Young Professional Advice from Friends – Rebecca Fraser-Thull

This is a  Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Rebecca Fraser-Thull at Working SelfYPAF is a is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting a career and conquering your twenties.

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Our Happiest Moments Appear In the Bull’s Eye of Our Worst Times

            My life between 22 and 25 was downright miserable. I was in a doctoral program I’d entered solely to avoid getting a job; my new husband couldn’t land the teaching job for which he’d long trained and instead spent eternal days scrubbing rental cars in a suit and tie; and our financially-deprived notion of “eating out” was the local SUBWAY followed by a stop at the gas station for ice pops.

After three years of agony, I finally decided to ditch the PhD program that had been the wrong move from the start and move to my dream state of Maine. Once we left Ithaca, though, I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the great times we had. And I still can’t:  We were newlyweds, reveling in the splendor of our wedding photos and taking weekend trips (albeit to friends’ couches) at the drop of a hat. We were the proud parents of our first dog/pseudo-baby, snapping pics of him at every opportunity and taking him on long walks through a new park every weekend. And I was a graduate student who, despite hating every pressure-filled minute of seminars and homework, met people whose views of the world changed my own and who helped me discover confidence in my own voice in a way I couldn’t have otherwise.

Part of this “weren’t the hard times actually good” thing is a trick of the mind – psychologists tell us we rosy up the past to maintain our sanity – but part of it is just life, which comes in a hodgepodge of excellent and atrocious, hilarious and gut-wrenching, mundane and sublime. The first time we feel the full force of this wicked brew is in our 20s, and it’s so disorienting that we don’t know which pieces to cling onto, which to worry about in our minds, which to plaster across the Internet.

My advice? Keep making music, even if your instrument is bent, rusted and out of tune.  When the days are slogging by and the nights are filled with trills of panic, snatch a moment to sit in a park and look at the lush beauty of nature or to read a snippet of a novel that contains words that whisk you away. When work is unbearable and the tunnel ahead looks darker still, steal a day to run to the beach or into the mountains, or to volunteer to care for homeless pets or homeless vets or whatever your passion might be. When life feels like a lot of crud without much cream, make the fancy dish you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest or schedule the weekend road trip you’ve long been plotting.

Believe me, you’ll be glad that you kept making beautiful music with your dilapidated twentysomething instrument. Because before long, the high notes are the only things you’ll carry with you.

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Rebecca with her first dog – and “baby” – Rundle, now passed, back when they were making happy moments amongst the misery of a poorly-chosen graduate program.

Rebecca Fraser-Thill runs the website and blog Working Self, which explores the intersection of work and identity with a focus on twentysomethings. She has been teaching psychology at Bates College since 2003 and is also a life and career coach, freelance writer, and keynote speaker. Connect with her on Twitter @WorkingSelf.

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How To Make and Keep Friends in Your Twenties

Today’s Personal Life post is inspired by Paul Angone’s Secret #3 from 101 Secrets For your Twenties. 

The typical Monday through Friday work routine can feel very mundane and therefore exhausting. It is very easy to fall into a set routine so things, and people, outside this routine can easily be over looked. It can be so tempting to come home from a day of work and just pass out on the couch. It’s not scientifically proven, but this is most likely the reason why so many friendships dwindle away after college. We twentysomething young professionals need to fit room somewhere in our busy schedule for our friendships. The question is why and how?

Why We Need Friends

We need friends for multiple reasons. We need a support group to help us through times of depression and to help us move into our new apartment. We need friends to keep us laughing, to have fun with and to stay happy. Having friends also helps us grow personally and professionally.

How To Make Friends

Join clubs, groups, communities in areas of your interests to find like minded people, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Start by getting involved with a company sponsored event like intramural sports. Get involved in your church community or another favorite local community spot.

My Best Two Goals For Making New Friends:

1. Learn to start attending events alone.

2. Leave for a new event straight from work.

Whether you’re starting a new weekly activity or going to a one time event, these goals will help you follow through with attending. Having the confidence to go to something alone will not let you fall back on your scapegoat – “I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.” Not having someone to go with you to an event should not be be an excuse, especially if you are 100% free to go alone. You don’t need the confidence of the most popular guy in the room, you just need to confidence to get you inside the door. The first time you go alone will feel awkward, but the more you do the less awkward it will feel. Learning how to attending an event alone is my number one piece of advice for making friends in your twenties.

For events during the week I highly recommend you leave straight from work; do not go home. I can almost guarantee that when you get home you will settle in with your nice warm bowl of ramen noddle soup with the Roku remote in hand ready to watch back to back episodes of your favorite TV show. You will find some excuse to skip your event.

Set these two goals for yourself today.

How To Keep Friends

Getting someone from “Facebook friend I met once” to “live in person friend” can seem almost impossible at times. I cannot put it better than Paul Angone himself with Secret #70,

Making and keeping friends in your 20s takes intentionality.”

