Does your job makes you feel that if Karen in accounting so much as looks at you in the breakroom you’re gonna put a fork in the microwave on ‘high’ for 2 minutes? Here’s 10 Ways to Not Hate Your Job (All The Time).
I work with really, really smart people who for some reason don’t believe me when I tell them that 70-80% of all jobs are never posted. Yup 70-80%! What that means is that sending your resume into a black hole is going to be WAY less effective than having one meaningful conversation with someone.
I try to impress on my clients that networking is imperative. That it’s a must-do. Now, I know you hate networking. Everyone hates networking. But if you look at it as a way to help other people by connecting them to that person who can get them their dream gig… boom
- it becomes a fun, heart-warming, do good activity and not a smarmy sell-yourself, make it rain business cards, gross-fest.
That said, even if you get in the right mindset about it, official networking events can be really intimidating. It is easier to network at smaller, less official event - but what do you do when you need to go to an “official” Networking Event?
Here are my 20 tips to make these events valuable, way less awkward and yes… even fun! (I know crazy right?)
Are you letting your Linkedin do your networking for you? No?! Then grab my free cheatsheet “Make Your LinkedIn Work for You: Top 10 Recruiter Approved LinkedIn Musts”
20 Tips to Make Networking Events Way Less Sucky:
1) Set a goal to have 1, 2 or 3 meaningful conversations… TOTAL.
2) Yes, wear the dumb name tag (on the right side if possible) it’s really helpful for
those who struggle with names.
3) Remind yourself of the value you offer!
4) Smile, but not all Joker creepy-like. Keep it genuine.
5) This is the time to be your best self and to listen. Meaningful networking
Means offering value and help to others, not just grabbing at anyone who can help you.
6) Say “hi” to anyone you know to get comfortable in the space and to get chatting - but keep it short and sweet.
7) Take a lap around the space. Check out who’s where, what’s where, etc.
8) Keep your right hand free for shaking hands (AKA keep your left hand free to hold the booze!)
9) The key to connecting is listening, asking open-ended questions and genuinely listening to the answers. Start with questions like, “What brought you here tonight?”
10) Offer your valuable help! After chit chatting for a bit, ask, “How best can I help you?” or “What’s your biggest pain-point right now?”
11) Introduce any people you know to other people you know.
12) If you’ve forgotten someone’s name (and they didn’t bother with the name tag) - be honest about it: “We met last year at the vodka launch, right? Of course, I remember you, but I’m sorry I’ve forgotten your name.”
13) Have your business cards in an easily grabbable spot (yes, actual cards).
14) It’s ok to break into conversations, especially in larger groups. Go ahead - introduce yourself.
15) Ending one on one conversations can be awkward - just hand over your card in a lull and say that you’d love to keep in touch, learn more etc. or you can say that you want to connect with a few more people before the event ends and ask for their card before scurrying off
16) Even if it’s a boozy event, it’s ok not to drink! Or, if appropriate - go to town! Just beware of punch mouth.
17) Avoid sticking to the walls with your face in your phone. Get yourself out there!
18) Try not to go to these things on an empty stomach - because you want to focus on the conversations, not the tray of shrimp balls
19) If you can introduce yourself to the organizer of the event, do it!
20) Go with the goal of helping others and being “authentic” means you’ll form more genuine connections and build meaningful relationships.
- - -
Phew. I know that was a lot right? But look, I don’t care what industry you work in, what role you have, what your goals are -- you HAVE TO network. There are so many ways to network - find one that works for you. Totally online? Fine. Only in person? Great. Speed networking at hyper-specific conferences? You do you. Just do something.
Yours in career goodness-
The majority of my clients come to me out of fear: Fear of the unknown, fear of judgement, fear of …. fear. I find myself SO OFTEN asking “Are you sure that you don't know what you want to do in your career, or are you afraid to admit what you actually want?” So, I thought I’d follow up with a post on exactly HOW some real-life ladies pushed past the fear and made their way into their dream careers!
Ahhhhhh good 'ol "Back to School" time. Unlike Trix, it's not just for kids!
Remember your OG ‘Back to School’ days? Dreams of colorful pens, clean notebooks, new books (with that particular smell). New locker combo, new book bag, new desk, then soon enough new dorm mate, new professors, new… everything.
