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Self-Employment for Gen Y

31 Mar

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So I’ve been thinking a lot about self-employment lately. Because naturally, as a creative writer, that’s what us crazy people tend to do. Actually, it seems that a lot of young professionals are pursuing self-employment these days…since…well…there aren’t many jobs out there. Rather than crying in our rooms about how terrible and unfair the world is, many millennials are taking it upon themselves to create their own jobs. Freelancing at its finest. And you know what? Tons of them are successful! So in today’s guest post, Patricia lets us know why self-employment is kind of awesome, and walks us through a few options that you may want to consider. Enjoy!

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#entitled #narcissistic #self-obsessed #unemployed. Millennials, young people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, are often seen as slackers. Millennials (also known as Generation Y) communicate with hashtags and take selfies. They want to turn dreams and passions into flashy jobs that can afford them the latest Apple gadgets and trips around the world. Gen Y is, perhaps unfairly, condemned for its “me attitude,” lack of preparedness and commitment to the workforce and unrealistic expectations of life gains.

Gen Y isn’t the demise of our society, though. Twenty-somethings are also applauded for open-mindedness, forward thinking and self-expression. Along with liberal views, new perspectives and cultural confidence, the kids of Gen Y are future leaders who just need outlets for their creative talents and opportunities for professional establishment. A millennial can shut down his or her generation’s harsh judgments while earning a living.

The Beauty of Self-Employment

LinkedIn Talent Blog contributor Lydia Abbott empathizes with Gen Y, since she herself is a millennial. Obviously pro-millennial, Abbott shares the characteristics and desires of a Gen Y individual, collected from the LinkedIn Talent Connect’s Q&A: “Millennials: How to Attract, Hire, & Retain Today’s Workforce.” Work-life balance and flexibility attract millennials. They’ve adopted the “work hard, play hard” mantra and have a hard time sacrificing a fulfilling personal life for an advancing career

A freelance career offers independence and flexibility, a professionally kinder word to describe freedom from a tight schedule and stifling office location. Sara Sutton, CEO of professional job service FlexJobs, told Forbes.com that the shift to freelancing is exciting. Young people can fit work into their lives, rather than try to find time for life outside of work. Freelancing also offers collaboration, diversification and career ownership, as well as self-appointed opportunities to make a difference and foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

Freelancers and independent workers account for 16 million people in the workforce, and that number is predicted to increase to 65 to 70 million workers within the decade, estimates freelance recruiting firm MBO Partners. It’s predicted more than half of all employees will work independently as freelancers or consultants by 2020. For a motivated millennial with an appetite for a balanced and flexible career, the following freelancing opportunities can match that Gen Y lifestyle.

Here are some options…

Writer

Gen Y enjoys its self-expression, from hipster looks to blogging. Writing provides Gen Y creatives with opportunities to establish an online persona, independent voice and meaningful conversations. Huffington Post contributor David Hochman recommends freelancers “think like an investor” and diversify. Hochman’s writing projects range from a blogging gig, corporate writing assignments, print magazine profiles, and a personal essay.

Gaming Developer

Video gaming masterminds can now earn a profit turning a hobby into a profession. Freelancing network oDesk connects game design specialists and designers with clients. Gaming gurus can post a profile that markets game design skills, including game development and testing, iOS development, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, 3D modeling, and 2D/3D animation. Gaming platform iWin also develops, publishes and distributes games with its Developer First Program. iWin games can be downloaded to PCs and even published on Facebook.

Event Planner

Professional event planners can outsource their services for community fundraisers and philanthropic events. Millennials who have a hand in work with a greater purpose feel energized. Millennials want to help drive change and make an impact, which ultimately provides intrinsic self-reward and recognition. Freelance event consulting for a nonprofit organization can provide a sense of advocacy and goodwill.

Social Media

Millennials suffer from smartphone addiction and habitual need for connection. A self-employed social media coordinator or community manager experiences work autonomy and social engagement. A social media professional will be responsible for managing and updating social media platforms, according to Forbes.com. They’ll create online marketing campaigns, implement social strategies and publish content.

