Tag Archives: young at work

5 Reasons Why This Twenty-Something LOVES Her New Job

6 Feb

Work Hard Have Fun No Drama I’ve been at my new job for 8 months now, and really… I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy-fast time has gone by. One minute I’m interviewing and BAM!!! Here I am almost a year into it. Taking this new job was a huge leap for me. For starters, I knew nothing about the industry. While most people being interviewed had years of experience doing the job at other companies… I. Had. Zero. But man was I willing to learn! People warned me. People told me the job would be terrible. People asked me if it was really something that I wanted to do. And although I didn’t know much, I knew that it was an exciting opportunity and that I needed a new challenge. 8 months later, I thank God every day that I made that jump. So to help explain exactly why I’m so happy, here are 5 reasons why THIS 20-something LOVES her new job…

  1. I’m Surrounded By People Who Are Willing to Teach Me

Like I said, I was a newbie. I accepted a job as a Contract Administrator in a large Supply Chain department and I didn’t even know what a backorder was. This could have been a total failure. But it wasn’t. And you know why? Because the people around me are really freaking awesome. Because from the minute I stepped foot in this department, my co-workers took me under their wings and they taught me everything they know. Because they were secure enough in their own abilities and talents that they didn’t feel threatened by the thought of sharing what they’ve learned over the years. And I’m eternally grateful for that.

  1. We’re Treated Like Adults

Imagine a workplace where you can go to the bathroom without your boss staring at his computer counting the number of minutes that you’re away from your desk. Imagine a workplace where you can go to work and if you need to leave to a doctor’s appointment or to pick up your sick kid, you can do that and no one gives you a hard time about it. We can do that here. After a really hectic morning we can go have a nice lunch off campus, come back to work, and we’re not looked down upon for taking a break. It’s kind of awesome. We’re treated like adults. And you might be thinking well yea, we should be treated like adults since that’s what we ARE, but you’d be surprised how absolutely rare this kind of work environment is. We’re treated like professionals and even though we may not be at our desks glued to our chairs every moment of every day, everyone knows that we’ll get the job done. We always do.

  1. Our Work/Play Balance is all Sorts of Fantastic

You can go to work, work super hard, and have fun doing it. It’s true, I promise! And although I’ve questioned this notion in the past, I swear on my life I’ve never had so much fun at work. And you might think okay… she’s a contract administrator…sounds kinda super lame and boring. But dude, we laugh and we joke and we have so much fun. And the best part about it is that even though we laugh and we have a good time, we’re still taken seriously because we produce excellent work. I don’t think you have to be miserable and serious all the time to be considered a professional. I think that you can work and play and play while you work. Because really, if you don’t, it’s so easy to go crazy.

  1. My Bosses Are Approachable, Nice Human Beings

It’s not something that I take for granted. My bosses are really one of a kind. They’re legit humans. Like… super- down- to -earth –real- people- who- have- feelings- and- know- that- I –have- feelings –and- so- they’re- nice- and- not- mean-and- they- don’t- scream- at- me- and- belittle- me- and- make- me- feel- like- I’m- stupid. In a nutshell. Do they do their jobs? Yes! Really well, in fact. Do they tell me when I’ve made a mistake and help me fix it? Yep. Do they provide guidance? All the time. But do they have huge egos? No. Do they walk around thinking they’re better than anyone? No. Do they scream and yell and embarrass their employees? Never. And that’s why I love working for them. They have an open door policy and we can talk to them about anything whenever we need to and we’re not scared of them, because they’re super cool. I mean, on what planet should we have to be scared of our bosses? How does that make us perform better? If you figure that out, let me know. But in the meantime, I’ll stick to working for bosses who really know how to lead.

  1. They Took A Chance on Me

I’m like 500% positive that there are people who would have never hired me for this position. There are managers who would have taken one look at my resume and would have thrown it in the trash simply because I didn’t have experience in this field. But my leadership took a chance on me. They decided that I had potential and that I could be taught, and so they were willing to invest in me. They were willing to give me a shot and by giving me that shot, I feel the need to prove to them every day that they made the right decision. I respect them so much for that, and I feel so lucky every day to be a part of this kick-ass team. Other stuff you might like:

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Please Stop Asking Me Where I See Myself in 5 Years

21 May

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I really do hate it.

“The” question…

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Apparently, everyone wants to know.

Have a job interview??? I can almost bet my left hand that someone will ask you.

Go to a networking event??? It’s more than likely.

I’ve been hit with this question more times than I can count.

And every time, I’m sure that I’ve disappointed the person asking with my answer.

