Feeling Stuck In Your Career As A Young Professional

Feeling Stuck In Your Career As A Young Professional

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about my career, lately.

And as a result, I’ve been a crazy mess full of anxiety!

But before I get into that, let me just make sure everyone understands something…

My life isn’t terrible! I really don’t don’t have much to complain about, at all.

I have an amazing fiance, we’re getting married in November, and our new house is supposed to be ready by then too.

So no, definitely not a terrible life.

But I’m 24 years old and I feel stuck.

Stuck in my career.

Stuck in a career that I’m not really passionate about.

Again…disclaimer here…I am SUPER THANKFUL for my job. SUPER THANKFUL for the amazing people that I get to work with.

But does the idea of doing this job for the rest of my life make me want to jump for joy?!?!?

No, I don’t think so.

Could I do it?

Sure…I’m pretty confident that I could perform really well at almost any job (with some training, obviously).

But do I WANT to do it? Do I WANT to do it forever?

That’s an entirely different question.

Call me naive, that’s fine, but I still really hope and believe that it’s possible to find a career and a job that you’re passionate about.

And more than that, I believe it’s what you should be striving for.

Sure, a job is a job and there are inevitably going to be days that suck…Days where I have no desire to get up for work, and instead want to spend my entire day binge-watching tv shows on Netflix.

But I want to wake up excited about the work that I’m doing.

I want to wake up and go to work and know that it’s something that I love and that I’m good at.

Something that I’m passionate about….

Something that does bring me a sense of personal satisfaction…

While knowing that I’m helping others in the process.

So when I think about what that is, I know the answer to it…

More than anything I want to be an On-boarding & Employee Development Specialist.

I want to work with companies, developing training sessions that will benefit both their employees and their leadership team.

I want to coach individuals to perform their best at a job, and I want to provide them with resources that help them get there.

If I could do that everyday, I’d be a really happy camper.

I know it.

But it’s not always so easy to transition into a new career field.

And I know I’m not the only one in this situation, for sure.

Especially us young professionals.

I mean, come on. We had to pick a major, something to study, when we were like 18 years old. At 18, I didn’t even know how to do my own laundry (thanks, momma, for all your help with that).

So I chose a major. And I got a Bachelors degree in Healthcare Administration. And I then went on to pursue a Masters degree in something that I assumed would complement my undergraduate education.

I earned my Master’s degree in Public Administration, as well as a Graduate Certificate in HR, and through that entire crazy process, I came to develop a passion for human resources and employee development.

Hence the creation of this blog, 3 years ago.

And you know what? It’s so great that I finally found something that makes me light up when I talk about it!!

It’s such a cool feeling!

Except for one thing…

I’ve never held a full-time job in HR!

So at this point in my career, when I’m already making a decent income and have a wedding and house to pay for, can I afford to take a job as a secretary in some HR office, hoping to climb that corporate ladder?

Not really.

Actually…I just looked at my bills for this month, and no….no I VERY MUCH can’t afford it.

(On a sidenote: think about how many young professionals out there are in a similar situation. They studied their butts off and studied something that they love, but got a job in something TOTALLY DIFFERENT because it paid the bills…because it allowed them to pay off their student loans. And now, 5…7 years later, they’re stuck at a job that they don’t really love, all for the money.)

So what are my options, then?

I can work really hard and continue to pursue this passion of mine in any way that I can, and hope that one day a company will allow me the opportunity to become an OED Specialist based solely on my volunteer experience and the content that I write on this blog…

Or, I can sell out.

I can do a job that I’m NOT passionate about, because it pays well.

And as the years go by, I can feel that much farther away from my dream.

Yea, it’s a little dramatic, but you know what I’m trying to say here.

Maybe it’s just me, and maybe I’m totally crazy, but I feel like I’m way too young to sell out. I’m way too young to not work towards the things that would make me happiest.

I’m way too young to make my career decisions solely on the digits that appear on my paycheck.

Because I really, truly believe that if more people did the things that they love to do, the workplace would be so much better.

If more people woke up excited to perform their job responsibilities, people would be happier! And people wouldn’t be so nasty at work! And people would be more productive! And people wouldn’t be so stressed all the time! And as a result, there’d be less heart attacks every year.

So I think this is the end of my rant. It’s been a while since I just word-vomited on a blog post.

But it’s how I feel, and I know I’m not alone.

