Are you working your dream job right now?
Was that question so ridiculously far from truth that you just let out an incensed snort and want to punch me in the face?
If you’re a twentysomething and graduated somewhere within this “great” recession, chances are you’ve had a crappy job (or two) (or three) (or four)….
Before I graduated college, I made fun of all those unfortunate twentysomethings working in lifeless, listless, and pointless jobs. Until that unfortunate twentysomething was me. Then it became a lot less funny.
A crappy job can feel like a black hole — it sucks and feels impossible to escape.
How can you be strategic and smart with your lousy job to make sure it’s a quick stop and not a long, black-hole-sucking, stay? Here’s five tips on how you not only survive your lousy job, but leverage it into a job that is dream-esque.
5 Vital Tips to Surviving and Thriving in your Twentysomething-Painful-Profession
1. You are Not Alone
First, I promise you’re not alone. A majority of your friends are experiencing the same “please God, make it stop” job experience. No matter how cool they’ve made their job sound on Facebook, they’re struggling to find meaning in their days as well.
So pick up the phone. Call a friend or two. Be honest. Don’t put a PR spin on the unspinnable. Then listen for this amazing thing called actual, honest, conversation. Laugh together about how bad it feels. Share war stories and strategies.
You’re not alone. And just knowing that fact can make that crappy job smell a lot better.
2. Start a Side-Hustle
When you’re not finding fulfillment with the old 8-5 thing, start finding fulfillment with a side-hustle. I believe Pamela Slim of Escape from Cubicle Nation coined the phrase “side-hustle,” basically it’s that thing — that idea, that book, that website, that training, that education, THAT SOMETHING you’re going to pursue during the after-hours.
An effective side-hustle will give you energy and creativity — two necessary flames that need to be ignited if you are going to escape this lousy job. It’s not going to pay the bills right away, but hustle enough and maybe soon it will.
3. Don’t Take to Social Media to Complain
You’ve had another terrible day in your terrible job and you just need to vent. Just say no to sharing it with the entire Internet world.
As I wrote about in 12 Facebook Updates that Need to Stop Happening, complaining about your lousy job on Facebook will turn off Non-Crappy Job’s from luring you in their direction. They’ll worry that if they hired you it would be just a matter of time before you’re complaining about them too.
4. Calls, Lunches, Coffee, Rinse, Repeat
Dive headfirst into that network of yours. Reach out to everyone. No relationship is off limits. Timmy, who you did Boy Scouts with in elementary school. Jessica who you competed against in a pageant. Mary who stole your boyfriend in 9th grade. (Seriously, she owes you one!).
Talk to as many people as you can. Show them your excitement and your passion. You’d be surprised how many job opportunities come through acquaintances and friends-of-friends. People like helping people. Especially if they don’t know all your junk like your best friend does.
5. Learn What Needs to be Learned
I’m one of those everything is happening for a reason kind of people. Sometimes I forget I’m one of these people and go into a deep depression of eating raw cookie dough alone in the dark while listening to Death Cab for Cutie, but give me a week or two and I’ll snap out of it.
Every job, no matter how terrible, has something to teach. What skills can be gained NOW that you can leverage LATER?
What extra assignments or tasks can you volunteer for that better align with your strengths and interests? Who can you start buttering up — “Wow Greg, you designed that brochure so well. You’re so talented. What’s your secret” — so that you can begin informally shadowing them and learning a new set of skills. Start becoming proficient in your passion.
Don’t sit back passively waiting for an opportunity, look for ways to create one.
Sometimes you learn the most in the jobs you like the least.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below: What’s one strategy you have for surviving or thriving in your lousy job?
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I, __________, am a twentysomething and I am exploring.
Or I’m lost?
I’m not sure which one.
I brought supplies. I prepared. I thought I knew the way, but I think I took a left when maybe it was supposed to be a right?
Or a left, then a right, then a left? Or right, right, left…oh I dunno.
Nothing looks familiar. The birds circling above me seem to be growing in numbers. And I’m scared, to be honest. Actually, I think FREAKED OUT would be more accurate.
I don’t have a map, my mom, Pocahontas, or a furry little animal to show me the way back home.
But wait, where’s home? What’s home?
That’s why I went exploring in the first place — to find that place where I could unpack my clothes and start my life. How can I go back to something that I set out to discover? How can I go back to something that no longer exists?
Home is the new world. I will find it or die trying.
OK, not really die trying. That sounded dramatic so I wrote it.
No, really, I was dying waiting.
I was dying when my nights were spent exploring Netflix hoping to discover some B movie to forget about my D + life.
Sure I’m scared now. More than ever. But I’m also alive now too. I have a certain focus. A certain kind of adrenaline and drive fueling me, compelling me to keep going.