Because here’s my answer…

I have no idea.

Now before you start thinking that I lack ambition, understand that I’ve read tons about why goal setting is good. I’ve also read about why goal setting is bad.

I get both sides of the arguement.

But when it comes to where I see myself in 5 years, my answer’s still the same.

I have no idea.

I never grew up wanting to be something specific. I never grew up wanting to be a doctor or a nurse or an astronaut or an engineer.

I don’t know why, exactly, but I just didn’t.

The only thing I DID know was that whatever it was that I ended up chossing as a profession…I wanted to like it.

I wanted to be good at it, and I wanted to enjoy it.

So where do I see myself in 5 years?

I can’t tell you exactly what job I see myself holding, but I CAN tell you that I see myself working at a job that I love. Working somewhere that allows me to use my talents appropriately. One that lets me bring the best of myself to the table, and one that lets me use that to help other people.

When it comes to my career, I guess I’ve chosen a less-than-conventional path. Rather than focusing on one specific discipline, I think that there are lots of jobs that I could be good at and happy with.

I don’t have ONE specific dream job. I don’t have ONE specific job that I aspire to have one day- one that if I never get, I’ll be devastated.

That’s just me.

And while some people may think that makes me unfocused, I like to think that it makes me more flexible.

And in today’s super-unstable job market, that’s probably not such a bad thing.

It’s just kind of funny, really, becuase it seems that people expect us to have it all figured out by the time we graduate college.

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Yep! We did it!

By then, OBVIOUSLY, we should know what our dream job will be. We should know where we want to be in 5…10…15 years.

And again, if you don’t, some people think you lack focus.

But the truth of it all is that some people NEVER figure that out. People spend their entire lives figuring out what they like…what they don’t like…what they’re passionate about.

It’s a process of trial and error.

So if you’re like me and don’t know exactly where you’ll be 5 years from now, don’t worry, you’ll figure it out as you go.

Just make sure to enjoy the ride.

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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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The 5 Most Valuable Lessons Grad School Taught Me

17 Mar

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I honestly can’t believe it. 43 days till I’m done with school… forever!!! There are no words to express how absolutely elated I am. No words at all.  

For the past two years, I’ve been working full time while pursuing my Master in Public Administration degree.

I’ve written paper after paper after paper…

I’ve had more group projects than really necessary…

And I’ve also been sleep-deprived (Dear God I so look forward to getting more sleep.)

So now that this chapter in my life is coming to a close, I thought I’d get drunk and celebrate  reflect on the most important things I’ve learned in Grad School. Because I really have learned a lot.

Not just about my field of study, but about life in general and about my future in the workplace.

And in writing this, I’m really really happy. I’m happy because I DO feel that I’ve learned things.

Two years and way too much money later, it really has been worth it.

1. It’s the quality of your work, not the quantity.

I’ll honestly never understand why some students feel the need to write 20 page papers when the professor asks for 5. I mean, come on… really? 15 extra pages?? Do you have nothing else to do? Some people really think that by writing more pages, they’ll get a better grade. It’s kind of funny actually. Some people think to themselves, “I have no idea what to write this paper about, but if I hand in a really big stack of paper, and write 10 extra pages, I’ll probably get a better grade than someone who hands in 5.” Well…um…it doesn’t work that way.

In both grad school and in the workplace, your teachers and your bosses are more often concerned with the quality of your work rather than the quantity. It’s all about efficiency, people… producing great quality work in the least amount of time. So you can be the student who spends 15 hours on a paper and turns in 15 pages, and yes, gets an A. Or, you could be the student who spends 3 hours on a paper, turns in 5 pages, and ALSO gets an A.

At the end of the day,  who’s more efficient?

It’s no secret that companies want efficient employees. It’s no secret that employers want great-quality work. So if you can find a way to be efficient with your time while still producing great quality, I’d say you’re pretty set in terms of life after college.

2. Importance of time management.

I don’t care if you have the world’s best memory…Nor do I care if you can memorize a whole deck of cards in under a minute. If you don’t have a calendar/planner/phone reminder system, you will fail miserably as an adult.

Like, big time.

Like I mentioned before, these past two years I’ve juggled work, school, my slowly-becoming-non-existent social life, a relationship, a house, crossfit, this blog, and my family.

Miraculously, I’ve managed to keep some of my sanity.

When you get to grown-up status, you realize just how crazy and hectic life becomes.Like, there’s really no time for anything. While in grad school, I’d go to work, then go to school, and by the time I got home, you know what I wanted to do? NOTHING!! Absolutely nothing!

