Tag Archives: youth

Why You Need to Learn To Get Over It

20 Jan

I think I have  a memory problem.

I mean, I hope I don’t…but I’m a little concerned.

I have a really hard time remembering things that happened yesterday, and sometimes, when other people bring up things from the past, I can’t remember what the heck they’re talking about.

No, I don’t remember going to that party.

No, I don’t remember getting in trouble that night.

Ashley? Who the heck is Ashley?

So as I’m thinking about all of this while praying that I don’t have some kind of early-onset Alzheimer’s, I realize that although this really bad memory of mine is somewhat problematic, it’s also very much a blessing too.

Yea, it kind of stinks when I can’t find my keys.

It’s even worse when I can’t find my work badge.

But if there’s one really positive thing about my memory issue, it’s that I’m really not capable of holding a grudge.

Because I can’t remember that I was mad in the first place.

Or I often forget after a few days.

It’s a beautiful thing, this semi-amnesia.

When I think about it, I know a lot of people that get upset about things and stay upset for a really long time.

Heck- I know some people who’ve been mad their whole lives.

But that’s really not healthy.

The more I experience in my life, the more I realize that conflict is going to happen.

I don’t like it, but it’s a fact.

At some point, you’ll be hurt, and at some point, you’ll hurt someone too.

At some point you’ll be mad at your family, your friends, your boyfriend, your co-workers- your boss, even.

But that anger and that pain… it doesn’t need to hang around forever.

It’s just not good for you.

So if there’s one thing you really ought to learn how to do, it’s how to forgive and forget and move on.

AKA… GET OVER IT.

Because there’s nothing more damaging to your spirit than holding on to anger.

So if you want to be mad, be mad.

But only for a day or two.

After that, pretend it never happened, and you’ll realize just how much lighter you feel.

And that, at the end of the day, will make you much much happier.

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How to Get Noticed at Work in Your 20s

8 Jan

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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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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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Why NOT Taking Time Off Is Stupid

11 Nov
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Some people never take vacation.

Worse yet, some people complain when OTHER people take vacation.

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The belief, these days, in the lovely corporate world -which P.S. I have no patience for- is that if your butt isn’t glued to your desk Monday-Friday 8 hours a day, you’re not a hard worker.

It’s a concept so sad that just thinking about it makes me want to cry.

Then, it makes me want to punch someone.

In the face.

Repeatedly.

We’ve somehow gotten to the point where people are scared of taking vacation. People are scared of taking time off.

Why?

Because they’re afraid that if they do, they’ll be considered a slacker.

There’s Amy…she’s going on a cruise next week…OBVIOUSLY she’s not very committed to her job.

*Shake my head*

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that it’s very possible to be a hard-working super-awesome employee

AND

Someone who enjoys using their allotted vacation time.

It’s a beautiful concept, work-life balance.

Some people really ought to try it.

You know, I’m pretty sure we can go to work and be efficient and get things done and STILL have time for a life.

STILL have time for ourselves.

And STILL have time for our families.

I don’t think we should have to choose between work and a life, and I certainly don’t think we should have to feel guilty about it.

So now that the holidays are quickly approaching, talk to your boss about taking a few days off.

Even if it’s just one day.

Eat.

Travel.

See new things.

Enjoy a quiet day by yourself to unwind.

Make time for your family.

Make time for your friends.

Laugh at something ridiculous.

Yes, it’s important to do good work.

But it’s important to do good life too.

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Twentysomething Comparisonitis

7 Oct

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They say one third of people in their twenties feel depressed.

I believe it, and this is why…

It seems that the society we live in today has somehow found a way to make sure that we compare every single aspect of our lives with that of other people.

It makes me kind of nauseous just thinking about it.

In our twenties, we’re paving our path, digging through dirt, figuring out which road we’d like to go down.

We’re discovering ourselves.

We’re discovering the world.

And that’s absolutely beautiful.

But is seems that every time we manage to achieve something great in our lives, we then feel the need to compare ourselves to other people.

We compare ourselves to coworkers. We compare ourselves to celebrities. We compare ourselves to that nerd we kind of knew in high school.

And you know what? That nerd is now a senior executive at a kick-ass  job. And that nerd is  getting married. And that nerd is having a baby. And that nerd is living in an awesome apartment. And that nerd is debt-free. And we know all of this because it’s plastered all over social media.