Remember thinking “THIS semester I’m going to buckle down and DO it!” Everything gets put ever-so-neatly into the planner, colorful tabs and all. The calendar is meticulously populated. The new books are covered… with book covers, the clean notebooks soon…. aren’t. The homework has lagged, the new books are still mostly un-cracked because “life” got it the way.
Remember how it was? Except for that one class. The one you really liked, but had “nothing” to do with your major. It was fun, but really…. It didn’t “count.” Even though it was the only class you got perfect attendance in - and did ALL the extra credit - and you thought the final was super easy (even though it looks like a bunch of people struggled with it - what was with that?) I mean, it WAS the best class ever but SO not on your career ‘track.’
Somehow this pattern follows us into our professional lives. We get all excited about a new job, a new role, a new company and we swear it will be different… until it isn’t.
That job over there, the one that looks fun and interesting and easy and challenging but in the best way…. but it’s not just on your career ‘track’ - it’s not what you were trained to do, or got your degree in, or people think is worthwhile… so you don’t give it more brainspace. Until this time of year.
If you were raised in the American public school system…. (whether you’ve got kids or not), September is “Back to School” season. The time of year when new beginnings feel possible.
Don’t misunderstand me - I believe it’s ALWAYS a good time to hit restart, to make the changes you want - but I know that there’s just something about these weeks in fall that just FEEL new-starty. For many people, it feel even more so than New Years.
If it takes it Back to School “season” to make you feel motivated to make a change - do it! Learn the new thing! Take the new job! Figure out what you REALLY want and go for it!
Lucky for you this doesn't have to take place in a classroom (although it absolutely can if that’s your jam). The wonders of technology will never cease to amaze and have made it possible for you to do a little learnin' of your own - all while sportin’ your rattiest jammies.
You can take classes to beef up your skills.
You can join a writing program and finally learn how to write that book.
You can learn from the ultimate pros and learn something that may spark a career change!
There’s a whole wide world of learning and growing to take advantage of this back to school season. Just don’t forget an apple for the teacher!!
If you want some one on one teaching to learn how to ditch the fear and design a career you friggin' love - I invite you to go ahead and book your free consult call before the bell rings!
So many clients come to me out of fear.
They say things like:
“I know I need a new career but I’m afraid”
“I’m afraid I will never find my passion”
“I want a new job, but I’m afraid I won’t get one”
“I need to do something I love but I’m afraid it won’t happen”
“I deserve a promotion but I’m afraid to ask”
“I want to switch departments but I’m afraid they’ll say no.”
SO. MUCH. FEAR.
All the fears. Which are totally rational by the way. Making any change is scary - making career changes, where your livelihood is at stake? Freakin’ terrifying.
I wish I had a magic wand and I could make their fear disappear. But I don’t and I can’t. Does that mean that they are stuck with this career crippling fear forever?
Absolutely not. IF they decide to tackle it head on. But howwwwwww? Confronting your fear can be… frightening. How’s that for meta? Follow the steps below and you’ll be well on your way to moving past those big ‘ol fear blocks.
1. Congratulate yourself for considering change:
Honestly! It’s a big deal! So many people never even get to the point where they move past being unhappy to actually making a decision to do something about it. You’re ahead of the pack… already!
2. Accept that you’re scared, acknowledge the fear:
Fear is real and it’s intense. Trying to pretend you’re not scared doesn’t help anyone/anything. Once you sit back, acknowledge that you’re scared, but decide to move forward anyways…. That’s where shit gets real!
3. Visualize the outcome of NOT taking any action:
A good friend clued me into this concept when I was having trouble moving past something because I was frightened. And man ‘o man was she on to something!! Find a quiet space, clear your head for a second and just visualize. Visualize what will happen if you do nothing. How will you feel 1 month, 6 months, 1 year from now. The results of inaction are far more likely to be scarier than anything moving forward might bring!
4. Take your time: be intentional:
Now that you’ve decided to make something happen don’t just go running around the office yelling “BURN IT DOOOOWWWWN!” Take a few more moments to decide on a plan of action. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but you do need at least a broad-strokes plan. You want to make your next move carefully and intentionally. But here’s the cool thing… your next move is tiny. Like sooo little. Shhh tiiiiinnnnyyy…….
