Archive | April, 2012

You Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out

30 Apr

My friend called me last night to start coordinating Cinco de Mayo festivities. Score! As I was thinking about how awesome this weekend is going to be, it hit me, out of nowhere…we’re already in MAY.

Really?!? A whole freaking year passed by already? I’m just baffled.

You see, May of last year marked the beginning of the weirdest year of my life.

But you know what?

The weirdest year of my life has also been the one I’m most thankful for.

To begin with, this time last year I thought I had everything figured out. Then I realized that I knew nothing. And so I began my quest to figure things out on my own terms. This is what’s happened since…

I’ve learned that first impressions aren’t always accurate. I’ve learned that while I’m good at some things, I suck at others. I’ve discovered some of my truest passions. I’ve done things for myself and not for the approval of others. I’ve learned that without faith, things are f*cking hard. I’ve learned that life should be about living, yet we waste so much time complaining about things that don’t really matter. Not even a little bit. I’ve lost some friends. I’ve gained others. And most importantly, I’ve met people that have unexpectedly and quite suddenly changed my life forever.

I’ve hurt people I’ve loved and I’ve been hurt by people I’ve loved.

I’ve been confused and unsettled and yet every second has been exhilarating.

I’ve learned to let go of expectations. I’ve learned to embrace being lost. I’ve learned the value in different perspectives. I’ve watched as all my future plans got thrown out the window. At some point along the way, I forgot who I was, who I wanted to be. Then luckily, I found myself again. I’ve learned to say yes to some things and no to others. I’ve learned to move forward despite every effort to hold onto the past for dear life…Because it’s all I ever knew, and because it felt safe. I’ve learned, as a result, that I don’t want safe. Instead, I want adventure.

I’ve learned to fully embrace this complete wanderlust, this zest for experiencing life and all it has to offer because the world is a beautiful place that we far too often take for granted.

I’ve learned that…

But more than anything, I’ve learned that I’m much more resilient than I ever imagined.

And so, for this year, I’m forever grateful.

You know, being young can suck sometimes. It’s confusing and people expect you to have everything figured out. But life doesn’t really work that way. You don’t have to have all the answers. So experience everything that’s thrown your way- both the good and the bad- then learn from it, from all of it. And I promise, if you do that, you’ll be just fine.

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The Educational Revolution…Why? Because Schools Kill Creativity

26 Apr

I watched this video yesterday and it completely blew me away.

Do yourself a favor and WATCH IT! 

This man is honest, funny, a straight up genius and his accent is awesome.

“Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.”

Ted Ideas Worth Spreading

Should we all be doing what we love? Yes. Is school the only way to get us there? No. We need to educate people in  a way that promotes creativity and passion in our work so that we don’t end up bitter and miserable. Life’s too short.

Thanks to my twitter peeps @shawmu and @knealemann for bringing this to my attention 😀

How To Get Along With Younger Coworkers

25 Apr

So last week I wrote an article explaining how to get along with older coworkers.

And you know what? ALOT of people had a problem with it. Thankfully, I didn’t get any death threats. I don’t like those. They’re not cool.

But I just don’t understand what the huge controversy was.

Here’s the deal…we’re working in a multigenerational environment and it’s in everyone’s best interest to get along. Unfortunately, it seems that there are a lot of misconstrued ideas about both younger and older workers. Both parties have to deal with ageism, prejudices, stereotypes, and as a result, rather than working together, different generations end up ostracizing eachother.

Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we work together? Why does it have to be so awkward?

So now that we’ve discussed how to get along with older coworkers, here are some tips on how to get along with the new generation of workers, the GenYs, your younger coworkers…

1. Make them think they’re geniuses. Even if they’re not. In general, younger workers have a difficult time adapting to new employees, in particular, OLDER employees. Why? Because  for the most part they’ve been used to socializing with people their own age. Then, when they enter workforce, they’re automatically percieved as those bratty kids that don’t know anything. They’re not asking for a whole lot. They just want others to value them. They want their coworkers to feel that they do in fact bring something to the table. Whether it’s the understanding of technology, or a positive outlook on life, they want to feel that they contribute something to the team. So let them think they’re awesome. Tell them they’re awesome. It’ll make them feel important and they’ll be less likely to hate you.