I’ve been living a life of pure exhaustion.

But I’ve certainly found that having a planner helps organize my brain, because without it, I’d have zero idea about what I have to do.

So regardless of how crazy things get, make time-management a priority. It’s super important. Because as you get older, there’s a lot more to your life. More responsibilities, more to remember, more to accomplish. 

But I’m absolutely positive that if you organize yourself you can somehow become a fully-functioning member of society. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

3. Corporate America is very bad at implementing best practices.

This lesson makes me very sad. This lesson also makes me want to punch a giant hole in the wall and the only reason I don’t punch a giant hole in the wall is because I don’t have money to fix it if I did.

But anyway, this lesson that I’ve learned makes me extremely mad. Because I go to school and I read these massive books that are more often than not, quite boring. And then I write paper after paper after paper. And then somehow, throughout that process, I learn things. Through my Public Administration degree, I’ve learned about…you guessed it! Administration! Administration, and leadership, and organizational behavior. I’ve learned about HR practices and what it takes to run a company in the most ethical way possible.

I’ve learned and I’ve studied extensively about what the workplace SHOULD LOOK LIKE.

And then through my work experience, I’ve seen what it REALLY LOOKS LIKE.

Total opposites most of the time.

There’s so much dishonesty in the workplace and there’s a lot of poor leadership. That’s the reality. And it’s hard to deal with in a sense because knowing what I know, there are days when I just want to slap people and say, “Hellooooo?!?!?! What are you doing?!?!?! This is NOT how you’re supposed to do things! That’s not what I learned in my HR class!”

But I don’t slap people at work because that’s also one of the things I learned. You don’t slap people if you want to keep your job.

So what does that mean for us? What does that mean for us recent college grads? It means that we have a lot of work to do. It means that we’re going to see things that we don’t like in the workplace. And really, it’s up to us to do something about it.

Maybe we’re not in the position at this point in our careers to make a huge difference, but one day, when we can make decisions, we’ll need to make the right ones. Because, maybe naively, I still believe that the workplace can be a much better place if we fight for it.

4. People will surprise you.

When you’re in a class that requires you to complete a group project, you spend approximately 5 minutes praying that your group members are smart. So that’s what I did a few months ago and well, my prayer was not answered.

One of my teammates, let’s call her Ashley, had zero interest in the class we were taking. Why do I say that? Well, we had a quiz a few weeks into class and our professor allowed us to use a note card as a “cheat sheet” to write down stuff so we wouldn’t forget.

She was filling out her note card 3 minutes before the quiz.

Let’s see… she also rarely attended class. Then, the day of our group presentation, while our whole group showed up 15 minutes before class…she was late. We almost had to start without her. So obviously, my impression of Ashley was that she was the worst group member ever and that she wasn’t very smart.

A few weeks after our group presentation, we were doing another group project where our goal was to build the tallest structure using marshmallows and spaghetti… one of those team-building, hands-on kind of projects. And as time was almost up, my group had no idea what to do to get the marshmallow to stay at the top of the structure without knocking it down. Point is… Ashley had an idea. And you know what I did with her idea? I didn’t listen to it.

Not a single bit.

Because I had completely written this girl off as my incompetent teammate who shows up late and doesn’t study. So we obviously failed, we didn’t have the tallest structure. And when our professor briefed us on how we could have done better, that same idea Ashley had…that’s what he told us we should have done.

People will surprise you. Good ideas come from anywhere. So you need to be open to listening to them.

5.  Importance of a strong support system.

I’ve had serious panic attacks in the past. Like, I-can’t-breathe-I’m-never-going-to-finish-this-paper-but-it’s-my-own-fault-because-I-procrastinated- panic attacks. They’re not fun. There have been days when I’ve gone to work on 2.5-3 hours of sleep and I look and feel like a  zombie. It’s just like being drunk. Only I’m not drunk because I wasn’t able to go out and drink because I was finishing an assignment.

There have been days when I’ve felt like just quitting half-way. “So what if I’m only 9 credits away from graduation? I’m totally over this.”

And I definitely would have, if I didn’t have such a strong support system in my life.

I have an amazing family that has encouraged me my whole life really, but especially these past two years.  

My boyfriend, who I live with and love like crazy, has endured my mood swings, calmed me down during my panic attacks, and has reminded me that I’m not allowed to stop.

Must. Keep. Going.