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How To Minimize Debt In College So You Can Be Rich Faster

How To Minimize Debt In College So You Can Be Rich Faster

Last night, I participated in one of my favorite Twitter Chats, #Millennialtalk. 

And it got me thinking about debt, college students, and just how terrible it is that most students start their lives off in debt because of the insane costs of higher education.

Because I really do think it’s terrible.

Like, really really super terrible.

But at the same time, I think we need to start taking a little more responsibility for the AMOUNT of debt we actually have.

Because some of it’s our own fault.

Now wait a second!!! Before you throw rocks at me, listen… I’m not at all saying that ALL the debt we have is our own fault…I still believe that college costs are out of control, big time. But what I AM saying is that we often have a lot more debt than we need to have because of the choices that we make.

So here are 5 things you can do to decrease the amount of debt you incur in college, to hopefully make it a bit more manageable once you graduate, and help you get rich raster.

1. Stay in state.

When we’re in high school, we can’t wait to get the heck out of of our houses! No more mom and dad and our stupid curfew!! So we seem to think that the best way to gain that freedom that we’re craving is to attend college as far away from home as possible. But you know what? That’s not the only option! And quite frankly, I don’t think it’s the smartest one.

Attending an out-of-state school, in most cases, will cost you a LOT more money. If you need to get away from your parents, you can still do that in-state. You can move to another city entirely, or you can attend a school within walking distance from your house, and live in the dorms if you really want that freedom. But in the long run, you’ll be saving tons of money.

2. Live with your parents if you can. If you need a break from the parentals, find roommates and understand that you’re not going to live in a mansion.

Yea, you’re parents are annoying most of the time. And yea, I get it…you don’t want to be told to be home by 2am. But if you can deal with them a little longer, STAY AT HOME. Because rent is super expensive. And my friends…it’s not just rent that you have to pay for when you move out. It’s:

  • Food (this alone can make you super poor)
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Toothpaste – you know, those things your mom usually buys for you which really add up, btw.

You also have to do your laundry which is a pain. You also have to deal with things like your A/C breaking or having a water leak – those beautiful, unexpected costs.

But okay, let’s say you can deal with this. Let’s say that you can afford to move out of mom and dad’s house… if you’re ready to do that, then you’re going to need roommates. Because owning or even renting a property all on your own is usually unaffordable. At least, here in Miami it is.

So instead of taking out a loan to pay for a nice, big, gorgeous place, find roommates and share the cost. Even with roommates, your house or apartment isn’t going to be a mansion. ACCEPT IT! It’s not going to look like the houses do on HGTV. Nope. Chances are it’s going to be a tiny hole in the wall. And you know why? Because it’s all you’re going to be able to afford!

And that’s OK! You’re in your early twenties! You don’t have much work experience! You’re not making all that much money! So don’t pretend that you have more money than you really do.

Pretending that you’re a millionaire when you’re not is the quickest way to find yourself $100K in debt.

So just don’t do it.

3. Get a job while you’re studying.

Ugh!!! But I can’t go to school and get a job! It’s way too hard! Then I won’t have time to roam around on campus and find cute guys on Tinder…

Here’s the reality. Some people don’t NEED to work while they’re in college. Some people can afford not to. But I would HIGHLY encourage it. Even if it’s 5 hours a week. Even if it’s just two hours. Money is money, people.

When I was a Freshman in college, I was a campus tour guide. I gave tours to students and their parents in the hot blazing Miami sun for maybe four hours a day, twice a week. Making $7/hr. But you know what? That was about $50 a week more than I would have had if I wasn’t working. And that adds up.

So do you have to work while in college? Not necessarily. Could you instead use the time to be free of work and just hang out with your friends and study for your classes? Absolutely. But understand that it’s a choice you’re making.

You’re making a choice to not make money. And by not making money, that’s more debt that you’re collecting.

4. Don’t buy things you don’t need.

If you don’t have a job, and you don’t have any money, do you really need $200 headphones and new speakers for your car? Nope…ya don’t.

Do you need food, and your books for school, and gas for your car, and all the other basic life necessities? Yea, quite obviously.

So…you see? There’s a big difference here.

One of the fastest ways to add to your post-college debt is to buy things that you don’t need. Whenever you’re about to buy something, ask yourself… “Is this something I really need?” If the answer is no, then put it down and walk away. You’ll thank yourself later, I promise.

