Tag Archives: choices

Guest Post: Make the Most of Your Professional Life This Summer

6 Aug

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Today’s guest post was written by Lindsey Sampson. Even though the summer’s almost over (and I kind of want to cry), she shares with us a few things that we can all do during these last couple of weeks to better prepare ourselves for career success in the fall.

I like to think of summer as a time to re-charge. I use this time to think, reflect, and drink margaritas.

Here’s what Lindsey suggests we do…

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What are your plans this summer? I plan to read on the beach and master the art of the 11am brunch. Why? Because YOLO, that’s why. But it might be time to add a couple of things to the summer plan list. YOLO is great and all, but you know what else is great? Employment. Here are a couple of tips to help you get the most out of your summer.

Look at your life, look at your choices. Instead of thinking about what shade of coral you should paint your toenails this week, take a solid amount of time to sit in a beach chair and think about your life. Who are you and what do you love to do? It may seem like a difficult and scary question, but exploring your own sources of happiness is crucial.

Go for it! Make a list of the things that make you tick. What makes you feel like the best, most productive, most authentic you? Maybe you feel the best when you blog, or make music, or teach someone something new. Feel free to just brainstorm, but it helps to write it down so you can go back and reference it when you need a little inspiration.

Take action. Once you’re done thinking about your life (see what I did there?), make some small changes towards self-improvement this summer. Do things this summer just for you because you deserve it.

Go for it! Do you feel like a hot mess a lot of the time? Clean out your closet, organize your purse, or invest in a little black book to schedule your week efficiently. Do you feel overworked and burnt out? Treat yo’self and plan a date night with you and your Netflix queue.

Work on your personal brand. If I hear one more person talk about personal branding, I’m going to do some scary things with those toothpick umbrellas they put in drinks when it’s hot. But everyone is taking about it because it can be a huge asset to your professional life. The more you know yourself (see #1), the easier it will be to identify your personal brand.

Go for it! Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry by starting a blog or engaging other industry professionals on Twitter. Boost your LinkedIn profile by uploading an up-to-date photo and asking for a recommendation or two.

Take steps towards your dream job. If you already have your dream job, good for you, but please go away. You’re making the rest of us feel bad. If you have a dream job in mind, take a step this summer in the direction of your dreams. No one is going to do it for you, and now is the perfect time.

Go for it! Make a networking sheet – list everyone in your professional network, what they do, where they work, and how you met them. Leverage this network to get you closer to your dream job. If you don’t already have a career crush, find one, and then ask him or her out for coffee or conduct an informational interview. Boost your resume by taking a design class or learning HTML online.

This summer, it’s time to feel awesome and be awesome. Go after what you want. Take steps towards your future because it is yours to create. Be assertive and be amazing just because you can.

Lindsey Sampson is a writer, explorer, and enthusiastic lover of words. She is studying International Affairs and Social Entrepreneurship at Northeastern University in Boston. Find her on Twitter at @lindseygsampson and check out her blog at www.moreawesomer.wordpress.com!

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Generation Y Redefines Success

18 Sep

My senior year of high school, I had the genius idea of taking AP Physics, AP Calculus, and AP Statistics, all at the same time.

I pushed myself so hard that year all because I wanted to earn college credits and therefore graduate from college in less than four years.

I did that.

I started working a full-time job at the age of 19 and earned my bachelor’s degree in two and a half years.

I figured that if I got my degree early and had some experience under my belt, I’d be ahead of the game career-wise and would be taking steps towards my journey up the quote-on-quote career ladder. If I did this, I would be a few steps closer to becoming the VP of some great company where my work would consume all of my energy every day.

That’s what success looked like most of my life.

I was taught, growing up, that in order to be a successful woman I’d have to work really hard so that I could one day break through these ceilings that were said to be made of glass. And if I did manage to achieve this, well,  I’d become the much-respected senior executive of some company where I would spend 40+ hours every week.

That’s what I was supposed to want.

That’s what I’ve always been capable of doing.

To not reach that goal, I was told, would be a waste of my potential. It would be a waste of my intellect. I would be a failure.

So all my life, this is the goal that I’ve worked towards.

In doing so, however, I’ve allowed others to determine what success looks like in my life.

A few years later, having been in the workforce, I look at the senior executives of many great organizations and I think to myself…really? This is what I want? This is what I’ve worked so hard for all these years?

To work 60 hours a week? To not have time to do the things that I love to do? To have better relationships with the strangers I go to meetings with once a month than with the people I’ve known all my life?

Something’s wrong here.

I know, in my heart, that I DON’T want that.

But I’m supposed to, right?

I’m smart, I’m ambitious, I have big dreams….OBVIOUSLY that’s what success looks like, right?

WRONG.

You see, success can’t be defined so narrowly. Success, also, shouldn’t be defined for you by anyone else. Success is very personal and it varies.

My definition of success can be very different from your definition.

Likewise, my definition of success at 22 can be very different from my definition of success at 40.

That’s okay.

