning courses as needed 

Esports Ambassador

Role Description

Campus Recreation is seeking two additional students to join our team as Esports Ambassadors. This position will help continue the growth of the Esports Program at UNC Asheville, which will include recruitment and retention, game and equipment research, and implementation of the programs and special events. Looking for students with Esports experience and knowledge of different consoles and PC. Positions will be paid $8.50 per hour and work 5-10 hours per week. 

Marketing and Graphic Design Specialist

Role Description

Campus Recreation is looking several additional specialists to our Marketing Team to focus on areas of digital content and graphic design, photography, videography, and social media. The ideal candidate will be available in the Fall semesters and potentially beyond, for around 10 hours per week. Candidates are encouraged to apply who have experience in or willingness to learn the following possible job duties:

  • Create communication and marketing materials using the Adobe Suite, that meet University and Department branding criteria.
  • Set up photo or video shoots to create new content for the department.
  • Familiarity with social media and ability to communicate accurate and professional information.
  • Work alongside the student Marketing Team Lead and other Marketing Members to ensure marketing and social media is getting fresh content weekly.
  • Other special projects may include website updates, app updates, editing video or photos.
  • Identify new marketing methods for Campus Rec to explore. 
  • Collaborate with program area marketing supervisors to assist them in their marketing efforts. 
  • Attend weekly staff meetings to update marketing content. 
  • Attend Marketing Training at the beginning of each semester. 
  • Attend Campus Recreation and Student Affairs Divisional trainings.

Marketing Assistant Graphic Designer

Job Summary:

This position is designed for students interested in growing their professional and creative development through the creation and distribution of promotional material for Highsmith Student Union and foundational Patrons. Graphic Designers will work closely with other members of the Highsmith Marketing Team to produce high quality graphics ranging from, but not limited to, posters, flyers, social media materials, brand assets, building materials, and digital signage, through the use of professional creative software. Additionally, the Graphic Designer is expected to communicate effectively and professionally with their team, staff members, and patrons of Highsmith Student Union.

Marketing Assistant: Photographer/Videographer

Role Description

This position is designed for students interested in growing their professional development through the creation and photographic and video promotional material for Highsmith. The Photographer/Videographer on the Highsmith Marketing Team will work collaboratively with colleagues and staff alike to produce high quality content for marketing purposes, be that through usage on social media, in graphic designs, or additional media. This position is responsible for creating comprehensive marketing videos, shooting and editing videos and photos at Highsmith Student Union events, and creating additional marketing collateral for future usage through professional Adobe software. Additionally the Marketing Assistant is expected to communicate effectively and professionally with their team, staff members, and patrons of the Highsmith Student Union.

Event Technician

 Primary job responsibility

  1. Setup and tear-down of audio and video equipment
  2. Moving equipment to outdoor locations via golf cart or push cart
  3. Maintain an organized A/V storage area
  4. Run sound and video equipment during events
  5. Provide excellent customer service
  6. Troubleshoot technical issues (hardware and software)
  7. Hang and operate stage lighting
  8. Maintain a safe and clean environment for customers and staff (secure cables, electrical equipment)
  9. Reports damaged and/or non-functioning equipment
  10. Attend all staff trainings, staff meetings and professional development workshops/lectures (DEEP)
  11. Create and maintain a safe and inclusive environment for all Highsmith patrons and Highsmith Tech Customers
  12. May be required to drive University vehicles to conduct University business on behalf of Highsmith Student Union.
  13. Perform other duties as assigned 

Fall 2021 Gameroom Assistant

Job Summary:

This position is designed for students interested in joining the Game Room staff to help create a lively and inclusive environment for the UNC Asheville community. This position provides hands-on experience in customer service, policy enforcement, and problem-solving. The ideal candidate will be able to communicate effectively with patrons, maintain a professional relationship with patrons and other staff members, and exhibit excellent customer service skills.

Personal Trainer

Role Description

As a Campus Recreation Personal Trainer, you will be in charge of creating intentional and individualized workouts and workout programs for the UNC Asheville population. Requirements to become a trainer include having a NCCA personal training certification (ACE, ACSM, NASM, etc.) and to complete the hiring process of interviewing, trainer shadowing, and a mock session run through. Every trainer is responsible for correctly processing money from clients, monthly office cleaning, and attending monthly program meetings. Trainers are in charge of documenting and preparing for each client’s session, arriving early and dressed in uniform. Becoming a member of the Personal Training Program team is a great way to help others in the campus community and an opportunity to develop long lasting skills for the personal training industry post graduation.  

Game and Event Staff

Role Description

This job requires working UNC Asheville Athletic events as well as University Enterprises events including but not limited to: soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and various other non-athletic events within the Sherrill Center. Duties consist of assisting with setup, breakdown, and various other duties as assigned during all athletic and non-athletic events within the Sherrill Center and Athletic Facilities. Events may also take place on weekends and holiday breaks.

Sports Official

Role Description

Officials are hired for officiating seasonal sport leagues and tournaments within the intramural sports program. Officials are responsible for enforcing playing rules and intramural sports policies with participants and spectators. Officials may be required to attend bi-weekly official meetings for content review. Training for all sports is provided before each season begins.

  • No experience necessary but a basic rules knowledge of the offered sports are required
  • Paid training with flexible hours
  • Attend weekly officiating staff meetings
  • Additional hours may also be available for facilities, marketing, and special events within Campus Recreation
  • Participants are encouraged to participate in intramural sports as well as officiate
  • $8.50 per hour

Group Exercise Instructor

Role Description

This position is focused on the instruction of fitness classes within specific content areas such as yoga, circuit training, dance, kickboxing, cycle, and much more. The schedule is determined based on instructor availability, class preference, and previous experience. A current certification is required for this position. Certifications are required for this position. Certification in First Aid/CPR and AED AND Certified through a Nationally Recognized organization (i.e. ACE, AFAA, NASM, ACSM, etc,), OR another relevant fitness certification in a given content area.

Eco-Rep For South Ridge Hall- Student Enviromentalist

Job Requirements

  • Attend weekly meetings set by the EcoRep Coordinator
  • Attend 1 weekly SEC core staff meeting per semester (or as specified by EcoRep Coordinator)
  • Help clean and monitor the Free Store in Highsmith
  • Participate in “Green Olympics” programming (Green Olympics are a competition among the residence halls to encourage reduced energy usage and minimized landfill waste)
  • Support residential composting program through outreach activities
  • Complete 4 hours of tabling in the residence halls and Highsmith every two weeks.
  • Attend and help promote SEC events
  • Distribute flyers and other promotional materials around campus
  • Other tasks that may be assigned by the EcoRep Coordinator

Student Patrol

Role Description

Student Patrol Officers assist the Department of Public Safety with maintaining the general safety of campus through a variety of functions. Student Patrol Officers provide extra patrols and/or securing academic buildings, administrative buildings, residence halls, athletic facilities and bike racks. Student Patrol also assists the Department of Public Safety by being a non-confrontational second set of eyes and ears for the department by reporting suspicious activity, providing walking safety escorts, locking and unlocking doors when requested, assisting with traffic direction, parking assignments, special event security, weekly function testing of emergency phones and other duties as assigned.The Department of Public Safety does require that Student Patrol Officers work up to 20 hours per week in a schedule that is set around their class schedule and be available, class schedule permitting, for working special events. Student employees with the Department of Public Safety must complete a waiver to undergo and pass a criminal back ground records check and be able to operate a police radio efficiently.