2. Find something you have in common. Working with people half your age can be a bit strange. Why? Because it’s hard to find common interests. So here’s what you do. YOU GET TO KNOW THEM! Talk to them about their college years. Maybe you studied the same thing in school. Talk to them about their romantic failures, I’m sure they can use all the advice they can get. Maybe find a tv show that you both watch. Talk about traveling. Maybe discuss pets…everyone loves pets. You see, point is that regardless of how completely different you are from everyone you work with, if you look hard enough, I’m sure you can find at least ONE common interest. But please, don’t think that you have to get drunk and go clubbing in order to have something to talk about with your younger coworkers.

3. Ask them about their future. One of the things I’ve discovered while working with people much older than me is that for some reason, I love sharing with others my future dreams and goals. The people that I’m most receptive to are the ones that take a genuine interest in my future and want to help me get there. Whether it’s by throwing opportunities my way or simply providing me with guidance and advice, either way, it’s GREATLY appreciated. So just listen to their stories, listen to their hopes and goals. Some of them could be interesting and you might actually end up learning a thing or two about life.

4. When all else fails, bring them food. Everyone likes free food (ESPECIALLY broke recent college grads). It’s hard to NOT like the person in the office that brings the free food. So do this, and your younger coworkers will love you. If you can provide them with the recipe, they’ll love you even more. 

That’s it. You see? It’s simple.

But here’s the thing…for those of you that read last week’s post, you’ll notice that the tips provided ARE THE SAME!!!

The intention is not to insult or offend anyone. It’s to showcase the fact that in order for different generations to get along in the workforce, people just have to be NICE. We need to get to know the people that we work with and then appeal to their interests and needs. That’s the only way to be successful in life.

What do you think? True or false? Join the conversation. Regardless of whether you’re 12 or 25 or 89, what’s the key to getting along with others at work?

Essential Career Lessons I Learned From Mean Bloggers

19 Apr

One of the things I love the most about blogging is that the blogosphere tends to be this lovely place of encouragement and wonderfulness. If you read something and think it’s awesome, you “like” it or your comment about how great it is. If you think it’s awful, you just go and read something else. It’s really a very uplifiting practice, writing. We share our thoughts and opinions on things that other people might care about. I personally write so that I decrease the amount of time that I spend talking to myself. People usually find this strange.

So yes, I think that blogginig is fantastic. But recently, I’ve had some encounters with REALLY MEAN PEOPLE! I’ve had some really not so nice comments being left on things that I write like here and here. And reading them, it just blew me away how rude people can be. I mean, come on, there’s a difference between having a different opinion and being a straight up jerk. Different opinions rock! That’s why we have brains…to think differently, to share our views, and to work together to make things better. But understand that there’s a difference between voicing a different opinion and attacking someone. Not. Cool.

So to all you mean people, I’d like to say thank you, because here are some things that you’ve taught me that will be essential in my career:

1. How to defend an arguement

In business, you have to know how to defend your arguements, how to defend your ideas. Why? Because a lot of people are going to try to shut you up and shoot you down. So learning how to reiterate your thoughts while taking into account questions that other people pose will help you be much more successful.

2. How to take criticism

Most people don’t know how to deal with criticism. I for one, used to suck at it. I got a B on my paper? What?! *Starts crying* I don’t do that anymore. Instead, I look at the feedback that I get and I take it all into consideration. Sometimes, I see areas for improvement. This is a gift. Because I DON’T know everything and being open minded and willing to listen to other perspectives makes you smarter. At work, you’re going to have projects and assignments and you might think that you did an amazing job on them. Your boss might not. So it’s important that you know how to deal with criticism so that you don’t start crying in front of your boss.

3. How to remain respectful even when you want to punch someone in the face

Punching someone in the face is bad. You can get arrested. You WILL lose your job. So just don’t. Be respectful.

4. That you can’t please everyone

Some people love my writing. Other people don’t. And guess what? That’s okay. Because regardless of whether it’s writing or doing your job or pretty much anything else that you do in your life, YOU CAN”T PLEASE EVERYONE. Especially when you’re voicing an opinion. If I tried to please everyone, I’d be talking in a circle and ultimately, I would please no one because everyone would think I’m an idiot that’s just writing for the sake of writing. So just know how you feel about something and don’t be afraid to let people know. Understand that they don’t always have to agree with you and be open to listening to their thoughts. Maybe you’ll think that they’re crazy. Maybe they ARE crazy. But maybe you’ll see things in a way you’ve never even thought of.

