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3 Ways to Make Peace with a Job You’re Planning on Leaving

3 Jun

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Ready to leave your current job for your next big adventure?? Most of us have been there. But before you get up from your desk, march into your boss’ office, and throw your two weeks notice on her desk, it’s good to stop and reflect a little.

Today, Alison shares with us 3 ways to make peace with a job you’re pretty much done with…but they’re smart and strategic, and will likely set you up for even greater success in the future. Enjoy and let us know what you think!

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For many people there’s an uncomfortable space between realizing a job isn’t a great fit and landing that next big thing.  If this happens to you really have two main options.  You can spend your remaining weeks or months at your current job unhappily biding your time, or you can choose to make peace with this ‘in between’ time and use it to your advantage.

Here are three ideas that will help you cope with being in a job that you’re planning on leaving.

1) Connect to Your Why

The bigger picture reasons for sticking around at a job may slip your mind in the middle of a tedious meeting or a hectic commute, but there are plenty of tangible and intangible benefits to employment.  These include a paycheck, health and retirement benefits, references, continuity on your resume, connections to coworkers, and a place to go each day.  Which of these matters most to you?  

Dig deeper here for the most impact.  For example, what do your earnings help you pay for?  How many relationships are present in your life because of your work?  How much more selective can you be with your next employment choice because you aren’t feeling desperate?  By connecting to your why, you’ll have a touchstone you can lean on during those moments when you’re at the end of your patience.

2) Hone in On Your Fundamentals

People sometimes pick up unhelpful habits in an attempt to compensate for a less than ideal 9 to 5 experience.  Maybe you’re staying up late watching tv or grabbing one too many snacks to make it through your day.  See if you can make some small improvements to your schedule in your current situation to set yourself up for future success.

After all, your daily routines and habits will follow you into any job.  Consider what needs to be in place for you to have a great work week.  This could be as simple as developing the habit of laying out your clothes for the next day at night or making sure to get up and walk around at lunchtime.  Put a little extra effort into improving your fundamental habits now in preparation for your next career opportunity.

3) Keep Making Small Exit Strategy Efforts

Hopefully the first two ideas will help to improve your mindset and your day to day experience, but they aren’t likely to change the fact that you’re ready to move on.  Honor this desire by taking small, persistent actions to help you find your next opportunity.  

Since job searching can involve a lot of ups and downs, waiting, and uncertainty, you’ll want to keep your focus on the steps of the job search process that are within your control.  For example, you can affect the time you put towards networking, even if you don’t have command of when that networking will pay off.  By taking a proactive stance on developing your exit strategy you’ll be able to remind yourself of the fact that your current job won’t last forever.

The in-between period of being at a job you know you’ll be leaving can be a tricky space to maneuver.  Remind yourself of why you’re sticking around, improve your day to day experience, and keep working on your job search efforts.  Overall, hang in there, and be sure to continue to show up at your current job as best you can so that you’ll be able to leave on a good note. 

Alison Elissa Cardy is a professional career coach who specializes in helping men and women around the world figure out their career direction.  For more tips on improving your workweek join Alison’s upcoming Energize Your Workweek Challenge.  This challenge is a free weeklong event featuring 8 experts’ best ideas on how to have a better Monday through Friday. Sign up today!

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Millennials: Don’t Be Afraid to Operate Solo

19 Dec

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I think we’ve finally accepted it: being in your twenties can be slightly lonely. Lone-ranger status… a lot. I used to be one of those people who needed to be around 50 other people in order to feel happy. But as I’ve grown, I’ve come to absolutely LOVE the time I spend alone. Because we need it- for our sanity. And I also feel super-cool when I can get things done on my own. Today’s guest post from Jessica is perfect, reminding us that there’s nothing wrong with operating solo. Enjoy!

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What they don’t tell you about your twenties – the decade of late nights, traveling, reconnecting with high school friends and indulging in happy hours – is that it can get lonely.

Maybe you’re moved into your first apartment without roommates, or you’ve felt a creeping sense of self-consciousness at weddings and baby showers. Perhaps you’re newly single and feeling like you’re waiting at a stand-still, trying to navigate “real life” after college whilst friends are scoring awesome industry jobs and packing up for a new city. Regardless of the scenario, you’re beginning to realize that not all relationships – romantic or platonic, The Notebook-esque or General Hospital-worthy – will last forever, and that’s okay.

Because you have yourself to keep you company. And if you’re introverted, maybe that’s something you understood back in middle school the summer after your peers returned in September, extra mean and extra pimply. If you’re extroverted, maybe it’s something you’re only just coming to terms with now.