Any others that we’re missing??

Patricia Wood is a freelance writer in Phoenix, Arizona. She enjoys blogging about millennials, social media and non-profits. She’s working on her master’s degree from Arizona State University.

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Your Cubicle Doesn’t Have to Be Ugly

3 Mar

So today I’m not writing anything fancy.

Nope.

Nothing soul-crushingly deep.

I just wanna talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while now.

So here it goes…

Your cubicle doesn’t have to be ugly.

Not a teeny tiny bit.

It doesn’t have to be dark and gray and dreary.

And you know what else? It doesn’t have to look like a prison.

Instead, it can be fun.

It can be vibrant and uplifting.

It can be a reflection of your super-awesome personality if you want it to.

There’s been a lot of research lately about office design and productivity.

More and more I’m coming across articles that discuss office design and how it affects our mood.

So I guess I kind of think it’s important.

Probably because we spend more time in our office space than we do at home (sadly).

And I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time making sure that my home is comfy.

I spend a lot of time making sure that my home makes me feel good.

We buy things and re-position objects that we probably don’t even need and we do these things because it’s part of making our environment a positive one.

Our cubicle…our office space…it’s our second home.

So if it’s killing your mood and makes you feel awful, it’s probably time you do something about that.

I recently started making a few changes to my little lonely cubicle. Now it’s kind of cool.

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First of all, anyone who knows me knows that I’m a quote fanatic, so I’ve got some awesome motivational posters that keep me somewhat sane when I’m having a really crappy day.

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Then I’ve got these super cute items from UrbanGirl.Com. I don’t know what to tell you… My Jonathan Adler Block Calendar and LoLo Stanley Case… sure, they’re not essential, but they bring so much color to my desk and they just make me feel happy.

*Sidenote: The elephant, even though it’s pink, was bought because I’m a huge Alabama Football fan, so everytime I look at it I get excited for the season to start again.

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Then I’ve got my shrine to all the important people in my life. Sorry mom and dad, I need to get a picture of you guys too! (Don’t hate me.) But anyway, it just makes me happy to know that outside of work, I’ve got so many positive relationships in my life, and THAT- on its own- gives me even more of a reason to want to work hard. Even though I’m working and I may not enjoy every second of every day, I’m working so that I can have the resources to make more memories with these people. (Because you know, you can’t go out and do awesome super-fun things if you’re totally poor.)

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And then, finally, I’ve got my vacation corner. This picture of me and my man-friend was taken in Gettysburg, PA. We went up there a while back and it was such an incredible experience. Right under it sits my Panama City Beach snow globe. Again, we’ve vacationed there together and we’ve loved every minute of it. So my vacation corner reminds me that the world’s a lot bigger than my cubicle, and it reminds me to try to experience as much of it as possible.

Now it’s your turn! What do you love about your office space, and if the answer is NOTHING, then what are you gunna do to fix that?

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In A Super Negative World, Challenge Yourself to Stay Positive

10 Sep

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Today’s guest post was written by Colleen Garvin. She’s really quite wonderful and her message is a great one: all this negativity….it’s killing us. So let’s try to look on the bright side. Let’s try to be optimistic, and make a difference at work. Because doing anything other than that, is kind of terrible. Enjoy!

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“I’ve been here for a decade”

“We’ve tried that before”

 “Oh just wait, you’ll become jaded”

“That’s cute… how optimistic you are..”

“That’s what we did and it didn’t work so we can’t try that again”

 “That’s the future, that’s not now”

 “We don’t want to be overly ambitious”

OR

“Push through it!”

“Don’t give in to the drama”

“Work your ass off and you will see results”

“If you don’t like something, change it!”

“If it didn’t work before, learn from the mistake and take a new approach”

 “Everything can be improved, including yourself”

Welcome to the professional world of an individual born in the late 80’s!