5. That some people are just a-holes

Yes. Some people regardless of what you do or what you say are just bitter and mean and rude and not nice. Don’t let these people ruin your life. It’s not worth it. Just ignore them and focus on being awesome.

So mean blogger people…see what I did here? I took your negativity and I made a blog post about it. Thank you!

Because quite frankly, I’m far too busy to let mean people affect my day. You want to be mean? You want to be rude? By all means, knock yourself out. I wish you a happy life.

Just know that there’s a good way and a bad way to say everything and yes, there’s a way to be assertive and voice an opinion in a professional and respectful manner. If you’re mean, people won’t like you. And in business, if people don’t like you, you die.

So just be nice. Life’s too short and being an a-hole increases stress and chances of heart disease and a bunch of other things that will cause you to die faster.

How to Get Along With Older Coworkers

17 Apr

Okay, I’ve said it before…being the youngest person in the office SUCKS.

It’s been tough, working in an environment where most people are even older than my parents.

For any of you that can relate, you know how easy it is to sit around complaining about how terrible it is, sulking in your forever alone-ness. That’s what I did for a while. But then it came to a point where I was like you know what? I have to deal with these people for 40 hours a week so let me see how I can get these people to like me.

Here are some things I tried…

1. Make them think they’re geniuses. Even if they’re not.  In general, older workers have a difficult time adapting to new employees, in particular, new YOUNG employees. Us college grads enter the workforce and we’re automatically perceived as those bratty kids that think they know it all. And so, a lot of older workers don’t like us. Some of them are  insecure and feel that we’re going to steal their jobs. Some feel that they have something to prove. Others are just mean. (If you’re one of these people, please do everyone a favor and go take a vacation…just saying). So let them think they’re awesome. Tell them they’re awesome.  Reach out to your older coworkers and make sure that they feel that you value their wisdom. It’ll make them feel important and they’ll be less likely to hate you.

2. Find something you have in common. Working with people twice and three times your age is um…not really fun sometimes. Why? Because it’s hard to find common interests. Let’s see…Grandkids? Negative. House? Negative. Cooking? Negative (but I’m learning). Perhaps I’ll just complain about how much homework my non-existant children have. 

I do have a cat though and yes, he’s a  model…

So I’d talk about my cat with my coworkers. And for a while, that’s about all I had in common with these people. I spent weeks trying to figure out what the heck else I could talk about. Then I found something that I had in common with about 97% of the people in my office!!!! I was so happy I could cry! What was it? What’s this bond that we all share that makes me feel like I have something to talk about with the people I spend all day with?!?!?

I can crochet.

Don’t judge me…I learned how to crochet blankets in high school. We would make them and donate them to kids with Cancer. And yes, it was a very cool thing to do, thank you very much. God, I feel old now. But you see, point is that regardless of how completely different you think you are from everyone else you work with, if you look hard enough, I’m sure you can find at least ONE common interest. But please, don’t pop out a baby just so you have something to talk about with your coworkers.

3. Ask them about their youth. One of the things I’ve discovered while working with people much older than me is that for some reason, they tend to love sharing stories from when they were young. They like telling you that when they were teenagers they dated guys 10 years older than them. They like telling you that they used to sneak out of their houses to party. They like telling you about the time that they drove home completely wasted and stumbled into their bed and are somehow miraculously alive to tell the story. Whether it makes them feel young again, or whether they’re simply trying to relate to you, either way, it’s not a bad thing. So just listen to their stories. Ask them questions. Some of them could be interesting and you might actually end up learning a thing or two about life.

4. When all else fails, bring them food. Everyone likes free food. It’s hard to NOT like the person in the office that brings the free food. For that reason, I tend to bring in breakfast a lot. So do this and people will  love you… Until they see you stuffing 3 donuts in your mouth and then feel the need to make some resentful remark about how you should enjoy your fast metabolism now, while you still can.

Working in a multigenerational workforce can be kind of awkward at times. So make an effort to move past generational differences and stereotypes. Because I think that if we do this, if we let go of the resentment and ill feelings, we’ll find that we can all learn a lot from each other.

I promise, we’re not as awful as you think.

Hey World, Give Us a Chance

12 Apr

How freaking annoying it is when you’re looking for a job and you see these dreaded words:

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE REQUIRED: (some ridiculous amount of years)

Hey geniuses…how can I get any experience if every job requires experience?

