Category: Our Generation

When Do You Let Baby “Bump” Your Career?

When my BFF heard the news about Beyonce’s pregnancy, she instantly got excited.

But not really for Beyonce.  No, she got excited…for ME.

“Ummm….what?”

She explained her logic by saying that this gave her hope that one day I might put a baby on my priority list. Something akin to me seeing the ultimate career chick (Beyonce) breaking out her baby bump might inspire me to think that I, too, can be very focused on my career without ignoring the fact that I’m getting into my prime baby-making years.

Gulp.

Damn, I can’t believe I just wrote “prime baby-making years”

But it’s true. As women we have this freaky, scary knowledge that we have a major deadline in our lives that all of the career advancement and technology can’t change.

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Is Fear of Disappointing Your Parents Stopping You From Living Your Life?

First, a story:

Two Gen Y’ers are having a drink at a local restaurant.  Well, one Gen Y’er is. The other one was lured in by the smell of fried chicken. While munching on crispy, fried goodness and sipping a cool ale, respectively, the two twenty-somethings strike up a friendly conversation which (naturally) turns into a discussion about careers.

Gen Y’er #1: I work in finance, but I love to snow board. I wish I lived in California where I can snowboard all of the time. I know I wouldn’t make a ton of money, but I think I would be happy.

Gen Y’er #2: Really? Well, why don’t you move and go snowboard since you know that’s what you want to do?

Gen Y’er #1: Well, how would I explain that to my family? All of my life they told me to get a good job. They won’t understand that I want to snowboard. I’m thinking about applying for grad school in California. My family will support me getting an MBA. Then I can snowboard too!

Gen Y’er #2: You want to go into major debt so that you can justify your decision? Ummm…whose life are you living, here?

 

This was my Friday night, and I am sure I am not the only twenty-something that had this discussion. In fact, I’m sure this is a conversation between young adults that regularly takes place at bars and restaurants all over the world. I often wonder which is stronger, our fear of personal failure? Or our fear of disappointing our families?

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You Are Replaceable. Now, Go Do Cool Shit.

You are replaceable.

I mean this in the very best way possible.

When you realize just how replaceable you really are, it will be liberating.  It will free your mind to think of ways to create epic coolness that makes you happy.  The kind of stuff you can’t create in a relationship (work or otherwise) that should have ended a long, long, time ago.

Curious? Good.

Let’s imagine that you work as a receptionist for a company that stocks furniture in offices.  You arrive every morning at nine, make sure there is plenty of milk in the kitchen, then proceed to waste the rest of your day trying to make it look like you are “busy”.

You hate this job.

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Happiness can’t be bought, but it can be created: 3 ideas for building the life you want

I used to think happiness was this elusive thing that you needed to search for. In my mind, it was right up there with the rumored pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or the fountain of youth.

I spent way too much time defining happiness in the wrong way. I focused on how I didn’t have it, cursing it for not “coming” to me, and thinking that happiness is something that just “happens” instead of thinking of it as a tangible thing that I can build for myself. I actually had to reach the bottom floor of a personal breakdown before I figured out that happiness really can’t be bought in any form and that is not just something that appears randomly one day.

For me, reaching the bottom allowed me to see how I could create happiness for myself. If you are starting to feel as if a tumble down might be necessary before you can really get started building the life you want, I have some ideas for you:

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Overcoming the Fear of Unemployment: Step 1 To Designing a New Life.

Last week’s post about why I decided to leave my “cool” job got a tremendous response. Amidst all of the notes of “congratulations” were questions. Many of you all want to know what my thought process was. And that is what today’s post was supposed to be about until I realized that before I could go there, I needed to explain how I overcame the trauma of long-term, unplanned, unemployment.

I spent the majority of 2009 without a steady job. This took a toll on my psyche. For months I was frustrated and depressed. I even got physically sick from the stress.

So, how did I, a person who freaked out about unemployment come to the point where I could willingly walk away from a j.o.b. with a smile?

“It’s the story BEHIND the story.”
I’ve never told anyone just how hard that year was for me. I am one of those people who likes to put up a strong front. I didn’t feel as if I could tell anyone about the terror I felt because my fear of looking like a failure is stronger than my fear of actual failure. Even now it’s hard for me to write, but no one is really talking about how the recession is impacting people beyond the stress of needing money.

The months of being rejected in the job market shook me at my core. Recession be damned, I took all of the unanswered resumes personally and it chipped away at my self-esteem. The feeling lingered even after I started working.  After nearly a year of feeling lost, I felt as if I needed my job to validate me. It was a dangerous state of mind. And it was the reason I held on to my corporate existence long after I realized that I wasn’t happy doing the office thing.

The traumatic unemployed feeling was replaced by something new: the traumatic “um, this is so NOT what I want to do” feeling, which was quickly followed by the ” hot damn what am I going to do feeling?”

Too many bad feelings.
I never wanted to feel that sense of powerlessness that I felt in 2009 ever again.  But I did. All of the times I told myself I wasn’t capable of doing something better, I felt it. All of the times I wanted to sink back into my bed in the mornings, I felt it. And every time I felt frustrated because I didn’t have time to work on what REALLY inspired me, I felt it.

Before I could even began to rationally think about how I could make an escape, I had to get to a place where I could be at peace with defining my role in life for myself. I had to stop caring what people (especially the ones I care about the most) think of it because it is MY decision.

I had to get to a place where I am strong enough to say that I’ll discuss my future plans with you when I am ready because I don’t need to validate myself through the approval of others. I had to get to a place where I could handle failing without thinking it was the end of the world.  I had to get to a place where I could define what “cool” is for me.

Most importantly, I had to get to a place where I could actually SEE all of the options for myself without hearing a bunch of “woe is me and the recession” buzz in my mind anytime I dared myself to think about doing something different.  So many of us have been taught to find a job and then grip it tightly and never let go. This blinds us to seeing when something might be choking your spirit.

Many people never find out just how resilient they really are. They make up al kinds of excuses for never seeing how much they are capable of. It’s way too easy to fall into that category. Honestly, I don’t want that to be me.

So how did I overcome all of my funky feelings?

Mostly by reminding myself that life is short enough not to enjoy all of the good things if you don’t act on them, but long enough that it is possible to rebound and reinvent myself several times over.  It was a process that took months. But I must say, it was darn worth it.