Sunday, November 22, 2015

Modern Young Professional: An Anagram

"These are the best years of your life!"
-Every single adult over the age of 40, talking to anyone under the age of 30

It is such a common piece of advice given to us by our mothers, our mothers' friends, and that nice neighbor lady next door. Whether they are correct or not is up for debate.

The truth is, they probably were right- the age of young adulthood was, in fact, probably the best time they ever had. But the sheer fact of the matter is that times, they are a-changin'. That's not to say that I don't enjoy my life right now, but I wouldn't say this is the best time of my life. 

The college generation is rapidly expanding, and jobs are more and more competitive. The modern young professional not only has to figure out how to constantly market themselves better than the billions of other YP's, but also must control their online presence.

It also doesn't help that so many "entry level" job postings now include five or more years experience in the field. The only reason I have cleared this hurdle is because I was advised to start my college education and work experience so young. Yes, Mom, you win this one.

There are just some things they don't tell you in your college coursework. So, here's an anagram to help you understand what it's like:

  • YOUNG: So many recruiters will decide in their mind that you are too young, before even talking to you. Don't get discouraged! It's your job to prove them wrong.
  • OVERWORKED: The modern career-minded individual must be willing to put in the extra time and effort to succeed and be recognized. Hopefully it's worth it in the end.
  • UNDER-QUALIFIED: Even if you somehow became CEO of a fortune-500 company as a student, you would still be under-qualified for all the entry-level job postings.
  • NO SLEEP: You thought you didn't have time to sleep in college? PSH.
  • GOOGLING YOURSELF: I type my name into a Google search bar more than I type my name into a pizza order screen...which is saying something!

  • POOR: You will be poor for a great portion of your career. You learn to live with it. Ramen noodles become your fuel.
  • RESUME: You can roll that thing in crushed Oreos, deep fry it, and top it with powdered sugar and you still won't be happy with it.
  • OVERWHELMED: It is easy to be overwhelmed with your job, bills, housework, and hard times life throws your way. You just have to take a breath and remind yourself you will be okay.
  • FEELING TRAPPED: Even if you have a job, it's hard to figure out how to move up. Look for companies that are growing, so you can find a job with future opportunities.
  • EVERYONE ELSE IS MOVING UP: Life is unfair. Your friends may grow their careers faster than you. As long as you are making the effort to better yourself, don't worry about them.
  • SERIOUSLY?!: I find myself saying this daily. People and life will leave you in awe sometimes. Take a breath, get through it, and have a glass of wine when you get home.
  • STUCK: You may feel stuck. You pioneer your life. Get out and make the effort to make the change.
  • I WANT MY MOMMY!: Don't be afraid to reach out to your support system when you need it. If I am having a particularly hard day, I call my mom. If nothing else, she comforts me and lets me speak freely.
  • OPPORTUNITIES: While life is overwhelming, don't forget there are opportunities out there for the taking, when the time is right. For example, there is someone who gets paid to follow Beyonce around all day. Think about that life..
  • NETWORKING: Get to know people. The more people you can make an impression on, the more opportunities you can find. Remember, five degrees of Kevin Bacon...
  • ALL IN GOOD TIME: If you can be patient, you will go far. It's hard to take rejection, or be in a rough spot in life. Life has cycles, and someday you will have it all figured out.
  • LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE: Remember to take time to enjoy life. Get out, meet people, take time for yourself. Forget your struggles. Take your full lunch hour and get away from your office. Take care of yourself and take care of others.

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Life Timeline

As a young adult, I am constantly witnessing friends and classmates who are getting engaged, married, and having babies. I'm sure I am not the only one in my demographic who takes notice of this. I feel 100% sure that I could never be doing that at this point in my life, but I feel happy for them. Just because I am not at the point in my life, doesn't mean they aren't at that point in theirs.

It is up to everyone to figure out what they want and when they want it. Since I was a business nerd in college, I learned the importance of goal-setting. I use that idea not only for work, but also for myself, because it gives you somewhat of a plan. Yes, this plan may change, but you can always adjust your goals to fit life changes. It's just important to take the time to actually evaluate your wants and needs, and give yourself something to work for.