Part Time Shuttle Driver

Role Description

The employee(s) hired for this position will serve as part of a temporary pool of reserve Campus Shuttle Drivers for UNC Asheville. Responsibilities may include: operating a vehicle to transport passengers to campus events and during emergency situations according to established shuttle schedules; completing operating reports, inspecting, cleaning and performing simple routine maintenance and repairs on shuttle vehicles. This position will also be responsible for special assignments as designated by the hiring department. Because of the extent of duties, a Campus Shuttle Driver at UNC Asheville must be both knowledgeable and self-motivated. One year experience in operating a public transportation vehicle, heavy truck, or other heavy vehicle. Must hold a valid driver’s license. Must be qualified to meet the legal requirements to drive a school bus in North Carolina. The preferred candidate will have the following qualifications: High School Graduate or GED; a valid NC Driver’s License or CDL with a (“P”) Passenger Endorsement. Knowledge of Federal and State of North Carolina motor vehicle laws; knowledge of regional roadway networks and geography; skilled in operating a public transportation vehicle, heavy truck, or other heavy vehicle; skilled in public service contact with a customer orientation; skilled in working individually, as well as part of a team; ability to write legibly and coherently; ability to speak clearly and distinctly; ability to utilize a two-way radio, telephone, and/or other equipment deemed necessary in order to perform the duties of the position. Ability to read and comprehend documents, policies, and directives. Excellent communication skills. Ability to resolve problems. Ability to assist patrons entering and exiting assigned vehicle(s).Hours per week and days are defined by the hiring department and based on departmental needs.

Food Service Worker

Job SummarySummary:

Performs cashiering duties, including general food service work. Maintains sanitation standards in the preparation, service and dining room facilities.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Performs prep work such as washing, peeling, cutting and seeding fruits and vegetables. Weighs and measures designated ingredients.
  • Carries pans, kettles and trays of food to and from work stations, stove and refrigerator in accordance with safety standards. Distributes supplies, utensils and portable equipment.
  • Stores foods in designated areas in accordance with wrapping, dating, and food safety and rotation procedures.
  • Cleans work areas, equipment and utensils.
  • Ensures compliance with sanitation and safety requirements.
  • Uses approved food recipes and production standards to ensure proper quality, serving temperatures and standard portion control.
  • Serves customers in a friendly, efficient manner following outlined steps of service.
  • Interacts with customers and resolves customer complaints in a friendly, service-oriented manner.
  • Relays relevant information to supervisor.
  • Performs sales transactions.
  • Enters sales into the cash register to ensure purchases are accurately recorded.
  • Makes change, accepts declining balance cards and other acceptable forms of payment.
  • Issues receipts to customers.
  • Follows standard procedures for issuing cash refunds.
  • Responsible for all assigned change funds and cash receipts, ensuring that cash drawer is in compliance with overage/shortage standards.
  • Replenishes condiments, beverages and general supplies while maintaining service area cleanliness.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Concession Worker

Role Description

The Concession Worker will work at the concession stand in the Sherrill Center and other concession stands located on the UNC Asheville campus. The ideal candidate is a team member, organized, and follows directions. ESSENTIAL DUTIES

  1. Ability to provide excellent guest service while working in a very fast – paced environment
  2. Serve food, beverages, or desserts to customers in a very fast – paced environment
  3. Proper cash handling including, greet and service guests at the registers, taking orders, and accepting payments, handling cash, debit and credit cards
  4. Replenish foods at serving stations
  5. Prepare food such as popcorn, hot dogs, etc.  using standard formulas or following directions.
  6. Prepare bills for food, using cash registers, calculators, or adding machines; and accept payment and make change.
  7. Scrub and polish counters, steam tables, and other equipment, and clean dishes and fountain equipment
  8. Inventory control: Assess inventory and assist in preparing product orders as necessary
  9. Stock and restock items as necessary
  10. Insure all sanitation procedures are followed relating to all local licensing regulations

Drawing Discourse Exhibition Assistant

Role Description

Working directly with Professor T. Beldue, employee is to assist with all duties related to annual Drawing Discourse Exhibition. These duties primarily include; helping with unpacking & re-packing of artwork, assisting with installation & de-installation of the exhibition but also may include: database entry, hanging posters on campus, designing of signage, managing sales of exhibition catalogues and website management. Skills developed in such a position will provide the employee with a working understanding of how exhibiting artwork relates to their own future exhibitions and puts them at a great advantage for future employment such as; studio assistant and gallery/museum handler/preparator. Specifically, this position will provide the employee with experience in the following NACE competencies:- Critical Thinking/Problem Solving- Oral/Written Communications- Teamwork/Collaboration- Digital Technology- Professionalism/Work Ethic- Career Management. Willingness to learn about art handling/installation practices is a plus. Priority will be given to those students who have previous work experience.

Team Building Facilitator

Role Description

Team Building Facilitators are responsible for one to three hours programs with small groups working on team work, fun, challenge by choice, and other focus areas determined by each group. Facilitators may work together or alone, on campus, on the Challenge Course, indoors, or at off campus locations upon a groups request. Groups range in ages from elementary to adults. Facilitator positions and training is periodically offered. Leadership experience desired.

  • Department base pay $8.00 per hour
  • Level 1 $8.50 per hour
  • Level 2 $10.50 per hour

Video Games Assistant

Role Description

The student will assist in Dr. Rizzo’s HIST 178 course “Playing the Past” during the Spring 2022 semester, using video games to stimulate an appreciation for the past, and explore the intersectional identities of video game characters and players. The student will evolve these competencies: display curiosity by selecting video games that foster student learning of history; assume duties to progress professionally including assisting novice learners in the HIST 178 course and developing lesson plans; participate in further education by co-producing competencies in the academic assessment of videogames; leverage relationships with other educators, historians, and gamers/game developers on campus and off at appropriate professional meetings; develop plans for a career as a history educator; assess their strengths, weaknesses, and chart a trajectory for further growth through weekly journaling and conferences with Dr. Rizzo.