Yeah, I’m lost. But that was the point. Being lost might be the exact spot that I will be found.
You have to get lost to explore.
Explorers get lost on purpose, with purpose. Explorers only find something greater if they first lose site of the familiar.
I will not wait here. I will not hesitate. When morning comes I will move forward. All explorers have to get lost. That’s when they make their biggest discoveries.
I, __________, am a twentysomething and I am an explorer.
Is there anyone out here exploring too?
Gen Y — Have you ever felt like you’re drowning in a sea of websites?
Have you spent hours searching for those special sites that will rescue you from pounding waves of Internet-ness onto a tropical island filled with lush, chocolate trees of Internet-bliss?
(Yes. It’s that epic).
Now of course All Groan Up is at least in the Top Three with it’s resources like: 21 Secrets for your 20s, Three Life Lessons Learned from Playing Oregon Trail, and 31 Ways You Know You’re a GenY Twentysomething.
And if you have a website, it’s assuredly snuggled right next to mine drinking Mai-Thai’s whilst we change lives. (Not sure why I paired alcoholic drinks with enacting change, but I think it works…)
But apart from your website (of course, that’s a given), and mine (no brainer, Professor), the Chalkboard Question for the next couple weeks is:
TWENTYSOMETHING WEBSITE MUSTS
To kick off the list, here are some websites that I believe every 20something needs to take a big bite from, or else, continue consuming Internet meals that are small, stringy, and lacking flavor.
1. LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Jenny Blake, aka (I’m in aka mode apparently) recently published author of Life After College, (Link to Amazon. Not an affiliate. Linking because it’s that good) presents practical and insightful “tips & resources for life, work, money, happiness, personal growth & productivity”.
And in I’m very excited to announce that in 2013 I will be a regular contributor for Life After College. More on that later!
2. WHEN I GROW UP
Michelle Ward, aka The When I Grow Up Coach, writes about career with wit, wisdom, and heart. A more killer-er combo than burger, fries, and a chocolate shake (unless of course we’re talking In N Out here…but I digress…). Granted Michelle and I have agreed we are cut from the same clothe aka we’re Batman and Batwoman. (We’re still working on our superhero nomenclature because Batwoman just doesn’t sound that flattering…)
3. LIFE WITHOUT PANTS
“Perspectives on Life Less Restricted.” Enough said! Matt Chevy is the MC behind Life Without Pants and he recently put together a Welcome to the Real World Ebook for recent college grads that I was honored to contribute on.
4. CORN ON THE JOB
Corn on the Job is a leading career and job search blog ran by career expert, Rich DeMatteo. Slather on some butter and take a big bite.
5. JOB JENNY
As the head of her own recruiting agency for the last seven years, Jenny’s job has been to find the you’s and me’s jobs, thus why her blog and e-book is chalk full of gold.
“Gold. Them thar’s GOLD!”
Her e-book To Whom it May Concern: Or How to Stop Sucking at Your Job Search is this quasi-magicial, tangible, strategic game plan to not only help you get A job, but THE job with steps that YOU CAN take the moment you peruse the first page. (cue Superman theme music and July 4th firework display). Also if you need help with your resume, check out her Ridiculously Awesome Resume Kit.
Not only can you land a smoking internship here, but the Savvy Intern offers a plethora of stellar content on how to land a job and manage your career.
Stellar resources for any twentysomething pursuing entrepreneurship, leadership, or awesomeness.
ROCKING LIFE AS A TWENTYSOMETHING:
1. GEN Y GIRL
Kayla Cruz is about Sharing. Learning. Improving. And ensuring that we are best equipped to be the leaders of tomorrow.
Not too shabby.
2. THE UNLOST
Therese Schwenkler is blunt, hilarious, and wise-with-slangy-wisdom. She writes for the young & confused, bringing better direction to today’s generation. Therese is also an All Groan Up contributor with her article: The Facebook Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making.
3. SIMPLY COMPLICATED
Michelle Acker, aka (I promise that’s the last one) another stellar contributor on All Groan Up of such posts as Do We Have Wrong Expectations? offers a beautiful and authentic perspective when “life does not always go as planned.
4. GRAD MEETS WORLD
Amanda Abella is the brain child behind this fab Gen Y blog where she discusses health, career, personal finance, entrepreneurship, and more. She is also the author of the upcoming ebook Grad Meets World Ultimate Guide: The First Year Out of College.
FAITH, CALLING, AND MORE:
1. RELEVANT MAGAZINE
God. Life. Progressive Culture. Your one-stop-shop to stay informed and engage. Been honored to write for Relevant Magazine twice with: Creativity’s Worst Enemy and Death by Validation.