My timeline is mainly based on building a comfortable and exciting career as a foundation, and then working more on the personal side of life. Someone else may be more focused on their personal life first. Another person may want to try to juggle it all at once. That's okay. We just need to be honest with ourselves about what we actually want and what we can actually handle.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Accidents Happen

Accidents happen all of the time, especially if you're clumsy like I am. Some accidents are bigger than others, and thus have a larger impact on our lives. While the word "accident" often has a negative connotation, we neglect to remember that some accidents can be positive and just as life-changing. Case-in-point: chocolate chip cookies. Think how sad life would be without warm chocolate chip cookies!

On a more serious note, I would like to talk about the role positive accidents have had upon my life. Upon reflection, I have come to realize that my closest and most dear friendships happened with people who came into my life strictly by chance. I wasn't trying for friendship with these people, but it found me anyway.

STORY TIME: When I was a wee-little teenager who was starting college in the Fall, I received a Facebook friend request from a boy who I had never met. Our only mutual friends were also strangers to me, but had my university listed as their school. I decided to approve his request, and add him to the collection.

During our first week of college, he sent a message to my roommate, wondering if he could come to a freshman meeting with us. He went with us to the meeting, but he and I didn't really talk much. I was still feeling pretty shy.

Later that night, I was in my room, and he messaged me. As it turns out, this boy named Caleb lived just a few floors down from me. When I asked what he was doing, he told me he had been stood up by someone who had made plans with him to hang out, and was eating Oreos alone in the dark. His story was so sad that I went down immediately to join him. Looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

The rest is history. Caleb and I both became best friends, along with my roommate and a very sassy girl who was introduced to me. These three people entered my life all by chance, and somehow we became the closest set of friends I have ever had.

THE MORAL: Accidents of all kinds will happen. Choose to recognize how much the positive accidents can really change your path of life, and focus on those moments instead of dwelling on the bad ones.

ALTERNATE MORAL: If anyone ever tells you that they are eating Oreos alone in the dark, run (don't walk) to join them. It can be a disguised opportunity to gain a wonderful friendship.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A post to go with my coffee

I have a hot cup of coffee, and 30 minutes on a parking meter: time for a quick blog post.

MOVING ON: If you live anywhere near the Midwest, you may have noticed that it snows here...It snows a lot...An unhealthy amount of snow falls from the sky. 

The first snowfall of the season has come (yikes!), and it brought "Holiday-Mania" with it. Everybody has started their holiday planning before Thanksgiving AGAIN this year. 

Now, you may have noticed that I have been using the term "holiday" instead of simply saying "Christmas". This is my topic of interest for my post today. In recent years, we have seen a sharper attention being paid to the differences of people. We all come from different paths. We all have different beliefs, morals, and experiences. That is what makes us unique. I believe in celebrating and learning from those who are different from me.

That is why I have converted to the "Happy Holidays" approach. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Some celebrate Kwanza, Hanukkah,or other seasonal holidays. By saying "Happy Holidays", I show (in a small way) that I am aware that not everybody celebrates the same things I do. I am being all-inclusive and covering all the bases.

That is the first step. Here is the second step: do not be offended if someone extends a seasonal greeting for a holiday that you do not personally celebrate. For example, let's imagine that you are sitting at a table in a crowded cafe to warm up before forging back out into the winter weather. Someone comes up and asks if they can sit with you at your table, so you politely move your bag onto the floor and let them join you. You strike up a nice conversation about the weather, the ambiance of the cafe, and where you are both from. When you get up to head to work, they thank you for letting them sit at your table and keeping them company. Before you walk away, they say "Happy Hanukkah". You, yourself, celebrate Christmas. Do you correct them by saying, "I actually celebrate Christmas"?

