As a result of these and all the other little things I've done wrong, I’ve spent a lot my adult life really believing I’m a bad person. I smile and do good things for people now, but I feel like at any moment, someone will only have to ask the right questions to the right person to find out that actually, I’m evil, undeserving, unworthy, hurtful. These flashes of memory of the bad things I've done come back especially when I fuck up even a little bit as a grown-up person, like when I'm a few days late on a utility bill or I hit "reply" without including the attachment to a bunch of important people, or I snap at my partner.Read More
I've had it. Things must change. Something must be done. Now is the time. Enough of this bull*shit. No more! Never again.
These are thoughts and words that inspire action. They are crystalizing phrases that I say, out loud, in the moment that I am simply, truly ready to change, and not usually before. I found myself saying these things in the car this afternoon, thinking about my 2018 goals, and in particular one goal that has been carried forward year after year without me actually making concrete progress on it. As I thought about this goal, I felt mostly depression and despair, failure and disappointment. These are really common feelings for me when I feel stuck on something that I want and just can't seem to achieve.Read More
Hello class of 2015 (or thereabouts)! Right about now you might be getting antsy. You've been in your first (or second) gig for a while now, you are no longer a young spring chicken bright eyed and bushy tailed fresh off of campus. You now have experience. You know all the deep inner office workings like the right amount of pressure to apply when you slam the coffee maker lid shut. You have "your" bathroom stall. The zippy thing on your keycard dongle is a little frayed. There are interns and new hires coming in behind you, and you might be getting a bit bored actually. What's next for you? Where do you go from here? What are you even qualified for at this point? Here are the key considerations as you look to level up from entry to mid level jobs.Read More
What will 2018 be the year of for you? For the economy, it might be a year of downturn. For your rent, it might be another year of high cost. For your political party, a year of transformation, reclamation, or evaluation. What will 2018 bring for your career? As we look toward to a new start in January, here are five things that I hope for you as you confront career choices in the year to come!Read More
You've heard about it: the warnings against being a job hopper. The people who tell you that you need to stay where you are and if you have too many jobs, you'll be seen as unreliable or someone who can't commit. "I once knew a recruiter who counted the number of jobs on your resume and if there were too many, he wouldn't even consider the candidate for the role," the rumor goes. Are these people right? Do you need to stay in the job you're in? Even if you hate it?Read More
We have a huge problem. A lot of huge problems, actually, the world is full of them. Climate change, poverty, unemployment, bad drinking water, bad politicians, malaria, obesity, cancer, animal abuse, traffic, affordable housing, air quality, poaching, disaster preparedness, the plight of the pandas, the list goes on and on. There is an endless stream of problems to be solved in this world. But the problem I care about the most, the one that causes me to soapbox in the car or at the bar or interrupts my zen bathtime, is the problem of you: You are not living up to your potential.Read More
The thought of disappointing them puts you in actual physical pain, that's how bad you want them to be happy with your choices. They raised you. You respect them. They love you. They paid for school, maybe. You love them. And they have some very particular ideas about what you should do with your life. But you...don't want to do that.
Maybe you don't know exactly what you want to do instead, but it's clear it isn't what they are thinking. How do you get out of this situation? How do you respect them, love them, show them that you want them to be happy, while also doing something that will make YOU happy?Read More
There are lots of ways to fail, you could do something quick and catastrophic (like crashing your car), or simple and slow that didn't quite turn out the way you thought (like crocheting a hat that turns out to be too small), or by doing nothing at all (like not responding to an invitation to a concert with friends and regretting it). All of us fail, and according to popular business literature and my own blog, we should being doing more failing. Failing is healthy, it builds resilience, and gets us to try new things, without which we would never learn and grow.
But that doesn't take away the sting or the misery when it happens. So when you fail, whether it's catastrophic, slow, or by doing nothing at all, how do you bounce back? How did I bounce back?Read More
It is accurate to say that my job is to help other people get jobs. I do that by helping you craft a stand-out resume that shows off your skills, by helping you write a cover letter that doesn't sound just like everyone else's, by modifying your LinkedIn profile, and by answering interview questions with perfection.
The thing is, the mechanics of all that don't really matter. Not really. The thing that matters more than any resume edit or cover letter sentence or interview answer is the level of interest and purpose and energy you bring to the job opportunity you want.Read More
"I think we're going to lose the business," he texted me. I had asked my entrepreneur friend how work was going. "It's gotten worse," he said, and then that. "I might have to go get a job," he added.
My friend is a young entrepreneur, really proud of and excited by the fact that he's a business owner, and to lose a business and have to go back to work is absolutely a failure, no doubt about it. It's probably what most of you are afraid of if you're thinking about starting your own business. Because, what do you tell your parents? And your friends? And what do you say in your interview for your next boss? And if you fail at something what does that mean for who you are?
