Tag Archives: employment

Find Your Niche, Find Your Dream – Ending Employment Unhappiness

16 Jul

Imagine a life where you’re living to work. A life where Monday mornings aren’t accompanied with pissed off Facebook statuses and double doses of sugar in your coffee. A life where your personal interests and your learned skill sets collide into something awesome. A bit hard to imagine, right? That’s because we don’t view employment this way. We don’t all expect a job that is soulfully fulfilling because the messages we are sent during high school, college and those horrid entry level years don’t align with what many consider, this imaginary life.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way. Despite the messages from Career Services offices nationwide and employment agencies all over, who give resume workshops, urge networking skills and encourage job boards, finding happiness in employment is no easy task. What’s it take? Finding your niche. Finding that one thing that makes you feel invincible and figuring out how to monetize that skill, that interest, that dream.

Sometimes endless messages can make it difficult to realize what you want. It takes time and experience to hone in on what really drives you. Sometimes, it’s as simple is talking it out with someone. The Niche Movement, a movement to help young professionals avoid employment unhappiness, aims to do just that. Kevin O’Connell, founder, dreams of a day when traditional career myths are debunked.

Kevin has spent the last eight years working in college student affairs, personally mentoring more than 200 students on leadership, personal branding, digital identity, communication and more. His experience in higher education has proved to him that academia and student affairs practices are not taking risks. They’re not telling students what they need to hear about life after college.

So with his passion behind The Niche Movement, Kevin’s writing a new book! I’m a sucker for inspirational books. The Niche Movement: New Rules for Finding a Career You Love will change the way we view employment by offering true, inspirational stories along with research and life lessons from real professionals who believe that career services needs to be disrupted. Think inspiration meets career advice meets the silver lining in being a twenty-something.

The book, whose kickstarter campaign launched Tuesday, will amplify this idea that finding your niche will lead to employment happiness and help college students and recent grads harness the experiences they’ve had, the experiences they’re living, the experiences they’re going to have and continue to ask themselves: why am I doing this? How can I get back to what motivates me?

This is huge, huge news for millennials. We are constantly bombarded with messages on how Gen Y folks expect too much. Is it too much to expect a fulfilling job that gives purpose? Is it too much to expect a happy, successful life? Is it too much to expect to not change jobs seventeen times before finding something worth staying? I think not.

Let’s face it, dreading your job, the place where you spend more than half your life, is an issue. It’s a big issue. What’s worse? Dreading your first job fresh out of college ready to take on the world. Society should want this for young professionals.

Take some time to check out The Niche Movement: New Rules for Finding a Career You Love and The Niche Movement. Let’s get this great idea the traction and attention it deserves. It’s a powerful idea, don’t you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Kickstarter.Projectimagev3

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Defending My Career Philosophy

8 Jul

I believe in employment happiness. I believe in doing work that is purposeful and fulfilling, work that incites satisfaction regularly. I also believe that if the process of obtaining that dream job takes a few unplanned steps or means enduring some not-so-fulfilling roles, so be it. If the promise of a meaningful career is accompanied by some tiring, stressful, developmental years as a young professional feeling out the real world, so be it. If the intimidation and expense of applying for and attending graduate school requires some extra months of thought and deliberation, so be it. This is my career philosophy.

As long as the steps you take are thought out and strategic moves toward the larger picture, there’s no issue. The relationships developed along the way help to build a strong, close-knit network of professionals willing to help as the future unfolds. The knowledge learned, the skills acquired , the experience earned during a “stepping stone job” are all leading toward a bigger, better goal. A dream. An accomplishment. This is my career philosophy.

So when someone recently told me to “wake the hell up” I began questioning my philosophy on life, especially as it pertains to my career path.

“Stop taking on all these little side projects [blogging, PR assistance, community volunteering] you’re doing for free and focus on moving yourself forward,” one said.

Am I not making moves? Is my plan not working? Am I wasting my time? This uncomfortable uneasiness lingered and left a strong feeling of self-doubt and stress. Its not like I’m working full-time in a field I love. Wait actually, I am.

There is this traditional view on how things are supposed to happen. We continue to burden our creative tendencies, our exploratory needs by forcing a timeline on life with these condescending little check boxes that, if remain unchecked, reflect failure. #FailingAtLife

…Why?