The point is that today I look back on the past few years of my life and although I don’t regret the way my life has played out, I wish that I had allowed myself to form my own definition of success.

Without the influence of society.

Without the influence of my friends.

Without the influence of my parents.

Success should have been between me and me alone.

Today, when I think of success, I don’t think about working for some multi-million dollar corporation managing all of the best accounts, swiftly climbing the corporate ladder.

Instead, I think about being happy. I think about finding a career that I love, one that challenges me. I think about a career that allows me to help others, that allows me to give back in some way. I think about having time to travel and hang out with my friends. I think about making sure that I have enough time to devote to a relationship and building a family one day. Success, to me, means being inspired and having interesting work to do. Success, therefore, is not being bored.

That doesn’t make me any less ambitious.

That doesn’t make me any less determined.

It just means that I’m working towards something different.

And I’ll never apologize for that.

I think that Generation Y wants to succeed, we want to be successful. But at the same time, our picture of success is very different from that of generations before us. The idea of working 80 hours a week behind a desk with no time to pursue our other interests is not really all that appealing.

That’s why we’re asking for flex time.

That’s why there no longer exists a corporate ladder.

That’s why we’re seen as so demanding.   

We want more to life than just work.

And for that… I’m sorry that I’m not sorry.

Other stuff you might like:

Don’t Wait, Be Happy Now

Relax, Being Lost is a Good Thing

Random Ramblings on Being a Young Adult

Can You Blame Her?

25 May

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This girl is awesome. She’s definitely going places.

Even though this video is a little old already, it’s one of my favorites.

Her priorities are in order:

  1. Find work that’s meaningful
  2. Find a husband

As it should be.

You see, even at the age of five some people understand the importance of doing work that they love.

Be independent. Do things for yourself.

Find work that you love, even if other people think you’re crazy.

Then, everything else will fall into place.

Gen-Y & Decision-Making: Why I Finally Ordered Chocolate Ice Cream

6 Mar

Almost everyone at my job hates me…so for a long time, I hated my job. Hell, my nosy co-workers even caught me job hunting…then they told my boss. My boss called me into her office and asked me straight up. She said, “Listen Kayla, one of your nosy coworkers told me she’s seen you looking at jobs (in all fairness I was looking for jobs at the SAME company I work for)…is this true?” I told her…”Um, I’m considering my options.” I thought for sure she was going to fire me. Instead, she begged me not to go. So for a long time I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to look for another job or keep the one I had. I didn’t know what to do. But what I DID know was that while I was actively looking for something else, (84% of us are), I wasn’t invested in my job. I wasn’t really engaged. Ughhh I had to make a freaking decision!

But that’s life, you have to make them all the time…and it sucks. I’ve never liked making decisions because I’ve been trained to not have to make them. The world we live in promotes the lack of decision making. You go have ice cream…”Oh I’ll have Half Chocolate, Half Vanilla” (this is me always). Really? Why can’t you just freaking decide which one you want more?!?! Well… because I don’t have to. We want it all, and we’ve been taught that we can have it. And with some things, that’s ok…it’s fine to have two different flavors of ice cream. But as we navigate this horribly confusing thing called life…especially in the workforce…WE HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS IF WE WANT TO MOVE FORWARD. Because if we don’t, our focus becomes blurred and we can’t give 100% to any of our 580345873 thousand options.

I realized this a week ago when I had to call things off with one of the most gorgeous guys I’ve ever dated. Baseball player… athletic…tan…built…freaking gorgeous. I had been seeing him for a while and things were going okay but then I met Someone Else.  And while I could have continued seeing both of them (because I wasn’t in any kind of committed relationship), I found that I couldn’t focus my attention  on either of them and I was cheating myself out of having something great. Because I wanted Someone Else much more. And I found myself thinking about Someone Else. So I made a decision.

I’ve always been afraid of making decisions. Why? Because I’m afraid of choosing the wrong thing. What if I ask for Chocolate and then later realize I wanted Vanilla? That would suck. But you know what? Even though calling things off with the baseball player sucked (because he was a good guy and did I mention he was gorgeous?), as soon as I did what I had to do, I felt EMPOWERED! And I felt so proud of myself for making a decision and so happy that I could now focus my attention, 100% on Someone Else. Oh and the next time I went to get Ice Cream…this is what I ordered…

And that’s kind of how it is with careers. So I decided to keep the job I have…for now. And that as long as I’m at my current job, I’m going to try my hardest to stay focused and to stay engaged…to give it 100%. And you know what? By re-investing myself in my job, I’ve found myself a lot happier.

Generation Y workers are an asset to any company because we’ve been trained to be multi-taskers. We possess multifaceted skill sets and that’s what makes us so awesome. There are so many different things that we can do. So when we first enter the workforce, it’s easy to become paralyzed by the fear of making a decision.

But please please please pleaseee make decisions. Make lots of them. Decide to pursue something. Decide to stop pursuing something. Just do something….Do anything. Because at the end of the day that’s ten times more productive than doing absolutely nothing, than not making any decisions at all.

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