2.JAMIE THE VERY WORST MISSIONARY
Jamie is all about “inappropriate remarks, embarrassing antics, and generally lame observations from a Christian Missionary in Costa Rica.”
3. PEOPLE OF THE SECOND CHANCE
Overthrow Judgement. Liberate Love. A freeing site. I had the privilege to write a very personal article for them with: Acne Scars of Understanding.
4. MATTHEW PAUL TURNER
Author of Churched and many others, Matthew Paul Turner is an author/active blogger (don’t often get both these days) who leaves no PC-Christian rock unturned with his active reminder that “Jesus Needs New PR“.
5. THE CHURCH OF NO PEOPLE
Matt Appling is funny, sarcastic, and smart – basically the kind of stuff that makes discussion about theology and culture very interesting.
6. JUSTIN ZORADI
Justin, a good friend, founder of non-profit These Numbers Have Faces writes with the wisdom of a grizzled fifty year old who’s seen some things. His sweet spot is the nexus of faith and calling all whilst swmming within the murky waters of your twenties and thirties.
7. PRODIGAL MAGAZINE
A community site that “believes in the power of stories to change the world“.
8. STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE
Hilarious commentary on Christian culture, the side-hug, and the like. I fulfilled a life dream when I was able to guest post on Stuff Christians Like with my article: Claiming Musicians as One of Us.
9. MODERN REJECT
Nicole Cottrell offers a no-B.S. guide to faith, marriage, sex, and culture.
1. LOVE AND RESPECT NOW
Joy Eggerichs, twentysomething daughter of best-selling author of the book Love and Respect, runs an interactive, honest, and engaging site on everything relationships for Gen Y and Millennials.
Watch an interview I did with The Joy Eggerichs herself on All Groan Up.
2. ALLY VESTERFELT
Ally moved, married, and now thrives at the intersection of relationships and faith at Ally Vesterfelt. She is raw, honest, to-the-point, and a good read for anyone trying to figure out this crazy little thing called love and faith. I was honored to write a guest post for Ally called 10 Tips for Dating in your 20′s.
3. GOOD WOMEN PROJECT
Founded by Lauren Lankford Dubinsky, the Good Women Project is not really a “relationship only” site, but just a dang good one for any woman who is looking for honest and authentic conversation about what it really means, and looks like, to be a “good woman”.
Big-Time Enough to Use Their Name as their Web Address and Yet, Are Still Quite Appealing:
1. MICHAEL HYATT
Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, writing on “intentional leadership”. Basically, it’s like having a mentor delivered right to your inbox. Without having to even buy him lunch!
2. JON ACUFF
I try most times not to jump on the “OMG, OMG, this guy is so amazing” bandwagon as much as possible. But… “OMG, OMG, Jon Acuff is amazing…” This guy can’t help but create authentic, honest, hilarious, and profound stuff. Grab a big spoon before visiting his site because you’re going to get a mouthful.
3. SETH GODIN
If you don’t know Seth Godin, well click the link, grab a pen, and start taking notes.
1. FATHER APPRENTICE
Being a new dad for the last
three 15 months, it would be sheer irresponsibility to leave out THE BEST “online community of new and used dads who want to be great.” “Srsly.”
2. PREGNANT CHICKEN
Maybe the funniest articles about being a new parent that exist in the universe.
1. BRAZEN CAREERIST
Definitely could’ve been listed under “Career” sites as well as Brazen Careerist is “a career management tool for next-generation professionals.” But it seems the real power behind Brazen Careerist is the Brazen community of top-notch GenY Twentysomething professionals that you begin to call collaborators, colleagues, and friends. Brazen Careerist has gone through a face-lift of sorts recently, so I’ll be interested to see how their new format and layout works logistically in the lives of twentysomethings.
2. 20SOMETHING BLOGGERS
Sometimes blogging in, and through, your 20′s can be a very lonely experience. But the only thing lonelier? Blogging in your 20′s with consistently no one reading your blog! 20something bloggers “has brought together thousands of bloggers from all over the world, and spawned a vibrant community of like-minded, fascinating people who thrive on one another’s support and feedback.” It’s a place to connect, put your feet up, grab a cup of coffee and stay awhile because you’ve made it home.
Holy shiiiiiizzzer — there’s tons of websites out there. I’ve left out so many notable/amazing/what was I thinking? websites — so please add to the list below with your Twentysomethings MUST’S….
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A funk can come out of nowhere — like the Swamp Thing, pulling you down before you even have time to yell…what the…
One day you’re closing deals, writing thirty pages, lining up your dream date, etc..
