Take a Break! You Need it!

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I’ve been struggling with a really annoying problem lately and I don’t know what to do.

I’m tired… ALL THE TIME.

And I hate it!

Someone please explain this to me…

I’m a CrossFit junkie three times a week.

I eat pretty healthily (I hope that’s a word).

And I’m 22 years old!

22!!!!!

So where’s all my energy gone?

I see people twice my age going out and having a great time and me…all I want to do is take a nap.

That can’t be normal.

In the three years that I’ve been working full-time, it’s almost like all the life has been sucked out of me.

I kind of want to cry.

But it’s not an unusual feeling, really. Research the negative affects of work and you’ll find the following:

Overload.

Burn-out.

Stress.

And then we wonder why so many people are dropping dead from heart attacks.

We work and we work and we work. And when we’re done with that, we work some more.

Because if we do stop, if we do take a break, we’re not committed.

We’re considered lazy.

We’re not the one the boss wants on her team.

I really wish that this attitude would change, though.

I wish that people would be judged by the quality of what they contribute.

Not by how many hours they work.

Because overload….burnout…stress…

I’m way too young to have to deal with that the rest of my life.

And if proving that I’m committed to my work means that I can’t take a break every once in a while for my own health…

I’ll proudly accept my title as Worst Employee of the Year.  

Now do yourself a favor and check out this AWESOME infographic about breaks and why they’re SUPER IMPORTANT!

And when you’re done with that…go enjoy your weekend! 😀

Hello! Gen Y Wants To Travel

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Growing up, I always knew I wanted to travel.

I also knew, that it would require me to have lots of money.

So I strategized.

I worked hard in school. I got good grades. I got a scholarship to college.

I started a full-time job when I was 19 and graduated when I was just 20.

Beautiful!

I had a full-time job AND made enough money to afford my inexplicable need to hop on a plane whenever I wanted.

Or so I thought.

You see…

Traveling requires money.

And to have money, you need a job.

But to be able to KEEP your job and therefore KEEP having money, you can’t just spend weeks at a time traveling.

Dissappointing, I know.

I think that today, more than ever, young people want to travel.

More than ever, they want to see the world.

And they want to do so while they’re young and have no kids and while they still have their friends from college to go with.

But it’s kind of hard to do that if they have no money. And if they HAVE jobs and therefore HAVE money, it’s STILL hard, because they just don’t have the time to do it.

They can’t just start a new job, walk into their boss’ office, and ask for a month off because they need to go see Europe.

That’s not exactly what employers want to hear.

So more than ever, young professionals are seeking out jobs that allow them to travel.

They’re seeking jobs that advertise in their job descriptions: 70-80% travel.

Why?

Because they haven’t seen the world yet!

And they want to. Desperately.

So jobs that let them do that are instantly the most attractive. They’re the most exciting.

That’s why I really liked this contest that I came across…

It’s called Around the World in 80 Jobs, sponsored by Adecco, a leader in full-time and temporary staffing solutions.

Essentially, the contest is giving eight winners the opportunity of a lifetime.

Eight winners will have the chance to explore the world while gaining on-the-job experience.

Check out the video below and if you’re interested, you have until May 20th to enter.

Sooo…What do you think? Share your thoughts and comment below for a chance to win a $100 Banana Republic Gift Card.

What’s your dream job? What’s your dream location?

Would you LOVE to travel or am I the only crazy person who wants to?

Giveaway sponsored by Adecco.

Respect and Gen Y: What’s Age Got To Do With It?

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I’m working on an exciting new project. It’s awesome, really, because I get to do something that I love.

I get to teach college students about leadership and about success at work.

Yes, I’m currently in the midst of trying to be productive…even though this is me on most days…

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Alright… so in an effort to find the right topics to discuss and the right stories to share with these students, I’ve had to reflect a lot on my experiences in the workplace.

And well…that hasn’t been fun.

It hasn’t been fun because I’ve realized something.

I’ve realized that although there are a lot of things that I can teach these students, there’s no way that I can control the hardships that they’ll continue to face as young professionals.