5. Commit to doing one very small thing towards the change that scares you:
I mean tiny. Minuscule. Really freaking small. Something like: putting some time on your calendar to research salaries for that role you have your eye on. Just block out 30 mins on your calendar. That’s it.
Write out a list of 5 people who inspire you. On a post-it. Stick it on your desk. That’s it. Just 5.
Find an article to IM the manager of that cool department you want to break into. That’s all. Just find the article.
One TINY step will lead to another and another and soon enough you’ll have taken one actual full sized step!
You my friend are now officially on your way and walking through all that fear! Well done you.
Need more help getting past your fear? Schedule a free consult call and let's talk about it!
There are a million reasons why you may be tapped out at the inspiration pump. For me, right at this moment, it’s because it's officially summer. Like for real deal, mid-July, summer. If you're like me, my clients or literally anyone who has a job right now.... you're probably feeling totally sapped of inspo and just want to lay on the couch watching crappy daytime TV and eating microwave burritos like summer breaks of yore.
Look, it’s totally understandable. And while not fixable, at least work-aroundable. First off, acknowledge it’s actually, truly summer (or the dead middle of winter) - whenever it is you lose your mojo.
Now acknowledge that you’re a grown person and not in school so you don’t get 3 months off anymore (unless you’re like… European and we’re all jealous of you).
I get it - I was an academic. My brain is hardwired to turn off between June and mid-August and then I ramp up again full on. I know how difficult it can be difficult to be behind a monitor all day and scrolling through those super curated, ‘influencer’ insta feeds of croatian beach vacations while you’re in line for a wilted salad ain't helpin'!
So, instead of trying to force yourself to do business as usual - as much as your job allows, cut yourself some slack and give yourself a little leeway. Then go ahead and try some of my summertime “lack of inspo” tricks:
1. Take advantage of weather and take 15 minute walk outside with your fave ice coffee and why not learn a little Spanish while you’re at? That way when you’re ready for that early fall vacation to Spain that you’re saving for - you’ll be ready!
2. Speaking of Spain… plan a vacation! Whether it’s a full 2 weeks in Europe or a day trip up the coast - just planning a trip has proven psychological benefits!
3. Knock out some of those mindless tasks you keep pushing to the bottom of your to do list cuz you just don’t wanna do ‘em. Put on a rad podcast like 2 Dope Queens or Reply All and know out a few of those tasks. When you’re ready to gear back up in a few weeks - all that stuff that’s been nagging at you will be done!
4. Find a new outlet. Your lady friends at work feeling just like you? Bookclub the trashiest beach read you can find. Have a lunch on a patio, take your salads to the park and dish on your favorite parts.
5. Break up your pre/post work gym routine. Find a new waterside route to jog instead. Go throw a frisbee with friends in the late summer sun and relieve your stoner college days. Just shake it up (my fave? Zumba with the old ladies at the Chinatown Y!)
6. Pin up a $5 bill in your cubie and treat yourself to a gelato at lunch on Friday (or fro yo, or a couple tacos - whatever your jam is - I mean hey… it could be jam. $5 buys a decent jar of jam right?)
7. So maybe you can't really slack off at all (boo) BUT you CAN jam (what is WITH the jam?!). I meant In the musical way. Slap on your headphones and crank a summer themed playlist.
Ahhhh that's better.
If you need more inspo, weekly inspo even, get on the list for all the free goodness:
Are you into bullet journaling? Or BuJo as the cool kids call it? I can’t imagine you’ll need even a fraction of these ideas, but hopefully they will inspire you to organize your career in a new way. But beware, once you start with this stuff, you’re gonna be the crazy adult with like 12 pens, 3 rolls of washi tape and an actual paper journal in your purse. It’s a thing.
Before I work with any client I always ask them one question:
“What is the #1 thing holding you back from career success?”
To this question I get dozens of answers. Dozens and dozens. Like way too many dozens of eggs left over from Easter dozens. But all of those answers are rewordings of one single problem. Always.
“A clear focus on what I want to do/should be doing.”
I hear you. So loud. So clear. Trust me when I tell you I know the frustration. The feeling that somehow everyone else has been let in on some secret that you’re not cool enough to know.