So in 43 days when I graduate, I’m going to wear some weird dress/robe thing and I’m going to be handed by diploma, and I’m going to look out into the audience and I’m going to see my family and my boyfriend. And I’m going to feel so eternally grateful to have them in my life. Because without them, I know for a fact that I would have given up. I know that I wouldn’t have made it this far.

Because life in general is just way too crazy and too much for any one person to deal with alone.

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How to Get Noticed at Work in Your 20s

8 Jan

Coaching_Mentoring

I once had a boss tell me that had she known I was 20 years old when she hired me, I would have never gotten the job.

Nice lady.

But if you know me and/or if you’ve read my writing, you know that I’m a huge proponent of the fact that age has zero to do with success and potential.

I’m sure that there are plenty of really really uber-smart 16 year olds who can do my job better than I can.  So age, therefore, should have nothing to do with the hiring process.

Despite my strong opinion on this subject, let’s face it… ageism exists. People who are older have to deal with it and those of us fresh out of college have to deal with it too.

It’s not fun.

Some people don’t think we’re capable of much. Some people really underestimate our ability.

So here are some things that we can do in our twenties to prove all those haters wrong. Because if you’re doing the right things in the workplace, you’re going to get noticed.

But you’re going to get noticed as the amazing and capable employee, not as the little twenty year old fresh out of college.

1. Keep Your Word

Did you just say you were going to do something? Awesome! Now do it. There’s nothing more frustrating to a boss than an employee who says they’ll take care of something and then doesn’t. Be mindful of the commitments you make and have excellent follow-through. Your boss will be much more likely to continue giving you great assignments if they believe that you’ll really get it done.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For More Work

People -especially us in our twenties- tend to avoid voicing our work needs because we’re afraid that our bosses will think we’re annoying. Regardless of how busy your boss is, real leaders will take the time to listen to you. If you feel that you’re not being challenged, let it be known. If you want more work and more assignments, say it. That’s the only way you’re going to be given more opportunities. Don’t be afraid to be known as the employee who’s hungry for growth opportunities.

3. For The Love of God, Avoid Gossiping At All Costs

Having worked in a big-girl-real-life job for about 4 years now, it’s beyond sad to me how some “grown-ups” behave at work. I mean, it’s really worse than high school- or at least, high school all over again. If you want to get noticed at work as that all-star employee, avoid the gossiping at all costs. Keep yourself put together and avoid any kind of negative behavior that your co-workers are participating in. People twice your age will act like kids- you don’t need to be one of them. You’re a professional, so act like it.

4. Read Up On Your Industry

Read books. Read magazines. Read journal articles. Read at home. Read before bed. Read during your lunch break. You should be known as an expert in your field, and the only way to do that is to be constantly learning. Things change quickly, and if you stay on top of current industry happenings, you’ll be the perfect person to turn to when your boss needs to know what’s up.

5. Be Willing To Do The Work No One Wants To Do

I get it… no one wants to be the guy who takes out the trash on Friday… no one wants to be the guy who works with that difficult client… That new project that seems impossible? No one wants it.

Not a single soul.

And that’s exactly why YOU SHOULD DO IT.

Put a nice big smile on your face and get those things done, becuase if you say yes to those awful tasks, better opportunities and more responsibility will be given to you.

Your boss needs to know that you’re a team player. She needs to know that you can do the annoying stuff before she can fully depend on you to tackle the stuff you’d really love to do.

So hopefully that helps a little! Anything else you can think of?

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Leadership and Influence at All Levels

8 Jul

When you think of leadership, what comes to mind?

A senior manager?

A CEO?

A closet full of perfectly-tailored suits?

I guess the notion of leadership often coincides with this pretty crazy idea that leaders are always at the top.

Leaders are the ones who go to meetings…

Leaders are the ones who tell us what to do…

Leaders are the ones with fancy titles…

But really, it doesn’t work that way.

Because it’s simply just not true.

Leadership has absolutely nothing to do with position.

Leadership has nothing to do with age.

And because of that, leaders can be found at all levels.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that best leaders are the ones that don’t even realize that they’re leading.

They don’t have a corner office.

They don’t attend hundreds of meetings.

And they don’t wear the perfectly tailored suits.

But they DO want to make a difference.

And they inspire OTHERS to make a difference.

And because of their passion and determination, they’re successful.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m a huge fan of Rotary.

Because they believe that everyone can make a difference.

Through their youth programs that emphasize service and leadership, they focus on building the leaders of tomorrow.

And I think that’s really cool.

Because they acknowledge the fact that even young professionals can be leaders.

And they give young professionals the opportunity to make this world a better place.

Take Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign, for example.

We’re SO close to completely eradicating polio.