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t ever treat yourself to something! You definitely CAN and you should! But if you get into the habit of restraining yourself and not buying things that aren’t really necessary, your debt-to-income ratio will be a lot less scary when you’re ready to step out into the real world.

5. Do not EVER use the phrase, “Well…I’ve already got X amount of debt, so what’s another X amount of dollars added to that?”

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard this one. And I cringe each and every single time.

So many of my friends just laughed it off… “Oh, I’ve already got $50k worth of debt, so what’s another $300 for this purse?” Um… it’s another $300, lady! $300 here and $500 there and another $1000 on that spring break trip that you can’t afford…. all of that adds up! And all of that…YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT AT SOME POINT!

It’s easy and it’s tempting to say, “Well…what’s the difference between $50k of debt and $75k?? I’ll pay for it eventually when I graduate and have a job.”

But it’s such a dangerous mind frame to have.

First of all, there’s a big difference between $50k and $75k. Ask anyone who’s currently trying to pay off even $1k of debt.

And secondly, let’s see…you know how hard it is to pay off $75k of debt when you land a job and you’re making $40k if you’re lucky? Let’s do the math. If you’re lucky enough these days to be making about $40k right out of college, and you owe $75k…even if every single penny of every single paycheck that you got went into paying off your debt, you wouldn’t have enough.

(And that’s not even talking about the interest on that debt.)

But realistically speaking, you can’t do that. You can’t use your entire paycheck to pay off debt. You need your paycheck to pay for your car and your car insurance and your rent and your gas and your food and your health insurance and your other day-to-day living kind of stuff. So once all the bills are paid, I promise you, more often than not, you’re not gunna have even $1k left over to put towards that debt.

So what’s my point?

Keep your debt as minimal as possible. Debt isn’t like this imaginary thing that you’ll never have to pay for once you graduate. It’s not even something that you’ll be able to pay off in a few MONTHS once you graduate and have a job (unless you’re like some super kick-ass lawyer or nuclear physicist).

It’s your responsibility to pay for every single thing that you swipe your credit card for, so with every swipe that you can’t afford, you’re doing your future self a HUGE disservice.

Be smart about this.

And yea, I get it. We’re broke at that point in our lives. Believe me, I got it back then, and I STILL get it. But if that’s the case, then we shouldn’t be blowing $100 on alcohol every Thursday-Sunday. And we shouldn’t keep buying the latest iPhone. And we shouldn’t have a wardrobe that looks like Kim Kardashian’s.

Because we got no monaaay, honaay!

But we’ll get there, eventually. With time.

And if you keep your debt to a minimal in college, you’ll find yourself way ahead of your friends when you DO graduate and get a job.

And you’ll be rich that much faster!

I graduated college with zero debt. I was lucky, but I was also smart. I made smart financial decisions. I don’t own Christian Louboutins, even though I want some really really badly. I didn’t and still don’t go to fancy dinners all the time. Friday nights consist of Publix $3.99 pizzas- which I LOVE.

But I’m 24 years old and I’ve got over $40k already put away towards retirement. And when I hit 30, that number will be even higher.

So, stay in state.

Live with your parents.

Get a job while you study.

Don’t buy things you don’t need.

And understand that debt adds up. FAST.

Any other suggestions??

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Career Series No. 4- Camp Director

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Hi everyone! Welcome to Week #4 of my new  Gen Y Girl Career Series. Today, my friend Donna is sharing some of her work experience with us… and I’m pretty jealous! Her job sounds like so much fun! Let us know what you think :)

Enjoy!

What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?

Growing up I really wanted to be an author. For years and years and years I had dreams of spending my days filling notebooks and word documents with stories. And then traveling to book signings and whatever else I thought authors did to get a paycheck. I wanted to be an author for the very simple reason that I loved to write and from a very early age I was determined to do something I loved.

What is your current job?

Today I work as an Assistant Camp Director at a summer camp for children, youth and adults with disabilities.

How did you land that position? (What made you want to pursue that?)

I grew up going to summer camp and I absolutely loved the time I spent at camp each summer. I always knew I wanted to be a camp counselor when I was in high school/university as a summer job. I grew up at a very small church camp and it wasn’t until I was in high school and started Googling and reading about summer camps that I learned there were bigger camps out there that operated for more than two months. I did a lot of research and learned that there was such a thing as a Bachelor of Recreation. I minored in Religious Studies because I was interested in working at a Christian camp.