“Intentionality.” You need to put in the effort to keep your friends. The best way, I think, to put intentionality to work is through practical action steps.

3 Practical Action Steps For Keeping Friends

1. Make contact weekly – I find calling and writing letters to be the most personal but busy schedules may reduce you to text messages.

2. Remember birthdays and special occasions – Do something special for these dates, try sending them a card or gift.

3. Make at least one plan per week to meet up with a new or old friend.

We are not going to make friends with everyone and some friendships will inevitably grow apart. We need to persevere with our intentionality and not get stuck in the every day routine.  

How do you make and keep friends in your twenties?

Young Professional Advice from Friends: On Being A Twenty-Something With Too Many Options

This is a  Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Kayla Cruz from Gen Y Girl. YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting off and being twenty.
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On Being A Twenty-Something With Too Many Options

Ohhhh being in your twenties…

You think it’s going to be awesome. You think it’s going to be this magical time in your life where you’ve got everything figured out and you get to stay up late and bar hop all night long. And then, when you wake up, you get to dress up really nice and go to that job that you love and be all adult-ish.

Regrettably, that’s not how it is. That’s not how it works.

My apologies.

Because being in your twenties and starting a career, it’s really hard.

And it’s not always fabulous.

And I think perhaps that hardest part is the fact that we have so many options.

Now, options can be great. They really can be.

But your whole life, you’ve never really had a lot of decisions to make.

Your parents chose what school you went to.

Your school determined what classes you took.

Everything was pretty much set up for you. You just had to live your life.

But when we graduate college and we’re starting a career, we don’t even know where to begin.

What city do I want to live in?
What job will make me happy?
What’s my purpose in life?
What are my short term goals?
What are my long term goals?
Do I want to take time off and travel?
Did I pick the right major?
Should I go to grad school?
Is corporate life for me or should I join a start-up?
These are all questions that we’re faced with…all at once.

BAM!

Welcome to the real-world.

Price for admission: Your sanity.

On the bright side, we can form our own life to our own liking. But we have to actually set it up ourselves.

And that’s the hardest part.

So in order to prevent massive amounts of stress and/or some kind of giant huge freak-out that consists of packing our bags and moving to Thailand, take a deep breath, relax for five seconds, and think.

What do I need in my life right now?
What do I need to DO to get those things?
What makes me happy?

I think those questions are a good starting point. Take time to think and reflect, and calmly, start answering these questions.

Not for other people.

FORGET other people right now.

Answer these questions for YOURSELF.

And if you do that, you’ll be just fine.

You have options, and that’s a good thing, but don’t let them overwhelm you to the point where you do NOTHING.

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GenY GirlKayla Cruz, founder of Gen Y Girl, is a young twentysomething just entering the workforce and hoping to share her experiences with other young professionals. She’s not bratty, just opinionated and writes at www.lostgenygirl.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @GenY_Girl.

Young Professional Advice From Friends: Lindsay Shoemake

This is a Young Professional Advice from Friends post written by Lindsay Shoemake at That Working GirlYPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting off and being twenty.

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Young Professional Advice From Friends – Lindsay Shoemake

Your  twenties. The movies depict them as that magical time in your life when you’re walking down Madison Avenue to your own theme song, your hair looks perfect, you’ve nailed your dream job, and when it comes to dating? The men just can’t get enough of you. However, life honestly doesn’t work that way for us twenties-somethings.

As I sat at company happy hour yesterday afternoon, my boss mentioned something that stuck with me. She said, “Your twenties are the best-worst time of your life. You’re figuring yourself out and you’re growing, but nothing feels quite permanent.” And that, ladies and gentleman, hits the nail on the head.

Although I’m greatly leaning toward loving my twenties rather than loathing them, each and every day still consists of a lesson to be learned.

So far, I’ve tasted a lot of success, and I have to be grateful for it! For starters, I run a successful blog, That Working Girl, along with my two stellar interns, Catia and Stephanie. As a three-person team, we do a heck of a lot, and we have fun doing it. Running a blog is a ton of work, but it’s gratifying seeing how readers relate and respond – and when companies want to send you free samples! I also intern for one of the best PR firms in Atlanta (and I’d argue on the East Coast), Caren West PR. I’m living the life I dreamed of since I was a little girl, ogling the Atlanta skyline when my parents decided to take me into the city. I would always turn to my little sister in the car and say, “Look, we’re in ‘magic town,’” and now I’m living in it. Now that is truly magical.

However, it wouldn’t be your twenties without a little hardship and disappointment. After applying to 40+ internships in New York City and not landing a single interview, I’ve dealt with feelings of rejection from the one place I can’t get enough of. I had a blueprint for my life that I’ve had to completely scrap – I’m working from the ground up again, but I know there’s a rhyme and reason behind it. I’ve learned to turn criticism and disappointment into opportunities for growth with a lot of practice. I still get sad when I think of New York, but I remind myself that it will always be there waiting for me, if I just work hard enough and make the key connections.