When so many others scrapped the book of life, the traditional methods toward obtaining The American Dream: Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Mark Zuckerberg. These people are successful. They are revered. They are influential.

That my personal career philosophy, which perhaps doesn’t fit into the plans suggested to me, is coming under so much scrutiny appalls me. My side projects make me happy. They give me purpose. They’ve broadened my network from simply the tristate area to a nationwide network of bloggers, business owners, thought leaders and just all-around cool people.

SO HERE’S MY DEFENSE:

I believe in employment happiness. I believe in doing work that is purposeful and fulfilling, work that incites satisfaction regularly. I also believe that if the process of obtaining that dream job takes a few unplanned steps or means enduring some not-so-fulfilling roles, so be it. If the promise of a meaningful career is accompanied by some tiring, stressful, developmental years as a young professional feeling out the real world, so be it. If the intimidation and expense of applying for and attending graduate school requires some extra months of thought and deliberation, so be it.

This is my career philosophy.

As long as the steps you take are thought out and strategic moves toward the larger picture, there’s no issue. The relationships developed along the way help to build a strong, close-knit network of professionals willing to help as the future unfolds. The knowledge learned, the skills acquired , the experience earned during a “stepping stone job” are all leading toward a bigger, better goal. A dream. An accomplishment.

This is still my career philosophy. 

And if you don’t like it, you can remain chained to your check boxes, because that’s not how I roll.

 

Another Millennial Wants More – But Its Not What You Think

12 Feb

Hundreds, if not thousands, of arguments exist out there that millennials are spoiled, egocentric and lazy. We want too much, expect too much and ultimately get too much. Blah. Blah. Blah. Well you know what, world? I want more and I’m not sorry for it.

Is it more money? No. More time off? I’ll pass. More work-life balance? What life…

What I want – brace yourselves – is something more. Something more than earning a degree and getting a job. Something more than a paycheck. Something more than a nice desk. Something more than my boss’s acceptance. And I’m not alone. 

The problem is that our society isn’t built to support these kinds of “outlandish” dreams all in one lifetime. Seriously, how many 20-somethings can start an awesome company, travel to India, meet Bono and get invited to the Oscars all in one lifetime? Probably about seven. While some lucky folks get the opportunity to fulfill these desires, most do not. Unless your dad’s coworker’s aunt’s daughter’s best friend’s sister-in-law is planning to open a start-up company, you’re pretty much bound to societal expectations: get a degree, get a job, and shut up! There’s intimidating competition, limited time, and yes, inadequate amounts of money. I know, “GREAT! Another millennial complaining about money.”  Well you ain’t about this life so please continue reading. 

With that being said, you should know that I did graduate college, I did move away from home, I did get a job in the field I wish to pursue, and I do plan on being successful. And maybe I am the typical millennial but it is just not enough. While sitting at my desk all day, every day, I can’t help but dream about who I want to be. The torturous question, “Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?” haunts me because the answer is nowhere to be found. Besides becoming Beyonce’s personal assistant, obviously. If only!

This is an honest confession, if you will, where I admit that I want more but I don’t know where to start and doubt my desires. Ultimately, I struggle with who I am and where I’m going. But I’ve learned that that’s okay! So, here’s a [working] list of the dreams I have and the doubts that come along with them. I welcome your feedback! Please, feel free to offer suggestions, rebuttals, comments and the like. Here goes nothing…

 I want to:

♦Start a business, but what business?

Make a difference in someone’s life, but in what way? 

Advocate for change, but what’s a good, trustworthy cause?

Organize and host a 5K run/walk, but for what and who?

Learn accounting and bookkeeping, but where to find the time? 

Meet inspiring, educated people, but how and where?

Design a mass-produced invitation, ad, or brochure, but for who? 

Become popular on Twitter, but for what?

Play a significant role on a team, but what team? Athletic? Work-related? Volunteer?

Teach someone something meaningful, but I’m no teacher or expert, am I?

Donate a gift to my alma mater, but what would actually make a difference?

Create a useful, life-changing mobile app, but do I have any good ideas?

Be a role model, but for doing what and for who?