There’s no way that I’ll be able to rid them of the label that they’ll often be given:

YOUNG & INEXPERIENCED.

This makes me mad.

You know, I once went on a job interview and overall, it was a great experience.

The people were friendly and made me feel comfortable…something a bit rare for an interview. I was actually having a good time.

Until I wasn’t.

I was totally bothered by something that one of the men who was interviewing me asked.

He said, “I’m going to ask you something…you look very young…how are you going to handle yourself when an executive or a senior employee needs something resolved and doesn’t want to talk to you because you look so young?”

Yes. I was really supposed to answer that.

Now, don’t get me wrong…the man who asked me the question was a nice guy. I actually got a long with him very well and so I know that he didn’t mean this question to be negative or to upset me.

But it did upset me because it made me realize that this is a very real problem.

When we talk about discrimination, stereotypes, diversity in the workplace, etc., we often tend to focus on race and ethnicity.

But what about age?

I mean, in that very same interview, would it have been okay for him to say, “you know…you look a bit Asian….how are you going to handle yourself when an executive or a senior employee needs something and doesn’t want to talk to you because you’re Asian?”

No. Absolutely not. That would absolutely NOT have been okay.

So why is it okay that he asked about age?

Why is it okay for young professionals to receive less respect than we deserve?

Think about it.

So many of us are intelligent. So many of us are driven. So many of us are talented and determined and hungry for the opportunity to make a difference.

Sure, we don’t know everything. No one does. And yes, we have a lot to learn.

But we need people who will teach us and who will treat us as equals.

Not people who feel that we’re beneath them.

Because at the end of the day, we all have a lot to learn from eachother.

So when I think about these students that I’ll  be advising, I hate that I won’t be able to force others to fully see their value. I hate that I won’t be able to delete that label that many of them will get stuck with.

But I CAN make sure that they understand the following…

Each of us…we get the respect that we demand.

Simple as that.

Just because we’re young doesn’t mean that we’re not good at what we do. Skill and ability are not necessarily determined by age.

Experience, not age, is what leads to wisdom.

And sometimes people forget this.

So young professionals…

Demand that respect. Demand that equality.

Don’t let people underestimate your abilities and your talents.

And when they do, prove them wrong.

Don’t let people be mean to you just because they think that they can.

Know your worth.

Be professional.

Do good work.

And always make sure to stand up for yourself.

Because if you don’t demand that respect for yourself, no one else will.

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7 Things I Learned About Work and Life After Years of Hating Sports

Approximately 27 million.

That’s how many people are playing fantasy football.

And so it begins…

Football season.

Here’s something you should know about me:

For years and years and years, I HATED sports.

I mean, really, I detested them.

Perhaps it was because one of my ex boyfriends left me after high school to go play basketball.

Or, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I can’t understand how athletes make bazillions of dollars and teachers make pennies.

Maybe it’s always been a little bit of both.

Regardless, every year as all of my friends indulge in the craziness surrounding their favorite sports teams, I’ve always sat around watching everyone drink beer, kind of scratching my head, wondering what the big fuss is about.

I just never understood.

But as I entered the workforce, I began to see parallels between the world of sports and organizational structure.

So here’s why I can now say that I LIKE sports.

I don’t LOVE them yet, but I like them.

Because through sports, we learn lessons about life and work, and they’re important.

1. Sports teach us about competition

Competition is the key to success and ensures that we continue striving for excellence. No team likes to lose. They don’t. Therefore, in order to win, they have to play their best. Whether you’re competing for a spot at an Ivy League school or for that kick ass job you applied for, if you want to win, you have to be better than your competition. Same applies to any company. You want business? You want clients? Then you need to be better than your competitors. You need to be committed to learning and growing and perfecting your skills so that your competition doesn’t even stand a chance.

2. Sports remind us of the importance of succession plans

There are always going to be stars. We’ve got Lebron James and well…I don’t know that many sports players other than Tim Tebow and…um…okay…Dan Marino and…um…all the Alabama football players that my boyfriend’s always talking about, but the point is that while they’re on the team, the team dominates. The team does well. They win their trophies. Everybody cheers. Everyone is happy. But what happens when these star players no longer play? What happens when they get hurt or they retire or they go play for another team? More often than not, the team’s performance suffers.