So, a little advice for all of you fellow hard-working twenty-somethings out there? When opportunities don’t work out, don’t get down on yourself – we’re too young not to come across a second chance, or something even better. I’m a firm believer that doors are closed only for new ones to open, because I’ve experienced it time and time again.
Also, don’t expect your first job to be your dream job and where you truly flourish. Sure, it may happen for a few lucky ones, but look at job switches as stepping-stones when they happen. As you grow, your taste in work will change.

Most of all, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously! When you quit smiling, you quit growing and enjoying all that life has to offer. When you feel the seriousness coming on, go grab yourself an iced coffee and watch re-runs of “Seinfeld.” I assure you, it works every time.

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LindsayShoemakeLindsay Shoemake is a creative visionary, blogger and “PR girl” living in Atlanta. When she isn’t blogging at That Working Girl or interning at Caren West PR, you can find her perusing new coffee shops, cuddling her Pekingese, Lily, or living full-out at a Fall Out Boy show (no shame). Catch more of Lindsay on Twitter, @VivaLaLindsay or Instagram.

New Series Sneak Peek: Young Professional Advice from Friends Week 2

YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting off and being twenty. This week Anna Runyan shared advice on how she improved her happiness with her career by freeing herself from the weight of debt. On Monday, July 8th we will hear from Cristina Reyeros at Ambition in the City. Here is a sneak peak…

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Alive or Just Breathing: Tips for Young Professionals

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Recently I was approached by the lovely Katie Robinson, of asktheyoungprofessional, to write a post that would speak to Katie’s young professional audience around the adventures of adulthood and starting a career. As I approach my 30’s I look back at my 20’s as a time for exploration, play, and most importantly, self discovery. My 20’s have been for me a time filled with youthful enthusiasm, lots of learning, a few stumbles, and a whole lot of change. I look back at this time and I can honestly say I have lived these 9 years to the fullest. I have no regrets and have used this time to discover who Cristina really is. How will you use your 20’s to uncover the best version of yourself? In this post I hope to offer a few words of wisdom as you set forth on your path to greatness. Your 20’s should be a time of aliveness and endless possibility. Are you alive or just breathing?

For more on this story and great advice from Cristina Reyeos at Ambition in the City, tune in Monday morning at 9am for the full post.

New Series Sneak Peek: Young Professional Advice from Friends

Young Professional Advice from Friends is launching Monday, July 1st! YPAF is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting off and being twenty. Get a taste of what our first friend has to say…

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Classy Career Girl

How I Changed My Career and Life To Make Me Happy

Have you ever felt stuck in a job just because you have to pay the bills?  I have.  Have you ever realized how debt influences your life and career choices?  I have.  Have you ever thought that you would do a different job if you didn’t have to worry about your student loan payments?  I have.

After a few years, I got sick and tired of having these thoughts so I decided to make some huge changes in my life in order to take control of my career.  This month begins a new chapter in my career.  But first, here is the back-story…

For more on this story and great advice from at Anna Runyan Classy Career Girl, tune in Monday morning at 9am for the full post. 

What’s New on Ask the Young Professional

If you haven’t noticed Ask the Young Professional has been getting some upgrades. I hope you enjoy the new face lift Ask the Yo Pro got. Here are some more new things to take a glance at…

New and Improve:

About Page 

There is now a page dedicated solely to the purpose of what Ask the Young Professional is all about. There is still an About Me if you want to learn a little bit about me, the writer and creator of Ask the Young Professional. Check out About Ask the Yo Pro for the new Vision and Mission statements to learn a little more about what this blog is trying to do for you.

Contact 

There is now a Contact Me page where you can find my email to reach out to me and to ask me questions about your personal experience. Ask the Yo Pro is now featured across multiple social media sites including; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. More to come soon. Please e-mail me any suggestions you have on how to improve Ask the Yo Pro and what topics you would like me to talk about.

Guest Post 

Ask the Young Professional is now open to Guest Posts! If you would like to write something for Ask the Yo Pro, please take the time to read the policy then feel free to write away then email it to me!

Community

The Yo Pro Community is growing every day, Ask the Yo Pro is now featuring favorite blogs and supporters.

Stay Tuned For:

Young Professional Advice from Friends (YPAF)

Young Professional Advice from Friends is a collection of voices from different ages, places and industries to share advice on starting off and being twenty. It will be launching July 1st with a variety of fellow bloggers from the world wide web!  It is going to be an amazing collaboration of ideas, stories, advice all being shared from some of my favorite blogs and supporters.

YPAF will also be opened to the public after launch day. You will see a page appear next to the Guest Post Policy which will contain all the information on what topics to cover and how to submit.

Tune in July 1st for the very first YPAF post and every Monday to see whose advice is being featured each week!