Physics and Astronomy Lab and Demo Facilitator

Role Description

The Lab and Demo Room Facilitators will work with PHYS and ASTR faculty and staff to develop, maintain, organize, and/or catalog demonstrations, research equipment, undergraduate laboratory equipment, and administrative supplies used in the department. Lab and Demo Facilitators will speak with faculty and assess the state of the two demo rooms, four research laboratories, two undergraduate laboratory storage rooms, and administrative storage spaces to see what are the pressing needs for these spaces and departmental teaching and research objectives. Combined with a self-assessment of their own strengths and professional development goals (as per the Critical Thinking and Career and Self Development NACE Career Readiness Competency), the Facilitator will make a self-plan for organizing and maintaining existing equipment, designing or developing new demonstrations, and/or cataloging physical and digital assets for ease of faculty/staff use. Facilitators will need to constructively and iteratively work with their supervisor, the physics and astronomy faculty and staff, and other student employees (as per the Teamwork NACE Career Readiness Competency). The Facilitator will need to self-manage their work between meetings with supervisors, be organized with their time and their workspace, and regularly report their progress and needs to their supervisors ( as per the Teamwork NACE Career Readiness Competency). Finally, depending on their own planning, Facilitators may need to use video editing or web development software; electronic test equipment; and other electrical, optical, and mechanical devices in their work (as per the Technology NACE Career Readiness Competency).

Video Production Intern

Role Description

Become part of one of the fastest growing content creation studios in the world – where 7 out of 10 interns get hired! As a video production intern you will work with professionals who are the best of the best. You will learn valuable skills on actual video shoots as a Grip Assistant, Camera assistant and a Production assistant. You will also have the opportunity to work side by side with the best video editors and motion graphic artists in the business. Whether your focus is behind the camera or motion graphics or editing, this is your chance to learn from top-notch talent – and hopefully join the team after graduation.

On-campus jobs are a great way to get connected and allow students to gain additional experience while working toward their degree. Check out Handshake through OnePort to learn more about on-campus and off-campus jobs, as well as for making an appointment with the Career Center to spruce up your resume and cover letter before applying!

9/27/21 Cool Jobs and Internships

Cool Jobs

Electronics Project Engineer at Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense
Interpreter (Sign Language) – Federal Government Position at Federal Government Employment (Civilian Corps/Federal Government Employees)
Research Librarian (Science and Technology) at Congressional Research Service
COVID-19 Response Team Member Special Projects Coordinator, North Carolina Farmworker Health Program
Healthy Together Investigator at Children’s Law Center
 Academic Career Advisor at Cochise College
Wild Horse and Burro Specialist,  at Bureau of Land Management

Cool Local Jobs

Forester and/or Forestry Associate at Eco Foresters
Human Resources Director at Blue Ridge Community Action
Communications Specialist at Pisgah Legal Services
Artwork Digitizer at Plum Print

Production Builder at Make Noise

Front End Developer at Eco Bot

Store Manager at Moonlight Makers

Grants Manager at Rutherford Housing Partnership

lgbtq+ services specialist, helpmate
sexual violence and human trafficking prevention coordinator, our voice

Cool Internships
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) Summer 2022 Internship Program at National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Undergraduate Intern – Biochemistry & Molecular Biology for Polymer Biodegradation at National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Corporate Intern – Information Technology at First Citizens Bank (Raleigh)

Cool Local Internships

Marketing & Social Media Intern at UNC Asheville’s National Environmental Modeling & Analysis Center
Data Analyst Intern at AvL Technologies
Business Development Internship at Hickory Brands, Inc.

Cool On Campus Job

Physics and Astronomy Lab and Demo Facilitator at UNC Asheville – Physics Department

My thoughts for the week:

There’s been a lot of conversation in the news over the past week or so about the debt ceiling, and how members of Congress are looking to address the issue, so I thought I’d take a minute and explain what the debt ceiling is, and why it’s important.

The Debt Ceiling is the amount of debt the Federal government is allowed to carry at any given time, and is limited by Congress in an effort to ensure the government can pay all the debt it owes.  The Ceiling is raised fairly often and is a matter of Congress simply passing a bill to raise it.  Failure to raise the Ceiling means that the federal government could default on debts owed, and could be forced to make choices regarding paying salaries for federal employees, social program benefits, or interest on the debt.  There have been voices over the past decade plus who use the debt ceiling’s “must pass” status to advocate for priorities important to them, which is why we’re hearing so much about it now.

Is this an important topic to you?  Reach out to your elected officials and let them know!

Hope you have a great week,


9/22/21 Cool Jobs Podcast: Romance Novelist Allie Pleiter

Tue, 9/14 3:52PM • 48:14


book, people, writing, writers, career, read, editor, fun, creative, author, romance, work, absolutely, character, world, skill, talked, jobs, taught, year


David Earnhardt, Allie Pleiter

David Earnhardt  00:00

Hi, I’m David and I’m the host of The Cool Jobs Podcast, a conversation where we dive deep into some of the coolest jobs on the planet. This is the home for jobs you’ve never heard of, or ones you never thought about before. This podcast is for students, learners, dreamers, or anyone who’s interested in finding out about the coolest jobs around. I’ll be speaking with experts across a wide spectrum of career possibilities with the hope that you’ll find inspiration for your own career. Thanks for joining in. I’m your host David Earnhardt, Associate Director for Employer Relations at UNC Asheville. And joining me today is Allie Pleiter Published author. Allie, Thanks so much for joining us for The Cool Jobs Podcast. We’re super excited you’re here. 

Allie Pleiter  00:40

I’m delighted to be here. Thanks for having me. 

David Earnhardt  00:43

All right. Well, you know, first things first, you know, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to be where you are.