In some ways I ‘fell into’ the Assistant Director at my current camp. I was looking for something different and the camp was just beginning a big transition after a few difficult years. I knew it was a great opportunity to have a big say in the programming and restructuring of camp.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

The first thing most camp directors will tell you is there’s no such thing as a typical day at camp, every single day is different, which is part of what makes it such a great job! For the sake of answering the question though, I’ll do my best to give you an idea of what a day looks like, I live on site during the summer so my daily schedule is a lot different from most would consider a typical work day!

 7:30 a.m. – Wake Up, check in with cooks, grab a cup of coffee and head to the office to check e-mail, weather report and review the daily schedule making changes if needed according to the forecast.
9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. – Campers and counselors are participating in morning activities. Usually I’m moving around from activity to activity checking to see that things are going well and people have what they need. Occasionally there is paperwork to be done during this time and some days there are meetings with the cooks and nurses to solve problems and keep everyone communicating and working together.
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. – We have lunch followed by rest period. Typically during this time I check emails and camp social media accounts again then gather supplies and set up for afternoon programming. It’s also common for me to head to the cabins to help get campers ready for swim.
2:00-5:00 p.m. – Campers rotate between swimming and another afternoon activity. Some days I might join the campers for a swim or help out with the alternate activity. Occasionally I’ll have to make a trip to town during this time to pick up supplies and run any camp related errands.
5:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Supper is followed by our evening activity. This is usually when the director and I get some time to ourselves to shower and take a break from the chaos. When we ‘return’ (neither of us actually leave site) we discuss anything that we need to bring up at the counsellor meeting that night and revisit our to do lists for the day/week.
8:00 -9:30 p.m. – We have snack and then it’s time for the campers to start winding down and getting ready for bed. We have a counselor meeting to pass along information then follow up and check in with counselors individually.
9:30 – 10:30 p.m. – Organizing and preparing as much as possible for the next day!

10:30 p.m. – Most days the camp/work day ends here, although anything can happen and the day could last a long longer if there’s work that needs to be done!

What do you love most about it?

I love that I’m helping to provide a place where campers are exposed to an environment full of people who are there to support and encourage them. I love that I get to facilitate new experiences (often for both campers and counselors). I love that no day is ever the same and there are constant opportunities to learn and be creative.

What do you hate most about it?

The biggest downside to my current position is that because I work for a non-profit organization the budget is tight. I work on a contractual basis based on current budgets and grant money. I am guaranteed work beginning in mid May lasting until the end of August, but after that I could (and have) found myself essentially unemployed. Last year the organization received a grant that allowed me to work from February until October but then I was laid off until this coming May. It has nothing to do with shortage of work and everything to do with budget constraints. Even when I’m not officially employed by camp I still spend some of my spare time working on camp related things. I have been really fortunate to be able to work other contract jobs during the periods of time away from camp. This allows me to pay the bills but still keep working towards my goal of working at a camp full time.

What’s the coolest thing that ever happened to you at work?

I could go on for days sharing camp stories! It’s impossible to pick a true favorite.

What strengths do you think are necessary for someone to be successful at this job?

The best camp directors are people who enjoy problem solving and work well under pressure.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone who’s looking to pursue this as a career? 

The camp community is very close knit. Start volunteering (or working) at camps in your area and making connections. So often I hear of job or volunteer opportunities through other camp folks that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about because they were not publicly advertised. When it comes to directing a camp knowledge is power become certified in anything that might give you a leg up. In addition to my degree in recreation I also have certifications in first aid, canoeing, healthy childhood development, food safety and program evaluation.

DonnaGG

Connect with Donna on any of her social media accounts:

Blog: Grace & Galoshes (http://graceandgaloshes.blogspot.com)

Bloglovin': http://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/grace-galoshes-7386449

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: https://instagram.com/donna032/

Career Series No. 2- Craft Beer

Career Series Craft Beer Industry

Happy Monday everyone! Welcome to Week #2 of my  Gen Y Girl Career Series. Today, my new friend Leah is telling us a little bit about her pretty kick-ass job. No lie, I’m pretty jealous!

So let’s get to it…

What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?

This is super silly, but when I was little I wanted to grow up to be an FBI agent. I read a lot of mystery novels as a kid/teen and I think that’s where that came from. In high school, I wanted to be a lawyer (and have four years of mock trial to show for it), and finally, in college, I realized marketing was where I really wanted to work!