The secret though? That’s bullshit. Most people feel the same way you do!
Why? What the hell man?! It’s because we’re not taught how to manage our careers. We’re taught what to know to get certain jobs and sometimes how to get jobs, but rarely, if ever, how to manage our careers once we’re in them. We are left to our own devices and frazzled HR directors who have no time to have a career growth chat because they have to run payroll, get the new benefits system up and running and talk to Joe about not wearing his daisy dukes even on casual Fridays.
So what then? What are you supposed to do?
For starters, you absolutely don’t have to figure out your career all by yourself. Below is a roundup of some resources you might find helpful:
You could start with career blogs. There are so many talented people out there writing and offering help, to you, for free.
Want someone to do the heavy lifting for you? Leverage recruiters and even temp agencies! Their job is to analyze your skills and place you in a job you’d thrive in. You could try some national agencies like Premier Staffing or Robert Half.
You could try taking a few tests. I personally am not a fan of these and I don’t use them in my practice but many people really like them and find them useful. There is one called Strengthsfinder that many companies rely on. Once you know what your strengths are you can make sure you are focusing on those in whatever role you’re in because working to your strengths = happiness.
Oprah apparently has an awesome (and free) career assessment test too!
And of course there are career coaches. Now I know private coaching isn’t an option for everyone - but it truly IS the most comprehensive option. That said, many coaches offer lower cost group programs or self-paced online courses. There are so many amazing coaches out there - you just need to do a little research to find the best one for you.
See what I’m getting at? Don’t feel like you’re left to your own devices. Try one, two or a few - whatever feels good to you. But don’t leave your career to chance. Figure out what you love to do, want to do and make a plan.
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By now, if you’ve read anything I’ve written, seen anything I’ve posted, talked to me for more than 2 minutes or even glanced at my site out of the side of your eyeball you know I’m all about Career Design. I’m SO into it, I created a FREE COURSE to teach you how to do it. Cool? Ok.
So what the hell is Career Design?
Between working with clients and candidates and just talking to as many people as I do about their career aspirations, a pattern showed up. A fairly un-pretty, not at all decorative pattern. Turns out, A LOT (like WAY too many) people sort of “fell into” their careers. It doesn’t mean they don’t like their careers or that that they wish they were doing something else but for many it does mean that once they fell into it they sort of “set it and forget it” and now they find themselves sort of just “in” it. They have no real goals set, no idea how to grow, they’re unclear on what next steps might even be available to them.
Is this a tragic, earth-shattering, life wrecking situation? Most likely not, but it can be a slowly soul draining one. One where a person turns around five years from now, looks at their career and asks “what the hell?”
There’s also the people who work really hard to get a particular job title and then once they’re there have no idea how to continue growing, how to keep the work fulfilling. They often think that getting into the job was the end game and now they’ll be ushered along a primrose path of growth by their superiors….. nuh unh.
Your career is just like any other relationship - you gotta work on it!
This is where Career Design comes in. It’s a roadmap, a plan and a compass all rolled into one. How’s that exactly? Welp, here’s the breakdown of the system I use with my clients:
Explore what you REALLY want to do (in your heart of hearts)
Make the decision of THIS IS THE THING (for right now)
Outline what growth you want and BY WHEN
Make sure you work somewhere your goals can be met, you can learn from and has clear growth opportunities.
Work WITH your management team to make those milestones.
Repeat steps 1-5 as many times as you feel necessary.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s work behind each of these “simple” steps. For instance, Step 1 hinges on your “why” (like your big life WHYS) - which you gotta own up to. And Step 4 can be anything from ‘Get a Promotion to Jr. from intern’ to ‘Retire your husband because you’re ballin’ as a partner in your own agency’. It’s totally personal.
I’m not going to lie and say it’s an easy process (I like ya too much), but it’s an incredibly important process. Look. If you’re a free wheelin’, hippie spirit who just wants to float on the sands of the wind and has no need for goals or job growth - more power to ya sister! - this just ain’t for you. But if you’re most of us, you need direction. A place to get to and a map of how to get there. Career Design is your map and your compass.
Want to dig in and finally design YOUR career? Get your very own, free course: "Career Design 101":
Career Design 101
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