Allie Pleiter  00:49

Well, it’s actually quite an interesting story. And lots of writers have wanted to be writers since they could hold a crayon. That’s not true with me. I actually started out and my professional degree was as an actor. I wanted to be a soap opera, villainous. That was my very specific professional goal. I’m six feet tall and a brunette and have a pretty dark commanding voice. So there was no ingenue going on. Soap Opera villainous, until I learned that I’m rather too tall for television work. And as I moved, so I was a theater major from Northwestern University. And as I moved from acting, to directing and from directing to producing, and from producing, I got into fundraising, which had quite a lot of writing involved. You tell a lot of compelling stories, as a grant writer, or a fundraiser,so for 15 years I was in the nonprofit world as development. And literally, this is how it happened. I was having a bad day at work. And I called a friend of mine from college and said, I’m so tired of raising money. Why don’t I just write a book? Because she was an editor at a publishing house? It can’t be that hard. I said, that’s going on my tombstone. She said, Fine, I dare you, write one. And I said, I haven’t written. because she worked in romance, which is where I’ve made most of my career and women’s fiction and romance fiction, popular fiction paperback novels. I said, I’ve never I’ve never written one I haven’t read one in years. And so the next day FedEx to my door with a 10, top selling romance novels from her publishing house. So she threw down the gauntlet. And evidently, you don’t dare me unless you mean it. So I read the first one and hated it. And I don’t remember what it was. And I read the second one and liked it a little more, and read the third one, then you know, that little voice inside that says hmm, Maybe I could do that. So by the fifth or sixth, I said, great. I think I’ll bite. I’ll try it. And I said, Well, if I’m going to do this, I want to make a lot of money at it. So what what sells what’s really popular, and she said, Oh, we’re having a lot of luck in this not take it granted, this is back in 1996. She said we’re having a lot of luck with 19th century Texas. Great, I hate history. And I grew up in Connecticut, this ought to be a piece of cake. So I wrote a story. And it took me I read the she said write to me the first 60 pages that’ll tell me whether or not you’ve got chops. And I did and send it to her and she said you need to write this book. They you you have you have it, you’ve got it. Now, if I had small kids at home, and of course, I was still working in fundraising. So it took me three years to write that book. And when I sent it back to her, she and during those three years she very wisely said if you. if I buy this book for our publishing house, you will forever be defending the fact that you got through the back door. that we were friends. so instead this very very wise woman said I’m going to introduce you to a literary agent and tell her to sell it to another house so it’ll be legit across the board and no one can you know question you and so she introduced me to my literary agent and that was the first of now 54 books they have been pulled so I got dared into it is the short version. So sometimes dares are very very good thing.

David Earnhardt  04:46

And also I mean that speaks some something to your your quality of friendship to write with your with your friend who can call you out and say look, if you’re gonna if you’re gonna say that you could do this, do it, prove it, show it to me.


It’s been great fun. And we’ve had, we’ve had dozens of laughs about it over the years.

David Earnhardt  05:05

So now my question is really, first of all, is she? Has she ever been a character in one of your books? And then how many glasses of wine Do you owe her for part of your career?


oh my goodness, I owe her a lot of if I ever get like one of those Lifetime Achievement Awards, I’m going to have to basically, you know, thank thank her for for seeing such a talent in me that I didn’t know is there and and catching the storytelling aspect of it from my theatre career, which has been tremendously helpful as an author. No, she’s not shown up in one of my books, I generally, don’t put people I know I will put snippets or, like a characteristic or, or, or the way somebody says something. Occasionally, and most of the characters are amalgamations of people. There’s only one exception, which is every year for the educational foundation of the town where I live in in Illinois, I will auction off the ability to name a secondary character. And, you know, I can’t use legal names and things like that. And so that’s the only time where a real person actually appears. But the average reader would probably not know which character it is. And it’s all carefully hidden no, people don’t show up in my books that they don’t as many people believe, if you do something and like, dislike you, you don’t show up as a horrible person in my next release. So, no, it’s all fiction.

David Earnhardt  06:40

I think we should play up the whole soap opera villain thing. 


I probably could, you know, the guy who told me I was too tall for television work, you know, maybe one day he’ll appear in some version, but I haven’t done it yet.

David Earnhardt  06:58

You know, the 19th century Texas, a lot of people, a lot of people met Grizzly ends during that time. Maybe this guy could at some point.


I do. I that was you know, my first couple of books were historical. And now I do both contemporary and historical. I think one of the one of the skills that I’ve been able to wield really to my advantage is that I can write a lot of different things. I’ve written nonfiction books, I’ve written fiction books, I’ve written women’s fiction, I’ve written romance fiction, I’ve written contemporary, I’ve written historical, I’ve, this year, I’ll be launching a mystery series. So to be able to do a lot of different things, not only feeds my personality, but it’s a good business skill to be able to catch different waves, as you know, markets change.

David Earnhardt  07:52

And also probably allows you to scratch an itch that’s different, right? I mean, I think if you were only writing, you know, women’s romance novels, it would feel it would kind of feel repetitive after a while and you know, if you have the chance to write some other things, you can kind of put down that pen for a little while and then come back to it as time goes along.


I get I get asked that a lot because most people think of romance fiction is very formulaic. Particularly I write for the body, the large body of my work is for love inspired, which is the faith based arm of Harlequin romance. So you know, the little books in the grocery stores. That’s what it is. Don’t laugh because I’m on. I’m on 1.6 million sold globally. So those little books, yeah, go a long way. Absolutely. Lots of people read them. But a lot of people say well, you know, do you get tired after 40 or 50 of them? Because they’re so formulaic. And yes, there is a certain story arc that readers expect. But I am never bored in all the different ways to twist that arc. I’ve never, you know, I’ve never woken up and go, Oh, I just don’t have another romance in me. There’s always a million different ways to twist that and turn that and put a little spin on it and do it in my particular style. So even though people would say it’s, it’s genre fiction, I don’t have any creative weariness about working in that.

David Earnhardt  09:22

Sure. Absolutely. And I mean, I would imagine to if you if you kind of get into the rhythm of it, there is probably some some comfort in that rhythm of, you know, you kind of know, you have some idea of kind of where the story’s going at the same time you can be. It allows you to be creative and have some.


You’re absolutely right, if you have that sort of organic sense of how a romance goes and there really is a story arc that most readers expect, because you’ve got that sort of really base level understanding that allows you to play with it a lot and know you can go just so far and I can mess with this, but I can’t mess With that, and that’s the fun of it for me.

David Earnhardt  10:03

That’s awesome. That’s really cool. So did you take any? Like, I’m just curious. So you got your you got the feedback that if your first 60 pages that, you know, this is you’ve got it, I think was the quote you used? And, you know, so did you say, all right, so I can do this? I know kind of how this might work. But I don’t really know how to write a novel. Did you? Did you take any kind of like professional training? Did you get any, you know? Did you just kind of wing it and go from go from scratch? Or how did that process work for the first and subsequent books?


I totally winged it. Which is a good thing and a bad thing. And then I expect, I expect that book broke a lot of rules and conventions, and that has always been my niche, as it were. alley player books tend to be just a little bit different than other genre books. And and that’s been great, because that’s the way I would want it. No, I had no idea what I was doing. Which was both freeing and probably incredibly brave at the same time. But I will tell you that when not when that books sold, which was a great grace, I am a person of faith. And I always tell people that God set it up that I couldn’t take any credit for it, because he knew if I could, I would take no credit for this. I’m the editor who bought that book, we ended up changing a lot. So part of the professional skill of a working author is to take an editor’s direction, and execute it. The rewrite letter, which is the process is you submit a manuscript and the editor reads it. And then they give you a rewrite letter, which is usually called a macro edit, which is sort of large scale, this plot point doesn’t work. This character isn’t likable, it’s large things. Sure. The rewrite letter for that book was 14 single spaced pages.