Learning to be comfortable with yourself and your thoughts is an understated and yet highly important skill. Knowing how to relish in “me time” is a serious benefit to your emotional and physical health. Relationships complicate and convolute your inward perspective, but being alone will teach you who you are and what you want; what gets you off and what makes you tick; what breaches your tolerance level and what fuels your passion. Introducing yourself to solo situations now will only help you to thrive in these environments as they crop up more frequently in the future.

Take Care of Yourself

Sure, you learned how to do a load of wash, use the elliptical and prepare a meal that wasn’t purchased in the frozen food section while in college. But did you ever try exercising without a gym or jogging buddy? In your 20’s, you should warm up to the idea of attending a class, taking a walk, or just hitting the gym without a friend, and create a workout routine that doesn’t require the coordination of two schedules. You should also stock your kitchen with all the basic essentials – cookware sets like these from Belgique are super affordable – and get into the habit of preparing a fancy-pants dinner for one. Bonus points if you eat it without the TV on. Every so often, don’t be afraid to venture out on your own to get your nails or hair done, and chat with your beautician instead of asking a friend to tag along.

Travel and Explore

Learn how to hail a cab, and take a train or public transportation on your own after mapping out your destination. Take a solo day trip somewhere. Hop in your car, or rent a Zip Car for the day, and drive out to some location or attraction a few hours from home, and spend the afternoon adventuring and sight-seeing. Take lots of selfies and just be present in the moment, taking in all of the new sights and sounds around you. One day, you may even have the guts to take a vacation alone with just me, myself, and I. Sound intimidating? Thousands of people do it every year, whether “it” means backpacking through South Asia, touring around with a group, or taking off for a few days to grab a tan and engage with the locals.

Socialize

Going out without a designated buddy doesn’t mean maintaining your solitude. If loneliness is what we’re trying to combat, then optimize every opportunity to go out and meet new friends and networks of people – just don’t be afraid to venture out alone initially. Attend a networking event or conference, or an introductory class just for kicks. It can be yoga, pottery, HTML coding, resume building, beer brewing; whatever floats your boat. And if you get asked to a party where you only know the person who invited you, go anyway! Tough it out for a few hours, or at least until everyone has warmed up with liquor, and see if you can’t have a good time with a new crowd.

Go to a movie. Make it a matinee, though, so you can prop your feet up on the chair in front of you and rattle your candy and slurp your Coke as loudly as possible. Accompany yourself to happy hour: dress cute, and bring a book or watch whatever game is playing. The sooner you become comfortable and embrace the ability to go out single, the more you will be able to experience when work, family, and conflicting schedules get in the way of plans.

Nights spent on the couch watching Netflix are comfortably easy, but too many of them will make you resentful and lonely. It’s important to get comfortable with yourself sans distractions in your twenties to help build confidence and develop self-awareness and efficiency. Don’t miss out on life because you’re afraid of operating solo – as you get older, you’ll be spending more and more time alone, and that can be a wonderful thing.

Jessica Herbine is a twenty-something PR and Marketing professional working in Philadelphia. She loves to read, write, attend theater performances, rock concerts, and go out for dinner and drinks. Find her on Twitter at @jessherbs, and follow her blog at http://www.100wpm.wordpress.com!

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5 Life Lessons for Twentysomethings from Lorde’s Royals

18 Nov

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Today I’m thrilled to publish the following guest post written by Lisa Crocco. I’m a huge fan of Lorde, and I love how her music is something that we can all relate to. Have a great week everyone! Hope you like!

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If you haven’t heard the song “Royals” from Lorde (Ella Yelich-O’Connor)- the talented, sixteen year old from New Zealand, then you must not have turned on your radio for weeks. This catchy song has been sung, hummed, covered, and jammed to on repeat enough to hit the top of Billboard Hot 100 chart. Not only is the song super catchy, but its message is also powerful.

When we break down some of the lyrics we can see how Lorde wrote a song that is actually relevant to the majority of our lives.

‘I’m not proud of my address’

Unless your postal code is 90210 chances are at one point or another you have been embarrassed by your hometown.

Let your roots and upbringing push you to make a better life for yourself and get out of your little 236 person run-down town if that’s what you want. Go find someplace to live that makes you finally feel like you are home.

‘We’ll never be royals, it don’t run in our blood’

Unless you get your food served on gold-plated china with a diamond-encrusted spork to match, then you unfortunately weren’t born into a royal family.

We have to work twice, if not three times as hard, since life didn’t hand us that beautiful, beautiful gene that Prince Harry and William have. But just because you might not be royalty it doesn’t mean you lack the opportunity to be great and do wonderful things.