The next – you’re in sweatpants on the couch watching re-runs of Saved by the Bell whilst eating a jar of almond butter with a spoon, whilst pouring in Hershey’s syrup. (I’ve maybe dabbled in this…)
An ill-placed funk can take your goals, hopes, and dreams, and put them in the hands of Facebook, spending hours meticulously going through friends profiles to see how their jobs, their houses, their cats are much more glamorous than yours. And once you’re in a funk, trying to escape can feel like trying to make it through a corn maze, in the dark, after happy hour.
So how do we avoid – you know– getting funked in the first place?
4 Keys to Avoid Being Funked
1. Stop Comparing…
We have a rampant disease in America that I call Obsessive Comparison Disorder. 9 out of 10 doctor’s agree this disorder is the leading cause of eating a whole sleeve of Oreo’s while watching When Harry Met Sally.
Just say no to comparing YOU with THEM. Remember, the grass is always greener on the other side, until you get there and realize it’s because of all the manure.
2. Change Your Playlist
Don’t get me wrong. I love a good Bon Iver, Band of Horses, Ryan Adams, Sufjan Stevens playlist as much as the next twentysomething. The kind where you feel transplanted into the middle of a drizzly day in Seattle, sitting in the forest on a stump, drinking Starbucks and wrestling with life’s greatest questions. What could be better?
But we can artificially keep ourselves in a funk by continually playing the same sad songs over and over again.
Know when your sad season is over and you just need to freaking dance.
3. Turn off the TV
Not only does TV suck more time than a Hoover sucks bowling balls. But it spits out funks like a slot-machine running all 7′s.
For me, watching TV takes my Obsessive Comparison Disorder and intensifies it x 137. It magnifies my insecurities like an ant on a summer sidewalk, cooking them until I burst.
I’ve had to just say no to TV. Instead of worrying about missing my shows, I’ve decided to worry about missing my life.
4. Get Away
Take a walk. A swim. A drive. Something. Anything. For me, I hike and pray. No phone. Just me and whatever thoughts I have left from all the noise. It’s amazing how different I feel remembering that there are bigger things than me and my problems.
Please, Don’t Go Funk Yourself
Anyone have other tips for breaking out of a funk?
Photo Credit: Jeff Nix via Creative Commons
28 29 on Saturday.
Wait, sorry. That’s more like Twenty-Freaking-Nine?! Srrrriously?
Nothing will remind you of what was, what is, and what you hope to be, more than your birthday.
Follow that up with your first Father’s Day the very next day like I did, and you’ve got yourself one giant ball of reflection fit for it’s own memoir.
When well-wishers have asked me how old I am, I’ve had to pause more then once to try and remember. “Umm…27…no…wait…umm…twentyyyy….dang…umm…” Whether it was just sheer disbelief or the sheer inability to do mental math under pressure like a 5th grader competing in the Tri-County Math Bowl, 29 just didn’t seem to be the right answer.
The evolution of your birthday is one of the starkest definitions of what it means to be an emerging adult. Growing up, your birthday is THE DAY that could only be remotely rivaled by Christmas. But Christmas you have to share with your family and some baby in the manger, whom you have to pay dues in an extra, agonizingly long and incredibly boring, midweek church service. So it’s not much debate that YOUR DAY literally blows the other 364 away. Even baby Jesus can’t compete.
Growing up, your birthday is not a secret. No, it’s what you invite every single person within a fifty-mile radius to come celebrate. You’d make a radio ad and scatter fliers all over the six elementary schools in your town, if your live-in grown ups would’ve let you.
And all the way until 21, your birthday means you’ve accomplished something and now more of the kingdom awaits you. But after alcohol is now being freely offered – your corresponding birthday’s are met with the same ambiguity as your job search and relationship status. What is 23? Or 28? Each year says you’re older, but no longer is that really an accomplishment. No, slowly it starts becoming quite the opposite. As if you’re somehow doing something wrong by traipsing across the calendar in such a rapid fashion.
Birthday’s in your mid-20’s are like that stretch of road trip where you’re no longer home, but not yet where you want to be.
It’s that flat, long stretch of no man’s land where stops to see the World’s Largest Prairie Dog and Five-legged Cow seem like the best options you’ve got.
THE SWEET SOUND OF GROWING UP
But as I turned 28 and found myself laughing hysterically watching 20somethings play pin-the-tail on the donkey — our newborn baby fast asleep even amongst the squeals of pin-the-tail-delight, I began finding myself peacefully at home at 28.
Because as you get older you realize that your birthday is really not that important. Your age is just a number, nothing more. Your birthday is not formulaic algebra — no it’s abstract math, and it’s up to you to find that right solution.
So here’s the birthday equation I’m working on:
29 + Me = Each day becoming more the husband, father, and man I was made to be.
Now that’s math that I can do.
What do you feel about your 20something birthday evolution? Do you have a new equation you’re working on? Let’s hear your thoughts via comments below.