Tag Archives: career

Yea, This #AskHerMore Campaign is Pretty Freaking Awesome

23 Feb

ask her more

Last night I learned about the #Askhermore campaign, and as a young professional woman, I have to say that I couldn’t be happier about it. It freaking rocks.

So for those of you who are sitting there like, “what the heck is this #askhermore thing”… open up a new tab on your computer, google #askhermore, and then come back and finish reading this.

Okay, so why is this important? I think it’s pretty obvious. The #askhermore campaign is a movement that’s meant to raise awareness and to cause reporters to ask not-so-fashion-related questions on the RedCarpet. Instead of just commenting on the jewlery that’s being worn and the designer gowns, this social media campaign is asking that we place more emphasis on the amazing work that these actresses are doing.

Now sure, I’m the first one to say that I love fashion. I like pretty things. But do I think that the talent these women possess should have to be overshadowed by society’s interest in their ability to pick out a pretty outfit?

Not so much.

Us women are so much more than our outfit-coordinating skills. We’re smart. We’re powerful. We have tons to offer. And it’s a shame really that when we enter the workforce, we’re often looked at…up and down, the general perception being that a negative correlation exists between our intelligence and the height of our heels.

If we dress well, we can’t possibly be smart. If we’re fashionable, we’re obviously just trying to impress the men.

That’s really typically the general perception, and I’m telling you…it’s bullshit.

I’ve dealt with it before. I’m quite confident I’ll deal with it all my life. But I can promise you that I’ll fight it every step of the way.

Like the story I’ve told before about my college professor. Why is it that if I have nice legs I can’t be taken seriously?

So let’s start treating women like the well-rounded individuals that they are. Let’s ask women about the things that inspire them. Let’s ask them about their goals, their passions, their careers. Let’s ask them about the struggles they’ve overcome. Heck- ask them about the things that excite them. But don’t just ask them about their outfits. Let’s be a little more creative.

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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:

My Crazy, Chaotic, Twentysomething Life

16 Jul

My life right now.

My life right now.

I’ve been anxious all day.

And if I’m honest with myself, I’ve really been anxious for a couple of weeks now. 

And it’s not because I’m crazy…

It’s because every day, in the back of my mind, I keep telling myself, “hey lady! you have to write! you’ve abandoned your blog for a while.” 

And ughhh…I hate it when it gets to that point. 

But I promise you, it’s for good reason. There’s a lot going on in my life right now. 

I started a new job a month ago and I’m really loving it, which means that if I want to learn as much as I can so I can be awesome, it requires a lot of my time. 

So don’t think that I’m just dropping off the face of the earth just yet! 

I’m just having a crazy chaotic moment- and we all have those. 

But I have had the opportunity to write for Elite Daily recently, so if you’re interested, head on over to read my articles! 

What It Was Like to Break the Rules of My Catholic Family and Move in With My Boyfriend

This was a pretty personal post, but it was a story that I really wanted to share. Us twentysomethings feel a tremendous amount of pressure all the time from family, friends, the media, and sometimes, you just have to do what feels right for you. I chose an unconventional path, but there’s not one second I regret it. 

Why You Can’t (and Shouldn’t) Try to Escape From Your 20-Something Life

Another post on the overwhelming nature of our twenties, and how we really ought to embrace the hard times rather than just quitting. 

Enjoy! 

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

3 Jun

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

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

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

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

1) Connect to Your Why

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

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

2) Hone in On Your Fundamentals

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

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

3) Keep Making Small Exit Strategy Efforts

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

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

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

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

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Yes, Failure is an Option

15 May

Last night, I was sitting on my couch stuffing my face with strawberries and Nutella when I came across this Domino’s commercial…

And you know what?

I loved it.

Because it was probably the most refreshing thing I’ve seen in a really long time.

Now I know you’re probably thinking, “what the heck is so awesome about a pizza commercial??”

Thing is… it wasn’t about the pizza.

It was about the company, and its culture.

A company that’s okay with admitting that it’s not perfect.

A company that’s okay with accepting failure.

A company that’s willing to learn from that failure and then makes changes.

I don’t know…maybe I’m crazy, but I really liked their honesty.

Because that honesty is really hard to come by these days.

True. Story.

It seems that organizations spend way too much time trying to be the best…trying to be perfect.

AKA… no failure allowed.

So when failure does naturally happen at some point or another, corporate execs spend more time pointing fingers than on actually learning from that failure and continuing to make progress.

I guess that’s why I like this commercial so much.

Because if more companies embraced a culture that’s okay with failure…that sees the value in learning from things that don’t necessarily work out…maybe employees would go out on a limb more often.

Maybe there’d be more innovation.

Maybe we’d actually find solutions to most of our problems.

But we don’t, because we’re scared.

We don’t because, again… most organizations punish people who venture from the norm and then fail.

That’s not cool, and quite frankly, we’re not gunna get anywhere in life with an attitude like that.