‘We count our dollars on the train’

How many minimum wage jobs can one young person work at once? It seems like nowadays there is so much pressure to earn money and lots of it. We are also expected to make this wad of cash while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, being a community leader, having a social life, and watching marathons on Netflix—we can’t do it all!

So we struggle financially and we suck it up and deal with it. We appreciate the pennies we do have and try to spend wisely while we can…since we have no other choice.

‘We aren’t caught up in your love affair’

Focus on yourself, your goals, and your passions. Ignore the criticisms from those who belittle your ambitions. Don’t get wrapped up in the hype of what everyone else thinks and says is the happening thing to do or be. You will get lost and getting lost is scary.

‘Let me live that fantasy’

There is nothing wrong with living in this little fantasy world that you paint for yourself in your mind. Dream up a life that you have always imagined and then have the courage and determination to make it a reality.

You can be the queen bee.

Lisa Crocco: As a senior at Illinois State University double majoring in Public Relations and Political Science, I hope to one day work on political campaigns as part of the communication team.

I like to think I can speak Swedish, Spanish and sarcasm fluently, but I constantly fail at all three of those. Despite my hectic schedule of blogging, interning and compulsive list-making, I find time to nap, read and watch re-runs of the West Wing.

If you have any questions for me or would love to connect, reach out to me via Twitter or Email.

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How to Cut Back on Distractions So You Can Be Insanely Productive

30 Oct

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I’ve been overdosing on coffee lately and I feel like a zombie. I look at my to-do list and I want to cry.

School… work… 354 e-mails to read… it’s disgusting.

But instead of being productive, I find myself getting distracted and overwhelmed and then I have these anxiety-induced nervous breakdowns which really don’t help me get any of my work done.

And then, post-breakdown, I just feel bad because my wonderful boyfriend has to deal with me when I’m a crazy lunatic. Which is 95% of the time these days.

So basically, today’s guest post by Kevin Gannon is exactly what I needed to read! Thank you so much Kevin! You rock! Check out today’s post to read about cutting back on distractions, so you can be a fully-functioning member of society… NOT a crazy lunatic like me. ********************************************************************************

The fantastic team over at Copyblogger recently wrote about seven bad habits of insanely productive people and it instantly made me think about how productive I had to be in college. As an English major, I was balancing lengthy papers with day-to-day homework, reading assignments, and the like, all while trying my hand at writing for the college newspaper and blogs.

Needless to say, I got a lot done, but I also found myself getting wrapped up in distractions—bad habit #5 at Copyblogger—that made some of my assignments and articles take longer to wrap up than they should have. I mean, how often do you find yourself, say, firing up Twitter or Facebook on your new smartphone or tablet only to realize you’ve been browsing for like 20 minutes? I though so.

When my distractions got to be too much, I realized I need to make a change. And after doing some research, I found that my phone could actually help. Some of this is going to seem easy, others might seem impossible, but I know firsthand that these tips will help you cut back on being distracted and, as a result, make you more prepared for the workforce.

Find the Right Organizational App 

I always found myself wasting time as I transitioned from one task to the next. But then I found Wunderlist, and I realized how easy it was to keep up with my schedule.

The app looks nice and clean, is super-simple to use, and allows you to setup alerts so that you’re reminded in case you miss something. That might seem anxiety-inducing, especially for the to-do list haters out there, but once you get used to it, you’ll never go back to your old ways. You’re going to need to be more organized once you take on a full-time job, so this is key.

Get Confident and Know Your Priorities 

As I wrote earlier, I had my hand in a lot of pots during my college years. And even though I’m satisfied with how everything turned out, I will admit that there were times when I could have better prioritized. With everyone exclaiming their accomplishments across social networks, this can lead to the form of social anxiety known as “fear of missing out.”

In other words, you’ll feel like you need to do everything everyone else is doing. No, you don’t. You need to gain the self-confidence to be proud of what you’re doing and not worry about what your bajillion Twitter followers are up to this afternoon. With that confidence comes fewer distractions, too, because you’ll be more focused on your own accomplishments. This goes in hand with…

Schedule Some “Me” Time 

When you’re in school, it’s so easy to get caught up in everything, be it your social life, school work, internship, part-time job, or all of those. But what about the time you need to yourself? Don’t be afraid to schedule some well needed “me time,” and that goes for after you graduate too.

This time should be spent completely off the grid, aka get off the web and any kind of electronic device, so you can give your brain a rest. If you’re the creative type, this is especially helpful for sparking some new ideas. In other words, take a breather.