Just like sports teams recruit new players by watching college games, eyeing prospective future players, companies should be doing the same, recruiting talent for the future. That way, when their current stars no longer work for them, they’ll have great new talent and their team’s performance won’t suffer.

3. Sports show us that if you put in work, you get results 

It’s not that complicated. If you work hard, you’ll see results. If you’re out practicing on the field, more often than not, you’re going to perform a lot better than that player that never attends practice and thinks that he can just show up the day of the game and be awesome. Nothing in life that’s good comes easily. I don’t care how corny that sounds. It’s true. If you put in effort, if you dedicate yourself to continuous improvement, you will ALWAYS be better off than you were before. Be it your job, your relationship, those six pack abs that you’re dying to have, if you want to achieve great results, you need to put in the time and energy. Great companies understand this and know that to achieve success, they need to have employees that are committed to nothing less than that and therefore, they facilitate an environment that encourages continuous learning and improvement.

4. Sports create team players 

There’s no I in team…blah…blah…blah…you’ve heard it a million times. But it’s as true for an organization as it is for any sports team. Organizations need to have teams that work well together and know how to play on each other’s strengths in order to win.

5. Sports give us a sense of hope and are a source of inspiration

There are a lot of bad things going on in the world, a lot of unfair things happening on a daily basis. But it’s nice that for a few short hours, while people sit in front of the t.v. shotgunning beers, people have something else to think about. We love to root for the underdog. We watch sports movies about the team that never could have won, but did. They remind us that regardless of how bad a situation is, things can be better. That if we believe that we can do things, we can surprise ourselves and everyone else with how far we get. People want to be inspired. They want to have something to believe in. We want to know that even if our team went 0 and 500 last year, with the right coaching, the right players, and the right attitude, we can turn it around and go undefeated. Sports do that for us, and I love that.

6. Sports create for us a sense of belonging

People want to belong to something. People want to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. 22 year old Marina Keegan, a Yale student,  wrote a beautiful essay about just this, right before she died in a tragic accident. Here she writes as she dwells upon graduation:

Yale is full of tiny circles we pull around ourselves. A cappella groups, sports teams, houses, societies, clubs. These tiny groups that make us feel loved and safe and part of something even on our loneliest nights when we stumble home to our computers — partner-less, tired, awake. We won’t have those next year. We won’t live on the same block as all our friends. We won’t have a bunch of group-texts.

This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.

We want to belong to something. Especially us Millennials, just entering the workforce, who have just been ripped apart, as Keegan says, from all the “tiny circles we pull around ourselves.” Those circles define us. They’re how we define ourselves. When we cheer for a particular team, we belong to that group of people who cheer for them as well. And just like that, we belong to something. We’re Dolphins fans…we’re Patriots fans…we’re Auburn fans (just kidding, babe). We cheer together. We cry together. We throw the remote control at the t.v. when we’re down together.

For that same reason, companies need to focus on building their brand and cultivating a positive culture within their organization. They should want their employees to feel that they belong to something much bigger. They should want their employees to feel that they’re part of the team. That way, they cheer when the organization is doing well and they work harder than ever when they’re down because their goal is to see their team win. Because they don’t want to belong to something that loses.

7. If nothing else, sports give us something to talk about at work 

Yes. It’s true.

So there you have it. Those are seven reasons why I can no longer say that I hate sports.

I’m sure there are other reasons, like this…

There. I officially LOVE sports. I said it. Thank you, Mr. Beckham.

And so that my man doesn’t kill me, ROLL TIDE, everyone!

Other stuff you might like:

Why Companies Are Using Gen Y and Embracing the Blogosphere

Companies Need to Make it Easier for Gen Y to Job-Hop

Invest in Young Talent, It’s Worth It

Companies Need To Make It Easier For Gen Y to Job-Hop

It used to be that employees would stay at jobs for years and years and years and then they’d die. Or retire. Or whatever came first.