So props to you, Domino’s, for being smart enough to say, “hey, we’re not perfect…and we’re fine with that.”

That’s the kind of company I’d like to work for one day…

One that’s not putting on a front.

One that’s honest and sincere.

One that’s accepted that not only is failure an option, but failure is necessary in order to experience growth.

Way to go, Domino’s. You’ve got my attention.

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How to Make Yourself Memorable in a Sea of Corporate Robots

7 May

Back in October, one of my friends was getting married.

So naturally, we did what most people do these days and we went on an epic bachelorette cruise.

These days, I’m totally an old person and I don’t do anything crazy like that.

But that weekend, I made an exception.

Because my friend, who’s now married, is kind of amazing.

So we got a group of crazy rowdy women together and we partied.

We drank and we ate and we all wore wigs on captain’s night.

And for the record…I LOVED my purple bob wig.

So did this get everyone’s attention?

You bet it did.

We were definitely… memorable.

 So this got me thinking about how hard we all try to be noticed.

I mean, especially in our careers, we’re taught that we need to be remembered. We’re taught that we need to make an impact.

We’re encouraged to attend networking events..

We’re encouraged to mingle…

We’re encouraged to build relationships…

And what for??

To be noticed. To be memorable. So that if opportunities become available, others will think of us and then BAM…we have jobs.

Sounds simple enough, right?

But how do we do that? How do we make ourselves memorable?

Um…sure, you can show up to a work event wearing a purple bob wig…

(Good luck with that)

OR, you can try one of the following…

  1. Be positive

Sad fact of life…there aren’t a whole lot of positive people in this world. Most people spend their days complaining and whining and they’re like giant balls of negativity. And you know what??? NO ONE LIKES TO BE AROUND THESE PEOPLE. Because really, it’s exhausting. So try to be that ray of sunshine (super corny, but I don’t care). Be positive. Be that person that people want to be around because you’re just so damn happy. Because that happiness rubs off on other people. And believe me, people can use all the happiness they can get. I promise, you’ll be remembered for it.

  1. Be genuine

I hate fake people. I hate fake people. I hate fake people. I hate fake people. Got it? Awesome. If you haven’t noticed already, you’ll find that sooooo many people put up a front all the time. They don’t know how to be themselves. ESPECIALLY at work. ESPECIALLY at networking events. It’s almost like half the world got a copy of some handbook on how to act in the workplace and I was absent the day they gave them out. Excerpt from that handbook: “Use big words…don’t laugh…don’t make jokes…act like a robot.” But who the heck likes that?? Don’t think for a second that you have to be a corporate robot in order to succeed in your career. If you’re honest and you’re yourself, people will notice….Because it’s rare, and it’s super refreshing.

  1. Be helpful

I have a terrible memory. Like, really bad. But there are certain people who I never forget, and most of them are people who’ve helped me in the past. Mentors who’ve steered me in the right direction… school advisors who’ve given me great advice…my friend who stayed up with me till 3am so I could vent about my break up. Those are the people you often remember. Honestly, you should help people not because you want to be remembered, but because you’re a nice person and it’s the right thing to do. But being remembered is a happy side effect.

  1. Become an expert

You want to get noticed? Become the go-to person in any field. Even if it means you’re like the expert photocopier. You know how to print copies in color. You know how to print copies front and back. You know how to print copies upside down left to right, and you even know how to staple them. People remember the experts. So pick something you’re really good at, and learn absolutely everything you can about it.

Anyone else have any advice?! How do you make yourself memorable?

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Why It’s Okay To Be Excited About the Awesome Stuff You’re Doing

23 Apr

success-baby- graduation- excited

I’m not going to lie…

My life is pretty awesome right now.

Last night, I took my very last exam EVER!!!

And then I cried like a baby because I got super sentimental thinking about how my school-life is completely OVER.

I now feel very old.

Ancient, really.

But I’m also really happy because I can be a somewhat normal and functioning member of society again.

I can sleep and I can read and I can sleep some more.

Again, my life is awesome…and I’m pretty sure yours is too.

So I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been thinking about success and whether or not it’s like super braggy/bragish to tell people about the really cool stuff going on in our lives.

And here’s the conclusion I’ve come to…

People love to complain. People spend hours and hours and hours talking to everyone they know about just how awful things are.

Go to a bad restaraunt? Obviously, you’re going to complain about it to anyone who’ll listen.

Have a bad day? You’re going to complain regardless of whether or not anyone will listen.

And this, apparently, is acceptable.

So if we can accept the complaints and the negativity, then I see absolutely nothing wrong with sharing things that are awesome!

It’s definitely far more productive.

Now, you don’t need to be obnoxious. You don’t have to be like, “Oh, look at me…I’m better than you…you suck.”

That’s never cool.

But if you’ve worked hard and you’re on your way to living your dream and reaching your goals, heck…be proud of it!

