Tag Archives: Jobs

Reasons Why You Should Hire Me

My latest vlog tackles why you or an employer you know should hire me.

Being an Adult SUCKS!

I didn’t sign up for this. Where can I get a return on my adult card?

5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Accomplishing Your Goals

For me, 2014 was my go with the flow year. I graduated university and used up all the money I saved to go travelling. I ended up landing a job back home before I even finished backpacking. Since then, I’ve been working a 9-to-5 on a contract that keeps extending and extending, and to top it all off, I got a publishing contract for The Black Oracle which will see publication this spring. In fact, 2014 was a pretty good year!

But for 2015, I’m looking to change things up. Going with the flow had gotten me a lot of opportunities last year, but now I want to take charge. I have quite a few goals and for once, a five-year plan (it’s kinda scary, but I’m excited!) But through this process, I’ve had to do some soul-searching and some analysis of my goals. What’s possible? What are my limits? Most importantly: What would stop me from accomplishing my goals?

I’ve listed the top 5 reasons I postulated below.

cry

Sad goal-setter is sad.

You Have No Goals

This seems obvious, yet this is a common pitfall: it’s hard to accomplish a goal when you don’t have any. Further, it’s even harder to accomplish goals that aren’t well-defined. For me, this *normally* equates to goals regarding my health. I’m good at accomplishing word count goals and marketing goals, but when it comes to going to the gym or eating better, I fall flat. Why? Because I don’t create concrete goals in those areas. For example, I’ll say “I’m going to write 6,500 words a week” for a writing goal, but for physical fitness, I’ll say “Yeah, I should head to the gym more”. Do you see the difference?

Hint: The second isn’t a real goal. It’s just a nice idea.

My goal: eat all the food.

My goal: eat all the food.

Your Goals Aren’t Attainable

Never say never, right? But also, don’t bite off more than you can chew. I experience this pitfall sometimes, even with goals that I have quantified and made into something tangible. For example, I wanted to complete a refresher course in German and a beginner course in Icelandic in the second half of 2014. Why didn’t I do those things? I made those goals unattainable. After working a 9-to-5, prepping a novel for publication, creating and executing a marketing plan, sleeping, eating, and commuting, I had very little time to learn two languages.

Thus, they were unattainable. I shot waaayyy too high and I missed my goal, and not just by a little bit.

You Have No Action Plan

Having well-defined and attainable goals are all good and fine, but they mean nothing if you have no plan. This was, in part, the reason why I failed at the German and Icelandic goals I mentioned above. Not only did I not have time to learn those two languages, but I had no plan of how to go about doing it. I should have set aside two hours a week for each language and then slowly but surely worked toward completing the courses. Instead, my work was rather infrequent: I started off strong, say 8 hours a week between the two courses, but after a couple weeks, I had stopped working at them completely.

However, I’ve had an experience with writing lately that has proven to me the effectiveness of an action plan. One of my current goals is to finish the first draft of a Paranormal Young Adult novel (55,000 words) by the time I leave for vacation to the Dominican Republic on February 7th. I’ve determined that if I write 6,500 words per week between now and then, I can reach my goal. And I’m happy to say that my action plan is working: I’m on track to a completed first draft.

You’re a Dreamer, not so much a Doer

I was more of a dreamer when I was younger, even though I’d say I am still a dreamer now. The difference is now that I’m a dreamer and a doer. I dream up the things I’d like to do, and then I do them. You see, that’s the crucial part. Saying that one day, you’d like to write a novel is not going to get you a first draft. Saying you’d like to travel the world one day isn’t going to buy you a plane ticket. You have to do something. But lucky for you (and me), the first steps are often the hardest, and after a while, things start falling into place.

Hey, look! I did it! That's a real giraffe in South Africa!

Hey, look! I did it! That’s a real giraffe in South Africa!

You’re too Insecure

This pitfall is perhaps the most debilitating for goal-setters, and unfortunately, it is something I can’t quite tell you how to fix. Insecurity keeps you from what you want. Fear keeps you from doing the things you want to do. And society doesn’t help: we in the West have set up a system where originality and breaking the norm is frowned upon, and I’m sad to say that that’s spreading around the world.

But only you can stop being insecure. Only you can seize the opportunity life has afforded you. Only you can stand up to nay-sayers and pursue your dreams. Besides, is failure really that bad? If you never fail, how can you bask in the glory of success? Furthermore, you’re guaranteed to fail at something that you never even try.

This blog post is just a walking cliche today, isn’t it…?

But legit, stop being afraid.