But today, that’s not the case.

Studies have shown that on average, Generation Y workers are staying at jobs for about 18 months. Then, they’re leaving. Because it’s so expensive, the cost of turnover is something that’s really making employers nervous. I, however, don’t think it’s a bad thing. On the contrary, I think it’s wonderful that workers these days want to experience new things and expand their skill sets.

When it comes to Generation Y and turnover, there are a few questions that need to be addressed:

1. Why does this happen? 

This new generation of workers grew up with more options than ever before. We’ve lived with technology our whole lives and that has contributed to our awareness of all of our options. There’s  zero appeal in doing the same thing for the rest of our lives because we want to experience so much. There’s too much to do, too much to see, and we don’t want to be stuck doing any ONE thing, forever.

In addition to this is the fact that our interests are changing. By the time we enter the workforce and hold our first real jobs, our interests are much different than the interests we had when we first entered college. And that’s the problem. From as early as pre-school, people are asking us to decide what we want to do with the rest of our lives. I’m really sorry, but in pre-school, the only profession I could see myself going into is that of being a princess. But as we grow up, our interests change. ALOT.

For example…

I used to hate eating.

Now, this is me…

Also, I used to hate boys.

Today, not so much.

My brother is one of my favorite people.

And this is the love of my life…

Okay, but really, our interests do change. When I first started college, I thought I’d be a Physical Therapist. Then, I got a degree in Health Services Administration, figuring I’d be a hospital executive one day. Today, I can see myself doing a lot of different things. I’ve learned through the past couple of years that I’m passionate about teaching. I’m passionate about leadership and helping people make the best out of the workplace. I’d like to one day write a book. I would love to work in a non-profit some day. I’d love to be a college counselor.

Point is, we only figure out what we like and what we don’t like through time and experience. We shouldn’t be expected to know what our dream job is upon entering the workplace. We shouldn’t be forced to stick to any one job for years and years and years especially if it’s not the best fit for us. Generation Y wants work that engages us and that allows us to explore our different interests using the talents that we have. This is not a bad thing.

2. What can we do about this?

Without a doubt, it’s in a company’s best interest to understand their workers, in this case, Generation Y, because by 2025, 75% of the workforce will consist of these employees. By better understanding their workers, companies can then strategically align employee incentives to ensure that they are able to retain the best talent.

So rather than fighting this issue of turnover, how about employers just go with it? Young workers aren’t interested in having the same job for fifty years. They’re just not. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t want to stay at the same ORGANIZATION for quite some time. What does that mean? Employers can retain employees by making it easier for internal talent to transition to other jobs. They can also do so by allowing employees to belong to different task forces, helping to expand their skill sets on a regular basis. We want to develop, we like varied tasks, and when we express interest in another field, we’d like nothing more than the opportunity to explore that.

Too often, people start off their careers at jobs that they soon realize are not for them. And then what happens? They leave the organization because they figure it’s their only option. At most organizations, it’s really difficult to change jobs. Why? Because every job requires x amount of years of experience in that particular field. If you’ve been busy working at job A, how are you supposed to have x amount of years of experience in job B? You just can’t.

Companies can really do a much better job at providing on-the-job training which would allow employees to pursue other career options without leaving the organization and taking their talents elsewhere. Companies need to make sure that their employees don’t feel stuck. And in order to do that, there exists a need for leaders who guide and mentor other employees, helping them reach their career goals.

3. Why is this a good thing? 

At this point, I’m sure some people are reading this and thinking, “Dude, that’s a lot of work…I hire someone to do a specific job and that’s it. If they don’t like it, they can leave.”

That’s fine. You can choose to feel that way.

But they WILL leave.

And you WILL miss out.

You’ll miss out on talent. And you know what? Your people and their talent are your greatest assets. So use it. Make better use of your talent. If your employees are expending their skill sets, that’s great! Let them! Encourage them! Instead of being proficient in only one area, they’ll now be proficient in many. Isn’t that the goal? To have well-rounded employees? I certainly think so.