I would not take that defensive approach. My response would be "Happy Hanukkah". Why? Although I personally celebrate Christmas, I am happy to celebrate a small part of this person's culture with them. I also understand  the intention of the greeting: a wish of good thought and celebration. Therefore, I am in no way offended to receive a well-wish for a holiday that I do not personally identify with.

BOTTOM LINE: If we take steps to show our inclusiveness, we can all learn to respect each other. Don't be offended if someone says "Happy Holidays", because they are trying to be inclusive of all people. At the same time, don't be offended if you are wished a "Happy/Merry (holiday you don't personally celebrate)". Thank them for their sentiment, and don't make a situation uncomfortable and confrontational for no good reason.

What are your thoughts on this idea?

Coffee gone, parking meter almost out. Goodbye for now.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

C'mon Disney!

The other day, I was keeping busy on Facebook (of course!) when I noticed a truly AMAZING article some friends had shared:

It sounds too good to be true, doesn't it?! Well, that's because, sadly, it is. Yes, it turns out that this article is just another online, faux news-site hoax.  

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Not everything on the internet is factual?!

Sure, I was disappointed that this article wasn't legitimate, but it doesn't bother me in the least that it was published online anyway. In fact, I'm happy that someone is hinting at what we're all thinking: WHEN, DISNEY?!

It's a new generation, which majorly supports rights for all peoples, including the LGBT community. This article, while not factual, is getting people talking about the possibility. Furthermore, it's no secret that Disney has evolved from its classic "tiny Caucasian princess is rescued by gallant Caucasian prince" storyline to more modern and accurate depictions of life.

Disney released the films Mulan and Brave, utilizing a woman as the heroin. They also released The Princess and the Frog, which featured the first animated African-American Disney princess. Even the highly received Frozen (try using the internet without stumbling across some cover of "Let It Go") has been speculated to have major themes of equality:

Disney also received mixed reactions when they introduced a lesbian couple to their Disney Channel show Good Luck Charlie. Disney assured TV Guide, they aspire to "be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness". In real life, Disney is also one of the first companies to recognize same-sex partners of employees in regards to their health benefit program. They also host Pride events annually.

It's clear to see that people want to be challenged, and want to see more reality reflected in the movies that their children will grow up watching. It is also clear that Disney believes in equality. So, while this article may not be true today, we may very well see a same-sex fairy tale brought to life on the big screen in the near future. The question is, just how near? I guess we will all just have to wait and see.


“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change -”

― Heraclitus

How many of us have ever felt pressure? My guess is that every human, animal, vegetable, and mineral has felt the gravitational pull that is pressure. Pressure to survive, succeed, and fit-in surrounds us on the daily. I certainly am, in no way, a stranger to this feeling. What brought this on? The dreaded "C-word". Change.

As some of you may or may not know, I have recently taken the leap into what is traditionally known as "adulthood". I just graduated with my degree, moved to an apartment, and am currently working toward continuing my career in the arts. On top of that, my loans have gone into repayment and I have gone into level 1 panic mode.

Despite the pressure change is bringing, I am not actually freaking out. I mean, I'm only on level 1 panic mode. You want to know why? I have faith in myself. I trust my judgment, and I trust in the universe. There is so much opportunity out there for the taking, and I plan to be the one hogging it all to myself. Soon, this period of change and adjustment will all be a distant memory I laugh about as I drink a glass of wine on my beach-house patio. (Okay, maybe not).

The other crucial factor to remember is this: change is good. It allows us to open-up to new experiences and enrich our lives. Don't stress. Nobody ever got anywhere in life from being stressed. Steve Jobs didn't create a ground-breaking technology enterprise by having a panic attack and hissy-fit. You make your dreams come true by hard work, dedication, and risk-taking. It's easier said than done, but just keep your goals and aspirations in the forefront. Let them drive you to succeed.

My advice to you all is quite simple: don't be afraid of change, because it opens up new worlds of opportunity. Use the pressure to motivate yourself to get up everyday and fight for what you want. If you can commit (the OTHER dreaded "C-word"!) to this idea, you can do anything you are willing to work for.