Hopefully this helps you make the transition from college to the “real world” smoother for you. Good luck!

This is a guest post by Kevin Gannon. He is a recent college graduate with an English degree, a caffeine addiction, and a passion for online journalism.

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Guest Post: Reflections From a (Formerly) Jobless Girl

31 Jul

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I absolutely LOVE today’s guest post by Abby Cooper. She’s an amazing writer, and today she’s offering some insight on success in the workplace. Read it! I promise… it’s really great 🙂

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I always knew I wanted to be a teacher.

Unfortunately, it turns out that knowing does not get you hired. Sometimes it gets you a fake teacher discount at Michael’s when the guy takes pity on you because you’re doing art projects by yourself instead of with children. Apparently doing paint-by-number alone on a Saturdaynight stopped being cool after age ten. It would have been nice if someone sent a memo or something.

I am about to embark on my junior year of life (aka, third year out of college) and I’m only now starting my first real-life grown-up job. For the past two years, I’ve been trying to get my foot in the door. Any door. I would have happily taken a doggie door had one been open. You get the point.

Through all my door-seeking, I’ve learned a lot about what you need to do to get hired. I’ve also learned that not all doors lead to places that are right for you. Here’s what I know:

1. You have to touch the bugs. I was substitute teaching one day when an announcement boomed over the loudspeaker: “the bugs are here!”

Oh, cool. Kill me now.

The bugs were for the first grade’s insect unit, but these were not your run-of-the-mill ladybugs and caterpillars. We’re talking millipedes (aka worms on steroids) and lifesize killer beetles.

I couldn’t help wondering if the real first-grade teachers had known about this and strategically chosen this day to be “sick”…

The other substitute in first grade couldn’t handle the Monster Bugs of Doom and went home. I couldn’t blame her, but I wasn’t going to hand over my chance of ever getting hired at this school just because there was a strong possibility that one of these things could swallow me whole.

I took a deep breath (and by “a” deep breath I obviously mean like 800), took off my glasses (it wasn’t necessary to see all the details of their slimy bodies) and put the creatures in their cages. It was not pleasant. But guess who got called back to teach again the next day? (Hint: me.)

Whether or not your job asks you to pick up bugs that could eat you for breakfast, I think the important thing to remember is to say yes to whatever seemingly strange requests come your way. Within reason. These are the adventures we have to challenge ourselves to have if we want to get somewhere, and they’re awesome opportunities to show just how valuable (and brave) you are.

2. Speak the language. Or fake it.

I once got called to teach Chinese for a week. I don’t know Chinese. I went anyway.

It’s amazing what you can learn in a class you’re supposed to be teaching. For example, shuttlecock is a Chinese sport, not something scandalous that makes you wonder why they want you to teach it to small children. Also, don’t assume every question a child asks in another language means “can I go to the bathroom?” Sometimes it means “can I throw this shuttlecock at your head?” and you will regret saying yes.

It’s okay to agree to do things you don’t know how to do, like teach Chinese. And it’s okay to admit that you don’t know how to do those things (but you are super willing to learn, in case any potential employers want to know.) Don’t be scared of the unknown. The unknown could pay your bills and also teach you a new sport that will make you very popular at parties.

3. Play the game until it gets creepy.

Ever since I first started working, I’ve noticed that a lot of bosses seem to really, really like the power that comes with being the boss. I don’t particularly care for these people, but I can deal with them. I nod. I smile. I imagine them moving to Australia. Etc.

Every boss has some kind of game going on. And in addition to your actual job, it’s your job to figure it out and play. Until it gets creepy. This is different than “until it stops being fun.” I think we need to accept that first-ish jobs, generally, are not fun.

Creepy happens when your boss yells at you for wearing blue, despite the fact that your office doesn’t have a dress code.

Creepy also happens when your boss makes Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada look like a pretty nice lady.

This is when you say bye-bye-boss. This is also when you change your phone number and quite possibly your address.

I’ve left more than one of these kinds of situations in my day. But I’m not a quitter – I’m a person who’s decided that her sanity is more valuable than a job. And while sadly sanity does not pay my rent, I have learned what I will and will not accept at work, and I’ve learned how to get feet through doors in the process. And these are some really valuable things to know. I am looking forward to finally going through a door at a school this coming August. Whether it brings bugs or shuttlecocks or a really bizarre combination of the two, the past few years of adventure and experience have made me ready for just about anything.

Abby Cooper is a twenty-something living and working in Chicago. Follow her adventures on Twitter  @_AnxiousA_

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