Own it.

You’re allowed to be excited! You’re allowed to be proud of yourself!

Because if you don’t belive in your value and your success…

No one. Else. Will.

When it comes to your career, don’t be afraid to tell people about your accomplishments.

Especially us twentysomethings…we get it…we don’t have years and years of experience under our belts.

So for that specific reason, we have to make sure that the things we ARE doing…that we ARE accomplishing, we’re showcasing.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

And the peoploe who do have a problem with it?? Well, it’s probably because they don’t really have all that much going on anyway.

So don’t worry about them.

To all of you out there chasing your dreams, keep on going.

Don’t be shy to share your goals and your success. Who knows…maybe you’ll find that people are a lot more interested in helping you than you ever thought possible.

But how can they help you if no one knows what you’re chasing after?

Don’t be shy…if you’re working on something awesome, let me know!

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Why We Ought to Take Blogs A Little More Seriously

7 Apr

Why- we-ought-to-take-blogs-a-little-more-seriously

For some reason that I’ll never understand, a lot of people in the wonderful world of academia tend to hate bloggers.

Maybe not hate-hate, but they certainly don’t take blogs seriously.

Because apparently, if you’re not published in some fancy-pants journal, your work isn’t  important.

Makes sense, right?!

Well, no. No it doesn’t.

So in response to all the blogger-haters out there, here are a couple reasons why blogs are awesome and should be given all the credit they deserve.

1. They Allow for Thinking at All Levels

No, you don’t need to have a PhD to have a thought process. Brains, people! Everyone has one! So to believe that only those who somehow publish their thoughts in a journal or a book are entitled to USE their brains, is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

The awesome thing about blogs is that so many people with different perspectives get to provide insight on various issues. I mean, even kids (so long as they know how to type) can give their two cents on any given topic. And we ought to listen to what they have to say. Because blogging allows for us to learn from ANYONE, really.

You don’t need to be rich to blog. You don’t have to be the CEO of a company. You don’t have to have 53,000 Twitter followers. And you don’t have to have 5 diplomas hanging on your wall. If you have thoughts, you’re able to put them out there. And I think that this diversity in ideas and in thought patterns is absolutely invaluable.

2. They Create the Opportunity for Oh-So-Important Dialogue

You know that wonderful little box at the end of most blogs that lets you comment on what you’ve read? Well, it’s kind of the bomb. Because comment boxes allow us to engage in dialogue.

Communication… Something that a lot of people these days are forgetting how to participate in.

While I’m not knocking journals and books, I think that blogs do provide additional value in that they allow for readers to reflect on things that they’ve read, and then engage in that dialogue immediately. Sometimes readers disagree with what they’ve read. Sometimes readers love it! Sometimes readers decide to share their own experiences, and like #1, this allows for various shared perspectives.

So yes, I’m definitely a fan of the comment box!

3. They Provide Real-Time Analyses of Situations

This one’s easy. Things are always happening. There are issues and problems and conferences that people are attending and new thoughts that are being introduced every. single. minute. of every day.

And while yes, it’s great if you can talk about these things in a fancy-pants journal, here’s the problem…

Journals and books take SO LONG to publish.

With blogs, you don’t have to wait.

You can experience/witness something and open your laptop, write, and publish. All of this in less than 15 mins. Heck- you can even do it from your phone these days! You don’t even need a computer.

And in this society that we live in…where we want updates and information 24/7…blogs definitely help us stay up-to-date on recent happenings.

4. Easy, Simple, and FREE Disbursement of Knowledge!

Maybe you catch up on all your favorite blogs first thing in the morning. Maybe you do it on your lunch break. Regardless, throughout the day, you’re bound to come across a post that you absolutely love…something you know is worth sharing.

Now with a book or a journal, you can see something you like and you can recommend that your friends check it out, but it requires time and money and energy…which let’s face it… few people have these days.

But blogs are amazing because you can share thoughts and ideas in like 2.5 seconds! You see something you want to share? AWESOME! Grab the link. Copy. Paste. Post on Facebook. Post on Twitter. Send link via text, etc. Some blogs have made it so easy that you just need to click a button.

So yea, I don’t know about you, but I’m all about free knowledge. And if it’s simple and easy to access, even better.

5. Connections All Over the World

When I’m chatting with someone from New Zealand, that’s pretty freaking awesome! I mean, I don’t travel often (since I’m poor), yet it’s such a great experience to be able to connect with people from all over the world. Not only is it super-cool, but connecting with industry professionals who happen to live on different continents is also a great opportunity to expand your network. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll find yourself in New Zealand, unemployed, and the many connections you’ve  made over the years will provide you with opportunities that may otherwise not have been possible.

So, that’s it! Let’s stop hating blogs. Let’s stop hating bloggers. Because we all have something to contribute. And we don’t lose anything by gaining additional perspectives.

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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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