Suddenly, all the awesome stuff we’re doing doesn’t seem to matter all that much.

What matters, instead, is the fact that we’re not senior executives at a kick-ass job. And we’re not getting married. And we’re not having babies. And we don’t live in an awesome apartment and God knows we’re not debt-free.

A.K.A… life sucks….why me?

What did I do to deserve such a lame life?

Seem familiar?

If you say you haven’t felt this way, you’re probably lying. And that’s fine, I can’t force you to admit it… but we’ve all been there.

I’ve been there.

But we need to make a conscious effort to NOT be there.

Because when we compare ourselves to other people, the only things we see are the things we don’t have. 

And that’s a shame, because we should be saving our energy to focus on much more important things.

Instead of seeing the things we DON’T have, we need to focus on what we’ve accomplished. We need to focus on the good in our lives, and we need to be thankful for every bit of it. Then, we need to focus on our goals, on our dreams, on our next steps.

Not on the goals and dreams and next steps of other people.

So as you continue making the most of your twenties, make sure that you’re doing things for the right reasons.

Make sure that you’re saying “YES” to that job because you love it!

Not because you want everyone on Facebook to know that you have a job.

Make sure you’re getting married because you love someone.

Not because you want to post a picture of your 2 carat diamond to see how many likes you can get.

Make sure you’re having a baby because you’re ready.

Not because you’re tired of staying home with your cats while all your friends have mommy/baby play dates.

Focus on yourself.

Focus on your life.

Do things not so that the world can see, but so that you can know what you’re capable of.

So you can be sure of your worth.

Of your potential.

Do things so that you can live the life you’ve always dreamt of.

So that you can be happy.

Because you deserve that happiness.

You owe yourself that much.

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How To Make Better Decisions

16 Sep

When I was younger, I almost killed my sister.

And that would have been a shame, because I really LIKE my sister.

Here’s how the story goes…

I was 7….she was 5… I was bored…and I had a GENIUS idea!

“Brittney!!! Come here!! I’m going to put you in the laundry basket and push you down the stairs! It’s going to be so much fun!”

At that time, she did whatever I told her to do, so she happily sat in the laundry basket and I then pushed her to her probable death.

About 2.3 seconds later, I had one of those “OH-CRAP” moments.

And as she nearly flipped upside down, she looked like this.

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(Yes, that’s my sister, and yes she’s going to kill me for posting that.)

Luckily, I was somehow able to stop her from flipping over.

Then I panicked and I did what kids do when they know they’ve done something awful…

I turned to my sister and pleaded, “DON’T TELL MOM.”

So in light of my failure to make a good decision that day, I’ve put together a few suggestions for making better decisions… and I hope they’ll be helpful.

1. Take Time to Think Things Through

Alright guys. Face it. A lot of us tend to make rash decisions. Not always, but sometimes. We have these lightbulb moments! and we think our ideas are fabulous! and we act, usually, without thinking too much about them.

Had I taken some time to think about pushing my sister down the stairs, I probably would have come to the conclusion that playing with our Barbies was a much better afternoon activity.

2. Seek Advice from People Who Matter

Now this is a big one. Had I gone and asked my mom what she thought about my wonderful idea, she would have ever-so-nicely told me that I was a crazy lunatic.

When we’re making decisions in life, no matter how old we are, it’s not a bad idea to seek advice from people who matter. From people with good opinions and insight. It’s a great way to get some additional perspective just to make sure we’re not missing anything.

3. Think About ALL Possible Consequences

Now I’m not completely positive, but I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t thinking about the consequences of my super-wonderful-great-fun idea.

The only thing on my mind was:

YAYY! This is going to be AWESOME.

So before we make decisions, it’s probably a good idea to consider ALL possible consequences.

What can possibly happen?

Who can this possibly affect?

What is this going to cost me?

Taking some time to answer these questions will make sure you clearly think about the possible negative consequences. Then, you’ll be in a better position to make a sane decision.

4. Ask Yourself WHY You Want to Do Something

Why you want to do something is a very important part of making a decision. So go ahead and ask yourself why you wanna do it.

If your answer is, “Oh, I don’t know. Because I’m bored.”

That’s a bad answer.