These are silly dreams, maybe. Attainable dreams, probably. Some of you might encourage me to just go for it! But like a true millennial, I want it all…and fast. However, I shouldn’t be sorry for wanting success, service, and education. Either way, the road is not yet paved and it should be an interesting journey.

Free College Stuff You’d NEVER Buy Today

18 Dec

Leaving the old stomping grounds behind for a shot at the real world meant letting go of all the beautiful things our college years provided: friends, education, memories…and tons of free stuff.

These things, these precious gifts from departments desperately seeking attention, we took for granted. Career fairs, awareness events, involvement fairs and the like made available useless novelties that we now yearn for. Now that our checking accounts are down and our penny-pinching skills have been put to the test, we would never be caught dead spending money on these 7 things.

Streetside Cupcakes

The signature fundraiser – a bake sale! When I was rushing off to class I’d pass a beat up old folding table topped with colorful homemade cupcakes and other goodies. Delta Nu is raising funds so they don’t have to switch from Charmin to generic! Donate and receive a cupcake. Today, however, while rushing into the building after sitting in 8:00 a.m. traffic, I’d never stop for a free cupcake from some rando sitting on the side of the street. For all I know, they could be the town’s serial cat-skinner. No thank you. I’ll stick to my trusted friend Little Debbie.

Printing Services

It was awesome having a certain amount of tuition allotted for printing services. Sure I was paying for it, technically (and still will be for upwards of ten years) but I used every damn cent. 20-page paper? No problem. Design an advertisement and print in color? Cake. Student org. needs flyers? I got you, dog. Walking into a Kinkos is completely out of the question now. Not only is it totally barbaric to have to drive somewhere to print something, but if I need something I can print it at work. It’s called being resourceful. Joking, guys! Relax..

Yoga/Pilates Classes

Wasn’t it cute how the recreation centers always tried to get students to come “relax” during finals at their free yoga sesh? And if I bought the semester pass it was what, maybe $30 for four months? Well done, rec center, the only cost appropriate expense around here. Needless to say, I haven’t done yoga since graduating. Yoga classes are insanely expensive to just be standing around in loungewear breathing slowly. I do that every morning for free.

T-shirts

College was a years-long free t-shirt bonanza. I could make a quilt for Paul Bunyan’s bed with all the t-shirts I got from school. I even struggled to find storage space for all of these bad boys. The thought of spending $10+ on a t-shirt today provides utter disgust. Not to mention, I still have nowhere to put a new t-shirt  in my cramped downtown apartment with a sorry excuse for a closet. Instead, I’ll hang on to every last bit of those memory-filled pieces of cheap cotton and wear them proudly, pit stains and all. 

Movie Screenings

In an effort to gain a followership and member base, student orgs all over campus would find ways to host free movie screenings complete with cheese pizza (cheapskates) and soda. I almost never went, but now I realize that I’d have to sell my grandmother’s watch to be able to afford a Carmike Cinemas feature presentation. Now I’ll NEVER see Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas. Netflix it is.

Women’s Basketball Tickets

Occasionally, probably only once, I reluctantly got up off my ass to go to a women’s basketball game…to get a free t-shirt. Sometimes the arena gave students free pizza. Why is it always pizza? Sometimes, on Greek Night, it was THE place to be because heaven forbid you miss a social opportunity to “network” with the other Greeks. After the season ended, though, and especially upon walking across that stage, women’s basketball has been nothing but a mere portion of a grain of sand in my cerebral cortex. The WNBA isn’t a real thing, right? It’s probably a no-tickets-necessary kind of thing because otherwise, I’d rather listen to Nickelback Radio.

SWAG

Little did I know when I first left for school I wouldn’t need those two bags of Bic pens and that 40-pack of Ticonderogas (obviously the best pencils ever). SWAG – Stuff We All Get – was everywhere: cups, pens, buttons, ID holders, pencils, magnets – I was a ninja in the fruit aisle. Although the endless amount of shit never seems to go away like that “Dorsey Hall 2009” keychain that always turns up somewhere, I’ll never walk into Office Depot with a significant need for desktop necessities.

The bright side is you get free stuff at work too! It isn’t all so bad. Who wouldn’t want contributions from their employer to a 401(k), annual holiday parties with dry sugar cookies, and unlimited amounts of room temperature fountain water?

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