David Earnhardt  12:01

They wrote it, they wrote you a book back that’s, something


like, literally a character who died in the first draft doesn’t in the second. So if they were large scale changes, no. But and this is the thing, like I’m often asked to teach writers, and one of the things that I talked about is that the craft of writing can be taught the talent piece of it, to me is the storytelling. There’s a difference, you know, yeah, I did not have the craft of writing, but I was very much a natural storyteller. So as slowly as I learned, and yes, people said, you go back and read that book and cringe, absolutely. It’s still a great book, and I still love it. But I also feel like if you read one of my new my releases from this year, you will see a real progression, like you do with any artists with a painter or a musician, you see their their skill set, deepen their ability to do something well deepen, and, but it was, it was loads of fun, because I had no idea what I was doing.

David Earnhardt  13:13

So you know, so take me through that a little bit. Right, you mentioned, you know, the art of, of, you know, kind of storytelling, and I can imagine that there might have been some willingness to take critique, and, you know, understanding because this is kind of new to you. And, and, you know, there might have been some, like, Well, you know, that some notes are good. And at the same time, like, I can imagine, if I got 14 pages single spaced back, I would either feel a little insulted or a little wounded by that and so I’m just kind of curious like that let that litter landed in your mailbox. And I’m just gonna curious how, how you felt about that.


It’s funny, because that’s part of the job. And that was part of the theater background in that being refused or accepted for a role for something you know, you have no control over I can’t tell you how many acting roles I lost because I was too tall. You know, I can’t change that. So the concept of getting feedback getting direction, incorporating it and returning something was already integral to my creative process. Having said that, I often tell writers it is absolutely okay to hate the rewrite letter for the first 48 hours. It is part of the process if you get it and you hate it. And the the the stationery from that publisher was this sort of interesting cloud blue, and my kids were four and six, two and six at the time and like everybody knew his mom’s holding cloud blue stationary don’t talk to her. So there was there is that moment where you it is wounding at first, even now, quite frankly, even now. I will get I’m getting write letters. And there’ll be things where I am, you know, I don’t want to do that.

David Earnhardt  15:04



The interesting thing is how many times my, the length of my career has taught me that they’re usually right. So my sort of professional process is, I’ll go through a rewrite letter, and I’ll literally classify it. What do I hate? What? Yeah, that I can see that. And then there’s like, you know, there’s, there’s like red, green and yellow lights, there’s the red lights of I hate it. I can’t believe they’re asking you to do that. That’s my favorite. I’ve had to cut. I have had to cut my favorite scene out of every single book.

David Earnhardt  15:39

No kidding. Yeah. That just that has to feel like just wounding and just, I can’t even imagine like, Don’t you understand how good this is like.


And it’s usually because I think I’m being so darn clever. And it’s, it’s just about me being clever. It doesn’t serve the story or the characters. That is part of it. And that is, that is the business side of it, that I knew going into it because the person who brought me into this career was an editor. So that taught me to see it from an editor’s eyes. And I would like to think that that makes me good to work with. Absolutely, I will get it done. You if I don’t like what you’re asking me to do, my usual sort of response is, I will try it. And I am sorry to say that most times I do it and go, Oh, darn, she was right. Or if it doesn’t work, if I try it, I will usually say will, this didn’t work for me. But if your goal was to do X, I can do it by doing y. And that becomes its partnership rather than adversarial. I think that that served me really well in my career is looking at it that way rather than the adversarial editor author relationship, 

David Earnhardt  17:09

let’s dig into that a little bit. Because I can imagine that there is probably over the course of your career, there’s been, you might have worked with a couple of different, you know, partners that are writing editors, that that have different styles, and some are more direct than others. And some may have, you know, more creative feedback, as opposed to, you know, your periods in the wrong place, you know, those types of editing choices. And so I’m just kind of curious, you know, talk about the partnership a little bit that kind of develops, between an author and their editor, and their kind of creative and creative house,


it is different for each for each house, I was very fortunate in that my first 12 books for Harlequin and love inspired her with the same editor. And that’s really unusual. So I had a really solid foundation with someone that we really got each other. And there were times I there was one conversation where I remember where she had a suggestion. And I said, I really really don’t want to do that. And she turned around and said, and we’re really, really gonna make you. you know, we we had a very good relationship. And I think that’s part of it, that you choose your choose your hills to die on. There have been two times where I dug my heels in because I felt really, really strongly. And the fact that I only did that when I felt really strongly because there are lots of people who dig their heels in on everything. So that was part of the understanding of of the partnership and use it a little bit different. I love it. When an editor tells me what the goal was that I didn’t hit, rather than telling me how to hit it. Like they’ll say, this scene at the end of this scene, this character doesn’t come we should like him at the end of the scene, and we kind of don’t, so he needs to be more likeable, or you’ve, you’ve brought this plot point in too early. Because that to me is is more fun for me to find my way around to how to reach that goal. So that’s my favorite kind of editing. And that usually works. And, and I’ll often I’m not afraid to call up an editor and go I don’t know, you know, what are we going to do about this? I’m stuck here. Particularly in series because category romances are almost always in series. So I’m working with that sort of a story arc for three or four books with different sets of of characters. So we often have conversations about the story arcs and one of my favorite ones last year was we were sitting around, I was talking we weren’t sitting around because you can’t we were on the phone Talking about the last book. And I said, What? Do you think we could get away with x? And she went, Oh, yeah. The next 15 minutes, we were just spinning off subplots, and whatever. And it was so much fun. And I think a lot of writers don’t think they can have fun with their editors. Sure. Again, it’s the partnership adversarial thing. And I have just always approached it. I don’t know that I would say that it’s more businesslike, but it is more sort of entrepreneurial partnership, connection collaboration, then I am the artist and what I say must go


must go

David Earnhardt  20:47

cannot be touched or Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Well, so you touched on this just a little bit, which was, you know, you have you have a manuscript that goes to an author that comes back and gets notes. And, and, you know, I wonder if you could, if you could talk a little bit about the actual process of the job, you know, what methods do you use to kind of prepare your thoughts, you know, or do you have someone like a, like a partner that you run ideas by first in order to, you know, kind of kind of flesh things out before you start writing? You know, how do you, you know, just take us through the actual kind of process, that that takes you to the next step.


My process is probably a little different than other people, I do not and have never had a critique partner, which is quite unusual. Lots of writers have critique groups or critique partners. There are only three people who see a manuscript when it goes to publication, one of which is me, one of which is my editor, and the second of which, the third of which is my husband, because he’s a really awesome proofreader. And he will say things like, well, he can’t stand up over here, because he stood up two pages ago. So either he sat back down, so he’s, he’s an engineer. And he’s not at all my demographic. So I know that if a romance story, if the plot is interesting and compelling enough to keep his attention, then I know it’s a really strong plot. And he’s also after 56 books, he’s got a pretty good sense of what works and what doesn’t. But so what happens is, I will create what’s called a proposal. And that’s still true, it still happens after 56 books where the proposal is has two pieces, one of which is the first three chapters of the book in full. And the other which is a synopsis, which is my best guess as to the full plot, there is an understanding that things will change. And obviously, for romance, we all know that it ends with them falling in love, and they get there happily ever after. And you can’t mess with that with the right. And with the mystery, obviously, we have to know who done it. So that is the proposal that gets sent to the editor. If I’m doing a series, then the proposal is that piece for the first book, usually a much shorter version of it for the second book, maybe a paragraph or page for the third book. And sometimes for the fourth and fifth, the generally between three and five books for a series. So that gets sent to the editor, and they decide, do we buy it, we want you to change this.