1988 to be exact. I am one of those people who was definitely over extended in my collegiate career and wanted to make sure I was doing everything correctly. I graduated in 4 years exactly after being in charge of two major college groups and was immediately placed in a corporate position. I was given more projects than my pay grade simply because I wanted them; I asked for them. The worst thing you can do is bore me.

You know what I wasn’t expecting on those collegiate evenings? A slew of negativity that would come from “experienced” workers. The quotes provided are real, legitimate things coworkers have said to me in meetings, one-on-one meetings, via email and on the phone over the past 3 years. I think there needs to be the same button that you have in Taboo, when you say the “no-no” words on the topic card? Someone says something to the effect of “we tried that before” and they should get buzzed. Unless you are going to say “we tried that before, here were our barriers, here is my idea how to move past them and make this approach successful”… save it! You are not adding anything to the table except negativity. Take your negativity and get to walking.

Don’t you remember your very first day at your “grown up job”? You were excited and optimistic.

You didn’t know about the drama…you didn’t know that your coworkers would end up acting as mature as second graders.

It’s important.. correction… IMPERATIVE…to foster that newness… that bright-eyed-bushy-tailed feeling from the day you had your I.D. badge picture taken.

It’s easier said than done. The more you’re exposed to negativity, the more your optimism shield may start to disintegrate.

There’s one thing to really keep in mind: you’re allowed to have a bad day.  Unless you’re a super hero, you’re not going to save the world every single day. However, you’ll have moments of greatness that’ll get you through the other times where yes, you indeed need to spend 4 hours [insert mind numbing topic here].

Regardless of how terrible your situation, challenge yourself to stay positive.

When someone starts to complain about corporate life or about, in my world, doctors, listen… but don’t commiserate with them. Let them vent, some people (including you) need that occasionally. The tactic that works better than simply adding to the list of “things at work that piss me off,” is to listen, empathize and maybe offer some advice. That way your coworker is able to let out their frustrations as well as find some clarity.

Never let anyone tell you to not be ambitious, always be ambitious. If you fail, you learn. If you do fail, try to figure out why something failed and maybe come up with a few ideas to make it better the next time.

If not, 20 years from now you’ll be sitting in a board room and a 20 something with a fresh I.D. badge will start to say that they want to start a project and your response will be… “We tried that before.”

Then, your 20 something self will want to kick you in the ass.

So what’s the point here?

Foster the newness and continue on the road of optimism. Your optimistic, 40-something year old self will appreciate that you started practicing that a long time ago.

Colleen Garvin is a 25 year old manager, working at a Children’s Hospital in Quality Improvement. Her coworkers like to remind her that they have children her age and older! She’s learned that age discrimination is definitely something most recent-grads will face…but she’s certainly dealing with it well. Follow her on Twitter @ColGarv.

Prepare For Career Success

4 Jun

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This weekend I went shooting.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t that bad.

I didn’t shoot myself by accident…so pretty much, I did much better than I expected.

It’s not something I do every day, but I’m glad I did it.

Because for a long time, I’ve been scared of guns. Terrified, really.

And for that reason, I never thought I’d actually pick one up and shoot it.

But I figured that if I ever (God forbid) find myself in a situation where I DO need to know how to shoot to defend myself, I’ll be a lot more successful if I’m comfortable with the basic concepts, having practiced a few times at the shooting range.

I figured that I’d feel a bit more PREPARED.

And that being prepared would ultimately give me a huge advantage.

Because that’s the thing about preparation. It DOES often give you a huge advantage.

And it can make a world of a difference.

Observing people, I’ve seen that there are way too many college graduates that enter the workforce completely unprepared.

However, every once in a while you’ll find a few who are prepared.

Not ENTIRELY prepared, because let’s face it…most of the time we have no idea what we’re doing.

But some graduates know better…some graduates enter new jobs with a basic understanding of work.