It seems to me that some employers place more emphasis on the years of experience someone possesses as opposed to the value that they contribute to their team.

THIS IS CRAZY TO ME!!!

So that’s what I explained to Tim Sackett, writer at Fistful of Talent.

While he advocates that us young professionals gain experience through working crappy, entry level jobs, I tell him that we’re not really into that.

Check out the post HERE where I explain to him the following:

Talent, ability, and leadership potential have one thing in common…they have NOTHING to do with age.

Jobs Are Like Boyfriends (and Girlfriends)…It’s Okay to Get a New One

10 Apr

My friend’s boyfriend is an idiot. I mean, honestly, I have no idea what she sees in him. He treats her terribly, he’s not good for her, and no, his looks don’t compensate for his behavior. So why does she stay with him?

I found this quote by Johnny Depp that seems to answer my question. Turns out that in addition to being one very sexy pirate, the man is a genius…

“I think when you’re young, you’re hoping that this person will be the right one, the one you’re going to be in love with forever. But sometimes you want that so much that you create something that really isn’t there.”

Well…umm…I know I’ve done that before.

And I know that no one’s interested in my romantic failures but this same concept applies to work.

You see, we go to college and immediately have to decide what to study. Yes, while some of us can’t even do our own laundry, we have to pretty much decide what we want to do with our lives. No pressure.

Then we graduate and we’re forced to find jobs so we don’t starve to death.  But in our job search, we think and we hope that the first job we get will be the perfect one. We want it to work out so badly.

We believe that it HAS to work out.

Let’s take me for example. I went to school and got my degree in Health Services Administration. While in school, I landed a job as a secretary at hospital. That made sense. But you know what? Now that I’ve been working for about two years, I realize that there are a lot of other things that I like. There are a lot of other things that I’d rather be doing.

Look job, it’s not you, it’s me. I don’t think we’re as compatible as I once thought.

So I have a choice. I can either create something that really isn’t there and force myself to like it or I can realize that it’s not working and move on, knowing that there has to be something better.

I think a lot of people feel this way. A lot of people land jobs immediately after graduation and think, “this is it.” A few weeks, months, sometimes years later, they realize that they’re not happy.  But instead of doing something about it, they settle.

And what happens? By the age of 25 they get hit in the face with this lovely thing called the quarter life crisis which isn’t nearly as fun as the mid life crisis because at 25 people are broke and can’t afford to buy convertibles.

So listen, it’s okay if you graduate and your first “dream job” turns out to be an epic fail. CONGRATS! You’re one step closer to finding something you DO like. Try to learn as much as you can from every job you have. That’s what this time is for. This is the time to figure out what you like, what you don’t like, what you’re good at, what you suck at, etc. So don’t be afraid to acknowledge that what you’re doing isn’t the right fit for you and that you need something different. It doesn’t make YOU a failure.

Because really,

If your job doesn’t challenge you…

If your job doesn’t interest you…

If your job doesn’t make you a better person…

And if your job is causing you to consume excessive amounts of alcohol…

Then it might be time to break up. And I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard thinking that you invested so much time into that degree that’s hanging on your wall. So many freaking papers and exams. So many all-nighters. How can you possibly think of doing anything different?

Understand that sometimes things just don’t work out. It sucks, I know. But you know what? It’s better to accept that you need a new job and find something that you DO love as opposed to spending years and years being a bitter and miserable a-hole.

Too many people stay in relationships that don’t make them happy. Too many people stay in jobs that they hate. Is that really what you want? To spend 15 years at a job that you hate? I definitely don’t.

Because at the end of the day, pretending to love something or someone when you actually don’t is very stressful. And quite honestly, I don’t want to be stressed because stress causes wrinkles and botox is expensive.

Relax, Being Lost is a Good Thing

5 Apr

Of all the annoying questions I’m asked on a daily basis, I think my favorite has to be this one…

“Where do you want to be in five years?”

My response?

“Wherever Ryan Gossling is.”

JK…that’s where I want to be NOW. Not in five years 😀

No but seriously, this question really upsets me.

You see, I’ve always been an obsessive compulsive planner. Three years ago, I would have been able to answer that question down to the kind of toilet paper I’d be using in five years. At 18 I thought I knew exacly what I wanted to do with my life. I thought I knew exacly what kind of job I wanted and I thought I had met the guy I would marry. We were going to have really pretty babies.