David Earnhardt  23:29

So you talked a little bit about, you know, this doing this kind of being on a dare but then, you know, at some point you you kind of have to decide, well, this is going to be what I do for a living, you know, so what made you kind of decide to jump in with both feet and actually decide to make this thing your career.


Um, it started when I because the of my original goal in writing the first book was that I had decided to stay home and raise my kids. I was a working mom for four years. And then I was an at home mom. And so literally my fiction and nonfiction career started up at the same time. Not only was I writing the romance novel, but I also just more for personal exploration and therapy started writing a book called becoming a chief home officer, which was about the very rocky career choice. I found it very, very difficult to become an at home mom. I thought it sort of just like you came preloaded with all the software didn’t work. And it was an extremely difficult transition for me. So I wrote as a way to understand it. And interestingly enough, I was working with an organization that was looking for an author. So it was really a lot of Providence coming together, that I was running a fiction and a nonfiction career at the same time. And at that point, it sort of dawned on me, wow. This could be what I do. And I think that even like in high school, I thought that there was a sort of special cast of people who got to be authors and creative folks and make their living that way. Never realizing that there were people who make their living. Having said that, it is a tough haul. It is, like many creative fields, there are a small group of people who are making a killing. And then there are the rest of us. Sure. And so it’s very funny. We had a we had a party when I hit the million bookmark, because I thought that was amazing, right? A million books globally.. And I was stunned at how many people hopped directly from a million books to a million dollars. Like, I was rich, right? Believe me, nothing is further from the truth. But um, there is there is a marvelous flexibility to it much in this pandemic year, my job has basically not changed at all, how many people can say that, you know what I do, it’s very, very flexible. I build it around my life. So the flexibility even when I was a young mom, was huge for me to be able to do that. It was tricky.And in the, in the later years of my career, I have a 24 year old son who was actually quite ill as a teenager, and the ability to close up my laptop, throw it in a bag, go down to the hospital, and work from his hospital room was an absolute godsend. It’s been it’s been really wonderful for me as a career because of that flexibility. And it’s just plain fun, right?

David Earnhardt  26:47

Well, we talk a lot on this podcast about the, you know, kind of the taking the leap, and and, you know, kind of having enough confidence in yourself to say, Yep, I can forego the steady paycheck to be to be this thing that I want to be. And so I just wonder, you know, what, that?  was that a fearful decision? Like, did you were you nervous? Were you excited? You know, surely there was some some kind of feelings associated with? Yep, I’m gonna walk away from the nine to five and the job security and do this thing for real?


Absolutely. And there’s no question that this is much it’s a much easier leap to take, if you have a spouse or a partner who has like, let’s say, benefits. And a regular paycheck? Sure, no, for me, this, this was the leap was, Oh, my gosh, I can do this and be a mom And so it started out very slowly. You know, that was one book, my first book took three years to write, I now produce for a year, I’m contracted for nine over the next two and a half years. So I had a very nice long runway to start getting into it. And as the need for me to be an active mom, my kids are 24 and 28. Now, so I could totally fill that with, with books, things. So it was really kind of a moving this spectrum along rather than any leap. I don’t know that that’s true for lots of people. But you can make I tell people, you can make about three quarters of a living doing this. And the problem is eventually that last quarter catches up with you. Sure. Yeah. So I have a great amount of admiration for people who go it alone, because cash flow is ridiculously unpredictable.. And you don’t know, you know, our tax accountant is going what’s your income going to be next year? And I’m like, I wish I could tell you.

David Earnhardt  28:55

Maybe they could forecasted for you or Yes. That makes a lot of sense. Well, if so, are there things that you can do as a as a working author to kind of improve your craft or grow as a as an artist? I mean, we talked a little bit about, you know, some of the editing and being willing to be open to taking that editing. But I mean, are there what would be some suggestion that you would have for someone to, to kind of grow? Once they actually have published their first book and thinking about making this a full time gig?


The first step is always to find a local writers group, if that’s specific to your genre, or just general sometimes they’re like I get there’s the universities that the romance Writers of America has local chapters I’m involved with that I’m involved with the Mystery Writers. So many of those local groups are genre specific. And that and then there are lots that aren’t, but to get with a group of people who can not only offer you Local classes. But a way to find a critique group or someone who can answer a question for you. This is a solitary profession, but it’s best done in like little pods of colleagues. So I do I go to a lot of conferences, even before I was teaching at them, I would go to learn. And I always read at least one craft book at a time, you know what I’m always reading your craft book, and then and then a book book that I have with an author that I really admire. So I’m always working on reading three books, which is one is about a craft of improving something about what I do. One is a book that I think works exceptionally well, or one that has caught the public attention. And I want to know why. And then usually something you know, personally inspirational or, you know, personal growth kinds of things. You have to what is it? I think it’s Stephen King, who famously said, if you don’t have time to read, you shouldn’t be writing, you know, that every writer should read a lot. I do a lot of audiobooks, because it’s easier, potentially, particularly if I’m reading a genre where I’m writing. If I read it, I can. Because I grew up as an actor, I tend to sort of mimic things. So I will find myself adopting the voice of the writer I’m reading. I find that happens far less than an audio book. So a lot of times the genre that I’m writing in, I’ll do as an audio book. I particularly like if I’m doing a historical book, or I need to catch the the sound of a dialect. I did a like the Texas I would read, I would hear listen to a lot of books set in Texas. So like got that musicality of that voice in my head. What relating to that probably my favorite thing about what I do is the research and not the book research. I love to go find experts and ask them questions and do things. And so as a part of my fiction research, I’ve done the most amazing things. I’ve learned how to walk a trapeze from a member of the Wallenda family. I learned how to shoot not how to shoot I learned how to work with 10 foot bullwhip, because I needed a character who could work a whip from the San Francisco circus art school. So I’ve done these really wild, crazy things. I’ve had a Texas farmer rig a stampede for me and put me in the middle of a bison Stampede. Which is, by the way, a very scary place to be. Because I will go to people and say, here’s what I want helped me get it right. And people generally are wonderful. I had the world and I don’t even know this existed. I had the world’s third ranked barista. Pull me on espresso on the most expensive espresso machine made because I needed to know what that tasted like. And I needed to know how expensive is the most expensive espresso machine ever made? And the answer at the time was $15,000. And so I have found people to be tremendously generous with their expertise and experience. If you tell them I’m writing a book, you know, it’s just been it’s been so much fun and to me that’s that’s literally half the adventure is getting to meet these people who share their skills with me.