We have a lot of fear of failure and a lot of social shame associated with the idea of something that isn't successful. Ours is a culture that worships success, only wants to hear about success, and expects that you will be successful in everything that you do. We talk about bootstrapping and working hard and how, if you put in the time and the effort, success will come to you. Failure isn't in our cultural narrative.
And so, when you do fail, it's impossible. So impossible that you avoid trying or doing things that might lead to failure simply because you really don't want to deal with those consequences. What does this look like in action? When I was in university I avoided taking French, even though I'd always wanted to learn it, because I was worried it would be hard and it might drag down my GPA. In fact, the list of things I've always wanted to learn and haven't is long and riddled with fears, because I really like to be good at stuff. I'm a person who is good at stuff.Read More
Ugh, salary negotiation. I know how hard this is, even when you know you're supposed to do it and even if you've done it before it can still be hard (trust me, it's still hard for me, too!). I think it's hard because it triggers so fears about whether you'll be liked, respected, and whether you'll still be able to get the job if you ask for more. My earlier post on Salary Negotiation and Self Worth tackles some of that. But if you still really struggle with salary negotiation, and most of us do, I have a few more tips that can help you get through it and hopefully to a resolution that feels good for both you and the person making your offer. Here we go:Read More
"I'm not sure what I want to study, is there a good general degree I can take?" one of my students asked. She was on campus to explore her options to study and dropped in to see me for some advice on how her choice of major could impact her career. "What do you mean by a general degree?" I asked. "Well," she said, "I really don't know what I want to do so I'd like to study something broad that will give me the best chance at a job when I'm finished." Ah. Right. No. Don't do this.Read More
You graduated. You made the choice. You started working. And now it's been about, oh, six months, maybe less, and you thought you'd be happy. You thought you'd feel this sense of "Yes! Good choice! Right job! Go me!" But instead you feel "meh, it's not great..." or even "This sucks." But why? And what would be better? What do you do now?
I see this a lot and you are definitely not alone. Pull up a chair, there is a way forward. Here's your 6-step guide to fixing it.Read More
Living and working abroad is one of the most rewarding, terrifying, uncomfortable, exciting things I've done in my life. Most expats I talk to say something similar, it's a way to grow yourself beyond what you thought was possible for your life and your career, and a chance to add value globally and not just in your home community. It's a great way to get more comfortable with risk, grow your network, and to learn. It's an amazing opportunity, and if it's something you want to do even a little bit, you should go for it! Here's how to get started.Read More
I resigned last month. I don't have another job lined up, and I don't have a specific plan for what will happen after my last day of work. This is the kind of thing your mom always advises against, and the kind of news that makes your friends say, "Really? Wow..." with a stone-cold look of "I'm not sure what to say because that sounds kind of stupid" on their faces.Read More
I'm graduating this year, and I'm not sure if I should go on the job search, or if I should go to grad school. Should I go to grad school?
No. You should probably not go to grad school. You should go to work.Read More
Job applications suck, I know. They are time consuming, and if you are one of those nimble 21st century professionals who could be useful to at least 5 different types of roles (hint: you probably are), it feels like you have to reinvent yourself and all of your personal marketing materials each time you apply for something. And the agony of writing the perfect opening cover letter sentence? I know that pain. Set it aside and pour yourself a beverage, you have better options.Read More
I started to get the sense that work-life balance would be a problem at this company when I noticed that the girl setting up my interviews was sending emails and meeting invitations at odd hours. I had been interviewing for a role at a Very Cool Tech Company, and the scheduler was sending me messages at 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm. There were subtle signals that the pressure to meet the expectations of the job would be large. And then, the kiss of death, the phrase that made the work-life balance question clear: "This is not a 40 hour a week position." It was clear that it would indeed be much more than that.Read More
"Every day is like being in an abusive relationship," Liz said of her job. She was miserable. And yet, not SO miserable that she had to leave immediately, only miserable most of the time. There would be some good days, a week or two that were fun or engaging. But mostly, she was miserable, and it was only getting worse. Her boss was terrible, either criticizing her behind her back or avoiding her entirely. Her motivation was shot and had been for months on and off. Instead of starting new projects she would job hunt at work, looking at listings online and thinking about leaving. Most days she couldn't muster the cheerful hello to her colleagues, and quietly went straight to her desk in the morning. She would question decisions instead of act on them. Sometimes she would argue, she just couldn't help it. "I don't think my manager is very happy with me," she told me. And at about 2:30 pm, she would watch the clock tick ever slowly toward the end of the day. She was slipping slowly into the void.Read More
"Should I learn to code?"
I don't always say Yes to "should I learn" questions. I'm pro-learning in general, but there are times when, because we're talking about your career plans, you should focus your learning efforts on one thing over another. In the case of computer science, and programming/coding in particular, I can safely and assuredly say that this is a skill you should learn.Read More