To date, Rotary and its partners have reduced polio cases by more than 99 percent worldwide and only 3 countries remain polio-endemic. 

Now, a 99 % reduction is huge! A 99% reduction is significant!

But it’s not 100%, so we’ve got more work to do.

Today’s young professionals have the chance to help finish this fight. Within the next five years, we can make history. We could possibly rid the world of the second disease ever to be eradicated and that, my friends, would be awesome. Because at the end of the day, by joining initiatives such as End Polio Now, and fighting for causes that we’re passionate about, we can all be leaders.

Fancy title, or not. So today, I’m being a leader.

I’m joining the World’s Biggest Commercial because I believe in the cause and it’s my way of making a small difference. I’m officially one of over 31,000 participants from 149 countries!

Look!

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And now it’s your turn.

Find something that you believe in and fight hard for it.

Be a leader and make a positive impact.

Because the world needs good people and the world needs good leaders. And they’re not always on top, they’re at all levels.

YOU can make a difference, so get to it.  

Here’s How You Can Help:

  • Make History. Visit EndPolio.org and take part in the World’s Biggest Commercial in a show of solidarity and raise awareness for the complete eradication of polio. People around the world are uploading their photo making a “this close” gesture to join the commercial, and sharing the news with their blogs and social networks to make sure that we finish the fight to eradicate this terrible—and completely preventable —disease.
  • Generate Social Media Buzz. Tweet using the hashtag #EndPolioNow and including the EndPolio.org URL to help raise awareness.
  • Give Financially. Visit EndPolio.org and make a donation. Just $.60 can protect a child from the disease. Every $1 you donate to Rotary will be matched with $2 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35 million/year.
  • Share the good news with your community. Inform your social circles that we are “this close” to ending polio, encourage them to join the World’s Biggest Commercial and make history, and share these actions items with them for ways in which they, too, can help.

While this post has been sponsored by Rotary, I’m proud to serve as an ambassador for their End Polio Now campaign.

 

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?

Other stuff you might like:

Being Human in the Workplace: Why It’s Okay To Tell People You Ripped Your Pants

15 May

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I have a big problem with the workplace. Well, I have A LOT of problems with the workplace, actually, but this happens to be rather high on my list.

I guess I’m sort of a creeper, to a certain extent, because I observe people all the time. That’s my thing.

I watch and I listen and I realize how ridiculously crazy people are most of the time while they’re at work.

A lot of people tend to feel that they need to put on some kind of front while at work…they can’t be themselves. Instead, they have to be perfect. ALWAYS.

So they put on their suits and they cary their briefcases and they walk from meeting to meeting, focusing on numbers and on the latest budget reports. They’re serious all the time. They can’t laugh, they can’t joke. Because that would make them unprofessional.

Now, I get that people have to work. I also understand that we have to focus on numbers and on budgets and reports.

But in doing so, we can’t forget there’s also a human side to work. Work isn’t just numbers. Work isn’t just reports. Work isn’t just about the bottom line.

Work is also about human relationships. Work is about BUILDING those human relationships.

Because without those relationships, work is not possible.

It’s okay to show that human side of yourself while you’re at work. It’s okay to have a personality. It’s okay to be nice to people.

We’re not robots.

And honestly, I’ve found that when you share that human side of yourself with others, people are more receptive towards you. People like you more because you’re honest. You’re silly. You’re NOT perfect. You’re just like everyone else. You’re human.

A little crazy. A little messed up. A little not-so-put-together.

So don’t be afraid to open up every once in a while.

For example, I was running into work not too long ago wearing my not-so-hemmed pants which I have to wear my 5 inch heels with. And so I decide to take the elevator to prevent myself from falling flat on my face. So what happened?  I got off the elevator, took 4 steps, my heel got stuck in a crack on the floor, and I fell. On my face. The best part was…I didn’t just fall, I also ripped my pants. Big time.

So I got up, continued walking to my office, and when people greeted me with the usual, “Good Morning! How are you?” my response to them was NOT, “Fine, thanks.”

Instead, it was more like “Wonderful, thanks, I ripped my pants! Isn’t that great?”

And you know what?  People didn’t look at me and scold me for being honest. Instead, they laughed and some of them even shared with me their own embarrassing stories.

So my point is, don’t be the kind of person at work who has the personality of a tree. Be true to who you are, don’t put on a front, and you’ll be much more likely to build those human relationships which are essential to career success.

PLUS… you’ll be wayyyy cooler in my book.

Hello! Gen Y Wants To Travel

7 May

Travel

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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