David Earnhardt  33:38

That’s awesome. So I have to dig in on the barista question. Because it First of all, I didn’t know that was a thing also and second like expresso is  Italian right? Did you have to like go to Italy and and get have a vacation on your research Project


set in Seattle was called the perfect blend. So I did in fact go to Seattle and drink my way through coffee bars and discovered that there is in fact, something called too much caffeine. But I went to a local Coffee Company and said Actually, I went to my I’m a huge knitter. It’s a big part of a lot of my fiction. I went to my yarn shop that had this beautiful espresso machine and I said, Who? Who? Who’s Who’s your distributor? And they sent me to a place called intelligentsia coffee in Chicago. And I explained to them what I wanted and they said oh yes, we have a local machine. As a matter of fact, we have the world’s third ranked barista. Would you like to come and have her pull an expresso for you? Yeah, yes. And she was wonderful. And she it’s the ranking comes from it is it’s a very scientific art and the machines are very calibrated very specifically and there’s the art piece of it, you know, sort of latte foam. That you think about. And I didn’t even know you could be right. Right, right. Yeah. It was amazing that it was such a fun experience. And yes, that absolutely informed how that book was written. And conversely, I learned I needed a tea ceremony because the book was about a coffee lover and a tea lover. And I discovered that the English tea ceremony is okay. And the Japanese tea ceremony is okay, but the Chinese groom for cha tea ceremony is exactly what I wanted. So it was really fun to to come up with all that stuff.

David Earnhardt  35:36

So Alright, so how was it? How was the third best espresso in the world? How was it?


It was the smoothest thing ever. It was really strong. And it was a it was like buzz was like caffeine buzz, just like being in the building where there was. And it was fun to watch. It mattered how many seconds you pulled the steam, it matter how hard you tamp down the grounds, all these things that that I didn’t know about, but, and I couldn’t read them in a book I could have read them in a book, but to have this sort of very visceral experience of watching someone and the art that was involved and the science and why the $15,000 machine cost $15,000 does work. There’s just something wonderful about being actively curious. And just the world is ready to explore. And and people have been been really wonderful in letting me into their world, I think because they know, I want to get it right. And who wasn’t who doesn’t want to have their world correctly? You know, depicted. So yeah, huge fun.

David Earnhardt  36:54

You know, I think that now you can now that you’ve published for a while and you know, like you come up with all kinds of creative ideas. And I think you should figure out a way to make it so that you can also see some of the world as a result of that, too. I like that. I like that. You know, and maybe the next time you you’re writing about someone who likes to hike mountains versus someone who likes to ski scuba dive, and then you can pair them up together and go see the coral reefs. 


it is no, It is no accident that I have a whole series set in Austin, Texas, where my son went to college. And I had a whole series set in Maggie Valley, or a fictional town based on Maggie Valley when my daughter lived in Raleigh, because she went to College of Charleston. So I create and I create set to books in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina. So that was the magic of it for me that I got to invent reasons to go visit my kids in college. 

David Earnhardt  37:51

That’s an excellent, that’s another one of those perks that you were talking about being able to pack up your laptop, and, and and visit your kids wherever they are.


That’s why I literally did the book in Seattle, because I wanted to I wanted to visit a place where coffee was, you know, so highly prized?

David Earnhardt  38:09

That’s awesome. Well, so this, this podcast is kind of geared toward, you know, geared towards students and your toward, you know, people of all stripes, who might think that they have the, you know, the great American novel in their in their pocket. And, you know, what advice would you give to someone who’s interested in becoming a published author?


I get asked that a lot. And it’s part of the coaching practice that I do is actually, I think one of the skill sets is to develop a writing practice, to be able to write on a regular basis is part is a huge part of being a working author. I mean, a lot of people think that they sit around waiting for inspiration to strike and then they sit down at a laptop and bang out two chapters, you know, and that’s not at all how it works. It really is. Very, every day, I produce 1200 words every working day, that is how I get it done. People always ask me, how do you get four books done? Very easy, 1200 words every day, five days a week. So the first part if you know that’s what you want to do, is to establish a writing practice to set goals for yourself every day so that you show up at the keyboard. It’s a funny, it’s a sort of writer joke that the big cock School of writing B IC H O. K, which stands for button chair, hands on keyboard. So everyone’s always asking me for the secret handshake, right? The Secret author handshake that lets them into the clubhouse or the secret sauce and it really is developing a practice. And so when I started coaching writers because people were asking me, how do you produce on the level that you do it great romance. is a volume business, most category romance writers need to produce four books a year. And they’re smaller. They’re 55,000 words. But that’s an everyday kind of thing. And so I realized that the same skills that got me to beat deadlines as a grant writer and everything else, that those skills actually applied to the creative process. And so the chunking method, which is what I often, which is what I tell coach on and what most people People know me about, is figuring out what your chunk is. What’s your creative battery? How many words do you get down before you sort of run out of juice, and then using that to build a schedule and and dependable and knowing that, that’s the whole coaching process. And I love that, because I think that is the key that no one’s talking about to creating a working writer, as opposed to someone who’s just trying to maybe write a book, you know, sometime between now and when they die.

David Earnhardt  41:00

Got it? So I’m just so now that begs the question. So you mentioned 1200 words, and and you mentioned kind of this kind of regular process, if you if you get beyond that, or you’re you know, you’re in a creative space, and you get Past and you you get to your our time limit, or whatever it is that you set up. But you’re kind of in the groove, do you do you continue? Or do you honor that boundary? And say, if it’s if it’s really good, I’ll come back? It’ll come back to me tomorrow. Like, I’m just kind of curious how that works.


I’ll go if I need to, but because it’s one of three things I do, right. I’m a writer, I’m a coach, I’m also a speaker. So a lot of times I will go but I don’t always have the luxury of just, and it quite frankly, it’s never been my style. It’s never been, you know that that 1200 word chunk. That’s now back when I first started writing that chunk was 500 words. Alright, and I was lucky to get the 500. Right. I was occasionally doing it while the kids are in the ball pit at McDonald’s. I mean, it really was a juggling. So it’s more often that I hit that 1200 because I know that’s my chunk. That’s my that’s what my creative self serves up. And I was explaining this to a group of writers last year, and somebody said, You have project managed the creative process. I didn’t think anybody could do that. And it absolutely works. And she’s right. Right, I did I project managed it. And it works. It works great. And I don’t ever say I’m going to go write for an hour. I feel like that’s putting your Muse in a corner and say you can’t come out. So it’s it’s literally sometimes it takes me 45 minutes to get those 1200 words, sometimes it takes me two hours. So I really don’t do it by the clock, I do it by this is this is the task I have to do. And I don’t get to get up until it’s done. Sure. And I work with writers whose chunks are 200 words, I work with writers whose chunks are 5000 words, the process of discovering it is very, very individual, which is why the chunking method is so popular and why I think I do so much coaching because it’s not me saying you must do X, Y and Z to be a working writer.

