You Can Do Anything For a Year!

These were the wise words of my mother when I informed her that I was asked to interview with a prominent business doing a very menial job. It would be a foot in the door! At least that’s how I’m selling it to myself since I’m seriously considering taking the steps to make this job mine. I want to briefly take this moment to apologize for the lack of a theme on this blog. I want to be a fashion and beauty blogger, but I’m really not glamorous enough for the task (the truth is I’m not willing to take enough pictures for it). It would seem that I’ve used the majority of these posts for a really wide and random variety of topics, sorry. This will be no exception!

I have been unemployed for just over a month now and I thought I would share the collective wisdom from the few people who were actually told that I quit my job. The majority of this will just be how much I’ve been enjoying my time at home. I would begin by explaining a few of the major details about my life status. I am an introvert, I live with my parents, and I have no serious career goals. I graduated from college with an International Business degree and I took the first job offer I could get a month after returning from Spain. I worked there for 2 years and have little to show for it. Not that I really expected more.

This would be a great opportunity for me to explain why I think college is a big waste of time and money and I should have just picked a career and gotten trained and experienced with my 4.5 years instead of racking up debt and then I could possibly be as successful as I’m supposed to be at 24. But I’ll spare you. I am where I am in my life and I can’t go back and change it, but I do think the college scheme is severely flawed. I have a college degree and can’t get hired for entry-or upper-level positions. Until now! In the past 24 hours I have been asked to interview for two different jobs! I’m not hired yet, don’t remind me, but I may still have some good advice. Or bad advice. Or medium advice, neither good, nor bad. You can judge for yourself.

Lisa’s Living at Home While Unemployed and Looking For a Job Success Tips!

1. Keep a schedule for yourself. This may sound silly, but I’ve found that I get a lot more done every day when I keep a to do list and plan periods of my day for specific tasks like reading, applying for jobs, working out, making dinner, running errands, etc. There have been quite a few days where I haven’t watched tv at all to my surprise. The most important aspect of this is to not get into a habit of sleeping too much and watching tv and being unproductive all day. I try to wake up around 9 every day and get to bed at a decent hour so I don’t get to a place where I have to go through sleep rehab should I eventually get a job. I enjoy my period of not working and can relax, but still find time to get everything that needs doing done.

2. Keep a list of applications. This idea came from my sister and it’s a goodun’. Every time I apply for a new job I write down the specifics of the position and my login information. This has proven helpful on many occasions. For each application I log: the company name, job location, position name, date applied, user name, password, whether it is part time or full time, and any additional information I may need to remember about the specific position. If I receive a response about a decline or interview offer I also log that once it’s received. This helps me keep track of exactly who and what I’ve applied for and whether I should keep expecting to hear about a position based on how long it’s been since I’ve applied.

3. Visit your potential work place. That is, if you have a specific dream job or company you really ache to work for. This piece of advice comes from my uncle who is a vice principal for a high school in New York City. One of his duties happens to be hiring full time and substitute teachers for his building. The thing he pointed out to me comes from another one of my favorite principles- always be nice to the people who make your food, answer your questions, and secretaries. They hold the keys to many of the locked doors in life. The people who show up with a resume and smile and ask questions get a better rep with the secretaries who pass on information and impressions to those who do the actual hiring. A lot of getting a job these days is about who you know, but it’s not that hard to show up and be friendly. All of a sudden you know a new person who can help you get a job! Someone who takes the initiative to apply in person and makes a good impression is better than a stacked resume.

4. This goes without saying, but keep a budget. But since I’ve already said it, I’ll just reiterate that keeping your finances under control is incredibly important. Sometimes your dream job is across the country and it can be expensive to move. You’ll be happy you didn’t do any retail therapy when that day comes. If you’re not making money, you shouldn’t be spending it (bar the occasional small purchase for morale upkeep).

5. Stay open minded. Like I said, I have a bachelor’s degree. If I were my parents and it was the 70’s I would never apply for a menial job making next to nothing because I’m educated (re: I tried to spell “educated” with a “j” proving that I may not be). But I am not my parents and it’s 2014. Today you can graduate from college or have a master’s degree and still be in the same pool of applicants with 17-year-olds who just graduated from high school and may actually be more qualified for your position. Again, the college scheme is severely flawed. Because of my bad attitude and understanding of the working world, I have lowered my standards. After 2 years in my previous company I moved up to the number 3 position in the office of 14 people. It’s not huge, but it did feel pretty powerful at the time. My next job will be a blow to my superiority complex. I have come around to the idea that if I want to work for my special companies then I will need to be willing to start over at the bottom. This is what fueled me to end my career when I did. Starting over is hard, but I’m still young and it won’t be such a blow now, especially since it is self-induced. Right now, I am entertaining the idea of working in the absolute lowest position to see how long it takes me to move up. I don’t mean this to be cocky, but I know myself and my work ethic, so this is my plan. It’s all about getting your foot in the door. Once you are employed and trusted by a company it is a lot easier to move up. Most positions posted online will go as internal promotions. I don’t have an actual statistic, but I’ll wager 9 times out of 10 someone who didn’t study that area of work in college like you did got the job because they already work there. If you do a good enough job with the right attitude, you shouldn’t have a problem moving up quickly.