What’s is your current job?

Currently, I’m the Marketing and Merchandise Specialist for Terrapin Beer Co. in Athens, GA.

It’s hard to describe exactly what I do, since Terrapin is a growing company, but currently I purchase the merchandise for the gift shop at the brewery and online, and also work in the marketing department on events and promotions wherever they need me.

How did you land that position? (What made you want to pursue that?)

I first found the position after my boyfriend was accepted to a PhD program at UGA and was looking to be close to him. I knew I was interested in marketing, but had never really thought about working in the beer industry. I enjoyed craft beer, so I figured it could be cool.

In terms of landing the job, honestly, I just applied. I know so many people stress the importance of networking in order to land your first job out of college, but I consider myself a case for the good old fashioned way!

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

No two days are the same haha, but fortunately, even though I work in the beer industry I usually work 9-5! I usually get to work by 9 (sometimes 9:30… Oops!) and work with my marketing director on upcoming events and campaigns in the morning, and spend my afternoon working with merchandise, whether it’s in the gift shop, or for our distributor partners. I also field requests from our sales team for promotional materials and merchandise for events and festivals.

What do you love most about it?

There’s a lot to love about working in the beer industry- including free beer! But really, I love my job because it’s full of challenges. Craft beer is a growing industry, so marketing is increasingly important for the success of the beer and the brand! I get to go into the market for events and hear about people loving Terrapin, and tell me how cool the t-shirts I order and design are!

What do you hate most about it?

The most frustrating part of my job is unfortunately something that I can’t change- the laws in Georgia around beer are pretty crappy for breweries. You can’t buy beer directly from a brewery and I can’t legally tell you where to buy our beer (as it shows “favoritism” to certain establishments). It doesn’t always affect my job specifically, but it can be really hard to feel like your whole company has its hands tied.

What’s the coolest thing that ever happened to you at work?

So I think so far, the coolest thing that has happened to me is that I’ve been given the chance to go to Bonnaroo – for work! I’ll be pouring craft beer at an awesome music festival with 5 of my co-workers. The beer industry revolves around a lot of events, and it’s pretty exciting that I get to help our sales team with so many of them!

What strengths do you think are necessary for someone to be successful at this job?

Creativity is a huge strength in this industry, as is flexibility! There are a LOT of small craft breweries that are making good beer, so marketing beer, and your breweries can be challenging. Plus your job could change at a moment’s notice- as companies grow, there’s a lot more that needs to happen!

What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone who’s looking to pursue this as a career?

Drink craft beer! there’s a ton of great marketing minds in the world, but not all of those marketing people like craft beer. If you’re knowledgable about beer, and marketing, interviewing for a position similar to mine at a brewery should be a piece of cake (or should I say, a pint of beer!)

Leah Kuck
Connect with Leah on any of her social media accounts:

Instagram: @chatwithleahk
Twitter: @chatwithleahk
Facebook: life, love and coffee stains

Thanks for checking out Week #2! If you’d like to participate, fill out the contact form HERE and let me know why you’d like to be a part of this adventure!

Also…be sure to check out my first ever blog design giveaway! We’re giving away some really great blogging resources from Kate Stevens Designs.

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Friday Roundup 4/24/15

Friday Roundup 4/24/2015

1. How to Style A Desk 3 Ways: for the Student, the Post-Grad, and the Career Woman: The Every Girl

2. How to Become a Bullet Journal Wizard: The College Girl Daily

3. 14 Ways to Make Your Home More Awesome: House Beautiful

4. Tips for Starting a Blogging Calendar: Elizabeth Loves

5. Random Acts of Kindness Ideas: Clarks Condensed

Happy Friday!! Feel free to share any other posts you’ve found interesting this week! And yes- feel free to share your OWN posts from this week as well! :)

P.S. Stuff I’m Crushing On Real Hard Right Now:

 These GORG media kits. 

Tory never disappoints. Need this bag in my life now. 

The prettiest of bowls! 

This PERFECT chic laptop case. 

Paul Angone’s got a new book out! Been reading it all week. Definitely a spot-on depiction of twenty something expectation vs. twenty something reality. 

Yet another super weird thing that the guy I’m marrying would love. Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth Speaker. 

While there are affiliate links included in this list, and I receive a small commission off of any potential purchases, I only share super awesome products that I think are way cool.

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