20 Something Bloggers Blog Swap!

December 20, 2010 at 7:28 am | Posted in Career Moves, Life and Living | 1 Comment
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Welcome to a very special Monday post!  I’m taking part in 20 Something Bloggers‘ Blog Swap!  I’ve been paired with Karen, a blogger/life coach from Ontario, Canada.  Check out her blog, Igniting Your Life for some real inspiration!

Here’s the topic: “What will you do next year that you’ve been putting off for too long?”  I hope you all enjoy Karen’s post!

2011 is The Year of Dreams

I approach 2011 with some trepidation.  It’s the year I turn 30.  Growing up, I thought 30 was old.  Now that I’m nearly there, I realize that life is just beginning.  While as a 10 year old, I thought life would be much different at nearly 30, standing here in present day, I actually think that I’m right where I ought to be.

Looking back over this past year, I see 2010 as a preparation year.  It was year of soul-searching, looking deep within, challenging myself and stretching my understanding of who I am.  I went back to school while working, I moved back home to save money, which now has an added bonus of being there for my parents in some rough times.  I’ve also changed how I view myself.  I am starting to see myself as competent, intelligent, resourceful, smart… things that I’ve been told for years, but didn’t believe.

As 2010 winds down, I’m looking forward to what the new year will bring.  I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, they far too often fail for one reason or another.  Rather, I would prefer to pick a theme or an overall idea for the year.  2011 is going to be the year of realizing my dreams and doing things for me, without guilt.

I am starting my own life, career and wellness coaching business, I am putting myself out there.  For so long I wished I could find a way to be self-employed.  It’s not that I don’t love my human resources career, but it just didn’t allow me to do what I liked, be as in control of things as I want and to connect with people.  But I always put it off because I was scared to take a risk.  Now, I’ve decided that 2011 is the right time.

There are always reasons not to do something.  And there’s never a perfect time.  I look at my life right now, and there are some very big reasons to slow down and maybe not try to start this business.  But the number one reason to do it?  I’ve always wanted to.  That reason trumps them all.  And because I’m doing things for me, sans guilt, this is a must do.

Those obstacles that are standing in my way can be dealt with, worked around and overcome with a bit of tenacity, thinking outside the box and some help from friends and family.  I decided that I wanted this business bad enough that it was worth sorting things out to make it a go.

The last few years I’ve decided that age 30 is going be The Year.  The Year for big, wonderful dreaming.  The Year I come into my own.  The Year that I take my life by the horns and get things I always wanted done.  And I’m working hard for that.  It’s something I’ve never done before!  I’ve rarely decided that I’m worth making such an effort.  Not anymore!

Look out 2011!  I’m turning thirty and it’s the year my dreams will come true!

A “Can Do” Attitude, or Fake it ‘Til you Make It

December 9, 2010 at 7:30 am | Posted in Career Moves | 10 Comments
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We all get overwhelmed sometimes.  Our “to do” lists, seem never ending and for someone like me, you don’t want to talk to me until I cross a few things off.  But when it comes to your personal “to do” list, you only have to answer to you.  Most people have to report to someone when it comes to their work “to do” list.

My company has been working hard to define our job descriptions to ensure we are meeting the needs of the organization.  It’s a work in progress, so flexibility is a must.  So that’s why I was caught off guard when I asked one of my colleagues if she wanted to talk to her supervisor about taking on a project that I knew was in her job description and she said no.  No? What do you mean no?

Now, let me back up for a second because I’m sure some of you are wondering why I would be making this suggestion to a colleague.  No, she doesn’t report to me, which is why I kindly asked her to talk to her supervisor about it, because I knew it was something that needed to be done and it was her supervisor’s job to help her manage her workload.  But I happen to know that this particular project has historically had no coordination and she was hired specifically for projects such as this one.  For the greater good of the organization, I wanted to ensure there was a process in place for this project.

So back to this strange answer “no.”  Firstly, she didn’t say “no” flat out. She gave me some long excuse about her other work and how she didn’t feel she had the capacity for this project (the project doesn’t demand much attention right now, but it will demand some, come Spring).  Whatever the case, she basically wouldn’t take the assignment and I was dumbfounded.

I don’t think I have ever said no to a project that was within my scope of work. I’ve said, “it’s on my list, but not a priority,” but never no.  It’s actually this “can do” attitude that has gotten me as far as I am in my career.

It’s not that I know how to do everything.  I have taken on many projects where I actually didn’t know how to do the assignment (not how to go about it, literally didn’t have the skills in place to do it).  Did I know how to do simple animation before my old company required it?  Did I have any design skills prior to my first job?  Had I ever built a web site from scratch before a client needed it?  Could I write a one page document on just a few sentences of information?  I said yes to these projects time and time again knowing that I’d be able to use critical thinking skills to figure out the answers. It was my own personal professional development.

You don’t ever have to stop learning, but if you say no in the work place, people won’t come back to you because they will feel like they cannot rely on you. Not a reputation you want in the workplace.

I always try to follow this advice: you gotta fake it until you make it.  If you don’t challenge yourself, then don’t expect to progress in your career.  Unless of course you are satisfied with status quo.  I know I’m not.

Humble Beginnings

November 16, 2010 at 7:36 am | Posted in Career Moves | 5 Comments
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I ran into a former boss of mine the other day on the train. I know what you are thinking — this can’t be good, but it was.  We had left off on good terms, though the company was really saddened to see me go.  Anyways, I had been meaning to catch up with her, but alas life always seems to get away from us.  We caught up on our way to our respective destinations and she gave me great compliments and told me how much I was missed at my old company.  Sometimes, you have to move on from a place to see how much you were appreciated.  Sometimes, you work so hard and feel like you are spinning your wheels, then something or someone reminds you of how far you’ve come.

I had my first job at age 16, working at Dunkin Donuts with several other kids my age.  For 4 months, I served up donuts and coffee and dealt with disgruntled people looking for their caffeine fix, before returning to school for the fall of my junior year.  Working with peers was certainly a blast, but after that experience, I never wanted to work in food service again.  It is really tough work but I had at least grown a healthy respect for those who keep with it.

The rest of my high school employment consisted of childcare gigs, tutoring, and a real short stint in retail.  In college, I continued with childcare work, as well as working at a local gym and a tanning salon on summer breaks.  I also took on two unpaid internships for “real world” preparation.

When I think back on my resume, I do see serious growth.  It’s strange for me to look back at my humble beginnings as I’ve always been so focused on preparing to get ahead for tomorrow. Sometimes, I beat myself up about not moving faster, but the truth is, I am doing pretty damn good for a 27 year old, working through a recession with a damn good job at an appropriate level for my age and experience.  Just ten years ago, I was bagging donuts, now I’m writing, talking to reporters, bumping elbows with CEOs, and making change in kids’ lives and public perspective.  I’m going to continue to work hard to reach my goals but will always remember those who gave me a chance and taught me how to be good at what I do.

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