So don’t do whatever it was that you were thinking about doing.

You don’t make big decisions just because you’re bored.

Instead, go make yourself a sandwich or something.

5. Follow Some Kind of Basic Decision-Making Model

Although you might find it a bit dorky, it’s extremely helpful to follow a basic decision-making model.

Here’s one that I just learned in my leadership and decision-making class taught by the best professor I’ve ever had:

a. Define the problem.

b. Generate alternatives.

c. Decide.

d. Implement.

e. Evaluate.

Following some kind of logical reasoning when making decisions is a whole lot better than just doing things because you think they’ll be fun. Or because it’s the first thing you can think of. Or because you’re bored. Or just because it’s what everyone else is doing.

So from now on, whenever I have a big decision to make, I’ll think about the time I almost killed my sister and I’ll use some of these tools to make better decisions.

Because again, I do like my sister.

I’d be really bored without her.

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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.

Guest Post: No, I’m Not a Student- On Being Taken Seriously at Work as a Young Professional

19 Aug

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Today’s Guest Post was written by Kelly Konevich. As a young career counselor, she’s encountered some older workers who…well…think she looks like a baby. And as a result, they often question whether or not she’s capable of doing her job. So in today’s post, Kelly offers a bit of advice on getting others to take you seriously…despite your Gen Y status.

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I’ve never been much of a suit kind of gal, and as somebody who works in higher education, unless I become a dean (someday…), it is not expected that I’ll ever really have to be, aside from the occasional employer meeting or as a conference attendee.  Although I do believe in the mantra “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” I tend to prefer bright colors, blouses and ballet flats to suit jackets, button ups and heels. But I’m sure to always present myself in a professional and appropriate manner.

As Gen Y’s, we are often accused of being too casual both in attitude and in dress, and although I’m not rolling into work in my wet bathing suit, I noticed that some faculty, students (more so alumni) and staff were always surprised when they met me for the first time, “nice to meet you, gosh, you look like you could be a student!”  Thank you for the compliment (?), but I’m not.  After checking with my supervisor and confirming that I was, indeed, dressed professionally and appropriately for my office, I began to wonder if other younger professionals were getting similar responses.

The answer was an overwhelming, “yes!”  One friend of mine who works in finance said that her credibility is often questioned by older clients, and another colleague in education confessed that some parents question her experience.  As Gen Y’s we’re new(ish) to the workplace, but if we were hired, that means we’re fit for the position.  I’ve come up with these 3 tactics to crush the credibility doubters:

1. This goes without saying but, dress like a pro.  Take a look around your office and those who are in positions you’d eventually like to be in and see what they’re wearing. Copy them (assuming it’s appropriate).  Although I would stick out like a sore thumb in my office if I wore a suit, I always make sure I look put together and professional, and when I’m teaching or meeting with an older colleague, I kick it up a notch and throw on a blazer and some nice shoes (guys: just have a tie in your office).

2. Know when to speak up/know when to shut up.  If you’re extroverted (like me), you may find yourself chomping at the bit to give your opinion at staff meetings. I know with myself, it is uncomfortable and even a struggle to not speak up.  Make sure what you have to say is thoughtful and warranted.  Ask yourself, “Can I rationally back up my opinion?  How will this better my department?”  If you can articulate both those question, then speak up.  Similarly, if speaking up makes you uncomfortable, in the words of Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In!  You were hired because your manager believes you have something to contribute.  It is natural for you to be uncomfortable, but recognize the only way people are going to hear your ideas, is if you put them on the table.

3. If you don’t know the answer, admit it and then seek it out.  I work with a wide variety of clients ranging from undergraduates and Ph.D. candidates to alums.  I am a self-proclaimed generalist, not an expert in any industry.  When working with a client or asked a question in a class I can’t answer, I answer honestly, “that’s a great question, I am not sure, but I will find out for you and get you that information.”  Nobody likes a know-it-all and I certainly don’t know what kinds of job searching databases, if any, are out there for biophysicists, but I can certainly ask around, find out and get back to you.  People appreciate honesty, it gives you credibility.

Kelly Konevich is a twenty-something Bostonian attempting to balance work and play in a traditional college town.  Career Advisor at Northeastern University, social media enthusiast and glitter aficionado. Follow her on Twitter @kellydscott4.

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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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