Why This Job Market is Inspiring

As a millennial, I feel like blaming the economy and job market has become a mantra of sorts for many — myself included. In any conversation I’ve had or blog post I’ve written about the economic struggles lately, the iterations have generally been the same: jobs are scarce for graduates, the pay is crap or nonexistent, things are ridiculously expensive and debt is on the rise. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for young people to be unemployed for a year or more after graduation and worst of all, it appears that millennials were lied to. Call us entitled or spoiled or naive, but I don’t think it was unfair for us to expect the booming economy that our parents and grandparents enjoyed.

We've graduated! Oh, shit...

We’ve graduated! Oh, shit…

All that aside, I’ve begun to feel a different way about our current circumstances as of late. In fact, I have one adjective for the way I’ve been feeling about it: inspired.

I sound like I’m on drugs, don’t I? After all the criticism the job market has faced from young people, the last word we would use to describe our situation is inspiring. But I’d take it a step further: empowering. Behind all the doom and gloom, I’m seriously experiencing a feeling of empowerment.

I explain:

It’s clear that the big employers of yesteryear are no more. Well, they’re still there, but looking for a job with them is not necessarily a thing anymore. Unpaid internship maybe, but let’s not get our hopes up. But in that, maybe there is hope. With our current job market, there are very little expectations for our prospects as job seekers. I mean, yes, there were quite a few not too long ago, but now I’ve watched all of those expectations simply fade away. That ideal job we thought we’d get in our field is now clouded with seemingly insurmountable competition. That extravagant lifestyle we thought we’d enjoy is more and more unattainable. The expectation that we’d walk off of the convocation stage and into a well-paying job is simply a lie.

You know what? Maybe that’s not a bad thing. If there are no expectations, there are no disappointments. Further, if there are no expectations, it’s easier to be pleasantly surprised when an opportunity comes, even if it is in the form of a two-month contract (I’m currently on two-month contract #2, but at least I’m working!)

And I’ve also found contracts to be oddly empowering. Knowing that I’m only at a job for a little while has allowed me a lot of perks that the prospect of permanent employment wouldn’t. For example, if I don’t like something, I know it’s not going to be a forever — in fact, it has an end date! Moreover, if I know I’m only going to be somewhere for a short time, I’m more likely to put myself out there, build relationships, and appreciate what I’m doing. It becomes a very steep learning curve, but working two different jobs in four months has allowed me to develop skills in TWO different occupations.

Finally, and most positively, this job market is empowering because it allows for unprecedented freedom. In my eyes, a lack of stable employment puts me in a limbo of sorts. Something I am doing right now may not be the thing I am doing a couple weeks down the road. I could be doing something different in somewhere completely new. To me, that’s exciting.

It also means that I am not tied down to an occupation or an employer. I no longer find myself having to be loyal to someone like I was when I worked at the same part-time job for 6 years. In those days, I stayed with unhappy situations because I didn’t want to potentially jeopardize future employment. Now, whether on contract or completely unemployed, the loyalty is mutually non-existent and there’s a certain flair for risk-taking. And if there isn’t, there should be.

Why not excuse yourself from societal norms? Why not take that trip around the world? Why not volunteer? Why not explore job options out of your city, state, or even out of your country? Why not invest your time and energy into something you’re passionate about? Why not live with a certain reckless abandon, especially in a time when it seems the economy has recklessly abandoned you?

A view like this may be waiting for you! Go do something for yourself for once!

A view like this may be waiting for you! Go do something for yourself for once!

I’m not saying you should stop your quest to be able support yourself financially and enter something completely stupid like cross-border heroin smuggling, but maybe now is the time to think outside of the box. Maybe you don’t need a 9-to-5. Maybe you should pursue that one thing you’ve always dreamed of. Maybe you should explore alternative lifestyles such as long-term travel, tiny living or freelancing.

Maybe it’s time we as a generation take back some control over our lives and what we choose to do with them. Our biggest mistake moving forward is blaming others for our lack of success in the job market. It’s time we create our own success, even if that means rewriting what we believe being successful is.

We have nothing to lose, right?

No, really.

20-Something Profile: Michael

My very own 20-Something Profile! Check it out!

20somethings Blog

Me & PenguinsThis post was written by Michael, a fiction writer:

When I graduated high school, I was unsure of what I wanted to study. I liked foreign languages and linguistics. I liked reading too. But above all, I liked writing fiction, and I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.