How to dress…

E-mail etiquette…

Professional behavior…

How to deal with people who are different

How to deal with people who are mean…

These are all concepts that I guess some people just tend to take for granted.

Because these days, most universities offer ONE HUNDRED MILLION THOUSAND courses and classes all aimed at helping college students prepare for the real world.

They’re all aimed at making sure that college graduates are successful in the workforce

And well…that’s kind of nice.

But unfortunately, a lot of people think that these sessions are stupid.

Confession: I used to be one of those people who thought the sessions were stupid.

I used to think…I’ll figure it out when I get there.

I used to think…Why waste my time in college preparing for my first real job when I have a million other things to deal with?

But the value of these courses shouldn’t be overlooked.

And if they’re offered to you for FREE, I’m going to punch you in the face if you don’t take advantage of them.

Because you’ll ALWAYS learn something that you didn’t know before.

ALWAYS…as long as you’re willing to listen.

And at the end of the day, that preparation will give you a huge advantage.

That preparation will set you apart from the rest.

That preparation will ensure that you’re successful.

Because just like me and my ability to shoot a gun…you’ll be more comfortable with certain concepts if:

a. you’re familiar with them

b. you’ve practiced, and

c. you’re not caught off-guard.

So if you can, give them a shot. What do you have to lose?

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Take a Break! You Need it!

24 May

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I’ve been struggling with a really annoying problem lately and I don’t know what to do.

I’m tired… ALL THE TIME.

And I hate it!

Someone please explain this to me…

I’m a CrossFit junkie three times a week.

I eat pretty healthily (I hope that’s a word).

And I’m 22 years old!

22!!!!!

So where’s all my energy gone?

I see people twice my age going out and having a great time and me…all I want to do is take a nap.

That can’t be normal.

In the three years that I’ve been working full-time, it’s almost like all the life has been sucked out of me.

I kind of want to cry.

But it’s not an unusual feeling, really. Research the negative affects of work and you’ll find the following:

Overload.

Burn-out.

Stress.

And then we wonder why so many people are dropping dead from heart attacks.

We work and we work and we work. And when we’re done with that, we work some more.

Because if we do stop, if we do take a break, we’re not committed.

We’re considered lazy.

We’re not the one the boss wants on her team.

I really wish that this attitude would change, though.

I wish that people would be judged by the quality of what they contribute.

Not by how many hours they work.

Because overload….burnout…stress…

I’m way too young to have to deal with that the rest of my life.

And if proving that I’m committed to my work means that I can’t take a break every once in a while for my own health…

I’ll proudly accept my title as Worst Employee of the Year.  

Now do yourself a favor and check out this AWESOME infographic about breaks and why they’re SUPER IMPORTANT!

And when you’re done with that…go enjoy your weekend! 😀

Hello! Gen Y Wants To Travel

7 May

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Growing up, I always knew I wanted to travel.

I also knew, that it would require me to have lots of money.

So I strategized.

I worked hard in school. I got good grades. I got a scholarship to college.

I started a full-time job when I was 19 and graduated when I was just 20.

Beautiful!

I had a full-time job AND made enough money to afford my inexplicable need to hop on a plane whenever I wanted.

Or so I thought.

You see…

Traveling requires money.

And to have money, you need a job.

But to be able to KEEP your job and therefore KEEP having money, you can’t just spend weeks at a time traveling.

Dissappointing, I know.

I think that today, more than ever, young people want to travel.

More than ever, they want to see the world.

And they want to do so while they’re young and have no kids and while they still have their friends from college to go with.

But it’s kind of hard to do that if they have no money. And if they HAVE jobs and therefore HAVE money, it’s STILL hard, because they just don’t have the time to do it.

They can’t just start a new job, walk into their boss’ office, and ask for a month off because they need to go see Europe.

That’s not exactly what employers want to hear.

So more than ever, young professionals are seeking out jobs that allow them to travel.

They’re seeking jobs that advertise in their job descriptions: 70-80% travel.

Why?

Because they haven’t seen the world yet!