Seemed like a pretty good plan to me. Only, it wasn’t.

Throughout college I found that my interests changed…that there were so many things I could do with my life…and well, I became confused. But that’s what happens! We become lost and we freak out because we don’t have it all figured out. All our plans get thrown out the window and we don’t know what to do.

The URL to my blog is LOSTgenygirl.com so people have asked me why I’m lost.

“Kayla, you don’t seem lost, you don’t look lost, so how are you lost?”

The way I see it, most young people today ARE lost.

We graduate from college and enter the “Real World” having no idea what we’re getting ourselves into. We have a million life decisions to make and it sucks. We often have no idea what to do or what direction to go in. So we’re lost.

And I used to think that being lost was a terrible thing. But recently, I’ve come to understand that I love being lost. I don’t know EXACTLY what I want to do. I don’t know EXACTLY where I want to be in 5 years and I love that. Because I’m just starting to figure myself out. In order to really live your life, you’ve got to be a little lost. I promise, it’s not a bad thing.

I got lost on one of the best dates I’ve ever been on. Being from Miami, we went to a boat show.

Freaking beautiful day. You would have thought we were tourists because we got on the wrong bus like seven different times. But the beauty of the day was that we had no plan…no ultimate destination…and so we were open to anything that came our way. That’s what made it so amazing. There was no disappointment, no pressure, we just wandered about aimlessly, fully embracing everything. I was open to new experiences, didn’t let setbacks piss me off, and it turned out to be one of my favorite days. If that’s what being lost is like, I really don’t mind.

Think about this…

So no, I don’t have a five year plan. I don’t have a two year plan. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner. But I trust that everything will end up okay and I think that’s what makes my life so exciting.

Work Lessons From The Hunger Games

3 Apr

So by now I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing about the Hunger Games. But too bad. I’m still going to write about it. Yea, there are a lot of people annoyed by yet another teen love triangle but I have to say, I picked up some essential business lessons while watching the movie and paying $17 for popcorn and a soda.

Here are some of them…

Work Lessons From The Hunger Games

Food For Hungry Gen Y

2 Apr

Okay so a week ago I wrote about Gen Y being hungry.

Yes, some of them are starving. Generation Y is entering the workforce with strong drive, much ambition, and they’re eager to put their talents to use.

One problem though. You see this?…

There seems to be a lack of it these days.

So if we can’t give these new workers more $$$, how can management ensure that they retain their top talent?

It’s simple really. You just have to make them feel important. So here are some ways to do that:

1. Put them on a committee– Okay I get that you can’t give everyone more money and you can’t give everyone a promotion. That’s understandable. But how about you give these eager workers the opportunity to serve on a committee? How does this hurt an organization? Newsflash! It doesn’t. Instead, it engages workers and allows them the opportunity to feel like they’re participating in something. To feel like their opinions matter.

2. Give them exposure– Introduce them to people. They love this! At a time when they’re just beginning to build their networks, they really appreciate the opportunity to meet new people. As a manager, it’s your job to build up your staff. Find ways for your employees to connect with other people within or outside your organization. Oh and you want them to really love working for you? Give them a business card.

3. Take them with you to a meeting– How is this a bad thing? You know, there’s definitely value in having a fresh perspective. Chances are, these new employees haven’t been to many and while most experienced workers dread going to these painful meetings, eager Gen Y will love just being given the opportunity to learn.

4. Give them an important project– I honestly believe that the perfect kind of job for GenY is project management. Here is why.

5. Teach them work you usually do– Why not? You know there have to be a million annoying things about your job that you wish someone could help you with. So delegate! But teach them at the same time. Give them some background. Help them understand the process. This way, they’ll feel that what they’re doing is meaningful. Plus, it’s work that you’re usually responsible for so they’ll understand that it’s important.

Believe me, hungry employees will certainly appreciate these efforts and they’ll be more likely to stay within your organization. These are the employees you want to mentor. These are the employees that you want to grow. And really, keeping them satisfied and motivated is a win-win situation for everyone.

But many employers don’t get this. So instead they have talented young workers frustrated beyond belief because they spend their time making copies, taking minutes and perfecting the art of making coffee.

These people will leave.

Remember how LeBron James announced that he was going to be moving to the Heat? Yea, that’s what these workers will do. They’ll take their talents elsewhere. They’ll take their talents to organizations that value them.

And it’ll cost you.

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