So, I took French and Italian, two languages I already had some experience in. I took German, something that had fascinated me for years. I also took courses political science and Persian and astronomy. My philosophy for university was simple: study things that interest me, and the rest will sort itself out.

View original post 495 more words

How I Stopped Caring and I’m Better Off

So, here’s the deal. I graduated university in April. I left on a plane ten days after my last exam and travelled to South Africa and Europe for forty days. While I was abroad, I managed to secure a publishing contract after YEARS (legit, like 7 years) and then get a contract for a day job to carry me until I can *hopefully* be able to make my writing my work.

My secret? I stopped caring.

Old Life Philosophy: Micro-manage the crap out of everything and then beat yourself up when things don't go EXACTLY as planned.

Old Life Philosophy: Micro-manage the crap out of everything and then beat yourself up when things don’t go EXACTLY as planned.

Okay, backtrack. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. I do care. I cared very much about getting my post-secondary degree. I cared very much about being able to uproot my life for a while and live out of a backpack. I cared and continue to care very much about my writing because ultimately, writing is my art and my child and without it, I’d be completely lost.

What I stopped caring about was all the pressure that I was putting on myself.

Before I completed my university degree, I was in a different place. I had three manuscripts that seemingly no one gave a rat’s ass about. I had the daunting task of trying to find a job in this rough and often hopeless-seeming economy. Worst of all, I had this fear welled so deep inside me that I would never get to live my dream of being a writer. I worried that I would lay on my deathbed decades from now and realize that not only had I not achieved my dream, but I had wasted my whole life with nothing to show for it. I felt hopeless.

And then I boarded a plane and everything changed, almost as soon as I landed in Paris from my first overnight flight. It wasn’t that nothing really mattered anymore because a lot of things did, it was just that I seemed to have developed a distance from everything in my life. Sure, the physical distance was there, but there was also a mental one — an emotional one.

I learned to live in the now. I stopped worrying so much about what I was going to do once I graduated, what would happen when I returned home, and how I would feel if I failed the one thing I so desperately wanted to do. I also realized the immense pressure I had been putting on myself. It was the pressure to succeed for myself and a fear that I would fail and have to live the life that society envisioned for me. I became okay with not having a clear-cut direction for a little while and best of all, I stopped caring.

Drinking in Durban in the daytime? I just don't care!

Drinking in Durban in the daytime? I just don’t care!

I didn’t care that I had no job. I didn’t care that society was trying to convince me that my dream was unable to be achieved. I didn’t care that I had very little money and that I would return home to face an abyss with little more than a grand to my name. I just knew that I loved something so much that I trusted I would find a way to make it work.

And the moment I stopped caring and stressing, things fell into place. I was twenty-five days into my backpacking trip, checking into a hostel in Heidelberg, Germany when I got the email I would be a published author.

So, stop caring.

6 Stages of the 20-Something Job Search

If you’re like me, you’re facing unemployment. You’ve just finished high school or your fancy-dancy, hideously expensive post-secondary education, and you’re ready to face the real world. Or you’re one of the lucky ones who snagged a summer internship or contract position and your end date is looming. But it won’t be so bad, right? The real world isn’t that scary. I mean, everyone around you is doing it and they’re fine.

I’m terrified.

Stage One: The Pre-Search Feel-Goodies

Your resume is sparkling and you’ve honed your cover letter writing skills. You attended a few workshops and you can wow any employer with your apt responses and buzzwords. Your mom has looked over your application material and she said that she would hire you.

You feel good. Enjoy it. I wish I could tell you this would last longer.

Stage Two: The Application Process Jitters

You’ve started your search. You’re picking and choosing a select few jobs here and there that interest you and that are relevant to your experience and your goals.

Wow! Look at how many there are in this list. Recession? You don’t even remember what that means. You’ll apply to this one and that one and look, there’s another over here. Oh, wait. That one wants 5 years experience. And this one? Who the heck has training in bathing chimps?

Maybe you should take a bit more time perfecting that cover letter for the one job you actually qualify for. It may just be your lifeline.

I guess that doesn't look too hard.

I guess that doesn’t look too hard.

Stage Three: Taking Over the World

It’s been about two weeks. No one has contacted you for a job or an interview or even to tell you that your application was garbage. Out of the 10 jobs you *thought* would be awesome for you, you’ve managed to get none of them.

Time to expand the job search. Weird hours? Okay, fine. Dog walker? At least you don’t need experience. 10-day contract with the option to extend? Well, okay.

Just apply to everything under the sun. When all these people see your fantastic resume, you’ll be prying them off of you with shovels. Then you can pick and choose. Good plan.