And they want to. Desperately.

So jobs that let them do that are instantly the most attractive. They’re the most exciting.

That’s why I really liked this contest that I came across…

It’s called Around the World in 80 Jobs, sponsored by Adecco, a leader in full-time and temporary staffing solutions.

Essentially, the contest is giving eight winners the opportunity of a lifetime.

Eight winners will have the chance to explore the world while gaining on-the-job experience.

Check out the video below and if you’re interested, you have until May 20th to enter.

Sooo…What do you think? Share your thoughts and comment below for a chance to win a $100 Banana Republic Gift Card.

What’s your dream job? What’s your dream location?

Would you LOVE to travel or am I the only crazy person who wants to?

Giveaway sponsored by Adecco.

Respect and Gen Y: What’s Age Got To Do With It?

26 Feb

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I’m working on an exciting new project. It’s awesome, really, because I get to do something that I love.

I get to teach college students about leadership and about success at work.

Yes, I’m currently in the midst of trying to be productive…even though this is me on most days…

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Alright… so in an effort to find the right topics to discuss and the right stories to share with these students, I’ve had to reflect a lot on my experiences in the workplace.

And well…that hasn’t been fun.

It hasn’t been fun because I’ve realized something.

I’ve realized that although there are a lot of things that I can teach these students, there’s no way that I can control the hardships that they’ll continue to face as young professionals.

There’s no way that I’ll be able to rid them of the label that they’ll often be given:

YOUNG & INEXPERIENCED.

This makes me mad.

You know, I once went on a job interview and overall, it was a great experience.

The people were friendly and made me feel comfortable…something a bit rare for an interview. I was actually having a good time.

Until I wasn’t.

I was totally bothered by something that one of the men who was interviewing me asked.

He said, “I’m going to ask you something…you look very young…how are you going to handle yourself when an executive or a senior employee needs something resolved and doesn’t want to talk to you because you look so young?”

Yes. I was really supposed to answer that.

Now, don’t get me wrong…the man who asked me the question was a nice guy. I actually got a long with him very well and so I know that he didn’t mean this question to be negative or to upset me.

But it did upset me because it made me realize that this is a very real problem.

When we talk about discrimination, stereotypes, diversity in the workplace, etc., we often tend to focus on race and ethnicity.

But what about age?

I mean, in that very same interview, would it have been okay for him to say, “you know…you look a bit Asian….how are you going to handle yourself when an executive or a senior employee needs something and doesn’t want to talk to you because you’re Asian?”

No. Absolutely not. That would absolutely NOT have been okay.

So why is it okay that he asked about age?

Why is it okay for young professionals to receive less respect than we deserve?

Think about it.

So many of us are intelligent. So many of us are driven. So many of us are talented and determined and hungry for the opportunity to make a difference.

Sure, we don’t know everything. No one does. And yes, we have a lot to learn.

But we need people who will teach us and who will treat us as equals.

Not people who feel that we’re beneath them.

Because at the end of the day, we all have a lot to learn from eachother.

So when I think about these students that I’ll  be advising, I hate that I won’t be able to force others to fully see their value. I hate that I won’t be able to delete that label that many of them will get stuck with.

But I CAN make sure that they understand the following…

Each of us…we get the respect that we demand.

Simple as that.

Just because we’re young doesn’t mean that we’re not good at what we do. Skill and ability are not necessarily determined by age.

Experience, not age, is what leads to wisdom.

And sometimes people forget this.

So young professionals…

Demand that respect. Demand that equality.

Don’t let people underestimate your abilities and your talents.

And when they do, prove them wrong.

Don’t let people be mean to you just because they think that they can.

Know your worth.

Be professional.

Do good work.

And always make sure to stand up for yourself.

Because if you don’t demand that respect for yourself, no one else will.

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7 Things I Learned About Work and Life After Years of Hating Sports

5 Sep

Approximately 27 million.

That’s how many people are playing fantasy football.