I hope this has been helpful! Obviously, I’m not working yet so I’m not a total success- or am I? Do I really want to work anyway?

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SCUBA!

Fit nation is my current location. That is right, my new year resolutions are off to a grand start. Being unemployed has been highly beneficial for my health thus far! Sure, my confidence is not skyrocketing, but that is no different from normal. I now have the time to read all I want, play more music, exercise, and no longer feel the need to eat the cupboard because my stress levels are encouragingly low. I have already read 4 books in 2014! But that’s a blog post for another day.

In the month that has passed since I quit my job, I have received so much support and advice from friends and family. It has made me firmly confident in my decision. The next steps are truly the hardest- I’ve applied for a myriad of jobs and it’s not easy to get your foot in the door. The time is coming when I will have to pound the pavement and convince people to employ me. It will be a barrel of laughs I’m sure.

As my resolutions have been so fulfilling thus far I thought it would be fun to include a 2014 bucket list. If I can make it all the way to the end of February without ditching my resolutions I will stop posting about them constantly (obviously because I won’t have anything to report). For the time being, this is a list of things I would like to do at some point in my life and think this will be a good year to try:

  • Get scuba certified!
  • Go to a shooting range, then shoot a gun. In no other order.
  • Learn to shoot bow and arrow!
  • Take a photography class (because I’m crap at it and never like my pictures).
  • Ride a horse, properly.
  • Learn to swim, properly.

That is a big enough undertaking for now. If I am honest with myself, accomplishing even half of those things this year would be amazing. They all require various amounts of money to make happen so I obviously need to get on with the job hunt if I want to see these things happen! What do you want to do this year?

A Separate Resolution

Something I decided not to include in my 2014 resolutions is my wish to travel. I realize I included “going a new place” every month, but this can be pretty small scale like eating at a new restaurant. I have been incredibly blessed in my life by being given the opportunity to travel to many new places. Although, the majority of my travels have been in the US, I’ve had a short list of international retreats all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.

MalagaSpain

ScotlandScotland

LondonLondon (please forgive this outfit)

France

Paris

DisneyDisneyland Paris (deserves its own mention plus imagine that lady next to me isn’t there)

PeruPeru!

As you can see, most of these trips were the product of convenience when I was studying abroad in Spain and last year I was fortunate enough to have a friend already stationed in Peru who wanted to travel with me. I fear the luck and convenience may be running out and I may start making excuses, and that is a relevant fear, my friends! In my dreams I will take an international trip every year as well as making some tracks across the US. I have become a seasoned traveler and have spent more time in airports alone than with others. I can read maps, navigate a metro railway, and take a cab with the best of them. While I don’t love researching things to do at my destination because it peaks my anxiety, I love experiencing new cultures and places(even if it’s only looking back on them fondly).

I’m on financial lockdown for the duration of my unemployment so even if I had a destination and a buddy picked out, I still could not travel right now. This, I fear, will be the beginning of the great list of excuses. So instead of just looking for jobs right now I’m planning on researching destinations, attractions, and things I want to do to help make them a reality. Hopefully this will also motivate me to push forward and find a job as soon as possible in an effort to start fundraising for my future endeavors. I know that if I say I’m going to keep a list of my findings here then it will never come to fruition because that is how my resolve has been for this blog. But I’m not going to say it won’t happen because I’m trying to strengthen my will to get shit done!

A New Year

It’s 2014! Weird. In 2013 I went to Peru, the Outer Banks, spent a lot of quality time with good friends, learned a lot about wine, read good books, definitely watched too much tv, and then I quit my job. It’s something I’ve talked about doing for a while and it finally became clear that this was a necessary step. So I did! And I’m still in the non-reality stage where it hasn’t totally sunk in yet and I still need to find my next job… Which is it’s own adventure.

With my new-found free time (between applying for and researching jobs) I plan to take a lot more time taking care of myself and tending to my resolutions. Typically, I don’t put a lot of stock in new year resolutions- they tend to be short-lived and pretty identical every year. This year isn’t any different! While I’ve tried to make things a bit more specific so they are harder to stray from, there are still the traditional goals I set for myself almost every year. My hope is that by posting these I will put the extra energy necessary into making them a reality. So here goes!

My 2014 Resolutions:

  1. Run 2-3 times a week and participate in 2 races
  2. Read every day, preferably for 30 minutes or more, but whatever is manageable.
  3. Be kind, be loving, be polite.
  4. Play music 4 days a week. I’ve lost a lot of my piano and guitar and I think a little practice could fix that.
  5. Try a new thing or go a new place once a month.
  6. Figure out a sustainable weight-loss/healthy lifestyle that works for me. I’ve had success trying a few different regimens, but nothing has lasted for me. In addition, I want really toned arms and QUADS! If only for my bad knee, I need to take better care of that.