Stage Four: The Low

It’s been almost two months since your job search began. You’ve applied to every job that you’ve found, tried that whole networking thing that everyone seems to rave about, but still you’ve yet to secure a job. You may have had a few interviews, but they went terribly and you’re convinced the hiring manager got you confused with someone else (wait, experience bathing chimps? I don’t remember putting that in my resume…)

Ultimately, you’re still unemployed. You’re broke. You’re depressed. Your dad is offering to get you in somewhere because he knows a guy who knows a guy. If you live on your own, this is normally where you move back in with your parents. But free meals, right?

Don’t cry.

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Stage Five: The Perfect Job

By now, you’ve settled into a cycle: wake up, browse for jobs, eat lunch, browse for jobs, have dinner, wallow in self-pity or invite others to join in on your misery train. In fact, you’ve become so good at this, it ought to be a full-time job.

But then there it is. You’ve just made your morning coffee and a new job has been posted. It’s the most perfect thing since all of life began. It’s interesting, there’s good hours, it’s close to home. Best of all, you qualify!

You start hyperventilating. You’ve been waiting for this moment, but what if you’re not ready? What if your resume really is terrible? You call Mom for support. “Just do it,” she says. “The only sure way to fail is to not try… and you’ve been pretty much failing already.”

One final read-through of the application. Click submit.

Stage Six: The Moment of Clarity

On an unassuming Tuesday afternoon, you’ve almost completely forgotten about that perfect job you applied for last week. In fact, it’s pretty much been absorbed by the other positions you applied for, since technically you’re still applying to anything that has the word “job” in the description. But then the phone rings. It snaps you out of your mindless twitter feed scrolling. An unknown number? Who could it be? It better not be a telemarketer. You already told them you don’t need the ducts cleaned.

But it’s them. You’ve gotten an interview. Two days later, you go to it, so nervous and excited that you’re terrified you might pee yourself if they speak to you. By the following week, you get another call. Same number.

Welcome, job. We’ve been expecting you.

sabrina-salem-cat-chair-turn-1

That’s the ideal, right? I’m just not quite there yet :p

15 Things 20-Somethings Say, and What They Really Mean

We’re just so cryptic, you know? Okay… Maybe, we’re not fooling anyone.

“I’m in between jobs.”

Meaning: I have no idea what my life is about anymore. I thought I knew, but that was a lie. And I realized there’s no job market for what I want to do anyway.

“What do you do?”

Meaning: Is there an opening at your workplace? Can you get me in? This is networking, right?

You have a job, you say?

You have a job, you say?

“How have you been?”

Meaning: Are you as lost and confused as me? No? Well then.

“I’m fine.”

Meaning: I’m probably not fine, but I numb myself to real life so I can keep a peaceful existence like everyone else. Oh look, wine!

“I think society is unfair to Millennials.”

Meaning: I’m secretly afraid that everyone is right about Millennials.

“I’d love to travel.”

Meaning: I spend an obscene amount of time cruising travel websites, blogs, and Cheapoair, but ultimately, I’m broke.

Yup... Won't be going anywhere for a while.

Yup… Won’t be going anywhere for a while.

“Yeah, I drive a pretty good car. It gets me from A to B.”

Meaning: My car is shit. I’m terrified it’s going to break down on my way to my job. Correction: on my way to a job interview.

“I’m job searching. It’s a rough economy, but I’m staying positive.”

Meaning: I’m freaking the hell out and I’m scared I’ll spend the next 10 years living with my parents mowing the lawn and taking out the garbage for an allowance of 20 dollars a week.

“I’m using the experience to build my resume.”

Meaning: Basically, I’m working for free.

“I’m working on my ten-year plan.”

Meaning: I have no plan. Everyone else seems to have their shit in order though so I guess I’ll pretend to too.

“I had a crazy weekend!”

Meaning: I drank wine, watched Netflix, and put off tasks that should have been done two weekends ago.

wine

“I can’t believe Super Successful Sally is getting married.”

Meaning: I’m weirded out but also kind of stressing. Should I be getting married too?

“We should meet for coffee. We haven’t hung out in forever!”

Meaning: Coffee is a nice thought, right? We always say we should but legit this time, we should. No, I’m busy next week.

“I never see you anymore!”

Meaning: I miss how close we were in college, and the fact that those days are gone makes me feel old and lonely.

“I miss college. Those were the days.”

Meaning: No one told me real life was this hard.

Could we take a moment for the carefree days we'll never get back?

Could we take a moment for those long lost college days?