And so it begins…

Football season.

Here’s something you should know about me:

For years and years and years, I HATED sports.

I mean, really, I detested them.

Perhaps it was because one of my ex boyfriends left me after high school to go play basketball.

Or, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I can’t understand how athletes make bazillions of dollars and teachers make pennies.

Maybe it’s always been a little bit of both.

Regardless, every year as all of my friends indulge in the craziness surrounding their favorite sports teams, I’ve always sat around watching everyone drink beer, kind of scratching my head, wondering what the big fuss is about.

I just never understood.

But as I entered the workforce, I began to see parallels between the world of sports and organizational structure.

So here’s why I can now say that I LIKE sports.

I don’t LOVE them yet, but I like them.

Because through sports, we learn lessons about life and work, and they’re important.

1. Sports teach us about competition

Competition is the key to success and ensures that we continue striving for excellence. No team likes to lose. They don’t. Therefore, in order to win, they have to play their best. Whether you’re competing for a spot at an Ivy League school or for that kick ass job you applied for, if you want to win, you have to be better than your competition. Same applies to any company. You want business? You want clients? Then you need to be better than your competitors. You need to be committed to learning and growing and perfecting your skills so that your competition doesn’t even stand a chance.

2. Sports remind us of the importance of succession plans

There are always going to be stars. We’ve got Lebron James and well…I don’t know that many sports players other than Tim Tebow and…um…okay…Dan Marino and…um…all the Alabama football players that my boyfriend’s always talking about, but the point is that while they’re on the team, the team dominates. The team does well. They win their trophies. Everybody cheers. Everyone is happy. But what happens when these star players no longer play? What happens when they get hurt or they retire or they go play for another team? More often than not, the team’s performance suffers.

Just like sports teams recruit new players by watching college games, eyeing prospective future players, companies should be doing the same, recruiting talent for the future. That way, when their current stars no longer work for them, they’ll have great new talent and their team’s performance won’t suffer.

3. Sports show us that if you put in work, you get results 

It’s not that complicated. If you work hard, you’ll see results. If you’re out practicing on the field, more often than not, you’re going to perform a lot better than that player that never attends practice and thinks that he can just show up the day of the game and be awesome. Nothing in life that’s good comes easily. I don’t care how corny that sounds. It’s true. If you put in effort, if you dedicate yourself to continuous improvement, you will ALWAYS be better off than you were before. Be it your job, your relationship, those six pack abs that you’re dying to have, if you want to achieve great results, you need to put in the time and energy. Great companies understand this and know that to achieve success, they need to have employees that are committed to nothing less than that and therefore, they facilitate an environment that encourages continuous learning and improvement.

4. Sports create team players 

There’s no I in team…blah…blah…blah…you’ve heard it a million times. But it’s as true for an organization as it is for any sports team. Organizations need to have teams that work well together and know how to play on each other’s strengths in order to win.

5. Sports give us a sense of hope and are a source of inspiration

There are a lot of bad things going on in the world, a lot of unfair things happening on a daily basis. But it’s nice that for a few short hours, while people sit in front of the t.v. shotgunning beers, people have something else to think about. We love to root for the underdog. We watch sports movies about the team that never could have won, but did. They remind us that regardless of how bad a situation is, things can be better. That if we believe that we can do things, we can surprise ourselves and everyone else with how far we get. People want to be inspired. They want to have something to believe in. We want to know that even if our team went 0 and 500 last year, with the right coaching, the right players, and the right attitude, we can turn it around and go undefeated. Sports do that for us, and I love that.

6. Sports create for us a sense of belonging

People want to belong to something. People want to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. 22 year old Marina Keegan, a Yale student,  wrote a beautiful essay about just this, right before she died in a tragic accident. Here she writes as she dwells upon graduation:

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

We want to belong to something. Especially us Millennials, just entering the workforce, who have just been ripped apart, as Keegan says, from all the “tiny circles we pull around ourselves.” Those circles define us. They’re how we define ourselves. When we cheer for a particular team, we belong to that group of people who cheer for them as well. And just like that, we belong to something. We’re Dolphins fans…we’re Patriots fans…we’re Auburn fans (just kidding, babe). We cheer together. We cry together. We throw the remote control at the t.v. when we’re down together.