David Earnhardt  43:19

Yeah, it’s there’s flexibility inside of that structure. I guess as a way of saying that. Yeah, I like that. Yeah, cuz


it’s built organically on how your brain works. And then of course, you get, you know, the child gets larger and larger as you go in, there are tactics for speeding up if you need to, but you know, it’s built on how your brain works, which is why I think it’s so effective.

David Earnhardt  43:41

Sure, that’s awesome. Well, as we start to, you know, wrap up the podcast here, I wonder, I always like to ask my, my guests, who they think has a cool job. And, you know, kind of dig into into why a little bit because I think we all we all do our profession because we really enjoy it. And it’s something that we, we find a lot of value in and at the same time, there’s some kind of magic in what someone else might do and having some appreciation for what another person’s job might be. So I’m just kind of curious, who you think has a cool job and why?


Well, the neat thing is I’ve met lots of people who have really cool jobs, the barista that we talked about the the circus arts teacher who taught me how to crack a bullwhip, which by the way, when you learn hurts a lot you know, he said I will teach you if you I’ll bring the safety goggles, that was my first Oh gosh, were two shirts and just know you’re coming away from this with welts. If you if you can do that I will teach you and and so he taught me and it was amazing. So so he was someone who was who was incredible. The high the high wire walking family. I mean the  Wallenda family right? They’ve been amazing. And so it’s been, it’s been but at the same time, I’ve talked to firefighters, I’ve talked to bison ranch owners who have amazing jobs. And I think my natural curiosity and thinking that everybody has a really cool job is part of what makes all the different people in my books real and people that you want to know. And I think even librarians have cool jobs. And I’ve written tax accountants as bakers, and florists and I just dig into the real coolness of all those jobs. So I couldn’t name just one person certainly not without their


David Earnhardt  46:00

now that’s awesome. I really like the idea that you can we talked a little bit about exploring different different areas and different people’s work and and the fact that you can be so openly curious and excited by that type of the different types of work I think that’s really cool.Well, you know, how can our listeners learn more about you and your and your business and your books?


Well, the easiest places to go to Alli pleiter dot com which is a Ll e. p, like Pleiter l e i t l, er, you can tell I’ve done that a COM And that will tell you about those speaking that I do to writers and to all kinds of creative people. And that will list all of the I think we’re at 56 now books, and, and the speaking and the coaching, which is which is really for creative people, and I’ve done. I’ve done people coming out of college, somebody bought their son or daughter of a set of code, I have a set coaching package. And they bought that as a graduation gift for their creative writing students. I was just tickled because I’m going to launch you into your career with all this wonderful, you know, system underfoot. So those kinds of things. That’s probably the best place.

David Earnhardt  47:22

That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I appreciate that. Well, Allie, thank you so much for your time and sharing your your expertise and your cool job with us. We really appreciate it.


Well, it’s been delightful I’ve had I’ve had just a ton of fun. And I hope that your audiences have the same amount of fun that we’ve had just talked.

David Earnhardt  47:44

Absolutely Me too. I hope that as well. Thanks for listening to The Cool Jobs Podcast, a service of the Career Center at UNC Asheville. Like what you heard, give us a like, share with your friends and subscribe. Next week we’ll be talking to Ryan Huston, Financial Roadmap Specialist, so make sure to check it out. We’ll see you next time.

Cool Jobs & Internships 9/20/21

Cool Jobs

Career Pathways Navigator at Goodwill of the Southern

Piedmont Financial Services Representative at State Employees Credit Union (Chapel Hill)

Legislative Delivery Assistant at Texas Legislative Council
International Recruiting Manager at Wilderness at the Smokies & Soaky Mountain Water Park
Air Quality Specialist (Natural Resource Specialist 1) at Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Flight Test Engineer at Air Force Civilian Service Air Force Test Center- Edwards AFB
HR Data Analyst – Talent Acquisition at UNC Health
Management Trainee (Management Development Program) at Hajoca Corporation (Greensboro NC)
Assistant Real Estate Manager at CBRE Group, Inc.
Full-Time Freeski Park & Pipe Coach at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
Manager In Training Operations at PoolCorp (Greensboro NC)
Digital Robotic Process Automation Governance, Security and Compliance Associate at Pfizer, Inc.
Actuarial Analyst – 2022 Future Opportunities at Anthem, Inc.
ADA AmeriCorps Program Director at AmeriCorps Partnership to End Homelessness
Technical Supervisor – Performing Arts Center (21-88) Amended at Francis Marion University
Park Manager II at South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
Automation PLC & Robotics Programmer at Cardinal Health
Executive Director, Families Moving Forward at moss+ross
Immigrant Youth Program Officer at Liberty’s Promise
Green Energy Engineer at Envision AESC US LLC
Space Camp Counselor at U.S. Space & Rocket Center
Legislative Research Assistant at Congressional Research Service

Cool Internships

Student Trainee (Engineering) at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Facebook University – Analytics – Summer 2022 at Facebook
Sync Licensing Internship (remote) at Terrorbird Media
Winter-Spring 2022 newsroom editorial internship at The Christian Science Monitor
NAACP and PADP Joint Research Intern at Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Dea
Kayak Guide/Interpretive Naturalist/Retail Summer Intern at Outside Brands

Cool Local Jobs:
Traffic Management Specialist at Atkins, Member of the SNC-Lavalin Group
Several Tax and Accounting positions at Carter PCShift Production Supervisor

2nd Shift at PLI Card Marketing Solutions
35 open positions with Buncombe County Schools

Psychiatry administration assistant at MAHEC

Legal Assistants – Estates and Litigation at McGuire Wood and Bissette

Cool Local Internship

Marketing/Graphic Design Intern at Keller Williams Realty Professionals/Broker Asheville

Cool On Campus Job

Percussion Manager at UNC Asheville – Music Department

Cool Years of Service

National Environmental Policy Act Technical Assistant at U.S. Dept. of Interior – Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
Baylor University Food Security Initiative VISTA – Brownwood at Baylor University – Tex

My thoughts for the week:

NextFest is TOMORROW!  We are excited to say we will host more than 60 employers, internship sites, graduate schools and years of service opportunities on campus, and we hope you’ll join us!  Even if you’re not actively looking, NextFest is still an opportunity to connect with sites looking to connect with UNC Asheville talent!  See the full list of organizations here.