For that same reason, companies need to focus on building their brand and cultivating a positive culture within their organization. They should want their employees to feel that they belong to something much bigger. They should want their employees to feel that they’re part of the team. That way, they cheer when the organization is doing well and they work harder than ever when they’re down because their goal is to see their team win. Because they don’t want to belong to something that loses.

7. If nothing else, sports give us something to talk about at work 

Yes. It’s true.

So there you have it. Those are seven reasons why I can no longer say that I hate sports.

I’m sure there are other reasons, like this…

There. I officially LOVE sports. I said it. Thank you, Mr. Beckham.

And so that my man doesn’t kill me, ROLL TIDE, everyone!

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Invest in Young Talent, It’s Worth It

Companies Need To Make It Easier For Gen Y to Job-Hop

29 Jul

It used to be that employees would stay at jobs for years and years and years and then they’d die. Or retire. Or whatever came first.

But today, that’s not the case.

Studies have shown that on average, Generation Y workers are staying at jobs for about 18 months. Then, they’re leaving. Because it’s so expensive, the cost of turnover is something that’s really making employers nervous. I, however, don’t think it’s a bad thing. On the contrary, I think it’s wonderful that workers these days want to experience new things and expand their skill sets.

When it comes to Generation Y and turnover, there are a few questions that need to be addressed:

1. Why does this happen? 

This new generation of workers grew up with more options than ever before. We’ve lived with technology our whole lives and that has contributed to our awareness of all of our options. There’s  zero appeal in doing the same thing for the rest of our lives because we want to experience so much. There’s too much to do, too much to see, and we don’t want to be stuck doing any ONE thing, forever.

In addition to this is the fact that our interests are changing. By the time we enter the workforce and hold our first real jobs, our interests are much different than the interests we had when we first entered college. And that’s the problem. From as early as pre-school, people are asking us to decide what we want to do with the rest of our lives. I’m really sorry, but in pre-school, the only profession I could see myself going into is that of being a princess. But as we grow up, our interests change. ALOT.

For example…

I used to hate eating.

Now, this is me…

Also, I used to hate boys.

Today, not so much.

My brother is one of my favorite people.

And this is the love of my life…

Okay, but really, our interests do change. When I first started college, I thought I’d be a Physical Therapist. Then, I got a degree in Health Services Administration, figuring I’d be a hospital executive one day. Today, I can see myself doing a lot of different things. I’ve learned through the past couple of years that I’m passionate about teaching. I’m passionate about leadership and helping people make the best out of the workplace. I’d like to one day write a book. I would love to work in a non-profit some day. I’d love to be a college counselor.

Point is, we only figure out what we like and what we don’t like through time and experience. We shouldn’t be expected to know what our dream job is upon entering the workplace. We shouldn’t be forced to stick to any one job for years and years and years especially if it’s not the best fit for us. Generation Y wants work that engages us and that allows us to explore our different interests using the talents that we have. This is not a bad thing.

2. What can we do about this?

Without a doubt, it’s in a company’s best interest to understand their workers, in this case, Generation Y, because by 2025, 75% of the workforce will consist of these employees. By better understanding their workers, companies can then strategically align employee incentives to ensure that they are able to retain the best talent.

So rather than fighting this issue of turnover, how about employers just go with it? Young workers aren’t interested in having the same job for fifty years. They’re just not. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t want to stay at the same ORGANIZATION for quite some time. What does that mean? Employers can retain employees by making it easier for internal talent to transition to other jobs. They can also do so by allowing employees to belong to different task forces, helping to expand their skill sets on a regular basis. We want to develop, we like varied tasks, and when we express interest in another field, we’d like nothing more than the opportunity to explore that.

Too often, people start off their careers at jobs that they soon realize are not for them. And then what happens? They leave the organization because they figure it’s their only option. At most organizations, it’s really difficult to change jobs. Why? Because every job requires x amount of years of experience in that particular field. If you’ve been busy working at job A, how are you supposed to have x amount of years of experience in job B? You just can’t.

Companies can really do a much better job at providing on-the-job training which would allow employees to pursue other career options without leaving the organization and taking their talents elsewhere. Companies need to make sure that their employees don’t feel stuck. And in order to do that, there exists a need for leaders who guide and mentor other employees, helping them reach their career goals.

3. Why is this a good thing? 

At this point, I’m sure some people are reading this and thinking, “Dude, that’s a lot of work…I hire someone to do a specific job and that’s it. If they don’t like it, they can leave.”

That’s fine. You can choose to feel that way.

But they WILL leave.

And you WILL miss out.

You’ll miss out on talent. And you know what? Your people and their talent are your greatest assets. So use it. Make better use of your talent. If your employees are expending their skill sets, that’s great! Let them! Encourage them! Instead of being proficient in only one area, they’ll now be proficient in many. Isn’t that the goal? To have well-rounded employees? I certainly think so.

Want Something? Great! Now Ask For It.

17 Jul

There are some days that I fully regret being a grad school student.

Today is one of those days.

I feel like I haven’t slept in weeks, my body is exhausted, and I don’t even want to THINK about any of my assignments.

NOT FUN.

So because I’m a brat and because I need to get rid of some of this stress, I became a member of Massage Envy, where I get a massage every month.

Hey, it was either get a massage every month or go drown my sorrows in alcohol. I’m pretty sure I made a the right choice. Well, at least the choice that’s best for my liver.

Anyway, I just finished getting a massage and dude, it freaking hurt. I mean, this lady dug her hands into my back so hard that it was painful. As I laid there face down with my face in that pillow with a hole in it (which is really uncomfortable, btw), all I kept doing was trying to hold in all the profanities that I wanted to scream.

After about 3 minutes of pure torture, I realized…

I NEED TO TELL HER!

I need to tell her that she’s hurting me. You know why?

Because she’s not a freaking mind reader.

I think too often we believe, we assume, rather, that people know exactly what we want.

*NEWSFLASH*

They usually don’t.

In relationships, it’s the same.

Communicating with our partner is key to getting what we want. We can’t just assume that they’ll know what’ll make us happy. We can’t assume that they’ll know what pisses us off, either (although it would be helpful).

We need to talk about things. We need to communicate. It’s really not that difficult.

And we need to because we can’t read minds (and thank God that we can’t because think about all the terrible thoughts that go through your head sometimes…yea, exactly).

But this concept applies to work too, you know.

Our bosses can’t possibly know what we want all the time. Likewise, our employees can’t know what we expect of them if we don’t communicate these expectations.

I got my first promotion by simply asking for it. I was working as a secretary and I was bored out of my mind. I felt that I could be doing so much more. So nicely, I went to my boss and I told her how I felt. And you know what? She listened. She told me to be patient and that she’d do what she could to see that I was given more responsibility. Within a few months, she had created a new job for me and I was promoted. I was so grateful.

But you see, I could have remained frustrated at my job. I could have held in all my feelings and been mad at my boss and felt under appreciated. I could have done those things. But you know what? My boss would have never known how I felt. She would have never thought there was anything wrong and I wouldn’t have been given that new position.

If you want something badly enough, you have to ask for it.

Because usually, it’s not going to be handed to you. It’s really not.

There are way too many people that want what you want and there are way too many people that want for you to NOT get what you want (hope you enjoyed reading that sentence!)

Figure out what you want, then ask for it, nicely. That’s the only way you’re ever going to get it.

And if it doesn’t work out, well, just go get a massage. But make sure you don’t let your masseuse torture you.

“The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he’s going” – Unknown.

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